Friday, January 1, 2010
Happy New You!
This is my very first January 1st as a rootin’-tootin’ weight-loss blogger, so I’m guessing that it’s kinda, sorta like being in a gym right after New Year’s. There’s a lot of new blood, lots of proclamations of a new day dawning, lots of new faces stern with newborn commitment and freshly minted determination.
You have decided to finally do this, because this is a new day, a new year, a new you. You’re screwing up your courage and making your game plan. You’re scouring the internet for resources to aid you in what’s sure to be an epic struggle, and somehow… inexplicably… you’ve found yourself right here, right now.
Allow me to introduce myself: I go by the name Jack Sh*t (the “*” is silent), and there’s good news and bad news about what I have to offer by way of assistance on your trek. The good news is that I have some tremendously useful advice to impart to you that I believe will really be applicable in helping you on your own weight-loss journey. The bad news? You’re going to have to sift through a lot of stupid jokes, song parodies and Braveheart-style speeches in order to find it.
Awhile ago, during his presidential campaign, Barack Obama was seated next to a little girl on an airplane trip back to Washington. He turned to her and said, “Let's talk. Flights tend to go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger.”
The little girl, who had just opened her book, closed it slowly and asked, “What would you like to talk about?”
“Oh, I don't know,” said Obama. “How about what changes I should make to America?” and he smiles.
“OK,” she says. “But let me ask you something first: a horse, a cow and a deer all eat the same grass. Yet the deer excretes little pellets, the cow turns out a flat patty and a horse produces clumps of dried grass. Why do you suppose that is?”
Obama, visibly surprised by the little girl’s question, thinks about it for a second and finally says, “Hmmm, I have no idea.”
To which the little girl replies, “Do you really feel qualified to change America when you don't know sh*t?”
My point is, when you get down to brass tacks, I don’t know sh*t. I’m not a medical professional, I’m not a nutritionist. I’m not a scientist, a personal trainer or a dietician. I’ve accomplished what I’ve managed to accomplish… roughly 90 pounds down in eight and a half months, by simply eating less, eating a little healthier and exercising more.
Elaborate? Don’t mind if I do…
Eat less. I don’t count calories, but I have a pretty good sense of how much I’m eating during a day. That’s the key to it, I think. Being mindful of what you put in your mouth and why you do it. As it turns out, many of the reasons I was eating… entertainment, boredom, emotions, habit, stress management… had nothing whatsoever to do with hunger. And slooooooooooooow down with that fork, Chester. Maybe if you’d pace yourself a little when you eat, you’ll find you don’t always have to clear your plate and every serving dish on the table before you find yourself full.
Eat a little healthier. I was talking to someone at a party a couple of weeks ago. She was going on and on about how much weight I’d lost, and how she hadn’t managed to lose hers even though she exercised fairly regularly. I imparted to her one of the lessons I’ve learned along the way; I can go out to eat once a week and, if I make semi-reasonable choices, I can still lose weight. More than that, and it’s really an uphill climb just to maintain. There are a few strong folks who I’m sure can do better than me, who only eat half of an entrée or order the miser salad with tap-water dressing. Still, I stand by my argument because when you eat out, you lose control of what goes into what you eat… how much salt, how much fat, how much sugar. It’s much easier to just say “what the hell?” and start down that slippery slope when you’ve got a menu in your hands. At home, it may not be as fun or exciting, but it allows you more of an opportunity to stay under control.
Exercise more. For me, exercising in some form or fashion almost every day is the linchpin to the entire production. I try to get in 45 minutes of something strenuous... cardio, strength-training, shoplifting... six days a week. When I’m exercising, I’m thinking about what I eat in terms of how much exercise it will take to burn it off. Want a donut? Sure, but you’ll have to run on the elliptical for 40 minutes. Sound like a fair trade? One tip that helps me tremendously is to pack a gym bag the night before. It makes me about 10,000% more likely to actually go if I don’t have to gather my things in a hectic, blurry-eyed, running-behind morning.
That’s it! That’s the entire playbook. Follow it half-assedly and you can lose a little weight. Follow it more stringently and you can make some magic happen on that scale.
And take heed from someone who’s closer to the end of his weight-loss journey than the beginning: all the time and effort, all the dedication and sacrifice, all the blood, sweat and tears (okay, maybe not the “blood” so much) is nothing compared to the sense of satisfaction and empowerment you will feel when you’ve achieved your goals.
This journey can change your life.
YOU can change your life.
It's time to do this...