Xavier seeks help about what to eat to help him lose weight
When you have a blog about diet, weight loss, fitness and health that is as visible as mine, it is inevitable that there will be people who stumble upon it in their Internet search for something else. It happens all the time and I'm grateful for the chance to educate, encourage, and inspire everyone who visits here once or thousands of times.
With so many new faces coming here daily, I'm always intrigued about how they got here. Recently, a good many first-time visitors discovered one or more of my posts about Manuel Uribe, the former 1200-pound man from Monterrey, Mexico who has lost over 400 pounds so far by livin' la vida low-carb. It's an amazing story that I have stayed on top of for the past couple of years and people are rooting Manuel on to great success.
One new reader from Tampa, Florida named Xavier, 31, was looking up information about Manuel Uribe when he found the "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog. He e-mailed me a brief introduction to his own struggle with morbid obesity along with some photographs of himself like the one at the top of this post. Here's another one taken recently at his sister's wedding:
Xavier tips that scales at just over a quarter-ton--533 POUNDS! Seeing his pictures and reading his story reminds me so much of my brother Kevin (who I will be sharing an update on very soon, by the way). Ever since I allowed my weight to climb up to 410 pounds before 2004, I have a certain sense of connection with anyone who struggles with their weight and my heart just breaks for people like Xavier.
I could immediately see the sense of desperation he has about his weight in the e-mail he shared with me.
"I am sort of at my wit's end," Xavier wrote. "Actually I am not even sure if you are ever gonna get this or if you are some superstar or something and no one checks these things. Though I want to write, I am just, well my brain feels like mush."
Boy, I've been there myself, Xavier. When you're big, you just feel like that's what you're ALWAYS gonna be. But I learned that is not true when I started the Atkins diet back in 2004 and went on to lose nearly half my weight. And you're not alone in your frustration about what to do, so be encouraged that there are people who understand.
The Internet has become quite a popular place for people seeking weight loss support and one of the most frequented sites online for discussing diet and health is Spark People. You can find out more about Xavier and keep up with this road he is on to shed the pounds by visiting his Spark People page. You'll find out he is trying to follow a high-protein, low-carb diet with a focus on eating more often to avoid overeating (something I have blogged about doing to help ward off hunger and keep energy levels high).
One thing I would add to this is to make sure your intake of dietary fat is relatively high compared with your carbohydrate and protein. My diet ratio of fat/protein/carbohydrate was around 70/25/5 when I was losing the bulk of my weight. Even now in 2008 as I am attempting to bulk up with upper body muscle-building, my diet ratio is almost the same at 60/35/5. Don't forsake eating fat when you are livin' la vida low-carb because it is your fuel, Xavier.
Finding a diet plan that will work for him has been the hardest thing to do since everything he has tried in the past just hasn't worked.
"I cannot seem to find a decent eating plan or more so one that will help you when you are super obese," Xavier explained. "Each doctor I see says something different and the trainers I talk to want to push their individual products on me."
It can be overwhelming when you don't know where to turn. But I'm so glad you contacted me because I enjoy helping people find the diet that's right for them. It is what helped me finally lose the weight after a lifetime of struggle and so many others who have found the same. Low-carb may fit the bill, but it could be something else. You won't know unless you try.
Above everything else, though, you HAVE to find a plan and learn everything you can about it before trying to do it on your own. Reading a book like Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution or Protein Power should be priority #1 so you know what you are doing and have guidance about how to do it. Otherwise, you're just winging it and that won't cut it. YOU HAVE TO READ THE INSTRUCTIONS FIRST!
To his credit, Xavier is already a member of the YMCA and doing low-impact cardio along with some resistance training. EXCELLENT! I wish I had incorporated weight lifting into my routine when I was losing weight, but better late than never. I'm proud of you for doing it now. Interestingly, he wrote in a recent journal entry that he learned he is "too big for the treadmill."
"You want to talk about a wake-up call," Xavier wrote. "TOO BIG to use the one thing that all the doctors say I need to use to lose weight. Cool thing they have a pool and a gym and free weights."
I know it's frustrating for you right now, Xavier, but you do what you CAN do. This journey is starting RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW and you WILL make it. Get it going and then keep it going until you reach your goal. This is not impossible and you have an entire group of people reading about your story right now who will be rooting for you to the great success you deserve to have. In fact, you probably need to read the story of David Smith who used to weigh 630 pounds and lost a total of 400 pounds. TALK ABOUT INSPIRING!!!
Xavier is a man who knows how to articulate his thoughts in a clear-cut way so you don't have to wonder what he means. Here's his take on those who try to offer their friendly advise about what he should do about his obesity.
"Many people will tell you that all it takes is willpower or if you would just not eat seconds or dessert. Of course, these are the same people who have never experienced how it feels to weigh 300+ pounds, be discriminated against, laughed at, unable to fit in seats," he exclaimed. "If the obese don't have willpower, I don't think anyone does. It takes so much strength and so much power just to wake up everyday knowing how awful society makes you feel."
You are exactly right, Xavier. People who haven't been fat don't know what it's like. The hurt, the ridicule, the scorn--just because I have more cellulite than someone else. What the heck is that all about? It stinks being put in harm's way for all of this negativity, but that's the nature of this society we live in. They don't care about how much they harm you because you're a throw-away to them. If only they knew who the real Xavier and Jimmy Moore is underneath all that weight, then they might be singing a different tune.
Now let me tell you about this whole "willpower" mumbo jumbo. It's bunk! If weight loss was merely about having enough willpower to resist, then I would have never gotten to be 400+ pounds to begin with and you wouldn't have reached 500+ pounds, Xavier. But weight loss is instead about having a steadfast resolve to make better choices for your health. If you decide to start eating healthy, then your entire perspective changes and the weight will come pouring off. It's the way our bodies were created.
These better choices I am talking about are not necessarily the ones that our government and health organizations would recommend like a low-fat, low-calorie, portion control diet. These may work for some people, but are totally unrealistic for a large portion of the obese population. Instead, there are alternatives like the healthy low-carb lifestyle that incorporate a high-fat, controlled-carbohydrate nutritional approach to bring about not just weight loss, but massive health improvements, too. It has worked wonders for millions and I KNOW it will do well for you, too, Xavier.
That fear in the back of his mind that what he is doing is not gonna work has him worried right now.
"I am just so scared that I am so big, and I want to do this right," Xavier said. "I have to lose this weight and everyone is telling me something different...I could really use some guidance and I just wish I could get two people to match what they are saying about this...I just feel alone in a way."
You are NOT alone, Xavier, and you have people who DO care about your well-being. Yes, there are many people who have their theories about how you should go about losing weight, but you follow what you think is something you can do for the rest of your life. If it's not sustainable in the long-term, then it probably isn't gonna work. But I honestly believe there is the perfect diet for each person and it's up to us to find out what it is.
After my initial response to Xavier's e-mail encouraging him in his quest for a diet that will work for him, he was excited about deciding to start livin' la vida low-carb.
"I learned how to make an omelet this morning for the first time," Xavier excitedly wrote. "I decided on low carb as my plan, basically after an affirmation this morning. Last night I got down and had ice cream and while I did not beat myself up for it, I just think that it is about time I feel worth more to myself than just another letdown. My goal for now is to think before I chomp, one moment at a time if I have to."
That's the spirit, Xavier! I'm so proud of you buddy and I KNOW you are well on your way not just to weight loss success but also to incredible changes in your health that you will have to see to believe. It's coming and I hope you're excited. Yes, it's gonna take some hard work on your part, but you're gonna make it. I'm here for you anytime you need a friend to talk to for advice or encouragement. Whatever you do, NEVER GIVE UP!!! Be in this for the long haul and GO FOR IT! We're cheering you on, Xavier! GO XAVIER GO!!!
Leave your comments for Xavier as he begins in earnest on his healthy low-carb lifestyle. Tell him YOUR story, share what has worked for you, and just let him know you will be thinking and praying for him as he goes through what is sure to be the most important chapter in his entire life. Share your feedback in the comments section below.
Oh, and Xavier--THANK YOU for being courageous enough to share your story with me. I am honored to tell my readers about you and your desire to lose weight. Be inspired anew in your journey to better health!