Some of you have seen my ‘diet’ references around here. I have been on a low carb diet plan, along with exercise for the past 2 years…last weekend was the anniversary. It hasn’t been an easy journey but nothing worthwhile should come easy.
I’ve always been fat and I was always bullied about it. When I was about 8 years old I put an end to all photography as I couldn’t stand looking at myself. Every year my parents would get a call when it came time for school pictures. Often times this included the use of middle finger. As the years passed the only photos that I ‘allowed’ was for the purpose of an identification card.
2 years ago my parents rented a beach house in Oceanside, OR… Before and during the trip it was discussed that we all need to make a positive change in regards to our health. In particular our weight.
Knowing that it would be my last weekend of eating ‘real food’, I indulged. My plan was to eat as much seafood as I could that weekend being on the coast and all. When it came time to eating out I kept going back to my favorites…burgers, pizza, beer and Reuben sandwiches.
Upon returning from the trip I cleaned out the cupboards and fridge of ‘off-limit’ items. No more rice, beans, bread, sugar, corn, potatoes…beer (insert sad face and whimpers.) It was nothing but fresh meat and green veggies from now on.
When I make up my mind to do something I am more determined than most people and this was a ‘do or die’ decision. Failure means a premature death. Failure is not an option.
During the first few weeks of the diet I observed immediate results. I also came across Walton’s Inc. and Meatgistics at about the same time. I noticed that many of the sausage seasonings were mimicking the very things I was now trying to avoid on the diet. Most notably Pizza and Reuben sandwiches. I could now enjoy my favorite meals with a product that is easy to portion and has virtually no carbs.
I was determined to lose 100 lbs. by my 1 year diet anniversary. I lost a steady 10 lbs. per month for the first 6 months but was frustrated that I didn’t lose any ‘girth’. I was still huge and the lack of physical results was frustrating…but I kept going.
I was having a discussion about this with my dad and his friend which gave me a pat on the back and put things into perspective. It was also at this time that my dad divulged that he had taken a picture of me while were on our trip without my ‘permission’. Had I known at the time I would have likely demanded that he erase the image immediately. Had he not taken that photo I may have lost my way. When I saw my before image I was more determined than ever…this s**t is real. I am really losing weight!
By August of 2018 I was down 90 lbs. and finally to a size that I could start exercising without wanting to die. I didn’t want to wait until October to hit my 100 lb. goal. I wanted to get there by my birthday in early September…so I did!
It was at this point that my clothing really started ‘hang’. Pre-diet I was wearing a 4X shirt and had a 66" waist. One year later I dropped one shirt size. By Thanksgiving I was a 2X. When Christmas came I was into my first 1X shirt since 2003…most notably my Audioslave and Lollapalooza concert shirts that I had saved. Luckily and ex-girlfriend had saved all of my prior clothing. There is no way I would have been able to afford clothes had she not done that for me.
When I first started the diet I was using an app on my phone that wanted me to enter my ‘goal weight’ so I threw 200 out there thinking I would never get close to that in a million years. When I hit 225 lbs. I knew that the goal was well within my grasp. I got this.
Over the next few months my weight loss slowed and my size remained steady but I was still at a decent pace. I had been working out an hour per day 6 days a week on an elliptical/recumbent hybrid since August. On April 6, 2019 I hit my ‘unreachable’ goal of 200. Whoa!
I could have easily stopped there. Nope. I need to push goal posts to better myself. I only needed to lose 15 more lbs. to be half the man I used to be…so I did! At this point I was wearing a large shirt and had a 32" waist. These are numbers I hadn’t seen since I was 12!
I promised myself that when I hit 185 that I would reward myself with a burger. By June 1st I hit my next goal and was ready for my reward. My son who lives a few hours away wanted to be there for the occasion but I knew it would be a while before we could get together…so I moved the goal posts yet again.
It was too hot for working out at my place so I decided my reward for now would be less exercise unless it had a negative impact. It slowed progress but I still managed to drop weight. That’s a reward I can live with!
Lots of people lose 100 lbs. and that is certainly something to brag about. Many people lose 150 or more. Few people can brag that they weigh half as much as they used to. Far fewer can say they lost over 200, so why not try?
In mid August a new butcher shop opened up in my area called ‘Butcher Butcher Walla Walla’ On my first visit the owner mentioned they might be looking for a sausage maker. Over the next few days I visited his shop and made purchases daily. Each time I would ask questions about the shop, their process, equipment, etc… It has been a while since I’ve looked for work so I was cautious. Rather than filling out a resume I delivered 14 different kinds of sausage and threw some jerky in for good measure. I was hired!
By August 20, 2019 I weighed in at 170 lbs… Boom! It’s burger time! One problem…my son wasn’t here. We had been planning on visiting the same beach house to take a before and after photo of my weight loss. I figured this would be a good time for a burger with the kid. This would also give me a little more time to go beyond the 200 lb. barrier…so I did!
I left for my trip last Friday morning weighing in at 164 lbs with a 31" waist and totaling a massive 206 lbs weight loss. I drove 4 hours to Vancouver, WA. to a Killer Burger location and had my first burger in 2 years accompanied by my son and parents. I can’t imagine a better group to celebrate with!
I’m not the only success story here though. As I mentioned in the beginning, this was a group effort. My father lost over 60 lbs and my mother lost over 40! As a family we have lost well over 300!
Walton’s Inc and the Meatgistics community were a huge part of my success. I really could not have done it without all of you. Food related hobbies gave me the drive and focus to stay on task and the camaraderie here is an inspiration. Thank you for making this, my 1000th post, possible!
-Joel (aka Joe Hell)