Andrew

Archive for June, 2012|Monthly archive page

Lessons Learned….Thoughts Realized

In Uncategorized on June 26, 2012 at 8:03 pm

This past Saturday, Sharon and I attended an open casting call for the television reality show The Biggest Loser.  For those who don’t know, this is a show that takes 18 overweight people and kicks their butts through exercise and nutrition education in order to help them lose a huge amount of weight.  Some of the biggest losers (pardon the pun) on the show have been known to lose 200 or more pounds in a six to eight month time frame.  Why anyone would agree to be on this show when they know they will be challenged, broken down, beat up and exploited in front of millions of viewers is beyond me……..but I wanted to among the lucky 18.

Pulling into the parking area where the casting call was occurring, we saw the end of the line and decided to hop right in.  After talking to others in line we quickly learned that the end of the line was nearly touching the beginning when the casting call started. Since the call started a half hour before our arrival, we knew any hopes of a quick interview were not going to be in the cards.  The true understanding of just how long the line was came as we rounded one of the many corners behind the shopping center and saw nothing but humanity ahead of us.  Being a hot day and the ground under our feet being asphalt, Sharon quickly got overheated and went to the van to cool off.  Being the curious person, she started the van and started on a journey to find the beginning of the line and could not believe what she saw.  The line, containing people of all shapes, sizes and colors snaked along the side of this shopping center, past long abandoned store fronts and around to the back of the shopping center.  Passing abandoned loading docks and garbage dumpsters, the line finally ending in a dilapidated parking lot complete with broken pavement and strewn about beer bottles where Sharon would find me…waiting.  As I was holding a lone bottle of water that was rapidly becoming warmer by the moment, Sharon informed of the amount of human flesh that was before us. Looking at the ashen face and the perspiration running down her cheeks I decided to take Sharon home and return later to finish out my Biggest Loser quest on my own. I felt bad that I had dragged her to this event and it was only right that I get Sharon to a place where she could be more comfortable and not forced to endure hours of standing in the hot sun shine. 

To make a long story short, I did return to my spot in line as almost nobody else joined the sea of humanity in the three hours that I had been gone. I would eventually gain entrance to the casting call but it seemed by the time my group entered the interview area, the casting team gave little care to anything any of us had to say.  We each had thirty seconds to say who were are and why we were there (as if it wasn’t obvious enough why we were there) before we were ushered out of the door and into the now cool night.  We were thanked for coming and offered the standard “don’t call us, we will call you” line as the door was briskly shut behind us.  The friends that were made in line said their goodbyes and we all jumped into our cars to return to our normal lives after spending the day dreaming about being losers.

After leaving the casting call I reflected back on the day.  There had been men in line that were not even close to my size and others who were clearly more obese than I am.  My mind immediately minimized my size while my thoughts quickly grabbed the idea that others were bigger than I was and I wasn’t in that much of a need to lose weight. It was at this point that reality slapped me in the face and reminded me that I weighed nearly 500 frigging pounds. If anyone needed to lose weight it was me and I should never compare myself with someone else who was bigger than me because they will be just as dead as I am if this weight does not come off! There is no greater way to wake a man up than to have him come face to face with his own mortality.  It was then that the wheels started turning in my head and I knew that even if I didn’t receive a phone call asking me to become a Big Loser, I needed to do something regardless (again, like I needed this wake up call???).

The final turning point was watching another show on television the next day which featured a 400 pound man who loved to eat but found no motivation to lose the weight that he had allowed to accumulate on his body for 38 years.  His story and his words hit home with me in that I said and did many of the same things that I saw he was doing.  While watching the show, this man would lose 200 pounds over the course of a year, accomplishing this not by drastic binge exercising like the Biggest Loser but by watching what he was eating and doing sensible exercise that would push him beyond the limits of his mind.  As one former Biggest Loser champion once told me, “weight loss is all in your mind” and seeing this man push himself beyond what he ever though he could do turned a light bulb on in my head and sparked something within me.  Sure, I could lose weight by forgoing fast food and becoming more active than I have been (which would not be hard), but true weight loss and the result I desire would only come when I pushed and challenged myself to do things I was previously scared to try. Doing things out of my comfort zone is the only way to improve my weight loss and make these changes I desperately want be permanent. 

This is where I am at right now.  I have been at this point a million times before in my life and this is where I have always stopped.  Will I stop this time?  I don’t know.  I cannot answer that.  My head says I won’t but will I?  Time will only tell.  I will keep this blog updated.  All I know is that right now I will NOT be the Biggest Loser in the sense of the television show and I am ok with that.  As long as I do become a loser, that is what I desire more than anything.

 

Am I a loser?

In Uncategorized on June 23, 2012 at 2:34 am

Tomorrow Sharon and I will be heading out to the southern suburbs of Chicago to take part in the casting call for season 14 of The Biggest Loser.  While I know our chances of actually getting on the show are very slim, like the lottery, you never know until you play.  Either way this will be a fun experience and hopefully it will result in millions of people seeing me without a shirt on!  Now let that idea get burned into your brain. 

I like the idea of appearing on a reality show in which I get my ass kicked every step of the way.  The way I am I need accountability for my actions and if I have nobody to hold me accountable I will be left to my own devices and never lose the weight I need to lose.  I mean…look at me!  I have been left on my own for 48 years and it has resulted in nearly 500 pounds of flab and inactivity.  I have decided I can no longer afford to be the person I am and need to make some serious changes in order to live the rest of my life as a productive member of society.  I have to be a loser and no longer make quick stops in drive thoughs or sneak a candy bar from the non-judgmental vending machines that inhabit the dark corners of my workplace. It is interesting to think that I have spoken to many co-workers and fellow students who spend a good deal of time of the day around me and to a person they all say they never see me eating anything but the lunch I bring every day. These co-workers have to be thinking in the back of their minds that I must be jamming gallons of ice cream down my throat or chugging liters of soda in late night binges in order to be the size I am.  I am the master of eating in ways where people cannot see me and drive throughs have been my sanctuary for years.  Hiding my eating habits from those around me has grown into a game for me and I have become a grand champion in eating out of plain sight. 

It is for this reason that appearing on the Biggest Loser would be so good for me.  Aside from the obvious, having light shed on my eating habits and showing people who I really am would force me to address my issues and make some serious changes to my life.  Again, being totally honest with myself, the chances of me appearing on the show are very slim as many people will be trying out for 15 or so slots on the show.  But if I have one take away from the experience it is that I have come to realize that something must be done (like 500 pounds didn’t do that for me??) and I can no longer sit on the sidelines and sneak my dollar menu, fat and calorie laden snacks.  I must make a change regardless if I am officially a loser or just another face in the gym crowd who is trying to get his life under control. 

I have to confess something…………

In Uncategorized on June 21, 2012 at 3:37 am

I have something to confess and I need everyone who cares about me to hear what I have to say.  It is something I am not proud of but it is something I must confess before friends and family.  This is very hard for me to say but I want to come clean and clear my conscience so that I can move on.  Please don’t judge me as I am not proud of my actions but I just could not help myself.  The thing I need to confess to everyone is that…I have had an affair.  Yes, I had not one but several affairs over the last number of years and it is something I am not proud of so please let me explain.

It started years ago with a simple, knowing look.  We met in the snack aisle of the grocery store.  I couldn’t help myself as I fell instantly for the haunting eyes and the wavy brown hair. She wore a bandana and a cowboy hat that made her look younger than her years but yet, she intrigued me, causing me to be drawn closer.  Yes, I knew she was younger than me but I was a teenager who couldn’t control himself any longer and age would not matter to us. Right there in that aisle, I knew she was going to be going home with me that day. The affair lasted a number of years.  There were trips to the ball game and picnics at the lakefront.  There were lunch breaks, breakfasts and even stolen, late night moments while watching movies in the dark. It was a love affair I knew I could no longer continue yet could not bring myself to end.  After I got married, a confession to my wife exposed my actions and, to my surprise she joined us in the affair.  Late night threesomes were something we came to expect and look forward to.  But eventually, we all knew that our health would be harmed if this affair did not end.  It was decided that, what started as an affair and bloomed into a three way relationship now had to end.  I informed my wife that I would be the one who would break the news to her.

After the affair ended it was difficult at first.  I thought about her whenever I poured a glass of the cold drink we used to share.  Lunch time was no longer exciting as she was not there to provide her sweet comfort during my mid-day break. Late nights no longer held those special moments as she was not there to get me through the scary movie. She seemed to take the ending of our decade’s long affair as well as one might expect. I would see her frequently in the grocery stores, gas stations and even Wal-Mart’s.  She could not withhold that slight smile that originally drew me to her and she seemed to miss me as much as I missed her. She somehow reverted to her youthful looks and was now sporting her cowboy hat that she held so dear early in our relationship. While I had sweet memories of our times together I knew I had to break off any memories of the affair and move on. I knew it was time to avoid her at all cost and regain the life I had lost while participating in this empty love affair.

I am not proud of my actions.  While involved in this affair I had engaged in other relationships that she had no idea were occurring.  There was the red haired girl named Wendy and her friends Suzy-Q and Dolly Madison.  There were quick flings in the Subway that I convinced myself were healthy relationships and I even had an extended relationship with a clown named Ronald that I am most embarrassed about.  While I have given up these toxic relationships that have formed me into the man I am today, I look forward to creating a new me, free of the constraints that these affairs held me to. While I am sure I will change and make a new life for myself and my wife, I will never forget my first love affair with Little Debbie.

Times are a Changin’

In Uncategorized on June 18, 2012 at 5:25 pm

To keep with the music theme of my last post I really feel like times are a changing for me.  Now I have said this many times in the past and have probably ticked off family and friends who have heard me proclaim that I am going to do something about my weight yet I continue to walk down the path of laziness without a resulting change in my life. What has caused this change in my way of thinking?  I am just getting tired of who I am and am now more open to making the needed changes along and do the work that encompasses these changes. It is just too bad I didn’t come to this realization when I was much younger and walking and running didn’t come with the associated knee and back pains that just getting out of bed bring me now.  The simple act of getting out of bed can now take up to five minutes and is not without a few curse words and a whole lot of whining.  I can only imagine how long it will take me once I start working out.  I better set my alarm clock for at least 15 minutes earlier than I do now in order to get out the door every morning on time.

So what am I going to do to facilitate this change you ask?  Being nearly 500 pounds does not lend itself well to going to the gym and hopping on the treadmill as most treadmills are not built to handle my weight.  There is no doubt that a few miles of me walking on these exercise machines would result in considerable damage and reduce them to nothing more than scrap metal. I have only one option and this option is the one that literally scares me the most.  My exercise will have to come by way of good old fashioned walking.  I have no idea why the thought of walking any great distance scares me so much but it really just does,  I have a mental block that keeps me tethered to a place where I am most comfortable and even walking two blocks to the local playground scares me.  Somehow I need to push past this, suck the pain up and do what I need to do for my health’s sake.  Leaving it up to myself has never worked before but I think I am motivated enough that this time could actually be different. At least I know walking on the sidewalks will not result in them being reduced to rubble because of my weight.

Well…..How did I get here?

In Uncategorized on June 1, 2012 at 1:04 am

Recently, I was looking at pictures of me when I was much younger. Pictures showing me playing baseball and enjoying an afternoon in the bleachers at Wrigley Field while others showing me at a time in my life when I was athletic and active. These pictures reflected a person who weighed 275 pounds and seemed to be in shape and enjoying life. While the underlying reasons that caused me to balloon to my current weight  were present 25 years ago, I hid them well by being active and having a youthful ignorance to what I was doing to my body. These pictures caused me to think about where I have come from and how I arrived to be a 500 pound man. While not a huge fan of the 80’s band the Talking Heads, I was reminded of one of their songs I used to hear on the radio back when I was a slimmer young man. The song, Once In a Lifetime tends to express the feelings I have about my weight in one line when the question is asked, Well…How did I get here?

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful
wife
And you may ask yourself-Well…How did I get here?
The song starts out with what appears to be someone who has everything going for him. Someone who came from a shotgun shack to  live in a large, beautiful home. Someone who has a beautiful wife and appears to have everything going for him only to ask, how did I get so lucky and have these great things in my life. The song makes the listener feel that this guy is like the plastic man on the Enzyte commercial who just cannot have that silly smile wiped off his face no matter what happens to him.  But wait…..the song continues….and what does the listener hear?

And you may ask yourself
What is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway go?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right?…Am I wrong?
And you may tell yourself
MY GOD!…WHAT HAVE I DONE?

All of a sudden, that guy who appeared to have everything going for him has realized the paths he chose for his life are not the paths that he really wanted.  Of course he wanted a nice house and of course he wanted the beautiful wife but now he questions the highway he took to get to where he.  He is not only questioning where he has gone, he has woken from the nightmare and screamed…”My God! What have I done??

Maybe it is a mid-life crisis caused by being 48 years old or maybe it is just me taking an inventory of my life that I have recently felt like the man in this song…..My God!  how did I get here. While I have no issues with my wife as I am very much in love with her and, while I would love to own our big, beautiful house I certainly am not upset by our current living arrangements.  I do have to scream my God, how did I get to be 500 pounds and have every aspect of my life be affected by my weight?  Was it the bag of cookies I kept under my car seat when I was a teenager or was it the frozen pizza I treated like an appetizer after working late into the night? Was it all the Little Johns beef combos I ate on lunch break from my job at Montgomery Ward (if you had Little John’s beef combos you would certainly understand)? Or was it a combination of all of these and so much more?  I have come to realize that I have become a man of 500 pounds because of poor eating habits and because of self esteem issues. I was not forced to eat my fruits and vegetables like most children who were coerced into doing in their formative years.  If the vegetable wasn’t a kernel of corn or a potato it wasn’t passing my lips and nobody said anything about it. While I am not naive enough to think that not being forced to eat my vegetables was what made me put on the huge amounts of weight that I have,  I firmly believe that it was this start in life that caused me to become emotionally attached to pastas and breads and not attached to carrots and peas.

While my mind is willing but the body is weak, unless drastic changes are made to lose the weight and learn new habits, I will find myself singing the final lines of the Talking Heads song and waking up every morning screaming….

Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…
Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…
Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…