Last summer, Providence basketball coach Ed Cooley stepped on a scale, saw the No. "344," and finally decided to make the change that might some day save his life.
Cooley had weight-loss surgery in July, put himself on a strict diet — starting with 400-calorie liquid days and, later, a strict 1,200-calorie maximum — and started working out. As a result, the Providence Journal reports, Cooley has lost more than 100 pounds in the past five months.
His pants size, a hearty 50 when Cooley’s Friars were eliminated by Baylor in last season’s NIT quarterfinals, is now a much more healthful 38.
“I’ve been thinking about this for the last five or six years,” Cooley told the paper of the surgery. “I got to the point where I needed to feel good about myself. You put on a false facade of happiness, but deep inside you know you have a problem. I looked at my weight problem like I was an alcoholic. Unless you admit you have a problem, you’re always going to deal with it.”
Cooley’s problems with his weight date to his teenage years, with yo-yo dieting making it impossible to keep his waistline under control in high school and college. Once he got into coaching, Cooley says, things really went downhill.
“I didn’t eat breakfast and I didn’t eat much lunch, but I’d eat all night,” Cooley said, recalling his days on the road as an assistant at Rhode Island and Boston College. “I’d watch film and I’d eat; snacks, cereal, sandwiches, chicken wings, whatever.”
These days, Cooley has no qualms about downing a protein shake, but the chicken wings are out of the question — and his life and his family are better for it.
“I know there are people out there in a similar situation that I was in,” Cooley told the Providence Journal. “I will say this is the toughest thing I’ve ever done. Emotionally and mentally, it’s hard. But it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself, and I know this will help me see my children grow old.”