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A quick lieu of snacks!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Well, here I am in Atlanta....again.....not stuck, just a long layover till my 11:00 PM connection back home....I've got a free 90 minutes, so I cranked open my little Verizon MiFi and decided to get caught up on Spark for a little bit.

It's been a busy few days....Monday was chock full of meetings, then I had to skedaddle to catch a flight from Kansas City to DC. Got into my hotel after midnight, hit the sack, then had my first meeting at 7:30 Tuesday AM. Luckily it was a conference, so all I had to do was sit back and listen, nodding wisely when the presenter made a good point.

The good news was, this conference didn't have any forced marches to the lunch buffet....we were on our own, so I was free to hit the gym as long as we were back in 90 minutes.

I can do that!

I now REALLY, REALLY like this Lolo Beatburner app for elliptical, and will likely check out the their app for indoor cycling as well. I figured out how to get it to scan my music collection, analayze it all for the BPM in each song, then it increases or decreases the beat, without losing any pitch, and uses that to cue you on how fast or slow you go.

It's a great workout! I basically got in about 40 minutes of awesome interval training and felt incredibly charged and energized afterwards!

Showered, dressed and made it back in time to sagely sit through the rest of the afternoons presentations.

My brother lives in DC, so I went over to his place (after a return visit to the gym to get in some ST!) for dinner & dessert Tuesday night. My 2 nieces (5 & 2) were energetic & adorable....and fascinated with my iPhone as the played angry birds, took pictures of each other, and watched movie trailers on Flixter!

I was going to leave at 9:00 PM when the kids went to bed, but my brother & SIL insisted I stick around for a while.....which stretched into staying till 1:00 AM!! I realized that their lives (they are both in their late 40s) now revolve around Disney princesses, iCarley episodes, and endless viewings of Ice Age and Mulan! They are starved for adult conversation, so I helped them get grounded back into semi-adult living!

So I was pretty groggy this morning after my 3 hours of sleep for the night....then had to get my game face back on for another 8 hours of presentations & discussions.....loading up with a Venti Americano from Starbucks helped immensely!

I definitely needed another lunchtime workout though, so I repeated yesterday's elliptical session and that helped make it through the afternoon.

Anyway, life is good....I know blogging helps me stay on track, so I figured my choices were to connect up & blog....or to veg in Atlanta unable to resist walking over to Aunt Annie's pretzels and assorted other temptations in the fast food hell that is Atlanta Hartsfield airport!

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SNUZSUZ 4/20/2012 10:02AM

    It's great that you were able to spend time with family! And very considerate of you to stay and provide some adult conversations! I remember those days when I didn't talk to anyone over 5 years old for days at a time!

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KAYZAKCX 4/19/2012 6:41PM

    I've been through a Disney period with my kids. Fortunately, my sister had the iCarly period with her daughter. I taught mine to watch Japanese Godzilla and Gamera movies.

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HAKAPES 4/19/2012 4:10PM

    Wise decisions all week long!

I fully understand your dilemma at the airport, it's like they really want to get new patients for the healthcare system - only high calorie food, lots of carbs, fat, deep fried nirvana and such, all presented in a ciabatta, or minimum French fries on the side. Plus a Frankfurter on the last meters just before boarding the plane at the gate.

What phone do you use for your applicaitons?

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BEATLETOT 4/19/2012 8:42AM

    Sounds like a lovely visit to your brother's...better than trivia, I suppose. *Sigh* We could have used you...we came in SEVENTH. We were previously undefeated (only our third visit, but still...!).

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SHERYL_B 4/18/2012 10:34PM

    Glad to hear you got some family time in on one of your trips!

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    Great idea to blog instead of snacking. It's much more productive. And congrats to you for getting in lunch time workouts!

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Howling winds, closing gyms, Pad Thai, and screaming banshees!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Made it in to Kansas City earlier tonight....a surprisingly uneventful trip (except for the high speed abort on the runway in Atlanta....we taxied off, then got right back in line.....pilot said he had "a false positive" on an engine light)

Grabbed the rental car and drove to my hotel marveling at the rolling hills that make up this part of the country. For this Boston boy, transplanted to the flat Florida coastline, seeing undulating hills, covered with green, green grass and more than just a few cows & horses was a heartwarming sight.

But man 'o man the wind! Those big storms must have left something fierce in their wake here because it was a beautifully sunny day, but every time I stepped out of the car, I would get hammered by a deafening wind. I remember being fascinated as a kid, reading stories about the Mistral winds in Provence and how they would drive people mad after weeks of constant could wind do that to people? I could see why!

Checked in to the hotel around 5:00, scoped out the area nearby and found the gym, changed, and went to get in some cardio, when....

Gym closes at 6:00 PM! What the HELL is up with that!!! It's 5:15, what kind of self-respecting gym would close at 6:00 PM on a Sunday?!?!

I just cursed under my breath and made a bee-line for the nearest elliptical (I didn't want to waste any time scoping out the rest of the joint!)

Plugged in that neat little Beatburn app I mentioned yesterday and cranked away for the next 45 minutes....and a good 45 minutes it was!

After reading and listening to the directions on the app a little better, I found out how to adjust it and it's a pretty cool piece of work! It keeps adjusting resistance settings and pace, giving very good audio cues and changing the tempo for the music to match your stride. There's supposed to be a way for it to read your playlists, grab songs that have the BPM required and/or adjust the BPM of your songs without messing with the pitch....more to follow if that works as advertised or not.

On the way back I spied with my little eye a very interesting looking Thai restaurant. Pointed the iPhone there and Yelp came up with a nicely augmented reality rating of 4.5 stars! Good enough for me, especially since some little banshee voice in my brain kept screeching "BBQ, BBQ, BBQ!"

Had a nice cup of Coconut Milk Soup and a serving of some quite nicely prepared Pad Thai Chicken....figured I couldn't go wrong ordering some staples of the cuisine and they did it just right. But whoa, here I was less than half way through the Pad Thai, when all of a sudden....I felt full.

It's an odd thing for me on the road to not clean my plate....but here I was, looking at a whole lot of rice noodles, strips of chicken breast, scallions, and bean sprouts telling myself, "I'm done"

Banshee voice in my brain: "But you're not done eating....there's more food there...that's wasteful!"

"Yeah, but I'm full....I just had a great workout....drank a lot of water....I'm full. Maybe I'll take it back to the room with me and have it for breakfast....that won't be wasteful will it?"

Banshee grabs head and screams, running around my table in a panic yelling NOOoooooooo.....

So that's what I did....Pad Thai is sitting in my fridge right now.....and hell, if I don't feel like eating it in the morning....I might just throw it the end, I got a good meal, stayed within my calorie limits, got what I paid for.....and none of that is wasteful at all!

Have a great night Spark friends...tomorrow DC!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SNUZSUZ 4/17/2012 7:49PM

    What a great blog! You really know how to tell a story!

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MISSLORI5 4/16/2012 11:06PM

    There's a saying goes something like, it's better for it to go to waste than go to waist. I know I messed it up terribly, but you get the idea, don't ever be afraid to get rid of it rather than making yourself eat it! Drinking that water before eating was a great idea, also. It really helps especially when you're hungry. Gotta try that thai food-I'm pretty slow in dicovering new? stuff! Enjoy your day!

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SHERYL_B 4/16/2012 10:31PM

    Way to go! I need to try Thai but I'm in a lack of culinary choices. I can find anything I want with cheese thugh!

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MYTURN11 4/16/2012 12:50PM

    Love Pad Thai and the fact that you had a sense of fullness and acted on it is great! Yum - now I am craving Pad Thai and I love Coconut Milk soup too :-D

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    Great job on stopping when full! I like to put half of my entree into a to go container right of the bat sometimes and it works well. The winds are howling here in Wisconsin too! Glad you got in a great workout. I think our gym here closes at 6:00 on Sunday, too.

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GJCAB09 4/16/2012 7:35AM

    Nice job with the Pad Thai, I usually get the Kank Keow Whan (sp??) and gobble waaay too much of it at once, then finish it off as a before bedtime snack. I like your approach much better! Good on you and have fun in DC!

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KAYZAKCX 4/16/2012 1:33AM

    It's nice when the voice of reason speaks up, takes charge, and steers you towards the better choices. Good job.

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Ready to face down the Iron Chef!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

So my boss calls me up from Vegas Thursday night and says, "Hey, can you go to a conference for me in DC next week?"

Me: "Well I'm going to be at meetings in Kansas City on Monday & Tuesday....when's the conference?"

Boss: "It's Tuesday and Wednesday....I really need you to go....we NEED to be'll be noticed if we're not"

By which he meant I needed to be there.

Me: "OK, let me do some juggling around, see if I can't cram all our stuff into Monday. I can probably catch a late flight to DC Monday night"

Boss: "Great, let me know if there are any problems!"

Of course there won't be.....that's what I do.

And it really isn't that big a deal, but I've got to admit, the only part that really bugs me is that I'll miss my ST sessions on Monday & Wednesday night.....I've been on a really, really good roll.

I've been making great progress, and I feel like I've got myself on a real good weekly routine combining ST, cardio, HIIT, abs, push-ups, back strengthening.....everything's hitting on 8 cylinders. I workout 4-5 days in a row, take a day off.....hardly ever take 2 days in a row off anymore....3 days off is a red flag for me.....more than 2 days without working out is my path of decline

So it'll all workout. I can get in some pretty decent ST maintenance on my own. I freely admit, having trainer guy there pushes me way harder than I normally do on my own, hence the progress.

I tried out a new workout app today....I think I like it, but I'll need to try it out a few more times. It's called BeatBurn Elliptical and it was a pretty tough 45 minute workout.

It's pretty well designed and keeps the workout interesting, having you change the intensity and/or the strides/minute every 30-120 seconds.

All I know is I worked up a great sweat and the time flew by! Got in my push-ups today too, finishing another 6-day run.

Which is real good, because tonight we're taking #2 son out for Teppanyaki dinner at his favorite Hibachi grill! He gets to pick a dinner out when he brings home an all A report card. His choices vary between Hibachi grill, Chinese buffet, or Red Lobster....ahhh to be young and 18 and eat all you want without gaining an ounce!

But I was ready for him! Had a big green smoothie this morning (Yum!), grabbed an 8 piece sushi combo from the grocery store for lunch after working out, and here I am sitting at 800 calories for the day ready to face down the Iron Chef!

Have a great night Spark friends.....tomorrow, from Kansas City!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAFARIBABE 4/15/2012 9:43PM

    Dang! You DO get around!! With all your frequent flyer miles you can probably take the whole clan to the moon and back! Have a safe trip! The green smoothies will be waiting for you when you get home!

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SHERYL_B 4/15/2012 9:04PM

    Your blogs make me tired! Traveling isn't so much fun when you don't have time to see the sites.

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SNUZSUZ 4/15/2012 8:27PM

    Very inspirational blog! You make me want to jump up and exercise right now!lol

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KALISWALKER 4/15/2012 4:13PM

    I hope you can find ST exercise that you can do when you travel. Have a great week!

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FANGFACEKITTY 4/15/2012 12:00PM

    Better you than me my friend! The last 2 times I traveled I wound up sick and all fitness activities (except for pushups of course) suffered. But if anyone can make it work it will be you.

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HAKAPES 4/15/2012 9:46AM

    Sacrificing strength training for an airplane sitting... we need to find a workaround for that! (I mean you!) ;-)

I love good rolls, too, it's so easy, no willpower, just going with the flow!

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CLAIREINPARIS 4/15/2012 3:27AM

    Wow, this is going to be another busy week!!! Good for you for managing your crazy work life and exercising routine at the same time! Truly an inspiration!

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KAYZAKCX 4/15/2012 1:46AM

    Your travel schedules leave my head whirling. I don't see how you do it and get your workouts in. That's an accomplishment.

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REBECCATKD 4/14/2012 10:30PM

    Hope you enjoyed a delicious dinner!

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HEALTHIERKEN 4/14/2012 9:55PM

    The Iron Chef doesn't have a chance in h**l facing off against you : )
Congrats to #2 son for that excellent report card, too. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree!
Enjoy your hectic week.

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CHEEKY1000 4/14/2012 9:08PM

    Seriously, how do you stay sane with your schedule? I tend to need downtime, and it seems as though you rarely get any. Busy man! Good luck with your schedule and maybe you can fit some push-ups into your schedule in the hotel room--or ask people to stay in their seats on the plane and just bust 'em out in the aisle (just kidding--but you might inspire some people).

Enjoy dinner! Sounds yummy!

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    You'll do fine! I know how hard it is while traveling. Check out my blog on my page about the ST workout my trainer gave me to do in a hotel room. It was VERY effective. Good luck!

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BEATLETOT 4/14/2012 5:18PM

    Dang it! I'd invite you to trivia on Monday night in Arlington!

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Choosing to Act

Thursday, April 12, 2012

SWMBO and I are big believers in community service and we try to take on a couple of projects every year in our local area.

This year I was asked to host the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day here.....interesting, since I'm not Jewish.....but I'm an avid student of history....and a pretty darn good public speaker!

We've been planning it for a few months, and we were able to put together a pretty decent program. The theme for this year was "Choosing to Act - Stories of Rescue". I invited two local European history professors (one a former Navy SEAL!) to give us a quick historical context of Europe and Germany in the 20s and 30s as well as some well researched stories of Jewish resistance fighters in the forests of Poland and Germany.

Then we asked the daughter of husband & wife concentration camp survivors to talk to us about growing up in America as the child of Holocaust survivors. WOW! Talk about putting teenage angst in context! Her story was amazing and incredibly moving. She also brought her two teenage daughters....incredibly well adjusted teens whose grandparents lived their teen years in German concentration camps in Poland. SWMBO and I made sure to get as many young kids into the audience as we could so that this wouldn't become just a history lesson, but something real and tangible to draw a straight line connection for them to a past that was not that long ago.

We ended with a Dutch gentlemen who told the story of how he and his friends, none older than 20, helped feed, hide, and later repatriate 103 of their Jewish friends from occupied Holland. He spent his entire youth in Nazi occupied Holland and is as lively today as he was in his youth.

My goal was to have people walking out of there thinking and knowing that this was not just a lesson on something that happened long ago, but to feel how the events of just 70 short years ago were real and still resonate and touch the lives of many around us.....and that every year there are fewer and fewer people around who can connect us with that past.

I ended it with one of my favorite quotes, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for men of good will to do nothing"

As we walked out, SWMBO and I remembered why it's important for us to do these events.....whatever we have going on....daily angst, worries, concerns, the future etc, all these felt like they were really no big deal by the time we entered the sunny spring day outside!

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IMSMILEY88 4/14/2012 8:19AM

    I love that you organized this event AND how you are giving back to your community! You are an example to us all!

I've just become a 'history buff' over the past few years. History used to be my 'most hated' subject, and now I can't get enough! Lately, I've been reading about the Gulags of the Soviet! So like the concentration camps of Germany, except that they weren't out-right executing people...which is a HUGE difference! But, still, these were horrible places. And, they were going on during MY life!

Yesterday, on the news, I heard that they still have Gulag-type camps in North Korea. And, the thousands who are imprisoned there have not had trials. It's amazing to realize that this still goes on today!

Again, thanks for sharing the stories of these people with your community. Wish I could have come!

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SHERYL_B 4/13/2012 8:55PM

    Way to give back!

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CHALLENGER15 4/13/2012 7:16PM

    What a wonderful thing for you to host. I enjoyed reading about the day. Thank you for blogging about it.

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FANGFACEKITTY 4/13/2012 10:31AM

    How awesome of you and SWMBO to do this (all of your community service projects). It is important to give back what we are able. Bringing history alive is so important so that we can learn from our past mistakes and (hopefully) never repeat them. Two of my favorite quotes are "there is nothing new under the sun" and "those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it" (Santayana). So despite the natural desire to gloss over and not dwell on the horrible parts of the past these are the exact events we need to focus in, to prevent their ever happening again. Kudos to you for being, and getting others, involved.

And somewhat related my son is in Boston this weekend for the Patriot's Days celebration of the events leading to the Revolutionary War, performing with his fife & drum Corp.

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KAYZAKCX 4/12/2012 11:26PM

    Amazing. There are somethings so dark that we try our best to forget them, whether they are things that happen on a personal scale or a global scale. Remembering them, though, is the only way to keep them from repeating. It seems we are ripe for such a tragedy to unfold yet again. Hopefully, programs like yours will prevent that.

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SAFARIBABE 4/12/2012 9:51PM

    What a great way to give back to the community! And to get kids for whom WWII is just another chapter in their history books -- no more relevant to them than the War of 1812 -- to really understand the human toll of war and hate. My other favorite quote is "Those who do not know history's mistakes are doomed to repeat them." You've gone a long way today toward helping these kids really understand some of history's mistakes. WTG!!

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Frank talk

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Well today I had an interesting conversation with a guy that works for me.

I've known him for coming on 20 one point he was my boss when I first started out. We lost track of each other over the years, and when I took over this division of our company he was working here.

He's a good guy, but the years have not been kind to him. He weighs over 300+ lbs, has lots of family troubles, and is not a very healthy person. On top of that, the quality of his work is not up to speed.

He actually scheduled a meeting with me for some "mentoring" and also to explore options for upward mobility.

When I saw this pop on my schedule, I had to spend a lot of time thinking about how to approach the conversation.

In then end, I decided frankness and honesty was the best approach.

I started off by telling him that personally, "as someone that has known you for a long time", I was very concerned for his health. That the amount of weight he had gained, the way he carried himself, the respiratory problems that he had, compounded by the personal issues he had going on at home, had me wondering if he wasn't headed for a heart attack, stroke, diabetes, you name it.

"Brother, any one or two of the things you are dealing with is a lot for any one're dealing with 5 to 6 crises simultaneously, in a frame that doesn't look like it's built for endurance. If your health fails you, you're not going to be any good to any of those folks that need you, forget about what I need you to be doing here."

Then I had to tell him honestly that he had a lot of room to improve in his current job performance and that I wasn't entertaining any thoughts of moving him up until he started stepping up and getting some things done that I had been talking about for months.

"Believe me, it does not get easier to stay in shape as we get older! And you can't wait till you're less busy because we're always going to be busy with something!"

Here's the interesting part. I've been giving feedback and mentoring people for years. This was the first time where I decided I needed to talk to someone professionally about their weight and health and how I thought it affected them personally as well as in their job.

I don't think I would have done that prior to Sparkpeople.

I'm not 100% sure how he took it. He said, "Yeah you're right, I need to lose weight" and moved on to other topics. It'll be interesting to see what happens....I'll probably get charged with something like harassment or discrimination bringing an end to a somewhat mediocre career!

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALISWALKER 4/15/2012 4:33PM

    I know it must have been difficult to do, but you have his best interest at heart.

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BILL60 4/14/2012 9:08AM

    I was an Inspector General for a while and had to listen to allegations from soldiers regarding discrimination. When I pointed out, as you did, their record of less than stellar performance, the allegations were almost always dropped. When the allegations were not dropped, the Commanding General always accepted my conclusions. Kudos to you for your courage to "Tell it like it is".

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RAWHIDE64 4/13/2012 8:22PM

    I would have done the same thing. I always felt that if I told the truth and I was genuinely trying to help the person then I could withstand any charge that came my way. None came.

Knowing that you might get called to task for trying to help someone is a tough position for a manager. Good ones take risks and care about their employees. My hat's off to you.


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FANGFACEKITTY 4/12/2012 9:34PM

    That is a tough one. Employers, I believe, can legitimately argue that they have a vested interest in employees' health, as poor health costs money in insurance premiums and lost productivity. Discrimination based on health, unless legitimately preventing the proper and safe performance of job duties, cannot be allowed, but I would agree that an employer can have a private discussion with an employee to try to help improve. So on those grounds I think you are safe from a discrimination claim (plus he is not being promoted due to actual poor (and documented as such?) performance, not due to his weight) and from harassment claims - one private conversation to express your concerns in a sensitive and constructive manner does not constitute harassment.

As SAFARIBABE pointed out the fact that he now works for you when it used to be the other way around should tell him something about his job performance. And it probably has if he is requesting mentoring. Let's hope this was the impetus he needs to start making some positive changes in his life.

And kudos to you for having the courage to speak up and share your concerns with him, as difficult as it probably was for both of you. He is probably well aware of the issues, but sometimes when one is faced with that many problems all at once it is so overwhelming one becomes paralyzed, not able to do anything because the big picture is just way too big. Hearing his worries put into words from someone he looks up to (and he must if he requested mentoring) might help him clear the mental roadblocks enough that he can start putting his life into better order.

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SAFARIBABE 4/12/2012 8:19PM

    It's a rough position to be in but hopefully he'll think about the things you discussed and start making some changes in his life. You guys have been colleagues for a long time. Hell if he was your boss and is now working under you, that alone should tell him something. Now the one thing you might have done is helped him get the tools to get it done. Whether its SP or WW or something else. Don't sweat did what your conscience told you was the right thing. Trust that! From what I've seen you have sound instincts!

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 4/12/2012 4:05PM

    You did the right thing. I assume he is a little embarrassed now, but it might be the wake up call he needs.

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COCOA-JUMBO 4/12/2012 9:22AM

    Good for you! Wish someone would have had that talk with me, so I would have started the path to health sooner! Even my sister who's a doctor never had the courage to mention that my weight was out of control.

It's possible you may be vulnerable to a discrimination complaint, but he did ask you for mentoring and you didn't take any negative action against him because of his weight; so I think it will all work out.

Ultimately, if he listened, you just changed his whole life - not to mention the lives of all his family and friends!

If people only realized that eating right and working out make you feel so much more confident and so much more healthy, everyone would try to start down that path! If you feel good and feel good about yourself, the rest of your success will follow.

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BEATLETOT 4/12/2012 8:36AM

    I think that if he volunteered for "mentoring," that's different than if you had said this in a performance review. But I hardly think the last part of your blog was your point.

It is interesting the way you realize once you start changing one part of your lifestyle, the rest kind of follows, and I don't think that it only goes one way. He might realize that if he starts performing better at work, the weight will come off, as opposed to vice versa. Anyway, keep up posted!

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SHERYL_B 4/12/2012 8:24AM

    That's a tough situation. Hopefully he takes it in the spirit it was meant. He came to you for mentoring to start with and some was asking for guidance. Good luck!

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CLAIREINPARIS 4/12/2012 6:49AM

    300 lbs... I think if you hadn't said anything, you would have been guilty of not helping someone in danger. You spoke with your heart (and experience in that matter, which is great), not to make him feel low or uncomfortable. But someone who has weight issue (and I do!) knows it and will always feel uncomfortable when confronted with it if they aren't fighting that problem. It is so easy to just pretend everything is OK!
So, my personal opinion is: good for you! I hope he decides to change his life and that you can support him by your example and advice.

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REDSHOES2011 4/11/2012 11:02PM

    I have had someone talk to me about my weight.. They were concerned for my families sake and what it would do to my sons if I died.. I was not offended because the person taking the talk with me didn't talk down to me but honestly about what will happen to my kids if I didn't start taking care of myself..
I don't think you will get hit with discrimination as long as you appeal to them as genuinely worried.. I feel you were honest..
Red emoticon

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FENWAYGIRL18 4/11/2012 10:47PM

    Your right you might get hit with a harassment or discrimination charge, I don't think it was your place to say what you did. It might of been something you were thinking , but you put him in a very awkward position and now made yourself vulnerable to a discrimination case.
Sometimes when people lose weight they think everyone wants their advice and they don't for him to change the subject, you made him very uncomfortable.
That's just not nice

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