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The Truth...

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I was watching this recent clip from John Oliver's show - - and it brought to surface a lot of feelings I've had on the issue of "the latest diet fad" or "the miracle fat burning pill". If you take the time to watch the clip I shared here, you're probably both laughing, because John Oliver is freakin' hilarious, and you're probably also a little furious at how easy it is for our society to be saturated by wonder drugs and these self-purported easy ways to get what we want.

I lost 85 pounds in one year, and the question that I get more than any from SO many people now - both in my life, and some here on spark people - is "how did you do it". A fair question. A wonderful question, really. I love talking about how I lost weight, because it always brings me back to the moment I changed the course that my life was headed, and brings me back to the epically hardcore, unwaveringly will-powered guy who tore through to his goal weight in seven months - losing 80 pounds in the process. I explain how I came to a low place in my self-esteem and how it was affecting my daily life, and how I'd had enough. I explain how I immediately began eating better and smaller portions, and working out diligently three times a week - half hour cardio, half hour strength training. I explain how it led me to coming back to spark people and tracking my calories honestly every single day, saying no to the random snacks that I knew would only slow my incredible momentum. And then I explain how increasing my exercise intensity along the way to match my body's growth in that respect was crucial, and that with being at goal now, and keeping all these amazing habits in tow, I'm able to relax in regard to that extra glass of wine... or as of late, a daily vanilla dip donut, lol.

I love it. I love being able to share all of that. But guess what... guess the reaction that I have almost every... single... time. Can you guess? The friends, the relatives, and even the strangers, they all respond with, "oh... I was hoping it might be something easier. Like maybe a pill or just cutting out one thing or another." Annnnnnnnnd cue awkward laugh from me. I smile, I nod, and I just end up saying "yeah, too bad it couldn't be that easy." What's amazing is that I understand where they're coming from. When I was struggling with my weight, I couldn't change because I felt it would be too difficult, and so why bother. I think it's very natural for us to always want the easy way out. I think it's somehow innate almost. At least it was with me, and seems to be with many to whom I keep telling my story.

When it's not people looking for the easy way out, it's people looking for the latest fad. I've had people ask if I did the atkins diet, or say "you MUST be doing paleo", and of course people ask if I've been doing all the shake diets. The weird thing is though, that when I explain how I just eat what I want so long as it fits my recommended calorie range, and comes close to the ratio of carbs/fats/protein that I want, the sparkle in their eyes diminishes immediately! I'm always so shocked to see their interest completely wane when in fact I'm saying "eat whatever you want, just not so much of it". Yet it happens. At the end of the day, if it's not the easy way out people are looking for, it's the sexy new diet on the block that they want.

The secret to losing weight and keeping it off isn't a mystery to me anymore. It's just a plain-jane thing really. You eat smaller portions of healthier foods, you say no to high calorie foods and drinks that are bad for you until you get to your goal weight range (I stayed away from pasta, pizza, desserts, and wine for seven whole months, but have allowed them back in as weekly indulgences here and there), and you exercise regularly a couple times each week. The more you can find ways to be active outside of the gym, the better! I make a habit now of walking places close to me instead of driving, and if I've been sitting too long watching TV or playing Candy Crush on my phone, lol, I force myself to stand up and find something to do. With two kids, it doesn't usually take too long to find some way to be active. :D It's a mental shift, a new normal to develop, and it's not easy. Not by far. If it were easy, then weight would never be an issue for anyone. But... it's a wonderful thing. And... the incredible boost to your self-esteem and self-worth at feeling good about how you look, and feeling like you've accomplished something important, makes it worth EVERY single sacrifice in terms of the foods we crave, and the lazy-ish lifestyles we tend to gravitate toward.

There's no shame in wanting it easy. There's even no shame in being afraid of how hard it might be to change. The real shame is that we let ourselves think that we could never do what's necessary to change. I thought that way for years, and let myself get worse and worse... driving out of my way during the day to buy two or three whipped-cream filled donuts from a Country Style Donuts location (OMG sooooo yum)... buying and consuming whole birthday cakes all by myself, in one night! The list goes on. We lie and tell ourselves we'll never change, so why bother and just enjoy what we're putting in our mouths... the truth is we CAN change, and we don't have to live in that misery of our own creation.

Not sure what kind of comments this post will inspire, but it's just something that was in my mind and on my heart, and that incredible John Oliver clip completely sparked me into sharing it all. Happy Hump-day Spark People, hope you all have an incredible rest of your weeks!!!

Quick pic from Father's Day recently, cause everyone loves pics! :D
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I can't add anything to all the comments.
    I just loved your blog!
    986 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/12/2014 5:10:15 AM
    OH my goodness thank you so much for sharing! I've been getting the same reactions, for me it's huge to have the mental shift and I love talking about it but it seems so many want some sort of "other" answer and not I'm being reasonable and moderate and being more active! But for me I love that part, I feel normal, I enjoy food and life and that was my biggest fear before not being able to feel normal or enjoy food etc! Now that I know it's actually pretty simple and nothing crazy I know I can keep it long term.
    987 days ago
    988 days ago
  • ASHLEIGH1985
    So true! Thanks for posting!

    990 days ago
    Thank you for posting this post. I am on my own journey to lose 80 pounds, but have stalled out over the last couple months. I have a lot of aquaintences that sell weight loss / health supplements, pills, shakes, etc. I'm ridiculously stubborn and believe that I can do this without those things. I want to be able to do exactly what you explained: tell them that there was no secret pill to my success other than hard work. But just this week I was starting to consider again, mostly because it's just been so frustrating watching the scale stand still. But again, thanks for your motivating words today. emoticon
    991 days ago
    This is great. Thank you so much for sharing.
    991 days ago
    Great blog & enjoyed the video too! I've had the same experience when asked how I lost weight. Most people don't care to hear about it once they realize I'm not going to tell them about some new plan/pill/powder. I'm not going to judge harshly though, since I'm sure I was guilty of the same at one point myself. Thanks for sharing!
    991 days ago
  • MAREE1953
    Congratulations on a great blog and finding the "secret of weight loss"!! Bahhahhahhahahahahhh!!!! The secret is : there is no secret! Okay, now I'm gonna watch the video.
    992 days ago
    Congrats on your continued success, and thanks for being a great motivator!
    993 days ago
    993 days ago
  • PEAR-170
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    994 days ago
    SOOOOO true!! Lifestyle change? Huh? They want quick and easy and true, forever weight loss is neither quick or easy!! But its so worth it!!
    994 days ago
    994 days ago
    Great write!! Thanks for sharing!! emoticon
    994 days ago
    I also find it intriguing when you lose weight the "right way," people aren't as interested. I had the same experience. Good for you and great for your family. I bet there isn't a day of regret now that you can keep up with those two cuties! emoticon
    995 days ago
  • HOLLYM48
    Boy, I can so relate to this, I could have written the majority of what you just put down in words! I too was looking for the easy way when I found SP. We all look for the magic pill. But alas, there is no magic pill. Just determination and willpower and eating the proper portions of the normal every day food. Easy, yes and no. There are some foods that I would love to have a 2cd helping of, but I don't, why, because nothing tastes as good as I feel! I love being fit and healthy and at the weight I am at and 2cd helping wont keep me there! Congrats to you on your weight loss and your willingness to keep on working on staying there. Every day it is a battle of wills, but with the help of all the great people here on SP, we are winning that battle! Keep up the great work! You are doing just awesome!!!!
    995 days ago
  • SUNSHINE20113
    Thanks for sharing the video - I had no idea Dr Oz was doing that! What was he thinking?
    I remember also being asked "what diet I was on" when I was losing weight, and that similar glazed expression when I'd say, "I still eat everything, just a lot less of it". It wasn't the answer they were looking for at all.

    995 days ago
    You are so right! Most of us thought the same thing, " there must be a magic pill or diet". There isn't just healthy eating and fitness of course.
    Thanks for sharing.
    995 days ago
    wow, thank you, so motivating for those of us just beginning to turn things around. Oh and love you pix, beautful kids,
    995 days ago
    995 days ago
  • OOLALA53
    I did it more slowly without counting calories by just committing to be a moderate eater by having three meals and no sweets a day on weekdays forever. Eventually, my weekends started looking much like weekdays. I didn't stay away from anything because I didn't want to feel I was doing this only until I lost a certain amount of weight. I did aspire to decreasing junk and increasing quality food, and I have. My colleagues have seen me lose and maintain this way for 4 1/2 years, but they dismiss it as a tactic. People can't believe that they can actually choose to eat less and eat better over time if they aren't counting every calorie. I get a lot of skepticism here at Spark, too, but it's the way people live in slim cultures. They don't know how many calories there are in food and they don't know how much they weigh. They just don't eat randomly and they think you don't enjoy food more by overeating it, but by savoring it before, during, and after they eat it.

    It takes about five years for these changes to solidify. You're on your way! Let's affirm that we will both keep beating the odds.

    995 days ago
  • MOMMY445
    so well said and i also agree with you about the sacrifices we make in the mean time well outweigh the end result.
    995 days ago
  • KATIE3908
    995 days ago
    discipline is always worth it.
    thanks for a great blog!
    995 days ago
    emoticon Losing weight is hard work, just as maintaining is. No magic cures. Love the picture. I can see you had a fantastic father's day. Your kids are adorable.
    995 days ago
    I absolutely love this very honest, very truthful...and my feelings towards losing/maintaining are hand in hand with yours...

    Brilliant, thank you
    995 days ago
    "I'm always so shocked to see their interest completely wane when in fact I'm saying "eat whatever you want, just not so much of it".

    this is SUCH a powerful truth. Congratulations on a super blog, a wonderful insight into healthy living and ... wow - what a role model for your children! They're lucky ducks!
    995 days ago
    Just happened across this. Succinct and inspiring. The TRUTH indeed.
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    995 days ago
    Thanks for a brillant blog which brings it all together! All the best for your future which should be amazing!
    996 days ago
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    996 days ago
    The video brought about the exact feelings you mentioned! Thank you for sharing and thank you for this wonderful, honest, well-written blog! It's really surprising how people get disappointed by what they've always known.
    Congratulations on the life you've earned!
    emoticon emoticon
    996 days ago
    What a emoticon blog! emoticon for sharing your journey with us! I too have maintained my goal weight now for over 2 years and I have up's and down's, but your right when you say it's all about a change in how we think about food and exercise. I still exercise every day, but even though I am not always perfect with my eating, I still most of the time stay within calorie range, and on the days I don't, I don't sweat it! I continue to wish you nothing but great success! You are an inspiration to all those who are just finding out what Spark People is all about! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    996 days ago
    Thanks for sharing the video clip. Yes, too many looking and hoping for the easy way out.

    For years I did nothing because I didn't believe it was possible to lose weight and keep it off. Oh, I knew plenty of people that had lost weight. But, I knew no successful maintainers. So, my thinking was why bother. But, I was miserable and could not continue what I was doing. Then I came across the At Goal & Maintaining Team. Bingo!

    Thanks to those of you doing the work and keeping it off. You're my inspiration.
    996 days ago
    I always thought a lot of what Dr Oz said about weight loss was a bunch of BS! You have done GREAT! Keep up the good job! Yea Maintenance!
    996 days ago
    Thanks for sharing, I can so relate to all of this! It is interesting to me that people don't want to QUIT eating so much. People (especially in North America) want their food and they want a lot of it! I have twice heard that our stomach is only the size of our fist and when we cram it full and stretch it out, we just want more and more. That stuck with me and I try to remember that when I think that I want a huge portion. My stomach can't hold that much, I will just make myself miserable. But tell that to anyone and they look at me as if I am an extra-terrestrial! LOL!
    996 days ago
    Thanks for sharing that video (you're right, it was HILARIOUS, and sad at the same time). Unfortunately I get the same response from people. There is NO magic anything except for possibly the magic of community and encouragement that I have found within the words of wisdom from Sparkers such as yourself. Thanks again for sharing!
    996 days ago
    The video was hilarious, even though all I knew about Dr. Oz is that he or someone imitating him has had incredible success getting past the spam filters on my work email account.

    Seriously, how can anyone think anything marketed like that could possibly work?
    996 days ago
    Yup - everyone wants the easy way out. Watching what you eat? Eating healthful foods in decent portions? Exercising???? Being active?????? OMG, TOO MUCH WORK!!!!! But SO worth it!
    996 days ago
  • _LINDA
    Another friend had already shared that clip, wish it would go viral!! Dr. Oz is getting away with murder for sure.. Eat less, move more, pretty much the Gold Standard for weight loss. I too, learned that staying in the calorie range was the most critical component. I really just had to cut out the excessive junk extras. Tracking things accurately was the biggest eye-opener for me and what lead to my weight loss finally reaching goal. It also helped to see what a real portion size really was.
    People don't want to hear the simple truth, but it is what it is.
    Congratulations on your weight loss and keeping it off!
    Cute photo!
    996 days ago
    Great blog. The truth. Well stated.
    996 days ago
  • JENNIFER0807
    THis is so positive and motivational! Sometiems the thinking about how hard something will be will be really is the thing that keeps me from going forward. I'm glad you were able to overcome that and feel great now. I hope to get that feeling myself. I just have to accept i have a long road ahead of me and it will be hard but i just have to do it!
    996 days ago
    emoticon ...and that's how it's done emoticon emoticon
    1002 days ago
    emoticon I too am one that eats whatever I want as long as it's in my calorie range. That really makes people mad LOL. Like so wait "you can have a donut sometimes", why yes, yes I can! Sometimes, not always, and I have to decide if it's worth the calories... some days it isn't and some days it's not. If there were any magic for weight loss, the whole world would know and everyone would be skinny. I can't blame them for wanting to know but they always seem so disappointed when they hear the truth. emoticon
    1002 days ago
    I have a feeling this will happen to me a lot when I become a registered dietitian (if I get to become one). All the latest diets and diet fads hurt my heart when I meet people who are on them. John Oliver rocks!
    1002 days ago
  • KANOE10
    That was a great blog..and I enjoyed the video. I also get that glazed over look when people ask me how I lost my weight. They often do not listen to me or simply want a fast solution. Taking over a year is not a quick solution!
    You reminded me of my sister who told me that she does not want to be skinny like me as it was too much work to keep the weight off and that she wanted to keep eating her favorite foods. Looking for the easy way???

    1002 days ago
    Nobody wants to know what it really takes . . . and that's why Dr. Oz is so successful. (But: that clip is hysterical for sure).
    1003 days ago
    Hahaha! Funny clip...I have fallen for some of Dr. Oz's miracle pill recommendations before. He is very convincing. Never again though...good old fashioned discipline and perseverance and honestly tracking what I eat on here, mixed with some patience and heart pumping exercise..just like you said..are the way to go! Keep up the awesome truth telling on how to do it right!
    1003 days ago
    For me, losing weight was one of my biggest achievements to date! (That may sound ridiculous, but it's TRUE! I can't remember a time that I felt more successful and in CONTROL of my own destiny! It is rewarding to break the shackles of our many food induced cloudy judgements about life, diet, fitness, and quick fixes!

    I am happy that you are still holding your head high and telling your story about the HEALTHY way to lose weight! What's sad is that so few people really want to hear you... they all wish you really said "Eat Pizza for every meal!" or "Drink more wine!". LMAO
    1003 days ago
  • AMCAN262
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    1003 days ago
    I think most of us who have lost weight and had that question lobbed our way can relate to those more-glazed-than-a-vanilla-dip-donu
    t-eyes you get when you tell people you lost the weight the old-fashioned way--eating better and less and moving more. So simple in theory, harder to do in practice, but really the only way that works long term. Of course there are other things that come into play--dealing with emotional issues that led to your being overweight in the first place and sustaining motivation to do what it takes to keep up your efforts and make them long term to name a few--but as you said, success really is within everyone's reach if they're willing to dig deep and put in the effort that's needed to get to where they want to be. Great blog, my friend. You make me proud.
    1003 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/25/2014 4:37:17 PM
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.