Monday, January 31, 2011

No Horsing Around

I want to tell you a little story about a gal named Zenyatta.

She quit working last year and packed on 100 lbs before you could say “Giddyup.”

Yes, Zenyatta is a retired American champion Thoroughbred racehorse, winner of 19 consecutive races in a 20-race career which culminated with being named the 2010 Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year.

But it occurs to me that I haven’t done enough on my blog to address the needs of overweight horses. If you stopped by here today for weight-loss guidance or inspiration, then you probably should just move along. This post is specifically for horses (or for people who have a pet horse in their house).

Okay, Zenyatta… here’s my best weight-loss-for-horses' advice…

Just Say “Neigh” to Extra Hay.
We’re a lot alike, Zenyatta… superior athletes bred from championship stock and used to working only a couple hours a day. But here’s the thing, Z… if you’re not gonna run like a racehorse, you’ve got to stop eating like one. At the end of the day, it’s all about calories in versus calories out. If you take in more than you exert, chances are those extra pounds you see on scale won’t be because you’re wearing iron horseshoes.

It’s Time to Hoof It. We all know it’s a lot easier to get in a good workout if somebody’s sitting on your back and hitting you over and over with a whip, but you’ve got to realize that exercise is it’s own reward. Don’t say you can’t canter, Zenny; there’s a big pasture out there, and there’s no reason you can’t get out there and gallop to your heart’s content. Stick with it and it won’t be long before you’re hot to trot again.

This is a Marathon, Not a 6½ Furlong Race. You made the mistake many of us make, Zenyatta:  you thought the finish line was the finish. The truth of the matter is that good health is a lifelong endeavor. Stay on track and I’m sure the studs will stand up and take notice.

I don’t mean to nag you, Zenyatta, but I’m sure that with some good food choices and a commitment to incorporating more activity into your daily routine, we can get you back down to your 1,200-pound racing weight.

Z, it’s time for you to get back in the saddle.

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

I Don't Like to Make Excuses, But..

Weekly weigh-in: 216.5
Loss: +.1
Total loss: -75.4
Emotion: Irresolute

I don’t like to make excuses, but…

  • I couldn’t find the “Healthy Choices” section of Hooter’s menu.
  • I thought the pickles in the fridge might be some kind of “magic pickles” like in that book about the magic pickles.
  • Eyes starting to go; might have read scale wrong last week.
  • Ate too much koala to celebrate Australia Day (January 26)
  • I dreamed I was eating a pillow and when I woke up, my giant marshmallow was gone.
  • Pants felt too big; decided it was easier to gain weight than get new belt.
  • Accidentally replaced water bottle with bottle of 1,000 Island dressing.
  • Big knot in laces of my running shoes.
  • Sample lady at grocery store forced me down, shoveled pimento-and-cheese spread in my mouth.
  • Got mesmerized by that TV show starring the dude that was in that movie with that girl with the long hair.
  • Meant to go work out but lost track of time unfollowing people I’m following on twitter that aren’t following me back. Jerks!
  • Thought I was eating 100-calorie snack bag, but turns out it was 1,000-calorie one.
  • Had to eat all chocolate in the house because I read somewhere that it was poisonous to dogs.
  • Went to all-you-could-eat buffet and forgot not to eat all I could eat.
  • Personal trainer didn’t push me to give 110%.
  • Think there was some heavy dead skin on my feet.
  • The expiration date was about to hit on that can of frosting in pantry.
  • You bloggers forgot to inspire me this week.
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Saturday, January 29, 2011

All New W.I.D.T.H. Weekend

Can I ask you a question?

Why are you doing this?

You know, this... this healthy living/getting fit/losing weight business. It's not because it's so much stinking fun or you have no interest in trying a bag (or two) of whatever the hell they've decided to stuff inside of M&M's this week. 

So... why? 
To help spur your thinking, I'm sharing all the W.I.D.T.H. (Why I Do This Here) cards I collected this week. Each Saturday, for W.I.D.T.H. Weekend, I'll post either a batch of new contributions or some of the hundreds that readers have shared with me over the last few months.

There are no rules, no prizes, no deadlines, but I really would like to hear from you. Simply scribble your reason(s) for what you're doing and find some way to electronically deliver it to

Thanks to everyone for helping keep the ball rolling...


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Friday, January 28, 2011

Bodfather: Good Things Happen to Those Who Weigh

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

Height: 5’8”
Starting weight  317.6
Current weight: 299.0
Loss: 18.6 lbs.

They call me the “Bodfather”.

I’m working with a small group of folks who are allowing me to share their weight-loss journeys on my blog. I offer up support and encouragement, and have even hooked them up with a free Philips DirectLife activity monitor. I’m as involved as they’ll let me be…

But if you read the last installment of this saga, you know that it isn’t always easy being the “Bodfather”.

Oh, everyone’s super excited at the start, coming out with guns blazing.

Then they shoot up all their bullets and start whining about how hard it is and how slow it’s going and how they know what they’re doing wrong but they’re having trouble making lasting changes.

What can I tell ‘em?

It’s hard.

It’s slow going sometimes.

If your head and your heart aren’t in it, you’re not going to be able to make it happen.

Each of them have fantastic reasons for wanting to lose weight and get more healthy.

Just like you.

Each of them have plenty of excuses for why they can’t seem to be able to get the job done.

Just like you.

Now it’s just a matter of doing it or not doing it.

That’s why I’m so proud of Jodi, the 4th participant in the “Bod Squad”. I wasn’t sure about her at the start of this deal, but she’s become a driving force these days.

She just powered past the “300” milestone and wants to never look back at that number again. Even through all the temptations of the holiday season and a nasty bug that kept her from getting her normal exercise in, Jodi’s been rocking the scale lately.

“I've all of a sudden started to really notice that I'm losing,” she told me recently. “My pants are annoyingly sliding down...time to get a good belt! The hubby is noticing too...he was watching me exercise and he told me my butt doesn't jiggle a bit...good and firm. Still waiting for other family members/friends to see...but I guess it can be hard to notice when I'm wearing the same stuff. Who knows?”

I know.

I know that if Jodi keeps on making good choices on the food front and stays active and focused, that the people in her life are going to have no choice but to stand up and take notice. She's making it happen.

Some days, it’s really fun to be the “Bodfather.”

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How to Kill a Craving

• They say that increasing your protein intake can take the edge off your hunger, so try eating a yak.

Remove temptations such as every lick of food in your house.

Replace sweets and sugar with fruit, and then replace the fruit with imaginary fruit.

Improve your diet overall, and while you’re at it, why don't you go ahead and get a better job and move into a nicer house?

If you have a sweet tooth, see your dentist about having it removed.

Remember this old saying: “Eat better foods, and better foods will eat you.” Waitaminute… that’s stupid. And now you've probably have already remembered it!

Standing in front of a mirror and reciting positive affirmations is a good way of cracking yourself up and – at least for a moment – forgeting about your overwhelming hunger pangs.

• Drink a big glass of water, then a bigger glass of water and then an even bigger glass of water.

Find your motivation. What that means is pretend you’re an actor or actress playing yourself in a movie and the script calls for you not to have a craving. Now ready, and… ACTION!

Recognize “trigger” foods and shoot anyone who brings them into your home with a “gun”.

Reward yourself every time you say “no” to your cravings by giving yourself $1,000.

Keeping busy can help you overcome temptation – so why don't you come over and clean up my house?

Spray a can of Raid® Ant & Roach Killer all over that batch of delicious cupcakes.

A trained hypnotist can assist you into making positive subconscious thoughts and help subdue cravings; but keep in mind that he can also make you hop on one foot and cluck like a chicken.

Print out this list, wad it up and eat it.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Jack & Julie & Julia & Jack

This post from last year started off as a silly little take-off of the Julie & Julia movie, but swerved into a new direction (as my blog posts have a disturbing tendency to do). In the process of writing it, I learned a lot of fascinating stuff on Jack LeLanne, who passed away this week at the age of 96. I never met Mr. LeLanne, but just like in that J&J movie, I'm pretty sure he would have hated my blog if he had been aware of it... or at least I like to think that he would have. Whip those angels into shape, 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…”

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Big Jack

 I'm sorry, Jimmy Dean

Ev’ry day was the same, he’d eat himself a ton.
He stood six foot four and weighed two ninety-one.

Kinda broad in the belly, always eating to excess.

And everybody knew he was a big fat mess…Big Jack.

Big Jack, Big Jack… Big Fat Jack.

Nobody seemed to know why Jack was so obese.
They just stood back and watched his waistline increase.

He’d eat anything if you’d care to fry it.

If you had any sense, you never said “diet” to Big Jack. 

I met him at the Fair up near Portland, Maine.
A smile on a face smudged with blueberry stain.
Walking around with a blue ribbon on his chest;
He didn’t even know it was a pie-eating contest – Big Jack
Big Jack, Big Jack… Big Fat Jack.

Then came that day a couple years back,
He finally decided to get his life on track.
Realized that fat just wasn’t really his fate.
Decided he was “over” being “overweight”.

So he started to blog and got his sh*t straight.
Started exercising and watching what he ate.
He vowed to keep tryin’ and always do his best,

And every week there seemed to be a little less of Big Jack.

Big Jack, Big Jack… Big Fat Jack

He began eating things like parsnips and kale,
And soon didn’t dread stepping onto the scale.
It seemed as though he finally solved the riddle
Of ridding the muddle attached round his middle… Big Jack.
Big Jack, Big Jack... Big Bad Jack.

He finally reached his goal, but a goal’s not the end,
Cuz this journey doesn’t a finish line, my friend.
Some weeks he yells out “Damn, I gained another pound!”
So he keeps keeping on, so you wanna stick around… for Big Jack.

That’s why he keeps blogging, why he’s still here,
Instead of eating Cheetos and swilling lotsa beer.
He’s working really hard, he’s set his body free.
And never again does he ever wanna be… Big Jack.
Big Jack, Big Jack... Big Fat Jack.

If you think that he’s ever gonna call in and quit,
Well, I tell ya, my friend, you don’t know Jack Sh*t.
So let him be your health and weight-loss guide.
I can promise you it’s gonna be a helluva ride.
Fit Jack.Fit Jack, Fit Jack... Fit Jack Sh*t.

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Me, My Scale & I

Weekly weigh-in: 216.4
Loss: -.3
Total loss: -75.5
Emotion: Indefatigable

Maybe you and the scale dance every day, maybe you don’t give a doodley-damn what it’s got to say.

Maybe a gain sends you into a spiral of sadness and self-loathing. Maybe an uptick on the scale spurs you to be more determined and driven going forward.

Maybe a loss provides a near pharmaceutical high. Maybe you take each weigh-in with a shrug and a wary smile, because you know what the scale giveth, it may soon taketh away.

Maybe you sweat out every tenth-of-a-pound drop and maybe you don’t give too much weight to a number on a scale.

For me, the scale’s just another tool. Used right, it can help you stay focused and stay accountable. Used wrong, it can drive you out of your ever-loving mind.

Because make no mistake:  it will confound you, perplex you, infuriate you. You can do everything right and it just may laugh in your face. You can struggle and stumble and be shocked to see a “how’d-that-happen?” drop.

Once a week, I take a deep breath and step on that scale.

It isn’t always fair and it isn’t always a loss, but more often than not, I get what I deserve.

What I earned.

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Are You W.I.D.T.H. Me?

Welcome to another "W.I.D.T.H. Weekend", where I gather old and new contributions to my ever-expanding collection of note cards sent in by readers trying to explain why they're on this healthy living journey.

Turns out there’s something pretty powerful about the process of taking a big sentiment … such as “Why do I want to lose weight?” or “Why do I want to get healthy?”… and boiling it down to a note card.

Keep them cards coming, ladies and gentlemen. There's no rhyme, reason or rules to this; just scribble down why you're doing what you're doing into as few words as possible. Email it to




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