From Big and Tall to Just Tall Pt. 1
The great Tony Stark once said, “part of the journey is the end”, and that’s where I am at in this blog. Weight loss can be an extremely challenging process. You can spend an eternity on a plateau that you never thought you would leave, or worse, get so stressed out by the thought of attempting that you never even start. But sometimes, all you need is a success story to fuel the fire for you to begin your journey… so that you can get to the end. This article may be a (not so) humble brag, but if it inspires you, then mission accomplished.
At my worst, I was 330 pounds. This was a different time, and a very different me. Growing up, I had always been a burly boy, bigger but athletic enough to get passed that. Throughout college however I had hit a wall. I wasn’t playing sports anymore, and my activity levels dropped severely. That’s when I went from a pleasant 250 pounder to 330 pounds in the flesh. I was enjoying fast food a lot, and it wasn’t just a meal it was 5 burgers and some fries. Beyond that, it was also a whole lot of pizza (that hasn’t changed), but not in moderation, and with no physical activity to offset the consumption. Regardles, I knew it was a problem that was starting to be a drain mentally. Things started to not fit, and I hated going shopping because nothing fit there. I was an 18 neck, XXL in shirts, and a 44 waist. Needless to say it wasn’t pleasant.
My breaking point though, was when Jess and I were planning our first trip to Disney World and Universal together. I knew I was bigger, and I knew I wanted to ride as many rides as possible. That isn’t a winning combination. At 330 pounds, I had read several stories about trouble fitting on rides like Harry Potter and The Hulk at Universal. I fit in the rides, barely, but the point was made then that something needed to change. At that point thought, I didn’t know what to do.
I knew eating habits needed to change and I knew I needed to work out, so I started doing just that. When thinking about changes in food, I started focusing on eating less of it(obviously) but also focusing on things with less calories. Truthfully, I wasn’t so much worried about how it was made at this point. I remember back, and a go to for me for lunch was some kind of lunchable pack that was a half a sandwich and a piece of fruit and chips. It was low in calories, so I ate it, and it worked for a while. As the pounds started to lower, I changed my diet a bit so that my typical lunch was a turkey sandwich. 2 slices of turkey, between two pieces of the 45 calorie Sara Lee bread, and a bit of mustard. I would toast it and have that with a piece of fruit and another item. I also had to look at changing up what I ate for dinner. At this point I was still with my parents, and they cook with a lot of “stuff”. It tastes great, but the stuff added a lot of calories to a typical meal. With that, I started buying my own groceries and making my own dinners that were not as loaded with “stuff”.
But it isn’t enough to just reduce calories. When you are as big as I was, you have to work in exercise with eating better. This is where it was difficult. I had started going to the gym with Robert, a friend of mine who now lives in Texas, which helped me to make working out a habit. Him going to the same gym was a key part of my success because he would push me to go. There were several days I didn’t want to go but forced myself to because I didn’t want to hear it from him. At the gym would be a standard workout, nothing crazy. 20-30 minutes on the elliptical or the treadmill and then another 20 or so minutes lifting. This is where I semi fell in love with running. You can’t really fall in love with running because its awful on days when you don’t want to run. But this is where the seeds were sown. On the treadmill I was awful. I started off and could barely run a minute without needing to walk. After working out for a while and starting to see real result, I had to try to find something else to motivate me and get over the plateau humps. At this point I had already lost about 80 pounds weighing about 250 pounds and I looked and felt a lot better, but I had goals to accomplish. This was also around the time that Jess and I were vacationing down to Disney World A LOT. Queue the Run Disney theme music. We both signed up for the Tower of Terror Ten Miler, a ten-mile run through Disney’s Wide World of Sports and Hollywood Studios area. Training for that was a beast. This was my first official race, so I was using the training methods from the Run Disney website, which was a run walk method. I started by running a minute and walking a minute and went up from there. Training for that race got me off my plateau and losing weight again, it also helped me find out that running is my preferred choice of cardio whether I liked it or not because it gave me the best results.
Over time I lost about 30 more pounds, giving me a total of 110 pounds lost over the course of about 3 years from 2012 through 2014. That was pretty good considering I didnt use supplements or have any kind of surgery. It was just eating better and working out. But even that was not my true goal. Truthfully, I wanted to get down to what I called my fighting weight, which was what I weight in 6th grade: 193 pounds. I will talk about the journey from 220 to 193 next week.