Thursday, September 13, 2018

My Weight Loss and Health Update

Ok real talk here, so if you're tired of my health updates, I'm going to rehash a lot of ground in this update so you might want to skip this one.

Two years ago, I was ignorant of some pretty major things in my life. I was fat, huge, morbidly obese even and I was pretty unhealthy.

I've had a long history of knowing I was overweight, but I always found a way to reason it out. I could take stairs two at a time, I could move faster and more easily than a person my size should have been able to do, I didn't have any severe aches or pains, I had no trouble getting out of bed, or fitting into cars. I saw people daily who were bigger than me, so I wasn't bad off.

I ate shitty foods, I ate in huge amounts, it was a matter of pride that I could eat an average person's weight at a buffet. I picked up an order at Old Town Pizza one night and the counter girl saw the name on the order and said "You're Steve!" her voice filled with awe that I was real. Pretty sure I put the owners kids through college.

Then two things happened to change my world. 

First, as I've talked about a lot, I was the victim of an armed robbery at my workplace. The depression, anxiety and panic attacks that caused, I still deal with today.

Second, while camping with friends shortly after the robbery, one of them snapped a picture of me sitting on a cooler. There I sat in a pair of shorts, shirtless, beer in hand oblivious to a lot going on around me. Then I was shown the picture. For the second time in a week, my world came crashing down.

I didn't see me, I saw a formless lump of flesh, a disgusting mess of a man if it could be called a man. That wasn't me, it couldn't be me. There was no way that was me. No. Nuh-uh no way, no how. But no matter how much I tried to deny it, I couldn't ignore the picture, the proof right in front of me that I was a mess. I was morbidly obese and now that I could see it, I couldn't unsee it.

Sadly and all too often, it takes a traumatic event in a person's life for them to see that changes need to be made. Yes, getting held up at gunpoint is traumatic and I had the help of a great doctor and months of therapy to get myself back on track.

I got lucky in one respect here, my epiphany didn't come after the heart attack or stroke I was headed for. The universe granted me time to change. So I did.

I decided right there and then, looking at that picture of that sad, fleshy mountain of a person, that I didn't want to stay that way. I wasn't going to be obese anymore. I was going to get myself healthy and I was going to live.

I started by seeing my doctor and getting my starting point. We checked my weight, we checked my blood pressure, we did bloodwork to check my cholesterol, liver function etc, and we got an EKG to check my heart because we didn't know how long my blood pressure was high. Thankfully there was no damage to my heart. We started me on medication to get my blood pressure under control right away.

Age: 37
Waist Size: 50"
Shirt Size: 4xl - 5xl
Weight: 400 lbs
Blood Pressure: 151 over 110 or worse
Cholesterol: LDL (bad) - 4.74 or High
Borderline Type 2 Diabetic 

Armed with that information, I set out to change.

Would I get surgery? A gastric band or a bypass could be an option, but my personal thoughts on it were that I didn't want to do something that drastic or irreversible. I didn't want to learn to eat again with a new stomach. Yes the surgeries work for people and yes they can help achieve amazing results. I'm not discounting the successes people have had, but when I weighed it for myself I decided it wasn't for me.

I'm a stubborn sort so I knew if I set my mind to change, I could and would change. At the same time, I knew the weight wouldn't drop off overnight, it took me 38 years of bad habits to get where I was, it was going to take time to take the weight off.

The first thing I needed to do was fix my eating habits. I didn't want to go on a diet or a program or a plan. Through all my reading and research, diets can fail, people can slip and cheat and feel bad for failing, gain weight back and start the cycle all over again. I set out to totally change my lifestyle and my views on foods.

I turned to Canada's Food Guide and learned what proper portion sizes were and what from each food group should be included in every meal. Gone was the extra large, all meat pizza. Replaced with grilled chicken, rice and mixed veggies. I discovered I like broccoli, I like red, yellow and orange peppers. I cut added salt and sugar out of my food and drinks. I cut out soda and replaced it with just plain old water.

I didn't do it all overnight, I made maybe one change a week to what I was eating, getting used to new things and new ways of looking at meals. No more take out. Pack it in Pizza, bye bye Baconator. 

But I didn't cut everything out, cravings happen but it's all about moderation and not going overboard anymore. If I want a bag of chips, I'll have a small bag of chips, not a family size bag from Costco. If I want a chocolate bar, I'll have a bar, not 3 for 5 bucks. 

Then I got active. I started walking around my workplace, a full circuit of the building is 1 km, so I was doing that 4-5 times a shift. Then I started walking Bowring Park. 1 lap at first and then as many laps as I could. Now I use the treadmill in the fitness room at work. I started out walking and increasing my walking pace to work up a sweat. Now I can run 3k without stopping and I ran 5k for the first time this week.

Today I saw my doctor for a 2 year check up and we reviewed my blood pressure and blood work again.

Age: 39
Waist Size: 40"
Shirt Size: 2xl - 3xl
Weight: Almost down to 300 lbs
Blood Pressure: 116 over 80 (normal)
Cholesterol: LDL (bad) - 2.4 (ideal)
No longer at risk of Type 2 Diabetes 

I don't ever want to go back to being 400 lbs, I'm losing weight and I'm doing it on my own terms. It's slow progress, but it's progress. I'm getting healthy, I'm getting in shape, I'm changing my future and I'm choosing to live.

I've made these changes for me, because I want to be the best me that I can be, for me. I'm not changing to make anyone else happy, I'm changing to make me happy with me.

Thank you everyone who have been following along and cheering me on, your love and support has been incredible and means more to me than I can say. As much as I've been trying to help me, all of your comments have helped me and encouraged me. Some have said I'm an inspiration, but you have inspired me just as much to keep going.

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