85lbs Yet So Far to Go

So much has happened since I began my weight loss journey in January of 2018. I’ve been on the keto diet, a macros diet, no diet, and now Weight Watchers. I lost 80 pounds, fell off the wagon, gained 10 pounds, lost those 10 pounds, stayed at the same weight for months. And now, today, I hit a milestone. 85 pounds dropped since I began. I now weigh 235 pounds. I started at 320. I started with a size 50 waistline. Now a size 38. I wore XXXL shirts. Now XL and sometimes large. My blood pressure has gone from 140 over 100 to 105 over 65. My thyroid medication has lowered.

Yet, today I took photos. And while I can absolutely see the huge difference, I still see all the fat hanging from my body. Some can be worked off still. Some, I fear, will remain until I can afford surgery (if I can ever afford surgery). I will fully admit, these pictures hurt me and frustrate me and scare me. Yes I am ecstatic about my weight loss. Yes I am still so motivated to lose the last 15-20 pounds I am aiming for. But these photos hurt me. All that fat is a constant reminder of the pain and suffering I inflicted on myself with bad eating habits, laziness, and so many more excuses. These photos are when I started compared to today. Hopefully by sharing them they help motivate me and maybe someone else.

will continue to take back my life, take control of how I look and how I feel about myself. The fat on my bones does not define who I am.

One Year Weight Loss Results

These photos were taken one year apart today. January 1st, 2018 and January 1st 2019.

The journey has evolved, changed course, slowed down, sped up. It has been widely successful at times and a frustrating failure at others.

Yet here I am. 75 pounds lighter.

At the age of 40, with arthritis in my knee and aches all over my body, I stopped getting in my own way.

Dont ever let fear of failure stop you. Let it motivate you, not stop you.

Hiding from failure

I had visions of being wildly successful on my weight loss journey.

Never stumbling.

Never messing up.

Never gaining some weight back because my blood pressure medicine was reduced and it backfired causing awful headaches when I worked out and thus forcing me to quit working out and then being upset about it so my discipline in the kitchen went out the window and I started eating poorly and gaining weight back and I blamed it on the medicine as a way to justify why I’d gained some weight back.

Oops. Sorry. I ranted.

All of those nevers happened.

I stumbled.

I messed up.

And my blood pressure medicine did go crazy sending me in a nearly two month free fall.

Long story short…the ultimate desire was to lose enough weight to be taken off my blood pressure medicine. When I hit 80 pounds gone my doctor took me off one of my two pills. It didnt work. My blood pressure rose drastically and I started getting migraine like headaches after working out. I started seeing a specialist who put me on new meds. Those didnt work. Eventually, however, everything went back to normal. My blood pressure went from 120 over 80 to 165 over 105 and is now back to 120 over 80.

(If you dont know blood pressure numbers, that 165 over 105 is very not good)

So. I wasnt allowed to work out. I started cheating on my diet. I started not counting calories and getting fast food more often. I enjoyed my Thanksgiving dinner.

And I gained weight.

10 pounds to be exact. Suddenly I couldnt say I’d lost 80 pounds. It was only 70.

And then the panic set in. Soon I’ll have only lost 60 pounds. Then 50. Then depression and fear and anger and my entire journey will soon by wiped out.

But I refused to let it happen that way. I refused to allow myself to fail again.

And with the help of some friends, my wife, a Facebook group of awesome people to discuss weight issues….I got refocused and rededicated.

I’ve lost 5 pounds of the 10 I gained.

So 75 pounds gone.

I’ve got a few weeks left in 2018. Here we go. Bring it on, 2019

Birthday Reflections

When I woke up today to get my kids ready for school my son smiled, hugged me, and gave me a card that he created. A simple, perfect birthday card with a drawing of the two of us. He hugged me again, said he loved me, wished me happy birthday, and went about his morning routine.

A short while later I was able to surprise my daughter and be her kindergarten class’s “mystery reader”. Each week they have a mystery reader show up and read a book to them. As I entered the room, the smile on her face was bigger than I’d ever seen and she jumped up and ran to me. We hugged, I said I loved her, and then I read a book to her class. The smile never left her face.

I made it home just in time to catch my wife before she went to work. We hugged, kissed, and off she went. (In case I haven’t mentioned it before, my wife is amazing)

I’m telling you all this because, while my blog has been about my weight loss journey, it is only a small portion of me.

My weight loss is not the key to happiness. It is one small step on an ever evolving map. And everyone’s map is different. I was unhappy with who I was as a person when I was overweight. How I acted. The bitterness and anger that it brought out. And yet, even after dropping 82 pounds, I am not instantly a better person. That takes work too.

We need to enjoy the little things in life that may seem small. A hug from a child, a moment with a loved one, a laugh, a sunrise, a memory of long ago.

I’m forty-one years old today. Memories of my youth now dance alongside my children as they create their own. All points on my personal map.

Take a moment today to find that small moment of joy you may have overlooked. Sometimes the smallest things can bring the greatest joy.

Medication Downsize!

In December I was taking two pills for my thyroid and two pills for my high blood pressure.

As my weight dropped my doctor lowered my thyroid dosage.

And now my blood pressure medicine has been cut in half!

From four pills to two. In a month I’ll retest my blood pressure and if it is holding at a good level the dosage will drop again. Next week I see my thyroid doctor to see if that dosage needs to be lowered again.

Turns out that being healthy means your body gets healthier. Hmmm, why didnt anyone tell me that?!

Confessions and Acceptance

When I began my weight loss journey nine months ago I set out to fix who I was as a person. Inside and out. I am forty years old, arthritic, sore, in pain most of the time. Changing my diet, being disciplined with what and how I eat, and adding in exercise has helped drop the pounds. Yet there was more to it than diet and exercise.

I wanted to fix me.

That has turned out to be the hardest part.

You see, what doesn’t get talked about a lot with regards to weight loss, is how important it is to fix the mind. Fix our self esteem. Fix our attitude about life in general. Watching what you eat can only take you so far if you aren’t mentally prepared to adapt to the bumps in life.

I know for me personally, being obese for so long made me angry at the world. It made me bitter. And not just on the surface. Not just the cliché anger over not being able to buy clothes in a store or fit on a ride at an amusement park. Those things hurt, sure, but the low self esteem and pain from being overweight affected me in ways that I didn’t think were related to weight.

My internal sadness affected who I was as a father, a husband, a friend. My low energy and embarrassment kept me from playing games with my kids. My sulking, even when I didn’t know I was doing it, kept me from giving my wife the attention she deserves. To ask about how her day went or see when she needed help or simply a hug. I had selfish blinders to the world. HAVE selfish blinders.

Now, let me be very honest, being overweight is not to blame for every failed moment I had as a person. That would be an unfair, cheap deflection. I own my mistakes and my laziness. I own my selfishness.

I have not failed at changing. My journey continues but I must start addressing that part of me that is more than just the number on my scale. I need to start addressing me, who I am, how I treat those that I love the most.
Losing weight has been amazing. Eighty pounds gone in 2018. Twenty-five more to go. But I have more to work on beyond those pounds. I have more to fix.

I’m ready for the challenge.

I’m ready.

80 Pounds Lighter

80 pounds. 80 pounds that was pressing on my knees, my feet, and my mind. 80 pounds that was there at the end of 2017.

Now gone. Hopefully forever.

At this time last year I didnt have it in me to make the change. I had given up. I was a fat, 40 year old, arthritic man.

I called myself worse names than anyone else did.

Anything is possible. It may take longer to reach or the path may be different from the original plan, but it is possible. You just have to take that first step.

January, April, September 2018

320 pounds to 239.6.

25 more to go.

Life Without Keto

Since January my eating habits have revolved around an ultra low carb, high fat diet. 25 grams of carbs a day, which is not a lot AT ALL. For comparison, one bagel is usually two days worth of carbs.

I never planned to stay keto for 8 months but it worked so darn well I figured, why not?! (Much to the displeasure of my mom who worried I was hurting myself with all the fat in my diet…fyi, I tested my cholesterol regularly and it never spiked. But I appreciated her concern)

Keto was never going to be a lifestyle change for me. I always planned on moving away from it. So this week I decided to make that move.

This past Monday I switched from ultra low carb, high fat, moderate protein eating to a more balanced macros eating. In a nutshell, that means I can eat carbs again!! In fact, I just finished eating scrambled eggs on top of Ezekiel bread!

One of the reasons I made this switch now is because my children both started school and I’m upping my workouts at #9round kickboxing. More working out, more carbs needed to keep my body strong.

I’m still on a calorie count, I’m still not eating sweets and pizzas and cereal and all those indulgent foods I love so much. I still have 20-25 pounds I want to lose. Today I weigh 242 pounds. I started at 320. Keto is a major part of that. But that journey has ended and a new one is beginning.

I got this.

Below are two pictures. The first is me in December, in the ER, when the final push to change happened. The second is me now.

Fear is the Mind Killer

I wasnt sure what to expect when I started this blog. I thought it would be therapeutic to myself if I shared my journey. Maybe blogging would make me more accountable? Maybe my journey would help others, inspire others, motivate them?

Probably a bit of everything.

I’ve said before that I hate sharing photos of myself. I hate looking at them. Yet I’m going to. I’m going to share two photos that scare the crap out of me. Exposing my physical flaws is painful to do. I understand when I was at my heaviest I wasnt “hiding” anything. My giant gut was exposed to the world. But I could at least crop photos to remove my gut. Strategically hide my obesity.

I dont want to hide from it anymore. I need to accept how big I was and that it bothered me. I’m not saying bring overweight is bad. Not at all. I’m saying, for me personally, I was unhappy with my weight. I was unhappy with not being able to do the most basic physical things, like running more than 10 steps. Or jumping. And that’s not a joke. I couldn’t jump more than an inch off the ground.

So here is me. At the beginning of my journey and yesterday. I still have a ways to go. But I’m enjoying the journey.

Left photo: January 1st, 2018

Right photo: August 1st, 2018

40 years old and angry

This journey has been more than just dropping weight to me. From the very beginning it has been a reset of who I am as a person. Yes I have focused mainly on my diet and a number on the scale but I have also found myself paying attention to my attitude and personality.

To be honest, I had grown bitter and judgmental with age. I was turning into the “get off my lawn” old man. Forty years old, 320 pounds, staring directly at a mid-life crisis. I would lose my patience with my kids, my wife, strangers, my dog, anything and anyone. I would disappear behind the screen of my phone and miss life. I made excuses more than memories.

I dont want to blame my weight on all of that but I know it played a big part. I have been, for years, so unhappy with how I looked and felt that it was changing me into a darker person. Everytime I couldn’t use a seatbelt on a plane because of my belly or couldn’t ride a rollercoaster or couldn’t fit through a door without turning sideways, it affected me.

Forty years old and angry.

Over the past 7 months I have done a lot of soul searching, a lot of meditation, a lot of looking in the mirror. That’s where the name of this blog came from. At the time I started this journey my kids were going through a Michael Jackson phase.

“If you want to make the world a better place take a look at yourself and make that change”

-Man in the Mirror.

Change is hard, everyone knows that. You’re fighting against the grain on a path you may have helped create.

For the past seven months I’ve been moving against the grain of an angry life I had created. It’s been easy at times, hard at times, frustrating and humbling. The last two months my weight has stayed within the same 4 pounds. I stand at 73 pounds dropped since January 1st. Make no mistake, I am ecstatic at that. Yet I know I have a long way to go. I want to drop about 40 more pounds and then find a way to maintain it. This will be a lifelong journey.

But because I have been focusing on who I am as a person right along with how I eat, I feel confident. I’ve taken breaks from social media, put the phone down and looked up. I’ve realized how my poor attitude affected my family and have worked to adjust. I’ve looked to improving me, inside and out.

My journey continues.

Back in the States

My trip is over and I am back in Texas. I still wont be home for a few more days, meaning I wont be weighing myself until Monday. Which I guess is a good thing? Maybe?

I honestly have no idea if I gained or lost weight. My instinct says I did…I mean, I ate a LOT of good food and drank a lot of beer. But I also hiked and walked many many miles. I’m thinking around 30 miles of walking over the nine days along with 1100 miles of driving.

Regardless of what the scale says, I am happy that I allowed myself freedom to enjoy myself without worrying about the scale.

Ireland!

Wow. That’s pretty much all I can say at this point. We just finished up day three in Ireland.

It’s amazing.

The people, the towns, the views, the history….the food.

Yes, as of the past three days, I am not following the keto diet. I’m not weighing myself daily like I was before. I had bread. Lots of bread. I had scones and soda bread and brown bread and black pudding made with oatmeal.

And it was all glorious. GLORIOUS!!

Now, to be fair, the wheels have not come off. While I may be overindulging at times, I am not eating everything and anything in sight. I have some control. (Some)

This way of vacation has a positive and negative process. The positive is that I have accepted the potential weight gain result of my (lack of) diet. On the negative side, one of my ultimate goals is to get to a point where I can eat daily without worrying about counting calories and gaining weight…and if I gain weight while enjoying myself, well that will be upsetting. If I go 9 days without counting calories, am I really incapable of control?

Who knows at this point. I sure dont.

(And for your viewing pleasure….a few photos.

Reflection on a milestone

This is how I see myself. Pretty much all the time. This photo was taken 15 years ago while filming the movie Rolling Kansas. It was my first time working on a movie and was an amazing experience. Yet when I come across pictures of myself in that movie, I cringe. I just see a fat guy. I always just see a fat guy. Pictures on a vacation…fat guy. Wedding photos…fat guy. The happiest moments of my adult life and I see a fat guy and am embarrassed.

Today I got onto the scale and hit a big milestone. 70 pounds gone.

That sounds crazy to say. Since January 1st I’ve dropped 70 pounds from my body.

7.0.

Yet I still am haunted by how big I was. I still fear gaining the weight back.

And yet none of my friends or family around me EVER make me feel bad for being fat. They never mock me. They never make weight an issue.

But I do. And I know I’m lucky. I know for many people they are ridiculed and teased for their weight. I’ve seen it. It’s awful.

Finding a way to be comfortable with who we are, inside and out, is hard. We all have demons of many different kinds. My weight, how I look, and how I handle that has crippled me for too long.

Today I hit a milestone. Just in time for my vacation. It’s amazing. It feels great. Yet that haunting feeling and insecurity hovers over me still. Today I can handle it. Probably tomorrow as well. There may be a time in the future that I let it control me. I can’t continue to fear that day. And I cant continue to view myself based on my weight. I have to view myself based on my extraordinarily good looks and charm. See, I’m humble too.

😉

68 Pounds and a Trip to Ireland

I’m two weeks away from taking a vacation to Ireland with my wife. And I’m two pounds away from 70 pounds gone.

This vacation will test my diet and control but I’m also not putting a lot of pressure on myself. If I gain a few pounds that’s ok. I can’t let the number on the scale control me anymore.

So, to Ireland and beyond!

The Fat Remains

Losing 63 pounds has been amazing, don’t get me wrong. I’m starting to get regular compliments and I will admit it feels good.

But my own self image has a long way to go. I dont consider myself a skinny person. Or even healthy person. Yes I’ve lost a lot of weight but I’m still about 50 pounds from my goal. And if I go by the crazy medical idea of what a five foot eleven and a half inch guy should weigh…I still have 75 pounds to go. (Luckily my doctor says that guideline is crap and she’d be ecstatic if I lost just 40 more pounds.)

Anyway…as I said, I dont feel like a skinny person. And days like today remind me of that. Due to my very large belly when I began this journey, I have a lot of belly fat to get rid of. And I am accepting that a lot of it simply wont go away. It will hang there, a constant reminder of how fat I was.

Today I tried on some more new pants. And my fat humbled me. It’s ok. I can handle it. But days like today remind me of how long I have to go and how insecure I still am with how I look.

DDP Yoga

I normally wake up at 615am to get my son ready for school. Its early. I dont like early.

I also dont like being fat so today I set my alarm for 530am. I dragged my tired body out of bed and did a 22 minute DDP Yoga workout.

I cursed a few times at the beginning but felt great at the end. Hopefully I can make this a routine.

63 pounds down. 50 to go. Let’s do this!

NEW CLOTHES

For years I shopped at fat guy stores. I’ve had the same few pairs of jeans for years because I HATE clothes shopping. My jeans are size 50, crazy baggy, sagging everywhere. They are embarrassing…to me.

Today I bought clothes in a “normal” store. Old Navy.

Yes. I found a pair of jeans in my size at Old Navy. And to top that, I had to pick a SMALLER pair than I thought. Size 40. Slim fit.

Say what?!?!

Here are three photos. Two with my new pants on and one with my old pants on OVER my new pants.