This is a story about my personal weight loss journey and mild details of my life surrounding the event. If you would rather skip the narrative and get to the weight loss ideas, scroll down closer to the end of the story, they will be waiting for you there… or maybe they wont, maybe part of the problem is not paying attention to the journey and instead looking for the quick fix..=]
Six years, thats what I tell people. I cant be fully sure as my memory has become an odd sort of sieve. Some events are clear as day, though for the life of me I cant tell you within five years which day they would have fallen on!
It was at a time when my first marriage was taking an unholy toll on my mind, coupled with the stress of healthclub sales from 24 Hour Fitness, I was a menace to my body.
Soda, beer, cigarettes, fries dipped in Mayo near daily, burgers, many times weighing in a half pound or full pound burgers, some times McDonalds cheesburger Sunday eating contests with the other health club sales crew…
I was a wreck, one of the few things that helped me during that time was probably the excess smoking of weed as it allowed for serious stress reduction which at the time, well, with my lifestyle, even at 25 I was a superb candidate for a heart attack.
My day consisted of waking at 5.30, quick breakfast of something or other that had little to do with food followed by a 1 and a half hour drive in LA traffic to my health club. I was an asst. manager for 24 Hour Fitness and worked both in the city of LA and the valley, many clubs, including the Sherman Oaks sport club which was dedicated to Magic Johnson. Yes he worked out there every morning and yes, he was a very cool guy.
I was a great salesman, my home life was in such a state of disrepair that I was never there, i spent most of my time at the gym, and ended up being top salesman for the company. I find it all hilarious as I was clocking in at 285 pounds by this point. one of my best sales was to look the person in the eye and say, “You don’t want to end up like me do you?”. Sadly, they saw I was speaking from the heart and most of the time joined, which I guess is a good thing as long as they used it.
Now, so far we can see that my attitude was not in the right place for health. I was in a few situations that I fet were counter everything to me, and since I did nothing about them, my ego kicked in and began to compensate for me. I began substituting momentary pleasures for an actual life I would be proud of. I sank my sorrow in the bottle [both alcohol AND soda, soda probably the worse of the two] and in the food, the cigarettes tied it all together for me and for 4 years I pretended to be happy.
One day, a change happened. Im not sure exactly how or why, perhaps it was waking up to low back pain from which I would have to go late to work so i could lie i the bathtub to sooth the muscle spasms. I was that big that simply sleeping caused me pain.
One day, I cracked. I enlisted the aid of a personal trainer whom I was good freinds with and we went to my house during a lunch break and stole back my bed. At this point we were living in a two bedroom apartment and werent even sharing a bed any longer…. the bed had become a symbol of sorts for me, everything else be damned, but the bed was coming with me.
We go the bed, I moved in with another lady which is the beginning of another incredibly interesting story, with a much more tragic end and yet… lessons would be learned from this relationship as well, but Im losing our focus arent I? What I want to focus on for this part of my life is the one that brought you to the story, my weight and where it all went.
In leaving my relationship, even though i got directly into another, a part of me, on the inside, woke uo. It was this part that began to care for what was happening to the body I was living in.
The first thing to go was the soda. Soda was an addiction like no other for me, loved the stuff, Id gobble it up all day long, and I did. I would only stop in the evenings when I switched to beer!
Dropping soda alone for one month took off roughly TWENTY POUNDS! I was still drinking beer, still am to this day, drinking one right now as soon as i walk away from the computer to open a new one….
And we have sudsy alcohol water…
Soda, its a killer, plain and simple. No one can tell me otherwise as I have lived in a pre and post soda body.
SECKRIT 1 – LET GO YOR ADDICTION TO CLEVERLY BRANDED SUGAR WATER. if you want to lose weight, drink water, A LOT, everyday, and nothing else. Drink at least 1 gallon a day. You are made of water. You have little pods of water, in bigger pods of water, floating around in water all contained in a sac made mostly of little pods of water. Picture yorself as a bathtub carrying many little bathtubs. All day, everyday, simple routine life begins dirtying all these tubs of water. if you do not put clean water in the system…. You do understand dont you? if you do not, please email me – firstname.lastname@example.org. Want a cool thing to show yourself and the kiddies, put a piece of meat in a glass of soda and check it out at 24, 48, 72 hours later, then, if things haven’t gone to foul, check it one last time at the end of 7 days… You can also put in bone, teeth, anything that would represent what we are made out of and be prepared for a big surprise….
Water is key. Back to the story…
There I am 20 pounds lighter for having done nothing but switching my drinking habits. My mind begin to whirl and buzz and I thought, wat if I change my eating habits!?! Before I lose any of you, let me say clearly and specifically, I LOST ALL THIS WEIGHT WITHOUT BEING VEGAN OR VEGETARIAN! This change would come much later in my life and would be such a radical change that I am still doing it 6 years later and will not go back. That, is another story for another time. Keep calm, we have recipes and ideas for veganism and plant based diets if you want them, I am writing this story for those of you who have a diet like I had, one that was full of powdered donuts, large coffees from the green mermaid with more sugar than soda and more calories than a small pizza. This is for those of you who feel trapped and despondent. I say to you this, you have two options, hit rock bottom and climb, or trust in those that have gone before you and climb before you hit bottom. if I had to do it all over again, well, I would keep it the same, I hit the bottom and it is only because of that I say to you, START CLIMBING…. N O W!
The next changes were small. I would choose leaner meat from the grocery store eventually doing away with red meat almost entirely, I would focus on chicken and fish. Meat still made up a majority of my diet and no great gains or losses were made at this time, but for one very important one. Due to the stoke I was feeling fro the loss of weight i started, DOH, working out! Imagine that, gym membership guy working out…. Sigh, I have made my road so impossibly difficult at times….=]
The work outs were key in the weight loss arena. While what you eat is of PRIME import, moving is nearly of equal import, you know, its like choosing children, cant be done. You are what you eat [everyone], and, If you dont run you rust [Tom petty and the Heartbreakers]. They go hand in hand, to separate them is to lie to yourself. I remember when I was a paperboy, eons ago, and one gentleman stands out in my memory, still stands out to this day. I remember him walking, Im not sure when he first came up on my radar, but he was big, a very big dude. I would see him walking early in the mornings and late in the afternoons. a focused sort of walking, not just out for a stroll, really on it. He basically just slimmed before my eyes over the months, I have no idea what his diet was, but his exercise of choice was walking, just a thought for some of you!
SECKRIT 2 – Start Moving Simply walking with a focused intention will be a huge beginning for most of us as we set out to slim down, but most importantly, to be healthy. This leads us to Sekrit 3 or perhaps 2a… Whatever you decide to do, you must begin moving. I recommend a martial art, yoga, something organized at first until you can stand on your own two feet so to speak. Having people to train with and people who are knowledgeable will be key in your beginning stages. Always make sure that the person you are training with knows what they are talking about from personal experience. Do not put your health into the hands of anyone who has not done and knows very well, what you are attempting. Bruce Lee recommends a 2 mile JOG everyday. James Bnd and Batman wake up and do push ups and sit ups first thing. Some guy I knew in South Beach Miami would do push ups whenever he was doing nothing, waiting for his girl while shes trying on a dress – push ups, heating water on the stove for tea – push ups… there are many little things you can do to help you with your ultimate aim. Focus on your posture, how your feet hit the ground hen you walk, everything adds up to who you are becoming…
SEKRIT 2a or 3 [depending on your bulleting system], Lose weight Healthy style: Lose weight not to look great, lose it to be healthy and live a quality life. When the focus is put on simply looks, this in and of itself is already an unhealthy way of looking at the task at hand as it lends itself to petty ways of thought which are ego driven, this will always fail in the long run. Your goal is best served by being healthy. I cannot emphasize this enough! There are myriad body types on this planet, silly you who seeks to look like another! Better to seek the apex of fitness your body and ego will allow. Focus on eating the highest quality foods, reduce meat and dairy as much as you are able as all scientific data shows us that plant based nutrition is infinitely more valuable and that meat and dairy actually inhibit many of your bodies complex systems and promote disease. After all, why is it that the sickest people are put on a vegan diet…? Even Conventional Western medicine sees the light when you come closest to it as well! Bad joke, but true story. The sicker you are, the more likely your doctor will finally, as a last dicth method, prescribe essentially a vegan diet, they wont call it that, they will simply tell you what you cant have – no meat, no diary… hmmmmmmmm, they have a word for a diet like that=]
Back to my story…
Im losing weight very slowly, but steadily, thats the key, slow and steady will what… win this! One reason the actual weight loss seems slow, is that when combined with a strength program, you will be gaining a lot of muscle in the beginning, muscle weighs a lot more than fat in that it is roughly 18 times the density. Keep this in mind and do not allow yourself to be discouraged!
At this point, I began to increase the amount of vegetable intake in relation to my meat intake. The veggies went way up. In doing this I began to have an easier time when I used the toilet and noticed more leanness to my body. My eyes got brighter, head cleared a bit and I was now down to 205 to 210, thats a 70-80 pound loss! Further, I dropped refined sugar and refined salt. Later i would find out that dropping these two things from your diet allow your body infinitely greater health as they are two of the most destructive things a human can ingest!
Lets review where I am at now in my story some 4 years after the start. Veggie intake is equal or more than meat intake. Meat intake has been scaled back to white meats – fish and chicken primarily. No more Soda, refined sugar or salt and I am now reading labels for any ingredients I do not know the meaning of or have been forewarned about and dropping them from my diet. For instance, when I learned about hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, especially in one of my favorite foods, peanut butter. Dropped the JIF and went natural. Tip for those of you who haven’t gone natural peanut butter due to having to stir the oils in… A. get unlazy quick, its your body fool! and B. turn the can on it’s side or upside down overnight and half the stirring will be done for you!
SECKRIT 3… Dont eat things if you dont understand the ingredients that they are made from. You dont need it in your body. Your tongue may tell you that it is necessary, but this is nearly always wrong if you do some basic thinking when eating. If it is a long name that seems more at home in a chemistry book than a food label, why eat it. If it is something common that you know to be bad, MSG, artificial color, artificial flavor, sugar, salt, hydro and partially hydrogenated oils etc. Do not eat! Do some research on what food is made out of and what those various things do to your body. Act like you care about the thing [your body] that allows you to experience life and you just may end up saving yourself!
You are a natural organism. I promise, god as my witness, you WILL operate better if you are eating a diet that is made from the most organic, local food you can find. Further, the less meat and more fruits, vegetables, grains and seeds you consume the better still! Eliminating Cow dairy from your diet will lead you to better health yet! Its all dependent upon how strict you want to be with yourself and what kind of results you want.
Story, at about this point in my life, we are on or about year 5 of my weight loss. At this point I decided to do away with drugs, I was using cocaine and was not cool with it, it wasn’t right and to this day i tell people that the reason I quit is because I woke u on the beach and didn’t know who or where I was. Sadly, I don’t even know if this happened. I have a whole chunk of time that is relegated to faded snap shots and confused and overlapping memories and dreams… At the same time ~I began studying buddhism, not in a formal way, in my way, reading many books by contemporary monks, monks of old and stories of punk rocker mayhem raisers turned to the dharma path…. Two of the most important books for me at this time were the “Tao Te Ching” by Lao Tsu and the “Tao of Pooh”, by Benjamin Hoff
I left my marriage, the second one at this point and moved to LA, then SF and then Australia to be a lifeguard at a water park. By now I was fairly steady at 210 with a solid mass of muscle. I would do my random push ups and pull ups, random pull ups are great as they force you to use all sorts of things you ordinarily wouldn’t [ledges, walls, etc.], thereby greatly increasing your hand strength. I began my first forays into barefoot running and long distance running and got heavily into weights and lifting.
The apex and grand culmination of this would occur a year or so after leaving Australia and finding myself on the Big Island of Hawaii. Due to an “accident”; I drove halfway around the Island to check out a guitar for my 31st B-day and upon arrival at the house, i was met with people asking me why my transmission was dumping its fluid down thier driveway. My response was who are all you people.
They repsonded, “we’re a vegan commune and you can stay with us but you have to eat what we eat.”
They turned out to be Gentle World, the makers of the first vegan cook book, I stayed with them for three months and have been vegan for over 6 years now. This is the end of my story. It took a very long time. I had to be willing to change and let go of things that gave me great comfort. Many things, from foods to drinks, to relationships to geographical locations, jobs, I had to change who i was as a person in order to find the happiness that would allow me to be myself. Who I am is not a fat guy when happy. Im a healthy guy, when I get sad, I feel the inexorable pull to eat unhealthy and do things that are “bad” for me. I have learned and simply deal with my unhappiness and not compound the issue by hurting my body for the sake of my ego.
I do still drink alcohol, not in the copious amounts that I used to, trying to forget each day so that I could face a new one, but it is still there. Someday, perhaps I shall do away with it permanently, until then, well, no worries here=] I like marijuana when it appears, do your research on it and decide for yourself, make sure to garner many resources in your search, it is easier to find the truths when it comes to this miracle plant, but you must still be wary of your sources as there are many business and governments who would stand to lose vast piles of money should it ever become legal. Beyond these issues, it is a wonder drug, a miracle, many people who are in much worse shape than you and I will attest to this, listen to them. A person dying from a debilitating disease will have little to lie to you about. Facts taken from 100 years of data mining that show no deaths ever attributed to the plant, well, you do your research and prepare to be amazed…
This is really about how I lost a lot of weight and not legalization of this or that. My end point in all this is if you want it, a healthy life, its not rocket science. You know how to eat well, you simply do not do it. You know to exercise, you simply make excuses and put it off to tomorrow… You know what to do, I am another story in defense of you doing it! I speak for your body, just do it already, it takes time, so start now, not then. Wait for what, for next summer, for this, for that, this is your B O D Y, it gets you through the world. How it is treated will be a direct reflection of how it allows you to live your life. This is cut and dried my friend, You are what you eat, if you don’t run, you rust. nothing is simpler, nothing more true. If you have A N Y questions, feel free to email at your convenience, i am here to assist in whatever way I can be of service. I know it sucks, because I have lived it PERSONALLY. I now live something different. You want proof, there it is. You want help, its here. You want the motivation to do it, its all around you, in your mirror, your aches and pains, jokes a your expense. You want a new lease on life – GET CRACKIN!