Believe it or not, this is the rarest picture I have of myself. When you are over 400 pounds, you do not want people taking pictures of you. You always feel like you are in a bubble, like everyone is staring at you because of your size. And most of the time, you are right. Well, this picture was a blessing and a curse, because I do not have many heavy pictures of myself, yet it was taken to embarrass me…
So let me explain the background of this picture. As I has written before, I am a Chef at heart. I have been a Chef for a Italian restaurant for the last six years of my life. About four months ago, I got promoted to the General Manager of the first store I worked at in Orlando. Now, by looking at this picture, you can see I am not dressed like a chef. Well, although people love a fat chef, getting 5x clothes is a little different. From the company we order uniforms from, it took over a month to get that size in. Not only that, but the chef pants I would get would only last about 3 weeks before i would rip them. So, I realized it was easier to just go to my favorite “Casual Male” store and purchase some nice clothes. Also, you can see I had some hair on my head. Well, i would only get a haircut once a month because i could not shave my head myself like I can now, and going to Super Cuts and not fitting in the chair was something I could only ordeal 4 times a year.
Being that size, I sat in the office for most of the day. Sure I would come out and taste the food and when it was busy, but for the most part I would hibernate in my little “oasis” where I would make sure all of the numbers were in line, and sit with my Sous Chef to develop them.
Believe it or not, I was really good at my job. In fact, I was the best chef in the region. I would have to do reports for my Divisional Culinary Supervisor all the time. I would help out other stores, and I was a great contact for the other chefs. I was doing very well!
But my General manager and District Manager at the time considered me lazy. Unfortunately, most people over 400 pounds are considered lazy. Sure, I got results, but I was always in the office. And why was I always in the office? Well, my back hurt all the time. I would sweat a lot, so I did not want people to see me out of breath. It was a tough life at work.
This picture is a rare one because it was taken by my former boss. He took it with his phone because he has never seen me come out of the office to clean (See there is a can of stainless polish next to my hand and a green scrubbie).He sent it to as many people as he could to prove that i do get out of the office. Wow, a chuckle at my expense, how rare! It did take me a while to get up after that because lifting that much weight to get up was rough, and I think I cleaned for about 38 seconds, but long enough to get a embarrassing picture.
When I was over 400 pounds, I had no work confidence. I never stood up for myself. I just went with the flow. My wife always told me to stand up for myself, but I guess I was lucky to be in the position that I was in. When I would ask for a promotion, I would get a laugh. I got turned down for three promotions, even though I was the most qualified. My numbers backed me up. Respect was very hard to get. I was known as the big chef who ate a lot. Like a circus clown, I was the funny one.
Things have really changed. Now, as a General Manager, I really feel that even in a tough economy and even tougher restaurant market, the sky is the limit for me. I get respect not only from my employees and peers, but from my bosses as well, and I have plenty of them.People look at me in awe. Listen, 183 pounds is a lot to lose. I still have more to go, which will come off. By the end of the year, I will be 200 pounds down. So few achieve that. Plus, I do work around delicious food all day. It does not even tempt me anymore!
I still think they are shocked at how diligent I am with my eating habits now.The people who would not promote me before are shaking my hand, and now praising me. They always ask me how did I lose all the weight. And I tell them the same thing every time:
” I guess sitting in the office game me plenty of time to think of a diet!”