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

Stay Away From Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic Syndrome has five features. They are waist size (more than 35" in women and more than 40" in men), Blood Pressure (top number 130 or more and bottom number 85 or more), Triglycerides (a fasting level of 150 or more), Blood Sugar (a fasting level of 110 or more) and HDL (good) Cholesterol (women less than 50 and men less than 40).  If you have at least three of these features, then you probably have Metabolic Syndrome and you are at an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and several other medical conditions that would put your health and quality of life at risk.

The three primary causes of Metabolic Syndrome, putting genetics aside, are:  eating too much of the wrong foods, drinking sugary drinks and not getting enough exercise. When you eat too much of the wrong foods and drink sugary beverages and don't get enough exercise, the systems in your body cannot effectively handle the processing of fats and sugars and you become insulin resistant.  Insulin is a hormone that assists blood sugar into your bloodstream and muscles to be burned as energy and into your fat cells where it is stored.  When you are insulin resistant, this cannot happen and, consequently, your blood sugar levels rise and the other side effects of Metabolic Syndrome will then follow.

What you need to do right away is see your doctor so you can design a program for you to lose excess weight, decrease the intake of carbohydrates, stop the consumption of all foods and beverages high in sugar content and get you started on an exercise program.  If one of the side effects you have is high triglycerides, you should add fatty fish to your diet or take a Fish Oil supplement.  Again, genetics aside, Metabolic Syndrome is responsive to lifestyle changes.  Make these changes and you will improve your quality of life.

Personally, I have my blood work done on a semi-annual basis.  Being a gastric bypass patient, I am prone to occasional problems caused by foods passing through the digestive system before the vitamins and nutrients can be absorbed.  By knowing all my blood levels, I am often able to make dietary changes to avoid a problem where taking medication may be the only solution.  I urge everyone to take Metabolic Syndrome very seriously.  It is estimated that 25% of American adults have it. Don't become a statistic and if you already are, please do something about it.  It will make a positive impact on your life.

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I Think I will Write a Book

I consider that my gastric by-pass surgery as a tool to change my life has been a success.  It has been 11 plus years since the surgery and I am the same weight plus or minus ten pounds that I was when I reached my goal.  As I have written in many blogs to date, I still struggle from time to time and I am still learning about those triggers that can cause the struggles.

I have been in communication with the surgeon who performed my by-pass surgery back in January 2001 and we are planning to write a book together. The book will basically be a story of my life and the struggles with obsessive compulsive behavoir generally and obsessive compulsive eating specifically.  Controling my behavior as it relates to eating has been a problem all my life and at age 38 I had a life changing moment that made me commit to do something about it.

I tried and failed at many attempts to figure out the problem and to find a soloution and never hit the mark.  In late 2000 I finally decided I could not do it without help and some extreme measures.  That led me to the decission to visit the surgeon who immediately inspired my confidence that this was a problem that could be solved initially through surgical means in conjunction with permanent life style changes.

The book will outline and highlight those life style changes and the successes and failures since surgery to try to manage my life so that I can live my life.  Even as I write these words I know that I still have a lot to figure out if I am to remain on the right track as life is very dynamic and many of the life style changes that are working for me now will have to be changed as I get older.

Stay tuned, more info about the book will follow in the next few months.  Anyone with questions or ideas that would make this book more readable please comment

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You can't outwork or out run a bad eating program

If you are a reader of this blog, you or someone you know is probably obese or at the very least, overweight.  No doubt you have read the numerous articles that are being published now about the risks of excess weight as it relates to cancer, diabetes, heart disease and a host of other medical issues and you are considering life style changes to improve your quality of life.

I know people who think that its just a numbers game and if they simply cut calories, they will lose weight.  I know others who make no diet changes at all but start an exercise program and expect that to be the answer.  And while they may see some short term gains from those actions, they more often than not fall back into their old ways and reverse any gains they may have made.

No matter how hard you work in the gym or how many miles you walk or jog, if you don't eat right you won't lose weight or get rid of that soft, puffy look. A sensible diet and exercise go hand in hand.  They fuel each other.  That's not to say that if you don't eat right you are wasting your time exercising.  Exercise has many benefits to your health. What I am saying is that if you are hoping to loose weight and improve your health, exercise alone or diet alone is not the long term answer.

What works best for me is a structured, disciplined exercise program combined with a proper diet that provides enough calories for me to maintain my energy. It is important that the eating program you choose allows enough protein so that your body burns fat and not muscle and that you consume enough of the right type of carbohydrates to maintain energy but not trigger cravings.  The amount and quality of fats you consume is also very important.  You should consult your doctor or a nutritionist before you start your program because we are all different and the program you should use will be based on age, health and/or physical restrictions.

If you are committed to changing your life, find out more about the diet and exercise that's right for you.  Be sure to get plenty of rest so that you have the energy and stamina to stick with the program.  It will make a big difference in the outcome.

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Back on Track

I have now completed 14 days of perfect eating.  I feel so much better physically and I am more relaxed mentally. The damage done, over the past four and a half months that I struggled, added up to a total weight gain of five pounds. I lost four of those pounds in the last two weeks, so I expect that by next week I will be back to 193 pounds,  This is what I weighed the week before Christmas when I foolishly let myself wander away from my structured eating program.  I don't know why I thought that this time there would be a different result from eating sugary desserts and chocolate than the results I saw the last 50 times I ate those foods.  

The difference these past two weeks in my attitude and in my success is that I am totally focused again.  That is the key.  I am sure of it  That means no more than 2000 calories a day except for one day every two weeks when I add 300 to 400 extra carbohydrate calories to the day's total.  My eating program is the same one that has worked for me in the past.  It is based on foods that I like, that fill me up and that do not create cravings.  It took me years to figure out what foods met these requirements and I feel so much better when I am eating this way.

This begs the question, why do I stray from the program?  I have no idea.  It seems that my personality is such that when things are going well, I, for some reason have to try to step outside the program just to see if I can come back and gain control again.  Am I challenging myself?  Is it part of my attraction to risk?  Can someone offer some insight? Just another of those things about me that I don't understand. But for now I will stay focused and enjoy today's success.

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Trying to figure me out

For fifty years I tried to figure out why I could not control my eating.  Early on, I felt that it was because I was weak and lacked the discipline and self control that others had that enabled them to eat in moderation.  For quite some time I thought that I was born with more fat genes than most people and was just inclined to put on weight easily.  I saw myself as big boned, thought I had a slow metabolism and a bigger frame than others.  There was no question that I ate more than most people and that I ate an unhealthy diet, but I had to keep trying to rationalize it in my mind and come up with a reason for my problem.

It has taken a while, but I have made a lot of progress in the never ending pursuit of trying to figure me out.  In the past ten years I have come a long way.  I now know that I am not big boned and that my metabolism works the way it is supposed to work and that my frame is a normal size.  The problem is that I have a food addiction, or as I prefer to see it, an obsessive compulsive eating disorder.  When I allow myself to consume one of the trigger foods, I lose control and the cravings push me to overeat, which is when the struggles begin.  And then the race to see which behavior, controlled eating or out of control eating, will prevail.

I now know that this will happen to me every time I let myself have one of the trigger foods.  In my case, sugar, and especially sugar in the form of  chocolate, is my biggest enemy.  I am not forced to have these foods.  I am exposed to them visually whether in a store, a restaurant or at someone's home, and it is completely my choice whether I have them or not.  When I fool myself into thinking that one little taste won't hurt, I always, and I mean always, regret it.

The key to success when this happens is to get back into my comfort zone as soon as possible.  I need to be eating foods that I like and that make me feel full but don't trigger the cravings that cause me to overeat at best, and to binge, at worst.  I know the pattern well.  I drive myself crazy because for some reason, when things are going well, I will foolishly test my mettle again and see if the results will be different this time.  They never are.  So, I ask myself and anyone out there who may be experiencing the same problem, to share your insight.  Why do I keep repeating this same pattern?  I can't figure it out.

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