Tuesday February 13, 2018. That was my day of clarity. I had a sleepless night because it was my first night with a CPAP machine. I had recently been diagnosed with moderate sleep apnea. During a sleep study just after the New Year I had stopped breathing 23 times an hour. So that Monday night was the first time I used the machine full time at home. It was an adjustment that I didn’t think I could do.
Most importantly on that day I stepped on the scale in my bathroom and I weighed in at a gasping 237 pounds. I was the only person who saw this and yet I felt this overwhelming feeling of embarrassment. Like the world was looking at me as “the fat guy”.
That was the day that I dedicated 2018 to be “The Year of Nick”. Not only was I going to do something about my weight, I was refocusing my life. I was going to be a better husband, a better father, a better employee, a better son and a better friend. I was going to remove stressors in my life and I was going to take everything thrown at me with a grain of salt.
Prior to that day my wife and I had already decided we were going to try the diet called “The Whole 30”. It was more of a plan to break unhealthy eating habits, reduce cravings and portions. All of those were my weak spots. My wife’s company was doing a challenge and she thought we should try it. At this point I was willing to try anything and so we started our journey.
I am not going to write about what I ate daily and what my weigh-ins were, it’s very boring. However, as I began this lifestyle change I decided that I wanted to take it further. I wasn’t going to have a lifestyle change in the way I ate but also the way I lived.
I set a weight loss goal, seems normal right? I did not set a timeline of when I wanted to lose that weight. I figured it took me 45 years to put it on, why am I trying to stress myself in getting rid of it in 30 days. It was unrealistic, and an unrealistic goal is the first step to failure. I was not going to set myself up to fail.
I have battled weight issues my adult life. Believe or not, the aforementioned 237 pounds wasn’t even the heaviest I had ever been. Just over 13 years ago I weighed in the 250’s and I dropped 65 pounds. I was in my early 30’s at the time, and had no children and significantly less responsibilities. I was able to keep that weight off for the better portion of the decade. I actually looked better at 40 than I did at 30.
I got too comfortable and the weight kept creeping back up. I took up biking, nothing. I took up running, nothing. At my physical last year I told my doctor I wanted to control my weight this year and asked for suggestions. “Watch your diet” was all that he said. He knew how active I was so exercise wasn’t the issue. I was just taking in more calories than I was burning. Plain and simple.
Could it be that easy? Yes. I immediately remembered an article written by ESPN writer Bill Barnwell wrote in 2016 “The easiest way to lose 125 pounds is to gain 175 pounds” . It was the swift kick in the ass I needed to get me motivated.
I am proud of what I have been doing, but also ashamed of having the need to do it. I have made this futile attempt many times, but for some reason that number, 237, just stays in my mind and haunts me. Maybe it’s because it’s the same number of the forbidden hotel room in “The Shining”. Is that why it stuck this time?
People who know me could not believe I weighed as much as I did. I have always been able to hide my weight and that’s probably why I got to where I was. I was active, big and nobody noticed. That’s a good thing, right? No, it’s not. The person next to me on the bathroom scale that morning, my conscience, noticed and it is all that mattered.
If you are overweight and reading this, I don’t want this to come off as “fat shaming”. If you are comfortable and happy then you are fine. A waitress at Disney World said to me last year, “You do you”.
I was not comfortable with the way I looked, I was not happy with the way I looked. “I did me.”
Weight loss was not the only goal I wished to accomplish. I was going to try something new that I have never done before to keep me motivated. I decided I was going to run a half marathon. That was a very ambitious goal for someone who never ran more than a 10K and weighed almost 240 pounds when he did it. My wife has joined me in challenge and we will be running the Smuttynose Half Marathon on September 30th.
One of my passions, umpiring baseball, was taking a back seat so I could focus on my true passion, being a dad. It was not uncommon for me to umpire a game every night of the week. I loved it, I still love it. But my girls are the most important thing to me and I was not going to be an absentee dad.
After the first 30 days I was starting to feel better and I had dropped 13 pounds, so I decided that this was going to be the way I ate for the foreseeable future. Cutting out processed foods is not as hard as one would think; it’s all about the discipline. Being Italian and not being able to eat pasta at my parents’ house on Sunday, proves that I can do this. My mom has even started making meals that fit my new lifestyle.
One of the constants I have been doing, which has been known to be a cardinal sin in weight loss, is I weigh myself every morning. It is a daily reminder, and motivation, that I need to keep this journey going. I still don’t trust my myself to not revert back to my old habits, and that’s why I do it.
Although, I am the sole recipient of the results that have come, I have not done this alone. There are countless people that have just been so encouraging throughout the process. People I haven’t seen in years will send me messages of encouragement. If someone I know passes me while out for a run, they will honk or yell words of support. You have no idea how much those beeps and screams mean to me. I may not have said thank you at the time, but I say it in my mind every day.
I especially want to thank my wife Darcy. She has never said anything about my weight. She loves me for who I am, inside and out, unconditionally. But when I started to rail against myself, she became my life coach, my number one fan, and my true partner. I could not have done this without her, and I could not imagine doing it with anyone else.
It has been just over 6 months and I am happy to say that I have lost 38 lbs., I feel great and my half marathon training is going well. I have not needed to use the CPAP machine, but I still have it, and will try to get off of it entirely.
I had my annual physical and my doctor said “Did you really lose 38 lbs. from last year?” He went on to cancel cholesterol and blood sugar screenings because based on the weight loss he said they would have improved from last year, which weren’t terrible to begin with. Then I on to tell him I lost it in six months.
What makes my story more special than any other weight loss story? Nothing. Everyone has a weight loss story and this is mine. Share yours with me, I’d like that.
My wife has also dropped over 25 lbs. and now I need to stay fit to keep up with my “Hot Wife”. I do not regret any decision I have made over the past 6 months and “The year of Nick” will now be called “The Life of Nick”