Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Mike Morrow...This guy is amazing!

I was on the Biggest Loser message board today and came across this guy's story. His name is Mike Morrow and he weighed 390+ pounds. It's very inspiring. Enjoy.

My story is pretty simple. I spent a bunch of years traveling around the country doing consulting, eating in nice restaurants and sitting on my rump. I was a great big guy for the better part of a decade and a half. My max weight was 390+ pounds, frankly at 35 my weight was affecting all aspects of my life even though I didn't realize it at the time. When we are dramatically outside of our healthy weight range how we feel daily even our attitude toward life and how we deal with our loved ones is effected by our weight. The weight effects our sleep, our energy level and our ability to do things. Weight is insidious because it creeps on slowly, stealing small bits of our life at a time so we don't even realize what is happening.

I had been on diets a bunch of times over that decade and a half period. I told myself all the lies about why I was overweight and that just around the corner was a magic pill that would help me to lose this weight and be healthy. I wanted to be a healthy weight, I just didn't want it badly enough to make the changes required to make it happen.

Until we had our daughter I was never honest with myself about what I was doing. She was my personal angel that woke me up out of the food induced coma I had been in. That wakeup call came when my daughter was about 3 years old. I realized I was stealing part of her childhood by being overweight and out of shape. I did not have the energy or could not physically do the things she wanted to do with me. I also had concerns about my ability to help her in the event of an emergency. Once my mind started drifting down this path, I realized that if I did not make some major changes, it was likely I would not see her graduate high school or get married nor would I see my grandchildren. At this point the most mortifying thought of all hit: That I may actually let my daughter down! Letting my little girl down was simply not an option.

Weight loss really is all about taking in less calories than you burn. Honestly if controlling there intake is all a person does they will lose weight. I didn't do any exercise at all until I had lost 100 pounds (If I had it to do over again I would have started exercising much earlier in the journey). My "plan" involved eating 1500'ish calories a day 6 days a week. One day a week (After the first 3 months and I could trust myself) I would go out to eat with my wife and daughter. I allowed myself order off the menu getting whatever I wanted. I think this kept me from craving things I always knew I was one week from being able to have whatever. I would skip desert and the bread basket and wouldn't eat insane portion sizes. I think the difference between this time and all the others was the way I looked at this journey, always before I felt I was giving something up, this time I really looked at the diet as "getting something" I was getting my life back. I never once the whole time felt deprived, which was so different from any previous attempt.

The biggest part of weight loss is what goes in your mouth. Exercise is great for your health but it is a rough way to burn off any substantial amount of weight. Once I got down to a "reasonable" size (300 pounds :) )I started walking five miles a day. I used walking to build my fitness level. After 9 months or so I kicked up the activity level. My weight loss rate didn't change much once I added exercise with the exception of not losing a pound the first month I was walking (this was VERY unusual for me).

At least for me, consistency is king, only eating the amount of calories that match my plan and exercising on a daily basis has been very effective for me. This is not to say I don't have days where I eat what I want and throw caution to the wind, even those days are "planned" in that they aren't spur of the moment. At this point I allow myself to eat pretty much whatever I want (within reason) but if it is going to be dramatically outside my normal eating patterns plan for it. I sort of have a 24 hour rule, if I have some sort of evil craving I allow myself to eat it but not until tomorrow and by then the insane urge has generally passed. For me that seems to cut down on the mindless munching.

I have been at my goal weight now for a little over 16 months. So far my weight has been quite steady. I find I can eat quite a bit, if anything I have to be careful not to drift lower due to my activity level and overall better food choices. I workout for at least an hour of cardio a day and usually life weights 3 or 4 times a week for between 30 and 40 minutes.

I feel truly blessed to have been given this gift of a second chance at life. I am active on weight loss forums on the internet. I hope that I can encourage others that are struggling with weight as I did. I know how difficult weight loss can be and hope I can possibly provide the spark that starts someone on their journey. I don't have any magical answers to what will work for weight loss for anyone, but I want to be the cheering section for those that are trying.

If a sedentary 390+ pound middle aged man can drop 58.97% of his body weight and go from a BMI of 52.9 to 160 pounds with a BMI of 21.7 anything is possible! I am including a few before and after pictures in this post people often ask to see them and I have been told they provide some encouragement, it is in that vein I share them with you.

This picture is a montage of me before I started losing weight. Pictures from this era are fairly difficult to come by as you can imagine I was not a huge fan of the camera.

This picture was a fun shot we took as I got close to my goal weight. If you look closely it is my whole family in an old pair of my pants. My wife and I are each in a leg and my daughter is between us. The pants are zipped and buttoned.

This is just a before and after comparison shot. The after is a picture of me running in my first triathlon.

Another before and after comparison shot. The after here is just of me before a training ride for the race I mentioned above.

May God be between you and harm in all the empty places where you must walk.


Monday, November 27, 2006

Day 41

Well, the 40 days are officially over.  And in those 40 days I lost 20 lbs.

The bad news:  Last time I weighed in, I was at 259.  Today I am 262.  That sucks.  I wasn’t planning on gaining weight back.  But I only worked out 3 times and I didn’t count my calories and I ate when stressed.  I know better.  If I don’t count calories, if I don’t physically write it down, I can’t control myself.  And when I’m stressed, I need better methods of relief.  I’m amazed at how weak willed I am and how easily I’ll go back to my fat self if I don’t take this seriously.

The good news:  I still have one more week to really do well.  I worked out this morning.  I’m gonna try to do 2 workouts each day including Sat and Sun and I still have Monday before our pic.  I’d still love, LOVE to weigh 248, that would mean 40 pounds since the summer, and that would rock.

Great blog post by McNutt

Matthew McNutt is the youth pastor from Maine who made it back on the Biggest Loser reality show.  He has a great post about Thanksgiving.  He is the man.



Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The latest Eagle Update...and Rawson takes the lead

Deadline nears, some goals revised
The Wichita Eagle

The pressure is on.

WichiTalk's Weight-Loss Challenge team members are closing in on their deadline.

Earlier this year, WichiTalk chose six readers to go public with their weight-loss efforts for three months. We let them set their own goals and decide their own weight-loss methods.

We're planning a wrap-up about their efforts for the Dec. 19 issue of WichiTalk. That should be perfect timing for people planning New Year's resolutions.

In the meantime, here's a look at how the six are doing:

Tom Allen
Allen, 43, a teacher and coach at Northwest High School, wanted to lose 40 pounds but realized that was unrealistic.

He has lost 15 and has learned that South Beach Diet snack bars help curb unhealthy snacking.
Allen is starting basketball season, so his days are even longer than they had been, running from 3 a.m. to 7 p.m. He plans to catch up on exercise -- and sleep -- over Thanksgiving break and to "stay away from the potatoes and limit the pie."

Jamie Goltz
Goltz, 23, who works for the Army National Guard and the Wichita Marriott, wanted to lose 25 to 30 pounds.

She has maintained a 20-pound loss and may show a bit of weight gain in the final report -- because she's pregnant. As a result, her workouts aren't as strenuous and she's being careful not to get dehydrated while still doing "something healthy for myself and the baby."

Goltz has gotten used to smaller portions and doesn't have any major cravings. "I don't even like eating ice cream. It just doesn't taste good to me right now," she says.

Toni Harden
Harden, 46, is a paraeducator at Wells Special Education Center and wanted to lose 20 to 30 pounds.

She has lost 11, less than she'd hoped but not bad given some health concerns, including diabetes.

Harden and her sister will cook Thanksgiving dinner. "My plan will be to drink lots of water during the morning and to consume very small meals" through the day. "With several diabetics in our family, we will have sugar-free desserts."

Crystal Iseman
Iseman, 26, a stay-at-home mom and day-care provider, wanted to lose 25 pounds.

She has lost 13 and is disappointed it's not more. But she also admits that being swamped with homework (she's finishing a college degree) and work means she hasn't paid as much attention as she should to her eating and exercise habits.

Iseman has learned that "drinking lots and lots of water keeps your appetite at bay." But she'll enjoy Thanksgiving, knowing that if she deprives herself, "I tend to end up giving in and eating more."

Andrea McClellan
McClellan, 31, a stay-at-home mom, wanted to lose 25 pounds.

She's lost 18 but regained 3. "I did it to myself," she says. "I have not been working out as much as I should, and my water intake is poor... Boy, did I mess up!"

At Thanksgiving, "I plan to eat what I want, only small servings. Only two times a year do I get sweet potatoes... I will try to eat a spoonful versus a plateful."

She also knows the role that state of mind plays: "When I am not feeling happy, I eat... I just need to start my day feeling good about myself, and the rest will follow."

Ken Rawson
Rawson, 30, director of student ministries at First United Methodist Church, wanted to lose 15 pounds.

He has lost 23 by "counting my calories and keeping it to 1,500, choosing wisely, which means smaller portions and healthier options." He has been exercising 45 to 90 minutes a day and has signed up for the YMCA's Battle of the Bulge, an effort to prevent weight gain during the holidays.

You can read more about his progress on his blog:

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Day 35 and I'm feeling ALIVE

Man, what a great feeling to be taking initiative!  Last night, even though it was 10 PM I still got in one of the BL DVD workouts and shed 200 more calories.  Got up this morning and did the spin class and it rocked.

When I first started coming to the Y and especially the spin class, man it was kicking my butt!  Today I got in there early to test out bikes (they all have different resistance tendencies) to find one that would not be easy.  So I picked the hardest out of three and it was STILL easy.  So today, I took initiative and instead of letting the class direct my speed and effort, I led out and worked my butt off and it was GREAT.

Now, don’t get me wrong.   I wasn’t leading the class and no one was checking me out, going, “Check out Ken, he is rocking today!”  But by myself I knew I was really pushing it and that was cool.  So I busted out 500 calories in 40 minutes!

Monday, November 20, 2006

The hardest thing about know, other than, uh, motivation

One hour and 45 minutes.


That’s how long it takes for me to walk, from my desk, to the Y, change clothes, gear up, stretch out, do cardio for 60 minutes, shower, dress, and walk back to the church.

That’s a big chunk of the day to dedicate to losing weight.  That’s a lot to ask.  And that’s why it is DEFINITELY easier to do in the morning before work.  Most people aren’t willing to give up 2 hours of their day OR MORE (I mean, we aren’t even talking about any strength training!) just to lose weight.  It’s easier to drink a supplement, fast, or walk.  But maybe not better.  Of course, doing something is better than doing nothing.

Day 34

Well, 34 days into this and it’s been a great ride.  This last week my parents were here for four days so I didn’t do too well, eating or exercising.  But I’m back today.  I’m gonna do some work then head on over to the Y.

Also, this whole thing is ending on Dec. 4th so I still have 15 days.  I’d like to break the 250 mark.  That’s only 10 lbs.  Can I do 10 lbs in 15 days?  I think so!!!!!  It’d be so great to weigh less than 250.  That’d be sweet.  So that’s what I’m looking at!

Sean, you rock!  We’ll get doing this thing together.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

My update for the Eagle

Alright, here is what I gave Karen at the Eagle. When it comes out in the paper I’ll post it.


1) How much have you lost?


[Ken] 23 pounds!!!!! (really, in the last 28 days!  You don't have to print that  ;^)  )


2) How are you going to get through Thanksgiving? (If it's at your house, what will you do differently? If you're going someplace, what will you do to keep from undoing all your hard work?)


[Ken] I'm going to keep doing what's been getting me here, counting my calories and keeping it to 1500, choosing wisely which means smaller portions and healthier options, and exercising for 45-90 minutes each day!  I also joined the YMCA's battle of the bulge to help keep me accountable too through the holidays and the year.


3) What have you "discovered" that helps with the weight-loss journey? I've found that Starbucks Low-Fat Frappucino Bars will get me through a chocolate fix. My editor, who has been slowly losing for quite a while now, said salsa and Egg Beaters (for lack of a better generic term) are her salvation. What things have you "discovered"?


[Ken] I eat this Quaker brand weight loss oatmeal in the morning and it keeps me satisfied until I eat lunch.  Also Olive Garden has a Chicken Giardino that is REALLY good and low in calories.  Spangle's has a 40 calorie sugar free jell-o, I just wish it was less than a buck!  And Spangle's fat free chicken on pita, is okay too.  Subway is a good lunch too.  There are all kinds of great options available for anyone who wants to do this!






Last night I noticed that my jeans were clean. No fat person enjoys putting on jeans that have been in the drier because they are so tight.
Except for me! I couldn't wait to put on my jeans today and they felt so nice!

I am a loser...really

So because people have been talking about the BL dvd on the message boards, and because I'm not running outside again for a l o n g time, I bought the dvd yesterday and tried it out. I'm such a dork. I couldn't even do the low intensity work out the whole time. Really great dvd.

and I'm a loser because I haven't put my blinds up in the living room so anyone who drove by my house saw a big fat guy doing an exercise video. Pretty funny.


Four more pounds, baby!!!! Yeah!!!! I need to send in a report to the Wichita Eagle today on my latest weight loss so I weighed in two days early. That makes 23 pounds through this competition (in the last 29 days) and 29 pounds total!

Oh yeah, and I did my usual Bobby Reed today.

And I almost forgot, over the last 8 days, I missed three days because of that running crap, and a Sunday, and I didn't keep my food log all that well, but I did try to eat well. So I feel pretty good about that!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I am so not ready for prime time

On the Biggest Loser last week the at home contestants, two of them, made it back to the ranch. And the big point they were trying to say is that while they lost a ton of weight, they weren’t nearly as strong as the Ranchers. One of the things this dude named marty did was he grabbed this half ball like thing and was doing push ups with it. I don’t know how to describe this thing other than it is half an exerball on a plastic platform. Let me see if I can find a pic…

So Marty has it upside down and he’s grabbing it and doing push ups while Bob is saying, “Pop it!!! Make it POP!” as in not literally but bounce back, really push hard off of it and get up in the air. Needlesstosay, the at home guy, Jaron, has a tough time with it and the other guys are like, “Dude, we were so there when we got started. It’s no big deal.”

Then I’m watching the Biggest Loser exercise video extras and it has Suzy from the first season struggling to do this.

Okay, back to today…

I’m in the Spin class and there is one of those exerball things and I decide that I’m gonna try it. So after my work out I go into the empty room. I get on my knees. I turn the exerball thing over and get into the push up position.

I “pop” it.

I did it! Eh, no big deal. I must be better off than all those guys who couldn’t even do it once. Let me see…I’ll try it again…

I “pop” it, again.

This time, when I landed, my sweaty left hand slipped off and my elbow and pinky CRASH into the floor and the exerball thing hits me in the face!

Ah, so freaking hilarious! If only it could have been caught on tape, I’d had made Youtube hall of fame.

Day 28...back on the bike

Even though I only got 4 hours of sleep last night, I still made it to Spin Class and busted out the bike.  After that I did 30 minutes on the new EFX machines…ooh, nice.  Tomorrow I need to give an update to the Eagle so I’m going to weigh in 2 days early.  We take our last pic on Dec. 5th so that still gives me another couple weeks to drop more weight!!!

I’m not expecting a big jump on the scales for this last 8 day period, but anything will be great!

Lastly, I went out to BBQ today and did great!  Usually eating out is a killer as I can’t control myself.  Instead I had a salad with pulled pork with fat free ranch dressing.   The only bad thing was the sprinkle of cheese on the salad, but other than that, I rocked.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Oooh...i almost forgot!

So I see the Y trainer today, I think her name is Melissa.  Anyway, she stops by and says, “Hey, you took a week off!”  So I tell her the whole story.  After my hour is up I’m walking back and I stop by and I ask her, “Why, when I ran, I kept my heart rate up and exerted the exact same amount of energy during my little walk/run thing and I burned the same 750 calories, which is what I do every day, why did it hurt so freaking bad?  Why did running on the ground make it so difficult if I did the same amount of work?  It doesn’t make sense!”

She explained that it’s a lot easier in the gym, even the treadmill has lots of give, so it’s easier to exercise.  My thought is SCREW THAT, I’m never running outside again, that is freaking ridiculous!!!  She laughed and said, “It’s really hard on your joints.  You just need to lose a little more weight and running will be great.”

I looked at her and said, “A little weight?  Yeah right!  How about a LOT of weight!”  She laughed and said that she doesn’t like to be discouraging so she says, “a little weight” but yes, “a lot of weight.”

Good times.  Fat men should not run.

Day...what the heck is today? Day 27

Well, running took it out of me!  Thursday, Friday, and most of the day Saturday I spent limping around.  My legs were absolutely killing me.  I was dropping Advil like it was Halloween candy but to no effect!

So I didn’t exercise.  I didn’t even realize till Friday that I still could have done some upperbody weight training even though my legs were killing me.  Of course, at 5:00 am I was just thinking about how much I hurt.  At least I know for next time.

And my eating sucked.  Which is bittersweet.  I found out that I’m really not missing much with my new healthy plan of eating.  The other food didn’t satisfy like I thought it would.  It was just…heavy.

So I hit the ol’ oatmeal this morning and an hour and 750 calories of cardio.  I so didn’t want to do it.  I was just dreading it.  Even to the point of stepping on the treadmill I was trying to talk myself out of it.  But I didn’t.  And I felt great.  It’s good to be back.

This Wednesday I turn in another update to the Wichita Eagle so that’ll be fun.  I doubt I’ve lost much more weight since the past four days have sucked, but every pound counts and I feel great!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Day 22: Freaking Running

Dude!!!!  Yesterday I missed the gym because I overslept.  And for some reason I had some motivation last night to do some running.   So I strapped on the POLAR and did some running!  I did interval running, of running for 1 ½ minutes and walking for 1 ½ minutes…not because I wanted to but because that’s pretty much all I had in me. 

Nevertheless, my legs were KILLING me and they still are TODAY!  Dude, running on ground instead of a treadmill is SO much harder!!!  Nevertheless, an hour of running and exercising and keeping my heart rate up still only equals 754 calories burned.

Then this morning I did the ol’ Bobby Reed plus 15 min on the ARC trainer and while it was so much easier than last night, still an hour only nets me 750 calories burned.  Weird.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Day 21: 6 more pounds!!!

Yesterday was the official 20th day of my 40 days of Fitness.  And I lost another 6 pounds!


So, that is…


6 lbs in the last 10 days


19 lbs in the last 20 days


25 lbs since I began this blog.


I never thought 263 would be a good number…