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An Email of Concern...

Dec 9, 2018

On 12/9/18, 12:36 PM, "Name Redacted" <XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com> wrote:

 

Hi Mike!

You are an inspiration and I’ve shared your podcasts with my WW group. They love it and have become fans.

Mike, I love what you are doing.

I am concerned that you are slowly gaining your weight back and it worries me. It looks like you’ve gained nearly 40 pounds in the last year. 175-219.

<REDACTED>... I understand you’ve had some personal challenges with your father in law’s health. I get that. But a 40 pound gain is quite a bit. At some point, you have to deal with what life throws at you and stay true to your cause. We all do.

I want you so badly to be the beacon of hope for the WW audience. It just seems that you are not practicing what you preach and it saddens me. You are the spokesperson for positive and consistent weight loss and yet you are gaining—nearly half of what you have lost.

No one wants to point out the obvious, “Hey Mike, you advocate health and weight control, and talk about a 92 pound loss, yet you are rapidly gaining weight. How can you inspire others when you are faltering yourself?”. It’s like a preacher being unfaithful. Or Tony Robbins needing Prozac in his morning coffee.

Please don’t take this note harshly. I’m probably saying what a lot of folks are thinking. I remain

A concerned fan,

Name Redacted

 

(MY REPLY)

Good Evening,

Thanks for your note. I truly appreciate it, and it was received in the manner in which you sent it.  Genuine concern.

I'll try to offer an explanation and give you an idea what else is going on. 

In the hunt to reach goal, I developed a 'self-diagnosed' eating disorder.  I was very addicted to losing weight.  It caused me to lose considerable muscle mass as well. I was running 6-8 miles a day, and living off of protein bars, at times eating them as my only food for the day.  I would eat the same things over and over, because it fit into my 'points budget'.  If I ate a little too much, I would lace up the shoes and go for a 5-6 mile run to 'fix it'.  I would skip a meal if it meant I might be able to lose a pound in the morning.  When the family wanted to go to dinner, I'd insist we go to one of two places, so I could 'stay on track'.  My focus was 100% on weight loss and I was 'thinner' but headed down an unhealthy path.  I'm glad I recognized it.

At 175lbs I still had a roll of belly fat that bothered me. However, 175lbs is way too skinny for me. I checked in with my doctor and confirmed that all of my bloodwork was perfect - I'm not taking a single medication, but I never told him about my eating habits.  Socially, I was not happy and food still controlled me because it was tied to the number on the scale.  I had to make a choice, continue to try to lose weight, or figure out how to get healthy. I decided to make some changes to bring sanity to my life. I started referring to that as balance.

I stopped running for distance.  I've been strength training regularly for over 2 years to add muscle to my frame. I'm more muscular now that I have ever been in my entire life.  I run regularly for fitness, not for weight loss. Rather than going out for a long run, I go for speed! I use it as a way to clear my head, I rarely need any music to keep me company, because I enjoy the run.  I began to look at the food I needed, versus what I was getting.  I realized I'm very nutritionally deficient in a lot of areas. I have other 'food issues' that make trying new foods a challenge, yet, I'm working to overcome them. I stopped tracking points altogether because it was forcing me down the wrong side of health.  I began to gain weight.  I love it.  Some of it is clearly muscle, and some of it is clearly pizza.  I suspect that puts me closer to 195-205 as a number that I can live with, but I truly don’t know.  What I do know is that I have a balance in my life that I have never had.  I have a healthy relationship with most food.  I have a healthy relationship with my self-confidence.  I have a great social life.  The freedom I've gained, has given me a total sense of joy that I'd longed for, for a long time.  There are many foods that I no longer crave.  The list of foods that I'm no longer addicted to is long, and most of them can be purchased from a gas station.  I've safely and successfully made significant changes here. The WW program, was instrumental in teaching me the basics and showing me that I'm capable of more than I ever thought possible. 

I wanted and needed more. I've been experimenting with new foods, trying to live a much better life, and have a much better relationship with food than I ever have.  That learning process, coupled with some stress does have me up on the scale and I'm 95% ok with it, because I understand why, and understand more about it than I could ever possibly share.  There are some things I'm still learning, but I'm 100% committed to my overall health.  I have not given up, I have not reverted to my old ways, I'm simply doing the best I can, given all of the circumstances and re-learning a lot of things in the process. I share what I'm learning from time to time, when I think it adds value to our community in a broader sense.

Faltering is not what it is.  I'm at the beginning of a lifelong evolution that has been very public for about 2 years. It's impossible to share every detail, nor am I willing to.  I simply share the positive message of health, balance and wellbeing. I trust that you take the pieces that make sense and write your own success story. To me, that is the ultimate goal and I've hit it and strive to maintain it.  By my calculations, I have another 45+ years on this planet.  That alone is not a number that I could have confidently typed just 2 years ago. 

Thanks again for checking in.  I believe in you and I wish you good focus! 

FatDag