People go through changes in life; some for better, some for worse. On this blog, I want to get a little personal about myself. Some people have asked me how I lost an entire person, so here’s the story…
After I retired from 22 years in the Army, I went to work right away. I had been used to Physical Training (PT) on a regular basis, usually beginning at 6:00 AM. When I retired, I went to work for a major electronics company and they were working everyone at “unlimited overtime”. I was on the clock at 5:00 AM and usually worked until 8:00 PM six days a week and we took off half a day on Sunday afternoons. There was no time for the daily PT and I ate a lot of fast food to save time. The result? I started to gain weight.
I didn’t really notice the weight gain at first, but then I started needing some larger sized pants. Then, one year after I retired from the Army, I stopped smoking. Many people will tell you that you will gain weight when you quit smoking because you are so used to putting something in your mouth. I discovered a totally different reason. Twenty-five years of smoking deadens your taste buds to the point that you are using more and more seasonings in your food, or drowning everything in Tobasco to enjoy the flavor. Once you have quit smoking, your taste buds begin to recover from all the years of abuse you have been giving them. Food starts to taste good again; you are noticing subtle flavors you hadn’t noticed in years. I found myself saying things like, “Hey! I don’t remember that tasting so good… let me have another piece.” or another steak, or some more pie or a second double whopper with bacon and cheese. (I think I just gained two pounds writing this paragraph)
My maximum allowable weight for my height and age by Army standards was 168 lbs. When I finally got on a scale, I discovered I was over two hundred. Still working a hard schedule, I started looking for easy ways to lose the weight. Diet pills, diet drinks, low calorie beer, South Beach, Atkins, all vegetable diet, all meat diet, all were useless because I didn’t have the time or will power to follow all the rules. At one point I read the mouse print on one of the bottles of pills. “Take one pill before each meal and follow a healthy diet and exercise routine”. So then I looked at the backs of the bottles of several “Miracle Diet Pill” programs and each said the same thing, just in different words.
IF I FOLLOWED A HEALTHY DIET AND HAD A REGULAR EXERCISE ROUTINE, I WOULDN’T NEED YOUR PILLS!
The more I tried the silly diets, the more weight I gained, until December 2006. It was my birthday and my family took me out to an Asian all-you-can-eat seafood buffet with sushi, king crab legs and a big variety of red meat cooked to your order. After the meal they brought out a birthday cake and someone took a picture of me with the cake. It wasn’t until January that I actually saw the picture and, to this day, I call it “The Picture That Changed My Life.” and I keep it with me in my cell phone, my computers and wallet to remind
me of where I was and where I never want to be again. When I joined the Army, I weighed in at 117 lbs. At my birthday dinner I weighed 260. A guy 5’6″ has no business weighing 260. I went to my doctor for the complete picture: I was type II diabetic taking 2 kinds of pills and shooting myself four times a day with insulin. I had high blood pressure (took pills), high cholesterol (took pills), sleep apnea (CPAP Machine), gastric reflux (took pills and tums), hemorrhoids (suppositories) and a fatty liver. My triglycerides, which should be at 150, were 4830. I was a mess heading for an early grave. My doctor recommended I see a nutritionist.
Her name was Rachel and she saved my life. We sat down and talked for over an hour, with me taking notes. We talked about what time I wake up, what time do I eat, what and how much do I eat, what time do I snack, what do I snack on, what time I eat lunch, what and how much do I eat, what time do I snack in the afternoon, what time I eat dinner, what and how much I normally eat, what about snacks in the evening and what time I go to bed, what and how much liquids do I drink at what times of the day. I told her that I don’t snack between meals or at night, she told me I need to. I told her I sometimes skip a meal, she told me that was the worst thing I could do. She showed me where and how I could make small changes (and a few big changes) in my diet. She said the six most important words to remember are;
chew, chew, chew and walk, walk, walk.
Digestion actually begins in your mouth, your saliva starts breaking down the food that you eat. The better the food is digested by chewing before you swallow, the less time the food sticks around in your stomach with a chance turning into fat. The walking is because I have a bad back and a bad knee (so running was out). Walking at a brisk pace can give you a good workout and raise your heartbeat without being high impact and causing further damage to your injuries.
Following her direction, I began eating 8 – 9 times a day. Small portions at regular intervals. I was eating 3 – 4 ounces at a time, about 8 times a day.
I explain: People who skip meals are telling their body to go into “Starvation Mode” and it begins storing up fat for the lean times. By eating every 2 – 3 hours, you are telling your body that this is a time of bounty and it’s ok to burn off the extra fat that is stored up. You have the brain, your body doesn’t, which makes it easier to to fool the body.
Following her directions and suggestions, I started losing 12 – 15 pounds per month and I did it without ever feeling hungry.
So… What’s the score now? First and most importantly, my diabetes is gone. I haven’t taken pills or used insulin in over 3 years, My blood pressure is fine (no more pills), my cholesterol is normal. CPAP Machine? What’s that? Gastric reflux is no longer a problem, no hemorrhoids and my triglycerides are under 200. All together I dropped from 260 lbs to 135 pounds before the doctor told me it was too much, too fast. I was actually told to put more fat into my diet, (How many people do you know who’s doctor told them to put more fat in their diet?) I went from 117 to 260, then from 260 to 135, then back up to 150. I now hover around the 145 to 150 weight.
So… I strongly suggest you stop using fad diets and see a nutritionist. Ask your regular doctor for a suggestion or a referral, look in the phone book or online, because It can save your life.
Look at me… at a 135 lb loss, I lost an entire person!