“You know you’re going to have to exhale at some point right?”
My wife has a knack for putting the obvious right in to focus. What she was referring to was the difficulty I was having, on a March morning, putting on my pants for work. Despite me trying to blame her for shrinking them in a laundry mishap, I could no longer deny the blatantly and bloatedly obvious. I had put on some extra pounds.
I was willing to admit my pants were tighter due to an expanding waste line but I kept telling myself I was only “putting” on weight. I told myself the same thing before I admitted I was bald. I was just losing some hair.
The truth was I had already put on the weight to the point of literally rounding out. With the stubble of hair on my head and the beard on my chin, I was looking more like an old tennis ball every day. My tee shirts flared at the bottom and had I been a free-diver, I wouldn’t have been able to hold my breath long enough to put on some of the pants hanging in my closet.
My wife suggested losing some weight. I told her definitively I wouldn’t be convinced I needed to lose weight until I ran out of holes at the end of my belt. I decided it was time to lose some weight about 3 minutes and no more holes on my belt later. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom or not have any more clothes besides tube socks that fit for a person to admit they need to change their life.
I needed to thin out. While I know I will never be Hollywood skinny, at least not without the help from a flesh eating virus, I wanted to get ‘me’ thin. The first thing I had to do was step (slowly) on to the scale in our bathroom because I had to know where I was starting from. The scale’s needle went flying like a metronome on rocket fuel and when it finally stopped, I was staring down at 245lbs. If I was 5” taller or had an amusement park mirror, I would have been in good shape. I hopped off the scale because I didn’t want to see that number anymore (or have anyone else see that number).
I have always hovered around the 185-200lbs range so considering I’m 6’3” and have the bone structure of a small dinosaur, I set 200 pounds as my target weight. I just needed a plan, besides a hunger strike, in order to achieve my target. I called on my wife. I had asked her to find a diet that did not include the words ‘Beach’ ‘Ultimate’ or ‘Total’. She scoured the Internet, browsed book stores, and watched countless daytime talk shows for the right one. She found it. She came to me with a book called The 17 Day Diet by Dr. Mike Moreno.
The book details a diet consisting of four cycles, each 17 days long. According to Dr. Moreno, the cycles last 17 days because, “…that’s right before the time when the body starts to recognize the diet as a habit and metabolism starts to slow as a result”. Foods are taken away. Some new foods are introduced. When to eat what and what not to eat when is all a part of the plan (‘plan’ sounds better than diet).
My wife and I began the diet in April. I dove head first in to the diet. The first month was the hardest but by May; I noticed my pants beginning to fit again and my appetite wane. By June I was able to wear a bathing suit without Greenpeace activists pushing me back in to the pool. By July I was almost at my target weight. By August, I found out after a visit to the doctor’s, I had hit my target weight. Today, I’m still at my target weight. I’m eating healthier and I’m maintaining my weight.
I’d like to say I decided to lose weight solely due to being healthier but I know modern medical science would be able to keep me alive if I really needed them to. In reality, the main reason I decided to lose the weight mainly out of ego. I understand that we should love who we are despite the package we come in but those 45 pounds had weighed down my self-image. I was embarrassed. I wanted to avoid even taking a shower so I didn’t have to look at myself. I wanted to look better and I wanted my clothing to fit again. I just didn’t think I could do it.
What I found out was I could do it. With a little bit of self-determination, help from my wife, and ignoring the bag of chips taunting me in my cabinet, I did it. I also found out, even though it wasn’t my original intention, becoming healthier came along with this transformation too. My back stopped hurting, I was less lethargic, even my teeth felt better, and I had more energy. It has been an added bonus that I appreciate more now than I appreciate stroking my ego. I’m a new me. I feel better on the inside and on the outside and I have 45 reasons to thank for all of it.