Peter the blimp

Q: How can you lose 50 pounds of ugly fat?

A: Cut off your head!

From 261 to 160!

Suddenly... I'm not half the man I used to be. Well, almost. Some of you may remember me as a skinny nerd. Somewhere along the way I missed the part where if you stop being active and sit behind a desk all day, you have to eat less. Over the course of 15 years I shot up to more than 260 pounds, and it was killing me. Arthritis was getting so bad I was in pain and out of breath walking a few blocks. So I studied up on how to count calories. Starting August 1 2009 I carefully measured everything that went in and everything that went out, and a year later I'm back to 165. My goal was 160, but apparently nobody told my body -- I bounce back and forth between 161 and 165 without ever going lower, no matter how little I eat. Anyhow, the difference is scary. Even though I still have a blob of soft mush around my belly, the rest of me looks absolutely skeletal.

I won't bore you with the details (too late!) here, but you can read the whole explanation of how to count calories here in my journal. The good news is, you don't have to buy anything -- no pills, no gadgets, no special foods, no books. The bad news is, there is a LOT of math involved, so get your kitchen scale and your calculator out because you'll be using them every day. The other bad news is, you can't lose more than a couple of pounds a week, no matter what the snake oil folks try to sell you (results not typical). So if you're aiming to drop a cool hundred like I did, you have anywhere from nine months to two years for it to happen.

Sorry, I didn't have the foresight to plan any "before" pictures to match with an identical "after" picture, and I gave my enormous pants away to a charity before I thought of doing the classic "holding your big pants away from your skinny waist" picture so I don't have any of that. I did find a couple of pictures from 2008 and 2009 that show how round I was getting, and I tried to get pictures in a similar pose this month so you can see the difference.

This just amazed me. I never really thought there was a noticeable difference, because I saw myself every day and the change was gradual. Then I took a picture wearing the same clothes and standing in the same position as I was in July 2009, and I look like a zombie. This is why it's so frustrating to still have the big spare tire of belly fat, because the rest of me is *too* skinny.

When we had the kids (kids? How did they get to be 21 and almost 19?) over for Thanksgiving dinner, I had them join me to recreate a picture we took two years ago. I'm wearing a baggy sweatshirt so you can't really see a big difference in my gut, but you can sure see how my face has changed. You can also see that Irene and I have both been letting our hair grow out over the past two years, but Daniel keeps his at a military cut. Next year, my hair goes too so I can start all over!