My topless days have long been over


My brother Stephen (left) and I play with water in the yard of our home in Grifton, N.C.,  during the summer of 1969. I was 3 here. Within 10 years, my topless days would be over.

Inside my ruggedly handsome shell of a body, beneath the hairy (insert body area here) and the layers of thick protection from the winter cold, a.k.a. fuel for that time I can’t get to the store for months, a.k.a. more bounce to the ounce, a.k.a. more Jeffrey to go around … Inside and beneath it all is a mind that has always been embarrassed by his weight and a heart that feels it.

I stopped swimming at public pools before my teens.  I rarely went in the ocean. Mainly because I would make such a great meal for a family of sharks, but there was also the taking off the shirt in public thing. I hate even the thought of using open public showers or locker rooms. Shirts and skins basketball game. Don’t even …

Describing it as anxiety may be putting it mildly.

I’ve told you before how it started with me. Now at 50 years old and looking for work, I feel it even more. Is a potential employer going to look at me and see a hard worker? A smart man who can set his mind to something and get it done? A person who can meet deadlines and work with others to do it?

Or are they going to see a lazy, overweight man who doesn’t even have it in him to maintain his own fitness to any kind of reasonable degree?

That’s my latest anxiety, folks. And I know I’m not alone in thinking that way.  Don’t believe me? Google it. I did.

The quote below is the third item in a list of items in a Reader’s Digest article “What HR People Won’t Tell You About the Job Interview,” by Ian Landau.

“Is it harder to get the job if you’re fat? Absolutely. Hiring managers make quick judgments based on stereotypes.  They’re just following George Clooney’s character in Up in the Air, who said ‘I stereotype. It’s faster.’” –Suzanne Lucas, a former HR executive and the Evil HR Lady on


So I’ve finally decided to do something about it. This week I started tracking what I eat and drink, how much and when. I’m using My Fitness Pal, as had been suggested to me, as a guide. And I have behind-the-scene teammates and Facebook friends and followers to lean on for support.

I’ve eliminated, on a temporary basis, alcohol and soda from my diet. No bread and pasta for now. Basically I’m detoxing my body after two months of experimenting daily with new ways to create cheese, pasta and meat dishes for breakfast lunch and dinner and testing new Bourbons and beers for their self-medicating properties.

Today, one week from my next cardiologist appointment, I called my doctor and explained I had a meltdown and believed I had put on double digits in pounds since my last visit and asked if I could stop in and use her scale. The nurse, who knew my whole situation, said sure and told me when there were no appointments. I was welcome to come in then and she would weigh me.

She also let me video it so I could share it with you.

This may be the first time more than three people in this world outside of doctors know my weight.

Embarrassed? Maybe.

Determined to do something about it? More than ever.

A week from today (1/18/2017) we will find out if this is working as I get weighed again at my appointment. Follow along if you’d like.

Not every blog post or column here will be about my weight. But the struggle is a part of my life. You’re welcome to come along and see what else it entails ….


17 thoughts on “My topless days have long been over

  1. Why isn’t losing weight as much fun as gaining it? To lose my extra poundage, I followed a cave woman diet (aka Paleo). No sugar, no grain products (meaning no donuts, cake, cookie, bread, pasta), no sugar, no potatoes or rice or dairy products. The first week was tragic, but I grew accustomed to the regime and eventually hit my target. Hang in there, Jeffrey, it will get easier!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am behind you 100% and more. I know you will conquer this and come out a winner. Just remember, one day at a time and we are always here to listen and give encouragement.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I would like to invite you (and Natalie) to come to DoneDone fitness with me. There are people of all shapes and sizes there. I can introduce you to Missy my personal trainer. It’s not your typical gym. Please just come and check it out. xxxxxxxxx is my cell …. what can you lose?….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are a brave, brave man. I commend you for your honesty while you are on this journey. You have an army of loyal readers/friends behind you. Don’t ever forget that!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Glad you’re writing again! Just remember that this is not going to happen overnight and that we are all rooting for you. I hate the scales, too. But, I’m learning, as you are, that we have to control those urges. Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I too was an over weight kid. I didn’t wear a bathing suit until I was 20 only tee shirts and shorts. I was always self conscious. My sister and brother were of “normal” size and so were my cousins and friends. So I can relate to your childhood. I’ve done everything out there.. black beautys, Fen Fen, Slim Fast, Nutri System, cross fit, you name it.. It took me years to realize nothing works.. we all know what to do and how to do it… it’s just making yourself do it.. I’ve learned that being confident in your skin and accepting yourself is a gift that you can make happen. You can go into an interview being self conscious with your head down and not make eye contact and that will radiate out like a pebble in water.. or you can go to an interview with your head held high, make eye contact, feel confident and make them want to see more. A lot of people hide behind their weight and sink deep inside their self. And some people step in front of their weight and move forward.


  7. Jeffrey, you are encouraging me to get serious about dieting and really giving it a good try to lose some weight. Years ago I got serious and lost quite a bit of weight. After I had been on the diet for a while I didn’t miss sweets and drank water only. If I went to a restaurant, I simply had them fix something I could eat. Sometimes it would be a sandwich without bread which was still good. Eating a cheeseburger with mustard, tomato and onion wrapped in a lettuce leaf is still my preferred way to eat a cheeseburger even though I have been off my diet for years and it shows. I believe you have the incentive to stick to your weight loss plan and you have really put yourself out there by sharing it with us. You are very brave. I salute you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You are one of the bravest people I know. I could never go public! It’s been a horrible year and a half for you. You have a right to feel bad. The problem is that people like us are emotional eaters. We eat when we are happy, sad, mad, whatever. And it seems almost impossible to imagine ourselves at a reasonable weight again because we have an overwhelming amount to lose and have failed so many times before. We are addicted to food. It soothes us and convinces us to just keep on eating. We have to take control of those urges. I wish I could live up to my email address when it comes to food. You and Natalie have each other for support. Be happy in that. I am with you in your struggle.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I commend you on your resolve to lose weight. It is never easy. My son started a weight loss program on Jan. 9 and has started to see results. He too, is frustrated by his appearance, but is confident he will win the battle. He has lost some weight because his pants are looser. Good Luck to both of you!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: It’s been a week since I stepped on the scales | jeffrey gentry

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