Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Sure. I admit it. One reason to take the challenge is to change the way I look and the fact that I don't like the way my body appears is prime motivation for change.

One fine morning, as happens to all guys sooner or later, I woke up and found my father staring back at me through the bathroom mirror.

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Now...don't get me wrong....I love my Dad. He's the greatest man I know and I can't think of anything that would make me prouder than to be compared to him in any way. Yet my Dad was overweight most of his adult life. Also being a southerner, he was prone (as I) to loving any food that came out of a frying pan. Lotsa meat, lotsa fat, lotsa salt, and all topped off with lotsa sugary iced tea and desserts. As a result, he developed diabetes and struggles with a variety of health issues that have put a damper on his retirement years; a time when he should be enjoying to the fullest all the things he had to put off in order to raise a family.

Thanks to a careful management of his diet, my Dad has now recovered a great deal of functionality. In fact, one could say that the onset of diabetes may have extended his life several years by forcing him to start taking care of himself.

My Dad was lucky. He dodged the bullet.

I don't want to press my luck like that. I have the realization that time is running out for me. I don't believe there are too many more days left before I pass a point of no return in obtaining good health.

So....vanity? Yeah. We all want to look attractive. Muscle is much more pleasant a sight than flab. But there is an even more selfish reason I want to transform.

I don't want to die.

At least not for a couple of decades and certainly not by wasting away in a broken down body.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Role Model

This guy goes by the handle Seansymons over at YouTube....and, I gotta tell ya, he is my hero. I'm somewhat jealous of his enormous talent in editing and getting across the struggles of guys trying to lose weight and build some muscle. No matter. It just inspires me to do better...and to do this challenge.

June 4th ---- Start Date

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Fad Diets

It's a scam....really.

Diets, I mean.

There is the simple hard truth that, of all the jillions of diet schemes that come along, none of them really work. Statistics show time and time again that people can lose weight on just about anything. But, after a few months, it all starts creeping back to the waistline. There's low fat diets, high fat diets, fruit diets, vegetable diets, meat diets, liquid diets, diets from movie stars, diets from doctors, even diets designed around fast food joints featuring spokespersons who claim to have lost weight by eating their greasy slop every day. And then there are the magic diet pills that claim you can lose massive amounts of weight and put on extreme muscle by popping some obscure herbal capsule.

It doesn't work. Yet, people (me included) can't throw money at them fast enough...because...well, because we don't like looking like a lumpy sack of taters.

I read the endless reports on the failure of this diet and that diet and see a common theme; no exercise. It seems that losing weight is really easy and you can do it eating anything, just eat less. The trick is to put on some muscle, to change your physiology so that your body burns fuel rather than store it.

That's why I keep coming back to Body for Life. It's a sane approach and I believe it is the only one that will work, and keep working for the long haul. No special foods, the concept is portion control. Lower fat but not eliminated. Well balanced between protein and carbs. The only prohibition to what I would call absolute junk food is to indulge for one day of the week.

And....and....exercise. Weight lifting, to be exact. No way around it.

Oh sure, EAS is a big company that runs the BFL challenge, and EAS is in the business of selling supplements. Certainly the reason that they have the challenge is to get people to buy their stuff and claim that their products are what did the trick. That's okay. EAS does have some good products and they probably do help folks achieve their weight loss goals. Still....they never claim that just ingesting their products will magically transform your body. It all centers around hard work. I mean hard. Not strolling on a treadmill for an hour or two, but intensive exercise nearly every day that forces your body to build muscle and burn fat. In my opinion, Bill Phillips revolutionized the weight loss game years ago when he came up with the Body for Life concept.

Anybody can be fit and healthy. Without magic, without pills, without extreme food plans.

In this culture, we eat bad and we live bad. To change the way we look we must change the habits that got us here in the first place.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Feeding the Nicotine Monkey

It's been said that cigarette addiction is one of the hardest to break; harder than alcohol, heroin, or crack.

I dunno. I guess it depends on perspective.

Certainly, the more traditionally addictive drugs have more obvious affects on your life. Alcohol has ruined many a million and laid waste their families. Likewise with crack, heroin, or meth...drugs that not only can ravage your health but eventually make you lose everything; job, friends, family, self-respect, freedom. These are clear-cut, but's got special problems.

For one, it's legal. Not only legal but sold in just about every store in the country. It's cheap (relatively). It's easy to use. While not exactly socially acceptable anymore, being a smoker doesn't endanger your job or your relationships. This is what makes kicking the nicotine addiction so difficult.

In traditional addiction treatment a person goes into some type of facility, typically 28 days, and focuses their entire day-to-day life on recovery from the addiction. They stop using the drug...cold....and suffer the withdrawal in isolation from the real world. They detox, and since detoxing pretty much precludes performing any other daily duties, the treatment facility allows an addict to suspend everything else in their life to concentrate on recovery. It doesn't always work, but it's the best method around. Judges will order people to go into treatment. Employers will even pay for it sometimes. Even the state will provide it if there is no insurance.

But cigarette addiction? You're on your own, baby.

All my training in addiction counseling tells me that the one sure fire way of getting over an addiction is to stop using the drug you are addicted to....but I still have to I have to go the riskier route of tapering off while adjusting my behavior. Thus, I go for the nicotine replacement like offered in these lozenges....
....which don't work worth a crap for me. The down side of these little things are that you can't eat or drink 15 minutes before or after having one and they take about an half hour to dissolve in your mouth. I suppose that this does help me from munching on snacks rather than smoking, but the real downside is that I always have a choice when thinking about popping one of these things in my mouth. Do I suck on one of these vile pills or do I have a cigarette? I guarantee, during a stressful time of the day when I am really craving a shot of nicotine...I'll probably opt for a cig.

So, I got some of these......
...which, though they only deliver a small stream of nicotine through the day rather than the instant hit my brain craves, has the advantage of giving me that nicotine no matter what I'm doing. It also has the unintended advantage of making you as sick as a dog if you decide to cheat and start smoking while you are wearing the patch. For me...that reduces the temptation of buying a pack when the day gets especially rough.

We'll see.

Monday, May 07, 2007


This not smoking sucks. I'm at work and feel like taking somebody's head off.

Note to myself.....nicotine lozenges don't work work a damn.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

It Begins

If you've been here before, you might notice that I've changed the appearance of this blog a bit. A dab of color here, straighten up some lines there, and I've taken away all the old posts.

I'm starting fresh.

....but first, a little history about myself.

I'm a guy who is dealing with what a lot of people my age face these days. I work, pay my bills, watched my children grow up and have lives of their own, had relationships, lost relationships, had them again. I also am out of shape, overweight, and am a prime candidate for dying in the next decade.

I'm 49. I'm not athletic. I'm not a healthy eater. I've spent my adult life pretty much abusing and neglecting my body. Now... in my youth...this didn't matter so much. A young body can absorb a great deal and still function well. But, just like any piece of machinery, there is only so far you can go without proper maintenance. This is my mid-life crisis; get in shape now or never.

So this is my goal, my over-riding purpose for the next few months. I turn fifty years old on August 30th. That's less than four months from now. I plan to do this in several ways. The most important is to quit smoking once and all forever at midnight tonight. Another way is to begin a Body for Life Challenge (and I'll talk a lot more about that in the future). I plan to begin the challenge on June 4th. This is my daughter's birthday and will let me finish in 12 weeks just short of my own birthday.

Until then, I will be working on becoming a non-smoker and get my fitness level up to a point where I won't have a heart-attack when I begin exercising in earnest.

Fit by fifty!