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What's Your MFP Sign?

It might be true that when you were born, the stars had a party, or the year you were born might have something to do with your destiny. But here on MFP, your sign is based on how well you do the program. :)

The Dog - A walker at 3.0 miles per hour.

The Snake - Stays within their allotted calories but eats fast food and Diet Coke at every meal.

The Ox - Losing in spite of metabolic challenges!

The Cheetah - Runners who have completed C25K and can knock out a 5K in less than 30 minutes.

The Cheater - Can't live without one over indulgent junk meal each week.

The Bull - The strength training without cardio folks.

The Fox - Female MFP-ers at their goal weight!

The Horse - Has lost over 100 pounds and still going! WTG!

The Lamb - The noob.

The Pig - Always has excuses for going over their calories.

The Ram
- Those who have discovered that strength training builds muscles and lose more weight faster!

The Big Dog - Eats everything that is put in front of them. Portion control is your best friend!

The Cat - Has the "couch" part of Couch to 5K down.

The Goat - Eats anything with a Diet label on it.

The Fish - Drinks 22 cups of water a day.

The Stallion
- guys, well, like me for example.

So, what is your sign? Did I miss any?

Thanks for the votes and comments. (You can do both!)

Why I Hate Running

This morning I was a little late getting started because shoulder pain kept me up for a few hours last night. I usually have a cup of coffee about 5 am while reading my email and copy and pasting "WTG" on my friends accomplishments from the night before. Without coffee, I probably would copy and paste "WTF."

I managed to get one cup in between 6:30 and 7:00; that is just not enough! The lack of caffeine can ruin a whole freakin' morning in a matter of minutes!

It's one of the reasons I hate running.

Today was my 5 mile run training day ** and I wasn't off to a good start. I enjoyed a few minutes of the news and then a pile of political ads came on so I got dressed to run. I feel sort of weird being naked in front of my wife and then walking out the door, but a man has to do what a man has to do. Besides, she called my Nike Combat running underwear gay effeminate.

I kissed her goodbye - I mean you never know if I will come home - and fiddled with my running app on the way downstairs to get my headphones and SmartPhone arm holder. Arm holder sounds like my arm disconnects and needs some support, but arm band sounds like I am a terrorist - but I digress.

I made a pit stop before heading out the door. It was then I noticed trouble on the horizon.

I opened the front door and got a blast to the cool, crisp fall air that gave my nipples an appreciation for my female counterparts.

I try not to run in the same place because it's boring, although; I do have 2 lakes which are always quite beautiful, so I include them. A few days ago I mapped a bunch of runs in my neighborhood in varying distances from 3 to 13 miles. This morning I couldn't remember how the heck to start my 5-miler. As I was bouncing down the sidewalk to warm up, I just decided to run and listen to my GPS in the headphones.

I did a short brisk walk (not the walking the dog walk!) and some stretching on the sidewalk which, always seems to garner the attention of old ladies that want to ask if I am alright. "You look a little pale, sir."

"Yes, well that's because I am freezing my nipples off, but thank you for your concern."

I started down the sidewalk to the likes of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. It was then I noticed my right shoe was loose, so I stopped to tie it. Back on pace I headed up the hill towards the lake in time to see the sea smoke clearing in the dawn's early light and the rockets red glare.

It was cold, and my shin started with this weird pain. I made a mental round of all my joints to see how things were. Too many to count, so I decided to focus on the music. Then my shorts started falling down. Due the low levels of caffeine, I guess I didn't tie them after my pit stop. Instead of stopping I decided to retie them while running at 8 miles per hour. I caught a chest hair in the knot and let out a loud scream. The pain easily eclipsing the shin pain!

I started to settle in after about 2 miles. Unfortunately it was trash day in one of the neighborhoods and for the next mile I dodged stinky cans on the crowded sidewalks. On one lawn I stepped on a stick which fought back by puncturing my right shin.

My new route took me by a school where I met a very nice crossing guard with her hand holding a cup of hot coffee and her other thumb you know where. She didn't seem too interested in doing much to help. I stepped into the crosswalk without her assistance because I am big boy. It was there a school bus ran the light and cut me off. I let out a string of expletives which seemed to get everyone's attention! I muttered, "Forgive them Father, they just don't know how stupid they are." and headed down the road.

With about a mile or so to go, I just wanted to get home and log my efforts because my MFP friends will think I am awesome for not dying this morning.

I hate running, I thought. I trudged on.

Somewhere in the last mile I began to think about how inviting the bathroom was going to be when I got in the door. Thinking about it, I might change my weigh in day to today...

As I slowed to a walk a block from my house, the endorphins starting talking to me, and that's why I love running!

** Some of you know that I am training for a half marathon on Sunday, October 28th. I have been using Hal Higdon's Novice 2.

Thanks for your votes and comments!

The Health Obsession!

Obsession  with personal health is off the charts these days. I saw a post yesterday about the $hit You Need to Know about Poop (Everyday Health). I guess poop-ology is like wine tasting, there is the color and clarity, the smell, and the finish - oh, and the taste.

Doctor Oz has a Poop Primer - which I guess you can read in the "library."

When I was a kid we didn't have this health obsession. We played outdoors, ate three meals a day, had an occasional treat, and took a bath every day. They told us not to take drugs and smoke cigarettes and we didn't listen. :)

I am not really sure how healthy I need to be if you know what I am saying. I mean, life is hard a lot of the time and I have my fire insurance paid up. The alternatives? You could read Dr. Oz's poop primer for entertainment or take your own pictures and post them on Facebook.

Actually, I just remembered why I want to stay healthy: endorphins. They are my favorite, my drug of choice. I am not so sure they have that in heaven, and I am not taking any chances leaving this planet early.

This morning I made a few specimens for Dr. Oz and then I put on my running gear. As much as I love cotton, I am learning to like dri-fit polyester or whatever you call it. I feel sort of sexy for a moment.

I ran a record long run of 8 1/2 miles with a 10K PR in the middle of it. It was pretty exciting, and even with all the stuff that is going on in life: death of a friend, the struggle to find a job, I still love to run. I like it better than poop.

Here are some things I do to stay healthy:
- Count all the calories and log them.
- I limit any kind of processed foods to as few as humanly possible.
- I make sure I am in the bed for 7-8 hours whether I sleep or not.
- I eat 3 small meals a day. I am not sure if that is healthy, but it sounds healthy!
- I only eat whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies.
- I measure all my food on a scale because - well, because I was obese and I don't know what 4 oz looks like.
- I have learned to get up from my desk during the work day and take a break or two!
- I drink 7-10 glasses of water a day. No soda, and an occasional iced tea, or green tea.
- I drink 2 cups of coffee a day. And as much as I would like to, that's it.
- Yearly check ups with the doc. Yeah, I get to be #1 for a few minutes. It seems to make him happy.
- I don't smoke or take drugs - well, having 3 surgeries in a year, I have had a few prescriptions.
- I laugh when I get the chance - some times at you!
- I wear helmets and athletic support cups as needed.
- I buy my wife flowers for no reason at all, and I never miss a birthday or anniversary. Trust me fellahs, it pays dividends.
- I take it a day at time, and I really don't worry much.
- And I run - a lot!

That's about it for me. How do you stay healthy?

Thanks for your votes and comments!

Half is Good

Last April I lay in ICU hanging on to life. This morning I ran passed that hospital on a practice run and in my mind's eye, flipped it the bird and said, "I am never going back!"

It took me a year to complete Couch to 5K (C25K) That's right, 51 weeks before I could run an entire 5K.

Saturday I passed a few jiggly-puffs on my way to a personal record (PR) 10K run. I was once a love-handle-laiden-late-finisher; that was back in March. The good news is the time clock was still out when I got to the finish line!

This morning it was just me and the concrete; a new playlist on the Android, 60 degree weather, a good nights sleep and a day of rest prior, I set out for a 5K practice run. 24:49, now for me that is a NSV!

I have come a long way since my first race in March. I have knocked 10 minutes off my 5K time. More importantly, I have beat heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity for another day.

I feel really good after my run. I am addicted to endorphins, those little globules of euphoria that run though one busy brain cell and bring a smile to my face.

I see a lot of posts about starting to run, running problems and that sort of thing. I have written lots of answers, but today I want to do something different. I want to encourage YOU to start to run. Run for your life! If you can't run, walk, if you walk slow, walk faster, and if you run a 5K, try a 10K.

You can do this. Yes, you have to sweat, but if you have Internet, I am assuming you have a shower and deodorant too.

I am going to challenge myself too. I am going to plan on running a 1/2 marathon. I need to see what coincides with a race that I can afford, and get to. I am going to do this.

It is a 12 week commitment. And one more thing. I live right on the Boston Marathon Route, that is next April.

For those that know me, I have had three surgeries in a little more than a year. As a runner, I have had lots of problems from chafing my chub rub to losing toenails. I hope it's all behind me.

If it were not for the endorphins, I think I would still be sitting on the couch.

Thanks for all your support, votes, comments, and encouragements. You are a great group!

Burning Calories with Cardio - A Stark Reality

Have you thought about how much exercise it takes to burn one little freakin' calorie? I know the math says 3,500 calories = 1 pound of ugly fat. If you set your weight loss preferences to 1 pound a week, that is a 500 calorie per day deficit. If you set it to 2 pounds, that is 1,000 calories per day.

A 1,000 caloires is about a 6-10 mile run depending on your weght, age and pace.

I got to thinking, which is always a little scary for those who know me. What are these calories equal to? What is it that I am not going to eat to make a deficit?

If you exercise, you can create a larger deficit, or eat more!

I use a program called Noom on my SmartPhone (Android). It logs my exercise (with a GPS as needed), uses an HRM, and reports back to me every minute about some aspect of my workout. One minute it is distance/time, the next it is pace or speed (depending on your preference), and the next it is calories burned; then the cycle starts again. As a runner I like the feedback for the pace and mileage, but the calories sort of make me mad. The digital voice (the husband of my GPS voice.) needs a slap once in a while.

Imagine you are working out, your fat is crying out with tears of sweat, you are huffing and puffing and jerk head says, 14 calories burned in a British accent? I don't have anything against Brits, but I feel like saying "piss off mate, you do this."

If you weigh about 200 pounds, are in your 30s and run 6 miles per hour for 30 minutes (about a 5K), you'll burn in the vicinity of 300-350 calories. That's about 1000 calories a week. If you are older, or just walking it's less.

Next time you are working out, think about this when you log you food.

Less than a mile:
1 calorie = 1/2 a booger
5 = one peanut
10 = 2 chocolate chips
50 = 1 teaspoon of peanut butter (not a table spoon! that can be well over a 100)
100 = 1 string cheese stick

Less than 2 miles:
140 = Olive Garden bread stick
150 = 12oz can of Pepsi
180 = Bryers Yo Crunch Low Fat Yogurt with Granola
190 = Large Banana 8"
200 = 19 Doritos Tortilla Chips

Less than 3 miles (about 5K):
250 = 1 Salad with Ranch dressing
300 = 1 McDonalds Egg Mcmuffin

Less than 4 miles:
390 = 1 freakin' Starbucks chocolate chip cookie
420 = 1 Unos Gilled Chicken Sandwich

Less than 5 miles:
490 = 1 Honey Dew Donuts Blueberry Muffin

Less than 6 miles (about 10K):
590 = 4 cans of Budweiser
600 = 1 medium Dunkin Donuts Coffee Coolatta with cream

Less than 7 miles:
633 = 3 slices Dominos Meat Lovers Pizza
670 = 1 Burger King Whopper with Cheese, mayo, lettuce etc.

Less than 8 miles:
720 = 2 KFC chicken breasts
750 = 1 McDonalds Angus Burger

It's takes a few minutes or less to eat some of these cheat day treats, but it can take a long time to burn one off.

Thanks for the votes and comments! (You can do both!)

I Wanted to be the Ann Landers of Fitness and Weight Loss

Yesterday was the official anniversary of Diaries of an Almost Dead Man. It all started with a blog about gym etiquette. It was about 7 months into my weight loss journey and about 5 months after my heart attack. I was around long enough to make me an MFP expert. :)

En route to achieving fitness nirvana, I decided to take a few notes. I put those into blogs.

I am really not much of a writer; I use semicolons because they look cool and no other reasons. Regardless, I wrote anyway. I tried to laugh at you, and harder at me.

I have chronicled the buffoonery on MFP, the insanity at the gym, and the odd details of this difficult journey. I even took some pain killers.

There is no way to know how many people actually read my nonsense, but there are some comments and votes to indicate that most of you have way too much time on your hands, which; might better be spent at the gym.

First I want to thank you all for your encouragement, your complaints (of course no one that complained is still my friend!) and your part in my success here in MFP. Really, it's amazing.

Now that we are all done crying, it's time to laugh a little. Here are my top blogs of the last year. (If you go back to read a few, feel free to vote and comment if you didn't before.) I put the number of votes so that you can guage your intererst. Or just tell us your favorite!

The People of MFP September '11 (27)

Snarky Comebacks to Inconsiderate Clods October '11 (135)

It Will Never Happen to Me
October '11 (174)

I Used to be Obese, Now I am Sexy October '11 (182)

Body Parts You Can Live Without November '11 (174)

Rules for Accepting MFP Friends November '11 (206)

Real Short Cuts December '11 (112)

A Day at the Gym with a Nerd December '11 (142)

You Still Don't Want to See Me in a Bikini! December '11 (188)

Not Losing Weight? This Might be the Reason January '12 (225)

Rules for MFP Success February '12 (232)

ICU 2 5K March '12 (168)

The 5 Stages of Food Grief April '12 (191)

Short Answers to Complex MFP Questions May '12 (182)

Running Crap for Idiots May '12 (182)

Fitness and Weight Loss Books by Dr. Seuss June '12 (126)

WTF is WTG? June '12 (262)

To Log or Not to Log June '12 (195)

Can I Have a Different Meal Please? July '12 (128)

Forum Topics I'd Like to Post, but Probably Shouldn't August '12 (178)

20 Reason You Might Not Have Logged In August '12 (184)
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