Tuesday, August 31, 2010


The story of this weekend's hike will have to wait until Thursday.

After another poor day of eating, tomorrow's official weigh-in promises to be very disappointing.  My disappointment in myself is almost palpable.  It's hard to believe I would ever have a month where I lost 10 pounds or so and still felt like I had failed.  But, after 14 days in August where I exceeded my calorie goal, that is exactly how I feel.  I think I am mostly disappointed that I had any feelings of satisfaction over my success to date that might have lead to this.  I may have earned the comments I receive about my weight loss, but I have yet to earn the right to be content.  That day is still a couple of months away.

I know I should be satisified with my results.  I know I should be happy with the weight loss.  But, I also know that I could have lost 15 pounds if I had been a little more disciplined.  It's not healthy. I realize that too.  But, I can hardly explain how badly I want to be under 200 pounds.  I wanted so incredibly bad to be under 220 tomorrow and it hurts knowing that it won't happen. 

I am ready for a new month.  Ready for a new start.  Ready for a new opportunity.  I won't make any promises that I might not be able to keep.  But, I would really love to lose 15 pounds in September despite my plan to lose 9.8 

The only good news on this rather bleak night is that my moods, at least outwardly, are no longer affected by these moments.  I am now in a better place and small setbacks definitely do not bother me as they did early on in my journey.  Here's to fresh starts and a new month...


I suck.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Have You Heard This Before?

I know I have said this before, but there is no better compliment than having people not recognize me.  The frequency in which I get that awkward look from people as I approach them with a smile or a hello has increased dramatically over the last couple of weeks.  I can see the confusion in their eyes and then that moment of recognition.  This occurred again yesterday at the gym when I ran in to Mark Gregory.  I believe I had to say, "Hey Mark!" before he actually realized who I was. 

It never gets old.  I can truly think of no better barometer of my success than having people I know well not even know who I am.  I sometimes need to remind myself of this as I see people I know glance at me without saying hello.  I have that initial split second reaction of irritation that I am being ignored and then I am reminded that they probably didn't realize who it was.  It's not that you can't see the old me inside of the new me's face.  It's just that people get accustomed to certain images.  We glance around at people in malls and our brain registers very quickly based on body size, shape, hair color, walk, and other movement patterns.  If those same cues are not their, we have a tendency to quickly process that thought and move on. 

OR...  maybe people are just ignoring me!

Quick night tonight.  Busy week coming to an end tomorrow.  I promise to be back tomorrow night with pics and the story of our hike around Pueblo Mountain Park and I promise to fill the remainder of the week even if I have to consult my list o' blog ideas!  Here's to becoming that creepy thin guy that always says hello but nobody knows...


As Lori said this morning, "How is that even possible?!".  That sums up my feelings perfectly.  Though I will add that this weekend was filled with high amounts of sodium... or at least that is what I am hanging on to as an excuse at this point.  The bad news is that, barring a huge drop tomorrow, this makes it highly unlikely that I will lose 2.8 pounds and make my goal weight by Wednesday.  The good news is that I haven't given up quite yet which speaks more to my eternal optimism.  There is always the alternative of cutting off a limb.  Does anyone know what appendages weigh approximately 3 pounds?  If so, please let me know...

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Only .4 pounds to go to get to my September 1 goal and break the 220 barrier!  Yesterday, I actually saw 219 on the scale!  While I don't typically do multiple weigh-ins in one day, my curiousity got the best of me yesterday. 

After weighing 221.2 to start the day, we went on a five mile hike around Pueblo Mountain Park.  When I got home, I had to know.  So, I got on the scale for a second time and weighted 220.2.  We then went to the club and I swam for 30 minutes and then lifted weights.  I thought what the heck, let's weigh a third time.  And, for the first time in a long time, I saw a number under 220...  219.0!  We even walked around the fairgrounds a couple of times last night for good measure. 

Had we not gone to Mi Ranchito's for some chips, salsa and some margaritas, this morning might have even been a little better.  But, they were good and well worth not seeing a number in the two hundred and teens. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Another .6 pounds down.  Under my Saturday goal weight by .2 pounds and 1.4 pounds away from my September 1 goal of 219.8!  A couple of other numbers to note... this is my 250th post and Thursday marked my 170th day straight of exercising at least 30 minutes!

Off to Pueblo Mountain Park with Lori for another casual stroll through the mountains...

Friday, August 27, 2010


The bad news yesterday was that I completely missed out on the Ianne's pizza and grinders that were brought to the office for lunch yesterday...  and, I was crushed.  This was the only one of the meals for the meeting being held at the office that I actually planned an exception for and it ended up being the only one I actually missed!  The good news is that I was rewarded with a .8 pound drop.  Five days left to lose exactly 2 pounds.  Is anyone else feeling the anticipation?

Thursday, August 26, 2010


One step forward, two steps back.  Okay, maybe one and a half forward and one back, but you get the point.  This week has been a combination of high stress and an Operations Meeting that has brought way too many temptation in to the office.  No excuses, because I hate excuses.  I am better than that... well, so I thought.  We will see today and over the next six days if that is true.

The only nice thing about the cooler mornings is that I have had the pool to myself the last three days... though a couple of people came a little later today.  I have renamed it "The Marinucci Lap Pool".

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Wedding Ring

Over the years, I have been asked many times why I don't wear a wedding ring.  It's not because I don't like rings, though I don't love them.  It's not because I want to pretend that I am single when I am not around my wife, despite what Lori may secretly believe.  It's because my wedding ring no longer fits.

I don't remember when I got too fat for my wedding ring.  But, like most things, I would guess that it happened somewhere around 15 years ago.  The only good thing is that I realized I was getting too fat and took it off before it got stuck on my stubby little finger!  I went several years without it.   I kept telling myself that I would lose the weight and that I didn't need to resize the ring or purchase a new one.  But, that never happened. 

After a few years, I finally broke down and bought a cheap silver band while we were at a basketball tournament in Arizona.  Not sure the reason, because I really only wanted to wear my original ring.  I imagine that it was to ease Lori's mind and assure her that the hotties were not trying to steal her man... and here I thought the fact that I was getting fatter, older and balder was already taking care of that problem and was assuring enough! 

Well, in a bit of irony, I immediately started to lose weight shortly after buying the band.  It ended up being fairly loose only a couple of months after I got it.  I can't remember how long I had it... probably less than two years.  But, I do know that it fell off plenty of times and I was always looking for it.  Sometimes it would fall off in gloves.  A lot of times it would fall off in bed.  One morning I woke up with perfectly round red marks all over my back in random places.  Lori and Kelsea were looking at my back with some concern and kept mentioning the possibility of ringworm.  I was horrified.  Shortly after, I found my ring in the bed and realized that it was indeed ring-related, but not a worm!  The ring perfectly matched those red marks.  Finally, it fell off and I couldn't find it anywhere.  So, I was ring-less once again.

No big deal though.  I was losing weight now, right?  Well, I did lose enough to make that other band not fit but not enough to get in to my real wedding ring.  And then, I started to put on the pounds once again. 

I have always wanted to get that ring back on to my finger despite any doubt Lori might have.  But, I mostly wanted to get it back on because I knew it meant a lot to her.  Well, somewhere lost in this journey was the fact that I was getting dangerously close to having my ring fit again.  Lori never mentioned it.  I think she may have actually given up on that ever happening again.  But, it hit me several weeks ago.  So, I tried it on and it was closer.  Couldn't get it over my knuckle, but it was closer.

Last week, I pulled it out again.  It now went over the knuckle.  Not horribly tight.  But, tight enough to make me uncomfortable.  So, back in the drawer it went.  But, it is now probably about 10 pounds away from fitting comfortable.  This is one of the things on my "fat list"...  a list of all of the things I could do, wear, buy, etc. once I lost weight, and a topic for another day.  Well, Lori, I promised you that I would one day wear it again and that day is soon.

While I hope I never lose this ring, I do hope that I lose enough weight that even that ring eventually has a hard time staying on my finger!  Here's to continually being reminded (and surprised) by all of the reasons I wanted to lose weight in the first place...


Down 1.4 pounds today and feeling great!  Only 2.2 pounds to lose over the next week.  While my current goals show a target date of November 11, I would really like to kick butt and get there some time in October.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Fantasy football draft.  Manhattan's Pizza.  Not much willpower.  A couple of slices of pizza.  A salad (which is what I was ONLY planning to eat before I got there).  A few chicken wings.  Need I say more?

Very disappointed in myself.  I really thought I would be a little stronger.  I am a weak human being.  I had good intentions.  Those seemed to vanish as the stress from setting up our first online and technical version of the draft started to increase.  Now I need to see if I have enough willpower and focus to buckle down for these last eight days and meet my September 1 goal of 219.8. 

The only positive thing this morning was a peaceful swim.  Because it was cool this morning, the pool was mine alone.  Quiet.  Cool.  Overcast.  And, then about halfway through, it began to sprinkle.  I love watching the rain hit the water and swimming in the rain is pretty cool... well, other than the part where you get out of the pool and your shirt and towel are already wet! 

The temperature today reminded me that Summer is coming to an end and it will be taking my outdoors swims along with it.  Unfortunately, there are only two indoor lanes at the club.  So, closing the outdoor pool drops the lanes from six to two!  I need to figure out the best time to swim indoors because I am not about to stop swimming after Labor Day!

That swim was almost good enough to make me forget that I have a serious issue when it comes to craving pizza.  Maybe that is one craving I will never be able to kick.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Waldo Canyon

This week's hike was to Waldo Canyon just West of Manitou Springs.  For the first time, we went hiking with some friends, the O'Dorisios, who had coincidentally recently taken up hiking as well. 

Not knowing what to expect for parking spots, we left at 6:00 AM and hoped that it would be early enough.  The problem with looking up trails on the internet is that the information found is not always as detailed as you would like.  When we hiked in Vail three weeks ago, the website said that there was limited parking and to get there early.  Well, "limited" truly meant limited!  There were only six spots that day and we were forced to park a mile away.  The sites for Waldo Canyon said the exact same thing.  When I was done reading I wasn't sure if there would be a few spots or 40.  In the end, we were fine and the parking lot held at least 40 cars and we were about the fifth car when we arrived.  

Waldo Canyon is a nice hike.  Again, the sites vary, but the sign at the trailhead said that it was 6.2 miles.  The hike goes out a little more than 1.5 miles and then you choose whether to go right or left and loop around for 3.1 miles back  to where you started.  In hiking vernacular, this particular type of hike is called a "lollipop" because of the straight "stick" part and the round part on top.  See, and you thought you only came here to hear me whine and brag... all of the educational stuff is free. 

The sign says that the elevation gain is 2,250 feet.  But, it doesn't feel like that much of a climb.  That might have been because of our preparation from our previous six plus hour hikes.  But, it is more likely because we were yacking away with some friends.  We pretty much talked for four straight hours and it made the hike only feel like a couple.  We brought way more food than we needed... especially considering we only stopped once for a very brief snack. 

It was the perfect distance.  Long enough to get a great workout in.  Short enough that my legs weren't sore at all today.  It wasn't too long and, because of that, we never had to ask anyone how much further and have them lie to us.  Speaking of that, I actually found some confirmation of this hiking code today while looking up the trail to Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs.  Here is the link to the article...  http://hikingincolorado.org/hang.html.  Looks like another fun place to add to the list.  Towards the end of the article, the writer states, "While you ponder your accomplishment and wonder at the beauty surrounding you, don't hesitate to stop to chat with the other hikers on their way up. The tourists will invariably ask you "How much further?" When this happens be sure to remember the locals response "You're almost there".".   See!  I told you there was an (un)written code.

The trail was a great mix of rocky openings at times and a creekside trail through the trees at others.  Throughout, we could see Pikes Peak from time to time at various different angles and it was beautiful.  We saw Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs below us.  And, because of our early start, we didn't see that many people until close to the finish.  Another great hike, another great day.  Thanks Steve and Maureen for coming along!

Here's to good friends... especially those with similar interests...


I guess the hike and the extra workout more than offset the amount of food I ate yesterday.  A new low.  I now have nine days to lose 2.6 pounds to hit my September 1 goal!

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Yes, it's official!  I am an addict.  I am completely addicted to the gym and exercising. 

This morning, we got up early to drive up to Colorado Springs for a hike with some friends.  While not as long as our last two ventures, the 6.2 mile hike around Waldo Canyon was perfect.  [Yes, the Music Pass was postponed due to time constraints.  But, is still planned in the near future]  It was the perfect distance and the perfect difficulty level and left us tired but not worn out.  After our two 9+ mile hikes, this one seemed like a stroll through the woods.  I knew the distance would be shorter and I knew the elevation gain wasn't as steep.  But, I was still thinking it might take us longer than it did.  With only a couple of brief stops, we were back to the car in a little over four hours. 

Even with stopping for a quick lunch, we were still home way sooner than I expected.  When my son asked us if we were going to the gym, I felt that old familiar feeling of excitement.  I never thought we would be back in time when we originally planned the day and it never occurred to me on the drive home either.  I was thrilled.  Yes!  I was still going to the gym. 

This is one of the reasons I prefer to weigh daily.  After grilling steaks last night, I had gained a pound this morning and was now 223.8 and back under 90 pounds total.  Knowing that influenced my excitement at being able to get to the gym to burn a few extra calories to offset my yummy meal the evening before.  This ability to respond quickly makes these exceptions far easier to take for me.

After a 2.5 mile walk on the treadmill, I now had put in 8.7 miles on the day.  A short workout on, you guessed it, my legs, and I finally felt like I had enough.  Here's to healhty addictions...

Tomorrow:  The complete Waldo Canyon Loop recap.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

90+! 222.8

It's official!  Finally over 90 pounds!  Next stop 100...

The LIVESTRONG Bet... Thanks Kevin!

In early July, as the Tour De France was about to get underway, I, like most American cycling fans, was rooting for Lance Armstrong to win another Tour and to retire on top of the grandest stage in cycling.  Despite being an Armstrong fan and wanting him to do well, my gut told me that it would be difficult for him to pull off an eighth win and I didn't believe his Radio Shack team was strong enough.  So, I bet a young friend, Kevin Cover, that Lance Armstrong would not pull off the miracle.  It hardly seemed like a fair bet since he needed Lance to win and I only needed anybody else to win... including pre-race favorites Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck.  And, in a bit of irony, Kevin came up with the novel idea of making the stakes a LIVESTRONG shirt.

While Lance showed well, he had a series of unfortunate events, something he had rarely experienced in previous tours, and fell back too far to have any legitimate chance after about the halfway point.  Kevin conceeded and asked me what shirt I wanted and what size.  I debated getting the XXL that I was wearing when the bet was conceeded.  But, my mind couldn't wrap itself around wearing an XXL LIVESTRONG shirt.  It almost seemed like an oxymoron.  So, knowing that I would be there soon, I asked for an XL.

Today, Kevin stopped by to drop off my winnings.  Sorry I missed you Kevin... would have liked to have said hello.  Based on the XL Nike golf polo I had gotten earlier in the week for my birthday actually fitting me, I had hope.  And, while not a perfect fit... I could still stand to lose at least 5 more pounds for it to look better... it still fit!  And, I loved it.  I pulled out the pair of LIVESTRONG shorts I had purchased a month earlier in anticipation of receiving the shirt.  Please, no metrosexual comments.  So, I had to have a photo taken so you can continue to see my progress.  Below is the new 223-pound version of me in my new shirt...

So, thanks Kevin!  Not only for betting me and making good on your word, but also for being one of my biggest supporters.  Kevin is a great kid and a bit of a health nut himself.  He has been generous with his comments and helped motivate me along the way.

And, finally, before everyone gets up in my grill about Lance Armstrong's discretions, I get it.  I don't idolize him as a person.  I admire what he was able to do.  I am impressed with his determination in coming back from cancer to win seven Tour De Frances... even if he did use performance-enhancing drugs like every other cyclist.  But, like Michael Jordan and all of my other sports heroes, my admiration ends on the playing field.  I learned long ago to separate my amazement of the physical feats of my idols from their personal lives... right or wrong.  I like what the LIVESTRONG brand stands for.  I hope that a large amount of these funds truly go to cancer research.  And, I like what the logo and words mean to me personally.  Oh yeah, and let's be honest, I think the apparel looks pretty damn cool as well! 

Here's to moving from an XXXL to an XL in five short months and striving to live strong...

Friday, August 20, 2010


Ugh!  I just needed .2 more to hit the 90 pound mark.  Stupid scale!  lol. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Well, what do you know?  Two straight days under 225.  Now, if I could just get far enough under it that I can feel safe that I won't see it again!  One more pound to hit the 90 mark!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Can-Am Spyder Roadster

When my son was a young boy, I took him for a ride on my motorcycle.  We were just planning a short ride down the Beulah Highway.  Shortly after taking off, we had a car pull dangerously close in front of us.  I had to swerve pretty hard and almost lost the bike.  We continued our ride, but I was pretty shaken.  I got home that night and wasn't sure that I wanted to keep the bike any longer.  At the very least, I no longer wanted to take Niko or Kelsea for a ride. 

That moment spooked me pretty good.  I started weighing the thrill of riding a motorcycle with the risks of having a family without a father and a husband.  Right then I decided that it was time to sell the motorcycle.  I have never regretted that decision... though I have never stopped longing to get on a motorcycle again.  This is even worse in the summers here in Pueblo as the crotch rockets come out of hibernation.

A few years later, I bought a Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder.  I figured if I couldn't ride a motorcycle, a convertible was the next closest and far safer thing.  That was a great decision and I try to drive with the top down every opportunity I get.  I love it in the Spring and Fall.  But, that top is still down in the Summer... some times with the air conditioning on.   And, I have been known to drive it on cold days with the heater on as well!  Other than rain, snow, or bitter cold, that top is off.  And, even small amounts of rain typically don't deter my top-free rides.

A couple of years ago, I saw an incredible thing at Dutch Clark Stadium.  There in the parking lot was a yellow and black three-wheeled motorcycle (those terms might actually contradict each other).  But, the two wheels were in the front rather than in the back like a typical trike.  To me, it was a thing of beauty.  It had similar lines to the Sea-Doo I had owned a few years back.  After a little research on the internet, I found out that it was a Can-Am Spyder Roadster and it was made by Bombardier Recreational Products, the same company that makes Sea-Doos and snow mobiles.  I have wanted one ever since.

Recently, I saw an advertisment in a magazine for the new touring line of the Can-Am Spyder Roadster.  So, I yet again found myself on the BRP website customizing different Roadsters and longing to own one.  Here are some photos of a couple that I customized. 

The fist one is the sportier RS model similar to the one that I saw that very first night.

The next one is the decked out version of the RS... called the RSS.  I have added a padded backrest for Lori's comfort.

The last one is the new touring model, the RTS.  Wow! 

I still want one.  I would love to have the feel of a motorcycle with the safety of an extra wheel.  I love everything about this roadster.  And, ever since I started looking at the site last night, all I can think about is having one and riding through the mountains on our way to another hike.  A ride on a roadster catching the views followed by more views on a hike.  Sounds perfect to me.

So, while I still hope to be the official "Jared-like" spokesperson for The Earl of Sandwich, I am also putting out feelers to BRP to become the official Roadster spokesman.  I think an ad campaign featuring a guy who changed his life and embraced his new life by hitting the open road on a new Roadster would be huge!  If anyone knows someone at BRP, please pass this along.  In case that doesn't pan out, I am now taking donations to my CRAP... the Can-Am Roadster Affordability Plan.  E-mail, message or call me for an address to send checks to.  I promise to thank each of you personally on this blog and to thank you out loud on top of a mountain!  Barring donations, I will continue to pray for the lotto... wish me luck.

Here's to exciting new fantasies with my exciting new life...


Please, let us never see 225 again.  Thank you.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Happy Birthday To Me!

Way back in March, as I set out upon this life-changing journey, I set some early goals of what I really thought I could lose if I put my mind to it.  That night, I thought to myself that I would love to be under 225 by my birthday.  At the time, I needed to lose a little more than 70 pounds.  And, while I missed that goal by half a pound, the first three numbers on that scale this morning said 225 and I will take it. 

I DID IT!  Well, not "IT", since "IT" is actually getting below 200 pounds.  But, I did "it".  I worked my ass off and gave myself the best gift I could think of... good health.  Okay, maybe better health might be appropriate at this early juncture.  Today, I turned 46 years old.  Almost hard to believe that I am four years from 50.  Last year on my 45th birthday, I felt 50.  This year, I feel like I am almost 35 again! 

Today was a weird day for me.  A whole range of emotions occupied that little mind of mine from morning until I write to you now.  I was a little tired today.  That will happen when you go to bed at 12:45 and wake up at 5:45.  I debated getting up and was proud of myself when I did.  I was in a good mood as I swam.  Then the emotions shifted as I stepped on the scale and saw the damages from the chicken wings I ate yesterday.  I was expecting it.  But, I was still hoping that I would see a number under 225.  So, I headed to work slightly grumpy and got grumpier as the morning rolled on.  It was a combination of a lot of things...  my weight gain, my lack of progress over the last week, that crappy feeling I get when I eat too much fat the day before, and various other things... oh yeah, and that five hours of sleep.  I started feeling a little better when I checked e-mail and saw the birthday messages begin to roll in and I got my first birthday call from my Dad.  Thanks to everyone who sent their wishes via phone, e-mail, or Facebook!

I came home and ate a healthy meal.  And, that put me in a better mood.  Yeah, I wanted to celebrate at Mi Ranchito's.  I would have loved a margarita.  Even felt guilty that my obsessiveness was keeping my family from celebrating my birthday and going out.  But, that weigh-in kept weighing on my mind (lol) and I couldn't do it.  I enjoyed a great meal.  And, my very supportive family assured me that they were perfectly fine with whatever I wanted for my birthday.  I promise that next year we will actually go out to Mi Ranchito's for my birthday and I will have two stinkin' margaritas!

The night was uneventful, but enjoyable.  I already got my birthday gift about a month ago when I bought some new golf clubs.  My 20 year old Northwestern clubs (Walmart specials) were more than outdated.  My driver was smaller than most modern hybrids!  So, I broke down and got new ones.  I have enjoyed the new clubs and slowly getting back in to golf. 

Oh, and I did get some new hiking boots yesterday... though it really wasn't labeled as a "birthday" purchase.  I love these boots and I can't wait to put them to good use this weekend when we scale Music Pass up to the Upper and Lower Sand Creek Lakes in the Sangre De Cristo Range.  That's how I want to celebrate my birthday... with a weekend that includes a golf tournament on Saturday, a birthday party for one of the kids that Lori watches, and a hike on Sunday! 

After dinner, I went out on this beautiful night and picked weeds in the garden.  And, weird as it may sound, that put me in a better mood and left me quite content.  When it got dark, we went to the health club.  There is no other place I would rather end my birthday at then the gym!  I had a great workout... well, as good as one can expect with this tired mind and body. 

And now, I am exhausted.  My eyes are tired.  My head hurts.  My body is tired.  I may actually go to bed by 11:30 tonight!  No guarantees though.  Here's to giving myself many extra years as my birthday adds one to my official age...


Well, chicken wings cost me .8 pounds.  Still, halfway through August and I am still .4 ahead of my pace.  My current goals put me under 200 on November 11! 

Sunday, August 15, 2010


That's the good news.  The bad news is that I am about to eat chicken wings.  Doesn't look good for my birthday weigh-in!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


No, this is not a duplicate post.  Different day, same weight.  Might need to start hitting the free weights five pounds sooner than my original plan.  I need another jumpstart.  The good news is that I am still ahead of today's goal of 226.6 by 1.4 pounds and already ahead of my birthday goal of 225.8 with two days to go.  But, it is time to break 225 and I grow impatient...

Friday, August 13, 2010


Some days the number staring back at me from the scale doesn't even seem possible.  Wednesday I lost weight after going to Red Robin.  Today, I gained .2 pounds after an almost perfect exercise and eating day yesterday. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I have referenced the myfitnesspal.com (MFP) website in the past.  But, I wanted to go in to a little more detail about the website that has now become my home page.

I have tried other fitness websites in the past.  I can't even recall the first one I tried a couple of years ago.  I know I tried livestrong.com briefly and was using that site when a friend, Sue Cozzetta, pointed me in the direction of MFP.  I liked the interface right away and found it to be far easier to use than the livestrong.com site.  So, I made the move and have never looked back. 

MFP is more than a calorie and exercise tracking site.  Far more.  One of the best features of the site is the social aspect and the supportive relationships that are built.  I mentioned this before, but while I think this aspect of the site is incredible, it is not the reason I like the site.  I am not a big rah-rah kind of guy.  I don't need someone telling me how everything is going to get better.  I don't need a barrage of cliches to help me through my struggles.  But, a LOT of people do.  And, I think it's great that this site provides that... especially for those folks who really need that support.

If you are thinking about a site for your own personal weight-loss journeys, I highly recommend MFP.  Here are some of the things it offers...
  • calorie tracking - With a huge library of foods, it is easy to track the nutritional values of just about anything you can think of.  Other than homemade meals with unique ingredients, I have rarely found an item that wasn't in the database.  In addition, MFP has added a new feature for building the nutritional data for a meal based on the ingredients that go in to making that meal.  The calorie tracker includes frequently used items, recently used items, and a personal meal database.  You can also complete a day and MFP will estimate your weight if you were to continue with similar days over a five week period.
  • exercise tracking - It is always difficult to put a generic value on the calories burned for any activity because of all of the variables.  But MFP has a nice database of activities that at least give you ballpark figures.
  • recommended values - MFP provides recommended nutritional goals based on your weekly weight-loss goals, your weight, and your non-exercise activity.  These values are continually updated as requested or after every 10 pounds lost.
  • reporting - The site provides plenty of useful reports.  My favorite is the detailed nutritional values of your meals. 
  • other tools - There are other tools to calculate such things as Body Mass Index and Basal Metabolic Rate and nifty little widgets for creating tickers and badges.
  • Facebook integration - Several items can be automatically posted as your Facebook status as they are updated in MFP.  I have chosen only to update my weight loss because I think that is arrogant and obnoxious enough and nobody wants to see every single thing logged in MFP.  But, you have that option!
  • social networking - MFP provides messaging capabilities, a place for blogging, a community forum, and the ability to add friends.  
  • community forum - This forum is filled with any weight-loss question you can imagine.  It also has recipes and advice.  One of the more popular sub-forums is called Motivation and Support.  Inside of this forum are several support groups, including the Fab Four group to which I belong.  All of these groups have different challenges, timelines, requirements, etc.  But, they manage to bring like-minded individuals together and offer tons of support.
  • iPhone app - MFP has an iPhone/iPad app that allows you to update your information remotely.
  • The best part about MFP?  It's free!
One of our fellow MFP members was featured on the Today show.  Tamara makes me look like a little sissy girl with my 88 pounds lost!  I am not sure what her goal weight was.  But, she got there in 11 months and 5 days.  She lost a total of 141 pounds overall and looks like a completely different person.  She talks highly of MFP being the difference maker.  My favorite part is that she talks about hard work and eating right as the keys.  They even mention "no magic pill" in the interview.  Tamara had one of those a-ha moments and changed her life.  Awesome!  Make sure you watch the whole video so you can catch her hubby's shit-eating grin towards the end... classic! 


Here's to myfitnesspal.com and the wonderful service they provide to me and countless others just like Tamara...

225.0 And 47 Lengths!

Only down .2 pounds.  But, any day that is lower than the previous and is a new low is a good day.  And, add in a new high of 47 lengths of the pool in to the mix and you have a great morning! 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Well, that makes me feel a lot better about my trip to Red Robin.  Only .2 pounds to go to get to my birthday goal!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Quick Thought...

Not a lot to say tonight.  I did, however, want to point out that this body and mind that has always hated mornings was up at 5:45 this morning and in the pool a few minutes later.  While I still don't love mornings, we have become civil acquaintances.  With my son's shoulder surgery in Colorado Springs this morning, I knew I would have to get up early to get my swim in.  As usual, I made rising and shining that much more difficult by going to bed at around 12:45.  But, as my arm reached out to hit the snooze button, I had a wiff of motiviation and I instead turned the alarm off and got out of bed. 

My swim started off slowly and tiredly.  But, eventually my body remembered what it was supposed to be doing.  And, by the time I started to walk the four steps out of the pool, I felt great and was thrilled that I had made that choice.  We won't discuss the little power nap I took late this afternoon after arriving home again!  Add to it a 4.5 mile walk on the treadmill and a great workout of my arms, and I remain somewhat hopeful that I did enough exercise to offset the birthday burger I had at Red Robin today.  I won't tell you how good it was.  I did maintain some control and only had a little more than half...  with four potatoes worth of french fries.  Here's to building relationships with the morning and begrudginly accepting my new friend in to my life...


Down .8.  Six more days to lose 1.4 pounds.

... And The Yang (Feeling Proud)

Yesterday, I talked about those moments when I feel guilty because of the attention I have gotten as I have continued to lose weight.  Let me be clear, I in no way intended to imply that this guilt was often or overwhelming.  In fact, that emotion has probably come over me only a handful of times and almost always when I have been in large groups of people doling out compliments. 

And, while the concept of yin and yang may be all about balance, my pride in what I have accomplished, or the yang in this equation, far outweighs my guilt, or the yin.  Pride and guilt may be the two sides of the equation, but they are not equal sides...  not even close.  I was simply trying to explain the range of emotions I have felt throughout this journey.

I am proud myself!  I am proud of the almost 86 pounds I have lost.  I am proud of this blog and what it represents to me... and even others.  I am proud that I have been able to lose over 75 pounds over the 22 weeks, or five months, since I started this blog.  I am thrilled at the people who no longer recognize me...  and, it happened again today!  I smile when I look in the mirror and see those love handles and man boobs slowly disappear.  I shake my head in amazement when I step on the scale and look down to see a number lower than the day before.  I am proud that I have had a couple of stretches where I struggled yet I was able to focus and get back in gear. 

I am proud that so many people have told me that I have inspired them, whether that proves to be true or not as events unfold.  I am proud that an instructor of a yoga class in a different state found my blog interesting enough to share it with her class after a reader of the blog shared it with her!  I have been even more proud as some of those people who have said that I inspired them have subsequently lost weight.

I am amazed at the amount of weight I have been able to lose.  I set lofty goals when I started this because I wanted to push myself.  I figured they were possible.  Though I thought I might struggle a little more as the months went by and I had less to lose.  I am incredibly proud that I have been able to do this while still working and living in the real world.  I am not on The Biggest Loser Ranch where healthy food items are available and all of life's distractions are made unavailable.  I do not have the luxury of going to The Biggest Loser gym and working out for several hours each day.  I do not have the carrot of a lucrative prize at the end of my journey dangling in front of me.  I go to work.  I stay busy at night.  I still do photography on the side.  I go to restaurants.  I pack my lunches.  I deal with the same stresses I did six months ago... though those stresses seem to bother me far less these days. 

I like the way I look when I see myself in the mirror.  Well, fully clothed... the unclothed version is still not quite as appealing... though I have seen glimpses of tone muscles beginning to come out of hiding.  I even enjoy shopping for clothes again. 

I have enjoyed getting back in to hiking.  As soon as I get off the trail from one hike I look forward to the next... which will take place in a little less than two weeks by the way!  I can't wait to begin my assault on the 54 fourteeners in Colorado.

I feel wonderful.  My knee feels as good as it has felt in 10 years.  I sleep better.  I rarely snore.  And, I breathe the entire night... always a good thing when you are trying to avoid dying!  Everything just feels like it is working more smoothly.

Every single compliment I receive, big or small, brings a huge smile to my face... even if you can't always see it as I pretend to be modest and matter of fact.  Thanks again for all of the compliments.  Thanks for not letting me wallow in my guilt or my anger at myself after those bad weigh-ins.  Thanks for providing fuel for my fire.  Thanks for letting me be proud.  Here's to being proud, and a little loud, and kicking that nasty guilt to the curb...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Yin (Feeling Guilty)...

Over the years of watching "The Biggest Loser", there has always been an ongoing theme of emotional issues.  These issues are often the cause behind the weight gain but there are other emotional issues attached with losing the weight.  Countless contestants have stories of childhood traumas that started them down the path of obesity.  Others lose the weight and then experience feelings of not being worthy of being thin.  Not knowing how to do deal with looking better.  Not knowing how to be this new person.

Well, I can safely say that I have none of those issues.  I had a perfectly fine upbringing.  All of my struggles growing up made me who I am and I like the person I became.  My parent's divorce, while difficult, did not traumatize me.  I had no horrible experiences or losses that caused me to be overweight.  As I have said here before, I simply enjoy... heck, enjoy isn't a strong enough word...  eating.  I love food.  I am a foodie at heart... with a nasty side of gluttony thrown in the mix.

I also don't have any problems with the new and improved me.  I believe I am worthy.  In fact, it has been the only piece of my life over the last 15 years that I wasn't proud of.  Sure, I have been even more emotional than normal over the last six months.  Yes, I have cried more than my usual sappy-butt self does.  But, that has only been because of one emotion.  Excitement.  I am so excited some times that I get overwhelmed. 

Recently I blogged about the wedding that I attended in the old suit that I found in the back of a closet.  That night was overwhelming.  The number of people who commented and had nice things to say was even higher than normal.  I got more compliments that night than any other day since I have started this journey.  So many friends, young and old, said so many kind things that night.  One of the young men actually stopped me on the dance floor to tell me how great I looked.  Unbelievable. 

But, there are still weird emotions that I experience from time to time. One of them is a feeling of guilt over the attention I get. I feel guilty that I get almost-daily support, encouragement, and positive feedback.  At that same wedding, I asked the father of the groom, Art Stawski, how much weight he had lost.  He had lost about 20 pounds.  Impressive!  Especially considering that this is all he had to lose.  He commented along the lines that it wasn't as impressive as what I had done.  But, I disagree.  It's all relative.  Despite the majority of people who wouldn't think that Art needed to lose a single pound, he felt he did.  He felt that he was 20 pounds over his optimal weight.  So, Art did something about it.  That to me is impressive... whether it's 20 pounds or 200 pounds.  

This is where my guilt set in.  Art will never get the same compliments that I have gotten.  Because he is already thin, most people will likely not even notice.  Some of those who notice may not say anything because they thought he was thin enough to begin with and are jealous.  But, I think he deserves the compliments as much as me.

I thought this again last weekend in Vail when I spent some time with a couple of friends who have always kept themselves in great shape.  These two guys, Marty Garcia and Steve O'Dorisio, have always been my idols for staying in such good shape.  They workout almost every day.  They eat well enough to maintain a healthy weight and have done so as long as I have known them.  That is incredibly impressive!   These two deserve accolades far more than I do.  How impressive is it to maintain that kind of weight your whole life?!  Yeah, I know, they have to live with the misfortune of knowing that people simply talk about how good they look behind their backs.  And, I am sure they would gladly abstain from receiving any compliments to continue looking and feeling that way.

So, I feel guilty!  I feel guilty that I am getting such positive feedback after my gluttonous fall from grace over the last 15 years.  What people should be saying is, "About time Anthony!".  I have eaten like a pig.  Been lazy.  And, because I decided that I didn't want to die in the next five years, I finally got off my lazy butt and got busy.  It's like telling someone, "Yeah, you were really fat and you really weren't taking care of yourself!  But, congrats on finally doing what you should have been doing over the last 15 years!".

I am not saying that I don't want to receive any more compliments.  These comments are huge motivators and keep me going.  I loved that wedding despite my guilt at the end.  The list of people that have said they didn't even recognize me continues to grow and that is one of the best compliments I could get!  I know I said it was overwhelming.  But, it's overwhelming in a good way... in fact, a great way!  So, keep them coming.  I promise I will get over this guilt as quickly as it came. 

So, to all of you readers who have never had to fight this battle or have fought this battle your whole life and won, CONGRATS!  Good for you.  I am impressed with anyone who has never had to go through this.  I am impressed with those who needed to lose 20 pounds and did.  All of you deserve the accolades way before me.  Here's to all of the folks out there who have no idea what I am talking about and can't relate to my journey...

Tomorrow:  ... And The Yang (Feeling Proud)

226.2... Start of a Great Day!

After a couple of days where the scale moved in the wrong direction, the day got kicked off right with a nice 2.6 pounds lost!  Combine that with 4.25 miles on the treadmill, a great workout on my legs, and 43 lenghths in the pool, and I am feeling good.  My knee is a little tired after a lot of activity the last three days.  But, my mind is simply ignoring the pain.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Promise To Be Back Tomorrow!

I apologize.  One busy night and another where I had nothing to say... I know, hard to believe, it really does happen.  After a bad day of eating yesterday, I ended up at 228.6 this morning.  I reacted to that news by eating equally as poor today.  Hello Anthony!  Only 26 days left in August...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Under 230! 228.0! 85 Pounds Lost!

The great thing about getting close to dipping under another 10 pound barrier is the extra motivation it provides.  I really wanted to get under 230 and was a little bummed when it didn't happen yesterday.  When the alarm went off this morning, I wasn't quite feeling it and really just wanted to roll over, hit the snooze, and skip my swim.  But, the thought of breaking 230 made my tired body get out of bed and slip on the ol' swim trunks.  About 40 minutes later I was staring down at my reward for not going back to sleep... a drop of 2.8 pounds and a new low!  I realize that I probably didn't need to swim to get there based on the 2.8 pound drop.  But, that's okay, I really wanted to make sure!  Decent jump start to August.  Still hoping to obliterate the goals I set for this month.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


An early meeting caused me to skip my morning swim and I think it cost me my first glimpse of 220-something.  Oh well, that's why they invented tomorrow...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Bighorn Creek Trail, Vail

Last Friday, Lori and I woke up early and headed to Vail for a weekend of hiking and 3V3 soccer watching.  Well, not as early as we had planned.  Like a lot of my plans, going to bed after 1:00 AM has a tendency to change things quickly.  I even planned to get up at 5:00 AM for a quick swim and hoped that we could be on the road between 6:00 to 6:30.  When the alarm went off after a little less than four hours of sleep, I immediately switched it off, rolled over, and fell fast asleep.  By the time we got up and got going, 6:30 had become 7:30.  Still, we were up and we were on our way.

After a beautiful drive through the mountains, we got to the East Vail exit around 11:00 AM.  Both of us needed to use the restroom and after about 15 minutes of driving around East Vail to no avail (yes, Eminem, eat your heart out at my words and rapping ability), we headed for the next exit to avoid peeing our pants.  After a quick potty break, we were back on the highway heading back to the trailhead. 

We made our way to the Bighorn Creek Trailhead only to find the six parking spaces long-since full and a sign about every 10 feet saying that there was no parking on the city streets.  Signs so conspicuous that I would think they would be more of an eyesore or an irritant than a few cars parked along the side of the road.  After another five minutes of looking for a space, we decided to head back to the public parking lot located at the highway exit. 

The only problem with this parking lot is that it added an additional .9 miles each way to our hike.  Given our lack of sleep, the three and a half hour drive, and the already very steep climb ahead of us, an additional 1.8 miles was not promising.  I told Lori we could skip hiking to the cabin at the end of the trail and take one of the trail spurs at the two mile mark and substantially reduce our total mileage.  The plan was about a 7 mile hike.  This would cut it down to 5 miles.

Neither of us moved quite as quickly and energetically as we had on our trip to Sky Pond.  Part of that may have been the reasons I mentioned above.  But, in additon to us being tired, this hike was much steeper.  After the initial descent from the Bear Lake Trailhead, the Sky Pond hike was a 1,710 foot climb over 4.9 miles, or 349 feet per mile.  The Bighorn Creek Trail is a 2,220 foot climb over 3.6 miles, or 611 feet per mile.  And, I believe that half of those feet are climbed within the first half mile!  Even more surprising is that this trail is listed as the least steep trail in the Vail area.  Eventually, the trail levels off slightly... though not quite as much as we had hoped and we found ourselves in a beautiful aspen grove. 

Shortly after that, we found ourselves on the banks of the mighty Bighorn Creek.

At around the 3 mile mark, we were both feeling a little worn out and the trail spur we spoke of taking was obviously not as easy to spot as we had expected.  Some dark clouds formed quickly overhead and it started to rain softly.  We debated turning around.  The hardest part about hiking without any GPS is not knowing how much further you have to travel.  There is a part of you that says you have hiked plenty and that your body is telling you it is time to head back down the hill.  But, another part keeps thinking what if our destination is only a half mile away.  That little voice in the back of your head keeps telling you that you will be disappointed if you turn around now.

There is another phenomena that occurs when hiking.  While I have yet to find anything on the internet to confirm my beliefs, I am positive that there is a hiking code that all experienced hikers follow.  One of the rules of this hiking code is to lie to the people going uphill if you are going downhill.  If they ask how far, the answer is always, "Not much longer!".  If they ask how long they have to go, the answer is half of what it really takes to get to the end.  This code is especially important if you are trying to encourage two old semi-overweight hikers who look like they may pass out at any moment.  There is one more phrase used to completely sell these lies, that phrase is, "It's worth it!".  All three of the couples we saw over the next 15 minutes... while we were still debating continuing... fulfilled their hiking code obligations by quoting all of the above.  Well, they had us at "It's worth it".  We continued on and even started to feel a little bit better as we got past another steep section and the light rain subsided.  Apologies for disparaging Mr. Helpy Helperton from our Sky Pond hike.  I didn't realize at the time that he was merely following the code.

Eventually we reached the old mining cabin at the end of the trail in a field of wildflowers.  Was it worth it?  Yes.  But, only because we could now say we did it and didn't quit.  It wasn't as beautiful as Sky Pond and not near as rewarding of an end.  But, the entire hike was just as impressive and included a myriad of different vegetation from aspen groves to fern groves to rock fields to beautiful wildflowers.

Besides losing any chance at a parking spot and adding 1.8 total miles to our hike, the other hazard of getting a late start are the afternoon thunderstorms that are so prevalent in the high mountains in the summer.  As we turned to head back, those dark clouds started forming once again.  I could tell that this storm wasn't going to be as friendly and wasn't going to pass quite as quickly.  It started to sprinkle.  Then it started to rain.  Then it started to pour.  We walked through mud, puddles, and over slippery rocks as we climbed down the hill in drenched clothes and shoes.  At one point, while it was still just raining, I told Lori that, "This sucks!" and she replied in cheerful form, "It's all part of the adventure!"... a motto we have stuck to ever since that mountain biker said that to us by the Reservoir.  Then it started to rain harder and three minutes later Lori stated, "This is miserable!".  I asked her what had happened to the whole "part of the adventure" thing and she replied that is was no longer part of the adventure.  After about an hour of heavy rain, it finally let up.  Our descent was far longer and much harder than it should have been.  We both slipped on the rocks.  But, once the rain stopped we laughed about not having ponchos in our bags and talked about how good it was going to feel to be in dry socks and shoes again.  

The final descent was brutal... as hard going down as it was going up.  But, we were close.  Well, save for the 1 mile walk back to the parking lot.  Our feet hurt so bad that we even considered hitchhiking that last portion.  Nine miles and six and a half hours later, we were back at the car.  Tired but smiling.

Here's to one day being able to lie to other out-of-shape hikers when they ask the question, "How much further?" while climbing the mountain and passing us as we are descending...


A new low on the scale... down .8 pounds.  And, a new high in the pool this morning with 43 lengths of the pool. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

August 1 Status Update

Today was my fourth official weigh-in against my monthly goals. Below is a quick status update...

  • On July 1, I weighed 242.0 pounds. My August 1 goal was 232.0 pounds. This morning I weighed 231.6. I beat my August 1 goal by .4 pounds and lost 10.4 pounds in the month of July! This is the third straight month I have exceeded my goal.  It also gives me three out of four months that I have successfully attained my goal.
  • My August 16 goal was 227. Although I only beat my August 1 goal by .4 pounds, I am decreasing my goals by more than that with the intent of being less than 220 by the end of the month.  I am reducing the first one by 1.2 pounds to make my new goal 225.8 by August 16. Like before, I will adjust my remaining goals accordingly. So, they now are August 16 (my birthday) - 225.8, September 1 - 219.8, October 1 - 210, November 1 - 202, December 1 - 195, New Year's Day 2011 - 190. That puts me under 200 sometime in the middle of November! 
  • I have lost 81.4 pounds since the middle of January. I have lost 71.0 pounds since the start of this blog. And, I have lost 66.0 pounds since returning from Las Vegas on March 23... 66.0 pounds in 131 days... or just over four months!
  • My streak on the treadmill ended in July after 116 days.  But, my streak of exercising at least 30 minutes has now reached 146 straight days!
  • I lost .335 pounds per day in July. My goal weight for September 1 would require me to lose .380 pounds per day. 
  • While I ended up beating my August 1 goal, July does not feel like a success.  Mostly because I started off so well and found myself down 6.0 pounds on July 4 at 236.0.  After a two week lull, I ended up finding some focus and finished the month strong... barely sneaking under my goal weight.  I once again find myself hoping for a renewed focus in August with somewhat lofty goals given how much I have already lost.
I give myself a B for July. Not because of the 10.4 pounds lost, but because of the potential that I squandered after such a great start.  I never thought I would beat one of my original goals and still only give myself a B.  I am confident that August will be better than July and I look forward to a new chance to prove myself and hopefully add, or subtract, another 10+ pounds.  I look back and can hardly believe that I am almost 82 pounds lighter than when I started this journey!  Incredible.  I feel like a new person with a whole new lease on life.

Tomorrow: The hike up Bighorn Creek Trail outside of Vail.