The Summer of Fitness

For the last four years, I have been on a roller-coaster fitness track, attempting to lower my weight, improve my fitness, and stave off the genetically predisposed obesity diseases that run in my family (i.e., diabetes mainly). While chatting with my wife over lunch the other day, I realized that the highs and lows in this experience fall neatly into stages, which I’ve decided to name like movies…hence, welcome to the Fuck Fat series.

Stage One, which I’m now calling “Fuck Fat I: Portion Control, Dumbass!” started in August 2007 and lasted until August 2008. Counting calories, trying to eat out less, and cutting down on processed foods, I went from a starting weight of 285 lbs to 241 lbs, which works out to roughly 3.67 lbs per month during that stretch. For most of that, I was not engaging in any sustained exercise; it as all about the eating. Some time in April 2008, I started going to the gym regularly, but without much purpose behind what I was doing while there. Nevertheless, it allowed me to establish an equilibrium weight in the 240s.

After Fuck Fat I ended, my attention to portion control and calorie counting waned but exercise remained less haphazard. I was freeway flying for a Visiting Assistant Professorship (VAP) at Western Michigan University, commuting two hours and fifteen minutes one way a couple of times a week. This made it more difficult to keep losing weight, but at least I wasn’t gaining too much either. By July 2009, I was weighing in at 250 lbs.

Stage Two, which I’m now calling “Fuck Fat II: Feel the Burn” lasted from July-November 2009. Using to better track my food intake and a more structured weight lifting program designed by Emanuele Solito, a fitness trainer then at CMU’s Student Activity Center (SAC), I went from a starting weight of 250 lbs to 223 lbs at the beginning of November, which works out to roughly 1.67 lbs a week for sixteen weeks. In addition, my body was in much better shape than it had ever been, with less fat and more muscle packed onto my frame. I almost actually had abs! Between Fuck Fat I and II, I had shed 62 lbs. Not bad at all.

Since then, my discipline has slowly eroded, resulting inevitably in weight gain. While I was fairly consistent with the weight lifting program through 2010, my eating habits grew steadily worse. Freeway flying for a VAP at Grand Valley State University these last two years hasn’t helped much in this regard. Since December 2009, I have gone from my low of 223 lbs to today’s weight of 251.6 lbs, which works out to almost 30 lbs in a year and a half. Some of this has been muscle from weight lifting, but not enough of it. This last semester (Jan-April 2011), I have packed on nearly 9 lbs alone. Clearly this cannot continue…


What I have been going through the last four years is nothing new. I have never been the most fit dude in my life. I have always oscillated wildly between extremes for my weight, fitness level, and eating habits on a regular basis.

As a young child (4-7) I was fairly skinny (bag a bones really, or so I’ve been told). As a tweener (8-12) I started to plump out more (thanks to Grandma’s cooking and Mello Yello). And as a teenager I was fairly hefty (thank the gods I was tall and could distribute the weight more evenly), reaching 273 lbs by the time I started college at Central Michigan University in the fall of 1993.

In college, I had my first major swing in weight level, losing 78 lbs in roughly four months between my freshman and sophomore years, mainly due to illness and working a twelve-and-a-half hour a day factory job for the summer in bum-fuck Ohio. For the rest of my undergraduate years, I largely maintained a consistent weight around 210 lbs or so (for the ladies and any gay crushes obviously; hey, college is about rutting, or so I’ve been told).

However, in graduate school my weight began to climb again. This is because grad school makes you fat, a fact which most of them do not advertise in their brochures and should. By the time I graduated with my PhD in May 2007, I had exceeded my previous high of 273 lbs, ballooning up to 285 lbs and producing pictures like this:

Dr. Andrew D. Devenney, receiving his PhD diploma in a ceremony at Central Michigan University on 5 May 2007.


In fact, it was this picture of Whale Devenney that made me finally decide to do something about my grad school bloat, thus launching the posthumously labeled Fuck Fat series.


So, as Lenin might ask, What Is To Be Done? My answer is what I am now calling “Fuck Fat III: The Summer of Fitness.” This summer, with a slightly relaxed teaching schedule and, frankly, less cash on hand to blow on stupid shit, I have an opportunity to focus intently on my health and fitness this summer, and that’s what I’m going to do. I plan to rededicate myself to the weight lifting program I left by the wayside this past semester and be rigorous about my eating habits.

The difference this time is that I plan to document more fully my experiences in the Fuck Fat series here on my blog. Every Monday, I will make a post about my weigh-in, evaluate my progress (or lack thereof), and discuss whatever I want about the whole experience.

The goal is fairly straightforward. From May to August 2011, I want to lose 30 lbs. I have clearly done this before; thus I damn well can do it again. Publicly talking about this endeavor on my blog should add an extra layer of motivation/public shame/whatever (but hopefully not blubber). I also plan to document the changes (if any) with pictures, which I may or may not post as well (thus adding a whole new variable of shame/embarrassment to the equation).

Today’s starting weight baseline is 251.6 lbs. By the end of August 2011, I hope to be 221.6 lbs. See you in a week.

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