Small Obstacles, Big Obstacles

Crossing the Bridge

It has been quite a while since I have written anything on this blog.  The last few months have thrown a number of obstacles and challenges my way and I seem to have let them get to me.

  • I already face the big obstacle of hypothyroidism. This makes it difficult to lose weight and control my metabolism, even with a daily dose of Levothyroxine, which is also known as Synthroid.  I have been on a daily dose of this for over 15 years.
  • After losing a job in November last year, stress levels increased.  When I am stressed, I eat.
  • Looking for work increases stress too.
  • I finally had an opportunity arise and, in March, I drive across the country to Idaho to work on landing the position.  Traveling cross country by car is generally not conducive to good dietary habits unless one is Uber-committed.  Fast food is easier and tastes good….
  • I spent two weeks in a hotel in Idaho and was on the road a week before that and a week after that. I ate when and where I could.  Not conducive to good dietary habits either.
  • Seems like a little depression kicked in…more sleep, less exercise

OK…I know…Excuses, excuses…

Excuses, Excuses

Perhaps the biggest challenge has been that routines went out the window, bad habits were re-instituted and the desire to get back on track had dwindled.  Just last month, while on the road, I ate some wonderfully tasting and totally not healthy things.  Here are a few photos…and confession time.

Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy and a Loaded Potato at Chriswell’s Trail’s Inn in Ashton, Idaho

A giant burger at Jud’s near Rexburg. This was a Man vs. Food Place…they serve a five pound burger!!

Dutch Letters Pastries in Pelle, Iowa. Yes, they are filled with yummy stuff.

Corn Dogs and Fries at Cozy Dog in Springfield, IL. This is the home of the Original Corn Dog

Had a Philly Cheese Steak and Tots at Rupe’s in Blackfoot, ID. I did avoid the Rice Crispy Treat Shake, though it sounded tempting!!

Pastrami Sandwich and Sweet Potato Fries at JJ’s Diner in Newell, SD

16 oz Steak and Loaded Potato at Frontier Bar near Shelby, Montana

Eggs, Sausage, Hash and Potatoes at Leaning Tree in Babbs, MT

Not seeking sympathy…rather, these are more like speed bumps and I hit a ton of them while traveling.

Speed Bumps along the way – lots of them!!

My frustrations…..

  • Seems like quitting smoking can be done… we don’t need it to live
  • Stopping drinking can be done… we don’t need alcohol to live (though some may differ!)
  • But, we MUST eat.  We cannot give up food. So we then need to choose what we eat

The other big obstacle is that I like tasty food!! I am by no means saying that fat free foods and vegan foods are not tasty. My wife has made some absolute killer tasty fat free vegan foods.  In fact, we had some split pea soup today that was made with garam masala.  It was a thick porridge like soup with that distinctive Indian savory taste.  Perhaps it is the “savory” part that I really like.  I like the thick, spicy, cheesy things in life.  And a road trip always has those goodies out there!!

Challenges – so many and so often

Since I have been home it has been hard to kick the habit as well.  Seems like I want my one or two Diet Cokes a day.  They taste better than water.  They have that sweet (but not sugary) fizz to them.  It is almost like a comfort drink for me.  But, inherently, I know I could (and most likely should) do without.  Then, there are the comfort foods…burritos at Taco Bell, a good cheeseburger, barbecue, fresh baked rolls, a good cheese enchilada at a nice Mexican restaurant, provolone cheese straight from the package.  Notice the relative lack of cookies, cakes and candy.  I can generally do without those but do enjoy a good shortbread cookie from Panera’s, I like Cow Tails, dark chocolate Milky Way bars and the occasional ice cream cone.

Detours and Do Not Enters

Here’s the rub…when I am on any restrictive diet, one that disallows me from enjoying the foods noted above, then all of sudden I want them more.  I am like the cow behind a fence that sees much tastier grass on the other side of the fence but is being kept away from it.  Like any human, I thrive on freedom of choice.  And then there are the guilt trips when I do cross the fence.  I love my travel, but I certainly don’t enjoy the guilt trips…

Going on a Guilt Trip

My sweet wife, and yes, she is sweet and loving and cares about her husband’s mortality and future, often notes that she “has been wicked” after eating something that is not within the definitions of her dietary regimen.  Seems like every time she says that I reply flippantly with something like “You have not been wicked…you did not commit adultery, you did not steal from someone, you did not kill or maim someone.  You just ate something that you enjoyed.”  Is enjoying good food (and I am not saying “healthy” food here) an act of wickedness?  Should I feel guilty over it?  This is my dilemma at this stage of my life.  Seems like it is always an uphill battle for me.

Uphill Battles

The uphill battle and also the big obstacle in my life … I don’t enjoy my big bulky body, I do wish to lose weight for health reasons and for better ease in buying clothes and for many other reasons.  But, I also have the big giant rocks of enjoying foods I enjoy and not being fenced off from enjoying them, the rocks of trying to stay within some boundaries, the boulders of guilt (both self-induced and also provided to me by others) when I do stray into those lush fields of “comfort foods” in my many times of weakness.

I saw the following photo the other day when I was looking through my many pictures.  This was me at age 21, shortly after I returned from a two year LDS mission in Japan.  How is it that I have changed so much over the last 35+ years?

Jemez Springs, NM in 1978 with my brother Gary. What happened? I looked great back then.

October 2012 – yes I am big!! What has happened?

These two photos perhaps are the most telling thing in my battle with weight…I continue to lose the battle, not the weight. Why is my drive for the “good and tasty” stronger than my drive for the “good and healthy”?  I still stay active (in some respects).  Heck, in March I traveled over 6500 miles, saw myriads of things, wrote travel blogs, got a new job, helped my wife as she establishes her new business. I do go go go quite often.  But, as one good friend so succinctly told me a few months back…”Dave, you are the most active big guy I have ever met.  Most regular sized people can’t keep up with you.  But, imagine how much more you could accomplish if you could dropped 100 pounds.”

The Road is Long and Hilly (taken in South Dakota in early April 2013)

I know that as I get older day by day, getting this burden off of my shoulders (and the rest of my body) gets harder and harder.  I need some sort of mental miracle….but I still want that tasty cheese enchilada….  AARGH!!

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