Losing 70 Pounds and Becoming Vegan #1
Let me share my journey with you of gaining and losing 70 pounds over 15 years into becoming vegan and living healthy every day! This is chapter 6 of my unforgettably honest autobiographical experience named Speaker Meeting 2017! Here are the previous chapters.
Chapter 1: Welcome at https://steemit.com/dtube/@jerrybanfield/schmd2cm
Chapter 2: Sex at https://steemit.com/dtube/@jerrybanfield/txgjjuij
Chapter 3: Alcohol at https://steemit.com/dtube/@jerrybanfield/60ilq8m2
Chapter 4: Money Part 1 at https://steemit.com/dtube/@jerrybanfield/8q8xb602
Chapter 4: Money Part 2 at https://steemit.com/dtube/@jerrybanfield/60vj7bec
Chapter 5: Gaming https://steemit.com/dtube/@jerrybanfield/jhlvzw3i
Chapter 6: Food Part 1 at https://steemit.com/dtube/@jerrybanfield/odangy6p
The full text will be available in the matching post at https://steemit.com/@jerrybanfield
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Here is the first half of the transcription from the video plus a couple before and after pictures!
Welcome to Speaker Meeting 2017, the Food Section. Have you ever eaten something to change the way you feel? I've done a lot of that in my life. I hope explaining it to you and sharing now how I've developed much healthier eating habits will be very useful for you today. I appreciate you joining me for this.
I think if you've somehow made it through the other parts of this section and haven't identified anything or very little, I hope that maybe the food section will be helpful for you. If you've already identified a whole bunch of different things, I think the food section can provide one of the most powerful opportunities to transform the way your body feels.
The best part about eating healthy is that my body feels so good all the time every day. It has way less pain than before, it has almost infinite energy all day every day, and I'm able to fall asleep. It's amazing. I now stand up and do most of my work, I take my dogs for a walk for an hour, I don't experience those slowdowns, like the after-lunch slump or that yucky feeling after dinner when you've eaten a bunch or after dessert. I have full energy all day every day. It's beautiful.
You might say, "That's because you're 32 years old." I have never felt this good in my entire life, and it's because of how I eat. Food has a fantastic power to change how we feel. In fact, according to the data, almost everything you hope to accomplish and get from the doctor and healthcare system can be better accomplished through diet alone with no negative side effects.
If you want the word straight from the doctors who've dedicated their lives to what is the very absolute healthiest way to eat and how you go about doing that, I recommend the book How Not to Die. When I went to my uncle, who is also the general practitioner I visited most recently and asked him about my own health, he's recommended the book How Not to Die. He recommends that on his first visit with every patient.
Apparently, that is very unusual for a doctor to recommend a book on eating right away to every single patient. If you want the science, if you want the studies, if you want the research, would you please read the book How Not to Die in order to fact-check or verify anything I say about healthy eating habits in this food section?
You also can get more information in the book called The China Study and another book by the same author called Whole. I have not read The China Study; however, I have read the book Whole and I read How Now to Die. From start to finish on How Not to Die, I skipped through some of the very end of Whole.
I'm grateful that these doctors have worked to share with me the very best of what they found for healthy eating. I'll give you the basics of healthy eating first, in case you get interrupted in this, and then I'll go into my history with eating. Then wrap that into how I eat today, which it might amaze you to see how I ate for most of my life and the almost instantaneous change that has happened.
How do I eat today? I have a 64 to 72 ounce smoothie every single day. It has the following in it. I will describe yesterday's. Yesterday's had approximately one pound of grapes, it had one quart of pineapple with the core in it. Basically, the skin cut off the pineapple. I had an entire one of those and it. It had some strawberries, some blueberries, blackberries, just some berries thrown in.
It had an entire tub of kale and supergreens, things like a bok choy, spinach, et cetera. An entire 12 ounce tub of kale. If you're in the metric system, I would say that's a little like a third of a kilogram. I had a quarter of a bag, so about a couple of handfuls of broccoli, and a couple of handfuls of raw Brussels sprouts chopped and already washed.
I also had three whole carrots with the bottoms cut off and stuck into the blender. Then cut up some ginger root pieces and a little piece of turmeric, put that in there. I then put four or five half teaspoons, so about two or three teaspoons of flax seed, just a big spoon of flax seed. I then sprinkled cinnamon, a little bit of chili powder or cayenne pepper in there, along with some allspice and a couple of other seasonings I put in there. I blend all that up and I eat that, drink that every single day.
People ask how do I have so much energy in the morning? I have half of that, so I have about a 32-ounce one of those. As soon as I get out of bed, as soon as I get up, I go grab my smoothie and start drinking it. It takes me 30 minutes to an hour to drink it. 32 ounces of basically chopped up fruits and vegetables takes a lot of time eat. That is approximately half of what I eat.
The other half of what I eat consists mostly of beans, whole grains, and nuts. Examples include Triscuits, cooked pasta, whole grain pasta, popcorn, whole grains, beans. I like hummus especially. I'll have the bean sprouted chips sometimes. Nuts, I like the Larabars. I've been having a lot of almond butter and peanut butter, all natural, with nothing added in them. However, after I had the stomach flu, and throughout the peanut butter, I've been taking a little break from the almond and peanut butter, I've been having more of the bars.
Then I will eat ... Like last night, for example, I'll snack throughout the day. Then, for example, last night my wife made some spaghetti with eggplant Parmesan. However, for me, she just had some breaded and cooked eggplant, put that on top of the marinara sauce and some noodles. I had that for dinner.
That is how I eat pretty much every day today. I avoid anything that has to do with an animal. No meat, no animal products. No milk, no cheese, no lactose in it, no way protein. I try and avoid anything to do with animal protein because the science indicates animal protein is bad for you. That's what the research says when you look at the big picture. Now this goes against the basic belief I had most of my life that animal protein is good for me.
I also avoid taking any supplements. I avoid taking any vitamins when I've taken a vitamin most of my life. I avoid taking any pills when I'm sick. For example, I avoid things like Advil, I avoid going to the doctor unless it's an emergency, because I trust if I eat right and take care of my body and live a healthy lifestyle that my body knows how to run and maintain itself, that I do not need something outside of it to fix it, and that, in fact, according to the science, most of the things that are created outside the body things, like supplements, pills, most of these things actually damage the body, contribute to cancer, many things contribute to things like heart disease, brain disease, uncomfortable side effects.
The people I know that live the closest to how I live also tend to have the very healthiest bodies, the very least pain, and the very happiest lives. The people who live more like I live, and I'm going to describe to you throughout this as we go into my eating history, this is not how I've eaten most of my life. This is how I've eaten most of the last seven months. This is a very new change in my life, and I will describe how I've eaten to you the rest my life and how I made this change.
This wasn't something I thought would just be a fun thing to do, this is something I thought this is what I need to do, this is what I can do to be of best service to other people. The people I know who live farthest from where I ... For example, who eat lots of meat and animal products, who take a lot of pills, medications, and supplements, and who eat the least fruits and vegetables and whole grains, beans, and nuts, the people I know who live like that, have their lives filled with the most pain, have the most health problems, and are the most uncomfortable, and are the most overweight, regardless of how old they are.
Now that is why a lot of us start to try and not take responsibility. What I've noticed in my own life, the people who live close to how I live in terms of what they put in their body, get the result. I have very little pain, I have extreme energy, I have almost no health problems. The people who don't live how I live experience lots of pain, suffering, frustration, all these health problems.
You do the math on it. It's really ultra-simple. You do what works or you suffer the consequences. I'm grateful today that I've learned better about what works.
Now how did I learn this? I learned it by suffering the consequences. I learned it by repeated pain and suffering over how I ate. Finally, life lined up and put all the evidence in front of me and I made a decision, I said I'll do whatever it takes to eat the absolute healthiest that I know, because most of my life I have been about the opposite of how I eat today.
I've taken a vitamin every single day for most of my life. I've taken pills and supplements whenever anything might be wrong. I've tried things like fish oil, I'd have things like Emergen-C, I would pop Advil at the first sign of a headache, and often with a hangover, I'd try to knock down as many Advil as I could safely without messing up my stomach and without going overboard. I had animal products at every single meal for most of what I ate.
Most of my life I've lived farther away from this. What have I got most of my life? Most of my life I've been fat. I weigh 60 or 70 pounds less than I did three years ago.
The way I eat now is so ultra-simple. I don't have to count calories. I literally just eat until I'm full. That's all I have to do all day. I don't have to count calories, I don't have to worry about nutrients or nutrition. I figure out the very healthiest foods to eat, I eat them, and I just eat until I'm full. It's so ridiculously easy. It's amazing.
It's not all the work it used to be. I tried counting calories before and, sure, I lost weight from it. I also tracked every single thing I ate every single day for a year. That was a lot of work.
I've been through a lot with eating. I've been fat most of my adult life, and I've been in denial about being fat for most of my adult life. Watch some of my videos from three years ago. You'll see how big my face is. In fact, I wasn't big on putting my face in my videos a few years ago because I believed it was fat and ugly. I've had a lot of body issues.
One thing sunk in with me one day. I believed, like a lot of people, that what you eat is not as important as things like exercise, and that is simply not true. What you eat is one of the most important, I would say, out of all of your health. What you eat is probably 50% to 80% of it. If you want to go down to 50, I'd say your lifestyle, the things you think about, the way you behave, that might be a 50%, that you're eating might be 40%, and everything else might be 10%. If you don't look at mental stuff and you just look at physical things, eating is probably 80% of the purely physical things and then everything else is 20%.
Eating is fantastically powerful. Guess who told me this? My personal trainer whom I had hired because I wanted to lose weight. You know she said? She said diet is 80% of your weight. That made me mad because I didn't know how to eat right. I already was doing the best I could and I clearly wasn't happy with things anyway enough to pay several hundred dollars a month to try and get help with my eating, really with my weight, but then that to get my trainer to tell me that diet was 80% and that exercise would only be about 20% of the results from my body. However, that information was there when I was ready for it and to make a decision to change the way I ate.
See, my personal trainer still has problems with eating, still does not know the information that I've given you right here. She did and does have a healthier diet than I did most of my life, but she still eats a lot of animal products as well, and then she experiences all the pain and suffering that comes from those with having trouble maintaining her own ideal weight.
Here's my history with eating, and especially I'll focus on how I used food to change my mood and how I identified with who I was based on what I eat. See, I eat today based on ... I look at it like putting gas in my car. I want to put the right kind of gas in my car because that's how it runs the best. Today I want to put the right food in this body so it runs the best.
If I find there's even better food than I've been eating, I will drop what I eat and eat the better food. If I am able to see convincing whole scientific data that is verified by researchers who've dedicated their lives to it, that indicates an even better way for me to eat today than I'm already eating, I will make changes.
You see, it doesn't matter what I eat today in terms of who I am. I'm not a vegan or a raw guy or a whole plant food guy, I simply eat as best I can to fill my body up. I avoid eating to change my mood today, I avoid getting too identified with how I eat and who I am, because I don't care about these ideas of being vegan or raw or however you might ... The way I cared about steak before, like Jerry was the guy that eats steak and likes hamburgers. I don't have the passion about my food today as somehow that's part of who I am.
Most of my life identified what I ate with who I am. In fact, just eight or nine months ago, I was criticizing my other family members who are vegetarians and vegan, even if it just was in my head into my wife, saying how they just couldn't eat like the rest of us, how they were missing out on things, and how they were more of a limited person because they weren't able to experience all the foods life had to enjoy, and, boy, did life have a sense of humor on me just days later when I made the switch to how I eat now.
Yes, it's funny. Criticizing at the family barbecue and then here I am eating more conservative than anyone else just days later. Yeah, that's what I get for running my mouth.
Most of my life I ate whatever was around me. I had very little thought about how I ate would impact how I felt and how I looked. The fleeting thoughts here and there were often overridden by wanting to use food to change how I felt. As early as I can remember, I wanted food to make me feel better: some popcorn, a popsicle. I was big as a kid into treats. I want treats after every meal, we got to have ... After dinner, "Treats, dad. Treats, treats," a popsicle, a cupcake, a piece of cake, whatever it is. Treats, treats, treats.
My dad demanded that we not get to be super thin. My dad wanted us to have a little extra weight because his father had grown up in the Depression and dad often had to kind of fight for food in his house. He was very grateful for the abundance of food we enjoyed. He wanted to make sure his children had a little extra weight in case there was a time where things went back to the Depression again, like his father had grown up in, where he didn't want my brother and I to be one sickness away from dying.
Dad liked us to have a little bit of a belly on us and dad encouraged us to eat. Dad stayed at home with my mother, going to work full time in the army. My brother and I, he stayed home with us.
My father cooked us a meal almost every single night seven days a week. My father usually would make ... There would be a meat main dish, there would be something of a grain, there'd be rice or potatoes or something for the one side dish, and then for the other side dish, there'd always be some kind of a vegetable: broccoli, carrots, green beans, or something like corn. Then we'd have a glass of milk with dinner every night. Then if I was a good boy, I'd get some treats, some desert: a popsicle, a piece of cake, cupcake, et cetera, popcorn with watching TV later.
My parents raised me to eat pretty well. I was at a healthy weight in high school. I weighed about 100. I weighed about what I do now, or actually more, in high school. I think I actually look better now than I did in high school. I look very similar to how I did in high school. One of the remarkable things about healthy eating is that it literally slows down and, in many cases, even reverses some of the effect of aging. I've looked older for most of my life than I do today as a result of how I eat and my lifestyle.
My parents did a good job getting me out into the world healthy. They gave me the best they knew. At that time there was the food pyramid, and my parents followed the food pyramid. They made sure we had fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, dairy, and whatever else is in the food pyramid. They made sure we had that every day. They tried to make sure we ate things like sweets and treats sparingly. We didn't have things like treats every single meal. We would get them for dessert or special occasions, or we'd get light-calorie treats most of the time, like a popsicle or something.
My parents got me out into the world with pretty good eating habits, balanced meals, and my brother and I took this health initiative on. In high school, I started feeling like I was too fat. My brother was at least as fat as me. We started having these salads when we came home from school instead of whatever dad was giving us before. My brother and I even took it upon ourselves to make sure we got lots of greens. We had these salads.
By the time I graduated high school, I was a good-looking young man, just about how I am today. I was a good-looking young man; although I had very low self-confidence, I had all these issues I mentioned before. I felt pretty disgusting inside, but on the outside and my body functioning was good. I feel, energetically, I have the same energy today at 32 as I had at 15, 18. The difference is it's controlled today.
When I was 18, my energy just blasted all over the place, and I'd crash and burn in the sense of I'd lose it, I'd get way angry over the top. My energy was out of control. It wasn't very well-managed. I'm grateful today I have just as much energy as I did nearly half my life ago. It's like I haven't aged a day in that sense, and that's amazing. That's what's possible with a great diet.
With my parents having got me ... Consistency was one of the hallmarks of their diet, that dad fed me almost the same way every single day. We had home-cooked meals, so we did not eat out a lot. Now when we did, we often went to nice places to eat, or when we were younger, we'd go to fast food, but we consistently ate meals at home without all the extra stuff added in that you get when you go out to eat. I feel like I had at least as healthy, if not a healthier diet, than most by the time I went to high school or college.
Once I got to college, though, my diet went downhill from 2002 until 2000 and, I would say, 15. My diet was very bad. I paid no attention to getting my fruits and vegetables and I tried to have animal products at every single meal. Whereas when my parents raised me, there are lots of times I didn't have animal products in a meal.
For example, we'd have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, we'd have cereal for breakfast. I might only have meat once a day or I'd have some meat on a sandwich in my parents' house. I didn't have meat all the time and I didn't have all this cheese and all these animal products on everything. As an adult, I realized I really started to get this idea that Jerry likes meat, Jerry likes steak, Jerry likes hamburgers. If I could have an entire meal of just steak, lots of times I would do that. The college dining hall made this a very easy transition.
Before this, I hadn't eaten a lot of processed foods. I had some, but they were sparingly. In college, I started eating nearly all processed foods. Now processed foods tend to be stuffed with things like salt, extra oils, sugar. There's a bunch of things in processed foods that add fat and bring the health of your body down. In college, I started eating nearly all processed foods, very few home-cooked meals because I was in a dorm room with no kitchen. This trend continued and my body got worse and worse and worse, and especially then I started drinking alcohol in college as well.
Now you can rationalize it however you want, the facts are alcohol is poison to the human body. Sure, having a drink once every month or so, just like having a cigarette once every month or so, is not going to be a big deal unless you're an alcoholic or you have an issue with smoking cigarettes, or whatever you call that you're addicted to smoking cigarettes.
Then I would certainly suggest, if you're an alcoholic like me, don't have any drinks at all ever. If you have been addicted to smoking, I wouldn't smoke anything ever. However, if you're like my wife, is a woman of moderation, she can have a drink once a month, she doesn't care, she doesn't think about it. It's not special. It's about like having a soda to her; it's not a big deal.
Yes, it's certainly possible. You can have a drink here or there, you can have a cigarette or a cigar here or there; maybe not, according your health insurance. Having 14 drinks a week is absolutely bad for you beyond any question. Your rationalization with all the, "I'm having wine," no, that's crap. All that is simply crap.
Alcohol is not meant to be ingested on a daily basis by the human body. It will be adapted to it, but alcohol causes cancer inside the human body. Alcohol has a lot of extra calories in it that are often empty, that don't have any nutritional value. In eating, I've learned the main thing is to eat calories with nutritional value.
What the problem is our whole society, in America at least, is setup, we have all these nutrition-less calories. We have foods that are so processed they have no nutrition left in them. Then we end up needing to take or wanting to take supplements, but the supplements don't actually replace what we haven't gotten from things like fruits and vegetables.
In college, I started drinking a lot. When you combine those calories, every glass of beer has anywhere from 50 to a couple of hundred calories. Every shot of liquor has less amount of calories, but it could easily have 50 to 100 calories in a shot of liquor with no nutritional value. In fact, alcohol, if you drink liquor, it actually is the opposite of sugar, so it lowers your blood sugar.
Then that's what is also awful about a hangover. The alcohol lowers your blood sugar and then you experience like what someone who is diabetic experiences with their blood sugar bottomed out, and that is very painful. It stinks to have such low blood sugar.
In college, I started eating all these processed foods, I started not balancing my diet, no more fruits and vegetables. I stopped buying fruit. Even though I liked fruit at the store, I stopped buying fruit because occasionally I would throw some fruit out and not eating it. I just stopped buying fruit because I didn't like throwing the fruit out.
I just ate processed foods, I ate things like Taco Bell, Burger King on a daily basis. I'd have things like a croissant with ham, egg, and cheese on it first thing in the morning. That's three different meat products first thing in the morning. Then the bun would usually probably have some milk in it, too. Then I'd mix that up with some Cini Minis. This was my favorite breakfast: a ham, egg, and cheese croissant from Burger King or McDonald's and then some Cini Minis or something similar.
Then at lunch, I'd have something like several tacos with meat or chicken or something on them. One meat or another doesn't make a huge difference according to the science. It all is about as bad for you. Then I would have something at night. I'd go with my friends and we'd order a pizza or I'd go down at the dining hall and load my plate up with whatever dishes were available.
I ate several different meat and animal products at almost every meal. I had a bunch of empty nutritional calories and alcohol. While I got to college with a healthy weight at about 180 or 190, by the time I left college, I was over 200 and I was looking at 210 pounds, which is close to 100 kilograms. I am a little bit above average height for a man. I'm about 5 feet 11 inches. I'm not sure what that is in centimeters, but a healthy weight for a man my size is about 150 to 170 to 180 pounds. That's a healthy weight for a man my size.
The last time I weighed myself on the play vet scale at the children's museum I went to with my daughter, it said I weighed 175, and that's with all my shoes and clothes on and everything in the middle of the day. I'm very happy with that. I am now, for the first time since ninth or tenth grade, so that is ... How long ago was that? You're looking at 17 years.
For the first time in 17 years, I am at a healthy weight. It's not because I wasn't trying to be at a healthy weight, I was trying to be at a healthy weight all of my adult life. I wanted to be at a healthy weight all of my adult life. The fact is, in life, there are certain ways to do things.
If you don't do things in some of those ways, you will not get the results. You can want to be at a healthy weight all you want, but if you eat a bunch of crap like I did for most of my adult life, you will not get to be at a healthy weight. Even if you are at a healthy weight, you will not feel good at that healthy weight. You'll feel just like I will share more with you here.
By the time I graduated from college, my body wasn't the healthy, energetic thing anymore that it was when I got to college. In fact, the turning point in college was when they introduced the Oreo elation smoothie at Zia Juice freshman year, up until that point I actually lost five pounds because I was exercising so much with army ROTC. Even though my diet had went downhill a little bit, I actually had lost five pounds because I simply wasn't eating as much food as I was when I lived at home. I wasn't having three meals a day out of sheer laziness.
At college lots of times, freshman year, I would miss a meal here or there, I'd have Goldfish for dinner up in my room. That actually was a very common dinner for me in college. Freshman year, they introduced the Zia juice smoothie Oreo elation. It was 1000 calories. It tasted really good. It had blended up Oreos and ice cream in it, pretty much no nutritional value and all fat and sugar.
It was 1000 calories, and I started getting one nearly every day. I put 10 pounds on even though I was exercising at least three times a week with army ROTC and even though I was very active, going and playing basketball and racquetball with my friends, even though I was walking often two or three miles a day on average going to class. Despite all of that, that one Zia juice smoothie, I put 10 pounds more in weight on it. I had only drank like twice during freshman year, so the drinking didn't even impact it.
That one bad eating habit I developed put on 10 pounds. It weighed in more important than all of the other good things I was doing for myself. That is one of the most powerful examples I can give you for food. One bad habit with eating will wipe out all kinds of efforts from the things that you're trying to do to be healthy.
If I look at most people, nearly everyone has some kind of bad eating habit; in other words, something like Zia juice smoothie, a completely irrational thing that doesn't match with the whole rest of what they're trying to do. Everything else would indicate they're trying to eat and stay healthy, and then they have the Zia juice smoothie, which basically overrides all those other efforts. For me, consistently in my adult life, my drinking was my one thing. It didn't matter how much I tried to lose weight, as long as I drank, I never consistently would keep weight off.
Once I got out of college and I developed my one bad habit quite effectively, then it didn't matter. I had never tried to diet or anything in college. I simply ate whatever I wanted to all the time. I was really cheap, so I often wouldn't buy anything from the store other than stuff like Goldfish or foods that were really cheap and easy to snack on.
By the time I graduated college, I was now at 10, 20, 30 pounds-plus overweight, and yet whenever I looked at something that indicated that, I always rationalized it. I would say things like, "I lift weights," or "I'm big-boned," or "I'm muscular," or "What do these charts know anyway?" or "I'm just a little bit overweight." I always rationalized it with one thing or another.
I had a girlfriend, too, so I didn't have that motivation that I had the first few years in college to look good to attract a girl. I got comfortable in a relationship and started letting myself go, and so did she. Both of us put on 20 pounds from whenever we first started dating. Of course, it really bothered me. She put on 20 pounds. It never once occurred to me that I'd done the same thing.
As I continue to go forward in life, my eating habits and my drinking habits continued to produce worse and worse results for my body. As I moved into my own place, I got the ability to stop eating so many processed foods, which helped a little bit, but the problem was in cooking for myself, I didn't consider anything about making healthy foods. I simply cooked things that I thought would taste good. I would make things like tacos, spaghetti, load as much meat up and salt and anything I could.
Meanwhile, I'd started drinking diet sodas in college to mix with my liquor. Actually, I'd started with sodas that add calories. Then now I'd transition the diet sodas. All the information I heard around me, people saying that they were rat poison, that they were bad for you, I just said that's all crap. I don't see that it's bad for me. By this time, after college, I was in the habit of drinking soda all day every day, preferably diet sodas.
When I got to the police academy, it's one thing's tipped out at the top in 2000 and ... What was that? 2007, my health had a crisis. I got some kind of thing. I don't know whether it was mono or chronic fatigue syndrome. I don't know exactly what it was, but my organs swelled up, my spleen swelled up gigantically. I was working in corrections, meanwhile, which was very dangerous. If one of those kids just punched me in the stomach, I might have died from it. I knew that going into work, and so I'd have a few beers to feel better before I went into work. Everything got completely out of control with my body. Somehow, I stopped drinking for a while to try and make it better, but I never made any modifications to my eating.
By the time I went to the police academy, I weighed 240 pounds in 2007, just a year after graduating college. The difference was, in college, I was walking and exercising a lot. In just a year of stopping doing as much exercise, I put on another 20 or 30 pounds.
I was unbelievably fat by the time I went to the police academy. My meals at the police academy showed it. I would fill up two complete, big dinner plates heaped up with food and eat them all. That was just for something like lunch or dinner. I had massive amounts to eat at the police academy.
Then, thankfully, my girlfriend at the time dumped me because I was no fun or something like that. We grew apart or whatever. She dumped me and, thankfully, I experienced loss of appetite for the first time. I went from eating two gigantic plates at the police academy to I could barely even put some food on one plate.
Meanwhile, I'm still eating. In the morning, I'd have something like eggs and sausage and get some cheese in there. I thought they the best things for me to eat were things like eggs and meat to make a healthy body. I thought the protein was absolutely critical, and I thought the animal protein was the best that I could eat. I made sure to consistently have my eggs and meat first thing in the morning and at every meal throughout the day. I didn't even hardly think about eating fruits or vegetables. I'd figured why would they put things like that in a food pyramid that don't taste that good?
In the police academy, I managed to lose a few pounds just from my loss of appetite, but soon enough, another girl was interested me and that appetite came back again. Another year later, I was a police officer and I was still weighing about 230, 240 pounds even though I was exercising a ridiculous amount. At my last police officer job, I would be on bike patrol sometimes. I mean for 12 hours, you're riding a bike up and down, all over, an unbelievable amount exercise, and yet I ate so much. With my drinking, I still didn't lose any weight.
Of course, as I'm sitting here obese, according to the body mass index charts, the BMI charts, I was in the obese section. That means that is just short of morbidly obese, where you're so fat, it's going to kill you. I was obese for a lot of my adult life, and yet, instead of looking at my eating behavior, I was extremely critical of everyone else. I would point out fat girls. I was absolutely horrible. I'd just saying nasty things and I'd tell girls they were fat and nasty right to their face. I mean I was just really cruel and judgmental when it came to girls especially being fat.
I didn't just hold out for girls. There was this one police officer, he was so big he could barely get in and out of the patrol car. He's probably 400 pounds. He worked for the city. He didn't work for my department, but there were lots of fat officers at my department, and I made a point to try and not have fat people be my friends. I tried to have all friends who were thinner than me because I thought then people were better. I wanted to be the fattest one of my friends. I thought if I had been friends, I'd feel better about me. I'm grateful my friends were willing to be less judgmental than me because I wouldn't have fat friends.
If a girl was fat, I wouldn't date her. I would only date girls who were thinner and good-looking, which made my life difficult as a fat guy lots of times. Yet I continued to go forward. Then when a really good-looking girl got interested in me and I ended up having just ridiculous thing go on with her.
I lost my appetite even more effectively than I'd lost it when my ex-girlfriend dumped me. I went from eating all day every day, and could barely eat for a month or so. I could barely eat one meal a day. I thought it was funny because here's a guy who I wanted to be at a healthy weight. I was learning and trying to manage my eating. I wanted to be a healthy weight.
Here's something. I remember joking with everyone, "This is the best diet ever." All I did, I got all caught up. You got caught on me, and, shorty, it's all on you. I got all caught up on this girl, and it was like a diet just gifted to me by the universe. I lost 15 or so pounds on that girl diet.
I had a month or two where I could only eat ... I remember going to get a sandwich one day and I had a six-inch sandwich. Now I often before that would knock out a 12-inch sandwich, a foot long at Subway for lunch. Then I'd do something like I'd have a breakfast burrito with eggs and cheese in it and hot sauce first thing in the morning. Then I'd often have a big dinner at night with a hamburger or several hot dogs. Then I'd have some liquor and maybe a few beers to go along with that.
The girl diet came along, I could barely eat a six-inch sub, and often that'd be all I'd eat all day with a 12-hour shift in the police department. It was great. It was like I had to talk myself into eating anything else. My body just wanted to die and I had to coax it, like, "Come on now, you've got to have something the eat all day today. You've got to have it after you've gotten up here. Try and just get this six-inch sub down," and I'd be full. It was amazing. I didn't even get hungry the whole rest of the day. I'd wake up and it'd be hours the next day before I even got hungry.
Soon enough, another girl came along and my appetite came back. Thankfully, I then lost that police job and moved home with my parents. I went into one of the healthiest phases I've been in as an adult. By the time, I lived with my parents for 10 months. With just not drinking and with eating more balanced meals, by the time I left my parents, I went back to graduate school, I was 200 pounds, the lowest weight I had been since high school or, more accurately, since sophomore year in college.
That was 2010 when I went back to school. That'd been then the healthiest weight I'd been at in six years. I was really excited going to graduate school. I was looking so good, I was feeling good, I was confident that my girl problem, there wouldn't ever be any more girl problems. I would have as many girls as I wanted to date. I'd soon enough find the wife and have a family. That's exactly what ended up happening with me looking better and feeling better about my body.
Let me tell you what did I do at my parents' house? At my parents' house, I had regimented eating and very little alcohol. They didn't allow me to drink in the house. Of course, I found opportunities to go drink outside the house. Mainly I would try and go date girls who would drink with me. Yes, that that's how I used to live.
At my parents' house, I'd have very regimented eating. I'd often have a sandwich with some chips first thing in the morning and then I'd ... Morning, I'd get up at noon or one every day. Then my parents had their dinner or supper at five or six at night. I'd have dinner with my parents every night, which, again, was home cooking, balanced meals. My parents had fruits and vegetables around, so I got back into eating things like bananas for a little snack.
I only had really two meals a day with my parents and then I'd have popcorn at night, which would fill me up. I'd have some treats. I'd have a popsicle or something. Then I'd have some Altoids late at night and I'd go to bed.
What worked really good at my parents' house is that I rarely had anything more than some Altoids to eat within five to six hours of going to bed. If you get one tip out of this, not eating several hours before you go to bed is really good for not putting on weight. See, all the calories I consume during the day then were burnt up during the day, and my body would actually lose a little bit of weight every single night because it would go on a fast every night.
That's what I do today. There's about 12 hours every day where I'm not eating. I try to avoid eating after eight o'clock at night and then I'd go to bed at 10:30. Then I don't usually eat until eight in the next morning. That's about 12 hours every day my body gets without any food going in. Now if you have a gigantic meal right before you go to bed every night, your stomach hardly gets any time off at all. Then if you go throughout the day and you're hungry, you're likely to binge and have a huge meal at night.
When I went off to graduate school, meanwhile, the whole time throughout my adult life I always was willing, especially if alcohol wasn't available, and lots of times when alcohol was available, I'd use food to try and change how I felt. I would, for example, right before I moved at home with my parents one night, I had a bit to drink, I ate nearly an entire box of Oreos. I stuck my finger down my mouth, I tried to throw up and it wouldn't come up. Things like that were fairly common. I'd eat a whole thing of ice cream and feel bad about it. I'd be lonely. Being lonely is a great recipe to use food to change your feelings.
When I have my wife and daughter around, I'm not tempted very often to use food to change my feelings, but when, look who's all alone now, you're sitting around in your apartment alone at night, feeling sorry for yourself, then there's a nice thing, a pint of ice cream in the fridge, why not go in there and have just ... I'm just going to have a couple scoops of that and, before you know it, oh, my God, I ate this whole thing. Why did I do that again? Or you go to a birthday party or something, "I'm just going to have a piece of cake and a little bit ... ," and you pretty soon binge and eat several pieces of cake.
I was terrible at anything you invited me to. I was always trying to see how I could get seconds, thirds, fourths, anything where the food is free. I tried to stuff away as much as possible. When you combine being cheap with using food to change your feelings, anytime you get an open bar in terms of eating, a buffet, it's like, "Oh, let me see how full I can get and just stuff my face up." Things like that put on a lot of extra weight for me.
While living at home with my parents for 10 months, getting some routines and balance in my dieting, I was ready to go. I went back to graduate school at 200 pounds in August of 2010 feeling real good. By the time I met my wife in January 2011, I already was up to 215 pounds. In fact, yes, I put on 15 pounds in just over four months. I would go out to eat and have all these big meals.
I started drinking every ... I would say I probably drank every other day, but the food, I ate a ton of food all the time again. I started having three big meals a day and then drinking then I'd have popcorn right before I went to bed. I started eating a whole bunch more and I stopped exercising as much as I had.
When I lived with my parents, I went to the gym almost every single day because I had nowhere else to go to get out of the house. I just went to the gym every day. I could go look at the pretty girls there while I worked out. It was the university gym, so lots of pretty girls at the gym. I'd go look at the pretty girls and exercise for 40 minutes or an hour. I'd lift weights at every other day. Then most days I'd try and get some cardio in as well. I had very good exercise routines.
When I went back to graduate school, I started eating a bunch, I started drinking, I exercise less. I very rapidly put 15 pounds on before I met my wife in just four months. Then while I've talk about the bait and switch, by the time I moved in with my wife and had finished out another year of school, of drinking and eating and using food to change my feelings, I very quickly was back up to 230 pounds. Within a year of moving out of my parents' house and stopping my healthy routines, I was back up 30 more pounds, back where I'd been before that last no appetite diet came along with the girl at work.
Here I was, I wanted to be at a healthy weight, I really wanted to look good for my wife, who was just a girlfriend at the time. I really wanted to look good for her and yet I didn't know what to do. The drinking came to a conflict very quickly with living with my wife. This is where my food addiction, I would say, my food problems really take off right here, like, "Thank you, Jerry. 50 minutes, and we're really getting into it now."
The best attempt I made at sobriety before going to Alcoholics Anonymous in 2014 was in 2012. I stayed sober for five months. For most of 2012, I didn't drink. Including my bachelor party, I might have drank 10 or 15 times in 2012. That was the best year I'd had for sobriety since the very first year I drank.
2012 was very good in terms of not drinking as much alcohol in calories, but 2012 was one of the worst years I've ever had for using food to change my feelings, because I stayed sober long enough in 2012 to realize I needed something, and I stopped playing video games for a while in 2012. I took out two of the big things I used to change my feelings, and food very quickly filled that void.
What I replaced my drinking with was yogurt. I started making a point a couple of times a week to binge on some yogurt. I would just demand my wife go along with me because that's fine. It's like a date if my wife goes with me. What is it if I go binge on yogurt by myself?
I begged my wife. She liked to go out with me and she came along. Initially, she'd get some yogurt and enjoy it. By the end of the year, she couldn't hardly stand to go out for yogurt anymore, and she made that fact clear; she would get nothing. She would just sit there and have no yogurt at all.
Over the course of 2012, even though I drank the least I drank since I had been a freshman in college ... Even when I lived at my parents', I managed to drink more often than I did during 2012. Even though I drank very little, my weight actually went up. Even though to replace my ... I cut out video games and drinking for much of 2012, I replaced it with yogurt and with running.
I started running in 2012 around my apartment complex. By October, I was up to running eight miles at once. In kilometers, that's probably times 1.6. I was running 10-plus kilometers at once. I was taking an hour or two to run that long because I wasn't a fast runner, especially at 240 pounds, which is around 110 kilograms or something like that, maybe even more, or maybe even close to 120 kilograms.
I was running. All that running, I still didn't lose any weight. All the exercise I was doing, I still didn't lose any weight. In fact, when you're fat, when you're obese and you exercise, it's dangerous. You're putting yourself in a good position to have a heart attack, you're putting a lot of strain on all your joints, your knees, your ankles. All that running with all that extra weight was very bad for me.
My wife and her mom and dad, we were going to do the Tower of Terror 10-Miler at Disney. It was a 10-mile run at night. While everyone else just figured they could run a little bit and do it, I figured I wanted to actually train to be 100% sure that I could run that whole race.
Right before the race, I was up to eight to nine miles at once. I would go for these runs and I'd take the dog with me. My dog, she would run. When I first did the runs, I'd start at a mile or two, and I worked my way up to eight or nine miles. The dog did the same. She came with me on every run. She started at a mile or two with me, and she worked her way up to eight or nine miles. By the time I was up to eight or nine miles on the run, she would try and demand to stay home. She'd go lay down. She'd pick the farthest because she didn't want to go for an eight or nine-mile run.
See, I didn't respect what my body wanted to do and I just made it do it anyway. My wife really liked that I went on the runs with no music, no headphones, no audio book. I just ran. It was one of the healthier things in the sense, mentally, it was just a good meditation for me to just run and get a little peace of mind. That really helped me when I wasn't using anything else to change my mood besides yogurt.
Now, at the same time, I started drinking regular sodas at school instead of diet sodas. Because I'd started to hear so many bad things about diet sodas, I figured let me see how diet sodas impact my weight. The combination of yogurt and diet sodas, I was up to around 240 pounds by the time my wife and I got married. Yes, I was at about the fattest I've been my whole life for my wedding, which is fairly common.
After the wedding and the honeymoon, my wife and I moved, so I didn't have as comfortable of an environment to run in. The apartment complex my wife and I lived in was exactly half a mile inside a gated community. It was very easy to just run an entire lap, no cars to worry about unless people were parking occasionally, but it was a very nice way to run, and especially with my dog.
Without the comfortable running environment, where I had to cross streets and I couldn't let my dog off the leash like I could in the apartment complex, I stopped running all the time. My eating habits did not stop because I stopped running. Then in 2013, I started drinking again. By 2014, I had gotten desperate.
At some point in 2013, I started this Medifast diet because I got up close to 250 pounds, obese by any definition. I got desperate so I started trying some new things. Meanwhile, my actual eating was just terrible. There were hardly any fruits and vegetables. I'd have gigantic meals all the time.
I had a breakfast burrito every morning, I'd have a salad and I'd put all this chicken and all kinds of dressing. I'd eat literally an entire bag. Of Texas Toast croutons with my salad. An entire bag of Texas Toast croutons is approximately 600, 700 calories. I'd have an entire bag of croutons, I'd have a half bag of the Tyson chicken I'd get from the ... And I'd have tablespoons of Caesar salad dressing. I'd put often a quarter to a third, an entire thing of Kraft Parmesan cheese, and I thought I was eating healthy. That was lunch. Then for dinner, I'd stuff my face. I'd have something, like if we barbecued, I'd have 2 hamburgers and several hot dogs, plus I'd make sure to have some ice cream or popcorn for dessert.
Finally, I was at a business networking international group. My wife and I, when I started my business, by 2013, I started trying to work locally. In this business networking international group, you met once a week and there were business professionals doing all of these different things.
One guy in there was a health or diet coach or something. He was selling the Medifast diet. He talked me into trying the Medifast diet, which I tried. Sure, it seemed to work at first. You order all these things that are meant for people who have conditions like diabetes to keep your blood sugar low, you try and eat a lean and green meal.
The Medifast diet, it was extremely expensive. You have five or so of these little meals a day, which is really ... It's like a granola bar or something like that, and it's got all kinds of stuff in it. It's got sugar alcohol in it, which lowers your blood sugar, which, for me, that prompts the craving ... If I have a bunch of sugar alcohol, it makes me feel like I had to drink. My body's like, "Oh, we should have another drink." It had all these things like that.
Every meal was like ... It cost 10-plus dollars a day to do the Medifast diet. Remember I was a cheap person at this point in my life. I didn't like to spend money on anything. I figured let me spend some money on this diet. It was hundreds of dollars to order the food in the mail, so I gave it a try. It worked. I think I lost 20 pounds on the Medifast diet.
The problem was it wasn't good weight loss; I also stopped going to the gym because the diet left you feeling so low in energy. They recommended, at least when you started it, don't try and lift a bunch of weights or workout. The lazy part of me said, "Oh, great. This is a great time to stop going to the gym." I cut out going to the gym when I did the Medifast diet from doing more than a little cardio.
Then even though I lost 10 or 20 pounds on it, there must've been half of that that was muscle. Up until that point, I had pretty good muscle in terms of weightlifting. After I went through that Medifast diet, my body dropped a ton of muscle. I mean it dropped ... I bench-pressed 180 pounds at one point in graduate school. A couple years later of doing that Medifast diet, I mean I still today can barely do a 90 or 100 and something. I can essentially do a little more than a push-up.
My result, by reacting to it, by not going to the gym because I was scared I might hurt myself or pass out lifting weights, and with it leaving you so low in energy and that change, I stopped going to the gym to lift weights. I cut out some of the very little exercise I was doing in my life.
The problem was the Medifast diet and drinking alcohol did not go well together, because if I'd maintained the Medifast diet all day, which took a lot of willpower and self-discipline, a few drinks and I might decide a Papa John's pizza, large, sounded like a good idea. Sure, I might eat half of it if I was on good behavior, I might eat nearly all of it if I wasn't.
When you wake up the next day with a hangover, you're god awful sick. The Medifast stuff is horrible to eat with a hangover because it has more sugar alcohol in it. With a hangover, you usually have really low sugar already. You actually could push yourself into a dangerous state having those Medifast snacks on top of the hangover.
That would mean every day I drank would disrupt the diet for two days. I wasn't willing or able to stop drinking and, therefore, I gave the diet up after ordering a bunch of the food. Like many of the other people in the business networking group who'd got on the diet at one point, they got left with hundreds of dollars of the food sitting around that they no longer wanted, and the diet did not work.
It wasn't something that you could continue to do on an ongoing basis. Sure, it was there to help teach you how to eat healthy, but the problem was if you haven't changed the cause of your unhealthy eating, it doesn't matter what external solution you bring in because you will soon just drop all those new habits and go back to how you were before, which is exactly what I did.
It didn't take very long and I put all the weight back on that I lost off that Medifast diet, except I put a greater percentage of fat on and a lower percentage of muscle. Overall, the Medifast diet was a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering in the sense that self-deprivation, eating these meals, feeling left out, and it didn't accomplish anything.
It did help me, however, to be more prepared to make some real changes in my life for eating. Now one of the things after the Medifast diet, had I looked at it and failed, I signed up for personal training in 2013. That was one of the healthier choice I made. Again, the same idea with the Medifast diet, that I need to do something outside of me to fix my health. Then, therefore, I could stop looking at all the things I was doing inside, like all the food and alcohol I was consuming. Let me tell you what, having a hangover and doing personal training is not fun.
I started doing personal training. At first, I lost a little bit of weight doing personal training, but my eating and drinking were much more powerful than 30 minutes of workouts twice a week at the gym with the trainer. Soon enough, I was up to almost 250 pounds, even while doing two personal training sessions a week. Man, when you're fat, personal training is even harder.
Read the rest in part 2 of this story which will be out shortly after this post!