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Jonathan LaMarine, of Bedford, looses 210 pounds without surgery; focuses on forming nonprofit group to help others

Friday, March 28, 2014

By LORETTA JACKSON

Staff Writer

pair of trousers with a waistband nearly five feet wide – 58 inches – is a sober souvenir of a struggle against obesity, a battle won in fine style in one year’s time by Bedford’s Jonathan LaMarine, who has lost 210 pounds without surgery.

LaMarine, 32, currently weighs 240 pounds. He is engaged in launching a nonprofit organization to help others, including children and teens, who are fighting obesity. His sister, Stephanie LaMarine, of Nashua, is also involved and has helped promote a variety of charity events. He is seeking at least five members to make up the board, he said.

Those in the medical community and people with experience in fundraising, social media outreach, business operations, web design and financial expertise are welcome to contact him. Currently, he said he is awaiting state approval of a business name. The official establishment of the organization will be a first step in raising an awareness, so that others may be encouraged to find a healthier life, without surgery.

LaMarine is near to completing a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in sociology from Granite State College, a part of the University System of New Hampshire. He said he will use his degree to help others attain their goals and go on to a master’s, then a doctorate in psychology.

The young man’s quest for good health began in February 2013, when he decided to undergo bariatric surgery, a procedure that decreases the size of the stomach. To lose some of the weight before the surgery, he undertook his own program of diet and exercise.

His self-designed regimen of eating is built around modest portion sizes. He ingests proteins from meat. He includes carbohydrates sufficient to promote brain health and the optimal functioning of other body systems. Fruits and vegetables are abundant. Powdered egg protein adds an extra boost to many of his recipes. He is compiling menus for a cookbook that will reflect his embrace of healthy foods. The book also will explore the mental, physical and sociological aspects of being obese in American society.

“The hospital where I was going to have the surgery, CMC, has an obesity treatment center where I went to classes on how to have a more healthy lifestyle,” LaMarine said about Manchester’s Catholic Medical Center. “I learned to eat more slowly, more mindfully. To this day, I eat smaller portions and do lots of exercise.”

His routine of walking, weight-lifting and time on a treadmill adds strength and muscle mass to his body. The addition of a healthy diet has enabled him to maintain his weight. Adept at acoustic and electric guitar, he now plays without tiring. He also is an avid soccer fan and is joining a men’s lacrosse league and a men’s soccer league.

“I don’t just call it a diet,” LaMarine said. “I call it a lifestyle change. That’s the only way it’s going to work for longevity – if it is a change of lifestyle.”

He became eligible for the bariatric surgery at CMC after losing 81 pounds in four months. He opted out. He decided to continue instead with his own program and said farewell to the obesity treatment specialist who was assigned to his case. He said the entire medical staff congratulated him on his success.

“Upon getting my final lab report back, they said I’m one of the healthiest individuals they’ve ever met. I had type II diabetes and it’s completely gone,” LaMarine said. “It’s as if I never had it. All things are possible with God.”

LaMarine, a six-footer, committed to reclaiming his health after realizing that over a course of around nine years – since the death of his father – he had reached a weight of 448 pounds.

Super Morbidly Obese: That was his medical classification. He admits that he used food to blunt the sorrow he felt from his dad’s demise. Food seemed a comfort, he said. A topper to related medical problems – high blood pressure, sleep apnea and type II diabetes – was a nicotine habit of more than two-and-a-half packs of cigarettes each day.

LaMarine recalls a happy time when smoking was not part of his life. He had an active childhood filled with sports and outdoor activities during his years at Memorial School, Peter Woodbury School and McKelvie School. A move to Merrimack, halfway through sixth grade at McKelvie, wrenched him away from his Bedford friends. His parents divorced when he was age 18. He was living with his dad and his sister in a Merrimack condo with few attractions for a young man without a driver’s license.

He said he quit cigarettes three times over the years. He said he prayed many times for help in losing weight and in quitting his tobacco habit. He said he knows he has received help from God in his quest for a better life.

“I quit three times,” LaMarine said. “Every time I quit, I put on 20 pounds. I was subsidizing the cigarettes with food. Now, I have quit. My last cigarette was smoked at 5:30 a.m. on Dec. 21, 2012. I said, ‘This is my last cigarette.’ I smoked it down to the filter, then threw it on the ground.”

In 2013, LaMarine’s body fat measurement was more than 60 percent. His shirt size was a 5XLT, with the “T” designating “tall,” because, he said, a regular 5XL would ride up because of the girth of his stomach. A “tall” enabled him to at least cover his hips with some semblance of a shirt tail.

He said that coming back to Bedford signaled the start of newfound happiness in his current lifestyle. He enjoys the walk on the 1.4-mile loop that is the perimeter for his apartment complex, Bedford Green. The building is equipped with a gym and a treadmill that he often uses. He said when he started the walks, it took him 28 minutes to finish the loop. He was winded and tired when he finished. Now, he finishes a mile in around 13 minutes at a pace that keeps his heartbeat at about 140-150 beats per minute.

“Based on my lifestyle, I was undoubtedly going to expire at an early age,” LaMarine said. “I’m very pleased to say that I have successfully lost so much weight, added a routine of exercise and quit smoking. I’ve been smoke free for over a year now.”

LaMarine carries an old driver’s license, one dating to his early 20s, to prove his identity when needed. His current license is too often questioned, he said, because his image is one of an overweight person with a face too full to possibly be him.

Today, LaMarine power walks regularly for about 90 minutes without stopping. He averages about six miles by the end of the session. He uses the treadmill with increasingly steep inclines added every 10 minutes. He said he burns up to 1,750 calories in a single cardio workout on the treadmill.

“The saddest thing is that I was ready to accept that I was going to die young,” LaMarine said. “My life now is completely the opposite. Since my endeavor, I have inspired many people through my success and determination. I’ve done this all without surgery and I attribute most of my success to God.”

For information on the nonprofit organization in the planning by Jonathan LaMarine, write to him at 37 Hawthorne Dr., Unit 205, Bedford, N.H. 03110 or call him at 438-2806.

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