Hi, you can call me Chubs. “Chubs” is a secret nickname my wife calls me. It’s not my real name (Duh!) and those aren’t really pictures of me but they’re close enough. You see, I intend on being brutally honest here and I don’t want to risk the embarrassment of people who know me finding out it’s me so… we’ll just stick with Chubs. Anyway, I’m Chubs and I’m on a quest to find a weight loss program that’s easy and that works.
I’m 61 years old. God willing, I’ll be 62 in a few months. If I was 8, I’d be saying I was “8 and a half going on 9.” I weigh in at about 230 lbs… I should weigh between 170 and 180. That would work for the 5’9″ frame I possess. So, first let’s get some of the ugliness out of the way here. Let me set the stage, if you will, to this quest. The big question staring thin folks square in the face, but probably not the others of you out there with a few (or quite a few) too many pounds is how the heck did I let myself get to 50 pounds overweight? What, do I just want to die early?
The answer is a pretty common one really, it actually started when I decided I didn’t want to die early so I quit smoking. I was two packs a day from ages 20 to 44. I maybe had an extra 15 lbs around my waist but to a guy, that’s manageable but my blood pressure was way too high so, after trying for the umpteenth time, I got that monkey off my back… and over the course of the next 17 years, an extra 35 pounds around my torso in exchange.
Now I don’t have to tell you that quitting smoking is a bitch; it was the hardest thing I have ever done but it was easier than losing this 50 pounds and here’s why. With smoking it was a matter of “smoke” or “don’t smoke.” With eating, it’s not a matter of “eat” or “don’t eat,” it’s a matter of only eat a little. If you’ve quit smoking too, you will understand this analogy. There is a popular saying, “I’m only one cigarette away from two packs a day.” If I wouldn’t starve to death, I sometimes think it would be easier to quit eating entirely than it is to change my eating habits. If I only tried to cut down to say, 5 cigarettes a day, I’d still be smoking two packs a day, if I wasn’t dead.
I love to eat! Some people eat to live; I live to eat. If I like something, I am going to eat it until it’s gone or I simply lose the urge to eat it or am too full to eat any more. To me, when the local buffet advertises “all you can eat for $9.95,” I take that as an order and a challenge. After all, they didn’t say “all you care to eat” or “all you want to eat”… nope… it’s all I CAN eat and I can eat a lot.
Eating is fun… it’s social… it’s a way to fight boredom. It’s been that way all my life but I was athletic early on so eating was a sport I could indulge in and not suffer the consequences. Now I can’t but I’m an old dog and it ain’t easy teaching this one the new trick called “change my eating habits.”
My primary weaknesses, if there is such a thing, would be sausages, pizza, pasta more than ice cream and doughnuts. I can eat a 16 inch combination pizza myself. I buy them for my wife and daughter, presumably, then they each eat a piece and I get to eat the rest. How many of you are the “waste not, want not” types who eat some of the food left on family member’s plates? Oh yeah… I am. Now, I know that sounds awful but I told you i was going to tell some ugly truths here and I also know there are a lot of you quietly shaking your heads saying… “yeah, that’s me too. ” Listen, the episode of Seinfeld’s George Costanza taking the half eaten eclair out of the trash at his girlfriend’s house didn’t originate in a vacuum.
I think you get the picture, I’m not a glutton, I just love to eat… always have… always will. That’s why I am “only” 50 pounds and not 150 pounds overweight. So, let’s talk about diets and dieting.
I have dieted off and on my entire adult life. At first it was a snap; the pounds would roll off me in no time. It was less so in my 40’s, even less so in my 50’s and now it’s nigh on to impossible. Still, being a pretty smart guy, and one who loves to learn stuff, I have studied and learned a lot about diet over the years. Without bragging, I think I probably understand more about nutrition than most people having studied and tried for the past 18 years to find a way to lose weight without struggle. Usually, there’s a way to figure things out, how to make things work, a system, but this weight thing, it’s pretty tough to game.
In earlier years, I tried a lot of the fad diets, “The Drinking Man’s Diet” was one of my favorites. For those of you who don’t remember it, or are too young to have been there at the time, it was a traditional very low carb diet with a booze chaser. Kind of like the Atkin’s Diet with a hangover.
Then there was the Hollywood Diet but the original had you buying your own fruit juices instead of the gimmick now where they sell it to you. Either way, it’s unnatural and I didn’t like it then and I still don’t today.
I gave some thought to Weight Watchers but come on, I’m a guy and guy’s don’t weigh their food. What’s more the only time we go to meetings and get weighed, is if we are competing in a weight class and we have to make weight to compete. Besides, guys like me don’t do support groups… unless it’s AA or a good Hold’em game.” I’m not trying to be insensitive or macho or anything. It’s just that I, and a lot of other men, just like doing things on our own.
And don’t get me started on these packaged food diets like NutriSystems. Come on, those only work so long as you are eating their food. If I want to do that, I would just go to Wal Mart and buy those frozen diet meals. Kirsty Alley is packing back on the pounds, God Bless her and Tony Orlando will be letting out those pants in time as well.
I have done Atkins, and a lot of variations on the low carb diet. They have the most scientific support. The most recent one, which worked pretty darn well, for a while, was my own. I called it the Tuna Fish diet. I ate cans of tuna. I ate right out of the can and I made great salads with lettuce, tomato, olive oil and balsamic vinager with a can of tuna. Talk about healthy. Toss in a bunch of vitamins and minerals and some steamed veggies, a little fruit and that is one hearth healthy extreme diet. Got under 200 lbs with that one but then, when I went back to normal eathing.. badda bing.. badda boom.. a Chubs explosion, you know how it goes.
That’s when I searched my soul and admitted what was quite obvious, that I am a weak-willed fat guy and I need to find a better way. I see my peers dying every day. Famous like Tim Russert and not so famous, as my classmates from high school and college. I am at risk. I love God and look forward to meeting him in person but when I go, it will be forever and that’s a pretty long time so I want to extend my stay here as long as I can still think and have fun. To do that, I need to get the fat off.
Still, a diet isn’t going to work. I need to find a way that requires either a minimum of, or complete lack of, will power since that just doesn’t seem to be working for me. Let’s face it. as I get older, the task gets more formidable and will gets weaker. I’m tired of fighting, I only have so much fight left in me at any one time and life presents enough challenges without putting that one on top of all the rest. Know what I mean? Judging how many other fatties there are around, it seems as if this is a problem for a whole lot of us. I have made a choice as to what to do. Tomorrow, I’ll fill you in.