The picture on the left was taken in 2010, at our heaviest. Max was 255 pounds and I weighed 288. Seven years later, we both reached this new, healthier place in our lives. Yet over those 7 years, our journeys were vastly different.
I began struggling with my weight while in college, where I developed very poor eating habits that started putting on the pounds. Truthfully, my disordered way of emotional eating and unhealthy way of looking at food/portions originated in my childhood, but the culmination of my poor choices occurred in my 20’s. For Max, his weight gain progressed along with my own, after our marriage in 1997 – together, we were caught in a negative and nutritionally dysfunctional feedback loop that kept us in a perpetual, gluttonous kind of consumption that was slowly killing us both. The fact that we suffered three miscarriages played a huge part in our trying to assuage our sadness over the loss of those pregnancies added to our unhealthy way of eating, but it took some truly scary trips to our doctors to realize just how dangerous a path we were on.
We were both borderline diabetics. We both suffered from High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol. We both suffered from Fatty Liver Disease, joint, back and Sleep Apnea. I developed Asthma and Heart Arrhythmia. Max developed chronic Kidney problems. At the time, we never made the correlation between our heavy body weight and the myriad of health complications plaguing us – yes, our doctors told us that we would benefit from weight loss, and yes, we were advised many times to do so … but we made excuses after excuses that prolonged our decade of self-destruction, incapable of seeing beyond our own gratification from our comfort foods. It took hospitalization for each of us to finally decide to make the life changes that would put us on a healthier path.
In 2010, Max was getting ready for work and kneeled down to tie his shoe. He experienced such sever pain in his groin that we took him to the hospital, where it was discovered that he pulled a groin muscle while bending over the fat in his torso. That trip to the hospital also revealed to us that his blood sugar was so high that he night need to begin insulin shots soon. The CT scan showed his extremely fatty liver and the appearance of kidney stones, which explained his back pain at the time. He was very embarrassed by having to visit the hospital by just trying to tie his shoe, but it was a pivotal moment for him, altering his life-view, promising himself in that moment to make a choice of health over obesity. From that day on, Max made the conscious choice to cut out the foods he knew where hurting his organs and taxing his body to unhealthy levels. He eliminated all sodas (Diet and Regular), focused on a Diabetes focused, low-glycemic food plan and reduced his food intake to 1,800 calories a day. He installed My Fitness Pal on his phone and began logging everything – but I’ll get back to his journey in a moment.
Around the same time, I was in the process of being evaluated for the possibility of getting a Lap Band. My morbid obesity qualified me for Insurance coverage, and I felt it would offer me a valuable tool for healthier food consumption and weight loss. Max’s experience further cemented my belief that healthier eating would be key for us, I was still grappling with my own daemons of a sort. While I did have the lap-band surgery and experienced an initial weigh loss of 30 pounds, with weekly visits to a therapist and nutritionist, I was still hiding my struggles with disordered eating from those around me. I became even more obsessed with food, and while I didn’t gain those initial 30 pounds back, I failed to lose any more and continued to hide my eating every chance I could. Weight loss surgery was like a small band-aid on a large wound seeping self-loathing and addiction (compulsive over-eating, which I sought out-patient treatment for), and I refused to acknowledge the active role I was playing in my own declining health. Despite my 30 pound loss, the foods I continued to eat kept my blood sugars up and my liver extra fatty. Fried foods, Salt, Sugar, and a mother-load of carbs every day kept me on a one way path towards an early death – until chest pains and a scary-high reading of my blood pressure sent me to the emergency room in the Spring of 2016.
It bears noting that it was not enough to watch Max suffer his health issues, or witness those issues minimize as the number on his scale decreased, in order for me to see the light. It was not enough to witness his cholesterol and blood pressure dropping at a shocking pace. IT. WAS. NOT. ENOUGH. I was in total denial about how my calorie and nutritionally void and harmful intake of crappy foods were harming me in ways I wasn’t willing to accept.
As often happens in life, lessons are only learned from a serious personal experience that changes our own life/world-view, and it took the doctors telling me that I had two options, for my truth to truly hit home … those two options were both daunting: I was given the choice of committing to a large amount of weight loss to right my system and reduce my blood sugars and blood pressure, or being admitted to the hospital for in-treatment care. With Max’s promise of support, I chose option 1, cutting out salt, sugar, caffeine and focusing on low-glycemic foods while reducing my calories. Max had already adopted this kind of eating and had lost over 50 pounds, so I knew that he would support my decision to finally make these changes – and together, we made huge strides toward a healthier US, losing additional weight together.
As I said at the beginning, Max has lost over 130 pounds at his lowest (he’s bulking up muscle now, so deliberately gaining back carefully and with a high protein/healthy strategy in mind), and I am down 100 pounds.
We have both stuck to what has worked for us. Max has maintained his weight loss for 7 years now, and I am going on my second year of hovering around that 100 pounds lost mark. Here is a picture of Max taken in the Spring of 2018:
Max now focuses on a consistently high Protein consumption every day to build his muscles while doing Body Weight Fitness and Brazilian Ju Jitzu. Check THIS out to see some of our favorite meals.
I still have some joint pain from carrying around excess weight, so I have about 40 pounds to go before I near the end of my own journey. Due to excess skin, I hope to have skin removal surgery one day in the future. Despite the challenges I still face, I feel such pride in all I’ve accomplished, and feel so much better physically and mentally. My daily nutrition consists of Low-Carb, Low-Glycemic, high Protein sources.
To see some of our favorite recipes and meal planning ideas that are proven to have worked for us, THIS documents some of our tried-and-true favorites.
We are not doctors, and anyone considering getting on a path to a healthier life shoult consult their trusted physician – That said, we hope that by sharing some of the things we’ve learned on our journey, we can inspire others to consider the changes they can make for themselves. Here are some tips we apply to our daily food plans, focusing on intake of protein and calories to maximize health and energy while achieving/maintaining our weight loss:
FOR MORE INFO ABOUT OUR MEAL PLANNING, SEE HERE.
I’ll add more to this section over time, check back for updates often, as I have 40 more pounds to go (per the doctor’s orders).