I was sixteen when I got invited to a pool party for a high school friend, Sarah. I had a great time when I first got there, but as the evening went on, everyone at the party started pairing off with each other, leaving me as the only single one of the group. I knew why.
I drove home, went straight to my room and stood in front of the mirror, shirtless. I saw all 370 pounds, more blob than boy.
Even as a child, I continued to eat after I was full and enjoyed it most at night, when no one could see me or judge me. I would smuggle boxes of cereal, bags of chips, and containers of leftovers out of the kitchen and into my room, hoping no one would notice their absence.
This behavior continued throughout my childhood and up until high school, when girls started to look pretty damned good to me. Seeing all the girls in bikinis at the pool party was an eye opener. If I wanted a girlfriend, something needed to change.
As I looked at myself in the mirror, all 370 pounds of me, I made up my mind to lose weight. Not for my health. Not for self-esteem.
To get laid.
I started to diet and exercise, just a normal amount at first. I used our basement treadmill to jog as far as I could, noting exactly what time I felt like I was going to die, then tried to jog a bit further the next day. I still ate what I wanted, but limited myself to one meal a day. That summer, between my sophomore and junior years, I lost 100 pounds.
It wasn’t enough.
I became obsessed with losing weight as if the smaller I got, the more women would want me. I’d go three days at a time with no food, then allow myself one of these: an apple with peanut butter, a blueberry banana smoothie, a tin of sardines or a handful of nuts.
Halfway through the school year, I was hovering between 210 and 215 pounds. I had become a completely different person, not only physically but mentally. The lack of food was making me bitter and angry.
I was starving all the time and still had no girlfriend. I was literally working my ass off, and the girls in school were still not interested in me that way. I had plenty of female friends, but they still saw me as the same old Dave, just smaller. I was firmly entrenched in the friend zone. I became depressed, borderline suicidal. I felt I was accomplishing so much and it was going unnoticed by everyone around me.
When I finally left for college, I had come to terms with my lot in life: I was destined to be alone. I still ate only one meal a day and worked out religiously, despite the fact that it was a hopeless case as far as girls were concerned.
At first, I thought it was a cruel joke fate was playing on me. Here was a beautiful woman who wanted to be with me, and I had no idea why. She turned my world upside down and even as I fell in love with her, I had to re-evaluate who I was.
It was hard on me and hurt us both, but she was so patient with me. Maybe that’s how I knew she was the one.
Chelsea’s Note: While Dave and I have had our fair share of gaining and losing weight over the last four and a half years together, today we are both in relatively good shape.
We both love to cook (mostly) healthy food, and although Dave doesn’t hop around to Jillian Michaels like I do, he works hard doing manual labor every day. In addition to being an awesome person all around, he is also ridiculously strong.
For the last year, it has been one of my goals to build my upper body strength up enough for Dave and I to recreate the above picture together.
Clearly, I am still working on it. Baby steps!
And since Dave agreed to share this story with us, I’m hoping he’ll also let me share this fantastic baby picture of him.
So. Much. Love.