Post 8: Move to Florida. A Fat Guy’s 100 Pound Weight Loss Plan, Part 1

I’m fat. We’ve covered this already. But I’m not quite as fat as I used to be.

The story of my weight loss journey is a little different than most people you see showcased on The Biggest Loser or on any other typical life-transformational media reveal.

I didn’t have a heartwarming backstory with solemn music that picked up into uplifting tones once my treadmill and eating carrot sticks video montage began. I didn’t have a personal life crisis that I needed to overcome. I didn’t have a big life adventure stripped away because I couldn’t fit into the right seat. I didn’t even have a history of being bullied or picked on due to my weight.

Of course…the nickname “Big Ben” was used a number of times in my direction…but who wouldn’t want to be associated with the charming London landmark?

Nope…I was just fat. And I didn’t want to be any longer.

In summer 2012, after graduating from Ohio University, I tipped (more like broke) the scales at 303 pounds. Runners are all about PR’s (personal records)…I had set my first!

I moved to Gainesville, Florida at the end of the summer to start graduate school at the University of Florida and work at the recreational sports department on campus. Go Gators!

I know what you’re thinking…you worked at a gym? No wonder you lost weight.

Not quite.

Moving to a new location away from all your friends and family where you don’t know anyone can be a difficult experience. Making new friends, finding new activities to do, and learning the lay of the land in a new locale takes time. Including moving to Athens, Ohio for college and Raleigh, North Carolina for my first professional job, I have “moved away” three different times in the past 10 years.

In addition to building my Facebook friend portfolio, these transition periods have provided me alone time for some personal growth (or shrinkage). I became somewhat-adept at playing the guitar as a freshman at Ohio University, I dropped 100 pounds at Florida, and I trained and ran my first race of any kind (an ultramarathon) after moving to North Carolina. Just be lucky this isn’t a blog about my musical abilities.

So, the moral of the story kids? If you want to achieve something, just move away from everyone you know.

Hey, hey, it’s just a joke.

In all seriousness (or as serious as I can muster in this blog), a move like this is incredibly difficult and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone unless for an awesome opportunity.

Now, where was I? Oh yes…shrinkage.

Moving to Florida had a few big advantages for losing weight. First, it was hot as hell. I think 25% of my weight loss was simply sweating through every shirt I owned. And the second advantage? Florida is 14 hours away from Athens, Ohio.

A small town in southeast Ohio, Athens routinely tops the national college town rankings in two distinct categories: the most beautiful campus and the top party school. The latter definitely shares some blame in my weight gain. Long nights of drinking and early mornings of eating 3-4 nights a week includes a bevy of empty calories and over-full stomachs.

My favorite late-night stop included pizza slices from Goodfellas that literally include lard baked into the crust. LARD! Is that not the most perfect fat guy food ever?

After an incredible five years in Athens, the move away from lard and $2.25 pitchers was definitely needed to make an effort at dropping weight. But how did I actually do it? Was it all running? Was it long workouts in the gym? Eating kale?

You’ll have to read next week’s blog to find out…but I’ll give you a few hints. It involved lots of Chipotle burritos and trips to the line dance bar. I know, I know…you are enticed!

Fat Guys Running Marathons would love to hear your comments about the blog. Feel free to comment on the site or send an email to fatguysrunningmarathons@gmail.com.

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