The new me at cf.Objective()

A lot of people have asked me to upload a pic, and thanks to O?uz Demirkap?, I've got one:

UPDATE: I forgot to say that on my last weigh-in on Wednesday (at the gym located in the hotel), I weighed a super unofficial 279.8 lbs. That makes my current weight loss total at 98.7 lbs!

UPDATE 2: I am back from cf.Objective, and weighed in today (5/17) at 278 lbs. That means I have now lost over 100 pounds! 100.5, to be exact. Here's another pic:

So how AM I doing?

I'm doing well, for the most part.

After some coaxing, I thought I'd finally say the things here that I should have said on here for months now.

Before I get into the now, how, what and why, here's some backstory, and I'll take you step by step through the last few months, as I had planned to blog about it, but hadn't until now. I have Twittered on it a lot, but until now, no blog entry.

For those of you who have never met me, except for a few years in high school and at the start of university, I've been big most of my life. It's embarrassing to say how big I've really got. I hope by coming clean, my story can help others.

I had been considering weight loss surgery for the last two or three years. I was reluctant, and thought I should give it one last try the old fashioned way, like I did seven years ago. I'd say over the last two years, I started having issues I never had before. Over the last year, my health was just getting worse and worse, and I had enough. I realized it was time to take it off once and for all. Something needed to be done.

I came close to losing the weight seven years ago. I was 380 pounds then. I went on a low carb diet, got a gym membership and a trainer, and started working out like crazy. I had one point where I lost 29 pounds in 29 days. I thought I had it. I had lost over 100 pounds. However, that success was short lived. In November of that year, I switched jobs, and moved from Jacksonville, FL to Charleston, WV a few months into working out very hard. That move didn't go very smoothly. I started work 2 weeks later than I was supposed to, of no fault of my own. I was broke, and couldn't afford a gym membership, and had to use the crappy gym at the apartment building. The workouts slowed down and I eventually stopped working out. I lost my momentum. The weight loss slowed, then stopped, and then I gradually started putting it back on. After my mother passed away, and some other stress, the weight gain accelerated. By late 2004, I had gained all but about 25 pounds of it back. By 2006, I gained it all back. I fluctuated from that point on, but with my health worsening, it was time.

I had friends who had the surgery, my wife had it, and I knew it was the right thing and the right time to do it for me. Surgery is not a cop-out. You still have to do everything you'd do to lose the weight without surgery. It only makes it more difficult to overeat. It's an insurance policy, and if I do everything I am supposed to, I will lose the weight.

The weight loss process actually started months ago, June 25th to be exact. I weighed 378.5 pounds that day, the day I went to the surgery workshop.

What's worse? Two weeks later, at my family doctor, I gained and came in at 381, tied for my all-time high, which I set two years before.

On August 5th, I started six months of medically supervised weight loss, as per my insurance carrier. I weighed 375 that day, and was asked to lose 20 pounds in the next six months. It seemed attainable, though so far away.

A few weeks later, another trip to the family doctor, and tests were run, and for the first time in my life, I had type 2 diabetes. I had tested positive a few times, but this was the first time I had fasted before the test, so it was clear that I was diabetic. Though it wasn't high enough for insulin, I was put on metformin, a pill to help control blood sugar. That diabetes news made me more serious to lose than ever. It was quite a shock.

When you're told you need to lose 20 pounds in six months, you might do what I did at first, and not take it too seriously, even with the diabetes news. It seemed so far away that it was hard to take seriously even though it was more clear than ever I needed to lose the weight. The closer I got to the six month deadline, the more serious I got.

By MAX, I was down to 361 pounds, only six pounds from my goal, and that's the weight many of you saw me at last.

Somehow, a week away from home (vacation after MAX) and I gained ten back. I still can't figure out how because I didn't eat badly while I was away and got a lot of walking in. I had only about six weeks left in my six months, and I was at 371 - 16 pounds to lose! I was shocked, and still am about that weight gain, but that got me even more serious. Two weeks later, at my weigh-in, I got that 10 off and reached 360.4 pounds. A bad month, only .6 pounds lost, but my goal was still in reach and considering I got that 10 pounds I gained off, I was happy.

Thankfully, after six months, I reached my goal and a little more. I got down to 353 pounds, down 22 pounds over that six month period.

A month later, I got the call that I was approved for surgery, set for Feb. 27th.

Two weeks before the surgery, I was put on a strict 800-calorie liquid diet. Through that, I lost another 18 pounds. My weight the day before the surgery was 335.5 pounds.

The surgery itself went well. I was on my feet and walking the night of the surgery, and was out of the hospital in only two days. It was not that bad. I fought through the pain. My mother, may she rest in peace, told me that your only goal once you're in the hospital should be to get well enough as fast as you can to leave the hospital as soon as possible. I kept hearing her advice to me and she was right. She motivated me. Only two incisions caused any serious pain, but the major pain was something I wasn't prepared for: Gas. No, not that kind of gas!!! :) When they do laparoscopic surgery, they pump your cavity full of gas, and most of it stays in you. Once I realized that the pain medications they were giving me weren't doing anything for the majority of my pain, I realized it was gas pain, and although it was painful, I ignored it as best as I could. It took about a week to get rid of that gas, passing it as any other kind of gas, but I had to absorb it before I could release it! :)

The day after I got out of the hospital, I went to the gym. I started slow, on the treadmill only, and slowly increased my exercise routine over the next two months. Up until a few days ago, I have been working out 4-6 days per week.

Last Tuesday, April 28th, I officially broke the 300 pound milestone, weighing in at 295.1 lbs. That was a big milestone for me. To put that into perspective. I haven't been that low since before I was a user group manager, in early 2003. That means I've lost 83.4 pounds total, with 40.4 lost since the day before the surgery. Most of you reading this didn't even know who I was back then!

Unfortunately, the last few days have slowed me down a bit. I got rundown, had abdominal pains and became light-headed. I didn't drink enough, and I think my electrolytes or vitamin absorption is a little low. It could also be a flare up of diverticulosis. I am better now, but still not quite 100%, and I will probably see a doctor if I still don't feel quite right in a few days. I should be OK, I am better, but not 100% yet. I've still got occasional abdominal pain, but it's not like it was. At the time of writing, I haven't worked out since Tuesday, five days ago.

There are some things that it's difficult to get used to after surgery. You're not supposed to eat and drink at the same time. You are supposed to stop drinking 30 minutes before eating and not start drinking again until 30 minutes after eating. Sometimes, you have a hard time eating. You'll eat too fast, or too much, and it gets stuck. When that happens, it takes a while to get unstuck. Sometimes, you have the opposite: It takes you a long time between bites, and a meal lasts hours. When either of those happen, you can have a lot of trouble getting in enough fluids. You also have to make sure to get at least 60 grams of protein per day and it can be a challenge on those tough days. I get lots of protein some days, but the days you could dehydrate are also days when you might not get in enough protein.

It's late, and I really should go to bed, but before I do, it's been five days, and I haven't gotten in a workout. I vow to you that, despite the very late hour (and all of the edits I've made since posting this entry), I am about to go on our elliptical machine and get my first workout in since Tuesday. I've been busy today, and these two blog posts and one I made on the podcast blog didn't help me get down there any earlier, but I'm definitely well enough to workout, and I will after I stop editing this entry! As I said in my last blog entry, I can edit myself to death at times.

Update: Yes, despite the late hour, I did do an hour on the elliptical, which said I burned 833 calories. It was good to get that in, and get that workout in on the fifth day (though, technically, it was the sixth by then). So, I took four days off.

By cf.Objective(), in a week and a half, I will probably be under 290, which would mean I will have lost somewhere around 90 pounds total by then, assuming the last few days without working out haven't slowed down my weight loss too much.

What's my goal? Well, I'm keeping my goals small, and attainable. When I make that goal, it's time for the next goal.

My first goal was to get under 350, and I did that just before the surgery. Next was 320, which I made about one month after surgery. The 300 goal was next, and I passed that one on Tuesday (officially, but I unofficially passed it the Saturday before, when I weighed 298 at the gym). My next goal is 275, 20 pounds to go. That's another big milestone. During three previous weight loss attempts, including the attempt in 2002 and two earlier attempts where I started at a lower weight, I plateaued between 277-279 each time. Making it to 275 will mean that this attempt has been more successful than any other attempt to lose the weight in the last 15 years or so. Assuming I make the 275 goal, my next goal will be 250. Other goals I've thought about are 225, 200, 180, 160 and if I get that far, I'll try 145, which I weighed at 17 and I was the best shape of my life. Now, I doubt 145 is attainable, and 160 may not be. They are not goals. I only have one goal right now and that is 275. I don't care about any goals I might have down the road, even though I have what those goals might be in my head. Before I could get to 250, I have to reach 275, so that's the only goal that counts. Keeping my goals in reach is the right way to do it.

What's more, I may say those will become goals, but that may change. Like many who have been overweight for years that manage to lose it, I have no idea whether I will have a lot of loose skin, or if I will be one of the lucky ones. That will have a bearing on how much weight I will be able to lose. That loose skin can weigh a lot, too, or so I am told. I may decide it's better to beef up, and go muscular and that may keep the weight up but have less loose skin. My point is that having loose skin will be a problem, but it's a problem I'd like to have, and that's some months from now if at all. As I say, the next goal only becomes one when the previous goal is reached. Those weights mentioned above and proposed goals may and probably will change.

So far, despite the little setback in the last few days, I do highly recommend getting the surgery if you're morbidly obese and decide, like I did, it's time. For one thing, my diabetes is gone. In fact, it was gone within a few days of the surgery, and I no longer take any medication for it.

Pictures? No, I don't have any yet to show. When I do, I'll post them. I know I need a few, and I'll probably have some by next week.

So that's how I am doing. Any questions?

I suck at blogging! I'm better at Twittering!

Look at me... it's been almost three months since my last blog entry, and there have been no CFConversations since 2/24. What gives?

People might know I've had surgery recently, and are wondering how I'm doing, and still nothing on the blog until now. I'll talk more about the surgery in my next post.

On this blog, I tried to complete a new blog design before my surgery, but just didn't quite finish it, and haven't gotten back to it. I think that failure turned me off a bit from the blog. Who knows? Maybe I'll work on it when I'm at the airport or on the plane coming or going from cf.Objective() and get it done. It's a really nice design. I took two Wordpress designs, made a few custom changes, and came out with something nice. I just have to fix up a few pieces, like comments. My favicon is a bit of a sneak peek of the design, though I changed the colors slightly since then.

I am one of those people who just can't get a blog entry written. To be honest, I used to ATTEMPT to blog a lot, 90% of what I would write would either get lost (a browser crash, an incomplete thought), goes stale (a nearly finished post that sits, and is no longer relevant) or otherwise never sees the light of day.

My other tendancy is that I edit myself to death and edit so much that I just don't feel like sending it out. I do that in emails, too.

If you are clamoring to hear from me, rather than checking the blog, check me out on Twitter,, as I do post a lot there:

It's probably ADD-like symptoms, but I tend to get out entries easier if I am limited to 140 characters. :) I've said quite a lot on there. You can go back and look at what I've tweeted to get a sense of things. I'm on Facebook, too, and most of what I tweeted went to Facebook also.

Another reason why I haven't blogged... the podcasts. I've had two episodes to finish up since before the surgery, and I just got another long interview done tonight, and probably a bunch more at cf.Objective(). I thought I would have had at least another five published after the surgery by now, but it's been difficult getting time to do the editing, first while recovering, then getting back to work, and now working and working out. I haven't want to blog until I could get podcasts out.

Nevertheless, and a friend suggested I REALLY should blog something.

I am doing well, and recovering well from my surgery. In my next post, I'll tell you how well.

Happy B'Day to me!!! But I REALLY don't want a cake!!!

Not to sound self absorbed, but today is my 39th birthday!

Wow - 39. My father (may he rest in peace) was five days short of his 39th when he married my mom (may she rest in peace). I am thankful that I married my wife a little more than a year ago. I remember growing up, thinking, "I hope I don't wait THAT LONG to get married." Well, I didn't, but it was sure close!!!

I am thankful to be with my soulmate, Julie. We act like an old couple, but we have not even been together a year and a half yet!!! I am truly lucky. I now know why I had to wait so long to find my wife... because I had to wait to meet the perfect person for me!

We'll probably do the going out thing, but we'll skip the presents. Work, as they always do, will get a cake. That is despite my every objection. I DON'T WANT A CAKE, and I think it's totally disrespecting me to get one anyway. Why don't I want a cake??? I am trying to lose weight, and I think it's absolutely a slap in the face to give me a cake when I specifically asked that they don't get me a cake. I won't eat it, and I am not going to stand by and not say anything about it if they do. I had asked for something else instead, like sandwiches or pizza. Both are questionable for a low-carb dieter, but at least I can throw out the bun or the bread and eat it. With cake, I can't even touch it.

As of last Sunday, I am 353 pounds, and I am trying to lose weight. My wife had gastric bypass surgery four months ago, and she's lost more than 61 pounds (61 is the official reading, but that was taken about a month ago, and I think she's still losing). I don't think I am out of line here. To me, if they have cake, my birthday is just an excuse to have cake and they are totally ignoring my feelings on the subject.