Week 53 weigh-in: Giving back – In good and not-so-good ways

These last 7 days have seen ups and downs for me. Here is a quick rundown.

After my successful weigh-in last Friday, I decided to give myself the weekend off from heavy workouts. On Saturday I did attend a meeting of a group called Team 383. It is a group that was organized by Brian Fleming and Jackie Eastham. You can read more about the group here. Brian’s is an inspirational story of losing nearly 400 pounds through diet and exercise. His story has been featured in newspapers, magazines and TV shows around the world. As it turns out, I live just about a mile from him, and I was glad to finally connect with him and the local group. That meeting did include taking a walk around an indoor track, so I wasn’t completely without exercise.

Sunday I slept in and skipped my workout.

I did workout on Monday and Tuesday, but Tuesday was a bit odd. When I woke up that morning I had a slight sore throat. I didn’t initially think much about it, and went about my normal day. By the end of the day it was obvious that my cold had come back. Since then I have been battling it.

Wednesday I worked from home and felt fairly miserable, and I did not work out.

Thursday I was feeling much better and participated in a work-sponsored community service event at Forgotten Harvest. For the event I was on a team of about 30 people who re-packed 40,000 pounds of potatoes. We moved them from 2,500 pound bags into family sized bags. My job was to get them out of the 2,500 pound bags and into bins for bagging. It was back breaking work, but I really liked being involved. Later in the day we also sorted and re-packaged 6,000 pounds of red peppers. It was a great day to be sure.

This morning I woke up sore from the event, and not 100% with my cold. My wife suggested I give myself one more day off from working out,so I did.

With being away from my workplace, I also didn’t do much extra walking.

Also this week my wife made some amazing Jambalaya. We had it as a meal twice, and a side dish once. It is really delicious, and very filling.

At the end of all that, between eating a little extra and exercising a lot less, I ended up gaining 2.2 pounds for the week. My total weight loss is now at 115.0 pounds, and my weight is 230.0

I am a bit disappointed, but I know there are going to be weeks like this in this second year. The plan for the week ahead is to get healthy, and get back to working out. I also plan to be back in the office doing my laps in the morning, lunch time and end of day to keep my walking up.

For today I am going to let my sore back rest, work from home, and enjoy the fact that my heating pad and ice pack are both nearby.

This week I gave back some of the weight I lost, and I also gave back to my community. Considering everything, it was a good week. I am disappointed with the weight gain, but I know I am still on the right path, and those pounds will take care of themselves.

25 Things to do instead of snacking

This year for Lent I set a goal to give up between meal snacking. Since then I have modified to to just eliminate non-fruit or raw vegetable snacking. Sometimes, especially after some exercise, my body is craving something to refuel. Other times, though, it is just about boredom or habit that I want to snack. The truth is, it’s hard for me to avoid mindless snacking.

A while back I suggested to a friend that she write a list of things to do instead of snacking. My suggestion was to put a copy of the list on the refrigerator or pantry where she stores her snacks. The idea is to see the list, and do something on the list rather than eating.

I decided today to take my own advice, so here is the list I wrote for myself of 25 things to do instead of snacking.

  1. Read something enriching
  2. Read something fun
  3. Do 10 Push-ups
  4. Do 10 Sit-ups
  5. Take a brisk 10 minute walk
  6. Drink at least 16 ounces of water
  7. Brush your teeth
  8. Write an email or text to say hello to a friend
  9. Hand write a card to someone to say a special hello or thank you
  10. Play a short game on your phone or tablet
  11. Phone a friend – for strength, or just to say hello
  12. Pray
  13. Clean or organize something
  14. Make a goofy list
  15. Drink some tea or coffee
  16. Sit quietly for 5 minutes and reflect
  17. Knit, crochet, edit a photo or do something else related to a hobby (Inspired by Mrs. Bobby-C)
  18. Start a load of laundry
  19. Fold a load of laundry
  20. Walk up and down the stairs 5 times
  21. Go out and do a neglected errand
  22. Find and read an inspirational blog
  23. Pull up your list of goals, and re-read it
  24. Write an entry in your journal or on your own blog
  25. Add to your list of things to do instead of snacking

What items would you add to my list, or put on a list of your own?

My “new” birthday

One year. One, magnificent, amazing year.

Exactly one year ago today, I started on this journey toward better health. That same day, I launched this blog with this first post. I honestly had no idea whether the resolve to get a hold of my health, and to lose some weight would last a day, a week, a month or a year. To be completely and brutally honest, if you asked me to lay a bet that day as to whether I’d still be maintaining this blog, and working to be more healthy in one year, I’d have likely bet against it. Thankfully, I would have been wrong.

Today marks exactly 1 year since I started this journey. In those 12 months I have had some incredible success. Here is a progress picture. The photo on the left is from Christmas eve, 2013. The one on the right was taken last night.

One yearI honestly can’t believe how bad I looked a year ago. And, don’t ask me why I had such a bewildered look on my face, because I haven’t any idea. What I do know is that the guy on the left was always uncomfortable. He had bad knees, an achy back, high blood sugar and a crappy outlook on life. The guy on the right is still obese, but he is only 6 or 7 pounds away from shaking that stigma (hopefully forever). The guy on the right is confident.

Over the past few weeks I have been working on a list. It was going to be a list of 100 things that are different for me since I started this journey, but that was too ambitious. Instead, with 52 weeks having passed, it seems fitting that it be a list of 52 things. So, here it is:

52 Things that are different for me since I started this Journey toward better health

  1. I do not wear quite so much food
  2. Booths at restaurants don’t give me anxiety. I fit in them without bruising
  3. I no longer need a seat belt extender on airplanes
  4. I do not spill into the seat next to me on airplanes
  5. Chairs do not get up with me, clinging to my giant ass
  6. Chairs with arms are an option again
  7. My laptop computer actually fits in my lap
  8. I have a lap, ideal for children to come cuddle in
  9. I can cross my legs comfortably
  10. My car no longer smells like stale fast food
  11. My wife’s arms make it all the way around me
  12. I no longer wheeze from one flight (or even several) of stairs
  13. I don’t hang on to walls when going up and down the stairs in my house
  14. I don’t avoid stairs as though there are sharks living on them
  15. I fit through doorways better
  16. My knees almost never hurt
  17. I fit into some cool, old clothes that have been collecting dust
  18. I do not have to shop at specialty stores for clothes. I can go anywhere
  19. I can play on the floor and pop back up without a lot of grunting and the use of nearby furniture
  20. I squat
  21. The back part of my tie (the shorter part) is longer now.
  22. I don’t “sneel” in Church anymore
  23. Small cars are an OK option for driving or riding
  24. I don’t have to find the widest parking spaces possible to allow room for the door to swing open
  25. Hands-free genuflecting
  26. I almost never use Gold Bond medicated powder on my nether regions
  27. The weight limit of my step ladder is greater than my weight
  28. When I say I am going to run upstairs for a minute, I mean that I will
  29. My chest appears harrier
  30. My socks stay up better and don’t wear out as fast.
  31. I tend to glide now when I walk
  32. I am a body in motion – I crave activity
  33. I generate more laundry
  34. I now have a work out drawer
  35. I eat breakfast almost every day
  36. When I go to the gym at 4:00am, I am waved in as a regular
  37. Although I don’t know their names, I have “work out buddies” – other regulars who are at the gym when I’m there too.
  38. I read more.
  39. Far fewer Xs on my T-Shirts and sweatshirts
  40. People ask me about fitness and losing weight
  41. My bed seems MUCH larger
  42. The sheets on my bed stay tucked in at night, and they comfortably come up to my chin
  43. I have no desire to eat a Kit Kat bar
  44. I have replaced fast runs to Wendy’s with packed lunches
  45. On the rare occasion that I have ice cream, I am picky, and I savor every bite.
  46. A pizza is no longer a round (or square) country to be conquered by my mouth. I can have just one slice.
  47. I go to bed and get up earlier, and I feel fully rested every day (my children would say this is just a sign of being an old guy who goes to bed early and gets up with the birds, but it is still more noticeable in the last year)
  48. I know far more about what the front yards of people on streets near me look like.
  49. I cook more often. As I have learned how to make healthy food, I cook sometimes for my wife and myself.
  50. I actually give a darn how I look when I get dressed in the morning.
  51. This summer I will fit in roller coaster seats
  52. I love life much more!

I will have more thoughts on my journey in the coming days. One thing I know I want to write about is how my food choices have changed, and how I see food much differently than I did on March 1, 2014.

When I started this a year ago, I wasn’t shy about telling people what I was doing. I am sure there are those around me who were hopeful of my success, but skeptical that I could do anything meaningful. As I said above, I’d be one of the people in that category. With one year under my now-smaller belt, I can say that I am far more optimistic than I was then, but I am also a realist. I know that if I take my eye off the ball for very long, I will slide right back into my former ways. I still carry a healthy dose of skepticism with me as I approach each day.

Last night i did a bit of celebrating, I even had a tablespoon of ice cream. Today I plan to enjoy this Sunday with my wife, do some reading and writing, and think about how much I am looking forward to a very active camping and outdoor season.

Week 52 Weigh-in. I DID IT!

Back in October I was out on a walk. I was thinking about my weight loss goals, and looking to put some timing on things. As I was considering it, I thought “wouldn’t it be cool to weigh 228 on 2/28?” At the time I was about 255, and my running average for weight loss was almost 3 pounds a week, so I didn’t think much more about it. Of course, I did know that weight would start coming off much more slowly, and I was right. But, I put that goal in my mind.

December came along, and I actually gained weight for the month. When I started the year, it didn’t look like I would make it to 228 by 2/28. Then last week, with just one week to go, I gained weight again and it wasn’t looking so hopeful, considering I had 3.6 pounds to go to make it.

This past week I was very diligent. I missed a couple of workouts due to my cold, but I stayed on points all week. I tracked honestly and accurately. This morning I worked out, came home, stood on the scale, and it said 227.8 pounds! I made it. Tomorrow is actually 2/28, but my weigh-in is today, and today I came in under 228. I was stunned. I stepped on and off the scale 3 times to make sure I was reading it right, and it didn’t change. I showered, dried off, and stepped on and off two more times. The final answer… 227.8!

My total weight loss is now 117.2 pounds, and I am at 34% lost of my original weight. I officially weigh 1/3 less than I did one year ago. My BMI is down to 30.89 (from a starting point of 46.79). I did some quick checking, and I am only 6.8 pounds away from no longer being obese! Now THAT will be a milestone!

For the week ahead there are no particular challenges from an eating perspective. We are going to a party on Saturday, but I have become good at managing my way through those, so nothing to worry about.

The keen observer will note that this is week 52, or 1 year since I started. I actually started on March 1, and I plan to write more extensively about the fact that it has been a year, on Sunday. Stay tuned for that post.

My next two milestones are to be below 221.2, so I am no longer obese; and then to get to 218. When I lost weight in 2000-2001, the lowest I reached was 218. Those two goals are close to each other, and not that far off. I might set my sites on being at both by the end of March.

How are you doing with your goals? What is driving you?

The pull

How did I end up here?

When I left my office I said I wasn’t coming here. I told myself I would go home, maybe get some rest. I would be there when my wife got home so I could help her make dinner. Maybe do some chores. But here I am.

All the way here I felt like I was on autopilot, like the car was driving itself. I felt pulled here, compelled to be in this place. Despite what I said when I was sitting at my desk, gathering my things for the end of the day, despite the plans I made, here I am…again! I can’t seem to avoid this place. No matter how much I may think I am going to avoid it, it pulls me back.

I feel that unquenchable hunger to be here. I cannot stop myself from being here….at the gym.

A year ago, a very similar internal dialogue played out in my head many times. I would leave work, headed for home, with plans for the evening, only to be pulled somewhere that I didn’t intend to be. Only a year ago, it would not have been the parking lot of the gym where I found myself. It would be the parking lot of the Walgreens to buy candy bars, or the drive through at McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, or Dairy Queen.

This morning I decided to give myself an extra hour of sleep. When I do that, I pack a gym bag, and if my schedule permits, and I am not exhausted from working all day, I go to the gym on the way home. As I was wrapping up my work day I was thinking that I’d go straight home. The plan was to do some reading, and work on some blog posts that I have coming up on my other blog. I would help my wife with dinner and dishes, and even do some laundry.

As I drove, I wasn’t even aware that I had skipped the exit for my house and was heading for the exit of the gym. I was listening to the radio, and had myself on autopilot, just like in the dialogue above. Only when I got on the treadmill did I remember that I had a different plan.

One hour and 6km later, I stepped off the treadmill and dressed to go home. This post came alive in my head on the ride from the gym. I will still get all those other things done tonight, including making dinner with my wife. But first I worked out.

It’s funny, the difference a year can make.

Final thoughts on the Daytona 500KM challenge, and an adjustment on my Lenten commitment

In just a few minutes, the green flag will drop for the Great American Race, the Daytona 500. Way back in November, before the winter winds blew, I set a goal for myself to walk 500km between the end of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season, and the start of the 2015 season. Here is the final look at my grid

.daytonaAs you can see, it is a good thing I forced myself to get up on Friday morning and go to the gym. I was feeling low that morning, and ended up taking a sick day from work, but it did put me over 500km. I decided to shut it down for the weekend, but I hope to be back and better than ever at the gym tomorrow.

Since starting the challenge, I lost a total of 12.6 pounds. That included the time over the holidays, when I used my challenge as a way to keep myself going to the gym. I used my nephew’s basement treadmill over Christmas, and visited the fitness center in my hotel in New Orleans. I had some days were I went to the gym multiple times to keep pace. I increased my walking pace to 3.8 miles per hour, from the 3.5 where I started. I feel better than I have in years.

Lenten Update

For lent I had said that I would avoid all snacking, or all eating between meals. My wife noticed that I have been eating more at dinner than I usually would, and she thinks I may be over compensating for how hungry I am as a result of not spreading my eating out during the day. So, I am altering that commitment. Instead of not eating between meals at all, I am going to just eliminate 3 snacks from my list: nuts, popcorn and granola bars.

I am not doing this to alter my diet. This is about self-sacrifice for the season, and self-denial. I will instead only eat fresh vegetables or fruit for snacks (all other snacks I have already essentially eliminated from my diet anyway).

Well, it is about 11 minutes to the drop of the green flag, so I am off. Hope you all have a great race day

Boogity, Boogity, Boogity, Let’s go racin’

Week 51 weigh-in and reaching 500km

Today is weigh-in day. The scale shows me at 231.6 pounds. That is a 0.8 pound GAIN since last week. My total weight loss is now 113.4 pounds or 32.9% of my weight.

This morning I crossed the 500km goal for my Daytona 500km challenge. Here is my updated chart

daytonaThere are still 2 days to go on the challenge, and I do intend to get walks in on both days. That should put me at just under 515km for the challenge. I will write more about the challenge on Sunday.

I am disappointed this morning. I know that 0.8 pounds is not much to gain, but I was hoping that it would be in the other direction. With my lenten elimination of snacking, and my renewed emphasis on tracking my food, I am confident that things will continue to go well. But, that doesn’t change the disappointment I feel today.

The good news is that I won’t be EATING my disappointment. 🙂


Today is Ash Wednesday, the start of the season of Lent for Christians. The season is a time of atonement and self-denial that precedes the celebration of Easter. Traditionally Christians will “give things up” for Lent as a way to increase their self-discipline and make some kind of improvement in their lives.

Some years ago I stopped giving things up for Lent. Instead, I decided to focus on doing something positive, something that would benefit myself in terms of improvement, and things that would make the lives of those around me better. For this season of Lent I plan to do some of that, but also I am going to give something up.

I have decided that I am giving up snacking between meals for Lent. Ideally all of my between meal snacking is fruit or fresh vegetables, but lately some things like nuts and granola bars have snuck into my routine. For the next 46 days, I am going to stick to 3 meals a day, without snaking. There will be two days of exception to this – the day of the Daytona 500, and St. Patrick’s Day. Other than those 2 days, I won’t be snacking.

During this season I also plan to do some positive things. I have a boat load of blog posts that are floating in my head, and I plan to get many of them written, polished and published.

My Daytona 500km challenge ends this Sunday, and I intend to keep on walking. During Lent there are 46 days. Including Easter that is 47. During this time I am going to walk 250km (about 155 miles). Also, I am going to set myself to walking 6,000 steps each day that are not part of the 250km.

I have some other things I’ll be doing, but I don’t want to talk about them here.

I am excited and nervous about these goals. The hardest for me will be to keep from snacking. But, I know that if I set my mind to it, and I have this blog and the public commitment that goes along with it, that I can prevail.

What are you doing for Lent? Are you giving anything up? Are you adding something healthy to your routine? Are you making the world a little better for those around you?

Valentine’s day – Bobby-C style


My wife and I don’t go in for all the trappings of Valentine’s day. Recently I saw a headline that said the average person spends $142 on Valentine’s day. I am sure that includes chocolates, flowers, and dinner out. We tend to like to do things a bit more simply.

This year, I decided that my lovely wife deserved to have a fun, healthy dinner prepared for her by me. Here is what we had:

Salad – I prepared a salad of spinach and romaine for greens. I included carrots, onion, radishes, and mushrooms.

Long grain and wild rice

Chicken breast seasoned with lemon and rosemary. I seared it in a cast iron frying pan in a bit of extra virgin olive oil. Once it was seared, I added additional lemon juice and baked it in the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes.

The asparagus was grilled on our stove top, cast iron grill, with just a bit of EVOO

My wife selected a white wine.

We didn’t have a formal dessert, but she did indulge in one of the Godiva truffles that accompanied her card.

I added in candles and new, red place mats, and the dinner was complete.

We had a fantastic time, we didn’t fight traffic, and we didn’t blow up our budget or our diets.

After dinner we played a game of Scrabble, then settled in to watch TV together.

I would have to say it was one of the best Valentine’s days I have ever spent!

Week 50, and updates on challenges

I am 2 weeks away from the first anniversary of the start of my Journey toward better health. i am already working on a couple of blog posts to commemorate that day, so stay tuned. Today I am posting my weigh-in for week 50, the close out of the 1,000 step challenge and an updated on the Daytona 500km challenge.


This morning I weighed in at 230.8 pounds. That is a 1.6 pound drop from last week. My total weight loss is now 114.2 pounds, or 33.1% of my original body weight.

This past week we traveled to New Orleans. While there I walked, and walked, then walked some more. I also did a fair amount of eating and drinking. With the beignets at Cafe Dumonde, the chocolate dessert at the restaurant on Bourbon Street, and the Hurricanes at several watering holes, I might have lost more. But it was so worth it!

For the week ahead there is Valentine’s day. My wife and I do not go out on that day, and because she’s been away I have decided to make dinner here at home. I’ll tell you all about it afterward.

Also in the past week I didn’t track my food in Weight Watchers, so I will be back on that train starting today.

The 1,000 Step Challenge

Fellow blogger, Rachael, put out a challenge to walk 1,000 steps per day more than my usual for a month. That challenge ended yesterday. For the 31 days, my goal was to walk 5,000 steps a day, up from my average of 3,350 for the weeks before the challenge began. Here is my final chart for that challenge:

stepsI was very successful in this challenge! My average was definitely boosted by the 31,236 steps last Sunday (that isn’t a typo, I walked over 3 miles between lighthouses before 10:00am, then walked all day long in New Orleans). I also added multiple laps each day at work, as my schedule permitted. During the 31 days of the challenge I lost 10.6 pounds! As you can see from the chart above I walked over 238,000 steps, and more than doubled my daily steps. And, with the exception of one day, all of that walking was in addition to the Daytona 500km challenge below. (Last Friday in New Orleans, I used Runkeeper to track some of my walking in the French Quarter. Because my phone is also my pedometer, approximately 9.800 were double counted for that day only).

Daytona 500km challenge

After today there are only 9 days until the green flag for the Daytona 500. My goal was to walk 500km between the end of last season, and the start of this season. Here is my recent progress:

daytonaLately I have been walking 6.0km / day at the gym. If I keep that up for the remaining 9 days, my total will end up being 520km for the challenge. I will say more about all the things that happened to me, and that I accomplished during this challenge when it ends next Sunday.

That’s it for me today. How are you doing on your challenges? Where are you on your fitness goals? It’s never too late to start, and it is never a bad day to rededicate yourself to success.