“Daddy, is your tummy getting bigger and bigger because you’re having a baby like Mom?”
The seemingly innocent question from my three-year-old son set loose a flood of self-consciousness and disappointment in my brain. I’ve struggled with weight for most of my life, and while I have so far been lucky enough to avoid major health issues because of it I am sure that they are looming in the not-so-distant future.
I was a big kid in high school, choosing arts over sports whenever possible. My first year of college I gained a freshman fifty thanks to the help of keg stands and all-you-can-eat access at the dining hall. I traded school for work in 2004, only to be met with a sedentary lifestyle, the most exerting activity of which was crawling home from the bar each night. I joined gyms, made resolutions, and bought healthy foods but the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Fast Forward to 2011 when I entered into a weight loss challenge for a $1000 prize. For seven months I was diligent about my food, my exercise, my mindset, and my discipline. I finished the challenge down 30 pounds – 14% of my starting body weight. I won the prize money (as of yet unpaid) and for the first time in over 10 years weighed less than 200 pounds.
And that brings us to today: I’ve lost the habits developed last year. My running clothes collect dust, my gym membership is expired, and I eat more fast food per week than I had in all of 2011 combined. I have a plethora of excuses, the most popular being I’m too busy – I’ve successfully convinced myself that there’s no time to work out, no time to eat right, and no time to worry about it. I was so busy I didn’t even notice the 45 pounds I’ve gained. I am 25% heavier now than I was last summer. My clothes don’t fit, my energy level is low, and I’m back to my old habits of fueling my disappointment with doughnuts, pizza, cheeseburgers, and beer. I currently weigh 229 pounds, with a Body Mass Index of 33.2 which lands me squarely in the Obese category.
I’m challenging myself to lose fifty pounds over the next fifty weeks. With a target goal of 180 pounds and a deadline of December 23, 2013 I should be looking good, feeling healthy, and generally happier just in time for Christmas. I put very little stock into fad diets, drastic and immediate lifestyle changes, and weight-loss stimulants; instead I’m going to focus my efforts on breaking bad habits and making new ones – the kinds of habits I am happy to uphold for the rest of my days. I’ll eat more vegetables and fewer carbs, I’ll drink homemade juice instead of store bought sugar water, I’ll go for runs with the dogs, to the gym with my wife, and to swim class with my son. I’ll be happier, healthier, and fitter than I’ve ever been.
Fifty pounds in fifty weeks. Because daddy’s not pregnant – just fat and unhealthy.