Monday, March 26, 2012

My journey so far

This is a blog that I should have started a LONG time ago. But I had no idea where this journey would take me, so here I am now, as I embark on another major step of this journey, blogging. I am doing this for many reasons, but I hope that it will help other people!

I have been fat my whole life. Not in the way that many people call themselves "fat" but truly morbidly obese. Why it took me until I was in my late 30's to do something about it, is a question I can’t answer. I made many half-hearted attempts at losing weight and getting healthy before and the resolve lasted a very short time before I was right back to old habits.

I was pretty lucky - no major health complications from being obese. I did have sleep apnea which was controlled by a CPAP machine. My cholesterol was too high, but not outrageous. My knees ached, especially when it rained, but I still was relatively active. And denial, well, it is a powerful thing.

In February, 2010, I was taken from work to the emergency room after basically collapsing. I was diagnosed with labyrinthitis - a inner ear problem. It was unrelated to my weight. While in the hospital though, they found a mass in my head and I had to follow up with my primary doctor. The mass ended up being a benign calcification and nothing to worry about. But I remember - so clearly - standing on that scale and seeing the number 344 blazing back at me. Unreal. It was getting harder for me to justify that I wasn’t "that bad" when I weighed that much!

You would think that this would have been a huge wake up call, but it wasn’t. I started thinking about making some changes, but didn’t really start anything concrete. I had bought EA Sports Active for the Wii and even the basic workout with that KILLED me. Then Marc decided to cut back on soda. I was annoyed. But then I cut back too. Just that one small thing made some pounds drop off. I started thinking that maybe, just maybe, it was possible to lose weight. By my 38th birthday in June I had lost 30 pounds. Around this same time, a good friend of mine was starting the process to have weight loss surgery. She showed me all the literature, and I was pretty horrified. I knew that for me, this was not a option.

So I started making more life changes. I focused hard on portion control. I didn’t really change what I was eating, just how much I was eating. More weight dropped. In November of 2010 I bought a treadmill. I was in the high 280's.  I tried running for really the first time in my life. Running 2 minutes made me feel like I was going to die!

I then started really buckling down with my eating - I learned more about healthy foods and what assists in weight loss. We switched to whole grains and wheat. I heard about how good strength training was, so in an after Xmas sale I bought a Bowflex. In February I had lost 100 pounds. I thought that was pretty awesome until I had Marc take my picture. Seeing the picture, I cried. I couldn’t believe I had lost 100 pounds and still looked so horrible. I almost said fuck it and gave up. But after a small pity party for myself, I carried on.

That spring Marc and I built a workout room in our basement to house our rapidly growing workout materials. I came in 3rd place with a friend in a weight loss competition at work. In May I started running outside for the first time. Wow! It was much harder then on the treadmill. So I read articles on learning to run. The first time I ran a mile straight - OMG - you would have thought I ran a marathon I was so excited. My next goal became to run 3 miles straight. That seemed next to impossible at the time.

By that summer, working out and eating right had become habits for us. I was constantly getting told how "amazing" my progress was. I honestly didn’t see it. We planted a huge garden and I noticed my body craved fresh veggies. My tastes were changing!

By that summer another 50 pounds were gone. I was now sleeping without my CPAP machine and an overnight test by the doctor told me my sleep apnea was gone. In August I flew down to visit relatives in Georgia. Not only did I not need an extender belt, but I fit comfortably in a seat. A homeland security agent in Atlanta looked at my license and congratulated me on me weight loss.  My family was all complimentary and happy for me.

In September I ran my first 5K. It was SLOW - like 35 minutes - but I ran the whole thing. But my weight loss was slowing. When you weigh 250+ pounds, you can easily lose 2-3 pounds a week. But as my weight got nearer to a normal weight, that wasn’t happening. I started counting calories.

By November I was working out daily - most days twice per day. Running, weight training, DVD’s. I was mixing it up so not to get injured or burned out. I ran another 5K Thanksgiving morning.  In December the local paper did an article about me and my weight loss. The feedback was so positive, it was overwhelming.

It was around this time - even though I still was "overweight" by BMI standards I had people start telling me that I didn’t need to lose any more weight and expressing concerns. Seems people have a distorted picture of what people should look like since we see so many heavy people.

So here we are, March, 2012.  I have lost 205 pounds as of today.  The biggest concern I have right now is the HUGE amount of extra skin that I have - specifically in my stomach area.  So the next Phase of this journey will be getting the skin removed.  Stay tuned for updates!

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