It seems like way more, but for the sixth time in 26 days, I am back under 230. Of course, I would prefer if it was going in to Monday and not a weekend. But, I will once again strive to make it the last time. Down 1.6 from yesterday.
Starting weight (this time): 278.4 Current weight: 229.8 Change from previous: (1.6)
A few years ago, I signed up with a mystery shopping company. Over the years, I added other companies and am now signed up with about 20 different entities. I don't do a lot of business with all of them. But, I manage to keep a steady volume of shops with fewer than half of them. While the initial research and curiosity definitely was based on earning a few extra dollars, that was never the sole reason that I wanted to be a mystery shopper.
I have always been a huge critic of bad customer service and a huge proponent of the opposite. While most of us would feel the same way, I tended to be passionate about my views in this regard. I remember when I first heard about the "Unattainable Triangle" years ago. That was the triangle made up of three components that a business can strive for, quality, price, and speed. The principle is that most businesses that are successful are really good at doing at least one of these three things and maybe even a second. But, that doing all three is "unattainable". For me, the third component, speed, is more than just speed and I have always thought of the third component at a much broader level, as customer service. And, of the three, I think this one is more critical than the other two. In fact, I think a business can make up for shortcomings with good customer service more than it can by being stellar at any of the other two components. Over the years, when I worked at Loaf 'N Jug, everyone would have to listen to me drone on in our strategic planning sessions about improving our customer service. I repeated this mantra annually to anyone who would listen to me. I always felt that, as a former waiter, I was good enough at it myself and had the right to be critical. Like most, I would be left shaking my head after most of my customer service experiences.
To me, the chance to improve customer service was the biggest reason I was mystery shopping. I wanted to make a difference... and get paid while doing so. If you asked me to put percentages on it, I would have said I was doing it 60% to critique and possibly improve customer service, 30% to make a few extra dollars, and 10% because I like to eat for free. And, I felt like these percentages were pretty fair because I had fun doing it and the payments were an afterthought.
While that may have been my intent, somewhere over the years, that must have changed. While I have done other types of shops - hotels, golf courses, retail purchases, phone inquiries, etc. - more than 90% of my shops have been restaurant shops. Now, don't judge me too hastily. Restaurant shops probably make up 60-70% of the shops that are available. Yet, I still found myself always signing up for the quick fast food shop over anything else and that percentage began to change.
I think I would be lying to say that those percentages are accurate. If I had to be honest and update those, I would go with 20% customer service, 40% financial, and 40% free food. I have realized that the restaurants I have frequented have not improved in the slightest. Nothing I have done for four years has improved any aspect of service in Pueblo. So, the little satisfaction I still get is from knowing that the management of these companies is aware of their poor performance. The money is a nice bonus and I have found that I do fewer shops and wait for them to be bonused before accepting in many cases.
So, the variable that increased the most was the free meal. Yes, I love to eat for free. At my best, I try to still eat decently while getting a free meal. At my worst, I have eaten so much food that it is embarrassing.
Let me share an embarrassing story about the depths of despair and gluttony that I reached a year or so ago. Because, after all, that is what this blog is about... embarrassing Anthony with the hope of maybe helping someone else and providing me with some motivation. A typical McDonald's shop consists of two meals. First, the drive-through is evaluated and then the dine-in part of the restaurant is evaluated. My plan, and what I have done recently, is to eat a Filet-O-Fish sandwich in the drive-through, a handful of French fries (required to order), and have iced tea. Inside, I get a Quarter Pounder With Cheese, eat a bite just to taste, eat a few fries to taste, and then get another iced tea. With a sensible dinner later that day, I can even still manage to lose weight. But, that wasn't going according to plan while I was gaining weight. I would eat the fish sandwich. I would eat the medium French fries. I would order a Coke instead of the tea. Then I would go inside. I would order the Quarter Pounder and plan on eating a bite. Then it would be gone. I would eat a couple of fries and then take the container to the car along with the second Coke I had ordered. While driving back to the office, I would slowly finish off the fries. Then I would get back to my desk feeling disgusted and gross. I should be eating 1,200-1,500 calories a day and I was eating 2,000+ calories at lunch alone!
I am back to eating fairly decent at my shops. For the most part, I have lost weight the next day on 9 out of 10 shops over the last six months. But, last week was different. I got a bunch of e-mails and signed up for a bunch of shops and then realized I was going to have eight restaurant shops within six days. I even did pretty good at most of these restaurants. But, eight is just too many. It is amazing how eating bad foods, even in moderation, can affect your moods, emotions, sleep, and how you feel. By Monday of this week, I was in a funk. My body felt almost nauseous after about three days of fast food eating.
I had a chicken and egg debate with myself while trying to determine if my funk was causing me to continue to eat bad or if my eating was causing my funk. Hard to believe I could be confused about such a thing. I know the answer. After a single day of not eating poorly, I feel incredibly better. But, that funk left me heavier, lazier, and uninterested in sharing my sad story with any of you. So, I stopped blogging. I didn't want to write the same thing every day.
But, I am back again. It was a short vacation. My wife, my brother, my good friend, all e-mailed or messaged me within about a 10 minute window today to remind me that I need to be blogging and that they were concerned. They all said it differently, but I am choosing to believe they all care no matter how they said it.
I was 233.4 this morning. That puts me up 2.6 from the last time I wrote. We won't discuss my September 1 goals. But, I will begin posting my weight again tomorrow. And, I have finally learned that even though I thought I could do it, mystery shopping and losing weight don't mix. So, I have put my side business... and all the good I do for our restaurant-going public here in Pueblo... on hiatus and will only be doing non-food shops for the foreseeable future.
Here's to admitting I am not strong enough and continuing to build a world with fewer temptations...
Starting weight (this time): 278.4 Current weight: 233.4 Change from previous: +2.6 (via +3.0, -1.0, -3.2, +2.6, +0.6, +0.6, no change)
That is how Tuesdays are supposed to be. Monday is my 'recovery' day. Tuesday is the prize. It hasn't been that way recently. Thank you Tuesday for returning to normal. Down 2.0 pounds to a new low. This is my lowest weight since November 5, 2011. Starting weight (this time): 278.4 Current weight: 227.6 Change from previous: (2.0) Total: (50.8) Total Days: 195
Well, the party and the leftover food that made it's way in to my Sunday, finally came back to haunt me. Up 1.8 this morning. BUT, STILL UNDER 230! Maybe, just maybe, I can keep it that way. I enjoyed my 50th birthday weekend and am now ready to start my commitment to being healthier at 60 than I was at 50, 40, and maybe even 30. Actually down 1.4 from last Monday. Despite my success with pigging out and losing weight, today I go back to eating right with faith in the process and hope that my body will respond accordingly. Starting weight (this time): 278.4 Current weight: 229.6 Change from previous: +1.8 Total: (48.8) Total Days: 194
Well, happy frickin' birthday to me! I enjoyed a great day with family and friends, including some incredible letters filled with funny, tearful, and great memories from many of them. I relaxed. I told myself I didn't care if I gained... or even if I passed back over 230. But, then in the enjoyment of talking and hanging out with some of my fave peeps, I forgot to fully indulge in the fried chicken and beer. I ended up not doing as badly as I expected. And, when all of the guests had left, Lori and I went for a bike ride. So, today I woke up 0.6 pounds lighter and find myself a little further from that 230 mark! That is the best birthday present I could have given myself. Thanks to everyone who contributed to the SUP fund. It is greatly appreciated and will be the gift that keeps on giving! Here's to birthday parties... Starting weight (this time): 278.4 Current weight: 227.8 Change from previous: (0.6) Total: (50.6) Total Days: 193
No, not shades of grey... though Lori and I have yet to discuss what I want for my birthday present! That number is how old I am today. That number is also the amount of weight I have lost since rebooting this blog and this fight. I just weighed in at 228.4. Down exactly 50 pounds from my weight on February 4 of 278.4. How fitting. The best part of turning 50 is that I feel so much better, healthier, and fitter than I did at 40, and possibly even 30. That age, that used to bother me so much more and still bothers me slightly, is so much easier to stomach feeling the way I do today than it would have if I was 280+. When asked what I wanted for my birthday, I have been telling family members to contribute to a fund so that I can purchase a stand up paddleboard... something I have been eyeing for the last year that became even more desirable after talking to SUP vendors, watching men my age enjoy them in the ocean off Cocoa Beach, and having a friend, Shawna Miller (who, by the way, also is fully living life at 50+), absolutely fall in love with the sport and her new board recently. What better gift than something that will add even more years to my life through exercise, relaxation, and a little zen? I can't think of anything. As I have been told to do by family and friends, I am embracing turning 50. In fact, I look forward to being 60 with the knowledge that I will even be more healthy in ten years than I am now! Down 1.8 pounds after my double-bacon-cheeseburger-and-fries strategy worked to perfection and continued this streak of actions not lining up with results. Today I celebrate my birthday with no guarantees that I won't return to the 230s. But, I don't care. Because I will continue doing what I am doing and will continue to slowly return to the weight I was three years ago. Here's to 50 years on this earth and many more... Starting weight (this time): 278.4 Current weight: 228.4 Change from previous: (1.8) Total: (50.0) Total Days: 193
I am at a loss. These large weight swings that don't correspond to my behavior have left me befuddled. Yesterday was a great day. Good food. Good exercise. The dreaded mowing of the lawn... my first hint that I was going to gain weight. Every time I think I am destined to go under 229, I go back over 230. The good news is that a friend is taking me to lunch today for my birthday. So, I plan on pigging out and, thus, losing weight tomorrow. I think I could accept this disconnect between my daily activities and the next day's weigh-in if I was still seeing a slight overall decline in my weight. But, the frustrating thing is that I have been stuck here for well over a month. I got to thinking that after my vacation, I got down to 232.8 on August 1 and have been between that and 229.0 for two straight weeks! But, it's longer than that. I got down to 231.2 on July 1. So, in the last 45 days, or over 6 weeks, I have lost only a pound! That is a problem. Lots of time off during that stretch. I get that. But, I think it shows that I am stuck. In the first 147 days, I lost 47.2 pounds. In the last 45, I lost 1. So, time to change some things. Especially if I still want to have any chance of reaching my September 1 goal. Starting weight (this time): 278.4 Current weight: 230.2 Change from previous: +1.0 Total: (48.2) Total Days: 192
BACK UNDER 230! Again. Deja vu. For the last time. Never again. Say good bye to the 230s. Blah blah blah. Yada yada yada. [Insert Charlie Brown's teacher's incoherent talking sound here.] I would like to say I did good yesterday. But, I didn't. I would like to say that I was positive all day after going back over 230. But, I wasn't. I was frustrated. I would like to say I ate a good lunch and skipped the leftover food I found in a meeting conference room. I didn't. Not only did I eat some, but I can hardly imagine it being any worse than the cheese sauce covered chicken and noodles dish that I ate. (Though the fact that my stomach started revolting in the middle of me eating this fat-laden dish kept me from finishing it.) I would like to say that I kept my sodium low. But, I didn't. After a morning of jalapeno pretzel pieces, I complimented it with an evening of sampling about six different new potato chip flavors (by the way, the new Lay's Wasabi and Ginger chips are the bomb) and also ate a few pieces of pepperoni. I would like to say that I finally stopped drinking soda. But, I didn't. I had a Pepsi with that bad lunch and drank a couple of drinks of root beer right before going to bed for good measure. I would like to say I got up this morning and worked out hard after being too tired to get up the first three mornings this week. But, I didn't. I didn't even make the decision to stay in bed, as I had the last three mornings. This time, I forgot to change my alarm and it was set wrong. I would like to say I expected to be down 1.2 pounds this morning. But, sadly, I was not expecting that. I expected to be up over 231 today and then crying to you this morning about my addictive personality. Instead, for the second day in a row, my result did not match my behavior. And, I couldn't be happier. With my birthday weekend in front of me, I won't even write that I really hope it's the last time. I could stay under 230 this weekend. Or, I could break 240. It really is a crapshoot. Here's to doing everything wrong and being rewarded for it... Starting weight (this time): 278.4 Current weight: 229.2 Change from previous: (1.2) Total: (49.2) Total Days: 191
I guess my letter to Anthony didn't work. Growing tired of the number '230'. After a pretty good day, I was hoping to distance myself from that barrier and instead went back over. Time to consider a change to the exercise routine since I seem to have hit a mini-plateau. Back to the drawing board... but, staying positive.
Starting weight (this time): 278.4 Current weight: 230.4 Change from previous: +0.8 Total: (48.0) Total Days: 190
Back under 230. Down 1.4 pounds. Dear Anthony, please, please, please, let this be the last time you ever have to break 230 for the rest of your life. Thank you. Starting weight (this time): 278.4 Current weight: 229.6 Change from previous: (1.4) Total: (48.8) Total Days: 189
I won't bore you with the details of this weekend. I gained 2.0 pounds on Saturday (232.4), lost 2.2 on Sunday (230.2), and then gained 0.8 pounds this morning. Last week was a weird week. This week will be better. Starting weight (this time): 278.4 Current weight: 231.0 Change from previous: +0.6 (via +2.0, -2.2, +0.8) Total: (47.4) Total Days: 188
I won't name names. They aren't to blame anyway. But, I continue to be too easily swayed from my path by others. This has to change eventually for me to reach my ultimate goals. But, that hasn't happened yet. I went from being way ahead of goal pace to well behind pace in the blink of an eye. Starting weight (this time): 278.4 Current weight: 231.4 Change from previous: +2.0 Total: (47.0) Total Days: 184
Have you ever had one of those moments where you would like to look yourself straight in the eye and then smack your own face as hard as you possibly can? No? Is that just me? Mondays are my good day. Mondays are golf night. Mondays are eat light day. Mondays usually have 2-3 workouts and result in 1-2 pounds lost. Monday is the day I get to correct weekend woes or continue weekend success. But, lightning and rain cancelled golf and that resulted in dinner out. That's not supposed to happen on Mondays. So, I woke up 0.4 pounds heavier and sat there in the bathroom contemplating how hard I could smack myself in the face. The only silver lining is that I remained under 230. Here's to Tuesday... Starting weight (this time): 278.4 Current weight: 229.6 Change from previous: +0.4 Total: (48.8) Total Days: 182
I have never been more happy about a 0.2 weight gain in my life. Monday mornings always seem to bite me in the ass. And, after finally breaking 230, I feared going back over the very next day. After eating home-made spaghetti for dinner, I had a bad feeling that I was going to do just that. So, when I saw 229.2 this morning, I was ecstatic. Hopefully, with a good couple of days, I can put that number out of my rear view mirror and move on to lower barriers. Starting weight (this time): 278.4 Current weight: 229.2 Change from previous: +0.2 Total: (49.2) Total Days: 181
Down another 1.8 pounds and finally under 230! Maybe all I needed was a bad vacation to get me back on track! I will remember that the next time I struggle. This is my lowest weight since November 19, 2011. That puts me down 49.4 pounds since February. Time to break 225. Starting weight (this time): 278.4 Current weight: 229.0 Change from previous: (1.8) Total: (49.4) Total Days: 180
Down 2 pounds and down to a new recent low! The best part is that it took me only 5 days to negate the impact of my 12 days of vacation. Because of my month of fun, I basically just blew July. I was 231.2 on July 2 and am only 0.4 down a month later. But, I enjoyed my time away and was able to regroup and that is a good thing. Now it's time to focus on finally breaking 230 and getting that next 10 off. Starting weight (this time): 278.4 Current weight: 230.8 Change from previous: (2.0) Total: (47.6) Total Days: 180
Down 2.0 pounds, 1.8 away from my low, and even with the last weight I saw before leaving on vacation. I forgot to post my new goals yesterday, including the August 1 goal that I already met. Here they are (yes, slightly different than my pre-vacation goals - keep your comments to yourself)... August 1 - 234 (Actual 232.8)  September 1 - 220 (for Steve)  October 1 - 210  November 1 - 202 December 1 - 197 January 1, 2015 - 194 The numbers in brackets are my pre-vacation goals. While the August 1 goal has radically changed, you can see that the gap shrinks as time goes out. They end up being closer to my original goals than I thought... just a different path. We won't discuss the stretch goals I listed. Starting weight (this time): 278.4 Current weight: 232.8 Change from previous: (2.0) Total: (45.6) Total Days: 179