The Skinny on the Weight Loss of Two CCEMS Employees

This is a “before and after” story, featuring two Cypress Creek EMS employees who got incredible weight loss results with two very different methods. It’s the story of Larry Spencer and Gary Riggan and here are the before and after pictures. (Click on pictures for larger view)

Larry Spencer’s family relocated to Houston from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Larry had worked as a New Orleans firefighter but found out he needed to be an EMT to be hired in this area. So, he got his EMT. But, he didn’t go back to work for a fire department. He put on a very large red shirt went to work for Cypress Creek EMS.

At that time, Larry weighed in at 420 pounds. Now, he weighs 360. He has dropped two shirt sizes and four waist sizes, with a loss of 60 pounds, so far.

Gary Riggan has lost even more. At his highest weight, he was 610 pounds. Now, he weighs 300, a loss of 310 pounds.

Larry’s journey involved diet and exercise.

It was Larry’s wife who got him started. Four years ago, Scharlotte Spencer began a regular regimen of exercise and watched her diet. Larry witnessed her transformation and two years later he started regular workouts at CodeFit with the same personal trainer who works with Scharlotte, a guy appropriated named “Chop”, Chop McDaniel.

Larry also watches his diet, but you have to remember that he’s from New Orleans. Here’s a quick video look at part of what Larry does to melt off his most recent visits to family in Louisiana.

Gary Riggan tried losing weight through diet and exercise, too. He did it many times but he could never get below 400 pounds. So, he started looking at gastric surgery. His wife Cindy knew it was a drastic move and she made it clear that , “I fell in love with him for who he was when I met him, so it did not matter to me.”

For about 15 years she says Gary looked into the different kinds of surgery. In 2016, he made his decision. He underwent gastric sleeve surgery in December 2016.

Gary says, “A lot of people think its cheating or being lazy, but I found out that I was genetically predisposed to being obese. With the sleeve, it’s a tool but it is a great tool because it makes you change your lifestyle. I had 80% of my stomach removed. I don’t feel like I’m hungry anymore.”

For the rest of his life, he’ll have to eat a small meal of mostly protein or drink a protein shake every four hours. In addition, he works out just like Larry. He lifts weights, walks and rides a bike.

Three months after surgery Gary’s doctor cleared him to take the week-long IPMBA Bike Medic class at CCEMS and he’s now a member of the bike team. He rides for exercise 2 or 3 times a week and goes anywhere from 8 to 20 miles. Gary now works events as part of the CCEMS Bike Team. Oh, and he also graduated from CCEMS Paramedic School this year, too.

Following his surgery everyone around Gary noticed a big difference. Everybody, that is, except for Gary.

All he’s ever seen in the mirror is the fat kid. He says, “It literally took me 8 months not to see the fat kid anymore. I still do sometimes and my doctor says part of me will always see the fat kid.” He says his wife, co-workers, and friends see the difference and he recalls when his Dad came for a visit. Gary says, “He actually pulled up and didn’t realize it was me standing in the front yard.”

Gary really notices the clothing change though. He went from 5 X shirts to an extra-large and from a 54 inch waist to 40 and he’s closing in on 38. But, the big eye opener came from the simple act of putting on his shoes. Gary says, “All of the sudden I was able to bend over one day, cross my legs, and just put my shoes on without getting out of breath. I thought that’s cool.”

He says what finally pushed him to do it was his profession. Gary, who also worked in a local hospital for a while, had a bariatric patient who literally ate himself to death. He thought, “How am I as a medic going to help educate my patients about their eating habits, their health habits, their heart attack, their diabetes when we all have risk factors to control yet I’m overweight, I’m not eating right, I’m not exercising. So, I’m going to tell you how to fix your life yet I’m not doing it for myself. So, it dawned on me that, I’m a hypocrite.”

And now, he’s not. Gary is now a shining example.

Cindy Riggan has also noticed a difference in Gary, psychologically. She says, “I’ve noticed that he doesn’t put himself down as much. It was hard at first for him to not see the old Gary in the mirror but soon he saw what I have always seen, a handsome, good looking man that has a huge heart that makes me feel like I’m the most beautiful woman in the world.”

And just like that, Gary’s wife got the last word in the story. (not counting these words, of course)