Three Years and Three lbs.

Recently, a short but highly personal Facebook post had me looking back own my own journey not just of my weight loss but of my attempts to reconstruct my personal image.

It’s been over 7 years since I reached my highest weight, and decided I needed to do something about it. It’s been 3 years since I actually hit my goal weight. For the past three years I have hovered between 205 and 215. It’s been a struggle since I know I need to keep my guard up so I won’t eat all the things. I also know I can be too hard on myself, so this year I’ve been trying to be less hard on myself and stop, as one sorta kinda a friend once said “eating like an asshole.”

It was going pretty well, until late March (around my birthday) and through much of April. I did great on my Disney trip, actually lost weight, and decided to lessen up the pressure. Yet, by mid April I felt like I had gained weight. That voice came back in the back of my head. “Hey, Bob. You’re getting fat again. You’re gonna lose control. Even at your best, your fluffy, with droopy arms and the physique of a California raisin. Your body is already a mess of loose skin and purple, swollen legs and weird scars. Why are you fighting the inevitable?”

Yesterday, I went in for my monthly weigh in at Weight Watchers. I’d gained 3 lbs. Seriously, this is the viscousness of self doubt and why weight loss is as much about dealing with the emotional side as the physical. For 3 lbs. I was ready to scream, Fuck it! And give in to my self doubt. Looking back, I may have had one too many beers on a day, and indulged in a bit of cake or something, and there is definitely things I can do better, but mostly I’ve made smart choices, eaten what I wanted to eat, and typically ate healthy. So, why am I so hard on myself.

It all comes down to self image. I’m not perfect. I’ll never be the hot stud in the room. Yet, I’m my harshest critic. I convince myself that people can’t be attracted too me because I’m not perfect. I focus on my flaws. Yet, I know intellectually that people can be attracted to me, even if I can be a bit oblivious about it at times.

As I mentioned, I was thinking about this a lot after a Facebook friend posted about her struggles with self image. This isn’t a person I know very well. Yet, I knew her at work many years ago when I was at my largest. She was smart and funny and always treated me like I was an actually human being who existed. This wasn’t something that always happened with people I didn’t know well. Especially, someone like her, who, in my opinion, was beautiful. I don’t mean this in some weird creepy way, just if you asked me for an example of someone who was beautiful in a traditional sort of way, she would be such an example. The fact that she actually would be nice to me and treat me like a human was a help to me during a hard time in my life.

So, when I read her post about her own struggles with self image, it made me think. It’s easy for someone like me to see someone like her and think “she’s pretty, what does she have to be worried about?” But that’s not how it works. We are all our worst critics. We confront our flaws everyday and we can either become overwhelmed by them, or just think of them as part of our character.

The thing is, I often tell myself someone wouldn’t be attracted to me becomes I don’t meet some arbitrary standard of male attractiveness. I see my flaws and wonder who would see past them. Yet, I know personally, when I find someone I’m interested in, I rarely see the flaws they seemed so focus on. I tend to find myself attracted to quirky (well, maybe crazy) women who rarely meet some weird standard of female attractiveness. When I get a crush (and yes, this still happens at 44) I find many reasons not to follow through, maybe I feel like they are too young for me, or our schedules won’t mess. I’ll remind I’m a workaholic, introvert who doesn’t mind being single. Yet, there’s also the voice in the back of my head that tells me that I.m still this squishy guy with a weird body and who would every be attracted to that. Well, that voice can fuck off.

I know that this is a large ramble post, and I image it falls squarely in the TL:DR category. I know a lot of people will come on and say things like “I like you Bob, no matter how you look.” This is often the response I get when I talk like that. I always appreciate my many friends for whom I know this is true. Yet, before you say this or think this, take a moment to think about your image of yourself versus how others perceive you. Often times when you tell people “Don’t be hard on yourself” it can come off, to a person who struggles with self image problems, as a criticism. Most people who suffer from body image issues have a weird cycle of focusing in on their flaws, self doubt, and self flagellation for the self doubt. So, instead of pointing out the fact that their self doubt may not be entirely rational, just be there friend. Treat them like they exist. And be there if they do need to talk. Treat them like they are beautiful to you. That little gesture can make more of a difference than words in ways you may never know.


Accepting the Fat Dude or Why I Think Joel McHale is an Asshole

I know this question will come up, and since I often refer to myself as a “fat guy” or “fat dude” even though I’m really not anymore, I thought I would address it. My wonderful friend Traci asked me this in the comments of the first post:

But when do you start being Regular Weight Guy? Seems like that’d be now?

So, why do I embrace the “fat dude” label?

It’s tough for me, because I know “fat” is a hurtful label. I hate fat jokes. I often get mad when fat people are the easy target for jokes. I find it offensive as a fat dude, and as a lover of comedy. One of my favorite shows on TV is The Soup. I love Joel McCale, that being said…

Joel Mchale is an asshole whose reliance on Fat Jokes diminishes him as a comedian. I get it. Fat people eat a lot. Natural Skinny people, like Joel McHale seems to be, do not seem to get what a struggle it is to not eat a lot. Norm MacDonald would sometimes tell a fat joke that made me laugh, albeit cringingly. Joel McHale tells the same fat joke over and over again. I love Joel and he makes fun of a lot of different kinds of people, but usually his jokes on race, celebrity, sexuality, gender are blunt, but clever. The fat joke is the same one over and over again.

Also, every time I hear him, it makes me want to shove food into my face hole. The worst food ever. Right into my face hole.

Maybe I am just too sensitive.

(Also, I think it’s worth noting that Joel himself will say he’s not a good person so I doubt he would be bothered by me calling him an asshole. My guess is that he accepts that label as much as I accept the Fat Dude label)

I had one friend talk about her struggle with weight loss on Facebook. Most people were supportive and encouraging. Yet, God save me from the well meaning pretentious assholes who think that Fat people don’t know how to lose weight and it’s up to them and their naturally skinny ass to advise them on just how to do it. One guy came on to encourage my friend saying “Losing weight isn’t hard. Beating Heroine addiction is hard.”

That guy is just a bit of an asshole. A well meaning asshole.

Listen my skinny friends. Food is something we have to eat to live. There is no initial choice to “eat.” We all HAVE to eat. No one HAS to start taking heroin. Imagine telling a heroin addict that it’s not that they take heroin, but they need to make better choices in how much and what type of heroin they take. Imagine telling a fat person to quit eating cold turkey.

Listen, my well meaning naturally skinny friends. There is no fat person alive that doesn’t know that in order to lose weight, they need to stop eating as much, eat healthier and exercise. When you, my naturally skinny friend, give me weight loss tips, you make me want to jam a box of sour cream donuts into my facehole. You make me scared to eat near you because I imagine you judging every bite I take so instead, I hide in my cave shoving Butterscotch Krimpets and Cheesesteaks into my facehole. I had a doctor, a healt care professional who I paid to advise me on all things medical tell me, “Just start eating half of what you are eating now.” No nutritional help. Just cut my snack Whopper in half. Eat only half the family sized bag of Doritos. A quarter dozen donuts instead of a half dozen.

So. why do I use the term?

Partly because it was hurtful. I need to embrace how being fat made me feel. I need to remember how those fat jokes hurt me. Even now, I find myself judging people. I have to force myself not to make a comment when someone starts talking about how they need to diet, as they are eating what I consider crap. I need to remember why I ate like I did. I need to remember how complicated the interaction between food and emotions is. I need to remember what it is the be a “fat guy” so I don’t contribute to someone’s emotional need to eat.

This is why I never give unsolicited weight loss advice. This is why I explain that what worked for me, may not be the right way for any other person in the universe.

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The Call It Lifetime for a Reason

The second reason I call myself a “Fat Dude” is well, I am still a fat dude. I still walk into Wawa and want to buy 6 of their donuts and eat them. If I think of myself as The Regular Weight guy, I am not sure what will happen. I see some people who are “skinny” and watch what they eat and know that if I eat like that I would gain 50lbs back in no time. This is not because they eat wrong, but because once I begin to eat that way, I am not sure where I will stop. Once again, when I see something labeled as Family Sized, I will think, “Hey, I’m single. I claim no dependents on my Income Tax. I am a Family.”

I am not a family. I can’t eat like one.

Lastly, and this is the negative side. I call myself a Fat guy, because I still feel like a fat guy. I see all my excess skin, and bulgy areas, and see other people with much better physical conditions and I feel fat. I still feel like every time I eat, people are judging me. I still hate talking about my weight. I don’t like when people comment on what I am eating, because I still feel ashamed when I eat, even if it’s a salad or healthy snack. I still see a woman I am interested in and attracted to, and think “there is no way she would be interested in a fat guy.” This mentality I know is counter productive. I know eventually I could have plastic surgery to improve parts of my body that were screwed up by being nearly 600lbs, although I am not sure if that is a financial option for me. Yet, even then, I would still feel like a fat guy. Maybe someday I will work out that issue. My friends tell me that they like me, fat, or otherwise. I believe them.

I don’t really believe them.

Why I embraced Math and stopped eating Doritos and Donuts…

As long as I can remember, I have been overweight. The last time before I started this current process of weight loss that I actually remember my weight was when I was wrestling in Junior High, struggling to make the Heavyweight limit of 225lbs. For much of my life, I blamed much of the problems in my life on my weight.

Why did my job suck? Because I was fat.

Why did I screw up at this or that? Because I was fat.

I never really dated, or had a long term relationship, because I assumed no women who I liked would want to be with a guy who was fat.

I always told myself that if I wasn’t fat, my life would be so much better.

But, being fat wasn’t the cause of my problems, just an excuse.

About 5 years ago, I decided to look into weight loss surgery. It scared the shit out of me. I was 35, single, working a job I didn’t like, uncomfortable, on anti anxiety meds and blood pressure meds and basically unhealthy. My legs experienced significant swelling and I began to form lipomas on my thighs. I went to the doctor, started the process. When it came time to do the sleep study, I couldn’t make it through the night with the mask. My doctor told me that no one would do the surgery without having my sleep apnea in check. I’m not sure if that’s true but it was the excuse I needed to stop the program. I kept putting it off, avoiding it, lying about it. I was scared to have the surgery. I was scared not to.

Eventually, a cascade of events lead me to decide that I had to take a serious approach to weight loss. To give it one shot. No matter what I said to myself, I had never seriously tried to diet. I liked to eat. I like to eat a lot, and since I was a fat dude, single, and pretty much miserable, eating was my favorite thing to do. If I started to diet, I would still be fat, single and miserable, I just wouldn’t have the comfort of donuts and Doritos. Yet, I needed to change something. It’s hard being a relatively positive, personable person who basically became miserable by his own life choices.

So, begrudgingly, I started Weight Watchers. I hated going to meetings. I hated talking about being fat. I sat in a room full of mostly middle aged women talking about what clothes they wanted to fit into someday. I didn’t care about fitting into certain clothes, I wanted to fit comfortably into my truck, a chair at the ball game, the doorway. My leader was this (seemingly) stick thin Jewish lady who, while sincere and helpful, was kind of brash and annoying. I almost hated losing weight because she would ask my how I lost weight that week, and I had to talk about it in front of a bunch of strangers. They talked about preparing food for their families, shared Kale recipes (I hate Kale.) and shared varies ways to sneak in exercise at their office jobs. Very little of this was applicable to my experience.

While Weight Watchers is for everyone, there is definitely a dominant female perspective to the group. Males can and do do well with the program, but for myself it was a struggle to find my place. As an introvert, I do well when I am with a group of people I feel comfortable with, that I feel like I can open up with. Yet, it took me a while to find that at Weight Watchers.

Yet, I kept going and started to lose weight. I stuck to the program. At that weight level, you are given 71 points. Roughly this is equivalent to a 3500 calorie diet. I will talk more about the Weight Watchers system and why it worked for me later.

I am really not sure why it initially did work for me. There are things I know I was successful at as I progressed into the program, but early on, it was a mental battle. Maybe it’s because I like math. Weight Watchers gave me a way to quantify food. They gave me a mathematical challenge, how much food can I actually eat, and still stay within my points.

I heard people talking about lifetime, but I knew I would never achieve it. According to the BMI, which for some reason Weight Watchers still uses although it’s a horrible barometer, I would need to be about 180 to reach goal. When I was doing my prep for bariatric surgery, the doctor told me 250lbs was a reasonable goal. So, that was what I set as my goal, and even that seemed far in the distance.

Within the first year, I lost 80 lbs. The second year, I lost another 80lb. By the time I moved, left the Bensalem Weight Watchers meetings, and started attending the Saturday meeting at Oxford Valley, I had lost 176lbs.

I still vividly remember walking into the Oxford Valley Weight Watchers for that first time, and meeting the receptionist, Nina, and Andrea or “A” who I eventually began to think of as “my leader.”

Now, that I am at my goal (which my doctor approved at 220, and I am currently at 209) I am still single Still really haven’t had a serious relationship but I have gone on a few dates. I like my job and feel like I am good at it. I’m off all meds, besides some vitamins. I had surgery to remove the lipomas from my leg. While not the happiest dude in the world, I am definitely not miserable.

And definitely healthier.

So, next time I will talk about the latter half of my journey, and maybe start to get into what worked for me. I am not huge on giving “weight loss” tips, but I will talk about what worked and the mindset I needed to succeed and hopefully continue succeeding.

How I Became Two Thirds Less of a Man…

It has taken me a while to get up the nerve to write this post, yet it’s probably time for many reasons.

I have recently read alleged horror stories about what contestants on THE BIGGEST LOSER go through. I personally don’t watch the show, and I don’t know if what is has been said about the show is true, but what I did do was read the comments.

Yeah, I know.

While the majority of the comments were caustic, and disrespectful, one theme ran through the comments… People who lose a lot of weight are destined to gain it all back.

Let’s not praise people for losing weight, no, instead let’s tell them that it’s futile. Because that helps.

Yet, mostly the reason I want to start writing about my own journey to lose weight is that I officially became a Weight Watchers Lifetime Member this week. For those of you who don’t know what that means, it basically means I reached my Doctor Approved Weight Goal, and kept within 2lbs of the Goal for the 6 week maintenance period.

On a personal level, it means I am now transitioning from “Fat Dude trying to lose weight” to “Fat Dude trying to maintain a healthy weight level.”

Also, now that I have achieved Lifetime Status, I can become a Weight Watchers leader. As a life long Fat Dude, talking about my weight has never been easy, yet if I want to become a leader it’s something I need to do. Plus, I want people to know it’s possible to lose a large amount of weight without surgery or fad diets. I also want to prove that you can keep it off.

So, first off. A bit of my story.

I joined Weight Watchers in August of 2011. My weight at the time was just 596lbs.

At my last weigh in, I weighed in at 209 lbs.

So, I have lost in total nearly 388lbs.


People ask me what that feels like. I told them to imaging their whole life they were walking around giving a piggy back ride to a dude who weighed 388lbs.

I can literally say that I am two thirds less a man today than I was 4 years ago.

I always hate telling people how much weight I lost. Because when I tell them I lost 388lbs, I am also telling them that at some point in my life, I gained 388lbs.

This is why I started this new blog. Some of you may know me from my Audiobook Blog, The Guilded Earlobe. Some of you may know me from real life. Some may stumble onto this blog by accident when searching for cute pictures of baby monkeys. However you got here, welcome.

Over the next few weeks, I plan to share my story, and thoughts on weight loss. I am not an expert and I know that the path I took won’t work for everyone, but I will give suggestions, tips and whatever advice I can. I will do a regular weekly post answering anyone’s questions.

While I want this to be a safe place for people to talk about weight, I am blunt when it comes to my personal journey. I will often say I am a “fat guy” of “fat dude.” Part of my process was accepting this label, but I don’t expect others to accept it for themselves, or for people to use it in a derisive manner. If the use of that term bothers you I apologize.

One last thing, although I lost my weight on the Weight Watchers program, and will talk a lot about Weight Watchers, this is not a “Weight Watchers” blog or in any way  associated or endorsed by them. Unless they want to pay me, then we will talk.

So, I guess first, those annoying before and after pictures.



Me in College



My Brothers Wedding.


My Hideous High School Senior Picture.


At my beardiest.

With Niece



My Nephew’s Christening, with mom.


At the Alamo this Fall.