Saturday, September 19, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

In my religion, today marks the beginning of the New Year.

We are officially entering an intense period of self reflection, reconciliation, introspection, and ultimately atonement. In a few days, we will ask for forgiveness for our weaknesses as we look to follow a path with our lives that corrects deficiencies and seeks to improve the way we interact with friends, neighbors, family, colleagues and perhaps most importantly, ourselves.

This is a time for me as a Jew to really drill down and dig deep to reflect on whether I am leading the life I aspire to lead. How can I improve as a father, a husband, and friend? Have I acted in ways that I regret? How can I be a better man?

For years, I would sit in temple, listen to the Rabbi, read the prayer book, participate in Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services and ask for the power, strength, conviction and commitment to change.

But for the first time that I can recall in my lifetime, I am returning to temple feeling as though I made significant progress towards the better me I soulfully sought a year ago. For so many, change is elusive, and always just out of reach but it is possible if you want it bad enough.

I am humbled and grateful for the transformation we have experienced as a family since January. As we celebrate the High Holy Days, the Elzers wish you all a very Happy New Year and we send our heartfelt love and gratitude to an army of countless friends who continue to support this life-changing journey every day in every conceivable way.

May peace, health, happiness and laughter fuel your lives for many, many years to come.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I'm Back!

I was sweating it.

I know it seems like I say that often, but my anxiety this week was more than the usual pre weigh-in jitters.

You see, to quote the title of the Tyler Perry film, I Can Do Bad All By Myself.

I have been testing the limits of dieting during the last several weeks and I really expected to see a gain for the first time since beginning this odyssey in January. But happily, my worst fears were not to be.

After a pretty extravagant wine dinner earlier in the week, increased “snacking” and several meals out, I still managed to lose a pound. The total loss to date: 125 pounds.

Of course, these diet deviations come at a price. The weight is clearly coming off more slowly

These days. That happens when you grab a fist full of nuts here or a bite of chocolate there, but striking a balance in the real world of eating is the goal. And I definitely have become more daring in recent weeks and that is not a good thing.

Can one stray and still stay in bounds and in control? My history with this suggests the answer is a resounding “no.” And while the results may lean in my favor right now, gravitating towards food that is supposed to be off-limits is really not wise.

The deviations began a few weeks back when Lucas was rushed to the hospital.

As a parent, you are never more vulnerable than the day your child faces a serious health crisis.

The stress eating began pretty much the moment my wife called from our pediatrician’s office and said our doctor was insisting that Lucas be taken to the hospital in an ambulance. That weekend he came down with the flu, spiked a nasty fever and by Monday apparently was not getting enough air into his lungs.

As I hung up the phone and headed for the door of my office I stuffed my pocket with a massive fist full of sugar-free candies that I keep in a bowl on my coffee table. Normally I might enjoy a few a day, but by the time I made the trip from Culver City to Tarzana, all the candies were gone. I wasn’t even conscious of the consumption. It was just the beginning of the binge to follow.

Now I know that sucking down a few sorbitol filled candies is laughable when compared to those who rally a real bender of a binge.

I readily admit that what I now consider over indulging is pretty frickin’ ridiculous compared to the destructive damage I would have done eight months ago. Had this occurred last December, the starting bell would have been an appetizer consisting of a couple of Hickory Burgers at Apple Pan. The new me cheats in a much more reasonable and measured way. This time, I plied my pain with a mondo bag of apple chips and an orange. When I confessed my breach to Amy, she looked at me and laughed.

All thru the week that Lucas was in the Intensive Care Unit, I was trying my best to fight off the irresistible urge to eat and cheat.

On the third day in the hospital, when Lucas was finally beginning to show signs of improvement, his appetite returned. Since it turned out he had a bad case of the Swine Flu we decided to let him go hog wild with the hospital food. “You want turkey and mashed potatoes, son? Knock yourself out!” So for the last few days that Lukey was in recovery, he was able to have everything his little heart desired. It got to the point that I think he was looking to stay an extra day in the hospital just so he could get an IV drip of carbs.

I have been a bad blogger of late. Too much time has lapsed in between posts. Much has happened in our lives that really deserve more introspection and analysis and I shouldn’t gloss over. For instance, before the hospitalization, we took a trip to Lake Tahoe and I never shared how we took on the challenge of the Family Summer Vacation. After Lucas was released from the hospital, one of our first adventures was a tasting at a country club to help determine a menu for an upcoming event we are planning. Finding a way to taste thru multiple plates of appetizers and main courses without giving in to gluttony was memorable. Returning to the scene of the crime 5 days later to taste thru 14 separate desserts was torte torture.

So much has happened since we last reconnected.

Every day is a new hurdle and I know I need to commit more time to the blog. It helps reinforce resolve and just taking the time to think of behavior offers me a forced perspective, if you will. Simple, random bites of this or that add up and can lead one astray in the worst possible way. The truth is there is no such thing as a simple or random anything.

Every step further off the path – every bite no matter how trite – is like a gateway drug.

As I finally sit down and try to put the last several weeks into focus, there were blow-ups where I once again felt the family was sliding down a slippery slope and maybe I just didn’t want to tackle these fears – whether they are real or imagined.

What I do know is that it is too hard to write about these events so long after the fact.

I will do my best to be much more diligent in updating the blog. I know in my heart – and in my head that keeping this site current is critical if I am to continue maintaining the momentum in the right direction.

Ó Steve Elzer, 2009

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