Today I officially hit 50 lbs lost since mid-May.

I was fat as a kid, really skinny as a teen and young adult, slightly overweight (though quite strong) while working several years ago as a furniture mover, then fat once again at my current job sitting at a computer all day. 

Gaining weight creeps up on you, you shut your eyes to it, tell yourself you're fine. Your internal image of yourself tricks your brain into thinking the damage isn't that bad, that you don't look horribly different than you did a year ago. You don't step on the scale because you don't want to think about what you've been doing to yourself when you eat two plates of spaghetti and two cups of milk for dinner.

Somehow it doesn't matter that you're sleeping terribly, can't jog for more than ten steps, your self-confidence is crap, or that your father has had multiple heart attacks and bypass surgeries from a very early age. All that matters is that donut, that cheeseburger, or all the bacon. (Truly, we're a screwed-up species.)

I've tried in the past to lose weight. Done little things like eliminate dessert, go to the gym every once in a while, or cut out any added sugar in my foods, but nothing has ever done more than make me unhappy. I honestly can't tell you how, but one day I was suddenly ready to actually make a difference, and it's all been downhill from there. I downloaded an app to my phone called My Fitness Pal, basically a calorie tracker that hosts a database with millions of food items and their nutrition information. It also includes a barcode scanner so you can scan anything from the real world and immediately find the details.

I haven't exercised much, though my activity has naturally increased as I grow healthier, and bike rides are not uncommon. My dog Darwin requires walks every day, so I suppose that has helped. But the big thing, really the only thing, has been counting calories. When I started, I could have eaten a whopping 3,000 calories a day to maintain my weight (the fact that I was previously gaining weight speaks to just how much I was actually eating). To start losing weight, I dropped that daily goal down to 1,960 a day (this was My Fitness Pal's suggested amount to lose 2 lbs a week). I've since adjusted that to 1,500 calories a day (2.7 lbs loss a week) to remain compatible with my lowering weight. I've been eating at that new daily goal for about two months now.

I have not limited what I eat, just how much I eat. I have not counted fat or sugar (though in the interest of full disclosure, seeking lower-calorie foods naturally leads to lower fat and sugar content). I still eat desserts and bread, etc. But everything has to fit in that 1,500 calories a day. It's really changed where I place my priorities. For instance, I'd rather eat a large plate of paprika spiced rice and pan-seared chicken with zucchini than one little burger from Arctic Circle. In fact, I can count how many burgers I've eaten in the last four months on one hand.

As of four and a half months ago, I weighed three hundred (300) pounds.

As of today, I weigh two hundred forty-nine point eight (249.8) pounds.

That's a total of fifty point two (50.2) pounds lost in just about four point five (4.5) months.

I went from a size forty-four (44) pant and XXL shirts (the extra big kind you get at Walmart) to a size thirty-eight (38) pant and XL shirts.

(I don't know why I'm writing the numbers like that, just go with it.)

Bottom is most recent, B&W is the oldest.

I've had to buy new sets of clothes, which is exciting and sucks at the same time. I'm still wearing several shirts that hang on me like a tent due to budget restrictions.

I can wear my wedding ring again. (Side note, the veins and tendons in my hands are visible once more.)

My Madrigal hoodie (from my high school choir) fits for the first time in many, many years.

I can ride my bike for longer than five minutes without getting winded. I can walk up stairs easily, even jog up them if I'm feeling crazy.

I feel slightly less embarrassed during sex.


I have a long way to go. 50.2 pounds is only halfway to my ideal weight of 195-200 lbs. But I'm barreling ahead, and I'm not slowing down for anything (except maybe Thanksgiving and Christmas).

The truth is, I'm still fat. 249.8 pounds is unhealthy, even at 6 ft 2 in tall. I still carry the shape of a fat person, though my bulk has mostly disappeared. My genes unfortunately gave me moobs and love-handles in addition to my gut, and they insist on sticking around, in shape at least, if not in size. I will most likely carry them right to the very end of my goal.

I've learned that nothing anyone can say or do will change you. Only you can make something happen, and only when you're really ready. Here's to avoiding heart attacks in my mid-30s.

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