Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Looking Back and Moving Forward

2008 was the hardest year of my life.

What happened...

I started it at probably around 530 lbs.

I lived alone and binged nightly on food and drink.

I bought my nicest car yet ('04 Toyota Sequoia).

In March I started isolating and turning off my cell and bingeing. I got up to 580.

In March my boss got pissed at not being able to get a hold of me and my general falling apart, and he talked about firing me.

I got so depressed after that, my father flew in to town that day to see me. We talked and decided I would check myself into a non-residential, but highly hands-on treatment center for food issues, etc.

In June I returned from treatment, 70 lbs less, full of insights, and extreme confidence.

Returning to my daily life proved much more challenging that I thought and I started gaining weight.

In September I decided I needed more hands on support and so my girlfriend and I agreed we'd move in together. I moved in with her Seattle.

Shortly thereafter all of my issues (they all affect my eating, but also lots of other areas of my life) proved to be too challenging, and too big of a risk I felt, to continue the arrangement.

I moved to Idaho to live with my sister and her family, for support, while I tried to gain some traction with my weight, etc.

Depression from the failure in Seattle contributed to a largely unabated 3 months of bingeing and complete numbness.

I officially weighed in at more than 600 lbs: 618

In late December I started this blog, started working out, and starting eating better.

I lost 4 pounds.


I am so happy I started making changes organically, prior to 1/1, instead of making "resolutions" once New Years rolled around. I feel much more realistically poised for a successful 2009 as a result. And regarding 2009...

My main goal for 2009 is to lose 250 pounds.

For now, I'm just going to focus on the next 90 days:
1) Workout (strength and/or cardio) at least 4 days a week
2) Blog at least 4 days a week
3) Drink 6 liters of water daily
4) Get at least 1 counseling session weekly
4) Lose 32 pounds Feb 1
5) Lose another 24 pounds by March 1
6) Lose another 16 pounds by April 1

I believe this year is my greatest opportunity yet to become a healthier person: mentally, emotionally, and Physically.

I will make this my best year ever, and I will do it by working hard, giving myself grace and love, living in the moment, taking it one day at a time, and never giving up.


Good luck to us all! Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Post Christmas Sale - Everything Must Go!!!

Below are the items for sale...

1. Christmas Tree - Suggested uses:

a) Burn in massive pyre on beach (see above)
b) Strip tree of needles. Put needles in bag. Remember to give bag of needles to child in your life at next year’s Christmas before his/her actual present(s). Suggested messaging to accompany gift: "Merry Christmas! Here's one needle for every time you've ever disappointed me", or, "The first Christmas tree I went to get committed suicide because it so badly didn't want to be our Christmas tree. It hated you. Here are its remains so you'll always be able to remember the year you ruined Christmas."

2. Perfectionism - Suggested uses:

a) Do things really well for a brief period of time (Note: often ends once inability to maintain overly high expectations causes self-hatred, guilt, burn-out, etc. Traditionally followed by extended period of apathy, depression, and return to old unhealthy behaviors)

3. Fat, lots of Fat - Suggested uses:

a) Make enough soap to keep you and your family clean for the rest of your lives.
b) Tie big pieces of it to your feet and skate on Paul Bunyan's giant frying pan.

4. Laziness - Suggested uses:

a) Save hundreds of hours of time potentially spent at the gym. If expertly used, you can even save money by not getting the gym membership in the first place.
b) Limit active lifestyle to bare minimum, basic necessities: going to restroom, looking for remote control, dialing pizza/chinese place, putting pants on to claim food/pay delivery person, etc.

5. Denial - Suggested uses:

a) Eat whatever you want, and still feel good about yourself. (e.g. literally have your cake and eat it too.)
b) Be able to feel accomplished at end of a day consisting of 5 naps, 4 hours of tv judge shows, 3 orders of General Tso's chicken, 2 times getting off the couch, and 1 horrible, but still sat through, Tyler Perry's House of Pain marathon on TBS.

So, if anyone is interested in any of the above items please contact me because, remember, EVERYTHING MUST GO!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Like an Unlucky Englishman...

...I'm going to lose 20 Pounds

But first...

This week I lost 4 lbs! Awesome! That makes today, December 26 2009, a great day. To have been losing weight for a year now and to still be losing 4 pounds a week speaks very highly of my consistent efforts!

Wait a sec, it’s actually 2008 and 4 lbs is the total for my first week of attempted weight loss. Fuck.

I'm really disappointed. However, I'm not going to focus on being down, I'm going to examine why this week wasn't as productive as it could have been.

- I only attended 3 work out classes (Fri, Mon, Tue), of a possible 5.

- I wasn't really active at all the rest of the week.

- I ate too much Sunday night.

- I did what is generally unthinkable to me, which is essentially binge in front of other people, last night, at Christmas dinner. I ate a light breakfast at 10 or so, and then didn’t eat anything else until we had a late dinner at 9pm. Big fucking mistake. I was so hungry I had two HUGE helpings of salad with lots of fattening dressings, followed by two HUGE helpings of ham (which I don't even normally even like), 3 HUGE helpings of scalloped potatoes, 3 HUGE helpings of sausage stuffing, 5 rolls, followed by a late night pre-bedtime hamburger, and two pop tarts. Side note, if your morbid curiosity ever prompted you to wonder how someone can even get to 600 lbs, there you go. Then, repeat. Daily.

- I didn't drink very much water the last few days which at this weight leads to a fair bit of water retention.

So, in summary, I wasn't as successful as I would like this last week because
1) I didn't drink enough water
2) I didn't work out consistently enough
3) I didn't regulate my eating well enough.

Wow, shocking findings.

But really, it is valuable to me to evaluate the last week because I can see specifically where I fell down and where I need to shore up my efforts this next week. So, with that in mind, below are my goals for this next week:

1) Drink 6 liters of water daily.
2) Go to the strength/step class at least 4 times.
3) I got a dumbbell/barbell set for Christmas! So, use those for a workout session at least 4 times.
4) Go for 20 minute (at a minimum) walks at least 3 times.
5) Start writing what I eat daily on this blog.
6) No binges.
and last, but certainly not least:
7) Lose 20lbs

I guess I should address the realism of that last goal, and whether or not it is a healthy goal, as it may not seem like it. I do want to do this weight loss/getting healthy thing the right way; for the first time in my life, I really do. And I know that I have in the past put WAY too much emphasis on big weekly numbers. However, I weigh 614 pounds. A person starting their weight loss journey at 614 pounds, if their first week has regular exercise (even 20 mins. of walking daily), reasonable amounts of healthy food, and plenty of water, can expect to lose that much weight.

I know this because of the tragic fact that, like so many fat people, I know how weight loss works. I've done it. I've gone from 350 to 300 in 2 months, from 430 to 370 in one month, from 550 to 370 in 4 months, etc. And while all of those efforts had many things wrong with them, including me taking my food and exercise efforts to an unhealthy extreme, my first week in all of them was just eating right and exercising regularly and I dropped between 10-25 pounds every time.

This time I want to do it right and I know that part of that is creating a lifestyle change (instead of just "dieting") so that I can sustain my health FOREVER. For now though, I think 20 pounds feels right for this next week. So, I've set specific goals, and the most important goal is the overall target to simply exercise consistently and eat right.

Also, I believe that it's key not to beat myself up, so in that interest the sarcastic portions of this blog will be where my self-judging on this last week ends. Conversely, I believe it's equally important to recognize the successes in my struggle, both large and small, so on that note, congratulations to me for working out 3 times last week, for eating right most of the time, and for losing 4 pounds. I've been gaining for the last few months, so while the number wasn't all I wanted it to be, I am finally going the right direction again. That feels good.

*Bonus Game* - Try and guess how much weight I'll lose this upcoming week. Whoever has the closest guess wins the whole jar of gumballs, a second hand Asia Greatest Hits CD, and of course, a Stages of Change windbreaker! Good luck everybody!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bird on a Wire

Well, it's the day before Christmas and I'm off from work. It's a fucking Christmas miracle!!! But seriously, oh man is it nice.

My mom is in town, so I've been spending a lot of time with her and my sister and her family. It's been great.

So, I have been feeling good, but today kind of out of nowhere my mom told me how worried she and my family are about me. That really, really brought me down. It's not that I don't know, or shouldn't expect that they would feel that way. After all, as has previously been discussed here, I weigh as much as a fucking baby elephant. Still, hearing her say she was worried about me and seeing the hurt in her eyes was, oh my god, just brutally painful.

As I've said, I have lived a life steeped in denial, and so even though I've been pretty in touch with reality this week, a moment like that reminded me just how out of touch I still am. If I was really in touch with reality, life would be unbearable because of where I am and the effect it is having on me and my loved ones.

My whole life has been about trying to find peace, comfort, and happiness through short sighted "solutions" (food, etc.) that have really done nothing but hurt me and/or everyone that cares about me.

I want to lose weight and get healthy because my family and friends have always supported me, unwaveringly, despite the pain I've caused them in so many different ways. They deserve it, and so do I.

It reminds me of lyrics from a great Johnny Cash song, "Bird on a Wire":
Like a baby, stillborn
Like a beast with his horn
I have torn everyone who reached out for me
But I swear by this song
And by all that I have done wrong
I'll make it all up to you

I want to create healing instead of pain. I want to deal with things as they really are, because I can't live at this weight like that.

Here's to Real living and creating Real change.

Johnny Cash - Bird on a Wire

Johnny Cash - Bird On A Wire
Found at

Monday, December 22, 2008

Walking Tall in Broken Shoes

Today was a good day; I've been feeling pretty happy. I’ve been getting more and more motivated and in touch with my intrinsic desire to change and get healthy as this last week has gone on. That is soooo great.

This weekend was good. I ate well all weekend, well, actually I ate too much for dinner Sunday by quite a bit, but not nearly enough to equal of my binges. After all, as my grandfather use to say: "2 helpings each of spaghetti and salad does not 2 large extra cheese pizza's with ranch dipping sauce make."

So yea, good weekend. No real exercise which is not so good though. I've been going to these "step/strength" classes the last week, and they don't have them on the weekends. I'm going to have to start walking or something to make up for that on Sat/Sun. Wasn't too motivated to get out and walk this last weekend though, in large part because Snow & Ice are bad for me; they are the Woodward & Bernstein to my Nixon, the Batman & Robin to my Joker, the Ben & Jerry to my, well, to me also, actually. Damn you, you fucking delicious ice cream.

Anyway, the point is that too much time spent walking on icy conditions is not a risk I'm down for taking at this size; maybe when I lose enough weight to not break my shoe while I'm working out.

Oh yea, side note: on Friday I broke my fucking shoe in half while I was planting my feet hard for some balance ball ab exercises. The sole of my shoe literally cracked in two. Meh, I got over it quick. I just added it to the long list of stuff my weight has broken over the years: kitchen chair, chair at school, reclining chair in living room, patio chair in Mexican airport, another kitchen chair, another recliner, a bed, office chair, the damn steering column in my jeep, chair at treatment center, another office chair, another kitchen chair, shoe, dignity, etc.

Regardless, it's all good. Doing the day to day, working (I do sales for a criminal justice software company from home), working out, playing piano, reading inspiring blogs (thanks to all that I've found and all that have found me), writing, etc. Its feeling great, I'm holding my head a little higher, walking a little taller. And you know, if I keep on this, I think there's a chance I'll be able to start making some significant progress.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Full Size ATV

Adult Black Bear

European Hybrid Car

Huge Marijuana Stash
Massive Stone Head

Novelty Size Country Fair Pot of Jambalaya

Baby Elephant

What do all the things in the above pictures have to do with me? They all weigh roughly the same amount I do. Over 600 pounds.
Holy Shit. That is terrifying.

I guess these blogs are supposed to be motivating to others and I know mine will be, but not now, and probably not until I have lost a significant amount of weight. After all, when you need motivation in keeping your house a little tidier than you normally do, there's no motivation to be found in the news story about the shut-in with garbage stacked 6 feet high in their house getting rid of half a foot of that garbage.

Oh well. This is for me I suppose, so in that interest I am posting my real honest to God weight on here today despite my intense urge not to. 618 pounds. What a nightmare.

I had a feeling I was in the range I'm in, but Denial is a POWERFUL thang, and I'm an expert. I'm like a fucking denial ninja. I sneak inside my head, remove the depressing realities of my situation and poof, vanish.

Anyway, it sucks, soooo much, but I am in this for the long run. I want real, long-term, sustained change in my life, and I am going to fight for it. So, I'll start by taking this brutal beginning point and using it as a catalyst for a kick ass first official week.

*Bonus Game: Try and guess how much weight I'll lose this upcoming Christmas week. Whoever has the closest guess wins both the whole jar of jelly beans, and a Stages of Change windbreaker! Good luck everybody!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Of Piano & Perception

Nothing ever seems as amazing to me as the simple experience of finding a new perception that shows a fundamental fact in an entirely brand new light.

Today a woman came to my home at noon to talk to me about a weight loss program that she could put together for me. The two note worthy items from her visit were A) Her Plan: Come to strength and cardio classes 5 days a week, visit once a week with a weight loss coach (discuss goals previous week and next, etc.), and have bi-monthly pseudo-counseling sessions with her while we walk, and B) Telling the woman my story brought up some very positive thoughts and feelings.

Item A - I was not overwhelmed with her pitch, but anything is better than the nothing I've been doing. I did go to a class tonight to try it out and ended up spending 45 minutes working out which was, at the very least, 45 minutes more working out then I've done in months. The class I was in consisted of about 25 people, 23 of which were woman ranging from 16-70 years old and from 100-400 pounds. The two men were a large and surly 67 year old man, and an "America’s kids are ballooning up - story at 10" looking 12 year old boy. I don't know what’s better regarding gym/work-out scenarios: being the token fat guy to a bunch of hard-bodies looking to score with the chicks with the fake racks, or being the biggest monster on the Island of Misfit Toys. Regardless, it was a great work out. I kicked my ass.

Item B - I was honest from the get go with the woman today which was great, especially since I have a lot of issues with opposite traits that negatively affect my weight: hiding, lying, denial, isolating, etc. The best thing about talking with her thought was that it gave me a chance to go over a lot of my recent past and analyze it a bit. The reason that was so good was because it (along with an assist to the similar conversation I had with a friend last night) made me think a lot about how I felt when I was in out-patient treatment for 3 months this past spring (for weight, and other issues). And explaining to this woman today all the positive things I learned at treatment I soon began feeling that confidence in my ability to ACT on those things that I had eventually felt daily during treatment – that was tremendous.

So, while the work-out was valuable, the feelings and confidence that I got in touch with during the chat with the woman I feel were more valuable. However, even more valuable still was that I believe those feelings primed me for this simplistic, but powerful, thought process I had this afternoon - I thought about how I've played piano more consistently for the last few months than I have in years, and how I've been learning and refining dozens of new songs. I thought about how it’s amazing that I've been able to learn so many songs, and that I am remembering them (because I play by ear, I have no sheet music to refer to), and even improving them. Anyway, the reason for that is that I am being mindful and aware and consciously remembering that I want to play, and consciously remembering the songs and how I want to play them to maximize my enjoyment and ability.

Beautiful, I was able to use my fresh perspective on my piano playing to help remind me in an exciting and "brand new" way the fundamental fact that I have the skills to lose weight and make all the changes I want, I just have to work on being conscious and aware in order to put them in action.

Bonus Points: I’m starting to feel like, if I keep thinking about the piano analogy, I’m going to associate playing piano with the things I need to do to lose weight and my intrinsic desire to do them.

Piano, to paraphrase Ben Folds: I have you to thank for this.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Joining the Ranks of a Largely Defeated Army, or: How I Learned to Stop Doubting and Love Myself

Above are screenshots of three of the hundreds of weight loss related blogs I've viewed in the last 2 days. And those three have something significant in common with 95% of those blogs: they didn't last long. At all. The majority have been under 10 posts total, and then...nothing. Years pass.

I feel for all those would-be bloggers because, like most people that have struggled with their weight, or the larger concept of trying to create long-lasting, positive change in their lives, I have been there. I've launched a thousand "brand new days". New plans, new strategy's, new beginnings, new classes, books, groups, living situations, diets, lifestyles, routines, etc, etc, etc.

It never gets any easier; failing at a new approach, which is hard because it's so much fun at the start. I once heard the nature of man described aptly as something to the effect of "Great at creation, poor at maintainence".

But, when it comes to human nature, another common theme is perseverence. So, in the interest of attempting to persevere, I am following in the footsteps of both those who failed and left their blog like a virutal ghost town, and those who triumphed. I am starting a blog to track what I plan to be a journey of weight loss and overall success in a life previously marked by failure.

Good luck to me, and to serve the double purpose of serving as a self-motivating final statement of this post, and a potential piece of advice to those who pass by here in the future if I too abandon my post: Never Give Up.