I Got Nothing
Everyone wants to know how I do it.
I guess I should clarify that statement before I continue. I used to weight 550 lbs. Well, yeah, I’m not certain but it was well over 500. I never really got on a scale that could accurately measure my weight. 550 was my best educated guess. I used to have a size 58 pants. Before I would even register on a scale I had to get down to a size 50 pants, and then I finally started showing up at 440 lbs so my best guess is I started at 550 lbs in February 2007. I had a final “retreat” meal (I’ll explain that in a minute) of a large cheese-steak, a full size bag of kettle chips and a diet coke and then I started the next day with my new lifestyle.
I say retreat meal because retreating was why I ate the way I did. I was retreating from everything. I hated my life and I hated myself. I lost the only job I ever loved (my short time as a police officer) for reasons I had no control over. My only sense of self-identity up until that point was being the biggest and meanest guy in the room, and at one point I may have been the most muscular but I was slowly just becoming “big” as in fat. Obese. When people would try to be nice about it they said “wow, you’re a big guy” but they meant, “damn, you are unhealthy”. It wouldn’t have mattered if they had actually said that, I wouldn’t have listened. I mean, people did say it. My friends, my wife, they all said they were worried and they all tried to help but I didn’t listen and I didn’t care. Eating was a retreat and it gave me something. It was an escape, an instant gratification. It almost killed me though, until I figured it out and came all the way back.
I started by acknowledging I had no idea what I was doing. I told my wife I didn’t want to make decisions for myself anymore because clearly I had no idea how to take care of myself and asked her if she would make all pertinent decisions about my health and my diet for me. At least for awhile. She was a medical professional and sought the aid of a dietician and a personal trainer. In conjunction with my wife the people at my gym provided me a lot of support. Deidre, the manager, had known me for a few years. I started going there when I was still big and strong and had that going for me, but in a couple of years I had lost it and was just getting unhealthy. She saw this and offered me some help. She told me she was worried about me and would do whatever it took to help me get on track and she did. She had a trainer work with me and she provided me emotional support, which doesn’t seem like anything but to someone who hated himself it was a lot. In fact it was everything. If it weren’t for her support or my wife’s I never would have gotten started, and now here I sit. 4 years later, 250 some pounds lighter, and post-surgery. I finally got to the point where I needed to have the excess skin around my abdomen removed, about 15 lbs of it after they were all done. And Deidre and my wife were there for that too (in fact, Deidre and the gym paid for it).
So I sit here typing this going a little crazy, I just had the surgery 4 days ago and I have a couple hundred stitches across my abdomen. I can’t exercise and I haven’t left the house since the surgery, and I can’t leave the house until Tuesday which is my post-op and I get my drains removed. But I’ve had visitors, people who have been with me ever since I started, and new people I just met who say I’m an inspiration (which I dismiss, I mean, as I said, I put myself in that position to begin with so I don’t see how I did anything inspirational). Either way, these are all people who love me and have supported me, and without that I never would have gotten here. My wife has been doting on me and showing me love she knows I’ve never had. Even though it’s hard to see through all my anxiety and self-deprecation, I hope she knows I love her the same way. The bottom line is though, it’s just starting, it hasn’t ended the path is the same as it always was. Inspirational, no, at least I don’t think so. Mental illness? More than likely, if it is hereditary then yes, mental illness for sure. Either way, I’m going to chase after it…