My journey back from the edge
I’m fat. There isn’t really a nice way to put this. No, it isn’t that I’m “big boned”, “fluffy”, or any other sort of euphuisms that is a nicer way to put off saying the obvious. I’m fat. Have been for over 20 years now. At 44 I had reached a point that was both unhealthy and uncomfortable on several levels.
I say “had” because about six months ago things started to change. So, this isn’t exactly a New Year’s resolution blog as much as it is an I’m on my way piece.
The first of July I stood on the scales and was a bit horrified. Somehow over the last ten years, I had allowed myself to hit over 300 pounds. Had I been 8 foot that would not have been a problem. Alas, I am not.
My clothes had certainly started to fit poorly. Travel was proving interesting as plane seats had become smaller (for real and the way they felt). Generally, I just was not in a great place physically nor mentally because of my weight.
When I’m confronted with a problem my first step is usually to research solutions. There are several people who have lost weight on Atkins, Paleo, Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers, and others. Those are all fine programs I’m certain as they continue to see success. They just weren’t’ for me. In the midst of talking with my doctor and a nutritionist, I happened upon an interview with Penn Jillete.
Jillette is an incredibly smart man, in addition to being wickedly entertaining with Penn & Teller. His wit and directness is something I’ve long admired. Jillete was in a similar, though more serious, situation. He had allowed himself to get overweight, his doctors were wanting to do gastric bypass. His comment in this clip, though, is what struck me. “If I was willing to do something as crazy as major surgery to lose weight, I was going to try something equally as nuts that didn’t involve someone cutting me open.” (note: gastric sleeve surgery involves cutting out parts of your stomach).
With this epiphany I set out to do something that my nutritionist recommended; watch what I eat and get some exercise. Revolutionary, I know. (sarcasm, folks). If Jillette could do his crazy idea, I was going to try mine. And mine, really wasn’t as crazy as the old magician’s (he ate nothing but potatoes for two weeks).
The first bit of extreme measures was tracking what I eat. No, I’m not religious about this especially as the day goes on. But I can tell you with extreme accuracy what I had to eat the last six months from 6 am until about 3. Dinner time is about 50/50, but it’s something. I use UnderArmor’s MyFitnessPal. No, not a paid endorsement and no I don’t pay for the premium. The only thing that gets you is macro information and I’m not there quite yet. It has proved relatively accurate and I haven’t found another app yet that I like the interface as much. Always open to new ideas, though.
In the midst of the “what I was eating” portion of this was really figuring out what going to a tradeshow and travel, in general, was costing me as far as my body. It was quite a bit. Between convention center food and the parties afterward, there were days I was consuming between 8,000 and 10,000 calories. I’m supposed to have about 2,700 currently. The biggest culprit in that number was alcohol. I enjoy gin and tonic. A lot. I enjoy genever more but you can’t get it in the states. Bacon, steak, those little southwest egg rolls that are at every party ever. Yup, like all those. The question is do I like gin, or fried foods, or anything else more than I wanted my goal. Nope. So out they went. Now, I’m not going to say I haven’t had bacon, or gin, or anything of the sort in the last six months. I’ve just had markedly less. I’ve also noticed that eating is the main key for weight and fat loss. Weights and working out helps with continued fat burning and feeling better.
Next up is exercise. I run a small business, have two kids and a wife. Where on earth was I going to find the time to exercise? You make it. For me, I made it at 4:30 am. Every day. Not kidding here. I am at the gym between 4:30 and 5 AM every morning. Weights have become my favorite workout routine. I do the reps fast enough to qualify as cardio (my heart rate gets up into the 130s) and lifting is a stress reliever for me. For this, I use the Fitness 22 app. Again, not an endorsement but I did pay for the premium one of this. They have various goals and days per week exercise routines and I’ve found it to be the best for me personally.
The final piece is all mental. I did not get to 307 pounds overnight. It was a long road filled with bad decisions. It will be along road getting back to a healthy weight. I will certainly make mistakes and there are weeks the scale may increase instead of decrease. The goal is an overall journey. Giving myself the ability to make mistakes was crucial for my state of mind.
Really, this is what my entire journey is about. My own state of mind, and yours for that matter. If you’re happy with where you’re at physically, stay there. I was not. My weight and other measurements were getting the better of me mentally and it was impacting my ability to do my job and enjoy my life. I know some folks say you need to do this for the kids, spouse, or other loved ones. Yes, there is some of that but really, if I’m honest, I’m doing this for me and my mental well being. And I think that’s ok.
The main reason for writing this now is to keep me accountable. My starting weight and measurements were 307 lbs, size 57 waist, size 22 neck. Those are not numbers I’m proud of. In fact, they make me a bit embarrassed and sick even writing them. My goal is 36 waist, and 17 neck. The weight I’m still not sure yet because I’ve also learned that muscle weighs more than fat so we’ll figure out a healthy weight when I reach the waist and neck measurements. We’ll see how long it’ll take me to get there. It will be years for sure. In six months I have made it down to 280lbs, size 47 waist and 18 neck. Not too bad but a long way to go. But here’s to another step in the process.