Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Guest Submission: It Can't Get Any Worse Than This ... A Cautionary Tale

Note: This blog posting contains shocking depictions of someone struggling with the loss of their mobility due to obesity.  Reader discretion is advised. 

By Anonymous

I'm writing this anonymously to protect myself. And ultimately, that's what we do when we gain weight. We become more and more anonymous. Overlooked both by society and by ourselves, often hiding in the shadows and withdrawing from public life. The weight starts to rise and our self-esteem starts to sink. But there is another side to becoming obese. We also lie to ourselves, often saying "well, it can't get any worse than this..." But you are wrong. It can. And it does.

Please allow me to bear witness:

Ahhh, freshly showered and ready for work. Huh! I can't seem to put my socks on as easily as last week. I'm really huffing and puffing to get them on. I know I've gained a few pounds. Oh well, it can't get any worse than this!

And then...

Hmmm. I can't bend over and tie my shoes. Looks like I'm going to have to use a kitchen chair and prop my foot up. Never had to do this before. I need to cut back on the snacking it seems. Oh well, it can't get any worse than this!

And then ...

My seatbelt is extended to the max. Do I really need to slide my seat back? Looks like it. Maybe I should cut back on the fast food. Oh well, it can't get any worse than this!

And then ...

Wow. I'm out of wind walking from my car to the office. I need to find a parking spot closer to the door. Guess I'm going to cut back on the daily snacking. Oh well, it can't get any worse than this!

And then ...

I can't put my socks on any more. I need to have someone help me. How embarrassing. And I'm not able to tie my shoes without popping a vein. Well, it really can't get any worse than this...

And then ...

An alarming situation at work today. I suddenly needed to go to the bathroom and had to use the handicap stall. Not only that, I could barely reach to finish up. Humiliating. Wow, I never thought it would get this bad. Oh well, it can't get any worse than this ...

And then ...

It happened again. Only this time I couldn't reach at all. I had no choice. I had to go back to my desk unclean. Not only that, during the process, I wet all over my pants and didn't realize it. This is beyond humiliating. It's dehumanizing. I need to rethink my entire public strategy. I can't be caught too far from home. Maybe I'll just stay in more often. That way something like this won't catch me off guard. How did this happen? It all came on so quickly. Well, It can't get any wor....

Let me stop you right there. It can get worse. Much worse. This downhill slide doesn't stop with dehumanizing incidents like this. What will it take? Type Two Diabetes? Losing a leg? Your eyesight? Public scorn?

The good news is that you can fix it. Like Bryan's example shows all of us.

There comes a point where you draw a line in the sand. You have to have that Howard Beale moment from the movie "Network."

"So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, stick your head out an yell...I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

Until you do that, it gets worse.  It always gets worse. Much worse.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Guest Columnist Katie: Living With Food Addiction

Losing 125 Pounds, By Katie

I'm constantly bombarded with images and messages that tell me I'm not thin enough. And I'm inundated with cheap, oversized, carb-filled food choices as the default offerings at most restaurants and drive thrus readily available to me. Some part of me knew that all these messages were ridiculous! So I often chose to rebel against them by eating whatever I wanted.

That was one of my most popular rationalizations for overeating. The other one, buried deep, was a constant need to cover over and hide the emotions I was feeling. The physiological response I get from sugary food like desserts and even foods that are "healthy" by many people's standards, such as breads, rice, and potatoes, gave me a certain kind of "high" that temporarily helped me cope with my constant stream of troubling emotions and also made me want to eat more.

The first time I noticed anything wrong was when I went to a nutritionist. She suggested I keep a food diary. Week after week, I would show up for my appointment, once again without anything written in my food diary. I couldn't bring myself to look at what I was eating.

By the end of 2010, at age 33, I weighed over 330 pounds.  It became apparent that if I continued gaining weight, I was going to have to give up many of my dreams about hiking beautiful places. And that I would very likely continue to have bone and joint problems.  I knew the "change one small thing" approach -- which seemed to work so well for other people -- wasn't going to solve my problem. 

Every meal, I told myself I would start eating healthy the next meal and that one single indulgent meal wasn't going to kill me.

Somehow, I began to look for people like me -- who had a lot of weight to lose -- and who had lost weight and kept it off a long time.  
After searching in vain for 6 months, I met a person who fit my criteria and who was also in a 12-step program for food addiction. I decided I would take a leap of faith and simply do what worked for them, even if it seemed quite drastic to me.

12-step groups are, by design, free to anyone who wants to overcome their addiction. I eat real, fresh food that I weigh and measure. I completely avoid foods like cakes, pies, rice, and potatoes. I don't make food decisions without my sponsor. This, and the wonderful people in my local 12-step food addiction recovery group, have helped me lose 125 pounds since February 1, 2011. And more importantly, they've helped me learn how to cope with the societal messages and emotions that made me want to eat in the first place.

Whatever your problem with food, I hope you seek out others like you who have found peace and recovery with food.  
Here are several groups that use the principles and tools of Alcoholics Anonymous to overcome compulsive overeating and food addiction:
GreySheeters Anonymous      Overeaters Anonymous      Food Addicts Anonymous
If you know of other groups, please leave them in the comments and I'll add them to my list.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Guest Columnist Todd Hollst: Thoughts on Weight Loss Surgery

Some thoughts on weight loss surgery from someone who had it

  • Weight loss surgery does not address the psychological aspect of overeating.  Overeating is a compulsion and much like drugs and alcohol it’s very hard to overcome. When I could no longer eat large amounts of food, I needed another way to fill “the hole” of my addiction. I found that alcohol worked quite nicely; I got drunk quicker because I weighed less so it was cheaper than ever before.  I could just go to the bathroom and make more room for more beer.  It added a social component that hadn’t existed before. It is not uncommon for people who have had weight loss surgery to develop drinking problems following the procedure.
  • Old habits die hard: Success after surgery comes from a dedication to continually exercise and participate in an active lifestyle. Many believe that after they lose the initial large amount of weight they will be eager to start this type of lifestyle. Some do, but many don’t. They may begin, but the old sedentary habits eventually return. It’s better to begin those habits before surgery.
  • There’s no financial accountability: My insurance covered the procedure as it does for many who are lucky enough to have insurance. However, although I haven’t gained back all of my weight, I would rate the whole process a personal failure. In large part it was because I was not accountable to anyone for my post-surgery maintenance. Not that I would expect the insurance company to come back and charge me for the surgery, but if I had to pay for the surgery out of pocket, I might have been more accountable to myself for sticking with the program. Weight loss surgery should not be covered. It is an elective surgery just like cosmetic surgery.
  • It can wreak havoc on personal relationships.  Right off the bat, any major change in someone’s life can alter their personal relationships. Losing weight on your own without surgery can do the same. However, drastic and quick weight loss can have a tendency to amplify those changes. While this isn’t the case for everyone, the hard truth is if you’re obese, you might be socially isolated, lonely and feel as though you “don’t belong.” Finding romantic relationships are a challenge.  After surgery, patients are often suddenly hit with a new reality. People are more accepting of you (or at least you feel this way, whether it is true or not.)  Your options for relationships suddenly increase, and if you’re been in a relationship you might begin to consider an “upgrade.” This is not necessarily unhealthy if the relationship if dysfunctional, but if you’re simply looking to leave the “old you” behind then this might not be what’s best in the long run.  Understand, I’m not suggesting that this happens to every person who has had the surgery, but it’s happened to quite of few people that I know. Including myself. 
  • I’m glad I had the surgery, even though I haven’t done what I was supposed to do to continue the success. If I hadn’t had it, I’m sure I would be tipping the scales at over 500 lbs. Today, I weigh about 350. Still too much, but not the 425 lbs I did prior to the surgery. The problem was that my issues weren’t with food and eating, but rather a compulsion that I couldn’t and still can’t control. I wasn’t aware of it then like I am now. That’s a good outcome of the surgery. I still can’t eat nearly what I ate before. My problem is the beer. I only drink 3 to 4 nights a week (I know, that’s more than most,) but when I do, I binge.  I drink lots of beer in a short period of time…the same way I used to consume food. I didn’t eat like a horse everyday, but enough that I gained lots of weight. I was an emotional eater to be sure, the same way I became an emotional drinker. Now, it’s just a substance abuse habit that’s hard to break.

    On the other hand, if I had worked at changing what was going on with me emotionally and psychologically, I probably wouldn’t have developed a weight problem in the first place. I know what lead to the cycle of binging and it traces back to a bad marriage. 

Todd Hollst is the editor of Daily Musings From Dayton and a close friend of 20 years.  I'd like to thank Todd for sharing his personal experiences with others, in the hopes that it will help someone else. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Motivation.....There Is Only One Place To Get It

Far and away, the most frequent question I get in your e-mails is this:

"Where do I get the motivation?"

I wish I had motivation I could give to people.  If I could, I would bottle it and sell it.  So where does motivation come from?  Only one place that I know of.


I have to be completely honest.  Had I not almost dropped dead in 2010, I would not have undertaken this lifestyle change and thrown myself into it like I did.  The fear of death motivated me in the beginning.

You have to figure out what motivates you.  And that needs to be something that will continue to motivate you.  Whether it's improved health, the will to live, living long enough to see your kids/grandkids grow up, whatever it is.

I also think part of the problem, which I have e-mailed in replies to many of you, is that people sit around waiting for motivation.  They're waiting for lightning to strike, for something to reach out and put them on the road to success.

Chances are, it's never coming.

All you have to do to get started is to just get started.  It's not glamorous.  The rewards do not come right away.  It takes a long time and there is no quick fix.

But if you decide, right now....that tomorrow, you are going to walk on your lunch break.  If you decide that you will pack your lunch and eat it.  If you decide to shop at the grocery store instead of eating at a restaurant.

If you decide to do those things, congratulations! You've discovered some motivation.

What's your motivation and how did you get it?  Send it to me,  I'll put some of them in a future posting.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

ABC News 4 Coverage

I am so excited at how well my story turned out.  Victoria Hansen and Dave MacQueen from ABC News 4 did such a great job on it and are fantastic people.  You can watch it on YouTube here:

Also, check out the news story from ABC News 4's website.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bryan Ganey on ABC News 4

Tuesday, February 21, during the 6pm news on ABC News 4, a story about me will air. I spent the afternoon with the fantastic Victoria Hansen and her photojournalist Dave MacQueen 2 weeks ago. I had a great time and I appreciate them helping to get my message out.

I don't seek publicity for myself, rather I do this because I feel like I have an obligation to get my story out for the sole purpose of helping others.  People must know that all they need to change their lives is within them.  They can stop falling for the lies of the weight loss industry and take control.

Here is a quick YouTube video of the :30 promo that has been running for the story. Sorry for the quality, it was recorded with an iPhone.

I will link to the story when it is posted online for my friends not in the Charleston market.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Weight Watchers Controversy

Apparently Weight Watchers has made a change in their famous points program, assigning zero points to fruits and vegetables.  This is done to encourage consumption of plant-based food.

This is fantastic!

Except....there is a problem.  It seems a lot of people have taken "zero points" to mean "zero calories."  For some, the change in the program is backfiring.

According to this blog post at the New York Times, some have stopped losing weight.  The new program is called "Points Plus."  A few observations, if I may.

1.) I think Weight Watchers is the only credible, mainstream weight loss program.  It's at least realistic.  I still maintain people could do better on their own, but if you need something to follow, this works.

2.) I know of only 2 things that have zero calories: mustard and water.  A large banana has 135 calories.  That is not exactly "Zero points."  You cannot escape the almighty truth: your caloric intake overwhelmingly determines how much you will weigh.

This is sort of the problem with a program designed by someone else. It might not exactly work for you.  This new Weight Watchers program might have fantastic results for some, disastrous results for others.

I know it would never work for me.  If you told me I could have as much fruit as I wanted, I would eat 20 bananas a day and would be overweight.

There is no free ride when it comes to calories.  That is, unless you can live on mustard and water.

Friday, February 17, 2012

My 600-lb Life: Henry's Story

I watched My 600-lb Life on TLC this week and watched Henry's story.

Henry weighed 750 pounds at age 47 and chose to have gastric bypass weight loss surgery.

Like I've said before I don't agree with the surgery.  I think if you can walk, you don't need it.  But I'm not going to judge anyone.  Just because I would never do it doesn't mean somebody else shouldn't. 

And I take nothing away from Henry's success, and boy was there success.

Henry lost 500 pounds and has kept it off for the whole 7-year length that the program covered. Good for him!  He has his life back.

When I saw him walking in the gym as his only exercise in the beginning, that took me back.  My first exercises were pushing a grocery cart, walking and sitting down and standing up.

A few observations about the program:

1.)  It's clear from the start that Henry's Mom was enabling him...bad.  Environment is so key to turning a destructive lifestyle around.  If you have a 750-pound family member living with you, why on Earth is there junk food in the house?  Unbelievable.

2.) The scene where Henry's family is eating fast food garbage in front of him was absolutely unconscionable.  These people have no idea the damage and setbacks they are causing Henry by doing this. They should be supportive....keeping healthy food in the house and joining Henry in his lifestyle change.

3.) Weight loss surgery and excess skin removal is really medieval medicine.  When they removed Henry's excess skin, they chopped off 41 pounds of skin from his body.  During his second surgery, Henry died on the table.  Luckily, they brought him back.

On this show, Henry had a fantastic outcome and thanks to his hard work, has had great success.  Could he have done every bit of it without having that idiotic surgery?

Sure.  But would he have?  Maybe not.  So in this case, good for him.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What I Eat, Part 1: Breakfast

At long it is...what I eat. I get constant e-mails...tell me what to eat!  OK, people, here it is. I eat this every day for breakfast:

4 servings of Egg Beaters.  No, I don't use any butter or margarine.  Just fresh ground cracked pepper and Mrs. Dash Table Blend.

1 large banana.

Two 24-ounce water bottles flavored with Walmart brand "Orange Early Rise" sugar-free drink mix.

1 bowl of steel cut oats with a small box of raisins added in. I get the frozen two-pack of Maple and Brown Sugar flavored frozen steel cut oats from Trader Joe's, but there are other brands.

2 Morningstar Veggie Sausage Patties.

Total calories: 645.

That's breakfast.

I eat that at 5:30am and that usually keeps me going until my mid-morning snack at about 9am.

What? He eats all that and still loses all that weight?  Shocking!

If I could Shout One Thing From The Mountaintop... would be this:

Stop looking for the Easy Button.

I hear people say it all the time and I still hear the undertones of the Easy Button in my e-mails.  Code words and phrases of the "quick fix" set include:

"My friend/family member/coworker lost _____ pounds on __________ diet.  Maybe I should try that."

"Maybe I should have weight loss surgery" (when the person is barely 100 pounds overweight.)

And then, here's my favorite....this is the denial phrase of the century...

"My problem is _________."  Fill in the blank with a situation over which the person has little control.  Such as a family member, a work situation that can't easily be changed or an obligation the person cannot readily get out of.  By creating an impossible situation, this gives the person in denial someone or something to blame.

Another B.S. line is this one...

"I don't have time."  Sure you do, you have plenty of time.  How much time do you spend watching TV?  There's your time.

"My husband/wife/spouse/partner will never do it."  So you can't do anything they don't do?  I believe your parents had a great line about jumping off a bridge when things came up like this as a kid.

If you read nothing I write nor believe anything I say, take this one to bank:

A person is overweight because they eat too many calories and move their body too little.

This is the only true reason.  Everything else is a lie.

And one more:

Never attempt a diet.  Any behavior you temporarily engage in will have temporary results.  Only eat the food and perform the exercises that you will engage in for the rest of your life.

People are always amazed when they find out I only go to the gym 3 times a week.  Going everyday is unrealistic for me.  I'm not going to do that the rest of my life.  But 3 times a week, with a day off in between, I can handle that.

If you're overweight and want to do something about it, but just aren't ready, that's fine.  I appreciate the honesty.  I've received a few e-mails like that.

But don't tell me it's because of somebody else or something else.  With rare exception, it's all self-inflicted.

I should know.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!

Not to be the food police, or a wet blanket, or ruin anyone's fun, etc. but days like this are a good time to take a step back and ask yourself:  why do we celebrate with food?

Think about it for a minute.

You buy the love of your life a card and you write in it how much you love them.

Very nice.

You buy them a dozen roses.  Or an arrangement.  Or some other flowers.


And then you buy them a box of candy.


Now stop for a minute.  I'm not chewing people out for eating candy.  Whatever, it's your body.  That's their choice.  My complaint is with the practice of celebrating with food.  It would bother me just as much as if you gave a loved one a healthy food item for Valentine's Day.

Why do we have to celebrate with food?  Incorporating food into every facet of my life is what brought me to the point I was at almost 2 years ago.  I believe it is the foundation of my food addiction problem.

Celebrate?  Eat.

Bored?  Eat.

Happy? Eat.

Sad? Eat some more.

New job?  Let's have dinner to celebrate! Good grades?  Have some ice cream!  Great job performance this week! Here's a pizza.


Food is not a reward.  Food is not a celebration.  Food is not happiness.  Food is fuel.

That is all.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

My Story Featured on MSN Health/Fitbie

My story has now been posted on the MSN Health website Fitbie.  Check it out. 

My 600-lb Life

Many people have asked me what I think about the show "My 600-lb Life" on TLC.

As someone who once weighed almost 600 pounds, I have a lot of opinions on the subject, so I'll share them.

First of all, my immediate gut reaction without having seen the show is that I hate it.  I am not a big fan of people's weight struggles being turned into entertainment.  We do not need to parade these people on television.  Human misery is not entertainment.

But, TLC put it on TV and people are watching it, so who am I to judge?  Let's look at the show.

One thing I like about the show is that they follow people who have had gastric bypass surgery over a 7-year period.  What I like about that is that it shows the effects of this method over a long period of time.  That is all I am interested in for myself, what type of weight loss and lifestyle change I am able to sustain over a long period of time.

As far as that goes, that's a positive.  A 7-year study of a person's journey is much more interesting for me than something like The Biggest Loser.

I have made my thoughts on weight loss surgery known, but I will say one thing.  At least in this case these people are extremely overweight.  I still don't really agree with it, but I would say the people on this show are more legitimate candidates for the surgery than someone who is only 100 pounds overweight. 

I've only seen 2 stories: Melissa and Donald.

Melissa weighed 650 pounds, had the surgery and has been successful over 7 years.  She even got a job at the hospital where she had her surgery so she could help others.  Good for her!  She should be very proud of her success.

But Donald's story exposes the dark side of weight loss surgery.  He had the surgery, lost all the weight, but then became addicted to illegal drugs and went into a coma.  That was always my fear if I had that surgery, that I would substitute one addiction for another.  Donald survived, but thanks to some unfortunate enabling going on around him, he gained 200 pounds back and is continuing to fight.  That was always my second fear with the surgery: that I would gain the weight back.

I don't blame the people on this show for having the surgery.  They were desperate.  We all are desperate.  But I still disagree with the freak show/carnival aspect to this show.  A lot of people will watch this for the voyeurism experience, not out of any concern for these people.

What do you think?  Comment below.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bryan Ganey on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio

If you have Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, tune into Doctor Radio Channel 81 at 6am Eastern Time Monday, February 13.  I'll be a guest with Dr. Jonathan Whiteson, to talk about my weight loss journey. 

If 6am is a bit too early for you, the show rebroadcasts at 2pm Monday, 4am Tuesday and Sundays at 9pm.  All times are Eastern.  Check it out!

To get an idea of what the show is about, check out this YouTube video of Dr. Whiteson interviewing Sally Field a few years ago.

When You Struggle (And You Will)

As anyone who has decided to make a lifestyle change knows, there are going to be struggles.

Struggling can take many forms.  Suddenly, everything is harder than it used to be.  You've gotten out of your routine.  You've gotten lax on the food journaling and have quit keeping track.  You haven't been going to the gym.

Then the panic sets in.  Ridiculous thoughts race through your head: "Have all the old habits come back?  Am I going to gain all the weight back?  Am I not able to do it anymore?  Were all my critics right?  Am I doomed?"


As someone who has failed spectacularly in the past, I at least have a little authority on the subject and I use that experience to help myself.

The great thing about the human body is it is the most advanced machine on the face of the Earth.  No matter what has happened, no matter what you have or haven't done, you can always press the "reset" button.

You can always begin anew.  Because it's not about losing weight.  It's all about maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  And when it gets hard, and I promise it will, you don't need to panic.

You just need a plan.

If you're in the beginning stages of your journey, where everything is coming easy and you feel indestructible, put some thought into what you'll do when it gets hard.

I'll use my own example.

2012 has not been kind to me health-wise.  I have had strep throat, a sinus infection, a cold that won't go away and then another sinus infection.  I've missed quite a bit of work and quite a bit of my gym routine.

What this has done is upset the applecart.  My routine has been interrupted.  Some days all I feel like doing is eating.  The old demons start to come back.  But I know from experience that all I have to do is get through the day.  Tomorrow is a new day, a different day.  Everything will be different.

Nothing bad has happened.  I have continued to lose weight.  So now I am mixing it up, as my health improves.  I am buying some new music.  Hitting the gym again.  Starting a new running routine.  I have a 10K coming up in 7 weeks.  I just have engage my mind and get back on the horse, but in a different way.  Nothing is forever.  What has worked for the first 20 months of my journey might need to change.

As for the idea that you can fall off the wagon and somehow gain all the weight back, that is really nonsense and is physically impossible.  The 279 pounds I have lost, at 3,500 calories per pound, totals 976,500 calories.  That means I would have to eat almost 1 million calories in one sitting to gain all the weight back.

I think I'll go running instead.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Weight Loss Surgery

Judging by my e-mails and also comments after my CNN story, people are thinking that because I didn't have weight loss surgery that I think people who choose to are bad and wrong and terrible.

That is not at all what I think.

Yes, the surgery was not for me.  I couldn't see doing it and still can't. I felt like if I had the power to move my body and eat right, I could do it myself.  So I did.

But it's a personal choice.  People have as much right to have that surgery as I do not to have it.  This is still a free country (for the most part.)

Do I think it is a ridiculous procedure?  Yes, I do.  I think the surgery is something to be used in extreme situations where it is impossible for someone to lose weight.

Even if you have the surgery, you can still gain the weight back.  The surgery doesn't teach you how to eat right, how to exercise or how to conquer your demons. That's all part of a lifestyle change that still has to happen.

I have a lot of friends that have had that surgery and while I might not agree with it or think that it was necessary, I'll defend their choice to do whatever they want.

Make sense?  Sound off in the comments below.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Keep On Writing

Since my story ran on and my YouTube video started making the rounds, I have received a mountain of e-mail.

I read and answer them all, so keep them coming.

Many of you are shocked that I actually write back.  Don't be; I appreciate all of your e-mails.  I have found that helping others helps keep me on track.

I have received e-mails from people all over the world.  Many of them are inspiring, some of them are just nice notes to tell me to keep going.  I appreciate it, and I will.

Some just tear my heart out.  I've received e-mails from people that are desperate to lose weight and are in really bad situations.  They weigh 700, 800 or 900 pounds and the situation is dire.  There may not be much time left.  Until I draw my last breath on this Earth, I will do everything I can to help these people.

I end almost every e-mail the same way: never give up, never stop fighting.  There is a way, you just have to find it.

E-mail Bryan Ganey.

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Phone Call From A Legend

Today, out of the blue, I received a call from Richard Simmons.  That's right, the man himself.  The true original and a pioneer of eating right and exercising and promoting a healthy lifestyle.  I couldn't have been more thrilled, it really was an honor to speak with him. 

He had seen my YouTube video and wanted to call me and tell me how much it would inspire others. I hope it does.  If one person sees what I'm doing, watches my videos or reads this blog and changes their life, I will be a happy man. 
Thanks Richard!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Be Accountable To Yourself: Stop Lying and Start Counting

Sometimes people will e-mail me or come up to me in person and tell me they're "only" eating 1,200 calories or some ridiculously small amount and they're not losing weight.

Unless the person telling me this weighs 100 pounds and is 4 feet tall, there is only one explanation for their predicament:

They're lying.

I know, I know.  They might be lying without knowing their lying.  So we'll just say they're lying to themselves, which is the worst sort of lie.  Here's the problem with somebody who tells you they're eating 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day and not losing any weight.  It's mathematically impossible.

Here is the truth behind the lie.  To be a successful calorie counter, you need two things that the liar almost never does:

1.) You must write down everything you eat.  Everything that goes into your mouth goes on that paper and is totaled at the end of the day.

2.) You must weigh or measure your portions and count the servings.  There can be no exception to this.  Because without knowing how many calories you're eating, you have no idea what to write down.  Sorry, "about" doesn't cut it.

The liar also tends to conveniently "forget" free food at work, trips to the vending machine, their morning Starbucks run (which can be hundreds of calories, depending) or food served to them by someone else.  If somebody else makes the food, how do you know what's in it?

So I tell people to write it down.  And then they bring me their food journal.  People are ridiculous when it comes to food journaling at first, because they want to lose 100 pounds overnight. So you get something that looks like this:

Breakfast - A cup of coffee and a piece of toast - 100 calories

Snack - 1 Breath Mint, 10 calories

Lunch - A protein Bar, 300 calories

Snack 2 - Plain air-popped popcorn, 100 calories

Dinner - 1 frozen diet dinner, 300 calories

Snack 3 - 1 Cheese stick and a glass of water, 90 calories

Total - 900 calories, and I'm not losing any weight

Now, I will use my powers of perception and ability to read between the lines and tell you what's really going on.  Let's examine what this person's food journal probably really should look like:

Breakfast - A cup of coffee and a piece of toast - 100 calories

Iced Peppermint white mocha coffee from the Starbucks drive-thru - 700 calories

Lunch - A protein Bar, 300 calories

Random trip to the vending machine, 1 20-ounce bottle of Mountain Dew 290 calories

Lunch 2 - Free pizza at work because of some contest or performance goal being reached, 800 calories.  Remember, if the food is free, it doesn't have any calories, right?

Snack 2 - Plain air-popped popcorn, 100 calories

Random trip to the vending machine, 1 20-ounce bottle of Mountain Dew 290 calories, plus a Snicker's bar, "because I've been good today," 280 calories

Dinner - 1 frozen diet dinner, 300 calories
More Dinner - Left over pizza brought home "because they were going to throw it away" 800 calories

Snack 3 - 1 cheese stick and a glass of water, 90 calories

Total 4,050 calories, and THAT is why you're not losing any weight

So you can see why it is EXTREMELY important to write down EVERYTHING you put in your mouth during the day.  Stop lying to yourself and start writing it down!

By the way, both of these eating plans are equally garbage.  It is just as bad, if not worse, to eat too little than it is to not eat enough.  Look at these two lists.  Where are the fruits?  The vegetables?  The lean meats?  The whole grains?  The lowfat dairy?  The water?

Eat right.  Measure.  Write it down.  Tell the truth to yourself.  And you will lose weight.  I promise!