425 to 175

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."

UPDATE Summer of 2018:

Exciting news! In January of 2018 I went through a round of skin removal surgeries! The worst of the pain is long gone and my recovery is going great if not complete! You can read about the procedures, updates, and why I did it at my blog:

Thank you to everyone with their continued support and encouragement as I move forward in life to achieve my goals!

It started in a doctor's office, in November of 2013. I was in for a general checkup, and was prepared for another round of criticism from my doctor about my weight. I had just stepped on the scale at 425lbs and I felt defeated and broken. All my life I had been overweight and had grown used to family, friends and doctors pleading and yelling at me about my unhealthy habits. This time was slightly different.

My physician started out different this time. "You can't do this on your own. You will keep failing without support." He then went on to talk about some popular meal replacement and diet plans local hospitals and companies offered. I left the office slightly motivated and excited, and proceeded to call a few of the programs right there in the doctor's office's parking lot. The prices however, were not conducive to a fresh college graduate. At least not one at my income level.

I started growing angry.

How dare the physician tell me what he said in the first place? Who tells someone they will fail and then tries to offer them hope through paid services? I decided then and there that I wanted to show him, prove him wrong. I read and researched exhaustively, and was all set to go gung ho on this. Even started working out in my apartment's gym/weight room. And then Thanksgiving and Christmas happened...

However, I found myself in an IRC chat room for the community of reddit.com/r/loseit one night in January of 2014, and someone mentioned the keto diet to me. I decided I had nothing to really lose (heh), and decided to start eating keto and at a calorie deficit that night. Not the next day, not on Monday, but that night. 

I found resource after resource. I built up a toolkit of things I could use and rely on to make myself successful. I'm a creature of habit and want to be told a plan or instruction path to follow, at least at the start. On reddit.com/r/keto I found a link to a guide telling me exactly what meals to eat for six of the seven days of my week. Meal prepping all my weekly food on Sunday's, I followed that sheet religiously and to the dot for a month or more. After that, I started allowing myself more allowances. Eating out, introducing fake sugars and finding new ways to substitute the occasional carby food with something more in-line with keto. Even after I stopped following that original guide, I kept in the habit of meal prepping, as I'm lazy and enjoyed the ability to use two of man's greatest inventions. The refrigerator and microwave.

Throughout my journey however, I've continued to struggle with any sort of workout or physical activity routine. I enjoyed a summer of cycling around 325lbs and got quite devoted to it. A bit lower down the scale I found myself visiting the gym more and even picking up the 5x5 starting strength program. Nothing ever really stuck, and it's something I am looking to work on even now as I write this. I always found it easier to cut calories rather than spend 40 minutes at the gym. 1600, 1400, 1000 and even at times finding myself eating regularly around 800 calories a day. I make no illusions to myself that this was the healthiest way to lose your weight, but it was working.

Overall it's been a challenging road. I've relied on building habits and routines, finding those to be my greatest assets. Sure there were bumps in the road. Holidays, vacations and regular temptations in the day ("Free bagels at the coffee maker today!"), they all challenge you and sometimes throw you off and make you gain or stall. But if you keep going back to what you had built as your habits and routines, getting back to your calorie limit and learning to say no in the face of temptation, you will get back on the horse again. Taking it day by day and goal by goal, the road looks not so long.

I've learned a lot, and changed my life, who I am, during these two and a half years. I continue to struggle greatly with many things. Body size not matching who I feel like in my mind, my loose skin, calorie deficits and trying to introduce fitness habits that stick to just name a few. This is a continuing journey that is only just beginning. I am scared to death, but excited to see the road ahead as I try to go into maintenance and reach new goals. They say 5% of obese people keep their weight off, and I plan to be in that number.

I'll include in this site some of the resources that I used. Foods I ate and photos I took. As much as I hope this will become of use to others out there in some way, I do this also as a reminder to myself. A reminder of who I am and what I went through.

If you feel like you are struggling with weight or any other problem on your shoulders, I could offer this one piece of advice. Attend to it now. I hear there is a chance of rain tomorrow, and right now it looks mighty good outside.