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650-Lb. Man Discovers Yoga and Begins His Weight-Loss Journey

At his heaviest, Richard Widmark was 669 lbs. But after a lifetime of weight struggles, he has found something that means more to him than food ever did: yoga.

A friend introduced him to the practice more than two months ago.


“I’d tried the gym and doing things on my own, but I finally said, ‘Let me just try this and see what happens,’ ” the EMT, 38, tells PEOPLE.

Soon he was hooked, practicing five days a week thanks to a great instructor – Heather Dombrovskiy from Healthy Life Yoga.

“She told me that if I didn’t show up, she’d come to my house,” he says with a laugh. “I believed her!”

The Richmond, Virginia, resident remembers his “aha moment” coming about four weeks after he started doing yoga.

“Something changed in me and I really enjoyed going,” he says. “I think I found my passion with yoga. I see myself in the future teaching it to people who are in the position that I’m in now, people who might be scared to walk through the door.”

650-Lb. Man Discovers Yoga and Begins His Weight-Loss Journey| Diet  Fitness, Fitness, Fitness  Health Fads, Health, Amazing Weight Loss, Bodywatch

Courtesy Richard Widmark

Recently, Widmark has also been inspired to make better food choices – and his weight has dropped to 616 lbs. “I thought, ‘I want to do better with this, so I can’t eat a large pizza and do yoga the next day because I’m not giving the best of myself.’ ”

Now, he turns to vegan pizza, salads and juicing, and swaps fast food for fruit. “I don’t think about eating healthy anymore, I just do it,” says Widmark, who is documenting his journey on Facebook.

But he didn’t always have such a positive outlook.

After a failed suicide attempt, he knew he needed to make a change. “I knew I could not bring myself to that point again,” he says. “[I also realized] that even though the gun didn’t go off, I was still 600-plus pounds.”

“Instead of a gun for suicide, food was my suicide. I was slowly killing myself. Now, I don’t want to die.”

650-Lb. Man Discovers Yoga and Begins His Weight-Loss Journey| Diet  Fitness, Fitness, Fitness  Health Fads, Health, Amazing Weight Loss, Bodywatch

Courtesy Richard Widmark

As far as a goal weight, Widmark says: “I know I would like the first number to be a two. But I don’t want to focus on a number. I want my goal to be the happiest and healthiest I can possibly be.”

And he’s well on his way.

To help, Richard’s friends have also set up a GoFundMe account to raise money for a trip for him to see life coach Tony Robbins.

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