*Average weight loss on the Optimal Weight 5 & 1 Plan® is 12 pounds. Clients are in weight loss, on average, for 12 weeks.

Michael Vecchio

"What I know now that I didn't know four years ago expanded my world. I can fight the emotional aspects of overeating now. I can get up and move."

A good job, family and friends, even a house. The American Dream, right? But Michael was despairing and sad. Even though dieting had been a way of life for years, he had always failed at it anyway. He tried not to think about all the things he avoided: mirrors, being in pictures, going to the theater or playing football with the kids. Even taking out the garbage was a chore.

To the son of 1st generation Italian immigrant parents, food was a very big and important part of Michael's childhood. Heavy since his teen years, dieting became an unfruitful way of life that taught him nothing about health and food. He continued to eat for emotional reasons, turning to food to hide. But it was his mother's cancer and subsequent passing 9 months later that catapulted him into obesity. From terrible feelings of guilt and pain, Michael began eating himself to death. At 370 pounds, his pants size grew to 58 and he wore a 5x in shirts.

It was his son's graduation that became the turning point for Michael. Seeing himself in the photos was a wake-up call. Depressed, he was on Facebook and saw a page called "30 Days of Inspiration," created by an OPTAVIA Coach. Michael immediately sent a private message asking for help, and got started on the program.

Michael's Coach Sal offered him "a new way"-one that included support, friendship, education and a community. "I lost 136 pounds* with OPTAVIA, says Michael. "But I gained so much more. I gained optimism and inspiration. I became a whole new person."

Michael became a Coach to share with others that nothing is impossible. "I want to be a guiding light for people who are suffering. If I could lose 136 pounds in my mid-40's and change my life, then anyone can do it."

He wanted to pay forward the outpouring of love, support, friendship and encouragement he received from his Coach and the OPTAVIA community. He says, "What I know now that I didn't know four years ago expanded my world. I can fight the emotional aspects of overeating now. I can get up and move."

Michael says being a Coach also keeps him accountable to his new lifestyle. Health, he says, is not something that ends. Being a Coach and learning from all the great leaders provides so many more opportunities. There is great potential for the financial growth of being a Coach, and he's excited about where his business might take him.

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