No Guts….No Glory!

My wife and I have been together over 12 years and in November of 2012 I was the heaviest I have ever been, and the heaviest I ever would be. Lets talk about scales and fat people before I reveal my highest weight. Most typical scales go to 350 and some even go to 400. So people my size can’t just say “hey I’m going to weigh today.” I have to find a scale that will weigh me and that’s not as easy as it sounds. Well at some point that month I found one. The addict inside me didn’t want to know and didn’t care. There was another side of me that was fed up and glad I finally saw the devastating number. **Note that I keep putting off telling you the number** So I step on the scale and I see 485lbs. My heart sinks and my mind races. My mortality is realized. The thought of leaving my wife and children without a husband, a father, or a provider almost brought me to my knees. So I start a diet and start losing weight right? Wrong! The twisted addict inside me says “Screw it! Lets eat, you’ll feel better.” so that’s what I do. Shortly after, I come across a new diet drink that promised to help you lose weight and be healthier without diet or exercise. The fat guy inside me gets excited. Lose weight, eat what I want, and no exercise. Sign me up! So I take the magic drink religiously for several months, and I actually start shedding the pounds all the way down to 445lbs. All of a sudden one day the magic drink doesn’t work anymore, and the $200 a month I’m spending isn’t worth it. So I stop, and immediately go back to my old addictive ways and I can feel the pounds slowly start to return. Believe it or not, but to weigh over 400lbs you have to be in decent shape and strong as an ox to still be mobile. Even the easiest of tasks take all the energy you have, and leaves you with nothing left to give to others. My weight had controlled me long enough and it was all starting to fall into place from my depression, to the control it had on my marriage, and to the everyday anger that I exhibited towards others. A change had to take place one way or another.

Let’s back track for a minute. Ever since I was in nursing school I knew I wanted to be an ER nurse at LSU medical center. LSU is a level 1 trauma center that sees all the blood and guts you can handle. An adrenaline junkies dream job! I put my mind to it and shortly after graduation I got my job. The staff at LSU became my extended family and I am proud to say that I love each and every one of them like a brother and sister. Somewhere at the end of 2012 or beginning of 2013 it became clear our state hospital was going to be privatized. Meaning we would be laid off and our years of service and retirement would be no more. So I began actively searching for employment at the VA Medical Center. The day I accepted the position at the VA I knew that I had also made a commitment to make other life changes. I was going to lose my weight and it was going to stay off for good. In case you didn’t know the VA has great benefits, and better yet they have GREAT health insurance. It was Tuesday August 27th, 2013 when I made my life changing decision, and I haven’t looked back yet.



As most of you are aware by now I have been exceedingly open and honest with you (the viewer) in my blog. Some of you I have never met, others I haven’t seen in years, but there are plenty of you that I see on a daily or weekly basis. That makes being so open very difficult, but I feel it is a necessity for my transformation. You could almost call it a form of therapy. I feel I have to be honest with the people I know and even the ones I don’t know in order for me to be honest with myself. My own wife wasn’t aware I was a binge eater until she read my blog. Being fat is a sickness! When I say fat I mean a hundred pounds or greater. I don’t consider someone who is 30 or 40 pounds overweight being fat. Being fat is an addiction just like Crack, Meth, or Heroin. The only difference is my addiction is legal to buy and easily accessible. Of course there are people who will disagree, but those are the people who have never been addicted to something. Merriam-Webster defines addiction as a strong and harmful need to regularly have something. I am a food addict! I’m writing this post as a sort of warning shot. My next post I am going to put myself out in the open like never before. Just realize the next time I see you I may seem rock solid on the surface but on the inside I’m shattered and humiliated.

Love, Marriage, and Taco Bell

On January 25, 2002 I married my best friend. I started the marriage off weighing the most I had ever weighed at that point in my life. I was somewhere around 350 pounds, and wore a 4x shirt and a size 54 in pants. We had a small wedding with a few friends and family. I wasn’t really nervous about getting married, I was nervous about standing in front of all those people. Now if you ever met me you would think I was very confident in everything I do. Some people even say I’m intimidating when I first meet them. I can assure you whats on the outside doesn’t reflect whats on the inside. These are strictly defense mechanisms designed to keep people from seeing the real me. After our honeymoon we started off great. We were cooking our meals every night, but by no means were we dieting. I wasn’t binge eating or stress eating as bad as I normally did. Then the new wore off, and that’s when bad went to worse.We eventually got out of the habit of cooking and ate out a lot. We still cooked some nights but why cook when the dollar menu is so much easier. The first four years of our marriage I worked dead-end jobs and we lived paycheck to paycheck adding more children into the mix. The more stress I had the more I ate, and the more empty I felt.  I couldn’t see it at the time, but the weight I gained wasn’t just affecting me, it was affecting my family and my marriage. In 2006 I started nursing school and managed to keep gaining weight. Of course through these years I tried every different diet you could name. I wasn’t  successful at any of the diets I tried. Once nursing school was completed I found a real job with health insurance, and decided to be checked for sleep apnea. There were nights I would wake up with sharp pains in my side from my wife punching or kicking me just to get me to breathe. I went to speak with the doctor after my test and he informed me that within 4 hours I had 150 apneic events(meaning I stopped breathing).My longest episode was for 1 1/2 minutes and my oxygen saturation was 60%(92-100 is normal and 60=really bad). Since the day I received my C-PAP I have worn it every night and sleep like a baby. My weight had sky rocketed since we got married, and I was miserable. I blamed everyone but myself. It got so bad I even left my wife. I figured I would be happier by myself and I could be my own person. By doing this I hurt my children and most of all the women who I love and has supported me through it all. She didn’t deserve what I put her through and I can’t apologize enough. It was the worst mistake of my life, and no matter what I say or do I can’t erase that pain or memory from my families mind. Continue reading

Motivating the Unwilling

The Question is, How do you motivate someone who doesn’t want to be motivated? I have spent the last bit researching how to motivate an overweight person. There are thousands of tips online offering ways to motivate overweight people. However, as a fat person I know what works for me and I believe most overweight people. To start with, if you are taking advice on motivating overweight people from someone who is skinny and doesn’t have a before picture of them being fat just walk away. Unless you have been fat you don’t know the first thing about telling other people how to motivate the overweight population. I’m no expert so I will just give some examples of things that have helped me out, and maybe it may help you or someone you know out. I can speak from experience that if I’m not completely motivated I will not stick with what I’m doing. I recently watched the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. The Mean Green drink that they promote on the show wasn’t for me, but the stories were amazing and extremely motivating. The show Chris Powell does Extreme Makeover:Weight Loss Edition is motivating as well. The problem is fat people want to lose the weight, but we want to take the easy way out and don’t want to use much energy to lose the weight. There are tons of diets, pills, and drinks out there that promise to make you lose weight, and I have tried most of them. There was one that worked well for me for a few months and then nothing, I never lost anymore weight. I lost about 40 pounds while I was on it and gained back about 20-25 pounds when I stopped it. The only sure-fire way to lose weight, and I learned it the hard way is diet and exercise (surgery works to, but we will get to that later). The best motivating tool is actually seeing results. There is an app and they also have a website that I use called My Fitness Pal. It’s easy to use and you don’t feel like you are on a diet. Its based off your weight and tells you how many calories you can have a day. You can eat whatever you want just don’t go over the calories. if you eat the full amount of calories you lose 1-2 pounds a week. I started almost 4 weeks ago and I have lost 33 pounds so far. Of course I didn’t eat my full amount of calories per day either. I’m setting small but attainable goals for myself. My first goal is a t-shirt that is a size smaller than what I wear. Once I reach that goal I will have a new goal to meet. If all else fails you can hold a good old fashion intervention. I know that I didn’t realize how my weight affected my family until I opened my eyes. It started with having to pull a chair into my little girls room to read them a bedtime story because I would probably break the slats on their bed. The thing that bothered me most was seeing how I was pushing my wife away with my insecurities due to my weight. I will go into further detail on my motivating factors in later blogs.The main thing to remember is it’s different for everyone, but everyone has a breaking point you just can’t give up on them because they may give up on themselves.

Growing Up and Growing Out

I may not remember much from high school, but I remember one specific weight and that was 265 pounds and at the end of my football career. At this point I wasn’t exercising and my food consumption was slowly increasing along with my waistline. My junior year I moved back to Shreveport from San Antonio to live with my father. A new school meant new friends which meant I didn’t know anyone. The next two years were lonely and depressing. I eventually made friends, but there was still a sadness covering me that I couldn’t explain. The only thing that made me feel better was my good friend food. I would eat whole large pizzas in one sitting or I would eat two sometimes three hamburgers for one meal. I just didn’t care! I reached my lowest point my senior year of high school when I loaded and placed my grandfathers 12 gauge shotgun in my mouth. I don’t remember a lot about that night, but I do remember pulling the trigger and hearing the firing pin click. Some people would say it was a coincidental misfire and some would say it was God. Whatever it was I got the hint, and never placed the gun back in my mouth. I continued eating more and more and made the decision not to go to college. I worked for about six months out of high school before I decided to go to technical college. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life so I chose based off of which trade I could meet the most women, and that was the practical nursing program. I quickly learned I enjoyed the nursing profession, and I was surrounded by women. I made several new friends, but this is where I met my best friend. We were best friends about six months or so before I was brave enough to ask her on a date. A short 6 months after that I married the most beautiful women alive.

Food for Thought

Most people are unaware of the fact that overweight people think and reason different from skinny people. The average size person doesn’t  base their day-to-day activities based on their weight. Being overweight can be embarrassing and difficult to deal with sometimes. When I go to a restaurant they ask if I would like a table or booth. The typical person doesn’t think twice about this, but not for someone who is overweight. I quickly have to scan the restaurant and see if their booths are wide enough to accommodate me  or if the chairs seem sturdy enough. Nothing is more embarrassing than going to sit in a booth and not fitting or the chair breaking underneath your weight. Probably a very similar feeling to the dream where you show up to school in your underwear. Most amusement park rides are out as well. After being told I’m sorry sir you are too big to ride the roller coaster or I’m sorry our seatbelts don’t accommodate someone your size your pride, self-worth, and self-confidence gets shattered. How about the average person going to buy a pair of pants? Well that’s easy you just run up to Old Navy or Target, right? Some stores accommodate plus size, but what do you do when the plus size at your local Wal-Mart doesn’t sell your size pants or shirt. In my area there is one store that accommodates the Larger male. Clothing at these stores are sometimes double to triple the cost at a regular store. I assume it is due to material cost. What about flying? We all have heard comedians and other people joke about getting stuck next to the fat guy in coach. How do you think the fat guy feels? First off if the airline even lets you on board. If they do you may have to buy a second ticket and/or a seatbelt extender. Asking for the seatbelt extender is absolutely humiliating. Sometimes you make it onto the plane before they make you get up and leave because you are too big. My first time flying was about 2 years ago. My wife and I went to Mexico for a friend’s wedding. I did my research because I did not want to be kicked off the plane or have to buy two seats. American seemed to be the most fat friendly airline. So I made it through the terminal and to our seat. I thought I was being punked and Ashton Kutcher was going to pop out any second. The seats were tiny and the seat belts seemed even smaller. I somehow wedged myself into the seat next to my wife and the window. I chose the window because I didn’t want to intrude someone elses space (just my wifes and she was completely smushed beside me). Of course the seatbelt didn’t fit. I was so humiliated and ashamed I couldn’t even ask for the seatbelt extender. I pulled the seatbelt as close to each other as possible and covered the space with my messenger bag. I was so wedged in the seat I doubt a crash would have loosened me. The plane took off and of course we had a connecting flight and repeated the process on that plane as well. Everyday of my life so far that I can remember I have had to make decisions based off of my weight and the limitations it causes. It may sound silly to you, but I look forward to the day I can go to Old Navy and buy a pair of pants. I can’t wait to get on a roller coaster with my kids and not have to see their disappointment because daddy is too big to ride the ride. I won’t look forward to flying, but when I do my chin will be up and my seatbelt will be buckled!

Big Bully

Like most over weight children I was bullied. Let’s face it at 127lbs in first grade I was an easy target. As an overweight child I developed gynecomastia or “Moobs” as I like to call them (AKA Man Boobs). To this day I have never been swimming without a shirt on because of my childhood experiences. The Bullying wasn’t just from the children it was from teachers as well. One of my gym teachers in middle school was terminated due to his comments that I could work in the circus with the bearded lady all because of my “moobs.” All through elementary and the beginning of middle school I was picked on and spent a lot of time crying, and comforting myself with food. The bullying and the tormenting turned into anger and awoke the beast inside me. When I was in 7th grade I began playing football. I didn’t know the difference between offense and defense and the only exercise I received was running to the refrigerator for a snack prior to playing football. After taking a few hits I began to toughen up and before I knew it my weight began to drop. with a healthier diet and a lot of exercise. As the pounds shed and I found a new release for my stress through clobbering people on the field and I gained the respect of my peers and the bullying ceased. As the saying goes all good things come to an end, and so did my days of playing football during my 10th grade year of high school. As the exercised ceased my eating increased and so did my weight. The bullying never fully returned. Sure the occasional snide remark but nothing like before. Now I knew how to stop it before it started. Make everyone believe you are the biggest baddest person they have ever seen and hope it works. For the most part it always worked!