As most of you who read this and see me have noticed, I’ve lost some weight over the past year. The earliest I remember really being conscious of my weight was in 5th grade. In 3rd grade my best friend was Jeff Fredrickson, and he referred to me affectionately as “lard belly.” It didn’t bug me at all because I didn’t think I actually had a lard belly. Perhaps he was a prophet, because I remember from 5th grade on for sure I was conscious that I was a fat kid. Every now and then in high school I would try to do something to lose weight like eat cottage cheese and a bagel but I never really got serious about it.
In early 2003 I asked my friend Jesse to give me some nutritional pointers and decided to get serious about losing weight. At that time I started somewhere around 240 and was down to 190 by June. I ate better and started running around Lake Elizabeth. In August of that year I met Janelle and my schedule was thrown off. My motivation also decreased a bit since I’d found the woman of my dreams, and I began my descent (ascent?) back into fatness. It didn’t get totally out of control until Belle was born. She was the perfect excuse to completely let go and I got back up into the 245 range, give or take depending on the day. I’d wear 38/40 waist jeans, and XL or XXL shirts.
I was pretty constantly unhappy about my appearance and low on energy but didn’t do much about it. I recall a few times resigning myself to just being the fat guy. Most of you who know me know I have some pretty big self-confidence problems that have been improving year by year. I used to think that once I lost weight I would feel better about myself. And that is actually true, I feel way better about myself. But in order to really change the time had to come when I thought of myself as someone other than “the fat guy.” I made that change some time in early 2008. Janelle started to lose weight in late 2007 and she inspired me to do something different with myself. I was so low on energy, which made it very difficult to help with our crazy daughter and the house and work and school and all that. It put an unfair amount on Janelle’s shoulders. I don’t recall a day where I put a stake in the ground or anything but I remember in February 2008, when I got the job as a teacher at Washington, I got serious about becoming healthy, this time for the right reasons.
I have a family history of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and so on. Being so obese up to this point has generally been an embarrassment but not really a danger. With a family and a daughter, though, I realized being fat would cut into my time with them. It was also really impacting my quality of life. I didn’t have the energy to be the kind of Dad to Belle I knew I should be or the kind of husband I should be. I have enough problems being the kind of man I should be – I don’t need weight adding itself to my character flaws. So sometime in February 2008 I decided to get serious and get healthy. I’m now down to 188 (finally broke the 190 plateau consistently, I need a belt for 34” jeans to stay up, and wear L shirts) and am in better shape than I’ve ever been my entire life. Not that that’s saying much.
A number of people have asked me “what’s your secret?!” They’ve also made comments like “hey now, don’t get anorexic on us” or “don’t lose any more weight” which, while complimentary, have a tendency to be just the kind of external praise to keep me from continuing to lose weight and thinking I’ve done enough. (I haven’t.)
I educated myself as best I could on how to eat right and get healthy, and then just started doing it. I’m going to do a few posts on some of the things that have been most helpful to me when it came to losing weight and what I’m doing to be healthier and fitter. I hope those of you who need some will find some practical help and information for your own health. I also hope others of you will offer your opinion on the things I say. I don’t proclaim to be a fount of knowledge or to know everything and welcome people who know more than me offering their thoughts and corrections. This should also help me stay focused and not rest on my laurels. I’m proud of the progress I’ve made so far and feel better than ever. But it would be a shame to stop now, so I’m hoping posting a few things here will keep me in a good, healthy mindset.
As if I don’t jump around enough topic-wise on this blog…now there are going to be health and nutrition tips.