I had a harsh realization recently that I am obese. How did I let it happen and what are my first steps of how to lose weight so I can solve my obesity problem in the long-term moving forward. This was such a brutal thing to recognize, but once I accepted that this was the current reality, I wanted to know more about how did I get fat like this.
How I got so fat like this?
After realizing and accepting that my current physical body was overweight, and even obese, I began questioning myself and pondering about how I let it get to this point. I looked at my past self, and the choices I have made in my life.
I examined the things that got in the way of me getting healthy and fit, and staying that way.
Here’s what I learned about myself, and I want to share my story, which can help you discover and question your situation too.
So how did it get this way, and why did I get so fat?
My Body Type: More Predisposed to be Overweight
As a teen, we learned about different body types in physical education classes, and I could recognize that certainly I was NOT an ectomorph (the type that is naturally skinny, lean and tall). Rather I saw myself more with the endomorph body type, which is the body type more inclined to be bigger boned, wider and overweight.
Towards my mid teens, I realized that even though my body type was generally endomorph, I could do something about it. At that time too, I really wanted to be attractive to the opposite sex and meet and date girls.
Growing up as an Overweight Child
Well, growing up as a kid, I was actually often a little fatter than other kids. My mum (bless her soul) wanted me to be healthy so she often made sure I was fed very well, but unfortunately, the kinds of food she would feed me included a lot of junk and fast food.
I remember being around 7 years old and being called “chubby cheeks” by some other school kids. Some of them would even pinch my cheeks as they said it. It actually hurt my feelings and I remember going home and crying my eyes out, and my mum comforting me saying it was okay.
Awkward Teen at the Gym
My dad was a cleaner for the local council and sometimes he would let me come with him at night when he was cleaning the council gym. I would work out on the gym equipment while he cleaned. My uncle, who was also a big guy, and generally overweight, was much younger than my parents and he encouraged me to go to the gym with him sometimes.
I remember those times vividly. He would teach me about weight lifting, about reps and sets. I would only work out about once a week in those early days.
Getting Strong By Building Muscle Strength
In my late teens and the years towards turning 20 years old, I took weightlifting and exercise much more seriously. I was out of high school, discovering more independence and wanting to redefine who I was as a person. This included redefining my body.
Back then though, my main goal was to get big and strong. I wanted big muscles, especially huge arms and a massive chest. Back then, I also shamefully had man-boobs! So I definitely wanted to pump up my chest and turn them into pecs. During that time, I lost a lot of weight doing lots of different cardio, such as running on the treadmill and riding my bike along the bike paths of my suburb. I also gained a fair amount of muscle. My arms and chest did get bigger.
My Clean Eating Diet & Failing to Get a Six Pack
Throughout it all, I focused on a diet of clean eating, meaning that I simply made sure that I ate healthier nutritious foods, such as salad and tuna and salmon, as well as drinking protein shakes. I didn’t count my calories back then, and I never reached 6-pack status. So I suppose that at my peak, I only ever reached about 15% or slightly more body fat percentage.
I never got to reach lower than that. At that time, I was happy with my weight loss and muscle mass as it had been the fittest I had ever been in my life! At 15%, I looked pretty good, and I got to wear new clothes at a smaller size, and my muscles would pop whenever I wore alot of the clothes.
I did have the goal to attain a 6-pack abs that were visible, but alas, I never got to reach it. I think the problem though was, even though I ate healthily, I ate too much calories which meant that my weight loss was really slow.
Too Busy to Exercise & Diet a.k.a Life Gets in the Way of My Health
Life got in the way and other priorities soon took a hold of my life. I got into a serious romantic relationship. I started focusing on building my career and business. I focused on travelling the world and enjoying my young body and my youth.
Although there were times where I loss significant weight, I could never get the right balance. I was either overweight or too thin without muscle. I let these other priorities take hold, and I never learned how to ever get a 6 pack. Of course, looking back, I don’t regret having these other priorities. What I do regret is the lack of balance, which hindered and hampered my heath and fitness progress.
How to Get Fat: My Experience
Slowly and gradually in my early, mid and late 20s, I grew fatter. From time to time, I would get back to the gym, but I noticed that still I could never get a 6 pack, and I noticed that whenever I went to the gym, my muscles would look bigger, but my belly would always bulge out.
Other times, I actually didn’t go to the gym nor exercise for months because a gym wasn’t available near me, or I didn’t have enough time or money to go to the gym. As time passed, I then started to believe more and more that having the body of my dreams wasn’t even possible for me.
How to Measure Your Level of Obesity
In the most recent year or so, my weight has reached its peak. Being 84kg at my height is just not flattering. I am seriously overweight but from the perspective of the American Council on Exercise figures, my 33% body fat percentage classes me as obese! Additionally, the according to the World Health Organization (WHO) classification, my Body Mass Index (BMI) that I had ultimately reached at 30.85 means that I am classed with the Class 1 Obesity Group!!!
I also recently measured my body fat percentage using body fat calipers, and using the body fat measurement chart that came with it. Based on my fat caliper reading and my age, I am beyond just overweight. The highest body fat percentage they had on the chart was around 27%. But based on my caliper reading, my body fat percentage is just too high (being above 27%) that it doesn’t even register on the chart!!!! This is just so embarrassing.
So I can’t keep lying to myself and just think that I have a little bit of pudge or I’m slightly overweight. It is so clear that I have gone into the realm of obesity. =(
Stress and Weight Gain – A Bad Combination
The main reason for all this weight gain in the last year really has been due to stress in my business, mounting debt and turning to junk food while travelling and while being busy.
The mixed emotions of stress and anxiety, as well as excitement and anticipation, over having my first child has also contributed to me turning to comfort food.
Obesity in America: How To Get Fat in the USA
The final blow which tipped me over the edge to obesity was when I went to the USA for 10 days with my wife and our little dog. We visited New York, stayed over at my cousin’s place in New Jersey, and went sightseeing in Washington DC and Virginia with my uncle and aunt.
Since we often didn’t have access to a kitchen, and our schedule was very busy, and my wife and I wanted to try a lot of American food, not to mention the fact that my American relatives don’t really like to cook at home, I found myself eating out for most of my meals at restaurants and fast food outlets.
I was even eating pizza for breakfast at times! I have actually never done this, but on a few occasions, I ate pizza for breakfast in America!
When I left the USA and arrived in Sydney, Australia, my family were so surprised at how much weight I had gained. I checked my weight on a scale, and it seems I gained from about 5 to 10 kilograms in just 10 days!!! I still can’t believe I managed to do it, but it happened. Super sized pizzas, extra large soft drinks and very sweet desserts like donuts and cakes eaten every day can do this to you in a very short period of time!
Pants that I could fit into before I went to the USA no longer fit me after I left the United States. More and more, I found that I was ripping holes in the groin area of my pants because my thighs had gotten so big that they would rub against each other and cause holes in my pants. I think I have thrown away at least 5 pairs of pants as a result of this obesity problem!
Then, I went to a big wedding and birthdays in Australia straight after the USA stint, so again there was more junk food and restaurant food, and the overweight problem had just spun out of control….
This was the final straw.
First Steps on How to Lose Weight
Just writing all of this down and sharing my story has already been cathartic – a release for me to acknowledge what has happened, to accept it as the past, to analyze it so I can learn the lessons and move forward.
One of the first steps on how to lose weight is first recognizing the problem. You don’t have to write your story, but I think the biggest thing for me was the realization and acceptance that in the moment I reached obesity. It was embarrassing, disappointing and frustrating. But the acceptance and acknowledgement of this fact helped me define the problem clearly. Not to ignore it. Not to sugarcoat it.
Also, I can’t blame anyone else for my obesity problem except for myself. I take full responsibility for how I let my body go like that, and now I take responsibility for how I’m going to change things around.
Moving forward, I realize that the accumulation of fat on my body was a reflection of the accumulation of bad habits on a daily basis, involving my bad diet and my lack of effective exercise. I also had failed to continuously monitor and measure my body’s progress, or lack of progress, and I realize I need to do it more often. Additionally, I still had a lot of knowledge gaps in terms of how to exercise and eat properly so as to achieve and maintain my ideal physique, so I know that I need to learn more about the subject.
There are some other factors that I need to change and address, but these are the key solutions and the first steps on how to lose weight that I am going to focus on during the next weeks and months, as I move away from getting fat. Rather, my new standard and goal will be to get leaner and get stronger more than ever before in my life.