Losing 90 pounds the second time was a breeze. In fact, it was too easy. I soon learned that there was more to dieting—its a lifestyle, mindset, and a dedicated relationship.
After adopting my new diet, It didn’t take long for my lifestyle to turn around, but there were so many times where I failed to be consistent, and actually do it. I was a relapse waiting to happen, on what was already a slippery slope — all I needed was the right trigger. So many times, I let myself get complacent, and I gained back what I had worked so hard to lose.
In order to look past the diet I needed to make sure I have something else that keeps my body nourished—mindset and consistency. Sounds strange?
Well, think about what is choosing the food I ate; me operating on a random set of beliefs or misconceptions? Feeding Impulses? Maybe I’m on the right path but being undermined? The mindset in any environment is key to making the plan work.
This is the healthy food habit when there aren’t many healthy options around.
Eating healthy is hard, but it doesn’t have to be. Too many people are looking at the diet part of eating healthy and missing the big picture. In this post I will tell you how to focus on four key parts of eating healthy that being focused on diet won’t get you.
There is a certain mindset people have when they start a diet. There is a common belief that the diet itself produces significant results and that once you’ve completed the diet, all your problems will be solved. Unfortunately, this is not the truth – and that’s where this article comes in. I want to show a closer look at how having a set of simple rules for eating healthy can lead to long-term results.
There is a common pattern among the people who fall into a hole of poor nutrition. They typically lose interest in finding healthy alternatives or focus more on the foods they want to fit in the diet, versus the foods they should be eating to be healthy.
I remember many discussions with Facebook groups where I shared with others the dietary changes I made to fight inflammation.
Even people with obvious lactose intolerance were intolerant to the idea of giving up dairy for their own good—even with there being many authentic substitutes.
They would concoct bs excuses like “where would I get my Calcium and Vitamin D from?”.
People are even worse basket cases when eating out. Pizza and cigarettes easily qualify as vegetables and the diet can always wait another day.
However, it’s not easy dieting and going out–especially for the people who apply themselves.
Contending with the modern food selection is rather difficult considering we live in a world which considers sugar a breakfast staple and sugar mixed with fat a dinner staple.
How are we supposed to choose?
What helps me is to not choose the food that cheers me up but the food that gives my body the nutrients that it craves.
Having a plan for what is permissible and what isn’t has payed off and when I do go out to eat–even at a fast food establishment, I stay away from a certain set of ingredients. That said, I tend to steer toward the healthier of the establishments inorder to skew my options toward a healthier selection.
Mood is one hell of a thing to make decisions with…
I once was an obese kid. I was teased a lot about my weight. Kids were relentless with it and it has stuck with me for a long time. It’s something that still triggers me even to this day. I eventually learned to cope with the teasing and anger by picking on myself worse than they did. I also used food as a coping mechanism at times. It’s not uncommon or unusual in any way, it is just my story of how I got here and where I am now–sabotaging my impeccable diet by stress eating….yes it still happens but it’s how much I can limit the damage and how I recover that makes the difference.
I’ve suffered from depression, anxiety, social phobia and low self esteem for as long as I could remember. I’d always turn to food for comfort, because it was the only thing I had control over.
However, I learned much later that I have control over much more; and my habits can be compounded in my favor just as easy as they’re compounded against me.
What it took was to develop an edge over myself…and some other things.
One of the last steps was getting control over my environment; this is the final step to disrupt the vicious triangle between mindset, choices and environment working against me.
I don’t visit the Dollar Store so much for an outing–and that’s good because I’m not tempted to buy as much candy.
When I want to get out for a bit, I go to a park or go for a bike ride–nothing that involves a quick bit considering I make sure to avoid all the food spots.
I think about my savings goals and what need the future may bring–having a poor diet means poor health, less money, less friends, less goals met, less trajectory and so on. Health is a serious matter.
My policy with junk will always be as follows: “Out of sight, out of mind.”
The HealthyFoodHabit lies in the mindset;
“I now had momentum. My perspective carried weight; It was like suddenly being anointed. I jumped the line—-this alone is a blessing and a curse.”
I have a process of thought where I ask what the central solution is—what change can I enact that will affect multiple problems in possibly multiple systems?
I always ask myself this question in the pursuit of making changes in an efficient manner…and it pays.
During my “weight bearing” days, I often wondered if there was a legitimate reason why I had to lose weight. It can be comfortable to continue on; I can make myself feel better on command (hedonism); “attitudes toward being overweight are changing, and I can be myself!”
I actually asked the question: why I should lose weight? I know that I wasn’t alone in this and in my case, all this questioning worked out.
The motivation however came from physical pain from medical issues…but why did I take to it with such dedication? Health alone usually is not enough to catalyze such a vast life changes that require extreme measures and dedication.
In the scheme of things, I had been obsessing over many different problems in life: Finances, Social, Health, Family.
Everything equaled posterity, longevity, stamina, performance…..or my lack thereof.
My ability to apply myself is limited by my physical health and no matter how I struck compromise by fitting a job to me, that limitation would hold me back by either consuming my time, limiting my energy and costing me money to manage.
My social life has experienced its ups and downs. I was able to build a network and move forward but my absences were far too often and ad up to damn near insult; I had become “the friend who never shows”—I missed everything and when I showed, the jokes were all inside.
My health was obviously on the decline. I could not simply spring into motion after waking up. I could not simply fall asleep or eat normally. I treated the symptoms and saddled up for a tough time. I knew that this was all a road downhill to a short life and its lack of qualities was depressing—not only to me by anyone who came into my life. I stayed inside, was dizzy, low energy, hunched over, and always in the bathroom.
People saw me suffer and couldn’t get close. I was a walking embarrassment who lowered the social cred of anyone around. People avoided me and when I put in the work to build myself, I hadn’t the stamina to continue, it was exhausting. I was treated with awful reproach upfront—even being damned near disabled does not prevent me from facing the consequences of someone who is intentionally destructive. I knew that the vast majority of people are judgmental, self interested and don’t give anyone that big of a chance.
Worse was that as I was going through it, I craved a family that I never had. I couldn’t be there for those who gave me a chance—which makes family impossible. It would take networking on a level that was physically out of reach to build one. I needed an image make over—not on the surface but within.
I had been through a renaissance sartorially, intellectually, and in attitude but I was rotting from the inside out—walking around like I was wounded—-It was impossible to hide.
I saw the videos of those who had lost weight. I wasn’t jealous but didn’t really buy it…
Growing up, I knew a number of jock types who were far beyond being “in shape” and the type of treatment they received was what people expected from simple weight loss.
I knew that I was jealous. I wanted that. The breakthrough is acknowledging that and taking action appropriately. I know that I won’t feel totally at ease until I meet that goal.
I cannot force those results from simple weight loss—I have to go the whole trip. Anything less is complacence.
I have to say, establishing the correlation of weight to social treatment; acknowledging that people are judgmental and have conditions was groundbreaking. I realized that I have them too. Yes, I have biases and expectations–just like everyone else.
Perhaps, I want to have value? I want to mean something? I want to be great and if the attitude is ‘that I’m good enough’, I still want better?
Losing weight would mean more stamina for work and play. Less pain and health expenses, less time lost….better image and more confidence….more connections…
However, the biggest is emphasizing the quality of those around me—-I want the people I let into my life to root for me and want the best for me…to not fight me.
My weight loss shocked the hell out of my detractors.
Suddenly, I was a force they weren’t prepared for and the positive attitudes I had been cultivating from supporters provoked shame in my haters. They were constantly taunted with the impulse to pick on someone who now didn’t fit their righteous justification. I was no longer the “fat fuck”, they were ad they had to shut up about it. Their stereotype was now dead.
I now had momentum. My perspective carried weight;
It was like suddenly being anointed. I jumped the line—-this alone is a blessing and a curse.
From here, my pursuit is about using personal growth to kill whatever negative stereotypes are currently manifesting. I live by example and compete with my former self.
The energy from my diet has been amazing; so is wearing normal clothes—in sizes I haven’t seen since 5th grade. Being able to stay awake and endure outings enough to become a social regular has changed my outlook on my social future.
This is what I needed and the next steps will make my life extraordinary….at least by my standards.
It’s always important to reflect and remember what your former self would say; After tackling a stint at Amazon during peak season, I knew that my former self would not have lasted even 2 days—I’m back and I’m improved. I feel like I can harness this inner power, outer consequence, and scale it up to accomplish my goals, work them into strategies, and live in a future that would make my much younger ( and UN-corrupted) self proud.
Right now I’m recovering from a total dietary relapse in 2021–after losing 95lbs.
I’ve attempted a dozen times to get back onto the routine and continue my progress.
At the time, I had litterally 9lbs left before I would hit my target of 175lbs….but I got complacent.
Having the ability to control my weight–with routine or willpower–led me to abuse that power and think that I could binge on junk foods like ice cream, chocolate milk, fast food, caramels, cookies and in quantities which made me sick.
I would hate to say that I have a character flaw behind my weight gain; An Endocrinologist told me that my hormones were against me (specifically lower testosterone levels) and my lower back injury (Spondylolisthesis) makes it tough for me to exercise.
I did my best over the summer to get out of the house every day; After restoring 2 of my old bicycles, I started biking every day–something I haven’t done in almost 20 years. In addition, I started fishing again–which became an extreme obsession with me out fishing 3 times a week while talking about it incessantly. In retrospect, being on a boat 3 days a week wasn’t the best use of my time and physically made me feel horrible–especially my back.
Still, I made “high hook” so often that I developed a reputation for wiping the floor with over-complacent fishermen. There’s nothing like rediscovering an old passion.
Inspite of those efforts, I have not been the most responsible–offsetting my mental pain with binges on sensory goods.
The past 2 tries to get back on the diet were legit and failed in a few days;
This time, I’m in pain from the added 29lbs gained since almost hitting my target. Yesterday, I visited the doctor who more accurately weighed me in at 211lbs (deducting my clothes)–my BMI is above 31 again.
As of today, I’m back on the diet–full force–and I finished eating all 4 meals in 2.5hrs.
Here it goes again…I can do it.
In the beginning, it was simple…
I had become accustomed to fasting. I was narrowing my window of eating down to the preliminary starting point of 12pm for breakfast while eating many smaller meals until 8pm.
This was the priming; I had to acclimate myself to growing hungry, operating hungry, and even sleeping hungry.
However tough it seemed, this made the reward all that much sweeter; When the fast was finally broken, food tasted amazing, it was satisfying, and I was full….for a while.
This was when I realized that my diet still lacked structure.
The content of what I was eating had improved but I was filling up on the first few meals and would quit because I felt hungry until later when I would have that notable reoccurring hunger that is famous for ruining diets;
It was then I realized that for this diet to work, it wasn’t just the fasted moments which had to be a sacrifice but there were plenty of sacrificed within the eating window.
First, I had to start eating when my body needed it, not because I was hungry—that was difficult.
We grow up with the idea that we eat when were hungry and drink when were thirsty and in spite of this level of impulse, we still use words like “Breakfast” which literally imply a fast–but does the body reach a fasted state in just the small hours that were sleeping, consensus is no.
It takes roughly 12 hours to reach a fasted state and in the “normal” western pattern diet, even less time is allotted to time without food; people will often eat up until the point of going to sleep, maybe wake up for a snack, and after sleep, eat breakfast while they wait for lunch. Not enough does the average person experience prolonged hunger; and that constant stimulation is almost painful to break.
My solution was simple, eat to survive, not for pleasure.
The Plan: I would give myself the appropriate time without food and when time to break the fast, shove a healthy selection of meal into my face at reasonable intervals with a new found bias for larger portions over many meals—continuing to eat when feeling full.
My mentality was simple: Recognizing how food would not be available and that I needed to put it away while it was available and the beauty was, I would have a lot of time to digest–which my IBSD stomach loved.
The first few months of Keto, I was already fasting and my meals were simple;
Poached eggs over spinach with seasoning and sriracha, Venison sandwich on rye with fresh spinach tomato and sriracha mayo, and in the beginning, Keto oatmeal with peanut butter—yes, it exists.
Quickly, I added an egg protein shake with Almond Milk to the mix and I had 4 solid meals to eat within 12pm-8pm.
Somewhere along, food became a tool that I would build with and my diet as a system started to make sense: crap management, crap result.
In the first month, I shed a surprising amount of weight (25lbs) with little exercise. I was still in that glut of minimum motivation that I had been in before the diet. It was exciting and after years of many different diets—some costing a lot of money—I had found something that worked like I had only dreamed. What I didn’t realize was that this was water weight and the benefits were only diminishing from here—it wouldn’t be all sunshine and roses but it was one hell of a start. I would have to readjust course and even begin working out. Also, what I didn’t realize was that in order to call my diet Keto compliant, I would have to reach full Ketosis.
However, I just was reaching “Semi-Ketosis” but this was surprisingly a good thing because it allowed me many of the benefits without incurring the dreaded “keto flu”.
Official diet: “Semi-Keto” with Intermittent fasting—8hr window to start, 4 meals per day.
At the current moment, I’ve gone from a total of 95lbs lost, down to 70lbs lost—I plan to document the next steps of recovery from my dietary relapse in 2021. At some point, I got complacent and assumed that I had reached maximum weight loss in addition to feeling like I can get rid of any weight that I put on. In 2021, I started to eat the worst garbage imaginable and gained an extra 26lbs that I’ve been just “regulating”.
Also, I plateaued at 95lbs lost and knew there was another 30lbs left to lose which now would require a serious effort to exercise. I actually like exercise but the pain from my back feels like hell and I gave up after at least doing the regimen for some months.
Going forward, my exercises will be more core focused to strengthen my back muscles and less on my upper body which after working hard, now is suitable enough–one goal met.
I’m not proud of myself for destroying a good thing–it may take the whole year to get this together; but the important thing is always getting back up after a failure.