Monday, December 29, 2014

There's No Place Like Home For The Holidays

Spending a week in your hometown, surrounded by your family and your old friends, can make you question who you are.  We all like to think that we know who we are, but it's not always easy. 

I'm charming.  I'm a nice guy.  I'm funny...

No.  I am hilarious.  

I am fairly confident in those things most of the time.  

Sure, I'm charming, but compared to my older brother Barkley, I am about as charming as a 3rd-rate used-car salesman.  Barkley is one of those guys who can talk to anyone, anywhere, about anything, and he is just incredibly likable.  In fact, I don't think I know anyone who has ever met him who doesn't like him.  When I'm around him, I still feel like the little brother watching carefully and trying to pick up a few tips.  

I always thought I was a nice guy.  After catching up with old friends on Saturday night, I learned that I was actually a terrible roommate to my friend William when we lived together during our freshman year of college.  I know he's telling the truth, but I seem to have completely blocked out that period of my life.  Apparently, while suffering through my first real breakup with my high school sweetheart, I was basically depressed and angry all the time.  It was actually very difficult to hear.  It is strange and disconcerting to hear someone talk about you in a way that is the antithesis of what you are used to.  It makes you question who you really are.  

I do know that I am funny.  I can make old friends laugh just as easily as new friends, and I can always make my family laugh.   Still, when I'm around people who have known me since I was a child, it is more difficult to tell stories and be in the spotlight.  It's not hard, but it is harder than usual. 

My brothers and my cousins don't see me the same way that my colleagues do.  My current group of friends don't see me the same way that my high-school friends do.  I don't even want to scratch the surface of what it's like to sit in a room with the girl that I was madly in love with when I was 15 years old, but let's just say that I'm an extremely different person in that situation as well. 

In the end, other peoples' perceptions of you can affect your own self-image.  I'm not sure why I'm even writing about this because I certainly don't know the answer (or even the question for that matter).  It has just been on my mind while I was driving ALL DAY LONG.  

I'm glad to be home and I'm looking forward to resuming a more normal schedule next week.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you all a Happy New Year!

* * *

I did surprisingly well over the holidays.  I averaged about 2500 calories per day, but I still only walked about 15,000 steps.  I lost 0.4 pounds.  I was actually hoping that it would be a little bit more, but I have to be happy that I didn't gain weight under the circumstances. 

I have lost 29.6 pounds total (in 84 days).

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Try To Focus...

This week required an extraordinary amount of focus.  Next week will too, but for a different reason.

Monday and Tuesday were normal work days.  Wednesday through Sunday, I had two weeks of work to do in five days.  I've done it before, but it is never easy. 

The hardest part of sitting still and being that productive is keeping your focus. It was difficult 10 years ago before social media and smartphones, and it is even more difficult now.  Still, I managed to get all of my work done so that I can take off for the holidays.  

While I'm in Louisiana celebrating with family and friends, it will be important to stay focused on my diet and exercise objectives. It will be easy to get distracted with all of the things there are to do (and all the food there is to eat). 

If I can just stay focused, everything should be okay. 

 * * *

Last week I averaged about 2500 calories per day, but I only walked 16,000 steps.  I lost 1.4 pounds. 

I have not been walking enough, but I have a feeling that's going to change next week when I am in the presence of my father who counts his steps religiously and averages over five miles per day. 

I have lost 29.2 pounds total (in 77 days). 

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Ground Is Harder When You Hit It At Full Speed...

Vince Lombardi said "It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up."

It was bound to happen sooner or later.  Something was going to tempt me at the wrong time, in the wrong place, and I was going to fall face-first off of the wagon.

Well, after ten weeks of staying the course, I finally tripped.  I consumed around 7500 calories on Saturday.  I won't bore you with all the details, but there was a buffet brunch, a road trip, and a Christmas party involved.  It was an all-out binge.

When I got home late Saturday night, I made the decision to fast on Sunday.  Please do not reply with comments about how I didn't eat enough calories on Sunday.  I firmly believe that occasional fasting is good for the mind, body, and soul.  I am in no danger of being malnourished because I fasted for one day.

That being said, the fast worked.  It was like detox.  I feel like I'm back on track even after a terrible day of excess.  It was fairly easy to right the ship this time.  I hope it will be a while before that happens again.

* * *

I made another unfortunate trip to the Friend Zone last week.

A few weeks ago, I ran into a girl that I worked with in the past.  When I say that we worked together, I mean it in the loosest sense of the word.  We worked for the same company in different departments and we never interacted with each other.  While we did know each other, we didn't hang out together.  We were basically just acquaintances who had the same employer.

I ran into her at a charity event a few weeks ago and we exchanged phone numbers.  I wanted to ask her out, but I didn't want to be ambiguous about it.

In the past, I have made the same mistake over and over by saying something like "I've been invited to this awesome event, would you like to be my date?" or "I have tickets to this awesome concert, do you want to go with me?"

I knew what I was doing.  I was being non-threatening and friendly (and trying to avoid instant rejection).  I was hoping that they would go with me (which they almost always did) and maybe they would fall for me when they saw how great I was (which they never did).

Not this time.  This time I was determined to be clear about my intentions.  This time I gathered up my courage, picked up the phone, and said the words "I want to take you out on a date."  I know that I said it right because I wrote it down on a note card before I called.

"I want to take you out on a date."

...AND she said yes!  What?  Did that really happen?  Awesome!

No... not so fast...

Unfortunately, the date idea was to go to an awesome event with a very exclusive guest list.  Maybe that's why she misunderstood me.   Five minutes into what I was certain was a 'real' date, she made an offhand remark about the guy she's been seeing.

I think you could actually hear my ego deflating at that moment.

I know one thing for certain about dating.  If she is talking to you about another guy, you are not on a date.  You are 'just friends' and (in my case) you're going to stay 'just friends' because she'll never see you any other way.

Needless to say, I 'm disappointed.  I was so sure I had been more transparent with my intentions.  In the end, I'm just too 'friendly' for my own good.

I am trying to focus on the quote from the top of this entry.  "It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up."  It's a little harder to do when it comes to romance, but my only other choice is to stay on the ground.

I don't like it on the ground.

* * *

Last week I averaged about 2800 calories per day, and I only walked 24,000 steps.  Nonetheless, I lost 1.6 pounds.

I have lost 27.8 pounds total (in 70 days).

By the way, THIS is what a bad day looks like when you count your calories...

Monday, December 8, 2014

When Opportunity Knocks...

Recently, I have been given some extraordinary opportunities to pursue a few lifelong dreams of mine.  It's actually quite overwhelming to be faced with such good fortune.  I am doing my best just to keep everything in perspective.

Doctor Oz, who is a frequent guest on our radio show, read this blog and asked me to write an article for his website.  It was a huge honor just to be asked.  I am writing this blog for very personal reasons, but it helps to know that people read it.  It helps even more to know that some of them actually like it.  I don't foresee this turning into a side job, but it is nice to know that I can still write.  I hope that my journalism professors and my high school English teacher, Mrs. Gibbens, would be proud.

Stand-up comedy on the other hand is something I have always dreamed of pursuing beyond parties and open mic nights.  I am not going to quit my day job and sacrifice everything in order to pursue such a career.  However, I have kept working on material and practicing my delivery just to hang on to the dream.  It's also a lot of fun.

Killer Beaz has also been a frequent guest on our show.  He has been my friend for over a decade now.  I have never asked him for help.  I didn't want to put him in that position.  However, during a show in Baton Rouge a few weeks ago I got the chance to open for him and he was impressed.  He invited me to open for him on Saturday and it went very well.  Now, I have a gig in Huntsville, AL doing stand-up comedy on New Year's Eve.  It's amazing how things can happen so unexpectedly.

I want to do all of these things that I enjoy.  I just can't lose sight of my goals.  I can't let food get in the way any more than it already has.

I didn't walk at all this week.  I'm not going to offer any excuses except to say that there just wasn't any time.  I know that's not good enough.  I have to find ways to exercise even when I'm extremely busy.

This is not going to be an easy journey.  Sometimes, it's important to remind ourselves of that.  If I lost one pound every week for two years, I would still weigh 240 pounds.  My life would be radically different.  It would be a vast improvement, but I would still not be done.

I would still be obese.

This is a marathon, not a sprint.  I need to just keep on walking and do my best to enjoy the walk...

* * *

Last week I averaged about 2400 calories per day, but I only walked 17,000 steps.  I lost 3 pounds.

I have lost 26.2 pounds total (in 63 days).

Here's a bonus picture from my stand-up routine on Saturday night.  I have no idea what story I'm telling in this picture, but I bet it was a good one...

Monday, December 1, 2014

Love Is All You Need...

WARNING:  I have been told that this post might be construed as a 'pity party' and that some people won't like it.  I am sorry if you feel that way, but that is not that way it is meant to be received.  The whole point of this blog is for me to write about what I am feeling and this is what I'm feeling.  So...

I've been struggling a bit lately with my 'singleness' (which I didn't think was a real word until spell check left it alone just now).   Yes, I'm lonely, but that's nothing new.  I have just reached a point lately where I really want to be in a relationship again.  It's been more than a year since I've even been on a date.  As much as I hate dating, it's a necessary step toward finding someone.  There is something holding me back though...

Most of my adult life, I have been fat.  So, it's easy to make the connection between my fatness and my troubles with women.  You try to convince yourself that it doesn't matter, but you know it does.  Other people, especially women who are not interested in dating you, will also try to convince you that it has nothing to do with your weight.  It has almost everything to do with it.

I say 'almost' because there have been a few short periods in my life when I wasn't overweight.  I didn't have any success with the ladies then either, but I should point out that those were brief moments in my lifetime of otherwise being fat.  So, it's easy to chalk up all my problems to insecurity and lack of self-esteem, which stems from being fat and being rejected because of it.

I won't even focus on the girls who rejected me from the beginning.  Let's just look at the one's who accepted me temporarily.  Every girl that I ever cared about eventually left me for someone who was in better shape.  That's just a fact.

The worst example is, of course, my ex-wife.  I actually got a warning from a friend of mine before we were married.  My friend, Mary Lynne told me that my then-fiance had asked her if she thought I was going to lose weight before our wedding.  My ex then said that she thought I needed to lose about 30-40 pounds before the ceremony.

Let me take a second to point out that if you don't think that's a terrible thing to ask, then just think of it this way.  What if a man asked that question about his bride-to-be?  What if he went to one of her friends and asked "Hey, do you think she's gonna lose weight before our wedding?  She really needs to drop about 20 pounds."  There's no way that conversation is not offensive.

It bothered my friend very deeply.  It bothered her so much that she told me about their conversation as soon as she could.  Mary Lynne said that she didn't even know why it made her uncomfortable, but that she knew that she needed to tell me.

I pretended that it wasn't a big deal.  After all, I did need to lose weight before the wedding, right?  I told her not to worry and I tried to forget about it, but it always lingered in the back of my mind.

My marriage had plenty of problems, but I know what was the biggest problem.  I gained weight.  In some ways, I think I let myself go because I wanted to prove to myself that she would love me no matter what...

She didn't.

I'm not just assuming that she stopped loving me because I got fat (or fatter).  She straight-up told me on more than one occasion that she stopped loving me because I got fatter.  It's very hard to be the best version of yourself for someone who doesn't really love you.

This is not a sob story.  I'm not looking for pity and I am certainly not looking for a phony pep-talk about how "it doesn't matter what you look like" because you will never convince me that is true.

The reason I am writing about this, aside from my goal of being honest about what I'm going through, is because I know that I have to come to terms with these emotions.  I read an interesting article about the importance of a 'feedback loop' in fitness success.  Basically, it says that you have to see 'fitness reward' that is more positive than your 'fitness pain' is negative.

In some ways, this blog is my feedback loop.  It is meant to keep me on track.  However, no matter how much weight I lose, or how much thinner I look, or how much better I feel, it won't be enough.  The number on the scale getting smaller can motivate you to keep going for a while, but it is not enough.

So, what do you want?  I want to be in a real relationship with a woman who really loves me.  I know that these two things (love and appearance) should be separate, but they're not.  I want to find love and I know that I can't do that unless I look better (and by that, I mean be thinner).

This may not be the best approach to fitness or love, but I'm being completely honest here.  I am doing this for all the right reasons, but none of those reasons will hold up over time.  The only positive 'reward' that will be worth all of the 'pain' is love.

* * *

Last week I averaged about 2400 calories per day and I walked over 40,000 steps.  I only lost 0.6 pounds, but that feels like a huge win on Thanksgiving week.

I have lost 23.2 pounds total (in 56 days).

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Little victories are better than little failures...

...and little failures and better than big failures.

This is a very stressful time of year.  This week is a two-day work week.  That might sound great, but it also means that there is a week's worth of work to do in two days.  My parents are in town visiting.  That's nice too, but it is still another thing to think about this week.  Of course, the biggest thing is the food.

There is food everywhere this time of year.  It's almost a cliche that we will struggle with food issues through the holidays.  It's not even Thanksgiving yet and D brought meatballs covered in grape jelly to work this morning.

I'm going to set My Fitness Pal at 'break even' and be more than happy if I make it through this week without gaining weight.

The real battle starts on Sunday, when I wake up in an empty house with no guests, nothing to do, and hungry...

I must stay on course no matter what happens in the next 5 days.

* * *

Last week I averaged about 2500 calories per day and I walked over 43,000 steps, but I only lost 0.8 pounds.

I have lost 22.6 total (in 49 days).

I am FINALLY wearing new shoes though!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Everybody Has The Answer...

If you aren't careful, you can be overrun by other people's advice. 

Everybody thinks they have the best answer for how to lose weight.  Here's the thing... you probably don't know the best answer for someone else.

In my first blog entry I said, "I'm not asking for your advice." That hasn't stopped people from giving it to me anyway. For the most part, I appreciate the little tips and well-meaning anecdotes that people share.  

The only time it bothers me is when people are adamant that their solution is the only way or the absolute best way. There may be 'wrong ways' to do this, but there is absolutely not 'one true' correct way. 

Yes, some diet programs work for some people.  Yes, some exercise programs work for some people. No, I am not going to try it your way. At the great risk of sounding unappreciative and maybe even a little rude, let me tell you about some of my favorites... 

1.  "You really need to follow a Vegan / Vegetarian / High Protein / Low Fat / No Carb / All Carb / Paleo / Plant-based / Whole Food / Atkins / Sugar-Free / Gluten-Free... diet."

All of these diets work very well for certain people. I have tried at least half of them at one time or another. I know that they don't work for me. What I'm doing right now is what I believe to be my best chance to succeed. So, not only am I not going to follow the same diet that you are following, but I don't think we should all be so insistent that other people eat the way we do.  There are a lot of ways to eat healthier than the average person.  Pick one and do your best to stick with it.  There's nothing worse than watching the Paleo crowd and the Vegan crowd argue with each other in the comments below a Facebook post about your new diet.  That kind of thing only makes this process more difficult for people who are struggling to better themselves.  If your diet works for you and makes you happy, then that's great.  You want to tell people how great it is?  That's fine.  Please do not belittle my diet choice as being inferior to yours.  It's not necessary, not helpful, and not true.  

2.  "I know that you are walking right now, but you really need to try Crossfit / Weightlifting / Bicycling / Swimming / More Cardio / Resistance Training / p90x / Yoga / Pilates / Running Up Stairs Until You Puke..."

Once again, just like with the diets, I'm sure that your workout regimen works great for you.  If it does, that's a great thing.  I need to walk.  I need to walk more than I do now. I certainly need to walk a lot more than I was six weeks ago.  That's what I'm doing right now.  That's what I'm comfortable with.  That's it.

3.  "I heard about your weight loss journey and I wanted to tell you about AdvoCare / Medifast / Nutrisystem / Jenny Craig / Weight Watchers / Isagenix / Hydroxycut / Garcinia Cambogia / Super Mega Tape Worm Tablets..."

I am eating less.  I am moving around more.  I am taking a few vitamin supplements that I already know about and understand and like.  I have no intention, at this time, of using any other system or pill.  Thanks though.

4.  "You really need to go ahead and just have the weight loss surgery / Whatever you do, do NOT get that weight loss surgery." 

As I explained in one in a previous blog, I am not getting the weight loss surgery now, but if this plan does not work then I am absolutely going to do it.  Please stop trying to convince me to follow another path.  If you have had the surgery and it has changed your life for the better, then that's great. If you had the surgery and it was terrible, then I am sorry about that.  (I should point out that no one has told me that they had the surgery and they regret it.  It's only people with second and third-hand accounts of people they know who had complications from the surgery or did not get the results that they wanted.)  I have already made my decision and I am going to stick with it.  I do appreciate your concern for my well being, but I am going to stick with my plan.

Let me just say once again that I REALLY APPRECIATE everyone who has reached out and offered their encouragement.  I hope no one is offended by this post.  I'm not just doing it to be snarky.  It really does frustrate people when they are bombarded with conflicting advice from every direction. We need to all remember that.  If someone asks for your advice, give it to them.  However, it's not always okay to try to tell people that your way is the best or only way to achieve something.

* * *

I had a little trouble this weekend.  I was staying at the L'auberge Casino Hotel and they have a magnificent buffet.  Buffets are a huge issue for me.  I LOVE THEM, but I know they are bad for me.  I resisted the temptation on Friday night, but then I hit the buffet for lunch on Saturday.  I still tracked all of my calories as best as I could.

In the end, I ate about 3700 calories on Saturday, but I got right back on track Sunday.  I averaged about 2500 calories per day and I walked over 43,000 steps (even though I spent two whole days driving).

I lost 1.8 pounds since last week and 21.8 total (in 42 days).

(Sorry Andreas... I forgot the new shows again...)

Bonus video:

When I hear or read people arguing about why their diet is better than all the others, I think of this clip.  It's from an episode of The West Wing where Josh is listening to experts lobbying for alternative energy.  Each one just beats up on everyone else's proposal.  It makes them all seem awful.  That's how I feel about diets.  No solution is perfect, but we have to do something.

Monday, November 10, 2014

I think about cheeseburgers...

They say men think about sex every 7 seconds.

It's probably a little bit less than that, but not by much.  I'm not going to dig too deeply into that cliche, but I will add something else into the mix.

I think about food constantly.  It's all I think about, all the time.

Well, when I'm not thinking about sex (because, after all, I am a man).  So, for argument's sake, let's just assume that the old saying is true.  If I think about sex every 7 seconds, then I probably think about food 5 out of the remaining 6 seconds on average.

I daydream about all the bad things I'm trying hard not to eat.  I mostly think about cheeseburgers.  I'm not entirely sure why.  I love cheeseburgers, but I wouldn't say they're my favorite food or even in the top five.  Nonetheless, if you see me with a glazed over look, I'm probably imaging a juicy cheeseburger or a naked woman... or both...

Side note: On Saturday, my friend Mary Lynne, said, "I have never watched one of these Hardee's/Carl's Jr. commercials and thought anything other than how disgusting it looks.  Nothing about a hot girl eating a giant sloppy cheeseburger makes me want to eat there."  That's because you are not the target of those advertisements.  I assure you, they are very effective.  In fact, just thinking about it right now makes me want a cheeseburger...

Who am I kidding?  I wanted a cheeseburger anyway.

I don't just think about 'bad' foods though.  Even when I have my entire day's meals planned out, I still think over and over again about what I'm going to eat next.  I imagine this is what a heroin addict feels like.  When you are not high, you are always thinking about your next high.

Last week, during all the CMA Week craziness, I couldn't stop thinking about food.  CMA Week is one of the biggest sources of my favorite type of food.  FREE FOOD.  There was free food at the CMA broadcast orientation on Sunday, at the official broadcast everyday, at the pre-CMA parties, and, worst of all, at the after-parties.  This isn't just free food.  It's GOOD, free food mixed with free drinks.

The amazing part is that (this time) I didn't eat much of it.  I just wish I didn't fantasize about it.

I don't know how to fix it.  I don't know if I can fix it.  I don't even know if I want to fix it.

I just know that it's something I'm struggling with everyday.  Maybe if I could stop thinking about cheeseburgers, I'd be happier eating a salad.

Nah... probably not.  It's still a salad.

* * *

I had a good week.  I averaged about 2100 calories per day and I walked over 36,000 steps.  I had very little time for dedicated workouts during CMA week, but I still managed more steps than I did three weeks ago.

I lost 4.2 pounds since last week and 20.0 total (in 35 days).

Also, my good friend Andreas keeps pointing out that the shoes I'm wearing are old and ragged.  He correctly remembers that these are the same shoes I was wearing when we were in Paris in August.  He also remembers that they were "past their prime" even then.  Well, I had every intention of wearing brand new shoes today.  I already bought them.  I just forgot to put them on this morning.  So, you get to see a picture of my old, ragged shoes one more time.

Here's a bonus picture of me in my (over-sized) suit for the CMA Awards.

Monday, November 3, 2014

It's CMA Awards week, so this will be brief (I hope).

I'm sitting here at the end of a very long day which is only the start of a VERY LONG week.  I promise that I'll have many more insightful things to say next time, but right now I just want to give you quick update and then crash...

CMA week is always a lot of work and a lot of fun.  I'm excited about going to the show Wednesday night as well as several other events and parties throughout the week.

It's interesting how I have gone through phases with concerts and live events.  When I was younger, I couldn't get enough.  Then, I got married and I enjoyed being at home with my family.  I still went to a LOT of events, but not nearly as many as before.

Now, I'm divorced and I find myself happy to be out of the house for almost any reason.  So, I go to everything.

That's not the only reason though.  I think I took things like concerts, music industry parties, and award shows for granted.  Since my divorce, I have a new appreciation for this lifestyle.  I have always known that it was a privilege, but now I have a stronger desire to participate than ever before.

Still, it isn't fun to wear a suit when you weigh over 350 pounds.  Then again, it isn't fun to wear anything when you weigh over 350 pounds.

I am just going to suck it up, put on the suit, shine my shoes, and look as good as I can.

Oh, and try desperately to not eat too much of the free food at all the parties...

* * *

I had another great week.  I averaged only 2000 calories per day and I walked over 49,000 steps, which is 8,000 more than last week.  I even walked over 4.1 miles in one workout on Sunday afternoon.

I lost 2.4 pounds since last week and 15.8 total (in 28 days).

Monday, October 27, 2014

Children can be cruel

I filed for divorce a few weeks before Evangeline's second birthday. She's five and a half now.  She is a very well-adjusted child considering the circumstances.  I'm also relieved to say that, at least so far, she has her mother's metabolism and eating habits.  She is a picky eater, which means she only wants to eat about a half-dozen different foods, but she doesn't eat in excess and she doesn't put on weight easily.  

I was a normal child too.  I was not a fat baby or a chubby toddler.  I was a skinny little kid through about the 2nd grade.  Then, I developed Meningitis and Encephalitis near the end of the school year.  Luckily, I survived with no serious lingering issues.  It did, however, leave me with some mild hearing loss and greatly diminished energy.  I was a different child almost overnight.  You can see clearly in pictures where I go from being a "normal-sized" kid to being overweight very suddenly.  

You've probably heard it said many times that children can be cruel.  I think that's an understatement.  As adults, children act very differently when we're around.  So, we tend to forget how mean they can be to each other.  Children can be vicious and merciless to each other.

I'm starting to realize that this may be where most of my self-esteem and self-worth issues come from.  We tend to analyze our family first.  My parents weren't perfect, but I don't think they were the issue.  Next, we delve into our romantic relationships.  Well, mine have not been great.  That's where I've focused most of my reflective energy.  I have deep issues with rejection and not feeling loved.  I always thought it had everything to do with women and relationships.  I think I may have overlooked the children.  

I was ridiculed for being fat, but it didn't start or end there.  I remember being mocked by my kindergarten teacher (and therefore, the whole class) for not paying attention.  I was just an awkward and unpopular child and I remember being the target of bullies most of my life.

In fact, I think this is where a lot of my trusts issues began.  I vividly remember an incident in the 1st grade when an older girl (2nd grade vixen) approached me on the playground and told me that she liked me.  She then asked if I liked her back, and I said "yeah."  At that point the ruse was up.  Four or five other kids then appeared all taunting me for saying that I liked the pretty girl who was, of course, only kidding about liking me.  Then, her 'boyfriend' proceeded to throw dirt at me for flirting was his girl.

Yes...  that really happened...  in the first grade.

No wonder I have so many problems trusting people, especially women.  I'm always waiting to find out that it's just a big joke being played on me.  After all, nearly every woman who ever told me that she loved me later changed her mind.  Maybe it's all just one big sham!

Wait... I got side-tracked.  Where was I?  Oh, yes!  Bullies...

It got much worse after I gained weight.

I vividly remember being scared to get off the school bus and walk home because some of the boys in my neighborhood decided to target me for reasons I still don't understand.  I trained in martial arts starting at age nine, so that I could protect myself from any physical threats.  Unfortunately, it was the mental torment that did the most damage.

The biggest problem is that the majority of kids will just follow the ringleader so that they aren't made an outcast next.  One or two kids decide to make your life a living hell and the rest just laugh or look away.  I am not going to name names.  It would be unfair to blast someone online for something they did 25 years ago or more, but I know who they are.  I only hope that they have become better people as adults.

Sadly, that's probably not the case.  My father told me something when I was in middle school that has served me very well.  He said, "Son, there are assholes everywhere.  You need to learn how to deal with them, because they don't disappear when you grow up."  That's very true.  We all try to protect our kids, but sooner or later you are own your own and the sociopaths are your coworkers, your bosses, or just people you run into.  You need to learn how to deal with them.

Until this very moment, I never equated those terrible experiences with my food addiction.  I guess I just found comfort in food and nothing else.  So, I eat when I'm sad.  I eat when I'm frustrated.  I eat when I'm nervous, and when I'm lonely.

On a side note, in the 6th grade, I had a very large and gruesome bully who was new to the area and just starting following the other bullies' lead by picking on me.  Then, one day on the bus, I told him a joke and he laughed.  He never messed with me again.  In fact, he stopped some of the others from doing so.   I figured out that I could disarm most people with laughter.  It worked in middle school as well.  By the time high school rolled around there were only a handful of bullies left, and by my senior year I had no problems at all.

So, as much as I have those other kids to blame for so much misery, I realize that I wouldn't be the person I am without those experiences.

Furthermore, I owe it to my younger self to be successful.  He had to endure a lot to get me to this point.  I also need to be healthy and get into better shape for that kid as well.  So, I'm not just doing this for me and for my daughter.  I am doing it for that little boy inside me who is afraid to get off of the school bus and walk home.

* * *

I had great week.  I averaged 2300 calories per day and I walked 41,000 steps, which is 11,000 more than last week.

I lost 2.8 pounds since last week and 13.4 total (in 21 days).

Monday, October 20, 2014

You didn't gain it overnight. You can't lose it overnight.

I had a pretty good week of dieting, and I even did a fair bit of walking (by my standards).   I averaged just under 2500 calories per day.   I walked 30,000 steps, which isn't much, but it's better than I was doing before.

Still, I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed with my weight this morning.  I weighed 358.8 pounds.  I lost 2.8 pounds since last Tuesday and 10.6 since I started this thing two weeks ago. 

Why is that disappointing?

Weight loss is too often a competition in our society.  Sometimes, it is actually a competition.  I'm not just talking about The Biggest Loser.  I've been in contests at my office and we even did a DietBet online earlier this year.  Even more than that though, I find myself in some sort of imaginary race with myself.  Why?  Why am I in a hurry to lose weight?  If I lose it fast, that's great.  If I lose it more slowly, that's fine too. 

I'm going to try very hard to see any progression as success.  Losing weight is better than staying the same.  Staying the same is better than gaining.  That's it.  There are no time limits.  There is no prize other than being a better (smaller) me.  Even if (God Forbid!) I should gain weight, as long as I get back on track right away then it's not the end of the world.  

I am not going to be disappointed by a weigh-in.  

That being said, there is an ultimatum.  I have to stick to this because there is a consequence if I fail.  

About three years ago, my doctor told me very plainly that I needed to look into surgical options for weight loss.  My constant up and down weight fluctuation was never going to stop itself.  She told me that I could lose the weight, but I would always be in danger of gaining it back.  Sure enough, after that conversation I lost over 50 pounds and then gained 80 back.  

Three months ago, I decided that she was right.  It was time to admit that surgery was the best option.  I met with my doctor again.  I set up a consultation with a local surgeon.  I even went to a seminar about weight-loss surgery options.  Finally, after convincing myself and even some of my friends and family members that this was the right choice, I found out that it was not an option.  

Our insurance does not cover the surgery under any circumstances.  I work for a small company and we have very good insurance, but it doesn't cover any weight-loss surgeries for any reason.  I could pay for it myself, but I don't have an extra $23000 lying around and I can't finance it either.  So, surgery was not an option after all.  

Then, I got an email from a company that offered to set me up with a free surgery if I would promote their company on the radio.  The only catch is that it's a medical tourism company and the surgery would be done in Mexico.  

Now, before you jump to any stereotypical conclusions, let me say that I researched both the company making the offer and facilities in Mexico.  These people take GREAT care of their patients because this is their only business.  They need every one of their customers to go home and tell people how great their experience was.  Your local surgeon and hospital don't need that.  You go to them because they're close and because your insurance is paying for it.  

So, I have a option.  I believe it is a safe and viable option.  There's only one problem...

I don't want to have surgery.  I realized that after my plans fell through the first time.  I have to give it one more legitimate try before I commit to a surgical option.  

This is my plan.  I'm going to do this and I'm going to be successful.  I'm going to stick with it.  

If I don't, then I have to go with Plan B.  That's not a "premeditated cop-out" as one of my friends called it.  It's a safety net.  

It's also a threat.  

This time, if I don't stay on the wagon, I'm taking a trip to Tijuana.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

An Eventful Weekend

One of the hardest things about any lifestyle change is sticking to it when your routine is broken.  As tough as it is to eat right and exercise on a normal weekend, it is much harder to do so when you're traveling or attending big events.  

I got through my trip to the water park without getting too far off of the path.  I managed to to face the temptations of the trip, track what I ate, and keep it from getting too bad.  The weekend didn't end there though.   

I had to put on my suit (yes, it is a very large suit), and go to a wedding on Sunday afternoon.  I hate wearing dress clothes because I feel enormous.  Everything is constrictive and uncomfortable.  Don't get me wrong, I don't like dressing like a slob.  Yes, it's more convenient and more comfortable but that's not the only thing.  I just feel like wearing a (very large) suit and tie just draws attention to my body.  That's never a good thing.  

So, I was very uneasy about the way I was dressed.  That being said, I should also point out that this was the wedding of one of my very closest friends and most of my favorite people in the world were there.  I was not lacking for great conversation or warm, fuzzy feelings.  It was a happy and enjoyable evening.  It was also a sad reminder of my biggest problem...

Now, it's hard to count calories at a wedding or any other party.  That's not an excuse.  I diligently counted everything I ate to the best of my ability.  I went through the buffet line and got a small amount of food.  I logged my calories into my fitness pal and everything was fine.  

The problem isn't that I went back later for seconds, even though I shouldn't have.  I hadn't eaten that much and I still had a little wiggle room under my Basal Metabolic Rate.  The buffet was out of sight of the dining area.  I walked over to it when no one was watching and got a little more food.  I want to emphasize that it was only a tiny bit more food on top of my already small dinner.  It was certainly not worth feeling any real guilt over.

But then, I sat in the lounge area, away from all the other guests, and ate my second helping in secret.  I didn't even think about what I was doing until the last bite was gone.  

Again, I know what I need to eat (or not eat) in a given day.  Even with the second trip to the buffet table, I hadn't eaten too much.  Nonetheless, I didn't want to be seen eating a second serving.  I made an almost unconscious decision to eat quickly and out of sight.  This wasn't an event full of strangers or casual acquaintances.  I was surrounded by people who love me and care about me.  Why did I feel the compulsion to hide what I was eating?

This is what I am trying to change more than anything.  This is where most of the guilt comes from.  

That being said, it could have been worse.  I didn't even eat a piece of cheesecake.  I made it through the long weekend, and my first week, without a lot of food issues.  

Oh, and the bride looked beautiful, and the wedding was lovely, and I wish them all the happiness in the world, and blah, blah, blah.  

* * *

Last week, I averaged 2400 calories per day, just 658 total calories over my goal for the whole week.  I also lost 7.8 pounds.  

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Water Park

It's fall break. So, I'm taking Evangeline to an indoor water park in Indiana.  It's a resort where you stay in the adjacent hotel, play in the water park, eat in the restaurants, and never need to leave the property for the short time you're there.

I love water parks. I always have. It's not nearly as much fun when it's just you and a 5 year-old who's a bit of a scaredy cat.  She won't do any of the fun stuff, so I can't do any of the fun stuff.  Nonetheless, it is a great place to spend a couple of days.

It does have a lazy river.  The lazy river is the only thing that Evangeline and I both think is awesome.  Every good water park has a lazy river. I remember Waterworld in Houston when I was a child. It seems enormous now, and maybe it was, or maybe it just looks that way in my memory.  The lazy river at Waterworld was not only a ride, but also a means of transportation. It sort of went throughout the whole park and you could enter and exit at different spots. There is also an excellent lazy river at the Phoenix West condos in Orange Beach, Alabama. That changed my perception of what a lazy river should be.  I will say that as an adult, a lazy river is not complete without alcoholic beverages. However, at water parks, this is not usually acceptable. 

Since I am now close to 370 pounds, floating on top of a tube is quite difficult. Over the past few years as a larger person, I have preferred to put the tube over my head and rest it around my midsection. Then, just lean forward and try to relax while floating around.

Today, that was more of an issue than usual. Today, when I attempted to put a tube over my head for the first time since July, it was a complete disaster.  Today, the tube got stuck.

I'm not kidding. The tube got stuck on my belly.  Once it's shoved onto you, it's hard to get it back up over your head.  So, I had to get into the pool and use the water to help me get the thing back off. 

Mortifying?  Yes. 

Am I glad no one I know was there to see it?  Yes.

Why am I telling you all now?  Transparency.

* * *

Yesterday, I had another good food day. I stayed right at 2000 calories. Today, I have not been in my home or my office with all of my easily countable food.

At dinner tonight, I was faced with my oldest friend and mortal enemy, the all-you-can-eat buffet.  I didn't have much of a choice. It turns out that on Friday night the restaurant turns into a buffet. That's it. We could get dressed and drive off the resort property, or just try to make good choices at the buffet.

I made good choices, but I still ate more than I should have. I'm at 2800 calories for the day, which is still under my Basal Metabolic Rate.  I'm a little disappointed in myself, but not too much.  It could have been a lot worse. I could have ate the fried chicken, and the mashed potatoes, and the dessert, and... You know what?  I'd better not think about it.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

I need to lose weight and I don't know how...

That's not true.  I know HOW to lose weight.  I have done it many, many times.  I know more about nutrition, exercise, and weight management than a lot of so-called experts.  I just can't stick to it.

Let's try that again.

I need to lose weight, and I can't do it alone.

I am not going to write this blog because I think that people will be interested in following my story.  They might, but that is not the point.  I am not going to do it under the guise that it will help other people.  It might, but again...

I am going to do this because I NEED help.  I am hoping that being public with my struggle will help me stay on track.  I need to know that everyone around me knows what I'm doing.   I'm not foolish enough to think that a lot of people will read this often, but I will know that anyone can read it at any time.  I'm just hoping that helps.

I will succeed.  I will also fail.  The only way to have more success than failure in your life is to respond to your failures with action.  I need accountability.  I have it in all the aspects of my life except one... what (and how much) I eat.

Even worse than not having accountability, is that I lie about food.  I am an honest person.  I try hard to be honest with my friends, my family, my colleagues, my business associates, and everyone else.  It's not easy.  No one is perfect and we all hide things from each other, but the one thing that I lie about often is food.  It started when I was a little kid, lying about how much I was eating, hiding food from my parents, eating when they weren't looking.  I have always eaten in secret.  I have done it in every relationship I've ever been in, including my failed marriage.  I was honest with my ex-wife about everything... everything but food.

In a way, I'm also lying to myself.  By hiding the way I eat from other people, I make myself believe that it's not as bad.  That's what I'm trying to do here.  I'm going to attempt to remove the veil of secrecy about what I eat so that there's no difference between eating alone and being watched.  If I tell you honestly in this blog what I eat and what I do everyday then it's the same as having someone watching me.

I'm not asking for your advice.  I'm not even asking for encouragement.  I just need one thing from anyone who actually reads this.  Read it.  Comment if you want, but that's not necessary.  Just be there on the other side of this and I'll try to do the rest.

Thank you.

Less Fat Guy

* * *

On Monday October 6th, 2014, I weighed 369.4 pounds.  I can't tell you what size pants I wear because they are not real pants with a zipper and a button and a size.  They have elastic and a drawstring.   My shirts are mostly XXXL.   I am going to start by counting calories with My Fitness Pal.  That's the first step.  If I can break the cycle of eating badly for one week, I will take it from there.  Today is Day 4 and I haven't broken down yet.  I'm eating around 2000 calories per day this week and I haven't eaten in a restaurant since Sunday, but I haven't had the energy to go to the gym yet either.  The weekend will be a challenge, but I will do my best.  No matter what, I need to be honest about it.