Back to Losing Weight… (smh)


Oh yes, I’m back, and I’m once again, fatter than I should be! AAAAACCCKKKK!!! Yup, I’ve lost more weight in my life than most people have solely because I keep gaining it back again. I’m still dealing with my Plantar Facsitis so I still can’t really go running still. Hockey just started last Sunday and I was feeling it like you wouldn’t believe.

Monday (10-30-2016) I got back on a kick to lower my food intake. I’m counting calories, but I’m not looking to cut my calorie intake too much below 2000 daily. I’m looking to include a lot more fruits and vegetables into my daily diet. I’m still looking to establish a goal beyond just my weight. Something more along the lines of a physical achievement. We’ll see what I come up with.

I’m thinking about just doing a weekly post to recap the week and what’s coming up.

Wish me luck everyone. Sorry, but we gotta do this again. 🙂

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Weight Loss Ultimatum – Day 31 | Not This Again


I’ve been MIA on my blog for about 10 days now. I haven’t posted anything about my ultimatum and I haven’t really been working at it either. Plenty of excuses and distractions and whatnot have gotten in the way. Nothing valid enough to warrant not eating right of course, but you know how it is. Anyway, it’s Friday and I’m back and looking forward to picking up where I left off.

Before I do that, I thought I’d share a little bit of what I’ve been up to, because it wasn’t all bad. I took my family up north to the wonderful town of Two Harbors, MN. It’s about 20 miles north of Duluth, so yeah it snowed while we were there. It’s northern Minnesota in April, what else could you expect? Anyway, we stayed in a really cool hotel call the Northern Rail Traincar Hotel. It’s a hotel, made from old train cars. It was pretty cool. My oldest girls love the Boxcar Kids books so this was right up their alley.

The highlight of the trip was hiking around the Gooseberry Falls State Park, which I highly recommend taking your family if you’re ever in the northern Minnesota area. As always, the scenery was amazingly beautiful. We even had the fortune of seeing a River Otter. Not only that, we saw him catch a fish and eat it. I got a short video of it, but it wasn’t a very good one so there’s no point posting that up, but it was super fun.

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That was our adventure. It wasn’t warm or sunny much while we were there, but that’s ok, we had time with each other and got to see a lot of wonderful things.

Did you do anything over your spring break? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Weight Loss Ultimatum – Day 21 | Eating Less Is Easy


That’s right, I’ve discovered the secret to eating less, and it’s so easy anybody can do it.

What’s the secret? How do I eat less?

Burn your food. Yup, it’s that easy. Just burn it all and you’ll lose your appetite really fast.

That’s what happened just 30 minutes ago for me. I was making some toast and had to flip the bread because it was a tall loaf. Shortly after pressing the lever, my almost 2 year old woke up, so I had to go get him out of his crib and change him. In that short amount of time, my wonderful toast went from perfectly toasted, to wonderfully burnt. Now, that didn’t stop me from eating said toast, but after each undelightful bite, my appetite waned until halfway through the 2nd slice, I was no longer hungry.

There you have it folks, to eat less is as easy as increasing cook times and boom, you’ll never overeat again.

Weight Loss Ultimatum – Day 16 | Yup… It’s Still Minnesota!


Two days ago we had 50+ degree weather and zero snow. Fast forward to this morning and well… here you go.WP_20160324_13_56_55_Pro.jpg

I just took that picture so we’re already starting to melt away some of that snow, but I think we got nearly 12 inches of snow overnight. That closed the schools in my area and thus, allowed me to work from home today.

Working from home usually presents some interesting challenges to my eating. Today is no different. After missing breakfast because of a lack of time to run upstairs to grab something I had a good lunch that filled me up, but now I’m stricken with hunger again. I was going to grab a breakfast bar, but remembered at the last moment that we have some healthier options. Here’s what I’m choosing instead of the breakfast bar.

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Not a bad alternative. Granted, it’s not going to quench my hunger nearly as much as the other stuff I wanna eat, but it’s totally better for me.

How do you  quench your afternoon snack urges?

Weight Loss Ultimatum – Day 15 | Yearning for Something Lost


After 15 days of my new challenge I’ve found two things. The first is that there are tons of people out there that are in the same boat as me and they’re eager to support me in my efforts to live a healthy life. This is such a great time to be alive. The world is truly so much smaller now and like minded folks have so many more opportunities to share their stories and help each other out.

The second, and the one that fueled the title of this article, is I’ve lost something incredibly important in my life. Well over a decade ago I started my journey to a healthier me by lacing up a pair of running shoes and entering myself into the Gary Bjorklund Half Marathon in Duluth, MN (USA). I weighed just over 260lbs when I signed up and had no idea if I could actually run 13.1 miles. Since then I’ve run several half marathons and even one full marathon. I relied heavily on my running to keep my weight in check.

About two years ago I noticed my right foot starting to hurt more and more in the heel and arch. I didn’t do anything much about it and kept running. Sure enough, I wound up with full blown Plantar Faciitis. Fast forward to today and I’m still feeling the effects of the poor decisions of years ago. I can barely run more than a mile at a go and when I do, my foot will throb for days. Just walking can be painful.

I miss running so much and I haven’t been able to find anything to replace it while I work on rehabilitating my foot. I play hockey in the winter, but that’s just once per week for just a few months. I could play more, but with 3 small kids, a wife, and full time job, it’s just not as easy as running was.

I had a love hate relationship with running. I hated doing it, but I loved what it did for me. Hopefully that makes sense. I never fully felt like I belonged with all the other runners come race day, but they always made me feel like one of them. I was the guy who didn’t quite have all the gear everyone else had. I wasn’t laden in spandex, but it didn’t matter to anybody. We were all there for one reason, yet we all had so many different reasons that got us there. I miss that. I yearn to be able to run again.

Starting this ultimatum has brought me back to my blog more regularly, and brought me to go read more articles everyone else has been writing. I do it to find support. To find camaraderie. I often have a sense of yearning when I see post after post of people who are chronicling their first marathon, their 21st marathon, or just a random training run. I miss it so much. This must be one of my top goals now. I need to get my body back to running shape so I can run again.

I WILL RUN AGAIN!

Weight Loss Ultimatum – Day 14 | If it were that easy…


Yesterday I had a comment on my last post asking if I’d considered just eating a healthy diet and not worrying so much about losing weight (I’m paraphrasing). I’ve been posed this before and my answer seems to always be the same.

If only it were that easy.

Yes, the right thing to do is to eat healthy. That’s what we all want in life, or at least most of us I guess. If it were that easy, however, I would already be doing that. It’s easy to say, “just eat healthy” it’s a completely different thing to actually do it.

Everybody has their own personal demons. Some of us struggle with similar demons, and others have inner demons so incredibly different from others. As much as I’d love to just eat better, there’s something inside me (mentally) that just doesn’t allow me to make that an easy en devour. I can go for long periods of time in which my discipline is quite remarkable, and I eat healthy and I maintain my weight. Then, something comes up, and I lose that discipline. Then I gain weight. The fact that I can recognize this and right the ship is what’s important. Some of my methods for losing weight aren’t the best; they don’t follow what nutritionists or fitness experts would recommend. The problem is, what the experts recommend, is often a cookie cutter approach that doesn’t truly address the underlying problem. All the plans in the world technically work or could work; they all revolve around reducing calories in some way and increasing activity. Very few weight loss or health plans really address the mental aspects of what’s causing us to overeat. Many diets claim that sugars and other non-natural ingredients cause us cravings, which in turn cause us to overeat. Possibly, but for me, it feels like it’s something much deeper than all of that.

I don’t have an addiction to food per say, but I do have something going on. Perhaps it’s how I deal with stress, or anxiety, but it’s not because I’m eating too much sugar. Do I feel better when I don’t eat junk food? Yes, and I’m not saying you should just eat garbage food. What I’m saying is we need to get to the true root of our weight issues. Perhaps then, it will be easy to just eat healthy without worrying about our weight.

If it works for you to eat healthy, awesome! Kudos to you and I recommend you continue with it. It’s never worked for me as a long term solution, because that’s not a solution for me. It’s simply a result of a deeper solution, that sometimes I’m on the right track with, and other times I’m not. So as much as I appreciate tips, tricks, recommendations etc. I really feel there’s a lot more to living healthy and more often than not, it has nothing to do with food for a lot of us. When I talk to friends and family about their own weight loss or health goals, I’m less likely to give them suggestions about what has worked for me, unless they ask. I typically ask questions that will go a little deeper to see if they understand what is causing them their issues. Some of us have never thought about why we overeat. Others are very aware. Being aware is probably the first step to becoming truly healthy.

Finally, don’t shy away from giving advice. When you give tips, if it’s done with respect and compassion, no matter the usefulness of the information, it is conveying support more than information, which is exactly what we all need. So I thank the commenter and I hope they understand, I felt supported by you and I hope you don’t feel contempt from me at all. That is not my intent. It sparked a thought in me that I thought I’d share with my 3 other followers (ha ha).

Good luck everyone on your goals. Keep up the good work, and always know, if you stumble, you can still pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and someone will be along to support you.

 

 

A Little Less Wiggle Will Stop The Jiggle


This is a bit of a sensitive subject for me, but I feel it is my civic and social duty to impart my wisdom on all who will hear it. It is a problem many of us who are graced with additional weight we’d like to do away with will face. It is… Jiggle. Yup, that’s right. I’m talking about what our extra portions of cake, pudding, tacos, pizza, etc cause our bodies to do when we are active.

As already noted, I’m particularly sensitive to this subject as I was an avid runner back in the day, but I wasn’t always. Prior to starting to run, I was at my worst, around 260+ lbs. I decided the best way to lose weight was to enter into a 1/2 marathon race. After 15 or so races and several thousand miles of pounding the pavement I think I can consider myself somewhat of an expert on being an overweight runner. Much of my running career was spent over 200 lbs, so this advice is for those of us who cannot stand the feeling of our bodies jiggling while we run.

Disclaimer!!!! I want everyone to know, I share this information as both humor, and as an actual piece of advice that all runners, be they large or small can use. I mean no offense to anyone, I simply am sharing my own personal self-conscious issues that I applied a theory to that resolved my insecurities.

2nd DISCLAIMER!!! This one is more important than the first. You must know, if you are self-conscious about running or being active. If you’re insecure about your body, know this. Nobody is looking at you and judging you. More often than not, it’s simply because I have chosen to judge myself that I feel I am being judged by others. Yeah, from time to time there’s a jerk out there, but you know what screw them. They’re not important, you are.

Ok, so let’s get going and answer this all too important question. How do I reduce my body jiggle when I’m jogging? Is this real?

Here is what specifically worked for me and I’ll explain them further after.

  • Take longer strides when you jog
  • Don’t run on the balls of feet
  • Create a consistent breathing pattern
  • Run tall, run with good posture

Let’s take a look at why these four rules can help. Mind you, these are some good tenets of good running whether you’re overweight and running or not.

This is probably the most important rule I always run by. Longer strides do many things to decrease the jiggle, but the most obvious is if you’re taking longer strides, you’re also taking less strides. Less strides means you’re hitting the ground less often. The jiggle we feel is almost entirely caused by our feet hitting the ground, reduce the number of times that happens, and boom, your body will jiggle less. It will also reduce the overall amount of energy you expel because less strides equals less motion required to move the same distance. For a long distance runner, I recommend you learn to regulate your stride length and change your stride length from time-to-time during a long run. This allows certain muscles to get a slight rest while you work other more rested muscles. Then you can switch back and forth.

Running on the balls of your feet is fine for a short sprint, but for longer distances you’re going to want your foot to fall more so in a rocking fashion from the front of your heel, then rocking forward to the ball of your foot. This creates a well cushioned foot fall to the ground. You’d almost feel as though you’re gliding along instead of clomping along. If you couple this with your longer stride, you’ve almost entirely reduced the jiggling of your body with these two rules. Now, for those of you unsure of this, let me tell you, if you stop running on the balls of your feet, you’ll probably reduce the shin splints you get, to none, to barely any. Shin splints (the pain you feel in your shins) often happens because the force of your foot hitting the pavement right at the ball of the foot goes straight to the shin. If you even out the blow of your foot hitting the ground into a rocking motion allows the foot to dissipate the force more evenly among the entire foot, and doesn’t resonate nearly as much of that force up your leg.

Breathing is obviously very very important. Your body needs to replenish the oxygen it uses while you run. When you create a consistent breathing pattern you are controlling not only your lungs, but the muscles around your lungs, and your legs and your arms etc. Control equals discipline. Discipline means you’re not thinking about things you shouldn’t. Yeah, I’m basically recommending a mind trick, but a good breathing pattern is really just a good running technique to get the most oxygen into your body in the most consistent way possible. My pattern is this (hopefully it will translate well to text).

This indicates when the foot is hitting the ground

Left Foot (breathe out) > Right Foot > Left Foot (breath in) > Right Foot > Left Foot (breath out) > Right Foot

I’ve used this exact breathing technique for over a decade and it has been crucial to my ability to run long distances. The key is not on the breath in, but on the breath out. My out breathes occur as my left foot hits the ground. Why? When my foot hits the ground gravity is making everything in my body drop towards the ground as well, this forces my lungs to shift down just a little, which means when I breath in, I can bring just a hair more oxygen into my lungs than I would have otherwise. This means I get more oxygen, so my muscles get more and my body is happier. The overall cadence of the breathing provides a consistent supply of much needed oxygen to my body which means I feel less out of control. I feel less anxiety, and I’m less likely to cramp or have a side ache.

Finally, stand tall when you run. Run like you mean it. Run like you’re not tired, even if you are. Why is this important? Yes, it’s also a mental trick, but also, when you run with good posture, your body does less work, and you use less energy. If your body is moving less, you’re going to jiggle less right? Yup. Not only that, but because long distance running is such a big mental endurance battle, if you force yourself to look like you’re not tired, you will be less tired. Mind over matter. So often I’ve seen people who look like they’re in better shape than me start a race with bad slouchy tired looking form and they just can’t do it. They start with a tired mindset. You’re setting yourself up for failure. Run tall (not totally straight up and down), run like you mean it. Run like you’re trying to get somewhere. Even if you have to lie to yourself about how tired you are.

I get that the premise of this post is a bit ridiculous, and I also get that many people (myself included) wouldn’t consider me a running expert, but here’s where the foot meets the pavement. Until I hurt my foot a couple years ago, these were all very important principles I lived by when I would train for and run a race and they all worked. I had self-image problems. I hated that my body jiggled, and until I lost the weight, I needed something to reduce that jiggle as it was killing my mindset when I would run. Go on Youtube and find videos that show good running technique and have a friend or loved one watch it with you. Record yourself running and compare it to these videos. It’ll change your life, or at least your PR at the end of a race.

Good luck everyone and I’m sorry if I offended someone because I wrote “Jiggle” too many times. 🙂