How did you do it? How did you lose all that weight? That's the question I get the most now days. I will say that it was not my choice. As I briefly described in my first post, I had some issues that arose. I believe that my body got to the point where it could not stand all the junk I was putting in it.

I wrestled with weight my whole life. I was always a big kid and had horrible eating habits. I weighed 100 pounds in the second grade. By the time I was in third grade I weighed 130. And 180 pounds in middle school. I could keep going but I think you get the picture. While growing up, I always thought I was just a big guy. I made excuses for myself. When I got into my teens, I tried to control my food intake. It would work to an extent but it never did the trick. I never lost as much weight as I would've liked. And when I did lose weight, I couldn't keep it off.

Then things got really unhealthy for me. In mid to late high school, I became bulimic. Yes, guys can be bulimic too and no, I have never admitted this to anyone other than my wife. Any time some one would ask me if I was making myself throw up, I would flat out deny it or make up some excuse as to why I threw up. The problem got much worse when I got to college. I would throw up just about every meal my freshman year. I came home that next summer looking sick. I knew I was doing a tremendous amount of damage to my body and I would try to stop but I felt like I couldn't. It was something that I struggled with for many years. To this day, If I eat too much I feel sick and those feelings come back.

I want to fast forward a couple years. It is 2012 and I'm on vacation with my wife and kids at Disney World. I remember I bought a new bathing suit that year and when I put it on to go swim with the kids, I looked horrible in it. It was extremely tight and I had the worst muffin top you'd ever seen on someone. I hated the way I looked in it. I wore it once and that was it for me. While on vacation, my oldest daughter gets the stomach bug. So, then I get it along with everyone else. I cut out all dairy while trying to recover and was feeling fine. When I reintroduced dairy, I got sick again. This cycle went on for a few weeks until we figured out that I was lactose intolerant. I did a little research and I found out that lactose intolerance usually comes on later on in life and can be caused by a sickness. Cutting out dairy doesn't mean cutting out just milk. It's cutting out butter, margarine and anything cooked in those things. A lot of beaded chicken has milk in it. And just about every piece of bread or bun served in a restaurant has milk in it. As you can see, my options were limited now. There was one bright side to this, I started to feel great for the first time in my life. I was roughly 260 pounds when I started my dairy free lifestyle. Every now and then I would try something with dairy in it to see how it affected me, and it would make me sick.

I lost about 40 pounds in the first few months of being dairy free, That's when I decided to kick it up a notch and start running. The weight kept coming off. At 220 lbs, I set a goal that I wanted to get down to 195 lbs. Even my wife thought that I might be too skinny at that point but I was going about it in a much healthier way now. Eventually, I made it all the way down to 180 lbs. That's where I stayed for about a year. I then ran across a book called Racing Weight By Matt Fitzgerald. I went on a website of his and calculated what my optimal weight for running races and triathlons would be. It calculated that I should weigh 164 lbs with 7% body fat. I thought that there would be no way that I can lose roughly another 20 lbs.

In January of this year, I joined in on a weight loss competition at work. Most people thought I was crazy, and looking back, I was. I was going up against guys in the 250 lbs - 300 + lbs range. The winner would be the one who lost the most weight by percentage of body weight. I figured I had a chance because I didn't have that much to lose. And the prize money was $1,000. Needless to say, I did not win. At the beginning of the contest I weighed 174 lbs. On the final day, I was down to 155 lbs. Way past what I was shooting for but I knew that I would probably gain some weight back.

During this weight loss competition, I had my annual physical. I told the doctor that I've had some G.I. problems in the past. He said he wanted to run some blood work to see if I had Celiac Disease. When the blood work came back, it indicated that I did have Celiac. Not only that, I was very deficient in Vitamin D, which is another indication. They sent me to a gastroenterologist and he said the same thing.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the small intestine cannot digest gluten properly. It is a genetic disease. This is not a fad or the latest diet. In Celiac patients, gluten breaks down the lining of the small intestine to the point where it cannot absorb nutrients from food. The only way to treat this is to maintain a gluten free diet. I almost didn't believe the doctors when they told me I had Celiac but once I went gluten free, I could tell a huge different. I started eating gluten again for a couple of weeks thinking that they were going to run a few more tests on me. I got even more sick when I started eating  diet with gluten in it. I felt so lethargic and sick that I could not wait to go back to being gluten free. Since going gluten free again, I have gained a few pounds back. That's actually normal in Celiac patients because the body is now absorbing all the nutrients properly. I now maintain my body weight in the 160 - 163 lb range.

My views of food have changed dramatically over the last few years. Yes, I could've taken a pill to aid with the digestion of lactose but I chose not to. I decided that that was going to be the moment that everything changed for me. I use food as a fuel for my body and nothing else.