52: Nate East from Herndon, Virginia (M/37)

Is weight loss surgery cheating? Hear the answer first-hand.

Nate gives us the inside track on what it was like, what’s changed since, and how to set up your life to win by default!

“I’ll be damned if it was all for nothing.” “Pride or regret.”

Weight Gain Background and Contributing Factors

Overweight since childhood, Nate describes his younger self as “the tubby kid” who felt the sting of harsh words and bullying from others.

Nate took solace in food and video games, and describes the world of video games as a place where he could be a hero and no one could hurt him.

Nate spent early adulthood years living “like a hermit,” where he managed his Asberger Syndrome into adulthood by secluding himself and interacting with others mostly on the internet. This, in addition to less activity after college, led to his reaching a peak weight of 450 pounds. (204.5 kg)

How Being Overweight Impacted Nate’s Life

At his peak weight of 450 pounds (204.5 kg), Nate describes having felt hopeless, house-bound, and like life was passing him by.

Nate also shares regret at how his eating and lifestyle habits, for a period of time, negatively influenced the person he loves most – his wife. (She has since become a personal motivation of his, and continues to support his progress!)

The Turning Point

Image: No Going BackNate found himself in his mid-30’s, with the cartilage in his knees almost entirely gone, walking around with a cane, and becoming more and more home-bound as a result.

Although he’d found short-term success in the past with Weight Watchers and the Atkins Diet, Nate realized that simple dieting was like flexing a muscle: as soon as he stopped following the diet (“flexing the diet muscle”), any progress he had made would be lost.

It wasn’t until his mindset changed to accept that he was making a total lifestyle change – that he was “slamming the steel door down” between his future and his past lifestyle – that he made a decision there was no turning back from.

Starting the Weight Loss Journey

Nate underwent bariatric sleeve surgery, but before he could even be considered for the procedure, he had to successfully go six months with a healthier lifestyle than he’d grown accustomed to.

Through online research and the help of the staff at Bluepoint Surgical Group, Nate transitioned into a life of healthier eating and increased physical activity.

Two-thirds of Nate’s stomach was removed. However, it is possible for him to stretch his stomach back to the size it was before – if he relapsed into old habits like over-eating.

Would he risk it? In his words:

“It was so much effort, and pain, that I’ll be damned if it was all for nothing. There is no way that I was going to let all that effort go to waste.”

As the pounds came off, Nate learned that he had musculature underneath the fat that he’d developed from carrying all his weight around. He was stronger than he ever realized, so he began walking every day, longer and further, and then started biking to work.

When it got too cold to bike, and because of his knee issues, Nate started swimming and has now progressed to the point of being able to swim four sets of ten laps. Nate also describes seeing, for the first time in his life, muscle definition on his body.

Staying Motivated

Nate is the type of person who pushes himself, and he describes returning to physical activity sooner than recommended after his surgery, only to find he wasn’t quite ready.

After that, he listened closely to his medical professionals’ advice, but still had a mindset of pushing himself to see what he could do with the “second chance” at his life.

Nate describes how much fun he’s having trying new things, like roller coasters and adventure parks, that he wasn’t able to try before because of his weight. He says he’s having way too much fun to ever go back to the way things were.

What Nate Learned About Diet, Exercise, and Himself

Nate sticks to a routine that ensures he consumes enough protein every day and that he meets his nutritional needs with leafy greens and vegetables.

Because he now has a much smaller stomach, he avoids rice and bread which would make him feel full faster without providing healthy, essential nutrients.

Nate has learned to view food as fuel, but that doesn’t mean he no longer enjoys a variety of foods and tastes. In fact, Nate says he loves to cook more than ever.

While Nate is conscious of what he eats, he’s found that he can still occasionally indulge in less healthy foods because his activity level allows him to be flexible.

Sticking to a routine works well for Nate, and he eats the same breakfast and lunch on most days. By doing this, he has less decisions to make throughout the day, and “sets [himself] up to win by default.”

Morning exercise works better for Nate. He realized that after a long day of work he didn’t have the energy or drive to make himself exercise. To set himself up for success, he made it a priority to exercise in the morning so it would be done and out of the way.

Nate’s Advice For Your Journey

Photo: Routine - Time to start!When it comes to stepping outside your comfort zone, Nate says:

“Embrace your weirdness.”

It also helps to stay positive and not dwell on things that cannot be changed. “Things are what they are,” and an obstacle isn’t the end of the world. “If you have setbacks, you learn from them.”

“You don’t give up on your goal just because it got hard.”

If you go to a big gym, try not to worry about other people there and what you imagine they’re thinking about you. Concentrate on yourself, your goals, your journey.

“Just being there is a huge victory. I think people respect that.”

Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and to step up your workouts frequently. Push yourself to go just a little further every few weeks.

If you are considering bariatric surgery and have reservations about it because you feel it’s “cheating,” Nate encourages you to just do it. No one is going to be more invested in your health and your results than you, so do what is right for you.

Nate encourages you to cook for yourself! Look up recipes online and find out how to make your favorite dishes. By making them yourself, you know what ingredients are going into it and you can control your portion sizes or cook for friends.

Resources Discussed in This Podcast

On Nate’s Workout Playlist

Nate is a programmer who enjoys board games, video games, and enjoys making mead as a hobby.

He can be found sharing his story and cheering on others’ progress in the /LoseIt forum on Reddit.com. Send him a message and say Hello!

Nate East Photo

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