On August 17th, 2012, I weighed 381 pounds. My BMI was 49.5. (I thought it was 48.4, but it turned out I was shorter than I thought, so the calculation went up after I changed the height. Damn, it’s tough to get old.) On that day, Michelle (my lovely, talented wife who quadruples as my dietitian, personal chef and co-author) and I conceived and started the “40by40” project, an effort to lower my BMI to 40 by my 40th birthday; which is August 17th, 2013.
This morning, 239 days after we set the goal, I stepped on the scale and weighed in at 306.2 pounds. My BMI is 39.7….and I have 126 days to spare!!! I have lost 74.8 pounds, reduced my body weight by 19.6%, lowered my BMI by 19.7%. I weigh the least I have weighed since I finished my collegiate football career in 1992.
On August 17th, the first day of my new life, I ate 3,836 calories and I didn’t exercise at all. Yesterday, I ate 3,407 calories, but I had 1231 calories of exercise. And yesterday wasn’t a standard day. (Today I’ve had 1,137 calories with dinner still to go and have banked 938 calories from exercise.)
Every one of the readers of this blog, every family member, every friend, every teacher and community member, ever current and former student…every last person who ever offered me a word of encouragement, I want to offer you my humblest gratitude. It’s not easy to lose 75 pounds. I had lots of moments where I didn’t think I would make it. And always, someone stepped forward, gave me the needed encouraging word, and helped me push through the challenge. I COULD NOT HAVE DONE THIS WITHOUT YOU!!!
Also, I couldn’t have done this without TEAM HARNISCH. I’ve mentioned before that two of my family members have been walking, very closely, this journey with me. Both have had their own challenges and both have had life-long challenges with health in the same way that I have. Both have lifted me up when I have felt at my lowest; neither have the level of support at home that Michelle can provide to me, so I hope I have found a way to inspire them when they were struggling as well. TEAM HARNISCH lost 10.4 pounds this week and has lost 137.4 pounds since “40by40” began. (I know, right? That’s awesome.)
Lastly, I love my wife. Love her like a piece of my own soul. People who have weight problems sometimes struggle to see what it is about themselves that others can find to love. Sometimes that struggle can make it hard to believe that love is there, is equal to the love we feel for others, is something that can endure. These feelings are about our experiences and there isn’t much I could do to control them in myself.
Michelle has worked so hard to help me in this process. She has planned and shopped and cooked and counseled. She has encouraged and championed and comforted and cajoled. She has been the light and she has been the reward. This morning, as I stepped on the scale, she was with me. And her eyes teared up and her face showed such joy, I saw the physical embodiment of the love I feel for her, reflected back at me.
Combined with the herculean effort she has shown just to keep me around for a while longer, I’ll never be able to doubt her love for me again…and that may be the best result yet of this whole damn thing.
Be careful out there!!