Making weight loss a life’s plan

You may be sitting at home right now, looking at my picture and thinking, “wow, rugged good looks and a writer too?” But besides modesty, I also carry an extra 40 pounds of biscuits and gravy, pizza and beer, known collectively as “fat.”

You may be sitting at home right now, looking at my picture and thinking, “wow, rugged good looks and a writer too?”

But besides modesty, I also carry an extra 40 pounds of biscuits and gravy, pizza and beer, known collectively as “fat.”

I’ve recently (over the last three-plus years) lost a total of 80 pounds. Before the Oprah producers come banging on my door it has been a trial of pain, depression and uncertainty that so many Americans deal with on a daily basis.

You see, I was a fat kid. Not obese, but always a layer of fat around me. Mom would gracefully call me “husky” or “big boned” to soften the blows of being called fat. It wasn’t my entire fault. My dad was a baker/delivery driver for the only bakery in town. By age 3 I was in the bakery eating fresh doughnuts at 4 a.m. By age 8 I was frosting doughnuts and wrapping bread. And by age 12, I was a poster boy for juvenile diabetes. Luckily for me I grew out of this phase and moved on to other members of the four food groups such as pizza, cheeseburgers and soda.

As adolescence moved through, my metabolism sped up and eating whatever I could shove into my pie hole was still okay by me. I stayed away from healthy food and still remained about 20 pounds heavier than I should be. Then came the Navy. I enlisted at 175 pounds and came out of boot camp at 175 pounds. So much for the idea of losing weight in the service. Then came Navy class “A” school. I gained 20 pounds after 10 weeks of no mandatory exercise, San Diego seafood and some great Mexican food. And unlimited beer. I was one fat and happy sailor.

As my 20s passed, I still ate like I was on death row. Constantly but slowly gaining pound after pound through my 30s and into my 40s. Flash back to about six years ago. Sitting on my couch after eating some oatmeal, I started to feel very queer. Then my eyes rolled back into my head and my wife started to scream at me, asking if I was okay. I didn’t hear her. My arms were out at my sides like I was having a seizure, and I felt like I was dying right there and then. The next day at the doctor, I was told to go to Swedish Memorial because I may have had about four heart attacks that night. My heart turned out okay, but I was scared straight, enough to finally start taking better care of myself.

I topped out at 295 pounds which is one double cheeseburger away from cardiac arrest. I didn’t want to be this guy anymore, the fat guy at the party who sucks up all the food. The tired ex-athlete who cannot even walk 18 holes anymore without passing out on the 14th hole. I made up my mind I was going to change, and I did. But not without some help.

My doctor prescribed me pills for the high blood pressure and I started exercising again. The combination of water pills, a better diet, and eating healthier (thanks Mom) allowed me to drop from 295 to 215 in about three years. And I’m not going to stop until I get to my fighting weight of 190. (I am “big boned,”remember?)

But you can do it, too. I have a job that forces me to be on my feet eight hours a day. And I try and walk my dog as much as possible. It takes a firm commitment, a better diet and patience to realize that serious weight loss does not come quickly. It took most of us a while to gain those unwanted pounds; they will not come off by Saturday. Make better food choices, drink water, exercise and be patient. See your doctor to help you design a plan to get healthy. And finally, cheat once in a while. Every once in a while head to your favorite place and cheat. Eat Page 4 of the menu if you want, but make it a rare occurrence. By cheating on your diet every blue moon, you instill confidence in yourself that you can do it. And it feels good, too.

You can lose the weight. I’ve done it. Now please excuse me, but my order at Krispy Kreme is ready. I’m still “husky,” remember?

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