A New Beginning

Happy New Year!

I am a middle-aged man — I turn 55 on January 28, 2012. I currently weigh 265 pounds — naked, first thing in the morning. So, let me be honest with you — I am fat! According to one online calculator (http://www.halls.md/ideal-weight/body.htm), my ideal weight is 217 pounds. Or, if I use the old insurance company tables, I should weigh 160-193 pounds.

Am I morbidly obese? There are several medically accepted criteria for defining morbid obesity. You are likely morbidly obese if you are:

  • more than 100 lbs. over your ideal body weight, or
  • have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 40, or
  • have a BMI of over 35 and are experiencing severe negative health effects, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, related to being severely overweight
  • unable to achieve a healthy body weight for a sustained period of time, even through medically supervised dieting

I calculated by BMI (http://www.laparoscopy.com/pleatman/am-i-morbidly-obese.htm) — 35.9. I have had medically controlled high blood pressure for nearly 20 years. I am pre-diabetic (or have I crossed over to the dark side?). Add all these together and I AM MORBIDLY OBESE! This fat is going to kill me!

None of this comes as a surprise to me. In 1999 (age 42), I was admitted to the local Emergency Room because I was exhibiting symptoms that made my doctor think I could be having a heart attack. Turned out to be a bad reaction to a new blood pressure medication I was using (stopped that immediately). This should have been a wake-up call to me. It still took me 6 months before I joined Weight Watchers. Six months later, I was 60 pounds lighter. However, there was no noticeable change to my blood pressure. So, I went back to my old habits and regained all of that weight and even more before I stopped.

Life as I had come to know it came to a screeching halt at 12:48am, Tuesday, December 28, 2004. My 15-year old daughter died suddenly and unexpectedly of leukemia — 24 hours after the diagnosis was made. Before she died, she was healthy and fit and the last person that death would be looking for. The old me died with her. I stopped caring. I prayed to God to take me instead. But, no! That is not how it works. I tried following my daughter — I stopped eating in hopes that I could starve myself to death (tough to do when you weigh over 230 pounds). I was caught and sentenced to eat. So, then I tried to eat myself to death. I did not care.

Eventually, i found my way into counseling and psychiatric care. You’ve gotta see the shrink to get the happy pills (anti-depressants). The first anniversary of my daughter’s death found me nearly exploding — I could feel the stress building in me like a teapot. The happy pills did not come along soon enough. But, I did survive. I have been on and off of happy pills for the last 6 years. I have been on them almost continuously for 2 years, now. I tried taking myself off, cold-turkey-style, 3 months ago. Bad idea!

Yes, I have tried dieting since that initial success in 2000. I went back to Weight Watchers for a brief time after I regained my weight. I refused to play by the rules and only cheated myself. I dabbled with the South Beach Diet for a few weeks. That worked until it was time to reintroduce foods — slowly. That was a mistake. As long as I stay focused on depriving myself, I seem to be able to lose weight. As soon as I am able to eat again, I lose control and regain the weight.

Four months ago, I went on a 21 day cleanse diet. I lost 20 ponds. My wife bought me a kayak as a reward. The deal was that I had to reach 245 pounds and stay there or lower. I got down to 250 pounds. And then it was time to reintroduce foods — slowly. Bam! Back came the weight. I have yet to take possession of that kayak — it is still waiting for me.

Interestingly, I had blood work done immediately after the cleanse diet ended. I had blood work done, again, two months later, after regaining the weight I had just lost. The difference between the two sets of reports was stunning. All the numbers that had become good values on the first report were wiped out and returned to their dangerously worse levels. I had come so close to straightening myself out.

Now, as we enter 2012, I am pledging myself to do the right thing and fix my body, my mind, my life. I am going to do the right thing this time. I am going to change my ways so that I can be here for my two younger daughters. I know that I will be able to join my eldest daughter when my time comes. Until then, I need to be here for daughters and my wife. Since I have to be here, I may as well live a happy and healthy life.

So, here are my 2012 New Year’s resolutions (which will not into effect until 1/2/12 — tomorrow):

  1. Lose 40 pounds and keep it off for this entire year– goal: 225 pounds by 12/31/12
  2. Go to bed by Midnight every night and sleep at least 7 hours
  3. Begin exercise program with 30 minutes per day — 5 days a week
  4. Expand exercising to 1 hour per day every day
  5. Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day
  6. Increase water consumption to 13 glasses per day by year end

The health issues that I hope will be improved by these changes are:

  1. Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea — I would love to stop sleeping with that mask every night
  2. Very low testosterone — I have begun testosterone replacement therapy which is supposed to have beneficial impacts on all of my issues
  3. Pre-diabetes will not progress into diabetes
  4. Blood pressure will remain controlled with fewer or at least lower doses of medications
  5. My mood will improve to the point of continuously caring
  6. My energy level will rise to a point that will enable me to pursue an active lifestyle every day — time to get up and get out!

The action plan in a nutshell — commencing 1/2/12, restart the 21 day cleansing diet. This will kick start the weight loss and clean up the mess I made of myself last fall. The key to success is to develop a livable exit plan that will begin the day the cleanse ends. Coinciding with this diet I will initiate a 30-minute a day exercise routine — treamill, elliptical, walking outdoors, and any other opportunities that come along. I will also go to bed by midnight and sleep at least 7 hours every night.

My short term goal is to reach 245 pounds by January 28, 2012, just in time for my 55th birthday. It will be nice to finally be able to take possession of my new kayak. I look forward to starting to use it this spring. If you see me acting in a way that appears detrimental to this plan, just say to me, “kayak!” That will remind me of the reward awaiting me.

I fully intend to succeed at restarting my life! Watch out world…the Fat Man is gonna get it right at last!!!!

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Categories: Uncategorized | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “A New Beginning

  1. wendy

    Alex Dunbar….I think you are amazing and you may possibly be one of the bravest people I know! Keep up the good work. KAYAK!

    • Thanks! I’m just trying to keep myself amused while I muddle through repairing half a century of neglect. I am what I ate. And it shows.

  2. Mom B.

    At first I thought this was all my fault, but after some thought realized you were within your normal weight while still living under my roof. I do admire how you have made it public knowledge that you have a weight problem and proud of you for doing something about it. I really hope you succeed. Here is the mantra I use to help me through tough times: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. I got that from Norman Vincent Peale during the last few months of pregnancy with you, it got me through delivery, and eight months ago it got me through the surgery I had so dreaded and feared. Good luck.

    • Gee tanks, Ma. I thought you said big butts run in our family. Oh, that’s right, we don’t run because of our big butts! There will be less of me soon — more or less. Peace out!

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