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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Understanding the Medical, Social and Psychological Impacts to Obesity


The medical impact on your body when you are obese is extraordinary.  You are at extremely high risk for serious illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and certain types of cancer to name a few.  At best, your quality of life will suffer because of these diseases, at worst, they can cause death.


Social impacts to obesity are just as devastating.  I speak from personal experience when I tell you that it is most certainly humiliating to go to a movie theater and not be able to sit in the seat to watch the show.  I still remember having to stand in the back of the theater because I couldn’t fit into the seat.  Another experience that caused me emotional pain was going to a restaurant and having to ask for a chair without arms and pray that it was strong enough to hold me.  Airplane travel was also a nightmare.  I always felt embarrassed by infringing on the space of the passenger sitting next to me.  The feelings that you are forced to deal with play havoc with your self-esteem and your self-worth.  It creates anxiety which ultimately leads to depression.


The emotional or psychological impact to obesity is very much linked to the social impact.  When you are constantly fighting depression and anxiety, you have no desire to go anywhere and you have no energy to do anything.  In my new book, “Who Is This Guy?” I address all these issues and share the events that brought me to Dr. Forse for help, which ultimately led to my success.  I found out the hard way, you can’t do it alone and you can’t even begin to hope for success unless you deal with the big picture.  In my next blog, I’ll share some information from my book that might be helpful.  If you are interested in reading it, it is available on Amazon.com. 


I hope you’ll share your experiences with me and let me know how you deal with them.  Maybe I can help point you in the right direction.        




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Getting back on track....It can be done.

If you're like me the holidays are a continuous battle. From Thanksgiving to New Years Day we are being tempted with unhealthy foods.  Candy, pie, cake, cookies, bread, gravy, potatoes, stuffing....I could go on and on. These are foods I normally wouldn't touch because I know that they will trigger my cravings.  Cravings are caused by the simple carbohydrates found in those foods. Simple carbohydrates are the quickest source of energy, but are very rapidly digested and won't satisfy your appetite for very long.

My solution to the holiday binge is to begin eating totally "clean" once the holidays are over. I increase my good fats and up my protein intake. I continue my normal exercise routine, drink plenty of water to be sure I am staying hydrated throughout the day, and cut out all simple carbs. Whereas simple carbs are bad for you because they induce cravings, complex carbs are very important to a balanced diet.  Complex carbohydrates are rich in fiber, thus satisfying and healthy. Complex carbs are usually found in whole plant foods that are high in vitamins and minerals. I eat plenty of vegetables, including sweet potatoes, and eliminate all simple carbs from my diet.  Within three or four days of eating "clean", the cravings are gone.  If I do slip and eat those "craving-producing foods, here's a tip that works for me and you might want to try; I distract myself until they are gone by keeping busy.  I clean my garage, go to the gym, take a walk or fold some laundry, and by the time I am done I no longer have that craving.  You need to be sure and do something that will keep your mind active. Sitting on the sofa and watching television or reading a book doesn't work for me.  Another way to curb cravings is to have a healthy snack like carrots, celery, cucumbers or other raw veggies. These will fill you up so you don't feel hungry anymore which, in turn, will lessen the odds of going for the "junk" foods.

So as difficult as the holiday season is, I have learned how to get through it the best I can and then make sure I start eating properly to get back on track once the holidays are over. That is what works for me.   The holidays are difficult to deal with, but if you stay positive and get back to the program in the new year, you'll be right back on track.  Don't give up.  It CAN be done!  I'd be interested in knowing how you handle the temptations of eating around the holidays and how you get back on track.  Please share your experiences.

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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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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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Fear of Getting Hurt in the Gym

A major element in the continued success of managing my weight and eating habits is my exercise program, which, as I've mentioned before, is self written.  I am as ridiculous about getting to the gym and performing my scheduled exercise program as I am about the eating program itself.  As always, I break my program into 13 week segments.  Over the past several years I have pre-habbed (prepared for surgery) and rehabbed from three shoulder surgeries and a bilateral knee replacement surgery.  I have worked through various ailments such as stiff necks, sore backs, wrist pain, forearm tendonitis, pinched nerves in the thumb, hamstring pulls and other problems with my feet and ankles.  Each and every time, I have been able to make adjustments at the gym to my grip, gait or the level of weight I use, to find a way to keep going until I have worked out the aches and pains and the problem disappears.  I find that I feel better and the ailment improves more quickly if I stick with my program and continue to use the affected joints or muscles. 

About five or six weeks ago, I suddenly developed a problem that, at first, I thought was a hip problem. I have never had a problem with my hip before.  I tried working through it for a couple of weeks and when it didn't get any better but, in fact, got worse, I made an appointment to see my doctor and he scheduled an x-ray and an exam on my hip.  I told the Orthopedic doctor that it seemed to move from the hip to the lower back to the glute muscle and sometimes to two areas at the same time.  He said the good news was, the x-ray showed that I did not have a problem with the hip but that it was also the bad news because now I need an MRI to see if it is a pinched nerve, a disc problem or something else.

However, I am still going to the gym.  My workouts are less intense due to the restrictions I must impose on myself to minimize the resulting pain caused by the workout.  I feel pain for most of the day after my morning workout, which is something I've never experienced before.  I try to adjust my schedule and not go to the gym on Friday if I am playing golf that day(again, a new adjustment to my schedule) because the combination of exercising and golf causes me severe back pain.

As always, I am fearful of any changes in my routine.  The only changes I have made so far have not been made by choice, but out of the necessity of dealing with my medical problems.  The current routine works, and I don't want to take any chances by changing to a different routine if I can help it. What would you do? Please share.

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Struggles Continue

I am now into my third month of trying to regain my focus.  I have good days and some that are not so good, but I have, for the most part, been able to avoid the out of control days.  A good day is one where I am able to stay within my comfortable range of 1800 to 2200 calories and a bad day is when I am eating 2200 to 2800 calories.  An out of control day means I have consumed over 2800 calories that day.

Was having dinner last month with my friends Buzz, Tom, Leo and George.  Buzz made the comment that he admired my discipline.  My initial response to that statement was to say that I had no discipline at all, which was why I had such a severe eating disorder.  I told him that what he was, in fact, witnessing was my obsessive compulsive behavior being used to my benefit to help me control my eating problem, rather than my eating problem controlling me. The fact is that I cannot do anything in moderation.  After forty years of trying to understand why I could not control my eating, I finally realized that there is no answer to that question.  My obsessive compulsive personality disorder is not curable, but I have found that the solution to this disorder is in redirecting my energy and focusing it in a positive way.

I have directed my obsessive compulsive behavior toward exercise and obsessing over my eating program.  Even when I am not entirely on track with my eating, as has been the case for the past three months, I am still focusing on what my eating habits should be and trying to get back on track. For some reason, my exercise program never seems to be a problem as it relates to desire or intensity of the workout.  I never seem to lose my focus as it relates to exercise.

Can anyone out there relate to what I am saying?  Please share your thoughts and experiences so we can get some dialogue going on the subject.  Maybe then, we can all understand it a little better.

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Working Through The Pain


If I decided not to go to the gym on days that I was feeling discomfort or pain, I fear that I would never go. I always seem to be dealing with one problem or another.  It might be something wrong with my feet; either a callous on the bottom of my foot or a soreness in the instep that becomes a pain on the heal of one foot or the other.  My right wrist bothers me more often then not. I need a third surgery on my left shoulder that I am putting off because there is not much they can do short of a replacement and I'm not ready for that yet.  I seem to have chronic problems with muscle spasms in my lower back. I had both of my knees replaced seven years ago and from time to time I have inflammation and soreness due to overuse. Recently, I had a bad bruise on the inside of my right thumb which made it painful to grip the bar or dumbbell in the traditional way. As the saying goes, if its not one thing, it's two.

Through it all , I continue to get up in the morning and go to the gym. You improvise, you adapt and you do what you have to do to get through the workout.  I change my grip to take pressure off my thumb.  I limit my range of motion and never let the barbell travel behind my head.  I keep my thumbs up on lateral moves and I listen to my body and take it easy on my back when I need time to work through an issue.  I regularly see the foot doctor to scrape callouses and cut my toenails to prevent problems.

My fear is getting hurt to the point where I am unable to go to the gym.  I work through all the issues mentioned here because I find that I feel better working through the pain and using the parts that are causing me problems, rather then resting them.  They seem to lubricate and, consequently, work better when I use them.  Age may have something to do with it.  Long term use may actually mean that wear and tear is catching up with my 61 year old body.  But, I am undeterred because the great feeling I get from being fit is worth the pain.  I know that I will continue my five or six days a week in the gym for the rest of my life.

Tell me how you deal with your pain and discomfort.

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Still struggling

Two more weeks have gone by and I am still trying to get back on track. The mornings start out good, but by noontime I start to feel the cravings begin and  have not been able to control the urges to eat those foods which are not included in my planned eating program.  I am at the point where I am getting angry with myself for being so stupid as to think that this time would be different; that this time I could stray from the plan just a little bit and get right back into it when I was ready. Didn't ever happen that way before, and there's no reason to believe it will happen that way now.

I think that because I at least understand what is happening to me now, I can catch myself before too much damage is done. I am holding right now at 194 pounds, which is up two pounds.  I am deeply concerned about this problem and this little slip-up is very distracting. I devote way too much of my time each day to resisting temptations and cravings and I am having only moderate success.  I have been eating sandwiches and pizza in addition to my cottage cheese and tuna for lunch and one morning I had a bran muffin.  After dinner, I have been eating nuts and pretzels in addition to the normal bowl of bran based cereals.

I am desperately trying to get my focus back.  I know that if I can just get six or seven perfect days in a row, the cravings will go away and I will be back to focusing on eating right.  I am most comfortable when I am on the plan.  I am able to spend more time improving my business, enjoying my family, friends and hobbies and improving my relationship rather than worrying about loosing control. 

Do you have the same problem?  Please share how you deal with it.  I need help and any new insight I may gain from others is always appreciated.

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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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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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Sugar is the Enemy

Sugar is the enemy. Refined sugar and beverages sweetened with sugar (including fruit and vegetable juices) is the number one contributor to weight problems, gout, diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer; not to mention what it does to our teeth. Some even think that excess sugar can contribute to Macular Degeneration in older adults.  There is nothing good about sugar and beverages sweetened with sugar. They drive up your daily calorie intake and provide no nutritional value. They leave your body screaming for more of the same. Some say that artificial sweeteners are just as bad as or worse than sugar.  We’ll take that up at a later date. Personally, I would rather eat my calories than drink them so I choose to stick with water, coffee, tea or on occasion, I drink a limited amount of 4C or Crystal Light.

As a gastric bypass patient, I have an increased sensitivity to sugar.  Too much sugar, which in my case, is more than a small candy bar or a few bites of a piece of cake during one sitting  can cause “dumping syndrome” which affects me in the following manner: cold sweats, a racing heart, which can cause speech impediments, headaches, nausea and in some cases, diarrhea.  In general, you feel like crap for a couple of hours and on every occasion, you say to yourself, “that piece of cake or candy bar wasn’t worth it”.  That’s how it affects me ten and a half years post surgery.  It is much more severe immediately following and shortly after surgery. 

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Eating After Surgery

I am ten and a half years post surgery and I  still stay completely away from any and all fried foods. I also do not eat donuts or other bakery products unless they are homemade (low fat) and I know exactly what is in them ( no trans fats ) and what the calories are. I try to avoid processed sugars (candy and cakes) and I never drink my calories ( juices or soda). However I will drink juice if I juice it myself in my Juiceman.I will juice the fruits and vegetables that I don't like to eat but I know are good for me such as beets, blueberries, strawberries, parsley, broccoli stems and melons. I stay away from cream sauce of any kind. I limit my intake of pasta because for some reason it sits real heavy in my stomach and bothers me. I avoid white bread in any form (sliced,English muffin, bagel) and white pasta and sugar free beverages because they all trigger cravings for more of the same.  So I choose to stay away from them whenever possible. I eat red meat on a very limited basis and I almost never eat deli meats.

I do eat a lot of egg whites, canned tuna,fat free dairy ( cottage cheese, sliced cheese, milk ).  I eat baked chicken, baked or broiled white fish, turkey burgers and meatloaf, broiled scallops. I choose Beefstake lite Rye bread when I have bread and I eat a fair amount of bran and wheat based cereal. I eat baked sweet potato or baked sweet potato fries, and I eat yukon gold potato, mashed , with skim milk and fat free butter as well as fat free cheddar cheese for flavor. And lots of fruits and vegetables.

At some point in the near future I will post under a section called Eating Plan, what my 13 week eating plan is for the 13 weeks that began two days ago. Not that I expect anyone to follow my plan, but to hopefully subscribe to the concept that a plan is a very important element to success and you will design your own plan for eating within a time frame that works for you.

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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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Stopping The Lifestyle Train Wreck Before It's Too Late

Hello, my name is Nick Mirrione and I am a foodaholic with compulsive self destructive behavior which to some looks like obsessive compulsive disorder.

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