By: Patrick Pinto
Going to a new school is never easy as all eyes are automatically watching your every move. It only took a few weeks before the teasing and childhood bullying began. By the time 4th grade rolled around, I had grown accustomed to being teased…it just seemed to be the way things went. However, as puberty hit and bodies started to change, things got tougher for me. I developed a symptom knows as Gynocomastia. In short, a males estrogen levels will rise to keep up with the rise in a males testosterone levels during puberty instead of staying at a normal level. This causes a side effect where a male chest will swell excessively. For a young boy, this is nothing short of catastrophic. My self-image was completely shattered. The teasing started to become increasingly harsh because of this and increased each and every day.
This is where I started to find comfort in food. I would come home each day, after hours of being tortured at school and find solace in downing an entire sleeve of cookies, downing cakes, and drinking loads of soda. I found solace and comfort in food and as sad as it may sound, food sometimes felt like it was my only friend. My weight began to skyrocket and that just made the teasing get worse. By the time 8th grade rolled around, the bullying was so harsh, and my self-image was so shattered that I would find myself crying myself to sleep and started to get severely depressed and even had thoughts of suicide. I would continue to find comfort from food and would find myself trying to escape reality by spending hours on end playing video games or participating in any activity which would allow me to escape being around anyone.
I was able to somehow manage and get through grade school and high school and about halfway through college I started to actually try and manage my weight. I would workout, at one point even losing 50 lbs. I was even able to get surgery to correct the gynocomastia. But even then, I would always revert back to my old habits of eating whenever I got stressed out or depressed.
Finally around my mid-20’s I got more serious about my health. Often having long stretches of success with working out. At 24, I would meet the wonderful woman who would become my wife, Michelle. We often would work out together and did our best to live a healthy lifestyle. A few years after our wedding we were blessed with two beautiful children. However, I would allow the stress of being a father and having a demanding job get the better than me and I would allow my weight to balloon to around 220 lbs.
I was in the worst shape physically I had ever been in my life. One day, while holding my daughter Olivia, I looked down at her and thought to myself that I wanted to be there to walk her down the wedding aisle one day, I looked at my son Ethan, and thought I wanted to be their to be the wonderful man I knew he would one day become, and I wanted to grow old with my lovely wife. I asked myself the following question: “Was I going to allow all those things kids would say to me, all the things I was told I would never be, all the pain I felt, and all the things I went through as a child continue to control me and set my path, or was I going to take control of my life and set my own path to follow?” As I took a long hard look in the mirror I knew it was time for me to take control of my life and my health and to break the bondage of childhood bullying.
In 2012, I started going to the gym regularly, just starting with some mild cardio. I slowly started to incorporate weight training into my workouts and when I did I started to feel a fire starting to burn inside me. I started to become absolutely passionate about weight lifting and training and soon weightlifting started to become a lifestyle for me. I was also very motivated by my wife who at the time started training to run in a marathon.
Later that year, I had made some mild progress with my weight loss. I wanted to set some new goals up for myself so I made a promise to myself that in 2014 I would do my first powerlifting competition and in 2015 I would enter into my first bodybuilding competition. I wanted to make sure I surrounded myself with amazing people with like-minded goals to help me stay motivated and on the right path. Before I knew it, I was being coached by one of the best natural bodybuilding professionals out there, Alberto Nunez from 3D Muscle Journey (http://www.3dmusclejourney.com). Coach Alberto and 3DMJ taught me a lot about training hard but maintaining a balanced lifestyle so I could make sure I was attending to my family and work while also maintaining my goals.
I now have been training for over 2 years. I lift weights 4-5 days a week, splitting my training between training upper body and lower body and do cardio 2-3 days a week. I keep track of all my calories and macronutrient intake daily using myfitnesspal and weigh out all my meals to ensure accurate caloric intake. One of my proudest accomplishments is that I can now deadlift close to 350 lbs!
Quest Bars have been an integral part of my diet. They not only provide a great way for me to meet my protein, fiber, carbohydrate, and fat requirements but they are absolutely delicious. There is a huge selection of bars with many different flavors to choose from which allows a great deal of variety so I am not eating the same flavor every day!
At this point in my training, I have lost 65 lbs, and am down to 155 lbs and have put on a good amount of muscle. The most important part is that I have maintained this lifestyle for over 2 years, and am the healthiest I have ever been, and am absolutely loving this entire journey. I am happier than I have ever been. My wife is also now working towards powerlifting and competing on stage with me in 2015. This lifestyle has made me happier than I have ever been. It has allowed me to teach my children that anything can be achieved through hard work and dedication and to never give up. I want them to be able to look back and see what I achieved and know that they can do the same and even more
In closing, as I reflect on this story, I can honestly say that while I am proud of my transformation, the real story is for everyone who has ever been bullied, teased, and made to feel like they were worthless. This story is for those who feel that there is no hope and only feel hopelessness…I am here to tell you that there is hope and there is a voice for when you feel voiceless…that hope and voice is in each and every one of us. But the choice to believe in that hope and to listen to that voice is a choice we must each make and I hope by reading my story that you see that you too can achieve all your goals by believing in yourself!