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The Sweet Red Triangle

I have lost hundreds of pounds. Seriously.

But wait! Before you comment or congratulate me, I've also gained hundreds of pounds.

I grew up playing sports. I was active and thrived on the soccer field and basketball court. I loved it. College saw the typical weight gain. Post college consisted of more yo-yoing. At age 29, I credit Weight Watchers to the loss of 79 lbs. I felt great. Fast forward to now.

I am a 48 year old father of two. My wife and I have been married 25 years! "Bless her heart," as she likes to say. One of the many things I love about her is her answer to the following question of insecurity: "Do I look fat?"

Her answer, "You always look the same to me." (Bless her heart)

Once the Covid Quarantine forced me home, I treated it like a fraternity party: up late, binge watching t.v., cocktails with the neighbors. Rinse. Wash. Repeat.

I had been feeling lousy for months. Probably longer. My clothes didn't fit comfortably. I wasn't working out anymore. Blah, blah, blah...

I had had it! The switch flipped. I decided on April 26, 2020 I would get on the scale and I would let Weight Watchers be my structure once again. But I also knew I needed a plan to not yo yo again. How would I manage that?

For me, losing weight has not been too much of a challenge once I put my mind to it. I guess I'm lucky that way. What is difficult is I LOVE food. I mean, really. I love food. Period. So I did what I often do when I'm in an emotional conflict. I ask myself, "What would you say to yourself if you were your own client?" And therein lies my answer:

I would use my mindfulness practice!

This past year, I was grateful to teach a mindfulness class in my role as a school counselor. I credit the Learning to Breathe curriculum. It is brilliant. One of the lessons has the students describe a piece of food (I chose a strawberry) using the five senses. We had to pretend we were aliens from another planet. We discovered this object and had no idea what it was, what it was called, nothing. Here's a peek at some of their answers:

One of my favorite things is a student said, "It looks like a rocket ship." Brilliant.

Once we were done with all the words we could think of, the challenge was to name this object. We landed on . . . THE SWEET RED TRIANGLE.

The challenge that night was for this group of adolescents to go home and have a mindful meal....just like we did with our "sweet red triangle." Directions....

  • Bite slowly

  • Chew slowly

  • Chew a lot

  • Observe

  • Enjoy the smells

  • Keep your food in your mouth longer

  • Have appreciation for where your food originates

  • Allow uncomfortable tastes to be learning experiences

You get where I'm going?

So that is what I am doing:

  • I am tuning into my breath before I eat.

  • I am asking myself if I am hungry or bored before I snack.

  • I am trying to chew my food more before swallowing.

  • I am asking myself if the food I am eating is nutrient rich.

  • I am trying to notice and enjoy the smell of my food.

  • I am trying to give more appreciation for where my food comes from.

I am in my 8th week of this new weight loss journey. I am currently down 20 lbs. I do not share for anything other than to be kept accountable. My goal is to lose 50 lbs and evaluate how I feel then. In full Brene' Brown vulnerability, I was 291 lbs. when I began. Way too much. Way unhealthy. I don't really know why I chose a number, as my plan is to settle on a weight range that is comfortable. After all, I'd like to keep being able to "bless my heart."

May you have more sweet red triangle moments in your life.

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