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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Donating all my old clothes

I've had to shop exclusively at Big & Tall stores for more than 15 years. The selection is poor, the quality terrible, and the prices are punitive.

After years of trial & error, I have found some great sources for certain items, but quality comes at a price. My monogrammed Land's End oxford cloth button down shirts were NOT cheap, but I got them in 2005, and they're still in great shape!

It took me SO long to find, afford, and collect a decent makes me anxious & sick to load it all into cheap black plastic garbage bags & give it away.

It's just that none of this fits anymore. It's crowding my closet & chest of drawers, making it tough to organize & find the few things that still fit.

I need to clear out the past, physically & mentally.

Mentally, this is really hard for me. For SO long, I just couldn't afford any of this. My Mom bought a lot of it for me. The suit I wore to my Dad's funeral. The Fiat t-shirts came from seven years of epic road trips.

This is surprisingly hard for me...and I know I should be happy that my weight loss requires new clothes...but it brings up old feelings & memories, and the fear that someday I might need all of this and I'll regret the day I donated it all.

So, a deep breath, and a last goodbye. Giving it away to those who need it more than me is a commitment to myself, my health, and I should celebrate my success, right?

I just wish it didn't make me so sad...

11 pairs of dress pants
19 pairs of khakis
9 pairs of jeans
24 long sleeve dress shirts
13 short sleeve dress shirts
21 polo shirts
28 t-shirts
4 pairs of shorts
1 suit

Monday, January 19, 2015

120 miles in 120 days

I heard about a popular New Year's Resolution going around on Facebook called "100 miles in 100 days", and it intrigued me.

Then I thought, since I'm doing a Whole 120, why not 'level up' and also make my 120 day challenge about not only eating clean for 120 days, but doing 120 miles???

...and then I made a spreadsheet...

I mapped out my 120 days, correlating to days of the month, with weekends & special days greyed out. I created columns for other types of activity & weighted them for my difficulty.

I filled it in to get it current - and darned if I'm not doing pretty well! Day 15 and I'm at 13.5 miles!

My goal is to catch up by week's end, and not let up...

Monday, January 05, 2015

Day One - Recommitment

Grocery shopped, grilled in subzero temps, and prepped my week!

Today's beginning weigh in was 378lbs, which is 5lbs UP since the week before Christmas...

Yeah, we'll just call that 'motivation' and keep moving forward...

New stuff I love!

Yack Tracks on my Bean Boots keep me from dying on icy sidewalks! Now I can walk Clyde ALL winter with no fear of death!!!

My brown corduroy blazer with suede elbow patches & woven leather buttons. I love this thing, it embodies my past AND my future...

My birthday gift this year - a reproduction Kandinsky mobile!!!

Paperwhites in aquarium rocks. My Mom always had a bowl of these on the dining room table each winter, and they really helped bring some cheer to the winter doldrums!


I've thought about that piece of chocolate cake on my birthday ever since I started my first Whole 30 on September 2nd. I ate it slowly & savored it...

Almost as long, I dreamed of these Boston Cream donuts from Deerfield's bakery in Schaumburg.

TOTALLY worth the wait!

I also had some Lou Malnatti's pizza - both deep dish AND the thin crust.


I did not have all of these on the same day, I tried to minimize the impact on my system - but the 'day after' effects were JUST LIKE a terrible hangover.

Not enough to get me to quit sugar forever, but enough to realize that a once or twice per year 'treat' is perfectly reasonable...

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Exact same outfit

On the left, Spring of 2013; on the right, Winter of 2014. Exact same shirt, belt & shorts, just a 67lb difference!


On my 48th birthday, 373lbs. Not quite what I once was, on either end of the scale - but I'm on my way back down! I'm currently much less than I was in the 2007 pictures, but not quite yet back down to the late 90's weight...

For a long time, I've hated pictures of myself because I look so horrid. Catching glimpses of my self unexpectedly always shocks me. In group pictures, I always stand in the back. My excuse is that I'm tall, but the reality is that I don't want to show how fat I am.

2007 - 2011

In these pictures I'm 41 to 45, at about 400lbs...

1996 - 1998

In these pictures I'm 30 to 32 years old, weighing about 350lbs


This was what I looked like when I got off Active Duty with the Marine Corps. Please note the bottom right picture, in profile. They were documenting how 'overweight' I was at that time. In that picture I'm 22, 6'1", weighing 220lbs...

Day 120

I never really expected to see this day, or, certainly not with this degree of success. 120 days of no grains, no dairy, no (added) sugar, no booze, no legumes, no processed foods of any sort. Aqua Fit, and LOTS of dog walks for Clyde...

120 days ago, walking the half mile loop around my block was tough - my knees hurt all the time, and that walk would require Advil afterwards. I couldn't walk up my stairs without SERIOUSLY pulling on the rail, and loosing my breath. I was 440lbs at my heaviest, wearing size 62 dress pants. I was on several types of heart medication, I had several rotten headaches every week, and my brain always felt fuzzy & disconnected.

I was a mess.

Previous attempts at Health & Fitness had always failed me. Even ifI had limited success (like with my Atkins experiment in 2009, when I lost 80lbs), I would always backslide, having never made the jump from 'diet' (temporary change), to 'lifestyle change'... I had huge food cravings, sugar crashes, and an incredible draw towards all the terrible food I loved. It was overpowering, and I only had what felt like a tiny reserve of willpower. I couldn't hold back the oceanic-sized cravings, the draw to crappy food ALWAYS won. I beat myself up for having too little willpower, and I built my life around that failure. I was powerless against the food cravings, and after backsliding from Atkins, I hit my record high weight in April of 2013 - 440lbs. That number hit me right in the gut, as I'd been 220lbs when I got off active duty with the Marine Corps in August of 1989.

In 24 years, I literally became TWICE the man I used to be. That number crushed part of me, deep inside.

At that point, I had knee surgery, and a heart issue was found. I was in A-Fib, requiring four days in the Cardiac wing to undergo extensive tests.

Nobody, myself included, would have been surprised if I never made it out of the hospital.

I did, of course, and over the next 16 months I made really good progress. I had a job in downtown Chicago that required a half mile walk twice a day. I had a salad each day at lunch. I watched the movie "Hungry For Change", and discovered juicing. I read "Salt, Sugar, Fat", and "Fat Chance", and I got ANGRY. I realized that I'd gotten addicted to crap that was engineered to entrap me, which it had done marvelously. I wanted to break myself of that 'false hold' just like I'd done with smoking.

I found the Whole 30.

My Sister had done it, trying to break her sugar habit. As an accomplished Triathlete, it had several great benefits for her, and as I read the Whole 30 guidebook "It Starts With Food", I kept feeling like it had been written just for me.

They understood.

I cleaned out my cabinets, ordered food, researched recipes, and tried stuff out. I bought a damn spiralizer!

On September 2nd, 2014, I started my Whole 30. I did daily postings of my meals & how I was feeling, and the change was simply astounding. Within days I felt better. By week two I was seeing the light. By week three I knew I wanted MORE.

I kept going.

One Hundred and Twenty days later, here I am! I feel amazing. I sleep fantastic. My pant size is down from 62 to 50. I've added SIX holes to my belt! I've not had ANY knee pain in two months! I walk more than 1.5 miles a day. I go to Aqua Fit at least twice a week! Every time I go upstairs in my house, I RUN! It's only 13 stairs, but, I RUN STAIRS!

I am down 67lbs since April of 2013. I am down 31lbs just since October 1st!

I am so grateful, I could cry. It feels like the sun has come out after a long grey winter. I feel for the first time since 1989 that I can manage the cravings & beat this food addiction. I feel for the first time as if I'm the one in control of my life. I'm celebrating my Day 120 on my Birthday, filled with joy & gratitude.

...and on January 5th, I recommit, and I'm going for ANOTHER Whole 120! With a few new tricks ;-)

Happy New Year, my friends. Your support has been amazing, and I don't have enough vocabulary to express the depth of my gratitude.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Week 16


Sixteen weeks! Just one week away from my 120th day!!!

Let's see...I'm 12 inches down in the waist, 66lbs down in weight, and I've tripled my weekly walking mileage. My energy is fantastic, my knee pain is all but gone, my sleep quality is astounding, and I absolutely LOVE the food I eat!!!

Yes, this feels a lot like success, and at this point it doesn't feel like a ton of work or sacrifice. I may miss pizza, donuts, and soda, but I do NOT miss how I used to feel!

I will have some Bourbon between Christmas, my Birthday & New Year's. I will have a piece of chocolate cake on my birthday. I may even have some pizza & a donut. But I won't eat crap just because it's there, I'll enjoy a special treat because it's SPECIAL, I'll savor it, and on January 5th I'll start my next Whole 30 ... going for another 120!

So - who wants to do a 30 day culinary 'reset' with me in January? If you want to, hit my FaceBook or email, and we'll do it together. I'm no 'expert' by a long shot, but I'll encourage you and share all my tips & tricks! Give it 30 days, and I promise you that you'll feel FANTASTIC if you can stick by it!!!!

Merry Christmas everyone, I can't express deeply enough my appreciation for the support & encouragement I've gotten from all of you!!!!


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Day 108

Gosh, who would have thought I'd do more than one HUNDRED days of a very strict, 'squeaky clean' low carb Paleo lifestyle???

Tuesday was my 15 week mark, and I hit 375.2!

That's 2.4lbs lost last week!

That's 29.3lbs lost since Oct 2nd!

That's 65lbs lost overall, since April 2013!

In the picture, you can see I'm still having my daily salad, which believe it or not, I now actually CRAVE! I found a fantastic & totally compliant almond butter that is just runny enough to be great for dipping. It's addicting, and I'll have to watch my intake...

In fact, for my last 12 days, I want to limit my potatoes, bananas, and nut intake; to really 'pump up' my weight loss before I hit Day 120.

In the meantime, check out how baggy my 'interview suit' is in the included picture. Hint - it's not actually double-breasted!!!

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Week 14

26.8 lbs down since October 2nd, 62.4 lbs down since April 2013.

I have learned to eat and LIKE grapefruit! I like to walk 'off path' twice a week.

I continue to eat 'on plan', and my energy & sleep continue to ROCK.

I have yet to work up the intestinal fortitude to return to Cross Fit, but I also am still attending Aqua Fit & doing good walks.

I'm also continuing to read articles & books on this lifestyle, and I even listen to a few podcasts. I continue to learn, and to tweak what I'm doing.