Will You Still Need Me, Will You Still Feed Me, When Iím (2)64?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
With apologies to John, Paul, Ringo and George.

If youíre a regular follower of this blog, you know that 2009 has been a pretty rough year for me, health-wise. It started off with open-heart surgery to replace a bad heart valve, followed by 3 more week-long hospitalizations for post-surgery complications, some nasty problems with depression/PTSD, and most recently, a broken ankle.

While prospects for staying out of the hospital for the rest of the year look pretty good (knock on wood), none of these problems is fully resolved yet. Iím still working very reduced hours, and spending an awful lot of time with doctors and therapists.

But thereís another part of this story that I havenít talked about here before, probably because it scares me even more than all these other issues, and I havenít gotten a handle on the problem myself yet.

In the last five months, Iíve gained almost 25 pounds. This week, my ďmorningĒ weight was over 250 pounds for the first time since it hit that number on the way down from my highest weight, several years ago.

It doesnít take a rocket scientist to figure out how this happened. I went from spending 2-3 hours most days doing pretty vigorous physical activity, like biking and hiking, to being in bed for days at a time or restricted to getting around on crutches for a few minutes/day. And I never adjusted my food intake so that it matched my reduced level of activity.

But hereís the real problem: I donít want to adjust my eating. What I want is to have my life back the way it was 6 months ago. I worked hard for that life, I feel like I earned it, and I want it back. Now.

Iím well aware that this attitude is about as reasonable as the kind of temper tantrum a 2 year old might throw. I also recognize that the anger and frustration Iím feeling is a ďnormalĒ part of the grief process, and that sooner or later, Iíll have to accept my new reality and adapt to it. I know that once Iím off my crutches, back on my bike, and feeling a little better about life in general, Iíll probably be able to get on with the business of aging gracefully without minding it nearly as much as I do right now.

But knowing all this isnít making it any easier to make these ďattitude adjustmentsĒ happenóor to curb my appetite today.

Which, among other things, leaves me wondering how much use I can be to anyone else right now as a coach. I have this picture in my mind of myself arriving at the SparkPeople Convention in a few weeks, still hobbling around on crutches, and feeling and looking like a giant, grumpy pumpkin in my orange SparkPeople T-shirt. Not exactly the image Iíd like to present when actually meeting you all in person, lol.

Maybe that mental picture will give me the incentive I need to get my eating back in line with my needs and drop a few of these extra pounds over the next few weeks. Or notóIíll keep you posted.

In the meantime, hereís my question(s) for you:

How much does it matter to you that the people who give you info and advice are able to consistently practice what they preach themselves? Can you take what you need from the message even if you know the messenger isn't putting it into practice effectively? Does it help or hurt your own motivation to know that your ďexpertsĒ arenít always on top of their own issues? Why does it matter, do you think?

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I am in recovery mode since giving my son my right kidney on October 19th 2016. I have felt very useless being curtailed from much of my fitness (anything that will interfere with healing or and abdominal strain I have gained a few pounds not changing my nutrition plan but nothing significant. WE are all human including our coaches and I always have an open mind . Been there done that and you dear coach are just as human as the rest of us.

I would definitely keep taking advise especially from someone who had to work hard to get their healthy life style and slipped once in a while. Living is learning.
. Report
I like my advisors to be human. I take advice easier from someone who, like myself, struggles on the bridge dividing 'knowing' and 'doing'. I prefer the sermons by a preacher who himself is constantly in doubt better than those of people who are sure they own the truth. Report
I have been reading your posts for years and through it all you have been very upfront and honest. It is refreshing to know that the ones giving advise are human as well and do have up and down moments. If we were perfect we would not need SP or to count calories or to wrap our heads around the bigger MENTAL issue of weight related issues. Your advise is still valid because it encompasses experience, knowledge and time.

I always think that after I lose the weight then this journey will be over but I realize now that for me, this has been and will always be my way of life. Not in a judgmental way but in a "reality check" way.

Thank you for all that you have written so far and as you have encouraged me with your words I encourage you to keep your spirits up and press on!

I think it's imperative that anyone offering advice practice what they preach. Having said that, let us define practicing. No one is capable of reaching perfection, so just keep practicing. Don't give up. Keep being honest and keep sharing. It's better to be honest about your journey than to feed me lies and omissions. Then I at least stand a chance of really knowing what this journey is all about. Report
Thank you for giving me something new to consider.

We ALL have our ups and downs and you have the tools to get through this!

The setback you describe allows your followers to see that you are just like everybody else! Expecting perfection only serves to make one feel like a failure or a fraud! Self acceptance is key to finding inner peace. Report
You have just had a life altering experience. Relax and you will get back to your pre surgery state in time, when you have finished healing. I appreciate where you been and where you are going! Report
Post surgery weight gain is something I experienced. My body retained so much fluid durring the 2008 heart valve surgury, that I was in the hospital for a total of 3 weeks. I found that my muscles had weakened considerablly with the bed rest and limited activity allowed by the hospital. I carried around over 20 lbs of extra weight until 2010, when I was literally taking so many presciption diuretics according to the dosing schedule that I was not getting any sleep. After a week in the hospital, getting intensive diuretics and refusing to use a bed pan, I ensured that my muscles maintained their strength. When I was discharged 20 pounds lighter, I had the energy that I had not had for years. Report
Superb realistic encouragement int this message! Keep on keeping on, my friend! Report
How much does it matter to you that the people who give you info and advice are able to consistently practice what they preach themselves? MY opinion:
It doesn't matter to me at all.

Can you take what you need from the message even if you know the messenger isn't putting it into practice effectively? My opinion :
It's about me -not the messenger. I am thankful for everything I learn along the way.

Does it help or hurt your own motivation to know that your ďexpertsĒ arenít always on top of their own issues? My observation:

It doesn't hurt my motivation at all :)

Why does it matter, do you think? It doesn't to me
It's this kind of brutal honesty that resonates most deeply for me. I tend to listen more carefully to folks who struggle--I can identify. Regardless, thank you. Brave and funny! It's a pretty fabulous combination. Report
Hey, we're all human and crap happens. But that doesn't mean you don't know what you're talking about. But changing the diet would help. Accept and move on. You will get better. Report
Aloha Coach Dean,

Thank you for asking these questions. I've never given them much thought before. I'm the sort who blindly follows the advice of "experts" (yours included, which is consistently excellent, BTW), often giving them more power & knowledge over my life than I exert myself.

Of course, I'd like to believe that "my experts" are perfect in every way shape and form. I think everyone does, which is why we get so upset when politicians are scandalous. However, the bottom line is that no one is perfect at anything. Even experts still have room to learn - even in the areas where they are the most expert! I still can learn from experts and non-experts alike.

It helps my motivation to know that you are human. Your lessons are more meaningful to me when I know that they are based on experiences similar to mine and not empty preaching.

By this post, you have continued to inspire me. This inspiration will continue, whether you lose the 25 pounds quickly or not. Lessons come from experience. Excellent teachers such as yourself are able to relate that experience in ways that inspire and motivate their students. Report
Good for you for recognizing the need for action and committing to it. Report
i like it that you are being upfront about it. its easir to accept and understsand that after all is said and done, you guys are human too and no one is perfect Report
Thank you for your honesty! the truth is it's very hard to accept advice from someone who isn't following it, regardless of whether or not it's good advice. The fact that you own up to it helps though. tremendously! in addition, it's also hard to receive advice from someone you can't relate to, the fact that you have valleys of your own makes you an excellent reference for someone who will or is facing their own trials. Keep your head up! Report
When did the human race become prefact? Thanks for you blog . You spark will be bright as ever in a short time, you have a lot of emotions that need to play out.Sorry i can't be thare to cheer you in . Report
None of us are perfect. If we see you as perfect, our goals become unattainable. If we see you as human, like us, we can trust you and know that success is possible for us, too.

Do what you need to do for you. We all need help now and then. Hugs! Report
you sound like a very strong willed person who has experienced a few set backs life has to offer, just know that there are people out here who are here for you for moral support or just someone to vent to if need be i have learned that my struggles in life have made me stronger and wiser while at the time it didn't seem fair. You have the right to feel cheated but know you will be stronger and will will make a come back if you try hard enough good luck! and i'll always be a click away if you need to chat Report
It sounds as if you'll be able to relate to more people going through this yourself. It also sounds as if you need to go for support yourself. That is why Sparkpeople exists, to help each other, not to idolize the people who are coaches or currently in the groove. We all struggle at different times , it's all about being human. Report
We're not looking for perfection... we need people who have battled along side us with the same things we're battling! Your blogs always hit the nail right on the head, while others who haven't ever struggled with weight, but are fitness gurus -as she said "just don't get it!" Thanks for your honesty AND encouragement!

I know it has been a year, but hope that your recovery went smoothly! Report
You're experiencing struggles and setbacks first hand and aren't afraid to admit it. I respect that. I also believe this increases your ability to give good advice to others, as you can honestly say "I've been there."

Having said that, you know what to do. Work with your doctors. Make sure your treatment regimen for depression is adequate. Best wishes for your recovery! Report
You know I've asked myself the same question. If someone looking at my picture would take my advice when I'm obviously overweight. Probably because I myself have not always taken advice from someone who doesn't look like they know what they're talking about. I was kind of a hypocrit. When I was in high school I worked doubly hard so I would have a chance to play basketball when I was overweight. I finally had a coach who recognized my talent instead of looking at my body. I weighed 240 pounds. He let me play because of my knowledge, hard work and dedication to the game, not because of his notions that I may not be as fit as the other girls. He was a wise man and so are you. The bottom line is don't worry about others perceived notions of what you must be, but continue to do what is right. When you speak they will know you are knowledgeable and get past the image, much like my basketball coach did. We all see past the outside image when confronted with the truth. What we do with that knowledge is something else. I would definitely take instruction from you, because you've proven you know your information. I know a lot of skinny people that I would not take any fitness advice from because they have it all wrong. Great blog. Everything will be okay soon and you'll be back where you want to be. Report
REAL reality is important to help us keep perspective in life.
"Reality TV" is in vogue these days but it is all staged and aiming to satisfy the desires of viewers. That does not help me at all. What really helps is seeing a real person experience the highs and lows of life and get back up everytime they fall.

Motivation on steroids can only keep you going so long.
You'll lick this! Report
Your spark page and your journey was the first to really catch my attention. Your testimony help put an end to my apathetic self. Your story continues to inspire me. I have mourned losses in this life. It's what a person does next that is important. I know you will rebound, and by this time (blog is older), probably already have. You are that kind of person now. You still have much to teach us as you travel on this journey of life. YOU are a natural leader. Thank you for being so transparent and sharing your self with millions of spark readers. Report
Coach Dean, I am new to the site but I am already benefiting from your articles and posts, and I look forward to reading them.
Even the experts get sick. We all do, when the time comes. That is nature. If people were looking for "perfect" experts, they would not find them because they do not exist. Please focus your energy on being patient with yourself. As you know, that will help you in the route to recovery. Each day is better than the previous day, one step at the time. Although you have been through very hard times, your efforts, knowledge and the support from the people who appreciate you will help you along. Report
I just ran across this one today. One of the things I respect about you is how real you are in your writing. I have PTSD and I know how bad it can get. Keeping you in my prayers. Report
Thank you for being so honest--I was reading your motivational articles and found the blog. I was diagnosed with heart disease 5 years ago, had a 95% blockage in the "widowmaker", lost 65 lbs, and now i've gained 50 of it back. I joined Sparkpeople last year and lost weight, 20lbs, but have gained it back. I was hospitalized over the weekend and had another stress test that was okay. My problem is that I am a type II diabetic again, and the glocophage is very hard on my stomach. So the answer is right in front of my face---get healthy and get off of the diabetes med. I am keeping a personal journal of my efforts, and not weighing myself so I don[t get obsessed with the scale, because my goal is to eat healthy, to live a healthy lifestyle. Thanks so much for the articles, they are SUCH a big help, and I hope you are doing well. Report
my granma used to say if the lord dont come he sends and he sent you warts and all.to have a revalation like yours means the world to me and has been such an inspiration in so many ways.
i to have p.t.s.d. and at the moment i am caring for my dad who has had a stroke you can imagine the anxiety this brings,but im coping and with the help of your honesty even moving in a direction i like
jacquie Report
Wow, talk about the universe sending you to the right place...I too am recovering (14 months now) from an accident that left with me several injuries, from a concussion to broken bones, bone grafts, etc.) 3 months before my accident I had committed to healthy lifestyle, even joining a gym for the first time ever in my life. I was slowly moving from a sedentary lifestyle to a healthy lifestyle when the accident occurred. I spent most of the past year even more inactive than my prior life and packed on even more pounds. As the year drew to a close, left with one lingering broken bone and a third surgery I knew I could not take another year like the last one and committed to taking baby steps. And then I found this site. Although only 2 days in, I am tracking my food (all of it) and did my streaching yesterday and started the cardio portion today. Frustration abounds as I realize that not only am I still hampered by my injury, I am also hampered by lack of stamina. Well I swapped exercises with what I can do, and am working on doing what I can, when I can and hoping that slowly, surely I can work up to actually burning calories and adjusting to my limitations. As far as your question, I can only think that I would be more inspired, it helps to know that the person that you turn to has walked your shoes, faced similar challenges, and struggles with the internal demons that are around every turn. Heres to hoping 2010 brings us both plenty of progress and self satisfaction. Report
It is good to know that those who are to be our examples go through the same struggles we do. How can I trust your advice and insights if you never experience some of the problems I face. If anything - your experiences can make you better at advising because you can tell what works - or not - for you. I am currently struggling with inactivity myself due to a venous ankle ulcer. I'm to stay down and keep it elevated as much as possible - there went walking, bike riding, and the weight room. It is good to hear that I am not the only one frustrated and feeling cheated. Thanks for sharing and your willingness to be honest. We aren't giving up on you and please don't give up on yourself or us. Report
Yes, I can take what I need from the message, even if the messenger isn't putting it into practice effectively, AS LONG AS THE MESSENGER HAS NOT GIVEN UP!

I really enjoy your articles and blogs. Please keep writing.

Wishing you all the best!
Kricket/CA Report
I love your articles - very useful- and I stumbled over this blog in my search for a motivation article...

And to me this blog means that you know where I am and you are struggling with the same issues and - most important - you donīt try to deny them. I come across a lot of "life coaches" that is not so good in handling their own problems all the time. That is okay. What is not okay is if they pretend that they donīt have those problems. I was a fan of dr Phil for long and onbe of his mantras that still is with me is "You cannot change what you donīt acknowledge" .

So - most motivating for me are human people who accept responsibility for their choices and accept where they are for the moment without giving up... I wish you recovery and I am sure that I will benefit from your experience because it will give you a lot of material for motivational articles! Report
This article is my first encounter with you and it was exactly what I needed to read - tonight - January 1, 2010. I am very frustrated with myself for my failings. I have everything in life anyone could want, except control over my eating and my size. Knowing that others feel frustrated and depressed, and that they are honest about it, is important. Also, your starting weight was near 400 pounds and I am over 300 pounds. If you can do it once, I can too. God bless you. I hope you are getting better! Report
Dean- I'm new to your blog, and it's jan 1, 2010 today, so I'm back on SP with new goals. Just wanted to add that I find it very encouraging to read advice from someone who Is There With Me and trying to work through the same issues. I had a broken ankle last January, and did the exact same thing, gaining almost 25 pounds throughout the year, and worrying it will never be taken off because I'm 60 now and everything is that much more difficult. So, don't stop giving advice! I need to hear from people like you almost more than the fitness gurus who have already accomplished their goals. I want Off my blood pressure medication, and losing the weight is a big step toward that goal. Best wishes, BarbS. Report
I want to know that the "experts" are human, not perfect. I'm more apt to follow their advice if I know they've been down the same road I have and having the same struggles.
Dean, a little belated comment. I usually read all your blogs, but somehow missed this one. First, you have given everyone a lot of tremendously useful info and inspiration, and that cannot be taken away by anything you do now. Now is a time for you to take support from all your loyal Spark fans and use it to energize your comeback. Second, the fact that you have slipped is not your fault, lack of motivation, just a temporary result of some out of your control health problems. What matters (and what is going to reflect on your image) is how you respond to this situation. Third, what's really going to help you now is to adjust your diet. Accepting feelings of grief and frustration is important, but practicaly adjusting your diet is what is going to help you make a comeback and make you feel better about yourself, so the sooner you start that the better! Fourth, those pounds are not "extra" (as in "useless"). They are part of you and an opportunity to use and practice what you know and are skilled at (maintaining your health). So they are actually part of your success. Use them to come out of this situation stronger than what you have been before. Good luck!!!! Report
These problems that you share only make your journey seem more real to me. I find your honesty very comforting/ It's helps to know that we share the same daily struggles, and that includes depression. Report
I found this blog by reading your interesting article, The Benefits and Virtues of Voluntary Simplicity. The article caught my eye because I am trying to move toward a much simpler way of living. For me it's all about baby steps to get to where I want to be and the article has given me more info that I need on my journey to a simpler life. This relates to your question in this blog because I didn't read the article with any thought about whether the author was someone who "falls off the wagon" sometimes on his journey to health and wellness. Or with the thought this author better be someone who is "spot on" all the time. It means more to me that you are willing to share a blog such as this one to let me know that you are real and that struggling is sometimes part of the journey. Keep blogging, motivating and supporting us with the realness of the situation and I will be greatful and continue to follow you on your journey wherever it takes you. Report
I would take your advice to heart because you've been there. You've done what it takes. We all face challenges of some kind and experience setbacks. That's life. Be patient with yourself. You'll soon be back out on the road. Report
You are a Rockin' Spark Star with a story of an amazing journey and leading the way with overcoming adversity a step at a time. I value your articles and posts because they come from a "real" guy who is human. Not some perfect robot of a fitness guru. You are in our family's thoughts and prayers. Report
In previous years, I might have said I want my "experts" to be perfect, because I expected perfection of myself. My life has since changed and I, too, am greiving the life I had, where I could spend 2 hours at the gym 4x a week.

My toddler daughter and husband's work schedule no longer allow this. I am still greiving the loss and trying to adjust and do something new. To hear you are having the same issues is comforting and encouraging. None of us are perfect. Try to see things in the grander scale - in a lifetime, 6 or 8 or 12 months will seem like just the small part they are.

Thanks for being so honest. Report
Personally, I would tend to look at whether the professional I seek advice from practices what they preach. However, we are all human. Your personal journey inspires me. You did practice what you preach, but now you're injured and are feeling a little down because you've lost a way of life that you liked. Perhaps you'll get back to that life, or, you'll adjust to a new life. It's like grief for something lost. I've just joined this site, but I plan on reading ALL of your posts because I like the message. Thank you for sharing your journey. Report
As a nurse, when I am looking for a physician, I always look for one who is willing to say, "I don't know all the answers and I'm willing to send you to go see somebody who might know".. To have an "expert" like yourself say, "I don't know all the answers" or "I'm struggling today, just like you" makes you on a higher plane in my book than those who sit on Mt. Olympius and look down from a high and never reveal the truth about themselves. You deserve a raise, my friend !!!! Report
Personally, I prefer to hear advice from someone who is currently going through what I am. Perfect people just remind me of my flaws. It feels better when the support and encouragement can be give and take.

Good luck on your journey back down the scale as your health improves. Remember 2 steps forward and one step back still gets you to your goal. Report
Well, I haven't read all the comments but I want to say that to me, the human element is more important than the book learning. I prefer hearing the truth and the helpful hints and the comments of someone who is in the trenches with me, fighting to gain or regain control than someone who merely looks great and never admits to having periods of temptation and worse yet, never succombs to temptation. I am a mere weak mortal and I appreciate those who walk the same path with all the same pitfalls. You do not have to be perfect to be a motivator. You just have to be willing to keep trying. Report
I found this post incredibly refreshing. Sometimes I see the coaches here as hero's, infallible. It was wonderful to see that you're human to. That you have the same feelings and troubles as us "mortals" do. But life does happen and I can see you do have a handle on it and if you have these problems and feelings and you are honest with all of us that that is a great example I can follow. Thank you for being so honest. Report
To me, it is very important that the people I look to for advice about becoming and staying healthy are "practicing what they preach".

That being said, Coach Dean, I think you should realize that you are being incredibly hard on yourself. I know because I'm kind of the same way. I hold myself to ridiculously high standards, knowing that I'd never want anyone else to expect the same from me. I think this is what you are doing to yourself.

You need to allow yourself to heal so you can once again become whole and ready and ABLE to continue on your journey and get your life back. Report
I don't think many experts can always practice what they preach. It increases my motivation to know that the expert isn't always on top of his game. It makes that expert more human and, in my mind, more like me. The goals (in this case, healthy weight, normal blood pressure, cholesterol, and fitness) have to be continuously worked at and there are times when unanticipated events block our ability to be consistent. It does matter to me that the expert tries to achieve the goals of teaching and this is usually evident in the manner by which the material is being taught.

Take care of yourself and listen to your health care providers. Do whatever physical movement you are capable of doing and try to adjust your intake. Then. . . and this is the most difficult part. . . wait until you are ready to get back to your peak. Report
Everyone else has said everything that I was going to say. I would like to emphasize, however, that if we are not willing to learn, we can never teach. This is a "learning" time to balance out all the "teaching time" you have done. Revel in it knowing that you now have all this to share with others who will undoubtedly need to hear what you will have to say after this experience. And, remember, Dean, nothing is as constant as change. ;-) Report
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