Well, I’ve been going on the exercise program and healthier diet for almost a year now. So far I’ve lost 75 pounds. Let me repeat that, seventy-five pounds. That’s small children, heck, it could be two of them! It’s incredible that I let myself get so overweight and I can try and point fingers at myself but that won’t do any good now. Thinking back to when I was 16 and I did a month of trail crew at Philmont. I was supposed to meet my parents the day or two after we got off the trail. They got there a day early and I ran into them in a breezeway. I was shocked to see them, but their expressions were of even greater surprise as I was much thinner (all my clothes were falling off of me) and had probably grown a little since they last saw me. I had a great chance to keep that up and didn’t. The only explanation that matters at this point is that I was lazy, but that’s not the case any longer. The biggest effect this has had on me is forcing the lifestyle change I so desperately needed. I now engage in regular physical activity and I’m eating much healthier than before (buh-bye fast food and frozen pizzas). Generally this is by way of the gym, but I’m starting to branch out with things like hiking and soon I’m going to get a road bike to start up on that too. When I don’t do the gym I start to feel it. I guess it could be characterized as guilt (no, not that Catholic Guilt either) but more and more it’s that I just feel better doing it, so I keep going. In the last couple of months I’ve really noticed myself sliming down. I get the feeling other people have too since that is generally the comment that is first made. What’s really fun is seeing people after a few months, then they really flip out. Comments have included “Where’s the other half of you?” and “Whoa! You know I could really stand to loose ten pounds, you’re like an inspiration.” My favorite was from a friend visiting from the east coast that I hadn’t seen since September of 2004. I had, however, worked with this person for many years in New York. He said I was “…at the normal danimal size.” That made me feel better since I was at about my current weight for a long time, so there is some progress. Now, not to scare anybody, but I’m going to show some pictures here. In order to save the sanity of the masses these are small snippets that you must click on to see the full image. First is me in November of 2002 at Alcatraz (with Keith and Dode, taken by Andre): Now here I am at work in May of 2004, shortly before my 30th birthday and about two months before I started working out (the award is one we won for talking toenail fungus): And finally, here is one Andre took almost a month ago when KP, Todd, and Sarah came out for a visit. Somehow I don’t think this picture looks like me any longer, but maybe it’s just that I’m wearing my shorts so low. Regardless, enjoy: So there is is. I’ve come a long way in this year. I’m going to goto New Zealand in August for two weeks of snowboarding which is something I don’t even think I would have imagined myself doing last year. That I can goto the gym every other day and do a non-stop 45 minute cardio workout is great for me (I even did 10 minute miles the other day!). I’ve started doing a lot more weight training on the off days as well which probably accounts for the plateau in my weight loss recently, but that’s okay because I can see the results in my muscles (another source of comments being my muscular legs. They’ve gone from getting toned to defined recently). For some reason I still remember something my teacher said in my high school health class. It boils down to the fact that from 15-30 years of age there is a window to make a choice on how healthy you will be. After 30 it gets a lot harder to make the body changes that are needed. Also, after 30, you are at a higher risk for things like adult onset diabetes and heart disease. I’m not sure how accurately I’m remembering it, but it’s obviously made an impression on me. I still have many pounds to go and I expect it to get harder from here on. I do know that if it wasn’t for the encouragement of my friends and family I wouldn’t be nearly as close as I am today. Technically I’m still obese with a Body Mass Index of 32.1 kg/m2^. I don’t know what my target weight is supposed to be, but I’m shooting for 195 to start with and then I’ll push it down from there. That will be 110 pounds at that point (starting at 305 lbs.). There are of course some good things about loosing this much weight. The best by far has been in the clothing department for sure. Not only did I just donate a lot of clothes that are now too big for me (like, pants I could put on and put my arms down the sides), but I’ve also gotten to start wearing t-shirts that I was carrying around for a long time that were too small for me. Many of them are from college and early at Blue Sky. This has about tripled my t-shirt wardrobe. Of course, that also means some t-shirts that I had been wearing are now too large, and that’s a bummer, because some are really great. In public I actually feel better about myself now. It used to be I didn’t like sitting at some booths at restaurants. I just felt pressed in and uncomfortable. That should have been a sign right there. The other one is people that would call me “big guy” as if they knew me. For some reason that really ticked me off, but let’s face it, I was big. It used to happen regularly, and now it doesn’t happen at all. Good times are ahead. I’m just too anxious to wait for all of them.