Where Do I Start? A Journey from Obesity.

I get a lot of mail from blog buddies asking for advice, giving tips and sharing stories. I really appreciate hearing from you, but I was especially touched by the following e-mail:

Hi Davey!

About a month ago I was curled up in bed with a boy that I’m completely in love with after a night of him drinking. He turned to me and said “If you would lose 160 lbs, I would marry you tomorrow”. The sting that went into me was so intense. I started crying and told him I was sorry I wasn’t beautiful…

I got up the next day and joined a gym. It’s so intimidating to be morbidly obese, and walk into a place where the women walk around in sports bras and have PINK written across their ass, but whats even worse is the anxiety I feel when I see the early 20s guys helping each other cut the sleeves of their shirts cause they’re so ripped. I feel so out of place. Everyone looks at me like, “What is that fatty doing here?”

I had NO idea how much I weighed, I haven’t known for at least ten years. I got on the scale. I am twenty six years old… I am five foot eleven inches tall… and I weigh three hundred and thirty seven pounds.

I started with doing 1 hour water aerobics classes 4 days a week. Now I’ve added 15 minutes of weight machines, and 15 minutes on a bicycle.

I don’t feel like I’m doing the right things.

I’ve lost 4 pounds in a month which is a good start but NOT nearly what I want.

I’m morbidly obese, but HOW do I lose weight when its so hard to move my body?

Dear Blog Buddy,

Even reading your words, I can feel your very real pain. One issue is your boyfriend: Do you want conditional love? It is beyond the scope of this blog to delve into the murky world of relationship advice, so I will stick to what I know.

Having been overweight when I was younger, and now much fitter as an adult, I have been on both sides of this experience.

First, though people may look at you in the gym, I’d advise you not to project your insecurities into their stares or looks. In all honesty, it is very likely that people are impressed by your courage. A gym is especially intimidating for beginners – people understand that – and the gym goers that you see may be looking at you because they admire your bravery.

Second, it’s helpful to move to a place wherein there looks or stares are of no importance, regardless of intent. Measuring yourself by the judgments of others – good or bad – is a dangerous game. Avoid it by honoring and cultivating the intrinsic self worth that you have as a human being. I know, easier said than done.

Third, you are doing the right thing. And you’ve done the hardest thing. You’ve taken the first step. It is the hardest step that you’ll ever take, and it’s now behind you.

Fourth, maintain a gym commitment that is sustainable. It’s very easy to burn out when getting started. It’s great that you are doing both cardio (water aerobics, bicycling) and strength training (weight machines). Doing strength training buildings muscle, and muscle incinerates calories all day long; it’s absolutely essential to accompany your cardio with strength training.

Fifth, consider your nutrition. I’m going to e-mail you a copy of my Eating for Fitness program. Nutrition is obviously the other side of the health and wellness coin. Losing weight is about both exercise and nutrition – and you may wish to seek the help of a professional.

Sixth, and along the same vein – you may wish to work with a trainer. Most gyms have personal trainers, and I’m sure they could pair you up with someone wonderful and affordable. It will be money well spent, and money that you may otherwise be spending on health problems and complications down the road.

Seventh, do it for you. Forget your boyfriend’s comment. Do not lose weight so that he will marry you. Lose weight so that you can honor your body and this experience of life. You only get one body. Honor it. Do it for you.

It’s all about small steps, and like I said, you’ve already taken the hardest one. Just keep moving – moving forward – and with a little hard work and dedication, you will be create a transformed body and a transformed life.

We are all routing for you.

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.

Comments

  1. In all honesty we are all pulling for you. It is going to take a long time to lose the weight you want to lose. The scale can be a stubborn thing. I know this all too well.

    But try to work to a place where the number on the scale matters less than the image you have of yourself. I am not at my goal weight–but I feel TONS better about myself and like how I look in the mirror (most of the time). I like how I look because I am in the process. I don’t have the end point yet but it feels SO DAMN GOOD to be part of the process.

    Hang in theer. Take good care of yourself. And here’s a big high five for making great choices.

  2. Ernest Grainger says:

    Davey, I commend you for the empathy you feel for this fellow. I’ve been there–I was much heavier than 337 lbs!–and I really love you for your sensitivity.

    The only thing I would add is for your blog buddy to look at how he got there. I promise you, no one reaches 337 lbs. because he just stopped playing football or he likes potato chips a little too much. It is really only a result of a compulsion that defies rational thought and good intentions and re-education. Those of us who reach big numbers like 337 (it was over 100 lbs more for me!) have to repair our relationships with food. One resource is Overeaters Anonymous. Not everyone likes OA, and it’s not for everyone, but it is there if your blog buddy wants to try it. Large cities even have gay/lesbian or gay men’s OA meetings.

    Whether it’s OA or something else, I do hope your buddy does look inside, with some help from people who have been there and/or professionals who understand, to help heal his relationship with eating.

  3. Davey,

    One of the things I like about you is your honesty and the way you focus on the important things in life. Your advice to this blog buddies was nothing short of honest perfection. I wish him great success and concur that he shouldn’t do this for his boyfriend’s love. You were right to frame your reply with focus on the scope of this blog.

    I too am struggling with excess weight and a need to slim down. I’m about 20 years older than this buddy and dealing with some health problems. I’m just now getting back to routine exercise and sensible nutritional intake after leaving a job that kept me away from home for some 13 to 14 hours each day. That job was literally killing me.

    Keep the good advice coming our way Davey! I’m sure others are with me when I say “We Love Ya!”

  4. I’m 47 years old, 5’6″, and weight 270. I know the feeling all to well of not being able to make the first step. For me it’s almost like a paranoia to attempt to work out in public or private. I’m trying to eat better and even bought Davey’s workout programs to try to help but I’m still trying to get over my workout insecurities. I work the graveyeard shift so coming up with excuses is real easy.

    • The Big ‘D (diabetes)’ takes no prisoners. Imagine falling down because you can’t feel your feet (cousin) or having trouble writing your name because your fingers are numb all the time (father), not to mention the sexual component of this.

      Don’t feel shy. Be glad you can turn things around before it is too late.

      Anyone that says they would marry you if you lost weight would dump you the minute things happen and it came back on (pregnancy?). Dump that loser.

      First step of all is to find a Resting Metabolic Rate calculator. I know I was shocked like you wouldn’t believe to realize I was eating a day’s worth of calories by lunch time. I usuallly doubled that amount the rest of the day. If you keep honest track of the total you can cheat along the way. I went from size 50 to size 40 in my 40s without giving up the Dairy Queen Blizzards.

      GREAT BLOG.

  5. I have to say that it is people like you that I respect most in the gym. It’s not that hard for a ripped 20 year old to come in and strut around but for people like you and me it’s a huge challenge just to walk through the door.
    You keep it up and don’t quit. Ever splash in the pool and every step on the treadmill is a small victory.

    • I agree entirely. While I don’t think it’s wise to evaluate yourself by the judgments of others – good ones or bad ones – I believe that most people probably deeply admire the strength and courage that it takes to come to the gym when overweight.

  6. I agree with Davey. Do it for you. measure yourself by your own standards, not others. If you set goals and meet them you will happier than you know.

    I’ve been losing weight for my health and it is a lot easier than people think. The little things can really add up. Davey has a lot of good tips utilize them.

    Davey, thank you for your generosity and time with this blog. 🙂

    T

  7. If I’m at the gym and I see someone new or that looks like they feel out of place I may watch them, but it’s not out of anger at them being in my gym, quite the contrary. I often will watch them as they exercise to see if they might need help with something.

    For anyone that is just starting out at the gym, you should know that the vast majority of people that work out at the gym are quite friendly and more than happy to help out if you have questions.

    Also keep your expectations in check. Nobody can expect to lose 100 pounds in a month. Transforming your body takes time, a lot of time, but don’t look at is as a “program” look at it as a lifestyle and you will incorporate it into your life forever.

  8. People put to much focus on how much the scale says.. all though it is important to be in your body’s ideal weight it’s more important to be healthy in your body’s ideal weight.. skinny dosent all ways mean healthy you got to remember that nutrition is a HUGE part of health. if you can start thinking about what it is your getting out of what you eat and how that is going to benefit or hurt your body. staying away from processed items is a good start to learning about nutrition and getting to your Ideal body image.

    best of luck yo

  9. Mosaic Dave says:

    At one point in my life I had reached 400lbs at 6 feet tall. I look back over the past 6.5 years and I harbour great pride in having lost 230 lbs and having maintained the loss for so long. I have a few pieces of advice – things with which I’ve had great success – that I’ll share with you.

    1) As mentioned by a previous poster, examine your relationship with food and look at why you’ve been abusing your body so terribly for so long. Even harmful behaviours have payoffs for us. Look for the payoff in your over-eating. You can’t re-establish your relationship with food until you understand why you’re over-eating right now. For me, the payoff was attention. If I couldn’t get my dad’s attention with the great things I could do, I found I could definitely get it from harming myself. So I kept doing it because it worked. When I realized why I was doing it I talked to my dad about it and we started a new relationship. This allowed me to transform my relationship to food. Now I choose to eat healthy and nutritious foods. When I realize I’m having a craving and I know I’m not really hungry I choose responsible, low-cal, healthy foods like mushrooms fried in a little olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Delicious and almost calorie-free.

    2) I found it worked better for me to focus on living healthy rather than just loosing weight. Losing weight has an end-goal. At some point, you will reach that ideal weight – I have no doubt of this given your motivation and determination. Most people keep up the healthy lifestyle for a while afterwords but then slowly incorporate their previous unhealthy habits into their lifestyle again. If you focus on just being healthy you will never reach that ideal measure. Health is something you really must revamp your lifestyle to achieve and maintain. Consider throwing away the scale and focusing more on eating healthy, exercising regularly and loving yourself for your self – your inner essence.

    3) Recruit professional help. Davey recommended a personal trainer and I second that motion. I also recommend a life coach. Life coaches are to life as personal trainers are to working out. They will work with you to build mental and emotional muscles you never knew you had. They’ll challenge you to get out of your comfort zone, explore whatever there is to explore about what you want for yourself and for your life and they’ll be there to spot you when you need it. Whatever you want, essentially, you can achieve and with the help of a coach you can achieve it with velocity. I also recommend using your family physician as a resource to monitor your progress and your physical and chemical health. Lastly, I recommend a nutritionist to help you plan your meals and to educate you on what you need to have in your diet to achieve your goal of great physical health.

    4) Lastly and most importantly do this all for yourself. If you do it for someone else, as soon as something changes in that relationship so will your commitment to your health. If you do anything dependent upon another person and something changes with them then whatever you’re doing goes kaput. Do it for you; take a stand for your life. Your relationship with yourself is less likely to change and you have complete control over what changes in that relationship. You get to choose how everything goes in that respect and the path to success will be far simpler.

    With Davey having posted your story you’ve just gained hundreds of people who will support you. Maybe thousands. Whatever support you need just ask. I’d be happy to talk to you and I’m sure others would too. I admire your courage and your commitment to you health and I would be more than happy to pass on my experience to you.

  10. CeltboyGary says:

    One the the blog buddy might consider doing is taking some “before” pictures, and then monthly progress photos. This can go a long way to motivate and encourage the lifestyle changes he’s making.

    Blog Buddy – I hope you’ll keep us (or at least Davey) up to date on your progress.

  11. Hey i know just how your blog buddy feels i weighed just over 340lbs about a year ago and i also joined a gym because my boyfriend said i needed to lose weight, so i went every day for the last year and im down to 265 and the first step was the hardest and up until last month i was with my boyfriend i left him because i realized that he didnt support me the entire time but i am happy that he was a jerk cuz i did need a little push and i thanked him for that 🙂 but now i do it because i love it although i have just cut down to 4days a week because of collage. good luck to your blog buddy and hang in there it gets easier every day.

  12. Many years ago I created a gayfitness yahoo group.
    It’s for fitness advice and is a completely free peer help forum. I’m am strongly against any advertising of any kinda on the forum, and I try to keep things on topic.

    Anyone wishing to join please leave a meaningful msg when you try to join, I try hard to block spammers and people joining for reasons other than fitness and health.

    But there are a few before and after pics on there, including my own.

  13. I think what happened is that the statement triggered what you have been feeling inside about yourself and was a catalyst for you to get well. I think you were already ready to improve your health and this just “flipped the switch” for you. You already have all you need to get in better shape: desire. I’ve been heavy for a good part of my life and have finally figured out a diet and exercise routine that works for me. I’ve been blogging about it at AClearForestPath for free. I think it’s good to get different perspectives and do what works best for you. In so many ways we are all on the journey of life together. I love the community that has developed through blogging. It gives us an opportunity to share ourselves and improve our lives along the way!!

  14. Lose weight for yourself. One thing that I’ve seen Davey stress on his blog is loving and celebrating yourself first. The comment from the boyfriend stings like there’s no tomorrow, but don’t lose weight for him. Lose weight for your own health and for your own well being. Physical well being is more than just a better looking body: lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, etc. are also manifestations of physical improvement. Celebrate the seemingly small achievements of going the extra 1/4 mile, the 1/2 pound loss, etc. Good thoughts and wishes on getting to your goals!

  15. I think the best advice to give to the blog buddy is to be realistic in his expectations. He didn’t get to the weight he reached overnight, nor will he lose it overnight. Four pounds in a month is an excellent start. Losing more than 1.5 pounds a week is not considered sustainable.

    Look at it as a lifetime’s commitment to health rather than a temporary fix. Continue to eat sensibly and exercise and good things will follow. Good luck.

  16. I understand how your blog buddy feels. A year ago i was 348 lbs and this morning I weighed in at 292.5. It’s not easy but you can make it. Yes, you should do it for yourself, but to completely ignore the desire to be appealing to others is impractical and naive. The vast majority of people out there want to find a mate or spouse. But the reality is that the vast majority of people out there don’t want to date, fuck, or marry a fat person. It’s the harsh reality that we live in. While I wouldn’t change your appearance for a single person (the guy who told you he would marry you if you dropped 160 lbs), it is totally different to work to change your appearance so you are more attractive in general.

    (There are chasers out there, thankfully, and it makes my sex life more active. And it was a sweet day when I met someone who said I wasn’t fat enough.)

  17. It takes a lot of work to get where you want to go (I should know…I lost 120 pounds, and if I can do it, so can you!). The best advice I can offer is as follows: start slow (you have to build up to where you want to go, but once you do, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish!), find a support group (it helps to know there are other people out there who have the same issues or have accomplished what currently seems insurmountable), the people at the gym aren’t really looking at you (my brother is a gym junkie and he verified this is true…everyone is just there to do their own thing), and don’t give up (you can do this…thousands of others have, it’s not impossible!). Best of luck to you in your journey!

  18. Ernest Grainger says:

    This might open up a big ol’ can of worms, but someone mentioned chubby chasers. God bless ’em! Thank goodness it’s easy to find them nowadays. When I was fat, it took me a long, long time to accept that someone could find me attractive as I was. (Looking back on it, I can see that was the point of attaining and maintaining those high numbers.) Once I did, I was always able to find just what I wanted at the time without realizing it–someone into me for a while, but not looking to get close. Some fat guys find true love, and some are sluts. If you allow it to happen, you always find what you’re looking for in life.

    When I decided to have weight-loss surgery at about 450 lbs (another can of worms), nearly every chaser I told was fully supportive. They all cared enough to want to see me live a few more years, even if I would no longer be their “type”.

    And how is life and love having lost that much weight? It’s hard, but then, life is always hard. When you’re fat, you know you’re going to be instantly pigeonholed in people’s minds. When you’re not, you realize you will be considered for things other than your body. And your body will always remind you of your former self with droopy, saggy skin. While you might look “normal” in clothes you likely won’t look “normal” naked. But is it worth it? Hell yes!

  19. In today’s society, people are so concerned about how they look. Don’t get me wrong, this concern comes with good reason: it’s good to be healthy, bottom line. I was never “overweight” but going into college I did put on the “freshman 15”. I somehow discovered my passion for dance after taking a hip-hop cardio class through my schools dance department. I have been dancing hip-hop for about 2 years now and I couldn’t imagine my life without it. Motivation for me is the HARDEST thing. Find something you love that also benefits your body and health. Now, I will be the first to admit that I don’t eat the best food out there, and I’m sure that my body would transform if I started eating better. I love love love to do what I do and my body is perfect for me because of it.

  20. I know how you feel. I have seen both ends of the scae my self. When I was going through primary school (which is 1-7 in Brisbane Australia where I live) I was shot, fat, red hair and freckles. I have all the odds against me. I was teased and some days I just wanted to end it all (kids can be so cruel). When I started high school (8-12) I stated to grow taller and skinny. In 2007 when I was my second year out of hight school I was 6’4 tall and weighed 73kg – the Doctor was telling me to put on wight or i would be sent to hospital for anorexia.

    Now I think I have grown into my body now at age 22 I’ve put on nearly 30 kg in 3 years. I am now over weight.
    I have just started at the gym my self and I know how you feel. I felt the big muscled men were staring at me thing Oh my god what is he doing here. But know i have stated with a trainer and slowly but surely i am starting to see results. Wight is coming off and I am getting some muscle definition in my arms and chest (finally get rid of my man boobs).

    I fully support you in what you re doing, but please make sure you are doing this for your self and not for the sake of you boy friend.

    In these situation I think you will be the last person to see results but one day you will look In the mirror and say wow. When this happens you will get a missive confidence boost and there will be no stopping you.

    GO GET THEM!!!!!!!!!!1

  21. Thanks for your encouraging words!

    I´m struggling with weight myself (6” – 260lbs) and often you get the feedback from (fit) people that you just should eat less an exercise more and they don´t understand the difficulties.

    I totally agree with your point that it´s extremely important to do it for myself and not for others. In the past I often tried it for other people, to look good for a (potential) partner or because my family tried to convince me to do it for them.
    But if you just do it for someone else that´s not a good base and once you partnership doesn´t work out or you have a fight with the person for whom you do it, you will fall back in your old Rhythm and because of the frustration you will gain even more weight.

    The only way that works for me is to find find my self-love and feeling of self-worth and really do it for my self.

    Please keep up your great blog, it´s very motivating!

    Yours Michael from Austria

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