Sunday, July 01, 2012
Hey Friends.....THANK YOU for those who are praying for my wife!!
I wanted to take a quick minute to tell you what's happening.
She got bit by SOMETHING?!?! We think it was a spider as she was doing a fitness walk in an unfamilar area last Thursday. We are now over a week into the battle and 4 days in the hospital for serious antibiotics. (it was not a brown recluse spider though)
She is doing better one day at a time and with any hope at all, today I will get to bring her home to finish recovery.
PLEASE keep praying - they are very much appreciated and very much FELT by all four of us! This is very trying to say the least!
So there ya have it...very quick but atleast you now know what you're praying for. :-)
Friday, June 22, 2012
I was asked recently to complete a questionaire to which I was very happy to do. What I didn't expect was the journey it took me on as I worked through the questions and formulated my responses accordingly. This was honestly fairly tough to get through at times and took me several weeks to complete.(partly due to life in general though)
As I read and re-read and re-re-read this, I felt like this was worth sharing. This isn't an easy journey, the struggles are tough, but you can win. It is my hope that I can inspire ONE person by sharing this.
This has been edited by several people so I can't take credit for all the writing, but it is still my story. Thank you to my wife Chelle and to Bruce for the edits made.
Section 1 questions. What was your childhood like? When and how did you start gaining weight? Was it something you were aware of? How did it make you feel? How did it affect your life, relationships and goals/career? Did it alter your personality or outlook on life? How did people treat you? Please provide an example of how someone treated you/commented on your weight.
Answers - I grew up in a very small town in Kansas as the youngest of 5 children. My siblings were much older so they weren't really playmates. One of my favorite things to do was play “kick the can” for hours with kids in the neighborhood. I got very involved with Drum Corps/marching band in the 5th grade. I spent 18 years traveling nearly all summer nationwide with Drum Corps. This was a very demanding activity with long rehearsals outside in the heat. I was active and fit. I even taught this activity until the late 90’s, which kept my weight down. Looking back now, I wasn’t eating healthy; I was just active and working it off. I didn’t start gaining serious weight until I changed career paths and got a desk job. I became less active, still ate a poor diet, and my weight climbed slowly. I kept having to buy new pants. I didn’t like feeling myself getting out of control, but I didn’t have the will to do anything about it either. Then I lost my Mom in 2005. She was one of my best friends. I went into a deep depression, ate my way through it, and rapidly gained a lot of weight. I was probably 230 when she passed and quickly went to my top measured weight of 264. After that point, I just couldn't bear to look at the scale. I kept getting bigger, and my wife and I agree that I reached 275 at least. I felt embarrassed. I was tired and grumpy all the time. Gaining weight affected every aspect of my life. I had two young daughters who wanted me to wrestle on the floor or play in the back yard. I simply couldn’t do it. I wasn't giving my very loving and supportive wife the best a husband has to offer. I had no will to help with household chores or play with my children. Some days, I struggled to get out of bed. The only person that ever treated me poorly due to my size was me. I hated my new appearance and how I felt. I knew my health was poor. I knew I needed to make changes, but I had no will to do it. I beat myself up. It wasn’t until I hit bottom emotionally that my wife understood my self-imposed mental torture. On the outside, I was a happy, fun guy always pulling pranks at work. On the inside I wasn’t healthy or happy. I started walking twice a week for a month, but it wasn't enough to turn things around.
Section 2: Food Philosophy Questions - How did you view food (as comfort, solution to boredom etc)? How did this view affect you and your loved ones/family? Where did the eating habits stem from? How did you feel emotionally?
Answers - My view of food has been through just about every cycle imaginable. My mom prepared delicious but not necessarily healthy food. She did try to get me to eat fruits and veggies, but wasn't strict so I ate what I wanted. When I got out on my own, I viewed food as a convenience, grabbing whatever would be easiest to grab and sitting in front of the TV watching sports with my wife or at friends' houses. Meals always seemed to consist of simple party snack foods, nothing remotely healthy. Not sure I ever used food as a solution, but I would certainly eat when I was bored. No one in my family did anything different so there weren't positive influences, and societal influences didn't help. But I only blame myself for the habits I developed. Initially when I started gaining weight, I used my desk job as a lame excuse for weight gain. Sure, sitting all day didn't help. But I made no effort to offset it by being active. It eventually caught up to me. I had struggled a little with depression, but fell into a deep depression after my mom died, which made me even less active and more drawn to comfort food. I realize now I was addicted to food.
Section 3: Eating habits Questions - How much did you eat for all meals, snacks, etc? How did it escalate? Where did you usually eat and how often? Were you at all concerned? How did your weight hold you back in work, society or relationships? Did it affect your goals in life?
Answers - I'd always eaten until I was completely full or beyond full most of the time. From a calorie perspective, I honestly have no idea how many I used to eat on a daily basis. I didn’t track them, I didn’t read labels, I didn’t care to be informed before. We ate lots of fast food, and when we did eat at home, I would eat seconds and sometimes thirds. I remember when I was probably 10 years old, I had a paper route and would stop every day for the next 5 or 6 years on my route to get TWO Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups a day. That addiction carried on for years, and caught up with me when I got the desk job and lost my mother. Food was my solace. I wasn't concerned by my health, and nearly always had a snack in my hand. My weight never held me back in my work that I can remember. But it was affecting what I could and couldn't do with my family. It affected my mood, making me grouchy all the time. Having a very short temper negatively affected my wife and daughters.
Before daily intake
Mock rundown of what you ate for:
Breakfast: (items varied, but here are some of my favorites)
Sonic Breakfast burritos a lot, tater tots and large drink
Sonic Pancake on a stick
Honey buns(with the white icing)
Lunch: (some of my favorites)
Entire small pizza
Chinese food (lots of it) -- Chicken and Rice, The greasiest messiest, yummy fat filled Chicken fingers I'd ever eaten. I would get the meal with 6 fingers, 2 cups of brown rice and an eggroll. THEN I would cover the whole mess with sweet and sour sauce.
McDonalds – Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Super-size Fries
Burger King – Whopper, onion rings, large Dr. Pepper, tacos
Dinner: (some of my favorites)
Same as lunch, unfortunately!
Dr Pepper all day
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups all day
Section 4: The turning point Questions - Emotionally and physically, what was the most painful part of being overweight? When was the moment or time you realized you had to lose weight? How did it effect you emotionally? What motivated your decision? How did you take steps towards that goal? What were your family and friends’ response?
Answers - The most painful part of being overweight was physical. My legs hurt, my back hurt and I had/have neck problems due to my weight. Emotionally it hurt when I looked in the mirror because I didn’t like what I saw. I knew for a very long time that I needed to make changes, but made only meager attempts, never fully committing myself to changing and taking back my life back. My motivation was and still is my wife and daughters. They deserve a happy, healthy, fun, loving husband and father. On December 28th, 2009 I made the decision to become the man that they deserved and the man I deserved to be. When I made the decision, I changed everything I was doing. I told my wife and daughters I was going to start trying to lose weight. My wife was VERY supportive and began cooking healthy meals at home. We started looking at food labels. We stopped buying so much processed food and learned how to eat healthfully. Taking steps toward the goal wasn’t hard. Once I finally made up my mind, I went for it with everything I had. I knew it would be work, but I was and still am willing to do the work. I didn’t tell many people initially; just my family and some co-workers. When people started seeing the weight loss, questions started coming, about how I was making it happen. The support was always there among my friends. When I hit the 80+ lost mark, people were surprised to hear I’d had no surgery. I'd always tell them, “Why would I do that when I can work it off and be healthier for it?” I had acquaintances whom I hadn’t seen in a while that I had to re-introduce myself to because my transformation was so drastic!
Section 5: Losing the weight Questions - How did you start losing the weight (specific diet and exercise routines)? What helped you lose the weight (diet system, support network, mantra etc..)? How long did it take to start losing weight? How long did it take to lose over 100 pounds? What were some of the difficulties you had? Did you plateau? Who/what was your support system? Is there a certain motto that stuck out for you?
Answers - When I started my journey, I joined SparkPeople.com after hearing about it from a friend at work and I cut my calories to around 1200-1400 a day. I fully believe SparkPeople.com saved my life. I started tracking everything I ate. I started eating much less and much healthier. Their nutrition database is massive for tracking food and it’s very easy to use. The people of SparkPeople support each other via forums and that is an incredible source of focus, accountability and inspiration. I started walking a lot. I would get out of bed at 4:30am to go for a 3 mile walk every single morning. I took 15-20 minute breaks at work to go for walks. These walks were in the tunnels under downtown Dallas near my office. Then when I got home I would walk another 3 miles. I did the work I knew was necessary. I walked 3-7 miles a day for most of January 2010. By the end of January I had already lost 20 pounds. That was already 1/3 of what I wanted to lose for the entire year. Having that success was a great motivator. I pushed myself even harder in my workouts. Then I got an elliptical and started using it every day and increased my time as I progressed. I continued my daily work-break walks. In May 2010 I ran my first race, The Warrior Dash. What a rush, I was hooked on running. I ran my first official 5k in July of 2010 and never looked back. Also in the Summer of 2010, I added HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts to my schedule. These I did in my makeshift home gym I had set up in my garage. My wife joined me for these workouts as she was in the process of losing over 65 pounds herself. These workouts validated how far I had come. I was stronger and energized and healthy for the first time in at least15 years. It took me 349 days to lose 100 pounds, and I had an 8 week break of no workouts due to surgery. I can honestly say I didn’t really have many difficulties during the weight loss phase. I was working so hard and was so focused, it just happened for me. I probably plateaued at about 95 pounds lost, but mostly because of the surgery I had. I developed a sports hernia and had to have that repaired, after I ran my first 10k. I have run over two 5k’s, 6 or 7 10k’s, 3-15k’s, 7 half marathons and 1 full marathon. My personal success factors are as follows. 1. You MUST know what/how much you are eating (track it) 2. Shut up and Sweat (work it off) 3. Do it every single day. It’s really that simple. I still follow these three success factors today as they STILL WORK.
After daily intake
Mock rundown of what you now eat for:
[Note: Below is food tracked on a recent, typical day]
Green Leaf lettuce that I cut myself (about 1 cup)
Green Pepper, yellow pepper and onion (about 2 table spoons each)
2 tables spoons of Kraft Light Catalina dressing
3 ounces of grilled chicken breast
¼ cup brown rice
Baked Alaskan Cod fish (about 2 ounces)
Mediterranean Couscous (about ¼ cup)
One piece of whole wheat bread
Great Value Sweet & Salty Peanut Chewy Granola Bar
8-10 baby carrots raw
3-4 fresh strawberries
Few bites of fresh pineapple
(please include serving sizes)
Section 6: New food outlook Questions - How do you now view food and health? How has your new lifestyle changed you? Do you feel better about yourself? Has your weight loss affected other goals or your relationships? What’s the best part of being healthier, slimmer? Do people treat you differently? What advice do you have for people struggling with their weight?
Answers - My view of food and health has done a 180. My current view and motto of food is: ‘I eat to fuel my body, not fill my body’. Food is critical to our survival obviously and we MUST have a relationship with food. I now have a relationship that I can trust. Today we eat at home most of the time and I have one serving only. Leftovers are put away for another day. Do I still indulge? Absolutely. The difference is that I recognize those times as an exception and not the rule. I know how to move past it. I also know that my health is my responsibility, and that I have to work at it. Good health doesn’t just ‘happen’ for most people. We all have to manage our relationships with food on a daily basis. I still struggle some days. It's been an emotional journey.
It’s one thing for me to be ‘skinny’ but it’s an entirely different thing for me to be healthy inside and out. My lifestyle has changed me into a much happier, much more energetic, more positive person. The lifestyle change has affected my entire family. My wife has lost 70ish pounds herself by doing the same things I have: Eating right and working out. Our daughters are much more aware of junk food and fitness as well. We visit health food stores and farmers markets as a family, something we never did in the past. My confidence is sky high and I feel great about myself. My weight loss has driven me to be passionate to help others realize the same feeling of success and happiness. My relationships are better across the board, simply due to my internal happiness. There are so many things that are so much better since my transformation it’s difficult to pick one, but it's probably giving my wife and daughters deserved a better husband and father. I can play with my daughters, run, ride bikes, etc…They have a hard time keeping up with me! That’s awesome. I have the energy to help my wife with household chores. I can’t say that I get treated differently by my friends and family, but I have gained a whole new set of friends. Runners! I have joined the Dallas Running Club and it has been a huge source of joy to hang out and run races once a month. I have also made friends all over the country via SparkPeople.
My advice to others who are struggling with weight loss, in addition to my personal success factors above, is to ‘stay the course’. You might be struggling, you might be losing very slowly, but stay the course, keep working hard, keep eating the right foods, you'll get results. Never give up. This is an emotional journey as much as it is a physical journey. Take note of the emotions and your relationship with food. Knowing how you treat food is crucial for your success.
Link to my video about my journey: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjH49JhQ-uI
and a few before and after pic
Monday, June 04, 2012
June 2nd, 2012
White Rock Lake, Dallas TX
Dallas Running Club
Bloomin 4 Mile
I don't run many shorter distances but I was really looking forward to this run!
I was up at 4:45am ( I know, I slept in, slacker! :-) ) to start getting ready and get my body to move and groove a little. I started the day on my PVC roller, I love what that thing does for me. I went through my normal stretches to get my low back, hammies, quads and calves somewhat functional(some days it takes more than others). I then made my energy drinks and got dressed.
My buddy David picked me up at 6am and we were off to my favorite lake in Dallas. It was a beautiful morning and the lake was like glass, simply beautiful to say the least. We got our bibs and then started on a little warm up walk. Lynette was working the tabe with our bibs on it and it's always good to see her. I was even happier to see that she was empty handed and had NOTHING for me this time, LOL! (there is a story there, but it'll wait) I Love getting to races early enough to actually get some blood moving really well in my legs, it felt great. We walked about a mile and a half out and ran part way back. On the walk out, my friends Mimi and Kevin came by so they walked and talked with us for a while.
We ran a little way back to the starting line, hit the porta pots and found another friend or two. Sometimes I think that's why I run, to see my friends, LOL! Always good to see Shelly and her son Alex at races too!
I honestly didn't have any expectations for this race. My hammies have been really tight and I sometimes have trouble getting them to loosen up. We all shared some good laughs before we headed to the starting line.
It' TIME....time to line up~! Typically I start in the back, it always makes me feel good to get to pass a few other runners. Today however, we lined up about 5 feet from the start line, what was I thinking?! There we were, Lynette, David and I up there with the faster runners.
And we're off - literally off and running faster than I typically would, but I felt good.
mile 1 was a 7:54 pace on my garmin. I ran with Lynette for about .75 miles and it was faster than the pace shows on my garmin, I realized i couldn't keep that up so I slowed, or so I thought and watched the speed demon run off into the distance....bye Lynette. :-)
mile 2 was the same at 7:54 pace. I was just holding steady for this mile trying hard to stay relaxed and focusing on my breathing.
mile 3 was 8:15. Mile 3 was slower because I had to run up that dawg gone hill that I hate at the lake. It's this only part of the lake I don't care for, coming off the bridge that bounces with every step to face this hill, it's almost depressing really. lol.
mile 4 was 8:04. Again I was simply trying to relax and push to the end. I could have been faster this mile, but I did stop at the water station to get a few sips of water.
I shocked myself honestly! I have NO CLUE I could ever run this fast for four miles. I felt good when I finished and had a great sense of accomplishment! My official time was 32:33 earning me 11th place in my age group. I literally laughed out loud when I found out where I placed. I laughed because I am alway right in the middle, and yes, this race was no different. I ran my best race to date and yet I was 11th out of 24 men. HA. That's OK though, I beat myself! Last year my time was 35:01 for the same race on the same course, I WIN!
Ofcourse there were some pictures taken:
Me and my buddy David pre race
There is my friend Shelly
Me and David post race
and just because I'm a goofball!
and a nice shot of the lake
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Posted to my personal blog but wanted to share
11 years ago today, we were in China on one of the most important mission of our lives.
We were on a mission to bring you home! Very excited, very scared, very nervous, but we were there and ready for our family to start growing. Little did we know all the changes that would really begin that day.
We were blessed with an amazing little girl that day. She was scared, unsure what was happening and very curious about everything going on around her. This little girl is growing up so fast, too fast really. She is growing into a beautiful young lady, very talented, athletic, artistic, gifted and overall an amazing person.
Watching you grow, and having the opportunity to guide you is a honor!
Remembering a time when you were still a small toddler, walking out of our bedroom with my shorts pulled up under your armpits, we all laughed so hard. SO SWEET! I could go on and on with the memories, but I won't.
Seeing your friendships develop over time, knowing that you are picking friends who are of great character, not just popular is rather amazing. Knowing that your character is growing and shaping into an amazing young woman, wow, how amazing, what an honor to watch and be a part.
I am looking forward to seeing where this journey called life takes you. I believe there are amazing things in store for you. God has given you amazing talents, I pray daily that those talents are used for the benefit of yourself and others. I pray that you will embrace the love of Jesus in your heart and hold that dear to your forever.
I am very proud of you Emily.
This picture was taken the day we got home and is STILL one of my favorite pictures of you.
This is a recent picture. You were amazing the day we brought you home and you're even more amazing today.
I love you and I'm proud to be your Daddy!
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
This was originally posted on my personal external blog, but wanted to share.
7 years ago God gave us you
Your eyes so bright
Your smile so sweet
I'm so very thankful that God gave us you!
Sydney - it's hard to believe that it's been 7 years already. It seems like only yesterday that we arrived in Nanning China to meet face to face for the very first time. Those oh so curious big beautiful eyes will, I will never forget them.
Your first words when we met I think were JieJie as you looked at Emily. You already knew she was your older sister, simply melted my heart to hear you say that. Very close behind that, you met your best friend in the world, LieLie. Aunt Lori had looked long and hard for the PERFECT animal to give you and she hit the nail on the head. You took one look at this sheep we had sitting on the bed and you were fast friends. You said, 'LieLie' and gave her a hug. This picture was taken shortly after that I think.
You are a blessing in SO many ways. Each day is a new adventure and the joy you bring our home is amazing. Hearing you laugh at one of your favorite TV shows, sitting on your comfy place in your room reading and even watching your personality blossom are all Blessings and I'm grateful for the opportunity to watch you grow.
You are a loyal, loving, caring, giving person who often thinks of others first, I pray you always keep THAT attitude and never let that go.
You are amazing Sydney Faith and I love you with every fiber in my heart.
I am SO very thankful that God gave us YOU!
This picture was taken on New Years Eve 2011.
Get An Email Alert Each Time JMERLAU Posts