Dear Jillian and others,
My name is Chris. You haven't met me, but I promise to be painfully honest with you. If I ever slip up, hopefully someone will have the guts to call me out. That said, allow me to introduce myself and to explain why you're reading these letters. This could get long, but it's all pertinent.
So, I'm 24 years old, and I'm just starting my senior year at Northern Illinois University. You might wonder why I haven't graduated yet, and there are a billion possible explanations...but that's not why I'm writing. Suffice to say that I've had problems in the past, JUST LIKE YOU. Thankfully, with help from God, my parents, and my friends, I have overcome many already! I used to be depressed - not anymore! I almost didn't graduate high school on time, before nearly failing out of two different colleges - now my grades are near perfect! I used to have a 40" waist size - now it's much smaller!
It's that last thing that really brings me here tonight. I'm fat, and I have been since age 8. Sure, I'm a lot thinner than I was two years ago, but this story is far from over! Over the summer of 2010, I lost over 50lbs. Some of you are certainly shocked, as were the regular customers at the Starbucks where I used to work, as were my friends, family members, etc. Looking back, I firmly believe that this was a gift from God. If you don't believe in that, it's ok; call it karma or luck or whatever. The point is that I didn't have much to do with it. I had jaw surgery at the end of that May, and that took off over 25lbs from my highest weight of 232. After the weight loss plateaued (as surgery-related things do), I gained a couple back. Then, I got a heat rash AGAIN. After seeing a dermatologist and looking at a hundred medical photos online, I made my best guess that the main culprit was the excess of sugars in my diet. I already ate better than many people my age, but I LOVE CARBS, and if you've ever had a Cafe Vanilla Frappuccino or Iced White Chocolate Mocha, you know they're dangerous! Imagine being faced with them - discounted or often for free - every day.
Instead of cutting back on my drinks at work or giving up desserts in general, I declared war on sugars! No longer would I eat anything my body could turn into sugar. I stopped eating ANY kind of grains or starches (this includes soy sauce, beer, corn [which is in practically everything, btw], potatoes, bread, avocados, carrots, bananas, and SO much more). I went cold turkey on the drinks at work and began having plain green tea instead. Juice was out the window because it's so sugary. In fact, the only significant source of sugars I ate was from plain whole fruits - fresh or dried. My diet mainly consisted of some meat, a couple ounces of dairy per day (butter for cooking or a bite of cheese), fruits, and tons of vegetables. Water and plain green tea were my only beverages, and I drank a lot of them both. Miraculously, I never batted an eye at this revolutionary diet. Not once did I really feel a craving for the foods I loved most.
From the middle of July to the middle of August, I lost over 25lbs MORE!!! The heat rash, incidentally disappeared after about a week of this regime. The lowest our home scale ever read was 179. That's a difference of 53lbs in roughly three months. I went from a size 40 to a 32/33. Some of you are jealous now, and I do not blame you. This was one of the simplest things that ever happened to me, and I am eternally grateful for the inspiration and confidence it produced.
It's January 16th, 2011 - almost a year and a half to the day since I first dove head first into better nutrition. Last night, I had Domino's pizza. The night before, I had (my biggest weakness) Panda Express AND Taco Bell. :( One could make the excuse that I just got my tonsils removed after 4.5 years of sporadic agony, and I deserved to indulge. That's a pretty weak one. Thankfully, I've hovered between 180-190lbs since my original loss. Right now, I'm 192 on my IKEA scale. Crap.
Thinner or not, dating has always proven to be... a waste of time. I just ditched all of my online dating attempts, and this blog is my new outlet. Maybe there will be tons of followers... maybe not, but it doesn't really matter. MY GOAL HERE IS TO INSPIRE ONE OTHER PERSON TO TAKE THE PLUNGE INTO TRULY HEALTHY LIVING. There will be no listing of every single thing I eat, nor will I tell you about every individual kind of exercise I do. Every person is different and will need to make health their own. Before October 2011, I had never worked out regularly on my own. I haven't since November because my tonsils and the antibiotics have had me pretty sick. It should be known that I'm not excluding all grains and starches this time around, because I will be exercising also (not the case last time).
My own inspiration has come from Jillian Michaels. If you don't know who she is, just go Google her. She used to be fat too. Now, she is thin, in great shape, successful, inspiring and helping other people to be truly healthy, and smiling her way through it! This is what I want to do also. No, I don't want her career; I have my own aspirations. But, she is making a positive, lasting impact on people and giving them the tools to live longer and better. What legacy could be more wonderful?!
To Jillian, in the even that you ever stumble across this, thank you for the inspiration! I'd sign up for your web program, but I can't afford it right now. Don't worry, my money is going to better food. I'm going to fill any free time by reading one of your books: Master Your Metabolism. My mom has it. Also, it makes me smile when you roll your eyes as you throw out the gingerbread house in the commercial that's on TV right now. It's obvious how much you hate junk food!
That's all for today. The Rec center on campus isn't open because of MLK Day, so I'll be doing my basics at home. Then, I have work for 8 hours, followed by a drive back and immediate bed time. I'll be waking up at 5:30a.m. Tuesday to get to the Rec by 6. Wish me luck!
-A Chris in Progress