One Year 200 Pounds Lost Anniversary and The Long Answer to: How?
Today is my one year anniversary of crossing the 200 pounds lost barrier. Losing the first 200 pounds in ten and a half months was a quick way to get really spoiled, thus making the last 61 pounds lost seem less than spectacular. BUT--seriously, we're 13 pounds from goal, and if I can somehow drop to 230 by September 15th, then I'll be able to say that I've lost 275 pounds in less than two years. And regardless of the time frame, that's an incredible achievement if I do say so myself. And it'll still be incredible even if I don't hit it by 09/15/2010. But I bet I do.
Saying that it's slowed down since crossing the 200 pounds lost mark, is somewhat of an understatement. My consistency, my commitment, my unwavering resolve has paid off bigtime and we're in the home stretch of the losing phase. With the wonderful epiphanies experienced along this road, the maintenance part--or simply living part, will be an absolute joy. Each passing month and year of successful weight maintenance will fully cement my weight loss approach and philosophy. I love it when someone says, "let's see you keep it off," yeah--we will see me keep it off, no problem. How do I know? If you've read the archives, you already know how I know. If you haven't, that's fine---just trust me...my simplistic approach and gradual evolution of good choices has transformed much more than my appearance. The physical transformation, as dramatic as it certainly has been, is nowhere near as dramatic as the change in my relationship with food.
My post a year ago today covered the answer to the question: How have you done it? And it's not a short answer, it's the long version. It's worth re-posting today on this one year 200 pounds lost anniversary. From August 5th, 2009:
When you lose a considerable amount of weight everyone wants to know how you're doing it. The following is the long version:
Readers of this blog know that I've struggled my entire life with obesity. So why am I having so much success now? Because I've decided. I've written before about making that “Iron-Clad Decision,” and it's that decision to succeed, that rock-solid commitment to consistency that has given me these incredible results. I found out that you have to give this journey an amazingly high priority. You have to make it one of the most important things you do. You have to defend your journey from anything and everything that might try to derail it. You have to protect it from yourself. I was always my own worst enemy, I understand that. When you make it this important, it really makes it hard to rationalize bad choices, you know what I mean? As dramatic as it might sound, this is life and death stuff my friend. And no matter if you have 30 pounds or 300 pounds to lose, if you give it that “do or die” level of importance in your life, you're less likely to fail.
But is it that easy? Just decide? Really?? Make it important? What?? No. Along with my “Iron-Clad” decision, I decided to throw away every single misconception I had about weight loss. I knew I wanted long term results, I really wanted to change. So I eliminated any plan that wasn't completely natural. I needed something I could do that would keep me thin the rest of my life. I needed to learn what a normal portion looked like. I didn't want a 'meal replacement” type plan, or a pre-packaged food “weight loss center” type of plan. I knew those type of plans were simply a means to lose weight temporarily. I needed to confront my behaviors with food in everyday situations, and it had to be head on with real food like everybody else eats. I then determined that nothing was off limits. I could eat anything I wanted, and I mean anything! That element of my journey has been one of the keys to success, because if nothing is off limits, then I'll never feel deprived...and I'll never feel defeated because I enjoyed something that conventional weight loss wisdom says you can't have if you want to lose weight.
It's not the food, it's the portions. Counting calories was a natural choice for me. It's taught me about proper portions and it's forced me to make better choices along the way. I opened the “Calorie Bank and Trust” in my mind, treating my calories like cash. Every morning I would be issued 1500 new calories that I could use however I wanted, but beware! I quickly learned that good choices meant making wise calorie “investment” decisions. I had to spread those calories out all day long, or run short as a consequence. The “Calorie Bank and Trust” doesn't have an ATM. When the calories are gone, they're gone until the bank “opens” the next morning. It might sound silly, it's not---look what it's done for me.
But those urges to binge, how do I control those nasty things? Those crazy thoughts that sometime come from out of nowhere, stealing away my resolve, making me fantasize about eating large quantities of anything that I love, yes they existed for me just like everyone else. How have I handled that? Motivating thoughts plus accountability plus writing out my thoughts every night in this daily blog. That's how I've handled those journey breaking meltdowns. I tell people: Cling tight to those motivating thoughts, defend your journey like your life depends on it, in most cases it does. Decide that nothing...no emotion, no circumstance, no person, place or thing is allowed to steal this away from you. I deserve this success. You deserve this success. It's too important my friend. One of the biggest elements is self honesty. This means calling yourself on all those excuses and rationalizations that we tell ourselves in order to feel better about bad choices. Honesty, 100%---at all times.
And exercise? Anything...just move. All I could do in the beginning was walk and I could barely do that for very long. But I was moving. And the more you move, the easier it gets. All of a sudden my 505 pound near deadly quarter mile walks became a mile...then two, then three, and so on. In the beginning it doesn't have to be anything special. There's no machine to buy or membership required. Just movement. After a while you can get fancy. But set a solid foundation of success first by mastering the basics.
I've discovered something that many have discovered before me, and that is this: It's really 20% about food and exercise and 80% about the mental aspects. Someone who has really helped my mental development is Ralph Marston. I've read very little of Mr. Marston's writing, but this one life changing work from him is something I've read countless times:
“Set Yourself Free” by Ralph Marston---"There is no outside force holding you back. You are holding you back and you are blaming it on someone or something else. The way you are able to continue holding yourself back is by maintaining the illusion that you're a victim. Once you realize that illusion, you will naturally and easily move forward. In fact, it is easier to fulfill your best possibilities than it is to avoid them. So let go of the blame and watch the limitations drop away. Certainly there will always be challenges that hold you back. For each challenge provides you with a pathway through which you can move toward fulfillment. It is your very nature to accomplish. Lovingly accept your destiny, and allow that accomplishment to be manifest through you. Set yourself free to follow your purpose. Set yourself free to truly live." Visit Mr. Marston at http://www.greatday.com/
I have absolutely set myself free along this transformation road. Ralph Marston unlocked something powerful in my brain with those words. I'm eternally grateful for the wisdom and clarity I've gained from him.
Happy 200 pounds lost anniversary to me!
I spent the evening with my daughter Amber. We dined out and visited for a while. She'll be returning to school soon (next Wednesday) and we needed some time to talk. I can't help but share how proud I am of her. Tomorrow will be her last day as a summer camp counselor with the YMCA. It's been a long, tough summer--but extremely rewarding for her. Her major is special education, so she was put in charge of a special needs child all summer. Well, Amber has made a profound difference in the life of that child. The child's mom wrote a letter to the Y all about these changes. The child is communicating more, smiling more, walking more---showing joy more---all in one summer, that little girls life has changed. Amber has a gift and that passion and compassion has reached that little girl and brought out joy that she may have never experienced prior to this summer. The fulfillment Amber enjoys from this work brings tears to her eyes and mine. I know that my little brother Shane, who passed away in 2001, had a huge impact on her. Shane taught so many about the joys of having honest compassion for others. Amber may have just been a kid back then, but she was watching and learning...and now it will be her mission to spread this kind of joy to other special needs kids. I could go on and on---it was a great conversation tonight. We needed that.
Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...
Over 500 pounds--and trying really hard to look happy.
At 243, I don't have to try to look happy, I just have to be me...happy me.