Fueling Success With Success: How My Fatloss Taught Me How To Graduate College

Graduation Caps In Air

Last week was a big milestone for me, as it marked my last undergraduate class, and I’ve now finally completed my undergraduate degree. This article isn’t intended to be me bragging, as getting an undergraduate degree is hardly anything special; however, I wanted to share because I feel that without having lost and kept off 200lbs, I would not have been able to get my degree.

I’m sure that might sound silly, but bear with me.

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Why I Work Out

I keep telling my kids that I work out so that I can always carry them as they keep growing.
Today I showed them just that.
My daughter is 64lbs, and my son is 43lbs.
If you had told me when I was 400lbs that at some point, I’d be doing chin-ups with my kids holding onto me, I’d never have believed you.

charles43lb

elize64lb

Diet Sabotage 101

Newspaper clip about sabotage

“Beware Romulans bearing gifts” – Dr Leonard H. “Bones” McCoy.

While the original “Beware Greeks bearing gifts” from Virgil might seem to have more merit to the context of this article as Virgil was telling the tale of the famous Trojan Horse, Bones is a doctor dammit, not a poet! And Bones came bearing gifts of forbidden liquor which makes Bones’ a much better quote.

Often when we are trying to implement healthful habits, we are our own worst enemies. We strive for perfection when “perfection is the enemy of the good.”

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Non Scale Successes

Jeans are too loose!

“The scale can only tell you what you weigh; not who you are.” ― Steve Maraboli

During my fat loss journey of losing 200lbs, I would weigh in once per week, on Saturday. What the scale showed me that morning would dictate how my entire weekend went. I had weeks where I would lose 3-4lbs from Saturday to Saturday and I would feel great and be motivated for another week. I also had weeks where I would either have no change or gain weight, and I was entirely unmotivated and depressed. Even worse, I would have weeks where I would “only” lose 1-2lbs and think that I had done something wrong, and start to second guess myself, second guess the process, and begin to review my week to see where I went “wrong.”

I thought that the scale was the end all, be all indicator of success or failure.

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Deal with it: Binge Eating

binge

“Subdue your appetites, my dears, and you’ve conquered human nature.” Dorothy Canfield Fisher

I was a fat kid my entire life, up until the age of 28. That fat kid still exists, deep down inside, and his timid voice can become booming when it comes to food. Even after having lost 200lbs, I still have the voracious appetite of someone that is 410lbs. I know that I could be a competitive eater, but I have no desire to undo all of my hard work and the changes I’ve implemented in my life. Still, I occasionally find that I have this burning desire that turns off my brain and makes me feel like I just need to keep eating. Fortunately, these occasions, over time, have become few and far between. Even so, I want to leave nothing to chance. I’ve resolved to learn from my mistakes so that that I am better prepared for the next time the inner fat kid starts to get really loud and demands a few stuffed crust meat lover’s pizzas and non-diet Mt. Dew in a can (it’s so much better in a can).

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Social Obligations and Fat Loss

Cupcake

When you have an upcoming social obligation, like a birthday party, drinks with friends or you simply know that you cannot eat at home it can feel overwhelming if you feel you are suddenly “off plan.” There are multiple ways to deal with this, but the first and most important is to drop the notion of being “off” or “on” your plan in the first place. Fad diets with a rigid plan are great at quickly taking off scale weight, and often even better at putting it back on when you are off or done with the plan. You cannot live long term on a fad diet.  Life happens.  The habits we are developing now are ones that we should be able to live with for life so there is no “off” plan. Learning to be flexible is your new plan. This eliminates the feeling of “messing up.” You didn’t mess up. It is just food and you should be able to enjoy yourself without negative emotions.

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Budget The Luxuries First: Why Unhealthy Food Matters The Most

Candy Soda Lunch

“Budget the luxuries first” – Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

Heinlein, one of my favorite authors, gave the above advice as the recipe for a happy marriage. I believe that Heinlein’s advice is not only great marriage advice, it is also great advice for all things worth doing in life.  In order for something to be successful, the luxuries must be budgeted first, and “dieting” usually means removing “unhealthy food”, it is no exception.

When I say diet, I mean in the sense of what a person habitually eats, day in and day out, for life. I do not mean a fad diet, perpetuated on eliminating one of the food groups in order to trick you in reducing your calorie intake without you noticing, or even worse, something else like a juice fast to remove “toxins”.

For fat loss, as well as just trying to eat better for health and fitness, that means having a diet you can live with for the rest of your life and the key to that is a balance between eating foods that you enjoy, the luxuries, and the foods that provide you the necessary nutrition sustain a healthy body and mind.

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