Andrew

Archive for May, 2013|Monthly archive page

Thank you for being a friend…

In Uncategorized on May 25, 2013 at 2:21 am

I recently had a telephone conversation with an old friend who suggested that it has been awhile since we got together and that we should plan something soon.  Panic set in as I cautiously mumbled in agreement while on the inside my brain was screaming out against any such plans.  It had been a number of years since I had actually met face to face with my friend and while he knew I was always a big guy, he was sure to be unprepared for the sight of a 500 pound man standing before him. My mind was running with a scenario in which I would appear at his doorstep and his mouth would drop from the sight of me darkening his door way like a full eclipse of the sun.  I am sure he would hide his astonishment at the weight I had gained and greet me like the old friends we are but I couldn’t help to think about his reaction to my size.  The phone conversation would eventually end and an agreement was reached to get together sometime in the near future but we probably both knew this was not going to happen.

I hung up the phone with my friend and the smile on my face that reflected a great conversation with an old friend gradually slipped away at the realization that I have kept those that were once close to me, away as a result of my weight.  I realized that embarrassment overtook my emotions which caused me to wall myself off from the people I had bonded with over the years and lose touch with those I most identified with in my younger years.  As I thought about what I did to my various friendships of my youth I grew increasingly upset with myself.  I had allowed my weight to ruin nearly every aspect of my life and for what?  It was at that moment that my resolve to lose this weight and reconnect with the people that once meant something to me overtook my need to feed my failing emotions with whatever I could stuff into the opening in my face.  After six weeks of planning my meals and avoiding the fast food addiction I had cultivated, I finally feel like I can gain a victory over this addiction and help reduce myself to a size that would not cause shock and awe to those who knew me back in the day.  I can finally look at myself in the mirror and no longer call myself cruel and hurtful names and finally start to like the image that is now staring back at me.  I have a long way to go but the thought of reconnecting with old friends without the embarrassment of my size has now provided a glimmer of excitement for my future.

What the heck does the doctor know anyway?

In Uncategorized on May 11, 2013 at 11:04 pm

About seven years ago I had a conversation with my doctor about weight loss and the possible paths I could take to lose the nearly 200 pounds.  I had asked him about exercise, eating habits and a variety of other plans of attack and he looked me in the eye and said rather bluntly, “Someone your size will never lose the weight without surgery”.  This simple statement sent me reeling as I had never considered the fact that I would be a fat man the rest of my life unless I could find a way to have the much talked about weight loss surgery.   I took the words of this medical professional to heart and convinced myself that weight loss for me will only come at the end of a scalpel.

I spent the better part of a year pursuing this surgery only to find roadblocks in front of me at every turn.  My insurance carrier would not cover the expenses unless I jumped through a series of hoops that included what seemed to be constant medical tests, three sleep studies and a mental health evaluation which proved once and for all I was not crazy.  It was only after these obstacles were overcome that I was approved for surgery and a date was set to start my massive weight loss.

The surgery was completed, the recovery time was short and I learned to live with what was called a lap band that would restrict the amount of food I could take in at one time.  I experienced initial success and lost nearly fifty pounds within the first two months and thought I was on my way to unlocking the skinny man inside of me that was crying to get out.  And then it happened. I learned that I could cheat just a little bit and still lose some weight.  I could eat a slice of pizza and not have any negative side effects.  I realized that items such as cake and cookies went down without any limitations especially when washed down with a liquid chaser.  I found that, before long I could eat whatever it is I wanted as long as I took my time and ate in small bites.  I found out that the weight loss surgery was not the magic fix my doctor made it out to be as I was putting weight back on my body and sabotaging my goals I had set for when I lost my weight.

I had quickly found out that the weight loss surgery that I had hoped and prayed would be my savior from my personal prison was nothing more than another excuse to blame myself for failure.  My mind told me that there was no way this weight was going to come off because even surgery couldn’t do the trick.  I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would forever be a fat man and would never again experience many of the joys in life I had so badly wished for.  I decided that if this weight was not going to drop off of me that I would just go ahead and enjoy my life the best I can, despite my size.  I went ahead and ate what I wanted, threw up a few times as a result of the lap band actually doing its job but generally found myself finding love in the foods that I consumed.  Even though I found comfort in the Golden Arches and other fast food establishments I could not escape the nagging thoughts in my head my there was no way I would ever live to see my 70th birthday, let alone possibly my 60th.  I knew I had to do something drastic to change or else face a certain death by diabetes, heart attack or some other fat related death.

A month ago my wife decided she was going to start a Weight Watchers program and, after seeing others in my family have great success on system I decided I was going to give it a try.  Even though my physician’s words were still ringing in my head, reminding me that someone my size will never lose the weight I need to lose, I wanted to prove him wrong.  My weight loss is still a work in progress but after a full month into tracking my foods, increasing my amount of walking and staying away from those cookies and cakes that so easily slipped by the lap band, I am down 21 pounds.  When someone has two hundred pounds to lose, twenty one is almost a drop in the bucket but to me it represents a victory.  A victory over powerful words meant to destroy and a victory over a battle in my mind that brought me to this point of weighing a quarter of a ton.  Twenty one pounds tells me that someone my size can have a victory over weight without the need for surgical intervention.  Twenty one pounds tells me that my dreams of having a normal life not stopped by excessive weight can actually happen and do not have to be anything but a dream.

So far so good!!

In Uncategorized on May 4, 2013 at 2:16 am

You would think that after being fat for most of my adult life it would not have taken me until I was nearly 50 years old to tire of this additional weight I have saddled myself with but here I am, ready to change.  It was four weeks ago that something clicked in my head and all the tumblers fell into place that allowed my mind to unlock the mental blocks that prevented me from making the needed lifestyle changes that could save my life.  It was as if something literally clicked and I decided it was time.  In reality, there is nothing that could be farther from the truth. 

A number of friends and relatives had lost considerable amounts of weight over the past year and I found myself being jealous of them all the while stuffing another salt and fat laden fast food sandwich in my mouth.  Although I had lost nearly 100 pounds about 20 years ago, like most people, I put it back and then some.   It was only after my wife decided to start a weight watchers program that I decided I wanted to participate and reduce my size from the 500 pound man that I was.  I had read many articles about how a man my size could not possibly lose weight without the help of surgery and my own doctor told me weight loss would never happen without surgical intervention but I decided that I was going to prove them wrong.  I had been to many nutritionist and dieticians over my lifetime and I felt I knew what I needed to do to make a change and it was time to implement “the plan”.

There is no doubt I was a fast food junkie and I will always be one.  I am addicted to the drive through and the anonymity that it provides a man my size.  No disgusted looks from people in a conventional restaurant which meant that I could eat in my own car, far from the judgement of my fellow diners.  Drive through windows afforded me everything I needed to fuel my addiction with none of the guilt.  The problem was that this food I found so much comfort in was in reality killing me.  While I may have been happy for the few moments I was choking down that dollar menu burger, my issues never went away and I was back to being my sad, moody self as soon as I crumpled the waxed burger wrapper.  It was obvious to me that something had to be done and my brain, after all these years finally agreed with me. 

It has now been four weeks since this epiphany and I have been successful in losing weight.  I will not say how much as I want to leave this as a surprise for those who know me the most but lets just say that while not “Biggest Loser” type numbers, I have lost weight and am happy with my progress.  I have also stopped visiting fast food restaurants and have, thanks to my beautiful wife, have eaten more home cooked meals than I have since I was a child.  I am learning to eat portions and learning to eat things I never have before but both of these will take some time to really get connected to and make a permanent change in my life.  I feel the most significant change I have made in the last four weeks is my ability to push myself and walk greater distances than I have been able to in many many years. IT has been fun to watch the steps add up on my pedometer and marvel that just the thought of taking 4000 steps in a day just a few short months ago would have sent me into a full on panic. Now I get to push myself until I reach my goal of doubling and even tripling my step total and it doesn’t wake me up at night, screaming in terror.  These changes are going to hurt and they will be a challenge but for right now, I feel I am on the right path and making the change in my life that friends and family have begged me to do for years.  More updates to follow.