Sunday, January 8, 2012


This week I will review perplexing events from this past year and discuss the meaning of aspirational persistence. Stay tuned...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Stop the presses, Wait--Start the Presses!

Big news scoop: After a months-long absence, I'll be back at the keyboard soon--and, I'll have a juicy scoop for you then. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 8, 2010

establishing My New Normal

If you have read my earlier posts, you know I began doing the ELEM-6 diet on November 20th of 2008. On that day I weighed 243lbs. I set a goal of getting to 175lbs by my birthday--May 23. To do this I'd need to lose about 10lbs per month--or two-and-a-half pounds per week. I figured this was doable if I didn't mess around and really did EL and EM. I missed it by 12lbs. It took me two more months to get to 173. The log book I kept (Are you keeping a weekly weight log?) shows me I reached that weight on July 27, 2009.

By then I was on a roll. I had been walking in the morning for at least an hour--more, if I could squeeze it in--six days a week and being careful to maintain strict portion control. The portion control thing was--still is--a pain for me, one who can really pack it away! And although geeting up at around 4:30a.m. was, at first a gastly prospect for me, aoon that first hour of the morning, from 5 to 6 had become my favorite hour of the day. Nonetheless, those first blurry-eyed 10 to 15 minutes are not by any means cheery--especially if it is real nippy outside. I have a thermometer right outside my door and always check it as I set out first thing in the morning. I have learned that, for me, the dividing line between "brrr-c-c-c-cold" and "it's a bit nippy", is right at 50 degrees. Anything under 50 and my ears and fingers complain. Oops--I see I've gotten a bit side-tracked... where was I? Oh yes,..

I kept up the ELEM-6 diet and continued to lose about 1 to 2 pounds a week. I reached a real milestone when I broke into the 160's in September of last year (2009). I further surprised myself by getting to 157 in late October. I have already mentioned that folks I hadn't seen for some months often said they almost didn't recognize me. A number of people were even expressing concern and telling me I must stop losing weight. Well, that was not an issue with me because I knew I had definitely not lost my very-hearty appetite and could begin eating more at any time. I certainly didn't want to go back to my old way of eating. Now my challenge was to stop losing weight and learn to eat and exercise in such a way that I'd maintain my new normal body weight. This would, I supposed be nearly as difficult as losing those original 80 pounds. I was right. For almost 5 months now, I have stayed within 5 pounds of my ideal weight. Some weeks I am up by a pound or two, and on others I'm down by about the same. It has been a struggle, but I continue to learn a good deal about myself--especially how/why I'd managed to get so overweight and how I can now maintain my new more ideal weight for the long term.

Next time I'll try to give you some useful tips on maintaining "normal." I am still learning and still have to struggle not to kick over the traces and eat like I, for so many years, used to eat. To help keep the pressure on myself, I post my weight every week in the right-hand column of this blog.

Until next time,
Walk with the Master and let him usher you to a life of joyful obeidence!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Coming Soon: Maintaining and Discovering Normal

No time to write a full post just now, but I wanted you to know about my (new) experience of maintaining my normal weight. I would like to explain to you what I've learned and how I've learned it. It is still somewhat of a struggle. In fact, I don't think eating well/reasonably/moderately will ever be--dare I say it?--a piece of cake. Yet, learning what normal is is a must. For those of you still in the losing weight phase, this will be a preview of what is to come. For those of you who are in maintaining mode, perhaps you will find a few helpful pointers.  I'm sure Lauren will have something to add to this as well, seeing that she has been at it longer than I.

Until then, May God meet you in your struggle and grant you his love, joy, peace and power.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

No You Can't Have One Without The Other

EL and Em sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g!

I've been without internet for almost two weeks, but I'm baaaa-ack. So I'll be developing the idea expressed above a bit more in a future post. I just wanted to touch base with you and remind you that Lauren and I are cheering you on as you embrace the ELEM-6 lifestyle/philosophy. Keep stepping in the right direction--you will reach your goal!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Certain Road is Paved With Them, But They Can Pave Another Road Too!

The hectic last couple months of 2009 are over and a new year is well under way. In keeping with both the spirit and the specifics of my New Year's resolutions, I intend to be more intentional in the way I live--in particular, the way I EL and EM.

Intentionality. This is one of the words which comes to my mind when I describe our new pastor. I suppose there are levels of intentionality. Obviously, every act we engage in involves some baseline level of intentionality. But what I have in mind is when a person knows exactly what they are setting about to do, has a clear conception of precisely why they are doing it, and a focused mental image of what the expected end-result of their action(s) looks like, and then takes concrete steps in the desired direction.

Our new pastor, Jerry Andrews, came to us on September first of last year and has displayed just this kind of intentionality in just about everything he's done. The very first thing he did--a seemingly insignificant thing--was to replace many of the nouns  in our church bulletin with verbs. Therefore "Corporate Confession" became, "confessing our sins."  He took over the portion of the service called time with children, which had been kind of a cute Kodak moment and turned it into a more intentional time of catechism--enhanced with a flannel board! Kids who used to sit on carpeted steps facing the congregation during this time now sit in a front-row pew, facing the minister instead of an adoring audience. This has all been intentional.

Another evidence of a solid intentionality on his part has been his use of language. When trying to size-up our new pastor, one of the first things I noticed about him was how often her used the word, "project." He even referred to the effort to live for God as  "project." The more I noticed this, the more it mad sense to me. Now I find myself thinking in terms of "projects." What could more intentional than a project? It has plans, a beginning, middle and end--usually involving a series of deadlines. A project accomplishes something--intentionally. Losing one's excess weight is a real project and requires real intentionality.

Life often seduces us to squander our time here and there in drips and drabs without us much noticing. All our electronic gadgets act as co-conspirators in this subtile seduction. We watch one TV show intentionally, and then sit through the next for no particular reason at all. We have a moderate-sized meal but then have second--or even third--helpings whithout giving it much thought at all. How often do we squander our time with the kind of good intentions which never lead to any actions. These are those fuzzy "someday" intentions which are good for paving a certain road, but which are impotent and useless. For years I had this sort of fuzzy intention to eat better, get a little more exercise and someday lose some weight. Of course nothing ever came of such wet-noodle intentions.

The ELEM-6 lifestyle requires a genuine, real and clear intentionality. Let us say you have a vague sort-of intention to perhaps get out and go for a walk tomorrow morning--weather permitting. It's bedtime. You can lull yourself into a happy stupor with this sort of fuzzy intention as you have a glass of milk and a cookie or two. Or, you can whip your fuzzy intention into shape like an Army drill sergeant might do with a dull new recruit. You can  lay out, on the chair where you usually sit for breakfast,  your walking shoes, socks, your sweat pants, a jacket, keys etc. These actions are in harmony with and reflect your real intention to get out for that walk. While you are at it, you can set out that modest-sized bowl for the EL breakfast you will enjoy when you return from your walk. Oh, and don't forget to set your alarm clock for 5:55--and put it somewhere where you will have to get out of bed to turn it off!

This is the kind of intentionality which will transform your someday-I'm going-to-look-into-an exercise-plan-or-yoga-or-something intentions into tomorrow-morning-at-six-fifteen reality!

More about how to build intentionality into your thinking and daily planning in my next post. Have you bought those walking shoes yet?

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Bullet Which Must be Bitten--But Take Heart, it Has, Eventually, a Creamy Filling!

Like Lauren said in her most recent post, The Death of Freestyle Eating (a MUST read!) "The good news is that you never have to go on a diet again. How you eat with the ELEM becomes your new normal."

I got fat by eating as much as I wanted of whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. That sort of "freestyle" eating--the kind I unthinkingly indulged--is what I had to accept must end for good--which meant a whole new mentality about eating had somehow to be formed in my head. It meant also that all new eating habits had to somehow come to take the place of that old "anything-goes" approach. In short I had to come up with a "new normal." That's exactly what the ELEM methods helped me to embrace--and am I ever glad I did!

I'll be the first to say it wasn't easy--especially at first. In the beginning it seemed a lot like torturous withdrawals to not eat all I wanted whenever I felt like it. But I was determined to find a new way of eating which I could adopt as a permanent lifestyle. The ELEM-6 Diet fit the bill. It fit because I was able to craft it to suite myself and my specific personal preferences.

It is good that it took me ten months to reach my weight goal. Those months were necessary in order to retrain my brain and to adopt new eating habits. Habits which now feel familiar and normal and which I I know I can maintain for the long term--the rest of my life. I have now been maintaining my ideal weight for three-and-a-half months. In the days ahead I'll be sharing what I have learned/am learning about maintaining one's weight loss. As you might guess, ELEM continues on even after the pounds have been shed. But know what? ELEM and I are now on friendly terms and I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship...

The Death of Freestyle Eating

Before we get too far into this we need to get real. Its time to get your brain in the game. As you probably already know, managing the thoughts and behaviors that keep you overweight is the true challenge. It is more how you eat rather than what you eat that should be your focus. Unless you alter some basic beliefs and behaviors that sabotage your successes, you will always end up back at the beginning. The dismal truth is that 80-95% of dieters gain back most or all of the weight they lost within two years. The ELEM lifestye is the way out of that disheartening statistic. The ELEM diet focuses on the how, not the what.

The cruelest myth of dieting is that you can finish a diet and get 'back to normal' once you reach your goal. "Ta-Da!! I'm done, now I can have PIZZA again!!" Your normal eating is what got you in trouble in the first place. At some level we all know the truth - the reality that you have to change how you eat F-O-R-E-V-E-R to stay at your ideal weight once and for all. Let's call it the Inconvenient Truth of dieting. We know the facts, but we want so much to find some magic solution that we ignore the truth. Diet books and programs make millions by selling us the next false magic solution. Denial is a wonderful thing, but its time to face the facts. The idea of freestle eating - eating all that you want, of whatever you want, whenever you want to - has to go. Bye-bye, kaput, done, gone. Time to GOMO - Get Over it, Move On.

The good news is that you never have to go on a diet again. How you eat on the ELEM becomes your new normal. It really is beautifully simple in concept. I was so mad about the failure of dieting that I vowed to NEVER DO IT AGAIN. NO counting calories, NO rules I would only break, NO weird unhealthy fads!! I knew I had to lose weight, but I had to find a way do it without going on a diet. My strategy was to just start eating like I would need to eat to maintain the goal weight I wanted. Theoretically, my weight should naturally adjust to my goal. Well, it wasn't all that easy, but that is basically what I did.

Your new truth is that you are building a deliberate and intentional ELEM lifestyle. One that fits you, one that you CAN live with. It's not one big huge change that you can't stick with - its hundreds of tiny adjustments that you try on for size and choose the ones that work for you. The more tiny changes you find that work, the easier it gets. Your weight loss will eventually merge into your new slim ELEM lifestyle. What is your tiny ELEM adjustment for today??

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The ELEM-6 Diet, Part-13a: Eat Anything at All!

I'd like to chime in on what Lauren wrote below. She mentioned movie popcorn and how she adjusted/compensated for that intentional indulgence. This brings up a couple of very important points I'd like to expand upon. The ELEM-6 Diet has no restrictions whatsoever on what you eat! It only coaches you to be intentional and purposeful about your choices and to eat only a reasonable amount (not rocket science!) of whatever it is, making thought-out adjustments to subsequent meals and/or exercise as compensation. I find this approach very liberating while also encouraging me to be totally responsible for--and mindful of--how much I eat and the amount of exercise needed to match my eating decisions. This is why the ELEM-6 Diet will train you into a way of eating and exercise that you can adopt as a permanent lifestyle--one you've made your very own and are content with. Here I feel compelled to say once more that you can do these mental "calculations"we've alluded to without any calorie counting or complicated formulas. When you become aware of what you are eating, and in what amounts, then you will just know, "I'lll need to eat a little less than usual next meal to adjust for that cookie" or, "I'll need some extra walking tomorrow to offset that muffin." Needless to say, we are not talking about out-of-control binging here, just the normal little indulgences we all will intelligently and intentionally choose from time to time.

Two more points: First, yes, I really do eat whatever I feel like--cheesecake, rocky road ice cream (my favorite!) bread (don't get me started telling you of my love affair with bread!) or just any food I'd like. I just EL! When the birthday cake (mmm...the kind with layers of raszzberry filling) is passed around, I don't make any big deal by saying, in martyr fashion "no thank you, none for me, it's not on my diet." I just go cut my own little slice (Yes, it looks a lonely and rather pathetic little thing, that dinky little sliver being so small (especially if the plates are big).  Nonetheless, I really so enjoy the wonderful sensation afforded me by those two or three bites. I've learned to live with this restriction and not even feel sorry for myself. The silver lining (or perhaps I should say sliver lining) here is that this makes things taste even better and helps me enjoy them even more than when I'd eat two (or three!) big pieces! Since I've allowed myself such a precious little serving, I am very mindful to savor it to the fullest. This is the new way of thinking you will find yourself adopting as you practice the EL part of the plan. Oh--and don't forget the silver-est lining of all--day 7!

The second point: Although I eat whatever I want, I have adjusted the percentage of those foods in my overal eating habits. This is necessary if, like me, are a starchy-food fanatic. I mentioned above my love affair with bread. I think this may have been sparked in me at an early age when my great grandmother would come to our house and make homemade bread. I'd arrive home from grade school and open the door to be enveloped by the warmpth of the kitchen and the intoxicating aroma of freshly baked bread. Her timing was impeckable. When I walked in the door she was just slicing off the heal (my favorite) and she'd slather it with real butter and place it in my anxious little third-grade hand. To die for! Oh,, I see I've gotten carried away. Ahem... yes, "adjusted the percentage..." As I was saying, I've cut back on the bread, pasta and rice and greatly increased the greens, fruits and fiber. Let me explain. Under the rubric of the ELEM-6 Diet, I could very well have kept eating all those starchy foods but I would have had to EM--enough more--to compensate. Possible theoretically, but I don't have 3 or 4 hours to exercise in the morning, I only have about an hour-and-a-half. So, I made a reasonable compromise and changed the composition of my daily diet. Simple as that. I'll tell you more about this--and give you some helpful details--in the days ahead. For now, just remember to begin to be intentional and mindful about the food choices you make. You are in control here and you can do this!

I just love wind chimes and find them enchanting.

Monday, January 4, 2010

THE ELEM-6 DIET, Part - 13: Goof-ups

Goof ups are inevitable, necessary, and essential to your learning. Expect them, welcome them...then take action.

What I want to stress here is that the problem with every other diet you've tried is that they didn't FIT you, your lifestyle, your personality, your likes & dislikes, etc. It was someone else's diet, packaged and sold to you. You try to fit it, successfully for a while, but you can't live with it forever. That's where ELEM is different. You will learn here how to build a lifestyle of eating less and exercising more that you can live with - custom designed by you and for you. Guided by core principles, but uniquely yours.

What works for me is different than what works for my brother. Neither of our paths will fit you perfectly. Your mistakes/weaknesses teach you where you need to adjust, retool, or compensate. Here's an example. My hubby and I went to the movies this weekend. I love movie popcorn. I know, I know. It is dastardly, greasy, loaded with transfats, sodium and probably thousands of calories. Its horrible nasty stuff. But I love it and I don't want to give it up. When I was in serious weight loss mode I worked around it by avoiding movies altogether or having lunch just before I went and bringing rice cake crisps instead. I also would not carry extra cash (I'm not gonna whip out the credit card for popcorn!). But now that I'm maintaining I need to learn how to work with it. So, I made a conscious decision to indulge and then compensate. So lunch today was a small bowl of soup and dinner was lite yogurt with an apple. I'll add an extra 15 minutes on the elliptical every morning this week and that should do the trick. (I'll let you know how it goes).

What sinful thing do you need to learn to avoid, adjust to, or accommodate? What will you do to work with it?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Details Galore--Take Your Pick, Use What Works for You. Today: Numbers

Allen here. I'm so happy to see my sweet sis has begun to share her insights here as well. Two heads are indeed better than one! What a great balance: both a man's and a woman's perspective on how to really find success in the weight loss game. Did you know that, between the two of us--my sister and I--we've lost a combined total of 140-lbs? Wow! and it was all by El and EM (no, not the cigaretts you silly!).  That reminds me, my sister and I are going to have to get some before-and-after photos up here before long so you can actually see the success we achieved through the ELEM-6 method. It might be a bit of a challenge due to the fact that seriously overweight folks don't exactly have a love afair with the camera. In fact we tend to scoot out of the frame whenever possible. When we fail to do so and later see the photo--OMG--we are shocked to see how we look from the side, or behind or from nearly any angle: "That's me? Yikles!" Anyway, painful as it willbe, we'll  both try to pony up some  "fat photos" to show you how far we've come. I have a photographer buddy who I will have take a current photo of Lauren and me. And I promise: no PhotoShop--just the real deal!

OK, here is my detail/tip for the day: One number--once a week--is all you need. 
This tip (which I will explain more fully in a moment) comports with one of the fundamental ELEM principles: Keep it Simple Slimpants! Look, if you really need to schlep around a calorie calculator everwhere you go or you are compelled to assign points to every item on your plate, and you find it a big help, then I'm not going to discourage you. I'm good with whatever works. For me personally though, I am not into weighing my meals on a scale or getting out the green eyeshade to count every calorie. Hey--I can tell a big serving from a moderate serving from a small one--no problem. So I'm not going to talk about calorie counting here, but speak to the issue of weighing yourself.

Here is how I do it and how, jf you follow my example, the scale will not drive you crazy (You have bought your digital read-out scale haven't you?) If not, then run right over to Walnmart this very moment and get one! Oh--and don't fall for the ones that you have to program or that follow your weight changes. No--just get a plain digital read-out scale. Keep it Simple Slimpants!

Weigh yourself only once a week only.  Same time every week. For me it is first thing Monday morning. That gives me my score on my 6-day long effort. You may already know that your weight can fluctuate a great deal from day to day--even hour by hour depending on liquids consumed etc. This is the natural cycle of things. Avoid the emotional roller-coaster  of weighing in daily. Instead, picture that you are going to make a 6-day effort at losing weitht and at the end of that time you are going to see the fruit of that effort. So, get naked at the same place and time each week and get a reality-check. If you are following the ELEM-6 plan, you will be shedding between 1 and 3 pounds per week. To weigh in, get naked and see what the verdict of the scale is. Keep a log. This will help more than you might imagine. After you weigh in, them I want you to rub lotion all over your whole body. This will do two things: It will give you body-awareness and--more importantly--it will help keep your sking elastic so it can shrink to fit the new-sized you that is on the way (Isn't that a happy thought?). Not to mention, this lotion ritual is relaxing and thereputic.

Well, I see I have run out of time. Hope this has been helpful. Keep coming back as my sister and I will be blogging the ELEM diet all year long. May a healthy and successful 2010 be yours!

THE ELEM-6 DIET Tip for the Day #1

Take advantage of fleeting moments of motivation. One of my challenges is not so much what NOT to eat, but rather it is having decent choices available in my hectic day. Starting my 10-12 hour work day without a plan is to set myself up for failure. It's Sunday morning and I have great motivation (for now), so I'm cooking a big pot of oh-so-healthy chicken & wild rice soup. I'll put it into individual serving Tupperware and it should help me make good lunch choices all week. If you're not into cooking, at least go shopping to be sure that you have good snacks or quick meals ready for the week. For me its low-fat string cheese, apples, carrots & hummus and Fiber One bars. I'm a snacker, so my odds for success go way up if I have something quick to grab that isn't a doughnut.

Another way to take maximize a moment of motivation is to take radical action. Throw out the leftover cookies that have been your downfall all week. Clean out the fridge. Go buy the walking shoes. DO SOMETHING!! Your positive action will build more actions in a similar way that your failures can lead to more failures. Take that pattern and turn it on its head! (Then please share with us what you've done)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

THE ELEM-6 DIET, PART 12: No Pain, No Gain

Well, it's time for me to chime in here. I'm Lauren, Allen's sister. Oddly enough, my brother and I have independently arrived at the same destination, a reasonable weight, using the same path, ELEM. As I approached the age of 50, I too had a similar 'come to Jesus' talk with my doctor. She laid out the facts: Cholesterol too high, blood pressure too high, weight 217. I would need to go on medication. I was at risk for heart disease. As I planned for my upcoming hysterectomy, I suspected that the sudden onset of menopause was not going to help the situation. I had my now-or-never moment.

I had become so accepting of the fate of being overweight that it took a blunt, somewhat harsh, appraisal of my health reality to jar me awake. I had become, as the Pink Floyd song says , comfortably numb. As we get to know each other better, I will talk more about that trap - the result of years of constant failure, episodic false successes, and a gradual descent and submission to the false belief that being thin was for other people. Maybe possible for those naturally thin-eat everything they want-hard bodied-lucky ones (let's hate them), but not for me. That false belief dies hard, but on that day nearly eight years ago I decided that it was B.S. and I would fight back. I must, I can, I will.

Today is January 2nd. Millions of Americans are waking up to the hangover of a two-month long holiday food binge. They will rush out to buy the latest diet craze book (what it is this year??) and join a gym that they will attend faithfully for a few weeks. Then they will slip, falter, and give up. That person has been me, and probably you too, many times before. It is not me today. Today I am two pounds lighter than I was on October first. I hover within a few pounds of 150, which is good for my size 8, 5'7" frame. Since October I have traveled on vacation to Reno, had four long-weekend getaways, and have faced an incredible onslaught of restaurant meals, holiday feasts and an endless parade of goodies in the break room at work. I enjoyed it all - homemade cookies, mashed potatoes & gravy, chocolate truffles, champagne....I could go on. I ate, I enjoyed.... and I maintained control.

After many years of living the ELEM lifestyle, I can say that I went through the holidays with NO PAIN and NO GAIN!! I loved it, I managed it, and I didn't suffer. Really. It is not magic, and I am no hero. I have lousy will-power (or, more correctly, won't power). I have every doubt, bad habit, and secret weakness that you do, and then some. I get lonely, bored, and tempted - just like you. I grew up in a world where food was the currency, the tangible love, and the comfort, woven inextricably in the social fabric of my life. Food was my reward, my solace and my celebration. I am no different than you and if I can do it, you can too. Honestly. You must, you can, you will. Say it.

I know it is a little scary to try this again after so many disappointments. I know. I went to my first weight loss doctor at the ripe old age of 12. I have gained and lost literally hundreds of pounds. But there is better way, a final way, and my brother and I have found it. Our ancient secret method. Join us on our journey. What do you have to lose? You deserve it and there is so much to gain - this is a life-altering adventure (and I'm not just talking about your size here).

So go ahead and be fearful and skeptical. So was I. But then find that tiny bit of hope and join us anyway. Do just one thing today to get started. Repeat the mantra - I must, I can, I will. Then, if you really want to go for it, take a walk. You just need baby steps. Baby steps leading in a new direction, towards a new life. Start now.... No pain, no gain.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The ELEM-6 DIET, Part 11: Nitty-Gritty Details

Whether you have already begun to EL and EM or are just contemplating beginning, I want to dish up for you a plate full of juicy details. Today's little post is simply to  let you know that  in the next few weeks--and especially once we are on the other side of Christmas and into the new year--I want to give you what I feel may be some very useful, and perhaps helpful, details of my EL and EM daily routine.

I don't know about you, but it really bugs me when they interview anyone who has accomplished something big and it is made to seem like the person went from situation "A" to accomplishment "Z" seemingly without and details or intermediate steps inbetween. "You know, the mail room was a challenge to me in the beginning, but when I found myself as CEO things were even more challenging still. And that's how I got to whaere  I am today." I want to scream at the interviewer, "Ask him about steps B through Y or I'm going to yank my hair out by the hands-full and toss it at the screen!" I want to know who he met or golfed with or bribed or whatever to catch his rocket-ride to success. Did he subscribe to the Wall Street Journal and study it every morning for two hours? Did he take an on-line course for aspiring CED's?

So, I promice you I will soon be telling you all kinds of details about how I set about to lose 80lbs and all the little steps which played into me reaching my goal ten months later.  But for now, I am off to revell in  the wonder and delight of Christmas worship and celebration. May your Christmas be filled with meaningful moments of joyful contemplation or the coming of our savior.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The ELEM-6 Diet, Part-10: El and Em--Even Thanksgiving Week!

Just wanted to touch base with those of you beginning (or contemplating) El and EM. Well, I survived my second Thanksgiving on the ELEM-6 diet. Last year, 2008, the year I discovered/invented the ELEM-6 Diet and embarked on it in earnest, it was just a few days before Thanksgiving (!). I just couldn't wait until afterwards to get started (although then I was kind of terrified in anticipation of the EL aspect). I was afraid that if I waited until after Thanksgiving day, my fresh new motivation might fade and I'd not get started at all (as had happened so often before). That Thanksgiving--one year ago--I had to, like this year, face meals at the homes of three relatives in the course of two days. Not to mention leftovers (Yum! Thanksgiving leftovers!) in the days after. Nonetheless, I stood my ELEM-6 ground  then, and did so again this year.

Thanks to a year's worth of El and EM, I was able to have a more-or-less normal-sized plate of food this year. Just no seconds. I also even allowed myself a small piece of apple pie for dessert. Even though I didn't eat all I could have--or wanted to eat--I nonetheless had enough and didn't feel deprived. Remember, this is the diet with no "no's"! Simple common-sense portion control means there is nothing--and I mean nothing--which, in itself, is off limits.  That is one of the wonderful and liberating things I love about the ELEM-6 Diet.

Part of the key to the ELEM-6 is not making exceptions for holidays, birthdays, celebrations, etc etc. So, on Thanksgiving Day I got up at o-dark-thirty as usual and walked (on snow!) for a full hour. That keeping of my EM routine (and the same the day before and after) "bought" me a normal/moderate portion of wonderful turkey dinner and trimmings.

As I said in an earlier post, I'm not going to be some hard-nose about you beginning this diet just before Thanksgiving. If you weren't ready to begin last week, no sweat. If  that was the case, I just  hope that now you will be joining me and getting under way (or is it weigh?) any day now.

Keep coming back and checking out this blog space because, as I mentioned, my sister Lauren will soon be contributing her great input about weight loss which, I can assure, you will find very insightful and inspirational.

Above all, don't buy into the voices--yours included--which whisper to you, in one way or another, "you know you can't do it, so don't even try" or, "You've ftried and failed many times before, so no use setting yourself up to fail and be disappointed again." Stick your spiritual fingers in your ears when you hear such things. Instead, be your own best coach and repeat to you heart and mind, "I must. I can. I will!"

Friday, November 27, 2009

The ELEM-6 Diet, Part-9: ELEM-6 is One Year Old Today!

And we've now sold over 100,000 copies of the book! Just kidding there, but who knows? If Oprah has me on before she goes off the air...well, then it could happen.

Here are the details in brief: I began to EL/EM-6 on November 20, 2008. Ten months later I had lost 80 pounds. I went from weighing 240 to my present 160. That comes out to 8-lbs per month, or just 2-lbs per week. See? If you only have 40-lbs to lose you can either lose it in 5 months by going for the 2-lbs per week, or--you can lose 1-lb a week for the full 10 months. It's up to you! Get out a calendar and figure out what you want to weigh and how long it will take to get there. That's exactly what I did.

I know, I know--Thanksgiving is just days away. If you decide to wait until after, who am I to give you a hard time about it? No sweat. However, there is one big advantage to starting now: doing so will send a bold message to yourself--and everyone else--that you really are serious about this. And, you will be able to look back and say, "If I can EL/EM on Thanksgiving, why, then I know I can do this!" It'll get you off to a great beginning; and beginnings are important.

Speaking of beginnings; have we picked up a good pair of walking shoes yet? You'll need the shoes, a digital scale, some sweat pants and perhaps a zip-up sweatshirt with a hood. Have you bought some new kind of cereal and other food? Not necessary really, but it helps.

Now I want to get very specific so, if you need it, you will have a clear pattern to follow. It is very important to begin the night before. What I mean is, you need to lay out your sweats, socks, shoes and things by a chair or somewhere easy to get to. You don't want to be rummaging around in drawers at 4:30 in the morning. Did I mention you'd probably have to get up early than you are used to? You do. Live with it!

If you are like me you will come to--I know it seems impossible to believe--absolutely cherish the first couple hours of the day. I wouldn't have believed it myself, but it's turned out to be so true for me. From 5:00a.m. to 6:30a.m. is now my favorite time of day. I think endorphins may play a role. At any rate, you must EM. Starting with 20 minutes is OK at the beginning if you really can't do any more, but just accept that you will need to build up to a full hour before very long. An hour-and-a-half to two hours is ideal if you can get there.

Here is an EM tip: extend your time by extending the route you walk. Add a block or two here and there until the course you set takes about an hour. In my case I use one very wide and long street as my course. Not really a course because I just walk up and back a couple of times and that's that. It takes me 15 minutes up the street and the same time coming back. So I do it twice and there is my hour. Then I walk, stretch and cool down for another 1/2 hour.

Well, I have more details for you but I'm sleepy and it's beddy-bye time for me--I've got to get up at o-dark-thirty!

Hang in there--keep taking in the ELEM-6 principles. Let the motivation arise within you as you think, "I must, I can... I will!" You can do this!

A happy and blessed Thanksgiving to you and yours.

The ELEM-6 Diet, Part-8: A Brief Review

wOK--I will assume you have by now done at least some of the things I have suggested in earlier posts. You have, haven't you? I have suggested both mental steps you need to take as well as very practical things you need to do.

Let's review:

1) You learned the meaning of ELEM-6 The diet no one is talking about!

2) You discovered there is no silver-bullet and that your metabolism is not the issue. (If you are still thinking your metabolism is to blame, then you need to pick up the phone and make an appointment with your doctor so you can settle the question once and for all)

3) You got a hint that time management might be one issue to tackle if you are going to add a full hour to an hour-and-a-half to your daily schedule. Yet another bullet to bite. (Perhaps this should be called the Biting Bullets Diet--there seem to be a good number of them needing to be bitten!)

4) You learned that a visit to your doctor could be motivating--especially if said doctor tells you about the likelihood of your developing diabetes or a heart condition as a result of your excess weight. Have you been to your doctor yet? If your doctor doesn't make an issue of your weight, then encourage them to! I mean it. Ask him or her, "Doc, do you think I need to lose some weight? How much should I loose to avoid future health problems? If your doctor is too timid to give you the stern lecture you need, then make your doctor give you one!

5) You found that putting off the day of reckoning would not do. You confronted that simple yet profound three-part statement one needs to say to one's self at some point: "I must, I can, I will."

6) Then I encouraged you to elicit the prayers of a few trusted friends. I hope by now you have told three or four people that you need to--and intend to--lose a significant amount of weight in the near future and have asked them to be praying for you in this regard. Have you?

7) Next came the revelation that no day is a good day to begin a diet. In fact, there is not a single day in all 365 which is a good day to begin a diet. They are all bad and every single one of them right near some holiday or birthday or some other celebration which will involve lots of food. I'm writing this on November 9th. I know what you might be thinking: "Well, you know, Thanksgiving is coming up real soon--this would be a really bad time to begin. I'll just wait until after Thanksgiving." Then, after Thanksgiving, guess what? It's Christmastime. That too is of course a terrible time to begin a diet. "I know," you may be thinking, "I'll wait until the New Year. Yes, that's it. The newness of the year will give me just the boost I need to get me started." Uh-huh. New Year's Day comes with a special dispensation of will-power, generated by the shining resolutions made the day prior, does it? Never really worked that way for me--at least not as far as dieting is concerned. I had a whole day to spend around the house with all kinds of leftover Christmas cookies, Chex Party Mix and all kinds of goodies. My New Year's dieting resolutions usually lasted until about lunchtime.

8) Next, I encouraged you to go get a few items. Remember what they were? Here is a hint: Bathroom scale (digital); good walking shoes (I like New Balance); sweat pants and hoodie. If you will be walking early in the morning you may also need some gloves. If you want to burn a few extra calories along the way, then pick up a set of hand-weights while you're at the store. Start with the real light ones: 2 or 3 pounds. By buying the things above you will further motivate yourself. Oh, I almost forgot. If you don't already have one, perhaps you should get an i-pod or a little arm-band radio so you can listen to your favorite music as you walk.

9) The last thing you learned about is, for me, a key part of the ELEM-6 Diet Plan. That is the part about giving yourself one day a week off. One day in which you eat whatever you feel like in any quantity your heart desires. I call it my "free day." Some people tell me it couldn't work for them or didn't. Perhaps. Still, I find it to be a great incentive each week during the preceding six days. I'll may write more about my "free day" in the future.

Well, that is enough review. My next post will be my attempt to get you to at least approach the starting line (if you haven't already done so) and set a goal, and set a date on the calendar for arriving at your goal. I'll get the starter's pistol ready. I can't wait! On your mark...

PS-- For me, this will be the start of ELEM-6 Year II Wow, how time flies! :-)

The ELEM-6 Diet, Part-7: Why the "6" ?

Dear Struggling One,

Don't be deceived, dieting--especially the ELEM-6 diet--is hard work. Now, I ask you (those who follow the Hebrew scriptures) In this life, how many days is one to work? Yes, six. Blessedly, our heavenly Father has ordained a day of rest. One day out of the seven of our week. I have been trying to put this principle in practice in my life for a good ten years or so. Dennis Prager, one of my main hero's inspired me in this. After these ten years, I'm still trying, but I have a long ways to go until I get it right. Here is the deal: First, establish a Sabbath Day in your work week. After you lay that marker down, everything else seems to fall into place. Don't worry about becoming a Seventh Day Adventist. Just get hold of the Sabbath Principle and you'll soon get the hang of it.

Yes, I know it is as inconvenient as can be. Most of us get two full days, "off the clock," to spend however we please. The trouble is, many fill both of these days with activity galore. I know--I used to do that too. Going here and there. Shopping; car in for LOF or repairs; paying the bills; laundry, repairs around the home, vacuuming, shopping, more bills--soon we are part of the Rat Race without even knowing how we entered it. We don't quite know how, but we find we have a little tank-top with a number pinned on it and we're huffing and puffing our way down the race course that seems to have no end. That's because we did not set the Sabbath apart as holy to the Lord. We though we'd use the "free" time to take care of business and get stuff done. Makes sense, but not in God's economy.

All this is to say that you need to work very hard at dieting and exercise (EL,EM) SIX DAYS A WEEK only. Get it? I can't tell you what a difference the "6" in my dieting plan has made for me. When my seventh day comes up, I put all the work of dieting aside and eat to my hearts content. I usually don't "pig out" , but I know I can if I want to. Wheat Thins and Triscuits in abundance! Cookies! Bread of all kinds! Hot dogs, frozen pizza, wine--whatever! Ahhh... All worth waiting 6 days for.

What I am encouraging you to do--however you can do it--is to only do the strict dieting for six days. Give yourself one "free" day. It is something to look forward to. When you are denying yourself something really yummy, you can say to yourself, "Hang in there, it won't be but a very few days until I can enjoy whatever my heart desires. So, to recap: Eat-Less-Exercise-More-SIX-Days-a-week. Got it?

Well, that will have to be all for today. Hang in there and, if you haven't yet begun, prepare to do so.


PS--Have you got your walking shoes and digital scale yet? Well, get ready because we're starting real soon!

The ELEM-6 Diet, Part-6: Getting Started

The ELEM Diet, Part-6: Getting Started

There is never a good day to begin a diet. Last year, as I walked out of my doctor's office on the twentieth of November, determining within myself that, "I can do this, I must do this--I will do this," I was so focused on the immediate task of starting to lose weight I didn't stop to think that Thanksgiving was exactly one week away. What timing! Not only that, but I had just been grocery shopping a few days before and our fridge and cupboards were brimming with all my favorite comfort foods: flour tortillas (I'd toss one right on the burner of the stove, flip it a few times, then slather it with butter and salt--mmmm, good!). I had hot dogs, cream cheese, p-nut butter, canned chili, chocolate bars, cookies--you name it. It was easily $120.00 worth of food. I am such a penny pincher, looking at all this food I'd just bought tempted me to put off starting to ELEM for a few weeks. But I knew I could not do that. The day of reckoning had come and putting things off yet again would just not do. As inconvenient as the timing was, I had to begin now--even if all this food went to waste.

There are always holidays just around the corner. There are always birthdays or other celebrations a day or two away. From that standpoint, it is never a "good time" to begin to ELEM. Just accept that fact, pick a day, and get to it.

Oh, have you bought your new walking shoes and new bathroom scale yet? Just do it! More to follow...

The ELEM-6 Diet, Part-5: Haven't Got a Prayer?

[Please excuse the rough-draft nature of this post. I'll come back to it in the next few days and clean it up. I just wanted to get it to you ASAP] --Allen

My dear still struggling friends. In the psychological /spiritual battle regarding weight, one needs every tool possible. For folks of faith, this means, among other things, prayer. Now don't go thinking (as us overweight folks so often do) that this will make things effortless or so easy one need not work very hard. No--prayer is not some spiritual magic diet pill that will enable you to lose weight while you sleep. Yet--yet, there is something to earnest prayer which connects us to God in a way which leads to victory when previous efforts--even valiant ones--have failed.

Let me tall you about how prayer was a significant element in my beginning to get real about losing weight. I work at my church and our ministry team holds a weekly staff meeting. Besides the church issues we discuss, staff members will often ask for prayer regarding someone or something in their area of ministry. Also, staff members will ask for prayer for a family member who is ill or for some other personal issue. I'm a fairly private person and do not readily share my personal problems and struggles. Last year though, in April or may, at one particular staff meeting, I felt like I should illicit the help of others with my struggle to lose weight (or, perhaps I should say, my lack of being willing to really struggle meaningfully about my weight). So when it came my turn to ask for prayers, I told them how much my excess weight bothered me and how I had failed time and again to control my eating. I confessed that it was an embarrassment to me and a further embarrassment to tell them this. At any rate, no one made a big deal of it or commented much. nonetheless, I now believe that my prayer request to my co-workers that day somehow played a vital role in my eventual success. For all I know, it was the prayers and faith of one of them which really made the difference--and not so much my own.

I should mention here that this happened a full six months before I began to get serious about my weight. However, having asked people to pray for me made me all the more aware that something had to happen and it needed to happen sooner rather than later. One great thing which came of my confession to my co-workers is that one of them, our church's youth leader, would pop into my office every week or two and ask me how my dieting was going. This made me feel guilty when I had to tell him I wasn't yet making much--or any--progress. I was walking a bit (EM), but had not begun to EL yet.

My suggestion: Either in person or perhaps by email, select a handful of people who care about you and tell them how frustrated you are with trying to lose weight. Tell them you know you really must find a way and need all the help you can get. Ask them to remember you in their prayers in this regard. If you are really brave, you might invite them to ask you form time to time how it's going.

O.K. I have now revealed you one of the secret strategies of the ELEM-6 diet which is not contained in the acronym. Perhaps I should have called it ELEM-6+P.

That's all for now. Keep checking back in the weeks ahead as I share more and get into some real detail about how I began in earnest and what that was like.

PS-- You CAN do this! You must, you can, you will!


The ELEM-6 Diet, Part-2: A Personal Word

To my dear sisters and brothers still struggling. I hope you are at least at the "I must" stage. That is a good place to begin. "I should" just doesn't cut it. "I Should" doesn't begin anything. It is the same as saying "someday." "I must" on the other hand drives home the imperative of the situation. I can no longer put this off with "I should" and "someday." When we say, "I must" to ourselves, we put ourselves on notice that the day of reckoning is at hand. No more putting it off with avoidance strategies: "Well, after the holidays..." That won't do. "I must" means now--before, or even during the holidays.

Oops--out of time. More next time.

The ELEM-6 Diet, Part-2: A Personal Word

My annual physical having been a couple of months back, I had been in to see her for something else, which I can't recall at the moment. The point is that, during both visits--and of course in previous physicals--I'd given a blood sample. Now I get a call from the doctor asking me to come in for a follow-up visit. I was a bit concerned because I'm the one who is suppose to initiate an office call, not my doctor. Of course I went through a bit of the normal, "Uh-Oh--maybe I have cancer of some other terrible disease" thought process but, but beside that I was not too worried really. More curious than anything.

What she wanted to talk to me about, I discovered, was my blood sugar levels. She had been looking over my my chart and had noticed a steady incline. This climb in my blood sugar levels was in the pre-diabetic range she explained. My first thought was, "You mean you actually read my chart and take note of trends?" I was impressed that some professional--any professional--actually did what we all assume they should do. [You know, like auto mechanics telling you the truth and lawyers billing you accurately] Anyway, after the good feeling of being looked after, I had to face the bad feeling that what she was telling me might have somehow have some unpleasant ramifications for my lifestyle. I was right about that!

Our conversation went something like this:

Doctor: Mr. Randall, at this rate you will be on insulin by this time next year. For now I want you to begin taking Metformin to get your levels down, and I want you to begin taking your blood-sugar levels daily. These are a start, but they don't really address the fundamental issue.

Me: Oh, I see. You mean I need to change my diet to include fewer sweet things?

Doctor: No. That might help a bit, but it's your weight that is the main factor here. As of today you weigh 243 pounds and that is a several more that last time you were in to see me.

Me: You're right doctor, I know I need to but I just can't seem to find the time in my schedule. I'll try though.

Doctor: You have been telling me that for several years--but it is not happening. I'm just telling you that now you are facing some serious health consequences in the years ahead if you don't get a handle on this.

Me: Do you think I could get off the Metformin and the finger pricking if I lost some weight?

Doctor: Theoretically, yes, you could. But to do that you'd have to lose much more than just "some"--you'd have to lose a lot of weight. And frankly you don't seem capable of getting motivated to do so.

This last statement of hers really stung--because it was so true. She was absolutely right. Although I inwardly bemoaned my weight on a daily--sometimes hourly--basis, I seemed to myself to be completely incapable of getting motivated enough to do the simple but difficult thing [ELEM!] it takes to lose weight. Oh, I could come to a decision on New Year's Eve of on my birthday or some other time to "cut back" or "eat more sensibly" or "eat a healthier diet" but even those very modest efforts would only last a day our two--often only hours! Sometimes only until the next meal.

I've been round and round in my mind exploring the causes and reasons I eat like I do, or, I should say, like I did--but I really don't think there is much help in going there. I knew that food was a great comfort and solace for me and that I used it as a substitute for all kinds of psychological things I should have sought by other means, but that understanding in itself never helped me much when it came to getting motivated to lose weight.

I left the doctor's office feeling like a failure--again. I also felt like my doctor was exasperated with me and my prom ices over the years to do something about my weight. She was right--I'd just been putting it off and putting it off and had not been getting serious about doing something about my weight.

As I walked out of the building and down the sidewalk on Fourth Avenue, a small but essential thought rose in my mind. It was my voice speaking to my reluctant self. It simply said, "It is time. I cannot put this off any longer. I have to find a way to do this."

Please reread the last three sentences. This was a critical turning point. I had no idea how I was going to do it, but I knew I could not put it off any longer. I knew I would not do it with any fad diet. I knew I had to face the reality of E-L-E-M...

In the next post I will go back in time and tell you something I did about 6 months before this which helped to set the stage for this turning point. And, although this "something" I am going to tell you about was followed by 6 months of failure, nonetheless it was, I have come to see, a very important key to unlock the mystery of motivation.

For now, meditate on accepting that the putting this off must soon come to an end. Go ahead and panic if you like. Let you face-stuffing inner-child throw a tantrum if she likes. You will soon be sitting her on a stool in the corner

Meditate also on these three phrases, for they form the mental basis of all that is to follow in the months ahead:
I must. I can. I will. This may sound like pop psychology, but it is not. It is ELEM-reality therapy! You must consider each statement by itself and accept its implications: I must do this. Not just "I should do this", but "I must do this. Sit with that a while.

I can do this. This is essential. Drop all the "But it's so hard" and "I know I should" inner dialogue. D-r-o-p it! You can do this! Yes, it will be difficult, but no matter--it must be done and you can do it! You know you can. You have just been too lazy or too afraid to tackle it. Well, just get over it because you know deep down inside that you really can do it. You've just been putting it off. Not for much longer though.

I will do it. Perhaps you are not quite there yet. That's OK. It's OK because you going get there soon. How do I know? Because you are going to go over and over the previous two statements until you are all the way there. You are going to accept "I must" and "I can" so completely that you will have no where else to go but to "I will do this".

I love You two women like sisters. I will be praying for you as God ushers you into and shepherds you through the changes ahead. Remember, God can do abundantly above all we can ask or imagine--through Christ Jesus our Lord!

The ELEM-6 Diet, Part-2: A Personal Word

My dear friend struggling with weight,

I only have a spare minute to jot you a little note in between posts. I just wanted you to know I haven't forgotten your anxiety and and perhaps even desperation over the struggle to lose weight. In my next post I will recount the trip to my doctor which [a number of different expressions could be plugged in here] got me off the dime, or if you like, inspired me to (again) attempt to lose a serious amount of weight. It was November 19th of last year that my doctor got just a bit exasperated with me and my offhanded and always-broken promice to loose weight. I'll tell you more about this in my next post.

I will have to keep repeating that I didn't go on a diet--at least not the way "diet" is commonly understood. I didn't follow any "method" in particular. Having said that, I do want to give a detailed (as much as possible) answer to the question I hear so often, "how did you do it?" So, in the posts to follow, I will describe to you, in chronological order, the things I did to lose 75 pounds in 10 months. Stay tuned...

Oh, one more thing: If you want to follow my "method" (which, remember, is really no method at all) call today and make an appointment with your doctor. Make it for two or three weeks from now so I can get you ready for how you will want to approach the visit. You can give any reasonable explanation for making the appointment. Schedule an annual exam if you haven't had one in a while. Even if you aren't due for one, pay to get one anyway.

At Last, The ELEM-6 Diet Revealed, Part-1

So many people where I work and at my church (the same place) have asked me how I lost so much weight (80-pounds in 10 months) I decided to put it in some sort of formula fashion so anyone wanting to take the same path could have some pointers in doing so. One person especially is very anxious to know the secret to my weight loss. I am dedicating this series of articles to that person. I will write as if I were addressing that person directly. Feel free to listen in.

Before jumping right in to the particular weight loss "secrets" I "discovered" I need to say a few things about the subject of weight and dieting in general. First and foremost, there are no secrets to be discovered. That's the first thing you'll have to accept. But of course you already know this. You just need to drop all the wishful thinking. Sorry, no silver bullets. Don't search for any diet with a name or any "diet program". ELEM-6 is only a name I gave "my" diet--which is no diet at all--as a spoof on all the diets with have names: the Atkins Diet; the South Beach Diet; The Beverly Hills Diet--there must be a thousand or more of them out there. Those names are all about selling books. So here is the big ELEM-6 revelation in as brief a way as it can be said: Eat Less and Exercise More--Six days a week. There, that's all there is to it. I could just plink a period down at the end of that last sentence and conclude this article right there, but that would be a bit cruel--even kind of cold and heartless. I don;t want to do that. I have to much deep and genuine sympathy for those who struggle and agonize over their weight. I know, I have most of my life. I do need to say more, but but before I do, you need to accept the simple truth that you already know exactly how to lose weight. We all know it. We just hate the cold mathematical-like reality of it and we long for something that will fast-track us to wight loss with not much effort or, or, --OMG--hunger. This is exactly why I call ELEM-6 [I wish I could put that little Trade-Mark symbol right after it] "the diet no one is talking about".

Here is an important 2-part disclaimer: 1) I know many people are helped by finding a diet with a name on it or who pay to join a program or hire a trainer. When it comes to weight loss, I really am for "whatever works for you". Even though I make fun of some of these things, I understand that people trying to lose weight need to find that help wherever and however they can. I just think that those things can often be a way to avoid facing the water-in-the-face reality that, once really and fully accepted, can be the real beginning point for substantial and weight loss. To that last sentence I almost included a clause about maintaining your weight loss once you've achieved it, but then backed off because I've not done that yet. If and when I've stayed at my preferred weight for a couple of years then maybe I'll write about that. For now, I'll just tell you about how I went about losing it. 2) I know that a few people have some rare metabolism or thyroid condition which requires surgery or some kind of special treatment. If that's you, then these articles are not for you. If you suspect you have some such condition, here is my advice: Stop using that possibility as an excuse not to try to lose weight. Go to the doctor, take some tests, then come back here if--as I suspect--you don't have any rare metabolism condition. If you are like me you don't have a metabolism problem, you have an eating problem. And for heaven's sake, please. pul-eeze don't call it, or think of it, as a "eating disorder"! Yikes. Drop that term like a hot baked potato... Hmmm...with real butter and sour cream...and chives...oh, and bacon bits and cheese. Sorry about that. :-)

Well, there is your intro. I want you to think about this little (but big) hard-to-swallow pill I've set on the dinner plate here before you. Think about what it would mean to take an ELEM-6 pill first thing every morning for the next ten months. Think about this for a few days and then I will tell you more about just how I got started and how, perhaps, you can get going in the same direction. See you back at this blog spot in day or two.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Weight Loss, Self-Image, Time Management and the Apple Cart

Little did I imagine, back in November of 2008 (the 19th to be exact) just how much an appointment with my doctor was about to change my life. People see my weight loss and think that's the big change. From their vantage point I know it is strikingly true. My appearance is so changed that some people at church are even struggling with a bit of cognitive dissonance and saying things like, "That was weird--I didn't recognize you for a moment there." I have to admit that, even for me, the thin-ish guy in the mirror is strangely unfamiliar still. I actually think my face looked much more friendly and warm when it was more rounded. And now that I have gone and shaved my head, my appearance looks, even to me, more different still--rather turtle-like really. Except for my white scalp and skin, I now look like one of the BlueMen (I love their music/act!). I suppose I'll get used to that turtle-headed guy in the mirror, but perhaps I'll need to try and purposely smile more to make up for the kind of gaunt monkish look my face has now taken on.

As I began to say, my appearance is not at all the biggest change since I began to lose weight. The biggest change is a shift in how I see and manage that ever-faster moving element in my life--that illusive, fleeting, mercurial, conveyor-belt-ish thing we call time (Remember that song by--Who was it?--called Time? It was all echo-y and psychedelic). My doctor had been on my case for two or three years about my weight. She said I needed to get more exercise and to do it more regularly and intentionally. I would always answer that I just couldn't fit it in to my busy schedule. I was already getting up at 6:30 or 7 and that seemed pretty early to me.

As I left the doctor's office with my prescription for Metformin--and a glucometer with which to prick my finger several times a day and record my blood-sugar levels--I determined that, convenient or not, I'd have to find a way to squeeze some exercise into my routine. The only place in my schedule for any new activity was in my mornings. Ugh. This would mean getting up earlier. I began getting up at 5:30, but after getting dressed and wrapped up (It was cold then in late November) it was ten-'till-six which didn't leave much time to walk and then take a shower. Eventually I found that the only way I could get ready and get in a sufficiently long was to get up at--gulp--4:45. Some days were really miserable. Now, almost one year later, this formally absurd hour of the morning seems a pretty "normal" time to get up. Nowadays for me, "sleeping in" means sleeping all the way through to 5:30 or 6:00. I guess it just proves that one can get used to nearly anything.

Well, Time compels me to wrap up this post and hit the "Publish Post" button so my waiting readers--both of you--can have a fresh morsel to consume. Now I must do some further research into something called Single Malt. Perhaps I will blog about my findings at some future time--Time permitting that is...