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1/3 of a day on videogames? Really? |  Opportunity is a State of Mind |  Not minimal (yet?) but less |  Coffee transfusions |  Naps, naps, oh wonderful naps |  About Jay The Baker |  I don’t want to be all Judgey McJudgeyface… |  Cough Drops |  Oodles of Doodles |  That site’s got fiber, yo! |  Warm, doughy goodness |  Office Space Case |    A poppyseed of reality |  The anchor’s a weight |  Healthy Consumption of The Web |  Setting An Example Can Be Exhausting |  Quotes |  The Search for the Holy Grail

The Anchor's a Weight

Weight, excess weight, is like an albatross in my life, weighing me down and trapping me in the middle of an unsympathetic ocean. It is an anchor, and not an attractive one. If I sound glum about it, it’s because I am. Thankfully, I am generally not the kind of person that lets the suckiness (suckyness?) of one area of life ruin the other areas of life.

Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean it lacks an impact. Obesity dampens everything to some degree, even the great parts of life. Example: I’ve got two fantastic kids and a fantastic wife that I ADORE (ok, I’m addicted to them) but I feel held back by my weight.

I am an expert in weight loss, like most people who are obese. We have lost whole the equivalent of a person, at times. I know I have. Perhaps two.

I am not looking for advice. I have heard enough advice, that if each bit of it were a cup of water, I might have enough to fill my swimming pool. Swim in advice, go on, why don’t you?

One can know enough about weight loss to be an expert at it and still fail at succeeding. We all know this, those of us that bother to try.

We can even “know” all the more positive ways to approach this, like not making it about the number but making it about health. Or about being fit. Or about portion control, rather than calories. Or about believing in yourself, talking positive to yourself. All that stuff. It’s all valid, all good, all worthwhile, all lovely bits of advice to get.

It’s not always enough. One can still fail.

I haven’t given up, though.

I have a health issue that I’m not going to go into here, but it has to do with pain, and any amount of exercise essentially results in more severe pain. I have gotten surgeries and will get more.

This means, for me, my weight loss is about food choices. No part of me is happy to miss out on exercise. I have always loved exercise. Loved it. Ate too much and undid my hard work, yes, but I loved it. I have never been lazy about exercising as an adult. Unfortunately it was in the middle of a month of serious working out that my health problem hit me like a wall of bricks, nearly two years ago, and I haven’t recovered since.

Despite that, I have lost and kept off 30 pounds in these 2 years. I actually lost 50, then gained 20 back from October 1st until recently. Sound familiar?

That brings me to why I’m writing this post that’s a bit too vulnerable for my taste. Saw the doctor today and he basically said to lose as much weight as I can in the next six months and then come back, and he will see what he can do. The weight gets in the way of healing my health issue. Losing more will make it easier for him to be more successful in helping me.

So I want to recommit. A little public to include a blog post, and I might regret this 10 seconds after I publish the post, but I am going to do it anyway for the simple reason of needing support. Support, not advice. Encouraging words, not advice. Advice is well-intentioned, but it’s not what I need.

I’ll end this post with a quote, a snippet from a song by Ok Go:

Just when you think that you’re in control,
just when you think that you’ve got a hold,
just when you get on a roll,
here it goes, here it goes, here it goes again.
Oh, here it goes again.
I should have known,
should have known,
should have known again,
but here it goes again.
Oh, here it goes again.


(This post was originally posted on my blog at:

Parenting Exercises

I thought I’d share two examples of ways you can exercise just by being a parent. If you’re not a parent, you can substitute the ideas with a lazy dog, or a sack of flour. The flour won’t giggle. I don’t know about the dog.


Step one: Tell child to stand up with arms in the air
Step two: Pull a towel across giggling child’s chest so that the top end is all the way up to armpits. The bottom end depends on how big aforementioned towel is and how small the child is. Ideally, you want to be able to see feet still.
Step three: Hold each end of the towel together, tightly...

Want to read the rest AND see diagrams? Go to


Derailment Recovery: The Movie

Recently I've felt derailed from my efforts, due in part to preparations for a move to a new home and other life changes. Things are settling down, but it's definitely not easy to get back to what I was doing. 

It's funny how we seem to think of ourselves, consciously or subconsciously, as trains. We "derail" or "go off track" when we're not doing as well as we did. We need "to get back on track."

I do remind myself that there's a difference between a disastrous derailment, where your train has gone right off the rails and everything's chaos, and just getting "a little side-tracked."

This morning, thinking about this subject and what I'd want to say about it, I wondered what the actual train folks call it when they get a locomotive back on the tracks.

Apparently it's called Derailment Recovery.

So, with a little lightness, I thought I'd come up with a plan for our own personal derailment recovery. When I write, it's as much to motivate myself as it is for anyone else, whether I write with humor or not.

So let me project this plan into your heads right now, like a movie. Here, here's some popcorn, soda, and candy. Be sure to turn your cell phones off. Be sure to work off the extra calories later, too.

1- In cases of a true derailment, you're more than just side-tracked. You're now nestled smack dab in the middle of the next track, facing the wrong direction, and the other train, The Train of Impending Failure, seems to be heading your way. You can see it right through the open doors, right through the cab, where the engineer is out cold. "Oh noes," you say.

2- Before such a scenario scares the socks right off your weary feet, you remember that you're superheroic. With a little motivation, you can move faster than an alien cheetah in zero gravity. TIME seems to stand still. Thankfully motivation is not an all-or-nothing deal. You can kindle motivation from the smallest spark.

3-  The first step to getting some motivation is deciding that you're going to get some motivation. You mosey on over to the dining car on your derailed train, wait for the attendant to stand up and dust himself off, then you order a can of Mot-i-vata Cola. It is refreshingly colatastic with a hint of mint. The Train of Impending Failure looks to be even closer now, charging full speed, blasting its horn. The attendant quakes, but you just drank the cola. You're ready.

4- You stare that train down, and guffaw. Somehow you're all of a sudden dressed like an Old West Cowboy. Apparently you're a superheroic cowboy. That runs like an alien cheetah.

5- It's hurtling your way, that Train, but TIME has already begun to slow. You slam that empty can of Mot-i-vata Cola against your forehead, crushing it. "Ow," you say, as you mosey on further to the front. You hop out of the train.

6- Right now, technically you're pretty safe. You could walk away from where you were trying to go, abandoning your train. But, hey, that train's yours. It's served you as well as it could, depending on how you treated it. And you're not a quitter anyway, you're a superheroic cowboy cheetah. Suddenly you have whiskers, but let's ignore this.

7- You've turned that four-calorie carbonated motivation soda into a blast of self-confidence and renewed motivation. You've decided that to get where you're going, if you don't want it to take the rest of your life, you need your vehicle. You're going to get that train back on the track where it belongs. You stare the Failure train in the eye, your eyebrows saying in eyebrow language: "Oh, please," with scorn. 

8- You blast the Train of Impending Failure with a bit of telekinetic coolness, making a squinty face at it. It lurches in its place, still moving forward from sheer momentum, but most definitely slowing down. It is beginning to derail as well, but no worries, you're a multi-tasker.

9- With your superheroic cheetah paws, you lift up your own train, do a quick snap in the air to get the cars all straightened out and let it fall back onto the right track. You use your nifty mind powers to make sure it doesn't crash; it lines up lightly as a feather. Unfortunately the earlier snapping you did with the cars has caused the engineer (who just woke up) and the attendant to have upset stomachs, but that's okay. Mot-i-vata Cola's good for that, too.

10-  Now your train's back on track. You believed in yourself, you made it happen. After all, you're a supercat, are you not? You step out of the way as the Train of Impending Failure screeches slowly past you on the track, a few cars flipping over your head. Your cowboy hat stays on, unperturbed, and you climb back onto your own train. 

11. You settle yourself into your Captain's chair, and give your dizzy engineer the go-ahead to get moving, You've got places to go. "Engage," you say. You admire the Starfleet uniform you've got on, all of a sudden, as the train begins to move forward.

How powerful the mind is, when it believes you can achieve. 

An Interview with My Fitness Pal The AncientMariner

TheAncientMariner is one of MyFitnessPal's fantastic members. He's motivated, has a positive attitude, and is an excellent addition to anyone's friend list. Today we've done an interview, just for the sake of doing something different with a blog (that would also be worthwhile!)

For the purposes of this blog interview, pretend that we are sitting on comfortable chairs in a coffeehouse and each of us have our favorite drink. I'll take a soy mocha, please.

So, first off, let's start with the name: Why did you choose it for your MFP handle? 

Sir Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote my favorite poem "The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere" back in 1797. My name used to be Saffmeister, which was simply a play off of my last name, but I read the poem again and changed it to TheAncientMariner. At 32 years old, I'm far from Ancient, but I like that the poem deals with the mariner having an albatross, that he killed, hung around his neck. I equated that with the fat I'm trying to lose around my gut. At the end of the poem, the mariner is cursed to tell the tale of his deed for as long as he lives. That is why I constantly strive to motivate and push others so that they don't repeat my mistakes!

You've lost almost half the weight that your ticker shows as your goal, which is a tremendous success. What do you credit to this success? Give an example of something that inspired you to keep going.

I have been stuck at that weight for quite some time now. I have changed things and dabbled here and there, but I remained consistent with the exercise. So while my weight has majorly plateaued, my body has not. I have become more defined, toned, and have lost inches. There is still much work to be done, but overall I'm trending upwards. What keeps me motivated is not focusing on a goal. I don't focus on losing 60lbs, but rather focus on getting healthier so that I can play harder. This has made my journey honest and keeps me from suffering from the pitfalls of others, like having a cow over eating 1 donut (OMG LOL I'm gonna gain 8 pounds, Herp Derp)!

Everyone has that moment that feels like rock bottom, before they give themselves a swift kick in the rear to get moving. What was yours?

I just recently realized exactly how influential I was to all of my MFP buddies. I deleted a bunch of people that I shouldn't have, and a few I rarely heard from asked why. Then I realized that it's not about me. It's about influencing others whether they respond to you or not. I regret having deleted many of those friends who never returned, but it was a hard lesson learned and a mistake that I will not repeat again. My fuel is my friends. Even if the smallest bit of advice reaches someone, it's not for me to to know or not know as long as it has helped them. It keeps egos in check and keeps my heart honest.

I know that you've got a family and you've listed them as being inspirations. Do you involve them in your quest for health? Give us a picture of what it's like to be a dad and husband working to get more healthy.

When I first started this journey, I was ABSOLUTELY alone. There was no support except for MFP for reasons I'm not at liberty to discuss here. However, as time passed I started getting healthier, I started accepting challenges, I ran almost everyday and did 5ks regularly. Eventually, my wife jumped on board and the children were not given the option: They had to exercise if Mom and Dad were gonna be doing it. So now, the kids ride bikes for at least 30 minutes a day. My wife strength trains 3x a week and rides her bike 3x per week. We actually have energy to get out and do things. The only issue is that my oldest daughter is 10 and complains sometimes because she can't play her video games or watch TV and when we make her get out --it's an inconvenience to her. Sorry for those who believe that their snowflakes are the center of the universe but my answer to all of that is "Like I care, lol!" You're gonna move your ass like the rest of us!

You've got a time machine and plenty of fuel to get you anywhere in your past that you want, to visit yourself (don't worry, you'll still be born)-- Which earlier YOU would you visit, and what would you tell him?

I would visit myself right before starting high school and tell myself that you are handsome, funny, and smarter than you think you are. I would tell myself to get self-confident and stop putting girls on impossible pedestals because they are just as confused as you. I would tell myself to not allow anger to harden my heart and that material things don't make the man. Lastly, I would have told myself to run and actually exercise and you will be amazed at how your life turns around for you!

What's the first thing you're going to do, besides cheer, when that day comes where you weigh in at your goal weight?

Because of strength training, I fear I have too much muscle to actually get there. So I'll tell you like this: When I see the man in the mirror that I am inside, manifest FULLY outside, I'm going to go for a run AND a bike ride completely shirtless. When I'm able to do that confidently, then I know that I have most definitely arrived!

No matter the mistake, no matter the setback, no matter the risk, always love yourself. It's okay to put yourself first, but don't put someone else first at the expense of who you are and your journey. If you only focus on the end, you will miss the fluid beauty of the fight everyday! Every morning it's like watching Muhammad Ali in the ring: Strong, fluid, graceful! That person is YOU! You just have to believe it. If ever you don't believe in yourself, then believe in me who believes in you! Your drill WILL pierce the heavens! Gurren Lagann!

Thanks for watching. Hope you enjoyed the show. Now we'll go ahead and finish these coffees...

When you think they no longer believe in you

You've lost the weight before, here and there. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. You've spent countless times telling people how you succeeded and how it was different that time. You were happy and proud. You might've even had your ego grow as if you had become an expert in health, in fitness, in weight loss.

Then you gained it back.

 Then you did it again, all of the same practices above, forgetting that you'd already said it all before, or hoping they didn't remember. Or hoping they'll believe in you this time, so that you could believe in yourself a little more.

Then you gained it back.

And, yes, you did it all again. How many times? Each time, it got harder to believe in yourself. You stopped talking to others about the effort as much. You figured they probably didn't believe in you anyway, because you proved them right last time by gaining it back. You imagine thoughts like "oh there he goes again" rattling around in their heads as they smile at you. 

You wondered if you would ever really do it. Not just lose the weight, but lose it and keep it all off. If you would do this in a healthy way. If you would be able to enjoy health. You wondered if anyone would ever really believe in you again. If their words now were heartfelt or just hopeful.

Do you feel this way?

When you think they no longer believe in you, then...

Believe in yourself.

No matter how many times you yo-yo'ed. No matter how many countless times you told others what you had done as if you were invincible. None of it really matters. What they think of your chance for success should not define whether you succeed in losing the weight and keeping it off. Only what you think matters that much, because it's not their thoughts that can break you. 

The people who achieve their goals with lasting success really are the ones who kept believing in themselves instead of tallying the number of failures they had before they got it right.

Believing in yourself doesn't mean you have to think of yourself as invincible. It doesn't mean you have to consider success a sure-fire thing that will happen no matter what. Overconfidence sometimes leads to complacency. We start thinking "oh I've been doing really good, I can take a week off from counting calories" (or whatever your methods are) and then we get a little derailed. Then that little bit of falling off track gets practiced and we're back where we started.

For that reason, this time around on the Not-so-merry-go-round, I am adding a little bit of humility to the mix. If believing in myself is like a tall glass of fantastically delicious lemonade on the hottest day of the year, then my humility is an ice cube. My humility reminds me: Don't get overconfident. Be mindful. Do what you can do, believe you can do it, but don't pretend you're Superman. You're human, which is a great thing, but like anyone else you have flaws. These flaws aren't a horrible thing. They make you who you are. Be mindful of the past. Remember your mistakes and learn from them.

But, yes, still you can believe in yourself. Make sure there's plenty of lemonade in that glass, not just a whole lot of ice cubes.

WINNING! Products for Weight Loss That Can't Lose!

Step right up, step right up.

Have I got solutions for you! Pardon me as I dust off my top hat, one needs to look quite dapper while presenting products of such marvelous marvelocity and amazingnessicious. Yes, sir. Yes, ma'am.

If you're wanting to drop some pounds, here's a few things you've been missing out on:

1. Supreme-O Alien Boogers. Freshly extracted, at our ultra-secret headquarters warehouse factory at Area 51, from the alien lifeform being things directly cloned from the alien lifeform being things that crashed there way back in your granddaddy's day. This is not your substandard product that our competitors sell-- they're using 1980s alien lifeform beings with cute names that have an obsession with peanut butter-filled candies. We, good people, use QUALITY boogers. A tablespoon a day of these in your oatmeal will guar-an-tee a whopping 10 pounds lost per week, without an ounce of exercise, regardless of whatever else you will eat. Plus, it has fiber. You can have this for the rock-bottom price of 5 cents per booger. Be advised, they may be addictive.

If alien boogers just ain't your bag, good people, don't fret! Fret not! Winners you all are, I can see that as clear as rain on a cloudy day, and winners don't fret. Our next product is a sure-fire combination of magical ingredients that just MELT the pounds off.

2. Unicorn Spitballs! Oh no I didn't! Oh no, I could not possibly have said that! Yet, I did, and I say it again: Unicorn Spitballs! Tuck your hands into the rear pockets of your fine denim jeans, good people, and brace yourselves for this fantastic news: Unicorn spitballs, each one finely crafted by our ONE HUNDRED PERCENT authentic unicorns (not an ounce of Zebra in these fellers!) over a fortnight per spitball, is LOADED by a phytochemical nutrient you've never heard of. Scientists have never heard of it. Even I had never heard of it until I thought of its name just now: Unicornicopia. Yes, folks, one spitball a day and you'll have a beach body by Friday, even if today's Thursday and you're hundreds of pounds away from a beach body. Friday is the magical deadline for this to work. Only $159.99 per spitball. Cinnamon sprinkles optional!

Not quite ready for that much beauty? Would you rather avoid magical products due to some internal resistance to Unicorn saliva? Fear not. I have one last choice for you that's sure as stinky sweat on a sun-warmed cow to fix you right up and get your weight down to smack dab in the middle of your healthy weight range.

3.  Zap-O-Matic Electric Spoon! This is not for the faint of heart, ladies and gentlemen. If you've got issues with your weight, as I certainly do because I have not yet had the time to use these fine products myself (which I will certainly remedy just after this informercial by using all three simultaneously) then eating what you shouldn't is quite likely the major culptrit. eating too much junk? Zap! Eating a second serving when in all honesty your first serving was three servings? Zap! Zap-O-Matic Electric Spoon knows all, sees all, watches baseball, and is your sure-fire (winning!) weight loss buddy. Zap, I'll him Zap for short-- Zap's your go-to trainer. With Zap in hand, you'll soon be in weight loss land. So pick up your Zap-O-Matic TODAY, don't wait a moment before you take a moment to weigh in. Zap can be yours for the low, low, low, low price of $100,000 Martian nickels. No other currency is accepted, due to Zap being manufactured by our favorite little Roman-like Martian.

 For any of these fine, fine products, ladies and gentlemen, contact me today via a comment below, and you'll shortly be cruising to a new and improved YOU, without all that pesky common sense approaches like eating more healthy foods, eating less calories, and exercising. We don't go for nonsense like that, do we, folks?


I forgot to remember

I don't remember what it feels like to be a healthy weight. I turn 37 years old soon, and I've never been a healthy weight as an adult. In fact, most of high school I was obese. I'm sure a lot of people can relate.

Last time I was a healthy weight, I:

  • would have been a freshman in high school
  • was active
  • had my first job at 14 years old that was very physical work
  • lacked the pain and discomfort that can go with obesity
  • did not think about calories
  • did not think about exercise as exercise
  • definitely, most definitely did not have a muffin top

These are facts. They are not feelings. They are not something I can revisit as a tangible memory. They do not transport my mind back to that time in a way that I can really know what it was like to be me back then. I remain the silent observer of my memories.

There are a lot of good changes that have happened with this most recent effort to get healthy again, including not making it just about weight, but about getting proper nutrition. There are a lot of indicators that my success of losing 50 lbs will continue on to become 140 lbs lost eventually, or whatever that final number truly is. Right now, it's guesswork. Believe me, if I reach 125 lbs lost and find that's my ideal weight, I'll be pretty thrilled not to need to lose any more.

Even so, I know that I'm a human and humans have frailty. It's a scary thought, really. What keeps me going this time is a blend of knowing I am fuly capable of succeeding (that's the confidence I need) and knowing that I can't afford to fail this time because my health reached a point where failure is far more serious than it ever would have been before (that's the humility and fear I need to balance the confidence).

I don't remember what a healthy me is like. I wish I could conjure up the essence of what it feels. I bet that'd add to my motivation. I will keep on working toward making it an actual experience again, with my inner confidence and my humility and my fear. I'm thankful for all the daily support that I get, making this possible. My confidence, the key ingredient to driving me forward, is fueled in part by those words of encouragement.

 Let's make this happen for each of us, this time rather than next time.

Yesterdays Like Water (Motivational Poem)

Yesterdays Like Water

By J. Parrish Lewis

My yesterdays flooded through the doorway

So I got a bucket
And I got a mop
But no bucket is large enough
And no mop could soak up all the yesterdays
All the things I did
All the things I didn’t do
All of it keeps coming, keeps rushing over the threshold
So I’ll open up the other door
And let it all wash right out
And I will sit, barefooted and cross-legged, on the floor
Enjoying this new unfettered today

Women and Weddings (From a Guy's Point of View)

This is for the women on MFP getting married.

 If you're about to get married, please trust me: the guy is thrilled, unless it's a shotgun wedding, literally (with dear old dad standing nearby with his double gauge shotgun, fully loaded)

I understand that people want to "look their best" for their weddings, including the guys, so I'm not opposed to the concept of trying to lose weight in advance, BUT...

1. Your guy's going to think you're hot. That's just how it is.

2. Your guy wants you happy, not stressed about losing the weight.

3. How much better will your wedding be if you acknowledge yourself for every good habit you made to be healthier without spending half the time feeling lousy if you didn't reach the ultimate goal you set (which might've been unrealistic)

Writing this because I've noticed how people resort to methods that seem unhealthy. I'm not going to get into specifics about which methods, since people don't agree, and most of us aren't doctors anyway. So be kind to yourself. Do what feels right, do what feels healthy, pursue health without putting yourself at risk, and appreciate yourself as much as you can on your wedding day!

----From a happily married guy who weighed more on his wedding day than he does now, whose wife wasn't slim at the wedding but nevertheless was the most beautiful he had ever seen her. (and 11 years later, thinks she's even more lovely on a regular day)


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