Well, here we are, at the beginning of the Skinny Daily Post’s third year. I’m surprised to be writing this, honored that you’re reading it, and anxious to share great news about Skinny Daily in 2005.
My life has changed in a few ways since launching this blog/letter/column thingy. The most important change is that two of my most favorite family members — my mom and dad — have become ill. So I need and want to spend as much time with them as I can. Of course, between my clients and my folks, my workouts and shopping for and eating healthier foods — my writing time has taken a dive. Many of you have noticed that I write quite a bit less these days. I don’t think about you less, you know. I just have fewer opportunities to write it down. I know you understand.
But I have arrived at a great and compelling solution for 2005.
What I’ve always liked least about Skinny Daily is that it’s the sound of one voice, one person, one journey. While I preach that every story is different, everybody’s body and needs are different, still I have only my own experience to share. It puts too much emphasis on one way of going about things. It also has a way of putting me in the center of the story. But I’m not the center of this story — you are. This resource is supposed to be for you.
What I’ve always liked best about Skinny Daily is the community of folks who share what they think, know, feel, and do. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people here and have been helped enormously by many. Today I’d like to introduce you to two of them, because I’ve asked these two to join me in co-authoring The Skinny Daily Post.
My new coauthors share a similar philosophy: this weight loss and fitness stuff is hard work and requires constant focus. My new coauthors share a common state: maintenance. They’ve both lost a significant amount of weight and work hard to keep it off. They both are talented writers and both have ready wits. And their wisdom and kindnesses have helped me in significant ways over the past couple of years. Aside from these things, they are nothing alike, and not at all like me. We are three different birds, coming at things with three points of view.
I believe more voices will make The Skinny Daily Post a much more useful and interesting spot, and much better at fulfilling its goal of providing constant support for people who have taken on the difficult job of losing and maintaining a significant weight loss.
So here we are, three amigos. Let us introduce ourselves:
In a lot of ways, I’m an average middle class, middle American, middle-aged guy worried about my mortgage, how to be happy, saving for retirement, and the like. Not to mention the fact that, like 60 percent of my peers, I spent a significant percentage of my adult significantly overweight. Having lost and gained 20, 30, 40 pounds and more, by the time I reached 40 years old, I was no stranger to the concepts of diet and exercise. At my highest weight, however, something snapped. Or rather, something wouldn’t snap. It was my company’s yearly photograph for the annual report, and the morning of the shoot, I discovered that not one single shirt among the fifteen hanging in my closet was able to button up at the neck. Nothing like having 100 pairs of eyes watch you as you attempt to choke yourself.
There were many other signs along the way — pants that no longer fit, my increasing inability to run any distance, and a seemingly insatiable appetite for sugary, high-fat foods. In the past I had always starved myself down to lower weights, and once reaching my goal, I would immediately revert to my old eating patterns. It was no wonder that my weight chart was like a roller coaster ride. Only when I began, for the first time in my life, to simply WRITE DOWN everything I was eating, did I slowly acknowledge the connection between the energy I consumed, the energy my body used for daily life, and the result.
Now, having maintained a 50 pound weight loss for three years, I am convinced that there really is one significant, overriding factor in weight management success: awareness. Not perfection, not starvation, not consistency, not knowing which choice to make, no: simple awareness about what’s going on. This latter journey could not have been possible without the dozens of people who helped me during the healthy weight loss phase and the hundreds who have helped me strategize, commiserate, laugh, struggle, and maintain.
Just call me the Queen of Yo-Yo Dieting! I’ve lost and gained hundreds of pounds, close to 1,000. I’m a veteran of WeightWatchers [at goal, even], Atkins, exercise, calorie control, fat control, carb control, OTC diet pills and Ayds (anyone remember them?), starvation diets, small meals, once a day eating, eating two to four pounds of fruit and veggies a day. You name it, I’ve done it.
My health steadily deteriorated until, in the summer of 2001, it gave up. I was hardly leaving my house, friends did my laundry and shopping. It took at least 20 minutes to get out of the car and up a flight of stairs into the house — I had to rest at least tree times on the way. The doctors assured me that I’d be dead within a year.
The Roux-en-Y weight loss surgery offered not only rapid and dramatic weight loss, but, more importantly, it gave me the best chance to lose the weight and not regain it, if I followed the rules. WLS is NOT the answer for everyone. It’s NOT a copout. It’s NOT the easy way out. It’s NOT a way to get around the food control-portion control-exercise-healthy living that everyone else struggles with. But it DOES offer a second chance that, with commitment and hard work, allows me to control my weight.
However, the weekend before my appointment, I landed in the hospital for five weeks, followed by three weeks in a nursing home. My lungs gave out, and I was bedridden, on oxygen. I gained weight while in the hospital, eating an 800 calorie diet. Highest weight: 506.
The long process to become healthy enough to withstand the surgery began. In January 2002, the surgery went much more smoothly than anyone expected, and I’ve lost 275 pounds, and maintained that loss for more than a year.
And now after the surgery, I have to do everything that both Julie and Jonathan, and everyone else has to do: watch what I eat, exercise, drink water, etc. Fortunately, way before the surgery, I’d made tremendous strides in stopping the binging, eating more heathfully, and controlling much (but not all) of the emotional eating. So, just like everyone else, I face a daily but worthwhile struggle.
For those of you new to The Skinny Daily Post, welcome. I’m Julie and I lost a little over 100 lbs. (can’t be sure because I simply stopped weighing myself after awhile) in 2001. I’ve kept quite nearly all of the weight off for the past three years. I lost weight with the help of a weight loss clinic, doctors, nurses, dietitions, many hours of counseling, physical rehab. The first 50 lbs. came off with the help of lots of exercise and food supplements. The next 50 even more exercise along with the American Diabetes Association diet with my own twist: no flour, no added sugar. It looked a great deal like the South Beach diet, actually, except that I did count calories, every single one, and counted the minutes of exercise, too.
My interest these days is in finding ways to remain interested in daily exercise. I also love reading the writings of public health school nutrition scholars who are trying to solve problems of food availability and obesity, food messages and food psychology. I am easily drawn into conversations about cultural norms, ideas of beauty, images of health, fattism, women and health messages, and children and good health.
Be mindful, please, that we write here to support you, and are always interested in hearing what you need. Please, too, keep in mind that if you find this work helpful, we hope you’ll show your support by donating what you can to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (www.jdrf.org). Please mention The Skinny Daily Post in your giving.
Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!