Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Two pictures of me today and one last Autumn.
Three months ago today I ended a decade of eating food ridiculously high in calories, and exercising, what I will generously describe as, sporadically, and drinking like sailor on a 24 hour liberty in Hong Kong.
I didn't want to find the "new" me, hell, I wanted the "old" me back! But, by old I only mean weight wise. What would be new is my lifestyle.
On November 1, 2009 I started this 6 month vegan quest because I had no choice. Moderation was a failure, actually, moderation to me was an anathema. If I was going to lower my cholesterol which was at levels that made the Devil salivate, and if was going to reach back to a time when I was my healthiest, a time when the Berlin Wall still divided East and West, I was going to have to push all my chips to the center of the table and go all in. Not moderation, not portion control, not more exercise - I was going 100% vegan, work-out every other day, and belly up to my favorite taverns and order a seltzer water.
Heather Mills is tireless in her championing the vegan lifestyle, and she and her beautiful Consigliere had been after me to try this experiment for months. After some serious soul searching, and while on a bender in Montauk, I said to myself, "screw it, what's six months?" I picked up the phone, I dialed London, and I said simply, "I'm in." All in!
The realty of committing myself to such an endeavor was exhilarating and frightening at the same time. As I said on day one of this quest, "I love the food and drink pleasures of life too much to even think of going vegan!"
And that was the key to my decade of a health and wellness downfall - I viewed food and drink exclusively as pleasures. Nothing, and I mean nothing is wrong with pleasure. But, when pleasure becomes a daily part of your life, you will be doomed - you can find references to that slippery slope in the bible, in history, in family stories, and in leaflets at any doctor's office. It's a simple concept - food is fuel for your body, that's it! If you "reward" your body with chemically altered, processed food absent nutritional value because your brain not only thinks it's delicious, but it becomes addicted, your health is doomed to fail. Go outside right now in a public place, look left, and look right. Go back inside and pull some family photos from 40, 50 + years ago. Except for the clothes and hairstyles, what is different? The obesity of our nation and the reasons why are not debatable.
My determination was absolute. My fear was mentioned on day one of this quest as well, "I know full well that vegetables and fruits will be the cornerstone. That is my biggest fear -- will I get used to that?"
Did I get used to it? Of course. But the real change is that I actually ENJOY it!
My 6'4" frame carried around 302 lbs on November 1st. Today, I am 265 lbs. Exactly half way there both in time and weight loss. My cholesterol dropped 100 points down into a safe and healthy range. All this without medication. I take Vitamin D and a multi-vitamin every day. That's it.
I am not going to use this three month anniversary to trumpet my success thus far. I have another 37 lbs before I weigh the same as I did my Senior year in college.
Enclosed are photos from Fall 2009, twenty years on from my healthiest life. And pictures taken tonight in the place this crazy idea was first floated to me by Heather, P.J. Clarke's.
I am thrilled that I stuck to this quest, and simply look forward to the next three months, and the rest of my life.
Finally, like Samson losing strength with his hair being cut, I was fearful that I would lose my identity, my personality, and my sense of humor by eating a plant based diet, and cutting out the alcohol. Well, I'll let others weigh in on my personality and humor, but I can attest that my identity is the same - in fact it is better (although, I am back to being shy meeting new people).
I feel so much better, I feel great, but most of all I feel normal again.
My thanks to all of you who have been so supportive of me, from Boston, to Brentwood, to Brighton, to The Bowery.
It's only half-time though, and I still have the rest of the game to play as hard as I can.
Back to work! Tonight for dinner: I had a giant plate of raw broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery and tomatoes with a guacamole dip. It was fantastic.