Ask a Former Fat Guy: New Clothes, Old Skin, and Having a Social Life

ask a former fat guy
Daniel Fishel/Thrillist
Daniel Fishel/Thrillist

After losing 120lbs through diet and lifestyle changes, I'd like to pass along what I’ve learned to you, fair reader! There are many surprising and unforeseen benefits -- and obstacles, of course -- beyond what you might expect. I'm here to answer questions you may have about weight loss. Read on!

Was it super expensive to buy a whole new wardrobe?

Well, I shop at Old Navy a lot, because apparently it's the major retailer that realizes tall people exist. Even better, wise Old Navy also knows tall people don't want to walk around in the nude. Accordingly, it offers many choices in Lurch size.

Despite replacing my wardrobe in bits and pieces, yes, there was a cost involved. But pretty much any cost is well worth it! So worth it! It may sound annoying to buy the same or similar pieces in a smaller size, but it was actually quite liberating to watch my body change from "squat, melting candle" to "svelte humanoid shape." And replacing parts of my wardrobe over time helped ease the financial pain a bit -- it's not like one day I was 120lbs lighter and had absolutely nothing to wear.

It's also a great way to keep yourself honest, because you'll enjoy wearing the newer, slimmer clothes more. If they start feeling tight on you, then it may be time to reevaluate what you've been eating... or stop drying your clothes on high.

How do you have a social life when you're trying to lose a ton of weight?

Easy! Your friends will be supportive of your newfound health efforts, first off. Also, we live in an age when almost all restaurants offer healthy options. Get a salad bowl at Chipotle instead of the burrito bowl. Order the hummus platter instead of mozzarella sticks as an appetizer. Rather than drinking, get high! No calories in weed! Both reefer and alcohol make people eat crap, so try to keep it under control, whatever your drug is. When going to parties, offer to bring something. That way you have control over at least one food item.

Get to know your city, and always look at menus online ahead of time. Suggest to your friends that you try a new restaurant with a healthier menu. If you're going somewhere that will surely have a tasty, but unhealthy menu, have a big healthy snack before you go. You'll make better choices when you're not operating on an empty stomach.

You can also use your social life as a reason to get more active: walk and bike more. Drive and Uber less. Adapting a healthy lifestyle should be seen as a permanent thing, so it's best to think of it like moving cities versus going on vacation. It's not like you're going to go away to "weight loss land" and come back. Too often diets are seen as vacations, which is why people tend to slip back into old habits. You are no longer a resident of Fatsville. You have moved. Now, you're a happy citizen of Healthyburg.

Did you notice any changes in your skin?

The skin improvements I've seen are probably the most unexpected part of my transformation. I never realized dandruff had anything to do with being overweight. I had tried various shampoos to improve it, but nothing made a big difference. My flakes reduced tremendously after adopting and sticking to clean eating habits. In the end it was my diet -- a far better medicine than any shampoo.

For most of my life I had mild rosacea. I didn't make the connection between nicotine and highly inflammatory foods to the redness in my skin. Once I started eating cleaner, it diminished. After I quit nicotine, it disappeared.

My skin isn't as dry as it used to be, either. I used to think I was sweating so much because I was so big. I didn't fully realize it was because my body was so insulated by fat. Like a St. Bernard in a sweater in Miami in July. Now I have that sweater off, and I'm in Canada, and I'm a Border collie, and… this doesn't work so well, does it? It's not as hot anymore, is my point.

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Rich Williams is a health-conscious writer and comedian who's feared by salads worldwide. Learn how to lose weight and follow his journey on Instagram @richmwilliams.