The Truth in Digital Color

My name is Jay Combs and I am a December 23, 2010 RNY surgery patient. I was 333lbs when I had my surgery. My motivation? It was a single photograph took me over the edge. The right image is my ‘Before’ picture and the left is my ‘Current’ picture from the 2018 WLSFA Annual Conference in San Antonio, TX, where I was named the 2018 Male BariAthlete of the Year recipient.

Nobody sets out to be heavy, and as a kid and young adult, I was in great shape. I played soccer and basketball. I owned my own Martial Arts studio, and achieved a rank of 2nd Degree Blackbelt.

Snapshot of Truth

I never thought of myself as fat or overweight, but then the picture on the right opened my eyes. I went to doctor and he suggested surgery about 6 months before the picture was taken, but I said I could do it on my own. When I went back to doctor 3 months later, I had lost only 4 lbs. I was happy about that, but his comment was, “Someone your size can take a crap and lose 4 lbs.” When I think back that was both irritating and funny at the same time, but he was right. I still did not pull the trigger until I went to my brothers’ pin-on ceremony for Lieutenant Colonel, and “THIS PICTURE” happened.

A Journey Begins

That day I started my quest to be a healthier me. I had the surgery, no issues. I followed the doctor’s instructions to the letter no issues. I started walking immediately the day I came home, and never missed a day of work. I did not need painkillers after surgery. I am fortunate in that my skin bounced back with no sagging or hanging. Well, I do have some moobs (man boobs), but that is a story for another day. As weight kept coming off, I started to try to run. I was still too heavy to run comfortably, so I bought a bike, and rode it until I lost more weight, then I started running again. Just 5 months after surgery I ran my first 5K. The weight kept coming off and I was following the plan. My eating habits changed, my desire to eat was fueled only by the need for fuel to continue my exercising.

While the weight kept coming off, I stated getting more into my exercise, and committed to the lifestyle. I started with 5K’s, and then progressed to 10K’s, Half Marathons, and Marathons. I cannot stress this enough: I COMMITTED to the lifestyle, and did not pay it lip service. I enjoyed being able to exercise again. I enjoyed the strength that returned to me, and the joy of the competition – mostly with myself, but certainly with others, as well. My racing has taken me from winning age divisions in 5K’s and half marathons, to completing multiple Century Bike events to finding the love of long distance running. I have complete multiple Ultra Marathons distances from 50K to 100K and more. My crowning achievement so far was being one of only four people to complete a 100-mile running event in 2016 called “The Running Dead”.


I have been off a little in 2017 and 2018, but managed to keep my weight in check due to my commitment to the lifestyle as I mentioned previously. In 2019, I have set a goal to earn a coveted Yeti Jacket. The requirement, run the following races in a single year: 50K, 50M, 100K, and 100M. I have them already on my calendar with the first 50K coming February 9, 2019 and the 100 miler to come September 27, 2019.

My goal as part of WLSFA is to help others attain and surpass the fitness goals they have. There will always be excuses about why something cannot be done, and for each of those I can show you and share with you how we can get it done together. If I can go from 330lbs to an Ultra Runner, then you can meet your goals. I am not a trainer; I am not looking to make money off you. I am offering my time and my knowledge to help you achieve your goals.

Question for the WLS Community: What are your exercise and activity goals?  What exercise or activity do you like to do?  What exercise or activity do you dislike?

Share your thoughts on Jay’s article, and/or your journey. Leave your message in the “Leave a Comment” section at the bottom of this page.

About the Author: – Jay Combs

Born and Raised: Rhinebeck, NY
Job: Auditor for the US Federal Gov’t

WLS Procedure: RNY
Date of Procedure: 12/22/2010
Hospital: Emory Johns Creek Hospital
HW: 330 lbs.
SW: 165 lbs.
CW: 195 lbs.

Favorite Hobby: Woodworking /Running Trails/Ultra Running/Tennis Sports
Favorite Sports Team: None, I would rather be doing than watching.

In Other News:

Register now for the 2019 WLSFA Annual Bariatric Conference: May 17 – 19 in Orlando, Florida. For information and to register go to

If you would like to contribute to our blog, please contact our editor Bill via email at

It is never too late to read (or reread) an old Blog posting… or to make a comment, or share a story. Past Blog Posts:

Jan 23, 2018 How Did You Do It? – Bill Streetman
Feb 1, 2018 Sometimes Its Not All About “Me” – Laura Van Tuyl
Feb 22, 2018 Real Food Makes a Difference, Fake Food Makes Obesity – Rain Hampton
Dec 6, 2018 Food Friends and the Holidays – Bill Streetman
Dec 20, 2018 Being Complacent Doesn’t Support My Healthy Lifestyle – Sandi Henderson
Jan 8, 2019 Spotlight on WLSFA Board Member Darla Black
Jan 15, 2019 It Was Never Enough – Kevin Stephens
Jan 22, 2019 My Sugar Story … Not a Sweet One – Melissa Gomez
Jan 29, 2019 Embracing the Spirit of Excellence – Denise London
Feb 5, 2019 Spotlight on WLSFA Board Member Laura Van Tuyl

NOTE: The Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America is a 501(c) 3 Nonprofit Organization. We have earned the Guide Stars Platinum Seal of Transparency. The WLSFA is a 100% Volunteer Organization with no paid executives or staff. We are fellow weight loss surgery patients, paying it forward since 2010.

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2 Comments, RSS

  • Kevin Stephens

    says on:
    February 12, 2019 at 10:41 pm

    What a great story Jay. You have inspired me to return to my regular strength training and walking routine. I’ve been distracted fior various reason so I have to get back on track. Thanks for helping me realize what I have been lacking for several weeks

  • Melissa Gomez

    says on:
    February 12, 2019 at 11:39 pm

    Wow Jay! You inspired me before, but doubly after this article!! I am so excited I just did my 1st half marathon, probably never get where you are but I am NOT GONNA SLOW DOWN.. thank you for all you do to support all us WLS peeps!

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