Jun 132012

Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution, Revised Edition by Dr. Robert C. Atkins, M.D.  

Last year, I read Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It and started a high protein, low carbohydrate diet. I lost 25 pounds by Thanksgiving. I couldn’t get below 197, though, and decided to take the holidays “off”. I gained some weight back, of course, but went back on the diet mid-January. Again, I kept bouncing off the 200 pound wall. My wife suggested I read Dr. Atkin’s revised edition as it had a chapter on what to do about stalling.

I resisted for several months because I really don’t enjoy reading books on health. I finally gave in and read it. I learned a few things, but it was mostly repeat of what I read before. He had a few good ideas on what to do when weight loss stalls out and I am trying some of them. One is to quit stepping on the scale every day. I do it once a week now and last time I did, I was at 198. I am also keeping closer track of exactly what I eat and counting every carb. It is a pain, but so far, so good. I hope to lost this last 20 pounds and then go into maintenance mode. I can hardly wait.

Jan 202012

Steel can be any shape you want if you are skilled enough, and any shape but the one you want if you are not.
– Robert M. Pirsig

I saw this quote yesterday and was struck by the relevancy. Are you skilled at shaping yourself? Do you know how to discipline yourself into new, productive habits? Or are you stuck in good intentions, not becoming anything like the hopes you have for yourself?

Once we discipline ourselves into making small changes to ourselves, we can learn to make bigger changes. As children, we began with the small things, like combing our hair, doing homework right after school or cleaning our rooms. After mastering these items, we move up to more difficult challenges and learn to shape ourselves into what we want to be.

The person who doesn’t understand the basics of changing habits and has little willpower finds it extremely difficult to mold themselves into the desired character. They have to learn to master the small stuff, even it is means returning to the child-like tasks. It takes practice to obtain a skill. Repetition is what provides the ability to truly mold ourselves into what we want to become.

Struggling with a goal or a resolution? Take the time to think it through. What is it you really want to become? Don’t just define the milestone (I want to weight 180 pounds by July 4). Also add the traits necessary to adopt in your life (I eat healthy foods in appropriate portions and exercise regularly). After all, the end goal isn’t achievable in a day, but the trait is. Today, I ate the correct foods and I spent 30 minutes at lunch on the Stairmaster. Today, I have mastered those traits that lead to the ultimate goal. Tomorrow I have to start over again on mastering the skill, but I will have the residual strength gained today.

Today, my steel is closer to the shape I desire. The closer I get to that desired shape, the more resilient it is to mistakes or accidents. I found it much easier today to turn down the fresh, hot scones with chocolate sauce at work than a year ago. Last year I would have had at least three. Perhaps four. It’s no wonder I was in the shape I was last year at this time.

Oct 232011

Off to Deseret Industries

One task I have been looking forward to for awhile is to clean out the closet. As I have lost weight, I have slowly been shrinking out of my clothes. I have dropped from a size 38 waist to 34. My shirts have gone from extra large to medium. I have bought some new clothes, but have been somewhat hesitant because I am not at my target weight yet. Intermediate clothes seem like a waste of money. For the last month or so, I have been wearing extremely baggy clothes.

I finally decided it was time and ruthlessly started bagging anything that didn’t fit me. My wife was silently cheering in the background. She has been suggesting I do this for quite awhile. I went through the closet and drawers and tossed it quickly, even if I liked it. It was in some ways more difficult than I anticipated, while in others, much easier.

I like comfortable clothes. When I was tubby, I really liked baggy clothes. I have several pairs of jeans that just fit nice and feel good. I have sweatshirts and t-shirts that are old friends. To toss them was like tossing a memory. It was hard to do, but they all went into the bag. On the other hand, I don’t know why I waited this long. My closet is empty except for those things I will actually wear and fit. I don’t have to search through the big stack of old T-shirts to find one that fits.

It looks so empty...

I also discovered my wardrobe deficiencies. I have dress shirts for work and t-shirts for around the house, but very little in between. Last month it was my turn for the family clothes budget. I didn’t know what to buy because I didn’t know what I had. Now that I can see my entire wardrobe at once, I know what I need. When my turn for the clothes budget comes up in December, I am going to be ready. I will also be ready to retire the dress shirts and move to new, smaller ones. I may have to ask for clothes for Christmas! I must be getting old if clothes sound good for Christmas.

In the meantime, options are little thin, but I’ll make it. I hope to be at my target weight by then, so I won’t feel like I’m wasting any money. Other options? I am donating all the clothes to Deseret Industries Thrift Store. I could do a little shopping there myself. After all, someone is going to get some nice clothes that no longer fit me. Perhaps I can find something just as nice that no longer fits them.