In Rob Daugherty’s Seymour home are two champagne glasses.
His 2-year-old daughter, Dannabelle, placed 300 beans in one of them and put a tag on it that reads “Pounds to lose.”
On the other one is a tag reading “Pounds lost.”
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His goal is to have all of the beans in the second glass. That would mean he has lost 300 pounds.
The 34-year-old weighed in as high as 508 pounds and wants to get down to 200 pounds.
“Only vehicles should be a quarter ton,” Daugherty said. “I’m not a pickup truck. I’m a dad of five kids and a grandpa of one, and every pound I have here is a year they don’t get me.”
Since starting his weight loss journey Aug. 24, he is down to 456 pounds.
Each time he moves beans from one glass to the other, it’s encouraging.
“That visual representation of the loss is amazing,” Daugherty said. “I told my sister ‘The amount to lose is no longer daunting to me because I have stuff in ‘Pounds lost.’’ Losing one bean means more to me than seeing 275 beans or 260 beans, whatever it is, on the other side. Those are way more powerful beans.”
Addicted to food
Daugherty remembers the last time he weighed around 200 pounds.
Growing up in Jennings County, he participated in football and wrestling. By his sophomore year of high school, he weighed 220 pounds and worked out five days a week.
He won his weight class in the wrestling conference tournament that year, but he chose to quit the sport and focus on football his final two years of high school. As a senior, he weighed 270 pounds.
“Even though I was still exercising, I wasn’t doing the high-intensity stuff that was associated with wrestling, so all of that circuit training was done,” he said. “I was bulkier. I was way stronger junior and senior year, so I bulked up, so I wasn’t worried about it. I could still run, and I was just bigger and stronger.”
After graduating, Daugherty said his weight continued to increase, in part because he earned his own money and didn’t have parental restrictions on his intake of food.
He also struggled after his parents divorced and a relationship ended. Later on, he ended another bad relationship, and his father died.
Seven years ago when he met his wife, Kim, he quit smoking but continued to gain weight.
“Quitting smoking, I’m still glad I did it, but I put on weight so fast,” he said. “I probably put on 40 to 50 pounds.”
A year ago when his twins, Merida and Fulton, were born prematurely at six months, Rob experienced more stress as he and Kim had to spend a lot of time at Riley Hospital for Children.
“This past year, I’ve put on at least 50 pounds, and I can’t blame it on anything because I had bad habits to begin with, but it was definitely exacerbated (with the stress),” he said.
He was eating because it made him feel better.
“Especially for me, food has always just been a comfort,” Rob said. “I don’t have comfort food. Food is comforting.”
Making a change
Rob reached a point where he couldn’t get down on his knees to do a pushup. In the past, he did 50 to 100 every day.
He also couldn’t put socks on and had to sit on a chair while doing the dishes and use a chair to change his twins’ diapers. Plus, he was working two desk jobs and wasn’t moving around much.
He knew he needed to make a change.
At the beginning of 2020, he started a men’s group at St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Seymour, Exodus 90. In August, he told the men he was thinking about getting bariatric surgery. One of the men, however, discouraged that because he had heard negative things about it.
The man then gave Rob a copy of the book “Eat, Fast, Feast: Heal Your Body While Feeding Your Soul — A Christian Guide to Fasting” by Jay W. Richards.
On Aug. 24, Rob started the six-week program. He described the first week as “super easy.”
“Eat a ketogenic diet. Don’t count any calories. Don’t do any fasting,” he said. “Basically, it’s take out the sugar, take out the starches, take out the grains, anything like that, and what’s left, eat as much as you want.”
He ate cheese, chicken, steak, roast and avocados.
In the morning, he had loose-leaf tea with a pinch of salt and a third of a stick of butter.
“It makes you feel full,” Rob said of the tea. “That first week, I wasn’t even eating for 12 hours. It naturally made me fast longer or not eat meals.”
The second week, he had a 16-hour fast, leaving an eight-hour window in which to eat. The third week, it was a 20-hour fast with a four-hour window to eat.
By Week 4, he was down to a 23-hour fast Monday, Wednesday and Friday, giving him an hour to eat one meal.
Each Sunday was a feast day, where he had a 12-hour eating window. That day, he made a smoothie with a bag of frozen spinach, an avocado, coconut cream, a banana and a few berries.
“I don’t eat any fruit during the week, so by the time I make my smoothie … that’s ice cream to me, man, and it’s worth it,” Rob said. “It’s still keto, but I don’t eat fruit at all during the week, I don’t eat anything I’m not supposed to and it makes that banana so much better. It’s a real treat, and I look forward to it. I’ll eat half a blender full of it. I’ll eat as much of it as I want.”
By the sixth week, Rob said a normal overweight person should be metabolically stable.
“Once you’re past 12 hours, into about 16 hours, you’re in ketosis, burning fat cells instead of carbohydrates,” Rob said. “The last week, you go for a 24- to 72-hour fast. Once past the 24-hour mark, it is universally known as a clarifying fast for your brain.”
Support makes an impact
One thing that helped Rob get through the program is four other men from Exodus 90 followed it, too.
They either did it to lose or gain weight, but a big reason was to support and motivate Rob.
“Within that small group, we check in once a week with each other. We have our group meeting on conference call,” Rob said. “It’s for me. They all did it for me. It means the world to me to have that.”
Another motivation has been his Rob’s Weight Loss Journey Facebook group.
Kim had asked Rob about taking shirtless pictures so he could see the before and then later take other pictures to show his progress.
He initially hesitated about sharing the pictures on Facebook, but he wound up allowing Kim to do it on her Facebook page and then put it on his group page.
He invited people to join his group so they could see his progress and share their own progress.
People began requesting copies of “Eat, Fast, Feast,” so Rob decided to do a contest on Fridays, awarding a book to the person guessing closest to his weight and donating money to their charity of choice.
One week, along with awarding a book, he did a 100-pushup challenge on a Saturday. He did some pushups at the winner’s home, his own house, his mother’s house and a few other places.
“It was all part of my journey. That was just a big day, but I got to include the other people, and it just really keeps me going,” he said.
Seeing people post encouragement, stories and recipes in the group has been great for Rob.
“It all started with my fat picture,” he said, smiling. “It is so much motivation. I don’t want to let them down, but I don’t want to be let down. I don’t want to let myself down with it.”
Kim said the Facebook group has been a positive.
“When he first started talking about (losing weight), I was very apprehensive because he has tried different things. He tries something, he quits. He tries something, he quits. And there’s always an excuse,” she said. “This time, it’s not like that. I think the Facebook page helps. When you have a Facebook page with a lot of people, you can’t really make those excuses, and I think he needed that.”
Focused on the goal
Rob weighs himself every day, and whether he has lost weight or gained, he keeps marching forward.
“I always weigh more on Monday than Friday. I feast on Sunday, so I don’t worry about it, but I get to watch it go back down and help keep me going and see progress,” he said. “You can’t let yourself get down. Even if I did do something wrong, you can fix it. I’m learning all of these little wins by not getting upset at my losses.”
His sister, who is a member of his group and is on her own weight loss journey, told him he can’t “feed the beast.”
“If you’re eating something because of an addiction, it’s not going to help,” he said. “If you’re eating something because you planned it and you have a reason for it, you have no reason to feel guilty about it and you know where you’re going after that.”
Even though the six-week program has ended, Rob said he plans to stick with it in variations.
“My lifestyle without keto is not healthy, so I can’t just be on a diet and expect to fix it. I have to change the lifestyle,” he said. “The lifestyle may end up being keto, but it’s definitely going to need to be on that low-carb spectrum.”
He said that doesn’t mean he will never eat a russet potato again. It’s all about getting to a comfortable weight where he doesn’t have to fight every carb he eats to maintain a proper weight.
“I think I’m going to stay on a very meat-heavy, low-carb, high-fat (diet),” he said. “The veggies I eat are going to be mostly those cruciferous veggies, high fiber.”
His goal is to lose at least 2 pounds a week. With patience and persistence, the “Pounds to lose” glass will be empty.
“I feel better already,” Rob said. “I’m still very obese, but I feel 1,000 pounds better because it’s not just (52 pounds) that I’ve lost. It’s the way I’ve lost it. There has been no crash to it. I’m not hungry, so yeah, I feel more than (52 pounds) better.”
Name: Rob Daugherty
Hometown: North Vernon
Occupation: GIS technician for Louisville Gas and Electric and the U.S. Census Bureau
Family: Wife, Kim; children, Jasmine, Lynex, Dannabelle, Merida and Fulton; grandson, Ollie