Category Archives: Weight Loss

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

Thin, With Blues

This picture is of me today, in a place that does not put me at ease like it once did. It was was supposed to have rained and stormed by the time I took the picture. Hours later, and it still hasn’t.

For reasons of my own, I’ve started counseling. Doing the comprehensive assessments yielded some surprises. Because of the pandemic and the bureaucracy of anything related to mental health or healthcare, I’ve only done distance counseling so far. My first face-to-face talk therapy session isn’t until next week. I haven’t done such navel-gazing since I was much younger and struggling to understand the demons that some of my family members dealt with.

Oddly, I’ve convinced so many other people to get counseling or at least seriously consider it, especially at work. Talking things out can’t hurt. Knowing your truths isn’t something to shirk away from, even if the conclusions aren’t what you expected or wanted to hear.

One of the things that caused issues on my assessments was my sixty-five lbs. of weight loss in the same time period that coincides with my life issues. Absent some pathology, it’s rare for someone to do something so successfully and simultaneously fail on a personal level. But that is precisely what I’ve done. The vision I had in October propelled me toward success. I’m grateful. That I crashed and burned on a personal level is still a shock and sadness that prevails. I’m struggling to “pull up” meaningfully. As hard as it is to accept, I’ve got an anxiety problem that is keeping me up at night.

In the future, maybe I can share those surprises and defeats here. Part of the story doesn’t belong to me, even though it’s mine to tell. Hurting people isn’t part of my natural repertoire. Time and distance either gives us grace or the ability to revise our narrative despite the path that we took. Most of us can’t tell our story without revision, especially if we know we didn’t treat everyone as we would like to be treated.

The part I can tell is that I was so confident of the outcome and that my path was one of ascendancy and fulfillment. I got crushed in that confidence.

Today, I stood next to one of the men’s display tables at Sam’s. On the one hand, I was a little chagrined. On the other, it pleased me to know that the perfect size of that pants style wasn’t available to me. Because I was too small. If anyone had told me last September that I would encounter the problem of being too small, I might have laughed. Wearing such pants wasn’t possible for me before. Now that I realized that I love the fabric and fit, I’m a fan. This brand and fit aren’t available in 30″ waists. For the record, I’m a 32″ waist for the brands I used to wear.

A man saw the displays of pants and walked up. Almost immediately, I realized he had no clue what his exact size might be. He began to fumble and hide his attempt to ‘see’ his pant size. Because I was only a few feet away, he looked at me and laughed. “Hey, can you read the tag?” he asked me as he turned the back seam of his pants down. “Don’t make it awkward,” I told him jokingly as I leaned in and looked. “34 X 30,” I said. He replied, “What brand?” I didn’t have to look. “Eddie Bauer,” I said. I had a moment of surprise as I realized that my waist was smaller than his.


Because I knew Sam’s had no Eddie Bauer on display, I gave him a twenty-second presentation of why he should buy the pants I had on. And because he was listening, I sold him on the same style of shorts. He picked out four pairs of pants and four pairs of shorts. I should have asked for a commission.

When I got back to the house after Sam’s, I grabbed five pairs of pants and discarded them. The 36″ ones float on me. Because I’m still overly confident that I’m never going to the size I once was, I don’t begrudge the money I spent on these pants. As my size reduced, it has been a comfort to ritualize me throwing out the old.

Love, X

The After Is Missing The Only Thing

It is unimaginable the road that led me here. I walked it with an enthusiasm that eluded me before. The path seemed so clear, my eyes so focused, and my vision unclouded. I wish everyone could experience the joy of such certainty.

I’m sitting here, looking out the window at a sun slowly sliding down. The prisms hanging in the window take me to another place, a place I can’t call mine. All windows open to the same world; that much is true. But when it is you who have changed, the window loses its allure.

I weigh less than 165 lbs. Six months ago, I weighed 65 lbs more. I still can’t believe it. I fold myself into this chair and wonder how much life I crammed into those intervening months.

I shaved my beard down after allowing it to grow as long as it has in 20+ years. It wasn’t a decision so much as an obligation that boiled out of me in a rapid exercise of momentary certainty. I used the raw edge of the trimmer’s blade and failed to follow up with a razor.

I’m boiled away to me, raw.

My muse is absent. The silence is painful, hurtful, and uncomfortable. It’s my price to pay, even as I struggle to understand it.

The filaments that have sustained me became gossamer and intangible in a way that shocked me. I held my breath, summoning optimism, hope, and love to my defense.

This morning, I woke up to the surprising illumination of a solar light that somehow charged and lit up the entire night.

The next day will come.

I fear that my stumble has stolen an essential piece of me.

It is a cosmic coincidence that this day precedes the time change. Were it so that I could burst forth to the day when my muse returns.

I find myself looking out the window, between noted words, calling my muse back to my branch. The prisms hanging there beckon, their magic in plain sight.

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I’ll include this picture of me from earlier as a comparison. For the briefest of moments, I held my muse in my heart.

And in the above picture, I took it accidentally while trying to get a picture of my crazy vest. It didn’t fit before. And I slipped into another one of those many moments where I simply didn’t recognize my body as my own. These moments only carry their significance forward when you have a reason to share them.

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.

Untitled Day

The first link is NSFW: if you don’t like cursing, do NOT open the link. If you’ve never seen the website or read the material elsewhere, congratulations! https://markmanson.net/not-giving-a-fuck

I said the words as a joke. But I felt the reverb in my head and knew that I inadvertently shared a truth: “In October, I realized I was in an abusive relationship. With food.” Someone who hadn’t seen me in a year was shocked that he didn’t recognize me. Yes, I had a mask on. And lemon-colored glasses. He asked me my secret: “Short answer. Keep mouth closed. Second. I found a vision of my future life in my head that I had no choice but to pursue. And I am.” He congratulated me and of course asked me the usual questions.

In my head, I think about my previous food-driven life and consider it an addiction. Old thinking won’t keep me on track. My treatment will be life-long. And if not, me living a life that doesn’t contain what it should will be a certainty. Though it may sound unintentionally new-agey to say it, the vision of my life that flashed in my head in October when I started all this didn’t contain a deviation. Old habits will continue to be replaced by new pleasures.

Someone who didn’t interact with me before now periodically takes a moment to ask about my transformation. Today, he surprised me by saying, “I knew when you told me this was going to stick. Months have passed, and it’s like a switch did break in your head. I hope you take that momentum and expand it to other things.” He was sharing truth and an observation. “I am, yes,” I told him. “Losing all this weight was just a piece of the puzzle. Somewhere in all, this is an ‘after’ that might surprise everyone.”

A few minutes later, I was loudly playing verbal volleyball with a co-worker in Spanish. Another employee from another department turned and looked at me a couple of times, unsure. Still hammering away in Spanish, I neared the third employee, and his eyes widened. “You’re just full of surprises, aren’t you, X?” I laughed. “I hope so. I forgot myself for a while.” The words exited my lips, and I recognized the essential truth I had blurted out. Anticipating his next question, I told him that I am not Latino. And then added that what I do for a living in no way touches the perimeter of who I am or what the world inside my head resembles. He laughed. “Yes, I knew that the first time you said something to me.” He shook his head, still laughing. I told him a brief synopsis of my Spanish journey. “I couldn’t learn Spanish, X,” he said. “Do you think I possess superpowers? Can you learn one word a day?” He looked confused. “Superpowers? You might! But yes, I could learn one word a day, I think.” I laughed. “Well, there you go. Don’t look at the idea of learning Spanish as unwinnable. Take a shovel and take one lump at a time. In a year, at one word a day, you will learn about three times that many due to association. AND, the average speaker only uses about 800 different words a day, regardless of language.” He looked at me in surprise. “I never thought about it like that, X. For a second, you convinced me that I could do it.” At that point, I told him, “That idea you had for a second? The one where you thought you could do it? That is the secret. You can do it. You don’t have to promise to do the whole thing. Just take one word and step at a time.”

Later, I had a couple of lemon moments that surprised even me.

Though I was working, the morning held its embrace out for me, in unexpected ways. I’m grateful to the universe.

I wore my shirt inside out the entire day. People looked, but no one commented. People noticed, especially the clerk who sold me a lottery ticket. She laughed but said nothing, even as I pirouetted away from the register with a dancing flourish.

Unrelated to anything:

https://www.litographs.com/

https://offensivecrayons.com/collections/frontpage/products/original-offensive-crayons

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2010/03/about-85-of-people-only-breathe-out-of-one-nostril-at-a-time/

https://theoatmeal.com/comics/believe_clean?fbclid=IwAR14pSw_6pHAKCW7L9hBrIDyUgnZn4XVIoA3w06eNfI7PYFFvmW92yN5JX8

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

X

Best money for an honest opinion you’ll ever spend. If that sort of thing is important to you. If you have someone in your life who observably finds you appealing, that is the best definition of attractive imaginable.

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I’m probably the last person you’d expect to have an opinion about clothing or fashion. My past self was disinterested. Being fat makes much of the concern difficult to navigate. Once upon a time, I loved crazy clothing and vibrant, ridiculous colors. That love has returned.

Now that I look at ‘fashion’ (whatever that is) with a thinner eye, I discovered something I knew before: I am a huge fan of asymmetrical clothing. Shirts, vests, dresses, everything. I don’t remember noting the inclination as strongly before. Maybe there wasn’t as much of it. Maybe it’s me who has changed.

Interestingly, science fiction tends to portray most people in the future as fans of asymmetrical clothing. Don’t get me wrong: normal cut and other clothing is still interesting. But I find myself seeing the odd angles and mismatched materials much more interesting. I guess there is hope for me not getting old yet. In case you’re wondering about the last comment: it is difficult to find new things and enjoy them and feel old simultaneously.

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On a personal level, I haven’t lost a lot more weight. I’ve lost some. But I have not jumped on the scale. I’m at a plateau and I’m still okay with that. But do I feel thin? Lord, yes, I do, even though I have a pudge. I’ve yet to lose all sense and dive into unhealthy behavior, at least in regards to eating. I hope I don’t lose this sense of gratefulness to the universe for providing me with this feeling. I’m still convinced terrible consequences were impending without this big weight loss. I’m equally convinced that being significantly thinner is going to keep me smiling, even when other things might not, for quite some time.

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Being bilingual sometimes causes awkward laughter. Earlier this month, I invented a better, new word that better expresses what younger people want for Feb. 14th.

“Will you be my valentine?” will now be replaced with the more accurate, “Will you be my sinpantalón?”

¿Quieres ser mi San Valentín? = ¿Quieres ser mi Sinpantalón?

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As an educational comment. Many people do not know that a standard 9 volt battery contains six AAAA batteries (now obsolete, of course) linked in a series. Additionally, If you connect two 9 volts to opposite polarity, you create a hand warmer. Also a detonation device if you’re not careful.

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In a move best characterized as “ill-advised,” John located his martial arts studio adjacent to an Anger Management Institute franchise.

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Just me? “She Talks To Angels” by The Black Crowes summons a strident desire to recommend a competent mental health professional for the protagonist of the song.

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Now I understand why I’m obligated to buy expensive toilet paper: the Bible instructs us, “Be fruitful and multi-ply.”

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Feb. 11th

Coming over the hill into the long valley, I realized mine was the only car. Ahead, the ground and everything around it was strangely illuminated from winter’s touch. Winter did not bring its worst to us last night, choosing a subtle reminder that certainty eludes us. Far ahead the emerald traffic light burned with a green intensity. Go. Proceed. And I did, though I wanted to linger in the early February morning, as the world slept. On to work I came, as Evermore melodically hypnotized me. Go. Proceed. The emerald light is somewhere out there.

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“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may” is great poetry. But evidently a terrible horoscope for the day.

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Day after the Super Bowl

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: complaints about the halftime show are proportionally correlated to the likelihood that Centrum Silver is somewhere in the speaker’s medicine cabinet.” – X

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The pandemic was a really bad time to start using mustard in the hand sanitizer dispensers. That’s what my manager shoutily told me.6 Comments

(Shoutily is a word because I say it is. You’re welcome.)

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If I had a kid, I would name him or her “Mnemonics” so that people would be unable to forget the name without looking foolish.

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“‘X, how would you describe his intelligence?””Well, ‘Parts On Order’ adequately covers it.”

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Titles don’t impress. Even the monkey closest to the tree trunk is the Branch Manager.

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The above picture made me remember Amen Tailor.

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The above is to be used when you find yourself irritated that people place ideas over other people.

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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

NO Such Recipe

Being able to sound crazy is a home field advantage. Telling the truth while sounding crazy is sublime.

He looked at me and hesitated.

I knew what he was thinking. “Go ahead. Ask.”

“What’s your secret, X? It’s like you’re training for something. You’re still you. But something else, too.” He was uncomfortable. I’m known for saying outlandish things without context. Doubly so if the other person initiates the conversation. (And triply so if the conversation is personal.)

“Do you have moments where you almost see the world differently? Where things fall away?” I asked him. “Like ‘The Matrix,’ but real? I’m being serious! As if the things you thought were important were illusions and vice versa? Like a hidden truth just becomes obvious.”

He nodded. “Yeah.”

“I had one of those moments. I saw myself as this other person, the one I forgot. And I just knew I wasn’t fat anymore.” I laughed. I love seeing the looks on people’s faces when I tell them this. Telling someone that all your previous issues evaporated simply because you suddenly ‘know’ the truth of something sounds ridiculous.

“Hmmm. I don’t know how to get there from here. That’s not specific advice!” It was his turn to laugh. “And yours wasn’t just eating. How did you do the other things?”

“Whatever you’re thinking, it’s not about thinking. Move toward the things you want. Weight loss, being happier with what you have, another job. As for the other things, those are things I should have always been doing, anyway, just like being more careful about what I put in my mouth.”

He made a face. “Yes, but what specifically can I do? Not guru stuff, the actual things I can do.”

I returned his grimace. “Stop doing the things you know aren’t healthy or the ‘you’ you’d like to be five years from now. Start doing the things you know you should be doing. Whatever you do, commit to it and be okay with things being awkward and failing a few times until they aren’t. It took a lifetime to get where you are, so start now. Eat less. Eat more healthily. Do things that you actually like to do. And think about how they impact your other choices.”

I could see the simplicity of such ridiculous advice as it reached him.

“Keep it simple. Whatever you do, don’t do it unless you can picture doing it for the rest of your life. Don’t pay for pills, drinks, or expensive programs. You already more or less know how you would like to spend your time. Now go find a way to do more of that and less of the other.”

“Ha,” he said. “I think I can do that.”

“I know you can. I don’t possess any magic that you don’t. You saw me do it. Now let me watch you figure out how to do it.”

I wondered if he might be the next to succeed. I think so. I hope so.

In the last few months, I’ve had versions of this conversation with several people. Most expect a specific recipe for success. There isn’t one.