Hi. I’m Rick. In November 2014, I weighed 240 pounds, felt like crap and was thoroughly depressed. I also had a couple of symptoms of pre-diabetes: the skin on my feet would crack; I had something called “trigger-finger” in the ring finger of my left hand; I was almost always hungry; and I would start winding down around two in the afternoon for an afternoon slump.
The story gets worse.
Earlier that year, I had to go through eye-surgery to take care of a retinal fold, and my doctor diagnosed me with hypertension. He prescribed lisinopril, which made me urinate every half-hour. By the way, retinal surgery is painful as hell. Luckily, mine was successful and I only have a slight loss of peripheral vision in my right eye that I don’t notice unless I look for it.
Lisinopril is not a habit-forming drug — if I could skip it, I would. In September 2014, I got fed up with it and just stopped taking it. I still had a month’s worth of the stuff and a prescription I was supposed to re-fill monthly. In October, when I hadn’t refilled the prescription for two months, I got a concerned voicemail from my doctor’s office. I ignored it.
In November, my doctor’s office left two voicemails – the nurse had now taken an alarmed tone in both, almost demanding that I come into the office, “Mr. Stabile, without medication, your blood pressure is completely out of control. You must come into the office so we can evaluate your health, and take steps to control your blood pressure.”
I said, “Bullshit to that.” Instead of talking to my doctor, I took steps to create my own program. No great loss – my doctor was an asshole, anyway. When he first prescribed the lisinopril, he said that it also had a diuretic to help flush sodium out of my system. I objected, telling him that I didn’t eat that much salty food, but he dismissed my objection saying, “Everyone eats too much salt.” He didn’t ask what my diet was like; he didn’t ask why I didn’t think I ate that much salt; he didn’t offer a non-diuretic alternative … He just prescribed the stuff and sent me on my way.
Like I said, asshole.
I may have been fat (ok, I admit it — I was obese …), but I still liked 80s music and in October 2014, my wife and I went to an Erasure concert. I saw Andy Bell, skinny as hell (compared to me … ) dancing in lycra bicycle shorts and putting on an almost non-stop 2 hour show.
Andy Bell is my age and has a lot more serious health problems than a retinal fold and high blood pressure.
His performance that night shamed and inspired me — if, he could be fit at fifty, then I should be too.
I undertook some research, put together a plan that included radical changes to my diet and about six hours a week of exercise. And, over the course of 5 months, I shaved 55 pounds from my 5 foot 10 inch frame. On Thanksgiving, 2014, I weighed 240 pounds. By April 2015, I weighed 185 pounds.
My blood pressure in April 2015 was 127/81.
No more trigger-finger and no more skin cracks on my heels.
I didn’t feel sleepy in the afternoons.
And sometimes, if I get too busy, I forget to eat … because I’m no longer hungry all the time.
It also took me about six months to realize that I hadn’t touched my Costco-sized bottle of Tums for ages — the heartburn that would wake me up at two in the morning was gone.
And my wife had stopped kicking me in the middle of the night because of my snoring.
Today, August 20,2016, I’m 52 and weigh 177 pounds. I must be doing something right … But I would like to get down to a really healthy weight. My body-fat is hovering around 16%, so I could stand to lose another 10 – 15 pounds. The last fifteen pounds are notoriously difficult to lose, though. I’m experimenting, researching and in general upping my game. How will I lose my final 15 pounds? That’s what this blog is about.
In the meantime, I’ll also get around to telling the story of how I lost 60 pounds and kept it off for more than a year.
I know, that’s certainly not in the same league as some people who have lost 100+ pounds. Ha. It was a walk in the park, actually. And a lot less painful than retina surgery.