MVP FITNESS 365

EAT. TRAIN. REST.

It was the summer of 1994, and I was attending a wedding reception in Pennsylvania.  I’m next in line at the bar, and I can hear the conversation between the guy in front of me and the bartender.

GUY:  Man, it’s awful hot.

BARTENDER:  Yeah, it’s all the damn fat people in here. 

Both guys get a good laugh.  I am somewhat chuckling myself at the bad joke as I step up to the bar.  The bartender takes one awkward look at me and begins to apologize.

BARTENDER:  Hey, I’m sorry, man.  That was rude.  I didn’t see you there. 

Time actually stood still.  Holy crap!  *I* was one of the people he was making fun of. 

 IT WAS THE FIRST TIME I REALIZED THAT I WAS FAT.

 

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MY HISTORY

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You would think that single moment would have been enough to trigger some crazed workout binge, but, of course, it did not.  Oh, I probably lost some weight after that, but the pounds always came back – and then some.

I graduated college weighing 265 pounds.  Even so, college had been safe.  I pretended I was on my own, but living on campus every year (a requirement) was rather like playing house without actually having to worry about cooking food, paying bills, or any of the other real life stuff.  Classes were a joke, so we spent our free time running around campus and playing sports.  We walked everywhere.

The REAL problem came when I went off to law school that fall.  It was the first time I was truly on my own.  No cafeteria.  No dorms.  I had to shop and cook for myself, something I wasn’t used to nor had the time for.  After countless hours spent at the library, I came home every night exhausted, unmotivated and immovable.  I had no real chance for success.  Where it had taken me five years of college to gain 50 pounds, I accomplished that feat in just the first year of law school.  It was a very intimate time between me and fast food.

I married my college sweetheart after that first year.  I weighed 315 pounds at the wedding.  Although I would drop 10-20 pounds from time to time when I’d get the fitness bug, I remained somewhat steady at my “comfortable” 315 pounds.

Fast forward five years to October, 2002.  I had just completed a contract job in Arizona and was traveling back to Pennsylvania for a wedding to see a lot of close college friends who hadn’t seen me in years.  I woke up the day of the wedding and nothing fit.  Nothing.  Somehow, in the two months after my work contract had ended, I found myself 30 pounds heavier.  I still can’t explain it.

But there I was, scrambling to buy new pants at a Big & Tall store the morning of the wedding.  And I was seeing old college friends too.  345 pounds.  Ahhhh.  I was more than embarrassed.  That was my turning point.  I wore those pants that one day and never wore them again!

 

At my worst ...345 pounds (10.19.02)

345 pounds (10.19.02)

 

I started the very day I got home.  I lost about 60 pounds over the next year and learned a lot about fitness and being healthy.  I worked hard to get my CSCS, the absolute gold standard in fitness certifications.  I studied research, dove into fitness, and even went on to train a few people.  Satisfied that I had “won”, I allowed myself to become complacent.  After that, I remained plus or minus 20 pounds for another five years.

Once I crossed back over the 300 mark (early 2007), I began once again to question what I was doing with my life.  This website project was the answer I came up with.

I started a new program, consisting of eating well, a combination of weights and interval cardio, and this blog.  The added accountability was amazing, resulting in me hitting a new recent low of 251.6 on October 8, 2007 before beginning to creep back up.  I had a lot of excuses for the collapse.  Pick one.  I had the added stress of no job combined with huge financial worries.  I was struggling just to keep my house and raise my two girls while my wife was going to school full time.  Ultimately, a lack of sleep began to take its toll.  After a horrible January 2008 filled with injuries that kept me sidelined, I was done.  I stopped far short of my 365 day goal.  Having climbed over the 50 pound loss mark at one point, I finally limped into the finish line after a full year at 285.8, down just 22 pounds.  The end result of MVP 365 wasn’t jaw dropping, but it did teach me a lesson or three and helped in formulating many sequels to that effort.

MVP2.0 ended before it began.  My second attempt failed at 57 days.  Once again, it was largely due to injury.  One thing after another finally killed my fighting spirit.  First an unexplained hand problem kept me from picking anything up for a full month.  Eating was even difficult.  My wife thinks it was gout.  The millions of doctors I saw had no clue.  The very day I felt better and tried to regroup, I sprained my ACL, keeping me off my feet for another month plus.  Within a week of feeling 100%, I developed a dangerous blot clot that had me limping around and mostly off my feet completely (doctor’s orders).  Not a fun string of events, but it beat me up just enough that I gave up – again.  I gained much of the weight I had lost back and consequently fell into a mild depression.

When I give up, I REALLY give up.  And I did.  I wallowed in self-pity and ignorance for years after that.  I got busy in life.  Kids, cheer competitions, fast food – always combined with a serious lack of good sleep and underlying depression.

I have wanted to get back to my blog so many times, but sheer embarrassment prevented me from doing so.  That is the problem with transparency.  It works both ways.  I simply need to face my failures, admit that I am still not close to the man I want to be, and get back to a process that I know works.

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THE PRESENT

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Everything in my life is affected by my weight.  I have allowed it to define me.

I am uncomfortable going out and meeting new people.  Swimming with the family?  Forget it.  I fear the very word ‘amusement park’.  I avoid booths at restaurants at all costs, sometimes making up elaborate excuses just to sit at a table where I will have more room (provided there aren’t arm rests).  Only 1 out of 100 family pictures include ME.  I won’t buy new clothes, because “some day” is always right around the corner, not to mention a normal t-shirt at the Big & Tall is like $45.  I have no energy to run around with my daughters.  I am probably absolutely discriminated against when applying for jobs.  I get constant stomach aches.  I am winded walking to the mailbox.  I sweat.

More importantly, I was in the hospital in November 2005 and again in March 2012 for pulmonary emboli that nearly killed me.

Get the picture?  I understand fat people because I am one.

I don’t know how more simply I can put this.  My body will begin to break down, and I will die if I do not make changes in my life – NOW.

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MY FUTURE

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I have talked about doing a website like this for a long time.  Accountability has always been a strong motivator.  I don’t think it can get any more PUBLIC than this.

This site will chronicle the next 365 days as I follow a strict workout and nutrition plan.  I will update my weight every Sunday and update my body measurements on the 20th of each month.  I will also be taking regular pictures in order to track my progress visually.  The pictures will be largely for me though, and may not be a public part of the website.  No one needs (or wants) to see the underwear shots of me with my belly hanging out.

I look forward to friends and family, as well as complete strangers, following my progress, keeping me honest, and supporting me through this process.  Maybe I will even motivate others to make similar changes.  In my first attempt, I allowed the negativity of a few people to derail me.  That isn’t going to happen again.  This has everything to do with getting healthy – my way.  I understand there are different views on how best to approach fat loss, but this is the path I have chosen.  It is the most efficient and effective approach in my opinion.  If you disagree – no problem, but I won’t entertain your thoughts.  If you can’t say “good luck” or “great job”, then go elsewhere.  I have no room in my life or this process for constant debate or negativity.

I truly have no idea what I can accomplish in a full year of working hard.  My overall goal is to lose 104 pounds.  That is exactly 2.0 pounds per week for the entire year.  I expect I will lose more than that initially, but I wanted something realistic and attainable, taking into account the inevitable plateaus and slower weight loss I will likely see as I get closer to my goal.  I am starting at 378.4 pounds, so I am obviously expecting to end at 278.4.  That would represent an 8 year low and help jumpstart a new life for me and my family.

I know I could more easily hit my weight loss goals if I were to drop my calories too low, run hours on end each day, or cut off various bodyparts, but I am not in some sort of Biggest Loser contest.  I would prefer to be healthy after this is over – and not simply lighter.  The real goal, although not specifically stated, is FAT loss, not weight loss.  I would prefer to retain as much muscle as possible through a hard lifting program.

All I know with any certainty is that I will be significantly healthier come Christmas 2016.

 

flask3

378.4 pounds (12.19.15)

 

 

 

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