I wanted to start today's post with the start of my journey and the honest email I received. This email was the kerosene on my weight loss fire and put life and changes to that life into perspective.
Here it goes:
June 20, 2013
I feel your frustration with your weight - I know you didn't ask for my commentary, but from my point of view your biggest challenge has always been your diet. I've seen you try this and that, but you've never seemed to be able to stick with anything for any length of time and make a permanent or lasting change to your diet. Two things matter - Quantity of food, and Quality of food. I used to think it was a silly saying, but it really is true that "abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym." Please don't take this as me preaching, I've never really found it easy to lose weight and have been the "husky" kid most of my life. What I have found works for me is to make small, gradual changes that are easy to maintain. The protein shakes are a perfect example. Except for maybe once a week (Sundays are usually waffle or french toast day at our house), I've really had nothing but a protein shake for breakfast since the beginning of the year. I don't really believe in the idea of "cheat days". If I want something, I usually have it. However, whether it is a meal or dessert, I try to only eat enough to satisfy my craving. Heather and I end up sharing a lot of desserts, and even splitting meals. I drink very little pop/soda, and I almost always cut it with water. I decrease the sugar/cals but still get the flavor. I do my splurging on alcohol (will be doing a lot of that at OBX :). But aside from vacations I typically only drink once or twice a week and it is still in moderation; not to get drunk. Aside from Chipotle or the occasional Five Guys burger, I don't eat fast food. We eat and cook fresh wherever and whenever possible. We don't completely avoid carbs, but the starchy carbs (potatoes, rice, pasta) never make up the bulk of our meals. And for example when eating something like Mexican, we usually limit ourselves to one or maybe two tortillas - if there is still meat or whatever left after that, eat it without the tortilla. Same goes with bread, we eat very little bread anymore.
These have all been gradual changes we introduced into our diet, and as much as we always thought we could never live without pasta or bread before, we really don't miss it like we thought we would. We still have it occasionally, but it isn't a staple of our diet and it makes it that much better when we do have it. And I'll tell you honestly - after a while your brain doesn't let you make the poor choices. When you start eating better and feeling better, you start wanting to make those better choices because the bad ones are negatively re-enforced with not feeling good after, or feeling bloated, or weight gain, or feeling lethargic, or just generally crappy.
Small changes, introduced gradually. Change something little, get used to it, make it habit. Rinse, repeat. Sudden, drastic changes to diet shocks the system and are prone to be short-lived and fail. That includes stuff like cleanses and juicing. I get that it is supposed to kick start a change in diet, but it is so sudden a change that it puts a lot of stress on your system both physically and mentally and I think you found that out the hard way. Some people just push through it, but it is unnecessary in my opinion.
My hope is that anything I've said here based on my experiences may resonate with you in a way that works for you. As I said, I know you didn't ask for my opinion, but I know you want to succeed and I want to see you succeed as well. I know you can. I got nothin' but love for you.
After Chuck sent me this email, I sat down and reevaluated what I was doing and not doing.
After a little research, I realized that the first step was to increase my activity - and Fitbit One won.
More on my Fitbit adventure tomorrow!