LILBOURN, MO (KFVS) - Saint Francis Medical Center posted one man's weight loss success story on their Facebook page. Since Tuesday afternoon, it's gotten hundreds of likes, comments and shares.
Ryan Blocker shed nearly 350 pounds and is unrecognizable to those who haven't witnessed the change.
It's hard to believe it's the same person.
In fact, Ryan Blocker said he often has to show former students his driver's license to prove it's him.
Two years ago, Ryan Blocker tipped the scales at 550 pounds.
"I was really having problems just doing every day stuff," Blocker said. "I was tired all the time. I wasn't sleeping well because of it. I was just surviving through the day."
But even just surviving wasn't easy.
The then 28 year old was reliant on three blood pressure medications to help control health issues.
"I know I was heading down a bad path, it was a matter of time," he said. "I mean you don't live for 20 years at that weight. Not taking any kind of care of yourself. You just don't make it like that."
His health came to a turning point one hot, August day in 2012, when the Lilbourn high school band director started having trouble marching the homecoming parade route.
"We were literally marching around the block," he recalled. "We started at the school and I was at the front of the band where you normally stand. By the end of the block I was at the back of the band and seeing spots and I couldn't catch my breath. And I had to just stop."
Blocker said he came to The Healthy Weigh at Saint Francis Medical Center by way of his brother's doctor.
And it wasn't really a conscious choice to lose a lot of weight, but with the HMR diet he started shedding pounds.
"It's really powerful because it helps people lose weight quickly which is good because it keeps them motivated. But then they're able to maintain that weight loss," said Sandy Duncan with The Healthy Weigh.
Through the program, which provides what are essentially pre-made meals, makes exercise a priority and offers group nutrition classes for accountability and support, Ryan was able to go from a size 56 pant to his current size 32.
For a diet program ranked #2 nationwide by U.S. News and World Report, Ryan is the biggest success story.
And he wants to share what he's learned to combat an epidemic in our country.
"Obesity is a problem. Working in schools and just walking through town you see it. If I can help them out or inspire them or give them information on how to eat better i'm glad to do it. Because I feel like I owe that to them. I mean I was terrible to myself. I might as well help somebody else out," Blocker said.
Ryan said he used to feel like a spectacle but now finally feels like he can fit in.