In the United States, the statistics for obesity are overwhelming. A remarkable 68.8 percent of adults are considered to be overweight or obese. The numbers are even more staggering for the 6.3 percent who suffer from extreme obesity, defined by a body mass index (BMI) of over 40 points.
Obesity can be caused by any number of issues. Most often it is caused by a combination of poor diet and lack of exercise. Alternatively, mental health and genetics also have pivotal roles in a person’s ability to maintain a healthy weight.
Because so many people are impacted by obesity, there is an entire market of products designed to help them loose weight and live healthier lives. In 2013 alone, Americans spent $604.81 billion dollars in over-the-counter (OTC) products aimed at a slimmer waistline.
When over-the-counter products are insufficient, individuals turn towards medical procedures to help them loose weight. Liposuction is a method of removing fat deposits, often in areas that are difficult to correct with an improved diet or exercise routine. Gastric bypass surgery divides the stomach into separate pouches that are separately connected to the small intestine. Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding surgery, commonly known as lap band surgery, restricts the amount of food the stomach can hold before it feels full and can be adjusted.
A story making weight loss headlines lately is about Matt Diaz, a 22 year old in New York. At 16 years old, Matt weighed 497 pounds and underwent lap band surgery. To document his change, Matt took to social media outlets like Tumblr, Youtube, and Facebook. Along his journey, Matt became a public advocate for body positivity and inspiring others with story. Today, Matt weighs only 220 pounds.
For six years, Matt shared photos of himself online. What he didn’t show, until recently, was what his body looked like without a shirt after shedding over 270 pounds. The after results of excessive weight loss can result in large quantities of excess skin that often goes unmentioned. Matt posted a highly emotional video that quickly went viral and reached thousands of viewers.
In the video Matt said, “I think it’s important that I’m not ashamed about who I am because I worked really hard to get here but I still don’t have the body that I want. But I’m trying really hard to love myself.” He shares imagery of his body with the excess skin that sits around his chest, waist, and arms after his incredible journey while shedding tears in fear of the negative backlash he could face.
Instead, Matt was met with an outpouring of love and support from around the world. The community encouraged him to create a Go Fund Me page so people could help him receive a total body lift procedure. In just four days 2,260 people donated $54.869 and donations are still rolling in. Matt was admittedly floored by the amount of people who gave whatever they could to help him overcome his struggle.
After paying for his total body lift procedure, Matt Diaz vows to use any additional funds to help others who are going through similar issues. He intends to donate the additional funds to other body image related donation pages and to highlight their causes through his new found readership.
Matt Diaz’s story is an inspiration to those struggling with weight loss and the after effects such an incredible change can have on the body. You can continue to follow his journey on his Tumblr page.