Feel Like Mice Elf Again


I feel like Mice Elf again!! Back at attempting Independence 400 in 2016! Some walking, some mowing some sweating. Indeed, “It’s Been a Long Time” is running through my head and it feels so good! #awesomebugettingbetter #teamsumoflam #exercise #sweat #Independence400in2016

Uphill Tumbling a Year Later

 Just over a year ago I began a new effort in weight loss and health improvement as I started what I later termed my “downhill climb.” Perhaps the main drive for that was to participate in a 5K challenge in June of last year.

During that effort I walked a great deal and I lost a good deal of weight–almost 50 pounds–as I went from 450 on April 1 to about 407 by the middle of June. I had actually started the year out closer to 470 pounds, so I had lost quite a bit of weight over the few months.

 

After the 5K, which I finished even though I was the last one to finish, I continued to walk and to try to eat right until July when made a trip to Washington to visit family for 10 days which kind of threw my eating all over the place. And then there were trips to Salt Lake City and later a drive with family to Connecticut. At the same time, I hurt my heel which made it very difficult to walk, but I still strived to do so when I could, despite the pain.

After returning from all of these trips in October or so, my weight had gone back up because I had not eaten right, I had not done much exercise and I kind of lost my drive. I had gone from my “downhill climb” into more of a “uphill tumble.”

Celebrating the birth of Grandchild #10 in September 2015

Of course, then came Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and New Year’s. Next thing I knew, after a stressful few months from August to November of working long hours, which did not help either, I was out of work come January which added a different kind of stress level.

The unfortunate string of events seemed to continue on and then finally in February I began teaching Japanese at Berea College which kind of fell out of the sky and it added yet a different stress once again.

Bottom line is that I have kind of faltered (NOT failed!). Fortunately, I have not gained all that weight back as last week I was at 427 pounds. That is still 23 pounds less than what I was a year earlier and close to 43 pounds less than what I was in January 2015.I am finding it difficult to get the drive to get back out and walk, and do some of those other things. My sweet wife and big me to not “lose my umph,” and back then when I was on a roll, I assured her that I wouldn’t. but alas, I think I made last year I had and that that loss of umph continues.

Teaching and walking at Berea College

Fortunately, with my temporary teaching position at Berea College, which will end at the end of April, I park and do a lot of walking every day from the parking lot to class and back, getting in a little over a mile and a half walk on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I can still walk fairly well and so I am feeling good about that. My heel doesn’t hurt like it used to.

So, I now just need to incentivize myself and push myself to once again try to get under 400 pounds (what I want to call my 400 Independence Day), which is what my initial goal is right now.

I look back to those few months and all of the great support that I had from a number of friends and family whom I had turned “Team Sumoflam.” they were a great support group and for a person like myself, I really needed them behind me, especially in those challenging times when I would think about their support and their hopes for my success. even now, despite my falterings, I am truly humbled and grateful for these friends. I am sure that they have not given up on me, but they have seen that I have perhaps taken this uphill tumble and thus have not reached out the way they did in my pushing days when they cheered me on.

I think I maybe feel the importance of posting this today, first as a report to all of my friends in Team Sumoflam and also as a way of letting both myself and all of them know that I am ready to get rolling again!

Life’s challenges never end. We should be grateful for them despite the difficulties

Downhill Climb: Six Months Later – A Look At Willpower

Sweatoflam after a 2.16 mile walk today. It was warm and very humid. And I sweat.

Yes…I am still here and I still have not lost my resolve.  Many of my friends (TeamSumoflam) have asked how things are.  Best answer for now…stable.

Fortunately, I am still hanging around the 406-410 range despite the two vacations in August (Seattle) and September (Connecticut).  Coupled with that is the job since the beginning of August.  I had hoped to get under 400 in July, then in August and then by my birthday (Oct. 4).  Didn’t do it. But the desire and resolve is there.

As many of you know, from April through June I pushed and pushed and pushed.  I had great inertia.  I lost over 40 pounds (and am still at that).  But, then came the new work schedule, the trips, the extra long work hours, the painful heel (result of overdoing it).  Though I had promised Julianne that I had not lost my umph, perhaps I had lost some of it after all.

The journey is long, arduous and trying.  Takes a lot to keep moving forward when there are so many things pulling you in the opposite direction.

Well, a new revelation came to me via Julianne the other day.  Another thing to be learned on this journey to better health, less weight, etc. She was telling me about someone named Susan Peirce Thompson (see http://susanpeircethompson.com/)

She tells of her BHAG – Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal (which I call my Downhill Climb).  Ultimately, after reading a few other brief articles I have come to realize that is NOT losing UMPH but rather it is running out a renewable resource called “willpower!” Yes, that thing that we all supposedly have.  But it never dawned on me that willpower can run out on any given day.

According to a 2013 US News and World Report Article by Liz DiAlto, a fitness and lifestyle coach, “The number one reason why diets and exercise usually aren’t enough to get you the results you want is simple. It’s because most approaches rely on willpower – and willpower stinks. It’s not a sustainable resource. It will always run out eventually unless you’re using it appropriately, and most people aren’t.”

This really got to me.  So true.  How can I count on willpower after working an 18 hour day and gave it my all?  How can I count on willpower to keep pushing when I have drained it in dealing with life’s stresses?

Part of the successes that both Julianne and I experienced were the result of good planning.  We prepared salads and made juice, etc., and had things to take to work.  We did these when we had the energy on a Sunday evening.  On those days when we both have worked hard and had nothing prepared, it is so easy to just go to a restaurant and grab something to eat.

Another health expert, Marina Chaparro says “Many people think you’re either born with willpower or you’re not. But that’s not true. It’s actually like a muscle you can strengthen over time.” But, just like strengthening the muscles it takes determination.  She was quoted in a post on WebMD entitled “Five Facts About Willpower.”  These include:

  1. Willpower is Like a Piggy Bank – Willpower is in limited supply. It needs to be budgeted.
  2. Willpower is Like a Muscle – Setting small, incremental goals that you regularly meet is the best way to boost your willpower. Much like with your body, if you overdo it by taking on a bigger challenge than you’re ready for, you won’t get stronger. You’ll just be sore.
  3. Your Feelings Affect Your Willpower – AHA!! A hard day at work can limit your ability to meet goals later in the day. It’s not just feelings that affect willpower. Anything that involves a lot of thinking and decision-making will make you more vulnerable to temptation later on.
  4. You Need More Than Willpower -Willpower matters, but you’ll also need other strategies to help you keep on track.By its very nature, willpower is something that comes and goes. And it can be gone when you need it most.
  5. Willpower is a Renewable Resource – You’re human. Just like everyone else, there will be times your willpower runs out. But it is possible to restore your supply.Take time out for yourself as a way to recharge your willpower batteries.

The recent spate of Willpower-centric items that have come across my computer screen has given me new resolve.  Perhaps I better understand what I didn’t on the earlier parts of this journey. Let’s throw a little willpower spice into the downhill climb soup!

I am still going to do this thing.  I must learn how to budget my willpower, prepare for the weak days (or the long football Fridays) or other times.  Great to have a new refreshing mindset.

Back to my friend Rob Roy – “Dig down deep, grab hold and push it out” – from The Navy SEAL Art of War. 

JUST ONE MORE.

Downhill Climb Day 157: Vacation Derailments and Getting Back on Track

Loved the sign, but skipped the Ice Cream

Things have been a struggle since returning from Washington in early August. Both Julianne and I have had to readjust to new work schedules and challenges, including longer hours, especially for me.  We also took another road trip to Connecticut on the other side of the country for another family visit.

Still at 409 pounds after vacation

 

 

As a result of this and other challenges in life, my progress has been stalled but not thwarted! I weighed in this morning at 409.2, which is a 7 pound gain, but not nearly what I thought it would be.

As I mentioned above, we went to Connecticut last week to see our new grandson who was born on August 31. We were excited to see him and generally had a good time on this long road trip with our daughter Marissa and her children.

 

 

Grandchild #10 – one of at least TEN reasons to get back on track

Made it to my 50th state on a road trip

Of course, I will still battle to get under 400 and thus my 50 pound mark. I will make it. The trip offered me another great opportunity – we made plans to drive up to Maine and across New Hampshire and Vermont while up in the Northeast.  Doing this got me to my 50th state visited and I had hoped to have lost my 50th pound as well. But road trips, food on the road and family functions sometimes derail the best of hopeful intentions.

It was a fun incentive hoping to be able to say that I was at my 50th state on the same day that I finally had gotten 50 pounds down. This would have been a case where a 50/50 split was a double win!  But, it didn’t happen.  And, for the sake of being transparent and honest, I’ll fill you in on how derailment happened to me (and my wife).  It happens.  But derailment doesn’t mean failure or quitting.

 

Cannoli at Carlos Bake Shop – The Perfect Derailment

Visited Carlos Bake Shop…had to try one of his cannoli

So, the end of July and pretty much the entire month of August and half of September have resulted in derailment, back on track, derailment, busy schedules and eating out more. Derailment- means donuts and means a cannoli at Carlos Bake Shop in Hoboken, NJ (famous for the TV show Cake Boss).

Don’t get me wrong here.  We did not indulge in these yummy, sweet things every day.  We still tried to eat well.  In fact, we went to the town of Mystic, Connecticut (famous for the movie “Mystic Pizza“) and skipped eating pizza (though we stopped for a photo op).  Instead we went closer to the track (literally – the place was next to the Amtrak station!) by eating at an amazing Thai place called 4 Roosevelt Asian Bistro.  They had plenty of vegan and whole food offerings. I had a good & spicy tofu Pad Thai and Julianne had a completely vegetable stir fry over rice. Both were amazingly good…see below. It was fabulous! If you get to Mystic, skip the pizza, get the Thai!

4 Roosevelt Asian Bistro

Vegan Pad Thai

Thai Vegetable Stir Fry

Mystic Pizza…we skipped it. Had Thai instead.

The dynamics of a true weight loss, health increase program, are multifaceted. The obvious things including diet and exercise are not the only impacts on one’s weight and health, as we have discovered in the last couple of weeks on this trip.

Speaking of derailment, Julianne found an interesting post on a blog called “Brand New Vegan” which covered the topic of “cheating”on a vegan diet. The author, Chuck Underwood, explains that there is a “Fat Switch” and that once it is turned on, it derails you.  He says

Fat Switch Derailment

The switch has been tripped.  And it’s much harder to switch it back off than it was to turn it on.”  Though I don’t adhere to the philosophy of “cheating” or “rewards,” but rather making better eating choices versus poor eating choices (its all food…), I do TOTALLY see Chuck’s point about the Fat Switch.  Once you get off the main track, it becomes easy to rationalize, to savor those sweet donut bites, that gooey cheesy pizza or that creamy cannoli.

Stressful work schedules and situations can also cause the body to keep the weight on despite any efforts on diet. And then, there is the other dilemma that this stress, coupled with a flipped “fat switch” can also cause one to want to eat more, and even challenges us to want to eat things that are truly not beneficial to us.  Some call it “cheating.”  I call it a “poor choice.”

Seeing the Light about Routine

Ultimately, what I have learned is that the “Right Track” is a disciplined routine. Vacations throw you off routine. Road trips throw you off routine. New work schedules throw you off routine. When I look back to May and June, I experienced my best success because I had a routine and regimen down.

Indeed, after this roller coaster off-track ride, we both  see the light on routine and the “Fat Switch.” On Saturday we went shopping and piled up on fresh veggies again.  We are now working to establish a revised routine based on our currently packed schedules.  And today was Bountiful Baskets and our order went in for more fresh veggies and fruit. We have also determined to not eat out but once a week (for date night). Tonight we had a fabulous “Mac and Cheese” dinner (thanks to one of the many wonderful recipes on Brand New Vegan, where the cheese was replaced by a concoction of golden potatoes, carrots, onions, nutritional yeast and some smoky paprika (see his recipe for the cheese sauce). The “Mac” was whole wheat rotini. It was amazing good!

No cheese Mac and Cheese

We are getting back on the track again and things will back on the mend in terms of the “Downhill Climb.” Get diet back in control and get an exercise routine in place and we will totally be back on track to a healthier lifestyle.

Downhill Climb Days 133-140: Holding Steady at 405

The past few days have been tough. Life likes to throw curveballs and this week was full of them.

For me, it is the first week of high school football season and my work with the Great American Rivalry Series, coupled with The VYPE Sports Network work has kept me hopping (at least mentally). I am excited about this upcoming season, but this week really zapped me.

At the same time Julianne was dealing with the beginning of school at the UK College of Pharmacy and put in lots of hours as well.

To further exacerbate things, we have both been fighting colds and sinus infections.  As a result, we slept more than usual and made our way to restaurants most evenings since we were off work late and wanted to get to sleep early.

Despite all of the curveballs, the eating out (though we ate as healthy as possible) and the relative lack of exercise, I am still holding steady at 405 (45 pounds down since April 1 and nearly 60 since the beginning of 2015).  To me, THAT is a good thing!

I am looking forward to Saturday and our Bountiful Baskets produce as we have had a drought of fresh produce around the house due to our trip to Washington and the hectic schedule we have had over the past week. We’ll be loaded with fresh goodness to start off the new week.

Another objective we have set is to finally get back to the gym beginning on Monday evening.  We have joined the University of Kentucky Move Well program, which is a great deal for us at $7.00 per month.  This membership includes the use of the UK Fitness Facilities, especially the MoveWell Facility which is just around the corner from where Julianne works. This facility features more than 23 pieces of cardio equipment, a complete Paramount strength training circuit and free weights.  I am really pumped about this because my heel still plagues me and keeps me from getting in the walks that I depended on to help lose the weight and get my heart rate up.  Elliptical here I come!

Things are fine…holding steady and confident

I am confident that I will be under 400 pounds sometime in early September. We will be back in full swing with exercise and whole foods plant based eating, some juicing, more salads and I am sure more boxes of butter will be dropping from my waist.

One thing is for certain…routine is the key. As early 20th century success author Robert Collier has been quoted “Success is the sum of small efforts — repeated day in and day out.”

The Downhill Climb continues…