Friday, September 30, 2011

Gotta Run

In recent weeks I've been writing about willpower and what that means to a person. Not the actions that exemplify willpower but the inner spark, if you will, that helps a person develop and maintain willpower. I've also mentioned the mystery of why "all" people seem to have some willpower in certain areas of their life and not in others.
I've not had the willpower I need relating to my love of eating good food. I like all kinds of food. I have lacked the willpower to control my portions/calories. I love exercise. I loath counting calories.
A good portion of my adult life I've been a long distance runner. During the times I was immersed in that sport I didn't have to worry much about calories. As I turn 60 this weekend, I realize those days are gone and any future running, if I wish to enjoy running as a sport again, will need to not just be training by running, but also training by what food I consume. I will be slow. I will have aches and pains beyond those of my youth. My feet and toes complain already from injuries from my skinny days of running abuse. I have to lose a lot of weight still to even begin meaningful training for age group competition. I have to realize I may not ever be competitive again in age group. I'm so far away from being a "runner" that I find it a worthwhile goal to just want to be able to run for fun of participation again. I'd rather be the old guy in the back quarter of an event than the old fat guy on the sidelines. I'll enter a low key 5k asap just to get a base line of a time and feel to then start working to improve upon. I have to be cautious in the escalation of the amount of my miles I shift from walking to jogging to not get injured. I need to help my poor old body out by dropping significant pounds asap. Its not just the pounding on the feet and knees etc. Its also less useless tissue to supply oxygen to. I have many many years of experience in running. Yet, this could be a fun adventure as I attempt to become an older runner.
Never give up. Keep looking for that spark that might ignite your passion to become fitter and healthier.
When you fail, get back up and try again. Don't let anyone tell you that you are worthless. Be willing to try something different if what you are doing doesn't work. Major wars are seldom won without some battlefield losses along the way.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Long and Short of It

The past week included a Six and half mile walk/jog as the longest movement of the exercise attempt. I still wasn't up to my normal exercise levels.
From an eating/drinking "sins of the week" standpoint, a buy one get one free of Halloween candy defeated my weak willpower one night. Between the candy and the brews that day I consumed 3500 calories for the day. Hmmm, what word comes to mind? How about Ugh!!!!
On the good side of things, the portion of my walk/jogs that is "jogging" seems to be getting easier all the time. I actually went to a 5k race. No. I didn't participate. I'm waiting to enter the old geezer 60 to 65 age group. I think the course had to be short. The last person to finish was just walking a normal walking pace and finished in 53 minutes.
The main thing was that young and old, men and women and kids were all participating. Each one of them have my applause for getting out there and doing it.
Friday's blog I will try to hang my hat on the "reason" or "goal" that I will try to stick with for my willpower enhancement.

Bypassing the Weekend Temptations

Good morning, blog readers. Most of us have a weekday routine primarily dictated by work, family or school schedules. My eating routine during the week is generally pretty good. If I eat too much during the day or eat the wrong thing then my energy level drops and really how much can you eat in the short lunch hour? Not much unless you're wolfing down the food.

All of that weekday discipline goes out the window on 5pm Friday afternoon when our social lives break free. I recently visited a festival at my hometown. Once a year this small South Carolina town celebrates it's rich railroad heritage with a town-wide festival including ALL of the food guaranteed to expand waistlines!

As I walked around town, I saw corndogs, french fries, fried gator, candied apples, cotton candy, and the famous elephant ears. It was a walk full of aroma. Did I partake of any of the sugared food? Nope! Not one thing! I can thank my mother's home-cooked food for helping me avoid this pitfall. Many of you probably have similar weekend temptations. I hope some of you will be willing to share how you avoid your weekend temptations.

Take care.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

New Routine

I'm into my second week of school. A new routine for the old guy to get used to. I'm really enjoying it. I did find my exercise slacked off during the first week. On the other hand, my time was so occupied with reading and studying and taking test that I didn't think about eating as much.
The end result was one more lousy pound lost. So that is 5 pounds in the last 3 weeks and total for the year of 29 pounds.
I have got to get the balance of portion control "AND" exercise worked into my routine. I should be losing 2 or 3 pounds per week if I was doing this right and given my size and exercise potential.
Willpower. I'm still debating within myself the reason why weight loss has got to take a much higher priority in my life. Obviously long term health for an aging baby boomer is a valid and worthy reason. However, my immediate focus has been weak. 29 pounds is better than nothing, but its not nearly what "could have been".
I will head out the door right now and do a six mile walk. That is my long walk of the week. I will use that time to dwell upon some lofty goal that excites me and see if I can come up with something that turns the light bulb on to push the "willpower button".
PS. I would think the following comment should be obvious to all of you. However, a poster recently asked if anyone proof reads our blogs. No. We are not paid. We don't get any free stuff and no discounts at any store or business. Speaking for myself I'm just a first time blogger not in this for fame or fortune. Sometimes I do these blogs "on the road" using my cell phone/smart phone and probably have more errors grammatically in that format than other times. I apologize to you grammar fans out there. May I suggest you help a sixth grade teacher grade some class papers and perhaps you'll be less frustrated. Now git of my bak cuz I be gettin a hedack.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What's eating you?

Can we talk? I mean really talk?

For the past few months we have shared our journey, good and bad. We've talked about food and we've talked about exercise. Sometimes its not what you eat; maybe its what's eating you internally. We often eat to pacify lifes pains: family, work, aches and pains -- life.

Yes, the food might help you get through the moment but if you overdue it, it will come back to bite you! Instead of picking up your favorite comfort food the next time you have a problem think twice and go for a walk instead.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Adding Color to the Brown Bagged Lunch

How many of you are "brown bagging" your lunch? Anyone on a diet or saving money knows that packing lunch saves calories and money. So why don't more people brown bag their lunch? Time, planning, and boredom?  I know someone who eats a peanut butter and jelly sandwich everyday. Peanut butter and jelly is my favorite comfort food, but I'm not sure I could eat it for lunch everyday. If you're like me, you probably won't think about lunch until the clock ticks at noon or your stomach starts to growl.

What we eat has a huge impact on how successful we are at losing weight. This week I will take 15 minutes every night to pack my lunch to improve my weight loss success while also saving money in the process. I will need this money to replace some of those bagging black pants I've been wearing and pulling up.  Please take a minute and share your lunch ideas with me.  A lot of you have been successful in your journey.  Please share your knowledge.

Nancy Johnson

Friday, September 16, 2011

Got Willpower?

We've previously asked ourselves what willpower is. We are not looking for the behavior exemplified by people who "have" willpower, but seeking the inner essence for that spark of spirit that "is" the root of willpower.
In talking to people during the past week and pondering such things on my walks, I think back to times I've personally achieved goals that took what would be considered willpower. I've thought about friends who have achieved goals similarly.
The common theme seems to be a desire to change something. A desire that becomes a burning purpose in the forefront of our thoughts many times per day and per week that dosn't fade away easily.
A person who posted on this blog last week mentioned a constant mental focus to never "go back" to being fat again.
I think it can be various things that stimulate the beginnings of willpower. It can be "fear", such as after a big health scare like a heart attack survivor. It can be a desire to be a member or part of something we crave. By this I mean things like being a better or significant participant in a sport that takes training etc.
It can be love. By this I mean a burning desire to attract that special person whom we percieve will love us not for our current selves but for some imagined "improved" or differant "self".
Personally, I've had cases in my adult life where being a long distance runner was a very important part of my life. It defined who I was for a great deal of my twenties and thirties and a tad of my 40's. I desire to "look" like the ballroom dancer I was working to be. Sure you can dance if you are heavy, but not to the same competitive degree a totally fit dancer type body can.
So what is it that burns in your soul right now to help you succeed? I've been struggling with that all year. I've had some success losing weight this year. However, there is no doubt in my mind that I've missed out on probably doubling of my weight loss so far just due to not having the level of willpower, or desire or self image in my mind that I've needed. I'm working on it and will share more next Friday. For now, tell us what you find personally inside you that sparks your success.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Miracle Pound

Tuesday is "random" thought day. We'll get back to discussion on what "is" willpower on Friday's blog.
My longest walk this week was six miles. My total for walking and jogging only 15.75. Did the normal SPEW workouts four times for sit ups and push ups etc etc. The grazing on fruit routine during early day helped the hunger cravings some this week but still had one day of too many brews while working outside and had fried chicken one night and ate 3 sugar cookies during the week. So plenty of room for improvement. As you recall I lost 3 pounds last week and somehow a miracle happened and I still lost another pound in spite of my few eating/drinking sins. Total now at 28 pounds.
I've started my ten week training course at CCHS so some regular schedules will be needed and for me makes eating easier to control Plus, an extra mile walking per day to and from parking deck to classroom.
The inspirational guy at church walked six miles and rode his bike ten miles last week......per day most days. Go dude!!!
Another "go dude" to the man I passed walking in neighborhood this week. He was shorter than me and a sinewy thin older guy. Walking at a good pace. I figured he was maybe 70. Nope. He is 83 years old and walks and rides his bike everyday too. Way to go old folks. I want to be like that guy!

Beating the Pavement

Ah, this is my time of year.  The weather is finally getting cooler and I can go outside and take a comfortable walk. Walking is a cheap way to exercise. All that we need to get started is a good pair of shoes, a safe route and the motivation to move.  The last one is the hardest for me.  BUT I do find music to be a great way to keep me motivated and on track. A while ago, I asked for suggestions on songs to walk with. You all gave some GREAT ideas and I have created a few walking playlists. Below is my hip-hop version:
  • Let's Get it Started -- Blacked Eyed Peas
  • SOS -- Rihanna
  • Womanizer -- Britney Spears
  • Push It -- Salt-n-Pepa
  • Pump It - Black Eyed Peas
  • Disturbia -- Rihanna
  • Ring my Bell - Anita Bell
  • I Got a Feeling -- Blacked Eyed Peas
  • Please Don't Stop the Music -- Rihanna
  • Boom Boom Pow -- Blacked Eyed Peas
  • Can You Feel It -- Michael Jackson
  • 3 -- Britney Spears
  • Gonna Make You Sweat -- C+C Music Factory
As yesterday's remembrance of all those who died ten years ago reminded me, life is precious. So let's appreciate life by putting on our shoes and walking. Make a date to walk with a friend you haven't seen in a while or find a charitable cause to walk for this fall: diabetes, breast cancer, the heart. All of these causes are great ways to show our appreciation for the gift of life.

Share your playlists and let me know where you go to walk.  Who knows, maybe our paths will cross!  Remember every journey starts with a single step.  Take the small steps today to net results tomorrow.  Until Wednesday.

Nancy Johnson

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Weight Loss Takes Willpower

There are thousands of weight loss plans and books and cook books etc out there for anyone to use. The websites are full of studies and plans and helpful tips. Same thing for exercise and fitness. You can get in shape and lose weight using so many of these plans. I know people who have lost weight on Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Atkins, South Beach, via walking, jogging, rowing, boot camp participation. My point is, pick a plan or a combination of ideas and most will work. That is "IF" we have the willpower to actually adhere to any of these techniques.
Throughout most of my adult life I've been up and down in weight. Not always fat, not always in top shape. I'm a "yo yo" exerciser the more I think about it. I generally have exercised to some degree all my adult life. Sometimes, I just get really immersed into it and that is when I get lean then I tapper off or get injured or whatever the excuse is and since I wasn't having to "diet" per se, the weight would come back on.
Calories "in" and calories "out" is not an equal opportunity process. Age, gender, current weight and environment and genetics all enter into the mathematical equation for what it takes to lose weight. Most fat folks don't think about each meal and whether it will put pounds on or help reduce pounds. By the same token most normal weight people I know also "DO NOT" make conscious decisions about eating either. Some scientist believe different peoples brains urge them on to eat more than others. Some people find eating more pleasurable than others. But when we are fat and do want to lose weight. We have to think about it. It may not seem fair that you have to exercise more and eat less than the person next to you to weigh the same as they do. But that is the cards some of us are dealt with and its up to us to make those choices.
It takes willpower. Next Friday I will delve into what willpower is, or might be. What is your opinion about what willpower is? Be careful. I'm not looking for examples of what people with willpower "do". I'm looking for that inner most psychological essence of energy in our minds that is "willpower".
Now get out there and work at it fat buddies and may the willpower be with you.

What you feed grows

It seems like common sense that if you feed something that it grows. This is true for the body, mind and soul. For the last 2 months I forgot this truth. At this point of my journey I have allowed commitments in my life to sidetrack my weight loss journey. This has happened before. Sometimes the detour lasted a week, sometimes a month and sometimes the pity party never ended. It was because of this truth that I decided to do this blog. I think I represent alot of people who want to be healthy; who know they should eat better; who remember how good it felt to be in shape BUT just don't, can't or won't take the necessary actions to make it a reality. In the past my detour wasn't a public issue. Shame is a GREAT motivator. Let's be honest for a minute. If losing weight were easy, everyone would be slim and trim. If losing weight required little effort just thoughts, the weight loss industry would be put out of business TODAY.

Over the the past few weeks, my heart and head haven't been into writing this blog. I felt that the only people who were reading were the negative naysayers of society who got their jollies posting negative comments. Then I ran into a friend who happens to read this blog. Right there in the Walmart aisle, she feed me the positive words of encouragement I needed to hear. Thank you, Cheryl, for reminding me why I volunteered to do this blog. It wasn't for the notoriety. It wasn't for the money (contrary to popular belief). It was about sharing my journey (good and bad) with those who share my plight. Cheryl reminded me that positive people are reading and I need to stay true to the mission.
Thank you for that reminder.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

27 Pounds Worth of Random Thoughts

Going forward with this Blog I intend to generally use Tuesday's as a "random thought" day. That is, give some overall general stats on anything different I did for the exercise or diet for the prior week. Also give weight change and perhaps even reveal my eating excesses of the week. I don't think some of you folks can understand how much I overeat sometimes. For instance this past week I ate a small package of candy corn while driving over to my mountain cabin. I ate six hot dogs (chicken dogs) in one meal. I had too much pasta and wings one night.
On the flip side, I didn't have but two beers all week and from Wednesday forward got back to what helped me lose a ton of weight six years ago....."grazing". That is, during the day I ate grapes, bananas, apples, oatmeal, carrot sticks etc to keep from getting wildly hungry during the day. Then at night, I ate very controlled portions. So overall, for me, I had a better than average calorie week. I also had a very heavy exercise week. Pretty much my normal weights, bike, walk/jog/push ups etc. In addition, however, I had two very strenuous work days on my driveway job at the mountain cabin.
Most of the 24 pounds I had lost earlier this year was due to a ramp up of my exercise. I had stabilized at that reduced weight. So the only two options were to decrease calories and tweak the exercise a tad. One week isn't something to get all celebratory about. It is a long term string of weeks that will matter. None-the-less, I lost 3 pounds last week. So that is 27 pounds so far. Its a nice step in the right direction. We'll see what this week yields. The "grazing" materials are in house so that is my eating plan. Lots of small portions of clean food.
Friday blogs will be more about the psychological aspects of losing weight. The mystery isn't how to lose weight when it comes to the diet and actions that work. The mysteries lie in the mind and what willpower is. Why "ONE" area of a persons life is more difficult to control than others. etc.
See you Friday.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Who needs the labels?

An anonymous commenter posted, "Being fat isn't like a race. It's about lack of self control and poor choices. Therefore, it does say something about a person." Really? Democrat. Republican. Black. White. Young. Old. Fit. Fat. Obese. These are all labels that we use to describe others and yourselves. Labels serve a great purpose on inanimate things; not people.

There was alot of discussion last week about whether Dan was fit or fat. Obese or okay. Saturday's anonymous commenter is one more example of how society thinks it is acceptable to belittle larger people. Yes, we are bigger than you. So what? Most of us are law abiding people who contribute to society.  Unlike some of the anonymous commenters, we are not hiding behind the glare of our computer screens and the click of our keyboard. We are openly talking about our weight issues as we try to deal with them in our own way. Our way not yours.

Its okay to disagree with the things you read in this or any blog.  It is not okay to be disrespectful.  This is why I decided last week to limit comments to my posts. This was a difficult decision for me, the consummate debater. I have NO problem holding my own in any disagreement, but holding a one-way discussion where I share my opinion and then the Anonymous naysayers share their view from the protection of their closets, just wasn't fun anymore. I prefer two-way open discussions with grown-ups with names even if the names are fiction.  Anyone who wants to openingly share his/her comments can email me at

Health is more than a number on a scale and just because someone is larger than "normal" doesn't mean that person shouldn't be appreciated, included or respected. Let's stop labeling people. Let's use this forum to encourage each other, to share what we know and to tell others how small changes today can have big results tomorrow.

Nancy Johnson

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Are You Morbidly Obese?

The term "morbidly obese" has been tossed around this blog for months now. For the most part its been used as almost a verbal weapon by some. So the question I......are you....morbidly obese? If I'm not and you are does that make me superior to you? Heck no. I'm still fat. I'm just lucky to be otherwise far. I don't even get a cold but perhaps once every 3 years or so. My BP and heart rate are good. My blood sugar is great. My back and legs are strong and sturdy. I'm strong in general for an old geezer and have ever improving endurance. If you are, by chance, morbidly obese you by definition do have some extra health challenges facing you that are way more serious than my wimpy exercise and diet journey and I am pulling for you to find a way to get healthy. Of course proper medical care and consultation with your doctor is a must. But back to the question of "if" we/you are morbidly obese. Here's the criteria:
1. Are you more than 100 lbs over your ideal body weight, or
2. have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 40, or
3. have a BMI of over 35 and are experiencing severe negative health effects, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, related to being severely overweight?
4. unable to achieve a healthy body weight for a sustained period of time, even through medically supervised dieting?
These are serious questions and not something to reticule a person about. I hope that anyone facing these very tough issues pull through and succeed to live your life to its fullest. Weight doesn't make a person good or bad. It can impact your life however and the quality of that life.