Category Archives: Diet

Still Here

“My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people.” – Orson Welles

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This is me at 170 lbs.

I didn’t take this picture to post it. I don’t hate my own picture as many people do. I’m an average man. Anyone with any knowledge of the human body can imagine what I look like dressed, in a swimsuit, or naked. Don’t think too long on that image. Or, think long on it. We are humans, each one of us. We guard our appearance as if keen eyes don’t already know. It’s part of what allows us to feel guilty about our weight. Even for those we love, we tend to suffer for being unable to openly discuss our weight.

Even people who preach “No secrets!” to others and to their partners will fight to the death to keep their weight a secret. The problem with that is by doing so, those people are openly acknowledging that they can’t control their eating. (There are exceptions, so don’t scream at me. Generalities aren’t written to cover the fringes, so chill out and have a beer.)

As for me, I’m not one to be guarded about my weight. Since this change, I will completely abandon the notion that keeping one’s weight secret helps anyone. It doesn’t. It shields us from acknowledging we have a problem. Having said that, this attitude doesn’t cover everyone, nor would I want it to. And I wouldn’t think it to be kind to be insensitive or hurtful to anyone who isn’t at the same stage as I am. Likewise, we have to stop pretending that people don’t know our weight or what we look like.

Another lifepro hint: a lot of amazing-looking people suffer from the delusion that they aren’t attractive, sexy, or normal. At risk of repetition, if you have someone in your life you says you are good-looking at your weight, believe them, especially if their words align with their reaction to you,. Also, congratulations. That kind of appreciation is worth much more than many other things that we think give our lives value. If you find someone who looks at you with hungry eyes, you’re lucky; if they love you too, you’ve won the lottery, one that will help you overcome a mountain of stresses in life.

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“One of the secrets of weight loss is that being the right weight allows the enthusiasm you bring to your love life to double the pleasure. We are biological machines designed for pleasure. Give up all the needless food and find that pleasure elsewhere. You’ll thank yourself. “

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I don’t weigh myself often because that is a distraction for me. Also, the plateau I hit still affects me. I’m not eating enough calories for my body to ‘relax’ about this process, I’m sure. I don’t think I’ve had a day since sometime in October where I wasn’t running an energy deficit for the day. My weight fluctuates by several pounds sometimes. Some days, I drink enough fluids to drown a zebra. (Note: I don’t advocate the drowning of zebras.)

It wasn’t my plan to do it this way; I gave myself permission to go crazy if unavoidable. Random cravings do strike. But I would still rather have chips than desserts. Since I have ‘healthy’ chips to satisfy my cravings without guilt, I have yet to eat sugar. (Even disguised as a cupcake, ice cream, or a candy bar.) Since everything I write seems to draw polarity, I am NOT saying that sugar is the devil like others do.

It is possible that further losses might not be sustainable without losing a lot of muscle mass or by playing dirty tricks on my body. Muscle burns more energy, of course. I suspect I have lost a bit of muscle mass, but certainly not from a lack of physical activity. Food reduction almost inevitably results in muscle loss if you don’t incorporate exertion into your day.

As for whether I am capable of simply eating almost nothing, the answer is completely ‘yes.’ It’s laughable how easy (for me) it is to just not eat at times. That such a comment would be possible for me is still a surprise. My fingers are crossed that old habits and thinking don’t creep back into my head. Were my job not so physical, I would likely incorporate strenuous exercise into the mix a few times a week to experiment with how my body reacts. I haven’t done anything except change my diet during this entire process. People are still surprised that it was so simple for me: eat a lot less, and eat healthily as much as possible.

People do laugh at me for audibly appreciating the taste of what I eat. Early yesterday, I had canned tomatoes with an additional mix of tomato-chicken broth. I added a specific hot sauce and seasonings. It was delicious, as evidenced by me saying “Yum!” and/or groaning in appreciation. My supervisor laughed. “That’s your secret!” Of course it is. I eat things that I love, ones which are simple. That’s as big as a secret as losing weight by keeping one’s mouth shut. (I laughed as I typed that last part.)

I got on the scale yesterday morning because I felt like I could run and jump my car, even though I was up and outside around 3:30 a.m. I felt a little outside of my own body. As I wrote about before (thanks to a friend of mine who did the same), nothing tastes as good as the way I feel. This morning, for a brief instant, that feeling overwhelmed me. If the rest of my life were on track and aligned with this feeling, I would probably be insufferably happy all the time – and you’d want to hit me with a shovel.

Running at a deficit also presents the possibility of lower energy and the risk of depressive thinking and feelings. I’m on guard about this. I have obstacles in my life, like everyone else. For me, being thinner saved me from certain negative consequences of the stress and diminished mood. Drastic reductions in food intake creates a greater propensity to suffer from reduced mood. Absent other changes and circumstances in my life that are also at play, I think this process could have hurt me had I not had an unbelievable focus of goals and a profound reason to live (and live a happier life) in the last few months. I’ve filed it away in case I’m around people trying to do the same thing in the future. They’ll listen to me if I’ve experienced it.

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Sam’s Club has a 16oz bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning for less than $9. That’s quite the steal, even compared to Walmart at more than twice the price.

For reasons which escape me, I used to dislike iceberg lettuce in a bag. Maybe due to the extraneous added ingredients. Who knows? Recently, I tried it again. This time, I followed a tip online and skipped the salad dressing, instead opting to use only dry seasonings on the lettuce. I also tore the lettuce thoroughly by hand. It reduces the odd texture but also increases the ‘stick’ factor for the iceberg lettuce. I doubt normal people take ‘stick factor’ into consideration when discussing salad.

While not my intention, I’ve always resented the tendency to over pile a simple salad with a junkyard of ingredients. Don’t get me wrong, they can be divine. But are they necessary? By what alchemy do we decide what ‘enough’ is? And at what point do the additions add nothing of value? Since reducing and eating less, I am amazed by how much less is enough.

Today, I tried the lettuce with the Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning.

Lord, was it good.

In the past, people have said, “But the seasoning has SO much sodium.” After looking at several bottles of ranch dressing, it turns that Ranch salad dressing has a LOT more sodium than the seasoning. While I don’t worry much about sodium content, the seasoning tricks your tongue into thinking it is a lot more salt. And there’s nothing to mask the intended ranch flavoring, as is the case with dressing.

Also, using a typical 36oz bottle of ranch dressing, it contains 35 servings at 130 calories each, equaling 4,680 for the entire bottle. The bottle of seasoning has 568 servings at 0 calories per serving…

You can waste your time learning to make a mess and make your own healthier ranch dressing. OR, you can try using dry seasoning first. Chances are? You won’t like it. But you might.

And even if you don’t, you’ll discover a million ways to use this ranch seasoning on all manner of food. I have. I’ve always loved using seasonings and flavorings this way.

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If everything were as easy as becoming overweight, effort would be pointless. “Choose your hard” still resonates in my head. All of us love food. Some of us love exercise. We have to find a balance.

For most of us, the recipe is still there for us: eat less and you’ll see results. Eat a lot less, and you’ll see more results.

“I don’t eat desserts. I can. I just don’t. I don’t eat fried. I don’t eat dairy.
What do I eat cardboard? Ha.” – X

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The next images highlight a lot of my thinking. As eye-catching as the second picture is, the woman in the first picture, to me, is much more attractive. She’s smiling and using the things some erroneously to be ‘less than’ in her favor. Her hair is beautiful, her glasses fit her personality, and no matter her weight, it is obvious that she loves life.

As with these… The second picture might be more likely to be in a sleep fantasy with the lights dimmed.

If you have doubts, google each sex at different weights. We come in all shapes and sizes.

Love is one size fits all.

Whatever weight you may be, if it isn’t what you want, change it. If it is difficult, it will feel that much better if you can use your intelligence to get there.

And if you are at the weight you want to be, join me in preaching the gospel of helping people appreciate themselves.

Love, X

Shirtless In February

This is obviously not me.

A few times a day, even though it is February, I have a sudden urge to just take my shirt off. Initially, I attributed it only to weight loss. I guess there’s a word for this condition: “Detunicitis.”

It’s important to note that I just made that word up.

When we were young, no one wanted to be ‘skins’ in the horrible PE games that the bored coaches made us engage in. It’s why half the world insists on wearing a shirt in the pool, which makes as much sense as flippers in the bedroom. Except for Gary. He can keep his flippers on, thanks to a condition I can’t publicly discuss. (Gary, you be you, okay?)

While I’m complaining about childhood PE classes, it was kind of sexist that the coaches never made the girls play “shirts” vs. “skins.” Particularly observant guys pointed this out to deaf ears on the part of the coaches. No one ever understood the complex morality of being modest in such matters while encouraging cheerleaders to run around half-naked. There’s a disconnect there, much in the same way that we don’t want anyone to see us in our underwear yet we cavort around poolside wearing less than our imaginations.

But we need a word to describe the sensation that encompasses the moments of realization that we’ve transitioned from obesity to normalcy. Those moments manifest themselves perfectly in those moments at Target where you’re looking at the ketchup selection. And realize that you’ve yanked your shift off.

It’s a real thing.

And, as for the three older ladies at Harps on Thursday, please accept my apology. It only got awkward because they started throwing money at me. Coins. It’s part of the reason that you can’t take your Grandmother stripping.

Anyway, if you see me without a shirt on, just walk past me without comment – even if I’m receiving communion when you notice. If it doesn’t bother the pastor or priest you’ve got no dog in the hunt. (I hate that cliché.)

“f you’ve got smokes, light’em,” so to speak.

I’m struggling to decide if this post is a joke or real. I’ll let you know.
Love, X

Nothing Tastes As Good As This Feels

I’m wearing an absurd surgical cap. But I’m also optimistic in the picture, which is worth a lot of words.

She wrote, “And nothing tastes as good as this feels!!!” She sent me a picture of how far she’d come. I found it hard to imagine I was looking at the same person I used to know. She was part of the reason that I imagined I could achieve a lot of success this time. If she could do it with so many obstacles, how hard should it be for me to stop the rationalizations and just do it?

I re-read it. And again.

It struck me as resonantly as “Choose your hard” had many weeks before. Why that one stuck in my head when so much for so many years hadn’t is another mystery.

For her, she meant that all the bad food choices couldn’t compare to the elation and satisfaction of being who she’s supposed to be.

While her comment was focused on her war with eating properly, it also extends to other areas in life. The payoff at the end of the race, the peace of making a long series of decisions that result in a triumph of consequences…

Once you’ve done the work and reached your goal, it really is hard to let yourself fall into the trap again.

At least at first.

The pain of ‘who’ we were before getting to our own pinnacle is still fresh enough to serve as a reminder.

Life intercedes. Time evaporates. Fatigue weakens our resolve. Loneliness and self-esteem issues propel us backward.

It’s why I constantly remind myself that yo-yoing dramatically in weight must be approached in a manner similar to how we deal with addiction.

It is okay to fall off the wagon. Just don’t let it run you over.

In my case, there is more to it. But it certainly isn’t willpower.

Love, X

160: I’m Fading Away

I’m fading away.

A week ago, I admitted my goal shifted to reaching 168 lbs. I’m chunking that again. My new goal is 160. That is what success does: it stains other areas with the desire for more.

In the last week, I went to 175, a weight I always imagined as something wildly desirable but impossibly difficult. I haven’t weighed less than 175 since after high school.

Losing weight is supposed to be more challenging with age.

I guess it is. I just wouldn’t know.

In 3 months, I dropped over 50 lbs. It’s not the best way, but fighting from the middle ground would have been another failure for me. Lucky for me, this time followed an episode of realization. Absent that realization, and this wouldn’t have happened. I still don’t expect people to ‘get it.’ After explaining it a few dozen times, it’s this: I saw myself as thin and also pictured that it was ‘the’ me I should have been my entire adult life. I couldn’t see myself making poor decisions that led me away from the vision of that life. So far, it has been entirely sufficient. That ‘me’ in the indefinite future continues to free me from the pangs of willpower.

It was also in that moment that I realized that despite biting my nails for 50+ years, I didn’t do that anymore, either. It’s a shame I didn’t visualize being a millionaire in that moment.

I still can’t figure out how to write a book and make millions.

“Have an LSD trip without the LSD and just do it” would undoubtedly result in a lawsuit. “Don’t put stuff in your mouth” is another possible book title. (You have to appease the vulgar-minded, too.)

Today, I watched a naysayer’s eyes as he realized that I don’t possess superpowers or anything he doesn’t. Previously, he preferred to snark at me. Now, he is considering finding himself at my age and being overweight. “It’s all choices,” I told him. “For most of us,” I added, being reminded of what a friend reminded me of a couple of weeks ago. “So what if you fail. Each day that slides past is another day that you won’t know the answer.” And I offered to help him figure out a way to do it. “Choose your hard,” I challenged him. I don’t expect my system to work for everyone. But a modified version of it will work for a hell of a lot of people.

I might not have mentioned that the one thing I’ve tried all year is to ensure that I consume enough fiber, both in food and through supplements. Though you might not believe it, I get my RDA through eating. I take fiber supplements to ensure I do. While I can’t know with certainty, the fiber seems to have worked wonders for me. I mix both psyllium and gummy fibers. Find a mix and diet of high-fiber foods that work for you.

And because I mention this in every post, every bit of my huge weight loss came through diet. No gym visits, no costly supplements, no specialty drinks, and nothing outside of my usual scope of living. While my job is very physical, I would still have realized a significant weight loss if it weren’t. I’ve stuck to the idea that it is unwise to start a habit you can’t continue for as long as you live. If not, as soon as the practice stops, the benefits stop, too.

I like to imagine surviving the last few months at almost 230. I can’t. I’d be on statins, blood pressure medication, and almost certainly facing some calamity with my feet or knees. Taking 50+ lbs off of them rescued me. I don’t want to think about my cardiovascular system, especially against the backdrop of this pandemic. Stress? Forget about it?

I’m almost at my statistical weight. Soon, I will have to turn to my next goal: don’t be a jackass. That one’s going to take a lot of work.

It’s all lemons.

Choose your hard.

Whoever you are, if you want to do something like this under your control, please do. Start today, in the smallest way. Your life is sweeping past you. You are not trapped in the prison of your previous decisions. Those choices and those years cannot be recaptured. It’s gone. Stand up. Embrace. Try. And try again if you fail.