(click the picture above for the high definition video - but also click YouTube for me!)
2:10 PM, Monday, December 24th, 2007:

Jesus, As if your friends and family haven't been traumatized enough by reading this month, now you're going to surprise everyone by saying you're a recovering alcoholic who finished his first 30 days sober? Merry Christmas indeed Adam.

Hahaha. You think I'd waste something with as much fodder for The Journey as drug or alcohol abuse by waiting until after I was sober? Are you high? Am I high? Man there'd be some great videos if I shot heroin. Unfortunately, those will never be my vices. My vice always has been and always will be: food. And not only have I been eating better (that'd be a boring entry) I'm currently on a 30 day streak of working out for 30 minutes before I eat my first meal which destroys my old record of 18 back when I lost 50 pounds in 2001. It also breaks my record of 25 days straight working out during that same period. I'm on-board with this aspect of my life more than any time I've been alive and to celebrate I climbed Journey Mountain and made a goofy video. My idea of celebrating is of course, more work. Heh.
Almost the identical workout with identical results as in 2001 except for one crucial number: my weight. I wasn't 200 pounds. And in fact if you throw out that first day after Thanksgiving (3 pound weight loss), I was basically where I've been for the past 2 years (178-182). Which although still overweight, is not even close to what I'd be if I didn't struggle daily with my food issues. I'm not exagerrating in the least when I say I could be 250 pounds in less than 2 months if I ate as much as my brain said I should eat. So now I come out and say:
"Hi, my name is Adam Kontras, and I'm an over-eater."
Hi Adam. :-)
The comparison to alcoholism, though humorous, is absolutely, 100% true. It's a perfect representation of just how difficult the issue is for me. I have no off switch for full. I can eat a double-quarter pounder with cheese, super-size fries and a diet coke (I know, that's funny) and the second I'm done, I want the entire thing again - and have done it. I eat a slice of pizza, I eat the whole pizza. It's something I struggle with daily and will for the rest of my life. Add to that I hold onto weight like I'm hibernating. Oh it's a wonderfully ironic issue to deal with. I'd have made a helluva survivor in the caveman days. Hmmm, wonder if that has anything to do with why I seem to survive so much out here... interesting.
My answer to all of this has always been the same - I have to avoid junk food completely. If I do that, I don't overeat. I really don't. That's why the dreaded "borg" (rice, chicken, veggies) always works for me. It doesn't taste spectacular. It's boring. It sets off none of the bells and whistles that grease, salt and fat do. Basically if I try to overeat borg I'm just being greedy. I think that's akin to what most people think overeaters feel. "Oh he's just a pig." If I'm overeating my diet food, then yes - I'm being a pig. Junk food?  Honestly, no. That is not the truth. For example, Donna made a lamb stew that I was gonna put over my rice instead of the normal chicken/veggies. It literally felt like someone injected me with a drug. When I finished my meal it actually hurt to not keep eating. I have to be very careful of what I eat. And honestly, I have been. The fact that I never gained all the weight back from 2000 is a testament to that, but I was still overweight. I was entering into some unhappy territory. Remember the little short Donna and I did for Paddy? Guess what I saw:
The picture on the left is from 2000, and the one on the right? Might as well be the following day. A time in my life which I considered behind me, was identical with "me" now. It was time.
Incredibly though, this isn't what "did it" for me. To maintain a workout routine of 30 minutes of cardio before two meals and a snack of 1000 calories requires a little something extra. And to break your all-time record must mean something is really up. So what is the big secret? Losing everything in your life. Your career, your wife, it's a downward spiral that 6 years ago lead to extreme depression as I couldn't shake it. Now? For some reason it made me hold onto "the streak" like it was the last thing I had. I was about 10 days in when I wrote the "No Turnin' Back" entry and each day when I woke up... the only thing I had to look forward to was another "perfect" day. Something that was so hard for me to do (a series of 4 and 5 day streaks pepper the past few years) was now all I had in my life.
It actually scared me to think of the streak ending, and honestly it still does. The streak is like my only security. When you're in that much pain, being able to hold onto a number is all you've got. It's like building the guest house in '04 with Jess, it became a symbol of something bigger. That's why I thought of the "30-day" chip concept because for me, it means the same thing. For me it's a number I write in my spreadhseet after my workout each day and then repeat constantly as I struggle with the temptation all around you. That streak is my saving grace. That, and believe it or not, this:
That's actually a ceramic coffee mug Chad got me for me 30th birthday to remind me of NY. ;-)
I've finally given in and become a coffee drinker. The bottom line is, if I have to live with my sinus issues and not get a good night's sleep every night for the rest of my life (or at least until I can get health insurance), I'm gonna need a cup of coffee. Period. When I wake up in the morning, my body aches and I am exhausted. Every single morning. I don't sleep well, never have. I can't breathe at all and I basically wake up 4 or 5 times a night. So the idea of working out before I eat something (crucial to weight loss) is laughable at best.
Well one of the 17 appliances Donna picked up, one was a coffee maker. Had some extra coffee beans and figured, why the hell not. Amazingly... I felt fine. I wasn't buzzing, I wasn't jittery - I just felt normal. It was incredible... so I worked out, felt great. The following morning I did it again... and 30 days later here I am. I hate to think I have to drug myself every day to feel "normal", but I'm not gonna balloon to 200 pounds and then pride myself for avoiding coffee. As you can see from the grid (c is coffee and p is pop), I've been fairly consistent have had very little caffeine. I drink liters upon liters of water per day - and I gotta say, I feel great. Who knew.
I must admit however, I am clearly in my mid-30s. Heh. The difference between this time and '01 is striking. Those 7 years might as well be 20. The plateaus in weight are maddening. I mean, when you can workout for 30 minutes, do 150 push-ups and actually gain a pound and 1/2 % body fat - you know you're in your 30s. When you can have 4 extra bites of potatoes in a stew instead of your normal "borg" and gain 1/2 pound - you know you're in your 30s. My body does not want this. It requires a ridiculous amount of work, but the stars aligned somehow and here I am. More than halfway home (my goal is 155) and so obsessed about not letting a single day pass that I should have no problem pulling this off. By the end of January we'll see where I am and then enter the ever dangerous: "maintaining" period.
The great thing is that I've been down this road, I know my pitfalls, and I'm much more aware of my addiction than I was before in 2001. And even then - I kept the majority of the weight off for 4 years or so. I simply have to avoid junk food. I don't mean periodically indulge, I have to avoid junk food. Luckily I have no sweet tooth so that's not an issue. But fast food? Yeah. Bad. Very bad. I swear to you in the next 20 years they're gonna find out there's an addictive chemical the fast food giants are using comparable to big tobacco and nicotine. Even Donna has fallen victim to it. Someone who ate better than any human I've ever known in my life, comes to this country and is befuddled at her urge to eat our crap food. It's more than just tastes good. Chris Rock said it best in his bit about Krispy Kreme. Something like:  "If they came out tomorrow and said they put crack in the donuts, you wouldn't be surprised. 'I knew there was something in 'em'" :-)
And finally the video. Journey Mountain, my favorite place in the world. Climbed the whole thing in under 10 minutes and thought my friggin' chest was going to implode. I mean it's not Everest, but it's not a foothill:
It's a great workout. By the way, for newcomer it's "Journey Mountain" because of the video I did in '02 called Stability, Potential & Success. In fact, I guess I can just embed that bad boy right on this page if you don't wish to download the high-def version (though you should, it's purty shweet). It was my solace during the most difficult time in my life and strangely I seem to be going through some of the same things. A return was in order. In today's entry video I actually give away the big secret that the first and second mountain shot are not in fact vertical, but horizontal. Certainly kills the magic of the original video, but I thought it'd give longtime readers a chuckle. And of course me being goofy in the rest of the video is a good time had by all. :-)
Whew. Have I been working on this site non-stop lately or what? Two more entries in the year, the enormous yearend video and of course yet another re-introduction to The Journey coming next month. You guys won't believe what I've done to this site in the past few weeks. Snoopers around the early years will be in for quite a shock when they click on the videos. Anyway, I'll save that for next month. For now, Happy Christmas to all. I now await reaction from my skimming friend who will be certain I've been in rehab. LOL. His last IM to me was "You're getting divorced for a third time and she's on pills? I told you so." Yes he actually had the class to say "I told you so" to a man he thought was getting divorced. LOL - who needs enemies?