That Feeling of Full

I really went for it last night.  We ordered some Indian, and I went to town - no limits, no stopping, just mass consumption.  It felt good for a little bit, too.  Every bite tasted good, but then I got that sick feeling of being too full.  

It made me realize I'd gone for that brief feeling of satisfaction quite often in the past few years.  And it does feel good.  I read somewhere that business deals often happen at the end of big meals, because the body feels good.  When we feel good, we say yes. 

This logic was the beginning of business lunches and dinners: meals where people order and eat too much, feel this feeling, and make things happen.  

I get that.

The other side, though, is that I slept terribly.  I went to bed on the early-ish side, only to wake up around 2:30 am, and lay there for an hour or so.  The feeling of full turned into too full, which turned into bad sleep.  The body functions as a whole, and when you over-consume in one area, your body must make up for it in another.  In a month of health, I've been avoiding the feeling of too full, so to feel it last night wasn't the best.  

The thing I realized, though, was that the feeling had a component to it that was almost addictive.  That needed to be reached and filled in order to be happy.  I also realized it was just a moment.  

Though it was only a moment, it carried strength.  It's momentary status, however, had the overall effect of going against my other goal of being in shape.  These past 20-days,  as I've been eating pretty healthy, exercising, and focusing my energies on getting in shape, health started carrying its own addictive feeling.  I'd wake up feeling good, thinner, more in shape.  My body has gotten in a zone where it's feeding off of itself, using the stored energy in a way that feels good.  

If I can continue the process of training my body so that it's these feelings I crave, and this feeling that I reward - rather than consumption - I can get to the place I'd like to get.  

Balancing Act

Yesterday was going to be a challenge - I knew that going in.  I'd been up late for two days, with packed schedules and few groceries in the house; my pattern (only recently discovered) is that when that specific combination occurs, I often slip from my goals.  

I acknowledged that yesterday morning, and combatted it by intentionality.  I named the obstacle, acknowledged that it was going to be difficult, and also declared that I would act anyway.  

It worked.  

I brought eggs for breakfast (two, hard boiled).  Between my classes, I ran 4-miles.  I had no food after, so ordered Chinese.  I had a craving, and figured lunch would be a good time for it, since I just worked out and had the day to burn the calories.  It was not good.  Having it, though, espeically since it wasn't too satisfying, I would have typically gotten a dinner I enjoy the taste of.  Instead, I skipped dinner.  The Chinese filled me up enough that I didn't need to eat again.  By the time I was finished working (9:15), it was too late to eat.  

I was a little bit hungry last night, but this morning I feel great about my choice.  I've very glad I didn't cave or add the calories that I'd now have to burn.  What it took was balance.  

I had to balance my immediate cravings (taste, now) with my longterm goal: health and wellness.  Being able to put these things side by side, I realized the immediate was only a craving that would take me away from my longterm goal.  In the morning, I have zero regrets.  I'm happy with my choice.  

This is the balancing act we must play.  I regretted my lunch choice, a bit, but balanced it by doing a dinner that worked with my goals.  

A Mentality of Intentionality (Day 12)

Duncan Trussell interviewed Tim Ferriss for episode 140 of the The Duncan Trussell Family Hour.  It was the first time I'd heard of Tim Ferriss, and his work.   He helps people live their best lives, and does this through his writing and podcast.  Tim has had great results with several people in several industries.  One of the ways he's helped people has included helping people lose a lot of weight.  Duncan Trussell asked him about this, and Tim's response was this: The first thing I tell them is that if you don't want to be a fat person, stop acting like a fat person.  He goes on to explain that there are habits that people have that lead to weight gain.  Conversely, there are habits that can help you get in shape, lose weight, and be productive.  Whichever direction you'd like to go, at some base level, you must make sure your actions match that direction.

Pretty straight-forward, but accurate.  

A lot of us that carry extra pounds do it through a series of little decisions - a handful of M&M's here, and extra slice of pizza there, soft drinks, and snacks for 'fun'.  That was the case for me.  300 calories in a beer, 200 calories in an extra slice of pizza or a piece of cake. 

Those, like interest on debt, are then the first thing to be worked off the next day.  You're not getting ahead.  You're just maintaining.  

This realization has helped me.  I've been intentionally avoiding those little slips, keeping the overall goal in mind.  And this mentality has led to intentionality.  

On Day 4 I 'Cheated'

The 4th day of the S.B.D. saw me cheat.  

A friend of ours was in the state, and my wife and I drove from Grand Rapids to Flint for a visit.  Rather than be like, "Yo, y'all, I'm on the South Beach Diet," I ate a delicious meal that was offered.  I also had some booze.  

I have no regrets.  

Had I been home, in my own house, cooking for myself, I would have followed the diet.  But I wasn't.  

Yesterday, the 4th day, following the diet would have taken away from my quality of life - which is not the point.  I want to feel good, be healthy, and take control.  Taking control yesterday meant enjoying a meal.  It meant enjoying people I love and value.  It meant being present in the moment, partaking in life.  

I have no regrets.  It was not a misstep.  It was a beautiful evening that I will remember for a long time.  

Today, day 5, I'm back.  I had eggs, peanuts, and taco salad.  I'm following the guide, and by doing so being healthy, improving my quality of life.  

And that's the point.  

January 2-16 | South Beach Diet, Phase 1

Toward the end of last year, I really stopped caring about what I ate.  I gave close to zero in the way of F's, and my body responded by gaining weight.  

The past three years, I've gotten to 220 on three separate occasions.  In 2015, right around our wedding, I was 215-217; at the beginning of 2016, when I tried a plant-based diet (22-Day Revolution), I saw 217; in 2017, I tried Tim Ferriss's 'slow-carb' diet - which is basically South Beach with a cheat day, and saw 217 on the scale.  The problem, for me, was that I couldn't keep it up.

Thinking about it, I realized the reason is that I considered my food choices during those periods as a 'diet' not a 'lifestyle'.  This meant I'd be intentional for a while, but then slack.  And when I'd slack, I'd really let myself go.  

The consequence was that other areas of my life would suffer - sleep, exercise, productivity.  Bad food contributed to lower quality of life.  

I started watching Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead on Netflix, and while it's obviously a movie with an agenda, the narrator does an interesting thing.  He talks to a lot of Americans about what they eat, how much thought they put into their food, and asks about their life expectancy.  So many of us have short life expectancies because we each such shitty food.  We give nearly zero thought to our diet.  A CEO that's smart as hell, makes a ton of money with a lot of influence and responsibility, may sit and each highly-processed, sugar-loaded unhealthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  The lack of discipline in the realm of food is crazy.  

Why it's also crazy to me is that while you're on any type of a restrictive diet, like South Beach, you realize how much crap is in stores.  Where I live, in West Michigan, the major store is called Meijer.  When you walk in, there's a produce section, followed by an area nearly three times as big.  When you walk through the store with a 'restricted' list, you realize that most of what's there cannot be eaten on 'healthy' diets.  It's crazy.  Going to a lesser store, like a mini-mart, small grocer, or some such thing, and it's even worse.  There, they have almost nothing in the fresh department, and almost nothing you can eat.  

No judgement.  My point is that it's so easy for us to eat so much, gain so much weight AND do so without thinking about it.  

In the U.S., our obesity rate is at least 35%.  You can find different numbers, but they're all at least that.  Add overweight people, and you realize how unhealthy most of us our.  I fell into this camp, and it was VERY easy to do.

Living in a big city, and having to walk a lot, I was mobile.  I walked five miles a day without thinking about it.  If something was less than 5 blocks away, I never drove; having to find parking, pay for parking, and deal with traffic made it not worth the effort.  If this was the case, five miles away, that meant walking back made it a 10-block round trip.  That's more than a lot of us walk every day.  

When I moved to Grand Rapids, MI, I realized just how easy it is to never walk.  I work on a street called Alpine, and see a bunch of people walking down it (by bunch I mean, maybe, one per day).  There are no sidewalks for them.  I started looking around our city, and lack of sidewalks are everywhere.  How do you walk?  Where do you walk?  I rarely walk for one item at the grocery store by my house.  Instead, I drive.  Before I lived here, I couldn't believe people would do that.  Now, I'm one of them.  It's just part of the culture.  

The other thing I didn't realize, which plays a lot more into it all than I thought, is the food options.  Living in Chicago, if I wanted take out, there were many different options.  Because of the options, the food had to be good.  With good, available, affordable take out, people are used to buying it.  When you're used to getting take out, you want options, which includes healthy options.  

In Chicago, I could do the South Beach Diet, and get all my meals in the form of take out, and they'd be healthy and good.  In Grand Rapids, this is not really an option.  There are no places that I can think of that you can get a quick, healthy meal.  You have to do something like a taco salad from Qdoba or Chipotle.  This is not said in judgement.  It just made me realize how easy it is here to gain weight.  

One day, I was doing manual labor.  For breakfast I had a breakfast sandwich, for lunch I had Jimmy John's, and for dinner I had pizza.  That was so easy to do.  A lot of us do this nearly every day, and our bodies are storing the weight.  

I am one such person.  I love taste, texture, and quantity.  But it was catching up to me.  My cholesterol was getting bad, my risk of heart attack was on the rise, and I just didn't feel good.  Realizing how easy it all is, and that I can gain weight is the first problem.  Now that that's admitted, it's time to act.  

I'm currently on Day 4 of The South Beach Diet and I feel great.  I made a crock pot full of chicken, and have been eating with with salads, having eggs for breakfast, and feel good.

It's nice to make positive choices about your body.  

The Real Tom Bratt is Back.