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Why Does This Always Have to Be a Battle?!

I don't know about you, but even though I am not afraid of being mugged my a chocolate cake with vanilla icing (is this profiling?), this effing food thing is tough. I does not care how fit you are, or what you do; when you consume more calories than you burn, you gain weight.

This should be easy - easy after 7 years. It's not.

Most of you know that since I first logged onto MFP I became a marathoner. I have run 10 of them. The real deal, the 26.2 mile kind! I have run about 80 other distances as well as a 60-mile charity run across Massachusetts, and a near 30-miler across Rhode Island. I do love running, but it is not a weight loss program.

You cannot outrun a bad diet.

Marathons are a lot different than shorter distance races. You need to have lots of rest before and lots of recovery time after. With a 3 week taper leading up to the race and a week or two of recovery, you don't get a lot of exercise for over a month.

But you are hungry, really hungry!

The problem is that it is hard to cut down on your food intake. Well it is for me. I need to be in a highly controlled environment. That means nothing that I should consider an occasional treat can be within walking distance. I can't have left over birthday cake, chips, dips, and other types of snack foods close by.

I just can't do it!

I have to divide up portions meat, fish, chicken, and turkey when I get home from the grocery store. It's SO easy to toss the second turkey burger in when I get home from work and I am hungry. If there is more than one in a package, I will eat them all.

The good news is that when I run (the 8 or so hours after), I am a lot less hungry.

Now that the taper and recovery are over from running London, I have gained almost 4 pounds. I made lots of good food choices. I am back to running regularly. But....

What I haven't done is control portions.

One of the things I know about failing is that we give ourselves permission to do it. We make excuses. "It's only once", "it's vacation", "it's OK to start over tomorrow", "it's just a stressful time" and the hits keep on coming. In 7 years on MFP I have seen a lot of people come and go - a lot - thousands in fact!

Overeating is an enemy of mine.

The fact still remains that 55% of those who lose weight will not keep it all off, 20% will return to their previous weight and 20% or so will gain even more weight then they lost. That leaves 5% to win the championship and make a true lifestyle change.

I want to be one of them.

Fat Chance

I was obese and then overweight. I had a million excuses for not losing and maintaining my weight. It doesn't matter what you call your fat, but it is a health hazard and you know it.

Fortunately I survived congestive heart failure.
My cardiologist told me 57% of those that have had a heart attack don't even continue to take their medication after the first refill! While, close to 80% make no significant lifestyle changes.

I was faced with real life that day in ICU.

As it turns out, slim chance, and fat chance have the same meaning. But one is healthier. If you think you can't lose weight, you probably won't. You are welcome to make excuses like I did.

As my friend Anna always says, "I'll see you at the funeral."

Here is my list of excuses.

I don't have time. - If it was going out to dinner you probably would. Look you have time for lots of things, you need to schedule it. If working out is not in your calendar, it is unlikely that you'll win at this game.

I still have time. - You may be young enough where your food and lack of exercise is not a problem, but for most it doesn't work forever - especially past 40. Yeah, I know about your grandmother that drank a case of beer and smoked 3 packs of cigarettes a day, only ate fried food, dated 5 men at a time and lived until 145. Let me know if you make it.

Everyone in my family is fat. - Why is that? Could it be diet and exercise?

It's a cheat day. - Get out your stones and excuses about shaking up your metabolism blah blah blah. The truth is that cheaters are in the group of roller coaster dieters, from which nearly all of them eventually gain back the weight they lost the other 6 days a week.

I have kids. - Yeah, so take them for a run. I take my kid walking, riding bikes, rollerblading, running every day that it is nice enough to do so. We plan vacations near bike trails so we can ride. When she was a baby, I just put her in the front pack, or bicycle trailer. My YMCA has kids care as well.

I'm too busy. - Well, health is a choice; it might be time to make it.

The dog/kangaroo didn't eat it. - If you are full at the restaurant, you'll be tempted to eat whatever you bring home before lunch the following day. If that is the case, leave it.

I don't know what to do. - I don't know about you, but most of us here do not have degrees in health and nutrition. MFP is a good guideline for the amount of food, and balance of what we call macros: carbs, protein and fat. Here's a tip, if it is low-cal junk food, it's still junk food. Cardio which is truly healthy is when the heart rate goes above 120. This requires walking at 3 mph or possibly higher.

It's too hard to lose weight, I've already tried. - You are correct, and you've proved it. That is why you need to forget dieting. You make changes you can do for the rest of your life.

I can't afford healthy food. - I will agree that a variety of healthy food costs more. Here are some tips for saving money. Drink only water, it's free. Many grocery stores have fruits and veggies that are discounted because they are past fresh: you can buy 6 apples for a dollar, 2 peppers for half a buck, and 3 bananas for even less. Over all I find them to be a good value. Brown rice is the same price as white and better for you. You'll be eating less, usually 3-4 ounces of meat or fish. You can buy packaged ham and cheese in bulk and freeze it. The same is true for some fruits and veggies. Frozen food isn't horrible, and most canned food can be rinsed to reduce sodium content.

It's too late.  - I'm already _____ years old. - Yup, and tomorrow you'll be that plus one day. I don't get it.

I'm afraid of failure. - I have met a few folks on MFP that have a lot weight to lose (me I was close to 100). It is a daunting task, and it takes time. Read the Success Story forums and friend those folks who have done what you need to do. I find it inspiring. On average, those that work at it can lose 40-100 lbs in a year. (Yes, I am sure there are some with medical reasons who cannot and I am not talking about them.)

I'm afraid of success! - Being obese for a long period of time becomes a way of life. We set up our enablers, buy cars, furniture and even our personality changes to accommodate our physical state. I sat with a guy the other day that could not fit in the booth at a lunch place. It was sad. Then he ordered a 3000 calorie steak bomb. 

My significant other doesn't care why should I? - Most mature adults are smart enough not say "I would love you better thinner!" I suppose there are some that have spouses that like them in an unavailable state, but for the most part, our health is our concern. Losing weight has many benefits other than just looking and feeling better.

I can't exercise, there's no place for me to walk. - We need to start where we stand. The goal is eating well, and getting in three 30 minute cardio session a week in which we get the heart rate over 120. You can walk in place, by home gym resistance bands, and an array of other things. I bet you can find a treadmill on Craigslist for cheap! Just Google "clothes rack."

I love to eat. - Yup, me too. I am just enjoying eating better, and less.

I do a lot of traveling for work and find it hard to stick to my weight loss plan. - It is not an easy task to eat out all the time, but many places I have stayed at had a refrigerator and a grocery store nearby. Once you learn how to eat, you can make smart choices.

I've heard that running puts me at risk for knee problems and arthritis later in life. LOL, that's BS. But you can try swimming, use the elliptical or riding a bike.

It's just one. - One breakfast muffin is equal to two 30 minute cardio sessions.

It's the holidays. - So?

I don't cook my own meals. - It's hard to control what others do. I make meal plans with my wife. We don't like all the same things. Communication helps, and filling up with a large snack before meals is also another option. If you eat half a bag of baby carrots, you are probably not going to chow down on the fried chicken.

Well, those are the ones that I used. How about you?

Thanks for the votes and comments, I very much appreciate them.

Advice to My Younger Self

When I came to MFP, I wanted to lose weight. When I had congestive heart failure (despite a few months of hard work), I wanted to be fit and run 5Ks. If you have read my blog at all, you know that I got cancer.

Disease changed my view of healthy and of fit.

If you haven't been sick, you don't know what it's like to get bad health news. The stages of grief start with shock, proceed to denial, and progress through anger, bargaining and depression.

And then there is the bargaining with God.

He and I are buddies, so it was a lot more about self-reflection. It wasn't really anyone else's fault (besides my parents who gave me bad genes and dressed me funny in grade school.)

I had to blame myself.

I was the one who smoked for a long time. I was the one who sat in a desk chair and rarely got up. I was the one who took every bite of food which made me obese. Sure, it snuck up on me in my 40s and tried to kill me in my 50s.

I had to stop making excuses and start a plan of action.

I am creature of habit, so I had to make some strict rules. Yes, I eased into the better eating over a few months. Well, until I ended up in the ICU. I had no idea what was actually good for me. I didn't know about Superfoods or the healthy crap that wasn't healthy. I was hoping for a quick fix and a fad diet.

Counting calories worked.

Today, I have a lot to be grateful for. I am also facing some big changes. Ruth and I have to move. Facing the end of our lease with no renewal was a shock. I still don't have cancer test results from last week. The work/life balance has been hard for us. We are looking at options.

For today, I just want be as healthy as I can.

I am pretty fit, could stand re-lose 10 pounds, and get faster for my marathon. If I had life to do over, I would have taken better care of myself.

The good news is that I feel pretty good, I am no longer depressed, and well, everything still works as intended.

I Am Never Eating Again

Many years ago a girl I was friends with in college, got sick. The doctor decided to run some standard blood tests on her. I have no idea what they were for. I'm guessing she had low standards. She also didn’t have a car, so I told her I could drive her to the lab.

I had ulterior motives.

I was hoping she would toss me a few bucks for gas and I could get a 6-pack to drink at band rehearsal that evening. As it turns out, she was terrified of needles. The phlebotomist apparently took her damn sweet time finding a vein. My friend fainted. The nurse asked me to come and wait for her to come to.

All this for a couple of bucks, I muttered to myself.

When she came out of it, she was sick to her stomach. They scooped her up and got her into the bathroom. I don’t know what happened in there, but she was pretty sick. Water was coming out from under the door. I guess she put paper towels in the toilet and flushed it.

For some reason, the staff, now busy with other patients, designated me to take care of her.

I just wanted beer and gas money. I eventually dropped her back at the girl’s dorm and drove home on fumes and went beer-less to band rehearsal.

I made the mistake of teasing her about it. We haven’t spoken since.

Why am I telling you this? Just keep reading. Yesterday I was in the hospital for an endorectal MRI (to see if my cancer has spread). If that makes your sphincter pucker, it should. Basically, it is a colonoscopy in an MRI tube.

For an hour!

I didn’t have a driver, so I couldn’t be sedated. That was my first mistake. The nurses get you changed into a Johnny which is probably named after one of my relatives. Fleet enema - I wanted to read the label and see which fleet is was named after. Then you get a shot of glucogen to shut off your bowels. Sort of like drinking coffee and taking qualudes at the same time. Then there is the i-n-s-e-r-t-i-o-n with lots of lubricant.

I don’t know about you, but I think it is a little unnatural.

Despite having a little anxiety, I was doing OK. I lay on my back while they clamped on the girdle to keep my man parts still. I was still doing OK. Then had one arm over my head, and one jammed against the side of the tube. Then they slid me all the way in.

If you have ever almost died, this is not the tunnel.

I have done it four times before, and as much as I didn’t like it then, I am used to it. Besides I had my new little friend in there. I had closed my eyes for the slide in. When I opened them - well I will be damned, the clay colored plastic is right there. I don’t know why this bothers me. I cover my head with the sheets to block the light on a sleep in Saturday. I love that.

This not so much.

I took a deep breath. And danged if I don’t have a freaking itch underneath the girdle that needs scratching now, not in an hour! In fact, I have one on my nose, too! I will say, I do feel safe with the emergency squeeze thingy in my left hand.

I got instructions from the radiologist.

"Don’t move." "It’s going to be noisy." "Sorry, no headphones or classic rock." "Don't move."

"Not a problem, you have me in a vise-grip." I said. I began to wonder where the microphone was. Then I thought, this is like sleeping. No. It. Is. Not. My inner voice said. I thought about being intimate with my wife - oh right, I am not supposed to move. Then I thought about being trapped for days in a building during an earthquake. (The last two thoughts are not related.) Then I thought, what if you were trapped and they find you - after you messed your pants - on TV? I am never eating again.

I breathed as normally as I could.

I thought about my friend who always falls asleep in the tube. Eff him. He's not my friend anymore. For 30 minutes the tube played it buzzing and clunking tune. I was just thinking I would make it, and my left arm fell asleep. I couldn't move it. I started fidgeting with my fingers.

I called them in and the put both arms over my head like a high diver.

I was more than half way through. Then they hit the IV pump to inject me with imaging dye. I imagined my veins filling in with concrete and my heart stopping. Buzz. Click. Click. Clunk. Went the machine. And then it happened. The karma bus came screeching into the tube! I was nauseous and in a sleight panic, squeezed the emergency alert grip.

They came in to save me.

"Are you OK, sir?" They rolled me on my side. I guess I had an allergic reaction to the dye. Something they had asked me on my pre-flight questionnaire. I am going to answer yes, next time. Sir,"are you ok?"

"Don't put paper towels in the toilet," I said.

2530 Days - What Changed?

I don't know what your plans were when you started using MFP. Mine were to lose weight, look good, eat chocolate, and run fast. After a while, that changed to find a sexy mate (and I did!).

It has been quite a journey in life.

My first year here I was recovering from congestive heart failure. It pretty much cost me everything. Despite the fear of death, financial hardship, and stress on personal relationships, I lost about 60 pounds.

I started running.

In year two I made a lot of mistakes. I injured my knee running and my shoulder doing Crossfit. Two surgeries later, I still kept losing, running (eff CrossFit), and learning about food.

Food portions (scale) and switching to Superfoods changed a lot for me.

From nearly 300 pounds, my weight fell to 197.3. I felt good. The more I ran, the bigger my legs got and my weight went up. Not a big deal, my waist went down and stayed down. My MFP friends remember me losing my pants in airport security, and cheering me on in my first 5K.

You cheered me on for my first 10K, and half marathon, too!

A few weeks before my first full marathon - just 938 days after my admission to the Framingham Heart Center, I was diagnosed with cancer. It scared me. I didn't feel ill, so it didn't really affect my running.

I ran the Cape Cod Marathon. I wrote a book. It's on Amazon.

Since then I have run 90 races; Ten were full marathons, five of those were world major marathons. I didn't know this until yesterday. There are only 3,800 runners in the world who have completed all 6 majors.

I am betting on Tokyo for 2019 to claim my 6-Star Abbott World Majors medal.

For me it's the Stanley Cup, the Super bowl, the World Series, and the Masters all at the same time. The old fat guy changed his lifestyle. Really, I changed my exercise and eating habits. I still weigh in once a week, pack my food in portion control tubs for work, make a weekly menu and shopping list, cook and prepare most of my meals, and get 30+ minutes of running in 5 or 6 days a week.

My old lifestyle put me close to death at 53.

I chose to live. I chose this community for support. I am grateful. Thank you.

Fitness and Running Related Run Ins

Making fitness friends is pretty important to living a fit life. I am pretty close with a few guys and gals I have met on MFP.
I am pretty selective, they had food. 

I have run marathons with two of my MFP friends and even stayed at others houses. If you hang around here, you'll meet some pretty great folks.

They are essential to success in this journey.

My close friend Tim (who I met at a local trail run) and I signed up for a Christmas 5K in Worcester, Massachusetts called the Jingle Run. We arrived early, parked, and went to the little expo to get our bibs. We then grabbed a coffee as we waited inside for the race to begin out in the cool cool rain (Who reference not by accident).

It was a pretty good day for a fast run.

As we were talking, a young gal name Dani came over and asked if I was David Johndrow. (This is not always something I like to admit in public). “I am.” I replied.

I don't really have fame, and you don't want to know why my name was in the newspaper.

She turned to another woman she was with. “Hey Sandy, it really is him.” She turned back towards me and said, “She’s starstruck.”

Sandy made her way over. She told me how she had viewed my Kickstarter video for my first book. She had kind of a strange smirk. I am not all that socially adept, however, I decided it was probably good if she was starstruck.

“How did you hear about my book?” I inquired.

“Someone posted a link to the YouTube video in a Facebook running group,” Sandy replied.

“Oh yes, I have some shills in a couple of groups,” I replied.

“You were pretty funny.” She said.

I smiled. Then it dawned on me; Sandy had asked a question of the Facebook group the day before. What do the woman do for leaks when they run. She had posted: “I have had a couple of kids, and I leak when I run.” After I realized she was the one who had written that thread, I couldn’t even look at her. All I could think of was that I hope I don’t have to run behind her in a few minutes. It’s one of the few races that I beat her in. I mean she was still smoking cigarettes back then.

Sandy, Tim, and I became sole mates. We’ve met up at a number of races over the past few years. We have done training runs and met at some big city marathons.

Make some friends. Your journey will get easier.

Experiencing the Treadmill

One cold afternoon as the wind drifted the snow outside, three dozen of us lined up on our treadmills beneath four large flat screen TVs. It was like a scene out of Clockwork Orange. As the miles wore on, Ellen, Olivia from Law and Order, Pat Summerall, and CNN’s Wolf Blitzer lip-synched to “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath in my headphones. I was enjoying my back row view as I thought about finally graduating from the C25K program. I was a little bit proud of myself as I ran along at 6.2 miles per hour.

I dreamed of one day pushing it to the maximum of twelve!

The tread hummed along circulating on unseen rollers beneath my feet. As the music played, I tried my best to discreetly pass a little gas and headed to the two-mile mark. With so many people in that small space, who would know from whence it might have come? A woman came and took the treadmill next to mine. She fiddled with her water bottle and car keys. From the corner of my eye, I saw her pushing every button but the green one to start the machine. Gym rules are strange, they don’t allow talking, especially to members with headphones on, of which I was one. Then she started to bang on the control panel loudly enough where I could tell she was becoming frustrated. Because of the no talking rule, I pretended not to notice. Furiously pushing buttons and banging on the machine, but not one of the sheeple came to her aid. Finally, I realized that it was my mission in life to hit the quick start button for her. Popping out my right headphone, I asked, “Do you need some help?”

“Do I look like I know what I am doing?” she snapped.

Oh my God, this is a trick question for which there is no right answer. Instead of talking, I reached over and pushed the green button. At that very moment I stepped on the side rail of my treadmill, my headphone cord wrapped itself around the handrail. Off the end of the spinning deck, I went at 6.2 miles per hour, my body slamming the wall behind me. My glasses flew onto the belt, firing them back at mach ten (a mere 7672.69 miles per hour), impaling my left shoulder. The woman turned to see what happened as I was writing on the floor in pain. As she turned, she too lost her footing. Like the game “Mousetrap”, her stupid water bottle came crashing down, dislodging the cover and creating a momentary lawn sprinkler as the tread continued to spin.

The runner on the other side of me calmly switched off both treadmills, grabbing her soggy People magazine, she left in a huff.

I too decided that it was best to leave. As the silent TVs flashed above the scene like the many marquises of Times Square at night, I put my headphone back in to make sure no one talked to me and slipped out the back exit.

A few paragraphs from my new book.

The Vacation Weight Loss Plan Trick

Well, I stepped on to the scale expecting to use some of my best French, and boom, down over a pound! I don't know what that is in the UK, a stone -  a couple of rocks - whatever.

Not too shabby after being on a two-week-food-filled cruise in the Mediterranean.

So how did I do this magic trick? Well, magicians usually don't give up their secrets, but today I will break that rule.

Watch carefully.

In case you missed it, here is how I did it. 
- We only had three meals a day. It's easy to hit the canteen/buffet and get two burgers with fries and a beer. Seconds and thirds are no problem. It was open all the my waking hours. That's a lot of food.
- We only took one plate at the buffet. It was a mix of protein and veggies. I still only had one slice of bacon pizza. That was painful!
- I ate breakfast with one or two eggs, some breakfast meat (love rashers!), beans, and sometimes fruit. I went easy on the French pastries and bread - well, not in Marseille. OMG!
- On most days we were out touring on shore excursions. Lunch was light or we just had some snacks we grabbed at the buffet. I did have a chocolate croissant in Valencia. Otherwise we came back and had a light lunch on a small salad plate.
- We drank espresso in those little sample cups. Cute.
- I faked an Italian accent using my Portuguese to talk to shop clerks. Sort of like sleight of hand.
- For dinner we just ate the three-course meal. I had a non-alcoholic beer and my wife a glass of wine. Yes there was desert. I ate that too. All the portions were pretty small. I did have seconds of the lamb. My bread consumption was a small piece of fresh baked focaccia with real Italian olive oil!
- I ran on deck four times in 10 days. Usually 3 to 6 miles. Ruth and I had a wonderful run with Jo at her weekly Park Run near London. In Palma de Mallorca, Spain we ran 10K along the path next to the boat docks to the cathedral in town. Glorious!
- I smiled at the smokers on my deck runs.
- We walked a lot! Most of our excursions (11 in all) were about 10,000 steps. That is at least a piece of bread and a bottle of Buckler. I don't know what Romans do in Rome, but we walked 20,000 steps. It was my favorite city.
- I found a well engaged couple on the main deck one night.
- I ran the London Marathon. That was 52,000 steps.
- I relaxed, sat in the hot tub and did a little reading and some social media.

My total steps for my two week vacation were 200,000. My food consumption was pretty much what I would do at home.

And that's the trick.

Oh, for those of you who supported my London Run, thank you!

I Beat the Rhino - London 2018

This almost 60-year-old headed for Europe earlier this month. Marathon runners need to taper (rest) for a few weeks before a big race. I decided the best way to do that would be do a lot of walking and a little running.

My wife and I decided on a cruise for our honeymoon.

It was 10 days, 9 of them taking walking tours of various cities in England, Spain, France and Italy. This trip was a dream come true for us. The name of these countries were written down on various slips of paper in our dream jar a few years ago.

I wrote in my first book, "Follow your dreams, they know the way."

When you have had a significant illness, you begin to realize you may not have a someday. For me, I started living life right NOW. Congestive heart failure got my attention in 2011. I started taking vacations and spending more time with the people I love. Then I was diagnosed with cancer the first time, and the second time, and the third time, and the forth time. Sobering.

My pile of life-long dreams seemed to disappear before my very eyes.

When my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, she immediately booked two weeks in Europe, came home from her trip, and never left the house again.

I had fitness dreams, too.

I wanted to run a marathon in every US state and one on every continent. Antarctica is a balmy 40 below zero in C and F. I would have done it. The Great Wall of China has a marathon too.

57 marathons was all I wanted out of life - and airfare and money for hotels. :)

I didn't run any marathons in 2016. I was too ill and had a number of small surgeries. In fact, three surgeries in one week. I missed San Francisco and Dublin. Once because of my first melanoma surgery, and once because I was too sick to run more than 8 miles.

I never made it to Cardiff, Wales to run the half there with my MFP friend, either.

The road to London was tough on me. I ran Berlin in September of 2017. It wasn't my best, but it wasn't my worst either. It was supposed to be a solid base for London. Sadly, I broke my leg in October and sat out 9 weeks.

I fell and ended up in the ER during my 11 mile run in January.

Fast forward to race day. It was hot, very hot for me. At the start, it was about 70 (around 20C) in the shade, for which there was none. I made small talk with Colleen in the starting corral. I was finally off and running by 10:45 am. The sun beat down, and there was no water at the start, or even on the course for over 3 miles! When I finally got some at the first stop, it was in a plastic bottle which I ended up having to carry to the next stop.

I was trying to connect with my wife and best friend, Tim. I missed them at the 10K mark by just a few minutes. There I passed the guy wearing a rhino costume. It must have been hot as hell in there, I thought.

By the time I got to 10 miles, I realized I wasn't going to even meet my goal of beating my time in Berlin.

I cried. I was feeling sorry for myself.

I pressed on in the relentless heat. At mile 11 my MFP friend Jo was on the sidewalk. I got a hug and kept going. I cried some more. I was just too hot. I had a number of summer training runs getting ready for Berlin. At least there was some shade in August. I started altering my course to walk a few hundred feet in the shade whenever there was some.

The guy wearing a rhino costume passed me.

I was looking for some Gatorade at the drink stations and there was none. They had some other stuff (Lucozade) which was just plain awful. It's no wonder the Brits aren't well known for their cuisine. I mean, have you ever heard someone say let's get some English? No, let's get Italian, French, Chinese, Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese, or Sushi.

Never English. ;)

The miles pressed on. I walked more and ran less. It was hot. Repeat at mile 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18... I passed the rhino. I couldn't eat. There was no way I could replenish my hydration and electrolytes. I took almost 7 teaspoons of salt and a dozen candies along the course. I had had no food since my single fried egg and croissant at breakfast.

There were some folks holding a sign. "God loves you, run the race set before you." It was my promise.

At mile 18, there was a tap on my shoulder. It was Colleen who I had met in the starting corral. She had been sick and throwing up. We walked a while. The guy wearing the rhino costume passed me. I needed to get back to running. My wife and Tim were at the 35K marker.

I got a kiss and an I love you from Ruth, and a high-five from Tim.

Off I went, fighting the heat, leg cramps, hunger, and exhaustion. I pressed on. At 38K I was at least feeling like I might make it to the end. I didn't even look at my watch. I joined the throngs of overheated walkers.

Colleen pulled along side again. We just decided to finish it together.

We didn't really talk. We just put one foot in front of the other. 39K - my team captain gave me a hug and took a photo, 40K, 41K, 42K. Finally, we were near the Royal Palace.

I took off my hat, racing to the finish, I passed the rhino. I needed a good picture!

I crossed the finish line of my 5th world major! I got my medal, a couple of pictures, and a few sips of much needed water. I wished Colleen well and she went off to meet her husband, and me, my wife, Tim and Jo.

I was done!

As I was texting my wife to let her know where I was, I dropped to one knee. I felt nauseous and dizzy. I sat there and waited for them for a few minutes. I managed to get upright for a picture or two.

That's when my wife called a medic for me.

The medic gave me a sick bag shaped like a horse condom. They helped me off to a stretcher. There were 3 doctors who attended to me. I got some ice, and then they put bags of ice under my arms.

"My armpits are dripping," I proclaimed.

My feet were elevated and who knows what else was happening. They took my blood pressure and checked my blood sugar.

Soon I felt better.

"How are you feeling?" asked one of the doctors.

"I beat the rhino."

Getting Serious, 7 Years Later

When I first logged onto MFP we didn't even have a LIKE button. If we thought you did a great job, we commented WTG. Under Armor was only a retailer of orgasmic compression gear.

There wasn't even a crappy MFP app back then.

Last week we found out that we have been hacked and all our food diaries are up for sale with various internal organs on the black market. I have a handful of friends I met way back then. Bobby D, John W, Dan E, Cami from CO, and Sean the Enforcer - oh, and Dootzy and Bill, Ken L. and Alicia, Emily D, JMN, Hoppymom, Navygunner, and Annabelle from AZ.

I am sure there are more who have been on the journey with me. If you have a copy of my book, you were here over 3 years ago.

So, I guess you are wondering what I have accomplished since I first logged on? On April 4th, 2011 I had congestive heart failure. I was in ICU for week. I weighed 267 when I went in, and 244 not long after I came out.

When I got home, I just cried.

I was scared, well medicated, and obese. All of that was my doing. I had to make a choice about my health. No more putting it off. No more excuses. No more blaming others. No more feeling sorry for myself.

None of that would do if I was going to live.

I signed up for the gym, got registered for a weight loss class, which I went to twice a week. I learned about nutrition, exercise, and here, I learned about calorie counting.

I hated it. But I did it.

I began writing a blog to manage my emotions. The heart trauma left me scared. The truth was I didn't know what was going to happen next. I wore a heart monitor all the time, weighed in and took my blood pressure twice a day, and digitally answered questions about my medication.

The insurance company wanted me dead or well, but not sucking away their precious profits.

Sunday, June 12, 2011, I started my logging journey on MFP. I haven't missed logging on since then. I had to take control. I just couldn't sit there feeling tired, depressed, fat, and miserable. I started three 30 minute workouts a week - ok, I started running marathons and it was a lot more.

I was time to make a commitment and own my choices.

I have seen a lot of people come and go here. Some of them come back. Sadly, some have died. Yeah. Dead. If you don't want to be fit, that's your choice. Or maybe I should say, if you don't want to work at this, there is nothing I can do to help.

Today I am blessed to have had a second chance at life.

My wife has a co-worker who suffered a heart attack over the weekend. He is 41. Taking care of yourself can be serious very quickly. There are no guarantees. Today is a good day start the journey.

Make a commitment. Make some friends. Get going.
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