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…

Downhill Climb Days 125-133: Vacation, Sickness and Weight Loss


On the Ferry

A few days ago we returned from a 10 day trip to Washington to see our daughter, her husband and our sweet grandchildren. It was an amazing and fun trip. But it was also tiresome and gruelling as we pushed the limits every day to see as much as we could see and to enjoy as much as we could enjoy.


Burger for Lunch at Fat Smitty’s in Port Townsend, WA

As I alluded to in my previous blog post, I did vacation at times from my whole foods plant-based regimen. But, I also need to commend my daughter and son-in-law for their efforts to provide meals that would help us stay fairly close in most cases. Overall, I believe that we all did pretty good.


Relaxing on a beach in Washington

Upon our return home to Kentucky, I weighed myself on Friday last week, and I had gained a total of 3 1/2 pounds during the entire trip. Honestly, I was shocked that it was only that much as I had also indulged in a nice big hamburger and had barbecue one evening. I even indulged in Dairy Queen ice cream cones a couple of times.


Fun Times With Family

I must note, however, that like Julianne and me, our daughter Amaree also participates in bountiful baskets food co-op and so we did have lots of fruit and vegetables, we had oatmeal for breakfast, and had some good things to munch on on our trips.


Losing Weight is NOT Easy Street!

Our Saturday last week was a very busy day with work for both Julianne and me and then we had our own bountiful baskets work on Saturday afternoon. I did not feel well as I had gotten a cold while I was in Washington and soon went to bed on Saturday night.


Laid up sick on Sunday

On Sunday morning I woke up not feeling well at all. My head felt numb and I was very congested and I could not even really get out of bed. I was laid up in bed sick until about 7 PM and finally got up and had some amazing bean stew that Julianne had made. It actually made me feel a little better, but back to bed I went and we slept straight through the night despite sleeping all day on Sunday.


Results to smile about

To my joy and bliss, I arose on Monday morning to weigh myself, which I had not done for two weeks. I came in at 405.6! My lowest yet and just a few pounds away from my independence from 400.

As I have noted in previous posts, my heel continues to nag at me and has made it very difficult to walk long distances. I feel a need and desire to exercise and hope to start going to the gym next week and maybe do some upper body lifting and cardio things that don’t impact my heel for a while.


I can find a way!

Getting my weight down and getting healthier is not an easy task. In some cases it’s daunting! But since we have returned, we are trying to eat better again and get back on track and I can feel it coming off. The jeans I bought a few days before our trip are already getting loose on me and almost falling off!

I must be vigilant and diligent in my efforts! By so doing, I will get to where I want to be and where i will certainly be better off being at.

Downhill Climb Days 118-124: Vacation Time

Mt. Rainier in Washington

Hanging with family in Seattle

Bet my readers wonder what happened to me the last few days.  Long story short, we have been in Washington state for the last week (and for a few days more) visiting family and taking a brief respite from the rigors of work life (and even from the rigors of whole foods plant based eating in a few instances).

My grandson Charles got baptized on Saturday, and that was the real reason we came to the Seattle area.  However, we have spent time doing some traveling and sight seeing (more about this will be on my Less Beaten Paths travel blog in the next week or so).

A vacation is a time to take a break…relax, sight see, visit family, eat out, etc.  This trip has seen a good deal of that.  But, it has not been all easy.  I am still getting a good deal of walking in despite the nagging pain of Plantar Fasciitis on my heel and the occasional knee pain.

A Five Mile Smile after putting in over 8 miles of walking around downtown Seattle on July 28

In fact, on our second day here we took a ferry over to Seattle and spent most of the day walking around the downtown area.  I got in a whopping 22,722 steps (according to my Argus app).  That boiled down to 8.3 miles of walking.

I have had a couple of other days of good walks as we visited the northwest corner of Washington in Neah Bay, made a trip to Seattle to visit the LDS temple, went to the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma and made our way on a small hike at a local state park.

It has been wonderful and enjoyable but not without some challenges.



A personal best in walking for one day. Though lots of stops and breaks, I still got the exercise in and sweat a good deal. One step at a time!

Perhaps the biggest challenge is the eating part.  When home it is easy to control what we eat as we get our Bountiful Baskets and have plenty of veggies in the house.  We don’t have the temptations of some of the “yummy stuff” like burgers or pizza or lasagna.  Needless to say, there have been a few “dietary vacation” times on this trip.

Visiting “Fat Smitty’s” hamburger joint near Port Townsend, WA. Yes, I ate a burger

Do I feel guilty about them?  No, not at all.  Indulgences are still my decisions…and I feel good knowing that I have had very few of them.

One example was our visit to the offbeat and fun Fat Smitty’s in Port Townsend, WA.  This place is known for its quirky interior and exterior…over $10,000 in one dollar bills plastered all over the interior walls and some great wooden art on the outside.

Ultimately, they are a burger joint and make some whopping big burgers.  They also have chicken and fries.  Nothing “healthy” or “vegan.”  I admit (I did promise to be transparent!), I had a cheeseburger…but no fries.  I even skipped the chips.

Tangerine Thai Food in Bellevue, WA

On another occasion we went to Seattle to visit the Temple.  On our way we stopped at a Thai place in the “Microsoft District” of Bellevue.  The place was called Tangerine Thai Cuisine and was a nice place.  My son in law wanted to come here just for the Halibut (Curry).  But I ordered their SIZZLING PLATTER which consisted of broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, Thai basil in a tasty chili pepper sauce and added tofu.  It was served on a sizzling platter..much like fajitas.  I ordered with extra spice and it was amazingly delicious!  And it was all veggies…so I stuck with it.

Julianne had an amazing dish as well…she enjoyed the Crispy Fried Eggplant topped with black bean gravy sauce, bell pepper and basil and had some tofu.  I had a taste and it was luscious!


Tangerine Thai’s Crispy Eggplant

Just Saying No to some yummy treats at Point Defiance Zoo

On another day trip, we visited the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma.  Nice little zoo.  Lots of walking. I got in over 9600 steps (about 5K), but needed a few sit down sessions due to heel pain.  On such session we sat down next to a concession stand with some delectable delights.  I “Just Said No” to these and didn’t indulge.

But, I did indulge in a soft serve Dairy Queen chocolate dipped cone the night of the temple trip.  It was 90 degrees out, we were all hot and we wanted a treat.  The DQ treat was a nice addition.


Flying with a flock of seagulls on the way to Seattle

Overall, the vacation has been predominantly pretty good in terms of a “dietary vacation.”  I have felt good.

The new jeans I bought before we left actually had to be pulled up a few times while at the zoo.  When I bought them they just barely fit.

I am not sure if I have lost or gained or stayed the same while on this trip.  But, I am confident that I have not veered too far of the course.


Enjoying the lovely beach at Neah Bay in the far NW Corner of Washington…the furthest point northwest in the contiguous United States

My Downhill Climb to get under 400 pounds continues.  Soon I will be back in Lexington and back on a daily regimen of exercise and eating whole foods plant based.  Today is Bountiful Baskets contribution day, so Saturday we will have a load of good fruits and veggies.  I’ll start going to the gym a couple of times a week as well, which will keep me exercising, but may help in easing the stress on my heel.

I am on it!!


Downhill Climb Days 115-117: Updates and Status Quo

Working Bountiful Baskets on Saturday. Still loving those veggies!

The “Downhill Climb” pretty much remains on a plateau as I move into day 117. I still struggle with my heel pain (see my last post) and we have had grueling schedules the past week as Julianne and I prepare for a trip to the Seattle area.

But we still move forward to try to eat right.  Schedules make it difficult so we ended up eating out quite a bit last week…not a good thing when trying to get the weight off and control what goes in our mouths.

During the weekend we ate dinner at Jalapenos Mexican Restaurant.  We have always like that place but had not been there for quite a while.  Their guacamole is really good. But they have a scant offering on their menu for those that only eat veggies.  I ended up ordering their fajitas…which sounded good and were loaded with veggies.

However, their grilled veggies were obviously grilled in loads of grease and were indeed really greasy…ugh.  But, they did taste good.

Fajitas from Jalapeno’s

Fortunately, I have not gained too badly.  I weighed in this morning and was at 408.  I am already learning that some of this could be water retention, etc.  I am not sweating it too badly.

However, I am really frustrated because it is so difficult to walk as a result of my heel.  I know that if I were able to walk more and be more consistent that the weight would drop quicker.

During our upcoming visit to Seattle I am looking forward to walking a lot, but I grimace at the thought of the pain.  I have tried to relax the heel over the past few days in preparation.  We’ll see how it goes…

I really want to do some “Seattle Two Mile Smiles”….


One point of excitement came this weekend as I had to go out and buy new pants.  My other pants are falling off so I had to get something new.  The last time I bought pants was over a year ago and they were a 66 waist size.  On Saturday I was able to get size 60 pants.  And they are actually fitting comfortably!

This is the first time in ages that I have dine the opposite of “outgrowing” my pants.  Really feels good to have to buy smaller ones.  I lo0k forward to the day that I will have to get size 56 or 54 or even 50 pants.  It WILL happen…its just a matter of when.


Yesterday we had family over for dinner and had our new favorite…jackfruit BBQ.  Julianne tried her hand at a home made BBQ sauce, but it was not as strong and zingy as those we have bought in the past.

Nevertheless, dinner was good.  She made some awesome “fried potatoes” that were actually baked with spices.

She also made a nice dish with zucchini and yellow squash, but it was infused with leftover cream cheese from our daughter’s wedding a couple of weeks ago.  We didn’t want it wasted.  The stuff was great, but loaded with fat.

It was a good meal.

To finish it off, she had also tried to use all of the apples to make an apple crisp.  We had butter leftover so she used that in the apple crisp.  We also snuck in a little ice cream.  But heck, it was a family get together.

Jackfruit BBQ

So, tonight it is off to Seattle.  We’ll be making efforts to continue on the whole foods course, but there may be a couple of “slip days” along the way as we travel and focus more on fun times with family and grand kids rather than worry about what we are eating.  It is a vacation….

More from the road soon!

Team Sumoflam continues to press forward towards 400 Independence.  Its around the bend somewhere….