Brandon Cossette has lost almost 100 pounds during his Profile by Sanford health journey, but what he has gained in willpower, self-confidence, and healthy lifestyle choices far outweigh any measurements. “I’m not going back,” said Cossette, who started his Profile journey after slowly gaining weight in high school and college and one day realizing that a double extra large shirt was tight.
“I was blind to how much weight I had gained. I had to stop blaming everyone else. I knew I was winded more and I knew I was out of shape. I would try to donate plasma twice a week, and almost every other time I was unable to because I couldn’t get my heart rate down, simply from the walk from my car to inside the facility.”
Much of the weight gain occurred in college as he visited fast food restaurants and drank on the weekend with friends. A friend at work used to give him a hard time and call Cossette an “eighth,” because Brandon weighed 250 at the time, equal to an eighth of a ton. “I’d laugh about it and it didn’t bother me because I thought: “yeah, I’m 250 pounds, but I don’t look like it and I don’t feel like I weigh that much,’” he said.
Living Life Differently
It wasn’t until the weight started coming off with Profile that Cossette realized the difference it was making in his health, his energy level and his outlook on life. “You stop craving things,” he said, recalling how he used to read the success stories of fellow Profile members in a Facebook support group. “I used to read it and think: ‘I can’t wait until I get there.’”
Eventually, Cossette said, he did. After fueling his body with healthy foods long enough, the taste of unhealthy foods lost their allure. “If I did get something, I would think: ‘I used to love this and now it doesn’t even taste good,’” he said. “I’m a lot more aware of what I put in my body and I check nutritional labels.”
These days, you can find Brandon at the gym six days a week. Leading a more active lifestyle has led to opportunities he had missed before. “This summer I went tubing behind a boat,” he said. “I hadn’t been able to pull myself up on the tube before and now I could. It was a pretty big moment for me.”
Making a lifestyle change doesn’t come without ups and downs. His biggest challenge now is eating with family during gatherings. “When we get together, there’s always food,” he said. “It’s my biggest struggle: keeping myself accountable.”
Consistently meeting with a coach has made all the difference, said Cossette, who had started a health journey earlier in college and lost 30 pounds before gaining most of it back. “Having a coach has kept me on pace and we meet every week,” he said. “The weeks that I miss, I notice that I get more off plan. They keep me on track and accountable.”
People are amazed by the changes Brandon has made in his life. Cossette now wears a medium size shirt, can donate plasma whenever he wants and has several 30 gallon garbage bags full of clothes that no longer fit.
The friend who used to tease him at work has been witness to Cossette’s dedicated journey. “He’s been pretty surprised,” Cossette said. “He’s been pretty impressed.” Cossette encourages others to make a change now, and not later. “Make lifestyle choices as early as you can,” he said. “The sooner you do it, the easier it will be.”
There’s no going back now, he added. “This doesn’t feel like getting to your goal weight and then you go back,” he said. “With this, you’re still eating good food and you’re working out. Why go back?”