OK, here's the personal announcement that I alluded to two weeks ago:
For those of you who have met me in real life, you know that I am not a skinny person. On the contrary, I'm rather overweight.
Furthermore, for those of you who know me, I wasn't always this way. About three years ago, I weighed in at 247 pounds. At that point, I didn't like the way I looked, I was always feeling run down and, in general, wasn't as happy as I felt I could be.
So, I trudged myself down to the local Weight Watchers center and bought their plan lock, stock and barrel. I stuck to it faithfully for eleven months, and in June of 2005, I was down to 152 pounds -- a total loss of 95 pounds. People told me that I was half the man I used to be, although, in reality, I was about 62% of the person I was.
What I liked about the WW program was that it didn't restrict the foods you could eat (like the Atkins diet). Instead, it focused on teaching you to eat properly. You learn how to make intelligent food decisions -- how to properly plan portion sizes, how to allocate your food budget over the course of the day, and how to make trade-offs for the foods that you want to eat. I liked the fact that if I wanted to have ice cream, I could... I just had to allocate enough points* for it.
Independently of WW, I also began to realize that there were certain behaviors that were causing me to gain weight. I found that whenever I sat down to watch TV, I had to have food. Even if I wasn't hungry, I'd find myself in the kitchen rummaging around for something to eat while watching that Simpsons episode. If I was reading, I would often need to be stuffing my face at the same time as well... and I read a lot. If there was food on my plate, I would be terribly disturbed by the thought of wasting it, so I ate it... even if I wasn't hungry. By recognizing these behaviors, I was able to learn to change them, so that I wouldn't have to have the bag of chips just to watch television. I learned that it's OK if I don't eat every last bit of food on my plate.
Sadly, over the course of the last two years, it seems that I've unlearned these things. I once again find myself going to the pantry just to watch TV. I find myself feeling that I have to finish everything on my plate. I find myself eating even when I'm not hungry. And, I have stopped keeping track of what I am eating. Sadly, as a result, I've put back almost all of the weight that I worked so hard to lose. I don't think I'm back up to 247 yet, but I'm pretty sure that I'm in the 240 range.
Of course, there are other options. Skipper had the stomach band surgery a while back. A brother-in-law of mine had it done as well. My aunt and stepmother had the bypass surgery. But I'm not going to go either of these routes for several reasons:
1. For starters, I'm pretty confident that I can lose the weight again through diet and exercise.
2. I see the adjustments that Skipper and others have to make in their lives for this surgery. The changes to their eating habits are far more extreme than any changes that I made when I lost the weight three years ago.
3. I am one of those odd people who (thank God) has never broken a bone, never had an operation and never needed stitches. I'd like to keep it that way.
So, I'm off. After Shabbos, I'm going to step on the scale and I'll know my starting point. I'll probably put a ticker on the top of this blog so that people can see, at a glance where I'm holding. In addition, I set up another blog (no reason to bore everyone here about my weight loss unless they want to read about it) where I'll provide notes on my progress, on things that I learn (or re-learn) and hopefully give advice to others who ask.
Here's looking forward to the journey: 155 or bust!
* Under the Weight Watchers system, each food is assigned a point value based on the calories, fat and dietary fiber in the food. Each person is allocated a certain number of points that they can eat during the day.