My weight loss story

Backstory
My Dad was pretty much my inspiration for this, he struggled with his back and knees for years and in 2008 he got bariatric surgery. He still has pain had to get his back fused, he said it was too late for him, but for me being so young that I shouldn’t have such hard time when I reached his age. My 2nd Cousin Charlie who was also a very large fellow had the same surgery as my Dad and has had great success with his. But none of which would have been possible without my support system of friends, and family. You can have all the tools in the world, all the ambition, but if you don’t have support in some way then I would have not have been successful.

Childhood through High School
I’ve always been an obese kid in school, not very active in middle/high school. I since I was large, but mostly a friendly guy I wasn’t picked on much and when I was I usually shrugged it off. Our school had a mandatory PE requirement and I found it hard to do with my weight and asma at the time so I had my doctor write a note and I was excused from PE class my entire high school career after only taking it for 2 months in my freshmen year.

College
I didn’t take college very seriously just as I didn’t take high school or my weight seriously. Pretty much up until 2010 I didn’t care about too much, I was content the way life was and breezed through. But my parents and my doctor became more vocal about my size, but I like what I was eating and doing. Being a normal college student I changed majors once or twice, transferred and finally graduated in 2010. It was that point in my life where I felt accomplished and decided to focus on a new goal of my weight.

Career
I had my own at home business when I was 14, I started an art community and worked with people all around the continental US and UK doing graphic design for hire I continued to do this until I was 22 and decided I was done with graphic design and web development. My first non-self employed job that I got right out of high school in 05′ was in Informational Technology and I was making some good money and started to really take on weight and in 06′ developed lymphedema in both of my legs my right leg was worse than my left. For the next 5 years I would gain an estimated 120 pounds. My sophomore year at Baker College while in the final classes of my Associates degree I got an internship at Michigan Spring and Stamping which would be a key factor in my decision to do weight loss.

Life Changes
Pre Surgery
The health problems (co morbids) racked up -diagnosed oral diabetic put on Metformin, sleep apnea had to use a CPAP machine and minor joint pain in my knees and hips. Not to mention my lymphedema which made my ankles and legs swell to 3 times their size. In 2010 I decided it was time for a change when my doctor pretty much forced me (read:strongly suggested) that I go to a seminar where one of the best regional bariatric doctor was presenting and I went with my dad who had the procedure done by him.

A week later I was in the doctor’s office and getting the ball rolling for a medically supervised weight loss program and got weighed and met a nutritionist once a month. In November 10′ I was at my highest recorded weight of 518 lbs heavy and through mostly a somewhat strict diet change I managed to lose 50ish pounds by July 2011. Where in July I took a brief hiatus from my diet and traveled on vacation to and gained some weight back.

By this time I was starting to regret giving the surgery a green light. I broke down in tears about a week before surgery, as it was my first time ever being on the table, I was incredibly scared I told my parents that I didn’t want to go through it now. I had some doubts and told the doctor that I needed a week to think reevaluate and I would get back to him, he recommended talking to someone similar to my age and situation and put them in touch with me. I didn’t end up calling him because I wanted to make my own decision, because while I’m sure his story was probably good, his experience and mine are completely different. I began to feel that it was one of those things if I looked back on it after not doing and asked “what if?” so the Friday before I was scheduled for surgery I was still conflicted but called and told the scheduler that I wanted to go through it. Worst case scenario that I tell the surgeon day of that I didn’t want to do it.

I also understand that the lymph fluid in my leg contributes to my weight as well so when it swells up and has more fluid I weight more and throws off readings.
I didn’t expect the switch to liquids to be so rough, they said it wouldn’t be easy but not like this. It was only today that I started to recover from the drastic change and I felt pretty crappy for 3 days and Friday and today I’ve been going on the local bike trails more and I look forward to my surgery date and all the weight loss I can achieve with that tool in my arsenal.

Post Surgery
When I was almost 3 weeks post op I semi-regret doing it. A short cry from the end of the 5 weeks of a protein liquid diet. Finally able to go back to soft foods rich in protein. I can honestly say I would never wish that on my worst enemy. There is only so many combinations you can mix protein powder into drinks, jello, and pudding. I have probably gone through 3 big boxes of sugar free popsicles, and what can only be described as chicken protein goop for my source of nourishment. Pre-op I had more lax rules such as soups with a little particle density but, post-op those particles could get stuck in the stitch line and cause irritation.

The hospital visit was nice, I was doing very well according to the staff, nearly no problems at all getting out of bed and walking and was good to let them know when I needed pain meds. My incision sites were really good looking, no real bruising at all. The worst part was Heparin shots (for blood clots) even with pain medication they were the most painful thing. I also had to take 14 days worth of Rx blood clot prevention shots while at home. All of them left a nice bruise.

After the surgery I had a bad reaction to my nausea medicine and was not able to keep many things down and after calling my surgeon and asking his advice he said to go the ER and get fluids and have them run some tests (fluids were collecting in the spot where my gallbladder used to be), so my brief 72 hours of freedom from the hospital I was right back in. After a change in nausea meds and feeling much, much better I was able to keep things down and have been ever since. My 1 week post op appointment was the next day from the ER visit and Dr. Gluck and I had a long chat, he felt kinda bad because he thought he had talked me into this and I was having a difficult time. Said it was a very common thing for patients to experience nausea and vomiting which didn’t really make me feel any better, but I was happy to the fact that 80% of my staples were coming out.

3 Months Out
I was about 70 pounds down from after my surgery. I’m working out 5 days a week or whenever my schedule permits me to. Weight lifting 3 times a week and cardio on the off days. Still using a protein rich diet getting access to new foods when my nutritionist says they are safe to eat, with plenty of fluids I have become addicted to Hawaiian punch sugar free packets to flavor my water.

From my initial start of my weight loss journey on Nov 22 2010 to Nov 22 2011, I lost around 120lbs. Now a little more than a month later I’m near 140 total loss (138.7 to be exact). I want to lose a total of 200 pounds by my 25th Birthday (6/8) and I believe with my continued exercise plan, diet, and words of encouragement from friends and family I will make that goal.

6 Months Out
I’ve lost 114 pounds since my surgery. Some things I’d like to note this type of rapid weight loss while nice, has some drawbacks. Like feeling cold all the time, I’ve had my iron checked and I take a supplement but even with that, I’m always cold. Loose skin is also another pain, it gets itchy and is unsightly. I never had any qualms about how I looked when I was overweight, I accepted that, but now losing weight I feel slightly embarrassed when I look at my skin on my arms, or legs. I think that this weekend In celebration of 6 months I will finally buy some new clothes as I’ve started to develop a MC hammer complex in my pants. I had started with a pant size of 60 and at my 6 month mark I had dropped to 48. Around this time the weather started to get really nice outside, and my gym visits kept getting harder and harder to make. But I compensated in the warm months by riding my bicycle as much as I could. I even started to commute to work which is a 12.5 mile round trip I never forgot to keep trying to be active.

9 Months Out
Just a few days shy of my 9 month mark, I hit my goal on my 25th birthday I had lost just over 200 pounds. I celebrated by buying more clothes and a couple new tools to help out, a fitbit ultra tracker to track my steps, a brand new Trek bicycle that was geared toward fitness. Which as of this writing I have rode over 230 miles this summer and I look to double that next year. With that milestone achieved I set my sights on another goal to be under 300 by my 1 year mark.

1 Year Post Op
If you would have asked me a year ago if I would have done the surgery, I would still give you the ehhh… maybe face. But its hard to argue with the results, but the words that Dr. Gluck said still ring true in my ears “It’s a tool in a toolbox” and he’s right, its only part of the magical equation that works for us to lose weight. What works for one person may not work for another, I dove heavily into weight loss and read incredibly inspirational stories of people who were heavier than me starting out, losing incredible amounts of weight. I applaud them, but I do not compare their strength to mine what they did perhaps wouldn’t work for me.

1 Year and Beyond
I hope to hit my target weight of 225 by April 20th of 2013. Even after hitting my target weight I believe that I will still try and lose weight as a secondary objective. I will work on toning what I have and building muscle to get rid of the excess skin I have now. I learned quickly to make realistic goals, to try and find time to go to the gym every day 5 days a week doesn’t work for me, but it may work for others. Make a goal you can commit to and work towards it weather it being losing just 5 pounds, being able to bicycle 20 miles in one trip, or just making it easier for you to walk. It’s an exciting time to become physically active and fit, so many tools at our disposal to use – smartphone applications, pedometers that link with everything under the sun, everywhere I turn it’s a new tool being developed or released that I want to try and maybe work into my formula. Communities are another powerful tool they add to your support system, reddit.com’s loseit subreddit (www.reddit.com/r/loseit) has become a place I frequent and I make every attempt to log what I eat and my activity on My Fitness Pal (www.myfitnesspal.com) and to track my bicycle routes and times I use Map my Ride (www.mapmyride.com). People that aren’t close to me or I don’t see frequently, don’t know the story of what happened so when someone asks me or I happen to mention it in conversation they are taken back a little bit. I encourage and share my experience with people as they ask.

Photo Gallery

Resources
Life without Limits (Dr. Brian Gluck)
Reddit (/r/loseit /r/progresspics /r/fitness /r/keto)
My Fitness Pal
Map my Ride
Fitbit
My personal tracking sheet.

 

New York 2011

I figure I should update this with more than a line of text and a picture every 6 months.

I recently returned from a vacation to Upstate NY. It was my second time going, first time by driving. I decided going through Canada would be the shorter route and according to google maps it was. But what google maps doesn’t take into account is what day you go, whether or not its a holiday weekend, or a national holiday in the country your driving through. Well I hit the tri-fecta on Friday July 1st (National Canadian Independence day, 4th of July weekend). The wait to enter Canada was about 10 to 15 minutes and was fine, the drive through, with the exception of a major highway closed down for repaving and afternoon traffic in Hamilton was not too bad. But that changed when I reached the border crossing the north port of entry at New York was a scorching 4 hour wait to re-enter the US. By the time I got through I was miserable and I wanted to break something, I made my way onto I-90 and hit up the first rest stop and fueled up for the long 5ish hour journey to Saratoga Springs (which I was going to arrive by 12am now, instead of the initial planned 9pm) I spent a total of 17 hours driving and was dead on my feet when my friend Jason Clark met up with me and showed me back to his house.

After a good nights rest and a shower I felt a lot better, and by 12 we were ready to leave for one of the reasons of me even coming Sims’ Engagement BBQ. It was a fun day filled with good food, great company, and awesome times.

Sunday we were recovering from the previous night and I wanted to hit up Five Guys for a burger because you can’t come all this way pass a five guys and not have a delicious burger and handcut fries, if you did you should be arrested. Later that night had plans of meeting up with Gary, Adam, Cassandra, and Sims for Gary’s birthday. We decided to go to Ruby Tuesday’s which was awesome, It made me miss ours back home. Then we decided to go back to Adams to watch a terrible movie that shall not be named, and get a little tipsy. Our plans were almost foiled by one of the most ridiculous things I’ve heard of that all liquor places close by 9pm. I supposed we are spoiled by our 24 hour liquor stores here in Michigan. But it was a good night and the next morning had breakfast with Adam and Cassandra which was also very good.

Monday the 4th was generally laid back, I was too late to meet up with Pat, Dev, and Dawg to go to Lake George and rather than get lost going up there. I decided to meet up with the Sims and Kelly for delicious chocolate chip banana pancakes (which are every bit as good as they were promised) some mortal kombat on ze 390 and some Lewis Black to finish the evening before heading back to ‘Toga.

Tuesday I got in contact with my friend Bill in Troy and spent the day with him, We got lunch at Dinosaur BBQ which was really awesome, then went Hoosick Beverage a beer garden and stocked up some delicious beverages. Basically hanged out and drank beer and watched some episodes of TV shows before we decided to walk down to The Ruck a bar down the street with amazing beer selection and famous wings that I had tasted last time. A couple of Bills friends joined us and we played a few games of shuffle board before heading back to Bills apartment and some hanging out before crashing out. I stuck around the next day in Troy till the afternoon and got lunch from D.P. Dough which made some killer calzones.

Wednesday night my last day in Saratoga Springs Clark and I met up with Sims and Kelly and went to Morrette’s Steak House for amazingly delicious steak sandwiches and had a really awesome time.

Thursday I thanked Clark for letting me stay and packed up my bags and headed to Syracuse to stay with my friend Tim for the day and then depart Friday for Michigan. I left around 9am and got to West Syracuse by 12. Had a good lunch with Tim and hung out and played Black Ops until Katie got home and we decided to meet up with Chau (who didn’t actually meet up with us) at a Chinese Buffet which Tim said had $1 mixed drinks with a purchase of the buffet. It was probably one of the better buffets I’ve been to in NY, and afterwards we met up at the Syracuse mall with Chau (finally) and his cousin Ken and his friend to get a free screening of Friends with Benefits which has the super hot Mila Kunis. After the movie we went back to Tim’s house and chatted for a bit then went to sleep for the not-so-long journey back home.

I decided that staying in the US and going through Pennsylvania and Ohio was probably the better bet than attempting to go through Canada again. A few rest stops, 650 miles, and almost 12 hours to the time I left I was back home seeing the familiar surrounds that I grew up with as a kid.

As with every vacation time while things are happening is slow and enjoyable but when you try a get more and more done, you realize that time really went too fast and your not able to do everything that you want to. I didn’t get to see or stay as long as I would have liked but I’m glad I got to do the things I wanted and see who I did. A big shout out to Jason Clark, Adam Wilkins, Bill Schiefen, and Tim Davis for letting me stay at your place(s). A super congratulations to Jason Sims and Kelley Tiedt, and a big thanks to New York for being a great place to party and have good times.

 

Call of Duty: Black Ops (another Treyarch fail)

I can’t but help to slam my head on my desk the moment I read they let Treyarch do another installment of the Call of Duty franchise after World at War was huge let down and contained so much fail that EFG laughed at it. Right now the game is almost unplayable in a party atmosphere, it takes 5 – 10 minutes at the minimum to find a game in any mode. Lag issues are crippling gameplay along with several well known and frequent bugs. But I know that every game is entitled to a patching period (and that there is several fixes being tested and hopefully implemented with great haste) but to see components that where a huge problem in world at war rear their ugly head again in a new game some months later is a big disappointment.

I like how they ripped pretty much everything from counter strike, so much so it should be called Call of Duty: Countersteal.  First of all buying things with cash or some type of in-game currency that you have to earn I can deal with that, gun game sure, it even has L96AW or AWP from CS. Still they haven’t seemed to learn there lesson about dual wielding and shotguns yet, along with several broken sniper rifles and launchers. But where I have to give treyarch some props are is the playercard system, I like that they recognized that the backgrounds and icons in MW2 was such a big deal that they gave us a boat load of freedom to do with as we please on how to make things. But with freedom comes the negative things, that all free-ranging ideas produce; I cannot count the many bestiality sex acts I saw depicted along with several racial icons such as nazi symbols, and several creative but yet highly disturbing human body parts.

I will probably get my $60 worth out of it, but like all call of duty games I doubt I will return to it.

- Replys to comments below -

@Aaron I guess im not a big stat whore like you and that really didn’t make my list. But to be fair the all time stat list isn’t broken.

@Jason I refuse to play zombies until we get another map, the one that comes with the game is terrible…. 4 -5 Rooms before you can get to the power? Balls.

@Justin lol brb doughnuts

@Gary My huge problem was mostly the law, and the rpg. Jumping while still remaining aiming down the sights is broken imo. I got jump shotted with the rpg so many times. China Lake is horrible imo, I didn’t mean to say that it was broken, but if it takes more than two shots of a explosive round at someones feet to kill them, then yes it is imo broken.

The second part is weapon damage the AK one of the most powerful guns in the game, takes 3 head-shots directly on a fully-healed person to kill them. I’m sorry but if you take even one 7.62m round to the head you are not getting back up to spin-move head-shot me. Snipers fit into this category, I’ve always said bolt action rifles pack enough power in any game to be a one-shot-one-kill weapon. Semi-auto snipers like the wa2000 or dragonov should take two, but its hard to even accomplish that because of the lag.

I suppose I can’t complain because no matter what don’t really have a popular alternative fps to play.

Samsung Customer Service

In July I noticed my monitor going on the fritz. When I would press the power button the screen would blink off and on for a period of time and then continue on working as normal. But over time it grew worse and worse eventually stopped working at all. I was to say the least disappointed. After doing some research online into the symptoms of my monitor I found out that most LCDs are plagued by bad capacitors in the power supply mine was no exception. Being that it was purchased in 2008 and Samsung carries a 3 year limited parts and labor on most electronics I decided to give them a call and see if I couldn’t get it fixed.

After a short wait on the phone I was pleasantly greeted by a woman who had an accent but spoke excellent English. She expressed her regret on behalf of Samsung that my monitor had died and was very professional. I told her what had happened and the progression of symptoms and after reading a few numbers on the back of the monitor she determined that my monitor was approved for repair. She sent via email UPS label it affix to a box of my choice and send it out for repair.

I sent it out Friday, July 23 and received it this past Monday, August 2nd. All in all im glad to have my monitor back and in perfect working order. I couldn’t be more pleased with Samsungs service.