Sunday, December 28, 2008

Losing 31 lbs and Living to Write About It

Posted by Bruce Miller
This morning I weigh 216 lbs. That’s my after breakfast weight, recorded while wearing slippers and pajamas on a 1950s bathroom scale that I suspect is only relatively accurate.

I mention my portliness because I’ve decided yet again to attempt to lose weight and become more productive by adopting a healthier lifestyle. I’m 58 years old. It’s now or never.

The other reason I’m confessing to this embarrassing heftiness is because I’m thinking that the best way to stick with my new, longed-for lifestyle may be to I write about it. I know that keeping a journal is supposed to help weak-willed weight-losers stick to their goals. Experience tells me I’m more likely to subscribe to a new regimen if I do so with friends. When I put these two nuggets of knowledge together I discover a compelling reason to blog.

There are other reasons, of course:

1 People turn out in droves to read about how to lose weight. Maybe this new, sporadic series will attract more readers to the Barksdale Buzz, which would be a good thing.

2 I like to write. Others will decide if I’m any good at it. I find it impossible to sit down and write for myself. I only write when I think it’s at least possible that someone will read what I’ve written. My main attraction to the blog is that it gets me writing. My secret hope is that one day I’ll put together some combination of these jottings into a book. Books are hard to write—impossible for me. I’d never have the willpower to sit down and write a book. But apparently I have whatever it takes to write a blog, one post at a time. And if I do enough of that, I may one day discover that I’ve written a book by accident.

3 Adopting a new lifestyle requires discipline and research. Which changes should I make and why? Writing a blog requires similar efforts. Interspersed with all my investigations into plays and playmakers, maybe I can reconnoiter the latest exercise data, learn the perfect method for brewing green tea, or crack the code for making tasty whole wheat waffles. I have lots of intellectual curiosity, but I tend to direct it only towards work-related topics. If I blog about my desired change toward a healthier lifestyle, it becomes work-related.

4 In my first baby steps into the “healthy lifestyle blogosphere,” I’ve been told repeatedly that participants in this brave new world are among the most supportive, friendly and well informed people online. Based on the many times I’ve tried and failed, I suspect that this new attempt to embrace a healthier lifestyle will “take a village,” as they say. I hope to benefit from friends who are there to offer occasional support and information. When you learn of a better way to do sit-ups after hernia surgery, I want to hear about it. And when you’re standing next to me at a cast party and Gordon Bass enters with a plate of his sausage cheese balls, you can warmly advise, “Two, you’re only allowed two.”

5 As I embark on this journey, it occurs to me that I may actually help someone—a fellow sausage ball junkie who, like me, may benefit from some encouragement and step-by-baby-step advice. I like being a helper; I really do. Knowing that the information I uncover may be of use to someone who is committed to a similar quest, and living in the sure knowledge that many of you “someones” will be seeing me at the next opening and assessing my progress (or lack thereof)—it all makes me feel accountable. I’m much better being accountable to others than I am being accountable to myself.

Succeed or fail, I figure it’s worth a shot. I’m more than a little humiliated to be sharing turf with Kirstie Alley (not that there’s anything wrong with her), but I need to try something that may make this time different.

What does any of this have to do with theatre? Everything. Ask anyone who's ever been rejected for a role (or a grant) because some director (or contributor) chose to support someone else who was more physically fit.

Stay tuned for the results of my research and the occasional progress report. My goal is to reach 185, pretty close to my ideal weight and a number I haven’t seen on a scale in about a quarter century. Anyone who wants to toss in their two cents worth along the way is much more than welcome.

--Bruce Miller


Robyn O'Neill said...

Bruce, you are so right! Being accountable to someone else makes all the difference in the world - at least it does to me. I've dropped 10-15 pounds at a director's request many times. But with nothing on horizon, I need something else to kick my big fat ass!

I'm a lousy blogger, but I'll be one of those folks checking in and cheering you on! I'm hoping you'll inspire me to fit back into my Reno Sweeney costumes.

mmmhawke said...

Okay - I'm all over this one. I was a really fat kid: When I was 14, I weighed 228lbs. When you are heavy during those early years, you are hard-wired to think you are heavy forever.

Two words: "Low carb"

Nothing has kept the weight off for me except this diet. I can eat all the cheese, poultry, meat, eggs, (most)vegetables, and all sorts of low carb foods until I'm really full. You have to be creative with snacks (like pork rinds "ew" with ranch dressing or low-carb yogurt with canned whipped cream and peanuts).

Going to the gym and being physical helps too, but I swear by this diet.

Some actors get cast a lot BECAUSE they are heavy - some because they are fit. I believe it can work for you either way. A character actor with a perfect physique might be hard to cast...

I wish you great success with your dieting Bruce!


Meade Skelton said...

Congratulations on that! I have lost about 70 lbs, but I need to lose another 40 lbs. I will prevail, though. Thanks to the help of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ- to God be the Glory!

Joy W. said...

I find it incredibly brave that you actually put your weight in print. I wouldn't be brave enough to do that at this particular second. I've watched a couple of pounds creep back on as my running has tapered off. I have been intending on getting back on the fitness trail for awhile now but have been too busy, and with all the good holiday food....well, you know how it goes. I'd made up my mind to run early in the morning...if you're looking for a good place to walk or jog, I highly recommend Riverside Dr. by the pony pasture. Beautiful. Good luck! We can compare results in 3 weeks or so!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your decision to lose weight! I've found that it's not so much about focusing on losing the weight as it is about "becoming healthy." It is attainable. I lost about 30 pounds last year, and have the goal to lose even more this year. Tell your friends - have people who hold you accountable. Write. Blog. Be patient with yourself. Find a personal reason that only you know to do it for YOU, and no one else. And know you've got other fellow theater Richmond actors/actresses/directors/producers/etc. by your side who support you, and know what it's like to want to reach that goal. Keep at it, and have a fabulous 2009!

M Vandergrift said...

Good Luck! Here's my two cents: we have a Wellness and Nutrition Program at aGP that encompasses our client members and staff. On the client member side, it's a core service that meets critical care needs in the areas of nutrition, habilitation, mobility, and so forth. For our staff members, we offer workshops on healthy lifestyles (heathly food choices, exercise, stress management, etc.), as well as a Walking Program, a weight-loss group, and special activities for cancer awareness, heart health, and the like. And on the purely business side - it can help reduce your insurance premiums!

Maybe it's time that those with healthier lifestyles at TIV share their wisdom...just watch out for Scottie...he does that insance SEAL Team training at ungodly hours of the morning!

Now, having said all of that, I need to go home, dust off the Weight Watchers Points books, put a new battery in my Points calculator, and get down to business. (I'm 20 years your junior, shorter than you, weigh more than you, and have high blood pressure. I know - me, high blood pressure...never!)

Hmm, I might have to plan to attend the FTB this year to see who will reach the greatest degree of svelteness!


pnlkotula said...

Hey Bruce - you'll see in the next Marquee that my "Editor's Monologue" has a similar theme. I join Holly next week at Diva Boot Camp - similar to Seal team (5:30 a.m.!), but for us divas. I'll keep you away from the sausage balls if you keep me away from the potato chips!


Dave T said...

I lost 25 pounds on Weight Watchers three years ago and I found the meetings essential to my success. After being at goal weight a year, I joined a circle of bloggers called "Knights of the Round Bottoms" whose support was essential to my maintenance program. That circle has since disbanded and in the past year my weight has snuck back up to the point that I'm a solid 10-12 pounds above where I'd like to be.

Which is all to say: I think public support can be an awesome assistant in this quest of yours and I applaud you taking definitive steps. I also have found diet modification to be the key to losing weight; excising is an important part of general health but you can just end up with more muscles under the same fat if you don't change your diet.

Best of luck and here's to seeing less of you in 2009!

Anonymous said...

Eat fruits between meals to keep your blood sugar up. Stay awake from anything WHITE.... no white flour, no bananas, no white rice...but thing of all the wonderful, colorful stuff you can eat!! I cut out sugar and white things and lost 25 pounds without trying! All my blood sugar numbers are now normal.
I also did water aerboics. (did I spell that wrong?) but, walking is GREAT exerise!
good luck!!