Weekly Update #8

Current Weight is 254.6 lbs
Previous Weight was 257.8 lbs

I lost 3.2 lbs this week I was aiming for 3.4 lbs. I worked out 4 days last week and burned an average of 1704 calories per day in exercise. Consumed an average of 1300 – 1700 calories per day. My weight loss could have been a bit higher but I decided to give myself some slack this weekend because I wanted to relax a bit and enjoy the BlizzCon conference. I’m a huge video game fan and MMO-RPG’s tend to be my favorite kind. Granted that playing video games did contribute to my sedentary lifestyle prior to my weight loss, but after a year of working on becoming a healthy person I realize that we have to work hard to find balance in all things. I used to spend a good 30-40’s on the weekends alone playing and yes I had fun but I neglected my health in the process also. Blizzard is launching a new expansion to the game this week and I find myself feeling a bit concerned about how to make sure that I don’t get so immersed that I start to neglect my well being and hold on to my priorities. I have been working really hard this past year and that alone should keep me focused. Not to mention I have no desire to go back to my old ways. I have lost 183 lbs to date and I have no intention of going back. I’m about 50-60 lbs away from my personal goal weight the realization of living in maintenance is starting to become something that I will need to focus on. Video Games will always be a part of my life.

Video Games like food were things I used in the past to fill in the holes of my life. They were a simple way to loose yourself for a few hours at the time and not have to worry about the stuff going on around you. I wasn’t living I was simply existing. When you are existing you seek stimulation from diversions such as food, television or video games. I would get stuck in this rut that often made me feel sad which would make me want to feel comforted and thus lead to eating lots of junk. A few weeks ago I shared on how that is something that I still struggle with specially that feeling of loneliness. It’s good to escape once in a while into a hobby or a distraction but it’s not good to live there. Each new day we get is an opportunity to live our lives to the fullest. So with that being said the lesson I walk away with from all this is find balance in your world.

Goal for this week is to consume no more than 1715 calories per day. Burn an average of 1147 calories per day in exercise over 6 day period. Weight loss goal is to lose 3.6 lbs.

Weekly Update #7

Current Weight is 257.8 lbs
Previous Weight was 261.6 lbs

I lost 3.8 lbs this week I was aiming for 3.3 lbs. I worked out 6 days last week and burned an average of 2150 calories per day in exercise. Consumed an average of 1300 – 1700 calories per day.

Goal for this week is to consume no more than 1719 calories per day. Burn an average of 1116 calories per day in exercise over 6 day period. Weight loss goal is to lose 3.4 lbs.

Weekly Update #6

Current Weight is 261.6 lbs
Previous Weight was 262.2 lbs

I lost .6 lbs this week. I was aiming for 3 lbs but considering I lost over 7.5 lbs last week it makes sense that my body might have to re-calibrate as it were. I worked out 6 days last week and burned an average of 1470 calories per day in exercise. Consumed an average of 1300 – 1700 calories per day.

Goal for this week is to consume no more than 1734 calories per day. Burn an average of 1064 calories per day in exercise over 6 day period. Weight loss goal is to lose 3.3 lbs.

Team Sunflower Stride

Team Sunflower Stride

Now that we’ve got business out of the way lets talk about how awesome this weekend was. I had the good fortune that some friends of mine from a previous employer where forming a team to participate in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event from the American Cancer Society held here in sunny Orlando. This was my first time participating in an organized event of this sort in which I got to both support a great cause while being able to celebrate my own personal fitness accomplishments.

Survivor Registration

Survivor Registration

At this time last year I still weighed 438 lbs and walking from my desk to my car would leave me breathless. It’s amazing what focusing on my health has yielded in a year. As we waited around a bit for the our other team members to gather I got to walk around and check out the sights. One thing that caught my eye was this tent with a banner above the entrance that read Survivor Registration. When I saw that I took stock of how awesome it was that people would be able to celebrate surviving this terrible disease. I also felt like a survivor granted not at the same level as these folks but a survivor nonetheless. Obesity has the distinct fortune to be a reversible condition a stark contrast to diseases such as cancer. My father died due to complications that arose from Multiple Myeloma several years ago now. He never gave up he always pushed forward no matter how many times the cancer kept knocking him down. It is this same determination that flows in my blood that has helped me persevere. Below is one of my favorite poems it reminds me of my fathers strength and the strength that I hope develop for myself.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Do not go gentle into that good night by Dylan Thomas, 1951

Finish Line

Finish Line

Weekly Update #5

Current Weight is 262.2 lbs
Previous Weight was 269.8 lbs

I lost an impressive 7.6 lbs this week I was aiming for 3.4 lbs. I worked out 6 days last week and burned an average of 2000 calories per day in exercise. Consumed an average of 1300 – 1700 calories per day.

Last week I spoke a lot about some of my struggles with food as a means of coping with stress and depression. But one thing that I didn’t talk about out of fear was that ultimately it wasn’t the work stress that triggered my binge but rather the feeling of loneliness. I’ve been single for several years now partly because of how my last relationship ended (i.e. trust issues, lack of confidence, etc). But also because I felt that I did not deserve to be loved. It was these feelings that re-surfaced that flipped my world upside down. I was craving that hug to make me feel loved. I was craving that voice that would tell me that everything would work out. Instead I ate junk in an attempt to fill the void which we all know it never does.

I confided in my friend Sandra about the root cause of my weight gain and she helped me realize something that I’d been blind to all of these years. Below is the advice she gave to me.

The only way through it is just what you’re working on doing and what [I’m] try to do, which is to live life fully in other ways. I figure at some point those other ways will introduce me to a relationship. But if they don’t, I really strive to be happy without it and mostly succeed. You will too in either case (not just a platitude). I figure, too, that the more I work on myself, the happier I’ll be if/when the right person comes around. We have to be ready for it so that we don’t repeat past issues and striving to be happy in other areas I think makes us ready. If we’re already fulfilled, then a relationship is just a huge bonus.

The key in all this for me was that I need to live a fulfilled life so that I might have something worth sharing. She helped me find a new focus and as you can tell from this weeks update I’m back on track. I’m very lucky to have someone as wise as Sandra in my life.

Goal for this week is to consume no more than 1728 calories per day. Burn an average of 1011 calories per day in exercise over 6 day period. Weight loss goal is to lose 3.2 lbs.

Weekly Update #4

Current Weight is 269.8 lbs
Previous Weight was 267.2 lbs

I gained 2.6 lbs this week. I was aiming to lose 3 lbs. I worked out 6 days last week and burned an average of 1700 calories per day in exercise. Consumed an average of 1300 – 1700 calories per on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The rest of the week was a wreck. It all started with what I should have known to be a bad idea from the start. Wednesday had been a fairly stressful day because of the direction one of my work projects took. I was upset and feeling frustrated. At the end of the day the ball was in my court and I got to choose the best way to move forward which allowed me to feel some control over the situation.

Stress is one of those emotions that I have a hard time dealing with it just drains me. So on Thursday morning when I arrived at my office after my workout I decided to go visit the vending machine and I grabbed a candy bar. I put the candy bar on my desk and I debated whether or not I should eat it. The thoughts came into my mind how I’d been doing great I had lost 1.5 lbs so far and that it wouldn’t harm me. After some rationalization I went ahead and ate it. As you can imagine the feeling of emptiness that I was trying to fill was not gone if anything I felt resentment and guilt for having eaten it. Which began to foster doubt and insecurity in myself leading me down a dark path. On my drive home that afternoon I stopped at my local bakery and picked up 4 freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. I ended up having those for dinner I was to ashamed to even log them in my calorie counter app. I went to bed that evening feeling broken and lost. I don’t understand why I’m sliding down this path again. I fell asleep feeling sad and hoped that the next day would be better.

Woke up on Friday morning and was feeling hungry which is of no surprise considering all I had been eating was crap and my body was craving nutrition. I had access to food in the fridge but I was craving comfort. I decided to go out for breakfast figuring that I would keep track of the calories and just watch what I ate for the rest of the day with caution but that was not going to happen. Instead I kept eating junk I visited the bakery again that afternoon and picked up another 4 cookies for me to snack on later after I came home from dinner at my mother’s. If the stress from the week had not been enough I got a call from my bank that my debit card had been stolen and someone in Virginia was attempting to use it. This has been the third time in my life I’ve had to deal with my credentials being stolen. I arrived at the house after having had dinner and I was feeling full to the brim but those stupid cookies were waiting for me when I got home. Sure enough I ate them.

When I got on the scale on Saturday I could see the damage I’d done to myself over the last few days was starting to take effect. I felt alone, I felt lost, I felt shame, I felt despair and many other terrible emotions. I went to the bakery once again and picked up another 4 cookies (you may wonder why 4 every time and I’m not quite sure I think it might be an OCD type of thing). I was arriving at that stage in the grieving process where we start to barter and make justifications for our actions. I was committed that this would be the end of it but little did I know that my greatest failure was still to come. After my workout and breakfast on Sunday I took a shower and got myself ready to get my groceries for the week. It really sucks that there is a bakery next to the produce isle at my grocery store. I picked up my veggies and fruit for the week. I made my rounds and grabbed some other minor things I needed for the week but I could feel the pull of the cookies in the bakery. I has managed to walk past them and also managed to avoid the cookie isle in the store. I wanted some more cookies (starting to get the impression I might have something in common with the Cookie Monster) so I said to myself lets be smart about this just buy two and be done with it. I walked up to the counter and asked for two cookies the attendant at the counter proceeded to remind me that they had cookies on sale that day and that I would get a better deal if I were to purchase a box. Hell who could argue with saving money right so sure enough that box of cookies was added to my shopping cart.

I ate them all. I could not stop at just the two that I had intended it was as if I had lost all self control and was falling down and endless pit. The deed was done I had failed myself. This vortex of negative emotions that all started with one candy bar as a stress reliever turned into a full on weekend of binge eating. I woke up this morning and got ready for the gym to work out wondering if I would be brave enough to publish this and reveal to the world how I had failed. After thinking about it during my workout I came to the realization that I’m not alone and that this was important to share. Not just for my own accountability but also because it might help someone who suffers the same way I do in my relationship with food. I’m far from perfect but I know that I need to forgive myself and find away to deal with these emotions in a way that does not revolve around food. I need to quit using food as a reward for good behavior. I also need to learn to stop and think before I eat if I’m doing it because I’m truly hungry or if something else is going on.

Goal for this week is to consume no more than 1756 calories per day. Burn an average of 1100 calories per day in exercise over 6 day period. Weight loss goal is to lose 3.4 lbs.

Weekly Update #3

Current Weight is 267.2 lbs
Previous Weight was 269.8 lbs

I lost 2.6 lbs this week. I was aiming for 3 lbs so I didn’t do to bad. I worked out 6 days last week and burned an average of 1500 calories per day in exercise. Consumed an average of 1300 – 1700 calories per day.

Goal for this week is to consume no more than 1748 calories per day. Burn an average of 894 calories per day in exercise over 6 day period. Weight loss goal is to lose 3 lbs.

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.

Weekly Update #2

Current Weight is 269.8 lbs
Previous Weight was 270.2 lbs

I’ve lost .4 lbs this week. I was hoping to lose 2.7 lbs but given that I lost 6 lbs last week and I consumed a bit more salt than usual some of the weight might still be in the form of retained water weight. I also had some less than ideal snacks I need to find a way to fight-off temptations for sweets. I managed to avoid them for a good 9 months but for some reason I have recently been craving them again. With that said I probably should invest some time in sorting out why it is that these cravings have resurfaced. I worked out 6 days last week and burned an average of 1400 calories per day in exercise. Consumed an average of 1300 – 1700 calories per day.

Goal for this week is to consume no more than 1756 calories per day. Burn an average of 855 calories per day in exercise over 6 day period. Weight loss goal is to lose 3 lbs.

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).

Weekly Update #1

Current Weight is 270.2 lbs
Previous Weight was 276.4 lbs

I’ve lost an amazing 6.2 lbs this week. I was expecting to lose 3 lbs at most. I worked out 6 days last week and burned an average of 1044 calories per day in exercise. Consumed an average of 1200 – 1700 calories per day.

Goal for this week is to consume no more than 1782 calories per day. Burn an average of 697 calories per day in exercise over 6 day period. Weight loss goal is to lose 2.7 lbs.