Forgetting Time and A Passionate Response To Expert Advice
I failed to even notice that yesterday was exactly 100 days shy of one year on this journey. Wow, we're moving right along! One thing that helps me is not worrying about time. I've written about this many times. I use to worry about how long it would take me to lose down to my ultimate goal, just thinking about the time commitment needed was always enough to discourage me. And when I would become discouraged I would fail. More time would pass, then I would notice a calendar months later and feel bad because I knew that if I would have just stuck with it back then, I would have made some amazing progress. Not worrying about time is something I knew I needed to embrace on this journey. At the same time, I've had to be very careful not to allow myself to rationalize bad choices because, “hey I'm not worried about how long this takes!” My goal everyday is to make good choices with my food consumption and exercise. So far I've done just that. And all along the pages of the calendar have been turning. I'm pleased with the amazing progress in a relatively short period of time.
Recently while reading another weight loss blog, I noticed a couple of different experts giving advice to a young man who is on a mission to lose even more weight than me. First of all let me say this: I'm not an expert, I've said this many times. I also respect the opinions of people who have studied nutrition and fitness. However, I found it really hard to read some of the advice that was being given on that blog. And here's why: As a nutrition expert you may know exactly the best foods to recommend. But telling someone like me at 505 and this young man at nearly 600 pounds (he was over 630 when he started) to get rid of most everything we've enjoyed eating and immediately go out and buy only certain foods, in my opinion, is a recipe for failure. You're proving the science of it if they stick with it, but you're forgetting about the psychological element. Sure, if he eats only what you recommend he will lose weight and be healthier. But, what happens later? What happens when he realizes that he never learned how to eat anything else in a responsible way? I read a comment on this young man's blog that ordered: “the waffles and cream cheese have got to go.” Really? Completely? Never eat another waffle again? And cream cheese? I've enjoyed both on several occasions along this journey and I'm doing fantastic. Eating better and making healthier choices must evolve along the way. It's something that happens naturally. You shouldn't force it. You shouldn't throw away everything in your kitchen and go out and buy a bunch of stuff you wouldn't normally eat. That's the fastest way to feel deprived and that's a feeling that leads so many off the wagon. That's why I always say, keep it simple! Eat less and exercise more. Eat what you like, but do it with knowledge about calories, and limit your intake to a certain level, I've chosen 1,500. My choices often hinge on one question: Is this a good calorie value for me right now? The better choices come naturally. Early on this journey a typical snack for me was often a little 110 calorie bag of Funyuns. Now, it's apple slices marinated in lemon juice or a banana. I just had some turkey with mustard on a slice of light sourdough. That's a little better than a typical snack I might have had early on. The thing is, many people ask for this kind of food advice. I have no idea, the young man may have done that. “Just tell me what to eat and I'll eat it.” Listen, I'm pretty passionate about this as you can tell. I've been there, I know the pitfalls that exist in trying to lose weight, this is not my first ride down this road. I've analyzed my past failures and scrutinized my periods of success. I've taken those periods of success and analyzed why they were not permanent. What I'm doing and have been doing the last 266 days is the result. This is important to remember: You can't change a lifetime of horrible eating behaviors by cleaning out the pantry and fridge and replacing everything with healthy stuff. If you do that, you're deciding not to deal with those behaviors, rather just forget about them and hope they never come back. There isn't a favorite food of mine that I can't enjoy in a new responsible way. My behaviors with food have changed dramatically and without ever making a special trip for a cart full of recommended items. Keep it simple. Eat less and exercise more. Then, as you lose weight successfully, your eating habits and choices will naturally improve. Perhaps you decide at a certain point to incorporate certain recommended foods to optimize your performance. But it should never be a “all at once, here's what you're eating now” type of deal. A friend of mine, Melissa Walden, is a fitness and life coach. She studied at The Cooper Institute in Dallas. I keep remembering her response to a question at a “Lose To Win” seminar. The question was from someone just starting out and it was all about the carbs and fat grams and other food stats. Melissa told her the best thing for her to do at this point was “keep it simple,” by focusing on calories only and getting that exercise! Melissa went on to say exactly what I've said all along: When you have been doing wonderful for awhile, that's when you can decide to focus on fine tuning your daily intake. For me, I plan on getting into some really intense weight training. I want muscles! I know that I will need to give my body more than 1,500 calories a day while I'm weight training. My plan will adjust accordingly at that time. I've been shedding the excess fat very successfully so far, I've still a hundred pounds to go, and now I can start fine tuning my routine.
The preceding was simply my opinion. If I were still sitting at 505, you might not take it too seriously, but I'm at 332 at last check and the next weigh day is this Wednesday on Day 269. I really want to see this young man I mentioned above succeed. I'm rooting for him all the way. I just couldn't help myself. I had to say something. If he reads it or not, I may never know, but at least I said it. Take it for what it's worth. I don't know what these nutrition experts will think of this advice, because like I've said before, it's hard to teach someone something when they already know it all. But I feel like it would be hard for anyone with common sense to not understand the message I'm communicating. I don't know it all, but through my success and failures at losing weight, these are the truths I've learned. I feel like I've been taught through experience and I've discovered the reasons why I could never get it right before. It's like finding a large diamond that was never really hidden in the first place. I just wasn't looking until now.
We're headed out for a Sunday night 10K walk. Earlier we were at the lake for a picnic and swim. I chose to avoid the sun and not swim. I can't stand sunburns. But I did miss the exercise. Our late night swim last night was a fantastic workout. I'll be pacing myself on this 10K tonight, but maybe on that last mile I'll open it up again for an all out forty yard sprint! I loved the way it felt. I'm sure it was really slow, but to me it felt like I was flying. Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...