YMCA Healthy Kids® Day

Meet Steve pearson

"It was time to straighten up
and fly right!"

"I started coming to the Y three and a half years ago because I needed to start improving my heart. I had an industrial accident in 2001. The scaffolding on a construction project gave way, and I fell 20 feet and landed on my head. After seven surgeries, they were able to put "Humpty Dumpty" back together again, but I was bedridden for a number of years. I gained 200 pounds. There was nothing else to do but watch cooking shows, get hungry and order food in.

I weighed 400 pounds. I had CHF (chronic heart failure), high blood pressure and arthritis. I could continue what I was doing and die, or straighten up, fly right and do the things I needed to do to stay alive. My doctor recommended low-impact exercise, so I started coming to water aerobics. The Y was close by, and I had been a member before. And, instead of drinking beer and eating pizza, I started drinking water, and eating salads and chicken breast.

The first few times I did a class, I got lightheaded. But I kept going. The lifeguards would watch me, and I knew they were wondering how they’d get me out if I passed out and went under — 400 pounds of dead weight!

When you are somewhat in shape and you start working out, you call it hell week. Mine was hell month. My body had atrophied so badly. I have a lot of muscle mass. I was a college wrestler and a Golden Gloves boxer. I used to power lift, but my muscles and tendons and ligaments were all mush.

When I started coming here, I couldn’t walk in from the parking lot. I used the tram, or I sat on the wall several times along the way.

Today I have lost 80 pounds and my heart function is up to 70 percent from 25. My goal is 90 percent, and I want to lose 80 more pounds. I try to come three times a week with my new workout partner, Chris. We want to come every day, but we are taking baby steps so she doesn’t get discouraged. We help each other. On days she doesn’t feel like going, I say, “Get up!” I can walk from the Y to the trolley now; a piece of cake, nothing to it. My lungs are real strong now. — Posted 2/26/14

Update: Steve just dipped under 300 pounds! — April 2014