A Fat Man's Journey (Working my way back…)

An Attempt to Journey from Fat to Fit in a Lifetime. Eat right, Eat less, Move more

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Eating the Elephant

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time…

20 pounds down/75 pounds to go.

When I stepped on the scale this morning, I had hit that magic 20-pound mark. Why do I say magic? Because that first ten pounds, especially when you have 95 to lose, is really fairly easy. You have the exhilaration of finally doing something about the weight, and the energy that brings with it. You cut back on eating, starving for that first two-three weeks and bingo. 10-pounds down.

It is those next ten where the real work begins.

The next ten pounds are won through continued dedication, exercise, pushing past your fears and self-imposed limitations. It is in those next ten pounds that you have to start developing the true good habits. Eating less for sure, but also eating right. More veggies, less dairy, less salt, more fruits….
It is when you have to start pushing past the complacency that helped lead to the weight gain to begin with. Getting out and doing the walks, climbing the hills. It is during the loss of those next ten pounds, as the loss starts to slow, that you have to find motivation deep inside. When you want to sleep late on Sunday you have to get out of bed and take the dog for the long walk, not the quick out-and-back.

Of course, when I say “you” I am saying ME. I have to do these things, establish these habits and push myself past my inclination towards the sedentary. I have to keep working, keep thinking keep planning every move of the day.

I plan everyday out in my head every morning. What I will eat for breakfast, what I will do about lunch (have it, not have it, have what if anything), what I will have for dinner and for my after dinner snack. I plan when and how far I will walk and how many calories I expect to burn while doing this.
Is this extreme? Maybe it is but it is what is working for me and I know from past and bitter experience that as soon as I stop planning, stop thinking, stop watching every move, every meal, every step, I will gain the weight back.

I am feeling GREAT. This blog, the FITBIT, and the LoseIt.com website are all helping me keep the focus I need to keep this going.
Tonight I will ask my missus to take a picture of me at 20 pounds down and I will post it on the blog. I will then post new pictures as we go along every so often to show further progress.

Someone kindly called me an inspiration. I guess some people are taking inspiration from this blog. This both stuns and pleases me. I am doing this blog for very selfish reasons. I need your support and encouragement. That this blog is helping others reach for their goals is wonderful to hear. I am pleased to be able to play a part, no matter how small, in helping anyone work towards a healthier self.

75 pounds to go. That seems so much closer than 95 pounds. Much closer than the 20 pounds would indicate.

I am encouraged and energized. I know that with my desire and your support I will get there. I know it. I know it at a level I cannot describe.

By March, I will be back on my bike. I will be outside riding my 10-mile loop at my 12 miles per hour. Slowly I will build the distance and the speed as I build up my endurance and my strength. When I am doing two laps of the 18-mile loop, I will know I am ready for the 50-mile ride in June.

I am enjoying the way I am eating now. I love the vegetable intensive diet so much that I am considering going vegetarian for a while. Not vegan, I am not sure I can give up all animal products. I like my cereal with cow’s milk, and the occasional bagel with cream cheese. However, I think I can go vegetarian, giving up meats entirely with only the occasional egg and some dairy. We have several vegetarian cookbooks and I am sure I can find inspiration there. I have to give this some thought….

One of the people following “A Fat Man’s Journey” has a blog of vegan recipes of southern style cuisine. I saw some very interesting recipes there. Tonight I plan to add the blogs of the people following this to the blog roll (how many times can you fit the word blog in to a sentence).

My family has been fighting a stomach bug than has laid them low but has so far missed me. This got me thinking of the line in the movie “The Devil Wear Prada”:
“I am one stomach flu away from my goal weight”.
Hardly… However, I know I will feel that way when I am 215…

So 20 pounds down. I am jazzed and ready to tackle the next 20. Eating the Elephant one 20-pound bite at a time.


Losing Hope

I had a manager at one time who used to say that Hope is not a Strategy. While he could be an overbearing windbag (my imitations of his many oft-repeated sayings was legendary), this particular aphorism had enormous truth behind it for work and for life……

It is all well and good to want to be fit. It is fine to say “I want to be thinner”. But without a strategy all you have is hoping. You are not going to wake up one morning 80 pounds lighter and in the peak of cardio fitness.

I lost hope and found hard work, dedication, commitment and the tools to plan to achieve my goals.

I am doing OK. Today. A little stiff around the ankles after yesterdays long walk.

No time to get out for a walk today as we were finishing up the month end and that tends to keep me very busy at work.
Still I am feeling very UP from yesterday.

I have to take a close look at the foods I eat. I like a lot of hot sauce but they are really driving up the sodium in my diet so I am going to need to take a closer look at how I am adding flavor to the veggies……

Butternut squash and cauliflower with 3 ounces of London broil for dinner, some Kimchi and a slice of bread. Very good, very filling, just concerned about the salt….
I am phasing out the Diet Coke…. I think I would be better served with iced water….. Iced Tea…. Really anything not out of a can…..
Tough habit to break I must say…

A friend of mine does some backpacking each year and a couple of our mutual friends have done some overnight hikes with him in the past. I have not gone in the past. I was not asked but I would have declined the invitation had I been asked. I was in no condition for hiking. I am aiming to be ready to backpack by summer. Either with some friends or even as my father used to do, a solo weekend…..

See? This is what the improving fitness and the dropping weight can do for you. You can start to think, plan, contemplate, set goals and believe in them.
I am doing a 50 mile ride this summer. I am going to do a 100 mile ride by mid-autumn. These are not the ramblings of a hopeless dreamer now but the reasonable goals of a person working towards the goals with a workable plan.

The optimism that grows as the weight comes off, as the fitness improves…. It is a great feeling. At the same time that it is reaffirming, it is a self-renewing challenge… The better I feel, the better I want to feel. The more I lose weight, the more I want to lose weight, the more fit I become, the more fit I want to become…… Get the idea?


Thanks for all you support. PLEASE keep it coming!

A Walk in the Woods


A Great Day for a Little Walk in the Woods

I went for a walk today.

I drove to the Rockefeller Preserve north of Sleepy Hollow NY and went for a walk.  I walked along wooded trails and through deep woods, along farm fields and brooks and streams.  I climbed steep trails and I walked gentle slopes and I crossed quaint bridges and saw breathtaking views.

Trail along the woods and fields

I took deep breaths of chilled clean air and I watched squirrels play and hawks soar.  I shared these woods with many others walking quietly through the woods, some with friends, some with dogs, some with just their thoughts..

I felt myself nearly burst with joy at being able to walk these seven miles and enjoy the country stroll..

Today was perhaps my best day since I have started this journey.

I felt alive and filled with energy.  I felt better than I have felt in months upon months.

What a  perfect day for a walk in the country.   It was brisk when I started out at 11:00 AM, maybe 35 degrees but the day warmed slightly and of course the exertion warmed me well.  By the end of the walk it was in the low 40’s and I had removed my hat and throat warmer, my gloves long since tucked in my pocket.

I have walked these trails several times before but I had never been so ambitious as to plan a walk of somewhat more than 7 miles.  I really wanted to hike to the Hudson River where once a Rockefeller Mansion had stood.  I was determined to make the hike, there and back.

The Tapan Zee and few miles south

Only at the end, the long hill up towards the parking lot did I start to feel the effects of the hike.  By then I have to say I was fairly well spent.

I cannot tell you how good I feel about myself right now.  I made the hike, at a brisk pace, I was not worn out by it, I was not forced to stop.  I was able to do it!!  The fact of the matter is I did doubt myself before the hike began and I considered a shorter hike, see the river another day.. But I did not give in to the doubts.  I made the hike!

Trail and bridges along the stream

A View north on the Hudson

Because of the short comings of the FITBIT gizmo, I cannot tell you exactly how far I hiked, about 7 miles is what I am pegging it at, but I Can tell you it was not a short hike, not a mile or two…  I made the hike!

Now I am feeling optimistic about getting on the bike again and being able to ride the 50 miles Autism ride in June.  Just have to get the belly out of the way!

What a magnificent day to hike, what a great day for me.  What a sense of accomplishment, of energy, of distance traveled to a better life….


I stopped in Tarrytown for lunch on my way back.  At one time I would have rewarded myself with a big cheese burger, large fries, a beer maybe…..

Today I had a salad and a grilled chicken sandwich and unsweetened ice tea and I walked away satisfied, full but not bloated.  The exercise induced euphoria has not yet worn off!

What a great feeling, what a great day!


Life can get in the way

Work should have been done by 2:00 today.  We just should have been out the door by 2:00.

We were not.  We didn’t finish up until after 3:00 and then it was too late.  By the time I made it home it was too late in the day to get to the track and do some walking.  Fortunately I got in 4 miles walking at work but I feel like I should have MUCH more.

Oh, well, life gets in the way of even the best plans

I will be hiking tomorrow.  I have planned a 5 mile loop and if I am feeling strong half way, I can take a left and make it a 7 or 8 mile loop.

Dinner tonight was Spaghetti squash and sauce, some crab shumai and some tomato vegetable soup I made (see the gazpacho recipe, now heat it up…).

I have had very little to eat today, just not hungry today, not sure why but I di have a light breakfast and the aforementioned dinner.

I am wondering why even the skinniest people have diet advice.

The amusing thing is that no matter how you are doing it, the person you are talking to will have a better way that worked for their Aunt’s neighbors sister in Chicago…..  This comes to mind because I was speaking to someone at work today and I got an entire lecture on effective dieting from someone who weighs 11 pounds dripping wet and tells me they have never been heavy BUT their aunts neighbors sister……  Meanwhile they were eating a meatball parmesan sub large enough to feed a small town.

I am marching to my own drum on this.  I do appreciate the advice, and I have tried some of the ideas.  I am thankful for them all.  PLEASE keep them coming!!

I am wondering if I could go vegan.  Tonight, with the exception of the crab shumai, was for all intents a vegan meal and I really enjoyed it.  Unless you ladle on the cream and cheese sauces you would be hard pressed to blow out the calorie count on a vegan diet….

I love meat.  Not sure I could give up meat and fish entirely.

Years ago a friend of mine told me she had gone vegetarian.  Not vegan mind you, vegetarian.  She still ate eggs.  And Cheese.  And fish.  Oh, and chicken….   You get the point…..

I have a friend in who has in true fact gone vegan.  She has given up all meat and dairy products and eats an entirely plant based diet.  She tells me she feels great and has lost a good deal of weight.  This has me thinking….

So today has been a 1300 calorie day.  Tonight I may or may not have a light snack.  IF I do it will bring me up to about 1700 calories.

Right now I am still full from dinner so the idea of being hungry again tonight seems farfetched….

I am still trying to figure out how much of the way I feel is from the adrenaline rush of the early successes and how much is from actually feeling better because of the weight loss and improved fitness and the improved nutrition in my diet.  Either way, I do feel markedly better.