Saturday, September 17, 2005

Confessions of a fat-boy, or, how to lose eighty pounds in a summer.

Warning: The following is an account of how I, Pecadillo, dropped eighty pounds in a single summer. It is not meant to encourage anyone to follow my lead, or copy my method. Looking back, I should have known better; Pecadillo's Weight Loss Program was pretty dangerous. Now that I've sufficiently covered my rear...

Throughout the last few years of high school and into my first year in college, my weight stayed pretty much consistently at 250-260 lbs. As a rather large, 6'4 growing young boy, that made me fairly chubby, but never really fat. You know how they say college freshmen gain fifteen pounds during their first year in school; the freshman fifteen? Well I innovated the freshman forty. Strangely, I put it all on during the end of the second semester.

So one day, I hopped on the scale and to my disbelief; I was "three bills". That's right, three-hundred pounds. "Dude, I'm fat!" I could not believe my eyes.

Memphis: July 28, 2003
Memphis: July 28, 2003

As a 250 pound guy, 300 lbs seemed huge, much like the way 30 years of age sounds really old to a teenager. I was scared. I was so scared that I virtually lost my appetite for food all together. I'm not saying I became anorexic; I just wasn't ever hungry. Whereas food had previously been a priority and something I spent a great deal of time preparing and enjoying, now, I was simply not concerned with it. I was too scared about my own health to worry about what I was going to eat next. Growing up, I would eat every meal until I was full, now, after reaching three-hundred pounds, I would eat just a portion of what would have normally been a typical serving. I'd still eat the same types of meals, (anything Mexican) just much smaller portions. For example, in high school, I could polish off an entire pizza-no problem. However, after my stomach shrunk, I can vividly remember one night having trouble consuming a single slice. I call this the Pecadillo weight loss program-do not attempt.

After a few weeks of eating small amounts, my stomach actually shrunk. Then gradually, after my appetite slowly increased, I began eating until I was closer to being full, although, since my stomach had shrunk significantly, that meant I was still eating small portions of food. This is very similar to what happens to someone after getting their stomach stapled.

I never intended for this to happen; I didn't plan to shrink my stomach, it's simply what happened due to my sudden lack of appetite. And I want to be very clear on something; I am not recommending this for anyone. Looking back, even though I was careful to get all the food groups represented at each meal and took vitamins daily, it was still a stupid thing to do.

Hollywood: October 17, 2003
Hollywood: October 17, 2003
At the same time, my best friend C-train and I were both planning on enlisting into the Marine Corps, (this was about a year after 9/11) and spent the summer working out with our recruiters on the weekends, and running and lifting weights on our own during the week. Needless to say, the sudden drop in food intake and constant exercise made the fat melt off. I'm not exaggerating; there was one week where I lost twelve pounds.

It was an amazing feeling. By October, I felt so much better. Everything was different, I was no longer wheezing after running. I found myself sweating only after physical exhilaration. I could even go up numerous flights of stairs without fear of cardiac arrest. I had lost so much weight that my posture and general stance changed drastically. The loss proved so great that I found myself to be quite clumsy for a while. It was like I had been given a new body. The best part was I'd run into people I knew from high school or even the previous semester and they did not recognize me.

At the start of the summer, I tipped the scales at 300. By October, I weighed in at 210. Technically, I lost 90 pounds, but that last ten pounds returned just as fast as it had left.

My typically massive appetite has been reinstated, plus I don't run near as much, so my weight has gone up a bit, however, Crawford and I still lift so it's hard to tell how much of that is fat. Sadly, the massive weight loss has posed a serious side-effect; my skin is not what it was. Whereas I used to have tight (more like stretched) skin, now I'm more like one of those Chinese fighting dogs. That's right folks, loose skin. You know the way a balloon looks after its been inflated to its maximum density, then ,after time, slowly deflated; that's me.

If it aint' one thing it's another.

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Blogger dumbutdeep said...

Good post. Your skin will probably go back, and if not, it will keep you humble and be a reminder of your almost morbid obesity.
Now, you didn't answer my question from your last post: Are you Pyromaniac's son? Don't worry, I'm not going to stalk you or anything, I'm just curious.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger FX Turk said...

first: on the last comment from dumbutdeep --

Don't answer that question. If you do, you will have to answer it every time someone asks it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 1:29:00 PM  
Blogger FX Turk said...

Last: on that saggy skin problem.

You can choose some reconstructive surgery, but I am told that working with weights remedies the saggy skin problem; the right routine can tighten the skin back up. I'd make fun of you over this problem, but I think it's not funny. Loose skin is worse than fat because it looks terrible and it's almost not your fault.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 1:33:00 PM  
Blogger CSB said...

My initial reaction to the loose skin was to say 'ew'. Loose skin is gross. Then I thouhgt that wouldn't be nice. So let me say congrats on the loosing 90 pounds that is unbeleivable. I wanted to loose 15 pounds this year (I'm not that fat but above the recomended BMI thing). I have only lost about 5, maybe. I just can't stop eating......

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 1:38:00 PM  
Blogger FX Turk said...


(1) Monitor your calorie intake. Try to keep breakfast at 375, lunch at 350-ish, and dinner at or below 300. That leaves you two 100-cal snacks during the day, and you will need them.

(2) Breakfast can have carbs; cereal and fruit is best. Lunch needs to be low-carb. Dinner need to be almost no-carb, low fat. Why? Because your body will look for carbs to use for energy first, then look for fat. You need to have a metabolism that is accustomed to burning fat, and the only way to do that is to reduce your carb intake. Also, extra carbs before bed-time just turn into fat. You don't need energy to sleep. However, your body uses protein at night to restore your working parts.

(3) Raise your metabolism. If you can get to 1200 cals in during the day, you can lose weight slowly. If you can burn an extra 350 cals a day on top of that, you can pick up an extra pound a week from the upgraded burn, and your standing rate of burn will also go up.

You also have to cut out Coke/soda and drink gallons of water. I drink about 40 oz. of water a day, and it kills me because I could just as easily drink 40 oz. of Coca Cola and be REALLY REALLY GLAD TO DO IT.

I know this because as of today, after about 8 weeks of diet and exercise, I am down 13 lbs. I have 15 more to go to be inside my target weight. It's a lifestyle change. If you don't do it now, you will have to do it when you turn 40.

Or just be glad to be fat.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 2:21:00 PM  
Blogger dumbutdeep said...

So what's the big hassle about answering it everytime someone asks it? Sheesh. I like to be in the know.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 4:13:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Freeland said...

Keep the extra skin. Someday you'll get married to a cold natured woman like I married, and she'll appreciate the flaps of skin to curl up in at night. Who needs expensive blankets? I've got jelly rolls.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 4:40:00 PM  
Blogger Pecadillo said...

Wow, I never thought you guys would feel sorry for me or feel like you can't make fun of my current situation. Way to be, Chris.

Frank, dude, I will NEVER have plastic surgery or lipo or anything like that. That's cheating.

Dumbutdeep, I'd love to tell you, but I was instructed by my friend and personal hero Centuri0n, and have chosen to take his advice while simultaneously making him the bad guy. Besides, you'll feel so proud of yourself after you do a little research and figure it out for yourself. Hint: where on my blog do I link to my dad, I mean Pyro? Oh man, I just gave it away… Sorry Frank, that's the last time I promise.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 5:08:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Sheesh, the next thing people will be asking for is your REAL name, then your phone number, and who knows from there. But that will blow the secret identity you've done such a nice job building. ;-)

By the way, your post title was really intriguing.

Dan - (or so you think ;-D

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 8:28:00 PM  
Blogger Aspiring Girl said...

90 pounds? thats a backstreet boy

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 8:40:00 PM  
Blogger Richelle T. said...

Well, dangerous methods aside, congrats!! I've found that eating less or differently doesn't help me. It's exercise, exercise, exercise. Which is okay. I love to eat and would hate to find out that the only way I could loose weight would be to eat less/only eat cardboard, etc.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 3:27:00 AM  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Do I hear an Oprah episode or what? Where is Richard Simmons to get all weepy with us?

Seriously, I am happy you stopped the madness. Believe me, as a former fatter kid, what motivated me to lose weight as a 180 pound 6th grader was the thought that I would grow up to be a massive shut-in who always wore oversized sweat clothes, laid up on the couch having to grab things off my set of TV trays with a reachin' stick. Moreover, I never found house shoes an attractive footware; and I wanted girls to like me. Thus, I got busy in between my 7th and 8th grade years loosing weight. I think I was like you. I might have lost 60 pounds one summer. You can hardly tell now, right?

Hip and Thigh

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 6:03:00 AM  
Blogger Brad Williams said...

Okay, somebody help me here. Do people "loose weight" or do they "lose weight"? Somebody stop me before I go homeschool mom in here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 9:46:00 AM  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Sojourner asks: Okay, somebody help me here. Do people "loose weight" or do they "lose weight"? Somebody stop me before I go homeschool mom in here.

(Fred) You lose weight.
You loose a horse. I quess you could say you loose weight, if and only if you are cutting away a brick tied around your belt.


Wednesday, September 21, 2005 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Your story frightens me P.

I lost close to 40 lbs this summer, but I did a lot of research before I did.

One of the most important things I learned was that the only way to lose weight was to need more calories than you were taking in - either by reducing the number of calories eaten each day, or by increasing the caloric needs of your body through exercise - either way, weight is lost when the body begins to eat itself in order to meet its caloric needs.

The problem is that the body doesn't just eat fat, in fact since it only takes your body 2 calories of effort to maintain a pound of fat, and 100 calories of effort to maintain a pound of lean muscle - your body is far more likely to eat the muscle first, since maintaining the muscle mass is more costly.

In order to avoid losing muscle mass, your diet has to include enough protein so that your body doesn't dissolve your muscles to feed itself, but instead takes the protein it needs from your diet, and makes up the caloric difference from your fat stores.

Bottom line - you cannot lose weight and put on muscle at the same time. So "pumping iron" while trying to lose weight will never build up muscle - rather it will do the exact opposite - it will cause your body to eat the very muscle you're trying to build (unless you are eating massive amounts of protein).

In order to gain muscle mass you have to take in more calories than you need. That is, you only get muscles when you are on a "weight gain" program.

The great danger in starving yourself while working out and not getting enough protein is that you body isn't selective about which muscles it is going to eat - it eats them all at the same time - and your heart is a muscle...

Dude, from your description, it is certain that some of the "weight" that you lost came from your lean muscle mass. You should get a full physical as soon as possible - you may even have done some damage to your heart.

Losing muscle mass makes it very difficult to keep weight off, because even as you get heavier, you need less calories to maintain your weight (100 lbs of fat only takes 200 calories per day to maintain!)

Good gravy man, you are right to counsel others not to follow this regiment - it has probably damaged you more than you know. But I mean that in love of course ;)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger Pecadillo said...


I recently had a physical for the LAPD. It was very thourough. They had me on a bike, jumping around, lifting stuff, pulling things apart, etc. They had a whole team of doctors check me out. They seem to think I'm ok but, after reading your comment, I can't help but feel a little freaked out.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Brad Williams said...

Why in the world would your body eat muscle before fat? It would seem more logical to fat before muscle. I'd think muscle would be slightly more important than fat rolls.

I mean think of it. Does this mean that if I went on a starvation diet that I would have all my muscles (which may be few) eaten away so that I would turn into a living blob of jello fat oozing across the floor?

I am weirded out by this, and I am left wondering why the Pecadillo isn't dead, and why the Army tried to kill me by taking away all my food, running me half to death, and yet I somehow came out with a few muscles and zero fat and a bad haircut, which was previously discussed.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...

P. - If an LAPD physical didn't do you in, you're probably fine - sorry for the freak out factor.

To do real damage you have to fast for extended periods of time etc most of us can go three days without food before our body starts to really cannibalize the involuntary muscles - or so I have read- I am not a medical professional after all ;)

If you are concerned, measure your Body fat percentage - as that is a good indicator of where you really stand. If you lost a lot of fat, your body fat percentage should now be average - that is, around 20% or so. If you lost a lot of muscle, your body fat percentage may still be quite high.

There are some online calculators - but this one ( is pretty accurate.

Sojourner - I don't think you would turn into goo by prolonged starvation - your heart would give out long before then ;-) Hunger strike suicides usually die from nutrition related system failure long before they are goo. Your army experience aside, they couldn't have starved you for too long if you put on muscle - it is impossible to put on muscle without taking in more calories than you need. The army may have allowed you to suffer malnutrition for whatever reason, but I don't think this was the source of your muscle gain.

I am by no means an expert, but I am convinced that the things I have mentioned are (more or less) factual... Am I mistaken in this?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Dave Davis said...

What happened to the Marines???

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger dumbutdeep said...

Hmmm..... I think I might be figuring it out. Does this mean "Little Pecadillo" is a younger sibling? How strange that such an articulate father couldn't think of two seperate names for his sons.
So, where in Santa Clarita do you live?
You need to change your post. You're getting way too hung up on your body.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 2:18:00 PM  
Blogger Away From The Brink said...

Hey Pec:

You can get in on the ground floor:


Wednesday, September 21, 2005 2:28:00 PM  
Blogger Theteak said...

Great post. I'm glad you've lost the pound, otherwise when you come to visit us in Sydnay you'll have to pay for the extra baggage - very expensive (we just did it for some bikes). Anyway, in answer to your question from one of my posts it was indeed last year's Shepherds Conference and yes, it was heexcelent!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 3:29:00 PM  
Blogger Pecadillo said...


Lil' Pecadillo is not a sibling... If he was he'd be under a different link category. GOSH!

Don't hold your breath for my address, who knows who could be reading this.

By the way, I named myself Pecadillo.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 4:31:00 PM  
Blogger Jeremiah Johnson said...

Dum but,

If Master P wanted you to know his name, where he lives, etc. he would have told you by now.

Go play Sherlock somewhere else.

Mensa Reject

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 4:38:00 PM  
Blogger dumbutdeep said...

Mensa reject, I was just kidding about the address. Didn't you read my first post telling him I wasn't going to stalk him or anything? It's not like I stared at that shack picture for a long time trying to picture where it is. Geez.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 5:47:00 PM  
Blogger Jeremiah Johnson said...

Dum but,

Mensa Reject's Rules For Life and Personal Growth #47

Any time you feel the need to preface a staement with "I'm not going to stalk you or anything", that may be a statement that you should not make in the first place.

Mensa Reject

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 6:36:00 PM  
Blogger The Fantastic Daughter-In-Law's Spouse said...

Yeah, that's nothing...I lost 40 pounds in a day and the wooden leg isn't really that bad...

Monday, September 26, 2005 7:23:00 PM  
Blogger Wes Langdon said...

Bummer, dude. Your missing out, because anorexia ROCKS!!! Why, just last night, I was regurgitating my Beef Stew due to the unbelievably high amounts of that gross 'Broth' stuff (whatever THAT is) I'M TOUGH! Just kidding. really, though, good for you. In my fifteen-year-old's proffessional opinion, I say give the saggies some time, it'll probably eventually go away, like a wristwatch tanline :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 7:23:00 PM  
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