Truck driver loses 97 pounds, dancing
As the daughter of a truck driver who is a vegetarian, speaks Italian, and runs half-marathons, I have a special place in my heart for truck drivers that break through the age old “loud, swearing, and overweight” stereotype.
John Drury, also known as “Big John,” is a 6-foot-7 truck driver with tattoos on his head, neck, arms. During the week Drury spends 50 hours driving, but on the weekends the 43-year-old is a certified dance fitness instructor who breaks it down to Justin Bieber.
Since February 2011 Drury has danced away 97 pounds. Permanently tattooed on Drury’s forehead are T.I’s song lyrics, “the old me is dead and gone.”
"The main purpose of that tattoo is exactly what it says," he said. "That 400-pound man was the old me and who I am today is the new me."
However, “Big John” wasn’t always big; he grew up in a poverty-stricken area on the west side of Cincinnati, where he stayed active through dancing, music, and sports. "I grew up in the hood," he said. "I was poor growing up, and that's what we did -- we danced. It was our culture."
After marrying wife Lori in 1994, the couple settled down and had two kids. Drury began working more and more hours at the trucking company, up to 70 hours per week. He had little time to exercise or cook a proper meal, so his motto became “grab and go,” stopping for greasy, fast food at truck stops.
"I was big on sweets and eating doughnuts for breakfast," he said. "Everything about my eating habits was just out of whack."
After more than 10 years as a truck driver, Drury had put on 140 pounds to his original 260 pound frame. His health was slowly deteriorating and he was prescribed medications to help his high blood pressure and cholesterol.
The gravity of his health situation didn’t hit Drury until a fellow truck driver, only 50 pounds heavier than Drury, who was taking the same medications, died from complications of Diabetes. A few months later, after hearing a commercial for a local “biggest loser” competition, Drury signed up and got serious about his health.
During the three month competition, Drury joined a gym, had a personal trainer, and a nutritionist. At the end of the “biggest loser,” he finished in second place and also shed 54 pounds.
With his new membership at the gym, Drury began taking Zumba class, using his passion for dance to help in his weight loss. "When they say, 'Feel the music,' I really feel the music. I get lost in it," he said. "Even though I was the only man in the class, it didn't stop me."
Drury decided to get his certification as a dance fitness instructor, hoping to inspire people with the idea of weight loss through dancing. In April 2011, he founded his own dance fitness company called “Big John’s Dance Fitness” where he holds hour-long classes on weekends for $5.
Drury has gained some weight back since his initial loss, and now weighs in at about 315 pounds. "It's still hard," he said. "I'm not going to sit here and say I'm perfect. ... It's still a battle for me, and everyone knows that."
However, Drury is inspiring others and his family through example. He prepares much healthier meals for his family and encourages his wife and sons to dance with him. His ultimate goal is to create a “dance fitness DVD,” and to inspire overweight people throughout the country to “get out there and move.”
For the original story visit CNN.com