Originally posted in October 2013:
I don’t normally use this blog for “personal” posts. I tend to talk about New Pulp or what I’m reading… or what personal appearances I’m going to be making.
But today is different and I think it’s appropriate to hijack the blog for one day to talk about it. I promise I’ll return to the usual stuff tomorrow.
The guy on the picture on the left was me in May 2012. The guy on the right is me, from about a month ago.
When I started on the program I weighed close to 400 pounds and I was buying my clothes through specialty catalogs because the big & tall section of most department stores no longer had clothes that would fit me. Worse yet, those clothes were starting to get very tight and I knew I was going to have to move up in size soon. So I decided I’d go on Weight Watchers. I’d had some success with it before but I’d never stuck with it for more than a few months. This time would be different because I decided I wasn’t going on a diet. I was going to change my life. I may not be the kind of person who is going to suddenly start hanging out in the gym and I know that. But when it comes to willpower and making a decision, then sticking to it… I can do that. I do that everyday in my job and ultimately, this is no different. You simply decide to do it and then you do it, no whining. I want to be here for a long time and see my son grow up. I want to be a little old man with my wife, talking about all the years we spent together.
And I didn’t want people’s first impression of me to keep being “Wow, he’s fat.”
So on July 12, 2013 I did my first weigh-in. It was pretty ugly but I knew that going in. The nice thing about Weight Watchers was that I could eat pretty much whatever I wanted as long as I was willing to live with the points value of the food. Initially I focused on just cutting down on my portion sizes and as I went, I altered my diet, inserting more fruit and veggies. I’m still not a huge fan of vegetables but I do eat my green beans all the time now and I’ve become a huge fan of apples, grapes and oranges.
For me, it was as much about controlling how much I ate, as it was what I ate. There’s nothing wrong with having an occasional giant hamburger but I was having those all the time. Plus a large order of fries. And a dessert! Then I’d do it all over again a few hours later… plus I’d have snacks.
I wasn’t one of those people who ate because he was depressed. I liked eating. It brought me pleasure. I enjoyed the entire pastime of consuming food.
I’ve tried to maintain my appreciation for a good meal, I just change how much I eat and what I’m eating. The food’s still good… there’s just less of it. It’s amazing how much we consume that’s far more than what we need. I try to tell myself that now — not “How much do I want?” but “How much do I need?”
There have been weeks where I’ve gained weight, gotten frustrated and been amazed at how far I still had to go.
But there have also been weeks where the weight seemed to just fall off and the confidence went through the roof. I feel like I look better and I feel more energetic.
Today I reached the goal that I had set for myself back in the middle of 2012. I’ve dropped 171 pounds in about 15 months. Now I enter the maintenance phase of the program where I try to keep to my current weight. I’m certainly not a skinny person and I’m still above what the doctors consider my ideal weight but I’m comfortable with where I am and I’m confident that I can maintain this for the rest of my life. That was a big point of all this — not telling myself that I would ever reach The End… I achieved my goal but now I just keep going. There’s no returning to where I was. This is the new me.
Do I sometimes miss those double quarter pounders with cheese? Hell yes. But I spent a good 40 years indulging in food and that was plenty of time. I can get plenty of enjoyment out of a nice, juicy apple.
My current feeling isn’t so much elation as it’s just kind of… relief.
It was the same way when I was published for the first time — I kept expecting this huge wave of euphoria to wash over me but it wasn’t quite that. It’s more like that sensation you have when you’ve been racing towards a finish line and you finally crash through it. You’re proud, you’re weary and you aren’t sure if you want to cry or laugh.
Updates: So how have I done in maintenance? Pretty well — I’ve actually dipped a little below where I’m supposed to “stay”. I’m currently sitting at having lost about 180 lbs. It’s been difficult to stop “dieting” — I always feel like I’m overeating and I keep expecting to see the numbers on the scale keep getting smaller. Staying the same doesn’t feel as much of a “victory” and I’ve grown accustomed to those.