Destroying the Root of my Weight Problem

It’s been a difficult, but illuminating, week for me.  I began to lose the faith.  As I wp-1487178569811.pngcelebrated my 100th pound gone, I was overtaken by an overwhelming feeling of depression.  If you have been following me, I experienced a similar depression after the loss of my 75th pound.  Back then, I concluded that I was experiencing discouragement due to the fact that the man in the mirror looked the same.  Unless I utilized before and after pictures, I was unable to see the results of losing 75 pounds.  While I believe that was somewhat accurate for my point in the journey, I believe that I missed a much larger issue and I was faced to confront it this week.

Way too many non-tracked meals were consumed this week and I found myself fully smoking again as I trudged deeper and deeper into the darkness of depression.  While I should be experiencing joy and celebration, I was feeling isolated and alone.  Failure overshadowed the very tangible experience of success that I was having.  Unfortunately, for the first part of the week, I didn’t even question it.  I just went along with the FEELINGS that were clouding my mind.

It wasn’t until I had a few walks alone that I began to do some serious reflection and begin to ask the MOST IMPORTANT question:  WHY?  Why am I feeling this way in the face of such incredible success?   I wish I could say that this time of much-needed reflection was triggered by knowledge and education of psychology, but I can’t.  My saving grace came to me through a song:  You Make Me Brave by Bethel Music.  I had heard the song before, but never really HEARD the song until the lyrics penetrated my spirit and the fact that I was identifying with the song made me listen to it on repeat for the rest of my walk.

It was on the second day of walking to this song that I began to ask what parts of the song struck me so strongly and why the song was speaking to me so powerfully.  The first part that stuck out was the chorus:

As Your love, in wave after wave
Crashes over me, crashes over me
For You are for us
You are not against us

The other part of the song that was speaking strongly to me came later in the song:

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the promises you made

So, why?  Why were these lyrics striking a chord with me so strongly?  I FEEL UNLOVEABLE!  I FEEL UNWORTHY!   Wait… I thought I conquered these demons when I began this journey!  I thought that my overcoming these demons was the very thing that had empowered my success?!  So why in the world am I relating to these lyrics now after I have made SO MUCH PROGRESS?!

It was then that I began to realize that I, despite my training, silently thought that I would begin to experience a renewed mindset… a new self-esteem… a new view of myself… if I were to lose the weight and become the type of person that I have always wanted to be.  I would become NORMAL!  These subconscious thoughts were based on an idea that my weight causes my mental issues and that getting rid of the weight would cause some sort of revolution in my mind and I would be a happier person with a totally different mindset.

With each passing goal, with each passing day, I am physically becoming the man that I want to be.  I see me growing and changing and have NO REASON to not believe that this change will only continue.  However, my mental me… the REAL me… is the same.  Unchanged.

I’ve known for several days I would HAVE to post about this because I KNOW there will be others that must hear this:  LOSING WEIGHT WON’T MAKE US HAPPIER.  LOSING WEIGHT WILL NOT SOLVE OUR PROBLEMS.  If I continued to allow this subconscious expectation to persist, the discouragement would lead to the unraveling of everything else as I would be forced to resign myself to the fact that I am somehow CURSED and nothing I do will change that.

But NOTHING could be further from the truth!

 I have said on here over and over again that the MENTAL journey of weight loss has been wp-1488825772117.pngthe most difficult part of this change.  I feel myself growing and I feel myself changing… I’ve even posted about it.  If I my mind were an overgrown plot of land, I have been hacking away at overgrowth and vines for months.  There’s no way that my mindset has remained unchanged.  However, this week, I found a ROOT by finding that subconscious expectation.  Now, I have to deal with that root.  When the root is gone, the plant is gone.  If the root were to remain, the full plant could come back in time.

In my work, I often work with juveniles that have sexually offended.  I ALWAYS have to teach them that treatment is NOT a process that makes the temptation or thoughts go away.  Treatment is learning how to control thoughts and behaviors and LIVE the life they need to live ON PURPOSE.  By living a life of control, they can become people of integrity and character rather than allowing themselves to become a sexual predator.  It is their choices and behaviors that define them… not the poison that was introduced to their lives through past experiences that introduced the sexual crap to their lives that now strongly impacts their thoughts and behaviors.

Now, I am having to learn that, too.  By learning to control my thoughts and my behaviors, I am choosing to live a life that is DIFFERENT from the person that I have always thought myself to be!  This process is NOT A CURE!  I cannot be CURED from being me!

Even as I write this, I feel as if I am revisiting a topic that I have already discussed so many times.  However, I hope this serves to show others that THIS IS A PROCESS!  We become who we are over time.  Throughout the years, we forge our identities and the ways that we view ourselves.  It takes TIME and HARD WORK for those identities to change, but the physical state of our bodies are but a symptom of the mental issues that exist; not a cause.  As we move through this process, we MUST address the mental issues that have existed and allowed for the symptom of our weight to get so far out of control.  It is IMPERATIVE that we not confuse the process.

Does this fix it?  Am I back on solid ground?  Not entirely.  There have been, and may always be, times that I am unable to see the truth through the cloudiness and fog of my imperfect brain.  However, I have reached out to my spouse and a few select friends.  These people are my Truth Keepers.  During times where I can’t see the truth through my fog, wp-1488825906318.pngthey are the ones that light the way back to truth and keep it safe during those times that I forget it.  It will take time and persistence before the lies that plagued my reality have less control in my mind.  Until now, my mind has been their kingdom… their breeding ground.  It has been in my mind that these lies have bred themselves and taken such a stronghold that they crippled my life and pushed me to the edge of disability.  Today, I am purposefully embracing the journey of taking control back from these lies.  This won’t be an easy process, but We CAN do this!  We CAN win!  We CAN live our lives on purpose!

For now, though, it’s back to taking my life back…

  • September 11, 2016: 450+pounds
  • Today: 348.6 pounds
  • Total loss  101.4 pounds (37.9% of my total excess body weight)

Find me on social media:

I’m a Fraud

It feels so bizarre to have mid-70s temps, be able to have all the windows open, and to go wp-1487560683955.pngon a two-hour walk in shorts DURING THE MIDDLE OF FEBRUARY!!!!  There are so many ways that I could view this weekend and I’ve probably viewed it from each of the different angles as the weekend progressed.  As I have shared before, it is one’s mindset that creates the most significant impact upon how that individual proceeds into their future.

I weighed myself Friday morning to find that I am 5.8 pounds away from reaching a HUGE goal:  100 pounds lost.  As you can imagine, I’m overwhelmingly excited about being so close to this number.  As a result of my excitement, I vowed that I would not have any meals without tracking calories and that I would not sway from my healthy choices at all until I reached my 100th pound.  However, I failed miserably.  No… I failed in the biggest way that I have ever failed since I started this life change.

I, like everyone, have a very busy life.  It seems if it is not one thing, it’s the other.  My wife and I regularly have dinner with a friend on Friday nights and it is typically a meal that calories are not tracked.  Saturday, I attended our team’s Young Living event:  White Out! where we learned about the toxins that exist in cleaning, beauty, and other household products and the alternatives that are available for those that aren’t into DIY projects.  Afterward, our direct team went out for dinner.  To finish the night, I went out and played pool with a friend.  As the weather has warmed up and I’m getting out into the world more and more, it becomes increasingly difficult to live in the healthy food choices bubble that I have created in the past several months.

Despite setting out on this journey of free will, there has also been an enormous amount of pressure that I put on myself.  Pressure to resist temptation nearly every second of every day.  Temptation has been everywhere and it changes its mask every time I see it:  smoking, unhealthy food choices, staying in bed, skipping exercise, etc.  To be honest, the positive affirmation from others has been like a drug.  I love it and I regularly get it.  Everyone… EVERYONE… is fantastic at telling me how awesome I am doing and it makes me feel so good inside.  That positive affirmation has pushed me to continue with behaviors so that I could keep getting it, but I failed… epically!

About a month ago and a half ago, we added walking to our weight loss journey.  I found this change hard, but the mounting pressure from outside sources forced me out of my bed and onto the road.  No regrets, but it gave me another avenue to temptation and pressure.wp-1487560724699.jpg  It also put me into an active neighborhood during the time that people are waking up and having their morning smoke.

I caved and bought a pack of cigarettes about two weeks later.  Being the true logicist that I am, I rationalized that I could employ a “cheat meal” with smoking as a way of managing the constant pressure.  So, I created a rule that I could have four hits off a cigarette once a week.  That shortly grew into 2-3 times per week, but I haven’t increased it further nor was it fully utilized each week.

On top of my smoking failure, I caved all weekend.  The bridges came tumbling down very quickly when I broke my vow to myself and ate a full dinner at Rib Crib without tracking calories. The devastation only continued as I had a couple adult beverages at dinner Saturday night.  I didn’t make terrible food choices, but I did call a friend and entice him to come play pool which resulted in several more adult beverages.  By the time the night ended, we were still at the bar at closing time and I’ll admit that I am glad I was not driving.

When I woke up this morning, the guilt was enormous.  Thanks to my habit of only drinking water, I had no hangover.  However, I had thrown everything away and had crashed on all of my goals and my weight loss vows.  As I contemplated the need to get out of bed, I had a quick confessional conversation with a good friend, mentor, and inspiration, but even in that conversation, I didn’t reveal the entire truth.  Rather than judge or condemn, she met me with love as she reminded me that God renews us each morning and that I am best suited to live in that knowledge and get back on the wagon and keep going.

However, as I sit here tonight, I feel like anything BUT a failure.  I feel like a champion and I feel like I had an EPIC weekend!  I don’t feel like I deserved it, or earned it, or that I gave into peer pressure, or I even failed at all!  I feel like I made choices that I haven’t made in a long time and it resulted in me having an amazing weekend and my weight loss isn’t going to notice more than a slight bump in the road.  That being said, I do know that smoking is a terrible choice and that I have to address this situation head on before I logic my way back into a habit, but I have honestly lost all the guilt over my food and alcohol choices this weekend.

This blog has been about saving my life and living my life to the fullest.  When I started, I was losing mobility and quickly headed to a constant relationship with my bed due to having incredible difficulty with movement.  I had difficulty putting on my shoes, problems with regular back pain, and even difficulty taking care of myself in the shower, on the toilet, etc.  Thanks to my progress, these issues are only distant memories.  Yet, while I have LOVED getting out and getting into parks and taking morning walks, I LOVE doing other things, as well.  Things that I always intended on doing after my weight loss was done.  Maybe the answer here is balance rather than rejection.  Perhaps, I have to establish healthy boundaries and the ability to make good choices for my weight RIGHT NOW rather than living in a strict bubble that makes me feel like I’m constantly being crushed by some unseen force.

So, maybe I’m not a fraud.  Maybe I’m just a human that enjoys the additional aspects of wp-1487560689018.pnghis life that have come with losing weight.  However, I may also be a human that enjoys a night on the town filled with choices that I don’t regularly make anymore.  To me, it seems like a very dangerous place to walk.  Maybe that is why so many fail at losing weight.  Maybe it is safer and more effective to live one way or the other.  I don’t have any answers, but I want to be me and I want to be free to make choices for myself without experiencing pressure that I am letting myself or anyone else down.

For now, though, it’s back to taking my life back…

  • September 11, 2016: 450+pounds
  • Today: 355.8 pounds
  • Total loss  94.2 pounds (35.2% of my total excess body weight)

Find me on social media:

Discouragement

I stepped outside last night to walk a friend to his truck.  The evening had died down and he had to get back to his home town in order to pick up his daughter from work.  As we summarized the week and reminisced about the enjoyment of our evening, he lit a cigarette and puffed on it passively.  The smell of the burning cigarette ignited my temptation and my only thought was how much I would give for just one more cigarette.  The mere thought of giving in again caused my hands to begin trembling and my mouth to salivate.

Thanks to the bitterly cold wind and a clock that never stops ticking our time away, our goodbyes had to be cut short and my friend’s cigarette was tossed away only half-smoked.  As he moved to enter his truck, the temptation of the sudden availability of only half a cigarette, which luckily landed with the filter in the air, overwhelmed me.  I retrieved the cigarette and, without thinking, took a deep drag.  Damn! It felt good.  As the smoke entered my lungs, the tightness in my chest from months of cravings was released and the weight of the pressure of quitting rolled off my shoulders.  I felt truly relaxed for the first time since I quit on August 26, 2016.

It was as the pure satisfaction of complete relaxation hit every fiber of my being that I remembered something:  my friend isn’t a smoker.  The harsh contradiction forced my eyes open and the realities of my mental world faded like a wisp of smoke torn apart by a gust of wind.  I had been dreaming and none of it had ever happened.  Despite feeling so very, very real, everything that had just occurred for me was nothing more than a visualization in my mind… driven by emotion.

Emotions can be a tricky thing, can’t they?  Some days we feel on top of the world and nothing can bring us down from our high.  Other times, though, we feel insecure or defeated and it seems nothing can shake us out of it.  On Thursday morning, I did my daily wp-1484414623586.pngweigh in and discovered that I had officially lost my 75th pound.  However, I wasn’t overtaken with joy or pride.  I felt discouraged.  As I made my breakfast, I knew that what I was FEELING was out of sync with the realities of my weight loss situation.  Determined to get myself out of the funk, I opened my favorite music app and pressed play.  It resumed with the song I had been listening to on the way home the night before:  Last Hope by Paramore.

Paramore is one of my wife’s favorite bands and, over time, I have moved from tolerating them to respecting the talents of their young, female lead singer.  This particular song became somewhat of an anthem for me early last year as I began to confront the mental demons that had led to my unhappiness and, ultimately, my weight problem.  Yet, I realized that only one phrase from the song was getting stuck in my head and the end result was not encouragement, but discouragement.  Rather than feeling the “spark” that is just “…enough to keep me going,” I was being plagued by another lyric in the song.

Every night I try my best to dream tomorrow makes it better

And wake up to the cold reality that not a thing has changed

-Last Hope, Paramore

But why was this lyric plaguing me?  Why was the source of so much inspiration now creating the exact opposite feeling?  The answer took me most of the day to work through and a lot of conversations with a lot of people.  As I worked through this, I realized that I have been having a subconscious, but very real, thought as I look in the mirror:  I look the same.  This thought was so subtle, I barely noticed it slowly poisoning the image that I see when I look in the mirror and twisting my ability to see the realities of the changes that are happening. All I could see is a VERY fat me pretending to change my life and, even if I was making progress, I have more than TWO more 75-pound victories to celebrate before I reach my goal.  #notpossible

Faced with the overwhelming feeling of failure, I pulled out my last set of before and after photos.  The only time that I see a difference in myself is when I look at before and after photos.  The truth is undeniable when I see the pictures side-by-side.  However, I haven’t been doing as many of those because the changes haven’t been as dramatic.  With the reduced frequency of comparison photos and this poisonous thought occurring under the surface, the lyrics of the song struck me in a totally different way than normal and the end result was:  discouragement.

Thanks to my profession, I knew how to respond.  First, I  turned off the song and moved to more encouraging songs.  Secondly, I realized I had to live by what I KNOW to be true rather than what I FELT to be true in that moment.  I had to force myself to go through the motions despite having so many temptations to return to old habits and feel sorry for myself.  The feeling didn’t go away at all Thursday.  In fact, in some ways, it just felt like it was getting worse as I talked about what I was experiencing.

When I got home from work, I upped my game.  I turned on some worship music and I then began to clean my environment.  I don’t know about anyone else, here, but our house is struggling by Thursday if we have had a busy week.  I did the dishes and scrubbed the counters.  When my wife got home, she noticed what I was doing and straightened the living room.  She also encouraged me to diffuse some oils.  With my surroundings looking much better and a constant source of encouragement through worship, I felt better by the time we went to bed and I woke up refreshed on Friday and ready to face our ice storm… tee hee…

That’s when I realized I need to share my experience.  Never underestimate the power of wp-1484414615783.jpgyour FEELINGS.  If we are not in control of our emotions, our emotions will be in control of us.  This week, it would have been so easy to backslide and play the victim to the FEELINGS that I was having.  It is so crucial that we choose to live our lives based on what we KNOW rather than how we FEEL.  If our lives were like a car, our knowledge and choices need to be the front wheels of our car and our feelings and physiology (the way we feel inside our bodies) need to be the back wheels.  The back wheels, though crucial, have no turning power.  Despite their necessity for the functionality of the car, they are only guided by the front wheels to where they need to be.

I apologize for such a long post.  I always try to make my posts short and sweet.  However, I have always worked to be open and transparent here and, today, I felt this just needed to be said.

For now, though, it’s back to taking my life back…

  • September 11, 2016: 450+pounds
  • Today: 372.6 pounds
  • Total loss  77.4 pounds (28.9% of my total excess body weight)

Find me on social media:

 

Pursuing Healthy Living

It happened this week… the magical Winter of Christmas came this week and my Christmas decorations missed it.  Oddly enough, most everyone’s Christmas decorations were already down by the time our snow hit. I shared with my wife as we drove through the nasty, white sludge the pain I felt of being robbed again as the “magic” was left as little more than an annoyance and an unpaid day off work.  I guess that’s just how life goes sometimes…

I’ve debated whether or not I wanted to use this forum to discuss another lifestyle change that we have made. Back in November, my wife and I added a perfect compliment to our new healthier eating patterns.  Until now, I have not shared that information here as it is not why this weight loss blog was originally created.  However, in the interest of transparency, I’ve decided it is necessary for me to discuss an upcoming decision I have made regarding my weight loss with you all.  To do so, I must talk with you about my decision to invest in essential oils for my family.

wp-1483903726304.jpgBack in November, I asked a group of friends if they would be willing to listen to a co-worker share her passion for essential oils.  My goal was simple:  be a supportive friend for someone I care for deeply.  Honestly, I sat through her sharing quite critically and spent the entire time looking online for information to debunk the things my co-worker was sharing with our group.  Sorry Jenni 😉

When she finished with her presentation, I made it quite clear I felt that the information she had shared was “bullshit,” but was grateful that she had take the time to share something she feels very strongly about with us.  As a result of my efforts in setting up the class, I won a sample… a sample of any oil I wanted.  Ever the open-minded researcher, there was one oil I wanted to try:  Panaway – an oil known for its soothing qualities on tired and sore muscles.

After the class, my wife and I went to Hobby Lobby and I decided to try my sample before we went in.  “Look honey, ” I said sarcastically, “I’m rubbing the magical oil on my ankle.” With that, we went into the store and began our shopping.  About 20 minutes later, I texted my co-worker from the store and said, “Oh my lord I think it really works.”  With that, I explained to her and my wife how, though I still felt the origin of the issue I used the oil for, I had experienced a warm, numbing effect that brought me significant relief.  My interest was peaked.  For the next week, I could hardly do anything but read about essential oils and listen testimonials online.  To make a long story short, my investigative process led me to find out that the oils I wanted to try were more expensive than the starting kit, so I just bought the kit.  wp-1483903777135.jpg

What has happened in the weeks since, has been nothing short of a miracle.  Both my wife and I have found natural relief from everyday struggles.  The major areas of improvement have been sleep quality, natural aides for managing headaches and sore muscles, and relief from allergy/cold symptoms without resorting to medicines.  However, my biggest testimony comes from the improvement of the skin on my right hand.  Since I was very young, I have had a special type of eczema that I could not control or eliminate despite using every lotion, soap, and even through use of steroid creams from my doctors.  With my essential oils kit, this condition has become a memory  (only six days after I received the products I used on it).

So, why am I telling you all this on my weight loss blog?  Well, I’ve made a decision.  Young Living is starting a two-part weight loss challenge tomorrow which will run in two 60 day phases.  I have decided to enter this competition.  Why?  Well, the prizes are amazing and it could result in me getting my hands on more oils and even some cash.

This will not altar anything else that I am or have been doing in my life.  However, I will be taking a product that they offer and, thanks to the last four months of my life, I will be able to tell if this makes any change to my current weight loss or not.  If anyone wants to know more about the product that I am taking, you can email me and I’ll tell you individually.  However, I’m not advertising, nor do I get any money from using this product.  My ONLY reason for using the product and entering the competition is the chance to get those prizes… PARTICULARLY the oils because they have made such a difference in my life.

I know this may sit badly with some of you that are reading my blog, but I hope you can respect my decision to make choices as I see fit for my life.  This blog will not become about the challenge, but it will include my experiences and my progress.  Otherwise, you can expect the same great (haha) content that you’ve always encountered here.

For now, though, it’s back to taking my life back…

  • September 11, 2016: 450+pounds
  • Today: 376 pounds
  • Total loss:  74 pounds (27.7% of my total excess body weight)

Find me on social media:

 

Where Are You Christmas?

wp-1483407716012.jpgGreetings from a depressingly normal Southwest Missouri.  It didn’t feel much like Christmas this year as all my favorite Christmas traditions got thrown out the window and the weather only rarely dropped lower than 50 degrees.  I miss the snow. I miss the kids outside playing.  I miss the mental sleigh ride I take across the gloriously white countryside with my wife and a cup of hot cocoa.  I miss the magical WINTER of Christmas… but Christmas is over and I just feel robbed.

Speaking of being robbed, I was awoken this morning by the sound of chainsaws outside my window.  Might I highlight that this was just as disturbing to me as it sounds?!  Nobody called to tell me the landlord had paid people to come cut down some overgrowth and an unruly tree.  A very special thanks, though, to those wonderful tree trimmers again for their hasty job of taking down my beloved Christmas decorations.  My Christmas decorations were around the tree and, as such, had to be removed. Now, my desperate attempts to cling to my favorite season have been halted and the timeframe of socially acceptable Christmas decorations forced the decision to just pack them all away until next year.  The hope for the magic of Christmas is now packed away in too many storage totes patiently waiting until next Christmas when they will finally be reclaimed from those dark storage containers.  I feel robbed… again.

If I would have known then what I know now, I would be incredibly satisfied with the food choices that I made over the holidays.  Thanks to my loving wife, we preserved the major culinary traditions of our Christmas holiday and I enjoyed way too many Peanut Butter Balls and a couple helpings biscuits and gravy.  Before the parties started, my wife and I talked about how to deal with having so many celebrations over the course of so many weeks.  Together, we decided that calories would not be counted anytime we were at a holiday celebration.  Additionally, we didn’t track calories on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.  These same rules applied to New Year’s Eve.  With Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and more than 6 holiday parties, we had over 15 calories-not-being-tracked meals in two weeks.

wp-1483407773113.jpgAlso, during the holidays, I didn’t do a lot of other things, either.  I didn’t blog and I didn’t weigh. Blogging has been a hobby for me.  This is a place where I share my journey and I wasn’t sure I wanted to stop the holiday train to spend the few hours it takes to type out a blog post.  This is starting to sound like we committed lifestyle change homicide, but we didn’t.  Thanks to the power of making informed choices even in settings where we weren’t tracking calories, both of us CONTINUED TO LOOSE WEIGHT.

Though somewhat slower than it has been, I lost my 70th pound and we are solidly back into the routine of our normal lifestyle choices as the remnants of Christmas have all gone away.  By applying the principals I shared in We Are Getting Rid of Cheat Meals Forever, my wife and I survived the holidays without unnecessary shame, guilt, gaining weight, or being the downers at parties that explain to everyone their inability to eat “that kinda stuff.”  Life is too short to get bogged down in the relentless pursuit of a goal in such a way that it steals away the simple joys of the holidays or a rare moment shared with several friends.

For now, though, it’s back to taking my life back…

  • September 11, 2016: 450+pounds
  • Today: 378.8 pounds
  • Total loss:  71.2 pounds (26.6% of my total excess body weight)

Find me on social media:

 

 

Maintaining the Lifestyle

I’m not the biggest fan of Ole’ Man Winter!  The sun has gone into hiding and the beauty of the Ozarks has faded into death. The foliage that makes our landscape so beautiful has died and the bitter cold of Winter reminds us how fragile our bodies truly are.  My body struggles through the cold death of Winter.  The warmth and rejuvenating  power of the sun is such a powerful force in my life. When Winter comes, the sun retreats and bleak, gray days lead to the wintertime blues.  Thank God for the next couple weeks of Christmas lights.  These cheery bulbs of color always seem to delay the full impact of Winter from hitting until after they have been stored away for another year.  However, the dead trees and cloudy days serve as warning signs along the road as we head quickly towards January

It’s funny that this time of the year is concurrent with the 90 day mark in our weight loss journey.  The past 90 days have been filled with excitement as each pound disappeared and the onslaught of compliments made it exciting to go out in public. During the first month or so, I could post progress photos on Facebook and be met with an overwhelming response of support.  Now, it seems, that this support has changed or evolved in some way.  The annoucement of another 10 pounds lost or a picture of the latest clothing size change seems to have become the normal and the response, though positive, is less dramatic than it was in those first few days.  Yes, my world is changing everyday and the excitment of those changes is still very real and raw for me, but maybe others have other things that take their attention.  This is not to sound like I feel like I’ve been abandoned.  No, I know everyone is still out there.  However, the weight loss is no longer shocking and the new lifestyles is more of a normal or expected thing.

Have you seen the movie, Elf?  I know… Will Farrell… however, if you’ll allow me, I’d like to draw on that movie to represent how I feel.  The big point of conflict in the movie is that Santa becomes unable to fly his sleigh as the belief (support) of people lowered too far and there wasn’t enough Christmas Spirit to fly his sleigh. Likewise, for me, as the unexpected becomes the norm and we continue to hold true to our lifestyle change, the expressions of support have significantly decreased and the level of temptation has increased.

I didn’t start this journey for attention, but I’m finding this train moved fantastically well off the steam produced by the support I was getting, but now it seems that I am having to supplement that support with my own willpower and determination.  I’ve had several days this past two weeks in which broccoli didn’t sound appetizing and the temptation to pick up something on the way home was almost too strong to resist.  I think this is called:  The Maintenance Phase.

Maintenance is “the act of maintaining.”  Wait!  I thought we couldn’t use the root word to define a word?  Well, “maintain” is defined as preserving from failure or decline.*  Yep, that sounds about right!  My wife and I are officially in the maintenance phase of this race.  The overwhelming cheers of supporters may be behind us now, but the time has come for us to find our pace and ride this out if we want to be successful in this endeavor.  If we don’t, we’re not going to reach the finish line.

I’ve had a few of you request that I talk about avoiding temptation.  I still have temptation and I still give in.  However, my allowances are very planned and controlled.  Initially, this was done through the use of a cheat meal.  Throughout the week, my wife and I would talk about and plan what we would like to include in our cheat meal.  Now, we have learned a variety of methods that allow us to stay within our calorie expectations, but color outside the lines with moderation.  This makes the act of healthy eating a choice rather than a punishment or restriction.

Lastly, making this change has followed a line of thinking that got me to quit smoking.  One day, while enjoying a smoke, I wondered to myself if I would purchase 20 small vials of poison from gas station solely because they would temporarily make me feel emotional pleasure and taste good despite the fact that they would kill me.  The answer was simple.  Similarly, with food, would I pay $2.00 to a vendor at the market for something that looked like food and tasted like food or would I pay $3.00 to a vendor at the market for actual, real food?  Eating what I eat has become a pursuit of health by way of eating real foods that I know my body can use and process.  Nowadays, those unhealthy foods feel a lot like those vials of poison.  They may taste good, but too much of that stuff is gonna kill you.

For now, though, it’s back to taking my life back…

  • September 11, 2016: 450+pounds
  • Today: 387.4 pounds
  • Total loss:  62.6 pounds (23.4% of my total excess body weight)

Find me on social media:

*”Maintain.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2016.

 

Why We Are Getting Rid of “Cheat Meals” Forever

On September 11, 2016, my wife and I started a journey.  We didn’t know at the time that this journey was going to turn our entire world upside down.  At first, we had no idea what we were doing. We had set a date to start with the expectation to make a plan before it arrived, but I put off planning until it was grocery day.  We took a few minutes to look up some recipes, got a few ideas for stuff to buy ,and then we headed to the grocery store.

Part of our plan quickly became the inclusion of a cheat meal.  The rules for the cheat meal 2016-11-19-10.56.26.jpg.jpgwere simple:  calories don’t matter with the expectation that we don’t go completely crazy.  As we reached our first cheat meal, though, we felt guilty and stayed within our calorie limit for the day.  It wasn’t until several weeks into our change that we finally let loose and had a funnel cake when we went to a local haunted corn maze with friends.

The longer we are doing this, though, the more that the idea of a “cheat meal” bothers me.  With each passing week, this change becomes more and more integrated into our lives as a lifestyle choice rather than a diet or weight loss strategy.   Not just in theory, but in reality.  This is what makes the idea of a “cheat meal” or “cheat day” so unacceptable to us.  We’re not cheating on anything.  We’re just living our lives.

Think about it for a second.  To maintain the idea of a “cheat meal,” it means that we are cheating on something.  If we are implementing a lifestyle where healthy foods are the priority, why is it cheating when we exercise our ability to have something other than our typical food choices?  Rather than cheating, wouldn’t it be best to think of it as using our ability to make good, healthy choices?

Cheat meals aren’t all bad, though.  By only allowing ourselves one per week, we have been training our bodies that less healthy foods, though great tasting, are terrible choices if eating frequently.  Cheat meals have helped us to learn the art of eating less healthy foods in moderation. This process has been great for helping us to solidify our changes, learn how to establish boundaries, and maintain those boundaries.  However, that seems to be where the effectiveness of cheat meals starts to fade.

This past weekend, I fully enjoyed a wonderful cheat meal with my wife as we elected to have sushi.  With our best guestimates, we are both relatively sure that we took full advantage of our cheat meal.  Yet, on Saturday night, I elected to give myself another treat:  alcohol.  Yep, even though I had sushi on Friday night, I was extremely proud of 2016-11-13-18.02.58.jpg.jpgmyself for all of our accomplishments and I decided to have another treat.  So, I went to the local liquor store, bought a 2 oz bottle of Knob Creek, and a 20 oz diet coke.

Now wait…  Didn’t I promote that I gave up smoking, soda, alcohol, and bad foods in order to regain my health? When I started this journey, soda and sweet tea were the only fluids I ingested.  In regards to alcohol, while nowhere near being an alcoholic, I regularly enjoyed several glasses of whiskey over the course of a weekend.  Does having this treat make me a failure on these goals?  Do I have to start my count over?  Heck no!  I’m still doing fantastic!  For me, having this treat did not tempt me to go back to old patterns.  I simply exercised my choice to have these things in moderation in accordance with the standards of my new life:  less healthy foods only being eaten in light moderation.

I’m certainly not wanting to use this blog to tell anyone how to live his or her life .  If you enjoy the practice of a “cheat day,” I’m all for it.  As for my wife and I, though, we’re done feeling like we are cheating on a diet.  We are just living our life.  Does our lifestyle still have boundaries?  Does our lifestyle still have caloric expectations?  You betcha!  But we’re not cheating when we have our weekly date night meal together or springing for that special adult drink.  We’re just living our life.

For now, though, it’s back to taking my life back…

  • September 11, 2016: 450+pounds
  • Today: 401.4 pounds
  • Total loss:  48.6 pounds (18.2% of my total excess body weight)

Find me on social media: