'I got tired of feeling bad' Rowan man loses 120 pounds in less than a year
By Steve Huffman
Brian Morrow makes no bones about it. A year ago, he was feeling downright lousy.
“You have no idea how miserable I was,” he said. “I felt terrible.”
Morrow’s problem was his weight. Specifically, he was too big, way too big.
By just about anyone’s definition, Morrow, 29, is a large guy, standing 6-foot-8. When he was a sophomore at East Rowan High School, he already weighed 268 pounds.
By the end of last July, Morrow’s weight had soared to 408 pounds. His doctor warned him he was going to soon do himself long-term physical damage if he didn’t slim down.
But that’s not what prompted Morrow to do something about his situation. It was the way he felt about himself.
“I just got tired of looking at myself in the mirror,” Morrow said. “I got tired of feeling bad every day.”
And so he changed his way of living, in the process changing his eating and exercise habits. Morrow gave up his late-night pizza and greatly curtailed his carousing.
Nowadays, it’s not unusual for him to work out two hours a day at the J.F. Hurley YMCA, hitting the treadmill for an hour or more at a time, then lifting weights for an equal duration.
Today, he weighs 288 pounds, still not skinny, but a drop of 120 pounds from his all-time high. Morrow’s plan is to be back to 268 pounds (his 10th-grade weight, remember) by July 4.
“Some people don’t even recognize me,” Morrow admitted. “Sometimes, I’ll shake hands with someone I’ve known for years and it’ll take a few minutes before it dawns on them who I am.”
Morrow said his diet has done more than change his physical appearance. It has also, he said, helped him change his attitude about himself and even played a role in his newfound spiritual growth.
Morrow is now a regular at Salisbury Christian Fellowship, where, he said, the Rev. Don Vess, the pastor, has played a part in helping him stick to his diet. Vess, he said, has reminded him that God wants us all to be healthy and our bodies are, after all, the Lord’s temple.
“The Lord has really been working on Brian’s heart,” Vess said. “He’s come a long ways, but he’s still a work in progress.”
Vess said he and Morrow met at the YMCA where they were both working out. They’d chat and visit between huffing and puffing. Vess said that for a good while, Morrow didn’t know he was a minister.
“He was a big fellow when we met,” Vess said. “He’s slimmed down considerably since then. He’s still got a ways to go, but by the grace of God, he’s going to get there.”
Morrow graduated from East Rowan in 1998. He was a member of the school’s basketball team, but admitted he never reached his potential.
“I was never in shape,” he said. “I never took it seriously enough.”
Morrow’s weight topped 300 pounds not long after graduation and stayed in that vicinity for years. He said that about four years ago he tore a ligament in his knee.
Never the most active sort to begin with, Morrow’s weight ballooned as a result of his inactivity.
“I just kept eating like I’d been eating when I was working,” he said.
It was last July 27 that Morrow finally decided to do something about his weight. He changed his eating habits and started visiting the YMCA. He credits Chris Foster, one of the Y’s employees, for helping him with his weight loss.
“He’s an unreal guy,” Morrow said of Foster. “He got me eating right, working out right.”
Initially, the weight came off in a hurry. Morrow said he dropped about 80 pounds in his first six or seven months of dieting. He said that once he reached about 320 pounds, the weight-loss slowed, but he’s continuing to lose at a rate of about 15 pounds a month.
Morrow’s pants used to measure 48 inches in the waist. Now they measure 38 inches.
“It’s not work any more,” Morrow said of his daily workouts. “It’s become a part of my life.”
He’s planning to pursue a degree in psychology at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and eventually go into counseling.
“I want to work with youth,” Morrow said. “I thought my story might be a motivation to others.”