CANTON, Mich. (CNN) – Your life can change in an instant in the most unlikely ways.
Brian Flemming says that’s exactly what happened to him when he began playing a random match on a mobile game.
Flemming was addicted to alcohol, morbidly obese and full of self-pity when he met Jackie Eastham through a random match on Draw Something, a Pictionary-like mobile game.
The last time he had been weighed, hospital workers had to use a special scale to read his 625 pounds.
He was also pre-diabetic and had a recurring cellulitis infection.
Eastham lived in England and was much older than Flemming but the pair shared casual banter between rounds.
Their friendship eventually spread to Facebook, where they began to confide in each other.
Eastham was the first person Flemming was totally honest with at that point in his life.
He expected sympathy but she wasn’t having it.
Flemming said, “She said there were people struggling for their lives and then there’s you. You have all these opportunities and you’re throwing it all away.”
Eastham lives with myotonic dystrophy, which causes progressive muscle weakness and can affect various systems and organs.
She said, “I just thought bloody hell, you’re a guy who’s 30 and you’re wasting your life. My future is a lot gloomier. I’m trying to make the brightest future I can and you’re dragging yourself down.”
After hearing Eastham’s message, Flemming vowed to never drink again.
His withdrawals were grueling; he had cold sweats, shaky hands and couldn’t sleep.
They began to talk via Skype, where Eastham said she was initially shocked by his size.
Soon, the weight began to fall off.
Without the extra calories from alcohol, Flemming lost 100 pounds in a couple of months.
According to an app he was using to record his meals, he had been consuming up to 7,000 calories a day before cutting out fast food, sugar and red meat.
Less than two years later, Flemming has lost more than 380 pounds and went from a size 60 waist to a size 38.
The 32-year-old now eats a serving of dry cereal, no-sodium turkey breast, non-fat Greek yogurt and a glass of low-sodium vegetable juice for breakfast.
For lunch and dinner, he eats chicken and vegetables with rice.
Flemming said he began his exercise routine by walking in place in his parents’ basement for five minutes a day every morning.
When he felt comfortable to exercise outside, he went out when it was dark so no one could see him.
Eastham kept him company on Skype while he walked.
He said, “She was a huge motivation. She’d try to push me to walk a little further each time.”
In July, he walked his first half-marathon before taking up cycling and running.
He used running and calorie tracker apps to stay accountable and started seeing a psychotherapist to manage his depression.
Flemming is now down to 234 pounds with about 30 pounds of excess skin around his waist.
He says he is saving up the money to have the necessary surgery to get that skin removed.
Flemming wrote in a blog post, “Jackie is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I fell that she saved my life, even though she would never take credit.”
Eastham said, “Brian is so inspiring. I hope he gets what he wants out of life.”
They continue to talk every day and are still playing Draw Something.