My (still) Large Tail and How I lost it…Part Two, Three years later…..
MY WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY (You really don’t need to read Part one)
I grew up overweight. Ever since I can remember I have never been in shape. Even though I did run track for about six months, very slowly, I was always large. At seventeen, I was five feet seven inches and 200 pounds, with a large spare tire – just not on my car. I am sure the Gatorade and candy bars I always bought at the little store up the street never helped anything.
This never really went away, a companion through my 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. It stayed with me through all those years, through thick and thin, usually thick. I think the most I weighed in at was 280 pounds.
It was my life style that was slowly killing me. I smoked up to or over two packs of cigarettes a day, ate fast food like it would not be there tomorrow. With working as a cook, in retail, as a courier and even a Security Guard…there was always junk food around – until I saw it. And then…when I got home it was time to cook something easy for dinner. Packaged chemicals wrapped in pretty boxes that claimed to be delicious and easy. Well…they were easy.
I knew I was overweight and it did bother me. I tried a few diets, too much work and too much exercise. Yes…I admit; I am the type of person that buys a piece of exercise equipment to watch it magically turn into a coat rack.
Due to rude kids, I knew during my school years, I was always concerned with how I looked, actually – I still am. But all I did until I was about 45 was fake it. I didn’t plan it, but I eventually saw a Doctor for the first time because of my gall bladder.
Along with other tests he did, I discovered I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a high blood sugar count. Borderline diabetic he called it, 99%. He was adamant that I was going to die soon. (I know it was just a ploy to fix myself.) Or course he gave me medication to cover the first two, but the “eating less sugar” was going to be difficult because there is no pill for that…yet.
Starting around 2010 I tried a few different diet books, I read Dr. Atkins book and all about the Sugar Busters. Still too much work, but I tried very hard to eat right and stop eating all the sugar. The most difficult part was – and still is – the last. It seems that everywhere I have worked as a Security Guard they have an unrecognized weekly or daily event celebrating Security Guards. That is where you are invited to take part any time they have a big dinner or event at the place you are working by bringing you the leftovers. It happens more than you think it would.
I still didn’t eat right because of day to day temptations and my weight went up and down so much it made me dizzy.
Two things happened in 2014, I went to King’s Island for the first time in about ten years and discovered that all the best seats on the rollercoasters were made for people with a lot less fat. The second thing, my wife had her blood tested for the first time in a while and the results were not good. The Doctor told her the same thing, “If you don’t lose weight and eat right you will die.” Then he told her about a book called The Fast Metabolism Diet. When she came home she asked me to check it out – since all I did during the day was sit around the house and play video games or watch TV.
I did as I was told, I read it. Two things stood out that I knew my wife would not like, giving up cigarettes and caffeine. But we did, because this was a simple plan. It was hard work only on Sundays when we prepared our meals for the week, but it worked. I lost 80 pounds during that first year and it was to the point where we could do the maintenance phase of the plan, eating right; organic, no chemicals, no sugar, healthy fats. I still had fat to lose, but we were doing water instead of Diet Cokes, Diet Mountain Dew and coffee. We also moved from smoking tobacco to vaping (that’s a story for another time), and then something happened.
My schedule changed from 1st to 2nd shift and we began to eat wrong again. No more meal planning, a stop at a fast food place once or twice on the weekend and I started the Monster craze. At least I drank the ones without calories or sugar, but it was still unhealthy. I went from 175 (my lowest recorded weight at that age) to 185, sometimes hitting the scale at 190 then dropping back down. Cravings for peanut butter chocolate shakes from our local UDF or the occasional doughnut always were too tempting, so were all the left overs I was offered from people I worked with.
As to my overall health, I stopped taking the high cholesterol and blood pressure meds my doctor prescribed, because those issues had disappeared. Because of eating right for as long as we did my health was improving. But I had to get back on track, and I knew – or at least thought I knew – what I had to do. Once I controlled the temptations surrounding my everyday life my weight stabilized at 185, yet my doctor still considered me obese.
In 2016, the end of June, my life took a turn I knew would happen eventually; my mom was hospitalized and it wasn’t long before she passed away at 86. She had heart problems, high cholesterol, blood pressure, CDOP and a host of other issues. Her osteoporosis stood out the most in my mind, because I had it as well.
During my half century of life, I have been bounced around in numerous car accidents, slipped and fell hundreds of times, knocked down the stairs by 40 to 100 pound dogs – now my bones and joints were paying the price. Not to mention my short-lived experience with roller blading… (Another story for another time…ok, I will mention it. Went out twice, the second time I crashed and burned, tearing my meniscus in the process. After the surgery and when I could walk, I gave them away to my next-door neighbor.)
The last time I fell, 2015, I injured my back so bad I went to see a chiropractor. This was the third one I had ever visited and it never failed that after a visit I would feel worse than I did when I went in. After full body x-rays my fears were confirmed; a compressed disc in my lower back – L4 & 5, a bulging disc in my neck (it was so bad I did not have full motion), both my knees were almost bone on bone, and I had the beginning signs of osteoporosis. I knew that last part because of my clumsiness I always looked down as I was walking anywhere, it takes training to break old habits. My visits to the Chiropractor lasted a month.
In September of 2016, I heard about a new Gym in town. I have wanted to try one out, and figured I could get in shape, shaving the pounds off as I worked at it, but my wife was right. The problem with a gym membership is you get tired of doing the same thing all the time. Or at least I knew I would. But this new place, called Orange Theory Fitness seemed a little different. Their trainers and small one hour classes took a much better approach than your basic Gym. It is High Intensity Interval Training with a focus to stimulate your metabolism, increase your energy and provide group support and accountability. The main theory, that I liked, was if your heart rate stays up in the 90% range for most of the hour you can burn more calories when you are stagnate. And as I Security Guard I was idle a lot!
I signed up for a free class and spent an hour working out like I never worked out before. Now I had watched videos on work outs, tried the whole Pilates thing (that was a big mistake for my bones) but here, the trainers pushed me to my limit and I felt like I was tortured. I had spent the last hour using muscles that had laid dormant in my body for decades – and they all screamed at me, ‘What the F… are you doing?”
I figured, if I survived that one little hour than I could do it again…I may need a little time, like 48 hours, but I could do it. I signed up for three classes a week. True, my body was sore for a while, but I was back at it three times a week every week, pushing myself to my limit, but not over doing it. The awesome trainers they have love to make sure your form is right as you pump iron and do body weight exercises on the weight floor. Form is everything, even on the rower. Since I do normally walk a lot in my job, the treadmills were going to be easy…or so I thought. Push pace was a little rough at first than I figured it out. It’s all on the incline.
I do have to admit that after four months of doing this three times a week, I was not disappointed when the weight did not melt off my body. I felt better, had more energy, (still did three to four Monsters a day) and I was stronger. My normal aches and pains were no longer bothering me to the point where I couldn’t move sometimes. Now it was sore muscles, but they don’t stay sore for very long.
(April 3rd, 2017)
In January of 2017, someone heard I drank 4 Monsters a day and she handed me a Spark to drink instead of my regular Monster and I felt it was a challenge when she asked me if I was working out 5 days a week. Honestly, I did not know that was the membership I had purchased, but since then, I am there, 5 days a week, pushing to the all outs.
She also introduced me to Advocare. Now I had tried the diet pills, the diet shakes and all that other stuff…they never worked for me. But these products work. Now, as of this writing, I am 174 pounds, feel better than I have ever felt about myself. Yes…my back and knees still hurt daily, but not as bad as before, and I have full motion in my neck.
I have always been the type to avoid medication, corporate drugs and other things that have enough side effects and disclaimers that can kill you before you get better (IMO), however, these are healthy vitamins and minerals that help your body do what you want, lose weight, feel better about yourself and give you energy. I participated in the last 24 Day Challenge and lost 5 pounds and 10.5 total inches. I’m ready to do another one.
And last but not least….Before and after using Advocare products: