Monday, February 28, 2011

Tastes like a BIG Chicken

I've lost 14 pounds so far by thinking about stuff. Thinking about my exercise program and thinking about what to eat and what not to eat. Thinking about stuff is important, but actually "doing" something as a result of your thinking is where you make the progress on your fitness and weight loss goals. Take walking and jogging for instance. Some people ask me if I'm not "bored" while out on the road walking for an hour or more. They just can't imagine what you think about for that long without talking on a cell phone or being online with a computer. Well, I sometimes have a thinking "theme" for my walks. I'll pre plan a topic to totally immerse my mind in while breathing heavy.

For instance, I recently read that some Japanese scientist had found some frozen Woolly Mammoth tissue in a Glacier. They intend to extract DNA from ol Woolly Bully and implant it into a female elephant egg. These scientist with nothing better to do would then try to produce a clone of the Woolly Mammoth. I'm breathing deep and slow as I walk and the blood is fully enriching my delicate mind at this point in my thoughts. That got me to thinking, what would a Woolly Mammoth "taste" like? I'm sure post ice age men didn't risk life and limb to hunt these beast down just for fun. They must have known that these Mammoths made great Bar B Que. At the very least, a Mammoth must taste like chicken. A BIG chicken. I also suspect it would fit right in with an Atkins diet.

And what about Penguins? Its a water bird isn't it? So does it perhaps taste like a duck? Why don't we eat Penguins? They are big and plentiful after all. They can't fly so we could just sneak up on them and cook them. Could it be that Penquins are just too cute to eat?

As I walk by a big barking dog my mind drifts to Tigers. Tigers are not all that cute and Tigers eat people. They could also easily eat that barking dog. Isn't it our turn and just basic justice that we now eat them? But I don't see Tiger on the menu anyplace around the Charlotte area. Maybe you have to get up to Chicago to find that type of stuff as a pizza topping.

Do you get the feeling that food is perhaps at the forefront of my mind these days? Do you worry about your pets as I walk around town?

The point is, you have all types of options to think about while you are out jogging and walking. Your thoughts may be a tad less, shall we say.....bizarre than mine. Then again, political elections over the years have convinced me I'm not alone in weird thought patterns.

The sky is the limit however, so knock yourself out and solve the problems of the world while you solve your fitness problem one step at a time. Now get walking folks.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fit People Aren't Vain

This week I visited with the wonderful ladies at the Siskey Y. When we first started this blog, the YMCA offered to give each of the writers 3 free training sessions with a personal trainer - sweet! I finally bucked up and made the appointment. The first meeting was very stress-free; of course I didn't actually get to working out with the trainer, but soon I will be professionally forced to - yay!?

This first meeting was a "get-to-know" you appointment, and I heart Jennifer and Marcia who helped me out. They both were nothing but understanding and forgiving as I confessed my lack of interest in sweating, which is amazing since they both totally oozed health. Regardless, I got lots of good info - including the idea of writing down as many excuses for not exercising as I can (fun!). I also learned that the Y offers a free nutrition class twice a week regardless of membership - free is good for me.

The result - Jennifer and Marcia hooked me up with a trainer that sounds perfect. It seems she knows what it's like to struggle with weight - finally, a girl I can connect with. I requested a female trainer because I'm just not ready to sweat in front of a strange fit man who keeps telling me what to do - I'm making progress, but I'm not ready for that yet!

From Brick House to Block House

Yesterday, I took the plunge and finally did the annual physical. Just as I had predicted, the first phase of the physical was the ominous walk to the hallway scale. I described this scale in yesterday's post.

For the first time in years, I did not grimace as I faced the monstrous device. Militantly, I chose not to empty my pockets. The scale smirked as I put one foot and then the other onto its tray. It had figured that I had made a very calculated mistake with the pockets. But to both of our surprise, I lost weight -- 4 whole pounds to be exact! Remember my goal is to lose 36 pounds by October 7th. Since New Year's I have lost 9 pounds so I have 27 pounds to go!

I felt like taking a victory lap around the doctor's office in celebration, but didn't. Maybe next time.

I was still in the glow of my win when the second phase of the physical began, the talk while in the fabric-challenged gown. While listening to my doctor talk, I only wished I had taken my friend, Jamie's advice. Bring and wear my own housecoat. Now that would have been much more comfortable. But I digress.

My doctor reinforced the need for me to do the mammogram and the dreaded colonoscopy. I confessed my sins and promised that I would do better. I will of course, because I now know that she will read this blog. (Just kidding, Dr. Taylor). There were some parts of this physical that only she, the nurse and God should know about. Sorry, not blog material.

The third phase of the physical -- bloodwork -- was postponed. Ohhhhhhh...... It seems I needed to fast. That will take place later in the week.

I was prepared for the three phases noted above and the gruesome tests associated with each phase. I was not prepared for the waist circumference test where the nurse took my waist measurement to determine my risk level for heart disease. I won't tell you the result, but let's just say that my brick house has turned into a block house. My number puts me in the high risk level for developing heart disease.

But not to worry, I have found an energetic walking partner at work who makes the stroll around Charlotte much more enjoyable. During our walks, I have come up with ideas for future blogs and Toastmaster speeches. She is even challenging me to try Zumba and Hip Hop Dance. This ought to be funny. Thanks, Andrea for inspiring me to get up, get moving and get it done!

Congratulations to my friend and fellow Toastmaster, Cayce, for completing the Myrtle Beach Bi-Lo marathon this past weekend.

My physical (at least two phases of it) turned out to be less of a problem than I had thought.  It is important to know where you are before starting on any journey -- especially one involving exercise and serious weight loss.  Think about it!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Facing My Physical

By Nancy Johnson

D-day is today. It looks like I have finally run out of reasons why I should not do my annual physical. Why has it been 2 years since my last physical?

Is it because I have a cold and uncaring doctor with horrible bedside manners? Nope. I actually have a great primary care physician. She is part of a practice of doctors where everyone in the office is very warm and friendly. In fact, I have gone to the same doctor for almost 10 years. She has seen me through two surgeries -- the last one for a disease I cannot pronounce -- OPLL (Google that).

Is it because of the vampire bloodsucking technician? Nope. I don't mind the blood work. Because of my bashful veins, I know that on today I will be her problem child for the day. I am guaranteed to have a good laugh watching her pray for blood to rain.

So, if it's not the doctor and it's not the blood work, why have I avoided my annual physical for 2 whole years? Two things.

One -- the dreaded gown that does NOT fit plus-sized people like myself. I know I am a little bit larger than most, but must I be reminded of the size I SHOULD be whenever I must take off my clothes? Hmmm?

Two -- The scale. I always dreaded the scale at the doctor’s office. I especially dread it now that I have put on at least 15 pounds since my last physical. My doctor has an old school scale. You know the kind that requires the nurse to guess a weight and then nudge the metal until she guesses the correct weight. This scale is in the hallway so that everyone can see the look of shock on my and the nurse's face.

At first glance, the scale appears to be just as friendly as everyone else at the doctor’s office. But once I am on that scale, bare foot and with empty pockets, I can hear the scale laughing as the nurse makes several attempts to guess my weight.

The biggest problem I have with this scale is that it always disagrees with all other scales I might use. Somehow it always adds at least 5 pounds onto my already mind boggling weight.

As someone who is approaching 50 with a smile on my face and a sword in my hand, I fully understand the importance of the annual physical on catching medical issues early on. So at 1:40 p.m. today, I will grimace as I once again face that monster in the doctor's hallway who always manages to keep it real.

I"ll let you know tomorrow whether I was victor or victim.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Not a week for the weak

First full week of being unemployed. Had to fly up to PA for a seminar for displaced employees. Learned a lot. Was exposed to a lot of booze and food to tempt me also. Did good on the food part, a tad too many beers at night. Then immediately upon getting back home to Charlotte, wife and I drove to Durham for our daughter's wedding shower, etc. More food and drink temptations.

I am down another two pounds though. I somehow managed to walk six out of the seven days. The total weight loss so far is 14 pounds.

Now that I'm preparing the world's best resume and getting my networking list in order, I've got even less excuse to not burn more calories. Might even consider two workouts per day of different muscle groups or target areas.

One thing is for sure, with my daughter's wedding in April coming up, looking for a new job, turning 60 in October and running a half-marathon in November, I've got lots of events to focus on in this year's weight loss journey.

I'm hungry. Think I'll have an apple and a banana. To all you blog readers out there, don't be weak this week. Be strong. Be determined. Be all you can be and then ... well, be less than you are.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Scaling Down

This weekend I bought a scale. I haven't been scale shopping since...umm...ever, and once again my eyes were opened to a whole new world I know nothing about. Armed with a gift card and determination to avoid the shoe isle, I purchased the fancy kind of scale that does everything but make you lose weight. This was a difficult choice considering the various products available. In fact, it took direction from a store clerk just to find the scales - evidently they are not considered an electronic or appliance, and instead qualify as a bathroom accessory. I thought this was rather ironic considering most people enjoy accessorizing and hate weighing themselves.

Despite this, my scale is very intelligent - it can memorize my weight, muscle and bone mineral mass, body fat and water percentages, and it has a highly fit individuals option (that I still don't understand after reading the book but that I can recognize as a running icon). It also is glass and has these neat-o silver feet thingies. I splurged and went with the one that guarantees 150 years of accuracy because I never again want to have to pay $40 bucks for an item I don't even really want in my house. Considering I will never outlive my scale's accuracy, I'm still debating who to designate it to in my will.

Weekend result overview =

Positive: After going through the whole calibration, memorization, should-I-step-on? debation, I found I have lost 5 pounds since my 25 cent celluloid-cellulite check;

Negative: I lost a stress battle and focused so much energy on all the important, really anxiety-inducing things I have to do this week (teaching award Q & A with 10 esteemed professionals, an audition for something that is yet to be discussed, and an interview with a college admissions board - oh my!) that I psyched myself out and didn't do very well with my portion control;

BUT, I bought a killer-cool, highly technical new scale and learned that anxious a-weighs, so I've got to find a way to deal with it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

These Man-Shoes Are Made for Walking

Bad day. I left work with that crying feeling you get after a long day of confronting teenagers and "need-to-dos." I was essentially flipped the Word Bird at least 3 times via socially acceptable comments and passive aggressive techniques. My alarm clock went off late, I worked through lunch, and my hair looked bad. Normally, I would get home and stuff my belly full of food until the crying feeling went away. At the meeting that made my crappy day complete, I vocalized my problem to a friend. I decided to make a math problem to illustrate my conundrum:

Crappy day = pizza + chocolate

BUT food is no longer a variable

SO, crappy day = ?

I kept pointing to my stomach and saying, "I have that crying feeling right here and I can't eat it away. What do I do?!" Friend kept missing my meaning. Eventually it clicked and he pointed to his eyes - "I know what you mean, but I get it in my eyes." Hmm...I never knew that crying stomach wasn't the norm! I just figured everyone got crying stomach and ate enough food to push the feelings deep down inside until happiness returned. Weird.

Still, I kept badgering Friend about what to do. He suggested crying, but that's the thing with crying stomach - it's not caused by something important enough to make you actually cry, just something disturbing enough to eat away at your insides. Finally, I blurted out sarcastically, "I know, you're going to say 'Go for a run.' " He nodded, but was smart enough to keep quiet.

I called my husband on the way home and vented; he was not quiet and suggested I go for a walk. It was actually still light out, it wasn't a night to work at my 2nd job (yes, I have two jobs: teacher + cop = need 2 jobs), and I had time before I had to start my nightly cooking/cleaning up/grading/planning routine - no reason to not go. I allowed myself a snack since I hadn't eaten lunch, and I am not so far into my journey that I can handle a crying stomach without some sort of food salve. However, I whipped on my man-shoes and went for a walk.

At first, crying stomach intensified because all I had to think about while walking was my crappy day and how my white shoes look clownish. I felt even worse when I started thinking that everyone driving by me would immediately think to themselves, "Oh! A walker with the man-feet!" But around the time "Oh Sheila" came on my Ipod, I felt a little better.

Overall, I counted 3 condoms (Valentine's Day?), 5 barking dogs, 1 freaky just-standing-there dog, 2 beer cans, 1 house with the back door wide open and no screen, 2 men who looked like they might kill someone on the walking trail and dump them in the watery ditch, and 1 struggling weight loss blogger who actually didn't eat away feeling bad. I also didn't wear sunscreen...just wanted to give all the Negative Nellies something to focus on.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I was doing so good, and then...

This old fat geezer guy is on track boys and girls. Mid-week and I'm doing alright. I won one and lost one in the food battle though. The "win" was being in a business setting at a barbecue place for a lunch. Not a lot of diet choices there. The "Que" smelled so good. Willpower won out though and I had sliced smoked lean pork and some very dry coleslaw. Very small serving. No rolls, no hush puppies.

Then I lost one last night. I had a bowl of Cheerios with skim milk after my evening meal. Not bad right? Well, I dumped sugar on it. ARRRGH! Drop and give me 40 push ups you sinner!

Reminded me of an old work associate I once had that said something like "One 'oh shoot' (cleaned up) ruins a thousand attaboys." That saying used to bug the daylights out of me. He may have been kinda right about business, but not about diet and fitness.
My fat buddies out there, do not give up if you miss one workout or drop the ball once on your meal plans. Do, however, re-focus and get going on the right path immediately. This "is" war. Unhealthy diet or lack of exercise is the enemy. We can not afford to lose this battle. So gather your strength, your support groups, your family and friends and solicit help from wherever you can and lets win this battle!!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Do the Math - No Calculator Required

Weight loss comes down to 2 basic but very simple mathematical equations.

Equation #1 -- A pound body fat equals almost 3500 calories

Equation #2 -- To lose weight, the calories eaten must be less than the calories burned

As a math major, I am embarrassed to say that I have struggled with these equations for most of my adult life. At this point of my life, I had hoped to be sashaying down Tryon Street with my "I HAVE WON BANNER". It saddens me to admit that in 2011 I am still fighting the battle of the bulge.

So, why have I been toting what equates to the extra weight of a grade school student on my frame? What makes this particular equation so unsolvable for me?

To lose 36 pounds this year, I must burn more than 125,000 calories than I take in. You see my picture. It is very obvious that I need some HELP!

For the cooks and nutritionists that are reading this blog. Email your tips on healthy recipes, meal planning or any other food tips.

Since I am a very time deprived single parent, I am pleading for everyone to share tips on how to burn the most calories in 30 – 45 minutes a day. Really, please shoot me an email. I will share what I learn in a future blog.

When it gets right down to it, it doesn't matter how I decide to lose the weight -- on my own or through some type of weight loss program. Before I pick up the fork or move anything towards my mouth, I must simply DO THE MATH.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I just got laid off. But I'll keep going

Hi boys and girls. Can you say "stress"? Can you say "stress stinks?"

It can suck the life out of you, literally. Studies show all kinds of negative impacts stress can have on your health. I have often marvelled at folks who lose weight due to stress. Me? I eat. I find stress and excuse to not exercise. In the past year I've had some stress.

My mother, who lived with my wife and I, passed away in our home in May. Immediately after that my employer asked that I move to North Carolina from Florida. This, of course, meant having to put our house up for sale in this terrible housing market. Then find another house here. My wife had to find a new job here.

We moved. Last week, an almost laughable "icing on the cake" (whoops, bad analogy) occurred. I got laid off. For the first time in my rather ancient life I'm without a job. So this is the end of the exercise and diet right? No way!

Whoever my next employer will be, will benefit from a sleeker and healthier "me." Guaranteed. I know there are folks out there who have some tough things going on in their life. I can only encourage you to not let it ruin your health. You owe it to yourself to kick stress in the butt and stay focused on your fitness and weight loss goals in 2011.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Luke, I Want Some Ice Cream...

Things had been going good. Yes, I'm still struggling with getting in my exercise, but I was eating right and cut most sugar out of my diet. Then V-day came and my husband and I had our yearly dinner and a movie date. We go out more than once a year, but this was the first "big night" we've done since the blog started (holla for the married night out). I was excited - first time out to dinner in at least 3 weeks! No clean up or cooking - ahhhh. Unfortunately, that was where I went wrong - I didn't plan, and without a plan I was a fatastrophy waiting to happen.

On the ride to the restaurant, I thought of all the yummy things that I had been painstakingly trying not to think about the past few weeks - burgers, all things cheesy, and pie. My husband ordered fried mozzarella and my "one bite" turned into 2 pieces and a beer. I went with the steak salad (fairly decent choice), but ate the roll that came with it (butter!) and an added-on french onion soup (bad, bad me - so ashamed!).

Once the dam broke, I was like a crack-head in an unmanned drug store. For some unknown reason, I weighed myself for 25 cents outside the movie theater bathroom. The pimply kid waiting to take tickets eyed me curiously. I knew it was stupid to pay to weigh myself wearing jeans, a jacket, shoes, and a meal, in public no less, but I was destined to self-destruct and I knew seeing my weight would be the straw that broke the fat camel.

I sulked during the entire mind-numbing 3D movie we went to see and desperately focused on chocolate ice cream - a craving that was spurned on by the birthday party of kids that attended said movie with cake, ice cream, and balloons (damn pre-adolescents and their social functions). I was so fixated on ice cream that I achieved some sort of Jedi-mind trick because my unprovoked hubby suggested we treat ourselves to a Chic-Fil-A cup. I was out of control - I didn't even enjoy the fact that I had somehow made my husband want to do something without saying a word - a feat beyond belief! I succumbed to a chocolate shake. I'm not even going to pretend it wasn't good and I didn't love every suck of the straw. I was high on soft serve and I didn't care who saw me because it felt so good.

Now my high has been replaced with a low. I'm way down and trying to climb back on the wagon. The problem is that I tasted the promise land, and I'm noticing my portions today have been slightly larger than the usual. I've been looking at my changes as a good thing, but in the wake of the shake, I'm cursing change. I have a headache that I know would go away if I just ate some M & Ms washed down with Coke. Tomorrow's a new day, but old habits die hard and I'm worried that mine are like those birthday candles that won't blow out.

Friday, February 11, 2011

My New World:Sneaks for Exercise Freaks

Exercisers take heed - you may be wearing the wrong shoe! After my blisters resulted in hobbling around and an extreme willingness to take off my shoes in public, I finally got the memo that hardcore runners and exercisers get their sneakers from a special store. Normally, I purchase my trainers on sale at Kohl's with a coupon or at a flea market where my husband can then get his pair half off. The thought of spending over a hundred dollars for a set of sneakers makes me vomit a little in my mouth. But in honor of my journey, I decided to go the "real" route and buy exercise shoes at a store where the salesmen make you run on a treadmill. So on a Saturday after administering the SATs, I went to get sneakers that cost more than a day's salary.

I was nervous when I first entered the store - lots of runner-types in Lycra or exercise cargo pants. The men seemed very streamlined and wore watches that looked like they were tracking something; the women had carefully disheveled pony tails and pushed those aerodynamic strollers with the one big wheel in the front. I felt like an alien.

Zack-the-Shoe-Man measured my feet while I prayed that they didn't smell from all the cheater laps I made around the classroom earlier in the day. After getting a trial pair from the back, ZTSM informed me that my wide foot would require a man's shoe. At first I was disappointed for two reasons: 1. I am not a man, 2. I liked the colorful little pretty shoes in the women's section. Surprisingly, having man-feet actually turned out to be a good thing - the amount I ended up spending was way less than my friend with her petite paws, and I even got some overly expensive but supposedly blister-proof socks as well!

Even though the process was very low key, the treadmill freaked me out - especially since the last person was running at a clip of 5.6 and I barely make one minute at 5.2 on good day. Luckily, ZTSM was sensitive to the look of panic on my face and slowed it down before I made a total spectacle of myself by knocking over a display of running sandals modeled after the Tarahumara Indians (seriously, there are actually barefoot running shoes). I was told to try to reach my best speed, which I knew would be quite the show since the treadmill was not only located in the middle of shoppers, but I also was not wearing a sports bra. Yay.

After trying on lots of different feller footwear, I chose the least man-like pair. ZTSM offered me the option of going outside and taking a jog to try them out; I almost rolled my eyes. He followed this suggestion with the explanation that a good exercise shoe should be one that makes you feel as if you aren't wearing a shoe at all. I'm not sure he got the joke when I pointed out how ironic that statement is for a non-exerciser. His final piece of advice was to replace my new shoes after 300 to 500 miles. I think I actually snorted from laughing so hard. I'm looking forward to breaking the 20 mile mark.

Overall, I'm happy with my new running shoes. I'm not going to lie and say I've wore them to the gym yet (Saturday is the test drive), but they are pretty fabulous looking with a pair of jeans.

Is there any other "special equipment" I should know about? Anyone else experience runner's world intimidation?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lost? Use Your Weight GPS

First things, first. I want to give ya'll a praise report.

20 POUNDS LOST! Nope, not me. On Tuesday my daughter, Brittany, learned from her doctor that she has reached a milestone -- she has lost her first 20 pounds.

You should have seen the smiles: Brittany's, the doctor, the nurses. Their smiles were contagious and will forever be branded in my memory. I walked out of there with my sunglasses on. What a way to jump start my game!

Brittany is making great strides, but losing weight and making healthier choices isn't easy. Thanks to the information age, we are bombarded with information on nutrition, on exercise, and overall health. For those who have no personal experience with weight issues, the solution seems so easy. Eat less; work out more.

Its not that simple. We all have our own particular reasons, explanations, and excuses on how we arrived at our current physical state. If you are like me, you probably put the family, the job, the friends, EVERYTHING ELSE in front of your needs. It happens, but you don't have to stay in this state. Take time to find your way back on the healthy living highway. Me, I've been lost for so long that I have decided to use a Weight GPS to help me get back on track.

Goals -- I have dreamed of losing weight for a long time. I have made resolutions in the past. What's different this year? I am making my goal, public for all of you to see, critique and to privately analyze. Goals should be SMART.
  • Specific - Healthier living. Get up. Get moving.
  • Measureable - Lose 36 pounds by October 5th.
  • Achievable - 1 pound per week. Very reasonable.
  • Realistic -- Yes
  • Timely -- Daughter's surgery preparation and my 25th college reunion
Plan -- How will I achieve my SMART goals? I will achieve my goals by creating and following a plan.
  1. Before I start a strenuous exercise plan, I will have a physical done. My physical is scheduled for February 23rd. Hopefully my finger will be fully healed.
  2. I will talk with one or two nutrionists to unlearn my bad habits and to better understand how to properly read food labels (food companies can be very sneaky). I will get help with meal planning and will eat out less.
  3. I will get help creating my initial exercise plan routine. I will start with the YMCA donated training sessions and will explore other options that are presented to me. I will plan time for exercise at least 3 - 4 times a week for at least 30 minutes each. Contingency planning!
  4. I will take a few healthy cooking lessons. I will try at least one new recipe each week from cooking magazines, the internet or from EASY to cook recipes from you, the readers. Note I did say, EASY. Feel free to share your skills!
  5. I will celebrate the small successes along the way and will share what I learn in my journey with you.
Support -- I know that I can't do this on my own. I need help. At times, I will need a Bahaman intervention, a gentle nudge, or a firm kick from Terry and Cayce. I am a very blessed individual.
  • I have a great medical support team to support me and Brittany.
  • I have great support from my friends and family here in Charlotte and around the globe. I have a great support team in my two Toastmasters clubs. All, I am looking a few walking partners at work (hint, hint) to get me moving.
  • I am blessed to work for an organization that is strongly encouraging healthy living.
There is nothing wrong with being lost. We have all been lost at some time. Staying lost when you have other alternatives is another thing. If you are like me, overweight, grab your own GPS and recalculate your route. Send me your comments and ideas for supports.
Great job Brittany, congratulations. Love ya and am so proud of you!

Candy Bar Diet for Dummies

First, let's agree on something obvious. Each one of us starts a fitness program coming from a different background and facing varying challenges. Some folks will need variety out the ying yang (excuse the advanced medical jargon) to stick to their exercise routine.They will go to the spa/gym, hire personal trainers, work with a dietitian, join a walking or running club for social contact and encouragement. Join Weight Watchers for accountability and cooking ideas. Some will run, walk, do calisthenics, lift weights, swim, play tennis. Some will measure and weigh every morsel they eat. All I can say to this "variety" is "go for it guys and gals!!!!" .

There is no "one way" to fit every personality or body type. I even knew a guy in the past who lost weight eating candy bars. Yep. He substituted a candy bar for lunch instead of going to a fast food joint everyday where he had eaten two big cheeseburgers, a large fry and a full sugared cola.
So for him, one 500 calorie candy bar was way less calories than all that fast food. Not healthy in my opinion, but it worked for him. He also wasn't the least bit "fit".

Personally, this fat boy is a bare bones keep it simple kind of guy. I have an old exercise bike. I have a mountain bike. I have an assortment of dumbbells and a device to help me keep my neck in place for situps/crunches. Other than that, I go out the door and walk. I'm even throwing in a bit of jogging each walk. All this right in the comfort of my home or neighborhood. For me, having to "go somewhere" to work out will just give me an excuse to not do it. Perhaps a gym, however, is on your way to or from work and it works into your daily commute. Some folks can never get out the door once they get home. For those types, they better get the exercise done before they come home to the dog or spouse or TV.

Whatever it takes fat buddies. We can't fool ourselves though. Write it down. Keep a chart or a log of what you eat. Keep up with how many workouts you do each week or how many miles you walk or jog or bike. Track your weight once per week and compare your weeks activity and food consumption to the results. As they say "results will vary". The overall trend though, if we are serious about it, will show us the results we are looking for. One step at a time. One apple at a time. One victory at a time. Exercise when you can. And when you can't exercise, gripe about it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

One Goal: Riding a roller coaster again

Can we talk? Its week three of this blog and I realize that it will take some time before I am mentally wrapped around the entire weight loss process. Experts say that it can take on average 12 weeks to change a habit. 12 weeks, wow! In a society that "wants it now", I see why many of us struggle with weight loss. Until I fully embrace my new habits or a genie grants me three wishes, I guess I have to "fake it until I make it".

During my speech last week, I challenged the High Energy Toastmasters Club to put me on notice when they see me doing something counterproductive to my weight loss goals. I KNOW they will be looking for the opportunity to catch me doing something bad. One member has already challenged me to complete a 5K! I have not yet accepted. I'll explain in another post.

In last week's post "When Pigs Fly", I identified 3 hurdles to my weight loss goal. Thanks to an unruly car door, I now have another hurdle - a broken finger. So for the next three weeks, I am unable to weight lift while my finger heals. I will do my walking tapes and will add walking down stairs to my regime. I work on the 40th floor and if there were a major emergency today, my current physical shape wouldn't get me down to the first floor. This fact does not bode well for me since I am petrified of heights!
I have lost 3 pounds since starting on this blog. Hooray! I realize that I still have a LONG way to go, but at least I'm headed in the right direction. More importantly my daughter, Britt, has lost 6 pounds. I am dreaming of a time when Britt and I can once again take a ride on the Carowinds rollercoasters. I love feeling the wind in my hair.

How do you find your way out of the unhealthy lane of being overweight? Join me next time as I explain my "Weight Loss GPS" the need to set a realistic goal, create a plan, and find a support system.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I've dropped 12 pounds so far

This past week, the second since this blog started, I walked 3 times for 9.75 miles. The last of these walks I "jogged" the uphill portions of the route. Eventually I hope to jog the entire route but need to continue some weight loss first to protect my feet and knees from my current weight pounding them to a pulp. I also did my S.P.E. W. work out 3 times. SPEW stands for Situps, Pushups, Exercise bike and Weights.

My diet continued with lean meats, lots of salads and various veggies, yogurt and no fat milk cheerio breakfast. I lost two pounds for the week. That's 12 pounds lost so far.

I'm luckier than some overweight folks in that I've still been able to exercise some during my 3-year 75-pound weight gain. Just enough to be able to pick it up fairly fast with the exercise. It's the food thing I will have to really concentrate on. I can do push ups, but I've got to master the "push away" from the table.

My wife is actively participating in Weight Watchers and I get the side benefits of more or less following WW philosophy. I eat normal food but just watch the portions. I was accustomed to exercising a lot in the past which allowed me to eat a lot. Now I'm older and just starting the trip back to old geezer glory. The combination of an exercise program and some form of proper eating philosophy will also help in the long term after I reach my initial goals. This can't be a one year deal.

Tell me some of your ideas as to how you keep focused. Now put down that donut and go for a walk.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Funhouse Opens In Charlotte

Brightly colored and full of obstacles, the funhouse is really an adrenaline rush for people of all ages. That's why I've decided to stop going to the gym and instead take a ride to the funhouse! Think of all the carnival novelties - the stairs to nowhere, the treadmill transportation, bouncy exercise orbs, and the wacky house of mirrors! The word gym has always brought up negative emotions for me, but everyone loves that nervous feeling of waiting to enter a funhouse and the adrenaline rush of bursting out red-faced and laughing. The freakishly shaped "Strongest Man in the World" can be seen groaning in the corner, and the sister to the bearded lady - totally fat free girl-woman - struts her smooth body around in spandex. There's the incessant gasps of the crowd as they are surprised by their unpredictable physical achievements, and the squeaks of the carnies as they focus their distorted perceptions on their flaws. The gym no longer exists to me - instead I'm headed to "The Pavilion of Fun."

I hear the many readers who feel my humorous approach to weight loss is destined to fail, but let's be honest - life without candy can be sour sometimes and what better way to avoid the hunger gripes then to laugh away fat? Health is serious, but getting healthy doesn't have to be a scolding Mother Hubbard! The images of me lying bed-ridden, popping pills in a nailed coffin at the age of 50 may be meant to motivate my focus toward the serious side of weight loss, but they are really Debbie Downer incentives. Believe me I do understand the severity of obesity - I recently watched my grandfather, a hilarious, strong, loving man literally waste away to nothing after having a stroke that kept him from speaking and properly swallowing for 9 months prior to his death. I've lived the insecurity and self-depreciating mentality of a woman who takes up too much space; I know what it is to be the only person sweating in the room. I get it and that's why I've been making life-long changes for good - reduced sugar intake, increased protein meals, and decreased carb dinners. I admit that I am still trying to figure out how to embed exercise between the folds of my life - but I have learned to pass on the Girl Scout Cookies (it is the Season of the Samoa after all!).

Exercising is invaluable, but getting up at 4 AM is not a sustainable lifestyle for everyone. I need my sleep to deal with the 90+ 9th graders that spend time each day needing a positive, patient educator in their daily lives; I take as long as needed to create interesting lessons, work on after school clubs and committees, and challenge my students to succeed in all areas of their lives. It's a treat to be able to watch "our shows" with my husband and have the time to read books that let me escape into wonderful, wild worlds beyond my reality. Daily responsibilities do result in sacrifices to our personal lives and health, but I don't see these things as excuses, I see them as important parts of who we are. Reader suggestions and comments allow me a peek into different ways of thinking and lifestyle choices; others give me ideas about new things to try. I admire those readers that are hard-core healthy living Gods in the same way that I enjoy knowing that other readers have similar struggles or found ways to overcome them and are willing to share.

I'm the first one to admit I can come up with an excuse for an excuse, but the thought of viewing this journey as a plodding pilgrimage to the Holy Temple of Health makes me want run for the chocolate-covered hills. I'm not enamored with "the serious side of weight loss" because I'm all-too-familiar with the fear, humiliation, disappointment, re-gain, and endless preaching that sometimes comes with a strict exercise and eating regime. Instead, I'm learning how to make lifestyle changes and exercise a realistic part of my daily life, not another demand that causes me to become so focused on success that I forget to enjoy it. I may be laughing my way through my missteps and ignorance, but whenever my body does give out, I will have lived in it. I had a lot of fun getting to my current weight and even though some may disagree, I'm going to have a lot of fun getting rid of it. A positive outlook, strong belief system, thirst for knowledge, and fun-loving spirit has gotten me through lots of disappointments, sadness, and bad choices - why should I give that up now that I am in for positive changes?

There are many fit, healthy people that need soul makeovers and many fat, happy people that need to get realistic about their health. Much like the "food in moderation" advice, there has to be a happy medium to healthy living. My grandfather laughed and smiled until his last breath - I will most definitely continue to live that philosophy as I huff and puff at the gym...err, funhouse. Besides, who wants to read about all the stuff I already know and am succeeding in doing, when the learning\trying new things part is so much fun!?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Welcome to the Jungle

Despite my best intentions, I've yet to get my body into the routine of going to the gym after work. Instead, I've become a "weekend warrior." No longer permitted to spend days off loitering around the house watching movies and sauntering around fulfilling errands, I spend my Saturdays and Sundays soldiering through my obligation to sweat. This is a problem for many reasons - the most important being the lofty exercise goals I resolve to achieve due to my incessant need to "make up" for my lack of work-week exercise. Last weekend's obviously idiotic endeavor ended with me limping out of Sherman Branch park, whimpering my resolve to lay down and die if I ever was stuck outdoors longer than 24 hours.

My Woman vs. Wild inspiration began innocently enough - my husband and I took the dogs to the park and completed a brisk walk that left me feeling energized and wanting more. Evidentially, this pragmatic enterprise roused in me a need to bear down and get the kind of workout that leaves you blissfully tired and pleasantly sore. With the excitement of a child going to a birthday party, I made plans with my husband to walk the maze of Sherman Branch in its entirety on Sunday...all 11 miles of twisting trails. I have a feeling my husband was hesitant because he not only took me to my favorite bagel place prior to our conquest attempt, but he also made sure we left the dogs at home this time. On the drive up, I actually asserted that we would return to the park with the pups after finishing our workout so they wouldn't feel left out. I was obviously pipe-dreaming.

Needless to say, Sherman Branch exercised the general's scorched-earth tactics on me until I was a blubbering, parched mess. Not only did the winding 10 miles we actually completed feel like a trail of torment, but we also left our water in the car. At first my positive energy pumped me up and I plowed on towards my 11 mile goal despite the slow development of an aching thirst that made me voice aloud my desire to knock over a biker who passed us and steal his water bottle. Though I managed to rally a second wind around mile 7, my caked lip corners and inability to freely swallow is what broke me. The sniffling cries I began randomly spewing ("I keep spitting out white balls of dried saliva!") and desperate panic ("We haven't seen another living soul in awhile - maybe we accidentally entered some rabbit hole of exercise hell!") finally forced my husband to convince me to take the emergency exit route to the parking lot - 1 mile short of my goal.

Though we began our day with full bellies and laughter, by the time we returned to the car, I was nursing 4 blisters and on the verge of a panic attack. Not only did I draw the conclusion that I don't like my life enough to be a survivalist, I also lacked that good workout glow (my walking speed had slowed so much that I actually saw a flower blossom before my eyes).

I need a better plan, but my drive to be my best self results in late work days and 6 AM morning commutes. Once dinner is made and the dishes washed, spending my 1 hour of downtime before bed exercising seems like cruel and unusual punishment. Anyone else have this problem? Anyone know a solution?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

When Pigs Fly

Less talk.  More Action
As part of my weight loss journey, I have decided to identify solutions to the three hurdles I know could possibly impact my weight loss journey:
#1 - I am NOT a morning person
#2 - I hate to run
#3 - I cannot cook

Mornings -- Many people believe that early morning exercise stokes the metabolism fire for the entire day.  In my perfect world, the rooster wouldn't cock-a-doodle-do before 9am.  My day wouldn't start until 10 a.m. and I would be able to work during my most productive time -- 2am.  Since I don't live in that dream world, I guess I will have to get used to the bubbly instructor on my walking tapes at home.  Ugh!

Running -- I have hated to run even when I was young and skinny.  As I was getting my golden locks trimmed one Saturday afternoon, my barber told me that if I am serious about being trim at my 25th college reunion in October then run I must.  Let's give the walking tapes a few weeks.  Cayce, look for the call!

Cooking -- When I told my daughter that I will be cooking more, she laughed hysterically and said, " Babe, the pig, has a better chance of repeating the "Miracle on the Hudson"."  Britt, thank you for that vote of confidence!

This year's journey will be a difficult one, but with my GPS in tow, I will reach my destination!  These are my hurdles, but hurdles were meant to be jumped.  What are your hurdles?  How did you jump them?

Who knows, maybe, I will learn how to cook before pigs learn how to fly!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

02.02.2011 Nancy -- A Walk in My Shoes

Wise people realize that you shouldn't criticize someone until you have walked in that person's shoes.  When my daughter shared her story of weight struggles in the newspaper, her primary objective was to encourage compassion and respect for others struggling with their weight - especially teens.

So, my 1st post is dedicated to all those teens who suffer privately each day from the verbal harassment, giggles, and social isolation simply because they are overweight.  These kids are special and should be encouraged and befriended.  My dream is that they won't allow others to steal their joy and zeal for life. 

To the trollers, you know who you are, the solution is not as simple as you think -- eat less, exercise more.  The Queen of Talk, Oprah Winfrey, has done many shows about this subject.  Oprah is one of the most disciplined people on TV, has access to the finest cooks and fitness gurus. Yet, with all her money, she still struggles with her weight and people love her just the same. 

Thanks to that January article, I have committed to making some real changes.  At times I might struggle or sometimes fail, but I will get back up to ultimately win this fight.

Join me as I share a walk in my shoes.  Come back tomorrow to read, "When Pigs Fly".

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Honey I Think I lost my Sumo Thong

Hello there you unsuspecting and as yet innocent Charlotte's Biggest Losers blog readers. I'm the token "guy" for the three blogger folks this year for the CBL gang. Men traditionally have it easier to lose weight I'm told. With that in mind I need to uphold that idea.

I'm 59, fat as heck, bald and basically totally insensitive. Just ask my wife of 37 years. I won't mean to insult anyone and will embrace my fellow overweight readers as brothers and sisters in the fight against fat. Can you sing "We are family"?

This first full week of Charlotte's Biggest Losers I walked 15 miles and biked a measly 5 miles. Only did my push ups and weights once though (Bad Dan). But I am down 10 pounds since New Years. (only 60 more to go)

Each of us need to have a goal to strive for. Be that something like my November half marathon in Charlotte or perhaps a person just being able to walk one mile. We all start at a differant place.

Oh. You are still wondering about the Sumo Thong thing mentioned in my "title" for this blog. I have a picture of a sumo wrestler from Japan taped to my fridge just to remind me each time I open its door to "not" look like this guy by rear end er, I mean year end.

Your assignment for next blog is to arrive at the reason in your own mind that you will be willing to dedicate yourself to reaching your health and fitness goals in 2011. Is it a wedding? Do you want to be "there" to see your grandkids graduate high school someday? Did your doctor tell you to get in shape "or else"? Share with me and others what will be your motivating desire or reason to push to success in 2011.