Welcome to my Fatboy series. This is a chronicle of my journey after weight loss surgery in January at the University of Texas Medical Branch Center for Obesity and Metabolic Surgery.

A text message from a good friend of mine the other day really caught my attention. She sent over a photo we took together about a year ago.

I had to pay off a bet after my Texas Longhorns lost in football to my friend Kim Padgett's Baylor Bears. While ringing the bell for the Salvation Army, I had to wear a Baylor t-shirt and declare how all good boys and girls are Baylor Bears.

The photo was taken about a month before I went into UTMB Health for my gastric sleeve surgery. At the time, I weighed a bit more than 421 pounds.

I quickly compared that photo to one we took together at the Citizens for Animal Protection gala in November. I got a real kick out of it.

I browsed through more photos taken with friends of mine who've been so supportive during my journey. It did my ego good to see the side-by-side comparisons. My friends get a kick of it, too.

It reminds me of what a year this has been and how fortunate I've been to have my friends with me every step of the way.

Even my mother said she didn't realize what a year it had been until she looked at some photos of the two of us at a holiday concert a year ago and then at a holiday party this year.

I met Kathy Castillo of Galveston Wednesday night. Kathy has made it a point to post daily photos of herself on Facebook since her gastric bypass surgery in November. Like me, she agrees seeing the progress and the feedback she gets helps a lot in the motivation department.

So far, she's lost 75 pounds. You can tell how posting the progress photos on her Facebook page has helped her self esteem.

It was her remarks about the photos that got me looking back at my photos with friends over the last year. It's a simple motivation that helps remind me how far I've come and how far I still want to go.


(2) comments

Centerpointe Moderator

TJ, congrats on your achievements to date, and here is a request for your future updates.

I'm sure there are many readers who would be interested in hearing your perspective on how our social and environmental factors have influenced your journey both INTO obesity and now this journey back OUT of it. In one of your earliest reports, you said the following:

"Mind you, I note those all are choices. No one force fed me unhealthy food. I don’t blame the fast-food industry or TV advertisements. This is all on me."

I appreciate the spirit of unqualified responsibility-taking, but I would argue that there's a little more to it than just that. We tend to have this polarized idealogy in America right now whereby stuff tends to get parsed only in black and white terms: everything is either entirely the individual's fault (i.e., internal) or it's entirely the culture's fault (or the environment's fault, whichever external reference term is preferred). But the unavoidable fact is that we are all influenced by our surroundings whether we like it or not. What external factors do you think influenced your journey into obesity? Which influences were strongest? When you contemplate this, are there any external factors that you can see now as being contributing influences that were not as apparent to you before you began the weight loss journey (hindsight being 20/20)?

Thanks and have a good holiday!

Kevin Lang

TJ, a little quick math, but it sounds like you have beat your goal for this year of 280? In any event, 1/3 of you has vaporized. That's quite an accomplishment. I'm sure that if you'd rather you didn't have to lose 1/3 of yourself in order to get back to 280. Based on one of your recent blogs, it appears that you plan on losing some more weight before you lose the "Fatboy" and switch to "Skinnyboy". So, I'm interested in an upcoming blog that tells us where the 2013 bar will be set. I suspect that it will show a little bit more of a glide trajectory. Also, it would be interesting to see some before/after comparisons of some of your blood numbers, like LDL, HDL, Total Cholesterol, Triglycerides, Glucose. Also blood pressure, pulse rate, BMI, Lean and Body Fat %. I'll bet your doctors are just as proud of you as your family, friends, and fans. There may be a pharmaceutical company or two that's having to look elsewhere for continuing profits, and, I presume your neighborhood Whataburger has felt the pinch this year :-)

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