Oct 17, 2016
I have been fat all my life, or at least as far back as I can remember. When I graduated high school I weighed 220lbs. After that, I really started putting on weight. All though my 20s I just kept adding weight. Eventually, I maxed out at 29 years old at 375lbs. I was at the end of my rope, and I realized that my weight had completely defined my entire life. Things were about to change.
At 29, I got online for the first time. I met people behind a computer screen and I was no longer lonely. I didn't even realize how lonely I had been until I started talking to people online. That is where I met a couple of ladies who introduced me to TOPS (Taking Off Pounds Sensibly). I joined that support group and I lost 111 pounds in less than a year. Of course the weight loss did wonders for my self esteem, and the ability to hide behind the computer screen added to my confidence, as I finally was able to speak to women without worry. I met one, who I thought was special, and I moved from Connecticut to Texas to be with her and her three children. She was also obese. At first, she was supportive of my weight loss. I found a local group for TOPS in Texas and we both joined, but for her, it didn't work. She was gaining, and as soon as she weighed more than me, she began to sabotage me, unconsciously I think, but it soon became apparent that weight loss was done.
I stayed in that toxic relationship way too long and 10 years later I was back up to 340lbs. But I was a different person than I had been when I was in my 20s. My confidence and self esteem never left after that initial large weight loss. I realized I had a lot to offer and my weight was just one small obstacle in any relationship to be overcome, not hidden. Since then I have never been ashamed of being a fat guy. Being fat no longer defined me. It was part of me, as it still is today, but just a part.
At 40 years old, I drove myself to the hospital because I was having chest pains. I had recently been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and the doctors told me I had not had a heart attack, but I did have a blockage. That is when I got my first heart stent. At 40 years old, that was way too young to be worrying about heart disease. But the stent worked. I had so much more energy that I did not worry about it. My doctor told me that if I didn't change my lifestyle I should not bother putting money into my 401k, and I took his words as a permission to release the hounds instead of a warning. I was still alone and I think that is why I was not worried if I would live past 50. 5 years later I was back in the hospital and this time I did have a minor heart attack, and stent #2 was inserted. But I was still not ready to change my lifestyle.
As the country was becoming obese, I just went with the flow. I was tired of hearing that I had no will power. Will power is a myth. The world is set against us. Eating unhealthy is way too easy and cheap, and actually eating a healthy diet is much more expensive and time consuming. I didn't want to exercise because I was tired. Was I lazy because I was fat or was I fat because I was lazy? I still don't have the answer to that. What I do know is that doctors have no idea why people's bodies tell them to eat so much that they balloon to over 300 pounds. I started doing research online, and realized there were so many theories and so few answers that it was a futile endeavor. Even though obesity would kill 100 times the number of people that AIDS kills in the USA, we did not have any celebrities asking people to be sensitive to our plight. We did not have any fund raisers for research. We did not even have empathy from the general public because, as I heard so many times "we did this to ourselves." We did not have a disease. We were just disgusting gluttons.
Eventually I came up with my own theory. It is evolution. It has only been about 120 years or so that our society has had enough food for all. Prior to that, there was a lot of feast and famine. Since we had survived that, we had some gene that told us to eat as much as we could when there was food about. The problem was, now there was always food about, and our gene was still telling us to eat in order to survive the next famine. I think doctors will find that gene some day and be able to turn it off, and then obesity, maybe even all addiction, will be cured. Until then, we need to work with what we have.
At 45, I finally found the love of my life and got married. Now things were different. My solution was having a good life insurance policy, as I was still not ready to tackle the difficult proposition of fighting my body and mind every single day for the rest of my life in order to not eat that extra serving of rice and beans. When I was 49, I was back in the hospital for another blockage. This time they put 2 stents in. Now I had a total of four. Not even 50 years old and I had a collection of stents keeping my arteries open in my heart. This thought started to sink in.
I finally did turn 50. I had made my goal. So now, what was next? I can't say I had an epiphany, but slowly over time, I got to the point where I was ready to make a change. I wanted to grow old with my beautiful bride. I wanted to travel and do things that my weight just would not allow me to do. And most of all, I never wanted to become a burden. When my workplace finally began covering bariatric surgery in 2016 I decided it was time. I had always thought if I could curb the hunger, then weight loss would be easier. I thought bariatric surgery would be perfect for me. On October 12, 2016, I had the gastric sleeve surgery. I will use this blog to document my journey.