Living Below Your Means
Living off your Success

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By baldguy13
August 13, 2003

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I figure this is no more off-topic than if guys dress up or down, so here goes.

This weekend I attended a friend's birthday party. We are all in our early 30's, so everybody's hair is starting to go and their belly is starting to show. We are a close-knit group that is very competitive about everything from golf scores to paychecks to vacation destinations. (Wives don't seem to get that this is healthy!)

All my life I've been fat. Everybody says it's big-boned (see Cartman on South Park), but I spent most of my adult life at about 6'3" and 240 lbs. I have big shoulders and chest, so I looked like a football player, but I was weak and soft from sitting behind a desk and getting only occasional exercise. Here is my story:

July 2001: playing softball as a favor to a friend, I dove into base. The fielder brought his knee down on the back of my shoulder and in 1 second, I went from fun-loving weekend warrior to a bum in the ambulance with a broken humerus, dislocated shoulder, and torn rotator cuff. Luckily, my wife works for some great orthopedic surgeons. They told me I would be lucky to get 80% movement. After two surgeries and working my butt off in rehab for 9 months, I got 100% of my range of motion back. Doctors were impressed by my hard work and perseverance. The bad part... I got even softer around the middle.

December 2001: I decided to quit smoking. After all, there was no sense in me going through all this work in physical therapy if I was going to continue smoking 2.5 packs of cigarettes everyday. If I was going to get the second surgery to help me, I wanted to be able to savor my shoulder movement and participate in sports. Bad part... quitting smoking made me even fatter. The word "fat" doesn't make me mad. It motivates me.

August 2002: I hopped on the scales and weighed 305 lbs. with 50% body fat. People still didn't think I was fat (wife, mom, in-laws, kids, etc.). I went to Cedar Point and couldn't fit on the rides (combination of height and weight). I never let this get me depressed. I always tell everybody that you have a choice: do something about it or quit complaining. I had gotten the doctor's approval to go all out with my shoulder, so I reinstated my gym membership and started bench-pressing 75 pounds. For a 300 lb. guy, that's pretty embarrassing. I started eating 5-6 smaller meals per day, and didn't shy away from carbs or fat. I just ate foods that you could find on the farm (fruits, veggies, meats, oatmeal, eggs, etc.)

August 2003: I am now under 250 lbs with less than 25% body fat. Not where I want to be, but it has not been a diet or a fad. I have made a life change. I wear 38-inch pants and my gut doesn't hang over my belt.

Arrived at my buddy's birthday party. Some of my close friends I see monthly, but I travel for work a lot, so I don't see some of the "other" friends as often. They couldn't believe the difference in me, and I couldn't believe the difference in them. In the last year, a few of them had gained over 20 lbs. (newly married, job stress, etc.). Probably closer to 25 lbs, because many of them had lost at least 5 lbs. worth of hair (I shave my head, so nobody can tell how much of my hair is gone!) We played volleyball, and I killed most of the guys. The topic of the 8 hour party was my in shape look and how a few of the other guys were the "fat guys" now. I still have a ways to go, but I felt darn good when I went home that night.

Lesson learned: You control your life. Whether it's finances, weight control, male pattern baldness or work stress. You have the ability to do anything you want. People on these boards have inspired me in many ways, and I hope to do the same for at least 1 person. Thanks for listening to the rant.


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