Every detail was planned out that afternoon.
Lee Jordan was meeting a friend at a Starbucks in Herndon, Virginia. He had scouted out the area, including the parking situation, since he could walk only a very short distance.
He also wanted to make sure he didn't have to stand in line and could sit without fear of breaking the furniture.
Jordan weighed 450 pounds.
This was no ordinary chat over coffee. Jordan was meeting Beth, his high school and college sweetheart, more than 20 years since they had last seen each other.
He had only told Beth that he was out of shape -- that he had gained some weight and lost some hair.
He anticipated the same looks he usually received from others who met him.
"Pity. Shock. Horror," he said.
What happened next was life-changing.
"Beth looked at me, and all she saw was Lee Jordan," he remembers. "That's it. There was nothing but love and acceptance in her eyes.
"I cannot express how powerful that was. That was the turning point to give me the willingness to turn things around."
In 1979, 15-year-old Jordan met 16-year-old Beth Schwein through a church youth group in the Washington area. The two started dating soon after.
After graduation, Schwein went to Radford University in Virginia; Jordan followed her a year later.
"In our minds, we (just had to) finish college, and then we could get married," he said.
While Schwein was on a straight-and-narrow path, Jordan focused more on partying and less on academics.
Eventually, Schwein got fed up and broke up with Jordan. She graduated. Broken-hearted, Jordan dropped out of school, moved home and went to work.
Schwein requested that the two not speak because it was too painful. He obliged.
Up and down
Jordan immersed himself in his job as an assistant manager at a clothing store.
Professional success, though, came at a high price. Not only was he not exercising, he was binge eating at night. Whether he was on the road or home alone, he estimates, he was eating 8,000 to 12,000 calories a day.
"I never ate less than two large pizzas, followed by the super-size large family bag of Doritos, two large tubs of dip, two large boxes of cookies and a half-gallon of ice cream," he said.
The pounds continued to pile on as he dealt with the stress of work.
"I buried my emotions in food."
Over the next decade, Jordan tried to battle the extra weight. On one occasion, he dropped 100 pounds in just four months.