6 Harsh Realities to Losing Weight

October 18, 2013

In this past year, I have lost over 100 lbs.  I didn’t have my stomach stapled or get a gastric band or anything like that.  I dropped the weight the good (hard) old-fashioned way — diet and exercise.  I’m still a bit away from being considered “normal” according to my BMI, but I still find it kind of unbelievable that I’ve lost that much.  It’s like having an entire person just fall off of me.

This guy knows what I'm talking about.

This guy knows what I’m talking about.

Many people I know are trying to shed the pounds right now, and so I write this to inform those who are in this same boat with me (the S.S. Less Fat).  When you are medically obese, losing weight is good for you on almost all accounts, but there are some things you should be prepared for.  Things that no one will tell you about, save for me right now.  For example,…

6. Lose inches off your waistline… and wallet.

Before I took the plunge into a healthier lifestyle, I had to attend a funeral. I didn’t have a proper formal suit, so I got myself fitted for one.  A month or two after the funeral I started this weight-loss regimen and a few months after that, I had a business meeting to attend.  I tried on the suit knowing I’d need it for the meeting and wouldn’t you know, it didn’t fit anymore.  I went in to get it altered to bring it down to my size only for the clerk to laugh and say, “It’d be easier and cheaper if you just bought another suit.”

Inviting the other clerks in the store to come over and laugh was crossing a line.

Inviting the other clerks in the store to come over and laugh was crossing a line.

I had dropped six sizes.  Six entire suit sizes in a matter of months, and this isn’t an isolated instance.  My pants have accidentally fallen down just walking around the apartment.  I’ve notched several holes in belts simply to hold those (now clown-like) pants up.  My T-shirts look like I’m wearing tarps and are completely unfit to wear anywhere outside of a tire fire or dog fight.

It’s sometimes embarrassing, but I put off the inevitable — buying an entirely new wardrobe — because it’s so expensive.  I also don’t want to buy new clothes because I know I’m only going to get smaller, meaning even those replacement clothes won’t fit in a few months.  It adds up to a lot of money spent in a relatively short amount of time.

Not only that, but since I have a new diet, my girlfriend and I don’t share as much food.  Most of what she eats and drinks, I can’t partake in, and she doesn’t want any of my food.  Sure, we don’t eat out as much (few restaurants even serve food I can eat), but our grocery bill now more than makes up the difference.  Protein shakes, fistfuls of vitamins, and meal replacement bars aren’t cheap.

I also find myself buying things I never thought I’d buy just to support this new lifestyle.  Gym memberships, cross trainers, workout gloves.  I even bought spandex compression clothes, for crying out loud.

Like this, only fatter.... And less silvery.

Like this, only fatter…. And less silvery.

Why would someone as big as me buy compression clothes, you ask?  Because…

5. Your body is now a carnival of horrors.

Let’s do a little experiment.  Take two brand new, fresh-out-of-the-pack balloons.  Fill one entirely with water, seal it off and then leave it for several days.  Now drain all the water out, let it dry and then compare it to the other, untouched balloon.  Notice a difference?  The one that was untouched still looks like a cute little mouse ear while the former-water balloon looks like Fat Bastard at the end of Austin Powers 3.

This is the first and last time I've thought about that movie in about a decade.

This is the first and last time I’ve thought about that movie in about a decade.

Doctor’s call the floppy, stretched-out result of severe weight loss redundant skin, and I would NOT click on that link if you’ve been eating.  That person had lost over 400 lbs. before going in for surgery to have his excess skin removed, and it ain’t pretty.

Now remember the first sentence in this article: “In the last year, I have lost over 100 lbs.”  I’m nowhere near as severe as that example patient was, but the same thing that he experienced is happening to me, as it will happen to every other obese person who loses weight.  Right now I probably have about 20 to 30 lbs. of loose skin just hanging on me like a sweater made of flesh.

This guy knows what I'm talking about.

This guy knows what I’m talking about.

I’ve been doing strength training for my exercise, so the added muscle helps tighten the skin, but I still experience problems.  Gross, personal problems.  I probably shouldn’t get into this for fear of losing what few readers I have, but let’s just say the compression clothes help alleviate some of my troubles.

The point is, I, and every other person who loses hundreds of pounds of weight, will eventually have to get the skin surgically removed.  And again, it’s another expense I wouldn’t have thought about prior to this endeavor.

Strength training combined with the redundant skin creates an odd disconnect between my body and my perceived body image.  I work all of these muscles everyday and I feel like that’s the real me and that I’m literally wearing an ill-fitting fat suit that just gets in the way.  Which reminds me…

4. You will feel like you are becoming the Hulk.

FUN FACT: The most effective way to lose weight and to keep it off is to build muscle.  Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is your metabolism when you are completely at rest.  A beating heart, breathing lungs, and all other vital organ functions burn calories even when you’re asleep, and it’s the largest part of your daily calorie expenditure.  Your BMR increases with more muscle mass — the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn.

Even like this, he's still burning more calories than you.

Even like this, he’s still burning more calories than you.

I mentioned that I’ve been strength training, and I can’t speak on behalf of those people who simply have surgery for their weight loss, but for those who work out to lose weight, you’re going to see some radical changes.  First of all, you’ll notice getting muscles you never knew you had.  I didn’t even know what the latissimus dorsi were, but now I can flex them as easily as a bicep.  It all started small, but as I worked out more, I noticed something else about myself as I came to realize the “new me.”

A side effect of all that new muscle mass is my body is now pumping way more testosterone than it did before.  As such, I found myself flexing my muscles as I drove into work in the morning and feeling a little invincible.  I would size guys up, thinking about if I could kick their ass or not.  The “old me” never thought that,… but then again, he was a soft, fat, wimpy marshmallow man.

This guy knows what I'm talking about.

This guy knows what I’m talking about.

As a result from all of this added testosterone, I became more aggressive and “alpha male,” so to speak.  The good thing is that once I realized what was going on, I was able to control it.  The same can’t be said of the next point…

3. You will feel like you are in The Twilight Zone.

A sad fact is that we unconsciously treat attractive people better than everyone else.  Many studies have proved this time and time again.  What is unusual is to experience and recognize this difference in preferential treatment first hand.

My favorite part of the film Shallow Hal isn’t even in the actual movie.  One of the special features on the DVD is a behind-the-scenes look at the suit and makeup Gwyneth Paltrow wore to give herself the appearance of being over 300 lbs.  They tested out the prosthetics by having the crew follow her with hidden cameras while she walked around in public in full costume.  What happened was amazing.

Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to People Magazine's World's Most Beautiful Woman.

Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to People Magazine‘s World’s Most Beautiful Woman.

This extremely recognizable Hollywood actress was rendered virtually invisible with only a foam fat suit and some makeup.  After her short trip, she came back to her hotel room literally in tears.  She said of the experience,…

“I realized immediately that no one was making eye contact with me, or would even look in my direction. No one wanted to connect with me. It was a profound, very sad and startling experience.”

I would still be considered overweight by most people, but since starting this program, I am more V-shaped, my face has thinned out, and my arms and legs have a lot more muscle tone.  That said, many things about me are still the same as when I was obese; same-looking clothes, same haircut, same apartment, same demeanor, and the same loving girlfriend.  Overall, I still see myself as the same person, but strangers view and treat me differently.  Now people are nicer to me, they make eye contact more often, they are more willing to help me when they see I am having trouble, and a couple of times, women have openly flirted with me, which has never happened before.

"Look, THEY flirted with ME and I didn't reciprocate their advances, so please don't make that face. Please? Fine, I'll get you flowers. And chocolates."

“Look, THEY flirted with ME and I didn’t reciprocate their advances, so please don’t make that face. Please? Fine, I’ll get you flowers. And chocolates.”

When all of this attention first starts happening — and it will happen — it’s a shock, and nothing can really prepare you for it.  It’s a huge shift from what you’re used to and you’ll notice it.  Granted, this isn’t so much a “harsh reality” as it is an odd, semi-positive side effect to weight loss, but the same can’t be said of #2.

2. You WILL fall off the wagon.

Perhaps the hardest aspect to face in trying to lose weight is knowing how close you are to losing it all, which is to say gaining it all back.  I’ve done diets in the past and then gained the weight I lost back, however the difference between then and now is my support system.  I have more people cheering me on and actively helping me do this.  But even with all of this help, I’ve had moments of weakness.

A few months ago, I tore my pectoral muscle while working out.  The doctor (more expenses) made me do physical therapy (even more expenses) and told me what I was and wasn’t allowed to do until I was back to normal.  For future reference, here’s the list of strength training exercises you can do with a torn pectoral muscle: legs, nothing, and nothing.

A full week of leg extensions, calf raises, nothing, leg curls, nothing, and 20 minutes of nothing for cool down.

Needless to say, not only did I not lose weight, but I actually regressed.  I only gained a couple pounds, but it was still devastating to have that happen given all that I worked for.

Right before my injury, I saw a documentary about diets and weight loss where someone said something that stuck with me: “When you fall off the wagon, just realize that the wagon is still there and then get back on it.”  That may sound kind of hokey, but when you’re staring into the abyss of a peanut butter cup-induced shame spiral, a trite quote can snap you back to reality.

Weight loss is a multi-year journey, and you can’t plan every detail that far in advance.  You will hit snags, you will fall off the wagon and you will have a really bad month or two.  Just keep at it and don’t ever quit what’s working, because…

1. This is all worth it.

“You will lose weight like it’s a matter of life and death, because it is.  This fat is killing you.  Literally.”

That’s one of the first things a friend — who happens to be a certified personal trainer — said to me when I started this journey.  My asshole puckered when he said it.  It was chilling, scary and worst of all, true.  Obesity is the leading cause of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension — the list of maladies goes on and on.  What he said to me was just what I needed to hear to get me motivated.

Since that first day, I have counted my calories, watched what I ate, worked out an hour a day minimum for six days a week with only injury or illness ever keeping me from that routine.  I push myself every time I go to the gym and I get stronger with every visit.  In the beginning, the strenuousness of my workouts caused me to puke, but I kept going and now my body is used to it… the weightlifting, not the puking.

Work that body! Feel the BLEERRGH!

Work that body! Feel the BLEERRGH!

It’s all scary at first because you are essentially changing every aspect of your life, and your mind and body will work together to fight you.  Your body’s become acclimated to whatever routine you’ve had for these past many years that got you to where you are now, and now you are telling it, “No.”  It thinks it knows better, but it doesn’t.  It thinks you should skip that workout, but you can’t.  It thinks you should eat that candy bar, but you won’t.

This isn’t a diet anymore; this is your life, and it’s what’s at stake here.  Every day you work out and train is a day spent extending your life.  Once you realize that, you’re ahead of the game.

These guys know what I'm talking about.

These guys know what I’m talking about.

This post wasn’t created to scare you, but to hopefully help and inspire you.  If you are obese and actively trying to lose weight, good for you — keep it up.  This journey you’re on will be the toughest thing that you ever do, so don’t be afraid to reach out.  Know that there are others experiencing — or have already experienced — everything you’re going through right now and they can help.  If you are feeling like everything is coming down on you and you can’t do this, visualize whatever it is that gives your life meaning and remember that’s why you’re doing this.

And if you are obese and not trying to lose weight, it’s not too late to start.


Sexism Knows No Gender

February 12, 2010

A car commercial aired during the most recent Super Bowl — what else is new? Apparently this car commercial ruffled some feathers due to its sexist message — again, what else is new?

That was exactly what one expects: A fairly stupid, one-dimensional car commercial aimed directly at men. Given that the audience for the Super Bowl is predominantly male (about 60% male viewership, if not more), it’s understandable. Someone (I’d assume a woman, but I really shouldn’t assume such things) was so disgruntled at this ad that s/he made their own parody of it.

I didn’t like the original ad and its message, and this lampoon doesn’t make things better. All it conveys is that women can be just as — if not more — angry, sexist and whiney as an ego-driven, male-focused car commercial. Hate and exclusionary remarks do not cancel out hate.

Think about it this way: Imagine some racist black guy is making a stink and calling all the white people he meets “honkies” and “crackers.” Instead of ignoring his racist remarks or confronting him in an enlightened and instructive manner, a white guy comes up to him and calls him “nigger.”

Using “revenge” as your go-to tactic when countering bigotry benefits no one. Fighting sexism by being even more sexist doesn’t mean you won the battle.

But kidnapping and torturing a sexist bigot is pretty sound and foolproof.

“But Boone,” you say in a highfalutin tone, “This parody ad is satire — it’s supposed to be funny. It’s making fun of the sexist message of the original commercial through direct opposition. Or are you too stupid to realize that?”

Fair enough, I guess,… although you didn’t have to call me stupid. However, before you say anything else, keep this in mind: I completely forgot about the original Dodge commercial ten minutes after I saw it. It wasn’t visually interesting, it was too long (for a commercial), it had a weak message and worst of all, it wasn’t funny. Thanks to the parody, not only was I reminded of the original commercial again — a commercial that my mind naturally thought wasn’t worthy enough of any brain space — but I remembered that it was promoting the new Dodge Charger.

I work in the advertising industry. You know that saying about there being no such thing as bad publicity? It’s 100% true. By even watching this parody you are giving attention to the lame Dodge ad. Those who were unaware of the original ad now have to see it to see what the buzz is about. Interest spikes, online views quadruple and the advertisers are promoted for making such an effective ad. Regardless of whether it’s negative or not, as Paris Hilton has proved, any attention is good attention.

Barely literate, and yet she had a book deal. Unbelievable.

Essentially, this parody ad shouldn’t have been made. Attention is brought to a problem in the least constructive way possible. Instead of denouncing sexism by being even more sexist and belittling your message, how about you try approaching the topic in a more productive manner? Contact the advertisers or the manufacturer and tell them about how displeased you were with their ad. Boycott Dodge vehicles and tell your friends/relatives about how much they suck. Hold a rally, attend a seminar about gender inclusion, write a blog post — anything would be better than to encourage the parody’s views of reinforced gender stereotypes and then laugh it off. Sexism isn’t that funny.

In a perfect world, ads would be gender-neutral and enjoyed by all. The Dodge commercial and its accompanying spoof only show how far off we are from that world.

===========

EDIT: There. Now I fixed the ads.


The Bottom 100 Films

September 29, 2009

Every year, Rotten Tomatoes — the film review aggregation site — updates their list of the worst-reviewed films of all time… or at least the worst-reviewed films in the history of their site. They just recently posted their list of the Bottom 100 Films of the past decade, and it’s kind of startling to see how many extremely recent films (under a year old) are on the list. Even more startling to me is how many of the films on the list I’ve actually seen.

One of the people in this photo is mentally handicapped. Guess which one. (I think you'll be surpried.)

One of the people in this photo is mentally handicapped. Guess which one. (I think you'll be surpried.)

At my office today, my co-workers and I took great pleasure in going down the list and making fun of the films on it. At a cursory glance, I thought, “I’ve seen about twelve or thirteen of these. Maybe more.” Curiosity getting the best of me, I actually tallied how many of them I had seen.

Final count: 26.

Keep in mind that I didn’t count films that I started watching and turned off/walked out of before they were over. These are films that I have seen in their entirety. If we counted films that I had only partially seen, the number would be closer to 40, probably more.

I dare you not to stare at John Travolta's codpiece.

I dare you not to stare at John Travolta's codpiece.

For the record, I have seen almost every Uwe Boll film made. Admittedly, some of his films are hard to find, so I can’t say I’ve seen all of them. Also, I have seen Battlefield Earth… twice. Three times if you count the Rifftrax version of it. I’ve even seen Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever, the worst-reviewed film of all time. 107 reviews to its name and not one positive. Odds are, if you show this film to 100 random people, not a single one of them will like it.

In this photo, the main characters for 'Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever' try to remember their motivation.

In this photo, the main characters for 'Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever' try to remember their motivation.

I’m a glutton for punishment. I admit it. God knows I can’t hide it. Anyone who has seen some of the movies I’ve reviewed on this site knows that I willingly watch pure garbage. I blame Mystery Science Theater 3000 for culling my tolerance towards crap… although I know that’s not a very good excuse. Oh well.

So, how many films on the Bottom 100 have you seen?


FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!

July 26, 2009

I just now almost got into a fight. And I do mean just now — as in only about 20 minutes ago.

I was in our apartment’s laundry room, waiting to do some emergency laundry. (We’ve all been there — underwear, socks, towels and the like.) I had a load of laundry to do and it had to get done tonight. All the washing machines were taken, and I waited ten minutes next to a washer filled with someone’s already-finished wash. That’s ten minutes spent just staring at the only would-be available machine. I finally got fed up and took the guy’s clean laundry out… only for him to walk in right after I did it.

He… didn’t seem happy. In fact, he seemed seconds away from punching me.

WHAT I ALMOST SAID:
“Look, buddy, you should expect this to happen when you take up the last three machines in a communal laundry room and not take your stuff out on time. We only have 6 machines to share between over 100 people, and I’ve waited 15, 20, 40 minutes before for people to take their finished laundry out. I waited ten minutes for you and I just assumed you were another one of the loafers in our apartment complex. If I had known you were going to come in just five more minutes, I would’ve waited.”

WHAT I ACTUALLY SAID:
“Um… sorry.”

He went on to berate me (because I confessed that I did it when he questioned me and I apologized) and finished by saying, “In the future, wait a little longer for someone to get their laundry!”
He then very tersely walked out of the room and closed the door behind him.

I don’t entirely blame him for his reaction (although he got angrier than I thought anyone would over this), but am I in the wrong? Can you blame me for what I did?
I don’t like to touch other people’s clean laundry any more than I like touching my dirty laundry — I avoid it at all opportunities. But goddammit, it’s just rude to not keep track of your crap in that situation.

At least I actually waited for the guy, fessed up to taking his stuff out when questioned and genuinely apologized afterwards. He still looked like he wanted to punch my face in, though.

Here’s the bad news: Assuming he’s now on top of things, I’m going to run into him again tonight when I put my wash into the dryer and he takes his stuff out. I hope he didn’t spend all his time stewing over this and decks me the second he sees me.

UPDATE: As expected, I ran into him. We exchanged glances (his glance was more of a scowl) and that was that. We both internally decided to just leave it alone; he already said all he wanted to and I wanted to let sleeping dogs lie out of fear of a face-punching. DRAMA AVERTED!


Michael Jackson: 1958-2009

June 26, 2009

All right. I might lose friends over this, but it has to be done for posterity sake — news and pop culture is fickle and forgetful. If you’re easily offended, skip this post.

That said, let’s get it over with…

thriller

Today marks the first day that Michael Jackson has been stiff without a five year-old boy nearby.

===========

There will be a post-mortem today to determine what is to blame for Michael Jackson’s death:
A) Sunshine
B) Moonlight
C) Good Times
D) Boogie
[Click here if you don’t get it.]

===========

Turns out it was food poisoning that killed Michael Jackson. He ate an 8 year-old wiener.

===========

When Farrah Fawcett died, God granted her one wish: that all the world’s children will be safe. So then God immediately killed Michael Jackson.

===========

Walmart has decided to introduce a new sale for this summer to honor Michael Jackson: All boys pants half off.

===========

When Michael Jackson was first rushed to the hospital, it wasn’t because of a heart attack. He went to the pediatric ward for a stroke.

===========

Q: Why wasn’t Michael Jackson saved in time?
A: There were only two of Charlie’s Angels available.

===========

Michael Jackson’s ashes will be spread in a sandbox so that after his death, he’ll end up in little boys’ shorts.

===========

Michael Jackson went to his plastic surgeon and said, “Doctor, I was hoping you could make my skin whiter.” “Whiter?” said the doctor. “The only way you could get whiter is if you became a ghost.”  So then Michael went home and died.

===========

Q: What’s Hell to Michael Jackson?
A: Being surrounded by people that can grow pubic hair.

===========

Part of Michael Jackson’s contract with Pepsi stipulated that — because he was 99% plastic anyway — when he died, he would be melted down into Pepsi bottles. That way he could end up in childrens’ mouths.

===========

Okay. That’s it. I’m spent. Now I have to pack my bags and prepare for going to Hell. “SHAM ON!


The House on the Rock: In a Nutshell

June 5, 2009

I recently went on a trip to visit The House on the Rock in scenic Spring Green, Wisconsin. I made this video to illustrate my thoughts on it. Enjoy.

If you would like more information concerning The House on the Rock, please consult Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and the music video for More Than This by the band 10,000 Maniacs.


The Cast of Bambi 2 Talk Shop

May 25, 2009