Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Twas the night before weigh in and the nerves were affright

Tomorrow I will be weighing in and getting measured and I'm a little nervous. I've been working hard but I've slipped up quite a bit as well so I'm not sure how things will go.

However, tonight I hit a PR! (That's "personal record" for those who aren't hip to the weight lifting lingo). Last week I did circuit training so this week I'm hitting the heavy weight. Tonight I did chest and on decline bench I did 315lbs X 5 reps! I haven't put up 315 since probably 2010 so I'm pretty stoked about this achievement.

Whether or not I'll be happy with the numbers I get tomorrow, I'm not sure. But I'm happy right now with the progress I've made in building muscle and strength and honestly I'm just happy that I'm still at it. Part of me expected to give up by now so I'm proud to still be plugging away!

Tune in tomorrow afternoon for results!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Not Quite Dead... But Close

Day two of circuit training went well... minus my need to lay starfish when I got home until I could muster the energy to eat lunch.
Today I did the lower body part of my circuit training workout and it was killer. Compared to the people putting together the resources I used to make my routine, my workout was probably child's play but that's why beginners begin at the beginning I guess! The worst part is knowing that I need to go back tomorrow and do upper body again since I missed Monday and Tuesday. I could use a day of rest but I could use dropping 100lbs more so back I will go.
I could definitely go for some support from all you awesome people so fill up the comments and tell me about your successes!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

New Workout Almost Killed Me!!!!

That is me post-workout.
Unfortunately my wife was not entertaining the idea of carrying me inside from the car :( 
This week was the beginning of my new circuit training routine and after one workout I have learned a few things, some of them very depressing. Here are the circuits I put together:

Circuit Training
Upper Body

30s rest 15
Weighted Shadow Boxing
30s rest 15
30s rest 15

2 min between sets

30s no rest
Pull Ups
30s no rest
Cable Curls
30s no rest

Battle Ropes
45s no rest
ab roll out
30s no rest
30s no rest

Lower Body

45s no rest
Dead Lift
45s no rest
Hanging One Leg Squat
45s no rest

250 meters

60s rest

Treadmill Sprints
30s:45s rest

Incline Advance

Lesson #1: Careful what you eat
        I didn't get the chance to work out at my usual time today so I had to go after the kids went to bed. Not really thinking about it I ate a nice full meal, not a particularly healthy one either :( a couple hours before I went to the gym. Not a good idea. Almost lost it and felt a little sick for about an hour after working out. I think it also impeded my ability to give a full effort so that wan't good either.

Lesson #2: I am shamefully out of shape
        I knew that this new routine was going to be hard for me and that I don't have a lot of endurance but WOW I am really out of shape. I have been getting stronger and more defined muscles but I feel like I am starting from square one when it comes to endurance and core strength. I had to adjust some of the movements so I could even finish every set. Burpees became more of just an up down, push-ups became knee push-ups and by the time I got to the plank I could barely keep my body up for 10 seconds at a time. Honestly it was pretty depressing and I felt a little defeated but on the bright side I did finish the routine and now I know where I am at.

I am on a very long journey and the day-in day-out grind is very difficult at times but I have to keep putting my head down and moving forward. Tonight I realized just how much further I have to go to get healthy but that will make it all the more satisfying when I get there some day. Thanks everyone for reading and in the words of Red Green "We're all pullin for ya!"

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Things You Can Learn By Changing Your Intentions

Over the last two days I have been implementing my new goals: 2500 calories and alternating workouts. I have already learned some pretty exciting stuff. As it turns out I am stronger than I thought. This week I have changed from the 10-12 rep bodybuilding style lifting to a 4-8 rep strength focused routine. I haven't done this style of lifting in a long time so honing in on the right weight to use has taken some experimentation.

I am a huge RadioLab fan on NPR and they have this episode called "Limits." In it they talk about how the mental limits we set for ourselves sometimes keep us from doing things that we are actually capable of doing. Example, for years and years no one thought you could run a 4:00 minute mile. It was just believed to be outside of human capacity. Then in 1954 Roger Bannister ran a 3:59 and a mere two months later John Landy ran under 4:00 and since then it has become the standard for middle distance runners. Bannister broke a mental barrier and changed the parameters of the conversation.

I think I have broken a personal mental barrier this week. Instead of just adding a little bit of weight to each lift I do I decided to throw caution to the wind and just kept piling it on (of course I didn't throw safety to wind!). I have been hitting weights I didn't think I could even do a 1 rep max on, let alone do a set of 5. I am changing my parameters for how far I can push my body in the weight room and I think I am going to see some great results because of it.

Limiting myself to 2500 calories has also been a little different. I have actually been quite hungry a few times over the last couple days but sitting with that hunger has been a good experience. As an obese person I am used to eating a lot and eating all the time. I rarely felt hungry before because I was always snacking on something (and it showed). But now that I am limiting the amount of calories I eat, I have to be careful to spread them across the day which means sometimes I need to just wait to eat.

I have found this rather difficult but I am getting better at more effectively using my calories. If I cut out one of the eggs I eat in the morning that gives me about 100 calories I can use later for a small snack. I am also turning to more vegetables since they are low calorie but can be very filling. And finally portion control has become very important. We make some awesome homemade meals in my house (thank you wife for being a great cook and meal planner) but even homemade meals can get out of hand if I don't watch my portions.

I feel pretty good about the last couple days. I hope this change up gets me loosing weight again and helps me towards my path of living healthy.
And whenever I want to give up I just remember that this little girl wants to have her daddy around for a long, long time :)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Inevitable Plateau

I wish this was the plateau I was talking about!
I'm calling it what it is: a plateau. I thought my weight loss was slowing because of my struggles to achieve my goals but even after getting back on track I am still not making any progress. I have been stuck at the same 365lbs for over a month and its time to change things up a bit.

Here's the plan:
              Calories: Drop from 3000/day to 2500
       Right now I am consuming around 3000 calories a day which should be dropping my weight by a couple pounds a week according to MyFittnessPal. Keeping to 3000 calories has actually been pretty easy so the challenge of dropping the bar to 2500 will hopefully reengage some passion for eating right. I think it should also be enough to get my body burning fat again but to make sure I am also going to change up the workout routine

             Gym Time: Switching from body building+HIIT to alternating schedule
       Its easy to become complacent in the gym so I am designing an alternating schedule to change things up and find new and exciting forms of gym torture. I am going to switch between heavy lifting and circuit training.
       Week "A" is going to look very similar to what I do now except I am going to increase the weight and decrease the reps. Right now I do between 10-12 reps on most my lifts. I am going to drop the rep count to 6-8. I will increase the weight to make sure that the last one or two reps are almost impossible to complete. This type of lifting is focused on building strength over definition and hopefully this change up will inspire some new muscle growth. I will also keep doing about 15 mins of HIIT after the lifting routine is done.
      Week "B" is going to be a whole new beast for me: circuit training. I have not actually designed this schedule yet and it is not my expertise so I will get back to you with the program after I have done enough research to put one together. However my basic idea is having an upper body routine and lower body routine instead of lifting only one or two muscles a day. I will do each routine twice a week: upper body, lower body, rest, upper body, lower body and if I can find the time I'll do carido on Saturday and rest Sunday.
      This will be my new routine and diet plan for the next month. If I am still not losing weight my next area to fiddle with is carb consumption. Not eliminate all carbs but I think my carb consumption is a bit high so I am going to do some more research and see if this area needs some work. Wish me luck and I'll let you know how everything is going. And of course thanks for reading. I really appreciate all of you who read my blog. It gives me encouragement to know that there is a group of people out there that care enough to keep up with what I am doing. Thank you. Also, I would love to get more people involved so please share this link and let's see how many like's we can get.

In addition to this blog I have been branching out my online presence. You can now find me in the following places:
          My website: wriggconsulting.weebly.com

          Find me on Fiverr!!!

          Or hire me through Elance

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

No Shave November! My Face Is So Cold

The last time I remember completely shaving my face was in 2010 when I had an interview at a catholic high school. I thought it was time to shed the beard and see what's under there. Turned out to be 16 year old James.
I have come to believe that no shave November should be in July. My naked face simply cannot handle these sub 50 degree temperatures. I just hope I've grown in a face coat by winter. I also hope my toddlers realize it's still daddy sometime soon, so far they just circle me with deep suspicion.
Happy no shave November !

Friday, October 31, 2014

Help I Lost My Shoulders!!!

Ooops! All this flexing must have tore my shirt

As you might be able to tell I really like shoulders day. I have always had very broad shoulders and I think I must have some good genetics for neck devouring traps because it doesn't take long for them to start bulging. Well here is my workout from yesterday. Happy Halloween everybody!!!


12, 10, 10
SS Arnold Press
12, 10, 10

Upright Row
12, 10, 10
SS Cable Standing Military Press
10, 10, 10

Clean and Press
10, 10, 10
SS Concentration Side Raises
10, 10, 15

Heavy Side Raises
8, 8
SS Light Side and Front Raises
12, 10

Battle Ropes
SS Plank
SS Light Clean and Press

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Doin Some Curls for the Gurls

I figured I would throw my workout from yesterday on here real quick.

Tuesday: Arms!

I love arms day! Who doesn't want to have awesome huge biceps and a nice horseshoe triceps? Most people do chest and tris on one day and then do biceps with back or shoulders. I like to do them both on the same day because its really easy to super set since each muscle requires an opposite movement. 

Lift Pounds Sets

Straight Bar Curl 70, 100, 100 3
12, 10, 10
SS Triangle Push Downs 130, 150, 150 3
12, 10, 10

Machine Preacher Curl 90, 90, 100 3
10, 10, 8
SS Overhead Dumbbell Press 80, 85, 90 3
12, 12, 10

Parallel Cable Curl 40, 40, 40 3
10, 10, 10
SS Rope Pushdown 120, 130, 130 3
10, 10, 15

Standing Dumbbell Curls 55, 60 2
8, 8
SS Skull Crushers 85, 85 2
12, 10

Concentration Curls 30 2
SS Kick Backs 25, 30 2
12, 12
SS Battle Ropes

HIIT Treadmill 4
8.5 MPH

Get Your Pump On!

To be fair I just left the gym and was wearing black so the photo is rather flattering

So this is where we are as of October 28th 2014:
       Weight: 363lbs
       Measure around arms and chest: 64 inches
       Chest: 53in
       Bicep: 20in
       Belly Button: 58in
       Hips: 50in
       Thigh: 28in
       Calf: 20in

I wanted to get my body fat percentage but the machine they use at my gym wasn't working so I am going to have to deal with measurements for now. I really wish I would have done measurements back when I was 422lbs so I could see how far I have come but I know it has been quite a bit already. I am down over a full shirt size and have gone from wearing between a 52-54 for jeans to fitting into a 46. It feels great not being ashamed of how I look in a photo but I know I can do more.

If you have been following my blog you know the dietary changes I have been making but today's post is about my workout routine. I go to the gym (Shout out for Complete Fitness, awesome place!!!) between 3-5 days a week depending on the kids schedules, etc. I never go less than three days a week though. So if that means the only chance I have to lift is at 4 in the AM then that is when I go. Actually that is exactly when I used to go when I was hauling trash for a living. The only way to achieve your goals is to stop making excuses and make it work.

When I first started back in the gym I focused on lifting because I got a lot of cardio at work everyday. However, since returning to the domestic life I have begrudgingly accepted that I need to do cardio at the gym. Luckily I have found a style of cardio that I actually enjoy. More about that in a minute.

When it comes to weightlifting I think there are three main styles: power lifting, body building and cardio supplement. Each is designed to achieve a particular goal. The power lifter is looking to be as strong as possible. To see what that workout routine looks like you can check out my buddy Junior at Heavy Hammer Gym.

The "cardio supplement" is a style that focuses on high reps and low weight. A lot of people who want to tone up use this approach. It is also a common style for runners, swimmers and other athletes who need to be tone but not necessarily big. This style of lifting is also great for people who are just looking to get in shape.

Finally, there is bodybuilding. This approach has the goal of building muscle like a power lifter but keeping tone like the cardio supplement. My lifting routine falls more into this category but I would not call myself a bodybuilder...at least not yet.

My lifting routine breaks the body into 4 different days with an optional fifth day for pure cardio.
Monday: Chest and Abs
Tuesday: Biceps and Triceps
Wednesday: Pure Cardio or rest
Thursday: Shoulders
Friday: Legs and Back

I do not have a lot of time to workout so I cant waste time messing around in the gym. I'm not the kind of guy that does a set, checks his phone, grabs a drink, chats up other gym goers and then finally gets back to set number 2. I dont spend more than an hour in the gym and that covers both lifting and cardio everyday. To keep my schedule I Super Set (SS) everything and I keep a good pace. I will give you Monday's routine and then explain.

Chest and Abs:

Decline Bench              3 Sets                  12 reps, 10 reps, 8 reps
SS Flat Bench Leg raises           3 Sets                 12-15 reps

Incline Bench               3 Sets                  10,10,8
SS Crunches                3 Sets                  25, 25, 25

Cable Fly                     3 Sets                 12, 10, 8
SS Standing Plate Twist             3 Sets    15, 15, 15

Flat Bench Dumbbell Fly           3 Sets        12, 12, 12
SS Standing Weighted Oblique Crunch           3 Sets        12, 12, 12

Example of pace: Do first set of decline bench. Immediately after finishing that set I go into first set of Leg Raises (no more than 15-30 seconds between). After leg raises I will take a moment (typically 60-90 seconds) to add weight to the bench, grab a small drink if needed or do whatever I need to set up the next lift. Then I go into set number two of each lift. Keeping this pace has a lot of benefits. First it gets things done. I can get a great routine in in under 45 minutes. Second, it keeps the heart rate elevated which makes my lifting a little bit more like aerobic exercise which is great for fat burning and heart health.

When I pair my exercises for Super Sets I pick two different muscle groups. If I did two chest lifts back to back I would essentially be doing lower weight and higher reps which will not promote the muscle growth I am looking for. I keep my reps between 8-12 (except for abs obviously) and I choose a weight that will make the last 2-3 reps a challenge to complete. If I get to rep 12 and feel that I have more in me I will do a couple more and next time I will use more weight.

I will post more of my workouts in the coming weeks but next I want to talk about the cardio side of my routine.

I HATE RUNNING!!! I have never been able to spend 45 minutes on a treadmill or bike or any kind of cardio equipment. I loath the idea of getting on a treadmill and walking or jogging for an hour. But I need cardio if I am going to get healthy so what was I to do. Luckily I discovered High Intensity Interval Training. A simple style of HIIT that I use is 2-5 minute warm up, 30 second give it everything you have, 30 second rest, repeat until dead, cool down.

I only warm up for a couple minuets because when I go into my HIIT I have already been lifting for 45 minuets so my body is ready to go. Right now I alternate my HIIT between treadmill, row machine and this running machine that I have no idea what to call. I have recently been experimenting with Battle Ropes though and will let you know how that goes. The key to HIIT is Intensity. For the 30 seconds that I am running or rowing I am giving it everything I have. It has to be a full out sprint for 30 seconds to be effective. By the end of my 15 minute HIIT session I am totally taxed and feel like I couldn't do another set even if I wanted. I love HIIT because I can treat it like lifting. Each cycle of rest and work is a set. It becomes a competition between me and myself.

Well I think I have gone on long enough for today but I will start posting some of my workouts for anyone who is interested. Thanks everyone for checking in and talk to you all soon!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Time to Get Up Again

I read a quote the other day "We all fall down, but the best of us are measured by how often we get back up." Last week was a rough week for me. I definitely fell short of my goals and gave into some emotional eating. Stress is an insidious creature and when the daily levels of stress are compounded by something more extreme it can become overwhelming.

Like many people I have comfort foods that I turn to when I am feeling stressed or sad or angry. Unfortunately I was surrounded by some of my comforts (chocolate being suspect number one) when I was dealing with some stressful stuff and gave into temptation. Of course one failure can snowball and in the end I ate pretty crappy for about two days but the horse is getting impatient so I better get the hell back on. 

I have spent the last couple days getting back on track and decided that this week is going to be about reinforcing the goals I have set up so far. 

No Fast Food

Healthy Snacks

Keep a log

I have been surprised how much of a pain in the ass keeping a food diary is. I have also realized that I snack a lot. Its never a full "snack size" snack but its a little bit of everything which also adds up in the end. 

Well wish me luck on getting back to business. I have been fine tuning my lifting routine and have a couple current pics that will be coming soon, I swear. I know its been coming soon for a couple weeks but between the kids and Wrigg Consulting I have been pretty busy. BTW I started my own consulting business. I have a simple website set up at wriggconsulting.weebly.com

And finally, I always like to through at least one picture in but I wasnt sure what to put in this week so what you are getting is an awesome picture of me and Caiden when he was just a little baby. I found this when I was scrolling through some FB pics with the kids last weekend. One of my favorites!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Crazy motivated or just plain crazy!

That is a photo of me putting out my last cigarette. I've been on chantax for the last week and today is my quit day. Even after I lose all the weight I want to I would only be half way to healthy if I didn't quit smoking. I have used the excuse of losing weight before I try to quit smoking for years but no more. I am done with excuses and I am done with smoking!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Week Three: Time For Some Numbers

The goals from week one and two have been going pretty well. I would say the biggest struggle has been keeping my snacks healthy. Getting all my fruits and veggies has taken some practice but curbing the desire for all the unhealthy snacks I usually have has been a lot of work. Solid progress is being made though!!
I think the next step in my mission is to get a full account of how much and what kinds of food I am eating every day. I have a pretty good idea of what I'm eating but I need some hard data to look at and then I can find problem spots. To get this data I am going to keep a food diary for the next week. I like to us the My Fitness Pal app to track my intake. I could simply write down everything I eat but I find that to be a bit of a pain in the ass. Using the My fitness pal app is so much easier. Anything with a bar code I can simply use my smartphone to scan it and the app knows what it is and has all the nutritional information. The app also has a very extensive library of foods so entering in what I am eating is really simple. I have tried a lot of different calorie counting apps and honestly My Fitness Pal is the best I have used.
Here is my breakfast and lunch for today!

Tracking my intake through the app is going to give me a lot of data. Calories, fat, carbs, sodium, sugar, protein, vitamins, etc. Pretty much it compiles all the nutritional info on what I ate and gives me a report. I have my goal on the app set for loosing 2lbs a week. The app sets my goals based on activity level, age, gender and weight. According to MFP, if I stay under 3800 calories a day I will loose 2lbs a week. I think I can do better than that in calories but I am more concerned about carbs and sodium.
On a bit of a side note you might be thinking that 3800 calories a day is a TON of calories. It is. That might give you a little insight into the physical differences between someone that is 365 pounds and someone that is 180 pounds. The typical adult should eat around 2000 calories a day to maintain where they are. I can eat almost double that and loose weight. That essentially means that my body is working twice as hard just to do the regular daily activity of being alive. Thinking about how hard my body is working just to keep me alive it seems obvious that extreme obesity would lead to heart disease, organ failure, arthritis, diabetes, etc. Sometimes I worry that I am to late. I can already feel the affects of years of obesity in my back, knees and ankles. I went to the doctor the other day and had blood taken to test all the general things like cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar. The yearly physical kind of stuff. The last time I had my cholesterol checked I was 24 and it was borderline high. I never got it checked again for a number of reasons but partially because I just didn't want to deal with it. I am now waiting to get my numbers back to see what kind of damage I have done. The doctor reassured me that even if it is high I am on the right track and as long as I stay the course it will come down. Thinking about all of this makes it tempting to sit back in self-pity about "O, I am overweight cause of this and that" and let the depression take over but that will not get my children's father to a healthy life. Regardless of what irreparable damage I may have done, I can stop doing more damage and fix what can be fixed. So here's to trudging forward for these guys!!!
Plus 2 more that hadn't been born yet :)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Week Two:Goal Two

It has been a rough weekend. I haven't eaten any fast food but healthy is not how I would describe the last two days. It's funny how temptation just shows up on your door step sometimes. We always get wonderful care packages from my mother-in-law with all kinds of great stuff like cleaning supplies, clothing for the kids and bathroom supplies. We got one of these packages recently and in addition to all the great stuff it also contained my kryptonite: M&M's. I freaking love those things. I also find that when I am restricting one of my indulgences I am likely to give into a different one. So this weeks goal is inspired by my M&M binge.

All Snacks Will Be Healthy Snacks

Like many people, I tend to snack throughout the day. Since returning to be a stay-at-home dad this habit has gotten much worse. It is just so easy to grab a little thing here and a little more there and actually its not all that terrible of a thing to do depending on what I am snacking on. Having snacks or small meals throughout the day keeps your metabolism going at a more steady pace instead of the peeks and plummets of only eating three large meals a day. However, grabbing a handful of M&M's every time I walk by the kitchen is not the kind of snacking I need to do. Keeping my snacks healthy will reduce empty calories and increase the amount of vitamins and minerals I am getting each day. 

Eating healthy snacks is way to vague of a goal so I am setting some more parameters so I can determine if I achieved my goal. I figure a good way to inspire me to eat healthy snacks is to make a second goal of EATING MY FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

I used the calculator on the CDC website to set my goal: 2.5 cups of fruit and 4 cups of vegetables per day. I already had my wife hide the bowl of M&M's this morning so from here out it is fruits and vegies for this guy. 

Make sure to subscribe so you can receive every post via email and start gearing up for my losewithjames workout addition! Coming soon.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Goal Update and Life Update

The goal has been going very well so far. I have not eaten fast food this week and have been taking measures to plan ahead so it has actually not been that hard. The number one thing that has helped me avoid temptation has been crock pot meals. Seriously, I am pretty sure that crock pot meals are God's gift to over worked stressed out parents. During nap time I can toss all the stuff in, turn it on and walk away. Then hours later when its time for supper and we are running out the door to dance or to an appointment or just chasing this herd of toddlers around trying to keep them from killing each other and/or the dog I can just sit them down, plate the food and Wah-lah ten minutes of peace and quiet to scrape my sanity back together.
Last night we had Cilantro Chicken. Literally took less than 5 mins to prep and put in crock pot.

It has only been a few days without fast food so I don't feel much different physically but it does feel good knowing that I'm setting a better example for my children. Whenever I ate fast food, the kids ate fast food as well. None of my kids are obese but if we continued to eat fast food 2-3 times a week it would only be a matter of time. Me getting back to healthy is important but keeping them from getting unhealthy takes an even higher priority. 

I am pretty confident with the current goal so I am going to start preparing my goal for next week. You can expect a new goal to be set this weekend so be sure to subscribe to my blog to receive the next post via email. 

Now for some life changes. As some of you might know I have been driving truck for about 4 years minus a little break about a year ago. I have been at my current job about four months and have really missed being home with the kids. Therefore, we have decided that I am once again going to be a stay at home dad and Amanda is going to work full-time. I am excited to be at home with all my babies again and I am also excited for the different opportunities this will provide. While being a stay-at-home dad I am going to be pursuing some writing endeavors. I have a couple ideas I am developing for some E-books and I am writing speeches for people. Currently I am working on Fiverr (you can find my profile and gig here) to build up some experience and a portfolio. So if you know anyone who needs to make a presentation, sales pitch or really any kind of speech at all and they could use some help it would be really awesome if you sent them my way!!! 

There is one thing I am going to miss about my job: the exercise. I walked so much at work that I didn't really need to worry about exercise outside of work. But since I will not be getting my 3-5 miles of walking in per day I am going to need to incorporate some cardio into my week. Stay tuned to learn about my workout program. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Ready to Go? Week One:Step One

My (hopefully our) journey is to being healthy which is more than just losing weight. I have decided that instead of throwing everything out there at once I am going to start slow and build a different lifestyle. I don't want to do a traditional "diet" because their progression is so typical. I start strong, fully resolved to eat in this certain way for X number of weeks. The first few days, maybe week, on occasion even couple weeks go well and then I find it simply unsustainable and once there is a crack in the flood gate the whole thing comes crashing down and I am back where I started.

Instead I am going to devote a week or possibly in some instances a couple weeks to adopting a new lifestyle habit. Each week or two I will add a new habit to the mix and within a few months I will have developed a new lifestyle. That is what I need: a different way to live. Some of these goals will be directly related to losing weight while others will be towards a more generally healthy lifestyle. There will be both positives and negatives as in there will be things that I will eliminate from my lifestyle and things that I will add.

Sustainability and accountability are the foundational principles that will enable this lifestyle to be built. Most traditional diets are simply unsustainable and often they are not meant to be sustained but only to "lose weight fast." The opposite ideology of "I'm simply going to eat better" lacks accountability both internally and externally. If "eating better" is not defined then there are no principles by which I can hold myself accountable. And if my vow of healthier eating is done in solitude then I have no community to celebrate my achievements or support me through my shortcomings. There will be shortcomings. I have spent 29 (all to soon to be 30, yikes) years developing my current lifestyle. I cannot expect to change 29 years of habit without making mistakes and falling short of the goal. That is why this will be a process. I have some notion of what the final product looks like but that is of no concern for me today. Today I start with step one.


I cringe even typing the words. There is probably nothing as quintessentially modern America as fast food. We are busy people and are constantly on the go. Fast food companies do everything possible to accommodate our busy lifestyles and make their product the easy choice. But this is why it must go:

Big Mac, Large Fry, Large Soda: 1,440 calories

Whopper w/cheese, Large Fry, Large Soda: 1,550 calories

My BK Favorite meal
Double Whopper w/cheese, Large Onion Ring, Large Soda: 1,760 calories
Even this picture makes me hungry. Satan get behind me!!!!
Beyond the egregious amount of calories that are in each of these meals there is also a pile of sodium, saturated fat and high fructose corn syrup (which btw is really not good for you.) Fast food is delicious but it is killing us...literally. The average sized adult is suppose to consume around 2000 calories a day. One sitting in a fast food joint is almost an entire days worth of calories.

The reason I am starting with this goal is that it is the low hanging fruit. If I can eliminate fast food that will cut at least a few thousand calories a week from my diet which will obviously help me loose weight. I am also choosing this goal because I have gone fast food free before and it felt amazing. When I lived in DC there were not any fast food joints near where I lived so I simply didn't eat it that often. I went probably 3-4 months without eating at any of the major fast food places. I felt great. My stomach felt better and overall I just felt healthier. 

To achieve this goal is going to take planning. The most common times that I eat fast food is when I dont bring a lunch to work and when I am in a hurry with the kids. Packing my lunch has to become part of my daily routine. Im not even going to worry that much about what goes into the lunch box at this point but only that it gets packed. Secondly, I am going to think ahead to identify the times in which the kids and I are going to be in a hurry and out and about during supper. Having simple to make or pre-maid meals on hand will be the key to not being tempted to just grab a quick bite.

Thank you for all your support and I will check in sometime this week to update how things are going. I hope that some of you join me on this goal and let me know if giving up fast food was easy or hard and if you feel any different. Also, if someone you know could use a plan to get on track to a healthy life please let them know about my blog. There is power in numbers and doing this as a group is better than going it alone.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Lets Narrow This Down

So I have been thinking about who I am really talking to in this blog and I have decided that I should narrow it down to the group that I think I relate to the most: the extremely obese. A lot of my weight loss tactics could be useful for anyone but the difference between being 20lbs overweight and being 100+ pounds is huge and requires a different approach.

Me and the family in Texas
So there is my beautiful family and I while we were on vacation. As you can see I need to loose a little more than 20 pounds. When that photo was taken I was around 400lbs! Here is another picture from college.
In this picture I was about 450lbs. I have yo-yo'ed in weight for many years. The next picture is from the end of graduate school and is probably the best I have ever looked.

I was down to about 350 pounds when that photo was taken and I felt great. But 5 years and 4 children later I was back up to 422 pounds.
Things have been getting better though. Currently I am 365 pounds. About 4 months ago I got back into the garbage business as a residential trash driver. In that job I walked about 3-6 miles a day and the weight fell off for the first few months. However, it is time for the bigger project and to start my journey to the ultimate goal: healthy. I will never be 150 pounds, its simply not a realistic option for me and honestly I dont want to be that small. I love lifting weights and being muscular. So I am laying out what I think is a realistic goal: 250 pounds. That means that I need to loose another 115 pounds, aka a small person. The next post is going to contain the basic parameters for how I am going to loose the next 40 pounds. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014


When I was in my mid 20s I experienced a realization that is common to that age yet was nonetheless transformative: I am going to die.  Of course I've always known that life would end but there is an unexplainable difference between knowing that life will end and realizing that MY life will end. The mundane day to day activities will continue on for another 50, 60 or maybe even 70 years but eventually they will stop. At this point in my life I had already experienced many deaths, both expected and tragic, but over the course of the last 5 years I have come to understand the significance of my own mortality and more importantly my influence on how and when this life might come to an end.
I have been overweight pretty much my entire life. When I was born there was a set of twins born down the hall. I outweighed their combined weight by almost an entire pound. My weight has controlled my life ever since I can remember. I, like many people who have struggled with extreme obesity, went through childhood and adolescence feeling terribly ashamed about what I looked at. Clothing never fit right, desks were to small, too heavy for the diving board, and of course the infamous "I think of you more as a friend" line. The emotional toll of being extremely obese has been the lens through which I came to know the world. It becomes a viscous cycle. I would be depressed because of my weight and then eat because of the depression and then more depressed and ashamed from eating so much. I have been through the gambit of diets but if I am honest with myself, and now with you, I must admit that I never truly committed myself to these efforts. I wanted to lose weight and would start a new diet with the best of intentions but once things got hard I would justify a little slip here and then another there and next thing I knew I was back to my old eating habits. I have had some success in the past but I have never been a healthy weight. Four months ago I was 422 pounds. I felt terrible. My body is finally starting to show the extra wear and tear that being morbidly obese causes. If I am on my feet for to long my ankles hurt for days. Getting out of bed is a chore. I am only 29 but my body feels like it is in its late 60's. My blood pressure was starting to get a little to high and the last time I had my cholesterol checked it was borderline high. If something doesn't dramatically change I will face my mortality much sooner than I had ever thought.
I don't want to die early but more importantly I have a wife and children who deserve better from me. I don't want my children to lose their father when they are teenagers or worse I don't want them to end up obese because they learned to eat just like me. Something must change and thankfully things have begun to change.
Four months ago I went back to work after having been a stay at home dad for awhile. My job is extremely physically demanding. I walk about 3-5 miles a day and of course this has helped me begin to lose weight. I am now down to 365lbs but I have plateaued. I will most likely not lose anymore weight because my diet has not changed dramatically. But things are going to change. I am working on some simple principles that I am going to live by when it comes to eating. I will lay out those principles in coming posts. I am starting this blog for 2 reasons. First, accountability. I do not have much of a social network where I live and I need someone or something to hold me to my standards. In lieu of this I am promising to you complete honesty. There are days that I will have nothing but good things to share about how great things are going but when I slip and fall short of my goals I will also report that information. You are my accountability.
My second reason is that I am hoping to inspire other people to join me on this journey. I am not sure exactly how I am going to incorporate a community atmosphere but that is what I want to do. I want to hear about your success and your failure. I want us to walk this path together.
Follow my weight loss journeyIn the next few days and weeks I will be putting together the details of how I want to walk this journey so keep checking in and I will talk to you all soon!!!