Revisiting my Journey

I was asked recently to complete a questionaire to which I was very happy to do. What I didn’t expect was the journey it took me on as I worked through the questions and formulated my responses accordingly. This was honestly fairly tough to get through at times and took me several weeks to complete.(partly due to life in general though)

As I read and re-read and re-re-read this, I felt like this was worth sharing. This isn’t an easy journey, the struggles are tough, but you can win. It is my hope that I can inspire ONE person by sharing this.

This has been edited by several people so I can’t take credit for all the writing, but it is still my story. Thank you to my wife Chelle and to Bruce for the edits made.

Section 1 questions. What was your childhood like? When and how did you start gaining weight? Was it something you were aware of? How did it make you feel? How did it affect your life, relationships and goals/career? Did it alter your personality or outlook on life? How did people treat you? Please provide an example of how someone treated you/commented on your weight.

Answers – I grew up in a very small town in Kansas as the youngest of 5 children. My siblings were much older so they weren’t really playmates. One of my favorite things to do was play “kick the can” for hours with kids in the neighborhood. I got very involved with Drum Corps/marching band in the 5th grade. I spent 18 years traveling nearly all summer nationwide with Drum Corps. This was a very demanding activity with long rehearsals outside in the heat. I was active and fit. I even taught this activity until the late 90’s, which kept my weight down. Looking back now, I wasn’t eating healthy; I was just active and working it off. I didn’t start gaining serious weight until I changed career paths and got a desk job. I became less active, still ate a poor diet, and my weight climbed slowly. I kept having to buy new pants. I didn’t like feeling myself getting out of control, but I didn’t have the will to do anything about it either. Then I lost my Mom in 2005. She was one of my best friends. I went into a deep depression, ate my way through it, and rapidly gained a lot of weight. I was probably 230 when she passed and quickly went to my top measured weight of 264. After that point, I just couldn’t bear to look at the scale. I kept getting bigger, and my wife and I agree that I reached 275 at least. I felt embarrassed. I was tired and grumpy all the time. Gaining weight affected every aspect of my life. I had two young daughters who wanted me to wrestle on the floor or play in the back yard. I simply couldn’t do it. I wasn’t giving my very loving and supportive wife the best a husband has to offer. I had no will to help with household chores or play with my children. Some days, I struggled to get out of bed. The only person that ever treated me poorly due to my size was me. I hated my new appearance and how I felt. I knew my health was poor. I knew I needed to make changes, but I had no will to do it. I beat myself up. It wasn’t until I hit bottom emotionally that my wife understood my self-imposed mental torture. On the outside, I was a happy, fun guy always pulling pranks at work. On the inside I wasn’t healthy or happy. I started walking twice a week for a month, but it wasn’t enough to turn things around.

Section 2: Food Philosophy Questions – How did you view food (as comfort, solution to boredom etc)? How did this view affect you and your loved ones/family? Where did the eating habits stem from? How did you feel emotionally?

Answers – My view of food has been through just about every cycle imaginable. My mom prepared delicious but not necessarily healthy food. She did try to get me to eat fruits and veggies, but wasn’t strict so I ate what I wanted. When I got out on my own, I viewed food as a convenience, grabbing whatever would be easiest to grab and sitting in front of the TV watching sports with my wife or at friends’ houses. Meals always seemed to consist of simple party snack foods, nothing remotely healthy. Not sure I ever used food as a solution, but I would certainly eat when I was bored. No one in my family did anything different so there weren’t positive influences, and societal influences didn’t help. But I only blame myself for the habits I developed. Initially when I started gaining weight, I used my desk job as a lame excuse for weight gain. Sure, sitting all day didn’t help. But I made no effort to offset it by being active. It eventually caught up to me. I had struggled a little with depression, but fell into a deep depression after my mom died, which made me even less active and more drawn to comfort food. I realize now I was addicted to food.

Section 3: Eating habits Questions – How much did you eat for all meals, snacks, etc? How did it escalate? Where did you usually eat and how often? Were you at all concerned? How did your weight hold you back in work, society or relationships? Did it affect your goals in life?

Answers – I’d always eaten until I was completely full or beyond full most of the time. From a calorie perspective, I honestly have no idea how many I used to eat on a daily basis. I didn’t track them, I didn’t read labels, I didn’t care to be informed before. We ate lots of fast food, and when we did eat at home, I would eat seconds and sometimes thirds. I remember when I was probably 10 years old, I had a paper route and would stop every day for the next 5 or 6 years on my route to get TWO Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups a day. That addiction carried on for years, and caught up with me when I got the desk job and lost my mother. Food was my solace. I wasn’t concerned by my health, and nearly always had a snack in my hand. My weight never held me back in my work that I can remember. But it was affecting what I could and couldn’t do with my family. It affected my mood, making me grouchy all the time. Having a very short temper negatively affected my wife and daughters.

Before daily intake
Mock rundown of what you ate for:

Breakfast: (items varied, but here are some of my favorites)
Sonic Breakfast burritos a lot, tater tots and large drink
Sonic Pancake on a stick
Donuts
Dr Pepper
Whataburger
Honey buns(with the white icing)
Lunch: (some of my favorites)
Entire small pizza
Chinese food (lots of it) — Chicken and Rice, The greasiest messiest, yummy fat filled Chicken fingers I’d ever eaten. I would get the meal with 6 fingers, 2 cups of brown rice and an eggroll. THEN I would cover the whole mess with sweet and sour sauce.
McDonalds – Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Super-size Fries
Burger King – Whopper, onion rings, large Dr. Pepper, tacos
Anything Mexican

Dinner: (some of my favorites)
Same as lunch, unfortunately!

Snacks:
Dr Pepper all day
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups all day
Cookie dough

Section 4: The turning point Questions – Emotionally and physically, what was the most painful part of being overweight? When was the moment or time you realized you had to lose weight? How did it effect you emotionally? What motivated your decision? How did you take steps towards that goal? What were your family and friends’ response?

Answers – The most painful part of being overweight was physical. My legs hurt, my back hurt and I had/have neck problems due to my weight. Emotionally it hurt when I looked in the mirror because I didn’t like what I saw. I knew for a very long time that I needed to make changes, but made only meager attempts, never fully committing myself to changing and taking back my life back. My motivation was and still is my wife and daughters. They deserve a happy, healthy, fun, loving husband and father. On December 28th, 2009 I made the decision to become the man that they deserved and the man I deserved to be. When I made the decision, I changed everything I was doing. I told my wife and daughters I was going to start trying to lose weight. My wife was VERY supportive and began cooking healthy meals at home. We started looking at food labels. We stopped buying so much processed food and learned how to eat healthfully. Taking steps toward the goal wasn’t hard. Once I finally made up my mind, I went for it with everything I had. I knew it would be work, but I was and still am willing to do the work. I didn’t tell many people initially; just my family and some co-workers. When people started seeing the weight loss, questions started coming, about how I was making it happen. The support was always there among my friends. When I hit the 80+ lost mark, people were surprised to hear I’d had no surgery. I’d always tell them, “Why would I do that when I can work it off and be healthier for it?” I had acquaintances whom I hadn’t seen in a while that I had to re-introduce myself to because my transformation was so drastic!

Section 5: Losing the weight Questions – How did you start losing the weight (specific diet and exercise routines)? What helped you lose the weight (diet system, support network, mantra etc..)? How long did it take to start losing weight? How long did it take to lose over 100 pounds? What were some of the difficulties you had? Did you plateau? Who/what was your support system? Is there a certain motto that stuck out for you?

Answers – When I started my journey, I joined SparkPeople.com after hearing about it from a friend at work and I cut my calories to around 1200-1400 a day. I fully believe SparkPeople.com saved my life. I started tracking everything I ate. I started eating much less and much healthier. Their nutrition database is massive for tracking food and it’s very easy to use. The people of SparkPeople support each other via forums and that is an incredible source of focus, accountability and inspiration. I started walking a lot. I would get out of bed at 4:30am to go for a 3 mile walk every single morning. I took 15-20 minute breaks at work to go for walks. These walks were in the tunnels under downtown Dallas near my office. Then when I got home I would walk another 3 miles. I did the work I knew was necessary. I walked 3-7 miles a day for most of January 2010. By the end of January I had already lost 20 pounds. That was already 1/3 of what I wanted to lose for the entire year. Having that success was a great motivator. I pushed myself even harder in my workouts. Then I got an elliptical and started using it every day and increased my time as I progressed. I continued my daily work-break walks. In May 2010 I ran my first race, The Warrior Dash. What a rush, I was hooked on running. I ran my first official 5k in July of 2010 and never looked back. Also in the Summer of 2010, I added HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts to my schedule. These I did in my makeshift home gym I had set up in my garage. My wife joined me for these workouts as she was in the process of losing over 65 pounds herself. These workouts validated how far I had come. I was stronger and energized and healthy for the first time in at least15 years. It took me 349 days to lose 100 pounds, and I had an 8 week break of no workouts due to surgery. I can honestly say I didn’t really have many difficulties during the weight loss phase. I was working so hard and was so focused, it just happened for me. I probably plateaued at about 95 pounds lost, but mostly because of the surgery I had. I developed a sports hernia and had to have that repaired, after I ran my first 10k. I have run over two 5k’s, 6 or 7 10k’s, 3-15k’s, 7 half marathons and 1 full marathon. My personal success factors are as follows. 1. You MUST know what/how much you are eating (track it) 2. Shut up and Sweat (work it off) 3. Do it every single day. It’s really that simple. I still follow these three success factors today as they STILL WORK.

After daily intake
Mock rundown of what you now eat for:

[Note: Below is food tracked on a recent, typical day]

Breakfast:
Shakeology shake
Lunch:
Green Leaf lettuce that I cut myself (about 1 cup)
Green Pepper, yellow pepper and onion (about 2 table spoons each)
2 tables spoons of Kraft Light Catalina dressing
3 ounces of grilled chicken breast
¼ cup brown rice
Dinner:
Baked Alaskan Cod fish (about 2 ounces)
Mediterranean Couscous (about ¼ cup)
Steamed corn
One piece of whole wheat bread
Snacks:
Great Value Sweet & Salty Peanut Chewy Granola Bar
8-10 baby carrots raw
3-4 fresh strawberries
Few bites of fresh pineapple
(please include serving sizes)

Section 6: New food outlook Questions – How do you now view food and health? How has your new lifestyle changed you? Do you feel better about yourself? Has your weight loss affected other goals or your relationships? What’s the best part of being healthier, slimmer? Do people treat you differently? What advice do you have for people struggling with their weight?

Answers – My view of food and health has done a 180. My current view and motto of food is: ‘I eat to fuel my body, not fill my body’. Food is critical to our survival obviously and we MUST have a relationship with food. I now have a relationship that I can trust. Today we eat at home most of the time and I have one serving only. Leftovers are put away for another day. Do I still indulge? Absolutely. The difference is that I recognize those times as an exception and not the rule. I know how to move past it. I also know that my health is my responsibility, and that I have to work at it. Good health doesn’t just ‘happen’ for most people. We all have to manage our relationships with food on a daily basis. I still struggle some days. It’s been an emotional journey.
It’s one thing for me to be ‘skinny’ but it’s an entirely different thing for me to be healthy inside and out. My lifestyle has changed me into a much happier, much more energetic, more positive person. The lifestyle change has affected my entire family. My wife has lost 70ish pounds herself by doing the same things I have: Eating right and working out. Our daughters are much more aware of junk food and fitness as well. We visit health food stores and farmers markets as a family, something we never did in the past. My confidence is sky high and I feel great about myself. My weight loss has driven me to be passionate to help others realize the same feeling of success and happiness. My relationships are better across the board, simply due to my internal happiness. There are so many things that are so much better since my transformation it’s difficult to pick one, but it’s probably giving my wife and daughters deserved a better husband and father. I can play with my daughters, run, ride bikes, etc…They have a hard time keeping up with me! That’s awesome. I have the energy to help my wife with household chores. I can’t say that I get treated differently by my friends and family, but I have gained a whole new set of friends. Runners! I have joined the Dallas Running Club and it has been a huge source of joy to hang out and run races once a month. I have also made friends all over the country via SparkPeople.

My advice to others who are struggling with weight loss, in addition to my personal success factors above, is to ‘stay the course’. You might be struggling, you might be losing very slowly, but stay the course, keep working hard, keep eating the right foods, you’ll get results. Never give up. This is an emotional journey as much as it is a physical journey. Take note of the emotions and your relationship with food. Knowing how you treat food is crucial for your success.

Link to my video about my journey: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjH49JhQ-uI

and a few before and after pic

What does Shakeology REALLY do for me?

Most of you know my story and know that I have lost 100 pounds and took my life back!  I am very careful what I put in my body these days.  Shakeology is one of those things that does my body good, on many levels!  Below is a full list of what Shakeology does for my body and will do for your body as well.

  • Antioxidants. Shakeology contains some of the most potent antioxidants: flavonoids and phytonutrients such as spinach, blue green algae, carrot powder, strawberry powder, and vitamins E and C. These help to prevent free radicals from oxidizing and destroying cells. The ingredients in our antioxidant blend such as pomegranate, acai berry, camu-camu, goji, and blueberry also have powerful antioxidant effects to support your immune system and help protect your body from normal inflammatory response.
  • Energy. Shakeology contains a range of B vitamins and trace minerals, like zinc and magnesium, from whole food sources that regulate metabolism and increase energy. Shakeology also contains maca root, an adaptogen herb known to promote endurance and stamina.
  • Digestion. The Shakeology non-dairy prebiotic and probiotic blend contains fiber and different enzymes like amylase, papain, cellulose, and lactase, which all support digestion. These ingredients aid in breaking down food molecules into smaller molecules that can be properly digested, so all of the nutrients can be absorbed into your system.
  • Mood. One scoop of Shakeology provides 100% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin B12. B12 is often linked with good mood maintenance; B vitamins are also essential for the production and proper functioning of neurotransmitters like dopamine, crucial to the experience of pleasure. Shakeology also contains cacao, which is very high in phenylethylamine (PEA). PEA acts as a neuromodulator to enhance one’s mood.
  • Detoxification. Many of the ingredients in Shakeology (spirulina, chlorella, flaxseed, barley grass, spinach) contain powerful detoxification compounds such as chlorophyll and alpha-linolenic acid. These ingredients may help rid the body of environmental toxins such as smog, heavy metals, herbicides, cleaning products, and pesticides. They also aid in liver detoxification. Shakeology also includes kamut grass, an ingredient coined “nature’s most powerful detoxifier.” This grass has been known to cleanse the body and detoxify the cells to restore health and vitality.
  • Immunity. The antioxidants, bioflavanoids, and flavanoids in Shakeology work to support immunity. Some of these ingredients include ashwaganda, acerola cherry, rose hips, and goji berries. The goji berries in Shakeology are one of the richest sources of antioxidants; not only does goji berry promote eye, reproductive, and circulatory health, but it also supports your immune system and promotes longevity!
  • Satiety/cravings. The protein, chromium, and nutrient-dense calories from superfoods in Shakeology work to help decrease your appetite. Chromium is important because it helps maintain blood-sugar levels, which reduces sugar cravings and promotes fat metabolism. Plus, protein-rich meals are a great way to keep you feeling full, longer!
  • Complete nutrition: Each Shakeology ingredient plays an important role in feeding your body on a cellular level, but it is important to remember that the synergy of the 70+ ingredients working together is what truly fuels your body to keep you looking and feeling your best.

If it weren’t good for me, I wouldn’t put it IN me!

Ready to give Shakeology a try?  Contact me with questions

Respect the Distance

June 7th, 2012

Respect the Distance

As I enter a time of year when I start running more races of greater distance I keep hearing myself talk/think about these three words. 

Respect the Distance.

I’ve heard them many times before, I have even said them to friends many times.  As I begin what I would consider my marathon training season, I need to remind myself of these three words, daily I think.  I would also like to remind my runner friends, Respect the Distance.

Always respect the distance:
Running 5K = respect the distance
Running 10K = respect the distance
Running 26.2 and beyond = respect the distance

Running requires work
Running requires dedication
Running requires self-discipline
Running requires sacrifice

You don’t have to be a stick to run(although Sydney calls me StickMan)
You don’t have to be fast to run

You just have to run to run……and whatever the distance, RESPECT THE DISTANCE

 

The Greatest Mile I’ve EVER run

The greatest mile ever run!

I had the most amazing experience recently and I want to share this experience with you.  My hope is that you can have an experience that is similar and just as rewarding.

On a Saturday evening recently, my oldest daughter and I had a date at our church.  Our men’s group, called the Band of Brothers, was showing the movie Courageous.  Angleo King, former Dallas Cowboy and Detroit Lion was also present to give his testimony.  I’d been looking forward to this night for quite a long time. I’d seen Courageous and was anxious to see what my daughter’s reaction might be.

If you’ve not seen this movie, I highly recommend you make an effort to see it with open eyes and an  open heart, it can change your life. 

Not to give away any of the movie, one of the struggles in the movie is between father and son.  Son is a runner who wants his Dad to run a Father Son 5K with him.  Dad doesn’t see the importance and it causes a huge rift in their relationship.

Toward the end of the movie, Father and Son are running together.  I reach over and poked my daughter and just smiled.  She looked up at me and said, “yeah Dad, they run like 3 miles, you run like 10.”  Ouch, that sort of hurt.  I hadn’t thought about the fact that as much as she has a desire to run with me that she might be intimidated or embarrassed because she doesn’t have my experience.  I immediately responded with “I’ll run one if you’ll run with me.”

My daughter and I spend lots of time talking about her desire to be athletic.  She is a retired gymnast at the ripe old age of 12.  (medical reasons forced her to leave the sport.)  She is at her best when she is active and not sitting in front of the idiot box(television).  She is entering the 7th grade athletic program next year and hopes to run cross country.  I of course am very excited by this and supportive.

Since I started using a garmin to clock my running, I’ve ran nearly 1,500 miles.  However, the day after this movie, I ran the absolutely best mile of my life!  My daughter and I laced up our shoes and we went for that one mile run.  I have never enjoyed it more in my life to be honest.  Having her right beside me talking to her, checking her while running was simply amazing.

We learned a few things during and after this short run.  The first thing she learned is that running shoes are a must.  I knew she may have issues with the shoes she had, but they were the best she had at the moment.  A good pair of running shoes is something that we will definitely invest in for the future.  She also learned that running one mile isn’t as far as the thought.  I think this may have been because the route we ran wasn’t a straight line or around a track.  That made it seem like it wasn’t as far I think.  She also learned that Dad can help her out and it’s just nagging if I’m asking her if she’s breathing.  She even sped up at the very end of the run, and then told me, “Dad, I just wanted to get it over with”.  I laughed and told her to completely understand that!

This photo was taken as we walked out the door.

The training has started as she now wants to run a half marathon with me in November, shortly after her 13th birthday, we will run 13.1 together, step for step and yes, I’m a softy and I’ll probably cry. 

Fathers – I want to challenge each and every one of you to get active in your child’s life.  Get off the couch, get out of the chair at your desk and get busy doing the most important job you’ll ever have.  Maybe it’s marching band, maybe it’s softball, whatever IT is, get active with them.  It is crucial that it be something they are interested in.  We are called to be their example, in everything we do.  Let’s set the right example for our sons AND our daughters.  Show them that LIFE is meant to be lived and full of activity.  Get out from behind the desk, get away from the television and LIVE life WITH your children. 

I have been active with my children for several years now, loving every minute, leading by example.  You know what?  I have learned so much about my daughters participating with them in the interests that they have.  It is my hope this this one mile run with my oldest daughter will open an entirely new chapter of the journey.

DRC Bloomin 4 mile race report

June 2nd, 2012
White Rock Lake, Dallas TX
Dallas Running Club
Bloomin 4 Mile

I don’t run many shorter distances but I was really looking forward to this run!

I was up at 4:45am ( I know, I slept in, slacker! 🙂 ) to start getting ready and get my body to move and groove a little. I started the day on my PVC roller, I love what that thing does for me. I went through my normal stretches to get my low back, hammies, quads and calves somewhat functional(some days it takes more than others). I then made my energy drinks and got dressed.

My buddy David picked me up at 6am and we were off to my favorite lake in Dallas. It was a beautiful morning and the lake was like glass, simply beautiful to say the least. We got our bibs and then started on a little warm up walk. Lynette was working the tabe with our bibs on it and it’s always good to see her. I was even happier to see that she was empty handed and had NOTHING for me this time, LOL! (there is a story there, but it’ll wait) I Love getting to races early enough to actually get some blood moving really well in my legs, it felt great. We walked about a mile and a half out and ran part way back. On the walk out, my friends Mimi and Kevin came by so they walked and talked with us for a while.

We ran a little way back to the starting line, hit the porta pots and found another friend or two. Sometimes I think that’s why I run, to see my friends, LOL! Always good to see Shelly and her son Alex at races too!

I honestly didn’t have any expectations for this race. My hammies have been really tight and I sometimes have trouble getting them to loosen up. We all shared some good laughs before we headed to the starting line.

It’ TIME….time to line up~! Typically I start in the back, it always makes me feel good to get to pass a few other runners. Today however, we lined up about 5 feet from the start line, what was I thinking?! There we were, Lynette, David and I up there with the faster runners.
And we’re off – literally off and running faster than I typically would, but I felt good.

mile 1 was a 7:54 pace on my garmin. I ran with Lynette for about .75 miles and it was faster than the pace shows on my garmin, I realized i couldn’t keep that up so I slowed, or so I thought and watched the speed demon run off into the distance….bye Lynette. 🙂

mile 2 was the same at 7:54 pace. I was just holding steady for this mile trying hard to stay relaxed and focusing on my breathing.

mile 3 was 8:15. Mile 3 was slower because I had to run up that dawg gone hill that I hate at the lake. It’s this only part of the lake I don’t care for, coming off the bridge that bounces with every step to face this hill, it’s almost depressing really. lol.

mile 4 was 8:04. Again I was simply trying to relax and push to the end. I could have been faster this mile, but I did stop at the water station to get a few sips of water.

I shocked myself honestly! I have NO CLUE I could ever run this fast for four miles. I felt good when I finished and had a great sense of accomplishment! My official time was 32:33 earning me 11th place in my age group. I literally laughed out loud when I found out where I placed. I laughed because I am alway right in the middle, and yes, this race was no different. I ran my best race to date and yet I was 11th out of 24 men. HA. That’s OK though, I beat myself! Last year my time was 35:01 for the same race on the same course, I WIN!

Ofcourse there were some pictures taken:
Me and my buddy David pre race

There is my friend Shelly

And Lynette

Me and David post race

and just because I’m a goofball!

and a nice shot of the lake

Great day
Great Run!