Wednesday, August 29, 2012

It Wasn't Time

Day 2 back on the Diovan and I already feel so much better. My blood pressure has returned to normal, about 115 over 70.

At first I was disappointed to be taking it again, but 2 things have given me a better outlook about it.

1.) I need it. It wasn't time to stop taking it.

2.) Diovan is expensive, but it goes generic next month, before I run out. I smartly save all of my prescription drugs, even the ones I hate and hope to never take again.  You never know.

So for now, back on this drug. Hopefully not forever, but if it has to be that way, so be it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Minor Setback - Back on the Diovan Train

Last couple of weeks, my blood pressure has been all over the place, getting higher than it has in a long time.

I have done nothing differently. Same exercise, same food. Continuing to lose weight.

This morning, I had some blurred vision. Not good. Went to the doctor.  Here is what has happened:

-BP is borderline high. Back on the 80mg Diovan daily for now and we'll see what happens.

-EKG was slightly abnormal, consistent with somebody who had heart trouble in the past.  The doctor said there was nothing acute, however.

-I am being scheduled for a stress test and an echocardiogram to check for any problems.

It is disappointing to be back on a prescription drug after being so happy and excited to get off it.  But the bottom line is this: if I need it, I need it. I would rather take the pill and be healthy than not. If it's not time for me to stop taking it, it's not time.

As for my heart, the truth will be what it will be. I abused my body for many years by being very overweight. I won't be surprised if those actions have consequences, no matter how hard I try to reverse them.

For now, onward and upward!  The doctor told me I could continue to work out, so the gym awaits tomorrow....

Sunday, August 26, 2012

When Reality Hits Home

Last week on Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition, I really identified with something Jarvez,  the guy who lost the weight on there said. He talked about how he ripped his pants and had to take off work so he could wait for the replacement pants he bought online to be delivered to his house. I've been there. For many, many years, I had to have the clothes I wore specially made because I was too big for the clothes in the "Big and Tall" store. Stuff like that really hits home.  This may seem like TMI, but I used to have to special order my briefs because I was too big for the ones they had in any store. I used to order the biggest ones I could find, 7X, from Frank's Big and Tall in New Jersey.

Today, at a regular department store, I purchased a 7-pack of Large sized briefs. If somebody had told me 3 years ago that would have happened, I would have laughed and said they were crazy.

It's the little things, folks. And thanks to Frank's for hooking me up all those years.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Questions from Amber

I get some great questions in the comments sometimes and people don't always leave a way to get back to them, so I thought I would answer these questions in a blog posting.

Hello Bryan,

I love your honest and candid advice. I have a couple questions and would greatly appreciate any response you would be willing to give. First, you mention in some of your earlier posts that you started by eating around 2400 calories a day. Do you still eat that many calories? If not, when did you start tapering them? and what has been your strategy up until this point regarding that?

The amount of food I have eaten has fluctuated throughout the 2 years, 2 months and 3 days I have been doing this.  In general, the calories I have consumed has been steady at about 2,500.  For a time, it was closer to 3,000 a day. On days I have struggled, it's gone up to 3,200. But as a general rule, I try and stick with about 2,400-2,500, give or take. 

If a person has a lot of weight to lose, I actually think they should not focus on calories as the main thing in the beginning. Focus on re-training your taste buds to accept healthy food and make you feel full.  I had to "detox" from the high-fat, high-salt, high-sugar, processed food diet I was eating. For example, if you weigh 577 pounds like I did, you could start with 5,000 calories and slowly ramp it down over time. 

The second question is, are there certain foods or snacks that you may have eaten at the start of your journey, but have cut out along the way? 

Yes.  As a food addict, there are certain things I cannot eat because they taste "too good."  For instance, I don't eat cold breakfast cereal.  Not because it's bad, but because I cannot stop. The food that I eat requires a careful balance of being nutritious and filling, but not "too good."  I don't eat peanut butter for that same reason. 

You mentioned that you were not as concerned about what you ate, then you were about keeping your calories around 2400. I feel this idea, offers great hope to the severely addicted. That you have to start somewhere, so even if you can't eat like a seasoned nutritionist yet, at least get started with what you can do.

There is some confusion here. I am very concerned with what I eat, but I agree with what you're saying overall.  Everything is a work in progress and you have to start somewhere.  I have to do what I have to do to get through the day and everyone else does too. 

That being said, at what point do you feel stricter control should become part of the plan? 

Everyone is different, but what worked for me is focusing more on eating filling quantities of healthy food at first.  Then after a few weeks, start measuring it and writing it down.  You have to develop a routine. 

But food addiction is real and it is a lot of work to manage.  It can be done.  I hope that helps.  Any questions? E-mail me

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Click Here For Absolute Nonsense

In the world of online media, the number of page views rules the day. Online advertisers pay for the number of people that click on an ad or visit a page.

And one sure-fire way to get people to click on something is to have a headline that spouts some idiotic, outrageous health advice.

Here are a few from this week:

Actually, Yo-Yo Diets Don't Screw Up Your Metabolism

Egg Yolks As Bad For Your Heart As Smoking

See the pattern?  It's simple: let's write a story about how something that is good for you is really bad! Or, vice-versa, now what used to be bad is good!

What's next?  Smoking is good for you?  A story about the health benefits of fast food?

Use common sense. It will never steer you wrong.  Ever.

Take the first one.  Who cares if Yo-Yo diets screw up your metabolism?  They screw up your life! It is bad for your physical health and bad for your mental health to gain and lose the same weight over and over again.  Who cares about your metabolism?

And the egg one.

Come on.  Eggs as bad for you as smoking?  Really.  So let's just accept the premise for just a second that eggs are really that unhealthy.  How are the eggs being prepared?  What was the rest of the person's diet like that was eating the eggs?

Again, once you employ simple common sense, these idiotic stories do not pass the test of reasonableness.  But because we all want to believe, because a lot of us are desperate to lose weight, we will click on the story and read it and believe it.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Let Common Sense Be Your Guide

Recently, a friend told me he was sent to a nutritionist by his doctor to try and get a handle on his weight problem.

Fantastic, I thought.  A professional recommending a professional. This is what I did and what I tell people to do all the time.

Only there was a problem.

My friend told me he didn't feel comfortable with the advice he was being given.  This particular "nutritionist" was telling him to eat a high-fat, low-carb diet.  He was being told to avoid fruits and vegetables.

My friends, when it comes to health and wellness, you have got to trust common sense.  We all know fruits and vegetables and whole grains are healthy.  If someone is telling us they are unhealthy, then we need to utilize common sense and run in the other direction.

Putting your hand on the stove burner while it's on is a bad idea.  No matter how many people told you it was OK to do it, you wouldn't put your hand on the hot burner because you know better.

And yet, when it comes to our health, lies, misinformation and stupidity often rule the day.

So with that, here is what you should do if you want to learn how to eat properly:

1.) Visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) website and click on "Find a Registered Dietitian."  Also check with your health insurance company to see if they have someone they would recommend and cover under your health plan.

2.) Make an appointment and go to the appointment.  Ask questions.  Learn about portion control and grocery shopping. Learn how to eat properly. Take notes.

3.) Keep a food journal and measure your portions and count the calories.

4.) Drink a lot of water.

And above all, USE COMMON SENSE!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Post-Olympics Weigh In

I posted the other day that I was concerned I was eating too much while I was watching the Olympics on TV.

Well, the results are in. I weighed this morning and lost:


Still holding at the same 255 1/2 pounds you see at the top of this page.

While somewhat disappointing, I'll take it.  Now back to my regularly scheduled workout...

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Television Fuels An Olympic Appetite

I've always known that watching TV makes me want to eat because of the food commercials.  As a result, I don't watch TV much anymore.

But, like millions of Americans this past week, I have been watching the 2012 Olympic Games in London. And guess what?  True to form, I have been eating more.

About 500 extra calories per day than I normally do, to be exact.  When I weigh in on Tuesday, I don't anticipate losing any weight.  I'm not going to be surprised.

It really is amazing, the connection between watching television and overeating.  There is nothing healthy advertised on TV to eat.  The commercials wind their way through our subconscious telling us to eat, eat and eat some more.

Then like a smoker with a cup of coffee, there becomes this strange dual dependency between eating and watching TV.  I can't have one without the other.

So what do I do?

1.) Recognize what is happening.

2.) Stop doing it.

3.) Turn off the TV.

The good news is the Olympics are over this week, so I can move on!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

For Those of You In The Charleston, SC Area

The Lowcountry Heart Walk, brought to you by the American Heart Association, is Saturday, September 29. More information is available here.

This is a fantastic event for a great cause.  From the very beginning of my journey, walking has been my bread and butter exercise.  Walking is so important. The best part?  Anyone can do it!

So sign up for the Heart Walk!  Join a team, start a team...get involved.