Celebrating Obesity

I am not about body shaming, fat shaming, or making anyone feel any less special because of their weight or how they look. That's just plain stupid, and anything done to make anyone feel less than awesome is not something I want to do. However, saying that obesity is not a problem, or celebrating obesity as normal is not something I see as healthy for our society and its people.

I understand models being plus sized. So many people in the US are plus-sized, that to market effectively to them, plus-sized models need to display plus-sized clothing and wares. I think that since so many people in the US are obese, products and goods marketed to this often ignored and overlooked segment of our population should be represented accordingly. That doesn't mean I condone obesity.

To the contrary, I have declared all-out war on obesity. I am doing everything I can to educate, inform, and help people who are obese and no longer want to be that way. I write these blog posts daily in an effort to put information out there on my diet, motivation, and to let people gain a glimpse into what it took for me to lose 150 lbs and to go from being obese to being thin and fit.

Celebrating obesity is something I believe is far more harmful than beneficial. Like I said when I started this article: fat shaming is bad. But celebrating obesity as something that's normal and to be accepted is another thing entirely. Obesity is not a natural state for humans to be in, and obesity is responsible for an increase of 40% to 80% in risk of dying from cancer among both men and women. If we normalize obesity, it will cause more people to believe that it's okay to not concern themselves with living a healthier lifestyle and losing the weight which will lead to an earlier death.

I've mentioned in an earlier blog post about how our own government is behind the times and still recommending a low-fat diet and espousing the fallacy of whole wheat grains being heart healthy. The media doesn't do people any favors when they create click-bait headlines like "Coconut Oil Is Unhealthy According To The American Heart Association." The fact that most nutritionists consider coconut oil unhealthy as compared to the average American speaks more to the fact that the diet and nutrition industry in the US is still very far behind the times in regards to the latest research in nutrition science than to any alleged ignorance on the part of average Americans. While average Americans may be mislead and misinformed on the harmful effects of low-fat diets, grains, and sugar, at least they understand that coconut oil is healthier than vegetable oil.

Obesity isn't something to be ashamed of. I was obese, and I felt embarrassed and ashamed, and I felt that way because of the glares I would receive when out in public. I felt ashamed of what I had allowed myself to become, and that led to me even more harmful habits like not going outdoors as much, and not wanting to get exercise by walking. Instead, we need to help obese people by treating them as people with a health problem that can be tackled through diet. I know there is a small segment of the population that has issues that make them obese, but that number is very, very small. The rest of the obese people earned their obesity honestly: through a carb/sugar rich diet. Through some good information, guidance, and support, we can help obese people get healthy again, lose weight, and to live healthier, more fulfilling lives.

Paleo Treats for a Sunday Evening

My wife, the amazing cook that she is, made some treats for us to eat while watching a season premiere recently, and it caused me to eat A LOT more than normal. Even though it was all Paleo, I ate a ton. I ate so much, my stomach hurt. That led to some emotional distress that faded the next day.

What kinds of yummies did she make for us? She made a Paleo brownie with blueberries in it and they turned out to be delicious, moist, and so good that I had to have seconds. I also had some Paleo chocolate ice cream with it topped with blueberries, strawberries, coconut, and some Paleo chocolate sauce.

She also made some lactose-free cream cheese and jalapeno stuffed shrimp wrapped in sugar-free bacon. I ate a bunch of these as well. I can't say enough good things about these little shrimps.

Coupled with the Hungarian Potato Soup I made (with potatoes which are not really Paleo, but with galuska/nokedli aka noodles that were) that I also had two servings of, my stomach was very sore afterward. Heck, the next morning, I still felt full, and only ate breakfast because I need the energy.

Now that my weight has stabilized and I run regularly, I'm able to eat a little more or a little off-Paleo every now and then when a special occasion hits. This summer, it feels like those occasions have been spaced closely together, but fortunately, the next few months seem like they should be relatively special event-free.

Annual Training in the National Guard

Starting today, I will be attending my first Annual Training as a National Guard soldier. I am a little nervous but also excited. It’s been over 20 years since I’ve been in the field with the military, and there’s a certain rustic element to it that I enjoy. I don’t know if it’s the hardship or the environment (likely both), but there’s something about it that I am drawn to. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to be serving at my age, and I work hard to earn that opportunity and to bring value to the unit, the state, and the Army.

The one area I am concerned about is nutrition. Military food tends to be very calorie and carb rich, and for good reason: most field work is very physically demanding, and sometimes meals only happen once a day. That means those meals need to be able to sustain soldiers for an entire day’s worth of calories. I will be working had to ensure I don’t eat too many carbs, but I don’t know how successful I will be able to be. I am taking RX Bars, some Epic bars, and other Paleo-friendly treats with me to help me on those days when the meals are unacceptably carb-rich.

I won’t be able to run every other day, either. Well, to be more clear, I won’t be able to run at all. We are not going to the field to perform unit PT; we are going there to practice our jobs. I was hoping to be able to run a little each day, but I was told that we will not have access to daily showers.

I don’t know if I will have Internet access. I’ve been told that we will have cellular service, so it’s a possibility, but it’s also spotty. Therefore, all my posts for the next two weeks are pre-written and will not be reflecting my experiences on Annual Training. I will try to write while I’m out there, but they will be saved to a laptop I will have with me and the articles will all be uploaded once I get back. They will then be released on the same schedule my current articles are posted: one daily at 8 am.

I will miss my wife, my warm bed, and ready access to showers. I will miss AC, home-cooked food, and the Internet. But I will be gaining experience in the event I ever have to deploy, and that is very important to me and my job in the National Guard. I’ll be okay, and I look forward to writing my articles back at home in the AC on my iPad.

Daily Motivation

I’ve lost 150 lbs. When I weighed in at 161.8 lbs, that officially put me at having lost 150+ lbs. Now, my actual weight is fluctuating between 163 lbs and 167 lbs depending on what I eat, bowel movements, and water retention, and sometimes after a run I can weigh as much as -5 lbs from what I weighed in the morning. I set a final goal for me to weigh 165 lbs, and I hit it (and then some). Staying in the vicinity of 165 lbs makes me feel good, and every now and then when my weight dips below it, I smile a little bigger.

What motivates me each and every day is getting out of bed without struggle. I can pull my body up, rotate on my butt, and firmly plant my feet on the ground. I catch a glimpse of my leg muscles: they look amazing. I can’t believe these are my legs.

Stepping into the bathroom, I catch another glimpse of myself in the mirror and see my torso. It’s trim. I can see my oblique muscles, and my abs are trying to poke out from behind the extra skin I’m still dealing with. My legs are muscular and amazing. 

Then, I step on the scale, and while sometimes the numbers get bigger, sometimes they also get smaller. As long as the gain isn’t too big, I know what the reasons are for the weight the scale is showing me, and if it makes sense, I don’t get upset. It’s just verification of certain facts I’m already aware of. 

Then there is how my clothing fits me. When I pick it up off the hanger, it looks small to me. Impossibly small, even. I think to myself, “This must be a mistake. This shirt is too small to fit on me.” Then I put it on, and it fits perfectly with even some room to spare.

I walk over to the kitchen where Sherry has typically put out breakfast for me. It’s a serving of either two eggs sunny-side up with three slices of bacon or a slice of egg casserole. Again, I see this and think to myself, “That’s not enough food,” yet when I finish it, I am full. Comfortably and pleasantly full.

Sitting in my car, being able to look down and not see my stomach, having room between me and the steering wheel, and being able to get in and out of the car without struggling.

All of these things motivate me before I even get to 8 am. I can’t say I’m tempted or challenged anymore on a daily basis, but for those rare moments when someone offers something I would otherwise enjoy eating, it’s a nice reservoir of motivation to pull from when I decline and say, “No, thanks.”

Perseverance on Paleo

Fortunately, it hasn’t been difficult for me to maintain this Paleo Diet. To the contrary, it’s been actually very easy and comforting. It’s good to know that the food I eat is good for me, and when I make decisions based on my health, it reminds me to put myself first when it comes to what I want to eat. Far too often, there are temptations and options that are likely very tasty, but are very bad for my body. Would I love to eat a Napoleon or a cream puff? Sure! But they are not good for me, and the after effects are just not worth the short-term gratification.

I keep a focus on my health at all times. I don’t drink anything with artificial or added sweeteners. Ever. I don’t eat snacks or foods outside of my regular meal times. Ever. I don’t eat foods that are not Paleo unless there is literally no other choice in a situation I cannot escape, and even then, I make the best effort I can to stay Paleo. Case in point: holiday dinner with co-workers. If I can’t have a Paleo meal, I will choose something that has the least amount of harmful impact on my diet and health.

Living Paleo means putting myself first and temptations last. I’ve learned that walking past an ice cream or candy shop is really easy if you make those places and what are sold in them off-limits always. Even on my birthday weekend, when visiting Galveston Island with my cousin and my wife, we walked right past ice cream and candy stores, and not once was I tempted. I will admit to having bread pudding as a dessert on my birthday, but it was my birthday, and dang it, I was going to have my bread pudding and eat it, too! They even put a candle in it for me!

I’ve said before that I don’t dislike sweets and carb-rich food. The problem is exactly the opposite; like anyone else, I love that stuff. Therein lies the problem; it is difficult to let go of or avoid things you enjoy. When that thing you enjoy is killing you, however, you really need to evaluate your priorities and decide which is more important: short-term gratification, or a long view on life filled with good health and longevity. I chose good health and longevity.

Low-Fat Lies (and how they keep messing people up)

I can’t count how many times people have come up to me and told me a variation of the following: “I took your advice and I’m eating better! I had oatmeal for breakfast, a turkey bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich on whole wheat, and I’m having skinless chicken breast with quinoa for dinner!” Oh… so much wrong here.

First of all, grains are not good for us. They are dense sources anti-nutrients. What is an anti-nutrient, you may be asking? Antinutrients are natural or synthetic compounds found in a variety of foods — especially grains, beans, legumes and nuts — that interfere with the absorption of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. They can even get in the way of the digestive enzymes, which are key for proper absorption.

Second, grains are full of carbs. Carbs is short for carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the sugars, starches and fibers found in fruits, grains, vegetables and milk products. What makes vegetables and fruits better than grains when they both have carbs? Well, it comes down to a few factors. Grains are dense in carbs, and are easily digested. This means that as you are digesting the grains, large amounts of carbs are dumped into the bloodstream that need to be converted to energy. If the amount of energy being converted by the liver and pancreas to be used used by the body exceeds the amount of energy being used, the rest is stored. This is where fat comes from (NOT from eating fat). Coupled with the anti-nutrients, this makes grains especially bad. Fruit and vegetables, on the other hand, are typically high in fiber and forces the body to use more energy to break it down which results in fewer net calories and the lack of anti-nutrients means that everything you’re getting from fruit and vegetables is good for your body.

Third, our bodies do not get fat in the bloodstream from eating fat. What happens if you eat too much fat? You poop a lot. That’s because it goes right through you. Sure, some of it will get digested, but it doesn’t go from your intestines into your bloodstream and then straight to your waist. The process of digestion and metabolizing food is far more complex and to think that eating fat makes your blood cholesterol go up is laughably ignorant of biological processes.

Sadly, there are many in the health industry that includes doctors, nurses, and nutritionists who still aren’t up-to-date on the latest in nutritional science. Another problem is that accepting the fallacy of the low-fat/high-grain diet as a failure has been troublesome for many who have not known any other advice for diets. The American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, and many others have been espousing the low-fat diet for years. It has only been in recent years that the World Health Organization has recognized the true culprit in the obesity epidemic (surprise; it’s sugar!) all while still recommending low-fat.

There are studies that suggest that high cholesterol markers in blood tests may be indicative of damaged vascular systems which means that the high cholesterol is there because the body is trying to repair vascular damage versus the high cholesterol causing vascular damage. A low-fat diet would firstly be of little impact on cutting cholesterol, and second, even if a high-fat diet meant more cholesterol in the blood, then it would actually be preferable to give the body more cholesterol to fix the vascular damage. What are our arteries and veins made of? Collagen, muscle, and other material that receive nutrients from the blood which includes cholesterol.

Why do people persist with the low-fat diet? Mostly, because they don’t know any better. Our media has done us no favors when they post things like, “Bacon is bad for you,” and “The dangerous new Paleo Diet…” Combined with the bad advice from the government and the aforementioned health associations as well as a lingering popular culture based around the diet industry and you get the environment we have today: full of lies, falsehoods, and a multi-billion dollar diet industry that doesn’t want to see their revenue sources dry up. It’s in their best interest to keep people trying to lose weight instead of actually losing weight.

I’ve lost 150 lbs and I’ve kept it off for nearly two years. I am a diet company’s worst nightmare: I lost all the weight by eating clean, whole, natural foods and without the aid or purchase of any diet pills, powders, patches, shakes, diet program memberships, or anything that would otherwise cause me to spend money. All I did was eat right and avoid sugar, beans, grains, and most dairy. It’s simple and effective which is why the diet industry doesn’t want anyone to know about it. But now you do. What will you do with this new-found knowledge?

I ate too much. Again.

This is an interesting look into what my mind does to me when I eat too much, and when reality hits the morning after.

Written at 10 pm: I hate when I do this. I ate too much today. I ate too much yesterday, too. It was all Paleo, but still; volume is volume. Oh, and it was full of sugar. Maybe natural/good sugars, but sugar nonetheless.

I told myself that it is what it is, and that I’ll live with it, but the guilt is killing me. I’m so afraid of what the scale is going to say in the morning. This morning, it was 167 lbs. I’m afraid tomorrow might be closer to 170 lbs. I’m going in the wrong direction. Starting tomorrow, I’m back on a mini-Whole30. I won’t go 30 days, but I’m eating Whole30-only foods starting tomorrow until I’m back down to 165 lbs.

Was the food good? Yes. It was absolutely amazing. But I hate the guilt that goes with it. I hate feeling bloated like I do. I hate how my stomach is wondering why it got stretched so much. I hate losing definition in my stomach due to the water being retained in my skin.

I just need to stop worrying about it, and get back to normal portions tomorrow, and the weight will come back off. I know it will. I just hate these temporary spikes. Ugh.

Written at 8:00 am the next morning: Well, the scale had me up less than a pound. I was expecting three. Turns out, I worry too much. Considering the amount of food I ate and the lack of a bowel movement, it makes sense. So, today I will continue to eat right (as I always do) and I will run tonight as I do on Mondays. Then, I will watch my weight go back down to its normal level.

I don’t know why I stress so much about my weight going up. I guess it’s a fear I have of returning to the unfit and unhealthy person I used to be. I am so deathly afraid of my health spiraling out of control that I feel the need to be in strict control of all of it. Then, when I do something that is out of the norm, I stress even more.

I know it’s not healthy to stress about eating a little more than normal. I know that my weight will not spiral out of control with one day of eating more Paleo food than normal. I will continue to work on the emotional aspect of this journey. I know how to lose the weight. I know how to get fit. I know how to stay healthy and fit now. I know how to keep the weight off. Now, I just need to learn how to keep my emotions in check in regards to my weight.

Achievement unlocked: 30” trousers

It’s been a strange trip from a 46” waist to a 30” waist. I think the longest I stayed at a waist size was about 6 months, and that was at 32. Recently, I started noticing that although my weight is hovering between 163 and 167 lbs, my waist size has declined. My 32’s were getting baggy when I tightened my belt to hold my pants up comfortably. Sherry bought me some 30” waist trousers and I bought two pairs of jeans that had 30” waists. What I discovered was two things: most of those 30” trousers fit, but two did not. Why? Because it seems that even among identical pants (I’m looking at you, Levi’s), there are variations in how the material is cut and sewn. I have two pairs of 505’s that are both marked 30-30, yet only one of them fits while the other is more like a 29”.

Regardless: I have trousers that now fit me properly, and the size: 30’s. This is a big deal for me as I haven’t been in 30’s since I was 22 when I was a Corporal 28 years ago. Wow.

This is yet another reminder to me that just because the scale isn’t moving, or sometimes appears to move in the wrong direction, I’m still making progress in my health and fitness. I have less bulk and the skin continues to shrink up around my waist. I am getting more and more muscle definition in my arms, legs, and core, and my son tells me my back looks pretty awesome. Don’t rely on the scale for your happiness in your health status. It’s a good measure to use, but not to use as a sole source.

Life as a Newly Returned Thin Guy

For the record, I don’t see myself as thin. I still feel like a big guy. Heck, I weigh in the neighborhood of 165 lbs most days, and that’s not thin for a 5’7” guy. I do have a lot of muscles from all the running and push ups I do, though, so there’s that. However, lots of people call me thin now, and I guess as compared to the average 50 year-old guy, I am pretty thin. So, with that said…

Life as a newly returned thin guy is weird. I know, I use the word, “Weird” a lot when referring to my body image, experiences, and even the way I feel about weighing 150 lbs less today than I did nearly two years ago, but the fact remains: it’s still weird to me. I used to be thin my entire young life. Regardless of what or how much I ate, I remained pretty thin. This was due to two things: youth and fitness. When you’re young, your body is growing, and it uses a lot of energy to do that. Also, most kids back in the 70’s were very active; I definitely was. Not only did I play outside every day after school and on the weekends, but I was also a swimmer and avid bicyclist, riding an average of 20-50 miles a day. I could barely eat enough to keep up with the calories I was expending!

That continued through most of my 20’s as a young Marine. Running 3-5 times a week, being very active, and working not only my full-time job as a Marine but also part-time as a software sales guy at Egghead Software kept my weight mostly in check. Of course, my Eastern European genes were catching up with me, and by 27, my weight started to pack on as my metabolism and fitness levels declined. By 30, I was about 25 lbs overweight. By 40, I was 125 lbs overweight. By 48, I was about 150 lbs overweight. Then, thanks to Whole30, Paleo, and the later addition of running, I got back down to 165 lbs.

Life as a big guy was hard. I’ve written about it in the past. It was filled with pain, embarrassment, and difficulty. That all became the norm for so long, I forgot what it was like to be healthy and fit. I mistook that feeling for youth. I now know that when you can get up, feel energetic, and be able to tackle any task requiring physical activity with nary a thought toward limitations, it is the feeling of being fit.

Now, I still get the 50 year-old man aches in my joints in the mornings, but they go away rather quickly. Being able to sit up out of bed easily and without any kind of muscle pain is still a new experience to me, and it always starts the day off for me with a smile. I also look down at my legs and see the muscles flex as I place them on the ground. I’m always amazed at the definition and how thin my legs are now. They are a healthy thin, though, and very strong (due to all the running I do). As I dress in the mornings, I marvel at the small clothing I am about to put on. I think as I grab a shirt or trousers that they are too small for me, yet when I put them on, they fit perfectly. I remember not too long ago picking up clothes for me to wear, and they were massive and heavy. They had to be to fit over my large frame. 

I eat a breakfast that consists of either two eggs sunny-side up with three slices of sugar-free bacon or a slice of an egg casserole that Sherry makes for me that has eggs, bacon, pulled pork, and apple in it. A cup of coffee (black) caps it off, and I take a travel mug with me for the drive in to work. Throughout the day, I’m able to go up and down stairs, perform any task required of me, and walk long distances to and from meetings when necessary, all without having to think about the physical toll it would have taken on me as an overweight person. I used to dread stairs when I was heavy. Now, I look forward to them.

Lunches are pre-prepared by my wife Sherry for four of the five work days each week. They consist of recipes she has posted on her site, and she packages them in little microwaveable containers that I just pop into the microwave and heat up. They are delicious, filling, and all made with clean, Whole Foods. On Fridays, I have a standing lunch meeting with my best friend, and we typically go out for a steak.

When I get home, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I change into my exercise clothing and do my push ups and run. If I don’t run, I get cranky and I feel like I’m missing something important. It’s become a very important part of my weekly routine now. While I may get off schedule (like this week where I’m running Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday or Sunday), I always make sure to run a minimum of three times a week for a minimum distance of three miles. I also have a minimum set of push ups: 80. I try for 100+ every time, but 80 is my minimum.

Dinner is usually something Sherry makes for us, once again, with clean and wholesome foods. Every now and then, we do go out for dinner, and it typically consists of either steak, seafood, or other protein-heavy dish with a side of grilled vegetables. Sometimes, I may get a salad, but it’s always with vinegar and oil and without cheese or croutons (or olives; they are evil!).

Throughout the day, I see overweight people looking at me. Something I never expected was the judgmental stares I get as a thin person. I don’t remember that when I was younger. That’s probably because most young people are expected to be thin, and if someone did look at me that way, I didn’t recognize it or pay attention. When I was overweight, I remember seeing some thin people look at me with sadness. I never understood why they looked at me that way, but I do now; It’s how I feel when I see obese people. I don’t find them disgusting or ugly; it just makes me sad because I know how it feels to be obese, both physically and emotionally. But these people who now stare at me judgmentally tend to be overweight or obese, and I think they are thinking that either they are sad that they aren’t thin like I am, or perhaps they think I won some sort of genetic lottery that they lost out on. What makes me sad about the latter is that it’s so untrue, and if they just knew what I did, perhaps they could do it too and get healthy!

Maybe I’m reading too much into the stares. Maybe they aren’t staring at all, and I’m just more self-conscious now as a person who used to be very heavy. However, every now and then, people feel compelled to say something to me about my physcal stature. “You thin people don’t have to worry about getting fat,” or “You can eat whatever you want; you skinny people seem to have an endless ability to chow down.” No. Neither of these things are true. I’m thin because I don’t eat whatever I want, and yes, I do have to worry about getting fat; that’s why I eat good foods and run. At the doctor’s office once, a lady told me, “You’re so lucky you are skinny. I’ve struggled with my weight all my life and no matter how much exercise I did or how well I ate, I always stayed overweight.” I asked her what kind of foods she ate to stay healthy, and she said, “Oh, I only eat oatmeal, whole wheat toast, and cereals. Rice and beans for lunch and dinner with low-fat margarine and turkey meat.” Literally the worst possible diet, yet this is what our health industry has pushed as a healthy diet. Of course an industry would push that; she had spent a lifetime in doctor’s offices trying to get healthy and to lose weight all while following their advice. It’s sad that she truly believes she can’t lose weight. If she ate Paleo, there’s a good chance she would lose a lot of her weight and regain much of her health.

Going from fit to fat to fit has been a strange journey, but one I am glad I made. I don’t ever want to be fat again, and I continue to do everything I can to remain thin. Sometimes the scale shows bigger numbers and I know I need to reduce serving sizes or be more careful with the amount of carbs in my diet. As long as I stay protein-heavy and eat high-fiber carbs, I tend to do alright. Life on the Paleo Diet has been very rewarding, and being able to re-join the military as a National Guard Staff Sergeant has been one of my proudest accomplishments of the past 10 years alongside my weight loss and my fitness. The list of things that are different when you lose weight is pretty long, and I’ve gone into that before, but what I never said before was that it is worth every bit of effort to get here. It may be simple, but it’s not easy, yet every moment of difficulty is worth it when you feel as good as I do now. I guess that’s why I get so stressed when my weight goes up; I never want to go back to feeling badly like I did when I was overweight again.

Getting Hungry When Depressed or Sad

I notice that when I’m sad, down, or depressed, I get hungry. I think that it’s an easy thing for us to control and to immediately receive satisfaction from: eating. It’s a way for our brains to receive a quick win when everything else is looking down. I am having to deal with a bit of this as my weight was up this morning and the first thing I wanted to do was eat.

This is weird for me. I’ve never been a stress eater, nor have I been the type of person who ate more when they were sad or depressed. At least I don’t remember being that way. Yet here I was this morning, after weighing myself and seeing an increase on the scale and not seeing the nice definition in my abs like I did pre-holiday weekend, and it made me want to eat something: the exact opposite of what the best thing for me to do would be. I wasn’t really hungry; I just wanted something to satisfy… something.

What did I do to get past it? I used logic to get myself out of it. I rationalized with myself: this hunger is just a craving, and the craving is coming from someplace outside of sustenance replenishment. Therefore, it must be emotional. Then, looking inward and figuring out what emotional issue I’m facing that I haven’t had to deal with in a while and it’s my increased weight. Now, it’s not a lot of weight (4 lbs) and I know that I can lose that pretty easily, but it’s still something that caused a change in my mood. It was enough of an impact that it made me have a craving.

This is where perseverance and motivation come into play. Were I not really paying attention or if I were not as invested in my health, weight, and fitness as I am, I would have likely had a snack of some sort that I really didn’t need. That would lead to my body storing it, which means fat.

I am being careful and strict with my diet. Last night, I allowed myself to eat a little bit more sweet potato than I should have and also had a little bit of Paleo ice cream with a peach balsamic vinegar topping. I knew I was going to pay for it this morning; I just didn’t realize how much. Now I know, and now I know that I need to get back to being strict with my diet to get back down to a place that I am happy with: sub-165 lbs.

Knowing where the cravings come from help to get past them and ignore them. Cravings have no place in my life, and before I ever give into one, I analyze it and make sure it’s legitimate. In this case, it was not, and strangely enough, getting past it was as easy as ignoring it. If it were real hunger, it would have lingered.