Thursday, January 19, 2017

Stall Warning

When you fly a plane, if you try to climb too fast or you change your angle of attack (how aggressively the wing attacks the air) too suddenly, you create a stall. Depending upon your plane, you will get a nasty buzzing noise or the computer freaks out and starts yelling at you.

Unfortunately, stalls are also a part of weight loss, but they don’t come with a warning. They can happen after you try something specifically stupid, like pushing yourself too hard to hit a target. Possibly someone you know (or are reading about) has done this recently. Possibly someone who looks a lot like me.

Yes, I was stupid. In my race to make 230 lbs on January 1 (which I managed, which got me hundred pounds weight loss in eight months) I kind of pushed it a little hard. Unfortunately, the human body doesn’t play fair, and doesn’t give mulligans.

So I have spent the last two weeks at around 230 pounds. It’s frustrating to get on the scale and see that it really hasn’t moved, but I also realize that this is my body paying me back. I pushed hard for something, and I got it, but there is a cost with pushing that hard.

So I’m trying to be good, trying to stay hydrated and making sure I eat enough. It’s funny, in my ninth month of doing this, I am struggling to eat enough calories each day. Other than occasional psychological cravings for certain foods (Golden Double Stuf Oreos are particular repeat offender) I am really not interested in eating.

Part of that may be stress. Some of you may know, some of you may not, but I am no longer a part of the team at Price Chiropractic Center. I now have my own small practice which I am looking to expand. There is a lot of stress that comes with that, a lot of fear and a lot of action in spite of fear. Unfortunately, stress releases a lovely little hormone in our bodies called cortisol, and cortisol causes you to gain weight, or at least makes it very difficult to lose it.

So I realize between my shenanigans up to January 1, and the added stress load since December 30, weight loss for me right now is going to be a little bit difficult.

This is when the WHY is so important. Anyone who has heard me speak on weight loss will tell you that I have a firm belief that you need a WHY, as well as a HOW.

Whenever people ask me about weight loss, they invariably ask me how I did it. I always tell than that asking HOW is the wrong question. The most important question is WHY did I do it.

If you’re not motivated to lose weight, it doesn’t matter how you could lose weight, because you are not going to. You have to be motivated, you have to want it, and then you have to build that want, turning it into a desire, into a hunger, into a determination, and finally into an obsession.

You don’t lose 100 pounds of weight without getting determined. There have been many times in the last 8 ½ months where I could have failed. I haven’t. I have stayed on this new way of eating, even to the frustration of friends and family. And I stay on that because I have a very strong WHY.

So even in this stall, which is frustrating and probably a result of my going for it, I’m staying focused and determined.

Hopefully I’ll break through this stall soon, but if it lasts a while, so be it.

Next goal is 200. Hoping to be there by May 1.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Doing something new...

I did something today that I’ve never done before. In fact, until the last few months of my life, it was something that I hated.

I actually paid someone to take a picture of me.

I know, crazy right?

For me, having someone take my picture has always been something to avoid. When you’re morbidly obese, you don’t want anybody to look at you, but you especially don’t want a camera anywhere near you because you don’t want to record that image of you for history.

But I actually paid a professional photographer this morning to take a head shot of me. I assured her that she will have to use a lot of Photoshop to make it look good. :-)

I’m kind of nervous to see how it turns out.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Food is fuel – not fun

Food is fuel – not fun (with apologies to Bruce the shark in Finding Nemo).

Someone recently asked me what I eat. As I thought about it, I realized that I tend to eat a lot of the same things. Holly, my wife, has been very supportive of my lifestyle change, but I know it has been hard on her as she has felt like she can’t make a lot of the foods that she wants to make for me.

In conversation with someone, I was able to finally explain clearly what I feel about food at this point.

Food is fuel – not fun.

I use that analogy very specifically. For the longest time, I have used food for a source of comfort, and something to look forward to. In the past, foods like pizza, pasta, soda, milk and bread have been a staple of my life, and I have enjoyed eating them.

So why change how I was eating? Because for me, they were the wrong type of fuel.

Let me explain it like this.

If you inherited a really nice car, and that car ran on premium unleaded, what kind of fuel would you put in it?

You could put premium gasoline, or economy gasoline…or you could try any number of fuels like alcohol, aviation gas, kerosene, jet fuel or even diesel.

Sounds stupid right – you know what your car needs to run smoothly and without risking damage to the components, so that’s what you put in it… right?

Why is your body any different? You wouldn’t put a lower efficiency fuel in your car, so why would you put a lower efficiency fuel in your body.

So yes, I do eat a diet that is probably less varied than other people. And yes, there are times when I would like to indulge in something that would probably taste really good.

So why don’t I – simply because I have a WHY.

In my mind, I have a very specific set of reasons as to why I am eating and living the way I do.

For me, weight loss is not just about looking better, although that’s part of it, but it’s a small part. The WHY for my weight loss involves serving my family in the way I would like to. It involves having more energy to be able to do the things that I need to do for them. It involves being able to increase my income, and finally give them the lives I want them to have.

Whatever your reason to change your life, the intensity of your WHY has to be stronger than the difficulty of the HOW, so you can achieve the WHAT that is going to make all the difference to the quality of your life.

So I choose to fuel my body for performance and function, and not focus on the emotional aspect of eating. Focusing on how food made me feel emotionally is a big part of what resulted in me weighing 340 lbs.

If I can find some enjoyment in food along the way, fantastic. Great benefit, but it’s not the overriding factor in what I choose to eat.

Sometimes I get tired of eating the same kind of foods – so what? It’s just fuel. If I can change it up and make it less boring within the parameters of my food program – then great, let’s do that.

But I will not sacrifice my progress or my possibilities in the future just to appease how I feel emotionally. That’s not what food is about.

Food is fuel, not fun.

So if you find yourself reluctant to make a change that you know you need to, chances are it’s because food is an emotional decision in your life, not a physiological one.

Ask yourself – what foods am I unwilling to give up? Then try to decide why that is. Because if you are making emotional decisions about food, my guess is that you are probably struggling with self control over the things that you eat.

Emotional eating is dangerous, since it allows us to avoid confronting the problems that we want to ignore, and increases our weight at the cost of our health.

Emotional eating, coupled with a diet that is high in carbohydrates, is a sure fire way to end up dealing with obesity, diabetes and death.

So even though it’s hard, and boring sometimes, and frustrating, I choose to make the choice of fueling my body with what it needs, when it needs it, regardless of how I feel about it.

Food is fuel, and it can be fun, as long as it stays within the guidelines.

Wherever you are, I hope you have a wonderful day. It’s freezing cold where we are, and another winter storm is headed our way. More snow, and freezing temperatures, on top of already packed ice and crazy road conditions. Going to be a fun weekend!

Stay safe, and eat well.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

An unexpected miracle…

I wrote last week about my unwanted Christmas present, when the scale showed me that I had gained weight. I was pretty sure it was water weight – but it still wasn’t what I was looking for.

When I started losing weight, I wanted to be at 250 lbs by Christmas. At the time, it seemed like a crazy goal that I could never reach.

Until I got there way earlier.

Then it was 240 by Christmas, but I achieved that early as well.

So then I wanted the big one – 100 lbs in 8 months.

When I started this journey on May 2, I weighed 330 lbs. To lose 100 lbs in 8 months, I would need to weigh 230 lbs by January 1, 2017.

It seemed impossible, but then it started to look like I could make it…and I got really hopeful..

Until last weekend. The scale showed me the bad news on Christmas day – there seemed to be no way I could reach my goal.

But I didn’t give up – I kept going, and going, and going. All through Christmas Day. Through a very stressful week at work, and through a weekend that was changing my life.

And then came the scale on Sunday. The moment of truth.

I knew there was still a chance that I could make it. When you are losing weight like I have done, there are things we call “stalls and whooshes”. A stall is when your body refuses to lose weight, hanging on as hard as it can to the weight…until it finally lets go.

And let go it did.

I stood on the scale, watching and waiting…would it work, had I made it, was I going to be rewarded for all my hard work and sacrifice...

Yes. Yes I was.

When I looked at the number I could see a 2, then a 3, and finally a 0.

I had done it.

100 lbs lost in 8 months – I weighed 230 lbs.

I can’t really tell you how it felt. It’s too hard to put into words. For just a moment, I felt at peace. I felt like a weight had been lifted from me. For one moment, the clouds had parted, and the sun shone through. I felt like I had achieved something unexpected – something magical.

Part of me wanted to cry, part of me wanted to shout, but the rest of me was at peace.

I realize weighing 230 lbs doesn’t make everything better. I am still facing huge challenges in my life as I try to move in the direction of my dreams. There are many hurdles to overcome, there is much work to be done.

Next up – Onederland. That’s the name we who have lost huge amounts of weight call that moment when the scale no longer starts with a 2, but instead begins with a 1.

My goal right now – to try and achieve that by May 1, 2017.

130 lbs in a year – 140 down from my highest.

That’s something that will require a lot of effort and a continued desire to improve.

I have come a long way, but there is still so far to go.

To all of you who have helped, supported and uplifted me – thank you. This is your victory too.

100 lbs – 8 months.

I never thought I could do it…

So what else can I achieve.

I wonder.

This post has been edited.