First 8 Minute Mile EVER

In my entire 41 years on this Earth I’ve never been a good runner. My step brother ran cross country and I tried to run with him once. I lasted maybe a quarter of a mile before I realized he was insane.

Then with age and excuses came the extra pounds, the arthritis, more excuses, yadda yadda you know the story.

Screw all that. I’m 41 and I’ll be dammed if I let age be the excuse I use to not get in shape. I made a goal of being a ninja warrior when I first started my weight loss journey. I’m going to add to it. I’m going to be a tough mudder. Bring on the electrocution and ice water jumps and long distance obstacle madness. BRING IT ON.

Oh, and today I ran an 8 minute mile. In my entire life I’ve never run under an 11 minute mile. Not 20 years ago in college, not in high school. Never. As in, never.

Well, 41 years old and now I am staring at 7 minutes. I’m coming for you 7 minutes. YOU’RE MINE!

One Year Weight Loss Results

These photos were taken one year apart today. January 1st, 2018 and January 1st 2019.

The journey has evolved, changed course, slowed down, sped up. It has been widely successful at times and a frustrating failure at others.

Yet here I am. 75 pounds lighter.

At the age of 40, with arthritis in my knee and aches all over my body, I stopped getting in my own way.

Dont ever let fear of failure stop you. Let it motivate you, not stop you.

Life Without Keto

Since January my eating habits have revolved around an ultra low carb, high fat diet. 25 grams of carbs a day, which is not a lot AT ALL. For comparison, one bagel is usually two days worth of carbs.

I never planned to stay keto for 8 months but it worked so darn well I figured, why not?! (Much to the displeasure of my mom who worried I was hurting myself with all the fat in my diet…fyi, I tested my cholesterol regularly and it never spiked. But I appreciated her concern)

Keto was never going to be a lifestyle change for me. I always planned on moving away from it. So this week I decided to make that move.

This past Monday I switched from ultra low carb, high fat, moderate protein eating to a more balanced macros eating. In a nutshell, that means I can eat carbs again!! In fact, I just finished eating scrambled eggs on top of Ezekiel bread!

One of the reasons I made this switch now is because my children both started school and I’m upping my workouts at #9round kickboxing. More working out, more carbs needed to keep my body strong.

I’m still on a calorie count, I’m still not eating sweets and pizzas and cereal and all those indulgent foods I love so much. I still have 20-25 pounds I want to lose. Today I weigh 242 pounds. I started at 320. Keto is a major part of that. But that journey has ended and a new one is beginning.

I got this.

Below are two pictures. The first is me in December, in the ER, when the final push to change happened. The second is me now.

Fear is the Mind Killer

I wasnt sure what to expect when I started this blog. I thought it would be therapeutic to myself if I shared my journey. Maybe blogging would make me more accountable? Maybe my journey would help others, inspire others, motivate them?

Probably a bit of everything.

I’ve said before that I hate sharing photos of myself. I hate looking at them. Yet I’m going to. I’m going to share two photos that scare the crap out of me. Exposing my physical flaws is painful to do. I understand when I was at my heaviest I wasnt “hiding” anything. My giant gut was exposed to the world. But I could at least crop photos to remove my gut. Strategically hide my obesity.

I dont want to hide from it anymore. I need to accept how big I was and that it bothered me. I’m not saying bring overweight is bad. Not at all. I’m saying, for me personally, I was unhappy with my weight. I was unhappy with not being able to do the most basic physical things, like running more than 10 steps. Or jumping. And that’s not a joke. I couldn’t jump more than an inch off the ground.

So here is me. At the beginning of my journey and yesterday. I still have a ways to go. But I’m enjoying the journey.

Left photo: January 1st, 2018

Right photo: August 1st, 2018

40 years old and angry

This journey has been more than just dropping weight to me. From the very beginning it has been a reset of who I am as a person. Yes I have focused mainly on my diet and a number on the scale but I have also found myself paying attention to my attitude and personality.

To be honest, I had grown bitter and judgmental with age. I was turning into the “get off my lawn” old man. Forty years old, 320 pounds, staring directly at a mid-life crisis. I would lose my patience with my kids, my wife, strangers, my dog, anything and anyone. I would disappear behind the screen of my phone and miss life. I made excuses more than memories.

I dont want to blame my weight on all of that but I know it played a big part. I have been, for years, so unhappy with how I looked and felt that it was changing me into a darker person. Everytime I couldn’t use a seatbelt on a plane because of my belly or couldn’t ride a rollercoaster or couldn’t fit through a door without turning sideways, it affected me.

Forty years old and angry.

Over the past 7 months I have done a lot of soul searching, a lot of meditation, a lot of looking in the mirror. That’s where the name of this blog came from. At the time I started this journey my kids were going through a Michael Jackson phase.

“If you want to make the world a better place take a look at yourself and make that change”

-Man in the Mirror.

Change is hard, everyone knows that. You’re fighting against the grain on a path you may have helped create.

For the past seven months I’ve been moving against the grain of an angry life I had created. It’s been easy at times, hard at times, frustrating and humbling. The last two months my weight has stayed within the same 4 pounds. I stand at 73 pounds dropped since January 1st. Make no mistake, I am ecstatic at that. Yet I know I have a long way to go. I want to drop about 40 more pounds and then find a way to maintain it. This will be a lifelong journey.

But because I have been focusing on who I am as a person right along with how I eat, I feel confident. I’ve taken breaks from social media, put the phone down and looked up. I’ve realized how my poor attitude affected my family and have worked to adjust. I’ve looked to improving me, inside and out.

My journey continues.

Reflection on a milestone

This is how I see myself. Pretty much all the time. This photo was taken 15 years ago while filming the movie Rolling Kansas. It was my first time working on a movie and was an amazing experience. Yet when I come across pictures of myself in that movie, I cringe. I just see a fat guy. I always just see a fat guy. Pictures on a vacation…fat guy. Wedding photos…fat guy. The happiest moments of my adult life and I see a fat guy and am embarrassed.

Today I got onto the scale and hit a big milestone. 70 pounds gone.

That sounds crazy to say. Since January 1st I’ve dropped 70 pounds from my body.

7.0.

Yet I still am haunted by how big I was. I still fear gaining the weight back.

And yet none of my friends or family around me EVER make me feel bad for being fat. They never mock me. They never make weight an issue.

But I do. And I know I’m lucky. I know for many people they are ridiculed and teased for their weight. I’ve seen it. It’s awful.

Finding a way to be comfortable with who we are, inside and out, is hard. We all have demons of many different kinds. My weight, how I look, and how I handle that has crippled me for too long.

Today I hit a milestone. Just in time for my vacation. It’s amazing. It feels great. Yet that haunting feeling and insecurity hovers over me still. Today I can handle it. Probably tomorrow as well. There may be a time in the future that I let it control me. I can’t continue to fear that day. And I cant continue to view myself based on my weight. I have to view myself based on my extraordinarily good looks and charm. See, I’m humble too.

😉

68 Pounds and a Trip to Ireland

I’m two weeks away from taking a vacation to Ireland with my wife. And I’m two pounds away from 70 pounds gone.

This vacation will test my diet and control but I’m also not putting a lot of pressure on myself. If I gain a few pounds that’s ok. I can’t let the number on the scale control me anymore.

So, to Ireland and beyond!

The Fat Remains

Losing 63 pounds has been amazing, don’t get me wrong. I’m starting to get regular compliments and I will admit it feels good.

But my own self image has a long way to go. I dont consider myself a skinny person. Or even healthy person. Yes I’ve lost a lot of weight but I’m still about 50 pounds from my goal. And if I go by the crazy medical idea of what a five foot eleven and a half inch guy should weigh…I still have 75 pounds to go. (Luckily my doctor says that guideline is crap and she’d be ecstatic if I lost just 40 more pounds.)

Anyway…as I said, I dont feel like a skinny person. And days like today remind me of that. Due to my very large belly when I began this journey, I have a lot of belly fat to get rid of. And I am accepting that a lot of it simply wont go away. It will hang there, a constant reminder of how fat I was.

Today I tried on some more new pants. And my fat humbled me. It’s ok. I can handle it. But days like today remind me of how long I have to go and how insecure I still am with how I look.

NEW CLOTHES

For years I shopped at fat guy stores. I’ve had the same few pairs of jeans for years because I HATE clothes shopping. My jeans are size 50, crazy baggy, sagging everywhere. They are embarrassing…to me.

Today I bought clothes in a “normal” store. Old Navy.

Yes. I found a pair of jeans in my size at Old Navy. And to top that, I had to pick a SMALLER pair than I thought. Size 40. Slim fit.

Say what?!?!

Here are three photos. Two with my new pants on and one with my old pants on OVER my new pants.

Workout and shout out

Today is day 12 in the gym out of the last 16 days.

Five days a week for the past 2 weeks and 2 days.

I want to thank Joshua Samuel for giving me a workout routine that fits my experience, age, and ability.

I’ve never met Joshua except in the social media world. He’s an actor, bodybuilder, ex-marine based out of LA. He and I butt heads over a lot of hot topic areas but that hasnt stopped us from becoming friends. Thanks for your help Joshua.

Monday- chest, Tuesday- shoulders, Wednesday- back, Thursday- legs, Friday- arms and abs

Stuck but ok?

My weight is still at a standstill. I havent dropped or gained any weight in more than 3 weeks. I am frustrated, yes, but not losing my focus.

The two things that have changed in that time have been my thyroid medication dosage and I’ve added a new workout routine.

Both probably are playing into my weight loss issue.

I am going to see a thyroid specialist on Monday, hopefully that will help.

As for my workout routine…it’s pretty standard but I am working out five days a week. Each day targets a new area…chest, shoulders, back, legs, arms. I’m not lifting heavy weights but low weights and high reps.

So. I honestly dont know if it’s my thyroid or workout routine or both that is stopping my weight loss.

But I am seeing results in my physical self. I’m seeing muscles that I’d forgotten I had. I’m feeling stronger. So if there’s a silver lining to all this, it’s that.

Maybe it’s time I switch from the keto diet towards something more practical for the rest of my life. I never intended to eat keto forever. I’ve wanted to be in a place where I can eat anything in moderation without gaining weight. Want a pizza? Eat a pizza. Want ice cream? Eat it! That’s my ultimate goal. To lose weight and teach myself how to eat smarter.

Workout routine

I am on week three of a new workout program. Five days a week of isolated workouts! I never thought I’d be able to workout five days a week yet here I am.

Each day works a certain part of the body.

Monday: chest

Tuesday: shoulders

Wednesday: back

Thursday: legs

Friday: arms and abs.

I do 20-30 minutes of elliptical cardio as well.

I feel stronger already. I can flex muscles I’d forgotten I had. Still a LONG way to go but I am happy to feel progress.

Today is Wednesday so I’m off the wreck my back! Lat pulldown, cable rows, deadlifts! Look at me getting all swolefied!

Me. No more hiding.

I was blind to who I had become. I knew I was fat but I tricked myself into thinking that was all I was.

The truth is I had become a shell of who I was, who I needed to be. At my heaviest, at the end of last year, I avoided physical activities, was angry most of the time, stopped being the husband and father my family deserved. I was there, a part of the family, but a hollow me. I stared at my smartphone, aimlessly flipping through apps like a bored person staring in a refrigerator thinking something new would jump out.

If my children drew a picture of me I would be holding a phone in my hand.

I’ve spoken before, in previous posts, how it took me a long time to understand the depth I had fallen. How long it took me to prepare for change. Now I’m four months into this change and I’m happy, but I have setbacks, I have bad days. I have the tremendous fear I will fall back to old habits.

So I’m sharing a photo of me. One I hate to see more than anything. Me, with no shirt on. No adjusting my shirt to hide the belly fat, no more XXXL shirts so I could hide my gut.

This is me, a few months ago. Even with 45 dropped from my body this picture is still pretty accurate for how I look. It reminds me of how long I have to go.

I have no idea if anyone reads these blogs. I dont really care. I’m writing and sharing them for me. So I can look back at the first year or me.

My Voice Is Back

I’m at the gym.

My Voice is here.

I try to block it out but the voice in your head is the loudest voice there is.

You failed. You’re a failure. It’s too late.

Give up.

Look at the guy. Look at her. Look at their form, their muscles. They’re better than you. You’re doing it wrong. Put the weights down and go home. Sit on the couch. Watch a tv show. Eat. Eat it all.

You failed.

M Voice shows up a lot. A constant reminder of me. A constant reflection of who I am, then and now.

Am I a failure?

Give up.

You’re fat. Nothing will change that.

The funny thing about my Voice is it comes in flashes. Moments of self doubt. Moments of humbleness. Random moments.

Yet as quickly as it arrives, it can be pushed aside. By a song, a friend, a look in the mirror. A glance of approval from a stranger reassures you everything is fine and you can keep moving forward.

Today my Voice was pushed aside by lyrics from a song by Common that danced into my ears betweens sets:

Sittin’ in a shadow of me, gradually battlin’ me
A fall from grace like Adam and Eve
Search for the inner-Vatican in me
The temple, the body, I’m mental, I’m godly
Somehow I made my mess-ups my hobby
Is it the stress and the pressure? Probably
Out here with much anger inside me
Don’t know who my friends are, stranger inside me

Am I a failure? No. Have I failed? Yes. My failures dont define me though. How I act after failure does.

Goodbye, Voice. For now.