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

Keeping it Together


Coming up on the one year mark of my last knee surgery, August 26th, to be exact, and I am still maintaining my weight at 190 pounds.


If someone were to ask me how I am accomplishing this monumental task, I would throw up my hands and say, “I have no idea”.


I am going through a stressful time right now, probably one of the most stressful periods of my life.  I would call it a sustained stress, meaning not event specific, but a stress that is a daily part of your life until such time as you can make changes and work it out.  I am thankful for the  emotional support I get at home, however, I am the person ultimately responsible for getting things back on track with my business.  Historically, I turn to food for comfort.  I also use the gym as a stress reliever.  I am working out most days, however, I am not able to work out at the level of intensity that I am used to because I am still dealing with knee pain.  Also, as I mentioned in my last blog, I am being cautioned not to use my right knee because of complications from the surgery.  Talk about stress, I may be looking at a third surgery on my knee.  The reality of it is that I may never be able to exercise again the way I used to if they are not able to get my knee functioning as it should.


Because of the possibility of being on a limited exercise program, possibly for the rest of my life, you can imagine how important it is, now more than ever, to be diligent about my eating habits.  I still keep a daily record of what I eat and the amount of calories I consume each day.  And that continues to be a big part of my road to success.    


I am not completely sure why I am continuing to do well in maintaining my weight through all the stress I’m currently going through, but my strategy and my focus remain the same. . . just take it one day at a time, eating clean, exercising and thinking positively.


I would appreciate your feedback and your suggestions about how you have dealt with the issue of healthy eating when you are stressed.    




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Dodging A Bullet


It’s been a while since my last blog.  The long, slow comeback from a second knee replacement surgery on my right knee has taken a lot longer to heal than anticipated.  In fact, it’s been nearly ten months.  I mention this fact because those who have followed my previous blogs, know that I tend to focus on exercising in order to keep my weight in check and also as a substitute for my unhealthy eating habits when I am not focused on eating “clean”.  Well, the level of exercising that I normally pursue has not been possible for the past 10 months because of complications in my recovery and I have to say, I’ve been very concerned about gaining back the weight I’ve lost without the benefit of my usual exercise routine. 

I’m not quite sure yet how I’ve managed to avoid this dilemma of being somewhat sedentary and, so far, not gaining weight, but I currently weigh 190 lbs. without the benefit of exercising at the level I’m used to.  I still go to the gym, but not as often.  I am not able to do cardio at all so my workouts are less intense.   I am struggling with staying focused on eating right and I’m worried that eventually the lack of exercise and the struggle to eat “clean” might catch up with me.  I think that being aware of the possibility of heading down that road is half the battle because a big part in the success of the program is self awareness and a dedication to honesty.

I’ll keep you posted as my struggle continues and I’ll let you know how I’m managing my issues.   Meanwhile, if you’ve experienced this type of problem, let me know how you’ve dealt with it . . . I’m always open to suggestions.


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The Book is Published


Well, my book was finally published this month and I know some of you have already read it.  It means a great deal to me to read your positive comments and remarks showing your support.  More importantly, so many people wrote to say that they shared those same feelings that I described in the book as I fought the battle to gain control and that they could totally relate to what I was going through.  It is my hope that they will take that message and pursue their own journey to better health.


The past few weeks have been exciting.  Some of you may have seen my interview on Face Book with People.com.  I’ve also just finished an interview with The LA Health Examiner which is a radio station in Los Angeles and have a couple more interviews coming up soon.  I have gotten so many compliments, not only on the book, but on my appearance at my current weight of 185 lbs.  And at the same time, so many people are reaching out to me asking for help or just wanting to compare stories.  I truly feel for all of these people because I do, indeed, know what they are going through.  


One of the reasons why the book took almost five years to finish is because I was reluctant to acknowledge what Dr. Forse kept calling my underlying issues.  He would, very tactfully, approach me from time to time suggesting that the book, in fact, could not be successfully completed without that final piece of the puzzle.  I thought I was just a unique kind of a guy who was wired differently than everyone else.  When I finally admitted, even to myself, that okay, maybe I did have a few issues to deal with, I decided to get help.  Only then could I begin to understand why it was so important to face the issues head on.  I could finally see, for the first time, that without facing those issues, I would continue to go on diet after diet without success and at the same time increase the possibility of going back to square one with my weight, which I never, ever want to do again.  I am very thankful that I had such a caring doctor who worked with me to get me to see how important the underlying issues really are.


I hope you will read the book and let me know what you think about it.  It is available on Amazon.com or Barnes&Noble.com.  Your comments are important to me.    




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Trying to Understand Obesity Disease


Trying to Understand Obesity


Obesity is now a worldwide health epidemic.  It is estimated that over one third of the population of the United States is obese.  Globally, more deaths are linked to obesity than are linked to malnutrition and starvation.  According to the World Health Organization, over 1.4 billion adults are overweight with over 200 million men and 300 million women classified as obese.  In my opinion, there are many reasons for this drastic rise in obesity, and I’ll share some of them with you now.


The lifestyle that most overweight people lead today is extremely sedentary.  We live in a world where so much can be done without leaving the comfort of our living room chair.  We can watch television, play video games, or use our laptop computer, smart phone or tablet.  With access to millions of websites, we can shop for clothes, gifts, groceries or renew our prescriptions.  Even a college degree is possible without leaving our chair or getting out of our pajamas.  We can also turn off our lights and lock our doors with the touch of a button.


You don’t have to look too far to find yet another reason for the rise in obesity.  The “fast food” establishments found on almost every corner are such a convenience in the busy lifestyles we lead.  They are a quick and inexpensive meal on the run, for sure, but at what price to our health?  Clearly, a trip to the supermarket for a supply of healthy foods will cost you more than the unhealthy variety, and that’s unfortunate.  Nevertheless, you can still have a healthy diet by making sure your trip to the supermarket is well-planned and cost efficient.  The choice is yours, and speaking from experience, I can tell you that the wrong choices have dire consequences.  Fast food and poor food choices played a significant part in my obesity.


In my next blog I will address the medical and psychological issues associated with obesity.  In the meantime, let me know what your struggles are and how you address them.      




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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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Holding on but still struggling

I am now five weeks into this struggle of staying focused.  I haven't lost it, but I am certainly out of the groove I had been in since early July of 2011.  I have given in to temptation and eaten some things that I consider "trigger foods" which I had been staying away from completely for the last six months. The struggle goes on, with a couple of good days followed by a bad one. A good day is a day of strict eating, taking in around 1800 to 2000 calories of clean foods.  On a bad day I may hit 2700 to 2800 calories by eating stuff like a cookie or toast with butter and peanut butter or pizza in addition to lunch rather than for lunch.

I have kept my weight at 192 to 193 pounds, but it is not easy anymore.  When I was focused last year, it was effortless to maintain. The non-trigger foods that I ate exclusively did not make me crave the wrong foods.  I was never hungry, and, in fact, I had to eat at scheduled times to make sure that I ate enough each day to reach my proper caloric intake.  Now, I have this energy drain.  A person only has so much energy to expend each day. I probably have more energy than most people my age, but I am more at ease when that energy is directed at improving relationships with loved ones, improving my business or focusing on recreational activities. When I am struggling, that energy is used to fight off urges and I become consumed with fear and concern over loosing control.

It's a lot of work to stay focused, but it can be much more work to get your focus back if you loose it. I will keep you posted on how I am doing and I welcome any input, ideas or methods you or someone you know may have that has helped.

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Starting The New Year Off On The Right Path

Whatever disappointing events happened to you health wise in 2011 is behind you now. Let's look ahead to 2012. First we need to set our wellness goals. Goals could be in the form of weight you want to lose, inches you want to trim or habits you want to change. Goals can be a combination of these, all of these or something completely different.

I find that once I outline my goals, it is easier to break them down into smaller components and create a plan to accomplish the goals. I find that breaking my goals down into 13 week segments works best for me. Longer than that and I find I lose focus and shorter goals leave me feeling like i didn't really get into it.

All my goals have three major components. They have an eating plan, an exercise plan and a monitoring plan. The monitoring plan includes critical measurements such as waist, chest and biceps. It also includes weekly weigh ins (once a week at the same time and on the same day) and keeping a food log, an exercise/activity log and sleeping and bathroom habits. Also important is how I feel each day (sluggish, hyper, tired, sore hungry etc.) This is all very important information because it allows you to see what effects different foods and/ or exercises have on your progress and your moods.

I find that if I create a plan that I am comfortable with and that allows me to stay totally focused and totally committed and in tune to what is happening to me, I have the best chance of being successful with my 13 week plan. I have to like the food I'm eating and not feel like I am depriving myself, I have to feel challenged by my exercise and activities and I have to feel well-fed, energetic, and well rested.

As we move into January, I intend to post my eating plan and my exercise plan for the first 13 weeks. I may also periodically share the log book/journal that I keep so that you can see the type of information that I consider important and which will give you some guidance in creating your own journal using some of my ideas. Remember, I have been at this for almost 11 years and have made a lot of adjustments along the way.  You will probably not get it "right" the first time either and will need to make changes.

I invite comments and the sharing of ideas. Let's hear from you.

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Getting The Message

Seems like everywhere I turn lately I am confronted with people who are self destructing. Causing harm to their own health and quality of life. Some, like my brother Steve, my sister Diane, my father John and my lifelong friend Leo have even had the benefit of warning signals that got their attention for a little while. Unfortunately, once they start to feel better, they go back to their old ways. I know that no one wants to be preached to by a neophyte.

But I get frustrated because I have been there and I can feel their pain. I know how overwhelming the task can be. I also know the consequences of continuing along the same self destructive path that they are on. I also know the solution to the problem. Just like in the old days when the doctor would say rest, take two aspirin and call me in the morning, I say adjust your eating habits, get some exercise and if you smoke,quit. For most people it is that simple.

This blog is not to give," how to", advice. I am writing this to share my deep concern and frustration for those who I care about and to hopefully initiate some dialogue with others who know people on the same path. How do you get through to your loved ones? We and they all know what lifestyle changes need to be made. We even know the potential consequences if the changes are not made. If you are like me, it is painful to watch someone spiraling out of control. Please share your comments and help me and others get some insight.

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The importance of routines

I drive myself and everyone around me crazy. I am so rigid and find any disruption to my routine very hard to deal with.Recently we had some visitors at our house and my regular dinner time was caused to go off schedule. I reacted and behaved poorly because my routine was disrupted. People look at you and talk about you like you are ridiculous, and of course you are. People no matter how close to you they are or how much they think they know you have no idea how this disruption affects you.Even when explained it is difficult for someone who is not obsessive compulsive or  an addict to fully grasp the concept of our need to be rigid. I actually need to be this way, because left to just wing it, outside of my routine, history shows that I will take the path that more often than not leads me to places I would rather not go anywhere near.. I have a routine for everything. I have a morning routine. I have a routine at night to prepare for the morning. I have a sleep routine which is just the preparation of getting into bed relaxing and falling asleep, but if varied, I am not able to sleep as well as if I follow the routine.I have an eating routine and an exercise routine, which may vary from day to day but each variation is just a different routine within a routine. I even have a routine for how I wash my car.This strange behavior works for me and it may work for you if you need to replace the behavior which is not working for you now. Lets talk about it.

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More about Sugar

You and I are addicts.We are addicted to food and we have certain trigger foods that cause us to crave more of the same. For me it is sugar and things that convert to sugar in my system.

What makes things more difficult for us is that we have an addiction that must be moderated. Alcoholics and drug addicts must abstain from their products of addiction, we can't do that.

Sugar works like a drug in that it stimulates the brain. Your body gets used to sugar and causes you to want to eat more, so you do. You keep increasing the intake to satisfy the cravings. To get off of sugar can cause your system to experience withdrawal effects similar to those of an addict on drugs or any other addictive product.

That's what sugar does to me. I've never had those ravenous cravings after eating chicken or eggs or fruits and vegetables. In fact if I cut sugar out of my eating program, within a couple of weeks, I have no cravings and no hunger. I have to force myself to eat when I am not hungry to insure that I get my 2000 calories per day that I need to maintain my energy levels.

You need to fully understand how these cravings work, but first, in order to beat back the cravings you must get on an eating program that does not include foods and drinks that contain sugar.

I invite those who have similar experiences especially with sugar to share.

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Compulsive eating disorder

I am also of the same behavior and will surely be following your blog site.

I have lost, to date, a total of 74 lbs and I can tell you it has been a total dedication to concentration. 

I have to always pull myself back and look at the road ahead.  I feel a lot better with this weight gone and have

a lot more to go, but with the help of my WW support group and my friends and family - I am succeeding.

It has been a longer road than I originally thought, but understanding the reality of it, and a lot of on going soul

searching, I didn't get here in one week and it won't take one week to reach goal.  The goal is change of habits for a healthier life style.

With all this said - it doesn't mean that I don't fall off the wagon at times, but I have been able to get back on track.

Thank you for sharing your experience and the willingness to help others in the same boat.

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Managing Your Life So That You Can live Your Life

I never really feel like I am in control of my life or out of danger of falling off the wagon and returning to my old bad habits. The key for me is to stay totally focused on whatever compulsive behavior will consume my efforts and prevent me from overeating. I've also learned to recognize the patterns that lead to loss of control and I have so much respect for their power and strength that I no longer take them lightly but instead react right away. It's a full time job. I am a lot of work and I drive myself crazy because as I was out of control with my eating I am now out of control with my management of my intake, my exercise and my chronicling of everything related thereto. I divide my life into 13 week segments. So four times a year I write a new exercise program and a new eating plan. These go together with a set of goals for that segment which may include loosing a few pounds or gaining a few pounds by adding muscle or maintaining weight while loosing an inch on my waist. Whatever it is i feel it is easier to accomplish a goal if you have one. One of my problems is my inability or should I say extreme difficulty in making adjustments to my plans. I will normally build in as many as six cheat days into my 13 week eating plan, so that if an event comes up and my eating plan will be altered, then I have provided for that. If however my exercise routine is upset I can have great difficulty making the adjustment. I don't handle disruption to my routines very well, although I am better now than I used to be. For those of you who can relate to this unusual behavior, please share. For those who are not in this place yet, stay tuned and feel free  to jump in with questions.

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