August 30 2009

Over 100 Pounds Lost

airplane seatbeltI finally feel that my weight loss has settled, and I can officially tell you all that I have lost over 105 pounds.

Ever since I took my first airplane flight in 1988, I have asked for exit rows due to my height.  Being just under 6’4″, I need the extra leg room, and so I have always wanted to make sure I was in the row with as much room as possible.  In 2001 I was flying to Los Angeles to catch a plane the next day for Tokyo, and I had procured my precious exit row seat, but then something happened on the flight that changed things for me.

I asked for a seat belt extension.

I honestly had not realized how much weight I gained, and I was informed if I needed an extension that I could not sit in the exit row for other passengers safety.  I was moved to a normal seat and enjoyed the embarrassment of not only being moved, but realizing I had allowed my weight to spiral wildly out of control.  The seat belt extension was set at its tightest setting, I barely needed it, but need it I did.

For the next couple of years I played at losing weight, but was just never serious enough.  I also came to realize I had hit 400 lbs.  Seeing as I am built like a football linebacker, I never thought I looked that weight, but I was.  In 2004 I was on my way to Japan again, and I still needed a seat belt extension, but just barely.

In late 2006 I got serious about my weight loss, but it was a slow build, and I still wasn’t making a ton of progress.  Through out 2007 I built up more and more momentum, and I added in lifting weights towards the end of the year.  Also, when I began professionally blogging in July of 2007, I knew I would be sitting down more than ever.  I decided if I was going to be sitting that much that I had to get serious about exercise to counteract the stagnation of all that sitting.

As 2008 dawned, I got super serious (partially due to endless cheerleading by my friend M, which was always said with love and never, ever in a hurtful way).  When I learned I was going to Seattle in July of that year, I decided to try my hand at an emergency row again.  I was down to 365, and I knew at worse they would just move me again.

I sat down in my exit seat, fished for the ends of the seat belt… and they connected.  I’m man enough to admit I almost cried.  I had done it, I was back in the seat I wanted, but if anything, this just energized me more to work even harder.

By March of 2009 I hit 325, but I was having a heck of a time breaking through to a lower weight.  I went to the doctor and talked with him, and he ran blood tests on me which came back surprisingly good.  (To the point he admitted he had checked my name twice to make sure it was my results)  He suggested I take up walking, something M had been cheerleading endlessly, but I have problems with walking outside due to my allergies.  He suggested I join a gym, and he told me to set a temporary goal of 300 lbs, but an ultimate goal of 250.  I called him a couple names for setting the bar at 250, but I accepted it as a challenge.

My personal goal all along had been 300, and both my doctor and I laugh at the height/weight chart that says my optimum weight is 212.  We laughed to the point that he informed me if I ever came in the office at 212, he would be sending me to the hospital to see what was wrong with me.  So on May 1st of this year, I started going to the gym three times a week, and working out with free weights at home three times a week.  When I learned I would for sure be going to Boston to visit M in August, I decided to set a personal goal of 295 before I met her.  (105 lbs being an inside joke between her and I for reasons I won’t go in to)

A week before I left for Boston, I did it, I had hit 295.

I wanted to make sure it held before I said anything, but the new weight held.  I was ecstatic… and then realized I had to buy some new clothes before I left.  D’oh!

musclesSo, when I got to the airport in St. Louis,  I once again asked for an exit row, and not only did the seat belt work for me, I could tighten it.  (the picture above is from my return flight, I forgot to take one on the way there as I kept falling asleep)  My waist has gone from 60″ to 48″, and by golly I can fit in any airplane seat I want now!

The first night I met up with M was an endless stream of compliments from her over my weight loss.  And for the first time ever, I showed her a picture from my heaviest time period… even I could tell now how bad I had gotten when I look back at it now, and the compliments only increased after that.  I figured I might come back from Boston with a few pounds added on from all the eating out and such, but instead I came back at 294.  I blame the endless walking around the city with her for that.

Last night the scale read 291, but I never mark a new weight as official until I get the same reading three days in a row, there are just too many variables: water weight, what you eat, etc.  So, for now, I am still considering 294 my new official weight, and that means I have lost 106 lbs and have 44 lbs to go to my doctor’s goal weight.  I would imagine I have actually lost more than the 106 lbs in fat because I have more muscle mass than I have ever had in my life.  I actually have veins starting to pop out all around my wrists, my calves have gotten extremely defined and my neck has increased by an inch.

While there are days where I curse the working out, and the foods I have to skip eating (I haven’t had ice cream in well over a year… and I love ice cream), the results are obvious, and I feel better than I think I ever have in my life.  With each pound lost, it only motivates me more to keep on this path and get to that 250 lbs goal.

At the end of the day I do not blame any one but myself for the situation I got myself in to.  No one forced me to super-size those meals, no one pried my mouth open and shoved double quarter pounders with cheese in there, one hundred percent of what happened with my weight is my fault, and one hundred percent of getting myself in to shape is my own responsibility.  So as much as I may whine at times about it, it is myself I am whining at, and I have no delusions about that.

This hasn’t been a solo journey though, and I would like to take a moment to thank a few people who have helped along the way.

My parents – They have been extremely supportive, and while I know at times they have wished I would stop talking about this journey of mine, they have congratulated me as each new milestone has passed.  Thank you.

F – F is a friend of mine I meet each week for lunch, and while I am sure he would rather keep his name off my blog, I have to thank him.  After some changes in his life, and in what he eats, he has taught me much by example in how to make the correct food choices no matter where I am.  So, thank you, F, you have taught me more than I think you realize.

M – You have already been mentioned through out this post, but your constant concern and caring has meant the world to me.  No one has been a bigger cheerleader for me and this quest of mine, and for that you have my eternal gratitude.  I know I say the compliments don’t sit well with me because I did this to myself, but they really have been a huge help, and don’t ever think otherwise.  (Don’t worry, no one reads this blog any way, your reputation as an evil genius will not be tainted by this)

Some time this week, hopefully tomorrow, I will be writing up tips on what I’ve found works the best for me, and maybe it will inspire some of you.  Each person is different, but as I have pieced together my own program as opposed to following some cookie-cutter diet plan, perhaps you can find one or two suggestions from me that will help in your own weight loss journey.

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