Falcone's Crossroads

Where This Meets That

Weigh Station: “Mastering My Domain”

“If I’d have known I was gonna live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.” – Anonymous

For a time, after my failed diet in 2011, I pondered undergoing gastric bypass (GBP) surgery.

I felt hopeless, powerless, and exhausted by my failing struggle.  I wondered if GBP might be an easier way.

The more I thought about it, though, I began to realize that I was the problem.  Not my stomach.  Not my culture.  Not my genetics or the way I was raised.

I was the one responsible for my weakness.  And the more I thought, the more I realized that I had very literally surrendered my own personal sovereignty.  And to what foe?  Food.

How sad.

Sure, some doctor could cut on me and add further “incentives” upon me to take control of my diet, but ultimately he couldn’t change meI was the only one who could decide to reclaim ownership of myself.

As a Christian, I hated my personal hypocrisy of being a fat one.  As an American, I hated my culpability for the stereotype of being a fat one.  As a parent of impressionable children, I hated my example of being a fat one.  As a husband, for reasons far too numerous to list here, I hated being a fat one.  And for myself, whom I had willingly sabotaged and deceived for so long?

Overcoming obesity is a hard feat.  One of the hardest in all the world.  But as I tell my kids and desperately want them to believe, that’s no excuse when something is the right thing to do.

TS2012 - Before & AfterSelf-Rule
In the five months between January 4 and June 3 of last year, I lost fifty pounds.  Since that time, I’ve made a bit of a “round trip,” losing eighteen more to reach my low point of 242 pounds on October 28 only to return to my June 3 mark of 261 this past weekend.

This presents an interesting “fork in the road” concerning attitude.  I could lose heart at having arguably wasted the last eight months, or I could count my blessings that I still have fifty pounds behind me that were once, very literally, weighing me down.

I must take the latter attitude and, if I’m serious about self-rule, immediately re-assert my will to regain lost ground.

In order to get my head back on track, I have revisited many of my posts from last year, when I was having my greatest success.  It has definitely been a good refresher, so I’ve decided to re-post some of what I found most effective here in concentrated form, both for my own good and for that of my fellow would-be weight-losers who weren’t on board back then.

Discipline is the Key
“Love is the core of Jesus’ philosophy. But, in order to love you must be free.  For to love is to give your self freely and without reservation. Yet, to give your self – to another person, to an endeavor, or to God – you must first possess your self.  This possession of self is freedom.  It is a prerequisite for love, and is attained only through discipline.” — Matthew Kelly

Successful weight management comes down to two things:
1. Genetics
2. Discipline

What you lack in the first, you must make up for with the second. But how to direct your desired discipline for optimal results is the fundamental question.

Conventional wisdom says you should cut calories and increase activity, but conventional wisdom is flawed; calories are what fuel increased activity.  What we eat is more critical to weight management than how much we eat.

Following are general eating guidelines that have worked wonders for me when I have faithfully adhered to them.  I have one hundred percent confidence that they will lead me to my goal; discipline is the key.

Eating Habits
My diet is very simple, but it’s not easy at the start.  It is TOUGH to break free from the carb culture we’ve all been formatted to.  However, after only two weeks of zealously cutting out processed carbs and starches, your bodily aches diminish, your energy levels become more consistent (no sugar crashes), and you gain a very real sense of cobwebs clearing.

General rules

  • Drop processed carbs and starches like a bad habit, because that’s exactly what they are. No pastas, rices, breads, cereals, pastries, etc.. High fiber breads, tortillas & flat wraps are OK for occasional sandwiches.
  • Lots of water.  Target 100 oz/day
  • Diet sodas and alcohol in moderation, preferably only after 100 oz of water for the day
  • Establish a “food is fuel” mindset. Enjoy what you eat, and eat what you enjoy, but don’t eat for enjoyment (or comfort).
  • Unprocessed meats, veggies, and eggs are all great and can be enjoyed pretty much at will.
  • Nuts and cheeses are great for snacking.
  • Target at least 5 servings of fruits & veggies per day (more veggies than fruits, though)
  • Beans and dark chocolate are OK in moderation
  • Target one “daylight fast” (no eating until sundown) per week. This can be During summer months I just waited until supper time, because the sun just never seems to go down until people look start looking like honey-baked hams.  And that’s not what we’re going for here.  And besides, it can violate the next rule.
  • Don’t eat after 9PM

Extra Eating Notes

  • At first, I sought substitutes for the carbs I missed the most.  I tried spaghetti squash instead of spaghetti, mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes, and an egg-based pizza crust instead of the usual.  I eventually decided that I was just teasing myself.  Better to occasionally surrender to the real thing (just not two days in a row!)
  • Primal CrackersAlmond flour is an exception; it makes pretty darn good pancakes and crackers.  The crackers can also be modified to make a tasty, thin & crispy pizza crust.  Almond flour also makes a good coating for baked salmon.
  • Forget what you thought you knew about fats.  There’s nothing wrong with natural fats and everything wrong with unnatural carbs.  Forget “low-fat” versions of foods; usually, “low-fat” means additional carbs added for flavor.  Instead, go “regular” for butter, peanut butter, creams, etc..
  • A square (or two) of 70% dark chocolate with peanut butter is a delicious daily treat!
  • Indulge in “forbidden” foods occasionally.  Let’s face it: if you can’t allow yourself to enjoy a piece of cake and some ice cream to celebrate your kid’s birthday, then you’re not a very benevolent self-ruler.  Just make it a point to give yourself a finite window in which to enjoy such treats (i.e., not two days in a row!)
  • Since fresh veggies and meats are the best things for you, it behooves you to develop some confidence in the kitchen. Meals that come from box or bag should be used rarely, as a last resort.
  • You can turn any meal into a salad by throwing some fresh spinach and romaine under it!
  • Sauces matter. Seasoned ribs aren’t bad, but ribs dripping in heavily brown-sugared barbecue are. Typically, we make our own sauces anymore, because it allows us to control what goes in.
  • If you’re concerned about the time involved in preparing a meal, consider it an investment in your health, every bit as (if not more so) important as your exercise time.
  • Also, celebrate cooking; don’t skimp, for the same reasons above. You’re investing in your health, and done right, there are some pretty darn tasty healthy meals out there. Filet mignon anyone?  Just say it’s for your health and that you’re staving off medical bills down the road.
  • Psyllium fiber is a great supplement to “keep things moving”.

As I said before, the hardest part is getting started.  After only a few weeks of seeing my weight drop and feeling my quality of life improve, I had no doubt that this was the way to eat for long-term health.  That doesn’t mean I haven’t been vulnerable to being lured back to the “dark side” of doughnuts and bread sticks. In fact, I’ve spent much of the past month there, but it’s time to get back in the light!

I hope reading this helps you as much as it helped me to compile it!  Looking forward to my weigh-in on Sunday!


4 comments on “Weigh Station: “Mastering My Domain”

  1. Elizabeth
    February 7, 2013

    Rooting for you, Steve!

  2. Jen Berman
    February 7, 2013

    Keep it going Steve! It’s a lifelong journey to health. There is no moving up the finish line when the road gets bumpy.

  3. Grande Falcone
    February 8, 2013

    Thanks Jen. Well said. And the journey is more important than the destination when it comes to improving self.

  4. Grande Falcone
    February 8, 2013

    Thanks Elizabeth!

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This entry was posted on February 7, 2013 by in The Weigh Station and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .
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