It was mid September 2016 when I ran into my aunt at Seneca Casino. I hadn’t seen her in a long time. My family and I took her to dinner at the buffet, and at the end of the evening, gave her a ride back to Rochester.
I had my daughter take a picture of my aunt and I. At the time, I thought nothing of it. After, a day or so later, I took a good long look at the photograph. I mean, a good, long look. I had ballooned into an obese person, but knew it did not happen overnight.
The two jobs I have can be considered –healthwise– detrimental. I am a writer. I spend countless hours sitting at a desk in front of a computer writing. That is what writers do. Countless hours. Lots of coffee. My full-time job is as a Fire / EMS Dispatcher for 9-1-1. The job has me tethered by a headset to a work station. For over forty hours a week, I am stationary while at work.
September 17, 2016: 265 Pounds
Something needed to be done. I hopped on the scale at work. My eyes bulged from the sockets, and I couldn’t close my mouth. I was the heaviest I had ever been. And I was disgusted by what I saw.
265 Pounds. Two-hundred and sixty-five pounds.
I had no idea. I thought I was around 220, maybe 230. But 265 pounds? Some people, at this point, slip into denial. The scale’s wrong. Scales are always wrong, aren’t they? I was wearing shoes. Clothing. Had to be those items. I remember kicking off my shoes, and emptying my pockets.
Yeah. Didn’t really matter. Guess my cell phone and pocket knife weren’t the issue. An “A” for trying, I guess?
I looked at the picture of my aunt and I, again.
At that moment I made a conscious decision. I wasn’t going to go on a diet. Diet’s are fads. They don’t last. The weight lost is soon put back on, and oftentimes, the person who had been dieting for weeks now weighs more than when they first started the diet.
No. I needed to make life choice changes. My eating habits sucked. I was at a point where ordering a large pizza, or picking up fast food from a drive-thru were my normal ways of life. Pizza. Big Macs. Whoppers. Living alone played a part in the weight gain. Cooking for just me always felt like more of a hassle. It was, and still is, cheaper grabbing take-out. And easier.
To make a change, I needed to change what I did on a daily basis.
First thing I did when I got home was empty my cupboards and fridge of junk food. I decided I was going to start a Ketosis diet. (Not “diet” as in fad, but diet as in my daily eating). The key to Ketosis is cutting out carbs. Focusing on protein and fat.
Keto is a high-fat, med-protein, very low-carb eating plan. “The whole diet is based on a process called ketosis, which is when your body is so depleted of carbs that your liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies, which can be used as energy,” says says Tracy A. Siegfried, M.D. in an article on womanshealthmag.com
I incorporated the principals of a Keto diet with an Atkins plan, and basically cut carbs out of my daily intake. No pasta, no bread, no sugar. I limit(ed) myself to 20 grams (or less) of carbohydrates a day. I went from drinking a cup of coffee with three creams and three sugars, to having it black. I gave up traditional pizza, and submarine sandwiches. I began eating salads, and chicken, and steak, and fish.
September 23, 2016: 251 Pounds
Eventually, I added nuts, and green vegetables.
And, lastly, I downloaded MyFitnessPal and held myself accountable for every morsel of food I ate. Each and every day I religiously logged every meal, and snack. Eventually, I gave myself a calorie restriction, and while many times I went over the calories allotted, I knew exactly when, and where the issues were.
I gave up beer and started drinking water by the gallons!
Aside from drinking my coffee black, I cut out sodas, and juices. More importantly, I gave up beer. That was not easy. Almost harder giving up beer than pizza. Using MyFitnessPal I was able to track how much water I drank each day. Again, it was a tool I used to hold me responsible.
So. I had the eating down, and the water. Gave up the beer, and the flavored coffees.
The weight was falling off.
November 6, 2016: 239 Pounds
Suddenly, I was feeling very good. About myself, yes. There was a mental excitement associated with seeing the weight loss. It was more than that, though. It was physical.
Things I struggled doing before were quickly becoming easier, and less of a chore. For example, walking from one end of the mall to the other without breaking a sweat. Putting on socks. Climbing the stairs to my apartment. Lugging in groceries.
These were challenges I faced just two months prior to beginning my journey.
December 2, 2016: 228 Pounds
People always make New Year Resolutions. I’m no different.
This time, I wanted to be different –still making a New Year’s Resolution, but sticking with it. I wanted to join a gym. Can there be anything more cliche than joining a gym after the New Year?
Prior to joining the gym I began going to the local mall before it opened. I became –dare I say it– a mall walker. Should I hashtag that? I feel like I should.
Early mornings on my days off, and after work, I went to the mall and walked anywhere from two to five miles at a time. I pre-downloaded music on my phone. Wore earbuds. Walked for one to two hours a day, nearly four times a week.
This way, come mid-January, I’d have some foundation in starting an exercise plan.
February 18, 2017: 210 Pounds
I joined World Gym at the mall where I walked. I didn’t start going as much as I wanted. Why? I was embarrassed. Still out of shape, and overweight, I thought people would stare.
Once I started going, no one stared.
I didn’t do weight lifting. This wasn’t about bulking up. I wanted to still slim down. trim my belly fat, and strength my heart.
My focus was on cardio workouts. The treadmill. Stationary bikes. Elliptical.
April 9, 2017: 200 Pounds
I found myself in a dilemma. None of my clothing fit. I needed new belts to hold up pants that were too large. My underwear wouldn’t stay up. (TMI?) And my shirts were like artist smocks!
I knew I wasn’t done losing weight, but had to go clothing shopping. Otherwise, I’d look homeless!
June 21, 2017: 195 Pounds
Sometimes I miss sweets. That turned out to be a harder sacrifice than giving up beer. My craving all month long has been for strawberry-rhubarb pie. Not a piece. A pie. Thankfully, my middle son (who is also on the Keto diet), has found, and shared, and even made for me some wonderfully sweet dishes. Chocolate Cake in a Cup (his own creation), and Peanut Butter Chocolate Fat Bombs!
Today is July 23, 2017, and I currently weigh 185 Pounds. I have gone from a 44 inch waist to a 34 / 33 inch waist. My body is used to the changes in diet, and I know my heart thanks me for the amount of time I spend weekly exercising.
There were times where I did not think I could do this, lose the unwanted weight. It was the picture of me with my aunt that kept me motivated, determined, and driven.
My goal is to reach 180 pounds by the end of August, and 175 by the one-year mark (which would be a loss of 90 pounds in One Year). The key at that point will become maintenance. I will not put the weight back on, but may have to take steps to keep from losing more.
Look. I can’t promise the same, or even similar results. That’s not what this post is about. All I can say is that with hard work, drive, determination, and dedication I made a difference in my life. I cut out carbs (sugar, bread, fast food, beer, soda), and focused on eating better, exercise, and drinking a ton of water. There is no magic involved. We all know what we need to do to lose weight.
The question is — Are You Willing To Do It? I know I was. And in less than 1 Year, I feel amazing.
(Keep an eye out for a new post with some awesome Keto recipes, including my son’s Chocolate Cake in a Cup!)