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The Life I Wanted

I joined MFP to be skinny, get rippling abs so I could spend hours admiring my physique in front of the mirror.

I am almost to my goal! I just need more hours in the day in which to pose.

The reality is that this fitness journey (not a skinny journey) is not easy. It takes education and determination powered by dedication. Along the way you'll find lots of circumstances which come against your unfit lifestyle.

If only calories screamed when they burned, this would be easier!

Readers Digest says there are 7 stages of marriage. Mine is in the over stage, but when it comes to food and fitness, these stages seem to make sense.

-1 Passion: This is the honeymoon stage. I am going to lose weight, look good and run a marathon. I'll lift heavy, have guns to die for and gluts that are the envy of all my friends and co-workers. It usually lasts between 7 and 10 hours.

-2 Realization: The stage begins right about the time you attempt a full 30 minute circuit training routine. you come home too sick to eat, and the next day you drop your car keys on the floor and need to ask one of the kids to get retrieve them for you.

-3 Rebellion: You have hung on for a bit, but you miss your supercalifragilisticexpialidocious-frapachino-caramel from Five Bucks. You crave pizza, wings and a return to soda. So you decide to have a cheat day. Why? Because you earned it!

-4 Cooperation: This stage may never start. Your cheat day may have turned into a week, a month or a year. Giving up is easy. Working it out is hard. Is divorce the only option?

-5 Reunion: You're back on the wagon and discovered that it is a lifestyle not a diet. It’s about what you eat (and don't) and making exercise a priority.

-6 Explosion: Stuff happens. Sickness, job loss, relationship issues, and out of control kids. This is the test of your commitment. This is the test of your lifestyle. Will you say screw it, nothing matters, or will you dig deep and manage your life without binging?

-7 Completion: I don't know what this stage is? Did you knock your spouse off? Did you reach your goal and give up? I don't think we win against the beast until we die fit.

Thanks for the votes and comments.

Life Victories

We all come to MFP for different reasons. Some of us are overweight, others underweight, and even a few are stalkers. I cam here to loose weight and get a 6-pack. I started eating differntly (mostly less) and even took up exercise. It almost killed me.

Then I had congestive heart failure.

The experience changed my attitude about life. I spent 7 days in the Intensive Care Unit. My weight loss, health and fitness opinions were forever changed. My underwear, no so much.

In the nealry 4 years I have been here, a lot has changed.

My weight is down close to 80 pounds, that's 1251 ounces. My waist is down from over 40' to under 34". I was on 6 heart medications and now I am on a small dose of one. I don't treat myself to junk like fast food, sugary snacks and white flour pizza. I have an occasional piece of birthday cake on someone's birthday. I drink water and coffee (without sugar and cream) and some Gatorade during a race.

In spite of all my hard work, I have been diagnosed with cancer. Again.

I have had 5 surgeries to remove 4 types of the foreign cells. it's scary and I hate it. I live on the mountain tops between the valleys of checkups, exams and biopsies.

I run. I run a lot. I also bike, swim and I'm playing hockey again.

How serious is all this? I don't know, I just get up an live each day. I am not currently considered cancer free. I have booked a trip to Disney with my 11-year-old in April and I am running the San Diego Marathon in May while I visit my 20-something daughters in California.

Running has given me a life I could only pray for years ago. I feel good, I look good for my age and I sleep well too. Emotionally I feel really good. For the time being - maybe a long time, I plan on running 50 races in 50 states as well as 7 marathons on 7 continents. It's going to take some time.

...and I raise money for charity.

I'll be running The Boston Marathon again this year. I will celebrate 4 years since I got out of ICU and beat heart disease. Then I am on to San Diego for the Rock n Roll Marathon. I am raising money for Hope For Young Adults with Cancer. I am doing the 50 mile ride Bicycles Battling Cancer for the American Cancer Association. Then it's on to the Chicago  Marathon for Hope 4 YAWC and The NYC Marathon for Zero Cancer.

I hope you can come cheer me on if you are in the 'hood one of these days

Stay healthy and fit. Thanks for the votes and comments.

Today is Brought to You by the Number 4

4 must be my lucky number. I once was that age - a long time ago. It was just about that 4 years ago I had congestive heart failure and started using MFP. I haven't lost my mind, my motivation, my support or my virginity in those 4 years.

I did stop using the message boards.

The number 4 also holds one more meaningful memory. It is the number of full marathons I have completed since I was told "you might need a heart transplant", "running is a treat, don't push it", and "you have cancer."

*fingers in ears* I am sorry, but I can't hear you doctors.

This past weekend I ran the Zydeco Marathon (#4) with fellow MFPer BobbyDaniel. We met here on MFP and have been friends ever since. Now that we've officially hung out, drank coffee, shared a banana and split 5 pounds of crawdads cooked Cajun style, I'll never be quite the same.

Then we ran a marathon.

We were neck and neck for 13.1. Then Bobby took off a little faster. I am running Boston next month and was trying to take it easy. For mile 13 and 14 I was on my own. Worse, I was alone with my own thoughts. It's been winter in New England and with 9 feet of snow in 5 weeks, running has been a real treat. I haven't trained like I should have and tossing a marathon in a month before I run the Boston Marathon was probably not a smart idea.

I am not known for smart or cute, or genius.

Bobby and I caught up again around mile 15 and ran 5 more miles together. At the 20 mile marker he stopped to stretch out. With a possible personal record on the horizon, I ran ahead. I have had leg cramp issues in two out of three previous marathon races. I avoided cramps in Chicago by doing some walk/run early on along with taking Endurolyte capsules. This day I all I needed was to break 5 hours for a PR. 23 miles in the sun came out and well, it was dang hot for this northern boy. The thermometer soared to 70 degrees. (was -5 when I left home)

I pressed on stopping to dump some water on my head and eat a donut and a banana.

I clicked off 24, 25 and soon enough, 26 miles. I turned left over the bridge and ran the last 2 tenths of a mile as fast as I could go. As I crossed the timing mats I squeezed my Garmin to shut it off. 4:45:06.

I had done it. I broke 5 hours! My official was 4:44:59. I'll take it.

I also finished my 4th full marathon and 27th race since I was diagnosed with cancer. I am running the New York City Marathon in November for the charity Zero Cancer. Let me know if you can support my cause.

Thanks for the votes and comments.


It finally happened! The weight on the scale started with a 1. I know, if you weigh 99 pounds that might freak you out. However, if you weighed 300 pounds and your goal weight started with 1, you’d be freaking doing the happy dance. I don't really know how much I weighed at my worst. I stopped using the scale at 276. I am sure it was close to 300.

One scale victory is worth a few non-scale victories in my book.

What we weigh, how much we've lost and our goal weight is all relative. I just happen to have lost a pre-teen child. This may surprise you, but I have been on a very long plateau. It's been about a year. My goal weight set by the cardiologist has been elusive. Last summer I had two surgeries and even gained weight.

So what worked? Cutting calories!! Duh!

I really had to look at the portions of my clean-whole-food-diet and get a grip. How could I be eating too much after 3+ years doing this? People had made blind comments about calorie consumption. They had created "rules", made calculators, and even tossed in enough scientific information to do a convincing infomercial.  PhD nutritionists as well as the ones with masters degrees in nutrition have done it to me! All their sentences started with "You need to __________."

I measured my portions very carefully with a scale, a cup or an ice cream scoop. I bought containers to make sure I didn't over do it. I learned that you need to level off the teaspoon of peanut butter, not just make a heaping one. I still gained weight at my prescribed caloric intake. The dieticians were shaking their heads.

I had to cut the calories back!

I only ate the amount of calories I needed for the weight that I wanted to be. It worked for about 10 pounds. I was hovering around 200 pounds last year. I know that my legs got bigger and my waist got smaller, but I still had a belly roll. I also got my waist to 34" but with core, it came back to about 36".

So, I cut 400 calories a day and stopped all sugar intake. No cheats, no sweets. (Yes, sweets were well within my daiily alootment of calories!)

On Saturday (2/28) I ran my 18.7 mile training run on the Boston Marathon course. As I made my way home I guzzled a 20oz bottle of Gatorade, a 16 oz bottle of water, a medium coffee and chowed a large blueberry muffin and a banana. When I got home, I stripped off three layers of stinky running gear and decided to hop on the scale. I have been avoiding it mostly because there has been little or no overall change.

I got on and there is was 198.5 and I didn't even have poop first!

As excited as I am about my scale victory, I recognize that being fit is not being skinny or fitting into my perceived clothing size. Sure, I already ordered custom made jeans and bought some other new clothes. I am down from 2 X-Large to Large shirts too.  What matters the most is that my blood work, my blood pressure, my pulse and my ejection fraction (heart capacity) are all excellent. Everything is normal.

In closing, I would like to say this: If you have been following the plan for many months and you haven't lost weight, you may just in fact be eating too much for you.

Thanks for the votes and comments.

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