Make a C.H.O.I.C.E.

Obesity is a disease, NOT a choice. But we have the choice to make a difference. Obesity is the key public health threat in the United States – approximately 70 million adults are obese, obesity is the second-leading cause of preventable death and costs our healthcare system $147 billion per year.1 These startling facts highlight the health crisis we face, but also opens the dialogue for change we can create together by addressing the epidemic and accepting all solutions. To tackle the obesity epidemic requires a commitment to both prevention and treatment and it will only happen with the help of consumers, healthcare professionals and Congress.

9 million children are obese in the United States. Prevention and educational programs are critical to ensure obese children do not become obese adults and to prevent healthy weight adults from becoming obese.13
Diet & Exercise
For the approximately 97 million adults in the United States who are overweight14, diet and exercise is the recommended treatment to help them lose and maintain a healthy weight.
Weight-Loss Surgery
15 million Americans are 100 pounds or more overweight and the medical research has found weight-loss surgery, combined with diet and exercise, is the only long-term effective treatment.2

Jamie Oliver’s TED Prize wish: Teach every child about food | Video on

Love this website TED. Awesome ideas and inspiring stories.
This video is a talk by Jamie Oliver that really spoke to me. It changed how I looked at what I eat everyday and shed light on some poor habits that got me where I am. Well worth a look.

Jamie Oliver’s TED Prize wish: Teach every child about food | Video on

Major Anxiety !!!

So this is by first boo hoo post of what I am sure will be many but if I don’t put this stuff up on the blog it defeats the purpose.

Tomorrow is a big day in my mind. I am committed to this and at first the only feelings I had about tomorrow where excitement and a little bit of nervousness. On my way home though, I had a pretty intense breakdown. I want  need this so much and I have major anxiety that I am going to have to wait 6+ months for insurance to cover the surgery. I don’t know if I can handle that.

The only thing I can compare it too was how I felt before I asked Karlie to marry me. I knew without a doubt that I needed her, that choosing her to be my wife would change my life forever. To me, the emotions about getting this surgery is a lot the same. I am ready to change my life but ultimately the it is not only up to me. At least with Karlie I had someone who loved me on the other end. This time on the other end is United Health Care. Needless to say I am not expecting much love from an insurance company.

Besides feeling painfully desperate, I also started to let my mind wander in what if land. What if something goes wrong and the doctor botches up, what if I died? What would happen to my babies and my wife? Yea, I was letting the worst possible scenarios get the best of me but I couldn’t help it.

I came home and bawled to Kar for a good 5 min. and after getting it out of my system gained some clarity and realized I needed a father’s blessing. When I get to worrying about things I have no control over I need to remind myself, that’s when I need to let God take over and put my faith in him.This thought started to get my head right again. I decided it was high time I got a father’s blessing.

Hard to like what I see now

I expected there to be a lot of things that would need to change in my life if I did or didn’t decide to get surgery but the one thing I wasn’t prepared for was the change in how I felt about myself.

I think it is built into every guy to be able to look in the mirror and regardless of what he sees, is able to pump himself up. We have to get to the point where we truly believe, even if just for a moment, that we are true studs. I think god puts that confidence in us so that we will have the courage to go after girls, defend our families and take on the world to become the breadwinner for our loved ones. That used to come easy to me.

Lately I have found it harder to find things about myself I like. In order to make real change I have had to face some pretty harsh realities about myself. I am finding I don’t like the person I am discovering. There have even been times that I have been reluctant to go places because I am embarrassed that people will see me. Faults of mine that were obvious to everyone else, I used to be able to somehow brush off. Self preservation? Necessary delusion? I don’t know, but now I look in the mirror and I see what the harsh world sees, an obscenely fat person. I look at the guy in the mirror and I want to ask him, why are you so big? Do you even care about yourself? Why did you let yourself get this way? Are you just a lazy person who can’t stop eating or what? Maybe I am not being fair to myself or maybe it’s what needs to happen to make me wake up.

There are moments of clarity and perspective but truly, the only thing that keeps me going is the fact that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I am having my first appointment at the Surgical Weight Loss Center of Utah this week. I am so excited. For me this appointment makes it real. I will be posting details about the initial consultation, whats going to happen & with whom in the next couple days.

Here wo go!

I am really excited about my first consultation at The Surgical Weight Loss Center of Utah tomorrow. Here is what’s supposed to go down:

  • Go to initial consultation “class”
  • Meet with Dietitian for a diet evaluation
  • Meet with a Physiologist for an exercise evaluation
  • Meet with a Psychologist (I like this one. It will be interesting.)
  • Meet with an insurance coordinator to review my insurance and figure out what is needed for the procedure to be covered. (This is where I will probably have to jump through hoops)

The whole thing is supposed to take about 3 Hours. Thanks Uncle Colin and Grandma Larsen for babysitting so Karlie can come with me.

First Day of School, Last Day of Elevators

6:00 AM

  • phone alarm starts playing the theme song to “Air Wolf” to wake me up, I hit snooze.

6:05 AM

  • Airwolf…Snooze…Repeat (3 more times)

6:25 AM

  • Finally give into the alarm, roll outta’ bed, pee, do an ABC shower

6:35 AM

  • Grab meals my wife lovingly prepared to get me off to a good caloric start

7:02 AM

  • Arrive at work after blazing through traffic at speeds that are more fitting to a bullet bike than a Honda Element

I am now confronted with 2 options:

  1. Take the elevator, maintain composure, and be ready to get on the phone with a customer
  2. Take the stairs, start sweating & breathing like I just gave birth to a 10 pound kid, log into my phone and wait about 5 min. to get my breath back, then start my calls.

I chose the second.

4:00 PM

  • Leave work and head over for my first day at school

4:30 PM

  • Take a pretty good hike from parking to the building.

My classroom is one above the main floor. I took the stairs … but only because the elevator was far enough away that it was actually easier to take the stairs.

6:50 PM

  • First class lets out, second class is on the other side of campus, no time to walk so I drove. (P.S. first class had chairs and desks I can fit in, hallelujah!)

7:05 PM

  • Late for class 2 walk fast to the building.

Same scenario. I took the elevator.

Now, if you are in the lobby of the empire state building, and you have to get to the 30th floor, take the elevator. But how dumb is it to schedule a time 3 days a week to force myself to exercise when I won’t even walk up one flight of stairs?

Which is more important to me? Composure and the assurance that no one will look at me as I gasp for air at the top of the stairs or the benifits that 3 flights of stairs, 3 days a week for the next semester will have on my heart, my health and my weight.

No more elevators for me!

Side note: Dodged the gauntlet of free crap food being given away by vendors for the first day of school kickoff. Surprised how it’s becoming easier to pass stuff by.

Lab Work and Physical

Met with my Doc for my physical and to get my lab work done. It took 3 needle pokes to get the veins they needed for the blood tests (I HATE needles!).

Dr. Schaat was awesome and made me feel comfortable. The EKG (heart mapping) was humiliating though. I had to take my shirt off, mount my fat lard on the hospital bed/chair. Nicole Richie couldn’t have fit on that thing comfortably.

Then two skinny young female nurses stuck wires all over my fat body and ran the test. They were nice but it still sucked. I think nurses should all be 40+, heavy set and slightly unattractive. It really would help me be less self conscious.

My habits become the norm for my kids

So I have been doing a lot of thinking about how I formed the habits that got me to where I am. Why do I eat even after I am full? To the average person it would seem common sense … eat until not hungry then stop. Why doesn’t my brain or my body think and work that way? Was it my upbringing, my surroundings how I socialized? Yes…Yes…&Yes.
How am I going to change habits in our home so that our children are not prone to consume the way I do did? Here are a list that will be expanding as I continue with this journey.

  • steer clear of carbonation: soda is a treat similar to a candy bar and is not something we keep in stock in our fridge, diet or not.
  • Do not use food as a reward: do not encourage emotional ties with food. It seemed like every time someone did well in school or sports it was “let’s get ice cream!” I think maybe this is why I get overly excited to go out to eat and to order something that is not good for me. Replace food with fun activities or a toy …
  • Plate Dinner: sounds simple but I never have a problem giving up seconds when my plate is made and Karlie puts extra in containers for a lunch or something. Also, I am pretty sure I have eat a whole portion when picking before dinner. I guess I need to either get out of the kitchen or be the one making it.

I love my children too much to be a dad that can’t play or camp or ______________ (fill in the blank). And I don’t want to them to have to go the difficulties of being an obese child. I am am making changes so we can have the life we were meant to.

My Primary Care Doctor

Dr. David B. Jack is my primary care physician. I was referred to doctor Jack by my previous doctor because of his special expertise in weight management. He his experienced in working with morbidly obese patience. That experience is invaluable to me. Anyone who has ever been to a doctor who doesn’t have that experience is bound for frustration and a poor diagnosis (i had a couple bad experiences). Dr. Jack is on a tour of duty in Afghanistan right now so I am meeting with one of the other doctors in his office for my pre-surgery  workup. It’s mostly labs. For more info on Dr. jack and his practice, click here.

Cutting Costs & Counting Pennies

As we start to get more and more serious about getting surgery, Karlie and I have been doing some hard core budget crunching. So far we’ve cut our internet speed to one step above dial up, got rid of Netflix, canceled subscriptions to services that we didn’t need and are looking at opportunities to save on our cell phone plan. Every chances to save money we are looking at closely. Sounds like a painful process right? Not really.

It’s interesting the change that is starting to happen in our house as we prepare for this “life change”. It’s so much more than just surgery, it’s a change in attitude, a change in the way we think. So don’t laugh but a big wake up to me was when we were watching an episode on Oprah. (I said don’t laugh.) The show was about surviving in the rough economy and the focus was re-evaluating what we consume and why. It got me asking myself some big questions:

  • Why is my mind set on always getting the next thing?
  • Have I lost perspective of what I want out of life?
  • Am I giving up the things I want most to get what makes me feel good now?
  • Do I even know the difference between a NEED and a WANT?

The need to consume has obviously taken over my life physically but I am starting to see how it has effected me mentally and financially too. It’s been sobering to make the changes but has helped me discover just a little bit more some deep rooted habits and the changes I need to make to be successful.