Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Six Months Down, Forever To Go

After revealing my before-and-after pics last week, I’ve had quite a few people inform me that “you’re done.” My mom Shirley started singing this refrain ten pounds ago actually.




That might actually be the truth, too. This week marks six full, life-changing months for me, and I’ll admit that I may really be done with the serious weight-loss portion of this program. However…

History (and keep in mind, all I have to go by here is history) tells me that the moment I drop the ball, the minute I shift my focus to other things, the weight is going to slowly creep back on. It’ll start with small things, small choices.

I’ll skip this week’s weigh-in because I went out and had a few too many last night.

I’ll quietly put away a pair of jeans that’ve gotten too snug (I never throw them away though; after all, hope springs eternal).

I’ll grab a donut from the break room because, hey, free donuts!

It may take weeks or it may take months, but I’ll essentially wind up inexplicably sabatoging all the good work I’ve done here.

That’s not me talking, by the way. That’s history.

But here’s the thing: my approach this time has been so radically different than it’s ever been before. I’ve never felt like I was on a diet, and that’s part of the reason that I’m not so sure I’m through losing.

I’ve never counted calories, though I have a good idea of what I consume over the course of a day. It’s not that I don’t think counting calories or tallying points or tracking food aren’t all workable ideas. It’s just not something I wanted to do for the rest of my life, and that’s what I was looking for: something I could honestly and truly live with.

What I did early on was formulate a set of rules that would guide me on this trek. At the beginning, they were stricter, more specific. The “Don’ts”, if you will…
  • Don’t eat anything purchased from a vending machine.
  • Don’t eat while you’re driving.
  • Don’t eat while you’re watching TV.
  • Don’t buy food at gas stations.
  • Don’t eat fast food.
  • Don’t eat chips.
  • Don’t drink sodas.
  • Don’t eat after dinner.
The strictness of these rules helped me stay on the straight and narrow when my determination was wavering and my will was weak. As I became smaller, these guidelines became bigger, broader, more complex yet more flexible. The “Don’ts” were replaced with grander ideas that reflected the bigger picture.
  • Think about what you’re eating and why you’re eating it.
  • Slow down… appreciate your meal.
  • Prepare it yourself and control what you consume.
  • Eating out should be the exception to the rule instead of the rule.
  • Sometimes you need to listen to your body… and sometimes your body needs to listen to you.
If you really, honest-to-God commit yourself to this weight-loss journey, I think you’ll find that it changes over time. And it changes you over time. Yes, yes, you lose some pounds and some inches, but you gain something substantial along the way as well.

I have a deeper appreciation for my own capabilities these days, a deeper pride in myself and what I can accomplish in the future. Escaping from that fat suit made me realize that I can really go places if I don’t hold myself back.

This weight can be… check that… this weight is an anchor that will pull you down, make you less than you can be. Even if your friends and family all lovingly accept you just the way you are, you’ll never really and truly accept yourself (at least most of us can’t or won’t). It’s simple: you can be better, and you know you can be better.

I hope you’ll embrace this idea that you’re on the path to a better life. Whatever tools you use… low carb, calorie counting, long-distance running, lap band… whatever the tools, remember that the real key to the deal is to find a lifestyle that you can live with and start living with it.

Start living with it.

Me? I’m just getting started.



  1. Excellant. Thank you, Thank you, thank you for that.

  2. Fantastic post! And really straightforward things to incorporate, but with a bit of thought and organisation.

    You know, you shouldn't have blogged that - you could have written a multi-million dollar selling weight loss book!!

  3. I absolutely love your blog, and I propose (in all seriousness) that you tell Dr. Phil and other weight-loss capitalists to stick it and turn your blog into a book. It has been one hundred times more helpful to me than any other reading material I have paid good money for. Plus you offer the humour that so many others lack.

    Kate (ontario, canada)

  4. Jack, very well said. A couple things really hit home with me. Eating while I watch tv, especially chips, is something that can kill me. I eat way too much when I watch tv. Don't drink sodas where huge for me. I lost 10 lbs right away when I got away from sodas. I like to think about what I can eat and do instead of what I don't though. Which is kinda the second part of what you are saying.

  5. Still waiting for all my wildest dreams to come true...

  6. We all have to find something that works for us. I definitely think that's the key. :)

  7. So, so true! Best advice ever.

    Glad to hear you are thinking about being done with the weight loss part. Keeping it off is some hard sh*t! Show us the way, Jack!

  8. Too true Jack - I'm doing this slowly and easing myself into a way of life that I can see me sticking too in the long run. A little bit of a frightening thought sometimes, but that's how it's got to be. No point putting in all the hard work, to undo it all later for no reason!

  9. I'm convinced you won't let history repeat itself. For one, you said it yourself, you're doing it completely differently this time. And for two, you've got this blog, and us to keep you honest.

    Forget the weigh-ins...if you start skipping on the blog, I'll worry. :)

  10. I'm so glad you posted this. I just started following your blog a few weeks ago, and I was inspired by you and Jenn at Ex Hot Girl, and today is the first day of my new life. Thanks so much for putting up your guidelines/what worked for you. It's really helpful!

  11. You have said it all Jack!!!! What a great post! And I can say from my experience that yes, this weight loss thing DOES change over time! And Yes, it does change you!!!!

    And YES, "remember that the real key to the deal is to find a lifestyle that you can live with and start living with it." SO TRUE!!!!!

    I loved every word you wrote!

  12. Another excellent (and serious!) post. You really are the Sh*t, Jack!

  13. I think it was critical that you advanced from the don't to the do list. Good job Jack.

  14. Very well said Jack. Finding out that when I reached a goal, the journey wasn't over, it had really just begun, was quite the revelation for me! You are making new "history" now...something you can live with and be proud of!

  15. That's fabulous Jack!

    I notice a lot of men rarely count Points, track calories but usually stick to a usual List of Don'ts and the weight just falls off of them.

    Wonder why that typically isn't the case with women...thoughts?

  16. True words my friend. History talks like that all the time. I work in a medical office and reps bring in sweet treats all of the time and I used to think I should eat it all because it was free, but now I know better. Not eating while driving is a great rule too.

  17. Thanks Jack, excellent post. It's "A way of life" now and it must be maintained - a Lifestyle choice! The journey has just begun.

  18. I like your idea of "time for your body to listen to you." When you're prediabetic like I am, you get to be overweight through yielding to your body begging for more of the sugar that's swarming around in your blood, failing to get admission to your cells. The answer is less sugar, less carbs-- then you finally get to the point where your body can talk sense.

  19. wonderful, just wonderful :-)

    I especially love:

    Sometimes you need to listen to your body… and sometimes your body needs to listen to you.

    it's so true, it's not one-way traffic.

    I'm so glad you don't think you've reached your weightloss journey's 'final destination'... after all, where would you go after that?!

    well done on an excellent first 6 months :-)

  20. you're totally right. MY history tells me the same things your's does too. Thanks for the lifestyle reminder!

  21. I'm right here with you Jack. And what a handsome man you turned out to be. I had a vague impression of a wizened old man cackling over a keyboard and driving everyone around him insane with the question 'Which song should I heartlessly savage for my next post?'
    Congratulations for arriving at your destination. Wait for me, I'll be there next year.

  22. I love this post. I completely believe that those are successful, those who don't become one of the re-gainer statistics - are those that change habits for life - not just until they reach the magic number.

    You're doing so great and you are a huge inspiration to so many of us.


  23. Great post. Very, very true.

  24. Life rules, I totally agree, we all need them for ourselves. I agree too that they are always changing. I know for me the exercise showed me just how strong I really was and how capable. I think rethinking what we thought of ourselves is a big thing too. Good post as always Jack.

  25. Once again, you hit the nail on the head! Jack, you have inspired me, lifted my spirits and encouraged me.........thank you! You deserve the success you have reached. But I like your idea of "forever". I would have "history" if I quit doing the daily as well. Congrats on your success!!! And I love the before & after pics! I should have known you were a "ginger" with that wit! lol

  26. I needed this today. right now I am struggling with trying to find something that works for me. It's been rough but i'm still trying.

  27. First of all, congratulations on your 6 month fativersary, Jack.

    I think you've got the right attitude. I think you're going to maintain your loss for the long haul. You're going to do it this time.

    Also, I think your guidelines are fabulous. "Sometimes you need to listen to your body… and sometimes your body needs to listen to you" is just about the best advice out there.

  28. Right on! I've had people TELL ME I should be done and I tell them to go to hell. Just because I'm "not fat" anymore doesn't mean that I am ready to stop. And even when I'm at a healthy weight, it's not as if I'm going to go back to eating fast food and drinking gallons of beer and not eating vegetables. It just means I can be a *little* more lax with my habits.

    And - "Sometimes you need to listen to your body, and sometimes your body needs to listen to you"...right on again. It's all about knowing which is the proper thing to do. That's take me a long time to learn and I'm STILL working on it.

  29. at the beginning reading this post.. i was thinking.. "no no no!! Jack.. don't you dare miss WI!! don't you dare put those jeans away!"

    then I read on.. how could I think you would?

    Thanks for this. I was just thinking today, what life "at goal" will look like.. and it has to be self controlled, but liveable. I like your list of don'ts. so very sensible!

  30. You bring up some good points Jack. Six months down and a lifetime to go. You know how I feel after losing my 150 pounds??

    12 years down and a lifetime to go. It never ends.

  31. It's a forever journey, you got that right! Recognizing all the old triggers that got us back to the old habits is key.

  32. i needed this post, im so tired of trying to count calories! the problems is no one can exactly say for sure what certain foods have, so general estimates like you do is really all anyone can do anyhows. thanks jack!

  33. you are so right, this is not just for now, it's forever.

    I got rid of chips completly, I allow my children to eat them "once in a while or special occasion" but they have to be eaten OUTSIDE the house and not brought home!

  34. I appreciated this post. It is a very good feeling to be on a path that leads to a happier life, whatever the "tools."

  35. mmm ... chips!


    Great post.

    I think you're right on with being mindful while you eat. No mindless snacking would probably save us ALL a lot of calories! Also, I've found that mindless snacking actually divorces me from enjoyment of food. I love the salty, fatty goodness that is in chips and guac. I'll still have it sometimes once I'm well on the road to health.

    When I have it, though, I need to have the freshest, best guac EVER and SAVOR it ... slowly.

  36. Good post!

    I always say: being overweighted is a life sentence. Once you've reached your goal weight the fun starts: try to keep it off!

    So despite what everybody's saying you're doing the right thing by staying on track.

    You've just get started and I believe we ain't seen nothing yet of you.

  37. For someone so full of sh*t, you are sooo wise!!! I was shocked to see a Caucasian man on your before and after pictures. I don't know why, but I assumed you were African american! It must be because of all the sh*t and the colour of this blog background! Whatever your skin tone, you are so entertaining!

  38. This comment has been removed by the author.

  39. It are these poignant posts - contrary, I suspect, to why a lot of your readers tune in - that I look forward to the most on your blog, Jack. I believe that beneath the humour and clever quips you really are a strong, hard working individual dedicated to this journey of your own and the weight loss efforts of the countless masses.

  40. Good post!

    I will say that the 7/11 by my house sells apples. All about choices and perspective!

    You got this for life

  41. i truely puffy heart love this post. i dont think i can really express how much i enjoyed reading it.

    thank you, sir!

  42. Alright Jack, now it's time to get buff tony style. Well, maybe not tony style...but lifting is good and helps with bone density, and it could give you a new goal. I think when I hit maintenance, that will be the key for goals. Glad you will still be blogging. You should add I know to your title now, since you're at maintence.. Congrats dude.

  43. As you know, I don't comment much but how couldn't I comment this time. This is what I've been struggling with right now so thank you for writing it, believing it, and doing it! This is a life-style change and I can't forget that!

  44. You are the Jack of all tirades and Master of Your Jeans! And you are always an inspiration. Hadn't seen the pics yet and they are GREAT! WOW. What a long way you've come. Keep givin' us, er, crap, Jack. I'm not counting calories either but the changes are internal, not applied from somewhere else. Things feel very different but I don't dare presume I have arrived. I still have a long way to go and I'll always and forever only be a donut or fast food stop away from my fat self.

  45. Well thought out post, Jack. No matter which direction the scale is going you'll never be done making the outcome. You have done so well though that is for sure.

  46. You still have to high five a hobo!

  47. You know you're right...doesn't matter who accepts you now for who you are/what size you'll never quite be happy with yourself. And we do know we can do better and be better. So glad I found your blog Jack...and even more glad that you started peppering the blog with the serious shit. Now that I've found you, you're never getting rid of me...I'll be bugging you all the way through maintenance. :) That reminds me, I haven't emailed you in a while, lol...that needs to change.

  48. You know something Jack. I've been sitting here trying to think of some way to complement you and your accomplishments, and do it in a way that hasn't been done "to death", and the thing is, I can't think of anything. Every thing has already been said, most of it several times over. And that is a testament to the one thing I have come to learn about you.

    You are awesome.

  49. I just found your blog and wanted to say what an inspiration you are. I didn't have as much weight to lose as you but know what a struggle it can be, so well done to you :)

  50. Thank you Jack. You're quite the guy.

  51. Seriously, dude. New clothes.



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