Reprogramming yourself….

I am on day 128 of the Healthier Me Tour 2018 and that is a tad over 1/3 of a year. In that time frame I have lost 33 pounds, down two pant size, down two shirt sizes, have more energy, sleep better and just a better me overall. I am making better food choices and working out has now become second nature to me. I firmly believe that once most of us make up our minds we are going to do something, make a plan and commit to that plan, there is nothing we cannot accomplish. When you want change, you have to reprogram yourself to make that happen. It takes 21 days for a behavior to become a habit. You have to commit and follow through.

My father in law has decided he wants to lose some weight. He has seen how much I have changed and he wants that as well. So, we sat down and I explained to him exactly what I was doing. First thing he wanted to know is, what are you eating? I explained to him that since I was in such bad shape and obese, I had to make a drastic change. I cut my calories back to 1400 a day. He had the same response as everyone else, “WHAT??? That is impossible to do and not be starving!” I told him that it was in fact, very easy to do, you just have to eat the right foods. He still did not believe me so I showed him a simple example. I took a package of chicken breast and showed him the nutritional chart on the back. A serving size of boneless, skinless chicken breast is 4 oz and that equates to approximately 187 calories. I then took a can of green beans and showed him that 4 oz of green beans was 35 calories and if you ate the entire can, it was only 70 calories. I explained to him it is all about the food choices and if you eat more of the lower calories foods, such as vegetables and less of the higher calorie foods, you can set yourself at 1400 calories and find that is not only plenty of food, it may be too much! He still did not believe that was all I was eating but he was willing to give it a go.

Saturday night, we went out to eat with my in-laws and Pop still was having a hard time with the diet. “I am starving to death” he said as we walked out the door. I said what have you been eating. “I have done exactly as you told me, but I am doing 1500 calories a day.” Then my mother in law busted him out, “He is not doing what you told him, he is still eating bread in the mornings and he only eats 2 meals a day!!” I said, “No wonder you are starving!! You have to spread those calories out during the day.” He argued that he is still only doing 1500 calories so it was ok. Shaking my head, we walked into the restaurant. As we sat down, he said, “I am going to eat exactly what you do.” I nodded in agreement. Waitress came over and I ordered a salad with grilled chicken and balsamic vinaigrette. He ordered the same. The waitress brought out bread and put it on the table and Pop was the first one to reach for a roll. “What are you doing?” I asked. He said “One won’t hurt me and I love bread!” I just laughed and said, you have to cut that bread out for now until you get some of this weight off. He said’ “Well all we are eating is a salad and that ain’t going to be enough!” I just shook my head and smiled. It dawned on me that just a few short months ago, I was the same way. I had to reprogram my way of thinking about food to make good choices no matter where I was. Making good foo choices is a state of mind. I know what I want to accomplish and I have made the decision to cut back on certain things and eat more of the healthier foods. I don’t feel like I am missing anything, on the contrary, I have detoxed myself from all the bad foods and I don’t really miss them. Do I still eat bread? Of course I do, I just don’t make it a norm. I am at point now that I can eat the “not so good” foods every once in a while and it not throw me off course. I could not do that in January, it would have sabotaged my mission. I told Pop, once you decide you really want to lose that belly, you will! Until then, you are just running in mud, not going anywhere.

Make plan, commit to that plan and follow that plan. You will find yourself making better choices everyday and before you know it, those choices become second nature to you. Whether is a food plan or workout plan, you have to commit to that plan and work it until it becomes a habit. Remember, not all habits are bad!

Go out and be the best YOU, you can be today!

4 months and 32 pounds ago….

4 months into this healthy lifestyle journey and I have reached every goal that I have set for myself. I wanted to lose an average of 8 pounds a month and as of yesterday. May 2nd, I have lost 32 lbs and feel better than I have in years. I am down 2 pant sizes, 2 shirt sizes and have to buy new clothes!! This has been the toughest attempt I have ever had in the losing weight department. In my younger days, dropping weight was easy. I could lose 10 pounds at the drop of a hat. Since I turned 50 though, it has been a real struggle to lose this flab. If you have been keeping up with my journey, you know how I have struggled and celebrated any accomplishment just to keep myself motivated. Truth is there were times i just wanted to say TO HELL WITH IT and go get me some ice cream and super sized pizza. That would have been the easy way out and I would not only let myself down but, my wonderful wife as well. She and our son are the real reason why I decided to make the change. I knew that I was heading down a dark path and if I wanted to be around to enjoy life with them for many years, something had to change. So, here is where I stand after 4 months.

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My wife had already started working out before I made the decision for a healthier lifestyle. I found that as I began to follow her lead, it helped motivate her as well. When I started dropping some weight, she was so proud and encouraging that I made me want to keep pushing forward. I also feel with me working as hard as I have been, she has pushed herself a bit harder and it has paid off.  As of this writing, she has around 22 pounds herself.  I made the decision in April to get up early, go to the gym and get my workout in, no more excuses. I think that motivated her to work harder during her workouts. She has really toned up and people are noticing too. She was featured in a video at her gym, proud hubby moment there. We both feel so much better, sleep so much better and have so much more energy than we did before. We may even have to d a little hiking later on this year. But exercise is only part of this equation.

We have been disciplined (for the most part) with our diet as well. We watch what we eat and don’t beat ourselves up if we slip up. This past weekend, it was hard to find good healthy choices while at her company seminar. They fed us deli sandwiches, so, we had to chunk the bread and eat meat and lettuce. We ate salads where we could but, splurged a bit and had a real hamburger with french fries OMG!!! All in all it wasn’t a bad trip and Monday morning, we were back to our routine and we are still moving forward. The two pictures below show you how far we have come in a years time. The first was from a year ago at the same seminar we attended this past weekend. The second is from this year. Can you see a difference?

I hope this helps motivate you to just keep moving forward in your push for a healthier lifestyle. It is a great feeling of accomplishment to have come this far in our journey but, we both know, we have more to go to reach out ultimate goals. Hopefully you will stick around and follow along with us as we hit each and every one of our goals. Bottom line is, if we can do this, you can to. You just have to make up your mind, commit and start moving!

Go be the best YOU, you can be today!!

Hitting the wall (Plateau)….

At the beginning of this month, I weighed in at 229 lbs. My original goal was 225 by the end of April. Feeling I had that in the bag, I set my self a new goal of 220 and pushed forward. By April 8, I was at 225.5 and thought to myself, this is going to be a breeze! Well, I had a bad day, eating wise, on the 8th and BOOM, I was back up to 228.6. Knowing that it was more than likely just water retention, I did not let it phase me and kept “Doin My Thang”! Well, for the month of April I have been stuck between 225-228. No matter what I eat, no matter how hard I exercise, I just can’t seem to break the 225 barrier. I was getting as frustrated as a one-armed paper hanger and then it hit me, I have hit that dreaded wall or “plateau” as the experts call it.

The human body is an amazing piece of work. It can adjust its metabolism at the blink of an eye. During the journey, you make changes to your diet and activity level. At first your body is like “WHOA!!” and the changes in your appearance start off quickly. You are losing weight and inches at a quick pace and you are seeing the results you were hoping for. You get pumped up and your motivation is through the roof. Then your body catches up to what you are doing, “OHHHHH I see what we are doing, I need to slow things down so I don’t starve or burn through fuel quite as fuel quite as fast.” It will adjust to the number of calories you have been taken in and make that the norm. It will grow accustomed to your work out regime, and only burn so many calories to conserve energy. This is what the experts call. “The Plateau”. At this point, most people will just say “This is a low as I can get, no need to keep working this hard if nothing is going to change.” They stop trying and BOOM, the weight and inches come screaming back and then some. Then, they start the cycle all over again. I call this the “See-Saw Approach” This will never work in the end and you will never maintain a healthy weight of lifestyle with this approach. There is a better way!

When you hit that wall, that is when you change things up! What I did this time around was have a couple of cheat days. We had a family adventure this weekend and I ate things I have not been such as, greasy hamburger (no bun, I am not crazy!) taco salad, popcorn and some salted peanuts. Sunday, I had a couple of pancakes and grilled up some hot dogs, pork chops and chicken thighs. Not really bad but, different from what I had been putting in my body. I increased my cardio from 20 minutes to 30 and increased the pace as well. I wear a Garmin device that keeps up with my total steps for the day. I went from roughly 10,00 steps per day up to 14-15 by adding a 10 minute walk in after I eat. I park further away from the building and make myself walk a little more each day. It may not sound like much but, you will be surprised at how even the smallest of changes can make a difference.Yesterday, I busted through that plateau, weighing in a 224.6 and today I am at an even 224.

Don’t give up when you hit that wall, push yourself a little more instead. You can and will hit your goals, you just have to believe you can and let nothing or no one stop you, not even yourself.

Go out and be the best YOU, you can be today!!!

5:30 isn’t early enough…..

For the last few weeks, I have been getting up around 4:45 AM everyday to go the gym. I decided that it would just be best for my family and me to go at that time. It allows me to get my workouts in and still be home early enough to get dinner cooked and take care of the dogs while my wife gets her workout in after work. The gym I am a member of is on the small side but has a big membership. The afternoons and evenings are packed so, getting to the machine or weights you want is sometimes a struggle. I thought by going in early that I would basically have the gym to myself. I was wrong!

I get to the gym at or around 5:30 every morning and the parking lot is full of cars when I get there. I don’t know why but it still shocks me every morning. I cannot believe how many people are at the gym at that time of day. When I walk in, every cardio machine is taken with, let’s just say “Senior Citizens”, God bless em!! They are on stationary bikes, treadmills and ellipticals, just a talking to each other like they are in church or the coffee shop. Some are using the weight machines and some are rocking the free weights. It does my heart good to see them doing their thing and proves that you are never too old to get healthy.

There is also the types that treat the gym as it is a social event. They are half-ass working out while discussing the current events, their plans for the day and complain about their wives/significant others. For every 1 minute of exercise, there is 5 minutes of discussion. I don’t know about you but, I don’t like hearing myself talk at 5 in the morning let alone anyone else! These type people really confuse me!! Then there are the girls that come in that are either just getting started and don’t want to be seen by anyone or the “Fit Girls” who want to workout without being ogled at or hit on by the next group…..

The “POWER BRO’S”! Yes, these bozo’z are even at the gym in the early hours. This group is at every gym in America. They are all muscled up, hair just right, wearing the latest in fitness attire and have the newest design and edition of headphones. They spend more time fist bumping, high fiving and mirror gazing than they actually do working out. They usually run in a pack of 4-5, the biggest muscle head being the alpha. As he goes, the rest follows. If he grunts, they all grunt. Usually in this pack is “The Runt”. He has the least muscle mass of the bunch but he is the most enthusiastic to be there. The others try to teach them their ways but, he is far behind the curve. While the others have already developed their muscles and are just there to “hang”, he wants to work out. They usually answer his questions and give him “Ata Boys” here and there. They tie up machines and area’s of the gym where the mirrors are, admiring their physiques in hopes that the one or two younger girls that have ventured into the gym this early in the morning are sneaking glimpses of them.

I have found that it really doesn’t matter what time you go to a gym, you usually will find all types of people at there at that time. Just get there, do your thing and silently laugh to yourself and the different characters you will see. Life is too short not to enjoy the little things in life! Just go and have fun!!

Go be the best YOU, you can be today!!

Small choices, big impacts……

Yesterday was an important day in history for me. If you have been following my blog, you may remember one of my first. “How Snoopy Changed My Life”. Well, on April 12, 2015, I sent my Anna the following picture and the rest as they say is history:

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The choice I made to send this to Anna had an amazing ripple effect not only on our lives but, my son’s and a little family that we were able to help along the way. When Anna and I decided we were to be married, we started looking at a new homes, one that would be a fresh start on us both. The house she lived in was from her previous marriage as was mine. Anna had already decided to sell her house before we started dating and unfortunately, I was in no position to do so at the time. My divorce, along with a job loss in 2009 put my in financial straights and to save my home, I had to declare bankruptcy. It is something I am not proud of but at the time it was necessary. Anna sold her house almost immediately, then moved in with Ethan and I shortly there after. We determined that our best course of action for the immediate future was to just live in my house, save our money and get us a house after I get my bankruptcy closed. Together we made plenty of money, so saving and waiting was a no brainer, right? Anna, however, is a bit stubborn when she wants something. She contacted a patient of hers, who just so happened to be a mortgage lender, just to see what she would qualify by herself on a loan. Well low and behold she not only qualified, but was approved for plenty and so the hunt was on. We found our dream home which put us in a different school district, which put my son in a different school, which allowed him to play football again (His other school said he wasn’t good enough to play), which led to this. The kid that wasn’t “good enough” became all district and the face of the school’s football team.

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Now, what to do with my house? I was in no position to sell, the house was not in the greatest shape, it need some work done to it if I were going to rent it. It was fine for us but, to rent it out for what I needed, it would have to be renovated a bit. We could leave it empty and still make the notes but, insurance required the house to be occupied. As we were pondering just what to do, God had already planned what our next move would be. There is a young lady who is employed at my workplace. She was going through a rough time, her husband was going through an addiction problem which had effected her and her children’s lives. They were living in a little house that wasn’t much of anything and paying entirely too much for it. She was barely making ends meet, not good with money and going through a treacherous time in her life. Knowing what she as going through, it dawned on me that my that my house would be perfect for her. It was in much better shape that what she was currently living in, it would give her stability and a fresh start. I felt God was talking to me and it was my duty to help her. I talked it over with Anna, we both agreed we should help her and by doing so, would help ourselves at the same time. I went to the young lady, made her an offer, you can rent my home for this amount and I will pay all your utilities. I will help you develop a budget and this will help you get on your feet. It will allow you and your children to have a nice home, neighborhood to live in, within a mile of all the schools. You can make changes to the house if you like and if your projects become too much, let me know and we will help. Also, when you get to the position when you can, if you would like to buy the house from us, we will sell it to you for what we owe on that date, so it is like you are renting to own. Oh and we won’t take no for an answer. After a few tears were shed, she agreed. moved into the house and has made it her home. Even better news is, her husband has gotten himself clean and is working on repairing their family.

Every choice we make in life could be the one that changes everything. Every choice we make has consequences, good or bad. The thing is, we never know which choice we make is going to be that one that has a ripple affect not only on you but the people around you. People with addictions made the choice to one day try this drug, or drink and those choices effect and ripple throughout their lives and well as their families. A snoopy picture, sent as a flirt on a whim one day not only changed my life, but many, many lives. I wondered today, what would have happened if I did not send that picture? Where would we all be had I had not made that choice? A friend of mine, Scott Goodrow said it best: “Remarkable how the smallest choices can have such a huge impact. We make choices every day in our life. We choose what time to leave our house, which route to take, what to eat, what to say, how to react, etc….. We make choices everyday and even the smallest of those choices could change everything. If you are going to make choices, shouldn’t you make good ones? Who know is the choice you make today, will be your Snoopy story tomorrow????

Go out and be the best YOU, you can be today!!

One day of bad choices………

One of the hardest things about eating clean is having to give up some of the foods you absolutely love. Foods such as pasta, pizza, french fries, etc…. You don’t have to give them up forever but, you do have to pick and choose when you eat them but, if you are starting out of in the middle of the journey, it is best that you avoid these foods like the plague. If i did not believe that before, this weekend made me a believer!

When I commit myself to anything, I become obsessed with it. Whether is be a project, a game, working out or going to a healthier lifestyle, I go all in with it. I have been hard at this healthy lifestyle change going on month #4 so I have been charting just EVERYTHING. Things food, water intake, steps taking and weight are daily activities for me. I kind of go OCD when it comes to these, it is just how I am, can’t help it. Saturday was no different. I got up, weighed in a 225.6 lbs, made my breakfast and charted to 240 calories I had taken in and the day was starting off as any other, or so I thought.

A friend of ours had the Grand Opening of her beauty shop so we stopped by to show our support. We weren’t going to stay long as we had an appointment with a CPA about our taxes. When we arrive we notice there is a Taco Truck parked outside the shop. Knowing we were crunched for time, my wife suggested that we just get something from the truck for lunch. As I looked at the menu, there was nothing that fit what I had been eating for the past 3 months. So, we decided to split a Beef Brisket Quesadilla and a Fried Chicken Taco. What could it hurt, right? The quesadilla wasn’t that big, came in 3 pieces so, we each had 1.5 pieces of the quesadilla and one fried chicken taco apiece. I did not fill overly full and thought this wouldn’t hurt me too bad. I have been very good so, this one little guilty pleasure wouldn’t kill me, maybe…..

After the tax man, we went home and decided to go to a movie. Our son tagged along so it was family night out. Of course when you go to a movie, you got to have popcorn. So, my wife and I split a bucket of popcorn, no butter so it can’t be that bad right??? After the movie, we let my son choose what would be our dinner choice. What else would a 19-year-old beast of a man-child want but PIZZA. We order a large meatlovers pizza and my wife and I split a huge greek salad. I had 2 slices of pizza, half a salad and water and did not feel stuffed nor bloated. On our way home I thought to myself, “You cheated today but, probably didn’t hurt you too bad. Just call this your “Cheat Day” and enjoy it” Sunday morning rolls around, I get up and get on that scale. 230!!! I had gained almost 5 lbs in one damn day!!! I looked in the mirror and my face looked swollen. All the sodium I taken in the day made me retain water and I was dearly paying for it!! Although the weight gain was mostly fluid, this taught me the effects of poor eating choices. It is ok to have pizza, popcorn and tacos in moderation, it is never a good idea when you are eating clean to have day filled with them. My fat, swollen face was proof enough for me.

After a day at the gym and back to eating clean, I weighed in today a 228.6 down from yesterday but still up from the Saturday low. I have every confidence I will get back to losing again but it will take 2-3 days of gym and clean eating to make up for a day of bad choices. I will say though, that pizza was DAMN GOOD!

Go out and be the best YOU, you can be today!

Losing never felt so right….

I am a loser and I could not be anymore happier about that fact. Losing never felt so good and to tell you the truth, I really hope that I continue to be a loser for the at least the next 3 weeks. If I can continue to be a loser for that period of time, I will be a true winner!! Now, I know you are asking yourself, “How can I be a loser for so long and at the end be a winner?” Well my friends what I am losing is weight and inches!!

If you have been following along, you know that on Jan 2nd of this year, I started the journey to getting back to being a healthier version of myself. To summarize, in 2015,  I let myself go and in a short 3 year time frame I went from a healthy 215 lbs, in shape man to a 260 lbs out of shape blob. I was always tired, making excuses and literally hurting everyday. I had just had enough and decided that it had to come back off.  I picked my day, January 2, 2018, I set my goal which was to be at the weight I was when I got married in October of 2015 which was 228 lbs. I set my date which to achieve this, April 26, 2018, my wife’s big Seminar for her SeneGence International direct sales business. I weighed in on January 2, 2018 at a whopping 253.6 so, to achieve this I had to lose 25.6 lbs in 114 days, a challenge but definitely doable.

Here we are on April 3, 2018 with 23 left til Seminar and I am proud to say that yours truly is loser:

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I cannot put into words how much better I feel with this weight off of me. My clothes fit better, I sleep and rest much more soundly now and I have developed much better eating habits. I have not, however, been working out like I should but, I have taken steps to rectify that this month. With the love and support of my beautiful wife, I am 1 pound away from my goal and have now pushed that goal back to 220 lbs by April 26. I will achieve that goal and will then only be 5 pounds away from the weight I was on the first date with my wife.

I am not posting this to brag. I am posting this with the hopes that maybe it will inspire others to get of the couch and get moving to a healthier life. I am not going to lie, it is hard but, anything worth having isn’t easy. It took me longer this time to get the weight off than it has in the past and there were many days I wanted to give up. I just kept reminding myself that if I wanted to be around to spend a good and active life with my wife, it had to come off. I did not want to get up in years and be in such bad health that I could not enjoy my life. Did I get frustrated at time, hell yeah I did! There were many mornings I wanted to throw that scale as far as I could because it wasn’t moving down fast enough or at all for  that matter! I just kept moving forward each and every day. I celebrated privately every time I had to pull my belt up a notch, putting my 2 XL shirts to the back of the closet because they no longer fit or having to throw away my “Fat Boy Underwear” because were just TOO BIG!! If I can do this, each and every one of you can do this. You just have to make up your mind to do it and go! I don’t care if you need to lose 10 or 100 lbs, we all have to start in the same place, DAY ONE!

I would be remise not to mention how fantastic my wife is doing in her journey as well. She has lost so many inches in so many different places and she looks and feels fabulous. I am so proud of what she has achieved and she is my inspiration to keep moving forward. She has her own goals of what and wear she wants to be and I will support her with each step she takes. I love her for who she is but so very proud she is getting back to the healthier version of herself. It won’t be long until we will be back to the weight we were when we started dating, almost 3 years to the date:

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So yeah, I am a loser!! And I am damn proud I am!!!

Go be the best YOU, you can be today!!!