Saturday, November 14, 2009

How to fight the food demon

Its 11:59 pm. I should be in bed right now. I shouldn't be writing on my blog. And I should not have had that hot dog. That luxurious juicy protein packed tube of miscellaneous meats and nitrates wrapped in a soft carb filled gluten enriched bun and covered with the slightest hint of ketchup and mustard. Why oh why do you tease me so. This of course all sounds ludicrous..or does it??

When I quit smoking about 3 years ago roughly maybe longer (heck i forget how long its been) I remember knowing that the cigarettes had the upper hand. I would wake up at 1 AM and have to go have a smoke. If I ran out, I would collect every penny in the apartment to go buy a pack. I think it wasn't until I sat there looking at the butts of other people's cigarettes in the ashtray that I truly realized how far gone I was. How much this cardboard box filled with barely real organic leaf shredded up and filtered with fiberglass controlled me. I had smoked for almost 10 years at that point. And living in Denver particularly as a fat boy and smoking was pretty hard on your lungs. It took me months of many attempts to finally kick the habit. But I did, and now 3 years later I find them gross and cant imagine how I ever could have started. I tell other smokers trying to quit, have no illusions this will be tough, and it may take more then one time of trying to quit to make it happy. Just believe in yourself even if you fail and keep trying trying trying. It will be the hardest thing you ever do but once you finally break the barrier, you will have a respect for yourself and a feeling of accomplishment like no other.

Well now I have another battle on my hands. And its with food. As a diabetic diet can contribute a lot to staving off the effects of diabetes. You don't have to be a total freak about it but keeping yourself on a 2000 calorie diet well frankly it sucks. Its hard to tell yourself no don't eat. Its hard to say you don't have to clean your plate off. Its hard to look at portions that are small and go OK I'm full. The fact of the matter is once you get yourself in a insulin resistant state your body always thinks its hungry when it isn't. But if I want to have any chance of keeping my eyes free from diabetic neuropathy (I have optic neuropathy already from MS but so far that comes and goes), if I like being able to count to 10 on my feet and fingers, I HAVE to get this problem under control. Right now I weigh in at 295 lbs. My activity has decreased to some extent because of my problems with my legs from MS. But to be truthful I have also given in a lot to the urges to just do nothing. And that is a slippery slope.

Your probably saying well Chris, just suck it up and fix it. Stop being whiny and diet diet diet. Remember how I said quitting smoking was the hardest thing I had ever done. Ya quitting bad food...turns out is even worse. Because your brain says HEY I NEED FOOD. And when you make yourself insulin resistant (and you do to an extent by poor food choices in the beginning and poor dietary habits) then your body is also screaming HEY I NEED FOOD. It doesn't need food, but it thinks it does. Now toss in depression or anxiety and bam, its burger king time. I know what your thinking, Well Chris, your smart enough to see all this right??? Sur e I am, but I'm also human and a creature of impulses the same as the next guy.

The first mistake we often make is we try to do to much to fast. "I'M gonna diet and exercise and do it every single day!" Well lets call BS on that one right now. You might make it 2 or 3 days, but again your human. You will backslide only the truly strong of will can do this, very few of the success stories you see on weight loss were morbidly obese, or did not have some kind of special training where they were being watchdogged every step of the way (ya screw you Jerrod, you fitness trainer hiring butthole). So what I have decided to do is slowly analyze where I'm successful and where I fail. And then try based off this to formulate my own weight loss plan. I would like 2 years from now to be back down around 190 or so, so losing roughly 100 pounds in the next 2 years would be the idea. After that slowly try to work my to 170 or so which would still be over the desirable weight for my height but heck I'm not a small framed guy to being with so I am trying to bring a sense of realism to this.

Step 1: Figure out how to count calories in a manner that I will follow. While I like to cook trying to follow recipes still ends up having to many variables unless your a nuclear physicist and can account for the complex vs simple sugars and different kinds of fats, Feel like weighing everything practically that you cant buy in a box for nutritional assessment. Ive tried, I hated it, it just wont happen. So boxed meals it is. Luckily today the frozen world has a metric ton of foods with complete calories counts, sugars carbs etc listed right on the box. This is good both for the diabetes side and the weight loss side of things. FACT: The easier you make things on yourself the more likely you are to follow through. Sadly being fat and being lazy go hand in hand so you need to fight fire with fire, make it easy on yourself and healthy choice, smart ones and lean cuisine make it real easy to calorie count.

Step 2: Let the skinny people in your life know that you are going to be trying to do this. Nothing is worse then being the starving man in the desert watching some a**hole drink a big glass of ice water in front of you. My wife and my kids should eat healthier, I tried to fight that battle but frankly it only works so far. My wife doesn't like to cook and with me being the primary chef that puts me right back in the danger zone. So I sat down and told her look outline what is easy for you to fix that your not gonna throw a fuss about, well get some easy stuff for the kids (and I still tricked them got them mostly fish and shrimp that is baked and not fried etc etc) Let them know, no ordering out around me. And do not I repeat do not let yourself use the excuse "oh we don't have much time lets just order out" This is why you bought microwave meals open the box peel the plastic put it in the microwave you ninny, it doesn't get much easier then that.

Step 3: There is no free weekend. Here are the cold hard facts. Your body can be trained. You have trained it well over the past few decades to load up all this crap and store store store. When you get a few days into your diet your body is gonna throw a tantrum like a 3 year old brat in the toy aisle. The longer you go the more your force your body to go to those reserves it has store up and chomp away on them. For 3-6 months it will do this until enough weight has been lost it starts to slow down. This is rough because now you start to stagnate right in the middle of where you want to be. Worse yet when you let yourself splurge on the weekend on food and bust your diet...well its no different then having that 1 little social smoke after you have quit, all those endorphin production centers go into overdrive releasing dopamine in your bloodstream making your brain go MMMMMMMMMMMMMM my god yes....and well most of us slide right back into munchiville.

Step 4: When you plateau off its time to get moving. This has always been the hard part for me. In the Air Force I kept weight off by riding a stationary bike or cross trainer and listening to music or reading. As a civilian I couldn't afford those amazing devices or didn't have space for them so its been walking. Either way once I hit 250 or so legs willing its time to hit the bike trail, and once we get our house purchase settled I think its time for one of those cross trainers.

So my pledge to myself is November 16th its diet time. Just like when I quit smoking I'm not giving up. After all I stay this fat I will die early, and no self respecting bishop male would cheat his family out of the pleasure of hearing him be ornery in the elder years. And yes I am doing this right before thanksgiving BECAUSE I know I need the challenge. By god this time I am going to succeed.

Keep your chin up

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