Hi there. My name is Dan and I’m a recovering fat kid.
Now, being a fat kid in and of itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We all have our reasons for seeking a modicum of comfort in food, each dish has the ability to make us feel better and give us that bit of gratification and dopamine spike that we crave. It’s when you become addicted to that spike and keep searching for it and going back to unhealthy foods that leads to massive weight gains that it becomes a problem. But I didn’t see it that way for a long time.
Over the years, I became accustomed to being a bigger dude. It came with some perks. I was never cold in the winter, I gave some banging hugs, and anytime I was called a polar bear I would immediately think to the Christmas time Coca-Cola commercials with the polar bears and be oddly OK with it. But then after awhile, the feeling of looking into the mirror and not necessarily being happy with who was staring back at me would start the endless cycle of eating more comfort food to numb the pain and subsequently lead to more weight gain and this could theoretically go on until I ate myself into a early grave on an overly ambitious Taco Tuesday. So I decided it was time for a change.
I started working out with a good friend of mine who showed me the ropes and I stuck with it for a good while. But, as with most arrangements post college life, the real world gets in the way. Our schedules stopped aligning and it was up to me to keep the pace going. I will say, I love the ritual of going to the gym, it truly is one of my sanctuaries. But going to the gym is only half the battle. A couple good friends told me that you can’t outwork a bad diet. I never truly addressed the diet part of the equation so my weight stagnated and then slowly started climbing back up again.
I peaked just shy of 260 pounds. I was feeling pretty low, blaming pretty much everything else but my diet for the reasons why I wasn’t losing weight and was constantly losing this battle between my self image and my weight. I never let anyone really know about the constant struggle, it wasn’t their cross to carry so I kept trudging along. Then I made it known that before I hit 30 I wanted to run a Tough Mudder. At first it was mostly talk. I was weighing about 255 at the time and couldn’t run a mile without taking at least 3-4 stops to catch my breath but it was something I wanted to accomplish. I wound up signing up for the Philly Tough Mudder 2017, under penalty of disownment I might add, and with the prodding of one of my best friends I started running on top of my usual weight training. We did this challenge where you had to run a mile a day for the entire month of February. And damn if that month didn’t change my life.