A 45-year-old fat man trying to find his inner skinny dude.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I don't know about you, but I have made a commitment to change my life and to become a thin person for the years I have left.

I have done this at least twice before.

I really think I have it in me to lose the weight and to keep it off.

The possibility of failure scares me to death.

Like Drew Carey, I am sick of being fat.  When I lost about 80 pounds in high school, I went to a doctor who had me write down everything I ate and limited me to 1500 calories a day.  If you figure my BMR, that was really, really low.  (Doctors, as a rule, don't know much about nutrition, and the honest ones will admit it.)  I looked good,  but I was pretty sure that once I was thin, I would never have a problem again.  In fact, my dad told me I would always have to be careful, but I just thought he was being a dick.  I gained it back, no problem.  And then some, of course, because that is the refrain to this song.

When I lost about 120 pounds in college, I had no idea what i was doing.  I really didn't.  Back then (late 80s), it wasn't as easy as it is now to get information about how to lose weight safely or how to keep it off.  Here's what I did:  I ate one meal a day, anything I wanted.  This was lunch around 4pm, probably 1000 to 1500 calories.  I ate some more after I turned 21 and could drink beer whenever I wanted.  (Heh.)  But I didn't know anything about working out, and I didn't think I'd need to do that.  I didn't know about BMR, etc.  And I thought that once I was down, I would never be up again.  At 21, I was down to 220 to 225.  You can see a picture on this page.

From age 21-26, I put on 35 to 40 pounds.  Law school will do that to you, especially if you don't know how to eat and don't work out.  I weighed about 260 when I got married at 26. 

From 26 to 37, I put on about 140 pounds, up to 350.  When my wife and I split, I put on at least another 50.  I assume my high was 400, give or take.

So here I am now, doing it again.  I scares me.  It really does.  Eating more (see below) scared me.  What if I start gaining?  What if I eat something and binge?  What if I fall off the wagon completely?  And what if I lose all the weight, buy all new clothes, and then gain 100 pounds?

It could happen.  It has twice.  I think this time is different because I know now that I have to be careful every day from now on.  It's daunting to think of that, but I can do it today.  I can do it tomorrow.  I'm planning on going to meetings forever, too, just like any addict.

It's also easier because I'm actually learning about the mechanics of the body, how much to eat (especially to eat enough).  I work out, too.  When I started losing in 2007, I started going to the gym.  The first time I got on an elliptical machine, I lasted five minutes, and I thought I would die.  Now I go 45 or 50 minutes.  I could go longer, too, but I usually get bored or run out of time before I run out of steam.  I actually like being at the gym, and I LOVE having worked out.  But it's hard to get off the couch most of the time.  (I had a zen moment a few months ago.  I was bored at home on a weekend, so I went to work out.  Amazing!)  Working out is great because everything hangs better. 

I hope this time is different.  I'm trying not to make pronouncements about the rest of my life.  I'm trying to take it all a day at a time, to make the right choices.  A lot of this is about caring for myself instead of punishing myself.  I think I've decided I deserve to be healthy and happy.  I hope it sticks.


  1. I'm sure this time will be different - you're not only armed with more knowledge, you have clearer motives, and you realize it's an ongoing process, one is never "done" with it.

    Skip, be careful of the calorie counting and fear of food - it's so easy for that to turn into a serious eating disorder. I know, it's like "how can I lose weight if I don't?" but try to keep it sane. With as much weight as you want to lose, I don't think there's any way to do it without dieting of some sort, but also I think that as a man you'll be able to maintain your loss with exercise--when you get to goal, keep eating clean but work out more.

    (I know you didn't ASK for advice, but I threw some in for free :)

  2. I appreciate the advice. I do tend to be a little obsessive. Who knew it was showing? I used to be obsessed with how awful I looked every time I caught my reflection. Now I'm usually happily surprised. I think I traded one obsession for another.

    But yes, disorder. I had a glimpse of that last week when I couldn't bring myself to eat things that I'd made allowances for. Part of it was they weren't clean food (cinnamon roll v. chicken breast). Part of it was the fear.

    I'll try to keep my head on, and I appreciate the help.