Watch CBSN Live

Get Down To Size: Success at a Heavy Price

In part two of the weeklong series "Early Gets Down2Size," "The Early Show" is introducing people who have not only lost significant weight, but more impressively have maintained that weight loss for two years.

Justin Petruzziello is one of those people.

Petruzziello knows being successful can have its drawbacks. Two years into a lucrative, perk-filled position as a mortgage banker in Chicago, he'd ballooned from 215 to 310 pounds. Until then, Petruzziello had never had a problem with weight. He grew up playing sports and maintained a healthy physique through his 20s. Yet in 2003, as his career took off, Petruzziello's focus shifted, and his body paid for it.

"I was working all the time," he said. "My life had no balance. I was so focused on making money that I let everything else slip."

Read more about Healthy Living

Petruzziello told CBS News he'd started working at a firm and was very successful, but slowly let himself go.

Getting Down To Size And Keeping It Off

"At the very beginning when you gain 10 pounds, you're feeling it, but individuals and everybody around you isn't seeing it because your clothes could hide it and everything is fine," he said. "Then you get into 20 pounds and then you get into 30 pounds..."

Petruzziello said reached a point of no return.

"At one point I would look in the mirror and go, 'It doesn't matter at this point. I'm just going keep going.' You know, 'It is what it is.'"

Petruzziello began to disregard his weight gain, even as he began having health problems.

It wasn't until he woke up in the morning sweating and having trouble breathing that he turned to doctors for help.

Doctors said he had sleep apnea. Petruzziello, who was in his late 20s at the time, said the diagnosis "blew (his) mind."

To treat his condition, Petruzziello was prescribed a machine to help him breathe properly at night. The addition of the machine helped treat his sleep apnea, but added to his insecurities.

"Now I'm diagnosed and I have a machine I was breathing with at night," Petruzziello said, "And you want to talk about awkward? One thing, it's awkward when people look at you and you're getting a little bit heavy. The second one is when you go to the airport and you are doing a lot of flying. (People ask,) 'Oh, what's that luggage?' 'Oh, that's my breathing machine.' How embarrassing is that?"

Petruzziello's doctor advised him to lose the weight. And that's what he did.

"The last time I looked at the scale I'll never forget, because I do remember I looked directly at it. It was 310 pounds," he said. "When I saw the 310 pounds, to be honest with you, I didn't want to look at the scale anymore."

Petruzziello lost the weight by exercising six times a week and by following a high-protein, low carbohydrate diet, and eating six small meals a day. He has kept the weight off for over two years.

However, losing the weight wasn't always easy. What made him start shedding the pounds for good began with a daily goal.

Petruzziello explained, "I looked at each day, if I give everything I got that day at the gym, and then when I left the gym, ate right and did that during the day, I knew I was going to be better-looking the next day. Everything was going to be better. And then a month from now, I would be in even better shape."

Petruzziello said his determination helped him to keep going with his weight loss.

He said, "You need to really sit down and do it for yourself."

View CBS News In