man admiring sunset and holding camera

For One Man, Weight Loss Unlocked a Whole New World

John McGraw has always had a passion for travel. He loves seeing new sights, exploring new locations, and, as a seasoned travel photographer, capturing it all on camera. The 41-year-old was being held back from pursuing his passion, however, by something that seemed inescapable: his 358-pound frame that made simple tasks like walking uncomfortable and exhausting. McGraw told¬†CNN¬†that his weight was a problem he had struggled with for years, weighing 220 pounds in high school. As he aged, he compounded the problem with frequent work-related travel and stops at fast food joints. On top of it all, McGraw was a recovering alcoholic, eating to distract himself from urges to drink, even calling food “an escape.” Eventually, McGraw’s weight began to interfere with his ability to take part in family activities, even during the vacations that he so loved. “I would try to do things with my friends and family. I would push myself but I would pay the toll later when I got home,” he said. Finally, he decided it was time for a change when he began experiencing ankle and back pain after only one day of walking during a trip to Key West in 2014. After that, McGraw committed to losing 40 pounds through diet and exercise, then underwent a weight loss procedure, helping him shed another 100. Soon, he weighed almost half of what he did in Key West. Now, McGraw’s life is completely different. He is able to experience things that were impossible when weighed more than 350 pounds, such as hiking eight miles to the top of the pristine glaciers in Montana’s Glacier National Park. McGraw also acknowledges that his slenderer self is a better photographer, as he can now reach more locations than he ever could before his weight loss. McGraw’s wife, Diane, says that her husband hasn’t just physically changed after his weight loss procedure, but his outlook has transformed as well. “He has started to experience life a lot more,” she said. “He really has discovered himself.”