Being a parent takes a lot of energy because you’ve got to be there, in the fullest sense of the word, for your kids. It’s not exactly a spectator sport. You’ve got to be engaged, full on.
When I was fat, that was hard. Damn near impossible.
At 340 pounds, I didn’t have a lot of energy to begin with, and what I did have was almost entirely consumed by the tremendous effort it took to simply move through the world in a body of that size.
Sure, we’d go out and do things, me and the kids, but more often than not, those outings were to places where they could run around and get their ya-ya’s out – the park, or the beach, maybe – but also someplace where I could sit down while keeping a watchful eye.
The key phrase there is, sit down. Full and active participation on my part was usually not on the agenda.
Run A Mile
When I was in junior high school, which is what the kids know as middle school these days, every year in gym class we had to take something called the President’s Physical Fitness Test. We had to do chin-ups, sit-ups, the 50-yard dash, a shuttle run, and a mile run, all of it measured and meticulously recorded so your results could be posted on the gym wall alongside those of your classmates, where they remained for weeks for everyone else in the school to see.
Thankfully, the President’s Physical Fitness Test – developed in the ‘50s during the Eisenhower administration – is no longer a thing; it was replaced in 2013 with a the President’s Youth Fitness Program, which aims to boost overall fitness instead of dealing out a healthy dose of crippling public shame.
But this was not the case when I was a kid – and the fat kid, at that. Because I was the fat kid, I was always dead last, or pretty close to it, in every event. I couldn’t do a single chin-up. My 50-yard dash time was pathetic. I don’t remember what it was, but it was not good. Likewise, the shuttle run. I could squeeze out a few sit-ups, but I finished at the bottom of the pile there, too.
The worst by far, though, was the mile run: four laps around the old cinder track out behind the school. I couldn’t do it. Read More
Just about a year ago, on July 5, 2017, I had bariatric surgery, a vertical sleeve gastrectomy. Last week I had my one-year follow up with the surgeon.
The surgeon was stunned when he saw me. Flipping through my chart, he said I was one of the best – if not the best – outcomes their practice had seen, ever. And they’ve done literally thousands of these procedures.
It’s been five months since I had gastric sleeve surgery, and things have gone far better than I could have imagined.
A pain-free and rapid recovery.
Four months after bariatric surgery – the sleeve gastrectomy, to be exact – I’m down more than 100 pounds.
Or, put another way: SW 337/CW 235/GW 190.
For those of you new to the bariatric/weight loss scene, that slashline’s shorthand for Starting Weight/Current Weight/Goal Weight, and it’s a snapshot of your progress that etiquette demands you provide if you’re going to post publicly in online weightloss/bariatric communities.
Some of these changes, like having more energy, were expected. Others have come completely out of left field. And it’s those little things that continue to, as the headline says, blow my mind.
Here’s what I’m talking about.
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A little more than three months out from Gastric Sleeve surgery, I’m down upwards of 80 pounds. Sometime within the next week to 10 days
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We have one of those body composition scales in our house. This thing doesn’t just tell you how much you weigh, it tells you the percentage of your body that’s water, and the percentage of your body that’s fat.
It tells you how much muscle you have, in pounds, and it tells you how much of you is bone.
It also tells you your basic metabolic rate, expressed as the number of calories it takes to
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run your body at a minimally functional level for a day. And it tells you something called your metabolic age, which it obtains by comparing your basic metabolic rate to the average for your age group. A metabolic age higher than your actual age apparently means you’ re well on your way to an early grave.
We’ve had this thing for a long time, at least 10 years, which means since I was in my early 40’s, and during that time I’ve climbed on it at least once a month — and sometimes much more frequently — to see what the damage was.
And every time the weight would change, up or down, depending on where things were in the metacycle of weight gain and loss. But everything else would remain pretty much the same. Stubbornly so.
My body fat percentage consistently rivaled my water percentage for supremacy. My muscle density fluctuated a few pounds this way or that, depending on whether or not I took the measurements in the morning, fresh out of bed and flaccid, or at the end of the day tense and rigid. And my metabolic age remained pinned at 50, the maximum this particular make and model of body-composition monitor will pin on you, no matter how deathly out of shape you might be.
Until yesterday. When it told me my metabolic age is now 46.
Sure, things have changed. Not quite 12 weeks after the surgery, I’m down 70 pounds. My body fat percentage no longer threatens to overwhelm my water percentage quite so viciously. So it makes sense that this number would change, too.
But I didn’t believe it. I thought, there has to be some mistake. It must be broken. So I stepped off, reset it, waited for it to zero out and then stepped up once more.
Same numbers. Same 46, flashing at me again and again. I even took a picture of it, as if that would somehow confirm the reality.
But I still don’t believe it.
More to the point, despite the obvious objective proof in virtually every area of my life, I find that sometimes I still don’t believe this whole thing — this weight loss and reshaping of my body, this improvement in my health — because I’ve been here before, on the way down and, inevitably, on the way back up. It never took.
It’s gotta be too good to be true.
But this time does feel different. I can’t quite put my finger on why, exactly; I’m still struggling to define it, and maybe I always will, but this is the first time that number’s ever changed. A metabolic age that’s lower than my actual age. That must mean something, right?
After all, scales don’t lie.
It’s been two months since the surgery, and I’m down 62 pounds. Even I can see the difference. Check ’em out.