To the woman who cried at the picnic table,
I read the message you sent to me the other day. You could have sent it to other weight loss gurus like Chris Powell and Jillian Michaels. Though I have had success with weight loss, I am in no way a guru.
Yet I know why you sent it to me.
I get a lot of them and try to respond to all, but it is hard. Your message stuck out, and I wanted to write about it. You needed a response.
You told me how you were sitting at a picnic table. You were in tears. You are 370 pounds right now.
You told me how you want to adopt a child one day. You told me about all of the things you want to do in life. You told me how you have lived a life of obesity.
You knew I would understand.
Honestly, I get letters like this quite often. I think that I get more of these letters than most of the so-called "success stories" out there. I am honored you sent it to me. I get these letters because I do understand.
I was once more than 400 pounds. I was lost in a world where I felt like I was the "obesity epidemic." Everywhere I went, people looked at me in disgust. People either hated looking at me or felt sorry for me. I knew they felt sorry for my wife.
Obesity to me is like having all of the answers for the wrong test. People tell you how easy it is to lose weight, and for most it is that easy. For me it was not. It was not about the food. Do you know how many times I binged on "low fat" chips? Do you know how many times my day was ruined because I ate at 12:03 a.m.? Do you know how many times I promised myself that I would eat better for my wife?
It was never easy.
It was not easy being obese either. It seemed like every day this world took away something from my life. One day my pants would not fit. Then one day I could not bend down to tie my shoes. Then one day I could not have sex with my wife. Then one day I could not wipe myself in the bathroom. Every day when I ate 5,000 calories, the world would punish me. The world would make me drive without a seat belt because I ate too much.
Kate Moss says, "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels," which is a distorted look at food. I do not like that quote, but I will say that it was a good feeling to finally get my life back. There is nothing easy or simple about losing weight. I do not care which plan you are on. It takes courage, determination and guts to do it. I finally decided to lose weight. I remember the first time that the scale did not say, "ERR." I saw three digits! I remember when the seat belt finally clicked. I remember when I bought clothing at a "normal" store. I remember when I did not have to buy two airplane tickets. I remember when I ACTUALLY had the option of "booth or table" at a restaurant!
I remember all of that because I will never forget the times I could not.
I will always struggle with weight, but I refuse to be over 400 pounds again. I do not mind being overweight, but I cannot live my life not being able to do things that "normal" people can do. I refuse to go back to the dark place I was in. Alone with no light in sight.
Fighting obesity is more than statistics and people starting conversations with, "Did you know..." it is a rough and tough act to truly change your eating habits. It is hard to eat differently when you weigh so much.
Because no one told me great job when I finally fit in a size 56 pair of pants. No one high fived me when I could see my penis. No one threw me a party when I could finally wipe myself in the bathroom.
I kept it inside for a long time.
One thing I want people to know is that weight loss is more than the side-by-side "before and after" picture. There are so many other rewards and great moments. Sure, who wants to brag about finally being able to put on a belt with your pants on? Who wants to hear about the day you were able to tie your shoes?
Well, I do.
I am proud that my stories and journey is different than most. I am proud that people tell me things they are embarrassed to tell others.
So thank you for your letter. Yes, I understood why you cried at the picnic table at 370 pounds.
Because on March 30 you weighed 450 pounds. You have lost 80 pounds so far this year.
Today you were able to actually sit at the picnic table.
A table you have not been able to sit at for years.
And for this, I am honored you shared your weight loss victory with me.