Thursday, March 31, 2011

30 Days of Biking!

I took my bike in for a repair estimate yesterday and was told it would cost between $200-$250 to get my bike back into riding condition.  Yikes!  That much money just to get my 12-year-old mountain bike where it was a year ago?  No thank you.  I am in the market for a bicycle and I need one soon.

30 Days of Biking starts tomorrow!  What's 30 Days of biking you ask?  Well, you're in luck.  Here to tell you all about it is a friend of mine and one of the founders, himself.

What is this 30 Days of Biking Thing Anyways?

30 Days of Biking is a challenge to ride your bike every day for thirty days during the month of April. It is what you make of it. Your goals drive what the event means for you. The one common theme is that we all ride every day!

We then share adventures online and with the world: Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, Daily Mile, snail mail, bottles in the ocean. Take photos, issue tweets, write blog entries. By participating in 30 Days of Biking, you join a worldwide community of cyclists who will encourage you along the way—you won’t be alone, you will be encouraged!

At 30 Days of Biking, we strongly believe that biking enriches life, builds community, and preserves the earth. It's what we here have personally seen and witnessed time and time again from year one participants. People who participate literally change their lives in a profound way—from physical enhancements (slimmer bodies, tighter butts, titanium legs) to internal changes (state of being, feeling zen) to social boosts (meeting new fun people, spending quality biking time with family).

We encourage you to try 30 Days of Biking, challenge yourself, and see what kinds of stories you have!


Zachariah Schaap is one of the founders of 30 Days of Biking.  You can follow him on twitter @Zachamon or just use the hashtag #30daysofbiking.  You can also "like" 30 Days of Biking on facebook here.  Sign up here! It's free!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What I Hate About Myself

I hate my chin.

Now that you've seen it, I'm sure you hate it too.  It's pretty gross.  It's the reason I have a beard which my wife, Claire, has never seen me without.  I shaved it once five or six years ago and I looked like this.
That's me on the left.  People get us mixed up sometimes.  It's the hair.
I'd like to be able to at least have the option to ditch the beard without looking like a huge chubo.  Even with the beard, I'm not happy with how I look.  I'd like to think that when I reach my goal weight of 196 pounds, I'll have a nice chin with a strong jaw line, but I don't know if that will happen.  I'd like to say, "Be happy with what you have," but that attitude doesn't help me lose weight.

What do you want to change about yourself?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Topless Mayhem

This is an eventful week.  I've got a guest post coming up and 30 Days of Biking Starting on Friday.  I'll be doing a giveaway this week at some point too, so stay tuned.

Today's post is titled Topless Mayhem.

No, not that kind of topless mayhem.  This kind of topless mayhem.

On the left is me at my heaviest.  313 pounds.  Gross.  In the middle is what I looked like last July and on the right is what I look like now (well, yesterday).  I can't really tell if there's much of a difference between July and now.  Maybe a little.  I feel kind of stuck.

Here's a view from the side.

I think I've shrunk a little, but it's really hard to tell.  What do you think?  The biggest motivator here is seeing how far I've come since I started.  All I have to do to succeed is just do what I've already done one more time.  I can do that.

Oh, for those of you who really wanted some topless mayhem, I won't disappoint.

Maybe I'll look like this some day.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Weigh-In Results

Spring Break, Woo!

As you may have surmised, I have this week off of work.  Today, that meant sleeping until noon and not putting on any pants until 3:00.  The rest of this week, that's going to mean cleaning and biking (probably not at the same time though).

This is my bicycle map of Minneapolis.  The green lines on the right are the rides I've taken this year.  Here's a better view:
As you can see, there isn't much green yet.  Probably due to the brutal winter we've had this year.  This week I'm on spring break and it's getting warmer.  On top of it, 30 Days of Biking starts on Friday.  There's going to be a lot of green added to my map this week!  Stay tuned.

It's almost April and my new 21-day challenge starts today.  For the next three weeks, I will be trying to stop my meals before I am full.  I will be satisfied without being stuffed.  I have recently read that a difference between people who are naturally thin and those who are overweight is that people who are thin naturally stop eating before they are full where overweight people keep eating until they are full.  I'm going to take the fake it 'til I make it mentality.

Now the only way to do this is to record how full I feel after meals.  Since I don't overeat during breakfast and lunch (because I pack a small lunch and only eat a bowl of Special K for breakfast), I'll be tweeting a number -one through ten- each day to report how full I felt after dinner.  My goal is to keep that number around six or seven for the next three weeks.  Hopefully, by then it will be a habit.  Today after dinner I was about a 7 out of ten for fullness.

It's Monday and weigh-ins are on Mondays.  Let's get down to business.

240.4.  I gained half a pound this week.  I haven't done very well as far as diet and exercise, but I'm not sweating it.  I'm pretty sure I'll be able to knock it out this week.  What kind of exercise do you think I should be doing over my spring break?

Oh, and stay tuned.  I'll be announcing another giveaway soon!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A New Goal

I ate at Chipotle tonight and I was famished.  I saved myself 300 calories and ordered a burrito bowl instead of a burrito.  I also refrained from ordering the chips and stuck with water.  When I was finished I was still hungry, but I filled up my water again and hit the road.  Great decision.  20 minutes later, I found I was full, but not stuffed.

I stole this picture from the Paleo Diet Blog.

Given my relationship with food, it was really hard for me to do.  That got me thinking.  Maybe my next 21-day challenge should be to eat without overeating.  I already (usually) do it two meals a day.  Why not make it every meal?  I don't think I eat unhealthy foods very often, I just eat too much.

So here's my plan for the month of April:  I'm going to stop eating before I'm full at every meal.  This one seems more habit-y than any of my other challenges.  I recently read that the difference between thin and overweight people is thin people have a better awareness of when to stop eating.  Maybe I wasn't born with that awareness, but hopefully I'll be able to fake it until I make it.  With any luck, this one will stick and I'll be able to get myself out of the slow lane.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Weigh-In Results

Happy Monday everyone.  It's time for a weigh-in. 

239.9.  I lost 1.4 pounds this week.

I don't get it.  I've been exercising less, eating more, and still managing to lose a little weight each week.  I feel like I've gained weight.  The only thing I can think of is that I'm losing muscle.

It's hard to motivate myself to eat right and exercise if I'm losing weight without doing anything.  I know all of you are probably telling me to shut up right about now.  A loss is a loss and I should be happy. 

I just don't feel like I earned this one.

It does, however, feel really good to be below 240.  It's been months since I've been this far and I feel like I could make some real progress in the next couple weeks.  I feel like if I push now, I'll make some big steps in the right direction.  I don't know where the ammunition is going to come from, but I've got to find it somewhere.

Where do you find your motivation?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

30 Days of Biking

30 Days of Biking starts again in April.  If you want to join in, here's how it works.  Just get on a bike every day for 30 days.  I'll be getting a lot of bike riding in by bicycle commuting.  I challenge you to join me.  Just pedal a little or a lot (it's up to you) every day in April.  It's healthy, it's green, and it will make your legs damn sexy.

If you'd like to learn more about 30 Days of Biking or register (don't worry, everything's free.  They just want to see how many people are participating), visit the website at  Push yourself out of your comfort zone.  You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I have had a no good, very bad, terrible day. Until I saw this video anyway. 

I was all set to bike to work for the first time in 2011 this morning, until my wife, Claire, informed me that there was some serious frost and black ice on the roads.  I'm glad I didn't take my bike.  I nearly biffed walking from my car to the building. 

Then the school day began.  It was rough.  All day was rough.  At the end of the day I was surprised my head hadn't exploded.  I may have done some emotional eating after work, I really can't remember.  It's all kind of a blur.

As a result, I'm feeling fat.  I have since yesterday, actually.  I was running on the treadmill at a different gym than I usually frequent and there was a mirror to the right of the line of machines.  I looked over and saw my belly and man-boobs flopping like crazy.  I felt so fat and gross.  I thought I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I have so far left to go. 

At least the weather is nice.  I'm hopefully going to bike to work next week and I'll try to get a couple rides in this weekend. 

All right.  I need to get some rest.  Parent-teacher conferences are tomorrow.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Weigh-In Results

Well... I had did really well posting every day until Thursday.  Then I let the entire weekend slip by too.  I'll try to do better this week.

I haven't had the best week diet or exercise-wise.  I've kind of just been plodding along.  I did go to the gym a few times and I didn't really count calories.  I wasn't out of control, but I'd definitely categorize my efforts as not good enough.

Let's see how I did.

Even the cat wanted to see how I did.
Well, I'm losing weight.  .7 pounds this week.  I'm frustrated that when I try really hard I stagnate, and when I have a week where I just kind of coast, I have a loss (albeit a small one).  I want to see some really big losses.  I'm only 6.3 pounds away from the weight that I was when I started college.  At about 225 or so, I will be the lightest I've been since I was 16.  That would will be amazing.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Diet Coke

I have a bit of an Achilles' Heel for Diet Coke.  I don't drink it as much as I used to, but when it's around, I go through a case in just a couple days.  I always took solace in the fact that it has no calories.  I just watched a video by Frank Dobner at Male Weight Loss Now.

I had read some of this information before, but Frank makes a pretty convincing case.

My weight loss journey isn't just about eating less food, it's about eating the right foods.  Michael Pollan's recent book, Food Rules, suggests not eating anything with ingredients that a 5th grader can't pronounce.  Highly processed foods, while not necessarily higher in calories, contain chemicals that, while approved by the FDA, probably aren't as healthy as fresh fruits and veggies.  Back when I was in Weight Watchers, the woman running the meeting said that you could spend all your points on ice cream if you really wanted, but you probably wouldn't lose any weight and you'd be hungry all the time.

I'm going to make soda a special treat and only buy it one bottle/can at a time.  I also think I'm going to stick to soda with fewer man-made chemicals.  Calorie free isn't worth the trade-off for me anymore.  If I want a sweet drink, I'll budget for the calories.  I'm not saying I'll never have another Diet Coke, but I will definitely think twice the next time I'm at the vending machine.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Buffet

A while ago, my wife, Claire, and I dropped a friend off about half-an-hour away from where we live.  We decided we'd go out for dinner.  We found a place called Mongolian Buffet. It was a weird combination of Old Country Buffet and a Mongolian Barbecue.  I started with a huge plate of salad and tried to get a lot of veggies in, but I'm sure I went over my recommended daily intake that day. 

I noticed a lot of people trying to get their money's worth.  Going up for thirds, fourths, and fifths.  Helping themselves to plenty of soft-serve ice cream and loading their plates with deep fried food.

Two years ago, I would have been one of the people piling my plate as high as I could get it.  I would have tried to race against time to eat as much as I could before my stomach could tell my brain I was full.  Then I would have tried to shove down a dessert.

This got me thinking about the nature of the buffet.  Why does a restaurant exist where we can eat as much food as we can possibly eat?  For the $15 I paid to eat at the buffet, I could have bought a pretty nice meal at a much classier restaurant and still probably have taken home some leftovers.  Why are we compelled to go to a place with unlimited food?

I think the buffet really comes from the fear inside all of us that we won't have enough food.  A number of years ago when I was in Germany, I got upset that there weren't free soda refills a McDonald's where I ate.  Why did I need more soda?  Why did it make me so uncomfortable not to have a limitless supply of carbonated sugar water? 

Here's my point.  Go to a restaurant that serves limited portions.  Limit your portions.  The next time you eat a meal, stop before you're full.  You're not going to starve to death.

Stop being afraid of being hungry.  

Monday, March 7, 2011

Weigh-In Results (and Polar Bear Plunge Pictures)

Happy Monday.  Sorry I was absent from the internet this week.  At best, I was on vacation from a diet.  At worst, I fell off the wagon.  I really had a crappy week as far as eating and exercise is concerned.  I didn't go crazy or anything, but I ate a lot of fatty foods.  Chinese, pizza, a burger and chips (fries), buffalo chicken sandwich, etc. 

The one thing I noticed, however,  was my body really didn't like being fed crap.  I've had stomach aches and bloating a lot this week.

So how does all this factor into my weigh-in?  Let's see.

Sorry about the dark picture.  I forgot to take my camera off of ISO 100.

WTF?  I fall off the wagon and lose weight?  It's only 0.1 pounds, but it's still a loss.  I thought I was going to gain five pounds this week.   I'm glad that I didn't, but my behavior this week definitely doesn't deserve a loss.  My only guess is all the work I did the week before caught up with me. 

The really good news is I don't have any weight to re-lose. 

Now, as promised, some pictures of the Polar Bear Plunge that Claire and I did.

The blocks of ice they cut out of the lake.

 I feel so skinny in this picture.

We had about three seconds to stare into the cold, cold water.

Wait, was this a good idea?
Cold! Cold! Cold! Cold! Cold!
I look at these pictures and realize I've got a long way to go.  I'm still a chunker.  But I have made progress.   Here's what I looked like last year for the plunge just for comparison.

That's me on the left if you couldn't tell.

I'm back on board.  See you soon and make it a good week!