Nine and a half months ago, I was on a plane en route to Memphis for my job when I did something that changed my life. I was very uncomfortable and could tell the passenger next to me wasn’t happy about sitting next to the fat guy on the plane.
So, being a writer, I made myself write about it.
I wrote about how miserable I was in that small seat, about how my body hurt from leaning awkwardly away from the guy next to me to try to keep my fat from spilling over the armrest, about how my sides hurt, about how I kept falling asleep while writing a blog because I had no energy, about how I worried so much about who might sit next to me on flights, about how my body was taking up part of the aisle, about how everything about the trip was agonizing from a mental and physical perspective, about how I’d like to enjoy a normal flight.
That flight was reflective of my life.
I was extremely unhappy. I was 210 pounds overweight. I struggled to move. It hurt to sit. It was hard to do just about everything, and I mean everything.
I’d given up on myself. I’d smile and laugh on occasion, but it felt like the light had been turned off on the inside of my soul.
I had no hope.
I was flat-out miserable.
“I’m hoping,” I wrote, “(this blog) will help me do something to improve my flight plight, among other things.”
Fast forward from March to December, and I’m back on a plane for my job. This time, however, everything has changed — from the direction of the flight (going away from Memphis to San Francisco) to the direction of my life.
I fit comfortably in my airplane seat (it helps that it’s first class, but I won’t brag and I’d be fine even if it wasn’t). People no longer look at me when I walk down the aisle and think, “Please, let anybody BUT HIM sit next to me!” At least they don’t look like they do. They used to. I didn’t blame them.
Though I still have a ways to go to perfectly fit in these tiny airplane seats, I no longer take up other people’s space. My gut doesn’t spill over the armrests. The side of my leg no longer takes up a fourth of the aisle. I no longer wear a More of Me to Love Belt (extender if you didn’t get that).
I’m happier. I’m only 84 pounds overweight. I have lost 126.2 pounds (yes, the 0.2 is important!). I can move much more freely. It doesn’t hurt to sit. I have energy. Simple routines — like tying my shoes, walking up a flight of stairs, rolling over in bed, using the restroom, fitting into booths and chairs, moving around and living life — are relatively easy.
I believe in myself. I smile and laugh now, and my flickering inner light feels like it’s starting to get brighter.
I have hope.
Some parts of my life — from my weight to spirituality to important relationships and more — still need massive improvement.
But I’m not miserable or at least certainly not like I used to be.
It helps that my nutrition program and my consistent push toward healthy living have assisted me in making one significant change after another.
My blood pressure is at a healthy level, so I no longer have to take that medicine.
The swelling in my feet, cankles and legs has subsided, so I no longer need medicine for edema, either.
The throat-scorching heartburn and fire-like acid reflux that used to torture me at night — sometimes I’d wake up while coughing acid out of my mouth and nose — are almost nonexistent, so I no longer have to pop antacids like candy.
I’m also trying to see how I cope with life without the depression and anxiety medicine. (Honestly, sometimes I still wonder if I should take them, so we’ll revisit this topic another day. Life can be hard and there’s no shame in needing medical help to balance important chemicals if necessary.)
Instead of almost making the buttons pop on my XXXXL shirts, I’m now fitting comfortably in many 2XL shirts and even some bigger XL tops.
I’m wearing Size 40 jeans — JEANS! — after previously squeezing my waist and tree-trunk-like legs into Size 54 pants.
I can shop at normal stores now instead of the Large & Tall shops.
I can bend over and tie my shoes.
I can effortlessly put my socks on without needing to hold my breath, reach down as my humongous belly blocked my path against my thunderous thighs and grab one foot and barely get it to rest on the opposite knee.
I can shower and use the toilet without any issues. Struggling in the bathroom by yourself can be a humiliating experience even if nobody else knows what’s going on.
I can move around, even in narrow places, without bumping into things and knocking stuff over on accident.
I can walk without taking breaks or sweating profusely.
I can hike around the hills by my home and around cities where I travel.
I can feel ribs and shoulder bones.
I can see my dimples better when I smile at myself in the mirror. I smile at myself in the mirror.
I can momentarily get confused when I see my thinner body in photos.
I can sleep better, including being able to shift my body from side to side without feeling like I’m trying to use every muscle to make myself roll over.
I can get in and out of cars and restaurant booths and seats with armrests without a care.
I can feel proud of myself.
I can go on and on about how much my life has improved.
I can be excited about changes myself and other people are making because I decided to stop living life like the fat guy on the plane and started being someone who wants to inspire by example.
I can look forward to enjoying my kids more and being an active, playful, spontaneous dad and husband.
I can envision myself running and biking and swimming and doing triathlons and playing basketball, tennis and other sports, learning how to ski and lifting weights.
I can see myself just becoming healthier and healthier by the day, week, month and years to come.
I can put the miserable man in the rear-view mirror and look ahead to a brighter and lighter future.
I can feel my insides swell up with pride and happiness and hope while writing this blog.
I can! I can! I can!
Nine and a half months ago, it was painful to write about myself while flying to Memphis.
Nine and a half months later, it is a pleasure to write about how my life is headed the other direction while flying away from Memphis.
If there’s something in your life that’s holding you back from happiness, there’s no time better than now to change.
If I can, you can.
- Starting weight (March 6): 373.7 pounds
- Last week’s weight (Dec. 9): 250.9
- This week’s weight (Dec. 16): 247.5
- This week’s loss: 3.4 pounds
- Total loss: 126.2 pounds