Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bodfather: A Little Less to Love

Subject #1 in the "Bodfather" 

Witness Reduction Program: Kerensa
First Check-in

Height: 5'7"
Starting weight:  254.8
Current weight: 249.2
Loss: 5.6 lbs.

It’s a dilemma.

Your big day – your wedding day – is there on the horizon.

You’ve got a reception to plan and you have to decide which crazy scripty font to put on your invitation.

And then there’s the matter of a dress.

Kerensa, the first participant in my “Bodfather” program, is scratching her head about when she should choose a wedding gown, given her recent success on the scale.

To those of you just checked in, my role as the Bodfather is to oversee a few selected individuals and give them any assistance I can as they work to lose weight and get more fit. Besides all the email support and encouragement I can muster, I’ve used my connections to hook them up with a free Philips DirectLife activity monitor to help them see how much (or how little) they’re moving during the course of a day.

Kerensa, a college student living in Oklahoma who’s always struggled with her weight, is getting married in June of next year and wants to be slimmer by summer. 

Which brings us back to the gown…

Does she go on and get one now and be mindful that it may have to be altered on account of her shrinking frame?

Does she wait a bit longer and see how this weight-loss business goes over the next few months?

Does she just paint her body white and drag a sheet behind her?

Kerensa is so confused about it that she’s actually asked my advice about the dress. Isn’t it enough that I’m riding shotgun on her weight-loss journey, catering the big event, giving her away at the ceremony and performing a medley of cowboy yodeling hits at the reception?

I’m sure that you’re going to provide her better advice on the wedding dress question than I’ve been able to thus far. I just want her to keep pushing herself, keep making smart choices about food, and keep rocking that scale.

And whatever dress she chooses, I hope it’s something that’s adjustable…


Monday, November 29, 2010

Excuses for a Sucky Weigh-In


Blinded by fridge light; accidentally ate a cheesecake

Stepped on scale left foot first instead of right foot first

Forgot pre-weigh-in prayer

Thought I was going to Zumba class but it turned out to be keg party

Conspiracy at the highest levels of government

Had gum in my mouth

  • Forgot to exhale when I stepped on scale; lungs were full of heavy, heavy oxygen

  • Don’t understand it; must have had a hundred fat-free brownies this week!

Went ahead and had all I could eat at all-you-can-eat buffet

Had Oreo coupon that was about to expire

  • Pissed off voodoo witch-lady down in New Orleans

  • Something in the air

  • Misread recipe; it read “teaspoon” of olive oil and I thought it said “tablefull”

  • Bad luck because I ate a black cat

  • Weighed in the nude, but feel I could have been nuder


Sunday, November 28, 2010

All Strung Out

Weekly weigh-in: 218.1
Loss: +2.8
Total loss: -73.8
Emotion: On the rise

Here’s what you have to understand about me:  I’m a yo-yo when it comes to losing/gaining weight. All my life, I’ve lost huge amounts, then turned around and gained huge-er amounts.

Even now, I can feel the pull of history tugging on me, the gravity of old times and old ways. I am absolutely certain that without the anchor of this blog, without the security and support of a community of like-minded weight-loss warriors, I’d have ballooned on up already.

Now… now I can absorb a trip to Chicago, an extended period of inactivity due to my wife’s health problems and Thanks-freakin’-giving and post only a modest gain.

Speaking of my wife, thanks to all of you for the warm wishes, thoughtful prayers and healing vibes you sent Anita’s way last week. She’s doing much better, her vision creeping back a little more each day. We’re not out of the woods yet, but things look pretty positive right now.

And this week, I’m taking my daughter Holly to Baltimore and New York City to look at more artsy-fartsy colleges. I promised my youngest daughter Pisa that she could come with me the next time I went to NYC, but that was when I thought Anita was making the college trips; so I gotta make room in my suitcase to cram a lanky 11-year-old in.

I suspect I’ll overdo it a bit on our trip, but I’m also sure I’ll walk my ass off, and I know I’ll keep my wits about me and not go completely nuts with what I put in my mouth.

I’ve been a yo-yo’er my whole life.

Now I’m ready to cut the string.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Be Mindful, and Don’t Suffer

Welcome to "Same Old Sh*t" Saturday, where I'm not only too lazy to write a new blog post, but also too much of a slacker to even go cut-and-paste something from my archive. Luckily, I've got pals who are a little more industrious than myself, so I call on them to share their own favorite older posts. This week, I shook down Foodie McBody from FoodFoodBodyBody and made her provide one of her own personal favorites. Now I can get back out there and do my holiday shoplifting. Now where's my list...

At least once a week I go someplace where I run into someone I haven’t seen in a few months or more. Since Before. And very often they will say, “HOW did you do this?!?” It’s hard to sum it up in a few words, because it truly is a long story, but I think my “elevator pitch” (code for how to pitch a book, or business proposal to an agent or funder in the time it takes to ride an elevator) would be “By being mindful, and not suffering.”

I know, it’s very Buddhist, right? But truly I think this is what has made All the Difference this time. I started attending a meditation class very soon after my pre-diabetes diagnosis. And the idea of being mindful- of paying attention – made a huge impact on my whole weight loss journey. I decided to really pay attention to everything  – to what I truly wanted to eat, and if eating was what I wanted at all, and how much to eat, and everything. It has been absolutely invaluable.

I loved that this week, in my WW mentoring session, the leader spoke a LOT about “being mindful.” I don’t know if he’s a Buddhist or not, but he did bring it up about 20 times during the meeting, and people were nodding and really getting it. I loved that.

Another big concept in Buddhism is that of Suffering.  I know that I have suffered mightily because of my weight and food issues, throughout my life. I suffered when I felt I was depriving myself of food I wanted, but I also suffered when I ate things for the Wrong Reasons (ie for comfort or distraction). I suffered from guilt and remorse, shame and self hatred. There was a LOT of suffering going on.

It’s been shocking for me to notice that this New Way has involved very little suffering, and I know that if I feel like I am suffering, it’s going to come back and bite me BIG time. So it’s important for me to never, ever sigh dramatically and say, “I guess I should eat THIS (salad?) instead of THAT.”

Because if I feel deprived in ANY WAY, shape or form, I’m going to overeat. Every single time. I have to find something that makes me HAPPY and satisfied, as well as being a good choice.  Salad is a good example. Sometimes I really crave and love and feel like eating salad. But often, if it’s a cold day or whatever, I want HOT FOOD.  Before, it would be a choice between two kinds of suffering: I’d have a cold salad and feel all deprived, OR I’d have .. I dunno, a huge plate of lasagne or fried chicken and THEN I’d suffer because I’d feel overstuffed, guilty and remorseful. And fat.

So the key is to really be MINDFUL and say, OK, I don’t want salad. (“Then don’t eat salad!”) I want hot food. OK, what kind of hot food will satisfy and yet not make me feel remorseful? Often it is SOUP. I have come to looooooooove soup very much. Because there are so many delicious kinds of soup and EVEN soup that is a bit rich (some cream in it, or meat) a cup of soup can go a very long way. There is a wonderful French food takeout place near my work that has two kinds of amazing soup every day. Usually that will be all I want for lunch, and it probably has WAY fewer calories than a salad with blue cheese, nuts, dressing, avocadoes etc etc.

I have had to build up my repertoire of foods that I both love and feel good about eating. This has taken some time and practice but now I feel like I have wonderful choices.

I still always have half-and-half in my coffee, because I have tried many alternatives (black coffee, skim milk in coffee, nonfat half and half) and they ALL make me suffer. I want my half-and-half. But I have made other changes that allow that to be okay. (more exercise, soup for lunch, etc)

So that’s my short answer for How I Did It (and how I intend to keep Doing It): Be mindful and don’t suffer.

Over and out.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Weight-Loss Projects From the Jack Sh*t Lab

  • A light beer that tastes great, yet is less filling
  • Pasta- and cheese-free mac-and-cheese

  • An antidote to granola addiction

  • Health s'mores

  • Elliptican’t machine

  • Scale that's just a little more understanding

  • Robotic workout buddy

  • Running shoes that actually do the running for you

  • Sugar-free sugar

  • Flesh-eating bacteria that goes away after it's eaten about fifty pounds or so

  • Air pudding

  • Personal trainer with a sense of humor

  • Candy corn-on-the-cob

  • Zumba in pill form

  • Kettlebelt

  • App that turns your iPhone into a scale when you stand on it

  • Driver’s seat doohickey that gives you a painful wedgie when you try to order drive-thru at a fast food restaurant

  • Cheese wine

  • Blog widget that tells you when your latest post really sucks

Thursday, November 25, 2010



I'm taking Pisa and her pal roller skating last Saturday since she's been such a great kid and my wife Anita's seeing-eye monkey. Usually, when I take her and her friends skating, I get comfortable and spend a couple of hours farting around on my laptop.

But this time, Pisa asks how come I never go skating, too. I realize that I talk quite a bit about how one of the great benefits to living a more fit life is not having to sit on the sidelines, so...

 It's time to lace 'em up and show Pisa that her old man is still The Wheel Deal.

 Okay, this doesn't feel quite as stable as they did when I was thirteen. Was this a mistake or simply a bad idea?
 I tell the lady sitting at the table near our stuff to do me a solid and get ready to dial "911"...

I say a quick prayer to the Disco Gods to give me skill, balance and dexterity.

 Oh yeah, the kid's still got it. Did you know skating burns 350 calories per hour?

 Ten times around the track and I've only knocked down three little kids. Don't worry--I'll knock down more when I fully get my balance.

 Great! Pisa's skating backwards on her stupid inline skates! Better show her something she CAN'T do...

 Get up a load of speed and... WHOOOOOOAAAAAAAAA!

"Ummmm, Dad? Maybe you oughta go sit down over there and fart around on your laptop for a while."


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bodfather: Last, But Not Least

Subject #5 in the "Bodfather"
Witness Reduction Program: Billie

Height: 5’4”
Current weight: 411 lbs.

When I began this “Bodfather” series, I went into it with a vague idea of the kind of person I wanted to participate in the project.

Someone with a huge hurdle in front of them.

Someone who maybe didn’t get the support or encouragement they needed to succeed.

Someone whose story might make others sit up and take notice.

My original idea was to just go with one individual, but after receiving over 100 interested applicants, I expanded it out to four.

Then I heard from Billie. At 400+ pounds, this thirty-something year-old homeschooling mom realizes that this is a make-it-or-break-it point in her life. But it wasn’t the amount of weight she’s looking to lose that convinced me that I wanted to be a part of Billie’s journey; it was her unflagging spirit that captured my imagination.

Billie’s spent far too long on the sidelines of her own life. She’s sick and tired of all the things she can’t be, all the things she can’t do.

“I am fully and painfully aware of, at all times, the limitations placed on me because of my size,” she told me recently. “About a year ago, when I was working out pretty steadily, I was walking into the Y when I heard a little girl say to her mom, ‘Mama, what did that woman do to her body?’

“I wish I had turned around and answered that little girl. Not harshly at all–she really wanted to know. And I hope her mama told her. I hope she didn’t just say, ‘Shhh–don’t say that honey, it’s not nice.’ I hope she told her all about how important it is to stay active, and eat your fruits and veggies, and not just eat because it tastes good and you want some more or because you’re sad/happy/angry.

“I hope she told her that just because I was bigger didn’t mean that I was any different from anyone else, that what mattered most when it came to people was what was on the inside, that someone can have a outwardly beautiful appearance and be unbearably ugly inside.”

Billie may be big, but she's been blessed with  thick skin, so she tries to live her live with as much humility and good grace as possible. She’s used to being pointed at, giggled at, smirked at. She may not like it, but she tries not to let it get her down.

“I am not particularly sensitive about my weight, or even the word fat,”, she says. “It’s simply an adjective. It’s the state I’m in now, not who I am. And I’m really okay with that, because I am doing what I can to move in the right direction.”

I’d like to take credit for creating the spark that’s slowly turning into a raging inferno inside of Billie, but I think I’m more of a witness than a catalyst. From the very first moment of our ongoing communication, Billie’s been more gung-ho about her weight-loss mission than anyone I’ve ever seen. She wants it badly, and she wants it now.

As Shakespeare once said, “What’s past is prologue.” Billie’s writing a new, brighter future for herself. She’s even started her own blog in order to document her successes and setbacks. She knows she's got a long road in front of her, but she’s ready... check that... she’s eager to get going.

Me? I can’t wait to see how her story turns out…

Measurements (in inches)

Biceps - 19
Waist  - 45.5
Hips - 74.75
Thigh -  40
Body fat percentage: 61.8%

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tips to Get Through Thanksgiving Dinner

  • Sneeze in the bowl when somebody passes you the candied yams
In honor of Native American traditions, skip Thanksgiving dinner and go play penny slots at the casino

  • Fake a coma
Tell family you're on hunger strike until network brings back “Fly Girls”
  • Read a brochure about diabetes while eating
  • Cover your teeth with Play-Doh
  • Chew each bite 200 times
  • Go to the kitchen and get a new fork every time you take a bite
  • Secretly feed half the food on your plate to your dog under the table (if you don’t have a dog, ask a friend to sit under the table and eat scraps)
Do the ol' yank-the-tablecloth-off-the-table trick
Suddenly remember that you forgot to fill out the warranty card on the new vacuum cleaner you just bought and run out of the house screaming
Glue a bunch of rice cakes together, then carve a turkey out of it
Instead of eating your mom's cooking, try eating my mom's cooking
Recreate John Belushi's famous "I'm a zit!" mashed potato bit from Animal House
Instead of having a big slice of homemade pumpkin pie with freshly whipped cream on top, why not try going to a back bedroom and weeping 


Monday, November 22, 2010

When Sh*tty Things Happen to Good People

Bear with me, because I don’t use this space as a daily diary very often. I started to just knock out a silly post because, frankly, that’s what I most get a kick out of doing. However, it just didn’t seem right to do that, considering everything that’s been going on around here…

Just to bring you up to speed, my wife Anita underwent emergency eye surgery a few weeks ago. During the week and a half she spent on her side recuperating, she became convinced that there was a hole in her retina. She went to the doctor a couple of times, but they suggested waiting and seeing how it progressed. Well, it progressed and progressed, to the point where she had to go in for a second emergency procedure. It’s easy to get mad at doctors, but it’s not so easy to find their car in the parking lot and key it up (hint: it’s usually a BMW).

The scary thing (well, let’s face it… there are lots of scary things when it comes to cutting around on your eyeball), is that this is the same road she went down with her other eye. A dozen or more surgeries before she completely lost her vision. So there’s been a little bit of a “freak out” factor this go-round.

It’s still too early to say everything’s going to be fine, but she’s back on her side, trying to remain as immobile as possible for at least a week while her eye heals.

As for me, I’m trying to keep her head screwed on while also trying to keep our house from falling apart. Laundry’s been the biggest hurdle, but I have a new strategy: I’m going to start throwing away all the dirty clothes and buying exact duplicates to replace them with. Yes, it’s a lot of work, but think how much I’ll save on laundry detergent!

Exercise has gone out the window for the most part, partly because there’s no time and partly because… well, I find it really difficult to tell the person I love most on this earth that I’m going out running while she’s stuck in one position in bed.

Anyway, thanks so much for your thoughtful comments, supportive emails and warm wishes. Blogging can’t be much of a priority right now, but I’ll be around as much as possible given the circumstances.

Take care of yourself, take care of your loved ones and be thankful for your good health (and eyesight).


Friday, November 19, 2010

Hello, I Must Be Going…

Hello, fat, fit, fot and/or fut friends…

We’re having some more Sh*t-hitting-the-fan times at Casa de la Jack right now, so I’m breaking my gazillion-day-in-a-row posting streak to go take care of everything that needs taking care of around here.

Take care of yourself and each other, and I’ll catch up with you soon.

- Jack

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Some Days

Some days.

Some days this healthy living business is a piece of low-fat cake.

You wake with energy. The food that you’re supposed to eat actually appeals to you. That piece of exercise equipment you dislike the least welcomes you like a dear old friend.

Those are the days that make you feel like you’ve rounded the corner to... well, if not Easy Street, then at least Not-So-Difficult Street.

I don't like to throw cold water on you or anything, but SPLASH!

No matter how firmly you believe you got this, chances are you’ll trip up on occasion, your beautiful swam dive will transmogrify into a big ol’ belly flop. You’ll go through periods where you honestly believe you’ll never get it right again.

Some days.

Some days you start stumbling from the day's first step.

You wake up with the blah’s and things go downhill from there. The good healthy food in front of you goes down like packing peanuts. Exercise isn't even an option.

My point? This journey isn’t defined by a good day or a bad one, any more than your life ought to be determined by a number on a scale.

Some days will be good. Enjoy them. Celebrate them. Appreciate them.

Some days will suck. Endure them. Get through them. Shrug 'em off.

Good days. Bad days. They're just days, you know. Do what you can to keep a good attitude, to not let the bad days get you too far down and not let the good days get you too overconfident.

They’re just days. Never as good as you want. Never as bad as they seem.

Days are what you make of them.

Make today great.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ways to Give Your Weigh-in More Pizzazz

  • Do it in the nude. At the mall.
  • Call a local radio station and do it live on the air.
  • Buy the world’s largest scale.
  • Weigh in carrying a baby monkey, then weigh the monkey and subtract that amount from the original weigh-in.
  • Sparklers!
  • Each week, do weigh-in in different country.
  • Levitate a few inches off the scale for a few seconds.
  • Pretend that you’re a famous celebrity weighing themselves.
  • Hire drumming drummer to drum drumroll.
  • Put the results on the internet!
  • Weigh yourself in stones, kilometers, pounds and milligrams.
  • Weigh yourself on the moon and then multiply result by 6.
  • Wear a funny (but light) hat.
  • Hire that “Let’s get ready to r-r-r-r-rummmmble!” guy to announce weight.
  • Sing a show tune.
  • Write weight on forehead with Sharpee.
  • If you show a gain, stick your foot up scale’s tight white ass!
  • Pretend you and scale are guests on “Hee Haw”.
  • Lose some damn weight!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bodfather: Ready to Soar

Subject #4 in the "Bodfather"
Witness Reduction Program: Jodi

Height: 5' 8"
Current weight: 317.6

Like the lead character in her favorite musical Wicked, Jodi is ready to start defying gravity.

A 32-year-old band/choir geek, newlywed (well, just over a year…), actress and blogger, she’s tired of hiding behind her fat and ready to take her turn in the spotlight.

Jodi’s not particularly proud of the way her opening act has played out. She’s dieted since as far back as 8 years old, but never been able to manage a truly successful weight loss. She’s got some ugly issues she’s had to deal with, including an abusive stepfather and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a condition that puts an added hurdle in her path. However she’s ready to put all her doubts and disappointments behind her and move forward.

“I want to have babies someday” she told me recently. “And I'm not even going to try at my size. Obesity can cause a lot of problems for the baby and the mother. I want to have healthy habits in place, so my children don't have to deal with the issues I did growing up.”

But a future with children and without health issues isn’t her only reason for wanting to get healthier. Her bottom is directly affecting her bottomline.

“I work in the pharmaceutical division of a major insurance company,” she explains. “This year, they’re charging those employees who have a BMI higher than 30 a higher premium.”

Jodi hit her lowest point (and highest weight) back in April when a “338” on the scale hit her squarely between the eyes. That was 60 pounds more than when she got married, and she wasn’t thrilled about her size back then.

So she geared up to make a real run at losing weight.

“Nothing is going to stop me this time.”

Whenever you say “Nothing is going to stop me this time,” you’re just tempting fate, so it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that Jodi’s husband immediately lost his job at this point. Suddenly, she was pulling loads of overtime and struggling to make ends meet. But as hard as she worked, it wasn’t enough for them to hold on to their apartment. She did manage to drop a little weight however, with something she likes to call “The Broke-Ass Diet” (definitely not recommended).

In September, things finally started looking up for Jodi. She found an honest-to-God house to live in, one complete with an actual backyard. With a new home and renewed spirit, she feels like it’s finally time for the show to start in earnest.

“I’ve started blogging again and doing weekly weigh-ins. Also, my husband (who recently landed a new job) is finally ready to change with me, and that support is crucial! I joined the October ‘Going the Distance’ challenge and I walked/jogged 100 miles that month, and am getting ready to participate in my first ‘real’ 5K.”

Now that she’s got some stability in her life as well as a partner who’s willing to make changes with her instead of resisting healthy meals and avoiding exercise, Jodi’s  finally ready to end the excuses, put her wicked ways behind her and start lifting her life to new heights.

Something has changed within me,
Something is not the same.

I'm through with playing by the rules

Of someone else's game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes: and leap! 

- "Defying Gravity" from Wicked

Measurements (in inches)

Neck 16.25
Chest 46 inches
Bust 51 inches
Waist 47.5 inches
Clothing Size: 24/26 3X
Midway: 55 inches
Hips: 57 inches
Thigh: 29 inches
Knees: 18.5 inches
Calf: 18.5 inches
Upper Arm: 17 inches
Forearm 11.25 inches

Monday, November 15, 2010

More Healthy Travel Tips

I'm taking my high school senior daughter to Chicago to see whether or not that’s the place she wants to bankrupt me. Since I’m gonna be on the road, I thought it might be a good idea to share a few more rules for healthy traveling…

  • Always go the wrong way on moving sidewalk at the airport
  • Paying $7 for a lukewarm can on the plane will make you subconsciously start hating beer a little
  • Wear the same outfit the entire trip and fill your carry-on with healthy food instead of extra clothes
  • Window shopping is a good way to burn up excess calories; but remember to carefully wrap any windows you buy before bringing them back home
  • It's easy to turn a hotel iron into a kettlebell; simply weld a large metal ball to the flat end of the iron. Voilá!
  • Some fitness centers will let you try out their facility for free if you dress up like that Monopoly dude and say that you’re interested in buying the franchise
  • Order food from room service, but have them deliver it three miles from your room
  • Swallow the key to the hotel mini-bar
  • Don’t forget seeds, soil and rapid-grow light bulbs so you can enjoy farm-fresh veggies while you’re away
  • If you’re confronted by scary looking would-be muggers, it’s good exercise to run away from them as fast as you can
  • Practice airplane bathroom yoga
  • Walk all the way from your hotel room to where you hail a cab
  • Remember, you don’t have to eat at fabulous restaurants just because they… excuse me… yes, reservation for two for “Sh*t”…

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Run Jack Run

Weekly weigh-in: 215.3
Loss: -.3
Total loss: -76.6
Emotion: Feeling O(5)K

 This is me putting on my game face.

 This is me learning that you can't really photograph yourself running on a treadmill very easily.

 This is my 32nd attempt at a decent running shot, after which I almost tripped and went flying off the machine.

 This is me repeated punching the "OFF" button.

This is me providing Kelly with photographic proof that I ran a 5K today (just like she's going to do). 

This is me... just being a sweaty, awesome mess.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

10 Tips to Help You Find Balance

Welcome to "Same Old Sh*t" Saturday, where my idea was to showcase some of my better old posts. However, I quickly ran out of any that qualify, so I've asked some of my other favorite blogger buddies to share some of their favorite recycled posts. Roni blogs here, there and (seemingly) everywhere, but always manages to generate interesting and compelling content. Here's a post that resonated quite a bit with me...

Finding Balance

A few weeks ago I asked How do you find balance? I was (and still am) feeling a bit overwhelmed. Blame it on trying to sell and buy a house, having a toddler, owning my own business, tax season, getting older, watever! I could list a bazillion things going on in my life and I’m sure you can to. But let’s face it, there are and will always be things that stress us out.

But how do we stay sane? How do we juggle responsibilities with interests? Work with play? Family and self? How DO we really find balance?

I’m not sure we’ll ever have the perfect answer but I was able to compile these 10 tips from the comments on my Finding Balance question.
Take Time For Yourself
I’m listing this one first as I think it the most important AND the hardest. Part of the problem most of us feel is that there is just NOT enough time. So how do justify taking even more of that precious resource just for ourselves. What we need to remember is that if we don’t take care of ourselves we won’t be able to take care of others. As they say "Put on your oxygen mask first!"

Action Items: Find time for yourself even if it’s just a few moments. Sit in a quiet room. Take a few deep breaths. Go for a walk with your iPod. Take advantage of the gym’s free daycare. Something. ANYTHING! But make sure it’s just for you.
I’m so bad with this. And sometimes I think it’s in direct competition with the tip above. If I am going to take time for myself then somethings gotta give and that something is generally sleep. It seems to be the easiest thing to sacrifice. But at what cost? We (or maybe it’s just me) need to realize that sleeping is as important as eating healthy and staying active. It really completes that healthy trio.

Action Items: Make an effort to go to bed half an hour to an hour earlier then you normally do. Have kids? Nap if/when they nap.

Make a To Do List
Sometimes I feel like I just can’t remember things like I used to. There was a time in my early 20’s when I didn’t need a calender. I didn’t email myself reminders. I never wore a watch. Yet I was on time, finished my work, returned messages and accomplished what I was suppose to routinely. Now I wonder what happened to that efficient, productive women. Where did she go? Regardless if it’s age, distractions or just too many responsibilities, I have to come to terms that that women is gone. I must find away to be productive without her.

Action Items: Take a moment every night to jot done the tasks that need to be accomplished the next day. Keep a list of long term goals. Get a white board in the kitchen for family to do’s.

Accomplish Something Small and FINISH it
Nothing beats the power of momentum. I truly believe procrastination’s worse enemy is accomplishment. Once you accomplish a task, no matter how small, the ball starts rolling and it gets easier to start the next. The key is to start small and end big!

Action Items: Look at your list, chose something easy to accomplish and JUST DO IT! Even if it’s something as small as putting away clothes or returning an email. You’ll feel so much better when you do
Ask for HELP!
*sigh* Confession time. I HATE asking for help. HATE IT! I don’t even like to accept it if it’s being offered. I can seriously be struggling with 50lbs of grocery bags and if someone offers a helping hand I turn it down. Not sure where this defect came from but I need to get over it. I have to remember there’s a difference between being independent and just being down right stubborn! There is nothing wrong with asking someone to give you a hand at whatever it is you need to accomplish. Sometimes I think we just don’t know how.

Action Items: Take a look at your list. What can you ask someone else to do for you? What tasks would be better to accomplish as a team?

Even though starting small builds a sense of momentum that can help you find balance, sometimes you need to skip the low priority items and head for the important ones. What’s important to you is going to be very unique based on your to do list and goals. Prioritizing your to-do can be an invaluable resource.

Action Items: Create a priority system. For example 1=low 3=high and assign numbers to the items on your to do list.

Recognize Your Accomplishments
Sometimes you may feel like you aren’t accomplishing anything but in actuality you ARE! I do this all the time. I feel off balance, stressed, out of sorts and then I sit down to write a post and realize all I have accomplished. Don’t get lost in your responsibilities without recognizing how much you are actually accomplishing. Sometimes you just need to BRAG!

Action Items: Take a look at all the item crossed off your to do list. Write out what you accomplished in a journal or blog. Have a conversation with a friend and talk about your day. You’ll may be surprised to hear yourself say aloud what you recently accomplished.

Remember.. The World Will NOT end.
I’m here to remind you (and myself) that the world will not end if the dishes don’t get washed. No one will die if the laundry stays in the dryer overnight. And take it from me, the emails will still be in your inbox tomorrow. We need to learn to Control It, Change It or simply LET IT GO!

Action Items: Let something go today. Prove to yourself the world won’t end.

Remove Distractions
Recently I tweeted "Roni has come to the sad conclusion that the only way to actually accomplish work is by disconnecting. *sigh*" It’s true, we live in a world full of distractions. Don’t blame it on the internet, this problem was around way before twitter. Sometimes we just have to learn to avoid them.

Action Items: Disconnect from the internet. Turn off the TV. Close your e mail window.

Be Grateful
Sometimes it’s not all about US. We may feel out of control or stressed but I think it’s important to note that we aren’t alone. Look around at those you love. Be thankful for what you have. When I’m feeling a bit stressed sometimes just looking at the toddler playing happily reminds me of what’s really important.

Action Items: Make a gratitude list. Take a moment every day to reflect on what you have in life. Thank your loved ones for just being them. :)
Alright, I’m off to cross out "Write Balance Post" from my to do list. :)


Friday, November 12, 2010

Bodfather: Too-Big Daddy

Subject #3 in the "Bodfather"
Witness Reduction Program: Tom

Height: 5' 9"
Current weight: weight 437.5

Imagine: you’re over 500 lbs, you’ve lost your job as a direct result of your morbid obesity and you can’t watch your 2-year-old daughter play in the yard without falling asleep where you sit.

Being fat is one thing. Being a father, well… that’s a game changer. At least it is for Tom, my lone male “Bodfather” family member.

And before you start feeling all sorry for him, listen to this: although he’s been overweight practically his whole life, Tom’s already lost nearly 100 pounds on his current weight-loss journey. He’s already seen the positive changes that dropping major pounds can bring, and he’s committed to changing his ways, even though his progress has petered out, his success has stalled. He needed a “Bodfather” kick in the pants…

At 38, he’s well aware that time’s not necessarily on his side. Genetics did him no favors either; both of Tom’s parents are overweight, and so is his brother. But there’s good news on the family front: Tom’s sister has lost a lot of weight in the last couple years and has even run in a marathon. For Tom, she’s proof that bad genetic cards can be played into a winning hand.

There’re a couple of things that have lit a fire up under Tom these days, that have pushed him into that now-or-never territory where he currently resides.

The first came a year and a half ago when his wife and parents held their own intervention about the sleep apnea that had cost him his job and the obesity that threatened his health and future.

“They convinced me to talk to a doctor about gastric bypass or lap band surgery,” Tom told me. “I didn’t necessarily want to, but knew what my health situation was and didn’t really want to leave my daughter without a dad.”

At the initial consultation with the physician, Tom was told that he wasn’t eligible for surgery, at least not until he had lost at least 75+ pounds.

“I couldn’t believe it,” says Tom incredulously. “I was too fat for weight loss surgery.”

The doctor referred him to a medically supervised weight loss program, and Tom went into it with a newfound determination to change his life as well as a mission not to have to go back to the doctor for the weight loss surgery.

The second motivating factor for Tom is that daughter that he got yelled at by his wife for not watching in the yard. Falling asleep while keeping an eye on her was certainly unsafe, but Tom also understands the other danger he’s putting her in. He knows that the statistics say that a child with one overweight parent has a 50% chance of being overweight, and that’s a legacy he’s not comfortable handing down to his little girl.
Tom doesn’t want to go under the knife, but more than anything else, he wants to be around for his little girl. Wants to be able to run around at the park with her or ride bikes or do any of the things that daddies do with the little girls they love so very, very much.

I’m choking up a little as I type these words, because I simply can’t imagine not being able to be the kind of father I want to be to my own daughters. I can’t comprehend the fear and pain that must weigh on Tom every day of his life, the trepidation that runs through his mind when he holds that oh-so-little hand in his.

So we’re going to the mattresses, me, you and Tom. He’s pledged to make some big changes in his life, and nobody has any better reason to succeed.

This isn’t business, Tom. It’s personal.

Measurements (in inches):

Neck - 21

Bicep - 17

Chest - 66

Waist - 70

Thigh - 35

Calf - 24.5

Hips - 72

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Reviewing the Running Programs

Many of you are running, some of you are thinking about running and others are simply thinking about “thinking about running.”

Maybe you don’t have the right shoes. I thought that there was really no difference in what you wore on your feet, but I was slipping and sliding all over the place when I jogged in my penny loafers.

Maybe you’re worried about the fact that running down the street is the equivalent of a blacksmith repeatedly pounding on your knees with a mallet.

Maybe you don’t have “a runner’s mindset,” which I define as “having something seriously wrong with you.”

Maybe you’re confused about the various running programs out there to help you build up your running muscles. I can’t do anything about your footwear, kneebones or prescribing you something that will allow you to experience the elusive “runner’s high,” but I can explain the nuances of the different running programs out there so that you can make an informed choice about what’s best for you.

 I’m sure you’re familiar with C25K (Couch to 5K). It’s the standard program that most runners use to get their running “on track” (that’s a little running humor, no extra charge). It starts you off walking some and running a little, followed by walking a little and running some, followed by walking a bit, running a lot, followed by walk, run, run, walk, run, run some more… until finally you’re dazed, confused and running 5K at a time.

Next on our list is C25K, which is spelled the same but pronounced “Couch to 25K”. Be careful not to get the two confused.

Fading in popularity due to a weak economy, the C2401K program is designed to benefit you “farther down the road”. *

If you’re strapped for time, the C2.5K (“Couch to .5K”) program can be completed during a television commercial.

The C25KKK is… okay, better to just “skip” over that one.

The C2Y2K was all the rage a decade or so ago, but you don’t hear much about it anymore.

The C25KN22, popularized by the marvelous MizFit, requires you to run in a tutu.

With the C25KO program, a professional boxer comes over and punches you in the gut whenever you stop running.

The C2K-Mart program isn’t really that good, but for the next fifteen minutes, it’s 25% off.

The 5K2C program (which I actually invented and did over the last few months) is noteworthy because it starts you off running 5K and eases you back down to sitting around on the sofa.

Whatever program you use, just remember: it’s all about putting one foot in front of the other (putting one foot in front of the same foot is considered bad form).

*More running humor

Speaking of running, don’t forget to get out this Sunday and run yourself a 5K like my buddy Kelly and I are doing. Kelly’s doing it for a good cause, and I’m doing it because I’m a sucker for a good cause.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Signs It's Gonna Be One of 

Those Days

• Glove compartment inexplicably filled with freshly prepared bacon

• Nurse who administers flu shot gives you candy apple for being so brave

• You go to answer you cellphone, only it turns out to be a Hershey bar

• Sample lady at grocery store holds you down and squirts entire can of Cheese Whiz down your throat

• The blog post you spent 45 minutes writing turns out to just be the words “ICE CREAM” repeated 700 times

• When you pointed to an item on the menu, the waitress thought you ordered the entire menu

• For some strange reason, your manicurist is having you soak your fingers in barbecue sauce

• Shipment from Donut-of-the-Month Club arrives

• You pour yourself a steaming cup of coffee, but then realize that
 someone filled the carafe with rotel dip

• Waitress forgets to bring your hot fudge on the side when she drops 
off your sundae

• Multi-vitamins you’ve been taking turn out to be Sugar Babies

• Have to call off your workout because somebody's on your lucky treadmill

• Neighbor brings by a bunch of freshly picked cotton candy

• Forgot it was weigh-in day and wore your chain-mail socks

• 100-calorie bagel you had for breakfast turns out to be 1,000-calorie one instead

• You’re at work, and the conveyor belt that delivers the chocolate candy that you’re supposed to wrap speeds up like crazy…


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Winners, Winners Everywhere!

If you missed my Cheesy Giveaway post the other day, I can't begin to tell you how much you suck.

Besides sucking, you missed out on the chance to win free cheese coupons by simply giving yourself a cheese-inspired name like these folks did...

Untypically Brie(a) (Untipically Jia)
(Vee Getting Healthy)
Colby “Jack”
Angela P-Edam
(Angela Pea)
Liver alone Cheese a Terra
Outdoor MOMzerella
(Outdoor Mom)
John is Feta
(John is Fit)

Winners, contact me with your address and I'll send your cheese coupon out to you via ChedEx (that's a pretty weak joke, but I'll do cheddar next time).

Speaking of prizes, I'm still trying to track down the winner of my DirectLife activity monitor giveaway. I'm looking for the "Jessica" that left this comment:

Dear Directlife Junior Market Intelligence Analyst Antonio Galvan Puente-
I am a nurse. Let me clarify I am a fat emergency room nurse. Do you know how hard it is to help someone change their life when they are looking at you thinking "Yeah I'll quit smoking those cigs when you lose some weight tubby". Plus I don't get to pee during my 12 hour shift let alone figure out how much physical activity I am doing. I know lots of nurses secretly wonder how many calories we are burning giving shots in the butt. Just think not only would you be helping me but maybe hundreds no thousands of people. They will look at at that healthy fit nurse giving them discharge instructions and think "Maybe if she can do it so can I". 

Thanks to everyone who participated in both giveaways, and special thanks to the marketing professionals who got fired for sending me stuff to do giveaway posts. Your sacrifice has not been in vain (well, yeah, it pretty much was, come to think of it...)

New You

I'm sorry, Frank Sinatra

Start eating less food, beginning today.
That’s gotta be a big part of it - new you, new you.
Keep pointing your shoes, far from the buffet.
Get to the very heart of it - new you, new you.

You wanna wake up in a body that doesn’t creak.
And find you’re king of the scale – in tip-top physique

These stubborn ol’ pounds, are melting away.
You’ve made a brand new start of it – a whole new you.
If you can’t make it now, keep trying anyhow,
Cuz it’s up to you - new you, new you.

New you, new you!
You want to wake up to future that doesn’t suck
And find you’re physically fit, looking so great, energy-filled, at your goal weight.

So keep writing that blog, keep melting away.
You’re gonna make a brand new start of it – a whole
new you.
And if you can make it here, I’ll spring for you a
Light beer

It up to you - new you new you

New you.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Bodfather: A Summons to Appear

Subject #2 in the "Bodfather"
Witness Reduction Program: Laurie

Height: 5'6"
Current weight:  240 lbs.

Opening statement: I hate lawyers.

I guess it comes from my personal lawyer, who sent me a bill the other day for crossing the street and talking to somebody that he thought was me.

So when I agreed to take on Laurie as part of my “Bodfather” program, my plan was to tell her to eat cupcakes six times a day and watch nine hours of television daily.

But then I started learning more about Laurie’s story.

“You know I was thin at one time,” she confided in me.  “My grandmother was obese. My aunt was grossly obese (I think that's the term). I saw my aunt about three years ago and her first words were 'I knew you’d eventually get fat.’”

Then she went into hiding. For the next couple of years, Laurie avoided seeing anyone that knew her from back when was thin, including her own family.

From there, she tells me, she spent a year in defiance.  “Yeah I am fat,” she proclaims boldly. “What of it?”

What of it indeed? Not caring what others think is one thing, but when it’s so obvious that obesity is taking its toll on your quality of life, well… that’s a different story.

“It’s about the aches and pains,” says Laurie. “It’s about the fact that my knees hurt or my back aches.  Or I can't go up one flight of stairs without huffing.”

So Laurie decided to represent herself, decided that now’s the time to take control of her own future. 

However, and… well, you probably already know this:  it’s difficult.

“I can feel the excuses start around 2 p.m.” she told me. “ Candy = energy.  Hamburger = being good to myself.  Ice cream = yeah, you leave the ice cream out of this.  Ice cream never hurt anyone, ice cream loves me...okay, scratch that.”

 So, it’s not easy. I’ll tell you like I told Laurie: it’s not easy for any of us. Some may make it look easy, but I promise you that it’s not.

Easy? No.

Worth it? Absolutely.

“I don't want to be 20 again,” says Laurie. “But I don't want to feel so old either. I want energy. I want to get out of bed without groaning for at least thrity more years.  I want to run again.  I want to feel muscles again. I want to see a collarbone again.”

“Am I certain I will follow-through?” she continues. “No, I am not. But do I want to stop with the excuses?  Yep. Would I like someone there cheering for me? Yes, that would be pretty awesome.  Do I want someone there to ask the hard questions? Yep. It’s not about shame or guilt;  it’s about taking responsibility.”

Laurie’s story reminds me of the man who had been caught embezzling millions from his employer. He goes to a lawyer, telling him that he really, really doesn’t want to go to jail. But his lawyer tells him, "Don’t worry. You’ll never have to go to jail with all that money.” And the lawyer was right. When the man is eventually sent to prison, he doesn’t have a dime.

Okay, that doesn’t really remind me of Laurie’s story, but if I’m going to be working with a lawyer here, you’re gonna have to expect a few lawyer jokes along the way.

Measurements (in inches):

Neck - 15.75
Upper arm - 15.5
Chest - 46
Waist - 43.5
Hips - 49
Upper thigh - 28
Calf - 18


Sunday, November 7, 2010

A New Leash on Life

Weekly weigh-in: 215.6
Loss: -.4
Total loss: -76.3
Emotion: Dogged

Ever taken an unruly dog on a walk and nearly gotten your arm jerked out of the socket as he struggles and strains against the tug of the leash?

That's how my weight-loss journey feels these days. I'm trying to do right but seem to be constantly fighting forces beyond my control.

I have a long history of massive losses followed almost immediately by inexplicable climbs back up the obesity ladder. Even though I know better, my mutt of a body seems to catch a scent of something it wants to chase and it’s all I can do to keep my fingers clenched tightly around the leash.

I have a bad week, see a jump on the scale and give the leash a hearty jerk. I loosen my grip for a moment, thinking I've got things back under control, and then... LOOK, A SQUIRREL!

However, I have a leash and it’s strong and well-made. It’s woven out of sweat and commitment, forged from well-earned wisdom and the support of family and
 friends. It’s triple-reinforced with the will of a community of like-minded individuals, and while there may be a little give in it, there’s no way that sucker’s gonna break.

Sure, there’s a part of me that longs to break free and run wild as I have in the past.
 But there’s a stronger voice that takes over these days. A voice that instills confidence, demands discipline. It’s the voice that will keep me on the right path and lead me back home when the day is done.

We are all the masters of our own destinies, keepers of our own leashes. Whether yours is way-too-slack or trim and tight, I encourage you to hold on for all you’re worth.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Never Hire A Prayer Intern

Welcome to "Same Old Sh*t" Saturday. There was a time when I trotted out some of my older posts to fill this space, but now I ask other blogger buddies to share a favorite old post from their own blog archives. Today's contribution is from Ryan at No More Bacon. Ryan can be a lovable goofball at times, but his heart's usually in the right place... and the rest of his body is slowly but surely getting there, too.

In 2006 I was admitted to the hospital with some serious issues. I had a perforated ulcer in my stomach that had been misdiagnosed as kidney stones. For 6 days I drank fluids hoping to pass the phantom kidney stones and for six days I got sicker and sicker and sicker. All the fluids I was taking in were filling my abdominal cavity (this is a bad thing) and after nearly a week I had become completely septic. Basically I was so full of infection that all of my vital organs were on the verge of shutting down. When I was admitted to the hospital it was because I was being rushed to emergency surgery to save my life. They used the trauma unit emergency room and I laid on my back looking up at the blinding lights while a team of literally dozens of professionals surrounded me and prepared to send me to the operating room.

I was scared.

I don’t know that I’ve ever felt more helpless in my entire life than I did in that moment.

I prayed.

I prayed harder than I’ve ever prayed in my entire life.

I was newly married with our first child only months from joining our family. I was worried about them and had to think about the reality of them moving on without me.

I prayed for them.

It may sound like I’m being dramatic, but I assure you the situation was very real and very serious.
I made it through surgery but the next 7 days were touch and go, from what I’ve been told anyway.
I had a temperatures of 108 which could have easily caused brain damage. Actually, that might explain a lot…

I was basically unconscious and completely incoherent for an entire week.

During that week my family prayed for me. I could feel their strength helping me through.
I spent another two weeks after that in the hospital and about 3 months after that dealing with an abdominal surgical wound that just wouldn’t heal.

Now I don’t share this experience for your pity. That experience helped me to learn that I’m a fighter, no matter what.

I share the experience with you because of all the prayers that were said during that rough patch. Praying was easy. I was begging for mercy and for a miracle. I was praying in desperation. I was praying like my life depended on it… because it did.

But what happens when life is good? Do we immediately recognize our blessings as earned or deserved? Or do we realize that this life is a gift?

The reason I ask is because I’ve found myself slipping as of late. I haven’t been taking the time to give thanks to God for all of the amazing gifts in my life. With the value of time being at a premium these days it’s almost tempting to go hire somebody to take care of my praying for me. And just how ridiculous does that sound?

Ridiculous right? Right.

That would be like hiring somebody to workout for me. It sounds AWESOME at first, but believe it or not having someone sweat for you doesn’t help you out at all either. I guess it would let you mark it off the to do list, but as far as the stress release, health promoting goodness that a workout provides, you wouldn’t be getting any of it.

I won’t go into the next part too far because this post is already getting lengthy, but in the same way it was easy for me to remember to pray lying on my back in that emergency room, remembering and being motivated to exercise are easier to come by when you’re hooked up to an EKG machine or your doctor is discussing blood pressure medication with you at the age of 28.

There are a few things that only we have control of. Our health is one, prayer is another. Spending time with family falls in there too. The point is that there are things in our lives that, no matter what time management techniques we use, have to be made priorities. There are things that only we can do. No one can do them for us. And as nice as having someone do them for us sounds, how would we ever learn or grow without taking control and taking action?

I’m grateful to be alive today and I’m grateful for a second chance at health. I am truly blessed.
There may come a point in my life when I have someone trying on socks or scheduling my next appointment for me (yeah, right), but you will never find me with a prayer intern.




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