Friday, October 14, 2011

There's less of me to go around...

As most of my friends know and anyone who follows my silly postings with regularity, I have made some pretty major lifestyle changes over the last couple months.  I began eating healthier and getting regular exercise with the initial goal of losing enough weight to satisfy the pre-surgical requirements for gastric bypass.  However, in the 8 weeks since I began, my outlook has changed and my goal now is to lose all the weight by myself, through healthier eating and exercise alone, without the aid of surgery or drugs.

2 months ago, I would have been embarrassed to talk about my weight.  Specifically, how much I weighed when I started making these changes.  Today, however, I have a much different attitude.  I am happy to say that I weighed 400 lbs even exactly 2 months ago.  I'm happy to say it because today I weigh 349 lbs.  I have lost 51 lbs in 8 weeks and I did it without crash dieting, gimmicks, pills or any "quick fix" short cuts.  I know that I still have a long way to go before I reach my goal - at least another 100 lbs - but I've already lost over 1/3rd of the weight I wanted to lose and it's only been 2 months.

So, how did I do it?  How have I lost weight consistently every week, without one bad week of gaining weight?  The answer is ridiculously simple.  I changed how I eat and I started exercising.  That's it.

I'm not on a "diet".  I hate that word, because of what it implies.  The idea that a "diet" is a punishment that must be endured, like being grounded or put on probation, that's a recipe for failure before you even begin.  If you think about eating healthier as a punishment that must be endured, then you've already lost.  Eating healthy is something you have to embrace and accept as your new lifestyle.  It's not a temporary setback that must be overcome, because you have to keep eating healthy your whole life or you'll just gain back the weight.  This is why diets fail, it's not that the person is flawed, it's that the whole concept of temporarily enduring an uncomfortable situation in order to somehow gain life-long positive results is complete garbage.  A two-week diet is good for exactly that, two weeks.  If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you have to change how you eat for the rest of your life.

So, I did.  I stopped drinking regular sodas and sugary drinks.  I stopped eating junk food.  I cut way back on fast food and even then, I choose the salads over the burgers.  I made the decision to eliminate unhealthy food options and replace them with healthy ones.  Instead of junk food like chips and cookies, I snack on fruits and vegetables.  Doesn't sound as good?  Maybe not, but you know what sounds worse?  "I weigh 400 lbs".

Incidentally, I eat good.  I'm never hungry.  In fact, I eat more now than I did before I changed my eating habits.  The difference is, instead of filling up on carbs and fatty foods and sugary or fatty snacks, I'm filling up on lean proteins and vegetables and fruits and healthy alternatives.  I eat a bigger plate of food now but I'm only taking in a fraction of the fat and calories.  Here's a quick example - for the same amount of calories as a double cheeseburger, large fries and a medium coke from any fast food place, I can have a huge plate of salad, two large pieces of grilled chicken, a generous helping of mashed potatoes, all slathered in gravy and butter and all the diet coke I can drink.  Or, better yet, I can eat a reasonable-sized salad, one piece of chicken and a sensible portion of mashed potatoes, hold the butter and go easy on the gravy and lose 5 lbs a week.  There's no starving going on here, just changing up the menu.

The other half of my secret to success is exercise.  When I first started, 2 months ago, I could barely walk around my block once, that's how out of shape I was.  Now, I'm up to nearly 4 miles a day.  I walk a mile every morning and about 3 miles every evening.  I also have started very basic strength training, stuff like push-ups, leg lifts, doing some lifting with light weights, nothing crazy, just enough to start building muscle and help my body burn even more calories and fat.  That's part of how I've made it work for me too, pacing myself.  I don't try to do too much at once, I gradually have been easing myself into longer and harder workouts, just as I've been gradually easing myself into smaller and healthier meal portions.  Like I said, I started doing a lap around my block - maybe 1/4 mile - every day and now I'm up to almost 4 miles per day plus strength training.  You might not think getting off that couch and exercising feels good, but you know what feels worse?  Not being able to fit in a booth in a restaurant.  Knocking things over in stores with your stomach.  Being completely out of breath after walking from one corner to the next up a hill.

When I hit my goal weight, I'm going to write a book about my story.  I'm going to talk about how I have found the motivation to make these changes and stick with them and my journey from an out of shape 400 lb man to the active, healthy and happy person I will become in less than a year.  If one person can find inspiration in my story to make the same positive changes I have, it will be worth it to me.  Anyone who knows me knows that I was probably the last person in the world they would have expected to be the healthy-eating, exercising guy I've become.  I was probably one of the worst eaters I know and I considered exercise to be a form of torture.  However, the guy I was just 2 months ago is a stranger to me now.  I have turned a corner in my life and I feel better than I have in over 10 years, which incidentally was the last time I weighed less than 350 lbs.  I know a lot of people say this, but when I say "If I can do it, you can do it" I'm not just blowing smoke up your ass.  Literally, if I can do this, anyone can do it, because I was about the most unhealthy, anti-exercise, doomed to get diabetes and a heart attack and be dead by 50 person you'd ever meet and today I'm one huge step towards being someone vastly different.  It's not hard to do, it doesn't require buying a bunch of fancy food and expensive equipment, it just takes you deciding that you're ready to make a change and it takes the commitment to stick to it.  It can be done, I'm all the proof that I need of that, and I'm going to continue to prove it... and, of course, I'll keep you updated the whole way.

So, that was my Friday.  Pretty damn good one if I do say so myself.  Now, I'm going to go make myself a delicious sandwich, have an ice cold vanilla coke zero and watch some lie detector results on Maury.  Living the life, baby, living the life...

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