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

What I've Learned about Weight and Fat Cells

If you gain weight, you are probably gaining fat.  If you then lose the weight, you may not be losing the fat.  Therefore, you may weigh less, but be fatter. When you gain weight and fat and then lose the weight, fat cells shrink but don't go away. Try to avoid putting on weight that is a result of increased calorie intake, even for only a short period of time. The reason being that the extra fat cells you add will stay with you and signal your brain that you are hungry.

Fat cells appear most often as upper-body subcutaneous fat ( belly fat) , which is the fat just under the skin.  Fat also can be stored as visceral fat, which is also called deep belly fat or internal fat. Then there is lower body fat which is usually found in the hips, inner thigh and buttock areas. None of these types of body fat are good for you to be carrying around. Excess internal fat will put tremendous pressure on your stomach, pancreas, intestines and other organs. Your organs and glands are responsible for producing hormones. The added pressure from belly fat causes hormonal imbalances and deficiencies found in diabetes and many other health conditions.

When people slim down through diet and exercise, rather than just calorie reduction alone, fat around the organs will disappear twice as fast in comparison to other body fat. Proper nutrition and as little as three days a week of high intensity exercise for 30 minutes per session, can reduce your belly fat and reduce your risk of diabetes significantly. I think that the size of your waist is far more important than what you weigh. Weight does not distinguish between muscle and fat.  Check the Body Mass Index Charts. Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women.  Check the U S Department of Health and Human Services web site for more information on BMI and to calculate where you stand versus where you should be on body mass.

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More About the Book

Since my recent blog in which I wrote, "I think I will write a book," I have had much encouragement to pursue this idea.  I have contacted the surgeon who performed my gastric bypass surgery in January 2001 and we are talking about writing the book together.  My story would  describe living a life with food addiction, binge eating disorder, obsessive compulsive personality disorder and a host of other"issues" and the surgeon would offer the scientific and medical logic as to why these conditions exist and how they impact patients like me; patients he has encountered in his nearly 35 years of practice in the field of Bariatrics.

My life has been a very interesting journey.  We plan to take you along as we tell my story from high school to the present day.  I am 62 years old, and in the proposed book, I will be sharing the many highs and lows that I have experienced along the way. There have not been too many periods in my life that I can remember where I seemed to have it all under control.  I am not talking just about my eating disorder, I am also referring to my business life, with its successes and failures, my personal life, where I have demonstrated that a lot of work is needed to "get it right" and my every day life and how my addictions, or compulsive behavior have had such a strong impact in all of these areas.  I was 50 years old before I even had an inkling that I had a problem that could be fixed with the right kind of help.  Now, twelve years later, I feel that maybe in another five years or so, I might have it all figured out.  Of course by the time I figure it all out, i will be entering a time in my life where I will have new things to factor into the equation of a balanced life.

I am very interested in what material you may find helpful if you were to read such a story as I've outlined above.  I would welcome your input as the doctor and I move forward in outlining the book we have in mind.  A book that, we hope, ordinary people will relate to and find help in dealing with these issues.

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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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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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Starting to get some Traction

Have had two good weeks in a row but not a great day on Easter Sunday.  So on Easter, I used one of my 7 "cheat" days that I allow during this 13 week program.  Easter was tough.  I ate too much of the good foods and also had some jelly beans and a small piece of the most fantastic vanilla cupcake with cream cheese and coconut frosting that I ever tasted.  I also had a couple of bites of a bunny cake with butter cream frosting.  Other then Easter day, I have been doing fairly well at avoiding the trigger foods.  When I avoid the trigger foods, it is easier for me to stay on the program.  When I am doing well on the eating program, I feel the results immediately; more energy, sleep better, I'm more relaxed and I feel better about myself.

The results also showed up on the scale.  During the three months that I have been struggling, I gained about 5 pounds.  Last week, the week ending Easter Sunday morning, I lost 3 of those pounds.  I have to be extra careful right now because there is a lot of stress involved in my life.  Business is not good and there are some health issues in the family that add to the stress.  It has been established that stress is a factor for those with eating difficulties, and I can attest to that.  Usually, I am able to counter balance the effects of stress by sticking to my regular exercise routine.

Nevertheless, the bottom line is I feel more in control of my eating now than I have in the past three months.  Not totally in control, but making progress and closing in on the struggle.  If anyone is having similar issues, please feel free to share with us how you are dealing or not dealing with it.

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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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Holiday Struggles

Typically, I would stray from my strict eating plan between Thanksgiving and New Years. I would convince myself by rationalizing that it was all about moderation and not deprivation.  Each year I would struggle to get back on track after the holidays ended. Some years I would accomplish this during January and other years I would battle to get back into my eating plan for four to six months, having experienced weight gain and frustration in the process.

This year I stayed focused until the last two weeks of the year when I got weak and had small helpings of deserts on three occasions. That was all that it took. I am now struggling to stop the cravings and variations in my eating habits that leave me feeling uncomfortable. The "hungry horrors" have driven my usual 1900 to 2100 daily calorie consumption to 2300 to 2800 per day. That means I've put on a few pounds and I look and feel softer.

As usual it was the sugar that got me started. On one occasion I had some chocolate covered pretzels, on another it was a very small piece of apple pie and one other time it was three bites of cake with frosting.  I was also having more bread than usual and adding snacks more often because the cravings were calling for more junk food. The impact of these trigger foods is immediate. They sabotage my efforts to eat clean and stay on track. First of all these trigger foods do not satisfy my appetite and, more importantly, they interfere with the signals that indicate that I am full.

I am not capable of putting the brakes on without difficulty. I am struggling right now to regain the strict clean eating program that I was on before the holidays. I was completely focused for six months before this hiccup. I will get back on track.  I am just concerned about the damage I may do before I am back in control. Do you have the same problem? If so, please share with us how you deal with it.

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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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Surviving The Holiday Temptations to Overeat

You can do it. Take it one day at a time. Small portions, eat slowly, get up often and move around. You can have more later if you want to. No need to deny yourself the pleasure of family and food during the holidays. Where possible try to have foods prepared for you using the least harmful methods such as skim milk instead of cream, spray butter instead of cream sauces and remove the skin on the turkey. You really don't need the desert, but if you must have it try for the least harmful and keep the portions small. The key here is moderation not deprivation. Remember if you do good today you have a good chance that you will do good again tomorrow. I sometimes have anxiety attacks when confronted with all the food around the holidays. I try to keep myself busy with conversation, going for a walk or going outside to play with the kids. With me there is a fear factor, which I've learned to respect. I take it seriously and I know that this time of year has sent me off course in the past and I am determined to not let it happen this year. I hope that if you suffer from the same overeating disorders as I do that you are as determined as I am.

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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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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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