My 500lb Life


The lightest I ever recall being was chubby, I remember well because people were already starting to make comments about my growing weight, I don't remember a time before. I believe I was four or five. I don't know what triggered my weight gain, I honestly don't remember picking up bad eating habits until a few years later, but somehow, for some reason, I was gaining weight, while my brothers remained thin. The more I think about it the more confused I become. Somewhere between 3 and four, or 4 and 5. I gained a lot of weight. I remember outgrowing a Reds baseball outfit  (or was it Ohio State) that matched one my mom owned. I just remember getting compliments about it, I remember trying it on one day and being unable to fit in it. And then before I knew it, I was overweight.





I continued gaining weight. Sometime between 5-7, I had an imaginary friend, a grandmother-like figure whom I always visualized being in black and white like I Love Lucy. I only used to imagine her at the dinner table. I recall being there a lot by myself. I'd imagine her as I would snack on chips and various other goodies. I wanted someone to talk to while I ate, so I created her, I'm not sure why I made her a sort of parental figure.

There are no more pictures of my youth before high school.


In the above picture I was in  fourth grade, I remember taking the photo, it was picture day at school and it was an awkward shot for a kid my size. I also remember this is when I truly started to internalize how I felt about myself. I was chunky, I was chubby, I was often called fat, that horrible word. I remember feeling like I didn't fit in, I remember how my family started noticing how expensive my cloths were getting, and how we had to shop strategically because only certain stores carried 3 and 4X clothing (it was the 90s). 

During this period of my life, I remember how I liked eating plain chips and bread. I loved the random, yet easy flavor combo. I also remember there was a corner candy store down the road, and I'd go there often and buy all kinds of junk food. I escaped in food a lot. I also remember mom getting a really nice toaster oven, and my mom started to buy Pizza rolls a lot. They were simple enough for me to make in the toaster oven, and I fixed them often. I would especially cook up a batch when no one was around. I remember something that started around this time that would repeat a lot, my family would be appalled by how much I'd eaten. Pizza Rolls used to have about 40 in a bag. My brothers  would often open the fridge, and pick up the bag, notice that the bag was nearly empty and ask my mom if she had any, and it would make its way back to me. I used to lie and say it wasn't me, but it clearly was, it was just my way of trying to deflect some of the hostility pouring on me, which only made it worse.




By the time I was ten I knew how to use the oven, and because over the years pizza rolls proved to be a hit, not just with me, but with my brothers, my mom bought plenty of easy frozen easy to cook foods. I loved the pizzas the most. She would also buy these giant bags of frozen breaded chicken patties, and when I knew no one would notice, I'd make four at a time. Friday nights my mom used to leave me 20 bucks for pizza and I'd order Pizza Hut, and eat it all myself  (well I always had to save my mom two slices) I always hoped my brothers wouldn't pop in when I had pizza because then I'd have to share. 

As years went on, my poor eating habits continued, I believe I was around 12 or 13 when I was first diagnosed as morbidly obese. By that time I had become a master of sneak eating. My mom worked late and my brothers just weren't around. When mom would go into work and I was supposed to be in bed for school, I'd wake up after she left, and binge eat the easiest food to prepare until I felt stuffed. One day she left and forgot something and had to come back, she caught me fixing multiple sausage-dogs. She was livid. I kind of feel like I may have actually disgusted her at the time. She was pretty blown away. But I don't know if that's something I feel now in hindsight or if it was something real from back then.

I recently came across a picture of myself, that my nephews mother had posted many years ago. It was my Nephew Jaedyns  2nd birthday, and she had a family gathering for it that I actually attended. What I don't remember was taking the picture, in fact, in the photo I'm obvious to the shutterbug. The issue I have with it is is, I'm huge, throughout my time in social media I've learned what works best for me in terms of flattering photos, that pretty much means from the  neck, up. This picture of me sitting on a couch didn't cast any illusions or delusions of my weight, and it's been there for people to see for years. I was horrified to discover the picture and it filled me with anxiety. I've never posted a full body shot of myself on Facebook, for obvious reasons. 




When I look at this picture I can easily go back to when it was taken. I remember that emptiness I felt everyday, and how I clung to a massive multiplayer online game for some shred of relevance, and an escape from my reality. The only other times it seemed like I felt alive was when I was eating. We had fast food several times a week and pizza nights once a month that would come to over 50 bucks and be lucky to last two days. That was my life, the quality of it was poor fundamentally, to say the least. I can't tell you how much I weighed in that photo. I keep asking myself. Am I bigger or smaller now? Am I working to get back down to that? Or am I already past it. I showed this photo to my mom and she was blown away, she could not believe her eyes, she insists I've come a long way, that I'm not nearly that big anymore. I don't know. 


It's funny how I when I was in elementary school I though nothing could be worse than being over 200 pounds, then 300 in middle school, and finally in high school 400. It's crazy how I just continued to balloon up. You tell yourself this is the worst, you start hating your life, only to look back years later and envy the size you used to be. Envying a size you were unhappy with years ago, because you've gotten so much bigger. It just goes to show that it can get worse. If you are reading this  and you've struggled with your weight, and given up, let me tell you, it only gets worse. You think you're at you're unhappiest, until you pack on a serious amount more weight. Take control now!


This was me in high school, during arguably  the most successful diet I had ever done, I always estimate I lost about 40 or more pounds. I get so upset with myself for not staying the course I was on that year. It seemed like once that one came to an end, all my destructive eating habits intensified.



The above photos were a year after, my senior year in high school. The pounds slowly started coming back. That was my favorite shirt (of all time), and I had eventually gotten so big that I couldn't sit with it on without unbuttoning the entire lower half of buttons.



This was me, a year or so after graduation. I was greatly unhappy with my life, and I had become a recluse, rarely ever leaving the house for months at time. I was likely about 430 pounds. I remember a scale we had at the time that went to 450. It wouldn't be long after taking this picture that I was unable to use that scale, as I would exceed its capacity. Ironically this was suppose to be a before shot for a diet I had just started on. I never considered my weight at the time to be ideal, who would, but now I'm trying to get back to this size. 



2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015

What matters now is that I'm on the right path. I don't like what I see in my reflections, and Ive set out to change that. My 500lb life came to an end a week ago. Now it's my 400lb life, this will a tougher battle, but I'm prepared for it. One day I hope to post picture of a size I've never been, a smaller, lighter me. A year ago I didn't think it was possible for someone to come back from being so big. At my highest I estimate I was 580+ pounds, and now I'm 495. I got a long way to go, but what matters is that I'm in it for the long haul, and Ive taken charge!


Comments


  1. Thank you for sharing your photos and journey Brandon. I hear such loneliness in your sharing of your childhood. You are a very sensitive and interesting person with much to offer. Big hugs to you.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Susan, big hugs right back.

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  2. It's clear you were alone a lot from a young age. That must have been very sad and lonely and possibly frightening. You might want to discuss things like that with your counsellor (maybe you already are). Inventing an imaginary grandmother seems like a really significant thing to me, without a dad around and I assume your mum had to work you were really longing for a parental figure there to look after you instead of leaving it up to food to fill the void.

    The great thing is that you are really making progress lately! You are on the right track. I may have suggested this before but are you reading Sean Anderson's blog? http://losingweighteveryday.blogspot.com He started at 505 pounds (he has that number tattooed on his arm) and he got down to his goal weight, regained a lot, and is now nearly back down again. He's written some really great posts about learning to love yourself at any size as well as how he has lost the weight.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Natalie, I think I'll bring it up today when I meet with her, it seems like something that should be explored. And yes you've told me about Sean, he is actually on my blog list, I've been following him for quite a few months now, but I never read his posts ... I don't know why, but I kind of find his success intimidating, scary. One day I will actually allow myself to read it. I don't know why I feel this way, I find that some (people who have completely lost the weight, or are close) are easier for me to follow, be influenced and encouraged by, than others. I actually plan on writing about one of my biggest influences within the next week.

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  3. I ate a lot (A LOT) out of loneliness, so I understand. Heck, I still do, and it's a daily struggle. But, you're here now. The only path is forward, there is no going back, and it's up to you what you make of it. :)

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