My Weight Loss Journey: Before and After Photos

I mentioned in my last post that I had ballooned up to 260 pounds after my surgery and even had to buy a new shirt for my uniform. That was a very bad time for me, and I thought it might be nice to show the contrast in those two "Dan Smiths."

In the photo below, I was at a good friend's retirement ceremony. And I was embarrassed. Here I was, celebrating the distinguished career of a fellow Chief Petty Officer, a Christian guy who had helped me so much during my own CPO induction, and I looked like that. Shame is a better word.

This day was the first one I had to wear a new uniform shirt because my old one didn't fit anymore. I was just a mess.

In the second picture, taken a few weeks ago in Newport, RI while attending LDO/CWO INDOC, I was 30 pounds lighter, healthier, and feeling confident in uniform. To be sure, there is still lots of room for improvement! So many of the Mustangs here in RI look better than I do in uniform, but I'm on the way.


My next post, to be written at some future date, will detail more about my eating regimen and workout routine. Then I'll start writing periodically about my injury. 

On my Weight Loss Journey

My name is Dan Smith and I really love food. There...I said it.

The fact is that I also like working out. I was working out so hard, in fact, that last July I pushed myself too far and tore my scapholunate ligament. I'll write about that someday because I have a lot (and I mean A LOT) of lessons learned for anyone going through that injury. Actually, that injury is the crux of the reason for this blog post.

Shortly after my surgery, which started as a minor scope and turned into a major two-pin and cast operation, I got pretty depressed. I thought I was going to lose my US Navy Chief Warrant Officer's commission and that my wrist might never work right again.

And I ate. And I stopped working out. In all fairness, the wrist hurt often. Even running moved the pins in my wrist and caused (on good days) discomfort or (on bad days) pain. On those days, I got more depressed. And I ate.

Then one day I stepped on the scale and it read 260 pounds. I had never been so heavy before. Worst yet, I had to buy a new uniform shirt because my gut pushed out against the old one too much. I was a real mess. I was embarrassed to even be at work because I was supposed to be a good sailor. I was supposed to be the example. Oh, I had become the example all right. I was an example of a mess.

Yet I made a decision that day. I made a decision that 260 was too much to weigh and that, even if I lost my commission and if my wrist never worked right again, I couldn't live life at that weight. I started very slowly working out, using the Couch to 5K plan (C25K) and I started tracking my food. It wasn't perfect, and I struggled with many a cheat day.

I got to 253 and stalled. I thought I was starting to make progress, so I didn't really keep pushing. I was at that weight for several weeks while I retooled for the next step. I worked hard during my occupational therapy sessions though in order to regain everything I could in my wrist. Then I got to 245 and stalled again. Then I finally started making some real progress.

As I celebrate my first month as a US Navy Chief Warrant Officer, typing with my hand that I was scared might never work again, I celebrate also the loss of 30 pounds. I think that is my bigger joy. Losing that 30 pounds was so important to me.

Furthermore, I'm stronger now. I still get sore from running periodically if I run further than I should or if I do an especially hard day of hills, but the fact is that I've been a healthy runner for longer than ever in my past. Couch to 5K was a godsend and I'm grateful for the program.

Here's to the next 36 pounds of weight loss. My goal is simple. I want to weigh in at my next official weight check without having to have my body fat measured. If I can do it, it will be the first time since 1997.

If you have any questions about my weight loss journey, please feel free to post them below and I'll answer them for you.

Simplicity or Riches?

I'm a sailor. I enjoy the fresh salt air of the ocean and the sound of the sea being cut in two by a ship at high speed. I even enjoy the smells of an engine exhaust  as the bridge orders up more speed, and the feel of the ship beneath me as her engines and gears respond. It makes me happy.

About a year ago, while I was waiting (im)patiently for my commission to Chief Warrant Officer, I thought it might be nice to retire after 30 years of service, get my kids off to whatever lives they were meant for, and settle down with my wife in a small house by the ocean wherein we would sail on our small yacht. I didn't know exactly how I would get that yacht, but I thought it would be nice to have one. Or, worst case scenario, a larger motor boat that can make trips on the ocean. Maybe not as luxurious and big as a nice fancy yacht, but close.

But that contrasts with the part of me that says I should take that guaranteed retirement and get into missions work overseas where my pension can practically care for everything I need, or get hired on by some small church that can't afford a full-time pastor. Or maybe work in the slums of some large city. 

Or maybe not, because a missionary/pastor/social worker can't have a yacht! That's just wrong! I'd have people attending my church that don't have a nice boat, and yet I do? It'd be an outrage.

So maybe pastoring isn't in the cards for me, if a yacht is. Maybe I should just budget my money well, give to the poor and various missionaries and ministries, and take missionaries and ministers out on my boat for a nice relaxing break when they come through on furlough. What a great ministry!

What in the world? It would seem that my fantasies regarding my future retirement have one of two options. Either I am well off from my pension and other work I take on and have a leisurely life, or I leave the busy, stressful life of a Navy sailor and immediately go to working "Spurgeon-hard" in ministry. 

Here's the problem. The Bible would seem to call all of us to a life of simplicity. It doesn't matter if you are a minister or a businessman. It doesn't appear to matter if you're a powerful lawyer or a small farmer. We are all called to live simply so we can serve others. 

To put it bluntly, I could become a powerful man after my retirement from the Navy, and I still don't get a yacht. I'll get over it. 

Verses used in study:
Hebrews 13:5
Luke 16:13 
Mat 6:19-21 
Ps 37:7,16 
Prov 23:4-5