There is a scene in Finding Forrester where Sean Connery’s character sits down and says: “No thinking — that comes later. You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is… to write, not to think!” This is writing advice I have taken as gospel my entire life, but I have been ignoring it in the most terrible fashion for the past year. There are no excuses for my failure to update, but as with all things, it is only a failure if you never try again. Here I am, writing.
My first inclination was to vanish the past year’s writing…disappear my ambitious start and subsequent failure – hide behind the forgetfulness of the digital dustbin and let everyone think that I am here, making a start for the first time. The more I thought about this, the more I realized I would be doing myself and everyone a disservice to cover up the past failures. Every single person who has ever set out to lose weight has encountered starts and stops. Every single person who has set out to create a major change in their life has run into snags, false starts (which is not really a thing, in my opinion), and barriers which seem for a while to be completely insurmountable. Sometimes, we all get knocked down, but it is up to us to spend as little time on the floor as possible before dragging ourselves back to our feet and soldiering on. One grueling step at a time, we can reach any goal, no matter how far or how distant.
The last year went like this: excellent start with lots of ambition, a minor setback that my reaction amplified, and a professional shitstorm that resulted in four months of binge-eating the worst crap imaginable before finally recognizing my mistakes and working to correct them. Now, in the past month, I have gone from 360.2 lbs on March 25th, to 335.6 this morning (May 1st). This is a 24.6lb decrease in one month and something I am very proud of. I have a hellishly long way to go, but I know I can do it and I know you can to.
So, for the last month, this is what I have been doing. Please remember, I am not a physician or a health expert or anything like that…I am simply going to tell you what I have done, and you can sort out what works for you. If you ARE a medical professional and you happen to see anything wrong with what I have done, I would very much like your opinion.
For the past month, barring days of stumbles, I have done the following:
– Go on a 3 mile walk every morning
– Drink a glass of water and weigh in.
– Upon returning, have three soft boiled eggs
– Enter both the walk and the eggs in the LoseIt App (www.loseit.com)
– Go to work, live a normal day, but enter every single scrap of food that goes into my mouth into the LoseIt app. I have used other apps for this before, but this is the only one that I feel is both incredibly easy to use and does not interfere with my daily life. I also find that it has most of the foods I eat in its database, and has a really cool recipe-building app to help you figure out what you are cooking and what a serving is…not seen one that does that yet.
The REASON I do this is because it makes me aware of what I am eating/drinking. Don’t be too hard on yourself about what you are eating or drinking, but be aware of it. If you go out for a beer with a friend, LOG IT. If you eat a chip or an almond off a plate at the office, LOG IT. No matter what you eat, LOG IT. Personally, I realized how much horrid shit I was eating and that made it pretty clear what a large part of my problem was. You would be amazed how much “just one more beer” will do to your calorie count for the day. In time, you will learn what you should and should not eat, but at first it REALLY helps.
I am also using the LoseIt Bluetooth scale which is made by…I don’t recall who right now. IT ROCKS! Anyone who is over 300 lbs knows the struggle of getting an accurate scale. My other scale (brand unnamed because I don’t want to get sued or anything 😛 ) will go up or down 15-20 lbs within a one hour period. The LoseIt scale is rock-solid and will REALLY track what you do. It connects nicely to my iPhone and will show changes instantly…I have tested it in a non-scientific manner by weighing myself and drinking 8oz of water and weighing myself again to see an 8oz change. I am sure it has its faults, but I can’t really find much wrong with it.
For lunch, I have something I know the value of. Lately, it has been an avocado and a package of turkey lunch meat. I am sure there are all sorts of better things I could eat, but after a week of this I found it filled me up PROVIDED I didn’t go out and completely stretch my stomach out with a gut-busting meal for dinner the night before. If you eat enough to live, but not too much, your body will naturally return to its rightful shape.
I am also taking some of the advice from Timothy Ferriss’ “Four Hour Body.” I am doing basically everything he says, including the PAGG stack, but I am avoiding the carbs; his book goes on and on about black beans, which are awesome, but if I eat them I feel sleepy, so I don’t. I also don’t eat rice or wheat (or anything that includes them). I highly recommend the Four Hour Body, because it lays out a pretty clear path you can follow. The audiobook is also really good to listen to, though after the fourth or fifth time, it gets pretty boring. 😛
Dinner is usually whatever I want, within reason. I find that I really enjoy some chicken breast stir-fried with greens or some sort. Nothing huge and buttery, but once your stomach shrinks down, it will more than fill you up. For instant cravings, I keep spoons of peanut butter in the freezer. I am using natural peanut butter sweetened with a tiny bit of honey, but anything will work…just don’t overdo it. One tablespoon will last you a while, calm down the cravings, and is an excellent dessert replacement. This is especially true in Thailand, where I eat horridly spicy things for dinner on a frequent basis and just need something to stop the burn.
For the past two weeks I have started to lift weights as well, and supplementing my meals with protein shakes (currently working my way through Dymatize cookies and cream), and finding that seems to work very well for staving off hunger and has only the tiniest bit more calories than the peanut butter. I plan on figuring out a way to make protein powder ice-cream, but I have not had time as of yet.
THE MOST IMPORTANT PART! – Get a support network!
This is all MUCH easier to do if you have friends helping you. I don’t necessarily mean a workout partner or anything (though that would be awesome), I just mean someone or a group of people who encourage you. I have been working closely with:
– @ManVFat – A Magazine being started by an awesome guy named Andrew Shanahan. The magazine will be awesome, but he’s an awesomely inspiring guy too. I am a contributing author for this magazine, and I know it will help A LOT of people. Check it out and sign up at www.ManVFat.com
– @WeightLossLog – A wonderful woman on Twitter who is extremely inspiring and who has perked me up quite a few times.
– @mauricebobby – A hugely inspiring dude who never fails to have something awesome to say. He also has a pretty cool site at MauriceBright.com.
– @KikiSchirr – a blue-haired maven who never fails to inspire
But most of all to my loving and incredibly supportive girlfriend who makes it all worth it – you are what drives me forward every day, and you have no idea how much you mean to me.
I am here and would love to hear from anyone who needs some support or inspiration. Whatever your challenge is, you can overcome it. I know that it feels like the world is too big and that you can’t get anywhere, but the reality is that you are more powerful than you can ever imagine. You CAN conquer yourself and turn yourself into who you really want to become. You are awesome already; you just need to realize it and the rest will follow.