From 589 pounds to 220 pounds. This is my journey. Welcome to the countdown.

Posts tagged ‘Chicago’

Hey Remember me?

Forgive me father have sinned.

It’s been 239 days since my last posting. The last time y’all heard from me I was closing in on a milestone–being under 300 pounds.

I’d love to tell you I made my goal and I’m at 220 pounds. That I just got busy and lacked time to post is all.

This morning I tipped the scales at 355 or 48 pounds heavier than my last posting here. A lot has happened since my last post. In the first year I was able to shut a lot of the demons and issues out. But they were still there. They found new ways to manifest.

I also began to deal with identity issues. I’d have people walk up telling me “how they feared for me” or things they’d noticed.

Things they never bothered to tell me….until now. The line that killed me the most: “your life must be so much better now!”

It made me ask the following question–what was wrong with the old me? I was a pretty good guy–I think. Did everyone I know around me perceive me as some giant, fat, ass loser ticking time bomb?

Another hurdle has been that 300 number. Twice I’ve pushed forward gotten close only to end up 20 or more pounds away within 7-14 days. The first time it happened, I shook it off. The 2nd time, it lingered. Recently I came back from Structure House in October at 339 and poised to make a run at 300. I’m now 16 pounds heavier.

And while I appreciated all the concern and support from friends, family, co-workers, trainers, and all those in my corner; I needed to sort this out and find answers…on my own. I shut out a lot of people and still am at points.

But one of the bigger mistakes I made was not continuing to write. It’s so easy to write when things are going well. But I promised myself even when times were tough I’d continue to write.

I didn’t.

And the person I hurt most doing so was myself. If I’d done so, I might be in a better place. I also might been able to help others who like me were struggling.

There’s a lot more to write about the past 239 days. I’m not sure when or how much I’ll talk about. I also don’t know when I’ll write again. But I do know this:

I will write again. I also know the countdown isn’t over. I’m 135 pounds from my 220 goal and I will get there. It might not be tomorrow, next week, or next year but I will reach my goal.

I write soon and not in another 239 days.


Valentine’s Day? Really???

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Okay this hasn’t exactly been my holiday. Thanksgiving–that’s my holiday. Valentine’s Day is a holiday for the pretty people. And when you’ve always been overweight the only people you get valentines from is your family. So this is not exactly my holiday.

So how in the hell do I somehow have a date tonight on Valentine’s Day?

Damned if I know.

Last summer I got back on Jdate on a whim. Once in a blue moon I’d get someone look at my profile. But really nothing serious. I’d shoot a few emails and flirts with no response or a polite no thanks. And then I updated my picture. Now I’m not saying women are throwing themselves at me but suddenly I seem to be on the radar. I’ve had a few dates but nothing to write home about. I’ve mentioned the one who hates Star Wars.

But tonight is a little different. I saw this woman’s profile…gorgeous. Maybe in 100 pounds and when I was a little more toned up I’d have a shot. On a whim, I shot her an email.

She replied–and not with a no either.

I’d initially asked about Valentine’s Day but she was going out with her girlfriends that night. The about 7ish last night I get an email. Her plans fell through–do I still want to go out?

And there it is.

I have a date…on Valentine’s Day. With an amazing, smart, and sexy woman.

Me, the guy who’s idea of a date that day is the local strip club.

People ask me how things are different. How things have changed.

This is how.

A date on Valentine’s Day…me??? really???


20 years later…

Next week I head to Vegas for a 4 day weekend–place I’ve not been in 20 years.

It reminded me about the time I could have gone to Vegas and didn’t. About 4-6 years ago, I was President of non-profit game group. We helped run and promote games like Monopoly, Dungeons and Dragons, and Magic the Gathering. An industry magazine had decided to create a trade show and approached us about having members demo games for companies in…Las Vegas. It was all expenses paid. Further, they were giving me an opportunity to create a seminar talking to the biggest and best in the industry. Given my penchant for public speaking and hunting for a career opportunity this was an amazing break.

But it never happened. I never went to Las Vegas.

I told friends it was fiances and I couldn’t get of work.

A total lie.

I didn’t go because I knew I wouldn’t fit in a plane seat. Because I was scared what would happen if I had to go to the bathroom and I couldn’t fit in it. Because I didn’t want to ask them to pay for a 2nd plane seat.

And so my friends boarded a plane and I stayed at home.

And that was the first time I realized what I’d done to myself. That my weight was indeed an issue. That it had hindered me and I missed out on an amazing opportunity. And in typical fashion, it made me unhappy, depressed, and caused me to eat even more. Because at that time, I could grasp how I’d ever could be anything more than the overweight man that I was.

I told myself there’d be another chance and I’d go next year. There was no next year. The show folded after one year. I missed out because of my issues with weight. Now I’d like to believe it was all for the best. That maybe it all needed to happen. That it was the beginning of my awakening. That it made me think about doing something. That I started to look at places like Structure House.

But the truth is we’ll never know. But I do know this: on Thursday night I’ll board a plane for Las Vegas.

The last time I was on a plane?

Before 9/11–when it didn’t cost you to check a bag.

Yeah, that long ago.

The true test? Will I need a seat belt extension? I’m hoping the answer is no.

The last time I was in Vegas, I was 21. I’d always though I’d be back sooner. A lot has changed in 20 years and I plan to see all of it. And a lot more. Thursday night marks the biggest milestone so far–I can travel on a plane again. Even when I went to North Carolina to Structure House it was a 2 day drive there and back.

But now things will be different now. I am never putting myself in a position like that again. I’ve got places to go and people to see. Well as long as the airfare isn’t too high. But 20 years later things will now be very different from now on.

Who the hell is this guy???

As we’re quite a few posts in, I can’t help thinking some might be asking…

who the hell is this guy?

I’m Jeffrey L. Stein. Born and raised in Chicago’s suburbs. I’m 41, headed for 42–yuck!  

I’m a graduate of Niles North High School. I spent a year at Landmark College before heading to the University of Indianapolis. Had one year at Oakton Community College but finished at UINDY  with a degree in Communications in Business with a minor in Radio/Television.

I spent 12 years in broadcast radio. I bounced around a whole bunch of stations most have never heard of. Unless you were listening to something in a language other than English.

If you did, you’d heard a guy doing a sports talk show called Double Overtime. The greatest little show NOBODY has ever heard of. Mostly because it was radio station nobody ever heard of between the Albanian Hour and the Radio Rosary. Not exactly prime time. But when you’re just out of college looking to make a break for yourself…it’s awesome. Especially when you get credentials for almost every game in town.

If you know your sports in Chicago, I was in the sox locker room the day Jay Marriott and Tony Phillips had there altercation. I’m the only one who apparently felt it was wrong to tape it.  I also got to attend 3 NHL all-star games as working press including the Great One’s last. I had the late great NBA superscout Marty Blake on my show only hours before the Bulls drafted Elton Brand. Got to interview guys like Paul Molitor, Ray Meyer, Gene Keady, and Ernie Harwell.

When I wasn’t doing my show, I was helping anybody from Russians to Albanians to good going church folk to polka all-stars with their programming on stations. Later in my career also created a Public Affairs show for called Outreach for Newsweb. My final stop was as a master control operator for Sporting News Radio (currently the yahoo radio network).

Radio was fun and where I wanted to be but it didn’t pay the bills. So my dream of sports talk radio or the next Howard Stern died in Spring of 2007.  Now I’m with creating cool promo products with company logos. Recently just completed flash drives for the NY/NJ Super Bowl.

When I’m not doing that, I seem to spend far too much time on Toastmasters. My goal was to use it to become a professional speaker but this year I’m a district officer and my club’s President. Oh and I sort would like to be World Champion of Public Speaking.

I’m an old school gamer. Stuff like board games, card games, and roleplaying games like Dungeons and Dragons. I’m a big Star Wars guy. I’ve actually written modules for a Star Wars RPG played nationally.

So that is the basics of me. Over time you’ll get far more.

What a difference a year makes!

In looking through old emails, I found this from 10/23/12. Looking back on it now, I can laugh but chances are all of us have been in a situation like this so I thought I’d share.

It’s almost a year to when I left for North Carolina. I went because I wanted to make changes.
And now a year later, I wonder if things are better or worse. I’m over 500 pounds. Last I saw was 519lbs but that was in the summer. At one point, I was down to 478.
I seem to serve everyone but me. And in true ironic fashion, those I serve’s efforts are those which would be for my better.
In July, I told my bosses I was leaving in November to come back to NC. Instead they presented me with pay raise that could pay me high 5 figures to lower 6 figures in the next 12 months. They asked I hold until Jan 2013. So my days typically start at 5-6am at a trainer who by the time it’s over, I’m deader than a doornail. I then rush home to throw down food, shower, change, and then zoom to work by 8:30am/asap. I then if I’m lucky get out by 6–more like 6:30pm.
And then it’s to home.
Yeah, this was the last thing I wanted a year later.
Still stuck at the house with my parents. It wasn’t supposed to go this way. I was supposed to move in with my Grandmother. That was delayed and then she died. I should started looking but there was this lingering thought about returning to Structure House for an extended stay. And by July, I thought I was going…and then…well you know what happened with my bosses. The result? I’m in a house in which politics and games get played.
I also found out something else: when the money is gone, so is the help. By June I found myself behind on bills. It’s amazing how support and help disappear when there’s no check or a credit card payment to be made. So I found myself alone taking help from anyone and everyone–most who had their own ideas and agendas. Alone at the time I needed the most help. I reached out to a few who I thought were the people who’d be my help and support but they seemed to suddenly have disappeared as well.
So there I was–broke, stuck, plans backfiring, and no support. Is it any wonder I’d end up in the only one place for the peace I crave: my car.
A notrious place of habit filled binge/stress eating. Was it any wonder in trying to find a calm, quiet, peaceful, happy place that suddenly ended up my car that fast food would once again return to my life? It shouldn’t have been. It wasn’t an immediate stuff my face. No, far more sinister. It started with my thoughts I could control it and that “I was doing that”. Soon I just didn’t care. I kept saying “eh, I’ll recover and we’ll get back on track” but truth is I didn’t have an interest in it. In returning home, I also found a 2nd problem: I was unsatisfied with just about everything in my life and had no clue what to do about it or change.
So here I am–stuck at the fork in the road with map in Korean and no universal translator.
It leads to the big question:
Go back to Durham and Structure House or stay the course.
If I could ever seem to determine the answer, it would make my life a lot easier.
Going means I probably won’t keep my job. But it gets me away from everything and allows me to start fresh. Maybe even permanently move there for a while. Staying means, I need to find a place of my own like 5 minutes ago and start pushing the scale back in the right direction. It also means I’m committed to being in Chicago–something I’ve not been sure I wish to be. There’s a part of me that thinks if I could make the kind of money they claim and save, in 1-2 years I could walk away, head for NC, and never look back for a while. But then I remember I’m 40. And at this weight, I might not have 1-2 years.
So that’s what’s been going on. Wish I could say it was better.


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