How I became obese

Welcome to my Bariatric Betterment blog, and thank you for visiting. The purpose of this blog is simple. I want to share my lifelong obesity struggles with all of you, with the goals of offering information and hope that may help you fight the largest threat to your life. At this point, I see it as my civic duty to share this information with the public. I have prolonged my life, now it is time to prolong yours. Losing weight is so much more than looking and feeling good. It is about showing respect to yourself, and your loved ones, and by taking the gift of life and doing the most with it. I shall provide you firsthand experiences of weight struggles and the bariatric surgery that changed, and saved, my life.

All great stories must have a beginning, so I may as well begin with mine to provide the full context of my situation. As of the date of this post, I am 38 years old. I was raised into a modest military family, and I am an only child. I was a kid in the 1980s when video games were just emerging. While I indulged, I still would play outside as well as organized soccer, I ate reasonable portions, and I was not (yet) overweight.

Clearly I appreciated the Second Amendment at an early age. Note the Atari 2600 box, which began my addiction to video games. What is missing from this picture, is obesity.

That all changed around sixth grade. The Nintendo NES was out and I was playing a LOT of video games. School was becoming more time consuming and intensive and I effectively became more sedentary. I quite suddenly became very overweight. It was apparent to my parents, who took me to see a nutritionist. She offered some basic insight into the bad things I was eating, but I didn’t follow her advice and scoffed at her idea of eating arcane foods such as sprouts.

By late seventh grade and early eighth grade, I had a temporary saving grace in the form of puberty. My height skyrocketed and I quickly became one of the tallest boys in my class. The fat either melted off or was redistributed across my frame, because it was quickly gone. Life was good again. In high school, I began playing ice hockey and worked in an ice rink. As a rink guard (and rink janitor, as I quickly discovered), my life was very physical. I was also cutting grass for 3 houses, on foot, and would shovel the snow in the winter. I would play street hockey with inline skates on a tennis court and in the street with my friends. I even played ice hockey, with ice skates, on my driveway during a fluke ice storm. In summary, my eating wasn’t terrific, but I was extremely active and was in the middle of a growth spurt, so I was physically fine.

I probably looked my best ever during my senior year, 1996. It all began to go downhill after that!
You can see more of me here. Definitely not pudgy, yet.

After high school, I commuted to the University of Maryland, College Park (go Terrapins!) for 4.5 years while obtaining my Bachelor’s in Computer Science. At the time, College Park was renowned for having at least 3 (that I knew of) Taco Bells across campus. Taco Bell has always been, and always will be, my fast food kryptonite. Even worse, they had a special beef burrito that I couldn’t find in any Taco Bell off campus, and it was AMAZING. I would get 3 or 4 of them, go to a lecture, and eat a monstrous meal while pretending to pay attention to a professor’s drivel. I was still active with hockey, working at the ice rink, and I took a running class. However, it was during these years that my weight began to creep upward. By the time I graduated, I definitely had some weight to lose.

Clearly I packed on some college weight.

Once I graduated, I joined the workforce as a software engineer. As you can imagine, software engineers do just about zero physical labor beyond typing. I worked for a year for an aeronautics company and then 7 years for two government contractors. During that time, I still played hockey once or twice a week. However, I began dating and going out with friends. The drinking and eating garbage food quickly took its toll on me and I recall gaining a lot of weight. My apartment had a small fitness room and I remember going there and getting on the treadmill, but I avoided any other physical exertion in a gym setting. Because I never worked out in a gym, I was afraid of it. During this time period, I was dedicated more to my job, my friends, and chasing girls, than I was to myself and I let myself go, a lot.

Finally, I found the PERFECT girl. I recall saying to a friend “if I can get her, I’ll happily throw away the rest!” After a whole lot of effort, I finally convinced her to date me seriously. We had been friends for a year before that. By this time, I bought a condo, and she eventually moved in. She was thin, and I was rather portly. The effect of us living together was disastrous. We ate total garbage for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (and snacks) and I gained plenty of weight.

I then bought a house, married my dream girl, and started my own software engineering company, right as my wife was pregnant with our first daughter. The stress of all of that was monumental. I quickly found myself doing all the administrative work for the company, in addition to working 40 hours a week for my customer, while trying to fit in family, hunting, and video gaming time. Needless to say, there was zero time for exercise, and I gained a lot more weight.

After a long while of that, I eventually weighed 263 pounds and finally realized I had a problem. Physical exertion was more difficult at that size, and people were starting to notice and comment. I had to do something! Please read my next post about my poor-man’s version of Weight Watchers.

Days before my oldest daughter was born.

Notice the sweat I was covered in from doing absolutely nothing particularly physical.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is based entirely upon my experiences and observations. I am not a medical professional and you must do your own research and consult your doctor before making any changes to your eating, fitness, medication, or supplements. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional.

WEIGHT WATCHERS Is the registered trademark of Weight Watchers International, Inc. 

Atari and the Atari logo are trademarks owned by Atari Interactive, Inc.

Nintendo is the registered trademark of Nintendo of America Inc.

Taco Bell is the registered trademark of Taco Bell IP Holder, LLC.