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


Five Years on the Journey and No Closer to the End

Happy Anniversary

fat mark

August 14, 2011 310 Pounds

It was five years ago today.

I struggled to sit up in bed, getting my 300+ pounds moving in an upward trajectory was not easy.  I sat there and pondered getting up to walk to the bathroom.  Pushed myself to standing and turned to Missus and told her that I was starting that day to get healthy.

I was 50 years old and I felt much older.  I felt weak all the time.  Tired and out of breath all the time. I took my two blood pressure meds every morning.  I got winded on the flight and a half from the first floor of our home to the second.

Bending over to tie my shoes was exhausting because I couldn’t breathe when bent over

310 with Santa

It’s bad when Santa thinks you are chubby…..

like that. I had any number of adaptations to my size. All of which only slightly mitigated the difficulties caused by a 48-inch waist and 52-inch chest.

Finally, on December 27, 2011, I reached the breaking point. I finally had enough of being
fat, being physically unfit and being tired all the time.

I finally got tired of waiting to have the heart attack and decided it was time to start living.

Trust me, I am not being overly dramatic here.

Considering the Reasons

Over the five years since I started on my Journey I have thought about this many times,

thought about it deeply and in detail and I have come to the conclusion that I had simply accepted that I would have a heart attack one day and it would take my life and I would be the latest member of the family to succumb to the family curse of heart disease.  Having accepted that, I gave myself permission to eat like a ravenous hog and to eat anything I desired.  And I desired a lot.

On December 27, 2011 I made a different decision.  I decided I would fight against the family curse.  I would do what my father and his father and his grandfather before him didn’t do.

I would eat right, I would eat less and I would move more.

I still don’t know what triggered it that morning. I know that a few days before, on Christmas Eve, I had caught my reflection in a floor to ceiling window and I was aghast at what I saw, but that had happened before and it never triggered such a life-change before.

Whatever it was that happened in my head that morning in late December, it stuck.  I started to walk, to eat less, to eat right.  I learned to cut out snacking, decrease portion size, stay away from fast food, watch my calories and balance my diet.

I had many issues to work through. I still didn’t know what caused me to be the family


At the Start Line at 6:40 AM and ready to ride. Trim. Fit. Ready.  200 Pounds, Summer of 2013

member who got fat, why I used food as comfort and security, why I needed food from an emotional level. All of that self exploration and discovery was ahead of me as I sat on that bed that December morning. I had made the decision. I was going to lose the weight. I was going to live a healthier lifestyle. I didn’t know where the Journey would take me. That was many painful lessons to come.

Progress was rapid.

By March I was back on my bike for short rides.  I gave up red meat in April. By June I was riding 50 miles at a clip. In November I gave up poultry.

And I kept walking and riding and hiking. In October of 2012 I bought a new bike, in November I climbed a mountain with PGB and MT and there is a picture of me exultant at the top.

And I have kept doing it.

I kept walking right through a torn meniscus in the summer of 2012.  I couldn’t ride but I could walk.

I kept riding (foolishly) through a broken clavicle in 2014.

Through the holidays and cookouts, parties and celebrations I kept eating right and I ate less even when confronted with favorite foods.

Where I am Now.

Yes, I have gained a bit of the weight back.  35+ pounds. It is coming off again.  I look at 12359861_10153295089061593_7166576622616161929_nthat as a step back, not a failure.  I am beating the odds.  The Odds say I should have gained back ALL of the weight I have lost.  I lost 120 from my absolute peak.  I have gained back 35.  I think that is a victory all by itself but I am not sitting back and basking in the glory. I understand the risk.

I still do not eat red meat or poultry.  I do eat some fish.  My preference is to stay with a vegetarian diet but sometimes fish enters the equation.  When at a restaurant with friends and no true vegetarian dish is on the menu and faced with making a dinner of vegetable side dishes or a piece of fish, I will have the fish.


May, 2016 with my friend & riding partner, NI.  I am about 245 pounds here, nearly five years into the Journey.



Last year I only rode about 1200 miles on my bike.  Next year I am aiming for 4,500.  I may not get there but I have set the goal and I am determined to give it all I have.

I also plan to get back to 210 pounds.  I am certain I will do that.

I am determined to continue to, Eat right, Eat less, Move more.

I will continue to write this blog.

I am 55 years old now.  I started this Journey at 50.  I said then that this was an effort to get lean and fit for a lifetime.  Not for the High School Reunion or a nephew’s wedding.  Not so I would look good on the beach (that ship sailed a long time ago).  This is to stay alive as long as I possibly can.

And there are no dramatics there.  Just fact.

Thank you for joining me on the Journey.  Your encouragement has kept me going more often than I can tell you.




Holiday Weekend

Time to Relax

Left work at a little after 4:00 PM today. Fought my way past the largest mall in New Jersey in heavy traffic. Finally passed the mall and like magic the roads opened up and I had no more delays on my way home. Into the driveway, into the house, sit at the kitchen table, a nice dinner of steamed vegetables and a salad (to make up for the holiday lunch at work) and now… Time to relax.

We have no real plans this weekend other than the pizza-fest on Christmas Day. I have Monday off because Christmas falls on a Sunday so we get the holiday on Monday.

Maybe a hike tomorrow or on Monday, maybe a bike-ride if it is warm enough. The knee is still aching but I can put pressure on it so I am not concerned. Just a little pain to ignore…

Mostly I am looking forward to having time to relax. The factory I run is not in operation this weekend so I don’t need to be available by phone. The shop is closed Sunday for Christmas Day so I am not working on Sunday. The plant doesn’t open again until Tuesday…

I have time to relax. Get out for a walk or a hike. Spend time with my boys and Missus. Play with the dogs. Mostly, relax and do what ever I want. No demands on my time.

This is good.


I am still thinking about the errors I made that allowed some of the weight to come back. I stopped tracking everything I eat. That was a mistake. The head plays games. You forget you had that sandwich…   I also allowed my snacks to grow in size. When I started the Journey my evening snack was a slice of bread and a slice of cheese. Then the snack grew and became a bowl of cereal. Then it grew some more and it became a bagel and cream cheese. You get the idea. Meals grew larger. WE were making meals at the stovetop. That is to say, single serving on to the plate at the stove and then served. No bowls of food on the table. No serving dishes. No second servings. We drifted from that.

I keep searching for the places the plan went off track. The more I find, the better chance I have of righting things. More and more of the mistakes, the places of drift, are surfacing. We are fixing them.

I am back to tracking EVERYTHING I eat.

WE are back to single servings plated at the stove. The exception is a dinner like tonight. Salad and steamed veggies. Very hard to go over on that.

On Sunday I will eat very lightly leading up to Pizza-Fest. Then I will enjoy.


img_3678I make really good homemade pizza. I mean REALLY GOOD. Not as good as the best pizza joints (I can’t get the oven that hot) but it is still very good. Most important, the boys love it. SO we have decided to make Pizza-Fest a part of our holiday tradition. It started with Thanksgiving. With just the four of us, a big fancy meal seemed a bit silly. SO We decided to make pizza. Everyone gets to pick his or her own toppings and we have a good deal of fun. The boys love pepperoni. Danny also loves mushrooms on his pizza. Missus and I enjoy mushrooms, olives, peppers, sundried tomato, artichoke hearts….

You get the idea. I can bake two pizzas at a time so I get all four ready and get them going.

We have a good deal of fun and it is the time together that makes the holidays so special for us.


I wish everyone reading this blog much love, joy and togetherness for the holidays, whatever holiday you observe. I hope you are with family or friends, and surrounded by love.


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Best Possible…

The Knee

I saw the orthopedist today. Best Possible News! No damage. It is just a bone bruise from hyperextending the knee when I slipped. The ligaments are fine and the meniscus appears fine. The doctor told me to give it two weeks and if it is not feeling significantly better then we will look at an MRI but he is very confident (his words) that there is no involvement of the meniscus and all is good. I could not be happier about this.

I have been losing sleep over this. So concerned that I would need surgery on the knee again. Now I can just baby the knee a little bit and it should resolve on its own.

And I have no restrictions on activities. Only what the pain limits.

It’s all good.

That’s all for tonight.



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Some Thoughts…

The Knee

I mentioned the other day that I tweaked my right knee. I slipped and the knee buckled and it has hurt since.

I learned my lesson with my shoulder. I let that go on too long before I went to the Doctor. The delay in seeing the Doctor resulted in more damage and that made the entire operation/rehabilitation cycle worse.

This time I am not waiting. I see the Doctor tomorrow. I am hopeful that the issue is minor. The pain has abated quite a bit. Best case it I need to rest it. Worst case is ligament damage. In between is meniscus tear.

I will know soon.

In any case I know it will not derail my weight loss efforts. It is mostly diet that gets the weight off. Not DIET. Small d. Diet as in the foods one normally consumes. A good diet, both nutritionally balanced and in proper portion, is what takes the weight off and then keeps it off. That will not change for me.

Weight Loss.

Slow going. I am down eight pounds but it feels like it should be more. I am not a patient person. I am glad that we are back to our good eating ways. We eat a good deal of greens, cauliflower, broccoli, sweet potatoes and such. Enjoying it. We had drifted into eating too much pasta and rice and such. This really is just empty calories. Carbohydrates are good and are necessary but eating a large quantity is not good. It results in over eating for me so I try to keep it under control.


Our normal holiday plans are not happening this year. It is our tradition, since I was a young teen, to spend Christmas Eve with a family we have been close to for many years. This year they are not hosting their annual Christmas Eve dinner. It was at this annual dinner that I caught my reflection in the French doors and realized just how heavy I was.

New Year’s Eve is usually spent with a good friend watching the Bowl Games, enjoying a good dinner, watching more bowl games, complaining about the New Year’s Eve TV shows, and then a toast at midnight followed soon by good night and heading off to sleep.

This year I have to work on the 31st for year-end inventory. This will have a major effect on the annual tradition.

Trying to work it all out…

We will figure out something I suppose.

A quiet Christmas is not a bad thing. Nor is a quiet New Year.




Snow Day

Winter Time

Awoke to a few inches of snow on the ground here in North Jersey. Not much, maybe three inches. It was enough for me to decide to stay home this morning and make pancakes instead of taking the Younger out to breakfast, as has become our practice. He didn’t seem to mind. He wolfed down five pancakes with maple syrup and trudged back to sleep.

This left Missus and me to clear the driveway and sidewalk. Thank goodness for snow blowers.

Not really a bad way to spend a Saturday; pancakes with the family and some time outside working on clearing the snow. Getting in a little exercise along with walking the dogs. They love the snow.

I hope to get some time on the trainer today and that brings me to my next segment:

The Knee.

In June of 2012 I injured my right knee when I dropped the chain on my bike, the chain jammed and my knee buckled. That kept me off the bike until October of 2012 when I had arthroscopy to remove a chunk of the meniscus that had torn loose. Two weeks later I was riding the bike. The Doctor told me at the time that I had some minor tears of both the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments but that he would leave them alone because they were stable. If I were a runner instead of a cyclist he would have considered work on them.

A few days ago I slipped and felt something POP in the right knee. It has been hurting since, particularly on the outside of the knee. Just to the right of the kneecap. I have been treating it with ibuprofen and it does feel better each day but I will find out when I pedal on the trainer if I have greater concerns. Any pain while pedaling will get me in front of the orthopedist… I am hoping that it is nothing… I’m really hoping it isn’t one of the ligaments.

I am not optimistic.

Weight and Control

I am pleased with myself this week. Stayed well below my budget for calories. Didn’t snack beyond what my plan allows, stayed in motion to get the calorie burn going and saw my weight drop 2.8 pounds from last Saturday. Not a bad week. The loss should start to pick up a little as I get on the trainer and as I continue to pull in the calories. I am slowly reducing my intake so my body adapts as I go along. This is what worked when I started The Journey. I expect it will work well again.

With four pancakes and 1/3 cup of applesauce (instead of maple syrup) for breakfast, I had a 500-calorie morning meal. For lunch I grilled a Portobello mushroom and had it on Arnold’s Deli Thin bread. They are only 100 calories. Makes for a tasty 120-calorie lunch. It’s about control. Ate big in the last meal? Eat lighter in the very next meal.

IMG_3441Today is soup weather. I have a pot of roasted squash soup on the stove. Dinner will be some vegetables and the soup. A light snack at about 8:30 PM. I love eating this way, I have since I started this Journey of mine.





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A Good Day, Developing the Plan to meet The Goal

Now that I am not at war with the new scale..


Love my Scale

Stepped on the scale this morning and I have lost 6 pounds since my rededication to The Plan and The Journey.

I’m happy about this. At this rate I will hit my goal weight in mid March. I won’t of course. The rate will change. I will gain a pound. Lose a pound. Lose two, gain one….

That is how it goes. I do know that I will not enter next years cycling season with 50 pounds still to lose. I will have much less left to go… This I know. I am comfortable on The Plan. I have my Goal in front of me and I know how to do this.

Most importantly, I WANT to do this and I know I can.

6 pounds is a start.

Forty-Six to go.

The Influence of the Work Schedule on The Plan and The Journey.

When I started this Journey in 2011 my work schedule was nearly perfect for my needs in starting The Journey.

I started work at 7:30 AM. This gave me time to eat a breakfast of fruit and cereal at home. Lunch was at noon so I was only at work four and a half hours before I would eat a light lunch. I was rarely there past 4:30. By 5:30 I was home and eating a light dinner. 8:30 was a light snack.

This all served to space my eating nearly perfectly to fend off hunger and it allowed me to establish a routine that really worked very well for my weight-loss effort. I was able to stick to a 1600-1800 calorie per day regimen with relative ease.

Since I left that job (one of the bigger professional mistakes I have made) it has been harder to stick to a good regimen.

My workday now starts at 6:15 to 6:30 AM. I am in no mood to make breakfast a 5:00 AM. So I fell in to the habit of stopping for a bagel and cream cheese. By itself that is not bad. A bowl of cereal with fruit and 2% milk is about 400 calories. A bagel with cream cheese is about the same. The issue is that the bagel does not satisfy me for long and by 10:00 AM I am hungry and I start to snack. Lorna Doones out of the machine at 140 calories. Then lunch and, well there starts the slippery slope.

Here is what I am doing now:

I keep a box of cereal in my office and a gallon of lactose free 2% milk in the refrigerator. When I get to work I first walk the floor, meet with the third shift supervisor for an update and then check in at the filling operation to make sure all is well. This brings me to about 7:00 AM. THEN I have a bowl of cereal. That holds me until noon when I have a light lunch. One of the “things” I like are microwave Indian dishes we pick up at the local Indian market. They are less than 400 calories, take 2 minutes in the microwave and are quite tasty. They are also vegetarian. I keep a selection of hot sauces in the refrigerator. Mid afternoon I have a light snack. Crackers or something similar, keeping it under 100 calories. This gets me through the workday and when I get home I have a md-sized dinner, a light snack of a slice of bread and a piece of cheese in mid-evening and I am done for the day. Typically about 1800-2000 calories.

This is how I am taking the weight off again.

Set a goal, Develop a plan, Adjust the Plan as need to meet the Goal. The Plan will change. The Goal will not: 210 pounds.

Last time I had 100 pounds to take off. Only 46 this time.



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Marching along.


Pleased with myself today. Cereal for breakfast. Was so tempted to stop for a bagel this morning. Really wanted one but I am committed to the plan and the plan didn’t allow for a bagel today. For lunch I went to the deli across from the factory and got steamed yucca and vegetables; very tasty and low in calories. Snack was a light 70 calories and dinner was vegetarian stuffed peppers with steamed broccoli and cauliflower, and a slice of ciabatta.

15578764_10154171537311593_1202153981206780582_nI resisted the urge. Ate right. Yeah ME!

By the way, I really like Special K with the dried strawberries.

The Scale

I had to make peace with the scale. I am working under the assumption that the new scale is correct. So I added 3.2 pounds to all of my weight entries since I got back on The Plan (only 8 days) so the weight loss is accurately reflected. I’m ok with this. It really doesn’t change anything. Just means I have more ground to make up. All is good.

Finding A Rhythm

Finding peace has been elusive. I guess I have a restless soul. I have been trying to find a “comfort zone” and it just isn’t there. The rhythm I had when I started this Journey has been hard to get back. I remember how quickly I found my stride in 2011/2012. I seemed to fall right in to the pace I needed to lose the weight. Walking at the track. Eating right. Eating less. The weight was coming off quickly. Hidden in that was the daily effort but it became a routine, a mindset.

I am struggling to get that back now. Today was the first day that it felt sort of normal once I resisted that bagel.

Maybe that is what I needed…

Four Years Ago.

I wrote this four years ago tonight after the horror of horror we came to know as Sandy Hook became clear.

I will leave you all with this.