Home Page Image














August 30, 2007

Getting started

I know I’ve talked about this in the past but I still get a number of people that come up to me or email me asking how to get started. And while I’m not a nutritionist or a trainer something about having lost 50 pounds seems to make people think I’m an authority on weight loss….that and the fact that I run a web site.

Anyway, some of the questions I get look like this, “You do all this stuff to help you lose weight, but I don’t know if I want to do all that.”

This is going to sound really mean but if you don’t want to put the time into it, you aren’t going to get the results you want. I’d love it if I could just take a pill once a day and be thin in a week but it just isn’t going to happen. But you don’t have to do what I do when you first start. Today’s tips are all about how to get started.

1. Why – Most people want to jump right into it and skip this very important step. I know I was guilty of it too. But you really need to figure out why you are doing this. Sit down and write it out….I mean it! WRITE IT OUT. If you are doing this because you want to look better for your spouse, then come clean about it. If you are doing this because you are afraid of heart disease, then admit to your fears. If you are doing this because you are vain, then by all means be a vain bastard. What ever your reason is, you need to be in touch with it. The reason is that on those days when you REALLY want to cheat or skip a workout, you will need to remind yourself why you are doing this in the first place. If you haven’t come to terms with the WHY, then it is all too easy to sit back on the couch and stuff yourself with some more junk food. You will fail and you will quit.

2. How – Nearly as important as the WHY. And I’ve screwed up on the HOW a few times. I create a plan so complicated and difficult to follow that I’ll be lucky to stay on it for a week. My recommendation is to start small. This is especially true if you are new to weight loss or haven’t really had much exercise lately. Just plan on doing more than what you currently do. If that means going to bed a little earlier so you can get up and take a walk around the block in the morning, then that’s what you do. Once your body is used to doing that, then you can tweak your plan. Maybe you increase your walk to 2 times around the block….or maybe you pick it up and run a bit. Start small and increase…make changes. Don’t let your body get too used to what you are doing. Once your body adapts to the walk around the block, you won’t get the same benefit out of it. If you don’t work within the confines of what your body is able to do and how far you can push it, you will fail…and you will quit.

3. Where – This is going to be different for people with different resources. I’ve got a home gym and a YMCA membership, so I have lots to choose from. But when you are starting out you don’t have to have all that. You can start out with a nice pair of sneakers and a stretch of road. Want to mix it up? Get a jump rope. Too hot outside? Go to the mall and walk inside. A gym membership is handy but you can work around not having one. Some people will use PAYING for a membership as a way of committing to working out. I never had much luck with that. I had a membership for years before I actually started using it.

NOTE: The YMCA does have special programs for low income families.

4. Who – This is one that doesn’t really apply to me but it might for others. Some people need a workout partner to help keep them focused or to just keep them honest. There is a lot to be said for working with a partner. I did it for awhile but to be honest I enjoy doing it alone more. I don’t have to adhere to some one else’s schedule and I’m free to change my workout as needed without having to keep in mind what some one else is doing. I don’t really need some one to push me because I know how to push myself. For those just starting out, you need to make the decision if you work better alone or in a small group. This is another point where knowing yourself is key.

5. What – The WHAT and the HOW are sort of alike but not completely. In this case the WHAT is what you plan on doing. There are 3 major parts of any successful weight loss plan. They are Diet, Weight Training, and Cardio. You are going to have the most success if you do all three, but you can get away with just doing two….as long as Diet is one of them. You aren’t going to get anywhere if you do Weight Training and Cardio while trying to eat whatever you like. Remember to start small…but start making changes in what you eat and get in some exercise. As your body starts to respond to it, make some more changes.

6. Now the last tip…and the one NO ONE wants to do. Find some one you love…and trust. Get them to take some ‘before’ pictures of you. It is one of the most embarrassing things that you can do. But it is absolutely crucial to your success. I don’t care if NO ONE ever sees them but you. There is nothing like putting pictures side by side to show where your progress really is and to help keep you engaged in what is the best decision you ever made.

7. Okay, I lied. There is one more tip. Remember this when putting together your plan. The BEST plan is the one that you will actually follow. Make it too easy and you won’t get results…and you will quit. Make it too hard and you won’t be able to follow it….and you will quit.

8. One more tip for an even ‘8’. This is the most important tip to any weight loss plan. If you do not understand this single point, your plan will fail. You MUST burn more calories than you take in. That’s it….everything else is just based on making that one thing happen. You must burn more calories than you take in.

There is a lot of ‘touchy feely’ in this post. The reason is that starting a plan that you will keep to involves some soul searching and getting in touch with who you really are. If you lie to yourself about these things, you will fail….and you will quit.

Progress Report

I’m only up 8 pounds now. I’ll probably finish the week at that point. But it appears that my metabolism is finally kicking into high gear. One of the things that was probably holding me back was lack of sleep. For some reason I just couldn’t fall asleep. This happens to me from time to time....usually once or twice a year. I just ride it out and it goes away in a few days.

I started wearing size 36s again. I had to give them up when I gained back this awful ten pounds that I’m trying to drop. They are still a bit tight but not too bad.

The web site was switched over to the new format. So all the pages should look alike except the blog page and I’m working on that one. The switch over caused in interruption of service but now that it is done I can do lots more with the site without having to tweak all the pages. Plus, I’ve finally got rid of that last of the old Yahoo Site Builder pages. I’m still moving over some of the image files so the Halloween pictures aren’t all there yet but I’m not as concerned about that.

“Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time!”

August 27, 2007

What's in your...

You see the commercials on TV and you've hear their catch phrase over and over, "What’s in your wallet?" But recently Capitol One has come under fire as they have been silently raising rates, refusing to work with customers on payment plans, and incorrectly damaging people's credit reports.

But that's not way I bring them up. It is that catch phrase, "What's in your wallet?" I was thinking about it the other day when I was lugging my gym bag into work and it hit me...

What’s in your Man-Purse?

So on a random day I dumped out my gym bag to see what all I was carrying.

1. 4GB USB Thumb drive
2. Zune MP3 Player

3. Soap (in a plastic bag)
4. Speed Stick Antiperspirant
5. USB Headset (for listening to online training classes without disturbing those around me)
6. Lip balm
7. Book -Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows (Yeah, I read Harry Potter. You wanna fight about it?)
8. Towel
9. Sweats (shirt/pants)
10. Change of socks
11. Change of underwear
12. Book - Windows Internals 3rd edition (recently removed since I'm reading something else now)
13. Book – File System Forensic Analysis (recently added)
14. Rubik's cube...so I can stay in practice
15. Anti Monkey Butt powder
16. Stocking cap…worn in cooler months
17. Jack Skellington gloves….worn in cooler months
18. Dental floss
19. Hypo Tears eye drops
20. OS Trim High Protein Beef and Ostrich stick

So what do you all carry in your bags? And will you come clean about it?

Progress report

I'm only up 9 pounds now. I dropped a pound from last week. This week I'm going to continue with one change. I'm going to try to add my bike cardio back into the plan. Right now the only cardio that I’m getting is running on the treadmill and occasional walking. And while that is still good, if I do that for too long by itself then I won't get the same benefit from it. I need to mix it up with other cardio workouts. So this week I'll add the bike back in. I'll take it slow at first...doing 15 minutes of bike and then finishing the time back on the treadmill. That's the plan for Tuesday. On Thursday I'll do full 30 minutes on the treadmill.

No funny gym stories this week. Heather and I both went to the gym with our Token Fat Guy shirts on and we got asked about them. Then later in the week an older gentleman asked me how much weight I had lost. The shirts do tend to get us attention.
Ah...you know the drill. Get out of my site! (get it? site instead of sight? because it is a web site...hey! If you don't like my humor then start your own blog!)

August 18, 2007

Turning the Tide

As most of you know a few months ago I started losing ground and gaining some of my weight back. This was due to some ‘medical issues’ that I was having at the time. The last couple of weeks I have been working to reverse the direction that my weight had been taking. Finally, I seem to be on the right track.

While I had gained 12 pounds, so far I’ve only lost two of those pounds. So I’m having a top ten count down. Until the weight has dropped off and I return to my previous low point of 235 pounds, I’m going to have a nice big number on the entry page to my web site indicating how far I have yet to go.

No new stories from the gym….other than me be completely amazed at how many people workout and never manage to break a sweat. Maybe it is just that specific YMCA. When I go to the other YMCA centers, people seem a bit more serious.

This week’s blog is short as I spent most of my efforts on packing up my cube at work and moving to a new one. I really hate moving…but it is the only time I really clean my work area. There’s something in everything.

Oh there is something I keep forgetting to mention....our hit counter blew past 2000 hits a couple weeks back. Thanks for reading. :)

I’m short on material this week so I’m going to do a rant instead of focusing on health. My rant is about traffic.

Seriously…what is the freaking problem with people in NC? I’ve never in my life seen people drive with their heads so far up their butts. Even the intelligent people that I work with seem to become morons when getting behind the wheel.

Okay…let’s take something really simple, making a turn. Let’s set this up….

Car A is making a left hand turn….
Car B is making a right hand turn….

This means they will both be traveling in the same direction…

How does this work? Simple! Everyone pulls into the FIRST AVAILABLE LANE.
This means that Car A will pull into the left lane….

This means that Car B will pull into the right lane….
See how that works? Car A's first available lane is the left hand lane while Car B's first available lane is the right hand lane.

Since they use the first available lane, they BOTH get to make the turn. Now if everyone follows this simple rule then everyone is fine. The problem comes when Car A gets it in his head that his land-yacht, gas-guzzling, Ford Explorer (which only has one person in it) needs a turning radius the size Montana…and slides all the way over into the FAR LANE….cutting off the guy in Car B that is trying to make a right turn.

I actually got into an argument with one of my coworkers on this subject. To resolve it I downloaded the NC drivers handbook and showed him the section on turning. In a way it is kind of funny, because he reads my blog sometimes.

Don’t worry Matt, I won’t mention your name!


Anyway…I’m not saying that all people in the south drive like idiots. The fact is that most of the people that live in Charlotte are from out of state...some of us from the north. What I’m saying is that we should all know better.

Also….and this is the most important part….everyday, I’m Car B. And I’m sick of Car A cutting me off.

So all you Car A’s can get the hell off my web site and go learn to drive!

August 09, 2007

TFG's Third Law of Motion: The Return of Make-Up Chick

A couple months ago one of my coworkers asked me where I get the ideas for my blog. Well, one of my favorite places is the gym. Just watch people long enough and the stories write themselves.

A couple months ago I wrote what was probably my most popular blog entry...
TFG's Second Law of Motion

This was a story about some of the people that I run into at one of the gyms I frequent. One of these people was Make-Up Chick.

If you haven't read TFG's Second Law of Motion, I encourage you to go back and have a good laugh. Without reading it, today's entry will not be as funny.

Anyway, there I was on the treadmill today. I'd been increasing the incline on my routine to help me get ready for some of my new long term goals. Out of the corner of my eye I see two women enter the gym. I glance over and see Make-Up Chick and an older woman with a family resemblance. My guess it is Make-Up Chick's mom...Make-Up Mom.

They take two of the treadmills in the row in front of me and start off at a walking pace...a really slow walking pace. I can never understand that. I start off walking too but only so I can get my Zune setup the way I like it without tripping over the wire. Once that is ready, I increase my speed to something reasonable. But people like the Make-Up Family start out slow...and keep going slow. And when I say 'slow', I don't mean at a normal walking pace. I mean they were walking faster when they walked into the gym. Truly, Mind-bogglingly, slow...you get the picture.

Anyway, I'm listening to my music and trying to concentrate on my breathing. Make-Up Chick, having not learned anything from the last time I saw her, was trying to prop up her Glamour magazine so she could read the "12 Ways to Improve Your Sex Life" article. Make-Up Mom puts her handbag on the treadmills panel and tries using it to hold up her newspaper.

Now I know that treadmill can be boring. But propping stuff up in front of you can only lead to the wrong kind of excitement. And sure enough...less than five minutes into their workout...a misstep while turning a page causes the newspaper to fall down onto the treadmill below. Make-Up Mom reaches out to grab it and knocks her handbag over with her head. The treadmill becomes an obstacle course with the newspaper and the handbag. This of course leads to Make-Up Mom's tumble...or it would have if not for Make-Up Chick to the rescue.

Make-Up Chick, in mid stride, reaches sideways to steady the woman that gave birth to her. Unfortunately, she didn't take the moment required to step off the treadmill first so she would be a steady position herself. So as the handbag tripped Make-Up Mom, Make-up Chick was unable to assist and actually made things worse as they both fell into a heap. The resemblance between these two women is much more than skin deep as they also seem to have the same understanding of physics.

Keep in mind I WAS concentrating on my breathing. Now it's all I can do to keep from laughing. I was only 20 minutes into my workout but I knew that I wouldn't be able to get in the right mindset to continue. So I picked up my stuff and went home.

This leads to Token Fat Guys Third Law of Motion...

When an object is in motion and is intercepted by a second object of similar mass, the second object will need to be braced correctly or the kinetic energy of the first object will overpower both objects.

Progress Report
I'm doing better this week. I'm still 11 pounds up but I think I'm about to drop a pound or two. Then I'll catch up to where I was before all the stupidity started.

NOTE: When I say I'm 11 pounds up. That is 11 pounds up from my minimum. Some one asked me a couple weeks ago if I'd gained back ALL the weight I'd lost plus 11 pounds. So I want to clarify this. I was 246 pounds at my last weigh in...down from my max weight of 292 pounds. I'll update the graph one of these days.

I'm back to keeping track of my daily food intake. It really helps me stay on track to see where all my calories are coming from.

My biggest problem now, I think, is the heat. Summer in North Carolina is like being in an oven.

Speaking of which...

August 03, 2007

Stinky Cheese

This week has been a bit of a wash. I’ve had to run to the doctor again…which sucked. But the big news is of course getting ready for the Weird Al Yankovic concert!

I’ve been a big fan of Al’s since he released ‘Eat It’ and ‘My Bologna’. I’ve gone to two of his concerts so far. Tomorrow will be my 3rd! To get tickets to the last concert I that I attended
I had to put my customer on hold so I could be first to hit TicketMaster.com when they went on sale.

“Oh, your server is down? I’m going to need to put you on hold for about five minutes so I can..ah…reboot my test server...yeah that’s it.”

Ah…yes….front row seats…..it was so incredibly cool. Although, on concert day, when we were getting settled some woman came up to us and started telling us a sob story about how her kids REALLY REALLY wanted front row tickets and asking if we’d switch with them. Apparently they weren’t satisfied with the 6th row tickets she bought. We made an attempt not to laugh at her….we failed. Front row kicks ass!

This time around, I got us row 5 seats. I could have gotten us closer but I’d have to break our group up into smaller groups. I’m fine with row 5….as long as I get to sit with my posse. :P

The big song this concert is going to be the hit single ‘White and Nerdy’ which is a parody of Chamillionaire’s song ‘Ridin’. Unlike the drama surrounding Weird Al’s song ‘Amish Paradise’…a parody of Coolio’s ‘Gangsta Paradise’…Chamillionaire welcomed this satire and maintains a friendship with the king of parody.

A quick note about the ‘White and Nerdy’ song, it is the first and ONLY song of Weird Al’s to make it to the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. The closest he ever got previously was back in 1984 when ‘Eat it’ made it all the way to the #12 slot.

To view the music video…
I think the best part is Donny Osmond doing the white boy dance behind Weird Al.

It is very possible that Weird Al is the only thing on the face of the planet that is more awesome than ninjas…..


Ninja says: Get off the web and go work off some of your fat!