Monday, April 16, 2012

Fat Kid Chronicles

Recently, I've felt like I've been having a lot more conversations about health, weight, fitness, etc.  Granted, many of them spark from talking about all of the running and training I've been doing, since a lot of friends have been keeping tabs on my progress.

A lot of these conversations as well as many others have hit on the topic of food, and I have heard myself say "...and that's how I became a fat kid" several times.  It wasn't really until I had a conversation during a lunch with my coworkers that I really started to think about it.  Some of my old (and not so old) tendencies were brought up, and it sparked a lot of thoughts.  Thoughts about how I got to this point.

I have always loved sports.  Ever since I was a wee lad I would walk, talk, play, watch, live, breathe, and bleed sports.  I was very athletic as a kid who played just about every sport:  soccer, track, baseball, basketball, along with neighborhood pick up games of football, "rugby," and hockey.  Just about every waking moment in the summers was spent outside playing games and just running around.  Being a kid.

Then middle school happened.

That's really when I started chunking up.  Days outside turned into video games inside.  

And then it was the food.  Food has always been my weakness.  I was telling my coworkers what some of the things I commonly consumed.  So I started making a list of my middle school/high school tendencies.

-Buy a 24 pack of Mountain Dew.  Gone in 2-3 days.
-Eat a whole package of EL Fudge cookies in one sitting.
-Eat a large bag of Reese's peanut butter cups in one sitting.
-Thin mints.  Nutty Bars.  Oreos.  Nutter Butters.  Donuts.  Cinnabon.  Sour Patch Kids.  Chocolate covered pretzels.  These things would become my meals.  I would buy some and they would be gone in a flash.

Then came the fast food.  The worst is McDonalds.  As I started gaining weight, I started eating more.  Before I knew it, it was getting out of control.  It began with super sizing.  Then I would add a McDouble.  Then I would add another large order of french fries.  Before I knew it, my "regular" order became a super sized 10 piece nugget meal with a drink PLUS a super sized 2 cheeseburger meal with a chocolate shake.  All for me.  At other places, it was similar.  In high school, I would sometimes head to Krispy Kreme and order 6 donuts.  I would eat them in the car, head to McDonalds, and eat that on the way home.  In college, I would often miss some meals, then get hungry late at night so I would order pizza and breadsticks.  One time I ate 3 Chipotle burritos and chips.  This was my life.

In high school, I got fat.  I made it up to 275 lbs before I decided that things needed to change.  So I flipped a switch and lost almost 80 lbs.  I graduated high school at 197 lbs.  But over the years, my horrible binge eating tendencies returned and bad habits caught up to me.  My weight kept roller coastering up and down sometimes 20-40 pounds at a time.  Then in grad school, things reached a whole new level.  Many of the above habits came back and spiraled out of control.  I would drive miles out of the way to go to drive-throughs once employees at the ones close to me started to recognize me.  I made up backstories about imaginary roommates in case someone commented on the amount of food I was ordering.  I started feeling ashamed.  I started getting worried that it was out of control.  I legitimately started questioning whether or not I was addicted, and whether or not I had lost control.  I stepped on the scale and saw the number 284 staring at me.

I was fed up.  I did a lot of running in high school to lose the weight the first time, and did it off and on in college, so I decided to give it a shot again.  I made it just under 1/2 mile.  I have rarely felt more defeated in my entire life.  But I tried again.  I ran 2/3 mile.  3/4 mile.  1 mile.  2. 3.  I ran my first 5K.  The weight was slowly coming down.  270's.  260's.  250's.  I moved from Florida to Colorado.  I kept running.  4 miles.  6 miles.  8 miles.  10 miles.  The weight kept dropping.  240's.  230's.  220's.  Now here I am almost exactly a year and a half after I stepped on that scale and knew I was headed toward 300.  I am 3 weeks away from my first half marathon, and this week the scale read 222.

Food still is one of my biggest conflicts with my journey.  I go in spurts of when I am eating well and not eating well.  I still have a lot I need to change and a lot to learn.  But I will never go back to the places where I have been - where I was scared that I had lost control - where I could literally feel the negative effects of each meal impacting my body - where I hated myself with every bite but couldn't get myself to stop.

I write this not to rehash some of the trials that I have put myself through, or even to provide a sense of false hope that it's easy.  This has been one of the most difficult journeys that I have been on.  It is an ongoing struggle that will always be part of my identity and my life.  But I genuinely believe that with some motivation and a buttload of hard work, I can continue to see progress and finally put myself in a position to have long-term success and STAY healthy.  Same goes for everyone else - I think so many more people can go through the same transformation and have the same success - but probably even faster.  If there is one thing I'd like anyone to take away from this post, here it is:  sometimes, life sucks. Sometimes, life is hard.  Sometimes, there are things that get in the way of the things you want for yourself.  But if you want something badly enough and believe in yourself, then anything is possible.  With some love from friends and family, with some hard work and determination, you can turn your whole life around.  Even when the task at hand may seem impossible, overwhelming, or too much to handle, just stick with it and keep fighting.  Who knows - maybe when it's all said and done, you might end up surprising yourself.

October 2010 - 284 lbs.
April 2012 - 222 lbs.

Still a ways to go on this journey, but I've come a long way toward setting myself up for success.

"I'm starting with the man in the mirror.  I'm asking him to change his ways.  And no message could have been any clearer.  If you want to make the world a better place take a look at yourself and then make a change." - Michael Jackson


  1. I love the true fat kid stories! We should publish a fat kid devotional.

  2. you have turned into what tony perkis calls "a skinny winner!"
    the kids thought he was saying skinny weiner, but i don't know anything about that.

    thanks for continuing to be an inspiration :)