Brought low by my own hypocrisy

This is a follow up to the last article I posted.  Earlier in the year, I was chronicling my very successful attempt to lose weight.  In May, I fell off the wagon.  For the last few months, I have proceeded to undo much of the good that I did before I fell off.  Several times I have tried to get started again, but found an excuse to stop.

Yesterday, as I wrote about not taking irresponsible chances with my life for my daughter’s sake, I was faced with my own hypocrisy, and realized why I failed back in May.

I took my eyes off the prize and lost my focus.  When I started my weight loss program, my daughter was the reason that I was doing it.  At some point, I was so proud of all that I had accomplished, that I forgot why I was doing it.

So, yesterday, as I wrote about other people being irresponsible, I realized that I could not hold them to a higher standard than I was holding myself.  As a result, the diet is back on (for her sake), and I got off my fat ass and walked today.  Stay tuned….

Mom’s Vegetable Soup

I thought I would share some of the recipes that have helped make this diet a success. I am a soup lover.  There are few things that are heartier than a warm bowl of soup, and many soups are big on flavor while being low on caloric intake.  This is just the kind of food that can make a diet successful.  I like food that is filling and big on taste and at the same time low in calories.

Three things that I have found to be indispensable in cooking for my diet are, a pressure cooker, a large slow cooker (6 quart or better) and a large cooking pot.  I have a nice 11 quart porcelain model (they are expensive, but great for soups and such).

My mother makes a great vegetable soup that I have made a staple of this diet.  It is the kind of thing I could eat everyday, and I have made it for my lunch at least every other week since this diet began.  I hope you like it as much as I do.

Mom’s Vegetable Soup

2 lbs of stew meat

2 15 oz. cans tomato sauce

4 beef bullion cubes

1 bag of baby carrots (chopped up small)

3 medium sized potatoes (small cubes)

1-2 small bags of mixed vegetables (carrot, green beans, corn, peas, lima beans)

1 ½ large onions (chopped)

Salt

Pepper

Red pepper flakes (optional)

Water

Canola spray

Take your stew meat and drop it in the pressure cooker (it doesn’t even have to be thawed).  Salt and pepper the meat and put about ½ inch of water in the bottom of the pan.  Pressure the meat for about 40 minutes.

While that is cooking, spray a little canola spay in a large soup pot and add your onions, salt and pepper.  Cook onions for about 5 minutes.  Add carrots and cook for about ten more minutes.  Deglaze with water if it begins to stick to pan (a little browning is a good thing, but don’t burn). Add tomato sauce, bullion and vegetables.  Add enough water to bring the level up to the top of the vegetables.  Also add red pepper flakes at this point (I like a lot).  Cook for about 20 minutes.  Add stew meat, and the potatoes (be sure to add the liquid from the stew meat- tons of flavor).  Salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for 30 minutes to an hour, until the potatoes are tender.  Enjoy.  It also freezes great.

Persistence and Perseverance:

Persistence and Perseverance:  These two words are integral to any successful weight loss program, and are also a part of the “discipline” that was mentioned in a previous posting.  You have to be persistent to achieve results in a weight loss program.  You cannot have the attitude, “Oh, I’ll just have a steak and potatoes tonight, and then get back on the diet tomorrow.”  This usually leads to failure.  However, will there be times that you cheat or just make a bad dinner choice?  Probably.  Dealing with these times is what brings persistence and perseverance together.  You need to persist in getting right back on your program, and persevere knowing that it is all going to pay off soon.

Exercise requires persistence also.  I try to make it a point to walk at least one time a day.  If I get two walks in, all the better.  However there are times when I have projects that just will not allow me to exercise, and times when the baby will not take a nap.  In fact there were three days in a row early on in my diet when I did not get a chance to walk.  Did I let this discourage me?  No.  I got out and walked on the very next day that I could.

Perseverance gets you through the bad times.  The time I lost 53 lbs a few years ago was ended through a lack of perseverance.  I had done about as well as I am this time up until that point, but then came a week when I worked really hard and lost no weight.  I was disheartened.  All of that work seemed like it went for nothing.  Then I got sick, and thought “I’m just going to eat big for a week until I get to feeling better and get my energy back.”  That was the diet-killer.  A feeling of failure led to depression that I was undoing what I had worked so hard for, and I never got back on the wagon.  You must persevere through all of this.  There will always be things trying to kill your diet, but you have to stay focused and work through them.  This time I made it through the two obstacles that derailed the diet that I spoke of previously.  Halfway through the sixth week I got sick.  I had and a nasal, throat and inner ear infection.  It was awful, but I went to the doctor right away, and even though I was sick for another week, I persevered and walked every day that I could.  My reward for all that work was to lose no weight (first week that I lost nothing) that week.  Did I let this bother me?  Well to be honest, I was not happy, but I weathered the storm that killed the other diet, and I lost eight pounds the next week.

Week 11 update: I lost five pounds this week bringing my total weight lost to 67 lbs.  I now weight 292 and am 72 lbs away from my reevaluation goal.

Discipline

Discipline:  You simply will not lose weight without discipline.  Any weight loss program involves changing the way we live our lives, and this takes discipline.

We must be disciplined in several areas from food choice to exercise.  Some of the things I spoke of in the blogs on morale and preparation involve discipline.  To be prepared to cook a good and healthy meal and then actually getting up to cook it requires discipline.  It would be much easier to get the old fast food on the way home from work.

A good diet can be torpedoed easily with a lack of discipline.  Walking past a secretary’s desk and taking one of her candy’s or grabbing a doughnut that someone brought for everyone at the office can almost be a habit, and can be a reflection of our social nature, but these bad decisions can cost you dearly in terms of weight loss.  It’s a reality that you can undo all of the good you have done recently with one bad decision.  Be disciplined.  Make new habits.  Drink the coffee, and leave doughnut.

Recently snack manufacturers have come up with a genius marketing scheme.  They have started offering their products in handy 100 calorie bags.  This looks great on the surface.  Instead of having a 350 calorie bag of cookies, you can buy a box full of bags of smaller cookies that are only 100 calories.  You can have your Oreos (without the filling) for only 100 calories.  I tried this on my last diet, and found that they did not work for me.  The cookies tasted great, but I needed the discipline to turn my back on them totally and realize that I did not need them.  And in the end, all you are doing in eating 100 calories worth of unhealthy food instead of 350.  This sounds OK, but wouldn’t it be much better for you and your diet to eat 100 calories of something that is better for you and more filling?

You also need make disciplined choices when dining out.  I love beef fajitas, and they really are not that bad of a food for a diet, but if I just choose the chicken fajitas instead of the beef, I have made a better, more disciplined choice that will eventually be reflected in my overall weight loss.

Exercise is all about discipline.  Most people who exercise are not fat in the first place.  I don’t know about you, but before I started my weight loss program, I spent a lot of time in front of the television and little time doing anything physical.  It takes discipline to get up off your butt, and move around, and I am doing that now.  I walk during my lunch period at work, I walk around the house while my daughter is napping in the afternoon (it’s as monotonous as it sounds), and I walk on the weekends with my family.  Eventually I plan to turn this into more of a jog, and eventually a run, but I am still a pretty big guy at 297 lbs, and I do not want to damage my knees (this in itself is a kind of discipline.  It takes discipline to go to the park and watch all of the ladies there going right by you because you are too big to jog as they do).

It is true what they say, the things that you discipline yourself to do will eventually turn into a habit.  I already feel weird and jittery if I have not had time to exercise on a given day, and I have no problem searching out the good choices on a menu.

Update: As of today, I have lost 62 pounds in ten weeks.  This week’s total loss was six pounds, and that puts me at 297 lbs.  I achieved two goals I hit the 60 pound lost mark, and am now under 300 lbs.