The Honest Story of How I Lost 150 LBS Part 5: Where There’s a Will, There’s a Weight
February 15, 2012 § 4 Comments
So here we are. When we last left off, I had just gotten home from graduating college and I weighed around 360 pounds.
It’s hard to get an exact number because normal scales don’t go that high. When I stepped on the scale, I just got an error message. I was able to guess that I weighed 360 based off of the moment I was under 350 and could step on a normal scale again. Because I had already lost significant weight twice in my life, I am confident that I was at 360.
When I looked at the picture of myself at college, a switch went off in my head. From that moment forward, I was on a diet. There was no “last meal” and there was no “diet starting tomorrow.” The diet had started. It was like a revelation of sorts where every item of food that could make me gain weight became the enemy. Every extra calorie was an extra second that I’d have to wait before I felt comfortable in my own body again.
That’s how I became an extreme dieter.
I don’t know if anyone has wondered this, but this series is titled “The Honest Story” for a reason. It could just be the story, because what would I have to lie about? Truthfully, it’s just not easy to talk about your own personal struggles with weight gain and weight loss. It’s personal. So I don’t go around sharing the news.
Inevitably though, people want to know “How”? And I have to tell them.
I was eating under 500 calories per day.
I don’t think that you would call me anorexic, because I ate whenever I could. I relished the opportunity to eat. I fucking LOVED eating. I just cut it down to a few small meals a day. Whatever I needed to do to get by until my stomach had physically shrunken to a point where I was no longer hungry for more than a few small meals a day.
In an earlier post, I had already said this but I’ll say it again: I’m not always giving you advice, I’m just telling you my story. Some of my story is unhealthy. I’m not Charles Barkley, who I consider to be a role model. I am not a role model.
Losing weight simply became a math problem.
The average human burns 2000 calories per day just by living. A pound of fat is considered to be 2000 calories. So, if I ate nothing in a day, I’d lose a pound (rough estimate) but I didn’t not eat, I just calculated how I could eat and still lose weight without exercising, because I wasn’t exercising much.
If I ate 300 calories, then I’d burn 2000 and have a -1700 calories for the day. Do that for two days, and I’d have -3400, almost two pounds in two day, but I’m still eating. If I burn 3 pounds per week then I’ll lose 30 lbs in 10 weeks and 156 pounds in a year.
I’d eat something like one Lean Pocket for lunch. A piece of chicken for dinner with vegetables. One can of soup. Doesn’t sound THAT unhealthy, does it?
Believe it not, when you actually do count calories, you can find a lot of places to cut out shit you don’t need. Of course, I also did cut out shit I did need. I’m not an idiot. When people tell me “You shouldn’t do that!” it’s like they’re telling me that smoking is bad for me or that masturbating feels good. No shit. I’m not a moron and I know what’s healthy and what’s not healthy. What a person can’t understand is what kind of a willpower a person will have when they’re at the end of their rope. Physically, I may have been doing damage or losing muscle weight or everything else that I already knew about. Mentally, I could see myself getting better every day. I know, it’s fucked up. Why couldn’t I have both? Because in that moment, I was TOO large. I can handle myself when I’m 20 or 30 pounds overweight, but not 150.
So I had to cut out the bullshit. For over a year I:
- Didn’t eat a single piece of candy. Offer me a single M&M and I would turn you down. I didn’t have a single food item containing that kind of sugar content, outside of fruit.
- Didn’t eat fast food once. No trips to McDonalds, Wendy’s, whatever. I ate Subway sometimes and refused to have mayonnaise, oil, vinegar or cheese on my sandwich.
- No greasy food. No french fries. Nothing like that.
- I may have had a couple of sodas, but I pretty much drank water and juice. I was hardly drinking alcohol during that year+ either.
When I saw myself lose 15 pounds in a month though, I felt good about myself. When I bought a new waist size on pants, I felt good about myself. When I stopped wearing XXXL shirts, I felt good about myself.
The differences after a month… three months.. six months… a year… they were amazing. I had improved my health in a lot of areas too, like a crippling daily indigestion problem that had now disappeared.
Maybe I didn’t do it in the right way, maybe I should have exercised, but the results worked as far as I’m concerned. Don’t take that as a recommendation or me telling you that “crash dieting is the solution,” because it doesn’t work like that. People who crash diet end up bouncing back to above their original diet when they finally give up on their diet and can cause health issues, and I’m saying that myself to you. So, please don’t comment telling me that what I did was unhealthy, because I’m telling that to you!
I wish I could tell you that it was difficult, but after awhile it just became my normal routine. I just willed myself to push past the hunger pangs that I was having almost all day, every day for awhile. I actually watched a TON of the Food Network at this time. I’d sit there and watch other people make food and eat while I was hungry. You’d think that it would make me break my diet and go eat, but it actually helped me eat with my imagination and eventually I was less hungry.
I’d spend the day thinking about my next meal and I’d never eat before it was time. I could get up and eat something like an un-buttered piece of wheat toast and an egg white. Then I’d wait till noon and eat something healthy and very low in calories. I might have a snack before dinner, something like a single cup of low-fat yogurt. Eat a low-cal dinner and then spend the next five hours hungry as hell but I just kept thinking to myself “If I can just fall asleep, it will be time to eat again.”
Before too long, I couldn’t even eat a small meal without getting full. What I used to be able to put down with ease, like a large Thanksgiving dinner (but every day if I was allowed) became far too much for me. I was now designed to only have small meals, while I saw the pounds shed like crazy. Every night I’d go to bed dreaming about two things that I got to do when I first woke up: eat and weigh myself.
It was a reward to me to get to weigh myself, knowing that on most days I would weigh a pound or two less than I did the day before. Sometimes I would gain weight, but I knew that was going to happen. I know that day-to-day weight is volatile, and you can experience jumps for no reason at all. I’ve seen The Biggest Loser. But overall, I was losing more than I was gaining.
After a year of extreme dieting I was 220 pounds, 140 pounds less than what I weighed before. A full human being had been dropped off of my shoulders, and knee problems that I was experiencing in obesity had disappeared. I could move around like I had never been able to move around before. I didn’t exercise during my weight loss, but now I could exercise like the healthy person I had never been before.
What I did isn’t only against doctor recommendations, but most people honestly can’t do it. I’ve seen people struggle with their weight and been unable to go a week without breaking diet plans, let alone over a year. It’s just something that I have been able to do because I’m the type of person that becomes obsessed with winning and I wanted to win my battle against obesity in a blowout. I used the power of imagination to see myself at the end of the tunnel, envisioning myself as a fit person and that kept me going every minute of every day. I took stock of every calorie that I took in, knowing that even if a dollop of mayonnaise was 20 calories that was 20 less calories that I had to fight against. Twenty calories is nothing, but if I did that 100 times in a year, that was 2000 calories that I had cut out of my diet. If I found another 50 calories that I didn’t need to get by, if all it provided to me was flavor, then I could cut out 5000 calories in a year.
It’s like saying that “my vote doesn’t matter” when it comes to an election, but knowing that the power of millions of voters do matter. That single calorie that I eat might not matter, but the power of thousands of single calories is immense. Using the stairs at work one day won’t matter, but using the stairs at work every day will create a healthy lifestyle and burn more calories in a year than you can imagine.
The bulk of my 150 pound weight loss came at an extreme cost and was the most intense year of my life, but eventually I got the place that I felt I needed to be. I don’t pretend to think that I am Bob the trainer, because I’m not. I didn’t live on a 1000 calorie or 1500 calorie a day diet while cutting out carbs and sugars and exercising an hour a day. I did it my way so that eventually I could get to a place where I felt I could work on myself in the proper way.
In the final part of this series, I’ll wrap it up and explain the minor yo-yo’s that finally got me to a 150 pound loss and the lessons that I learned along the way.
Follow me @casetines