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Dan Nied’s Fortress of Weight Loss: The Lonely Road

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I’ve put this off for a long time. If I was interested in doing any research, I’d probably find that the last Fortress entry was about a month ago. Maybe three weeks. But really, what’s the difference?

But I did put it off, because I wasn’t really sure what direction I wanted to take this series. I thought about it for a few days leading up to my three-week trip back home to Detroit. I thought about it while I was in Detroit, and now I am thinking about it during my third day back in California.

In the end, I delayed long enough for Blogcritics to write me off of their features page, which makes a lot of sense after this series seemed to stagnate.

Still, my options are pretty cut and dry. I can either continue this blog, offering you a window into my successes and failures, largely rehashing the things I’ve been talking about for the last two years. Or I can end it and continue on this path alone.

During my trip to Detroit, I caught the Wizard of Oz on television one night and watched approximately three minutes of it. But it just happened to be the three minutes in which Dorothy had arrived in the Emerald City and the good witch was laying out her plan to follow the Yellow Brick Road. After Glenda left, the Munchkins started singing their song (“Follow Follow Follow Follow Follow the Yellow Brick Road!”) and they escorted Dorothy the 30 or so feet to the beginning of her journey.

And then they stayed behind while she went off alone.

I had never thought much of that nuance until this past viewing. And it wasn’t until just now that I realized it was an apt metaphor, if kind of a reach, for my own endeavor.

So yes, like Dorothy, I must go off alone now to search for the wizard while fighting off flying monkeys and a crooked-nosed witch. It has to happen.

So this is the farewell entry into Dan Nied’s Fortress of Weight Loss, and I am both saddened and energized by that. It was a pretty good journey, but I understand right now that I must start doing this for me. If I don’t concentrate on that, I’ll just collapse the first chance I get.

I could have ended this weeks ago, and I probably should have. But once I put it off and found myself in the Midwest, I realized that I wanted to end this on an optimistic note.

I wanted your last image of me to be one of Obama-style hope and not of me sitting in downtown Detroit’s famed Lafayette Coney Island eating four chili dogs and chili cheese fries while nursing a wicked hangover after my friend’s bachelor party. Had I written this during my trip to Detroit, you would have seen a man that seemingly had lost his bearings, taking three straight weeks off, unapologetic for the havoc and regression he was causing his body.

And I am still unapologetic about that. I enjoyed myself.

But that wasn’t where this ended. It couldn’t have been, because that provides no link from the Fortress to the next step of the process. So here I am, writing a little after noon on Wednesday, and my body is so sore I can barely keep my arms on the desk to type. I am feeling hungry after my Cheerios this morning, yet I am fulfilled because I woke up promptly at 9:30 a.m. (as opposed to noon., which was my previous schedule) and went right to the gym to — get this — lift weights.

My abs are sore, my arms nearly lifeless, and my shoulders virtually unshruggable. I began on Monday, the day after my return, maxing out on bench press, and going through a thorough upper-body workout. Tuesday, I returned to the gym for an elliptical workout that lasted a mere 15 minutes because, well, after three weeks off, I have to start all over.

And then Wednesday I fought off the soreness and lifted again. And I’ll do the same Friday after a cardio workout on Thursday. I’ve always talked about focus, and I can tell you that my mind is dead-set about committing to lifting weights, reshaping my body, and looking how I want to look as opposed to just weighing what I want to weigh.

Over the six full months the Fortress encompassed, I went from 299 pounds down to 259. That’s not a bad accomplishment for half a year. Though I didn’t get to the goal weight of 240, I still hold my head high in victory, because it was a huge step for me to push myself further than I have ever been.

But there is work to do yet, and I am committed to doing it. I will no longer work on timelines, no more hard set goals to fall short of. I just want to ease my way into this way of life and avoid being one of the many weight losers who gain their pounds back within a few years.

This isn’t a short-term fix, not at all. This isn’t like those times years ago when I dieted well enough to lose a few pounds and then, once the goal was met, went back to my old ways. This is a life change, and my mission now is to make it a habit. I’ve already given myself an inability to buy unhealthy groceries (though that came as a result of the first 100 Days series), and I am now working towards making the gym a must every morning and starting each day with 100 ab crunches.

I am staying away from the scale for a month in order to give me time to reverse the effects of my trip home. Ultimately, I will get down to 240, and I would like for that to happen as quickly as possible so I can cross it off the list. But who really knows when it will come? As long as I stay healthy and don’t revert to my old ways, I’ll be just fine.

So thank you, everyone, for reading this series, especially to the regular posters, and Alexandria in particular. Without your vicarious celebrations and occasional kicks in the ass, I wouldn’t have gotten this far and I wouldn’t be poised to go even further. I am certainly not opposed to offering updates on my progress, or continuing correspondence through e-mail or IM. As a matter of fact, anyone with questions comments, suggestions or problems they feel I might be able to help with, e-mail me at nieddan@yahoo.com. I definitely hope to hear from some of you, and I would love to get into discussions about weight loss and life in general.

But alas, I must leave you now, and go on my own way. It is bittersweet, certainly, but I feel it is the best thing to do. I hope this series was enjoyable, if sometimes frustrating. And I hope that I helped you understand better the plight of a regular fatty trying to become unfat. It wasn’t easy, but no one ever said it would be. And it won’t be easy in the future, but I depart with a new perspective for what I must do in order to be successful.

So thank you, and goodbye.

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About Dan Nied

  • Kevin

    Good luck buddy-we’ll be with you every step, encouraging.

  • Best of luck in the future, Dan.

  • I hope that works out for you Dan, although sometimes the discipline of fessing all so publicly as you have been doing can be enough to keep you on the yellow brick road…

  • Jordan Richardson

    Good luck to you, sir.

  • Gigi

    Thanks for letting us know you hadn’t dropped off the planet. Best Wishes and Luck in your new solitary path. You will be missed : ) Gigi

  • alexandria jackson

    Sorry I dropped off the planet. However, I want you to know that I thought of you often (and the wondrous bachelor party that I wanted to attend). You sound like you have a healthy balance now – all across the board. I know you’ll find that cute girl across the room. I hope she looks like Selma. I can’t wait for your next series. I will be your eternal cheerleader for having the balls to put yourself out there to motivate the rest of us. Enjoy your new self confidence!