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Just checking In and looking back over the past ten months or so.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

It looks like I haven't logged in here or checked out my blog post since February or March, but lots has happened over the past few months. Some good, some not so good.

First for the good! I have been marching right along my plan with little deviation from the path. Weight loss has been slow but ongoing. It looks like I was around 235ish the last time I posted in February but now I'm at 218 and still losing, just slowly. In April I jumped back on my bicycle and started riding in earnest again, and completed my first metric century of the season on the second weekend in April. The weather was wonderful and I felt strong, completing the century in great time and ready for the next ride.

Now for the not so good news... the following weekend while mowing the lawn I slipped in some wet grass on a slope in my front yard. The way I fell, it caused me to tear my quadriceps tendon from the kneecap and tear muscles on either side that also attach to the tendon. Surgery was performed two days later and I have been in rehab and PT ever since. I'm finally getting around pretty well and will return to work on Monday, but this has been no picnic for sure.

I have been supplementing my twice per week PT trips with upper body weight training on at least two of the other days of the week. That has been going well and I see good changes in my muscle tone there. As my leg strength increases and they allow me to get back on my bicycle I'll hit the pavement again.

As far as eating goes, I'm still essentially eating No Sugar, No Grain as I always have been. It works well for me and I'm never really hungry. I'll get a little hungry in the evening but if I cut a few slices of pepperoni and some cheese, that goes away real quick.

My goal is still to get down to 165 or so. I'm at 218 today. A little behind schedule for my goal that I started in October of last year, but I'm still hopeful to get under 200lbs by my one year mark in October of this year. That would be a total of just over 100lbs lost.

Anyhow, I hope to pop in here more often in the near future.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 7/18/2014 9:26AM

    WAY COOL on shedding the pounds! That is so SUPER!

But oh JEEZ dontcha just HATE it when our bodies let us down and get in the way of our plans? Been thru my trials and tribs also as you may see in my blogs.

Great to hear you're back on the bike and spinning them wheels!

Me TOO finally! :-)


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Whoa! It's been too long between these posts!

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

I have just been cruising along and kind of left the blog posts off to the side. I really need to try to be more frequent in my posting if for nothing else having some kind of documentation of the journey from fat to fit.

Some updates:

Weight loss
As of last week I think, I have officially lost 60lbs since October of last year. A little over four months. That is amazing to me, but the hard part has just begun. As I lose more I can tell that its becoming harder to shed weight. I seem to plateau in between each five pound loss. Currently I have a short little plateau in the 230s. I did this a month ago when I was in the 240s. My weight goal is to hit 220 by April. I set that goal when revisiting Spark People back in October. I think I can make this, but it is definitely a solid two pounds per week loss between now and April Fools day!!!

I have slowly increased my activity levels as I'm progressing. I have done a lot of run/walking and will be running in my first organized 5k this weekend. This past Monday evening I ran the 5k distance on my treadmill without stopping!! Yeah... I could not have imagined jogging three miles just a few months ago.

I'm visiting the gym after work today for a tour of the facilities. I haven't stepped foot in a gym for a very long time. I hoping to begin spin classes and get moving on some free weight exercises. I'll post later how that went.

Diet News
I have become more and more interested in the gluten free and no sugar diets lately. I have been reading everything I can get my hands on and have shifted my diet to an almost completely No Sugar, No Grain diet (NSNG). I have been feeling better on this but find it really hard to give up having a couple beers when I'm out with my buddies on the weekend. That really conflicts with what I know to be best for me. However, I love good craft beer and have had to work with just cutting back to a few a week. For now I' going to stick as close to the NSNG regimen as I can. I'm not sure if its really sustainable but for the past month its been working well.

Books I have done recently
I have an Audible account and I listen to audio books during my daily three hours in the car. When I'm not listening to books I'm listening to podcasts.

Fitness Confidential
The China Study
Grain Brain
Wheat Belly

Spark People (No recent feeds though)
Runners Academy
Everyday Runners Podcast
Vinnie Tortorich - the angriest trainer

These are just a few of my recent favorites. Vinnie Tortorich can be a little edgy but he has a great message and I love listening to his show. If you get offended easily by use of common profanities don't listen, but I think you will miss a good message. He promotes a NSNG lifestyle and is the author of Fitness Confidential.

So... that's it for today. I'll try to be good and make it back here again soon.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MBTEPP 2/9/2014 5:00PM

    emoticon on losing ***60*** lbs. You are making great progress.

Keep up the good work! It is a journey, and an evolution. What got you this far, may not get you to your goal. So you are right to look at diet, and fitness again to take you to the next level. That does not take away from what you have already done.


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DDOORN 2/8/2014 11:37PM

    Terrific job on the pounds lost! Hoping to join you with similar losses!

You'll LOVE spinning! It's such a relief for me during the winter or rainy weather to have this alternative!


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TXPATRIOT 2/6/2014 12:46AM

    Best wishes with your 5K!

You are doing an emoticon job!!

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RUN4FOOD 2/5/2014 9:05PM

    Great weight loss. Looks like you are doing very well. I too have an Audible account and have listened to some great books, a different venue than you listen to but I have really learned a lot over the past year.
Just read a couple of articles from some UT medical doctors that says their only concern with Gluten free diets is many people miss taking in all the vitamins they should. They suggest you get tested to see if you are gluten intolerant first.

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Update plus a little on motivation

Friday, January 10, 2014

Today I'm home from work recovering from a minor hernia surgery I had done yesterday. I was initially apprehensive about getting this fixed now, because I felt it would throw a monkey wrench into my overall get healthy plans, but I came to the realization that getting it repaired now is actually one step in the direction of being healthy without future pain. This hernia did not bother me at all until I started to do push-ups, planks and try to do pull-ups a month or so ago. Those are activities I plan to do in the future again and don't want any problems developing into something worse later. So here I sit... sore and wishing for a quick recovery. My doc did say that I could walk as much as I wanted starting today. Therefore much to my wife's chagrin, I got on the treadmill this morning for 20 minutes at a VERY SLOW pace of just 2mph and a slight grade. This is just to keep all my parts moving that need to move. I plan to maybe get back on later this evening for 20 as well. It will depend on how I'm feeling though.

Weight loss goes well. I went back to see my weight loss doctor last Monday to fill him in on my surgery that was gong to happen and he was pretty happy that I had lost 13 pounds over the holidays instead of gaining. I officially broke 50 pounds lost last week, but I'm still struggling with a slight plateau. I have been stuck in the low 240#s. Yesterday morning before surgery I weighed myself at 239 but after surgery this morning I was back to 243. I guess I'm holding fluids and stuff from the surgery. Anyhow, I'm still focused and eating good.

Motivation - Lots of people are beginning to ask me how I'm losing the weight and what keeps me going. I have been thinking a lot about my motivational factors and have come up with what works for me. For me motivation comes in the form of resources like the Spark People web site. However this is not my sole motivator. I constantly listen to health and fitness podcasts like the Jillian Michael's Radio Podcast Show, Spark People Radio, Running Academy, GetFitGuy, Cut The Fat Radio and others. I have also incorporated listening to some inspiration running or fitness audio books into my commute in the morning. I think my wife may think I'm obsessed with my methods for my journey to weight loss and healthy living, but its what it takes to keep me motivated and moving forward.

Additionally, somewhere between the time my dad passed away last January from a "stealth-bomb" heart attack, and October of this past year something clicked in my head and I said NO MORE! I didn't want to sweat to death just from walking up one flight of stairs or have my knees wrack with pain. I have been fortunate enough that I have always been an extrovert and made and keep lots of friends no matter if I'm the fat guy or not.... but I didn't want to be the fat guy forever. I needed to get well. I knew it forever but couldn't do anything it seemed. I really think that losing my dad put me over the edge to realize that no matter how healthy we think we are... we need to take care of ourselves. That moment, whenever it was exactly, I decided to throw away my old habits and begin learning new behaviors. The switch was turned and it won't go back!! I think I have it this time around for good.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 1/23/2014 10:10AM

    Love it! Super job of taking care of yourself!

Re: "something clicked in my head"...clicking for me lately too!

Keep the SPARK! :-)


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CLEARNIGHTSKY 1/11/2014 9:27PM

    I am very sorry for the loss of your father as well. It's so beautiful that you are turning your loss into an about-face for your health. You deserve it.

Investing in your health seems to me to be honoring your father's memory in one of the best ways possible.

2014 is going to be a great year.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

Way to go on your work on the treadmill. Wishing you excellent healing.


Comment edited on: 1/11/2014 9:28:41 PM

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PANFRIEDTROUT 1/10/2014 9:24PM

    I'm sorry you lost your father. Good for you for making a decision to become healthy and it's good that you have found motivators that work for you.

Hopefully, your recovery from the surgery will be speedy and complete & then you can do those planks & pull ups to your hearts' content.

Hang in there!

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CATLADY52 1/10/2014 5:24PM

    emoticon You are now at step three of living a longer, more healthful life. emoticon emoticon

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Winter Top Down Driving!!!

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Good Morning everyone. I have a lot of catch up work to do today for "The Man". I'm an instructional designer and create online courseware. I have a new course launching next week and promised to have it ready for initial reviews tomorrow. Damn procrastination! So,looks like no fun for Don today :-(

Anyhow, its been really cold, snowy and nasty the past few days, but yesterday as the snows were beginning to melt, there were some beautiful blue skies, it was so sunny and nice out I couldn't help but drop the top on my little Miata convertible and cruise around with the top down. (even thought it was 20ish degrees) I had a warm hat and gloves, bundled up tight, the heat on full blast and the seat warmers on!!! Driving by snow filled fields and parking lots!, passing people and waving! Before returning home I pulled into the grocery store parking lot to pick up some fresh veggies and some stuff for supper, people were looking at me like I was crazy!! :-) LOL -

Later today I am planning to go down to the basement and brush the dust off of my bike trainer and set it up with one of my bikes. I'm going to try to get a few miles in this week before my hernia surgery on Thursday. Good news is that I talked with a friend of mine that works in the medical field and he talks with lots of doctors that perform hernia suergeries. He said that nowadays the recovery on these types of surgery are just a few days. Most people are back to performing normal activities in just a week or two at the most!! Yeah!!

Later I'm planning on writing up a short post on "What Motivates Me to Keep Going"

Chat later - Don

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BECKYBRN 1/5/2014 3:56PM

    Don - First, I admire the skill of instructional designers - I am an assistant professor and often teach online - I am grateful for what you guys do. Keep up the good work!

I'm having surgery on Tuesday and will be home by Thursday - but I will send prayers your way that all goes well.

Hope you find time to get to that bike today!

P.S. How cool that you could ride around with the top down in the middle of winter!

Comment edited on: 1/5/2014 3:57:19 PM

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My weight loss habits and tricks so far.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

I haven't posted on my blog for a little while, so be prepared this could be a long one. I have had a few friends ask me how I have lost so much weight, so I figured I'd document it here. Some of this may be redundant from my other earlier posts but I wrote this for another blog post for a friend.

2013 kind of sucked for me and I feel 2014 will be a significantly different year, and I'll explain why. Please forgive my wordiness.
Over the years I have yo-yo'd all over the place with weight gain and weight loss. Always a bike nut I always fall back into cycling for fitness and some fun.

I think my last big weight loss hurrah was in 2007 while training for the Lake Tahoe Bicycling Century. I lost about 80 lbs. during that training effort. When I did the Tahoe Century in 2007 I was around 180 with about 25 more pounds to lose, but it was almost as soon as I met my goal of finishing that ride I gradually slipped back into bad eating habits and losing some of my weekly training rides. Even though I did two more centuries that summer and a couple other shorter organized rides. I always supplemented my hours of riding and burning calories with more eating. Back then I think I put so much more emphasis on the riding to lose weight and no real thought or effort into the diet. That is the KEY problem I faced then.... poor eating habits.

I'm 5'8" tall and currently weigh 242, down from 296 back in October. In October of this past year (2013) I had again gained the most weight I have ever seen on a scale in my life. I think I actually hit 298 but I kept telling myself that scale was hosed up or something. Anyhow, I was in the 290s, my knees and joints were killing me, I was sweating profusely just doing minimal tasks and I was living in the fear of high cholesterol and high triglycerides. I also lost my Dad to a heart attack in January of 2013 which was a huge blow to me emotionally and ultimately physically because I gained another 15 to 20 lbs. after his death. Damn!, he wasn't even fat or what seemed to be out of shape, suddenly he fell dead one cold snowy January day last year from a massive coronary heart attack. I sat and thought every day how come he had to die and after looking at the facts it was because he didn't eat right, didn't exercise and never got checked out very frequently. I guess when you are not fat, you assume you are eating ok. Not so.

Fast forward back to October... I finally decided it was time for me to get my ass to a doctor and get checked out. If my seemingly healthy dad could fall dead from heart disease, my fat ass certainly should as well, even though he was 22 years my senior. Sure enough after EKGs, Treadmill and blood work I was basically pretty healthy but my Triglycerides were a bit high. Unbelievably my bad cholesterol (LDL) wasn't over 200 but needed attention as well. The docs said I was in ok shape but needed to make some serious changes to my diet and activity. Yeah, yeah, I have heard that before... but this time I kept thinking about my dad and I did not want this to eventually catch up to me as it did him.

What I have done to lose 50lbs in three months.
Of course as I started out I made some huge weight losses immediately but as the weeks wore on I have tapered down to a 2-3lb per week loss. I have accomplished this primarily with diet alone and very little exercising or physical activity as I was uncomfortable doing a lot of things like riding my bike or running. However, I am now adding in more activity on a weekly basis to change things up. I started walking at first and then adding short bursts of ďsloggingĒ. Iím anxious for the days to begin growing longer so I can ride my bike after work again soon.

Since the triglycerides were high and my glucose levels a little high, my doctor recommended that I begin cutting out all sugars and enriched wheat products, almost like a sugar buster diet. Getting off the "white" foods and beginning to eat natural foods again was the plan. This is kind of extreme, but I keep telling myself that "if it didn't grow out of the ground or was not cut from the bone, don't eat it." Instead of grabbing a McDonaldís Egg McMuffin and a coffee in the morning every day on my way into the office, I now bring a Grapefruit, a hardboiled egg or two, steel cut oats and a cup of coffee. I do this breakfast nearly every day, with a little change-up here and there. Sometimes I throw in a couple strips of turkey bacon on the weekend to make it interesting. After breakfast I'll do a snack of blackberries, strawberries or raspberries. No yogurts any more either. No fake sugars or real sugar. I'll use Truvia for sweetener but not sure if that is good for me either. Lunch time I do Spinach.... tons of spinach and romaine, tomatoes, onions and mushrooms in a salad, either brought from home or from a local eatery that makes a great spinach salad. I top my salads with any of the following: Salmon, Tuna, Chicken or Turkey -- anywhere around 3-6 ounces of meat to provide some good protein. Afternoon snacks consist of a dozen or so almonds or maybe a 1/4cup of pistachios. Iím learning what snacks are ok and how to keep them to a minimum without adding extra calories. Usually, I donít get home until 7Pm because of a very long 90 minute commute. By the time I get home Iím fairly hungry and try to get things rolling immediately so that Iím not eating supper late in the evening. Super usually consists of more fish, poultry or pork tenderloin. I will roast whole a whole chicken and cut it up for supper and leftovers for the following dayís salad. We have essentially cut out all dining out except for those restaurants that I know will prepare me a piece of salmon or fish the way I like and provide olive oil and vinegar on the side for dressings. I have been learning to get more creative with my broccoli, spinach and other green veggies. Iíll do lots of garlic, onion, and mushrooms stir fried with my veggies to liven up the greens. Evening snacks are pretty much out of the picture now. Occasionally Iíll eat a small bowl of pistachios or nuts. I guess I could do some celery or carrots but Iím not a big fan of veggies as evening snacks yet. I know that this is probably just a small picture of my current eating methods and I know that I have blown it many times over the past few months, but as I stick to this basic plan I have been regularly losing the weight. I hit a plateau last week after dropping down into the high 240s, but this past week I bumped up my treadmill efforts a bit for three days and boom, I fell instantly from 248 to 242 in just a few days.
I am guessing as I up my activity levels I will also have to up my calorie intake but Iím worried about this transition and donít plan to make too many quick additions to what I have been eating so far.

Diet Challenges
Iím a Beer LOVER. Also a home brewer for many years that makes some pretty damn good beers. I regularly meet with friends that brew and we exchange ideas on recipes and equipment. Brewing beer is a big part of me, a great hobby and past time. Problem: alcohol and the carbs associated with my beer can throw a real monkey wrench into my weight loss and fitness goals. Initially, my doctor told me NO alcohol while starting out. Ok, I did that for a month or so and it really sucked. I knew the holidays were coming from November through the first of the year and lots of beer would be flowing at this gathering or that. I have made a real effort to cut back my alcohol consumption drastically and account for every bottle drank in my food journals. At 200ish calories a pop, good beer costs a lot on the weight loss budget.

Exercise and Activity Plans
So far I havenít incorporated any organized or specific activities. I have been using the treadmill on a occasional basis and just recently began 30 minute walk/run session again. Regretfully, Iím going to have a little set-back beginning this week because Iím having an umbilical hernia repaired. Nothing big, matter of fact the hernia is not even bothering me at this time, but the internist thinks that if I plan to begin working out hard, riding bikes and running again in the future I should get this repaired sooner than later. So, I guess after my scheduled surgery this week, Iíll be out of commission for another three to four weeks while it heals up good. Although, I shouldn't experience too much difference in how my activities have been going as I havenít ramped up my exercising up to this point too much. My plan is to incorporate walking on a daily basis and slowly begin to increase the intensity over the month to follow.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 1/5/2014 7:41PM

    Hey thx for the SparkGoodie and kind words!

Your food choices sound a whole lot like MINE when I'm on the right track! :-) I like boring, same old, same old...if I keep my choices limited there is less chance of straying into dangerous territory. I'm fortunate not to be drawn to alcohol...a rare, rare indulgence...usually takes my son to twist my arm, lol. In fact I avoid caloric beverages altogether. I prefer to CHEW my calories, thank you!

This fall / holiday season was WAY less than optimal for getting right back to business, pulling the plug on the carbie tiger and tossing 'em out for the trashman!


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CATLADY52 1/4/2014 3:52PM

    emoticon You have a very good plan and I think you will meet your goal! emoticon

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