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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Not backing down

In the picture above, let's look at a few things:

Top left is a split frame of me NOW, and in April of 2012. Can you see a difference?

I'm still quite the 'Fat Bastard', but that picture shows a solid 90lb weight loss.

The picture below has two heart rhythms. Notice how the lower one is much more regular, symmetrical, the top one more erratic? Those were taken 24 hours apart, and show the difference that is A-Fib. A-Fib really sucks, but I guess that within the scope of heart issues - this is the end of the spectrum where you want to be! Look back up at my Fat Ass in 2012, and tell me I'm not damn lucky to have MUCH worse heart issues!!!

So, looking at those two pictures on the left - they represent what I'm thinking today - I've come WAY too damn far in my health & fitness journey to let this damn A-Fib derail me.

The pictures on the right show just some of what I'm committed to - eating right, and hitting my 10,000 steps a day. I will also continue with my Aqua Fit, my bodyweight exercises, and riding my bike.

Today was 'Weigh-in Tuesday', and I'm 10.1lbs less than I was exactly a month ago. I'm just 11lbs from an exact 100lb weight loss, which will be my halfway point on this health & fitness odyssey.

I've had too much success, and learned WAY too much to allow myself to spin-out and self-destruct.

Nope. Not gonna happen.

I'm continuing onwards, and while I may be slow, I am undeterred.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Good News / Bad News

Well, they say you can't have the sweet without the sour. This was proven to me Friday morning when my heart went back into A-Fib.

I always knew I'd not have a totally smooth road all the way through my whole health & fitness recovery. I'd thought about what those potholes could be & how I'd not let them derail my progress, but I wasn't expecting THIS!!!

Stupid A-Fib.

It's not life threatening, and it's very manageable.



Two years ago I had knee surgery & A-Fib - and after spending 4 days in the cardiac wing, these were the root-cause of my motivation that has gotten me HERE, today, as I was not prepared at this (relatively) young stage of life to face being on prescriptions for the rest of my life.

(Yes, these help my heart, but they all have side effects & unknown downstream issues when one looks at 20 or 30 years on these drugs)

Never mind how they make me FEEL.


Thursday night I was feeling better than I'd felt in 20 years. Seriously. I felt physically strong, mentally clear, vibrant, and downright sprightly. I really cannot overstate how freakin GREAT I'd been feeling these last few weeks!

Aqua Fit was going very well, my 10,000 steps a day was rockin', and I'd added a daily routine of 6 bodyweight exercises that felt GREAT and were showing tremendous progress.

The weight was melting away...

What I forgot was that a key contributor to A-Fib is STRESS. I'd been majorly stressed for WEEKS about the mess at work, getting my vacation covered, and finding out I'd have to work nightly while on vacation. My upwards reporting chain seemed to not give a damn, and I had to figure it all out myself, and in the end I was able to mitigate the risk to Baxter, but I'd have to work nightly on vacation. I was PISSED, but I need to be the 'go-to-guy' so that this damn job will pick me up full time.

Big 'ole pile of Stress!

Then Thursday I got even more pissed when I (felt) I got ripped off at the car stereo shop. Maybe it was a musunderstanding and I should have asked more questions, but I was PISSED.

Angry. Stompy-stompy.

...and then via text conversation later Thursday night, with follow-up on Friday morning - I was insulted beyond belief by someone who should be my biggest advocate. "Insulted" isn't even remotely strong enough - I felt I'd taken a spear to the chest.

Which, literally, I did. While sitting there Friday morning & getting text confirmation that they weren't trying to be funny, they were 'totally serious', I felt my chest tighten & my heart began to run away...

...right into A-Fib...

I felt like freaking out & crying all at the same time. Within a few hours I'd spoken to my Cardiologist & was back on my awful old meds.

I'm constantly out of breath & sweating. Bounding up the stairs in my sprightly manner will now take me down at the knees when my breath can't catch up.

I'm so very, very upset...

I was doing SO well, and feeling SO great!

At this point I'm now wearing 2xl clothes, and no longer tied to the awful Big & Tall stores. (I'd hit 5x in 2013)

In the included pictures you can see me wearing a green coat this morning. I stole this from my Father in '96, and it's not fit this well since then.

I have a beautiful new bike I want to ride this Spring, but yesterday when I rode it the first time, it felt like I just couldn't get my lungs to keep up, but I know it's the damn A-Fib.

I'm just 11lbs away from my 'century' loss, and halfway point. I should be celebrating, but I'm terrified, pissed, angry, and upset.

...but I'm determined to keep eating correctly & walking my 10,000 steps each day. I just might be slower & more out of breath, but dammit, I'm not giving up...

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Ten Essentials

A challenge was recently issued to me.

Based on a series of articles posted on called "The Ten Essentials", I was asked what my list would be.

I delved into the GQ articles & I thought long and hard about so many things that have special places in my heart.

I thought about what I'd call "essential" to me, and eveything that implies. Family heirlooms, bits of personal history, coveted gifts, hard lessons learned....I quickly realized that I had at LEAST ten items, in at LEAST ten categories!

The question quickly became - how could I possibly ever distill that down to just ten individual items?

Not exactly what was originally intended, I came up with a 'Ten of Ten' photo essay, based on my initial thoughts:

Monday, March 02, 2015

Day #180

So...exactly 180 days ago, I changed my life...

I know that sounds awfully pompous & self congratulatory; but, to me, it's astounding, incredible, and hard to believe.

I never thought it'd happen, quite honestly. I had beaten myself up for so many years, and been told by SO many people how I was just lacking discipline, & willpower, and that I was just being lazy.

It was awful.

The cravings were just so damn powerful, and every-time I tried to excessive my willpower I was up against astounding sugar crashes, feeling awful, lethargic, 'hangry', and often downright sick.

Nobody, including this Former Marine, can stand alone for very long against something SO big & powerful.

Finding a way out has been transformational. Being free of cravings, sugar-crashes, and the 'hangries' has been simply amazing.

I have a long road ahead of me. I'm roughly 40% towards my goal, and I know I'll be hitting plateaus & slow-downs in my weight loss. While I have lost an astounding amount of weight (84lbs total, 48lbs since Oct 2nd), I still have 116lbs to lose until I hit my goal weight. I'm still a VERY fat guy, but I now have a weight loss tool I've never ever had before...


I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Whole 30 Team, and my Sister for finding the W30 & coaching me through my first 30 days back in September.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Numbers

This week my office held it's annual Health Fair. This gave me a nice snapshot of how my new Health & Fitness program is REALLY working.

The long & short of it - fantastic!

My good cholesterol needs to come up (gotta go out & start to occasionally lift heavy things), but everything else is either "good", or dramatically improved & on the verge of being in the good zone.

I feel fantastic, and it's because I continue to eat damn well, sleep fantastically, and walk a ton each day.

I mean - look at that clean rhythm on my heart rate!  Crisp!  Clean!  Not a damn HINT of A-Fib!!!

+Total Cholesterol – 156               (<200)

-HDL (Good) Cholesterol – 30     (>60)

-Total / HDL – 5.1                              (<4.0)

-LDL Cholesterol – 110                   (<100)

+Triglycerides – 81                           (<150)

+Fasting Glucose – 80                    (<100)

+/-Blood Pressure – 125 / 75       (<120 / 80)

BMI – 48.15                                        (Previous was 54)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Truth in pictures...

Here is a side-by-side comparison of my two 'diet belts'.

On top is my 'Atkins' belt from 2009. Current belt is below.

My current weight loss begins at zero inches, and I'm currently at 10, on both belts.

I have made astounding progress, no doubt. My current weight loss is 80lbs, with the vast majority of that happening since September.

However, as a reality check, when I lost weight in 2009, my low point is at 18! Interestingly, my weight & waist size don't seem to be correlating, as I'm currently only 15lbs away from my previous low point. A good rule of thumb is generally about 10lbs per inch on the belt, but that'd mean I was still 70 or 80lbs away from my previous low point!

Either way, I know that THIS time I'm doing things the 'right way'. I feel great, and I'm tickled pink with my progress.

...but I can't get cocky or lazy, I've still got a VERY long way to go...

The Put-Man's Breakfast Salad

Step One: cover large plate with a thick layer of shredded lettuce. I used an entire head of red leaf.

Step Two: cook bacon, place on lettuce (top left of picture)

Step Three: cook eggs in bacon grease, place on top of bacon (top right)

Step Four: liberally apply hot sauce & spicy salsa, to taste (bottom left)

Step Five: cut up everything into bite sized chunks, allowing egg yolks, hot sauce, and salsa to intermingle. Toss salad until evenly mixed (bottom right).

Step Six: eat salad, lick plate, drink coffee (not pictured).

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Nothing succeeds like success


That's how I feel, that's how I'm doing, and for the first time in YEARS, that's become what I now EXPECT of myself.

In this week's picture, look at the yellow graph. That's my weight loss since Sept! It's dropping at an astounding rate, and even more shocking is the consistency!

My daily walks continue to ROCK, and for the 30 days of Feb 15 to Mar 15 I plan to average each week above 9k (gotta plan for a recovery day), with three hours each week of intense exercise above & beyond that base-level.

I am now just 19lbs from my 'Century' goal of 100lbs lost, and I'm still aiming for April Fool's Day.

In the meantime, I'm doing fun stuff like washing all my nice sweaters in super hot water, trying to shrink them to fit my not-as-fat-as-it-used-to-be ass.

Everyone needs a good mid-winter project, right?