Productivity

It’s Gotta Be Today

Hi, I’m Tony, and I’m a big dude. I’ve been fat most of my life – probably from 4th grade forward. It has definitely defined who I am, in the sense that it honed my sense of humor and sarcasm and I use those as a defense mechanism when I’m in the wild, so in a sense, I’m thankful for that. So +1 to fatness for making me funny.

I can do without the asthmatic wheezing, tiredness, not-fitting-int0-clothes(ness), and all the other things that being fat does. I’d gladly trade those in for a sense of rhythm or not-being-colorblind, but that’s not how this works so here I am.

I’m 33 years old today (technically I was 33 in March, but I’m still 33 at the time of this writing) and I can’t think of a better time to lose the rest of this fat, once and for all. I have 2 kids and a fiance whom I’m marrying in the fall. These are three great reasons to lose weight – I want to be here for a long time, for them. I want to be there for them, to be their shoulder to cry on, make fun of their music as they grow up, and for them to know that their dad always has their back.

These aren’t the main reasons I’m going to do this, though.

I’ve already lost 200+ pounds. I add that “+” in there because after I dropped 200 and got down to around 250, I’ve gained and lost the same 20-30 pounds so many times that I expect to win a yo-yo championship. Any day now, gonna get that trophy.

My prior success isn’t the reason I’m doing this, though.

I’ve been fat my whole life and have no idea what I look like as a thin adult, or even a healthy-weighted adult. I want to chase my kids and not get winded. I want to be comfortable sitting in chairs at the theater (on the rare occasion that I, as a parent, get to see the inside of a theater). I want to get a handle on my binge-eating, and have a healthy relationship with food.

These still aren’t the main reasons I’m going to lose this weight for good and all, though.

I’m losing this weight because I’m so goddamned tired of living the same week/month/year over and over again. Am I cursed? Did I kick a witch in a former life and now I’m cursed to relive the same day over and over again? I mean, I guess maybe, but I’m going to approach this from a different viewpoint.

Hi! I’m Bill Murray From Groundhog Day!

It’s not a curse, though it feels like one. My stream-of-consciousness reflection that I am presenting here may be useful to you, as this feeling is broadly applicable to just about any self-fulfilling prophecy about failure you could have, be it weight loss, romance, starting a crab farm, whatever.

Essentially, I recognize (at 33) that my problems are mostly my fault. I have a cool family, a big, dumb dog who loves me, a house, a good job, talents, bo-staff skills, a big yard for my garden, books, etc. I am a white male in a patriarchal, white-centric society. I grew up in a good Italian family, had the best grandparents in the world, went to private school my whole life.

So why am I fat? Why am I spinning my wheels at my writing career? Why do I half-ass everything that I do? Why do I have “problems”?

Because I make stupid, id-centric decisions. Just all the time, it’s awful. By id-centric, I mean I tend towards bad impulse control. As I mentioned above, I binge-eat. I sit for long spells, drinking and watching bad television. I play video games. And I also love writing out goals in a notebook. I have a lot of goals, and I’ve HAD a lot of goals for a long time. I’m a procrastinator and we LOVE to plan, because it doesn’t take anything but imagination to plan, and the one thing it doesn’t take ANY of, is actually doing anything.

I look back into my old notebooks and I see all these grand plans to write, to start this website, to lose weight. I look back 1, 2, 5 years and see over and over again the grand goals and the ferocious, terrible crashes that resulted from my non-application of willpower.

So no more. And I don’t mean “flowery-text-on-an-Instagram-platitude” done, I mean for real, 100% time-to-go done. How am I approaching this lofty goal of “done”? By dropping the “ne”.

DO

Thank you motivational municipal structure. I will DO.

What separates procrastination from domination is a D and an O (there are other letters, too, but they don’t fit with what I’m trying to do here, so please just humor me). I’ve had these goals for years and the one thing that keeps me from achieving them is that I never really DO them. It’s not easy, but it is simple. I plan, I write stuff down, I make lists, but I don’t actualize them.

For instance, I found an old notebook from like 10 years ago at my mom’s house. In it, one of my goals for that year was to “lose weight”. I scoffed at that, because what does that even mean? I could have lost a limb and been able to scratch that goal off. I never got past the goal-creating portion of success, and that’s a huge problem. Failure to launch.

I did a little research on successful goal completion, and my notebook is a lot cleaner. It goes Goal -> Deadline -> Goal broken down into actionable bits -> weekly recap. If you’re trying to succeed at something, the first step is to just actually do it, and that’s way easier if you have a plan.

So now I have a goal, and I have a plan to reach that goal, broken down into little, do-able pieces that I can accomplish and cross off, one after another. This also feeds your ego, because it gives you a concrete sense of accomplishment, and as a gamer, I thrive on small, incremental victories or achievements. So now what? What’s the next barrier?

Stop Making Dumb Choices

My goal is fat loss, and how do you do that? Keep your sugars low, your calories at a deficit, throw in some exercise. Again, it might not be easy, but it is simple. Why then haven’t I lost the last 76 pounds (I’m currently sitting at 276) sitting between me and my goal weight?

Because I make dumb choices. I choose to stay up late cursing at my computer in little, losing-at-Hearthstone based increments, or watching Rick and Morty. This causes me to get up late, which causes me to not exercise or plan my day. I get to work, get derailed easily because I’m sleepy, I don’t have the willpower to avoid bad food that I would had I worked out or gotten sleep, so I eat garbage, come home and binge. Then I go to bed disgusted with myself. I recognize this pattern and that breaking it will require willpower but also some planning. Being aware of your overall goal, and stopping to think how each individual bad choice can cascade into a bucketful of botched plans is the first step in undoing those patterns of bad choices. Just like how a butterfly flaps its wings in Japan and so I eat a box of Pop-tarts here in America (nature is wonderful and complex), so to does every action affect the next, even if they’re seemingly mundane.

Finding where that stupid butterfly is metaphorically in my daily life and stopping him from flapping his wings is crucial to breaking the patterns and habits that keep me from achieving my goal.

Evaluate Constantly

Finding these notebooks shows me that I had planned, I had written my goals down, but I clearly never went back and reevaluated them. I have a compulsion to buy a new notebook when I’m gearing up to PLAN; a clean, fresh start. That’s why I have so many. If I had set a goal, set a process, and then set a date to go back and see how I was coming along, my failures would be much more acute and a lot harder to swallow.

So that’s what I’m doing now. I’m using the quarter-system for my goals, something I learned from this FANTASTIC book, and I’m reevaluating progress on a weekly basis. Knowing you have 3 months to accomplish goals rather than a full  year makes them much more pressing, and the need for a clear plan MUCH more important.

Honestly the most important thing is to be aware of yourself and your goals. Losing yourself in comfort, food, leisure – this is a low level of living, one that I’ve been in for 15 years. This is a picture of a notebook my fiance bought me for our anniversary. It represents my new relationship with notebooks – goals, planning, actionable bits, reevaluation, and at the back of the book: success.

Yes it’s Dr. Seuss. No you can’t have it.

21 Comments

  • jodie Reply

    Good plan, Tony!!
    We can’t change the past, but hopefully we learn from it and you are totally on the right track!
    Jodie

  • Linda Hobden Reply

    You sound like my husband and the reasons behind wanting to lose weight eg to be around for the children echo his thoughts too. My husband is 15 years older than you but 10 years ago he started to get chest pains and it frightened him enough to join a weight watching club and he has lost over 6 stone in weight and he has lowered his cholesterol significantly too 😊 He says that to lose weight you need to be in the right frame of mind, have the determination & willpower. He loves food so it has been difficult however he walks 5 miles a day and cycles 20-30 plus miles on a daily basis too. Eat less move more is his mantra. Tony, I feel that you have got that right mindset too and I know that you’ll reach your goals. Wishing you the best of luck & congratulations on your weight loss so far.😊

  • Anna R Palmer Reply

    Living with and for your kids is a great motivation. I have 70 pounds to lose and feel like the downs always come with more ups. Weight wise I mean. To hear you have lost 200 (+) pounds is incredible!

  • Robin Reply

    While my weight fluctuations have not been as significant as yours, mine have been greater than average — and in all honestly, they’ve mostly fluctuated up! I like to plan too. But, I’ve always been afraid to set an actual goal for fear of failing. Until this time. When I decided to lose weight this time, I didn’t flinch. I can’t tell you why, but this was the time that I knew I could do it. And, I AM! I’m down 75 with 75 to go. You can do this … and so can I!

  • Christina Reply

    Tony you’ve got this!! You are very intuitive about your shortcomings, more so than most of us. That coupled with some drive and a little grace tossed in there will get you to your goal!

  • Alexis @FITnancials Reply

    200 pounds?! That’s amazing! I’ve lost about 60 pounds, and I’m currently focusing on gaining muscle.

  • Mandi Reply

    You’ve come so far. I have no doubt that you can do this!

  • ShopGirl Anonymous Reply

    My husband is the king of procrastination, but it works for him. It may drive me batty but in the end there is nothing he does that isn’t done with excellence. Don’t push yourself too hard, some people work better under pressure.

  • Lee Gaitan Reply

    You have already accomplished so many amazing feats, but I hear you on needing to slay the procrastination demon and I’m on board!

  • Debbie Reply

    Great read Tony, all the best for your goals – you’re well on the way to achieving them.

  • Sharon Duerst Reply

    Keep going toward the most awesome you, Tony! I like your humor and your dedication and re-dedication – because that’s what it takes in life! Just keep DOing! Nothing is a fail, but many things can be setbacks. Just keep the faith and go for it!

  • Austin Reply

    I do the same thing. I lose all this weight, and then stupidly put it on again. I blame winter in Maine because there’s so much snow and it’s so cold, so there’s no place to run and no desire to leave the warmth of the house to do so.

    I’m down 20 lbs since April 1, and I really hope the weight loss sticks this time!

  • Trudy Reply

    Due to my thyroid, I am always fighting my weight. I hate it but I realize that it is just life now, little decisions every day.

  • Stacey W Reply

    I think all of your goals and drive is amazing. It is going to matter so much more as you watch your kids grow up and you are able to enjoy it all! Keep it up!

  • Jennifer Reply

    I am currently fighting my weight, which is disheartening, as a yoga teacher. It helps to read your posts.

    • Monechetti Reply

      I’ve fallen off the horse just about a 1000 times since I initially lost the bulk of my weight 5 years ago. I dropped 200 pounds and then have gained and lost the same 30 or 40 every year for the last 5 – it’s all about avoiding complacency honestly. At least for me anyway.

  • Carol Cassara (@ccassara) Reply

    Tony, I feel like you are in my head as we share some of the very same concerns. Which is why I like to read you.

    • Monechetti Reply

      Thanks! 🙂

  • Anna R Palmer Reply

    Motivational municipal structure. I love that phrase and that concept. I DO. Thank you once again for reminding me that this is a process and I am not a product.

  • Carol A Cassara Reply

    You are so inspirational, Tony. Thank you for this.

  • Laurie Stone Reply

    I find being very conscious helps a lot, as you said, making good choices. I write down everything I eat and when I gain a few, I can go back and see the patterns (usually just plain eating too much). Congratulations on your courage and determination, Tony. That’s half the battle.

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