Tuesday, September 29, 2015

To Paleo or not to Paleo....

Time certainly flies when one is busy with work and home life.  I can't believe I haven't posted in almost a month.  Time to address that.

I have been doing a good deal of reading and research on a new, old way of eating frequently referred to as the Paleo Diet.  The basic premise of this way of eating is that as homo sapiens, we evolved to process certain foods based upon what we were eating.  For thousands of years, what we had available for foods were lean proteins, fruits and nuts, and vegetables.  that's it.  There wasn't anything refined or ground or made into something else.

If you think about it, this means that to survive and thrive, our bodies adapted to these available foods and utilized them to the fullest.  Our complex system of energy production evolved to prefer these types of foods.  Obesity and type 2 diabetes were rare.  Of course the fact that there wasn't a lot of sitting around back then due to the needs of being hunter gatherers didn't hurt, either.

We even did fairly well with some refined foods for the last few thousand years because life still required a fair amount of physical labor.  then came the industrial and technological revolutions and suddenly we have people (like me) spending countless hours a day, basically immobile, doing very little physical movement.  Add to the refined foods and sugars in abundance and its no wonder we have an obesity epidemic in this country.

The anecdotal proof is hard to deny.  As the physical demands of life have decreased and the abundance of processed, sugary foods has increased, the obesity rate has gone through the roof. Not only in this country but other developed nations as well. To see this shift to not physical work and its effect on health, just look at China.  As their economy and lifestyles evolve to match those of the west, the incidence of obesity and type 2 diabetes is skyrocketing.  Several articles have indicated that the rate of those with the disease has almost doubled in the last 10 years.

With all of this in mind, I am going to start following a Paleo approach to my eating.  I will focus on vegetables and fruits, eat lean protein, limit my dairy and cheese and virtually eliminate refined foods from my diet.  No more breads and pasta.  Much less regular potatoes.  No refined sugars.  I am also planning on moving more, getting up and walking at least once per hour.  I feel this will have a very positive impact on my health and my weight.

To monitor all of this I am making an appointment to see my doctor in a couple of weeks, during which I am sure he will be ordering blood work.  this will be a starting point for me and I hope that in 6 months, when he repeats the same blood work, it will show some significant improvements.

As of today, my current weight is 456 lbs.  That is up from this same time last year, but its not my highest weight.  that was about 2 years ago when I hit 480.  I don't plan on getting there, ever again. I don't have specific weight loss targets.  I am simply going to monitor my weight as an indicator as to how well my body is responding to the new eating and movement plan.

Along the way I am planning on getting back on my bike to add in more movement and exercise.  Its about time since its been several months since I last rode.

Get on your bike and ride!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Gotta move...

Read an awesome article over at Nerd Fitness on getting ourselves moving:


I certainly agree that we are built to move and not to sito n our behinds in front of the computer, dining table or TV all day and night.

Now to just get myself moving more...

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

This is the new beginning

Its hard to believe I've been posting on here for as long as I have - since April of 2010 and I really have not posted a selfie.  As I am reading through many different blogs, books and other information on making life changes, I've come across the idea that you can't map out a course to where you want to be unless you know where you are starting from. This idea, which should be obvious, has struck me as an 'AHA' type moment.  With that in mind I have taken a couple of pictures of myself to post here as before pictures.

Now these are not the usual, shirt off, wearing shorts, before pictures - I'm reserving those shot for a true before and after comparison, but these are shots showing where I am at right now. I didn't intentionally have the flash obscure me, but what the heck - it seems like a cool effect:


This is my starting point and I hope the last time I will ever be this big.

On a different note, it looks like I am going to get pretty decent at climbing on my bike.  It seems that the new area of the valley I moved to is not flat.  At all.  I was driving around the last few days noticing that there is literally no road within 3 or 4 miles that is not on a grade of 2% to 8%. Time to make sure the bike is shifting correctly and get out and use those gears!  Watch for some more posts showing the new riding area.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Little Decisions are the key

It's been a couple of months since I've posted anything and I apologize for that.  Seems like there hasn't been much to write about.  Hopefully today marks a change in that I am, once again, getting serious about getting healthy.  Seems like its time for a new beginning as we are moving in the next couple of days.  I see this as an opportunity for  new focus and a new beginning.

I find that I'm great at making big decisions.  I take my time, weigh out the pros and cons and eventually come up with what is usually the right decision.  Little decisions are my Achilles's heel. It seems the smaller the decision, the less likely I am to make a good one and this eventually affects everything else.

I can make a big decision to 'get healthier and lose weight.'  Simple, I know what I should do and can map out a plan for getting where I need to be. Then there comes the day to day, minute to minute execution of that plan. In general I am usually pretty good following a plan. OK, mostly. I tend to make a great start but my follow through suffers over time.  That's where those little decisions come in. Little decisions like, "should I eat one or two of these?" or "one more piece of ________ can't hurt, can it?"

Yes, it can hurt.  See once I give in to a temptation or mae the wrong decision, it just seems to snowball and spiral out of control.  Since I did X then Y won't matter. and the justifications begin and the plan is off the rails and out of control.

For me, I need to stay vigilant and on a strict regimen in order to stay on track. I am too easily side tracked when I allow myself too much choice - too much leeway.  Most books and articles I read say that in order to make lasting changes they should be done gradually and not be too drastic at any given pint, but that doesn't work for me.  It seems that if I make those small changes I lose focus and get off track.

So, starting today I'm getting my focus back and eating how I know I should - following what is essentially the Paleo Diet.  Ok, I hate the word diet but it allows me to stay focused and make better little choices in order to support the big changes I need to make in order to get healthy.

Part of my choice for the paleo diet is from a resource I found called Nerd Fitness. (http://www.nerdfitness.com)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Caution is the word of the day.

I have to say that the current rash of cycling accidents has given me pause.  I have been working on riding more consistently but I'm rethinking routes and timing again.  This is after multiple crashes here in the valley just last week.  By my count 3 cyclists were killed and 2 or 3 others seriously injured in less than a week.  and those are just the ones that made the news.

One of those injured was my next door neighbor who was riding his bike about a half mile from the house. I don't have all the details but it appears the car shot across a busy street right in front of him and he hit her car.  He spent a few day in the hospital with a concussion and is fortunately expected to make a full recovery.

All of these crashes once again have me thinking about the safety of riding on the roads in this area.  unfortunately there are not protected bike paths anywhere near my house. I know that if I had a nice path near the house I would definitely be inclined to bike more often as it would feel safer. I am hoping there will be more paths in the area to which we will be moving by the end of summer.

One of the contributing factors that make me less apt to ride with traffic are the speed limits around here. One of the roads I frequent, in fact the one on which my neighbor was hit, has a speed limit of 45 mph.  That means the cars are typically doing 55 to 60 mph.  This just isn't safe with the number of side streets into various subdivisions.  Everyone is in such a hurry and there are multiple crashes on this road each month.

So, my concerns with safety and my trip out of state have curtailed my recent riding adventures.  Next week it may be the heat keeping me to shorter rides as we are heading close to 110 by Monday and staying in the 100+ range for the foreseeable future.  I do want to and plan to ride, but I am being extra cognizant of what is happening all around me.

I still say Get on your bikes and ride, but do it safely!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The wonders of technology

Technology is a wonderful thing. We have so many devices around us that work, essentially, flawlessly that we take them for granted.  Case in point. I have a Garmin Forerunner 305 that I purchased when I was training for my first ever triathlon back in 2010.  It is almost 5 years old at this point. Except for the one or two times I've screwed up hitting buttons incorrectly, it has performed essentially flawlessly for me.

It dutifully records my time, distance and actual track that I take when I do my rides.  I can then, through the wonders of that same technology we take for granted, upload and share that information with the world through sites like Daily Mile, Map My Ride and Strava.  I can also participate in a monumental group ride of sorts like the National Bike Challenge.

Now, like I said, this is something that we take for granted.  I put my Garmin in the cradle, plug it into my computer and magically it uploads the data for me.

This morning it has let me down.  I uploaded the data from my ride and while it does show the time and distance of my ride, that real wonder, the actual track of the ride is blank. No matter what I do it appears that the track file on the device has been corrupted and therefore is unusable for any of the applications that I link it with.

Now, I never believe that something isn't going to work the first time it doesn't.  I've tried deleting and re-importing the data from the device but to no avail.  I've tried loading it directly to various sites, including Garmin Connect, but again no luck.

This leaves me with what feels like an emptiness, a hole in my training.  Up to this point I had this nice, what I felt was essentially complete record of my rides and now it feels like its ruined.

OK, its not that bad.  When put in perspective it means nothing that I don't have the actual track I rode for a training ride around essentially the same course that I've ridden hundreds of time previously.

I do hope that this is but a singular glitch and will reset and clear out the Garmin in preparation for my next ride.

Get on your bike and ride!!!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Rolling right along

Got up at 4:00 am again this morning to get in another ride before work. It was ride number 11 for the National Bike challenge.  I've not gotten in as many rides as I had hoped so far this year, but I have increased the average distance of the rides.  So far this year my average is right at 5 miles per ride.  Not bad and not good.

Well, this morning's ride was challenging as the winds were out of the southwest at 17 gusting to 28 mph.  The direction meant that as I was going up the slight uphill I was not only fighting gravity but the wind too. I'm guessing based on my perceived effort that it cost me about 1 mph on the uphill. Of course you would hope that would mean an increase on the downhill, but it was more of a cross wind and blocked by houses and a wall. Here's the map from strava:

This morning's ride was also challenging due to an idiot in his little white car.  On my first lap, at the end of the block, on the short street (Mercer see the little bump in the lower left on the map above), I noticed a car in the driveway of a house with a woman leaning in through the open passenger door.  The car was running with the lights on.  No big deal.

After I made the 2 turns and headed up Quarterhorse towards Pebble, I heard an engine racing and the whit car came flying by doing about 60 in the 35 mph zone.  He passed me with a good bit of room so it was no big deal.  he got to the stop sign and merely slow as he took the corner.  When I finally made the corner and looked he was already approaching Durango (about 3/4 of a mile away) with his right signal on.  He must have been flying down Pebble which has a 45 mph speed limit.  I thought little more about it as I made my way around the rest of my loop.

As I got to the end of the block again, I saw the woman standing in the street looking away from me in the direction the car had traveled.  As I didn't want to startle her, I moved towards the center of the street. As I was passing her, I heard an engine and saw headlights turning onto Westchester and come flying around the corner.  I moved to the left side of the street, next to the parked cars and the car passed about a foot to my right.  He probably wasn't even paying attention to what was in front of him. I'm glad I was defensive and had moved to the right or he would have run me down.

I shouted that people shouldn't drive if they were idiots, or something to that effect and kept going on my way.  I had thought about stopping and letting the driver know just what an idiot he was, but figured he was likely drunk, it seeming like they were coming home from a late night since it was 4:20 in the morning. My common sense and discretion prevailed and I just kept riding, thinking to myself lots of nasty things I would like to say to the driver.

It figures that there were only 2 cars that passed me this morning on my ride and one of the two was a total idiot.  Anyway, when I next passed the house the car was gone and there was no one outside.  My guess was that they were dropping the woman off and needed to run to the store to get her something. Th irony is that I ride in the early morning to try and avoid the idiots on the road but it seems they still find a way to find me. :)

Other than that it was a good ride and I enjoyed myself.

So, get on your bike and ride!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tires make a difference

Got my new tires in the other day and finally have the rear changed and it made a very noticeable difference.  Gone was the very pronounced wobble with every rotation of my rear wheel.  The ride was nice and smooth.  One other difference was an increase in rolling resistance. For most cyclists the increase would be minimal, but since I am well above average in the stress on the bike department due to my size, it was definitely noticeable to me.

My normal training route takes me around the same roughly one mile loop several times, so I've gotten to know the route quite well and the amount of effort it takes to ride it.  I can usually predict within a few seconds what my lap times will be based upon how it feels that morning.  this morning, with the new tire installed I felt significantly slower and my times bear this out.

A week ago, I completed 3 loops of my "one block" segment with times ranging from 4:16 to 4:23. My top speed was 20.6 mph.  This morning, on the same segment, in very similar conditions, my times were 4:45 to 4:54 and a top speed of 19.7 mph. I felt the increased work I had to do and my times proved me out.

The increased resistance is likely due to the fact that the new tires have a max. pressure of 75 PSI as opposed to the max of 84 PSI on the old Michelin tire.  9 PSI may not sound like a lot, but it definitely gives a smoother, softer ride. The trade off it it takes more work to get the tire rolling.

Now, it may sound like I'm complaining, but I'm not.  I'm just noticing that I won't be setting any KOM's any time soon.  I need to work harder, to get faster and lose some of this weight before the KOM's once again fall. :)

Get on your bikes and ride!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

User Error

Got up at 4:00 am again this morning to go for my ride.  I had checked out my rear tire again last night and it needs replacing.  There is a pronounced wiggle to it.  It appears to be "throwing a belt" in one spot where it is off center about 1/8".  Not a huge amount but very noticeable and I believe indicative off an impending total failure if I put too much stress on it, like cornering at speed.

I didn't want to not ride this morning as I wait for a new tire to arrive, so I decided to do some easy laps around the block.  I grabbed my Garmin, headed out and got ready to ride.  Once the Garmin had acquired the satellite signal, I hit the start button and heard a peculiar beep.  It was a combination of the high and the low beep the Garmin makes when it starts and stops recording the ride.

I headed out and started making some gentle laps around the block.  About 6 laps in, I decided to check my time as I was curious what my pace was taking it easy.  I was dismayed to see 00:00:00 on it.  It seems the peculiar beep was because I had double tapped the button when I started it, thereby immediately turning it off.  I hit the button to start it and verified it was, in fact, running.

I completed another 6 laps and called it a morning.  Looking at my Strava, it shows that I started the ride at 4:10 but only had moving time of 14:28 and a distance of 2.84 miles. The elapsed time, however, was 29:35. It was obviously user error.

Oh well.  I know I went the distance and my health will benefit from it, even if there is no record of the true distance. :)

As for the tire, while the tread is not overly worn, you have to figure I have stressed the tire much more than a normal rider would due to my weight.  Looking at the rides I've done since I put those tires on the bike in 2013, I've got over 1200 miles on the tires and I figure that's worth about twice that for an average rider. The other thing I noticed on close inspection of the tire, is that the ride half is noticeable worn more than the left half. The reason for this is that the vast majority of the turns I make on the bike, especially at speed, are right turns so it makes sense.

I hope you can get on your bike and ride!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Issue Not Solved

As I mentioned yesterday I had an issue developing with my bike which I attempted to rectify last night.  I needed to do a bit of maintenance anyway, so I changed my clothes and headed to the garage after dinner.

My first order of business was to replace the front tube.  Fortunately I have a couple of tubes here that I purchased as back-ups so I wouldn't have to run to the store if I was ever in need.  Unfortunately the valve length on the one I choose was a bit shorter than what I had on the bike.  My wheels are very deep V in order to provide more strength and shorter valves just don't work. I believe I had 75 mm valves on the bike and the one I was replacing it with was only 45 mm. It was barely long enough.

I installed the new tube and paid particular attention to how true the tire was within in the wheel.  I've had issues before where I've not seated the tire properly and had the tube blow out on me.  Once I was assured it was evenly mounted, I inflated it to the recommended max of 84 psi and put it back on my bike.

Next I wanted to make sure it was true so I gave it a few fast spins and the front tire looked great.  I checked all of the spokes to make sure none were loose and it was good.

Then I turned my attention to my rear wheel.  I gave the pedals a few spins and notice a slight imperfection in the tire as it went around.  It wasn't much but I could see it.  I slowly applied the brakes to see if I could isolate the spot. the wasn't any real high spot as the distance from the pads to the wheel never varied.  I was able to find the spot and it appears to be a slight imperfection in the rear tire itself.  It wasn't seated quite right in that spot.

I let out some air and tried to make sure the tire was seated properly on the rim.  There is a reflective whitewall on my tires that I tried to make sure was evenly spaced around the rim.  I seemed to have taken care of the issue, but checked the spokes, just to make sure and one seemed slightly loose to me in the same area of the wheel. I tightened it up a bit and gave it a spin. Things seemed to be better so I cleaned up and went in.

This morning I went for another 4:00 am ride and it seemed that the bike was indeed better, at least at first.  As the ride progressed, however the thumping and slight wobble came back and seemed to get worse the farther I rode. It became very noticeable by the time I headed back in after 6 miles.  So, tonight I need to look at the rear wheel again and I think I may need to change the rear tire.

Get on your bike and ride!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Biking is cool

And I don't mean just cool as in way cool, but cool as in temperature.  This morning I got up again at 4:00 am to get out for my ride.  I noticed it was a bit cool in the house so I opted for my long sleeve jersey instead of my t-shirt that I have been riding in. I got to the garage and checked my tire pressure to find my front tire down to less than 20 lbs.  That is not a good thing when yesterday I had topped it off at 84 lbs.

I managed to pump it back up and close the valve with no audible hissing so it seemed good to go. The inner part of the valve appears to be bent but it looks like it holds the air in.  I'll need to replace the tube, though, as I don't trust it.

I opened the garage and immediately felt the temperature difference. It rained here in Las Vegas yesterday and there was actually humidity in the air, which combined with the cool 51 degree temperature made it feel almost cold. OK, I don't want to hear about true cold from you northerners, I know how cold it can get, but for here, it was cold. Add to that riding at up to 21 mph this morning and my fingers were quite cold!

As I worked out the stiffness in my legs and got to the faster portion of my morning route, I noticed that the bike just didn't feel right.  I didn't trust it going into the turn so I did something I almost never do and that is hit the brakes to slow for the corner.  The second lap felt wrong as well.

I changed it up and went around the block instead of the longer loop and there was a distinct, almost thumping when I was going faster.  It felt like a tire was out of round.  I stopped after the second lap and tried to see what was up but I couldn't see anything obvious.  I actually suspect a loose spoke or two.  I'll need to get out there and take a look at it this evening.

Many people aren't as tuned into the performance of their bike as I am, but I need to be.  At 425 lbs. I'm putting a great deal of stress on the components and if one starts to fail, it can quickly become catastrophic. So, when I feel the bike is off I normally stop riding until I have a chance to check it out.

The good news is that was ride number 5 for the National Bike Challenge and I am slowly accumulating points. It also feels good to be getting back out there on a much more consistent basis.

I hope you get on your bike and ride!!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

We took the Bronze Medal

In Monday's post I mentioned that I was proud of my team and that I had lost 28 lbs. as part of the Corporate Challenge's Biggest Winner Competition.  Well I'm happy to say that as a team we lost a total of 85 lbs. which equates to 6.16% of our initial body weight.  This was good enough to earn us 3rd place and a bronze medal in the competition. YAY TEAM!

Subsequent to that I got on my bike and rode on Monday. I rode 2.7 miles.  Not bad for my 5th ride of the year. Yesterday I got up at 4:00 am and rode another 4.1 miles.  Increased the distance nicely. This morning I got up once again at 4:00 am and rode 5.4 miles.  Again a healthy increase in distance.

I think I've started a trend here I hope to carry on through out the rest of the National Bike Challenge. So far I've gotten in 3 rides for a total of 72 points.  I feel like I'm well on my way towards my goal of eclipsing last year's mark. I plan on keeping up daily riding and have a good average so far.

So, I hope you too can get on your bike and ride!

Monday, May 11, 2015

And here we go again...FINALLY!

OK, I have to come clean. I have been planning on riding my bike for many many weeks now.  My last ride was the 13th of March. I would make all these plans to get out and ride, but for some reason when it came right down to it, the motivation just wasn't there.

Today, it finally was and I got out for a ride. OK, it was a short one, under 3 miles, but this is a positive step. Part of my trepidation was reading about several people who have been hit by cars in the last few months.  I definitely didn't and don't, want to become someone's hood ornament.

Finally today I felt that I just had to go for it and I did and I enjoyed it.

I think it's time to start getting up at 4:00 am and riding while its cool and the traffic is light. Hopefully in the near future, after we move, I can find some decent bike paths that get me away from traffic where I will feel a whole lot safer.

In other news, today was also the weigh out for the Biggest Winner competition in the corporate challenge and I am proud to say that the scale showed a 28 lb. loss for me. I'll certainly take it and now its all about continuing the journey.

So, now that I did it, its your turn to...


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Are you willing?

As part of my job, we are learning a new way of doing things. In order to learn this new philosophy we are becoming educated in a new way of approaching problems and part of that education is through some online videos which are on YouTube.  Now, these videos are fairly mundane and a bit on the boring side at times. As I was watching one of the videos, however, there appeared a link on to the right for another video that caught my attention.

The video was a compilation of motivational speeches from various movies, ads and tv shows and it was powerful. It reminded me that if you want something, truly want it you are willing to do what it takes to achieve it.  It doesn't matter what it is that you want. Sure most of the examples are sports related, but that's because they are easy to show and measure.  Truthfully anything that is worth going for and achieving will take sacrifice.

The question came up over and over as the video played - are you willing?  Are you willing to endure the pain to reap the reward?  Are you willing to put forth the effort and do the work you have to do in order to achieve your dream? Are you willing to fail? When you do fail are you willing to get back up and try again?

As I watched this video I realized that we all have to answer this one simple question - is our dream something we are willing to work for? If its worth it then the answer is yes.  Its that simple.  If you have a dream and are willing to do the work, to strive to attain it, then you will succeed.

I had a powerful revelation while I watched the video.  I haven't been willing to do the work, I haven't been willing to try and fail in pursuit of my dreams, I haven't been willing to do what it takes.  That changes now.  I am willing.  I will achieve.  It will take time and effort.  I will fail, but I will get back up and keep moving forward towards my dream.

So, now I ask you... are you willing?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What to write

I have written very little on here of late because not a lot has been happening. At least not in the losing weight and getting fit department. My weight has been fluctuating a few pounds up  and down over the last 3 weeks.  Part of that is a change in medication from my doctor and my body deciding it needed to take a few days to adjust. It wasn't a major adjustment but he was a little concerned about some blood work results that were just outside of normal levels.

I have been getting in some steps with my Fitbit and I must say I have added steps that I wouldn't have taken just because it is in my pocket. Now my weekly totals look small compared to some people's daily totals, but the fact that I'm getting up and moving more is a good thing.  Its just so hard sometimes when your job puts you at a desk, in front of a computer 8 to 10 hours a day.

Unfortunately I have not been riding my bike and so have no stories there.  I have no good reason to not ride, right now. I guess its just laziness. Not to mention the fact that I'm busy, but not that busy. That will be changing as the National Bike Challenge NationalBikeChallenge.orgis coming up starting May 1. I hope to match last year's performance but might not make it every single day as there are a few travel days in there when I won't have access to a bike.  I'm shooting to pass my point total for the entire challenge, though.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A FitBit is powerful

Psychologically, at least. Yesterday sowed me just how powerful a FitBit is.  I had unfortunately forgotten my FitBit Ultra at home, having left it in my shorts I wore the night before.  I meant to grab it when I was getting dressed, and honestly thought I had.  When I got to work, I was doing a few extra trips around, to get some extra steps in when I went for coffee, or to use the restroom. you know, I wanted to increase my total for the day.

At lunchtime I decided to see where my total was for the day. I reached into my pocket to retrieve it and lo and behold it wasn't there.  After a momentary panic that I had lost it, I realized that it must still be in my shorts at home. At that point I lost all motivation to do any extra steps.  My mind said, "what's the point, they won't be recorded and so don't count."

That mentality lasted all of about 10 minutes.  Just until I got back to my desk with my Atkins meal for lunch and I read a couple of posts on Facebook from FitBit users who were posting their Transformation Tuesday pictures.  I realized that while the steps didn't count towards my FitBit step total for the week, they did count as far as my health was concerned.  So I still did the extra steps whenever I got up from my desk, but my total for the week won't reflect that.

I think the extra motivation from having that little piece of technology is invaluable as it is a tangible result, showing what I have accomplished.  I don't have to wait to see any results on the scale or in my body, its almost immediate satisfaction showing that I am doing something.

If you are on the fence about getting a FitBit, I heartily endorse doing so as it will help motivate you to do more than you normally would.  Not to mention there is a great community of other FitBit users out there who support and and encourage each other on a daily basis.

Friday, April 3, 2015

My FitBit is back online

I have been waiting to buy a new FitBit Charge HR since it was announced in December. Unfortunately they STILL do not have it available in size XL. So I finally decided that I needed to bite the bullet and buy a charger/dock for my FitBit Ultra.  I have had it for 3 years, but its been down the last 7 months or so because the base, which allows it to Synh with the computer and charges it up, broke. To be honest, I've felt a bit lost without its prodding to do a little more, more a little more, get some more steps/floors/active minutes.

So I ordered a new one for $19.95 from FitBit and it arrived in the mail today.  I just finihsed charging up my Ultra and already have measured over 100 steps just letting the dogs out and in.  Tomorrow I hope to put a good deal of steps in. Grocery shopping in the morning and Arena Football at the Thomas and Mack in the evening.

Time to get some steps and start pushing my getting healthy and losing weight.

Thursday, April 2, 2015


Motivation is a funny thing. At times it is easy to find, usually when it is needed the least. Other times it is nowhere to be found and this is when you usually need it the most. Let's look at a couple of prime examples.

Example #1

It's 3:00 pm and you are taking a break from your work on the computer, where you've been sitting for the last 2 1/2 hours.  You look out the window and see that it is a nice, sunny day with almost no wind and temperatures in the low 70's. You are motivated to get out and ride, but know you can't because you have another 3 hours of work to do at the computer. For a slight diversion you read a popular cycling blog about an awesome MTB race and you know that if you get out there and ride, you could do that.

You are highly motivated at that point in time.  You start making plans in your head about how you are going to get out there and ride, primarily before work as your schedule makes that about the only time available. You have visions of getting stronger and faster on the bike, of losing weight and feeling good.

Example #2
It's 4:02 AM. our alarm went off 2 minutes ago and you are still in bed, trying to get yourself up to go ride your bike. You know you should. You know you'll feel better if you do, but it was a late night and the dogs were up barking at 1:17 when the party next door broke up. You can't keep your eyes open or truly focus. You have absolutely no motivation.

You tell yourself, missing just one day won't hurt, there is always tomorrow. You tell yourself you forgot to check your lights last night in the middle of the chaos of homework and dinner and late night company so you just know they are dead. You hear the siren song of your pillow and quietly succumb to it.

There is truly only one way to overcome example #2. That is to be so excited and amped up with motivation in example #1 that it carries over to the following morning when you actually get up and execute the start of the plan you laid out for yourself. Unless you can manage this, or have some other external factor, like someone who is counting on doing it with you, it is neigh on impossible to overcome the lack of motivation.

I hope you are motivated and get on your bikes and ride!!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Week three is in the books

The good news is that as a team we have a net loss of 11 lbs. this week. The bad news is that a couple of our team members struggled and gained a pound each this week. As a team we have already surpassed our total team weight loss for the team in last year's competition.  Personally I lost 4 lbs. This week for a total of 15 lbs. so far. I am very happy with my loss and feel very positive that we will all continue to lose weight.

I heard the news this week that once again the Viva Bike Vegas event has been cancelled.  Apparently the negotiations between the organizer and the various municipalities and regional transportation commission stalled and there is no funding for the safety teams for the event.  That is a shame.  I thought that this was an awesome event.  I'm starting to feel like my participating in an event is a curse for the event.  3 major events I have participated in have all been cancelled:  Viva Bike Vegas, The Tour De Cure and Ride: MS. Its getting to the point where there are very few large, charity rides available in the area.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Another week gone already

I can't believe another week is already gone in the Biggest Winner challenge.  Our team results still remain positive and I couldn't be happier!  Personally, I am down another 5 lbs. this week to 437 which is awesome.  As a team we are down an additional 13 lbs. this week which brings our total to 36 lbs or 2.6%.  This is a great start and we have good momentum going for the challenge.

I am pleased with our results overall, but this is a long competition and there are 7 more weeks to stay focused and on track.  I know I can actually do better by increasing my activity and am planning on more bike riding as I get ready for the National Bike Challenge which will be running again this year from May through September.  I plan on surpassing last year's totals by riding every single day from May 1 through September 30.

What are you doing to get stay fit and healthy?

I have a suggestion:

Get on your bike and ride!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A great start

Today, I gathered the first week's weigh in results from my Biggest Winner team and I am blown away by how well we are doing as this competition gets rolling.  As a team we have lost a total of 1.67% of our body weight in 6 days.  That is outstanding progress.  Sure I realize that the first week of any weight loss program tends to be a higher level of loss than will be achieved on an ongoing basis, but it is still a great start.  As a group we have lost 23 lbs.  By my calculations, if we can maintain an ongoing rate of loss of just half of the first week's for the next 8 weeks, we should lose about 111 pounds by the end of the competition. This would equal a loss of 8.04%.  Last year's winning team lost 7.02%.

To keep myself on the right track and losing weight I actually got out for a nice bike ride over the weekend.  There really is no excuse not to ride with our beautiful weather of late.  I went 5.85 miles which was a good distance and I certainly felt my lack of riding over the past several months.  Its time to make it more of a habit.  I need to in order to hit my goals for the year.

So, my plan is to get on my bike in the evenings and put in at least some miles every other day, at a minimum.  I also will continue to eat a healthy, low-carb diet and drink lots of water.  I'm hoping my doctor notices an improvement in my BP and blood work next week when I go see him.

Until then,

Get on your bike and ride!!!!!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

And the games begin - 2015 edition!

Once again this year I will be participating in the Corporate Challenge games through my place of employment.  I have previously written about participating in or even captaining teams in several of the events:  Biggest Winner (2013, 2014), Bike Race (2011 2012), Track and Field, Tug O War and Laser Tag.  This year will be slightly different.

I am captain of the team for the Biggest Winner competition again this year and I feel like i have a strong, motivated team. Yesterday was the initial weigh in and to prepare, I ate just about anything and everything to "bulk up" before hand.  It seemed to work in that my initial weight for the competition came in at 448 lbs.  Now its time to put in the work, watch what I'm eating and lose a significant amount of weight. the final weigh in for this event is on May 11.  Just over 9 weeks away.

I am also captain of the bowling team this year.  The gentleman who had been captain for several years retired, leaving an opening which I decided to see if I could fill.  It will be interesting to see how we do this year as there have been some strong teams in the past. I'll be posting more on this over the next few weeks as the competition isn't until May 3rd.

Track and field is on the agenda as well as I participate in both the softball throw and the shot put again this year. I really need to get out and get some practice time in as this event is coming in less than 3 weeks.  I hope to better my mark from last year so I need to get out there and throw the ball!

So, with these events I have to get active and get healthy.  My biggest secret will be to...

get on my bike and ride!


I just looked at my calendar and realized that the track and field event conflicts with a previous engagement so I won't be doing the shot put or the softball throw this year.


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Proud Grandpa!!!!

I'm proud of all 3 of my grandsons.  They just finished up the winter season basketball league.  I'm still working on a bit of video editing (and learning the tools) but had to share this quick video I put together from my oldest grandson's last game of the season.  He hits a 3 pointer, stops an offiensive rush and then steals the ball for a game ending lay-up.

Here it is (watch #14 in the gray):

Well Done Jacob!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

So much has changed

I had started a post about my first ride back on the bike in 3 months.  It was to commemorate the start of the Ride with GPS challenge I accepted.  I actually got in a nice 5+ mile ride last Friday and a 3+ mile ride on Saturday. The problem is I haven't ridden since Saturday.  Life has gotten in the way.  Not physically but more mentally.

I was going to talk about how little pressure was left in my tires after sitting for 3 months and about how terribly slow and out of shape I felt while at the same time feeling exhilirated about riding again.  I had even planned on riding again Sunday evening.  But then Life happened.

To make a long story short there was a stolen and then recovered car, lots of waiting for dealers and appraisers and others.  There is the inconvenience of being down a vehicle.  Really these are all nothing more than excuses.

I certainly acknowledge that I am using these events as excuses not to ride, but frankly riding has been the last thing on my mind lately. Sure I've had the fleeting thought that I should ride, but never at an opportune time to actually do it. It would probably have helped lower my stress level, but I just didn't have the attitude nor willingness to get on the bike.  I need to change that and integrate the bike more into my daily routine.  I just may need to start getting up at 4:00 am again on work days to get my riding in.

The good news is, even through all the stress, I didn't turn to food for comfort.  That is a big deal.  I have continued the progress in the weight loss and am happy to report I am down 20 lbs. in a month. So at least I am still doing something right.

Time to take my own advice and...

Get on my bike and ride!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Challenge Accepted

Dave Wright challenged me in the comments yesterday to join a challenge on Ride with GPS.  The challenge is designed to help you keep your Resolutions.  The challenge is to ride so many miles per day starting Febreuary 6 through March 2nd. There are different levels to the challenge, depending on your cycling ability.  The lowest level is to ride five miles per day.  I have accepted the challenge.

To put this in perspective, I haven't been on my bike since I ended my 180 personal challenge on 11/11 last year.  On top of that my last ride of 5 miles or greater was on 10/3 when I rode 5.7 miles.  So, I have my work cut out for me, but it is a good thing!

Anyone else want to join the challenge?

Get on your bikes and ride!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Moving in the right direction

OK, let's not make too big a deal about it, but I've figured out an amazing thing.  If you eat less calories than you are burning, you can lose weight.  I know it's true because I have experienced it first hand.  Sure the types of calories are important too, but the basic formula works.  If calories burned > calories consumed then weight decreases.

The problem with this for most people (including myself) is that this is boring!  It takes time, persistence and diligence to actually get to a goal, but it does get you there. We are so used to things happening quickly in our lives that we look for the quick fixes to lose weight. From my experience 95% of them don't work over the long term.  They are normally missing something or are too restrictive that makes them untenable for more than a moth or two at most.

I'm happy to report that my adherence to consuming less than I am burning has led me to weight loss progress.  This morning I weighed in at 449 lbs.  That means I have lost 14 lbs. since January 21 (13 days), better than 1 lb. per day. I know my initial weight loss is accelerated and will slow, but I am so happy to have made this big of a change so fast.  I can literally feel the difference in my body with this amount of weight gone.

So moving forward I do need to get into the more active side of things and I will get on my bike.  Seems like mother nature is taunting me with some gorgeous days right now and unfortunately I have other obligations, but I will make time to get out there.

Get on your bikes and ride!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

So Far So Good

It's been just over a week now since I started refocusing on my health and weight loss and really watching what I've been eating.  I have gone back to low carb eating and it has made a difference.  I posted last week that my weight was 463.  This morning it was 455.  8 pounds down.  I am very happy about this and it's a great motivator to see that things are moving in the right direction.  Of course I expected this.  I always lose a good amount the first and second week of switching to a low carb following the Atkins diet.

It's 3 and 4 weeks in that I really start struggling. I start struggling because that's when my food cravings kick into high gear.  I want the fruit and the grains at this point.  This time will be different.  I am going to stay strong and stay focused on my goals. I know I can do this.  I have to look both at doing the right next thing as well as at the long term goals.

That said, I need to start working on the second part of the attack on getting healthy which is to get moving. I've set a bunch of goals for the year and so far I haven't started working towards those goals.  I plan on starting to do that this weekend. Even if the weather is as wet as they are forecasting, I can still get my butt moving.

Join me out there - Get On Your Bikes and RIDE!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Miss my FitBit

As I've written before I own a FitBit Ultra which served me faithfully for almost 2 years before I ran into issues where I could no longer charge/synch it because the docking station/receiver that plugs into my computer broke.  This wasn't a poor design, rather an unfortunately accident.  I have been without its daily prodding to achieve more for over 6 months now.

I miss my FitBit.

Now I have been looking at the new models of FitBit that you wear on your wrist, the Surge, The Charge HR and the Charge, but I'm reluctant to pull the trigger on one.

I preferred carrying the FitBit on my belt or in my pocket and that worked very well for me.  Sure these new ones introduce additional features like Heart Rate monitoring (The Surge and the Charge HR) and even GPS (The Surge) but Something about wearing it on my wrist 24/7 just bothers me for some reason.  Since they've discontinued my Ultra over a year ago, I need to get one of these newer models but still, I miss my Ultra.

Looking at the three models above, I am leaning towards either the Charge HR or the Surge.  I think the heart rate tracking would be helpful and I like the idea of the GPS, thus being able to replace my Garmin, but there are a few issues that FitBit needs to address.  The major one is that it doesn't seem to have a specific Cycling mode for the GPS.  Second, I wonder about compatibility with sites like Strava and Map My Ride.

Until I see some updates to the Surge, I am really leaning towards the Charge HR.  It tracks activity (steps, floors, active/ very active minutes), heart rate and sleep.  This will give me a better understanding of how much I am burning on a daily basis and more importantly I hope, motivate me to do more and increase my numbers across the board.  I know the Ultra did that.

So, the only thing left to do is work on my budget to free up the funds to pick on up for myself. Of course there appears to be no hurry as the FitBit site says if I order now (Charge HR - Size XL) its a preorder and will ship in 8-10 weeks.  Gives me time to free up the needed funds. :)

In the meantime I need to work on my goals for the year by getting out of my recliner and getting in some walks and rides or I'll never meet my goals.

Get on your bikes and ride!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I'm back and getting fit

Last week my wife and I spent a wonderful 7 nights cruising from Long Beach down to the Mexican Riviera on the Carnival Miracle.  We stopped at the three ports of Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. We loved it!  I highly recommend it!

That's not to say there aren't some things to watch out for on a cruise, when one is trying to get their body into a healthier shape.  The two biggest threats to progress in this direction are food and drink.

OK, I know that these are daily obstacles and challenges one must contend with when on a journey to a healthier lifestyle, but let's just say they are magnified in the microcosm that is a cruise. Take Food, for example.

When you are home you can exert a pretty high degree of control over the food that you eat, primarily by limiting availability within your household pantry, or mostly by cost when you go out to eat. Not to mention that if you eat at home, there likely isn't a huge variety nor quantity. Not true on a cruise.  Let's look at all of the food options while on a ship:

First and foremost there is the dining room. Its pretty straight forward with set times and menus to choose from.  You have either Breakfast or Brunch, and then dinner. Where at home most people don't usually have multiple courses, every meal in the dining room consists of Starters, Main Entrees and Dessert.  Add to that the fact that you can choose multiple items from each category if you so desire and you can see how this is a very dangerous place.

Just to illustrate my point, I'd like to share what I had on our first Formal Night of the cruise.  For starters I had the Beefsteak Tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella and then the wild mushroom soup.  My entree was the Prime rib of beef with baked potato and broccoli. Then there was dessert - Cherries Jubilee and date and fig cake.  What is important to understand is this was just a typical meal.

 Then there is the buffet which is open most of the day and evening.  There were stations with rotating cuisine like Chinese, Italian and Caribbean.  Then there were what I think of as the staples: hamburger, hot dogs, chicken finger and fries.  Let's not forget the deli with made to order sandwiches, either. Most of these were open from the morning until 9:00 at night.

Add to all that the 24/7 options of soft serve ice cream cones, pizza and room service where there is a wide selection of starters, entrees, sandwiches and breakfast.

As you can see, if you are hungry on a cruise its your own fault.

Then there are the drinks.  Everywhere you go on the ship there are bar waiters offering various mixed drinks or bear and wine.  Sure you have to pay for them, but they are such and integrated part of the cruise. On sea days, when we headed to the show room early, we would often get a double Bloody Mary. at meals we drank water or iced tea, but then in the evening it was usually couple of beers or mixed drinks.  Nothing excessive or out of the ordinary for a cruise, but it all definitely adds up.

All that being said the common belief is that people gain as much as 10 lbs. during a one week cruise.  That is a lit for such a short period of time, I know, but with all of the food and drinks that are consumed, not entirely out of the realm of possibility.

One way to combat that is to have a plan - decide ahead of time what you are going to eat and stick to the plan.  Every day you can go on your stateroom TV, or head by the dining room and see what the menu will be for dinner that evening.  Stick to the healthier choices, or if you must try all of the great food, split the meal with someone or limit yourself to just half of the dish.

Another way is to utilize the exercise room on board or just get out and walk!  The ship we were on is 959 feet long and 105 feet wide.  It has 12 decks and lots of stairs.  Just walking from end to end along one of the interior corridor would be about 900 feet.  With 5280 feet in a mile, if you walk it 6 times you've walked a mile.  If that isn't what you want to do, walk the stairs up and down from the lido deck (deck 9) to the restaurant/showroom on deck 2. Beyond that there is also a track you can walk or run up on deck 11.  All of this is available even on sea days while you are moving from port to port.

Then there are the ports themselves - great opportunities to get out and explore another country or world and many of them involve physical activity.  There is everything from snorkeling to horseback riding to a canopy adventure with a ropes course to just walking and sightseeing. Of course there are also the excursions where you ride a bus and drink tequila (mas tequila) which I have to say has been one of my favorites.

What I'm trying to say here is while a cruise for many (including me this time) can mean a bit of excess eating and drinking and lack of activity, it doesn't have to.  There are opportunities galore to enjoy yourself and also burn off many of those possibly excessive calories.


So, the cruise is behind us and all that's left are the memories and the few extra pounds.  Its now time to get my butt back to the task of getting myself in a better, healthier shape.  To that end I have been thinking about what I want to do this year and have come up with several goals to move me in the direction I want to go.

First and foremost I need to lose weight. that is a given because the extra weight is really starting to take its toll on me and I'm tired of it.  To this end I've adjusted my diet to a low-carb diet which I know will allow me to quickly get started on losing pounds.  My goal is to be at 360 lbs. on January 1, 2016.  I finally got the scale working this morning and it showed 463 lbs.  so, 103 lbs. to lose.

Second, I need to get more active. Obviously the more active I am, the more weight I can lose.  To this end I have established 4 goals. Two of the goals are for distance, two for frequency, Two for cycling, two for walking/running.

I plan on cycling at least 1500 miles this year in at least 300 rides with several key milestone rides mixed in: a 25 mile ride, a 50 kilometer ride, a 50 mile ride, a metric century and a century.

I plan on walking/running at least 300 miles this year in at least 180 walks/runs. I also have specific distances here: 5K, 10K and Half Marathon this year.

To keep track of all these goals and my progress towards them, I will be putting together a chart listing the goals and weekly progress and posting it in the right margin of this page.  I know I can do this.  I know I need to do this.  I will do this.

What are you doing to get healthy in 2015?

As always, Get on your bikes and ride!!!!!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Holding pattern

Ok, I know its not much of an excuse but I know me so it's pretty valid.  I'm holding off starting any real plans for getting healthy and losing weight this year until after my cruise next week.  Yes, I said my cruise next week.

The wife and I are heading out of town on a big boat full of lots of enticing food for a 7 day holiday in celebration of our 20 years of marriage.  I could spout off how I'm planning on watching what I eat and limiting my intake over those seven days but I would just be setting myself up for disappointment, having been on several cruises in the past.  I know the siren song of the buffets and the ice cream and the wonderful foods at dinner will be hard to resist and I will fail to resist.

Instead of making promises to myself and to you that I know I won't keep, let's just say I will limit myself to not eating myself into a stupor and look to get at least some exercise every day while on vacation. That is something I can do. Then, when we get back it will be time to start seriously taking care of business in terms of getting healthy and losing weight.

Part of this cruise will be to relax and refocus myself on what needs to be done.  I will be formulating a plan and posting the details of my goals for this year when I get home. I do know that 2015 will see me getting much healthier and more fit, no exceptions.

I hope you will also set and meet your goals for the new year.