Sunday, June 23, 2013

Fighting Fatness...It's a "Disease," You Know.

Hi there, readers! Thanks for sticking around through the Great Blog Drought of 2013.

So as many of you may have heard, the AMA has classified obesity as a disease. While I'm not sure I completely agree with that, I do realize that there is certainly a genetic factor at play. (The Finkleas aren't known for being a skinny bunch...) I don't want to make an excuse for my weight by saying it is a disease...and, yes, I am obese. That's a hard word to accept. But just because I do not like the word does not make it any less true.

I. Am. Obese.

Is my weight the result of a disease? Yes, now please pass the Oreos. No. I am obese because of choices I made.

Should I have a 3rd helping of mac and cheese? Does a bear poop in the woods?
Do you want another piece of pie? You betcha!
Salad? Nah, I'm saving extra room for dessert!
I ate so much that I think I'm gonna pop! Oh, did you say you've got banana pudding? Why, yes, I've got room.

I think you're beginning to see my thought process. I have a love affair with food. I'm an emotional eater. I'm a hungry eater. I'm a I-don't-have-anything-else-to-do eater. I eat if I crave something crunchy. I eat if I crave something sweet. I love to eat.

And I packed on every fatty, jiggling, disgusting pound by eating some of the most delicious, decadent foods on the planet. I believe it was Kate Moss who said, "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels." I really want to slap her across her sunken cheek and ask, "Have you ever had my mom's mac and cheese? I think you'd change your mind."

At my skinniest: 180 lbs. in 2004 or 2005
So here I sit, writing this blog to you, spilling my guts about my...well, gut. As many of you know, I was the fat kid in school. Then when I started college, I finally realized that I needed to make a change. During my freshman year at the University of Montevallo, I dropped 55 pounds while my classmates put on the "Freshman 15." It was the best I've ever felt in my whole entire life. I loved my body.

Unfortunately, my losses didn't last forever. I slowly put back on every single one of those 55 pounds...and a few extra. Then I got married and put on another 30.

I was in my mid-20s. I loved my life. I loved my wife. But I hated myself. I didn't recognize the fatty in the mirror. My shirt size went from being able to wear some mediums, to larges, to extra larges, to 2XL. My waist size jumped more than 10 inches. I trapped myself inside my own body...and I felt like I would never escape.

I prayed that God would miraculously make me skinny. (As Christians, we are supposed to treat our body like a temple of God. I apparently built a temple for Buddha...but at least no body tried to rub my belly.) I'd diet really good for a week...only to reward my efforts by pigging out. I'd think about going back to the gym. (Turns out it isn't "the thought that counts.") I was still fat...and getting fatter.

We tried Weight Watchers. We tried the 6 Week Body Makeover. We tried "Let's just control our portions." We tried Zumba. Nothing worked... at least, not for long.

And then about 5 weeks ago, we were talking with Jackie's cousin Beth (check out her ah-mazing blog, Unskinny Boppy!) and Uncle Jon about starting an 8-week weight loss challenge. (We chose 8 weeks because there were 8 weeks until my brother's wedding.) To motivate ourselves, we said, "Let's all chip in and give the winner a cash prize!" We added more family members and friends, and the winner's pot grew to quite a chunk of change.

Turns out that the motivation that I'd been lacking all these years was a big ol' stack of cash. I started eating better (back on Weight Watchers), lifting weights, and doing cardio like it's going out of style.

After a 50 minute cardio workout. 7.57 miles & 663 calories!!!
And the weight started coming off.

So far, I'm down 18 pounds. I'm back down to an XL shirt, and I've had to tighten my belt a notch. I've also lost 15 inches from all over my body.

Who knew that my competitiveness would jump start my weight loss?

I am on the road to recovery. Each pound that melts away makes me a little more free. I'm rebuilding my temple from the image of Buddha to the image of Christ. (Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" has become my mantra when I want to give up at the gym...which, let's be honest, is often.)

It has not been easy. Muscles have ached that haven't ached in years. There are days I don't think I can get out of bed because my body refuses to move. There are days that I want to simply give up.

But I push through the soreness, roll out of bed, and I refuse to give up!

Workout Before & After. And, yeah, my shirt says "Flossin' ain't just for gangstas"...which is true. Gotta keep that grill lookin' so fresh and so clean-clean.
I've been posting a lot of pictures on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep folks updated on my progress. Every like or comment fuels my desire to get this weight off! My friend Ryan tells me and Jackie that we motivate him to run...which, in turn, motivates me to run. It's a good cycle to be in.

Folks that haven't seen me in several weeks have noticed a difference. (But I've also gotten a little sun this summer, so part of the change may be that I look a little more tan and not so much like a pale ghost...)

I like this transforming version of me. He's not only skinnier...he's happier. He will live a richer, more satisfying life. (He'll also live a life where he doesn't get winded walking up a flight of stairs or bending over to tie his shoes...both of which used to be sadly true.)

I can do this. I will get this weight off. I will (hopefully) win our weight loss challenge.

But it's not all about the money.

I want to transform my life...forever.

Yeah, the AMA may say obesity is a disease, but I think it is mostly a choice. It's a choice every time you open the fridge, go through the drive-thru, and sit down at the dinner table. People don't choose to get cancer, or MS, or lupus. Those are diseases. My obesity is not a disease. It is the result of my choices...which, up until a few weeks ago, were delicious sucked.

Thank you to all of my friends and family for your support on this journey. Your words of encouragement mean the world to me, and I couldn't do it without you.

And I have to give a special shout out to my wife. Jackie, you keep me focused and driven, and I am so thankful to have you not only as my wife, but my best friend and partner in life. We are doing this together, and I think that's why we're being successful. I am so proud of your successes, too!

Well, that's it for now. Gotta go to bed so that I can head to the gym in the morning!

Stay healthy, friends!