Some of you may know I used to be fat. Well, not really fat, morbidly obese is more accurate. Years ago I wrote about it.
This is probably going to surprise you – When I go to search conferences, I get as many people who tell me after reading that post I inspired them to lose weight and change their life as much as I hear from people about how much I changed their life financially. But people always ask me what my life has been like since I wrote that post years ago. So I decided to make another one that’s way more up to date.
When I was 15 years old, I weighed over 300 pounds. I remember because my friends would joke about how I weighed more than the size of their engines (the Chevy v8 305).
By the time I was 25, I was over 420 lbs.
I had weight loss surgery in 2003. My official weight was 432 lbs. I remember them telling me there was about a 20-pound margin of error because the scales were not made to go over 380lbs and it was merely an estimate. The surgery I had was called the duodenal switch, and compared to today’s surgeries it was pretty barbaric. They took out a huge portion of my intestines so that I did not absorb any fat . This is called malabsortion (I think). All I know is that they told me I had basically 3-4 years to get my eating habits in order before the effects would wear off.
Here is a photo of me taken 2 days before I had surgery:
As they said happens with everyone, I lost about 85% of my excess weight only 7 months after having surgery, and the rest slowly melted away. By mid 2005 I was down to 185 pounds and was so skinny I looked very unhealthy. No matter what I ate I lost weight.
But there was a price. If I ate any fatty foods, I would shit like a goose. I could tell you the fat content of anything I ate without looking at the label…. Unfortunately….
In early 2007 I started a hardcore workout routine. I was pumping iron 3x a week and feeling great. Within 6 months I was able to easily bench press my own weight, run a mile, and do a pull up. To a lot of people this may not sound like a big thing, but I had never done any of those things before in my life.
In June of 2008 my 2nd kid was born. This was a game changer for me. I started working out less and less. I honestly think I have been to the gym less than 10 times since the birth of my 2nd child.
Last April (and this is the first time I have ever publicly talked about it), I had a procedure called a full body lift. If you read my original post, I said this is something I never would do because I did not think it was worth the pain and life risk.
But, my excess skin around my abdomen was becoming a major health issue. I will spare you the details.
To keep the description short, basically they sawed me in half, removed all excess skin, cut off my nipples and moved them around, pulled everything super tight, and sewed me back together. When it was all said and done, they had removed over 15 lbs of excess skin from my body.
I soon realized why I never wanted to do this. I had forgotten what it feels like to have your stomach muscles cut and sewn back on. I now know why they say abdomen injuries are the most painful way to die. I don’t know how to describe it other than every time you feel your stomach muscles clench, it feels like the worst muscle cramp you have ever had times 10. I once sneezed and popped an internal stitch… It was not fun.
Currently my diet is as good as it has ever been in my life. Without working out though, I lost a bit of muscle and put on some fat. I have hovered around the 225-pound mark for a while now.
I believe being fat the first 29 years of my life is really one of the keys to my current success. I know, sounds weird, right? Let me explain.
Fat People are Givers
Fat people who have been fat all of their lives are natural givers. They always want to please others. Ever heard the joke about “Why do fat chicks give the best blowjobs? Because they have to.” I know… I know…. That’s a bit harsh, but can we be real here? Overweight people are treated as second-class citizens and are always looking for acceptance most of the time through constantly trying to please others.
I still have this mentality and give people a lot of value without asking for anything in return. It took me a long time to be comfortable with actually charging for anything. At conferences around the world I am not the guy who speaks on stage and then flies home. I really enjoy talking with others and trying to help them. Just ask anyone who has ever gone to a conference and met me.
I am Used to Working Harder and Outperforming
We are such a superficial society that when you are fat, people automatically assume that you are lazy.
Because of this fact, I think I became such a well-rounded (no pun intended) person. I can understand and write programs in almost any language. I can make websites. I can administrate dns, virtual hosts, email servers, load balancers, and about anything in between. Plus I know a thing or two about marketing.
I believe this is because all my life I have had to go above and beyond and so far out of my normal job role to be on the same playing field as people with 1/5th of my skillset and abilities.
I am Used to Public Ridicule
There is nothing that will hurt you more than growing up with constant ridicule from kids. But after a while (by high school), like anything that has been beaten for so long, you get used to it. Hell, you expect it. It’s all that you have ever known.
In public, if you are not harassed you don’t feel normal. As you get older it becomes less for comedic reasons and more just because people don’t consider your feelings. For instance, people will always look at you and what you eat. The skinniest hot girl can grab a cookie or brownie and nobody thinks twice. But the fat chick grabs one and everyone looks at her like, “OMG NO WONDER SHE IS SUCH A FAT FARM.”
I honestly don’t think I will ever get used to thinking people are genuine when they give me compliments on my looks. It was very strange to have people tell me that I look good and not just do it because like, “Hey, there is our fat friend, let’s make sure we say something positive about the way he looks.”
People always ask me how do I deal with my haters who call me fat and say mean things about me. Please….
It’s a Great Story
Honestly, it’s a great story… fat kid in debt loses weight and within 5 years brings in over 10 million dollars. I have actually had independent filmmakers approach me about making a documentary about my life. Ya, that’s not weird….
In the end, honestly I strongly believe that being fat all those years is a huge key to my success.
The only thing I can think of as a good analogy off the top of my head is that if you take a high performance engine out of a dump truck and put it into a normal car, that normal car is going to outperform all other normal cars.