Two years ago today I started what might be the most important project of my life…the project FOR my life.
On Friday, February 28, 2014 I had a doctor appointment. I had been going to the doctor on a regular basis since she had diagnosed me as pre-diabetic a few years before. I could go look up the exact date, but the truth is that it just wasn’t important to me at the time. When my blood sugar had first gone on the rise, my doctor had me start buckling down on food and exercise. That lasted all of a month or so. After a while I got tired of the pin pricks, tired of the exercise, tired of the food tracking, tired, tired, tired. But on this particular date, something changed, something clicked.
Here are some numbers that describe me on that day:
Weight – 345 pounds
BMI – 46.79
A1C – 7.1
Waist Size – 56 inches
Dress Shirt Size – 18.5
T-Shirt Size – XXXL
On Christmas eve, 2013, this picture was taken of me:
I make calendars for people, my wife among them. Every year she gets a page dedicated to me. Needless to say, this bewildered chap didn’t make the cut.
When I got home from the doctor’s office I was supposed to work from home. Instead, I spent the better part of the day crying. I was terrified.
My father died when he was 49 years old ( I was 6 at the time). When I turned 49, I calculated the exact day that I would be the same age he was when he died. It turned out to be Mother’s day that year. I was scared that I wouldn’t wake up that morning, or not see the end of the day. I remember having the discussion, tearfully, with my doctor. One thing about my doctor, she is not the touchy-feely type. If I ever went in there asking for a hug, I suspect I’d go home disappointed. What she is, is blunt and matter-of-fact. She told me that, although my weight was high, I had few other factors that would make me a candidate for a heart attack (my dad’s demise). Between that visit and the next, I lost 7.6 pounds. For a while, it seemed I had my act together. Mother’s day came and went, and I did not. I woke up that next Monday, and continued my life. Soon that lost weight was regained, and I was back up near my highest ever.
That Friday, though, something changed. Perhaps it was just a new dose of concern over my mortality, I honestly can’t say what changed. By the time my wife got home from work, I had composed myself. We went to visit friends that night, a family that lives about 45 minutes away. On the way home I told my wife the plan I had hatched.
I decided that the next morning I was re-starting Weight Watchers, and, I was going to launch this blog. We talked in the car, and my wife asked me some very pointed questions. She wanted to know what would happen if I failed again. Would I be able to handle the heartbreak of having made such a public proclamation? Could I handle the embarrassment? I am sure she worried that if I failed, it would send me into a depressed tail spin, and that my weight might be the least of my worries.
I didn’t sleep well that night. The next morning I created this blog, with this blog post, with the opening paragraph:
There is every possibility that I will live to regret having created this blog. There is a chance that a few months from now this will exist on the Internet as a mockery of yet another a failed attempt by me to do something about my weight. But this morning, March 1, 2014, that is a risk I am willing to take.
I was now doubly terrified. I was afraid of what was happening to my health, and I was afraid of what would happen if I failed.
This was not my first attempt at weight loss. This graph shows my weight for a far back as I have data, June of 1997:
From May of 2000, to September 2001 I went on Weight Watchers for the first time. In that time I went from 290 pounds down to 218. Then… I stopped. I stopped counting, stopped caring, stopped being diligent, stopped exercising, and the rise began. At my highest, not only did I gain back the 72 pounds, I added another 60 for good measure.
This time I was determined to be different, to be better. I realized that for this to work it had to be about a lifestyle change. I had to fundamentally change the way I viewed food. I had to, basically, learn to eat all over again.
Once I got control of what I was eating, and started eating more healthily, the pounds started to melt off my body. Since that first day in 2014, here is my weight graph:
This picture was taken at my son’s wedding last September:
Here are my current numbers:
Weight – 214.2 pounds (down 130.8)
BMI – 29.05 (down 17.74 points)
A1C – 5.3 (down from 7.1)
Waist Size – 38 inches (down 18 inches)
Dress Shirt Size – 16 (down 2.5 inches)
T-Shirt Size – Large (down from XXXL)
I have not yet reached my goals. I still flirt with being obese (221 pounds is the threshold). My long term plan is to get down to 195 pounds. In the meantime, my life is great. I have more energy than I dreamed possible. I have new hobbies, new friends, and a new outlook on life.
The reason I write this isn’t to get praise. It is to tell you that YOU CAN DO THIS TOO. Whatever it is in your life that you want to change, you have it within you to make the change. Nothing about this journey for me is easy, but it is WORTH IT, and so are you.