Friday, April 30, 2010

Running Buddy

I wouldn’t mind running with somebody under the following circumstances…
  • They couldn’t be too fast.

  • They couldn’t be too slow.

  • They couldn’t talk too much.

  • They couldn’t just be completely silent.

  • They couldn’t have perfect form and make me look bad.

  • They couldn’t annoy me.

  • They couldn’t look like somebody else that annoys me.

  • They couldn’t chide me when I say weird things to people in my neighborhood.

  • They couldn’t get mad if I blogged about how stupid they look in their stupid little running outfit.

  • They couldn’t refuse to buy me a lemonade if we come up to a kids’ lemonade stand.

  • They couldn’t NOT laugh at my hilarious jokes.
Maybe I’m too picky, but so far I haven’t found anybody that fits the bill for a running buddy.

Check that… there’s Sue, or as she’s more commonly known, MrsFatass (maiden name: Lardass).

She’s a few states over from me, but I suppose I consider her a running buddy. She’s been on this C25K (Couch to 5K) kick for just twenty minutes longer than I have, and was actually one of the people who finally convinced me to lace ‘em up and hit the road.

I saw her tweet the other day that she wanted to slow down and repeat one of the week’s runs (they get progressively harder as you move up the program), but she was continuing on because she knew Jack Sh*t was on her tail.

I felt the same way during my last outing, a trio of five minute dashes with a couple of walking jaunts in between. During the first 5-minute run, I took off at a pretty good pace, trying to quickly get back to that “runner’s nirvana” spot that I’d discovered on my previous run.

What I discovered this time was that my lungs felt like they were about to turn inside-out. I was looking for that blissful, all-is-well peace of mind that I’d stumbled on last go-round and instead felt myself entering “Quick! What’s the number for 9-1-1?” territory.

I seriously thought about stopping, about ratcheting this C25K thing back and maybe repeating the previous week. “Been there, run that” sounded pretty damned good to me right at that moment.

Then I heard my running buddy trash-talk me from the back of my head.

“Oh, Jack! What’s the matter? Is your running skirt too tight?”

Why am I so certain that she would have teased and taunted me? Because I would have teased and taunted her. We’re running buddies after all.

So I sucked it up and kept putting one foot in front of the other, kept grunting and groaning, kept loping along like a sick mule until finally… blessedly… it was over.

So, thanks Sue. We may not run together, but we’re on the same road.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

I'm Sorry, Lady Gaga

Distraught in my big fat pants.

Distraught in my big fat pants.

We've all had bad fat pants.

We've all had bad fat pants.

I was too chubby,
I was too portly.
I would eat everything.
Once ate potpourri.
I wanted food.
I wanted food.

I wanted drumsticks,
A touch of gravy.
I wanted something fried from KFC.
I wanted food.
I wanted food.

You know that I want health.
And you know that I need health.
Cuz I look so bad in my
Bad fat pants.

I want fitness,
And I want a new life.
You and me, we detest our big fat pants.
I want freedom,
I deserve a new life.
You and me, we despise our big fat pants.

Trapped in our fat pants.

Crapped in our fat pants.

Let’s get outta those fat pants.

I stopped the horror
With a Blogger design.
Started writing
In a style that’s all mine.
I want to blog.
I want to blog.

It may seem psycho,
My juvenile shtick.
I need to keep myself busy,
And this does the trick.
I love to blog.
I love to blog.

You know that it’s not easy,
And you know it’s not quick.
To get outta these
Bad fat pants.

I want to exercise,
And I want to get fit.
You and me could get rid of our fat pants.
I want to work out,
And to quit eating sh*t.
You and me could get rid of our fat pants.

I’m losing these big fat pants.

Tossin’ these big fat pants.

Why, why big fat pants.

Goodbye big fat pants.

Work-work workout baby.
Work it.
Man, those barbells are heavy.
Work-work faster, baby
Work it
Sez that trainer lady.
Work-work keep pumpin’, baby.
Work it.
I'm a sexy sumb*tch, baby.

I’ve got new purpose,
And I’ve got new ambition.
I’ve got new energy,
I don’t wanna be fat.

J'veux ton amour
et j'veux pommes de terre.
J'veux ton amour
I don’t wanna speak French.

No fun in my big fat pants.

Done with my big fat pants.

I’ve got new purpose,
And I’ve got a new life.
You and me will live without fat pants.
I’ve got new energy,
All my life is renewed
You and me will live without fat pants.

Who needs big fat pants.

Can’t believe I wore big fat pants.

Let’s have no more fat pants.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Building a Better Blog

Beetnik Mama at Songs About Beets recently hit me up for my blog-building secrets.

Actually, I get quite a few emails from frustrated bloggers who haven’t been able to generate a large readership, even though they feel like they’re working very hard, writing interesting content and doing all the right things to promote their blogs.

I started to do a silly post with nonsensical advice on getting new followers…
  • Institute “Cash for Comments” program

  • Live weigh-in cam

  • Somehow work it out so that when people Google “weight loss”, your site pops up first
But I get enough emails from folks who are genuinely interested in the subject and figure that I’ve somehow cracked the code. I don’t know how much more I know than you, but I’m willing to share what I’ve learned…

It all starts with comments. Just like I tell people that they can lose weight by eating less and exercising more, I firmly believe you can build a blog audience by making insightful, clever and/or thought-provoking comments on other blogs. Most people find interesting blogs by backtracking from interesting comments. (Hint: you can start by leaving a comment here today…)

It takes commitment. I’ve posted something new or semi-new every day for the past year. You don’t necessarily have to go to that extreme, but you do need to make certain that you keep things fresh on your space.

Writing counts. After I write a post, I always spend some time looking at the words and phrases and seeing if I can make any of them more interesting. Simply replacing the word “said” with “squawked” or “mumbled” or “groaned” makes a sentence more entertaining to me. I also see if I can say whatever I’m trying to say in a more concise way. Keeping things short and sweet shows consideration for your readers.

It’s not always about you. If you’re trying to build a readership, then occasionally write something that your readers can apply to their own journey. Sometimes it’s as simple as changing the point of view from “I” to “you”.

A picture’s worth a 1,000 views. Blogs that contain nothing but unbroken lines of text can be difficult to read. Think about including images, bullet points, interactive elements, multimedia content or anything else that can spice things up. And putting your face on your blog helps readers connect with you in a real and significant way.

Make a good first impression. It took me a bit to understand that titles can have a huge impact on people actually clicking on your blog. This is your opportunity to draw readers in. Remember, you may not get another opportunity…

Build a brand. Just like a product, your blog is a brand and you want people to connect to it. Keep in mind that today’s post may be the first time somebody is reading your work. For instance, whenever I work in my daughter Pisa, I always preface her name with “my daughter” for those people who have so idea who Pisa Sh*t is. Inside jokes, references to older posts and other shows of exclusivity can put off new readers, but they help build continuity and make loyal readers feel more connected to you. If you're building a new blog, or just trying to build up your traffic, it’s a good idea to write down the attributes of your personal brand… those things you’re trying to get across… and keep them in mind as you write.

Remember, building up your blog is all about providing value to your readers. Give them something that can entertain them, that can inform them, that can assist them in their journey, and it’s more likely that they’ll come back for more.

Got any other blog-building tips?
I'd love to hear what's worked for you...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

3 Simple Steps

I've always been mighty impressed at how Tricia from Endurance Isn't Only Physical transformed herself from "big and beautiful" to just simply "beautiful." Likewise, I've always been slightly in awe of the wonderful way she has of getting right to the heart of things on her blog.

However, the thing that makes me madder than Mary Kate Olsen in an all you can eat buffet about Tricia is that she wised up while she was still a young woman. When I was her age, I was still miles and miles away from getting it, not realizing that every stroke I was swimming out to see was one I'd have to dog-paddle back from.

Seeing as how I've been suffering from a pretty severe case of the Spring Sillies, I asked Tricia to stop by and serious this space up a little for me. She came through with this terrific guest post...

I spend a lot of time writing and talking about living healthy. In fact, I lay up at night trying to come up with ways to convey to people my passion. So a few weeks ago I wrote what I considered to be a pretty profound post. Here is what I had to say:

Everything I believe about healthy living can be summed up in three simple steps: 

1. Eat good food,

2. Eat it in appropriate portions,

3. And move your body. 

Ok, maybe that's not the most original thing you've ever heard but it does truly get to the root of how I try to live. The problem with that post was that I followed it up with a picture of my ridiculously adorable 6 month old nephew, smiling the most heart melting smile ever.

And people totally missed the message.
I know you're now expecting me to include that picture, but I refuse to make the same mistake twice. Don't post cute baby pictures if you are trying to say something serious. Lesson learned.

Instead, I'd like to try something different.
If I showed you this picture:

And then this one:

And told you those were only taken a year apart....would I get your attention?

I thought so. Those two pictures are the proof behind those 3 simple things. When I started my journey January 5th of last year I honestly didn't know what to expect. I had been obese my entire adult life, I had tried everything from pills to fad diets to starvation. And nothing worked. So when I hit upon the idea that I would "eat less and move more" it really seemed more like a cliché than a valid way to live. But I vowed to give it a try. AND IT WORKED.

So how do you implement those steps? I realized early on in the process that I was dreading the decision of what to eat, I felt like I was doomed to fail. I had to make a huge shift mentally to focus on the positive. So now I look at each meal as an opportunity to SUCCEED. And I look at each meal separately. If I eat junk at one meal, that doesn’t mean I’ve “ruined” the whole day and can use it as an excuse to eat junk again. The next meal is another opportunity to eat well, and I make sure I take that opportunity and put it to good use. I use this same concept for the “move your body” part of my plan. Just take it one step, one healthy choice at a time. Those small steps add up to great things. (125 pounds lost counts as “great things”, right?)

And remember:

In the long run it doesn’t matter if you make a few bad decisions; what’s more important is making a lot of GOOD decisions.

What steps will you take to be healthy?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Checking In

Weekly weigh-in: ******
Loss: ****
Total loss: ****
Body fat percentage: *****
BMI: ***
Emotion: *******

It’s true that I’m still out of town, but if I were a little more committed to my weight-loss blogging craft, I would write and upload this post via my phone after talking the nice lady at the United counter to weigh me along with the luggage. I wouldn’t even be embarrassed with my weight being displayed for all to see (though it might be a trifle embarrassing seing as how I usually weight myself in the buff).

However, I don’t trust my tenuous grip on technology enough to take that walk on the wildside. So… I’m taking the easy route and writing this several days beforehand. I don’t know if I will have fallen completely off the wagon by the time you read these words, but I’m fairly certain that my feet will be dragging off the side.

So… I got nothing to talk about, which is what I’ve been worried about for quite some time. I’ve said just about everything I can think to say about this business, and my weight-loss journey has transitioned into something about as spectacular as waterlogged bottle rockets.

Do I pack up my toys and go home? Well, there’s a problem…

This feels like home.

And I know how I am. As soon as I declare “Mission Accomplished” and shut this b*tch down, that’s when the game of slip-and-slide begins in earnest. As much as I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished with a 90-lb weight loss over the past twelve months, it’s not something I ever–and I mean ever–want to have to do again.

What I think I’ll do instead is give myself a little more leeway and write about other subjects than weight loss and diet/health/wellness from time to time. For instance, I wrote everything I know about women this week and that got me through one more day. Maybe there’re other subjects that require my critical eye…

I may not have a lot left to say, but that’s never stopped me before…

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Selfish is the New Selfless

Welcome to "Same Old Sh*t" Saturday, where my motto is "I'm not working today!". Actually, I'm on an airplane (if all goes according to schedule), winging my way back home from a business trip to the Left Coast. I seldom say anything in this space that isn't something that you already know or have heard a thousand times before, but I sincerely thought this one just might be close to doing it. It goes against the nature of many of us to be selfish, even when we're doing it for all the right reasons.

I am notorious for giving you advice that you already know, but today I’m going to let you in on a weight loss secret that may have eluded you thus far on your journey, and it is this: you need to be more selfish.

I know, I know. Last week, I was telling you to be more giving and more caring. What can I say? I’m a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, engulfed in a riddle, stuffed inside a taffy wrapper.

But I do have a point: to achieve any meaningful success on this fretful weight loss adventure, sometimes you just have to make yourself THE top priority.

You have to grocery shop for what you need, not what the kids like. My kids wailed like little banshees when I quit buying cookies, chips and sodas. They can get away with having some of that stuff… but I can’t. And here’s the thing: why not help them understand now nutritionally poor those choices are now instead of making them learn it like we have… the hard way?

You need to carve out time in your too-busy schedule to exercise, even if it comes at the expense of helping a neighbor or running a load of laundry.

If you’re working 12-hour days, something’s gotta give. Ask for assistance, beg for help. We–your blogging companions–can give you support, we can give you advice. Sometimes we can even give you inspiration, but the one thing none of us can give you is more time. You’ve got to make that for yourself.

If I know you (and though we’ve never met, I feel like I know you like a sibling), you spend a lot of your day doing for others. That’s important, to be sure, but please make sure you don’t do for others at the expense of doing for yourself. Especially in this, your hour of need.

You need to do this for yourself, because nobody else can do it for you.

And here’s the thing (and it’s a pretty evil twist when you stop to think about it): you have been selfish in all the wrong ways.

Selfishly letting lethargy and convenience sap your energy and drive, making your life less than it could be, less than it should be.

Selfishly ignoring your body’s needs and your heart’s desires.

Selfishly putting off what you knew you needed to do.

You know it, and you know how to do it. There are a lot of reasons why you haven’t done it already, but selfishness has to be included in that list.

I can’t tell you the specific steps you, as an individual, need to take to set your journey on the track for success. I will just say that prioritizing it, focusing on it and, yes, getting a little big selfish with it can help get you there sooner.

Speaking of selfish, I almost went this entire post without providing your obligatory joke. My bad...

A Mom is driving her little girl to her friend's house for a play date.

“Mommy,” the little girl asks, “how old are you?”

“Honey, you're not supposed to ask a lady her age,” the mother scolds. “It's just not polite.”

“OK,” the little girl says. “How much do you weigh?”

“Now really,” the mother replies. “These are personal questions and are really none of your business.”

Undaunted, the little girl asks, “Why did you and daddy get a divorce?”

“Honestly! That's enough questions!” The exasperated mother walks away as the two friends begin to play.

“My Mom wouldn't tell me anything,” the little girl says to her friend.

“Well,” the friend tells her. “All you need to do is look at her drivers license. It is like a report card–it's got everything on it.”

Later that night the little girl approachesher mother, “I know how old you are: you're 32.”

Surprised, the mom asks, “How'd you find that out?”

“I also know you weigh 140 pounds.”

The mother is past surprise and shock now. "How in heavens name did you find that out?"”

“And,” the little girl says triumphantly, “I know why you and daddy got a divorce.”

“Oh really?" the mother asks. “Why?”

“Because you got an F in sex.”

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Running Scared

Those who have traveled the C25K road before me had me fearing the arrival of Week Four. “Oh, it’s gonna kick your ass!” was one of the helpful comments I received, so it was with a little trepidation that I laced up my running shoes and started down the driveway.

For those of you fortunate enough to have never heard of C25K, it stands for “Couch to 5K” and its aim is to gently push you into the cardio equivalent of a wood chipper.

As I’ve previously stated, I’m hard at work developing a “Jack Sh*t C25K” program that, besides incorporating a much higher degree of “couchiness,” will also add some much-needed enhancements such as stopping at random houses and asking to borrow a sno-cone.

Week Four had me running for three minutes (without stopping), provided me a walking “rest time” of approximately a pica-second, and then commanded me to take off running again. FOR. FIVE. MINUTES.

I’d been dreading this extended interval, but once I was into it, a funny thing happened…

I got lost.

Not lost like during my first run when I just ran willy-nilly through the neighborhood and wound up having to call a cab to take me home.

No, I got lost in the running. In the simple rhythm of soles slapping asphalt. Got lost in a bunch of tissues and tendons working in tandem to do something it couldn’t (or wouldn’t) do thirty days ago. Lost in a good way… possibly the best way.

Then my iPhone app’s voice told me to stop, told me we were in the cool-down phase of this session.

Understand this about me and running: up until now, I’ve been a clock-watcher as I pounded the pavement. If I had to run for a minute, I’d check the clock at 50 seconds… and again at 45 seconds… and etc, etc.

But today the end came without watching, without warning, and I kept running just because… well, just because…

I have been warned that this running thing can get in your blood.

I have heard it said that it will make you test your faith in yourself.

I was told I’ll learn to love it.

Now I’m really scared.

Scared it could be true.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Jack & Julie & Julia & Jack

Okay, my wife Anita and I were watching that Julie & Julia movie where Meryl Streep plays the innkeeper and sings that catchy “Dancing Queen” song… okay, maybe I was watching a ball game on my phone during parts of it.

What did get my attention was the blogging bits. Julie’s excitement over getting her first comment (only to discover it was her mother) or the joy in attracting a small following.

Actually, it was a pretty cute flick, and Meryl really did capture the essence of Julia Child. The most unbelieveable part of the entire movie was the fact that the Julie character didn’t pack on 40 lbs while making all those creamy, buttery dishes.

I was thinking about that as I was at the gym resting between sets. Sometimes, my rest periods are… um… lengthy. Sometimes the attendants come by and make sure I haven’t slipped into a coma… or tell me that they’re turning the lights off now and going home.

So it didn’t surprise me when I got a tap on the shoulder in between my chest presses.

“Excuse me, son,” came a gravelly voice. “Are you gonna stay on that machine all day?”

“Whaaaa?” I mumbled. “OMG… it’s the ghost of Jack LaLanne!”

“I’m not dead, dumbass.”

“Wow, I used to watch your show all the time. What was it called?”

The Jack La Lanne Show?”

“No, that wasn’t it. Hey, what was the name of that white German Shepard you had?”


“I can’t complain…oh yeah, Happy. Is he still alive?”

“Well, dogs age seven years for every one of ours, so Happy would be about… ummm… 350 years old now.”

“What a dog!”

“Did you know that I opened my first gym in 1936?”


“Most doctors at the time warned against working out with weights. They believed it could cause a heart attack or ruin a man’s sex drive. Can you believe that?”

“Well, that hasn’t been my experience…”

“I bet you didn’t know that I devised a lot of the stuff you’re using now, like leg-extension machines and weights on pulleys for lifting?”

“No sh*t?”

“That’s right, I was among the first to produce protein supplements and nutrition bars, too.”

“Get outta here!”

“And beginning in 1951, I hosted and produced TV's first workout program.”

“Was it called Jack, Jack the Jumping Jack?”

“At first, the show aired only in San Francisco, and I had to buy all the air time myself. Stupid TV execs were sure nobody would want to watch me do exercises. But in just a few years, the program was nationally syndicated on ABC, where millions watched regularly, up until 1985.”

“Is that when you died?”

“I told you I’m not a ghost! Is something wrong with you?”

“Maybe… according to some of the emails I get…”

“I kept myself busy. In 1955, I swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco… while wearing handcuffs mind you. And in 1991, for my 70th birthday, I swam a mile while shackled to 70 boats carrying 70 people.”

“For my 40th birthday, I tried to drink 40 shots of tequila…”

“I still work out two hours every day -- an hour in the gym, and an hour in the pool. And I haven’t had a sugary dessert since 1930.”

“Are you kidding me?”

“When I was a kid, I was addicted to sugar and junk food. But one day when I was fifteen or so, I heard an interesting fellow give a talk on health and nutrition. It really changed my life.”

“I’ll say.”

“I want to be able to do things; I want to look good; I don't want to be a drudge on my wife and my kids. And I want to get my message out to the people. I might live forever…”

“Well, so far, so good…”

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tips for Healthy Traveling

I’m on the road this week, heading to beautiful San Diego for business meetings and to, in all likelihood, get thrown off a really beautiful golf course.

You see, I’m sort of like Tiger Woods. Well, not in the strict golfing sense; more in the self-destruction sense. Often my divot travels farther than the golf ball I’ve just hit. I’ve been told that my swing is a sight to behold... and not in a good way.

Losing this weight has affected what little golf game I had. In the past, I had this crazy slice where I started my drive started about 75 yards to the left and it curved back into the fairway (sometimes).

Now that my gut has gone bye-bye, my swing’s all over the place… and so is my golf ball. Thankfully, I don’t have much of a golf game to wreck. I’m absolutely the wrong person to ask for any golfing tips, but I have put together a list of helpful healthy traveling tips for your consideration…

  • Start any long travel day with a good, nourishing enema.

  • Forget the shuttle; walk from the airport to your hotel.

  • Keep a magic marker on you so that you can log all of your food on your arm.

  • If your hotel doesn’t have a fitness center, you can easily make one by getting a second room, buying a bunch of fitness equipment and stowing it all in there.

  • If you're going to be consuming any alcohol during your travels, remember the old health adage “candy is dandy but liquor is quicker.” I'm not exactly sure why you should remember that, but it's vitally important that you do.

  • Ask the hotel concierge to arm wrestle.

  • The mini-bar is dangerous territory for dieters. Immediately pour all liquids down the drain and flush all chips, cookies and large-sized candy bars. The peace of mind you receive will more than make up for the $4,000 the hotel will charge your credit card.

  • Keep plenty of raw fruits and vegetables, string cheese, bottled or boxed juices, nuts and … oh, that’s not going to happen!

  • A basic workout of situps, push ups, jumping jacks, yoga and stretching can be done during virtually any business meeting.

  • It’s important to stay hydrated when you travel, so carry plenty of water balloons in your briefcase.

  • While on the plane, run as fast as you can from one end of the plane to the other waving your arms wildly.

  • To make it easier not to overeat while traveling, be sure and go to restaurants you don’t like and order food that you hate.


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