Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sweet Contest...


If you're in the market for ammo, check out bulkammo.com.  They sponsor my favorite podcast TheSurvivalPodcast.com.  Great web page, great service!  You won't be sad you did.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Last Lindsey Update; Back to the Diet

Well, this is the last Lindsey update I'll be posting on my blog.  It'll be back to the weight loss again (both the blog and I). 

Lindsey is doing remarkably well.  We've been really blessed with everything.  She has been able to recover almost all of the function in her right hand now.  Most of you probably wouldn't know anything had happened to her if you hadn't met her before.  Her last week of therapy is coming up, and it should actually be pretty uneventful.  The therapists have complained this week that they're having a hard time coming up with things for her to do for an hour at therapy.  Also, in another week and a half (the 19th) she'll get her driving privileges back, and be back to all her normal activities. 

We are excited for her therapy to be over.  It's been a HUGE time commitment, and draining for both of us.  We are lucky to have such a wonderful and supportive family that has helped us in every imaginable way.  We've needed last minute baby-sitters and rides to Boise from Caldwell and back again.  They have been so awesome to come through for us every single time!  I've had to sacrifice a lot of study time, and have admittedly struggled in school this semester (though I'm still passing).  But Lindsey's recovery is going well, so it's worth the hassle. 

We are going back to the neuro-surgeon in another couple of weeks for more CT scans, and a decision as to what treatment may be needed.  Last time we were there, Lindsey still had too much fluid around the area, and they couldn't get a good image.  We're still praying that it will have taken care of itself, and no further treatment will be needed. 

I will post future updates on my Facebook page as we have them.  Thank you all for your concern, support, and love.  We have felt the power of your prayers and your love in our lives, and are so very grateful for everything!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

8/25/10 Update

Lindsey continues to do well!  She met with the Speech therapist yesterday for an evaluation.  The therapist seemed to think that Lindsey won't need too much therapy.  She indicated that she'll see her some this week and next, then just follow up after a month or so with another couple appointments.  She also said that Lindsey needs to spend more time independently, and they'll get her back to driving in 3 or 4 weeks.  She spent some time alone with Riley yesterday, and all is well. 

The other night Lindsey was able to do some sketching with a pen.  She complained about how bad her sketches were... they were worlds better than I could ever hope to do.  I thought they were quite good.  She also wrote her brother who is currently serving a mission in Lansing, Michigan a letter.  These are big improvements. 

Yesterday there was anbother big breakthrough.  Despite all my efforts, I'm not nearly as good of a housekeeper as she was.  Everything had a place, and was kept in it's place.  I had a hard time knowing where everything went (especially Riley's clothes).  She went through and reorganized the house back to it's normal order.  SO NICE!!!  We were both glad she felt the energy to do it. I'm back in class now, so I'm certainly happy to have some relief.

She's taking fewer naps and doing more.  She is beginning to feel more normal too.  That's the most important thing to us - is that she feels better.  Ever since she had the aneurism, she's been tired and occasionally disoriented.  That's waned away. 

I just scheduled her follow-up CT scan.  We're hoping that shows us that no further treatment is needed!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A meeting of the Minds

We met with the neuro surgeon today.  She was surprised and happy to see her patient doing so well.  We talked about options for treatment going forward and what it will look like as we move forward with recovery.

Lindsey will have another four vessel angiogram the week of Sept 13.  They will be looking at the area where she had the malformation and bleeding, then making decisions as to treatment.  We are still praying that a clot has or will form by itself, and that no further treatment will be needed.  If the vessels have opened up a little better, they might be able to put some sort of glue-like substance up there to plug things up and seal it all off.  If the vessels have not opened any more, and it has not clotted on it's own, radiation will be the next best option.  They will use several beams of low-dose radiation that will cross right at the spot of the bleed (crossing the streams like the Ghost Busters).  This will cause scarring and eventually those vessels will die off and sort of seal up.  It takes a year for that process to take full effect, and she wouldn't want to lift anything heavy, get pregnant, or do anything that might cause a rise in blood pressure. 

The doctor seemed confident that regardless of the treatment method, the chance of re-bleeding when all is said and done is near zero.  That is good news. 

Another bit of good news was, as many of you may have already noted, Lindsey was able to read all her Facebook messages.  When we left the hospital just inder a week ago, she was not really able to read well, and had a difficult time processing those words.  That has dramatically improved.  Her choice of words as she speaks continues to improve as well, and things are looking good for her speech recovery. 

We are super grateful to our Heavenly Father for the constant miracles we are seeing.  We know that our prayers, along with all of yours, are being answered.  We truly are experiencing one of the greatest gifts that God can give to man: the gift of witnessing and recognizing a miracle.  We are grateful for your continued prayers on our behalf, and we are praying in gratitude for all of you!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Therapy Begins

There are a lot of things I'm really good at, being a mom isn't one of them.  I'll be grateful when Lindsey is back at it!  Yesterday she was feeling good enough to go to the first hour of church.  There were several surprised looks when we came in.  It was nice to be there together.  We were late since I was frantically trying to get Riley all ready to go, and I forgot her shoes.  She went without (but at least her socks were cute and matched her outfit).

We went in for the intial evaluation today for Lindsey's PT today.  I was a good experience!  He noted that she did not (as the therapists at the hospital had said) have right side weakness, only a right side delay.  Her right arm is more delayed than her leg.  Her balance is actually quite good, and she has pretty good functionality in her right arm when she chooses to employ it. 

He was extremely optimistic, and told us that a lot of the patients they discharge aren't as well of as she is right now.  He encouraged her to start drawing again, as a way to regain some of the fine motor control and practice her art again, but told her not to get discouraged.  We both really liked working with him as he seemed experienced, competent, and knowledgeable.  He also told us that he probably didn't need to spend much time with her - only a couple more weeks.

We also met with the social worker who seemed impressed (thanks to all of you!) by the amount of support we had.  She expressed that it was vital to have such encompassing support. 

Lindsey only has PT once more this week, then will have it two or three times the next few weeks.  I imagine that will be all she needs.  She starts Speech Therapy next week and Occupational Therapy the following week.  Speech, Occupational, and the neuro-phsychologist will assess her ability to drive in three to four weeks.  I imagine she'll be fine to do so by then. 

Overall, things are looking VERY good!  We went to Boise State to get my books for fall, then to lunch after the appointment.  She was exhausted by then, and is now fast asleep.  I am continuing to be Mr. Mom, and am realizing just how difficult a job she's been doing! 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Seeing the Sites

We were finally given the "go-ahead" to take Lindsey outside the rehab unit (but still on the campus here) - as long as she's in a wheelchair.  We went to Subway last night and wheeled around a little bit.  Lindsey was glad to get out and get some fresh air and sunlight.  She's doing marvelously!  Her balance is getting closer and closer to normal, and she's commanding the use of her right hand more and more every day.  That fine motor control is coming back slowly, and it takes great effort.  But she's getting it! 

We find out what their recommendations are for discharge today.  We'll know exactly how much longer they think we'll be here, and what kind of additional rehab and treatment she'll need after we get home.  We're hoping for discharge soon, and limited 24hr assistance. 

The hardest part of this all right now is communication.  Lindsey still has a hard time remembering, communicating, and understanding certain things.  This will probably be the most difficult part of rehab.  She's gaining ground on it, though.

We continue to pray that her brain will heal on it's own.  We're optimistic that it will.  Thank you all for your prayers, love, and support!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A House vs. A Home

Before I go to sleep in my own bed tonight, just thought I'd share a thought.  A home is only as good as the people who share it.  I'm wishing Lindsey was here tonight sharing my home with me.  Riley and I are happy to be sleeping in our own beds, even if it's just one night, but it won't be a home until Lindey's here too.

I share my life with wonderful people.  I have a wonderful home.

Lindsey Update

Sorry for the delay.  We were moved to the rehab ward in the old part of the building.  It's further from the computers, and I wasn't feeling super motivated...

So yes, we moved to rehab on Friday.  It's in the old OLD part of the hospital, and the room/accomodations are henous.  The room is drap, the view poor, and the bathroom is shared with the room next to us.  I guess our vacation is over. :)

It seems like all we've done since we got to the hospital is wait.  We've waited and waited for rehab.  We've been there since Friday and we're still just waiting - now for Monday.  Apparently, those working in rehab are Mon-Fri people.  We did get about the same amount of attention on Saturday as we did on the neuro floor, but today no therapy.  Seems like a waste of time to me.  Lindsey is feeling more like a prisoner than a patient, and I can't blame her. 

Every day there are improvements.  Her face droop is minimal now, though she's still highly self-conscious about it.  I think her new crooked smile is kind of cute (heck, mine is a bit crooked), but she doesn't seem to share my enthusiasm.  Her motor skills are getting better in that right hand.  She really needs to work on it, but she gets a little miffed every time I suggest it.  I guess that's what I get.

She's still as Lindsey as she could ever be.  She's defiant and stubborn, but funny and sweet.  She's determined to get out of there by the end of the week.  I'm not sure just exactly what they have planned for her, but I know she'll do great.  She's a fighter.

Please pray specifically that her brain will heal on it's own.  If it doesn't, she'll have to undergo radiation and it will take a year for recovery, plus the chances of recurrence are increased.  We appreciate the love and prayers sent our way.  It has meant the world to us to know that not only has the Lord blessed us with Lindsey's life and improving health, but that He's blessed us with such wonderful people who share our burden and love us.  Thank you.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wake me up, love, every day!

Lindsey and I stay pretty frugal at all times.  We have little extra money for luxuries, so vacations are cheap or non-existent.  Last year our big get-a-way was spending three days in the hospital at St. Al's welcoming our new arrival, Riley.  This year, we're joking that we loved it so much, we're back for another vacay, this time staying a little longer.

She's in good spirits today, and feeling better than ever.  She's been able to get up and walk a little.  Her legs are strong and she's getting more and more steady as she goes.  She was able to sit up today and eat lunch by herself.  She didn't even spill a drop (which is more than we could say for my brother who visited during his lunch hour). 

Last night she was able to take a shower, and brush her teeth.  Her aunt Amy bought her some cute pajamas to wear during her stay at the hospital.  We were both glad for the feeling, look, and sense on normalcy.  She brushed her own hair and I helped her put it up into a messy bun again. 

The outlook is good for her recovery.  We'll learn more today.  She seems to be progressing well, and shows more and more that she comprehends, and can respond appropriately.  Her control over her right arm and hand is getting better, though that'll be the biggest challenge.  We will be working extensively with her to be able to get her back at making art and allowing her to be creative.

I'm so glad I have such a good wife.  She's always lvoed and supported me in all my trials, now I will be with her during her trials.  Isn't family wonderful?  We have such a good one, too.  Thank you all again for your love, prayers, and support.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Lindsey (Counting the Miracles)

Many of you already know how amazing my wife is.  For those of you who do not, I feel bad.  She's talented and beautiful.  She's compassionate, caring, loving, smart, witty, sassy, cool, and absolutely the most wonderful person I know.

Sunday we had a bit of an emergency that landed us in St. Alphonsus in Boise.  Sunday afternoon, she complained of a slight headache as we were about to leave for church.  She said she didn't need any Tylenol when asked, and assured me she would be fine.  We got to church a few minutes late and had to sit in the very back of the gym.  As we sat, Riley played around us at our feet, Lindsey made her a bottle, and scratched my back.  She still had a headache, and asked that I rub her neck a little bit after she scratched my back.  I massaged her neck for a couple of minutes, but she alerted me to Riley escaping toward a lady sitting further down our row.  I went to get her, and when I sat back down near Lindsey, she leaned over and said something that didn't make any sense.  I asked her to repeat it, looking at her face, and she still didn't make any sense.  I noticed that the right side of her face was sagging a little bit.  I asked her if she was okay, and she said she might need to go home, but wasn't sure she could drive.  I told her we were going to get her to the ER at West Valley (Only 2 miles away - miracle #1) and off we went. 

In a whirlwind of grabbing and moving, I got Riley, my scriptures and EQ Secretary binder in one arm, and the baby bag on the other with Lindsey leaning on me for assistance.  She had strength in her legs (miracle #2) as we left, but was unsteady.  We got to the hospital, and I was unsure how I'd get Riley and her into the ER.  I pulled into a parking space and there was a pleasant looking lady and a man (miracle #3)standing just near where I parked.  I asked if she would please watch my baby in the car, that I'd leave it on with the AC running, and be back in just a minute.  I could only plan on getting Lindsey checked in, then coming back out.  She offered to bring Riley in for me, and did so (she held her for a few minutes as we got checked in).  Riley was actually pretty bummed when I took her back.

They did a CT at West Valley after taking Lindsey's vitals.  She had become increasingly unresponsive since we got to the ER.  They discovered that she had some blood vessels rupture, causing a brian aneurism.  They decided to move her by ambulance to St. Al's in Boise. I could see in her eyes, though, that she was concious of what was happening and afraid. 

I have never been so heartbroken and afraid in my life either.  I prayed that the Lord would not leave me alone.  I was shocked and in disbelief.

My father in-law, Mike Ransley, was there minutes after I called.  He's a nurse at West Valley, and knew the way well.  He got there just as the nurse came out and told us she had some bleeding in her brain and would need to be transported.  We were both nearly coming unglued.  We were able to give her a blessing before they put her in the ambulance (then we actually beat the ambulance here).

Lindsey was in better shape when they unloaded her from the ambulance than she was when they had loaded her in.  That was encouraging.  She recognized me the whole time.  They took her directly into the ICU and she spent 2 days there. They discovered she had a congenital malformation that caused the rupture.  It was only a matter of time before it was to blow, and we were lucky it was as small as it was, and that it happened when it did (while we were together and she wasn't driving or anything - miracles #4 and #5).

She was cofused and anxious the first day.  She wasn't able to comprehend all that happened.  But she has hinted that she understands now.  She knows where she is and that she's surrounded by love.  She recognizes most people, but sometimes has a hard time communicating.  Some of the wires are still crossed in her head since there's excess blood and swelling.  She now continuing to recover in the neuro unit. 

She's improving daily... even hourly.  Most of her right side has good strength, but little fine motor control.  That will be back with time.  We will be in neuro for a couple of days, then inpatient rehab for a couple more days or a week. 

We just have felt overwhelmed with love and support from all of you.  We appreciate your prayers, well wishes, sincerity, and offers for help and support.  Please keep praying for us.  Lindsey is doing well.  She's a fighter, and will be back on her feet in no time!  Each one of you is a miracle to us.  Please give your loved ones a hug and a kiss.  It sounds super cliche, but you never realize just how much they mean to you until you almost lose them.  Again, we feel like we have the best family and friends in the world.  They say that in these situations, you find out who your friends are.  I can say with confidence that we have no shortage of good friends.  We love you and pray for you as well. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Get out, get moving.

I think we'd all be amazed at how many "found" calories we consume in a day when we're not careful.  A bite of this and that, a midday snack, or a little pre-meal grazing can add calories to our day really fast.  Likewise, some "found" activity time can add in an extra punch to that calorie burn!

This weekend Lindsey and I took our 10mo. old daughter, Riley, to the zoo for the first time.  That was a good way to walk around and burn some calories.  We walked about a mile and a half inside the zoo. 

There are a wealth of things we already do, or can do to add in some activity time.  Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.  Park in the back on the parking lot.  Do a couple laps around the outside isles of the grocery store before shopping. 

Make quality time count!  When you spend time with your family, make it enriching both to the relationship and the body.  Plan a fun activity outside.  Go on a family walk.  Garden.  Have a picnic in the park.  Wrestle with your kids.  Make family time fun and active.  Go for a bike ride.  Pull your kids around the block in a wagon.  They will love it, and your waist will too!

Do two or more of these things every day.  You could burn an extra hundred calories (maybe more!), and not even realize it.  If you're having trouble getting motivated to exercise, start with some of these ideas.  Get out, get moving!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Reaching Higher, Lifting Heavier

Here's an interesting fact: one pound of muscle burns somewhere between 35-50 calories per day.  A pound of fat? somewhere in the neighborhood of 2-6 calories per day.  That's a big BIG difference!

While on my Sabbatical, I was feeling discouraged, mostly becuase I had continued to eat right and exercise, but was not losing any more weight.  I felt like my plateau was never going to end.  There I was, stuck at about 302 and not getting anywhere doing what I had been doing.  Of course, when it stops working as you'd want, it's easy to just stop... or at least to slack off for a while.  That's what I did. 

But I still lost about 4lbs.  In fact, I lost 2lbs in two consecutive weeks.  The difference was weight training. 

I hate to say this, but ladies, you're the most averse to weight training.  I get it - you don't want to look all muscular and manly, or sore either.  Plus, it doesn't feel like you're getting a good work out every time when you lift.

Do it anyway.  If you don't know how to lift, you can find a myriad of great online tutorials, or just ask a trainer at your gym (most gyms give you a free training session when you join anyway).  It's true that you may not burn the same amount of calories as you would with your aerobic exercise, but you're building a foundation for future calorie burn.  Additionally, as Bill Phillips notes in Body for Life: 12 Weeks to Mental and Physical Strength, if you don't change the way your body looks under the fat you have, you're going to have the same body shape you have now... only in smaller form.  I think most of us trying to lose weight are, among other things, trying to change the way our bodies look.

Ladies, here are some tips for shaping up:

1) Focus on really heavy lifting on the legs.  Not only do your legs have some of the largest, longest, and most powerful muscles in your body, they are some of the most highly used.  Don't be afraid to pack on a few lbs of muscle.  Not only will the little extra bulk be barely noticeable, it will probably actually improve the look of your legs.

2) Your arms will not bulk up.  Don't worry about getting "man arms," it won't happen.  You don't have the testosterone that causes men to really bulk up.  Unless you go crazy and lift every day, take the weight lifting supplements, and lift super heavy, it won't be an issue.  You can build muscle without "bulking".  Go moderate on your arms, and work all the muscles.

3) Your core needs to be strong, but a thousand sit ups won't do you much good.  Your core muscles should get some focus, but not all your focus.  Work in some core exercises with your regular weight training.

4) The frequency of your weight training should be planned out in advance.  For supplementing weightloss, 2-3 time per week should be sufficient.  Don't worry about going more often than this unless you really want that strength.

Adding some weight training can really kick-start your routine.  Whether you've hit that plateau, or if you're looking for a new way to get that burn going. 

Here's a great article with more information!  No go out and get moving!

Taking Time Off

Dieting is a tiring thing.  We start out with gusto then... I'm not evenn sure what happened.  I pretty much went into maintenence mode, I guess.  I still lost 2 lbs last month, but never really made the effort for more. 

So it's back on for the month of July, and so is the blog.  I apologize for my Sabbatical.  So I'm now down to 298lbs, but still a long way to go.  My goal is to be somewhere around 250 by the end of the year.  That's about 2lbs per week.  I better get moving!  Good thing I've got my GoWearFit.

What will I do differently this time?  Write down everything I eat.  I've got to keep a food journal so I know wxactly where I'm at for the day.  The GoWearFit website allows me to calculate my calorie intake, then automatically calculates my calorie burn.

Here we go for round 2!  If I can do as well as round one, I'll be perfectly happy!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Exercise Planning and Routines

I've talked about why exercise is important.  We all know it is.  Probably more so for the mental kick it can give you than the physical.  The physical aspect will only affect your weightloss 20% or so.  Losing weight is 80% diet, and 20% exercise.  Why am I putting so much emphasis on exercise, then?  Becuase it's also a showing and a physical performance of your commitment to health.  That can help you stay focused mentally, and continue through those pesky plateaus.

So let's go over a few things that can get you started, or give you something different to try.

First, an exercise plan needs to be diverse.  It should incorporate cardiovascualar and resistance exercises.  Strength and endurance are both needed to accomplish most physical tasks.  Ignoring one or the other will create holes in your plan.

Exercise plans should be fitness goal driven.  Make a goal to run a marathon or half-marathon.  Don't think that's possible?  They do it on The Biggest Loser every season now.  Plan to do an Ironman, or make your own goal.  The goal should be something that's possible for physically fit people, but that you may think is impossible for you.  That's how you stretch yourself.

Next, find out where you are.  What are you comfortable with?  It may not be much at first, but that will change.  Remember the President's Fitness Test back in school?  That's a good measure of fitness, and a good place to start.  Test yourself on some of those.  These are basic exercises that could be done with little or no equipment, and that can be improved upon.

Then set some goals.  Plan a road map to where you want to be.  Maybe it's a stretch to do 20 push-ups.  Make that a goal.  Maybe you'd like to run a mile in under 8 minutes.  Make that a goal.

Every day is your chance to make a difference.  Plan on focusing on your main goal - whether cardio or strength, but include some of the other exercises.  Even if you're training for a marathon, do some push-ups and sit ups two or three times a week. 

Ultimately your ability to or failure to plan will make or break your exercise routine.  You are less likely to skip a workout if you've had it scheduled in since the beginning of the week.  Plan it out, plan on it, keep your commitments!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Making the Most of Your Time

It seems like there's more and more stuff to occupy our time every day.  For me, it seems like I'm even busier now that school is out for a few weeks than I was during the school year.  Our lives demand a lot from us.  How do we manage healthy living in a "go, go, go" world?

The excuse that you don't have time to exercise is no excuse at all.  Keep a journal of all your daily activities for a week.  You'll notice that you do, in fact, spend much of your time in sedentary activities.  If you were to cut those out entirely, could you fit in some exercise? Probably so.

For me, it's difficult go get in some exercise when I'm at work all day long.  I work 13 hour days, and the last thing I want to do most work days is go to the gym.  Here's a couple of things I do to get some activity in, that you can do too!

Fit in your exercise.  During your breaks and your lunch time, do something to get your heart rate up.  During my 45 minute lunch break, I take a 25 minute walk.  I get my heart rate up, and I don't walk so fast that I'm super sweaty by the end.  That's always another concern of mine - getting too sweaty.  I also keep a stick of deoderant in my cubicle.  Shorter breaks are a great opportunity for some simple strength training.  Do some push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, squats, etc.  You can fit those in and, again, keep from getting too sweaty.  Even small amounts of strength training like those mentioned will raise your burn rate a little, and help with your weightloss.  Another reason I do these things - it keeps me from focusing on food.  I used to look forward to breaks and lunch becuase of the food I would eat.  Now I focus on healthier things. 

Another aspect that we must not overlook is planning meals.  We've all been in the situation before where you're at work, or out and about and hunger strikes.  What do you do? Go to the nearest drive through and get the poison they sell.  We've all done it.  Plan your meals and your whole day ahead of time so you don't get stuck in this position.  Bring healthy snacks, or pack a healthy lunch to take with you.  You'll save money and eat healthier.

Remember, if you need to cut things out of your life, cut sedentary activities.  Plan your day ahead of time, and never eat fast food.  Also, fit in your activity whenever you can.  Make it work!  It's your life we're talking about here!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Anyone out there?

I'd really like to hear from all of you!  What are your struggles?  What are the questions you have about healthy living?  What do you want to know about, or would like me to write about?  Where are you in your healthy living or weightloss journey?  E-mail me at: aaronbatteen@u.boisestate.edu

Saturday, May 15, 2010


It's not a four letter word. I counted (it's eight). Exercise is the body's way of tuning itself up. It allows you to become leaner, stronger, have more energy, and, in general, feel better. There are too many benefits of exercise to number, but here's a few reasons I love it:
1) It's a release. It's a great way to work out a frustrating day at work (or at home). It can literally run my troubles into the ground. Vigorous aerobic exercise can also trigger the release of endorphins, giving you that "runner's high."

2) Every day is a victory. I try to set a new standard for myself ever time I work out. Sometimes I don't achieve my goal for the day, sometimes I do. But my confidence is always built when I work toward and achieve my work out goal for the day. It's one more way to overcome those mental barriers, and a great way to rebuild your self-esteem.

3) There's a visible difference in my weightloss. I think that exercising regularly helps keep you focused on the goals you're trying to achieve. When you're tracking your calorie intake, and you know your calorie burn at certain activity levels, you begin to measure the food you eat not just in calories, but minutes or hours of activity. It puts the Costco Muffin into perspective when you realize that you'll have to literally run your butt off for an hour or so to burn it. It obviously helps to burn more calories too.

4) It's a good time for self-analysis. There's no time like when your heart is pumping and your blood is flowing to mentally stop and consider what factors may have caused your unhealthy lifestyle. It's just a good time to think and work out you issues.

While it may seem daunting, it's really only the start that stops most people. Excuses include: going to the gym being cost-prohibitive, embarrassment, not knowing what to do, not having time, or constant exhaustion. I've used these excuses myself. They pop up time and again with different names.

You don't need a gym to exercise. People do it all the time. If you need some guidance, there's always workout DVDs, and guidance online. Most exercises can be done in your own home. If you don't know what to do, find a resource. There is a treasure trove of knowledge that can be tapped into online. I will provide what I think is a good "ground zero" guide for starting out (in the next couple of days).

Time can slip away so quickly each day. In our busy lives it's often hard to find time to exercise. So don't find it… create it. You have to plan to exercise every day, then prioritize it very high. It can take the place of the 30-minute TV show you watch, or the extra hour you spend on your hair and/or makeup. Prioritize yourself, your life, and your health. There's no need for embarrassment whether exercising at home or at the gym. There will always be funnier looking people than you at the gym or on the street. Just go out and do it!

I can't give you the motivation you need to get up and move. Only you can provide yourself with that. But I hope to help you overcome some of those barriers. Don't let the start stop you. Be better today than you were yesterday, and resolve to be even better tomorrow!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Dining Out...

Not much to say today. I have a weigh-in for the contest I’m doing at work, and it always seems like I’m up a couple of lbs on Fridays. Not cool. But I’m always back down by my own weigh-in day Monday, so not too depressing.

Today I thought I’d cover the topic of eating out. Tonight, my beautiful bride and I are meeting some good friends for dinner. They are in from out of town, and we’re meeting a group of people at Louie’s Italian Restaurant in Meridian. Now in the past I would have gone and ordered something ridiculous, but I can’t do that anymore. Here are some simple tips for eating better when dining out socially:

1) Stick to your diet. Yes, it’s okay to cheat a little, but not an entire meals worth of calories. Just because you’re eating out doesn’t mean you’re taking a vacation from health.

2) Plan ahead. If you can find the menu online, or drop by a little early, you can plan what to get. It would be nice if everything came with calorie counts, but keep a reference nearby if you need to. If you have no reference, and the calories aren’t listed, make your best guess and best effort to cut excess calories (taking off dairy products, dressings on the side, etc.).

3) Eat a snack… or a meal. When you’re eating out socially, people are there for your company, not to watch you eat some calorie loaded meal. Eat a snack that will curb your hunger, and help you eat less of the caloaded food. (I just now made that word up it means “calorie loaded”). It’s even okay to eat a meal, then just get a diet soda or water with lemon. Maybe then you can offer simply to pay the tip (you’ll get off a lot cheaper AND be the hero of the evening).

4) Be “that person” when you’re ordering. If you have to order everything modified, do it. The servers are there to make you happy. Remember to tip well, though. Let’s not be cheap.

5) Don’t hide. Don’t try to conceal your healthy habits. Your friends will understand and support your efforts. Letting them know will also add some pressure to be extra good!
Overall, enjoy yourself. That’s what dining out is all about. We just want to make sure you don’t have regrets the next day. Good luck, and Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Eating Organic

There's no substitute for healthy eating on your weightloss journey.  There's no better way to eat healthy than to load up on the organic fruits and vegetables.  This was a good article on eating organic and making a transition from regular to organic foods.  And of course the Eat Clean diet is a great resource. (Have I hyped that book enough yet?)

What is unfortunate is that organic fruits and veggies are often hard to find or are too expensive.  Most of us are on tight budgets, and can't afford to spend our entire disposable income on organic food.  There is a way to get those organics without breaking the bank: Grow your own.

I cannot hype the benefits of growing your own garden enough.  There are several things that growing your own fruits and/or veggies will do for you.

1) You'll know where your food is coming from. I've talked about this before.  Most of us have no idea where our food comes from.  This includes produce as well as meat/poultry, etc.  Where is that lettuce you buy coming from?  Much of what you buy in a typical super-market is grown outside the United States where quality control is minimal.  Additionally, most of the produce is picked long before it's ripe so that it keeps until it's shelved at the store.

2) You'll have the power to provide.  Growing you own food makes you free. You become free from the systems most people depend on for their food.  There is much uncertainty in the world today.  What if there's a trucker's strike?  What if there are storms, floods, fires, or other natural disasters that disrupt the food supply chain.  Can you feed yourself?  Take the power to provide into your own hands.  Grow your own food! 

3) It's an enriching experience.  There's just something about growing your own food that puts you back in touch with life.  It gives you a new appreciation for and a new relationship to food.  It's not just something you find at the store, but something you grow with care and effort.  It could also be a great way to get outside and get that activity level up.

4) Eating food you've grown can help trim that budget.  If you grow your own food, you can offset the cost of purchasing the more expensive healthy foods.  This can make it even more economical to eat healthy than it is to eat the typical commercial varieties.

5) You'll get variety you can't find in the store.  If you're like me, you like your food to be colorful, fragrant, and tasty.  In your garden you can grow rare varieties that you won't find in the store.  Right now I have things such as Bulgarian Carrot Peppers, Black Tomatoes, Purple Cherokee Tomatoes, Yellow Gooseberry Tomatoes, and Yugoslavian Lettuce in my garden.  You'll never find those in the grocery store. 

So how do you begin, if you haven't already?  It's taken me a couple of years to get the hang of the gardening thing, and I'm still no genius.  But every year, you'll get better.  The key is just to start NOW.  It's not too late! 

I highly recommend The All New Square Foot Garden by Mel Bartholomew.  I built my 4x4 boxes for around $60 each.  They are SUPER easy to build, plant, maintain, etc.  For around 5 minutes a day, you can have the best tasting vegetables in your own yard.  This can be adapted to apartment living too!  Check it out. 

As for fruits, I recommend getting a good catalog from a nursery such as the Raintree Nursery

Here are some other resources:
The Backyard Homestead - Great resource for backyard food production.
Seed Savers Exchange - Awesome seeds, great variety.
The Survival Podcast - This guy knows gardening and permaculture.  Check him out!


Dieting isn't always a perfect science.  It's hard to break old habits, fight cravings, establish new healthy habits, and find time to make it all work all the time.  But not to worry.

One of the things most people experience in living healthy is a bad day.  It is almost inevitable that you will mess up and over do it, or eat the entire piece of pie.  In my case, if I'm ever faced with free pizza I will indulge.  That's the time where your commitment is tested.  It's not the fact that you may have indulged, but what you do after that will show your true colors. 

Get back on that horse.  Before I was really committed to living healthy, I would often mess up halfway through the week, then write the entire week off and determine I'd start the next Monday.  That's no commitment at all, it's a cop-out.  There's nothing that says you can't start or re-start a diet mid week.  The worst thing you can do is let a little set-back discourage you.  The only way to be better is to decide to be better, then do better. 

Never lose hope, never take your eyes off that goal.  Your cravings will slowly die off as you live the healthy lifestyle longer and longer.  Keep at it.  You'll get there before you even realize it!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

AdSense is a goner

I'm removing the AdSense ads from my blog.  You probably didn't even notice them, but they have got to go.  I went to look at my blog this morning, and there's an ad for "The Real HCG Diet".  I'm telling people to avoid such things, but my Ads are directing them to it.  That's not the message I want to convey.  They are goners.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Overcoming Barriers

Today's post is going to be short.  I apologize for the lack of posts the last couple days, but I had two final exams, and yesterday was mother's day.  It's been busy, to say the least. 

Being sick and busy makes it tough to get to the gym.  But it's important.  If I can make time to go, anyone can make time to go.  I was able to get there this evening.  I never have as much time as I'd like, and I have to maximize my time while there.  I usually run on the treadmill.  It's the best calorie burn for the time. 

One thing that I like about running is that it offers me a new challenge every day.  Every time I run, I have the opportunity to break a new personal record.  Today I did just that.  My previous "vigorous activity" level for one day was 25 minutes, which means I ran for a total of 25 minutes that day.  Today, I wanted to do better.

I ran for ten straight minutes again, which is pretty good for me.  I'm getting better endurance, and am feeling much better when I run.  But becuase my time was limited, I skipped one of the most important parts of my work out - stretching.  I started to cramp after 22 minutes or so, and had to stop to stretch.  I showed 18 minutes of vigorous activity on my BodyMedia FIT.  Dang it!  I was fatiguing too.  I didn't feel like getting back on the treadmill.  But I did.  I needed another 8 minutes of running to beat my previous best.  I set my time for 8 minutes, turned on some good tunes, and ran.  I wanted to stop after 3 minutes.  I felt like my legs were on fire after 6 minutes.  But nothing could feel as good as hitting that 8 minute mark and knowing I had just set a new "personal best". 

I'm not trying to toot my own horn here becuase really, running for 26 minutes is not something to brag about.  But what is important was that I broke down my old barrier.  Every barrier is a challenge, not a stumbling block.  Everyone has a barrier.

When I began, I didn't think I could run on a treadmill becuase I was afraid to break it.  I was afraid.  But not anymore.  Every day is a new challenge and a new obstacle.  And every day is a chance for a victory.  Sieze the opportunity, embrace it, and claim the new you.

Friday, May 7, 2010

HCG Diet

Many of you have already approached me about the HCG Diet.  I have criticized it so far, but have lumped it in with some previously famous fad diets.  That wasn't necessarily fair becuase thios one is a lot different.  And I don't mean that in a good way.  However, I honestly hadn't done much reading on the diet itself, but from the information I was given, was very very skeptical.  Here were some of my original reservations:

1) Don't mess with your hormones.  Ever.  Unless you get a reputable physician's recommendation and a prescription for hormone therapy, it's not only unwise, but can be extremely dangerous to mess with your body's hormone levels.  Unless there's some deficiency or over-production, there's no need to tinker with hormones.  Artificially raising hormone levels can cause later deficiencies or even permanent damage to glands.

2) Restricting your body to 500 calories might be great for losing weight... if you feel like muscle and vital organs aren't inportant.  A heavily restrictive diet like this will cause your body to go into starvation mode.  In starvation mode, the first source of internal energy is glycogen storage.  After those reserves are used (and that's pretty fast), your muscle and connective tissue is consumed next, along with some organ tissue.  Last to be consumed is body fat.  It's also not enough calories to sustain full and healthy brain function. 

3) It doesn't actually help change bad habits.  Anyone can starve themselves for a month if they really set their mind to it.  After that month, no good habits have been established in place of old bad habits.  No sustainable lifestyle changes have been made.  No healthy habits are made.  This does not bode well for keeping weight off in the long run. 

After reading both pro and con articles, it appears that my initial misgivings were justified. HCG is banned in MLB, and can cause some pretty nasty side effects.  Also, there's no credible scientific backing to the "diet" claims. 

For more info, Google "HCG Diet Side Effects" and you'll get a host of information about the possible issues it may cause.  My take is that it's not worth the risk.  Maybe you won't have any issues on the HCG diet.  Maybe you will.  But there's only one sure-fire way to lose and keep off the pounds and inches... moderate weight loss.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Healthy Fuel

I'm sick again today.  Last week I think it was just exhaustion.  This week, I'm bona-fide home sick with the flu.  I figured, though, that I might as well make lemonade out of life's lemons and blog between trips to the bathroom (TMI, I know... sorry).

I thought I'd share some thoughts on food today.  Until recently, the only thing I really cared about when it came to food was taste.  But as I have really become interested in health and wellness, losing weight, and becoming physically active, I've done a lot of reading about food.  The more I read, the more I'm coming to realize that healthy eating isn't just about fat/carb/protein content.  While that's a big part of it, it's also about everything else in the food we eat.

Here are some interesting things I learned:

White flour has little or no nutritional value.  It is processed in your body more like a sugar than a grain, and provides you with few nutrients.  Sprinkle a little white flour near an ant hill and watch them treat it like dirt.  Sprinkle whole wheat flour on the ant hill and you'll see them go into a frenzy.  They love whole foods.  Even ants know what is good for them and what isn't.

Sugar is not the devil.  There's sugar in fruits and veggies.  Our bodies' preferred source of energy is sugar.  It gives us a feeling of euphoria and can provide you with a little boost (when eaten in moderation).  Processed sugar should be avoided when possible, however, it isn't the worst you could do.  There are healthier alternatives to sugar, like Agave Nectar, Honey, and Stevia.

Are artificial sweeteners better for you than sugar? No. Many artifical sweeteners still trigger your body's insulin levels, causing you to store energy in the form of fat.  You would probably do better with a sweetener like Honey or Agave Nectar.  Additionally, some sweeteners have been linked to cancer.  If our goal is a healthy body and a healthy lifestyle, why would we risk cancer? While you may be able to avoid the carbs and calories by using artificial sweeteners, the net effect on your body may be even worse.

The human body does not particularly love red meat.  That's right, I said it.  Red meat has all kinds of ill effects including hightening risk of heart disease, colon cancer, hypertension and even endometriosis.  I personally believe that when eaten sparingly, these risks can be limited.  But even when eaten, you should shop around for organic, grass fed beef.  Most commercial beef is grain fed.  Grain fed beef have to be pumped full of anti-biotics and are usually trated with hormnones as well to make them grow fast and grow fat.  This was a good article on that.

When you analyze some of the things American's eat on any given day, it's no wonder we're the most unhealthy developed nation in the world.  We eat fast food, processed food, and junk food.  It's difficult go out to eat without getting one or all of the above named unclean foods.  But by planning ahead, and learning to make our own healthy and nutritious meals, we can avoid going through that fast food drive-thru. 

We could discuss this topic for hours and not reach the end, but the main points I'd like to communicate today are, simply:
1) Learn what is really in your food, and where it really comes from.
2) Know how food affects your body.
3) Never eat fast food.  Never.  Plan ahead.
4) Learn to cook, if you need to.
5) Always eat whole, clean food.

Just like a gas engine can't run long on mixed fuel, our bodies can't run on unhealthy fuel. 

A good resource for food IQ:
The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World
Jamie Oliver is awesome.  Get his book:
Jamie's Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals

See other links in previous posts for some more enlightening reading!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Biggest Loser

Since it's Tuesday, I thought I'd share a few of my thoughts on NBC's Biggest Loser.  I rarely miss an episode.  Like most of you reading this, I get caught up in the drama too.

So here's a few reasons I really like the Biggest Loser:
1) It shows ordinary people breaking their old barriers down.  Not only do the contestants face extreme physical challenge, they also must overcome their mental barriers. 
Both of these elements are important.  With the help of Bob and Jillian, the contestants learn how to exercise.  They have dietitians and many other systems of support in place as well to ensure their success.  But ultimately, it's up to each person to work hard, eat right, and do their best. 

The mental aspect is even more difficult, I imagine.  The weekly challenges often force people to face their fears, and usually push them beyond what they thought they were capable of doing.  Reaching the end of what you thought you could do, then doing a little more is empowering, and these people do it every day.

2) The method of weightloss is healthy.  While on the ranch, it's much more focused and intense than it could ever be at home, it's a healthy and sustainable way to lose weight.  They aren't pushing drugs or hormones, but healthy food in moderation, and exercise.  They track their numbers, etc.  See my Ten Points of Moderate Weightloss, and you'll find that most of them coincide.

3) It's entertaining.  There's serious drama, and it's inspirational.  What more could we ask for?

Here's a few reasons I don't like the Biggest Loser:
1) It doesn't help people set realistic expectations of themselves.  The contestants are losing 100lbs-200lbs in mere weeks.  It paints an unrealistic picture of losing weight. 

Aside from the amount of weightloss in such a short time, it's also a once-a-week program.  We watch it one time each week, which may give us a sense that effort only needs to be exerted once per week.  We only see snippets of the show, and never know what happens each day of the week.  We never really see how much work it is.

2) We don't get much in the way of useful information.  We know that they eat whole, organic food, and avoid sugar, fats, etc.  But we never get to see a run-down or their diet - just exactly what one of them eats in a day.  We also don't get much in the way of workouts.  They don't don't run through a typical exercise regimen. 

3) There's too many commercials.  It's way too commercialized for me.  They pull these "incognito" commercials amidst the show too, which I hate.  Cut the crap, get on with the show!

Over all, I love the show.  The Biggest Loser has come out with a series of resources you can use to start and maintain your weightloss in a healthy, sustainable way.

The Biggest Loser 30-Day Jump Start: Lose Weight, Get in Shape, and Start Living the Biggest Loser Lifestyle Today!
The Biggest Loser: 6 Weeks to a Healthier You: Lose Weight and Get Healthy For Life!
Biggest Loser Family Cookbook: Budget-Friendly Meals Your Whole Family Will LoveThe Biggest Loser Calorie Counter: The Quick and Easy Guide to Thousands of Foods from Grocery Stores and Popular Restaurants--As Seen on NBC's Hit Show!The Biggest Loser Simple Swaps: 100 Easy Changes to Start Living a Healthier Lifestyle

Quick note on AdSense ads and Amazon.com search...

I added some AdSense ads and an Amazon Search bar to my page.  It's a little ridiculous, I know, but hopefully some helpful ads will come up. 

In regards to Amazon, I will be getting a very small kickback from every purchase made by searching from that bar.  If you can get a book cheaper on Amazon than anywhere else, I'd appreciate the kickback.  But don't buy it just for that, it's not worth it.  I didn't create this blog to make money, but it wouldn't hurt to get a slice of the pie!

A couple of books to get you started, however, that I highly recommend are:
The Eat-Clean Diet Recharged!: Lasting Fat Loss That's Better than Ever!
The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook: Great-Tasting Recipes That Keep You Lean
The Eat-Clean Diet for Family and Kids: Simple Strategies for Lasting Health and Fitness
Body for Life: 12 Weeks to Mental and Physical Strength
Eating For Life

I really like the approach that Bill Phillips (Body for Life) and Tosca Reno (Eat Clean Diet) take to weightloss.  They're all about healthy and sustainable choices and changes.  Amazon has pretty good deals on them, actually.  Check them out!

I'd eventually like to post a long list of good books for healthy living.  If you've got any suggestions, please e-mail me at aaronbatteen@u.boisestate.edu.

Monday, May 3, 2010

As I eavesdropped on the elliptical...

Yes, I was eavesdropping. Normally I keep my headphones in with my music blasting some kind of upbeat rock. Muse (most commonly), Flogging Molly, Incubus, Jimmy Eat World or some other rocker is usually all I hear while running or pumping my legs furiously.

Today I forgot to put my earbuds in before getting on the elliptical for a warm-up. It's a good thing I'm not nearly coordinated enough to retrieve my iPod and set myself up, or I'd have missed the conversation two ladies beside me were having about "detox" diets, or cleansing diets. I guess leaving the tunes off is a great way to get new topics for the blog.

I have always been a skeptic of the cleanse diets and detox rituals before starting a diet. It just never made sense to me that the body really needed to be "cleansed" from all the crap I had put through it. I had always believed that the body did a pretty good job of removing toxins and other yuckies.

Besides, my method of cleansing in the past has always invloved a healthy morning bathroom ritual (you know what I mean ;p), lots of water, and a good work out. I always knew this much: whenever I work out and plenty of water, I feel "cleansed".

From what I have read, that seems to be justified. Our bodies can only excrete toxins in four ways: Respiration, Urination, Defecation, and Persiration. Ensuring that we drink enough water to stay hydrated, then working up a sweat, and having success in the bathroom are the keys to success. Starting some radical "cleanse diet" might be good if it gets you eating whole foods - sans the chemicals and toxins from processing. But it seems like it will be ineffective at best, and damaging at worst. This WebMD article can shed more light on this subject.

If you're interested in "detoxing" your body, it may very well be that you should first look into changing your diet. As I've mentioned before, the Eat Clean diet is a great resource for healthy diet practices. Remember that a body only needs to be "detoxified" if it's had toxins put into it.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Ten Points of Moderate Weightloss

Wasn't feeling well today. I got up with body aches, feeling a little light headed, and queasy. After a shower, the thought of breakfast made me sick, so I took it with me to work. I took a couple Ibuprofen at work and felt better, but when it wore off, I came home.

After a two hour nap.... yeah I feel much better, but not good enough to work out. Still a little light headed. Boo.

I thought today that I'd share what I'm calling my "Ten Points of Moderate Weightloss." These are at the core of my new weightloss philosophy.

1) Throw out the fad diets and the extreme diets.

I'm tired of all these diets that promise quick and dirty weightloss. There's a reason they come into... then out of vogue. The Atkins diet, the South Beach diet, The Zone diet, and - the newest abomination - the HCG diet all have or had huge followings until people realize that while it makes you thin, it also makes you CRAZY. Some of these diets have a good premise, but can even be damaging to your body.

Thinking of starting a new diet? Just one question: How's that Atkins diet working out for you five years after? Did you gain the weight back (I'm guessing you did!)?

2) Know Your Body Composition Numbers.

You need to know your numbers. This isn't college calculus or differential equations, and there's no mystery here. Find a physician that can help you figure out what your lean body mass is, and what is a realistic and healthy weight for you.

An example of this is that at 6'0", this website tells me a healthy weight for me is 136-184lbs. A snowball has a better chance of staying frozen in hell than I have at getting down to even 184lbs. I had a body composition done by a professional and found I had 210lbs of lean body mass. So even at the healthy - albeit really low - percentage of 10% body fat, I'd be 231lbs. That's a 47lb discrepancy, and makes a huge difference.

3) Know Your Calorie Burn/Intake Numbers.

There's no magic to losing weight. There's no wieght loss cure, pill, or voodoo hex that can substitute for this. At the end of every day you will lose weight if you've consumed fewer calories than you've burned. Shazaam!

For this there are many avenues of help, including a Body Bugg, or GoWearFit. But being really conscious of your activity level and intake of calories can be just as effective. There are a multitude of websites (this is a good one) to help.

4) Make Sustainable Choices and Changes.

Everything you do should be something you can do for the rest of your life. Again, no fads. These changes should be implemented slowly - one at a time - or you'll burn out. Sustainability is key to your success. Find healthy alternatives to facets of your life. If you're burning out, you might be changing things too fast, or too extreme. Slow down, take a breath, become an expert of living the changes you make before implementing more. A healthy body is not a race.

5) Don't Deprive Yourself, Control Yourself.

I'm not going to spend too much time on this. Simply - if you want something, have it. If somene brings cake and ice cream into work for an event, and you really want it, then have cake and ice cream. But control yourself and have a single portion, or even just a taste. Just today I had half a donut that someone brought in.

6) Food Should be Fuel, Not Recreation.

Look for a new hobby! Food is not a hobby anymore. At least not your hobby. In our culture we've made it impossible to have a gathering without some kind of goodies. Our holidays can be described by the food we eat.

Learn to cook, love to cook, and learn to make healthy food. Cooking is a healthy activity. If this is your new hobby, that's fine. Just make sure you're learning healthy cooking techniques and using whole foods and healthy ingredients.

Ditch the processed food. That means when eating out and at home. I recommend the Eat Clean Diet for a good education on food. It's not a diet so much as a good resource for healthy eating.

7) Anyone Can Exercise.

This means you. There's a ton of different ways to work out, and plenty of guides out there. Set a fitness goal, and work towards it. Just do something. You should be getting at least 10,000 steps in per day, but make that a minimum level. If you're tenative about starting, try the stationary bike. It's low impact, and you can set the resistance and time. Get up, get out, get on your way!

8) Overcome Mental Barriers.

Everyone has at least one thing that really sets them back. Sometimes that's the thought of going to the gym. Sometimes it's eating less or eating right. No matter what it is, you have to take a good hard look into your life, your heart, and your mind, and figure out why you're overweight. You have to open up and be honest with yourself.

This is absolutely the hardest aspect of weightloss. Now is the time to overcome your mental barriers! You can do it. You'll find a new strength as you begin to leave your old stumbling blocks in the dust.

9) Set Realistic Goals and Expectations.

The whole premise that you can lose weight fast and furiously is false. You didn't get fat overnight, don't expect to get thin overnight. Don't expect it in a month. Set your goals based on conservative estimates. 1-3lbs per week. If you've got a lot to lose, your time goal might be a year or more. This takes patience!

Most people set goals wherein they must lose 6-10lbs a week for two months. Yeah right. Maybe you do it... good luck keeping it off. Get real!

10) Figure Out What Works for You.

Every person is different, and everyone has different body chemistry, body composition, etc. The same things won't work for everyone. Figure out what motivates and keeps you going. Find your own routine.

In general, do your own thing. Ditch the fads and the extreme diets. Learn how your body works, and what works for you. Keep at it. If you blow it one week, get back at it the next. Press forward, move ahead. The worst thing you can do is put this off! A year from now you can be proud of yourself or filled with regret. It's up to you to decide every day.

Friday, April 30, 2010

First Post... downs and ups.

Well, this is my first post on what is hopefully a frequently updated weight LOSS blog. After years of ups and downs in dieting and exercise, I feel like I'm at point break. I have made a new plan, have new motivation, and as of right now I'm creating a new mode of accountability.

I just weighed in after week 3 of diet and exercise. How did I do?

Gain of 2lbs. Not at all what I was hoping for. Week 1 was a loss of eight, week 2 I achieved a loss of 2lbs, now a gain of 2lbs.

I weighed in April 9, 2010 at 320 lbs. It's not the heaviest I've been, but it's getting close. Those who know me might be surprised by that number. I don't usually let it slow me down. For those of you who wonder how it feels to be that heavy, I'll describe it briefly.

It hurts. After working 12 hour shifts, my knees, hips, ankles, and feet hurt. I'm tired. There's many days that I feel exhausted just from doing normal activities. I'm hungry, I'm stressed, I'm self-concious, I'm wishing that I had more self-control. I feel bad, and that in itself is a self-perpetuating feeling.

When I'm sad or stressed, I eat. When I'm celebrating, gathering, meeting, or socializing, I eat. I can describe every holiday according to food. I love to cook, and am a pretty good cook. Food tastes good, and it allows me to travel across the world without leaving my kitchen. I eat when I relax, when I study, when I wake up, and before I go to sleep. I love food.

I've been on a lot of diets. I don't think I could even list all of them (becuase I can't remember them). Fad diets and extreme diets, all kinds of diets have played on the stage of my life.

But all this is no more. I've developed a new strategy, and a new philosophy. I'll share it with you over the next few weeks. I hope that maybe you can pick up some things that will help. For now, I'll just say that I am excited and confident this time around.