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Fat, Drunk & Tucker - Stumbling My Way To A Healthier Life With A Carnivore Diet


Animal House - Group Picture With Corvette

There is a well-known adage in addiction communities “We are only as sick as our secrets.” Well, what you are reading here, this is and has been my secret for 40 years. It is a strange feeling for me to put my trust and hopes in a “saying” but sooner or later we all have to stand at the cliff’s edge and either walk away or jump. I have jumped in the past but just not far enough. I feel like this time, it’s all the way, baby.


When I was 10, it was the early 80’s and the “eat less, move more” dieting mantra was just beginning to sweep the nation. People were getting up and getting physical. Artificial sweeteners like liquid saccharine were on our breakfast tables to drown our Rice Krispies. My mother walked more miles around our hometown than the mailman in hopes of leaning out a bit. To round it out, Richard Simmons was plastered on the TV Guide and our plastic kitchen spatula was lime green. Yikes.


“Fat? Well honey, fat is the enemy now.” “But Mom, I thought you said sugar was the enemy?”. “Well, they both are - but fat is the bigger enemy now.” And so began the low fat, highly processed, “why do I always feel like shit” generation.


It was around this time that I found a new friend in the form of a plump, jovial bump around my midsection and subsequently received my first nickname: Rubberball. It was a term of endearment at the time and I held no ill will for it but even then I knew that something had to change. I was starting to gain weight all over.


After some pep talks with my mom, (she was always in my corner) I laced up my sneakers and got moving. I hit the street: a pudgy, snickers hiding, buttered breakfast toast devouring, 10 year old,.. jogger. I may have even worn a headband to tidy up my overflowing locks, ie: Johnny Mac, but that may be my memory playing tricks on me. One thing’s for sure, I was makin’ moves. They say to burn calories, well that’s what I am going to do. I can run a mile, sure. Let’s do this.


Off I went, feet audibly slapping the concrete only the way a child’s can with no care of possible repercussions like shin splints or ankle twists. I made it half a mile or so and was getting ready to turn back for home. I was fine. It was a nice day, I felt good. I was doing something great for myself. “I’m making changes” I thought. “Mom and I have a plan and this is going to work…” I breathed heavily, red in the face but kept moving.


Look out. Run on sentence coming your way…


As if cued up by Stephen Speilberg, a small, white, slightly beat up truck drove up behind me, passed me, then slowed down, stopped, and the 6 teenagers that were piled in the back smoking cigarettes, (yes you could do that back then) all looked at me, quieted down, and then as if orchestrated by some invisible conductor, in perfect time, burst out laughing. They pointed at me, fell over themselves, grabbed each other in hysterics, only to become bored within a few moments, shift back into first gear and clunker down the road while the cackling slowly dissipated and the smoke from both their cigarettes and the aging exhaust system hung in a cloud behind them.


I have talked about that incident with some friends through the years but don’t feel it actually ever had the impact on me like it does right now. To remember it in such vivid detail and actually write it down..It’s more real.


Damn.


I can’t say it haunts me because that would be a lie - and while the images of that day: the truck, the kids, the road…they have all faded a bit, there is still one thing that remains crystalized for eternity. I will hear that sound, the laughing, forever. As if it happened today.


I can hardly blame those kids though, I was quite the site. I laugh at the thought of myself back then a bit too, that little plumpy kid just trying to do whatever he could. But I also want to pick him up, dust him off and tell him it’s going to be alright, maybe, someday, in like 40 years. But hang in there big guy. Hang in there.


I don’t blame my mother either. It would be easy for me to say that her obsession with weight and food caused a plethora of my eating issues, but that would be over-simplified and unfair. She was just trying to be healthy. She was exercising a lot and following the medical and nutritional guidance of the time. That guidance has been proved wrong over the past 40 years but nonetheless it still holds a tight grip on our collective consciousness. We have been indoctrinated both by accident and on purpose. “Low fat! Whole grains! Vegetable oils!” That is quite a rabbit hole to jump down but that is for another post. Let’s just say - there is plenty of blame to go around.


Up to this point in my young adult life I had kept “Rubberball” at bay, or at least at arms length… but he was still in there… asking, craving, wheeling & dealing…He wanted just a little something to take the edge off. I am sure many others who struggle with weight would agree with me on this. Once you have been an overweight child, he or she is always in there no matter how thin you may be at times…always in the background… (cue spooky music)…waiting to come out and play.


No better place than college to play right?


If there is one good substitute for food it’s Alcohol. And boy, did I drink. We all did. The guys, the girls, the athletes, the hippies, even the teachers. Party school USA in the middle of nowhere. One of the first fraternity functions I attended as a member was a lock and load in the basement - What’s that you ask? Cliff notes: Get the lug suit on (like a janitor’s cleaning suit) lock all the doors, windows, everything… blast the music and slam the beers. No one leaves.


We were about two hours in - guys singing, fighting, puking, cursing, having the time of their lives. It was pure freedom. 50 children lacking any true responsibility. Just. Have. Fun. I soaked it in until I felt something warm on the back of my leg. Weird, I thought. I turned around to find my pledge father laughing…and urinating on me. What a dick.


It may sound gross, but it was all…awesome.


Even though I was somewhat fit, or at least just a bit overweight during this time, it was only because I was able to out-exercise that fat little boy inside. The more I ate, and the more I drank, I could walk it off, run it off, skate it off, tennis it off, golf it off, ski it off,... well, at least to some degree. But it wasn’t long before my friends could see him emerging. He had been hiding for so long but finally had his opportunity. He was going to seize it.


Rubberball was now… Fat… Drunk… & Tucker.


It was an homage to my favorite comedy of all time, Animal House. I wore it like a badge of honor and lived up… and down to it on a regular basis. But FD&T wasn’t a huge rager actually, although he did have his nights, he was more like a state of being, not exactly zen like though. Put it this way - it was just a general state of relaxed, joyful, consistent, prolific debauchery. Somehow, I was able to stay in some sort of just “overweight” shape for quite a while well into post grad life… but as we all know, it gets harder. Unbeknownst to me. Things were about to get much harder.


Where my mother’s food struggles ended after her traumatic brain injury in 2005, I picked right up where she left off. She did survive luckily, and in some ways was never tortured by those thoughts again from what I can tell. In some ways she is the same person for sure - the same light in her eyes - but in some ways part of who she was has been wiped clean. She never gets sad or depressed which would seem unavoidable considering her current physical state. Also, due to the accident, she suffers aphasia - the inability to speak words correctly due to a portion of her brain being removed that handles auditory function. If anyone knows my mom, she loved to talk… for hours. No more…a word here or there. Some short phrases but that’s it. She still smiles all the time.


At this point I started to put on weight and dieting became a thing for me. Lots of fads. Lots of weight loss. And lots of weight gained, the eternal dance.


Each and every time for me, going on a diet is like building a dam, brick by brick, and with every pound lost it finds its place in the wall. More weight lost…more bricks in the wall. The struggle gets harder and harder, the wall higher and higher and then the rains come in. Up goes the water line and so does the pressure. Time + weight lost = More pressure. More bricks, more water, more pressure. Will power can take us far on this journey but it was never enough. I consider myself a strong person in many ways but I could never be strong enough.


It’s not too long before the first leak springs and I reach to cover it. But then another shoots out and I rush over and plug that one with anything I can find - sugarless gum, diet coke - 90% dark chocolate, dexatrim, whatever. Just keep shoving shit in those holes to keep the water in and the weight down. Pretty soon my pockets are empty and there’s nothing left to stuff in there…and then the wall begins to give way. It crumbles over my head like a tidal wave. Not only does it wash away the weight loss but it drowns any self esteem, confidence and joy along with it.


I have built a lot of those dams in my life but there has never been a bigger collapse than in 2007 after the death of my brother. Between then and 2012 I just gave up and let the voice take over. Eat what you want. Drink what you want. Be fat. Be drunk. I don’t care anymore. You can only push the boulder up the hill for so long. If the hill never ends, sooner or later it’s rolling back over you.


You might actually think I was miserable, and of course the loss of my brother was horrible and took us all a long time to heal from, but in the months and years to come after his death, I soaked in the excess - free of any burden of responsibility to my own health. I buried the pain from that loss as deep as it would go with whatever it wanted. The voice was in control now and I just went along for the ride. I was so blessed while all of this was going on to have found a wonderful woman in my life. We married and she loved me despite all of this, although she probably didn’t know the full extent of what she was getting herself into. She does now, that’s for sure.


In 2012 we were expecting our first child and in addition to our excitement of our impending joy, something else magical happened. I finally began to wake up. Sure, I was pretty groggy for a few years but I was definitely opening my eyes a little bit at a time. After some serious work, ie: dieting and exercise, I managed to go from 300 pounds to about 250 in an albeit circuitous fashion over many years. But I have been stuck there ever since. Like a stock that trades in the same range forever, there I was 245 one day and 265 the next. No matter what.


It has been a hard 11 years, weight loss wise, since then. So much effort, disappointment, self blame and yet it has also been enlightening. I have learned so much in that time. I continued to be a voracious reader of just about any diet related literature, studies, podcasts, seminars, etc that I could find and while I was so frustrated for so long it is as if those seeds were germinating, waiting to explode into my life at some point. I just needed something to happen to spur that on. An event, a moment. Something special perhaps? What could it be? Oh. Yeah. I know.


This year, I turned 50.

F&%*… Me.

Tick, tock, tick, tock.


Birthdays are fine. Seriously. They don’t usually bother me but this one landed with a harsh thud. Being twenty years from seventy? - Well wait a second. I was not prepared for that at all. 70? That’s my grandfather right? Not me. Well, it was me. 50 years old and unfortunately barely holding onto the scraps of any semblance of a healthy diet. When I go off the food wagon, I go face first, hard.


Within a few weeks of my big 5-O something else happened. Three men in our town, all in their early fifties and within weeks of each other, collapsed and died without warning. As far as I know they were all healthy and definitely seemed like it from the outside. One of them I had known fairly well and he was a good man. We had hung out together, drank beers, played cornhole, even shared a dump pass sometimes. He was so young and I could always tell, a great dad.


It was absolutely tragic and heartbreaking. Kids, wives, families all left without any clear answers and completely out of the blue. It wasn’t long after that, when discussing this with a great college friend that he relayed to me that someone he knew as well, (that was even younger!) suffered the same fate in his town. Something is going on here.


Our community mourned and rallied all at the same time. It was both horrible and subsequently wonderful to see the human spirit of those around us spring into action. Gofundme accounts were created, dinners prepared and delivered, and just an outpouring of love. I don’t want to make out like I knew these men well but the aftershocks continued through my circle of friends and it was an uneasy topic of barroom conversations for us older dads especially.


Mortality: serious business and so rarely discussed. It hit home for all of us and is still hanging in the air. To think of those kids left without their dads is enough to make you think twice or even three times about the life you’re living. I have had some health concerns of my own all caused by my seemingly never ending inability to stick to healthy eating or to moderate. It is not lost on me that all of the weight fluctuations I have had through the years have probably done some serious damage and I could easily have been one of the dads in the obituaries on that Sunday morning. I truly believe that and it’s scary.


I couldn’t help thinking… I better get my shit together, and soon.


I promised myself this was the year I would put it all together no matter what it takes. My first attempt: 40+ pounds lost. I caved to a little ice cream and then proceeded to gain back 20 pounds in the coming weeks. My fastest ever. I could feel my blood pressure go up within days - my head felt like it was going to pop off. What a failure. What an absolute failure…Or was it?


Two things happened during that time that will forever shape the rest of my life:

  1. I came to realize the true power of a carnivore diet on so many levels.

  2. I finally came to grips that what I am dealing with is not just an eating problem or even a disorder. It is an ADDICTION. Processed Food Addiction to be precise. And most importantly I came to understand that this was not, and never was, my fault.


I know. That may sound strange if it is new to you. It sure did to me too. I was always quick to place any and all blame squarely on my own shoulders forever. Eviscerating blame. That is part of the cycle unfortunately for so many people who live through this. It absolutely sucks. I will be elaborating on this subject immensely in forthcoming posts.


It wasn’t long afterwards, over a cup of coffee that something small - just a little blip drifted into my mind. I had the idea for an experiment? A project? A site? A blog? I still don’t know what to call it, but so far, it is already the grandest form of therapy I could have ever dreamed of. There is magic in writing down the weakest parts of yourself that haunt you. So many people talk about “accountability” in weight loss. Well, let’s do that. Accountability on steroids. Failure truly is not an option. If I can do this, carnivore, for one year - I can do it forever. And be cured…or so I hope.


So, let’s put my life and my goals on display for all to see - my struggles, my successes, my hopes, fears, failures, all of it. My secrets have chewed me up from the inside for too long and it is time to set them free. For months the idea for www.fatdrunkandtucker.com pestered at me but I just couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger. You are an idiot. No one cares. You will just be struggling with this forever. You will be fat forever. You will be unhealthy. You will die early. You will leave your children fatherless.


No. It can’t be that way.


So here I stand, once again on the edge of that cliff and I have the choice to make. I can turn around and walk away, or I can jump out farther than I ever have before. I can take everything I have learned, everything I have experienced - the anger, frustration, the doubt - and I can take that one final step. There is a little boy in a headband, standing on the road feeling so alone, humiliated and broken… and this is for him. OK. Now.


Jump.





Dear Reader,


Thank you so much for joining me here. I truly appreciate it. If you have enjoyed this post or found some value in it, I would humbly ask that you consider sharing it in any way that you are comfortable with. My best to you and yours for optimal health.


Many thanks.


T. K. Tucker





5 comentários


wxnut2005
18 de fev.

Very profound and sobering writing, Kyle. Thank you for your insight. I’m getting ready to make that Jump!


Kirk

Curtir

Convidado:
03 de set. de 2023

Hi, great subject addiction is real and so is recovery. We are undisciplined people, and it’s easy to fall to temptation. For those to tell you “you got this“that’s misleading and providing false hope. You don’t have ”this“The poison is engineered by scientists to created the feeling of needing more a craving it’s physical and mind and body. Help from a higher power is the only way to beat it. you looses when you think a diet will get me there. Love to chat more about this I’ve over come some battles and today I’m winning.

Curtir

Kelly Herbelin-Farrar
Kelly Herbelin-Farrar
02 de set. de 2023

Such a powerful post! You're an impressive man Kyle. You've got this! Sending you love and support on your journey.

Curtir

cherylgrant
01 de set. de 2023

Great post Kyle. You’ve got this! Can’t wait to read all about your journey. ☺️

Curtir

CatherineS32
01 de set. de 2023

❤️ you cous (and, unfortunately, can totally relate). Sending lots of love, hugs and support! XOXO

Curtir
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