All posts by runningdownadream23

My name is Brian. I started a journey of fitness and weight loss back in December 2009 and found a lot of other people doing the same thing including all the usual challenges. When I started I was 75 pounds over weight. Today I have dropped 45 pounds and feel much better. I know people struggle with what to do, how to do it and how to stay motivated when it comes to exercise, diet, fitness, etc, so I started this blog. I do not profess to be an expert on all things fitness and health related, but hopefully as you read you will get to know my sense of humor which is a bit corny at times and learn a little something or see something that will help you in some way. I didn't have any help except me. Now you have me too! Read on!

Food = Fuel.

I have a friend who refuses to view food as fuel, but that is what it really is, just fuel for the body.  He continually struggles with his weight and only finds temporary fixes with increased exercise over short time spans.  He’ll workout for a a few weeks or so, lose 10 pounds and then gain it all back because he still eats like he is in college.  He’s only addressing the symptom, not the problem…putting a bandaid on a broken arm.

Now I’m not saying that you can’t enjoy your fuel, but once you start looking at food as a source of what your body needs to function and less about eating just to satisfy a craving then the sooner you will gain control of the ultimate habit we all have, eating.

BTW, I read a lot of research articles on diet & exercise mainly because I’m a big nerd for that kind of thing… I try to learn as much as I can about how everything works.  Knowledge is Power.

Let’s get started…back to Food = Fuel.

My Metabolism.  When I started back in December 2009 my metabolism was messed up! It was slow and definitely working against me.  My metabolism was programmed to do exactly what I had told it to do…store as much fat as it could for the up coming winter.  I might as well have been a bear ready for hibernation.

I worked with a couple different trainers at my gym to get a plan together.

My Plan Components:

  1. Food (Fuel)
  2. Cardio (Walking, Running, Biking, Elliptical, Stairs, etc)
  3. Strength Training (Lifting Weights)

Of the three things above, trainer after trainer has told me FOOD accounts for at least 60% of the equation in weight loss.  No matter how hard you work the other 40% can’t make up for the 60%.  How much we eat, how often we eat and what we eat are all a part of the mix.  Unfortunately, just like in high school though 60% isn’t enough to be successful.  You DO need the other two parts. Today however, we are discussing food.

My Pre-December 2009 Diet:

  • Breakfast: Coffee
  • Lunch: Eat out at a restaurant with a co-worker
  • Dinner: Whatever I wanted
  • Snack Later: Potato Chips, ice cream, cake, pop corn, or a 2nd meal (no joke)

This diet was killing me slowly and I had the 75 extra pounds to prove it.

*My Diet Today: Serving sizes are all 1 single serving.

  • Breakfast (Pre-Workout): Coffee and a serving of Original Fiber One Cereal.  Sometimes a half glass of OJ too!
  • After Workout Protein: EAS Advantage Protein Shake (Chocolate!)
  • Mid-Morning Snack: Chewy Quaker Granola Bar (PB & Choc. Chip) or a banana/apple & water
  • Lunch: I bring my lunch a lot (Soup, lean hamburger, chili, grilled chicken, salad, lean steak) & water
  • Mid-Afternoon Snack: Chewy Granola Bar again or a piece of fruit again & water
  • After Work Snack: Dannon Light & Fit Yogurt, a piece of fruit or a cheese stick!
  • Dinner: Baked fish, lean hamburger, chili, pork, turkey, spaghetti, etc.  I take the time to cook ahead so if I’m busy I always have something in the freezer/fridge that I can reheat in a pinch.  Planning ahead is a key to eating healthy!
  • Late snack: Yogurt again or a glass of skim milk

If you hate being hungry then my plan or something similar may be for you!  I eat 8 times a day.  I eat every 2-3 hours.  Some “meals/snacks” are only 100-200 calories.  No meal is over 500 calories.  By the end of the day I usually have consumed 1700-2000 calories.  Take away the calories I burned with exercise and I’m losing weight.  By the way, if you DON’T eat your body will store fat.  So not eating is counterproductive to your goal.

Why does eating every couple hours work?

Answer: Think of a fire.  You start a fire and it blazes to life.  After a while the fire dies down.  Throw on another small stick and it blazes up again.  Now this is SIMILAR to metabolism.  If you only throw on three large logs the whole day then there are a lot of times when the fire is really low and it takes some work to get it blazing again.  If you add some twigs and leaves every once in a while (small meals/snacks) then the blaze stays more even and it’s easier to get the large stuff to catch.

I have a small office at work and I find it interesting to watch the thermostat on the wall after I eat.  The room temperature goes up about 2 degrees 15-20 minutes after my snack.  Why?  My body’s metabolism is increasing and a by product is heat.

Some Things to Consider:

  1. A lot of hunger/cravings is mistaken thirst.  You need water, not food.
  2. Fiber makes you feel full.
  3. Eating smaller portions several times a day keeps the fire burning.
  4. Portion size is key.  Retrain yourself to know what a real portion size looks like….not what a restaurant tells you it is.
  5. Mom was right!  Chew your food slowly!  Once you are full, it takes your body 20 minutes to send the signal to tell you to stop eating.  If you scarf down a huge burger & fries in 10-15 minutes then the signal to stop eating won’t get to you in time.  Enjoy it, don’t inhale it!  🙂
  6. This one kills me, but I know it’s true…Diet Soda make you fat.  Regular Soda is even worse than diet soda.**

By the way, while I was writing this blog I had two snacks and a meal.

*Disclaimer: I plan for celebrations so I can take part in BBQs, holidays, birthdays and weddings.  On Thanksgiving, Christmas, Memorial Day, The 4th of July, Elvis’ Birthday and other national holidays I eat what I want and indulge a little.  I don’t eat everything in site for an entire week though.  I have some of my Aunt’s applesauce cake at Christmas, enjoy my mom’s pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, eat a burger AND a brat on the 4th and drink a Bud Light or two at my Super Bowl Party.  I don’t indulge daily, I don’t indulge weekly, but when the time comes to celebrate I make sure I’ve worked hard enough to deserve that extra piece of mom’s fried chicken.  That’s why I don’t skip workouts and that’s why when I weigh myself October 8th my birthday cake from the day before is already a memory!

**See the video on my Links & Resources Page to learn how/why Diet Soda makes you fat.

17 miles

Ever want some time to think about practically everything?  Run 17 miles on a Saturday…or any day of the week for that matter.   You’ll have about three hours to ponder things assuming we run about the same speed.  For the last couple weeks I’ve left the iPod at home and enjoyed the confines of my own thoughts while running.  Money, job, school, girlfriend, family, Disney, my next run, vacation, the upcoming week, last week, past relationships, my next promotion, my next degree, my next job, my last job, my best friend, my worst enemy, those whom I inspire, those who refuse to be inspired, Disney, buying a house, that girl who just ran by (hey, I’m a dude!), renewing my apartment lease, my knee hurting, my knee not hurting anymore, and a host of other things.

In all that time suddenly I’m turning around and heading back to my car. I’m halfway finished.  Where did the last 8.5 miles go?  I’ve been lost in the run, not thinking about breathing, not thinking about running, not thinking about how far I have left, not thinking about any imaginary pain or real pain.  Is it time for  GU yet?  Yep, it is!

In all that thinking I realize that having balance in life is key.  Work, school, social life, family, alone time, exercise and everything else needs its little piece of my time.  Many things take priority and those priorities will shift throughout the year.  Right now I’m training for my first marathon so going out with my buddies is not at the top of the list on the weekend….a 17 mile run is.  During the week my lunch time diet tends to be geared toward fuel more than “the business lunch”.  Everything is preparing me for January and the long run.  After that I will start to see if a social life on Friday night can be explored again.  I’m sure it will!

So my advice is to have balance, but also have priorities for the time being knowing that those priorities can shift once you cross the finish line.

Goals and Getting Started!

Welcome and thanks for reading my blog!  In time I will discuss all sorts of things related to my fitness journey such as exercise, strength training, walking, running, diet and hopefully the motivation to keep at it!  Happy reading!

Where to start?  Perhaps a little about me.  I started my fitness journey back in December 2009.  Last December I wanted a change so I made a plan.  I decided the only way to keep training was to have a reason to do it.  At the time I was +/- 75 pounds over weight weighing in at close to 245 pounds.

That’s me on the right weighing in at 245 pounds.

So I signed up for a 5K in March and a half-marathon in May.  I put the cash down and actually registered.  I wanted to give myself a reason to really go for it and not slack off so I added a second half-marathon in May just two weeks after the 1st one.  Looking back maybe I was a little too ambitious.  But darn it, I wanted results!

I was afraid that I would train a bit, eat healthy for a few weeks, finish the second half-marathon and stop training like I had in the past so I started to look at running events later in the year.

This is the time I should let you know that I am a Disney fan.  I had heard of the “runDisney” series and started looking into the race Disney puts on in January that goes through all four Disney parks.  Considering I had a year to train I decided to register for the full-marathon and put down the cash.  I figured if I was going to run that far I might as well run the 26.2 most magical miles on Earth!

Still, I was worried.  There is a lot of time and great BBQ weather between May and January. What if I slacked off after the May events?  What if I lost focus later in the year?  Or worse, what if I saw all that time to spare and decided I could afford to be lazy again and started to regress?

So I decided to add one more event later in the year to get me through.  I looked for another half-marathon and found a small local event in early September.  This would keep me training through the summer and I’d be set to push through to January and my first ever full-marathon.  My running schedule was set or so I thought.

As luck would have it I received an email from runDisney.com advertising a half-marathon in October called the Disney Wine & Dine Half-Marathon.  It was the inaugural race!  I couldn’t resist!  It was Disney after all and it was to be the kickoff event to Disney’s Food & Wine Festival!  So I registered and wondered if I could handle four half-marathons in one year!  At this point I had barely ran a single mile for my first half of the year!  My friends may have started to doubt my sanity.  🙂

Fast forward to present day.  I am happy to say that I completed all four half-marathons and even did three 5K runs in total including that first one in March.  I have lost 45 pounds and I am approaching my goal weight slowly but surely.  I’m in no hurry.  Progress comes slow at times or stops all together when I hit a plateau.

So what’s the point?  A blog post should have a point right?

Goals.  What’s yours?

My goal is to enjoy life as long as I can.  My goal is to earn a PR (Personal Record) during an event every once in a while.  My goal is to be fit so I can do more.  My goal is to combine my love of travel with my new running habit!

Your goal could be to look good for a friend’s wedding, it could be to lose 10 pounds for your 20 year high school reunion, it could be that your doctor told to get active “or else” or your goal could be to be around to see your children grow up.  These are all goals, but I encourage you to find a goal that is all yours and no one else’s.  Remember though that this is when it’s okay to be a little selfish and do it for you.

I run for me.