I’ve made my decision…

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…and Fat Guy in a Little Coat stays!!

Granted, I’ve not been the best blogger in the world, but I’ve had good reason. However, I’ve now reached the candidacy stage of my PhD, so though I can’t rest easy (there is that dissertation to write), I can and I must devote more time to the blog. I have decided to keep Fat Guy because it’s all me. Mine. I can say whatever I want, how I want, when I want, etc, etc, etc. The Fitlanthropist on the other hand, though still devoted to health and wellness, is obviously a bit of a different machine. I do hope you’ll visit me over there, because it’s worth a good cause (at least I hope it is). In any case, I’m feeling good about getting back on track (I just have to do it in two places)!

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I did it…everyone knows now…

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Here’s what I posted on my blog earlier…letting everyone know about FGiaLC…wish me luck!

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[Disclaimer: This is kind of a long and serious post.]

Most of you know that Holli and I have been into blogging for a decent amount of years now. I tend to be fascinated by anything electronic, and at one point in time had strong interests in researching the Internet as a means of advancing organizational goals for my Ph.D. I still do, just maybe not as much.

Anyway, I’m digressing already…

Very few of you are probably aware of another blog I’ve been keeping since last summer, and more than likely there is a reason for it. This blog has been one of my decision to have a healthy life, to lose weight, and to start running.

Yes, I am a fat guy who runs. And I love it.

rhys-3-weeks-old-and-johns-5k-037

In fact, I ran so much from July to October last year that I lost 30 pounds. Didn’t notice? That’s okay. I didn’t really either which was the depressing part. What I did notice is that I have gained half of it back. I even ran a 5K last year that I took third place in for my age group (and yes, there were more than three of us). I don’t know why it is that I’ve been captivated by running, but I enjoy it when I get the time, and I don’t intend on quitting any time soon.

Most of the people who read this blog and know me have known me as a fat guy. Let’s dispense with the subtleties of whether or not I’ll get offended and call it what it is. I am fat. I know this, and have known this for most of my adult life. The blog, which you can view HERE, is one of the mechanisms I’ve used to keep me motivated. But, sadly, my studies and my family require significant amounts of time, and so the degree to which I need to be held accountable must be augmented. I’ve let the blog slip a bit, and have had a hard time regaining momentum. So, I am letting all of you know that this blog exists, and am allowing you to come into what was previously a private endeavor.

I am doing this primarily for my health. Today I was informed by my doctor that recent blood tests showed an exceptionally high glucose level and that I more than likely have developed Type II diabetes. Obviously, this is not good news, but I can’t say that I am altogether too surprised. My mother’s side of the family is replete with cases of diabetes…though it seems as if I am the one who was the youngest to receive the diagnosis. And obviously, the fact that I weigh in well over what I should is not helping the situation any.

This is not for vindication by any means. Yes, I was harangued, teased, ostracized, and bullied by a few people growing up in my little “Town of Friendly Neighbors” and I remember the who, what, and when of it until this day. But, I have gone on to achieve many of my life goals–mainly finding an amazing wife, starting our family and obtaining my education–without letting it ruin me. So, this is not to get back at anyone. I once heard a general authority of my church give a talk in which he stated, “You can describe a man in inches, pounds, complexion, or physique. But you measure a man by character, compassion, integrity, tenderness and principle.” My principles tell me to forgive those who embarrassed me. They didn’t know any better. And moreover, I have the best set of family and friends I could ever ask for, so it should be of no bother to me now.

I really don’t know who reads this blog any more, other than the faithful readers who leave comments on a regular basis. I do know the power of diffusion though. I know that our blog is probably linked to several others thereby spreading the knowledge that it exists. There are those of you who have never left a comment, those of you who probably haven’t spoken to us in quite some time, those of you who might not know us, and frankly those of you who might not even like me (I couldn’t say ‘us’ there because, come on, who doesn’t like Holli or Rhys?). I am sure that now that I’ve divulged the fact that I have a fat blog out there, my friends, family, spiritual leaders, colleagues, co-workers, and stalkers (ha ha) will have access to it.

That’s fine by me.

Since I started the other blog, I have found people literally from all over the world who have been exceptionally supportive and encouraging. One of these new friends even sent me some CDs full of running songs and a pair of running socks to help keep me motivated. Amazing, right? If someone who is still somewhat of a stranger is willing to lend so much support, then why not share this blog with family and friends? They have been exceptionally supportive, and I hope you will too. If you don’t comment this blog, that’s fine, but I hope you’ll feel compelled to comment on my weight-loss blog. Invent a name if you have to.

Now, I’ll be honest in letting you know that I can be quite candid on the other blog. Granted, I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve in real life, but probably even more so on my weight-loss blog. This hasn’t been easy. It never has. But it’s something I have to do, and I hope the reasons why are as implicit to you as they are to me.

Okay, okay…I’m doing it.

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I have finally reached the point where I am now compelled to “go public” with this blog. I am nervous, but frankly what do I have to lose?

1. I am married to an absolutely wonderful woman and have a beautiful baby boy. Who am I trying to impress?

2. So what if people know about it. Maybe the blog could actually change some perceptions about how I treat my health.

3. Accountability. Did I mention that I’m currently engaged in a research project on public sector accountability? All of these issues I’ve been paying attention to in terms of state agency service delivery could literally be adapted to my own weight loss journey.

I have been showing strong signs of diabetes for months now, and though I have a family history of it, I don’t want to deal with it for the rest of my life. I’ll be headed back to my doctor soon for more blood work, and hopefully I can get a definitive answer.

So what? The rest of my family will find out, my other friends and colleagues might also find out. My religious leaders and potential employers could even find out.

I don’t care.

The time has come for my health to be priority number one. Wouldn’t everything in life be much better if my health was too?

Time to go public?

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The title of this post makes me laugh a bit. First, because the questions sounds like I’m about to start selling shares of my (non-existent) company on the stock market, and secondly, because it’s the exact opposite of the question many of my “family blogger” friends ask in relation to the privacy of their blogs (Should I go private?).

Anyone who knows me knows I’m overwieght…er…obese (man, I hate that word). But, for the most part, most people I know are unaware of this blog. Those of you who’ve stayed with me over the past several months know that this isn’t the first time I’ve posed this question. I’ve asked myself the very same question after almost every post I write.

Then why don’t I do it already?

The biggest benefit I see to letting people know about the blog is accountability. Not in the sense that my professors are going to start asking me about how my weight loss is going, mind you, but in the sense that I would have then revealed the journey that I’m on. However, it’s a journey that’s mine and mine only…so the biggest measure of accountability I have is to myself.

Frankly, I have no idea who could end up reading what I have here. I only found out recently that a former crush of mine was following me on another blog for the past couple of years. Awkward…yet somewhat gratifying. Ha.

Arguments, people. That’s what I need. Tell me (if you so desire) why you think it might be beneficial to open up to others about my blog. If I’m so compelled…it might just happen.

“Well, that sucks…”

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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.” 

Obviously.

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!

I did what I didn’t ever want to do.

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I came in last.

So, I am in Nevada with my wife visiting her family for the holidays. We’ve had a good time and are heading to Arizona tomorrow to visit my family for a week, and then making the trip back to Georgia where I’ll start my FINAL semester of coursework. I know things won’t get much easier in the dissertation writing, but at least I won’t have to be on campus or go to classes. I’ve grown quite tired of them.

Anyway, back to the real story…

While here, we decided to participate in a new race in my wife’s hometown–a cross-country 5k.

There were only about 30 of us who participated in the race, so, at the starting line, I resigned myself to the fact that I’d probably come in last. And that’s exactly what happened.

I could easily be upset, but I’m not. After a semester that was exceptionally lackluster in terms of running and exercise, coming in last made me realize how much I’ve been missing. A lot. So, my wife hung out with me at the back of the pack, we chatted, talked about our exercise goals, and then ran the last quarter mile for a strong finish. Everyone in the family who participated got a medal, except me. But that’s ok, because in my opinion, mediocrity doesn’t deserve reward. I have, however, realized that I need to get back on track and make my health a priority.

Now my in-laws live in a small town, and there was talk of nobody wanting to come in last for fear of embarassment. More than anything, I think they were mostly joking (but there’s also a common retort in the family, in which one responds “60/40,” meaning what you said was 60% true). Regardless, I wasn’t in it to win it. I was in it to finish it, and that’s exactly what I did.

Cross-country races are probably not for me right now…I think I’ll stick to the road races until I’m in better shape and know how to navigate courses better. Granted, it was fun, but somewhat frustrating at the same time.

In any case, onward and upward…

In the news: Better to Be Fat and Fit Than Skinny and Unfit

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This week’s story comes from Tara Parker-Pope’s Well blog in the Health section of The New York Times. It originally ran online August 18th…

Better to Be Fat and Fit Than Skinny and Unfit

I appreciated this article greatly, especially in light of last week’s AP story on Patrick Deuel that focused mainly on the perceptions of fat as unfit. This isn’t to say that I necessarily agree with it, but I appreciate the varying perspectives presented.

Ms. Parker-Pope poses a question all of us have surely asked ourselves, “… is a person’s weight really a reliable indicator of overall health?”

If we’ve asked ourselves that question enough, most of us have probably answered in the negative…weight is not necessarily the most reliable indicator of overall health…but I believe it’s an indicator nevertheless. I have a couple of friends who are larger than I am, and are in better health so to say. One friend in particular (let’s call him Freddy) weighs in at about 380, does not exercise regularly, and to my knowledge does not have high blood pressure or cholesterol problems. I, on the other hand, last weighed at 346, am on medication for high blood pressure, and received an e-mail from my doctor last week to “renew [my] mission to get in better shape.”  He’s a great doctor, but I hope he realizes that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to do. Perhaps he hasn’t noticed my weight loss as much as I would have hoped.

But that’s just it.  I’ve dropped some pounds, and yet I’m clearly still at risk. My “comorbidities” have definitely manifested themselves in one form or another. The one thing that I think I can attribute to weight-loss and exercise is that my cholestorol has gone down considerably, and I no longer have to take medication for that.

Last week, my wife told me that weight-loss is not an exact science. I believe she’s right. No two people are the same. Parker-Pope’s story uses a lot of statistical information, and also points out that some of the data used in studies sparked the ire of many readers and bloggers. If I look at it statistically, I can’t help but think that the error term–the “unobservables” that somehow may or may not factor into our weight–is always too great to ever provide a definitive, uniform method of weight-loss.

Or, you could be like me, who after having tried every diet from here to the moon lives by the mantra “Eat better, move more.”  Some people might phrase that “eat less, move more,” but we all know that less is not always best.

Later on in her post, Parker-Pope noted a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association that found that “fitness level, regardless of body mass index, was the strongest predictor of mortality risk.”  Of the test used for fitness, she wrote:

During the test, the treadmill moved at a brisk walking pace as the grade increased each minute. In the study, it didn’t take much to qualify as fit. For men, it meant staying on the treadmill at least 8 minutes; for women, 5.5 minutes. The people who fell below those levels, whether fat or thin, were at highest risk.

The results were adjusted to control for age, smoking and underlying heart problems and still showed that fitness, not weight, was most important in predicting mortality risk.

OK, then…so, last week I discovered I can run 20 minutes straight now. Does that mean I’m fat and fit?

And, may I just point out that these “underlying heart problems” were never specified. In my opinion, there are probably myriad threats to the validity of this study.

It’s not the most inconceivable thing to be overweight (and for all purposes intended in the article, obese) and be somewhat fit. But the vast majority of people who struggle like I do…they definitely don’t make the case.

Your thoughts?

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