I Used to Be Fat
I used to be fat.
Not just a little overweight. I was a legit fatso. I weighed 224 pounds on August 16, 2010. Which is not great if you’re only six feet tall. I probably weighed more than that in the weeks leading up to that day. A lengthy period of watching playoff hockey while eating and drinking everything in sight really did a number. The Bruins will do that to you, I suppose. At least they’re an easy scapegoat.
Truth is, I didn’t exercise and didn’t care what I put into my body. I was at a job I hated a year after graduation and the one thing I truly looked forward to was breakfast every morning. Usually a sausage, egg and cheese sandwich washed down with an iced mocha latte. Whole milk, of course. Because when you aren’t putting that journalism degree to use, every extra calorie counts.
That’s the thing about gaining weight. Nobody wants to do it. Nobody wakes up hoping to add more fat to a frame that probably can’t support that much more fat. But food is addicting. It tastes good. I would cherish late-night runs to Wendy’s. Or having sandwiches and chips as a fourth meal. I’d eat because I was bored, or because I needed to feel good for an instant. It was a high for me. A drug that was easy to get. And I wasn’t interested in stopping.
I’m not sure why I decided to make a change. Maybe it was because I began to work at an athletic department, and being around thin people made me feel like shit. Maybe it was because I was afraid my future wife was disgusted with how I looked. Or because I saw pictures of myself breaking chairs and not fitting into shirts. I’m sure there were plenty of reasons.
The shame of being fat was real. It just took awhile to manifest. I think I always felt bad about myself, deep down, but I also never let it show on the outside. And the shame was never enough to lead me to stop gorging myself. But I felt terrible. I had to buy bigger jeans. And my favorite shirts fit a bit snug. I couldn’t pull myself back onto a boat once because I was so fat. It took forever. I’d look at myself on the train riding to work and be disgusted. Sad.
So back to August 16, 2010. Why is that date significant? It’s the date I started a weight loss blog and began a journey that is still going on today. It’s the day I probably saved my life.
Losing a couple of pounds is easy. Losing weight is hard. When you’re as fat as I was, it’s a lifestyle change. And the consequences of not doing so are serious. I never saw a doctor about it, but I could have been close to or I already had high blood pressure, cholesterol, and all the other nonsense that comes with being fat. So to get my life back in order, I knew I needed motivation. So I was involved in a challenge with two friends. Most weight lost in 60 days wins. I also started a blog, because I knew that sharing my struggle would be cathartic and keep me on track.
And so it went. A whole new coffee order. No more breakfast sandwiches. I ran outside every morning and eventually joined a gym. I watched what I ate and even gave up alcohol for a whole month. No more eating out. Every calorie was counted. I read nutrition facts up and down like I was being graded on them.
It worked. Now granted, when you weigh that much to begin with, it’s easy to shed that initial weight when you put in the work. But I kept at it, even when it got hard, and won the challenge by losing 12.2 percent of my weight. I was at 197 pounds.
Almost six years after that challenge, I’m at 165 pounds. That’s almost 60 pounds lighter than I was in August 2010. This is the best I’ve ever felt. I am not in great physical shape, but that can be achieved. I just need to learn to not be lazy and actually run and be active. But I’m proud of the fact I’ve lost 60 pounds in six years. And it’s why this anniversary means so much to me.
It’s still hard. It’s hard to be thin and easy to be fat. I have to be careful about what I eat. I gave up soda completely this year. I barely eat any snacks. Not the most fun, but the reward is worth it. I look in the mirror and no longer feel embarrassed. I enjoy having my picture taken now. I don’t mind having my shirt off on the one day every 2–5 years I go to the beach. I feel good about myself. Finally.
Writing this was important mostly for me. I don’t expect other people to care about me. I just wanted to take advantage of the fact that I could write down that I weigh 165 pounds on August 16, 2016. And more importantly, I could finally write that I’m proud of who I am.