Who Is This Guy? - The Blog

Welcome to our blog about food addiction, obesity, gastric bypass surgery and of course, Who Is This Guy? ... the book

Proactive Lifestyle Changes

Day to day poor eating habits have a way of becoming the “norm” – a way of life that doesn’t merit a second thought.  During the time that I was gaining weight on a daily basis, my poor diet was always in the back of my mind, but when I got very busy with work and other commitments, I always managed to get through the day without worrying about what kind or the amount of food I consumed.  I’d just tell myself that I would start fresh tomorrow.  But tomorrow never came.  And the weight problem became more than just a problem; it became a life or death situation.

Letting poor eating habits go on for too long could have dire medical consequences.  Those consequences include, but are not limited to, diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and respiratory problems.  We all face the difficulties of “staying with the program”. . .  staying focused on eating a healthy diet, exercising, and dealing with your underlying issues.  I urge you to take your health seriously now and get help before the medical problems begin.  Once the medical issues take hold and the control is out of your hands, it gets more and more difficult to make the necessary lifestyle changes.  The setback of dealing with any illness saps your strength, your emotional state and your resolve.

I was one of those fortunate people who made the decision to get help before I was forced to deal with medical problems.  But I have seen others who are not as fortunate and I can tell you, personally, that it is difficult to watch them struggle both physically and mentally trying to get a grip and take their life back.

Think about your own situation and ask yourself if today is the day to seek help in reaching your goal.

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The Book Is For Real

After a year of many discussions concerning the book about my struggles with obesity that I've mentioned in previous blogs , we are finally making some traction. The long talked about book is coming together at last. To give you the gist of some of the details that you can expect to read about such as who the authors are, what the subject matter is and what target market would be best served by the content of this book, I offer the following.

The authors are myself, Nick Mirrione, who was born and raised in Massachusetts in 1950 and still resides there, and Dr R. Armor Forse, who was born and raised in Montreal, Canada in 1950 and currently lives in Nebraska.  Nick is the subject of the book and Dr Forse is the Bariatric Surgeon who performed the gastric bypass surgery on Nick on January 16, 2001 that changed his life significantly.

The book will be approximately 17 to 20 chapters in length.  The story begins during Nick's teenage years, growing up in Braintree.  You will read about  a seemingly normal life that somehow tumbles out of control as, over a period of time, his weight begins to yo-yo from an average of 180 pounds to a high of somewhere in the vicinity of 475 to 500 pounds. You will follow him through his Military days, which included two tours in Vietnam, and then the adjustment period when he returned home.  It moves on through his marriage, business successes and failures and the eventual failure of the marriage.  You will follow his struggles with doing anything at all in moderation, and as he moves into middle age and feels time is "running out" on the opportunities to get a handle on his life, you will see how he came to the decision to have gastric bypass surgery, and how that decision brought him to Dr. Forse.

Dr. Forse provides background on his own life, along with the evolution of bariatric surgery from the onset, when it got so little respect as a tool in the struggle with obesity, to today's belief that the surgery is a very viable solution for a better quality of life for many patients dealing with morbid obesity.  Dr Forse will take you through the changes and improvements in the methods used over the years and will fill in details as to how the surgery relates to Nick, specifically.

We are making significant progress and our goal is to have the book proposal in the hands of a literary agent by the end of summer and published by the end of November 2013.  Let's see how it goes.

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Underlying Issues

Dr. Forse, who is the surgeon who performed my gastric by-pass surgery in January 2011, insists that all gastric by-pass patient's need to become aware of and address their underlying issues. Dr Forse goes on to say that there are always underlying issues for bariatric surgery candidates, that is to say anyone with a BMI index ( body mass index) that's over 40 and who's tried diligently to lose weight and has ultimately failed, there is always something underneath- something psychological- that needs to be dealt with. Without getting to the root of and dealing with those issues, even bariatric surgery will not always be successful.

I am in total agreement with Dr Forse that long term success for a bariatric patient essentially requires three primary disciplines.  First, a restriction of calories along with an understanding of what and when to eat. Second, lifestyle changes such as exercise and physical activity and third, the patient needs to identify and and understand how to deal with their underlying issues. This is why diets alone don't work.  Diets are doomed to fail for a patient who ignores the psychological component of why they overeat.

Personally, I am ashamed to admit that it is only now that Dr Forse's words are sinking in to my thick skull.  He has been telling me this for quite some time, but it is only recently that I "got it" and went to see a psychologist.  I made the appointment, in part to search for a clinical diagnosis for the book that Dr Forse and I intend to write.  I thought it was time to verify my self-diagnosis of obsessive compulsive personality disorder whih, I believed showed up as an inability to moderate much of my behavior, especially eating.  I thought I was just wired differently that others and needed to learn to live with that.  I am grateful to Dr Forse for being so patient with me and moving me in the right direction toward identifying my underlying issues. I was amazed at how wrong I was in my self diagnosis.

 

More to come on this subject in my next blog as we learn about the traits that drive me to distraction and consume more of my energy than the should.  For now it is safe to say that I am encouraged by the information that I am gathering.  Sixty two years old and I am still learning who I am and what makes me tick.  Fascinating.

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Post Holiday Let Down

Making it through the holidays was a major accomplishment for me.  I struggled the last two weeks, but I made it through without any deserts or candy or any of the other trigger foods that have a history of knocking me off my program.  But now that the holidays are over, I find that the number of calories are going up and I am having a hard time staying focused on the strict eating program that I was doing so well with from June to January.

I am trying to figure out what has changed.  It is as if I have taken the blinders off that have kept me focused for so long and now being tempted by things like pizza and sandwiches and even an extra slice of my healthy, homemade pumpkin bread that I treat myself to every day. The combination of these foods have moved my caloric intake up from my comfort zone of between 1800 to 2200 calories per day to the 2500 to 2700 range.  Although I have only gained two pounds, I feel lousy and look soft.  I prefer the lean, hard look that my clean, high protein, regular eating program provides.  All of this causes me to be anxious and I deal with that anxiety by exercising harder.  Sort of like trying to outrun the problem rather than facing it.  But if I stop and face the problem, I don't know what to do, so I keep running and hope that I figure it out before I just can't run any more.  When I was in Vietnam, we knew that moving targets had a better chance of survival than stationary ones.  There comes a time, though, when you have to stop moving, and when you do, you could have a fight on your hands.

What a distraction this causes.  I spend way too much of my day thinking about and worrying about what can go wrong if I slip any further.  I do take some pride, however, in the fact that I haven't gone off the wagon to the point where I am eating candy and cake.

Has anyone had the same experience?  Why do you think this happens?  Is there a way to keep it from happening?  Please share your thoughts.

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I made it Through the Holidays without a slip-up

Well, I can't really say that it was easy, but I can say that I made it through the holidays without falling off the wagon.  When you last heard from me with three weeks to go until the end of the year, I was all pumped up and completely focused.  As we got closer to the finish line, the temptations increased and my resolve was being put to the test.  What is it about the sight and subconscious memory of certain sugar-based foods that has such power over me that I have to use all my concentration and willpower to resist it? 

As I analyze what worked for me this year and did not work in past years, I clearly see that it is zero tolerance for trigger foods that works for me.  As I have said so many times in past blogs, I have the type of make up that has a problem with moderation.  It literally takes only one M&M or one bite of cake or pie for my system to recognize past pleasures and start demanding more of the same.  So powerful are those cravings and demands, that my mind is no match for those urges.  So, after so many years of failure at the moderation approach, this year's goal was to resist all urges and temptation by having absolutely none of those trigger foods.

I am also in the process of trying to figure out why I am like this.  What makes me different from those people we all know who are able to moderate most, if not all, aspects of their life.  I, myself, don't seem to be able to do anything in moderation.  I am going to leave it at that for now because I will  be doing a short series of blogs specifically on that subject of moderation.

In the "baby steps" concept that I try to follow, I made it through the holidays still in my groove.  Present weight 192 and hoping to keep it there.  As always, I welcome dialogue from anyone with similar problems.  I think that dialogue will be helpful to all of us.

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