Friday, August 2, 2013

Treating Cauliflower Ear at Home

Disclaimer: Don't follow this advice. I have no fucking clue what I'm dong... I'm just a random dude on the Internet. Go to a doctor. 

Now that I got that out of the way...

After about seven months of jiu jitsu, I finally got my first bout of cauliflower ear. I decided to treat it myself because a) I like to experiment with my body, and b) I have no health insurance and didn't want to spend the money on a legitimate doctor. After years of ultrarunning, I'm pretty adept at fixing injuries. 

For those that aren't familiar with cauliflower ear, it's a condition caused by either a sudden blow to the ear or a repeated grinding/shearing force applied to the ear. It's common among grapplers, boxers, or other fighters. Here's a prime example from lifelong wrestler/mma legend Randy Couture courtesy of

Basically the cartilage of the ear separates from the connected structure, and the pocket fills up with bloody puss. If left untreated, the ear hardens into the strange shapes you see on Couture's head above. The trick is to drain the ear and compress it before the hardening occurs... usually in a few days up to a week or two.

I'm familiar with the problem from my high school wrestling days. I had a minor case on my right ear then, but chose not to treat it. The result was a very slight disfiguration that wasn't readily apparent to the naked eye. The exact location was the cymba conchea as shown here:

The latest bout occurred on my left ear. I suspect it was caused by two things. First, we recently covered guillotine chokes in class, so many people are trying them. I happen to love baiting people to sink one as it's easy to counter and you end up in excellent position. Unfortunately it's tough on the ears.  

Second, I've started using my head to post on the mat more often, which is a throw-back to my wrestling days. Apparently I use the side of my head more than my forehead.

At any rate, I resisted using headgear, which is the single best preventative step a grappler can take. When the injury started, I reluctantly ordered headgear. While it was in transit, I continued to roll, which greatly exasperated the problem. The swelling went from a minor annoyance to completely blocking my ear canal.

Ergo my home treatment.

For my first attempt, I tried using a safety pin to lance the swollen part. It was too big (i.e.- it hurt like fuck.) Then I tried a utility knife blade. Same deal. It looked like I'd need a better strategy.

After a great deal of Googling, I came up with a better plan. I'd use a hypodermic needle to drain the ear, then use ice to reduce swelling coupled with foam ear plugs to provide compression. 

Before beginning, I made sure everything was sterilized with antiseptic wipes then alcohol. I also cleaned intermittently, though it's not shown in the pictures. The ear itself was thoroughly cleaned, as were my hands, all tools used, and anything my hands or the tools would touch. Taking the pics proved to be difficult because I had to disinfect everything after toughing the camera. I couldn't recruit a volunteer photographer on short notice. Apparently blood and needles makes some people queezy. :-)

Anyway, this is how it went down:

"Before" shot.

Ear plugs to help create pressure once needle is inserted.

Icing to help dull the pain.

First of six drainings with 24 gauge insulin needle. Sidebar- it was entertaining buying these at Walgreen's. I had my three kids with me and felt a need to explain that I wasn't a junkie. :-)

Another draining (used a new needle each time.)

A full needle:

Icing afterward to prevent refilling:

Using ear plugs and neodymium magnets two in front, two in black) to provide pressure on the affected area:

Post-procedure results the following day:

The area is still quite swollen and I drained it again the next day. I may have to drain it again tomorrow, but so far so good.

Needless to say, I'll be wearing headgear from this point forward.

Oh, and for those that talk that "badge of honor" bullshit- no thanks. I'm too old to fall for that false machismo crap. 

Any questions? Leave them in the comments section!


Friday, July 19, 2013

Ten Reasons You Need to Start Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Whenever I start a new hobby, I like to convince all those around me to do it also. As much as I would like to say it's a natural manifestation of the desire to spread happiness, it's probably more of a self-rationalization attempt. 

Regardless, here are 11 reasons you should start Brazilian jiu jitsu:

1. Self-defense. The martial-arts-as-self-defense gets overplayed, but it IS a factor. Jiu jitsu is handy if you're in a situation where you can't run and the attacker likes to punch or kick. Dragging the fight to the ground could possibly be effective in some situations. The skills learned in jiu jitsu would also be handy in a potential rape situation given "guard" and "back mount" (two major positions) are really just missionary and doggie style. 

2. Fighting is fun. As much as our society likes to admonish violence, fighting is awesomely entertaining. This isn't just a "guy thing", either. I've known precious few women that have tried a "violent" activity and didn't thoroughly enjoy it. Most of the nay-sayers have never tried any sort of fighting; their opposition comes from dumbass societal expectations. Consensual recreational combat, especially relatively safe combat, is amazingly fun.

3. Health. Jiu Jitsu is physically demanding. Physically demanding activities are good for our health. Ergo...

4. Crosstraining. Our bodies like plenty of variety. If you do only one activity, you may inadvertently weaken some structures and create imbalances. Runners that do nothing but run would be the perfect example. Adding crosstraining tends to decrease injuries and lead to better overall performance. Jiu jitsu is an activity that uses the entire body. Lots of muscle contractions, lots of stretching, lots of coordination. It's about as "functional" as fitness can get. 

5. Life Skillz. Jiu jitsu is an art that requires patience and humility, both of which are excellent life skills. When you first begin, most people will absolutely kick your ass. Quick victories are far and few between. The egomaniacs wash out quickly. Patience is required to improve, which eventually leads to less ass kickings. 

6. Face fears. To the non-grappler, jiu jitsu is a scary proposition. First, you're in close proximity (i.e.- physically rolling around) with strangers. Second, you're doing an activity that's unfamiliar. Third, you're probably gong to be subjected to rules and customs that will seem foreign. Fourth, you're going to experience some pain. And choking. Fifth, even though we discourage thinking in terms of winning and losing, you will be placed n one-on-one situations where you will fail regularly. There may be a few other potential fears mixed in there, too. All can be overcome fairly easily. Learning to face our fears is, in my opinion, an absolute prerequisite to living a happy life. 

7. Develop a sense of belonging... eventually. Most people that try jiu jitsu have a similar experience. When they first step foot in the gym, they feel a little alienated. Others are friendly, but may seem a bit distant. After a few months, others start warming up and a deep sense of camaraderie develops. That initial stage isn't a result of jiu jitsu players being aloof- it's because there's so much turnover initially. Most of the new white belts will join, try it for a month or two, then move on to something else. Once you get past that point where it's obvious you're committed, you'll begin to develop a close bond with your teammates.

8. For parents only: It tires kids out, teaches a degree of discipline, teaches them not to be a pussy. If you have kids, getting them involved will have all the positive benefits listed earlier... and these other three bonuses. The last one in particular is important given the current state of bullying here in the US. Instead of teaching people to stand up to bullies, we've fallen in love with a "let's talk about our feelings" approach to handling the situation. Anyone that's spent time observing kids can attest to the stupidity of this approach. Don't want your kid to get picked on? Give them the tools to stand up to bullies.

9. For couples- more interesting date night than IHOP and a movie. Fighting increases all sorts of things related to interpersonal attraction. Do jiu jitsu with your partner. You won't be disappointed. Besides, learning to fight boosts self-confidence, and self-confidence is sexy. ;-)

10. It's a sport for all ages. Jiu jitsu came about as a means of defending against bigger, stronger opponents. This is the purpose of joint locks and chokes- they negate physical advantages to a degree. The technique trumps athleticism. Because of this, anyone at any age could learn the techniques. It's one of the few combative arts that offers that advantage.

There you have it- ten reasons to jump on the Brazilian jiu jitsu band wagon. Find a gym. Stop in for a visit. Buy a gi. Get a month membership. Start a blog.

All the cool kids are doing it.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Best Advice for Jiu Jitsu Belt Promotion for Newbies from a Newbie: Chill the Fuck Out

Brazilian jiu jitsu, like pretty much any martial art, uses a belt system to rank practitioners. The progress for adults is depicted in the picture to the left. Each belt color from white all the way up to black are considered "major promotions", while the stripes added to each color are considered "minor" promotions.

Promotions are considered to be very conservative relative to other martial arts. I've been at it for about six months or so and am a one-stripe white belt (second to the lowest classification.) It can take anywhere from eight (considered relatively fast) to fifteen + years of consistent training to earn a black belt. Other martial arts, such as taekwondo, may take as little as 18 months for a practitioner to earn a black belt. Obviously the "black belt" means different things to different arts.

In regards to bjj, different schools, gyms, or academies (terms used to describe where bjj is taught) and different instructors have differing criteria for promotions. Some use a formal testing method where you have to show competence and technical knowledge of a wide variety of skills. Others (most I suspect) use an informal, subjective methodology to determine promotion. Instructors may use a wide range of criteria from technical knowledge to ability to submit others when sparring ("rolling" as it's called) to performance in competition. Other factors may be considered like age, prior skill level, respectful behaviors... whatever.

I've been reading a lot of jiu jitsu forums as of late, and I've noticed two distinct, conflicting messages:

1. People giving "Don't focus on promotions, focus on improving your abilities" messages,


2. People obsessing and/or complaining about not getting promoted.

Having come from a slightly different background than most jiu jitsu players I've met (former psychology teacher turned mountain ultrarunning hobo turned lumber handler/writer/stay-at-home-dad), I have to whole-heartedly agree with the former perspective. Focusing on the next promotion, while good for the ego and a good external measure of progress, can have quite a few unintended consequences. Let's start with...

1. Focusing on external rewards decreases intrinsic motivation. WTF does this mean, you ask? If we do any task because we expect a reward of some sort, eventually our motivation for the task decreases
(extrinsic.) Conversely, if we do something because it satisfies a deep, internal need, we tend not to lose motivation (intrinsic.) Focusing on our next promotion will eventually kill our desire to do the task. Perhaps this is why so few people continue past the blue belt level.

2. The early stages are a sandbox. You're supposed to suck. Take advantage of the opportunity by experimenting often. If you end up losing position or getting tapped, even at the hands of the brand new kid, nobody even notices. That's what is supposed to happen. Being a white belt is a freedom that you don't always get later on. Others will have expectations. Savor the obscurity.

3. The anxiety of waiting for your next promotion can inhibit your capacity to learn. Focusing on when you get promoted invariably distracts you from the task that should garner your attention- improving your game.

4. If you decide to compete, its better to be promoted later than earlier. If you decide to compete, you'll probably be more competitive if you're promoted later rather than earlier. Of course, there is a point where you'd be sandbagging at the lower level, but trust your instructor's opinion on the matter.

5. Don't compare your insides to others' outsides. That quote comes from Hugh MacLeod, but is paraphrased by many others. We like to compare ourselves to others, and our jiu jitsu game is no exception. This can be a useful to to gauge progress, but can also be a slippery slope. Other people, even those that started at the same time or later, may be more athletic, have prior grappling experience, or may just learn faster. This journey is uniquely yours. Treat it as such.

6. Almost everyone doesn't give a fuck about your belt color... they're too busy obsessing about their own. Those that DO care really should be avoided anyway. Humans are rather narcissistic. We tend to see ourselves as the center of the universe. As such, most people don't care about your rank. This is especially true of white belts. Given the number of white belts that wash out and quit after a few weeks or months, the more experienced folks usually won't bother investing in a friendship for quite awhile. Because of this, you won't register on most peoples' radar.

7. It's just a game. We're not curing cancer. Treat is as such.

Yes, promotions are nice. Recognition from our instructors makes us feel good. Don't get too caught up in that external measure of progress, though. It very well could sabotage the greatest experiences of the art.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Jiu Jitsu Confessions: Sometimes I'm a Spaz

Spazzing. v. Not knowing what you're doing, but doing it as fast and as hard as you can.

[definition paraphrased from a comment by kintanon over at the Jiu Jitsu Forums]

When I first started jiu jitsu, I didn't know what I was doing about 95% of the time. I was like a crack whore that stumbled upon her pimp's stash of meth. As a former wrestler, I was accustomed to the idea of grappling... I just didn't know how that translated to jiu jitsu. A half nelson isn't all that effective in the gentle art.

To make matters worse, I was relatively strong compared to others my age and size thanks to my (then) current job as a lumber handler at a lumber yard. To make matters even worse, I had a crazy endurance base from years of running ultramarathons on high altitude mountain trails. Running up and down mountains for 30 hours translates into pretty decent mat endurance.

It was a perfect storm for spazzing. I was fine when drilling at a low intensity. The game changed when it was time for live rolling. I didn't understand the positions. I didn't understand escapes. I didn't understand submissions. 

The result was a lot of hyperactive wrestling technique applied to my partners as they tried to practice. I would try to power out of various positions. Most experienced jiu jitsu players would simply lock a spaz in a position, let them wear themselves out, then submit them. Unfortunately, my endurance base gave me enough stamina to spaz for 20-30 minutes. I'm sure the experience was similar to being seated next to a three year old on a trans-Atlantic flight.

It took awhile a good month or three before I started to learn to calm down. I realized my hyperactive thrashing was completely destroying my opportunity to learn. I was relying on physical attributes to mask shitty technique. The only way I was going to learn the very basic techniques was to chill out. Relaxation was the key, which is a little ironic given relaxation is a major component of my barefoot running teaching methodology.

Here are the steps  took (and still take now.) And yes, most of these will be obvious to anyone except complete newbies... but that's the point of the post:

1. Relax via deep, slow breathing. I started by consciously slowing down my respiration rate before rolling. When the rolling started, I would practice slow, deep breathing. This naturally limited by aggressiveness and kept me calm. If I started breathing too quickly, I just slowed everything down. I'm sure the hyper/lethargic cycle annoyed the first few sparring partners, but I eventually got the hang of it.

2. When in an inferior position, I practiced good posture and waited. Previously,  would immediately try to explode to a better position. This never really worked as it just exposed my neck or an arm. Flailing isn't a good strategy in line at the grocery store, nor is it a good strategy on the mat. Now I'll wait to see what my partner is doing to do. I'll look for the opening they create instead of trying to force an opening. This has also taught me the power of baiting them into a position to dictate which escapes I can use. I've even started intentionally seeking out inferior positions. It's common to start rolling on our knees. I'll almost always allow my partner to pull guard just to get more time working defense.

3. I started allowing them to submit me. This is more or less the same idea as above. Tapping allows me to feel the subtle nuances of their movement through the entire process of the submission. If I were spazzing, I wouldn't have the ability to perceive their subtle weight shifts or micromovements. This also helps me see how to defend submissions from various stages- before they sink it, while they're sinking it, and after they sink it. I'm still pretty bad at defending pretty much everything, but at least I've set up a great opportunity to learn. I've also started asking more questions after the rolling session ends. 

4. I started seeing jiu jitsu progression as an exercise in efficiency, not the practice of collecting techniques and submissions. Continually marching toward ever-more efficient movement requires relaxation, which is exactly like the idea of trailcraft I discuss when teaching about trail running. The goal is to cover the gnarly terrain as fast as possible with as little energy as possible. It's like flowing over the trail. Jiu jitsu is the same "learn -> refine" exercise, and framng it in that way helps immensely.

These four techniques won't magically make me better overnight, but they DO inhibit that spaz response. If I'm going to be an annoying white belt, I might as well be "inquisitive annoying" instead of "spazzy annoying."

What about others? How did you overcome the spazziness that seems to affect almost all white belts? Share in the comments section!


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Training with Your Significant Other

Back when Shelly and I ran a lot, we did the vast majority of our training together. That included long runs, speed work, and functional fitness crosstraining.

When we started mma training, it was only natural we continue training together. As long as both of us are in the same class, we pair up for boxing, muay Thai, and jiu jitsu drilling. We often pair with others for liver sparring or rolling, however. For us, this arrangement has some significant advantages... and disadvantages. Here are a few:

Pro- We're brutally honest. There's no need to preserve each others' egos. If one of us are doing something wrong, there's no hesitation to point it out.

Con- We're brutally honest... but sometimes wrong. My idea of correct technique sometimes deviates from Shelly's idea of correct technique. The result is usually an argument that's not settled until a) one of us causes significant pain by using the correct technique, or b) one of our instructors settles the argument.

Pro- We don't have to deal with the clueless spazzing of other white belts in drills. We're both fairly calm, laid back folks. We're also pretty good at listening to the details of any technique, then applying it in drills. Together we're able to execute better than if we were paired with other white belts.

Con- Sometimes we're spazzy white belts that don't know what the fuck we're doing. It's like the blind leading the blind, especially if we're doing a completely new technique. We'd definitely benefit from pairing with other more advanced belts.

Pro- We can spend hours and hours outside of class discussing everything we've done. This helps solidify our understanding of everything we've learned. This is especially true when it comes to incorporating new stuff into the previously-learned stuff. It helps us understand the nature of sequencing in both the striking and grappling realm.

Con- The discussions, when paired with a few beers or glasses of wine, usually devolves into us "showing" each other the techniques. This would be great if we had a cool mat room in our house. But we don't. We live in an RV. Our "mat room" is a full size bed in a room that's pretty much the same size as the mattress. Silver lining: We'd be pretty adept at fighting against the cage.

Pro- We get to know each others' games. Yeah, I know. We're just white belts. Our "game" is analogous to a fish flopping around in a boat. But both of us have very simple, clear setups for everything we do. This telegraphing of technique forces us to a) pay attention to subtle cues, b) begin defense before an attack, and c) develop a wider variety of setups. We'd definitely get this with other partners, but the "chess match" is much more robust because we have a deep understanding of each other's personalities outside of the training.

Con- We quickly exhaust all our techniques. It goes something like this: I'm in Shelly's guard. She tries to set up a cross choke. I counter. She moves to an arm bar. I counter. I try a knee pass. She counters. Then we sit there for 5 seconds thinking of the next techniques to try. Ultimately this is a good thing... but wastes a little time when sparring.

These are just a few of the issues that arise when pairing with a significant other. Overall, the experience is great. Just like running and lifting, fight training brings us closer. It requires trust and communication. The pheromones are a plus, too. Quite honestly, it's an awesome "date." It beats the Hell out of the "cheesy romantic comedy", "walk in the park", or "shopping at Abercrombie and IKEA" dates.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Jiu Jitsu Beginner Tip #4: Learn Endurance by Relaxation and Kinetic Perception

Kinetic perception is a concept discussed in Bruce Lee's book "Tao of Jeet Kune Do." Lee describes it as an awareness of muscle contraction and relaxation. The application is simple- contracted muscles use energy and fatigue. The goal is to remain as relaxed as possible for as long as possible. Muscle contraction should only occur when absolutely necessary.

For my runner friends, this should be a familiar concept. The key to great running gait is efficiency- there is no wasted motion. There are no unnecessary muscle contractions. We want to eliminate all extraneous movements. Furthermore, we want to make the necessary movements as efficient as possible. When running a marathon, fifty miler, or hundred miler, efficiency is a key ingredient for success.

Jiu jitsu plays by the same rules. Unfortunately, staying relaxed when grappling is far more difficult than running. 

First, most movements are unfamiliar. When we're doing unfamiliar movements, we're not quite sure which muscles need to contract. Our brains err on the side of excess and contract more muscles than are necessary. This is why practice is necessary. By repeating movements in training, we develop the muscle memory to repeat movements as efficiently as possible.

Second, the very nature of combat stimulates our sympathetic nervous system (prepares us for fight or flight.) This causes our heart rate to increase and breating becomes faster and shallower. This physiological process is fatiguing.

Third, jiu jitsu tends to cause panic. Getting choked or caught in an arm bar, Kimora, or any other pain-inducing joint lock is scary as shit... at first. This problem usually goes away quickly once you learn you can escape by tapping. However, that "newbie panic" is especially fatiguing.

Fourth, learning the pace of jiu jitsu takes time. In my experience, all of us white belts tend to be fidgety and hyper. We're overly aggressive. The more experienced belts tend to be progressively more relaxed. The two brown belts I've sparred with were damn near comatose. For newbies,this aggressiveness pays off because it allows us to gain advantageous positions without using good technique.

Or so it seems.

The first few times I did a guard-passing drill, I was able to pass the guard of those that were more experienced with little trouble. I was somewhat surprised. I knew my technique was terrible, but the aggressiveness seemed to take them by surprise. I was seemingly rewarded for the aggressiveness.

Never mind the fact that they, without exception, submitted me about a minute later.

It is now clear they were simply letting me wear myself out with my aggressiveness by simply prolonging the time it took me to pass their guard. Since I was tired, it was easy to sweep me or replace guard, then submit me. I was being suckered, and it worked beautifully.

So How Do We Learn to Relax?

After about two months of training, I still struggle with relaxation. However, since I'm aware of the importance of relaxation as a means of improving my game, it's something I can continually practice. These are my preferred methods:
  1. Practice the physical movements. The more you practice, the more refined movements become. The more refined they become, the more specific muscles will be contracted and relaxed. Every time we perform a physical movement, we get a little bit more efficient. This is the advantage of drilling or repeating movements again and again in succession. Note- drilling when fatigued is a bad idea because we compensate for already-fatigued muscles by contracting surrounding muscles... exactly what we're trying to avoid.
  2. Control breathing. The easiest way to deactivate the sympathetic nervous system response is to reduce your oxygen supply by taking slow, deep breaths. Start practicing breathing during drills, sparring, conditioning... whatever. Breathe in while counting to three, hold it for three seconds, then breathe out while counting to three.
  3. Learn "rest" positions. There are quite a few positions that require little or no muscle contractions to maintain. Learn them. Know how to get to them from any other position. Practice them. If you're sparring and get fatigued, practice recovering from these positions. I'm not experienced enough to know many of these positions, but I've found a few of my own.
  4. Learn to use the relaxation/explosion/relaxation pattern. I'm not sure if this is a common strategy in jiu jitsu, but I sense a lot of my experienced sparring partners using it. They'll be completely relaxed, suddenly explode with something (escape, reversal, submission... whatever), then immediately relax again. The explosion is always done with surgical precision. The experienced dudes will sometimes fake an explosion in one direction to elicit a response, then explode in the opposite direction. Classic misdirection. The REALLY experienced dudes will also use a relaxation -> slow build -> relaxation pattern... especially with chokes and joint locks. The goal is to induce a "Damn, this sucks right now, but he's slowly increasing the pressure/pain... how far will this go?" It really destroys the ability to withstand the submission attempt. Learning to control pace not only saves energy, it's a strong element of strategy.
When teaching people to run barefoot or run ultras, a major component was teaching relaxation. The same concept is even more important in jiu jitsu. It's not a difficult concept to grasp and practice as long as we have an awareness of the underlying ideas.  Practice relaxation and kinetic perception. It'll help your game immensely.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Weight Loss: It's Not Rocket Surgery

photo courtesy
One of my goals since taking up jiu jitsu (and possibly mma training) is to eventually compete in tournaments or other competitions. Body weight is one of the considerations that comes with the territory. I have to consider how much I currently weigh, what weight class I'd likely compete at, and how best to arrive there.

As a runner, body weight wasn't a huge issue. I raced anywhere from a low of 172 pounds (Burning River 2009) to 195 pounds (Grindstone 2012.) Weight was never really correlated to performance, especially at the longer distances. As such, most of my weight loss attempts were for aesthetic purposes.

Competing in jiu jitsu is considerably different. The goal is to get to the lowest possible weight class while still maintaining strength. Before any competition, there's a weigh-in session. At that point, you have to be at or below a specific weight. Based on my experiences with wrestling, I know I can cut about five pounds if weighing in the day of a match or ten pounds if weighing in the night before a match. This means I can have a 'normal' weight five or ten pounds above the weight class, then lose those five to ten pounds before weigh-in without affecting my strength or endurance.

My specifics

Based on the US bjj Open weight classes, my goal weight class would be 168 with a gi. Since my gi weighs somewhere around three pounds, my goal weight would be 165. If I were weighing in immediately before a match, my pre-cutting weight would have to be about 170. If weighing in the night before, it would have to be about 175.

My current weight is around 180, which is down from a month ago where I was at 195. To get to my goal, I have to lose another 5-10 pounds. I'm currently aiming for a happy medium- 172.5. 

How to Lose Weight

Many people want to lose weight for all kinds of reasons, but the combative arts are a special case. The easiest way to lose weight it to simply consume less than you burn. It's a simple equation- you'll lose about a pound for every 3,000 calorie deficit you create. Stop eating for a few days (or severely restrict intake) and the pounds melt off.

Unfortunately, training and recovery from training requires nutrition. Since a deficit is still needed, food choice has to become VERY selective. I accomplished this by two methods:
  1. Eat a wide variety of foods. I try to eat as many different foods as possible, which includes meats, fruits, veggies, and nuts. I eat different animals and different colored-plant matter. This assures I'm getting all required nutrients to repair tissue. I stay away from calorie-dense processed foods. Sadly, this includes regular beer and wine intake. 
  2. Eat less. I cut out one to three meals from my normal routine. I usually eat about seven times throughout the day. Now I eat about four or five times per day. I also eat smaller portions. This assures a decent caloric deficit while still maintaining energy levels.
Aside from the nutritional component, I also try to move more. My job as a materials handler at a lumber yard provides ample exercise. I life heavy shit all day long. I also walk several miles during any given shift. I add to this by walking three miles to and from work most days (when schedule allows.) Shelly and I also run to the gym when possible (another three miles.) This, combined with the energy expenditure of training, burns somewhere around 3000-5000 calories per day. 

Based on this current pattern, I should reach my goal weight in about three weeks to a month. Once I reach that weight, I'll continue with the same eating pattern, only eliminate the calorie restriction. 

How Can This be Applied to You?

Weight loss isn't a magical process. There are no shortcuts. Fad diets, drugs, or other silly tricks rarely if ever work. It's about altering lifestyle. It's about feeling hungry on occasion. It's about moving more. 

Want to lose weight? Consider beginning some sort of fight training that requires making weight. It shifts bodyweight from a body image thing to a utilitarian purpose. It becomes just another element of training. Preparing for competition is an excellent motivator to lose weight. I'd highly recommend it!