Dino DeVita: From Bypass to Body Building

Dino DeVita struggled with addiction issues stemming from childhood sexual abuse. At one point, he weighed close to 400 pounds. Read more to learn about a successful weight loss surgery that enabled his dream of bodybuilding glory.


My name is Dino DeVita, and this is my story.

I guess it’s one of those things that I hope will help someone improve themselves and help them to grow and learn from someone else’s mistakes and hardships. So, I hope this will help.

My weight story begins with sexual abuse from about 4 to 12 years old. This act was hidden well, as in most abuse cases – hidden so well, in fact, that my parents did not know it was even going on. This led to keeping a deep, dark secret that would eventually lead to depression, sexual confusion growing up and eating to protect myself from anyone getting close to me and hurting me. By being fat and unattractive, no one could do again what had been done. So much of my childhood was lost and remains hidden from memory, which is fine; I have dealt with my inner fears and demons. This has been a long hard journey – and like I say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I know there is so much I could have done with my life if this wouldn’t have happened, but this is not a regret.

As things went while growing up, I remained a fat kid but a strong one. My mother got herself into body building when I was 7. This became a passion for me and a long-lasting dream. Sad thing was, I could not ever get rid of the fat. I got bigger and stronger but always remained fat, which was depressing.

This remained so clear through my teens and twenties, and at 22, I had a possible heart attack and my health spiraled out of control. My weight had reached into the 270s. I’m five feet and seven inches tall, so I’m not very tall — and at that weight, I had developed insulin resistance, hypertension and high cholesterol. In the next seven years it only got worse.

I finally was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I was insulin-dependent and had depression, high blood pressure, gout, sleep apnea, asthma and high cholesterol. Needless to say, I was a walking time bomb in my thirties, and then I was diagnosed with an enlarging heart and had nine months to live.

At this point, my doctors had tried everything to get the insulin under control and I was weighing in close to 400 pounds. I couldn’t walk, I was on a cane and I was in the hospital at least once a week or every other week. My doctor got me in to see Dr. Joseph Podany, a gastric bypass doctor in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Five months later, on January 30 – which was three years ago now – I had my surgery.

I had lost 178 pounds and was down to 173 pounds. My life had begun again! I was able to work again and I revived my childhood dream of bodybuilding … which I was told I would never be able to do after having the surgery.

Right now I am sitting around a solid 209 pounds and I’m very healthy and I have not blown my surgery. I need to have skin removed to be able to compete, which would make me one of the first gastric bypass patients to go into competitive bodybuilding.

I don’t want to compete for the prestige, now, I just want to prove it can be done — that, and I love the sport. If I can inspire someone else to follow suit or go into swimming or track or marathons or mountain biking or SOME kind of sports and follow their dreams, I have won by stepping on stage!

I know there is more I can say, but I hope this helps someone.

29 Responses

  1. Laurie Rock

    Very compelling.. I am glad you seem to have overcome the tragedies in your childhood. You look great in the new picture. Let me know how you do with the skin surgery. I am thinking of at least having my arms done. Take Care… Laurie

  2. Sharon Hinshillwood

    You look wonderful. You should be so proud of yourself.Iknow how hard it is because I had wls and lost 200 pounds but gainned 55 back. I really admire you. I know you will be exactly where you want to be soon if your not already. Take care.
    Sharon in N.J.

  3. Melanie

    Wow! What an inspiring story. There must be a market for the skin you need to have taken off – maybe a burn center or plastic surgery organization that could use it? I would think anyone who sponsored you to get the skin removed (because it’s expensive) would be able to profit from having you as a sponsor for body building competitions.

    I hope you get to fulfill your dream – you deserve it!

    Melanie in Washington

  4. Robert Metayer

    That is so great what you have accomplished. I Had gb 2 years ago. I have gone from 405 to 263. I am currently working out, is there any advice you could give that would help me on my mission.

  5. Dino

    Hi Robert,

    Keep the weight loss going!! Best advice Robert make sure you get enough protein in !! Try different proteins and keep changing them, so that you will not get an alergie from a certain kind. Do plenty of weight training the more muscle you have the more fat you burn. But don’t over do it to begin with. the key to gaining any mass is the protein intake 2 grams per pound of lean body weight. Figure we were about the same weight your going to have at least 10 to 15 pounds of extra skin, depending on your height and what your seeking to get down to, I would intake about 170 grams of protein a day.
    I will be happy to help you in any way I can, just let me know!!

  6. AL

    Very insiprational story… I had wls about four months ago losing at a slow pace, but im losing… My question is do you take any kind of supplaments like nitic oxide?

  7. Dino

    Hi Al,

    I do now, but most NO products contain other things in them that I can not handle, Most N O products main source is L-Argnine Which I do take. But if your only 4 months out since Surgery, Your best bet is to keep to a strict diet, and exercise. It took me months after my surgery to begin even thinking about lifting again, my body was changing so fast, that I had a hard time keeping up with the internal changes, and a must a BIG MUST keep tabs with your doctor, your body is changing your blood pressure will be changing and if you have Diabeties that will be drastically changed, BUT NEVER GIVE UP!! Even though I see no chance at this point of ever getting the skin removed I’m not giving up on Body Building or my dream of stepping on stage.

  8. Helen

    Hi Dino, your story has helped me tremendously, I have been searching high and low for a story like your, it must have been fate that I am here on this page, in amongst the millions of websites out there!
    I too have gone through what you have in your childhood. I have gotten myself up to 157 kilos. Like you I have always admired bodybuilders for their discipline and of course beautiful physiques! I have been looking into weightloss surgery for years, but have been to scared to take the plunge for fear of the unknown. I currently workout at golds gym, but after some weightloss something happens in my head and I go back to eating! Its like my protection is going and my body subconsciously comes to its aid and I eat again. I was looking at the lap band, but my sister has had this and it has only given her grief and no weightloss at all.
    I was looking at taking the risk with gastricbypass, but I was worried that after I would not able to consume enough protein if I wanted to get serious about bodybuilding. Not for competition, but just to get there!. Also, because its so final, that if something goes wrong I cant take it back. Grateful if you could enlighten me with your experience and your suggestions. I have an appointment on the 5 November, so hopefully I will hear from you then.

    Congratulations on your new life!
    Helen, Australia

  9. Annie

    HI Dino….I must say you are truely an inspiration.

    I am 5’0 295 female. Who is currently doing the three month fast track program to have my bypass hopefully in January. I never thought that I would have to come to this. But I am taking this Journey for my girls.

    I have read another article about another gentleman who used bodybuilding to transform his body after his bypass. He did not want to have cosmetic surgery after for all the loose skin. I too donot wish to go that route. And I would like to do the same as you guys have.

    I have always been interested in bodybuilding. But my weight has always held me back. But I am going to use this surgery as my tool to discover bodybuilding. I want to transform my body.

    I was wondering if I can have some advice on what I should do post-op to start lifting weights and what supplements I could use that would be safe for after the surgery. Any advice would be very helpful and appreciated. Stories like yours gives me hope for the future. I cant wait to leave the past behind!

    I commend you again on your success. Congrats!


    Northern Virginia

  10. andrea

    Hi Dino, I am having my surgery in two days and your the first and only person I have replied to. You look great, I hope I am just as successful as you.

  11. Dan

    Hey Dino,just read your story, and am very impressed.I also am going in for gastric bypass on the 21st of Dec. 2010 i am 5ft. 11in. My current weight is 371 but i was 396 at my heaviest.i have started a walking program & changed my food intake to high protein & low carbs.I only hope i can look as well as you do.Great job.If you dont mind me asking, what is your work out rutine?

  12. med2

    dino, i had rny in nov.2010. i have lost 60lbs so far. i am 6’4″ and weighed 345-355 for the last several years. used to be a collegiate football player and was into power lifting. that was 12+yrs ago.i am lifting again and running for cardio. any suggestions about mass building? i would like to be as big (muscle mass) as i use to be but i feel like its going to be an uphill climb now. how much protein to do you take in a day and how many fat grams. i know taking in only 30g fat a day is bound to effect my natural testosterone production.

  13. Oscar

    hello Dino, i read your story, and its awesome, is there any books or websites that helped you get your body like it is, you look good, i just had wls on dec 28th 2010, just hitting 2wks post op and before surgery i was 320, i am now 290, i have always been a husky guy, football player body, i am concerned i dont want to look to skinnny or wimpy, so i want to work out and look good as yourself, is there some time of regimen you used, and any info you can give me would be helpful, about supplements, protein, whatever i need. thank you.

  14. Jose


    i just did a search on Gastric Bypass Bodybuilding and found your story. As I suspected there isn’t much on thsi subject.

    I am a bypass patient and have lost 300lbs since surgery. My weight the morning of surgery was 548lbs. Like yourself I have become very pationate about by fitness lifestyle and lifting. I have had the extra skin removed around my mid section and it has been a battle getting back to 100% but I will.

    I have been able to cut my body fat from 51% in Feb ’09 to 14% at last check at a weight of 252 lbs. I am in the mind set that adding more lean muscle mass to body will prevent any other surgeries I might need for extra skin.

    Feel free to facebook me or check out the video of my progress on Youtube(search Thunderman21 and my video is labeled NEVERAGAIN).

    Hope to hear from you… its not everyday you find someone walking the same path…

    Jose Reyna

  15. Victoria

    Hello Dino,

    Thank you for your story, it is truly inspirational. I too had gastric bypass, I had mine done in March 2009. I was prediabetic and diagnosed with a metabolic disorder. I went from 290 to 170. I am happy now but I also love bodybuilding and would love to get into it. Not for the competition but to transorm my body. My question for you is how do I get started? I have no clue and being a bypass patient, our consumption is different. Can you advise me on how to go about training?


  16. Mike Hughes

    Cool—-inspiring—-did you ever compete? Do you have any recent pictures? Thnx—Mike

  17. Roberta


    Thank you sooo much for sharing your story! It was incredible to read and you are my new inspiration!

    I was searching the web this morning for anything on gastric bypass and bodybuilding, and yours was one of the first to come up. The reason for this is that I am scheduled to haveRoux En Y Gastric Bypass lap this Wednesday 8/17/11. I’ve been on this journey since April and am so looking forward to all the benefits my body will receive from proceeding with this.

    Of course, there are those who have been trying to talk me out of it. But I was worried that I would fail if I tried on my own again as I have so many times before. Recently, I met a man who has dropped an incredible amount of weight and has a goal to compete next year. Eight months ago he wore a size 44 pants, now he’s down to a 36 and looks fantastic. He’s been training hard and like you he looks better than ever. He got me excited to build my own plan to lift and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to compete (if I chose to go as far as that) if I had gastric bypass. So you can see why I was excited to read your story!

    Thank you so much for sharing. If there’s any advice you can give me, I would appreciate it.


  18. Traci

    Thank you for your story. I had a gastric bypass in 2007 at my highest weight of 272 pounds. Shortly thereafter I became pregnant and delivered a very premature (24 week) baby girl. Which was a miracle in the first place as I had struggled with fertility for most of my marriage. About a year after that I became pregnant again. This time I delivered a health full term baby boy. Sadly, my marriage disolved about 3 weeks later (he had a gastric bypass the previous november and was “dating” a 23 year old girl). When I delivered my son Saint Patricks day 2010, I was 226 pounds. Following the separation I slipped into a bit of a combination post partum depression and general divorce funk and stopped eating. However, I did begin walking almost an hour a day. All of this combined with breast feeding led me to a weight loss of an additional 80 pounds. Now I am wearing a size six to eight. Needless to say I have an incredible new found confidence in myself when it comes to dating. I have gone out wearing clothes I would have never dared to wear before. My delima is this tho, the loose skin. While not as prominent as on others in my family (I am one of 6 in my family who have had a gastric bypass) it is still disconcerting. Recently my sister (she had a gastric bypass too) joined a gym and I got to thinking that if I bulked up muscle wise I might be able to diminish some of the loose skin I have as at the moment I do not have the fund for the surgical options. From that little pic it does appear that this may have happened with you Dino. Would you say that is true? I have just started a weight lifting program with the goal of making some big changes in time for my 40th birthday in March. Are there any pointers you can suggest. Such as protein requirements? etc.

  19. Scott

    Dino, you and I are very similar over all… the only difference is I am 23 and weigh 560 lbs. I am mobile and can walk and do things, but that isw fading fast. I can’t stand for more than 20 minutes at a time. I have a 3yr old son and I play with him until I feel I am going to have a heart attack. I will not take anything away from him because I am out of shape. He is the reason I want this surgery, but at the same time he is the reason I am scared to have it. Was it worth to you, absolutly? I also want to pick up weight training where I left off. Where you scared of a leak or tear? How long did you wait to recover?

  20. Armando C Diaz

    Congrats! You are an awesome inspiration! Maybe you can help the rest of us by giving us some insight as to the products you use, the protein supplements you and your routine. Since my surgery I have lost 162 pounds but am now very frail looking. I want to get back into weight training but am not sure what supplements to take. The recommended supplements for bypass patients work well for limited activity but to increase activity to weight lifting or any other higher activity is doesn’t seem to be enough. How did you do it?

  21. Dino DeVita

    Well after several skin removal surgeries, I’m back at it. Hopefully I will be on stage by next year!

  22. Ernie

    I am about to embark on a similar journey. I’m curious as to how you are getting enough protein? They way the Dr talks, I’ll be lucky to drink a full glass of water….

  23. Brian

    I have a simalar story to yours. I have gastric bypass in april 2009. I went from 525 lbs to now i am at 225. I do have lots of loose skin but i work out 3 days a week religously. while trying to put on muscle i must askwhat suppliments if any you are taking? Thanks

  24. Robert

    Hi, your story is awesome. I dropped over a hundred pounds on my own but now after still eating healthy I am looking to find a solution before its back to where I was 6 years ago… And I want to help people the same way you are.

  25. Candi

    Like many of the other bloggers I have been searching for answers. I had GB in Aug of 2011, and am now 10lbs from my goal weight. Going from 265 to 155. I run 4-6 days a week and have just started uaing weights. I’ve been encouraged to try body building bc it seems that I have good lean muscle ( which I credit to the extra protein I take in). Thank you for sharing your story and showing us that IT CAN be done. My physician and dietician have both said it can’t be done. Thank you for this encouragement!