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Weighing on Weight Loss

Author: Merrick Egber (April 2018) I’ve always had problems with athleticism, whether it’s by low stamina, lack of proper energy, or a basic interest in more sedentary activities like reading, film, or video games compared to playing on a team, that led me to balloon, and there were hardly any fans at the ceiling to push me down, not my adventurism in food, nor the maladies I faced growing up, depression, anxiety, stress, frustration. It was always food that served to reduce stress, to serve as a substitute for a proper girlfriend, and even with as much exercise as I did, it was never enough to balance the intake of food I had. For example, when I lived up in Gainesville, I would go for 6 mile walks on specific days to the nearest Blockbuster Video and also to Joe’s Place, a restaurant with burgers and a salad bar, and I’d get the greasiest bacon cheeseburger and a few helpings of the salad bar thinking that, somehow, things would be alright.

All told, these components factored into my constant average at 230 pounds when I was in high school, which I sort of thought maybe I could be immune to it, but I was always vulnerable. I did go through a few phases of weight loss between then and now, including going to the treadmill at my father’s racquetball club in Maryland, which I stopped because the dynamic shift to an independent living program affected any possible continuum, seeing a dietician after dealing with pneumonia, and getting three types of medication including thyroid, calcium and cholesterol affiliates, as I weighed my heaviest at 260 pounds, and spending a little bit of time before the holidays in 2016 refraining from heavy contents of food. None of them lasted too long, though, and while they worked temporarily they weren’t able to keep me within any new parameters, and I never went below 200, which brings me to the new plan.

Dan Hulsey is our recreation coordinator and we got to know each other through a few shared responsibilities until he asked me if I wanted to participate in a program which would be a diet and exercise program and if I did well enough, he would see it as an example for other individuals who need those same advantages of weight loss. What is especially important is, according to sources like Spectrum News, all about developments in the autism community, the rate of obesity in the autism community, especially among children, is a lot higher than in the general population, either 5 times higher or 8-9% higher, from studies going from 2014-2016, so if this was successful it could have such a big impact on the community at large. Having been curious about becoming healthy again, and able to accept any challenge, I agreed.

The first four days were the hardest. A detox method of fresh fruits, and vegetables, mostly vegetables, with even a trip to the theater requiring me to have 4 tablespoons of raisins, with the delicious smell of popcorn in the air. Yet, as TLS, the group which was a part of the diet plan, put in some heavy restrictions, it’s also a pretty pragmatic group, during the detox they do advise that you can have some form of protein if you need it. Shortly after I got back to work, phase 1 began which omits the usual rogues of digestion, and advertises portion control. For exercise, I would take visits to our gym at the high school, and with or without Dan, would spend 30 minutes on the exercise bike, jumping 50 times in a row, sit-ups, pull-ups, military pull-ups, and other exercises, and when I’m out I would walk for an hour around the neighborhood. It got me from the default weight of 247.7 pounds to under 200 for the first time in years. Then came phase 2 which omits dairy products, and grains, and now, through this program I am currently sitting at 189 pounds of weight.

What are some lessons I learned?

  1. Weight automatically goes down, usually, unless you’ve been pretty bad. In the beginning, I noticed that there’s usually two moments of weight loss during the day. One late at night, and one after you wake up, and sometimes that excess weight will come out of the waste your body deposits around the same time as any of these events. I would have to say that, on average, my body loses two pounds per day, with or without exercise, though exercise is a lot more important when trying to punch to the late 100s on the weight scale.
  2. Remember to establish a time limit. Do not eat anything after a certain hour, usually, I would say 8:00, because it may disrupt the normal flow of your weight loss. You’re more prone to relaxation and tiredness at night, which may impact your body. What I’ve done, before, is to establish a very early dinner time, eat my meal, and then not eat anything for the remainder of the day so that nothing will adversely affect my weight.
  3. Pay attention to the foods that do no damage to the needle on the scale. You can have two large eggs for a meal, and it would not affect your weight, the same thing with a piece of fish and mixed vegetables, even cherry tomatoes as a snack will not affect your weight, and figure out how to take advantage of this to maximize your weight loss potential. My typical breakfast has usually been a protein bar, a 100 Calorie nut pack, and a banana which doesn’t move my progress on the scale. But don’t overdo it, what you look at as healthy can reduce your progression.
  4. The 47.7 pounds were the easiest for me. I started off as being declared almost morbidly obese when I started on the diet, and now I’m in the middle of being “overweight” which is a major difference to my weight loss. You don’t lose as many pounds going for a walk, as you’ve done before, because everything has become stricter and more streamlined.
  5. Cheat Meals can feel so good, but so unnecessary. Your dieting can teach you that whatever you used to love, had been taken for granted during that period, and now you can feel so good, but do you really want it? Sometimes a cheat meal can stall your progress for two days!
  6. It may just be me, but sometimes it is difficult to tell if I’m getting thinner. As I’ve been losing weight, it seems to be more of everyone else’s perspectives that I’m being impacted by this, as it is, I still have my gut with me, so I’ve never fully noticed the difference, well, unless I stand on the side and look in a mirror. Probably the best way to examine the difference in weight is to try on new clothes, to see where your new limit is, and if they fit, then you are making progress!

These changes in my composition have been unbelievable. To fit into a size 38 pair of pants, or into an XL shirt, to look thinner and thinner, and to be below 200 pounds with no risk of diabetes, with potential alterations to my medication. And it’s all because of a co-worker.