When Rachel and I got married I weighed a reasonable 175lbs. I didn’t
expect that over the course of the next twenty years I would more than
double in size. My whole life all I had wanted to do was be a successful
chef, but my weight soon took me out of the kitchen, and into a wheel
chair. Even congestive heart failure and doctors telling me to “lose
weight or die,” couldn’t stop the weight gain. I had tried diets in the
past, nothing worked. In my mind there was absolutely nothing that I
As my weight and eating grew more and more out of control my family paid
the price. Due to my weight I was unable to hold down normal jobs, and we
were forced at times to get by on very little money. We learned how to
shop for the cheapest most filling foods; foods filled with empty calories
from sugar and fat, foods filled with hydrogenated oils, artificial
flavors, fillers, and corn syrup.
Even when finances
improved we still loved our junk food. As with most kids, giving candy to
my sons made them happy, so it became a Stella Family tradition to go
over-the-top on holidays, with Christmas stockings and Easter Baskets
overflowing with candy. The way we lived our lives had put Anthony at 225
pounds and my youngest son, Christian, was well on his way to a future
like mine. At fifteen years old, he was already over 300 pounds and
growing. I thought I was being a good father by giving my children what
they wanted, but really I was killing them with food.
Then one day a family friend left an Atkins book in our kitchen. Rachel
and I read some of it and at first thought that it had to be a joke. If we
could lose weight while eating as much as we wanted, we thought, maybe
this time we could actually stick to it.
Together, Rachel and I devised ways of having all our favorite foods
without the white flour, sugar, rice, potatoes, and so on. After the
weight began to fall off, I was able to get out of that wheelchair and
even start cooking again. It was then that we decided that we could never
go back to the way things were before.
To date I’ve lost 260lbs, and Rachel has lost 75lbs.
After Christian and
Anthony saw the tremendous success that Rachel and I were having they too
decided to make steps to change the way they looked at food. We never
asked them to join us; it was their choice, (as I believe it should be. No
one can be told to lose weight.) Soon after Christian dropped more than
160 pounds and Anthony lost nearly 75.
My family and I currently travel all over the country sharing our stories
and recipes to hopefully inspire others to do the same for their families.