Five years ago, Cape Coral resident Nick Brisebois decided to do something about his situation. Standing 5 feet 9 inches tall, he weighed 376 pounds.
It was the heaviest Brisebois, who was then 21, had ever been.
"I'm way too overweight," he said of what he thought at the time.
Nick Brisebois with some of the tools he uses to keep his weight under control.
So Brisebois embarked on a journey to implement a healthier lifestyle for himself, consisting of exercise, good eating habits and portion control.
"Fast food all the time - every day," he said of what he had been eating.
Junk food and soda had been staples in his routine; exercise was not.
"Before, I was never really active," Brisebois said.
To create a healthier lifestyle, he first focused mainly on his diet. Brisebois dropped the fast food, made healthier selections and watched his portions.
He also incorporated some light walking to get in some exercise.
By 2009, Brisebois had lost about 60 pounds on his self-implemented plan. Then, one early August morning, he woke up sweating and feeling dizzy.
"I was feeling really sick," Brisebois said. "It was pretty crazy."
A visit to the emergency room revealed that he had high blood pressure - Brisebois was only 23. The doctor told him that his weight could kill him.
Brisebois' grandmother urged him to consider weight loss surgery. She had gone through and had success with it. In January 2010, Brisebois underwent a "vertical sleeve" procedure, where two-thirds of the stomach is removed.
The smaller stomach limits the amount of food that can be consumed.
Of Italian heritage, food has always played a big part in Brisebois' family.
"We always ate a lot," he said, adding that he was always heavy.
Following the surgery, Brisebois became more stringent with his lifestyle.
"It is only a tool," he said of the operation. "It's always a last resort."
After going into the surgery at about 300 pounds, Brisebois lost more than 80 pounds in the first three months. He started weighing his food for proper portion control, has cut out nearly all carbohydrates and avoids fried foods.
Sugar and soda are big nos, while his focus is on protein and vegetables.
Brisebois works out for about an hour every day. Cardio - walking and jogging - and some strength or weight training make up his workout.
Weighing in at 188 pounds today, Brisebois hopes to share what he has learned with others seeking a healthier lifestyle. He has a Web site in the works where he plans to offer free tips and advice, as well as coaching.
His phone number and e-mail will be listed on the site for people.
The site, www.thedewlife.com, should be up and running in a few months.
Brisebois said "DEW" stands for "diet, exercise and willpower."
"I'm just trying to help other people who are in the same boat," he said.
Brisebois explained that he will always struggle with his weight.
"It's the hardest thing I've ever done in my life," he said of losing the pounds. "It's something that I'll have to focus on my whole life."
To contact Brisebois, call (239) 247-3560 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.