What I Would Say to my 320lb self of Ten Years Ago if I Could

A fat manI remember stepping on the scale for the first time and seeing the needle swing all the way around past 300 into some incalculable territory that it was never meant to measure. I tell people now that I once weighed 320lbs but there’s no way that bathroom scale was accurate. Could it have been 340… 350?

I don’t really have a good excuse for how I got so big. I just stopped looking at myself in the mirror and didn’t think about it. I smoked a pack of cigarettes a day — the hard core, full power ones too. Not the light ones. The light ones are for children.

Time to Change
When I saw the scale indicating over 300lbs I said okay, that’s about enough, and I decided to change. I remembered how much I enjoyed riding my bike to school as a kid, so I bought a BMX bike just like I’d had back in the day. I started riding it to work every day and immediately lost a good bit of weight.

Have you ever lost 60lbs and still been fat as hell? I have!

I also remember the first time I ever ran purely for exercise as an adult. It was on Monroe here in Atlanta, heading north from St. Charles. I made it to the intersection of Monroe and Virginia, or about .4 of a mile, before I had to stop because I had a splitting headache. I didn’t even get far enough to be out of sight of my starting point. I felt like the fattest, most useless lump of lard that ever gobbled a cheeseburger that day.

Reasons for Not Starting
I had a lot of reasons for not starting. I thought people would laugh at me.

“Look at that fat douche,” they’d exclaim from red convertibles stacked high with buxom blondes, “Let’s all laugh at him!”

That never happened. Not only did no one ever make fun of me for attempting to improve myself, most people who saw what I was trying to do were approving and supportive. Some were extremely helpful and shared stories of their own trials and tribulations.

Time Travel
If I could go back in time to deliver a message to myself of ten years ago, I would say something like this:

Hey, no one is looking at you. They are busy with their own lives, and if they want to laugh at you, let them. It’s better to be laughed at than to die young and miserable, which is where you are heading.

Get up and start. It doesn’t matter what you start, just start, right now, today.

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Comments

  1. Right there with you – I was 305 at one point until I got over the psychological hump of what people think by seeing me in the gym, riding a bike, etc. I’m down to 245 and still feel heavy as hell (but infinitely better than I did then). Much like the Robert Frost poem, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep.”

    Love your blog – always good for a laugh and some perspective.

  2. Thanks David! Little known fact, that’s my Dad’s favorite poem. He’s bored me with it many times.

  3. Impressive stuff Jim. I bet your former self never imagined you would look so good in spandex, or that you’d get such enjoyment from chamois cream and the mocking of triathletes.

  4. So proud of you, but mostly just so happy for you!! Hugs.

  5. John Tackett says:

    Jim – Thanks for writing what I have felt. 7 years ago I tipped the scales at 305lbs. My doctor told me I was a heart attack waiting to happen; high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

    I would have never imagined that I would one day be able to say that I have run 18 marathon (including Boston); or have completed two 70.3 triathlons, or ride a bike 100 miles in the 6 gaps of North Georgia. And to be able to climb to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite was only a pipe dream. But I have done them all, and more. The adventure has been an exciting one to say the least. And the great thing is, it is still continuing.

    Going from a 50-52 waist down to a 34 and wearing small / medium shirts after wearing xxl is a feeling that is hard to describe. I don’t have the gift for words that you do, but I think you know what I mean.

    Keep it going my good friend. Your words say it best!!

  6. Brian Headrick says:

    Fantastic post, I know it will help me to keep reaching for my goals. New layout is really great. I got excited as soon as I saw it.

  7. Thanks! Glad you like it!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] were and are active runners, completing various running thing-a-ma-jigs. One of them, Jim Hodgson, even used to be a pretty big guy 10 years ago. Now he completes marathons and Ironman competitions fairly regularly, throwing in the occasional [...]

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