It was over after 43 years

by Chef Lou Smith
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After a long look at our relationship.  I had to end it.  I needed help.  I needed to get out.  I was stuck.  Addicted to such negativity.  Like a drug that I just could not get enough of and it was killing me slowly.

Sugar.  I hate you.  I hate what I became with you.  It was time to break up for good.

Here is a little story I’d like to tell,

Always an athlete growing up it was easy.  Eat what you want, run it off.  Go all day, work at night.  Burning calories was easy.  Not even a thought.  Well as we all know, getting older gets tough.  Life happens, life gets in the way, life side tracks your plans, changes the possibilities.  I paid attention to everything I thought I needed to.  The kids.  The wife.  The future.  building, failing, building, succeeding…basically working hard at life.  Problem was I left one guy behind.  Me.  I became a victim of my own destructive patterns.

Eating sandwiches, pasta, potatoes, banquet style meals 3 times a day, with snacks caught up to me. carbohydrates?  Whats that? That was the first triangle on the pyramid or something?? Blah..Blah..Blah

I have always just dealt with the slow weight gain.  I might have said to myself a couple hundred times in the past 20 years..”Monday, gotta start the gym”…  eating healthy was periodic and so polar.  I would freak out and need to eat like an animal after time on a certain “diet”  pasta, breads, fries, pizza…I mean, I am a chef and taste great quality ingredients all day, but when it comes down to it, when I was hungry a sandwich or something quick, It definitely hit the spot.   Plus I have a sweet tooth.  Chocolate is and always will be my best girl.  I love her.  Milk! Soda…I was a mess. Never alcohol, but I can appreciate a good red.

I go to Doctor for a check up.  August 2017.   Here I am, 330 pounds.  The blood test results come back and say I am diabetic. My numbers are a mess.  “Were going to need to put you on this…that and another pill”  I was like “Are you sure?  Me? I am indestructible!

” I mean, I am a chef , we don’t fail….

I failed.  I left that office in such defeat and worried.

the final straw

That same week in August, I take the night off from the business of the restaurant and go with my family & friends to one of the shore favorite spots.  The Point Pleasant boardwalk.  A family fun atmosphere with the sounds of laughter is everywhere.  It is a great night with a warm jersey shore breeze & the smell of everything wonderful in the air.  My oldest daughter Emma says to me. “Dad, lets go on the spinny thing” of course I am a juvenile boy at heart and always up for fun.  “Ok, lets do it”  I am about to bond with my daughter over this awesome experience.  I could not wait to do it.  We wait on a short line, hand the guy the 8 tickets each and go find our seat.  We sit down, pull the lever.  Wait?  It does not fit.  I am too big?  I breath in real deep.  Try again!  Not even close.  I look to my daughter and see her disappointment eyes.  I was too fat to fit.  I walked out with utter embarrassment for my daughter and myself.  Doubling down telling my wife & friends what happened.

Omg.  WTF!  How could you let this happen??  You now have diabetes.  You are a mess.  One of the 6 guys living in my head had the nerve to say.

the turning point.

After long discussions with my Dr. We decided with my unwillingness to take medication & the severity of my vital numbers, I needed a drastic change.  I was sent to see a “gastro guy” to discuss a method that can help me.  A few of my colleagues had undergone this procedure and I saw their success.  I need to cut the addiction with food.   So, we set it up.  He explained to me several methods that help with morbid obesity.  Which I was.  Morbidly obese.  I wanted to keep all my “plumbing” the same.  We chose a Gastric Sleeve.  This is a procedure where they shrink your stomach.  This reduces the urge to eat.  Almost to a hault.  This forced my to stop and allowed me to break the cycle.  I could no longer shove food in my mouth and keep going.  January 8th of 2018 I went under the knife to save my life.  It was a tough 2 weeks with my refusal to take the medication for pain or anything else they gave me.

Three weeks post surgery I started to eat again.  Soft Protein, then introducing all other foods at week 4.  Funny thing was I only wanted protein.  Why was this important?  I broke my addiction.  Sugar.  I no longer craved it.  I was no longer a prisoner of it.  I still eat all day long.  Just the right stuff now.   There are no restrictions of what I can eat, it just no longer feels right to have the thing that tried to kill me.  Sugar.  I just no longer crave sugar or carbohydrates.  The sleeve surgery definitely was the catapult I needed.  It was an amazing tool.  The work & focus still needs to be done daily, but there is no going back.

Now…When I eat I crave protein.  I need good energy.  I don’t want to fill myself with empty calories anymore.   Fries just make you want to have more fries! Same with cookies..etc

My former diet, lifestyle was made up of poor FUEL choices.  The change I have had physically & mentally has made me a better person.  Reducing the poor food choices and focusing on cleaner fuel, my energy level has risen tremendously.  I am no longer lethargic or tired with a mid day sluggish feeling.   I have taken my gluten (breaks down to sugar) intake down to minimal levels.  I have reduced my sugar intake to single digit numbers daily.    It was sugar.  That was the demon.  It made me want more.  and more.    Well.  We are done.   We broke up for good.

I am now 185 pounds.  I am healthier than I was at 18.  I needed to make this change to save my life.  My wife & children deserved better.   I would like to take my experience and help others.  I have focused my menus at my restaurant to help lower the sugar intake.  We offer many gluten & sugar free dishes.

Follow me on my JOURNEY for health and well-being. Visit with me in person or engage on social media for short excerpts or how to make quick healthy meals and snacks to FUEL Your Journey to a better life

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