HOW I KICKED MY ADDICTION TO EATING AND DRINKING JUNK
For a long long long time, instead of the term, Eat Shit and Die, it was more like Eat Shit and Live, just not as long as you could. On the outside I didn't look very overweight at first glance, but on the inside, visceral fat was going to turn me into that bubble gum chewing chick in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I was loaded with it. I'm no Joe Gym Superstar, but I hope the simple steps I have learned about, might help a few others to start making healthier choices in their lives. No fads, no gimmicks, no money required. Just a brain, and a breaking point met.
Funny how losing weight for people, has become a friendly whimsical “journey” in today’s parlance. In many ways, I like the term, it makes the process, less of a process, and more of an individual story.
Now, I’m going to warn you right now, I’m going to use words in this blog that make people squirm, and make them feel ashamed, or – completely misinterpret what I say and/or take the terms personal. Words like “fat” and “obese” and “disgusting”. Grab a Kleenex if you must. But before you think the word is akin to ‘retarded’, I must make note, that the word fat, is completely acceptable. That yellow shit layered under our skin that bounces around, or, in my case, had glued itself to my heart and liver, is called…..FAT. And, if you’ve seen pictures of it, it is DISGUSTING. When you have a lot of it, the term used to describe it is OBESE. It isn’t called skinny, fat itself (the yellow stuff) isn’t beautiful, and having a lot of it doesn’t make you healthy. I refuse to become politically correct over perfectly good terms and descriptions to make people that are comfy with unhealthy choices, feel more comfy. When I went to funeral school years ago, the first time I had to do an embalming was on a morbidly obese man – and it was the first time I saw what fat really was, and I’ve never forgotten it. So, having said that, for the thick headed, I'll say it in even more simple English: If you're overweight, and have curves, I'm not judging you. I have family, friends and MYSELF that has had and has curves - I think you're all beautiful, physically and emotionally. This is just MY personal experience with fat, so please don't get ass hurt if you choose to read it. People are reading this right? Right? Hello? Moving on…..
It's so beautiful, its what make those curves so curvy that curvy people share memes about on facebook. It isn't cute, it isn't beautiful, it is a storage tank of toxic waste and pending illness. (I'm talking the fat itself, not PEOPLE) <---disclaimer for whiners.
I’ve never been really “fat”. Blessed with a high metabolism, when I was young, I was the opposite of fat; I was skinny. And, as a skinny person, much like an overweight person, I didn’t like to be labeled or made fun of based on my structure. Being called a skinny little shit, sucks just as much as being called a fat ass (can you tell I was bullied a little?). When I was young, I actually wanted to gain weight….not body builder weight, but actually be….fat…sort of…- I know that doesn’t make sense, but it's the truth. In any event, between my DNA and the fact I was a very physically active kid on my bike, made that desire an impossibility. Weight gain in my family has historically started in our 40’s, and goes two places…..our throats and our midsection. Now that I’m 44, it became uh….rather noticeable – I had these jowls in place and what appeared to be the cusp of giving birth to an 8 pound baby, yet you could wrap your hands around my wrist like it’s a bicycle handlebar. I could no longer suck in my stomach – and I could no longer feel the bottom of my rib cage. When I rode my bike, I noticed my former ability to fly up hills, was more like the Wright Brothers first attempts at trying to fly. In my 30's, I could pedal my bike up the access road of Mt. Ascutney, bottom to top - in roughly 35 minutes.....nowadays, steering a car up it felt like an inconvenience. Not good. My breathing was a bit more labored even while sitting, and I was just generally comfy with the idea that this is what happens when we start to get old. My back was always killing me, and nerves were always getting pinched when I would take a deep breath. All signs I would dismiss that a nice fresh bag of Lay’s Sour Cream and Onion could cure while watching the Food Network. If raising a child and then living a sedentary lifestyle was my life goal....well.....goal MET.
My ‘journey’, started with Orianna, whose challenges with weight has plagued her her entire life. Always trying to unsuccessfully hide it, always starting tomorrow, always ending before even starting – she, one day, put one foot forward and hasn’t looked back. I started with her. We started on a Sunday. We just stopped, cold turkey, (lean of course haha) – this path of self destruction we had been on for way way way too long.
I won’t pretend though, that my “journey”, can compare at all, to either hers, or so many others. Orianna’s weight is primarily subcutaneous fat (the kind that you can grab a handful of), whereas my weight isn’t really heavy, but is what’s called visceral fat (the kind that you can’t pinch, but is INSIDE of my body wrapping itself around organs). Pot belly fat is visceral fat, and is a silent killer. But that doesn’t mean my little road trip down weight loss lane is any easier – because this visceral fat…?....it isn’t easy to get rid of I can tell you that. It is condensed, compact and really enjoys its home. Subcutaneous fat doesn’t mind getting evicted. The more you move, the more it moves out of town. Visceral fat, is a pain the ass tenant – it ignores the eviction notices and takes a lot of effort to move.
By far, one of the biggest motivators for the both of us to lose the yellow and change what we shove in our mouths (for food), was the television show, Extreme Weight Loss, with Trainer Chris Powell. Under normal circumstances, I dislike reality TV, but damn – the visual progress of some of these individuals is truly inspiring, especially the truly committed and kind ones. There are a few who are whiny little bitches who threw away an opportunity that so many would give for, but – they are still interesting to watch. How one can understand what is expected on a TV show/weight loss regimen, then write to Chris Powell begging to be a part of it, get selected, and then make an ass of yourself is absolutely beyond me. Chris Powell is amazing. The epitome of health, both physically and emotionally. He's tough and he's sensitive. Below is Chris and client Mike Epstein, who is amazing too....the link to his website and episode is found below. Mike is one of the persons that really inspired me; as while I may not be heavy like he, his interests and nature were similar to my own.
Orianna is losing lots of weight, and I – have lost a shit ton of that nasty visceral garbage inside of my guts. While losing the weight is hard for me, the journey itself is not. I love it. I love burning this stuff away. I look forward to my runs, whether outside or in the gym. It hurts. My shins are killing me most days, with a sprinkling of ankle or knee pain just to remind me I won’t win a marathon anytime too soon. When I get up from a chair, the first 5 steps you might think I’m learning to walk again, but other than THAT….I feel great. Gone are the days of McDonalds. Gone are the healthy eating options at Chili’s with their Taco Explosion Salad at 1700 Calories! I can't believe I used to snarf this shit down like nobodies business. Gone is soda…..period. Dunkin Donuts….?.....more like Dunkin Done. I just simply refuse to have it, no matter how much I WANT it! (Although those desires have subsisted in time).
Our not so secret?
1.) Myfitnesspal is an app we use. You can do it online too. Has a bar code scanner on the app to make recording easier in most cases. We record our calories for each meal and snack. Orianna does not eat more than 1200 calories a day. My goal is not to exceed 1800, and I usually end up consuming about 1600 a day. You can add ‘friends’ if you want some motivation, or just keep it to yourself if you wish. You can share your food diary as well, or not. Just gotta be honest about it, otherwise, you’re wasting time lying to yourself. Some days, you might go over a bit – and it happens, but it’s helpful to see others knee deep in the struggle with you (if you add friends/strangers).
2.) We workout. Everyday. No if and or buts. I don’t care if one of my testicles drops, or I’m operating on no sleep……I’m going to workout. One day a week is reserved for a rest day. If you hate running, use the elliptical. If you hate that, use the cycle. Whatever you use, bust a nut for at least 30 minutes – imagining in your mind that all that so called pain, is your fat cells, by the thousands/millions/billions, are melting away….because that is exactly what is happening. You are literally, BURNING fat. Disgusting, yellow, fat. And ignore the Schwarzenegger’s in the gym, despite our sensitivities, no one is judging you. No one cares, because at least you’re there. Then, add the calories burned in your myfintesspal app, and hey hey hey.....looks like you just earned something tasty to munch on if you want.
3.) Watch Extreme Weight Loss episodes online for inspiration, they become your friend – that you are not alone. Mike Epstein, Chantell and Bob the cop from Season 3 – and others…..just amazing people. So incredibly strong and I love it/them. You’re gonna bawl….trust me, plus – they have facebook pages and personal blogs as well. Mike Epstein’s is www.pickthepounds.com. Mike is so personable and thoughtful – he has challenge coins you can win, and my guess is if you were to write him a note, he would probably feel compelled to write back.
Is it hard? Not gonna lie – yes. I’m a sugar addict. And a junk food addict. I used to eat, for lunch, just a bag of chips. My nutritional level was in the toilet. I love junk. I love fast food, but I just flat out stopped having it. I still eat chips with a sandwich, but they are portioned. It gets easier, you just have to be strong enough mentally to know, you simply cannot chow down on them. I find now that I can see and feel the differences in my body and health, that this keeps me even stronger. Most people won’t admit this, but I’m kind of a quiet judgmental little prick now in the grocery store when I see people buying nothing but shit, or maybe I'm just jealous lol.
For me, on a personal level, there really is no excuse. We always try to justify or validate reasons why we need to eat an entire bag of Doritos in one sitting, or to supersize our fries, or how we have no time, but – in the end they are all lies. You don’t need extra time in a day to make healthier choices. Counting calories and other nutritional needs is not time consuming at all. For some I can understand that working out is a bit harder, especially if you have a non supportive spouse, or no significant other at all with kids to take care of. But, if there is a will, there is a way – it can be done, the commitment can only come from ourselves. Some use injuries as excuses, but again – I’m sorry, not trying to act all Mr. Fitness here but – I have my own share of such things and work around them. And if you grew up on Boo Berry and Count Chocula for breakfast, well.....you are now officially smart enough to know, you can change these old learned behaviors.
First step: Watch the shows.
Second step: Feel that inspiration inside of you….embrace that thought telling you that you can do this, because I am 100% confident that you can.
Third step: Tell that other thought that keeps telling you reasons why you can’t to shut up. It’s an old cassette tape, and no one uses cassette tapes anymore. Have fun unraveling it, snapping it, and then throwing it away. Occasionally, this voice will speak to you during a workout, promising you reprieve and goodness if you just stop. Don't be fooled...it's just an echo of the old voice. Ignore it.
Fourth step: Watch the shows. Repeat, repeat repeat. Here just a couple links to get you started:
Here is Mike Epstein's http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5lOZuPm-xo
Here is Chantell's http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmwfMh8mlG4
Here is Bob the cop's http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwE1n0TiwG4
Fifth step: Take that first step – make your own journey. Do it alone, with a partner, or sign up for Zumba classes or Spinning classes if you prefer social connections. Just take that first step, and then share your journey with others! You will see and feel the difference – I promise you.
This section of the site is not specific to my taxi travels. They are not really rants either. It is more of a space for me to simply raise awareness to topics that either inspire or frustrate me as an individual.