I am slowly learning that healthy eating is more than a simple checklist to be followed…
This is a post a wrote on June 22, 2012 but didn’t publish. For whatever reason, I just wasn’t quite ready to share it – I am now.
Want to see something really cool?!? Take a look at this!
This is a picture of the belt that I have been wearing for years. The last few holes (big belly holes – the right) are the most used. Since I have started a healthy eating program, I have slowly been tightening my belt. Now – IT NO LONGER FITS – it is too big!!! Yeah – how cool is that! I also noticed that all the cargo type shorts that I normally wear can be taken on and off WITHOUT unbuttoning them!
THIS FEELS SO GREAT!!
The scale says that I have lost THIRTY pounds! On March 22, 2012 I was weighed by my doctor at a routine exam at 276 lbs. This week (June 22, 2012), I stepped on the scales and they are reporting 246 lbs. That is ten pounds per month for three months. What’s worse, my house scale had tipped past 280 lbs for a while around the first of the year (2012).
Alright, I want to share what have I been doing as there are so many of us struggling with this. I don’t pretend that this will work for everyone but perhaps it will give you some ideas that will help.
Firstly, I suspect I reached bottom several months ago – I hope it was the bottom. My life had been torn apart – everything sucked. I was more than ready for it to be over. Have I recovered from that? No. However; I am trying to put the pieces back together and getting healthy and not looking like an elephant is part of that – a small part, I realize. My point is that I was very motivated. This was not one of my many “I ought to loose some weight” thoughts whilst eating a batch of chocolate chip cookies. This was the real deal, do it or else.
I’m a logical/analytical guy so I started with research. I was a fairly serious weight lifter many years ago so I knew one or two things about the body and healthy eating. What I learned surprised me. I really got a lot from RawFoodExplained.com.
Firstly, I started thinking about how I felt when I was hungry. What was the feeling? What was my body doing (growling stomach or ??)? You know what I learned?? I learned that I DID NOT KNOW! I learned this by consciously observing myself for a few days. I found myself wondering into the kitchen every 15-20 minutes (I work out of my home office). I’d notice where I was and what I was doing (looking for something to eat) and ask myself, “Am I hungry?” The answer was ALWAYS “I don’t think so”. To validate my theory, I decided to go on a fast – stop eating for several days. I drank lots of water and ate nothing. Day after day I noticed nothing. I did not feel weak, I did not have a headache, I did not have severe stomach pain (hunger), nothing. After three days, I knew that I had no idea what it felt like to be hungry.
Thru my research, I realized that we are conditioned to eat on a schedule and external stimuli. We eat because “it is dinner time” or because “the game is on – grab the chips” or, in my case, I was bored/lonely. I have no idea where I learned that but it was clear to me, finally.
I have never been a patient person. In the past, I would eat healthy for a three days and wonder why the pounds were not falling off. This time, I told myself that this is a long term deal, a lifestyle change. I’m going to eat healthy starting now cause I have nothing to loose. I won’t be eating at all in the near future if I don’t change.
The following items were the staples of my diet and I simply cut them out of my life, cold turkey. It was not hard, I did not have withdrawals, it was not stressful – I just stopped consuming them:
- Coffee (loaded with sugar and cream)
- Soda (pop – mostly Mt Dew)
- Ice Cream
- Pop Tarts
- Microwave meals
- Fast Food
I started eating only the following:
- Tea (mostly green)
- Water – 3 quarts per day
I eat as much fruit in the morning as I care to eat. Most days this is a grapefruit and oranges, strawberries, melon, kiwi, or whatever fruit is not terribly expensive.
For lunch, I nearly always have a huge salad. I toss in mushrooms, tomato, onion, sun flower seeds, boiled egg, a little chicken, and a VERY small portion of light salad dressing – sometimes some chopped orange slices instead of dressing. Maybe a little fruit to top it off cause I have a sweet tooth.
Dinner varies. Most of the time I don’t eat anything. Our bodies do not need more food to lie in bed and process. Did you know that digesting food takes energy that the body can be using for healing or other functions?
The area in my diet that is my big challenge (we all have at least one) is what I described above as eating out of boredom/loneliness. I have not yet figured out how to beat this – I would love ideas. However; what I did to combat it is to eat healthy snacks. I eat natural almonds or sunflower seeds (not salted or messed with by man) or some fruit. Fruit is nearly always sweet and I love sweets!
One thing I learned from others blogs is that many of the successful “healthy eaters” include the ability to cheat or to reward themselves (about the same thing). They do it in a way that does not destroy their whole plan nor act as a negative event in their head. Some have one day a week in which they can eat whatever they want, some allow themselves an occasional small portion of that “desired food”, and so on – there are all kinds of methods. I looked at this and realized that my “reward” are the few times that I eat out. I like to go to breakfast with flying buddies once per week and maybe eat out one other time per week – and that’s about it. So, I decided to use these for the positive rather than the negative. Instead of coming home after eating a big plate of bacon and eggs and beating myself up cause I fell off the bus, I tell myself that it was a reward for a job well done! As with all things, some control is warranted. I no longer eat white toast, I have dry wheat instead. I no longer put sugar and cream in my coffee. Perhaps most importantly, I do not allow this occasional reward to become a habit. In the weeks in which I haven’t dined out, I’ve been known to get a thin crust pizza or take-out Chinese. Again – only a reward – not a habit!
Everyone talks about goals – I’ve had them most of my life. My goal now is to survive and to once again find happiness. That does not translate to a target weight for me. I suspect that was part of my weight loss problem in the past – I focused on the outcome rather than the process/journey. This time, it is not about weighing x pounds, it is about eating good foods and getting healthy – healthy eating. I’m a fairly big-boned, athletic-ish kinda guy so something around 200 pounds is probably a fairly healthy weight for me. I dunno – we’ll see when I get there. One thing is for sure – 280 pounds did not look good on me – even thru rose colored glassed!
Stay positive and keep at it!!
FIDO – “Forget It and Drive On” (I miss you Mark)