My Losing List

Motivation wears off.


Now this is not a post about how everyone should be bathing daily - that is a whole different topic. ;)

During this week's Weight Watchers meetings, we are talking about creating a "Losing List." A losing list is a place for members to compile the reasons why they are looking to lose weight, create a healthy lifestyle or maintain the weight loss they already have.

The topic is wicked important to me. Since hitting goal in January 2012, I have found that I constantly need to remind myself why I lost the weight to begin with. Now it isn't because I really forget, but when I entered maintenance I found it more difficult than losing. I wasn't having the excitement of seeing a lower number on the scale each week.

I had to change my mindset. And with a new mindset came a new list of hurdles and a new level of motivation.

So I decided to create my own "Losing List."

1) Health - I didn't want to end up with high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.

2) Chairs - I wanted to comfortably fit in a chair with arms, airplane seats, movie theatre seats, etc.

3) Shopping - I wanted to be able to shop at "regular" clothing stores instead of the plus size stores.

4) Pants - I was tired of wearing sweatpants or pants that used a M-L-XL sizing chart just because I was avoiding seeing the actual size I had let myself reach ... which was a size 20.

5) Knees - I have knee pain (thanks genetics), but I learned that for every 1 lb I lost - it would relieve 3 lbs of pressure from my knees. Isn't that crazy?

6) Back - I had back surgery for a herniated disc midway through my weight loss journey and learned the more weight I kept off my back the better it was for my discs.

7) Stairs/Ramps - I was tired of getting winded by walking up stairs or trudging up the ramps at Wrigley Field during work.

8) My Wife - I wanted to start a healthy lifestyle so I would have a long future with my wife.

But to me, these are the easy answers. The ones that many people rattle off when starting a weight loss journey. But, I know in my heart of hearts there were deeper and truer reasons why I took that first step into Weight Watchers on November 2, 2009.

So here they are:

1) Self-Esteem - I HATED myself. I wanted to finally like - and over time learn to love - the person that I am.

2) Worth - I needed to prove to myself that I was WORTH making the change.

3) Eating Disorders - I wanted to prove to myself that I could lose weight and keep it off in a healthy manner. After battling two eating disorders for years, I knew there was a healthy way to lose weight.

4) Depression - Tired. I was so so tired of being unhappy with my outward appearance and the internal struggle I had to find the good inside myself. Which circles back to self-esteem.

5) Suicide - I hoped that as the weight began to disappear that the suicidal thoughts would do the same. I was so unhappy (see depression) for so long that the thoughts of suicide followed (especially in high school).

6) Hiding - I wanted to stop hiding behind my weight and start living!

Now, I didn't want to have so much of my self-worth tied to my weight, but it was. I thought that once the weight was gone I would be "cured," which I wasn't. But it has improved leaps and bounds.

Wow! Seeing all these things in writing really brings back the memories of how truly unhappy I was before embarking on this journey.

I can't always carry this list or blog post around with me so I need a physical object that can encapsulate the list. Weight Watchers calls these "anchors." I have more than one anchor - shocking! :P

photo (9)

One of my anchors is a tattoo. No I am not telling you you have to get yours tattooed on you too. ;)

Ancora Imparo is a Michelangelo saying in Italian which means: "I Am Still Learning."

This simple message helped easy my perfectionist mind deal with the ups and downs of a weight loss journey. I have it on my right wrist, which allows me to see it daily and touch it if I need an extra dose of motivation.

Will this list and anchor helped me through every single tough situation? No.

But that's why I have this list, this blog and this community - to pick me up when I need it.


What is your #1 reason for losing weight or embarking on a healthy lifestyle change?

Dear Former Self...

Dear Former Self, You are 30 and more importantly alive.

I know there were many times in High School, College and even after graduation where you thought about ending it all. Just slipping away because you thought no one would ever notice.

Well, people would have.

So thank you.

Thank you for not taking away the time I now have with the wife, friends, family and the world.

YOU are making a difference.

YOU are now brave enough to share your journey, your happiness, your sadness, your self doubts and your strengths with the masses.

And people appreciate that.

They appreciate you.

And you know what?

You are staring to appreciate yourself as well.

Now, I'm not going to tell you it is all rainbows and unicorns.

Okay - there are some rainbows - I mean you are gay after all. :)

But, seriously ... there is actual joy in your life. There are smiles that aren't forced. There are some serious kick ass accomplishments you are achieving.

Hello! Running The Boston Marathon in less than two weeks. I think we can classify that under Bad Ass and something we NEVER thought would happen.

But it is.

None of this could be happening if you hadn't made that decision in 2009 to walk through the doors of Weight Watchers and change your life forever.

Over the past four years, layers and layers of fat, insecurity, pain, self-doubt and self-loathing have slowly but surely been stripped away. There are little chunks lying around here and there, but they too will be shed over time.

You didn't have to think for all those years that you weren't worthy of true happiness because you were.

Why did you doubt yourself? Why did you put yourself down SO much? Why did you think you were so unworthy of being alive?

I don't know the answers. Maybe over time we will figure them out. But for now, we are happy to be moving past those.

The self-deprecating humor you used for so long as a shield is still here ... but now more out of habit. A habit that we are working on changing. The hatred behind it is lessening.

Someday it will go away completely, but we save that for a letter from our Future Self.

For now, in the current state, things are pretty awesome. Just know that all the pain you went through and held on to for so long is clearing ... it is being released and freed.

The heart is opening to the love of family, friends and even complete strangers you have come to meet - and love - online. The world is embracing you flaws and all and you are FINALLY embracing it back. You are sharing things with people you never thought you would.

And I have to say it feels GOOD.

So former self, thank you again for allowing me to be here ... for allowing me to feel ... for allowing me to live!


Your Current Self


... are okay! This simple three word sentence has taken me YEARS to understand and accept.

Well, I'm still working on accepting it, but getting closer and closer.

For years, I put on the smile and kept the way I really felt buried deep deep down. And in case it wasn't far enough, I piled food on top to make sure it was good and packed down. And to make sure the food was covered, I loaded up on layers and layers of fat to really make sure no one knew what was really going on on the inside.

There were times in high school where all I thought about was ending it all. I would look out on to the backyard or lay in bed and wonder if people would even miss me or show up to the funeral. But, I never wanted to burden anyone else with my thoughts or problems so I just let them sit in my brain and fester those negative thoughts. Which I think has to my ongoing journey of trying to nix the negative in my head.

For years I would tell myself that if I only lost weight all my problems would disappear. I can vividly see me - maybe in 8th or 9th grade - sitting in the car with my aunt telling her: "If I just got rid of like 50 lbs, everything would be better."

Well, news flash: losing weight does NOT make the problems/emotions/negative thoughts magically disappear. 


But, what losing weight has taught me is that it is okay to have feelings. It is okay to share the feelings. It is okay to release the feelings.

So now, when I am sad or mad or happy or frustrated or depressed I no longer feel like I have to bury those emotions under a plastered on fake smile.

I am allowed to be sad even when I feel it isn't justified. Does that make sense?

I know there are so many things I should be grateful for in my life and I don't want to seem unappreciative, but now I know it is okay to be sad even when I don't think I should be allowed to.

I AM allowed to feel any emotion at anytime. 

Through this blog, this tiny little space on the internet, I have given myself the freedom to release all of the emotional weight that bore down on my shoulders for years ... hence the title Weight Off My Shoulders. ;)

I have shared more on this blog than I ever thought I would. I thought I would bring those dark demons - eating disorder, cutting, etc - to my grave. But, once I wrote the inner thoughts down and hit publish (many times nervously) I felt a wave of relief come over me. I didn't have to bear these demons alone.

And you know what happened? I found others who were going through similar situations. I found confidants that I would never have otherwise. I found an outlet.

Now, I'm not saying everyone has to go around starting blogs - if that's not your thing - but I want to let you know that it is OKAY!

You are allowed to feel however you want.

If you feel more comfortable confiding in friends, do it.

If you want to see a therapist, do it.

If you like to use social media, do it.

But, just let it out.

Don't let the negative thoughts and feelings bury themselves into your brain and foster a harmful environment. I know from personal experience that it takes a looooong time to turn it around.

Just know ... you are NOT alone!

I am still a work in progress, but I know that I will not go back to the miserable/lonely person I was before.