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

Posts tagged ‘struggle’

Four Guys On A Bench Revisited

One of the first posts, I ever wrote was about 4 guys on a bench. If I was tech savvy, I’d have a way to link it to this post. but I’m not so please feel free to search it out.

Many of my regular workouts the past couple years happen in the gym.  I would see these four men and other racquetball players most mornings. The Lifetime Fitness used to have it’s cycle room, rock wall, and racquetball courts next to it’s basketball courts.

Notice I said use to.

At the end of May, Lifetime Fitness Old Orchard decided to make a brand new yoga studio (yay!)–right where the racquetball courts were (boo!). While I’m happy there’s a new yoga studio, I was disappointed it would mean these people–the people who’d watch me melt away, would no longer have their place to play.

So in mid June of 2014, the courts were closed, the benches removed, and my biggest fans were now gone. After the yoga studios opened, the gym was a lot more quiet. There’s an occasional basketball player but otherwise…quiet.

Before they left, I got the email for one of them. They’ve been bouncing around between LA Fitness locations. In the first email, I sent him the post I’d wrote about Four Guys On a Bench. I told him how much I appreciated him that day and how that made a difference.

At the time I sent him the link, I wasn’t writing any more. A few weeks later, I got a note about a comment posted. It was one of the wives of those players. She’d been inspired by my post and was going to work towards weight loss.

I recently was emailing with them and asked them what they were thinking that day. His response?

When I saw you working out the first time I knew you had an uphill battle that wasn’t going to be easy. I knew that you needed all the encouragement you could get. I think the average guy would say keep trying and that was the end of it.

 I think I told you I had a lot of ups and downs in my lifetime and these guys I hang with are terrific. They can make you laugh at the drop of a hat. Laughter is the best medicine I know. We started teasing you in hopes you would take it the right way and you obviously did.  It’s an easy way to break the ice and laughter can be contagious. I know we had Miranda & Matt laughing a lot with all of us.  

 You take care of yourself and keep plugging away. We’ll get together when you reach your goal next year.”

He was right. At that moment I was tired, exhausted, and seconds from giving up. Seconds from throwing it all away.

Two years later, when the scale keeps going up and I get frustrated, I think back to that moment at the gym. That’s when I remember the most important thing I’ve learned:

NEVER GIVE UP!

We will all have our ups and downs. Our successes and failures, it’s where we go next that determines our course in life.

239 days ago, I was at 307 pounds. Today…355. But I know I get back there. I know because even when the numbers on the scale go up, I know I can do it. I won’t give up. It may take weeks, months, or years but I will get there. I will lose 135 pounds. I will get to 220 pounds.

Because I know I can.

Time’s passed and sometimes I wonder if anyone remembers there used to be racquetball courts or the players who’d come in the early morning to use them. Then I remember it does matter because I do.

I remember.

And that’s all that matters.

Can’t wait to see them next year when I reach my goal.

The Countdown 3/17/2014

Last Week: 323

This Week: 324

Next week’s goal: 318

Magic Number to 220: 104 lbs.

Lost since Nov 2012 (561.8 lbs): 221 lbs

Lost Since Nov 2011 (561.8 lbs): 239 lbs

Highest ever weight recorded/known: 589 (difference of 265 lbs)

 

I was posting these regularly on Monday and the last two…late. I suppose I should be happy I was out 7 nights in a row and ended up only gaining a pound. I went places where I had no business being, ordered wisely, and walked away without my weight skyrocketing.

But it’s now going on week 4 of trying to reach 318. My trainers and team are getting nervous. Some are beginning to question my commitment level.

I can understand that. 

I could have not gone out a few nights. I could have brought my own food. Maybe exercised even more. 

But I didn’t do any of them. 

Last Friday was the 22nd anniversary of the worst day of my life. Someone I considered a friend I can no longer trust. I wasn’t wise with funds, work isn’t going well–and my bosses know it. I got into with one of them last week. Someone on my side no less. Mostly because I wouldn’t let him in with what’s going on with me. Others have noticed as well. 

People want me to strive to better or do my best and right now I just keep wondering how much more I need give. It’s almost like I’ve become a totally different person now. I keep wondering what was wrong with who I was or who I am now. Sometimes I look in the mirror and still see the same fat guy who’s always been there.

I know it’s not true but and I’ve made huge strides but I still look and see a big fat guy. I see the loose skin that sags on my body now that I’ve lost. Yesterday I thought I saw definition in my abs but really it’s covered by a layer of fat. So I get depressed looking at what I did to myself. And yet when people ask me “if I feel better now…”, I get annoyed.

Annoyed as if I was just some loser who sat on the couch all day and ate chips or something. Like I was some sort of total loser before all this. Then there’s the people who think I’m going back to being some 500+ pound guy if I don’t have structure or if I take a break. I’m a different guy now and yet they look at me like it was 16 months ago. 

I feel tired, lost, and like I’ve lost my identity. I almost want to say depressed because the last few days all I wanted to do sometimes was crawl up in a ball and not leave my bed for a while. 

And I think I can motivate people. Hell, I can’t even motivate myself right now. Inspirational my ass!

This all said, I’m not giving up. I may not have this all figured out right now but I’ve come to far. Win or lose, I’m going to keep going. Sooner or later I’m going to put the pieces together again. I’m going to figure out these answers. And call it a gut feeling but I’m pretty sure when I do, it’s all going to fall into place, and better than it ever was.

Just got to believe. 

Next week 318 and I don’t even want to know what happens if I don’t get there.

 

All eyes on me

Recently read someone’s blog about taking a cardio kickboxing class. Got me thinking about my early experiences with dance classes. I’ve always felt comfortable “getting my groove on”. Only when I started getting bigger and got out of shape did I stop. But when I was in North Carolina at Structure House, they had a ballroom dance class and I took it EVERY week. I did some Zumba but felt dead in about 15 minutes every time.

When I got back from North Carolina, I vowed I’d conquer Zumba. When I first started working with Matt my trainer, I told him I’d be doing Zumba. He kind of looked at me like I was nuts. A few months later, I “slipped” into the back row of the Saturday morning Zumba class. Now I say I “slipped” in but there was no slip in here.

Zumba is held in the Lifetime Fitness gym–where everyone can see. You can also see from the 2nd level. Now you might be thinking “but Jeff there’s lots of people in that class. How would anyone notice?”

That would be true…

if _ANY_of them were male.

So it’s me and oh, 70+ women doing Zumba. And if you didn’t think they noticed…well, you’d be mistaken.

They noticed.

And so did everyone else.

My trainer Matt wasn’t even in the building and 20 minutes later, I had a text about it. Other trainers were asking about in days later. Apparently a 400+ guy doing Zumba isn’t common. The first time I didn’t last long maybe 20-30 minutes. Slowly I’d work my way up. More frustrating was trying to pick up all the moves. I’d be going left and the entire room is going right. It’s not an issue except when you’re the only guy and you’re rather large in a room full of women. It’s almost sit com comedy funny to see.

The women were thrilled to have me. They liked having a guy in class. I did however take some crap and a few snickers from guys at the gym. But as I reminded them:

I’m the only guy in a room full of women wearing spandex.

So while they played with their “balls”, I spent 60 minutes with pretty ladies in their form fitting outfits. Certainly beat an hour of treadmill that’s for sure!

About the point I could get through a 60 minute class, I found WERQ. Current hits plus more pop/hip hop moves equaled dropping Zumba because I’d found my thing. If you’ve never seen it, I’d invite you to google or youtube it.

Today, I pick up WERQ twice a week. I’m still the only guy in the room 98% of the time. But I wouldn’t miss it. Best workout I get all week. All the eyes that were on me are either less now or used to seeing me there. Heck there are times where I’m more on the moves than half the women in class.

Besides, I like that all eyes are on me anyway.

The Countdown—3/3/14

Last Week: 330

This Week: 323–GOAL ACCOMPLISHED!!!!

Next week’s goal: 318

Magic Number to 220: 103 lbs.

Lost since Nov 2012 (561.8 lbs): 220 lbs

Lost Since Nov 2011 (561.8 lbs): 238 lbs

Highest ever weight recorded/known: 589 (difference of 266 lbs)

Steps for the week: 63,582

Average Steps per Day: 9,083

Welcome back to the countdown. I apologize for the delay. I find it interesting that the weeks where I accomplish goal are the bounce back weeks. I also think it’s interesting how those weeks have been 6 and 7 pound losses. And given weigh in happened on Wednesday, that’s 7 pounds lost since then not Monday.

The step numbers were low this week. This included a less than 5000 step day. It again begs the question of how hard you work versus quantity of steps. As I write this, I’m almost at 11,000 but I wouldn’t it was a hard workout–just a lot of walking. I do find that the extra walking and movement sometimes helps with thought and stress. But when I get to goal, I’m thinking more quality and less time.

I don’t know I’d say I was perfect but I was watching a little of the what, where, and when. So we’re back to before the Vegas trip. 323 with a goal of 318. I’ve noticed so far this week my intake is up some. Good quality foods but up. Going to need to watch that.

Again, we’re inches away from being under three digits from goal. We’re also 24 pounds from 299–a number I can’t recall when I saw last. My trainer Matt asked me about it this week. I think I was in high school at this weight but under 300…maybe at 14?

I think sometimes that’s where the disconnect happens. I’d daydreamed about it but actually being here is surreal. And sometimes it makes me content. And why wouldn’t I be?

And there lies the rub.

Best shape of my life but even now–not done. And that’s what’s hard. Even harder with the pats on the back and lauding what’s already come. Harder because you so want to take those moments but doing so makes you content. And right now I can’t be content.

The end is so close and yet it’s still far enough away. Frustrating.

Next week–318. We break into the teens, get closer to 299, and double digits to goal. Exciting times for the countdown.

A cold day in hell…

When I first started working out, my Monday and Wednesday workouts would start at 6 am. Opposite me in the gym was what they called a boot camp. It wasn’t just any boot camp. It was the alpha boot camp. The hardest of the hard. Those taking this camp were covered in sweat. When it was over, they looked like zombies. Their trainer was Terri.

You’d hear her the whole time. Barking out orders like a drill sergeant. Just watching and listening in the other gym made me sweat. It sounded like a government torture session. And none of these people looked happy. They looked drained and exhausted.

I told Matt, my trainer, it would be a cold day in hell before you’d catch me in there or working with Terri. Every so often Terri would peek in. She’d hint she might be my trainer and my face would turn white. Eventually I moved an hour later to 7 and out of the gym. And that meant I’d rarely see or hear about alpha boot camp or Terri. Yes, I’d see her around and we’d joke but never work together.

Last week, almost a year plus later since I’d seen boot camp or Terri, Miranda needed a sub while she was on vacation. She was having trouble finding a sub. As a joke, Miranda suggested Terri.

I said…okay.

Miranda did a double take. I think I shocked her. I saw Terri that week and she seemed a little shocked too.

Her comment–“really?”

Mine–“bring it”

She smiled.

So this morning, a cold day in hell arrived. The first of two days working with Terri. The woman who scared the absolute crap out of me in those early days at 543 pounds. The one I swore I’d never work with. Oh and I survived. Had to or there’d be no blog entry today or ever again. I think I even scared my trainer Matt because Terri tells me he texted a few times about how I was doing.

I was doing fine. Covered in sweat–but fine. No zombie like states though. Maybe that’s tomorrow.

Guess hell isn’t a cold as I thought.

And I opened this door because…

I came back from Las Vegas and wanted to make changes. In one of the seminars, they talked about asking others as to how they perceived the same time or place. It got me to thinking about how I am perceived. So yesterday, I asked my boss.

And he told me the truth.

It’s a funny thing about the truth. Sometimes you think you want it when really you don’t. That came in the form of this revelation:

I do just enough to get by.

Now my “just enough” is pretty good but I could do better and don’t. My radio career failed because I didn’t go the extra mile. In my job, I could do more but I don’t. I claim I want to win the World Championship of Public Speaking but I don’t put in nearly the effort to do so. Even with the weight loss, if I get to 5 pounds and I could get higher, instead I take as a time to go eat pizza or something.

The good news–it’s fixable.

The bad news–I’m not sure I want to.

Yes, I want more and better but am I willing to do it? Will I put in supreme effort? Worse, what if I do and fail?

So where does that leave me?

A mess.

Nobody wants to admit they’re not willing to do something. It’s a horrible feeling. It’ll make you sick to your stomach. The obvious step is to make a change. But what happens when you’re not willing to? What do you do then? Can you live with yourself knowing you’ll never be what you could be?

What do you do when you open a door and find the answer wishing you’d never seen it?

I have a lot to think about and soul search now.

Countdown 2/26/14

Last Week: 323

This Week: 330

Next week’s goal: 323

Magic Number to 220: 110 lbs.

Lost since Nov 2012: 213 lbs

Lost Since Nov 2011: 231 lbs

Highest ever weight recorded/known: 589 (difference of 259 lbs)

Steps for the week: 89,598

Average Steps per Day: 12,800

I know what y’all are thinking.  He went to Vegas and this is the result.

I wish I could say that was true…but it’s not.

I came home from Las Vegas at 325. During that trip I had a 30,000 step day and two 10,000 step days. My only sweet all weekend? One small serving of mint chip ice cream. Yes I drank and had some carbs but I stayed strong.

So how am I up 5 pounds since Monday?

On Monday night, I went with friends to TGI Fridays. I ordered a grilled chicken salad.

And then I decided to split boneless buffalo wings with someone.

I thought I’d have 1 or 2.

Well they brought us the wings and they had a bone. The waitress told us to keep them and she’d get new ones. My partner didn’t want any. And there it was. I had a plate of wings in front of me. Worse, the 2nd plate came and half my partner didn’t want either.

So 1 and half plates later, I ate my salad as well.

In one sitting, I wrecked weeks of work. When I try to identify why I keep thinking I was happy. Somehow in my happiness I felt it was okay to have buffalo wings. And then there was the additional food. Why did I eat it? Because when I was a kid, I was told to eat everything on your plate and not waste food.

So because I was happy, my reaction was the celebrate with food. The continuation occurred when I felt obligated not to waste food and eat everything–like a good little boy. Just when I think I’ve figured this out, I realize I’m always going to have issues like this. That I’ll always need to be on top of this stuff and hyper aware.

It’s easy to say why buffalo wings suck and I shouldn’t eat them. But for someone like me, it’s the taste and what reactions and emotions it brings that make them attractive. The memories of hanging out with good friends in college, drinking beer, and eating wings. Or those Sundays watching football with the guys.

Then there’s the other part of this. In Vegas I wasn’t perfect but it wasn’t a fiasco. So why did I create one the night after I came home? Why at a moment of triumph did I torpedo myself like this? Why did I hurt myself? Did I not deserve to be happy? To feel like I accomplished something? I walked 13 miles on Friday and yet it now means nothing.

But then it sort of all makes sense. Ever since I hit 200 pounds lost, I’ve sort hit a standstill. It’s not a physical one just mental. I hit 200 pounds lost and felt like I’d accomplished something. And that would be the case if the job was done–but it’s not. There’s 110 to go. I’ve been justifying and saying I’ll figure it out.

But that’s not happening. I’ve hit goal just once in 2 months. I’ve been content with the 1-3 pound losses. The goal on Monday is 323–7 pounds. I need to get my head out of my ass and make it.

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