Kevan Kirton is an active member of our local chapter FAITH RXD Barbados. Today he shares an incredible story of how his battle for sustained health came from digging deep and allowing God to transform him from the inside out.
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Hi, I'm Kevan, and this is my story…
From fat to fit and the challenges within….
So, a few weeks ago I caved in to the 10 years on challenge that was circling the Insta world with the picture above. I posted it not thinking much more than, “Hey, I’ve done well, maybe my pictures will help inspire someone to make their own life change?”
Over the last few years I have posted many pics and had people say “you should share your story…” I have always thought about it and felt “Nah it’s not a special enough story.”
Why now, then?
Family and faith- that simple. After seeing my photo on Instagram, one of my box family/faith family members approached me and asked if I would be willing to write my story for my faith family, as scary and humbling as it may be. It is time…here goes.
In the beginning …
I have always been fat, it’s in my family’s genes. For many years growing up my family and I were always fat minded. Simply put, that just meant all events surrounded food. Birthdays, exam results, Tuesdays, all of these were reasons for deserts or fat creating foods. By the time I was 10, I weighed 110 lbs. and was on my first diet.
I hate that word: DIET.
Diet is a 4-letter word.
What I truly had, and still battle with today, is an Addiction to Sugar and food.
Diets Don’t work …
Over the first 28 years of my life I had tried tons of diets… I yoyo-ed from 190 to 270lbs.
I would hear lots of friends say, “Hey you look good, you’ve lost 30 lbs,” and at the same time saw them thinking “only another 60 to go.”
I say “thinking” because no words came out, but their eyes seemed to judge. Unfortunately, we all battle our expectations and perceptions of situations.
At 28 years old I was married, started my own business, and was about to become a father at 285 lbs. I had given up on ever being fit or slim. I had embraced my perceived lot in life. I was going to be a “Big Daddy” and I was getting all the “Jokes”- don’t rollover and crush the baby, etc.
By the time my Daughter was a year old I had packed on another 20 lbs. At 305, I was drinking 2 liters of coke per day, and couldn’t get on the ground to play with her. The people closest to me were all very worried for me and I was ignoring them. My blood pressure was high, I was on meds for it, I was borderline diabetic, almost every part of my lower body hurt, I was miserable and didn’t know how to fix it.
Second Chances …
In early December of 2010 my parents called me and said “Kevan, can you and Shan please come over, we need to talk.”
We went and my father, almost with tears in his eyes, looked at me and said. “Kev, your mother and I can no longer watch you kill yourself, you have some decisions to make.”
In a nutshell I was given two options:
- Choose a burial plot and continue with life as normal knowing that my family was mourning the loss of their son before his death.
- Choose a Gastric surgery that can help trigger a positive weight loss that I could maintain and continue with for the rest of my life.
The next few days I was a mess. I knew right away that I wanted to live, however I had questions: “Do Gastric surgeries really work? Am I just going to end back in the same place I am now in 5 years?”
At the same time, it was a true wake up call to the pain I was causing my family by clearly ignoring their want to help with my addictions. It was a very bitter, hard pill to swallow.
I chose the surgery, On April the 13th 2011 Weighing in at 310 lbs. I had my last drink of Coke, on the 14th of April 2011I had a Mini Gastric Bypass. I celebrate that date every year (It’s my mums’ birthday !!!).
It didn’t take very long for dramatic results to arrive. Within 6 months I had lost more than 100 lbs, and for the first time since I was 21 weighed in under 200 lbs. Now everything was better, no more pain, I could move around so much more freely my new Mantra was “Just Move”.
What Goes around …
In less than a Year after my Surgery I had finally arrived at My goal weight 176 lbs. Shortly after I had a visit from some fellow Bypass recipients, during their visit I unfortunately allowed them to show me that you could take advantage of my bypass and that being bad wouldn’t hurt as long as you were reasonable, so after a year of no chocolate cake, Alcohol or junk foods.
I allowed the Demons back on my shoulder. Bad move.
At first, I gained no weight and was nonchalant about it. Slowly but surely the weight creeped back on until I found myself comfortably sitting around 195 lbs. I was content at that weight, no pain, still able to move but still not content.
As I was losing my weight, my wife was losing hers, getting her life on track. Instead of listening and helping my wife, I started becoming jealous, not understanding her needs and working with her to better our position together.
By the middle of 2015 My wife and I hit a very trying time in our marriage, she had watched me quit on myself many times and had essentially given up on either of us being happy together, we lost the ability to talk to each other properly. She was starting to live her best life without me. She asked for a divorce, I was devastated, and completely out of touch with the person that I loved most.
Faith and Forgiveness…
Not knowing what to do, I turned to the Lord, I finally asked and prayed for strength and courage, I prayed to be shown a path.
Very quickly he helped me to find a way to communicate with my wife again. He taught me to understand that the best way to be a husband, father and person was to support and serve those around me. He showed me that I was born to serve. That life was not about me but about the people that surround me.
After months of reconciliation and learning, Shan and I both learnt not just how to love and support each other the best way. More than that, we learned how to appreciate each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
The Lord showed us how to connect again, and he returned my best friend to me.
In the years since Shan and I have enjoyed a great sense of strength both in our family life and in our Faith, for all of my renewed happiness something was still missing.
Living My Best Life …
At the end of 2016 I was still fighting my weight, and living somewhere around 185 lbs. I was finally ready to get fit, having watched my daughter and wife enjoy CrossFit and witnessing their fitness improve. I decided that at the beginning of 2017 it was time for me to submit to becoming the best me I could be.
In January 2017 I joined Islandfit. Within two weeks, my wife left her gym and joined as well. Buoyed by this I pushed harder and found to my amazement that the more I moved and the more I challenged my own fears and misconceptions about what I could or should do was the better I felt and the stronger I became.
I also found very quickly that within the CrossFit family at Islandfit as in life, volunteering and giving of yourself and your time is the true Key to happiness. Serving and working with those around you gives you a sense of fulfillment that few other things can compare to.
The Battle Continues ….
Still, today as I write this, I am battling my demons, sugar and fat. The pains and problems that come from living a poor life for so long- I don’t win every day, but I work everyday on being the best me.
Nowadays I choose to close my eyes pray for the strength to continue living my best life, in service to my fellow man. Choosing to listen to our God and the path he has chosen for me to walk. It is not always easy but for right now, I feel like I am living my best me, and I am crushing it.