Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cause I'm Free... Free Fallin'

"She's a good girl, lovers her java, loves pizza, and cheescake too,
And I'm Free! Free Fallin!"

It's true. I am currently in the midst of what they call a 'free fall'.  Meaning, I've been eating like crazy for a couple weeks now, and not exercising much.

In fact, it's EASY for me to do this. I am a creature of habit. Translation: I get on a roll with things. That cuts both ways. When I'm on I'm on. When I'm off, I'm REALLY off!

In the normal course of things, I weigh myself every morning. It keeps me honest about where I'm at. As it stands I haven't been on the scale for about a week. I've decided that if I only gain a couple pounds during the holiday season, I can live with that. The danger is it takes about 2 weeks for a habit to form. I could easily fall back into eating way more than I should, and easing up on the exercise routine.

Luckily, I have a few things going for me.

One: I can't afford new clothes.

Two: I have accountability. Every day at noon, there are guys waiting a block away at the Y to run our customary 5 mile loop. There is no pressure to be there, but knowing they're there in itself is a great motivator.

Three: I absolutely love being in shape. It took me a long time to get here, and I'm not ready to let it go after so much effort.

Which brings me to a couple of points. There are two kinds of habits... can you guess what they are? It is within all of our power to create good habits or eliminate bad ones. Small changes done repeatedly, equals a habit. We can replace things that are bad for us with things that are good for us. I replaced smoking with running. There is obviously more to that story, but I will expand on that in another post.

Accountability is key. Having a partner you can workout with, share your successes and failures with, whine to, high five, or push you that last 1/4 mile is HUGE when it comes to maintaining the desire to go do it. Just knowing that other person is going to hold you accountable can be a great asset. If you are really trying to lose weight, by ALL MEANS, find someone to fill this role. You can do that. If you have no one willing to join you, there are many, many ways to find someone who will. Facebook and Meetup come to mind. Social networking makes it easy to find people with similar goals, interests and schedules. Find them and get started! You may make a new friend as well.

I started this post a couple days ago. As of this morning, I DID get on the scale and I've gained a couple of pounds.  I'm not worried. Things will smooth out when I get back on a regular schedule. The key is to not beat yourself up when things stop going in the right direction, but to stop, reassess, refocus and go on. Along the way to my 45 pound weight loss I hit several plateaus. Some of them lasted two or three weeks. Each time, I was able to overcome them by refocusing on my plan and moving forward. Occasionally my plan needed adjusting. But each time, my desire to keep going overrode my desire to give up.

Weight loss and even weight maintenance IS a journey. But it's also a journey that never ends. You don't get where your headed and then stop doing what you did to get there. You keep going. You keep maintaining. You keep feeling good about the positive things you've done and are doing in your life. You remember that YOU are important enough, that YOU matter enough to feel good about yourself. It doesn't matter if it's three pounds this week or just breaking even. What matters is trying.

So GO! Get up off the couch! Take your dog for a walk. Play with the kids outdoors. Go to the park. Go for a run. You can do it! And feel good when you do. Don't beat yourself up over the failures. The only failure is not trying. Celebrate the successes!

As for me, I'm done. The free fall ends today. I've popped the parachute and I'm going to try for a graceful landing and get back on the plane. Until next time!

Friday, December 23, 2011

I Want You To Want Me

Are you losing weight? Inspired? Dieting? Hopelessly Uninspired? Want to start but don't know where or how? Scoffing at this?
Part of the reason for this blog is to share tips that have worked for me. I also wanted to enlist some people who are just beginning the process, or are somewhere in the middle. Hopefully we can all share, support, and motivate each other to work towards our goals.
If you are interested in sharing some of your own story, goals, frustrations, or just want to rant, send me a message.
We'd love to have you!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Timing is everything...Part II

Okay...In my last post I said that timing is everything. Part of what I mean by that is that, is picking your moments.

In regard to getting started, finding a time that is right for you is important. For me, I picked a random date that did not correspond to the holidays. I did not pick a date that made me aim for a date that made me stress. For example, I was not concerned about getting slim for summer. I didn't decide to begin as a New Year's resolution. I started on March 28th, 2011. The reason that date was good for me, was because I was in two bands this year, and I had back to back shows on the 28th and 29th. Knowing I would be playing drums for 4 hours on one night, and singing, dancing and playing hand percussion on the other, meant that I would have 8 hours of rigorous physical activity on less than 30 hours. If I drank only water during the shows, and came home and went right to bed, (no eating), then I would be sure to see immediate results. It worked. I lost 6 lbs in two days.

In the days following, I was feeling very positive about those results, and felt compelled to build on that success.

The second point about timing: When to eat.
I am a swing shifter at my job. I work late on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and early on Thursday and Friday. So I started eating at the same time everyday. I vowed to be finished with all food intake by 6pm. This meant eating at my desk Mon - Wed. So no more sleeping on a full meal. This paid huge dividends. I also became a breakfast eater. Part of my weight problem was directly related to not eating breakfast. I made a rule for myself that I would eat no later than 90 mins after waking up. Not my favorite, but now that I have it in my routine, I can really tell if I don't.

And the third point, was not setting a "goal date". I'll get there when I get there. No pressure. I did not tell anyone I was working on losing weight, because even though you have people supporting you, it made me feel uncomfortable. (Having people constantly ask, "How's the diet going?", was not something I was prepared to endure.) I kept a low profile, and waited for people to notice results, which cultivated a more positive environment for me. Before I knew it, I had lost 20lbs, and people were starting to notice. With my schedule doing shows, and my rules about "timing", It seemed like less work, and less stress.

Now the holidays are here, and I don't have to worry about making resolutions about weight. I can enjoy the holiday food without guilt, and the New Year holds more promise, than worry.

As a side note, I also quit smoking in August, after smoking for 30 years. I switched to e-cigarettes, which helped increase my energy level, and contributed to my weight loss.)

So, instead of following a regimen set up by someone who doesn't live my life, I was able to design a system that was wholly my own, and capitalized on my lifestyle and activities, to get results. Focusing on what you like to do, and using that to your advantage can be very helpful.

...and of course, timing was everything.

Flabulous Flubber

So after yesterday's lack of mental preparedness I felt like I got jipped out of my workout somehow.  Even though I completed the workout, I was frustrated for some reason.  As I got up this morning, however, I felt good.  I didn't feel lethargic or whatever, just like I was ready to take on the day.  I know it has to be because of the workout/exercise.  I just feel better, I can't explain it.  Then I went in and weighed myself.  The scale said "one person at a time please."

I know the "Couch to 5k" plan says to run it 3 times a week, but that would mean waiting until tomorrow or Saturday to run again.  So I decided that I would at least do a brisk walk for 20 minutes today.  So I got all geared up, stretched and went out . . . and did the week 1 workout anyway.  I just got inspired to run it.  So I did.  I pushed myself but I didn't push myself too hard.  I just ran it.  To be honest I only did 16:30 today because my legs were in pain, but it was a good workout.

I still plan on doing the actual "workout 3 " of week 1 on Saturday, but I think I need to be doing some sort of Cardio thing everyday at least...Seriously I am sick of the fatness people,  you should be too.  If you are a Flabulous Fatty, get off the SS Fat Guy get moving.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rotund Runner

Don't panic.  I will not be updating this blog ad nauseum with my daily minute by minute progress.  I will only be posting when I discover something I think anyone may want to learn from my own mistakes or accomplishments as I fumble and bumble through this journey toward health nirvana.

Second day of week 1 "couch to 5k" I discover that I am still fat, and I am still not in shape.  That may sound like a silly thing but I went out there today ready to conquer and found out that it was more difficult today that the first day.  My legs are sore from the previous run and I could feel it as I ran my first 100 feet or so...and it didn't work itself out.  My feet hurt the entire time today.  Can you blame them?  225 pounds jamming down on them for 20 minutes 2 days ago and then again today?  They were rebelling big time.  Today the 20 minutes seemed like an hour.  But . . .

I did it.  And I am glad.  I guess I am writing this so whoever tries will be realistic when they attempt this.  I learned from a good friend of mine that the surest way to failure in anything is to create unrealistic expectations.  That applies to this running thing.  When I started the other day, I expected to struggle through it and be heaving and wheezing at the end...it wasn't quite that bad, and I was more mentally fit to take it on.  Today I went thinking I could handle it with no problem and the mental part kicked my butt almost as much as the physical.

Part Two.

This is a personal rant.  Don't solicit me with your diet products or your personal trainer or gym membership garbage.  I don't want it.  I'm not interested.  I am doing this thing alone for a reason.  If there are others out there that like to go watch each other pump and sweat and make groaning noises in your under-armour leotards more power to you, but I personally do not enjoy other sweaty men in locker rooms with saggy junk walking around pretending they look good.  Community pump sessions are not for me, so please stop soliciting...nothing personal.


Drink Yourself to Death

There are those in the world that want to enslave us.

They are the makers of sweet-sugary-caffieney-creamy-caramel-mocha-frappa-fizzy-fuzzy-biggulpy-pulpy-poppy-hoppy-carbonated-teeth/intestine/stomach lining/esophagus rotting drinks that many, if not most of us consume every day.

They want your children. And they want your loyalty.

They will go to extremes to get you to argue over coke vs pepsi, bud vs miller, Starbucks over.... whatever it is that Starbucks competes with. I'm not  a coffee person. So shoot me.
You may think I am exaggerating. You would be wrong.

A quick check has the two biggies by name recognition (Pepsi and Coke) valued at a combined 250 BILLION dollars. A quarter of a trillion dollars. The soft drink industry has lobbied Washington DC to the tune of 50 Million dollars since 2000.

Why do I bring this up? Because I honestly believe the biggest, best step you can take to losing weight and better health is to look at what you drink. So many calories sneak into your diet in liquid form that it makes sense to make this your starting point. And for many people, this is the hardest thing to give up. If you regularly drink non-diet soda, or any type of gourmet caffeine drinks, it's a good idea to consider a change.

This is where  I started many years ago, on my first weight loss attempt. I was a regular 6 pack or more a day Pepsi drinker for years. Giving that up was not easy. At all. My personality changed. My wife suffered. My pets checked themselves in at the pound. But the mosquitoes thanked me. They could finally taste blood instead of the brown sludgy syrup that my bloodstream consisted of.

Some quick math shows the numbers: The average calorie count for a can of "Cola" is 131 calories. Now multiply that times 7, 917. If you drink one can of soda a day you add 917 calories per week to your diet.  A pound of weight  = 3500 calories.... so in roughly one month, you add one pound of weight to your body by drinking one soda a day. If you drink more than one a day do the math. It SUCKS!!!

Stop drinking soda!!! Or switch to something else. Water is best but find something you can live with and try it.

I've watched several close friends as they embarked on a weight loss plan. Many of them were big consumers of soda. They struggled to give it up, but those that did tended to lose big. From 5 to 10 pounds in a relatively short period of time. There is now evidence that even diet soda is bad!

Juice is hardly any better. Fruit juices tend to be packed with sugar. Read the labels! And read close, the little bastards like to fool you with serving size wizardry.

For me, it took time to find an alternative. I grew up on sweet tea so that's where I started. First the bottled kind, which was better than soda, then homemade, then eventually on to green tea. I have slowly dialed back the sugar I add to it as far as I can tolerate. About 2/3 of a cup for a gallon is what I use. The calorie difference between that and soda is big. There are 774 calories in a cup of sugar. A 16 oz bottle of my tea comes in about 35 calories compared to the 131 average for soda! And I have become semi-annoyingly famous amongst family and friends for carrying a little red cooler with two bottles of tea in it everywhere I go.

So if you're ready to make a change, maybe the single biggest best change you can make is to throw the soda away and give something else a try.

The next time someone ask you, "Coke or Pepsi?" say HOW 'BOUT NOOOOOOOOOOO!
I'll take water thank you!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Weighing In

I guess I'm the young pup joining in:

I probably don't know a lot of people who will be reading this, but I know that the only way to succeed in what we've all set out to accomplish is accountability. My wife, who is and always will be my biggest fan towards living a healthy lifestyle, still has that healthy metabolism where she can eat McDonalds every day for a year and not gain a pound. Plus, she's an amazing cook and I love to eat amazing food, so it's always a struggle to balance motivation with your wife's homemade brownies. Here's my story:

Five years ago, I was 25 and newly married. I wasn't living an exactly healthy lifestyle per se, but I was active through my job and ate like a college student, which kept me at roughly 195 lbs at 6'2". I hated running and other "real exercises" but did a lot of hiking, canoeing, swimming, and other activities with students through the summer camp I operated.

Two years later, we moved to Central Nebraska and between my job shifting into administration, my metabolism grinding to a halt, and 2 years of those delicious brownies, the weight started to pile on. I didn't care, arrogantly deciding that I was young and in decent health and could always get fit later.

A year later, I returned to Central Illinois and clocked in at 252 pounds and feeling like garbage. A few odd health concerns later, I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic and dead on track to follow 3 generations of family diabetes into an early grave. Couple that with a genetic propensity toward high cholesterol and a doctor telling me that I was a ticking time bomb was enough to get me motivated to do something. At 28 years old I never expected to be told that I was in a dangerous healthy state, so I started eating right and getting serious about exercise. Turns out running wasn't so bad after all and it became a great stress reliever to deal with a job I couldn't stand.

Just under 4 months later, I was at 201 lbs and maintained it all the way until this past September. After a long battle with pneumonia that knocked me out of exercising, I find myself back up to 230 ready to get back down to my fighting trim in time for this year's bikini season. Now that I've done it once, I know I can do it again and I'm glad to have the accountability through this blog and Scott, Tim, and Shane.

Timing is everything.

If you are reading this, you are probably looking for inspiration and maybe some advice...perhaps even just a little bit of encouragement. As someone who has struggled with being overweight for the better part of my adult life, I can tell you one thing for sure...the decision and dedication to building a healthier, more slender body comes from within. That is the first step. Whether it's seeing a friend's or co-worker's success, or being humiliated one time too many, finding out that you have eaten your way to a medical issue, or just being depressed about taking off your clothes...the time comes when you have to act. For you.
Now, as you read above, Shane and Scott appear to be on different ends of the same path...Shane crossing the finish line, and Scott is lacing up his shoes, and waiting for the starting gun. This is where I come in...My name is Tim, a former high school athlete, and 46 year old dad, and I'm in the middle of the race, and to be perfectly honest, so are they .
Now before I continue, let me just say, I am no expert...I am just like you. But I do know a few things about losing weight, and they fall squarely in the category of common knowledge. As a matter of fact, most people know how to lose weight...it's not rocket science. (Unless you have a medical issue, then yeah...it's rocket science.) But for your average person, with a normal functioning system, all the information you need is everywhere. It's all out there. It's already been blasted into your consciousness through just about every type of media, your doctor’s office, family, friends and the educational system. Me telling you the ins and outs of weight loss is not the reason I'm here, (although I will offer some suggestions and tell you what worked for me.)
When I say we are all in the middle of the race, my point is simply that once you make a decision to do something to change your body, you have to accept it as a way of life, not a diet, or a plan to lose weight.
A "diet" is a low calorie recipe for failure, long term. I know...because I am currently on my fourth try at staying slender....I have lost over 50lbs, 4 different times since I was 19. That's over 200 lbs, and am currently on the last 10lbs of my latest attempt to reach a goal weight. I have been as heavy as 245lbs in the last 15 years, and am now weighing in at 185lbs. Most of that loss has been over the last year...slow and steady. And the key to it for me, was to take each day as it comes, and not gain weight. Really...NOT GAIN. That was my goal at first. Eat better, don't gain.

But the bottom line for me...is it's all about timing. The time you decide to change...the time you decide to start your quest for a healthier life, the time you make that first tough decision about what you put in your body, and the time you see your first little triumph on the scale, or in the mirror. Or the first time someone tells you, "You look like you lost a little weight!" Because from now on, those moments will be define your commitment. And they keep coming...moment to moment to moment.

Being Fat makes you poor(er?)

According to a recent yahoo article, being obese means you will make less money per year!

I think it's pretty much institutionalized that obesity is stigmatized in this country. I'm guessing that much like other negative associations, this isn't going to change anytime soon. I will add this to my ever growing endlessly boring yet somehow compelling list of reasons I don't want to ever go back to being overweight.

I am fascinated with what motivates people who have been stuck in a rut concerning their weight to finally do something to change it. I know what worked for me, but it was really a complex set of circumstances that finally got me moving. I guess if I knew the answer to this question I could get rich in a hurry huh?

Or maybe I'd have guys who look like this knocking on my door...

Fatness 2.0

I'm Scott.  ScotteeeRock to a lot of people.  That used to mean a lot more when I was a fit good-looking 80's-ish rocker front-man running around on stage acting like a crazy person...a good stage show can always make up for lack of real talent--just ask Brett Michaels.  Besides acting like a fool on stage, I have always enjoyed just about any athletic activity you can name.  I am probably best at basketball, but I have always competed well in just about any sport including football, volleyball, dodgeball, tennis, golf, even running.  In fact, if I could pic my top two favorite things to do (that don't occur in the bedroom) it would be being on stage and participating in sports.

So why am I not doing those things anymore?  Because I am fat.  FAT.  Flubbery.  Sorry if I offend other Fatty's out there, but I have never been one to be very diplomatic or politically correct.  When I joined my first band I was 5' 11" and weighed 125 pounds.  At my heaviest I was 225...granted, it has been 20 years, but I have gained 100 pounds over that time.  I wore 28 waist Levi's.  Unreal.  People that know me today would never believe I was once that skinny.  People used to say I looked like Brad Pitt or Val Kilmer . . . now they say I look like Sam Kinison.  Wow.

So, finally, I have had it.  My friend Shane has been a motivation true enough, but recent trips to the doctor showing high blood pressure, trouble breathing, constant lethargic-ness, depression, hopelessness, and even envy, have finally pushed me to the edge and I am done with being fat.  DONE.  I know you have heard it before from people this time of year, but this time its different.

I have tried and succeeded losing wait before.  I can drop 20 or 30 pounds pretty easily by dieting, but when I reach whatever goal I set, I stop and slowly gain back the pounds until I am right back where I was.  My super ULTIMATE ideal weight would be about 165 I think.  My real goal is 175 to 180 depending on my muscle mass as I weight train.  But at this point weight loss is not my number one goal really.  It is my health.

I want to get in shape, period.  I want to be able to go toe to toe with my 16 year old on the court without getting winded after 10 minutes.  i want to be able to breathe at night without my stomach pushing my diaphragm up and choking me.  I want my blood pressure down without medication.  I want to avoid diabetes (which I am borderline after my last physical).  I want to hike and climb mountains like I used to.  I want to be able to swim farther than 20 feet and I want to be able to lift my own body weight into a boat without struggling.  And I would like to be able to do a rock show without sweating and huffing and puffing like the fat pig slob that I am right now.  I would like to have sex without being winded after 2 minutes.

So...like I have seen my buddy Shane do...I am going to run.  I am going to run until I am in shape.  And then I am going to keep running.  I started a program called "couch to 5k" yesterday http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml and guess what?  it is doable.  Even in my fatness I managed to do the first workout with a fair amount of ease.  I must warn you that it was not easy . . . nothing worthwhile ever is . . . but I was able to do it without killing myself.  And I will tell you, last night before bed I felt great.  I told my friend Shane how amazing I felt for the rest of the day, just exercising that much.  He basically said, welcome to the club, that it is natural.

So off I go on this couch to 5k journey starting at a flubbery 223.8 pounds.  Let's see what happens.

Monday, December 19, 2011

My Weight Loss / Health Goal Journey Cliche Bla Bla Bla

Let me introduce myself, I'm Shane. I'm an ordinary compulsive obsessive musician, hobbyist, outdoor enthusiast, runner, dude. I've managed to lose quite a bit of weight--more than 20% of my body weight--which is 45 pounds from my largest to where I am today. 

Forty-five pounds may not sound like a lot (in this age of the Biggest Loser), but on my 5'8" body, it was much more than I needed.
The loss has now become very noticeable. I've gotten enough compliments and questions that I thought maybe I have learned enough to share what I know with others. Just maybe it could help someone else who is sitting where I was a year and a half ago. I know there are a million other people writing about weight loss, and there is oodles of powerful information on the web, but I hope I can contribute something to people who can relate to me, my likes, dislikes, style, or sense of humor. I get the question a lot, "How did you do it?".   It seems like people are looking for the magic pill answer, and I can clear that up right now. There is no magic pill. Period.

There is only one true healthy way to lose and maintain weight, and here it is, The Big Secret:

Burn more calories than you take in OR take in less than you burn.
That's it!!!! Of course it helps to eat real, healthy food. You CAN manage to eat low calories while eating crap, but it's actually EASIER to eat healthy. In fact, the best food is often very low calorie food!

It's been quite a journey, and I've learned a lot along the way about being a healthy weight, losing weight in a healthy way, and maintaining a healthy weight indefinitely. My weight loss is inextricably linked with my running, so this blog will definitely be covering exercise as part of the weight loss routine. Without the exercise, I never could have gotten to where I am.

So, where am I? I'm 5' 8" and currently 150 pounds. At my heaviest, I was near 195 pounds and beginning to have many unhappy health issues including high cholesterol, triglyceride levels, chronic acid reflux, snoring with sleep disruptions, and pains in my sides from ligaments around my rib cage stretching so much I had to go ask the doctor if something was wrong.  My diet consisted of fast foods, processed foods, very few fruits and vegetables, and lots of pizza. I had also been a smoker for most of my adult life. I had a sedentary desk job and didn't do much else as far as physical activity goes. A bad combination.

The bottom line was that I was killing myself. Not even very slowly. So, I began not one, but several attempts to get myself to and maintain a healthy weight. It has taken me several years, multiple attempts, through many plateaus, diet changes, learning processes, and personal discovery to get here.

Full disclosure, I am no expert on diet, nutrition, exercise, or physiology, but I have learned a great deal of practical information and how these things affected me. Don't take my word for anything, especially diet-related, because the information is constantly evolving. Check it out for yourself, and ask your doctor for advice.

I have friends who are in different stages along the way of major weight loss/health initiatives who I intend to invite to contribute to this blog as well, so hopefully there will be information here that will be useful and interesting to many people.

So... without further ado... welcome to the discussion!!! I welcome your comments and feedback.