May 14, 2010

It’s Friday, and you’re getting ready to “Start Monday”  You know what that means!  Three more nights and two more days to eat whatever the Hell you want.  (not really) You might have that favorite food all ready to go, those vices all lined up.  Maybe you even arranged a Farewell to Food Tour.  Just like Barbara Streisand, you’ve probably said, “This is the last time”

I’m not going to tell you what to eat this weekend, I’m not going to tell you what to do.  You need to do what you have to do to get it out of your system.  It’s already out of your system, you don’t need it, but you might think you need still need it.

I still remember my last Steakhouse Burger at Burger King.  I remember thinking how badly I’d miss it, how I’d crave it.  I’ve tried one once in the past two years, had a couple bites and no longer liked how it tasted.  You’ll eventually feel the same about some of you “Must Haves”

All I’ll say is this, whatever you plan on doing this weekend, do so in moderation.  Remember, it’s all moving you away from your eventual goal.  Yes, you haven’t “officially” started, but in reality you have”  Every pound you put on between now and Monday is one more pound you have to take off to achieve your goal.  Keep that in mind this weekend.

Tomorrow I’ll touch on some of the foods you should start stocking up on.  You don’t have to, but I like to buy all my food for the week on Sunday so I know what I’m eating and I have no excuses.  You’re less likely to stray if you’re not looking in the fridge saying, “There’s nothing to eat in here”

Check Yourself

May 13, 2010

Today is about preparing yourself for the journey ahead.

By now you should have set a goal, something challenging but realistic. You should have committed yourself to reaching it. Hopefully you’ve begun telling family and friends, lining up their help and support. Many of you have signed up for tweightloss. Trust me when I say that you can never have too many people in your corner. I’ve made some unlikely friends and allies on my journey. Have one another’s back, at some point you’ll truly need each other.

If you haven’t signed up but want to, or would like more information, send an email to It’s anonymous, only I see the email and I’m not telling anyone.

Next you should start mentally prepaparing. In weight loss, as in much of life, it’s 99% mental. I’ll pass along a bit of insight that I receive from my 5 year old son each week as I leave for spin class. He says, “Dad, when I run a race I always close my eyes and picture myself running really fast. Don’t be nervous in class just close your eyes and think about pedaling as fast as you can.” VISUALIZATION! My 5 year old gets it.

If you’re standing on the starting blocks thinking about failure, you’ve already lost. There’s no place for self doubt here! Eliminate the fear of failure from your head. You’re going to do this.

Picture yourself at your goal weight. Now think about the emotions that will come along with that success. Imagine looking in the mirror and feeling overjoyed at what you see, the pride you will feel. Gone are the feelings of disgust, unhappiness or failure. Keep those positive emotions and focus on them, let them pull you towards your goal. (sorry to sound like Dr. Phil)

Now start thinking about sacrifice. What are you willing to give up to get there? Think about what has true importance in your life and what doesn’t. Maybe it’s that venti latte you have every day before work that has more calories than you’re willing to acknowledge, or maybe it’s switching from cream to skim. No sacrifice is too small.

Think about what you can give up when you boldly declare, “I don’t have time to work out”. That’s Bull Shit and you know it. If you have time to watch The Real Housewives of Orange County, you have time to work out. Again ask yourself, “is this helping me to reach my goal?”

Finally, stop being so hard on yourself! Seriously! Nobody is without flaw. We all fall on our asses, sometimes more than we’d care to admit. You’re going to screw up at some point! I certainly did. (Read “Shit Happens” if you don’t believe me.)

What’s important is not that you screwed up, but how you handle it. Do you let that be your excuse, or do you pick yourself up and soldier on?

Believe in yourself, if you don’t, nobody will. You can do this!

Getting YOU Started

May 12, 2010

I first want to take a second to thank everyone who took the time to read my post yesterday, or left a comment, asked a question etc.  I was humbled by the response.  I’m happy to have inspired some of you, and hope I can continue to help you to reach your goals as well.  I say it often and mean it…

If I can do it, ANYONE can do it.

I was fat and struggled with it for a LONG time before I finally got control.

I had a lot of people ask me for advice, how I did it.  Let me assure you, there’s no secret, no magic pill.  There are no shortcuts in weight loss.  I ate clean, healthy food (most of the time).  I measured out my portions, because even if you’re eating healthy, too many calories are too many calories.  Aside from that, I exercised.  I lifted weights, I ran, I swam and rode my bike, not all at the same time.  I worked hard!  Showing up at the gym isn’t enough, you have to sweat!  It’s going to be uncomfortable!

So where do YOU start?  Start by setting a goal.  Be realistic and be honest with yourself.  Start slowly.  Not to sound like an ass, but forget about doing what I did in 12 weeks. I’m not saying you can’t because I know it’s possible, but most of you won’t be able to make that commitment.  I’ve never worked so hard in my life!  Pick a goal that’s difficult but realistic.  Maybe that’s 10 pounds in 12 weeks, maybe it’s 20, just figure out what you want and focus on reaching it.

Next, commit to doing it.  Commit to making the necessary changes in your life to help you reach your goal.  Commit to eliminating excuses as well as not taking the excuses that life will throw at you.  The most common excuse being “I don’t have the time” YOU DO HAVE THE TIME! I have 4 boys 5 and under and a full time job.  My initial weight loss took place with a 9 months pregnant wife and then a newborn.  My point being, you have to make the time.  Ask yourself what’s more important, watching American Idol or your health?  I get up at 4:20 every morning so I can be at the gym at 5.  It sucks, I hate it, but it’s what I have to do.  If I don’t get to the gym in the morning, chances are I’m not going to make it at night.  You have to sacrifice!  If you’re reading this, either the status quo isn’t working, or your stalking me.  (either way, thanks for reading!)

Finally, get some support. No, not a jock strap or a new bra, but people.  Maybe it’s family, maybe it’s friends, fill your life with people who will help you reach your goal.  People who will watch your kids while you go for a run, or give you that kick in the ass when you’re not feeling motivated.  I could not have done any of this without the people around me.  Don’t be afraid to ASK FOR HELP!

Hopefully by now, you’ve thought about that goal, and have made the commitment to yourself.  Some of you may already be lining up friends and family to help.  You’re on the right track!

I want to help you add another layer of support and accountability. I’m starting up an online weight loss competition called Tweightloss.  It’s a Twitter based competition in which you can create a team, or be assigned to one.  Each team will have a leader who can give advice and will collect your weekly numbers.  You can be anonymous, or you can be yourself, whatever works for you.  The point is you will have a group of teammates who are all trying to lose weight with you.  They will be your support group, motivation, sounding board, whatever you may need.  I’m trying to line up some prizes which I will announce soon.

If you would like more information, to sign up, or to form a team, shoot me an email at Summer is right around the corner so I want to start Tweightloss on Monday May 17.  Take the weekend to get whatever you need to get out of your system, and get yourself ready to meet your goal.  It will run 12 weeks until August 9th and leave you with plenty of the summer to enjoy your progress.  Best of all it’s free, so you have nothing to lose but weight.

Sign up soon as space will be limited.  Make that commitment to yourself!

Check back starting tomorrow and I’ll begin giving advice on what foods to throw out, and what to stock up on, and more tips on getting in the right mindset.  I’ll introduce you to some of the other people who will be there to help answer questions and give advice, and hopefully get you motivated and keep you there.

12 Weeks!

May 11, 2010

12 weeks ago I started the Body-for-LIFE Challenge from EAS.  My goal was to become the 2010 Grand Champion.  I knew what it was going to take, and I believed I had it in me to get there.

On February 11, 2010 I was 232.4 pounds and 24% Body Fat, sliding fast in the wrong direction.  It was time to take a stand.

On May 6, 2010, 12 Weeks and a bout of walking pneumonia later I was 192.2 pounds and 5.44% Body Fat.  A different person!

All told that’s 40.2 pounds lost and a difference of -18.56% Body Fat, most of which was accomplished in 9 weeks after the walking pneumonia stole the second and third week from me.

I’m extremely proud of my accomplishment (although I still have a few more pounds to go). Rather than talking about the hard work and sacrifice, I’ll leave you with the before and after pictures.

Before and After pictures

2/11/2010 - 5/6/2010

I realized just how difficult is is to flex all your muscles and not look like you’re passing gas!

2/11/2010 - 5/6/2010

One fat white slab of meat 12 weeks ago!  It’s hard to look at these and think that two years ago I was 50 pounds heavier than I was in these before pictures!

My Favorite Picture! (Don't know why!)

My old school wrestling pose!

Tomorrow I’ll talk a little more about it, and hopefully start to help and get some of you to your own goals.  Feel free to send in questions or comments along with topics you’d like to hear me cover.  I’m here to help you!

What Do I Want More?

May 5, 2010

Sacrifice is hard, indulgence is not.

Close your eyes and imagine yourself sitting in front of a plate of your favorite food.  Think about its smell crossing your nose and drawing you in.  Now imagine yourself taking a bite, the flavor exploding on your tongue.  I’m thinking of a bacon, egg and cheese on a grilled croissant and it’s making me hungry.

I bet whatever you’re thinking about is making you hungry too.  Some of you are even getting ready to bolt to the kitchen to have some.


Now think about your long-term goals.  Maybe you want to lose 10 pounds by summer or 40 by the end of the year.  Maybe you’re just starting a diet or maybe you’ve been working at it for a while but it’s going slower than you’d like.  The bottom line is are you happy with your body right now?


Too often instant gratification gets in the way of our long-term goals.  It’s easier to indulge in the present because our long-term goals seem so far off.  The only way to bring them closer to the present is through sacrifice.  Dieting isn’t easy, there’s no magic pill, no cure-all.  It takes hard work and sacrifice.

Think about your favorite food, your favorite snack, whatever you find yourself picking at when you’re feeling hungry (Goldfish for me!).  Now think about your weight loss goals and ask yourself…


Chances are you said your long-term goal.  If you didn’t, then you really need to assess your commitment.  Sure in the moment you have that craving, your brain makes you feel like if you don’t eat it, you’ll surely die and it would taste sooooo good.  How many times have you said, “I’ll have just one”?

Losing weight takes sacrifice.  If there was a magic pill, we’d all take it.  If passing on that ice cream, pizza or peanut butter this one time would get you to your goal, you probably wouldn’t eat it.  Well it doesn’t and that’s what makes it hard.  It does however take you one small step closer to reaching your goal.  You’re going to have to sacrifice that favorite food and probably several others for an extended time to reach your goal.

From here until you reach your goal, whenever you pick up something that’s off your plan, stop before you bite it and ask yourself , “What do I want more?” Sometimes you’ll eat it anyways, more often than not you’ll put it down and take one more step towards your goal.

I’m not trying to sound preachy, I’m trying to help you objectify that decision.  I struggle every day to stay the course.  Most of the time I stay on it, but sometimes I stray (see my last post), but I KNOW sacrifice.

Tomorrow is the last day of Body-for-LIFE.  12 weeks ago I was 235 pounds.  I was fat and getting fatter, starting to spiral out of control.  I was in serious danger of putting on all the weight I had lost and was pissing all the hard work it took to get there right out the window.  I put my foot down, set my goals and got to work.  I didn’t have a specific weight goal as I’d be heading into uncharted territory.  Instead I put a picture in my mind of what I wanted to look like in 12 weeks.  All I knew is that I had 12 weeks of hard work and sacrifice ahead of me and nothing was going to get in my way.

So how’d that go?

Let’s just say that instead of looking something like this…

I look something like this…

Yes, at the moment I’m that white!

Today I hit a milestone.  I stepped on the scale and was 199 pounds.  That’s 36 pounds in 12 weeks and more importantly the first time I’ve weighed less that 200 pounds Since I was 17 years old.  I have abs for the first time in my life and look better than I did when I was 18.  I’ve reached my long-term goal!  I asked myself continuously along the way, “What do I want more?”  I had my ups and downs, but I looked ahead and kept my eyes on the prize.  I knew what I wanted more! I made the sacrifices in the short-term and I’ve arrived!

You can do it too!

Check back, I’m getting my “after” pictures taken this weekend and will be posting at the beginning of the week.

Shit Happens

April 28, 2010

It happens…

Last night it happened to me…

I saw it coming, I knew what I was doing, I tried to stop it, I just COULDN’T.  Well maybe I should say I wouldn’t.

It started yesterday afternoon at my Niece’s birthday party.  I did everything right.  I knew there would be pizza, cake and ice cream so I had a nice healthy lunch before heading to the party.  Turkey breast on Arnold’s Select Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins (100 calories for 2 slices and very good!) and a huge salad.  I was full, so although the pizza looked delicious and I still salivated watching my kids eat it, it wasn’t complete torture.  I also made sure to pass on the chips and went for the fruit and vegetable trays (No that does not mean the dipping sauces).  I licked my lips as my brothers-in-law drank cold Narragansett Lager from the Kegerator while I had water.

I was proud of myself.  Although I did have two bites of the Friendly’s Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream Cake, I ate clean the whole party.  I have a little under two weeks left in Body-for-LIFE and I didn’t want to falter.

Well around the time the piñata cracked in half and the candy hit the floor, I hit my first bump.  I was helping my two-year-old Henry collect candy from the floor.  He didn’t have a bag so I wound up with a handful of Now and Laters in my pocket.  Candy is my weakness.  It might as well have been crack!  Not really, but you get the point.  “There’s not many calories in one of these”  No, but after you’ve pillaged your kid’s treat bags on the way home you realize there’s quite a few calories (cough 315 cough) in 20 of them!

I felt like crud with all that sugar in my system and the associated guilt, but I wasn’t done yet, not even close.  I baked some Sole and made mashed Butternut Squash for dinner and was set to get back on track after a minor hiccup.  Same logic, load up on healthy food to limit the cravings for junk.  Unfortunately my craving for junk would not be denied.  My wife went to the movies, the kids were in bed and I started to pick.

First up was six Ritz Crackers with a little bit of peanut butter and some raisins.  Needed something salty after all that candy!  What’s this, an ice cream sandwich in the freezer?  “You’ve been tormenting me for a week in there” Then the warped rationale, “If I eat it now, it’s gone.  It can’t trip me up later in the week.”  Which turns into, “Oh look, there’s a chocolate covered ice cream bar in there too!  Well, I’ve already eaten all that candy and the ice cream sandwich so what the heck.”  Well two bowls of Raisin Bran, an ice cream cup and a bag of microwave popcorn later my oldest son had come downstairs and fallen asleep on my lap.  Finally I was stuck on the couch.

I went to bed pissed at myself.  For whatever reason I just couldn’t stop it.  What can you do?  I set my alarm for 4:30 and went to bed.

When my alarm went off, I didn’t want to get up.  I was tired.  I’ve been tired.  I’ve put myself through the ringer for the past few months.  The past week was particularly brutal.  Physically and mentally!  I’ve questioned myself over and over.  That’s why I got up this morning.  Sleeping in would have been the easy way out.  “I’ll work out later” but later never comes.  I had a bad night, at least 1500 extra calories, so what!  The only thing to do was to get up and start over.  I’ve taken the easy road too many times.  One bad night turns into two bad days, which turns into a bad week and so on.  That’s how I got to 280 pounds in the first place.  I’m not going back, I’ve worked too hard.

I’m back on track.  Today was a good day!  I’ll have another bad day at some point, and I’ll pick myself back up again.  It’s all you can do.

My Pretty Pink Goggles

April 14, 2010

Last night I was flipping the channels and came across a UFC fight.  Not a huge fan, but sometimes I’ll stop and take a peek when I’m channel surfing.  It was two men in the third round, toe to toe, battered and bloody, refusing to back down.  The announcer said something that stuck in my head.

“This might just come down to who wants it more and who trained the hardest.”

I said to myself, “I will want it more and work harder than anyone else for the next 22 days.  I will eat, sleep and breath Body-for-LIFE for the next 22 days.”  Last night I looked in the mirror, did a slightly narcissistic pose down and for the first time thought, “Holy Shit, I’m looking bad ass!”  For me that’s dangerous because confidence often leads to complacency.  I’ve worked hard, I can take a break.

This morning I had my first test.  I was running late as it was, got my lift in, an hour of shoulders, and was ready to hit the pool for a mile.  I didn’t feel like swimming, I was tired, my shoulders were shot, but I put on my suit and was ready to go.  Then life handed me the excuse I was looking for.  My goggles were gone!

I went to the front desk to see if they found them, no dice. Headed to the pool, maybe they were there, no!  There was a pair I could borrow though.  The pretty pink pair right next to the lifeguard.  He laughed and said I was welcome to use them if I didn’t mind that they were pink.

Pink Goggles

Hello Kitty!

For a second I minded.  For a second I was going to turn around and go home.  I have spin class this evening so I could afford to miss this swim.  Then I remembered the quote.

“This might just come down to who wants it more and who trained the hardest.”

I asked myself, “If I walk away from the pink goggles, is someone else picking them up and hitting the pool.  Do they want it more?  Are they training harder?”

I put on the pink goggles and swam my mile, pretty in pink!

There’s a quote on the whiteboard at the YMCA that says “If you don’t want to do something, one excuse is as good as another”  I’m done with excuses.

There is only one person who can stop me, and that is me.  It is my choice to take the excuses life will throw at me, my choice to quit when I’m feeling tired, or to be satisfied with a so so workout.  It is also my choice to ignore the excuses, to push through the hurt, and drive myself farther.  22 days to push myself harder than I’ve ever pushed myself.

This morning I stepped up to the plate, looking pretty in my pink goggles.

Why All the Fuss?

April 12, 2010

Fast food armageddon has arrived today and the four horsemen of the apocalypse have taken the form of the new KFC Double Down Sandwich.  The time has come to repent your fast food sins or be cast into the deep fryers of Hell for all eternity.

KFC Double Down Sandwich

So Meaty, There's No Room for a Bun!

As KFC Describes the new  concoction “This one-of-a-kind sandwich features two thick and juicy boneless white meat chicken filets (Original Recipe® or Grilled), two pieces of bacon, two melted slices of Monterey Jack and pepper jack cheese and Colonel’s Sauce. This product is so meaty, there’s no room for a bun!”


The internet has been abuzz for weeks decrying the evil that is the KFC Double Down.  Groups have formed on Twitter of people pledging not to eat this monster.  Article after article calling this sandwich with no bun outrageous, appalling and over-the-top.

I Don’t See what all the fuss is about!

Well I do, it has to do with the fact that there’s no bun.  But that’s what gets me.  For years the low carb craze has told us to ban the bun, that carbs are the Devil (nonsense BTW).  Take away the bun and “KFC has gone too far!”  Get a grip people, KFC has played you for fool’s. They didn’t take the “less carbs” angle to promote the Double Down, they went the “so meaty, there’s no room for a bun” route because they knew the reaction (AKA free publicity) this thing would get and you fell for it hook line and sinker.

Compare the KFC Double Down Sandwich with the Big Mac and Whopper with Cheese.

Calorie Comparison

Personally, I’ll avoid all three, but if I had to choose, the KFC Double Down Sandwich is the best choice, especially if you’re counting carbs.  It’s the same amount of calories as the Big Mac, yet for 3 more grams of fat you get over twice the protein and only 25% of the carbs.

Big Mac

I’m not advocating you run out and buy one, but I wanted to point out how easily manipulated we are by the food industry.  Where’s the outrage over the Big Mac and Whopper?  They know how to make us respond.  They know the buzzwords to print on the package to make us feel we are making a healthy decision.  They take us for fools, and for the most part we are.


Tomorrow I’ll touch on some examples of how the food industry tricks us.

4 Weeks

April 9, 2010

Have you ever heard of the EAS Body-for-LIFE Challenge?  Ever tried it, started and stopped?  I have, twice!

Not this time!

On February 11, I took my before picture.  I looked like a turd!  Not the worst I’ve been, but far from the best.

My before Photo
Before Photo 2/11/10

Two summers ago I dropped 68 pounds in 10 weeks and for the most part have kept it off.  Sure it fluctuates, that happens, but I felt like I was sliding in the wrong direction fast.  I was about 15 pounds above my “Line in the Sand” weight and back on the yo-yo, dropping 5 pounds, feeling good and putting on 7.  My weight was creeping up and I had worked to hard to let it continue.

It was time to get back to work.  I entered the Body-for-LIFE Challenge, not to get a jump-start, not for motivation, but to win it.  I wanted to finish what I started two years ago.  I wanted to be the before and after photos that people look at and say, “That’s a different guy” or “Impossible,” maybe even a “He must have taken something.”

I talked to my trainer and she agreed to help kick my ass into shape.  She’d look over my food log and workouts and make suggestions, give me extra torture sessions a couple of times a week, and hold me accountable.  I got to work.

The first week didn’t go well.  I started lifting weights, going easy so I didn’t get hurt or so sore I couldn’t move and began increasing my cardio.  I was in good shape, not great, but during the first week I felt like crap.  I was sluggish and struggling, I started to think I had let myself go too far in the wrong direction and would have to work back into it.  I was pissed at myself, but pressed on.

The next week was even worse, the weights felt immovable and my heart was beating through my chest doing even the simplest cardio.  What had seemed easy to me was now a struggle.  Even during warm ups I found myself out of breath and in need of a break.  I was starting to worry.  Wednesday I was winded after walking up the stairs.  It scared me!  I looked at symptoms online (NEVER look up symptoms online!) and self diagnosed myself with walking pneumonia.  My Doctor confirmed it and for the rest of the second and third weeks I recovered.  For almost a week I couldn’t do more than walk across the room without having to sit down.  I was anxious to get to the gym, but I was in bad shape.  3 of the 12 weeks were gone and I had barely started.

It was time to throw in the towel and give up.  Life had thrown me a curveball and it hit me right in the nuts.

Bullshit!  Two years ago I quit making excuses.  Life will always hand you an excuse, it’s your decision to take it.  I made it my motivation.  I’m going to do in 9 weeks what most people say is impossible in 12.  I dusted myself off and got back to work.

I felt great and by the end of week 4 I was back in full swing, waking up at 4:30 to hit the gym at 5.  I started lifting more weight and adding more cardio.  Met with my trainer a couple of times a week for 40 minute torture sessions, basically a mixture of cardio and strength exercises.

I dropped 12 pounds pretty quickly and then nothing.  For the past 3 or 4 weeks I’ve been stuck at around 220.  I’ve eaten well (mostly) and have worked out TONS and the fat should be melting away.  It is.  My weight is staying the same because I’m putting on muscle.  I can see it in the mirror and can feel it when I pick up a weight.  I never believed that you could naturally put on muscle that quickly, but I was.

I’ve proved myself wrong.

Getting There
Almost Home 4/1/10

It’s a crappy picture taken on my iPhone in the locker room relaxed and not flexing (I was the only one there because of the flooding). Now scroll back up and look at the before.  Not bad for 5 weeks of post pneumonia workouts.  I’m not there yet, but I can smell it.

There’s blood in the water and I’m hungry.

Yesterday marked 4 weeks until the end of Body-for-LIFE.

4 weeks to push myself harder

4 weeks to make it hurt

4 weeks  to carve the fat

4 weeks to prove the impossible possible

4 weeks to finish the job!

I hope you’ll come back to check on my progress, leave some words of encouragement, pick up some advice or be inspired that you can do it too.

Break the Cycle

June 2, 2009

Do you ever say, “I’m going to start my diet tomorrow?”  Today’s the day you need to break that cycle.

Have you already blown Monday and half of Tuesday, and are looking forward to next Monday to start over?  Well don’t.  Make right now the time you decide to start. 


If you’re making excuses today, you’ll make them tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day.  MAKE TODAY THE DAY YOU STOP MAKING EXCUSES.  If you don’t have healthy foods in the house, go out and get some.

My other endless cycle was, “Before I start, I just want one last Big Mac (or whatever).”  Forget about those foods.  Offer them up to God and be done with them.  I would cycle through all the bad foods one last time on my “Farewell to Food Tour”, and by the time I got to the last one, I needed to have the first one just once more, and so the cycle continued.  I was the Barbara Streisand of “one last time!”

At the end of the day, these are excuses.  We let them get in the way, or overlook them because it’s easier than putting in the work and making the changes.

If you have to, start small, cut out dessert, or a second helping.  Replace some of your meat with vegetables, or a snack with a piece of fruit, but whatever you do, GET STARTED RIGHT NOW!