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)

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Embracing the Adventure

wp-1486954712248.jpgGood Lord, I can’t get enough of these beautiful weekends!  I relish every minute outside in these absolutely gorgeous Spring… er… Winter days.  I can’t even believe how that sentence needs to be typed.  It’s WINTER and the temperatures got into the 80s yesterday!  I would love to have a situation where I worked two days of the week and had the other five days off (and make the same paycheck… or more… of course!).  I simply can’t get enough time to spend outside doing what I love the most:  exploring nature and getting healthy!

This weekend brought me a fantastic visit with my family!  I was given a last-minute opportunity to jump in the car and drive to my home town and spend the day with my aunt, uncle, cousin, mom, dad, sister, brother, nephews, nieces, and some in-laws!  For the first part of the day, I visited with my inspirations:  Uncle John, Aunt Melinda, and my cousin, Anna.  You see, three years ago, they set out on a journey to find true health which wp-1486954487893.jpgled them to the jogging/running lifestyle!  Given the content of my last blog post, you can bet your prized goat that I wanted to talk to them about SHOES and, boy, I found my way to the right people!

From 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., we talked about life, oils, and health!  I can’t even believe how long and how easy it was to talk for this length of time without once thinking of food or having any realization of how much time had passed.  I learned from them about shoes, they learned from me about oils, and then I learned from them about health building tools!  It was an amazing time and I can’t wait to see them again.  If not sooner, I know they will be joining me on my upcoming Color Run… our first 5k!  It’s gonna be epic.

If you know me, then you know that when I get my sights set on something, I pursue it with everything I’ve got.  With the VAST AMOUNT of information I learned, I had to act on the information they shared with me.  So, today, I woke up with the goal of visiting the shoe store they recommended.  I must admit, I was easily distracted from my goal when our buddy, Liz, called with a seducing offer of a hike at Lake Springfield.  So, with a quick calculation of times, I set a preliminary itinerary and we set out for the day.

wp-1486954386337.jpgFirst, we went to Lake Springfield and hiked around the park for at least two hours.  We may not have walked very far (three miles), but we did a lot of off-road hiking and A LOT of steep, large hills.  The change up was exhausting and exhilarating at the same time!  Our neighborhood has slight hills, but we can also choose how to take the worst ones.  However, at the park, there was no foreknowledge of what was coming or how to take it… we just went.  I was blown away at how far my body has come.  I wasn’t nearly anything close to fast, but I did it without dying or having to stop for a break.  I felt so empowered.

As we wrapped up our hike, we all realized we hadn’t eaten yet.  If you follow my Facebook page, I’m sure you know all about that!  HAHA.  If not, you can still feel free to click the link below to take a visit and see more about this part of our day on my Facebook page!

After our lunch/dinner, my wife and I headed to our local Fleet Feet Sports in Springfield, MO, and embarked on an entirely new journey for ourselves:  good running shoes.  Thanks to the information and recommendation I got from my aunt and uncle, this was the starting point for us to learn the proper footwear for this new endeavor in our lives:  walking.

As we pulled up to the building, we both werewp-1486955172737.jpg overcome with similar feelings of embarrassment and shame.  We were daunted and, honestly,  believed that we would be laughed out of the store by the people that really should be in there.  So, as I walked to the building, I decided that I was going to document our journey.  This blog has been started by a man that knows very little about what he is doing and I have been learning in front of you readers from the moment I launched the site.  If I feel daunted and silly going into a store targeting runners, I know others that find their way here will experience those feelings, too!

Neither of us had ever been in a store with so little variety in products.  Shoes, tools for runners, clothing for runners, etc.  That was the extent of it.  Additionally, neither of us wp-1486955200247.jpghad ever been in a shoe store where there were NO boxes of shoes on the showroom floor!  While we were there, our sales agent evaluated our feet, examined our stride and detailed how a shoe needs to fit our feet to meet our specific needs!  After this very invasive feet interaction, she began retrieving specific shoes that met the criteria we had discussed.  She accepted our feedback and retrieved items we requested, but both of us ended up going with the recommendation from our salesman as they truly felt the best on our fewp-1486954419224.jpget!  It was a new and empowering experience as our sales agent educated us about the characteristics of a walking shoe that will meet our needs and improve our walking experience.  Our sales lady was so observant that she confirmed something I had began suspecting, but never had evaluated, for a few years – I have one leg that is shorter than the other!  She also found out I have been wearing a size 12 shoe and I should be wearing a size 10.5!

When I started this journey, I began on the premise that I was going to do this on my own and I was going to show people you don’t have to pay a company hundreds of dollars to help you loose weight.  However, I have learned this week that it is OKAY TO ASK FOR HELP and it is IMPERATIVE TO OBTAIN the proper gear to protect my feet, ankles, and legs, so that I can keep wp-1486954430072.jpgmaking the progress that I have been making!  Coming from a guy that has NEVER spent more than $30 – $40 on a pair of shoes, I can tell you that I experienced an entirely different type of step today.  The wonderful pair of shoes I had been wearing weigh than twice what these shoes weigh and feel nowhere near as comfortable for walking!  After getting home, I took a quick 1.3 mile walk in them so that I could get an immediate feel for them.  I literally felt like I was gliding as the cushion, which adds to my height substantially, absorbed every step and my feet began to develop a new relationship with the harsh pavement that has been beating the hell out of my feet and ankles!

I can’t wait for tomorrow’s full walk with my new pair of HOKA walking shoes and putting them to the full day’s test.  Now, do I want to do 4 or 5 miles?  Hmm…

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

  • September 11, 2016: 450+pounds
  • Today: 358.4 pounds
  • Total loss  91.6 pounds (34.3% of my total excess body weight)

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Revelations and Frustrations

Anyone else excited for warm weather?  These last few mornings have been absolutely beautiful and my insides are crying for the regularity of warmer weather and the life that comes with Spring.  For now, though, I am enjoying the sun as it rises earlier with each wp-1486571562543.jpgpassing morning and the beautiful songs of the birds in our neighborhood that continue to remind me that warmer weather is on the way.  The added activity of squirrels and bunnies also help to create the scenes that reassure my soul that the chilly days of Winter are limited.

Last week, I think I pushed it too far.  My beautiful wife was ill for a few days and I had to walk by myself.  As a result, I was left to my own devices to determine the days, speed, distance, etc., that I would be walking.  It was difficult to walk alone and, since I wanted to be lazy and stop, I reacted by pushing myself every single day.  What I didn’t plan for was my wife getting better and wanting to utilize the remaining days of the week to get moving!  I also didn’t know the weather was going to become extremely beautiful and I would find it IMPOSSIBLE not to be out in such amazing weather.  As a result, I ended up walking 7 days without taking a day to rest and I was left with a hugely sore ankle.

This experience left me with a few revelations that I would like to discuss today and I’m hoping y’all have some insight into these situations that will help me be more effective than I was last week!  Yes, I exceed all my goals for last week.  However, by being more effective, I mean I want to be fully confident and comfortable so that the changes and success continue!

  1. It is incredibly difficult to walk this journey alone.
    • Over the years, I have made numerous attempts to try losing weight.  Despite the various methods that I attempted to use to meet this goal, I always had someone that was engaged with my efforts on some level.  However, in each of those cases, the person that was engaged with me did not follow through and I dropped out of the efforts shortly thereafter.
    • One major difference this time was that my wife got involved in the changes and has been committed to them.  Having a partner in this pursuit has resulted in us always having someone pushing for healthy choices on those days when we don’t feel like it or are tempted to be lazy.
    • Yet, when you are walking the road with someone that is not participating or is not as committed, the temptations to quit or stop are EVERYWHERE.  On the road, your body cries out for you to stop and there’s nobody around to push you forward.  At meal time, it’s incredibly difficult to stick to healthy eating if someone around you is eating things you enjoy but are choosing not to have. Having had to cook most of our meals as two entirely different meals, I can also understand how freaking inconvenient it would be to cook one meal for yourself and another for your family.
  2. It is incredibly difficult to walk this journey with someone.
    • My wife is over 100 pounds lighter than me and is working at a different pace than I am.  So far, we have been able to walk together just fine.  However, as we progress, our goals are starting to take different turns and we have begun talking about whether our best bet would be to separate our exercise times or not.  This could be directly related to my ankle, but my wife has been having to set her pace off me.  So far, this has been fine, but what if I get to a place where my speed just isn’t enough to beneficial for her?
    • Each week, our scale comes calling and it’s time to weigh in.  While I have been losing weight and can see those results on the scale, my wife has been plateaued.  Her clothes continue to get smaller. Also, we have added walking and have clear proof that her calf muscles have developed AMAZINGLY, but the scale has become a point of contention.  For the last four weeks, despite doing everything right, she hasn’t lost a single pound.  She fluctuates between the same four pounds… just ounces away from her goal of losing her 50th pound.  It has been extremely hard for her to celebrate my losses on the scale when she continues to struggle to get below her next major weight goal which is so very close for her!
  3. I am in huge competition with myself.
    • The first five-mile walk that I did was the first time that I had to walk alone.  I didn’t think much about it because I had been challenged and I wanted to meet that challenge.  During this last past week, though, I learned that this was not an event… it is a condition.  Each day last week, while I was walking alone, I would set a mental distance goal before starting my walk.  However, I found that I went further each day and began seeking faster and faster times.  I also experienced a significant amount of frustration when I was unable to beat my previous times.
    • However, the voice inside that is constantly pushing me to work harder, go further, etc., is not the only internal voice that I struggle against.  While I was out there alone, I also struggled against other internal voices.  Voices that challenged me for pushing myself so hard or torturing myself.  Voices that tempted me to find faulty logic to abandon some of my goals and re-establish a more balanced way of life.  Voices that constantly begged me to stop… slow down… rest.  By the end of the internal conversation, I got confused and give up.  I mean, seriously, there is a time for everything.  The key to this everything has to center on BALANCE and finding balance in a world filled with such extreme changes can be SO difficult.
  4. I never knew how much the various aspects of a step could impact the execution of a comfortable walk. 
    • I have come to realize that I need a personal stepping coach.  When I first started walking, I didn’t even think about how I walk let alone analyze the way that I move my feet.  Lately, I have been noticing how important everything wp-1486571531159.jpginvolved in the process of a step actually is.  HOLY MOSES!  Learning to lose weight or how to exercise should come with its own Bachelor’s degree. Seriously!
    • I have a tendency to walk with my right foot, but only lift up and drop my left foot which causes a lot of pain if I am not conscious about how I am taking my stride.  Once I started paying attention to that, I found that I wasn’t following through the entire stride of my left foot which caused increased tension and soreness in my left foot.  Am I really a person that has pay THIS MUCH attention to something I have been doing my WHOLE LIFE?!
    • I also have to admit that I am a complete moron when it comes to knowing what makes a good walking shoe and what would make a good walking shoe for me and my wife.  I own these wonderful Sketchers with memory foam or whatevers, but I have NEVER paid attention to whether my shoe is actually good for walking five miles!

I don’t know how you feel after reading all of this, but I feel incredibly frustrated.  I have never put forth on this blog that I am an expert or that I even have a clue what I am doing when it comes to exercise and weight loss.  Honestly, though, I have always tried put out information that I know or that I am confident with.  Today, I feel like I am just verbally venting to anyone to anyone that may read this blog!  I don’t even know if that’s against the rules of blogging or not.  Haha!  Oh well, I guess I have made it clear that I am pursuing openness, vulnerability, and honesty.

Let me know in the comments below what struck your thoughts as you were reading my revelations.  Maybe you, dear reader, are holding an important key that I have been missing or have been overlooking.

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 🙂

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Challenges

Greetings, readers, from the medium that I have come to think of as home.  Welcome to my comfort zone.  Regardless of my goal for openness and honesty, my blog has become my shelter where I can share openly from in a way that feels safe to me.  Just a little bit ago, however, I tried on a new platform as I was challenged to step outside of my comfort zone. Today, I embraced Facebook Live.  Yes, everyone, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I spent a few minutes giving some tips to a weight loss group I am in.  These tips were largely drawn from a post I shared earlier on this blog about preparing at the beginning of the week to enable a successful week of eating.  It was odd and uncomfortable, but I jumped in and gave it all I had.

This week has seemed to focus on one thing:  challenge.  Oddly enough, this challenge has all seemed to come from one source (ahem… AMY!!!!… ahem).  Despite my overwhelming success in the area of weight loss, Amy took it upon herself to encourage me to seriously make a full-hearted run at winning the weight wp-1485141516049.jpgloss competition that I have entered.  Unlike everyone else, I’m well into this process and I’m not getting those impressive first week numbers.  I’m losing at a steady pace and the introduction of the weight loss competition went almost unnoticed.  This also led to a rather passive participation in the competition.  Maybe I didn’t really believe I had a shot since I won’t be losing those big numbers.

However, Amy sent me a message and asked how she could encourage me to start doing exercise as a part of my weight loss.  She also did a live video demonstrating some exercises she is incorporating as a way for her to get moving and try and loose those pounds for the competition.  People… you never get to choose when inspiration strikes.  For me, when I saw Amy and her workout partner, Amanda, struggling with these exercises on LIVE VIDEO, I realized that 1)I’m not the only person that is out of shape and finds exercise exhausting, 2)they had the courage to do these exercises on LIVE VIDEO as a way of encouraging our team and 3)I had no more excuses to hide behind.

This week, Amy challenged me to step out of my comfort zone with weight loss.  I’d love to wp-1485141480076.pngtell you how miraculous the results are, but I haven’t dropped any impressive numbers.  I can, however, tell you the increased level of energy and the joy of accomplishment I have felt as I racked up  10.59 miles on the road this week.  To ensure that I continue to work at this goal, I have registered in my first 5k run.  It is in Springfield, MO, on April 22, 2017, and I would love for anyone to come out and join us!  Message me if you’d like to join our team!

It has been these challenges that have encouraged me to push further, press deeper, and work harder at the goals that I have had up to this point.  I want to loose this weight, but I also want to win this competition.  I may not get those big numbers that the newbies are seeing, but I have one thing they haven’t got:  four months of consistency.  This isn’t a crash diet or short-term commitment.  This is a real life change and I’ve settled into a stride that keeps me consistently losing weight at a very healthy pace.  This week, however, I found a way to increase my efforts as I seek to be the top male in my age group.  I want to win and I’m going to work for it.

Similarly, though, I have felt the need to increase my efforts with this blog, as well.  I want to reach out to those that want to lose weight and show almost every single one of them that there is someone who is worse off than them that is doing this successfully.  I want to be in contact with every person that is discouraged or passively dreaming that they didn’t have to struggle with the excess weight that impacts everything from their daily self-care rituals to their mobility or self-esteem.  I don’t think I can do that making one post a week.

I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to do it, yet, but I am going to be increasing my efforts with this blog, too.  I started this to be a community of support for those that are wanting or striving to lose weight.  If I want that goal to be realized, I’m going to have to work at this goal more intentionally.  I am committing to adding one more blog post per week.  Up until now, I’ve posted mainly once per week on the weekend.  Now, however, I am going to post once on the weekend and once on Wednesday mornings.  I have several other ideas, but I’m not ready to commit to any of them just yet.

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

  • September 11, 2016: 450+pounds
  • Today: 369.6 pounds
  • Total loss  80.4 pounds (30.1% of my total excess body weight)

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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)

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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)

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

 

Disillusionment – A Goal Killer

Greetings from beautiful Southern Missouri where Ol’ Man Winter has decided to finally make his grand appearance.  This year, Mr. Winter chose to use a “fashionably late” approach, but it seemed to get everyone’s attention as we are now at the end of November and that bitter chill has finally made its way into those breezy gusts of winter wind.  Only a few young2016-11-18-22.01.37.jpg.jpger members of our society are stepping outside the house while wearing shorts or missing a jacket.

This year, that wind seems to carry an extra bite as I’ve so quickly begun to shed that extra layer of defense that I have been carrying for so many years.  It’s such an amazing feeling to know my body has changed so much since Septemeber  that it is now having to learn how to handle familiar situations in new ways.  It’s mind-boggling how quickly our bodies can begin to heal when we stop inflicting damage upon them and focus on living healthy lives.  So, as I snuggle up in my winter sweater and hide from the bitter chill by staying inside with my beautiful Christmas decorations this evening, I’d like to talk about an epiphany I had this Thanksgiving:  you can’t make anyone want or desire change.  Period.

Over the past two and a half months, I have been documenting my story with the hopes of showing others in my situation that it doesn’t take a miracle to change one’s life.  Far too many times, I have been sitting on the couch watching the story of someone that lost huge amounts of weight, felt momentary inspiration, and picked up my next slice of pizza and washed it down with a smooth Bud Light.  They put forth so much fanfare and jubilation that it’s inspiring to see someone that has worked so hard being rewarded with the positive attention and gifts.   But why didn’t that inspiration lead to change?

Seeing a moving story and the possibility of achieving a goal I’ve always had, but never really pursued, was inspiring. For me, though, I couldn’t feel more than a few moments of inspiration because I felt like that person had miraculously found a way to do something I COULD NEVER DO!  My goal with documenting my journey was so that people could see that no miracle takes away 250 pounds… making better choices does.

So many people have visited with me and asked me questions about what I am doing.  Throughout the entirety of my journey, though, those that are looking for change are inevitably DISAPPOINTED when I offer that I have gotten rid of processed foods, eat more vegetables, and track my macros.  It’s like they are secretly hoping I’ve found some new, cheap wonder-drug that will help them lose the weight without actually trying or working to reach their goal.  The disappointment leads to different choices: criticize my strategy, compliment and offer suggestions for improvement on my strategy, simply admit the disappointment, offer reasons why they couldn’t duplicate my behaviors, minimize their choices by focusing on one or two healthy choices that they make… Get the picture?

People HATE change and do everything they can to remain in a place that they feel comfortable with their current situations.  No matter how obviously negative the situation or how devastating the doctor’s warning was, people actively resist making any choice that is uncomfortable.  Denial is a blanket that makes us feel comfortable and gives us a false sense of belief that we really aren’t “that bad”  and helps us to silence that small voice inside that is screaming for something different.

So, isn’t my goal for this blog a pointless one?  Considering the above information, I have to admit that it could definitely appear that way.  However, what if someattach21604_20161124_082802.jpgone has already decided to change and find me while they are actively pursuing or preparing for change?  Could I inspire them or offer those people tips for success?  That’s a big HELL yes.

With that knowledge, I’ll continue my approach with a slightly improved vision for this blog and the goals I have for writing it. I can be an inspiration, but I can’t force or create the desire for change.  That’s a personal process for everyone… just like it was for me.

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

  • September 11, 2016: 450+pounds
  • Today: 397.2 pounds
  • Total loss:  52.8 pounds (19.7% of my total excess body weight)

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