Category Archives: Diet

54 161.5 0

54 years old, 161.5 lbs, zero prescription medications.

I didn’t have a say in the first and the last two seem impossible compared to a year ago.

(On the other hand, I didn’t expect to get derailed in ways that I hadn’t anticipated, either; this is probably a common human circumstance. We’re so busy watching the sidewalk for hazards that the falling anvil goes unnoticed. I failed on a personal level more than once in the last year, ridiculously so. And without therapy, I might have not only derailed my life but done so in the widest possible ravine.)

I still don’t take credit for the second, the weight loss, either. I knew on that day in October that I wasn’t going to be fat anymore. I think that idea of it has taken on a life of its own though, one not entirely anchored to reality. When I think back to it, I didn’t feel the ‘snap,’ but it echoed in me. And still does. The more I explain it to people now, the more they squint at me a bit – unless they’ve experienced something similar.

Although I wasn’t trying to lose more weight, I got on the scale after noticing my belt was wonky again. I weighed in at 161.5. In January, I wrote about the idea of reaching 160 lbs just once. It’s not sustainable, especially as I start doing pushups or anything that builds mass.

One of my favorite people asked if 160, or 155 would be ‘enough.’ I answered easily: “Yes.” 160 isn’t sustainable for me, not really. She was worried I might succumb to the idea that no amount of weight loss would be enough. Addressing that, I do admit that I got on the scale again this afternoon to weigh. And it just didn’t seem right – or even possible that I weigh 161.5. That’s about 90 lbs lighter than my heaviest. What balances my head out about all this is that I also know that I will never be fat again. That kind of confidence can be dangerous.

…which leads me to my next stupid fear. The more on track I stay in regard to eating better and staying the right weight, the more likely it feels like the other shoe might drop. Any of us at any moment can have a seemingly random event derail us. It’s one of the bitterest parts of life. All of us know people who’ve done everything right and still find themselves dealing with crazy health events, ones often impossible to see approaching.

Note: I am not saying I did everything right, not by a long shot.

Thanks to Blue Dress Project, I’ve also been doing push-ups. Although I have to be very careful due to my back and shoulder, it’s been interesting trying to incorporate them into my daily routine, whether in groups at the end of my work shift, or each time I go to the bathroom. (Which sounds misleading, I will admit.) It will be interesting to see whether such additional strength training will add weight. Or kill me. Haha.

Yes, I do know that muscle mass burns more calories. I’m just not sure I want to do pushups for the rest of my life. On the other hand, it seems a great percentage of adulthood is having to do things that we’d rather not. Or we’re doing it wrong, the adulthood thing, I mean.

Pico De Too Much Good Food

Pardon my great photography.

This is a pound of pico de gallo, iceberg lettuce, Tajín seasoning, and coarsely chopped aluminum-foil wrapped/baked lemon pepper chicken breast, along with two bags of Popchips. Of course. Grilled chicken is preferable, and if given a choice, I’d use shredded lettuce. Iceberg lettuce is less expensive and seems to last a day or two longer than shredded lettuce, especially once opened. Foil chicken is infallible to make, too. Since I don’t reheat the chicken, it’s very convenient, too.

Although I don’t count calories, it’s somewhere around 350. And it’s a LOT of food, so much that it is difficult to eat it comfortably. But because I’m dedicated, I, of course, devoured every bit of it.

I ate a very similar lunch yesterday, using Mr. Taco Loco chicken as the foundation.

I had a can of diced tomatoes, hot sauce, and tomato-chicken broth for my early meal today. It might sound ludicrous, but I can eat it on the go. It’s also inexpensive and impossible to make incorrectly unless you stick your tongue in the microwave outlet.

People are constantly surprised I don’t really get hungry.

Sometimes, I tell them outrageous lies just to see how they respond.

I experimented with variations of this until I realized how much of the things I might have previously thrown in there were superfluous.

I still take fiber and other basic nutrients apart from my natural diet too.

I’m evaluating everything I do as I go. And even if I make a few missteps, anything is better than when I had another 65 or more pounds on me.

I’m confounded by people who can’t get full without indulging.

Stay Simple, Stay Healthy

I don’t use shampoo or conditioner.

On my hair, I mean.

I’ve kept my hair very short for almost all of my adult life. That helps. I don’t have bad hair days as a result. “Bad face” days, perhaps.

I don’t use body wash, either, before you ask.

I despise lotion on my skin, though I will relent and use it a bit in exceptional circumstances. Not “Silence of The Lambs” scenarios, though. I’m eccentric but not crazy. Okay, I’m crazy but not a lunatic. Yet.

I even shave with regular bar soap and use no additional aftershaves, colognes, or other similar things.

I use cheap disposable razors. And not because they are cheap, but because now that I’m accustomed to them, the alleged ‘nicer’ ones cut me like Sarah Silverman at a roast. I keep some sort of beard mostly because I’m lazy. I shave my neck between 1-2 times a week.

Some of the above serve as a reminder that I’m a minimalist at heart.

I use antiperspirant and deodorant, of course, because I’d like to delay excessive body odor as much as possible. If I become more antisocial, I can always stop. That last part is supposed to be funny.

Having said that, I’ve discovered that a particular brand of fiber gummies gives me an INCREDIBLE amount of gas. I consumed a bottle of it a few months ago and attributed it to my healthier diet. This second round confirms my old suspicions: it’s definitely the fiber pills. My physical job helps disguise the aromatic and sonic symptoms. Mostly. My apologies to anyone paying the price of my gastrointestinal choices. Also, yes, I am aware that there are differences between types of fiber, as well as soluble and insoluble. It’s just this particular brand packs a wallop! I’m not mentioning it by name because I don’t want the trolls to pounce on me more than usual.

Sidenote: I’m amazed at how many people don’t eat enough fiber. It seems like something that only old people are concerned about, but probably should be on everyone’s radar. The joke is that it is largely to prevent constipation, but dietary fiber does so many other healthy things for your body.

For people interested in such things, you should search for “glucomannan” on the internet. I don’t have an opinion about it. I’m not supposed to say that, but I don’t. Several people have written to me to insist that I try it. I haven’t simply because I didn’t need anything other than healthy fiber – and I wanted to avoid supplements that I couldn’t sustain for the rest of my life.

It’s fun watching and reading people’s commentary and arguments for or against supplements, trends, diets, and health.

A few days ago, a TikToker commented on a health and fitness video, calling him an idiot. “Blah, blah, blah. Diets don’t work,” the commenter said, among other things. The poster replied, “Diets don’t work – and judging by your appearance, you don’t either.” Oof, that was harsh. Another commenter replied, “Diets don’t work. But neither doesn’t being unhappy or unhealthy. At least it is an effort, even if only 1 in 20 succeed.” I generally avoid perusing the comments. I’d rather have people post their own opinions and put themselves up for criticism and scrutiny. (Most won’t of course, in the same way that people won’t write anything themselves but will hold other’s feet to the fire when they choose to.)

Stay simple and stay healthy out there, whatever that means to each of you.

That includes your mental health, too, even if the circumstances you find yourself in are your fault.

It Is NOT Complicated

A few people hit me over the head about the ‘no exercise’ component of my weight loss over the last few months.

Naturally, I never advocated a ‘no exercise’ mantra for myself – or others. What I said was, “No additional exercise,” as in no gym, no weights, no byzantine series of micro-exercises that I wasn’t already doing. Part of my system was to avoid doing anything that I might not be able to do for the rest of my life. Having a long history of yo-yo weight loss behind me, I knew this would be a critical component to still be under 175 in a year. Not that I planned on it, but I also developed an alternate plan to take into consideration additional weight if I were to surprise myself and start weight training. Muscle weighs a lot more on your body, but it also burns more calories. It’s folly to compare all body types and exercise components as equal where weight is involved.

In my case, my job is very physical: lifting, walking a lot, and a wide variety of motions.

It’s true that I walk for pleasure. Given that the majority of my weight loss happened when I was not walking for fun, it’s a moot point. When I set out on my weight loss journey, I was experiencing a new foot pain that sidelined me. I could still work, but it wasn’t comfortable. The same is true for the intermittent shoulder pain and back pain that has accumulated. Weight loss has largely reduced all those pains. I try to be grateful that I woke up before my back or knees worsened. It’s a certainty I was headed for something terrible had I not.

Given the warmer weather, I have been walking more. It’s been fun this year, especially since I’ve done a lot of urban walking and seeing the places around me with new eyes. I walked a lot last year, it’s true, but I walked around with 65 extra pounds saddling me. It’s a substantially different experience and at times I feel like I’m walking on clouds. The difference is that striking.

The science is clear: walking is ALMOST as good long-term as running. You can also walk in bursts throughout the day. Science also tells us that doing bursts of exercise cumulatively yields the same health benefits as walking in a single, longer bout. This is also true for other forms of exercise. It’s a shame that most of us are hoodwinked into believing that exercise must be a long session in an artificial setting.

You don’t have to set aside an artificial amount of time for exercise, much less travel to a gym to do so. If you’re creative and committed, you’ll get results, even if you do a series of exercise bouts during your day. If “gyming” works for you, do it. I’m just reminding people that there is another way, one that won’t rob you of your time.

Another thing that always gets stretched when I mention it is that people try to say that I believe that exercise isn’t important. I don’t. It is. What I said over and over is that exercise isn’t viable as the primary component of weight loss and weight maintenance. Exercise has a lot of benefits, socially, physically, and psychologically.

IF you can do so, you can maintain your weight solely by consuming fewer calories than you burn. It’s simple math.

I don’t recommend it. I recommend that you be active. Were my job not intensely physical, I’d have to incorporate other ways to stay active. If I had an office job, I would walk in increments throughout the day. I’d do pushups or resistance exercises. Working from home, I’d do step exercises, walk on a treadmill, or get an exercise bike if that helped my knees and back.

Speaking out of privilege, I know that many people can’t simply eat well and exercise. Economics and social issues affect a lot of people, as do medical issues that make being healthy or weigh less a lot more difficult. One of the knee-jerk reactions I get on the internet is that people insist that I’m talking to everyone, or that my generalizations are for everyone. They’re not.

For those who aren’t restricted by those issues, all that is missing is for you to open your mind a little and recognize that your attitude is a lot of the problem. You don’t ‘need’ a gym, a lot of equipment, or even an hour a few times a week. You need a commitment and a change upstairs. You can walk a few times a day, or ride an exercise bike, one suited for your conditioning. You can eat less, or at least learn new eating habits. You can confide in a friend or family member, in hopes that you can work with someone needing to make a change like you.

You can choose supplements, energy drinks, or any of the thousands of systems out there to help you lose weight. You don’t need any of them, though, not if a commitment gongs in your head. I’m living proof. If a system helps you, use it. While you’re figuring it out, follow the literature and simplify your efforts. You’ll probably see that you’re going to have to choose a path that you can sustain without spending a fortune or spending a lot of hours that you could otherwise live differently.

You can achieve a lot through incremental effort. A word a day. One snack less. Choosing things you love that are also better choices. All of them hinge on something changing in your head. Once that happens, excuses stop being nooses.

Good luck!

Love, X

It’s Already There

People still look at me stupidly. I don’t blame them.

I’ve had several months to experiment with how I present my weight loss ‘secret.’ (Hint: it’s not a secret.)

I’m careful to avoid being evangelical. If people ask me, I tell them my opinion. It’s an easy pitfall to reach out. People aren’t ready until they’re ready. That’s true of almost everything. Being in counseling and looking at things from an outsider’s perspective has brought some insights. For those who inquire, it is possible for me to attempt to give them a slice of confidence.

At work, it’s been informative to interact with people who’ve known me for years, because they’ve known me as fat for most of that time. Some of them are holding their breath, waiting for me to put the weight back on. I don’t take it personally. Others are watching me, wondering how they might capture a bit of my genie in the bottle. It is the latter group who have the best chance, in part because they are not only interested, but optimistic about their changes. Optimism makes so many things more fulfilling and likely. If they see me doing it, it’s a powerful argument that they can do it, too. (If they want to.)

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve replied, “The secret is already inside you. It might be dormant or untapped – but it’s there.”

Obviously, people scoff. “If that were true, I’d already be doing it!” Most of them make ‘the’ face when they fire back at me.

“Yeah, well, until late last year, I scoffed too. And then a switch went off in my head. Look, everything I used to break the decades of yo-yo cycles was in my head. I didn’t add anything. No pills, no exercise, nothing. Something inside me flipped. For me, it wasn’t willpower. It was just a certainty. It’s that way with everyone who makes fundamental changes. Whether they are going to lose weight, run a marathon, break a habit, or learn a foreign language. So what if you fail nineteen times? The only effort that matters is the twentieth, isn’t it? You can’t run a marathon until you do it. You can shout in another language until you can. And you’re going to be overweight until you’re not.”

“Do I have superpowers? Do you think that someone like me has an insight other than what I’m telling you? Think of me as a placebo. If knowing I can do it convinces you that you can too, grab it and run. Stop questioning. Until you accept the fact that you are the probably the only reason you’re still overweight, you can’t see around the corner. And if you do manage to see the possibility that you can do it, pretty much nothing will stop you. Some people do have medical reasons that make it very hard, that much is true. But losing weight is totally a matter of eating less than you burn. If you can choose great tasting and healthier instead of some of the stuff you’re eating now, you’re going to lose weight. And if you commit to learning and experimenting, you won’t be stopped. I’m still experimenting now, over six months later.”

In general, people still look at me like I’m an idiot.

“You have to use small choices to your advantage. The point of doing anything like weight loss is to change your habits that will arc across your entire life. And hopefully get a bit of self-confidence when you do it. If you make incremental changes, you are going to get results. Do what you can but do it consistently. And if you fail, reset. Again, and again. If you find that people aren’t supportive, they are at least communicating your lack of value in their lives. The guy who takes off sprinting is going to get way ahead of you in a race, especially if you’re walking. But I guarantee that you can walk a lot longer than he can sprint. Weight loss is the same way.”

And that’s the gist of my most recent TED talks regarding weight.

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A Mix Of Things

One of the benefits of having hundreds of extra full-size candy bars is that it is easy to reward the growing list of delivery people showing up at the house. It’s rare for a driver to respond without appreciation as I hand them a couple of candy bars. It’s like a tip, except it’s for people we wouldn’t normally tip. If I were left to my own devices, I think I would have a basket of chips, cookies, and candy bars – and let the driver choose. If you’re interested in experimenting with it, I recommend you give it a try. It’s a benefit to the driver and it will lift your spirits a little. It might make the driver make a little more effort for your deliveries in the future.

Note: I have hundreds of full-size candy bars. But I haven’t eaten a candy bar in at least seven months.

Potato chips are a bigger risk than candy bars ever will be. The easier method to deal with temptation is to simply not have unhealthy snack choices in the house. I can’t make that decision for everyone, even if the presence of ‘real’ chips is akin to a bag of cocaine lying on the counter. The same is true for real cheese of any kind.

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I visited a Dollar General store the other day. As I often do, I grabbed a helium balloon from the party aisle, took it to a huge cemetery near my house, and let it go. This time, I wrote words on a scroll of paper, rolled it up, and tied it to the truncated balloon string. (Sort of like the “write-the-letter-you’ll-never send.”) I didn’t plan on getting a balloon that day. But the balloon corral on the ceiling was stuffed with innumerable balloons. I’ve done the balloon thing on and off my entire life. It’s a stupid bit of fun trying to see how long you can spot the balloon against the immense backdrop of the sky.

It was damn near impossible to take good pictures that day, being close to noon. The sun was relentlessly beating down, washing everything out in a bright pattern. I planned to park on the newer section but the caretaker was struggling to mow the 4,500-gravestone cemetery on that end. I walked out to a random section and took a couple of selfies. I noticed by coincidence that I was standing in front of one of tombstones of one of a friend’s grandparents. It gave me a laugh, the coincidence.

Recently, I told a therapist that I loathe the entire concept of burial, but that I love cemeteries. She laughed. We could have talked for four hours about the absurdity of our rituals. Cemeteries fascinate me. Not just the range of names and types of stones, but the idea that there are thousands of stories buried where I’m standing, lives as complicated as mine, and all of them extinguished.

Like the life on this eye-catching stone. Leonard “Cowboy” Kilpatrick. I could discover so much about his 37-year life. Were I to kick over a few clues, I have no doubt that I might find myself with a longer list of questions. He had a lot of siblings. Whenever I go deeply into someone’s story, one like Cowboy’s, it never fails that a strange series of revelations and coincidences would align. I’m still in awe of how many ways all of us are both separated and overlapping. I don’t find it macabre that we’re all marching toward oblivion, although the loss of so many stories continues to bother me.

I forgot how much I love the terse prose style of Robert Parker, and of his Jesse Stone character. Most people seem to know him from the CBS movies starring Tom Selleck. While Pat Conroy’s purple prose resonates in my heart, the stripped-down way Parker wrote fascinates me.

My cat Güino stares at me from his perch in the bedroom window. The sun is making sporadic appearances this afternoon. If the rays are bright enough, the prisms cast their rainbows around me. The absurd thickness of the pillow is amusing.

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Take a hard look at the circumstances and context of the words, “You’ve changed,” or “You’re not the person you used to be.” Clinically speaking, it is possible that the person saying this is saying it because you’ve stopped behaving in a way they want you to.

This isn’t necessarily an indictment of you – or the other person.

Sometimes, though, it is.

There’s no two ways about it. We all need to grow, change, adapt. Especially if any part of our behavior isn’t reflective of who we are or who we want to be.

I was asked to examine the phrase intensely: “You’re not the person you used to be.” It’s a therapy response. One of the things I came away with is this: IF someone says it to you in an emotional or angry way, it can’t be taken at face value. There’s no proper defense against it, and not just because all good adults change significantly.

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I almost forgot to start taking allergy medication again this season. Allergy medications confound my hunger response. And no matter what the packaging says, it causes both sluggishness and excitedness, no matter what it is supposed to do.

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Someone related to my deceased wife went back to prison for something related to her parole. I don’t have any details but it’s distracting and needless. A few years ago, I spent a lot of time trying to keep her connected to her old life and to imagine there was a reason to hold out hope. I can’t imagine going from living a normal life to being put back inside. She’s 26 with a young daughter.

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One of the objectives of me going to therapy is to figure out cognitively what shifted in me that makes it harder for me to sleep. I’ve never been one to require eight hours. But having gone through a phase where sleep evaded me taught me that it is very dangerous for me to go very few nights with inadequate sleep, especially less than five hours. I learned that it is stupid of me to try to make decisions or to hold conversations while in such a state. Trying to keep a sleep record is harder than it sounds, too.

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Regarding men on social media: As the tendency to post a profile picture of himself wearing sunglasses increases, so too do the odds he is a narcissist.

Corollary: the greater your resistance to this idea, the more likely that you tend to think such men are more attractive.

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I letter bombed Ford Motors. They chose to not do the right thing in regard to a failed transmission with my Ford Focus, which had only 55K miles on it. I bombarded their social media people first. When that went nowhere, I shifted to a comprehensive letter containing the history of the failed transmission design and my involvement. I mailed that letter to several different people within the company. It was like the old days, when “Letters From A Nut” was something I aspired to. I finally got a tepid response back from Ford. Just like Andy Dufresne did in “Shawshank Redemption,” once he got his foot in the door with the bean counters, he started writing TWO letters a week. After all, what is it really going to cost me to try to get Ford to do the right thing? Shame on Ford. Callous behavior is expected of large impersonal corporations, of course. But that’s why I shouldn’t take it personally: they screw everyone equally. Or mostly equally. There’s comfort in that.

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I bet you will find something interesting in this article:

https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2021/04/deep-friendships-aristotle/618529/

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UnderWhere

Some milestones are preposterous. The one I reached today is both ridiculous and noteworthy: I bought new underwear. It’s not a life event, the act of buying new underwear. But it can make you feel markedly different, especially if you fail to put on pants while wearing them. It’s best to skip over any accidental mental image the last joke might have inspired.

Not to be stylish or because my other underwear was old and worn; quite the contrary. My last set of underwear was remarkably new, at least on a timeline representing men’s underwear. There are two types of men: those who need stylish and updated underwear and those who change underwear with each new president. (If they’re lucky.) As I do with my socks, I buy an entirely new set when I buy them, discarding all the old ones. It’s quite the ritual, one that people mock until they try it.

It hasn’t been that long since I replaced all my underwear. I did it because I had lost so much weight and size that I floated in them. The same is true today. I put off buying another set, as it seemed stupid and wasteful. (But not ‘waistful.’ Ha! I just added ‘waistful’ to my dictionary.) For reasons unknown to me, a woman at work said, “Hey, you look amazing!” as I retrieved a diet soda from the case. We briefly chatted, and I shared my deep secret of weight loss with her. (Don’t open your mouth so often.) She told me I was starting to look invisible, and she wished me luck in the future. She’s older, so she well knows that the yo-yo effect is no laughing matter, especially as we age.

Almost all my clothing is different now, over the last several months. It didn’t occur to me that I might need to downsize underwear twice during the process.

The picture on this post is of me wearing another vest. This one makes me look a bit pastorish for reasons that are hard to pinpoint. (I added ‘pastorish’ to my dictionary, too, because I am one of the millions of owners of this language we share.)

It’s hard to believe that I had trouble tucking in my shirt six months ago.

It’s even harder to believe I let myself stay fat for so long. I’m still processing why that was the case.

But for today, it’s new underwear – and bragging about it on the internet. Some people run marathons. The rest of us take our small victories where we can get them.

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“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”
― Mark Twain

A Touch of Monday

“Hey, X, this coffee seems suspicious….”

I know I look a bit stupid in this short clip. And that’s okay. I’ve acted fairly stupidly too.

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A co-worker who landed in greener pastures returned to work for a visit today. His jaw literally dropped. He hasn’t seen me since I weighed 70 lbs more. Given that his new job is sedentary, he’s gained a bit. I walked him through my secret process (there isn’t one) and told him that if I could do it, he could, and that I was granting him a sliver of my magic to take home. I like to think a few people have internalized the possibility that for most people, weight loss is a frame of mind. My former co-worker listened as I explained to him that exercise would only give him a 30% reduction – and that eating less is 70%. He knows my job is very physical but was shocked that I don’t exercise for the purpose of weight loss. At all. It surprises a lot of people. I don’t mean to be evangelical about it, but it’s true. Exercise has other benefits but it is not effective at long-term weight maintenance.

I’ve been shedding clothes, too, such as this jacket that I put on mistakenly one day last week. I felt like I was wearing a tarp. So I left on a co-workers work rack without comment. No one ever commented and the jacket didn’t resurface. I’ve donated three in this way in the last few months.

One of my go-to treats is picture below: chicken tacos (NOT shredded (yuck)) with onions, cilantro, and pico de gallo. I don’t eat the tortillas. I prefer to eat baked chips or Popchips. From Mr. Taco Loco in downtown Springdale. I often sneak PopChips in.

Have I mentioned Budweiser non-alcoholic beer before? It’s only 50 calories a can. Granted, you have to enjoy beer without alcohol to like it. But it is also great for cooking. I grilled sirloin burgers yesterday without any additional calories added.

Another thing I forgot: it’s one thing to buy new pants, shirts, shoes, coats, and just about everything else. But when you realize that your underwear is floating around? That is a weird feeling. I’ve put off buying new underwear. Not that anyone asked. And no, I don’t plan on posting underwear pictures. Just imagine if Danny DeVito got thin. And then imagine him in new underwear. That should satisfy your curiosity.

As a sidenote, I took my new pack of sidewalk chalk to work today. I think all adults should sidewalk chalk. It makes memos and notes to others more fun and interesting. And in today’s case, I used it to give someone their word of the day in Spanish. Invariably, I trick them by incorporating phrases and add-ons so that they realize they are in fact learning more than just one word, whether they realize it or not.

The person also learned the origin of the English word for “Monday,” as well as other related things, too.

It’s impossible to learn another language without learning things about your own language, too. It’s fun to watch and even more fun to know that I might be the catalyst for someone to finally get over the hump of being a beginning learner. Once someone starts pedaling the bike without assistance, they fly.

On a personal note, it’s hard to realize that you’ve lost a friend, probably forever. No matter how it happened, once you’ve shared a piece of yourself with someone, their absence leaves a blank spot. Fascinating and interesting people are hard to come by in life.

Love, X

168 To 230+

Had I to do it over again, I might choose to NEVER look at a scale. Part of that is because muscle sits differently than fat. And so many of us have distinct ways we carry weight. Much in the same way it would be interesting without ‘knowing’ how old you are, I think the same might be true regarding weight. The same weight carries distinctly on different people. This is also true regarding weight’s impact on one’s health.

Before jumping into it, I’d also question everyone about their motive to lose weight; health, body image, etc. If you’re looking to feel more attractive, I hope each of you has someone who adores you. Love addresses a lot of issues and desire eradicates even more. Honest admiration lends a great deal of motivation.

I want people to enjoy their time. Spending too much time on exercise, eating, or concern about body image is time that can’t be regained. All of us are differently occupied with the mix of things that consume of our time. Time spent with other people or in pursuit of active interests is more fulfilling.

Well, without any fanfare, I made it to 168 lbs. 168 was originally the number in my head I imagined to be the ultimate goal I might be able to obtain, eventually. I finally said it out loud after a couple of months into eating healthy. (Remember, the ONLY thing I changed was the food I eat.) Once I hit 200, I felt like I were flying. That was 30+ pounds ago. That makes me laugh. Had I stalled at 200, I still felt significantly different.

If you’re interested, you can use my tag “Weight Loss” to search and scroll back.

My weight fluctuates and I’m also not one to jump on the scale with frequency. It’s madness to scrutinize so closely.

For the first time, I put on my smallest pants to wear to work. Seeing my reflection in the front door glass yesterday gave me a moment to feel out of body and out of place. Just like that, I decided to test my weight. 168. As tired as I was, I laughed. The road from October to the beginning of March was both long and passed in an instant. In some ways, I lived an extra year in this period.

Depending on when I identify as my starting point, I weighed about 230 lbs in October. I know I lost the weight too fast, all things considered. 60ish pounds in 17-18 weeks is excessive. Again, though, I couldn’t do it the other way. Despite my rationalizations, this hasn’t been a show of willpower for me; whatever vision struck me in October, it’s given me a completely unfair advantage compared to others attempting to do something similar.

Because I’ve suffered through several cycles of moderate loss and regaining, I would not have believed that my drop from around 230 to this point would have been so precipitous and inevitable. The people around me everyday watched me in surprise. I’ve always told them that losing weight is relatively easy. Can I maintain healthy eating? Of course. Will I? I’d say yes. But we love rationalizing and stupidly forgetting that life has a lot of cards to throw on the table. I’m going to need honest, authentic people to remind me of the massive change this weight loss brought to my life – and that losing the lesson would be a monumental slap to my own face. Going forward, it will still be a long series of good choices. I have an addiction, remember: food.

A week after writing the “168” post, someone challenged me to meet them at 160. That someone was the same woman who stuck, “Nothing tastes as good as this feels” in my head. (This is not a “That’s what she said” moment, although it sounds that way.)

It was entirely theoretical, though. There’s do doubt I can drop to 160. It’s idiocy to believe otherwise as I’ve dropped so much already. I’m not sure it is maintainable, though. For anyone who hasn’t done a journey like this one, it is bizarre how many tricks one’s body has to distract you.

IF I get to 160, I feel like there’s going to be some surprise as I reach it. I already feel incredibly different. Everything I do feels different. Everything. I hope that people at normal weights have experienced this sensation of ‘newness’ as a reward for doing the right thing all along, unlike me. If my energy is up, I catch myself walking incredibly fast for me, my feet, knees, and hips fluidly moving. Loud, vibrant noises resonate inside me as they’ve never have, not since I stopped running when I was very young. I feel the muscles in my upper legs stretch and bounce. My thighs have long since stopped rubbing or touching. If I sit a certain way, I can drape my leg and take pressure off my back.

I don’t know what I would look and feel like if I were still above 230. I finally succeeded this round, after MANY failures. During a pandemic. And under a lot of stress.

Whoever that person was, he is gone. I imagine forever.

I hope some of the other people who heard me be enthusiastic and hopeful for myself (and themselves) succeed, too. I hope they all do.

It can be done. It’s harder for some than others, especially given our health conditions, income, and circumstances.

Everything is incremental, though. Success feeds success.

I succeeded this time, for my own reasons. I could fail again. But I can no longer get away with saying I can’t do it. The only question that remains for me is not “Can I” but “Will I” do it. That about sums up everything, now that I think about it.