mens fitness

February 7 – [Un]Common Sense

“[Common sense] is the best sense I know of.” Lord Chesterfield

Over the years I have encountered literally dozens of schemes for rapid weight loss. The grapefruit diet, the cabbage diet, and the Stillman diet come to mind. For that matter, so does the Atkins diet, and it’s cousin the South Beach diet. All of them promise rapid weight loss, and many of them deliver…for a very short time. There is a word for most of the people I have encountered who continually search for, and try out the newest fad, “miracle” diet. The word is obese.

Ask anyone who is reasonably bright whether anything in life worth achieving came easy. Ask them about things like College degrees, professional success, excellence at a hobby, musical proficiency, and so on, and just about everyone will tell you that their success was due to hard work. (save your story about some prodigy who picked something up and was instantly great. If that were you with weight loss, you wouldn’t be reading this blog) Many times they will be happy to tell you, with some pride, about their trials and errors along the way. It is widely, and very generally, accepted that success takes work. If you told someone they could be a violin virtuoso by taking a pill every day, or that they could earn their Ph.D. if they simply refrained from reading any books printed in paperback, they would call you a loony.

Success takes work. That is just pure common sense.

So, why do so many people believe that weight loss is easy? Why do they believe that if they just stop eating one kind of food, they will melt away? Why do they believe the snake oil salesmen (like Dr. Oz), who tell them that there are magic beans that will make them thin?

The truth is that losing weight takes work, and plenty of it. And I don’t just mean the work done at the gym. It takes work to plan and execute a balanced diet that has the right nutrition to fuel your body without having a surplus that gets stored as fat.

Lately I have been concerned about the Weight Watchers commercials on TV. Seeing Oprah Winfrey gleefully talking about how she eats “everything”, really makes me worry about whether the method I have dedicated myself to, and have found success with, is being misrepresented by a long-time yo yo dieter who now owns a portion of the company and stands to profit from people signing up, who expect dramatic, immediate, easy results.

Sure, I can eat any kind of food I want on Weight Watchers, and I do believe that is why it works so well for me. But, and this is the part I think is under-represented in the commercials, I have to consciously make trade offs in order for it to work. If I go to a Super Bowl party and enjoy the goodies, I better be prepared to either spend some days being very strict, or seeing the scale tic upwards.

I have said it before, and I will say it again. Weight loss is simple, but it is not easy.

Perhaps it is that people don’t want to face the reality in their life that their size and overall health are mostly of their own doing. When I weighed 350, it was easy for me to blame everyone but me. But, and I say this as literally as I possibly can, at no time in my life has anyone held a gun to my head and forced me to eat. Never! Not once! I willingly spent hours alone in my car in the back of fast food restaurant parking lots indulging in several days’ worth of food for lunch. I made excuses about why I drove off to Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Burger King, Arby’s, and so on rather than walking to the cafeteria and loading up on the salad bar. I convinced myself that the entire tube of Pringles I ate on the way home from work was cool. Along with the Peanut Buster Parfaits, and yes, the Kit Kats.

The funny thing about common sense is how truly un-common it can be.

I know there are some who find this blog on WordPress as they surf around looking for inspiration on weight loss and fitness. If you are one of those people, and you are looking for a fast fix, and you are still reading this far into this post, I beg you to stop lying to yourself, and to stop believing the lies others are telling you. Here are a few truths to consider (with apologies for repeating myself):

  • Weight loss takes work. Lots of it, and it is hard
  • You will have to deny yourself from indulging in everything, at the same levels that you did to get to your top weight.
  • Sometimes you will be hungry, and that is ok
  • Sometimes you will stumble along the way
  • But, and I say this with every drop of sincerity in my heart… you CAN do it!

Weight loss is hard, but it is worth it.

Bobby-C’s thought for the day…Everything achievement in life worth attaining takes diligent, intentional, consistent work. And, it is worth it!

Catching up!

The three entries below are for days this past week when I didn’t write a blog post. My goal for the year was to write my thoughts every day. This is my attempt to do some catching up…

January 22 – “The undertaking of a new action brings new strength.” Evenius

Some years ago I was an instructor for the Dale Carnegie Course. In that class, one of the objectives was to help the class members increase their self-confidence. That was done by aggressively taking them outside their comfort zone so they could try new things, and build new patterns of success. The lessons I learned, and later taught in that class resonate with me today, and are reflected in this quote.

The greatest limit to our strength, and our capability is that we believe our strength and our capability are limited. Over time, we tend to wrap ourselves into a cocoon of comfort. That cocoon feels safe and warm. Safety and warmth are nice, to be sure, but they are also limiting. It is only when we endeavor to do something new that we find new skills and new strength.

A child that is swaddled in a warm blanket has all that it needs. Food, warmth, someone to change the occasional diaper. But, for that child to develop and grow it has to get out and explore. It has to progress to rolling over, crawling, standing, and eventually walking. The child cannot stay swaddled forever.

When it comes to getting control of my health, the same is true. There was a time when I thought I could never be one to track my food, to go through the hassle of weighing. I didn’t think there was much benefit to packing a lunch, when there are so many choices near work.

I thought the gym was a place where lunkheads hung out to preen in front of mirrors. No need for me to darken those doorways.

Not until I decided to muster up my courage and try something new did I realize that there was a strength inside me waiting to emerge.

This quote was in the book for my birthday. I took that day to be with family, and I honestly don’t know what my thought of that day would have been. Today, as I sit playing catch up on posts, with a delightfully slight hunger in my belly, my thought is that being self-aware is a skill and a strength I never knew I could have. And it is one about which I feel quite proud.

January 23 – “The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a star.” Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

I have really mixed feelings about this quote. On the one hand, I understand the dazzling delight of trying something new and discovering that you like it. My worry is that most of the “new” dishes I see (not just new to me), are some kind of abomination of salt, fat, and sugar. I worry that the momentary happiness, or delight, is far outweighed by the long term issues of over indulgence.

Just today I learned that Taco Bell has come out with something called the Naked Chicken Chalupa. It basically is a processed, fried chicken patty, which has been folded (taco shell style), and filled with the toppings of a taco. I am not sure where the “naked” comes in, as the chicken patty is very obviously breaded and fried. I will admit that I have not tried one, and I will boldly tell you that I have no intention of putting this turd in my mouth anytime soon. Here is the nutrition information from Taco Bell’s website:

chalupa

For you fans keeping score at home, that works out to 13 Weight Watchers points. Approximately 1/3 of my total point allocation as a 247 pound man. A nightmare.

I have no doubt that it probably tastes great. And in a former time I might have ordered 1 (or two), of them along with a bean burrito for lunch. But today, it makes me a little ill just thinking of it!

So, I guess what I am saying is that “new” doesn’t mean that it is good for you. In fact, it almost never does.

 

January 26 – “[Clothes are] always the reflection of one’s self-respect.”

“Dress for the body you have, not the body you wish you had” – Unknown, but shamelessly quoted by your’s truly

In November and December, one of the biggest signs that I was gaining significant weight (because I wasn’t going anywhere near the scale), was that my clothes weren’t fitting right. I am not what anyone would call a “clothes horse”, but I do take pride in wearing clothes that appropriately represent a look I want to portray. Although my company has a 5-day casual rule, that allows jeans and more relaxed shirts to be worn, I still opt for dress pants and a button down shirt, even donning the occasional tie. It isn’t to be showy, it is just a professional look that I want to portray.

I don’t have a lot to say on this one today, but I will say this. No matter who you are, what size you are, what gender you are, what profession or job you have…dress in a way that will make you proud of yourself. We all want to be smaller, and skinny jeans might be fun to wear (honestly, I don’t see how, but I will grant that some would think so), but if you don’t have the body for it, don’t do it. There is no shame in wearing clothes that are appropriate to your present size.

Bobby-C’s thought for the day… Catching up on blog posts is not nearly as fun as writing them every day. J