Where do I even start? Let’s get the numbers out of the way. For reference, my height is 5'6–5'7. On September 20th, 2021, I weighed 342.6 lbs with a ghastly body fat percentage of 56%. Today, September 20th, 2022, I weighed in at 225.3 lbs with a body percentage of 30%. Over the last year, I’ve dropped 117 lbs and cut my body fat by 26%. Now, please clap.
It’s been an arduous fucking journey. I’m still not even where I want to be — I still have some gut fat that needs to be taken care of, and I’d like to be closer to 200 lbs and maybe even under at some point. However, I am proud of what I’ve accomplished and wanted to talk about my battles with weight, weight loss, food, eating disorders, and some of the struggles/traumas that come from being overweight.
My Weight & Relationship With Food
Let me get out in front and say I have multiple eating disorders and body dysmorphia.
I’m an Overeater.
I’m Formerly Anorexic.
I’m Formerly Bulimic.
I was the fat kid growing up, then in High School, I became Anorexic/Bulimic and lost a ton of weight, to which nobody knew I was anorexic, and they all complimented me for getting in shape. Girls were into me, and I became semi-popular — so while I was being deeply unhealthy, I was getting praise and attention. That fucked my psyche up for the rest of my life.
I’m no longer Anorexic/Bulimic, but there are still some tendencies and thoughts inside me that really aren’t good. This makes trying to lose weight in a healthy way brutal. Also, once you get to 340 lbs, telling someone that you struggle with Anorexia just feels extra embarrassing. Not to mention, you don’t see a bunch guys openly mention being Anorexic. For the longest time, I’d look at my shadow and feel disgusted at how much wider I was than everyone else. This weight loss journey has taught me that my body is unique — I have broad shoulders, wide hips, thick thighs, and fat in certain places that’s difficult to burn. I’m probably never going to be 175 lbs and that’s perfectly fine — that’s not what my body is meant to be.
Food is tricky because it’s been my coping mechanism since I was a kid, and I’m someone who is always able to eat; not just that I’m hungry, but I love food, I get cravings, and if you put something in front of me, I will eat it. Over the last year, I had to learn to adapt. I’m not going to go deeply into my Diet because I don’t recommend it to other people. If you want a general sense, I kept my eating very clean from Mon-Fri; usually, a High Protein Dinner that was either Steak, Chicken, or Burger paired with vegetables and rice. I splurged more on weekends. The big thing about dieting is finding what works for you.
(My holy trinity of cookies/sweets that satisfy cravings. Yes, I have weird tastes.)
Also, I commonly started my day with a cookie or a fun-sized candy bar. Starting your day with a small sweet treat can keep you from falling into bigger dieting pitfalls. Importantly, eat when you’re hungry and don’t overdo it. Even if I lost track of both of those things at times.
How Often Did I Work Out?
It’s important to note that I work from home and often work while I lay on my bed or sitting at a desk as I type on my computer. When I was at my heaviest, there were many days I never left my apartment. Going to the gym is crucial because I don’t move much daily. If you work a job where you’re on your feet or even walking a bit, don’t be too hard on yourself. Again though, it’s about finding what works best for you.
Now, I go to the gym every single day. In the last 365 days, I probably went 345 days and would’ve gone more if I didn’t get COVID for two weeks. Why did I go to the gym every day and not take more recovery days? Because I am a fucking crazy person who became convinced that if I stopped going to the gym, I would never go back. I had that fear because it’s something I’ve done before. At one point, I was 280 lbs, got myself down to 250, stopped going, and then a couple of years later, I’m 340–350. I was terrified of doing that again, so I went every day. And not every day was an intense workout. Sometimes it would be 10–20 minutes of cardio, and then I’d leave. It was just the act of going that gave me a sense of fulfillment.
Most days, though, I will say, I went pretty hard in the gym, did cardio every day, and weights 4–5 days a week. Even when I was an athlete in high school, I never really had much muscle or upper body strength, so the ability to squat more than I weigh and lift heavy objects is pretty neat. Bringing in groceries from the car has become infinitely easier. Working out can be exhausting, yet, I have 10x the energy I used to. Before, the simple act of walking to my car sometimes felt like a chore and burden. I don’t want basic tasks to feel like that again. This leads me to..
The Stresses of Being Overweight
When you’re a very overweight person, life is different. My apartment had two futons and three chairs I refused to sit on because I was terrified they would snap if I sat on them. And it wasn’t an out-of-nowhere thought because I had broken two different chairs in the place already. What’s insane is as I got bigger, I also felt smaller. Like a cartoon elephant trying to hide behind a tiny tree, I found myself slouching more, walking with my head down where I didn’t want to get seen. Legally, I’m 5'7; if you had asked me how tall I was then, I’d have said 5'4'-5'5. My shadows were getting larger, and I wanted to hide in them. Since dropping weight, I stand taller and feel like I have a neck again. I sometimes look at myself in the mirror now and go: “I’m 5'7.”
The hurdles for getting in shape once you get to a certain weight are challenging. It’s hard to tell someone to do traditional exercises when maybe their body can’t hold up under specific workouts. When you’re fat, running, jogging, and jumping jacks all hurt. And if you have actual tits, not just man tits, they hurt double. Before I got back to the gym, I spent a couple of months walking and playing PokemonGo as a way to get my body to ease the transition into eventual full-on workouts. Even then, the stress of all that weight walking would blister my feet if I didn’t wear two pairs of socks. I had to lose weight before I could even do push-ups or sit-ups.
That’s not even getting into the factor of clothes. I haven’t used a dressing room in about 5–6 years because I couldn’t handle looking at myself in a mirror that closely. Clothes would endlessly stress me out. If I found a shirt or brand that actually fit me, I’d buy duplicate or every altered color of that product because it was something I knew would fit guaranteed. It wasn’t a bad strategy, but it felt so restrictive. When my journey started, I was a 2XL bordering on 3XL; many of my button-down shirts were no longer buttoning all the way. Now I’m back to a Size Large for the first time since High School, and it’s been surreal to reincorporate clothes I haven’t worn in close to a decade back into my wardrobe. Meanwhile, there are a ton of clothes I feel sentimental about that I need to stop wearing because they’re too baggy/ill-fitting at this point. It’s a good problem to have, at least. The stress of clothes will never leave me, though.
So What Now?
Maintaining has always been my biggest issue, and I will work hard to keep myself near this level. Currently, I’m in the process of moving, where I won’t be going to my same gym every day, and I’m going to have to build a new routine, which makes me a bit anxious that things will fall apart. Part of writing this blog is putting the onus on myself to continue pushing on. I’ve let my guard down and fallen into bad habits, and I don’t want to do that again. At the same time, I think I will give myself some recovery days from the gym going forward and be a bit easier on myself, all while still grinding and trying to be the healthiest.
(Sidenote: Here is the wildest comment someone made on my Podcast YouTube Channel when they noticed I was losing weight over the last year.)
I’ll be honest, the year I had was tough. I got tested mentally, emotionally, and financially. So many days, I wanted to quit writing, I wanted to stop going to the gym, and I just didn’t want to face the world. Hard work pays off. I recently started working in a dream job, and I’m visibly seeing the differences in my body and life from what I’ve done in the gym and the relationships I’ve formed. Self-love is vital. I don’t want anyone to read this blog and think I couldn’t see any of the good parts of me when I weighed 340 lbs — it was just harder some days. Thank you to my friends who always saw the good in me. Every day is a struggle; I’m just trying to push through and do something where I can look back and be proud.