More Ken 2·0
Friday night, Mat Jones will begin walking around Lake Hefner. He'll continue all night long, then shift to bike riding in the morning. After several hours of that, he'll dismount and start running. By the time he's done, 24 hours will have elapsed.
Six months ago, I admitted to the world that I am fat. It was liberating. People already knew I was fat, of course. That was obvious to anyone who met me. But weight is not an acceptable topic of conversation. Usually it's only mentioned behind people's backs and in a mean-spirited way.
My mother died of breast and lung cancer in 2001, just a few weeks shy of her 65th birthday. I'm biased, of course, but I think she was amazing. She was born into a large, impoverished family in West Virginia. I can never remember if she was one of 12 children or if she had 12 siblings, but either way, there were a lot of mouths to feed and not much money with which to feed them.
I ran into the Food Dude at the Oklahoma State Fair on Thursday. His real name is Dave Cathey. You've probably seen his videos online or read his stories in The Oklahoman. He's our resident gourmand, a big-hearted guy with a real love of food. He reviews restaurants, judges cooking contests and makes elaborate Mexican meals.
For months now, I've climbed on the scale on Thursdays to monitor my progress or check the damage. I've blogged about the results and posted the news on Facebook. I've told you my weight each Sunday.
I didn't do a great job last week. In fact, it was my worst week so far. I was hungry all the time. I made poor food choices, had no energy and didn't work out hard enough or often enough. Most nights I was in bed by 8 p.m., usually right after eating a high-calorie dinner.
I've been thinking about "Lost” this week — you know, that TV series about people trapped on a mysterious island after a plane crash.
Jared Fogle, Subway's spokesman, spoke to Midwest City schoolchildren Friday. Afterward, he answered questions from Ken 2.0 readers.
My wife eyed me critically Friday morning and said, "You look skinny." Objectively, I know that I do not, by any stretch of the imagination, look skinny. I'm still bulbous and gourdlike.
If I was a dollar to begin with, now I'm a handful of change. And change, my bosses tell me, is good. Since April 1, I have lost 10 percent of my body weight. I'm a tithe less than I was before. That translates to 31 pounds, which is actually a tiny bit better than a 10 percent decrease. I started this project at 307 pounds. Now I weigh 276.
I'm writing this on Friday, a few hours before I have to go see a surgeon about my hernia. I'm not terribly nervous, although that may change as my appointment draws nearer. I have a gut feeling, if you'll pardon the expression, that Dr. Jeffrey Bender won't want to operate. If that's the case, I certainly won't try to change his mind.
Sixteen weeks. That's how long I've been at this "lifestyle change" thing. The initial excitement has worn off. Going to the gym isn't as much fun as it was at the beginning. And my weight loss has slowed to a crawl.
I'm wearing jeans at work today. I didn't set out to violate the newsroom's dress code, but I'm doing it anyway. Things here at the paper are much less formal than they used to be. When I was hired 11 years ago, all the guys wore long-sleeved dress shirts and ties, even in the heat of the summer.
When it comes to reality checks, you can't do much better than a visit to a beach or pool. You see all types there: sculpted men and women, exposing all but their naughtiest bits; vacationing Europeans in Speedos, even those who should opt for more coverage; leather-skinned sun worshippers soaking up UV rays, and older folks in Cuban shirts and dark socks sitting beneath tents and umbrellas.
Leah Melton can pinpoint the moment she decided to have weight loss surgery. It was two years ago. Melton, who'd been on blood pressure medication since age 25, learned that her doctor wanted to double the dosage.
By the time you read this, I'll be in Las Vegas. Lest any would-be burglars see this and get bright ideas, let me caution you that my house won't be empty. We have housesitters, burglar alarms on the doors and windows, noisy dogs and attentive neighbors, including a retired couple who are home all day.
I need to report a lost dog. Not really. Don't get all worried. I've lost the equivalent of a dog. After 11 weeks of eating better and exercising more, I've dropped 25½ pounds — about the weight of a large Boston terrier.
Last Sunday, I shared the story of Jeff and Debbie O'Hagan with you. The O'Hagans live in Yukon with their two sons, one each from previous marriages. Jeff is a big guy like me but with the added problem of diabetes. Debbie, who calls Jeff the love of her life, was worried about him and asked for help in motivating him to lose weight.
Jeff O'Hagan is a lucky man. A couple weeks ago, he may not have realized that. I think he does now. Jeff has had a rough time of it lately. He's still young at 42, but he has diabetes and weighs 330 pounds. He has been unemployed for more than a year, and watching the stack of rejection letters grow drained his self-confidence. He sought solace in food and television, feeling helpless to stop his weight gain and guilty for not being able to support his family.
What an exceptional week! I hit two significant milestones and participated in something really fulfilling ... that I can't tell you about yet. You'll have to check in next week to hear about it.
I could be really bummed out right now. If I let myself, I could sit here boo-hooing about the number that popped up on the scale this morning. But I’m not allowing myself to do that. Why should I?
Ever have one of those weeks where nothing seems to go right? I’m not talking about one of those days — we all have those — I’m talking a whole week filled with fumbles and malfunctions, where everything you try seems to end in disaster.
A couple weeks ago, I weighed in and found that I’d lost two pounds. Last week, I lost four more. This week? Another two. Two pounds I can visualize. I just think of a couple packs of ground beef at a grocery store. But I was having a hard time picturing the difference in weight between 307, where I started out, and 292, where I am now.
In March 2009, Joseph Coleman weighed 415 pounds. About a year later, he’s down to 220. You read that right. He lost 195 pounds in about 13 months. Two pounds I can visualize. I just think of a couple packs of ground beef at a grocery store. But I was having a hard time picturing the difference in weight between 307, where I started out, and 292, where I am now.
If you go to the grocery store today, swing by the meat department. Pick up a couple packages of hamburger. Balance them both on the palm of one hand. Feel that? It’s not super heavy, but it’s a noticeable amount of weight. The size isn’t insignificant, either. Hold it long enough, and your arm will start getting tired. Your hand might quiver from the strain.
Today was my second official weigh-in. The result was discouraging. I started this project after discovering that my weight had shot up to 307 pounds, higher than it had ever been before. I wasn’t comfortable in the 290s, mind you, but at least I could say I hadn’t hit the triple century mark. In my first week of healthier living, I dropped seven pounds. That still left me at 300.
The first week of the Ken 2.0: From Fat to Fit project is over, and what have I learned? Quite a lot, actually. I learned that my body is in worse shape than I thought. Richard Sallee, vice president of the Stowe Foundation, visited with me at The Oklahoman on Thursday. He brought with him an Inbody 230 machine, a portable body composition analyzer. I stepped barefoot onto the metal footpads and 30 seconds later, a printer spit out the bitter truth: 42 percent of my body weight comes from fat. That’s pretty gross.
Once upon a time, I was clueless about the weight limit, too. For years, decades even, I was a skinny guy. A beanpole, as my father used to say. As a boy, I sprouted quickly, growing tall so fast that my waist couldn’t keep up. I can remember Dad using an awl to poke extra holes in my tiny little belts so I could cinch them tighter, holding up my baggy jeans.