Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Re-Education of Me


I haven't had a very good week; not much exercise, 1 big binge, a lot of fairly mindless/ fairly unhealthy eating, very inconsistent food/water/exercise tracking.

I'm just frustrated by my failures this week, and with the fact that because I have such a long way to go in many ways, I will likely continue to have failures occasionally; a binge, a shitty day, an off week.

I think the root of the frustration is not even mainly with the fact that failures will occur, but more with the fact that even though I'm doing a pretty good job looking at them objectively, not beating myself up, and moving on, I am still plagued by the doubtful echo's of a million past failures in my head.

Every time I (rightly) tell myself: "Okay, that was a mistake, but I've looked at it, learned from it, and now, time to focus on making the next choice a good one", a voice tells me "Yeah. Right. Good luck with that".

It's from years of only failing, and never giving myself any grace about it.

It's the reason that no matter how healthy my attitude is after a misstep, I still feel just a little hopeless. I still have a sense of futility about my commitment to move past the failure because I'm so early in this process of real change that I'm far from realizing that these times are different than in the past; that these times I CAN and AM getting back on track after a misstep.

I know the only way to lessen the disbelieving whisper in my ear is to answer it back every time with a healthy action. To, over time, convince every part of me, even the lurking ghosts of a listless past, that I really AM able to change and that I really CAN accomplish what I put my mind to.

I guess it boils down to building trust with myself.

There is a discrepancy within me.

I've spent my whole life telling myself THIS TIME will be different. A lifetime spent convincing myself (convincingly, I might add) that I could create the change I desired and become the person I wanted to be. All the while however, not doing any of it; not long term, and most frequently, not even short term.

I guess it makes sense that after a while I would develop a part of me that no longer bought it. A part that had been burned too many times by the lofty goals of too many ultimately failed "brand new days". Immeasurable disappointment must store somewhere inside a person. In me I'm sure it has set up shop in portions of my heartbroken melancholy, my seething self-hatred, and of course, my nagging self doubt.

Moving forward I accept that I may occasionally falter in this journey, and I do so lovingly and with grace.

And now I choose to strive to reeducate every dark corner of my being on who I am and what I'm truly capable of.

I will learn to trust myself.

New internal expectations will, over time, be set - and firmly so.

The voices will fade, the discrepancy between my intentions and my actions will disappear, and I will become peacefully congruent.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Passing Cynicism on the Road to Recovery

Cynicism - An attitude of scornful or jaded negativity.

When I grew up, my peers and I were told by teachers, parents, television, politicians, the tales of historical figures, etc, that we could accomplish anything.

The sky was the limit.

If you put your mind to it, anything was possible.

When I became a teenager and grew into an adult, I started realizing that wasn't true.

What was true is that life was a hard, complicated thing.

What was true was that there was very little that was cool that was really optimistic or hopeful.

What was true was the plentiful hilarity to be found in mocking those who still clung to the "childish" belief that gosh darn it, you really could do whatever you put your mind to!

What losers; still in denial to the harsh realities of life. They weren't as sophisticated as me, clearly.

They just didn't "get it".


Now, to be clear, I didn't grow up into a pessimistic beatnik poet or something, but I feel I did succumb to a common thing I've seen in this society: coping with life while growing up, which is hard, through developing a sense of cynicism.

Like many things that seem so genius and had a hand in guiding my actions during my teens and early twenties, I am glad to say my position has changed for the better on the issue.

I'm really glad my position has changed.

Because cynicism is fucking garbage. It's poison.

You know what cynicism does?

It keeps us from things we might end up enjoying: movies, books, music, art, etc. No way we'd ever watch THAT type of a movie. No way we'd listen to country, jazz, classical, rock, or whatever. Ha, that's a good one. People who listen to *insert genre/artist/song here* are ridiculous. No way.

It tells us the powerful quotes of inspiration and truth we hear are just superficial cliches with no real value to us.

It stops us from going to the store to buy healthy food because all those mean people there will just laugh, and point and stare anyway.

It keeps us from deeper, more meaningful relationships with people because how can we ever really be vulnerable with them, trust them, and get close. After all what are their motives? What are they really after? They'll probably just hurt us or use us.

It tells us screw it, no point applying for that job. Nobody wants to hire a big fat person, they'll just discriminate against us. It'll be a waste of time. Why even bother?

It snidely asks what's different about us? Why won't we fail, and fade into the faceless obscurity of the unsuccessful statistical majority? Why?

It tells us to give up, we can't really change. We're kidding ourselves. We're being the same as those obnoxious, relentlessly hopeful bastards who spew their lies from the pages of self help books, motivational speaker conventions, and pulpits all over this county. So snap out of it, it can't be done. Get real.

But all of that is false.

Cynicism shuts doors in life. It closes the windows. It destroys possibility, and opportunity.

It limits, it narrows.

There's nothing smart, or sophisticated, or mature, or wise, or good about it.

Because, wow, what a life is cynicism huh? Missing out on music that could've grown into a great joy in your life, spending copious time mocking others for who they are or what they enjoy, not even applying for the job that could've launched a new direction in your career, getting fat on fast food and delivery because you can't face the people at the neighborhood market, missing out on a friendship or romantic relationship that could've lasted a life time and/or provided lessons, learning, fun, and growth. Being paranoid, suspicious, bitter, hateful, scornful, angry, jaded, prideful, arrogant.

I want to keep moving away from that

I want to spend my life acknowledging reality (including the negative), but FOCUSING on the positives.

I want to spend my life being open to people, experiences, ideas, actions, etc.

I want to spend life fighting that urge inside that can counter a hopeful, optimistic thought with nagging doubt and a mocking dismissal.

I want to remember that I CAN accomplish my goals, and the goals that will come after that, and the ones I can't even begin to foresee that will come after that.

I'll end with some quotes who's truth, earnestness, and hope I choose to no longer ridicule or doubt.

Instead, I choose to work hard to manifest their truth in my life.

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.” --Dr. Seuss

"There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure." --Colin Powell

"Whether you think you can or can't, you're right"--Henry Ford

Friday, January 23, 2009

Getting Better All the Time: Weekly Review & Planning

My Goals for the last week are listed below, with comments on how I actually did in red:

1) Drink 6 liters of water daily - Didn't accomplish all 7 days, but did manage for 5.

2) Do at least 1/2 hour of cardio (the class, walks, aerobics at home, etc) at least 5 days - Didn't accomplish; only did cardio twice: once for 60 mins on Wednesday (best workout yet btw), and 45 mins on Thursday.

3) Work out with weights at home at least 2 times. - Didn't accomplish, but did do 30 wall push-ups twice.

4) Measure the cereal servings I'm putting in the big bowl I eat every morning - Didn't accomplish at all.

5) No Binges - Did not accomplish. Binged 4 times.

6) Write at least 4 posts on this blog - Did not accomplish, only wrote 2.

7) In the interest of continuing to increase awareness in all areas of my life, expand my list of goals for 2009 to include a variety of areas and subjects. And keep them in an area where I can review them frequently - Did not accomplish at all.

I did lose 8 pounds this week.

That feels good, not amazing, but damn good. It doesn't feel amazing because I know that the only reason that was possible is because I got so sick with food poisoning on Tuesday that it countered the 4 binge meals I'd eaten in the day previous.

However, it does feel good. I didn't eat anything too bad Fri, Sat, and until the late night binge, Sunday either. And I ate GREAT Wednesday and Thursday, had one of the best cardio workouts I've had in the last few years on Wednesday, and worked out well yesterday too.

Actually, I thought I might not weigh myself this week because I figured that with of the all binging and sickness, and honestly, the fact I had doused 2 1/2 huge bowls of salad in soy sauce last night, which, while low sodium, still ended up being SO much salt, and the fact that the only scale in the immediate area that can weigh me is at a retirement home 15 minutes across town, I thought meh, I'll do it next week. But, as I was getting ready this morning I started noticing that I felt and could almost see that I had lost a little weight, so I thought, what the hell, guess I'll do it.

Glad I did.

Okay, now, looking ahead. Below are my goals for the next week

1) Drink 6 liters of water daily.

2) Do at least 1/2 hour of cardio (the class, walks, aerobics at home, etc) at least 5 days.

3) Do at least 30 wall push-ups at least 5 days

4) Measure my morning cereal to be aware of how many servings I'm eating.

5) No binges

6) Write at least 4 posts on this blog

7) Create a new section or subsection on this blog for other broader goals for 2009.

8) Begin process of creating in a binder an organized catalogue of the therapeutic experiences, notes, quotes, hand-outs, stories, letters, etc, that I've collected in the last year

Well, what can I say, I feel amazingly good about being able to come back from the hellish spiral of binging. And it feels great to have done that through the healthy means of drawing on support, reading positive things, opening up honestly to others, participating in healthy guilt, giving myself grace, getting in touch with reality and with my goals in this process, and consciously making choices that have me now RIGHT back on track with momentum, motivation, awareness, and tenacity.

I am for some reason reminded of something a therapist said to me during an experience last spring: You will get out of this what you put in.

I love that. I know that in its broad application that concept is common knowledge, but like so many common knowledge/common sense things, so many obvious pearls of wisdom - just because we've heard them or agree with them doesn't mean we don't act in contrary ways to those principles sometimes, or even often.

You see people actively contradict that wisdom frequently: in the person who approaches a mental health professional with an attitude of: "You're so smart? We'll see. Figure me out then, tell me how I work", or in the person hiring a personal trainer: "I am so out of shape. I need you to make me lose weight", or even in a minority of the electorate right now: "Alright, go ahead...fix America. Fix it. Pay my mortgage."

You want some emotional healing? Give yourself over to the process. Be honest, be humble, be open, be introspective, think hard, give yourself time, be willing to really listen to other ideas and thoughts.

You want a great America? Love your family, support your friends, be kind to strangers, work hard and enjoy life, help the less fortunate, practice rigorous integrity.

You want to lose weight and become healthy? Recognize there may be more at the root of your issues than the fat - do something about that. Eat right - whatever you can do. Exercise - however much you can. Be good to yourself, give yourself grace and love, don't shoot for a perfect ideal, don't lose hope when you fail, pick yourself up and move on.

"You will get out of this what you put in" - a lesson I have spent most of my life knowing, but not actively trying to live by.

I am far from there still, as with most positive things I'm trying to incorporate in my life.

But now, more and more, I choose to keep trying to live by those words.

I am, every day, in very little ways, trying to put in to this process, these experiences, this life, what I want to get out.

Aaaaaaaaaaaand, on to the next...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Beautiful Struggle

A look back on my Friday-Monday. A step-by-step look at how failure is created.

Friday: After coming in with a 6 pound weight loss for the last week, I choose to eat a little more carelessly - not binge - but allow myself a little more freedom than usual. I choose not to work-out. I am not mindful enough in general to remember to write down food & water intake. I don't read as many blogs in the evening as I normally do.

Saturday: I choose, a little less mindfully/consciously than the day before, to continue the relaxed eating. I choose, again a little less mindfully/consciously, to not work out. I remember to write down food and water for the day before, but do not remain mindful enough to write down anything for the actual Saturday itself besides breakfast. I don't stay nearly as active and read nearly as many blogs as I normally do.

Sunday: I eat a big breakfast and eat almost nothing for the remainder of the day. I am mindful enough to write down breakfast, but not anymore food choices or water intake. I work out briefly in the afternoon, doing 30 wall push-ups. I don't think I read any blogs. Late at night I am famished and get the urge to binge. I give in to the urge extremely fast without giving it a second thought. The binge consists of McDonald's: 2 double cheeseburgers w/mayo, 1 spicy chicken sandwich w/extra mayo; Taco Bell: 2 cheesy double beef burritos, 3 cheese roll-ups, 1 cheese quesadilla, 1 side of nacho cheese; Jack in the Box; 1 ultimate cheeseburger w/extra mayo, 1 breakfast sandwich w/mayo. Local fast food Mexican place: 1 cheese quesadilla.

Monday: I wake up with the desire and urge to binge. By 2:00pm I have eaten three enormous meals consisting, in total, of: 3 servings of potato curry, roughly 6 servings of frosted shredded wheat, 4 hard boiled eggs made into egg salad with 2 1/2 heaping tablespoons of mayonnaise, 1 can of beef tamales heated and mixed with 3 heaping tablespoons of mayonnaise, 10 flour tortillas. I do not write down what I eat or my water intake. I do not exercise. By nightfall I am incredibly miserable. I read no blogs.

(FYI: Tuesday I didn't eat anything all day and was out for the count because around 9:00pm Monday night I came down with food poisoning - instant karma? ;) - which went strong through Tuesday night.)

Here is what I feel there is to be learned from the experience of Fri-Mon: I largely attribute the slide into complete chaos to a number of choices that slowly increased and created a less mindful, more disconnected self. As the days went on I slowly started removing all the daily elements that serve both as important structure in my days, as well as the conscious reminders of my goals (short and long term).

I think the lessons to be learned here are far from shocking, but still a perpetually important reminder to me: I must stay in the moment. I am much better served to live my days with a high level of awareness of the choices I am making. I am much more likely to succeed when I actively work to maintain the various structure-creating elements in my day (blogging, reading blogs, commenting on blogs, writing down what I eat throughout the day, keeping track of and writing down my water intake, exercising)

I think a success here to be noted is this: While I did come down hard on myself Monday for the binging and gave myself some hateful self talk, it didn't last as long as it used to. In the past a cluster of binges such as this coming on the heels of a month of success would've likely thrown me into 2 months to 2 years of more binging, emotional/mental shutdown, and on the off occasion I wasn't shut down - extreme depression and self hatred.

In this case however, by Monday night I was able to share the reality of my actions and my feelings around them with a supportive loved one and was able to deal with my unhealthy choices via healthy guilt.

As Brennan Manning writes in his excellent book A Glimpse of Jesus:

"Unhealthy guilt is self-centered; it stirs our emotions to churn in self-destructive ways, leads to depression and despair, closes us in upon ourselves...Healthy guilt adds not a single paragraph to the script for self-hatred. To the contrary, (it) leads to realistic confrontation, ruthless honesty, and self-knowledge; it stimulates compunction, contrition, the desire for reconciliation and inner peace."

Beautifully, though I am still a ways off, I feel that with every misstep, failure and struggle, I come a litter bit closer to having healthy guilt replace unhealthy guilt as my "gut reaction" attitude.

I accept my choices this week - I have processed them, dealt with them, felt the myriad of feelings that came with them. So now, simply, I choose to move on.

One action and One day at a time.

I will do all that I can: make my next choice a good one.

Friday, January 16, 2009

You Say You Want an Evolution: Weekly Review & Planning

My Goals for the last week are listed below, with comments on how I actually did in red:
1) Drink 6 liters of water daily. - Goal accomplished.

2) Do at least 1/2 hour of cardio (the class, walks, aerobics at home, etc) at least 5 days. - Goal accomplished. Did an average of 50 minutes of cardio 5 days this week.

3) Work out with weights at home at least 2 times. - Didn't accomplish, but did do 30-40 wall push-ups 5 days this week.

4) Because I've been doing this for a couple weeks and want to keep it up, and also want to keep track of the healthy habits I'm building, this week a goal will be to continue to write down everything I eat on my sub-blog. - Goal accomplished.

5) No binges - Goal accomplished, though did have a pretty consistently bad food day last Friday.

6) Write at least 4 posts on this blog - Goal accomplished.

7) I'm not sure if I will always want to make a certain number of weight loss a goal, and I'm already wavering as to its usefulness, but for now I'll keep it. So my goal for this next week is the same as the number I accomplished this last week: Lose 9 lbs, which will take me under 590. - Didn't accomplish. I lost 6 pounds.

You know, I feel pretty freaking great about this week.

I kicked ass physically, I ate well, and no matter the highs or lows of the week, my attitude/perspective/overall emotional well-being around this losing weight/getting healthy effort has remained amazingly grounded in objective optimism.


Okay, now, looking ahead. Below are my goals for the next week*:

1) Drink 6 liters of water daily.

2) Do at least 1/2 hour of cardio (the class, walks, aerobics at home, etc) at least 5 days.

3) Work out with weights at home at least 2 times.

4) Measure the cereal servings I'm putting in the big bowl I eat every morning, and if there's too many (I suspect there might be as many as 4 in there when I'm done filling it to the top) lower that number to a max of 2 servings anytime I eat cereal, all week.

5) No binges

6) Write at least 4 posts on this blog

7) In the interest of continuing to increase awareness in all areas of my life, expand my list of goals for 2009 to include a variety of areas and subjects. And keep them in an area where I can review them frequently.

*No weight loss goal.

This last week I worked out 5 days for 50 minutes of hard cardio and I lost 6 pounds. Last week I worked out only 3 days for 45 minutes of hard cardio and I lost 9 pounds.

So, in summary, I really cranked up the work-outs this week and my food was just as good as last week, yet I lost 3 less pounds.

But, check this out man, because this is blowing my mind...


In fact, I am STOKED.


Dammit, I feel GRRRRRRREAT!!

And why?

Because I am in this for the long haul.

I no longer need the scale to be my friend that I co-dependently look to and let define whether I'm happy or sad like I have during all my past "getting healthy" attempts. I also no longer need the love and recognition from telling friends and family I am losing weight fast and in big ways: "Hey, guess what? I lost 25 pounds this week! Isn't that awesome?! I did good, right?!?!"

The only reason I get on the scale once a week now is to allow me a chance to pat myself on the back, and/or to think about what I might want to tweak next week as my evolution progresses.

Because what does one week really matter when I'm in this forever?

Here's what I know to be one of the most powerfully true things I've ever realized, and more importantly, internalized: If I am now on a path, not just to get down to 225 lbs, not just to lose weight, but to really become a healthy person for the rest of my life - then nothing matters besides to KEEP GOING.


That is it.

I had an inkling of that fact when I wrote my very first post on this blog, and actually, I ended that inaugural post with a reminder to myself of that fact, that Most Important Weight Loss Tip of All Time.

I'll end this post with it too:


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I Feel Good...and I Knew That I Would Now

I feel good

Soooo good.

Life is improving. The comprehensive quality of my life is improving.

I'm progressing and it feels great.

The biggest shocker so far? I found an exercise routine I can do that I don't even have to spend hours motivating myself to do - I don't dislike it THAT MUCH.

Here's what I do:

At the end of my work day, somewhere generally between 5 and 6. I turn on something to watch and just start working out (primarily two different movements that I switch between throughout the duration: laterally stepping back and forth with various arm movements in repetition, and jogging in place with shadow boxing).

I do it for 40-50 minutes, throw in 30-40 wall push-ups, and drenched in sweat with sore muscles I call it a day

But here's the amazing part...I have to stop myself.

Again, because it's an astonishing thing on par with Bigfoot, and the Virgin Mary appearing in tortilla's in the southwest, let me repeat: I have to stop myself...from working out more. I COULD keep going for at least another 1/2 hour. At least.

It's amazing. The only other exercise that I have ever felt even remotely as agreeable to is walking around outside. Currently however, I am not really game for walking for two reasons: 1) it's icy off and on now and I have no interest in attempting to walk on that, slip, and break my ass, and 2) at almost 600 pounds I draw such large amounts of "drive-by attention" I might as well hire a band to play fat person tuba music behind me while I walk.

Anyway, I feel excellent and had to get that out. It's sure nice to remember that it's possible to be truly overcome with positive emotions after so long of either feeling nothing or being overcome with negative ones.

It's wild though. We know that it's making the healthy choices physically and emotionally that ultimately make us happy. We know the comfort that large amounts of unhealthy food and lounging about offer us is superficial, brief, and false. Yet, we so often forget that truth, or convince ourselves the lies ARE the truth.

I don't ever want to lose sight of those realities again.

So, one day at a time.

Tomorrow I plan to continue on and keep remembering that if I love myself and work hard on being healthy I KNOW that when it's over I will feel damn good.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Brief Affirmation of this Journey

This morning I remembered an excellent concept a good friend of mine once shared with me, and I thought I'd share it here for what it's worth:

When you see a person who is pale, sweating, shivering - generally looking feverish, maybe even throwing up...what would you call that person?



A truly sick person wouldn't have the ability to heal. Their body would break down, unable to cope with the issues inside them.

It's the person who is dealing with their sickness through a natural healing process who is ultimately healthy. That person is undergoing the process of healing, and it may be painful, long, uncomfortable, unpleasant, or just hard to do, but it's through that process that they are able to become well.

A great thing to remember, especially when struggling, is that truth:

Much like the body goes through difficult times in order to rid itself of an illness and become well, so can we as people choose to go through the occasionally or even frequently difficult process of healing in order to rid ourselves of excess fat, physical ailments, negative attitudes & perspectives, and instead gain a higher level of health: mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Obesity Epidemic

I was reading Losing Waists post and I started getting worked up about something off her topic, but related. I soon knew I had a lot of thoughts, so thought I'd move over here and write them down. Thanks to LW for a great post and the food for thought btw, I highly recommend it, and all of her stuff actually, she's an excellent inspiration.

Okay, here's what bothers me: People can't figure out why we have an "Obesity Epidemic". Or if they think they can, they're wrong (i.e. because McDonald's & fast food places market so gosh darn effectively to kids and families)

Well wait, first off let me preface by saying that yes, it is an epidemic. There is an Obesity Epidemic. An epidemic qualifies as something that "is affecting a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population, community, or region at the same time" The number of obesity in America over the last 20 years has become exactly that.

Alright, here ladies and gentlemen, is the reason we have that Obesity Epidemic. One reason is our diet as Americans (hormones, additives, worse food available easier, etc.) and one is inadequate treatment for thyroid and metabolism issues, and one is that kids are being raised with much less physical activities and much worse diets .

But HERE, is the main reason:

Throughout the history of humanity there has been people with issues: ranging from normal, to more serious, to severe. By issues I mean they were neglected growing up, or abandoned, physically abused, emotionally abused, sexually abused, were victims of alcoholic/drug addict parents, witnessed horrific things, had depression or other chemical imbalances, etc. These people are far more prevalent historically, and currently, that will ever be fully known. Suffice to say these people have been, and are, everywhere.

Here's how the average American lived from the creation of our country until the mid part of the last century: 1) Worked hard: either on farm, started profession (generally manual labor) at extremely early age, lots more manual labor work in general (agriculture, service, industrial, etc.) no computer programmers, secretaries, and other sedentary jobs - even the salesmen were frequently door to door instead of sitting at a desk on a phone. 2) Food consumption was less, less available/cheap bad food (fast food, cheap supermarket crap, etc.), less emphasis on eating (no commercials in magazines, TV, movies, newspapers, billboards, hats, cars, signs, saying to eat), and again, most importantly, what people WERE eating was being worked off in their daily routine.

Okay, having established the difference that existing between our culture for several hundred years and the last 50, lets go back to taking a look at that significant portion of the population that has always struggled with deep rooted issues because of any of the causes listed earlier, etc. Those people for the first couple hundred years in America may have become drunks, or drug addicts. They may have taken out their issues through spousal assault, may have have been sexually promiscuous to the point of serious personal detriment, may have floundered throughout life unable to cope, may have been called a crazy person, may have become a gambler and ruined their lives financially, may have simply led extremely unproductive, unhappy lives. WHY might they have done and/or become all those things? Because they COULD.

You know what was HARD to do then?

Sit on your ass all day and eat. Only the very rich could afford that.

Guess what? Now anyone can. Now tons of jobs that even middle class and even poverty level people have require no physical labor. Now the cheapest food to buy for you and/or your family are Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Little Debbie snack cakes, Ramen noodles, double cheeseburgers, $5 dollar little ceasar pizza, kool-aid, etc. Now even more middle class and poverty level people have a roof over their head and a couch and a TV. Now financial irresponsibility runs rampant, so its possible to become sedentary and eat tons without even having much of a job, or even one at all depending on what government assistance you qualify for.

SO, while your average person might become heavy these days or even obese because of a sedentary lifestyle filled with poor food options that America more easily offers than ever before, I believe the huge amount of people in this country who are REALLY obese people; those 5'4 women going 280, the 5'8 women going 360, the 5'10 guys going 410, and the 6'3 guys going 500, 600, 700, 800 pounds. Those people would've turned to one of the twenty ways you could deal with having issues in your life 80, 150, 200 years ago that I mentioned above (drugs/alcohol, abusing others, gambling, sex, hold it inside and lash out, etc.)

I think that's it.

What is food, but the latest great vice of a nation full of them. A nation full of people just trying to get by and live a good life, but overwhelmed by some of their struggles, and in need of what often amounts to misguided "solutions" to their problems.

And don't get me wrong, I don't think it's society's fault, or the media, or the fast food places fault that obese people get obese. It's still a symptom that each person is responsable for recognizing and then working to heal themselves and there issues and get healthy, but it's still frustrating how off track the mentality of the country is around the issue

For instance, I think nobody on a national scale acknowledges the facts on the matter because there's very few votes to be gained by talking about those massive fundamental problems that hide in every dark corner of our society. There's few votes to be gained by recognizing that obesity is about more than fat people not exercising and eating too much.

There's few votes to be gained by recognizing that the "Obesity Epidemic" is just the most recent epidemic in a long line of them that are simply human beings trying to cope with issues in life that are painful or hard to deal with. It's just a problem now because for the first time in American history, circumstances (availability of food, culture around food, sedentary lifestyle, etc.) are such that it CAN be.

That's it.

Sadly, there are of course plenty of votes to be gained from grandstanding about this darn nemesis of good old American can-do-ness: the Obesity Epidemic. There's plenty of votes to be gained from taking coke machines out of schools and encouraging people to just stop eating at fast food places so darn much!

Anyway, I have plenty more thoughts on what role obesity and obese people can, do, should, or shouldn't play in society, or how I feel about how society treats me and other obese people, but I'll save those for another day.

For today I just felt like I needed to get out some frustration around the media, the government, and society generally scratching their heads or pointing to misguided studies to try to solve this obesity issue. This apparent enigma of a problem, wrapped in mystery, inside a riddle.



They can't see that while plenty of people still smoke some pot or beat their wife to cope, other people now (BECAUSE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN AMERICAN HISTORY, THEY CAN) stuff their face with a few extra double cheeseburgers in between breaks at their job sitting typing reports?

Fucking REALLY?!?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Hello Goodbye: Weekly Review & Planning

My Goals for the last week are listed below, with comments on how I actually did in red:

1) Drink 6 liters of water daily. - Decided the first day of last week to lower that goal (thanks to advice from Fat Lazy Guy) to a more reasonable 4 liters. With today's goal 2 cups away, I reached my goal 5 of the last 6 days since I set these goals.

2) Start new sub-section blog to track water intake progress. - Done (link also at right under "My Workouts & My Eating"

3) Do at least 1/2 hour of cardio (the class, walks, aerobics at home, etc) at least 5 days. - If I workout today I will have done 4 out of the goal of 5.

4) Work out with weights at home at least 3 times. - I didn't work out with weights once, I did do 30-50 wall push-ups several times this week though.

5) No binges - Binged once this week, I didn't write it down or tell anyone about it, but I did do it. I binged on Saturday on a can of Pringles and 2 subway sandwiches (again, NOT the Jared kind).

6) Write at least 4 posts on this blog - Accomplished that goal with this post.

7) Lose 8 lbs - I lost 9 pounds, bringing me to 598 pounds.

Oh man do I feel good about this week. I felt great this morning when I saw I lost 9 pounds, but now that I'm actually reviewing the work I did this week I feel even better.

See, as it turns out, I thought I had done more cardio than I had. In reality I only did cardio 3 of the 6 days since I last posted (I plan to weigh and do weekly reviews every Friday, but did it on Sat last week because I got back into town Friday and didn't have time). So, 9 pounds in 6 days with only 3 days of cardio is Awesome! More importantly, that instantly gets me excited to make my goal of 5 days of cardio in this next 7 days.

Additionally, I feel really good about my water this last week, which was undoubtedly the best its been in 9 months.

Plus, I only binged once! Still one too many, but what a difference compared to the physical anarchy of a month ago.

Okay, now, looking ahead. Below are my goals for the next week:

1) Drink 6 liters of water daily.

2) Do at least 1/2 hour of cardio (the class, walks, aerobics at home, etc) at least 5 days.

3) Work out with weights at home at least 2 times.

4) Because I've been doing this for a couple weeks and want to keep it up, and also want to keep track of the healthy habits I'm building, this week a goal will be to continue to write down everything I eat on my sub-blog.

5) No binges

6) Write at least 4 posts on this blog

7) I'm not sure if I will always want to make a certain number of weight loss a goal, and I'm already wavering as to its usefulness, but for now I'll keep it. So my goal for this next week is the same as the number I accomplished this last week: Lose 9 lbs, which will take me under 590.

And before I end this post, I feel I ought to take one last look back at one of the most significant numbers of my life so far: 600. As in, 600 pounds.

I've crossed important thresholds before and said to myself "I'll never see 400/450/500/550 pounds again", but this time I honest to God mean it in such an intense way. I will NEVER see 600 pounds on a scale ever again.

I don't quite even know how to best honor the meaning in my life of getting over 600 pounds, and the more important moment of bidding it farewell.

Suffice to say that weighing over 600 pounds represented the darkest moment, and the most out of touch moment, in my life. A time when my life long habits of hiding, isolating, self destruction, disconnecting, and denial made their last desperate push to destroy me.

But this last year was also filled with some of the most key mental and emotional growth of my life, and ultimately its the strides I've made in those areas that have helped me turn the tide on the negative habits/tendancies/traits. Every day those poison traits, those poisonous traits that got me to 600 pounds, lose a little of their hold within me and I replace them with positive ones.

Goodbye 600 pounds. Goodbye forever, you horrible, evil, hellish son of a bitch.

Hello 500's.

No, don't get up. Thanks, but I'll keep my coat. No, I'm okay. I don't need to get comfortable.

I don't plan on staying here very long...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

...And the Truth Shall Set You Free

Paradigm - noun, [par-uh-dahym, -dim]
1. A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality.

Paradigm Shift, is a powerful shift in a way something is viewed. However, Paradigm Shift is more than a mid-to-late 90's business world buzz word. It's more then a carelessly coughed up Stephen Coveyism.

When I attempted the first major weight loss effort of my life, the effort was fraught with self-help jargon from Stephen Covey, Zig Zigler, Tony Robbins, etc. It was riddled with pop-psych, self-help concepts because I was making the effort with my father over the summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school, and he was in an extreme self-help phase. It was 1998. I was 16. I started the summer at 353 pounds. At the end of the summer, 8 weeks later, I was 303 pounds.

I really enjoyed all the self help stuff that summer, I ate it up with a big spoon (ironically foreshadowing the multitude of eventual run ins I would have with pints of Ben & Jerry's, and whole Costco cheesecakes)

I loved "I'll see YOU, at the TOP!", I loved "The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure, instead of having pain and pleasure use you", and I especially loved the concept of Shifting my Paradigm.

Suddenly you see everything differently, and as applied to my weight loss, suddenly you see the way to lose weight was in front of you the whole time. That is the power of a paradigm shift as a I thought of it then. In 1998 I didn't really feel like something had actually shifted, but I GOT the concept, I really GOT IT, and that felt wise and important and like a step towards growing in a healthy direction. All that helped enough for me to lose 50 pounds that summer.

*fast forward*

8 months ago I was in a therapy session when I had an epiphany. It was so incredible I wrote it in my journal. This is what it says: "I couldn't change because I thought I couldn't change!!!"

Astounding, I know.

And yet, it was astounding for me then and still is for that matter, and the reason is simple. It was the moment I had a Paradigm Shift, and the shift was about the fact that a Paradigm Shift is possible.

It was at that moment that I finally connected with the fact that I am not fatally flawed, but that my PERSPECTIVE was.

5 months prior to that "ah ha!" moment in therapy I was in the middle of an extremely heated argument with my brother. I told him "You don't get it, I'm not like you, there is something different about me which makes changing SO much harder. Which makes losing weight and getting my shit together almost IMPOSSIBLE for me! You could NEVER understand. I'm not the same!!!"

And 5 months later, I got that first powerful shove in a direction that contradicted those thoughts, fully and completely.

Ever since then I have tried to focus on that concept, that epiphany that I had, and just recently I've been thinking about it a lot. Objective Optimism is the Perspective I want to live life with. No misunderstanding, I want to see life as it is: all the flaws, blessings, hardships, curve balls, ugliness, beauty, joy, sorrow, silver linings - all of it. And I want that because I want to continue to live life in the moment and to be real, not looking at the world through warped layers of denial.

But I now choose to recognize that though many things are outside of my control, many things, especially regarding my weight/health, are within my control. And I now choose to to make that paradigm shift, to align my perspective with that reality. And in doing so, I see that I can truly do anything, I can overcome anything.

THAT is the reason wars are won by impoverished, depleted army's full of sick, world-weary troops, THAT is the reason an inventor can fail at attempt number one thousand and fucking sixty to create the light bulb and KEEP TRYING, THAT is the reason that a person about to battle Cancer for the 3rd time can STILL remain Positive and not give in to unhealthy impulses.

And THAT is the reason that people who understand that fact, that fact that everything is about your paradigm, your perspective; that despite all that Pollyannaish, Rose Colored Glasses bull shit, life actually IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT.

THAT is the reason that when those people tell us they KNOW we can lose weight and get healthy - hey man, they are truly, honestly giving us as raw and real a piece of advice/support as this world can offer.

So for right now, let me tell myself again: I can do this. I can work-out, I can get up when I don't want to, I can eat right, I can turn off the TV, I can lose over 300 pounds, I can deal with life with the same humility and fortitude as those I admire.

Because it's all possible in my perspective, bottom line. THAT is the truth...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

All Things Are Cause For Either Laughter or Weeping

I cried today.

I don't do a lot of crying.

I've teared up a few times during emotional conversations this year, but the only two times I really remember crying this last year- hard, real crying - was when a romantic relationship looked to be over, and when my Grandmother died.

No real need to discuss what prompted the crying tonight though, suffice to say it wasn't brought on by anything around my weight, or really anything personal at all.

It's noteworthy because it doesn't happen much, not because of what spawned it tonight. It's noteworthy because I don't think what spawned it tonight, is what kept it going.

I think that if you've eaten enough, disrespected your body enough, and emotionally beaten yourself up enough to end up weighing 600 pounds, I think you have real reason to mourn.

Real reason for deep sorrow.

As is, and will continue to be, a reoccurring concept for me is my lack of being aware/present/conscious.

Getting to 600 pounds doesn't just require massive denial of reality, it doesn't just require self-imposed oblivion to the consequences of actions (even as those consequences manifest), it requires such a severe disconnect between the Person.and.EVERYTHING.

Comfortably Numb, truly feel nothing.

It's the reason I don't know when I'm full, if I'm getting sick, when I hurt myself, if I'm hungry or not, how I'm feeling, what I'm feeling, when I'm feeling it.

The incredible insulation of fat I wear daily is nothing compared to the insulation I've created mentally.

But look, tonight I cried. And see, I know I'm out of touch with my body, with my emotions, I know the extent. And I've been working on it for the better part of a year. But it's hard, but I keep going.

Tonight I was so angry, then soooo sad. Sooo sad for some time.

How do I feel though now. Can I reach inside myself and find the answer. Yes. I feel really good.

I dealt with the impetus of tonight's emotions in a healthy manner and created a healthy plan for dealing with it moving forward.

More importantly, I got in touch with a lot of sadness I've had inside me for quite a while, and that felt so good.

I love it. I love it because I know I can succeed in the long run, and for forever. Ahhhhh, I kick ass.

I love it because this process for me isn't just muscles working, sweat dripping, and blood pumping, it's as much about the mental and emotional growth.

It's as much about the tears.

I'm ready for it all. Bring it on :)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Don't Know What You've Got 'Till It's Gone

I am frustrated I got so big, fuck. I am frustrated losing weight is going to take so long, fuck.

I just looked at a bunch of pictures from when I was 380-430, and oh my god do I look great. Really, not to toot my own horn, but beep beep mother fucker. I wore 400 lbs damn well.

It's so upsetting, I didn't realize what I had when I had it. I vacillated between 380-430 from roughly when I was 19 until I was 23, and the whole time I tried off and on to lose weight. I felt like I was so fat and beat myself up so much.

I look at pictures from those years now and its horrible. I know, of course, that 400 is still 200 pounds more than a 6 foot 3 man should weigh, but still, fuck, I'm amazed when I look back at the years I was in that range: things were so much easier (planes, cars, chairs, walking, shoveling snow, raking, playing basketball, etc, etc, etc, ), I was so much healthier overall, and I looked sooo damn good, soooo much better than now :(

Oh well, I will get back there, and then I'll keep going even further until I'm at my ideal weight. It'll take some time I know, but they say patience is a virtue, so let me now be virtuous and practice some.

I guess I should now try to glean the lessons from all these thoughts. An easy one is that I need to appreciate things in the moment. What that means is during this new journey to health I'd be best served to remember that while my goal is to eventually get down to a 200 something pound weight, I need to not spend this entire weight loss period looking forward to the goal. It's another welcome reminder that addresses one of my biggest issues, being present. So, let me be present, conscious, and aware instead of never satisfied and always looking to the future. Sure, I have goals, but in the mean time I will work to appreciate what I have, who I am, where I'm at, etc.

And let me use this look back at where I was as motivation to get back there as soon as possible as soon as possible utilizing an emotionally, mentally, and physically healthy approach.

But seriously, soon.


*deep breath*

"He that can have Patience, can have what he will" - Ben Franklin.

Sounds good.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Lucky Number 7: Weekly Review and Planning

My Goals for the last week are listed below, with comments on how I actually did in red:

1) Drink 6 liters of water daily. - I drank 6 liters probably 3 or 4 of the days. I think I'm going to start tracking my water intake on the blog.

2) Go to the strength/step class at least 4 times. - I went 1 time. However, I worked out 3 other days very vigorously going for a walk, and doing sessions of aerobics while watching TV. Not great overall, but the best cardio week I've had since July.

3) I got a dumbbell/barbell set for Christmas! So, use those for a workout session at least 4 times. - Worked out 1 time with the weights.

4) Go for 20 minute (at a minimum) walks at least 3 times. - Essentially bested this goal by walking 1.6 miles on New Years plus doing 45 minutes of cardio 2 other times.

5) Start writing what I eat daily on this blog. - Started doing this last Monday (not technically on this blog, but on a separate one just to track that. You can find it at a link on the right side of the page under My Eating & My Workouts), and have been ever since

6) No binges - Binged Tuesday, but before I started tracking my eating I also binged on Saturday and Sunday. So 3, instead of 0.

7) Lose 20lbs - I lost 7 this last week. Bringing me down to a grand total of: 607 lbs.

There you have it.

So, how am I feeling about all of that?

Well, I am frustrated by my inability last week to control binges, but happy I only had 3 versus the 7-14 times I was bingeing a week for the last couple months.

I am glad that I began tracking my food and exercise and even more excited that its already become something of a habit.

I am proud I am able to recognize a needed improvement on how I track water and I feel confident I will put it in to action this next week.

I am amazingly excited and proud about my finally, after years of considering it, actually just getting up this last week, throwing something on to watch, and doing some fairly intensive cardio that left me drenched and feeling damn accomplished. I plan to continue that which is awesome!

And lastly, I am content with 7 pounds. It's no 20, and fuck it, that's actually alright with me. I am in this for life. Someone asked me recently why my goals for the next 90 days didn't include food (diet, calories, etc.) and the answer is that for the first time in my life instead of actively trying to adhere to a diet (Weight Watchers Points, low carb, 2000 cal/20 grams of fat, etc, etc, etc) my only food plan since I started this a few weeks ago, was to eat healthy food in reasonable quantities.

So if that is my food plan, and it is, (and with the exception of the binges and the fact I still don't eat quite enough fruits and vegetables, I think I'm doing pretty well with it), I don't need to put up the big 15, 20, 30 pound weeks, because if I work hard on exercise and eat right, I will lose enough weight to get healthy and stay that way FOREVER.

Below are my goals for the next week:

1) Drink 6 liters of water daily.

2) Start new sub-section blog to track water intake progress.

3) Do at least 1/2 hour of cardio (the class, walks, areobics at home, etc) at least 5 days.

4) Work out with weights at home at least 3 times.

5) Write at least 4 posts on this blog

6) No binges

7) Lose 8 lbs

Thanks to everyone for the continued support, and good luck to us all on making this a great week.