COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - As many people still work towards goals in this New Year - to get in shape, eat better - one Columbus man has taken that to the extreme by losing 100 pounds since last May.
For decades, he ran to his drug dealer; now he runs to stay in shape. Rob Morgan, who used to be 295 pounds, had a breakthrough moment last May with his family at Six Flags while getting on a go-cart with his daughter.
“They strap her (daughter) in, they try to strap me in, it doesn’t strap. That was it. That was so humiliating, hurt my pride, it was in front of my kid. My wife was watching,” Morgan remembered.
Diagnosed as pre-diabetic with liver problems, Morgan finally hit the gym and says he was very disciplined in watching what he ate, not eating past a certain time of day.
"I stopped sugar...soda...bread...pasta,” Morgan said. “I started doing treadmill a little bit, walk a mile. I couldn't even bend over to tie my shoes before. I was guided by God through the whole thing."
Guided by his faith, he ended up losing 100 pounds in the last eight months. And Morgan says it is all about Jesus. Recently, he got up to a six mile run, but admits it is not easy.
“Running - sometimes I get out there and just like...why am I doing this?” And sometimes he loves it, remembering the “before” picture.
“I was out of control (with his weight), just like I was in my drug addiction.”
That weight loss journey came eight years after he became sober, following a 30-year addiction to drugs and alcohol - leading him to seek help at Valley Rescue Mission in Columbus.
"People come to us who are just broken. They come for refuge, restoration, recovery,” Valley Rescue Mission Development Dir. Mitzi Oxford said.
Remembering his past, Morgan said it included “all different kinds of drugs...whatever makes you feel good is what I did."
"He (Rob) said when I was on the street, homeless...people didn't look at me. They looked through me or around me,” Oxford added.
Morgan, who felt invisible, also briefly landed in jail in East Alabama. Fast forward to 2011, he was offered a job in the Valley Rescue Mission men's shelter.
Oxford says she and others are inspired: "When those guys are coming in, they are facing some of the same things that Rob survived."
“It's taught me compassion. It's taught me how to operate in a Christian organization in an ungodly world,” Morgan told us, about his employment at Valley Rescue Mission.
This 50-year-old former drug addict-turned runner now works in administration for the local non-profit.
"In the Bible, Jesus says ‘Follow Me.’ That’s an act on your part, you must walk,” he said.
Morgan, who was pushing 300 pounds last spring, says he had to “acquire” a taste for vegetables, to replace carbs. And when he started running, he remembers it was terrible because he could not go far. This Saturday, he will run the Callaway Gardens 5K.