Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Army Dreamers

198.2 lbs

Sliding towards 195 lbs again. Body fat % down, weight down. Feeling good, looking good. Might even have to extend the chart this week. We'll see.

Since I am feeling so good let's look at a success story. One of them, John Memmer, is actually a friend of a friend and his story is truly inspirational and touching. Every story I have read about a successful life change started with a single moment of clarity which lead to a call to action. John is no different. John used to weigh 115 lbs more than he does today. Can you imagine that? What was his moment of clarity? He couldn't fit on an amusement park ride with his young son.

For those of you that have never had to struggle with being overweight, I salute you. But for those of us who have been on the other side of the equation, we can all imagine the sadness that can/does consume us when we can't interact the way we want to with our children or loved ones. It's heartbreaking and the only thing I think I can relate it to (relation not equivalency) is being disabled. I would imagine that this was a dagger to John's heart and he took it personal. I particularly like the following quote from John:

"Dieting implies that you're making a temporary change, and what is essential is making a commitment to a different way of living," he noted.

John pinpoints exactly what I hate about dieting and the whole damned diet industry. Dieting only enforces an idea of temporary discipline and mindset change. At some point you have to stop or readjust. John made long term changes and simply did some replacements in his diet. That's all it takes. Well, that and discipline. John would never have made it without some simple discipline, a concept our society lacks.

Let's look at the other side of the coin. Recently an Army recruit named Glenn Wilsey lost 85 lbs in 4 months! Can you imagine that? He had a moment of clarity when he weighed too much to join the Army. Can you now imagine how dead he is? You see, Glenn went extreme with his dieting. Glenn's approach was very temporary and very deadly and very very different than John's. We can thank the Army for that.

I have read a number of accounts about this young man, Glenn, and each one differs but here is the gist of it. In order to join the Army, Glenn needed to lose approximately 95 lbs. Now I am going to spark up my blame thrower for a bit. Hmm where do I start? First, the Army should have never accepted someone who was morbidly obsese and Army recruiters should not be dispensing medical advice. I hate to speak ill of the dead but despite what has been said of him, he was morbidly obese. The press tries to paint him as some sort of Olympic athlete but pictures do not lie. Secondly, if he was such an athlete, he would have known better than to run around in a sauna suit with weights strapped around him. Now if he was a muscular and athletic man, the Army does have another option for folks who don't fall into weight categories - body fat percentage or skin fold tests. I can simply look at pictures of the young man and tell you, those would not have been an option.

So what killed Glenn really? Potassium loss extreme enough to stop your heart would never occur on a 800 calorie diet. It will occur if you are sweating too much out and not replacing your fluids responsibly, like if you wore a sauna suit - a lot, like Glenn did. And potassium loss is what killed Glenn. It's as simple as that and if he was bingeing and purging like some articles suggest, I am surprised, sadly, it didn't kill him quicker than 4 months. The Army shares a lot of blame in this and because of their short sightedness, a mother has lost a son. It's not the first time someone has had to say that last sentence in one context or another.

Glenn looked like such a nice young man, God rest his soul. In the end, his dream killed him and that has to be one of the saddest things I have ever had to write.

But alas, there are always as many good examples on how to make a change in your life as there are cautionary ones. I read more and more each day. I hope the good ones keep coming.

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