Everyone will tell you how they lost the weight. They can’t wait to tell you how they lost the weight. But no one tells you how they gained the weight. I’m sure it’s no mystery. Eat shitty. Sedentary lifestyle. Booze.
Well, this is my story.
I went to the doctor recently to make sure I wasn’t dying. So far so good, but they’re still going to do some tests. One involves sticking something down my throat. The other involves sticking something up my ass. Maybe they’ll meet in the middle and just determine that I’m too fat.
When I was a kid, I was really skinny. I would try lighting weights and taking protein powders. Nothing. I was a rail. Of course I was also really active. Sports. Cycling. Swimming. Just plain old running around. I was a kid on the move. No moss growing on me.
Sometime after college, when I had ceased to play sports and had discovered beer, I began to put on weight. But not in the way I had been hoping to in high school. It wasn’t extreme, but I wasn’t thin as a rail anymore.
Throughout my 20’s and 30’s I fluctuated up and down, always ending up just a little bigger. At first, I was just filling out. I still looked to be in pretty decent shape. I exercised more, drank less. Ate pretty well, but not really. But I was young. I could go on a diet and just drop 20 lbs like it was nothing.
When I met my wife, she was a big time runner, and so I started running and rollerblading with her. I started eating better. I went from 185lbs when I met her back down to 162lbs which I hadn’t seen in nearly a decade.
Once I hit my forties, I had established myself as someone who carried over 200lbs on him at all times. But still, I think I carried it fairly well. I wasn’t fat, but I certainly wasn’t skinny. I was smoking at the time, so that helped quite a bit. I never ate breakfast, or lunch for that matter. I would come home, have dinner, pound a bunch of cocktails and smoke a bunch of cigarettes. It probably wasn’t the healthiest regimen.
In 2012, during a photoshoot in Miami, a producer I was working with started telling me about this thing called juicing. As in steriods, I asked? He explained that no, he was talking about fruit and vegetable juices. He had lost like 50lbs doing it. He had been overweight and depressed and on several different medications. He juiced, lost the weight, felt great and was able to get off the drugs.
I was a little skeptical. At the time he was telling me, I was sitting at the bar in a steakhouse, having a cocktail and waiting for him to leave so I could order my steak. But he told me there was this documentary that had started him off on his journey and I promised to watch it when I got home.
The film was called, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.”
I flew home the next day and that night I sat on my sofa and started watching the film. It was sort of mind blowing to me at the time. I think 30 minutes in, I paused the movie, pulled out my phone and ordered a juicer from Amazon. That was Saturday night and it would arrive on Tuesday.
For the next two days, I started giving myself a light detox in anticipation. I drank a lot of water. Stopped drinking alcohol and coffee. And I just ate raw fruits and veggies. On Tuesday I got my juicer and started juicing. I had my last cigarette that day. Actually, that’s not entirely true. On Wednesday morning, I was almost all the way to work. I knew I had a cigarette handy but I’d been fighting the urge. Finally, I lit one up and it just tasted horribly. I threw it out the window and haven’t smoked one since.
So in the course of three days, I had quit eating solid food, drinking alcohol, caffeine and stopped smoking. It was an interesting first week.
A lot of people saw my posts back then and most were very supportive. For others it was annoying. I posted every day what my current weight was, how much I’d lost that day, and my total weight loss. It was partly to stay focused, and partly to have people to hold me accountable.
In the end, I fasted for 30 days and lost 30lbs.
After I was done my fast, I went back to solid food but decided not to eat meat. I toyed with the idea of going vegan but I just couldn’t see myself giving up eggs and cheese. Also, I figured I wanted to at least be able to eat fish even if I wasn’t going to eat bacon.
I also joined a CrossFit gym.
I was feeling great. Working out. Eating right. But I went back to drinking.
After about six months I had begun eating meat again, gained 15lbs or so back, and within a year I was back to eating whatever and got back up to 230lbs.
So, almost to the day, I started fasting again, and again I lost 30 lbs in 30 days.
This time, I didn’t quit eating meat afterwards, but tried going the other way, sort of, and cut out all grains. Tried to keep sugars and processed foods out of my diet. I was still going to the gym and was maintaining the weight. I wasn’t losing any, but I wasn’t gaining any either.
I contribute that to the booze. I like to drink, and not just a little. I remember my Crossfit instructor asking me if I was losing weight and I said, “No. Not really, but I’m gaining muscle.”
He nodded and I added, “And I drink.”
“Well, at least you’re honest about it,” he said. “Most people leave that part out.” He paused again then said, “You could just not drink.”
I looked at him and said, “That’s why I’m killing myself in here. So I can continue to drink.”
Then I got hurt. I strained my neck doing squats and was out of commission for almost 3 months. I never went back to the gym. I loved Crossfit for the intensity and structure to it. It was fun and challenging, but ultimately too much for my 47 year old body. It’s too much wear and tear. I have tendonitis in both shoulders and they’re very fond of holding weights up over your head.
So, I got back to 230lbs. I wasn’t smoking but I wasn’t exercising either. It’s not hard to guess what happened.
In addition to what I wasn’t doing, I began a new habit of going out to lunch everyday. I had started this awhile back, on off days from the gym, but now I was going everyday. I wasn’t eating the worst food, but still a decent amount of chicken cheesesteaks and pizza. In addition to the food, I would have two glasses of wine with lunch. Everyday. Nothing like empty calories.
Then when I got home, I’d have 3-4 cocktails. Sometimes more.
Recently, I’d been dealing with almost chronic heartburn and a general malaise in my stomach. I assumed it was most likely a combination of being overweight, not eating particularly well and too much alcohol. But just to be safe, I decided to get myself checked out.
There were two things that happened at the doctor’s office that convinced me I had to make some changes. They weighed me and they took my blood pressure. Nothing good was liable to come out of either.
I want to say right here that if you’re going to weigh someone, you might want to try and be as accurate as possible. I was wearing heavy boots, jeans, two shirts, carrying keys, a phone, wallet, etc…
The nurse told me I weighed 270lbs and I thought, “What the fuck? Seriously?
Later the doctor took my blood pressure and it was so high I’m not even going to say what it was.
I had two thoughts.
One was, “Well, that’s the end of lunches out.”
The other was, “I have to start exercising again.”
I’m most likely going to have to go on blood pressure medicine until I can get it down through diet and exercise. But the good news, I weighed myself this morning and I’m only 250lbs, which is what I thought I was.
I’m not saying 250lbs is good. It’s too much for me. I think 230lbs is too much for me, but it’s livable. But it’s not nearly 300lbs.
The doctor was concerned that I’d gained FORTY pounds since my baseline of 230. I was concerned too. But I was also a little skeptical. I’m glad I was right.
So I need to lose at least 20lbs to start. I feel like that’s doable. It would be easier and quicker if I quit drinking, but where’s the fun in that? I might have to give up rum though and limit my intake on alcohol altogether.
There’s also a lot of obvious stuff I can do. No more pork roll. No more hamburgers. No more cheesesteaks. I’ll cut out most of the bad carbs and sugars. No processed foods.
I’m not good at eating really healthy because I don’t like a lot of veggies or whole foods. Jane is so much better. She can eat rabbit food.
I’ll work on portion control. No snacking. Brown rice. Fish. Steamed veggies. Beans. Salads. Back to lots of salads. It’s all good. I have to learn to splurge every once in awhile rather than let it become a steady diet, and eat well most of the time.
The nice thing is Jane has agreed to start making me lunches, which is pretty awesome. That should help a lot. Half of my poor eating comes from laziness and convenience, not hunger.
So, hopefully I start dropping some weight and live to tell another tale.