Monday, May 31, 2010

Weigh-In Results

I've totally neglected my blog this week.  That's not all I've neglected.  I've been trying to achieve a better balance between my weight loss and my life with results you'll see shortly.

Let's get on with the public shaming.
Crap.  I gained 7.3 pounds since my last weigh in.  Here's a breakdown of what happened:

I ate a lot this week.  A lot.  Tuesday we made chicken parmigiana for a friend.  Wednesday, I ate at two potlucks.  Friday we went to my aunt and uncle's house.  We had some incredibly delicious Thai chicken burgers.  Saturday, I went to a friend's birthday party.  It was a barbecue.  Sunday and today were a Memorial Day celebration.  Everybody brought incredible food.  I didn't get drunk or anything, but I had more beers this weekend than I have had in total since I started my blog.

I didn't drink water.  I had pop instead (though it was diet).

I missed four days of exercise.  Gross.

Alright.  That's what happened.  On top of all of that, I'm pretty sure I was dehydrated at the last weigh in.

I'm not trying to make excuses, I'm trying to lay out why I gained 7.3 pounds this week.  I'm going to hit it hard this week.  Let's see what happens.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a special "End of the May Push Weigh In".  There's a part of me that hopes I gained a lot of water weight over the weekend.  Maybe we'll see that tomorrow.

I'm still going to do this.  100 Pounds in a Year is still within reach.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Check out the free stuff

I'll be back tomorrow with a proper post, but everyone should head over to 263 and counting for a giveaway!

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Two Potlucks

So today I faced some serious peril.  Two potlucks in one day.  We had our work potluck and our church choir potluck.  There was some serious food at these. 

I think I did pretty well.  I shared a plate with my wife, Claire, at dinner.  we had dessert, but didn't stuff our faces by any means.  I did alright at lunch too. 

I've been super-busy lately and in order to establish a better balance in my life, Claire and I decided I'm going to have a 10:00 bed time for the computer.  I'm a huge dawdler and always stay up way too late.  Plus right before bed is usually conversation time for a while until we wind down and go to sleep.  So I'm going to try to get my blog done earlier, but it may not happen some nights.  I'm still going to try for every day, but if I haven't posted anything for a while, it doesn't mean I've given up on my health. 

I will not miss a Monday night weigh-in, however.

Anywho, not much of a point to this post.  Have a great Thursday everybody.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Weigh-In Results

Happy Monday everybody.  I had a crazy busy weekend and didn't have time to post.  On Friday, my brother came home from England after 9 months of studying abroad.  I did it; I ordered a salad at Famous Daves!  I spent Saturday morning listening to vocal auditions for The Music Man.  After that, I gave a trumpet lesson and came home to meet the in-laws for the evening.  Sunday morning my amazing wife, Claire, and I became members at our church.  We are now officially Unitarian Universalists.  Then, of course, was the 4 and a half hour series finale of Lost. 

Over the course of this weekend, I ate at Famous Dave's, Chipotle, an Indian restaurant called Namaste Cafe, and a great big egg bake breakfast on Sunday.  I tried to be responsible at each location, but it's still too much eating for one weekend.

Let's get to the weigh-in.

I call this the before and after scale.


A good weigh-in to be sure, but there were a few factors that made this weigh-in a little suspect.  First, it was roughly a thousand degrees outside and muggy when we went running tonight.  I shed a lot of water weight tonight.  I also had that problem where the reading changed every time I stepped on it.  Still, I'm taking this 4.2 pound weigh-in and enjoying it.  I'm going to have a good weigh-in next week too.  I think the May Push could be a success!

I have to take a minute and thank my wonderful wife, Claire.  She's been there supporting me every step of this journey.  There's no way I could have done this without her.  I know this because I've tried and failed before.  I know sometimes she gets frustrated with all the obsessing I do about my weight (it borders on unhealthy).  It's especially bad right before weigh-ins.  But she's been right beside me doing whatever it takes to keep me motivated.  She's helped me stay strong in every way imaginable.  She reminds me when I shouldn't be snacking (much to my chagrin), she helps me think of things to make our lives healthier, and she's even running with me.

Claire, I know my journey isn't easy, but I'm doing it so we can grow old together.  I'm doing it so you're not a widow at 55.  I'm doing it so you can wrap your arms around me when we hug.  I'm doing it so I don't have to catch my breath when we're holding hands walking down the street.  I'm doing it because I don't want you to have to remind me to check my blood sugar because of diabetes.  I'm doing it so I can keep up with you.  I'm doing it because I want to be healthy.  For you.  I'm doing it because I love you.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Guest Post: The Real Cost of Being Overweight.

Thanks to Jackie Dee for the guest post.  I'll be back tomorrow with my usual nonsense.  Enjoy.

Andrew asked a few days ago for volunteers to guest post for him this week. I thought, as a dietetics/nutrition student studying to become a registered dietitian (R.D.), that I'd throw my hat in the ring and talk about something related to nutrition or obesity. Andrew gave me the go ahead, and I went into work Tuesday mulling the topic over.

When you work in a hospital, even as a lowly diet clerk (moi), you are sometimes confronted with death. It's sort of surprising, really, how invested you can become in the lives of those people with whom your life intersects for only a short time. The woman on bed rest with twins, the stroke patient, the guy recovering from surgery. And the severely obese woman with acute kidney failure. The one who died Tuesday evening.

I'd seen Celeste* a few times a week for the past month or so. She was just 50 years old,  with a sweet, breathy voice and pretty brown eyes. I often saw a young man visiting with her, himself painfully obese, who I assumed was her son. Lying in bed, unable to move, clean or dress herself, she relied on her nurses and caregivers for everything. She was on a strict protein count, not because they were trying to get her to lose weight, but because they needed to make sure her kidneys weren't further taxed by eating more protein than the organs could handle.

Her death surprised and shook me more than I would have expected, given that I barely knew her. As I walked past Celeste's room that evening on my p.m. rounds, I whispered, “I'm sorry” under my breath, knowing that this woman had died not from an aggressive pathogen or an unpreventable trauma, but from conditions directly and preventably associated with obesity. For the first time I truly understood obesity's cost.

I'd never really grasped what they (“they” being politicians, health care providers, etc.) meant when they'd talked about obesity costing this country millions in health care, or about how obesity leads to disease. I myself have been overweight nearly my whole life, but I've never been acutely sick. Many of us think only of heart attacks when we think of death related to excess weight but really, there is a laundry list of diseases and conditions caused by obesity. Most of them become progressively more damaging with time. Among them are:
                  hypertension (high blood pressure),
                  high cholesterol,
                  coronary heart disease,
                  chronic kidney failure,
                  obstructive sleep apnea (OSA),
                  degenerative joint diseases (osteoarthritis),
                  Type 2 Diabetes

We can treat the symptoms of most of these conditions with drugs or surgery; diuretics, antidepressants, insulin/metformin, statins, chemotherapy, antacids/PPI's, fertility drugs, bypass surgery, reconstructive surgery, etc., etc., etc.,  but at enormous cost to ourselves and our fellow taxpayers, and without addressing the root cause. But what if we never had to have these conditions to begin with? What could we possibly do to keep ourselves from getting this sick? The 4 little words that no one really wants to hear or heed (at least at the beginning of their journey): eat right and exercise.

I'm as sorry as the next person. I too wish that I could unlearn this truth but the fact remains that eating right and exercising is the best and most cost effective way to prevent or reverse chronic disease. No....seriously..... reverse it. GERD/OSA/Type 2 Diabetes/PCOS/high cholesterol/hypertension and depression can all be improved or even go into remission with significant weight loss. Even small changes have big impact. Did you know that exercise can increase insulin sensitivity in the body within 15 minutes?! Decreased insulin sensitivity is one of the hallmarks of Type 2 diabetes. Did you know that a weight loss of only 10% of body weight has a greater effect on lowering blood pressure than salt restriction or even drug therapy?

Unfortunately, I also know how hard it is to make the right choice. Remember, I mentioned being overweight myself? It's something I've struggled with for nearly 20 years, always thinking, “It's not fair...” while eating the better portion of a pizza for dinner, failing to grasp simple cause and effect.

However, becoming an adult means coming to terms with reality. The reality is that if I want to be healthy and happy into old age (barring catastrophic circumstances), I have to make the decision, or rather the commitment, every single day to get up, get moving, and consume foods that serve me rather than hurt me. The most wonderful part of this for me is that I LOVE food; every new texture, every new taste is an adventure and an experience for me. I've learned to love to cook, to cultivate food, to trace a food from the exact spot on earth where it grew to the plate in front of me. Learning about and experimenting with good food gives me such a high. On the other hand, motivating myself to exercise will, I fear, never stop being a struggle.

And that's where others come in. That's where this blog, this community of supporters, comes in. We all have our strengths, we all have our stumbling blocks, but we all need each other; to remind us of our goals, how far we've come, and what's really important,  because at the end of the day, at the end of a life, obesity isn't about any one thing, whether looks or will-power,  respect or cost, but about the quality and value of each individual existence.

*Not her real name

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


The other day I wondered how I could be this cool.  I know the answer now.  And that is by merely showing you this picture:

By now, you're probably trembling from the awesomeness.  So let's get on with the post.

The other day, I was complaining to my wife, Claire, about how I can't seem to get my head wrapped around this eating right thing.  She insisted I was being too hard on myself and I insisted that she didn't see all the snacking and dessert eating I do when she's not around.

Then she said something that made me see the light.  She said, "Do you remember how you ate when we started dating?  A meal for you was an entire frozen pizza or a bowl of elbow macaroni slathered in Cheez Whiz.

Well, my eating is nowhere near perfect.  My portions are still a little too large and I don't always pick the best things to eat but I've made tremendous progress since I transformed myself from the man who gained 80 pounds in college to the man who is losing 100 pounds in a year.

Here are a few things I've picked up during my transition:

Disclaimer: I am not, nor do I claim to be, an expert on nutrition.  The information here is correct to the best of my knowledge.  If you spot something that is false or otherwise misleading, please let me know via the comments section below.

1.  I started snacking on almonds.  Almonds are very good for you.  They contain Omega-3s and all kinds of other good stuff.  I'm not a dietitian and I don't know all of their benefits, but I can tell you that they're delicious.  They fill me up much better than chips do too.

The downside of almonds is that they are very calorie-dense.  So be careful.

2.  I've been eliminating white foods from my diet.  Now this sounds silly.  Why would I eliminate a food from my diet based on color?  Well it's not really about color, it's more about content.  Foods like white bread, white rice, and anything with white flour contain simple carbohydrates.  Your body loves simple carbs because they are easy to break down and store as fat.  Once your body has stored all of the energy you just took in, you're hungry again.  Leading to some pretty severe cravings.  I've chosen instead to opt for whole grain alternatives.  I've switched almost exclusively to wheat bread, brown rice, and, get this, whole wheat saltine crackers.  Holy crap are those things good.  Seriously, they're 10 times better than regular saltines.

The reason whole grain foods are better for you is they contain what are called complex carbohydrates.  Complex carbs aren't as easily broken down by your body and stored as fat.  The energy you get from them is much more consistent than simple carbs.  You don't crash once your body has finished storing it all as fat.

3.  I've moved from iceberg lettuce to spinach.  I don't know a lot about what's in spinach, but a friend of mine told me he once heard a doctor say "Even if you have to deep fry it to eat it, spinach is still one of the best things you can eat."  Please don't deep fry your spinach.  Personally, I like it in chicken caesar salads.

4.  I've worked hard on getting over my psychological need to be stuffed to the gills every time I eat.  Stuffing my face used to make me feel secure.  I once had an incident (in my 20s) where I nearly threw a fit because we stopped at a Dairy Queen that only had ice cream and hot dogs.  I wanted my flamethrower burger.  One of the ways I've coped is I fill my 24 ounce water bottle before each meal and drink the whole thing as I'm eating.  I usually feel quite full after my meal even though the food alone wouldn't do the trick.  Plus, drinking water is very good for you.

5.  I make my own Chinese take-out at home.  I love Chinese food but it's not good for you at all.  I used to make the Wanchai Ferry kung pao chicken kit, but my stupid grocery store stopped carrying it.  So I decided to learn to make my own.  It's way better and I think a bit healthier too.  I'll post the recipe some time.

6.  I've exercised.  A lot.  I started by going to the gym for 20-25 minutes a night a few nights a week.  Then I bumped that up to every night for 3 weeks in January.  I've tried (and failed at) the 100 pushups challenge.  I made it to 55 and I'll try again at some point.  I'm currently doing Couch to 5k and plan on running a 5k race this summer.  I've also started a weight-lifting regiment courtesy of Mr. Scott.  I'm always trying new ways to move my body, but interpretive dance is still off the table (for now).

When you make a few changes to your life, it really helps motivate you to make others.  These are just a few things I've tried to do to change my life.  I have a long way to go, but I'm learning how to do more than just drop pounds.  I'm learning how to be healthy.

What have you changed to make your life better and healthier?  What will you change?  Do you think Spock is as cool as I do?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Weigh-In Results

Like every week, I doubted myself before I got on the scale tonight.  I'm always sure I've gained weight.  This week I feel very fit, but was sure I was going to go up in weight or maintain at the very least.  My Achilles heel has been nutrition.  It's getting better, but I have such a hard time logging everything I eat.  I do have plans to photograph everything I eat, but this is not the week to take that on.  Instead, I'm going to try to use the Daily Plate again.

My brother, Erick, is coming home from England on Friday! He's requested dinner at Famous Dave's.  If you have never heard of Famous Dave's, it's a chain of barbecue restaurants notorious for enormous portions and live blues music.  I have four days to plan what I'm going to get as to not break the bank.  For instance, I should probably stay away from the brisket (800 calories and 100 grams of fat from what I've been able to find on teh interwebz).  I need your help.  Head over to the Famous Dave's website and tell me what I should order.

Let's get to the weigh-in.

I lost 2.4 pounds this week.  Wooh!  I've lost 40.1 pounds since I started this blog.  I'm really doing this!

One last thing.  I'm very busy on Thursday and won't be able to write a post.  Anyone want to write a guest post for me?

Update: I can't seem to extract email addresses from the comments.   If you're interested in doing a guest-post, please email me.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


How many of you out there know what a CPAP is?  If you've struggled with obesity like me, you're probably familiar.  For those of you who aren't, allow me to explain.

I have a medical condition called sleep apnea.  Essentially, it means I snore.  Now I'm not talking mild snoring.  I'm talking sawing some serious logs.  If you were in the next room over, you would say, "who's the lumberjack in the other room?"  That lumberjack is me.  And what's worse, all of that snoring is impacting the way I sleep.  I had a sleep study done five years ago where they told me I was waking myself up hundreds of times a minute.  That's right, over once per second!  What happens is when I snore, my airway gets blocked by my soft pallet and I can't breathe.  I have to wake up in order to keep from suffocating. 

So in order to address this problem, I have to wear this monstrosity.

This is my CPAP mask.  It's connected to a machine that forces air up my nose.  It keeps my soft pallet from blocking my airway.  I often call it my snoring machine when I'm on trips with friends, who often call it my Darth Vader Mask.

I seriously hate this thing.  I don't hate wearing it, I just hate that I have to wear it.  I can't sleep without it now at all and I hate being tied to an electrical outlet in order to sleep.  I hate that if I'm going to crash somewhere, I have to pack it up and take it with.  I hate that whenever I fly anywhere, airport security tests it to make sure it's not a bomb.  I hate that I can't go camping.  I really hate that one.

I also hate what it does to my face.

I took this picture after being up for over an hour.  The straps leave awful marks on my face that sometimes stick around all day.  All Day!  Sometimes my students will notice them and ask me why I have red marks on my face. 

I don't want to need my CPAP.  A lot of times sleep apnea is weight-related.  Once I meet my goal, hopefully I'll be able to get rid of my Darth Vader mask for good.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I Need Your Help

Wow, it's been a long time since I last posted.  Life's been hectic, but I'm still here.  I've been very busy at work and I was just hired as the music director for a production of The Music Man.  I'm excited, but a little nervous.

I just finished week five of C25k.  I thought the 20-minute run would really kick my butt, but it didn't!  When my wife, Claire, and I finished, we couldn't believe 25 minutes had passed since we started our warm-up.

It occurred to me recently that things are getting stale here at 100 Pounds in a Year.  I feel like I'm not saying anything new anymore.  I need your help to think of ways to spice up my blog.  Please ask questions and leave suggestions.  What do you want to see here (besides consistent weight loss)?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Weigh-In Results

It's Monday and I'm finally capable of walking again.  I overextended myself on Thursday night doing lunges and am just now capable of exercising again.  I nearly fell over when my wife, Claire, and I were walking around the mall on Saturday night.

I'm disappointed in myself for not exercising every day during my May push, but I'm just going to keep soldiering on.  I'm not going to beat myself up over it.  Just move on.

Speaking of moving on, let's get to the weigh-in.

I'm making progress.  I lost 1.9 pounds this week, which isn't as much as I'd hoped, but it's still a good loss.  I didn't exercise for three days this week.  If I want to see results, I've got to put in the work.  I'm going to push hard and have a great weigh-in next week.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Blog of the Week

I just got back from a St. Paul Saints (a minor league baseball team) game that got rained out.  I was pretty disappointed seeing as I had press credentials and a lot of access to the stadium.  I was going to do some photography and hopefully have a ton of great shots to share with everybody.  Oh well, I did learn a few things (like what to put over your camera when it's pouring.  I did get some good shots though.  I'll share them later.

Each week I give some link love to a fellow weight loss blogger.  I've been busy recently, so I haven't done this in a few weeks.  This week's weight loss blogger started in January and has consistently posted great losses every week since.  Check out So Long, Fat Ass!  Brandon has lost 51 pounds so far!  Go take a look now.

One more thing.  I recently put a new comment system in place.  You can still post as a guest, but I don't think you can post as anonymous anymore.  I like it because I can actually respond to individual comments now.  You can link it to facebook, yahoo, twitter, etc.  So give it a try and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

World's Lamest Giveaway Results

So I had 20 entries in the World's Lamest Giveaway.  The winner gets the "talking" pedometer; a modern marvel with a dead battery (or it might be broken, I'm not sure).

Thanks to Body by Pizza (who would have won, had she not requested not to be entered), I used the random number generator at to randomly select a random number 1-20. 

The result was 7.  And the winner was:  Anonymous.  With this entry.

Wow random

It might say "instead of undertaking this pedometer project you should go exercise, count calories, plan meals, or clip the pedometer on and see how much you walk in a day"

I wish I knew who you were so I could give you the pedometer.  But you posted anonymously.

The next result was 13.  The winner this time was: Anonymous.  Seriously people, when you post in a contest, make sure you leave your name or a handle so I can give you your prize.  Here was entry 13:

I wonder if it comes with a snooze button, or if you would have to throw it across the room? 

Let's try this one more time.  Entry 2.  Alright!  We have a winner!

Seth said... my brother was needing one. this would be great for him! ha! Sign me up -- that's why I want it. 

Alright Seth, just email me your address here and I'll get this thing in the mail as soon as I can.   

Thanks everyone.  This was fun.  I'll try to do a new World's Lamest Giveaway soon.  Any what I should give away for the next one?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Short One

Today is Star Wars day.  May the 4th (be with you).  Now that the lameness is out of the way, let's get on with this very short post.

Tonight I went into the kitchen to make a reasonably healthy and delicious dinner.  I made petite steaks with roast asparagus and baked potatoes.  Quite a tasty meal.  Here's the problem: I was snacking the whole time I was making the meal.  By the time dinner was ready, I was almost full.  Ugh... At least I noticed it.  Tomorrow night, there will be no snacking while I'm cooking dinner.

Time to go exercise.  It's day 4 of my May push.  Don't forget my Giveaway ends tomorrow!

When have you caught yourself snacking?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Weigh-In Results

I spent this evening at the gym doing most of Mr. Scott's weight lifting routine.  There are a couple exercises I'm not quite sure how to do.  I think his plan was to keep me in the gym for a long time so I wouldn't be tempted to eat anything.  But the joke's on him.  I brought ice cream! 

Totally kidding.  Sadly, there was no ice cream at the gym tonight.

It's Monday and that means results.  Weigh-in results that is.  So let's get to it.

Yusss!  Another good week on the scale!  I lost 2.9 pounds, bringing me back to uncharted territory.  I'm lighter than I've been in 5 years!  I've lost a total of 35.8 pounds so far.  I'm stoked about this loss.  This means I only have 11.2 pounds left in my May push.  If every week's weigh-in for the next month is as good as tonight's, I'll see 249 pounds by June 1st. 

It's been a month since I first took my measurements.  That way, I can see what the scale may not be telling me.  Let's take a look.

If you recall, I weighed 265 pounds the last time I took my measurements (to be more accurate, my wife, Claire, took my measurements).  So it's only about 5 pounds difference between the two times I measured.

Here's how I did:
Neck 19" [no change]
Shoulder 54"  [-3/4"]
Bicep 15" [-1"]
Chest 49" [-1 1/4"]
Waist 49" [-2"]
Hips 43" [-3 1/2"]
Thigh 24" [- 4 1/2"]
Calf 18.5" [no change]

I was surprised by how much parts of me changed.  I'm having trouble believing some of them (thigh especially) but I'm going to accept them, be proud of them, and put my measuring tape away for another month.

Don't forget to enter in my Lame Giveaway

A Small Victory Followed by Pie

I'd like to thank Tyler at 344 Pounds for giving me a serious plug.  If you haven't checked out his site, you should.  If you're coming from his site, welcome!  My goal is to lose 100 pounds in a year (duh!) and I'm about 1/3 of the way there.  Be sure to check out my World's Lamest Giveaway.  I've got a sweet "talking" pedometer to give away.  Also, if you're new to my blog, you can subscribe or follow me on facebook on the sidebar to the right.  You can also follow me on twitter if you're really cool.
Alright, let's get on with the show.

I ate at T.G.I. Friday's last night.  I know, I know.  Dangerous territory.  Did you know they have deep fried green beans?  Gross.  Who would do that to a vegetable?  A look at the appetizer menu nearly gave me a panic attack.  After some careful planning, I ordered the a santa fe salad.  I only ate half of it and had a piece of peanut butter cup pie for dessert.  I felt like I was going to explode with regret (a feeling I'm sure you're familiar with if you've ever slipped up when trying to eat well).  

Edit: Just to reiterate, the pie was a mistake.  If I could take it back I would.  It was not a reward for ordering a salad.  It was a stupid, delicious mistake. 

Here's the victory.  I've never been able to bring myself to order a salad at a restaurant before.  There was a voice in my head telling me that I'd be wasting my eating out experience on a salad and needed to get a burger and fries or a steak and potatoes.  Probably a beer too.  So even though I indulged, I still managed to do something I haven't done before.

I exercised when I got home and went for a run tonight.  After all, it's day two of my May push.  I've also been fighting my grazing instinct fiercely tonight.  I'm going to stay strong and drink water instead of eating.  Hopefully, getting some sleep will make me less hungry.  Then again, I may dream of eating a giant marshmallow and wake up missing a pillow.  Does anyone know the

I'm hoping my efforts are going to pay off for my weekly weigh-in tomorrow.    I'm not sure they will, but I always get nervous around weigh-in time.  I'll also be taking measurements again and seeing if I've moved at all.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A May Push

Sometimes I wonder about things.  I wonder if I wonder if I'll manage to meet this ambitious goal I've set for myself.  100 pounds in a year doesn't give me much of a margin of error.  I've got to be really on top of things for the next 7 months in order to meet my goal.

I also wonder if I'll ever be as cool as this picture:

How could I even hold a candle to Captain Kirk sitting on a crazy sports car?  I don't even know if I should try.

But I digress.  For the last few months I've been wanting another month like January.  I lost nearly 20 pounds that month.  I was unstoppable.  So what did I do in January that I haven't done since?  I exercised every day for three weeks straight.

I know what I need to do to make May the new January.  I'm going to get my slightly-less-fat-than-it-used-to-be ass to the gym every day for three weeks again.  It doesn't have to be the gym.  The weather's nice here now.  I can go out for a run or bike ride or something.  I'm just going to be exercising every day starting today.

I know it would be a big loss, but I'd really like to see 249 by June 1st.  This isn't an official goal I'm setting for myself seeing as I'd have to lose over 3 pounds per week to make it happen.  But I'm going to try.

Now I need to figure out how to be as cool as Captain Kirk.

Food and Emotions

While cleaning out my grandma's house this weekend I was reminiscing with my mom about how Grandma always felt the need to feed us.  She would serve us a delicious and incredibly filling meal (not to mention fattening), then insist we eat dessert.  I've discovered a lot of people have received a similar treatment from their grandmothers.

My mom explained to me that people who lived during the depression when food was scarce will often give food as a sign of love.  The depression hit my grandparents' families very hard and it's wonderful that my grandma would want to give me something she didn't always have.

Three generations later, I'm still trying to separate love from food.  It's not easy.  Every time I'm feeling insecure, I try to fill that hole with cookie dough ice cream or a triple cheeseburger.  When my grandma died, someone brought over a pan of tater-tot hot dish.  I must have eaten half the pan myself.  I've learned to associate food with love and when I'm most in need of love from those around me, I instead turn to food.  Even a small thing like a stressful day at work can send me running for the potato chips.

Don't get me wrong.  It's okay to enjoy the food I'm eating and even have something that's not very good for me every now and then.  I'm allowed to have happy feelings when I eat.  The hard part is not eating every time I want happy feelings.

I think the answer lies in the idea that there are so many other things I can fill my life with besides food.  I can find new adventures that may or may not be exercise related.  I can spend more time with my friends and family.  I have my blog.  And I've got an incredible, supportive wife who cares about me and my journey.  Whenever I have a heavy heart, I need to turn in one of these directions rather than the direction of the kitchen.

I'm filling my life instead of my stomach.