Saturday, July 4, 2015
Ive Been on More Diets than Dates
Ok well, the title might not be ENTIRELY true, but it sure seems like it.
When I was very young I was always called a "skinny kid" we had a pool in our backyard, I was always out riding bikes and roller-skating with the neighborhood kids I was always an active little boy. Then we moved from South Gate to another city, Huntington Beach.
I didn't know anyone; I was teased and bullied for what seems like anything and everything... I was the new kid, I was called "gay," I was the teacher's pet. I wasn't very active, so I started gaining weight then I was teased because I was fat. Kids can be awful creatures!
I was never obese, but I always had about an extra 20 pounds I needed to lose. The summer after 4th grade I went to an all boys "fitness camp" or as I refer to it FAT CAMP. It wasn't cheap; it was in La Jolla it was for seven weeks, basically the entire summer. We lived in the dorms at UCSD; we ate our meals out of a cafeteria that was just ours with meals made specifically for us. Most of our activities were on campus, with occasional field trips to baseball games, or Sea World, etc. Those days were especially difficult since we had to see everyone else eating all the stuff we couldn't.
I hated that place; I HATE exercise, but I also wanted to lose weight. As I said, the camp was seven weeks, but I only made it four weeks before mom caved in and let me come home early. Almost daily phone calls full of tears and begging and pleading to come home finally got to her.
I made it through the summer without gaining any weight back so when I went to school that year, I was thinner, but the weight slowly came back.
Somehow the next summer I ended up back at fat camp…same story, same ending. This time mom and dad only paid for four weeks because we knew I wasn't going to make it the entire summer. Plus I was already signed up for Golf Camp about a week after fat camp. UGH, I hated that even more. Talk about feeling inadequate I was TERRIBLE at golf, and it was full of a bunch of "super rich kids" that were so snobby. If I recall correctly, I left early from that camp as well.
Over the span of my youth mom was always "dieting" with me. We would try different fad diets, we went to diet doctors for vitamin B shots and weekly weigh-ins. We did the Richard Simmons Deal a Meal program, The Beverly Hills Diet (I don't even remember what it was) Slim Fast, Lean Cuisine meals; I had a food scale to weigh my portions. I tried so many diets and different ways to lose weight I don't even remember them all.
The one thing that was never really part of my life was exercise.
I tried Little League, Judo, I took tennis and golf lessons, I went to other "regular" summer camps as a kid where there was physical activity but I either didn't participate or I just did it half-assed, I was always picked last for any PE activity at school. Physical activity was like kryptonite to me. In middle school, I stopped participating in PE so I would always get an F. Who cares?
In high school, I started off thinking hell yes, I'm going to do this. We had to wear white shirts and black shorts. Well, I wore a Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt and Calvin Klein shorts, so the teasing started up again, so I just started ditching PE, again I thought WHO CARES!
OK, this is probably the most extreme measure I have taken to lose weight.
I had my mouth wired shut! I could drink liquids through a straw, so I tried just to drink healthy shakes, but many times those "healthy" shakes were just as fattening as regular shakes. I would cut the wires off and then eat for a few days, and then wire them back up myself.
When I was about 20 years old I became the biggest I had ever been, I weighed 215 pounds. My girlfriend Mynde discovered this diet called the Atkins diet, so we both started together. When I was 16 years old I got a gym membership for Christmas, and I kept up on the yearly fee, so I started going to the gym regularly. This diet and going to the gym was working! I lost at least 20 pounds; it was also at that time I discovered I was gay. That also meant I witnessed the pressure that gay men faced having to look a certain way physically. As shallow as it sounds that did help me stay in decent shape for a while. I managed for quite a while to stay at a decent weight. It didn't seem to get in the way of, shall we say "intimate encounters" BUT there was this one guy that I liked; his name was Brad. Eventually one night in bed he told me he "just didn't think he could date someone that wasn't interested in going to the gym" WOW. Hey, he's entitled to have his preference or whatever you want to call it, but all I heard was, You're good enough for sex, but not to date! So yeah, that happened. Years later I still see Brad on occasion, of course, he got what he wanted, a young, buff guy. They have been together a long time now. Kudos to you Brad for knowing what you want and not settling for something less.
Fast forward just a few years and, unfortunately, I discovered drugs. I certainly reached my goal weight then. There was a period when my drug use was very manageable, and I looked great! No muscle of course, but I sure looked good in that Hugo Boss suit, or that custom made gown, yes I said a gown. I wasn't afraid to wear a bathing suit by the pool. I would even go to the clothing optional resorts in Palm Springs and felt totally comfortable. Well, my drug use got so bad that I became very sick, I was down to about 152 pounds. I looked like walking death!
The great news is I kicked my drug habit and I started to gain weight, and more weight and more weight. Soon I was a chubby guy again. This time it didn't seem to bother me, because at least I was "healthy" I started dating, well two different guys for a very short time in a 6-year span barely counts as dating.
I started having some issues with depression, and then major depression, a couple of suicide attempts, a few hospital stays. Depression made me eat all the time, whether it was comfort food or medication or a combination of both; my weight increased even more. After my suicide attempt at the end of 2012, I was hospitalized for a while, and I came out of the hospital a few pounds lighter. In the following couple of months, I gained the weight back, but then in 2013 I went through another major depression. I stayed in bed a majority of the time; I stopped taking care of myself, and I stopped eating regularly. I won't say I looked good because the sadness in my eyes overshadowed the fact that I had lost weight.
Why is it that the only time's I have been at my ideal weight were because I was ill? It should be the opposite! It's a mind fuck.
Well in 2014 I gained more and more weight. I decided to try the Atkins diet again; I started walking around the neighborhood, and I started to lose some weight. As usual about a month into it I lost interest. So I gained all that weight back and then some. I just gave up for awhile. I didn't care.
2015 things turned around for me. I got a new job that I love, I got a car again, and I was chosen for a weight loss challenge sponsored by LGBT Weekly Magazine.
The challenge is with a program called Metabolic Direct, I have a "coach", I am provided with all the supplies I need from the program; pills, (LOTS of pills) high protein drinks that are actually like Kool-Aid and are super easy to drink, meal replacement shakes, high nutrition meal replacement bars that taste more like candy bars; I like those a lot! But they don't want you to rely on those meal replacement products, they try and teach you healthier choices with foods, they give you sample menus, there are many items on the grocery list that are foods that are the same as you probably eat already. I wish I were more creative when it came to cooking. It seems like I've been eating the same meal every day for lunch for two months…. For the most part I have. Baked chicken breast cut up into a bunch of lettuce, with some kidney beans and low fat, low carb dressing.
The first month of the program I KICKED ASS!! I was going to the gym regularly; I stayed on my program, and I lost 19 pounds, then I went out of town for a work conference, which was difficult. On June 2nd when I left home for the conference I was 218 pounds. I did OK the first couple of days, but social events and conference food I gained some weight. It seems like I didn't recover from that trip for a few weeks, I played with the same 4-5 pounds for a while. I got back on the program and lost a few pounds
As of June 30th, I was down to 213 pounds. That's a 24-pound weight loss, as of yesterday July 3rd I weighed in at 218 pounds. So basically for the last month I have essentially lost no weight.
It appears that if I don't stick to the diet 100% I gain weight. That makes me nervous for the time that this challenge is over. Will I just gain it all back again? I don't want to give anyone the impression that this program doesn't work because it does. By now you probably realize that it's ME that doesn't work.
I'm not "that guy" I'm not the guy that enjoys exercise; I don't enjoy hiking or bike riding or working out in a stuffy, smelly gym. What I do love is food, and I have an enormous sweet tooth. One thing that this program has taught me was that if I am going to cheat I'm not going to bother with some cheap ass piece of cake or a doughnut; the food I eat must be worth gaining a pound or two for. It must be SCRUMPTIOUS! I also have learned that the food I put in my body and the amount of physical activity I do greatly affects my mood.
My emotions the past months have been all over the place, sad, mad, impatient, angry and fearful that when I go off of this program I will probably gain the weight back again.
For the past few weeks, I have been on the verge of quitting this program a few times, it's typical for me.. I do well for awhile then I lose interest. I wanted to write this blog because I thought it might help me decide what to do. Should I just throw in the towel? Do I keep trying? The challenge only lasts a couple of more weeks, my coach Vincent has been extremely helpful, and an asshole at the same time. (He warned me I might not like him some days) Last night I wanted to tell him to F off!! But the truth is, I'm scared to death to stop this program. The past month I haven't made any big changes, but at least I'm not heavier than I was a month ago, I don't lose my breath walking up a flight of stairs.
It won't kill me to stick with this program another couple of weeks. I will either fit into those new shorts I bought for pride (I'd need a miracle at this point) or at the worst, iI will stay at my current weight. That certainly is better than where I was at the beginning of May when I started this program.
But, what about the future? What will I look like this time next year?