ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- Ryan Blocker is a high school band teacher in New Madrid, Mo. He loves his job but struggled to march in parades because he topped the scales at 550 pounds. Blocker lost 370 pounds and maintained a weight of 180 pounds for the past 7 months. He lost the weight during a year and half period.
"I am the same person, but my quality of life is so much better," said Blocker.
His inspiration to lose weight came from his twin brother who suffered congestive heart failure and was hospitalized.
"He was about the same size as I was," said Blocker. That's when the Farmington native checked into a weight loss program at St. Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau. Blocker credits the program for giving him a new lease on life.
"I did not exercise when I was 550 pounds," said Blocker. He said the program taught him to eat, cook and order healthy meals. He also started exercising.
"I would just walk around the block at first," said Blocker.
Now he enjoys walking and hiking. He meets with others in the weight loss program once a week. He says those meetings help keep him on track.
"The most exciting part about this has been that I've learned how to live healthy and keep the weight off," said Blocker. "There was always a part of me that said I can lose the weight, but then what happens?"
Blocker was featured on the Rachel Ray show this week. He said it was a wonderful feeling to fit comfortably in an airplane seat and walk around New York.
"Anybody can make a change for the positive," said Blocker. "It doesn't have to start with going to go out and lose 350 pounds."
Here's a link to the program Blocker went through at St. Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau.
The same program is offered through SSM Depaul Health Center. Here's the link.