Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Vacation mid week

So its Wednesday already and I'm not quite halfway through my holidays. My concerns the other day about blowing my diet have not come to pass as yet and I'm relieved. I jumped on the scale this morning for a quick check and I was 196.5 which is actually a pound lighter than Friday so despite what I thought were a few indulgences so far, I'm fine. I did go to the gym on Monday, I missed yesterday because we were in Montreal for the day but I got some exercise walking around for a good 4-5 hours which was nice and we're going to a zip line park today for some hiking, climbing and zip line fun. Depending on how I feel when we get back, I may hit the gym otherwise I'll wait until tomorrow.

Have to keep this short and sweet but needed to check in. I'll try and be back with more later or tomorrow.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Vacation Time or Can I Not Screw Myself This Time

Stepped on the scale this morning for the official weekly weigh in and I'm now 197.5lbs. That's 2 down from last week so I'm happy about that. Makes all the sacrificing and time at the gym feel worth it. I'm on holidays next week so the big challenge will be to not repeat my past holiday performances and gain 5lbs thereby forcing me to spend the next month fixing that mistake too. I plan on going to the gym and watching what I eat as per usual but then again, that's usually the plan too. So we'll see.

I'm pretty happy with the progress the last few weeks overall. About a month ago, I weighed in at 203lbs so I'm down a good 6lbs since. I can't argue with that although it seems like its been slower than that. Guess that's what happens when you are constantly monitoring yourself. I'm just glad to be clear of the 200lbs threshold. 200 has been a major source of contention for me for years; it seemed like cracking that number was virtually impossible during my college years. It took graduating and getting into a physical job full time to peel off those extra few pounds. But since moving into a deskjob, its been harder to stay below 200. Sitting burns virtually no calories.

What's going to make the coming days even more challenging is the fact that my personal life is in chaos right now. I've been dealing with a couple of stressful situations for a while now and thankfully I've been able to not lose my drive although at times I've felt like it. But a new situation has arisen in the past couple of days and to be honest, I'm pretty upset. Right now, I don't feel like eating, which is good, but who knows how I'm going to feel later today or even this weekend. I've always been an emotional eater but perhaps my focus is too strong to allow this current problem to derail me, or at least that's the hope. The gym has never been an adequate stress reliever for me unlike some people but its a place to escape for a couple of hours. I'll need it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hating the Gym

I hate the gym. Loathe would be a good word to describe it. I don't know exactly what it is about the gym that I hate so much, but having to get up early and go doesn't make me a happy camper. This morning I barely made it through my workout. Yesterday I only did 2/3 of it. Usually on Monday, I'm ready to get back to it after taking the weekend off, but this week, I just don't have it. I climb on the elliptical and can barely make a decent pace without exerting a tremendous amount of effort as if I was out of gas and running on fumes. If this was something that was fairly new I would pass it off as burnout and figure I just needed a break from it. But it's happening more often than I'd like and its been this way for a few years.

When I first started going to the gym regularly about 8 or so years ago, I was like a machine. I looked forward to getting out there on the floor and pounding the weights, enjoying the burn and the sweat. Same went for the cardio, I had no problem climbing onto the elliptical and spending 45 or sometimes 60 minutes sweating off the pounds. It seemed easy.

But the last few years? Forget about it. I have my moments where I'm focused and ready to go but they only seem to last 2-4 weeks before I lose my momentum and start dreading my visits again. Like this last time, after taking a week off at the end of June for vacation, I found my desire had returned. I felt energized and goal oriented and the morning visits to the gym felt good. I jumped out of bed and headed out with a good attitude and a head full of steam. I had changed up some of the music on my MP3 player as much of what I had been listening to seemed to be old and dull as happens when you are listening to the same tracks day after day, week after week, month after month and so on. But sure enough, by the end of July, I was feeling lethargic at the gym and finding it hard to get motivated. I still went but it wasn't uncommon for me to shorten things up or cut other things out altogether. The result? A workout that while still a workout, was not burning as many calories and feeding my guilt about my lack of effort.

See, that's the thing with my relationship with the gym; its based on guilt. If I go, I'm miserable until its over but then I'm glad I went. If I miss a visit, I'm consumed by guilt and thinking I should pay a visit in the evening to make up for it. If I go and do less than my full workout, I feel guilty and hate myself for everything I stick in my mouth that day. Its a vicious cycle. Why does it have to be this way? Why can't I just go and do less and be happy that at least I went? After all, that's what a personal trainer would tell you. You don't just not go, you go and do the things you enjoy and then leave.

But what if you don't enjoy any of your workout? I mean I don't hate riding a stationary bike, at least it gives me a chance to read my Macleans, but if I only did that for a half hour or so, I wouldn't burn too many calories. The elliptical? What's to love there? Cardio has to be the most mind numbing thing next to watching paint dry. You're indoors so there's no view except for the TV that you can't hear. And it isn't tuned to a certain radio frequency so you can hear it if you wanted to unlike most other gyms I've attended! (Solution? Change gyms but I have an MP3 player and I don't know if I could tune in the frequency even if it was available. And my gym is really convenient for me). Music helps a lot but once you've reached that point where you've heard all the songs on your system a thousand times, you start flipping past some songs hoping to hear something you haven't in a couple of days. And finding music to replace it? Very hard after a while. I'm always trying to think of songs I'd like to have playing but after several years amassing my collection of tunes, the well is running dry.

I don't lift weights anymore, I want to again in the future, but when I did and when I do again, it'll be a lonely activity. I don't have a lifting partner, someone who motivates you, pushes you and works alongside you. I don't know how much of an effect this really has on people but having someone else to do anything is always better than doing it alone. And when it comes to working out, you need someone who can push you otherwise you become lazy and complacent. And, my body hates lifting weights. It starts out okay, I work within my limits to get the muscles used to lifting again but once I start adding weight to push myself, inevitably something bad happens. My shoulder goes out, or something in my back pulls. It never fails. And I understand about proper lifting, its not like I'm making these rookie mistakes that are costing me in pain. I just don't have a builder's body. I could start lifting again and just be modest with the weights but my goal currently is to lose fat before I start building muscle so carido is the route I need to go. And I really need the calorie burn which you don't get from lifting weights. I know that I'll lose muscle mass as well if I'm not lifting but I'm so fixated on that stupid scale that I dare not lift weights for fear of seeing it hit 200lbs again.

So what to do? I keep telling myself to just suck it up knowing that while I'll loathe that hour and a half I spend there, I'll be happy I went. I just see that damn place as a prison and me with a life sentence. I'm not gifted with a high metabolism and I put on weight so easily its criminal. And its not an age thing, I've never been able to eat without gaining absurd amounts of weight. Even now with my healthier approach to eating, I'm still prone to gaining. It isn't fair. I go 5 times a week just to feel like I'm accomplishing anything. Experts recommend getting 3-5 days of exercise a week. I wish I could do just 3. But it just isn't in the cards. So I'll keep on keeping on, rolling out of bed early before work and stumbling into a near empty gym to sweat my ass off for those 70 minutes of cardio Hell.

Why won't someone just invent a damn pill already!?!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Finally, the switch goes on

So its Monday. Rah rah. I hit the gym this morning first thing as usual, I find the beginning of the week so much easier at the gym than later on, say Thursday. I don't go to the gym on the weekends, preferring to take a brief 2 day break to rest my weary bones. Only the weekend is probably when I should be going to the gym since those are the days I'm most at risk of over-eating. I've often thought of dropping a day during the week and making it up on Saturday or Sunday but by the time the weekend arrives, I can't bring myself to go.

Its my time, I don't have to work, don't usually have places to be, anything I do should be recreational and enjoyable. We sometimes have errands to run but those aren't like work. Weekends are a good time to clean the house but that only takes an hour or two, same with mowing the lawn so I don't really worry about it. But the gym is a whole other ballgame. I have a love/hate relationship with it.

As a teenager, I was first introduced to the gym by my mother who bought family memberships every year. Her live-in at the time was a guy who enjoyed working out and taught me many things about lifting weights. However, I was an overweight, lazy boy and the hard work and diet necessary to see any real results proved too much for my spoiled ass. I'd work hard for a while but then I'd just drop off. Come to think of it, so did everyone else in my family. We were one of those people who bought memberships every year, used it for a couple of months, then disappeared only to reappear sporatically over the year until renewal time when we'd come in again and repeat the same pattern. Maybe I'd have been more interested had I seen results but without a proper diet in place, and my mother losing interest all the time, there was no way. So I just got fatter and fatter.

Once I was in my 20's, that was it for the gym, even after my gastric bypass. I simply wasn't interested and expected the surgery to take care of it. It only partially did. You still need to exercise and burn calories, and I still was loading up on empty calories so I was accomplishing very little. The surgery did what it could and I lost weight but not all that I needed to. I was still a good hundred pounds overweight.

But then something changed. I was 33 and just separated from my ex. I had been feeling a change churning inside of me for a few months, like a need to join a gym and eat better. It was the fall of 1999 and I made a decision: in the new year I was going to join the gym again and follow a diet and lose the rest of this weight. I chose the new year mostly to give myself time to enjoy whatever foods I wanted over the last couple of months I could, also because it represented a new start. Sounds like a New Years resolution and maybe it was, but this was one resolution I was going to keep.

I waited until the 17th of January to join, mostly because I was off during the holidays and needed a pay cheque to pay for the gym. I purchased some gym sweats, gloves for weight lifting, a gym bag and a combination lock. I planned to eat light and arranged my groceries appropriately. Lots of soup, chicken, veggies and lean meats. I was a man on a mission. Sure I had been primed and ready to go in the past but something was different this time. To this day, I still don't know what it was. Maybe it was the breakup, which was messy and very painful. Maybe it was the realization that I was at a major crossroads in my life with the opportunity to make some very serious changes for once and better myself. I had already decided to return to college the coming fall, and I didn't want to go back fat. I had always been fat at school and it wasn't pleasant. Although college was older and I would be a mature student attending, I still didn't want to be the fat guy anymore. Either way, I was focused like never before and ready to work hard.

For the first month, most of my regimen was built around weights with little cardio. But after some time, I realized that in order to burn the maximum amount of calories, I'd have to concentrate more on the cardio and get my heart pumping. So I changed things up to include about 20 minutes on the cross trainer which burned about 350 calories, another 20-25 minutes on the stationary bike and another hour or so with weights. I made great progress losing about 2lbs a week which was expected since I was so big and it tends to come off easily at first, but seeing the scale dropping so quickly motivated me to do more cardio and skip the weights. So I ended up doing 2 20-25 minute shots on the cross trainer and another 20-25 minutes on the bike, plus I started doing some jogging on the treadmill. I was eating pretty light too so I wasn't able to do the lifting, simply no energy for that and without all the protein and that to build muscle, it wasn't doing me any good anyhow.

I went to the gym Monday thru Thursday evenings after work then again on Saturday mornings like clockwork. And the results were staggering. Never before had I seen such losses, I was losing easily 10lbs a month which translated into 2-3lbs a week. Soon, everybody around me was noticing but they couldn't quite pinpoint what it was that was different. Not long after that, it wasn't hard to figure out. After about 30lbs, people really took notice. And everyone was supportive and wanting to know what i was doing. Was I taking pills? Was I following one of the fad diets? A couple even asked me if I was sick.

I continued along like this and in May starting dating again. Unfortunately, this resulted in a slowdown of my weight loss since I was going out and eating and drinking things I hadn't touched in months. Fortunately, this didn't last long and I was back on the train and single again by the fall. I managed to get down to about 200lbs by Christmas and ended up changing jobs. Instead of working in a cafeteria where I was surrounded by temptation, I was working in a furniture store and moving couches around every day. This had a great impact on my weight loss. By the spring, I was down to 185lbs and looking fairly trim. People who hadn't seen me in ages didn't recognize me. And when they found out who I was, the reaction was always one of "Oh my God you look great!"

So after a year and a half, I had lost about a 100lbs, it would have been more and faster if not for the hiccups due to dating in that span but the social opportunities that had opened up were fascinating to me and I wanted to enjoy it. Unfortunately, in the summer of 2001, I started dating someone I had been crushing on for years and she had no real qualms about eating. She wasn't a big girl by any means but she enjoyed her food and it led to catastrophe for me. I had stopped going to the gym (big mistake) and was indulging in things I simply should have stayed away from. I had a deep fryer that had been in storage for a long time, but out it came and we started eating far too much deep fried food. Same with visits to the ice cream parlour and dining out. I had no idea I was putting on weight again until I stepped on the scale in November and it read: 227lbs. I almost had a heart attack.

Right away, I announced to her that I was rejoining the gym and was done with the food. She joined too which was cool and we set about fixing our mistakes. It took a while, somehow I just didn't have the same drive I had before, but I managed to get to about 205lbs where I stayed for the next 3 years. My diet just wasn't where it needed to be to lose anymore. And being in college and going out for beers fairly regularly wasn't helping. It wasn't until I graduated and was working in a paint store full time lugging 50lb pails of paint around while waiting for my first job in my chosen profession that I managed to lose some more. I got down to about 180lbs a year after I graduated and snagged my first desk job.

Sitting at a desk all day was a major change. All my life, I had been in labour intensive jobs, but now I was sitting most of the day. That made going to the gym and watching my diet even more important. But still, my diet wasn't great and I gained probably 15lbs over the next few months. Then I got sick. This story is chronicled in my entries about Gastric Bypass Nightmares so I won't rehash it here.

Today, I'm eating better than ever enjoying fruits and vegetables and avoiding junk for the most part. I don't know what happened after the surgery to fix my bypass, but I just lost my taste for most junk. I used to live on Cheezies, I haven't even sniffed a Cheezie since. I acquired a taste for diet pop instead of the real thing, use sweetener (specifically Splenda) where sugar used to be and gave up my once cherished sugary cereals for better choices like Corn Flakes, All Bran and Shreddies. I haven't visited a McDonalds, KFC or other fast food outlet in what seems like forever. About the only "fast food" I still enjoy is pizza but even that is once a month and we don't order a big one anymore. I adjusted my gym schedule so that I'm going every morning before work and I'm doing pretty much just cardio for the calorie burn. I may start lifting weights again once I lose some more weight but I haven't made that decision yet.

My body loathes lifting weights and seems to break down rather easily when I do. I'm always pulling a muscle or causing some other unnecessary pain so I don't bother. But I know I should. I'd love to get good and strong and I do enjoy lifting weights, but I'm addicted to the calorie burn. Lifting weights will cause a rise in my weight from the muscle growth and I'm wanting to see that scale under 200lbs. I know its not about the scale, its about how you look and how your clothes fit, but I like seeing a lower number on that scale. It makes me feel better. And since I'm always in losing mode, I want to see that scale drop every week. Those people who use personal trainers are getting a better overall workout but it takes forever for them to see results. I'm too impatient. I want it now. But I know better. I'm sure I'll get to a more balanced approach at the gym a some point. Its just getting there that's the problem.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Status Report - Friday

I have to admit, I'm a bit disappointed. After having what has to be the lightest eating week I've had ever, I just made my goal for the week: 199.5lbs. This is the same 199lbs I was aiming for last Friday and missed by about a pound. The same 199lbs I have seen a couple of times in the past month only to see my weight go back up a couple of pounds. It would appear that 200 is my new nemesis much like 207 used to be and 213 before that. It seems that my body likes to be about 200lbs, when I lost the rest of my weight originally several years ago, I got stuck at around 204lbs for a few years, then after managing to drop to about 185 or so for a while, getting sick and losing a ton of weight (which was chronicled in Gastric Bypass Nightmares Parts 3 and 4), my body raced back up to 200lbs in record time. Then it forgot to stop racing and shot me past it which I've been trying rectify for the past 11 months.

So here I am, in a familiar place, wondering if maybe I should just maintain this weight and forget trying to reach what seems like an impossible goal at times. After all, what happens after I finally get to 190 or heaven forbid, 180? What will I have to do to maintain that? If I maintain my current activity levels, I can only eat about 2300 calories per day. If I decide to cut back on my visits to the gym, I must eat even less. At first glance, this seems easy. 2300 calories is like a dream to many people I'm sure, especially women who must eat less calories then men to maintain their weight, but when you consider how many calories are in food, you realize you aren't really eating all that much.

Currently I eat probably 7-9 portions of fruit, usually 3-5 portions of vegetables and then whatever meal we have for dinner, sometimes chicken, sometimes beef, sometimes we just munch which means for me, bowl of cereal, soup, a sandwich, whatever. And that adds up to about 2300 or more. And I feel like I've not eaten all that much. Imagine if I actually ate a real breakfast? Some combination of bacon, eggs, toast, potato or pancakes would quickly add up the calories. Then imagine if I ate a real lunch? Like the lunch special at work or a visit to a restaurant for takeout? Or a sandwich or leftovers from home? What does that leave for dinner? How does air taste? I hear water is supposed to fill you up. So its nothing to eat what is considered normal: traditional breakfast, lunch, and dinner and ingest more than 3000 calories. So you end up having to always eat light just to maintain a decent weight. That means something small like an apple or slice of toast (no butter), or a cup of cereal for breakfast, a salad, maybe another apple or piece of fruit or sliver of real food for lunch, then a moderate dinner consisting of 3oz. of meat, veggies and a bit of a starch since rice and potatoes add up the calories.

Sound like a diet? It should because that's what it is in a nutshell. Yet its what is necessary apparently to maintain a good healthy weight. So where do you fit in beverages that are not water? Or a trip to a restaurant or a visit to the local chip truck? What about enjoying some junk food? I mean you can't realistically expect people to just never eat any of this stuff again. Oh I know, you can have 10 potato chips. Gee, thanks. You can have pizza, but just a slice. A whole slice? Really, honest and true?? Guess I'd better get used to feeling hungry.

Yes, I'm bitching and probably making it sound a lot worse than it is. As I'm writing this, I'm questioning some of the statements I've already made. But to someone who loves to eat, someone who really enjoys a good meal, its hard to accept that in order to maintain a good weight, I have to sacrifice so much. I miss being able to open a bag of cookies and eat more than one or two with a glass of milk. Or being able to order a pizza and gobble up more than a couple of slices without feeling massive amounts of guilt. On a hot summers day, an ice cream cone is a wonderful treat. Too bad that large scoop on a waffle cone probably comes in at 700 or more calories. In fact, its probably much higher. But this is my life, if I want to be normal looking. I've been horribly obese, deathly thin and all points in between and I prefer to be normal size. Its good to be able to buy off the rack, to fit into the rides at the amusement park and to be able to complete basic tasks like walking up stairs without needing CPR. I'm still adjusting, seems like I've been adjusting for years now and I'm still not there yet. I'm proud of my accomplishments so far but God I'd love a big cheesy pizza right about now.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Last weekend

Funny how much time goes by before you realize you haven't written anything and it might be a good idea to sit down and jot something down....anything. So after a weird last few days, I figure I'll sort out what's been going on diet wise, or rather, lifestyle wise.

We went out to dinner at this fancy Italian place Friday night and then hit the downtown for a couple of drinks afterward. I was planning to have Chicken Parmagiana but at the last minute decided to go with lasagna. I know, not the best decision but how often does one get lasagna? And I did order a salad for an appetizer instead of what I really wanted which was garlic bread. So after dinner, we wandered downtown and settled in at this place that featured a pianist and a guitarist playing crowd favourites. I had a couple of light beers before we left and came across this dessert place.

Now, we had been talking about these dessert eateries since going to Vancouver in April and visiting one. If you've never been, they feature a variety of cakes and pies displayed in a nice cold showcase and you can purchase a slice of whichever dessert catches your fancy for sit in or take out. I settled on a banana cream cake while Red went for some chocolate mousse thingy that was to die for. For some reason, neither of us were overly concerned with the calories that night, we had decided we were going out and we were going to enjoy ourselves. None of this asking the chef to alter the meal to avoid certain calories, or asking for vinegar instead of salad dressing, or avoiding the bread. We decided that since it felt like we hadn't eaten anything substantial in what seemed like weeks, we were going to just let it alone.

Saturday wasn't a very good day though. We decided to see a movie since we were bored so we took in a matinee. In recent months, we've been pretty good about avoiding the concession stand but for whatever reason, we ended up over at the pretzel place staring at 2 delicious looking cheese pretzels. After a bit of debate, we went for it. I know Red was hungry and we had decided on subs for dinner, but again, we just let it go. I wanted fries so I picked up some, with gravy I might add, and we sat down for the movie. Afterwards, it was sub time and the rest of the evening was fine.

Sunday wasn't horrible but the Def Leppard concert was on and I decided to have a few drinks before the show. After downing a few rum and diet cokes, we headed out. Of course, I was feeling pretty good and ended up purchasing some beers while there. So not a great day or weekend but I got back on track on Monday. I did step on the scale and I was only a pound over Friday's weight so I felt okay about that. Today, I did step on again because I had been doing rather well this week and was curious. I know what I said before about only weighing myself once a week but with all the indulgences, I had to know. Imagine my surprise when it read 199lbs. 199! I was shocked, however I did have a very light day Tuesday so I might be weighing light due to dehydration. We'll see on Friday when I step on for my official weigh in.

One thing I've noticed since I've been blogging, is that I can really see how I'm doing weight wise from week to week. I've always watched it but its so easy to lose track of how long you've been at a certain weight or how far you have, or haven't, come along during a certain amount of time. For instance, went we went to Vancouver in April, I was roughly 207lbs. I'm now about 200lbs give or take. That means that in the almost 4 months since then, i've only lost about 7lbs. But that's not true. I gained some weight after that which needed to be lost. Then we went to Niagara Falls which ended up costing me weight wise. So if you look at it that way, I've been battling to take weight off that I stupidly put on to begin with during these short periods of time. Not the best strategy to be sure and its slowing down the race to my goal weight. The nice part is, I can see the difference in my body, especially around my abdomen. Red has noticed it too and has been very supportive which helps.

One thing I had forgotten about the battle is the feeling of success and the added motivation you feel when you actually SEE the results. It seems like so long since I really noticed a change that encouraged me to continue with renewed vigor. But the past couple of weeks have been inspiring and despite this past weekend, I'm feeling pretty good about my weight. Onward and upward I say!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Weigh in time...The week in retrospect

So its finally Friday. I can't tell you how happy I am to see the weekend here. Its been a short week considering the August Civic holiday on Monday, but for me, the week couldn't end quick enough. I mentioned before that Red was going to a retirement dinner for her aunt on Monday evening. That left me to my own devices and I planned on seeing The Dark Knight again. I had contemplated popcorn at the show but I also had to think about dinner. My guilt would not allow me to indulge in both so I made a decision. Not the best choice but it was something I felt I needed to do.

I'd been craving something chocolaty for a while, so I stopped at the drugstore across from the theater to see if there was something that might catch my eye. I intended it to be small, nothing outlandish, just enough to satisfy that craving and satisfy my inner fat guy who wanted to indulge. I settled on a small bag of peanut M&Ms. Since the movie is over 2hrs long, I went for a large diet Coke and figured that would be it. But something caught my eye. The theater we go to usually has various other food outlets besides the standard confection stand. There's a KFC/Taco Bell, New York Fries, Burger King, and a Wetzels Pretzels. It was the latter that caught my eye. See, most times when we go, they are out of pretzels and don't appear to be prepping any more. I fail to understand how I can get popcorn, candy, nachos, burgers, dogs, fries, ice cream and fried chicken among other things but never pretzels despite the fact that there is a pretzel franchise right there occupying a sizable chunk of real estate inside the theater. It astounds me and pisses me off royally.

Well I thought I'd just take a wander over, you know, just to see if Wetzel's would live up to their reputation for teasing us. Imagine my surprise when there were several, yes several, pretzels sitting there ready for consumption, and me on my diet, or lifestyle change to be more accurate. Now I did it to myself by going over and seeing, but they just looked so good and I was hungry. Besides, they NEVER have pretzels so I had to grab one out of principle. So yes, I had guilt over that and get this, it seemed tough and stale. Maybe a sign? I got out of the movie with my next mission in mind: pizza.

I had decided on pizza for dinner earlier since I was free that night and hadn't enjoyed any in what seemed like forever. I was due. So I stopped at our local shop and since they didn't have any slices available, ordered a small all dressed. I figured I'd just eat light the rest of the week. My goal for this week was to come in under 200lbs. I cheated Monday morning by stepping on the scale and saw 199.5. I figured it was a fluke since I was 201.5 on Friday and knew I had the rest of the week to make it up.

And I did. We ate light all week. I hit the gym each day this week. Even when I was really hungry, I stayed the course. I probably overdosed on the fruit but at least it was fruit. I did cheat and step on it yesterday just to see where I stood and it read 200lbs. I stepped on the scale this morning expecting good news. I'm not sure how to feel about what I saw.

Our bathroom floor is a bit lopsided so in order to get an accurate reading, you need to move the scale to a section of the floor tiles that are reasonably even and all four corners of the scale sit flat. I know this spot so I proceeded to slide it over and stepped on. 200.5lbs. Okay, I thought. I stepped off and back on. 201.5lbs. WTF!?! I stepped off again and moved the scale around one more time. Then I stepped back on. 201lbs. Okay, so 3 different weights in a matter of 2 minutes. Which weight is right? I know its only a pound of difference but it matters to me. Aside from Monday's indulgence, I was good. And I was 200 Thursday morning. So I figure I did lose a bit this week but I didn't hit my mark. I'm fine with that.

I would step back on tomorrow just to see what the difference might be but we are going out to dinner tonight to a nice Italian place and Italian is not calorie friendly. And I'm not going to spoil dinner by eating salad and soup. We don't eat out much so when we do, I'm going to enjoy it. I only brought fruit to work today so it will be a light day up until then and I can always go light again tomorrow to balance it out. See, its all about balance. You can have the foods you love, you just have to balance them out with smaller portions and cuts elsewhere. I'd love to have my cake and eat it too but its simply not in the cards. I've already lived that life and look where that got me.

Nah, I'm going to enjoy dinner tonight and I'll deal with it tomorrow. Goal for next week is 198-199lbs. I have confidence in that.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Fad diets

Saw this yesterday and just shook my head. Another fad diet. Lots of buzz generating lots of interest from the 'I want to lose weight and be thin without doing any real work' gang. Apparently this diet does not require exercise although it is recommended, and only appears to require a commitment of about a month. Sounds perfect doesn't it?

Wrong. The Flat Belly Diet is just another fad diet created and marketed to the eternally stupid and naive. South Beach, Atkins, the Cabbage soup diet, they're all short term answers, if you can follow them long enough. But what about after? What happens after you've lost that extra weight and don't need to follow the diet anymore? Maintenance? Sure, its there, at least the creators of these fad diets understand the need to follow a maintenance plan after, but how many follow it? Look at the number of people who are yo-yo dieters and you'll see. One diet after another, some success then failure, lose some weight, gain some more back. I'm thinking the majority of the people who use these diets and manage to not only lose the extra weight, but keep it off are in the minority.

I've known countless people who've used these programs and others and most of them are still fat. Sure, many of them lost some weight but most of them gained it back, plus. Why? Because they see it as a diet, not as a lifestyle change. They see it as a finite period of time in their lives, not something they must follow the rest of it. You don't get fat by accident. You don't get fat by eating right and exercising. You get fat by overindulging in "treats", making poor quality food choices, over-eating, being sedentary. In order to achieve permanent weight loss, you must change your eating habits forever. Accept the fact that you can't eat chips, chocolate, nachos covered in cheese sauce, fast food, pop and anything else we know is bad for us all the time. Accept that we have to get some exercise, get our heart racing to burn calories and build some muscle which burns more calories.

Too many people are looking for the "magic bullet", that elusive quick fix that will banish fat from our bodies forever. Well I've got news for you, it doesn't exist. As I cruise some weight loss forums and blogs, it never ceases to amaze me how ignorant many people are to the realities of weight gain and loss. In this day and age of information at the touch of a button, of countless books and videos on the subject, newspaper articles among other sources, how can anybody still be ignorant of cause and effect when it comes to weight? Everyone knows McDonalds and most other fast food is high fat, high calorie and not a healthy choice yet people still flock to these outlets. They'll even go to a Subway, considered a healthier choice for its fresh options, and blow it by requesting extra mayo, cheese or bacon. But to them, they've made a healthy choice because Jared said so and he lost a ton of weight. Well Jared didn't go with mayo, cheese or bacon ever. He ordered them as recommended by Subway to achieve the low fat, lower calorie advantage.

They fool themselves by buying low carb this, or low fat that, neglecting to notice the calorie count on these items. Then they'll eat more of it because they think they're doing the right thing in the first place. Ridiculous. Fad diets receive all the hype because they're sexier, they've got catchy names and celebrity endorsements, and they promise to take the weight off fast and easy. Who wouldn't want that? But celebrity endorsements are a catch situation in that they aren't like us. They have personal chefs, personal trainers and are under constant pressure from the Hollywood hype machine to maintain their thin appearance. Notice how many of these celebs once they're fifteen minutes are up, tend to balloon up? Look at Kirsty Alley. Once her career dried up, she gained a massive amount of weight. She was able to parlay that into a short lived TV series, Fat Actress, but after that, zilch. She was recruited by Jenny Craig to hawk that program and she did very well. But have you seen her lately? Notice how Jenny no longer mentions that failure? When they switched to Valerie Bertinelli, Kirsty still made appearances, then nothing. Can't show what happens after you finish the program now can we? Sadly, what happened to Kirsty happens to most people.

The doctors and dieticians are there, preaching about good lifestyle choices, exercise and the more sensible approach to your weight but nobody is listening. They don't want to hear it. What do you mean I have to eat 4-5 portions of vegetables? 7-8 glasses of water? How do I fit that in around my coffee, my afternoon pop or my beer or wine? Only 3-4oz of meat at a time? That's insane! I'll starve to death! Exercise? You mean I have to get up off the couch and move? I hate sweating!

Then stop whining and accept the fate you created for yourself. Its on you, own it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Dating as a fat person

Dating when you're a fat person is an exercise in frustration. As a man, I can only speak from that perspective, but from what I've read on various forums, heard from other fattys, and read in articles, women experience the same thing. If you're fat, your options are limited and many times, we settle. We either end up alone or with someone who probably isn't your first or second choice, maybe not even in the top 10 or on the radar at all, and that person most likely isn't the fabled "One".

As I look back on my dating experiences as a fat guy, I see a common thread. Most of the women I dated were fat, only 2 were of normal size and I have no idea what the motives were of one of them. They say like attracts like and I believe that. While these girlfriends were overweight, at least they were pretty. My ex was a beautiful woman who steadily gained weight over the years and had a head full of bad wiring. When we met, she was curvy, probably a good 30lbs or more overweight but it seemed like it was in all the right places. I was only 3 years removed from my gastric bypass surgery so I wasn't the huge slob I had become but was still a good hundred pounds overweight. For whatever reason, she dug me, and I her, so we hit it off. Unfortunately, the bad wiring in her head became apparent over time (read after we moved in together) and I ended up in another bad situation. See, this is the other problem with dating when you're fat. You also attract people with head problems, low self esteem and any other number of issues. These people are just looking for attention, for love and they'll take it wherever they can get it. My ex was like this. She just needed someone to get her away from her parents, to help pay the bills. Whatever love was there in the beginning was replaced with a dependency, her on me, and me dealing with my own esteem issues and feelings of loneliness which kept me with her. It was better than nothing, right?

This is what happens all the time. I've seen it countless times, so have you. Two people together who have little in common, don't appear to like one another, and seem to only fight. I've done it several times and to be honest, its a waste of life. Its not better than nothing, its worse. Why live in an atmosphere full of tension, with someone you really can't even look in the eye without wanting to pummel them? Where's the desire? The attraction? The feeling of contentment? This was my life.

After I finally got it together and lost the rest of my weight, my social life opened up exponentially. I dated women I could only dream about before. One woman I dated for a while was someone I had longed for and used to shop at the store she worked at just to get a chance to see her and talk to her a bit during the transaction. When she came into my workplace later on and we struck up a conversation which led to a date, I was floored. Here I was dating this girl I had been crushing on for several years. Amazing! And this trend continued. Obviously, I didn't date every girl I wanted, but at least I had the expectation of possibly receiving a yes to my offer of a date. Not at all like when I was fat and there simply was no point in even trying.

The advantage to being able to date lots of different people instead of just settling on one right away, is that you get a chance to find out what you like, what you really want in a partner. When you are fat and limited in your options, you don't have that opportunity. You're so desperate to find someone who will just have you that you forsake true happiness and live, what is essentially, a lie. When you're fat, you learn to develop your personality since you can't trade on your looks, and you are drawn to the personality of others. In essence, you see the person, not what they look like. Two fat people who can do this will find happiness I believe, but I also believe that if they were thin, they would be looking for someone more attractive. Its human nature, we are a visual species and until you have walked on both sides of the fence, you can't really understand it.

When I was fat, I dated fat women for the most part. If they weren't fat, they weren't particularly attractive. When I lost the weight, I dated women I was more attracted to. No, I wasn't looking for super model types, just women who were attractive to me. I did meet a few overweight women during this time, but I just couldn't go back. As nice as they were, as pretty as they were, I couldn't get past the fat. It just did nothing for me. And I've seen this in other former fattys. Suddenly they are pickier in who they choose to date. Some, many in fact, fattys call this shallow. Its what's inside that matters, they cry. True, but the outside package has to be appealing to a person. Some people aren't bothered by fat, many of us can forgive an extra 20 or so pounds, but many can't. It doesn't make them bad people and not worth knowing, its a preference and we all have them. You can't force attraction onto someone. And the argument that once they get to know you, they'll see you as more attractive? Rare. I've tried and met various overweight women who turned out to be fun, great people, but when it came time to take it to the next level, I simply couldn't. They were friends. And friends is where many fattys end up in their quest for love.

I can't tell you the number of times I landed in the friends column. It sucks but I understood. Even though I hated it, I understood. If I wanted to change it, I knew I had to take action and I did. Because of that, I had a chance to really figure out what I wanted and needed in a partner, and after some extensive dating over a few years, I found my "One".

Friday, August 1, 2008

Welcome to the Long Weekend

Well its Friday and time for my weekly weigh in. Now I said on Monday that I had stopped weighing myself everyday because the deviations from day to day were stressful and were not a true reflection of what I was doing, and when I got on the scale and it read a pound heavier than I was the previous Friday AND 2 pounds from the Sunday, I knew that I couldn't, and shouldn't, trust it as it would only bring me down. Now to be honest, because of my frustration with seeing that extra weight on Monday, I did step on the scale Wednesday. I know, I know, you said you'd only weigh yourself on Fridays, but it was killing me. So I did it anyway. And it read: 201.5lbs. That's a 3 pound drop from just 2 days before. More proof that daily weighing isn't a good thing.

Since I felt that my true weight from the previous Friday was 203.5lbs, I used that as my benchmark when I stepped on the scale today. The reading? 201lbs. A 2.5lbs drop in a week. Am I happy? You're God damned right I am! I've been sacrificing all week, feeling hungry, going to the gym religiously and doing my full workout. I deserved to see some good news on the scale! My goal was to reach 201 by the end of this week so I'm satisfied.

My goal for next week is to be under 200lbs. Even if I weigh in at 199.5, I'll be happy. I have thought if this is an unrealistic goal but I've decided it is not. I've been eating really well lately and avoided the pitfalls that I would normally fall into. I had a good weekend last and despite the long weekend coming up, I'm feeling confident. I do have pizza on the brain but Red is sick and there's no point in indulging in something that she simply isn't going to enjoy. So for dinner, I had leftover chicken. I had a light day consisting of apples, pears and a Fibre 1 bar so I'm doing pretty well so far. I plan on enjoying some fruit this evening as a snack and a few drinks. It IS the long weekend after all. What do I plan to do the rest of the weekend? Well, we're not sure yet although we know we are going out to a fireworks show at the Casino du lac Leamy tomorrow night. I doubt there'll be much in the way of junk available but even if there is, I'm really not interested. Red has plans to have dinner with her retiring aunt, mother and their sisters Monday evening so I'm going to see the Dark Knight again. I have been thinking of enjoying some movie theater popcorn at this showing, but I doubt I will. My guilt is just too strong and I've been doing exceptionally well lately. All in all, I think I'm going to be okay.