Category Archives: Weight Loss

My Sermon On Being The Right Weight

Disclaimer: This post doesn’t touch on eating disorders, serious mental health concerns, or medical conditions with which people struggle.

There will always be sickness, death, job loss, or other surprises. Prolonged periods of stress or anxiety. There will never be a perfect time to start your journey. You might as well open the door now and step outside into your goal. Just five minutes a day to start, or one small habit. By way of personal example? Stop assuming that just because you open it, it’s a single serving. Yes, I’m talking to you, giant bag of family-size Doritos or large pizza.

Hard truth up front: dieting doesn’t work. Keto, low-carb, supplements. Why: anything you do that isn’t permanent isn’t going to work. You will lose weight doing them. Statistically, though, you’re going to go back to a normal diet. And when you do? Bam! Thighs and stomach again, and probably larger than before. You will feel helpless and as if it’s impossible. Until you accept the fact that the first part is the hardest, you probably won’t succeed.

If you’re a heroin addict, you can do a little bit of coke instead. You’ll get over heroin. You’re also stuck with a cocaine habit. You’re replaced one negative for another. You are in theory a little better off. Food is the same way. You can’t avoid it and it’s ridiculously delicious. If you want to be the weight you want to be, you have to experiment and figure out a different way to eat. It’s that simple. Any other method will not work long-term.

You do not need gyms or weird, complicated eating methods. You can get to the weight you want by learning to eat differently. Choose your hard. It’s going to be hard to adapt. But if you can learn new eating habits, it’s sustainable.

If you need to do something extra for a while to get a taste of success, do that. It doesn’t matter what ‘that’ is if it’s temporary. Just be prepared to shift to another gear when it’s time to try to eat differently whenever you stop doing whatever program or supplement you’ve been using. Metaphorically speaking, if you have to do a little coke to replace the heroin, so be it. You’re moving toward progress. Stop worrying about doing it all at once or if you experience setbacks. One day or one week isn’t your life.

Many people wrote to me on my blog, telling me that my approach to weight loss was the wrong way to do it. Some of my posts were read an incredible number of times. To their surprise, I told them, “Yes, I know.” There was always a ‘but’ from me. I know my way wasn’t the right way. It worked for me, though. And it didn’t require expensive supplements, detailed metrics or counting, or any equipment at all. All in all, that’s about the most basic approach anyone could possibly take. Did I mention it worked for me? 🙂

When I started, I wasn’t trying to lose weight anymore. I was DOING it no matter what. For me, that required a 180 compared to everything I’d tried before. Different results demanded different efforts. I’ll never forget that early October day when I looked at myself in the mirror and thought, “I’m over this!”

I KNEW I would succeed. So much of my ability to eat healthily was simply a reflection of almost external willpower. I started experimenting with food and quickly dropped all pretense of counting calories, protein, or anything else. I just ate “healthy” food almost all the time. I used certain foods to offset the need to feel full, even when I was eating things that allegedly weren’t good for weight loss. The idea of bad or good food is mostly stupid to me now. It all is dependent on how much and how often you consume it. It’s possible to eat entirely normal food if you’re diligent. I ate half a container of coffee gelato yesterday. That’s where I knew I wouldn’t succeed if I started eating a lot of smaller portions of what was my previous diet. So, I skipped past that part and stayed firm on my eating. For me, I knew that portion control of the foods I love would not ‘get me there.’ It was a certainty, much in the way a cocaine addict doesn’t just use less cocaine to break his or her habit. I had to punch my diet right in the throat. So I did. I know it’s not the optimal method to lose weight or to keep it off long-term.

Note: I do take fiber supplements and drink a strong protein drink in the morning. They worked wonders for me. I resisted the science of them both but discovered they are essential. At least for me.

I don’t mean to sound boastful about knowing I’d lose the weight. I knew I’d get down as low as I’d been in decades; 150 wasn’t on my radar. The battle once the weight is off only really begins once you’ve reached your goal. Entropy and laziness tend to creep into everyone’s intentions. Food is good 365 days a year, no matter the hour. Pizza? Forget about it.

As for the rapidity and calorie restriction of my chosen diet, in the back of my mind, I compared it to bariatric surgery without the surgery. A friend of mine found success out of necessity going that route. All of those procedures demand severe restrictions. Even so, a large percentage of those using it gain the weight back long-term. That’s pretty much the case across the board with substantial weight loss. I gave myself a year benchmark; I surpassed that in October. No matter what comes at me, I know that my weight loss issue was 100% mental for decades. My success proves it.

If you’ve lost the weight before and gained it back – don’t worry. You’re still alive and can do it again. The only thing stopping you is your own mind. It doesn’t matter how many times you fail if you ultimately succeed. Your mistakes don’t matter as much as your destination.

Having such a huge success on my part would be foolish indeed if I let myself choose the wrong hard and fall back. I knew that if I didn’t get the weight off ferociously, I might lose my nerve before I ever had a chance to succeed at it for the first time in my adult life.

I didn’t add ANY exercise to my routine. It was all based on calorie reduction. After several weeks of eating differently, I had to confront the truth: I’d been eating way more horrible food (and more often) than I believed I had. And that my weight was much more intensely a psychological problem than a physical one.

In short, I was the problem.

In June, I got addicted to pushups, a habit I loved until my emergency surgery. After surgery, I started with dumbbells. I’ve increased the weight twice since I started. Although I do them very carefully, I do a couple of hundred pushups a day now to complement the weights. Looking back, I can’t tell you how important the routine of pushups had become to control my anxiety. When I could no longer do them because of the huge surgical wound on my abdomen, I recognized that I’d lost one of my most successful stress management tools. Not being able to do them had a direct impact on my weird anxiety levels. Walking and more running have helped.

I appreciate everyone who told me to be careful. I really do. Equally true is that being careful won’t guarantee that I’ll be healthy or safe. That’s another part of my anxiety; even though I’ve always known it due to some nasty life surprises (which we’ve all experienced), the emergency surgery happening at the highest point of my physical success knocked the wind out of me emotionally. The message that I’m mortal no matter what shape I’m in was received loud and clear. I don’t need another such lesson. I get it. It’s just a variation of the quote, “You can do everything right and still fail.” So if perfection can still yield failure, perhaps it is okay to accept the challenge to mix it up and try it your own way?

If you do nothing, you’ll be stuck where you don’t want to be. But if you try? Maybe you will succeed. If you get motivated or pissed off enough, I know you will. The crazy secret of discipline and motivation? You do it anyway, even though you are not motivated. And you repeat that bs until it is a habit.

Recently, walking out of work, someone who hadn’t seen me in a couple of months said, “Wow, you’ve kept the weight off!” He was enthusiastic and encouraging when he said it. He’s seen so many people revert to their old habits because of his job. I told him that I was never going past my setpoint again, no matter what. It popped out of my mouth with confidence, probably too much confidence.

But that is where all of y’all come in. You all have eyes – you can see what I’m eating and if I start to forget the lesson of maintaining this success. We don’t have an acceptable way to lovingly and effectively tell someone that their weight is a problem. That in itself is a problem.

I’m giving you permission to call me out if I start sliding. I can’t imagine that I will – but I couldn’t have seen my current life even a year ago. So anything is possible.

If I can turn a switch on in my head and do this, anyone else who is committed to doing so can do it, too. You can’t do it without changing the amount of food you eat. You can do it without driving to the gym or keeping detailed food logs or buying supplements that won’t work long-term. You do it by deciding. You can still eat a LOT of food. We’re all smart people yet make this food-weight relationship so complicated. It’s why there are so many books and experts arguing about how best to do it. Most of them are selling you something.

Exercise has its own rewards and benefits. I highly recommend it. But science proves you don’t have to exercise to lose weight. You just have to choose less and better fuel for your body.

I’m not selling anything.

You can do it if you really want to.

Take it from a random internet weirdo. There’s nothing special or secret in my approach. Nike already stole the “Just do it” quote.

Love, X
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For You

My favorite belt is older than a forgotten box of toenails. I’ve added 16″ of extra holes to it and cut it off twice. I have had a new one hanging in my closet for the day when I would be ready. Much to my shock, I had to drill eight extra inches of holes in it for it to fit properly. For any of you who are waiting for the new year to start your New Year’s resolutions, I hope you will take this tired old failure’s words of advice: you can do it without the gym, without upending your life, or feeling like a failure on your bad days. All it takes is a clear vision of what you want in life. You can pay the price and you can do it incrementally. With the right mindset, you’ll get little victories that add up. You will also have days where you feel like nothing is going right. If you start the journey and feel yourself waning, reach out to me. One of my superpowers is that I am a motivator. Love yourself and find a way to give yourself the opportunities to be who you want to be. If you’re already happy with who you are: be weird and let the fire breathe from your mouth so that people will know who you are.

Love, X

Tip(s)

I don’t know if this tip will help any of you, but surprisingly, it’s worked exceptionally well for me. When I was learning how to deescalate a fight and/or end it violently and quickly, the trainer told me of a trick he recommends to some clients if they work out at home and need to “crunch” their time and focus. Everyone gets distracted. Food. Pets. Kids. As Seen on TV commercials.

I laughed when the trainer told me because it echoes what I tend to do before sleep. Most nights, I put the song “Save Your Tears” by The Weeknd on a one-hour repeat on my Alexa. Not that anyone asked, but I discovered that I’ve also developed the habit of putting my teddy bear laterally across my stomach and surgery scar. It took me several nights of falling asleep that way to REALIZE I was doing it. I’ve done it so many times now that my subconscious is etched by the groove of the song. It’s rare that it doesn’t push me over the edge into dreamland. I fully expect to hear the song in the car one day and then find myself upside down in a holler somewhere, after an impromptu nap on the highway.

The trick he told me is to find a motivational song and put it on repeat whenever I want to crunch my time and do my sets with shorter rest intervals – without getting distracted by the million things to do. Since I’m a Rocky fan, I chose a remix of “Rocky Going The FN Distance Construct Remix.” If the song is still playing, it prompts and reminds me to stay moving and focused on the intervals instead of lolly-gagging and letting time stretch and get away from me. I used Audacity on my computer to truncate the ending unnaturally; the sudden ending always triggers me to recognize that I’m supposed to be focused. And then the song starts again.

It works for me. Years ago, when I was in 9th grade and started running, “Rocky” ran in my head a lot. It’s silly, of course. Now, if I feel myself fading as I run, I put the same remix on and find myself sailing.

I wish life had that same sort of soundtrack to kick us in the ass and keep us on point for our goals and betterment.

Love, X

Medium X

Okay guys! I thought extra large shirts were a miracle. Then large. Now I am at medium. My manager found an old badge of mine at work, one from at least 12 years ago. Even he was caught off guard that the person in the photo was me. As egotistical as it sounds, I’m still having trouble realizing that my light feet and flexibility are truly here to stay. But my confidence tells me otherwise. It’s not about thinking I look good. It’s about knowing I’m  again like I’m supposed to be.

Love,X

Oops!

Well, since I’m burning 3500-4000 calories a day 5 days a week, I might have to have pizza and a banana for breakfast, ice cream and salad for lunch, and pie and broccoli for supper. I haven’t decided what to eat for second breakfast, brunch, or second supper. 🙂 The fascinating thing is that I FEEL like my energy level is beyond human at times. P.S. No, I’m not pregnant. .

Personal Post, December Edition

The screenshot is of this week’s sleep for me. Months ago, part of my therapy was to learn to sleep again. My benchmark is 6 hours, which probably seems low to most of you. It’s not. I CAN sleep more, but my natural rhythm at this weight is six hours. At some point, I’m going to take a week and see if I can sleep for eight hours and see if it lowers my motivation again. It did before. I’m not sure I actually fell asleep as early as I did on some of those nights; the Fitbit interprets low heart rate and breaths as light sleep, even if I’m awake and listening to music or a podcast, or wrestling with my cat Güino.

In February, I wrote a post titled “Shirtless in February.” I never felt too weird about people seeing my body. We all know what people look like, more or less, whether they’re layered in two shirts, a tunic, and a bathrobe. It’s anatomy, not magic. (Although there is magic and chemistry in the process of seeing someone, that’s for another post.) 🙂 We fool ourselves by thinking we’re being clever. In my case, I wish someone had been creative enough to tell me to stop eating and lose weight twenty years ago, and in such a way that I would have HEARD the concern. We don’t have a way to lovingly talk to someone about this sort of thing without setting off a firestorm of defense or anger. That’s a problem.

As a side note, the world would also be much better off if you accept the compliment if someone thinks you are pretty, beautiful, handsome, or attractive. There is no universal standard for such things. Can we stop insisting there is? One of the most beautiful things is a quick smile and a sense of humor, even if the teeth behind it are crooked. I’m being serious. There’s no single formula for beauty or even attraction.

Yesterday, I had tons of energy. I ate an abnormally large lunch and then had a therapy session. We laughed a lot, which is always a good sign. As I often say, she can laugh easily because she’s billing me. I already knew I was feeling better due to the volume of pranks and creative things I’d been doing. After, around 4, I felt anxious. Having a Fitbit pays off in these circumstances. Because I have the premium option, I could see the metrics in real-time and progress. Seeing the physiological effects helps me deal with it.

Today, I woke up feeling like I was walking on air, which is becoming very common -and when I don’t feel that energy, I wonder what causes it. I realized that I expect that I will always wake up ready to ring the bell and step into the day. I wanted to go running all morning. Unfortunately, work intervened. Work “let” me walk 15-20K steps, though. It wasn’t until after work that I realized that not running yesterday affected my level of anxiety in the afternoon. It should have been evident to me. I’ve only missed a couple of days of running in the last couple of weeks. If I find myself incapable of constant running, I switch to running in intervals and burn through the miles or minutes that way. Anything incremental is better than not doing anything. I’m not sure I will continue running. I’d do it if someone agreed to chase me each day. Add a little danger and/or mystery to the equation.

I hit the streets this afternoon. I enjoyed the incredible 75-degree afternoon. Weirdly, I could sense this might be the last such incredibly temperate afternoon to enjoy – maybe for weeks. The Upper 70s in December? Yes, please! And so, I ran. After a few minutes, I took my shirt off. The slight breeze gave me wings. Even though I didn’t want to, I stopped. I felt like I could run ten miles, which would be a discomfort payment I wouldn’t want to make tomorrow. I did run up and down the apartment stairs a few dozen times when I got back, though.

An actual test of whether someone cares what they look like is if they can run without a shirt on. Forget swimming without one; the litmus test is running, where there’s no water to hide your body. For 54, I look normal. My scar left what looks like a second belly-button indentation a few inches above my real one. The surgery left a “pooch” between the two indentations. When I think back to how I looked and felt before, it is still hard to believe I fooled myself for so long. I’m not a fan of people being ashamed of their bodies, no matter what shape they are in. I understand it, but when you compare the vast variety of body types and shapes, everyone has something they hate about themselves. Except for me. I accept it all because it’s me. I did the work needed to remove the excuses I kept whispering in my head. Looking normal is something I hadn’t anticipated.

Don’t worry; I’m still not going to ACT normal, so you can cross that expectation off of your list.

I’m going to put a picture below. Not so that people could say something nice – or mean. Anyone who wants to snark is welcome to as long as it’s creative. I love creative snark, and I need to practice not caring that other people think I look like Danny DeVito grown up and thinner. I’m not sucking my gut in. I don’t have one. I have a weird pooch that can’t be fixed without surgery, which will not happen. I already lost a knife fight with a surgeon. He got the last laugh with the catheter.

People keep telling me to stop losing weight. I haven’t lost any weight since before my surgery. I’m just working to change my body mass. I ate a donut and seven Ghiradelli chocolate squares this morning.

I’m still experimenting with the ‘how’ of it. There are days when I’m glad I’ve done it all for no other reason than to know I did it. The future could hit me with any number of calamities or illnesses. It’s a question of when not if.

I’ve encouraged anyone interested in doing something to change themselves. No matter what else I’ve done, I can’t imagine how I would feel if I still weighed 230, 240, or 250+ lbs. The voice in my head answers: “Dead.” You don’t have to go to the gym, buy supplements, or do a lot of cardio to lose weight. You don’t even have to invest a lot of time. All it takes is a change of mind about how you want to look and feel. Small changes, constantly reinforced. Because I’ve learned to say so, I’ll include the caveat that there are exceptions. But I’m not writing about the exceptions. As the year winds down, the barrage of New Year’s Resolutions and commitments ramp up. And I reply, “Why wait? You can do one thing today to start. And you can do it right here and right now.”

If you’re happy with your body, stop struggling to worry about your weight. And don’t worry about how people perceive you. You can’t change that.

Take it from taller Danny DeVito.

Love, X
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G.Y.F.S.T.


I laughed my butt off the first time I saw TikToker Darrin Robinson’s “GYFST” post.

His acronym accurately surmises the ridiculously easy way to improve your life.

It all starts with an implemented commitment to change and do things differently. To stop repeating what hasn’t worked.

I’ve added it to my “Choose Your Hard” and “Nothing tastes as good as this feels” list of mantras.

I find myself repeating it when I’m doing pushups or using dumbbells. It is the most profane and profound mantra to internalize.

Just do it. Differently. And you’ll get something different.

Adjust as needed. Just KEEP adjusting until you find a way.

Love, X
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P.S. I made the picture…

The Banana Apple Rule

Despite what I’ve been eating, I still weigh about 148 lbs. There’s a ‘but’ here.

I can’t tell y’all how many times I’ve stepped on the scale lately, expecting to be over 150.

I think back to when I had the vision of what I’d look like. I didn’t expect a huge abdominal scar. But I love that it’s there. Really.

I’ve worked really hard since surgery to change my body. It’s working. My muscle mass is increasing. That creates the issue of burning more calories at rest than I previously did. I was wrong about needing to incorporate more weight training into my routine. Wrong seems to surround me when I think about what I thought I knew. I’m so grateful that I can do pushups again. Before my surgery, they were like meditation to me.

Now that I have a Fitbit, I know how easy it is to surpass 20,000 steps just on a normal day, one without a “walk.” I was fat with the same amount of activity. For years. That tells you how many bad choices I was making with the foods I was eating. It’s the fundamental truth of losing weight. Generally speaking, it’s the only reason you’re not where you want to be.

Fitbit watches are great for metrics. I thought I wouldn’t find it interesting. I was wrong, as usual. I got the 3-month trial premium plan. It tells me my heart rate, O2 level, sleep patterns, snoring, and of course steps. The threshold is 10,000 steps. It’s obvious that I will always go over 20,000 if I’m working. If I take a long walk through the streets around me, I can hit 30,000, or 50,000.

The Banana Apple Rule has helped me. If I go into a store, even an inconvenience store, and there are apples or bananas, I buy one and eat it. It’s a bit simplistic, but it works. It might not stop me from eating a bag of something stupid; it reminds me of why making different choices is a necessity.

When I lost all the weight, I didn’t change anything except what I ate.

Now that I’ve eclipsed a year of different choices, I feel humbled. No matter what else has happened to me, I can’t resist running up the stairs or wanting to hurdle over the side as I go down them, wondering if I might float.

When I think about where I was thirteen months ago, I float.

Thanksgiving is approaching. I thank the universe every night that I’m still here. I’ll make a lot of dumb choices because I’m human. But I’ll also make a lot of moments better because I’m still alive and being me.

Love, X
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Turn On The Light If You Want To See

I realized that I don’t own blue jeans anymore. I bought more when I fell to a 36″ waist. Of course, I didn’t wear them even once. I left the last batch of clothing on the dumpster. Someone took it, as I knew they would. Now I’m at 30″ and can’t find my favorite kind of travel pants. Sam’s Club got me hooked on them for work and leisure; now I can’t find them. The kind I love looks like slacks but feels very light and flexible. It’s a first-world problem to be unable to find 30″ pants. I float around in my pants now. As my surgery wound subsided, I found myself cinching my belt tighter and tighter to keep my pants up. Not everyone wants to see me in my Marvel character underwear.

Note: I didn’t plan on getting to a 30″ waist. I did know for certain I wouldn’t be fat forever.

But despite some of the problems in my life, I sometimes feel like I’m walking on air when I move. It’s on my gratitude list. I got reminded today that I was headed for something bad weighing 100 lbs more than I do. (That’s 12 1/2 gallons of milk in weight extra I was lugging around.) I still wear my old belt that originally was a 44″ belt, having cut it twice now. It’s a reminder to me every time I put it on. If I had to sum it up, I’d say, “What a dumbass I was!” Unironically, I know that I’ll think the same thing about myself this time next year if the universe grants me the time to revitalize my appreciation for life and its tumult. I’ve declared a truce with my intestines and asked them politely to please stop trying to kill me.

At the risk of sounding egotistical, yesterday was the first time I looked in the mirror and felt like it was truly “me” staring back. I knew that I had conquered my fear of being fat again. I trimmed my beard and as I did so, I laughed at myself. I’m probably the most vulnerable person on the planet; for a moment, my anxiety vaporized and I realized I had surpassed my wildest goal.

Yesterday, someone said, “Turn the light on if you want to see.” It wasn’t meant to be a meta-comment, but it was.

I hate the concept of daylight savings time but I also relish the sensation that it’s later than it’s supposed to be. Maybe sleep will blanket me in its velvet curtain and I’ll dream of what life will look like in a year.

I count my blessings. I don’t have enough fingers. Don’t tell anyone that I find a lot to be grateful for. When I wake up tomorrow, I’ll put my pants on and remember that I am capable of imagining so many things. Baggy pants are the least of my worries. Being the right kind of human being is a constant battle.

Love, X
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