Friday, February 26, 2010

They fit! They fit! They fit!

When I stepped on the scale today - my official weekly weigh-in day is Friday - I knew my progress would show signs of slowing (after all, I unofficially weigh myself every morning!). So I wasn't surprised to find that I'd only lost three pounds since last week. I now weigh 358. But despite the fact that I have been losing at least five or six pounds a week since week two, I'm not disappointed in the least.

Why? Well, there are a couple of reasons. First, even though my weight didn't drop much this week, my clothing sizes did (as I mentioned in my last post). After finally realizing that I had no more holes left on my smallest belt and that I was swimming in my smallest pair of jeans I went clothes shopping and was able to fit in jeans that were about 6 inches smaller than my previous size. So I bought a new pair of Levi's that was on sale at JC Penney. Then, when I got home I dug out a pair of Ralph Lauren corduroy pants that I had bought on sale about five years ago but was never able to wear (because I'd bought them a size too tight in a then-failed attempt to encourage myself to lose weight). To my surprise, they fit perfectly! I was shocked. As I buttoned them in front of the mirror I looked down at my legs, then up at my face, and I immediately smiled as I screamed (in my head, so as not to scare my puppies), "They fit! They fit! They fit!"

Second, it's because this week I decided to give myself some liberty in my evening meal. I met someone this week who invited me out to eat a couple of times, and while I didn't go over on calories too badly, my choices included more overall sugar and carbs later in the day than I'm used to. For example, on one night I had two poached eggs, toast and a fruit cup (oh, and a bite of my friend's coconut cream layered cake) at around 9 p.m. even though I'd already eaten a 220 calorie Nutrisystem entree around 5 (but by eliminating my snack I still only ate around 1800 calories for the day). And on another occasion I had a couple of hand fulls of German gummi bears, a few Swedish fish and a piece or two of white chocolate to indulge my sweet tooth (after nearly two months exerting strong willpower to overcome nightly cravings).

I'm glad I did enjoy myself this week, but it will probably be a long time before I do that again. On both occasions, actually, I got a stomach ache after treating myself, which is no treat at all!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I can shop at the mall again!

I've been on this new health regime for nearly two months now, so it's time to revisit some of my goals. This is what I wrote in the beginning of January:

I want to be able to ride rollercoasters again, feel more comfortable in airplane seats, be able to sit in those tiny chairs on the patios of cafes, not cause the tires in my tiny compact car to wear unevenly, start my 40s in a year and a half with the same healthful optimism with which I started my 20s, let my parents grow older without having to worry about my health, be able to shop for clothes at the mall again, rollerblade without pain again, and dance the night away again without having to sit the next one out!

Well, I've lost about 45 pounds since writing this, and already I've achieved two of these! I'm now able to fit in the chairs on the patio at Starbucks, Panera, and my favorite French cafe, Rendez-Vous. Also, just as of this week, I'm now able to shop for clothes at the mall again! Only a few stores in the mall carry clothes for bigger guys, but even these top out at 3XL. I was pushing 5XL, so I was relegated to shopping at specialty stores and online. This week I even found some stuff at Marshall's that fit me. Very cool.

It may sound funny that I care about these little details, but someone out there must relate. Anyway, I'm very pleased with reaching these milestones on my way to getting fit.

Here's a pic of me in my new mall-purchased Levi's at 359 pounds:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Well on my way to my goal

This morning I did a mid-week weigh-in and was pleased to discover that I've lost 5 pounds since last Friday. I'm now at 362 pounds. That means I've lost 40 pounds since starting Nutrisystem and 55 pounds from my highest weight (in 2008/2009) of 417.

I'm so excited to be in the 350s again. I haven't been this weight in four or five years. Of course, I won't be so excited that I stop there. No, I have another 70 pounds to go to reach my interim goal of 290. And then I want to keep going for another 70 to reach my ultimate goal of 217. That will make it a clean 200 pounds shed.

Here's a picture I took yesterday morning, after a 365 weigh-in:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I am returning; I am here

Today I went to the beach and while taking pictures of the beautiful scenery I decided to turn the camera on myself. I took a picture without my shirt on, and when I got home to view it on the computer I realized that my near 50-pound weight loss (from the original 417 pounds I started at last year) is becoming more and more evident. But I'm starting to sag where there once was filled-out fluff, so I decided to hit the gym this evening, where I did chest, shoulder and arm exercises before going 16 minutes on the inclined treadmill.

Afterward I was feeling great. I stopped at a convenience store nearby to get a bottle of water, and when I came out and got into the car a familiar song came on the radio. It was a female voice singing a song I'd known to be written and sung by the Spanish singer, Miguel Bosé, back when I first was living in Miami Beach in the mid-1990s. The song is called "Si tu no vuelves", which means "If you don't return". As I listened for a bit I realized the voice was Shakira's. And the words she sang proved to be just as impactful and moving to me now as they were when Bosé sang them nearly 15 years ago. But in a different way.

The song as I remember it was sung by just a single male voice the entire way through. It was a song about losing the one you love and longing for their return. The first words of the song are "If you don't return, all the seas will dry up, and I will wait without you, buried in the depths of some memory".

At the time, Humberto, my lover of just a few months, had gone home to Chile to visit family, and upon flying back a week later he was not allowed to re-enter the country due to outstanding immigration issues. This was the man who had taught me how to love, even though he, at the time, spoke no English, and I still spoke no Spanish. It was through loving that I was able to learn the language, and without him the words of the song, and the memory of him, resonated with me for many months and years to come.

But tonight, as I listened to Bosé's voice blend with Shakira's in an unexpected duet, it was like the song took a different meaning altogether. This time it became internal, as if one voice were the "me" of today, and the other, the part of the lost lover in the original song, was my broken-hearted younger self. Even more, I felt one voice was the obese, years-worn older me of a month ago and the other was my vibrant, youthful and energetic self that had somehow been broken over the years and become lost, or perhaps encapsulated within.

The me of today I feel is neither of those two. Instead, as I lose weight I am becoming the connector linking the two of them. Before now I was either the fit 220 pound man or the overweight 400 pounder. The person that gained 200 pounds over the course of a decade had been lost somewhere in the middle. But as I listened to this new but old song, as I sat there in a dark parking lot alone, I felt a release of pressure deep within my gut as I somehow realized that these individuals were one in the same, and the man in between had never been lost at all.

I wept tears of joy for having re-discovered myself. There I was singing this song to my long-lost self in hopes that he would return, but then I realized he was never gone, just hiding. And I suddenly knew that I was and will be that same man even as I shed every single pound on the path reaching my ultimate weight loss goal.

Unless you've ever put on 200 pounds without even realizing you were doing it, and then, without even looking for it, you finally found the key to taking that weight back off, this blog must sound like nothing more than schizophrenic ramblings. But to me this night feels like salvation.

Here's a YouTube video featuring the original song. A translation of the lyrics follows:

Si tu no vuelves (If you don't return)
Words and Music by Miguel Bosé
Translated by Brian Schwarz

If you don't return
all the seas will dry up
and I will wait without you
buried in the depths of some memory

If you don't return
My will will be diminished
I will remain here
alongside my dog fixated on horizons

If you don't return
only deserts will remain
and I will listen in case
some beat remains in this earth

It was so serene
when you loved me
I breathed a fresh perfume
it was so lovely, it was so big
it had no end

And each night a star would come
and keep me company
may it tell you how I am
and you may know what there is

Tell me my love, my love, my love
I'm here. Can't you see?
If you don't return life will end
I don't know what I will do

If you don't return
there will be no hope, there will be nothing
I will walk without you
with my sadness drinking rain

Thursday, February 4, 2010

So close, yet so far away

After noticing for the past week that all of my clothes were getting loose I decided yesterday to go try on clothes at Rochester Big & Tall. A year ago when I weighed 417 I was pushing 5XL, although I never bought anything at that size (I would just squeeze into the 4XL, popping a few buttons along the way). Also, my waist size was 52. But I'm glad to report that now I'm fitting comfortably into 3XL and was able to slide into Ralph Lauren jeans with a 46 waist. They were a bit snug, but it boosted my confidence as well as my committment to this weight-loss regime I'm on.

That said, when I think about my goal of reaching 220 pounds it still seems so far away. I've lost about 40, but how long will it take to lose another 150? Will I be able to do it? I'm taking it one day at a time, but I'm setting some short-term goals that I hope to achieve while making it toward the big one. If I can lose five pounds a week until I reach 310 and then three pounds a week after that, here's what I'm working toward achieving:

By March 1: 350
By April 1: 330
By May 1: 310
By June 1: 295
By July 1: 280
By August 1: 265
By September 1: 250
By October 1: 235
By November 1: 220

At this rate I'll reach my goal by Thanksgiving. This sounds impossible, and I promise not to beat myself emotionally if I don't achieve this. But I really do believe I can do it if I continue the path I'm on and steadily ramp up the exercise along the way. What do you think? Can I do it?