The Weight Loss Story: Appendix A

Chapter One of The Weight Loss Story was published last week. Chapter Two debuts on Wednesday.

Got this note via Facebook from a former St. Bonaventure University schoolmate and mentor following the first post of my weight loss story:

Jared, I have been reading your blog and enjoying it ALL very much, but the one today really hit home for me. In the last 18+ months I have lost (this is so embarassing) 80lbs through a total lifestyle change. I can relate to what you are writing — and it encourages me because I am not yet where I want to be. THANK YOU! Keep on keeping on. I can’t wait to read more.

To her, I say don’t be embarrassed. Celebrate it.At 333 pounds, I decided that I would be happy if I could get down to 250. This isn’t the ideal weight for my height (Side note: For years, I had been measured at six-foot-tall. During my bariatric physical, I came in at six feet, one and one-half inches. I feel as if I have been robbed of something for all of these years. Not sure what, but I’m pretty sure I got hosed somehow.) My doctor projected my goal weight to 198-211 pounds. I knew that was not going to happen, but I figured that if I could drop to 225-230, I would probably bounce up to 240-250 and settle in there.

What my friend hit on the head was the need for a complete lifestyle shift. This was easier (relatively speaking) for me. At the time, I was 32 and I just had The Wife to deal with. She’s pretty amicable to changes in eating, especially when it comes to eating less. The Wife has gone through her own struggles with weight and pretty much devoted the last 5-6 years pre-baby to the gym and changing her own habits with food (her family ate out less than mine, but the pasta, fried food and habits were close to my own).

The struggle for us during this time was to make sure that she got the necessary nutrients and calories at our evening meal. We accomplished this through a lot of vegetables (no broccoli…pregnancy turned her off of the smell, taste and appearance of broccoli) and an insane amount of chicken or pork. As our treat, we would have filet mignon for dinner on Saturdays, as they were the perfect size and caloric component to the meal plan, gave us a break from poultry and provided her with the iron/protein boost she needed. (Plus Wegmans ran them on sale all summer.)

I only had one person to bring along. My friend had a spouse and children. I wrote to her: “80 pounds in 18+ is pretty impressive, especially when you consider that you have a) Kids b) Job stress c) Other non-kid related home stress. I can’t imagine what it must have been to change that with kids in tow.”

The Baby is nine months old, so we haven’t reached this point yet, but how do you bring along a child on this journey? So much of what you eat during a weight loss program is not child friendly. Vegetables? Salads? Whole wheat and multigrain carbs? There’s not a lot of room for spaghetti, burgers, chicken tenders and other kid-friendly foods. Kids need to build fat deposits for growth. Sure, there’s the answer that you make something different for you and the kids, but that’s where the other stress comes in. After an eight-, nine- or ten-hour day toiling at the office, does making two dinners sound anywhere closing to appealing? Absolutely not.

This is where all of those stressors come into play. When people depend on you at home and at work, losing weight becomes almost like another job fighting for attention and time. If it was easy, we would have done it long before. If we had the metabolism, it would have never happened. Instead, we have to change our lives around and those of the people around us, and hope above all hopes that they come along willingly. It’s either that or the litany of obesity-related problems that will stare us in the face for the rest of our lives.

Embarrassed at 80 pounds in 18 months? Don’t be. Sure, it’s embarrassing to have gotten to that point, but take pride in what you’ve done and how you got there. It’s more work than anyone will ever understand.

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