Accountability

Much has been made of accountability in exercise programs.  The effectiveness of accountability has been documented by many substance abuse programs including Alcoholic’s Anonymous.

When we began our weight loss programs, my wife and I made commitments to one another.  We have held each other to our commitments and have expectations that each of us will keep up our ends of the bargain on a weekly basis.

Accountability helps us because neither wants to have to admit failure to the other.  We encourage each other every week, cheering on a good week’s total weight loss, and consoling a bad week’s weight loss because we know the effort that we both have put into it.

I also feel accountable because I have decided to write about my attempts to lose weight on this blog.  My little girl also holds me accountable though she does not even know it.  Seeing her refer to the hefty male figures in her books sweetly as ‘daddy’ reminds me of my commitment to her.  All of these accountabilities have added up to help me hold myself to a successful program.

However, true person-to-person accountability is only as good as the commitment of the people who decide to be accountable to each other.  Don’t be afraid to hold people who make a commitment to you to their commitments, and don’t be afraid to ask them to hold you to yours.

 

Update: I lost 8 pounds this week and am now at 272 lbs.  That is 87 lbs in 15 weeks, and I am 62.5% of the way to my goal.  I am seeing the 100 lb mark on the horizon.  I hope to be there in three weeks.

 

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Exercise

I probably should have written about this aspect of my weight loss program much earlier.  I feel that exercise has been an indispensable part of my successful weight loss up to this point.  When I started this program, I also started walking about 30 minutes a day.  Soon I increased that to 45 minutes.  Now I try to walk every day that I can between 45 minutes and 1½ hours.

At first, I had to make myself get out and do this every day, but now I feel jittery if I have not had my daily walk.  I have also increased my speed.  Eventually, I would like to turn this into a jog or run, but at 280 lbs, and with a history of knee problems in my family, I will hold that off until I am a little thinner.

Because I have a responsibility to take care of my child in the afternoons and evenings, and she takes late naps, I do not have a lot of time after work to get in exercise.  I use my lunch and breaks at work to get my walking done.  I am lucky to work at a place that has a large area where I can get out and walk.  I have a cell phone, and am always on-call when I am in the facility.  This works for me because the director has also been nice enough to allow me to take my lunches early before it gets too hot.  If I get a call while I am walking on my lunch, I simply put the walk on hold and service the customer until I can continue the exercise.

Another way I have found to get exercise is to walk to where I am needed at work.  I work at a large facility that has several large buildings within the same complex.  I can get called to assist someone anywhere on the grounds.  I have a cart at my disposal, but I have been walking to my calls lately.  It really does not take me any longer, because I do not have to wait for the cart to warm up, and I get exercise through the walk.

Finally, on the weekends, my family (me, my wife and daughter) go to the park on Saturday and Sunday.  There is a large greenbelt that is interconnected throughout the city.  We take our little red wagon, and park at the City Hall.  This allows us to walk 1½ miles on nice shaded trails to a park with recreation equipment where my little girl can play.  She loves it, until it is time to leave, and we get to spend some quality time together.  When we leave, we walk back to the car, and get that much more exercise.

I have had a lot of success so far with this program, and I hope you can find the time to walk also.

 

Update:   I lost only 1 pound this week.  These weeks are always a little disappointing.  I put in the same effort, eat the same things, but do not get the same results.  I guess that is just the nature of any weight loss program.  I will do as I have done in the past.  I will continue the program as is for another week, before I make any changes to what I am doing.  In the past, these bad weeks always seem to be followed up by a good week with no changes to what I am doing.

As of today, I have lost 79 lbs in 14 weeks.  I now weigh 280, and am 60 lbs away from my goal/reevaluation weight.

Motivation and Positive Self Image

I actually had a revelation watching Paul McKenna’s show.  I don’t think it had anything to do with his point this week, but as I watched the program, I began to reevaluate my own program and motivations.  His point this week was to help people to stop criticizing and start loving themselves (I like the way I said it better).  I do not think I personally have an issue with this.  I have a strong self image that comes partly from my religion and partly from my own ego.  However, there have been all of those failed battles with weight in the past.  What is different about this one?

I think that writing this blog has been a part of it.  I have committed to chronicling what is happening this time.  I also have kept statistics on my progress (See my other blog entries for more info on how I’ve done and what I am doing). 

But as I stated earlier, Paul McKenna’s program this week prompted me to look even deeper.  I looked at and evaluated my attitudes toward myself.  I asked myself, “Why do I have a positive self image while all of the other people in his audience have a negative self image?”  I began to think of the areas that give me a positive self image.  I’ll just deal with a couple of the biggies.  Since I am being completely honest, I think I am a pretty smart guy.  I don’t want to deal too much with this, however because I am quickly destroying my sense of humility which I feel is another good point.

These points are good, but they were no real eye openers.  I hit the nail on the head when I thought about being a father.  I’m a good dad, and I put most of my efforts into this.  As I’ve stated before, my wife and I work different schedules.  This has forced (allowed) me to be a much more integral part of my little girl’s life than a lot of fathers.  Helping her to grow into a good and happy person is my biggest obsession.  And, this is where I hit pay-dirt.  I realized that I have compartmentalized my weight loss.  I moved it from just being ‘how I take care of myself’ to ‘part of what it is for me to be a good and responsible father.’  I gave myself a burden when I began to realize that taking care of her is my biggest responsibility.  I want to be there for her, to see the important parts of her life (for myself), and to make sure that I can meet all of her needs.  I do not want her to have the burden of a 50 something sick parent that forces her to drop out of college to take care of him, or be guy that has the fatal heart attack and is not at her graduation or there to walk her down the aisle.

She is my motivation and my self esteem.  I am already a thin and healthy person in my mind for her, it’s just going to be a few more months before I get there in reality.

 

Tuesday Update:  This week I lost 7 pounds.  This puts me at 78 pounds lost in 13 weeks.  I am at 281 and am 61 pounds away from my reevaluation/goal weight.

 

I Can Make You Thin, Part 5: Your Perfect Body

Paul McKenna’s program dealt with self image this week.  One of his first statements in the show was, “I’m going to show you at home how to be confident in yourself.”

I’ll say this for the program as a whole, he has hit upon most of the big issues with weight loss.  On the practical side, his four rules, though nothing new, combined with exercise from episode four, is an effective diet (and it is a diet, no matter what he would prefer to call it).  As I said this is nothing new, and if people who watch his program or read his books stick to this plan, they will probably lose weight.

The other three episodes of his program have dealt with many of the psychological problems that lead to people being overweight and failing in their weight loss programs.  While helping people to deal with cravings and the negative self image that can cuase them to fail repeatedly in their attempts to lose weight is a laudable goal, it is Paul’s methodology that loses me.

This week he used something akin to role-playing to help people to “reprogram” (his word) their minds to ‘feel better about’ themselves.  The first part involved a symbolic removal and casting away of all of the bad thoughts they have about themselves (this seemed almost like a religious rite).  The second part involved imagining themselves in the body of a person that they assumed was confident in his or her own body, and then to transfer those thoughts to themselves, and finally, he encouraged them to look at themselves through the eyes of someone that they assumed to respect and love them.  They were then to transfer those thoughts to themselves, yet again.  All of these activities look like they come right out of a psychologists handbook (which, to me, actually elevates them above some of his other ideas)  I want to say here that I really hope these exercises do help his audience to feel better about themselves, since a positive attitude is integral to an effective weight loss program (tomorrow I will have a post explaining how my own program has dealt with this).

As I’ve stated before, I’m not a psychologist, but psychology was my major for three semesters in college.  I have about 20 hours of psychological theory under my belt.  The problem was that all of the classes I had only led me to become disillusioned with the field.  I used to say that psychological theories were largely based on psychologists coming up with ideas, throwing them against a wall, and if any of the ideas stuck, they went with them.  For me, psychology was developed by a group of men and women who were attempting to apply earthy answers to spiritual problems, and the roads seem to be littered with the corpses of psychology patients that failed to get emotionally better or got worse through the efforts of a psychological theory.

That being said, apart from the whole world becoming spiritually enlightened (and I mean through Christianity, as I am a Christian, and this global enlightenment is not very realistic), psychology is about the only alternative out there for people with real or emotional problems.

Paul McKenna’s program, TFT, self hypnosis and the like seem to take my problems with psychology a step further.  Here we have a theory whose only basis is to modify the way a person thinks through repetitive actions.  I will reiterate the fact that I have chosen not to participate in these actions (please view my other Paul McKenna posts for my reasons).

In the end, most of this theory looks like a big placebo to me.  That being said, the ‘placebo effect’ has proven that placebos can have a powerful effect on some people.  As I have stated before, I hope that lot’s of his viewers have success on his program.  However, I worry about those who are not affected in a positive manner.  Could their self image be even more damaged by yet another failure?  I guess that’s just how it is with all diets until you get one that works for you or you figure it out for yourself.

 

Good luck.

Paul McKenna Stuff

I Can Make You Thin With Paul McKenna

I Can Make You Crazy With Paul McKenna

Who Is Paul McKenna Anyway?

I Can Make You Thin- Busting Your Carvings

I Can Make You Thin- Supercharge Your Metabolism

I Can Make You Thin, Part 5- Your Perfect Body