Note: Blog post subject matter is discussed in more detail on the Athalonz Podcast.
When I graduated high school in 1979, I weighed 160 pounds. Five years later when I graduated from college, I weight 235 pounds. Two and half years later, when my second daughter was born, I weighed 150 pounds. The cycle of gaining weight and losing it has continued to the present day. I have probably gained and lost myself in weight three times over since high school.
Each time I’d get to the weight I want to be at, I think, “this it, I did it, I’ll never be fat again”. Only to have my weight creep back up, which flares up with my self-image, self-esteem, and self-worth issues. Eventually, I find the energy to lose the weight again.
Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I believe this, so each cycle of weight gain and loss I would make adjustments. They worked to a degree; the amount of weight change became less. From 80 pound swings to 50 pound swings to 30 pound swings.
I am currently in a weight loss phase. I’m not at the weight I want to be at, but I’m getting close. I’m also trying to figure out how, this time, I’ll be able to keep the weight off. For me, losing weight and keeping it off takes effort. Effort to eat healthy foods, effort to exercise, and effort to avoid eating my comfort food of cookies, cakes, ice cream, and candies when in need of comforting.
Let me back track. I have an easting disorder. I use food to stuff my feelings and it stems from my abusive childhood. I was not allowed to express feelings. Anger was met with more anger; tears were met with a slap; feeling good about something was met with shaming. So, I learned to stuff all of my feelings with food.
Over the years, when I have too many feelings, the urge to stuff them with food is often overwhelming. When I’m fairly strong in mind and spirit, I can resist the urge and when I’m not, I tend to give into the urge. When I start eating to suppress feeling, I go for sweets and I have no control. I cannot eat just one cookie, I eat the whole box. I cannot have a few pieces of candy, I eat the whole bag.
While binging on my comfort food feels good in the moment, I beat myself up for being weak immediately after, which creates more negative feelings to deal with. This often triggers a negative spiral of feeling bad, the urge to suppress the feelings with my comfort foods, the battle to fight the urge, giving into the urge, and then feeling bad about it. I have gotten magnitudes better at handling the negative spiral over the years, but it still happens, which is why I am now in a weight loss cycle.
My current weight gain stems from a blood issue that surfaced about three years ago. I had been getting testosterone pellets for several years to treat my low T levels. It worked. I felt better. I had more energy and was in a great positive cycle of eating healthy and exercising. Fighting the urges to binge eat my comfort foods was easy.
What my doctor apparently didn’t know was that testosterone increases hematocrit and hemoglobin in the blood, which basically means I had too much blood in my system and it was too thick. As the levels increased, I became more tired and my blood pressure was increasing; making exercise harder. I started to back off my exercising. Then I started having a series of transient ischemic attacks (TIA), which are like mini strokes but do no permanent damage. The TIA affected my depth perception, which lead to migraine headaches.
I stopped working out. I couldn’t, I had no energy and the headaches were amplified with exercise. I became depressed, which triggered the negative spiral of weight gain.
My primary doctor and others blamed my issues on too much stress. My wife, who was a medical student at the time, figured out what was wrong with me. It was six months after I started with the TIAs. With proper medical treatment, my blood levels returned to normal.
Prior to the blood issues I was running half marathons, playing basketball, and lifting weights. I could do 20 chin-ups and bench press my weight 12 times. When I started back exercising last summer, almost two years after the blood issues surfaced, I was 40 pounds heavier, I couldn’t run a half mile, and I could barely do a chin-up.
To date, I’ve lost about 30 of the 40 pounds. I can run 10 miles (with Covid, I haven’t signed up for any half marathons), I can do 15 chin-ups, and I started mountain biking. For this positive spiral, I’ve changed my mind set about exercise. My previous attitude was, if I wasn’t getting better (e.g., faster time, longer distance, both), it was a poor workout. Objectively, I know that’s an unrealistic viewpoint but, subjectively, it was a different story.
My attitude that I’m fostering now is that a little bit of something is a whole lot better than nothing and I’m not timing myself. Most days, it works. Every now and then, I fight the “must get better” mentality. So far, I’m winning that battle.
I hope this time I can stabilize my yo-yo weight at a healthy level so I can continue to do the physical activities I like for decades to come. Stay tuned.
I am the CEO and Founder of Athalonz, LLC., I am a founding partner of the patent boutique law firm of Garlick & Markison, I am a survivor of child abuse, and I am an inventor on over 300 patents.
Athalonz is a technology company based on Mesa, AZ. It develops and sells athletic footwear, which incorporates its patented technology that leverages the laws of physics to improve athletic performance. Website: athalonz.com
Garlick & Markison is a patent law boutique firm that assists clients in building a patent business within their business using proprietary tools and techniques. Website: texaspatents.com
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Today was a good bit of climbing. A little over 2,000 feet of elevation gain. Not as much as day 1 or day 2, but not trivial. I am really enjoying traveling through the small towns. The people have been friendly, the service has been good, and the food has been excellent.