A Broken Man, But Better...

Full disclosure, I am not entirely comfortable posting this but it was strongly recommended by my therapist that I should. Hopefully it will reach someone who can be helped by it.

For most of my life I was in pretty good shape. I was active in sports and routinely got out of the house to go for bike rides or hikes. Unfortunately, for most of my life I was trying to ignore traumas, both from my youth and as an adult. I don’t intend to get into detail about those traumas, nor should it matter. Everyone has things they deal with (or don’t), what really matters is how each person handles it. For me, I had spent most of my life putting a fake smile on my face, cracking jokes, and pretending nothing was wrong. This was in the hopes that I could get my life into a good place and I would no longer have to pretend. As anyone that has tried to ignore problems for long periods of time can attest, that was a bad idea. Eventually my life was down to nothing but spending far too many hours at work and living off of fast food.

During the last job I worked, I gained around 30 pounds due to stress. This had happened to me once before when I was stuck working graveyard shifts for several years, but I was able to get that weight off when I got onto a better schedule. This time around the weight gain wasn’t due to that as I was working a daytime shift (although routinely 70+ hours a week) it was purely due to the stresses of a toxic work environment and having nothing to offset that in my personal life. Eventually the problems at that job become so severe that I could no longer continue working there. I drove my self home, sat on my couch, and started streaming whatever show or movie would distract me. That is where I stayed, from early 2016 to today I have been a reclusive shut in. When that job ended, it was the severance of my last tie to the outside world. I have no family, no friends, and no significant other. I haven’t for quite some time. So when I say I stayed on my couch I mean it. I would only leave my apartment every few months to get groceries. I know how this probably comes across to anyone reading it, but I’m not saying any of this in an attempt to get pity or elicit some kind of reaction. I am giving these details to hopefully provide the appropriate context for my situation in case anyone else feels alone.

For years I lived on delivery pizza and sub sandwiches. I ordered so often that I became embarrassed about how often I would see the same delivery driver and worried what they must think of me. I did not have an issue with binging; rather I would eat the pizzas over the course of two or three days. But pizza only lasts so long before you need to reorder… That diet, combined with the fact that I was laying down for 23+ hours a day for years lead me to a max weight of 250 pounds (that I know of) with my muscles almost to point of atrophy. I know that 250 pounds is not a lot for some, but for me it was enough to cause pain in my knees on the rare occasions I would venture upstairs to shower or change clothes as well as other health concerns.

In February 2020, my savings were running out after being unemployed for four years, but I did not feel capable of working a regular job. I decided that I needed to lose weight and regain some functional strength before I felt able to apply anywhere. I delayed for a while but in March 2020 I signed up for a week free trial to a gym just down the street from me. I was terrified to go in but I did. I went for six straight days and was heading in for the seventh with the intent of buying a membership. When I got to the doors of the gym I saw that it had closed due to the pandemic. For the next few months I tried to work out at home but I couldn’t really get anything going with that, my apartment had been my prison for years and motivation was in short supply. I had decided that I would no longer eat fast food or delivery anymore though and that I would cook for myself. The pandemic actually made this easier for me as I’m a bit of a germaphobe so I wasn’t comfortable with delivery at that point anyway. By the time the gym opened back up in June 2020 I had lost 20 pounds just from eating food I made myself. I wasn’t using MFP or measuring/weighing anything at that point; it was just the change in food. When the gym opened again I went regularly (~3 days a week) for about three months, losing another 20-25 pounds and gaining back some functional strength. Eventually COVID case counts got too high and the gym wasn’t enforcing its mask mandate so I had to put my membership on hold because I didn’t feel safe going anymore.

Around the same time I stopped going to the gym I started using MFP. I had realized that I hadn’t been eating enough and was getting dizzy and light headed often. I estimate that I had been eating 1100 – 1200 calories a day, so I started using MFP to make sure I didn’t under-eat anymore. As of today I have logged almost every calorie I’ve eaten for the past 280 days. Unfortunately, once I stopped going to the gym it was back to laying down all day and night so I lost a lot of the strength I had started to gain, but by sticking to my calorie goal I continued to lose weight.

From March of 2020 to March 2021 I went from 250 pounds (I believe) to 170 pounds. I didn’t really have a goal weight in mind but I kind of expected to be around 185 since that was my healthy weight previously. Unfortunately that was when I had more muscle. The goals I set for myself were according to body fat percentage. I started out at 39% and am currently 17%. My first goal was to get under 35%, which would take me out of the “morbidly obese” category and put me into the “obese” category. From there it was to get under 25% to “borderline obese” and then to get to under 20% to get to the healthy range. My last goal was to get under 15%, this is kind of arbitrary but I was under that for most of my life and I’d like to get back to it.

I am no longer trying to lose weight (I was 168 pounds last week), so I am trying out 2100 calories a day as a maintenance goal and I have returned to the gym the last two weeks (I am now vaccinated) to try and get stronger and lean out.

I can’t really list all the ways things are better, partly because I don’t even know myself. The reason I keep qualifying my max weight is because I didn’t have the courage to weigh myself until I had already started losing some weight and then it was just less than 250 pounds. I have not been to a doctor for a long time so I don’t know how bad my blood pressure or cholesterol or any of the other usual issues got or how they are now. I know that my resting heart rate went from 84 to 60 beats per minute, I know that I no longer get heartburn regularly, I know that I no longer get regular headaches (I attributed those to blood sugar and blood pressure but I don’t know for sure), and I know that my plant based diet (long time vegetarian) and the amount of fiber and healthy fats I eat should have had a positive impact on any cholesterol issues I may have had. I can walk upstairs without hurting. I can sweep or mop my floor without sweating out a gallon of fluid and feeling like I might have a heart attack. I can look at myself in the mirror and not be disgusted with the person I see looking back at me. I no longer worry about the thoughts or stares of other. I also no longer wake myself up with my snoring (sleep apnea?), whether or not I still snore I don’t know but I know it isn’t as bad anymore.

I am lucky that I am a fairly tall person with a broad build. Thankfully I carried the extra weight fairly well and avoided any major loose skin. It’s still there on my stomach, especially noticeable when I’m in a prone position (pushups or planks) and it’s somewhat noticeable on my sides when I lay down, it kind of “pools” around me. But those are small prices to pay to have my physical health back.

I don’t want to mislead anyone; I’m still very broken. Losing the weight didn’t do anything to address my traumas. I am still unemployed and terrified to leave my apartment and interact with people, and other than going to the gym I am still basically bed ridden. I am working with a therapist on those issues, but they are going to take a lot more time and effort than the weight loss.

I apologize for the lengthy post and if I included too many personal details. I wanted to be thorough in case there is anyone reading this that is afraid to start on their journey because they think they would need to live at a gym or start running marathons. If you have doubts about your ability to accomplish losing weight, I promise you can do it if you just stick with it. Be smart about what you eat and how much of it you eat. I’d be lying to you if I told you I didn’t have candy or ice cream during my weight loss, I absolutely did. But I tracked the calories and didn’t go over my limit. If you set a smart calorie goal and stick to that for long enough you will lose the weight. If you have doubts, just remember that I did it while being basically bedridden; it just takes small, consistent steps. I believe in you.

P.s. I apologize for what I’m sure is a great deal of typos, but this wasn’t very easy for me to write and I don’t really have it in me go back through it with a fine-toothed comb.

P.p.s. I know how these forums work and I expect that this post will receive some very supportive feedback (and hopefully minimal negative feedback), but as I said, interacting with people is not easy for me. I will do my best to respond or answer any questions that may be asked but I can’t really make any promises in that regard. Please don’t take offense if I don’t respond to you in a timely manner, or at all. All I can say is that I’ll try.


  • rtlenton
    rtlenton Posts: 35 Member
    Thank you for posting. As they say, one day at a time!
  • crazyhorse8
    crazyhorse8 Posts: 663 Member
    Welcome and thank you for sharing your experience. I have found in my own life, I have to forgive myself first before I can move along and accomplish anything related to weight loss. God is the only one that can help me with that. I had a major mid life crisis of my own starting May of 2020 and I am now just starting to get somewhere where I can forgive other people as well. You are figuring out what is important for you...Keep going and growing. Best wishes to you on your journey.
  • wphkch
    wphkch Posts: 6 Member
    thanks for your Post and a very Big Congratulations,
    I am beginning this journey under somewhat similar conditions except with much more Age and Health limitations. It is through your posting of your Trials along your Journey that you Help others be Strong for theirs. Thank You for Sharing your Pain, as it is received as Healing amongst others, With Expectations of Hope in Our Common Journeys.
  • PamRoman61
    PamRoman61 Posts: 20 Member
    thank you for sharing your story. I'm a little bit broken too, but it's encouraging when someone out here tells me that they understand and believe in me. Thanks again!
  • lcatalan93
    lcatalan93 Posts: 45 Member
    You got this you will be able to leave your apartment and venture out and meet new people. With time and your therapy sessions they will help!
  • VivianTenuta
    VivianTenuta Posts: 3 Member
    What a great story! I read it all and I am glad I did. Thank you for sharing!
  • Megan_smartiepants1970
    Megan_smartiepants1970 Posts: 40,906 Member
    What an amazing transformation ... Very proud of you for your accomplishments ..Sorry about your trauma but I commend you for going to a therapist :)
  • Oreocat95240
    Oreocat95240 Posts: 2 Member
    You are absolutely amazing. Be proud of what you have accomplished and what you will accomplish. You are doing all the right things and life will be better. You have made a major step by telling people of your journey. You didn't have to share, but you did. You are an inspiration.
  • FreeFor40
    FreeFor40 Posts: 48 Member
    Great story, you are brave. Please start following The Holistic Psychologist on Instagram and talk to a Social Worker about some long term goals. This will help with the trauma recovery and release precious dopamine in your brain each day. Keep winning each hour, day, week and month. Those wins adds up. Sounds like you've been winning since March 2020.
  • Speakeasy76
    Speakeasy76 Posts: 961 Member
    Thank you for being brave enough to share your story here. I think it will inspire people who find themselves struggling to get through life, let alone attempt losing weight.
  • yodacho
    yodacho Posts: 90 Member
    Thank you for your post. It was moving to read. I wish you all the best on your path.
  • writergirldeb2
    writergirldeb2 Posts: 2 Member
    Thank you for sharing this post.

    I'm so impressed with the changes you've made in your life. You may not see it yet but you are in the process of transforming. It's not just the outside (with the weight loss) but the inside too by taking brave steps like speaking to a therapist and making a post on this forum.

    I hope you'll continue to take brave steps like these every day.

    Know that I'm here. I believe in you. I'm inspired by your story.
  • saltysparkle
    saltysparkle Posts: 145 Member
    Great job with your body, now you just gotta get out there and start interacting with the world! I'm a huge introvert, and home is my safe space, so believe me, I get not wanting to get out and put yourself out there. Baby steps, just set small goals to start, yeah? Hang in there and good luck!
  • klincolnlog
    klincolnlog Posts: 5 Member
    Thank you for posting this. <3
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