Moderation and TheFatGuy

How do YOU define Moderation?

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Moderation and TheFatGuy

How do YOU define Moderation?

Moderation was a foreign word to me for a long long time. Actually, several years ago, I told Dr.J of Dr.J & TheFatGuy that I had no idea what the definition of moderation was.

Dr.J and TheFatGuy (ME) have done different TV and radio spots promoting healthy living, making the healthy choice the easy choice, and anything promoting a healthy lifestyle. Dr.J is a wonderful person that works with MUSC and is, what I would call, the queen of moderation. She is in great shape and health, no body fat, and so on. When we started doing our spots together I noticed she always brought up moderation and doing things in moderation. Sounds like a smart thing to do, huh?

Well, we walked out of a session one day and I said, “You know, I have no idea what the definition of moderation is. If I did I would have never reached 360 pounds!” She just laughed, but I was a little serious about it and how moderation pertained to my journey. Moderation is much easier said than done with a person like me. You see I quit drinking in 1984 (recovering alcoholic), quit smoking in 1986 (nicotine addiction, 2 packs a day), and started my wellness journey to losing 150 pounds in 2009. Now does that sound like someone that knows what moderation is?

When I describe myself to people I typically use the phrase “all or nothing kinda guy”. I am like a light switch that has no dimmer. I am ON or OFF! It has been this way with alcohol, cigarettes, and sugar. There are probably a few other things I could toss in for good measure.

PENINSULA coconut cake

Picture taken on our anniversary!

Sugar is one great example of all or nothing. No moderation, no dimmer dial. I worked at giving up processed sugar for 363 days while losing 150 pounds. The only processed sugar I knowingly ingested for those 363 days was 2 bites of coconut cake on my wife’s birthday in November 2009. It was Peninsula Grill’s world famous coconut cake. It is delicious and loaded with calories. Presently one slice has 2,400 calories in it! Yep, about a dozen regular candy bars. But, I had 2 bites and that was it! YEA!

I gave up sugar during this period because I knew I would struggle to lose weight, to stay on the journey if I did try to ‘manage’ eating any sugar during this period. I still struggle with it, but I do recognize my struggle and my issues with moderation.

That is what I want to share with you today. I know moderation in many things in life is an issue for me. I know I struggle with the idea of replacing an ‘ON/OFF’ switch with a moderation dimmer dial. Creating honest communication with ME (TheFatGuy) has been a key factor in any success I have seen in my journey. I always go back to honesty, self-honesty. It is the toughest honesty I have ever experienced and many people I know feel the same way. Taking a hard look in the mirror and realizing there are things I cannot control or do well.

SO, I may not be able to master moderation like Dr.J, but I am fully aware of what I do well and not so well.

Note to ME and YOU: You don’t have to master everything! Just look in the mirror and master YOU!

TheFatGuy

Me June 2008

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I’ll Never Forget How Bad I Felt

Feeling bad was NORMAL!!

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by TheFatGuy

TheFatGuy was involved in an all day Obesity Summit (Conquering Tri-County’s Obesity Epidemic: Challenges, Changes, Choices) in Charleston, SC on December 2012. He had the great pleasure of addressing the group of 100 invitees with the story of his journey to health, fitness, and wellness. He spoke of a number of things during his 15 minutes AND 15 minutes is a very short time when you are explaining what you have done over 1376 days!

One thing that TheFatGuy highlighted was the fact that we now have close to 98 million men, women, and children in the ranks of OBESITY! That is 98 million people that he wishes to see start their journeys to health, fitness, and wellness. As TheFatGuy has talked about before, if obesity was a type of cancer we would ALL be beating the doors down trying to find a cure. But OBESITY is a complicated issue wrapped in 98 million individual stories and a wealth of need for changing policies, systems, and environment. If we could ‘cure’ obesity there might not be a health care crisis!

The other thing that stuck with TheFatGuy about this day and his talk was a question he poses as he shows a picture of himself at 360 pounds with his wife (Polly) and Godchild/niece (Sara Jane). The question: “Just how BAD did I feel?” This is a tough picture for him to see and a tough question for him to answer.  He will try to answer it for you with a little more detail than he gave in his talk that day.

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In February 2009 TheFatGuy felt terrible. Just moving was a chore for him and exercise was a very distant thought. On the day this photo was taken he was at Wando High School for a production of 42nd Street by the students. HE was there with family and should have been enjoying a fun event with them, but he was not. He had to literally squeeze into the theater seats like one too many sardines in a can of sardines! He was uncomfortable (not the most accurate word) during the entire performance. He was struggling at best. At this time he was taking 7 different drugs to control or manage high blood pressure, high cholesterol, anxiety, sleep, migraines, asthma, and joint pain. AND, he used a CPAP machine to sleep! This was the short list of health issues that his obesity caused.  He avoided steps like the plaque, as even scaling one flight of steps would wear him out! He knew where ALL of the elevators were wherever he went. He was the guy that circled multiple times to get the closest parking space wherever he went. Yes, just moving had become a struggle. Can you imagine him struggling to pick up the dogs bowls from the floor in the morning to feed them and replenish their water? He would warm up for this endeavor by first bending over to get the coffee from a lower cabinet to prepare him to bend all the way to the floor to retrieve the dogs bowls. This is sad and funny all at the same time. It’s OK for me to say this as I know TheFatGuy all too well!

The worst part of it all is that feeling bad had become the norm in TheFatGuy’s life. So much so that he did not even realize ‘how bad he felt’ until he started losing weight and feeling better. That is a terribly scary thought that someone could feel bad for so long that it had become normal and accepted. He had lost touch with what feeling good, fit, and healthy was like. He now knows just how bad he felt. That is why the picture with this story is the desktop photo on his phone. He DOES NOT want to forget how bad he felt. He does not want to travel the journey back to that place where he felt terrible.

Now TheFatGuy wonders just how many of the 98 million men, women, and children are in the same boat he was in 2009. Has feeling bad become the norm for them? Have they accepted their obesity and all of the issues that come with it? Do the even know what feeling good is like? Do they remember or have a reference point for it? TheFatGuy feels sad when he thinks of someone else thinking that feeling bad is the norm when he knows what it is like to feel so good now.

Note to ME and YOU: If you are one of the over 98 million people struggling with obesity now, PLEASE start your journey today! If you are lucky enough to NOT be in this number, help someone that is starting their journey to health and wellness.

Mike

TheFatGuy, TheFitGuy, TheBEAST

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Unconscious Calories? Really!

DO you really need to eat that?

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Unconscious Calories? Really!

As I settled into the New Year, I realize just how many unconscious calories I consume. Do you do that, too?

The entire first three years of my journey were based around tracking calories, trends, habits and so on. I kept a spread sheet the entire three years because I did not trust ME! 53 years of bad lifestyle choices and habits will do that to you. I had to really work to break bad habits and work to develop/build good lifestyle habits. Hard but very worthwhile.

So, back to unconscious calories. After logging and tracking for three years I realized how many ‘unconscious calories’ I was consuming when I was 360 pounds. No thought, no effort to track, no conscious healthy choices. Some things I did that can still creep back in at times are :

  • Well first, I am sitting at Starbucks right now AND I use to drink 2 to 3 Venti Caffe Mochas a day! WOW, almost 500 calories a pop. 1,000 to 1,500 calories a day with NO nutritional value and loaded with sugar—45 grams per drink. Does have 5 grams of fiber !
  • SO that leads us to ‘unconscious calories’ that we drink! I use to drink sodas and since I use to go to fastfood joints, I would ‘supersize’ them. These sodas and more that I dank during a day could lead to another 800-1,000 calories, See a trend.
  • Fastfood- talk about ‘unconscious calories’! I supersized everything. Lets just look at one place, BK> small fry and coke to supersizing equals 280 to 880 calories. It’s simple, “Sir, would you like to supersize that meal?” Sure, what’s another 600 calories to a guy that weighs 360 pounds.
  • Sugar (processed, the white stuff), the emptiest calories I know. Candy, ice cream, gum, and just about anything sweet! Bag of candy, yes please. Large ice cream, yes please. ……….
  • There are all sorts of empty calories we consume every day— gum, chips, that last item at check out, half & half, and the list goes on.

I have these bad habits, these ‘unconscious calories’, calling my name to this day. They find their way into my life when I’m stressed, tired, in a rut, almost any way they can. 6 plus years of working on healthy habits still does not ‘outweigh’ 53 years of bad lifestyle habits.

So what to do? What do I do? What do you do?

  • DON’T kick yourself. If you recognize it, you can fix it.
  • Create a log for at least a week of everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, you consume. Then, LOOK AT IT.
  • Make this commitment, do NOT drink your calories. WATER, WATER, WATER.
  • Try giving up the processed sugar. I had to do this for a year and still struggle with it.
  • Ditch Fast Food or at least try to search out the healthy choices. Ummm, NEVER SUPERSIZE.
  • We are all online. Google it if you are not sure.
  • STOP! If it goes in your mouth, STOP for a moment and ask, “What am I consuming? ‘Unconscious calories’?!

Small changes and a focus on new healthy habits can make a world of difference.

Note to ME and YOU: Just think! Think about what you are putting in your body and then make the smart choice. (Not always easy, but soooooo worthwhile)

Mike, TheFatGuy

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If YOU want something different, YOU need to do something different

Or The definition of insanity!

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If YOU want something different, YOU need to do something different

Simple thoughts jump out at me all day long and I seldom take the time to jot them down. Think that will be one of the things I work on during the 2016.

This sentence popped into my head this morning as I prepared for the day—“If YOU want something different, YOU need to do something different.” This is something I know from my life and my journey, but happened to jump out at me this morning. Many times in my life I have wanted something ‘different’ and made the decision to do something ‘different’ to get what I wanted.

Any significant ‘different’ thing I have wanted has taken a significant ‘different’ approach, a change in me and in my habits. Habits can be what get you there are sabotage your journey, your wanting something different. I’ve had many bad habits in my life that I have changed with focused pray, thought, and action. I’m a grateful recovering alcoholic (since 1984) and I ditched the nicotine habit in 1986. Significant changes that took significant ‘different’ approaches to life to make the shift, to attain the goal.

The latest significant change in my life came in 2009 when I started on my present health and wellness journey. I was 360 pounds, in horrible shape and health. I knew it would take a significantly ‘different’ approach to make the shift, to drop the pounds, to get control of my life one more time. You see, I had 53 years of bad lifestyle habits to overcome. A significant shift, a significantly different approach.

So, what did I do different to make the shift, to lose 150 pounds? Let’s make a short list:

  • I made my mind up that I was the most important person in the fire. If I could not take care of myself, help myself, I could not help anyone else in life.
  • I made a conscious effort to make my change a journey and not and A to B diet/goal.
  • I created a spreadsheet that a logged on daily for 3 years to make my change ‘stick’
  • I started drinking ½ ounce of water per pound f body weight daily, starting first thing in the morning each day.
  • I gave up processed sugar for a year!
  • And the rest of the list is at http://fatguydiary.com/where-did-thefatguy-start/

As you can see a significant shift. I did things significantly different to do something  significantly different in my life—lose 150 pounds!

Now I am once more doing something significantly different and you can help me with it. I am working to help more people find physical and financial freedom in 2016. If you know anyone that wants to lose weight, improve how they feel, or create financial freedom for themselves, have them contact me. I like to help people, I want to help people improve their lives. I would love to share my success and strategy with others.

Thank You for reading and Thank You for any help you can give me!

Note to ME and YOU: If you want something significantly different, do things significantly different in your life. You know what Albert Einstein said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”.

TheFatGuy, Mike

PS That is my wonderful wife in the pic with me. She provided the #inspiration for my #transformation!

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What’s your WHY?

Change your life, Change the world.....

Something I have been thinking about and dwelling on recently is “What’s your WHY?”   It is something I have had to come to grips with a number of times in my life. Most times my “WHY” just jumps out at me. I have an AHA moment that changes my life. Other times, I have to think about it, pray about it, and have it come to me.

The Fat Guy on the Bridge

Why change my life? Why quit drinking? Why quit smoking? Why change careers when I am at the peak of one? Why lose weight after being overweight all my life? All of these are actual “Why’s” in my lifetime. As I look back I know I have been driven by my “Why’s”.

My “Why” may have been a little different in each situation, but they all came back to ‘me becoming a better me to best help and serve my family, friends and community. I have always enjoyed helping others in my life and have learned the hard lesson that I needed to help me, so I could be the best me to help others.

Do you know your “WHY”? If you want to make any substantial change in your life, know your “Why”, embrace your “Why”, and own your “Why”. Some things to do, some questions to ask to find your why:

  • Write it down
  • What are the first thoughts that come to mind?
  • How do you want to make a difference?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What makes you feel alive?

Find your “Why” and YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!

Note to ME and YOU: Embrace your “WHY” and change your life, change the world!

30 YEARS!!! This is dedicated to the ONE I LOVE! #blessed #thankful

You may say 30 years is a LONG time. It is and it isn’t. The last 30 years has flown by when it comes to my life with my wonderful wife. We have experienced all of the highs and lows of life and marriage. We have been up and down, right and wrong, happy and sad, and through it all we have come out with 30 years of great memories.wedding pic

I must say, I have been the clear winner in our relationship. I have benefited in so many ways from Polly being in my life, putting up with my ups and downs, dealing with my weight, job demands, and ME. Polly has been the significant force that has allowed me to accomplish anything important in life. I am thankful for Polly for a number of reasons and I will list a few of the BIG ones here:

  • Polly supported and loved me through a majority of my 28 ½ year career in Ops Management at the SC Port Authority. She saw me go from terminal to terminal and operation to operation. She dealt with my all-in attitude and supported long hours and intense focus on the job at hand while not focusing as much on her and other things in my life. Anyone that I was able to positively impact during my time there has Polly to thank because she supported me and loved me unconditionally while I was investing time in others.
  • Polly supported my decision to leave the Ports Authority the last day of December 2004 to chase a dream of saving a nonprofit that had become near and dear to my heart, the local Boys & Girls Clubs. She knew I would go ALL-IN and she knew it would mean much time invested in the kids and organization with less time invested in her. She supported the 70 hour weeks for 3 ½ years and she loved me through it all. She loved me through going from 300 to 360 pounds. She loved me through an injury I sustained the summer of 2006 and drove me everywhere I needed to be. She loved me even though my weight, health, mind, and soul were becoming worn out and wore down. She loved me even though she was scared for my life with all of the health issues the weight and lifestyle had lumped on me.
  • Polly has done many things for me during our relationship, many significant things. The most significant to me was saving my life in February 2009. She told me “The Fire Story” that quite literally saved my life. It was the story that created that AHA moment that started me on my journey of weight loss. It was the story that got me to see I needed to Take Care of ME if I was ever going to be able to help and support anyone else in my life. It created that spark and momentum for me to lose 150 pounds. This helped me to shed 7 medications, a CPAP machine, and other health related issues.

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To say I am a much better person with Polly Porter-Campbell in my life is an understatement. She is the spark that makes me go, she is the light that guides my way, she is the love of my life that completes me in so many ways.

Thank You Polly for agreeing to marry me 30 years ago today! Thank You Polly for making this roller coaster ride so enjoyable and meaningful. Thank You for being YOU!

Note to ME and YOU: My prayer for all of us is that we have at least one person in our lives that supports us, loves us for who we are, and sometimes saves our life.

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Warning: This is NOT a political post, it is a post about LOVE!

Warning: This is NOT a political post, it is a post about LOVE!

I have consciously tuned out the news for about 4 weeks. I’ve allowed the constant bombardment of bad news affect my heart, soul, and mind. The left is right, the right is right, Christian, Muslim, Jew, atheist, Democrat, Republican, and every label you can think of in our country, in our world participating in the hate in some big or small way. Horrible things are happening every day. Hate has become the prevalent part of every story, of every message. We also have a lot of ‘if you are not with us, you are against us’. Everyone is put in a Win-Lose situation. If I get my way, I WIN, you LOSE! AND, I’m gonna let you know it!

We have seen much loss of life recently. We have seen battles over things that become hateful. We have seen so much sorrow in our town, state, country and world that my heart started to ache constantly. And 4 weeks ago I shut the news off and started working on me, working on a more positive outlook, working to be the person I need to be, the person I want to be.

THEN I look at Facebook early last Thursday and see the unthinkable. 9 people killed in their own church, in my state, in my town. People that were very loving, giving, prayerful, and joyful in life. Gone from their church, our community, and all of our lives. My heart started hurting again in a very painful way. Why the hate? Why the senseless act? WHY?

Charleston Strong Heart

Amazingly, out of this great tragedy, I see LOVE! I see HOPE! I see the victim’s families forgive, love, and pray. I see our community come together. I see tens of thousands of people come together. I see so much positive that I am overwhelmed.

Then, I turn on the news. Big mistake on my part! I see this tragedy becoming a political football. I see people start to pick sides again and start to move back to their comfortable corners. I see the division creeping back in already! WE CANNOT LET THIS HAPPEN!

We need to do things in LOVE to properly honor the 9 people that have lost their lives and to properly honor their families that have showed us the way. We have to make our decisions based in LOVE. We cannot make any situation WIN-LOSE. We have to find the path toward winning for all when it comes to our community, state, and country. LOVE cannot be legislated. We have to find it in ourselves and each other. We have to find it through God, with God. Why should we hate when we could LOVE and could be LOVED?

Father Willey, the pastor of our church, helped me to better understand what is happening and has happened in our world. On Sunday he made one statement that stuck with me:

“Evil only exists where there is an absence of God’s Love!”

This statement hit me where I needed it most, in my heart and soul. If we are truly doing things out of love, out of God’s love, we will not allow evil to take part in the decision, in our thoughts, or in our hearts. If we approach each person we see and say to ourselves “I love you”, how would that impact our conversation and relationship with that person? Placing that simple thought in our mind over and over could make a huge difference in how we travel through life. It could make a huge difference in how we impact other’s lives, our community, and the world. Father Willey is right, evil cannot exist where God’s Love exists.

My dad added one other nugget driving in the car yesterday. He said a friend of his once told him that when you are dealing with someone in a situation that is becoming difficult for that person and you, ask yourself this, “What would I do if this was my best friend? How would I respond and act?” Just think about it.

Each of us has a decision to make. Each of us needs to choose between LOVE and evil. Which will you choose? I CHOOSE LOVE!

Note to ME and YOU: If we can always work to make our decisions in LOVE, LOVE others, and travel our journey in LOVE then evil has no place to creep in!

TheFatGuy, Mike

PS To all of the people in Charleston, in our community, please continue to LOVE one another the way I have seen it these past few days. Let’s keep the love alive and push it out through our state and country. We all need and deserve it!

charleston+strong love over all

When life happens……

When life happens……

When life happens I have a tendency to revert to the 53 years of bad lifestyle habits that got me to weigh in at over 360 pounds. AND, life has happened a little too much these past two months. I had been OK with staying in a range of 215 to 230 over the past 8 months with the 230 number being in view a little too much. 230 was going to be the line I would not cross.

I had been in the process of rebooting myself and getting on the right track with my nutrition and physical activity when things started coming unraveled. During the week of April 13th I was helping plan a 60 anniversary gathering at Blossoms on April 17th for my mom and dad. I took my mom flowers on April 16th, their anniversary, and talked a little about the event we were having the following night. One minute she said she was going and the next she wasn’t. My brother, Walter, and I tried to work on some special invitees that night to make sure mom was happy J  I called the next morning on April 17th to talk with my mom about the fact that Father Willey, our pastor, would be at the dinner. As she joked with me about him coming and her deciding to come, she fell to the floor. I knew it was not good as I could hear my dad talking with her. I stayed on the phone with them and steered my car to their house which took about 7-8 minutes. I knew from what I could hear that my mom had stopped talking. When I arrived at the house my mom was unable to communicate with us and was slipping away. The EMS and Fire professionals did a great job responding and getting my mom to Roper Hospital but the outcome was out of all of our control. Talking to the doctor at the hospital we found that she had a massive stroke with a significant bleed on the left side of her brain and a secondary bleed had started. Our only choice was to make her comfortable and at peace, as best we could. We had just over 4 days to come together as a family and say goodbye to my mom.

This was all tough on me and everyone but I thought I was handling it OK. AND, life happened again! On the day of my mom’s funeral, April 25th, I was going to pick up my dad so our family could meet to go to the funeral together in the provided vehicles. As I drove down Rutledge Avenue I was in the left hand lane beside a Toyota SUV in the center lane. The GPS in the Toyota SUV told the driver it was time for him to take a left onto Vanderhorst Street and he proceeded to make an abrupt left turn into the side of my car as we both crossed the intersection of Rutledge and Vanderhorst. I was shook up pretty good but I did avoid hitting a hydrant and tree across the intersection! My first thought was to call my brother Walter to pick up my dad. And then I made sure my car was drivable. The police officer did a great job of making sure I got out of there in time to make it to my mom’s funeral.When Life happens 2

The accident left me with significant left shoulder, upper back, and neck pain. Numerous doctor visits, PT sessions, and visits to the chiropractor are getting me back on track. Then came a great business/wellness retreat, followed by my annual week at Camp Kemo. Not all bad, just a bunch of life happening.

SO, Sunday (June 14th) I wake up with much pain in my shoulder and neck weighing 245 pounds! It was/is time for me to reboot, go back to simple (KISS) and manage things a little better.

The first thing I see on Facebook that day is a good friend of ours, Devin Page, post a challenge to his friends to ‘set a 3 month goal, to get healthier, lose weight, get in shape and be a better person.’ Well this came at a great time for me, I’M IN! Devin plans to be 30 down during that time and I AM IN FOR THAT.

Second step was to get back on my muscle relaxers, get back to better pain management and get back to PT Monday. This has started!

Third step is to work a plan for Eating Smart and Moving More throughout the summer with Polly, my wonderful and now skinny wife. Our nutrition system is in place and is working for me and her. The moving more will come with a scheduled plan of Total Gym workouts, , some body weight workouts, stands at Stoney Field, and walking with Polly.

I am blessed to be in pretty good shape even at 245, but that is not where I want to be. I have allowed ‘life happening’ to pull me away from my main mission and commitment to me and others in my life. My first post in my log/spreadsheet on March 2, 2009 included this line:

I need to take care of me so I can best help my family and community.

I need to remember this always. You need to remember this always! I thank Devin Page for posting at the right time for me! I look forward to success for me and all in this group.

Note to ME and YOU: Take Care of YOU! (It is that simple and that complicated)

TheFatGuy

PS: I want to thank Devin and Britni for being such great friends, especially over the past 4 years with the loss of Polly’s parents and my mom. Our conversations and your support have helped us more than you know. It has helped me stay inbounds and continue to travel my journey.