The Journey

DAY ELEVEN

Here I am on day eleven of my nutritional journey. I weighed 207 on the first day and yesterday I weighed 202.3. So I have lost some weight. My optimal weight is 180. I’ve been as high as 220.

17 years ago when I began lifting weights seriously I weighed 189, I know because I kept track of my weight and all of my workouts through the years. At the time I wanted to add weight and muscle so I took action to encourage that. Some small things like slowing my walking pace and avoiding a lot of cardiovascular exercise. Bigger things like eating large amounts was easy to do and, obviously, it worked.

Now I’ve got about 20 plus pounds to lose and it seems like it would be no problem but the challenge is eating the proper foods in the proper amounts. I’m already avoiding SOS, salt oil sugar, but it’s also important to get enough fiber and other nutrients. Not eating enough could lead to being hungry and hunger is dangerous for me. I reach for anything to satisfy when I’m in that state.

One thing has helped is remembering that I’m avoiding SOS and anything in a package will have ample amounts of those in them, a lot of times all three. It’s hard not to veer off into a convenience store on the drive home from work, but so far I’ve avoided it and that’s good.

I have found that Monday through Thursday are not as much of a challenge as the weekend. On work days I have a set routine and don’t have easy access to food and being busy tends to keep my mind off of eating, but on weekends idle hands reach for snacks, or go somewhere for a meal and any meal outside of the home is going to have SOS, otherwise the restaurant couldn’t entice customers.

As the weekend approaches I am thinking about how I can keep the success that I’ve had so far and not slip and add the weight back on like every other weekend. Usually that leads to frustration and gaining the weight back. Last weekend it led to a more determined commitment to heal my body naturally and I’ve done well so far. Until next time, keep eating healthy

DAY FOUR

I’m sitting in the doctors office, waiting to be seen. This is a follow up visit after a blood draw last week. Some of my numbers from a month ago were quite high, so said he could put me on supplements or medication. I chose supplements, knowing that my poor diet is a contributing factor in my high cholesterol and pre diabetic A1C numbers. It’s been a long time coming.

I didn’t expect that supplements alone would solve the problem. Just like medications, it only addresses the symptoms. The root cause is diet. I know that now and I knew before. I have changed my eating habits in the past few months, transitioning first to vegetarian, to vegan, to whole food plant based (whole food plant based) and avoiding SOS, (salt, oil, sugar).

The doctor has just called me into his office, I’ll be back with my results.

I had the first blood draw while in the vegetarian stage and the second at the end of the transition to vegan. They were one month apart and during that time I only had dairy a handful of times. I did also eat junk food on occasion. Since the blood test one week ago I have gone fully plant based and SOS free.

Here are some of the numbers: A1C was 6.1 now 5.1 should be between 4.8-5.6. I was in pre-diabetic before and it’s better now. Insulin is down from 26.8 to 22.8. It within normal but needs to go down more. Cholesterol dropped from 265 to 155. And triglycerides went from 248 down to 144 within high normal and needs to drop below 100. It looks like the supplements and nutrition are beginning to heal my body.

In the area of weight loss there is still some progress to be made. The first goal I have is to weigh 190 lbs. The highest I’ve been was 220.8, I hit that in March 2020, yes I’ve been doing this for two years at least. I got down to 195 in June of 2020. I ate a ketogenic diet with no sustainability. My cholesterol and triglycerides went into dangerous territory and I reverted to the SAD (standard American diet)

I struggled through the summer and by December of 2020 I made it back to 213. I tried again in 2021 and managed to fight my way to 198 by June. I had an issue with my joints and took a corticosteroid for four months, that along with a poor vegetarian diet added the weight back on and I ballooned back up to 220 around September. I didn’t track weight during that time because I felt physically and emotionally exhausted as I was still recovering from the autoimmune situation from June.

Between October and December I battled the food addictions while still eating vegetarian, though I did taper off the junk food slightly. By slightly I mean that I slowed, didn’t completely stop, the years long habit of stopping at a convenience store on the drive home from work.

On December 28 I weighed 208.3. On Sunday 1-2 I was at 206.8. During this week I ate mostly plant based on Wednesday I had pizza for dinner, and quite a bit, and a few times I ate sugary snacks . I still lost over a pound.

Today (Thursday 1-6) I weighed 202.1. Over 4 lbs. lost. Again, this week I began WFPB with no SOS. I expect it to go up on Friday since I strayed from SOS free and had dinner at a vegan restaurant tonight. I’m sure the food had ample amounts of salt oil and sugar and that’s why it tasted so good.

This part of the journey has just begun and I don’t know where it will take me but I know where I’ve been and I don’t want to go back. I’m sure that this is the way to help me feel better and keep my body healthy, so I will continue eating this way knowing there will be challenges and bumps in the road.

FOOD FOMO

We’ve all heard of the Fear Of Missing Out. I have Food FOMO. That’s right, it’s true and I admit it. This is part of the problem; when i see rich, flavorful food, I can’t resist for fear of missing out.

Sure it may be ridiculous to you, but to me, it’s real. I have a deep relationship with food that goes back to when I was a child. Food equates to love. That’s how we show love to people; let’s go to breakfast, let’s do lunch. Food is important because we need it to survive and parents love their children and hope for them to survive so it’s easy to see that food equals love, and we all want to be loved.

Growing up on our birthdays my mother would make us a special meal, something we did for our children growing up. I always asked for tacos. My parents loved food and brought us to so many events that were centered around food; restaurants, barbecues, picnics. Food played an important role in all special occasions.

Maybe some people could be surrounded by food and not be affected, not me. I had to try everything and extra of what I did like. I was thin as a rail and could put the food away like a full grown man. I continued this habit into my adulthood. I remember going to events only thinking about what food would be there and what time it would be served, not wanting to show up until then so I could go straight to the food. Once there I would graze until time to leave.

For years, everyday on the way home from work I would stop at the convenience store and grab a snack, (actually enough calories to be considered a meal) then go home and have a full dinner, eating until I could burst. I had a high metabolism for years and didn’t gain too much weight, so I was okay.

I had always promised myself that I wouldn’t get fat and around the age of forty I knew it might happen so I began lifting weights seriously. I poured myself into it and tracked every workout I’ve ever done. I put on pounds of muscle and gained a lot of strength. In order to put an muscle one has to eat a lot. That’s right up my alley. I strapped on the old feed bag and ate everything in sight.

Pretty soon, with all the muscle I added to my frame the extra fat couldn’t be seen. I began leaving my shirt in tucked along the way so the bump above my waist couldn’t be seen, and because of the pain caused by the belt buckle digging into my belly. Still, no cause for alarm because I looked big and strong, and that’s what food is supposed to do, right?

So here I am now. I see pizza, burgers, sandwiches, anything and I don’t want to miss out. I crave a taste of it. I gave up meat about a year ago for health reasons and I still crave it but have gotten over the missing out part of it. I have up all dairy recently and I haven’t had any cravings yet, but I know they’re coming. For now I’m avoiding salt oil and sugar; SOS. I’m doing this to allow my body to heal. I’ve spent a long time putting the wrong fuel in my body and now it’s time to give it what it needs to work efficiently.

I’m not trying to convince anyone to do anything. I’m sharing thoughts about my food addiction. I’m also not saying that I’ll never eat salt oil or sugar again. I don’t know, but I need to do something and today I start day three of No SOS.

S.O.S.

The international symbol for distress. We are programmed to see this as a cry for help. There’s danger lurking. SOS is an acronym that can mean anything, and in this case it means something different.

For the first quarter of this year I’m working on my nutrition. I’ve been working on it for several years and I always fall short. I read articles, watch videos and plan, but when temptation calls, I often give in. I love food. What can I say?

Though I’ve been a fitness buff for years, I’ve struggled with my nutrition and have steadily gained weight. If I’m being honest, I’ll say I’m about fifty pounds overweight. Maybe the casual observer won’t see it, but I think that’s because most everyone around us is overweight.

I started out to lose weight by using a ketogenic program and lost about twenty pounds. My cholesterol shot up like a rocket with triglycerides along for the ride. I decided to give up meat only to see my cholesterol go up even more. I did put the weight back on over the course of several months and became frustrated with the way I felt.

I had given up meat and dairy in the past and thought I could do it again only when I did before I ate a lot of vegan junk food. Eating no meat or dairy is not necessarily healthy and manufacturers are in business to make a profit and what better way to keep the customers coming back for more than to get them hooked.

So, I had done vegan before and it didn’t lead to any weight loss. What could be different this time? If nothing else, I’ve learned from my mistakes and I now realize that I have been sabotaging myself.

I have to admit that I am addicted to salty snacks. I can eat a large size bag of any brand of chips and sit down and have a full dinner, with plenty of salt added. Capital S. I love eating salad and my favorite dressing is Italian with its thick layer of oil in the bottle. At 120 calories a Tablespoon that’s a big Capital O.

Once I’m done eating I have a little sweet tooth and decide to grab a party size bag of M&Ms, mix it with a can of peanuts and go to town. It’s near impossible to stop myself from eating the entire mixture in one sitting. That’s a Capital S for sure.

I’ve realized that to be successful in maintaining a healthy body into my older years I need to be more serious about the choices I make regarding what I put in my body. Salt, oil and sugar have been sabotaging me for years and I’m working on breaking the addiction. Im not looking to lose weight, I’m looking to get healthy through proper nutrition and weight loss will be a side effect.

KEEP IT REAL!

If I’ve learned anything recently, this is it. I recently finished planning the work I intend complete in the first quarter of 2022. I have been using a planning system for the past year called HB90. It was developed by author Sarra Cannon. This isn’t meant to promote the program, but it has helped in so many ways. Each time I use the system, it becomes easier to dig deep and see where I need improvement.

Like anyone else I like to see progress and planning helps with that but only if you look back to where you started. In the first quarter of 2021 I set out to republish my first novel and make it available on several platforms. I worked furiously to complete the necessary tasks and accomplished that part.

I didn’t do as well with the marketing strategy part of the plan and, as a result, the sales goals fell short. I sold a few books but nowhere near bestseller territory. Of course it was disappointing, which led to questioning myself and my abilities. Everyone experiences self doubt, right. Also during the last year I had some physical challenges that slowed me down. That’s reality and moving forward I’ll need to deal with it.

Quarter four rolled around and I planned as usual and, again, life got in the way. I started the quarter strong, then petered out a month in, not completing most of my tasks. With quarter four closing and planning time approaching it was time to act. Planning is always my favorite part of each quarter. I get to set new goals or refresh old ones. It gets me charged up.

I didn’t have the same enthusiasm this time. I didn’t seem to be progressing in my new career. The writing hadn’t been flowing recently and reading the work I’m currently polishing made me embarrassed that I could write something so bad. Oh well, I’ve heard plenty of writers say that self doubt is real and it is something that an author must overcome if he or she expects to be successful.

I decided to put my efforts into planning quarter one and began by watching the first video from the HB90 program. I followed the instructions and thought about what I wanted, just like I did the first time. I watched each of the videos and followed the instructions, even through the self doubt. Along the way I looked back at the year, thinking where and why I came up short.

I realized that I didn’t come up short. I accomplished the major goal of republishing the book among other things. So I didn’t sell as many books as hoped. That’s something I can focus on this quarter, maybe next quarter. I learned in this course that there is no timeline for my success and if I recognize them I can celebrate them along the way.

I spent too much time thinking about where I fell short when I should have been celebrating my success and I lost some of my creativity. Now I have to work harder to get back where I left off. It’s time set the wheels in motion again and keep the momentum going.