Hi Fearless Family,
This isn’t that easy for me to talk about, but I want to talk about it anyways.
Last week I mentioned that I weighed around 250 pounds at 16, but that barely touches on my life story in relation to health and fitness. In a way, my entire life has been defined by my weight. From around the time I was 7, I have always been aware of my weight and had it at the forefront of my mind. I went through a period of childhood weight gain in the time frame of first to second grade.
I was a skinny child until around ages 6-7. After that, I gained weight relatively quickly until I became the fat kid. I still spent my entire childhood playing sports, primarily baseball, but I was never the most athletic and I was typically the slowest. That never stopped me from playing though; I strived on athletic competition and was absolutely in love with the game of baseball.
As I grew up playing sports I started to slowly lean out as I reached puberty and was getting in decent shape by the time I reached high school. I wasn’t in great shape, but I wasn’t so much “fat” anymore as I was “fluffy” with a bit of baby fat leftover with growing muscles. I spent a lot of time playing different sports, and by this time I had become good a couple different sports. My freshman year of high went great athletically – I started football team and baseball team, what more could I ask for?
Then the wheels fell off. All the progress I made to that point (that I never actually realized I made) was about to be undone. I went on a cruise after my freshman year of high school and had the first real “all inclusive, all you can eat” food package I ever experienced. That cruise has become a running joke between me, my parents, and a couple of my best friends known as “the cruise I was forced to gain weight on.” Having the option to eat anything and everything on that cruise set me on another path of weight gain that led me to be 250 pounds as a 16-year-old. That’s where Nutrition Tracking came in.
Once I learned how to lose weight through nutrition tracking, my story really began. From sophomore year to senior year of high school I lost a total of almost 70 pounds. The mix of continuing to play sports and learning to track calories was the biggest factor in that process. It was never easy, but I knew I could do it. My senior year of high school athletics was pretty phenomenal. By this time, I was focusing solely on baseball and had the best year I ever had on the field. I was set up to go to college and play baseball.
My first semester of college comes along and I performed pretty dang well in fall baseball. After that I had a sit down with my coach and I was told straight up – “you are my starting first baseman. Get in the weight room and don’t do anything to mess that up.” Based on my weight history, you can guess where this is going right?
Between my senior year of high school and the end of my freshman year of college, my weight rose from around 190 pounds to 285 pounds. My freshman year of college baseball was spent being relegated to a bullpen pitcher who had 9 total innings all year because he got hurt halfway through. Eating my way out of baseball was my rock bottom. This was the end of my baseball playing career. My dream of being a professional player and maybe just one day being able to play a day in the MLB and wear the Astros jersey was gone – because I couldn’t stop myself from eating Taco Bell. My Grandpa once told my best friend “Have you seen Derec? There is two of him now!”
This was right after my other grandfather died of Diabetes Type 2. He ate honey by the spoonful after meals, and I saw way too much of him in my approach to food. At this point, I knew I was going to have a lifelong battle with food, and I dedicated myself to being a healthy individual for the rest of my life.
I spent the next year doing exactly what I had done multiple times before – losing weight and counting calories. Just like the previous efforts, the weight came off through a few struggles and a ton of motivation. I was back down to 185 pounds, finally! 100 pounds lost! I was there! Except, I wasn’t. I didn’t realize that I had to continue living a healthy lifestyle to stay in shape.
I never felt like I gained that much weight after I got back down to 185 pounds around the age of 20, but I spent a lot of years slowly bouncing between 185 pounds and 225 pounds. In July of 2016, I weighed 225 pounds, in July of 2017 I weighed 195 pounds and in December of 2018 I weighed 210 pounds. This wasn’t planned weight gain at any point in my life. As recently as last year I have gained fat weight that I didn’t want to because I stopped tracking my nutrition and stopped paying attention to it. The battle has never stopped for me. Even in the almost 3 years I have been doing CrossFit I have had weight gain and weight loss.
I am beyond thrilled with where I am in my both my health journey and my fitness journey right now. For the first time in my life I feel like my relationship with food is a healthy one, and I feel confident about what lies ahead. I’m excited to see where I can go.
The battle is never easy, but it is always worth it. Striving to be healthy and working to move myself closer to that part of life has been the most rewarding thing I have ever done. There is no better gift to yourself than taking care of yourself.
If you ever have any questions or need any advice, please feel free to reach out to me or ask for help – I am always open.