Saturday, November 20, 2010

Too Fat. Too Thin. Are You Kidding Me? Are You For Real?

When I was growing up, I used to pray at night, to a god that I didn’t really believe in, to wake up in the morning and not be fat. I would tell this deity that I would give/do anything to be free from the hell that I was in. It is amusing that I thought that this was even possible; this a-la Fairy Godmother type magic. Obviously, that never worked and it was many years before I was able to get out of the fat fueled funk that I was mired in. It was many more years of emotional abuse and self-sabotage before I finally made the first step toward becoming a recovered fatty.

My entire childhood consisted of my father frequently reminding me that I was fat, as if I wasn’t aware of this fact. As if I weren’t reminded every time I went to the pool or beach, and every morning when I got dressed (shirts that were just a little too tight and required me to stretch them out just a bit or pants that were tough to button). Because, seeing my reflection in the mirror every day, wearing XL shirts as a freshman in High School, and always failing to run the mile in an acceptable amount of time during PE were not reminder enough, and maybe I would forget.

It was usually small comments; calling me “Chunk” or joking with people that they never had to tell me to finish my dinner, a comment about thunderous footsteps, or being in the “splash zone” when I jumped into the pool. Often times it was in reference to something I was eating or wanted to eat. “You don’t need that crap fatty” or later when I was a teen and able to make poor eating decisions for myself, “Do you really think you should be eating that?” But some times he would get really upset and go big, calling me a “Fat Ass,” and make really mean digs, berating and belittling me. It is because of this that I was ashamed of my weight from a very young age. It is also part of the reason I started to sneak food as a child. I knew that I would get crap from him no matter what I ate, so in my mind it was better to sneak it and eat in peace.

The taunts my dad was constantly slinging my way didn’t cease until I was eighteen or so; a point in time where I had surpassed the three hundred pound mark and, I assume, he viewed me as a lost cause. What’s interesting (to me at least) is that I realized somewhere between 18 and 23, he had been resorting to the teasing and name-calling out of love (yes, I know how absurd that sounds). It is not as if he didn’t care, he just had an odd way of showing it. He is definitely of the “tough love” school of parenting, and I see that now more than ever in how he interacts with my younger brothers. He was a star athlete in H.S. and expects that his progeny be as well. I was forced to play all sorts of sports I had no interest in because he wanted me to both lose weight and be an amazing athlete. It is not that I hated the sports, I actually like most sports and can play many of them moderately well, but that I was a fat kid and didn’t want to be active. Running the length of a basketball court, back and forth for nearly an hour, out of the question. Running bases was not incredibly high on my list of things that I would like to spend my time doing. Of all the sports I was forced into the only one that I actually enjoyed at the time was being on the swim team. Unfortunately, I let the lazy inner fat kid get the best of me, and I eventually gave up on swimming in Jr. High. The reason I say “unfortunately” (and I suppose there’s actually more than one) is because that time period was when I made the most progress in my pre-adult life when it came to losing weight and becoming healthy. Had I continued to swim I doubt I would have had the weight issued that plagued me in my teens. I still regret my decision and actually wish that my parents had forced me to continue swimming.

Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that my father lacks the ability to express himself in a way that is not abrasive when it comes to dealing with his children. He cares deeply, only wants what is best for us, and expects us to live up to our full potential, and that is why he gets so angry when we fall short. The problem is that he focuses on the negative, highlights it even, and doesn’t sugarcoat a damn thing. This is of course not easy for a child to hear. So, maybe, just maybe that is why I have it drilled into my head that I am fat. Even at 6 feet and 180 pounds I still look in the mirror and see a fat person reflected back.

Imagine my surprise when the last time I saw my family all my dad would say was that I needed to gain weight. That’s right. I am apparently too skinny (I know I‘ve said it before but, I cringe when I hear that word) and I need to put some weight back on. Are you fucking kidding me? Twenty-something years of torture about how fat I was and now, when I am at my lowest and healthiest, after all the hard work and dedication I am still not “good enough.” Throughout the weekend he repeatedly made comments to me and to others, calling me slim, saying that I needed to eat, etc. It got to the point where I was so bothered by it that I had to tell my mother how much it was upsetting me, and hope that she might relay the message to him, since he clearly wasn’t taking the hints I was dropping after each remark. I just can’t win. But at least now I know that.


P.S. The photos are by Sergi Pons, originally for El Pais magazine. I liked the swimming theme.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Quick Update

It’s already September. WTFuck? 2010 is just flying on by. Only four months left until New Year’s Day and by that time I would really like to have achieved my fitness goals (3 years from the start of this here blog). That means: I am at a healthy weight (I am basically there) and there is no more flab or sagging skin; it will all be taught and nice. Oh, and also to have a healthy amount of muscle and definition. Of course I would also like to make sure that my cholesterol, blood pressure, and other vitals are in a good range. I think four months is doable.

Since I last checked in (July 2010) I’ve continued to shed some weight and to shrink. The changes are small, but I am enthusiastic and elated by any change in the right direction whatsoever. Here is the updated progress chart:

That’s right 185 pounds! Never in a million years did I actually think I would see that number on my scale. Words cannot express how overjoyed and gratified I am. It makes me smile.

What have I been doing to keep the weight loss going? I eat pretty fucking healthy to start. Healthy fats (nuts, avocados, olive oil, etc), tons of veggies and fruits, whole grains and take some vitamin/supplements and a vegan protein powder. I work out at least 5 times per week (cardio, swim, weights) and am generally active at work (constantly moving and carrying heavy gear), which helps. I still eat some sweets (Uncle Eddie’s Vegan cookies are AMAZING!) and will never give up my chips and salsa (NEVER!), but I manage to fit them into my overall diet in a way where they aren’t additional calories at the end of the day or will counteract my progress. When I swim I average 1500-2000 meters (0.93 – 1.25 miles) and will gradually increase that number to 2500 meters over the next month or two. What is really great is how integrated my healthy diet and my exercise are into my daily life. Both have become second nature. That is a major turning point in the battle if you ask me. One of the first sentences I wrote in the first post of this blog was that this was not some New Year’s resolution

I just keep on pushing forward. I’ve got my eyes on the prize and I’m not stopping now.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A little Reading Never Hurt Anybody

A few days ago I was goofing around on the internet, trying to find something worth reading when I stumbled across a new book about Veganism. The title got me right away. MEAT IS FOR PUSSIES (by John Joseph). The little blurb/tagline states "A how-to guide for dudes who want to get fit, kick ass and take names." Sounds awesome!

From what I can tell, the author cites both health related (duh!) and environmental (duh!) reasons for going vegan and proves that it really is easy to do. It’s just like breaking any other habit or deciding to cut out caffeine. Basically, decide to do it, stick with it, and before you know it you don’t even have to think about it, it becomes second nature.

Obviously, by cutting out meat/animal products you consume significantly less saturated fat. HEALTHY! And besides clear cutting the rainforest (the poor amazon) to make room for raising cattle, current estimates show that it takes one gallon of gasoline to produce each pound of beef. Add to that the extra methane the cows produce and we have a horrible burden we are placing on our planet. And there are many more reasons to make the switch; I could go on forever.

The website for that book led me to another book on the topic (by clicking on the “reviews” tab). This one got me really excited. Thrive: The Vegan Nutritional Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life by Brendan Brazier, a Pro Ironman triathlete, seems like exactly the book I was looking for but didn’t know it.


Ok, fine I will admit it; I have always secretly wanted to compete in a triathlon. I think it is exactly the kind of challenge that I would like to see myself overcome (and it would also blow people away to know that a former 300+ pounder just completed a triathlon). Someday, hopefully within the next 5 years, I will do it.

Anyway, this book outlines how to make sure you are still getting all the proper nutrition you need while following a vegan lifestyle. It also disproves the theory that in order to be an athlete you have to eat lots of lean meat (chicken and egg whites) and avoid carbs altogether. If I hear another stupid, ill-informed body builder talk about eating a pound of grilled chicken breasts and steamed broccoli for every meal I think I will shoot myself (not really but you know what I mean). Hello, to be truly healthy you need variety. You need to eat the rainbow, so to speak, making sure that you are consuming all types of fruits and vegetables, which are each full of different nutrients. Guess they don’t call them “meat heads” for nothing. This book had a lot of 4 and 5 star ratings on Amazon so that’s a good sign.

Of course there is a second review by another author, Mike Mahler (The Aggressive Strength Solution for Size and Strength, redundant much?) but as I have stated before, I have absolutely no desire to look like a body builder. I’m all for muscle definition and all, but I never want to be “big” again, even if it is due to lots of muscle and not lots of fat. I hate the feeling of being the largest guy in the room. Though some people may be into that, and if so, I encourage you to try and check that book out.

And then there’s the book that originally got me started on the vegan path (once I was already a vegetarian for a while), Skinny Bastard. It was a good intro and a “fun” read. Sensationalist at times, and full of humor (if you like being told that your dairy eating ways are fucked up). It’s definitely a good one to check out and flip through if you are hanging out at the bookstore.

I will definitely be picking up the first two I mentioned and possibly (most likely) sharing my thoughts on them here.


KEEP ON KEEPING ON (More Stats & More Thoughts)

I started this blog in January of 2008. It is now July of 2010. Two and one half years from making a conscious and concerted commitment to finally break free from the burden of my weight. Here I am approximately 60 pounds lighter than when I started the blog, and nearly 120 lighter than when I was at my heaviest. I am shocked when I actually see those numbers in writing. It’s unbelievable.

Anyway, I made a really cool (in my opinion) chart that chronicles my weight loss/measurements since I started recording them. Luckily I had some papers scribbled with stats on them stashed away in a drawer from way back. The last line is the most current stats. I’m currently 192 pounds, or at least I was prior to 4th of July weekend (though I think I was pretty well behaved, minus some alcohol). That is stellar! I am thinking that my ultimate goal will be 180. Pretty sure I mentioned that before, and it still stands. It seems like the right number for me; 190 is right around the corner and I’m still noticing “problem areas” that haven’t gone away.

Here’s the chart:

As for the weight loss plan I am still eating mostly organic, 99.9% vegan, and exercising 5 days per week (average). I vary it up with cardio classes, weight training, swimming, and more cardio. This helps me to keep things fresh so I don’t get bored with my workouts.

What I find really weird is that it has been about two or three months since I added in the weight training and I am noticing more definition, but the numbers aren’t adding up. I am down 3 pounds, clearly have gained a little muscle, and yet my body fat percentage is stagnant. How is it still at 20%? Especially when it dropped by 4-5% a year ago when I lost about 10 pounds between July and August. This also means that my lean muscle mass is decreasing (now at 153 lbs whereas back in July 2009 it was 161 lbs) when it should be increasing. I am starting to think I just can’t put too much faith in the bathroom scale when it comes to this measurement. It’s frustrating, but not to the point that I am going to throw in the towel. If anything, I see it as a challenge. What do I need to do to make that number go down?

I just need to keep on keeping on I suppose.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Doctor Is In

While working on a recent job we had a doctor on set for the day. It is standard practice to have a medic on set everyday, just to hang around and be there in case of any injuries. It’s also a bonus that most of them are cute (maybe it’s the uniform). Well this guy is a real doctor and he has all kinds of goodies (vitamins, supplements, and the like) on his cart and he goes around giving people actual medical advice. He also has a body fat percentage calculating machine. So I decided that I should take the test, one, to see where I stand, and two, to see how the number compares with the bathroom scale I have at home. When there was a little bit of downtime (something that is not easy for me to find on most workdays), I made my way over to his station and broached the subject with him. He handed me the machine (a small hand-held device) and then asked me my age, height, and weight.

“195 pounds,” I said.

The doc looked at me in disbelief. I was unsure of what to think. Do I look that big?

“Really,” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said unsure even though I knew my weight was 195.

“Ok.” The doc responded. “I would never put you at 195. You must have a lot of muscle.”

I tried my damnedest to hold back the smile that was fighting to consume my face. Are you for real doc? I look smaller than what I weigh? I NEEDED to hear this. It was confirmation of the dilemma I had been struggling with for a while. I believe myself to be larger than I am but apparently look smaller than my actual weight. I can’t decide if this is a good or bad thing.

After inputting my stats in the machine he handed it over to me and instructed me to grasp firmly but not too hard (ha!). So, the body fat percentage was the same as my scale at home. I was a bit annoyed; I wanted it to be off. Otherwise, how could my weight be going down, while I should be adding muscle, and my BF% be stagnant? However when I told the doc the outcome he was very pleased. He said that 20-21% is actually a healthy number for a guy my age. I also told him that I used to weigh over 300 pound a few years ago so I am really just happy to be where I am.

The doc looked at me and said, “I can’t even imagine you being 300 pounds.”

I wish I couldn’t either.


P.S. Today I jumped on my scale and the little screen said 190 lbs. Wondering if it’s a fluke.

P.P.S. Summer is drawing closer, and I'm starting to think a lot more about having that "beach body" I so desire. Pictures are by Randall Mesdon

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Story and Emotion and Sex: Is this Actually Porn?

I stumbled upon a video from Naked Sword over the weekend and I have not been able to stop thinking about it. And while posting links to pornographic content is not really what I do, i have a reason. See, most doctors agree that there are some basic needs all humans have. We need sustenance, sleep, exercise, and sex (there could be one or two more), and this is just my way of making sure that at least one of those needs is fulfilled (masturbation counts as exercise).

It's not every day that a porn has you thinking about it days after you've watched it and gotten off. It is reminiscent of SHORTBUS (Paul Cameron Mitchel's fantastic second feature film that also had lots of non simulated sex) and of TALES OF THE CITY (or even kind of UNDRESSED,you know the MTV show).

Anyway, it's called I WANT YOUR LOVE and the two actors (Brendan and Jesse) are adorable. The amazing thing is this isn't your average porn; the really inventive ones that are churned out every 5 minutes. The ones that always follow the formula: Locker room + dude 1+ dude 2 + dropped towel = fucking. Instead these characters are best friends who are just hanging out and talking and drinking wine and just happen to hook up with each other. I think most gay men can relate.

SO DAMN CUTE! It makes you smile and then you come. What's not to love?


Thursday, April 15, 2010


As I mentioned in my ANOTHER STATUS UPDATE post there are three posts that I have been meaning to get around to for a long time. One revolves around my self-confidence, self-esteem, and my self-perception, which are intrinsically intertwined, and I know I’ve touched a bit on all before. Another is the idea of letting go of the inner fat kid (saying goodbye and moving on). And the last one is my sexual history, or lack thereof. 

I f*ing hope this is as cathartic as I think it will be. (I may go into a stream of consciousness type writing style as I get all of this out. Bear with me).

 Where to begin?

Well I can stop bitching about not getting hit on for starters. I know I sound like a whiny bitch, but until very recently (just before the new year) I never got hit on, ever. I’m not sure if I am just more receptive now, or what, but I have been getting more attention from the boys. This obviously has a positive effect on my self-esteem. I’ve had drinks purchased for me and been chatted up a handful of times over the last couple months. It’s definitely a start.

Now, before I go into some details about a recent “encounter” I want to take a minute to outline my sexual history. I see it as a way to frame the most recent interaction and my overall state of mind when it comes to sex.

Age 4(ish) thru 7/8(ish): I know a lot of kids experiment and I guess that’s what was going on here. I grew up with a group of cousins and friends that were all around the same age as me and somehow we started experimenting. Most of it was with one cousin in particular, but there were times with other boys. We would find a private place (under a bed, in the closet, in a tent in the back yard, etc.) and give each other blowjobs. It never went further than that, and I don’t really remember how it all started either. We got caught a couple time; that wasn’t too fun.

Around the same time (closer to 4 y.o.) I remember having dreams of being with older men. I don’t think I was ever “with” them in the biblical sense in a dream, but there was clearly the desire to be. This of course raised a lot of questions for me when I was in my teens and early twenties and started to remember these dreams. On one hand I thought it might be a sign of abuse, as I couldn’t see why a little kid would have any reason to have ideas like that on his own, and on the other I chalked it up to being a kid and having crazy dreams. I have no memory of abuse, but clear memories of all the other crazy shit that was going on at that time in my life, so I am not sure either way, and I feel like I am moving on just fine, and pretty well adjusted; so whatever.

Age 9: While staying over at a friend’s for the night his mother suggested we shower together (to save water, that’s what they did at their house). At first I thought it was weird, but then being a curious kid, I said yes. Nothing really happened.

Age 8-12: My best friend and I spent a lot of time together, but nothing sexual ever happened. Both of us turned out to be gay. I find that amusing.

Age 15-19: A close friend and I began experimenting. He was slightly younger, but aggressive, and we started with touching, jerking each other off, and eventually progressed to oral. At one point we added making out. Over the course of a few years we would occasionally hook-up until I finally distanced myself from him and put an end to things.

Age 19-very recent: I was celibate all through college and much of my early twenties. The thought of being with someone sexually was too much to bear. I was so insecure that I wouldn’t even allow the possibility. There were a couple random make-outs (some with women) and one boy that pursued me but I kept him at a distance because I wasn’t ready. We held hands and kissed once.

And there it is.

So finally, with all of my hard work and progress (mentally AND physically) over the last year I am able to wrap my head around being able to expose myself to someone and be intimate with them. It took me forever. I was held back by my body, my insecurity due to how I looked, my fear of rejection, and my worry that my inexperience was going to be a problem. (check out my BODY IS A CAGE post). The fact that I still have breasts (they are smaller now) bothers me. It is so emasculating. And there are the remnants of love handles, and a little extra skin under my arms, and my butt is just a bit flabbier than I would like, and so on, and so on. And I let this all swirl around and cloud my mind, taking over like a thunderstorm sweeping in and ruining a wedding, and before I know it, the idea of anyone beside myself seeing me naked is a ridiculous thought.

This brings us to the very recent past:

I was out on the town with some friends and I was on a mission. I had been out a couple weekends before and totally passed up the chance to talk with this guy who was trying to get my attention. Of course, after the fact I felt like a total dumb ass. So, when one of my friends suggested the goal for the night was to get a phone number I gave him a look that said, “Too easy, let’s aim higher.” I later texted another friend to inform him that my goal for the night was to make out with a boy, just so he knew and would maybe hold me accountable.

We went to all the usual places; The Abbey, Here Lounge, Popstarz. We had our share of luck with various men throughout the night but nothing close to what I was aiming for. There was one guy at Popstarz that kept glancing my way as we were on the dance floor but he never did anything more than smile, same with me, and that was that. WTF?

I guess I should take a second to point out that I still suffer from a slight lack of confidence, and it is a lot easier for me to be pursued that it is for me to be the “hunter.”

And we’re back:

My friends were getting progressively more drunk, and I was having an increasingly more difficult time keeping track of them; I am always the “big brother” or “babysitter,” I can’t help it. One was off flirting with two boys that were friends with each other, another had completely disappeared on the dance floor. So I went over to the bar to grab some water. I was standing there taking a break and looking around the place when I notice a guy walk by more than once and then seconds later he is standing right next to me. He introduces himself. I do the same. He asks if I want to dance. I indulge him. We make our way onto the floor and dance for a minute or two before we start making out (mission accomplished!). We continue to dance/kiss on the floor before moving over to the side where we stop dancing and focus all our energy on making out. In between, when we need a break we chat about random stuff. Of course as soon as I am THAT GUY making out on the dance floor my friends all magically appear again. He whispers compliments and sweet nothings in my ear, as well as things that make me smile. We sorta dance. We make-out. This continues until the lights come up as the place is closing.

Now he wants to come home with me. I am nervous as hell. The last time someone saw me naked was years ago (granted I was a lot larger then), and I don’t know how I feel about this. We continue to kiss and he continues to press the issue. He compliments me, and he says he only wants to cuddle. I finally let in. I figure, “Why not?” I felt like I needed to get it over with and here was a chance to do just that.

We walk back to my place and continue to make out. He gently pushes me onto the bed and climbs over and next to me. After a few minutes he asks if I am planning on sleeping in my shirt and jeans. Before I can mutter a reply he is undressing me. My shirt is off and I don’t know what to think.

Can he see that, while smaller than ever, I have breasts?
Does he care?
Can he see the stretch marks that line my midsection that are a constant reminder of my larger self?
Does he care?
Does he feel the extra padding under his hands as he rubs them up and down my body?
Does he care?

And now his hand is on my belt buckle, trying to release it (I end up having to help) and then on the button and fly of my jeans. He is pulling my pants down while we are still making out. He pulls off his t-shirt, and my hands find their way down to his jeans. I unbutton them and help to pull them off. We are in our underwear. His body is nice. He is fit, not muscled, but toned enough, and trim. He moves down to my crotch and begins to remove my underwear. So many thoughts are running through my head, and my mind is going a million miles per minute.

“Thank god I just did some trimming down there.
What will he think when he sees a small mound of fat around my pubic region?
Could I be any more vulnerable?”

He begins to kiss around my inner thighs and I lose it. Whatever crazy thoughts were running through my mind are now gone. The pleasure has completely taken over me. He places his lips around my penis and goes to town. After a bit he comes up; we make out some more. He is on top of me and I can feel his dick pressed against me. We roll over, swapping places. I kiss him. I kiss his neck and his chest. I am kissing him everywhere. I move down to pull off his underwear. He moans as I slide my mouth over his member. I perform oral for a bit before we make out some more. We lay head-to-toe and blow each other. He finishes himself off; I never get off. I am too nervous and unsure. After we have tired ourselves out, and the sun is starting to rise, we spoon. He drapes an arm over me and pulls me into him. I wonder what he is thinking as he stares at my back (also covered with stretch marks). Does he care that I don’t have a “gym body?” I can’t sleep. I am actually felling a bit of pain from not getting off. Late in the morning he leaves. I walk him out. As we both dress I wonder what he is thinking as he sees me in the daylight. We kiss goodbye. I go back to bed, but not before finally getting off (thanks internet porn!).

All sorts of things go through my head all day. Later that night he texts me to say, “thanks for a good time.” I wait a bit before texting him back. I play it cool. I have been giddy all day. It’s like the scene in UNFAITHFUL where Diane Lane is riding on the subway and replaying her hook-up with the hot dude, Olivier Martinez, in her head. (video below)

Unfaithful - Seduction

He texts back, and I send one more. My friends are crazy and think he is definitely interested. I can’t decide how I feel about it. I feel a little slutty. I am happy. I am exhausted. I wonder if it was just a hook-up. He said all the right things to get into my bed. I let my guard down.

I give him a few days to be the first to make contact. He doesn’t. I am not sure that I even want him to, and yet I am somewhat upset when he doesn’t. I decide to make the first move this time (he approached me at the bar, I can “approach” him via text). I do. I ask if he wants to grab dinner or drinks. He invites me out with him that night. I already have plans but tell him that maybe I can meet up after. It’s after and I text. I don’t hear back for a while and by the time I do I am tired and over it. I go anyway. I want to actually talk to the guy, see if there’s anything there. I meet him at a bar. I am introduced to his friends. He says we should dance. I follow. We dance for a minute. We make out. He compliments me left, right, and center. I can’t help but fall for it. And then history repeats itself. This time I am slightly less nervous, especially since he has already seen me naked. After we are done, he hangs around for a bit but ends up leaving soon enough. I don’t hear anything from him. Days later I send him a text. We text back and forth all night. The texts are definitely flirty. I fall asleep and don’t receive/notice the last one until the morning. And again I hear nothing more. Though after hooking-up for a second time I am not convinced I want to pursue anything more than a friendship.

Looking back on the experience I am still undecided as to how I feel about the whole thing. I WAS on a mission that night, and I got what I wanted (and more). I am glad to have finally been with someone, to let my inhibitions and insecurities go and just get it over with. I definitely feel different. I feel viable. I feel like I have my groove back (not sure I ever really had it, but you know what I mean). I carry myself differently. I notice that the guy two lanes over in the pool at the gym is not merely smiling and kinda staring at me, he is interested. I make the connection. I don’t notice, but am told by my friend, that I get checked out while we are at The Abbey. This time I don’t just laugh it off and ignore it in disbelief, but think “Yeah? . . . Awesome!”


P.S. Photos are of Alessandro Calza (Photographer: Nick Malfanti). Calza is a model/actor, and after seeing these photos I really want to see "CIAO," an Italian movie he starred in.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

“Peace Out” Inner Fat Kid

As I mentioned in my ANOTHER STATUS UPDATE post there are three posts that I have been meaning to get around to for a long time. One revolves around my self-confidence, self-esteem, and my self-perception, which are intrinsically intertwined, and I know I’ve touched a bit on all before. Another is the idea of letting go of the inner fat kid (saying goodbye and moving on). And the last one is my sexual history, or lack thereof.

I f*ing hope this is as cathartic as I think it will be. (I may go into a stream of consciousness type writing style as I get all of this out. Bear with me).

I guess when I use the term “Inner Fat kid” I am referring to that part of my psyche that is still the young kid who feels unloved and unwanted. The one who eats to fill a void and also to create a façade that would help to not have to deal with the fact that I was queer. He’s the one that binges and feels like shit, the one that finds temporary solace in the act of stuffing his face.

When I say “Goodbye,” “Peace Out,” or even “F**k Off,” what I mean is that I was finally able to free myself of the ties to that way of thinking. I was able to acknowledge that it was unhealthy and that it was exactly that mentality that was holding me back from making any progress. I mean that I was finally able to let go, to let my new healthy adult self take the reigns.

For the longest damn time I turned to food. It was always there to comfort me. I had an unhealthy relationship with food from a very young age, what with fearing that someone might try to steal it away from me and all, which evolved into an obsession with consuming it whenever possible. And of course, my over consumption allowed me to use my weight to postpone dealing with the impending realization that I was a homo.

Food was always good to me. It amazes me how strong of a hold food had on me back then. I’m not sure if it was all in my head or if the mix of chemicals and sugar and fat really did create the ephemeral euphoria I would feel. It may be that part of my ability to emancipate myself was that I slowly cut out the fast food and the processed junk foods that had their claws in me for so long, slowly weaning myself off of them and freeing my body and mind of their toxic effects. I know the companies that manufacture such products have spent insane amounts of money to perfect their recipes in such a way that each bite is full of the perfect amount of sugar/salt/fat/etc. to trigger all the right spots of the brain and incite pleasure (read anything by Michael Pollan). When I finally moved out of the parent’s house and started shopping for myself I was really able to choose what I consumed. The inner fat kid was powerless over the junk food that would occasionally pop up in the cupboards at home, but when I was calling the shots I was able to keep all of that crap out of arm’s reach.

For all of the progress that I find I have made over the last few years, I have also found that I am only able to keep the inner fat kid at bay for so long. It is not really a matter of time, but certain situations. Whenever I go home to visit my family I revert to my old ways, over consuming and eating junk food, if I don’t make a conscious effort and check myself. I am not sure if it is merely the fact that my old trigger foods are present (chips/cookies/etc.) or if it has something to do with being around my family and the emotional triggers, the ones I used to give into, taking hold again. I know that I am strong, and I can say no to the junk, but sometimes I find myself giving in. I don’t fully understand why when my relationship with both parents, though especially step dad, is much better than when I was a teen, and I am totally comfortable with my gay self. It’s odd, and frustrating and something I am working on. Once and addict . . . I guess. I just know that while the inner fat kid may never be fully exorcised, I am capable of keeping him from popping back up for too long; short visits and that miserable little bastard is back in the dungeon where he belong, and maybe throw him a cookie.


P.S. Photos courtesy of Bruno Gmünder.


As I mentioned in my ANOTHER STATUS UPDATE post there are three posts that I have been meaning to get around to for a long time. One revolves around my self-confidence, self-esteem, and my self-perception, which are intrinsically intertwined, and I know I’ve touched a bit on all before. Another is the idea of letting go of the inner fat kid (saying goodbye and moving on). And the last one is my sexual history, or lack thereof.

I f*ing hope this is as cathartic as I think it will be. (I may go into a stream of consciousness type writing style as I get all of this out. Bear with me).

While I was in college I had an instructor tell me, in so many words, that the reason that I was selected for a highly competitive position with the university was because everyone was impressed with my self-confidence. I only hope that upon hearing this my face didn’t change expression in a way that showed what I was really thinking. What was going through my head was, “What the f**k are you talking about?” I laughed it off. I had never thought of my self as confident. I always felt like the bastard stepchild of the group in most situations. I wouldn’t put myself out there for fear of drawing unwanted criticism and judgment from peers. I went home that night and mentioned this to my roommate. He explained that there was something, a certain way I exuded an easy confidence. The thing was, all of this was about when I was in class or among friends and peers. When it came to my appearance or perceived desirability sexually, my confidence tank was on empty. Based upon the sum total of my past experiences I had it stuck in my head that I was not desirable, in that way.

My first kiss I remember was when I was about 4 years old. This little girl and I were being watched by the same babysitter and were sitting on the floor watching television when she leaned over and kissed me on the cheek. It took me by surprise.

The second one was in first grade. Some girl and I were at the after school daycare. We were sitting out in the field when she just planted a kiss on me, right on the lips. It was a quick peck.

My first girlfriend was when I was in 5th grade (she was a cute little Jewish girl, these days I kinda have a thing for Jewish boys). We were “together” maybe two days. She dumped me because everyone found out about us. I was crushed, mostly because I was wondering “What’s so wrong with me?”

At the end of 5th grade a friend had a pool party to celebrate the start of summer. It was a mix of boys and girls, most of whom were part of my larger group of friends. I was the chubby one, in the group and even my best friend at the time chimed in when these supposed friends were making fun of me, saying the I needed a bra. I stayed strong in the moment and didn’t let them see how hurt I really was. That was the beginning of the end of my friendship with that best friend.

In high school we had to get measured for our costumes for a play I was in. When the lady took my chest measurement somehow the director/drama teacher overheard/saw and couldn’t help but to repeatedly voice his disbelief in the number (I want to say it was something insane like 52”). I was already ashamed of my chest. Thanks A**hole.

When I was about 17 a random stranger told me that I had tree trunks for legs. I don’t think he was trying to be malicious, but he was a dick. That was the start of my being self-conscious about my legs, and especially my calves.

At some point during the latter half of high school my parents became concerned that there may be some kind of medical condition linked to my weight issues. This resulted in a litany of tests at the doctor’s office (all coming back negative) and then a meeting with a nutritionist. She asked me (@ the time I was between approximately 280 and 300 pounds) what I thought my goal weight should be. My response was 180 lbs., which I thought was pretty solid considering my height and build. In as nice of a way as she possibly could have, she explained that I would never weigh 180 lbs., and that I should probably pick a more realistic goal. Bitch!

Around the same time (senior year of high school) I had a teacher accuse me of breaking a desk merely by sitting in it. The desk was broken before I sat in it, and true I had a moderately difficult time getting in and out of them back then, but what an a**hole. After that incident I stopped doing the homework just to piss him off. I ended up with a pretty low grade in that class.

For all of college and until recently I wouldn’t even put myself on the market. I was so consumed by my lack of self-confidence that I wouldn’t even think about dating or hooking up (besides fantasizing about it). I couldn’t fathom anyone finding me attractive, or in the off chance someone did, that I could expose myself to him and be intimate. Friends would ask if I was dating, or comment that I should find someone and I would just brush it off.

My step dad had an incredibly difficult time dealing with my weight. He was a varsity athlete in H.S. and was still involved in Men’s Leagues until recently. He constantly gave me a hard time about my size and tried a million different ways to get me to shed some pounds. He forced me to play sports I had no desire to play (Baseball is boring! Basketball required too much running) not because I didn’t like them but simply because I was a fat kid. I played baseball, basketball, soccer, football, tennis, and was on the swim team. The only one I truly enjoyed was swimming. He would tell me I couldn’t have certain foods, which would piss me off and make me want to sneak them when I had the chance. He was so harsh at times that I would cry and I think part of my weight problems as a kid were also part of me being defiant and wanting to piss him off. I know for certain that part of the reason that I had an unhealthy relationship with food for so long was because of the reactions that I got from him when I ate certain foods. I would sneak food and try to hide my tracks. I was like a junky. It got to the point that they were considering putting locks on the fridge and cupboards. One day when I was around nineteen or twenty I overheard him talking to my mom in the kitchen. He was saying that my brother (I have two 1/2 brothers) was “the good looking one” and that I would never be close to his level of attractiveness. To say the least I was hurt. Not only because of the words I heard but because I didn’t hear my mother say anything to the contrary.

The thing is, my step dad always went about trying to motivate me to lose weight the wrong way. He thought that calling me names, making fun of me, and being generally verbally abusive would make me want to change. But what he didn’t realize was that it just made me angry with him and pissed me off. Not only that but it also made me feel like shit and lowered my already sub-par self esteem. If you call me a “fat ass,” for some reason that doesn’t make me want to hop on a treadmill. When I finally did make the changes necessary in my life to begin to lose weight, it was on my terms and it was my choice.

In my head fat = un-loveable/undesirable/unworthy. I was fat and unhappy and didn’t love myself, so how could I love anyone else?

My self-esteem was always at the lower end of the spectrum and my self-perception has always been a bit skewed. As a kid I was unaware of my size, and being judged for it, until age 10 or so. By 12 I had started to slim down a bit and then by 14 I was back to steadily increasing my weight every year. I had been massive and knew it. I had been slightly smaller and still felt huge. And I have since broken the 200 pound barrier only to know that I must be smaller while feeling like I am still large. It is not until I look at the size of my thighs in comparison to my roommate’s (the “every gay man’s wet dream” roommate) as we sit on the couch watching television, that I see they are just about the same size. It is not until I try on the medium shirt and am shocked it fits; or the 33” slim fit Levi’s; or the shirt I stole from my younger, “hotter,” and slimmer brother; etc. that I begin to realize there has been some change. It is not until I see myself in a photo on Facebook next to someone whom I consider thin. But I still don’t really know it. I have to constantly look for the comparison point, the standard by which I can gauge myself. I have to see someone I consider thin and then see myself next to them, and calculate how we compare. My self perception is based completely on where I think I fit into the spectrum of what I perceive to be normal. This is obviously all kinds of crazy and no bueno.

This totally reminds me of that show Carson Kressley did for fat women, “How to Look Good Naked” or whatever. Every episode (okay, so I watched a couple of them, I’m not embarrassed) he had this part where there was a line up of women from smallest to biggest and he made the main girl he was trying to help insert herself into the lineup where she thought she fit in. Every time the chick was way off and put herself in the line between two women who were a lot larger than her. Looks like we all share that in common.

What’s funny is that EVERYONE comments on my weight now. It’s kinda funny how comfortable people seem to feel giving backhanded compliments. I’m called “skinny” or “slim” by my dad (who now outweighs me by about 10 lbs.) and my brother is only about 20 pounds lighter than me. I also have to constantly deflect comments from friends who worry that I am not eating. Uhh, hello, me and not eating go together like oil and water.

So now that I am 195 pounds I see myself in the mirror and I know that I must be smaller than I previously was. But I spent something like 90% of my life being fat and dealing with that. It is really hard to just switch off all of the things that I am so used to thinking in my head. Old habits die hard, as they say.


P.S. The photos are by Federico Erra. I like the tone and mood he captures in a lot of his work.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Another Status Update

Stats first. Then interpretation/explanation.

As of April 1, 2010

height: 6'0"

weight: 193-195 lbs (down 7-9 lbs since January)

chest @ nipples: 42" (down 0.5”)

under breasts: 39.5" (down 0.5”)

bicep: 12" (down 0.5”)

@ belly button: 37.5" (down 1”)

hips: 37.5" (down 0.5” this year)

butt @ widest point: 40.5" (no change)

thigh: 23" (no change)

calf: 16" (down 0.5” this year)

Body Fat: 20%

Ok. So there was little to no change in my stats/measurements from January to February, which totally pissed me off, and I didn’t even take any in March. I knew that I had to record my measurements on April 1st or I would run the risk of veering off track again, and it looks like I am making some progress.

The fact that everyone keeps commenting that I get thinner every time they see me reinforces that there is a decrease in weight (yay!) and inches in most places. This of course excites me. I really did get back in the groove again (when I wasn’t working 14 to 16 hours a day) and tried my best to get my butt to the gym and to stay on track with my healthy eating. Though at the same time I also did not really deny myself any foods. This kind of amazes me. I had some snack/junk foods (back to work means the craft services table calling your name and enticing you all day) and a lot of sweet potato fries (so good!). But I guess that’s the other side of the weight loss equation: the healthy attitude. I knew what I was doing. I wasn’t mindlessly snacking, and was still able to balance it all out over the course of the day. And really telling yourself that certain foods, or types of foods, are off limits is never a good way to go about things. You’ve gotta live a little.

I also started adding weight training to my exercise plan. For the longest time I focused solely on cardio, figuring that I had enough muscle mass already, and that when I was working my job involved all sorts of heavy lifting, so why bother with weights in the gym? But then I realized that I needed to at least do some light weight lifting if only just to maintain the amount that I do have. I was working on a TV show with a former pro-wrestler, and he was telling a story about lifting weight with Schwarzenegger back in the day. This is back when both guys were absolutely ripped. The wrester was killing himself trying to bench press a huge amount of weight and then noticed Arnold not really struggling at all on his sets and lifting a lot less weight on his bar. He asked what was up, and Arnold explained that the muscle mass was already there, now he just had to keep the blood flowing to the muscles to maintain it. Something totally clicked with me when I heard that story.

So, besides the sore muscles, I am happy that I came around and added it into my routine. I never ever want to look like a body builder or one of the guys you see in Men’s Health or other fitness magazines, the guys that are just completely yoked, but some muscle definition would be quite all right. I guess that for me I never want to be “large” again. I have been the biggest guy in the room already and even if I were all muscle and no fat whatsoever, I don’t want to deal with being that size.

What is interesting/confusing is that my body fat percentage hasn’t really changed. Currently at 20%, it was at 19% back in November when I was originally @ 195 pounds. Right now, I weight the same as I did then, and have been adding the weight lifting, but have not seen a drop in body fat percentage. Granted, I am using a bathroom scale to measure BF%, so who knows how reliable that thing really is? For now I won’t let it bother me.

I suppose that’s it. It has been a mixture of steady work, working out when I can (basically any day I’m not working or if I have the chance after work) and maintaining a healthy diet. I’m still on the way to FINALLY achieving my weight loss goal and being happy with the state of my body. I’m so close I can feel it.


P.S. All photos by Ohm Phanphiroj.

P.P.S. Some upcoming posts that I need to get out of my head on “on paper.” They are all closely interrelated so I think I will have to do them one right after the other.

- Hook-ups & Hang-ups (and I suppose a survey of my sexual history)

- Letting go of the inner fat kid

- Self Confidence & Self Perception

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I'm Starting With the Man in the Mirror

Da da dee da dum dum dee dum dum . . . DYSMORPHIA. (thanks Rihanna’s songwriting team for your song that sums up my mental state)

I kind of always figured that I suffered from body dysmorphia (DEFINITION: Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a preoccupation with the appearance of a certain part of the body), but now I am absolutely 100% positive. It has taken about a year or so to come to this realization. Let’s start at the very beginning; a very good place to start.

My whole life (practically) I was aware that I was bigger than the other kids, if not the biggest. It was readily apparent.

When I was tipping the scale at somewhere just over 300 F*ing pounds I knew I was large but I never thought I was massive. I mean I wasn’t so large that my gravitational pull had objects orbiting around me. I always thought I looked thinner than the numbers on the scale would lead one to picture. I even had friends that would peg me in the 250-275 pound range. That was always nice because I felt like while number wise there were a lot of pounds to lose, image wise I was already ahead of the game.

Never in my life have I felt “skinny.” In fact I hate the word. Detest it! It has such a negative connotation. When I reached the 250 lbs. mark in 2003 I was feeling good but never skinny, not even thin. I knew I was thinner but still felt like my corpulent self.

The problem is that I see myself in the mirror every damn day. I can’t tell how much less space I take up. In my head I am still 300+ pounds. When I see me in the mirror I still see the problem areas (the hint of breasts, a little pudge around the pubic mound, and residual belly fat). We are talking a loss of more than 100 lbs to date, and yet all I see are the same problems that have made me insecure my whole life.

Now, deep down I realize that I am waaaay smaller than I previously was. I get it. I comprehend that people don’t even recognize me. I get that my best friend tells me I am “so skinny,” which is a way of saying, “you were massive and now you’re not.” But every time that word is uttered it makes me want to slap a bitch! What about thin? Slim? Healthy? Any other word choice would suffice.

A few weeks ago a friend’s mom referred to me as “svelte.” This immediately made me smile because I LOVE that word (I am weird and really like languages, especially my native language and appreciate others who make use of all the words their language has to offer).

Last month I attended a party where there were a lot of old college friends and acquaintances. One guy later told one of my closer friends that he didn’t even recognize me, and that is why he looked at me funny when I walked up and started chatting with him.

Just this past weekend I attended another party and decided that I wanted to do some shopping and find something new to wear (as most of the attendees were people I see often, and I don’t need a gazillion photos of me on facebook wearing the same thing all the time). To make a long(ish) story somewhat shorter, I found a shirt I really liked. They had a large so I grabbed it. Not wanting to go back in the dressing room for the fourth time I decided to just throw it on over what I was wearing (a T-shirt over a long sleeved thermal). It fit. Great I thought. Then I kept looking around and a few minutes later thought, “that shirt fit pretty easily and that was on top of two other shirts.” So I walked to the rack, found a medium, and made my way into the dressing room. IT FIT! The medium fit. Un-F*ing real. I strutted out of that dressing room like I owned the place. I can’t even tell you the last time I fit into a men’s medium shirt.

Here’s the thing. When I look in the mirror I do not see a man that wears a medium shirt. I see a man that has been in a large for 5 or 6 years (sometimes just squeaking into that large) and prior to that was an X-large. It is damn near impossible to get it through my head that I am not that man anymore. I suppose that just understanding and acknowledging the fact that there is a dichotomy in the way I see myself (my self-perception) and what I actually look like/how others see me, is a start. I am struggling to change the way I see myself. Trying to see a truer version than the image I have burned into my brain and my retinas. But I gotta tell you, it’s not easy.


P.S. I just remembered that I came across an indie doc a while back that addresses the this issue as it pertains to the gay community. The film was called "Do I Look Fat" and I can't attest to it being either good or bad as I still haven't watched it. But is seems worthwhile. Try and check it out.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

YEAR END WRAP-UP: 2 years under my (shrinking) belt

January 8th, 2010 marks the 2 year anniversary of the commencement of this blog. Its crazy to think that it has been that long. It is also insane to think that it has taken me that long to get to where I currently am. If that isn’t dedication I DO NOT know what is. Yeah, I fell off the horse a couple times. But, I did manage to get back on and continue to forge ahead and not allow my self to throw in the towel. So, I’d like to first do a final stats update for the year and then take some time to review the ups and downs of the past 12 months.

HEIGHT: 6'0"
WEIGHT: 202 lbs (down 46 lbs overall, 20 lbs this year)
CHEST @ NIPPLES: 42.5" (down 2” this year)
UNDER BREASTS: 40" (down 2” this year)
BICEP: 12.5" (up 0.5” this year)
@ BELLY BUTTON: 38.5" (down 2.5” this year)
HIPS: 38" (down 1” this year)
BUTT @ WIDEST POINT: 40.5" (down 2.5” this year)
THIGH: 23" (down 1” this year)
CALF: 16.5" (down 1.5” this year)
Total inches lost = 13” this year (25” overall)!

Ok. On the whole this year has been great. Really fucking great. Seriously. I am extremely proud of my determination, commitment, and successes. I knew that if I really wanted to, I could do it. I “put [my] mind to it, [went] for it, [got] down and [broke a sweat]” a lot. And I absolutely saw the results and the payoff. Hell, I just got rid of three bags worth of clothes that are now too big. That is beyond satisfying and a real confirmation of accomplishment. I am smaller. I feel healthier. I feel better. I have more confidence.

January was a little slow. I worked out, not every day but frequently enough. I also went fully vegan. My reasons were twofold: my health and the environment. I wanted to make sure I was eating enough fruits and veggies and found that by cutting out the meat I was forced to fill up on stuff that was good for me. I know I am getting significantly more vitamins and nutrients, more fiber, and I am not filling up on animal fats. I still get lots of protein, plant fats and omega-3s. I have never felt better, and rarely feel that sluggish food coma like after I would eat meat. It is also a hell of a lot greener to be veg. Cows and chickens that are raised for human consumption are “no bueno” for our planet. So, I am also doing my part on that front. I’m not trying to preach it’s just something I feel pretty strongly about. I dare people to try it. Life without meat is really not that difficult.

February and March were more of the same, ups and downs on the motivation front. I did some international travel for work, which was fantastic. And continued to live a veg lifestyle.

April is when I started to get my ass back in gear. I started out doing workouts at home using videos (Hip Hop Abs from beachbody) and Wii Fit. I also went for a lot of one hour to hour and a half walks. For whatever reason, I could not get myself to go to the actual gym. Work was sporadic and I figured that as long as I wasn’t working I might as well fill up my spare time by exercising. By May I was back on track and in the habit of working out again. I started the workout calendar, which helped me stay on course and log my hours. Being a very visual individual, it was nice to look at all the little boxes that I had marked with a “check mark” or an “X.” Each one representing a small “battle against the bulge” either won or lost in the overall war on body fat.

My determination continued full steam ahead through the summer and by the end of August I had more than met my goal of being 205 lbs by August 15th. I did have some motivation that really forced me to push myself further than I normally would have otherwise; but hey it worked! Part was a move to the “gayborhood,” and the other was a vacation I wanted to look good for.
(***I’ll elaborate upon my thoughts on living in WeHo later***)

The fall was the beginning of the slump. The final stretch that was the last season of the year was not so fantastic. While I wanted to end the year on a high note I allowed myself to settle into a slump that I didn’t get out of until after X-mas. September brought with it another international business trip, and thus two weeks without a gym (though, I did manage to stay on track dietarily and walked all over the place, often while carrying heavy equipment). October was another slow work month and I was actually pretty good about exercising regularly. By the end of the month I was at 195 lbs. I was taken aback. I had finally broken the 200 lbs mark for the first time since I was 14. That was major, and it made me feel like a million dollars. Then it all went down hill. I allowed myself to fall into a funk and I couldn’t shake my bad case of the "fuck-its." On the one hand I felt like, “whatever, I can do whatever I want. I’m 195 lbs. I kick ass. I don’t have to try so hard now.” On the other, I just couldn’t get motivated. From early November to just after X-mas I believe I made it to the gym a total of 10 times. While I was working a bit here and there and getting some physical activity it was substantially less than the previous months. Add to that my lack of concern for diet (hello holidays and all your delicious treats) and what I got is gaining back some of the weight I had worked so hard to purge myself of.

So here I am at the end of the second year of this blog having lost nearly 50 lbs (at one point it was more than 50) and feeling a whole lot better.
Am I kicking myself in the ass for gaining some weight back? Yep.
Am I going to take that anger and disappointment in myself and, rather than get all depressed and discouraged, use it to stay on track and remember the goal I set out to achieve? Fuck yeah! Home stretch here I come.


P.S. The boy in the first 2 pictures are by Greg Vaughan and the 3rd is by Matthias Vriens-McGrath. And the pool theme is something I will delve into next post.

P.P.S. Another exciting event took place this year. I lost my blog comment V-card. So thank you Daveinthe805 for being my first.