Tag Archives: weight loss

Who is for you?

It’s one of my favorite conversations to have.

It’s the “What’s your secret?” conversation. Large, expectant eyes await my pearl of wisdom. I say “Well (pausing dramatically for effect)….I did it with discipline, focus, intensity, stamina, self dialog, and belief.”

I can actually see the word crud flash in those expectant eyes.

As I outlined in an earlier post, there is no secret formula. There is no miracle pill, plan, or eating regimen that will be the key to unlock your weight loss success. I believe the key resides inside of you, placed there long ago. Until you realize this, and tap into this core, most of what you will try will be largely unsuccessful.

In upcoming posts, I will unpack these concepts as they relate to weight loss, especially for men. It is my desire to help everyone tap into the core that is within and unleash the person they were designed to be. To literally shed themselves, and become someone new.

But before we dive into these topics, I want to lay some groundwork by first. I’m speaking now to you, bud. You sitting there, alone. Maybe there’s someone in the room with you, but you feel quite alone. Alone with your thoughts, alone with your food, alone with your belly cutting into the top of your belt buckle. The sweaty, imperfect you.

Who is on your team? Who is on your side?

The Denver Broncos are my team. I’m not a huge sports nut, but I love watching and following the Broncos. Since that first Broncos knit stocking cap at 7 years old, through the “Broncos robe” years of middle school, and straight into the Shannon Sharpe jersey of adulthood, I’ve loved rooting for my hometown team.

Don’t like football? No worries. This post isn’t about football. Keep reading dude.

I love how some people refer to a sports team as “their team” as if they have some influence in the front office. It’s fun to participate in kinship over a sports team. In a small way they are like a family. There are team members you love and feel a connection to. There’s some that are annoying, but still part of your team so you root for them. There’s some that misbehave, but you love them anyway. Even though I am sitting on my couch watching the game, me and my team share joy in victories, and feel terrible when defeats come. Then we dust ourselves off, and begin again, preparing for next week’s game.

And so it is with shedding the pounds too.

Guys, the loneliest place in the world can be inside, insulated from life by a layer of food and fat. When I was at my heaviest, I can recall many times feeling isolated and alone, even in a room full of people. At parties or dinners with friends,  I felt isolated because of my weight.  It protected me and gave me a reason to quit, give up, or even more sinister, never start in the first place. Yeah, being fat and alone in a perceived skinny world is hell.

So, let’s change that, ok?

I want you to think a minute about your team. Not your sports team, but your life team. The team that surrounds you every day. Because if you are going to shed yourself, if you are going to begin inching forward, fighting to lose the weight, fighting to change your life, fighting for your very life, then I believe you must do this surrounded by the right team.

So stay with me and the football metaphor. I think it works. First up…

Quarterback: This is you. Your job is to make plays, direct traffic, grab the ball, and make things happen. The job can be hell. You’re the one that makes the sensational play, or gets sacked. Saying no to mom’s apple pie? Touchdown! Decide to graze on the donuts in the break room? Sacked. Ever notice how in football the pressure from the other team is overwhelming and the quarterback runs for his life? Well, your life is “the other team” and sometimes you gotta run baby! Yes, you will make great plays. You’ll get up off the couch and exercise a bit. You’ll make a big plate of steamed veggies for dinner. You’ll wake up early and take a walk while the sun rises.

But, sometimes the quarterback gets pulverized. Sometimes the donuts win. Sometimes your back goes out, or the blood work looks bad, or the knees begin to creak. Playing the part of the quarterback of the team does not mean you wont have setbacks. You’re gonna get your nose bloodied. And you’re gonna make a few sensational plays. So when the ball get’s hiked to you, what are you going to do? Let’s ask the next member of your team….

Coach: This is the wise teacher on the sideline calling in the plays telling you, the quarterback, what to do. For me, Dr. Gerber, my rock-star doctor, is my coach. Your coach provides wisdom, direction, and advice. Your coach is there because they understand the game, and what is at stake. Your coach is the person in your life that does not sugar coat your situation. Your coach needs action, and execution from you. Notice the coach doesn’t make plays on the field. Your coach knows it is up to you to make plays and follow the advice given. In the end, the coach calls the plays, and can only watch helplessly as you scramble around.  Who is your coach? Who is that person in your life providing direction, guidance and wisdom? Hurting your feelings by telling you the truth? The coach is a critical member of your team. You need a coach on your side. However, don’t mistake the coach for your…

Cheerleader: This is the noise in your ear. This is the rah-rah person on your team. This person cheers you on, even when you make a bad play (remember the donuts?). They smile a lot, watch what you do, and celebrate you! They are usually not deeply involved in the details of your life, or care much about how you got to be where you are. They only care that you are participating, and moving. They will always be there to cheer you on as long as you are on the field. Cheerleaders provide encouragement when times are tough, and celebrate every single inch you move forward. The cheerleaders on my team (some of you are readers) provide me love, smiles, encouragement, and celebrate success. Do they know how hard it was to lose the weight? Nope. They don’t need to know. All they need to know is they are proud of you, and with a smile say “Well done!” Cheerleaders are an integral part of your weight loss journey, guys. You need cheerleaders in your life, to help you keep going with a shout of encouragement. Cheerleaders are not on the field, slugging it out with you. That role is reserved for your….

Teammates: These are your brothers and sisters in arms. The ones in the trenches, fighting it out with you. These people get you on a deep level, because they have been there. They’ve eaten what you’ve eaten. They’ve felt ashamed, afraid, and alone. They know what you are going though because they have been there with you. Notice how not all teammates on a football team have the same talent level, the same body shape, or ever the same work ethic? Same is true with your team mates. Some will make bad plays right along side you (you know the friends I’m talking about…the ones that take you out for pasta…).  But other team mates are on the field when you make the big play, and move the ball down the field. They are there, shoulder to shoulder, as you fight forward. These are your co-workers who bring in veggie trays, or your friends who call you to go walking at night, or your softball buddies that call you to see how you are feeling. They celebrate your success, because they were there with you all along. They are on your side. They know how it is. They get bloody noses too. Sometimes, they may even need your help making their own plays.

Ok, enough metaphor.

So, who is your team? Who is your coach? Your cheerleaders? your team mates? As you begin to shed yourself, I want you to think very seriously about who fills these roles in your life. Without my team, I would be unable to lose the weight and continue to have success. It is my hope, through this blog, I can be your coach, cheerleader, or teammate. Ok?

Leave a comment or e-mail me directly. I’d love to hear about your team.

Thanks for reading.

Brian

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Poster Child

Going to the doctor used to be my least favorite thing to do. Eh, worse than that. It flat-out stunk. Always bad news, never good news. Needles, samples, poking, prodding, uncomfortable questions. For some this might sound similar to Thanksgiving dinner with family. For me, it was the doctor’s office.

But things are looking up. Keep reading.

I went to the doctor this week for a check up and blood draw. My doctor was very happy with my progress (down 66 pounds but who’s counting, right?). We discussed changes in medications, diet, exercise, and future plans. Then he called me a “poster child” for weight loss.

What? Poster child? Me? Not hardly. I mean, I’ve had a little success and all, but c’mon. “Poster child” is reserved for important people, well-known people, people who move lives.

I did a little research (read nerd here) on the term “poster child.” It was typically used originally with a negative connotation. Fundraising campaigns, mostly for charities supporting cures for diseases, would create posters showing photos of people inflicted with said disease. The photos were meant to stir a person’s heart, make the disease more real, and motivate a person to take action or donate money.

Yeah, that’s more like it. I’ve been that kind of poster child for sure.

Middle-aged balding, overweight guy. Tired, sweaty. Knees that crack like dry spaghetti. Jovial on the outside, in pain on the inside. Hardworking on the outside, unmotivated inside. Outside, talking big dreams. Inside, paralyzed to do anything about them. Know anyone like that? I’m not suggesting all overweight men are feeling this way. I’m just telling you how it was for me.

A more modern understanding of the term poster child also exists. Poster child can also be interpreted as one that epitomizes a certain condition. By this definition, we also add the possibility of a poster child as someone who is a positive example. Someone to look up to, held in high regard, or even followed.

So what does this have to do with weight loss? Well, everything.

I began thinking about if what my doctor said was true. Am I a poster child? Could I become a poster child for weight loss? Could I inspire other men to begin their own journey toward life and wellness?

Ask me this question a year ago and I would have scoffed at the notion. Literally I would have made a sort of scoffing sound like a cough-snort-hacky thing.

Have you seen what I look like in the morning? Do you know who I am inside?

In that way, I was a poster child for a life less lived. For mediocrity. For a male, hiding from himself, behind layers of fat.

Today, I submit to you a new poster. I am beginning to see a new possibility that exists. A new world is starting to open in a way I never dreamed possible. This is a world filled with energy, and muscle, and attitude, and focus.  Momentum, focus, discipline, attitude, and intentionality have brought me to a place of transformation. This is where I literally shed myself, and recreate myself in a new way, in a new world full of possibilities. A new poster child. Is this world for me? I’m beginning to think yes.

What poster child are you?

If I put your picture on a poster, what would be the title?  Would you be a poster child for self-doubt? hopelessness? Would you be the scarfing-drive-thru-in-your-car-because-it-is-too-embarrassing-to-eat-it-in-public guy? Would you be a spokesperson for the “I don’t deserve it” club? How about “I can’t do it”?

Instead try this.

I want you to imagine yourself as you go through your day-to-day life carrying a large poster. This poster is blank at the start of the day, and gets gradually filled with images from your daily life. Thoughts you had, ways you interacted with others, food you ate, places you went, and things you did. At the end of the day, this poster is to be hung up. I want you to imagine this poster, this very intimate, vulnerable, real look at you, being hung on a refrigerator door.

You know the one. The fridge where parents hang a report card, proud as they can be. Where an upcoming wedding invitation gets hung, full of hope and pride. Where pictures of funny grandkids doing silly things get admired.

Imagine it’s going to be hung on your fridge. And my fridge. And God’s fridge.

Now step back, scratch your chin, and look at that poster.

What will the poster say?

Will it be something you or me or God will be proud to hang on our fridge?

What do you wish it to say?

The myth is to believe the poster has already been cast. The reality is this poster, the one with parts that you are ashamed of, is painted by you. The myth is to believe the poster made with permanent ink. The reality says otherwise. It is not set in stone.

It can be an endless image of hope, possibility, and rebirth. It can be strong, brave, and powerful.

What kind of poster are you ready to create? What poster will you be willing to hang for the world to see?

Leave a comment or e-mail me directly. I’d love to hear about you, “poster child.”

Thanks for reading.

Brian

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Surrender to What is Next

“When we fail to plan, we plan to fail.”

Man, I hate that.

Rhyming self-help mantras are the worst too because they reduce complex issues into syrupy, sticky phrases that gum up my mental gears. Yet, I found myself perplexed by one that got me thinking about planning. Maybe syrup isn’t so bad?

Keep reading.

Last week, I wrote about finding a plan that works. I discussed the notion that weight loss is not primarily about discovering the correct set of meal plans, exercise plans, and eating regimens that helps you lose the weight. I believe the plan that works is actually a plan that already resides in you, placed there long ago, waiting to be unleashed. I contend getting your mind right is the key to a successful weight loss journey.

Many self-help gurus and strategic thinkers tout the importance of careful planning and strategy when making changes in life. I couldn’t agree more. In fact, one of the reasons I was able to accelerate my weight loss  over the last months has been by following a plan, a path, a strategy.

This weekend, my pastor preached about vision. His sermon laid out the 10 year vision for our church. The compelling sermon was based on one of those sticky mantras I mentioned earlier:

Conceive….Believe….Achieve

This is a great one, and not just because the pastor said so.  When setting a goal, you must first conceive of the idea or plan. Then, you must believe in this plan more than anyone else around you. Lastly, you must get off your rear-end and get it done!

So how does this apply to weight loss? It does not take much thinking to see how this mantra applies to the weight loss saga. Tell me if you’ve heard this before guys.

Step one: Picture yourself as a thin person. Image out loud what it would be like to be thin. Think about what it would be like to be at your goal weight today. How does your body feel? Imagine increased energy level, stamina, and strength. Find a picture of your ideal body type and think of yourself as this person, and looking this way. Got it? Great!

Step two: You must believe this is possible. Know you are worth it. You can achieve it, and losing the weight is important in your life. Sure you’ve tried and failed in the past, but today is a new day! You cannot lose the weight for others, you must be the one who wants to lose more than anyone else. Believing in yourself is critical to weight loss success.

Step three: Having conceived of the ideal you, and having told yourself you believe in the goal and your ability to make it, now it is time to act. You must get off your rear end and start working on your weight loss goal. So put on your sweat pants (yes, the good ones), and get out there!

And that works for a while.  It might work for a week, a month, a season. Then the holidays come around. Then a new project launches at work.  Then your family member gets sick suddenly. Before you know it, life settles in. Old habits settle in. And your old comfortable fat self puts its arms around your neck again and squeezes.

Why?

See, I think the experts are right. Just not quite the right order.

Don’t misunderstand me here. Conceiving and believing are big parts of the necessary steps to unleashing the real, authentic you into the world. You must not skip those steps.

When I first started on this weight-loss journey, I had no idea what I was doing. I had no real strong plan. I had a vague notion of what I wanted to try and what my doctor had told me to do. I had poked around on the internet a bit. I even think I scratched out a shopping list. But I had no strong conception of who I wanted to be. I had no muscle-clad, vein-popping, sinew-bulging body image taped to my fridge. I wasn’t sure what I believed was even possible. I wasn’t sure if it would work at all quite frankly. I was unclear, scared, and uncertain. I can recall clearly telling my wife “You’ll never going to believe what he wants me to eat for breakfast!” I had lots of doubt, and little solid belief it would work.

In the early stages of weight loss, I think it is easy to get trapped by the notion of conception and belief. Too often we are told by experts we must have a goal and a strong plan before taking that first step towards changing your weight. I don’t believe this is the truth when men lose weight. I believe, in the early stages, we have to tap into who we are as men at a very primal level, and begin by taking an action. Let me propose a new mantra for starting a weight loss journey.

Here’s what I said to myself as the first few days unfolded, and I invite you to say this too:

Right now, I have no idea what I’m doing. Right now, I’m scared this wont work. Right now, I don’t have a clear path with a solid goal in front of me. But what I do have is the desire to move from this place where I am to somewhere different in my health. I am not willing to spend one more day with this body, with this weight. I do not know how long this will take, or how hard it will be. But I cannot stay stuck here any longer and live.

I surrender to what is next.

Surrender to what is next. Open yourself to the presence of something new. Don’t get hung up with the first planning steps. You are going to be horrible at first anyway. The process will come, the plan will come, You will get good at eating the right things. You will get good at planning your day. You will get better at seeing the vision of the new you. But for now, I need you calm and open to something new. I need you to begin to move a little bit in your life. Take a small action, and see where it leads you. Yes, order that book. Sign up for that blog. Make that doctor appointment.

Will you start something new?

Will you surrender to what’s next?

Leave a comment or connect with me via e-mail. Thanks for reading.

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Lost on a bathroom floor

It had snowed a bit the night before. I was headed to work one morning last February and my car was iced over. After starting my car and flipping on the blasting heater, I got out to scrape. I reached up my right hand with the plastic scraper to stab a small ice chunk off the windshield, when I felt it.

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More of a twinge really, and small enough that I didn’t really notice it at first. I got in the car and went to work like every other day. It was mid-morning when I began to feel stiffness across by lower back. By the time I was ready to head home, I was in full-on back ache mode. I got home, took some ibuprofen and went to bed early.

The next morning, I thought I was paralyzed.

I attempted to swing my legs out of bed, and I could not move them. At all. Then a wave of pain washed over me. I gasped, and discovered I could barely breathe in. From my midsection down was immobilized with searing pain. My wife could hear me struggling to move and breathe. I was in full-on panic mode. How did this happen? What did I do to myself? I considered calling 911, but after my wife helped drag my legs over the edge of the bed, I was able to slither down to the floor and crawl across the room to the bathroom where I collapsed, barely able to breathe.

That was my moment. My “I’ve had enough” moment. It comes to all of us eventually. It may have already come to you. It may be in your future. But make no mistake, it will show up on your doorstep. For me, that was the moment I decided that anything would be better than the pain. At that moment, I would have given anything, ANYTHING, to get rid of the pain.

Through a combination of heating pads, ice packs, and ibuprofen, I was able to hobble around my house for a few days, trying to decide what to do. I didn’t have a regular doctor since moving back to the Denver area in 2011, so I contacted a friend who recommended a physician in town, Dr. Jeffrey Gerber. I’m not sure if it was fate, luck, or God’s presence that put me in Dr. Gerber’s care. I will forever be changed by it. More on that in another post.

Dr. Gerber competently treated my back and luckily, no permanent injury. But I was a terrified man. I had experienced pain before, but nothing that debilitating. I never wanted to feel that way again. As I slowly got better, I worked up the courage to make another appointment, this time to discuss my weight. It was the scariest, most vulnerable appointment of my life. My back was slowly healing, but I was a broken man. I had tried to lose, and failed. Then tried again, and failed. I’d had enough. I was finally willing to surrender myself to something new. I was finally willing to say “I will try anything. I will learn anything. I will do anything. I’m done with the old fat me.”

So what are the secrets to losing weight? There are none. Before you will be able to shed a single pound, you must first be willing to lose yourself. Lose the old you. Lose the anchor of your old, fat self. Your old methods, as broken as they are. Surrender yourself to something new. Decide you have had enough. This far, but not one donut further. You may have to hit rock bottom. You may have to be scared for your life. You may have to lie on a bathroom floor, gasping for breath. Yet, once you are willing to let go and be open, only then will you begin to take the first step towards healing, health, and life.

Turns out the first thing I lost was lying on that bathroom floor. I lost myself. It was the sweetest loss of all.

What will you be willing to lose?

Thoughts? Share them in the comments or you can e-mail me privately using the “Contact” button above. Thanks for reading.

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Starting is hard

Since I am not a professional blogger yet, these first few posts will stink. I learned from Jon Acuff  it is ok to be terrible at first when hardly anyone is reading your blog anyway. (Hi, mom.) So we’ll have to live with that together, ok?

This is my bold declaration: Since the beginning of 2013, I have lost 60 pounds. I have dropped from a 40 inch waist to a 34 inch waist. I used to wear size 3XL Tall shirts. I now wear XL off the rack. So there.

That’s where I am now. But not too long ago, I was a different story. For most of my adult life, I’ve been over weight. I have, over the years, tried numerous weight loss plans, diets, and programs. Most are great weight loss methodologies that have transformed millions of lives. Just not mine. Not permanently anyway. During my weight loss regimens, I got down to as low as 270 pounds (thank you Gym Bag Bible.) But I also blossomed to a high watermark of 319 pounds between attempts (yes, I’ll bring pictures). Sound familiar? Yeah, me too.

I can recall the roly-poly feeling of 319 vividly. I began each day by sweating. I sweat in places I didn’t know I could sweat. I might have actually been a little steamy, but not in a good way. I discovered my shoes had to go on my feet that were waaaay down on the other end of my legs. I would get winded walking down the stairs. I felt as if I was slowly being strangled by my own body. Been there?

So this first blog post is dedicated to starting something new. Starting is hard. Momentum is not easily gained. The solid rocket boosters on the space shuttle provided a combined 6.6 million pounds of thrust at liftoff. Just to get off the launching pad. That’s some serious starting power.

Do you have thrust like that in your life? No?

Neither did I at first. I mean, who am I, right?

Who am I? Who are you? Let’s find out together.

Brian

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