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Monthly Archives: June 2010

I was speaking to a few people last week about my journey from morbidly obese to just fat. They asked me if I had help getting to this point. My first instinct was to say that yes, I had a friend who was acting as my trainer. Over the last few days, I gave it some thought and have come to recognize that I have had a huge number of people supporting and helping me.

The first is my family. They have been very supportive (if not occasionally misguided and bewildered about what happened to me). I have my friend Jay, who is the greatest (and lowest paid) trainer I could have asked for. The people at my local YMCA, Laura, Katie, Tracy and Paige, all of whom greet me with a big smile when I am dragging my sorry, extra-large butt into the gym at 5 AM every day. The people I work with, that have listened patiently over the last 3 years to me babbling on and on about what I am doing and what is happening to me because of it (just like a smoker who quit and can’t stop talking about it): Ricki, Joe, Steve, Stephen, Destiny, Odessa and Stephanie, to name the ones that hear it most. My business advisers and friends, Denise, Jim and Mimosas Mama, who have all been invaluable in helping me think all this mess through. And my good friends Kimbo, Brendalee, and Jim S. who supported me even when I didn’t have any results and who were all so encouraging and had faith in my ability even before I had faith in myself.

I was also asked why I chose to work out at the YMCA and not somewhere else. At first, I was hesitant to answer this question. I wasn’t sure. I started to say it was convenience, but to tell the truth, I drive past one gym on the way to the Y and there is another that is about the same distance from my house and is open more hours. The convenience argument isn’t really a good one. I think it has more to do with my comfort level.

I just feel that I fit in there and I am one of the crowd.  I don’t think anyone is judging—at least it doesn’t feel that way. Most of the people working out there are more my demographic. We don’t look like the rejects from the cast of Jersey Shore with big muscles, fake tans and amateur tattoos. It’s more comfortable than that. I can dress in my old school, mismatched, banded-bottom sweats and no will think twice about me not fitting in.

A good support system has been valuable to me. One of the things I have learned over the last 4 years was how much my friends mean to me and (surprisingly enough) how much I mean to them. At the end of the day, no one can lose the weight for you, short of locking you in a cage and not feeding you.

I am 4 pounds away from my last “original” goal. I sometimes wonder what in the world I’m going to spend my time thinking about when I am done. I guess only time will tell.

Paul

I spent the last 4 days cleaning out my garage. This was not a small project, and to be honest, I still need to spend some time sorting out tools and getting it organized. I was lucky that my parents decided to spend their weekend helping and holding a mega yard sale.

To be honest, I think my garage (that resembled my friend Monica’s stuffed closet) was a huge issue for my dad. His garage/shop is in perfect order. Every tool is in its place, and the shop is swept out every time he completes a project. He stops short of marking tool outlines on his walls the way bored old men do, but he is just about there. I think this is important to him because he made his living out of working in his shop. A clean shop made his life easier, and to be honest, I know my way around shop work but I don’t really like it. I am a white-collar kind of guy…in a redneck small-town country boy sort of way.

To be fair, after I completed my house remodel a year and a half ago, I didn’t move the majority of my personal belongings back into the house. I left them out there, because I was so burned out on the entire process. It also turns out that I didn’t really need all that stuff anyway. I ended up with a pathway through my garage like the crazies on that show Hoarders.

My garage mess was a source of embarrassment for me. I didn’t want people to go out there and see just how lazy I really am. It’s not that I didn’t have reasons for the mess, such as a full time job, a busy schedule, and barely enough time to get my normal errands done. The embarrassment comes from the fact that I had a problem that I wasn’t dealing with. That was the embarrassing part.

Growing up, I had more than my share of embarrassment. I think every kid had that issue, but as a fat kid, it is 10 times worse. You don’t have the option of hiding the fact you are fat. If you have a birthmark or a nervous tick, you can hide it. When you weigh over 300 pounds as a sophomore in high school, it’s kind of hard to hide. Throw in the fact you are on the wrestling team, and it’s impossible to hide, especially when you have to get dressed for a match in a wrestling singlet. For those who don’t know, a singlet is shorts that have a type of attached suspenders, ala Borat on the beach. This uniform doesn’t look good on any guy, let alone a 14 year old with a beer gut and no muscle definition. It’s a wonder I didn’t snap, climb on top of the gym, pitch a screaming fit and jump.

But, I digress. The great garage cleanout of 2010 really got me thinking about losing weight. I was totally embarrassed about my size over the last 30 years, because I was leaving it unchecked. Once I made my mind up to start losing weight and started to see it pay off, I was no longer embarrassed. I felt like I didn’t need to hide from people any more, even though at the time I was still over 500 pounds. I have to say that was a good feeling. Over the last four years, that hasn’t changed.

The lesson I learned was that it wasn’t the problem I had, it was the fact I was letting it go and not taking the bull by the horns and wrestling it (singlet optional).

Paulie

My mood lately has been less than stellar. I think “The Band” summarized my current state of mind when they sang, “I pulled into Nazareth, was feelin’ about half past dead.” I am beyond burned out. I thought my recent trip to my hometown for some rest and relaxation would be what I needed to recharge my flux capacitor, but on the first day, my cell phone was stolen and I was stressed and pissed off the entire weekend. I came home more stressed that when I left. I have been dragging myself to the gym this week in an effort to shake my funky mood. So far, it hasn’t been helping.

I decided I needed to do a personal inventory and assess my current status. So, let’s see. My overall physical well-being is at 62%. I am sore and, overall, tired. My personal well-being is at 57%, up today from a low of 52% because a busty sales person flirted with me. (I find that interactions with any busty woman will spike my personal feeling of well-being no matter what.) Mental fortitude and overall motivation is currently at 31%.  

This last category is what troubles me most. I am starting to wonder why I am putting myself though all this pain and misery. I am really working on fighting that negative thought spiral and focusing on the positive. I was wondering what got me started on this negative trend. I think it goes back to my doctor’s visit a few weeks ago. I was under the impression that I was within 10 pounds of my final goal weight of 225 pounds. My doctor then told me (without me asking) that I should be at 198 pounds for my height. This put me back into several more months of this grind before I can slow down and get into a maintenance program.

When I was on the way to the gym tonight for my second workout of the day, I was thinking that I am lucky to have a set routine. I was headed for when equates to an hour of pain from my workout without really having to think about it. I don’t think I could have skipped it if I wanted to, because the habit is so strong. That’s when I had an epiphany. (Good word, epiphany, especially for a guy with my skoolin’.) The fact struck me that I have this habit, and it’s what will carry me through the times I don’t want to be there. It will carry me through the times I don’t want to be focused on the weight issues, and when I want to cheat and pig out. This is not the first time I have reached burnout, and the habit is what is saving me. I just need to keep my head down and keep gunning for the finish line…one day at a time.

Overall motivation back up to 51%, and that’s enough for now. Sometimes that 1% makes all the difference in winning and losing.

Paulie