I was always the fat kid in school. Aside from a few brief moments in my youth, I’ve pretty much always been the most obese person that I know. I didn’t have the happiest childhood, and I realized very early on that eating was something that made me feel good. I would eat when I was stressed, I would eat when I was sad, I would eat when I was happy. I was always trying to lose weight, always trying to eat less and exercise more, but my addiction to eating always prevailed and my weight continued to increase as I got older.
At the age of 23 I was put on high blood pressure medication. At 25 I was diagnosed with low testosterone and began taking testosterone replacement therapy. At my heaviest, I tipped the scales at 445lbs. It was at this point that I decided to make a change. I started tracking all my calories and hiking every day for exercise. I lost about 45lbs this way, but I could never seem to get under 400 and having to do math every time I ate became very tiresome. After a while I began to slip back into my old habits. Pizza, Mac & Cheese, Chinese Buffets. And my weight slowly began to increase. Then one day, I got a text from Merrilee about an opportunity to work on this documentary called Eating You Alive.
When I began working with the EYA team, although they had all made the WFPB transition, they made it clear that it was not a requirement of employment. They invited me to join them for meals if I wanted, but there was no pressure to do anything I didn’t want to do. Well, I have never been one to turn down a free meal and all the meals were thoroughly delicious. It still took me a couple weeks to really commit. The idea of giving up my beloved cheese was a bit scary, but after watching some early cuts of the documentary and seeing the incredible benefits of a whole food, plant-based lifestyle, as well as seeing the changes it had made in the lives of the team members, and seeing how delicious it can be to eat this way, I just had to give it a fair try.
I am the newest addition to the EYA team. I’m also the most overweight. It’s been five months and so far I’ve lost about 40lbs. I’m still dealing with high blood pressure and low testosterone, but I’m seeing definite improvements and my health gets better every day.
If you’re like me, and you’ve been overweight your whole life, it’s hard to imagine a world where you aren’t. Being fat is quite literally, all I’ve ever known. All too often we go into weight loss with a finish line in mind. A goal weight that we want to reach. But, since we’ve never been thin, that goal seems impossible, and it’s easy to just give up. This time I’m not focusing on the finish line. I’m focusing on the journey. I’m still overweight, but I weigh less now than I have in five years, and more importantly, I’m healthier now than I have been in a very long time. I’m sleeping better, I have more energy and my mind is clearer. Instead of sitting back and watching my health deteriorate, I’m seeing my body heal itself. I’m undoing the damage that I’ve done, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.