We have two boys. They are strapping young lads now as my Dad would say. But they weren’t always that way until they made a conscious decision and a concerted effort to change things.
Back when they were young, I had total control of their diet. As babies, we had multiple freezer bags with ice-cube sized baby food, wrapped individually, all meticulously prepared by me. As they grew older, I lost control of what they were eating and I really think it was when we lived in Phoenix, that they began to gain weight. It seemed as if the people in Phoenix treat the summer as their winter, because no one can go outside. Too stinking hot (when you have to use oven mitts to drive your car in the afternoon or pool coolers – there is something really wrong). The boys were stuck inside with video games and indoor activities, and not outside running around and doing the normal stuff one does in the summer. The weight began to appear then.
We then moved to California and I think a combination of learned inactivity and living within close proximity to some sumptuous eateries, including Baskin-Robbins probably pushed them over the edge. And when the oldest son was able to drive, they had access to a car and then it was multiple stops to a wide variety of fast food establishments (called “fatty runs”) that really sent them into the realm of chunkiness.
We spent the next several years trying Weight Watchers, the Mediterranean diet, the Atkins diet, the Sonoma diet, the Sugar Buster diet, Jenny Craig and a gazillion other diets. The weight just was not coming off, in fact it just seemed to be piling on. At school, their lovely schoolmates (please note the sarcasm) were starting to make comments. To each other, it was a daily thing to call one another “Fat Ass” and discuss the girth of one another’s abdomen and pendulous nature of their “man boobs”. I am not sure if this was an attempt to callous their self-esteem in order to prepare themselves for the insults they received from others outside the home. I suspect it was an effort to desensitize. Either way, it was incredibly annoying and disheartening to listen to, day in and day out.
At this juncture, I must point out to you, I was doing everything I could to stave off further weight gain. I prepared all home-cooked meals. I read up on BPAs, antibiotics and hormones in meat, and anything else I could get my hands on.
It wasn’t until they became fed up with feeling so large and dodging the very loosely veiled comments from their peers, that they decided to do something about it. And then everything changed.
One day, they asked for a gym membership. At first it was kind of hit and miss with attendance, and then I don’t know what happened. Before I knew it they were going to the gym every single day, for several hours each day. They spent many hours watching weightlifting videos on their cell phones, reading up on nutrition and diets. Then the protein powder came into our house, then the pre-workout and then the post-workout, then little jars of unidentifiable substances. Then I was being sent off to Whole Foods to buy Green Tea Fat Metabolizers, Fish Oil capsules, probiotic – all super expensive (our wallets have experienced unbelievable weight-loss as well).
They gave up soda. I don’t think they have drunk sodas in about 2 years. We now eat brown rice (we like the short-grained – cooks up better), lean meats (Bison, beef, pork, chicken, chicken, and more chicken), fish and steamed vegetables. No cookies (unless I make some and that’s only once in a while), no fast foods (except for Chipotle) or any scrumptious desserts. We have cartons of egg whites in our fridge from which they make omelets, huge tubs of oatmeal (which they eat plain with bananas – uncooked).
Their weight loss has been incredible over the last year or so. Both of the boys have lost between 90 to 100 pounds, but through their weightlifting they have built an amazing amount of muscle and are so incredibly strong. They can squat between 285-315 pounds (see I have vicariously learned all the lingo).
The most fascinating transformation has been their outlook on life. They say that people take them seriously now, and no longer are they referred to as “fat”. Now they are such buff, “ripped” boys and I am so very proud of their dedication, their stamina and how they have grown into well-rounded young men.
P.S. That’s Maxie – he wants me to tell you he has had gains too.