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Short Answers to Complex MFP Questions

You may have read some of the Message Boards here on MFP. There are hundreds of thousands of them! The categories are diverse, ranging from Success Stories to Nutrition and Chit-Chat. Each one appears to be crafted by experts in their field. With such a wealth of information, how can one sort through all this truth?

As a veteran of MFP, I thought I would take some of the more complex questions and give simple answers. These are actual questions with my not so serious answers.

Should I eat my exercise calories? No.. err... I mean yes! No, I mean half!!!!

What if I eat my exercise calories? You'll get fat or skinny.

Should I exercise? Yes, if you want to eat the exercise calories.

How much time should I spend exercising? At least the same amount of time you spend eating, food shopping and on MFP combined.

I have bad knees. This is not a question. My guess is that you also have a fat butt. Try MFP.

Some one called me fat, what do I do? Stick to the program.

Some one called me skinny, what do I do? Post it as an NSV and wait for the anorexia police.

I have food allergies, what should I do? Unfortunately it isn't to fast food. But you asked, so get an Epi Pen and go to the organic grocery store.

What is cleansing? Claiming poop as weight loss.

What is fasting? Stops poop.

How do I become a vegetarian? *face palm* dsjohndrow is nealry speechless. Don't eat your cat.

I ate more and lost weight, aren't you proud of me? Should I be? (I know it's rude to answer a question with a question?) Are you over 50? (Damn, another question.) Sorry, this is above my pay grade.

Do you have Cheat Days? No, I only eat Sunday through Saturday. If I was on the Mayan calendar, I could until later in the year.

Do I have to drink 8 cups of water a day? No, you can use an empty diet soda can.

Should I get a food scale? Not if you can accurately guess the molecular weight of the hydrogen in the kitchen.

I still have over 50 pounds to go, but how do I maintain my weight? Just eat while you are standing on the scale. If it moves, stop eating.

Should I weigh myself every day? Yes, it is less time consuming than every minute. Unless of course you are using the weight maintenance program outlined above.

Should I stop eating fast-food? Only in between healthy meals.

Do you take supplements? No, I have the same wife for over a decade.

What are you thoughts? If I told you I'd be arrested.

Is it OK to wear skimpy underwear or a bikini in my success pics? Only if it's too hot for a sweatshirt.

How come every one wears skimpy underwear or a bikini in their success pictures? It's terribly hot in the bathroom after weighing yourself every minute.

Should I use the Stairmaster? No, just weigh yourself every second.

Should I eat processed food? I suggest it, if you can't grow your own veggies and slaughter your own fatted calf.

My HRM doesn't agree with MFP, what should I do? Schedule a cheat day. No, seriously, just lie.

How would you log one half of a Hershey's kiss? I am sorry, I am going to need more information. Was it the 2 pound one?

What is TMI? TMI = Tight Underwear (often seen in success pictures)

If I only need 2 beers to catch a buzz, how should I log it? As a snack.

Should I eat breakfast? If you finished yesterday's dinner, yes.

Should I eat meat? Only if you want your pudding.

Do you have low carbs? Mine are all the same height.

OK, it's your turn; what question would you like to ask me?

Thanks for the votes and comments. BTW - You can vote and comment!

The Superheroes and Villains of Weight Loss

The Avengers movie seems pretty popular. I got to thinking about superheroes and villains... hmm... what if MFP was a comic book?

Yeah, here is my list.

Barzan - changed his MFP Evening Snack category to Booze. 
Captain A - found in the forums arguing about BMI, BMR, and various other BS.
Calex - never eats his exercise calories.
Doctor Diet - always has the answer to metabolic questions.
Green Clean - a clean eating vegetarian.
Elastigirl - given up yo-yo dieting, but still bouncing around.
Excal - always eats his exercise calories and feuds with Calex.
Hawkster - always hawking something they make money on until you tell them no
Hulk - My friend _David_
Human Flame - burns an excess of 2000 calories per day exercising.
Invisible Woman - a 220 pound woman that posted a 300 pound weight loss.
Iron Man - in the mind's eye of every guy on MFP.
Myflops - constantly posting about failure, and whining about never losing weight. 
Ms. Marvel - Always encouraging, always logging, always losing. 
Quick Drop - on a starvation diet.
Riceman - here because he is not welcome at
Salt Shaker - low sodium down to a science.
Sliderman - skips adding their snacks to their diary.
Supergirl - too many to list. Most of them are my friends.
Superman - any guy over 50 that is still losing!
The Flash - posts status about running races every weekend.
The Phantom - has not logged in 15 days and might need some encouragement. 
Waterman - a food diary with 12 glasses of water, and a Facebook Check In from the rest room.
Wonder Woman - my wife majohndrow!

Thanks for the votes and comments - please vote even if you comment!
Friend requests gladly accepted, notes preferred. 

Running Crap for Idiots

There are a lot MFP-ers that either run, or want to run. Just do a search for "C25K" in the forums; there are millions of entries - well not as many as "Do I Eat My Exercise Calories or Not" - but close.

If you have not been a runner, or you are new to it, here is some runner's jargon you might find helpful.

- Aerobic: So out of breath that you wish you were dead.
- Anaerobic: Aerobic's kid sister.
- Bathroom: these are usually port-a-potties - with the emphasis on potty! Bring your own hand sanitizer and possibly a tazer.
- Chip: 1. Made of chocolate and the reason you need MFP. 2. Embedded in your number by big brother and the race officials.
- Chip Time: The time your chip crossed the finish line. If it is on your person, it's good. If it's in an ambulance it's not so good.
- Cool Down: Sudden drop in temperature after guzzling a cold beer or other suitable beverage after a race.
- Dedication: To much fiber the day before a race.
- DNF: Did Not Finish. Better than DNS: Did Not Start.
- Drafting: 1. Beer after the race. 2. Running closely behind other runners to avoid the head wind.
- Elite Runner: Not part of MFP.
- Fartlek: A winning strategy when others are drafting you.
- Gun Time: Often has to do with exes or to signal the start of the race.
- Hitting the Wall: Mad because you can't find your running shoes.
- Intervals: Taking turns watching the kids.
- Jog: Remembering your name at the registration table.
- Negative Splits: 1. Wearing embarrassingly tight clothing. 2. Running the last half of a race faster.
- Pace: The speed at which you actually can run.
- Passing: For gas, mile/kilometer markers and other runners. Mostly good.
- Pick-Ups: 1. Asking for phone numbers and Facebook names at the start line. 2. Running fast spurts.
- Pronation: Patriotism.
- Race: The obligation to do what you think you can't.
- Runner's High: Better than sex. If you run, you know.
- Safety Pins: Not as safe as they claim to be, but used for attaching numbers.
- Sneakers: Cheap running shoes.
- Stinky Feet: Stinky feet.
- Target Heart Rate: Anything greater than let's say 10 beats per hour.
- Toebox: What they put your toes into be cremated.
- Walking: Plum tuckered out, but not a bad thing.
- Wall (The): A place where wailing happens a lot.
- Winning: What Charlie Sheen thinks he does. 2. What you will be if you just sign up and get moving.

Thanks for the votes and comments.

For real definitions, check out this glossay at

Running for a Cause

Saturday I completed my 3rd sanctioned 5K. An MFP buddy, WiseBadger53 and I were on different courses, in different states, but we ran 5Ks at the exact same time. It was his first - you know, he was a race virgin before that!

Before you get the impression that I am sort of running action hero figure, I want to make it clear that I never ran a 5K in my teens, my 20s or my 30s, or even my 40s. I had a whole bunch of other things that seemed more important than my health. I smoked for 20 years and ate whatever I wanted.

It took me a year to do C25K!

As most of you already know, that heart attack got my attention last year and I have been on the Get Healthy or Die Train ever since.

Of course my first race, an American Heart Association run was awesome because I simply finished. The second, a memorial to a fallen policeman in a local town, was great because I finished in well under 30 minutes.

What is it about the third one that makes it more special than the others? I ran it in memory of my mother who died of pancreatic cancer on September 14, 2001. It's an awful disease and I hate it. The race proceeds benefited Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

This was the race I was training for. It was going to be my best time ever.

My little team from the YMCA showed up on a gorgeous sunny morning. We did a short warm up, took our customary team photo, did some stretching together, and jogged around near the starting line until the race was about to get under way. I got a lot of thumbs up for my Cancer Sucks t-shirt!

The adrenalin rush on race day is always welcome, and Saturday I needed it. I took 3 big hits playing hockey on Wednesday night and bruised my ribs and cracked one too. If I had known, I might not have run. (I didn't get an X-ray until Sunday.)

I had read a horrifying story about pre-medicating with Motrin before a race, so I decided not to. Besides I cranked out 2 miles the day before in record time. I was feeling good - well, good enough.

The gun went off, and 200+ runners pushed through the start gate. I had a good pace going to start and cruised along to Lenny Cravitz. I thought of how my mom would have enjoyed this beautiful day as I ran on the brick walk beneath the majestic maples. I passed a large group of runners looking for some space to get back on the mark.

As I rounded the first corner and pushed on up a short hill those ribs started to hurt. The most annoying thing about bruised ribs is that they hurt more with deeper breaths. I thought quickly that I only had to run 15 or so more minutes and I could easily do that.

As the pack started to thin out we crossed the dam on the reservoir. The fresh cut suburban grass and the smell of lilacs was in the air; the water glistened in the midday sun. Again I thought about my mother...

The stabbing pain in my side was growing and up ahead there was the half-way water stop. I don't hydrate (<<-- MFP nerd terminology!) while I am running, but a quick refreshing mouthful was tempting. I slowed enough to grab a cup from one of the volunteers. Drinking and running never goes well for me. Did I say that coughing and bruised ribs are not friends?

I could see my teammate up ahead a few hundred yards - she is often the pace setter and we are always close in time; each of us having a win over the other. I started thinking this is the best of 3 series and I am falling behind. I picked up the pace on a level section of the track. However; the pounding became too intense and my breathing was off.

With about 1/2 a mile left, I just got in as comfortable a groove as possible wishing it was all over. Then it occurred to me that my mother hadn't given up when she was in pain. She did everything that she could do to keep her life as close to normal as possible during the treatments. We spoke on the phone the day she died.

I pressed on.

In fact I sprinted the last 400 yards as fast as I could go. I passed more than a dozen runners as I blasted across the finish line at 11.7 MPH.

Here is how it turned out:
Your Chip Time -  30:03
Your Time -  30:10    
Overall Place - 59
Division (50-59) - 5
Sex Place - 43
Your pace per mile -  9:42

Because the race was a tad longer than 5K here is my 5K time. 29:20 It wasn't my best time, but it was by far my best effort.

Tell us about someone that you would run in honor of?

Have You Noticed?

I have been on MFP for about a year, and I always think I have seen it all until the next abnormality shows up - usually in the forums. I have also watched folks come and go. The good news is that a few of them are back.

I don't really know everything about MFP success or even weight loss success - I am bit of a Type A some days, so sticking to it isn't as hard for me as it is for others. I just play a whiny slug at home so I don't have to do chores.

I am no Richard Simmons!

A few of my MFP friends have dumped me, and some have deactivated. I just checked my list and 120 haven't even logged in 2 weeks or more. (No I don't want to discuss cleaning up my list.)

So what have I noticed?

- Profiles that don't have pictures are a high percentage of those that haven't logged in.
- Incomplete profiles fair even worse.
- Most of my friends eventually post a photo of themselves. Well except John W. ;)
- "I'm not logging today because..." statuses are usually those of short-timers on MFP.
- My friends who frequently participate in the forums often have a status like "people are so stupid..." or "I ran over 7 pedestrians on the way home, I hope they get over it."
- Some of the others start with bad weekends and end up with bad lives or drop out because of failure.
- The winners seem to log daily, post successes when they happen whether they are scale victories, or non-scale victories.
- Some of the others share too much information about a lot of things. TMI about TOM is nothing that motivates me personally.
- There are those who admit to farting on the treadmill.
- Meal planners seem to fair much better in their food diaries.
- Most junk food junkies (even the low-cal junk) end up quitting MFP.
- Buying new smaller clothes is awesome!
- C2K graduates is often a sign of success here on MFP.
- Bickering over eating or not eating your exercise calories is the most popular subject on MFP except for threads "Should I dump him or not?"
- Success Stories in which girls wear bikinis or are seen in their underwear get the most comments.
- Everyone wants to have ripped abs and eat 3000 calories a day - but few can.

Well, those are my armchair observations. What are the keys to YOUR success on MFP? How long have you been on this journey?

Thanks for the votes and comments.

You Might Be Addicted...

There are lots of signs of addiction. The tell-tale ones are most noticeable when one or more areas of your life become unmanageable because of your preoccupation with the next "fix."

We can be addicted to anything: food, sex, drugs, and apparently, even exercise. Addicts tend to become anxious, irritable and depressed when their fix is out of reach.

Exercise addicts are a peculiar mix of strength, obsession and sweat.

You might be an exercise addict if...

-1 You spent your entire paycheck signing up for road races and gym memberships instead of paying your rent.
-2 You sat in on an Exercise Anonymous meeting because it was on the way to/from gym.
-3 You did burpees in the ladies room during a dinner date.
-4 You were convinced that doing the "12 Steps" was nothing like "running the stairs."
-5 You gave up social exercising (wearing perfume and posing on the machines) for Warrior Dashes.
-6 When you were young you ran wind sprints in the crib.
-7 You were disciplined in middle-school for running in the hallway.
-8 You have a family history of stinky gym socks.
-9 You keep a fully packed gym bag in the trunk, and another at work under the desk.
-10 Your wardrobe primarily consists of name brand sporting attire.
-11 You have 4 or 5 pairs of dress sneakers.
-12 Your MFP pic is of you exercising.
-13 You think anyone who doesn't exercise 7 days a week is an infidel.
-14 Not exercising ruins your day along with every one around you.
-15 You skip work to exercise or recover from a run.
-16 You would rather exercise than have sex.
-17 You exercise despite the pain.
-18 You eat Motrin like candy.
-20 Your potential children's names are Nike and Reebok.
-21 Your back seat is littered with empty water bottles and protein bar wrappers.
-22 You know how to manually set MFP macros. 

Have you crossed the line?
And thanks for the votes and comments! 

Can You Believe It? Major NSV!

My MPF friends know a lot about me. They know what I like, and what I am passionate about. They know the struggles I have had on this journey, and they have encouraged me to keep on keepin' on when keepin' on sucked. We've been through the holidays (Bermuda Triangle Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years!), surgery, family deaths and even plateaus together...

Some were even around as I was recovering from my heart attack last spring.

I do try to be encouraging and keep up with as many friends as I can. I even have a few heroes here on MFP; you guys are the best!

I have had some great non-scale victories which I have shared in the past: smaller cloths, my first 5K and a record time in my second - all awesome!

Today I have one more. Last night I played my first sanctioned ice hockey game since the winter of 1980. We lost 6-0, however; we were out there and we tried really hard. A normal team has 15 skaters, we only had 8. Instead of being on the ice for 1/3 of the game, I was on for over 1/2. (You should know even the most conditioned pros only play about 20 minutes.)

As you might imagine, there are a few things that I forgot about playing hockey while on hiatus for over 30 years. I was also surprised some moves came back which I had not thought about in all that time.

Here are a few scenes from the highlight reel:
- I forgot that it was a no-checking league and got a penalty on my first shift.
- 20-somethings have a lot of energy, but they don't weigh 250 pounds with equipment on. I do!
- There is a reason that I wore an athletic cup. Thank God it worked!
- Blocking shots is not as much fun as scoring them.
- Ill fitting mouth guards cause a gagging reflex.
- Skating 200 feet up and down the rink is easier in the 1st period of play and almost impossible in the 3rd.
- I knocked a girl off the puck and didn't feel bad about it.
- Our goaltender would have been better with a small net. (He took 84 shots which is ridiculous.)
- If there was less paint on the goal post I would have scored!
- My HRM hit 190 BPM!
- There are a billion things I could have done better, but making a few smart plays is gratifying.
- I did not fall on my butt or trip over the blue line!
- I sweated like nothing else I have done for cardio!
- Getting in at nearly midnight is not a lot of fun, but playing was awesome!

How about you, what's your most important NSV so far? Is it on your bucket list?

Are You Intelligent Enough to Watch TV?

Victoria Wood once said: "Jogging is for people who aren't intelligent enough to watch television."

It made me laugh, but there I was sitting on the couch wishing I was thinner. I had forgotten what it was like to feel good, really good. So I put off getting any sort of exercise. Again! I kept telling myself that I should do something about the eating - at least not have seconds. I failed.

Now that I am runner a lot has changed. I have been watching "runners" very carefully. They are a funny bunch. Here is what I have learned.

- The Zen Runner: Right out of a Nike commercial. They have all the right gear, including no chafe-underwear, no chafe-running shorts, no chafe-shoe laces and no chafe-water bottles! You can be seen in the yoga corral before the race. The only question I have, is do these people even know how to sweat? I mean there you are standing at finish line looking like Mitt Romney. Did you even run!?!?

- The Cat Lady Runner: I am allergic to cats, so I can usually smell one before I can spot one. It seems they wear dark colors to expose the cat hair stuck to every inch of their running gear. Even the water bottle with a cat butt is part of the outfit. Somehow lifting one of those to my lips doesn't make me want liquid refreshment.

- The Dogman: I thought this was a race for people? Sir, you are a tool. You tripped a couple of runners when Fido and his taught leash went over to sniff Cat Lady's butt. I must admit, that was kind of you to cleanup after your pooch, but you missed a few along the way.

- The Artist Runner: The Color Run is for you - but wow, the outfits! There are more tutus per square inch than the local ballet school.

- The Hippy Dippy Runner: Dude, can you wash the Gerry Garcia tie-die shirt, it smells like incense. I do love the headband though!

- The First Timer: I was one of these - fidgeting with my running application, non-approved sneakers, a Led Zeppelin t-shirt and Walmart shorts. It's a crazy time and it sure shows. You are too wound up to stretch, and you usually bolt across the starting line maybe to walk at the end. But you are here, and I salute you!

- The Pro Runner: Perfectly worn-in equipment, confidence - you probably eat granola while using the port-a-potty. I'm partly jealous.

- The Warrior Dasher: I know you thought running was for wimps, but your new sig-O is here. I can see you in your camouflage t-shirt and Thor trophy crown that's covered with mud, but the Samurai sword is a bit much. I don't think there will be any ninjas attacking us in the next few miles.

- Jet Propelled Runner: I don't know if it's nerves or fiber, but man, on that last hill you killed the spring flowers and left what looked like a mass grave for nerve gassed runners. You motivated me to make a quick pass on the outside making my run a little longer.

-The Cyborg Runner: You are a freakin' machine. You are killing us closing a deal Beijing while talking on your Smartphone. Should we be jealous of your 6 million dollar heart rate monitor, pace analyzer, split timer, and whatever that thing is with the antenna on it? All I can say is if I pass you, I am going to fall on the side of the road laughing my running shoes off.

- The Dorky Runner: This is me, I can be seen with a t-shirt that says "If found on ground, please drag across the finish line."

What kind of runner are you?

Disclaimer: Please don't bother to be offended. I am just kidding. Remember fun rhymes with run!

The Race that Broke the Back of Obesity

There are lots of reasons to be on MFP, we can log our food and discuss whether or not to log cheat days. We can defend our positions or spew a little drama, but for the ones that are truly here to lose weight, it's a battle!

Many of you know that last year I was a fat, old guy with heart disease.

Some of you have followed my story for nearly a year. You know that I was in ICU with congestive heart failure and that I was obese. I had given up on life weighing in at 276, more than 80 pounds above the highest healthy BMI for my body; then I got sick.

In March I ran my first 5K - more on that HERE.  Today I am runner!

Yesterday I ran my second 5K since I got out of the hospital last spring - well the first time I got out. In December I had knee surgery, but that was a blip on the radar screen. 

It seemed like an impossible dream when I printed out the C25K for Beginner's schedule and taped it to the refrigerator last March. 2 days before my heart attack I actually made 5K on the treadmill for the first time since probably the early 1980s. I think it took about 50 minutes.

I had to start all over again and was running a mile without stopping when I injured my knee.

I had to start all over again in January. My target for completion of C25K was March 25th. Here is how our team did.
78   30:21  Cherilyn B.
79   30:21  Joshua B.
88   31:41  David J. <<
90   32:23  Eva S.

I found a web site and printed out "Your Fastest 5K" the day after I crossed the finish line. It included fast runs, tempo runs, easy runs and long runs. With a little research here is what I have been doing.

- My fast runs are as far as I can go at 7.5 miles per hour. I am up to 2 miles.
- My long runs are 5.5 mph (1 mile), 6.5 mph (1 mile), 7.5 mph (1 mile), 5.5 mph (3/4 mile) and  to 9. mph (1/4 mile).
- My easy runs are 5.5 miles per hour. I am up to 4 miles.
- My tempo runs are 6.25 miles per hour. I am at 5K. I run these once a few days before a race

I run 4 days a week. M-W-F-Su. (I also play hockey and do strength training 2 other days.)

So, here is how I did this time around.
88 Josh B. 31 M 27:40  8:55
99 David J. 53 M 28:22  9:08  <<
102 Cherilyn B. 32 F 28:25  9:09
124 Eva S. 32 F 30:07  9:42

You probably noticed, I have 20+ years on the other runners on my team; they are all in good shape and none are overweight.
How about you, are you ready to run a 5K?

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