Reality Check-in: One Month

calendarclipartI don’t make New Years Resolutions.  I’ve just never been a fan of making a life change until I’m good and ready to do it…the actual start-date is irrelevant.  That said, two of my biggest lifestyle changes both occurred in the month of January.

I stopped smoking four years ago in early January, 2014.  Not because of a New Years Resolution, but because many of my friends had successfully stopped smoking by trying the newfangled Vaping trend.  Some friends that worked at a Vape Shop told me they’d help me out with selecting all the supplies I’d need.  I had some extra cash from Christmas gifts, so on a Sunday in early January, I bought the supplies and got started.  After 15 years of smoking and 7 failed attempts to quit, I finally made quitting and staying-quit actually stick.

I vaped for the next year, slowly decreasing the nicotine dosage in the vape mix every three months until I was vaping a placebo 100% nicotine-free juice.  One year of vaping, and on the anniversary of my quitting smoking date, I mothballed the vaping gear.  I didn’t stop smoking to start vaping…no sense in replacing one habit with another, as far as I’m concerned.  The satisfaction of quitting had my spirits at an all-time high.  It felt GREAT!

After a couple of weeks of vaping, I could taste food…like, REALLY taste it!  A few months, and no more wheezing.  The after-effects of a cold didn’t last for weeks and weeks of lung congestion during the winter months after I’d stopped smoking.  I was free!

swoleAnd…my waist was also happy.  I was putting on weight and filling out into a full-sized adult for the first time in my life.    I’d always been a beanpole.

Once, back in my mid-20’s, I even tried to GAIN weight by eating a high-carb diet, drinking creatine and protein supplement gunk, and hitting the gym to get swole.

Well…I got swollen, not swole.  I over-worked my arms to the point where I couldn’t bend them due to how swollen my muscles were.  That particular phase didn’t last very long and I now have an aversion to trying to go back to a for-profit gym due to all of those years ago when the Gym hounded me about the membership dues I owed them after I stopped going.  I’m pretty sure there’s a Wanted/Banned-for-Life poster of me in Gold’s Gym.

Well, those pounds I put on that made family compliment me on “Filling out” or made me “Look healthy” kept piling on bit by bit.  The first time I went up a waist size, I was happy because I was in that “Filling out” stage.  But then, I found that those pants were getting a bit tight, also.  So, up we go again.  Over another year, those also became a bit tight and I had to up my waist size one more time.
I had to add an additional X to my usual XL shirt size.  Being tall and gangly, I needed the extra roominess of an XL for sleeve length but otherwise baggy.  Now though, I needed all of that extra material because suddenly, my shirts wouldn’t stay tucked into my pants and previously baggy shirts were rather, erm, snug across the chest.  I went from Bird Chest to the beginnings of a Busty Chest…I was dangerously close to growing mewbs!

TA_Comparison_550w

That’s a 4-year difference of me doing what I love: making good food that’s bad for you.  Whether it’s barbecuing ribs on the pit grill, or breading banana peppers and frying them, I love me some good food.  On the left, we have the “Before” me…2 years prior to quitting smoking.  On the right, we have the “After” me…2 years AFTER I stopped.  It’s…well…sobering.
But…BUT!  I wouldn’t go back and change a thing.  I’d rather be overweight than continue to be addicted to cigarettes.  I can improve my body by cutting back on food, not by picking up smoking again.  It’s like the “Oh yeah?  I well you’re ugly, but I can diet!” rebuttal to an insult we all wish we had the opportunity to use but are maybe too reserved to say it.

secondbreakfastBy early-2017, I was fully-embracing my new shape: round.  I would be ravenously hungry before noon and raiding the vending machine at work for a pre-lunch snack.  Portion control was usually never an issue before, because I’d eat what was on my plate and be fine.
In the new Round shape, I would snack during the day, eat a full meal for lunch and then have another snack…a light dinner, and maybe some chips and dip before bed, etc.  I swear there were days where I was coming dangerously close to asking “What about second breakfast?”

“Fat Boy’s gotta eat,” is a phrase I’d say while slapping my stomach whenever I was joking with friends about it being lunchtime.
“No thanks, I gotta watch my girlish figure,” was my usual polite way of declining chocolates, doughnuts, or other workplace temptations.  I dunno why I declined.  I can be famished, but I’d still refuse something the first time it’s offered.  Maybe it’s just a Southern thing?
Both of those phrases were things I said long before I became overweight.  It was funny because I was so thin.  As the pounds stacked up, it went from being a joke to being an outward admission about my weight that I was having problems coming to terms with on a personal level.

I was feeling more and more self-conscious about my body image.  Not in a depressed way…more like little inner alarm bells were going off telling me I had to put a lid on this before it spiraled out of control.  Naturally, I hit the snooze button on those alarms quite a few times.

As with many things, peer pressure and the positive success stories of friends inspired me once again.
January 17th, 2018 is the day I signed up for Weight Watchers…not because I needed a new resolution, but because I was finally ready.  Work life, love life, and other stressors were all low…which allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and try to make another positive change in my lifestyle.

So far, so good.  I’m about a month in and I’m down 9.5-10 pounds.  My pants are fitting a bit more loosely and my belt is at the tightest notch.  I remain optimistic, even with the occasional slip-up that throws me off my Points allotment.  After all, Fat Boy’s gotta eat!

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