The Method…

I get asked some variation of the questions, “What’s the secret?” and, “What did you do to lose weight?” an awful lot.

My answer USED to be:
a) Never eat anything you like.
b) Be hungry all the time.
c) Work your ass off.
d) Once you get the first three down, crank the whole thing up to eleven.

Folks don’t like that answer. Most are looking for some magic bullet. A miracle pill. A particular diet book. That ONE food that has a hidden ingredient that’s making them fat. And so on. Folks don’t want to hear that it boils down to choices, hard work, and simple math.

To be fair…NONE of those are easy…and it took me a long time to come to terms with it myself.

That answer has now modified somewhat…the process is deceptively simple on the surface, but quite complex once you get serious about it.

I should note that overall, folks don’t like the new answer either. There is no miracle pill here.

Let’s get started, shall we?

1) First and foremost, this process is a head game. Elevate yourself, and YOUR health, to the VERY TOP of your “to do” list and keep yourself there. It MUST be Non-negotiable. This is number one on the list as it is simply the most important step. You will not succeed, especially in the long term, without this.

That takes some soul searching to come to terms with. You will also occasionally have to disappoint friends, family, and co-workers. Those that have become used to relying on you do not like to hear, “No.” My advice if they make it known that they don’t like “no”…is to try using, “piss off!”.

My work ethic still tells me it’s selfish…so it remains a struggle to achieve. Every. Damn. Day.

2) Next, this is math game. Simply put, calories out must exceed calories in.

Set a calorie goal based on your BMR (definition and calculator at the link).

TRACK your calories. I guarantee if you are not actively and honestly tracking your calories, you are eating far more than you think you are. Be mindful of hidden/less obvious calories like sauces/spreads/and the like. They add up fast. I use a free account on My Fitness Pal. You will rapidly learn how to substitute some of the high-calorie stuff with better choices, so you can eat better, perform higher, and stay fuller/more satisfied.

Set and try to keep in your macros as well (% of fat/carbs/protein). With some smart choices and practice you can do this and feel satisfied AND lose weight. It DOES take concentration though. Food is social. Food is a celebration. Food is a reward. NOT a good thing, since ultimately food is fuel. You can still be social, celebrate, reward…you just have to make mindful choices doing it.

…and note this: While there ARE some folks with particular (or even exotic) food reactions/allergies, they are actually pretty rare and many folks are just making excuses. Not to put too fine a point on it…but cutting out some magic ingredient (or adding one) isn’t going to do shit. No matter your limitations or excuses…you must still eat within macros/calorie goals to achieve this.

3) Now…work your ass off. Get some exercise. A LOT of it. I’m in the gym or at the trainer around 7-10 hours/week. Make this a priority. Cardio (walking, running, biking, treadmill, etc) AND strength/resistance training are both critical and they complement each other.

I’d advise some training to get you in the groove. You need to learn proper form and the like and if you’ve not been trained in it…well, let’s just say it’s a lot more involved than you’d expect.

Look for a personal trainer in a small shop near you. I stumbled onto this via a 6-week fitness challenge from Rowlett Transformation Center (RTC).

Once the challenge was over, I signed up for additional sessions. There is a lot to learn. If budget is tight, do the challenge, then work on your own at a gym and attend occasional sessions with your trainer afterwards as you advance and progress.

These “challenges” are usually small group with individulized plans/instructions (not everybody in the class is doing the same thing)…this gets you the training YOU need, support of the trainer and other clients, and doesn’t break the bank.

These sorts are less expensive than the trainers at the big clubs, better qualified, more motivating, and frankly…they are selling results. (the big box club trainers are usually selling the concept of fitness…not the results).

My current trainer is Travis Merrit, the owner of RTC. My previous trainer at RTC was Blaine Calloway, who now owns his own shop at Affinity Fitness. Both these guys are beyond AWESOME and I HIGHLY recommend them. They are competent, enthusiastic, supportive, and ready to work with you no matter your level.

If you are considering this (stop considering and DO it!) and you’re in the area of either shop…go see ’em! If you’re elsewhere, google “fitness challenge” and you’ll find a trainer near you. It’s usually a heck of a price deal and a good way to start your journey.

Join a “big box” club very near you and exercise there on your own. You can usually find a nice, well equipped place for $10-20 month. Ask your trainer for guidance on your “not with him/her” days. Then, go DO it…the hardest part is simply showing up. Your head…and other things…will do their very best to convince you otherwise.

4) THEN crank the entire thing up to eleven.

…and that’s it. Get on it!

Should you find yourself counter-pointing, disputing, or listing reasons why those 4 steps won’t work for ya…well..you’re making excuses and you’ve already lost. These are choices. Nothing more, nothing less.

Go back to #1 and get that straight.

And in case you think I’m being smug about this whole thing…well…no. I’m not. I’ve failed at this for more than 35 years…utterly and completely. I have reasons (excuses), but all the reasons in the world don’t help the problem. Pretty much like anything else in life…what helps the problem is some damn hard work.

It’s taken me a long time to come to terms with this…AND find a way to achieve the most important step (#1 in case you haven’t been paying attention 🙂 ).

It is, simply put, the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Take the first step. And the next. They DO get easier…and you’ll like where you end up.

Choices. Nothing more. Nothing less.

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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All your jackets…

wife: “All your jackets are WAY too big. I got you a leather jacket at the thrift store. It’s a large.”
me: “Honey, you *know* I’ll never get into a larg…” *zziiiippp* “…holy shit!”

Last jacket I bought was a 6x.

Yeah…this “fitness” thing takes getting used to.

Bonus…she paid like…diddly over squat for it. Those cute little short girls are amazing at times.

Haven’t been able to fit in a LARGE in 30 years. This is loose.

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From RTC (my trainer)…

A nice write-up<--click from my trainer. I'd hazard a guess he's pleased with my progress.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Obligations…

Stock Photo

We’re running with the shadows of the night
So baby take my hand, it’ll be all right
Surrender all your dreams to me tonight
They’ll come true in the end…*

Moving rapidly through the deep Texas night, navigating the wife’s ride along roads I knew intimately long before I could legally drive, I should be at peace.

I’m not.

We were inbound for the city, but miles away from even the hint of influence of its lights. Stars and nebulae shine strongly enough to light up the night.

Almost. There is danger. The shadows of the night are fluid and merit attention.

Off the edge of the map. There be monsters here.

Hours to go, carving through the lonely landscape under a glorious empty sky.

My soul feels the distance and the desolation and its insignificance against such vastness and cries for company. For a touch.

It’s being a pesky thing…since I have both close by.

I allow myself a glance toward the passenger’s seat and as always, my heart skips a beat when I see her. That gal that shares her life with me dozes as we fly along. It’s a sight I could take in all night…a cool drink for a parched soul, but I only take that single, instant glance. Just a sip.

I’ve obligations you see. I do not take them lightly.

I’ve already dodged one deer along this road, and spied several more along the medians. The speed limits out here are high and the roads are narrow. The car is quick and nimble, but its security is an illusion. We’re tearing through the night surrounded by nothing but thin metal and plastic. It’s a balancing act. How fast? How safe? There is no fixed answer.

That lady dozing in the seat trusts that I’ll get us there. To me it’s not even us that I ponder. It’s her. I’d end the world to get her there safe, if that’s what it took. Without hesitation. Burn everybody and everything in it. I don’t say that lightly either.

I’ve met the monsters in the world. I bear the scars. Most aren’t on the outside…but they teach. There’s little left I still fear. Maybe nothing.

But her trust in me…and my ability to live up to it, are what I ponder now.

It’s a big damn world. Piloting a machine through the perilous night is the least of dangers to be found in it. It doesn’t help my mood that our destination is straight into the grasp of the malevolent, high-order predator known as Dallas. We live there…and are comfortable with it…but safe? Maybe…as long as we’re more dangerous than it is.

That’s an even bet. So far we’ve passed the tests. Beaten, bested, or at least escaped the monsters unscathed.

Mostly…

But do I fear?

No. Maybe. Perhaps I’ve forgotten how it tastes…but it’s probably what I feel when I worry that somehow, someday, someplace…my skills, precautions, perceptions, and reactions may not be enough to fulfill my purpose. A missed clue. A mistake. Even if I do everything right it’s still possible to fail. That’s the definition of being human.

My obligation. My purpose. I have my passions, hobbies, works, and needs, but I protect her and keep her safe. This above all else.

The fact that she’s perfectly capable of doing both for herself doesn’t mitigate my obligation one iota.

Shortly I steal another glance. She hasn’t moved but she’s watching me. Reading me. She’s extraordinarily adept at it.

“A man that has nothing to lose doesn’t know how to live.”

I chew on that thought for a moment and glance at her again. She’s asleep. Perhaps I imagined she spoke at all.

Doesn’t matter though. The message was delivered. Fear? No. That’s not it at all. With her by my side I just know how to live.

And I’ll best man, monster, or god that tries to take that from me.

Ponderings for a deep Texas night.

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

*lyrics: Pat Benatar’s “Shadows of the Night”

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The answer may depend on who you ask…

Me and my lady jumped into her strangely banana-smelling ride (that’s another story) and headed out to the movies Tuesday. Blade Runner 2049 was on the agenda.

Obviously a sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 Blade Runner, it is pointless to view without familiarity with that film.

If you are familiar with the franchise, it is well worth your time. If not, check out the first film and then go catch this one on the big screen.

The original film and the world presented here are based on Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.

A Blade Runner is a hunter…hunting down fugitive or “off baseline” manufactured organic humanoid’s that were created and sold as slaves, servants, and for hazardous jobs, called replicants. The universal view is that they are manufactured machines and not “alive”.

They may think otherwise.

Set in the same dystopian world, it is beautifully done. Subtle presentations of an epic landscape and rich, vibrant world full of intense characters serve only as a backdrop for the vibe of the entire film, which is simply, “What is life?”

The entire thing is succinctly summed up by one minor exchange between “K”, a young Blade Runner played by Ryan Gosling, and Rick Deckard, Harrison Ford’s character (now retired/hiding) from the original film.

K: (indicating Rick’s dog): “Is it real?”
Rick: “Ask HIM.”

A visual feast as well, if you enjoy brain-candy this one will lead you down the rabbit hole of deep-thought as far as you’d care to go.

The “R” rating is due to violence and nudity.

Obligatory:

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Side effects…

There were a few years in there where I couldn’t zip this jacket. Even before that it was always tight.

Nothing fits. Jeans are too big and I need at least 15″ taken out of this jacket.

Then I went to work on that problem. Lost some weight and some inches. Felt good about it.

But I wasn’t done…this year I embarked to actually “get in shape” and elevated myself to the top of my to-do list…and then cranked the entire process up to eleven.

It’s working…I’m in the best shape of my life at the moment…and still have a long way to go.

My jacket though…is problematic. With fall temperatures beginning to occasionally show themselves…I had to pull it out this week.

It’s a tent. A 35-pound, heavy leather tent.

With my initial weight loss, I had 8″ taken out of this jacket a year ago.

Now it needs even more gone…

I don’t think I can get ’em to cut it down another FIFTEEN inches…

Not sure what to think about that. I was trying to pinpoint when I bought this thing…well more than 30 years ago…it was the first “luxury” I ever bought for myself after I lost a home in 1981-2 ish?

If I recall correctly I paid the “princely” sum of around $90 for it…which would have been about a week’s pay after taxes in those days.

So I’ll just go with 35 years I’ve been wearing this jacket. I possess nothing else that I’ve had even remotely that long.

It’s been on fire, covered in mud, rain, ice, snow, dust, acid, diesel fuel, gasoline, and blood. It’s been scraped, stabbed through (me too–flying piece of a truck split rim), “refinished” with black spray paint, and has probably saved my life at least three times over the years (not counting just weather).

There’s a lot of memories in that leather. Quite a bit of pain too. Some may be best left behind me.

I suppose I need to go shopping…

Left: 427 pounds. Right: 172 pounds lighter.

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

Posted in Road Stories, Weight Management | 2 Comments

Have I?

My blood sugar…pretty much anytime I care to check it.

Have I beaten T2 diabetes?

Society says, “Piss off and die, you deserve it and it’s all your fault anyway you fat-ass…” ’cause, yanno, some people suck.

But…yanno…”the wisdom of the crowd” and all that…ends up being the mentality of a 2-year old dead squirrel, so we probably shouldn’t ask them. (pro-tip, ya don’t HAVE to ask them…they will tell you anyway. Loudly. Over and over again.)

So…the wisdom of the dead squirrels is out. On to the professionals! Let’s talk to the docs! They should know, right? Since it costs around $100/minute to chat with ’em and all.

Surprise! The medical community says, “No. There are genetic and ‘other’ factors ya see…” And in the very next breath explain in a used-car salesmen’s spiel that you still need to come see them at least 4 times a year, take these “other” drugs that treat things you don’t have, visit their brother the eye-doctor for a $300 special “diabetic eye exam” at LEAST annually and lab tests 4 times as often as others and so on.

It’s a permanent death sentence ya see…and a diagnosis means a permanent note in your medical file, stupidly un-affordable higher insurance rates (especially if they reverse the “preexisting condition” clause), In some states it also means a notation on your drivers license records (and thus…”the state” and anybody that asks “the state” has this information…you should see some of the junk mail I get)

Turns out I’m somewhat of a cash-cow. They are loathe to let me go.

That’s okay, I can tell ’em to “piss off” right?

Heh…yah…then you get the dreaded, “Non-compliant patient” notation in your permanent, transferable, all-but-public record. This can raise your mandatory, IRS enforced premiums (beyond the stupidly higher via “lifestyle surcharges”), cost you state licenses and freedoms for some activities, and with the way records are being bandied about so freely nowadays, I suspect cause difficulties in obtaining or keeping employment.

Are y’all getting the concept of “mandatory, government regulated medical coverage” yet?

All this would be terribly discouraging…if I gave even a little bit of a crap what the “wisdom of the crowd” thought, how fat my doctor’s wallet was, or what new things my government *thinks* they have the right to do to me.

Fortunately, I don’t. Annoyed? Sure. Discouraged? Hah. Piss off.

Anyway, what’s a disease that:
1) Has no symptoms.
2) Needs no treatment.
3) Has no risks/impact on the patient.
4) No test will show it exists.
5) Can only be detected, in fact, by reading an old notation in the patient’s file.

I would say that disease is a test for insanity…as in…should you insist it exists, you are, in fact, insane.

Pity about that. An entire medical community and the government that has mandated their involvement…insane. Poor things. Just who do we ask to get them some much needed treatment? Perhaps the IRS?

(can ya tell this is a pet peeve?)

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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I can’t?

Lessons in unexpected places.

I set a PR (Personal Record) in the dead-lift last week. This is not particularly remarkable, as I’m coming from a place that was pretty low, and building strength rapidly.

Translation: I’m at a stage where I’ll probably set a new PR fairly often for a while, because, yanno, I’ve got nowhere to go but UP. We’ll see.

But that’s not what this post is about. Mostly. Kind-of.

There was a lesson in that deadlift. A couple actually…one I’ve talked about already and will again (the head-game thing), and another related to aging and strength…and persistence. Of course, it’s not all that simple. They are tied together as well.

Seeing a pattern here?

First off: The lift. Heaviest I’ve done (hence the PR part yanno?). I’d already done several sets of 5 lifts of the monster (monster for ME anyway) and had rested a couple minutes and was setting up for the last set of 5.

I got the form right…got ready…took a breath…and lifted…momentarily anyway. Mere fractions of a second actually. I pretty much instantly shut down…no pain or such…but my brain telling me (that head-game again) that this WASN’T happening.

My trainer was observing and saw this. I’m curious what it looked like…the difference between the head-game and a physical limitation or strain, but whatever he saw…he knew.

“Get it out of your head.”

That reinforced the already forming “WTF just happened?” in my head and I immediately hit it again. And just like that, yeah, another set of five.

“Know thyself” is kind of a “thing” to this introspective writer…so later, I was pondering this shutdown and the subsequent successful lift immediately after. As in everything, there are lessons…often unexpected ones…to be learned here.

I realized that part of the reason my brain said that lift wasn’t happening was simply because it wasn’t…at least…at that particular instant.

I expect there’s some complex term or physiological explanation (or equally possible, I could be full of baloney) but I experienced something enlightening in that moment.

As a younger man, the strength I’m used to deploying, when near capacity, pretty much instantly came “on”. In a lifting situation or such, applying the strength, the peak was RIGHT THEN…on application, and faded somewhat immediately afterwards. In other words, peak strength was immediate. If I couldn’t do it then, I wouldn’t even a fraction of a second later.

This is not true today.

I expect it’s age and physiology, but it could be experience, but what I’ve learned now is that it takes a moment after ordering up “Full power Scotty!” for it to come “on”. “Ramp up” is probably a better term, and “moment” is too strong a word for the delay. Mere fractions of a second…but long enough for the brain to say, “Eh?” and shut you down, should you let it.

I believe I’ve mentioned before that the brain isn’t always on your side…

Get the form right, start the lift. If it doesn’t move, don’t stop. Ignore the “shutdown” command the brain is ordering up. Keep applying…and suddenly, almost instantly, there it was.

Part head-game, part age? Experience? Life’s lessons in persistence? Whacking my brain with a tuna-fish? I dunno…but it works.

A new thing!

I LIKE learning new things. Especially when those new things are sweeping away my limitations.

Anyway, while I know this kind of introspection is probably boring to many, I’m finding these lessons apply to other things in life, not just fitness.

Not just fitness. But it seems it shows up a lot here.

***

I’m long used to being the fattest guy in the room. I’m not anymore, but the strange thing is that is still…what I see in the mirror. But to those I’ve not seen in a while the differences are apparently dramatic.

I get asked what I’m doing to achieve this on a lot of occasions.

“Work my ass off.” is the most simply accurate answer…and the one nobody likes. It’s also WAY NOT that simple, but it’s a conversation starter.

But for many, when we talk specifics, the head-game kicks in. It’s telling…that just like in my dead lift, the head-game is limiting those folks even BEFORE any serious effort has been applied.

“Well this morning I was doing….” (insert whatever hard work here).
“I can’t do that.”
“I also did…” (this other thing).
“Oh yeah, my schedule…” (blah blah blah)
“And this helps…” (some sort of cardio)
“But I get dizzy if I breath hard on Fridays when there’s a full moon…” (or whatever).
“And training is important and can help ya overcom…”
“I can’t.” (time, money, schedule, desire, werewolves, whatnot)
“And you’ve GOT to modify your diet…”
“I won’t deprive myself. That’s just misery.” (no, it’s not…more on that later)

Make no mistake…there ARE physical limitations…but for the most part, they pale in comparison to the mental ones and can be overcome with ANY serious effort and the proper application of skill.

“I can’t.” equals “I won’t.”

Get it out of your head.

Can’t deadlift twice your body weight? Heh…neither can I (yet). But with instruction you can lift something. Can’t run on a treadmill? Then friggen walk it. Schedule won’t allow it? Neither will mine. I’m doing it anyway.

Get the form right. Apply the strength and skill…and the WILL. Do the lift. If it doesn’t come right away, apply a little longer. It’ll happen.

And I ain’t just talking about weights.

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Maybe…

If, in late 2013, you had told my 427-pound self that I would be doing walking lunges before the crack of dawn today (LOTS of walking lunges…gad!) as part of a near 2-hour intense physical workout…

OR, had you even said the same to my Jan 2017, 327-pound self, I no doubt, would have said something abrupt and impolite…possibly accompanied by a wave that didn’t make use of all my fingers.

Well, I was, doing lunges and other stuff that is, and there wasn’t even a gun to my head. What’s with that?

I weigh 245 pounds today, and am wearing a pair of 36″ jeans. “Back then” I’d have told you that was impossible too. I couldn’t fit in 60’s (!!) in 2013…I might have been 20 years old the last time I fit in 36’s

-82 pounds this year. -182 from my peak.

A long way to go yet…but I’m starting to believe…maybe…just maybe…I’m doing it right.

Hell…I might even survive the process!

It’s a bit daunting to realize though…that one way or another…this is a lifetime’s pursuit. I’ll never be done.

I just wish I’d realized this 35 years ago.

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

Posted in Weight Management | 1 Comment

Round numbers…

I like nice, round numbers…especially negative ones.

-80 today (for this year)
-180 (from peak)

That’s 20 pounds to my initial goal for this year…

I think I’m doing it right.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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