Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Weekly Wrap-up: Week 3

Hmmmmm. Week three, not so hot. I did not work out as much as I wanted to, and i ate some foods I probably shouldn't have. I don't know where my motivation went, or my self control. Honestly, it would have been so easy to just walk away from the Krispy Kreme doughnut, just turnaround and walk away. Fast! But no. I didn't do that (to check out the nutrition info for this horrid place go here: http://www.krispykreme.com/varieties.html). There was also the cookie that had 7g of fat (and i had three over the course of the week).

I did make some good choices though, it wasn't all bad. I made a healthy smoothie (nonfat milk, strawberries, blueberries, a little organic chocolate syrup, and a 1/2 scoop of whey protein powder) for dessert rather than ice cream or some other junk (a K.K. doughnut?) I also reached for an apple or some veggies and hummus rather than crackers or other snack crap. So all in all not so bad, I think it all evened out (ish).

I did manage a couple one hour workouts throughout the week, but definitely slacked off and procrastinate until it was too late to to work out at all. That was pretty lame on my part.

This week I also joined FatSecret.com and PEERtrainer.com. The first one allows you to track your weight with weekly, or bi-weekly weigh ins and plots progress on a graph (as well as other cool stuff). The other is an online support group type deal. I joined a GLBT group which sounded cool. Its all about talking with others, offering hints and what has/hasn't worked for you, and providing motivation /getting motivated by them.

And finally, I weighed myself and took my body measurements. I think i will do this on a monthly basis.

As of January, 28th 2008:
height: 6'0"
weight: 248 lbs
neck (because last time I went to get a dress shirt I had no idea): 16"
chest @ nipples: 48"
under breasts: 44"
bicep: 14"
at belly button: 45"
hips: 42"
butt @ widest point: 46.5"
thigh: 25.5"
calf: 18"

So, for the following week. I need to work out at least 5 days. No questions, no excuses. Continue to not only watch, but also think about, what i am eating. As well as use online support and motivating myself to stay strong and keep working toward my goal.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

MY HISTORY PART 3: College thru the present

By the start of college I was somewhere over three hundred pounds. I don’t know exactly where but it was in the range of three to three fifteen. Not exactly something to be proud of. I was still working in a restaurant, carrying eighteen units per semester, and making half-assed attempts to diet and lose weight. There was Suzanne Sommers’ diet, based on her book(s), which was all about the way you combine foods. You could have carbs and veggies, proteins and veggies, but not carbs and proteins as part of the same meal. It may have worked. I don’t remember there being any significant results. There was a crazy gym regimen that did not include much discipline on the food front and didn’t amount to results either.

I continually found ways to sabotage myself and maintain my excess weight. Late night snacking, slacking off on going to the gym, or just not paying any attention to the problem and not putting any real effort toward achieving my life-long goal. It was easier to be fat than to admit I was gay. Being the first born, as well as first grandchild, there were a lot of expectations I felt I had to live up to. I didn’t want to be the fat one and the gay one. I couldn’t handle disappointing my family that much, and still thought that the weight would protect me from having to reveal my secret. Using the weight to postpone coming out, and the fear of coming out to maintain the weight, I told myself that I would come out once I lost the weight, no matter how much I hated lying.

Finally, in my third year of college I found it in me to make a real effort. I was still working at a restaurant and battling to resist the temptations that consistently provides, but I managed to make some new friends one of whom shared my goal and became my gym buddy. We would go to the gym before work. We would go after work. It didn’t matter if it was a Saturday night and we closed, we would still go. We would go to kickboxing classes, strength training classes, and occasionally yoga (which is not made for the overweight, I do not care how flexible you are). We also helped each other stay on track and not snack at work. I decided to really get serious about dieting and eating healthy. Over the course of a few months I was able to get down to 285 lbs.

Feeling pretty good about myself, and wanting to take it a step further, I decided to try Weight Watchers. My gym buddy decided to as well and together we figured out what was best to eat at work, what to stay away from, and how to work the points system so that we could still go out and drink with our co-workers on the weekends. By the end of the summer, when I was ready to transfer to a university, my weight was the lowest it had been since I was a high school sophomore. I had managed to get down to 252 lbs.

I moved out and went off to college, a wonderful world-class university in southern California, where I spent an amazing two years. The only problem was that the late nights, increased stress, food everywhere at any school function, parties, and lack of time to got to the gym meant that I started to gain some of the weight back. While I occasionally went to the gym, and walked all over campus, it wasn’t enough, and by graduation I was back up in the high 270s.

After graduating I found an job, that despite being in “the industry” was essentially and office job. It did involve a lot of walking around the building and studios but it wasn’t a substantial amount, and by the end of the day I was too tired to go to the gym and all I wanted to do was veg-out. I was really unhappy with my weight, and I was not happy in my job, and as luck would have it (if you can call it luck) I was laid off after only a few months. While being jobless sucked it did give me the chance to pursue the career I really wanted to have. I decided to just go for it and that has been the best decision I ever made. My new job(s) involve a lot of physical activity; walking, lifting, carrying, climbing, I am essentially moving around all day. And though it is tiring and exhausting, I love it and look forward to working. Within weeks I noticed my clothes were a little looser, and I had to tighten my belt another notch, and then another. The downfall (especially for someone who has trouble with snacking and overcoming the impulse to reach for junk/snack foods) is the craft services table. But over time I leaned how to avoid the shit and reach for the good stuff. I also gave up soda completely. While I had been only drinking diet soda for a couple years, I just decided one day to give it up. I literally thought, “why do I want to drink this.,” put down the soda and grabbed a water. Honestly, soda is horrible for you (more about that in a later post). Over the first year I managed to lose about 25 lbs. And since then I’ve lost another 10. Now my weight fluctuates in a 5 lb. range from 240–245 lbs. I know that for my body type I should be around 180-200 (depending on how much muscle I have). So the goal is to eat healthy and exercise, and finally complete my lifelong goal, to get in control of my weight, and be healthy. I am tired of feeling the way I do because of my weight.


Man, all of this makes me feel like “Chunk” in “The Goonies” when he is confessing all kinds of shit to the Fratellis. I have never purged so much of this info, and there are things I’ve never even told my best friends. Anyway, this is one of my favorite movies, and one of my favorite scenes.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Weekly Wrap-Up: Week 2

Another week gone. They really do fly by so fast. I started the week really strong. I worked out for at least an hour Monday through Thursday. That had me feeling pretty good. I forget why I didn’t work out Friday. I know I intended to but for some reason never ended up actually doing it. That was kinda lame on my part. Saturday I worked, and Sunday was football playoff games and some other stuff getting in the way. Overall, not too bad, but I did lose my steam toward the end of the week.

On the food front I had some good moments and some bad ones. One night, I had a dinner to go to. That afternoon I looked up the nutrition facts for the restaurant, and found the best choice for me to have. That night at dinner I managed to order that dish, eat a sensible portion, and leave the restaurant feeling like I had won a small battle. Restaurants these days can be so misleading, sometimes even the vegetable dishes are full of fat. I am definitely going to keep on checking out menus and nutrition guides online before going out to dinner.

However, another night I went to a small get together at a friends and there were party foods, some healthy some not so much, and I did my best to make smart choices, sticking mostly to the veggies and fruit and as little of the bad stuff as possible. At the end of the night they broke out the delicious cupcakes from LA’s most famous cupcake bakery. There was no way I could resist. What the hell? I had one. It was good. And I am not going to deny myself every little pleasure only to end up over indulging later.

I would have to say that on the whole, this week was just marginal. I did a decent job of eating healthily and exercising. I managed to shed one pound (not sure that it isn't just normal fluctuation or actual loss). I am going to try and really put my best foot forward this coming week and try my best to move forward, full steam ahead.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

MY HISTORY PART 2: Junior High & High School

Toward the end of sixth grade my parents decided to put me on the swim team. It seemed like a perfect fit, I had always loved the water and swimming came naturally to me. When I was little we had a pool in the backyard, and because my mother was paranoid that I would crawl over to it, fall in and drown, she insisted I learn to swim as soon as I became mobile. At the age of two I was a swimming machine and by four I was teaching other kids to swim. So three or four days a week I would swim after school. And the pounds started floating away. By the middle of seventh grade I had stopped swimming (in order to make time to hang out with friends) and the pounds started to come back. By the end of seventh grade I weighed in at 130 lbs.

To further complicate the issue, it was not just the lack of swimming that allowed for the weight to come back; my family moved into a new house in a new neighborhood at the beginning of seventh grade. My new neighbors, and the only kids my age on the block, were skinny athletic kids who could eat anything they wanted, and did. Their mother shopped at Costco and purchased all the foods that were a big “no-no“ in my house. There were the little bags of chips, pop tarts, cookies, crackers, ice cream, etc.; it was a fat kid’s wet dream. We would often play outside for a bit, then head in and have a snack (one of the really nutritious ones I mentioned), watch some TV, or play a video game. After a few months, and we were all more comfortable with each other, I would often be invited to stay over for dinner. I usually stayed (hard to believe, I know), and because my family would often eat dinner later than the average family, I would go home and eat with my family. That’s right, I would consume two dinners! And then, to make matters worse, sometimes on my way out of their house I would grab a snack from the shelf in the garage and scarf it down before I made it to my door, often hiding the wrapper in the bushes. My parents were at a loss and thought the only option was to put locks on the fridge and the cabinets. They never actually did, but the fact that it seemed the only option is scary. Go figure that by the time Freshman Year rolled around I was five foot five inches and 185lbs.

During Freshman Year I made a conscious effort to lose the weight so that the next year I could make the swim team (and not look like a beached walrus in a pair of Speedos). After school I would walk to the gym and work out for about an hour, then call my parents to get picked up. This lasted a month tops before I lost steam and gave up. Sophomore year was more of the same, as was Junior Year. I tried crazy fad diets but all with out success, or temporary success. At some point I thought that instead of not bringing a lunch to school, or buying one, all I needed was a sprite. I thought, “Hey, a sprite can hold me over until school gets out.” What I didn’t know at the time was how bad all that high fructose corn syrup was, and that the carbonation of the soda prevented my body from absorbing nutrients (assuming there were any useful nutrients I was consuming), meaning that I was really compounding the problem. I also tried slim-fast (the powdered chemical, horrible for you, shake substance). Both of these only led me to become a ravenous eating machine when I got home from school.

My weight kept my self-confidence quite low. My lack of self-confidence led to minor depression. Making friends, real friends, was difficult, and I spent a lot of nights and weekends alone at home watching TV and snacking. At school I would eat lunch by myself or go to the library to study or work on homework that I hadn’t finished, figuring I wouldn’t look like such a loser if I used the guise of studying to hide my lack of friends. It got to the point where being at school and enduring lunch became more than I could bear and I started faking illness and doing whatever I could to avoid going.

Late Sophomore Year/early Junior Year is when I really started to process the fact that I was gay. Before that, it was never really evident, and I remember having crushes on girls as late as Freshman Year. This newfound awareness brought with it the subconscious desire to maintain my obese status. The logic behind that being that as long as I was overweight no one would expect me to be dating, and the girlfriend question would never come up. That worked for the most part and when it didn’t, I shrugged the question off.

Senior year is also when I started working at a restaurant. This meant unlimited soda and half priced meals on days I worked. This was not a health conscious restaurant and I would say that most menu items were of the artery-clogging, heart attack inducing kind. We would grab a plate of fries and some ranch dressing and go into the back and share them before a manager could catch us, or I would walk into the fridge and grab a slice of cheese (sometimes slices of tomato or lettuce if I was being good) to snack on. Slowly and steadily my weight increased. By the time I graduated from High School I was six feet tall and my weight had skyrocketed to 290 or so pounds (I say “or so” because I avoided weighing myself and am not sure of the exact amount). Ignorance is bliss.

I was really overweight, and I wasn’t happy about it. It was frustrating, and no matter how hard I tried my unexplained and uncontrollable desire to consume got the best of me. My bad habits always outweighed any efforts I tried to make. Every summer was time to transform, to shed the pounds and come back to school in the fall a brand new me. However, any plans or regimens I came up with never lasted more than a couple weeks. Gradually, each year I packed on the pounds. My parents felt hopeless, my dad (step-dad) expressed his frustration verbally, which only compounded the problem, and made me want to piss him off by not making any changes.
As badly as I wanted to be thin, I was consumed by feelings of hopelessness and lack of determination.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Weekly Wrap-Up

Okay, so Week 1 is over. I unfortunately did not get around to updating like I had planned, which means that I am struggling to get out all the posts I have piled up in my mind.

This past week I did my best to switch over to eating as much 100% organic food as possible. I really believe that the pesticides, hormones and other crap that makes it into non-organic foods are detrimental to overall body heath. Instead of the name brand fruit juice, whose second ingredient is high fructose corn syrup (avoid this @ all costs!!!), I grabbed some organic juice, the kind that has no chemicals or sugars added.

Same with the milk and the dairy, mainly yogurt and cheese, The cereal, the poultry, fresh veggies, the whole shebang. Not exactly an easy thing to do. I don’t know how many times I opened the fridge and reached for the sugar water, I mean “juice,” and caught myself. It really is a conscious effort but I am trying to be as disciplined as possible. This also meant paying more attention to what I am putting into my body, working on portion size and making healthy choices. Needless to say there were some slips, but they were minor and I did not dwell on them.

I also kicked up the frequency of my workouts. It started with some snowboarding for a day. Not exactly the same as an hour on the treadmill, but over the course of an entire day you really get an overall body workout. Then I did a HELL of a lot of walking. In 3 days I racked up 20 miles. Lucky for me I had two friends call and ask if I wanted to join them for a walk. What is great is that it totally spiced up the usual walking w/ the iPod in my ears deal, and I got to spend some quality time with some good friends. To finish out the week I took a day off, then did some elliptical trainer, and took one more day off.

Overall I am feeling pretty good. I was definitely sore after the three days of walking, but I did give myself a chance to rest, which I know is important and getting burnt out is a big part of the reason many people give up on their weight loss goals.

Here’s to keeping it up for Week 2.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

MY HISTORY PART 1: Birth thru Elementary School

I was an average sized infant. And an average sized toddler. But by the time I was ready for kindergarten I had blossomed into quite the chubby little flower. As amazing of a memory as I have I do not remember exactly when it started to happen. I know that part of it was due to teasing. Hear me out.

At the dinner table my dad would often grab food from my plate or distract me and then steal my food. This led to a healthy fear of my food being taken away and a desire to consume my food promptly, so as not to give anyone the chance to make a move. I also think that being the first born, my parents weren’t too sure about exactly what they were doing. There may have been some missed opportunities to tell their little one no. Again, it is all a bit fuzzy.

By the time I was in first grade I had developed a habit of sneaking food. Let me elaborate. My parents divorced, and my mom met her new beau. He was a little stricter and actually helped my mom start to put her foot down. The new restrictions provided the opportunity for me to break the rules. That was not only thrilling, but then the treats were so satisfying. It also provided a way to rebel and act out after the split. Who knows what was going thru my little mind, but there wasn’t a day I didn’t sneak something I shouldn’t have. And not just junk food, because they stopped buying that. It was a compulsion and if there were no chips or cookies I would find something to consume. At the same time I managed to overeat at school. I would often finish my best friend’s lunch for him, in essence eating all the stuff he didn’t want as well as my own. Needless to say, by age eight I weight in somewhere around eighty-five pounds.

The rest of my youth was marked by being made fun, continuing to sneak food, and struggling with my weight. I exercised (played sports, went on family walks, etc.) but that was no match for my secret snacking.

Growing up in Southern California I couldn’t avoid the pool and the beach (nor would I want to), but it was always with trepidation and insecurities in the back of my mind. In fact, I almost didn’t go to the end of sixth graded beach party for fear of being made fun of. I am one of those lucky individuals who happen to store fat in the breast region. For as long as I can remember I have had breasts. Once I was told by a classmate to “get a bra,” actually similar remarks have been made on more than one occasion along with the usual playground name-calling. There is nothing else that has been so detrimental to my self-esteem as my breasts. It is so difficult to feel masculine, and to know that that is one of the first things people notice. At least once per day I am consciously self-conscious about them.

Throughout elementary school I always had one or two close friends (of course I got along well with the girls too) who I had sleep-overs with, went to the movies with, played with after school, and all the typical things one thinks of as part of childhood. Thankfully I wasn’t alone all the time and didn’t become a loner who was depressed, which would only lead to more eating. I don’t know that I would have made it out of that kind of thing alive.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

And so it begins . . .

Today is the day that I finally start this blog (obviously, since this is the first post). After months of thinking about it, creating and designing the layout, putting it off and procrastinating like no other, the day is here. January 8, 2008. Wow. Here goes nothing.

The goal: To lose weight. I know, pretty basic, pretty common. But it is a simple goal that I have been working toward for many years.

What constitutes success? There is no set goal weight, but there is a range that I have come to find as appropriate for my build. Achieving a healthy body fat percentage, and maintaining it; feeling good about how I look.

This blog is intended to be a way for me to track my progress. A place I can post updates and links to pages I find useful in my venture. A place I can continue to visit the rest of my life to be reminded of what it took, how I felt, where I struggled and how I got past the obstacles that stood in the way of my success. Where I can record the sad, the funny, the embarrassing, and the triumphant stories of my journey.

I also hope that there are people who stumble across this blog and find that they are not the only overweight gay on the face of the planet like they are led to believe. I hope to connect and chat with people who have the same goal, or hell, any goal that they are struggling with. A place where we can be each others’ cheering section and show support.

Today I start this journey. You are more than welcome to come along.


P.S. This was not a New Years resolution that will be dropped by January 15. This is a New Life resolution. This is a long-term commitment.