Weighty Matters

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la tavola 1-15

That picture above is me (on the right), cruising in at somewhere in the 330+ pound range … could have been 340 or more, I sort of stopped weighing myself once I saw 330. Now, I’m 6’5″ so I can carry more weight than the average person, but there is a limit to that stupidity.

I did manage to get my weight well under control to where I’m currently in the (average) 240 pound range. Maybe one day I’m 238, a few days later 242, but generally I stick around 240. And I’m comfortable with that and no longer appear to be wearing clothing designed by Omar the Tent Maker. Here’s a recent, weight under control, pic:

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This whole mess started about 15 years ago or so. I was always a proportionately thin person, actually skinny as a teenager (but then, weren’t we all!!), but once I got to my late ’40’s/early ’50’s all of a sudden everything kind of blew up on me. Those candy bars and cupcakes and bread and soda and, well, anything that was really tasty, went straight to my rapidly expanding gut. And once the waistline was good and messed up, the excess went to my rear and my legs … I looked like a beached whale with white hair!

pasta

Even though I was getting fat (yes, actually fat, not just big-boned or any other nonsense), I just kept on plugging away at it. Eating a full pound of pasta for dinner was not out of the ordinary. Snacking on two buttered rolls for breakfast was commonplace, as was having a nice loaf of warm Italian bread to accompany my pound of pasta. Of course, I was always proud that I didn’t eat fast food, “That stuff isn’t good for you”, I’d tell anyone in earshot … yeah, like a pound of pasta, a stick of butter and an entire loaf of bread is any better. Of course, like every well-meaning fat person, I always had a diet soda … can’t let that sugar creep up on you!

So 330+, here I come. I’d watch the scale creep up from 250 (actually a decent weight for me) to 270 to 290-something … I hovered around that 290 mark for quite a while. At 290 +/- a few pounds I was a BIG guy, but not necessarily someone people would call fat. “Oh, he’s just a big guy, I mean, look at him”, was a common refrain. And that was cool until I went past the 300 mark …

300

At 300 pounds, I became fat! And trust me, it took almost no time to get up into the 330+ range. As I said earlier, I stopped checking after 330, but I can be pretty confident that 340 was accomplished and possibly even close to 350. Here’s how that all happened:

My late wife, Bunny, was fighting yet another in a series of bouts with cancer. Due to her health she wasn’t really cooking with any regularity, so we started bringing in dinner. Of course, I never ate fast food (because, yeah, I was such a health freak!!) so dinners were from Italian take out places, or Chinese, or burgers from 5 Guys Burgers and Fries. And since Bunny didn’t feel that great, I, of course, finished her dinner for her. (Hey, no sense letting it go to waste, right?) (Right?) ( uhh … right?) (No?)

The weight piled on me, effortlessly. What actually made me start to think about what I was doing to myself was when Bunny started to spiral downward the last two years before she died. I realized that a fat person would NEVER be able to help her out with the many tasks a terminally ill patient needs performed, so I had to get my weight under control. One of Bunny’s counselors was a naturalist and, speaking with him about my weight, he told me to restrict my caloric intake to a maximum of 2400 calories per day. He said if I never exceeded 2400 calories per day that someday I would be 250 pounds (my own self-perceived “ideal weight”) … it might be the most unhealthy 250 pounds in the world if I didn’t couple the intake restrictions with exercise and sensible food choices, but I would be 250 pounds.
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I found this on-line calorie counter app called “fatsecret” and began, honestly and without fudging at all, keeping track of everything I ate. I quickly realized that 2 buttered rolls from WaWa (a northeast convenience store) were 980 calories! 980! I could have a dozen hard boiled eggs for that same 980 calories! Or 10 bananas! Or 6 hard boiled eggs and 5 bananas!

Clearly, I needed to re-think my dietary intake. Turned out that 2400 calories was more than sufficient, I just needed to be eating the right kind of stuff! Slowly, starting in July of 2015, I began to lose weight, just by paying simple attention to how many calories I was jamming down my throat. Sure, there were some days where I ate poorly, but the next day I got right back to the program. By the time I got to the end of 2015 (roughly 6 months had passed) I was back below 300 pounds. Bunny finally succumbed to her cancer and died in May of 2016 … at that time I was 270 pounds, minimally 70 pounds lighter than where I was at my peak.

I continued the program after her passing, just because it was a routine by now, and continued to lose weight. By the end of summer 2016, I was 235 pounds, 110 pounds (at least) lighter than I was when I started the calorie counting.

Now, after meeting Sheila, relocating to Georgia and getting married, I am maintaining my weight in the 240 pound range. I no longer rely on the “fatsecret” app for assistance, since using it originally taught me what to look for and what to avoid. It’s a bit easier now than it was in the past, because I’m much more active (living in a kinda big house with a reasonable amount of property keeps you moving!), pay much better attention to my diet (I’m learning to cook, making better meals and controlling quantities) and also because I’m retired (reducing the stressors that cause over-eating issues for me). Plus, Sheila is in pretty darn good shape, so I have to hold up my end of the deal, too!

I know that there a ton of different diets out there, as well as a ton of different methods one can use to lose weight, but for me just simply paying attention to the number of calories consumed each day (along with some good old common sense about balancing the intake of fats, protein, carbs, fiber, etc) has worked wonders. To the many people who have asked me “How did you lose all of that weight?”, here you are … and if I can do it, anyone can!

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1 comments on “Weighty Matters”

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