Testimonial: “I’ve officially lost over half of my original body weight.”
I used to weigh over a quarter of a ton. The last weigh in I did before I started my weight loss campaign showed 538 pounds on the $250 scale my wife had to buy me with our tex return in March of 2010. As of today, I weigh 268 pounds, and I’ve officially lost over half of my original body weight. I started a year and a half ago.
I barely left my house between the ages of 19 and 28. I was diagnosed with agoraphobia in my mid 20’s because I would have panic attacks when faced with even the idea of people seeing me. Depression had a firm grasp on me and every night when I went to bed, I hoped that I wouldn’t wake up. My twenties were very dark, with the exception of my wife, who was really more supportive than anyone should be.
I valued my life like you might value a sentient turd. Were a sentient turd to exist, it would probably make more money than I have in the past 10 years too. The only thing I was good at was video games and I was completely and utterly co-dependent. I broke at least 5 computer chairs including a 500 pound weight limit one due to the punishment of overuse. What I’m getting at here is that I was a shitty human being.
In March of 2010, I stumbled across a forum on SomethingAwful.com called Watch & Woot. It was my introduction to the Internet’s somewhat under-developed fitness community. I found a thread that showed people’s ultimate transformations, which was a wall of photos of before and after pictures. There were amazing transformations, including a couple people in the 400-500 pound range. It hadn’t occured to me before then that I could do something about my body. My parents had drilled it into my head that my issues were genetic. My Mom went as far as to have my thyroid checked multiple times.
I then found another thread that broke down low carb dieiting. I need things explained to me like I’m 5 years old and that thread was a godsend because it did just that. I was convinced. I had found some daily fitness logs in a sub-forum and decided that I would start one myself. They were very inspiring and allowed me to go through the entire journey of a couple of guys who started around where I was going to. I still keep that log now.
So in March of 2010, I started my weight loss journey. I began by limiting myself to under 100 grams of carbs a day. Before long, I found that I wasn’t missing the carbs, so I cut them even more when I read about the benefits of a ketogenic diet. I started eating under 50 grams of carbs a day at that point, which was something like 2 months in. Around that time, I also started lifting weights.
A lot of my plan was centered around fighting loose skin, which was a condition I expected to have trouble with due to the aforementioned transformations thread. Ketosis was attractive because it forces your body to use fat for fuel instead of glycogen. I figured if I lifted weights and remained in ketosis, I might retain more muscle mass because the weight loss would be more due to fat being burned. So that’s what I’ve been doing since.
I learned about the Paleo movement about 6 months ago, when I stumbled across Robb Wolf’s podcast on iTunes when I’d run out of Joe Rogan podcasts to listen to while I was lifting. By that time, I’d already been eating a Paleo regimen but I hadn’t labelled it. I love listening to Robb and Greg because they don’t speak through filters. I can’t concentrate on things people say if I can tell they’re censoring themselves. It makes the podcast incredibly unique and invaluable to me. That novelty is exactly what I need to absorb information. Otherwise, I drown it out. While a lot of my success is due to people on the Internet being generally awesome and overtly informative, I’m also going to give myself a little credit.
Throughout the process, I’ve remained introspective, which is why I think I’ve been able to be successful. I’d diagnosed myself with a food addiction and looked at the foods I used to binge on the most. The common factor among them all was that they were all created in a lab somewhere. I decided that the food that evolution provides me is probably better than the stuff someone with an agenda and a bottom line was coming up with. So I came to my paleo solution through the use of logic. I dropped artificial sweeteners from my diet as well as peanut butter. I also dropped all processed food. I found that if I ate those things, I would be more likely to binge – I called them trigger foods.
As time passed and I lost more weight, my depression started to fade. My self worth creeped out of the pit it was in and I was able to go out more, too. My first adventure back out into the world was to see the movie Inception last year when I was still in the 400s. I was still wholly uncomfortable but I did it. Since then, I’ve been doing many of the things I set out to. Amusement parks, bowling allies, resturaunt booths, and my very first NFL game (Packers at Panthers); I’ve conquered them all.
I’m convinced my brain was generating depression to mask and dull pain. I had knee pain that I thought was a permanent condition – that I thought would require surgery later in life. One day it was just gone. The same goes for back pain. All of my pain – both physical and emotional – is mostly gone. All I had to do was believe that I could change. Now I’m in the process of rebooting my life. I’m still unemployed but I’m no longer fine with that. I want to turn fitness into a career and I’d like to spread my story as much as possible so that more morbidly obese people can see what they can do if they try.
The last month has been crazy. I was the featured user on a fitness game called Fitocracy.com. It’s a game where you log your exercises to get points, levels, complete quests, and get achievements. Through that, I met a ton of amazing people. Last week, I told my story on Reddit.com’s loseit, fitness, and getmotivated sub-reddits and got a ton of support. I ended up selling my original $250 scale to a dude who’s just getting started now for $95. I got fleeced but it’s worth it if it works the same way for him that it did for me. All I had to do was see the number and have a way to see when I lost weight – that’s literally all it took to get me started. Hopefully it turns into the Brotherhood of the Traveling Scale. He gets the life he wants and passes it on to someone else.
Even though I can use a normal scale, I’m not done yet. I’ll never be done because I’m chasing perfection now. I’m not satisfied with being just a little out of shape. I want to be amazing.