Sunday, June 9, 2013

#27 - Hierarchy of Needs

Where do you place your journey in the list of important things in your life?   Where does it fit in the importance of your life?

I've recently had to put it on hold for a good portion of time.   This is an unfortunate turn of events due to a lack of occupation, income and self-esteem.   But it makes me wonder where this journey fits in the scheme of my life.   It is like a plant in that its roots span out and touch many aspects of my life.  However, if the plant isn't getting sun, nutrients and water, the roots cannot survive.  

-- If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.
         --  Abraham Maslow

Money.   I hate that it is a such an important thing in our lives, but without it, you can't do the things you need to do to support yourself.   You can't pay for food, gas, lodging and entertainment.  Simple logic states that you need the basics before you can focus on your personal growth.   So, I was faced with a complete lack of money.   This meant that healthy foods and gas guzzling trips to the gym were beyond my capability.   Friends would point out that they were sure my family would pony up some dough to keep me on the journey.  However, when every dollar you spend is a dollar borrowed, pride makes you simplify your expenses to the truly necessary.  

Occupation.  Well, a job is how we address the previously mentioned trouble of money.   Finding a job can be as easy as walking into a store and asking for employment or as difficult as landing on the moon.  Additionally, with the current attitude towards obese people in America, many companies discriminate against the overweight applicants.   It isn't a protected class so they could say straight to my face that "we don't hire fat people."  They wouldn't do that, but it would be legal to do so.   Marty and I have been to companies whose wellness coordinators flat out told us that they avoid hiring overweight people because of the inflated health care costs.   Until we start treating obesity and food addiction as a disease needing treatment, insurance companies will not fund help for obese people.  Companies will continue to discriminate against obese people thinking them as lazy employees or high cost employees.   The rising costs of health care and ever increasing epidemic of obesity in America will continue to grow until people in power begin to realize that our culture is creating a problem that must be aggressively addressed, not casually dismissed.   It seems to be the last accepted prejudice as folks stick with tired mantra of "just eat less" or "just exercise".   What these fools don't realize is that it isn't that simple.   If it were, we would all be walking around with six-pack abs and beautiful bodies.   No one would "choose" to be overweight.  It isn't fun.   Until folks realize that it isn't as voluntary as many believe, they won't give the problem of obese Americans the attention it deserves.

--  Self-esteem is the greatest sickness known to man or woman because it's conditional.
        -- Albert Ellis

Self-esteem.   Part and parcel of the first two problems listed.  I find that I define myself, not by my job, but by my ability to care for myself.   When you get to a point where you are without a career, without money, and without prospects, you are too ashamed to wake up in the morning, let alone go out in public.   With every resume rejected, your feelings of self-worth plummet.  In the end, you have to find joy where you can, but nothing is going to help until your situation changes.  Depression ensues and is crippling.   Relationships suffer as you are unable to muster the energy to even pretend to be social.   Friends and family worry as your spiral into yourself and your own self-loathing.   The journey towards better health doesn't even register on your radar while you are trying to bring yourself out of your despair.  

--  Struggling is hard because you never now what's at the end of the tunnel.
        -- Don Rickles

I've managed to get a job and renew my slow but steady growth back to financial independence.   I owe a huge debt of gratitude to a great many people who were very helpful during this trying time.  I really found out who my friends were.  So many wonderful people hauled me around town and financed entertaining evenings so my whole life wasn't sitting at home looking for work.   They gave me the few rays of sunshine in these dark times.   You all know who you are and I love you dearly.   I will do my best to, in some measure, make restitution for the debts I owe you, even though you have never asked for repayment.  It is just the right thing to do.   And if ever you find yourself in need, know that if it is in my power, I will give you the helping hand that you gave me.  

--  A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.
        -- Arnold H. Glasow

So, as I see a light at the end of the tunnel, I begin to look back at my journey and what I will do to get myself back on track.  I know I will need to get back to my food journal as I am completely off track with regard to my caloric intake.   My physical exertion is still pretty high, so if I can get the eating under control, I will find myself back on the losing side of the scale.

So I guess the answer to my question is that there are some basic needs that must be met prior to being able to really focus on my journey.   They are so intertwined that weight loss helps with all those problems and would help with the self-esteem and depression issues if it were continued.  But, this journey is such an intense mental effort in and of itself that when you are plagued with the other major problems in life, you find that it is one of the first things to be discarded.   As with all things, a balance must be reached.   Attention must be divided between all things.   And if a hiatus is demanded by life's inequities, you must promise yourself to renew your efforts as soon as is humanly possible after things have changed.  I don't know that I have great insight into how to make this all work, but if I find the solution, I will be sure to share it with you.

--  Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.
       --  Napoleon Hill

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

#26 - Fear of Failure

-- Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.
          --  Margaret J Wheatley

No happy joy joy thoughts today.   I am pondering deep thoughts and fears this week.   It was during one of these moments that I remembered I hadn't blogged in awhile.  In an effort to record the good AND the bad, I feel I must notate some of my troubles here.  

I've been struggling with some very difficult thoughts and emotions for me.  They tie into the core difficulties of my journey, but they also influence the very heart of me.   I'm trying to come to terms with some very difficult truths about myself.   These are not things for which I am proud.   Quite the contrary.   They are also not things that are easy for me to admit.  I have managed to spend the better portion of my life deluding myself that these things are not true and focusing on mitigating factors (some real, some imagined) that allow me to avoid the truths I am facing.  

Before I get too far into this, I must ask your forbearance as I indulge in a bout of self-loathing and critical analysis of me.   I am truly hesitant to share this because I am one who rarely shares the problems of my life. I have always been someone who keeps his problems to himself and tries to fix them on his own.  Many times, this has put me in worse situations than may have been necessary had I merely let someone help me.   This blog records the details of my biggest example of this phenomenon (pun intended).  Had my sister not "forced herself upon me", I might still be in a flabby funk.  That being said, I am not looking for your help, dear reader.   I appreciate the desire to help, but I believe I am going to have to utilize a targeted few aides rather than walk around in a well-meaning, yet ultimately futile and ineffective, barrage of sympathy and advice.  Your love and support is much appreciated but difficult to receive graciously at this time.

So, how to start?   Okay, ripping the band-aid is always easiest.   I am a failure.   Now, before you get all keyed up, I know that I have had a great many successes in my life.  So this statement is not meant as a definition of the entirety of me, but rather a single component that is currently a focal point of my depressive thoughts.

--  Failure is success if we learn from it.
          -- Malcolm Forbes

I have failed in so many things in my life.   I know, I know.  Who hasn't?   However, I recently realized that if you had asked 1990 Kevin what he wanted from life, you would soon have a nearly complete list of where I have failed.   So much to think about with this.  How could things have gone so wrong?   Have I just messed up in all these things?  Have I subconsciously sabotaged them in some fashion?   Are they all individual failings or is one of them a catalyst that tipped over the first in a line of dominoes?  I would like to say that I have the answers to these questions, but no.   These are merely listed as things to ponder going forward.

I have failed in love.   This is mostly a failing of my own making, but that is a topic for another day.   Suffice it to say that I have already identified a great deal on this topic and I am working on it.   No "fix-ups" please.  I am merely pointing this out in relation to what my aspired goals would have been in 1990.   I am a romantic so the idea of growing old with that ideal mate appeals to me.  However, that is only half the failing on this topic.  For most of my life, my sole and greatest purpose in life was to be a father.   People talk about their dreams.   Not just any dreams, but rather that Dream that is the driving force of their life.   The med student who doggedly chases their dream to be a doctor.   The musician who dreams of "making it big".  I didn't have many of those.  But I did want to be a dad.   I've always been good with kids and have thoroughly enjoyed teaching them, babysitting them, or teaching them what to do with the hardships of their lives.  At some point, I wanted to do that for my own offspring rather than that of my friends, family, and many others.  Granted, I'm not quite so decrepit that this is out of the realm of possibility.  It just means that I will be too old to pick them up.  Sorry, this is a stolen joke to lightened the mood.   But it illustrates a growing concern in this area.

I have failed in career.   I have failed to keep any job that I have ever had.  I have always managed to do good if not great work for my employers and my reviews were nearly all positive.  However, I have lost these jobs because I have failed to exemplify myself in the eyes of the employers.   I did not make myself indispensable or irreplaceable.   Inevitably, when cutbacks were needed, I would soon see myself back on the unemployment lines.   I would not say that career was ever a true goal in my life.   I wouldn't have dismissed it, but I would have had the more nebulous thought that I wanted a solid, reliable career.  This would've tied in with my idea of a family.   A firm foundation to make sure I could provide for them.   So, I find myself attempting to create a career in my late 30's.   It begins to feel like I have wasted the largest part of my life.   No career.  Heck, I'm 39 and I've never had to file anything other than the 1040EZ tax form.  I have very little in the way of retirement planning.   But unless I get the next failing turned around, that won't be necessary.

I have failed with regard to my weight.   This is a failing that I truly believe affects all the other failings.   However, it is the hardest to crack.   My struggle with weight has been the most vivid and obvious example of my failures for the past 23 years.   I have started and stopped so many times that I've lost count.   Now don't start the "look how far you've come" protestations.   I know.   I am very proud of how far I've come.   However, a few months of success do not erase decades of failures.   It is for this reason that every misstep on my journey sends me into a spiral of self-doubt, self-recrimination, and healthy dose of anxiety.   For the first 16 months, these missteps were minor and infrequent so the effects were minimal.  I was able to get things turned around rather quickly.   However, the missteps of the last few months have been more dramatic and sustained.   So I am finding it more difficult to get things back on track.   These difficulties are joined with overwhelming anxiety and fear that I won't be able to get things turned around.   In the moments that I am thinking about it, my brain SCREAMS at me.  You know what to do!  Just get back to doing it!   In the off moments however, I seem to make the bad choices of everyday bad habits.  It is this lack of thought towards it that scares me.

I have pondered these things all week.  It is as if the triad of them is effectively ruining my chances of succeeding at any one of them.   While I am concentrating on one, the others start to slip away from me.   It is as if I am trying to perform a symphony by myself.   I can't play the violin, the brass, and the percussion all at the same time.   And yet, they are all so intertwined that progress on one almost necessitates progress on the others.   I must learn to juggle.

-- ... when the whole group is together, each bringing out all that is best, wisest, or funniest in all the others.  Those are the golden sessions ..."
          -- CS Lewis

I don't remember if I've mentioned it before on this blog, but I have recently joined a support group within Square One.   This group is focused on aiding the mental health of those on a weight loss journey.   I believe it is because of this group that I have managed to slowly emerge from my "do it yourself" attitude.   For whatever reason, I have been able to share my concerns with much greater openness than I have with others in the past.   As a part of this group, we have done a small amount of cognitive therapy.   One of the exercises was about core beliefs.  What is the core belief about yourself that holds you back?   Mine was that I believe myself to be "unworthy".   I state it here because you can see how the failings above play on that core belief.   It is a difficult thing to change.   Just as I begin to make progress on feeling worthy, one of the failings will rear its ugly head to knock me back a few paces.   Cognitively, I know that I shouldn't let these set-backs ruin the progress I have made, but emotionally, that is very difficult to do.  

--  The heart and the mind has the shortest distance but has the longest journey.
          -- TS Eliot

So that is my life right now.   To put it mildly, I am struggling again ... in a number of ways.   Please understand.   I do not blog this mess to garner sympathy or advice from people.   I am merely trying to be more honest with this blog and, more importantly, with myself.  Our support group has discussed the need for keeping a journal of our feelings, thoughts and emotions.  I figured this might be one way to do some of them.   And maybe, someone can relate to some of this.  In either case, I hope to re-read this entry in the future and realize how far I've come from this point.   Of course, I will blather on and on about that in a future post should it occur.

Thanks for indulging me.   :)

--  Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
          --  Winston Churchill

Thursday, January 24, 2013

#25 - Two Weeks ...

-- Absence diminishes mediocre passions and increases great ones, as the wind extinguishes candles and fans fires.
         --  Francois de La Rouchefoucauld

Well, I've already broken my very short streak of weekly posts.   However, this was not due to any backslide or lack of progress.   I simply got busy.  

Last week, I was excitedly preparing for a weekend trip to Colorado with some of my family.   It was the annual J.G.W.  (Just Guys Weekend).    Participants included myself, my father, brother-in-law and two of my four nephews.   My oldest nephew has grown so old and responsible that he was unable to attend because his job required him to work on one of the days we were gone.   While this was sad for us, we are also extremely proud that he made the right decision to honor his work commitments.   And the youngest nephew would have loved to come, I'm sure.  However, my dad has assured my sister that  Baby B doesn't truly become a "guy" for the JGW until he is out of diapers.   It seems an unreasoning prejudice against the toilet challenged, but for some reason I find that I can live with this policy.  

--  In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.
      -- Aristotle

Overall, the trip was fantastic.   I absolutely LOVE Colorado and the time I spend out there.   Some may argue that to go to a Colorado location devoid of ski resorts in the dead of winter is ludicrous.  However, I disagree.   It is incredibly gorgeous during this time of year.   The snow sets off the mountains placing stark contrast between the ridges, valleys, canyons and crevasses.  It even sets off the forests in a fashion which, if you will excuse the old saying, allows you to see the forest for the trees.  

We managed to enjoy a few short hikes and a lot of good family time.   However, these family trips are always a challenge for me.   The family will enjoy whatever foods they want and I will be put in the position of being around some of the things that I crave.   I managed pretty well on this trip and, aside from one moment of weakness where I had to leave the dinner table and go outside, all was well.   I don't know if I am getting better at this, if my family is being more understanding of my issues, or this was just too short a trip to really challenge myself.   I imagine it is a combination of all three.   I do know (and certainly appreciate) that my brother-in-law took pains to not get strong smelling snacks at the gas stations along the way.  He knows that sitting in the car and smelling the chips or chili dogs is difficult for me.   I appreciate it greatly and wish I were stronger so that he wouldn't be required to make these accommodations for me.  But this will do in the interim.

All this said, my results on the scale were disappointing.   My results for two week's effort were a mere pound and a half.   I am awaiting next week's weigh-in before I really get upset.   Marty and I have both noticed that there is a post-Colorado bloat that has happened to me in the past.   That and the fact that I was sick a couple of days before my weigh-in may have resulted in some water retention after I resumed normal eating.   Those could just be lame excuses, but I am hanging on to them until I learn otherwise.

My thoughts for the week:

A great many good things are going on in my life.   Friends are having children.   I am enjoying my outside hobbies.  Things are good!  I need to capitalize on my happy happy joy joy feelings and use it to drive further results.  

--  He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.
      --  Socrates

I am also prepared to make another goal for this year.   I may never become a runner.   I don't know yet if I have a true love of the sport.   However, I do want to run a 5k.   I have walked several.  Even jogged short distances on a couple.   But I want to really run one.   The whole way.   (God help me)  So, it is my intention this summer to complete an entire 5k jogging.   This will be a stepping stone to bigger things if I find that I enjoy the activity.  

Today, Marty gave a speech at a local business and he had me share a small portion of my story with the group assembled.   I think it was good for me.   No, I don't enjoy bragging or in some fashion glorifying my journey.   However, it forced me to list some of the difficulties I had when I was larger and acknowledge the success I have achieved regardless of whatever backslides I have had.   It is interesting to be reminded of all that I have accomplished thus far.   And it reaffirms my position that all Square One members should be forced to record their story.   It is an affirmation of how they are doing.   And reminders of how far we have come can only help to spur ourselves to greater success.    

--  There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
      -- Maya Angelou

So dear reader, it isn't much to report this week, but I hope to give you more soon.  

Thursday, January 10, 2013

#24 - The Pay Off

So .....

You mean that if you ...
eat the right amount of calories ...
and go to your workouts ...
and maximize your efforts in those workouts ...
then ...
you ...
lose ...

Really?   Remarkable!  

--  Doing the right thing has power.
     -- Laura Linney

I, of course, knew this all along.   However, it seems so confusing that I didn't realize this months ago and turn it all around.

The bottom line is that exercise and reduced calories means weight loss.   But there is a rather big caveat to that bottom line.   It isn't easy.    And more than that, it has a varying degree of difficulty for each person wanting to lose weight.   All those minions at the large chain gyms try to lose that holiday 5 pounds they put on eating whatever they wanted.  They will shed those pounds by merely looking at a treadmill.   For those of us with a lot of weight to lose, it is a bit more difficult.

Food addiction constantly tempts us with foods that are counter productive to our journey.   You may be able to fit a Twinkie into your daily calories but you are going to be hungrier for not having nutrition, protein or something to actually fill you up.   The addicted brain says, "Eat it" "Eat it", but logically you know it will ruin your ability to lose weight.   I wish there were an easy answer to this problem but if there is, I have not yet found it.   I do, however, find that the longer I don't indulge in certain temptations, the easier it is to resist them.

The time involved in losing the weight is also something that works against us.   That yoga yahoo, who had a few cookies over Christmas or a few wings at the bar on New Year's Eve, will be back at her fighting weight in a week or two.   So naturally, a "diet" is an easy thing for her.   I work out with people who have months if not years of work ahead of them.  It takes dedication and determination on a whole different level to get to where we want to be.   The next time someone tells you to just eat less and exercise, you tell them "You just jogged to your car, why don't you just run a marathon?"

-- Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.
    --  Walter Elliot

To my compatriots, I salute you.   We have a tough journey ahead of us.  Perfection isn't an option.   There will be ups and downs.  We just need to keep this roller coaster pointing in a generally downward direction overall.  I am hopeful that my roller coaster is done ratcheting up the steep hill that I allowed it to do over the past few months.   I'm ready for a little free fall right now.

Wow.   Way to beat a metaphor to death.

--  Man needs his difficulties because they are necessary to enjoy success.
       -- Abdul Kalam

My thoughts for the week:

Very positive!   I kept my food journal all week.  On top of that, I stayed below that dreaded sad face all week.   I added some extra workouts and tried to push myself harder in each workout.  

And you know what?   It paid off.   I lost 6.2 lbs this week.   Not too bad.  

It isn't all wonderful.  I have a nagging leg problem that is hindering workouts.   And the food issues were neither easy nor perfectly controlled.   I had some indiscretions with my eating but I didn't let them go overboard (calorically speaking).  And for those on the journey, here is the key:   When I ate something I shouldn't, I turned it around immediately.   I am a victim of the All or Nothing thinking.   "I shouldn't have eaten that.  Well, this day is shot.  Might as well eat some more stuff I want."   Why do we turn one minor mistake as an excuse to make a huge blunder?  This week, I didn't do this.   I gave myself a little grief for my poor choice and then moved on.  

Perhaps this is a key element?   There are no irrecoverable mistakes.   So why do we allow them to derail us?   Accept enough guilt to help prevent it from happening again and then move on.   It is when I wallow in my own self-pity or self-loathing over the mistake that I continue to shove unhealthy foods into my mouth.   If you acknowledge the mistake so you can avoid it in the future and then get immediately back on track, there IS ... NO ... FAILURE!    It immediately transforms that silly mistake into a victory!   And we can all use some more victories.  

--  Failure is success if we learn from it.
      -- Malcolm Forbes

Well, this is by no means a trend yet.   But, it can certainly become a trend if I continue to push myself to correct behaviors and extra effort.   I am, however, ecstatic about the results this week and will use it as motivation for the coming week.   It is all hunky dory when things are going well.   I have to store up this good mojo for the tough times.  

Goal for the next week:  Do some shopping and cook at home more.

-- Perfection does not breed happiness.  Results do.
     --  Kevin Riley  ;-)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

#23 - It starts ..... again.

Today was the first day of the new dedication.   I still struggle but I can feel myself getting my determination back in line.  

-- We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road.
           -- C.S. Lewis

I weighed in today and found that I had lost about 0.8 of a pound.   This is both a victory and a frustration.   It is a victory because I had managed to finally get those dang numbers going the right direction again.   It was a result of a renewed vigor in working out as well as stringing together a  couple of decent days (calorically speaking).  

The frustration derives form a feeling of failed purpose.  I had managed to do very well for two days and then, last night, disaster.   I had difficulty sleeping and found myself munching on food that I didn't need.   I can't help but think what my weight loss might have been if I hadn't flaked out at the last minute.   Perhaps it wouldn't have been drastically different but in the long run, I would have felt more confident with that number if I hadn't given in to temptation a scant 8 hours before the weigh in.  

But I refuse to let it get me down.   I am basically pleased with my result this week, though it is minimal.   It is a move in the right direction.  It is the first move in the right direction in several months.   For this reason, it is a victory.

--  Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance.
                 -- Brian Tracy

Marty has given us something to ponder.   Rather than setting goals based on the scale (which I have still done despite his advice), he wants us to focus on goals pertaining to giving our all.   Set a goal which states that you will push yourself to the limits.   Set a goal that you will be as diligent on your diet as is humanly possible.   Do what is necessary for success.   I like this mentality.  It focuses on good habits which will eventually lead to the numbers on the scale.  

That being said, I have a numbers goal.   46 lbs in two months.   This isn't going to be easy, but I want it.   And wanting it will drive me to push for it.   Why such an odd  number you ask?   I'm so happy you did.   If I can lose the 46 lbs in two months, I will have lost a total of 200 lbs.   This is huge for me.   It sets me up for future goals too.  The 250 lb mark.   After that, the under 300 lbs mark.   After that, who knows?   But this is my plan.  Parcel it out.   Lofty, but manageable goals like stepping stones will lead me to the ultimate goal of health and a new body.  

Why is this thinking different?   I've been lamenting at the length of the journey.   I've been extremely depressed about my recent backslide because of the "extra" work it causes me as I try to lose the weight I've put back on.   I've felt out of control and unmotivated.   But in typing that last paragraph, a sequence of events has shown me the possibilities.  Could I really be under 300 lbs by next New Years?   Absolutely!   That is incredible to realize.   It builds motivation to push hard and bear down.   If I managed another year even remotely close to my first year (a difficult if not nearly impossible task), I could be looking at a total loss of 300 lbs by 2014!  

My thoughts for the week:

Mostly positive.   I am focusing on correct practices.   Trying to limit my failings.   Spending time visualizing what I want.   Do I want a hamburger?   Or do I want to shed this weight?   Once I can envision some of the benefits of these goals, I can begin to identify and do the things I need to succeed.

--  Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control:  now.
         -- Denis Waitley

My goals:
Short Term:  

  • Food Journal Food Journal Food Journal.   Focus on the right foods.   
  • Deal with the inevitable hungers and cravings I will be suffering due to my recent bout of "free" living.   
  • Catalog those cravings to realize the damage I did to myself by going off the rails.   Perhaps it will help me stop when I start to do it again.   

Medium Term:

  • 46 pounds down in two months.   
  • Push myself in my Square One workouts to maximize the benefits of them.   
  • Fit in extra workouts at least three times a week.   
  • Spend time walking in the off times to get the benefit of even a moderate exercise.   
--  Set your goals high, and don't stop till you get there.
       -- Bo Jackson

Hope and Dream zone:
These are goals that are probably unreachable.   Or, at least, very aggressive.   Am I setting myself up for failure with these?   I don't think so.  I don't honestly believe I will make them.   They serve the purpose of pushing me to work even harder.   If time proves that I am making headway towards them, I will move them to the Medium Term goals as a reasonable option.

  • 106 lbs down by April 12th bringing me to that coveted new number of "2" at the beginning of my weight
  • Climb Flattop Mountain this summer
  • 146 lbs down by the holiday season bringing me to a total of 300 lbs lost thus perfectly positioning me for the toughest of seasons for the food addict.
  • Run a half Marathon in May of 2014
So this is a week of hope.   This is a week of dreaming.   This week, I can see the possibilities and I am allowing myself to believe they are possible.   Keeping this firmly in mind, I can begin to use it as fuel to drive my journey.   No, I don't want that fast food.  It will hold me back.   Get that excess food away from me!   It will prevent me from the excitement these goals will provide.   

--  Motivation is what gets you started.  Habit is what keeps you going.
    -- Jim Ryun

To all my Square One friends, this is my weekly realization.  I hope you all can adopt in your own way.   Identify what you want.   Long term wants.   What is it that can motivate you?   Do you want to fit in that dress?  Buy it now!   Hang it up on the Fridge.   Put a picture of it in your car.   Find something that will motivate you.  Evaluate it daily.

Then use it!   Why am I going to the club tonight?   Because I want to make the progress that will get me what I want!   Why am I not going to eat that thing I shouldn't?  Because it will keep me from what I want.   When you can do this, those tempting foods will be evil demons hell bent on ruining our lives.   And that will help us put them aside.   

It isn't easy.   But I intend to give it my very best.   

Good luck!   I will need it too.   I will let you know how it goes.  Please feel free to let me know your wants, goals and plans to get there.   This blog has shown me that it helps to share.  

Let's do it!   Together!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

#22 - Soul Searching

Hello again.

I would apologize for my lack of posts lately, but the apology must be for something much deeper than a mere absence.   I have been lying to you dear reader.    Not directly, but a serious lie of omission has occurred.   My absence has been deliberate and born out of the self loathing I have felt over my lack of discipline and control.   It is something I am not proud of and I will endeavor to be more honest and forthcoming in the future.  

-- Half a truth is often a great lie.
                        --  Benjamin Franklin

To fill you in, I have been nearly completely off the rails for several months.   I was horrified recently to realize my lowest weight of the past year was over four months ago.   I have not been keeping my food journal.   I find excuses to miss workouts.   I have felt hypocritical as I give advice to others to aid them on their journeys.   All of this only serves to feed a growing sense of depression which is only decreasing my desire to get back on track.  Each and every weigh in at Square One only served to deepen my sense of failure and remorse.   I was spiraling out of control on a track back to weights I no longer want to see.

As usual, Marty managed to play a little mental mumbo jumbo that managed to start me thinking about fighting back and pushing hard again.   At the beginning of my journey with him, he wanted me to send him an email with a list of all the reasons why it stinks to be overweight (specifically 560 pounds).   I believe I listed a number of them in an earlier post.   After a particularly depressing weigh in, Marty re-read my email back to me.   As the tears flowed, he asked me why I was so emotional.   My response was that I didn't want to go back to that life.   However, that was also a half-truth.   I don't want to go back to that life, but the honest reason for the tears was that I was deathly afraid that I was going to be unable to prevent myself from going back there.

This isn't a feeling created from thin air.   I have a history of doing this very sequence of events.  History has shown on a number of occasions that I have the discipline to lose a large chunk of weight (if you will excuse the term) and then fall off the wagon.   Always after, I would allow my self to balloon up to ever greater weights.    Marty's mental ploy has allowed me to stop and think.   Stop!  Find a way to turn this back in the right direction.

-- The history of free men is never really written by chance but by choice; their choice!
                                                                                      -- Dwight D Eisenhower

Towards that end, I feel a need to analyze my thoughts now.   The mindset of falling off the wagon is nearly as insidious as food addiction itself.   I am back in the habit of "cutting myself some slack."   Sure, enjoy that food you know is bad for you.   It is just one bad thing.   Until the next bad thing.   It is also hard just to get back to right foods.   All the foods you know are right for you seem unappetizing because your addicted brain is screaming for the unhealthy foods it wants.   And, the healthy foods you've been eating (telling yourself that this proves you aren't completely off the diet) are in such large amounts that it is difficult to return to what is an appropriate portion size.

Why do I let food have this much power over me?  Will it ever get easier?   I have to believe it will.   I don't think it will ever go away, but I need to believe that there will come a time when this addiction is more manageable.   Now, I can hear Marty and Amy telling me that it is never "easy."   I know this.   I am simply hoping that at some point it becomes "easier."

Marty and I have discussed what to do to get me back on track.   It is so stupid.   I know what needs to be done, but the doing is more elusive than I ever thought possible.   *Sigh*   It is infuriating and it may drive me absolutely insane.    I don't know if I can truthfully impress upon you how desperately I want to succeed on this journey.   Every fiber of my being yearns to be healthier, skinnier, and successful.   And yet, the same brain that vibrates with this desire is also the brain makes all these poor decisions.   You would think that my desire would be enough to push me through, but all it does is cause self-doubt, guilt and self loathing when I don't do the things I know I should.   I feel so weak.

-- He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and follows out that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the maze of the most busy life.   But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidence, chaos will soon reign.
                                                                                                                                      -- Victor Hugo

So, here is my new plan.   First, I am going to get more serious about a regular work out plan.   As Marty so astutely observed, it is easier to manage the diet when you are faithfully following your workout regimen.  Start the discipline with that and the rest will hopefully follow.   Second, I am going to need to get back on keeping my food journal.   Lastly, I intend to blog here more often.   Ideally, I would like to blog weekly with a re-cap that lists my weight loss or weight gain and allows me to analyze the reasons for either.   Now don't get on my case immediately.  These plans are to be implemented in stages.   First stage, working out.

So as I look at the last 11 hours of 2012, I suppose it is only appropriate to learn from the past year and plan for the next one.   I need to simultaneously be more strict with myself while cutting myself some slack.  The strictness will help fuel the discipline needed to turn this around.  However, in an effort to love myself more, I need to realize that I am still 160 pounds less than I was 20 months ago instead of lamenting that I was once 180 pounds less.   I need to do a better job of finding the positives in life.   I recently worked on a project for a Christmas gift in which I saw all the old family pictures of my youth.   I barely remember that Kevin.  He was so positive, fun-loving, and excited about nearly everything he did.   Confident and sure, he proudly leaped into any exciting adventure he could find.   Not sure the exact moment that changed, but I need to get it back.

In other words, I have a lot of work to do in 2013.   I will have to simultaneously attack the physical journey and the mental journey.   Wish me luck.

-- The New Year is a beautiful bouquet of newer unfolding opportunities to fulfill unfinished commitments with renewed vigour of heart and move-up on an accelerating speed to reach to a new milestone ... and enriching life's journey.
                                                                                                                      -- Anuj Somany

Friday, July 6, 2012

#21 - Colorado -- Take Two

If you have not read blog entry #5 - Colorado, please read it first or none of the following will seem wondrous.

--  Success isn't a result of spontaneous combustion.  You must set yourself on fire.
                                                                            --  Arnold H Glasgow

We hiked to the Pool and back today!   It was such a fun experience for me and a huge triumph.   I could tell from the very beginning that I was setting a much faster pace than the last time.   Pretty soon, my father pointed out that the place we were passing so quickly was the spot I asked him how much farther to the arches.   The significance of this is that when I asked that question in the first trip, that was when I had accepted that I wasn't going to finish and was trying to determine whether to give up and turn around or to at least make it to the arches.   This time, I wasn't even a little fatigued.

Soon we 'round the bend to the arches and I can't believe how easy it has been.   We stop for a short reflection and water break.  Then we head on up to the Pool.   It feels fantastic to hit a goal like that.   It took me back to my younger days when I would set new goals and accomplish them regularly on hikes like these.   It made me realize how much progress I've made in a few short months.

The walk back was similarly easy.   By the last quarter mile or so, I was feeling some pain in my feet and joints.  Mostly due to some of the steep downhill portions and just my weight pounding my feet into some off the rocks.   But it felt great over all.

Even given my last month of nearly no progress, it is wonderful to realize how much progress I've achieved in such a short amount of time.   A hike, that I quit .7 miles early and still thought of as a death march, was now an easily obtainable success.   Perhaps future years will see me climb mountains again.   Rock climbing and rappelling.   Backpacking and camping.   Sky's the limit.

--  Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.
                                                                       --  Napoleon Hill