I Am Obese

There, I said it. 

I consistently weigh in around 240 pounds. That would be almost OK if I was 6’4″ tall.  But I’m only 5’8″.  

According to the National Institute of Health chart, I’m obese. That’s a shocker to me. I knew I was I overweight.  But obese?  No way, or so I thought.  

So I admit it. I’m obese. I’ve read that confession is the hardest thing to do, and it is. Trust me. 

I’m not overweight. I’m obese. Whew!  

My doctor brought this to my attention a while back, but I just filed it away thinking it wasn’t that bad, and I’d watch what I eat a little better. 

She also said that I need to exercise. Exercise?  Yuk. A couch potato exercise? That wasn’t very appealing to me. (Pun intended). 

What really kicked me in the gut was a book I recently bought from my church, Overcomers Outreach Center titled, Dr. Colbert’s “I Can Do This  Diet.”  My pastor, Rev. Roger Bennett has a huge collection of Christian self-help books that have helped me in many areas.  I knew there was one on diet and got it after church a few Sunday’s ago. I’ve been working through it while visiting with my daughter and son-in-law near Chicago. There’s not much else to do during the day in the frozen and snowy northland while they are at work. 

Also, it’s hard for me to get in and out of my daughter’s car. A major effort. Getting up from chairs proves challenging. Plus, it’s difficult to pick something up off of the floor when I drop it. And if I kneel on the floor to play with my Sheltie, forget trying to get back up unless I have something to pull up on. Too much belly!  

I’m tired of being fat. Uh, I mean obese. Tired of it!

It would be great if there was some magical way to awaken in the morning to weigh 150 pounds which is my ideal weight. (See https://www.rush.edu/health-wellness/quick-guides/what-is-a-healthy-weight)

I haven’t weighed 150 pounds for at least twenty years. Maybe longer. Stepping on the scales tomorrow at 150 just isn’t going to happen. 

We have technology that makes everything easier these days. My SUV has a setting that automatically slows down when I get behind a slower vehicle. It beeps if I am not in the center of my lane. On my smart phone, I have instant messaging, instant weather, instant news, and a host of other instant information apps. However, I haven’t found an app for instant weight loss. And, fad diets that promise instant weight loss don’t work. I know. I tried several and gave up on them a long time ago. 

The sad thing for me is that I know about proper portions and proper servings. In fact, every packaged food is required to post what a serving is. For example, one serving of ice cream is only half a cup. Half a cup!  Are you kidding me?  Whose going to enjoy just a half cup of ice cream?  I fill the bowl with several scoops. Or potato chips. Fifteen chips is a serving!  And remember the old commercial? I bet you can’t eat just one.  Right!  And one chip leads to two chips to fifteen chips which leads to two servings and before you know it, you’ve crunched two servings or more!

I’m a type 1, insulin dependent diabetic and have been counseled by a nutritionist who explained all of that to me. I know my stuff, but implementing what I know has been another matter for me as my obesity attests. 

Worse, when I have a low blood glucose of 90 or less, I feel that I could eat everything in the house and then some. I crave anything sweet. I crave carbohydrates. It’s a panicky feeling that sweeps over me. I eat until the feeling goes away. Then, I have a rebound and feel terrible the rest of the day because my glucose has gone up to 250 or more. When that happens, I feel that if I don’t take a nap, I can’t take another step. So I treat the high with more insulin trying to get balanced again. It is a terrible thing when I lose control like that. It’s like being a yo yo. Up and down. Up and down. As a result, the pounds are put on. 

And I know better. You are supposed to eat about 15 carbs and wait 15 minutes. That will get me balanced. But, I can’t think straight when a low attacks me. It’s awful. However, I’ve been doing a little better treating lows. Sometimes, I succeed without going food crazy. 

240 pounds!  That’s 90 pounds too much! And, I feel powerless. 

It doesn’t help me to know that according to the Center for Disease Control, 31% of adults are obese. And it’s sadly alarming that the percentage of obese children aged 6–11 years is nearly 18% and 21% of those aged 12–19 years are obese. I have a problem. We have a problem.  A big problem!

So, I bought the “I Can Do This Diet” book. I’m half way through it, and believe the principles detailed by Dr. Colbert will be life changing. But of course, it’s not enough to know them, I must internalize them and apply them – something I haven’t done before. But, this time I realize and admit I have a serious problem.

Dr. Colbert enumerates several vital principles for overcoming obesity. 

First, it’s me. It’s not diabetes. I can’t blame my obesity on my chronic disease. I am responsible. 

Second, portion control is essential. We all know about the restaurant meals. They put enough food before us to feed a horse. My wife and I have started sharing the meal and resolving not to eat even all of that. We are determined to send some of it to the trash can.  We also refuse the take home box for left overs. 

Dr. Colbert says our stomachs are the size of our fist. It doesn’t take much to fill it up. Yet, he says it’s like putting 20 gallons of gas in a 10 gallon tank. If that happens. The gas spills out on the pavement. But, when we overfill our stomachs our body processes all of it and stores the excess creating poundage. 

It’s NOT a sin to throw away food. It’s a sin to force our body to take the excess food rather than throwing it away. Portion control is crucial for a lifestyle change. 

It’s not only important to eat the right portions, but it’s also important to eat the right food. Some of the right food includes salad type food and a lot of it to give us that full feeling. 

Non-creamy soups like minestrone, lentil, and black bean soups are good. In moderation of course. Cream of broccoli?  One of my favorites. Not good. 

It’s important to eat the right breads. Bread made from bleached flour? Not good. That goes for white rice too. Brown rice is recommended. 

A few ounces of lean beef, turkey, or chicken not fried is advised for protein. 

Another protein source is beans like red beans or black eye peas. 

Well, you get the picture. Dr. Colbert devotes a chapter to food and portion. 

The key is lifestyle change. One helpful piece of advice is to visualize, perhaps in a time of quiet and mediation, portion and proper food. 

And one more thing. Instead of focusing on pounds to lose, focus on the body image you want to see in the mirror. Visualize that instead of pounds. 

I weighed myself each morning. It was frustrating. One morning I was down. The next morning back up. Dr. Colbert claims that once a month weighing is enough. 

Instead of weighing every day, focus on waist measurement. And the waist is across my belly button. That’s a novel concept for me. I focused on weight. Now, I’ll focus on waist measurement and see how that goes. Measurement should be taken once a week or so. 

Also, it’s important to forgive myself when I goof up instead of beating myself up for eating too much. 

Commitment is necessary too. Emotions and will power can let us down. But commitment doesn’t let us down according to the doctor. It’s like the marriage commitment. There are ups and downs in the marriage relationship, but real commitment means staying power to work out the challenges when they come and also to enjoy the love and friendship in the marriage relationship. 

In the same way, commitment to a lifestyle change regarding food means staying power to work out the challenges of obesity and also enjoy the rewards of reaching your goal even if the goal is a baby step at first. 

It will take a while to form a new habit of lifestyle change in regards to food. On average, it takes around two months before a new behavior becomes automatic. I’ve got to stay with this to effect lifestyle change. I want to feel better and look better. I want to be able to get in and out of a car with normal effort. I want to stop shopping in the big man’s clothes section and shop in the normal section again. 

I’m 65. Can an old dog learn a new trick? I believe he can!  Dr. Colbert says attitude and positive thinking are keys too. Self-talk is a powerful and helpful force in defining a new me. The little engine that could climbed the mountain with self-talk. “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.” I have a mountain of fat to climb, and I think I can!

And what about exercise?  I’ve started walking several days a week. I shoot for at least 30 minutes which is about a mile for me. 

 I think that I’ve made a good start. This is a life journey for me. Can I finish the course?  Can I keep on keeping on for the rest of my life?  I think I can. I’ve made the first step. I’ll take it day-by-day and step-by-step in hopes of waking up one morning weighing in at 150 pounds. Well, maybe not 150, but 180 would sure be nice!

I’ll blog about this journey from time to time. Stay tuned. And join me through your comments about your journey too and feel free to comment about my journey. 

At the end of this article, there is a place you can subscribe to my blog by entering your email address. 

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