Moving Sidewalk

I started back on the UAMS program in May.  Cinco de Mayo, actually.  I’ve been as successful this time as I was last time; I’ve lost nearly 60 pounds since May, people have mentioned how much better I’m looking, and one even said, “You were doing well, and then I got worried that you were going to put it all back on.”  The state of the union, so to speak, is optimistic progress.

Photo Credit: riffsyphon1024 via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: riffsyphon1024 via Compfight cc

I spend a lot of time reflecting on where I’m going and where I’ve been.  I think about the choices I made that led me back to weight gain.  Having reached my goal and then lost it again, I have a clearer view of the process than I did last time, including the end-game where I have to actively maintain my weight loss.

Losing weight on the UAMS program is a little bit like this moving sidewalk.  It’s an easy way to speed your progress toward your goal.  Are you the kind of person who gets on the moving sidewalk and stands or are you the type who gets on there and walks?

I’m a walker.  In addition to eating my meal replacements and drinking my water, I exercise.  I minimize my sodium intake not because I need to, but because I want to.  I minimize use of additives in my meal replacements because they’re unnecessary calories.  I don’t drink alcohol.  As a result, I’m quickly approaching the end of my moving sidewalk.

Whether walking or running, the transition from sidewalk to floor can be a tricky one.  If you’re standing around talking or checking your smart phone while riding one of these it can lead to an abrupt encounter with the floor.  You have to pay attention and have a little coordination to do it gracefully.  And we’re all carrying baggage.

I’m about 30 pounds away from the end of my moving sidewalk, and I’ll still have about a 15 pound “walk” to my “gate.”  I’m paying attention, I’ve done it before, and I’m confident this transition, while maybe not graceful, will be successful.

What steps can you take today to ensure your next steps will land on solid ground?

The Struggle Is Real, Y’all

That was my best Paula Dean voice.

I’ve been back on the program since May 6th, and the closest I’ve come to straying from the plan has been eating more than my daily half-cup ration of salsa and eating sugar-free Jell-o as a food rather than an additive.  I’d say I’m doing pretty well.  It hasn’t been without temptation.

Cake Rose

There was an end of year luncheon at work yesterday. BBQ for 250 and two of the biggest cakes I’ve ever seen.  I have a thing for icing. The thick kind where the sugar and fat dissolve in your mouth.  You can read about my last icing incident here.  I didn’t eat any cake or BBQ.  I ate a meal replacement. 

Today the leftovers are in the teachers lounge. I have abstained, but SweetMotherOfGod would you look at that icing flower the size of my face?  I just want to lay down in it.  If I were alone with this thing, it would be history.  Since it’s in a public place, I have the support I need to let it go.

As I was walking into the lounge for another reason, I passed another teacher walking out who was literally muttering, “Nope.  Nope.  Nope.  Be good.  Be good.”

The struggle is REAL, y’all!


Feeling The Benefits

There are so many benefits to losing weight.  You’re less likely to suffer diseases like cancer and diabetes, your joints feel better, you look better, and you have more energy.  When gaining weight slowly, I didn’t seem to notice the negative effects as they piled up.  When losing weight quickly, though, the benefits are soon evident.

I lost about 20 pounds my first month back on the UAMS weight loss program, and the way I feel has completely transformed.  I seek out opportunities to walk.  I take the stairs.  I’m actually tan from being outside so much.  I’ve been looking on CraigsList for a used weight bench.  I got my FitBit out and charged it up for the first time in a year.

When you feel too tired to go out and walk, you might be too tired not to.

Like Riding a Bicycle

Twenty days into my return to weight loss, and things are going GREAT.  I am eating meal replacements, I’m exercising, and I’ve lost 14 pounds so far.  I’m picking up nuances in our weekly classes that I missed the first time, and I couldn’t be happier.  This weight loss stuff is like riding a bicycle.

Have you seen this video of the guy with the backward bicycle?

The people trying to ride this bicycle know exactly what they need to do in order to stay balanced, but their bodies just aren’t cooperating.  When I saw this, I immediately made the connection to weight loss.  I know nutrition.  I know portion control.  I know exercise.  For the last year, though, there has been something inside me that has been preventing me from acting based on my knowledge.

Whatever that switch is inside me that needed to flip, it has flipped.  A close friend congratulated me on my success, and asked, “[Have you figured out] why you gained it back?”  What a complicated question.

In looking back at the timeline, I stopped exercising regularly during recovery from a surgery.  I was able to maintain within 20 pounds of where I wanted to be for quite a while after that, and I was exercising 1-2 times per week by walking or jogging.  I was not going to the gym.

After changing jobs and moving, I completely abandoned exercise, ate as much fast food as I wanted, and the rest is history.  I knew with every bite that what I was eating was a poor nutrition choice that would lead to weight gain.  I knew that avoiding exercise would cause my metabolism to slow and make resuming exercise that much harder.  What was stopping me?  I even posted on Facebook, “I wish 2012 Daniel would visit 2015 Daniel and give him some motivation.”

Like the man on the bicycle, it just flipped for me one day.  I got back on the bicycle and resumed my journey.  If you are in that place where I was, unhappy with your choices but unable to find the switch, believe me.  I know.  I know.

Everyone’s switch is in a different place, and once you find it, it moves.  The struggle is real, but know that you can get right back on that bicycle at any time.


I <3 My Electric Kettle

I spent a week visiting my “Fairy Godmother” last Christmas and New Year’s, and I fell in love with her electric kettle.  In about a minute it can boil water for tea.  I ordered one on Amazon before I even returned home, and I’ve been using it ever since.

Electric KettleLately I’ve been using it to boil water to make sugar-free Jello.  At only 5 calories per serving, it satiates my sweet tooth, and it’s so convenient to make with this kettle.

I saw a post the other day on LifeHacker about making perfect rice by toasting the rice and boiling the water separately.  Once I transition back to conventional foods, I know I’ll be using my kettle to make rice, too.

What kitchen gadget do you love?

Recipe Challenge: Snickerdoodles

I’ve been challenged by my new cohort of classmates to come up with a Health One Meal Replacement recipe for Snickerdoodles.  I have in mind starting with a vanilla meal replacement base, adding butter flavorings, artificial sweeteners, and maybe extra vanilla extract.  Oh, and lots of cinnamon.

Photo Credit: Burger Baroness via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Burger Baroness via Compfight cc

What is it that makes a snickerdoodle a snickerdoodle?  What must this recipe have in order to pass as an imposter?

It’s Always Something

Christmas.  New Year’s.  Birthday.  Wedding.  Valentine’s.  Easter.  There’s always a reason to eat something with empty calories in it.  For me, the gauntlet was Teacher Appreciation Week.  My weakness is icing.

Cake Corner

When I walked into the teachers’ lounge, this was staring me in the face saying, “I waited just for you!”  I don’t know about you, but for me, cake is all about the frosting.  I’ve seen some folks scrape off the good stuff and eat just the cake.  I’m the other way around.  Give me just the sweet stuff, and I’ll be happy.

I didn’t eat any cake last week.  I didn’t eat any cookies, donuts, muffins, snicker doodles, or even fortune cookies.


I did crack one open, but I didn’t care for the fortune it gave me.  I’m plotting my own destiny, here.  Why do I need to take instructions from a cookie?

The point is, there will always be something in your path shouting, “Eat me!”  There will forever be holidays, girl scouts with cookies, and even the random corner piece of cake staring you in the face.  Decide today how you plan to deal with that monster when it rears its ugly head.

While I’m in the weight loss stage of things, when calories call, I’m letting them go to voice mail.

Change is Hard

In class last week Brooklyn, my new dietitian, talked about the stages of change.  Although I’ve been through the 16 UAMS classes several times each, I saw this week’s lesson through different eyes.  We discussed the stages of change.

Stages of Change Model by Prochaska & DiClemente

Stages of Change Model by Prochaska & DiClemente

In pre-contemplation, you’re either unaware that there is a problem or you’re in denial about it.  For me, this was the first couple decades of my life.

Next comes contemplation.  You’re aware of the problem, and you’re weighing your options.  “I really need to exercise.  Oh!  Look!  House of Cards!”

I contemplated for a while before joining the UAMS weight loss program in 2011.  I looked at diet pills, fad diets, weight loss surgery, and other options, including “doing nothing.”  I ultimately decided to try UAMS.  This point of decision-making is the determination phase.

In the action phase, you do the things necessary to achieve the change you want.  For me, it was eating a low calorie diet and exercising, which established a calorie deficit and effected weight loss.  In 2011, 2012, and early 2013, I “action’ed” my butt off.  Literally.

I reached my goal in 2013, and transitioned to maintenance.  In this stage, you take the actions necessary to maintain the change.  For me, it was making informed food choices, continuing exercise, and monitoring my weight.  I maintained for about a year.

Relapse.  That’s the killer.  It’s when you slip into your old ways.  We’ll just call that one School Year 2014-2015.  As viewed through the lens of my Discover Card statement, here’s what relapse looks like for me

CC Statement Relapse

The beauty of change, I am told, is that you can jump back into it at any time.  Today, I feel that I’m in the action stage.  I’m reliably eating within my calorie budget, I’m exercising regularly, and I’m determined to reach a weight where I’ll be healthy and happy.

Which stage are you in?

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