Saturday, November 26, 2011

195.0 (Too much to say, no time to say it...)

Well, it's been a while.  Just a quick note (with no pic--sorry) to say "One niney-five, booooi!"  I was pretty shocked when I popped onto the scale this morning, two days after THANKSGIVNG and actually saw that I lost weight over the holiday! o.0  Rather amazing to me.

I'll try and post a catch-up soon.  I started writing a blog-post back in September, but every time I sat down to finish it, I'd dropped more weight.  Then there were a few save-fails by Blogger that saw me lose the content, so just accept this 195 post as sort of a condolence prize until I put up something more substantial.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.  I don't have time to list what I'm thankful for.  It'd take days...

196.6 (Looking over my shoulder...)

Well hello there!  Haven't seen me in a while, huh?  Yeah, I know.  I simply haven't had time to write much lately, so all my blogs have fallen a bit fallow.  But it's time to celebrate a bit, so let's get after it!

It's funny.  I started writing this post quite a while ago, with the scale pic showing (below-right) but every time I came back to edit and continue, I'd dropped more weight (down to the pic, left)!  So anyway, here's a bit of a catch-up for the past few months...

August-October, 2011:

I'd been fighting the same ten pounds for the past three months or so (see previous blog post).  For most of August, it would be 220-215, then September was 215-211.  Every time I'd get close to 210, something would happen to undo it and send me back up the scale.  Typically this would be weekend over-indulgences or night eating, which continues to be a struggle for me.  I hit 210 once, back in late August, but didn't post it because it lasted all of a day, then I was back up to 215 or so shortly thereafter.  Also, I believe it was mostly due to dehydration, which in my book doesn't really count.

But from the end of September, I've seen some real traction, and back in the beginning of October (I think) I got under--and stayed under--210 for the first time.  Lots of physical work at the zendo, combined with being really good about my diet, combined with a terrible money situation.  I couldn't really afford to indulge.

But towards the end of October, something in my life shifted, and it was for the better in all respects.  As I said, my primary exercise has been working at the zendo doing the remodel.  I love doing it, but it's volunteer work, and doesn't really help out financially.  I took a stab at a job posted on Craigslist, and lo and behold, I got it!  But in switching to a desk-and-cube job 4-5 hours a day, however, I was rather concerned that I was going to lose the benefit of the hard(ish) zendo labor-as-exercise.  Where was I going to get my cardio?  Well, I stopped being concerned once I discovered that the closest bus stop to my office was 3/5 of a mile and 30 stairs away.  Since I started on Halloween night, I've dropped nearly eight more pounds! I wind up having to (typically) walk roughly two miles a day to get to and from work, plus having to climb 30 or so stairs twice to get to and from the Hawthorne bridge bus stop I have to use.  It'll be interesting to see how the winter weather affects this, as well as the time off when this office closes down in January for a few weeks.  Technically, it's a temp job, but there are all signs that I'll be brought back when the office re-opens.

So that's how I got down to 198.4, where I am as of this morning.  Here are a few reflections on what the weight-loss has been manifesting in my life.


Man, what to say here?  The picture really says it all.  At one point in time (about three years ago) these fit, and were probably snug at times.  As I started to drop weight, I kept them around, mostly for work pants.  But a few days ago, with piles of laundry to do and no clean(ish) work trou available, I resorted to these with suspenders, and was quite literally shocked to the point of near horror.  And absurdity.  And laughter.  Then horror again.  I used to fill these!

I now fit comfortably in 36" pants!  For the first time since I was about 13!  A few weeks ago my fiancée and I were at Good Will (the place I used to go to to get reasonably priced fat-guy stuff) and I decided on a whim to try out a pair of 38" jeans.  Regular jeans.  "Normal people" jeans.  I didn't suspect that they'd really fit.  I thought at best I'd be able to suck my gut in and get myself squeezed into them, then feel like I'd been rammed into some kind of diabolical Victorian girdle and truss.  I'll admit that I felt pretty stupid standing there in the dressing room, tears welling up in my eyes after the zipper glided up and the button fastened on the inhale.  I was even more shocked when they stayed in place without a belt.  Seriously, I haven't wore pants without a belt... like, ever.  I've always had to have an elastic-braided belt in my life.  But these just seemed to stay in place all on their own, like magic.  Thinking I was being fooled, or that Allen Fundt was peering at me from behind the mirror, I tried on another pair by a different manufacturer, suspecting that I may have tried on the one "fat" size of 38" pants that were really like 40" or so.  But lo and behold, the others fit, too.  And stayed in place, too!  WITHOUT A BELT!!

It was real, and yeah, I started to cry a bit.  This had been such a long time in coming.  I guess it took me completely by surprise.  Clothing is going to stay a bit of a challenge at least for the near future.  I have a closet packed full of shirts that I simply can't wear anymore.  They'll go to Good Will.  Half of them came from there anyway.  Maybe they'll help some larger brother out?  My shoes don't fit like they used to, either.  Neither do some HATS?  That's just downright odd...

People, Places & Things:

So, people are really noticing this now.  My face looks completely different.  No more broad, round redish-from-exertion face.  No more three chins (I seem to have only one now).  And a firm jaw.  And a rather distinct clavicle.  And ribs.  And sorta hips.  And a waist!  This is all really freaky and new.

It seems that both genders notice the change.  My male friends notice and say "You look awesome!  How are you doing it?"  The women... well, I don't think I've ever been hit on this much in my life.  Talk about weird x2.  Can't say that I mind it, though, but I just want my fiancée to keep finding me attractive.  And healthy.  And alive.  We have a 16-year age difference, and it would be pretty damn unfair of me to check out on her before I should simply because I couldn't keep from stuffing my pie-hole.


I'm really pleased with my food lately.  This is sort-of interesting because one one hand, money's been so bad these past few months since I wound up in hospital.  But on the other hand, it's made me eat more cheaply, but more creatively.  I haven't been suffering.  I've really been enjoying my food.  I have to admit something mildly shameful: I am a ramen noodle fan.  Always have been.  With cash the way it's been, I've had to go back to my old friend.  I typically never have it as-is, though.  I toss in some frozen Asian veggies, mushrooms, typically some kimchee, a sliced hard-boiled egg, sliced red onion, and top it off with chopped cilantro, basil and Sriracha.  Always Sriracha!  Viva Sriracha!!!

Food is a much more simple affair to me now.  I still enjoy cooking, but it's not this big to-do anymore.  That is helpful.  Making a small meal quickly means I'm not focusing on food so much, and not eating things as I'm preparing the meal.

More later.  It's taken me forever to get this post up as it is...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

220.2 (There and back again...)

Well, the progress continues.  It's slow going, but that's not really discouraged me at all.  I really do not care one whit how long this takes me to accomplish.  I just want to keep moving in the right direction.

I have been flirting with 220 for a week or so.  Haven't broken it yet, but I suspect that I will sometime this coming week.  The trend is downwards, even with the occasional up-tick.  As I still weigh myself daily, I see all the numbers, not just the over-all trend.  Some say that's not a wise thing, but I appreciate doing it.  It keeps me ever-mindful of what I'm doing.  Not to the point of obsessiveness, but simply focused on what I'm doing, and that's very helpful to me.

I do need that, and I admit that I do.  Old habits are hard moles to truly whack, and I still have troubles or challenges with stress eating and/or eating later in the evening.  For the latter, I've taken to eating dinner rather late (7:30-8pm) so that even if I get snacky, I have the reality of having just eaten (what is typically) a largish amount of calories, and simply can't conscience eating a bunch more, so it's a motivator to not eat again.  Combine that with being (typically) really tired from the physical labor of the day, and I'm asleep on the couch before I want to eat again.  Sleeping through the munchies is helpful.

I'm still working on what my final "goal" weight should be.  I'm thinking 170lbs.  160 is still sort-of inconceivable to me.  In the end, it's not really all that important.  The trend continues, and that's all I really care about.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

223.4 (Nothing pithy to add to that...)

What to say here?  Not much, really.  After the hospitalization and mondo-depressing near-instant balloon-up from that whole deal (roughly 11 lbs in 24 hours!) this feels like the penultimate victory.  Since I've begun counting calories and logging food with MyFitnessPal, I've lost nearly 20 lbs (which I should do by the end of this week).  Yeah, it was a hard twenty, and has taken me about as long to drop it as the previous forty or so, but that's as it should be.

Diet and exercise are the ONLY WAY TO DO THIS.  PERIOD.  I still wince from time to time when I think of how bloody long it's taken me to understand that.  But I do now.

Food is so different a thing to me now.  It used to be the go-to.  For everything.  Happiness, sadness, ecstasy, depression, relaxation, stress, you name it.  But now, food is sustenance.  Doesn't mean that I don't still enjoy eating, and it doesn't mean that all the old habits have been banished, but it does mean that something in me has changed radically.  And that's good.

I enjoy my food even more now.  I savor it.  I eat it more slowly.  I try and be much more mindful about it, and how I eat it.  I'm still a damn fine cook, and still can whip up a fancy-assed this or that, but I'm even more happy that I like--really like--simple foods.  Gimmie a well-made burrito and I'm happy.  A perfectly made BBQ bacon cheeseburger?  Just leave me alone.  I'm busy.  I buy the highest quality ingredients I can afford.  For example, even though it's about 50% more expensive, I only buy Angus beef, mostly because it's grass fed, and as far as red meat goes, I eat it really very sporadically.  I eat a lot of chicken breasts.  Good thing I really like chicken.  I grill out on my smoker about once a week, and make a week's worth of stuff at a time, then simply reheat it.  Grilled flavor all week with only a day of work.

In the morning, I've started making breakfast burritos with two eggs and two slices of bacon, refried beans and queso.  They're really filling and give me a decent dose of energy as I leave to go work at the Zen temple I'm helping renovate.  Another lesson or two I've learned.  I really need to eat breakfast if I'm going to go do anything substantial, and that includes walking more than about a quarter mile.  That breakfast routine has also helped with the constipation/irregularity issues.  Again, I feel dumb.  It's taken me how long to figure that out?  Regardless, lesson learned.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get the steak fajitas made...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

227 (The New Frontier...)

Well, it's official: I've never weighed this little in my adult life.  I have an old driver's license from back in the late 80's that lists me as 260lbs.  Back at the beginning of high-school, when I was playing freshman football, I remember weighing in at 230lbs.  15 years old, 5'9" and 230.  I should have been ashamed then.  Actually, I was, but that's a different matter, I suppose.

Frankly, I don't have much room in my life for shame.  I find it a really counter-productive and useless feeling.  It doesn't really bring out good things.  Admitting when you did something or someone wrong?  Good.  Wanting to make things right?  Good.  Shame?  Meh.

Frankly, shame has actually helped perpetuate my lack of weight control.  It has perpetuated and exacerbated the feelings of helplessness and worthlessness that have kept me turning to food for comfort, the tiny feeling that comes from not being able to do what others apparently have no trouble doing, and that's staying in control.  When it comes to addiction, shame really does more damage than anything else.

More than anything, I just feel kind of dumb.  Not in a hyper-critical way.  More in a "Wow, I get it now.  How did I not see this, not grok this, not understand this all this time?" sort-of way.  Be active, eat properly and in the right amount, and weight just kind-of falls in place.

It's not that this is effortless.  I've actually worked rather hard--diligently, even--to get here.  But I've had to do so to un-do the badness that excess has wrought; to get back in alignment with my body.  It makes me wonder what life would have been like were I to have simply grok'd this back when I was young.  That's just as it goes, though, I suppose.  20/20 hindsight and all that.

Anyway, the work continues.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

242.2 (A funny thing happened on the way to 228...)

Well, not funny.  Serious.  And seriously bad.  Last week I wound up in hospital for a rather nasty case of cellulitis.  As a result, I was taken off my diuretic for a while, spent most of four days generally immobile, and packed on 11 lbs in the matter of 36 hours!  You can read more about that adventure on my other blog found here.

Now even though this is a bit discouraging, that doesn't mean I'm off the weight-loss train, though.  I'm back on half a diuretic dose to help remove the excess fluids in my system, and that's helping.  As of this morning, I'm back down to 239.0, which is good.  And I'm not using this convalescence as a reason to eat up (although that's been a challenge from a "I wanna be comforted!" sorta way), but I am allowing myself more food in a day.  My body needs calories and nutrition right now, and trying to keep the weight-loss active in this time is actually not very helpful to the healing process.  In fact, it can directly hamper healing, especially since I'm fighting an infection.  The antibiotics I'm taking screw with my gut flora, and make certain vitamins and nutrients hard to absorb (particularly Vit. K—or potassium) which in turn leads to things like nose-bleeds and trouble clotting, so what I eat is really important.

So this is a time to relax a bit on the 1500 kCal a day diet and heavy-duty labor that was working so well.  I need to get past this infection and heal, and to do that, I need to eat more.  Not crazy more, but more than I have been.

But one thing I haven't lost is confidence that I can and will see 225lbs by the end of summer.  Diet and exercise works, and I got it to work all on my own, eating a varied diet that was very satisfying.  But wisdom is illustrated by knowing when to relax as well as when to put in lots of effort.  Rest=healing.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

229.6 (Into uncharted teritory...)

This is officially the least I've weighed since high-school.  And while I feel achy, banged-up and exhausted from all the hard work and physical labor, I also feel revitalized, energized, and happy.

Sometime back around February, 2011 (a period of Fat Man blogglessness), I hit 254 again.  Wasn't too happy about it.  But I just got back at it.  This means I've dropped 25lbs this calendar year.  This shows what effort and simple acceptance can accomplish.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

230.8 (stedy as she goes...)

A quick update:

Well, as I said in earlier posts, I'm done with two major things: (exclusively) low-carb, and getting the weight off fast.  This isn't a race.  This is a complete change of life, and while at times speed is helpful, for the most part, true change takes time and effort.  The former I have in spades.  The latter's taken time to root, but I think I have indeed sunk a tap-root.

Wanting to be healthy.  Wanting to not be so limited.  Wanting to not have to eat only certain things.  Wanting to live longer.  These are things that sound obvious, but when you're twice the size you should be, they seem so far away, so pie-in-the-sky.  You want them, but they seem to live on the other side of Mars.  So you wish.  You pray.  You look for things to help, to speed the plow.  But there is no plow to speed.  There's only you.  You and your determination to do the right things for yourself.  The hard things.  The things that takes prolonged, ardent effort.  The things that hurt, inside and out.  True in Dharma, true in weightloss.

One thing that has helped the past few weeks is activity.  Real activity.  Hard work.  My sangha is renovating a 100-year-old church as our new zendo.  It's a TON of work.  Back-breaking, knee-aching, elbow-scraping, finger-smashing work.

It feels so good to work hard again.  To feel that full-body exhaustion at the end of the day, but lay in bed thinking of what I've accomplished, is a gift I'd allowed myself to forget I've been given.  I really treasure that it's back in my life.  That it's helping me drop more weight is sort-of a bonus, but only insofar as it's a reconnection to something.  I like working with my hands.  Even with all the physical limitations due to my disability, I have skills and talents that have languished over the years, primarily due to my voluntary disability.  Obesity had been a fetter--an albatross--that I willingly wore for the majority of my life.  Shaking it off, laying it down, casting it aside is still challenging, and at times I find myself still desiring to comfort myself with food and over-indulgences.  But more and more I'm finding myself saying "no thanks".  That's for one reason alone: a desire for something more gratifying, and more healthy.  The desire to be strong and able again. As able as my limitations allow.

As I've said before, I have nothing better to do.  I have never said anything truer in my life.

Friday, May 20, 2011

236.8 (To the future, and beyond!)

Well, I found a few helpful resources for crunching numbers, with the primary one being HealthStatus.  Trying to figure out how many calories are burned doing various activities, Basil Metabolic Rate, true BMI, average weigh by body-type, etc.  Very helpful.  Anyway, one of the things I was able to do was make a projection with regards to potential weight-loss if I stick to my plan and caloric deficit goals.  It is as follows:



Time to
Reach Goal
236.8 lb160 lb76.8 lb10008 mo 29 dy
236.8 lb180 lb56.8 lb10006 mo 19 dy
236.8 lb200 lb36.8 lb10004 mo 9 dy

Now, as pie-in-the-sky as these numbers and projections may be, I am at least encouraged by the fact that a) no matter what my final target weight goal may be, I'm closer than I've ever been, b) my next "goal" is less than 40lbs and about 4 months away, if I can keep this up, and c) this actually looks possible for me.  And yes, I'm well aware that this may be optimistic time-wise, but even if I add 50% more time on, it's still achievable within about a year or so.  I'll take it.

A bit additional:

I have an acquaintance that I follow on a web community who just underwent gastric surgery (sleeve, I believe).  This web community allows for uncensored images to be put up, and I've been seeing rather candid images of her as she loses weight.  I do observe that I feel a tinge of jealousy seeing the pounds fly off her body.  She was a very large woman (admittedly, she's about 6' tall to boot) but even with that, she easily weighed upwards of 300lb.

Now this has nothing to do with attractiveness, per se.  I always considered her rather pretty, and yes, the weight-loss improves upon that (as I'm sure it does in my case as well).  But for some reason, the whole weight-loss surgery just... really puts me off.

I've thought about weight-loss surgery.  A lot.  Over and over.  The last time I truly considered it, it was bypass.  Roux en-Y (proximal) or something similar.  In reading her reasons for chosing the sleeve, she states that she didn't want something so invasive, extreme or potentially fatal, so no fault there.  One thing she mentioned was that it she considers her sleeve "forced evolution because we don't need large stomachs anymore".

Wow, do I not buy that concept.  For a number of reasons, this is just not a good way to look at this.  First, while it is true that the only way to reduce the size of the human stomach after adulthood is via surgery, in my eyes, the human stomach is designed to be very flexible and adaptable to change.  One of the main reasons for this is not holding varying amounts of food, but for gas.  Eat something that interacts with the stomach acids in a certain way, and gas is produced.  With a restricted stomach, that gas has no place to go, and will cause great pain, discomfort, and illness/vomiting.

Secondly, the large stomach was caused by something, and that something is over-indulging and over-eating.  It didn't happen by itself.  It happened because the stomach owner in question had an underlying issue that caused it, and that is a hunger of a different type.  Mind hunger, heart hunger, eye hunger.  None of those hungers will be reduced by reducing or restricting the physical stomach.  So, bariatric surgery is a surgical procedure to correct an emotional or mental condition?  Nope.  Doesn't work that way.  If you don't address the emotional, mental or spiritual issues that underlay the behavior, what actually changes?  Sure, you'll drop weight rapidly, and may even keep it off, but what really changes?  Interestingly, one of the major issues with GBP is one most doctors and surgeons  don't talk about, and that's depression.
[From Wikipedia:] "Gastric bypass surgery has an emotional, as well as a physiological, impact on the individual. Many who have undergone the surgery suffer from depression in the following months.[13] This is a result of a change in the role food plays in their emotional well-being. Strict limitations on the diet can place great emotional strain on the patient. Energy levels in the period following the surgery will be low. This is due again to the restriction of food intake, but the negative change in emotional state will also have an impact here.[14] It may take as long as three months for emotional levels to rebound."
Wow. Talk about a grave solution!  Being depressed about your weight is bad enough.  Now you get to be depressed over food for the rest of your life?  Not being able to truly enjoy your food?  I'll pass.

Back when I was 17 or so, I actually had a gastric balloon inserted into my stomach.  I lost about 20lbs, expressly because I didn't change my behavior.  Even with that failure, as I said, I recently thought about GBP and bariatric surgery again.  A lot.  But the thing that I always came back to is a knowledge that food didn't get me here.  Hunger did, and not physical hunger.  I got myself here, and the only way to truly fix this problem in my life--the only way to deal with this issue long-term--is to address it head-on.  To see that I am the problem.  That's not blaming myself.  That's owning it and taking responsibility.  This constant emotional hunger that I allowed to ride roughshod over me is what did this.

In Buddhism and Zen--as I said--we have this tenant to "seek its source".  Over the past two or so years, I've really decided to seek the source of that damaging hunger.  As I have, I've gotten closer to understanding where it lives, what it wants, and how to properly deal with it.  Is it still hard work?  Hell yes.  But it's not anything that a doctor can deal with or treat.  It's only something that can be managed with a great and abiding faith in the Three Treasures, the Four Noble Truths and the Eight-Fold Path.

Everything I need to be healthy and happy I already have.  I have always had it.  And I need not pay someone thousands to short-cut the sanctity and sacredness of my body in order to change the outside of me, when the inside is where the issue truly lies.  Every time I've ever tried to short-cut things in my life, bad things have resulted.  Every time I've stuck it out--I mean really stuck with it, be it meditation, sesshin, work, or what-have-you--I've always felt better as a result.

I fault no one for having GBP or other bariatric surgery, but I know it's not for me.  My illness is inside, and only truth, openness, metta and a radical acceptance of the moment as it is serves to heal me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

239.8 - 236.4 (The numbers add up, or down...)

So I've started tracking my calories and exercise on the site MyFittnessPal.  Damn handy site.  Very robust database of foods and ingredients, and very easy to use and configure to my own tastes and food habits.

I'll admit that I've resisted tracking/journaling my food and calorie counting.  I always knew why.  I never really wanted to know the truth of how I eat.  I knew it would illustrate my own shortcomings and weaknesses.  I was right.  But I have accepted it now, and I clearly see the utility and wisdom of it.

It also shows me what binging and over-indulging does.  I've promised myself that I'd even log those times, too, and for the most part, I have.

I'm still having trouble with night eating and binging/"treating" myself, but it is getting better.  The use of the site allows me to see into the future a bit as far as what I can expect to lose if I stick to it, and knowing that I won't see those projections on the scale just serves as a reminder to me to stay mindful and in control.  Weather or not I do is a different issue all together, but again, it's better.

The other thing the site is really good at is helping you get your head around what exercise/activity does for weight-loss.  Here the site isn't quite as comprehensive as the food side of things, but you have the ability to modify/customize that as well.  For example: walking as an exercise is primarily what I do.  "Walking" alone burns X amount of calories.  But I live on a rather major hill.  Add to that the fact that I generally walk to the grocery store every day, and lug between 10-20 pounds of stuff back at a time in my backpack.  Walking uphill with 20lbs on your back burns more calories than walking on the flat unencumbered.  Hunting around the web finds a number of useful kCal burning calculators for figuring out the burn of a given exercise, so I set up custom data in MFP for the exercise I do regularly.  And yes, that includes things like laundry, and, of course, sex!  I want credit for it all!

Good food day.  500 kCal under my daily goal, and had this completely epic bacon cheeseburger for dinner...

This is a 1/3lb 90/10 organic free-range ground chuck burger patty with onion soup mix and tamari in it, with mayo, brown mustard, Muir Glen organic ketchup, Maui onion, heirloom tomato, Tillamook CoJack cheese, thick-cut organic pepper bacon and romaine lettuce on a toasted onion bun. Srsly.  At the last gastrorgasmic bite, I nearly passed out.

Oh, and tots...

[added rant]

Seriously, though, it's times like these that make me ashamed of how many nasty-assed, nitrate- and filler-stuffed craptastic McCrap burgers I ate when I was younger.  Good lord, do you know what this tastes like?!  Why oh why on earth would anyone ever want to eat something passed to them through a window when this tastes like this?!  It took me all of 30min to make it, was made perfectly, and to my exact tastes and preferences, is mostly organic and ethically produced, costs a total of about $6 (including the tots), and reminds me of sitting in the back-yard grilling and drinking MGD with my old man and our dog.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

240.4 (And Inconvenient Truths...)

Well, I imagine this is going to piss some people off.  It sort of pisses me off, for what it's worth.


I did the low-carb thing.  It worked to a degree.  I lost a significant amount of weight rather rapidly.  But honestly, do I want to eat this way the rest of my life?  No.  I don't.  I don't think it's sustainable in the long-run, and frankly, I'm interested in the long-run.

I need to look at the weight-loss as something secondary to my life; a by-product.  What I really need to do is look at this as a whole paradigm, including things like mindfulness, compulsion control, a practice of noticing the difference between want and need, and a myriad of other things.

So, carbs are back in my life.  I'm happier for it.  Much.  It did put on a few pounds when I started including them, but I'm really surprised at how quickly they've come off.  I thought for sure I'd be back up to 250 or so, and that it would be a stubborn 250 at that.  But that's not the case.

I've been following Shawn Tyler Weeks' blog 344 Pounds.  He gets it exactly right.  And gawd, do I see myself in him and his experiences.  I've also started following Josh Bancroft at  Both are inspiring and insightful.  Both are, at times, hard to read as well.  It's like the Zen practice we have of sitting naked in front of a mirror and being a compassionate witness to yourself.  It's harder than it sounds even when you're a normal weight.  And that brings me to one of my first points, and the first I.T., or "inconvenient truth".

I.T. #1: Being obese is not normal.

That is a simple statement of fact.  It's merely a statistical observation.  It is not an observation rooted in analysis of the current state of humanity, society and culture.  If we were to be analyzing that (especially here in McAmerica), while it would be more close to normal, being obese is still puts you in a statistical minority.  The simple fact is, most people aren't obese.  But more to the point, being obese is not a normal way to live, physiologically-speaking.  Fact is, the human body does not want to be obese.  It is not designed to be obese, and it suffers all sorts of unhealthy things when forced to be obese.  And make no mistake: it is always forced into being obese.  That's the simple truth of it.  Obesity is a survival mechanism built into our physiology, true, but it's only there for extreme situations, and quite frankly, 99.999% of us will never, ever see a situation wherein that emergency mechanism becomes necessary.  Yet we live--and eat--like we do.  Which leads me to the next one...

I.T. #2: Being obese is about self-control.

At some point in the 80's, we decided to take the blame off individuals (and I'm speaking here of adults making their own choices, not kids with stupid parents) when it came to what they ate, how much they ate, and how much they wind up weighing as a result.  While it is very right not to measure the worth of a person by their body-size, this went too far, in my opinion.  Should everyone be perfect and have a BMI of 2?  No, of course not. Are obese people less human, less valuable, or less worthy of happiness, dignity or respect than other, thinner people?  Again, of course the answer is "no".  But at the same time, there is a niggling little bit of truth here that we don't like to accept: you don't get to be 340lbs like I did living a life of self-responsibility, self-respect and control.  On the contrary: you only get that way (baring serious and rather rare medical exceptions) by being out of control, refusing to accept reality, and not being willing to do what's right for yourself.  Again, somewhere in the 80's, we took the onus off of those who chose to be obese, letting them (and ME) say things like "I should be loved/accepted/measured for who I am inside, not just my body size".  While that may be philosophically true, it's a cop-out!  What we're doing with this meme is insisting that it's only about weight.  It's not, because if all of us obese people actually took that statement to its fullest extent, we'd have to accept that it also means that people can judge you by your weight, because your weight is a direct physical manifestation of how you look at and value yourself.  That's right.  If you want to be measured by "what's on the inside", the hard truth is, inside an obese person is a person out of control, refusing to accept reality, and not being willing to do what's right for themselves.  It is that simple.  Self-control and its related skill--moderation--is the key to health and weight-loss, which brings us to our next ugly point...

I.T. #3: Diet + Exercise = Weight Loss.

And there you have it.  It's that simple.  If you want to lose weight, you need to do a few very simple things.
  1. Consume fewer calories than you burn in a day.
  2. Exercise regularly, for at least 30min at a stretch, focusing on cardio.
  3. Stick with it.
That's pretty much it.  No special diet.  No trying to undo 40-some years of bad eating and resulting fat in a few weeks.  No "never eat this, but eat all you want of that".  It can't be effortless.  It can't be easy-peasy.  You didn't get here overnight, and you shouldn't expect to get out of here faster than you got here.  No magic bullet.  No Fat-Burning Formula.  No surgery to derail the natural system your body needs.  You count your calories.  You are mindful of everything you eat.  You get off your ass and sweat.  And you keep at it.


I've started using My Fitness Pal to food-track and log what I eat and how I exercise.  Very helpful.  Tons of nutrition info on the ingredients I use and the products I buy.  They even have an Android app that connects with your profile so you can track things on the go.  You can follow my stuff on my page.

This is a long-haul thing.

All good things are.

BTW, this is what I had for dinner Wednesday night.
And I lost weight.  Knowing what you consume is key.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

240.0 (The return of da Fat Man...)

Well, how the hell are ya?!  Long time, eh?  Actually, 5 months to be nearly exact.  And in that 5-month period, I appear to have lost... two whole pounds!  Lolz.  Actually, I'm pretty damn proud of those two pounds.  The why will be part of this "brief" five-month catch-up.

Back when we last looked in on the Fat Man, he was getting ready for a week-long silent zen monastic retreat, or "sesshin".  I was looking forward to a week of very simple zen monastic cooking, and hoping it would help me drop a few more.  It didn't.  Actually, I put on about three to five pounds, if I remember rightly.  A week of bread, hot cereal, rice, bread, cookies and, um, bread combined with sitting near-absolutely still for about twelve hours a day did what you'd expect it would.  Now, don't get me wrong: I could have done it better, and been more mindful of how much I was consuming, but the sesshin's theme was generosity, and I felt that to be nit-picky about food during this experience was counter to the intentions of it, so I simply let go.  Not all the way, but I just decided to relax.  This was my first week-long retreat, and make no mistake about it, these things are on the low-end of "hard-core" so I decided that being gentle with myself was the best thing to do.  I'm glad I did. For a number of reasons, I had a lot on my mind going into this.

One of those things was regarding a date I'd had just a few days before I left.  It was with a very lovely and, um... very young woman--JLS.  We'd met about a week before, introduced to each-other (remotely) through a mutual friend.  We'd been out to coffee once initially, came back to my place, hung out a bit, then had another dinner date a week later here again.  I wound up with a crashing headache and had to fade early, and we left with a weird and sort of awkward vibe/feeling between the two of us.  I took this weirdness with me to the monastery and sat with it, thinking "well, that's the end of that." I was wrong.

When I got back into cell-phone range, I received a barrage of texts from her (built-up through the week, I assume) letting me know that I was missed, and she was, in fact, interested in me.  This alone made me feel good, because I typically don't read women wrongly, and the way we'd left it, it seemed that I had.

To cut it short, we near-instantly fell in love, and got engaged on Christmas Eve Day.

I did another sesshin in January.  Put on a few more pounds.

Happily in love, making vegan specialties of mine for her (she is veg, and often vegan), sweets, etc.

HELLO, 252!

Now, where the pride comes in.

First off, I caught myself in a manner and at a place that kept me feeling in control.  I didn't flip out, didn't throw in the towel, didn't get too discouraged.  I simply got back at it.  Most importantly, I didn't beat myself up over it.  I just saw that it was time to get back to work.

I knew in my mind that I was likely to put on a few pounds over the winter.  I live in the Pacific North-Wet.  Walking in the cold, damp winter rains is not something my disabled body really does well at--let alone enjoys--so I knew the lack of exercise alone would ding me.  But I also was eating a bit from stress, and some from boredom.  But I caught myself.  I caught myself at a place I'd so often tripped over before.  This time I didn't screw it up.  Again, that alone is encouraging to me.

I think I topped out at 253-4.  That was about two months or so ago.  I've been back to low-cal-ish low-carb, hovering around "induction"-level carbs since then.  In that time, I've dropped about fourteen pounds.  Pretty good.  I feel in control again, and am feeling more energized about really getting back at it each day.  Still fighting off the winter apathy about exercise, but that's just as it goes.  As the sun becomes more present in my life, that too will get easier to get past.  I have my exercise stationary bike back in my flat, so I have that beast as a back-up.

At one point last year, I hit 229.8lbs.  It was fleeting, lasting only a few hours.  That's okay.  I'm pretty confident that I'll see it for real before too long.  I still have a picture of the number between my feet on my scale to remind me.

But I also have another picture.  It's of JLS and me, naked, standing in front of my bathroom mirror together.  She is so gorgeous; voluptuous, soft, yet a healthy weight.  This here is the part where I'd say something self-depreciating like "But me?  Well..."  But there is none of that when I look at that image.  I actually look good.  I have collar-bones showing, and a chin, and strong shoulders, and my toned arms about her bare waist.

And I am proud of that.  I am proud that I've stuck with it.  And I'm proud of who I am, no matter my weight.  But being more in control of this issue is so empowering, I can't see going back.  I don't want to go back.  I want to keep walking.  As hard as it is at times for me to do, I want to simply keep marching on.  I have so much to live for.  I did before I started, and I most certainly do now.

Two pounds. 

Right. @#$%ing. On!