Unsung Hero: Justin Wiseman


By Ashley Smith
By Josue

WSIL -- A young man has gone through a dramatic transformation after losing over 400 pounds. He's now using his experience to inspire others to live longer and healthier lives.

"I was dying, I knew I was," recalls Justin Wiseman.

Justin Wiseman was watching a weight-loss show on TV a few years ago. He was shocked to find out the overweight woman on the show died during taping. The woman's family had to buy a special casket and use a crane to lower her into the ground.

Justin says he knew his life would end similarly if he didn't make major changes.

"That's not you yet, that doesn't have to be you, that doesn't have to be your story," Justin remember telling himself. "You're the only one that can change it."

Justin made an appointment at New Life Weight Loss Center in Herrin.

Justin was devastated to find out he was too big to undergo weight loss surgery without losing at least 100 pounds.

"My mom looked me in the eye and she said 'can't you at least try? Just try, if you can't do it you can't.' And I said 'ok, for you I will try,'" Justin said.

He was able to lose 130 punds before having gastric sleeve surgery in 2011.

A successful procedure has helped him go from 600 pounds at his heaviest, to 180 pounds today.

"I look forward to everything," said Justin, "There's still a lot of things I
haven't experienced that most 29-year-olds have. Every day is an adventure, I can't wait to see where life takes me."

Justin is now using his own story to inspire others who may be dealing with the same struggles.

"He approached me from very early on in the program," remembers Bariatric Program Coordinator Heather Fear, "'I [Justin] want to inspire people, when I get through this, when I've accomplished what I need to accomplish I want to help the program.'"

Chandra Stanley is having weight-loss surgery next month.

"I've seen him lose weight and I'm so proud of what he has done and I feel like he's gone through this without any complications, I can do this too and do it quickly and not only benefit myself but benefit my life for my kids," said Chandra.

Much like Chandra, Kathy Williams has known Justin for many years. She says following his success through Facebook has encouraged her to change her life too.

"Every day when I'm feeling low or down I can read something he's written or encouraged somebody else and I feel like I'm on top of the world again and I can do it," said Kathy.

Justin says whether it's weight loss or a different personal struggle, his advice is the same: "Don't give up on yourself. Remember that your life is worth fighting for," said Justin.

Justin encourages you to check out his facebook page for motivation. You can find a link to his page in the related content section.
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