First, the background: On October 2006 I had my shoulder operated on to fix "tendon impingement." My surgery didn't go well as I had a hard time with waking up after the anesthesia (a somewhat important part of a surgical procedure). Never one to let reality get in my way, I signed up to do the Montauk Century in May 2007 as I figured the so-called 3 month recovery would have put me in a position to be ready. It shouldn't have been that hard as I've done a bunch of centuries in the past. Yeah, right.
Second, the plan: My recovery was not as smooth and a lot longer than expected. While I did start watching what I ate near the end, I did only 3 rides before the century (65 miles, the 25 mile version of the Nassau to Suffolk Bicycle Challenge, and 50 miler that the rest of the TNT cyclists used as a taper). None went well. I knew that I could ride a while but at some point, it was going to become painful. My strategy was to just suck it up from that point and limp it in. I was hoping the pain point would be somewhere after the 80 mile mark of the century.
Then, the reality: The morning of the 2007 Montauk Century I tried to put on my brand new 3XL Team in Training cycling jersey and it was too small. Something had to be wrong with it (of course) so put on an old one that fit. I started the ride flying, averaging over 20 mph until the first rest stop (at a about 21 miles in). Most of the teammates I was riding with were wondering who I was because how could someone that didn't go to virtually any of the workouts be riding in front setting the pace. I realized that I would burn myself out so wished them well at the first rest stop and slowed it down a little. The pain point wound up being at about 60 miles, (not 80 as I hoped). I sucked it up and finished the ride. It hurt. Everywhere.
Finally, the epiphany: After a bunch of tests, a doctor determined that my issue with the anesthesia was due to sleep apnea. The reason for the sleep apnea was that I was clinically obese. I didn't believe him. I'm fairly tall (6'2") and but considered myself big but not that big. I thought the problem with the jersey no fitting was due to mistake in manufacturing. This wound up being wrong too. The reason why I couldn't ride, I thought, was because I didn't train enough. The epiphany was that each of these "symptoms" was really due the fact that I was, in fact, clinically obese. I wasn't just heavy or fat, I was beyond that.
I was fat enough to consider the so called quick fix of bariatric surgery. I never went to one of the meetings to find out more as I wanted to pursue any other way to do it (I didn't have much luck with my shoulder surgery). So on May 22, 2007, I went to Weight Watchers and weighed in. I'd had success with their "program" in the past so was going to give this a try. I probably weighed more in the months preceding it but on May 22, 2007 the scale said 328.4.
I followed the diet and lost weight. I had to buy new clothes and start wearing the clothes hidden in the back of the closet that didn't fit for some time. It took a while and I when I stopped going to Weight Watchers my weight was 263. I had lost a little over 65 pounds.
I've already chronicled my recent weight re-gain and subsequent re-loss. The LI TNT cycling team has started their own flavor of the biggest loser contest. I signed up and my starting weight was 264. At Weight Watchers today my weight was 261.2. A new low. Uncharted territory.
My goal is to be below 235 pounds by EagleDay and although I've worked hard so far, there is more to do. I feel that I'll always remember May 22 as the day that I started on this weight loss journey. And I'll never be at that point again.