Funny thing about fat people, most of us know how to lose weight.
We also tend to think skinny people are skinny because they have never been fat,
we also think, (if we haven’t observed them closely),
that they are skinny because it comes natural.
What I have learned is there is a small subset of skinny people who have to do nothing to stay skinny. most of them either developed good low carb or low calorie eating habits early in life, or have become skinny after a period of fatness by learning these habits later in life.
Fat people can “embrace the fat.” OR they can do something about it, but either way, morbidly obesity is morbid.
I can speak for the tribe of fat people. Not every fat person,
any more than a person of color can speak for every black person,
but I know the life, it is my experience.
When I was a kid, I was “chubby.” I wore a 36″ belt in middle school.
I can’t remember what I weighed, but I was under 200 lbs.
Then I went on Atkins with my brother and father
(here is a tip, if you have others to diet worth, it is easier,
but by the same token, your collective willpower can be broken by
anyone’s decision to “take a break”).
I remember one summer we bought “fat blocker” pills and ate whatever we wanted,
seems we gained weight… but low carb did work.
in 11th grade I weighed 149 lbs., and played starting tackle for our football team,
but by the end of my senior year I was getting heavy again,
then I did Atkins again and lost down to 168, my ribs showed when I took off my shirt.
girls liked my look when I had my shirt on, but I didn’t like seeing my ribs,
but that wasn’t a problem, within a year or two I was over 200 lbs.
I had lots of reasons and lots of excuses, and I wasn’t rolly polly fat.
I drove a truck long distances, and I didn’t use pills to stay awake. I ate.
and drank black coffee I drank creamed and sugared coffee
for part of that time.
Then I married and divorced and married again, and all this time I was trying to find work that let me stay near my family, more or less. I became a car salesman.
I wasn’t that great at it. I bounced from one dealership to another,
eventually being so broke that I made chicken hot dog sandwiches for my lunch
because it was cheaper to slice up hotdogs than to buy bologna.
When I got a job driving a delivery truck for Pepsi back in 1986,
I had enough money to buy whatever I wanted,
at least as far as food was concerned, but I was working so hard,
hand delivering typically 10,000 lbs. of soda per day,
that I was constantly losing weight.
Then I got promoted to sales, where I made even more money and had lots more stress and did very little physical work. After that, the struggle with weight was constant. It didn’t help that all me in laws were fabulous Spanish cooks!
Of course, my wife at the time would bug me about getting fat.
I would struggle with it. I remember going through a phase where
I both ate and sold these overpriced cookies that helped one control the urge to eat. They worked, a little. god knows what was in them.
A few years later I got a divorce and began to live my life as I wanted,
especially as far as food was concerned,
then I met a girl who tried to make me eat healthy.
I worked at it a bit, but she also was into really rich cuisine.
I liked that side of her life better.
eventually we went our separate ways and I met Suzanne.
She was a skinny little thing, well skinny wasn’t the right word.
I was at about 210, but I was very much of the mindset
that I wasn’t going to let anyone tell me what to eat.
Our first year together went to New Orleans for a week,
when I came home I weighed 235 lbs.!
About a year later her dad moved in with us. Even though he was a Maine Yankee,
he had learned to cook southern style from being married to her mother for years,
and the man loved butter. he would butter frozen Texas toast when it came out of the oven. He cooked for us almost every night. We loved it.
I gained more weight, around 250 lb., Suzanne’s dad passed away after about 2 years with us
but I continued to eat rich foods, and lots of it. pretty much if I liked it, I ate it.
whether it was a box of Little Debbie’s or a dozen doughnuts.
Or a bowl of vanilla ice cream with peanut butter and pancake syrup,
corn bread dressing sandwiches or meat loaf sandwiches,
yes plural, I never ate one, two, three, or four at one sitting.
I got to 312 lbs. and my doctor began fussing at me.
Suzanne decided we should try portion control recipes.
They worked a little bit. I lost down to about 290.
Then we got lazy and started eating whatever we wanted, we both gained weight.
I got back up to 308, but I wasn’t really interested in changing,
though I was on medicine for blood pressure.
years ago, in 2000, I had a melanoma removed from my nose,
during the surgery, the doc was really angry at me because he had
trouble with the bleeding because my blood pressure was 211 over 140.
I started in on Diovan the next week but as I had no insurance
and Diovan kept getting more expensive he switched me
to two generics, they worked just as well.
The doctor told me my hypertension was pretty much strictly a result of my weight.
lose the weight, lose the blood pressure.
in July of 2011, I weighed 308.
I came home from taking Cristopher to Miami to the seaquarium
I told my wife that my mouth tasted salty,
and I thought I had read somewhere that was a sign of blood sugar problems.
as her doctor had told her she was “borderline diabetic” and told her to monitor it,
Suzanne had a glucose meter and offered to let me use it. my sugar was a 398!
We both were shocked and she wanted me to go to the emergency room.
instead I called an old trusted doctor friend, and she said the ER wouldn’t be able
to do much for it, for me to start following a diabetic friendly diet IMMEDIATELY
and to see my doctor as soon as reasonably possible.
I did what she advised. I went on the Zone and my doc prescribed metformin.
My sugar went back to around 100, a little higher if I wasn’t faithful to my diet.
For the next several months, I was out of state doing contract work for State Farm
and it was very hard to maintain anything like a healthy eating regime.
Still, by February of 2012, I was home again and down to 286 lbs.
The next month I got a job doing Wind Mitigation inspections.
Generally it was more a skill job than a hard physical job,
but each inspection required a trip into the attic, sometimes for a 15-30 min period.
By June I was down to 276, without trying to lose weight, but only trying to eat reasonably healthy, “Zone-ish”
During this time, Suzanne was having her own weight struggles and had tried various things
and wasn’t happy with any of them, so we agreed to do a low carb cross between Atkins and Zone.
By November I was down to 249 and she was equally successful,
though I neither know her numbers, nor would I share them in a public forum, if I did!
My middle son was getting married in February 17th, 2013, and it occurred to me, that as he now weighed 235 lbs.,
I might catch him by his wedding day!
For thanksgiving, I went off my diet and ate to my content,
then we decided to have a return trip to the beloved city New Orleans,
as Christopher, 8, was now old enough to appreciate it.
I ate my way through New Orleans. by the time February rolled around, I was at 279….
So in a year I was down a net of 7 lbs. That was depressing! I realized,
or I should say WE realized (as the last several years of this journey Suzanne has been either my partner or co conspirator,
more often a strong partner, though as I said about dieting with my brothers, when either of us falls,
we usually take the other with us), we realized that as long as we were “dieting” and thought of eating the way
we had always eaten as “taking a break” or “doing a reset” we were going to fail.
So, with a few failures along the way
(adding flax seed recipes to our staples, for one. turns out Flaxseed bread is a great for an occasional treat
and will probably be a nice staple for maintenance someday, but it slows the weight loss to a crawl),
we have begun the journey of eating the way we eat now, as “normal” and any high carb variation
is not a “break” any more than a drunken binge is a break for an alcoholic!
This morning, I am at 260 lb., still a long way from the 186 that I have selected as my target weight.
I have lost a net of about 2 lbs. per week since July 1st. Sadly, that represents an actual weight loss of nearly a lb. per day,
with two one-day lapses. If I can really keep on the path, I would be at my target by Christmas.
Life has taught me that if I am controlling my sugar, my BP and continuing the downward slide on the scales,
that is success, even if I have momentary failures along the way.
Will I finally be at 235 for February 2014? I don’t know.
I should be at 186, but if I am 260 then, I will celebrate!
(note: upon rereading, I notice that I mention a lot of other people when it comes to my weight issues. Let me be clear, NOBODY made me fat. Sometimes folks make it easier or harder to do the right thing, but in the end, given the right tools, it is up to me, and each of us, to look after ourselves. I got fat by myself, and even though Suzanne is wonderful support, I will have to lose every pound by myself!)