I'm really not an attention type of person. I mean, sure, I like to be acknowledged when I do something remarkable as much as the next guy. I write a riff that I think is killer, bang your head. I draw something that's cool, look at it. I program my way out of a predicament created by random business related hijinks, use it. I really don't need much more than that.
So, on February 23rd, when I made the decision that this was happening, I didn't do it to get acknowledgment from anybody. The fact is, I had a bit of a self-awareness shock that night. I tried to sing a song I'd written and I just couldn't get the lines out with any conviction. I don't mean the emotion was gone, I mean there wasn't enough air. I simply had no lung capacity. Where I needed to sing for about twenty-five seconds without a breath, I could get out maybe ten. And at the end of that ten it was strained and obviously weakened. And ugly as hell.
So, I stopped. I unplugged. I assessed. I came to a realization.
This shit needed to change.
When I first moved into the world of desk jobs, I remember telling people, "it's time to get a desk job and get fat." I never thought I actually meant that last bit. Just a throw away statement made in jest. Ha, ha. Funny, funny.
Here's your opening folks: At 307 pounds, it wasn't so fucking funny. Sadly, this was not my all time high point, just the point where I finally woke the hell up.
It's not like there hadn't been previous moments of awareness. I'd tried before. Several times in fact. I'd usually make it to about ten pounds down then fall flat on my face. But I was convinced that this time was different. And I was right.
I'm nowhere near my ultimate goal. The truth is I still don't know what my final goal is. I started with an itemized list. I will do these things.
- Be able to sing those fucking lines. (CHECK)
- Fit into my I'll fit into those again someday clothes. (Half-checked)
- Be comfortable when I see myself in a mirror or in pictures. (Not checked)
- Not feel like utter shit all the time. (Half-checked)
- Be able to walk up the stairs at work without getting winded like I'd run a marathon. (CHECK, WITH GREAT EMPHASIS!)
So I came up with a plan of attack. Eating out went from a near daily occurrence to a once a week at most thing. The two to three Mountain Dews a day became none for a while, one diet or Coke Zero type a week in the past month or so just to have something with a pizza or some popcorn on those rare occasions. Meals at home started with veggies, salads, fruits and fish or poultry, and our mostly red meat and pasta meals became less and less frequent. Exercises of various types became a standard routine every morning. Sometimes I spend way more time on that than I want to, but until I'm to the "just maintaining" stage, that's a sacrifice that must be made.
And I shut the hell up about how fat I am, how much I dislike how fat I am, and I got to it.
So, if I'm not at my goal, why am I writing about it now?
A couple weeks back I started getting comments from people. Only a few at first. Mrs. NFB of course has been very generous with the compliments all along, but she knows how hard I'm working because she sees it every day. The first shock came from one of the most shy gals I've ever met working in the cube row two over. She yelled, "looking good NFB. What have you been doing?" That'll boost the ego and I have no problem with comments like that.
Then some, "you been losing weight?" comments from the commoners. Again, nothing wrong with that. I always say, "yeah, thanks for noticing," and go on with things. It's cool, and nice to know when people do notice. Hey, like I said, I dig acknowledgment even when I'm not looking or it.
Then, last week, the problems started. It didn't really bother me at the time, but line3 dude, AKA, Eagles Guy (EG), is a mouth at the best of times. He's one the IT department loathes because he thinks he understand technology and tries to carry on technobabble conversations with us when we head out to do some work on the floor. It wouldn't be so bad if he weren't so completely and utterly wrong on every level. But, I digress. . . .
So, I'm out fixing his printer, which he's once again allowed to become jammed to the point where I need a knife, an allen wrench, a screwdriver, and a hammer to fix, and he starts asking about my weight.
"So, how much weight have you lost now?"
"Something like forty-seven pounds by this morning's count."
"Damn, I woulda thought at least fifty the way you're looking." Smooth. Hey, he's trying.
A few minutes pass as he works and I keep digging with the knife. He comes back. "So, dude, what's your secret?"
"Couple hours of exercising my face off every day. Treadmill for an hour and a half, floor exercises, some free weights. Nothing too fancy. And cutting out sugars for the most part."
I could see that look. That look that said, you poor bastard."Shit," he says. "I thought maybe you found some secret that didn't involve exercise." Now, let me give you a little context. I was, and still am by all reasonable measures, fat. This dude, he's F-A-T. If I had to guess I'd say four hundred, though more isn't an ridiculous guess either. He shakes his head at me then asks, "so how hard was it to cut out sugar?"
"Not as hard as you'd think. I get some sweet every day from fruits. Strawberries, apples, oranges, that sort of thing. Just a little a day. First couple days sucked hard, but it got easier after that."
He nodded. "You know, what you need to do. . ." and that's where it started.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not the type to disregard good advice just out of spite. However, I'm not about to take advice on this particular subject from a dude way bigger than me and by all appearances headed the wrong direction. I'll spare you the mostly wrong advice he gave me and just say when you go to talk to a person who's clearly losing weight at a fairly steady rate, don't go in assuming that what they really need is to be told how they're doin' it rong.
The second reaction that gets my goat is the reaction of the touchy feelies. Our HR department is filled with people that clearly need more to do. That's been obvious for quite some time. One of their favorite passtimes is their wellness program pushing. Make people healthier, all well and good. The problem is that most of the time, the actual programs fail. A certain someone in the office tried the programs for several months, finally dropped out and went to an outside program, then, within a couple months, dropped almost forty pounds. Then they had them come in and give a speech to the entire company about how important it is to trust the company wellness programs. The whole thing felt fishy and dishonest to me, but whatever. It didn't actually concern me, so I let it go.
As I roll around towards the fifty pounds off mark, I'm starting to get some comments. Comments like, "you could really do some good telling people how to stay motivated." "You should really help us promote this wellness initiative." "You could really help bring people into the fold."
The more reasonable folks have heard my take on this. If they force me to get up in front of people and speak, I'm going to come right out and tell the truth. "Don't do this shit because they tell you to. Don't do it because it's good for you. You have to want it for you. If you don't, tell them to back off and leave you alone because all they're doing is tooting their own horns about how great they think they are and trying to rub your faces in it."
I'm pretty sure they've gotten the message.
So, to end on a positive note.
It was about a month and a half ago or so I had to go buy a belt to hold up pants that I couldn't even get into when I started this slog. It was around a month ago I caught myself singing that line I couldn't sing that night back in February. I carried six laptops, their power supplies and mice, and two power strips upstairs yesterday and barely felt it. I know it wouldn't have been that long ago and I'd have been laying on the floor gasping by the time I got to the top trying something like that.
I'm at a point where I lose about two pounds a week now. I'm happy with that because it means I'm not crashing and burning myself out. I can control how much I lose by logging my eating and paying attention to it. If I have an off week, I can adjust the next week accordingly. And it just keeps working for me.
Now, if I could just avoid anymore pep talks from people who can't, and avoid anymore attempts to make me into a pep-talk guy myself, I'd be good.
And now that I've written it, I can't remember what my real point was. Commence the unsolicited advice and doin' it rong comments now!
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