Let’s get one thing straight right from the start. This is not a story for children. I use salty language, I am self-effacing and to be totally honest—I’m brutally honest. I see things as they are and not as how I’d like them to be. My glasses are not always rosy. I’m not always jolly.
But, I am fat.
I’m not overweight, under-tall, or otherwise categorized as some type of politically correct anachronism.
One month ago I began a diet regimen that included a new healthy eating style. Eat anything I want, but cut it down to a quarter of what I was previously eating. Coupled with an incessant amount of walking, my journey of a thousand miles began at, of all places, Disney World.
I had no idea I was about to embark on the most difficult journey of my life. Not only did I need to figure out how to become healthy, again, but I needed to figure out why I was such a fat ass in the first place. I had to explore the reasons why I stuffed four to five thousand-plus calories a day down my gullet. I’m still learning the why. I will share some of those reasons with you in subsequent articles. For now, let’s just focus on the mitigating factor for my transformation from fat to fit.
As I stood in the happiest place on earth, I looked around me, smelling the foods wafting from fryers and cotton candy vendors, and I opened my eyes for the first time in 20 years. My God, these fucking people are all fat! What a bunch of giant, bloated people!
Then, I caught myself looking at a pane of glass. And, the pain hit me like a SEAL unit putting a bullet in Osama’s grape. Not only was I fat, not only was I among those people I held in such low esteem, I was bigger than 90 percent of them.
Oof. Like a punch to the stomach. It was the first time, as I said, in 20 years, that I had opened my eyes and told myself the truth.
And, the truth hurt.
To my very soul.
It crushed me like a grape. It tore my very existence from this earth to another dimension where reality had been seen through “I don’t give a shit” eyes.
I haven’t told this to anyone. I walked into the bathroom and I quietly wept. A fat man on the toilet weeping. What had I done to myself? What had I become? Why did I let this happen?
I stand there looking out at the crowd. I am a stand-out football “star.” I know the game. I am the game. I hit harder than anyone on the field, and I know it. I’m not cocky, but I know that I’m good. I stand five feet, ten inches tall. I weigh 240 pounds with about four percent body fat. I don’t care what’s in my way. I have the world by the balls.
I smell the grass, I see my girl in the stands. She’s the prettiest girl there. I half smile at her as I trot back onto the field. I’m one of those players that start the game on the toss of the coin and leave at the closing gun. I never leave the field.
This is the last game of my junior year. I’ve already spoken with two scouts. Nobody knows this, because I don’t brag. I just am who I am. No more, no less.
The quarterback goes under center and snaps the ball. Everything slows as I watch the quarterback drop back. I shove my man out of the way and with a shovel move, I evade and key in on the receiver. The ball launches and my eyes follow the wobbling arc. This is mine. As I step in front of the receiver to snatch the ball, I miss the guy coming at me from my left. He drops his shoulder, and then, in a move I have called the cheapest fucking move I’ve ever seen, he drops his helmet and slams it into my kneecap at full force. I felt the crack, the pop.
My knee was trashed. In one second, no, in a millisecond, my world changed from having the earth in the palm of my hand, to a spiraling binge of eating and drinking that would forever alter my reality. I just didn’t know it yet.
As I sat on the toilet, at the happiest place on earth crying, I vowed, right there in the crapper, that I would take my life back.
I was not going to be a punchline anymore. I’ve heard, for years, people refer to me as The Big Guy, Big Steve, Fatso, Large, Tons of Fun.
I’ve always laughed it off as if it didn’t hurt. And, to be honest, it really doesn’t…any more. As with horrifying accident scenes that police and firemen have to endure, I have become numb to the monikers given me by my friends. And, I do love them (my friends). They just don’t always know their words sting.
It’s OK, though, because deep down, I know they love me. I can handle a little ribbing. God knows I am the first one to bust someone’s chops, so I’ve had to make sure that my skin was as thick as my ass.
And so begins my journey.
As of this writing I have lost 30 pounds.
This is part one of a multi-part series.