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I Lost 160 Lbs. Without Breaking a Sweat

I’ve always had a problematic relationship with my weight. When I was younger, I was so skinny that I was looking for ways to bulk up. I couldn’t gain weight no matter what I did.

But, in my 30s and the years of taking psychiatric medication started pushing my weight to the limit. After I got out of the mental hospital in 2001, I was put on antipsychotics and my weight really started being a problem. Over the next 10 years, I would balloon up to 360 pounds.

This essay was first published on May 19th, 2019 and just goes to show the unhealthy obsession I had with my weight.

Now that I am 55 and on a plant-based diet, I finally feel like I am living a sustainable lifestyle that can finally give me the healthy body and mind I so crave.


May 19, 2019

When I hear people complain about their weight, I can sympathize. I mean, I’m still not a thin guy in 2019. I tip the scales at around 230 pounds, and there is no way I can call myself skinny, even at 6 feet tall.

But I used to be much worse off.

In January of 2011, I stepped on the scale, and I shocked myself because I weighed 360 pounds! This was the most I’d ever weighed in my life, and I didn’t like it. I didn’t feel good. I didn’t like the way I looked. I didn’t feel comfortable in my own body and I didn’t know what a positive body image was.

It took decades of abuse to get to that point. It didn’t happen overnight.

I was sick and overweight

By 2011, I’d been on medication for my mental issues for over 20 years. If you know anything about antidepressants and antipsychotics, they make a person gain weight — a lot of weight. I don’t know the science behind it, but I know I was eating more often and eating more food at each sitting. I was hungry all the time.

More food was not the only problem — I was eating at fast food places all the time and I often ate 4 or 5 huge meals a day.

By huge, I mean:

McDonald’s:

  • 2 Double Cheeseburgers
  • 2 McChicken Sandwiches
  • Large French Fries
  • X-large Coca-Cola
  • X-large Strawberry Shake
  • Apple pie

Or

  • 2 Double Quarter Pounders with cheese
  • 2 Large French Fries
  • X-large Neapolitan Shake
  • Cherry Pie

Little Caesars:

  • 1 Large Pepperoni Pizza (hey, they were $5!)
  • 1 Order of Crazy Bread — with sauce
  • 6 Hot Wings
  • 1 liter of Mountain Dew

Church’s Chicken:

  • 6 pieces of Fried Chicken
  • Cole Slaw — Mashed potatoes and Gravy — Potato Salad
  • 1 Liter of Coca-Cola

I ate until I was sick every single meal. It didn’t matter that I had acid indigestion and IBS — when I wanted to eat, I ate. And I wanted to eat all the time. There were only two things I spent my small Social Security check buying — food and cigarettes.

Yes, in addition to eating my weight in food, I smoked two packs of cigarettes a day. Partner that with my lack of exercise and I was a ticking time bomb. Shit, I was about to go nuclear at any time!

I was not only mentally sick; I was physically sick every darn day.

In March of 2011, I started to change

In March, I met Flora online and knew she would one day be my wife. She knew I was fat and didn’t care — but I was self-conscious. No full-body video chats and no pics of my belly. Headshots only. Selfies were bad enough with my pudding face.

Again, she didn’t have a problem, but I did. I don’t know how I thought I could keep my fatness out of sight.

She brought me out of my shell, and she made me want to eat better. Not only did I want to look good for her, but I didn’t want to die an early death by a heart attack.

After a few weeks of bliss, I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her and I wanted that to be a long time. I was in love.

I bought some groceries and started fixing a few meals at home. I would still binge at McDonald’s daily, but slowly, I was getting better about not eating so much crap.

I started losing weight, but not as fast as I would have liked.

Not long after, I decided to make a drastic change and move to the Philippines

In September 2011, I made the trip to the other side of the world — I moved my life to the Philippines.

I weighed myself before I left, and I was 330 pounds. All that hard work and I‘d only lost 30 pounds. I had visions of stepping off the airplane and looking like Brad Pitt, but instead, it was more like Chris Farley.

Flora didn’t care; she was just glad I’d come to be with her. She accepted me, fat and all, and for a while, I didn’t care about losing weight or crash diets.

But something happened between September of 2011 and June of 2012. Everything was different in my new country. The food was of better quality, there was less fast food available, and I ended up walking a lot more than I ever had.

It was a time of changing habits and tropical temperatures, which was the only sweating I ever did to lose weight.

The weight dropped off me, and before I went back to the U.S. for a year in June of 2012, I’d dropped to 240 Lbs.

The year I spent in the States was horrible. I was always bored and chronically depressed, and I missed one of the most important things that has ever happened to me — the birth of my daughter Zoey. If it wasn’t necessary for me to be there, I would have gone home, but I was stuck and miserable.

I gained a little of my weight back, but when I returned to the Philippines, I continued where I left off and kept dropping pounds.

My lowest weight was 200 lbs. — 91 kilos. It took several years, but I finally got to a point where my weight plateaued, and I was happy. At 6 feet, I looked great and I felt great as well. I still didn’t exercise, except walking a little here and there, but I kept eating healthy food, and I kept feeling better and better.

My mental issues were even improving — both from my diet and a new perspective on life.

Where I am now

All these years later I still feel great. I’ve gained a little weight with my age and am now 231 Lbs. — about 105 kilos.

I’ve made many changes in my life. I quit smoking over two years ago and don’t miss it. I still eat very well (anything I want), but mostly healthy choices. I still don’t exercise much because I spend most of my time sitting at my laptop writing, but I do get out and walk once in a while. My mental health has improved to the point where I can have a career writing for a living.

I love it.

The best thing is I know I’ll be around for a long time for Flora and Zoey. I don’t have to worry my diet might cause me to have heart problems later on.

Next month I’m getting a checkup and all the required tests and I’m positive that everything will be perfect.

My life has been a long journey, both down the bad path where my physical and mental health suffered, and back to a good path where I’m flourishing. If I knew how good I would feel after I lost all the weight and started to eat healthier, I would have done it long ago.

I am not thin by any means, but I have a positive body image. Some say I’m still fat, but I like how I look, beer-belly and all. Flora likes me just like I am. She thinks round and Jolly is sexy.

I better keep a close eye on Santa.

I know no matter how I look, I’ll always be healthy. I’m not getting any younger, so it’s in my best interest that I take care of this body better the older I get. I have plans to start exercising more because I sit far too much and I know that my old body needs to be moving.

Above all, I’m happy and fulfilled. I have a wonderful family who loves me, and I know I’ll be around for a long time for them.

It doesn’t get much better than this!


1-11-2024

Over the next few years, I would gain weight. In 2022, I had a massive heart attack due to blockages in my arteries. I survived with a stent and angioplasty, and I promised myself and my family that I would change my life so I could live longer.

I didn’t.

The end of 2023 rolled around and I was 280 lbs. I had diabetes, and high blood pressure, and I still had not lost any weight. I was still a ticking time bomb with high cholesterol and a fatty liver and I kept making excuses as to why I kept putting off doing something about my health.

At the end of December 2023, I watched a few documentaries about health and realized that I had a choice. I could die suddenly sometime in the next 10 years, or I could do something drastic to change my health and live a longer life.

After researching so many diets, I decided on going plant-based, no oil, no sugar. People kept telling me that I should do carnivore and keto, or that intermittent fasting would fix everything, but the only lifestyle that I saw real doctors saying would fix my problems was a vegan diet.

I read Dr. Esselstyn’s book about reversing heart disease and on January 1st, 2024, I went plant-based. There were a few hiccups because of a power failure in the Philippines, but I am firmly back in the lifestyle and feel great.

I am already losing weight and can feel changes in my body. I am pooping daily for the first time in years and I can feel my body changing in my midsection. I don’t get sick when I eat and am loving all the energy I have.

It has not been easy to stop eating meat, eggs, and dairy. I still crave McDonald’s and fried chicken, but I am committed and will stick with this lifestyle.

It is a choice between dying young and living a long life, and I’ll be damned if I check out too soon because of my own stupid choices in life.

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