Rainier’s Weight Loss Blog
You can say my weight loss journey/struggles began where many begin; on a holiday in a Dominican household in the winter of 1991. It was at this time that I realized that I wasn’t like other boys. My mother knew what was happening and saw her little boy go from a small to a large in a matter of 1 year. It wasn’t the right kind of growth spurt. It was the first in a long line of the “wrong kind of growth spurts.” Fast-forward 19 years and the problem still haunts me. Barely aware of my growing problem, I continued as an active child, and paid dearly for it at times. I never realized why I always seemed to lag behind other boys. I didn’t see what I was doing to myself. I went from chubby to fat in a blink of an eye but because I wasn’t shy, it never hurt me socially.
In the fall of 1997, I was a freshman in high school. I wasn’t equipped for the first day. I went to an all-Black high school so the average boy my age was about 5’ 4” and weighed about 125lbs. I was 4’11” and weighed around 180lbs, but, I was cute and I had straight hair so I got by. Noticing the stares as I entered the gym, but never really caring because I always hid behind one of my other attributes. It wasn’t until I had to participate in gym class that all the insecurities that should have plagued me came at me full force. I can recall a relay race where people told me that I looked as if I were going 25 mph but really I was barely jogging. It made me feel inadequate and less than. From then on, I participated in things that I knew didn’t require me to show off my body. Baggy gym clothes helped tremendously.
I had become a Marine Cadet at 15 and relied on my brains to get ahead. I only out ranked my smaller counterparts simply because I was smarter in certain areas AND didn’t bother with the physical. You wouldn’t have wanted me to attempt a pull up at this time; it probably would’ve hurt you. Nonetheless, I was as gun-ho as they come; going so far as actually joining the Marines after high school only to be turned away because of my weight. The Marines have a fit first policy. You have to have a good level of fitness before you become Marine fit. Instead of dropping to 215lbs from the 250lbs I weighed as they told me, I gained 25lbs and was on my way to college instead, in the summer of 2001.
At 18, I was 5’ 7”, 280lbs and starting a new chapter in life. The “freshman 15” was actually the freshman 45 for me. By April of 2002 I weighed a whopping 315lbs but didn’t look it. But I sure felt it. The men in my family have a great way of hiding our weight; just ask my cousin Frank C. Between January and April of 2002, I saw 6 doctors. Men and women who were experts in their respective fields and they all said the same thing, “Rainier, you’re going to die if you continue on this path.” Being as young as I was, the thought of death was the last thing I wanted to think about. By this time, I had had several problems develop and begin to develop. The list is long but worth mentioning. I had become pre-diabetic; I developed a mysterious mass around my left lung and was prescribed albuterol as if I had asthma; my joints were that of a man 40 years older than me and I had trouble breathing in my sleep.
By May of 2002, I had had enough of people telling me that I was to die soon. I had made a buddy out of a Marine who was in college with me. Upon telling him my issue and asking for his help in getting fit, he asked me to meet him on the school’s rooftop track. He told me to bring 2 things, “my balls and water.” It was a hot day in late May when my friend yelled at me to run my first mile. It took me 40 minutes to complete it when it takes most people 25 to walk. Every bone in my body ached. Every muscle was screaming to stop. And I was HOOKED! For 7 weeks, I went to the gym 6 days a week for 2 hours at a time. I had lost the first 45lbs and I wanted more. It was so easy. I ate my mother’s cooking but instead of 3 plates, I ate 2/3 of one helping. I was in control. I didn’t want to give it up. This cycle would continue until the winter of 2005. In a matter of 3 years, I went from 315lbs at 5’7” to 185lbs at 5’9 ½”. I loved it!
Reality struck that winter. The stress that I put my body through caught up with me and my world with weight loss came to an end for the first time since its beginning. During those 3 years I had cycled on losing fat and gaining muscle, all the while either losing or maintaining weight. I had participated in power lifting competitions and also 3 triathlons. I didn’t realize the damage I was doing. The powerful supplements I was MISUSING had begun to wear off and I was left defenseless when real life began after college. When working 12 hour days had become the norm and not having facilities readily available any longer I had entered a new dark world in 2006. Years of putting my body through what was supposed to be good for me, did the opposite due to the way I went about doing it.
This began the yo-yo lifestyle to which I would become familiar with. For the last 4 years, I have lost and gained more than 150lbs. In as many as 3 or 4 months I would get on a health kick and lose between 30lbs and 50lbs and then turn around and gain 50lbs or 60lbs back in an instant. Over the last 2 years however, the yo-yo seems to be slowing down. I’ve managed to go to the gym regularly and maintain a weight of between 230lbs and 240lbs. This is good news; however, to me this is still too big. The struggle doesn’t always lie in the weight you need to lose but rather in the weight you haven’t lost. When looking back on a life with so much promise, however short it might be, I still find myself wanting more. Definitely not to the extent I did in my early 20’s, but now as my 20’s are coming to an end, I see that it’s a part of growing up. Its time to live and live right; its time to cut the string to that yo-yo and turn the switch on to that treadmill; its time to live right.
I will be keeping you all abreast of my journey. Look out…