It’s not a dramatic one, probably boring in fact. I’m just a regular guy; 52, married with one adult son. I work in the corporate IT/Computer world and have been with the same company ever since college 30 years ago. Economy and changing times saw my office environment go away and I’ve been working at home for 5 or more years now. Working from home is both a blessing and a curse. Work is home, and home is work.
I’m about 6’4″ and my high school weight was a slender 185. I slowly gained over the years and by my late 20’s was over 220. Through my 30’s and early 40’s I creeped up to the 230’s. During my 20’s and 30’s I actually went through a period where I lost weight after my doctor told me my cholesterol was going up. I lost weight by giving up mayonnaise and fast food fries and bacon cheeseburgers. And as it’s still true today, I subscribed to the beliefs that it was the fatty bacon, burger and cheese that was making me fat. Who knew it was the bun! 😉
As I grew older I also was less active. Come forward to my mid 40’s and for any number of reasons, beer began to dominate my diet. A lot of beer. Fortunately or unfortunately I’m one who experiences nothing more than a “beer buzz;” I don’t get stupid, violent, stumble around or even pass out on the couch. And I guess because of that there was no incentive not to drink. Except for the weight. Lots of beer, late night snacking and within just a few years I exploded to 286 lbs.
I should mention that I was a smoker too. On and off since my 20’s and up to a pack a day in my 40’s. This one wasn’t rocket science. Everyone, including those who smoke, know that smoking is not healthy and will most certainly increase your chances of early death, among other minor things like cancer and emphysema. I tried quitting numerous times and anyone who has been through it knows how difficult it can be. However, like my weight today, I made the choice and decision to not be a smoker any more. With the assistance of a few weeks of nicotine patches, I quit. There was no cheating, no withdrawals, nothing; one day I smoked, the next day I didn’t and I haven’t looked back. Guess what though, it’s true that folks will gain weight after quitting. So quitting smoking was huge for my health, but now I started eating more, and drinking more and gaining weight.
Annual visits to my doctor and then a referral to a cardiologist put me on a low dose statin drug for high cholesterol in October of 2010. My primary doc also put me on a low dose blood pressure medication. In January of 2011 during a followup visit with my doctor, he said, paraphrasing, “… I see you’re at 286. Let’s just call it 290. You’re obese.” And after the results of bloodwork, he informed me I was pre diabetic and instructed me to attend some Senior Center to listen and learn about diabetes. Blood glucose was 109 and my blood pressure and cholesterol were not off the charts, but borderline and put me in the “at risk” category. I had also been needing to take over the counter heartburn medication as I had heartburn daily. I was not in a good place.
Having a doctor call me obese and knowing I was just a few pounds away from 300, I had to do something. I could not continue on this path. Out of the blue while on the internet one day in early March of 2011, I clicked on a web advertisement for The Diet Solution Program and watched Isabel’s video.
Immediately the information made perfect sense to me. It wasn’t so much that a light bulb went off in my head, but I couldn’t believe how much common sense was involved. And I began to discover how much I didn’t know about food and my health. I began reading and learning. I also knew from the start that I, Me, and me alone was the only person that was going to get me out of the whole I dug. Sometimes though we need a little push, some motivation or even a tool or program to help us get started. I spent the $47 and purchased Isabel’s program. Hell, I spent that much on beer every week (and that’s buying the cheapest beer possible!) My medications were costing me $65 a month.
Just as I did with smoking, I quit drinking beer. I know this may be an over simplification, but I literally turned off the beer switch. I just quit drinking beer. Oh, I also quit my daily Diet Coke habit. cold. At least for me, I just told myself that I no longer drink beer or soda. Now, I didn’t do complete 180. I will still have a beer or two or a glass of wine out to dinner and enjoyed some beer and even a Port wine with some friends on a couple of camping trips last summer. But gone are the days of daily, day in, day out drinking. Keeping it to special and occasional is fine. I still haven’t had a soda in over a year.
So, I did my reading to understand the basics of the Diet Solution Program and jumped right in. I replaced all my cooking staples with butter, Olive oil and Coconut oil. And thankfully my wife bought in to the changes enough that we could eat and fix one meal with some adjustments here and here. For example, she still loves her bread and fried potatoes. Bread is another thing I no longer eat.
In April I replaced fish oil with Krill oil. And by May 2011 combining the Krill oil and the new healthy eating lifestyle I was able to discontinue the use of all my prescriptions. I even had a visit with my cardiologist and he was fine with it.
I had lost 4lbs the first week and on average lost 2 lbs per week through the summer and by September was down to 233.5 lbs. During the summer I started incorporating biking and hiking for my exercise to help in the effort. And I love being outdoors so it was most enjoyable too. I was a mere 13.5 lbs away from my goal and it was in sight.
Then things changed. A 20 yr old knee injury resurfaced on my strenuous uphill/downhill hikes. Prognosis was as I expected. My old skiing injury in the 1980’s tore my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and subsequent lack of surgery back then resulted in the fact that I no longer had a functioning ACL today. Doc recommended complete reconstructive ACL surgery (which means I got a cadaver ligament grafted in my knee) while I still had a real knee to operate on and I was still young enough to rehabilitate from. Surgery was December 1st and today I’m still recovering and not approved for riding my bike yet.
I provide that only as background and not an excuse. Yes, I was unable exercise, but the real truth is, I started drinking wine again. I was still set on no beer and I haven’t had a beer in 4 months, but I figured wine was the least evil of the alcohols. Well, a glass here or there soon led to a few glasses, then pretty soon a bottle…. anyone who drinks knows how this works. Then the late night snacking comes back. Chips, cheese, popcorn, fried eggs at night, roasted nuts, whatever. Got to the point where my wife had to hide the potato chips from me!
My weight loss was turning back in to weight gain and by February of this year I had gained nearly 15 lbs back! Also, I should note, I quit using my Success Journal. I did however continue to have the same eating habits during the day during this time, so in my mind, CLEARLY my change in habits and the late night snacking and lack of exercise were responsible for the weight gain. I was on the wrong path again.
Perhaps my knee surgery was also a blessing in disguise. I say that because once a week through January and February I went to Physical therapy for my knee rehabilitation. Eventually I got to the point where I was no longer in a brace and began doing things like pedaling on a stationary bike, doing squats and exercises to strengthen my leg muscles. Eventually the therapy sessions would stop and so I decided to join a gym.
For the first time in my life I joined a gym. Just over 2 weeks ago. I made a new commitment. And that is what it has to be a commitment on my part. At the same time I joined the gym, was the last glass of wine I had. I now go through a full body workout which includes both cardio and strength training. My knee is still in sensitive stage of healing and so I’m still not clear for a road bike, but I’m putting time on the treadmill and stationary bikes at the gym. I also include interval training on the stationary.
I’ve taken back 9 lbs in those 2 weeks. I’m seeing muscles develop and I’m feeling great. I’m journaling again and learning that I’ve also increased my protein intake by a serving or too. Which is probably good considering the strength training I’m doing now.
So that’s where I’m at as of March 08, 2012. I hope to publish this on March 13th which will be my 1 year anniversary with the Diet Solution Program and Beyond Diet.
I would like to thank and acknowledge my wife for her help and support in this new eating lifestyle. And while she hasn’t completely adopted all the changes, I’m happy to report that she lost about 15lbs and fitting in to clothes she hasn’t been able to wear for a long time.
I hope to provide other information in other posts about my attitudes, what I eat and hopefully other topics that I hope will be helpful to others who struggle with their weight and health and those who really want to change.
Update April 20, 2012. I’m now down to 232, just 12 lbs from my goal. I’m at the gym at least 3 times a week and have also now incorporated a whey protein in to my diet. Weight loss is slow, 1lb a week, but pretty consistent now as I burn fat, but at the same time am adding muscle.
Be well my friends and don’t sweat the small stuff!