Sunday, January 30, 2011

Almost forgot...I've got a numbers update

I forgot to let everyone know that I have a numbers update.  I began this journey 30 days ago.  I am now at 296 lb. This is a drop of 20 pounds.  That's less than a pound a day, but Seems to be more healthy rate than what initially started.

My goal is to get to 250 lb. by my birthday, July 7th.

I've got 5 months to drop 46 pounds.....I GOT THIS!

It's been a couple of days...

So...what's the deal with the picture of the car?'s the new car I purchased this weekend.  I had been looking for awhile.  I was definitely need in something more reliable and a bit bigger.  It's the Nissan Cube and I'm really liking it.  The shape is a bit funky, but I've gotten use to it.  It was an extremely great deal so it was hard to pass up.'s been a couple of days since I've last post.  I have found that the weekends are the hardest to keep up with this and my efforts as well.  Someone who posted a comment earlier said the same thing; that the weekends are the hardest.  I suppose tonight's post will be a "hodge podge" of things from the last few days.

I'd say the last few days have been the toughest stretch since I have begun and I have been feeling a bit less successful.  I have made a few key changes and hope that will help.  I've bought some more almonds and will continue to use that as a snack.  I also finally purchased some of the Pure Protein I was talking about.  I actually bought it at Target and it was cheaper than Vitamin World.  I got the cookies and cream and it was pretty good.  Definitely very filling and only 130 calories.  It will be a great snack during the day, with great nutrients.  I put in the freezer to get it nice and cold and it was pretty good.  I'm going to try the vanilla next. 

On Saturday Jenn and I went and did our taxes, which went well.  We're looking forward to a decent return and are really looking forward to me installing our hardwood laminate in the living in March and our new furniture that will be coming in March as well ( new living set and dining room table and chairs).  We would really like to put a fence in the back yard so the kids (and dog) can play and run around safely.  We live on the corner of the cul-de-sac with a country highway nearby so we definitely need a fence.  We shall see....

After we did our taxes we went to Applebees for lunch, which may be my new favorite place to go out to eat because of their 550 calories or less menu.  I got the steak and shrimp with broccoli and red potatoes....all for 500 calories.  Perfect example of how it's not necessarily what you eat, but how much (all about portion control).

Later Saturday afternoon I went to the Nissan dealership to take a look at what was there.  I had no intention of leaving with something that night.  I really wanted Jenn and the kids to go with me, but it ended up better that they didn't because I was there quite a long time. 

With the excitement, and stress, of my new purchase I stopped by my "weakness" Buffalo Wild Wings" and didn't do very well.  I suppose everyone has a night like that, but I've got to be honest, this morning I did not feel very good physically and I definitely didn't feel good emotionally about eating too much. 

Rather than go with my regular eggs and toast this morning I opted for just a fiber one bar.  This was quite a few less calories than the eggs and toast.  I figured I really needed to watch today closely since I didn't do well last night.

For Lunch we went to our favorite "after church" place.  El Senor.  It's great and What I get isn't to bad.  It probably has a few more calories than what I would normally have at lunch.  Again, the weekends are so much harder because of that lack of routine that I have during the week.

For dinner I had stuffed talapia that I bought at the store.  It was alright, but I will definitely be sticking to salmon as my fish of choice.  I'll probably have my frozen fruit with some splenda and milk for a little snack tonight.

Looking forward to getting back into my routine of the week, but it's definitely going to be a hectic week.  Principal is going to be out 1/2 day Monday, all of Tuesday and Wednesday, and a 1/2 day Friday.  I hope all will go relatively smoothly.  There's just a lot to get done so I'll be keeping quite busy.

Alright....well that's it for now!  Here's to a great night of sleep!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I gotta tell of the most difficult things about being a state employee is getting paid once a month.  January is always a tough month because we get paid December 17th (last working day of the month and the holidays on top of that) and then we don't get paid again until the end of January.  That's like a month and half.  On top of that it's the same for Jenn. 

Anyhow, we're definitely looking forward to tomorrow.  How does this connect to my journey?  Well....I've realized that eating differently can cost a little more so I'm looking forward to stocking up some healthy meals and snacks.

Speaking of snacks...I took the advice of several of you and purchased some almonds.  Much better snack than some of my other snacks.  They are Blue Diamond habanero bbq.  They're much better than I anticipated.  One serving is about 28 almonds at 170 calories.  About the same calories as the Nature Valley Sweet/Salty bar, only the almonds have much more nutritional value.

My friend Jamie, who I mentioned the other day, let me know about the protein shake she uses.  It's called Pure Protein and you can get it from Vitamin Shoppe.  I imagine you could get it from GNC and other places as well, but at Vitamin Shoppe you can get a 12 pack of shakes for $27.  About $2.25/shake.  That's a little more than you might spend on another snack, but definitely more healthy.  They have several flavors (Vanilla, Strawberry, Strawberry-Banana, and Cookies 'n Cream).  I'll definitely be buying some of these. 

Between almonds and protein shakes, I think this is like the next level of this journey.

Looking very forward to the weekend!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It's been a crazy couple of days

This is a great image because THIS IS HOW I FEEL the last couple of days!  Didn't make a post last night because I was in bed by 9 PM!  Work has been crazy the last few days and next week is looking just as crazy. 

So...what's the connection to this journey I'm on? the past, weeks like this would be times I was eat more.  I've stayed strong though and have stayed true to what I'm doing. 

My wife called me while I was on my way home and told me she put a lasagna in the oven.  I was excited because I was absolutely starving, but then I thought, "ut oh, how many calories is that going to be?"  I didn't have to many calories during the day so I was feeling okay.

I gotta tell ya...lasagna has never tasted so good.  It ended up being about 650 calories, which is a little high for dinner, but I still managed to be right around my 2000 calories/day.

Still haven't weighed myself recently, but I can definitely see some changes.  I've had to move the belt buckle and my dress shirts are feeling a little looser around the neck.

Time to get to bed....tomorrow is going to be a long day!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Dinner Tonight...

So tonight was an interesting night when it came to dinner.  I felt pretty good about my day, up until dinner.  I had my typical breakfast: egg beaters with diced jalapeno, dice ham, and cheese, and 1 piece of wheat bread.  All for a total of 270 calories.

Lunch went well too.  Had a cup of cucumbers with a packet of Italian dressing (58 calories) and a smart ones cheesy enchilada (290 calories) for a total of 348 calories.  I had an afternoon snack; my nature valley bar (170 calories) - gonna try and switch my mid-day snack to either mixed nuts or some type of protein drink/shake.

Then came dinner....Stopped by the store and looked for some Salmon, but they didn't have any.  I picked up a pizza for Jenn and the kids.  Food Lion makes a self-rising pizza that is delicious.  When we want something quick and easy we'll pick one of those up.  Not likely after tonight. 

Here's what came out of the oven and I looked at it and it looked and smelled AMAZING!  So I got to thinking...what would happen if I had one piece?  I did the math and it came out to 250 calories.  I couldn't believe it and was so disappointed.  Do you realize that in the past I would eat 3-4 pieces of that.  That's 1000 calories (almost half of what I take in now all day)!

I decided that I would have one piece, to satisfy my temptation and felt okay about 250 calories.  Again, learning about moderation.  I did have a little hodge podge of ground chicken, refried beans, and cheese as well, which was about 500 calories.  750 calories for dinner is a little more than I would like (I like to stay around 500-600). 

However, the good news is that for the day I was around 1600 calories, which is well below my goal of 2000.  On top of that I got a good workout in tonight.  Went out in the cold and did a brisk one mile walk followed by form running.

I'm pretty excited about the form running and am going to make it a regular part of my routine.  This is something I have used as a coach with all my teams.  Here's the routine, and you do it up and back at about 60 ft. High knees, power skip, karaoke, 50% jog, 50% to 100% sprint, 100% to 50% jog, 100% all the way.

Alright...I'm off to write yet another observation.  Good night and I'll be back tomorrow!

Idea to go public...

My inspiration for creating this blog can be found in the sub-heading on my blog's main page.  Just scroll to the top to check it out if you haven't read it.

However, I've never talked about the idea of going public.  I actually got the idea from Yahoo, who shared an article written by Abigail Cuffey from Woman's Day.  She wrote the article on January 6th, 2011. 

These are 8 stories of people who made a committment to change their lives.  If you ever need some inspiration, just read their stories!

I appreciate all of the support

I just wanted to make a quick post and say thank you to everyone who is supporting me and encouraging me as I make this journey.  It's been really awesome to hear from and talk to others who share in the same struggles they have had or are going through.  I was hoping to post a Facebook chat that I had last night with a good college friend.  Unfortunately it was so long that I lost the first part of it, which was the best part.  She did give me permission to share so I'll tell you just a bit about her journey. Her name is Jamie and she actually just got married....congrats again Jamie!  She had gastric bypass surgery awhile back and has lost almost 100 lbs (I think that's what she said).  How awesome is that!!  She shared some of her secrets with me and I'm looking forward to trying them.  Jamie...what was the name of that protein you use?  I may start with trying that...especially since it's low in calories.  I think we agree I could use that as a great snack that would have more nutritional value.

A colleague at work shared her story of when she was younger and the struggles she had with her weight.  I won't share the details because I haven't asked her permission.  I couldn't, and still don't believe it though.  I told her I wouldn't believe it until I saw pictures.  She assured me she would bring some in, so we shall see. 

Blogging everyday has been great because it's my chance to reflect on the journey!  For anyone who reads, please feel free to share it with anyone who you think might be interested.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Changes in the Foods I Eat Part III (Dinner)

Dinner has probably been the worst meal for me in the past.  It wasn't always because of what I ate, but how much I ate.  I enjoy cooking so I would often cook for us.  Some of the things I enjoy cooking are spaghetti, burritos using ground chicken, and chili, and garlic and cheese mashed potatoes.  You wouldn't think those are meals that are terrible for you...if you ate what would be a normal serving.  The other problem with dinner is that we enjoy eating out and that's just a nightmare.  It's easy to eat what tastes good and not worry about what's healthy when you go out to eat. 

The last problem with dinner is when I eat.  Obviously the later you eat dinner, the worse it is for you.  I contribute this to growing up in a house where it was very typical to eat, and not the healthiest meals, at 8 or 9 o'clock. 

Changes I've Made: The biggest change I have made is how much I eat.  I try hard to limit home-cooked meals to one serving.  When we go out I try to look at the menu ahead of time and find something within an acceptable calorie range.  If Salmon is an option I almost always get that now and it's usually served with some vegetable. 

My one weakness is Buffalo Wild Wings.  I love chicken wings!!!  Again, the difference is how many wings I eat and not using any ranch or blue cheese.  I loves "sauces" but have realized that there are a ton of calories in things like ranch dressing and blue cheese.  It was a bit of an adjustment, but I've made it and now it's all about moderation. 

Snacking at Night:

As I mentioned earlier two of my worst night-time snacks were ice cream and chips and queso.  Too tired to look up calories for these things, but it's a given that they were through the roof.

Changes I've Made:

My favorite snack now is frozen mixed fruit with a little sweetner on top and a little milk.  Thanks to my wife for introducing me to this a long time ago.  This night-time snack is about 130 calories and I would say frozen fruit and a little milk are much more healthy, in terms of nutrients, then ice cream, chips, and queso.

Alright....that's all for now.  I've shared the major changes I have made in the foods I eat on any given day!  To read it is amazing to myself. 

Jenn asked me what I was going to blog about next and I'm really not sure, but I know it will come to me.  I do have my next post ready to go, but will probably wait to share until tomorrow. 

See you then!

Is this my "Ah Ha" moment?

This is a deviation from my 3 part series on changes I have made in what I eat.  I will make that post about changes to dinner later tonight or tomorrow...depends on how tired I get.

This post comes from the sermon at church today.  We go to Wendell United Methodist Church.  Our Pastor, Ellen, focused on moments in her life that she called "Ah Ha" moments.  The scripture came from Matthew Chapter 4.  Anyhow, she shared two moments in her life where she realized that there was a higher power; something to help her see the bigger picture and purpose in her life.  Ellen...if you're reading please feel free to add some comments if I have mis-spoken. 

As I was listening I was thinking about it and found myself asking if this journey I have begun is my "Ah Ha" moment.  Is this what the Lord has helped me to commit to, in order that I may inspire and encourage others?  Or is it His way of showing me that I need to treat my body better and in turn be around longer to support my family?  Perhaps both or perhaps neither.  Maybe there is another reason He hasn't shown me yet.

I do know that I am feeling great and looking forward to continuing the journey.  Thanks Ellen for a great message today!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Changes in the Foods I Eat Part II (Lunch and During the Day Snacks)

Lunch is different than my other meals because during the week I am at school and have about 30 minutes to eat...and that's on a day when I don't have to put out a "fire".  In the past I would often eat something that was being served in the cafeteria.  This could be anything from cheese dippers, nachos, chicken sandwich, pizza and any other thing they decided to serve.  I was usually good for a sherbet for dessert as well.  Can't really tell you about the calories in those foods, but I'm sure they are much more than what I am eating now.

Changes I have made: Now I bring my own lunch, which consists of either a Lean Cuisine or Smart Ones.  I just pick whatever one is on sale that week and buy enough to get me through a week or two.  I still try to support the cafeteria though and I usually get one of the vegetables they are serving.  I enjoy the carrots and green beans they serve.  Sometimes I will have have a bag of baked lays or pretzels with my lunch as well.

Caloric Intake: Generally around 500 depending on the specifics of the day.

Snacks: In the past this could range from anything to the donuts a parent brought in, some type of chocolate, or whatever else I could find or that was offered to me.

Changes I have made: My snacks now consist of three choices: Nature Valley Sweet and Salty bar (170 Calories), Pretzels (110 Calories), or Fiber One Oats and Chocolate bar (140).  Generally I have one of these during the day.  Either between breakfast and lunch or between lunch and the end of the day.  Once in awhile, if lunch was lighter I may have one of these snacks in the am or pm.

I have no ideas how many calories I was taking in from snacking during the day, but I guarantee it was much more than any one of these snacks.

Deep Thought of the Day: No doubt about it....this has been one of the hardest things I have ever done, but it's getting better.  My body has really adjusted to eating so much less and emotionally the fact that I feel better about myself has helped me to stay focused on the changes I have made. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Changes in the Foods I Eat Part I (Breakfast)

Well....let me start by saying tonight's post will probably be a bit short.  It's Friday night and I am EXHAUSTED!  It's been a very long week and I am hoping to go to bed early tonight, especially since I have to go into work for a few hours tomorrow.

As I promised in yesterday's post I would spend some time talking about the changes I have made in what I eat.  I think the easiest way to do this would be to break things down by meals.  This will be the first of a 3 part series.

I was going to McDonald's every morning.  Here was my excuse: We have to try and get ourselves and two kids ready every morning and be out of the house by 7:30.  There is no time to eat at home.  Not to mention there is a McDonald's I have to pass every morning and it is literally 0.5 miles from our school. 

For quite awhile it was the same thing each morning: Chicken Biscuit with cheese and a sausage burrito.  Sometimes I would throw in the special coffee drink on top of it. 

Total Calories (without the coffee drink): 800

When I started to realize I was putting on the weight and it was starting to bother me I decided, "I'll still stop by McDonald's because it's convenient".  "Instead of getting a chicken biscuit I will get the sausage burrito and a sausage mcmuffin.  Surely an english muffin is better than a biscuit."  Not by Much!!!

Total Calories (without the coffee drink): 670

What I've Changed:

The first thing I changed was that I made a better effort to try and give myself enough time to make something at the house.  Pretty much the same thing everyone morning.   Three eggs over medium with a little cheese on top and one piece of toast.

Total Calories: 300

I took it one step further and switched from eggs to egg beaters.  It's crazy...that change took me from 210 calories for the eggs to 70 calories!  Crazy right?! On top of that the cholesterol level dropped dramatically.  I did increase to two pieces of toast, but I still went down.  The one disclaimer here is that the egg beaters (I buy the store brand) are a little more expensive than buying a carton of eggs. 

Total Calories: 200

There are days that I just don't have enough time, but I made a plan for that as well.  Jimmy Deans makes a turkey sausage, egg, and cheese muffin that has 240 calories.  I bought a box of them and have them at school.  Not quite as tasty as what I make it home, but still close in calories.

My goal for breakfast is to be in the range of 200 - 300 calories.

So let's think about it.....I have decreased from 800 calories to 300 calories.  That's 500 calories a day and 3500 calories a week!  Did you know 3500 calories is equivalent to 1 pound? On top of that I am saving about $20/week or $80/month!!! 

I think what's important is to set a goal for each meal, as far as caloric intake.  Once you set that goal do some investigating and see how you can mix things up so you don't get bored with the same food every morning!

I'm off to bed for some quality sleep time now!  Goodnight and I will see you tomorrow!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Counting Calories...

As I promised in my last post I would share more about how I am counting calories.  I knew that using the Wii Fit Plus alone would not get me to where I want to be.  This is when I decided that I would focus on how many calories I was consuming on a daily basis.  I searched online for a few different free calorie counting websites and found Calorie Count to be really effective.  If you get a second you should really check it out.

If you don't have the time to check it out, let me tell you a little bit of what it offers.  It has a huge data base of foods and a search engine that allows you to find practically any food you eat.  On the slim chance you can't find it in their data base they allow you to enter the nutritional information.  I've only had to do this about 3-4 times.  It also breaks down your calories by meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, other) and gives you an overall total as well.  When the day is over you can click on the "analysis" button and it will tell you if you on target or off target for each of the nutritonal areas.  It also provides you with a circle graph, breaking down the three major nutrional areas: Fats, Carbohydrates, and Proteins.  The Final piece that I like is that it gives you a line graph showing you your daily caloric intake.  There are several other things it does and a lot of other information you can get if you would like.

I'll end with telling more about the goals I have set for caloric intake each day and my feelings about counting calories.  I originally wanted to shoot for 2000 calories a day.  Needless to say, I have yet to reach 2000 calories or less.  For the first couple of weeks I was averaging about 3000 calories.  Just recently I have been able to get down closer to an average of 2300 calories.  I attribute that to my body adjusting to eating less.  I gotta tell you....the first couple weeks I constantly felt hungry.  I compared it to someone who stops smoking, "cold turkey". 

You could ask 5 different people and get five different opinions about the most important thing to monitor.  Some say it's carbs, some say it's fat, some say it's proteins.  My opinion is that what you focus on depends on the person and what their specific needs are.  For me, I was just eating WAY to much!  A moment of transparency here; sometimes I would go several nights in a row eating 1/2 pint and sometimes a pint of ice cream.  Somtimes before I ate the ice cream I would have some chips and queso.  In a sense, I got into a "food routine".  It was easy for me to snack throughout the day because I am always on the go.  Snacks during the day aren't necessarly the worst thing in the world; it's more about what the snacks are. 

I can't be sure, but knowing what I know now I wouldn't be surprised if I was consuming an upwards of 10,000 calories a day.  I can barely bring myself to say that.  Needless to say, Going from that to 2000-3000 calories a day the weight has initially come off pretty quickly.  I know this will slow as I lose more, but that's okay.

My intial two-week goal was to lose 10 pounds.  I reached it in 1 1/2 weeks and dropped to 306.  The last two times I have weighed in I'm not sure how accurate they were so I'll be sure to report again once I feel I get an accurate weight.  Part of the reason it's not been accurate is because my lovely daughter (Alexandria-18 months) took off one of the four corner risers from the balance board and decided to hide it on us.  I have ordered a replacement from Amazon and it should be here in a couple of days.

Preview of my Next Post: I will be sharing some of the changes I have made in the foods that I eat.  Once I feel that I have caught everyone up to speed, my goal is to just share my daily progress and some images of the things I'm eating. 

Hope everyone enjoys this latest post.  Talk to you soon!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 did this journey begin?

Although I didn't realize it initially, looking back, I suppose this journey really began over Thanksgiving break.  We went to Georgia to spend the holiday with Jenn's (My Wife) brother and his wife.  It was a great trip and they surprised Benjamin (and Mommy and Daddy) with a Nintendo Wii, just like the one in the picture. 

We had a bit of a rough week when we got back.  The day after we returned someone broke into our house while we were at work and took several things.  I had set up the Wii the night before and ironically, they didn't take it! 

After we recovered from that somewhat traumatic event I began looking into the Wii Fit Plus.  I had struggled for quite some time; knowing I was bigger than I have ever been.  It has been an emotional battle for me and started to impact me on a daily basis.  I knew something had to change so I decided that I would invest the $99 and buy the Wii Fit Plus.  It was exciting to think I could workout and exercise in a fun way and in the comfort of my own house.  I knew Jenn and Benjamin would have fun too and thought it would be a great way for us to spend time together.

I knew that the Wii Fit Plus, alone, would not really get me to the place I need to be in order to feel better about myself and know that I am healthy.  Knowing that a large part of my problem was portion control and the simple fact of how much food I consumed daily, I decided that I would begin to track what I ate and how many calories I was consuming on a daily basis.  In my next post I will share the details of how I am doing this.

I will end my first post, knowing that this is a process and not a temporary fix.  I have to view this as a lifestyle change.  What I am about to do is an extremely huge step for me, as I am going to share the details of my weight and the goals I have set. 

I began this process on January 2nd, 2011 at which time I weighed 316 pounds.  As I mentioned earlier, this is the heaviest I have ever been.  The Wii fit Plus allows you to set goals and monitors your progress.  I have set short-term goals of two weeks.  My first goal was to lose 10 lbs in the first two weeks, which I was able to accomplish.  I know some may say that's too much too quick, but I will share more about this in my next post.  Anyhow, it was motivating to accomplish this first short-term goal. 

My long term goal is to get to 250 lbs. by my birthday on July 7th, 2011!  It may be a bit ambitious, but that's what I am aiming for!

Thanks for reading and I hope you will come back to read more about my journey!

BTW....if you see me....ask me how I'm doing.  Help me in my journey and keep me accountable!  I'll thank you for it later!