Valentines Day – I’m for it

There is a new movement these days when it comes to celebrating Valentines Day.  You are very likely to hear people say they don’t celibrate it because it is a “manufactured” holiday or reason for celebration.  I haven’t ever spent much time thinking about this until now.

The conclusion I’ve come to is that I/we do celebrate Valentines Day.  Ignore the fact that I’m away from home on business this year…

Why do I think it should be celebrated?  Two main reasons.  The first being that everything is manufactured these days?!?!  We all (99% of us) consume, participate  in and enjoy manufactured cultural content all the time.  We all use manufactured cars, computers, tv’s and homes.  Take it another level deeper than that and we all consume manufactured marketing, media, politicians, news and music.  Our daily lives are largely constructed for us by others.  There is very little that we do these days that doesn’t come from some big corporation or marketing firm that wants us to get a certain message.  Why not just accept the message of love.

I think that picketing Valentines Day as the thing item you are going to rebel against is pretty soft.  How about picking on government or food corporations or something like that?  Valentines Day is an easy sacrificial lamb.

Secondly, I think any time you can have a reason to take a break from the everyday grind and celebrate your love for someone else, you should do it.  In the age of divorce and the all day work day we need more reasons to stop and tell each other that we care.

While this year will likely go down as a Valentines dud given my absence and the state of our home renovation, Courtney and I have some very fond Valentines Day memories.  Many years ago we went to get tattoos together on Valentines Day.  That is something that we will be able to share together forever.  Even back to our days in University we once setup a tent in our appartment and camped out inside.  I think that doing fun things like this is something that I’d like to keep going.

Not being there tomorrow to share something special with the family will suck.  Not sharing a piece of chocolate or giving them a card….Not reminding Courtney all of the reasons why I love her, beyond the usual supermom stuff.  Right now her supermom skills are depleted living in half of a house that is impossible to keep clean and keep the kids active.  Since I’m not going to be there, I’m going to put on record some of the many reasons why I’m  still madly in love with Courtney.  Tomorrow I’ll be missing her most because of the smile I can’t see, the warm hugs that I can’t receive, the zingers I can’t hear and have no comeback for, the killer body I can’t see that she’s worked so hard to have, our lengthy conversations we can’t have, quality time in the hot tub we won’t be spending,  and her life changing advice that I’ll be missing.

That is just a small list of items off the top of my head.  At the end of the day Courtney brightens my life, makes me smile and still gives me butterflies in my stomach.  That’s something you can’t teach and can’t change.  Tomorrow, I have to try and enjoy all of the above thru FaceTime which is pretty sad.

So Happy Valentines to Courtney and the kids!  Of course I miss you much and wish I was there to spend time with you all!

I found a pretty good quote, “Love puts the fun in together, the sad in apart, and the joy in a heart.”.

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Don’t Mind The Toes

Better late then never…I don’t think this is the first time I’ve said that on this blog.  January 31st has come and gone.  On that day Fennen turned 6 and Jared turned 1.  Hard to believe that I was 235 pounds or so when Jared was born.  Maybe a bit less but a year later I’m under 200.  How time flies….

I’m a month removed from starting to maintain my goal weight and I’m happy to report that I was able to do it.  Below are pictures of a few weigh-ins over the past month.

I apologize for the toe shots which was the first thing that my beautiful wife pointed out when I showed her the final picture.  If I do this in the future again I’ll make sure I wear socks more often!  That being said I don’t think I’ll be doing this for a while.  It has been a fun year and a life changing year in which I’ve changed my way of life.  I know I’ve changed it for good.  Although Courtney doesn’t like to take credit for it, I have her to thank.  Maybe Jared a little bit.  She was the one who was able to dangle the right carrot in front of my face.  Not only did she do that but she’s has turned herself into quite the fitness phenom.  We’re both enjoying our new lifestyle and the examples we are setting for our children.

Going forward I’m very excited about not weighing myself every day/week.  I will be striving for my next fitness goal, there will always be a next goal for me when it comes to fitness but not a do or die timeline.  I don’t need motivation anymore, it is a way of life.  The upside to living this way is so great, I will never go back.  I can write that here to be displayed permanently with confidence knowing that I know this now and won’t digress.  It used to be that I didn’t think that I could be under 200.  Now I wonder why I would be over.

I’m also excited about changing this blog into something that is about more than my weight.  I’m looking forward to writing more about life, family, technology and my golf trials and tribulations.  Everyone knows I love to ponder why I suck so much on the golf course.  I imagine of have numerous blog posts on that topic alone.  On top of that, there are the adventures that the family and I get into which are mostly documented here on Courtney’s Blog.  I can perhaps be a support blog to her blog.  Like a rhythm guitarist in a band.

So my “Path to Pebble” is somewhat complete except for the getting to Pebble part.  The going to Pebble is all but guaranteed not happen this year thanks to an awesome renovation we are doing on our house and the fact that Courtney and I need to go on our 1o year anniversary.  Both very worthy blog posts in their own right.  I’ll make the planning of that trip part of my updates on this blog.  In case you were wondering, I am also going to keep the name of the blog the same because I really like it.

The Path to Pebble will continue on!

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I was going to call this post “1 year later” but as per usual, my wife had a better name.  Although I don’t think she thought it would be used here.  What is 1-derland?  That is a very creative way for describing the weight zone I’m entering and staying in.  The question was asked on facebook, “Wondering if a certain someone will be in 1-derland tomorrow?!”.  Again it was my wonderful wife who asked this question.  It is a fare question.  I’ve been somewhat quiet about my weight over the last few months.

When we got back from WV I was pushing over 205 thanks to wonderful Thanksgiving Turkey and Beer.  Since then I’ve been working hard to make sure that I would tip the scale under 200 at some point before December 31st.  To be honest, it hasn’t been easy.  I’ve been working out once or twice per day for the last month to make it happen and I actually think that may have backfired a bit.  The weight didn’t pour off of me and I think it was because I didn’t give myself a break or appropriate days off.  I have been under 200 before today but not far under.  197 is the lowest I went to so I wasn’t too worried.  On the other side of the fence, I’ve been over 200 as well.  Probably about a 50/50 split.  My weight tends to shift a lot.  I can go 5-7 pounds in any direction on any day.  Below is my under 200 weigh in.  I haven’t figured out where my weekly weigh-ins will happen but I will post pics on a weekly basis.

Goodbye 2011

So here I am just over one year later and I think it is far to call this journey/challenge/greatest gift in the world, a success.  The number value of my weight is actually secondary for me at this point.  There are so many more items to be proud of than a number on a scale or a possible trip.

This last year has taught me the value of health and the impact that it can have on family.  It has truly been a lifestyle change for me.  Take WV for example, I went on a run while we were there. I got up after a night of drinking and did Jillian workouts using my iPad.  I did the same at Blue Mountain earlier in the year.  These acts of health would have been sacrilegious in my world a year ago.  In fact I might have made fun of such a person.  I am that person now.  Both Courtney and I don’t feel like we have had a good day if we haven’t worked out.

From a family perspective, the lifestyle has given me more confidence and energy at all times.  I’m up for any chore, any time…..even on the weekend. 🙂  I am up for running around with the kids more, taking them more places and spending more time.  And finally, don’t tell anyone but i sang in public two weekends ago!  That is uncharted territory for me.

Another piece of information that is more exciting for me than my weight number is my pant size.  Last year at this time I wore a 36 pant.  My 36’s were tight to do up but I got it done everyday.  I sat there and convinced myself that 36’s were actually what someone my size should where.  As it turns out, it was only a way for me to make myself feel ok about my size.  Now, I’m in a 33 and even they are starting to be a tad big for me.  I should be in a 32 shortly.

Courtney watches a show called “Body of Proof” which I’m clueless about and don’t know the premise.  However, below is my body of proof (caution, hairy chest pics below!):

I was huge

Look at how big i was....:(

From the side now

From the front now

Thin me now

Big difference, and no those aren’t skinny jeans!

So where to from here.  Well, the work isn’t done yet.  I need to maintain my current under 200 weight for a month.  I’m going to weigh myself once a week to show Courtney that I’m still under 200 in order to redeem my Pebble Beach prize.  The reality is that I’ve won regardless of Pebble Beach.  As part of staying under 200, I’m going to set a new goal of 195 for Mid February.  I’m heading to a conference so I thought that would make a logical goal date.  If I’m able to hit that weight I will be lighter than I was when I left highschool!  I was 198 during my last year of highschool and university.  As I mentioned earlier, I’m not looking at breaking 200 as the end but the beginning.  (how cliche….)  It is true though, after 195, I’m going to prepare to run a Spartan Race with Court and some of our friends.  Another event that I wouldn’t have sniffed over a year ago.

The hits just a keep on coming!  There is a lot of thanks to go around but at this point I can’t say the challenge is over.  After a month of maintaining there will be lots of thanks to go around but for now Happy New Year and Merry Christmas!

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General Musings and The Final Push

I ha’ve certainly neglected this blog since June, no doubt about it.  All this neglect despite my wonderful wife’s reminders that I haven’t posted in a while.  My biggest regret on not posting was that I didn’t publish my interim goal results, so I’ll start there.

My last post was in May.  I was close to reaching my goal but I wasn’t there yet.  The goal was to get to 205 by end of June, or maybe the beginning.  The good news is that I reached my goal and will be cashing in my reward trip to SA, TX early next year.

I was happy with hitting that goal and felt great.  It was an interesting journey and something I would have never done without my wife Courtney.  She had the brilliant idea of putting the goal based challenges out there and trying to motivate me with Pebble Beach.  One thing that I realized as the process moved on was that despite the end goal of Pebble Beach, I was really doing this for my family and friends.  When you start to lose some weight and get healthy you realize that your family and friends are your biggest support and the reason you are doing what you are doing.  Pebble Beach is a great goal and a trip I will truly enjoy (when I get there).  But….the trip will be an experience and a memory.  Being healthy and fit provides you with so much more which is a lifetime of experiences.  As our kids get older they are accomplishing more and more.  The more they do, the more I want to be a part of it.  There is nothing more special in life than enjoying you family.  The more fit I am the more I can do with them and be entrenched in the experience.  Especially with four kids and the excitement that Courtney creates around holidays and occasions.

Like this,

If you take a look at this post by Courtney here, the kids learned to ride their bikes this summer.  The end game of that process resulted in me running around the school concrete pad racing the kids on their bikes.  Take it a step further, I went on a run the other day and let Ryder ride his bike with me on my run.  Without health and now being able to go on runs, I wouldn’t get to experience their milestones in this way.

Currently I’m starting my press to the finish.  The finish line is under 200 by the end of the year.  I’m currently floating between 205 and 210 mostly due to eating bigger meals and indulging in beer over summer.  My plan to get to my final goal is to workout in the morning at the Gym and do Jillian Michaels at night.  It is certainly going to be a challenge and an exercise in discipline.  A few very small occasions occur in October, November and December.  You might have heard of them….Canadian Thanksgiving, my Birthday, American Thanksgiving and Christmas.  All traditionally indulgent periods of time for me.  Not this year!

Speaking of Jillian Michaels, she is still having a big and positive impact on our family.  Courtney has been doing Jillian’s 6 weeks abs and is getting so ripped.  Her stomach is starting to show signs of a 6 pack and she has had 4 kids!  She is an inspiration when it comes to making workouts a priority.  She has been succeeding at this all while managing the kids over summer break.  And if you read her post you would see that she is still setting the bar when it comes to being a mom to her children.  The kids embrace Courtney’s workouts to the point where they will ask me if and when I’m working out.

I’ve made a bunch of promises on this blog about how many ties I plan on posting per week and have never been able to follow it up so I won’t make any promises today.  I do hope to keep this place a little less dusty moving forward.  Let the fun continue!

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I’ve Got This Funny Feeling

One of the interesting aspects of this experiment has been the wide range of feelings that I have experienced.  Some feelings you might expect….feeling thinner, energetic, and quite often sore. That being said, there are other feelings that you don’t really anticipate.  For instance, the feeling of wow I’m still not thin, or in other words, when I 240 I was really big!  It is a feeling that I have had before when I lost some weight.  I’ve never lost this much in one stretch but the last time I was down near 215 I remember thinking about how big I still was at 215.

That feeling can get you in many ways, it is the realization that you were in a bad situation and didn’t realize it because you were caught up in it.  For many people it is a bad job or a bad relations ship, for me it was my weight.  You figure out ways to justify your current existence, once you change your existence it is much easier to understand where you were and why you were and thus the feeling of I’m still not small, just smaller.

Another interesting feeling has been the constant feeling of full.  It is amazing to me as I write this that I constantly feel full.  It has been a tool for me to use but also a weekness.  At times it makes it easy to know that I shouldn’t eat, or it would remind me that I shouldn’t have a beer.  Other times I would ignore it because it is always constant.  I was worried that if I didn’t eat my body would go into starve mode and store food and energy.  And speaking of beer, I’m a lightweight now!  That’s an odd feeling.  I have two beers and it goes straight to my head.

Nerves and pressure are feelings that I carry with me as well.  It the constant questions in my head…

  • Am I going to hit my goals?
  • Am I working hard enough?
  • Am I working on the right things?
  • Should I have had that one beer at lunch?
  • What will people think if you don’t make it?
  • Oh no, I’m not losing weight.
  • etc

I found that you really have to stay mentally strong.  You can’t doubt that what you are doing is right, keeping that feeling of confidence with you is key to defeat nerves.  Defeating the feelings of nerves and doubt can be achieved by confidence.  Keeping your confidence requires a belief in yourself and picking up on subtle improvements even when things aren’t going your way.  So your weight might not be going down, but key in on things like pants fitting better, being able to do an extra rep, or a nice comment someone makes.  Don’t dismiss the little signs.

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It’s Dusty Around Here (Update)

It has been a while since any new content has been put up here.  I thought it might be a good time to give everyone an update.

If I was someone who was following along with my own weight loss on this blog I would certainly be thinking the that I had failed miserable at achieving my goals.  I would be thinking this person can’t possibly be doing well otherwise they would be telling everyone.

Well, I’m happy to report that I have still been able to drop pounds even though I haven’t been blogging about it.  In fact, here is some proof of my success.

My R11

Above is my reward for hitting 215.  I’m currently working on hitting 205.  After my last post I went from 218 to 215 pretty quickly primarily through running and eating well.  Since 215 I have found a new tool for getting in shape, her name is Jillian Michaels.  Most people will be familiar with Jillian from the very successful show The Biggest Loser.  On a side note if you need some movitivation to work out or think you are too out of shape to workout, watch that show!  I’ve been watching bits and pieces of it with Courtney and it is amazing.

Back to Jillian, I have been doing a couple of her workout DVD’s.  The first was Jillian’s Shred and the current is Jillian’s Ripped in 30.  They have been pretty transformational for me in terms of body image.  With that has come weight loss.  The concept is pretty simple 20-25 minutes with warm up and stretching.  The program is 3 circuits of 3 minutes weights, 2 minutes cardio and 1 minute of abs.  The real kicker is that each section contains a little bit of the others so you are never doing just strength, or just abs or just cardio.  It is very high impact and targetted and ramping up your metabolism.  I have to say it has worked.  Courtney has been doing it to with tons of success.  I can honestly say that both of us are more toned and defined that we have been in many years.  In terms of weight this has helped me get from 215 to 206.  The most amazing thing about these workouts are that they are only 20 minutes and they fly by so it’s easy to get yourself to do it.

I didn’t think that I would have the success I have had from some DVD’s.  Sounds like a silly idea at first but it turns out that it is probably the single most effective tool I have used so far.  That and discipline.  I have been spreading the Jillian Gossipal around the office and to family.

So where am I now?  As I mentioned, I’m at 206 or probably more likely 206-208 depending on the day.  I have 2 weeks to get to my next goal which is 205.  Barring a major plateau I should be in good shape.  I have some other ideas for posts as well, which I plan on posting soon.  Especially since I keep getting asked if I’m ever going to blog again.

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They Call Her Supermom!

Well, I’m not sure whether “they” do, but I do….ALL THE TIME!

I am of course referring to my wife and amazing mother of our 4 children.  As part of my job I’m meeting people all the time, I’m reconnecting with old friends or co-workers and catching up with fellow employees.  One of the first things that people always ask about is family.  I do it as well, it is a great way to find some common ground with a stranger.  It is also almost the first question people I know ask me, “How is the family?”

My default answer is usually, great!  After that there is usually some banter back and fourth about where you live, how long have you been married, how many kids do you have, etc.  For me it is usually the topic of the kids where we head down the supermom path.  Here is usually how it goes…..

Them: How many kids do you have?

Me: 4

Them: Wow, how old is your oldest?  Highschool?

Me: 5 years

Them: Wow, you must be busy.

Me:  Well, yes I’m busy but my wife is busier, she’s a supermom, I don’t know how she does it.

That is very,very typical.  It goes like that all of the time, and I mean ALL of the time.

And it’s really true, I don’t know how she does it.  Being honest, I think I do pretty well with the kids.  I can handle the three of the four most of the time.  I even went to Costco with all three a few weeks ago for the first time alone.  However, when I say handle I really mean I can managed to feed them and keep them safe for a few hours until Courtney comes home and relieves me.  When I have the kids I try to keep them occupied and having fun.  In my own defense I don’t get to see them as much so I try to spend time with them rather than getting other things done.

Courtney on the other hand is special.  She manages to keep them out of trouble, bathed, active, well fed and socialized.  Also, when I come home at night some combination of the following has been done, the laundry is all folded, carpets are vacuumed, animals are groomed, some room or floor has been organized and cleaned, a craft is complete and a healthy hot dinner is served.  Sometimes all of it is done.  Are you kidding me?  If I manage to load the dishwasher while I have 3 out of four that is considered an accomplishment.  Hence, the reason for me calling her supermom.  It isn’t just me that thinks so either.  I know other moms who are amazed at her super powers.

It’s not like the kids she has around are 12 and 10 and able to serve a meal or make toast.  I do know that part of her secret is routine.  She works very hard on keeping the kids in a routine and making sure they help out when there are opportunities.  Our kids are amazing listeners and helpers despite the oldest only being 5.

Oh, and did I mention she blogs too!  She not only takes care of an entire household, she finds time to write and workout in her spare time.  Oh yes, I did say workout too!  After each of the kids she has made it her goal to get back into shape.  With the fourth she usually has a couple of kids doing EA Sports  Wii workouts with her.  She is also running the board of the best Pre-school in Burlington.  I’m sure I’ve missed a few on the list as well.

One more log on the fire…  I’m easy in many ways but difficult in just as many.  Courtney is always extremely supportive of my outings.  Whether work, golf, hockey or drinking related, she is always there for me.  She’s a super wife too!

This post will never really do her justice.  The good news is that most of the people that read this already know what she does on a daily basis.

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