Lightening the Load, Episode 1

So, at Student Life we make a lot of videos.  Actually, I'm doing a huge disservice by saying "we" because I often have very little to do with them, but sometimes I get to be pretty involved, and I love it when I do.  Anyway, a lot of the videos we make, whether for an event or one of our resources, we make available for other people to get them and use them.  We'll sell them in our own store and also make them available through some third-party vendors like Worship House Media and Sermon Spice.  A while ago, Les (or Big Money Bradford, as he's more commonly known, he of Gigli fame) made a deal that whenever one of our videos made it in the top ten of one of these other sites, he'd bring doughnuts for the whole office.  One of our videos spearheaded by Travis (or T5 as he's more commonly known) has accomplished this feat a number of times.  It's called "Uphill Battle," maybe you've heard of it. Well, one day last week Les comes in with a whole mess of doughnuts because one of our videos is once again in the top ten over at Worship House.  This time it's a new one, one that we just started selling.  It's called "HE>you," and it's a call-to-worship that we produced for our summer youth events (by we I mainly mean Jason, Eric, Erin and myself, though I would be remiss to not acknowledge that some other people had a slight hand in it as well).

So, anyway, here are these doughnuts, and they're Shipley's Doughnuts, which are my absolute favorite doughnuts.  I was on my way to a meeting when Les walked in with them, and they were still warm.  I'm sitting there looking at them as people file past me to have one (or two or three).  I think to myself, "I can have a doughnut.  What's the big deal?  It's just one.  I'll eat better later to make up for it," but then I think, "no.  That's not true.  Later, you'll justify a mocha and then a blizzard and then a plate of chocolate chip cookies and eventually you might try to justify an entire blackberry cobbler.  Why?  Because you're a fatty, fatty.  Just stop making yourself so fat."  If my life were a cartoon you would have seen a little devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other.  Only the angel is kinda mean and aggressive.

So, I walked away to my meeting sans doughnut but with some rooibos tea with splenda instead.

Why?  Because, as promised, I am genuinely trying to turn over a new leaf, make a life change, improve my health, lighten the load... etc.

Now, I must remind you that this isn't a diet.  I know diets work for some people.  They just don't work for me.  That doesn't mean that I haven't changed (even drastically) my eating habits because I have.  However, I don't have a timeframe on it so that once I reach my goal I just go back to how I was eating.  I'm trying to adjust my habits for good.  At the beginning, I'm being a little more strict and everything but it will flow organically, I think.

Anyway, since this isn't a diet, that means that I don't have some strict set of rules that I'm adhering to.  So, what am I doing?  I'm glad you asked.

1. With regards to food, which for me is probably the area requiring the biggest change, here's the deal.  I'm counting calories, using a couple of handy iPhone apps to help.  I've used a few different things to help me calculate and come up with 2300 calories a day to meet my goal.  However, so far I've been less than that, which is good.  I'm eating a light breakfast and then am utilizing Neil's plan of eating salads for lunch.  I don't know how long I can keep it up, but it's going well so far.  I change them up every two days so it doesn't get to repetitive.  At night Liza and I both are being more healthy in what we eat, and we're cooking.  I'm also trying to adjust my portion sizes.  I'm not eating past 7:00, which is going okay, and using Hannah's suggestion to drink hot tea to help curb cravings.  If I get hungry for a snack, I'm able to just grab a handful of nuts and move on.  I still feel hungry at times, but I'm pretty sure that will pass once my body gets used to not being stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey.

2.  I've completely cut out Soda.  I had already pretty much given up coffee (especially all the Starbuck's runs).  So now, I'm pretty much drinking only water witht he occasional hot tea (sweetened with Splenda).  I carry around my sweet Sigg water bottle with me everywhere.  I think eventually it will simply become an extension of my arm.

3.  Exercise.  Okay.  I thought Laz had one of the greatest suggestions ever.  So, I went out and bought a heavy bag.  It's hanging in my garage.  I love it.  So, right now my routine consists of 20-30 minutes on the heavy bag (3 minute rounds with 1 minute rests; you try to do more than that) and then I alternate various other things, walking, lifting with dumbells, stretching, pushups, situps, jump rope, etc.  I really do hope to transition into running eventually.  Losing a bit first will help make that more enjoyable and so will waiting for the weather to cool off a little bit.

That's kinda it for right now.  Only been sticking to this whole plan for a week now.  Lost five pounds during that time.  Booyah!

I still haven't mastered getting to bed at night (lots to do), and I know there's much more for me to do/change, but I really believe this is a good start.  I feel good.  I'm hopeful.  I'm committed.  So, here goes.

As a reminder, the deal is that by January 31 I will have dropped from 290 lbs. to 250 lbs. at the least (I hope to lose more).  If not I'm going to owe a number of you a total of $900.00.  I'll be saving up that money just in case, but, really, I plan on using it for something else much more awesome.  I just don't know what yet.  Sorry, Liza, it won't be debt reduction (okay, maybe).  I'm thinking an old, beat up VW to restore.

I'll be updating you guys somewhat periodically but not weekly.  Thanks for coming along with me and I continue to welcome any helpful thoughts you might have (especially all those healthy recipes some of you promised).

Michael, I haven't ripped off weight watchers yet, but I'm shocked that you did.  Shocked and disappointed.  You work for Lifeway.  You should know better.