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Confessions of a Weight Loss Junkie

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Posted 03-27-2014 at 03:02 PM by Jeff Westover

I've been told to make a public confessional.

I'm supposed to do this as a means of motivating myself to stick to a changed lifestyle.

Yes, we no longer "lose weight". We "change lifestyles".

In my case that is a true statement.

I'm perfectly healthy. I've never broken a bone or had more than an occasional cold. I've never had surgery and except for some dental work have never really been on any kind of heavy meds.

But I've battled being "big" for most of my life.

Part of it is my build. I'm "wide". When I was a kid I was always the biggest kid -- never really fat...just bigger than others my age. I wore "husky" sizes, a moniker I always hated, and I usually endured the taunts of childhood bullying because I was the size I was.

But I didn't become overweight, actually, until adulthood.

That came as a result of pure undisciplined eating. And after I married, got busy with the careers, started traveling, yada yada yada...I just became obese.

Over time I've fought against it. I have endured periods of weight loss and have had some success with various methods. But it has never lasted because I would use one excuse or another to fall back on old unhealthy eating habits.

Last year my wife and I turned 50 and became grandparents. We decided this year was the year to get our act together.

After beginning in late January I have been down a road that was familiar to me. Eating correctly, sleeping better, getting exercise. There is no secret to this.

Just change.

This week, finally, someone said to me, "Are you losing weight?"

I was told that once I crossed that threshold I needed to reinforce my commitment to this lifestyle by becoming more public about it. The "pressure" will add to my willingness to continue.

I think that's silly.

But I have to be honest. My attempts to do this in the past have not held up. So I'm trying to be mindful...I'm holding myself accountable by involving others in what is otherwise a very individual journey.

I know how I got here. I have a ton of excuses.

But, honestly....

Between two jobs, seven kids, and only 24 hours a day who has the time to stop for proper eating?

I've lived the life of convenient foods. Grab and go. Heat and eat. Choke and puke.

So the changes begin by willfully admitting there is a problem and that a different course is necessary.

It's called clean eating. And it is simple.

Having no diseases or digestive issues or allergies whatsoever the formula is simple: no sugar, no processed foods, no starving, no unbalanced meals and no unhealthy snacking.

Just a balanced approach of whole foods, natural sugars, balanced proteins and simple carbs.

That's it.

Eating is a bit more work though. You can't just drive up to McDonald's and get this. You have to fix it pretty much yourself.

It requires six small meals a day -- always a carb, a protein, a fruit or a veggie -- always in balance. Whole nuts, lots of fruits, green leafy veggies, and lean meats eaten sparingly.

Now, I'm male. I'm not prone to think about this stuff. Just give me the stuff and I'll eat it.

But that has been part of the problem. I haven't thought of it. I haven't planned. I haven't weighed the good and the bad. I have just grabbed something whenever I was hungry.

Now when I grab things I have to force myself to think about it. And that part is work.

But yes, I'm male. We see a problem and we fix it. So I can do this. I just have to wanna.

There is a progressive sequencing to this lifestyle change.

We began in the dead of winter with the eating regime. All my meals are now different.

I eat breakfast now. Typical is unsweetened oatmeal with fruit and cinnamon, some scrambled egg whites and a fruit cup with plenty of water as a chaser.

Believe it or not, this one is a challenge for me. I've never been a breakfast eater. I'd just get up at 5 am and go to work. No eating until lunch.

Not good.

Lunch is a bigger meal now -- much more to my liking. A small portion of meat, steamed veggies, a fruit and lots of water.

Dinner is lighter -- just a salad usually.

And between these meals are small snacks of fruits with nuts.

I actually feel like I'm always eating. But since I'm actually only consuming less than 2000 calories a day my stomach has become smaller and getting all this down with the water I'm drowning in - nearly a gallon a day -- I'm full all the time.

Gone is the soda, the chips, the chocolate, the...Well, you get the idea.

Now, before I paint too grim of a picture, let me emphatically assure that I've not stopped living.

This is actually a moderate approach.

My wife and I continue the habit we have had all of our married life of once-a-week dates. It has meant different things at different phases but it usually includes a meal. And we'll go out to our usual favorite places and order whatever. I'll have Pepsi then with my meal if I want. We may eat dessert.

But that's one meal. Once a week. A special occasion, which is what all treats really should be anyway.

A kind woman from Church brought us cookies the other day. I had one. I couldn't turn her down and didn't want to. My eating plan can handle that.

We've already talked about Thanksgiving and Christmas. And yes, we plan to eat disciplined -- but we plan to enjoy the same holiday fare we always have.

But next Christmas I don't want to look like Santa Claus.

That seriously became a thing last year. I had grown a beard for over a year -- I've done that off and on all my life -- but my hair has lost its color and I hadn't had a full beard since that happened. When it came in it was predominantly white.

Being a big man with a white beard sometimes got me the expected responses at Christmastime. My kids thought it was funny that kids especially thought I was Santa. They saw something poetic in that.

But not me.

I'm not ready for that, I'm not too proud to admit.

As for losing pounds this isn't about a number. I know I mentioned calories but honestly I'm not doing that either. I've got enough numbers in my life.

This is about moving easier. This is about feeling better. This is about fitting into clothes of a modest size. This is about playing with my kids and grand kids.

So we're not doing before and after pictures. We're not putting benchmarks on a calendar and I don't want to go onto the Biggest Loser.

This is about making right and better choices for a higher level of living as I get older.

And I am serious this time.
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  1. Old Comment
    Christmas-A-Holic's Avatar
    Hey Jeff! That is great! I have been a clean eater for quite some time. I have never had a weight issue but I do have food allergies and fatigue problems that lead me to go that route several years ago. Yes, I do have an occasional food item that is not considered clean eating but on a whole I watch what I eat. It really does become a positive and easy habit. You will eventually start viewing food VERY DIFFERENTLY and you will change your thinking. I view food that way and think to myself, "How will I feel if I eat this or that"? That keeps me on track. In no way am I judgmental toward others who choose to eat the way they want to, sometimes I wish I could just eat anything but can't. I do this for me because it makes me feel better. I do admit that when the holidays come around I want what everyone else is eating but it really messes me up if I do. I envy those who can eat whatever they want and still feel great!

    In time this will be an easy task for you and your wife. Studying various healthy foods is very interesting and I have enjoyed doing that and I am sure you will to.

    I have some recipes for healthy desserts that have no added sugar (or fake sugar) if you would like to try them and they are sweet! They are naturally sweetened with fruit!

    Keep us posted on how it goes!
    Posted 03-27-2014 at 06:09 PM by Christmas-A-Holic Christmas-A-Holic is offline
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