Saturday, January 13, 2007

First Steps

Here are a few things that are playing really important roles in my journey to this point.

Remember the bottom line (gotta be a joke there). No matter how you go about it, there's really only one rule in terms of losing weight. Burn more calories than you take in. Low fat, low carb, South Beach, Weight Watchers, doesn't matter, they work, regardless of all other claims, because they lower your overall intake of calories. I'm not saying there are not provable health and medical benefits of a low fat diet. All research makes it clear that a healthier heart and cardiovascular system result when you lower bad cholesterol. There's no doubt that restricting your carbohydrate intake, especially of specific kinds of carbohydrate, levels your blood sugar and helps you get a better read on your appetite. I'm not saying all the provable researched facts are worthless, it's also proven and you can ask any doctor that regardless of how healthy your food choices are, eat more than you burn and you will gain weight. Remembering this helps me with my second thing:

Pick your battles. I am following for the most part "The Biggest Loser" diet. There are some things it asks that I cannot do. One is the switch to only whole grain breads, pastas, and cereals. I've switched tons of those choices to whole grain, but some things, like the whole grain pastas I've tried, nope, can't do it. So, if I make choices that are outside of this particular diet's "OK" list, I remember the basics, track the calories, and move on. I do have some things that I'm simply training myself to eat. Like veggies. In general, I don't really like anything but corn and green beans. That's it. So I'm learning to enjoy asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, and the like. Long term health depends on that, so it's a battle worth fighting. Pasta's not. Neither is low fat cheese. See, I need to make permanent change. The easiest way to set myself up for failure is to force myself to choke down stuff I can't stand in the name of losing weight. So I have a few chips now and then, and though I will rarely have it (and haven't since I started), I'll eat regular bacon, not turkey bacon. When I do this, however, I meticulously right down and track the calories. Righting stuff down, that leads me to my last thing.

I have several diverse forms of accountability. My wife beautiful wife is following this with me. I've survived at least two moments when I was ready to pick up fast food simply because she reminded me to ask if it was really worth it. I also right down everything I eat and it's caloric content religiously. I can't tell you how much impact it has to see it in black and white, what you've had, where you stand in terms of calories, and types of foods you've eaten. It also is a good deterrent, Jenni and I decided not to eat Mexican food out one night last week just because it would kill us to have to right down the exhorbatant calories we'd just packed in. I have this blog and a decision to post a picture of myself (brave? insane? not sure which) and to continue posting them. I have a bet with a couple of buddies in which we will weigh in six months and the person with the highest percentage of weight loss will collect from the other two. Then we're gonna weigh again in a year, with more on the line.

It just seems that the more I have in place the better. My life and struggles are not just a neat scripted diet to follow. Sometimes I need to pray and cry out to God, sometimes its a perfectly timed word from my wife, sometimes it's seeing my food log, or thinking of the next picture I promised to post here, or just losing to my boys when I want to spank em. My life is filled with different kinds of struggles and moments of weakness, and giving myself the freedom to be moved and motivated by a variety of people/things is something that I haven't incorporated before, and neither is a no nonsense remember the basics of weight loss.

I'm truly starting to believe that I'm gonna do this. I know some of you are struggling and trying as well. I'm clearly not a weight loss guru, but I've learned some from, oh, 12 years or more of trying and failing. You can do this. I hope any of my thoughts are helpful. I'd love to hear from those who are fighting this fight or other fights.


LiteratureLover said...

I think you've got a really great outlook on it. I especially like the accounatability you've given yourself. I agree with what you said about setting oneself up to failure by demanding you eat something yoy absolutely hate or obstain completely from something you really love would only further the struggle.

I am taking Babysteps myself. I cannot go overboard or I will burn-out. So my babysteps are: drink more water, excercise 15 minutes a day (I know that's tiny but it's better than nothing), smaller portions and more good food (veggies and fruit).

Hang in there Bro! It sounds like you're doing great.

thebarefootpoet said...

Yeah, you got it, LL! Ulitmately it's lifechange we're looking at, not just a brief experiment. Reality is, that doesn't happen fast, it has to be built in, and you can only build in so much. My thoughts are to build in what you can truly commit to, then when that's solid, if necessary, start building in more. Thanks for the encouragement.

R. T. said...

Most people would say that I stumbled upon your blog, but I am not one of those. The comments I read here are those of a loving, trusting, and frank community. BF, this is the second time our paths have crossed. My prayer is that God grants you passion, wisdom and strength in journey.


thebarefootpoet said...

Hey RT, good to "hear" from you again. You're right, the community that surrounds me is full of love, encouragement, grace, and honesty. Hope all is well with your family.