The Weight Loss Yo-Yo


The Dry Erase Board of Truth.

Standing in front of a mirror naked (sorry for the visual) and really looking at yourself is really the only way to make yourself say, “Yeah, it’s time. I’ve got to do something.”

That along with actually being honest with yourself about all the reasons why you are in the place that you now are and what you are going to do to fix it.

Like so many times before, I’m starting this weight loss journey again with high hopes and expectations. I’ve seen the results of my other stints of working out and what has worked and what has failed. However, this time it’s going to be different.

First, lets go on a trip down memory lane. Let’s call it the “Jason Dannelly Holy Crap What the Hell Happened Weight Loss Yo-Yo of Fun.”

You see for whatever reason I can remember a lot of events in my life and what I weighed at the time. Ask me to remember details of those specific events or even what you told me five minutes ago and I can’t do it. But somehow I can remember these cold hard facts.

My senior year of high school I thought I was a real good athlete. Notice, I say “I thought” because I hadn’t been exposed to college athletics and still had this inkling that I was hot shit served on a gold platter. At the start of my senior year I was 208lbs standing at six feet tall. That’s a height I had carried since my sophomore year of high school and one that I am still waiting to see another a growth spurt. Needless to say, I bloomed pretty early.

After my senior year and a summer of lifting weights and training to play football at Dana College I checked in for camp at 217lbs. Shaved head, goatee thinking I was Bill Goldberg reincarnated. This is where I began my exposure to a higher level of athletics. I can remember just at Dana looking at some guys thinking they were freaks let alone some of the guys I had to play against. So for all those dudes who played DI ball, good on you. I remember playing Huron my freshman year of college and trying to block some DI reject defensive end who tossed me aside like a rag doll. That was an eye opener. But I digress.

My last year of playing college football I checked in at 230 for my junior year of camp. At the time, I had no idea it would be my last. Two years of weights, no drinking and being committed to athletics looked pretty decent on me. It was easily the leanest I had been since the prior spring I ran track at Dana. Check that. . .I was on the track team. After my performance at the Doane College Pentathlon I quickly learned that I was a football player wearing short shorts struggling to not finish last in the 1500. Thankfully, a couple guys got DQ’d for not scoring in other events and I did not finish last. When I cleared 5’8 in the high jump that day you would have thought I set a school record the way I reacted. The eye roll I got from the guy from Nebraska Wesleyan who cleared 6’8 is still memorable.

Five games into my junior year and three concussions later it was no more foosball for this soft candy shell. I kept lifting, working out and all of that and lost a little muscle and by the time I graduated college I weighed 220.

Fast forward a few years into the real world and I remember going into the doctor because I had gotten staph infection in my elbow. Something about a bloody cut, grease, dirt from a farm and my immune system didn’t quite mix. I was 25 at the time and I stepped on the scale at and the reading came back. . .252.

What the hell happened? That was like four years and 30lbs! Oh yeah. . .fast food, not working out, sitting on my ass at my job and stress led me to that. So I did what anyone would do. . .crash diet. I wasn’t even religious but I went on this “Lent” quest of not eating meat the entire Lenten season. Add that, plus working out and it actually worked. I lost the weight, then proceeded to play basketball about four nights a week in Grand Island throughout the summer and by August I was sitting at 227. It was the last time I saw the 220’s.

Fast forward a few years and I was 265 in the spring of 2007. On my ass again at work. Not playing basketball as much, dealing with stress and all around not having a healthy life. Then I started going through my first divorce and spent the summer basically doing nothing but working out, playing basketball and not eating. By September I weighed 237lbs which coincidentally was the last time I saw the 230’s. A few months later. . .bye bye 240’s. A year later. . .255.

That’s when I really started lying to myself. “Well, I lost it before. I’ll lose it again. I’ll start. . .tomorrow.” Then three months later I’d say the same thing.

I was on a destination wedding trip in the summer of 2009 and wasn’t real proud of how I looked but that’s when I started using it for other people’s amusement. Note to everyone out there, the only funny fat people in history are Chris Farley, John Belushi and John Candy. Guess what? THEY’RE ALL DEAD.

So I’d make the jokes, I’d belly flop in the pool, I’d do drunken belly dances and they all would laugh. “Oh, it funny cause he fat.” But eventually I’d look in the mirror and say, “What the fuck happened?”

The defining moment was the zipline tour that we did. The guides clearly stated in their Jamaican accents “Eef jew way mo den two hunded fidy pound jew shud not zeepline”

Everyone’s eyes glanced at me and I said, “No, don’t worry I’m right there. . . (whispers internally). . . just fifteen pounds over.”

After the first zipline where I nearly took out three guys on the dock due to the speed I had picked up (picture rolling a bowling ball down a hill into a piece of plywood) the “instructors” began putting up padding or having more guys at the end of the line to stop me.

My crowning achievement from the trip was when my weight caused the line to sag so far down my ass dragged on the ground at what felt like 30mph for about 10 feet and I spent the rest of the day picking whatever ended up lodged in my skin out while sitting poolside quietly dying inside.

The next three years were like a a Paula Abdul song. 265 in 2010, 275 in 2011. Spring of 2012 290. Then in the fall of 2012 I once again went on a fad diet, started working out and lost a bunch of weight. Basically all I did was eat meat and whey protein. I did so much that I developed a minor case of gout in the big toe of my right foot.

Let me repeat that. . .I was 32 years old and I HAD GOUT IN MY FOOT. WAKE UP DANNELLY!

I eventually got down to 274. Then, I started making a lot of bad decisions. Fast forwarding a little bit; I lost my job, got divorced, went through legal issues, lost another job, moved home to my parents to start life over and by the time Christmas came around in 2013 I ballooned to 336lbs.


I recommitted in 2014. In January I went on an absolute crash diet and starting walking and running. I eventually got the weight down to 286 in August of 2014. 50lbs lost in 8 months. Not too shabby. But then, I got comfortable, starting making excuses and stopped taking care of my needs again.

By October of 2015 I was back to 318lbs. What the hell? But it was all on me. It was my eating choices, my decisions not to work out and my own actions that put me back there. I went up and down for the next few months until Christmas day when I stepped on a scale and was still 315. Well, at least I maintained.

This year I didn’t do any crazy diet. I just decided to start making better choices. I could have made much better choices the last few months but so far things have been progressing. My work schedule this spring was not terribly conducive to working out but I at least feel like I made some healthy food choices.

That’s the biggest key right there: Eat better. I’m not saying go to Whole Foods and count every calorie. But let’s be honest about it, you know when you are eating too much.

Me: “I gained 10lbs in two weeks. I just can’t find time to workout”

Inner voice: “Yeah, that’s true. . .but you could have also found time to avoid McDonalds, Taco Bell, Chipotle and those 16 Coors Lights you had on Tuesday.”


I didn’t have a near death experience. I’m not doing this for someone else. I don’t have any illusions that I’m going to make some Indoor Football comeback or start wrecking shop during men’s basketball league at the YMCA. I’m doing this because I want to live.

I don’t wanna be the funny fat guy where people come to his funeral at age 43 and say nice things and talk about how hilarious it was when I did the truffle shuffle at the pool. I don’t wanna go the rest of my life fearing three flights of stairs or if I might actually have a heart attack because it’s hot outside today.

This is my weight loss journey. The last time I stepped on a scale and it read 28something was January of 2015. 27something was the fall of 2012 and 26something was a long time before that. Those are my goals. Just to keep creeping down while maintaining a healthy “diet” and listening to what my body can handle while I start running again. Today, I stepped on the scale and it said 293.

No, I will not buy what you are selling. I realize I have a lot of friends who sell these healthy products or systems and I’ll go ahead and tell you right now that I have tried them all. I could probably give the sales pitch better than the people selling them.

You know what works? Eat better. Consume fewer calories. Get active.

Thanks to everyone who read this drivel. Thanks to everyone who liked and commented on my Facebook post last week. And an even bigger thanks to the people who called, sent texts or messaged me personally. I truly appreciate the support.

I made a promise that I would not be a person that constantly posts about my weight loss. I’m going to keep that promise and will only check in randomly on this subject if I have something entertaining to share or when I hit those 10lb milestones.

And if you see me eating something bad you have every right to lunch punch whatever it is out of my hands and yell at me, “I read that entire blog post you wrote and now you are doing this? SHAME!”

Try to be over dramatic and make sure it is in public.

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