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Who I will vote for

I believe in life, even for those still in their mothers.

I believe in working my tail off, and keeping my rewards for my hard work.

I believe you should keep your rewards too.

I believe in freedom, and defending it.

I believe I shouldn’t be told what to eat or how to live, that’s my choice, everyday.

Unfortunately, politics has become the picking the lesser of two evils.

Losing 60 pounds, and going for more!

So, if you haven’t seen me since the winter, I’ve lost 60 pounds this year, most of it from January to March. I went from 315 to 255 pounds! I kick started my weight loss by doing one small thing: stop eating sugars.

I lost 40 pounds in one month by taking sweets and candies out of my diet. It was tough. I surprised my wife when she came home with my favorite piece of cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory and I said “No thank you, I’m not eating desserts anymore.” After that, she was incredibly supportive and I greatly appreciate her through all of this.

I stopped desserts, candies, CoffeeMate creamer in my coffee, mixed coffees from Starbucks, candy drinks, sodas, and whatever else I could determine had sugar in it. Once I was committed and had my wife supporting me, it became easier and easier. I’m now 9 months in and have yet to have candy or a brownie. I enjoy my coffee black with Splenda. I’ve had birthdays, parties and other festivities where the cakes and sweets looked delicious, but I refrained.

After the first 40 fell off, the next 20 were a little more stubborn. I walked once a week with a close friend of mine. I started trying to eat frequently, like small snacks every 2 to 3 hours during the day. I minimized my meal sizes, pulled back from going for 3rds. This seemed to help and it took a good two months to lose the other 20.

So now I’m at March and lost 60 pounds, and then my weight loss would plateau for the next 5 months, which brings me to September, weighing in at 255 pounds.

I want to lose at least another 20 pounds, and I’ve decided to use the gym to do so. I could cut additional foods out of my diet (like yummy sausages, hot dogs, cheese, breads, bbq chips, pizza, etc.) but I don’t want to. I love an Italian sausage from a street cart in Boston, and my Baby Bell cheese snacks and pizza from AJ’s Kitchen, YUM! If I really wanted to I could cut these and probably shave some more weight off, but again, I don’t want to.

So now to the gym I go, at least twice a week, focusing on running, with some weight lifting. High heart rate to help burn the fat, and low reps high weight for muscle growth. At meal time I eat healthier foods first (like salad, fruit, Larabar) before the main course, which fills me up faster and minimized the amount of other foods I take on. I’ve decided that if I can lose the next 20 pounds by staying in a routine with the gym, then I’d consider enjoying some small desserts once in a while. I want to make sure I’ve set myself up to win, and once in a routine, it should be easy to keep the weight off.

What changed? Why did I lose the weight? My quick answer is “I just felt like it, so I did it”. I wish it were that simple. A few things in my life finally pushed me to do it.

Leading up to the decision and the change to lose the weight, I was battling with how. How can I lose weight? What’s the best method? I researched some options, and looked hard at options that lowered my responsibility in the entire process. Things like health supplements, like hoodia, which helps curb my appetite intrigued me. Also the idea of taking a pill which would fill my stomach so I feel full longer was cool.

I also checked out a more hands on approach, a surgical process like lap-band, to help shrink my stomach. I quickly dismissed this for a couple reasons: one I don’t like needles, so surgery isn’t on my top ten list of things to do, and I was afraid of the embarrassment of telling people about it later on. Being out of work for a few days and then suddenly losing weight would be hard to hide.

I was able to agree that controlling my appetite would definitely cause me to lose weight, but did I want to use something else to do it for me? Couldn’t I just do it myself? If I used something else, would I be dependent on that forever? Could I ever say I lost the weight, or was it just hiding, waiting for me to forget to take the pill again?

The reasonable side of me thought if pills will help curb my appetite, and surgery would basically do the same, I narrowed down the solution: I need to cut back on how much food I eat. Simple.

So I figured out the how, and I began to try it, without telling anyone. That was a big mistake. Not telling anyone set me up for failure. But I didn’t want to tell anyone, that would admit I was fat and that’s embarrassing, or so I thought. So instead, friends and family would simply assume I’d eat the last piece of pizza, or cake, and so I would. They didn’t know I was trying to lose weight so we all continued down the already paved road.

I finally committed and stuck to it because of others.

A friend at church lost a lot of weight, I didn’t know how, but he looked good and I wanted to too.

A customer of mine that I highly respected was in the process of losing weight, and he talked about it. That was inspiring and loosened up my fears.

My good friend who I previously mentioned lost a lot of weight right before I started. He was then diagnosed with diabetes. That was scary. He’s come a long way and has it under control, but it was a little bit of a wake up call for me.

And probably most important, my kids. Funny thing about kids, they aren’t up on the whole “politically correct” thing, so they would say daddy’s fat, or I don’t want to be fat like you. What a great wake up call. I didn’t lose the weight only because of what they’ve said, I want to be healthy to have fun with them, to play and chase them around (or be able to carry both of them up 2 flights of stairs when it’s bed time, what a workout!)

My commitment to weight loss and eating healthy isn’t just a “diet”, it’s a change of life. Saying it’s a diet implies it’ll end, that it’s a temporary phase. So many people, including my self, have tried different diets for a period of time. Instead, I’ve changed my diet (what I eat day to day) and my choices. I’m not looking at this like once I lose 80 pounds I’ll go back to what I use to do. Instead I will always be mindful of what I eat, pay attention to amounts, keep exercising, and maybe sneak in a sweet here or there.

Where do I go from here?

Regardless of the next 20 pounds, I’m going out and up! My life has changed so significantly that I love spending time outdoors, hiking, playing with the kids, walking, going to the beach and more. I get antsy if I sit around too long on a Saturday or Sunday (no fear of that anymore with a new house ;), I need to be doing something, and I love to with my family. This weekend I’m going up Mt Washington via Tuckerman’s Ravine, I can’t wait (not with the family, a few friends). Expect a post on that one!

 

I hope this helps if you’re looking to lose weight. I hope I am some sort of motivation to someone, like I’ve had motivators in my own life. I’m sorry if I down play pills or surgery. They may work for you and that is great, I know someone who has a lap-band, and I never think less of him/her. These options just wouldn’t work for me, and I hope they do for you.

It’s My Birthday!

So I turned 31 over the weekend. No grey hair yet, but my hair line is running a little. We’re in the middle of a move so my birthday was a little less than normal. I told my wife not to get me anything, we need the money for moving. We went out to Longhorn Steak House for dinner the night before. The day of I had some of my friends over and we hung out, had fun.

I’m happy about this. I feel like I’ve hit a new level of maturity. I’m happy that I don’t go crazy wondering what I want to get, choosing from a long list of stuff. I’ve done it in years past, just trying to narrow down to one or two things I want from the list of stuff. And that’s what it is, just stuff. There is nothing I want this year. I have an awesome wife, and fun lovable children. I have close friends who mean the world to me. Some of my birthday cards were reflective that I am just as cherished by those who I cherish.

“A son like you brings so much happiness to life. Hope you know how much you’re appreciated and, most of all, hope you know how much you’re loved.” This is an excerpt from the card my mom gave me. It has that nice awwww feeling. I love feeling loved! Don’t you?

“Happy Birthday Son-in-law, we sure didn’t make a mistake letting you in the family…” says the cover. Again, awwwww, so nice from my in-laws. “Nope. you have no one to blame but yourself!” Then all I could do is laugh. So true, so true.

Yeah, you can be happy and a realist

I decided to rename my blog from Youth Min 101 to my twitter account Happy Realist. I am definitly still pursuing youth min, but at a slow pace. I will still use this blog to share youth related stuff, but I wanted to tailor it to some of my own non-youth related stuff.

Why Happy Realist?

I am considered an optimist. It can drive my friends crazy. I can see the best in every situation. Of course, there are times where finding the best isn’t the best, like mourning the loss of a loved one. There is no reason to find the best, just mourn, take it in and live. Another example is the discovery of cancer. A good friend of mine was recently diagnosed. I didn’t try to find the best in it, I just prayed and support him in any way possible. Cancer sucks. Anyway, for the rest of your life, you can choose to be happy and choose to find the best in everything.

I’m not always happy. I consider happiness as a conditional emotion. I’m happy in my success and frustrated by my failures. I am, however, full of joy that is fueled by my faith in Jesus Christ. I can know that no matter what happens, good or bad, that my Savior is watching out for my best. He has my best in mind at all times. Knowing this, and believing this helps me find the best in everything. Going through tough times financially I could always see the bright side, knowing that money would come, knowing we will eat our next meal. And you know what, we never missed a meal!

There have been times where I felt like my best wasn’t Jesus’ priority. These times I wonder why is this or that happening to me. Actually, if I’m honest, everytime a significant issue occurs in my life that’s my first thought. Why me? Sometimes it takes me a day or two to get back to reality. What is reality during these times? Jesus does have my best in mind. That’s the realist part. With a personal relationship with Christ your reality includes the supernatural. Regardless of what happens here on earth, reality says that I serve an almighty God who loves me and will take care of me.

So, I look forward to blogging more, sharing thoughts and having fun.

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