Saturday, February 21, 2009

Learning to Walk My Talk - One Pound at a Time

Learning to Walk My Talk - One Pound at a Time
Saturday, February 21, 2009 at 9:52am
(This originally appeared on Facebook as part of my experiment: The Facebook Diet)

I hate the scale. Always have. It has never been my friend.

Even when I lost 14 pounds the first week of this diet, I still hated that frickin’ thing.

So when I lost 2 pounds in week two of Elzer Life Change Version 2.009, I was frustrated.

In my head I was expecting to lose 5-7 pounds that day. But I would be completely dishonest if I said I wasn’t disappointed, and I vowed to pay closer attention to exercise and drinking more water and really buckling down on the food choices in week 3.

Not that I had strayed from the diet, because I have continued to follow this plan the way an orthodox jew confronts pork. I have been crazy strict. I thought I had identified a few things I did differently in the second week that may have inhibited the loss and I figured there was a way to get back to the bigger, better downtick.

Hey, when you drop 14 and follow it up with a 2 by doing virtually the same eating, you are kind of set up for a bit of a WTF. You scratch your head, curse the numbers god, dust yourself off and move on.

Yesterday I had my third face off with my dreaded and feared nemesis, the scale. I always hesitate before stepping on the pad. When you are a fighter who has his ass kicked every time he steps into the ring, you tend to hesitate just a bit before climbing between the ropes. Slowly, one foot followed the other and as the numbers started to pop up on the screen like 7’s on a digital slot machine, I stared in stunned disbelief at another 2 pound loss.

Arghh! Ugh. Damn. "Come on," I screamed at the numbers on the screen, startling the nurse.

Now don’t get me wrong. I actually broke an important weight barrier that has eluded me for quite some time and I am genuinely thrilled with shedding 18 pounds in three weeks. So if it sounds like I am playing a tiny little violin for myself, I hope you enjoy the music :).

Depending on the day, my back is pretty much pain free, my pants are falling off my body, I am literally on the last notch of my belt, and I am officially off all diabetes medicines, among other amazing health victories. All really great stuff for such a short time on this diet.

But for whatever reason, I just couldn’t get all giddy over the achievement.

Sensing my despair and discouragement, my doctor said, “Steve, you do understand that you are no longer diabetic on this diet. Don’t you?”

I heard what she was saying, but it’s not really true.

To be off the diabetes pills and the shots is an extraordinary thing. But I am under no delusion that my diabetes is now cured. Far from it. My blood sugar level will break the land speed record the moment I start to scarf down a plate of pasta.

The food plan I am on is designed to be completely in sync with certain low glycemic foods. Meaning they won’t obnoxiously elevate the sugar in my bloodstream.

It has been three weeks since I have popped potato, pasta, hot buttered popcorn or pizza into my mouth. No bread, no rice, not even a single bite of my beloved little gummi bears – you know, all the stuff that had become staples of my life. And here’s a flash just into the newsroom: three weeks without all that shit and hell has not frozen over yet!

So when the doc said “you are no longer diabetic,” I said, “yeah, but I feel like I am in food prison.”


Look, I was feeling like crap and I really didn’t mean it. Besides that, at least when you are in prison you get time off for good behavior. Sorry Warden, I just don’t consider 2 pounds an appropriate time off reward.

When you still have as much to lose as I do, a few pounds is really more of a consolation prize that some cheesy game show host gives you as he acknowledges the noble effort, pats you on the back and says “thanks for playing.”

I know this may be coming off like a pity party and maybe it is. But only two pounds worth of pity :)

I am allowed to want to lose weight faster, and I know in my heart that 2 pounds a week is a healthy pace for meaningful long term loss. But my heart and my head sometimes duke it out a bit.

My wife said to me, “Steve, if you lose 2 pounds a week, that’s over a hundred pounds in a year.” Teni, the office angel who has traveled this road, literally repeated what Amy said word for word. It was like they shared the same brain. It freaked me out. Curse them both.

Why are women so rational? I mean when it comes to this stuff they are completely dialed in. But when it comes to shoes or jewelry or designer handbags all reason and rationality flies right out of the window.

But the perspective they shared and so many others on this board have echoed is spot on, and while I am disappointed I am not discouraged.

In the old days, I would have left the doctor’s office and headed to the nearest restaurant for a post-weigh in snack. I always figured it gave me a full seven days before the next opportunity to cheat.

This time, my commitment to succeed is different.

I am driven by a genuine desire to change. That, and a healthy dose of fear of a major back relapse. As I have said before, pain and fear are great motivators. I have no choice but to stick to this course.

The doc says that for the first time in years my body is adjusting to a new way of life. She says as I wean myself off all the drugs I used as a crutch for so long, I am finally moving forward on my own steam. The remaining few meds I am now taking all are lower dosages and the goal is to eliminate them completely

There will be a day when I actually will be able to enjoy the things I love to eat without putting me into sugar shock, but that day is a long way off.

For now, we continue to try and test new recipes and create healthy meals that don’t leave me feeling deprived, despite my pissy little food prison quip.

If I am a prisoner of anything, I am a prisoner of my own mind and I know I just need to lower my expectations when I confront my nemesis. My mantra is this isn’t a diet – it’s a life change. I need to walk my talk.

I am 2 pounds closer to my dream and it's time to kick week 4's ass -- one pound at a time.

Copyright, Steve Elzer, 2009


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