Sunday, August 9, 2009

Taking responsibility

As I talk to more and more overweight people I get a sense from them that they have no idea how they got the way that they are, and have no idea on how to change it. I was that person. I wanted someone to make it easy for me, tell me exactly what to eat, lay it all out in front of me and just have me do it. It's not quite that simple. There are plenty of web sites out there that will give you a meal plan and tell you to follow it to lose weight. They'll lay it all out and even print a nice handy grocery list for you so you can shop from it. I've tried them, and you know what? I STILL didn't stick with it.

What happens though when those sites are gone? Or you aren't going to pay for them anymore? Are you going to just keep following those same meal plans the rest of your life? Of course not. Anything that limits you in what you can and can't have has a greater chance of failure. You need options, if you feel restricted, you are less likely to stick with your lifestyle, thats just human nature. I needed to learn what to eat for myself. Not have someone tell me what to eat and do. I needed to take the responsibility on myself. To learn what foods were good, and what wasn't.

I knew what got me in the state I am in. Over eating and being lazy, no doubt about it. It's not my genes, or a thyroid or anything else. I ate more calories than my body burned on a daily basis, I stopped being active and I blew up. I take responsibility for that. In taking that responsibility, I know that I am taking my life into my own hands. Sounds crazy? It's not. Everyday , I talk to people that feel like they have no control of their lives or health. It's as if they are possessed by some other creature that is living inside of them and going against what they want to do each day. Someone else packs they're lunch, makes them eat bad things and then makes them feel guilty for it. It's always someone else's fault that they got the way they are. It was some surgery, or some medication or some in grown toe nail that made them gain weight. They've even tried to blame the fast food companies for they're problems. It's never over eating, and never fault of their own.

And in our society today we want instant gratification. We want to take that pill that makes the fat fall right off of us. We want to work out for an hour and produce quick immediate and drastic results. There is always some new fad diet, or miracle pill that someone is producing that claims you'll lose buckets of fat. NONE of them work. To lose weight there is only one thing to remember. You must have a calorie deficit. You either eat less, or burn more than your body is consuming. That's the rule. No fancy gimmicks, no pills or miracle cures. That's it. And just as slowly as it went on, it will come off. If you want it bad enough.

Until we take the responsibility for our own health and actions, we'll continue to be an obese society.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


So in my initial consultation with my personal trainer Mark, his first question to me was "What are your goals?". My obvious answer was "to lose weight", I thought that was an adequate answer, but I wasn't even close. That answer was way to vague. It had no definition. It was like telling the Captain of a ship to go west, with no definite destination, he 's surely going to get lost at sea.

He gave me a list of steps in setting my goals to follow, and Mark and I started plotting on paper some things to accomplish.

1. Set specific goals, know exactly what you want and where you want to be. Down to the very digit. How many pounds do you want to lose? How much fat do you want to lose? What size clothes do you want to wear?

2. Set measurable goals, you have to be able to see and chart your progress or you will never feel like you are getting any closer to your goal.

3. Set big goals, if you want to lose 200 pounds, make that your goal. Do not settle for low expectations, or people telling you to "be realistic". Nothing was ever accomplished being realistic, "realistic" goals aren't motivating. WANTS are motivating.

4. Set realistic deadlines - Don't be afraid to set big goals, but always set realistic time frames for achieving them. There are no unrealistic goals, only unrealistic deadlines. Be patient: There are
definite limitations to how quickly the human body can safely lose fat.

5. Set long and short term goals - There are six types of short and long-term goals you can include:
1. Your ultimate long-term goal
2. 12 month goal
3. Three month goals
4. Weekly goals (Weekly body composition test and weigh-in)
5. Daily goals (habits to develop, things to do every day repeatedly)
6. The goal of beating your personal best.

These goals now are something that I think about all the time. When I feel like quitting and giving up, there is this thing hanging over my head that I think about. It drives me, and forces me to think about why I'm doing this and what I want to accomplish. I've never set a goal before when trying to lose weight, which could be a big factor in why I never succeeded. I can definitely see why having them is so important. I can't tell you how many times I've been on the treadmill and been only 10 minutes into it and wanted to just stop and be done for the day. But then that goal comes into my head, and reminds me that the only way I'm going to accomplish it, is by pushing through it and working hard, finishing what I started and in the end I'll get what I want....A healthier me.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What do you mean cheezburgers aren't nutritious?

My diet log which I thought was pretty good apparently needed some work, and Mark was not all that pleased by it. Sure I was well within the calorie range where I needed to be, but what I was eating was not even what he considered to be food or edible at all. Empty calories, food with absolutely no nutritional value what so ever. I was in amazement. For 36 years I've eaten damn near whatever I wanted in what ever quantity I wanted and now I have to be selective and choose what I eat wisely. It so happens that "food" does not come from a box. It is either born or grown. And should fit those two criteria.

To me, a calorie was a calorie. I knew how to watch those, but I never knew there was a different kinds of calories! Or that there were certain nutrients in food that we should have in a certain ratios. Carbs, fat, protein, fiber, sodium..........My head was starting to spin and we hadn't even even gotten through the first 15 minutes of class! So much to remember, how the hell am I ever going to succeed at this!! We went over my log bit by bit and he pointed out which foods on my list I couldn't eat. I also came home with a list of exactly how many of those previously listed nutrients I needed to eat for each meal and snack that I had. I now had my work cut out for me, I needed to hunt down foods that fit those requirements and fit inside my caloric range while also remembering that it had to be born or grown. It's much harder than it sounds. And I'm still struggling with it every single day. Just ask my poor wife.

So for all of you that don't is what I learned.

1. 3500 Calories = one pound of fat.
2. 1 gram of protein = 4 calories
3. 1 gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories
4. 1 gram of fat = 9 calories
5. 1 gram of alcohol = 7 calories (this is where the beer bellies come from. The second highest in calories next to fat!!)

My nutrient ratio is 35% protein, 25% fat, 40% carbs. (forget the no carb atkins thing, your body NEEDS carbs). Meaning that 35% of what I eat in a day has to come from protein, 25% from fat and 40% carbs. All while staying within my caloric range. There is so much more. Complex carbs, simple carbs, glycemic index etc etc etc etc....I mentioned before that this was becoming my obsession, I just never knew how badly this would take over my life!!

At this point I've lost 34 pounds of fat since the start of the year. Lets hope this trend continues.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Three month update!

Wow, it's been three months since I last wrote anything. So much has happened in the last three months I don't even know where to begin.

I decided at the end of May that I wanted to start seeing a personal trainer. I was having some success losing weight by just watching what I ate, but I knew that just that alone wasn't going to produce the results that I wanted. I wanted more. Going from being a rather sedentary couch potato to working out with a personal trainer is like being ripped out of the comfort of your living room and being dropped into the middle of a war zone. I was completely out of my comfort zone. Which was exactly where I wanted to be actually. I had no idea it was going to be so hard. Or what I was getting myself into.

Right from the start I was asked to record everything I ate in a log. This, believe it or not, is very difficult. Every calorie consumed and all the nutritional value for that calorie needed to be accounted for. How much fat, protein, carbs. etc etc. I needed to be able to see what I was eating, in what amounts so that changes could be made easily. After the initial consultation with Mark, I came in for my first workout and handed him what I thought was a fairly decent diet log. It became clear to me that his idea of nutrition was far from what I thought it was. He canceled the workout for that night and decided that we needed a classroom session instead. Uh oh....CLASS? What could I possibly need a class for? Hasn't he read this blog? I knew it all already, what could I possibly learn from a class session???

Monday, March 2, 2009

Two Post Monday!

Alright, so the name isn't as cool as some of the others. Sure, I could have been a lot more creative, but that takes time, and I'm sure I could be doing something much more important. Either way, I have something else to rant about today.

My daughter and I have become avid watchers of a television show where two guys travel to some remote jungle and find a tribe of native people and then spend months living with them learning they're ways and living as one of them. It's fascinating. How they live, they're culture, traditions etc. etc etc. I'm literally amazed each and every week how these people live. It's like going back in time thousands of years. Weapons made from bamboo, no electricity, no running water or plumbing. No conveniences of the modern world what so ever. While it's not the life that I would choose, there is something incredibly attractive and fascinating about it all.

Why? Could it be the remote pristine jungles and locations that these people live in or maybe the simplicity of it all. When you look back at world history. Humans have had the ability and capacity for thousands of years to build and construct amazing things. The Acropolis in Ancient Greece was built in 447 B.C., the Pyramids in Egypt were not only built 2500 years B.C. (4500 years ago), they were done with AMAZING mathematical and astrological accuracy. Yet even today, there are humans on this planet that live in absolute exclusion from any form of technology or advancement of any kind. Living the most basic form of life humans can have. And yet, completely happy with everything they have. One of the men staying with this tribe even said that living there with them was complete paradise. So this brings me to my next question....

With all that we have today, and all of our modern conveniences has any of it made our lives better? Does having that cell phone make us any happier? The cars? Airplanes? Computers? Has any of the things we have in our modern lives made us any happier? I think modern plumbing is the only thing I'm really grateful for, but when I think about how this tribe exists, being happy and content with absolutely nothing I can't help but think that we are actually more miserable people for having it.

What do you think?

Trying to cheapen me.

I'm tired of talking about me. Since we all know there are no changes, lets change the subject.

Today is the first working day of the month of March. For me, being a production supervisor, I take things month by month. I look at my production crews work load, make sure it's level and that I'm staffed adequately. I also make sure that they have everything they need from our other departments and our vendors to insure that everything will go out on time. Our goal is to have 100% on time delivery every month. Now this sounds like it should be easy enough to achieve, but believe me, in the 3 years that I've been with this company, I've only achieved 100% on time once. And that was for January of 2009. It was such an accomplishment that the company bought pizza for the entire shop. They even upped the ante and said that if we could do it again we'd earn pizza and wings! Needless to say, that was enough motivation for my crew to do everything possible to ensure we did it again.

Thursday February 26th comes around. It's our last production day of the month. So far at this point, we are still 100% on time. All of my crews informed me that everything was good for that day, so I went with that. I head off to my daily 9am meeting to brag that we will be receiving our pizza and wings because there is nothing that will be holding us back from our second consecutive month of perfection. WOOhooo!!!

By 2pm, my mood had changed. I found an order from a customer that was never confirmed by our customer service department and therefor never put into production. This was going to kill us. On the last day, in the last minute, we were shot down. Unable to produce the missing order in time, we were going to go from 100% to 99.5 for the month and lose out on our pizza and wings. The crew was heartbroken. They'd worked so hard to make it happen and were all so disappointed. I felt terrible ( though proud that these people were actually able to work as a team). We didn't make it, we'll just have to try again harder next month. Or so I thought.

The General manager had other ideas. He informed me today that he was still going to buy pizza for our effort. This left me in bit of a quandary. All of the employees wanted pizza yet we didn't achieve our goal, and we were being rewarded anyway. This just wasn't going to work. I told the GM that I wasn't going to accept his pizza. I don't want pity pizza. I want to be rewared for accomplishing what we set out to do. When we meet our objectives, we'll accept the reward. The GM of course tried to push for the pizza which I just couldn't accept. Needless to say, I'm not the most popular guy in the shop today. And of course all of my employees know that I turned down they're pizza. Hopefully I can teach them that it's more important to have morals, than pizza.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Obsession

Why does this need to be so difficult? I've read everything there is to know about weight loss and being healthy. Hell, I could probably write my own book and make millions on it. We'd just have to substitute my picture for someone else. Who'd want to buy a weight loss book from a fat guy? For some reason putting a plan into place and knowing what to do is the easy part, it's the follow through that I can't seem to get.

Recently I've had some health issues creep up. Yes, I went and saw my doctor who really didn't seem alarmed at all. What I thought were blood clots in my legs from lack of circulation he said was an infection, easily treatable with a course of antibiotics. I think he missed the big picture to be honest. He made no mention of my 140/100 blood pressure which is still going on unchecked and unregulated. Or the fact that I've gained 35 pounds since I saw him last. The long term health risks literally scare the shit out of me. You'd think that would be enough for me to get my act together. But I'm sure a heroine addict knows damn well that shooting up isn't good for him either. The health issues are on my mind day and night. I'm scaring the death out of my poor wife. Why she puts up with my crap I'll never know. Someone asked me recently if I was the same person that she married back in 1994 and if she had to do it again would she marry the person I am now. Wow, talk about a kick in the teeth. I couldn't answer that. I just can't see that she would. Not only is this unattractive, but unhealthy as well. Who wants that!

Thats right, I said it. It's unhealthy to be fat. You'd think that by now some government would ban unhealthy foods as a matter of national security. Seriously, who'd want a whole squadron of 350 pound guys on a battlefield? Lets face it, they aren't the most agile of creatures, and they are a bigger target, and casualties I'm sure, would mount to astronomical levels. So wouldn't it be in our governments best interest to shut down these Cheeseburger houses of doom? Yeah, I know. I can't sue McDonald's for me being fat. *sigh* On to the next idea.

For me this is becoming an obsession. Is that good or bad? It's what I think about from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to bed. What am I going to eat, how much, is that mayo fat free? etc etc etc. This could easily consume your entire day. Planning your day, counting your calories, how much fat did I eat? Was that too many carbs? No wonder I'm tired when I get home. My brain is in overdrive thinking about food all day long. Trying to keep everything in order and stick top my game plan. Then, the moment I screw up and eat the wrong thing my attitude is to just say "fuck it" eat whatever the hell I want and start all over the next day. Lets just say, that I've yet to do two back to back days of eating right.

Oh well.. fuck it, lets try again tomorrow.