I decided to tell it all, the whole story not just a quick summary with every feeling emotion and experience. I’m giving you all a chance to look into my soul so that hopefully you don’t make the same mistakes that I have once made.
Part 1 – before.
I’m sure a lot of people know this by now that I was always a very overweight person. During my high school years I didn’t do well in school. I was a bully. I was mean. I’m definitely sure I wasn’t loved or liked. The real reason was, is that I was fat and really unhappy and my cure for that was to latch onto the strong and dominant crowd, whom by nature were bullies and mean people.
I remember the times I had to go shop for high school pants; they had to be blue, not jeans but blue pants. At that point I was pushing a waist of at least 40 inches and to find anything that size was basically impossible. I remember one time I had to buy these shiny blue pants, they looked horrible,but they were my only option, the only ones I could find in my size. I would walk to school so fast and usually sat down during those times, I had to also tuck in my shirt which to me was like someone stabbing me in the heart I hated every minute of it, I usually hid in my dishdasha’s or worse my baggy and comfortable jeans but those pants exposed me to everyone and that hurt me a lot. My self esteem couldn’t be lower, I shaved my head at that time to immolate a sense of strength and power and to be basically one of the boys, the bad bad boys.
My mom, god bless her and she has to be one of the most amazing people on this planet, shops in Italy quiet often. My mom for her entire life, worked out, a matter of a fact my mom to this day, mashalah, works out at least 4 hours a day. With a workoutaholic for a mom, she was always willing to do whatever it took for me to lose weight, and I never succeeded. I remember those Italy trips when she used to walk into the house with bags after bags filled with top designer clothes that I so wanted to wear. Not for the name, I was never big into the whole “Kuwaiti” flash the brand thing, I loved fashion. My mom would open these bags and hand my sisters one gown after another, one shirt, shoe, bag everything you name it. I would sit on the side and watch, if I was lucky she would throw my way a t-shirt, maybe from gap. I remember when she used to answer my shouts of “mama where is my stuff why do they get 100 pieces and I only get 1” mom would reply “habeeebi jasem lose weight and I will get you everything, the designers don’t make big sizes what do you want me to do”
That would kill me, I would always go to my room and cry my brains out. I would curl up into my bed, and sleep. Sometimes I would sneak out and buy a Hardees or McDonalds meal because eating made me feel good. I was addicted.
In high school I did not improve on my grades even though I worked hard very hard. I guess my lack of self confidence and esteem didn’t help my grades. I was lucky to have a dad who believed in education and in me more than anything else. At 18 I packed my bags and headed to Arizona all alone. Arizona was to become my home for the next 6 years of my life.
College is an interesting part of everyone’s life. Mine, as I look at it today from a new and different Jasem, were boring and I wish I could do it all over again. Living alone and having the freedom of eating out and choosing any place to eat in, the choices of junk and fast foods and the choices of quick yummy microwavable foods make it all the better, I was in heaven. I gained a lot of weight , and by a lot I mean a lot. I reached my all time high of 335 lbs, which is about, give or take, 145 kgs. At that point I began to hate myself. I began to really hate myself.
My waist size was longer in anyone’s range, the only place that had my size was the big and tall stores and I refused to buy clothes from there. I felt that the only people that went there were losers, if I only were real and looked at the mirror I probably would have thought that I was a looser too. I was nuts basically, or I went nuts is a better thing to say. I used to purchase jeans fabric and custom make my own jeans, even my shirts, I use to custom make them. I remember this one time I bought some linen fabric because I loved the way it just wrinkled up and looked so good on guys with good bodies. I custom made it to look like a qurta which is the Indian looking shirt that sometimes you see at Indian movies. I loved that shirt I felt that It made me feel and look good. I later found out that it would be the key to my journey.
My key to feel good in college was to show off as much as I can. I no longer was a mean bully like I was in high school I was the rich Kuwaiti kid in class. I started to shop like there was no tomorrow, buying tons of gadgets, car accessories and had field trips to Louis Vuitton. I had a class once in college and there was a girl that I thought was cute & nice. I normally sat next to her and we used to talk every once in a while but I never felt like there was a connection. She basically did not give me the time of day. I remember buying two Louis Vuitton bags just so that she might be impressed with my cash, I was an idiot, she only thought I was one and the class ended
I had to put myself to sleep a lot with tears flowing down my cheeks, I normally went into the shower and never looked at myself. I hated mirrors, I really hated mirrors and by then I was hitting rock bottom.
One day in college I was walking and ….
Part 2 – During
One day in college I was walking and I was hating myself, I mean really hating myself. It was hot and sticky, I was wearing my custom made jeans and my qurta shirt. I was sweating, I was hot, the gel from my hair was melting, my thighs where rubbing together and I wanted to vanish, I really did. I remember walking down college path with tall California palm trees high on each side, it was to everyone out there, a perfect day. In front of me were these two people that I can only see from far. The guy had the body of an athlete he was a jock, wearing a tank top and shorts, his hair was naturally made, and I thought to myself why can’t I be that. His girlfriend was the hottest thing alive, she had a body to die for, blonde, tanned and fit, gorgeous as ever they walked down so comfortable in their own skin and here I was ready to rip myself to pieces. I ditched class, walked fast to my car and broke down in tears. I sat there thinking to myself is this it, is this how I want to live for the rest of my life?
I started to drive aimlessly towards, nowhere. In front of me I see the place where I would call my second home, Bally’s Total Fitness gym. I walked in and asked to see the manager, we talked for a few minutes before he started to sell me the idea of buying a membership which I took with personal training for 10 sessions, the price was high, I think in the 700’s. I had to call my dad and ask for money, I didn’t have it at that point. I remember calling my dad and beginning to tell him how I really wanted to lose weight and that I never wanted to be fat again, he at first was hesitant thinking that I was just pulling one of my moves. I normally went on diets and joined gym’s but with no affect. He agreed, wired the money, and I took the summer off.
At that point in my life I was very lonely, I really was. I didn’t have friends and I mean it, I had at that time a falling out with all my Kuwaiti friends there in Arizona, and I literally was all alone. I remember once just falling apart on the phone telling my mom that I was so lonely and that I had no one, and if god forbid I was to die in my sleep no one would know about me. I was a mess.
I decided to read a lot about healthy eating and healthy lifestyles which will guide me through my journey. I purchased my first grill from Wal-Mart for 14.99 a small single portion grill, with two bags of coal. I also picked up some matches and bbq fluid.
My first day was very very hard. I left the house late at night so that people would not see me while I ran down the street. I thought that it would make people pick on me and laugh at me. I took my first step and quickly realized that I was not going to run. My knees were about to buckle. I was in so much pain. I slowly began to run and walk, I would run two steps and walk 100.
My schedule later progressed to this regiment, I would wake up very early in the morning around 6 or 7, go for a run about 3 miles (approximately 5 kilometers) and come home. I would shower and relax while I had breakfast. Then I would head to the gym where I had training with my friend Scott Bird, someone who if I am able to track down one day I would not know how to thank. We would do some cardio along with circuit training and some weight lifting. Then I would work on some cardiovascular activities for one hour and head home.
At home I relaxed, watched a movie or TV. and had lunch, my grilled chicken with a nice salad. I would by then basically relax till about 7 or 8 at night before I went for my final run, again for 3 miles.
Life was boring and it was a challenge, it was hard and lonely, but I was determined and very disciplined. I did not phase for a bit, I never ever went off course and I always worked out more and never less.
While I was slowly loosing the weight I had to constantly reduce the size of my cloths, I would re-size them and never buy new ones because I knew I would one day reach my lowest and then it would be my day.
Well that day came, I was a size 34 (from a 46) I was down to 195 lbs (from 335 lbs), I got in my car and had 4 months of saved up money about 20,000 U.S. dollars headed to my dream town, the place where I envied everyone who walked in, the place I would spend many hard earned (papa’s) money, Neiman Marcus.
I opened the door and could smell the fresh clean air blowing in my face, I could see the racks of cloths, the people the glitz and the men’s section. Headed towards who would later become a personal shopper for me and a friend, Gorge (Hoar-hay pronounced, he was Mexican)
Hello I said …
He said Hi my name is Gorge, how may I help you?
I said …
Part 3 : After
Today Gorge is the luckiest day of your life, I want everything, every shirt, every pair of jeans, every shoe I want it all. I walked out of Neiman Marcus that day down 21,000 dollars and a huge HUGE smile on my face.
By then I was a different jasem, an entrepreneur, I owned a business, a small online business but it was mine and I was proud. I was confident I did well in school 4.0 gpa’s five semesters in a row. I made it to Top finance student and was granted the only seat as an intern at GE Capital where I would then be offered another one at Genworth. I was kicking butt. Happy as ever, confident as ever but I had one vice, I shopped and purchased everything I can fit in I had a disease.
I guess not being able to buy and shop like everyone else made me go on this huge rush to purchase every new shirt, new jeans, new shoes, thinking about it now if I could go back I wouldn’t have done it that way but hey life is all about experiences and that was just one of them.
I later moved back to Kuwait not because I wanted too but because I had too. I have nothing bad to say about moving back here, I just wanted to work more in the states and get more exposure and experiences. Moving back here depressed me for a few months, I was away from my element, I lived at home WHICH I HATE WITH ALL MY HEART, I love my freedom and my privacy and I can’t stand it being at home. I started to pack on the weight slowly gaining pound after pound. Until one day I looked in the mirror and realized that I was headed for disaster. I need to change everything, I need to get out of this habit of calling downstairs for coffee or water that I can get myself, I needed to work out more and eat healthier I needed to get myself down to the kitchen and have a chat with our cook to make sure from now on everything that is cooked for me, has no bad oils, has no extra salt, has no added sugar, has no cream or butter, I was to change my Kuwaiti life that I know to a new healthy and clean one.
Every day I got in my car and drove down to mishref where I ran for 6 kilometers. I would see friends running together and really wanted to be like them or join them. During college I lost touch with a lot of my friends and when I moved back things were not the same and so I was here again, at the same place, basically friendless.
While I was running one day I decided to set up a private club of people that enjoy working out, running or walking. I started to toy a lot with the names and I came up with some really funky ones but as I was brain storming I remember crossing the 3 kilometers mark in mishref walkway and it was my six-kilometer mark (my way back to the car). I loved the name I thought it had a nice ring to it and it meant something to me.
Facebook is where Calvin, one of the nicest and kindest people I’ve got to know and my very close friend, and I started the Six-K Club, a place where I believed people would come to meet friends, work out, get inspired and change their lives. It would slowly grow to be the place where Sarah, Farah, Yousef, Mohammed, Saud, and so many people lose some pounds and make lasting friendships (ali, fawaz, abdulrazzag) the list of wonderful stories can be told without a stop in sight.
We now are a private club, operated through the web at http://www.six-k.com with more than 800 members and going strong, well let me tell you about now …
Part 4: Now
Right now I’m happy, confident, successful at what I do, I’m sitting at Marina looking at people walk and I’m happier and more confident than ever. My life has been very interesting so far and I’m only 26 years old, there is a lot for me out there and I hope that I have touched someone with this story. They say that every weight loss story has a start and yours can start at Six-K, well that is very true, but whats more real is that there is always a champion inside each and every one of you dying to come out, don’t ever be scared to let him/her out and show the world what your really made off. Alpacino once said that the right way is always the hard way, well it takes guts and will to do things right, I believe that you all can do marvelous things. I believe that you are capable of things far beyond your comprehension, but you have to fight, and you have to believe. The day you stop believing is the day we all die, dream & believe my friends and one day things might just work out for you!
I love you all, you all have and will continue to inspire me to no ends. Thank you for everything.