A month ago, I announced here that I started a new weight loss program similar to that of one that I had loads of success with a few years back. I hadn’t really mentioned anything since then here (or at all). Some could interpret a number or reasons for that, I guess. A couple people asked me about it, but they were people I see everyday in real life, and I don’t really talk about it to them either. It’s different, especially when you compare it to the way I talked about on the last program. Back then, I was telling everyone. Maybe not as much from the start, but I remember posting my weight loss numbers every week, and spent hours it seemed talking to people about it and what I was facing. Just not this time. I guess the short reason is that this time is just different, and I’m just different.
If you never had a weight problem, or maybe have possibly, it’s hard to describe what gaining & losing weight seeming uncontrollable feels like emotionally. Sure some of it is obvious. Like its more fun being energetic than lethargic. Or how Pizza & Beer is a heck of a lot more fun than a protein shake alone at home. What’s harder to understand that the daily challenges of little battles that are easily ignored, or over celebrated. Overeating doesn’t happen just because someone doesn’t have will power alone. I mean, it does, will power does come into play. But it is a series of triggers that all of us face day in and day out. It can be so complicated that after five years of weight loss programs that included behavioral psychologists, I still don’t know why I eat when I eat. I say this because, the hardest challenge for me sometimes isn’t the decisions I make, but my perception of how people perceive my decisions.
Okay, that was really over analytic and boring probably. So let me be blunt. I got off from the attention I got when I lost weight the last time, to the point that it became just as important to me to be “that guy who lost a lot of weight” that it was to lose that weight. Don’t get me wrong, when you lose 200 pounds in a year, you deserve praise, attention, and all the pats on the back for the accomplishment. I also get how important it was to be that standard bearer to those who used me as inspiration to get healthier too.
Truth is that eating and weight loss is far more personal of a battle than people realize. My problem wasn’t hanging out at the curling club and putting back three or four beers on a Friday. My problem was having a counter full of chips and nacho cheese I didn’t stop at one plate of, or the nightly runs to Testoro for a Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. The only one around to judge me or give attention to what I was eating was Auggie the Doggie, and … well … he’s a dog.
So I had this idea this time around — what if I wasn’t “that guy that lost a lot of weight”. What if I was “a guy” who just happens to be losing weight. What if I didn’t let me weight loss define who I was this time, and I just worked my way though it.
As part of the program I am on, I meet bi-weekly with a physician who talks not just the physical side of weight loss, but the emotional side; and that relationship is turning into a great balance for me. We talk about the challenges I face, not any different than the last program I was on, but because it is one-on-one – we are a lot more specific, and we focus on the emotions of the moment. Plus, I am not so harsh on myself with my own expectations. I haven’t stuck to the plan very well, I mean … since being on a “shake only” diet, I have had ice cream three times, pizza twice, pasta twice, about a dozen cookies, and … just last night … two hot dogs. The decision I am making at that time is not “this is wrong”, it is “this is okay, it’s just going to take you longer to get to your goal”.
By the numbers, you can say that I am not as successful as I was on the old program. I am six weeks into it, and at the six week point five years ago I had already lost 50 pounds. So far, though, I am more successful for other reasons — one I have had good choices made, I have learned more about the new challenges I face, I have had ice cream, and my curling game has done a 180°. The fact that in six weeks I lost 40 pounds is just icing on the hot dogs.
So yeah, it’s different this time, because I want it to be different.
And there’s nothing wrong with that either.