Friday, August 10, 2012

Often in my life I've felt powerless to change things.  Powerless to change the perceptions others have of me, powerless to change my station in life.  Powerless to do a lot of things.  In the last couple years I've been underemployed, laid off, stagnated in my weight loss, and felt like I couldn't control any of it.  I've felt helpless and vulnerable.  I've felt like I wasn't ever going to amount to anything.  Most of all, I felt like nothing I did would ever change any of that.

I'm fed up.  I need to prove to myself I have the power to change my life.  Time to get up and go.  I don't need to eat as much as I do.  I can exercise harder, longer, and faster.  I can change my life. 

I'm going for a run.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Weigh-In Results

It's my third anniversary, so I'm going to make this quick.  I lost 2.7 pounds this week!

Sorry the picture's upside-down.  Let's see how well I can manage next week.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Using Technology to Lose Weight

I've been trying to keep a handle on my caloric intake lately.  After all, weight loss is simple math:

Calories in < Calories out

To do that, I've been using MyFitnessPal.  It's a free online calorie counter that I can use on my Android phone.  It syncs with my FitBit and adjusts how many calories I can take in that day using the data on how active I've been.  MyFitnessPal lets you log everything you've eaten, track exercise,

My wife, Claire, uses LoseIt! and really likes it.  

The most valuable thing counting calories brings to the table is the awareness of how many calories are in anything.  Even on days I don't track, I still read labels.  I understand that a cookie from Panera Bread is 450 calories (one quarter of my allotted daily intake) and a serving of carrots is 35 calories.  When you realize how much your favorite foods are really costing you as far as your daily calories are concerned, it puts them in perspective.

I've been noticing lately that sweets tend to make me go off the rails.  Sweets beget more sweets.  It's a dangerous cycle, but that's the topic for another post.

So if you haven't yet, give apps like LoseIt! or MyFitnessPal a chance.

If you're ready to step into the future to lose weight, here is a large list of apps I use or know about to help me be fit.  All of them are free for download, but some of them have paid versions.  Audible is the only one that requires a subscription.  Which apps do you use?  Does anyone know of any really cool apps I didn't list?

Logging Calories 
MyFitnessPal - Calorie counter
Android      iTunes

LoseIt - Calorie counter
Android      iTunes

FatSecret Calorie Counter - Yup, another calorie counter
Android      iTunes

Endomondo - A great GPS-based exercise tracking app
Android      iTunes

Strava - A bicycle specific exercise app
Android      iTunes

Workout Trainer - Workouts led by expert trainers
Android    iTunes

Couch to 5k - If you're new to running, this website and app are for you.  Over the course of 9 weeks they take you from not running at all to running a 5k.
Android    iTunes  (the iTunes app is different from the Android one, if you don't like it, there are a bunch of other Couch to 5k trainers in the app store).

Pandora - Personalized internet radio
Android      iTunes

Audible - For days I'd rather listen to an audiobook (the app is free but the service costs money)
Android      iTunes

Beyondpod - Great for listening to podcasts during a workout

Songza - Like Pandora, but lets you select songs based on your mood
Android      iTunes

Google Play Music - With this app, I have access to my entire music library

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I Love My New Neighborhood!

Note: I wrote this on Tuesday night but decided not to publish it until Thursday because I have a couple other posts in the cue.

I love going for runs in my new neighborhood.  I'm less than a mile from the Mississippi and about two from St. Anthony Falls and the historic Stone Arch bridge in Minneapolis.  For those of you not from the area, Minneapolis was founded because it was near Fort Snelling and St. Anthony Falls on the Mississippi, which was used to power sawmills and flour mills.  Names like Pillsbury, Gold Medal Flour, and General Mills all come from Minneapolis.  The Stone Arch bridge is an old railroad bridge converted for pedestrian use and both sides of the river are filled with artifacts from the boom of the milling industry in the early 1900s.

Exploring my new neighborhood makes me excited to go running and seems to give me a little extra energy.  Here are some pictures I've taken on runs.  Forgive the lighting levels, I went out a little late. 

And since we're living in the future, here are the details of my run.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Color Run

On Sunday I ran a totally awesome 5K.  It's called the Color Run because at every kilometer (approximately) people pelt you with a different color of powdered paint.
By the end of the race I was a rainbow-colored hot mess.  But I ran the whole thing without walking.  I'd you have the opportunity to run one of these, take it.  I has a blast.  Also, it was, by far, the healthiest thing I've ever done at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

I still have a little paint on me.  I'm also not sore at all from the run!  I guess I've got to start adding more miles on.  I think I'll start tonight.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Weigh-In Results

I know it's Tuesday, but I thought I'd get back in the habit of weighing in.  I've had a great week as far as exercise is concerned.  Several 4-mile runs and the color run.  Eating has had it's ups and downs as per usual, but most days I kept a lid on it.  Let's get to the numbers.

That's down from 265.  A 2.5 pound loss is respectable, I just need to keep it going.  I was going through old pictures and I found this.

Yup.  I need to get back there and beyond.  That's all there is to it.  Time to get in gear, because 240 means I can drink beer again, and I'm feeling thirsty.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


I was feeling run down and fat last night so I got up and went for a run.  I went four miles and got to explore a new part of Minneapolis.  I am a little sore this morning, but I came up with a great goal.  I'm going to run or walk 5k every day for a week.  I'm also going to log my calories during that time.  Let's see how it goes.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Feeling Deflated

I could sit here and wish I had a higher metabolism, or I could actually do something about it.  I'm going for a run.

Monday, July 9, 2012

An Oldie but Goody.

As I type this I'm watching Jamie Oliver speak on why we're obese.  I think everyone in America should watch this once a year.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

I've quit drinking

I don't think I mentioned this earlier.  I quit drinking until I reach 240 pounds.  I did this a couple months ago but haven't posted it on here.  It's been tough.  Especially since I brewed a batch of beer yesterday, but once I hit 240 pounds, the beer I drink will definitely be worth it.

Alcohol is not good for diet or exercise.  It's loaded with empty calories and dehydrates you like crazy.

It's not the hardest thing I've done to lose weight, but hopefully it will be effective.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Another Try

Hey all.  I'm going to try to do this blog thing again.  I've been working on individual pieces of reducing my weight, but have yet to successfully put it all together again.  I'm not sure if I'm ready, but I'll give it the old college try (actually, I gained 70 pounds in college, so I guess I'll just try).

So here's what's been happening since April.

My wife, Claire, and I moved to a new house in Northeast Minneapolis.  We were in an apartment before so we're really liking having more space in a better neighborhood.

I wrapped up my school-year and have been teaching summer school.  It's a whole different ballgame than regular school, but I'm enjoying myself and it's nice to be earning a little extra money.

Claire lost an aunt and a friend of my family recently passed away as well.  Death is always hard to deal with and always leads to me losing control of my ability to regulate what I eat.

Claire threw me an amazing surprise party for my birthday - and I overate.

We went to our friends' son's second birthday party - and I overate.

We went to a fourth of July party - and I overate.

If you're noticing a trend here, keen observation.

I have also gone stints of about two weeks at a time tracking calories.  Most days I stay within bounds.  On days I don't track, I tend to go off the rails a bit.

I weight 265 pounds today.  Let's fix that.

So here I am.  Ready to give this another shot.  Let's see if I can have some success this time.

Workout and a Cupcake

I went to the gym today for the first time in about a month.  It felt really good to get moving, although I was huffing and puffing a little bit.  I lifted some weights and was on the treadmill for about half an hour.  All told, I burned about 400 calories.

Our neighbors had us over for their son's first birthday today.  I had a cupcake.  Our neighbors made them skinny (sans egg yolk) but I'm sure it was still in the ballpark of 200-300 calories.  By no means a diet-breaker, but not exactly healthy.  I still managed to successfully stay under my calories today.

Here's the deal: I would much rather not eat a cupcake than spend half an hour on a treadmill.  Yes, every time I eat something sweet my brain's pleasure centers go bonkers.  So much so that once I start eating anything with sugar in it, I have a hard time stopping.  But it's not worth spending that long exercising making up for it.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Weigh-In Results

I've had an up and down week.  I've been a little disappointed because I haven't had time to exercise as much as I'd hoped, but I've been eating a little better and I got back to bicycle commuting today. 

Here's what I weighed today.

Sorry about the sideways picture.  I weigh 259.8.  I'm down 2.4 pounds this week.  Last week I was up 2 pounds, but I'm in the 250s again.  I've got to keep working.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Small Plate

So one of the pieces of homework I had this week was to use a smaller plate.  I've been doing this the past two dinners and it does work.  Yesterday night I only had one small plate for dinner.  Tonight, while I did go back for seconds of stir fry (yum) I realized that I had eaten too much and one small plate would have filled me up if I had just waited a few more minutes.

I have a very hard time stopping once I've started eating, no matter how full I am.  I really think using a small plate is going to help me cut down on overeating.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Through my new job I had to complete a health assessment for my health insurance provider.  I answered all kinds of personal questions about tobacco use, weight, eating habits, sleep, just about anything you could think of, including "does your back hurt sometimes?"

A week or so later I got a phone call from a nice woman telling me I was at risk for diabetes.  We finally decided the best course of action was to arrange for telephone coaching with a nutritionist.  I had my first appointment today and it was great!

My coach and I talked for about 20 minutes.  I told her about my journey thus far and how I've been stuck for almost two years now.

We talked about how it's always going to be an uphill journey.  I have a mountain in front of me, but the mountain doesn't get any smaller by standing at the bottom of it and complaining about how big it is.  The only thing I can do is start working my way up it.  I'm going to have to do better at fighting through cravings.

She gave me three pieces of homework.  First is a goal to exercise for half an hour five days this week.  The second is to use a smaller plate when I eat.  The third one is when I eat impulsively, to give myself permission to do it, but write it down first so I can determine what my triggers are.  I can see this is going to be useful.

I'm very optimistic.  I'm finally getting the help I need to move in the right direction.  I'm glad someone at Health Partners realized it's cheaper to pay someone to help me stay healthy than paying to treat me for Diabetes (or worse).

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Weigh-In Results

Happy Tuesday,

This week I got really frustrated with my eating.  I felt out of control and decided there was only to fix it: by fixing it.  I mustered up the will power to start logging my calories.  I got hungry, but managed to power through (sometimes).  I didn't log today, and I'm pretty sure I overate.  I did, however, exercise hard and log food most of this past week.

So let's see how I did.

Not bad.  I lost almost 3 pounds.  This coming week is going to be even better!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Weigh-In Results

Happy Monday everyone!

Let me start by telling you that I had my ass thoroughly TurboKicked tonight.  My wife, Claire, and I just joined the Y because they offer a ton of classes where our neighborhood Snap Fitness does not.

So what is TurboKick?  Watch this video and you'll understand.

Turbo Kick is an hour-long class where something happens.  I'm not exactly sure what that something is because I was really confused most of the time.  Everyone else seemed to be moving together while I clumsily tried to imitate them from the back row.  It seems to be a cross between dancing and kickboxing.  They say it takes four to five classes to really catch on to all the moves, but I think it might take a little longer for me.  Some friends and I wrote a musical in college for our school's film festival and I played the lead.  We did one dance number and my friends likened teaching me to dance to teaching a horse to talk.

I'm the robot.

So back to TurboKick.  Here's what our Y's website says about it:

It’s high energy and the hottest exercise class around! This ultimate cardiovascular challenge mixes aerobics with martial arts in easy-to-follow combinations.

A Typical Class

Turbo Kick® is an interval based, full body workout that begins with a sports-specific warm-up. High-paced intervals follow with kickboxing-specific strength/endurance training sequences and easy-to-follow combinations. Class ends with a mind/body-like (think Tai-Chi) cool-down.


  • Improves heart and lung health
  • Strengthens muscles and bones, reduces risk of osteoporosis
  • Improves posture, coordination, agility and flexibility
  • Stimulates your brain
  • Improves energy
  • Promotes weight loss
My biggest insecurity with the class was I was one of only three men in a class of about 40 people.  I'm a teacher, which is a profession dominated by women (especially in the younger grades) so I'm not uncomfortable around women.  I just feel like I could let my guard down a little in a class with more men in it.  It's the same reason I wasn't really into Weight Watchers meetings. 

Bottom line, the hour went by pretty quickly and it worked me hard.  It's impossible to argue with the great exercise I got.  I'll be going back to this class.

Now, for what all three of you who read my blog are waiting -or should I say weighting? (no, I shouldn't)-for: My weigh-in results.

260.4.  This is a little less than a 1 pound gain from last week, but I'm chocking that up to weighing myself after dinner instead of before.  Or the two slutty brownies I had this week.  Seriously, whatever you do, do not make these.  I take it back.  If you are chronically underweight and you need to take in huge amounts of calories to bring your body weight up (then you probably wouldn't be reading my blog) then go nuts.  Otherwise, consider them a loaded gun.

I'm very optimistic about what I'll be able to accomplish in the coming months.  My goal for next week is to get into the 250s. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Plan

I did a pretty good job of being active this week, despite a very busy week.  Thanks to the gorgeous weather we've been having in Minnesota, I got to bike to work on Tuesday and Wednesday.  I would have biked Thursday but I was headed down the last hill on my commute home and my brake cable snapped.  I wasn't going very fast and managed to Fred Flintstone my way to a stop so I didn't crash.  Now those of you who have read my blog for a while know that I built my own bike last year.  I should have paid the additional $6 to buy a new brake line and foot of housing, but I was cheap and thought it would be fine to reuse some old brake line that came with my old bike frame.  I guess it held up pretty well for a year, but I expect my new cable to last a lot longer than that.

I ran with Liza again on Tuesday.  It was rough.  Maybe because I hadn't run that far in a while and maybe because I'd already put a few miles on the bike that day going to and from work.  We still managed our usual 4.5 mile route.  Some day I'll be able to expand what I'm capable of running, but I've come a long way so far.

I also had the chance to go on a couple walks with my wife, Claire.  One of which took us nearly 4 miles at a fairly leisurely pace.  We even got to go to the bike store (one of my favorite places to go).

I'm getting frustrated because the weather is changed recently, and I've gained some winter weight.  I don't fit into many of my dress shirts anymore, and the ones that do fit are really baggy and awkward and make me look fat (because I am).  I can't wallow in this though.  I have to do something about it.  Clearly, the exercise is almost there (I'd like to run 4.5 miles more than once a week and get back into weight training).  What needs to happen now is I need to put a serious dent in my intake.

So here is my plan for the coming week:

1.  Use myfitnesspal to log my intake for Monday through Thursday, and then Saturday and Sunday.  Friday will be a cheat day.

2.  Bicycle commute but don't use it as a primary exercise source.

3.  Follow this schedule for exercise

Monday: Go to the gym - Cardio and Weight Training

Tuesday: Run with Liza.

Wednesday: Go on a serious bike ride - 20-30 miles.

Thursday: Go to the gym - Cardio and Weight Training

Friday: Another epic bike ride.

Saturday: Walk with Claire, go to gym

Sunday: Bike ride with Claire, run at least 5k.

So that's the plan.  Let's see how it goes.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Funeral

So last night, Claire and I drove to Shawano, Wisconsin to say goodbye to my cousin Michael, who died last week.  I haven't seen Michael since I was a kid and when we were looking at pictures of him, I pointed out the Michael I remembered.  It was hard to see him in the casket, but I'm glad we went.

Both Claire and I noted that while Michael had health problems unrelated to his weight, he was still obese and that surely didn't make things any easier.  He was 40 when he died and I'd like to live at least twice that. 

So I don't know how I'm going to get there yet, but I know I'm going to get there.  I'm going to be active, healthy, and happy for a good, long time yet. 

We spent a long time in the car today and stopped at an Applebee's for dinner.  I got a bruscetta salad and it arrived looking like this.

Those brown things are some kind of fried mozzarella balls or cheese curds or something very anti-salad.  While I couldn't resist all of them I only had two or three.  Did I get these with this salad because I was in Wisconsin or because Applebee's always tries to sabotage dieters?

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Good Day

Thank you all for your support.  Reading your comments made me feel like I can actually achieve what I set out to do.  Sometimes I forget anyone reads my blog.  It was nice to be reminded so many people are reading and rooting for me.

I've got some new tools I'm hoping will play nice together and a new outlook. 

I've been using my FitBit activity tracker for a couple months now on and off and it really gives me some useful information.  I also just installed My Fitness Pal which allows me to adjust my intake goals based on how many steps I've taken from my fitbit (which syncs wirelessly).  I've also installed the endomondo exercise tracker which has some really cool features I'm exploring including following other peoples' routes or designing your own.  This also syncs with my fitbit.  Cool stuff.

I'm going to start slowly.  I tracked my intake today.  Hopefully I'll be able to keep doing it, but if I miss a day I'm not going to get down on myself.  I'm going to keep going to the gym.  Hopefully, the weather will warm up soon so I can get back to bicycle commuting.  That always makes me happy and gives me an excuse to exercise every day.  I'm going to eat out less and try to eat healthier choices and most importantly, stop when I feel like I've had too much.

I think my biggest hang-up is things never seem to happen as fast as I want.  This usually results in a backslide.  I had a good day today.  I'm going to try to make it a good day tomorrow, but if it's not, there's always the next day.

Last, but not least, it's Monday, so I need to get on the scale.

Last week I did weigh myself (though I didn't post it).  I came in at 262.4 pounds.  That's about a 15 pound backslide from my lowest weight.  Let's see what the scale said this week.

A loss of 1.7 pounds is not bad.  Like I said, I'm going to try to go easy on myself if I'm not losing as fast as I want.  I'm still losing and that means I'm winning. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I Don't Know How To Do This

My Cousin, Michael, died last week.  He had been having heart problems and he just didn't wake up on Wednesday morning.  We weren't close.  In fact, I haven't seen him since I was a kid.  But he was still my cousin.

Like me, Michael struggled with his weight.  He was 40 when he died.  I know I'm not him, but I want to live a lot longer than 12 more years.

I want to change my weight and lifestyle, but I feel hopelessly stuck.  I'm so frustrated that I haven't been able to lose any weight for the last two years.  I made a change once and lost a lot of weight, but the scale has been creeping back up.  Time after time, I tell myself this is the time, but it never pans out.  I don't know how to do it again.  I don't know how to repeat the success I had when I first started this blog. 

I can feel the weight coming back.  I can see it in the mirror, I can feel it when I sit down.  I can feel the extra fat all over my body.  I feel disgusting.

I want to keep going.  I want to finish what I started.  I want to live a long, healthy life.  I just don't know how to do it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Giveaway Winners

Thanks everyone for participating in the mitten giveaway.  I love giving stuff away.  Thanks also to Fleece with Flair, who make an amazing mitten. 

Without further ado, here are the results for the mittens giveaway:

1.  Leiah Stevermer
2.  Kiel H
3.  Kris A - Who posted on the 100 pounds Facebook wall.

Winners, please email me at andrewtralle (at) gmail (dot) com so I can pass your info on to Fleece With Flair to get you set up with some nice mittens.  Enjoy them!

Thanks everyone for entering.  I'd like to do another giveaway soon!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

One Step at a Time

First off, if you haven't seen my giveaway yet, you need to head over to my last post right now.  I'm giving away three pairs of really terrific mittens.  I know some of you in my neck of the woods are wondering if there will ever be winter again, but I assure you, the weather will be cold at some time.  So head over and enter in my giveaway. 

I've been insanely busy starting my new job and haven't been posting (or eating or exercising) like I want to.  I had such success the first week of January and I wanted to continue that into the rest of the month and year.  I will get there.  I've come up with a strategy to do it.

I'm going to focus on one small thing at a time.  This week it will be going to bed on time.  Next week will be working exercise into my morning routine.  The following week will be moderating my intake.  You get the idea.  If I can use these tools to ease into healthy habits, I'll have it made!  Balancing work and life is important and I need to get a life.

So what healthy habits do you want to ease into?

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Hi All,

It's been a really long time since I posted.  It's good to be back though.  I've been burying myself in my new job and haven't had time to do anything but work for the last month.  Hopefully things will calm down a little bit now and I can get back to making progress (like I made in the first week of January).

I'm excited to announce my latest giveaway!  I'm partnering with Fleece With Flair, a really great company based out of the Twin Cities Metro Area, to give away three pairs of mittens.  That's right, there are three prizes!  

Here's an example of the mittens.  See more at their website.

Here's a little about company from the website:

Fleece with Flair started as a simple design idea by Carrie Traxler in 2008.  As the design was developed, and ultimately created, she fervently started production in order to sell at local Craft Shows in the Southwest Suburbs of Minneapolis, MN.  People started to quickly catch on to how soft, warm and comfortable her mittens are.   

All of the mittens are made locally with only the use of cutting templates, sewing machines and hard-working seamstresses.  Carrie personally designs and cuts out each mitten to ensure the look is absolutely perfect and coordinated.  Her team of seamstresses then combine all the necessary material to create a quality product down to the last stitch.  
The past three years Carrie has sold her mittens at several different craft shows, and has developed a small following.  The mittens are even sold at the Shakopee High School, with a portion of the profit given to the school.  In 2011 Fleece with Flair decided to start to take the company to the next level by increasing production throughout the summer to have a successful sale at the Canterbury Craft show in the fall.  Becuase if the success of this show, Fleece with Flair will be making more appearances at larger craft shows in the Midwest.

My wife, Claire, and I gave these to our families for Christmas this year.  They're incredibly soft, comfortable, and 100% American made!  Claire and I each have a pair and they are the best mittens I've ever owned, hands down (cue the sad trombone sound).  The insides have a special lining that is beyond luxurious.  They've got a ton of fabric patterns too.  

So, what do you need to do to get your hands on (or in) a pair of these?   Well, you could enter my giveaway.  But you could also head over to  Right now, a bunch of their mittens are on sale.  All children's mittens are $9 and adult mittens are either $9 or $12.  The highest price you'll pay for adult mittens are $15, which is still a great deal!

You can enter to win the giveaway a number of ways.  Make sure for each time you enter, you leave a separate comment on this post to let me know you've entered.  Next Saturday I will use a random number generator to pick three winners.  I will announce the winners on this blog who I will get in contact with in order to get you your free mittens.

How to enter:
1.  Visit Fleece With Flair's website and leave a comment on this post telling me which pattern you would get if you won.  
2.  Tweet or post on Facebook the following message: @100_Pounds is giving away 3 amazing pairs of mittens on his blog! #fleecewithflair
3.  Follow me on Facebook.
4.  Follow me on Twitter.
6.  Repin something from Fleece With Flair on Pinterest.  I don't do Pinterest so I don't know how to do this exactly.  You might say I'm not very Pinteresting.  Once I figure out how to do it, I'll update these instructions.
7.  Post about the giveaway on your blog, then link to it in the comments.

Remember, you're allowed to enter more than once, but every time you do, please leave a comment on this post so I can make sure your entry counts.

Good luck!  I'll be announcing the winner next Saturday!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I'm Exhausted

Yesterday was the first day I didn't post since I started up my blog again.  There's a very good reason for that.  I started my new job on Monday.  

It's been pretty hectic, but after a few days I'm making some serious headway.  For those of you who don't know, I'm a music teacher.  I'd been laid off for six months working as a paraprofessional and doubting myself every day.  I didn't doubt myself today.

And now I'm exhausted.  It's not the kind of exhausted I felt when I would finish a week at my previous job.  It's not like the exhausted I feel when I haven't slept enough.  This kind of exhausted is the kind of exhausted I feel when I've worked hard at something I love and get a lot of work accomplished.  I used to feel like this a lot in college when I'd leave school at 11:00pm after spending 15 hours at school.  

Unfortunately, I didn't get to exercise today.  Yesterday was another story.  I ran with Liza again.  The weather was gorgeous at 52 degrees when we left (yes, this is Minnesota).  We put another 4.5 miles behind us.  I'm getting faster and need to walk less.  Plus my legs don't feel as much like rubber when I'm recovering over the next day or two.  My running is improving at a rate it hasn't improved since I started and I really think it's helping me achieve some serious calorie burning.

So I'm going to try hard to keep the blog up to date now that I'm working again, but blogging doesn't burn very many calories, so when push comes to shove, I'm going for a run.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Weigh-In Results

It's Monday today and a very important one.  It's the first Monday since I got back in the weight-loss game.  I wanted to weigh myself every single day but I only had one unofficial weigh-in once in the middle of the week.

I started my new job today and it was awesome (although it made for a very long day compared to last week's routine of sleeping until whenever I felt like it)!

Let's see how all the running I've done with Liza and Weight Watchers tracking recently has payed off.

Last week I weighed 257.5.  THIS IS PHENOMENAL!!!  I lost 8.6 pounds this week!  I know this rate is not sustainable.  Tyler Weeks just wrote a great entry at 344 Pounds about how you can't lose the same number as your initial loss your first week.  It's going to be a long, hard slog down to a healthy weight. But I'm revitalized and up to the challenge.  I'm down to four pounds above what I weighed before the holidays.  Let's see how quickly I can shed them.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Tuesdays With Liza

A very good friend of mine and I decided back in November that we would go for a run together.  She works just a few miles from my apartment so she came over and we ran about 2.5ish miles.  Since then, we started making Tuesdays our regular running day.  Of course over the Holidays we got a little off schedule.  But we made some schedule adjustments and on Friday we ran 4.5 miles and have another run scheduled for Today (although my legs are still in agony from the last run)!  

Note: neither Liza nor myself are dinosaurs.

I have learned something very important from this venture.  Get a running buddy.  Someone who you get to catch up with while you're running.  Someone who will make you excited to exercise.  Someone to push you that last mile(s).  I run farther and faster when I'm running with Liza, though the last couple miles, without fail, involve me telling her I hate her and she needs to shut up.

Liza helps me in a big way.  I'm tremendously grateful to her for her motivation, company, and pushing me to run faster and farther than I thought I could go.

Do you have an exercise buddy?  How do they help you?

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Along with a sweet pair of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pajama pants (yes, I am 28 years old), my parents gave me a FitBit Ultra Wireless Activity Tracker.

Now for those of you unfamiliar with such a device, let me familiarize you.  It's essentially a souped up pedometer.  It monitors movement and sleep and tells you how many calories you've burned in a day.  Using the website, you can see how active you were and when.  It also has a cool little display on it that tells you how active you were in footsteps, miles, calories burned, floors climbed, and there's even a little flower that grows as you've been more active throughout the day.

I haven't gotten into all the features yet.  I'm still logging my intake on Weight Watchers because fruits and veggies are free and points are easier to manage than calories.  The sleep analysis is something I'd also be interested in looking into a little more too.  You can earn badges for achievements too.  They have badges for steps taken in increments of 5000 for instance.

The real benefit of the FitBit is having something with me at all times that reminds me of my goal.  When I check my scores, I know that I have a lot of weight to lose.  I'm less likely to overeat and more likely to try to beat my previous records for steps taken, etc.  I was on the treadmill at the gym the other day when I noticed I had hit 8000 steps.  Normally, I would have gone home at that point, but I wanted to hit that magic 10,000 steps number so I would get the next badge.  Silly?  Maybe, but it kept me on the treadmill for an extra 20 minutes.

So is it worth it?  Maybe.  How does it stack up against other body and activity monitors?  I have no idea.  Will it continue to work? I don't know.  Is it working now?  Yes!   Do you have any experience with an activity monitor?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Blog of Note

I used to post a blog-of-the-week.  When my posts started dwindling I stopped reading other blogs and couldn't really discover a blog-of-the-week every single week.

There is a lot of good stuff out there and I would like to send some link love off into the internets, so I'm bringing back the blog-of -the-week as blogs of note.

The blog I'd like to introduce you to today is really great especially for recipes.  I first discovered Kristin's site when a friend posted a link to her spanakopita turkey burgers.  I made them and they were AMAZING!  She even included a tzatziki sauce from scratch recipe.

Overall, the meal was really filling and very reasonable calorie-wise.  Now, not every recipe on her site is super-healthy, but there are a lot of really great recipes that are.  Right now she has a recipe for a green monster spinach smoothie that I'm going to need to try as soon as I'm done writing this.

So visit Iowa Girl Eats.  You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

You Can't Change The Past

When I started my weight loss journey, I was mad at myself for getting so big.  How could I let that happen? I've been overweight since about the second grade, but when I tipped the scales at over 300 pounds and didn't fit in the booth at a restaurant anymore, I was upset.  I was embarrassed.  I was straight out mad. 

I know exactly how it happened.  I eat when I'm happy and I eat when I'm sad.  I eat when I'm stressed and I eat to celebrate.  I eat when I'm tired and I eat when I'm socializing.  I eat all the time.  I never had good exercise routines.  I didn't get enough sleep.  I didn't understand what foods were good for me and what foods weren't.  Frankly, I only ate food that gave me the most pleasure.

More recently, I've gained back almost 20 pounds from my lowest weight.  Some of the clothes I bought then are getting a little snug.  Am I mad? 

I would have been a month ago.  I was mad a month ago.  I took a break (and gained 12 pounds) but I can see a little more clearly because of it.  I'm not mad anymore. 

I think the key to getting to my weight-loss goal is going to be acknowledging my failures and learning from them.  I could make excuses like I wasn't really happy at my last job or I was too busy to exercise, get enough sleep, and eat right, but in the end I know I'm the only person to blame.  So I'm not going to let it get under my skin.

I can't move forward unless I forgive myself.   Sometimes we don't meet our goals.  Sometimes we backtrack.  If we harbor resentment toward ourselves for our failures, we'll forget about our goals.  If you're holding on to feelings of self-resentment, you'll probably be more likely to eat emotionally.

I can't change the past and neither can you.  I gained 12 pounds in two months and that's okay.  It is within my power to change my trajectory and I'm going to do it.

If you gained a little holiday weight, don't stress about it, change it.  Work hard in 2012 so when the holidays roll around again, you'll have the tools you need to make it through without a gain (or at least a little extra room to let your belt out).

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Reindeer Run

I finally ran my first 5k!  It was probably my biggest fitness victory during my hiatus.  I was lucky enough to share the experience with my incredible wife, Claire.

Every year the Marines sponsor a 5k run in Minneapolis to benefit Toys For Tots.  It's a great organization that gives Christmas presents to low-income families.  I had just finished the Couch to 5k program for the first time though I've started 3 or 4 times now.  Some of my co-workers decided to run the race and Claire and I joined them.  We trotted through the race and finished.  I don't recall the time, but we finished.  There were tons of people there.

Some of the costumes were really impressive.  We saw the star of Bethlehem, lots of reindeer, some Santas, and even a few Christmas trees.  It was a ton of fun!

We emerged weary but victorious.

As a reward, we both bought new running shoes.  Claire found a pair that she loves in the first place we looked.  My shoe shopping adventure is a whole other story.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Years Resolutions

It's a new year and the gym is going to be very full for a while.  Those of us who have been at this trying to get healthy thing for a while recognize January as the month our local fitness centers are overrun with people who have resolved to exercise more or lose weight or get ripped in the new year.

I'm not one for New Year's Resolutions. I think the new year is kind of an arbitrary date to decide to change your life.  Maybe there's something to it.  Seeing all the numbers turn over might be a psychological blank slate.  On top of it, I'm so full of Christmas cheer (cookies, eggnog, mashed potatoes, etc.) that I'm really ready for a change.

So what the hell, why not go for it?

So here are my New Year's resolutions:
1.  Get My Eating Under Control.  I'm going to attack this one on several fronts.  I'm going to reduce my overall caloric intake while increasing my consumption of fruits and vegetables.  There are a number of veggies especially that I really don't really care for.  2012 will be the year I make my taste buds like them.  I'm also going to try to stay away from stress eating by reducing the overall level of stress in my life.

2.  Make Exercise a Priority.  It's too easy to push exercise off another day or decide you're too busy.  This year I'm going to make sure I get out and exercise on a regular basis.  I'm going to register for more 5k races and hopefully even run longer races as the year progresses.  A good friend of mine has recently become my running buddy.  She is faster than me so I'm always being pushed.  Though by the end of most runs I'm usually sending some choice words in her direction.

3.  Get Enough Sleep.  I've never been good at this one.  I need to make a point of getting 8 hours of shut-eye a night.  When I don't sleep I try to eat to stay awake.  I also idly munch when I shouldn't be.  When I'm tired, my priorities change in general, usually away from fitness.

4.  Finish What I Started.  This one I'll accomplish by doing everything else on my list.  I have a new job, a new year, and a new lease on life.  I have a chance now to form great habits this year and really push myself to be healthier and happier.  As long as I can keep this blog, and myself, running in 2012, I'll reach my goal of 196 pounds in 2012!

Resolutions, be they for the new year or just in general, will only happen if you make them happen.  The way to accomplish that is by having a plan in place.  Then you need a way to keep yourself accountable.  For me, that's this blog.  For you it might be a Weight-Watchers meeting or working out with a friend, or maybe you even want to start your own blog.

What all of these resolutions come down to is respecting myself enough to make choices that are better for me in the long-run.  What are your New-Year's resolutions?  How are you going to accomplish them?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Weigh-In Results

Okay, It's been a while since I weighed myself and I'm a little nervous.  Part of me is terrified, but I know that no matter how high the number on the scale is, I will not be discouraged.  I took a break from being good to my body.  I ate a lot of food and ate emotionally.  I didn't exercise as much as I should have.  I'm ready to pay the price for that.

Last time I weighed myself I weighed 245.5 pounds.  That was November 2nd and I was not happy with the number.  Let's see how I did this time.

I was expecting worse.  I gained a total of 12 pounds over the course of two months.  I could feel it creeping up on me and it made me feel terrible.  I have not, however, undone my all the work I put into my journey.

Those 12 pounds are accumulated stress and laziness that I am going to remove from my body in short order.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

I'm Back

Happy New Year everyone!

I know it's been a long time since I went on hiatus.  A lot has happened in that time.  Some of it good, some of it bad.  I've done a lot of stress eating, but I also ran my first 5k.  I got a new pair of shoes that made my feet fall asleep.  I considered going on a juice fast but decided against it (at least for now).  I started running one night a week with a good friend of mine.

Most importantly, I got a new job!!!  I start on the 9th of January and I'm super-excited.  I'm going to be a 3rd-8th grade band teacher!  I'm not sure what the job will look like yet but I'm excited to get the ball rolling.

This is a huge boost to my self-esteem.  I took such a big hit when my position was cut and I had no choice but to keep working for the people that laid me off but for lower pay and a job I really didn't want to do.  On top of the financial burden placed upon me, I had to deal with the thought that I wasn't good enough to get hired anywhere as a music educator.  I had to pick up more work in private lessons so I wasn't home most nights.  That's part of why I stopped blogging.  I think things will really turn around now.

The month of December was ridiculously busy.  I'm hoping January will be a little more laid back.  I want to get back to cooking healthier foods instead of eating out as much. I went to the gym for the first time in a few weeks a couple days ago.  It felt amazing.  It was so nice to get moving again.  I need to make exercise a regular part of my day.

I'm back.  Hopefully, I had enough time off to recharge my batteries and really want this.  I'm not going to kick myself for any weight I gained.  What's past is past.  I'm ready to work now.  Two years ago I dedicated myself to losing 100 pounds.  It's time to finish what I started.