• Second Weekly Weigh In

    I weighed myself this morning and am down 10 lbs exactly from last Monday.  That means my total weight loss since Sept 4th is around 15 lbs or so.  My weight today is officially 389.4 down from 399.4 last Monday morning.  I know that my loss will definitely not keep up at this pace but I am really grateful that I am getting some good traction right away, I think it’s definitely helping my enthusiasm.  I have been working really hard at doing what I need to do to make my environment as supportive and conducive to weight loss as I can.  This really translates into lots of cooking, cleaning dishes and food shopping to ensure that I have the foods I need to eat when I need to eat them and that I am not putting myself in the situation where I am standing in front of the fridge at dinner time wondering what in the world I am going to eat or waiting until I am starving to go to the grocery store and get the right kinds of food.  I do admit that I tend to feel sorry myself when I am confronted by having to chop up a ton of veggies or clean a sink full of dirty dishes and pots for the third time over the weekend but when it’s time to go to work Monday morning I am happy to have all of my meal components packaged and ready to go so I can easily load my cooler and walk out the door.

    I haven’t really been doing anything to get active this past week either.  I am not focused on that right now, I am trying to adapt to my new lifestyle one step at a time and right now it’s all about planning and preparing my meals.  Even though I do get a little upset that I have to work so hard I have been having a thought this week that has been amusing me and giving me some inspiration to not mess up my food plan.  “The most productive thing I can do to lose weight, I can do sitting down.  Eating right does require any physical exertion at all, I don’t even have to break a sweat”.  I know some people might think this is a cop out after all everyone knows that losing weight is all about diet and exercise but one thing I know for sure is true.  I can eat well and compensate for poor exercise habits and still lose weight but it’s almost impossible to exercise enough to overcome very poor eating habits.  I do think exercise adds a lot to a weight loss regimen and I definitely plan on adding exercise to mine but it’s not the most important thing.  Watching what I eat and more importantly making sure that I don’t overeat or binge is the most important thing I can do in my weight loss efforts today.

  • Self Talk – Positive vs Negative

    love yourself enoughA few weeks ago I started to see a nutritionist as part of my plan to lose weight and get healthy.  This particular nutritionist was recommended by my therapist.  In the past I have been to see nutritionists but have never really found them to be very helpful.  One reason is because I find that a pure nutritionist has very little experience with Binge eating or compulsive overeating they tend to focus on things like fullness and satiety which are almost completely irrelevant when it comes to emotional eating.  In this video of Louis C.K. he talks about a similar experience when his doctor talks to him about eating and the doctor asks him how long after he starts eating does he feel full and the meal is over to which he replies “The Meal is over when I hate myself“.  I really relate to that comment it is very sad but very true.  Anyway the nutritionist that I have begun seeing is different then the ones I have seen before, her undergraduate degree is in nutrition but she has a graduate degree in clinical counseling which really gives her an excellent approach when it comes to dealing with binge eaters and emotional eaters in general.  During my first session she got me thinking about my self talk and what kinds of things I tell myself.  Now this is something that I have heard other people talk about in many different contexts from recovery to therapy to eating etc.  But somehow I have remained completely oblivious to my own internal dialogue until the nutritionist said something that really got me thinking.  She said think about the adults when you were growing up, we develop our internal dialogue by listening and imitating the people who had the most influence over us.  Primarily our parents.  So she said were the adults in your life positive, encouraging and supportive or did they tend to be more negative and criticizing?  Of course I knew that I was definitely raised in a very criticizing way.  I think that the word that was most often used was LAZY, in my mind LAZY is about the worst thing you can call someone and probably the word I heard most often as a child from the adults in my life.  Even now that we are all much older my siblings still have a tendency to describe young people in my family as lazy which really makes me crazy because as an adult now I can see that children are supposed to lazy, they are supposed to be selfish that is all age appropriate development.  There is nothing “wrong” with a child who exhibits that behavior it’s clearly just  normal part of being an adolescent.  I am not saying that children shouldn’t be given responsibilities or that they shouldn’t be expected to contribute to household chores just that I don’t think they should be told that there is something wrong with them for feeling lazy since it’s really normal.  So after my session with the nutritionist I was thinking about this idea of negative self-talk and even though I “knew” that I have a negative internal dialogue I still haven’t been really able to identify specific thoughts.  Then something interesting happened.

    Think positive, do not negativeLast week I had the random chance to work out with a personal trainer that I have known for a while.  He made the offer to train me for free to assess my fitness and make some suggestions for me on exercises I could begin doing at home to improve my range of motion and fitness.  The workout was not easy to say the least and he really pushed me in ways that were extremely uncomfortable but throughout the workout whether I was able to do what he requested or whether I had to stop to catch my breath the words that came out of the trainers mouth were always positive and encouraging.  As a result I think that I had a greater desire to push myself because I wanted to experience more and more praise.  It was clearly and example of positive reinforcement in a way that I had never ever experienced before.  Just a few days later I had another chance to workout.  This time it was with one of my older brothers who is very physically fit and a huge believer in Kettle Bells as staple of physical fitness.  My brother has been touting the benefits of Kettle Bells to me for a few years and he himself has gotten great results using them a couple times a week.  His enthusiasm for these primitive fitness appliance is really quite infectious.  They are cheap, small and easy to use.  You can get a complete workout both cardio and strength training in about 30 minutes using kettle bells. I have always wanted to learn more about them and since my brother was coming to stay with me I thought it would be a good opportunity to go through a work out together and see for myself how to use them.  The workout was to last 34 minutes all together and it was a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) routine that had been given to him by a trainer a few years ago but that he still does today.  During the workout you push hard for a minute and then rest for 45 seconds and after the first 10 minute set you rest for 2 minutes and repeat then between sets 2 & 3 you rest for 3 minutes.  It really taxes your strength and cardio simultaneously.  As we proceeded to go through the workout the only adjust he made for me was to use a significantly lighter Kettle Bell, he was using a 25 lb. bell and I was using a 15 lb. bell.  The workout was extremely strenuous and I obviously could not keep up after all I weigh over 400 lbs. and have been sedentary for 2+ years and he does this workout twice a week for the past 4 years.  What was interesting to me though was how he reacted to my inability to perform.  He could barely contain his disappointment when I would put my bell down before completing the reps of a particular exercise.  He said things about having to push myself and how I need to be willing to experience pain and not run from it and how running from pain is what has caused me to be obese and now I have to start to embrace pain etc etc.  I found the experience to be less than motivating in many ways it was almost completely demotivating.  What really caught me off guard though was the next evening when we were having dinner he made a comment about how I have to be willing to push myself which really means you aren’t willing to push yourself.  I have been through enough therapy that I am able to step back from my brothers comments and realize that a) he has only good intentions, he loves me and cares about me and only wants what’s good for me and 2) what he says is more of a reflection of him then of me.  What really opened my eyes though was knowing how supportive the trainer had been and imagining in my head the kinds of positive things he would have been saying.  Like good for me, getting off the couch and swinging kettle bells on a hot humid day, that’s a huge positive step I am taking for myself.  Look how hard your sweating, doesn’t that feel great.  The sweat is your evidence that you love yourself!

    Having the chance to see both models of internal dialogue I am convinced more than ever about how important it is to be loving gentle and supportive with myself.  There is no benefit to being harsh and negative and telling myself things like “you’ll never do this” or “Losing weight is too hard for you” or “you are fat and lazy”.  These are some of the things that I have caught myself saying in the past.  I am trying to be consciously aware every day of what I am saying to myself because today I know that I can’t wait until I lose weight to start loving myself, the more I love myself the easier it will be to lose weight.

  • First Taste of Success

    Gold MedalYesterday morning I stepped on the scale for the first time in a few weeks and the number was 399.4 lbs which I think indicates a weight loss of somewhere between 5 and 10 lbs in the past week or so.  Whats more important to me then the exact amount of weight lost is the fact that the scale moved in the right direction and also that it is below 400 lbs which is just a huge mental milestone.  When you weigh more then 400 lbs you know you are morbidly obese at 399 you can kind of fool yourself into thinking you are not that bad.  I was not surprised by the good news on the scale I have been having a string of good days since September 4th.  I had 5 days of being on my food plan as well as 3 days of physical activity behind me when I got on the scale.  My hope was that I would begin to lose weight so that my work clothes would fit me a little better and I would not have such a hard time getting myself back to work after my two week vacation.

    While the number on the scale felt really good I was disappointed when I began to get dressed.  My work pants which I haven’t worn in close to 3 weeks were nearly impossible to button.  They were extremely tight last time I wore them and since then I have washed them and also the first 2 1/5 weeks since I wore them I was binge-ing, so it made sense that they would be hard to get on.  I was able to get them on though and I had to think to myself that had I not had 5 good days, I would probably not have been able to wear them and then I don’t know what I would have done to go back to work.

    Moving in the Right Direction

    Although things are going in a very positive direction for me yesterday was probably one of the most physically uncomfortable days I have ever had in my life.  My pants were ridiculously tight, putting on my work shoes was a chore.  My legs, feet and ankles were all sore and throbbing because of walking 3 miles on Sunday morning.  When I went into my bosses office for a couple of meetings the chair of death was so hard for me to sit in and while sitting on the edge my legs fell asleep and I almost fell getting up.  Instead of letting these things lead me into the state of mind where I get angry at myself and punish myself with more food for being such a failure.  I think that I did a good job of taking things in stride and realizing that it took a long time to get myself to 400 lbs and it’s going to take a long time to come back.  The good news is that I was able to get my work clothes on so going forward this will just get easier and easier.  The same with the chair, I was able to sit in it yesterday and next time I am in there it will be a little tiny bit less snug.  I was thinking of what people in the program say “I never have to feel that poorly again”.  For me I know that I never have to weigh 399.4 lbs ever again and that was plenty of motivation for me to stay on my food plan for another day.

  • Septemeber 4th, 2013 – The Day I Felt Things Shift

    On the morning of September 4th, 2013 I awoke feeling like I had been beat with a baseball bat during the night.  I had binged heavily on greasy meat and dairy fast food the night before and whenever I ate meat and dairy my joints always felt inflamed and ached for a few days but especially bad the following morning.  My stomach was still bloated and I awoke feeling overstuffed like a normal person would after indulging on too much Turkey on Thanksgiving.  Unfortunately,  feeling like this was not something that was new too me.  Its a feeling I have known my entire life but during the summer of 2013 it had become much more severe and much more frequent as well.  I had a text message from my older brother when I awoke.  We often talked on the phone in the morning for the past year or so.  We have both gone through a lot of emotional turmoil and have become exceptionally close and have leaned on each other.  Even though we are both doing a lot better emotionally and not suffering from nearly as much anxiety we still talk quite often.  I have often told him about my overeating trying to compare it to alcoholic drinking which I knew he would understand since he is like me in that respect but I don’t ever think he has been able to wrap his mind around it or more likely I have never really been completely honest with him.  When I tell him that I overate I never include the specifics since he is a vegan and I strive to be vegan.  I am always too ashamed to really detail out what exactly what and how much I ate when I say I binged.  This morning was no different.  I spoke in generalities about not having a good food night and spoke with him about my therapy session with my daughter which I discussed in my last blog post.  This morning he was a little more aggressive then usual.  Giving me the same advice he usually does about how I need to put myself first and how I have been doing everything for everyone else at the expense of my own health and well being and how now I need to make myself and specifically my health a priority.  Prior to going on vacation a week prior I had made the mistake of telling him that when I was back from vacation I was going to join a gym and start taking care of myself.  So he reminded me of that and actually told me that he was going to call me later in the day and I had to have taken some action towards getting back to the gym and report back to him.

    Since I had missed the 7:00 meeting I looked through my meeting list and saw that there was a meeting at noon at a nearby retirement home.  I had never been to a meeting there but I knew that some of the locals went and so I was likely to run into someone I knew from the morning meeting.  I arrived at 10 before noon and made my way to the meeting room.  There were about 10 people there, none of whom I had ever seen before.  That’s actually not true I did know one guy but was not a huge fan of his.  I found a seat alone at a table with no one else sitting by it and took my seat.  As luck would have it the seat was a little too small for my body and so my ass and hips were packed in very uncomfortably as I waited for the meeting to begin.  A few more people trickled in and noon came and went without the meeting starting.  I was hot, still full from my binge, uncomfortable and impatient when I realized that the meeting was actually a 12:15 meeting and not a noon meeting.  This was just the icing on the cake, excuse the pun.  By the time the meeting began the room had become quite full and there were several folks I recognized from other meetings but I was still in a shit mood.  Since there were a few new comers they decided to focus the topic of discussion on the first step.  Since the first step is all about admitting we are powerless I figured that I could apply it to my food.  As the meeting wore on my mood worsened.  I was thinking about my brother and getting more and more pissed off at what he had said.  I decided that I was not going to cave to his pressure and that I was going to push back on him and explain that until I got my eating under control, going to the gym was clearly putting the cart before the horse.  At 12:30 I was livid.  I was sweating because the room was heating up.  The sharing so far was completely uninspiring and I was physically and emotionally uncomfortable.  I started to think about binge-ing again.  Close to the nursing home is a brand new Fried Chicken restaurant that recently opened called Chicken Addiction of all things.  I have binged there several times this summer.  My mind was wandering with thoughts about my order and how much I would order and since it was so early in the day perhaps I could binge twice this day.  I was at the point when I wanted to actually get up and leave the meeting to go and satisfy my craving when I realized that I was basically trapped.  There were so many people in the room that there was no effective way for me to leave the room without causing a bit of a scene and making several people move their chairs to make room for me to pass.  I was an expert at scoping rooms to determine these kinds of obstacles and I knew that I was clearly trapped for the rest of the meeting.  Luckily I noticed an extremely attractive young woman across the room who I was able to stare at to kill some of the remaining time.

    It was about 1:00 and an old timer at the table next to me began to speak.  He had celebrated 30 years of sobriety earlier in the week and so I knew that I ought to pay attention to what he was saying.  One thing he said really jumped out at me.  He said that in the beginning he didn’t do very many things correctly.  He said he didn’t follow his sponsors instructions, didn’t make phone calls, never arrived early or stayed late at meetings.  He said he did do 2 very key things that he thinks is what kept him sober, he didn’t drink and he went to meetings.  When he said the words, I didn’t drink he actually paused and said “I really really wanted to though”.  It was one of those moments for me, my obsession was immediately lifted and my craving went completely away.  I realized an extremely important thing at that moment.  I had been praying and asking God to relieve me of my obsession with food but I wasn’t willing to not eat.  In reality the way it works is that I have to refrain from eating first then God can remove the obsession.  I had really been trying to put the cart before the horse.  I didn’t have a spiritual experience with white lights and heavenly breezes but I was instantly relieve of the physical and emotional discomfort that I had been in for the previous hour.  The last 10 or 15 minutes of the meeting flew by and when it was over I mingled about a bit, waiting or there to be enough room for me to walk out and also just wanting to make some small talk with some of the old timers.  When I made my way to the elevator I ran into a woman I knew from another meeting.  We had never before said two words to each other but here we were together in the elevator and we struck up a conversation.  In the parking lot we continued talking for about 5 minutes when a guy who I knew from the morning meeting came jogging out of the building, not a guy I was very close with but someone who I have said a polite hello to a few times.  He ran up to us and asked if I could give him a ride to his next appointment which was close by but he was afraid if he walked he would have gotten there late.  I drove him to a nondescript warehouse looking building where he said he had his personal training business.  He asked if I would like to go inside and take a look around since we were a few minutes early.  So a minute later there I am in a gym I have never seen before talking to a personal trainer from the program who had randomly asked me for a ride.  I just looked up at the sky and said “really?”.  I asked my new friend what he recommended for someone just starting on the path to health and wellness and he suggested that I make an appointment to come in for a free training session where he would stretch my body and determine where I was physically and recommend some exercises I could begin at home.  So I walked out with a plan to return to the gym the next day.

    For the rest of the day I was on a bit of a pink cloud.  Although non of the coincidences that I experienced taken by themselves are anything amazing for me the combination of events that transpired really left me with a feeling that my higher power was looking out for me personally and doing his best to orchestrate events to get me to have the light bulb go off.  There is an old story about a person in a house which is flooding waiting for God to rescue them.  First there is a knock on the door and it is the firemen on their truck advising him to leave the house with them, he replies don’t worry God is going to save me.  A while later the water is up to the windows and the rescuers return in a row boat again begging the man to jump into the boat, again he sends them away confident that the lord will save have.  The water is now up to the roof and the rescuers come back in a helicopter, yelling to the man to grab onto the skid and they will carry him to safety, again he says no, he is waiting for God to save him.  The man dies and goes to heaven where he meets God and screams at him.  I trusted you to save me with all of my faith and you just let me die in the flood! To which God simply replied, first I sent the firetruck, then I sent the boat, then I sent the helicopter, what else could I have done.  That was how I felt on Wednesday afternoon like I was the man standing on the roof and the helicopter was there and I finally decided to grab on.

    The last thing that I found really significant and serendipitous about Wednesday September 4th is that as an addict I am forever telling myself that I am going to stop my addiction on the next special date or occasion.  Its like the old I’ll start on Monday theory of weight loss, or New Years Day or After the Big Party or when the Holidays or done etc etc.  I just always want a significant day to mark my major transformation.  Wednesday September 4th, 2013 did not  immediately jump out at me as a very significant date until I remembered that it was the day my daughter started High School and given her struggles for the past year and the events of September 3rd I realized that it was an incredibly significant and meaningful day to begin my recovery from food addiction.

  • September 3rd, 2013 – My last binge

    Never Goin' Back
    Never Goin’ Back

    On Tuesday September 3, 2013 I had what I hope and pray is my final episode of binge eating.  I know that if I continue to work the program on a daily basis I never have to go back to that way of living or rather that way of dying ever again.  It started out as a great day, I had just got back from vacation, was feeling positive and I was beginning to feel like things were starting to get back on track.  I spent the day with my daughter doing the final preparations for her to begin High School the next day.  Overall it was a fairly enjoyable day and I had planned all my meals and even had prepared a recipe in the slow cooker that I was planning on having for dinner.  In the late afternoon my daughter had a therapy appointment and I drove her there and sat in the waiting room like I usually do.  After only about 15 minutes the therapist asked me to join the conversation.  What we discussed made me feel extremely uncomfortable.  My daughter was describing how some of my behavior was having a negative impact on her and what truly disturbed me was that it was something we had discussed before in therapy and that I thought I was getting better at.  It made me realize that so much of what I do and say on a  regular basis is below consciousness.  One of the last things that we discussed in that meeting was this vague sense of uneasiness my daughter experiences at my house.  She said she couldn’t put her finger on it but something made her feel uncomfortable.  She also said that she wished she could live with my sister until me and her Mom are able to “get our shit together”.  Needless to say when I left there I was feeling a lot of emotions.  I was aware of the fact though that I could not really act differently or let on that anything was bothering me because I want my daughter to know that it is OK for her to raise her concerns to me and that I can handle dealing with them without breaking down or acting out emotionally.

    After our session we went home to my house for a while and she ultimately decided to spend the night at her Mothers so that she could catch the school bus in the morning.  I wasn’t particularly bothered by her choice, it made a lot of sense and I am always happy when her and her mother spend time together.  It was a little late when I drove her to her Mothers house, I probably got home to my house around 10:00 pm after dropping her off.  By this time I had already eaten all of my planned meals and should have just gone to bed, I was pretty physically and emotionally drained from all of the activities of the day.  I decided that I would watch TV for a little while to “decompress” before going to bed.  That was definitely a bad choice because mindless TV watching is a huge eating trigger for me.  I tried to watch something with a somewhat positive message, I think I watched an episode of the Sunday Morning show that was saved on my TIVO.  During the show I was aware that I was having food cravings.  There were frozen coconut fruit bars in the freezer that I had bought for my daughter but otherwise there was not any junk food in the house to speak of.  I wrestled with the idea of eating the fruit bars but I wouldn’t let myself because I knew it would be an indication to my daughter that I had binged and I was determined to not let that affect her anymore.  I could have tried to do something to interfere with the food thoughts but I just tried to battle them singlehandedly one minute I was sure I was going out to binge the next I was sure that I had it under control.  When I am in those moments I know what the expression a monkey on your back truly means because that is exactly what it feels like.  As is almost always the case when I try and battle my eating disorder by myself, ultimately it won the battle and I soon found myself in the car on the way to “cop” a fix.

    Run for the Border
    Run for the Border

    Close by my house I have a few choice places where I like to go when I am in a  frenzy of binge eating.  There are three different convenience stores which provide the possibility of multiple visits.  There are also a few pizzerias including a Dominoes which I know is open very late and also makes chicken wings that are one of my favorite binge foods.  It’s not uncommon for me to binge on 25+ wings along with a medium meatfest pizza and then wash it all down with a couple pints of premium ice cream.  That wasn’t my plan though, on this night I wanted to spread it out a little and sample food from several places.  That’s how my sick addict mind works.  My first stop was Taco Bell mostly because it is the first fast food store that I came too but also I think because I had taken my daughter to eat there earlier in the evening and had refrained from ordering anything for myself.  I pulled through the drive through and placed an order for 2 Cheesy Gordita Crunches and 2 Shredded Chicken Burritos and 2 brownie sandwiches and a large Dr Pepper soda.  I was actually aware of the fact that I didn’t enjoy any of the food items very much.  The Gorditas had a very weird intense sauce on them that was too sharp, the shredded chicken just tasted odd and the brownie sandwiches were way too sweet after all the salt and fat I had just had.  The thought of going home quickly flashed through my mind but I was determined to make another stop.

    Not Lovin' It
    Not Lovin’ It

    My next stop was McDonalds which is another of my favorites.  Again I drove through the drive through lane and placed my order for 1 BLT Quarter Pounder, 1 Big Mac, 20 McNuggets, a large Vanilla Shake, an Oreo McFlurry and a large french fry.  I raced home eating red hot french fries out of the bag and sipping the vanilla shake.  When I got home I put the latest episode of MasterChef on the TV and laid all of the food out on the coffee table and proceeded to eat myself into oblivion.  I actually found that after the Fries, Big Mac and McNuggets I was physically stuffed.  I laid back on the couch and watched the rest of the show.  I did manage to force myself to finish the McFlurry a little while later but there was no way I was going to get the BLT Quarter Pounder down.  As I walked myself to bed I put everything in the garbage to get rid of all the evidence.  Yes I threw away the final burger.

    Finally I went to bed, it had to be almost 2:00 am and although I didn’t have anywhere that I needed to be the next morning I did have some things that I wanted to get done.  I wanted to get up and go to an AA meeting at 7:00 am.  When I collapsed into bed I could barely breathe.  Sometimes it feels like my distended stomach and internal body fat will make it impossible to breathe.  I try not to think about it because I can easily give myself a panic attack.  I know from experience that if I lay in bed and put on my CPAP mask it acts like an oxygen tube and gives me the sense that I am breathing.  My sleep that night was terrible, my stomach was still distended when I woke up.  I could actually feel how full I was from all the food 10 hours later.  I am not truly doing justice to just how scary and uncomfortable that night was, it wasn’t that it was much worse then many other binge fueled nights but it’s really scary when you are laying in bed afraid that you aren’t getting enough air and thinking about what the people who discover you will find and trying to imagine what they will need to go through to get you out of there on a stretcher or gurney.

    Just as an exercise in precision, I added up all of the calories from that evenings binge.  My total food consumption in just under 1 hour was over 5500 calories and more then 250 grams of fat.  And that was on top of already having had 3 normal meals that day!  I looked back at my weight tracker spreadsheet today and saw that I weighed 366 in early June.  So between June 10 and August 23 I gained about 40 pounds.  That’s an average of over 4 lbs a week.  When I look at my last Binge I see how that was possible.





  • Back from Vacation and Back on Track

    Lake Megunticook
    Lake Megunticook

    The past week I was away on vacation with some family and friends.  We were in a gorgeous place called Camden Maine which I had never been to.  Friends of mine have been going for years and always rent a house on a lake and invite my daughter and I to come up and spend a week.  For years I have been trying to go and this year we finally were able to make it work with our schedules.  It is a truly unique and beautiful place.  We stayed in a house on a lake called Megunticook which is about 5 miles out of town.  Our first day there we saw Bald Eagles flying over the lake and landing in trees just across the cove from where we were staying.  There were also a lot of Loons on the lake and a Mom and her Baby were making our cove their home so we got to watch them quite a bit.  At night listening to the Loons make their calls was a great way to fall asleep.  Just 5 miles away in town there is a typical New England Harbor with lots of boats and shopping.  There was a schooner festival going on this weekend so we were able to tour and even take a sail on old wooden schooners, plus there were activities for the kids and lots of excellent food.  I will definitely be going back to Camden for vacation.

    Camden Harbor
    Camden Harbor

    The house we were staying in included several friends who also have eating disorders although none are obese.  There was a lot of special menu planning for each meal.  Overall my eating while I was away was not terrible although I definitely overate, for the most part it wasn’t compulsively.  Although on the drive up and back which is over 7 hours without traffic I did compulsively eat most likely out of boredom.  I also ate some things that were clearly not on my food plan.  Since I strive to be a vegan huge plates of friend seafood aren’t on my plan.  I have a tradition of allowing myself seafood while I am on vacation each summer but I am rethinking that right now since the fried food was not at all that rewarding.

    One thing that vacation made very clear to me is just how limiting my size has become in my life now.  I was really not able to enjoy 90% of the activities up in Maine because of my size or because of pain that I have as a result of being my size and carrying all of the extra weight.  I was not able to Kayak on the lake with my daughter who was really enjoying the water and being able to get close up to the Loons and Eagles.  I was barely able to complete an extremely small hike to a overlook of the lake.  There was a lot of great hiking available that I could have done along with a ton of other activities.  The Day of the hike I decided that I was going to wear sneakers and socks it was such an effort to get them on, I seriously think it took over 5 minutes of strenuous exertion and I was completely out of breath and sweating when I was done.  I was trying not to be hard on myself afterwards because I know that the critical voice in my head doesn’t help things.  But I was really feeling like “It’s definitely not ok to not be able to put shoes and socks on myself”.  I mean seriously is that what it is come to for me?

    Curtis Island LightYesterday day I ate pretty poorly on the ride home even though my intention was to eat as healthy as possible.  I’m not sure exactly what the emotional trigger was but I assume it had a lot to do with boredom.  I did manage to pull it together when we were about 3 hours from home and not eat anything else last night.  I did a lot of praying last night and even got out my big book and read two excellent stories.  As I was going to be bed last night I decided that I wanted to make today a smoothie fast day.  I don’t want to try and do anything drastic to lose weight fast but I thought smoothies would be a good way to get myself out of the pleasure trap without too much hunger etc.  So far things are going well its almost 4:00 and I am on my second blender container of smoothie for today and I am thinking I will need to make another or at least a half.  I didn’t have meals planned for today or food prepared so smoothies worked well for me.  Part of my goal is to provide my body with nutrients in an easy way for it to be delivered to my joints and begin the healing process.  I am thinking of it more from a health point of view rather then purely from weight loss.  A good friend of mine who lost a lot of weight 150+ lbs once told me that she isn’t always able to love herself but she is capable of acting like a person who loves themselves.  Today that’s what I am trying to do, act as if and treat myself with love and kindness.  Tomorrow my daughter goes back to school so I should have plenty of time to cook food for myself and plan my meals for the rest of the week.  It feels like I am back on track.  I haven’t gotten on a scale in about two weeks.  I will weigh myself again next Monday before I go back to work.  I am hoping that by then I will have several days of eating healthy under my belt and I would to be bale to put on my shoes and socks without it being a major ordeal.

  • What’s it like to weigh 400lbs?

    The point of this post is that I want to try and capture some of the finer details of living life at 400 lbs so that I never forget what it is like walking around at this size.  When I lose the weight and am a normal size I know that most of these are things that I will take for granted.  Even though I want to tell myself not to take them for granted it’s just human nature.  One of the major motivators for this blog is to serve as a living reminder of my journey and what it took to get to where I am headed.

    Me 400lbs
    400 Lbs and one of my two casual outfits

    Right now I wear size 48/30 pants which doesn’t seem so bad except that I let my gut hang over the front, usually with my shirt tucked in.  I am going to  try and get some pictures to post.  My shirts are mostly 3XLT which is Tall XXX.  I am 6′ even and so I’m not really tall enough to need “tall” clothes but the tall helps the shirts make it over my girth with a little fabric left to tuck into my pants so that my bare fat skin is not showing.  I can count on one hand the number of work outfits that I have that I can wear.  The amount of clothes that I have is very limited mainly because part of me feels that going out and buying more properly fitting clothes would be some kind of admission of defeat.  Non work clothes are even rarer I have 2 pairs of shorts that can be worn outside and 2 shirts that are not T-shirts that can e worn outside.  My T-shirts are so tight that I can possibly go out with just one of them on.

    Non the actual chair I dread, but a perfect facsimile

    I am at a size where fitting into movie theater seats is difficult so watching a movie is a terribly uncomfortable experience as is sitting the chairs in a waiting room anywhere.  I haven’t had to fly in over a year but I know that at this point there is no chance I would fit in a standard coach seat on a US airline.  I would be forced to either buy another seat or fly in business class.  When I go to 12 Step meetings I am finding that the standard metal folding chairs that are so ubiquitous are almost too small for me, my back fat pushes me so far forward on the chair that the girth of my ass almost hangs over, it takes constant effort to stay balanced.  One chair I dread sitting in is the chair across from my bosses desk.  Its a totally nondescript office chair but its not wide enough for me to fit in so my choices are to either wedge myself into it and be in constant pain the whole time or lean way forward and just balance my ass off the edge which I am sure looks ridiculous and feels horrible after about 2 minutes.


    My limited shoe selection

    Since putting socks and shoes on is such a challenge right now, I almost never wear a shoe that requires me to tie the laces and I only wear socks when I am going to work and need to wear them with my work shoes.  The shoes I wear most often are so worn out that they often no support for my feet and ankles and I am sure they are making the pain in my feet worse then it has to be.  I also wear sandals that slip on and my favorite shoes are my crocs which look ridiculous and are actually tight because my feet are so swollen around.  In this picture of my shoes I have laced work shoes which I have recently stopped wearing in favor of an older and more worn out pair of black slip-ons.

    I never knew what these were for

    I want to avoid getting too graphic on here but it would be complete if I didn’t mention the struggle of personal hygiene at this size.  Aside from the fact that everything is either painful or uncomfortable there are some things that are extremely difficult if not downright impossible.  I think that body geometry is different for each person and so what is a struggle for me at 400 lbs some other folks might not struggle with and other folks might have similar difficulties at less weight.  I don’t want to say that I can’t clean myself properly after using the bathroom but I will say that it is difficult and frustrating.  It can be impossible depending on the facilities that I use and so I mostly use home.  I am going away for a few days this week and have actually been spending a lot of time wondering what the bathroom will be like and what the toilet configuration will be, hoping that it’s at least comparable to home so that I can do my business without too much struggle.  Showering is also extremely challenging at this size.  There are parts of my body that I simply cannot reach because I can bend far enough.  I actually had to go out and buy a bath loofah to use to clean myself properly.  Even with my loofah it’s still difficult and just yesterday I fell in the shower and luckily landed straight on my knees and only pulled a hamstring muscle.  I am aware that I easily could have hurt myself a lot worse then what I did and I am grateful that it wasn’t more serious although it is quite painful.

    So far I have only talked about how difficult it is to do things at 400 lbs.  I don’t think there is enough space on this page or maybe on 100 pages to detail all of the things that my size prevents me from doing.  Right now I am at a point where it is a real struggle to walk 1 mile.  I set a goal for myself last week to take my dog out for a walk 3 times during the week to walk a mile.  Half way through the second mile I felt a muscle in my calf go into spasm and it almost brought me to my knees.  This was just from a  leisurely walk on level ground in perfect weather.  For get about jogging, running, hiking, bike riding, most sports, most leisure activities etc etc.  I am going to be at a lake front house in Maine with a collection of water craft (Kayaks, Paddle Boards, Sunfish) at my disposal and my main concern is what excuse I am going to give to my hosts to let them know that I don’t want to partake in any of the activities.  At 400 lbs if I add up all of the things that my weight prevents me from doing in life and add that to all the things that my mind convinces me that I can’t do, it leave a pretty narrow life stream to participate in.  Life becomes very much like watching TV and I have become a spectator in my own life.

    I don’t want to end this post on the negative of discussing the limits of my weight but I wanted to capture some of these in case I ever forget or in case anyone out there is suffering pain and shame from being at their highest weight.  I think my next post is going to be about positive self talk and the power of starting from where you are without judgement.

  • In the beginning

    View of the landscapeAs I sit here today surveying the situation that is my life here are some quick observations to indicate where I will be starting from. Its not easy or pleasant to see these things about oneself let alone put them on a public webpage but if I want to fully commit myself to these changes then this is where it needs to go.

    My current weight is somewhere over 400 lbs.  When I stepped on the scale this morning it responded back with “Err”.  I have seen that on other scales but never on mine, I Have seen this particular scale read 404 pounds so I am pretty sure that my weight is over 405 probably less then 410.  The exact number at this point isn’t all that important, the truth is that I currently weigh more then two fairly sized sized human men. My weight loss journey is going to require that I lose 1/2 my body weight. Right now that seems like an extremely daunting task but I am staying focused on today and keeping in mind that I didn’t put all that weight on in a single day and I’m not going to take it off in a single day. What’s most important right now is that I don’t eat in a way that would cause me to gain more weight and to stay focused on that just for today.

    My current level of physical fitness is quite frankly atrocious.  I have always been one of those guys who prided himself on being able to remain fairly active while being morbidly obese.  Over the last few months any remaining beliefs I still clung to where thrown right out the window.  My stomach is so large currently that just walking around gives me extremely painful muscle spasms in my back.  Bending over to tie my shoes causes me to become extremely winded because I have to compress my stomach against my chest and there just isn’t any room to breathe.  Recently I saw Louis CK do a comedy skit about how putting on his socks was the worst part of his day.

    My favorite quote is when he says that it’s like trying to fold a bowling ball.  It’s easy to find humor in it but to have to go through pain and frustration everyday to get dressed is really quite demoralizing.  Sometimes putting my shoes and socks on leaves me gasping for air and sweating profusely and that’s after I get through the pain of actually getting dressed and putting on clothes and getting my belt to fasten.  I could make things somewhat easier if I were willing to go out and get larger sizes but I am not.  I am at the point where the fattest of my fat clothes is extremely tight and there is a part of me that just refused to go out and get the next larger size.  The part of me that refuses to do that, knows that if I did I would then be enabling myself to get comfortable where I am and that would lead to more weight gain.  In the spring of 2010 I reached this same point and it triggered me to lose almost 100 lbs of course I have since put that all back on with about 40 lbs of interest but I am trying to get to the same point of desperation, in recovery it’s called the gift of desperation.

    Every day I hope and pray that today is the day that I finally begin to turn it around.  I don’t know what I am waiting for but in my head it feels like there will be some kind of “sign” so that I know it’s time.  I know that is a crazy thought but it still persists.  Like fireworks or a starting gun is going to be fired for me to let me know when to start running.  There is not going to be a sign, nobody is going to tell me to start.  The reality is that there is just me and my compulsive overeating habit and everything that I tell myself to justify continuing to eat compulsively.  I have a good friend who has lost over 200 lbs and she one time told me that “”the day before I was doing what I do now, I wasn’t”.  I need to really get that into my head.  It reminds me of the Pink Floyd song Time “No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun”.  Today I am firing my own starting gun.  I overate yesterday but haven’t today and at lunch time I had huge cravings and tried to talk myself into eating fast food but I didn’t.  That minor accomplishment in itself is a miracle and is my own silent starting gun.

    That’s roughly the view of the landscape from where I currently sit.  Today I am one step closer to where I would like to go.

  • The Journey Begins

    No sooner did I receive the conformation email from my web hosting company InMotion then I already regretted naming my domain 1000MileJourney. Just another small regret in an avalanche of mostly much larger regrets. It’s not that I think it’s a bad name for a blog, in fact I think it’s a great name. My blog I think is going to be more of an ongoing journal about my life, detailing and tracking some very big changes that I want to make. To that point the journey is never going to be complete so please just let 1000 miles really mean infinity because the journey will continue as long as I have air in my lungs and goals in my heart.

    journey beginsSo why a blog then if this is basically going to be a journal. Well that’s a fair question and I have given it quite a bit of thought since I already write in a journal on a regular basis.

    1) Accountability – I read a lot of self help material in books and magazines as well as on the web and a pretty common assertion is that if you want to make change in your life you need to commit to it fully. One highly recommended way to commit fully is to build in some accountability. So although I am not yet ready to post some of these things on my facebook page where my coworkers and old high school friends would see, I do want somewhere fairly public to put them and commit to them.

    2) Interactivity – My journal never gives me any feedback about choices I am making or ideas I am trying out. I hope that at some point I will have some actual readers here who may be interested in making or will have already made similar changes as myself. I would like to be able to get feedback both positive and negative from people.

    3) Giving Back – In my life I think that my unique experiences have given me the opportunity to seek out and learn a lot things from others. I now feel as though I have a substantial collection of very useful knowledge that others may be seeking. If my personal struggles make it possible for me to help another person going through similar things then that makes a lot of the more worthwhile and just that much less painful.

    So there you go, that’s what would drive me to setup an account, register a domain name and start putting my personal and private thoughts out there on the internet for all to see.