HIS STORY Always a big guy, David Francis had used exercise to keep his weight in check. "Being active with sports had kept me from ballooning up," says Francis, who lost about 30 pounds while in the police academy in 2006. Then he broke a bone in his foot in 2007, preventing him from exercising. "I wasn't exercising but didn't change my eating habits, didn't account for being sedentary.
"Everyone said I carried it well," Francis says. "The weight didn't bother me. I played sports, golfed and did other things."
It was a warning from his doctor that finally forced Francis to pay attention. "I was 28 and started blood pressure medicine and was borderline diabetic," he remembers. "My doctor told me if I didn't lose weight, I would likely die in five years."
His doctor recommended bariatric surgery. Francis agreed, and had the surgery six months later. That was four years ago, and he's kept the weight off. "Things are great," he says. "When I was heavy, I'd work out and then be tired and sore the rest of the day. Now, I go for a bike ride, play with the kids all day and still have energy."
DIET "I eat a lot of small meals throughout the day," says Francis, who follows the protocols of that surgery that recommend eating smaller, more easily digestible meals. He leans toward soups, grilled chicken, turkey burgers, fish and vegetables.
Breakfast often is fruit with scrambled eggs on toast. Lunch is a tuna fish sandwich or just a can of tuna fish. He drinks a lot of Crystal Light and water and snacks on chips and pretzels. Dinner is a lean grilled protein and vegetables.
"I also like eating fruit now, which I never did before," Francis says. "I do miss steak, which I can't eat because it is hard to digest."
EXERCISE Francis plays sports, bikes and goes for walks with his wife and two daughters. "Staying active with my kids is easy. I just make sure and do some kind of activity every day."
ADVICE "Take your health seriously because life is short," Francis says. "It changes everything when you take the weight off."
33, East Islip
Occupation: NYPD officer
420 Weight before Aug. 9, 2009
220 Weight after Aug. 22, 2013