in my early 30's, life hadn't caught up to me yet
My physical demise happened in a fashion that I am sure isn't terribly uncommon: I was involved in sports in high-school, continued to do so into my college years, and then developed some pretty bad habits in my late teens and early 20's. Mostly this consisted of drinking heavily (an issue I still have to this day) and like many college students, I didn't really pay any attention to what it was that I ate. I just ate whatever and a lot of this was high calorie fast-food items or pizza. I don't think i ever intentionally ate vegetables or fruit.
My weekly schedule revolved around what bar had the best specials and most nights included slices of pizza or sub sandwiches. I paid zero attention to the health aspects of anything I ate or drank. I got a traveling job after college and this means that all of my meals were at restaurants. Since this job had a per-diem (amount of money you are given per day for food) i felt inclined to eat cheaply and pocket the rest of the cash. Therefore, this meant a lot of meals at McDonalds, Taco Bell, etc. Even though I had to go to work every day, i still went to bars almost every single night.
This carried on for many years until i moved overseas, where i started drinking even more. I would suggest that it was extremely common for me to drink 12 beers a day and they were not the light kind either. However, as the above picture shows, it wasn't making me appear to be unfit or overweight. As a matter of fact, i still had abs (sorta) even though I never exercised.
it was Halloween, i'm not really this weird
I didn't own a scale and as the years passed I am sure I was putting on weight but it happened so slowly that I didn't notice it. But slowly and surely, the weight did come. I started to be less and less inclined to take my shirt off at the beach and one particularly bad photo (which, i can't find) showed me sitting at a waterfall (with a beer of course) and i saw my gut from the side and was not impressed.
I had also been a pack a day smoker for more than 15 years at that point and when i did try to exercise, I wasn't capable of much. It took until I was nearly 40, and had just had a unwanted and unexpected breakup, when i looked in the mirror and I hated the person that was looking back at me.
noticeably heavier yet?
The culture i had surrounded myself with was a drinking culture, not an exercise one. Very few people that I knew ever did any sort of exercise and after my breakup a friend of mine who does actually exercise (he turned over a new leaf in his late 30's) and I dont know if he asked me this question because he felt bad for me, but it ended up being a question that changed my life for the better forever.
He asked me if I would do the swimming portion of an upcoming relay triathlon. We had spoken before (while having beers, of course) about how among one of the many sports I was involved in as a child was competitive swimming (at one point i was ranked in the top 20 of all high-school swimmers in the state of Virginia.)
There I was, at 106 kg (nearly 235 lbs) and wondering if it would even be possible for me to swim 2km. When I had swam competitively years ago I weighed around 75 kg or 165 lbs or so. I said yes to his question and I had 2 months to train. It was time to get serious and it was time for big changes in my life.