First I guess I should give you a little background on how this challenge came to be.
|lol I love this picture :D|
He has a wedding coming up at the end of June that he wants to look hot for, and I am going on vacation to California over 4th of July, so thats how I landed on 10 weeks. We are both ready to commit 100% and really push ourselves to succeed. That's where you come in!
I had a huge outpouring of support and people interested in joining the challenge yesterday, so I am super pumped to get this thing started!
Here is Steven's story: (it is long but totally worth reading the whole thing. I promise!)
I want to start by admitting that I am not a writer and I am certainly not a storyteller. I want to share my journey and my struggle with weight but I don’t know where to begin because I feel like there are too many significant events that led to the problem in the first place. Ultimately though, none of it really matters. They are excuses disguised as “causes” but in reality, the cause is me. It was my decisions, my actions, and my stubbornness that have put me in the position I am in. I do, however, wish to share some of the conditions I was facing because I feel it is important for those of you who may be able to relate, so lets go back a bit.
I had a very normal childhood in a very loving family but at school I was picked on and bullied a lot. It tapered off over time because I stopped being an easy target as I grew and became more violent. I was basically left alone through high school with the exception of my relationship to my first love that was great for 3 months before she cheated on me with my good friend. We then stayed together in an extremely abusive (verbally) relationship for 10 more months. So after a long, lonely, anger-filled high school life, I went off to college away from what few friends I had. The stress of college really kick started my weight gain. I was always heavy but it was masked due to my height (I am 6’4”) and the fact that I played a lot of sports and stayed active in theatre during high school. Once I was in college and in full control of my exercise and diet, my weight became noticeable.
College became a nightmare very quickly. I didn’t fit in with my roommates and the people I hung out with. I couldn’t find people who were even remotely interested in my hobbies. I didn’t like to drink alcohol and my “friends” were total party people. So I rarely went out with them and stayed in my room alone, quietly gaining weight. Over a 2 year period I became the group whipping boy. I was the butt of every joke and became heavily depressed. It was a vicious cycle. I got depressed, gained weight, got made fun of for my weight, got more depressed, gained more weight, got made fun of more, etc… In a 1 year span I went from my normal high school weight of 200lbs and ballooned up to almost 320lbs. It got so bad that I was too depressed to leave my room and go to class. I was put on academic probation my freshman year and I failed out of school at the end of my sophomore year. I knew I needed to get out of there and change my life. Onward to Fort Collins!
I moved to Fort Collins in 2007 and got accepted at CSU. I started spending time with some high school friends that I got along with and eventually merged into their group of friends. I was finally at a point where I felt accepted. These people truly saved my life. But then there was the weight issue… I was starting to get tired a lot and had little to no energy during the day. Fearing I might be diabetic I went to see my doctor and found out through testing that I have severe sleep apnea. I’ll never forget that conversation I had with my doctor. He said “What kind of exercising do you do?” to which I responded “I don’t exercise.” He looked me right in the eyes and said “Well then you’re an idiot.” How’s that for bedside manner? A lot of people would be upset by that kind of response but not me. I took it as a wake up call. I had few options for getting my life back on track and losing weight was most definitely a requirement. So I did what I knew I was capable of. I lost the weight.
I was in the right place mentally, I had great resources around me, and I knew that my food addiction was all in my mind. I created what I called the “Food is relative” diet. You see, I know what it’s like to blame everything in the world for my weight instead of taking responsibility for what I was putting in my body. I know what it’s like to drive to 2 separate fast food joints to pick up the amount of food I wanted to eat without anyone judging me. I know what it’s like to estimate my hunger in terms of full pizzas instead of just slices. Then I realized something. Food is all relative because hunger is not biased as to what you eat (with the obvious exception to allergies, medical conditions, etc..). What does that mean? It means that if you are hungry and you eat something to alleviate that hunger, it doesn’t matter if you ate a pizza or a bowl of veggies, you’re still full and food is not on your mind any longer. I suddenly saw food in a whole new light. The only thing causing me to desire certain foods over others is the temporary sensation of “taste” but once the hunger is gone, it doesn’t matter what the food you ate tasted like, it is purely a memory at that point. This made eating healthy very simple. I started eating a wider variety of healthy food because I didn’t care how it tasted. And you want to know the crazy part? Over time, all the healthy food that I didn’t find tasty, started tasting delicious, and all of the junk food I once loved, started tasting horrible. When I combined this with regular exercise (an hour a day) the weight melted off. In only 3 months I dropped from 310lbs to 180lbs. [I hate men! amiright??? moving on…]
|Steven in Skinny Jeans ;)|
So this is a success story right? Well, kind of, but not really. While I am incredibly proud of my accomplishment and keeping the weight off for 4 years, it was mostly just maintenance work. I had the luxury of a gym membership at school, I unloaded trucks at Target for a living which kept me active, and eating wasn’t a problem because of how busy I was. Now I am relapsing. A year ago I took a new job and now I sit at a desk all day. I don’t have access to a gym because my apartment doesn’t have one and I can’t afford a membership. And now my lack of activity has shown me that my recent food habits are not as good as they seem because the weight is coming back. These are definitely still excuses but the point I am trying to make is that I was walking a fine line because I thought I was doing everything on my own but in actuality I kept the weight off due to a lot of conveniences in my life, not because of the decisions I was making. This past winter the depression has come back out of the shadows and is trying to drag me back down. I wish I were able to say that I valiantly fended off the darkness but I forgot how sly this beast can be. I didn’t notice at first, then I bargained with it and convinced myself I was only indulging for the holidays, and before I knew it I was back on that slippery slope and I have found myself, months later, sitting at 245 lbs.
And that is where my story lies. I was sad for a while, then I was angry, but now I am strong. I will not allow myself to fall because quitting is too easy and I am better than that. I have lost the weight before and I will do it again. This time I will go into it with a passion and thirst for knowledge. I need to conquer the mental side of my addictions but also educate myself to prevent the demons from ever returning. I will do it, I have no doubt. I reached out to my friend Jess because her story, her blog, and her dedication to face extreme challenges in a public light have been an inspiration to me. I can turn this around. I have accepted the position I am in, I know where I need to go, I will figure out how to do it, and I will share every step of the way with all of you. It’s time to take charge. Who’s with me?
Yay! So there you go! Say hi :D I thought it would be pretty awesome to get to read a guy's perspective on this journey, so I am really excited to see how it goes for him!
Wanna join us? Awesome. I have set up a secret group on Facebook for accountability and I would love for you to join us! It will be open for a few days (till Monday probably) to allow people to join :D We will share our goals, our struggles and victories, how we are doing it and more! Yes, Steven will be there too :D
Wanna know what my goals are? Check out my Vlog tomorrow for the 411.
Phew thank you for sticking with me on this LONG post! I am super excited to get this baby started! LETS DO THIS!