From 2014-2015, I lost 40 pounds over a span of 9 months. Woo Hoo!
The problem is I didn’t exactly address all my food issues during that time. It actually would have been impossible in that time. My issues were extremely deep seated from childhood, and even during the time I was losing weight, I had moments where I almost lost all control and dived head first back into my old ways.
Over the next 6 months, I really wanted to address my emotional issues with food. Could I continue to improve my body, my performance at the gym, and how I looked in clothes while eating things I like every single day? This included, but was not limited to:
- Tate’s Bakery Shop Chocolate Chip Cookies
- M&M’s (Peanut & Peanut Butter)
- Sour Cream & Onion Kettle Cooked Chips
- Ice Cream Sandwiches
- Chicken Nuggets (yes, I still love chicken nuggets in my 30’s)
- Chinese Food
- Cheese & Crackers (I keep it classy, too)
I decided the best way to deal with my problem, was to deal with my problem. I decided to start with a simple challenge: Buy a bag of M&Ms and make it last over the course of an entire week.
Try # 1 - Fail
I went to the store, bought a family size bag, and put it in my work bag. That means I had access to it anytime, anywhere, in any quantity I wanted. I was nervous, because I didn’t trust myself around them. My interaction with M&M’s, or any candy for that matter, had been limited to a cheat day. My previous habits were to open a bag and simultaneously finish that bag, no matter what size, what quantity, or how full I was. I call this syndrome “Grand opening, grand closing.” (God I am so glad those days are behind me.)
The results were not great the first time around. I bought the M&M’s on Sunday and by Tuesday they were gone. 72 hours and 1¼ pounds of M&M’s were in my belly. It had taken every ounce of energy and willpower I had to not kill the bag on day 1. I was disappointed, but I knew that I wouldn’t fix it my first time around.
Try #2 - Fail
That same day (Tuesday), I went back to the store and bought another family size bag. By Wednesday, they were gone. I felt defeated and deflated. My inner dialogue sounded something like “You fucking fat piece of shit, you couldn’t stop eating the M&M’s, God you are pathetic.” I took the next 4 days off to completely sulk in my failure and then the following Sunday I decided I need to try again.
Try #3 - Fail
I bought another bag of M&M’s on Sunday and finished it on Wednesday. Still not a week, but it was progress. And some progress was better than 0 progress.
Try #4 - Success
The following Sunday, I decided to give it another shot. Something weird happened this time around. I found myself less inclined to eat the M&Ms for no reason. Maybe I just got sick of M&Ms, but I found myself eating them when I wanted to. The bag lasted 8 days!!!
Even though this may seem like a small feat, it was absolutely huge for me. I was in control. Me. Joe. In control of M&Ms. For the first time ever. I had never been so proud of myself.
The Road to Success
Losing weight is not as simple as choosing 1 of 2 possible roads. The weight loss industry is convinced that this is simple, and they say things like: “You either choose to win, or you choose to lose.”
I won’t even comment on how ignorant statements like that are. The fact is that we are all human. The road to success should, and will always, be riddled with failure. There is no shame in failure. There is no shame in having a road with bumps and curves. The only shame of failure is not standing back up.
In my M&M experiment, I fell on my face 3 times before succeeding. I felt deflated, stupid, sad, and demoralized with each failure. But I got a little stronger each time. Underneath the surface I didn’t realize the strength I was building until I had achieved my goal.
Going Back to Basics
The attitude around weight loss must change. We are conditioned to believe weight loss as a punishment. And it’s not your fault for seeing that way. From the time you were a child, you have been fed that a diet is punishment for being fat.
If you are fat, you are put on a diet. The diet taught you to avoid “fattening” foods and load up on “healthy” food. Little did everyone know that this solution was perpetuating the problem.
Weight loss requires going back to basics:
- Do you know how many grams of carbs you eat per day?
- Do you know how much protein is in 3 ounces of chicken?
- Which foods are highest in fat?
- When is it appropriate to eat low carb?
- When is it appropriate to eat high fat?
To take it a step further:
- When do you lose control around food?
- Do you avoid certain foods?
- How does your eating change in periods of high stress?
If you can’t answer these questions, then before even attempting lose weight, you must go back to the basics.
To learn more about my anti-diet approach to weight loss, start with the workshop below.