Weight Up

8 minutes

Hello, I’d like to start off this blog by blaming the Internet for me being fat.

My weight is not a new problem. I was a very skinny child—my nickname was “Greggy-bird” on account of my rail-thin legs—who has grown into a very not-skinny adult. Like many folks, I began packing it on in college. Except those early pounds were welcome. They made me more solid and lended a dose of gravitas in addition to all the extra gravity I was lugging around.

After I graduated and got my first “real” job, I joined Weight Watchers. I remember a coworker at the time incredulously asking me why I’d joined and, looking back, I kind of wonder the same thing. I was 235 lbs. on a 6’1” frame. According to my BMI, I was obese back then.

I lost some weight and then gained some weight and then lost some weight and then gained a lot more weight and then lost some weight and then my son was born and that was pretty much it for the losing weight from then on out. And while I would love to lay all of the 60-plus pounds I’ve gained since then at his feet (or the ability to take it off and lay it anywhere, regardless of people’s feet), it’s really about me and my lifestyle and my very broken personality.

If anything, I’m sure my son and daughter also wish I could remove ~60 pounds of fat. I’d probably be more willing to chase after them in the backyard or, at the very least, easier to snuggle without worrying that I’ll roll over and crush them. And I think having a fat dad is probably pretty embarrassing for them.

Don’t get me wrong—I find a deep sense of fulfillment from embarrassing my kids, but I’d rather their shame come from my behavior and not my loaded baked potato body type.

So why am I blaming the Internet? Lots of reasons!

  1. It’s easy! Everybody blames the Internet for everything because almost everyone uses it and we’re still not sure it’s actually a good thing. I’m the web editor, which means being online is my job, and even I’m not sure the Internet is a net positive.

  2. I write about food online. The last time I was in a shape that could be deemed “in shape” I got a call from a former employer about writing about food for their website. In addition to being much thinner, I was also very broke, so I jumped at the chance. But writing about food necessitates eating that food. As someone raised in the Clean Plate Club, that leads to overeating.

  3. The Internet is full of food. My Instagram and Twitter feeds are overflowing with luxurious desserts from Ganache Patisserie, mountainous burgers from Fat Guys, and pictures of calorie-laden cocktails from my legion of drunken friends. It’s everywhere and it’s all designed to make you want to eat it. How do I know? I’m the one posting a lot of those pictures.

  4. How do you even lose weight? I’d love to ask the Internet this question, because I ask the Internet all my questions. What was the name of the kid in Cougartown? How do I get to Bartlesville? Easy stuff like that, the Internet can more than handle. But type “How to lose weight?” into your search engine of choice and you’ll not only see thousands of websites with conflicting information, you’ll also be bombarded with advertisements from companies who would be happy to tell you their plans for dropping pounds...for a price.

The old Greg would think, “Now that I’m putting all of this embarrassing information online, surely it will help me change my ways.” But the current old Greg is older than that old Greg and this old Greg knows that there’s no amount of self shame or sense of reward that will make a difference. Which isn’t to say I won’t be trying to drop down to a slightly less-mortifying weight, but I have to be realistic.

I’m still going to be writing about food. It’s literally part of my job and I’ll be the first to tell you, it’s about the only part for which I have an aptitude. Much as I enjoy cooking, I can’t really do it for at least another week thanks to a busted refrigerator. I’ve got a gym bag packed, but it’s been packed for a while and it seems unwilling or unable to force me into exercise clothes and onto a treadmill.

So I’m taking baby steps. Today’s coffee had cream, but not sugar. I’m going to do my darndest not to drink sodas and sweet tea and the like, as liquid calories are both the easiest to take in and the least likely to leave me sated. I’m going to set an alarm for going to the gym and I’m giving myself permission to start slow and build up a routine rather than beat myself up for getting so out of shape.

Most of all, I’m trying to be kind. It probably doesn’t seem like it after an entire blog about how my obesity has skyrocketed, but this is my version of being understanding. This isn’t insurmountable. I did all the fun stuff it takes to put on a lot of weight and now I need to do the un-fun stuff necessary to take some of it off.

And that’s the goal, really. It’s not to be skinny again. It’s not to be in great shape like a Hemsworth or anything ridiculous like that. I just want to feel better and I’d like my old clothes to fit me a little better and I’d like to do any number of regular, everyday activities without requiring a nap to catch my breath.

Written By
Greg Elwell

Web Editor Greg worked for newspapers, medical research organizations, and government institutions before he joined *Oklahoma Today*. He also is the publisher of the website I Ate Oklahoma.

Greg Elwell
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