I wasn't particularly athletic or anything; I wasn't a special baseball player and I didn't play any other sports, but I also wasn't the last kid picked in gym class either. I wish I knew why, but I would abruptly abandon that lifestyle. I didn't like my baseball coach when I was in second grade, so I didn't re-register the following season. Family bike rides became less frequent, and my games of bike tag with my friends were replaced with multi-hour video game sessions. The only running I would do would be into the kitchen or garage to grab a soda or some chips or whatever other snacks I could easily eat while playing video games.
And so it continued. I was still competitive in nature, but I channeled that through Madden, MVP Baseball, fantasy sports, and so on instead of actually participating in sports. I didn't want to play baseball or football, but I wanted to write about it for my middle school and high school newspapers. I was the fat kid from inactivity and poor eating habits, I no longer had the confidence to play. Don't get me wrong; when we'd play in gym class or pick-up games outside of school, I put 100% of the effort I could in. Even if I was obese, I still had the drive and competitive spirit to commit to playing. But I had low expectations of what I could do, and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy that exacerbated the weight problems.
High school rolls around and I go to a different high school than all of my friends from grade school. I went to a magnet school where there wasn't really a sports atmosphere; we didn't have any sports teams and there was a significant lack of focus on sports in general. That being said, we still had phys. ed. with a great teacher who actually helped me try to lose weight while I was there. But it was still incredibly easy for me to continue my sedentary, unhealthy lifestyle. I had a bus ride that was roughly an hour each direction to school and it was easy to make excuses for the way I was.
I did have a stretch in my sophomore year of high school where I lost somewhere around 60 pounds. We had to be weighed in our phys. ed. class, and I came in at 330 pounds as a 15-year-old kid. The number didn't bother me that much; I had more or less accepted and become complacent with being the fat kid. It didn't hit me as hard as it should have. My teacher was concerned, though, and I brought it up with my parents. That's when I made my first serious attempt at losing weight.
October 2005 saw a couple of my family members and me going to weekly Weight Watchers meetings. Everyone in my house was following the points system that WW employs; we had the sliding scale that you could use to calculate the points, a book full of point values, a food scale, and so on. Over the next 6ish months, I'd drop into the 260-270 pound range. Nobody else in my family was making significant strides in weight loss, however, and interest and participation in the program dissipated. By proxy, I stopped following the program as well.
In the spring of my sophomore year, I played recreational baseball again for the first time since second grade. I was awful and uncoordinated, but I played and had fun. It had me moving again. I was doing a much better job at controlling the eating and being overall more healthy. I don't really know what my weight was like during that summer, but I was maintaining what I had just lost.
August 11, 2006 was the end of this health renaissance in my life. I was out around town with a group of friends from middle school. Rather than walk around like everyone else, I still preferred my bicycle as my method of transportation. We were aimlessly wandering around when I tried to do a wheelie onto the sidewalk. I don't know why. I was just being a dumb teenager. I don't even know the mechanics of what happened, but the end result was a completely severed ACL and a tear in each meniscus in my left knee -- thus ending any physical activity I had. I had surgery in September, and I wasn't able to do anything outside of physical therapy until May or June of 2007.
From that point on in my life, I no longer ever really weighed myself. I graduated high school with 73 other kids in June 2008 before moving on to one of the largest public universities in the country. It was culture shock, and I hated it. It wasn't easy for me to socialize as a commuter. I didn't have a roommate or a residence hall floor or anything like that to make friends. I'd wake up, drive to class, mostly have fast food for lunch, and drive home after class to play video games or other such individual, sedentary activities. All of my close friends from middle school and high school had gone away to college; those who hadn't, I had mostly grown apart from. I became confined to my room and my laptop, my eating habits spiraled out of control, and the weight piled on.
I wish I could say that I had some kind of moment of clarity that would have me change my ways, but it wouldn't come until later. I let myself become consumed by my terrible eating habits and sedentary lifestyle. My general practitioner gave me a hard time about my weight one time when I was in for bronchitis; instead of it being the wake up call that I so desperately needed, I just changed my primary doctor.
Some part of me in the back of my brain was optimistic that I could lose weight again. At one point, I went six months without fast food; another extended period of time had me without any soda, diet or otherwise. These never stuck, though. I never weighed myself at these points. I used my past weight loss as some pseudo security blanket; I had lost a significant amount of weight before, and I could do it again if I wanted to lose it. I just wasn't ready.