Trying to lose weight is very difficult. Its easy to stutter and have to start many times over. Its also very easy to get trapped into trying things to speed up the process, motivate you or just do out of some level of self-loathing.
I find myself over the last two to fifteen months in that hamster wheel where you start, stop and gain. The SSG principal a lot of dieters get into. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this and have decided there are some rules you have to live by. Some of them are not new, most in fact, but it is a new observation for me.
1. It is not a diet–This is the most important thing to remember. If you diet, you WILL lose weight, I promise, but I also know from years of experience that you will gain it back. The only successful way to keep weight off is to make long-term (life) changes to the choices you make regarding the food you eat and your activity level. They don’t have to be terrifically theatrical like a juice fast, going vegan, eating only non-processed free range organic duck liver; but they do have to be different than what you are doing now. And for the love of all that is holy, drink more water. If you think you drink enough, double it.
2. Do not keep up with the Jones’–I have a good friend, like a brother to me actually, and I have only known him a few years; but he inspires me so much but that can be dangerous too. You cannot chose to live vicariously through someone else. This friend is turning 30, he is a decade younger than I (I am literally 33% older than he) so his body acts and reacts different to stress, fatigue and activity. I cannot be him. In fact, as much as he inspires me, and we have similar interests, I don’t want to be him (sometimes I feel like our overlord does). I want to be the best me that I can and that includes doing some of the stuff he does like biking or hot Pilates, because they sound amazing and they are fantastically healthy. Let him be him, you be you and I will be the me; we will just be the best we can.
3. It is going to hurt, sometimes a lot, but find your inner super hero–I didn’t know I had inspired anyone. See, I yo-yo’d because I lost focus, reason, clarity and goals. I had gone from nearly 400 pounds down to 250-245, in a little more than a year. How? Hard fucking work. So much so that I was about to get those words tattooed on my knuckles. I started running, and it hurt. I biked to work, and some days it hurt. I actually became the bike guy. I did not have car, and I rode my bike everywhere. My son and I would go to the grocery store, ride the strip, I’d ride to work – hell, my wife fell in love with the bike guy (it is awfully hard an embarrassing to tell your first date, guess what I have no car; you become afraid she will be singing “No Scrub”). Somewhere I become the boyfriend guy, then the engaged guy, then the father to be guy then the truck guy, then the mini-van guy and then the 330 pound guy again. I forgot my superhero alter identity, Bike Guy – until recently. One of my employees who is new to my team, said that Bike Guy had inspired him and a lot of people. It made me feel good. I felt like Superman in Superman 3 when he is a drunk bum; or any movie where the hero got a gut and then a montage later, he was svelte again. I really need a montage, but I am willing to put in the hard, heavy work. And hurt from time to time.
4. You have to have a reason–Originally my reason to lose the weight was hatred, raw and burning loathing for the woman who told me it was impossible for me to change. I wanted to prove to my ex she was wrong. After 50 pounds, I realized it was really about me, then it became about wanting to run a triathlon. Then, well, I just forgot. It became easy for me to eat doughnuts again or skip workouts. But here I am at the nexus of turning forty, and it is going to get harder, and I have SO much I still want to be able to do like play soccer, climb, canoe and yes run triathlon. But the biggest reason is that I have a beautiful family that I need to be around to take care of, and to do that right, I have to put my health needs first.
5. You have to have the most amazing support structure–I mean the most amazing. Loved ones and friends that are willing to not roll your eyes when you say, “I swear, in the morning, no more hot dogs”, or when you come home “hone, I am not eating solid foods for ten days”. Hell, they not only cannot roll their eyes, they have to go out and buy you the veggies to juice. Your support system is there to listen and love you no matter what. That being said, they are not responsible for your weight loss and lifestyle and you cannot ask them to change to meet your needs. Remember that, let them be the best they can, but you be the best you can. That being said, if you can find a fitness or accountability buddy – do it, you chances for success are that much better.
Anyway, these are just some of the things I had been thinking over the last week and realizing where I had forgotten my path, especially the superhero alter ego. It is time for me to bring back Bike Man I think and do battle with the jack asses in their car.
Go move today.