From 400 lbs to a marathon: One man's journey

Posted at 4:58 PM, Jul 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-17 09:31:38-04

Something as easy as lacing up a pair of sneakers is something Tim Kaufman will never take for granted again.  That's because for years, it was impossible for him to do that.

"My life consisted of basically the couch and bad food," Kaufman said  "By the time I was 38, 37 - I weighted 400 pounds.  The doctor actually stopped weighing me because I was over 350, and their scale only went up to 350."

The extra weight took a major toll on Tim's health, social life, and even his teaching career in the Williamsville School District.

"If I dropped a piece of chalk, it got kicked into the corner.  Literally kicked.  Because I couldn't bend over to pick it up," he explained.

Over the years, as Tim got bigger and bigger, his health continued to deteriorate.  And so did his spirit.

"Emotionally it was a very dark place to be," he said.

But everything changed for Tim and his wife Heather when both of their parents were diagnosed with cancer.  Tim spent days by his father's and Heather's mother's sides.  They both lost their battles with cancer, but the experience changed Tim's life.

"I would go home at night after being at Roswell seeing these people all day who would do anything just to get outside and take a walk.  And I did have problems, but it wasn't that I was in a hospital or that I was getting ready for my next chemo treatment," he said.

So Tim made a big change.  From fast food and time on the couch, he switched to a plant-based diet and exercise.  Every day, he tried to do a little more than he had done the day before.  And Heather was by his side every step of the way.

"We've always been there for each other.  No matter where he was in life I just went through everything with him.  No matter how big he was, or how thin, we've always been a team together," she said.

For the couple's first walk, Tim made it .74 miles.  Since then, he's gone so much further.  First, he ran a 5K.  Then ran a 10K, a half marathon, and finally the full Buffalo Marathon Memorial Day weekend

Tim says the entire experience has made him a different person.

"Going from a feeling that - knowing I might not wake up the next morning, and a part of me really didn't care - to now, I get up at 4:30 I can't wait to get out of bed.  I appreciate every single day.  And I thank the lord for a second chance.  And I'm not gonna waste this one."

If you want to learn more about Tim's journey, and his devotion to a plant-based diet, you can hear him speak at Veg-Fest in Buffalo next month.  All of the details can be found here.