The Fat Panda Story

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I know losing weight is not an overnight miracle. I have been at this for nine years off and on. I beat myself up daily for letting my life get as bad as it did and also for not dealing with my issues nine years ago when I was diagnosed with onset diabetes. I am constantly told that people can’t go back and we can’t change what happened in the past. We can only keep looking forward. I don’t care how many times I hear this from people, that voice I hear in my head is now the voice that keeps me moving forward.

Nine years ago, I was diagnosed with onset diabetes. I was borderline and had to make changes to my life. At that time, I hardly at veggies and had a nine can a day habit of Dr. Pepper. My lunch usually consisted of a large bag of Doritos and a can of Dr. Pepper. When my A1C (average blood sugar levels) was at 6.5, I knew I had to make a change. I went cold turkey and cut off the Dr. Pepper. I went to unsweetened iced tea. I didn’t have a problem with that. In my mind, I knew it had to be done.

The first months of my diagnosis, I did great. Cutting out sodas and beginning to eat better put my body in shock and of course I lost weight. I dropped 50lbs just like that. I also began walking about a mile or two a day. Finding a balance in food is always hard. Even now, figuring out how much and what to eat is a struggle. We tried Atkins, Paleo, Vegetarian, etc… Honestly, it all worked: FOR A BIT.

Weight loss is MENTAL…to a point. Most people can lose the first initial weight but it takes a lifetime commitment to keep losing and keep it off. Most people can’t make that commitment because it’s easier to say SCREW IT. I did that many, many times. This is why I am where I am now. I didn’t care about diabetes, it was only a little high. I stopped caring about what I ate, though I did continue eating more veggies. I tried diets. I tried working out. I maintained my weight that I lost but didn’t care if I lost more.

In 2015 at my highest recorded weight of about 320lbs.

Fast forward to nine years later, just before Mother’s Day of this year. COVID happened. Food was scarce at the super markets, so we bought junk and more junk. That is what there was to eat at the markets. I ended up getting an infection from an ingrown pimple. My body could not heal because my blood sugar was so high and I didn’t even know it. At the time I was rushed to the emergency room, my blood sugar was 325. My A1C was over 10. I no longer had onset diabetes, I was a full blown diabetic. I was told that if I had waited another day on this infection to heal itself I would have been in ICU. Gangrene had already set in. I went in for surgery to fix the infection, but that was just the beginning of what needed to change in my life.

When I was ready for surgery, my wife said to me, “Don’t die.” This was what woke me up. I sat in the hospital alone (due to COVID) and realized I was killing myself by eating all the bad things like ice cream, chips, etc. I needed to make a drastic change because I am getting read to turn 50 and I don’t want to leave my wife this soon. I have another lifetime to spend with her. I made the decision at that moment that I would change my life. My doctor put me on a 45 net carb diet and I’m sticking to it.

In 2021 – At 215lbs.

This is where I say weight loss and healthy lifestyle is MENTAL. Everyone I know will tell me that they can’t live without bread or tortillas. One bun or tortilla is all I can eat for the day on a 45 carb diet. I have to live without it and that is okay. Luckily, I have a wife who is a cook. It does make things a little easier. The biggest problem most people have is food. Time and convenience work against us and it’s easier to run to get something to eat and its hard to “run” and make it healthy. This is why most people fail, It’s unsustainable because people think they can’t “live without” something or they treat it like a diet for a short amount of time.

The word DIET has two meanings: 1) quick weight loss or 2) the food you intake daily. I have a maintain a healthy diet in order to keep my blood sugar in check. This is a lifetime change not a quick weight loss. My diet consists of lots of veggies, healthy proteins, and very little processed foods. I have begun to eat a whole food diet and it has so much flavor that I don’t feel deprived at all. Half the time, I am full and felt like I ate a giant bowl of junk when it was only cauliflower rice, tomatoes, and crawfish.

I also turned to fitness. One of the hardest commitments I have made to myself is less snacking. Its easy to snack when you are sitting on the sofa all day long watching movies. I have taken 1 to 3 hours out of my days to working out, either at the gym or walking in the park. Less time on the sofa means less time snacking. It is very MENTAL. I have to make a conscience effort to make the right decisions, to get up in the morning an hour early for time at the gym, and to say no to the junk food that sits around the office. Its easy to say screw it and dive it but I know that I can’t. I know that if I don’t change my ways, I won’t have that time with my family.

I am Jenny… and I am a Fat Panda No More.