Tuesday, December 31, 2013

An Open Letter To Everyone With Weight Loss as a New Year's Resolution

For 37 years, I was like everybody else. On January 1, I was going to do it.  This was going to be the time. It was all going to be different.  A new year meant a clean slate.  A chance to start over.  To begin anew.

I was going to, at long last, lose weight.

Only it never happened that way. 

Sure, I tried.  I started whatever the latest starvation diet was.  I joined many gyms.  I was there January 1, working out like a maniac. I went several days in a row, several hours per day.

Except, like everyone else, I burned out and never went back.  By Valentine's Day, the gym was a ghost town and I was back to my old habits.

Oh well, maybe next year.  Millions of people take this exact approach and very few succeed.  Why?  I certainly don't have all the answers, but perhaps I can provide a little insight from my own experiences.

First, stop trying to lose weight.

When the losing of weight becomes the supreme, overriding goal, the battle is lost before it even starts.  I have come to realize that when I just focused on losing weight, I was only treating the symptom (not the cause) of my problem.  So what was the problem?

My lifestyle was a disaster.  I could lose weight for a short period of time by taking extreme measures, but I was not putting any new behaviors in place to ensure the results lasted.  As a result, any weight lost was immediately gained back.

You see, most people think you need 3 things to lose weight:


I have none of those things.  Motivation, discipline and willpower last a couple of weeks, at most.  They will allow you to "white knuckle it" or "gut it out" for a short period of time.  But then what?  You're right back where you were.  Temporary sacrifice gives you temporary results.

Over the course of 3 1/2 years and losing and maintaining a loss of almost 400 pounds, I have realized the 3 qualities that matter most for me are:

-Persistence.  Doing the same thing over and over again.  Never letting anything or anyone get into the way of your customized routine.

-Determination. Fall down? Get back up. Gain a pound? Who cares. Get right back at it.

-Follow-through.  This is the biggest one of them all.  Do what you say you're going to do.  For years, I did what a lot of people do.  I spent a lot of time and energy going around telling everyone that would listen what I needed to do:

"I need to lose weight." 
"Next year, I'm going to drop this weight."
"I need to start exercising."

But then one day, I realized: I was wasting my time.  There is no point in convincing anyone except myself what I need to do.  As the famous advertising slogan says, just do it.

So back to this New Year's Resolution business.  What do you do?

Think about the pressure we put on ourselves.  We decide sometime in November that come January 1, we are going to wake up and transform our lives.  Because of the date on the calendar, we will immediately start eating better, exercising daily and completely change everything all at once.

So here are some common-sense tips from somebody who's been there.  Keep in mind, there is no right or wrong way to lose weight.  My way may not work for you.  I'm not arrogant enough to think I have all the answers.  No one does.

Step 1: Stop trying to lose weight.  That's right, I said it.  For years, losing weight was my only goal. But that wears off after awhile. Eventually, the weight loss stops. Or the scale becomes frustrating.  What I had to accept, understand and realize was that the weight was not my problem.  The weight was a symptom of an unhealthy lifestyle, not the cause of it. Make the changes in your life that will cause you to lose weight.  Changes you can live with the rest of your life. Nothing temporary.

Step 2: Do not repeat the last time you lost weight. I once lost weight in a very extreme and unhealthy way.  Naturally, I couldn't keep it off. But I spent the next dozen years thinking that was the only path to success, "because it worked before."  Actually, it didn't work.  I gained the weight back.  That approach was a failure and should not be repeated.  Don't be like I was.  Study your failures, but do not repeat them.

Step 3: Get professional help.  Make an appointment with your family doctor.  Talk about your health issues, get it out into the open.  Find out what exercise you can safely do.  And then, what was perhaps most valuable to me of all: visit a registered dietitian. Learning about how to properly eat, what nutrients I really needed, meals, snacks and portion control is all very boring...but it's the truth.

And you want the truth.  No more lies.  No more impossible diets.  No more quick fixes.  No more fat burning pills.

So don't be like I was and like everybody else is.  Don't have a New Year's Resolution to lose weight.  Start your new year off right: by taking common-sense steps toward a healthier lifestyle.

Bryan Ganey is a motivational speaker and author of "Impossible: How I Lost Nearly 400 Pounds Without Surgery," available in print and e-book from Amazon.com. He maintains a blog at http://www.BryanGaney.com.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Busting the Splenda Scam

Like many millions of other people, I buy and use Splenda "no calorie" sweetener.  In my case, I buy it in granulated form, to sprinkle on my oatmeal in the morning.  You have probably seen these bags in the sugar aisle at your local grocery store:

The product presents itself very clearly in the labeling as a "no calorie sweetener."  The fact that it comes in large bags lends itself to the idea that you can just consume it with reckless abandon.  Want to make your cereal sweeter?  Pour some on!  After all, it has no calories, right?


A little research has led me to the truth:  Splenda is *not* a "no calorie sweetener."  Let's examine the facts, shall we?

According to the Splenda website, 1 teaspoon of granulated Splenda has 0 calories.  That's the first lie.  A teaspoon of Splenda actually has 2 calories in it.  However, the US Government labeling laws state that anything less than 5 calories per serving can actually be marketed as being calorie-free. 

But come on.  Does anyone really use just 1 teaspoon?  Is that a realistic serving?  Doubtful.  From there, let's do the math: there are 48 teaspoons in a cup. That means one cup of Splenda has 96 calories in it.

96 calories in one cup of Splenda is much less than the 774 calories that is in 1 cup of regular sugar.  However, what if you used 2 cups of Splenda thinking it is a "no calorie sweetener"  192 calories is a lot different than zero, isn't it?

So what's the solution?

The US Government should immediately revise its labeling laws to eliminate zero calorie claims.  Everything has *some* calories.  I will continue to use Splenda, but people shouldn't be misled into thinking it is something it is not.  If I am consuming 1/4 cup of Splenda, I need to write down 24 calories in my food journal and account for it, not pretend I didn't eat any calories.

By the way, this reminds me an awful lot of the "fat-free" scam.  Think your can of "fat-free" cooking spray is really fat-free?  Sorry, it isn't. It's pure fat.  However, because the serving size is "1/3 of a second of spray," the serving size is less than a 1/2 a gram of fat and thus qualifies under the US Government rules to be labeled "fat-free."  Really.  Another lie.

The bottom line: there are only two things in this world that don't have any calories: water and air.

Bryan Ganey is a motivational speaker and author of "Impossible: How I Lost Nearly 400 Pounds Without Surgery."  He can be reached at bganey@gmail.com.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Winners of the "Enough Is Enough" Book Contest Announced!

It was a difficult process to sift through the large volume of inspiring stories I received....but here are the 3 winners of the "Enough Is Enough" book contest.  All winners will receive a paperback copy of my soon-to-be bestseller "Impossible: How I lost Nearly 400 Pounds Without Surgery."

Congratulations to Dusty Pierce, Amy Pierce and Eric Goldstein!  Their stories are below:

Eric's Story

Even though my healthy lifestyle journey started just about a month ago, I figured I would write you anyway to tell you about it. It's the not the first time that I started a healthier lifestyle, but its definitely the most dedicated and most promising.

I was not always fat. As a kid I was actually what most people called " A Stick." I was always looked at as a shy kid even though I never saw myself as shy, I was just quiet kid. Now with hindsight I can now say that at age 13 is when I started gaining weight. There was no major event in my life. No family members dying, no family abuse, no body injuries, or anything. I was just a quiet kid that didn't have many friends and found comfort in watching TV and eating. I guess you would call me a closet eater. I would stay up late at night, when everybody else was asleep and watch TV and eat. Being young I was able to stay up to 2 or 3am and still wake up at 630am everyday to go to school. I would then come home, watch TV and stuff my face again before my parents came home. Before I knew it, high school came and went, and when I started college I was probably around 260lbs. Which wasn't too bad for someone 6'2". But the weight didn't stop there. Through out college my habits of watching TV all night and eating blew me up. Then one day, I took deiced to take a theater class which changed my life forever. The whole class became friends and started hanging out outside the classroom on a nightly basis. It was amazing. Instead of going home after school and work to eat, I would go hang out with my friends. One of my friends was big into fitness and we started working out right after work until the gym closed. Even when I didn't want to go, he would find me and pull me to the gym. After months of daily workouts, I lost a lot of weight. It was amazing. I was having the time of my life and girls were all over me. (Not to toot my own horn or anything) Eventually it all had to come to end. I stopped working out with him over a girl and I started gaining the weight back. I was back to my old habits of eating late and not exercising. Which lead to the girl leaving too. 

Eventually I got back onto my feet and I found I girl that didn't just look at me for my looks but looked deeper into me and loved me for me. To make a long story short, I married her in 2007. Three years later we had our daughter. There were a lot of issues with the pregnancy and right after with the baby, but it all turned out great. Today she a very beautiful happy normal 3 year old. Except for her parents being obese. I always told myself I would lose the weight when found a girl, then it turned into when I had a kid, and now both of those have past and I'm still morbidly obese. I just kept making excuses after excuses and saying I would do it when, X happened. 

The turning point for me, is actually a shared turning point with my wife. We were told by a doctor not to try and get pregnant because it wasn't worth the risk for the baby and my wife. Right then and there in the doctors office I could see the disappointment in my wife's eye and I was feeling the same way. Even though its partially a joke, I always said I wanted to have 8 boys. So hearing that we shouldn't have anymore was devastating to me. My wife started asking questions about adoptions and surrogacy.  Both of which are out of the question for me. Then we came to the conclusion that the only possible way to have more children was for my wife to lose weight. Then the doctor started to say it doesn't matter if I lost the weight because I was only concerned to him as sperm donor. Which he didn't mean to say in a mean way, he was just being technical in the world of baby making. But right after he said what he said, I screamed, "of course I will lose the weight. I not going to let my wife do this alone."  Well right after that doctors appointment nothing was set in stone yet about how we would lose the weight, but a couple weeks later, my wife was invited to a zumba class and long story short, she got addicted to it. With her new addiction I had to find a way to workout, eat right, and lose the weight myself. So after thinking about it for a while, I realized I could turn a hobby of mine into a weight loss regimen.

I know I am at the start of a very long journey, with a lot of hills and bumps along the way, but I know this is it. There is no looking back. I'm not going to let that happen because my family deserves more, I deserve more and I hope that I help people lose weight along the way. 

Amy's Story

My name is Amy Curtis and this is my weight loss/healthy lifestyle change story, thus far.
I've always been a big kid.  When I was in 5th grade, my teacher asked me, "Amy, why are you so heavy?"  I didn't know what to say so I said the first thing that came to my mind, which was a total lie-- "I don't have much of an opportunity to exercise."  The teacher then had me walk up and down the stairs at school when I would complete my work. It was humiliating.
Obesity carried on into adulthood.  One day in 2008, at age 30, for some unknown reason, the reality that I weighed 331 pounds hit me.  I joined a weight loss support group called TOPS (take off pounds sensibly).  I lost about 20 pounds and then got stuck there because the only lifestyle change I had made was attending a weekly meeting.
In 2011, I bought a new journal and it had a space to fill in a goal.  I randomly wrote "Be happy".  And so, when the first of the month rolled around, I focused on my own happiness.  I am normally a people pleaser and feel guilty if people aren't happy with me or if I haven't done enough for them. But with this new "Be happy" month, I focused on what *I* wanted.  I let hurts go.  I ignored what others wanted from me if it would hinder what *I* wanted. 
It really was a selfish time, but it was exactly what I needed. I found myself dancing in the kitchen like a teenager.  I found myself making better food choices and going for walks for the alone time.  Although I couldn't physically run, I could feel the run in me and I knew that when the weight came off, I would run. 
Speaking of weight coming off, it was. I lost 81 pounds. I walked/ran in two 5k's, which was a huge thing for me.
I was only 60 pounds from goal when my dad was diagnosed with terminal, stage 4 lung cancer.  I could no longer be happy no matter how hard I tried.  There was no dancing in the kitchen.  Instead, there were tears and many, many trips to the doctor with dad for treatments and tests.
I regained 14 pounds, felt like a failure, and just hovered there.
Eleven months later, I  accepted the fact that I could do nothing to make dad well and that I needed to take care of myself too.  I started journaling again, having a mentor read my food diary, and started training for another 5k. 
I only lacked a couple of pounds from being back down to my lowest when we discovered at the age of 35, surprise, we were going to be parents again.  I am now almost half through my pregnancy.  One thing I have learned is that things are never going to be perfectly the way you want them....but however things are, you must take care of YOU, because you are important.
Thank you for reading!
Dusty's Story 
My name is Dusty. I have been bigger my whole life. I used food as my comfort to deal with my surroundings growing up. The things I had no control over and chose food to comfort me and it filled my void. It made me feel better for the moment. Little did I know when I was younger that this was going to be so bad for me as I got older. I got hypertension (high blood pressure) at 16 and started my 1st pill. Then I went on to get Cellulitis. And now up to taking 3 blood pressure pills. I started learning about foods and healthy stuff. I learned how bad things are for you. Even the things that aren't considered junk food are still filled with junk. I was 29 years old and at my heaviest weight which was 530lbs & on a bi-pap machine & oxygen at night. I couldn't believe my eyes. I never saw myself that big. I mean I knew I was heavy but when you put a number on it, it just makes it so much more real. When we look at ourselves in the mirror we do NOT see ourselves for what we really look like. I hated myself. I was so disgusted with who I let myself become. I haven't lost as much as Id like. And I have weighed myself in months. But as of 4 months ago I had lost 45 lbs. I was so happy. Even though its not as much as I had hoped. I was at least a -45lbs and not a +45lbs. I will take it. I also have lost the oxygen tanks! I no longer need them! I am and will continue to keep going and keep motivating myself. Since the last weigh in I have joined a gym and have been working out and getting smaller portions and exercising. Trying to get healthier. I have just started prepping my food! I am so excited and so determined to get to where I can be healthy. And hopefully off medicine. I don't even want to be skinny really. Just healthy & happy. I have been smoke free for over a year. I know if I can do that I can do this!!! You are such an inspiration to me. As well as others who have achieved great weight loss.
Congratulations to all of the winners! 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Win A Signed Copy Of My Book!

Who would like to win a signed copy of my book? That's right...YOU WOULD! Here's how you enter. Send me an e-mail and tell me why you made a healthy change in your lifestyle. Entries must be at least 100 words long. Contest ends November 22. No purchase necessary. 3 winners will be chosen. Odds of winning are 3 in how many ever people enter. Remember: you don't need to have lost a whole bunch of weight to enter. You could be doing anything to improve your health, and that is what I'm looking for. All submissions become my property and may be shared on the Internet. Good luck!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Lesson For Us All: The Alisha Scott Story

Because of what happened to me back in 2010, I tell people all the time: you never know when your time could be up.  Live life to the fullest, because it can all be taken away in a second.

I never met or knew Alisha Scott.  She is a friend of a friend, which is how her story was brought to my attention.

In 2011, Alisha had a wake-up call.  She went to the doctor for a check-up and her blood pressure was "sky high" (her words.)  She broke down. She couldn't take it anymore. Enough was enough. No more.

So for the next 2 years, Alisha got after it. She worked out in the gym hard. Ate right. She did everything the right way. We can all dream of being as strong and healthy as Alisha was over the last 2 years. She was on the move and making it happen.

Alisha took her life back.  By September 9, 2013, (just last month) Alisha had lost over 100 pounds. You can see her stunning transformation in her before/after pictures she has posted on her Facebook page.

According to her blog, Alisha had lost 103 pounds by this year.

Alisha was well on her way to losing the rest of the weight, although she had lost plenty and looked incredible.  She was only 30 years old. She had her whole life ahead of her.

And then, the unthinkable happened.

On September 9th (that's right...just a little over a month ago,) Alisha went to the emergency room.  She had been sick for a couple of days and hadn't been feeling well.

The diagnosis was shocking: ovarian cancer.  Often undetected until later stages, the cancer had advanced. She had surgery 2 days later. Not long after, she was admitted to the hospital with an infection and she passed away on September 26th.

Alisha was struck down in the prime of her life.  I'm told by someone who knew her that she had never been happier. Judging by her pictures, she was living her life to the fullest.

When I was going through my weight loss journey, I used to wonder: was I too late?  Was the damage to my body too great to be undone? I really used to worry about dying. I still live under the daily threat of getting another blood clot that could kill me instantly.

But by sheer luck, I am still here.  Alisha wasn't so lucky. It was all taken away from her at the worst possible time. I have never seen or read a more unfair story in my entire life.

Which is why I am sharing it with you.  It's this simple: live your life to the fullest, as if each day is your last, because one day you will be right. Nothing is guaranteed.  Look around you: everything you see...your significant other, your family, your life, your belongings, your money...whatever...all of it can be taken away at a moment's notice.

A memorial fund has been established by Alisha Scott's family to cover her final expenses. You can learn more and donate here.

A "Celebration of Life" service is scheduled for Sunday, October 20 at 2pm at the Seneca Church of God. Everyone is welcome. Directions from Charleston

Bryan Ganey is a motivational speaker and author of "Impossible: How I Lost Nearly 400 Pounds Without Surgery," available from Amazon.com here. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

BMI Strikes Again: 11-Year-Old Gets "Fat Letter"

BMI and the morons who rely on it have claimed another victim.

The Today Show brings us the story of Kristen Grasso, a healthy, fit, athletic 11-year-old child who was sent home with a "fat letter" by the simpletons at her school.

You see, the 5' 3" tall Kristen weighs 124 pounds, which equates to a BMI of 22.  This is considered "overweight."

I will say it over and over again until I draw my last breath on this Earth: BMI is a dumb statistic and is used as a weapon to label people as being obese, when in fact they are not.  People who follow and rely on BMI are idiots. There is no other way to put it.

The "overweight" Kristen Grasso playing sports

America's weight problem is bad enough: we don't need to exaggerate it by pretending it's worse than it is. And now this poor girl has been called fat.  By her school. Unbelievable.

Memo to the school systems nationwide: ditch the fat letters.  Focus on children who obviously have a real weight problem (I can help you decide, if needed.)  Then schedule an in-person, sit-down conversation with the parents.  No letters.

And finally, I would like to remind you that according to the BMI chart, I am still "obese."  To which I say....

Bryan Ganey is the author of "Impossible: How I Lost Nearly 400 Pounds Without Surgery," now available in print and e-book from Amazon.com.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Signed Books Still Available

If you're interested in purchasing the paperback edition of my book "Impossible: How I Lost Nearly 400 Pounds Without Surgery," it is available from Amazon.com here. 

However, if you'd like your book personally signed, that is available as well for $20.

The easiest way is to pay via Paypal, using the button below. Be sure to let me know how you'd like the inside of the book signed.

Some of you don't use credit or debit cards or would prefer not to use Paypal. No problem. Send me an e-mail at bganey@gmail.com and I will tell you where to mail your check/money order/cash/whatever.


Monday, September 30, 2013

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Welcome Rachael Ray Viewers!


Hello! My name is Bryan Ganey, I'm 40 years old and I live in Charleston, South Carolina. Yes, that's me...the guy from Monday's Rachael Ray Show that lost nearly 400 pounds on his own without surgery. I hope American enjoys the weight loss tip I gave on the show. Yes, I really do only weigh once a month. It keeps me from becoming obsessed and keeps my expectations in check. 

Since I began my weight loss journey, I have started a career in motivational speaking and have become an author.  I enjoy "telling it like it is" to anyone who will listen. The facts are the facts: to lose weight and keep it off forever takes a lot of work.  There is no quick fix. 

If you're interested in my story (and I hope you are) check out the site. Find out more about how a regular person lost all that weight in my book, now available from Amazon.com (print version or e-book, your choice.) 

You can explore the links along the side of the page and even read my posts going back to the beginning of my journey in 2010.  Also check out my YouTube channel, including my latest inspirational/motivational video about my weight loss journey:

I am also on Facebook! Like my page here.  You can follow me on Twitter, too! I can also be reached via e-mail. 

Also, about the pants I held up while I was on the Rachael Ray Show.  Those are custom-made dress slacks with an 80-inch waist. This is me wearing them back in 2010 and holding them up recently:

Thanks for checking out my site and thanks to the Rachael Ray Show for having me on!