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On this day one year ago, after 22 weeks with You First on the Ideal Protein Protocol, I had lost 100 pounds! That was to be two-thirds of my total weight loss of 151. It was a major milestone and I was so proud. Click the pic below for that blog post.
Looking back a couple of years earlier though, I'm less proud of something I had done. I was a standup comedian, and I used to joke about my weight.
First, let me be clear about a few things-- technically, I did become a 'professional standup comedian,' since I did get paid cash for a couple gigs. That was maybe enough to cover a couple of rounds of beer and some nachos. Open mic comics might also get 'paid' with a single drink ticket... did I ever mention that I don't even drink alcohol?
Second: I actually am very proud that I mustered the courage to try to be a comedian. It was not easy being about 300 pounds, getting up behind that skinny mic stand, and putting myself out there in front of boozing strangers. And my jokes weren't all about my weight. I have great respect for the Alaska comedy crowd. Here's a video collage of a Roast Battle which I 'refereed.'
Note: the stripes were NOT very slimming. Who started that myth?
Yes, I would tell self-deprecating bits about how fat I was. One of my favorite jokes that I wrote was, "They say that inside of every fat person is a thin person trying to get out. Mine just keeps slipping on the bacon grease."
I specifically told other comics I was okay with them insulting my weight. I've always enjoyed a good roast, and was I a juicy bird to put on the spit. I really wanted them to do it, and they ripped into me pretty good, too-- like sharks in a feeding frenzy. It was great for laughs, and part of a 'comedic identity' I was trying to grow-- that I was cool about being overweight.
But looking back on it now, it was more like my surrender--that I'd given up on ever losing weight.
I was laughing so I wouldn't cry.
Please understand, I do not blame the other comics at all for my problems. They do what comedians do, and if you can't stand the heat, get off the stage. If you go up on the mic, you are FAIR GAME. This is the way it is and the way I like it. Bravo to the comedians I know.
In a way, I had a similar relationship with standup comedy that I did with food. I wanted to inject an imitation of happiness into my miserable 300-pound life.
I became so sad that sometimes, the only good feelings I got were the sensations of eating high-carb, high-fat, well-named 'comfort food.'
That flavor, the chewing and swallowing, and that rush they sent to my brain were brief moments of euphoria that added up to years of pain and declining health.
Standup comedy was also a similar source of temporary pleasure, even though it was something I was using to hide my plummeting self-esteem.
I gave up comedy for a couple of reasons. While I got some decent laughs occasionally, I was never able to become consistently funny and generate new humor to keep it fresh.
Also, my weight was affecting my health. It was hard to sleep, I was lethargic through the day, and I had trouble remembering my set list even after hours of practicing my jokes. As for thinking on my feet when a heckler sounded off? Forget it.
LIFE AFTER STANDUP COMEDY
I've been in Phase 4 of the Ideal Protein Protocol for about 6 months now. I'm in my 160's and am learning to keep my weight there. Occasionally it has crept up into the 170's, so I bring it back down and try to readjust my carbs and calories to maintain a balanced weight and healthy lifestyle.
Weight loss is only half the battle. Keeping it off and staying healthy is the second and most important part. I'm glad that You First and Ideal Protein are guiding me-- teaching me the lessons I had never learned before. (link)
Nowadays, most of the 'crowd work' I do is speaking at weight loss seminars, telling people about my weight loss journey. I think I reach more people on a deeper level that way because I have been where they currently are-- overweight, in declining health, and perhaps in despair.
It's my deepest wish that my story gives people hope. I try to let people at seminars know that I'M NOT SPECIAL! I do not have a unique gift or powerful will that allowed me to drop over 150 pounds simply because I chose to. I had help through You First, and I followed a plan: the Ideal Protein Protocol. If I can do it, why not you?
Will I return to standup comedy? Probably-- now that I'm healthier and have much better mental focus. I like making people laugh-- for them, and for the way it makes me feel.
But if I return to the open mic, it will be with a greater perspective on why I used to tear myself down over my weight-- and how that might affect others struggling with weight loss. I don't think I could tell those same jokes again.
Thanks for reading my blog. ~Brian
Disclosure: I, Brian Ross, was a client of You First for 10 weeks. After seeing significant weight loss results on the Ideal Protein plan, I proudly began endorsing them & receive compensation for on-air mentions & web content. I also now work part time at You First as a Health Coach. Results may vary.
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