350,000-499,999 SparkPoints 381,387
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A Long Way To Go... 2009 - 300+ Pounds

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Getting There... 2011 -190 Pounds

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Pretty Much There! 2012 - 170 Pounds

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EDIT: As of 2/15/2017 I'm six years older than when I wrote this so precision would require doing a little math as you read. :)


My name is Vinny Colombo and I'm a "happy camper".
I'm dedicating this page to the people and groups who helped me get to be one.

I am a 58 year old man, married for 37 years, with a 34 year old son, and a 4 year old granddaughter. I am 5 foot seven and weigh just over 170 pounds.

I don't suppose that any of this would be particularly interesting except that two years ago I weighed about 300 pounds, had been taking blood pressure medication for about 20 years, and was generally feeling quite mortal. I was really worried that I might not be around to watch my granddaughter grow up and enjoy aging with my wife. The last time I weighed as little as I do now, I was 17 years old.

Now, I'm a person who has struggled with being overweight since childhood in a series of weight losses and regains. When I retired from a 20 year career in the New York City Police Department weighing 327 pounds in 2000 I was determined to get rid of the extra tonnage that I'd carried for so long. But over the next eight years, I only managed to drop thirty pounds and I was still yoyoing.

I finally decided that I couldn't do it on my own and joined a free weight loss self-help group at the Southern Tier Surgical Clinic (near Binghamton, NY) on April Fool's Day in 2010 at 294 pounds. I'd like to mention all the wonderful people in that group who helped me get a handle on my sugar addiction. But anonymity is a sacred rule in that model of program. I can give a shout-out to Mickey McCabe, the group moderator and overall STSC Bariatric Program coordinator. In addition to her work at the clinic, she was at every meeting I participated in insuring that the sessions were meaningful and productive.

By the end of six months of psychological and nutritional counseling, and participating in these bi-weekly self-help group sessions, I lost another fifty pounds. But I had been able to lose weight temporarily many times in the past and I always gained back more than I lost.

This time, I was determined to lock in my success. Because I was morbidly obese and had very high blood pressure, I was eligible for bariatric surgery covered by my health insurance plan. This route is not the right one for most people, but it was the correct one for me. I chose to have a gastric lap-band placement.

Aside from proposing to my wife, this was probably the best decision I ever made. Having that tool enabled me to lose another 70 pounds, take up a fitness oriented life-style and permanently overcome my compulsion to eat massive quantities of the least healthful foods.

I called the lap-band a tool, and that is all it is. It enabled me to begin living a healthful life. I knew that the surgeon could place the lap-band, but after that, the success of the procedure would depend on my ability to stick with a program that incorporated a fitness lifestyle. I had to make proper nutrition a priority and take up physical activities that would help me reduce fat and preserve and rebuild muscle. I discovered Spark People and the site became my go-to source for health information. I soon realized that it provided much much more and registered for the emails.

Long story short, SparkPeople led me to another fantastic site, I was researching kettlebells because I heard that using them combined both strength and cardio training. It was in one of the SparkPeople forums that I learned of Alysia Gadson and LiveFitRevolution. One look at the site convinced me that this was the real deal. is a registered non-profit organization that provides live streaming Kettlebell classes geared toward significant weight loss. In addition, they provide direct personal motivation and nutritional guidance. All the workouts are archived on the site so members can choose to use the site in the way that works best for them. Alysia and her business partner and site manager, Jason Lilly do not ask for anything in return but a commitment to self improvement. To date they do not carry advertising.

I joined LiveFit in February of 2011 and credit the program with a sea change in my health and self-image. I'm no Jack LaLane, but I will be entering my seniority in the best physical condition I have ever experienced.

The changes in my life since I got control of my physical condition have been wonderful. My friends who used to call me Big Vin now refer to me as Skinny Vinny. Going for a long walk with my wife is now something I look forward to rather than something I do just to make her happy. I can find inexpensive clothes that fit and look good. I no longer need blood pressure medication as my readings are optimum without any. My food bill is much lower and I enjoy the food I eat much more. I interact more comfortably with acquaintances and strangers, because I don't feel self conscious about my size. I exercise consistently and fuel my body appropriately.

So what's the takeaway? I only wish that I had been able to make these changes 25 or even 35 years ago. If you are someone in a similar struggle with with severe obesity, NOW is always the time to act. Find out what you need to do, and get it done.

Once you are on your way to where you want to be, don't take any detours. You will only regret them when you reach your goal and realize what you have been missing.

Member Since: 4/17/2010

Fitness Minutes: 270,800

My Goals:

When I joined Spark People, I set a goal of weighing 175 pounds.

When I reached it, I set a new goal of weighing 155 pounds.

But now I know that my ultimate goal is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep both my mind and my body in the best condition possible.

My Program:

I am treating food as building material and fuel and not as entertainment and stress reliever.

I engage in varied physical activities. every day including kettlebell, resistance band, Nordic Track, and body weight exercise in addition to outdoor manual labor and recreation.

Personal Information:

I'm from Central NY, near Binghamton, where winter lasts six months and the rest of the time it's raining.

Other Information:

Since I am retired and am able to live frugally, I have the luxury of being able to concentrate on my personal goals without having to juggle them with a work schedule.

Hats off to all the Spark People who are still raising families and working to feed them in this economy.

Read More About STRIVERONE - Profile Information moved here. (Updated March 16)

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    Vinny, thank you so much for reading and commenting on my blog about losing Joey. When I came here to your page to thank you, I found the comment I wrote 267 days ago. I had forgotten about that, and rereading it helped me remember the history of Joey's last year, and the miracle of his having lived so much longer and more fully than we expected. He was a very good dog!

    I appreciate your kind words and support. You are a good friend here, and I always enjoy reading your status on my feed, about all you and Judith's rides, walks, runs, trips, visits, volunteer work, and other activities. You are so ALIVE!
    440 days ago
  • v ALICIA363
    As a landlocked person, I know so little about beaches and oceans. Thanks for the answer.
    Have a great day!
    485 days ago
  • v JIBBIE49
    emoticon Happy Holidays. Going through my Spark Friend list. Glad u r doing well. We have 2019 at the door so let's make it the best year ever.
    700 days ago
    Vinny, thank you for asking about Joey. When I came home from an errand Saturday, I found him rocking his head back and forth, his eyes darting back and forth, and unable to stand up. When my daughter got home, I enlisted her to go with me to the vet's, though it was outside regular hours--sort of like an emergency room situation. The doctor gave Joey a drip (I don't know if that's the right word, but you know, the bag with the fluids and the needle and tubes), and tested various things, and we've been back every day since then, and Joey's had blood tests, sonograms, and X-rays. The vet's initial reaction was that Joey has idiopathic vestibular disease (also known as old dog disease), which seems to be related to the inner ear and makes dogs lose their balance and feel seasick. Those were certainly Joey's symptoms. the vet reassure us that it's not deadly, it's not even painful, most dogs recover, and Joey should get better with each passing day. Because of his loss of appetite, he needs the minerals in the drip and the medication to lessen his nausea, so we've been commuting to the clinic (at great expense, can't help mentioning that in passing because it's shocking), and the vet was right--Joey's getting a little better every day, and as soon as he eats again, we can stop going in for the drip. I've been so lucky to be off work every day of his illness so far, so I can partiipate in his care, along with my daughter, who's Joey's favorite human and who loves him the most.

    Anyway, I'm sure that's more information than you need, but thank you for asking the question, because you might have sensed from this lengthy explanation that I really needed to talk about it. I think I'll have positive updates in a couple of days, but for now, he's stil resting, not eating, and wearing a diaper to protect the floor in our entance hall where he's staying until he regains control of his bodily functions and can walk again. He's noticeably better today than yesterday. I really thought he was dying, so this feels like a miracle. He's such a sweet dog, and we want him in the world for as long as it's not a burden for him to be here.

    I hope you are fine!
    707 days ago
    Thanks for your comment on my steak bust. For true, it doesn't matter because I can start a new one!

    Here's to a great week.
    1003 days ago
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