Rick Huffman says he was overweight for most of his life. He noticed when people stared at him and found comfort hiding behind baggy clothes.
The father of six works at CNO Financial in Indiana. Huffman also serves as Worship Director at his church, United Family Wesleyan, where he sings and plays keyboards and guitar. Between church and his kids’ sports, the Huffman’s would often turn to fast food.
“We were just kind of couch potatoes,” Huffman says. “You know, watching TV and ordering pizza.”
In 2007, Huffman experienced the unthinkable: His daughter died in a tragic accident. Huffman says his focus turned to comforting his family through the pain. But he found comfort in food.
“During this time, I never really weighed myself because, to be frank, I just didn’t care,” Huffman says.
Over the next few years, Huffman says he continued to eat aimlessly and gain weight. He reached 360 pounds and his waist grew to a size 44.
In 2012, CNO turned to Marathon Health to provide primary care and wellness services for its employees. Huffman hadn’t seen a doctor in several years, but he decided to participate in the company’s wellness incentive program, which rewards employees who complete an annual biometric screening. His results were a stark wake-up call.
“I found out my blood pressure was high and my cholesterol was high and I was starting to develop a risk for heart disease,” Huffman says.
He began taking prescribed medication for hypertension and high cholesterol and tried to lose weight, but he says he was mostly unsuccessful.
“It wasn’t until August 2016 when my eyes where really opened for the first time,” Huffman says. “My wife was told that due to her arthritis, if she didn’t start losing weight that she wouldn’t be able to walk later in life.”
His kids were also gaining weight, and Huffman says he realized his choices had impacted his family’s health, too.
“I needed to show my family that it wasn’t too late for us, that we could make these changes and we can change our lifestyle for the better,” he says.