HMBG Recap: Achieving and Maintaining a Healthy Body Weight

Our last Healthy Minds and Bodies Group meeting was a great success. I can say that with confidence because I wasn’t the one presenting! I sat in the group as a (mostly) silent observer as my husband, Scott, shared his story.

Scott is 6 feet tall and currently weighs a little less than 165 lbs. He’s weighed within 5 pounds of that since he and I started dating, 5 years ago. But, when he was 19 years old and leaving on a two year mission for our church, he topped 285 lbs.

We had a great turnout and the women who attended had lots of good questions. Scott isn’t much of a blogger these days, but he took the time to write up the meeting notes to share. They are pretty lengthy, but definitely a worthwhile read if this topic interests you.

(And, I think the topic SHOULD interest you, because if you don’t struggle with your weight now, you almost certainly will later in life. Most Americans do and it affects our health care system in a big way.)

In Scott’s words…

How I Became Overweight

When I was a child I was a normal, healthy weight. However, as I entered my teenage years I started putting on weight and didn’t really stop until I started serving a mission for our church, at age 19. I’ve thought a lot about how I got so heavy, and the following factors made big contributions:

  • When my friends started going through puberty and getting their growth spurts they began eating a lot more. Unfortunately, though I didn’t really get my growth spurt until a year or so after most of my friends, I started eating like they did and got used to eating a lot more than I should have at each meal.
  • My home was full of love, but also full of home-cooked, rich foods.
  • My dad wanted me to play sports because he had great memories of the times that he played sports, but I never really enjoyed the organized sports I played when I was younger and so I stopped playing them. I was never taught that the major benefit of being involved in sports is not that you learn to be part of a team (though that’s nice too), but rather that you develop habits of exercise that will hopefully stick with you for the rest of your life.
  • My parents were probably a bit too good at showering me with love and affection.

    Once or twice a year my dad would make some comment about wanting me to get more involved with sports and then say something about how I needed to get my “baby fat” off. As you can probably imagine, I didn’t really appreciate these comments and tended to get defensive and I tried to ignore them.

    My mom, on the other hand, refused to recognize that I was more than 100 lbs heavier than I should have been. In fact, when my wife and I have talked with her about how big I used to be she still tells me, “You were never really that overweight! You were just my teddy bear.” Apparently, a mother’s love is easily able to overcome a mother’s eyesight. =)

    I’d be lying if I said that a part of me doesn’t wonder if I would have recognized the problem earlier if people other than my dad (e.g., my friends, my other family members, etc.) had told me that I needed to lose weight.

  • My dad was raised in a post-depression setting and thus was extremely sensitive to wasted food. Whenever we had any food left on our plates – and I mean any – he would make comments such as, “There’s enough food left on that plate to feed a Boy Scout troop,” or, “You left enough here to feed an army!” This was even to the point that he would gnaw on our chicken bones or our corn cobs after we’d eaten them.

    (Editorial note: my dad wasn’t that large of a man, he just had some serious issues with food waste as a result of the environment in which he was raised and the fact that times were often difficult for my family financially when I was growing up.)

    As a result, it took me a long time to realize that I don’t have to eat every single scrap of food on my plate if I dish up more than I really want to eat.

  • I was given relatively free access to all kinds of terrible food. My mom has always been pretty good about ignoring the siren call of sweets and desserts. This, surprisingly, is the case even though she often she surrounds herself with all kinds of junk food.

    In fact, during my teenage years we had one large kitchen drawer that was specifically called the “candy drawer” and that was always full of all kinds of chocolates and candies. Sadly, I never had her self-control. The “candy drawer” has now evolved into a moderately large “candy closet.” My mom still avoids eating most of the stuff she keeps in there, but I think she also has a hard time getting rid of food so the sweets just keep accumulating. Growing up, if I wasn’t grabbing sweets from the candy drawer I was grabbing a donut or snagging some of my dad’s apple pie from Costco (which he almost always “hid” in a vegetable drawer).

  • I’ve had strong cravings for sweets from a very young age and never really understood that I didn’t have to give in to my cravings whenever I had one. In high school, I used to walk to the local Dunkin’ Donuts and buy an 18-pack of donuts. I’d come back to the school and sell twelve at a 50% mark up and then eat the other six for lunch. (Six donuts a day) x (three or four times a week) = A very fast way to put on weight.

For whatever reason, though I knew that I was heavier than I should have been, it never really clicked how much weight I needed to lose until I went into the mission field. I served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Pittsburgh, PA for two years. The first area that I was assigned to was a walking area (i.e., we had no car or bicycles) and my missionary companion and I would often walk 20+ miles a day as we preached the gospel and served the community.

I saw that my lack of physical fitness was slowing my companion down a lot and suddenly realized the great disservice I’d done myself by not taking control of my weight much earlier in life.

Losing Weight, Atkins-style (oops)

Though I became committed to losing weight and becoming more fit, I really had no idea how to go about doing so. I started by simply eating less of the same foods that I always ate and figured that walking so much during the day would probably help as well. But, while in my first area I met a young couple who seemed to have a better answer. Over dinner, the topic of weight loss came up and the husband told me that he would always put on about 25 lbs during a vacation but then he would use the Atkins diet and lose the weight in about a week or two. I was shocked to hear that people could lose weight this fast and asked how I could learn more. He provided me with a copy of Dr. Atkins’ book, which I read and decided to follow.

Amazingly, it worked. I lost somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 lbs in five weeks and felt okay. However, I had some lingering reservations in the back of my mind and I didn’t feel as good as I thought I should. I was more tired than I was used to being, I wasn’t sleeping as well as I used to, and I honestly felt that though I was losing weight, this course of actions wasn’t the best for my body. So I stopped. Sadly, after stopping the diet I gained probably 15 lbs back in the next two weeks, most of which was water weight. This was pretty disheartening, but I eventually lost the weight for good through better methods.

A year and a half later, that same couple came to my missionary farewell. I was shocked to see that the husband was about 120 lbs heavier than he had been when I last saw him. I asked his wife what had happened and she told me that his weight had yo-yoed back and forth for about a year and then his body just couldn’t lose the weight anymore. It didn’t matter that he had 0 carbs per day, his metabolism just shut down and he couldn’t stop putting on weight. Sadly, his was not the last case like this that I’ve seen.

Weight loss through ketosis, as explained by Dr. Atkins, has always been purported to work through a hidden back door in the metabolic pathway. His whole plan reeks of the concept of “something for nothing.” This concept is not true in life in general, and that most certainly applies to weight loss as well. My best advice to anyone that is considering this diet is to simply avoid it. It provides confidence to lose a lot of weight fast, but that type of weight loss is almost always non-sustainable. There are other ways to lose weight that will help you keep it off for the rest of your life and to feel much better while doing so.

Losing Weight a Better Way

Later in my mission, I decided to focus on counting my calories and making sure that I never ate more than 1300 calories in any given day. While this required extreme discipline, I really started to understand how many calories were contained in the foods that I enjoyed eating. For example, I’ve always had a soft spot for Tony’s frozen pizzas. I know that frozen pizzas are nasty and that they have relatively no nutritional value, but I used to just love those things, especially the Mexican style ones. I’d always tell myself that I’d only be able to eat ½ of the pizza for lunch so that I could eat the other ½ for dinner later on. Unfortunately, ½ of a Tony’s pizza never really filled me up and so I’d eat the entire thing for lunch. It was really an eye-opener for me to realize that by eating the whole thing for lunch I’d consumed my entire day’s worth of calories and wouldn’t be able to eat dinner that night. I only counted calories for six or eight weeks, and I don’t worry about it anymore, but it gave me a very good idea of how many calories are really in most of the foods that I eat.

The rest of my mission, I went with a “common-sense” approach. Since I knew about how many calories were in common foods, and I knew I wanted to lose a significant amount of weight, I made sure not to eat too much. If I indulged in dessert, I knew I’d have to eat less for breakfast. If I overdid it on lunch, dinner would be a little more lean. I also drank lots more water and got in touch with what “hungry” and “full” really meant for my body. It was a bit shocking for me to realize that “full” and “stuffed” are very different feelings, and though I often felt hungry as my body adjusted to living on fewer calories per day, I attribute much of my success in weight loss to the lessons I learned during this period of my life.

When I got home from my mission I had no idea how much weight I had lost. I knew that it was a good amount because I had to have a new suit sent to me when I started to drown in my old suits. I had gone over a year without access to a scale, so I was a bit shocked to find that I had lost about 90 lbs. I felt great, but I still had more weight to lose, so I committed myself to continuing to eat as healthily as I could and to focus on developing consistent exercise habits.

Exercise had always been very hard for me in the past. Running hurt my shins, probably due to all the excess weight that I was carrying. I was pretty convinced that I had shin splints. I’d never really been all that interested in bicycling. I’d never learned how to swim (I’m still figuring that one out). This left team sports, which I’d never felt comfortable playing due to a perceived lack of coordination, and weightlifting. I decided to focus on weightlifting and to try to add in some cardio and work through my problems as they came up.

Amazingly, I had no problems at all with exercise anymore. In fact, exercising felt great. I can’t begin to describe how amazing it felt to run three or four miles and not feel like I was going to die. My legs didn’t hurt at all. Sure, I had a hard time not breathing like a beached whale at first, but that got better pretty quickly. I also enjoyed lifting weights a lot and decided that I’d be willing to try to play sports again if the chance arose. Again, it would be difficult to convey in words how much easier it was to play sports when I wasn’t carrying around an extra ½ of myself. Through consistent exercise and a healthier diet I managed to lose another 30 lbs and finally got myself to a weight that I felt really good about.

Keeping it Off

I’ve been 165 lbs +/- 4 lbs ever since, and it still feels amazing. I’ve kept the weight off for a little over 6 years now, and am a firm believer that: “No food tastes as good as thin feels.”

How have I kept the weight off for the past 6 years? The principles for maintaining weight loss are the same principles for losing weight. As Elder Robert D. Hales said while President of Gillette, “What got you there will keep you there.” Weight loss isn’t dependent on fad diets or temporary measures. In fact, studies consistently show that people that lose weight from fad diets (e.g., the Atkins’ diet, the South Beach diet, the Morning Banana diet, etc.) often gain the weight back that they originally lost plus extra within the space of a few months. If you want to lose weight and keep it off you need to make lifestyle changes, and not just temporary changes.

Generally, there are three ways that you can do this: 1) you can limit your calories, 2) you can exercise more, or 3) you can do both. Obviously, the third option is both the healthiest and the most effective.

I’m part of the National Weight Loss Registry and I’ve also been able to participate in a study called Living Lean In a Toxic Environment. These studies track individuals that have lost more than 35 lbs and kept it off for more than one and five years, respectively. Currently, the National Weight Loss Registry has more than 10,000 participants. Do you know how many of those participants have been able to keep off the weight they lost for five or more years without developing consistent exercise programs?

Zero. That’s right. Not one single person.

This highlights very dramatically the importance of understanding that weight loss needs to involve lifestyle changes and not just temporary changes. The phrase, “What got you there will keep you there,” also applies here. If you put on extra weight by eating a certain way, how would it make any sense to think that once you’ve lost your desired amount of weight you can go back to your old eating habits without putting the weight right back on?

Advice from the Trenches

After studying weight loss for the past eight years, here are my pointers for success:

  • Don’t focus on a specific amount of weight that you want to lose. Instead, focus on a physical goal. Your goal could be to fit into the same pants that you wore when you got married, or it could be to drop two dress sizes. Most physical goals are more indicative of health and fitness than simple weight goals. When most people begin a new exercise program they’ll actually put on weight for the first few weeks because their body is retaining water and building new muscle mass, which weighs more than the fat it’s trying to replace.

    During the summer before I got married I focused a lot on building muscle mass. I gained about five lbs and dropped two more inches off my waist.

    Weight loss is not a linear scale. Some weeks you may lose four lbs and some weeks you won’t lose any, even though there may have been no difference in your exercise and eating habits during those weeks. It’s just one of the quirks of weight loss. The less you focus on the scale, the happier you’ll be with your progress.

  • Develop a consistent exercise routine. It turns out that your doctor was right all along. 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise at least three times a week is a good idea. In fact, current recommendations are leaning towards at least 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise 5-6 times a week.

    Seem a bit intense? Well, it certainly can be. Life is busy. I understand that. But trust me when I say that a consistent exercise program will make you more effective in every area of your life. It’ll help you sleep better, have more energy during your entire day, and you’ll literally feel happier because of the endorphins that are released during exercise. Scientists continue to find more and more benefits from regular exercise.

    Start small if you need to, but make sure that you start. Maybe this means that you’ll commit to avoiding elevators from now on, even if you’re working on the 10th floor. You’d be surprised how easy it is to get in 30 minutes of stair walking each day if you’re in this situation. =) Maybe it means that you’re going to park at the far end of the parking lot when you go grocery shopping and that you’ll jog to and from your car. It doesn’t really matter how you get your exercise in, the point is just that you can do lots of little things to add exercise to your daily schedule without having to find an hour of free time in your day.

  • Make healthy eating choices. I know that this can be very hard to do. Let’s be honest, the average American is terribly unhealthy. As a nation, we are surrounded by the consequences of enormous portions of food at restaurants and a dearth of healthy options at restaurants and grocery stores. This is manifest in the skyrocketing numbers of obese Americans and in the developing cases of diabetes type II. If you feel like being depressed, take the time to look up the percentage of people in America that are overweight, the percentage of Americans that are obese, the percentage of Americans that are morbidly obese, and the percentage of Americans that have diabetes type II. If you want to be even more depressed, compare those numbers to the numbers from 10, 20, and 30 years ago. They’re horrifying.

    So what can you do to ensure that you’ll be able to run and chase your children and grandchildren until you’re well into your 70s and 80s? These dietary tidbits will form a good nutritional foundation:

    1. Make sure that the vast majority of your calories each day come from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans/lentils, nuts and seeds. Or in other words, foods from plants that are generally “whole”. Corn starch is not as good as corn on the cob. Fruit juice is not as good as a piece of fruit.

      Anne and I often live by the 90/10 rule. We try and get at least 90% of our calories come from these sources and 10% can come from less healthy foods, like sweets and fatty foods. In application this means that I can choose to have a donut about twice a week if I so desire. (One donut has about 600 calories, which is enough calories to use up my 10% of empty calories for three days.) We don’t count calories, but rather just have an idea in our heads that if we plan on indulging, we’ll want to make sure the rest of our day/week is full of nutrient-dense food. That ensures we’re full and happy with tons of energy, but not over-doing it on empty calories.

    2. Avoid white sugar, white flour, and corn syrup like the plague. These “foods” have absolutely no nutritional value. None. Yes, many of our comfort foods revolve around these ingredients, but you’ll honestly lose your taste for them once you cut them out of your diet. Corn syrup is the devil, and it’s found in many, many, many more foods than you would expect. Get used to reading the ingredient labels of the foods you buy and you’ll probably be surprised at some of the ingredients you find.

      It’ll be hard at first to avoid foods with undesirable ingredients, but soon you find lots of food that’s more flavorful and simple that fits the criteria.

    3. Limit the amount of meat and dairy that you eat. I’m not saying that you need to become vegetarian. However, scientists and doctors have been suggesting that we limit our meat and dairy intake for the past 50 years and with good scientific data to back it up. The only reason that the food pyramid doesn’t reflect that recommendation is that the meat and dairy industries have put extreme amounts of pressure on the government to not allow that type of message to be published. There were a couple of news reports on this very topic that came out in the past few months and I know that it’s been discussed in a number of books. Do a little quick research on your own and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
  • Don’t sabotage yourself. Get the terrible food out of your house and you’ll find that you’re binging far less often. Have a spouse that is opposed to eating the same way that you are? This can be a difficult situation, but most spouses are willing to compromise if they understand that you’re making changes because you’re honestly concerned about your health and happiness.

That’s pretty much it. Every single person that I have ever met is capable of both losing and keeping off weight if they really want to. Many people try to claim that it’s in their genes to be a little heavy, but studies are continuing to show that there is no genetic predisposition to being overweight. Weight loss may be more difficult for you if you’ve had the extra weight on for a long time or if you’re trying to build an exercise program from ground zero, but that does not mean that it’s impossible. Remember that if something is worth accomplishing it’s worth fighting for. I can’t promise that becoming healthy will be an easy process, but I can promise that doing so will do much to make you happy for the rest of your life.

Questions Answered

Q: What’s the Set-point Theory and do you think it’s true?
A: I do think this idea that your body “likes” to be a certain weight is true. Our body is very good at compensating, so that if you eat a little less or a little more than normal, you’ll still hover around the same weight. This can be frustrating when you’re losing weight, because your body might tell you it’s hungry and it needs more calories, but it’s actually telling you it needs more calories to be at your old weight. It takes time for your body to start being happy with the correct number of calories for your new weight, but stick with it. Fill yourself up by munching on foods that are low in calories. Again, I’m not talking about fake foods, like 100 calorie snack packs that leave you craving more fat and more sugar. Fruits and veggies are your best bets. “Portion-control” really only applies to foods that are bad for you. Go to town on veggies, beans, etc. and your body will thank you for it.

Q: How does, um, your digestive system react to drastically increasing your plant food intake?
A: There is a period of adjustment. Just like there is when people immigrate to the United States and start eating our packaged foods and fast food. Your body will say “What’s this broccoli stuff? I don’t know what to do with that~” and it may keep saying that for a few days or even weeks. Keep the faith. Know you’re giving your body good stuff. It’ll adjust and you’ll be a well-oiled machine in no time. And as a bonus, you’ll never ever ever have to worry about constipation again. Promise.

Q: What is my ideal weight? How do I know?
A: Your ideal weight depends on lots of things, including gender, height, general build, and amount of muscle you carry. However, a good rule of thumb is that it’s probably less than you think it is. The ideal is to be lean, to feel good about your body and what it can do, and to have plenty of energy to live life.

Q: Is the BMI an accurate scale of health?
A: No. The BMI tries to account for the factors that influence a healthy weight by giving a broad range of “acceptable” values. Unfortunately, this scale is simply not representative of your actual health unless you’re on one extreme or the other. Many people with a “normal” BMI need to lose weight and many people are just outside the “acceptable” range are in fantastic shape, e.g. thin, healthy women tend to have BMIs that are “too low” and muscular men tend to have BMIs that are “too high.”

Q: What would you tell your child if she was overweight?
A: I laughed a little when this question was asked, because I’ve never heard of anyone being overweight eating the diet we eat. Unless the child is old enough to have her own money to purchase her own food, I’m assuming she’ll eat what’s in the house and there’s no junk there. In all seriousness, though, this can be a very touchy subject. You absolutely don’t want to tie your love and acceptance of the child into whether she is thin. However, because you love your child, you have an obligation to teach her how to treat her body well and be healthy. My concern would be about health, not about weight or appearance. Also, if you are a good example yourself and healthy foods and exercise are a part of your family life, it’s an easier pill to swallow.

Next Time

Whew! You made it to the end. Thanks to all those who came and please feel free to leave a comment or question.

Our next meeting will be on a yet-to-be-determined day, but the topic is “Being comfortable in your own skin.” It’ll be centered around appreciating and enjoying your body, imperfections and all. We’ll also discuss how to be self-confident in a society with so much pressure to be perfect. Right. This. Second.


About beanland

Scott is a family practice doctor and Anne is a full-time mother and teacher to three beautiful girls and one boy.
This entry was posted in Healthy Eating, Healthy Group. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to HMBG Recap: Achieving and Maintaining a Healthy Body Weight

  1. Karen Fulton says:

    Congratulations Scott! I am the Mom cooking the rich food and providing the comfort food for my family. My son Andrew has a similar story to yours. He has also lost over 100 lbs. He started as a senior in high school losing and has continued. His weight has been stable for a while now and he looks great!! He is committed to exercise and eating healthy. I am trying to help since he is now living at home and attending OSU. He is in the single’s ward so you may not have seen him. You guys are inspirational! Thanks for your comments.


  2. Scott's Sister says:

    Interesting read Scott… but I’m a little puzzled?? Where in the world was the candy drawer?? We NEVER had one in the house I grew up in…. 😉 But I did always like how dad “hid” the apple pie…. in the veggie drawer. LOL


  3. Carolee says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this. It is always inspiring to hear how people can make a true- and difficult- change in their life for the better. You both are great examples to our little family.


  4. Liz says:

    Great write up! Wow, Bobe, when you said this was a big “check” off your list, I didn’t realize it’d be quite this big (read: long) of a check. 🙂

    Scott is such a great guy – I’m so glad he’s healthy and confident!



  5. Steve says:

    I know this might be something of a chore, but could you or Scott talk about a typical meal week? I think many would find it informative and something that some could simulate.

    This is a great post and very inspirational. Thank you for sharing!



  6. beanland says:

    @Steve: Thanks for reading. That’s a good idea, and long overdue.

    I have high hopes to detail a typical shopping trip, and give a rundown on what’s in my pantry at all times. Writing up a snapshot of a week’s worth of meals sounds like it would fit right in.

    Please don’t misunderstand. We are still very much learning how to navigate this new way of eating and we’re only two years in. So I don’t want to paint us as having all the answers or being the ideal. Hopefully my posts will serve as a jumping-off point for some, though. And, without fail, whenever I blog about a certain aspect of our life, it helps at least ME to learn more about why I do the things I do and how I can improve. 🙂


  7. Scott's Sister. . . again says:

    One more comment… just re-read your post…. I watched a news special a couple weeks back that completely contradicts your statement that “studies are continuing to show that there is no genetic predisposition to being overweight”.

    On the news special we watched it tracked several people that were overweight and struggled with trying to lose the weight and keep it off. They’d incorporate healthy eating and exercise… total lifestyle changes… and nothing would work for them.

    Doctors were able to finally locate similar genes in all of these individuals that they said indicated these people were predisposed to be on the larger side and end up with weight issues.

    What is your response to this? Just curious…


  8. Julie says:

    This is a wonderful post. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Two questions for you:

    1. What are your thoughts on green smoothies?

    2. What do you do when you travel, go on vacations, or have to be away from home for extended periods (particularly, with the holiday season ahead)?


  9. beanland says:

    Tammy- Perhaps I should change my original statement to “no one’s genetics forces them to be obese.” My comment about genetic studies is entirely accurate, according to all of the information that I can get my hands on. My comment was also made in light of the fact that researchers have been been trying for the past several decades to find incontrovertible evidence that obesity is caused by genetics and that their supposed “breakthroughs” have always been scientifically refuted within a very short period of time.

    The first major gene that researchers tried to use to explain obesity regulated the production of a substance called leptin. Many researchers were convinced that this was THE gene that explained obesity. Not shockingly, scientists quickly found that the likelihood of a human having an obesity problem due to leptin alone is exceedingly rare. We learned that leptin helps to regulate the body’s hunger signals, but it simply can’t account for obesity on its own.

    One of the latest genes to be discounted as a root cause of obesity is the FTO gene. Scientists studied a group of Amish men who had this gene and found that while it had been “strongly linked” to obesity in a population consisting of average Americans, none of the Amish men had any problems with being overweight. The proposed hypothesis that explains these results is that the active lifestyle of the Amish men overcomes whatever genetic predisposition they may have towards obesity.

    This last study almost perfectly embodies my thoughts about genetics and obesity. It’s theoretically possible that some people may, through a combination of multiple poor genes, be predisposed to being overweight. However, in both my anecdotal experience and in all of the well designed studies that I’ve read, anyone is able to achieve and maintain a healthy weight using solid principles of nutrition and a consistent exercise routine.

    Though I didn’t see the news special you mentioned, I feel fairly confident in saying that the problem with the people being interviewed is infinitely more likely to be due to a lack of real understanding of nutrition and/or application of a good exercise routine than it is to be due to genetics. Human genetics are incredibly complex. The likelihood of any one single gene (or even any small group of genes) being found that explains something as complex as obesity and metabolism is ridiculously slim. It would be almost as plausible to take that small group of people, notice that they all have brown hair, and then conclude that brunettes are genetically predisposed to being overweight. While this is clearly an exaggeration, it’s not nearly as large a one as you think.

    If you’d like a more in-depth explanation as to why genetics alone can’t explain obesity, let me know and I’ll try to respond to you personally. It would take too much time (and space on this blog) to explain it all here. =)



  10. Wow. I just finished reading your epic blog post and am quite impressed at your memory, as always. I had forgotten your donut mark-up fiasco (Remember when you refused to sell one to me at cost?) and the apple pie/veggie drawer trick. Countless times I raided that drawer for the yummy, sugar crusted, lattice pie top.

    In defense of mom, I never thought you were overweight either. I had one moment in choir where I thought, “Hmmm, Scott’s a really big boy.” Then I looked around and noticed other guys were bigger. Then I realized all the bigger guys played football. Then I realized you could whoop them all at Final Fantasy 3 and I let the whole thought slide. I found you cuddly and a little pudgy. But more cuddly. And I certainly never dreamed you’d lose all the weight you did.

    I have friends from high school that have seen you on Facebook and have written me freaking out. The most usual comment I receive is the question of whether or not that really is you. Then they usually fumble something about you being “handsome” and even “hot”. Kind of awkward, but cool for you.

    I’m proud of you.


  11. beanland says:


    1. If by green smoothies you mean smoothies with lots of fresh, leafy greens in them… we love them! They’re a fantastic way to get a lot of leafy greens into your diet and they’re delicious to boot.

    Anyone that’s seriously trying to add more greens to their diet knows that it can be a very hard thing to do. Greens are great for you from a nutritional standpoint (i.e., their nutrient density per calorie ratio is enormous), but they’re bulky and hard to eat in large quantities. Who of us really has the time to eat, let alone make, four or five salads a day? Blending up fresh greens in smoothies is a great way to overcome this obstacle. Anne and I suggest starting by making a regular fruit smoothie and adding in two or three cups of spinach. Though it may sound unappetizing, we’d be willing to bet that you won’t even notice it.

    Spinach is great to start with because it has such a very mild flavor. We can honestly add 10 or 12 cups of spinach to our breakfast smoothies and not notice any change in the taste. (Sound like a lot of spinach? 10-12 cups of spinach will literally blend down to about 2 cups or so of juice.) The color change may take your brain a second to get used to (the smoothies turn greenish brown), but they still taste just like a fruit smoothie. Add other greens as you feel like it. I suggest staying away from greens that usually require cooking before eating unless you’re either extremely brave or taste bud challenged. Greens like kale or collard greens can be quite bitter uncooked and will probably ruin your smoothie enjoyment.

    2. Traveling and staying away from home for extended periods of time can be challenging from a dietary perspective. The simple fact of the matter is that most restaurants in America do not have more than one or two relatively healthy offerings, and the thought of only eating side salads for every meal is simply unappetizing. =) Here are a few tips that we use when we go on vacation:

    1) Get food from local grocery stores and farmer’s markets whenever you have the chance. It’s very cost effective and it allows you to have a lot more healthy options. On our trip last month we often had fresh fruit for breakfast and tried to always have some type of healthy snack for later, e.g., hummus, nuts, dried fruit, date-nut-pop’ems, etc.

    2)When we do eat out while traveling (usually once a day, but no more than twice a day) we almost always stick to the healthy menu offerings. Obviously, restaurant entrees will rarely be as healthy as something we’d make at home, but that’s just part of eating out. Meals that Anne and I recently purchased while on vacation include: hot pot salmon, bean and veggie soup, porcini crusted halibut with steamed veggies, pumpkin pie soup (okay, this one wasn’t the healthiest, but man was it good) =), butternut garlic mashed potatoes and steamed veggies, and tofu and veggie stirfry. It should be noted that we only order food if we’re pretty sure that we’re going to like it. 95% of the time that we eat out our taste buds are thoroughly pleased and when we leave we still feel great physically.



  12. Dave Westwood says:

    Thank you. An educational, enlightening and enjoyable piece of prose.


  13. Scott's big oldest sister says:

    What a terrific post, Scott! I must ditto little sis’s comments in defense of Mom’s blind spot. Matt and I both always thought of you as “chubby”, not obese. Knowing what an amazing person you were probably played a large role in our perspective. We defined you by who you were, rather than in what you looked like. I still remember how shocked I was when we first saw you after your return from you mission! That was the first moment I realized you really had been extremely overweight. I’m been so impressed by your success in maintaining your healthy weight and lifestyle. This post has served as the impetus I’ve needed to get off my lazy backside and work off the unwelcome 20 extra pounds I’ve been dragging around. So, thank you!! Time to stock up on bags of spinach for our smoothies and toss out all the tortilla chips and granola bars. 😉 (Don’t be surprised if you start receiving hate mail from our kids!)



  14. Peyton's Mom says:

    Hey guys — I followed a link on your big oldest sister’s blog….wow….of course – that’s what I said in her blog too….I’m impressed & inspired….

    Thanks for your transparency….

    ~ Your big oldest sister’s GodMama…..


  15. jacob says:

    I personally belive that living a comfortable life is a way to longevity, so if you believe that you are over-weight, have the determination to loose the extra fat you dont want, you can do it and never loose focus.
    Personal trainer for 5yrs. Check out my sig for more tip you can use to shed that extra fat.



  16. Kathryn says:

    Thank You for giving this information out to the public. You are so right it’s about calries in vs calories out and making them count!!!
    Love the comment about an apple vs 100 calorie pack and how the packet will leave you craving more! So true.
    I am studying to become a dietitian and found your site and it is wonderful!!


  17. Carrie Jones says:

    Anne, I’ve benefited so much from reading your blog tonight. I read your post about teaching MacKenzie to read, bought the “100 easy lessons” book, read this post about weight loss, and downloaded your latest revised version of your cookbooks. I am wishing I owned the cookbooks you reference in there. But I just wanted to say thank you SO much for sharing all these wonderful things that have enriched your life so much. This is exactly what I have been looking for. Many thanks.


  18. Pingback: What is a Healthy Diet and Why Should I Eat One? (Part IX of ?) | Adventures in Beanland

  19. Pingback: Calories: How to Care without Counting | Adventures in Beanland

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