Life is funny. Sometimes you think you want one thing when you actually do not want it at all. Sometimes you think you know all the answers when you do not even know what the questions are.
Well, that is me. That is my life.
I lived a life of obesity. Childhood obesity, teenage obesity and overweight obesity. I have lost and gained weight my whole life. When my wife met me, I just lost 85 pounds. She had no idea that I was a food addict. I was not morbidly obese. She had no idea that I would go out to eat with her and eat more. She also had no idea I would get to over 400 pounds.
But it all changed in 2008 when I decided to make more of a life change than a diet. What started out as portion control quickly turned into a different way of life. A more active and a less processed food lifestyle.
So when I lost 221 pounds I did feel like I could do anything. More than that, I felt like the world owed me something. I was someone who felt like a failure, yet I did something so great in my mind people needed to know. I wanted to get my story out.
I felt that once people knew about my weight loss than my life would change. I would be able to get sponsored or get a job with some sort of health company. Maybe even do a reality weight loss show……something. Anything but restaurants. At the time I was a managing partner of a restaurant that I hated. Funny thing is I wanted to be a managing partner so bad. I hated being a chef. I finally got my opportunity. The grass is always greener on the other side.
So I worked on getting my story out. Weight Watchers did not want anything to do with me and I do not blame them. Besides for the meetings, nothing about my diet or exercise was Weight Watchers. Plus, I truly believed that for every success story with them, there are 50 people who quit and blame themselves. I also lost 221 pounds in 52 weeks. They will only promote people who lose 1-2 pounds a week. Legal reasons is what I was told.
Prevention magazine would not tell my story either. You have to maintain your weight loss for six months before they would put your weight loss story in. People did not respond to me, local TV shows did not want to talk about my weight loss because I did not have a “P90X” hook and my blog was getting more angry than motivational.
Looking back, I realize that most people who have lost weight are like that. Putting on smaller pants and shirts does something to you. I got angry that my life was not different. I did not want to wash dishes and get yelled at by guests who wanted well done steaks but still tender. I wanted more. In my mind, I deserved more.
When my son got a little older I did not care as much about getting my story out. I cared more about life. It sounds corny but it is true. I made a good living and I was able to do things in life. I did not have fear of booths or seat belts or toilets anymore. My writing got better but it got different. I hate reading blogs where people tell you how to lose weight. I hate reading blogs about people who want to sell products they do not use. I have dealt with that my whole life. I wanted to write blog posts that I loved. That I was proud of.
In 2010 I got a weird Facebook message. Usually I get messages about being added to Farmville or winning a free iPad but this one was not that. It was from a producer for the Dr. Oz show who wanted to find out more about my weight loss story for some “100 show” anniversary.
I gave her my number and she called me (or did I call her? Not sure now). I have learned how to tell my story at this point. I told her about my struggles and how I changed for my family. How I could not go on an airplane and how I only ran on the treadmill for 48 seconds the first time. She was floored. Most people who hear an extreme weight loss story are floored. She was looking for one major story for the show because the other people were booked. She loved my story and we talked about flying to New York and taking time off work. We talked about my wife and son coming up as well. Before we got off the phone she asked me one question…..
“Do you know any other weight loss stories as well?”
I think there are millions of moments in your life that define you. I moved to Buffalo because my wife wanted to. I could have stayed in Charlotte. I took off time to take care of my wife before our son which ultimately led me to leave the company I was with. I went to the president of my company years ago because my boss was stealing and it cost me a promotion because I went over other bosses who did not care about the situation.
I do not believe in “Once in a lifetime” opportunities. I do not believe in luck. I do not believe in people doing things for you. I believe in hard work. I believe in honesty.
My wife and I were watching the Dr. Oz show in bed that I was not chosen for. I was pointing out some people who I knew from blogging and she was asking some questions about them. She does not read weight loss blogs.
We saw Dr. Oz and Richard Simmons and then we saw Merrill. My wife looked at me and said “Why on Earth would you tell them about her? Of course they would pick her! Who wouldn’t!”
I laughed. I guess maybe there was a little disappointment but I knew. Merrill would inspire more people. I am not a weight loss story. I am a little more now. With my struggles and my crazy workouts I have more people reading my blog now. I have more people on my social media outlets. Maybe I have gotten better at telling my view of weight loss? Maybe I have gotten to a point where I can do more than restaurants?
At the end of the show Merrill was dancing with Richard Simmons. My wife looked at me and said that could have been me. I would have danced with Richard Simmons………..
When I got married in 2004 I was around 400 pounds. I had to special order my tux and I sweat through the whole ceremony.
I had to sit down through most of the reception. When it was our time to have the first dance, I was more concerned about sitting down. My back hurt, I was wet from sweat and all I cared about was not dancing.
I do not need to dance with Richard Simmons.
I owe my wife one dance.