MHLbannersmallThis inspiring story wins an inspiring evening at the Ferguson Center

Health and fitness guru Jillian Michaels, who won fame on the popular TV shows, "The Biggest Loser" and "Losing it with Jillian," has been know to ask people, "Why not you?" when it comes to losing weight.

Riverside employee Trey Carmine asked himself the same question. As it turns out, Trey's personal story of losing weight and improving his health was the winning entry in an essay contest announced in the last issue of the My Healthy Lifestyle newsletter.

By sharing his experience, Trey won two VIP tickets along with two Meet & Greet backstage passes to the Jillian Michaels Maximize Your Life Tour at the CNU Ferguson Center for the Arts. Trey's story is shown below, and we thank everyone who took the time and effort to contribute entries to the contest.  You're all winners, too!Trey Carmine

This time last year, I was a completely different person both physically and mentally. I woke up one day realizing I was never going to accomplish my dreams and I wouldn't live to see the age of 40 unless I made changes in my life. I was tired of living the way I was, I was tired of always being the biggest person in the room, and I was tired of being the person I had become because I knew it wasn't the person I was meant to be. A year later I've quit smoking and lost a total of 170lbs accounting for 40% of my body weight, and I'm still making progress every day.

When I started my journey last March, I stepped on the scale at 380lbs. I couldn't believe my eyes. From that moment on I switched my diet to lean meat, vegetables, and fruit. I changed all liquids to water. I worked out using a combination of cardio, weights, boxing, and basketball at least 5 days a week for a minimum of 2 hours a day. With the help of my co-worker Shane, I was on the right path and became dedicated to my new lifestyle.

By June I was down to 315 pounds. Unfortunately, I then suffered a sports injury. I unknowingly dislocated and fractured my left patella. The following day I went to Dr. Perez, and was told I needed surgery to place screws in my knee. The day of my surgery, I saw that my last recorded weight from a surgery in 2010 was 425lbs. At that moment, I decided I would never let myself go again.

The next two months of Physical Therapy were some of the most difficult and challenging of my life, but I kept going. With the help of our great Riverside PT staff, I was back at work and in the gym by September. Things started out slowly and painfully, but by January, I was able to run without my knee brace.

My lifestyle now is the complete opposite of what it was a year ago. I have people come up to me daily saying how much of an inspiration I am to them. It truly does mean the world knowing that a decision I made for myself a year ago has been able to change not just my life, but other lives as well.

My mother is even starting to change her ways because of me. I have felt nothing but love and support from my family, friends, fiancée, and everyone at Walter Reed. I still have a while to go before accomplishing my dreams, but I get closer every day. I don't believe God put us on earth to be ordinary, so I chose to become everything but that. It doesn't matter when, how, or why someone decides to change, all that matters is that a change happens. Anyone can change their habits and become healthy if they want it badly enough. I'm proud to say I'm living proof.