I’ve always been fat. I was a regular-sized infant, but I can tell from the photos afterwards that I was one chubby kid growing up. I cite two reasons for this:
1. I was never much of a traditional active childhood. Apart from riding my BMX bike around the neighborhood, I didn’t play any sports. Yeah, I played with other kids in the neighborhood, but I didn’t play on any junior sports teams. I spent a lot of my childhood watching tv — a very sedentary lifestyle.
2. I ate a lot. My parents grew up in India, and came here in the early 1970’s. Their primary goals in raising us were to make sure we were educated, safe, and well-fed. It’s probably not even an immigrant thing — maybe it’s just an old-school parenting thing, but food sometimes substitutes as love. Making sure your kids are fed well will hopefully ensure that they have the energy and nutrients they need. However, for somebody like me with self-control issues and an sedentary lifestyle, this wasn’t the best recipe for success. Even up until recently, I ate 2nd and 3rd helpings at meals.
The 90’s – High School and College Days
I didn’t start working out until 1994-1995. I occasionally hit the RACC at University at Albany, and sometimes played racquetball with friends. However, I continued to overeat. 2nds at the dining hall, and then getting chinese food or pizza late at night. I didn’t balloon up, but I wasn’t thin. They call it the “Freshman 15”, no?
In the summer of 1995, I went to India on a family trip, and as usual, I lost weight. This normally happened, since I never ate much there. My girlfriend at the time and I had broken up before the trip, so by the time I came back to school for my sophomore year at University at Albany, I was single and looking to reinvent myself. I don’t think I ate much better, but I used to go running pretty late at the track. Eventually the weight came back.
During the course of 1996 – 1999, and two more relationships, my weight fluctuated. In 1997, I tried the Atkins diet, and I lost a good 20 lbs. I went off the diet, and I packed on the pounds. I had no exercise, no good eating habits, and I let myself go. I’ve never had a decent plan or strategy to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
In 1999, my senior year was wrapping up, my professional career would be starting in the Fall, and I needed to lose weight. I joined the NY Sports Club, and I enrolled in a program to have a trainer monitor my BMI (body mass index), create a meal plan, and monitor my fat butt. I did learn to eat better, and I went to the gym 2-3 times a week. I got fitter and stronger. This was one of the few periods in my life where I was actually living healthy.
The 00’s – The Working, Marriage, and Parenthood Years
By the end of 1999, I was single, living in Jersey City, working full-time, and travelling. I still maintained my NYSC membership, but I was going to the one in Hoboken. My weight slowly went up as I reverted to my usual bad habits. In 2002, I purchased my Fuji road bike, but I only tooled around with it for the next two summers.
In 2004, I was spending a lot of time on the bike on the weekends, half-day Fridays, and I went running at the nearby Glen Ridge High School track in the evenings on weeknights. At my best, I actually had dropped down to 171 by August 2004, and I was fairly impressed with myself. Unfortunately, that was the apex of my healthy lifestyle. In August 2004, I went on a two-week-long trip to India, and I gained 6 pounds. After that, life at work was busy, and I no longer had a gym membership. The pounds slowly accumulated. Once the kids arrived in 2005 and 2008, I was often too tired and lazy to go out and exercise. On the weekends, my beloved bicycle sat unused.
2011 – The Present Day
Fast forward to 2011. I’ve come to grips with my bad habits — lazyness and a lack of self-control when eating. I’ve used the fitness center at work for two years, but I undo the good workouts by overeating. It was a vicious cycle. It frustrates me to think of how much time I spent on treadmills and stationary bicycles, yoga, and produce no good results. Do you want examples? How about Feb 6 2009, Feb 7 2009, Feb 20 2009, Feb 23 2009, Feb 28 2009, Aug 8 2009, or Aug 14 2009, By the beginning of this year, I ballooned to 206 lbs. I don’t have cholesterol or blood pressure issues, nor do I suffer from any form of diabetes.
So what changed? What made me wake up and smell the french fries?
- I’ve been fairly disgusted when I see my bloated figure in photos. I looked gargantuan. I took this one photo at BJ’s, and I was appalled to see that my head was so fat.
- The fear of diabetes. The more I read about it, the more I was frightened that I could potentially destroy my pancreas, and wreck my body past the point of no return. How foolish does a person have to be, if he or she willingly walks a path that could break your own body? The thought that I could one day irrevocably break my body through bad habits hit me hard.
This is when I realized that I had to do better for myself. As the regular readers know, I joined Gold’s Gym in February, but I realized my diet hadn’t improved, In the past month, I’ve altered my diet, and I’m trying to force myself to be at the gym 3x each week. I’ve realized that I snack and overeat during the day, and I eat a lot of carbs. No wonder that I’ve gotten fat — I could exercise all I wanted, but with the amount of carbs and snacks and large portions, what good would it do?
I’m happy to report I’ve lost 6 lbs since starting this journey, and I’ve learned a little bit more about myself. I’ve learned that this will not be an overnight improvement, but it’s a long-term, lifelong change of lifestyle. I’ve also learned that eating healthier doesn’t have to hurt. Salad isn’t bad. Fruits and veggies are delicious. I don’t miss pizza, french fries, potato chips, or desserts. I’m still figuring out the right size portions of my meals, but I’m getting there slowly.
I’ve not delirious. I’m not being unrealistic. I’m very cognizant of the fact that I’ve been down this road before with middling results. A strong start, but it fizzles out in a month or two. Why is this different?
- I don’t want to wreck my body. I don’t want to break it. I don’t want to die early. I want to be healthier. One day, I’ll reach a point of no return, and it’ll be too late.
- The office gym was free for me, and I wasn’t motivated to get my money’s worth. With Gold’s Gym, I’m paying for it, so I want to get my money’s worth.
- I’ve set short-term and long-term goals. I registered for the 85-mile ride on Sunday, May 22nd, and it’s imperative that I lose weight if I’m going to survive a ride of that distance. My objective is to get down to 185 by the end of May. I want to get down to 170 before the end of the year. I hope that’s reasonable.