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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Wandering Thoughts & How I get lost in my Mind…




A view out across a frozen Swan Lake, Rockefeller Preserve, Sleepy Hollow, NY

I want to walk. Hike. Wander around the woods and forests. I am experiencing wanderlust, I feel antsy, I need the outside activity.

Cycling and Hiking have much in common for me.

I can do both either solo or with friends and the experience and the mental profit changes with each. When I hike/walk or cycle solo I can get lost in my mind. I travel great distances without realizing it. The effort is there in the moment, the focus, watching where I step or watching for the cars around me but I am lost within my mind. No one moment sticks with me, rather the entirety of the trip, the feeling, the sounds, the sights all blend into one all encompassing experience.

When I ride or hike with friends it has a different but often equally positive effect on me.   I will remember smaller moments more clearly; I recall the event in more detail. I am less within myself, more involved in the moment.

With the solo experience I feel a greater sense of being at ease and relaxed, cleansed of stress. With the group experience I feel more energized and focused.

Both good. Both needed.

Small Victories

My weight continues to come down slowly but surely. I am down 12 pounds. This past weekend I had a large dinner. Went out to a Thai Restaurant with 8 friends. We chatted and ate, ate and chatted. I allowed myself the pleasure of truly enjoying the meal and not worrying to much about the calorie count. One of the reasons the Thai restaurant was selected was for the large vegetarian section of the menu. Vegetarian Tom Yum soup, vegetarian spring roll, vegetarian Spicy Noodles… And mango ice cream with friend banana for dessert.

The small victory? Because I was cautious during the day I was able to bring the entire day in under budget on calories. A small victory.

The penalty? Lying in bed with the feeling that I had swallowed a bowling ball. I am not accustomed to large meals any longer. That is another small victory.

The Knee

In a recent post I mentioned that I expected I would make an appointment with the Dr as the knee was still aching. Nope. I have been pain free in the knee for the last several days. I was on my feet all day on Sunday working at the bike shop and experienced no pain or discomfort. I am beginning to believe I have turned a corner. I can do a one-leg deep knee bend on that knee without pain. This is very good.

Time to start riding the trainer.


doorwayA friend has just started writing a blog. I read the first post and it is a good one. Deals with fear. I encourage you to read it. My experience with this friend is she seems fearless, strong, out there and ready. Her blog serves as a doorway in to see another aspect of her person.

Blogs of this type, my Journey to fitness and health, her ruminations on life, the blogs of others who expose that raw nerve of their lives, are really doorways we choose to leave open for you, the reader. We choose, sometimes with great trepidation, to open the door and let you peak in. This leaves us open to you. You can read the blog and make no comment, click the like button, make a comment. The comments can be supportive, derisive, insulting, friendly… I have had them all.

As you read this I hope you will find some value in it. I hope you will have a chuckle or a smile will pass across your face. I hope you will perhps see yourself or a friend in the struggles and victories.
I hope you will stop long enough at the doorway to see the person within.

A Bit of Prose to Share

This is a bit of prose I wrote two years ago.  I like it.  I like the feel of it and I like what it says about the quest for perfection.
I hope you like it as well.

The Photograph of the Moment


Sitting on the hill, waiting to take photographs in old style with film, sitting on the ledge looking out to the valley with a camera ready in hand.  Looking for that moment when the light would be just right, the perfection realized, sitting still up on the hill waiting for the sun to set.

Sitting in the special quiet and looking out to the distance where a bird is gliding. Sitting waiting for that perfect moment in old style with film, when the moment would be just right, nearly perfect, sky and earth one.

Sitting, now watching as the sun begins to set, sitting on that ledge, sitting as the slight chill sends a shudder along the arms.  Sitting on that ledge as the sky begins to glow a softer light, nearly perfect, nearly right.  Sitting on that hill with the old camera in hand, film is wound and shutter cocked and the light is nearly there.

Sitting on the hill with the camera at the ready, sitting watching for that moment coming soon, with the sky now orange and the clouds now fringed with light, sitting on the ledge, feet near the edge, watching for that perfect moment, that perfect light. The sun now setting in amber, the sky now perfect, the moment is now and then nothing.

Sitting on the hill, the moment passes, camera hanging from the hand, the sky was perfect, too perfect to photograph in old style on film.  The moment committed to memory where it will stay in perfect light. Now standing, now walking away from the ledge.  



Update and Stuff

How’s The Knee?


The knee is not making the progress I wish it was… Yesterday, while working at the Bike Shop, I turned on the knee and experienced eye-crossing pain in the area of the Lateral Collateral Ligament, one of the two that have minor tearing from my injury in 2012.

In general terms the knee doesn’t feel right. The bone bruise still hurts, I was told it would hurt for a couple of months, but more than that is the pain I feel in the areas of the MCL and LCL.

Time for me to schedule another appointment I think…

How is the Weight Loss coming along?


Not badly at all! I am glad to say that I am down 12-13 pounds (depending on whether or not I have had a cup of coffee) and I am pleased with that.

I am on the second to last hole on my belt. This is a belt from my days over 300 pounds. I started wearing it again when I gained back some weight to remind me that I had come along way and I could get back to where I was, either for the good or the bad. It was entirely within my control. I could work towards the short end of the belt, meaning I was gaining weight, or I could work towards the long end, meaning I was taking weight off. I am moving in the right direction. I have moved four holes on the belt. One more and I can move to the shorter belt.

I have also dropped a pants size, back to 38-inch waist. Soon a 36… Then back to the 34-inch waist. That is where I belong…

How is the Eating Right part of this going?


Two eggs, a slice of toast, grits with cherries, a glass of OJ and a cup-a’    Such a good and nutritious breakfast.  This is what I mean by eating right.

It is going well. I am still struggling a little bit with portion control but I have the right foods in the plan. When I started this Journey, Missus and I changed the way we cooked. Not just the foods we cooked but how. Instead of making large quantities, we changed to making just two servings of whatever the meal was to be. In other words we moved away from family-style cooking to portion based. Two pieces of fish, two servings of vegetable, two salads… You get the idea I am sure. We cooked separate foods for our boys. Missus made meatloaf or mac and cheese and so forth for them but for us we made fish or vegetable dishes in two-portion quantities.

For some reason, we started to drift from that and started to make extra. We have gotten back to portion controlled cooking.

I am also counting calories actively again. Every single thing I eat is recorded and tracked so I know if I am getting away from my plan…

Working… 12 pounds or so down. Happy with that.

And the Move More part?


One of my favorite places to walk, The Rockefeller Preserve in Sleepy Hollow, NY.  It is also a really good place to trail run….

This is the challenge with the aching knee…   I went for a long walk with a friend through a neighboring town this past Saturday. The town is known for its steep hills and quiet neighborhoods. We started just off Main Street and walked to the highest point in town, known as Sheep Hill. From there, on a clear day, you have some beautiful views of the surrounding town and can see New York City, some 35 miles away. Saturday was not a clear day. The views were restricted to the surrounding towns. All told we walked a hair over five miles. Felt good at the time for the most part. Some minor knee aches but certainly tolerable.

It was later that night when the knee really let me know it was unhappy with my efforts. Ibuprofen and rest.

So I am moving but not as much as I would like. The cold has kept me off the roads on my bike so I am uncertain how the knee will behave when tasked with pedaling. I can do deep knee bends without increased pain. I am hopeful that this will mean pedaling is not going to hurt….

If I find the knee can take the stress of running, I plan to do some trail running in the spring. I used to trail run as a teen-ager and I enjoyed it a great deal. I still did some in college and even in my early twenties. I haven’t done any type of running with any serious intent since then. I have done a few laps of the track just to see if I could but that is it.

I think some trail running would be fun and maybe a little easier on the knees than road running.

Of course there is the cycling and I have already talked about those plans. I truly love being on a bike.

The knee is the key. I think it will be OK.



FRIDAY!!! Oh, and my Blogging Anniversary


So, Friday!

It was short week, Monday off for the holiday, but it felt longer with the head cold slowing me down. A good night’s sleep tonight will help. I hope.

Weekend plans include starting work on a new bedroom for the Older Son. He has developed a fear of steps and so we are dividing off a part of the family room to make a bedroom for him on the first floor. The challenges of parenting a learning-disabled child…

Sunday is a workday. Sort of. I am scheduled to work at the bike shop. A great gig. I work with fantastic people and I get paid to talk about bikes all day. This is not hard living. My only regret is I can’t do it full-time…

Also plan to get the bike set up on the trainer. I had it set up but then I had to move it to work on the living room and….

Holiday weight is off

I took the holiday weight gain back off. Glad of that. Of course it means I had to re-lose three pounds.. That’s ok. Progress nonetheless.

Scaled back the calorie allotment. Now back to 1500 a day. Body ain’t happy but that’s how it goes. I want the weight back off. This is how I lost it to begin with. This is how I will lose it again. Then the challenge, as always, is to keep it off.

Really fighting the rationalizations. You know what I mean? The ok, just this once I will have that cookie… It’s ok to have this extra serving, I’ll work it off tomorrow…

That’s how I gained some of the weight back. Now I have to really work hard at getting it back off.

Interesting thing is people say “go ahead and indulge once in a while…” Truth is there is no such thing as a harmless indulgence when your body has grown accustomed to being fat. When you force the body to become un-fat the brain tries very hard to get you fat again. Give in once, twice, and the brain starts to win the argument and pretty soon…..

The metabolism slows down and fights to put weight back on. The mechanisms of the body and the brain fight you. It really is a conscious struggle to win the battle. You never win the war. You just have to win each day, each battle. That is the only way I have found that works. Fight each day.

My blogging anniversary (plus one day).

310 day of cookout


I started this blog on January 5, 2012. Doesn’t hardly seem possible but it is. I really had no idea what I was going to say. In the rough draft for my first post I actually wrote “HI, I’m Mark and I’m fat.” Thought better of it.

I didn’t expect anyone outside of my family and a few friends to ever actually read this. I was stunned when on April 9, 2012 a blog I wrote on April 6, 20012 was picked as a featured blog on WordPress “Freshly Pressed”, highlighting interesting and well written blog posts. Here is the link that won me that honor. Four-thousand people visited the blog that day.

More than fifteen thousand have visited this blog. Various posts have been read tens of thousands of times. Kinda neat.


My favorite picture of me.  I plan to get back to that weight soon

I still enjoy writing this blog. I have opened up and been pretty out there with the emotions. Sometimes it has left me rather raw and exposed and I have had more than a few rather insulting and belittling comments made. I delete them because I want this blog to be a positive place for me.

I’ll keep doing this. It is a good therapy for me. Like writing a diary that I leave open on my


Hi ya

desk for the entire world to see and comment on. When I drifted from writing it I started to gain the weight back. I lost my support structure. I gave in to the little voice saying “go ahead, have the pizza”. Not listening to that voice now. Writing the blog helps me silence the voice.

Here are a few links to other anniversary posts and a few I think are meaningful as I go along the Journey.








The Moving More part is becoming a problem

Have to call the Ortho again. This knee of mine is not making life easy on me. I find if I turn on the right knee that I have eye-crossing pain. It passes quickly but it is a shock each time it happens. Not really what I want to deal with right now.

The weather isn’t helping. Rain. Rain. Rain. Walking the track in the rain? Um. No.

I would have tried to hike with MT and PGB this weekend but I had company on New Year Day. Not sure about the knee in any case. Also worried that my brain will try to use the knee as an excuse. I will set the bike on the trainer and start to ride. See how the knee feels….


I have been called an inspiration a few times since I started writing this blog. I like it but I am not totally comfortable with it. Fact is I get that big to begin with. There are many reasons but the fact remains…

I lost the weight and have, for the better part of it, kept it off. This is good. I am pretty open book about it all and this is also a good thing even if I do sometimes feel like I showed up for school in my skivvies.

Through all this I have had many people inspire me. One of them is following my blog and I am following in return.


Check it out. It is a well-written and heartfelt blog.

Diving off the Deep End

I am becoming more and more public about my plans to run a half marathon and to ride three 100-mile rides. I guess the more I talk about it the more pressure I put on myself to make it happen. Looking for training partners if you are in North Jersey….

After the Holidays….

Gained back three pounds. Holiday Chub. Ok. Back to eating right, eating less, moving more. It has to be that way. Discovered a new food. A noodle made with soy. It is very low in calories and yet very filling. Tasty with vegetables and such. Tonight’s dinner with a pound of this stuff and a punch of sautéed veggies came to less than 300 calories. Not bad at all. And now three hours after dinner I am still not hungry.  Today I am at about 1200 calories. A light snack before bed will take me to 1400 calories. Not a bad day at all. This is what I have been working towards.




January 2, 2017

The New Year Starts

I woke this morning with hope of a long walk at the track. Freezing rain changed my mind. Instead I watched the Bowl Games, played a little on the computer, went to the Home Improvement store for a few things. In other words, I lay around all day….

I haven’t stepped on a scale in two day. I know I was bad… It’s OK. Back at it today. Watched what I ate. Ate less.

My Emotional State.

This time of year can be hard.  People who fight depression have it hard at this time of year.  What should be a joyous season is, for many, a time when the fight becomes more difficult.  This is true for me.  This time of year has always been difficult and this year is not any easier.

I am missing my friend KEB. She moved to California from South Carolina and this distance, and the time difference makes contact harder. KEB is my longest suffering friend. We have known each other since I was 13 and she was 11. We have been through a great deal together and I miss her. This time of year is always an emotional roller coaster. Missing friends Like KEB, missing my mother, who loved this time of year. I am missing Joe, my closest friend, who dressed as Santa every year and visited his friends dropping off small gifts and pastries to celebrate the holidays.

The longer nights and shorter days, driving to and from work in the dark, rarely seeing sunlight…  It all conspires to make this a difficult time of year.

The tough thing for me is to avoid feeding the emotions with food.

Doing OK this year on that front.  But it isn’t easy to stay upbeat when I find myself missing people dear to me.

Plans and more Plans..

I have mentioned my desire to ride 4,500 miles and to ride in several key rides this year. There is another plan and I have decided to make it public but first some background.

I am not a runner. I am not built for running. Unlike my brothers who have long legs for their heights, I have very short legs for my height. My 73” frame has legs that are only 32 inches long. That is about 2-3 inches short of correct for my torso. Put another way, I should be 75-76 inches tall.

The issue is that these short legs make me top-heavy. I look like a stumbling drunk when I run and I am slower than a snail on ice.

Never much liked running for those reasons.

That said, in my high school years I did some trail running and really enjoyed it.

Ok, enough background and back to the plan.

I have asked my friend JL to work with me and help me train for a half marathon. I want to be ready to do it in the fall. Yes, Me. A half Marathon. On purpose.

So I have put it out there and now I am committed to doing it.

Happy New Year

To all who take the time to read this blog, I wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year. I hope your plans and goals are all realized and achieved.