For the vast majority of my life (especially the parts I can remember) I have been overweight or obese, with spurts of weight loss sprinkled throughout. I am currently twenty-five (soon to be twenty-six), which is around the age that people’s metabolism’s start to slow down. This is not a good occurrence for someone who is overweight and has (no pun intended) been weighing on my mind as a milestone in my life. Something had to be done.
The story (a quick version of how we got here)
I have been overweight my whole life and have always been self-conscious of this fact. I grew up in Santa Cruz and there were many frightful days at the beach in my youth, when I knew that I was overweight and was ashamed of this fact, but I was too young to put this feeling into tangible action.
In middle school I wrestled (great activity for a fat kid) and between 6th and 7th grade I gained almost thirty pounds going from 127 to 154 (I remember this from having to do weekly weigh-ins).
In my memory, and what I now know about nutrition, this was achieved mainly between the hours of 4-6pm (the time when I would get home from school and before my parents came home) where I would snack on anything in the house (ice cream, popcorn, chocolate) and not just have microwave popcorn, but melt half a stick of butter to pour on it.
For those not too calorie conscious that is roughly 57g of fat, 400 calories, and 121mg of cholesterol, the fat content being half of your daily allotted amount. Needless to say, I was developing unhealthy eating habits at a young age that would stick with me till today.
In high school, I do remember consciously trying to loose weight because I was self-conscious about it and for about half a year I drank slim-fast for breakfast and lunch, but ate whatever I wanted for dinner and didn’t exercise at all. By now I was tipping the scales at 180 and by the end of high school was around 210.
In college, surprisingly enough I did not gain the freshman 15 and was able to loose weight and get back down to 185 (though I was an unhealthy 185) and this was mainly due to the fact that I hadn’t found beer yet and drank mostly clear spirits.
Time went on, between the ages of 18 and 25 I fluctuated between 195-230, always beginning diets and exercise and then inevitably giving up and putting the weight back on. Almost there people just hang with me a little longer; I look back over my life so far, and realize three important factors that lead to my being overweight/obese:
- Not knowing what nutrition is
- Not understanding what portion size is
- Not exercising at frequent intervals and being an overall slug
Mastery over even two of these three things would have helped me maintain a more healthy weight and even possibly meet my weight goals.
I have recently lost 25 pounds, and while feeling much better and skinnier then I have in years, a simple google search will show that for my height (5’10”) I am still in the overweight category.
This might be a discouraging realization for some, but I look at it as a challenge to continue the work I have started and finally finish my goal.
What was the impetus for losing the first 25 you might ask? My dad called me after a trip to the dentist (he has been overweight my entire life) and told me that his blood pressure was so high that they could not safely give him the anesthetic he need for the teeth work as it might cause a cardiac event.
This prompted him to embark on a new diet and lifestyle change that would help him to lower his blood pressure (so that he could stop taking medication for it) and to help him get back down to a reasonable weight.
This opened my eyes clearly to what I had been staring at my whole life: that if I continued on the path I was on, it would only lead to more serious, and in the end, more fetal problems, outside the general self-esteem issues I lived with on a day to day basis.
There are several aspects to full a concept of how I am trying to go about making this new lifestyle change work, and be effective in the long run.
- It has to be sustainable: too many times in the past I have tried to follow plans that were stringent beyond reason and lead inevitably to failure.
- Exercise is a must: trying to change weight without exercise seems like shooting yourself in the foot from the beginning and I am sure any article you read suggests at least thirty minutes of exercise a day or at least three times a week.
- It must be together: I am going into this now while living with my girlfriend and we must do this together as the age old adage is that couples gain and loose weight together, I feel there must be some truth to this.
- It must be delicious: again, all together way too many efforts have ended because the food I was trying to eat was awful in my attempt for it to be “healthy”.
No one of these goals is outrageous or something that I cannot attain and this is something that I need to remind myself of as the weeks go on. The other general rule to focus on is that this is NOT a diet in the new age sense of the world as that implies a short term goal, this is a lifestyle change that must be permanent for it to stick.
My goal, the place I want to be in 100 days is to weigh 175 pounds and be able to run for five miles without stopping to catch my breath. Keeping the goals simple.