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October 02, 2007

Changing habits

As I continue on my weight loss journey, I occasionally look back and evaluate how things are going....what worked...what didn't work...and what was just plain stupid.  And one of the things that I've come to realize is part of successfully losing weight is the changing of habits. 

So I'm making a list of some of the habits that I have changed.  Keep in mind that I didn't do this all at once.  These changes came gradually. 

1.  When I was a child and had to go to the dentist, my Mom would take me out for a treat for being so good.  We always did the same thing....burger/fries/milk shake.  When I became an adult I continued with this tradition.  It wasn't really something I thought about.  After my resent trip to the dentist I felt the urge to indulge myself with a grease ball treat when I realized that this had been a bad habit that I never corrected.  I mean I COULD treat myself with a nasty hamburger....or I COULD treat myself by staying on my plan.  So I stayed on my plan and felt better about my decision than any 'comfort food' could make me feel.

2.  Like most people that would like to drop some weight, I have heard myself say, "I just don't have the time to workout."  The truth is, I just have other things that my lazy nature would rather do...like read comic books...or watch TV.  So everyday I have to make working out a number one priority.  After a couple months you don't even think about it anymore.  You just do it.  And if you find something you LIKE doing, then you end up looking forward to working out.

3.  My snacking habits have really changed....CHANGED...not GONE AWAY.  I still snack.  I am just smarter about it.  I use snacks like carrots, prunes, dried apricots.  And I know how many calories are in everything (http://www.calorieking.com).  I even have some mini cookies...oatmeal raisin.  When I drink a protein shake I crush a mini cookie and dust the top of the shake.  But gone are the chips, candy bars, ice cream from my everyday life.  I still have that stuff in the house but I only eat it on my cheat day.  I'm even at a point where I can trust myself to keep soda in the house.  Mostly I just drink water and allow myself one or two sodas on my cheat day.

4.  I stopped expecting my weight to drop dramatically, overnight.  This took forever to get into my thick head.  Healthy weight loss isn't a quick fix.  It takes hard work over a long period of time....especially when you are talking about being as overweight as I was in the beginning.  The rule of thumb for weight loss is that men can expect to lose a maximum of 2 pounds per week...women can expect about 1 pound a week.  That's an average.  I sometimes will drop 3 or 4 pounds in a week but it is usually followed by a week of only losing a pound or not losing anything at all.  Keep in mind that losing weight any faster than that probably means that in addition to burning fat, you are probably burning off some of your muscle mass as well.

NOTE:  I stopped EXPECTING my weight to drop dramatically.  I still WANT it to drop dramatically.  The point is that I realize that I'm not going to get what I want....and I have to be okay with that.

5.  Stop eating certain foods before bedtime.  I eat my last normal meal about 2 or 3 hours before bedtime.  After that, I will only eat raw veggies or my protein shake.  The veggies help give me a 'full' feeling.  The protein shake I use contains a slow burning protein that helps to protect my muscles that that long fasting time while I'm asleep.

6.  This one sort of goes back to the dentist thing...but is less specific.  One thing I used to do that I had to cut out was a thing called 'Emotional Eating'.  If you are fat, you probably know what I'm talking about.  You get all stressed out over something...you get home and you say to yourself, "I'm going to treat myself for surviving this stressful thing by ordering a pizza...which I will eat as much as I can, as fast as I can, until the pain goes away."   Sound familiar?  Yeah...I've done this a few times.  I've even arranged for my wife to be out of the house so no one would be around to stop me....or judge me.  You see, food doesn't judge...it doesn't put stress on you...it is just there to make you feel better.  At least that's what we believe.  The truth is that all this 'comfort food' is going to do is making you feel bloated in the short term and make you fat in the long term.  It IS NOT going to allow you an escape for your stress and it IS NOT going to be a true friend.  It is just junk food...and I was slowing killing myself with it.  After I changed this deadly habit I started to find that I could replace 'comfort food' with 'comfort progress'.  When I would get stressed out, I'd pull out my old fat pictures and look at how far I had come or I'm update my weight loss spreadsheet.  That 'comfort progress' does help me manage my stress and it is a true friend. 

7.  Know what goes into you.  I hated this.  I RELLY HATED THIS.  Just the idea of having to learn what was good for me and what was bad for me...and why...just seemed like too much work.  And honestly when I first started my journey I sometimes would have a full on panic attack because I WANTED to eat right but didn't know HOW to do it.  In the beginning I was so worried about what was okay for me to eat that I just wouldn't eat at all.  Yeah...that didn't go so well.  Eventually, I learned a few foods that were okay for me to eat....then a few more....then a few more...and now I'm pretty good about reading labels and understanding what they say.  I can find the hidden stuff like number of servings.  While this didn't come easy for me it eventually did become second nature.  

8.  Everyone wants me to fail...I must be vigilant.  To understand this, you really have to understand some human nature.  Without getting into too much detail, everyone has hidden feelings that they don't share with the outside world....some don't even admit it to themselves.  This is a natural part of our psyche.  It is like the fat chick that surrounds herself with fatter friends to make herself look thinner in comparison.  She doesn't really think about it...or plan to do it.  But subconsciously, she is looking to increase her chances of finding a mate and reproducing.  Knowing this, you need to be vigilant against anyone that would sabotage your progress.  Watch for people that pressure you to go out drinking....or to skip your lunchtime workout to catch a burger with friends. 


It doesn't make them bad people...they are just in competition with you.  If they are also fat, your progress makes them look weak.  If they are in shape, your progress shows that you might someday be in their league....and therefore a threat.  A little paranoia goes a long way in protecting yourself. paranoia

9.  Understanding the disconnect about water.  I've talked about this before.  Just about every website or book about weight loss will tout the benefits of drinking water.  But when you are used to a sugar and caffeine mixture as your main drink....water just sounds awful in comparison.  I felt this way too.  Water just didn't seem to be satisfying my needs when I drank it.  That's because it wasn't thirst I was feeling.  My body had been so accustom to caffeine and sugar that when I stopped drinking it...I suffered some withdrawal symptoms.  Jitters, sweatiness, some really awful headaches....and so on.  After about two weeks I was 'clean'.  After a couple months I didn't even have cravings for sodas.  Now, most sodas I can't drink because I find them to be too sweet...or just nasty tasting.  I can still drink an occasional Crush Orange Drink on my cheat day.  But even on that day I'm drinking mostly water. 

10.  Understanding the REAL reason that Darth Vader was seduced by the dark side of the Force  femtrooper_ajc006

 Well...that makes it an even 10! 

Progress Report

No real progress this week.  I made a mistake with my calories.  Thanks goes out to Joseph for catching it before it got too far.  A couple weeks ago I replaced my last meal with some raw veggie snacks.  Mostly I did this because I didn't want to eat anything really heavy so close to my bedtime.  But in doing this I pushed my caloric intake far below where it should be.  Between that and the increased cardio workouts that I was doing, my body interrupted this as a famine and put me in starvation mode.  My weight loss STOPPED....and my metabolism slowed.

After Joseph noted that my intake was probably too low, I went back to the program I use to keep track of what I eat and sure enough...I was much lower than I thought.

So I'm going to go back to tracking everything everyday.  It only takes a few minutes and it will keep me from messing up again.  Also, Joseph introduced me to a web site that can give you a quick estimate on how many calories you should be burning daily based on weight, height, age, and exercise level.  Check it out...

Calorie Calculator

Hopefully next week will be better. 

DarthPug Darth Pug says, "Remember to use your turn signals ....now go away!"


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is good stuff you shared today Robert. With your permission I would like to use this at our next weight loss support group for church!

Love ya

October 2, 2007 at 10:49 PM  
Blogger Token Fat Guy said...

No Barb! Don't share information I put on the Internet with other people!

You goober!

You didn't tell me you were joining a weight loss support group. Good for you.

October 7, 2007 at 9:40 AM  

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