When I first started my “200 pound lost” journey in 2008, I hated it.

I do not like change. Eating smaller portions was not as good as eating a huge amount. Celery was not as tasty as pizza. Water is not as exciting as a Diet Dr. Pepper.

I was determined though. At 400 pounds, I had to do something. Because I had high blood pressure, I could not chance it with taking diet pills. Plus, I have done this diet thing for a long time. I knew that diet pills do not work. All lifelong dieters wish they did. We will always be fooled by the root in a third world country that is revolutionary and will miraculously help us lose weight.

The first day I ate well, and the second day. Yet, when I looked in the mirror, I looked the same. My pants were still big. I still could not tie my shoes. Life was still rough.

After the first week, I went to weigh in at Weight Watchers. They do this crazy thing where you get on a scale, and the WW employee will tell you how much you lost. You never see it, they tell you. I lost 9.6 pounds. She then said “It is probably water weight”. I thought, “Thanks for making me feel like an idiot.”

But she did not need to tell me, I did not feel much different than 420 pounds. I made better choices. I was not eating myself into a coma. I was writing down everything that went into my body. My wife cheered me on, but in all honesty, spouses have to do that. The best compliment are those from people who do not like you.

I kept it up. I kept eating right. The scale was going the right way, but I wanted some results. A sign that all of this was worth it. It was so condescending when you are 400 pounds, and everyone around you tells you”Eat to Live” and “‘You can do it”.

In the third week, after losing around 26 pounds or so, I got in my car. Just on a whim, I tried to put on my seat belt. I have not worn my seat belt for a long time. I couldn’t. It scared me because if I got in a wreck, what would happen?

This time was different. When I tried this time, I heard a click. I could not look to see if it was clicked in because I was still quite large. I unclicked the seatbelt, and tried again. I heard a click.

I cried. Not like a dramatic tear burst, but small tears. Three weeks of work and dedication were worth it. Where I felt so far gone a month ago, I saw hope. Writing down my stupid meals and going to meetings where I was the largest and only male there felt right.

I do not know where you are in this journey. 400 pounds, 600 pounds, 175 pounds? I do not know what diet you are on, nor do I know what type of workouts you are doing.

Just know you are not that far off from your goals. Small decisions can mean a lot. The scale is great, but putting on a seat belt means a lot to me. Getting in a booth. Tying my shoes. Getting a hug where both arms go around me.

Today is my 21st anniversary of my first diet. February 5th, 1990. I lost 50 pounds in three months. No Internet, no Twitter, no Muscle Confusion.

21 years later, so much has changed, but one thing stays the same.

If you want it, you can do it.

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