I’ve been overweight for a good portion of my life.
I was teased as a kid for being fat. High school I did play some sports, but I was still the heavy kid. I’d trim down over the summers as a camp counsellor, but gain a little more back every year. My weight kept creeping up every winter. University saw some highs and lows as far as weight, but I managed to keep my weight to a certain level thoughout those years, but again – it was always over where I wanted to be.
It wasn’t until I went travelling for a year after graduation that I actually got down close to my ideal weight. After six months of backpacking, I was leaner and stronger than I’d ever been. After six months of working construction abroad, I was actually pretty fit. A little soft around the edges still, but I could actually say that I had ‘guns’. Coming back to Canada after travelling saw me balloon up. And I’ve been yo-yoing constantly upwards since.
When I met Heather, the love of my life, I was at my heaviest. I had hit my ceiling. 305 lbs.
I had kept 300lbs in my head as my breaking point. That number symbolized something awful in my mind. That to me was the tipping point for a downward spiral into extreme morbid obesity. The kind of thing that landed you either on The Biggest Loser, or as a page 8 story about how emergency services had to remove a wall and use a crane to take you to the hospital.
For the last three years, both Heather and I have struggled with our weight. There have been brief attempts at eating healthier, changing our diet, and some failed attempts at getting an exercise routine going. But when my doctor started recommending cholesterol drugs and diagnosed me with hypertension, I think the seriousness of the situation finally hit home. It wasn’t enough to keep balancing on that precipice. The way we were living was going to kill me.
About six weeks ago, Heather and I came to a decision to re-commit to getting healthy. After doing some research and looking at what we wanted to change, we decided on a course of action.
We first decided to adopt the Paleo Diet – something that Heather and I have both glommed on to as ‘making sense.’ I’ve done the Atkins Diet, I’ve done the ‘South Beach Diet’ – but this made sense to us in an actually ‘changing the way we eat’. It’s not about altering recipies, or just introducing a few different foods and dropping some unhealthy options for a few months – the Paleo diet is meant to replace the way we think about and use food.
The next step was to get active. After tossing around the ideas of Kickboxing, Dance lessons, and bootcamps (which we’ve previously done and did not enjoy), We found out about CrossFit and decided to join that and The Running Room’s Learn to Run Clinic. For three months, it’ll be six days a week of physical activities every evening.
There is a question that has come up multiple times that I wanted to really put forth my honest answers about. Our trainers, friends interested in the journey, they’ve all keyed in on this one question.
“What are your goals?”
My inevitable response is “Weight Loss” – and that pretty much encompasses my reasons for wanting to lose weight. But it’s not the reason. It’s just the most polite heading I can put my multitude of desires of this process – shallow or otherwise – under.
- I’d like to my clothes to look as good as they do on the mannequin. Clothes shopping can be one of the most frustrating experiences when you see something you like, try it on, and it looks like an over inflated water balloon.
- I’d like to run with my brothers in an adventure race. Both of my younger brothers are fit as a fiddle, and I’m jealous of the things that they can tackle physically that have become nearly impossible for me to do.
- I want to be able to wear belt buckles. Frankly, I’d just like to have my belt matter. At this point in time, it just holds up my pants – and being that my waist is bigger than my hips, it doesn’t even do that well.
- I want to look good naked. Who doesn’t?
- I want to be strong enough to pull off this move. Make fun of me if you like, but there’s more to it than just re-enacting Dirty Dancing scene by scene. Not that a Dirty Dancing re-enactment is what I’m going for – but you know, if it comes up, I’d like to be able to rock it like a champ.
- I want to stop snoring.
- I’d like to spend less time on ‘sweat management’.
- I want my girlfriend to ogle me the way I ogle her.
- I really want to be able to buy clothing off of the internet. Its incredibly frustrating to find an awesome t-shirt, and know that either it won’t fit and will be ridiculously sad because it promises awesome that the wearer can’t deliver.
- When I get in an argument with someone on the street, I want them to default to calling me an ‘asshole’ instead of ‘fat ass’. My weight bears no relevance to me condescendingly calling out others shortcomings or misbehaviors. It’s a low hanging fruit that I want to yank away from future antagonists.
I just don’t want to be fat anymore. The photo at the top has been run through some instagram-like filters, but that’s me, at 295lbs, at the start of our CrossFit program. I’m embarrassed. But, I think I need to face that image and keep it in mind to motivate me to make the changes in my life that are going to make me healthy and happy. So there it is.