Don't Be One That Doesn't Make It
This morning was a little bit out of the ordinary. I was doing my radio show from the campus of Ponca City Medical Center, in the Specialty Services Building, the home of the “Lose To Win” program. I arrived before 6am without breakfast. I'm so use to my routine, I have oatmeal ready to go at the studio, but as it turns out, none in our mobile station remote vehicle! It wasn't long before Cathy Cole, the director of the program, ordered a bunch of bananas...and breakfast was served. Cathy, me and my metabolism thank you! It was a special day at the “Lose To Win” headquarters. On the 19th of February over 400 packed the standing room only kick-off event, but today the word had spread, the positive energy of this program is contagious, because when I talked to Cathy this evening...Over 700 were signed up, weighed-in, and ready to make a change for themselves. Isn't that incredible? What an amazing feeling it is to be a part of such a wonderful, potentially life changing program that is poised to touch so many lives. It would be naive of me to think that all 700+ people will embrace positive changes and really commit to losing weight and getting healthy. But, even if 500 do...That's 500 stories to inspire potentially thousands, that's thousands of lives of loved ones effected by that family members success and better health, that's 500 people working, laughing, loving, and living with an entirely new outlook and zeal for life. The positive effects potential generated through this program is almost impossible to calculate. I can't wait to speak again at a meeting coming soon. Cathy has asked me to speak again for one, maybe two more events over the program duration at the big Hutchins Memorial Auditorium. Something big is happening around here my friend, I so wish you could be here to witness the energy.
So if you are around these parts and lucky enough to be participating, how do you keep from becoming one of the many destined to drop out of the challenge? I have to go back to my first days nearly six months ago. Every day was a struggle. Some of the things that kept me going: My motivating thoughts were key in the beginning, they're still key everyday. I constantly thought about the importance of what I was doing. To me, at over 500 pounds, it was a life or early death decision. Maybe it isn't that dramatic for you, perhaps you need to lose 20 to 30 pounds. Even with smaller amounts, you have to make the importance level and the motivation almost over-dramatic. If you don't, it's too easy to say “Oh well, it's not that big of a deal.” You need to make it a big deal. Since I decided that I would change my entire outlook and approach to food, I knew there was nothing that I couldn't have if I wanted it, as long as it fit in my calorie budget for that day. This dynamic made it impossible for me to feel deprived. If I didn't have enough calories to enjoy that chili dog today, perhaps I can work it in tomorrow. If I really wanted a candy bar, or some kind of chocolate, then I could eat it, as long as the calories were added to that days total. Using my calories “like cash” forces me to think about my choices. Everyday I get 1,500 brand new calories to spend. I have to make good “calorie value” choices throughout the day to make sure my allotment for that day is enough to tuck me in at night without wanting of any kind. This approach was a revolutionary change for me from past attempts at losing weight. I was talking to Brandon, one of my teammates for this challenge, during our team meeting tonight. He describes eating habits exactly like I had for so many years. He mentioned how no matter how good he was on track, he was always just one double cheeseburger or stressful day away from wrecking the whole thing. Just one. I was like that too! One taste of what I was missing, or the slightest hint of stress and bam! It would be like a shark tasting blood in the water, I would immediately be done, no matter the progress I'd worked so hard to achieve, I was eating everything in sight after a taste of my old cravings, ways, and emotional habits. This dysfunctional pattern is what wrecked my impressive run in 2004 when I lost 115 pounds. Maybe you've read about it in the early archives of this blog. We had lost well over 200 pounds as a family, I had lost 115 before we decided on a little “before school starts” vacation to Kansas City. On the way out of town we discussed our strategy on vacation eating. Our strategy? Oh, uh, well....we didn't really have one. We all agreed that calorie counting and watching what we were eating was not going to be a part of our trip. That entire trip we ate whatever, whenever, and how much ever we wanted without regard to calories or the potential effects on our amazing progress. When the week was over, we never could find our “plan.” I think we left it somewhere between the concession stands at Kaufman (Royals) Stadium and the endless, hot, breakfast buffet at our hotel. Wherever we lost it, it was gone. Actually, I think it blew out of the window of our vehicle a few miles from home, somewhere along Highway 60, before we ever even reached I-35. And quickly, without exercise and portion control, the weight we had worked so hard to lose came back, and then some. You see, we weren't learning along the way. We didn't realize how important it was to really change the way we look at portions and food choices. All we were doing back then was what we knew would make us lose weight: We were eating less and exercising, but doing it without changing our minds and bad food habits. We were just suppressing those excessive bad habits long enough to achieve short term results. I don't know about you, but for me, I never want to see 400 pounds again, and 500? Forget it, never my friend, never, ever again will I abuse myself like that. That's why it's paramount to your long term success to really take advantage of the information and resources made available during this program. Don't just go through the motions needed for a temporary change, get into your brain, and re-program the way you approach food choices and portions. Read the information provided in the “Lose To Win” folder, make attending the seminars vitally important, and while you're there, listen like you're getting all the correct answers to the most important exam of your life. Develop and hold tight to your “motivating thoughts.” Is it “I want to lose 20 pounds so I can fit into my skinny jeans?” or maybe “I want to lower my blood pressure and dramatically improve my cholesterol and overall health,” or maybe you're like me... “I want to live long enough to grow old,” “I want to influence my future grandkids,” “I want to dramatically improve my marriage,” “I want to be able to enjoy life.” “I just want to be alive.” I know it sounds dramatic, but dog-gone-it, it is! And no matter the level of your motivating thoughts, they all have equal importance. Make them your passion. Embrace them at the risk of eye rolls from your friends and associates. Make this the most important thing you've ever done in life, no matter if it's 20 pounds or two hundred pounds. If you do that, and you embrace your motivators, and you realize that these mental exercises are just as important as the physical, then I guess I'll be seeing you at the “Lose To Win” awards ceremony in May. As a winner or just another participant cheering you to the podium, I'll be there...You can count on that. Remember, until you commit to the mental workouts that keep you from tripping, along side the physical ones, you're just going through the motions...and that can be completely destroyed, sometimes by something as small as a single solitary double cheeseburger. You can do this.
I'm excited for what lies ahead. The possibilities have never been greater than they are right now. I've never been so uncertain about the future, yet excited and confident it will be wonderful in whatever way it unfolds. I'm on my way to an astonishingly dramatic life change. Scary? Not even a little bit. Full of endless possibilities? Yes. And to think that these words are coming out of the mind of a person who just six months ago thought he was destined to die from obesity at a young age. Good night and...