I came across a great story on cnn.com about a guy named Jamil who went from 313 to 185 by exercising at night. He and I have a few parallels in our journey of descending from the 300 club.
First, Jamil realized that he needed to lose weight after seeing pictures of himself. For Jamil, it was a trip to Hawaii. For me, it was hosting a local rock and/or roll concert. I saw these pictures and thought “great Caesar’s ghost — I had no idea I looked like that!” This expression is particularly meaningful because I was eating a Caesar salad — my second that day — when I said it.
By age 29 I weighed 318 pounds, at least according to a bathroom scale that technically can’t exceed 300. When you weigh that much, you realize that most of the world, including our old bathroom scale, is designed for people who weigh less than 300, and, in many cases, less than 250 pounds. Look at the warning labels on ladders (up to 300!) or even bar stools (up to 225!). Look at the requirements for skydiving (up to 250, otherwise huge splat!).
I knew I needed to lose weight but was unsure about how to do it. Exercise & eat right: Thanks, motivational poster! But what do I do? Try to run? Am I too big to run? Do I lift weights? If I lift weights, am I not doing enough to lose weight? What do I not eat? Can Sour Cream & Onion chips really be that bad for you? It was then that someone told me about a program that I’ve blogged about before called “LoseIt”. Simple, functional and actually kind of elegant, this iPhone software for calorie counting leads to results. This is not a paid endorsement. Yet.
Once I started counting calories, I learned how to eat. If I down a few Bavarian Creme donuts, at 250 calories each, not only have I used up 500 food cals, I also have the sadness of being hungry in an hour and not being able to eat until lunch, which will now be a confetti sized piece of turkey. Behavior modification is painful and effective.
At the same time, I was walking, which eventually became running. It is amazing what kind of difference is made by actually moving. But here’s another parallel between Jamil and I: I would also walk/run at night. I still remember the first time that I actually jogged 2 miles. It was a big deal. It was also at like 11:30pm, mostly because I didn’t want people to see a huge guy trying to do something that came so easily for people who were normal sized and could use a step ladder without filling out a release. I didn’t want to be seen because I, too, was pulling a Subway Jared. It just seemed kinda shameful.
But baby, look at me now!
No, actually, look at me like 3 months ago, before going through my Mom’s death and eating every casserole and cookie that people brought to us to help ease the pain and fill the void. I’m up a good 20 pounds after losing 50+, but I know how to make it go away again. Another thing I learned is that our bodies are desperate to get back to the shape they once had. Also, Sun Chips may look like corrugated pulp, but that’s because pulp tastes good if you’re really hungry.
We’re going on a cruise this coming weekend and I’m a bit nervous. Not because of recent news stories where Russian cruise ships have capsized in the Baltic, or even because of an event last year where a cruise ship got stuck at sea and served its passengers old pop tarts until they could be rescued. Listen: I’ve seen Titanic, and the tragedy happens because Rose and Leonardo weren’t smart enough to do hourly rotations on the floating plank. My nervousness comes from the fact that your ticket price includes a literal 24/7 all you can eat buffet. “And the food is good, Adam” say my friends. They know what I like. “If you want like 3 steaks, just ask for it and the have to bring it to you!” While I’m happy to stick it to the man and get my money’s worth and a whole lot more, I’m not excited about the reports of people who have gained 15 pounds while on a single cruise. Then again, this only serves to substantiate the legend of truly unlimited food, which I thought only existed on TV and in Heaven.
“Rest assured” said one friend “that there’s plenty of places on board for exercise.” I’m told that the cruise ships have all the elements of being healthy: a weight room, which is right next to the pizza restaurant. A running track that circles the food court. Elliptical machines are pushed up to the steam table so that you don’t have the inconvenience of having to walk to the other side of the boat for scallops. Working out will be a piece of cake, ________________________*
And this is where Jamil’s story inspires me. It’s not cool to have the biggest shirt, knowing that the reason they had to get XXXL is because of you. I’ve been there. To public school, that is. Let’s just say that my High School wasn’t optimized for musicians who sit in the back row and crack jokes. Social status aside, it’s just better to be in better shape. You feel better. Your clothes fit better. Your outlook on life is better. Key word: better. Old key word: butter.
There’s nothing worse than having resolve without results. I have the resolve. I want good results. I also request that the ship not sink. Thank you.
r adam davidson once at four hard-shell tacos in one sitting. He was five years old.
* complete this thought and get a prize.
PS: Here’s the picture that scared me into eating better —