Weight Loss: Everything I’ve Learned About How To Get And Stay Fit, part One

March 6, 2012 § 3 Comments

And with all of his effort complete, he had to come to some conclusion.

I like conclusions.  I like wrapping everything up.  Maybe to some people conclusions sort of take away all of the effort you put in up to this point (why didn’t you just say this to begin with?!) but as much as I loved the ending to The Sopranos, this is my way of giving you a final perspective on what I’ve learned in 29 years of being fat.  And no matter how much weight I lose, I will always be fat.  That’s why it’s good for me to never forget the following.

There’s something so deeply ingrained in the mind of a person that constantly struggles with weight problems.  There is a part of us that can never let go. Whether it’s bad metabolism, bad habits, addiction, depression, or a combination of all of those things, we have a hard time just moving on.  When thin people made fun of me as a kid, the only part that really bothered me was that they had no fucking idea what they were talking about.  They’d tease you for what they thought you could control.  They thought it all amounted to a Big Mac and an inability to get off of the couch.

But it’s deeper than that.  It’s an unidentifiable part of my psyche that won’t allow me to just rest, or to just be, without gaining weight.  I have to consciously think about my eating habits and my dieting habits, otherwise I will gain weight.  And I’ll gain it rather quickly.  That’s why I have to stay on top of the situation every day of my life or I’ll go right back to where I was before.  Like a recovery heroin addict that can’t have a single slip-up, I can’t just wake up and live my life and go to bed without knowing that every decision I make could negatively effect me.

A person who has been in shape for their entire life, whether that’s because they’re working out or because “they just have one of those bodies” doesn’t have to think about it.  They are just living their life.  But a person that has always had a problem with their weight, whether they have lost it or not, will always have to think about it.  That’s my life.

I guess sometimes I gain weight just as a way to ease some of the load off of my brain.

Through it all, through three major losses of weight and at one point losing 150 total pounds, I’ve learned a lot.  I haven’t yet found out how to just be, but until I do these are all of the tips I can hope to share that help me lose weight when I need to lose weight.  In diet and in exercise, this is what I now know.  I hope that it helps because I don’t want my experiences to just be for me, I want to help others as well.

This is what I’ve learned, starting with working out:


Just Do One More

You’ll learn a lot about yourself when you first start to workout or diet.  Good things and bad, probably.  I’ve got my faults but one good thing I’ve learned about myself is that I’m always willing to go further.  This is mostly because I’m very impatient and I go pretty hardcore when I want to lose weight.  If it can be done in six months, what can I do to get there in five?

One thing that I always do when I workout is “Do one more” and it’s something that you have to be able to hold yourself accountable for.  Sure, if you have a workout partner, someone who is experienced and knows a lot about training, they’ll push you.  If you have a trainer, he or she will push you.  But I can’t afford a trainer and I’ve not always had the opportunity to have a workout buddy.

So that means that the majority of the time, I have to be my own motivator.

Most of what I do now is cardio, but “Do one more” still applies to running or other forms of cardio.  Usually, I’ll set myself a certain amount of time that I want to spend on the elliptical.  Let’s call it “30 minutes” since this is usually what I start at.  So you finally finished your 30 minutes and you’re tired as fuck but are you really in a hurry to get out?  Do you have somewhere else you need to be?  Why not do one more minute?

Ellipticals: Where the Ladies Are At!

The way I see it, you’ll only be here in this moment once.  Sure, I’m exhausted and when I was at 20 minutes I could hardly even envision myself finishing the last 10, but you’re here now and you’re “done” but why do you have to be done?  You’re here now and you just did 30 minutes, so why the hell can’t you do 31?

Sometimes, you’ll just do that one extra minute.  Sometimes I’ve told myself “just one more” and then I’ll end up doing another 30.  Whether or not you do 30 extra or 1 extra, the point still remains that you’ve pushed yourself further than you expected and that’s good for you both mentally and physically.

Physically, doing one extra minute of cardio (or one extra rep in muscle training) might not seem like a lot.  Hell, it’s not a lot.  But if you consistently tell yourself “just one more” then that’s going to add up.  Like cutting out 100 calories a day, eventually that extra step will add up to perhaps an extra pound or two of fat loss per year.  That’s certainly significant to me.  And what I’ve found is that the “just one more” will usually amount to at least five extra minutes of cardio, which is that much more significant in your efforts to reach your goal.

Mentally, it can mean so much more.

You might have started this workout not believing you could do 30 minutes and when you accomplish that you feel good about yourself.  Now you’ve done 35.  You’ve set a new bar and you’ve gone further than you believed you could.  Every time you do something for the first time, you’ve now found out how far you actually can push yourself.  You’re not going to get very far if you set a low bar and then just do that each and every time.  In fact, even if you run for 30 minutes at the exact same pace, eventually you’ll just be running circles.  Your body needs to be pushed.

Don’t do what’s easy, do what’s possible.  You’ll find out that you’re capable of doing more than you could have imagined.

Over time, I find myself starting at something simple but after six months or a year, I can’t believe what I’m actually doing.  The only way to get there is to push yourself, because at first that means you’re doing 31 minutes and by the end of it you’re doing 2 hours.  The body needs to be pushed if it’s going to advance, so take it easy on yourself by taking baby steps, but never stop moving forward and re-setting the bar.

It’s only one more.

Pay Attention To Your Heart Rate!

I can’t emphasize enough how much more important heart rate is than anything else.  Well, I can probably over-emphasize it because I am just a novice workout guy, but one thing that I have learned is that your heart rate will be the indicator of the effort.  It’s not so much about how far you’re running, how hard your resistance is, or how steep the incline is, but it’s about how much effort your putting into it.

What I have found out is that I like to keep my heart rate above 150 for at least 30 minutes.  Usually, based on my efforts I will be at around 160, but talk to a professional about what’s best for you.  I’ll go onto the machine and workout and after 10 minutes I’ll check my heart rate.  Don’t monitor it the whole time, keep your arms moving and focus on your intensity but make sure that you’re heart rate is at a good place, otherwise you’re either in danger (too high) or wasting your time (too low.)

I hate wasting my time at the gym.  Work hard or don’t work at all.

I’m a Music Guy

I was working out on a elliptical machine back in 2009 when I had just joined the YMCA and it had been awhile since I worked out on a consistent basis.  So at first, I didn’t pay much attention to things like “What am I listening to?” or “What am I watching?”  That particular Y actually had personal TVs on all of the machines, and I would usually just put on Wheel of Fortune or something and do my thing.

It was a fine workout.

Then one day I decided to try listening to music and I turned the TV to the Music Channel that was playing 90s Rap.  There was no conscious effort on my part to workout differently.  I was just listening to Snoop and Dre and going about my business.  By the end of the 30 minutes though, I was exhausted and sweating unlike I ever had previous to that.  My heart rate was off the charts and I kept it up consistently throughout.

I don’t know what music will work best for you, but find out your perfect workout routine.  It doesn’t have to be music, but whatever it is that helps you work out hardest, listen to it.  There’s a real correlation between how you keep your mind occupied while you workout and how much effort you’re putting in.

Bring a Buddy, If You Can

Like I said before, I have done much of my exercise without a workout buddy.  Therefore, it’s not a necessity.  But having someone to hold you accountable is never a bad thing.

The first time I ever started working out, I had a workout partner.  Even though I had to get up at 5 AM, I never missed a day because I knew that someone was waiting for me.  I knew that there would be someone to tell me “Where were you yesterday?”   I think it’s always key to hold yourself accountable, but that doesn’t mean that having others hold you accountable is a problem either.

As far as trainers go, I have never had one but I probably would have one if I could afford to spend the money on one.  I’m not ashamed to have someone guide me and as far as muscle training goes, I could definitely stand to learn more.  When you’re trying to better yourself, never be afraid to ask for help.

Alone Or Not, You’re Accountable For You

I still want to emphasize that no matter how you work out, whether you got a buddy or you don’t, you still have to hold yourself accountable.  You’re only going to get out of it as much as you put into it and when you give up you’re only hurting yourself.

I used to watch The Biggest Loser and think “Those ungrateful fucks.  Put me on that show and I will dominate this shit.”  It’s unbelievable to me to watch people have this amazing opportunity where they are: In an environment that’s set up for success, with highly trained professionals, healthy food provided for you at no cost, and on top of that an opportunity to win money for something that you should have been doing for free, and yet they still complain?!

Be one of those contestants that makes Bob and Jillian tired.  Be one of those contestants that makes the other contestants look like shit.  Push yourself further than anyone else thought you could do.  Surprise people.  Even if you have a trainer, and the trainer says “Okay, give me two more!” then you give them four more.  Do more than you’re asked to do.  Don’t bitch about it when you’re asked to do more, tell them that it’s not enough.

If I hire you to do a job and you fuck up, then you’ve let me down.  But bettering yourself isn’t something that’s usually going to matter to anyone else.  You’re the one that has to look in the mirror.  You’re the one that has live in your head.  You’re the one that has ask yourself “Did I do enough?”

At the end of the day, weight loss is a one-person operation.  I can mentally handle it when I let a girl down during sex (obviously) but I can’t handle it when I have to say to myself, “You let me down.”

Have A Routine But If You Have To Break It, Make The Effort To Do Something Once A Week

It’s really important to have a routine, no matter what that is.  Whether you’re going Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or you’re going Monday-through-Friday, setup the routine that works for you.  However, sometimes life happens and we aren’t able to make it.  We have to break that routine.  Don’t let it break your stride.

Every time I have stopped working out, it’s been because of one week missed.  Every. Single. Time.

You know how you can stop that?  Just don’t miss a week.  No matter what happens, it’s hard to come up with an excuse for why you missed a whole week of exercise.  Usually, if I’m in the routine of Monday to Friday (and that is my routine) then there will always be times when I miss a day and if I’m going hard, then I’ll make it up on Saturday.  But let’s say that you’re having a terrible week and you’re sick or you’re exhausted or you just don’t feel up to it because your favorite contestant was voted off of American Idol.

Just go once.  For fifteen minutes.  Do something.  That’s it.  Don’t sit there at the end of the week and look back and see that you did nothing because its going to A) Justify you missing next week and B) Make you feel like shit.  You don’t want to feel like shit about yourself when you’re trying to do something to make yourself feel better.  If you miss a week, then you’re going to miss another.  But if you made an effort to go even once, then you’ll still be in some sort of routine of, “I made it to the gym last week.  Don’t quit.”

The dropoff from “gym rat” to “lazy boy” is not a slow one.  It’s a sudden one.  You go from “five days a week” to “zero” in absolutely no time.  So keep yourself going to the gym.  Keep your routine.  Even if you have to miss a day or two and can’t make it up, make some effort to be there in some capacity otherwise you’ll start to justify the reasons for missing the gym the next time.

I am not a trainer.  I don’t know that much about “How to” exercise.  I’m just a regular guy that’s dealt with weight problems his whole life and these are some of the things I’ve learned along the way.  Next time, I’ll discuss the dieting tips that help keep me from being the giant person I know I can be.

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.

Hummus is BOMB when you're dieting (and when you're not)

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

The Honest Story of How I Lost 150 LBS, part IV: Screwed by the Bell, The College Years

February 6, 2012 § 4 Comments

Catch up by reading parts I, II, and III

If you have followed up until this point here’s what we know about my life and my problems with my weight so far:

  • Grew up fat.  Loving sweets, grease, 20-piece nugget meals, and spending 12 hours a day watching TV and movies.
  • Hit 300 pounds on the scale and said “Screw this, I want to have a date with a girl.” and so I lost 50-60 pounds using diet and exercise.
  • High school ended, I stopped giving two shits or even a single shit and then ballooned back up to 315 over two years since.
  • Dropped back to 250 on the “popcorn and water” diet and headed off to a four-year university to start fresh.

And here we stand, on the precipice of my three years in Pullman at Washington State University.

Many of you are from Washington State (I am guessing) so what I am about to detail probably isn’t news to you.  Even if you weren’t a Coug, you know what the school’s reputation is.  But for everyone that’s not familiar with it, let me try and break it down.

WSU is located in Pullman, WA, which reported a population of 30,000 people in the 2010 Census.  The school itself has about 22,000 students that live in Pullman.

There are “college towns” and then there are towns located in the middle of nowhere that are literally just a city that’s entire population is made up of students, plus teachers and burnouts.

Eastern Washington is basically the sticks, so there is very little to do there except for the one activity that travels well no matter where you are: drinking.  Pullman is sort of a post-apocalyptic town where all of the remaining survivors on Earth want to do is get really fucked up.

Pretty much every day in Pullman is Friday.  It would be Rebecca Black’s ideal destination.  It’s a wonder in of itself that anyone goes to school at Wazzu and comes out of the other side as anything more than a deadbeat.  Pullman fits eight days of drinking into a single week.

In other words, it’s not the ideal place to try and stay healthy.

I tried for a little while with success.  After all, they have one of the best college gyms in the nation and they automatically charge every student something like $150 a semester to pay for it.  So whether you like it or not, you’ve got a gym membership when you go to WSU.  At first, I took full advantage of this.

I didn’t know very many people that went to school there, so I just worked out and did my own thing for the first few months of my first semester and stayed on the right track.

However, I eventually made the mistake of making friends and the next three years became one long black-out session.  You drink to excess pretty much every day and as if 20 Busch Lights per day wasn’t bad enough, it’s hard to not eat like a pig when you get that wasted.

I don’t really regret a single moment of my college experience, though I could have stood to sacrifice an hour of my day to go to the gym each hungover morning.  Still, I had the absolute best time of my life, made the friends that I still keep today, and I’ll never say a bad thing about the school or the city.  It just fucked up my body during those three years but that was my choice.

How much did it fuck up my weight?

What’s “a lot” times “a bunch”?

Constant drinking plus a college persons regular broke-ass diet plan (dollar menus, Top Ramen, hot dogs) plus almost zero exercise put me in a place that I had never been before, even as a guy that hasn’t been “skinny” since he was four years old.

As my mom put it on the day I returned back home after graduation: “You’re bigger than I’ve ever seen you.”

Yeah, that kind of cut to the core.  Now, I don’t want to give the impression that my mom was being mean or malicious with that statement which at this point can only be taken out of context.  She was just being my mom.  Nobody can quite affect you like your parents can with their words.  It’s like hearing “I’m not mad, I’m disappointed.”

My mom probably wasn’t disappointed in this case, but simply concerned.  I am forever grateful that she told me that.  I was always a big guy, but at this point I had become a “fat person.”  Even at 6’6″, I had eclipsed a weight where my obesity was going to overshadow my height.  Not just “big” anymore, just fat.

There are a number of reasons that a person may finally make the move to lose a bunch of weight.  For me, so far, I had: topping 300 pounds and “going off to college” as reasons that I wanted to lose weight.

Now I had heard the words come out of her mouth that I was bigger than I had ever been before, but would that be enough?  Was she exaggerating?  It took one more push for me to finally make the effort to drop all of this weight and it came in the form of a picture.

It’s amazing how we can look in the mirror every day and not see what we look like.  We see ourselves as we see ourselves, but sometimes in the mirror we don’t see ourselves as we are.  However, a picture can erase any doubt and you can look at it and say “Who is that?” and honestly not recognize yourself.

After I heard my mom say that I was bigger than she had ever seen me, I was in doubt.  Was I really?  I mean, I hadn’t weighed myself in a long time but did I really put on THAT much weight?

Seeing my photo from graduation erased every doubt.  Now I knew that I had to change my life or I would wind up on a reality show.

And now the world premiere of a photo I never thought I’d want anybody to ever see, but still, it’s the photo that changed my life:

A photo that was supposed to capture one of the greatest accomplishments of my life, instead captured the low-point of my health.  The low-point of my self-esteem.  The high-point of my weight.

It was time to make a change or risk health and happiness.

Three years after weighing 250 lbs as I headed off to school, I was heading home at 360.

I think I’ve pretty much spoiled how successful I was in losing weight, but how did I get there?

I’ll tell you on the next episode.


The Honest Story of How I Lost 150 LBS: Part II – Kenny 1, Fat 1

January 27, 2012 § 8 Comments

Read part I, Growing Up Fat, if you haven’t already.

When we last left off, I had just found out that I officially weighed over 300 pounds and that was a serious blow to the heart of yours truly.  (Much like the serious blows I had been giving my heart with Hungry Man TV dinners and Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream.)

I mean, here is how I associate a person with 300 pounds:

It’s how much Homer had to weigh in order to get disability from work!!!

Now, as an adult that is obviously either an asinine number or Homer is 4 feet tall, because I work with guys that are easily pushing 350 and plenty of large guys and gals have employment and not disability, but as a kid you just associate 300 pounds with moo-moos and needing two seats to see Naked Lunch.

This finally gave me the motivation I needed to lose a dramatic amount of weight for the first time in my life.  To not be a “fat kid” anymore.

That meant that I had to eat right and exercise for the first time in my life.  I had really short spurts of exercise earlier, but I had never really done it for an extensive amount of time more than a couple days and I had never watched what I ate.  This would be a whole new experience but I was in it 100%.

Which sucks because I had just gone to the grocery story and packed the freezer with awesomeness.

I never touched those foods though while I was dieting.  I found out that I actually have pretty good willpower when I set my mind to something like this.  During this time, I didn’t eat fast food, drink soda, or eat candy.  I was just eating right and exercising.

This would also set the stage for learning about how to exercise that would help me throughout my adult life.

I was working at a dealership and washing cars after school.  It was the middle of my senior year and I was working a pretty decent schedule already: Go to school, go to work after school, work 10 hours on Saturday.  For me at 18, that was a lot.

Now I added working out into the mix.

One of the guys I worked with had been a gym rat for years and invited me to work out with him in the mornings.  So I started getting up at 6 AM and going to the gym before school.  It sort of looked like this:

Now my entire schedule was basically filled and I didn’t even have time to eat or lay around if I wanted to.

He gave me the lessons about working out necessary that I still use (to a degree) today.  Thanks, guy.  (I don’t remember his name.  Alex?  White guy.  You know who I’m talking about.  The guy that was really influential in my life….  I’m an asshole.)

The first time you start to really put effort into losing weight, you will notice a dramatic drop in the first week.  I think when I started I was something like 306, and it only took maybe five days to drop under 300.  This is what they call “the water weight.”

Fuck you body for retaining so much water because:

  • You’re making me weigh more than I actually do.
  • You give me false hope when I drop you.
  • I have to replace you with more water.
  • How the hell did I get so much water weight?  I never drank that shit!  Maybe two trips to the fountain a day.  How do you think I got fat?  By drinking my two liters of Diet Coke a day, not water!
  • No, I’m not that stupid.

Still, it felt nice to drop under 300 so quickly.  Once I passed the threshold, I said “Goodbye 300!” when I was done with it.  Sort of like what a guy says once he has seen the movie 300, because you know what they say about a guy that’s seen 300 more than once…

During this series, I’m going to go over some terms that I came up with on my own.  Now, they may not be original and I don’t claim that I’m the first that ever came up with these ideas, but I’ve never read a diet book so I have no idea what others have said.  All I know is, when you go through a personal struggle with weight loss you start to do certain things naturally.  I think that others who have lost weight have probably done the same thing and I think they could also be helpful to people trying to lose weight.

I’ve always wanted to help someone lose weight, so this is my chance of getting into heaven.  Because I’ll never follow the Ten Commandments.

When I was losing weight, I started to count everything in Decades.

Basically, I got under 300 and I said, “No more 300’s!”

Then I got under 290 and I said, “Fuck YOU 290’s!”

Then the same with 280’s and so on and so forth.  I just set mini-goals of 10 pounds.  That’s all I was focused on.  Thinking about the big picture can be overwhelming but if all I do was say “I’ve got to get under 280, I’ve got to get under 280,” then I was setting a reasonable goal.  And every day that I got closer to 279 was a victory.  Then, when I did get into a new Decade, I said “Fuck off” to the previous level of weight.

True enough, sometimes you will get into a new decade and then find yourself back in the 280’s, but it’s not a setback.  I always just told myself: “You were 279 yesterday.  You didn’t do anything wrong between today and yesterday, so know that you are still on the right track.”

Now, this brings up another issue that some people have a problem with but I’m only going to touch on it briefly in Part II: Everyday Weigh-Ins.

For the majority of time that I am in the middle of losing weight, I weight myself every day.  Other people tell you not to do this.  I agree to disagree, or at least I say “Let me do what I want to do. Mind your own business.  You are a skinny person.”  (Skinny people have a lot of weight loss advice.  I appreciate that you’re trying to help, but you’ve never gone through this.)

For me, it was motivation.  Whether I gained a pound or lost a pound, I was motivated to do better that day.  (I always weigh myself in the morning, when I’m most likely to be my lightest.)

So, I continued on my path of working out and eating right for the last six months of my senior year in high school.  I imagined so many glorious things happening when I was finally in good shape: girls, girls, and most importantly, women.

I was down to just about 250 pounds.  Hey, almost 60 pounds lost!

Then a funny thing happened: Nobody said anything at all.

I’ll never forget that one girl said “Hey, have you lost weight?”  (I never know how to answer that question.  I am too humble to say “Yes!” and yet I don’t want to say “No” or something like that because I worked so hard for it.  I guess let the results speak for themselves.)

But one girl did kind of notice.  She was just an acquaintance.  Nobody “special” to me, but I guess you could say that I’ll never forget her because she was the one person to notice.  So, I just continue down this path and things will continue to improve right?

Right….  ?

Oh fuck, we just graduated.  I was about a year late on this quest to lose weight.

I graduated and then sort of lost sight of everything.  No more having to get up at 6 AM, because I didn’t have school anymore.  No more being too busy to eat.  No more girls to impress.  (Well, it’s not like I never left the house or didn’t have friends or didn’t hang out with girls.  But it’s different when you’re in that everyday school environment.)

If you can see where this is going, I was about to start the Yo-Yo effect that is typical of weight loss and people with a weight problem.

I took my first shot back at being fat.  I tied the score up at 1-1.  Fat was about to answer with another score of it’s own….



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