Brief context: Harry Potter as a series of books has always been important to me since they entered my life at age 11. But I never expected how they would affect my life when it came to my weight.
During October 2018, I flew with a few friends to Orlando to go to Universal Studios and see the Wizarding World in person. I’d been to the version on the west coast in California and didn’t deeply enjoy myself because of the heat and having a toddler in tow. So I was excited to say the least.
Diagon Alley, Gringott’s Dragon
The first day we headed straight through the main park at Universal and all the way to the back to enter Diagon Alley. I was pumped. I had a butter beer and was amazed at the detailed world around me. Then I went to sit in a test seat for one of the rides. I didn’t fit. I was too big. I was pissed and super sad. I hadn’t thought about it, but my weight had gotten out of hand and now I couldn’t enjoy myself on vacation.
When I got home, I knew I needed to make a change. I’d been seeing a trainer for over a year and nothing had come of it. I didn’t push myself and he didn’t insist that I push myself. I had started working out when I was in grad school, but I still ate a ton of garbage food. I didn’t watch my diet and I didn’t exercise outside of our sessions. I wasn’t taking care of my body while I enlarged the scope of my brain. I didn’t feel like the workouts were helping and often cancelled when I just didn’t feel like leaving the house.
I was deeply depressed and isolated myself after I graduated in May 2018. I would go days without leaving the house. So I had been looking forward to my Orlando trip. But I came back depressed and sad again.
I ended up looking for a new house in a new town four hours away. I saw this move as a chance to make a dramatic change. I looked into local gyms with professional trainers nearby. After another bout of depression post-move, I sought out a new trainer in my new town.
I met Joel when I was 293 pounds and very out of shape. During our first training session, I squatted into position and found myself stuck in an odd crouch. I couldn’t get myself up and was left to sort of roll/fall to my side to get out the position. This deeply embarrassed me, and I thought about giving up. Joel asked me about my goals, and I told him about being upset in Orlando because I couldn’t fit on the rides. He understood and set me up for 3 workout sessions per week. I had only done 2 per week max before. But I knew I had to get serious and I took him up on the challenge.
The first month or so was the worst, mainly because I didn’t to build the habit of driving myself to the gym. My anxiety was often high, and I postponed or outright cancelled a few sessions. But eventually I made it a habit, which helped dampen the anxiety. I began losing a few pounds and I grew strong. I saw actual progress, the kind I had never had before.
I was told long ago that I would not lose weight because of the medications I was on. I resigned myself to be unhappy in my body forever. I worked on my brain and didn’t look in a mirror. I felt uncomfortable in my own flesh and I deep hated myself physically.
But then I lost 10 pounds. Then 20. And so on.
As of writing, I have lost a little over 40 pounds. My first weight goal is to be 200 pounds. My ultimate goal is around 175-180. For the record, I am 5’9” tall.
Although it felt like shit in the moment and for months after, I have Harry Potter to thank for kicking my ass into gear and starting my weight loss journey.
And yes, I bought a cloak.
Oct 2018, 293 lbs
Sept 2019, 40 lbs lighter