What 415 pounds feels like – reflections after 56 pounds lost

I want to share something deeply personal, because this is the digital age and that’s how we handle deeply personal things these days, I guess. But it’s a cathartic feeling for me to process, and potentially helpful for others who are going through the same or similar things. Or maybe just uncomfortable for those who aren’t. We’ll see.

Considering the proof was out there in plain sight, I’m not sure why it’s so shameful for me to admit that I had gotten up to 415+ pounds. My whole life I’ve been big. Since I was a kid, it’s sort of defined me. For better or worse it’s been who I am, and it’s been my biggest defining factor (pun intended).
It’s funny, when I watch those stupid reality shows where somebody is 600 pounds, or somebody is hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, or somebody is so heavily addicted to a substance that they’re willing to go to any length, I always think to myself “How did they get there? How did that happen, why didn’t anyone stop them?”
I guess that’s the thing about addiction, it really does work how you think. You get this idea in your head that you’re the exception to the rule. You see overweight people, and you don’t really identify with them because your situation is different. But my situation wasn’t different. I’ve been around 350 pounds pretty much since I was a teenager, and I fluctuated slightly but not very much.
Eventually my anxiety and OCD got so bad that I went to a psychiatrist, who put me on some very heavy anti-anxiety medications to manage my mental health. What he didn’t tell me, was that the pills make you feel absolutely ravenous. I’ve heard of medications causing weight gain, but I never fully understood what that meant. You don’t really get it until it’s two in the morning, and you feel like you’re going to die if you don’t eat. It’s not a logical feeling, because you’re a. Overweight and b. You ate just hours ago. But your brain won’t let you sleep and you’re miserable and a few months later you’re exactly where you thought you’d never be: 400+ pounds, and dying from the inside out. Please don’t think I’m making excuses: I chose every single calorie that entered my body and I’m personally responsible for every pound on my body. I was incredibly overweight before I took medication that put me in “death-fat” category.
And that’s what 415 pounds feels like: dying. It sounds like an exaggeration, but I could feel my systems shutting down. My back hurts so bad I could barely walk, I could hardly take care of my personal hygiene, I had near constant chest pain, all I wanted to do was sleep and the only thing that made me happy was eating. I didn’t want to make friends, because who wants to hang out with me? I can’t do anything physical. I went to a friend’s movie night and broke his chair in front of 20 people. I withdrew into myself, waiting to die. I knew I wouldn’t make it through my thirties, if I even got to them.
I didn’t want to live anymore but the frustrating thing was, I knew I was the only person to blame for where I was. My life was a jail cell that I’d built up around myself, brick by brick, until it was unlivable and I had nobody to blame but me.
Here’s the thing about having such an obvious imperfection though: It’s comforting in a way. The idea that there’s this one thing, this one factor in your life that’s preventing you from being happy. And if you fixed it, everything would be okay. For me it was food, for others it’s drugs, or a relationship, or religion. The idea that, “If I just had this one thing everything would be okay. I would be okay.”
In so many ways, my weight was a way to escape my reality. My depression, my lifelong OCD and anxiety. None of that really mattered when I could barely breathe, when walking became difficult and I couldn’t go more than a few paces at a time, when I would wake up because my body stopped breathing in the night because I was close to having a stroke. Food comforted me, and my weight insulated me from facing who I really am.
Now I’m down 56 pounds, and I still have a long way to go, but I have hope and I FEEL better, regardless of pounds lost. I’m hanging out with my friends, I’m moving and walking and working out, and more importantly, I’m no longer trapped in this death sentence that I’d drafted for myself. If you’re lurking or considering starting your weight loss journey: PLEASE DO IT. It’s not too late, it IS possible. It’s hard as fuck and you’re going to be hungry and it’s going to suck, but you’ll feel so much better and you’ll be crafting a life you can be proud of. Nobody can or will do it for you.

Big Burger, Small Rant

So today I went kind of off the rails in terms of my eating. My roommate agreed to dogsit for these giant boofs, and one insisted on borking the entire time I was trying to sleep. At one point I broke down in angry sobs and ate all the rest of the ice cream we had in the house. Was it mature? No. Did it happen? Yes.

Anyway, I was tired and grumpy and used that as an excuse to not go get groceries like I should have and ate at my old vice: Carl’s Jr. Instead of getting the Guacamole Bacon Burger with a milkshake, I got the Guacamole Bacon Burger without the milkshake. Because HEALTH RIGHT?

No but seriously. I don’t know how I ate like this, every day. Not only was it $11.00 for almost no nutrients, it gave me a terrible stomachache. But at least I still logged my calories, and I’m determined to do better from here on out. You can make mistakes and learn from them, right? Here’s to moderation and maturity in the face of poor decisions!

 

50 pounds down!

As of today, I’m officially down 51 pounds and some change. DOPEEEE. It’s weird though. I told a couple of people about this today, which was kind of a first for me. A few of the people I’m close to know I’m losing weight, but I’ve been kinda quiet about it. However, when I told the people today that I made the 50 pound mark, I got the response I was fearing and expecting: awkward silence and confusion.

Because you know what? I’m still really fucking fat. Going from 415 pounds to 365 pounds is like going from being $200,000 in debt to $150,000 in debt. It’s still a lot of fucking debt. And it kinda felt like the people I told looked at me and were like, “… really? Are you sure? Because we’re still looking at a giant huge person.”

And I guess in a lot of ways, it echoed my own thoughts about my weight loss. I physically see the difference on the scale, but I don’t feel that much different. A lot of the weight I had gained in the past year had occurred rapidly after taking anti-anxiety medications that made me painfully ravenous. I went from ~355-360 to well over 400 pounds in a matter of two months. And being over 400 pounds is sorta like being dead. I expected to have a heart attack at any moment. My heart literally hurt, all the time.

Which I suppose leads me to a mini-realization: I’ve lost 50 pounds, but I’m still really fat. My victories are going to need to be of the non-scale variety for the time being. But here are a few victories I’ve experienced during my weight loss thus far:

  • I don’t wake up most mornings with sleep apnea-induced migraines. Before I started losing weight, I would go to sleep worried that I just wouldn’t wake up. My sleeping was bad, I would wake up choking and gasping for air. I just expected to get the migraines, every single day. I still get occasional migraines, but they’re no longer a given and they’re actually becoming pretty rare.
  • Like I mentioned above, my heart no longer hurts, like, all the time. I don’t really have constant chest pain anymore. As I reflect back, how the fuck did I live like that for so long?
  • My clothes are STARTING to get looser. When you’re over 400 pounds, even plus size stores don’t cut it. Plus clothes are super fucking expensive. I pretty much only wore Walmart clothing, and eeeeeverything I have is stretchy. That being said, my clothes are barely (just barely) starting to become looser. Also, yesterday I was able to try on (and fit!) a 3x coat at Target. I definitely know that wouldn’t have happened even a few months ago.
  • I’m seeing (and expecting to see) the scale going down. I’ve been fat my whole life, since I was a little kid. I’ve never actually achieved or maintained any sort of weight loss. Tracking my food and exercise as well as weight makes me feel in control, and like weight loss is a true possibility, not some sort of mythical magic spell.
  • I can touch my toes again! There was a period of time where I couldn’t. But I can again, and that’s cool.
  • My constant lower back pain is gone. Even short walks used to be painful. Not anymore.
  • My plantar fasciitis no longer hurts 100% of the time.
  • Heartburn has almost completely gone away.
  • My energy is up. Before I could barely go to the store, and I slept like 12 hours a day or more (probably because I stopped breathing in my sleep?). Now I can do all the errands, go to the gym, play with my dog, do all the things! Fuck yeah, things.

So yeah, 50 pounds is cool. I’m hoping to start noticing my clothes getting looser soon. I think a big part of that will be more consistently incorporating the gym.

Start Weight: 415

Current Weight: 363.3