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 Only Human

Boy, I tell ya, I had a really weird experience last weekend and it left me a little dizzy.  I mentioned it on Sunday night, but we had a Young Living event last weekend:  White Out!  This was a major event for our team and over 500 people came together to learn about toxins hiding in our homes, the devastating effects of using them, and the importance of getting rid of them.  It was quite an event and I met a lot of new people!

After the event, our team had dinner at a local restaurant.  My wife and I arrived relatively early and decided to sit outside because of the phenomenal weather.  As people started to arrive, we invited them to join us as we waited for our event hosts to arrive.  Due to the length of time I have been involved with Young Living and the size of the event, I only knew a few people, but we all wore white so it was easy to spot people that were showing up for dinner.

The first person that arrived was a young lady named Megan.  She introduced herself and her son and then I introduced my wife and myself.  Megan quickly responded she knew me from a weight loss group that I am in and my blog.  It was fantastic to meet someone I didn’t know that has been following the blog.  We sit together for quite a bit trying to keep her little man out of trouble and entertained.  As more people arrived, it was so enjoyable to get to know more and more people that share my new passion for alternative routes to wellness.

Later, at dinner, a few other ladies came up and introduced themselves and shared that they, too, read this blog.  We even spent a few minutes discussing how it is weird to meet someone online and then feel like strangers when you meet in person.  As we talked, one of them joked that our chatting was like meeting a local celebrity… most everyone present at dinner has been exposed to my blog or knows about my weight loss journey and I knew only a couple of them.

That’s when I realized a very unnerving truth:  I was meeting people that I knew NOTHING about that knew quite a bit about me.  The power dynamic in that situation is definitely wp-1488069298284.pngunbalanced and, to be honest, a little unnerving.  As a person that has ALWAYS struggled with social situations, I found myself extremely uncomfortable to know that REAL people have access to all of my weakness, my vulnerabilities, and struggles, and I may meet them at any point in my day.

Blogging my vulnerabilities online has always felt somewhat anonymous despite the fact that a lot of friends and family follow my blog.  My family and friends already love me and know several of my weaknesses.  However, in my head, the rest of my readers have always been faceless people in the vast universe of the world that I will never meet.  That false sense of anonymity had created an environment that protected me from the realization that I’m actually speaking to real people that may know me or may know me in the near future.  An environment where sharing my vulnerabilities was without consequence.  Suddenly, I found this environment shattered and I was left with several days of disillusionment.  In turn, I avoided everything that had to do with this blog.

As the struggle raged on, questions raced through my mind and my gut reaction was to shut it all down and hide.  What if someone I work with in the future has found my blog and read about the worst parts of my struggle?  Will I be prepared for discussing my vulnerabilities in an area where I am supposed to be the professional?  Will I be mentally able to maintain focus if an uncomfortable truth is presented from my blog and I am forced to handle the interaction on the fly?

A month ago, I had 80 some followers and 99% of them were my friends and family members.  However, thanks to you guys sharing my site with others over the past few weeks, the number of followers has skyrocketed to over 450 people and, now, the majority of people that are following my Facebook page are not people that I am actually friends with on Facebook.  Since I am not friends with them, I know they exist, but I don’t get any more information than that.  Those 350+ people could be from thousands of miles away or my next door neighbor and I would never know.

My avoidance continued through to this morning when one of my inspirations called me. She confronted me with love and wouldn’t accept my evasive interactions as she stubbornly persisted until I found myself facing the topics I had been avoiding all week.  As we talked, I peeled back more and more layers of unaddressed worries and fears and finally reached a point of understanding that my fear and avoidance was based in the remanents of my failure identity hiding in plain sight.

My discomfort was that people would know and reject me because they have a window into the information I hide from people in everyday life.  This information compromises the mask that I show the world.  The mask that I have created and put forth to others as the LOVEABLE and ACCEPTABLE version of myself.  By building a following and practicing regularly transparency on my blog, I have been giving people access behind the mask.  When that was tangibly experienced in everyday life, it was like a bomb went off and I had no idea why.

As our talk came to a conclusion, I was filled with hope and confidence as I was reminded that I am only human and people cherish people that are honest.  Despite my profession and the very efforts that I have made throughout my entire adult life, I am a completely fallable man, it’s okay for me to accept that, and there is NOBODY on the face of this planet that I need to kill myself to please or earn their friendship . If someone chooses to reject me, whether online or in person, I am who I am and I have nothing to be ashamed of and I have no shame in continuing to be real on this blog.

My conclusion to this conundrum is that I hope it continues.  I want to reach people and I want people to find inspiration to live healthier lives and engage in their own weight loss journies.  I can’t grow if I’m not authentic.  I can’t grow if my friends and family didn’t share my story with their friends and family.  I can’t grow if those friends and family don’t share my story with their friends and family.  As a result, it is a very real possibility thatwp-1488069302170.png local people will find this site and they may know quite a bit about me before I ever open my mouth.  If that is the cost, though, of reaching and inspiring more people, then I consider it a very small price to pay.

So, share my story!  Share my story with everyone you can!  If you know me or if you have friends that know me, share my story!  If you don’t know me, share my story!  If everyone took a few minutes and invited friends to follow my Facebook page, I would continue to grow and reach more people.  It may result in more surreal introductions, but I welcome it!  I want my story to reach everyone that struggles with weight issues whether they need to lose 5 pounds or 250!  The more that I hear about people that have found inspiration and have started losing weight, the more I am encouraged and desire for my blog to grow.

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

  • September 11, 2016: 450+pounds
  • Today: 352 pounds
  • Total loss  98 pounds (36.7% 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:

The Importance of Why

We set out early this morning.  It wasn’t so early that it was still completely dark, but early enough that the world had not woken from its sleep.  My wife had to head back to the house shortly after we departed and I was left to trudge through the morning alone as the trash truck crept through the neighborhood as quickly and quietly as possible.  The world somehow seems more familiar during these quiet hours while I’m out on my walk; like a brief, living snapshot of a simpler, more trustworthy, time.  It isn’t until the neighborhood starts to wake up that the modern realities of human behavior steal away the simple joys that I am mentally revisiting during my walk.

The sound of the birds has become so regular that I’m taking it for granted now and the playfulness of morning critters has become an overlooked comedy that I only absent-mindedly watch.  I think this is why we call it routine.  My morning walk has become a chore.  A daily activity that I must check off in order to feel accomplished… complete.  Chores aren’t exactly enjoyable, are they?  I found myself lost in my thoughts this morning and, based on the complexity of the last few days, my thoughts weren’t exactly positive.

Unfortunately, real life doesn’t cease to exist when we engage in a total life transformation.  Work, schedules, bills, relational difficulties, assholes on the road, etc., are only the beginning of the routine that has come to make up modern, American life.  It is SO easy to get discouraged and lost inside your thoughts as you embark each day only to find that most days you feel more like a bug than a windshield. Depression, anxiety, loneliness, heartbreak…  haven’t these become so typical in our lives that we don’t even treat them like major life issues anymore?

Given these circumstances, I find that I regularly battle discouragement with this entire wp-1487178569811.pnglife makeover.  Honestly, I have shut off some of my coping skills and have yet to find enough replacement coping skills to help me regulate everyday life without feeling tempted to return to old patterns.  Well, today was no different.  As I walked, I became discouraged about the endeavors that I have been making.  Somewhere along the past few months, I internally started to feel silly about my blogging efforts.  These thoughts came to life as my internal dialogue took on a relatively negative tone.

Who do you think you are?  Do you really believe you have anything important to say?  Why would you expect to grow when you know the man in the mirror and you know he’s not a person worth a whole heck of a lot?  I mean, you have immediate family that doesn’t know you are blogging and other family members that wouldn’t know your web address!  If you can’t even get the support of those closest to you, why would any complete strangers care at all about the fact that some random loser in Missouri is losing a few pounds? 

I caught on to the conversation and utilized a few skills I still have to interrupt it!  Stop it!   Get out of your head!  This is for you… nobody else!  These weren’t just positive statements to myself.  These are truths about my mindset that I was using to try and keep myself on track!  So, I tried my best to shut off my brain, focus on my breathing, and concentrate on my pace.  Man, I wish I had a pacesetter so I knew I haven’t slowed down.  Stop it!  You don’t have to find a way to turn every single internal conversation into a negative criticism of yourself! 

Anyone know what I’m talking about?  Those times when we are beating ourselves silly and we don’t really know why and we can’t seem to make it stop?  I have those times more than I care to admit.  Honestly, I think all healthy adults do.  We are our own worst enemies.    With continued resolve, I worked through my morning walk and tried my best to keep the inner voices at bay with positive self-talk and placing my focus on the things in the moment that I could control.

It’s freezing out here!  You have closed three miles, let’s have an easy day and go eat some breakfast!  I rounded the corner for the last section of my walk… encouraged somewhat by the end of my morning journey.  Let’s pick up the pace for the home stretch!  Count your steps…  “Good morning,” I hear.  I look up to see an older gentleman waving at me as he retrieved his trash can.  “Good morning,” I reply.  He turns to head back into his opened garage but wp-1487178565533.pngthen stops, turns around and says, “As hard as it is, you’re really gonna make it.  We’re rooting for you.  You’re never gonna believe it, but we root for you every time you walk by!”  Stunned, I think I said, “Thank you,” but I can’t be sure.

Instantaneously, I was transported from an internal boxing ring and back into the shoes of a man that has been working his hardest to accomplish his goals and take his life back from obesity.  Despite the fact that he had no idea, the man’s willingness to turn around and say that which he had been tempted to leave unsaid thrust me out of my discouragement and into reality.  I am doing it!  I have every reason to be proud!  I do have a message to share!  I am not worthless!

Encouraged, I finished my walk and, thankfully, I was able to hold back the tears of joy as I realized there are good people left in the world and that what I am doing matters for more than just me.  I need to write down WHY I am doing the weight loss and WHY I am blogging my journey.  Then, I need to post these where I can see them every morning.  Life has a terrible habit of clouding our feelings and thoughts which makes it easy to lose track of why we are pursuing difficult goals.  Thankfully, today, I got a wonderful reminder from a kind soul that there are still good people in the world that CARE about others, but I won’t always have that and neither will you.

Having easy access to the THINGS YOU KNOW and YOUR WHY is imperative for surviving those moments when you are tempted to cave because it all seems so pointless.  If you are doing this journey, I would encourage you to identify your WHY and WRITE IT DOWN.  This has to be more than just to lose weight or you’ll quit the first time the scale betrays you.  This has to be FOR YOU because you don’t get to decide if others will care or how much they will care throughout the entirety of your journey.  PUT IT IN PLAIN SIGHT so that you regularly force yourself to read YOUR TRUTHS and keep on track with YOUR GOALS.

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

  • To avoid an even more unhealthy relationship with the scale, I will only be doing weigh in information during my weekend blog post.  Thanks for understanding 🙂

Find me on social media: