Michigan man loses almost 400 lbs., plans to run marathon
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – After losing nearly 400 pounds, a Michigan man is inspiring the world around him with his lifelong battle against obesity.
Brian Flemming struggled with obesity and depression to the point of considering suicide.
"Back in 2012 I was over 600 pounds, I was a chronic alcoholic," said Flemming. "I drank a fifth of alcohol every single night. I was consuming right around 7,000 calories with the fast food and the alcohol every day."
Brian said he was throwing away his life, working dead end jobs, and doing nothing but play video games. At the depths of his depression, Brian reached out to a friend from London; someone he met while playing an online game.
"I was expecting sympathy out of her and I got exactly the opposite," said Flemming. "She kicked my butt basically and she got me eating healthy."
It was all the motivation Brian needed. He started exercising, eating healthy and quit drinking alcohol cold turkey.
"And the weight just started pouring off of me," said Flemming.
He started losing a pound each day for several months at a time, totaling nearly 400 pounds and its gotten world wide attention.
"We started a support group called Team 383 and at the time I'd lost 383 pounds," said Flemming.
With more than 12,000 members from all over the world, Flemming's story has inspired thousands battling depression, alcoholism, and weight related issues.
Jessica Powers, member of Team 383, came to tears when talking on behalf of the team's support.
"I've lost 92 pounds since last July and if it wasn't for the group to keep pushing me then I probably wouldn't be here today," said Powers.
25 members of Team 383 traveled from out of state, supporting Flemming and his vision at the 2015 River Bank Run.
"I never thought I'd get this far," said Flemming. "I never ran a mile in my life until I was 30 and now I'm running 15 so it feels great."
It's been three years since Flemming's weight loss journey began and he's looking to take the biggest step in his transformation.
"I lost 390 pounds and I have between 30 and 40 pounds of excess skin that is left over," said Flemming.
Reconstructive surgeons tell Fox 17, once you lose that amount of weight the skin loses its elasticity and doesn't bounce back as much as you would hope for. The only possible way to get rid of it is to remove it.
Brian needs skin removed from multiple spots on his body including his arms, inner thighs and stomach. He needs to get two separate procedures and it's going to cost upwards of $32,000.
A close friend of Brian created a fundraiser page on Gofundme.com, raising almost $25,000, with the first of two surgeries done by August.
Flemming was able to lose the weight by walking in place, five minutes every day. Now, he plans on running his first marathon this October in Detroit.