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He used to weigh more than 400 pounds, but now he's featured in fitness magazines. It's been a long road for Shante Schasa, and he's sharing his inspirational story with News 8.
The first 26 years of Shante Schasa's life were spent being somewhere he didn't want to be. He was tired of being overweight, and knew he had to do something.
It's a sad statement about our society. If you're overweight, you're thought of as not smart, not athletic and not as good looking.
"I felt like the black sheep of the family," Shante said. "Everything always boiled down to I didn't fit into it, or if I got into an argument with a kid, it was I was 'fat.' Just a horrible lifestyle as a child."
Knowing that, he always had a prayer.
"God, somehow, someway, just allow me to lose weight to fit in," he said. "I always would stick to that prayer."
He tried to lose weight, but nothing seemed to work. At 25, Shante was on high blood pressure medication. He could see the writing on the wall.
"On my mother's side of the family there's 11 total siblings, there's only three left -- all the rest have died of heart attacks. The youngest of the siblings to pass away was 23, of a heart attack," Shante said. "I lost my mother four years ago at the age of 44."
Now 415 pounds and feeling as if he had hit rock bottom, Shante decided the only way he was going to lose weight was to have gastric bypass surgery.
"Being 415 pounds, on high blood pressure medication with sleep apnea, I'm not a rocket scientist but I know I had a foot in the grave," he said.
The weight was slow to come off, and when it did, doctors told him he would need another operation to remove the excess skin. Hearing that, Shante fell into a depression, but with the help of his wife and uncle, he found his way into the gym.
It's now been two years since Shante made his way into the gym, where he now works out five days a week. His diet has totally changed, along with his attitude.
"Let's say for 25 years of my life I've been excusing myself based on my size," he said.
That size used to be a 50-inch waist. Now, Shante is 210 pounds and has a 36-inch waist, but sometimes it still doesn't feel real.
"This is a dream," he said. "At night I go to sleep and it’s like, am I going to wake up fat?"
Shante has a whole new outlook on life and is talking with others that are on his path, advising through motivational speaking what they will encounter along the way.
It was the worst type of wake up call. Shante Schasa watched his mother and eight of his mother's siblings die of obesity-related illnesses. Three years ago, when his own weight ballooned to 415 pounds and his doctor placed him on high blood pressure medication, Schasa made the decision to take action.
"I [had] tried it all," says Schasa, who lives 25 minutes outside of image-conscious Los Angeles. He admits that he tried diet pills, weight-loss programs, not eating anything and even exercise prior to having the surgical procedure. They all failed, he says. "At 400-plus pounds, I purchased a mountain bike and rode [it] 24 to 30 miles a day ... I only dropped about 10 pounds. So I came to the conclusion that this was how I was supposed to look."
Then Schasa heard about "something called gastric-bypass," a type of weight-reduction surgery. He decided to have the surgery in 2002 and has lost 215 pounds total.
During each of Schasa's wife's three pregnancies, he would gain weight along with her. While his wife, Rebecca, dropped the pounds after giving birth, Schasa didn't shed his "empathy pregnancy weight." He says he had the surgery so that he could be around for his sons, Shante II, 9, Austin, 7, and Andrew, 5. After the procedure, he shed 15 to 20 pounds during the first month. The second month, 40 more pounds came off. Today, Schasa, 29, has maintained his weight loss and works as a sales manager for 24 Hour Fitness.
|“I went from a size 52” waist to a 36” waist!" - Shante Schasa
I have always been larger than the kids I grew up with. I remember keeping my shirt on while in the pool because I was embarrassed and ashamed of the way I looked. My weight started getting out of control in my junior high school days when I started dieting and battling the yo-yo weight loss. By the time I was a senior in high school I weighed 255 lbs., which was not that bad because I played football. My attitude was the bigger you are in football the better you can play the game. So I had my mind made up that I would play professional football for the rest of my life (yeah right!). The shocking news hit me when I realized I was not good enough to play pro ball but I still had this weight problem.
I moved on with my life, got married, and started a family. When my wife was pregnant with our first son, she gained 45 pounds and I gained 50 pounds. With our second son she gained 50 pounds, I gained a whopping 65 pounds. I was the poster child for empathy pregnancy weight gain. My wife was able to lose the weight after each pregnancy, but I was struggling to drop the fat. No matter what type of diet pill, program or drink, or exercise I did, I just could not get the weight off. My health was declining rapidly. I’m in my 20’s and I had shortness of breath, pain in my legs and back, suffered from sleep apnea, and was on blood pressure medication.
After losing my mom to a heart attack, I decided to get my health under control. I was referred to Surgilite by a co-worker who had the procedure. It was the best advice for me to lose the fat. I was tired of people staring at me in disgust or feeling insecure in my marriage. It was time to make a change.
In the beginning, my family was concerned about making such a drastic decision. After the dramatic weight loss, my family has been amazed with my new life and is very happy to see me living my dream. I just wish my mom was alive to share in my joy.
My three sons are happy to have a dad that can play with them. My wife is happy because I’m happy. I feel good about myself. Since the surgery three years ago, I have remained very disciplined about doing my part to maintain the weight loss and to develop muscle mass. I watch my carbohydrate, sugar, and protein intake. I also exercise everyday. It is important to vary your workouts so that you can concentrate on different areas of your body, stay motivated, and avoid bringing too much stress on yourself. It is such a blessing to be healthy and to live my life to my fullest potential.
West Covina, CA
BEFORE: 415 lbs
AFTER: 200 lbs
Atkins, Thin-Thin, Hollywood, even weight-loss injections— when it comes to fad diets, Shante Schasa was 415 pounds of proof that they don’t work. “Every time I’d try a diet and fail, my confidence levels would drop lower and lower,” he says. “At my lowest point, I owned two pairs of pants and hardly went out. I just felt like a big loser.” Today, Shante is 200 lbs lighter, has 18 percent body fat, and is in the best shape of his life. But he admits he had to stop looking for a quick fix before he could finally transform his body.
Three years ago, Shante’s mother died from a heart attack. “There were 11 siblings on my mom’s side,” he says. “Eight died from heart attacks—and the youngest was only 23 years old.” To avoid the same fate, Shante immediately underwent gastric bypass surgery, and regretted it right away. During an extremely painful recovery, he realized surgery was just another hasty remedy. In order to get fit and stay fit, he knew he’d have to work a hell of a lot harder. Schante hit the gym.
Shante’s wife, Rebecca, set up his first physical challenge: join, and finish, just one 45-minute Tae Bo class. “No problem. I can handle this,” he thought. “Twenty minutes in, I felt like I was going to die. I had to stop.” But Shante was determined: “I was going to attend that class until I could finish it,” he says. One month later, he did. Then he took it to the weight room. “Once I added weight training to my routine—call it a blessing, call it a miracle, whatever you like—my body just started to change.”
HALF THE WEIGHT, TWICE THE MAN
Shante follows a strict high-protein diet. He eats six or seven times a day, and stays away from sugar. With a regular cardio and weight-training plan, Shante dropped 200 pounds in just two and a half years. His appearance has changed so dramatically that when he walks by a mirror he doesn’t recognize himself. His life has changed too: “I used to go to parties and people would say, ‘Hey, big man. Can I get you a plate?’ Now girls say, ‘Hey, would you like to dance?’”
So why feature Shante? Because he had the drive to keep going when even his last resort didn’t solve his problem. His tips:
• Don’t give up.
• Have someone hold you accountable.
• Get a solid nutrition and fitness plan. It will give you results a lot faster and safer than any fad diet.
From: Ebony | Date: 5/1/2006 | Author: Henderson, Shirley
It was the worst type of wake up call. Shante Schasa watched his mother and eight of his mother's siblings die of obesity-related illnesses. Three years ago, when his own weight ballooned to 425 pounds and his doctor placed him on high blood pressure medication, Schasa made the decision to take action.
"I [had] tried it all," says Schasa, who lives 25 minutes outside of image-conscious Los Angeles. He admits that he tried diet pills, weight-loss programs, not eating anything.