Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I love this website! I use it (almost) every day to track my food and exercise. It has some really inspiring stories and I love all the nutrition and fitness info. This story today really hit me for some reason! Click here to go to the actual story.

Or You can read it right here:

A family health crisis was the major turning point for me. During the summer of 2005, my then 78-year-old father, was gravely ill and had been hospitalized for about a month. I had braced myself for the phone call from my mom to come at anytime (I live 400 miles away from them). The phone call came, but it was a good one. Mom told me that Dad was finally getting better. By the end of July she told me that he was actually going to be released from the hospital. On the day of his discharge she brought him home, helped him settle into his chair, stood up to get him a soda, and promptly died of a massive heart attack in the middle of the living room. Dad was so frail he couldn't even get out of his chair to do anything except call 9-1-1 on his cell. The call that day was not the one I expected.

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A few months later my father's health had stabilized and I started looking at mine. I was 44 at the time, weighed about 420 pounds, and smoked about a pack and a half a day. My blood pressure was 179/103 and I knew that if I ever had a blood test I'd show up as diabetic (I had seen the signs and every one of my relatives was an overweight diabetic). I started tweaking my eating and trying to work out a bit. A year later I was no different. Another year goes by and I had probably managed to lose 20 pounds (I didn't have a scale that would go that high so I'm kind of guessing here). In the late summer of 2007 I finally decided I had to do something NOW. I started weighing my food and that's when I discovered that the steak I considered a dinner portion was really big enough for two and sometimes three dinners. A medium pizza is not designed to feed two people. We all have been here, haven't we?

My local health department offered smoking cessation sessions using the patch and the Cooper-Clayton method to quit (Dr. Richard Clayton was an old professor and colleague of mine so I knew the method but never followed it before). In 12 weeks I was done with the smokes. It was time to deal with the next task, so I started by cutting out the sodas. I had been having at least three cans a day, usually closer to a 6 pack and on a tough day I might have a couple of extra ones. I cut them out since I hated the taste of diet cola. Wow. I suddenly noticed that my size 58-60 pants were a touch loose. Duh. I stopped going to fast-food restaurants and soon needed to buy a size 54 to replace the 58s.

I started to walk in the park. A mile took me the best part of an hour and made my ankles and knees so sore I could hardly walk for two days (I should add here that because of a birth defect my legs are not as sturdy as the average pair of legs and I have a bunch of issues there which included more surgeries than I want to remember). A couple of months later I was up to 1.5 miles per day, four to five days a week. I decided to challenge myself to walk in a 5K, so in July 2008 I completed a 5K Road Race for the Bluegrass State Games and finished dead last, with my wife, in just under an hour. I also met Jared Fogle that day-- the Subway spokesperson on Oprah and the Subway commercials (Subway sponsors the BGSG and paid him to come and host the event and give out the awards). I bought a scale in October 2008 that would go to 350 and expected to break it. I didn't and I literally cried when I saw it had 320 on it. In December 2008 I bought two pairs of size 50 jeans and started walking just about every day. Soon I noticed that I could walk two miles almost every day, no matter what.

Along the way I've adjusted the portion size of my meals to something more in line with normal. I have not really changed the content of my food, only the amount and the way it is prepared. Almost everything is cooked on my grill now with no added fat (I can't remember the last time I had something fried) and the portion sizes are close to recommendations instead of restaurant size. Other than a few substitutions of ingredients (ground turkey in my chili in place of half the ground beef and fat-free half and half instead of regular) I haven't really changed what I cook at home. I just eat a normal amount instead of supersizing it. Also, I killed the donuts and pies I used to bake all the time. A snack now is a handful of cashews or some carrot sticks (which I still dip in full fat beer cheese--I just dip it now instead of covering it in the cheese). I eat a pretzel rod instead of a candy bar now. When I want chocolate, I have a Hershey's Kiss or a fun size candy bar instead of a full size one. A quick handful of trail mix also works well. Now my nightly dessert is a portion of sugar-free Jello pudding made with 1% milk. And I have one cookie with my lunch instead of the 3-4 I used to have.

In May 2009, I bought a bike at a garage sale in my neighborhood and started riding it. My favorite Loop is known locally as "Walnut Hill" -- it's about 14 miles long if I ride from my driveway. The first trip around took me two hours and four rest stops. Soon I was riding it non-stop every day and joining a bike club to get longer rides under my belt. In January 2010 I wound up with a new Giant road bike as my present for losing 200 pounds. By the end of October I will have rode 2,500 miles on it.

Now I weigh 195 pounds and my blood pressure is 105/62, last time I checked. My blood sugar tested within normal parameters a month or so ago. My bad cholesterol was 89 (but good only 19) and my triglycerides were about a third of the recommended level at 61. Now I'll have a regular soda when I want one, but once a week at most. I did go through a Wendy's drive thru once last summer when I was exceptionally hungry and had forgotten to bring snacks from home. No restaurants though since the portion sizes are so out of whack. Now I wear a size 38 jeans and I think a 36 is in the near future. My former 3X shirts (and an occasional 4X) have been swapped for Large. I work out virtually every day now, either by walking or biking. My standard is to walk 3-4 miles depending on the weather and how I feel. I have rediscovered my love of a bike-- I ride every day if I don't walk. I've completed several half centuries with my bike club (50 or more miles at one time) and I'm working on a training plan for my first century next spring. Most weeks I hit in the ballpark of a hundred miles or so total.

I still plan to lose more weight. I think I'll look good about 180-200 pounds so that's where I want to go. The BMI charts tell me I need to be 150 pounds but I'm 48 years old and I think I'll let 30 pounds slide. 225 pounds down and about 15 left to go! I think I can get there from here.

My wife has been my biggest support system. For three years I focused (maybe even obsessed) on my weight. She had to put up with everything from my learning how to cook all over again, to ranting and raving about not losing enough weight fast enough, to the nightly ice packs and ibuprofen schedule.

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The biggest challenge for me was discipline. I used to have none when it came to food. I grew up in a Southern culture that equated food with friendship and hospitality, so you always ate or drank whenever you saw a friend. Discipline is still my challenge since I allow myself an occasional donut, beer or restaurant now.

Calories in--calories out has been my secret to success. Nothing else matters. Forget the obsession with trivial details and focus on calories in and out. Sure, other stuff is important too, but nothing else matters as much. Worry about the big picture, not the smaller stuff. Change one thing at a time by small amounts rather than going cold turkey. Once you get that thing under control, focus on the next one. I got comfortable with cutting sodas, then restaurants, then portion size. All three at once failed in the past for me, every time.

My words of wisdom:
1. The mind is the hardest to change. I still go immediately to the big and tall section to buy clothes and I still head for the table instead of the booth the few times I go out. None of my new friends knew me at 420 pounds and they don't really understand. Of course, neither do I. My mirror shows me a 195 pound man, but my mind still sees me at 420. But it is fun when I have to tell someone I haven't seen in a few years who I am. Their mouth flies open and the eyes bug out like Daffy Duck.

2. Plateaus happen. Shake up your routine, stick with the program and the weight will start to fall off again. Always stick with it, even when the scale doesn't move a lot. Sometimes you will lose a pants size but no weight-- jeans never lie even when the scale doesn't move.

3. Celebrate the small victories. Finish that 5K and have a candy bar or something special. Buy a new shirt when you drop a size.

4. If you splurge today, track it, shake yourself off and start over again tomorrow since one meal won't wreck all your work but one month might. This is a long term thing, not a week to fix it all.

LIVESTRONG.COM has taught me to count calories and track everything. Calories in-- calories out. Focus on those details. And above all else, support is crucial. Venting online with my frustrations, seeing that others have the same concerns and worries, cheering them on and being cheered on by them. Support makes all the difference in the world. LIVESTRONG.COM helps others by promoting healthier lifestyles in the kitchen, the park, the gym, and creating a supportive community to help. I've never met any of my LIVESTRONG.COM friends but they mean the world to me.
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Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/blog/#ixzz1Ke9gXcWC

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

This is super cute...

Not sure why but this really cracked me up!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Crazy "quad" busting trail run!

I woke up early Sunday morning and headed out with some friends to a trail run on the ski/mt bike/Ice Age trails in Iola!!! It was a total blast! Cold, snowy, muddy, and crazy huge hills!!! Tons of rocks, roots, holes...and even a few downed trees! I had a blast racing through this wild course! It was 15K and that felt just about right...I was ready for the finish line when I hit it! I am not a huge runner...but I can tell you I really LOVE running in the woods! It feels more like exploring than running to me!

I might just have to find a few more trail runs!!! I have a few crazy friends who are getting into them too...so at least I have some others to "go get LOST in the woods with!"


Friday, April 15, 2011

How about getting an invite to this party??!

She had a party to kick off the sale of her new cook book! I guess she was involved in every detail!! This looks so lovely! She is adorable! From singing F*You on GLEE to throwing an adorable party for friends...oh yeah and being in a bikini on the front cover of People Magazine! YIKES! For being 38 she really has it going on!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Last Day...

So today Doug and I have the final weigh in for The Biggest Loser on the Planet! We are getting ready to write some seriously huge checks! WOW! Ryan Marx...he has lost over 80 pounds!! Jess, has lost over 30 and was our smallest contestant to start the competition! The major difference this year is that all the contestants utilized the free personal trainers at Planet Fitness!! Those personal trainers really know how to kick some BUTT!

Jerry and his wife Missy have been such an inspiration to everyone!! Missy has lost 45 pounds and she is NOT even in this competition!!! They made a video to try and get on the program The Biggest Loser and we all have our fingers crossed that that get on!!!

I really hope these 10 contestants keep up this hard work and really become strong and fit! They can do it...but after tonight they are on their own. Hard for me to let go...


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Make your own pizza!

The kids and I made our own pizza's last night. They made just a regular white flour crust...but I made a whole wheat crust for Doug and me. More than tasting good it really was a blast! I have to find away to make the crust a bit less chewy!! I think the whole wheat crust can be tough to work with!!

Emma made a pepperoni (turkey pepperoni) and cheese.
Cole made his classic Canadian bacon and pineapple.
I made a pizza with all of the above plus feta cheese!

So fun!

Friday, April 1, 2011

I want this guy to win the $750!!!

Wow this must made my day! We are picking a winner for the $750 from The Bank of Luxemburg on Monday morning. All you had to do was tell us how hard you worked in college to get the money...this guy just made it way more interesting! THANKS!

This guy is CRAZY!