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Fat Man Walking

By: Robert Joki

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September 30, 2008

I know it's been a while and I apologize for the hiatus.  It's not an excuse, but I've basically had the worst summer of my life.  I won't get into the details...this isn't about airing dirty laundry. But I've been joking that I am campaigning to be the next Job. You know, of Old Testament fame?  LOL  Seriously though, I am trying to stay positive and piece my life back together.  I've made some major changes.  This post will serve primarily as an update.

I recently ended a relationship. One that lasted the second half of my twenties. One that I invested everything I had into.  At first I was pretty devastated. After all, two months ago I thought my life was pretty much planned out...white picket fence and everything. But a storm came and the fence is gone. Not broken.  Gone.  Like it was never there.  Sad.  Empty.  Lonely.   And, somehow...exciting?  It is a very strange feeling. Suddenly, I have this blank slate.  And with the fence gone, I have an opportunity to rebuild.  And I can build whatever I want. Whenever I want.  It doesn't even have to be a fence.  It can be a skyscraper.

FAT CAMP was originally intended to be about being gay, overweight, and living in Youngstown, Ohio.  My hope was to use this blog as a catalyst for self improvement...but I basically spent the entire year avoiding the topic like I avoid the gym. Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed writing the stuff that I did...it just wasn't what I originally intended. That is all about to change.  I made a goal in July to lose fifty pounds by Halloween. I am pleased to say that I am about half way there. Still going strong. I feel great. And I want to share that with you.  So, in addition to the crap I usually write about...I will keep you guys and gals posted about my progress and what I am doing to achieve it. I'll let ya know what works and what doesn't.

I am a big dude. Always have been, always will be.  I am attracted to big guys.  I don't ever want to be thin. I just want to be more healthy and to be able to shop at clothing stores that are less....plaid.  I've started walking.  I do four miles every day...even on a shitty, rainy day like today. Even if I feel like my legs are going to fall off. The treadmill just wasn't cuttin' it. I can deal with strenuous, and I can deal with boring...just not together.  I tried facing the damn thing toward the window, but the neighbors were staring. Freaks! I tried facing it toward the TV, but every time something good came on I would turn off the machine, grab a sammich, and end up on the couch. So I took this shit outside.  I've been doing a lot of hiking.  Mill Creek Park has been invaluable. I tend to prefer uneven, out of the way trails...as opposed to mile after mile of pavement and soccer moms in Juicy Couture.  I find that if I walk in the woods, I can fool myself into thinking I am on an ADVENTURE!  Also I am hoping to get a tic.  My aunt got Lyme disease once and lost like 30 pounds ;O)  Eventually I would like to start running...but I'm not there yet.  I am the kind of guy who only runs after guys, money, or the ice cream man.  Baby steps.

The easiest change I made was to increase my water intake. Those of you who know me from around town, know that I was rarely seen without a BIG GULP filled with Diet Coke. I basically never drank water...unless some of the awful stuff slipped down my throat when I was brushing my teeth or if I was singin' in the rain! The reason? Ummm, helloooo....pop tastes like the fizzy ambrosia of the gods and water tastes like....plain. Also that shit is like heroin. I didn't realize I was addicted until I stopped drinking it on a regular basis.  I don't know if it was the caffeine or the artificial sweetener...but I had the worst headaches in the world for about three days.  I'm not gonna lie.  I still drink it on occasion, especially if I am out at a restaurant with my friends.  I want to eventually stop consuming it altogether, but for the time being, if I have a glass of diet soda in front of me, I will be less likely to jump across the table and devour Tyler Clark's Nutella cheesecake. The good news is... I don't keep it in the house anymore.

 I was never one for eating breakfast, even when I was growing up. Teenage Rob would roll out of bed at 7:30 AM and catch the bus by 7:45.  Why eat breakfast when I would rather dream about Christopher Meloni for another half hour? Also, I've never been fond of breakfast foods. I don't like eggs, or anything else that tastes like brimstone for that matter.  I don't eat pork so bacon is out of the question. A pancake is just that....a friggin CAKE.  And since I am trying to BREAK the habit of eating cake all day long, it kind of defeats the purpose. So I force down a bowl of oatmeal every morning.  As a side note...that shit is effing gross. I've tried adding fruit. I've tried adding skim milk.  I've tried adding sweetener. It still tastes like a bowl of wet saw dust. I am convinced that the only possible way to make it taste good is to ad eggs, butter, flower, brown sugar, cranberries, white chocolate chips, macadamia nuts, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees. But, nasty as it is, it gets my metabolism going and keeps me...uhhh...regular.

In the past I tried to lose weight by just not eating. It never worked.  I'd lose ten pounds.  Then my body would switch over to survival mode and I would soon find myself picturing the neighbor's dog as a drumstick...a delicious, barking, drumstick. When I finally gave in and started eating again, I'd gain twice what I lost. These days I eat, but I pay close attention to what I am eating, and when. I used to eat one large meal a day, usually around 11pm. Apparently, that is not normal? Now, I try to avoid eating anything after 8pm.  My schedule does not always permit this, but for the most part I don't eat 5 hours before bedtime. I've cut out fast food altogether. I haven't had a McDonald's french fry in over two months. Taco Bell and I are no longer on speaking terms. It wasn't him...it was me. I'm trying not to think of it as a "diet" because that word is scary an makes my tummy go "boooooooooo!"  I have made changes...realistic ones. And if I mess up, I don't beat myself up over it. I just work a little harder the next day.  If I'm good all week, I reward myself. Last night I had authentic Mexican cuisine at my best friend's house, and I don't regret it one bit.

That's all for now. Thanks again for reading my blog.  I hope you will return. I have some great things planned. I am starting to feel like myself again. I'm looking in the mirror and seeing the guy I used to be. The guy who felt good about himself. The guy who knew he deserved to be loved. As I sit here writing I can see the sunlight starting to peak through the clouds. And I think I'll go for a walk.



By boyinakage ( anonymous )

here's to being healthier. i've tried most of the bad methods...and realism helps, you're right. congratgs on the end of your love affair with diet soda and fast food. i'm so proud of you!


By typhoidpat ( anonymous )

Go Rob, GO!! This is awesome. I wish the inspiration for all of this hadn't been a summer of devastation, but I'm really happy that you're living healthier. I can't wait to come home and see you. I promise I won't try to make you go to the Lube or Yamato's. By the way, was Christopher Meloni even famous when we were teenagers? I bet you were really dreaming of, um, Robert Pastorelli?

By tomyboy2u ( anonymous )

I am glad someone is brave enough to talk about a problem in the valley, alot of people stereotype gays as being flamboint, fem and thin. their is alot of us masc big boned men, who dont fit the profile for A&F catalog. Thanks Rob you stud.

By lucy ( anonymous )

Nice catch up post. I'm with you on the food. I think I work out just enough to balance out my overeating. I make sure I get to the Y at 10 a.m., just in time to watch old episodes of ER...Noah Wiley, talk about a view! Christopher Meloni...another man we have in common. I think it's something about intense eyes (or glass ones). You are fabulous, and a friend once reminded me that I should expect any man who wants to be with me to treat me like the queen I know I am. The same goes for you.


By crse ( anonymous )

Ive missed your writing so much! And I really need to start walking with you.

By buff ( anonymous )

Awww, my tacos and I made your blog!!! hehe ;) I am so proud of you, you really are an inspiration! I will keep the fresh salsa in the fridge as long as you stay away from Chloe! JUST KIDDIN! I love you and you are perfect! Excellent blog, friendy!

By jemerson ( anonymous )

Hey, thats awesome. I have been trying to cut out the carbs but Oh my god you guys I totally ate Carla.

In all seriousness, great job on the healthy choices. Can't wait to see you when I am next in town.

By chrstina ( anonymous )

this is so great to hear that you're looking ahead and doing great! Sadly, life needs to give us a swift kick in the pants to make changes. Later, as much as it sucks, life shows a pattern and a journey to get to where you are at that point in time. I miss you although don't hear from you as much as I'd like. Take care and I hope to hear/see you soon. Or you can just comment on my grammar and how poor it is. Love ya, chrissy

By tylersclark ( Tyler S. Clark )

Thanks for the shout-out. I was just trying to think what it was I ate the last time we were at Cimmentos. That was an awful dessert. Congrats on the progress. Look forward to the next update.

By willinnyc ( anonymous )

Hey, Rob!

It is good to see that your blog is up and running. Your readers have missed you over the past few months. Continue on the path of self-improvement and self-love. Be gentle with yourself. Remember that exercise/walking is great for the mind, spirit, heart and environment. You have my support here in NYC. Have a loving and productive fall season. Be well and happy...

By sedonana ( anonymous )

You do look great!

By catpower ( anonymous )

Hey Rob - way to go. The headaches were definitely caffein withdrawal - I had them ages ago when I switched to decaf coffee. Haven't been to the Oakland in ages - need to get back into the grove. Will say hi and congrats in person next time I see you (so you'll know who I am!).

By tinybonet ( anonymous )

I thought you were the fat man walking that went from California to NYC - I met him in Yougstown. Then, I read your blog. A lot of similarities...The real reason the fat man was "walking" as he says was to get his life on track - not just to lose weight and the real reason he also got a divorce is because he is gay. As a gay man myself, I think the fat man should just come out and admit what the real story was, rather than this farce about his wife and walking...I know this from experience if you know what I'm saying...Have you met him? It sounds like you could be brothers (spiritual)?

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