I was always a skinny kid.
I have always eaten a lot of food, but I was very active, so I always burned off the calories. When I graduated high school in 1993, I weighed 145 pounds and had reached my full height of 5 foot 10.
I weighed about 180 pounds when I got out of the Army, mostly from muscle gain.
After I got out of the Army, I discovered the internet and became a full time student. During this time, my activity level went to nearly zero. I was literally sitting on my butt for every waking minute. My newly formed physical routine (or lack thereof), combined with my inability to stop eating as I always had, made for some very quick weight gain. In a few years, I had gone from 180 pounds to almost 225 pounds.
At the time, I knew I was overweight, but I was holding steady at about 225 to 230 pounds for several years. I tried a couple of fad type diets over these years. I would always lose a serious amount of weight quickly, and then gain it all back eventually. I know that some of these diets will work if you stick with them forever, however, I just can’t seem to do that. I always went into it with the idea that I’d shed the pounds quickly, then go back to a more normal, but less like my old self, way of eating. Of course, I simply went back to my old ways.
A major change in my life happened in 2004. My in-laws said they would loan us the money to move to Ohio, we would pay them back after we got on our feet. My wife and I had been floundering in South Dakota at jobs that we didn’t like, barely able to scrape by on what we made, and had no hopes of ever paying off our bills and owning a house.
We took them up on that offer, and moved across the country without jobs. It was a blind leap of faith, and it’s turned out very well for us in the long run. However, we did have to live in their house for about six months. I ballooned to 250 pounds during that time. I had a pretty bad case of Plantar Fasciitis, and spent most of my days sitting in a chair playing Everquest.
Eventually, my wife got a job and we were able to get into our own apartment. I stayed home with my son, and played Everquest and World of Warcraft in my spare time. At this point it had been years since I had done anything athletic.
I eventually got a crappy call-center job, where I was free to sit on my butt every day, and then come home and sit on my butt the rest of the day. About this time of my life, I started having back issues, which I used as an excuse to never get any exercise. I’m sure the weight issue was/is causing my back issues, but that’s a story for a different post. Plantar Fasciitis kept coming and going as well. I used all of these things as excuses and crutches in order to not have to do any physical activity. Knowing full well that not doing any physical activity was going to eventually be the death of me.
Not long after that I began working for an amazing company, I’m still employed there today as a matter of fact. It was and is still a desk job, so there is little opportunity for exercise during the day. Part of my job includes some stress, although I’m sure I make the stress bigger in my head than it actually is. One day, about 4 years ago, I realized that I often eat much more because of stress. My last few diets and exercise plans were derailed because of the stress. I realize it’s completely psychological, but in the moment it’s real enough. Eating things that are bad for me makes me feel better. There, I said it. It looks as ridiculous written out as it sounds in my head, but there it is. The end result is I gave myself all sorts of reasons not to exercise: stress, back pain, foot pain.
As these excuses got bigger, my health declined. Not in a way that put me in the hospital, but in a way that I was slowly destroying my body. During all of my years of being a fat guy, I had avoided doctors. I knew what they were going to say. They were going to tell me things I already knew. They were going to tell me to stop being fat. They were going to tell me that being fat is going to kill me. They were going to tell me things I knew but didn’t want to admit.
I already knew this. I suppose in much the same way a smoker knows that it’s going to kill them. I didn’t care. Or more precisely, I didn’t care enough to quit.
In my next few posts, I’ll go over my occasional moments of clarity combined with my low points of failure.
Read about my first big failure here.
I’d also like to pose the following question to my readers:
If you are struggling to lose weight, how did YOU get to where you are?