The photo at right was taken on June 6, 2010. I was 358 lbs. This morning, I weighed in at 258 lbs.
An even HUNDRED! Will miracles never cease?
Looking back, I don’t remember the details of those days as much as I remember how it felt.
I remember distinctly how it felt to carry that gut around. It was a constant strain on my back and my knees. I remember how it felt to lean forward and tie my shoes, and the sharp pain I would experience as I did. How I would have to adjust my leg and lean more to the side just to reach my laces. It wasn’t long before I began wearing slip ons to avoid this pain.
I remember the depression, brought on both because of my self-image and as the result of the horrible foods I was putting into my body. I remember the evenings — I hated them! — because they brought on the most uneasy feelings of dread, pains in my chest, labored breathing and blood pumping like sludge in my veins. I could feel it all.
I remember the acid reflux and heartburn. Night after night it caused me stinging pain in my throat and chest. I would take antacids every night before bed, sometimes in the middle of the night and in the morning — all while sucking down countless liters of diet soda to wash everything down.
My skin was red and pockmarked. My elbows rough, cracked and sometimes bleeding. My feet were swollen.
It hurt to stand up, and I would find a place to sit as quickly as I could when visiting friends or going to church. I was winded after simple walks in the yard or down the street. My clothes always felt like they were tight and sticking to me in the most unflattering of ways.
I don’t remember a lot from then, but I’ll always remember how it felt. And because I remember how it felt, I will never return there.
I still hate that it took SIX stents and an unfixable branch blockage to put me on the right path. Were I able to do it over again, I would certainly do things differently.
But I guess that’s the value of reflection: ruminating on the past in such a way as to let it course-correct your future.
I don’t know what you four faithful readers are going through in your fight against obesity and the pain that goes with it, but let me encourage you and leave you with a few things I’ve learned:
- I am not more special or talented or motivated than you. You CAN lose the same amount of weight or more than I have. This is a fundamental belief, and you must understand this first. To quote Kung Fu Panda, “There is no secret ingredient.”
- The way I eat is no longer about weight loss. It’s about healing my body from the awful effects of processed food. This is a huge shift in my thinking, and I think it will be the same for you.
- Everyone has a breaking point: that point at which they finally concede to the problem and make a huge life change. I pray yours will come before emergency care is necessary, as it did for me.
- Slow and steady wins the race. This is an annoying saying, but is also just as true as the color of the sky. You don’t need to lose more than a couple of pounds a week. This will not only help you lose weight in a more healthy way, but the slow pace will help you adjust your life over time to your new lifestyle.
- Fad diets might work, but they aren’t good for you. Many of them shock your body into rapid weight loss and/or depend on processed foods and processed powders, laden with chemicals, carcinogens and neurotoxins, in order to lose the weight. A low carb diet can send you into ketoacidosis and kill you. Diet-branded frozen meals are loaded with sodium, MSG, and literally dozens of other ingredients you don’t want in your body.
- Numerous studies are showing that a whole foods, plant-based diet is the best way to heal your body and exponentially improve your health, protecting you from cancer, heart disease and diabetes, which needlessly claim more and more American lives every year.
Please don’t hear all of this as a statement of superiority. I’m no better than anybody. In fact, it took literally DOZENS of hospital visits and SIX stents to get me to really change my ways.
My prayer — my reason for writing — is that it won’t take you nearly as long.