When Noah Clarke walks into a room, people take notice. He has a winning sense of humor, and can make anyone laugh no matter how bad their day has been. When he speaks you feel at ease, like you have been friends for years. He towers over most people at 6’5 and weighs in at around 245 pounds. A big teddy bear, he looks to be the picture of health.
This wasn’t always the case. Less than three years ago, Noah tipped the scales at well over 500 pounds.
“Even when I was little, I was big,” he says with a smirk.
“I was the kid that people made fun of. I was called ‘fat ass’, ‘fat boy’, ‘piggie’–and those were some of the nicer names people came up with. Kids are cruel. I was big, but when you are nine years old there isn’t much you can do about it. It wasn’t like I was eating everything in sight–far from the truth. I ate healthy food for the most part. I got pretty good exercise just running around being a kid but my body stayed the same. My parents said that when I hit puberty I would more than likely slim out a bit.”
Puberty came and went: middle school, high school…he remained overweight.
In late-2004, Noah’s mother, who had been sick for a few months, ended up losing her battle with cancer. According to Noah, that is when things started going downhill quickly.
“I was really close to my Mom. When she died, I felt like part of me died with her. I couldn’t sleep. I walked around like a zombie for a few months. And I ate…a lot.”
For Noah, food became a crutch.
“I ate when I was sad. I ate when I was angry. I ate when I was bored. When I ate, I would forget about all the bad things that were happening in my life. It was comforting. I didn’t have to think when I was eating: it was just me and my food. I became compulsive about it. In an average day, I would start by driving to McDonald’s and picking up three sausage biscuits and a couple of hash browns. A couple hours later, I would drive back into town and hit up Burger King: double-Whopper, fries, two extra Whoppers just in case the meal didn’t fill me up. For dinner I would go to the store and pick up a bag of frozen french fries and a bag of frozen chicken strips. I would grab a bottle of ranch dressing and I would annihilate it. Then I would wash it down with a large diet coke–and this isn’t counting all of the snacks I would eat throughout the day.”
He pauses, looks out the window, and shakes his head. “I was out of control. And even though I would eat all of that garbage, I would still be hungry. I had a hole in my soul. And I tried to fill it with food.”
This went on, day by day, for over 4 years. The weight piled on. Noah’s health declined.
“Just walking up a flight of stairs was like running a marathon. By the time I reached the top, I was out of breath and sweaty. I had to keep buying clothes in bigger sizes, and in a few months I could only buy clothes from specialty shops. I went to a Tech concert with my sister, I had trouble sitting in the theaters seats. We ended up having to stand, which was equally uncomfortable. One day I went out to my car, and I had gotten so big that I couldn’t buckle the damned seat belt. My friends and family had been worried about my health before, but I knew things were getting worse when people started sitting me down and starting the conversation with “Noah, we have to talk…” They would tell me they were worried about me. They didn’t want me to die. My feet and legs started swelling, a classic symptom of congestive heart failure. All I could think is “Man, one of these days I am gonna stroke out..or have a heart attack. I don’t want to die.” I knew that if I didn’t make a change, I wasn’t going to live to be 30.”
Noah’s father offered to pay for a gastric bypass surgery, or a lap band. Noah, being terrified of going under the knife and never waking up, decided he wanted to go a more traditional method. Diet and exercise.
“I ended up joining Jenny Craig, thinking ‘Hell, I’ll be on this for about a month or so.’ That month turned into two. Two turned into six. Soon it was routine and I realized I had made a true lifestyle change. When I started dieting I did very light exercise. I would walk a half-mile down the road I live on. Exhausted, covered in sweat, taking multiple breaks and barely breathing by the time I was finished. As time passed and weight began to drop I found myself not as fatigued by the half mile walk. Then I decided to start jogging. Now I have a gym membership, I do an hour of cardio 5 days a week, and I see a personal trainer 3 days a week for resistance and weight training. I take whey-bolic proteins and supplements and have energy through the roof. I’m doing the damn thing. I have lost over 250 pounds. That’s a whole person. Or two smaller people. It’s insane to think about it.
I did it. But I didn’t do it alone. I had support from my friends and family–and while I would exercise, I would plug in my headphones and rock it to anything Strange. Tech N9ne’s ‘Real Killer’, ‘Einstein’, ‘Here Comes Tecca Nina’, and more recently ‘Worldwide Choppers’ and ‘I Need A Drink’. I listen to these songs every day during my workout: Krizz Kaliko’s ‘Elevator’ and ‘Get Active’, Brotha Lynch Hung’s ‘The Coathanga’ and ‘I C U’. I dig Cognito. I really wish Strange Music would sign King Gordy, he makes the daily play list too. Strange Music has had a huge part in my weight loss journey. Now, instead of going home to just me and my food, I go to the gym and it’s just me and my music. I can zone out, get lost in the beats and lyrics, and push myself to work a little harder each time.
I actually spoke to Krizz Kaliko online via video chat. We talked about being big dudes and how hard it could be to make the right choices when it came to losing weight. He was a really cool, humble guy. I wish I could catch up with him, just to see how he has been doing and if he met his goal. If I could meet these guys face to face, I would give ’em all high fives and just say ‘thank you.’ It’s the little things that help the most and a song can truly change your mood–even your outlook on the way you live your life”
And for those out there that are looking to make a change in their lives?
“It’s so worth it. If I can lose over 250 pounds, anyone can. It’s a process. Nothing happens overnight–but one day you will notice you feel a little different. The next, you will notice you look a little different. Once you start winning the small victories, you will have the drive and confidence to win the war. So get out there, and like Kali says: ‘Get Active’. You will never regret that you did.”
– Written by Meagen Couch
We would like to thank Noah for having the courage to share this amazing story with us! Let him know what you thought in the comments below!