Who Is This Guy? - The Blog

Welcome to our blog about food addiction, obesity, gastric bypass surgery and of course, Who Is This Guy? ... the book

Thank You For Your Support

 

For those of you who have read my book, “Who Is This Guy”, and took the time to write a review for Amazon, my heartfelt thanks for your support.  Every review that was posted on Amazon included positive comments and encouragement for continued success in my journey.  You can’t imagine how important positive feedback is from time to time, especially when the journey is really a life-long endeavor.

 

 

As I said in my previous blog, I have managed to maintain my weight at 190 pounds despite having to curtail my exercise program to probably half of what it once was.  I think about the “whys” of being able to stay on track, when once that was such a struggle.  Is the weather a factor?  After all, who can think about overeating when it’s so hot and humid outside.  But, of course, that never stopped me in the old days. 

 

 

I tell myself that I deserve some of the credit for maintaining my weight simply because I have been diligent in staying with my plan.  I continue to keep track of what I eat and how I exercise.  I continue to get help with the underlying issues, which is just as important as eating a healthy diet.  And I am also focused on how much better I feel when I am living a healthy lifestyle.

 

Let’s see where this goes?  I do know that I am determined to stay focused and positive.

 

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Understanding the Medical, Social and Psychological Impacts to Obesity

 

The medical impact on your body when you are obese is extraordinary.  You are at extremely high risk for serious illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and certain types of cancer to name a few.  At best, your quality of life will suffer because of these diseases, at worst, they can cause death.

 

Social impacts to obesity are just as devastating.  I speak from personal experience when I tell you that it is most certainly humiliating to go to a movie theater and not be able to sit in the seat to watch the show.  I still remember having to stand in the back of the theater because I couldn’t fit into the seat.  Another experience that caused me emotional pain was going to a restaurant and having to ask for a chair without arms and pray that it was strong enough to hold me.  Airplane travel was also a nightmare.  I always felt embarrassed by infringing on the space of the passenger sitting next to me.  The feelings that you are forced to deal with play havoc with your self-esteem and your self-worth.  It creates anxiety which ultimately leads to depression.

 

The emotional or psychological impact to obesity is very much linked to the social impact.  When you are constantly fighting depression and anxiety, you have no desire to go anywhere and you have no energy to do anything.  In my new book, “Who Is This Guy?” I address all these issues and share the events that brought me to Dr. Forse for help, which ultimately led to my success.  I found out the hard way, you can’t do it alone and you can’t even begin to hope for success unless you deal with the big picture.  In my next blog, I’ll share some information from my book that might be helpful.  If you are interested in reading it, it is available on Amazon.com. 

 

I hope you’ll share your experiences with me and let me know how you deal with them.  Maybe I can help point you in the right direction.        

 

 

 

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Trying to Understand Obesity Disease

 

Trying to Understand Obesity

 

Obesity is now a worldwide health epidemic.  It is estimated that over one third of the population of the United States is obese.  Globally, more deaths are linked to obesity than are linked to malnutrition and starvation.  According to the World Health Organization, over 1.4 billion adults are overweight with over 200 million men and 300 million women classified as obese.  In my opinion, there are many reasons for this drastic rise in obesity, and I’ll share some of them with you now.

 

The lifestyle that most overweight people lead today is extremely sedentary.  We live in a world where so much can be done without leaving the comfort of our living room chair.  We can watch television, play video games, or use our laptop computer, smart phone or tablet.  With access to millions of websites, we can shop for clothes, gifts, groceries or renew our prescriptions.  Even a college degree is possible without leaving our chair or getting out of our pajamas.  We can also turn off our lights and lock our doors with the touch of a button.

 

You don’t have to look too far to find yet another reason for the rise in obesity.  The “fast food” establishments found on almost every corner are such a convenience in the busy lifestyles we lead.  They are a quick and inexpensive meal on the run, for sure, but at what price to our health?  Clearly, a trip to the supermarket for a supply of healthy foods will cost you more than the unhealthy variety, and that’s unfortunate.  Nevertheless, you can still have a healthy diet by making sure your trip to the supermarket is well-planned and cost efficient.  The choice is yours, and speaking from experience, I can tell you that the wrong choices have dire consequences.  Fast food and poor food choices played a significant part in my obesity.

 

In my next blog I will address the medical and psychological issues associated with obesity.  In the meantime, let me know what your struggles are and how you address them.      

 

 

 

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Know the Difference Between Hunger and Cravings

Hunger is certain to make you want to eat.  Hunger is a state where your body and brain are depleted of nutrients and your system is asking your body to resupply them.  Many people rarely get to the point of feeling hungry because they are driven to eat by what is going on in their lives and not by the actual feeling of hunger. For example, emotional eating is common in people that suffer from eating disorders because they are using food to make them feel better.  For many years I used binge eating to make myself feel better when I was stressed.  It is my opinion that many of us are driven to eat unhealthy foods because of the food and beverage manufacturers.  Processed food and sugary drinks are known to cause cravings.  The processed food makers and sugary beverage makers can accomplish these cravings with its one main ingredient, sugar.

I believe that people should take responsibility for their own actions.  I also believe that when predators like the processed food  and sugary beverage manufacturers are allowed to target advertise to children, they are no better than the makers of cigarettes, who, before they were forced to limit how they could advertise, flooded the market from teenagers to adults pushing their nicotine-laden products. They know that their products are likely to create lifelong problems for their consumers yet in the interest of sales, they continue to develop new products which hook unsuspecting users.

My struggle with sugar continues.  I have not had a sugary beverage in almost 13 years.  Not so with sugary foods such as candy and cakes. I work hard at it all the time and I have become educated and aware of the triggers.  What about you? How do you feel about my views on sugar?

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Proactive Lifestyle Changes

Day to day poor eating habits have a way of becoming the “norm” – a way of life that doesn’t merit a second thought.  During the time that I was gaining weight on a daily basis, my poor diet was always in the back of my mind, but when I got very busy with work and other commitments, I always managed to get through the day without worrying about what kind or the amount of food I consumed.  I’d just tell myself that I would start fresh tomorrow.  But tomorrow never came.  And the weight problem became more than just a problem; it became a life or death situation.

Letting poor eating habits go on for too long could have dire medical consequences.  Those consequences include, but are not limited to, diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and respiratory problems.  We all face the difficulties of “staying with the program”. . .  staying focused on eating a healthy diet, exercising, and dealing with your underlying issues.  I urge you to take your health seriously now and get help before the medical problems begin.  Once the medical issues take hold and the control is out of your hands, it gets more and more difficult to make the necessary lifestyle changes.  The setback of dealing with any illness saps your strength, your emotional state and your resolve.

I was one of those fortunate people who made the decision to get help before I was forced to deal with medical problems.  But I have seen others who are not as fortunate and I can tell you, personally, that it is difficult to watch them struggle both physically and mentally trying to get a grip and take their life back.

Think about your own situation and ask yourself if today is the day to seek help in reaching your goal.

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Underlying Issues

Dr. Forse, who is the surgeon who performed my gastric by-pass surgery in January 2011, insists that all gastric by-pass patient's need to become aware of and address their underlying issues. Dr Forse goes on to say that there are always underlying issues for bariatric surgery candidates, that is to say anyone with a BMI index ( body mass index) that's over 40 and who's tried diligently to lose weight and has ultimately failed, there is always something underneath- something psychological- that needs to be dealt with. Without getting to the root of and dealing with those issues, even bariatric surgery will not always be successful.

I am in total agreement with Dr Forse that long term success for a bariatric patient essentially requires three primary disciplines.  First, a restriction of calories along with an understanding of what and when to eat. Second, lifestyle changes such as exercise and physical activity and third, the patient needs to identify and and understand how to deal with their underlying issues. This is why diets alone don't work.  Diets are doomed to fail for a patient who ignores the psychological component of why they overeat.

Personally, I am ashamed to admit that it is only now that Dr Forse's words are sinking in to my thick skull.  He has been telling me this for quite some time, but it is only recently that I "got it" and went to see a psychologist.  I made the appointment, in part to search for a clinical diagnosis for the book that Dr Forse and I intend to write.  I thought it was time to verify my self-diagnosis of obsessive compulsive personality disorder whih, I believed showed up as an inability to moderate much of my behavior, especially eating.  I thought I was just wired differently that others and needed to learn to live with that.  I am grateful to Dr Forse for being so patient with me and moving me in the right direction toward identifying my underlying issues. I was amazed at how wrong I was in my self diagnosis.

 

More to come on this subject in my next blog as we learn about the traits that drive me to distraction and consume more of my energy than the should.  For now it is safe to say that I am encouraged by the information that I am gathering.  Sixty two years old and I am still learning who I am and what makes me tick.  Fascinating.

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Post Holiday Let Down

Making it through the holidays was a major accomplishment for me.  I struggled the last two weeks, but I made it through without any deserts or candy or any of the other trigger foods that have a history of knocking me off my program.  But now that the holidays are over, I find that the number of calories are going up and I am having a hard time staying focused on the strict eating program that I was doing so well with from June to January.

I am trying to figure out what has changed.  It is as if I have taken the blinders off that have kept me focused for so long and now being tempted by things like pizza and sandwiches and even an extra slice of my healthy, homemade pumpkin bread that I treat myself to every day. The combination of these foods have moved my caloric intake up from my comfort zone of between 1800 to 2200 calories per day to the 2500 to 2700 range.  Although I have only gained two pounds, I feel lousy and look soft.  I prefer the lean, hard look that my clean, high protein, regular eating program provides.  All of this causes me to be anxious and I deal with that anxiety by exercising harder.  Sort of like trying to outrun the problem rather than facing it.  But if I stop and face the problem, I don't know what to do, so I keep running and hope that I figure it out before I just can't run any more.  When I was in Vietnam, we knew that moving targets had a better chance of survival than stationary ones.  There comes a time, though, when you have to stop moving, and when you do, you could have a fight on your hands.

What a distraction this causes.  I spend way too much of my day thinking about and worrying about what can go wrong if I slip any further.  I do take some pride, however, in the fact that I haven't gone off the wagon to the point where I am eating candy and cake.

Has anyone had the same experience?  Why do you think this happens?  Is there a way to keep it from happening?  Please share your thoughts.

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Three Weeks to go and Still Focused

I am so proud of my daughter Marisa who has lost 63 pounds in the last four months.  If and when she gets into an exercise program, I think she will finally understand the combination that is so critical to long term success.  This is a very difficult time of year to stay disciplined and not be tempted to try "just one special treat".   Marisa never really "got it" when it came to grasping the concept of diet, nutrition and exercise.  This is the best I have ever seen her do, and I will keep you updated on her progress.

As for me, I am on cruise control and not having any problems at all.  I love it when I am this focused because it means that I am not constantly frustrated, afraid or distracted from life while trying to get my eating back on track.

Back to Marisa for a minute.  She is so much like me, it's scarey.  I would guess that many people with overeating disorders are like Marisa and me.  She is a binge eater.  She can do nothing in moderation.  She has to learn everything the hard way.  Like me, she learns best from past failures rather than from listening to the experiences of others.  There are no filters or governors when she starts to binge eat.  Hey, she's 38 years old and if I'm right, and she does have it figured out, then she's 12 years ahead of me.

As for me, with 11 days left until Christmas, I am still doing well.  This is the week that I hit the bump in the road last year, so I am very cautious.  Dinner with friends in Boston coming up on Monday, followed by various exposures to food leading up to Christmas day.  Will keep you posted.  Current weight 192.  Anyone else who'd like to share their struggles, I'd love to hear from you.

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Made it Through Thanksgiving

Well I made it through Thanksgiving day and the weekend too, which included my granddaughter Chloe's 2nd birthday party. The fact is, I am in such a zone right now that I had no problem at all resisting temptation.  I ate all of the traditional Thanksgiving foods such as turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and an assortment of vegetables.  What I did not eat was gravy, bread and butter or the tremendous assortment of desserts that were offered.  When it came time for dessert, I was prepared.  I unwrapped my own homemade pumpkin cake which, I  know, is made with healthy ingredients and contains 130 calories.

Fortunately, my gym opened at 5:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning so I was able to get my normal workout in before I went on to give thanks at a few different locations.  I ended the day singing happy birthday to Chloe but not having any of her Mickey Mouse birthday cake.

I still have 5 weeks to go to make it past the most difficult time of the year for me.  I feel very confident that I will make it this year and am aided by the fact that I am very busy at work.  I find that the busier I am, the less I think about food and, therefore, the less I eat.  My weight right now is 193 lbs.  Last year at this time I was 192, so the week before Christmas I thought I would try various desserts.  I was in such a groove, I knew I could get right back on track.  I was wrong, though, and I am determined  not to make the same mistake again this year.  Last year's mistake caused me to battle with cravings and a weight gain of 7 to 12 pounds that I spent 6 months trying to lose in addition to trying to regain my focus.  Lesson learned!

I will keep you posted of my progress.

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Holiday Overeating Anxiety

Here we are, the week of Halloween and I'm getting anxious about my holiday eating.  I should be worried; the most vulnerable time of year for me is the five weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years.  Other than the year of my surgery, 2001, I have never been able to control my eating during this period.  Some years I try harder than others to avoid the traps that lead me down the path of over eating, but let me address the post surgery era.  Every year since 2001, I have slipped up during the holiday season, but last year, I went into Thanksgiving on cruise control - six months of perfect eating.  No sugar, no cream-based foods, no white breads. Then, with two weeks left before the end of the holiday season, I convinced myself that I was so focused, I could have a piece of apple pie and a couple of chocolate covered pretzels and get right back on track.  As usual, I was wrong.  I had been wrong the last hundred times I told myself I could do this, so what made me think I would have different results this time?

As always, my plan for this year is to avoid those trigger foods that cause the problem of overeating.  I know what they are and I am afraid of them because of what they can do to me.  I have said it before, and I will remind myself again; it is a lot of work to stay focused and disciplined, but it is much more work to get back your focus once you lose it.  I will keep you posted as I navigate through the mine field of the holidays.  I can use all the help I can get, so please, if you have some ideas to share about how you handle holiday eating, I would love to hear them.

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How Physical Activity Affects Me

Physical activity does four things for me.  First, it speeds up my metabolism so that I burn more calories; second, it suppresses my appetite; third, it increases my energy level, and fourth, it makes me feel good about myself and the way I look.

Exercise, depending on its intensity and how long it lasts, will elevate your metabolism anywhere between one and several hours after you have finished your workout. In other words, you will continue burning calories at a faster rate than normal after you have stopped working out.  One of my goals over the past 11 years since my surgery has been to change my body composition by increasing my muscle mass and reducing body fat. I have accomplished this through strength training (weight lifting).  Increased muscle mass increases your body's fat-to-muscle ratio which boosts the rate at which you burn calories all the time, not just after exercise.

In my case, exercise suppresses my appetite.  I am just not as hungry as I am on the days I do not exercise.  Plus, you have less time to eat if you are in the gym for two hours.  I choose to exercise early in the morning for two reasons:  I am never too busy at 4:30 in the morning and it jacks me up for the whole day.  I feel great after exercising.  Of course the exercise alone will not work if you don't employ a sound eating plan along with it.

I encourage you to see your doctor before starting an exercise program.  Start slowly and get proper instruction on the use of the equipment to  avoid injury.  Let me know how physical activity affects you.

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What I've Learned about Weight and Fat Cells

If you gain weight, you are probably gaining fat.  If you then lose the weight, you may not be losing the fat.  Therefore, you may weigh less, but be fatter. When you gain weight and fat and then lose the weight, fat cells shrink but don't go away. Try to avoid putting on weight that is a result of increased calorie intake, even for only a short period of time. The reason being that the extra fat cells you add will stay with you and signal your brain that you are hungry.

Fat cells appear most often as upper-body subcutaneous fat ( belly fat) , which is the fat just under the skin.  Fat also can be stored as visceral fat, which is also called deep belly fat or internal fat. Then there is lower body fat which is usually found in the hips, inner thigh and buttock areas. None of these types of body fat are good for you to be carrying around. Excess internal fat will put tremendous pressure on your stomach, pancreas, intestines and other organs. Your organs and glands are responsible for producing hormones. The added pressure from belly fat causes hormonal imbalances and deficiencies found in diabetes and many other health conditions.

When people slim down through diet and exercise, rather than just calorie reduction alone, fat around the organs will disappear twice as fast in comparison to other body fat. Proper nutrition and as little as three days a week of high intensity exercise for 30 minutes per session, can reduce your belly fat and reduce your risk of diabetes significantly. I think that the size of your waist is far more important than what you weigh. Weight does not distinguish between muscle and fat.  Check the Body Mass Index Charts. Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women.  Check the U S Department of Health and Human Services web site for more information on BMI and to calculate where you stand versus where you should be on body mass.

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More About the Book

Since my recent blog in which I wrote, "I think I will write a book," I have had much encouragement to pursue this idea.  I have contacted the surgeon who performed my gastric bypass surgery in January 2001 and we are talking about writing the book together.  My story would  describe living a life with food addiction, binge eating disorder, obsessive compulsive personality disorder and a host of other"issues" and the surgeon would offer the scientific and medical logic as to why these conditions exist and how they impact patients like me; patients he has encountered in his nearly 35 years of practice in the field of Bariatrics.

My life has been a very interesting journey.  We plan to take you along as we tell my story from high school to the present day.  I am 62 years old, and in the proposed book, I will be sharing the many highs and lows that I have experienced along the way. There have not been too many periods in my life that I can remember where I seemed to have it all under control.  I am not talking just about my eating disorder, I am also referring to my business life, with its successes and failures, my personal life, where I have demonstrated that a lot of work is needed to "get it right" and my every day life and how my addictions, or compulsive behavior have had such a strong impact in all of these areas.  I was 50 years old before I even had an inkling that I had a problem that could be fixed with the right kind of help.  Now, twelve years later, I feel that maybe in another five years or so, I might have it all figured out.  Of course by the time I figure it all out, i will be entering a time in my life where I will have new things to factor into the equation of a balanced life.

I am very interested in what material you may find helpful if you were to read such a story as I've outlined above.  I would welcome your input as the doctor and I move forward in outlining the book we have in mind.  A book that, we hope, ordinary people will relate to and find help in dealing with these issues.

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Stay Away From Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic Syndrome has five features. They are waist size (more than 35" in women and more than 40" in men), Blood Pressure (top number 130 or more and bottom number 85 or more), Triglycerides (a fasting level of 150 or more), Blood Sugar (a fasting level of 110 or more) and HDL (good) Cholesterol (women less than 50 and men less than 40).  If you have at least three of these features, then you probably have Metabolic Syndrome and you are at an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and several other medical conditions that would put your health and quality of life at risk.

The three primary causes of Metabolic Syndrome, putting genetics aside, are:  eating too much of the wrong foods, drinking sugary drinks and not getting enough exercise. When you eat too much of the wrong foods and drink sugary beverages and don't get enough exercise, the systems in your body cannot effectively handle the processing of fats and sugars and you become insulin resistant.  Insulin is a hormone that assists blood sugar into your bloodstream and muscles to be burned as energy and into your fat cells where it is stored.  When you are insulin resistant, this cannot happen and, consequently, your blood sugar levels rise and the other side effects of Metabolic Syndrome will then follow.

What you need to do right away is see your doctor so you can design a program for you to lose excess weight, decrease the intake of carbohydrates, stop the consumption of all foods and beverages high in sugar content and get you started on an exercise program.  If one of the side effects you have is high triglycerides, you should add fatty fish to your diet or take a Fish Oil supplement.  Again, genetics aside, Metabolic Syndrome is responsive to lifestyle changes.  Make these changes and you will improve your quality of life.

Personally, I have my blood work done on a semi-annual basis.  Being a gastric bypass patient, I am prone to occasional problems caused by foods passing through the digestive system before the vitamins and nutrients can be absorbed.  By knowing all my blood levels, I am often able to make dietary changes to avoid a problem where taking medication may be the only solution.  I urge everyone to take Metabolic Syndrome very seriously.  It is estimated that 25% of American adults have it. Don't become a statistic and if you already are, please do something about it.  It will make a positive impact on your life.

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I Think I will Write a Book

I consider that my gastric by-pass surgery as a tool to change my life has been a success.  It has been 11 plus years since the surgery and I am the same weight plus or minus ten pounds that I was when I reached my goal.  As I have written in many blogs to date, I still struggle from time to time and I am still learning about those triggers that can cause the struggles.

I have been in communication with the surgeon who performed my by-pass surgery back in January 2001 and we are planning to write a book together. The book will basically be a story of my life and the struggles with obsessive compulsive behavoir generally and obsessive compulsive eating specifically.  Controling my behavior as it relates to eating has been a problem all my life and at age 38 I had a life changing moment that made me commit to do something about it.

I tried and failed at many attempts to figure out the problem and to find a soloution and never hit the mark.  In late 2000 I finally decided I could not do it without help and some extreme measures.  That led me to the decission to visit the surgeon who immediately inspired my confidence that this was a problem that could be solved initially through surgical means in conjunction with permanent life style changes.

The book will outline and highlight those life style changes and the successes and failures since surgery to try to manage my life so that I can live my life.  Even as I write these words I know that I still have a lot to figure out if I am to remain on the right track as life is very dynamic and many of the life style changes that are working for me now will have to be changed as I get older.

Stay tuned, more info about the book will follow in the next few months.  Anyone with questions or ideas that would make this book more readable please comment

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You can't outwork or out run a bad eating program

If you are a reader of this blog, you or someone you know is probably obese or at the very least, overweight.  No doubt you have read the numerous articles that are being published now about the risks of excess weight as it relates to cancer, diabetes, heart disease and a host of other medical issues and you are considering life style changes to improve your quality of life.

I know people who think that its just a numbers game and if they simply cut calories, they will lose weight.  I know others who make no diet changes at all but start an exercise program and expect that to be the answer.  And while they may see some short term gains from those actions, they more often than not fall back into their old ways and reverse any gains they may have made.

No matter how hard you work in the gym or how many miles you walk or jog, if you don't eat right you won't lose weight or get rid of that soft, puffy look. A sensible diet and exercise go hand in hand.  They fuel each other.  That's not to say that if you don't eat right you are wasting your time exercising.  Exercise has many benefits to your health. What I am saying is that if you are hoping to loose weight and improve your health, exercise alone or diet alone is not the long term answer.

What works best for me is a structured, disciplined exercise program combined with a proper diet that provides enough calories for me to maintain my energy. It is important that the eating program you choose allows enough protein so that your body burns fat and not muscle and that you consume enough of the right type of carbohydrates to maintain energy but not trigger cravings.  The amount and quality of fats you consume is also very important.  You should consult your doctor or a nutritionist before you start your program because we are all different and the program you should use will be based on age, health and/or physical restrictions.

If you are committed to changing your life, find out more about the diet and exercise that's right for you.  Be sure to get plenty of rest so that you have the energy and stamina to stick with the program.  It will make a big difference in the outcome.

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Back on Track

I have now completed 14 days of perfect eating.  I feel so much better physically and I am more relaxed mentally. The damage done, over the past four and a half months that I struggled, added up to a total weight gain of five pounds. I lost four of those pounds in the last two weeks, so I expect that by next week I will be back to 193 pounds,  This is what I weighed the week before Christmas when I foolishly let myself wander away from my structured eating program.  I don't know why I thought that this time there would be a different result from eating sugary desserts and chocolate than the results I saw the last 50 times I ate those foods.  

The difference these past two weeks in my attitude and in my success is that I am totally focused again.  That is the key.  I am sure of it  That means no more than 2000 calories a day except for one day every two weeks when I add 300 to 400 extra carbohydrate calories to the day's total.  My eating program is the same one that has worked for me in the past.  It is based on foods that I like, that fill me up and that do not create cravings.  It took me years to figure out what foods met these requirements and I feel so much better when I am eating this way.

This begs the question, why do I stray from the program?  I have no idea.  It seems that my personality is such that when things are going well, I, for some reason have to try to step outside the program just to see if I can come back and gain control again.  Am I challenging myself?  Is it part of my attraction to risk?  Can someone offer some insight? Just another of those things about me that I don't understand. But for now I will stay focused and enjoy today's success.

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Trying to figure me out

For fifty years I tried to figure out why I could not control my eating.  Early on, I felt that it was because I was weak and lacked the discipline and self control that others had that enabled them to eat in moderation.  For quite some time I thought that I was born with more fat genes than most people and was just inclined to put on weight easily.  I saw myself as big boned, thought I had a slow metabolism and a bigger frame than others.  There was no question that I ate more than most people and that I ate an unhealthy diet, but I had to keep trying to rationalize it in my mind and come up with a reason for my problem.

It has taken a while, but I have made a lot of progress in the never ending pursuit of trying to figure me out.  In the past ten years I have come a long way.  I now know that I am not big boned and that my metabolism works the way it is supposed to work and that my frame is a normal size.  The problem is that I have a food addiction, or as I prefer to see it, an obsessive compulsive eating disorder.  When I allow myself to consume one of the trigger foods, I lose control and the cravings push me to overeat, which is when the struggles begin.  And then the race to see which behavior, controlled eating or out of control eating, will prevail.

I now know that this will happen to me every time I let myself have one of the trigger foods.  In my case, sugar, and especially sugar in the form of  chocolate, is my biggest enemy.  I am not forced to have these foods.  I am exposed to them visually whether in a store, a restaurant or at someone's home, and it is completely my choice whether I have them or not.  When I fool myself into thinking that one little taste won't hurt, I always, and I mean always, regret it.

The key to success when this happens is to get back into my comfort zone as soon as possible.  I need to be eating foods that I like and that make me feel full but don't trigger the cravings that cause me to overeat at best, and to binge, at worst.  I know the pattern well.  I drive myself crazy because for some reason, when things are going well, I will foolishly test my mettle again and see if the results will be different this time.  They never are.  So, I ask myself and anyone out there who may be experiencing the same problem, to share your insight.  Why do I keep repeating this same pattern?  I can't figure it out.

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Starting to get some Traction

Have had two good weeks in a row but not a great day on Easter Sunday.  So on Easter, I used one of my 7 "cheat" days that I allow during this 13 week program.  Easter was tough.  I ate too much of the good foods and also had some jelly beans and a small piece of the most fantastic vanilla cupcake with cream cheese and coconut frosting that I ever tasted.  I also had a couple of bites of a bunny cake with butter cream frosting.  Other then Easter day, I have been doing fairly well at avoiding the trigger foods.  When I avoid the trigger foods, it is easier for me to stay on the program.  When I am doing well on the eating program, I feel the results immediately; more energy, sleep better, I'm more relaxed and I feel better about myself.

The results also showed up on the scale.  During the three months that I have been struggling, I gained about 5 pounds.  Last week, the week ending Easter Sunday morning, I lost 3 of those pounds.  I have to be extra careful right now because there is a lot of stress involved in my life.  Business is not good and there are some health issues in the family that add to the stress.  It has been established that stress is a factor for those with eating difficulties, and I can attest to that.  Usually, I am able to counter balance the effects of stress by sticking to my regular exercise routine.

Nevertheless, the bottom line is I feel more in control of my eating now than I have in the past three months.  Not totally in control, but making progress and closing in on the struggle.  If anyone is having similar issues, please feel free to share with us how you are dealing or not dealing with it.

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Struggles Continue

I am now into my third month of trying to regain my focus.  I have good days and some that are not so good, but I have, for the most part, been able to avoid the out of control days.  A good day is one where I am able to stay within my comfortable range of 1800 to 2200 calories and a bad day is when I am eating 2200 to 2800 calories.  An out of control day means I have consumed over 2800 calories that day.

Was having dinner last month with my friends Buzz, Tom, Leo and George.  Buzz made the comment that he admired my discipline.  My initial response to that statement was to say that I had no discipline at all, which was why I had such a severe eating disorder.  I told him that what he was, in fact, witnessing was my obsessive compulsive behavior being used to my benefit to help me control my eating problem, rather than my eating problem controlling me. The fact is that I cannot do anything in moderation.  After forty years of trying to understand why I could not control my eating, I finally realized that there is no answer to that question.  My obsessive compulsive personality disorder is not curable, but I have found that the solution to this disorder is in redirecting my energy and focusing it in a positive way.

I have directed my obsessive compulsive behavior toward exercise and obsessing over my eating program.  Even when I am not entirely on track with my eating, as has been the case for the past three months, I am still focusing on what my eating habits should be and trying to get back on track. For some reason, my exercise program never seems to be a problem as it relates to desire or intensity of the workout.  I never seem to lose my focus as it relates to exercise.

Can anyone out there relate to what I am saying?  Please share your thoughts and experiences so we can get some dialogue going on the subject.  Maybe then, we can all understand it a little better.

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