Between the Lines: Time to Up My Weight-loss Game - Mercy Medical Center

Between the Lines: Time to Up My Weight-loss Game

Posted on: October 2, 2013

Well, dear readers, it has been a killer couple of weeks! I missed my OPTIFAST meeting last week, and you may have noticed my blog was absent, as well. Family, work and home all had tragedies and trials in store for me!

I actually had a good week, according to my scale. I had lost an additional four pounds. Then the skies darkened and swallowed me up in a host of issues that had me on my heels for almost a full week.

I won’t go into all the details because the situations mostly involve other people, and I am blogging my own story. But trust me, it has been the worst week in recent memory for me.

Common Element in My Food Failures: Me

Unfortunately, not making it a priority to get into a meeting meant I didn’t have enough OPTIFAST product to carry me through. Emotional stress brought on some eating binges. Of course, the end result is I gained when I weighed in.

As I picked up the pieces and began to analyze my failures, I was reminded of a poster I have. Everyone is familiar with “motivational” posters. You know, an inspiring image, emblazoned with an inspiring photo; a bold, one-word title below it; and a motivational axiom printed in smaller letters at the bottom.

Well, I found a company years ago that makes those posters with a bit of a twist, and I have been buying their products ever since. The company is Despair.com and they make “demotivational” posters. Think of it as a sarcastic motivational poster. The thing is, they almost all use an over-the-top delivery to convey valid messages. Take a look at the poster in question:

Yes, after the chuckle there is still a sentiment there to think about. And believe me, this week I thought about it a lot! What is the common link in all my food failures? Me. Ultimately, I am the only factor that counts. I feel as though my diet swerves off the road every now and again, and I have to struggle to get it back between the lines. Actually, there is an even better sentiment – staying between the lines.

On the Road (and in My Eating), I Have Free Will

Ponder for a moment the lines painted on the highway. A double yellow line means do not cross. A dashed yellow means it’s okay to pass. The unending white line marks the edge of the road. Unfortunately, many people still die each year in head-on collisions. Why? Because ultimately the lines on the highway don’t keep you in your lane. If you veer off, your car doesn’t rebound off the line and return to the center.

Just like the laws that are in place to govern motor vehicle operation, the lines are an idea. The law can punish you for doing something, but it can’t prevent you from doing it. Prison doesn’t stop somebody from committing a crime; it just offers a disincentive through the promise of punishment. The lines on the road are just paint. Ultimately, it is free will that keeps us in our lane. We make a conscious choice to guide our automobiles in an agreed upon manner.

When someone angers us, it is our own free will that prevents us from striking them, not a law. The consequences definitely figure into our reasoning, but we make a choice to do, or not do, almost everything.

Weight Loss Gives Me Time with My Son

Okay, back to that in a bit. How about some good news? My son started high school this year and is a proud member of the marching band. After a bit of a rough start, he is finding new friends and experiences and absolutely loves it.

In case you didn’t know, having your child in marching band means you are obligated to be involved in the band boosters! I didn’t really mind anyway, so I offered my help in a variety of areas. This particular weekend I had volunteered to chaperone a bus full of kids to a football game in another town.

So, armed with my badge, I undertook my first episode of band volunteerism. There was a good bit of standing and walking involved in getting all the students organized. Then, I had to squeeze into a seat on a school bus. I realized school bus seats are not designed for angry bear-sized men, but I made do. Once we got to the destination, I had to stand and wait for the band to assemble. After that, I followed behind the band as they marched around the school and around the football field to their seats in the stands.

I had another revelation: marching bands move quickly. I was chugging along behind as the band marched and danced their way in parade formation with all the momentum of a steam locomotive. Slightly out of breath, I stood by the field, watching the band take their seats and get settled. I talked with some of the other parents, and just hung out standing and walking around the outskirts of the field.

This is when I realized I was having a weight-loss moment. Six months ago, I would have never made it through the bus ride, let alone the forced march to the stadium. I definitely would have been in pain and huffing when I got there and could not have stood around for an hour and socialize. OPTIFAST and the Mercy Weight Management folks have given me back some time with my son.

Granted, I wasn’t really “with” him. He is among the moody teenagers; they are seldom seen “with” their parents. But I could be there for him and support him. Naturally, it started raining and the temperature dropped below fifty degrees. But still, I was really glad I could be there for him. I was again reminded of why I need to keep my weight loss a priority.

Best-smelling Burger of My Life, or How I Barely Overcame Temptation

My second big win for the week came shortly before grocery shopping. My wife gets very cranky when she doesn’t eat. She frequently “forgets” to eat properly and will realize it is mid-afternoon and all she’s had for the day is a can of soda. To make sure our grocery shopping trip didn’t turn ugly, I offered to pick her up something on the way to the store. I’m not necessarily a fan of fast food, so it usually doesn’t provide a huge temptation. This day, though, she chose her favorite drive-in restaurant, and it became a battle of wills.

After the waitress took our order, I was in pretty good spirits. My wife and I were talking and having a good time. I didn’t think I would have any issues at all with lunch. I was hungry but not overly so, and my plan was to have some broth when I got home from shopping. The waitress returned and delivered the order.

I don’t know what my wife ordered, but it turned out to be the best-smelling burger of my life. I know the picture doesn’t look all that stunning, but as I pulled the car out of the restaurant and drove to the store, the smell became overpowering. It was like burger-and-fries air freshener had been soaked into the carpet. My stomach started trying to claw its way out of my body to get a taste.

I was close to losing my mind! I opened the window a crack, but that just seemed to change the airflow in the car to direct concentrated burger juices into my nostrils. I sipped some water, I ate a mint, and in the end I was fumbling like a madman in the center console to see if there was an OPTIFAST bar in there.

I drifted off the right side of the road slightly as my fingers made contact with the foil wrapper. I tore it open and was greeted with the saddest looking OPTIFAST bar I have ever seen. For the record, the peanut butter chocolate bars are absolutely delicious. It’s like eating a candy bar for me and I love them. Also for the record, if you leave one of these in the center console of your car for say, three weeks (especially one that sits in the sun at work all day), this bar becomes very angry.

I wish I could have taken a picture of the bar, but I was struggling with driving while getting the bar and clenching my stomach so it wouldn’t run off to mate with the burger. Of course, if I got a pic, the folks at OPTIFAST may not have let me post it. You get the idea. This was the angriest, sloppiest, most unappetizing bar I had ever seen. I had mistreated it, abused it, and then forsaken it. Now I wanted it back and I feared it was too feral to ever be reintroduced to society again.

I ate it. I’m not proud of myself. Desperate times call for desperate measures. In the end this bit of diet triage managed to keep me going. While I may have strayed from the lines on the actual road, I managed to stay in my lane with the diet.

Getting on Right Side of the Line, or Upping My Weight-loss Game

All in all, my introspection on the successes and failures of the week led me to make some more choices. I learned there are still new and plentiful reasons for me to continue to lose weight. I realized that while I was responsible for my failures, I was also responsible for my successes, and I should not focus on one more than the other. Most importantly, I realized that I am struggling and I need more help than I thought.

As a result, I will start working with a physical trainer next week. To date, I have just been walking for exercise. Next week I will embark on a full and robust regime of exercise with a professional who will keep me on track, keep me pushing my limits, and keep me from hurting myself.

While filling out all the paperwork and getting things in place to start my training will help my body, I needed to help my mind, as well. Next week, I have my first appointment with a counselor. I decided that I need just as much personal training for my mind and spirit as I do for my body. I like the practice I chose, as they incorporate spirituality and have impeccable bonafides.

Just when I thought I had things figured out, life upped its game and threw more stress my way. Life may have won this past week, but I am committed to getting this weight off. With counseling and physical training, I am upping my game.

On the road of my diet, I have had many inattentive moments where I find myself on the wrong side of the line. I know that those times are all conscious choices I made. I have to keep telling myself that even though my course may waver, I am still moving down the road. I am still getting closer by the day to my destination. I am turning on the GPS, and with the help of Mercy Weight Management, OPTIFAST, personal training, counseling, support, friends, and this blog, I am painting a ton of fresh lines, gripping the wheel firmly, and focusing my determination on seeing this journey through.

Feature Image Credit

If you are just joining us for the Eric Buwala guest blogging series, we invite you to read his previous posts. If you live Canton, Massillon or elsewhere in Stark County and are ready to begin your own weight-loss journey, contact Mercy Weight Management today. Find out how we can create a custom program just for you.

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