Thursday, January 10, 2008

Yes, I AM "that guy"

I struggle with this weight loss thing. That much is evident. I think one of the things that makes it difficult for me is that I am, by nature, a social person. To make matters worse, I LOVE food. All kinds.... I grew up eating exotic foods from the time I was four years old (my dad really wanted us to "try" everything). That netted a person who just plain loves food.

Anyhow, moving ahead to today... The fact that I am a social person makes it very difficult for me to turn down going out to lunch/dinner with friends. And, when I get there, makes it difficult for me to be "that guy" (By "that guy" I mean being on a diet). I do it... but I feel terrible about it. For those who understand what I'm going through, we try and decide on a place that is likely to have a number of healthy selections. For those that think that I'm "ok the way I am", we just go where ever they/we choose.

Then, there is the added problem of dates with my wife (the date isn't the problem, I'll explain). She stays at home with our 15 month old daughter and doesn't get as much interaction as either of us would like her to. So, we make it a point to try and get out together (whether with Sophie or without) once a week. With a child, one of the few things that we can do is go out to eat. My wife is very understanding of my want to lose a little more weight. Even though, she contends that I look great the way I am. But, she gets tired of always having to cook the healthy dinner or go to the restaurant with the healthy food. This is absolutely not a rant. Don't take this the wrong way. It's just the reality of the situation. It's tough.

Overall, my nature is not to be so restrictive. In fact, my first love in life was/is food. So... it makes this very difficult. Why do I do it? I know that I have a little ways to go to be in a healthy range. I also like what it does for me from a personal image standpoint... And finally, I wanna be fast. Here's to fighting the good fight.


cymrusteve said...

"I wanna be fast. Here's to fighting the good fight."

Great attitude Eric.

Just curious, are you able to track your body fat percentage as well as your weekly weight? Don't necessarily take the weight figure as the most important. As you build muscle, you'll drop body fat buy your weight may go up.

Just a thought anyway. Great post and nice insight into being "that guy"!

Anonymous said...

It is difficult. Going out to eat is a ton of fun and I like to get away from things and enjoy a meal with friends too.

Lunch tomorrow?

Amanda said...

You know I enjoy eating healthy and luckily my fiance doesn't care all that much about eating out...but he does want Mexican and Chinese and well those usually aren't on my runner friendly food list. So we have learned to enjoy going out and him eating, me talking. People at work...yeah they don't really get why I don't want to eat fast food, but you know what...I'd rather feel good than give a hoot. :) Good luck in your advetures THAT GUY.

Eric Gervase said...

Lucky for me... I have some good support at work (Nate). And, my wife is pretty supportive. I just don't really enjoy being "that guy". It's hard, I feel like everyone is always judging me.

cymrusteve... I am able to track my body fat %. However, it's not a real encouraging number right now since I'm not running. I'm at 19%-21% depending on the day. I keep an eye on it, but don't log it like my weight. I have a good idea when I am losing/gaining good weight though. You're right though... gotta remember to keep things in perspective.

I don't want to jinx it... But, I'm having a great week with weight loss so far. Hmmm... Two more days to a positive weigh in. Awesome.

Bill said...

Good luck on the weight control journey. I was in a similar position to you about a year and a half ago, and I was definitely "that guy" on occasion. I would get really stressed out if I thought I was eating poorly for a meal, but there was always a desire to socialize, which as you mentioned, is often around restaurant meals.

One insight that really helped me was trying to think about food and exercise goals on a weekly basis instead of having anxiety on a meal by meal basis. I realized it is okay to go out and enjoy a few meals a week that aren't nutritionally perfect as long as you are keeping your eye on the ball and not going crazy.

While it isn't as gratifying, I think it is much better to slowly lose weight with a life style you (and those around you) can handle for the long-term than to do a crazy weight-loss push where you feel like you are always being self-punished or are unable to enjoy normal activities.

It sounds like you are making good progress, hang in there, keep fighting, but don't forget to enjoy life.

At my heaviest I weighed approx 75 lbs more than I do now (~145), and it took me a long,long time before I had consistent success with managing my weight (probably my 57th time trying was a charm). I've done a pretty good job reprogramming myself, but I still need to keep an eye on my habits to make sure bad ones don't creep back in.

cyberpenguin said...

Agree 100% with Cymrusteve! There's lots of truth in what he wrote.

I can certainly relate to your comments about food. Sounds like we are on the same wavelength lately; maybe you've read my post about my recent challenge of trying to eat healthfully while going out to lunch with my friends?

Eating out can certainly be difficult, but it doesn't have to be impossible. Maybe you can find healthy alternatives & still join your friends for lunch/dinner? Usually restaurants are pretty accomodating if you need to alter the amount of certain ingredients, the portion size, or other factors. If it's next to impossible to find healthy choices at a restaurant, perhaps you can suggest other restaurants that do offer healthy alternatives. I think people who are truly your good friends should be understanding as well as supportive of your quest for good health. So stick to your guns!

Also, it might help you to seek support from people who are equally focused on good health, & who also face the same challenges as you. I find that many of my friends who are runners have the same priorities as me; and it certainly makes eating out a whole lot easier! ;-)

But back to eating: I can understand where you're coming from with regard to enjoying food. I unabashedly love to eat & am not one of those stereotypically bird-like eaters of the female persuasion. I've have none of that "salad-ordering & then picking from my mate's plate" type of behavior. Hahahaha.

My s.o., Erik, likes to joke that I have a photographic memory for the meals we eaten over the last 10 years. The funny thing is that a lot of my friends & family members are the exact same way! ;-) They enjoy all sorts of food from around the world; it's great to hang out with adventurous eaters. They usually have a sense of adventure about life as well!

Got a hearty appetite & am not ashamed to say so! I think that in most instances a healthy appetite is a sign of robustness & health.

That's one of the great thing about running & eating healthfully; because you know that you're doing all of these very healthy behaviors, it gives you a freedom to eat without guilt. You can chow down with a sense of enjoyment that most people would envy. I'm not saying that I run to eat (Heheheh!), but when I do make the conscious choice to eat treats or to splurge on a hearty meal, you better believe that I'm going to enjoy it with every fiber of my being! ;-)

Like good company, food is one of the great pleasures of life!

The Europeans could certainly teach us Americans the value of enjoying our food without guilt. You know all of those books & articles about how the French are so thin but yet eat lots of cheese, cream, butter, & bread? Well, I lived in France & I can tell you from personal experience that, like the Germans, they stay thin by incorporating exercise into their every day routine. In France, they walk to their local markets every day to buy fresh ingredients for the meals they are going to make that day. And in Munich, they have bike paths going everywhere, & people regularly use them to get to work.

Also, the French don't necessarily eat treats in large quantities like so many Americans do. True, they enjoy their food, but they eat rich foods in reasonable & moderate quantities, & seem to take more time savoring their food. Of course, eating slowly also helps one to achieve satiety & avoid overeating. I think that this concept -- of eating (& drinking for that matter) as experiences that are meant to be savored slowly -- is really profound & quite useful in a practical sense too!

The trouble usually occurs when we allow ourselves to be affected by other people's opinions of our eating or feel guilty or hemmed in by external or self-imposed restrictions.

Please don't give that power to other people; you are clearly doing a great job with your exercise & meal plans on the whole.

Just ignore those unsupportive words & the judgmental glances, because deep down, you know your inner resolve & gut instincts are taking you in the right direction.

Believe me, I know what it's like to experience those disapproving comments & looks of judgment from others! The funny thing is that before I lost the weight, I got this kind of response primarily when I was making unhealthy food choices, & now it happens when I watch what I eat & make healthy food selections. I tell you, you can't win, & you can't please everyone. So why bother even trying?!!!!

I know this is probably going to sound very dramatic, but learning to eat without guilt can be a very powerful experience, as it frees a person from external/internal judgment & expectations.

Here's an idea: Maybe it would help if you allow yourself 1 cheat meal a week; and go ahead & truly enjoy yourself too! That way, you could go out to dinner with your wife &/or your friends & not feel like the party-pooper of the bunch. And you still get to spend time with your family & also still hang out with your friends.

OK, please excuse the full-length essay! ;-)

Hope you're healing from your injuries & doing well!


Eric Gervase said...

Well... It appears as if I've touched on a nerve that isn't just exposed for me.

Bill... congrats on 75 pounds. Wow. That's pretty incredible. The reason I'm making a "push" right now is because I have been at or around 200 pounds for about 6 months now. That's a good thing that I've been able to maintain. But, I still have goals of getting thinner. So, I figured 8-10 pounds in an 8 week period would be a good goal. And then, I'd give myself the ability to plateau there for a while.

Corey.. Thanks for the "essay" :) In fact, I hadn't read your post about healthy eating with friends. It's kind of funny. I don't get a whole lot of grief and bad looks from people. I'm just, as Nate would call it, the "good time guy". I've lived my whole life (for the most part) as the "don't do anything in moderation" guy. So, I almost feel uncomfortable in my own skin sometimes. I'm sure I'm just imagining some of this stuff.

I have allowed myself one cheat a week. And, if I have been doing good that week, I don't get stressed out at all about it. But, I can't/don't always hold to that plan of one cheat.

Overall... I've lost just over 30 pounds and still have the patience/drive to still want to lose more. So, I must be doing something right. But, it's simple, not easy (Also a Nateism).

cyberpenguin said...

Hahahaha, yes it's definitely a topic to which many of us can relate! ;-)

OK, well that's good that you don't get a whole lot of grief and bad looks from people. That's probably just me projecting my own issues onto the situation you described - Whoops! Heheheheh.

Can related to the not doing things in moderation bit (mea culpa! for many years), & understand how hard it is to break those habits too!

It's probably not so much that you're imagining things, but rather that this is your perception. And as they say, perception is reality, but of course your perception isn't a fixed entity either. ;-)

So is your image as the "good time guy" something that bothers you or are you OK with it? Is it just that you want to step out of this mold & have difficulty in doing so, because you feel the weight of other people's expectations? Or, that it's a challenge to change your image from the "good time guy" to "that healthy guy"?! ;-)

Also, after reading your recent comments, it sounds like you've actually got a great handle on your eating & are actually doing well with eating in moderation, but rather, your primary issues are how to deal with others in relation to your eating habits, & still feel OK about it.

Just out of curiosity, how many friends do you have that make a stink if you suggest a restaurant where you can also eat something healthy? Also, are these friends in shape or not? ;-)

OK, I know the phrase "make a stink" sounds a bit harsh, but I'm curious to know if the issue is really the perception of "what's normal" amongst your guy friends. I know there are a lot of guys who make a big deal about maintaining the image of "eating like a guy" & such. And that image usually involves eating a lot of hearty foods & lots of meat. And probably reverting back to some of the eating habits of their carefree bachelor days. ;-)

Also, how many friends do you have that are understanding of the changes you have incorporated or are still trying to incorporate into your life? Do you generally feel like you're surrounded by supportive people (in your non-virtual/blogging life, that is! ;-))?

Maybe it's just me, but I think that eating healthy should be the norm, & that the other kind of eating should be reserved for special occasions. But then again, I was raised by health nuts, & am also female. ;-)

All in all, I think that your achievements & ambition (for good health/running) are really commendable! Can't wait to see what you're up to next!

Eric Gervase said...

I'm ok with being the good time guy. I don't think it's always the best thing for me. But, it's kind of who I am. No biggie.

Most of my friends are approving. The others aren't disapproving per se. I just don't really let them in to my struggle. I kind of diet in silence. I don't know why... But, I feel guilty about watching what I eat sometimes.

And, your point about guys watching what they eat is a very insightful one. I do think that I feel kind of funny about not eating like a "guy". Interesting... I'm sure that is one of the things at work here.

Anyhow, thanks for the responses. This weight loss stuff gets kinda complicated, huh?

a.maria said...

i hear ya in that it is tough.. but i think its just about making good decisions. you don't always have to be at a health joint to make a healthy food choice!!

cyberpenguin said...

You're welcome. Just thought it might be helpful to think about the answers to those questions, not really even as answers for others, but as answers for yourself -- for your own benefit! ;-)

Thanks! I think you're got some very normal "guy behavior" in many ways, especially regarding your mention of your "silent struggle" with your diet. (Of course, as you already know, most women typically aren't exactly silent when it comes to sharing their diet dilemmas with their friends, but it doesn't mean that women don't encounter their own unique share of challenges in this arena, regardless of that fact! ;-) ) Nonetheless, it's good that you're aware of all the different factors of your mental makeup. It'll make you that much stronger when you encounter challenges, of any sort. ;-)