The Chef

Man in the Mirror

Now that hopefully you’ve seen the Mack & Mateo episode, I plan over the next few blogs to fill in any missing pieces that could not fit into the story during the 43 minute episode.  A lot transpired over four months.  I appreciate all of the facebook and instagram requests.  Many of your questions about the process will be answered in these posts as I try to chronicle my fat to fit journey.

The first step in trying to institute change in your life is to take a serious look in the mirror.  Almost as a daily and nightly ritual, I look in the mirror and ask these questions.

What do I see?

Did I do my best today?

Do I want to change?

Most people who are overweight avoid the mirror or have a distorted view of themselves.  You see yourself everyday and get comfortable with that self image.  You may suspect something is not right or even be dissatisfied with yourself, but that is not the same as a real, brutally honest look in the mirror.

Even I was shocked when I saw myself at 316 pounds when the show aired.  The enormity of my girth, just how bad my gout was hampering me, and just how difficult the struggle was to do everyday tasks.  I wonder how I was able to do anything at all at that weight.  Like most people who are obese, determination, necessity and sheer will power. I thought, if I possess the will power to make it through the day carrying that weight, then I could harness the same energy for working out.

So taking my diary cam to film my body and then watching it on screen really catapulted my decision to join the show and make changes.

During the time that Mack was gaining weight, she gave me weekly homework assignments.  Most of it was in preparation for nutritional changes, but the most important lessons learned were the questions about my motivation for change.

Why did I want to change?

Who was I making the changes for?

Those questions prompted a lot of deep thought.  These were my answers.

My fiance Michelle

My family


Michelle is 15 years younger than I am, and I thought it would be unfair to cast her in the role of nurse prematurely.  I wanted to get healthier to live longer for her and also to be fit to do all the traveling we have planned together in the future.  I have had such low energy and inability to do anything active on our trips.  Just taking long walks proved difficult.

My grandmother, Madeleine (87), fell and broke her leg.  My mother, Gisele, is the primary caretaker of both my grandparents, and she needs a lot of help with the 24 hour care.  I needed to be healthy enough to support her efforts.

My brother Leo has been battling Hodgkins Lymphoma for the past three years.  I have been his companion in all things hospital.  So many times I felt too tired or sick to be by his side, and that was taking a huge toll on my conscience.  Some days it was so hard just to take him to doctor appointments or pick him up from chemotherapy to bring him home.  My brother has an excuse for being sick.  What was mine?

I haven’t been healthy in nearly ten years.  There are a lot of reasons why I let myself fall into an obese, unhealthy state, and I will disclose that later on.  I didn’t quite know why I let myself go for so long.  The practical reasons are simple.  Going from teaching to the restaurant business, I worked nights and did not make time to exercise.  My persona as a chef gave me unlimited access to food and wine, and I abused that privilege.

First I wanted to improve basic everyday functioning, like standing up from a sitting position, tying my shoes, walking up and down stairs, taking walks, etc.  All the way up to practicing judo again.  I wanted to eliminate the gout, which was out of control and just feel better.  I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Motivations identified, I wrote them out and stuck the list on my fridge.  It would be my go to when I felt weak or was faltering.  It still is to this day.

By the time Day one came to work out, I was ready to be tested and try my best, knowing it was going to suck.

Coming up next:  Day one and two workouts.  Meeting Mack Day One.  Motivation for the challenges ahead.

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By Chef Mateo

Just a man in pursuit of all things delicious. Eat and Drink life!