Archive for July, 2011

Drafting the Blueprint
July 25, 2011

(Note: This is part 3 in a series on weight loss and lifestyle change.)

You can’t begin to build the New You without a plan. Think of what would happen if you tried to build a house without a blueprint. Rooms would be random and haphazard, materials would be cut to the wrong lengths, wire wouldn’t run far enough, etc. It would be a complete mess. The blueprint is your master plan; it tells you where everything will fit and how you need to construct it to fit there. Because you are trying to construct a life that is very different from the one you have previously done, you need such a plan in place to make it work. Otherwise, you will naturally make decisions that fit your old life, the life with which you are familiar.

Create your blueprint, your master plan for where you want to be and how you will get there, and execute that plan to the letter. Figure out what weight you want to reach and what foods are acceptable to reach that goal. This requires some nutritional research on your part and some testing. Not every plan will work for everyone. We each have individual preferences and this will govern how we can adjust to a new life. For example, you may love broccoli and find that it makes a great meal for you. Personally, I detest it and would never be able to eat it on a regular basis. So making it part of my plan would be foolish. I could not stick to such a plan, but it might fit perfectly in yours. You have to remember this will be your house for life, the materials that go into it have to be things that are welcoming to you. You can’t live in a place you hate. That is not the recipe for a happy life.

At each stage, following your plan is essential, even on a daily basis. In the morning, you need to have a solid understanding of what your meals will be for the day. If you leave it up to your own whims, you will be making a decision based on impulse, and your impulses can lead you off the plan. It would be akin to not consulting your blueprint when you go to buy building materials. You may return from the store thinking you got things you really like, only to find they don’t fit the space you allotted in the blueprint. Your lifestyle is the same way: many of the things you enjoy and used to eat on a regular basis will not work with the New You.

This is not to say you will never eat pizza again, or donuts, or anything you love. Don’t think that way. Even the healthiest person enjoys an indulgence now and then. But you have to plan for it, when the occasion allows. Your house has all the essential living and work spaces, it should have a nice recreation room as well. You won’t be spending all your time there, but it should be there for those occasions when you need it. Maybe there’s a holiday coming up, or a friend’s birthday. Plan to allow for a big meal or a dessert then. That way, you won’t be dismayed the next morning, this was all part of the plan. Enjoy yourself and get back to work the next morning. Planning is a major part of making the New You a healthier and happier person.

Next, we lay our foundation.


Blog Post: Welcome to the Neighboorhood
July 23, 2011

(Note: This is Part 2 in a series on weight loss and lifestyle change.)

When planning your new future, your “New You”, I think it’s helpful to imagine yourself building a house. The house is your life, and you’re building a new one from the ground up. This house is going to be a better, more positive and healthy place than your old home.

When building a house, you might think the first step would be the foundation, but you’ve overlooked a very important step, one that will save you a lot of trouble down the road.

First, you decide where to build it.

You’re going to want your new home in a good environment, with neighbors who share your goals for life and will support each other in living it. Just as you wouldn’t want to move in next door to a crack den, you don’t want the New You to be surrounded by people who will constantly hinder your efforts to live a new lifestyle.

We’ve all had so-called “friends” who stand in the way of us bettering ourselves. Maybe they don’t understand or identify with your problem, and therefore don’t respect it. Maybe they are just mean-spirited types who make “jokes” to conceal their desire to put others down. Regardless, these are people you don’t want living in your new neighborhood. Anyone who does not respect the process you need to go through to live a better life and actively want you to succeed is NOT YOUR FRIEND, PERIOD. You need to let them go and get on with building your house, a place where they are not invited.

It’s always possible some are just oblivious, either due to self-centeredness or simple lack of social awareness. These are the ones who will bring you into tempting situations or bring temptations around you without ever realizing they are creating a problem. The first thing you want to do is talk to them, let them know your feelings and your goals, and what you need for them to do (or stop doing) to help you get there. If they are on board, great! If they are offended by the idea of needing to be supportive, (“Why should I have to blah blah blah?”) get rid of them. Friendship is about mutual respect, self-centered people like that always want things to revolve around them. You don’t want them in your new neighborhood.

It’s not easy to let people go, but it’s something you need to do in order to have the support system you will need to build your house. Just as no one builds a house alone, you will need your community of true friends and family in order to build your new life. Don’t make a scene or announce that you are never speaking to them again. You’re not out to make enemies or start drama. You’re just keeping the right friends and making the right new ones. Quietly move on. Disconnect them from your social networks (an important modern tool for building an extended neighborhood), if they ask why just tell them you’re paring them down to just a few select people. You have the absolute right to make changes that will make you physically and psychologically healthier, you don’t owe anyone any explanation for that. Once that decision is made, you can easily distance yourself from them, not returning calls or seeing them until they have been left behind for good.

Now, construction begins. More to come.

It’s Not a Diet, It’s a Lifestyle Change
July 21, 2011

One of the tough things about being an overeater is you have developed a vast network of neural connections and patterns of behavior that work against you on a daily basis. This includes the way you see/ respond to food, your eating habits, your exercise habits, your self-image, and on and on. All of it profoundly affects your choices, and virtually none of it contributes positively to your overall health.

One thing that is a huge stumbling block to lasting positive change is the difference in effort needed for weight loss and gain, what I call the “Hole Effect”. It takes tremendous focus, determination, and effort to keep yourself on track to lose a great deal of weight. This can be visualized as a worker digging a hole, the worker needs to work hard, and be determined to keep at it despite sweat, fatigue, and unfavorable conditions. All the dirt gets piled up at the top. If the worker shirks his duty, all it would take is one good push to move all that dirt back into the hole, and he would return to find all the work undone. Weight loss is the same in that respect, it takes a long time and a lot of effort to get it off, but your old habits can pack it right back on in nothing flat. Worse, you could (as I did) put on twice as much, and now you have a mountain to dig through on the way back to your original hole.

This is discouraging to a shocking degree, and the psychological effect has added to your already hard-to-overcome network of barriers.

What I think helps is to think of your work not as a “diet” (which connotes a process with a finite end) but a “lifestyle change”. Chronic overeaters and alcoholics share this dilemma. You are never done being an alcoholic, you will need to fight it for the rest of your life. For those attempting to leave their overweight past behind, a similar outlook is important: going back to those old habits is not an option. You will need to change how you think about yourself and behave in order to get where you want to be and stay there. You will need to build a new version of yourself, and replace the old network with a new one: one that works to better your overall health and enhances your existence in positive ways.

This is not easy, I’ll have more thoughts on how to make these lifestyle changes, but believe me, we can do it, we can start right now, and we can do it for the rest of our lives.

When I die, I want to go peacefully like my Grandfather did, in his sleep… not screaming, like the passengers in his car.
July 18, 2011




July 16, 2011

Fundamentalists believe the problem is eating from the Tree of Knowledge. Atheists believe the problem is cutting it down.

Arthur Shuey

July 14, 2011

An Atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An Atheist believes that a deed must be done instead of a prayer said. An Atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanished, war eliminated.

Madalyn Murray O’Hair