Substance

We’re all friends here, right? We can talk about anything?

Over the last 15 years, I’ve lost over 100 pounds of weight.

Of course, I gained over 200 over the same time period.

Me, early 20s

I also had terrible fashion sense.

I was a very skinny teenager. In high school I weighed between 150 and 170 pounds. I had a giant white-guy afro; I looked like Q-tip.

A strong metabolism was the cause – it certainly wasn’t like I did anything to maintain my svelteness. I was still out of shape – as thin as I was, I couldn’t run a block without getting winded. But I was skinny and could eat a horse and didn’t care.

Of course, this changed, and I began a slow increase in size. I wasn’t even aware it was happening. Right up to the day I heard some girls I knew commenting on some guy’s cute butt. One of them looked at me and said, “Yours is cute too! Just big!”

Ouch.

Me, 2004

I’m glad the picture was cut off.

In early 2004 I won a spot on a TV weight loss contest. Three months of free gym access with a personal trainer, a recumbent bike for the home and three months on a starvation diet with LA Weight Loss.

At weigh-in day I weighted 270 pounds.

It was great. (Except for the diet portion.)

I flourished under the tutelage of my trainer. (Amazing guy by the name of Anton Joseph. The guy trains professional athletes and knows his stuff. Runs a place now called Strive. If you can afford him, he’s so worth it.)

Even more than that, I loved the spotlight. I appeared on morning TV once every couple weeks for the whole three months. People were talking about me; I even got recognized on the street a couple of times.

After losing 50 pounds

Oh yeah.

I gave everything to it, and I lost 50 pounds.

I felt amazing. I looked like a million bucks, I could wear clothes right off the rack, the world was my your-choice-of-metaphor.

Problem was, in part, that the exercise regimen was too much for me. After three months of severe intensity I was burned out. I couldn’t stick to the strict food plan and with the lure of the cameras gone, I lost the impulse to keep working out. Slowly the weight began to come back.

It’s so EASY to gain weight back. It’s like you return to yourself. Like you’ve been using the wrong screwdriver to attach a picture to the wall and someone hands you one that fits. You’re all, oh right! This is what it should be like.

And the pounds came back.

Me, 2006

Not sure which makes me cringe more, the belly or the hair.

By the end of 2006, around the time my first marriage ended, I was back up around 280 pounds. I took a different tack this time – I devoted myself to small changes in food and found an exercise I could devote myself to – swimming. There was a swimming pool a five-minute walk from where I worked. I could swim in the morning, shower, and be at work with barely any inconvenience.

I swam before work 3-4 days a week. I started only able to swim for 20 minutes at most, but after a year or so I was up to an hour.

Swimming was amazing. I loved it. Swimming has to be one of the best ways for a fat person to exercise. Once you get past the body shame of walking to the pool half naked and get in, it’s the best feeling. The water buoys you up and gravity stops paying attention to you. You don’t have to worry about sweating like a pig because the water washes it all away.

Me, 2007

Me and my hair have long been at odds.

I lost around 30 pounds. Not as much as before but I was in better shape, so held the weight better.

And then my company moved me to a different building. This one was on the far edge of the city, and it became impractical to swim before work. I tried to fit it into my after-work schedule, but because it wasn’t convenient, it fell away.

And the pounds started to come back.

I did a brief stint with Weight Watchers. Lost 10, gained back 20.

I’ve used the Livestrong MyPlate application a few times. It works. I’ve lost 10-20 pounds each time I’ve tried it, but I can’t keep the resolution up.

I try to add fitness and then stop. I try to eat right and then stop.

I’m now at nearly the heaviest I’ve ever been.

Me, now

Snack-size Slave Leia makes me look even bigger.

Today I weigh 328.8 pounds. A few months ago the scale read 337. A month after that it could no longer register my weight at all.

I’ve stopped having pictures of myself taken in general. My wife and I went on a week-long cruise up the West Coast – no pictures of me.

I had to buy all new clothes because everything I had bunched around the waist. So many of my shirts strain the buttons when I sit down. It’s even worse because I can only shop at plus stores now. Nothing else carries clothes in my size.

I’ve gone back on Livestrong to count my calories, because I like the math of it. I’m trying to add more activities to my lifestyle – more things that involve walking, more energy-intensive household chores.

But I figure I need to go back to the one thing that had the most success before – public scrutiny.

I plan to continually update this site with my current weight loss (or gain). Take me to task for my failures. Praise me for my successes. I’m a giant extrovert; I live for that sort of thing.

I hate being this big. Hate it hate it hate it.

Help me.

Current weight: 328.8 pounds
Words typed today: 971
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About shuffledog

40+ stepfather and husband. King of the geeks.

Posted on July 17, 2013, in Health, Weight and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Hey Phil, Joel here. If you like the math of weight loss combined with tracking, etc, I recommend you try Fitbit. It’s a pedometer that you keep with you all day and tracks your walking, climbing, and even your sleep patterns if you want to bother with that. It also dovetails nicely into a number of online tracking sites so you can combine keeping track of calories with keeping track of your walking. There’s also an iPhone app for it. You can also create groups of friends (ie. me) on fitbit and create small targets of competition and encouragement.

    Just a thought.

    I haven’t been able to use a weigh scale in well over a decade. None of them go up high enough. All the scales I’ve found online that go up as high as 400 lbs (I think I’m still under that much, but I’m not sure) are not available to export to Canada for some weird reason. If you find a weigh scale that goes high enough and can be bought in Canada let me know.

    • That’s very interesting. A bit creepy how Fitbit tracks your sleep and auto-updates everything.

      I have this mental image of a little creepy robot watching over me while I sleep. Occasionally it strokes my hair.

      Brr….

      Yeah, I guess my scale can’t handle over 340. Right now it’s working for me, so I’m not looking for another. Hopefully I won’t have to.

  2. I’ve dropped 40+ lbs this year. Slow and steady, and am keeping it off.

    I’m not a fan of gimmicks and tricks. For me the equation is simple. Burn more calories than you take in.

    Find something that works for you, and DO IT. Love swimming? Great. Go do it. Find a way to make that work. Even when you don’t want to.

    For me it was martial Arts. I need that camaraderie… people that are my friends, pushing me to dig deeper. That’s just me.

    You do what you need to do. If blogging is part of it, then great. Blog away, and I’ll be here in your corner. I’m a lousy quarterback, but a helluva cheerleader.

    I have faith in you.

  3. Hey Phil I hear you!! I worked so hard to loose over 100 lbs from mid 2009 – jan 2012 then discovered I was pregnant (which I was thrilled about), but I worried about gaining the weight back. Well I now have a beautiful daughter, but I also have all that weight back and want to loose it again, but have been struggling with getting my self moving again. Perhaps we can help keep each other going.

  4. You can do it Phil! I’ll hold you to account if you do the same for me!

  5. Dude I feel yah. I am much the same way. Its one of the reasons I work in the trades, I HAVE to be physically active every day if I want to be paid. Otherwise I am sure I would be a large gelatinous blob by now because I always have an excuse to not be physically active. You can do this though. Its hard, its sucky, its tiring and yucky. But you can do this.

  6. Can you lose an extra hundred for me so I don’t have to have any discipline or responsibility?

  7. Your experience sounds a LOT like what I’ve gone through. The resolution and then the failure to maintain it is a blow not only to your self esteem but your self respect.
    When I saw myself at the 2011 expo, I was in tears. In this last year I’ve lost (and gained back, then lost, then gained back, then lost) almost 30 lbs. I used to be able to say 40, but then I’ve put on 10 again and I’m fighting with it now.
    The only thing that works with me in the long run is the small changes, one at a time. I’m on CalorieCount.com again,readjusting my view of calories, though I doubt some of their gauges for calorie expenditures through exercise.
    I have 60lbs to go. Fight with me, buddy! FIGHT WITH ME! You need support, I’m going through it too. You need to vent your stresses about doing it, I’m here for you. You need to scream your success, well that’s what social media is for, but I’m still here for you.
    Love you man, and you can do it. Just do it small steps here every few weeks. They add up.

  8. Weightloss can be a cruel mistress who, if you let her, can leave you feeling guilty and unsatisfied. I too have been on the winning, and losing side of weight loss and I wish you all the best as you strive for healthy balance. ~ Sherene

  9. I’m with you on this, Phil. It’s so hard to keep it up. Can go for bits and pieces, but like you said…it’s like using the wrong screwdriver, and then everything else just fits so nicely. Here’s wishing you the best of luck!

  10. Momma loves you (hugs)

  11. You got it, hon. I’m here. You can do it. You liked the camera, right? Why don’t you do a little YouTube clip talking about your achievements/slips for each week and include that with each post?

    Anyway, I am here, your cross country cheering section. ❤

  12. Hmm, I think the common denominator here is consistency and motivation. You need to fit something you like and that works for you. That way you can keep it up. Also not liking being big should be enough of a motivator. If getting to gym or pool is difficult look to what you can do at home (treadmill, bike, daily walks, etc) But if you need that additional thing (pool or gym or trainer) to make it work, then the motivation should be enough to make it fit into your lifestyle. Doing it alone is tricky so find someone you can do this with. You will have a big cheering section and I am quite sure it will be a success. Good luck. Set a start time and a goal that will help. Take it off it bits and remember to make the goal SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relavant and time-bound). Cheers

  13. I will find out the program that my co-worker used, he lost a whole bunch and has been able to keep it off. Good luck with it.

  14. You can do it! I believe in you!

  15. You can do it Phil!!

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