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I am an FFK… nice to meet you

They say, for writers, the worst thing to face is an empty page. I think an empty page is easy to manage, it’s the blank ream standing nearby that I find daunting.

I’ve had this nagging desire to start a blog that was a little more personal. The one for my business is plagued by the need for SEO, proper keywords, effective design, broadly appealing aesthetics, and high usability. I wanted a blog where I could ignore (for the most part) structure, efficacy, and constant design iteration. But what to write about? I’m very passionate about what I do professionally and the rest of my life is personal (and generally uninteresting). You know what I could do…

So, I’m writing about fitness and nutrition.

WTF is an FFK?

FFK stands for Former Fat Kid. If you were fat in a previous life and have certain tendencies that make it tough to maintain weight loss then you’re an FFK. An FFK knows how good it feels to eat right, exercise regularly, and be in shape but can lose that motivation. As such, an FFK also knows what it feels like to be overweight, out of shape, and in the dumps.

Most importantly, however, an FFK knows the word Former means something. An FFK will never go back to their previous weight. An FFK might have two sets of clothes but they’re probably only a couple of inches apart. An FFK, even when they’re eating poorly, still tries to get enough protein and healthy carbs, and veggies most of the time, even if it’s in a 1400 calories chicken taco salad (with a margarita).

I am an FFK and will always be an FFK. Personally, I’m proud of the title because it took some work to get here.

My adult life started off pretty poorly

I started out life as a normal-sized child but, by adolescence, had grown horizontally to the point where I was generally considered unappealing. The acne, long hair, and anti-social attitude didn’t help either but, when insults came, it was generally about my weight.

I went to all private schools until high school which led to even more isolation and low self-esteem. I wasn’t picked on in high school, just generally ignored. I went by the involuntary nickname “big guy” which, as far as nicknames go, isn’t that bad but does have a certain connotation. I started smoking, made fast food my primary meal, and ignored (more like “was ignored by”) the opposite sex. Life was simple back then.

Fast forward through many years of junk food, inactivity, and a total lack of motivation and you find former me at 22 years old, 270 pounds, depressed, and working a job that made me dream of fatal car wrecks every morning. I hated myself and everything around me and it showed. I really thought that life consisted, and would continue to consist, of 5 days of hell and 2 days of sanctuary.

"big guy" back in 2001

Then I saw the light

I didn’t actually see anything. I just got a promotion. I tried hard, did my best, and succeeded. And it paid off. Weird, huh?

I started as a corporate trainer right before my 23rd birthday and I couldn’t have been happier at the time. Not only had I saved myself from the drudgery and monotony of my previous position, I actually had something to be proud of. It was truly a defining moment in my life.

I wish I had more insight into what happened around that time in my life and why everything just shifted but I’m afraid it will remain a mystery to me forever. I went back to school at a community college taking classes towards a chemistry degree that I would achieve almost exactly 7 years later. I started paying attention to my finances and started sending a meager percentage of my paychecks toward a 401K. And I started to lose weight – 100┬ápounds of weight over the next year.

Happy and healthy in 2004

What a difference 100 pounds makes

I had a very visible position at work and knew the vast majority of the many people that worked in my building. Because of this, as I began to transform, I got a lot of attention. It probably took about 20 pounds before it started but people noticed and people constantly asked questions.

By the time I reached 180 pounds (182 to be exact), I looked, walked, acted, and felt like a totally different person. The surprising part, however, was that I was treated like a totally different person. I had more friends, talked to more people, had a more active social calendar, and was treated differently in public. I found this to be very strange… and terribly addictive. In fact, the last 20 -30 pounds of weight loss were driven greatly by the amount of attention I was getting. Sad but true.

While most of the attention was positive, there was a contingent of people who tried, subtlety and probably not intentionally, to bring me back to their level. I was told “you don’t look very healthy anymore” (I was very healthy) and “you’re way too skinny now” (I was slim but certainly not anorexic). These were not close friends so the words didn’t affect me but I found the reaction surprising.

“How did you do it?”

This is, of course, the most common thing I got asked at the time and even now when I relate the story. The answer, for me, was eating right and working out regularly, the one answer NOBODY wants to hear. I attribute my success to several key things:

  • A varied exercise program combining weights and cardio
  • A food logbook that I maintained diligently for several months
  • Rethinking meal size and frequency

Tell anyone that your success came from working hard and you’ll likely get the same reaction every time: a look like “ya, ya, I’ve heard that before.” I always found it amusing how unenthusiastic people were after hearing that they could have the same success themselves. Oh well.

Now what?

Now what? Well, now I’m about to turn 30 and my new “stable ” weight is 220 pounds, that’s what. I’ve gained 40 pounds from my lowest weight (which, admittedly, was a bit low for me to maintain with much comfort) and have several favorite shirts that just aren’t fitting like they should. I went from size M polos to size L to borderline size XL. I stopped exercising for the most part and (yea, I’m going to blame this on her) I’m living with an incredible cook. I’m displaying perfect FFK behavior: weight gain.

But that all ended this month (I still live with an incredible cook, thankfully). My reunion with fitness and nutrition started on July 1st with a new job (I’m seeing a pattern here). I’m back on the wagon and love it.

I’ve found that writing about what I do professionally keeps me up-to-date and constantly thinking about what makes my industry tick. I know I’ll find the same to be true about this part of my life and I’d like to share some of my successes, failures, tips, and tricks. I know exactly how to stay healthy, lose weight, and be happy. Sometimes I don’t choose to do these things but that’s OK, having the knowledge is a step in the right direction.

Until next time, eat right, keep moving, and wear that FFK badge proudly!

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  1. pingback  •  January 5, 2015 at 3:02 pm  •  Link

    […] component I decided not to track this time around is calorie intake. When I first lost weight, I learned how to track everything that went in my mouth. It was drudgery, to be sure, but […]

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