In the summer of 2017, Douglas Carpenter arranged a trip to Europe for his mother’s 80th birthday. It was on this trip he realized just how much his weight impacted his ability to live his life. “I basically ruined the trip because I couldn’t do a lot of things,” he recalls. This is when he decided he needed to make a lifestyle change. Nearly 50 years old and weighing in at just under 386 lbs, Douglass began his wellness journey. He visited a cardiologist in order to take the first steps toward his goal. “I was so heavy they couldn’t put me on the treadmill for a stress test, they had to do it chemically. That was not a fun experience,” he jokes. The doctors diagnosed Douglas with pulmonary edema, a condition that makes it difficult to breathe due to the fluid accumulating in the air spaces of the lungs and around the heart. The diagnosis was even further complicated by the fact that he had one of his lungs surgically removed 20 years ago.

Douglas's first trip to the YMCA didn’t come easy. When he went to sign up for membership, walking from the parking lot to the front desk left him completely out of breath. “I was so embarrassed that I turned around and left twice before I even signed up,” he remembers. He found the courage on his third try and began what would become a 2 year-long weight loss journey with the Y. Douglas began with the YMCA Kickstart program, a free personalized wellness program for members to set and achieve short-term fitness goals, and turn them into positive lifestyle changes. The YMCA Wellness Team started him off with Aqua aerobics and the recumbent bike until he was able to support his own weight. Adding in weight training later on, Douglas attributes much of his success to his trainer, Elijah.  “He’s been hugely helpful. It wouldn’t have happened without him.” After months of hard work and dedication, Douglas reached his goal weight of breaking 300 lbs, right at his 1-year milestone. Two months later, he was down to 250 lbs, but he wasn’t done yet.  These results determined him to maintain his now modified diet program and persevere in his journey. 

Today, Douglas weighs 186 lbs – having lost a staggering 201 lbs and now weighing less than the amount he’s lost! He feels happier and healthier than he’s ever felt before, and has been doing an hour of cardio every day with intermittent weight training to maintain his health  His daily routine includes a 15-minute walk the long way around to the YMCA from his house, 35 minutes on the elliptical, an hour of weight training, and then walking back home. “I certainly feel a lot better,” he says with a satisfied smile. Wondering what’s next for Douglas? He is planning another trip to Europe – a cruise from Paris to Normandy with his mother! Happier and healthier than ever, he plans to participate in as many activities and excursions as he can!