Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

June 23, 2014

Becoming half the man

Book details personal weight-loss journey

RUSSELL — What began as a small but painful knot under the right nipple of Brian Gross in the spring of 2012 grew into a life-changing experience that turned Gross, a teacher at the Boyd County Juvenile Detention Center, into half the man he used to be.

“Half the Man I Used to Be” is the title of a highly personal book the 6-foot Gross wrote about, shrinking from 377 pounds to 214 and hoping to soon drop below 200. The 172-page book that includes a number of photos was recently released by iUniverse LLC of Bloomington, Ind., and is available on the Internet, at McMeans Pharmacy in Ashland and from Gross.

Although the book is about his weight loss, it does not provide extensive details about how he did it. Instead, Gross said he did it mainly through portion control, eating healthier and with exercise.

Instead of giving readers a diet plan, Gross says he hopes the book will give encouragement to others, who, like him, have spent much of their lives fighting the battle of the bulge.

“I know how hard it is to lose weight,” Gross writes. “I know how easy it is to turn to food for comfort. I’ve been there. I’ve lived most of my life there and now that my life has changed, I never want to go back there. As long as I let God stay in the driver’s seat, I won’t.”

As much as it is a book about dieting, “Half the Man I Used to Be” is about faith and how Gross is convinced he would not have been able to change his life and lose so much weight if not for his relationship with Jesus Christ.   

Gross says he first felt the pain under his right nipple in early 2012, but he ignored it thinking it would go away. After telling his wife, Christy, about the pain months later, she strongly encouraged him to see a doctor as soon as possible. When he was unable to get a doctor’s appointment for another six months, Christy arranged for her husband to see a friend who is a gynecologist. Gross writes a humorous chapter about going to the Women’s Center for a mammogram, which he quickly renamed a man-mogram.

While Gross admits he was embarrassed to go into a room full of women for his man-mogram, the results were mostly positive.

“I was greatly relieved to find out that I didn’t have cancer or any other serious illness,” Gross writes. “I had a condition that was sometimes painful, but could be reversed if I lost weight. I had gotten a free pass once again, or so I thought at the time.”

Gross went to see Carrie Connett, D.O., a general practioner associated with Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, on Oct. 10, 2012, for what he thought was a checkup of his overall health. At the time, he was not even trying to lose weight as advised by the results of his man-mogram.

“I had no qualms about saying I was overweight,” Gross writes. “I expected my

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