I’m craving Entenmann’s

Just to point out that this whole weight loss surgery thing isn’t the bed of roses it’s purported to be (as if that were really the case for me!), I’m craving an Entenmann’s cake right now. A whole one. Vanilla. The kind with the dark frosting that lifts off in a chocolaty peel of yummy goodness. It’d probably send me into sugar shock faster than I wrote this blog post. I’m blaming this craving on my sister. She started talking about Entemann’s the other day, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about that beautiful blue and white box. Gotta stay away from that supermarket end cap or 201.8 will be a fading memory…

Burger King’s Japanese Meat Monster – Godzilla on a Bun?

If McDonald’s is the Devil, as I’ve said before, then what’s Burger King? Scarier than Godzilla, if their latest creation is any indication.

As if the leaking radiation from the damaged Fukashima Daiichi nuclear power plant isn’t enough to kill the poor Japanese, Burger King has just launched a massive, 1,160 calorie, 820 Yen ($9.81) Meat Monster Whopper in the Pacific Rim nation. The Meat Monster is made of two burgers, a chicken patty, three bacon strips and two cheese slices, stuffed into a standard, sugary fast food bun. Oh yeah, they toss on some lettuce and tomato too. Need to make sure the Japanese get their fiber. The whole thing adds up to more than 60 grams of fat and 2,300 milligrams of sodium.

So much for the healthful, low-fat Japanese diet. Burger King is clearly rooting for obesity to take their country by storm, just like in the United States. Gotta grow the business internationally, right?


Here’s what the Huffington Post has to say about it

Slashfood says the Japanese can even customize this mega meal with teriyaki sauce, an egg or a fish patty, whatever that is.

And the Toronto Star says the chain is breaking a 2007 promise to lower trans fats in its meals. Or maybe not – the Meat Monster isn’t available to our friends in the Northern Territories. No word on whether it’s coming to our shores anytime soon.

Food Addiction Is Real, And It Ain’t Fun

I’ve said it before. Food can be addictive, and obesity isn’t necessarily a sign of weak-mindedness. Finally, there’s some scientific proof. An new Yale University study shows that so-called ‘food addicts’ show similar brain activity to other substance abusers. But don’t take my word for it. Here are some links to the study and related news reports:

Neural Correlates of Food Addiction, Archives of General Psychiatry, 4/4/2011

Food Addiction May Have Impact on the Brain, WebMD, 4/5/2011

Can people be addicted to food?, CBS News, 4/5/2011

Food May Be Addicting for Some, The Wall Street Journal, 4/5/11

Also, here’s a link to Google News, which lists additional articles on the topic.

So, the evidence is mounting that food can be addictive. It’s also the only addictive substance that we can’t actually live without. Recovering alcoholics can abstain from alcohol. Cocaine or heroine addicts in recovery can avoid drugs. But food addicts? We’ve still got to eat. It’s inherently unfair, ain’t it?

More speedbumps, a weight-loss milestone and the future…

So as of this morning I’m down to 201.8 pounds. Yes, I’m counting the decimals now. That’s a total weight loss of 124.2 pounds. Forgive my language, but HOLY SHIT!

Honestly, I haven’t felt a burning need to update the blog in a while, mainly because until the last two weeks or so I’ve been doing so well. I’m running, as much as 3.5 miles four times a week. At least I was, until about two weeks ago, when some belly pain kicked in again. It actually got pretty bad, and I ended up back in the hospital again, on heavy-duty painkillers. They can’t figure out what’s causing it. The surgeons say there’s “something there,” but they don’t know what. Their solution is to cut me open again and take a look. The GI guys have no better answers. At this point, for all I know, it’s in my head.

People keep asking whether I’m glad I had the gastric bypass in the first place. Clearly, it’s been a mixed bag. On the one hand, I’m closing in on a weight loss of 125 pounds. That’s huge. It’s an entire person. But it’s been more than 10 months since the original surgery and I’m still facing significant complications. The answer is that sometimes I’m glad, in the same way I was glad in the sixth grade when I finally kicked the @#$% out of Jeffrey Glick after he called me fatso for the millionth time. At other times, I think it was the biggest mistake of my life.

The truth is, it’s really not that simple. I can state without reservation that weight loss surgery has been the just about the worst experience of my life, in some ways worse than the premature birth of my son almost five years ago. But its also given me some amazing gifts. Yes, I’m a smaller, healthier person. It’s also taught me how to really advocate for myself, in the middle of a horrible crisis. Even more importantly, it’s helped me figure out what I want to do with my life. I want to write.

I’m working on turning this blog into a book about my experience. It’s a weight-loss memoir, but it’s also part self-help. It looks at the obesity crisis in our country and the pressures on men that make them unhappy. I’m hoping the project helps me learn why I got fat, and maybe provides some insight for others. Maybe I’ll actually get it published. It’s a big project, bigger than anything I’ve ever done before. Wish me luck.

In the meantime, I’m trying to stay out of the hospital and keep running.

I’m 208, down 113 with 13 to go!!!

I weighed 208 as of this morning. I dropped out of the ‘obese’ BMI category at 215 and now I’m well into the regular ‘overweight’ category. I bought a size 42 sportcoat today and need some new jeans – maybe size 32. HOLY COW!

So I’m revising my goal down from 215. I want to weigh 195. There’s something significant in my mind about getting below 200, although I couldn’t tell ya what it is.

Gotta drop the last 13 soon. Won’t likely happen by my birthday on February 25, but maybe by spring.


Size 38 and Falling Fast

My size 38 Levis are falling down. I’ve got my belt on the last buttonhole, cinched like a nerd, but they won’t stay up. I’m a long way from the 54 Levis hanging on the wall in my home office. Geez, they look like the Goodyear Blimp, floating there above my desk. Not a bad New Year’s gift, huh?

What absolutely blows me away is that I can walk into any store and buy clothes, right off the rack, like I’m a regular guy. I can even reject some stores if I don’t like their styles, like J. Crew, where I returned a bunch of things for their poor quality and odd fit. In the old days, I had to take whatever the folks at Rochester Big and Tall gave me. It’s a great feeling.

Still, I live in fear that I’m going to balloon back up. I have this recurring nightmare where I wake up one morning and none of my clothes fit. I slink out to Rochester wearing old sweatpants and the way-too-tight Atari t-shirt my best friend Jack gave me back in high school. Sometimes, especially late at night, when everyone in the house is asleep except for Scout and me, and I’m worried about the fight I had with my mom, or anxious about finding a job in this shit economy, when all I want is a juicy cheeseburger and fries. Sometimes I’ll walk into the kitchen hunting for leftovers – pizza, Chinese, carbs. Sometimes I’ll even have a few bites. But then I remember the bruising battle I went through to get this still-not-quite-svelte, 220 pound body.

I stop and use the In-Sink-Erator.

It’s not easy to keep my mouth shut. Weight loss surgery is a tool, not a cure-all. Yeah, I’ve lost over 100 pounds, my blood pressure is way down and my knees and hips don’t hurt anymore. I can run – well, jog/walk – almost two miles. But the surgery was nothing more than a physical remodeling of my insides. It didn’t directly change my mind, and there are times when I still want to binge. I’ll probably be fighting that impulse for the rest of my life.

In the meantime, I’m thinking about a jog and some smaller jeans.


Haunted by the McDevil

I’m at McDonalds for the first time wearing my new, slimmer, 105 pounds lighter body. There are two orders of Chicken McNuggets on the table in front of me, but I’m not here to eat. I’m just sipping a lousy cup of coffee.

The food is for my kids. Ari and I picked Annie up at Kung Fu a few minutes ago (she earned her blue belt the other night), and they begged for their occasional allotment of crappy junk food. We don’t make a big deal of it, but we don’t take them here often. No need to get them hooked, let alone feed my addiction. I’ve been clean for nine months.

I hate seeing my kids eat this highly processed, nutritionally dubious crap. It’s not food. It’s dreck, loaded with fat and useless calories, and a chemically-created, synthetic taste designed to create psychological cravings that empty wallets and grow sales. My children love it.

I guess in moderation it can’t hurt. I was never able to eat McDonalds moderately. A light snack was two Big Macs, a dozen McNuggets with mustard sauce, a supersize fries and a giant, orange-flavored sugary drink. Even more at mealtimes. Supersize Mike.

I honestly can’t believe I’m here. I swore McDonald’s off months before my gastric bypass. The old cravings kicked in as soon as the door opened, with the first whiff of rancid cooking oil. You can almost see the sheen of grease hanging in the air. It instantly coats your body, your clothes, your hair. I can see the sheen floating in my coffee, which has an oddly fatty taste. The food smells terrible. It’s gross. It’s delicious.

There’s lots of families here enjoying their ‘food.’ I’m not going to say they are all fat, but some are. Kids are smiling, Happy Meal toys held tight in their ketchupy fingers. Parents look relaxed. They’re getting a break from the fighting and whining, while the kids eat their McFat. They don’t know that they are all being seduced by the devil. The McDevil.

I’m not relaxed. I want outta here. Hurry up Ari, Anna – eat those McNuggets so we can leave. I’m gonna be sick.