As some of you are aware, I have been struggling with a weight issue for many years. Truth be told, I haven't really struggled with it until
recently. Now that I am trying to lose weight, I am struggling. As a kid I was fairly active, but bordering on chubby. As I entered my teen years, chubby blossomed to fat. I was about 20 to 30 pounds over weight. By the time I was in my early twenties, I was
obese. I was carrying an extra 60 pounds of baggage. At 5' 8” tall, I weighed 220 pounds.
About that time, I was pondering going back to school to further my education. I loved to cook, I thought that becoming a chef would be
a logical choice for me. I enrolled at the local tech school in the cook/chef program, and was about to start the next day. When I fell asleep that night, I dreamt that I had graduated from the chef program only to become a fry cook at Sambo's (I think Sambo's
became Denny's at some point). I called the school in the morning and told them to give my spot to the next person in line, and decided to enroll in a community college the following year. To this day, I regret having put credence in that dream.
In reality, I was very nervous about starting the chef program for several reasons, all of which were embodied in that dream. I was nervous
about the sensitivity of my palate. Would I be able to distinguish nuances? To a large degree, that is something that can be learned. I didn't have confidence in myself. Would I be able to do these fancy ice carvings that the school seemed so enamored of?
Apparently, this school was big on producing chefs for catering companies or something. It was really a non-issue, but also a reflection of my lack of confidence. Ice sculpture is a learned skill. It helps to have natural talent, but it is predominately learned.
In the time between cooking school and college I taught myself a lesson on self confidence that I, sadly, forgot for a time. In one summer,
or three months, I lost 60 pounds. I did not change my diet at all. I did one simple thing. I got off my flabby backside and moved. I rode my bicycle everywhere. I rode to work everyday, which was a 3 mile one way trip. After work I would bicycle over to the
lakes and ride around Cedar Lake, Lake Harriet, and Lake of the Isles. On my way back I would ride around Harriet again, only this time I would do ten circuits. Then I would head home. I would say that I rode about 50 miles a day. By the end of summer, I was
fit and healthy, and eating like a horse.
Portion control and snacking have always been my downfall. I love my seconds and feel cheated if I don't get them. And don't talk to me
about trying to fool myself by taking small portions and then taking seconds (also small amounts). If you think you can fool yourself, you're fooling yourself. I think I might have been eating in snacks what a normal person would eat as their daily intake.
I would guess just between 10 PM and midnight I would eat 1200 calories.
Fast forward and I am again vastly over weight. I let myself get lazy, gained a bunch of tonnage and then allowed myself to think I couldn't
do anything about it so why bother. Only now, at my age, the weight came with other inconveniences. I developed sleep apnea. My blood pressure was elevated. My joints hurt so much that I really didn't want to go walking. A host of other indignities occurred
to my body that I won't even go into. My high weight was a whopping 270 pounds when I lived in New Jersey. Then I discovered an app on my phone. It allowed me to record calorie intake and output, and suggested healthy levels of each for a desired weight loss
per week. Not wanting to get carried away, I chose to only try to lose a pound every other week. The app told me that I could eat 2900 calories a day, but I would then have to spend 795 calories above my base rate. The app helped me control how much I was
snacking. It is still an issue of honest reporting and will power, but it seems to be working.
I am now at 232 pounds and feeling pretty darned good. I seem to be stuck at 232 pounds, because it's been a couple of weeks since I shed
a pound, but I am sure that I will get a handle on what's going on and then continue to drop pounds. Like the first time I shed a lot of weight, I haven't made big changes in my diet. Certainly, I am eating more fruits and vegetables, because I have a really
nice garden, but I still eat plenty of processed foods on a typical day. I would guess that I probably eat at least one meal that is a convenience food. The real trouble is trying to spend the calories. I am phlegmatic by nature. I don't like going for walks
or hopping on the treadmill for the sake of moving. When I was really working hard on my garden, I was engaged in purposeful activity. I guess this will make my wife happy. There is no end of outdoor projects here!
I am at the point now where I am going to ask my doctor if I can go off of my blood pressure medication. Even without my medication, my
blood pressure is about 125 over 80. That is much better than the 155 over 100 I was seeing at 270 pounds! He may want me to lose another 10 or 20 pounds before he allows that. I am having fewer joint pains, and I suspect that it is true that people with arthritis
need to keep moving to manage the disease better. I have a lot more energy during the day. When I have to do something, it is much easier to get going and get it finished. Now if I could just change the phlegmatic nature thingy!
If there is a point to any of this, it might just be that processed foods aren't nearly as bad for you as healthy levels of activity are
good for you. Unless you have an allergy to something, don't fret and fuss about the great Satan, Monsanto. Enjoy eating. Learn to enjoy moving. Old age will kill you long before Bayer will. Go out to a restaurant and have a good time knowing that for the
next however many weeks you'll be eating your own, healthy, home cooked meals. Oh. And Quarter Pounders with Cheese are not poison. They are delicious and I love them! I just don't eat them every day.