13WMAZ's Marvin James' journey to health

Change is often slow in coming.

It took years to take hold of one our own, 13WMAZ sports anchor, Marvin James.

Marvin has always been a big guy, with a big personality and even bigger heart, which is why many viewers have latched on to his larger-than-life existence.

Recently, you may have noticed some of Marvin slipping away.

His clothing size is shrinking, but Marvin will tell you his possibilities in life are growing.

After years of bad habits, he says getting started was more than half his battle.

Last February, nightly sports broadcasts from Marvin James brought his trademark polo, size 6X, to television screens.

He cheered on Central Georgia's athletes, but never took part in physical activity himself.

Marvin said, "It was very humbling to go in front of a camera every night, knowing I wasn't the picture of health."

Truth be told, he never really wanted to be in front of that camera.

He said, "Frank (Malloy) will tell you. 'I begged Marvin, I begged Marvin.' Frank is the reason why I even took the opportunity."

With late-night newscasts and sporting events all over the map, the job perpetuated habits every news person finds hard to resist.

He said, "A burger and fries on the way to Milledgeville. On the way back, I can get something before I head to Dublin."

The fast-paced lifestyle wasn't new to him. Marvin worked behind the 13WMAZ cameras for nearly a decade. He took the job, after graduation from Georgia Southern University, where he played offensive line for the Eagles.

It's his football career, that in part, led to obesity later in life.

Marvin said, "We would go to McDonald's and eat two combos apiece, and after that, we would go to the movies and eat popcorn."

At Georgia Southern, and before that as a Warner Robins Demon, constant exercise burned the calories. A few extra pounds, those were acceptable, even applauded, for an offensive lineman.

Marvin said, "Once college ball stopped, we continued to eat. Those habits were still there, but we weren't putting in the work."

As the years passed, the pounds piled on.

Marvin's wife, Damita, and daughter, Drew, didn't see it on a TV screen. They lived it.

Damita said, "He didn't have the energy or desire to do anything."

Not happy with her own health, Damita started to drop pounds almost two years ago. She tried in vain to get Marvin to follow.

She said, "It was finally 'OK. I can't force you.' I had to come to a reality of that."

Reality set-in for Marvin last March. A picture, snapped with his fraternity brothers. opened his eyes.

When he saw the picture, Marvin said, "I said, 'Wow! That's all me. Wow, that's me'."

The picture lifted the veil. It forced him to confront a demon: the number on the scale.

Marvin said, "I was 440 pounds. That is extremely hard for me to admit to. It takes away all the mystery. It takes away all the lies you share about it."

Owning that number was a beginning. Sharing it publicly now is an indication of how far he's come in the life-changing process.

Tuesday on Eyewitness News at 6, Lorra Lynch Jones will show you how Marvin dropped the pounds, and started changing habits that began in childhood.

Marvin will explain why he wanted to share this very personal journey with you, and answer your questions through a live chat on 13wmaz.com.


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