How I Lost Weight
I was a big guy.
I always had been. Plenty of times I tried to get in shape and failed. When I was fourteen I weighed about 215 lbs. As I got older, I managed to keep getting bigger and bigger. At my highest I weighed about 305. I told myself it was in my genetics. That other people were blessed with genes that kept them skinny and I got those nasty “fat” genes. There was nothing I could do. I had no energy. No drive. The girls I liked tossed me into that horrible nexus aptly named the friend zone. On the rare occasions where I had success, the relationships usually made it about two months before falling apart. “Let’s be friends.” A few places didn’t hire me for a variety of reasons – but let’s be frank. I knew the reason. In my head I blamed everyone and everything around me. Life was just against me. And it worked for awhile to keep my ego together like that. I liked to play pretend.
I attempted to lose weight well over a dozen times. They usually lasted a week. If it wasn’t easy or quick I had no interest at all. No, sitting around and waiting for the weight to disappear was how I approached weight loss. Needless to say, nothing changed. Every year I resolved to get skinnier. Every year I would push that goal to next year. The cycle of attempting change and failing continued over and over.
It’s easy to see changing an aspect of yourself, such as weight loss, smoking, mental health, or education in it’s own category separate from the rest. Your weight is your weight, your disposition is your disposition. These little niche categories all are separate, or so it would seem. That’s all nonsense. Any change at all begins on every level of your existence. I was big because I was a lazy and depressed bum. That’s hard for a lot of people to swallow. It was hard for me – and it was a truth I actively sought to avoid.
Every time somebody makes a life-changing decision, they can always pinpoint it back to one key moment. I don’t know if it’s looking back that creates a sense of narrative in our lives, but it was when my then-girlfriend dumped me. I was devastated. She was, in my head, that one special girl that could never be replaced. I told myself that I would never be as happy as I was with her. I remember driving around that night waiting for anything to happen, for something to make this better. I always did that – I waited for opportunities.
Of course, that was obvious. I knew nothing would. Nothing ever did. I’d be the same sack of crap I was that day weeks later. I always would be. I finally parked my car at a nearby park and stared into the night sky. I thought a lot about myself and about her. There wasn’t a single moment, but it slowly started to click in my brain: I was unhappy with my life because I chose to be. There was no other truth to my existence than what I myself created around me. That night, I realized the frightening truth that I was responsible for each painful memory, each pound I gained, each broken heart, each failure, and every mistake I had ever made. I was the cause and they were the effect.
To many reading, that might seem like a melancholy conclusion to make about one’s own dissatisfaction with life. At the time, I was also battling depression alongside my size. Hell was coming from every direction. Yet it was that very conclusion that gave me the one thing I had avoided my entire life: control. If I could mess everything up around me, I could also fix it. There’s a degree by which we all have to measure ourselves – for many it’s the world around them. That night I decided that I measured myself by my own standards. The next day I went to the gym. Seven months later I had lost over ninety pounds.
This isn’t a story about weight loss. My story isn’t very magical or even all that inspirational. If anything, it’s pretty simple. I’m just a guy who found something that worked for him (and will one day explain in detail the diet and exercise regimen I personally followed). Plenty of people do. No, this is a story about how I learned to take control of my life. I learned, thanks to that lovely school of hard knocks, that I had control over the world around me. That instead of sitting in my basement watching television I could be outside being something.
That’s become my personal philosophy. I won’t lie to anyone. I’m here giving you opinions from my own life experiences, but what you do with that is for you alone to decide. Everything you do begins and ends with you – and nobody else. You want to lose weight? Go find something that works. Keep trying until it does. You want a great job? Keep applying at places until you find one you want. Self-improvement is about starting with yourself – sometimes physically, but it starts mentally. I spent years of my life acting like I had no control when the entire time I did. I took the long road to find the answers I was looking for, but you don’t have to. If things suck, make them not suck. Yeah, maybe I’m over-simplifying situations, but you have to start somewhere. Keep failing. Keep messing up. But keep doing something.
I called this “how” I lost weight – not the method by which I did it. I dieted, I exercised, I lost weight. The details themselves aren’t all that vital. I lost weight because it clicked in my mind that I could lose weight. If you want to do something and can (and honestly, don’t kid yourself, you can), then why aren’t you doing it?