The Pursuit of What Works---Have You Checked Your Pockets?
I had an interesting conversation this morning with a woman desperate to lose weight. She told me that she’s tried everything under the sun to do it without any measurable success. A friend of hers told her about me and this blog, and since she’s local to my area---it was easy for her to reach me. After a long conversation about self-honesty and the “Calorie Bank and Trust” and the “Steel Curtain Zone,” I finally just referred her to the blog, asking her to please read from Day 1. It’s hard to explain in a quick conversation, but make no mistake---it’s not really complicated, unless you make it that way. I read the post from a year ago later in the day and I thought of her again. The first part of that post from February 24th, 2009 was all about the pursuit of anything that “works.” From Day 163:
I searched for years, well, not really actively searching everyday, but curious always at least, wondering what really works? I was conditioned by our culture and society from an early age to believe in order to lose weight, you had to have a plan. Not your own sensible plan, because that would be too simple and free, and we know that if it's free it can't work, no, no, no...we gotta pay to lose weight if we expect results. We need someone else's plan! A plan or product someone else designed and now charges large amounts of money for. Now if this plan is all about learning portion control, self-analysis, and exercising, then great...sounds good, but kinda boring...and boring doesn't sell. I want amazing success claims! I want you to tell me that I can basically sleep and gorge all day long and still lose weight. I always thought that the secret must be in a product or system somewhere on a store shelf near me. When I would run into someone who had lost weight, my first question was always: “How did you do it?” This is often the first question that comes to mind for anyone. I always wanted to hear about a miraculous new product that would magically melt away my fat in the middle of the night while I slept regardless of my food intake or lack of exercise. As crazy as that idea sounds, that's exactly the message I've watched before on an infomercial in the middle of the night. Perhaps you've watched the same one. Did you notice the fine print too? “Product to be used in conjunction with a regular diet and exercise regimen.” Really? I have to make an effort? Then why would I want to take these again? Do they even contain anything other than a placebo and a slick marketing campaign that targets the desperate and dangerously overweight at 2am? But for years I had an open mind and a willing ear to listen to anyone that had any information on what worked. As long as that solution didn't involve certain things, like personal responsibility, educating myself on portion control, understanding, analyzing, and reconstructing my behaviors and please don't say exercise! Noooo! I can't move! What? You want me to kill myself? Listen, I understand the hopeless feelings that consume grotesquely obese people. I've been one for years.
The dream is a miracle cure, that never comes along. Oh sure, people lose weight on all kinds of products and systems. I'm not saying you can't lose weight on some of these things. People do everyday, but it's like spending money on cleaning up the mess from a broken sewer line, but not fixing the broken sewer line. Sorry, that's a gross but effective example...but you see what I mean, right? That's why so many people gain back everything they lost and more! They cleaned up the mess caused by the real problem, but they didn't address the real problem. When they repeat the process over and over they call it...”Yo-Yo Dieting.” I've always heard the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result...that's yo-yo dieting! What has driven me to get down to the honest bare truth behind my lifelong battle with obesity? I don't have time to yo-yo any-mo-mo.
That was kind of lame, but it made me laugh, so I'm good. I'm learning everyday about food and how to properly handle it, I'm learning about exercise and how to properly do it, and most importantly, I'm learning about me on a level I didn't know existed. For the first time in my life I'm finally finding what I was looking for, and the strangest thing is, it was inside me all along, but I wasn't looking there. It's like searching for your lost car keys for 30 years, then one day finding them in your pocket where they've always been.
I prepared the most wonderful egg white omelet this morning. I filled it up with mushrooms and an ounce of mozzarella (oh how I love my cheese!)---Then I poured on some tomato sauce. I folded over what I call the Pizza Omelet! It was 200 calories of cheesy-saucy-goodness. I loved it! I enjoy my food more these days. That might sound strange, but really, it’s true. I eat slower---I appreciate the flavor---I’m often proud of the calorie value…eating is a new experience. Before, I was just stuffing it in my mouth---it tasted good and I wanted more, and my friends would say “wow, you’re really eating fast!” I don’t hear that anymore. And it’s not something I decided to do, it’s something that has just happened naturally as I navigate my daily calorie budget and the choices that make up that calorie allotment.
My evening consisted of playing in a poker tournament with a buddy of mine. I enjoy an occasional live poker tournament, I do. The arrangement was a simple one. I drive so they can drink and they buy me into the tournament. Everyone is good with that---and it’s a fun time. I ran into a couple of people at the poker tournament that I haven’t been around in well over a year. The stunned looks I get are priceless and they usually come after I approach them. If I don’t say something to them, they’ll usually just walk on by like I’m a stranger. It’s a strange feeling really. It’s good, don’t get me wrong---but it’s strange. It’s like I’m disguised as a normal person. And normal isn’t what most old acquaintances expect when they see me. I didn’t cash in the poker tournament tonight, but my buddy did. Oh, I still won tonight---Yes indeed…I win every time I have experiences like this. I always dreamed of having these experiences, long before I finally put some action into making those dreams come true. And just when I thought these “wow” reactions were over for the night, this happened:
I was going slightly over the speed limit on the way home when a trooper, cloaked in darkness, flipped his light bar on full blast and pulled me over. I haven’t had a ticket of any kind since 2003, but I have been given a few warnings over the last several years. The trooper that pulled me over tonight took me back to his vehicle and the first thing he asked was “How much weight have you lost?” And I answered: “Uh, 240 pounds…” How did he know? He quickly revealed the answer: “I pulled you over along this same stretch about a year ago and if I hadn’t recognized your voice, I wouldn’t have known it was you!” “You look incredible man, congratulations!” “When I pulled you over last, I listed your weight as 392, what is it now?” I proudly told him 265 followed by my sincere regret and apology for going seven over the posted limit. He told me that he was just writing a warning, no need to worry. That was another very cool experience.
I share these experiences because, well---it was part of this day, but mainly because if you’re on this road too---I want to give you a glimpse of what’s ahead for you. You’re going to succeed and you’re going to experience these kinds of situations. You might be like I was for years; only dreaming about it, but it is going to happen for you now…and I can’t wait for you to feel this. I wish I could touch you and transfer the feeling magically, but you just have to get here to feel this. You can do it. I know you can.
I arrived home with a few hundred calories left in the budget. I quickly prepared a Flat-Out flat bread chicken and mushroom wrap with mozzarella and feta. I skipped the tomato sauce, just rolling it up instead like a burrito. It was so good! I consumed a bottle of water and all of a sudden I felt incredibly full. Bloated is a better word to describe what I felt. I was bloated, completely. But---I was just under budget and ready to call it a night.
Thank you for reading and offering your support and thoughts. Goodnight and…