“…I will tell you this. I did take a serious step, and for a while it was successful. But ultimately that attempt failed in principle…”
In the last background post I talked about how I had almost given up all hope that I would ever lose weight. It is pretty tough to come to a point where you feel like you will never again know what it is like to just be able to buy clothes off the rack or take your shirt off at the beach. It is a sad and lonely place. I imagine that there are those of you who may read this and understand what I am talking about or MAY even be in that place right now. If you are feeling hopeless because you are overweight, let me tell you, it CAN be overcome. If you are feeling hopeless, please consult a mental health professional with a background in nutrition and physiology. They are out there and they will help you get in the right state of mind. That is the only way it will work.
Let me tell you about the most serious weight loss attempt I had before this present journey. It was a program that WOULD have worked, if only I was in the right state of mind.
“…Around Christmas of 2008 I realized that I was probably heavier than I had ever been. I refused to step on a scale, so I didn’t know for sure but I could feel it…”
All I knew by that point was that I felt like if I didn’t do something I was going to die. I was not having any health problems (besides acid reflux) but I just knew that if I didn’t do something heart disease and diabetes would be imminent.
I had noticed a small office on our beautiful little island town that had a sign saying Medical University Weight Management Center. I started doing a little research on the computer box. I found out that it was in fact a weight loss clinic. I looked into pricing and it was not cheap, but what was my health worth right? More than the cost of two bacon egg and cheese biscuits for sure. I made the call to see what it would take to sign up. They said, just come on in. I said, Uh, let me think about it. You wuss. What were you afraid of? Honestly, the person who answered the phone sounded nice and at the risk of saying something really stupid, she sounded hot. Don’t ask me what makes someone sound good looking. I just had it in my head that they have really attractive girls working at the clinic to make fat boys like me feel even worse for needing to come in.
So anyway, long story long, I sucked it up (and in) went in and signed up. I was worried about it being right across the street from my office, because I did not want anyone to know I was doing it. Yeah, yeah. I’m an idiot. That mind set is partially to blame for my failure. I went through all of the initial steps, which included a full pysch profile, a weigh-in and some sort of little gadget that they hooked to my bare toe and finger and said how much of your body is muscle. (…interesting side note is that I weighed in at 357 lbs and I was carrying 219 pounds of muscle. I tried to imagine myself at 219 and ripped…) They explained that the program would be 15 weeks and would start off with a supplemental (1250 calorie) diet that would induce larger initial weight loss and then they would wean me off of the supplements onto regular food. It was basically shakes for breakfast and lunch with protein bars or low cal snacks that they provided and then a restricted dinner. I would also be required to exercise around 200 minutes per week, use a pedometer, drink a minimum of 8 cups of water per day, track my food intake and weigh-in everyday personally. I would have an “official” weigh in meeting once a week for the entirety of the program. I accepted the terms and started the program. I loved it. I started losing weight almost immediately.
For the sake of brevity, I will not go into great detail, but I will say that I really stuck to the program. From Jan 2009 to May 2009 I lost 56 pounds and went from 357 down to 297.2 at my lowest weight on May 22, 2009. As long as I was being held accountable through the program, I was losing weight. I wasn’t about to walk through the door of the clinic and NOT have lost weight.
(…another aside: I had my gall bladder taken out right in the middle of this program. Apparently rapid weight loss can cause gallstones. While doing a little research for this post I came across this post made on 344pounds.com about me during this time. Shawn used a pseudonym for me because I didn’t want to use my real name for fear that someone would know what I was up to like the picture wouldn’t have given me away…)
But I started having issues towards the end of the program. With just a few weeks left they wanted me to start integrating “real” food into my daily intake. I started getting scared because I didn’t want to. I actually faked my food diary a few weeks saying that I was eating food, but was actually still doing shakes for breakfast and lunch. I was also still trying to hide the fact that I was doing a weight loss program from everyone. I only told my folks, wife and her parents and a few select others. I was also only walking for exercise. I was not doing resistance exercise even though I was telling them that I was. I was afraid to go to the gym.
At the end of the program I was supposed to be eating ALL food with no supplements, but I wasn’t. For some reason I had it in my head that I could not eat real food and keep losing weight. I was being an idiot and instead of learning from the GREAT resources that I had through the program, I was lying because I was afraid.
I left the program as one of the biggest success stories they had in the 15 week program (plus I tacked on an optional extra 4 weeks at the end so I could stay in the program) and I decided to not do any check ups with them. I have no idea why, but I basically quit the program cold turkey thinking I had what it would take to continue. I thought I could just buy the shakes and stay on those. What I gave up was the two most important things I had going for me and that was accountability and resources.
Needless to say I could not maintain the supplemental diet, physically or mentally. I started eating regular food again with no regard for calories or anything. I tried to keep up with exercise but I started finding excuses to skip a day here or there which led to skipping weeks, months, a year. I started eating emotionally to deal with hard times in my life like when my best friend’s dad, and a hero of mine, died and when my grandfather, the patriarch of our family, died and when I started having spiritual and faith issues. The spiral started spinning downward out of control. My head was not right. I started having those feelings again of hopelessness. I gained back more than half of the weight that I had lost.
I started to realize that I was addicted to being fat and I was relapsing.
But there was hope. I knew I could lose weight with the right environment. I knew that I had it in me to do this the right way using the knowledge that I had rejected through the MUSC program. I knew that I had to talk about it or else I would never be able to deal with it.
Two years later I woke up in the head and realized what needed to be done. And this is where we arrive in the present…