How Mega Weight Gain Happens (Part 1)

How Mega Weight Gain Happens (Part 1)

This is the story of how I became obese and stayed obese the majority of my nearly 40 years.

I topped out at 500 lbs. I’m sure there were days I was a few pounds over but that was the highest I ever saw on a scale. As I am currently in a period of deep focus and intentional action to reclaim my health, I have spent a good deal of time reflecting on what got me to where I was. And I believe I now have some significant insight on how an otherwise healthy and happy person can compromise their lifespan and ability to function in life with the over consumption of food.

I was always chubby. I was not abnormally large at birth but I got chubby as soon as I figured out how to get nutrition into my mouth. I now know (thanks to some medical tests) that my genes have imbued me with an incredibly slow metabolism. I can’t say for sure if it was my slow metabolism, my parents overwhelming desire to make me happy with food, or some psychological aspect I can’t explain, that got the ball rolling. But any picture of me beyond 6 months, you will see at least some fat beyond what could be categorized as ‘baby fat.’

One of my earliest memories is an extremely faded impression of my aunt preparing my king costume. I was in a baby pageant. I went on to win the title of ‘Supreme Prince’ for the overall pageant prize. I also had the distinct honor of winning the ‘Champion Chubby’ title. Thankfully my parents only put me into one pageant. But my Mom still has the trophies.

My heritage is deeply entrenched in food as an expression of love. Whenever my mother cooked for my Dad and I it was an extension of her love for us, if not necessarily “healthy.” She came from a large family of poor but hard working farmers where one of the few joys they could share was food. So in the house I grew up in there was always delicious food easily within reach. And I reached for it.

I was always happy. For a number of reasons. I had 2 great parents that loved me more than I could ever ask for. We were lower middle class. As an only child I was spoiled with attention and love. And my parents always managed to keep me occupied with toys and recreational activities. I lived in a neighborhood full of kids close to my age with lots of woods and creeks to explore.

I was active as a child. Far more active than what appears to be happening in neighborhoods today. We rode bicycles, chased after each other, played in the streets and explored all woods, creeks and storm drains within a mile radius. It was pretty idyllic. I don’t think I could have asked for better. But there are handful of memories that stand out in which I’m ridiculed for my weight by other kids. I was very meek and sensitive as a child. I still am in a lot of ways, I suppose. But it always hurt and sometimes ended in tears.

My parents were concerned early on. Their concern was reinforced by my pediatrician. We had various attempts to improve my eating habits. But I was resistant to nearly all vegetables unless fried or covered in cheese. And we just didn’t know much about nutrition. My parents even enrolled me in a program called “Twigs” which was some outdoor activity program for overweight kids. We had events on the weekends and it usually comprised of meeting up somewhere and going on a hike with other chubby kids. It was fun but it didn’t counteract the fresh tortillas, beef, beans and processed snacks I was eating at the slightest boredom.

Video games emerged as I grew up. My Dad was curious in technology and how things worked in general so my parents eventually indulged my desires. As I racked up more hours on the Nintendo, Sega and messing around with PCs and 2400 baud modems, my time spent outside running around decreased. But my parents provided many opportunities to explore various athletics. So I was at different times active, in Tae Kwon Do (thanks to Karate Kid), Football, Basketball and Baseball. I wanted to box and play soccer. But I think my parents knew soccer was the last place an overweight child would experience any success. And my Dad was a boxer when he was young. He didn’t want me to get knocked around when I was a kid. So I had to settle for shadow boxing in my living room while watching Rocky 3 and 4.

I was never very successful in any of these sports. I lacked natural aggression and my weight was not an asset in any athletic undertaking except that of being a football offensive lineman. But I enjoyed them all. Football became my primary sport as the others began to fade away. My last 2 years of pee-wee league football however became tainted by experiences of having to weigh in. I was too heavy to play in my grade of football so I played with boys a year older. And I still did ok. The next year with no age group to bump up to, I found myself in a sauna at a local gym losing a couple of pounds at the last minute. I don’t think I made the limit. I think they fudged the rules because they saw my fragile spirit.

As I began to play football at Jr. High, my interest faded. I was bored with running the same offensive line plays and blocking patterns. So playing football became practicing football. And practicing football became goofing around on the sidelines with friends. With brief interludes of a football coach yelling at us and making us run or do push ups. All the while putting on weight but maintaining a modicum of athletic activity.

I quit football before High School. I was bored with it and not willing to put in the hard work during off season training. My Dad was disappointed but he didn’t hold it against me. Looking back on it, I understand now. He loved watching me play and he knew it was good for me to have some physical activity with my weight and tendency to spend hours on a keyboard dialing up other computers with my modem. He put so much time and effort in watching, driving to and coaching the various sports I played. He even coached my basketball team. He didn’t know anything about basketball and our team sucked. But it was fun and I worked up a sweat. I imagine he was worried that all that time we spent together involved in sports would just become a distant memory. Another piece of my childhood lost to time.

But He was wrong. We had one more journey to go on together. We had a few more memories to make. With my Dad in my corner I would discover a strength inside myself that I didn’t know existed. My Dad passed away last April. But he’s still in my corner and I’m still fighting because of this journey we took together…

I am sorry to leave on a bit of a cliff hanger but I’m getting a bit overwhelmed emotionally and I have a lot more to say. I want to be sure I can write clearly. It probably makes sense to break this up anyway.

To be continued…

Adam Gutierrez
Highest Weight: 500 lbs.
Current Weight: 431 lbs. 
Goal Weight: 250 lbs.
Thunderpounds.com


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