Come with me as I take on an “impossible” weight loss challenge

A couple of weeks ago, on this website’s launch celebration call, I announced the next “impossible” challenge I’m going to take on.

I announced I was going to do something that a lot of people want to do, but aren’t able to accomplish.

I announced I would lose the excess 50 pounds I’ve been carrying around…

  • Without using self-discipline,
  • Without beating up on myself, and
  • Without suffering,

… And that I would blog every step of my journey.

So why would you care?

If have a challenge in your life that seems impossible — be it losing weight, finding a job, restoring a relationship, finishing a graduate thesis, or whatever — I think this quest will interest to you.

If you are like most people, you approach seemingly impossible problems with everything you’ve got. You probably…

  • fire up your self-discipline, and
  • get the best advice you can get, and
  • use the best techniques you can come up with.

These are all good ideas… But without the one “missing piece of the puzzle,” eventually you’re likely to lose momentum. And when that happens, evereything can fall apart.

In my case, with my weight, in the past I’ve taken these actions. I’ve been disciplined. I’ve had good advice. I’ve used smart techniques.

How’s that worked out for me? Well, here are the numbers…

  • Six months ago, my weight was 229 pounds, and my total cholesterol was 204.
  • Five days ago, my weight was 236 pounds, and my total cholesterol was 210.

That’s right — in the last six months, my weight has gone up and my cholesterol numbers have gotten worse… Despite my best intentions.

Clearly something is missing.

The missing piece: the state of your heart

I like to say that if the state of your heart is good, then you don’t need any advice — you feel internally motivated to do the best thing.

However, if the state of your heart is upset, the best advice in the world won’t help you, because you have no motivation.

If you want to make a major change in your life — if you want to accomplish something “impossible” — then you need to be able to get your heart back into a “great state” when you are upset…. so you’ll have the internal motivation you need to effortlessly keep going toward your goal.

I invite you to follow along and apply my journey to your “impossible” challenges.

I hope you’ll decide to follow along with me, on this blog, as I do the “heart work” to keep my motivation going as I pursue my proper weight.

I’ll do my best to make the lessons I learn as universal and applicable as I can, so you can apply them to your life, too.

I also hope you’ll comment on my posts — starting with this one. You might…

  • ask questions,
  • give encouragement,
  • let me know what seemingly impossible project you want to take on in your life,
  • and share how that project is going for you.

It’s my hope we can create a community around this where we all learn, all feel supported, and all discover the courage to consistently go for what we long for.

About Dmitri

Comments

  1. Dmitri,

    I have been looking for something like this. I am 40 lbs overweight and need to take it off. I am looking forward to taking this journey with you.

    • John Owens says:

      I am with you, Dmitri. Weight Watchers helped me a lot, but I have lost juice for the program. I am looking for something to inspire me to love about the same amount of 50 lbs., and you are the man!

  2. I just hit the 200 mark for the first time in my life. I plan on taking this journey with you. Thanks.

  3. interesting and playful way to handle a personal goal…. share it with others and invite them to do it with you… I’ll be following you. Good luck!

  4. Gleb Gladwin says:

    Hey Dmitri

    I’ve been studying and doing interviews with people around this topic hoping to launch a weight loss boot camp which addresses the type of thing you are.

    My history has been one of a former athlete, playing football and being quite tall, numbers like 300 lbs are not unfathomable for me.

    My launch has been delayed by various special projects that take me away from the United States and away from computers and such conveniences.

    So far, I’ve interviewed just under 100 people including several contestants from the Biggest Loser. Rulan Gardner, a Gold Medal winner in the Olympics in wrestling, on the show now, is a friend and this sets up a couple of points that are consistent in the interviews as it pertains to successfully maintaining a healthy body.

    I did a workshop with Richard Rohr and the first discussion and awareness to live by is “Life is hard” The discussion around that led all over the place but it seemed to center on a need for discipline that isn’t framed in the negative. In other words, ‘hard’ can simply mean, in weight loss terms, that following nature’s biological facts as it pertains to the human body INCLUDES moving, lifting, climbing, walking and working physically in various ways.

    Modern culture and habits are predominantly sedentary and so ‘hard’ in this case is simply to change that reality and to start moving.

    The key, especially in my case is to take the long view and to literally do less then I think I can and keep adding ONLY when it’s really easy to do so. My competitive nature has always pushed me too hard, I get injured and I ‘fall off the wagon’ so to speak. Jared of Subway fame simply sought to walk 20 minutes a day and eat smaller portions. NOTHING ELSE!

    Then as he was lazy, he discovered that he could eat a balanced diet easily at Subway so he did that and gradually walked more and more. It took him several years to get to his initial goals AND he was missing one piece. BUT, he did what he could and he got moving!! This is critical! Beyond anything else I could describe!

    What he was missing was the harder work of actually building some muscle mass, which ties into Rulan. Rulan was an Olympic Heavyweight wrestler and despite his gaining a lot of fat, he still had a far above average muscle mass burning calories even as he slept. If he wasn’t an athlete, he probably would have been 700 pounds instead of 470, JUST BECAUSE he had muscle mass which burned calories 24/7. He cannot win that show because he will lose his fat very quickly and then he will be ‘stuck’ with his formidable muscle mass which will not allow him to actually lose the kind of total weight that the show typically exhibits in the winner.
    He will ‘win’ in loosing his fat and learning to eat properly.
    So, moving and gaining muscle mass are absolutely DNA type stuff, these two factors increase the power and efficiency of EVERY single biological system in your body from digestion to sex to flexibility to sleep and on and on.

    If you kept your diet EXACTLY as it is and started moving and gradually added muscle building activities, you would eventually get healthy, despite a poor diet.

    My Grandfather was a fur trader in Kamchatka, Russia, just after the revolution but it hadn’t crossed that far east yet. For 7 months of the year he ate whale blubber and a root like tubor available close to shore lines and occasionally some bread. He came to Canada in the early 20’s and the stories of friends of his was that he was a “Charles Atlas” of that era in incredible physical condition and virtually never was ill. He died at 95, he suffered a stroke at 80 and I remember him in his 70’s being angry at himself for not finding hard work to do to keep ‘feeling good’ was the rough translation from Russian.

    So this is the ‘heart’ part of this in my way of translating what you wrote. When I have been in good shape, EVERYTHING is easier, it’s a heartfelt joy to sprint across a road, to jump up two steps at a time, to be able to lift something very heavy and to be able to jump up after sex and go build something. This joy cures so many ailments of the body, mind and spirit which together encompasses ‘heart’ to me.

    To conclude, DON’T FIGHT BIOLOGY!

    Our physical structure is meant to move and work and be able to overcome obstacles.

    We can make the process quicker by eating well, by keeping that heart goal of joy in movement and paradoxically taking it easy for a long long time ramping up to greater challenges.

    There is no doubt in my interviews that the single greatest failure in staying in good condition is not keeping moving and not working to build a reasonable muscle mass.

    And for those who point to marathon runners, don’t forget that the great ones actually do have a high percentage of muscle mass in proportion to their weight, so what I am preaching doesn’t mean we all have to become bodybuilders. We do however have to stress our bodies to achieve the heart joy I spoke of.

    Hope that helps.

    Gleb

  5. I dont have a weight problem so you dont have to listen to me. But I do have food allergies that tried to kill me. That is, I thought it would be easier to die than it was to quit eating them. Them is diary, wheat, corn and sugar. As I did you are thinking well you might as well die. There is nothing else to eat. On the contrary. Thai Pumpkin Soup, Escarole ground turkey and Navy Beans, Italian Stew, and I made a giant heart shaped chocolate cake for my love for Valentines day that was mostly protein: eggs and blanched almond meal. I was depressed at thinking I’d never enjoy eating again and you can see I was wrong. In fact after getting off of those foods the anti depressants and anti anxiety meds no longer worked, memory and comprehension improved, my skin looks good, my joints no longer hurt, my food digests comfortably and absorbs nutrients so my hair and nails recovered, and bowel movement is effortless. I also drink 60 oz of water daily. Since dehydration makes us think were hungry, and ails us in myriad ways.
    I smoked in my 20’s and quit the day I learned I was pregnant with my daughter so that was good motivation. But I removed myself from liquor and coffee, bars and coffee shops and hung out at the fitness center doing aerobics for us pregnant. Now I roll out of bed before I wake up to work out, run, or my other fun things like rowing on our town reservoir in summer. I’ve engaged the earth, and love watching the sun come up over the water far more than any food I’ve ever eaten.
    Its the moment of choice. Like getting a divorce or quitting smoking. To stay to same or to create my moment. I can live habitually (there is so much more out there!) or create my life. I live to move my body now, and put into it what makes me healthy. Creating food I love and cooking for others is my greatest joy. But I admit it took impending death to wake me up. My kids learned from watching my demise and recovery. I had dropped under 100 pounds. Overweight can also be gluten sensitivity, (1 in 10 of us is, and its hard to get properly diagnosed), lactose intolerance, or other food incompatibility. I had a chiropractor who muscle tested me and removing those items proved he was right. Many MDs over years were zero helpful. Not trained in food allergies most often. Maybe my story is helpful? I know you cant imagine there is life beyond your favorites, but you cant imagine yet how happy you could be.

  6. Hi Dmitri,

    Your email really resonated for me. I’m looking forward to witnessing your journey.

    I’m here to support you and to learn and be inspired by you.

    Thanks for inviting me along!

    Peace
    Judy

  7. Fawn Bilgere says:

    Bravo Dmitri! I admire your courage, your dedication and your faith. I’ll be with you all the way as you hoist your sail to catch the Blessing Current. ;+)

    And personally, as your wife, I am THRILLED that you have chosen this goal. Here’s to us sharing a long, happy, healthy life!!!

  8. dave blackman says:

    Dmitri,

    Right now I am feeling a lot of gratitude for all the giveaways (this being another one) and excellent trainings you’ve offered over the years that I have benefited from. I haven’t told you before, but I would like you to know that because of YOUR work, the process work we do in my men’s group is safer, more respectful and has greater depth.

    With great appreciation and respect for the way you do all the things you do,

    Dave

  9. Thanks to everybody for the great comments — I’m impressed by the passion that people have for this topic, the triumphs you’ve had, and the ideas you are sharing.

    I’ll be posting more soon as we take this the next step!

  10. Thank you, Gleb, for reminding me so clearly how much glee I feel when I can move my body easily, powerfully, and joyfully, whatever I want to do.

    Back to college full-time, presently studying Food, Health, Sustainability.
    Most of my cohort think this is about saving the world, and it is; and as an older guy with 2 diet-related chronic conditions, I also take it personal : the food I eat directly effects my health , and my sustainability.

    My binge eating/crash dieting began in high school wrestling, where anorexia and bulimia were a socially-sanctioned ‘sport’ in itself. Over the last 50 years i have gained and lost 1000 pounds.

    During last year’s health care debate, I decided the only sensible thing I could contribute was to lose 20 pounds, and be healthier now and later. i was the oldest signed up for the fitness Challenge at the health club, and determined to beat out all the kids and win first prize. After 90 days, I had lost 33 pounds, felt great, put blood glucose and all other blood tests into “Normal” — and finished 2nd out of 60 overall ! I had so much build on and to celebrate including 2nd place -and build on but focussed instead on nt winning !st place, because that was where my focus, my passion had been directed. i consoled myself with a quart of Haagen-Dasz chocolate-chocolate chip- the first of many – and a year later I am back to square one.

    I was diagnosed diabetic in 2000, and have been managing without meds, using diet and exercise.. When I read about people going blind or losing limbs, fear motivates me and I tightly manage my blood sugars. And when I hit that next doctor’s visit, I forget and drift, go back to sleep. I want to become motivated consistently by love instead of fear.

    Duke

  11. P.S. Happy National Eating Disorder Awareness Week !

  12. Dmitri and All–

    I am a nutrition coach. I hope it’s helpful if I say that very often, too much weight is a sort of starvation, too many calories eaten because of a lack of nutrient density. People can lose weight by forcing themselves to eat fewer calories, only to suffer the rebound effect when the body talks back and demands its due. (Perhaps this is what happened to Duke above.)

    What is our body telling us? “I need nutrients from whole, real foods! not rabbit food! and not manufactured food!”

    Most people today are misinformed about which foods hold the most nutrients!! Enough protein–beef, chicken, fish, eggs, or cheese–3 times a day is a wonderful foundation. Eat butter, coconut oil, and other old-fashioned fats–traditional people knew these foods have great nutrient-density! and are very healing, satisfying, and energizing to the body. Then, yes, find ways to enjoy your vegetables and fruits. Peaches and cream anyone? 🙂

    I hope you have a wonderful, delicious, joyous journey to your health goals!

    Leslie

  13. Duke and Leslie — thanks for the inspiration!

  14. Lucian Kragiel says:

    Dmitri,

    I’m pretty much in the same physical circumstance as you are and am ready to make a real change.

    Lucian

  15. I’m patiently waiting for the next step/phase of your journey. What is your fequency for updating your blog?

    Thanks!

    • @Dinske —

      Fawn and I have been on the road for the last week, and will be home in a couple of days. I have my next post mostly written, and will have it up by the end of the week.

      As a preview — I did some healing work around my desire to eat whatever I want, whenever I want to eat it — and got some movement so profound that now I’m actually having NO PROBLEM avoiding the “bad” foods, and no problem not overeating. I’m really excited about sharing the step-by-step of how I got there, I was surprised by how it went.

      Fundamentally it comes down to this: It’s really hard to make a change if, fundamentally and honestly, you DON’T want to make it. We can pretend we want to make it, but until we get honest — and then get even more honest after that — it’s gonna be hard to make lasting change.

      I’ll be sharing how I did that.

      Thanks for your cajoling/encouragement. I appreciate it. I’m glad to not be doing this alone!

  16. Mike Bacovcin says:

    Dmitri,

    I was on a similar journey. I was 30 pounds overweight had bad gout and the doctors were starting to throw more and more pills at me. I thought there has GOT to be a better way. I read a book called “Healthy for Life”. He talks about how addictive sugar and spiking your blood sugar really is. It was good to hear that not only are there the feelings around food but also the physiology of food. It helped me break the sugar/carb addiction. I’ve lost the 30 pounds, and I’m off all the pills and haven’t had a gout outbreak in 3 years. It is possible to loose the weight and keep it off. Changing your life style can change your life and your relationship with food. Don’t think of it as a diet, think of it as a life style change. You can do it!! Then you’ll be part of the 2% of people who loose the weight and keep it off.

    Mike

    • Hi Mike,
      Thanks for that inspiring story. I’m prepping a blog post now about the physiology and neurology of overeating, and sugar, salt, and fat are the big players, pretty much exactly like you said.

      • Mike Bacovcin says:

        I just found out about another book called “Good calories, bad calories”. Just the preview has me excited. He talks about all the bad science around food. I can’t wait to read it. It looks like it might be a good resource for your blog. That and anything by Michael Pollen.
        Keep it up.

  17. Thanks a ton..really helpful!!

  18. Good points

  19. Welcome to the world of nutrition. The foods proomted have nothing to do with health and well being. Read any health advice book by gov , dieticians etc and you will find lovely propagandistic remarks such as grains are essential part of diet . based on no science at all.All for money

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