War on Weight – Week Four

Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times.

John Quincy Adams lost seven elections before he became President.

Britney Spears shaved her head and attacked a SUV.

We all have setbacks.

***

That is what I started to write during my Metro ride home Wednesday night. I planned to continue to lament about how I had a setback on my weight loss journey and gained a few pounds last week. I had some good excuses too.

After a fateful bout with a bee last Wednesday, I had to take my bike into the shop.

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It’s been there for seven days now. Thus, I’ve only exercised once during the past week. It’s hard to find free non-commuting time these days to go exercise for an hour. I’ve also had some increased stress at work. With my bike in the shop, I’ve recently turned to food for comfort. That’s not ideal.

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I ate six Rice Krispie Treats in a row one night at 1:00am. I kinda regretted it, but those things are wicked good. I should have stopped at five.

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(That 54-pack box lasted less than a week.)

So I finally had my fateful meeting with the scale last night. I had already written out my “setback” post and was just going to plug in the number of pounds I gained. Although I was frustrated, I was ready to move on to a successful Week 5.

I weighed myself.

210 pounds.

The exact same as the week before.

I reset the scale.

I weighed myself again.

210 pounds.

I weighed myself again.

Still 210 pounds.

I was shocked. I was relieved.

I was also disappointed.

I had been down on myself for falling off the wagon, both with my eating and exercise, and I expected the worst. A button busting off of my pants at work yesterday didn’t help. Despite all the negative thoughts and fears, I gained zero pounds.

That was more exciting than any of my recent weight loss successes. I once had a bad week in 2006 and gained twelve pounds in five days. Last week, the scale didn’t move at all when I put exercise and healthy eating to the side. More importantly, seeing “210” on the scale for the second week in a row was an important reminder that I’m my own harshest critic and that things are rarely as bad as they seem.

220 and 210 (sadly, no pictures with me and a baby from this week):

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War on Weight – Week 3

The last song at a wedding is often a slow jam.

At our wedding, it was Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer.”

If you play that song anywhere, once that chorus hits, “Ohhhhhh, we’re halfway there…,” people will sing.

Just like those American poets from New Jersey famously proclaimed, I too, am halfway there. I’m halfway to my weight loss goal! However, I never worked on the docks. And my name is not Tommy. Or Gina.

I kicked off my War on Weight on April 21, 2014 and set the goal of losing 20 pounds by July 4th. After three weeks, I am now down ten pounds. Holla. I lost six pounds the first week, two pounds during Week 2, and two more last week.

220 on the left. 210 on the right (sorry, fellow Costco customers):

War on Weight - Week Three

Pride can be a dangerous thing, but I’ll admit it, I’m proud of myself. After seeing the numbers on the scale increase for more than three straight years, it’s nice to see things go the other way for a change. I’ve also ridden my bike to work for ten straight days. While I doubt that’s a world record, it is my personal best.  Not only have I burned thousands of calories during the past few weeks on the bike trail, but I’ve saved about $150 on Metro fares and spent hours thinking, exercising, and dreaming instead of mindlessly looking at my phone on the Metro.

I’m really excited to have made it to Week Three because I hear people say that things become a habit after 21 days. Well, it’s been 21 days. Hello, new habit. Please stick around this time.

Things are still a challenge and sometimes there are missteps. Oh well, that’s life. Candidly, as I was writing this post at 1:00am I remembered we have Rice Krispie Treats. I ate one. Then I ate three more by the time it was 1:05am. I was disappointed I didn’t stop at one, two, or three, but one time I ate 11 in a row back in 2005, so I’m calling last night’s misstep an improvement.

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Best of luck to anyone else out there on the weight loss journey! As Bon Jovi said, “we’ll make it, I swear.”

War on Weight – Week 2

Whether it is starting a new job, buying a new car, or picking up some new kicks, everything seems so exciting and so fly at the beginning of an adventure. However, you’ll probably get bored at work someday, your car will pick up a few dents at the Safeway parking lot, and your new shoes will eventually get scuffed (especially if you ride the Metro).

Unsurprisingly, the same applies to an ambitious new desire to lose weight. Things are a piece of (low-fat) cake during Week 1. And then reality sets in. Your willpower wanes, non-fat popcorn starts to taste like styrofoam, and the long hours at work take their toll.

But you got to fight back. Yo.

Or else you might wake up three years and 6,000 billable hours later and find yourself 40+ pounds heavier.

Although Week 2 of my War on Weight was definitely harder than the first, I’m still calling it a success. I weighed in today two pounds lighter than last week.

Holla.

As I’ve noted before, my weight struggles over the decades have usually been the result of insane bingeing. I’ve limited that a lot over the past two weeks. On Friday night, I ate four pieces of cheesecake in ten minutes. Thankfully, they were relatively small slices. On Sunday night, I woke up from a bizarre 10pm nap desperately craving peanut butter. As my wife and two babies slept peacefully (thanks, baby swings), me and Peter Pan had a party. However, I’m proud to say those were my worst “binges” of the week. Historically, four pieces of cheesecake or two PB&Js is what I would call a typical snack.

So Week Two was a success. I didn’t lose as much weight as I did in Week 1, but the scale moved down a little, I rode my bike 70+ miles, saved $30 on Metro fares, my clothes fit better, and I feel much healthier. Physically, mentally, and emotionally.

220 and 212:
War on Weight - Week 2

Week Three, let’s dance.

Carlton Dance

War on Weight

I need some help.

I need some accountability.

I need to lose some weight.

I’ve previously written about my 20ish-year struggle with my weight. There have been many ups and downs over the years. The victories are some of my proudest moments. The setbacks are some of my lowest lows.

Much like Justin Bieber’s career, I’ve been in a steep decline over the past year.

Man in the Mirror

260 to 180.  Now hanging out at 220 (not pictured due to tired/crazy dad eyes).

I’ve always struggled with eating healthy. I have some sort of food obsession, or just really weak willpower, and always find myself munching on something, eating out of boredom, or going back for a third serving of fajitas. I hate it, but it keeps on happening.

I’ve often been able to balance out the caloric gorging by exercising a ridiculous amount. In law school, I worked out twice a day and lost 70 pounds. However, after spending most of the past three years hanging out with my work computer, that isn’t feasible anymore. It’s hard for me to accept this fact, but I’ve gained 40 pounds since I started my job in September 2010. That’s dangerous and depressing.

Biking to and from work has often been a huge help in the past, but this past winter was brutal in DC and I have been too lazy over the past six months to get out there and pop some wheelies. That downturn in exercise coincided with an unfortunate uptick in snacking. This was probably due to increased stress and the fact that there was so much more junk food in our house with two little kids on the way.

Unfortunately, the food availability and snacking hit all-time highs (technically, lows) over the past few weeks of paternity leave. Sitting around all day in a house full of food and sweet treats is a bad combination for me. In short, I ate four packs of Oreos last week. Due to the constant cycle of feeding, burping, and diapers, I haven’t exercised in two weeks (except for the bouncing I do to help the kids fall asleep).

And now none of my pants fit.

Yes, some people may say they didn’t fit before, but now my skinny jeans are no-fit jeans. I finally swallowed my pride and ordered two pairs of bigger dress pants last week. I tried them on over the weekend and they didn’t fit either. I screamed.

It’s finally time to do something about it. Again.

I’ve been polluting my body with all this junk food. I feel gross and lethargic. My love for fashion is quickly waning when nothing fits right. I recently saw some amazing floral pants that were so beautifully tacky, but I didn’t even want to buy them because of my weight gain.

That can’t happen.

Okay, rant over.

Here’s the goal:

Lose 20 pounds by July 4th, 2014.

Here’s how I’m going to get there:

(1)  Bike to work each day that the weather permits.

(2)  Lift weights before leaving from work each day.

(3)  Write down all the food and drinks I consume. This one is already paying dividends as I’ve resisted some tempting cookies and candy bars all day.

(4) You. I need accountability. Badly.

Game on.

Man in the Mirror

I turn 31 next week. (Please don’t feel obligated to buy me a present that costs more than $100. I understand that times are tough.) I’ve spent most of those 31 years hating the way I looked. Shopping in the husky section as a kid sucked. Pool parties and beach days were worse. I wasn’t trying to start a new fashion trend by swimming in the pool while wearing a t-shirt.

Six years ago, I finally got tired of that mess. In early February 2008, I went to the gym and did the stair climber. After twenty sweat-drenched minutes, I died, went to heaven, and swapped stories with Abe Lincoln (FYI – he is Team Edward). Thankfully, God sent me back because someone had to take care of my dog. I went to the gym the next day.

And then the next 50 days too. I lost seventy pounds.

Man in the Mirror

For once in my life, I finally felt good about myself. It’s ridiculous that it took 26 years. It’s tragic that we live in a society that puts so much emphasis on obtaining an unattainable standard of beauty that so many of us walk around feeling like Jabba the Hutt. Social media doesn’t help. You see everyone else at their best, but you don’t see the 12 awkward versions of the photo that weren’t posted or run through an Instagram filter. The constant bombardment of images of perfectly fit and digitally-enhanced celebrities doesn’t help either. Put your shirt back on, Zac Efron!

Losing 70 pounds is one of my proudest accomplishments. However, I still struggle with my weight. Every. Single. Day. It is an albatross around my neck. I’ve gained 20 pounds over the past year. I feel guilty, I feel ashamed, I feel uncomfortable when none of my clothes fit anymore. All my pants have gone from slim fit to barely fit. I refer to myself as “fat” at least once a day. I think it a lot more times than that. I feel weak and worthless after eating that 19th Oreo or 7th slice of pizza. I feel miserable when I repeatedly fail at fitting exercise into a schedule that is packed full of so many other activities. I’m terrified that things will only get worse when the twins are born.

That’s not how we’re meant to live.  I don’t think you can have a healthy relationship with your friends, family, or even God if you don’t have a healthy relationship with yourself. That is still a struggle for me. I don’t know how to overcome it, but I think trying your best, understanding that the standards of beauty set by the media are stupid, and being content with yourself are prerequisites to living a joyful life. I also think it’s important to know that you’re not alone when you struggle with your insecurities.

I’m right there with you.

Christmas Conflict

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas yesterday.  We had a great time hanging with Amanda’s family:

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We laughed.

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We cried.   Baby gifts are emotional.

Baby Pants

We ate too much.

We got a lot of wonderful presents.  Amanda even got a Twinmobile.

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We watched home videos.  They made me feel old.  The 1990s were a long time ago.

We ate some more.

Despite all those awesome moments, I always have a tough time with Christmas.  I think about the mistakes I made over the past year, the dumb things I did, and my own selfishness.  Those memories and images are in stark contrast to the story of Jesus.  He was born amid great fanfare and cow poop, but He later selflessly made the ultimate sacrifice so that a severed relationship between God and His second-favorite creation (after Chihuahuas) could be restored.  On Christmas, I repeatedly think that I am unworthy of such a gift and that I’ve screwed up way too many times for such incredible grace.

But then I remember that is exactly why Jesus came.

The Weekend

Well, folks, Monday is knocking at our door again.  My initial reaction to that news is to break down crying.  However, I’m going to try to stay positive and make the most of this workweek.  We got this.  Yo.

Before I dive back into the exciting world of Outlook calendar invites, Excel spreadsheets, and the occasional PowerPoint presentation, I wanted to highlight why this weekend was awesome:

1.  I did no work.

2.  We went to a rocking first birthday party for Big Daddy Zane.  Zane’s parents, Josh and Avery-Lynn, are some of our dearest friends.  Hanging with cool babies like Zane and “Fresh Prince” Will Smith(son) have helped make me less terrified about having kids.  Avery-Lynn did an amazing job decorating and cooking for the party.  Never underestimate the power of The Hyphen.

Here’s an example of Zane’s coolness.  He has a talk show.

3.  I ate some stellar fajitas at an awesome Colombian Christmas party hosted by Natalia on Friday night.  This epic throwdown was at Sol Mexican Grill on H Street.  Natalia used this fun and festive event to raise more than $200 for DC Doors, a non-profit that serves the Latino homeless community in the DC area.  You go, guuuuurl!

Amanda (+ two babies), Natalia, Ashley, and Ryan Gosling
The Weekend

4.  The Christmas Tea.  Although I’ve been going to Capital City Church for nearly five years, this was my first time rocking out at the “Beautiful You” Christmas Tea.  I shouldn’t have waited so long.  It was a stunningly beautiful event.  More importantly, it was so inspiring to hear Christine Caine share stories about the work the A21 Campaign is doing around the world to fight human trafficking.  Of course, like any respectable Christmas event, tacos were involved:

District Taco

Props to Kerry for generously paying for everyone’s lunch after I jokingly thanked him for picking up the tab.  We should go car shopping together.  I tried to pay his generosity forward by buying tacos for the two ladies in line behind me.  They were pretty stoked, but also confused.

Here’s some more Beautiful Dudes who helped out at the Christmas Tea:

Beautiful Dudes

5.  I liked this incredible Christmas tree at The Willard Hotel.  A lot.

The Willard

I also liked this girl:

McCormicks

6.  My dear friend Hannah posted an amazing series of photos showing her adventures with a gingerbread man named Stefan over the weekend.  You need to follow her on Instagram (@lovehannxoxo) to check out ridiculousness like this:

Stefan

7.  It was fun hanging out (and laughing) with these two:

Teresa and Amanda

That is Amanda, my wife, and Teresa, not my wife. However, Teresa and her husband, Marcel, have been incredible new additions to the Cap City Church family.

8. I got to see this guy:

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(I see you posing like you’re not posing.)

9.  I ate a lot of Oreos.

Oreos

Thus, I decided to make a music video about it.  Coming soon.

10.  I got to rock out at our church’s DC site today.  I usually hang out at the CapCityKingstowne location, but I had a blast getting funky with the DC crowd.  Christine Caine shared an incredible message about making the most of your current situation instead of always looking towards the next “best” thing.  That’s always been something I’ve struggled with, so it was a wonderful reminder.  I also made my second Miley Cyrus joke while MCing a church service.  That’s a win.

11.  Most importantly, this photobomb:

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Thanks for reading!  Have a wonderful week!