I do not miss a thing.
It has been over five years now since I was 400 plus pounds. After spending a lifetime being morbidly obese, I decided to make a change in 2008. What started out as a diet I have done numerous times because more life changes and a different thought process. People ask me how did I lose weight, and the answer is not that simple. I could say a structured plan like Weight Watchers or a structured workout like free weights.
The truth is I have an incredible memory. I remember every single moment of being over 400 pounds. All the times I promised myself I would eat better tomorrow. All of the times I swore that I would change. The times I would eat 6000 calories worth of fat-free food and think I was making a difference in my health and all the times I made empty promises.
I will never be morbidly obese again. I will struggle, and my weight will fluctuate. I will have good and bad streaks, and I will never feel more powerful than food. I will always be active, but I will also understand that my relationship with food is like no other. I am okay with that and the moment I feel like I am smarter and better than food I will be over 400 pounds again. Arrogance has a lot to do with obesity.
I do want to share nine things I remember about being morbidly obese. These are things I think about every single day and also things that drive me to fight hard in being healthy.
Going to the bathroom- I can remember the day I could not wipe myself while sitting down. I thought it was weird that my arm could not reach. So I did it standing up. Then I remember the day I could not wipe standing up. See, I could not use urinals because I could not hold my pants or grab myself. I had to use a handicap stall to hold onto the rail and for more room. And when I went I prayed I did not have to wipe myself.
If I did, there were times I could maneuver my leg up and twist myself to get a slight wipe. I did have to wet a piece of toilet paper to do it. I only felt comfortable going to the bathroom at home. In fact, I only used public restrooms if it was an emergency. At home if I needed to I could wipe myself by rocking back and forth on the bed until I was able to reach. I truly hated going to the bathroom, and I never told anyone about how I did it until I lost the weight.
Getting dressed- I could not put a belt on while wearing my pants. I had to do it before. I could not put socks on as well unless I were either on my bed or a soft sofa. It took me 20 extra minutes to get dressed. It felt like a workout to put on my clothes. I could not tie my shoes either. I wore shoes that did not have laces or just left them untied. In fact, I do not tie my shoes today just for the reminder.
Sweating- I sweat a lot. I would sweat for no reason at all. I would sit in a 69-degree room and sweat. I hated the feeling of being warm all the time.
Breathing- If you were three feet from me you could hear me breathe. I would make this “Huuuuuu-hhhhhhhh” sound and people would always ask me if I was okay.
Buying clothes- I shopped at one store. It was The Casual Male XL. I would buy George Foreman clothes until they switched over to Harbor Bay. The clothes were very expensive, but I had no other choice. I would spend hundreds of dollars on clothes and accessories that I spend so much less on today.
Consuming enormous amounts of food- You do not get to be over 400 pounds by having a second piece of cake or a processed food item. I got there by consuming a crazy amount of food. I used to say I would eat close to 10,000 a day, but it was more. I would spend over $30 at any fast food restaurant I would go to. I remember getting a bag of food and feeling sad because the food would not last. I would eat and eat and eat. I never got full. I would get numb. Food numbed me.
Sex- I did not have sex at 400 pounds. It was the last thing on my mind. I cared more about eating and other things. Plus, I was self-conscious about the way I smelled, because showers were rare.
Showers- I hated taking showers. I would not be able to wash every part and could barely dry myself.
Being the largest person in the room- You know those stats about how obese America is? Well, I cannot remember a time when someone was bigger than me in a room. When I first joined Weight Watchers I was probably 150 pounds bigger than anyone else in the room. I felt like the obesity epidemic.
I remember those every single day. I remember what it was like for my wife to worry about me and to feel like everyone was laughing around me. They probably were not, but it always felt that way. I remember seeing an “ERR” on the scale and cried when I finally saw three numbers. I remember when I got a salad after losing 20 pounds, and the cashier rolled her eyes. I remember losing 50 pounds and being able to hear the click of the seatbelt. I remember losing 80 pounds and being able to wipe myself. I remember losing 100 pounds and being able to get size 54 pants at a “normal” store in the Big and Tall section. I remember losing 130 pounds and being under 300 pounds for the first time in a long time. I remember losing over 200 pounds and knowing I will struggle but never get back to 420 pounds.
People ask me my goal weight, and it is never to get to be over 400 pounds. I will fluctuate, and I will have my good and bad days. Many extreme weight loss cases do. I have much more to lose now. I have two kids.
So when people ask me what is the secret to weight loss, I like make others say there is no secret.
I just remember what it was like to be over 400 pounds, and I swear I will never be there again.