I never thought I’d post a weight loss success story. Why would anyone care? However, with my ninja post, I made the decision to start putting more stuff out there. I imagine at the very least that some of my friends and family would enjoy the writing. Heck, if even one person finds a post interesting, useful, or inspiring, it was worth the effort to write.
I don’t have any of those semi-nude cell phone bathroom mirror pictures taken before I started losing weight, because there was never a day when I said I was starting this journey. My first drivers license, at the age of 16, listed my weight as 165 pounds. Over the years, through college and my various jobs as a computer programmer, I gained weight slowly. I always told myself that I’d start eating better and would start going to the gym on a regular basis. I won’t go any more into the entire history of my weight loss, since I already wrote about it during Mark Sisson’s last Primal Challenge.
Of course, not having taken a picture of myself doesn’t mean that I don’t have any pre-Paleo pictures. A few weeks ago, while I was watching people make New Years resolutions, I lamented on Twitter that I didn’t have any “before” pictures. Mere minutes later I received an email from my dad with the photo to the right, taken in April 2007, a month after moving into my new house. Gee, thanks, Dad.
I always knew I was over-weight, but I never looked at myself and thought I was fat. I’m looking at myself now and thinking, “Wow, I was fat.” I must have realized it at the time, because I started keeping track of my weight, on a semi-regular weekly basis, in May 2007. According to my records, I peaked at 225 pounds. At first, losing weight wasn’t easy. But then I had two breakthroughs. The first was in mid-2008 when my wife was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and we both limited carbohydrates in our diets. The second was in March 2010 when I went Paleo. This second breakthrough is clearly visible in the chart.
About five years ago I started studying again at the karate dojo at which I originally earned my black belt, when I was 18 years old. Shortly after I left for college and karate became one of those things I’d “get back to eventually.” Well, 10 years passed before I finally did. Unfortunately, when I pulled out my old gi, it didn’t fit. I had to order a new gi in a larger size. I never liked this new gi, because, while it fit my rotund physique, it was clearly too large for me. But it worked, and after a couple of years I earned my second degree black belt. However, as I approached my third degree test, I set my first goal. I would get my weight to 180 and buy myself a new gi.
I finally reached 180 in November 2010, but it wasn’t enough. I looked at myself and decided that my waist circumference was still too large to justify buying any new clothes. So I kept going.
As I write this, I weigh in at 172 pounds. I’ve had to buy new pants for the cold weather and I’m just barely keeping my old shorts up with a belt cinched to the last hole. Last weekend I decided that, as a late birthday present to myself, I could buy a new gi.
As I shopped online, I realized that I had never gotten rid of my old gi, the one I wore in high school when I earned my black belt. I dug it out of the garage, tried it on, and it fit. I was ecstatic (and I saved some money). Being able to fit into something old like this is even better than buying something new (don’t worry, I’ll be doing that soon enough). It’s amazingly motivating, too. I remember five years ago, struggling to get through my kata and sucking wind during bag drills, hating every minute. Now both are so much easier and I love doing them.
Here are the closest things I have to before and after pictures. On the left, taken in July 2008, I’m wearing the one-size-too-large gi. On the right, my 17 year old gi, which I’m much more comfortable wearing.