“Well, that sucks…”


Those were the first words uttered by me this morning after weighing in for the first time in probably a couple of months, and the first time I’ve recorded my weight since my October 20, 2008 weigh-in. Then, 340 pounds even. Today?

358 pounds.

I’ve gained 18 pounds, and the first thing I have to say about it is, “Well, that sucks.” 


I’m not too shocked by this gain, though I am glad that it is not the entire 30 lbs I had previously lost. Nevertheless, I’d probably be exceptionally upset if the gain was just a few pounds.

In any case, I have been working on some more goals, have talked to my trainer/coach/friend and wife and am ready to get back on the path to success. That kind of sounds cheesy, but hey, it is what it is.

Sorry this is so short, but stay tuned for some new posts!


In the news: Calorie Counting


OK, short and sweet is the theme of the day. Two things caught my attention last week, both of which centered on calories. I know most of us hate calorie counting…I can attest that I’m not a fan, but I am actually doing my best do so because I think I’m at a stage in my weight loss where it matters.  I will certainly concede that it is not for everybody.

The first item came from a blog post on Yahoo from Lucy Danziger, editor-in-chief of SELF magazine.  I am not familiar with SELF at all, but obviously the title caught my attention…

Lose Weight Without Counting Calories

OK, well this will be completely obvious to just about anyone who has a pulse. Let me briefly reiterate her tidbits: 1) pick up produce, 2) snack smart, 3) sip more water, 4) map out your meals, 5) eat every meal. With no disrespect intended for Ms. Danziger, it seemed the the first utterance out of my mouth was, “duh.” Is it that simple?  I think it can be…though we know it usually takes much more than that to get real results.

The second item is still in the same ballpark, but with a twist.  I am an alumnus of Arizona State University and on occasion I’ll check the website out to see what’s new. Last week I came across a press release for a recent study done by the W.P. Carey School of Business…

ASU Study: 100-calorie packs makes dieters eat more

Slightly intriguing, no? I think there is clear face validity here…doesn’t it make sense that our minds often focus on the quantity we eat over the content? Well, let me put it this way…I get what they’re saying, but I don’t know if I always buy it. I think there’s a problem here with external validity in terms of the study. They used M&Ms and Mini M&Ms and I just think that some other food combos should be tried out before a b-school tells the world what’s up with how people perceive and eat their calories. When I think of 100-calorie packs, I think of the little, low-fat Oreos or packages of Wheat Thins. We don’t get them often in our house, but when we do, I think it’s understood that you still just eat…one. I don’t like diet food in the first place…I prefer to eat regular food with extreme moderation and monitoring…but hey, that’s just the way I prefer it.

So, now, I throw it to you…what are your thoughts on calorie counting and 100-calorie packs?

In the news: Former half-ton man endures hard times in Nebraska


Most of you probably don’t know that I’m a recovering journalist. In my formidable* formative years (not that I’m entirely out of them, I guess 😉 ) I wanted nothing more than to be a print journalist. I attended a great j-school (at least I thought it would be) and my experience led me to realize that journalism was not my business (this is an entirely different story altogether that I’ll spare you of…but if you really want to know, just ask). Despite writing for a few newspapers, including my favorite stint as a columnist for my college newspaper, I have came full circle and realized it wasn’t my thing. Nevertheless, I read several papers daily and have decided to look for articles of interest to share with you.

I would have failed newswriting for that laboriously long lead….but anyway, I think I’m going to pick Thursdays for my “In the news” segments.


This week’s story comes from an AP article published August 15th in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It’s headline:

Former half-ton man endures hard times in Nebraska

Now, I realize there are numerous happenings in the world that lead to news coverage, but I initially failed to recognize the entire point of this story, until I re-read it a few times. Stay with me here… First, I would encourage you all to click on the link and read it…it’s short, but maybe some of you will also see that there’s either not entirely too much story to the story, or it’s all a matter of reading between the lines.

I have read a great deal lately, especially on other blogs, about the great divide between those promoting fat acceptance and those promoting slimmer waistlines. As for myself, I am caught in the middle. I have been fat for most of my life, and for the most part, felt accepted by friends and family and most strangers.  There are occasions when I have felt ostracized about my size, but for the most part, I was able to let it go. Because I’ve been in a position where I’ve felt I’ve been discriminated against, I can certainly empathize with the fat acceptance camp. However, the past two and a half months have made me realize I can accomplish my health goals. I am eating better, I am moving A LOT more, and I am losing weight. I do not want to be fat anymore, but that does not whatsoever mean I would have any disdain for those who promote fat acceptance.

But, let me categorically state that I am entitled to my choices, and my choice is to improve my health. As for myself, many of my health problems have been linked to my obesity. I’m tired of a poor immune system, I’m tired of high-blood pressure, and I’m tired of being on the verge of diabetes.

So, what can we learn from Patrick Deuel in the story? Here is a man who is in clear need of help. I cannot fathom a human heart being able to take on over 1,000 pounds of body weight, and I feel, in a sense, that Mr. Deuel has been given a second chance at life with the gastric bypass…and I somewhat wonder if that chance is slipping away yet again. I don’t know what exactly to feel in terms of Deuel’s situation. I am glad that he is doing his best to not be glum…and I admire him for allowing the press to expose his situation given this country’s exceptionally polar views on the subject of obesity. Yet, there is no ultimate happy ending to this story in my opinion, unless he finally decides to do more about it.

I am glad that he is evaluating his employment options, but I think that if he’s currently unemployed, that perhaps he should capitalize on the opportunity to focus on his health and nothing but his health until he finds gainful employment again. We all have weaknesses for chips and salsa, Patrick, but chips and salsa and smoking alone are not the only reasons you find yourself in this situation. And I hate to pontificate, but time was my perpetual excuse…it is very cliche to say “if there’s a will, there’s a way,” but I now live by it. I don’t believe I’m walking proof…I have a very long way to go.  But the profusion of examples of people who have taken initiative and done something about it are all around us.

I could go on and on about the dozen or so paragraphs of Patrick Deuel’s story, but I won’t.  I have my opinions, and I hope you will let yourselves think about the situation as well. What do you see that is positive from this story? Perhaps someone could enlighten me to where I might be missing the mark.

Again, I’m not impermeable…I just have opinions, and my final one is this: Patrick Deuel has been given second chances that many people don’t get.  I hope he realizes that and does something about it. Like everyone, he too deserves his chance at living a long, healthy life.

* = feel free to look up formidable

End o’ the trip: Leaving Clark County for Clarke County


Well, our fun family-filled trip is over. We’re in Las Vegas at the airport waiting for our flight to board. Then we get four hours of airplane bliss to Atlanta, and another hour and a half to Athens. Sweet. My wife and I equally hate airports (and flying) , but I am thankful for free internet to write a brief update. 🙂

I have learned that it is well worth it to program workouts into a trip. This trip in particular was quite fun since I was able to run with family…I’m really grateful for them because it seems as if we’re pretty good at motivating each other…in any case, they’re certainly good at motivating me. Yeah, I had to battle food issues, but I still managed to run six times, when I was trying to be realistic and had only planned for four.

Getting up at 5:30 this morning for a quick 1.5 miler made me realize that I am committed to doing this.

Can you say obsessed?

We had a great time…I’ll be sure to post a few pics as soon as we get home.

I’m glad my parents read me “The Little Engine That Could”


Else, where would I be in this fight to drop pounds and get healthy?

The one thing I have absolutely treasured in the past five weeks is that not one person has told me, “No, you can’t.” I had a soccer coach in middle and high school who would make us run laps if we ever used the word ‘can’t.’ I learned early on that it was not taken lightly, and after a decent amount of laps due to that violation, I learned to keep my mouth shut and just do it.

For the most part, I have eradicated the word ‘can’t’ from my vocabulary.

Now, I do know my limits, but rather than say that I can’t do something, I just postpone it…or rather, make it a long-term goal. Truth of the matter is, I can do most of what I’ve set out to do.  Even with this week’s setback of struggling with the five minute interval, I’ve realized I just need a little more time. I know I can do it.

I have been doing my best to eat well while we’ve been traveling. There are some really good cooks in our family, especially my sister-in-law who makes quite delicious white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. They have been hard to resist, and I’ve only had one so far, and I fear that will be my limit. However, a plus to being in Nevada these past few days is all of the runners and walkers we have in the family.  We’ve hit the track the past fews days – my mother-in-law, two of my sisters-in-law, and myself – in an effort to “keep on a goin'” as we like to say.  They’re all really great motivators, and are pretty disciplined. I get lapped by each and everyone one of them, but that’s okay…someday I’ll be able to keep pace with them.

So, odds are, I will repeat Week 4 of the Couch to 5k into Week 6 of my training.  Geez…just thinking that I’ve kept up with this for six weeks still floors me, but I know the repetition will be well worth it.

When we get back to Georgia, I’m a little worried about the next month. I’ll be starting classes again, my boy will be born shortly, and I have several projects that need some dire attention. I have a conference in Florida to go to in September, not to mention a work trip back to Arizona. Things are going to get crazy busy, and I feel that I have a huge challenge ahead of me in trying to maintain my training while I start to get busy with life again.

Can I do it??

I think I can.

“Some weeks are just better than others…”


This is something my wife just reiterated to me.

I didn’t realize traveling would be so hard on my exercise plan…because let’s face it, I don’t want to consider exercise being hard on my traveling. I did a run this morning, and while I was still happy that I did the requisite 3 minute intervals, the course was not as long as I hoped. However, I guess I shouldn’t be too upset because I’m about to make a pivotal turn in my Couch-to-5k training. I’m starting week four (week five for me since I repeated a week) on Wednesday and am about to kick up the running time. I am truly excited for this…call me crazy, but I just can’t wait.

My diet has been crap, and I should have done better in planning ahead while traveling. The past few days will surely incur the wrath of my coach when I call him. He’s maybe 5’7″ tall and lives in Salt Lake City, but the distance is the only cushion…that fire of his will definitely burn through the phone line.  But I deserve it…it’s a lesson learned, and I’ll need to do better in the future.

My back seems to be improving. It’s still sore when I’m sedentary or immobile, but seems to be fine when I walk, or even run. My father-in-law and I went to Massage Envy the other night and I greatly underestimated my therapist. She found all the right spots…nearly killed me, in the process, but I think it helped.

Friends, can I just tell you how great I feel despite all of this? Sure, I have complaints, but this is the best I’ve felt in a very long time. I am still flabbergasted that five weeks later, I’m still here, and I’m still doing it. I can actually see a difference in my body. My belly is shape-shifting, my man-boobs are shrinking, and I think I’m slowly going back to one chin. I run in the mornings and see people who smile and say “Good Morning.” This is the opposite, in fact, of a bad dream I had where I was running down the street with people pointing and laughing and making some really horrible remarks.  Eh. If it happens, they can say what they want. I’m doing this to make a better me.

It’s been hard for me to say this, but whether one agrees with me or not, if one perceives something differently, regardless, I can now categorically state:

I am a runner.

What is Your Biggest Health/Fitness Vice?


I have been tagged by Andrew from Andrew is getting fit!

And, I might say, I think this is a great topic to be tagged on. It seems as if there are numerous things I could call a vice in terms of health and fitness, and I’ve had difficulty in pinpointing what could be the biggest or worst of all of them.

I don’t smoke (my mother did for over 20 years and it revolted me), or chew tobacco (my father did/does and I was equally repulsed by it). I don’t drink (too many alcoholics in the family) and I’ve never tried any drugs (unfortunately, I’ve got loved ones who are substance abusers, and its just not for me). So, I think we can cross all of this ‘big’ stuff off the list.

When I really think of it, I think the biggest health and fitness vices I have are: 1) doubt and 2) carbs.

Doubt. Yes, doubt. Doubting that I can accomplish what I want to. Doubt that I could actually lose weight and learn to live a healthier life. Doubt led me to quit anything, which in turn led to depression, which led to weight gain. Hell of a lot of good doubt did me. And it’s weird, because I was and am still competitive. I was an athlete in high school.  I played football, basketball, soccer (yes, believe it or not), golf and threw the shot put and discus. But through it all, the doubt won, my weight fluctuated, and what can I say? I got fat.

Carbs. When I was most recently living in Arizona, I saw a nutritionist who’s response to nearly everything that went wrong was, “Ohitsdefinitelythecarbs!” She really did talk like that, by the way. But it was frustrating to accept that answer, though she was more than likely right. I don’t load up on much fat, sweets or salty things. I eat meat sparingly (and after living in Georgia and seeing the gigantic chicken transportation trucks, I’ve wanted to quit altogether…but I won’t). But, I love bread, I love pasta, I love potatoes, I love grains…the list goes on and on, and I just hear Debbie rattling off, “Ohitsdefinitelythecarbs!

The great carb debate came about on Saturday when a couple of other guys and I went to give a little bit of service to a Vietnam vet in some pretty bad condition (cancer, super-emaciated…down to 97 pounds). One of the guys cleaned his house, while another cleaned his yard, and I took him in to town for some errands. The first thing he said to me once in the car was, “You have to stop eating carbs after 3 p.m. God knows we’d hate to lose you so young.” Wow…two minutes into our relationship, and I get hit with this bomb.  I wasn’t too shocked though…I’ve heard things like this most of my life. Like when I lived in Italy…a woman whose house we painted, Ines, just stared at me (while speaking to someone else as if I were deaf or not there), “Ma, dai…questo qui deve dimagrire subito…e’ troppo ingrassato!” Which more or less means: Come on, this one here needs to slim down immediately…he’s too fat! I wasn’t nearly as big as I am now, not to mention her son was much bigger than I am. I was reluctant to paint her house after that comment, but did it anyway. Afterward, she fed us lunch as kept pushing a plate of bread and cheese at me. “Mangia,” she’d mutter as if she didn’t really mean it.

I lost it. I told her I wasn’t a circus freak, and I hopped on my bike and left.

For those of you who recall, I actually lost a lot of weight while in Italy (only to gain it back of course — you can read that earlier post HERE if you’d like).

So, plain and simple…I’ve stopped doubting myself.  I have a great network of supporters who help me a great deal, not to mention more motivation than ever to help me make these changes. Carbs and I will be at war for a long time. I’ve done a decent job at managing them for the most part over the past 25 days, but I am prepared to educate myself on how they should best be consumed for me. It will be a battle that will last a long time, but I know that there’s a strategy for winning the war…

I think that a lot of hard work in these two areas will definitely help make a better me.

OK, I tag:





And anyone else who might want to give it a whirl!

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