This is Carolina: Man turns ‘I can’t’ into ‘I can’ after almost 400 pound weight loss

Big Mike does a half marathon

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - One Grand Strand man made a decision that not only changed his life, but it also saved his life.

At 587 pounds, Mike ‘Big Mike’ Powers wasn’t healthy enough to have the stomach band surgery. He had a pacemaker put in and knee surgery. He said he almost had to have his foot amputated because of diabetes, and he lost custody of his daughter. Then, he decided to make a change. A 400-pound change for happiness, health and longevity.

“I drive by that old apartment now and it just sends chills down my back. Just things that I had to do on the daily, just cleaning myself and preparing myself, dressing myself and planning my food. Meals, that was my constant energy,” Powers told WMBF News.

He said he was a food addict.

“Just not having to spend an hour to get out of bed and get ready to start my day, I can do so much more with my time now besides trying just to get around and move around,” Powers explained.

Now, he’s a new man.

“I am literally half the man I used to be, in a good way," he said with a smile.

As of October 2019, Powers was 230 pounds, down 357 pounds from when he first walked into Title Boxing three years ago. He said he only walked into Title Boxing that day because the Chinese Buffet, located a few doors down, wasn’t open yet. Little did he know that December day would turn his life around.

“I wish I could give everybody just a touch of what blessing was given to me to make that change, because it’s worth it, no doubt about it,” he said, standing next to one of the punching bags that helps scorch the weight the last few years. “When they started seeing a difference in me, and I started seeing a difference in myself, that’s when the addiction (starts), you got up trust the process. I didn’t get 587 pounds overnight. You got to trust that process, the pain and everything because sooner or later it pays for it."

Powers may sound familiar to you. WMBF News did a “This is Carolina” story on him when he dropped the first 200 pounds in February 2018.

He had lost a lot of weight compared to his old self then, but now he’s happy to report he fits in a regular men’s size large. Something he didn’t know would happen when he was a size away from being “too big” for all sizes of men’s shorts. He showed this to anchor Meredith Helline as they each fit in a leg of an old pair of Powers’ shorts.

“You got to find something positive that’s going to grab you and don’t give up on it,” Powers said of the motivation behind it.

For him, it was boxing. For someone else, it may be different, but he said the mental, food and physical fight is worth it to live.

“If you want to be happy and healthy, then be around people that’s in a place that they’re trying to do the same thing. I was intimidated when I walked through these doors, everybody was fit and healthy, but you know what, everyone that walks through them doors, they’re fighting their own demons. They’ve got something they’re working on, there ain’t nobody here that’s 100%,” Powers said of the friends his made over the years.

Now, boxing isn’t Powers’ only addiction. It’s also running.

“When I was 415 pounds I did my first 5K at the Myrtle Beach Mini of 2017. Yesterday, about 230 pounds lighter, I did my first half marathon, but I actually went a little too far and did 17 miles instead of 13.1. But I went from ‘Big Mike’ to ‘Motivation Mike’ in two years,” he said with a smile.

Powers was running his first half marathon Sunday, but after it was canceled due to tropical storm Nestor, he ran in the locally organized ‘Fleet Feet’ marathon. He said it hurt, but he wouldn’t change the person he has become and he’s looking forward to a brighter future.

For him, that means going back to school and work. He hopes to coach at Title Boxing next year as well, he said.

Powers credit his weight loss to a 180-degree life change. He said he turned it “around and upside down” to reach his healthier self, and looks forward to a future relationship with his daughter now that he can get out of the house to do things.

He said he gave up the junk food and is eating meat and vegetables throughout the day. He said he works out five to seven times a week in a thirty-minute class. He doesn’t have to worry about not fitting inside the MRI machine, getting his foot amputated or getting himself out of bed anymore.

‘Motivation Mike’ has shared his story and weight loss journey twice with WMBF News to help motivate others to be a happier, healthier version of themselves.

“It’s mental, body and happiness. It’s all together. You can’t just go on a diet, you can’t just work out, you can’t just convert to positive thinking, you got to do it all together if you’re going to make it a forever change," Powers said.

Way to go, Mike!

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