I mentioned ages ago that I was gymming with my brother, Derek. Well, he also re-joined Weight Watchers and I thought it would be nice to share a post about him with my readers. Derek is my younger (but taller) and most handsome brother (ok fine….he’s my only brother, but still – he’s a catch!). He is 6’1″ and currently weighs 545 pounds. Yeah, you read that right. He’s a big guy. In fact, through-out his life he’s always been “Big Guy” or “Big D” – both of which he hates. This is not his first rodeo with weight-loss either; but it’s one where he’s giving it more gusto than before.
So do we approach food, exercise and weight-loss differently? Yes. We’re actually completely opposite people – sharing just a last name and some handsome genes. 😉
In his own words: “Food is an activity. I sit there watching TV, but bored and suddenly I think “Ya know what would be great? Cake. Cake would be great right about now. Food is an event. Food is something to look forward to. A lot of times when I’m eating, I’m not hungry – but food is accessible and delicious so why not eat?”
At age 11 Derek had surgery for scoliosis. They cut his back and inserted two metal rods down his spine to help straighten it. The surgery took 9 hours and he was out of school for 3 months and had to be home schooled during that time. Years later when I ask him about home-schooling here’s what he says: “I can’t remember too much a bout Bill but I do remember there was snacks”.
After the surgery he wasn’t allowed to bend over for a year (crazy right?) and withdrew a little socially. When you’re short on friends you have food. Food is always your friend.A year after surgery he had a check-up with his doctor and was shocked to see he weighed 293. He had always been “a little overweight” before – but now he was obese (according to the guidelines set by the government). A year later, he had gained another 100 pounds. By the time he was 13 he almost 400 pounds.
High school was not the best time of his time (mine either) and he found himself turning to food more often for comfort, entertainment, relief – food was everything. With college came freedom – the ability to recreate yourself as a person. He let himself be more open with new people, and developed a good group of friends. However, school was just across the street from a bakery, a pizza place and a convenience store. With no one watching what he ate, Derek could eat whatever he pleased….then lie about it when he got home. “Swing by Mickey D’s in North Station before hoping a train home, where you can bitch about how starving you’ve been all day.”
By 2007 he weighed 535 pounds. We joined Weight Watchers together (for my 4th go round, I told you I was a fat club drop-out!). He was skeptical of a weight-loss program but really wanted to change his life. At this point he had a part-time job he liked, school was great and he had a crush on a girl we’ll call the V. Things were looking up! He was dropping 5-7 pounds a week, getting tons of cardio in as he chased trains and climbed the Mount Everest stairs at North Station. He got down to 487 in a matter of a few months but then everything changed. Graduation did not bring a new job because of the crazy economy, friends moved away, and V became the V-ness Monster. She broke his heart, and he turned to food for comfort.
Fast forwarding to today….things are a lot different. Having rejoined Weight Watchers a month ago (weighing in at his highest of 555) and recommitted to the gym, Derek is on a good path. However, we’d both be lying if we said this was easy. However, we’re joining forces to fight the fat together. For him the challenge is to stay active while working a stressful, sedentary job. He’s been doing a cardio / weights routine at the gym 3 times a week and starting this weekend will be conquering just cardio workouts as well. He does not love the treadmill but it’s a necessary evil.
In closing he wanted to leave you guys with this quote: “Life boils down to a series of choices, I’ve already made far too many of the wrong ones – it’s time to start making the right ones”.
I’d like to feature Derek and his progress in my blog once a month to keep you guys updated – I know he’s going to do great!