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Dan Nied’s Fortress of Weight Loss: Day 91

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What I’ll Eat Tomorrow
Meal 1
Bowl of Cheerios
Calories: 300
Fat: 0 grams

Meal 2
Turkey Sandwich and an apple
Calories: 250
Fat: 4 grams

Meal 3
Tuna Sandwich and an apple
Calories: 360
Fat: 3 grams

Meal 4
1 orange
1 pear
Calories: 150ish
Fat: 1 gram

Meal 5
Turkey Sandwich
Calories: 200
Fat: 4 grams

Total calories: 1,260
Total fat: 12 grams

How Wednesday went: It went well. Glad you asked, actually. I followed the menu to a tee, and ellipticised for 30 minutes, burning the required 500 calories. So I guess I can say I am healthier for it today.

The Real Reason I Brought You Here Today
So what do we want to talk about today? Feelings? No. I have made it clear that I am optimistic. We could talk about the diet itself, but these days I find that kind of boring. You can only get so much mileage out of turkey sandwiches and salads.

I could, however, talk about how this diet helped me forge a love of tea. But that seems kind of dry as well.

Instead, we’ll talk about body image. In recent years, I have compared my body to that of football players, namely, what position a man of my measurements would play in the NFL.

There’s a pretty good reason for this analogy. See, I was blessed with NFL size. It’s true. I am thick and meaty, a full 6-foot-3 inches, bulging up to 300 pounds by my sophomore year of high school. I was an offensive lineman in high school and even caused a bit of a college recruiting frenzy (three schools sent letters!) after my senior year.

I don’t know that I was ever really looked at as "fat" in high school, there were other shorter, much fatter kids around to play that role. Instead, I was always called "Big." My freshman year of college, I was nicknamed "Big Dan" by the somewhat uncreative but good natured "Sweet" Ray Barger, who took it upon himself to give everyone nicknames (including himself). I am large-framed and broad-shouldered, the kind of guy who girls have always said they felt protected around. Some (many) have called me a "big teddy bear," which is a euphemism for "We can be friends, but I’ll never sleep with you".

So to give you an idea, if all it took to play professional football was decent size, I would probably be a backup linemen for the worst team in the league.

I began using the football player analogy when I was 370 pounds. Back then, I was obviously a defensive tackle, the fattest men in sports. During the 100 Days blog, all I wanted was to get to 270 so I would have the measurements of a defensive end. Well, here I am, definitely more defensive end than defensive tackle.

But now I want to get to 240, which is linebacker size. Granted, I won’t look like a linebacker, what with ways to go before I get any real definition in my arms and back. But weight-wise, I’ll be right there.

For now, though, I see myself as a defensive end. And I am pretty happy about that.

When I look in the mirror these days, I can’t ever get past the difference the defensive tackle I used to be and the defensive end I am now. It feels like almost all of the weight has come off of my face. Honestly, my belly still seems huge to me, but my face has slimmed down to half the size. My features are sharper, my jaw line is actually taking shape. It’s those mirror moments when I feel proudest because I know what I used to see.

But then I put my head down and see that stubborn double-chin. Unnoticed by others, maybe, but a perpetual nuisance to me. In those moments, I understand why I am still working to lose weight.

Though I am a healthy, decent looking man right now, I just have to know what I will be once my goal is complete. I can live life at 270 without problem. I can find a cute girl who likes big guys, I can be active and attractive and fun and intimidating all at the same time. But I get this feeling that I don’t know what I’m missing 30 pounds down. I still don’t know what it’s like to go into a clothing store and know for sure that they’ll have your size. I still don’t know what a scale looks like on the underside of 250. And I still don’t know what it’s like to look in the mirror and fully accept what you see.

I see people I want to be. I see larger than normal men with my frame, carrying weight smoothly and easily. I see them all over, at the gym, at the store, at a game. I study them when I can, and I wonder how I would look if I stood next to them. Do I look like them? If not, what do I have to do to look like them? I think back to a college friend named Ben who was as much of a dick as he was a great drinking buddy. From the neck down, he looked like I want to look. Tall, broad, long and almost slender. He carried between 230 and 240 during the times I knew him. We were the same height.

It’s not that I am romanticizing these people. No, it’s more like aiming an arrow. I see what I want to be. I wonder how close I actually am. From defensive tackle to defensive end, then down to linebacker. From the men at the gym, back in time to Ben, I know what I am trying to look like.

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About Dan Nied

  • Alexandria

    You’re doing so well.

  • Guy

    Gayest entry so far, by far.

  • Alexandria Jackson

    No wonder you want other commenters.
    With best friends like Guy….