Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The Hap Hap Happiest Christmas

Traditionally I suppose Thanksgiving is the time to give thanks and be grateful for what you have but to be honest, this past Thanksgiving I wasn’t feeling particularly happy about what was happening in my life or the life of my family.

This year for the most part had been one hellish roller-coaster ride for me and my family. Perhaps I was just blinded by all the negative things to see the good stuff that happened in 2014 but to be honest, the bad news was so great that I didn’t feel much like smiling or enjoying the good times.

The most important man in my life, my father, has been dealing with a deadly form of cancer since the summer and the prognosis seemed bleak at best. I’m not a doctor but I suppose that’s still the case but luckily there has been some good news just in time for Christmas.

With cancer moving from his only remaining kidney into his lungs, you can imagine it was a very depressing summer and autumn. We did our best to put on a brave face and my father has done an amazing job of remaining positive and was willing to fight this bastard of a disease as best he could.

I’m not an overly religious person so I’m not going to say divine intervention has played a part in the latest results.
I truly believe modern medicine has come a long way with advancements to prolong the lives of those stricken with this affliction. It was very welcome news a few weeks ago when my dad visited the doctor at the cancer clinic and was told that there were no new lesions or growth in his lungs and kidney. What was even more amazing was the fact the existing tumors had shrunk “significantly”. We knew full well going into the treatment with these expensive chemo pills that it wasn’t a cure. All we were hoping for was more time with my dad and to give him a chance. It appears as though that will be the case.

With any luck the pills will continue to do their job and keep the cancer in check for a while, thus allowing my father to enjoy more time on this earth and for those of us who love him, more time to irritate and annoy his grumpy ass. Any extra time and every day is a blessing.

On a personal level, the end of 2014 has also brought some unexpected but long sought after love into my life. That’s right, I met someone.

The funny thing is; I’ve known her for well over 30 years. We went to high school together and have always been friends.  Come to find out she actually had a thing for me in high school but as usual I was so oblivious to the signs and just a typical silly school boy that I didn’t even notice. I was too busy playing football and trying to be cool to see her for more than just a great friend and someone to share good times and laughs with.

We kept in touch and for the last three years or so chatted often online. Not surprisingly with my track record, I remained unaware of her feelings for me. I had dated several women this year with no love connection and perhaps with all that was happening with dad my heart really wasn’t into it. And then one day while chatting with her, something finally clicked in me. I realized that this woman and friend would be an amazing person to date and pursue a relationship with. Of course, that all depended on whether or not she still had any interest in me. As it turns out, she was still interested. 

Officially we’ve been dating for three weeks but since we’ve known each other for so long and been talking so much in recent years, it feels as though we’ve been together for much longer. We were able to skip that whole “getting to know each other” phase since we already knew each other so well. It’s safe to say she is my best friend and we get along so well. We are always laughing and having a good time together. We just click and are comfortable with each other. I know my family will grow to love her as much as I do.

So 2014 was bloody awful for the most part but some amazing news and events at the tail end of the year has turned the whole year around. This will truly be the happiest Christmas for me in a very long time.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Online Dating With Bundy

I love women! Seriously, I love everything about them. Okay, there is one thing I don’t love about them and that’s how damn confusing they can be. But maybe that’s just another reason to love them even more because they frustrate me and drive me crazy.

The truth of the matter is this. I haven’t dated much in my life. If I had to guess, the number of real dates I’ve gone on up until this year was probably less than I could count on two hands.  I know the reason for this is pretty simple. When you’re the size of a house, women tend to be less attracted to you. I get that and I was never really bitter about that. I’ve never been in what I would call a real relationship with anyone. It just never happened. Sure I fooled around from time to time but nothing on a commitment level.

Back when I weighed over 400 pounds and I finally decided to make some critical changes to my life, I did it strictly for health reasons. I knew if I didn’t change my eating habits and if I remained stuck in a sedentary lifestyle I was likely sentencing myself to an early death. So the journey to lose weight began and as you probably know, it has been fairly successful to date and my health has improved greatly.

Although it wasn’t my main reason for dropping pounds and getting thinner and healthier, in the back of my mind I thought, “maybe this might also open the door to some romantic possibilities if I become more attractive to women.” It was nice to have women I’ve known for many years tell me how handsome I was or how good I look after lightening my load. It sort of boosted my confidence which in all honesty could use all the boosting it could get. The person I was on the outside that people knew was an act to some extent. When I saw people I was happy, laughing, telling jokes, friendly and putting on a brave face. The real me when I was alone was lonely, depressed, bitter and in need of affection.  Oh sure, the happy version of myself is probably who I am or who I want to be all the time but I spend a lot of time alone which leaves me way too much time to dwell on negative thoughts.

But now I figured I had an opportunity to try and change all of that and seek out the female companionship I’ve always longed for. The only problem was finding a woman. Damn, I was back to square one again. In my mid-40s I wasn’t going to start hanging out at the bar again and I’m certainly not the type to hit on random women at Walmart or on the street. I’ve had friends who would hit on anything with a heartbeat but that’s not who I am. So what were my options?

The truth is there aren’t a lot of options left, other than online dating websites which I’ve never been a fan of. Sure they’re interesting to scan over and see who’s on them but to go beyond that really wasn’t something I thought I could do. However, somewhere in my new found confidence I decided to give it a try.

My website of choice is called Plenty of Fish. It was free and surprisingly there are a lot more local women on the site than I expected. I knew going into the process that the odds of finding a woman without kids and baggage was going to be nearly impossible and I was okay with that.

I like kids so that’s not an issue for me.

I made the conscious decision from the beginning to stick to my beliefs of being honest and sincere. I refused to lie on my profile and I posted photos of myself that were not misleading anyone. I immediately had some messages from women which I must admit shocked me a little.

One woman from my area contacted me and we decided to meet in a public place which I always prefer. I only had a photo of her face and the way she described herself on her profile to go on so when I walked into the coffee shop and found her I was a little surprised by who was looking back at me. Now let me be completely honest and say I don’t have a problem with women of size. If you’re a larger woman and you embrace it and are a wonderful person with a super personality and brain to match, I won’t discriminate because you’re over weight. I’m not exactly tiny and I was a much larger man at one time so I know that people of size can be loving and beautiful people. I do however have an issue with people who lie and deceive. This woman had described herself as being an “average” body type when clearly she weighed closer to what I used to weigh. Had she been honest from the start I might have given her a chance but she already had a major strike against her. We went for a slow walk and talked a bit and after learning more about her it became very clear that this wasn’t a match for me and I let her know this. I also believe that if you don’t feel something it’s best to not lead someone on or go out on more dates which will only make it tougher later to break it off without hurting someone.

I had another woman pursue me who gave me the impression that she really wanted to see if a relationship could work but for one reason or another that ended up being untrue. I’m not looking for a friend only situation. I have plenty of friends. So we parted as friends and I moved on.

Recently I had another woman contact me. We chatted online for about a week before we finally met. We had a great conversation and both of us were genuinely attracted to each other. I have to think in hindsight that things moved way too quickly which could have been a major warning sign that I should have seen. We dated five times in about a week. I’ll spare you the details, although they are pretty juicy, but needless to say it ended almost as quickly as it had started. On the bright side, I did get a couple of nights of adult fun out of it so it wasn’t all bad. I truly believe I was used for sex, and that my friends was a first for this guy.  I will admit that I fell hard and fast for this one and when it ended last weekend I was hurting but it was a good lesson for me and the knowledge I gained will go with me as I move forward.

I was still feeling quite devastated the next morning after things went from feeling amazing to feeling heartbroken in a matter of minutes. But as I was trying to sift through the wreckage I got another message from another woman on POF. Life wasn’t over and there was still hope. This woman is French and lives about an hour away. We decided to meet and go for a walk with her dogs and then we went and sat by the water and talked for a couple of hours on a bench. With there being a bit of a distance between us, there’s no chance of moving too fast with this one and time will tell if anything will come of it or if I’ll continue fishing for someone else. It’s just nice to know that after so many years of swimming in the pond by myself, some other female fish have finally noticed me.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Life Gets In The Way

Summer highlight having the family together in Canada.
 The summer isn’t officially over yet but having moved into September it can definitely be classified as being on life support. This has truly been the summer from hell. Easily one of the hardest summers of my life and that’s saying a lot for me.

Going into the summer I was feeling great. I had lost over 170 pounds, was working out daily, work was going well, family was doing fine and the thought of feeling the heat of the sun on my face again was something I was looking forward to. The only thing that didn’t look promising was my love life which in all honesty hasn’t been much to cheer about for a very long time.

I don’t mind sharing my own personal thoughts and life story with all of you because I like to think I’m a pretty open book. There are some family things that will always remain as private as possible. I try to walk a fine line between being honest and protecting those I love.

The one big reason why I’ve been neglecting my blog this summer revolves around my father who was diagnosed with kidney cancer and not the kind that can be cured. It’s Stage 4 renal cell carcinoma and unfortunately it has moved out of his only remaining kidney and into his lungs.

Quite simply, it devastated us when we learned the news as I’m sure it does for most families. My dad is my best friend and the toughest man I’ve ever known and he’s wearing a brave face through all of this but knowing what he is facing in the months ahead scares me and I’m sure behind his brave face he is also feeling some fear. But I made a decision to spend as much time as I can with him and keep life as normal as possible which I think I’ve been pretty successful at doing.

The support of family and friends has been pretty amazing to see and I know my dad and mom both appreciate the kindness of those who have closed ranks around us at this time.

Of course with all that is happening in my family it has taken up a lot of my free time which I’m perfectly fine with. But my plans to be more active this summer by golfing more and walking and running more has suffered. I haven’t golfed nearly as much this summer as I have in past years and as far as my health goes, the summer has taken a bit of a toll on that as well.

I postponed my gym membership for July and August which means a lot of the progress I had made last winter with my weight lifting and fitness has been lost. I’m still in pretty decent shape but I’ve lost a lot of the muscle tone I had built and I’m sure some of that muscle has also turned into fat again. Thus, my weight has increased some this summer. That’s not to say I’ve ballooned up again but I’d say I gained about 20 pounds at one point.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been trying to ease back into my old routine again and the pounds have started dropping again and I’ve returned to my original goal weight. Come the middle of September my gym membership will kick in and I hope to be back pumping iron and burning more fat.

My love life this summer has been interesting at times. Perhaps I should just dedicate a whole other blog to that subject as it’s kinda interesting how times have changed since I used to date years ago.

So I’m sort of back writing again but as usual I’m sure life will throw me some curveballs and I won’t be able to write as often as I’d like but I’ll do my best.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Where Have You Been?

This is just a quick update to let everyone know that I am still around, however health issues in my family (specifically my father) have taken priority over updating my blog. I hope to find time to get back at it soon. 

My blog isn't the only thing that has taken a back seat. My weight loss has stalled although it remains steady and I'm not gaining weight back at least but my focus has changed to something more important right now. My plan to golf a lot this summer has also gone out the window. I probably should have saved my money and skipped my membership this year but it was already paid for so there's nothing I can do about that now except try to find time when I can.

My family is and always will be my number one priority. I'll try to get back to normal eventually.

Thanks and I hope your year is going well so far.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Thank You But I'm Still Me

My friend Tom in Australia sent me an interesting article the other night about a woman who has lost a lot of weight in a short time without the assistance of any surgery, diet aids or gimmicks. She has simply made the choice to not be obese anymore and has changed her eating habits and lifestyle to help her attain her goals. Does this sound like anyone you might know? No, me silly!

But what was interesting was something I hadn't really considered and that's the reaction of friends, family and old acquaintances who have been kind enough to notice and make mention of my changes.

The intentions are meant well and the feedback has been some serious positive reinforcement but how some comments are received might not be as intended, no matter how sincere the sentiment.

Losing over 177 pounds will obviously be noticed by folks who know you. Sure the fat is vanishing but when it comes right down to it, I'm still the same happy, loving and kind smart-ass I've always been. Yet when people see me for the first time they react as though I'm someone entirely different.

"You must be so happy" is one comment I hear a lot. I suppose it's meant as a compliment but I'm not sure it really is. Are you assuming I wasn't happy before. Many obese or over weight people are unbelievably happy. Losing the weight didn't make me more or less happy but I suppose I'm not bummed out being thinner.

Some people assume I'm sick. Granted, having been a large man my entire life, the shock of seeing me now might cause people to wonder if I have some disease that is eating away at me from the inside. Luckily that isn't the case but thanks for the concern.

It's also interesting how people focus on the actual amount of weight. "How much have you lost now?", is one I hear a lot. I suppose I have myself to blame for that one with my online updates and regular visits to the scale but does it really matter how much? Some people are hung up on weight and don't like to reveal how much they've lost for fear of people knowing where they started. Personally I couldn't care less who knows how much I weighed at my heaviest. Hell, I don't even know for sure. I just know that the last time I was able to get on a scale at a factory capable of reading my weight, I was a svelte 418.8 pounds. But I'm no fool. I know I was heavier than that at one point.

"How did you lose all that weight?" That's one I get more often than you might think. I never volunteer this information unless someone specifically asks me. I would never tell someone that this is what they need to do. But if someone does inquire, I'm more than happy to share my methods with them. Everyone is different and not all plans work the same but it's really no secret. Stop overeating and start exercising. It's not rocket science people. Once you get the weight going in the right direction, just stick with the plan and adjust as you go. I make it sound simple but if it really was, nobody would be obese. You have to change your lifestyle and stick with it. If you fall back into your old habits you've just wasted all that hard work. It's okay to falter but recover quickly and keep moving forward.

When it comes to food, I think a lot of people think I had to starve myself and give up eating everything I like. That couldn't be further from the truth. Sure, I could have gone vegan or paleo or juicing myself to a lighter me. I'm still eating pizza, burgers, fast food and all that stuff I probably shouldn't. The difference is, I don't eat it every day like the old me did. And I don't stuff myself until my sides are about to burst. You can eat what you want, just make sure you don't exceed your daily calorie allowance by too much. Some people will actually say my method isn't right or what they do. Great! Do what you need to do. Obviously my plan has worked for me. I still love food and will never stop eating what I like.

I never started this with the intention of being a role model or inspiration for others. This was a completely selfish endeavour for me. However, despite my original intentions, it has become clear that my transformation struck a chord with many others. Perhaps it was seeing someone who has struggled with their weight their entire life like them or maybe they've added a few pounds recently. If my journey has been a positive influence on others then fantastic. I know I've had role models and inspiration along the way also so every little bit of extra push helps. My only advice, be patient. Don't expect miracles to happen over night. This is something you have to stick with and trust the process, even when it seems like you've reached your limit. Keep working at it and don't ever stop.

Believe me when I say I don't take offense to any of the kudos or comments. Quite the opposite actually. I just found it interesting the reactions of people who have known me all my life. Not everyone of course but some look at me or talk to me as if I'm a completely different person. Anyone that knows me well can tell them, I'm still the same adorable and sexy man I've always been.

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