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.

1 comment:

  1. This post is exactly what I needed to read today, Andy! Thank you for you. :)