Thursday, April 25, 2013

Reversing a Traumatic Moment

No fat guy likes buying clothes.

I doubt there has ever been a truer statement, and it is especially accurate for yours truly.  I absolutely despise every aspect of shopping for clothes.

Picking my giant clothes up off the rack is the first part of the horrid endeavor.  As if it's not horrifying enough to have to search for shirts in a size that contains more X's than Taylor Swifts little black book, you then have to view the giant piece of fabric in all its glory.

Fat man shirts are displayed on slightly different racks.
However, it's not until the next step when uncontrollable shame really kicks in... the dressing room.  First of all, the dressing room is always situated as far from the fat man clothes as possible.  Which necessitates an unbearably long walk of shame from the clothing racks while toting your giant garments.  But the worst moment of the entire event is when you finally reach the dressing room and try the clothes on, only to find that they are too small.

After having this happen a few too many times, I resolved to never experience it again.  To achieve this, however, I would have to send my wife on shopping trips for me and hope that she came home with clothes that fit.  Initially, it seemed like the perfect plan.  She didn't seem to mind shopping, and I hated it, and somehow she was returning from her trips with clothes that fit my giant form.

Naturally, I asked no questions.  Why would I ruin a good thing by looking at tags, or receipts?  I did notice, however, that all the pants she purchased seemed to be a bit longer than any pair I had ever owned.  What she claimed was the "same length I've always bought for you" was now dragging the ground.  Had my legs began to shrink?  Nothing else seems to be shrinking, why would my legs?  Perplexed, I forced myself to check the tag of my khaki pants... "32 length, just like always.  Maybe my legs really are getting shorter.  Wait, what does that say?  DEAR GOD, IT CAN'T BE..."

NOOOOOOO!!!!!! Not Big and Tall!!!!!
That day, my friends, was one of the single most traumatic days of my life, mostly because I'm not all that "Tall".  Yes, that day ranks up there with the day I learned the truth about Santa and the first time I bit into an oatmeal raisin cookie expecting chocolate chip.

Despite my shock and overall disgust, I went on with my life just like before.  The fact that I had made "The Jump" to Big and Tall clothes still wasn't enough to change my fast food eating/ couch sitting ways.  Somehow, I was still just happy to have some clothes that "fit".

Today is a new day. Well, not really today, but yesterday.  

Yesterday, several years after the trauma of "the Jump" and nearly two full months into my fitness endeavor, I found myself staring into the closet in our spare bedroom.  Without really looking for them, I stumbled across  two pairs of pants, size 40 x 32 (not Big and Tall) that the tags had never been removed from.  Riding the high of a decent morning weigh in I temporarily lost my mind  and said to myself "I wonder how long it will be before these fit."

Without thinking, I slipped the first pair on, and to my surprise  THEY ACTUALLY BUTTONED!  Not only did they button, but they buttoned comfortably.  I excitedly stepped in front of the mirror to confirm what I was seeing from a different point of view.  Then, for the first time in a very long time, I smiled at myself while looking in a mirror.

Without even realizing it, I had unknowingly reversed one of the most traumatic moments of my adult life.  I can now walk into any store and find clothing that fits, without having to go to a "specialty" section.  All of my hard work in the gym, and perhaps more importantly in the kitchen, has really paid off.  As a matter of fact, I think I may even take a shopping trip for myself soon.  I still won't be completely satisfied, but I will certainly like what I see in the dressing room mirror a lot more than the last time I stood there.

When I return from that shopping trip, I am also considering having a "fat clothes bonfire."  I'm sure the experience of watching my old clothes burn to a pile of ash would be very liberating.  My only concern is, i'm not sure the local fire departments are equipped to extinguish a blaze of that magnitude.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

The 50 lb Milestone and Things That Weigh Fifty Pounds

There it is ladies a gentleman, a number that I have been anticipating for a long time.  I have officially lost a total of 50 lbs from my heaviest weight of 308 lbs in March 2012. This means that I have burned or saved a grand total of 175,000 excess calories in the last 13 months.

 As a way of celebrating the accomplishment, and because I am not ready to start posting any "before" or "current" pictures, here are a few common things that weigh as many pounds as I have lost.

A large bag of dog food.

$200 in quarters (for those of you that aren't mathemagicians like myself,
that means 800 quarters.) 

A bale of hay.

The average male bulldog.
Two of this kid.

But it took picking up one of these
bad boys in the gym to realize the magnitude
of what I have accomplished...
While standing in the gym with my eyes locked on the dumbbell in my hand, the realization hit me. It's one thing to look at 50 lbs, or to talk about it, but it's a whole other thing to hold it in your hand.

Holding that weight in my palm reminded me that, in order to reach my final goal, I am going to have to lose that much weight all over again AND an additional 8 lbs.  It was, perhaps, the first time I truly understood the magnitude of what I have set out to accomplish.  Almost as if I was attempting to scale Mt Everest and paused half way through to look towards the peak and say...

"Screw that shit."
But I quickly decided that this was not the time to look up. On the contrary, it was precisely the time I needed to look down.  This was the time to take a look at what I have already managed to accomplish and use it as motivation to keep climbing.

As I stood there, I couldn't remember what it felt like to be 50 lbs heavier.  I couldn't quite recall the extra strain it placed on my joints.  I couldn't dredge up the memory of how hard it was to breath after walking up a flight of stairs.  All I could really think about was the fact that I used to weigh THIS MUCH more than I do now, and that I never wanted to weigh that much again.

Armed with a new found appreciation for what I have set out to do I hope that in a few short months I will be composing an entry similar to this one entitled "Things That Weigh 75 lbs."  Even more momentous, and the blog post I look forward to the most, will be the post entitled...

"How I Lost 100 lbs and Kept It Off For Good."

Yes, that sounds just fine.  Perhaps I'll start drafting it now.  After all, 2027 is just around the corner. I wouldn't want all that weight loss to sneak up on me.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Routine Boredom

It finally happened.  It's the same story as countless past attempts at becoming fit... boredom has set in.  How can boredom plague me only 5 weeks into my journey?  I have no idea, but I do know for sure that I am absolutely bored out of my mind with the same cardio equipment every single day of the week.

The environment in which I am exercising is most likely not helping my situation.  The gym I go to is far from the Golds Gym at Venice Beach that some might imagine.  There are no scantily clad young ladies or steroid filled men throwing around 800 lbs of dumbbells to impress said ladies.  Instead there are lots and lots of senior citizens.  Senior citizens that are very dedicated to their health and fitness.  They are so dedicated, as a matter of fact, that it is the same senior citizens at the gym every single day.

Not only is the gym filled with the very same Seniors on a daily basis, but they also do the exact same things on the exact same pieces of equipment EVERY SINGLE DAY.  While monotony is their choice, as it often is with folks in that age group, it doesn't make for very good people watching, which is unfortunately my only distraction while running in my hamster wheel.

A Risky but Necessary Change

When stricken with exercise boredom in the past I have simply quit exercising altogether and tried to rely solely on my diet to achieve my goals... which has never ended well.  This time, however, I am going to make a necessary but risky change to my routine.  It's time to hit the weights.

I can probably be this shredded in a week or two.
If there is an upside to the geriatric gymnasium that I belong to, it is that the free weights go largely untouched.  It would appear that Granny doesn't have much interested in leg presses.. either that or her blue jeans are just too restricting for such things. That, of course, is fine by me.  I am determined to make her loss my gain.

The risk here lies in the fact that I will not be updating or changing my weight loss goals.  I am still fat enough that I think it will be possible for me to lift weights fairly heavily and weigh in at 250 lbs on May 4th.  This holds especially true because I am not planning on eliminating cardio altogether, it just won't be the primary focus of my exercise routine for a while.

The new routine will also require several dietary changes.  In order to properly recover from weight training I will need to, ever so slightly, increase my calorie intake.  Doing so and simultaneously burning fat will not be a simple task.  I have done a ton of research and planning, but I won't bore you with the details of such things.  However, the main idea is to:

  1. Decrease (slightly) and reschedule carbohydrate intake
  2. Increase protein intake
  3. Eat more healthy fats, and less of the unhealthy kinds 
  4. Eat more testosterone boosting foods (i.e. eggs, broccoli, spinach etc...)
Hopefully my hours spent pouring over fitness articles and medical journals will bring about the desired weight loss.  Aside from weight loss I am also looking to change my body composition, as I feel that it has been a contributing factor in past failures at lifestyle changes.  Having more muscle means more calories are burned while at rest, which means more energy for exercise, and less of a chance to revert to my old ways... at least that is the idea.

Yes, I realize this is what I will look like. At least no one will
see it except for a bunch of old people.
So there you have it, my new plan in a nut shell.  While i'm sure pumping iron won't be nearly as fun as it was in high school, it will definitely be more enjoyable than the treadmill, or as I have come to call it "Satan's Sidewalk."  Hopefully by the time I am writing my next weekly post my hulking biceps will be tearing through the sleeves of my 2XL t-shirts with every key stroke.  That's how it works... right?