What was the event or realization that lead me to lose weight?

Stress, Grief, Anxiety, Depression, Frustrated, ShameI have tried loosing weight several times past but it never stuck. Past failures, low self esteem, general stress all served to keep me from meaningful weight loss.

I had several great reasons to lose weight:

  • My weight made me feel ashamed.
  • My weight made me feel depressed.
  • My weight made me feel angry.
  • My weight made me feel frustrated.
  • My weight made me feel defensive.
  • My weight made me feel alone.
  • My weight made me feel self-conscious.
  • My weight made me feel inadequate.
  • My weight made me feel like an outsider.
  • My weight made me feel as if I didn’t belong.
  • My weight made me feel unworthy of love.
  • My weight made me feel unworthy of friendship.
  • My weight made me feel unworthy of compassion.
  • My weight made me feel like a prisoner in my own body.
  • My weight made shopping for clothes difficult and expensive.
  • My weight caused me terrible and debilitating back aches.
  • My weight caused me to break several office chairs.

But none of those things were enough to motivate me to change. My change came as a result of a year long series of events that started towards the end of 2012. My weight was causing me to feel terrible. I wasn’t sleeping thru the night. Sometimes my heart would start racing. I started feeling random chest pains. I would get powerful migraines that made me feel as if my scull was about to explode. One morning while sitting at my desk I started feeling sick, sweaty, cold, and my chest was hurting. My boss was concerned that I was experiencing some sort of a heart attack and encouraged me to go to the emergency room. After tons of blood work and monitoring it was concluded that what I had experienced was simply a pulled chest muscle and not a heart attack. Apparently I had pulled a chest muscle while helping a neighbor push his car home one afternoon. I was prescribed some muscle relaxers and sent on my way. A while later I followed up with my doctor who diagnosed me with high-blood pressure and prescribed me Lisinopril and Amlodipine.

About two months later I experienced yet another health issue I started to find blood in my stool. I was bleeding rectally yet again I found myself visiting the emergency room. I stepped on the scale and as a part of the initial check-in and this was the first time it hit me that my weight was killing me slowly. The readout on the scale was 438 lbs I realized that I was 62 pounds away from weight a quarter of a ton. That number was astounding to me who could I have let things go this far. A few weeks later I found myself in a hospital enduring a colonoscopy to determine the source of the bleeding. As it turns out I had developed a hernia on my rectum. Caused possibly due to my weight or perhaps the fact that I was constantly sitting because I could barely walk for extended periods of time. They extracted some polyps’ from my intestines that fortunately turned out to be benign.

I had suffered a lot and I’d been extremely lucky considering that diabetes, cancer and heart disease is prevalent in my family. Something had to change I knew that my fortune was going to start running out and I knew that I wasn’t being a good steward of my body. Even after all this it would be another 9 months before I would find the thing that would get me on the right path. But thats a story for next time.

When did my weight gain start?

High School Picture (1993)

High School Picture (1993)

I’ve always carried around a few extra pounds since I was a kid. It’s hard not to when you grow up in a Puerto Rican household and most of your meals constitute of rice, beans, potatoes with your choice of beef, chicken or pork. Vegetables at least non starchy ones were not around much not that I would have been inclined to eat them. I grew up being quite a picky eater as a result. The one good thing about this is that all of the food was fresh no preservatives, no artificial flavors and no hard to name additives.

Graduating high school and starting college opened a whole new world of opportunities and experiences. The freedom to choose my own path in this world was amazing and dangerous at the same time. I became care free and indulged in everything little did I know that my metabolism would eventually slow down. Of course choosing a career as a software developer ridding a desk wasn’t going to have a great impact in my overall fitness.

If we move forward a few years to the year 2001 I had found my groove and was getting ready to wrap up my college career I was looking forward to finding and starting my career as a software developer. I was working at a printing company as an administrator. The job consisted mostly of sitting at a desk paying bills, collecting payments and pushing paperwork around. This would be the year that would set my life in a bit of a tailspin.

I’m your conventional run of the mill introvert who often has a hard time interacting with others but one day all of that changed. I met this cute girl that was hired as a temp she an I hit it off pretty fast. She made me feel special. Soon enough we were going out to dinner and spending more and more time together. I was addicted to the way I felt when I was with her I hadn’t felt that way for a long time. I started to slack off at school, my friendships and other responsibilities started to feel like a burden. I didn’t know how to have balance in my life I just wanted to be with her all the time.

As relationships go it was great but all that changed about a year later. There was some friction with my family and this started to cause a rift between us. I had never experienced this type of stress in my life. I wanted things to workout but somethings are just not meant to be. I started to eat lots of junk food to comfort myself. But looking back at it I think that my inability to deal with my feelings and the situation lead me down this self destructive path. I think that the added weight also became a metaphorical shield to protect me. But my weight eventually became yet another factor that lead to the eventual dissolution of my relationship.

438 lb Me (Nov 2013)

438 lb Me (Nov 2013)

As you can imagine my self esteem was pretty much gone and the only thread I had to hang onto was my career as a software developer. I buried myself in my work 18 hours a day was the norm. I didn’t cook so all of my meals came from either fast food places or delivery. It was here that I hid for nearly 11 years. I lost my father during this time. He was diagnosed with two types cancer (Multiple Myeloma & Prostate Cancer). The greatest man ever was taken away from me I felt lost and alone once again. As you can imagine I found myself falling down this endless pit of despair. Food became my medicine which eventually lead me to weigh 438 lbs (Nov 2013).