This website is about a journey, my journey out of obesity. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. I have not turned into a diet or training guru, and as you can tell from the name of this site, I am a firm believer that “diets” or dangerous. I differentiate diets from diet however. It is important what you put in your mouth. Do I believe everything I read about sugars and prepared foods being the food equivalent of the devil? Not really. I survived on these things in fairly large quantities growing up. My Dad loved burgers and we ate a lot of them, but I wasn’t overweight, I was pretty darn fit.
What I have learned is that fad diets like the Atkins, I’m not picking on Atkins, it’s just one of the most popular, are for me, dangerous. There is no doubt in my mind fad diets made me fat. Fatter than I had ever been. Much fatter. So this chronicles a continuing journey. I wish I could put a link on here that would take you to a magical place and you would lose weight and magically maintain that weight for the rest of your life, but like the fountain of youth, I have yet to find it.
There’s no other way to put it; I was fat. Not only was I fat, but technically, I was clinically obese. The more I watched the news, the more worried I became about my health, or lack of it. Also, there was a constant drum beat around, “if you are too fat you might be denied healthcare.” Really? The people who needed it the most were now not going to get it? That worried me. Was I going to be stuck in my bed because I showed up for a new hip, and they sent me home for being too fat? What about my eyesight? If I contracted diabetes would I get the care I needed? It was a potential problem, and I was barely into my fifties.
I wish I could point to an event, moment or other defining happening which brought me to the conclusion that I needed to stop dieting and start living, but it was more a collection of events, and an eventual realisation, that if I didn’t change something soon, I would die young. Our kids were also getting older and had found significant others, one could expect they might produce offspring. I had visions of myself on the couch unable to move with a couple dozen youngsters jumping on my ample belly. I didn’t want to be that grandparent who always told the kids to sit down and be quiet because that’s about all I could do. I really wanted to be active and enjoy time with them, and they with me.
The other issue was my appearance. I didn’t like the way I looked. Don’t get me wrong, there’s not much to look at even when I lose weight, but the person I was seeing in mirrors, and the odd glimpse I would allow myself when I walked past a window and saw my reflection, was not someone I recognised, or even wanted to. There is also the question of clothing. Very few clothing ranges had the XXXL shirts and 48 inch waisted trousers which fit me. For some reason, Zegna and the other Italian designers don’t make plus sizes! Having said that, I don’t wear that kind of stuff preferring an old pair of 501’s and a tee shirt, but still I would have like the option.
The biggest issue however was moving. I had not realised how little I moved. And it is only now after losing 60 plus pounds, I understand why. Walking up just a few stairs was painful. It required a huge effort. Not only was hauling around 100 pounds more weight than I needed a struggle, the fact was that I didn’t have a lot of muscle mass and I struggled to move a huge form with not a lot of capability. Just the act of getting out of a chair was a chore. One I didn’t do very often. I just sat there and asked everyone around me to get things so I wouldn’t have to. The spiral down was complete, possibly terminal.
I was born in the 1960’s US. Texas to be precise. As a kid I roamed far, played in ditches, looked for poisonous snakes, sometimes found them, and generally lived a very active and free childhood. There was much to see in small town Texas, and I saw most things from about the age of 7. This was back when parents didn’t worry about kids being hurt, molested, or kidnapped. Or at least that’s what I tell myself. Activity was the only way to experience life back then, even in the US where TV was becoming king. If you wanted an adventure or to see something new, you had to get out of the house and move.
After I grew up and left the house, I remained about the same weight into my mid to late twenties. I did start smoking however and drinking alcohol and so began that slow insipid weight gain that would culminate in my weighing 285 pounds stuck to my couch. This journey was not a straight line. I would do the latest fad diet and lose 20 pounds and then put that much on plus another 10 pounds. In fact for about 10 years I weighed in the low 230’s not great but manageable when you are young. It wasn’t until I started to “diet” that I hit the 280’s. And that took several attempts.
I remember one time I went from the 250’s down to 210. I had stopped smoking by that time but had continued to drink, but I had started going to the gym regularly. I did feel better, had significantly more energy, but continued to have 3 or 4 glasses of wine each night. After a while I slipped back into my old habits; not walking, sitting on the couch most of the weekend and evenings, eating all the wrong things, and drinking large amounts of alcohol. Once again, my weight started to climb, but this time, I blasted through 260 and continued right up to 280 plus. When I was 260, I should say here I am just under 5’11”, I was uncomfortable. 280 was the pits. Getting into seats which had fixed tables was almost impossible, and when I got on a plane and couldn’t get the seatbelt to fasten, I knew my weight was way out of control. I don’t know for sure, because no one ever said anything to me, but I am pretty sure people avoided sitting next to me on public transport. That thought, hurt the most.
In 2014 I stopped drinking for a bet and lost 14 pounds in a month. Then I stopped for another, lost 7 pounds. Then Her Indoors (my beautiful wife) signed us up to the local gym. At that door my journey began, and continues today. Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope this blog in a small way helps you make the choices that will culminate in your success. Avoid all the “diets”, they are smoke and mirrors, find what works for you. It will be a combination of things only you can construct. It’s not easy, but those things in life that are the most valued, must be worked for. I promise you this; it gets easier the farther down the track you travel until you come to a point where it is a part of you and it’s fun, you look forward to it, miss it when you haven’t done it for a few days, and value your life more than you ever thought possible!