Saturday, October 25, 2008

UPDATE! I'm Back!

Greetings from Ben's Belly!

I just wanted to mention that I'll be returning to this blog frequently now that I've begun to shrink the big 'ol belly! I've lost 30 lbs in the past 9 weeks, so hold on for some interesting posts about my progress!

Talk to you real soon!


Friday, September 5, 2008

Five Things To Start Your Weight Loss NOW!

So, this blog is not about me... not completely, anyway. Who wants to read about an overweight guy just for the sake of it? You will come back to this blog because of the good feeling it gives you to support a big-bellied guy like me, right?

You're also going to want to keep an eye on this blog for tips and inspiration. I wouldn't be on this journey right now if it weren't for the inspiring Before and After pics I've seen of so many weight-loss successes! That's why I posted a virtual image of me, as I weighed when I started this blog, and how I will look when I reach my goal. (Side note: notice I didn't say "if I reach my goal"? I'll be touching on that in a post real soon.)

OK, gotta keep my promise. Here's the list:

Five Things You Can Do RIGHT NOW For Weight Loss:
  1. Clean out your kitchen and hiding places of any junk that will tempt you. (REALLY important for people like us)
  2. Drink a glass of water EVERY time you are about to indulge in an unplanned snack (notice I said "unplanned"?)
  3. Take some pictures of yourself with as little clothing as you can stand. Look at these photos whenever you're about to overeat.
  4. Write down at least 5 reasons you want to lose weight. Post this next to your photos. You need to refer to this often.
  5. Move around. March in place in front of the TV for five minutes; walk the stairs one extra time as though you forgot something.

These are really important steps to begin a new direction in your life. I'm doing this right now! It's amazing how well it works. Of course, talk to a doctor before implementing this or any new weight-loss plan. Also, if you think you're going to get depressed rather than motivated by looking at photos of yourself, then please don't torture yourself. This blog is about getting to the heart of the matter behind our weight problems, and I believe that we don't need any more negativity in life than comes in the regular course of things.

See you next week?!

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Belly and the Box - A Modern Story

One day in a city by the sea, there was a Big Belly. The Big Belly (owned by a man named Ben) was grumbling. "I must have something," it churned. "I haven't eaten in two hours!"

So Big Belly began its low groan, signaling Ben to pay attention. "My!" exclaimed Ben, "I think I'm hungry!"

Ben was driving home from work at the time Big Belly was sending his message, so, almost without thinking, Ben turned in at the nearest supermarket.

"I'll take this box, and that box. Oh! I can't miss this box!" Ben mumbled to himself as Big Belly grumbled in unison.

Soon, Ben and Big Belly were home. Ben opened the refrigerator, poured himself a tall glass of milk, then took the glass and one of the large boxes to the couch. He plopped down and turned on the television.

A few minutes later, during a break from the television show, Ben noticed that the box, which had previously been filled with chocolate chip cookies, had nearly been emptied. Looking around the living room, as though expecting a culprit, Ben thought to himself that he couldn't have just mindlessly eaten so many cookies.

As he took pause to think about what just happened, Big Belly, in a sickened way, yelled up that he wanted those last cookies, even though Ben didn't want them. Slowly, Ben reached for one of the last cookies, dipped it in the glass to get the last drop of milk, then shoved the whole cookie down his throat. He almost gagged. Big Belly finally realized that he was full. But Ben felt like he was going to burst.

Later that evening as Ben brushed his teeth, he gave himself a look in the mirror. He had felt guilty about eating almost an entire box of cookies. His self-esteem had never been at such a low. What was the use of trying to lose weight when Big Belly was going to triumph anyway?

It was at this moment, while frothed toothpaste began dripping down his chin, that Ben realized that he was Big Belly's master, but for as long as he could remember, Big Belly had made Ben feel like the servant. With this realization, Ben rinsed his mouth, splashed fresh water on his face, and said to Big Belly, "we've got to talk."

Sitting on his bed, Ben began laying out the law to Big Belly. "You are not in charge of my eating habits any longer," Ben said in a calm manner to Big Belly. "You may indicate to me when you truly need food. You must tell me when you no longer are hungry. But because I don't trust you yet, I will be telling you when you get fed and when you don't. And you better tell your friend, Big Brain (yeah, he's really smart, but sometimes he's just plain stupid) that I'm not going to listen to his messages for awhile either."

Big Belly listened intently. He began to wonder how he'd let himself get so out of control. Big Brain also listened in. He was thinking that this all made good sense. His main problem to overcome was that luscious blast of dopamine he got whenever Ben ate delicious foods, especially during emotional eating.

Once Ben finished talking, he headed to the kitchen. He took all the sugary junk from the cabinets and fridge and dumped them into the trash. He got rid of the cookies and cakes, syrups and sugars, chocolates and chips. He filled two large bags with unhealthy, destructive food.

Ben also determined that at work, he would only eat meals from home and healthy choices at the store. No more trips to the fast food restaurant during lunch.

He also began to exercise. Although to a healthy person, Ben's exercise regime was laughable, it was the healthy, long-lasting way that Ben could begin the long, hard journey towards making that separation with Big Belly.

(This story is based on true events, which I'm sure some of you can relate to. As I've mentioned with the other posts, I will be touching on the main elements in this story. I hope to have a "story" post once a's a lot of fun to write)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Three Roadblocks to Weight Loss Success

There are three things that I've been thinking about that are guaranteed to ruin your weight loss plan. These roadblocks are very easy to put up, especially since we've programmed ourselves to do so.

Three Roadblocks to Weight Loss:
  1. Self-defeating Thoughts
  2. "What the Hell" Binges
  3. Repeating 1 and 2

To expand on these a bit, I'll begin with number one. Our self-defeating thoughts are just that: thoughts that thrive on self-defeat. For example, maybe you've eaten a healthy breakfast and lunch. But you're really tired at the end of the day and you didn't plan on cooking. "I'll just start again tomorrow," you think. But you're not really thinking! You don't realize, as you're pulling up at the drive-thru window, that you've had a completely awesome day. Your thoughts begin to overtake you. "Ahh, c'mon, you deserve to eat out tonight; you were good all day long! What's wrong with a little enjoyment?" Sound familiar? Or maybe you're just now recognizing that you've had self-destructive thoughts all these years.

It's easy to say that those "positive thinkers" are nuts. They're out of touch with reality. But are they? Agreed, I don't think we should be droning on about how awesome we are, every minute of the day. But there is something to be said for positive self-talk and positive thinking. You don't have to be a crazy person to say every once-in-a-while: "You're really doing good! You're on the way to a new, healthful lifestyle!" or something like that. Force yourself to be a bit more positive.

Back to the drive-thru. So, with your negative thoughts, you decide to order the Meal Number 3, making it an extra large. Which brings you to number two on today's list: "What the Hell" binging. No need to really explain this one. You act on your negative self-destructive thinking by "rewarding" yourself. You're making yourself feel better, or so you think. This habitual, or perhaps addictive, thinking and behavior can turn a burger and fries into a burger, fries, shake--all extra large. It could turn into a second visit, a heavy dessert (or two) and so on. That's what a binge is about.

If you're really good at this, you'll begin step number 3, repeating steps 1 and 2. This is the cycle that many of us have gone through. Maybe you're not going to the drive-thru every day. Maybe you're just taking in a bunch more calories than you need.

Friday, August 15, 2008

No Belly Aching? Actually It's Back Aching...

This morning I really felt the effects of being 318 lbs. I usually sleep on my side, due to having sleep apnea. I was on my side when the alarm went off this morning, so I had to rotate my body towards the clock to turn it off. All of a sudden, pain shot through my back, immobilizing me for a few brief seconds.

When I stood up, I had to be very careful not to move in the wrong direction, otherwise the back pain would again shoot through me. Now, I've noticed that as I've reached certain weight tiers (as I'll call them), I have problems arise that I've never dealt with before.

First, when I reached 300 lbs about 6 months ago, I noticed my ankles would burn. Then, upon closer inspection, I found that they were swollen as though I were going through some sort of allergic reaction. After a few weeks, however, I got used to the swollenness and only occasionally realize I have swollen legs/ankles.

Here's the problem, I should have recognized these symptoms as indications that my weight was skyrocketing out of control, but it took my back "attack" to get more motivated to lose. Are you showing any signs of your overweight condition (other than what you see in the mirror)? Do you have trouble breathing when climbing stairs like I do? Do you look forward all day to just crashing on the couch (OK, I guess that's more of a cultural thing...but it's indicative of an overweight culture)? What are you going to do about it?

I, for one, will continue to make notes of what I eat, wear a pedometer and utilize the workout plan my co-worker made for me. If you come back to this blog, I will be going through my own weight loss program, as well as showcasing the success stories and methods that motivate me.

See you next time!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ben's Big 'Ol Belly!

Hi, I'm Ben, and I've got a big--no, HUGE belly! I'm a 32 year old guy who has been overweight his whole life. I'm ready to lose, and, if you've got a man-belly like me, hopefully you're ready to lose as well.

Here's a few stats about me:
  • 32 year old guy
  • 319 lbs: Starting weight (as of today, August 12th, 2008)
  • 175 lbs: Goal weight by Spring of 2010
  • 144 lbs: Amount of weight I need to lose
  • Overweight since I was a kid
  • Been trying to lose weight since I can remember
  • Never been fond of the girly diet plans (no offense, ladies) (I'll explain later)
  • Never been more ready to lose!

So, are you ready to join me? There's plenty of resources for women, so I'm hoping that this blog will be a good resource/source of inspiration for us men.

Good to meet you!

-Ben (and his belly)