Sunday, August 29, 2010

One month down, a journey to go

I now understand the anxiety each Biggest Loser contestant feels when it comes to the weigh-in. When I put myself out there by starting this blog, I didn’t expect to wrestle with the emotions of an open weigh-in. It is really a vulnerable spot to be in and on the day I was to weigh-in, my insecurities started to flood my mind with questions. Did I lose enough weight? What will others think? If I only lose half of what I expected, what will next month look like?

Well… My first weigh-in was at the house of my good friends, Jonathan and Alysia Tarpley. They so kindly invited us over for a wonderful Chinese chicken salad lunch and an afternoon of chill time, but before we could dig in, I threw my shorts on and headed over to step on the scale. As the scale calculated my weight, I couldn’t help but hold my breath. WHAhaha 266.8 I couldn’t believe it. I lost 26.4 pounds. That’s incredible. The time and effort had really paid off.

But now I am rethinking the questions I had that morning. What would others think, if I didn’t lose very much or what would next month look like, if I only lost half of what I expected? These are telling signs that I have not arrived in my pursuit of a healthy self-concept. Should I be any less pleased with myself if I had only lost 12 pounds? Of course not, but this still tends to be the way I think. I have quite the journey still ahead of me and I am not sure if it has much to do with weight loss, but I am ready and willing to learn. Month two here we come.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


A little less than a week to go before I have my first weigh-in and I have to admit that I getting a little anxious. Overall it has been a good month, with only one exception when I ate four slices of pizza in one setting. Yikes‼

This week I read the 2nd Chapter of Dr Phil’s book, The Ultimate Weight Solution and it’s all about expectations and goals. Properly set expectations are vital to the success of a healthy and long-lasting weight loss endeavor, but before we jump into our expectations and goals I think it is important to address the differences between “self image” and “self concept”.

How you feel about your body can have a dramatic effect on your self-concept—a more inclusive term that describes the bundle of beliefs, facts, judgments, and perceptions you have about yourself, every moment of the day. What you believe about your body shapes your self-concept and how it gets expressed, to some extent. If you don’t like your body, this self-rejection is likely to weaken your self-concept and make you feel that you can never be worthwhile. On the other hand, accepting and loving your body makes you feel better about yourself and what you can accomplish. Pg 23

Wow! That hits home in more ways than just weight loss, but in hopes to keeping this post shorter than the chapter I just read, I will remain on point. Your self-image may very well be an accurate one. You may be overweight and in need of some major attention, but we cannot let the reality of our physical condition drag our self-concept down so much that it makes it impossible to find any motivation to do something about it. Change comes when we acknowledge our shortcomings and refuse to beat up on ourselves unnecessarily; instead we make the choice to take the important and timely steps to a healthier life.

OK, we move on to expectations and goals. First let’s look at our “Get Real Weight”. There are two ways to look at this: medically and psychologically. Medically there is a healthy weight for you and I have learned that it is not necessarily in line with the BMI charts; it various depending on one’s level of activity and build. Dr Phil gives two great systems to calculate a realistic goal. First the Body Shape Standards will help you determine waist to hip ratio.

Calculate your waist to hip ratio is easy:

  • Using a tape measure, measure your waist at your belly button
  • Measure your hips at the widest point. (Stand with your feet apart, in a relaxed position)
  • Divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement to arrive at your waist-to-hip ratio

Ideally, this number should be .80% or less if you are a women; or .95% or less if you are a man Pg 27

The Second is the Body Weight Standard*. Use the Table below to determine your target; the lower end ranges are for those who are small boned, while the upper end is for those who are large boned.

Height______Women ___________Men

4' 10" _______90-100-110 _______114-127-140
4' 11"_______ 95-105-116 _______119-132-145
5' ­­­__________99-110-121 _______123- 137-151
5' 1" _______103-115-127 _______128-142-156
5' 2" _______108-120-132 _______132-147- 162
5' 3" _______112-125-138 _______137-152-167
5'4" _______117-130-143 _______141-157-173
5' 5" _______122-135-148 _______146-162-178
5' 6" _______126-140-154_______ 150-167-184
5' 7" _______130-145-160 _______155-172-189
5' 8" _______135-150-165 _______159-177-195
5' 9" _______139-155-171 _______164-182-200
5' 10" ______144-160-176_______168-187-206
5' 11" ______148-165-182_______ 173-192-211
6' _________153-170-187 _______177-197-217
6' 1" _______157-175-193 _______182-202-222
6' 2" _______162-180-198 _______186-207-228
6' 3" _______166-185-204 _______191-212-233
6' 4" _______171-190-209 _______195-217-239

*Dr Phil's Weight Loss Standard Pg 28

On the other hand, psychologically your “get-real-weight” has little to do with numbers on a scale or other device. It means:

  • You like your body and live in it with pride
  • You are happy and truly at peace with your size
  • You accept your God-given uniqueness
  • You treat your body with respect, care, and love
  • You like what you see in the mirror every day
  • You focus your attention on living well, rather than looking good
A healthy self-image and a well focused self-concept depends on both the medical and psychological components of weight loss. So for our next step we will focus on proper goal-setting that incorporates both of these components. But to learn how you'll have to stay tuned; I have run out of time and space. So until my next post, keep up the good work; each day is a new opportunity for success.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

One Week at a Time

So this has been the toughest week thus far. I didn’t slip up, but found myself emotionally discouraged and mentally slack. And we all know where that path leads; temptation was at an all time high. In hindsight, what I find most interesting and yet disturbing was the instinctive approach I used to try to re-motivate myself. I found myself constantly criticizing my weight, exacerbating every fat roll, looking for just something to rekindle the frustration that was so prevalent just a week ago. Well… As of today I am working on changing that mindset.

Fortunately, I made the time to open up Dr Phil’s book, The Ultimate Weight Solution and read the first chapter. So far, I have learned nothing about dieting; rather I have found that the way I view myself is in essence the key to either my success or failure.
Get up each morning, look at yourself in the mirror, and see yourself not as someone who is overweight or out of shape, but as someone you will become, a person with a greater level of dignity and worth who, for probably the first time ever, is finally going to succeed—for a lifetime.

As my friend Maya Angelou has so wisely said, “You did what you knew how to do, and when you knew better, you did better." Pg8
I am also learning that willpower is not as empowering as I once thought. Instead I must reprogram myself for success by making small, deliberate modifications that will impact life in the long-term and then, incorporate the appropriate goals, actions, and self-management that will pull for me when I am less than motivated.
You bought into that lie, and it has beaten you down, and crushed the very core of your being. You believed that you failed because you lacked sufficient willpower, and that somewhere inside you, you were weak and inadequate. However; willpower is unreliable emotional fuel that drives you when you are excited, motivated, or energized…no one stays fired up continually, in fact, the burners are turned to the “off” position most of the time. Pg17
So this week, it is my goal to focus only on this week and to make the small, deliberate modifications that will forever change my life.

Monday, August 9, 2010

What Am I Thinking?

“One week down, fifty-one weeks remaining” To be honest this was the first thought that came to my head this morning; however the more I think about it, the more I realize how skewed this mindset is. It’s as if I am counting down to the day in which I can resume my “normal” eating habits. (Despite the fact that I keep telling myself that everything will be different once I have lost the weight) But I was at 210 pounds before. Have I learned something new since then that tells me living at 290 pounds is not OK? Well… it is true that knowing something and living through something is a world of difference, but do I seriously think that the sluggishness that I feel at 290 pounds will forever be in the forefront of my mind; continually reminding me that I shouldn’t eat my entire Claim Jumpers plate? No, I don’t think so. Rather I think that my frugal side would come into play and tell me that if I don’t eat it, it would be a waste of money and food. If I know anything about myself it is this: if there is a loophole letting me get away with something, I’ll find it. Wow, that’s a vulnerable statement; not sure how I feel about posting that. In any case, I must start transforming the way I think. How, you may say. I’m not exactly sure, but I picked up a pretty interesting book a couple of months ago and I think it may be the right time to open it up. It’s titled The Ultimate Weight Solution: The 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom by Dr Phil. Stay tuned and I’ll fill you in on the nuggets that I learn along the way.

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Helping Hand

One benefit to blogging on such a relevant topic is that you quickly get inundated with a vast amount of resources. While there is no way that I can fully investigate all of these, I will from time to time post some of them that stand out.

Today, I would like to applaud the creators of This is a huge resource that is absolutely free to those willing to sign up for the basic plan. At the start of my diet, I thought I had a pretty fancy excel sheet to track my calorie intake, but my better-than-average worksheet had to humbly bow to the behemoth of a calorie tracker at Live Strong. Whether you are looking to lose, maintain or even gain weight, this site is one to keep on your favorite's list.

The ever essential Calorie tracker is just one of the features you'll find at your disposal. It’s true that tracking calories in the past was so time consuming, but those days are long gone. The “MyPlate” feature allows you to just type in your meals and voilĂ , all the necessary nutritional facts are right there. Whether you are eating out or not, it has just about everything on there. (and for those on the go, look into the LiveStrong App for your smartphone, only $2.99)

There are many other features and tools that are available. Track your activities, read up on the latest health advice, watch all the workout how-to’s with the click of a button, the list goes on and on. Did I mention this site was massive? Look up new healthy recipes, check your BMI, or maybe you’re considering having a baby. Yep, they have tools to help you on the journey to parenthood as well. If it has to do with healthy living, you’ll probably find it here. So check it out. Don’t let your lack of resources be the thing that holds you back.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Trip to Reality

For some, finding out their actual weight is quite a blow in and of itself and they will often use this emotional set back as a means to motivate themselves to cut back a second portion or eliminate an occasional bedtime snack. However, I am finding that the problem with this is that my highly charged emotional motivator quickly loses its motivation once the initial shock and embarrassment wears off. So it is here that I must rely on intellect.

Fact: I weigh 293.2 pounds.

True, this is not a huge motivator either, but what is motivating is what this number represents. Here are a few motivators that can’t be so easily ignored.

At 293.2 pounds, my BMI is a whopping 38.70%. That places me in the Class II obesity category. It is estimated that an individual within this classification has a lifespan 6 to 7 years shorter than that off someone not overweight. Excessive body weight is also associated with various diseases, particularly cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus type 2, obstructive sleep apnea, certain types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

And So It Begins

The official number is finally in. As of August 1, 2010, I weighed in at 293.2 pounds.

Wow. That's about what I expected, but I still find it somewhat discouraging. Who am I kidding – it’s really discouraging. This is as far as I know the heaviest I have ever been. It’s so discouraging! I had every intention to get everyone motivated for this journey, but here it is day one and all I want to do is slice into a piece of left over Birthday cake.

This journey ahead seams so daunting, however I know it is the only path that will give me back my life. As for now, I must focus on the small victories. I have not slipped up yet and am about to go out for a swim; I guess I can consider that momentary success.