Welcome to My Journey

My name is Jerry, and I'm fat.  Actually, I'm obese.  More to the point, I'm severely obese.  But I had been not only morbidly obese, I was super obese, which surprisingly does not come with a cape.  

You see, two years ago, I was a couple pounds short of 500.  I've now lost over 200 pounds.  And I'm not stopping there.

It's been quite the journey getting to this point.  Not only the two years to lose 200 pounds, but also the 45 years spent getting myself into such a horrible shape to begin with.  I've found myself reflecting on that journey quite a bit of late, and I have a number of things to say about it.  Thus this blog.

Recipe: Cayenne Chicken for Salads

When I started having salads almost every day, I realized quickly that to keep momentum going, the salads I fixed at home had to raise their game and match the taste and variety of the salads I could get at places like Chopt.  I started buying chicken from my local grocer's deli department and using that in salads, but that was not terribly economical.  Instead, I decided to make my own chicken for salads and began experimenting with different spice rubs and recipes.  I hit upon a recipe that not only did I like to eat, it turned out to be one of my girlfriend's favorite foods: one day when we were starting out on a road trip, I asked her if we should stop somewhere and get supplies for the journey, and all she wanted was to fill a bag with my latest batch of chicken and eat that on the road.

A day or two before roasting the chicken, marinate it in hot sauce.  I prefer to use Frank's Red Hot.  It is 0 calories and provides a simple combination of cayenne peppers, distille…

Managing Your Closet When Losing Weight

Recently a man who'd lost 65 pounds shared some of his tips with BuzzFeed Video.  I agree with and experienced many of them myself.  A key part of his story was when a friend tried to tell him to keep all of his old clothes so that he would have something to wear when he regained his weight.  Instead, he decided to get rid of them all.

And that's the right attitude.  No going back.  At least within reason.

I was fortunate to be a pack rat over the years.  When it came to clothes, I'd outgrow them, but I'd keep them around partly out of the hope I'd someday lose the weight needed to fit back into them and partly out of pure inertia.  As a result, I had boxes of clothes I hadn't even looked at in years.

When I started losing weight and shrinking down, it was time for me to unbox all those clothes and get organized.  When all was said and done, I had clothes from 20 years of adult life that stretched across six sizes of shirts and 11 sizes of pants. I know I'…

The Tyranny of the Unempty Plate

It's a common story, I'm afraid.  As a kid, I'd decide I was finished eating and want to leave the table.  But there was still food on my plate, and that seemed like the worst crime next to murder to my mom.  "You stay here and clean your plate.  There are kids starving in India!"  It was never clear how me eating all the food on my plate could possibly help a starving child half a world away, but mom was deadly serious about it.  Every single time.

Sometimes the plate would still have food on it because it included some item (usually a vegetable) I wasn't crazy about.  Sometimes it was because I went for seconds and overdid it.  Sometimes I just couldn't deal with having leftovers of the same meal for the third or fourth straight night.  Sometimes I just wasn't that hungry.  It didn't really matter the reason, the response from mom was always predictable; "There are children starving in Africa!"  (Those starving kids got around.)

Do so…

Keeping the Treats Under Control

So I'd decided to make a lifestyle change, not a temporary diet.  And part of that lifestyle change was to eliminate most carbs.  That was easier said than done.  I mean, if you were to ask me to list off the foods I love, it would be filled with things like pizza, pasta, mashed potatoes, and burgers with fries.  Desserts and sweets?  Yes please.  And on top of all that, I work in a profession where we have a lot of catered meetings filled with sandwiches and cookies.  I could try to tell myself that I was just never going to have those things again, but that would be an existence of misery.

I was going to have to figure out a way to still let myself enjoy an occasional exception without letting things get out of hand.

I don't believe in cheat days for a couple of reasons.  I've seen people cheat on their diets, and it usually gets out of hand quickly.   There needs to be structure, because it's too easy to just declare any day a cheat day.  And declaring a specific d…

How to Eat Through Losing 200 pounds in 2 Years

So I'd decided to lose weight.  I was more than willing to make that possible, but I'd tried to diet in the past, and it never stuck.  Don't try to diet, my girlfriend told me.  Instead, make some sustainable changes and see what happens.  She wanted to get back into the shape she was in when she was a model and participate in fitness competitions, and she suggested we could push each other.  I had never thought about it from that perspective, and having someone in it with me was a welcome change.  We outlined several changes I should make, and I was more than willing to give them a try.  I now had a mission.

Over the course of the next several months, I built a new way of living.  I started with just a couple of changes, and once I had embraced and gotten used to those, I'd move on and add another.  Lifestyles are built over time, so expecting anyone to be able to change everything they do overnight is unrealistic.  Playing the long game is key.

Ultimately, l…

Choosing to Lose

If this were a movie, I would have magically turned my life around the moment I met my girlfriend.  Beautiful, free spirited, and so amazingly complex, she realizes my romantic ideal in almost every way possible.  I was so convinced that someone like her would have no interest in me that there's no way we'd be together today had she not made the first move.  I like to think that I'm the frog she chose to kiss.

Even after we became a couple, I continued my unhealthy habits.  Then a few months into our relationship, after I completely exhausted myself walking with her through the city, she pointed out that if we were to continue on and start a family, I'd need to be in enough shape to properly care for our children.  I'd tried to lose weight at various points in the past, and it had never really taken.  But this was different.  This wasn't about losing a few pounds for vanity or health, which if I had really been taking seriously, I wouldn't have let myself ge…