Losing the Battle of My Bulge

by James Wallace Harris, Wednesday, August 22, 2018

I believe we all have multiple personalities. The person writing this is my thinking mind. There are two others beings sharing this body, maybe more. Neither of them speaks English, so I can only guess at their mindsets. The other two are my animal body and my unconscious mind.


People are deluded by assuming their thinking mind is the whole shebang. Their egos falsely assume they’re the master of their domain. Well, ask yourself, “Who ate that whole carton of Ben & Jerry’s?” when you trying to lose weight. Anyone who had struggled with hunger, lust, addiction, compulsion, fear, depression, anxiety knows their thinking mind isn’t the boss of me.

After I had a heart stent put in back in 2013, I took up a plant-based diet and lost weight. Dropping from 242 to 208. I believe even my body was afraid then. When I got to 208 I thought for sure I’d get below 200 soon. Something happened. My body rebelled, claiming it felt better, and I lost the battle of my bulge. I went up to 222. My doctor scolded me to lose 10 pounds. I got down to 211. Then she insisted I lose 10 more pounds. My body threw a tantrum and began binging on ice cream, peanut butter & jelly, chocolate and all its other favorite yummy foods, We’re back up to 231. My body is happy and doesn’t care. My unconscious mind isn’t sending any signals. And I’m in a panic.

Why do I let my body have its way when I know better? Why can’t my body understand the concepts of health? Sometimes I believe I can get my unconscious mind to help out. Of course, I might be nuttier than a Payday candy bar. Normally I can eat almost anything and my stomach is fine. Other times, my stomach suffers painfully from what I eat. My thinking mind has recently concluded that ice cream and chocolate hurt my stomach. Since I’ve stopped eating them my stomach has gotten better. My intellectual mind wonders if my unconscious mind has decided to trick my body. The unconscious mind is a wonder, but hard to understand.

By the way, my body might be an unthinking clod, but I have to admit my thinking body is easily deluded, confused and shanghaied. My body is very stupid. It will eat anything it wants. It’s only after it’s conditioned lots of pain will it stop eating a certain food.

I really need to lose weight. This extra weight is an obvious burden. Somehow I need to come up with a new battle plan that will conquer my body and make it surrender. There are zillions of articles on the internet about losing weight. Some people seem to win their battles, but I often wonder for how long. No matter how well I do or for how long, sooner or later my body grabs control again. How can I stop that?

It’s going to take a maximum effort to win this war. Somehow I’ve got to put everything I learned into my battle tactics. It would help if Purina made People Chow, and all I had to do was eat three bowls a day that left me feeling satisfied.

Here’s what I’ve learned and hope I can apply again:

  • Don’t keep tempting food in the house!
  • Plan all meals ahead of time!
  • Never eat out!
  • Don’t run out of healthy foods to eat because I’ll eat unhealthy foods to satisfy my hunger!!!
  • Go back to a plant-based diet.
  • Go back to intermediate fasting (eat between 10-6).
  • Solve the protein problem.
  • Make a list of acceptable foods and only eat from that list.
  • Remember, I can’t make exceptions!!
  • Eating holidays never work!!!!


11 thoughts on “Losing the Battle of My Bulge”

  1. Some solid wisdom. “… assuming their thinking mind is the whole shebang.” This is certainly true, and it blindsides us. People can go through an entire day on default and never think a thought. My most error-prone defaults I’ve noticed include: my higher intelligence, my exemplary family’s behavior, my undervalued sports team, and the righteousness of my political party. The biggest barrier here is what I want to believe v what actually happens.

    1. I once read that humans aren’t rational creatures, but rationalizing creatures.

      The older I get the more I sense my unconscious mind. Often I can worry about a problem, go to sleep, and wake up with an answer.

  2. I’ve been losing about a pound a week since January- almost 30 pounds now – about 10 or 15 to go. I use your rules with a couple exceptions. I allow tuna, salmon, eggs and cottage cheese – that’s for protein and omega-3. I eat cottage cheese with blueberries (or whatever) Also, I’ve found that it helps to allow myself 1 free meal a week.

    I’m missing some free meals lately, but I plan on fixing that today. When I do more than that I fall off the whole diet so I built 1 meal in. Also, I usually either eat my one free meal at restaurants (or take-out) – that prevents left-overs and food in the house. I’m not allowed doggie bags. lol –

    Hummus and whole grain pita bread helps with the cravings – it’s quite filling.

    What I need to do is to start walking again.

    Good luck!

  3. Another thing – my heart rate has gone down 10 points – from the 70s to the 60s. And my blood pressure has stabilized. I’m still on meds and probably always because when I did a plant-based diet without meds my cholesterol sky-rocketed – it’s genetic in my whole family, too. So I’m back on meds, but I still have to lose weight and keep excess cholesterol out.

  4. I was 98 kg (x2.2 for lbs) at the beginning of the year and my blood pressure has been creeping up, so I started using the MyFitness app to track the amount of salt I was consuming (I’m 6’ 1” btw). Some of the things I learned were quite shocking: 1/3 of a jar of Dorito salsa is your daily salt intake. I’d easily go through a jar during a movie. Along with half a pack of tortilla chips.
    As 98kg put me two-thirds of the way along the overweight section of the BMI (next to “obese”—I should be 68-82kg), and the app set me a 1730 kcal target, I thought I’d give it a go, and fairly easily got down to 88kg. I’ve been stuck there over the summer for some reason. Dieting fatigue maybe, more limited diet in the summer, more irregular routine, awake more, love of cakes and nuts and ice cream, etc. I also don’t seem to use my treadmill as there is always something to do in the garden, and I guess that latter may be lower energy work.
    Anyhow, at least I haven’t gained weight, even though I sometimes blow through my calorie target by 1000 kcal or so. How? Well, I think fighting binge days is probably futile (although I try to contain them) but I try to compensate the next day or two by focusing on foods that will let me have a better day. A kind of asymmetric warfare if you will. Seems to work.
    Do you have a calorie counting app on your phone and log all the food you eat? It provides a useful discipline (“I’ll just have half the tub rather than all of it”). Do you decant from the carton into a dish (eating from the carton is fatal, I never stop before the bottom). Do you weigh yourself each morning as I do (I hit 89kg the other day; that focussed my mind for a couple of days).
    I’ll be interested to see how I get on come winter.

    1. When I started dieting back in 2013 I used the MyFitness app. I should go back to it. I’ve tried several of them. Bought a Fitbit. And I used to weigh myself faithfully every morning until I rearranged the room and the scales are no longer in their old convenient location. I did eat from the Ben & Jerry’s carton, but I was very careful to only eat half. I was trying to be disciplined by making a carton last two nights. My body was very weird about it. I wanted to eat as much as I could the first night, but I knew I also wanted something left for the second night. So I’d finely chisel a flat surface on the ice cream 1/2 way down the cartoon.

      But ice cream started giving me stomach problems. There’s an unopen carton of Ben & Jerry’s in the freezer now. My body keeps claiming it feels better and wants to eat it. I keep telling my body to remember the tummy aches.

  5. I couldn’t have done it without the app and daily weighing. It’s your early warning system: better to find out your putting on weight after a few pounds rather than twenty.

  6. My wife and I resist weight gain by employing “rules.” We only eat out once per week. My wife wears a Fitbit and walks at least 10,000 steps per day. I go to our local aquatic center and frolic in the water for an hour each day. As you suggest, we try to keep “contraband” like Peanut M&Ms out of our house. However, no matter what we all do, we’re fighting a losing battle with Entropy. We all know how this movie ends…

  7. Amen, brother. It’s hard to lose, and hard to keep it off. The cravings (by whatever name you like) are the culprit with me. I’m over 300 shooting for 250, at which time I’ll go for 200-210. But I seem to lose/gain the same 10 pounds, over and over. I’m a meat eater, but mostly chicken along with a green veg. I no longer eat dessert, at least by plan. I admit a cookie sneaks in, because my wife eats them, and they’re here, and…

    I developed a habit as a child to snack on something while reading, and I’ve never broken it, or at least the craving for it. Since I read a LOT, that’s a big problem. Celery just doesn’t do it.

  8. What a DELICIOUS essay, James. I’m currently debating whether it’s more attractive to people if I tell them I was OVER 300 lbs. or I was ALMOST 300 lbs. before I lost all the weight. Probably would be a good idea to actually LOSE the weight first?

    All your tips are fabulous, I will start right after I get back from an out of town work conference in Hershey, PA.

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