Friday, April 24, 2009

Relieving Stress and Going the Extra Mile

Well I was being a real bear-cat today, barking and growling at the kids. Negative stress doesn't sit well with me I supposed.

So at about 4 PM today I decided to hop in the stationary bike and go for a ride. Sorry no can do - batteries ran out. So I drove to the store and bought some replacement D batteries. I started riding around 4:30 and I rode and rode and rode. I rode the furthest distance I have ridden to date and for the longest time. I finished 40 miles in 2 hours 24 mins and 50 seconds. Even though it has been almost 2 hours and a shower later I can still feel the calories burning in the ol' factory. Rachel says I am gonna be up all night now - lol.

According to at my current weight I burned about 2,200 calories in that butt wrenching ride - that is right it may be TMI but that bike seat is a violator and after an hour it is extremely uncomfortable. I feel I could have ridden far more than the 40 miles if that seat wasn't kicking my trash for the last hour and a half of the ride. I can't wait till I have a road bike that is fitted for my body, it will be so much more comfortable. Till then I enjoy the benefits of the exercise. I am definitely out of the 2 week stall as I have lost weight for 3 days straight. I love getting on the scale first thing in the morning and seeing the weight come off!


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My Daily Bread

I get asked a lot from friends and family about what has changed in my diet. At almost 6 months out I can say that there really aren't any restrictions to my diet any longer. The first 4 months had very strict guidelines. Now my diet is more about maintenance and lifestyle changes - making good decisions. As a rule I eat between 1200 and 1400 calories a day at this point. My water intake is about 128 oz a day. I try to get at least 100g of protein a day. I take multivitamins 2 times a day, Calcium Citrate 3 times a day, and B12 sublinguals 3 times a week.

My breakfast today was 6oz of lite, fat free yogurt, and 2 veggie sausage patties for a total of 260 Calories and 25 grams of protein. Lunch today was 2 oz of cheese, 3 oz of carrots, and 3 oz of celery for another 250 Calories and 16 grams of protein.

[Today's breakfast and lunch and some zero calorie vitamin water]

More good news is that I finally had a drop in weight - 2 lbs today WOOOOOT!

I missed riding yesterday but was out shopping and then had a laptop I worked on till midnight - tonight I did get to ride between dropping off Tanner for Scouts and picking him up. Rode 20 miles in 67:30.

Yesterday while shopping I had a great moment. I bought an XL Shirt off the rack at WalMart and some new swimming trunks (size 40-42). That is coming from a 6X being small and size 60 pants fitting tight - see the 'Taco Bell' pic in the Before and After post to see my 6X shirt.

For those that have made donations already I thank you. They should show up in the next day or so on the widget. I forgot to verify my account with PayPal so the funds are showing pending and the verification should be done tomorrow. Thanks again for your generosity.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Last Few Weeks in Review

In this blog I will be posting a weekly review. Since this is my first such posting I will review the past week as well as some info on the week prior.

As a part of each review I will post weight lost and miles logged on the bike. I may also list struggles, successes, etc.

Last week I road my bike 74.2 miles for a total of 4 hours 32 minutes. I varied the work outs as some were for distance or speed and others had variable resistance.

My weight loss for the past 2 weeks has been pretty much in a stall. Since April 6th I have lost only 3 lbs. Stalls are normal but still frustrating. I am going to need to evaluate my protein and water intake and see if I have been lacking on either. Our bodies like to resist change and so I need to mix things up to break out this stall as soon as possible. My goal weight is 185 and so I have 88 lbs to lose to reach my goal.

Last weekend I went up to the Boy Scout District Camporee at Hardscrabble Mesa. I stayed with Tate, my 11 yr old, and the other 11 yr old Scouts. Tanner, the 13 yr old, was with the older scouts. It was a great experience, except for the flat tire I got.

The weekend before that was our Ward's Aaronic Priesthood Commemoration Campout. I took all 5 boys and below are some pics of that great outting (we did get rain, hail, and snow too).

[Our sleeping quarters - we had 7 people on cots and 2 on the ground]

[My 5 boys - Left to right:Tate, Brigham, Tanner, Kobe, & Corwin]


April 2009 - Some before and after pics

[A few months before surgery - I look so happy with my Taco Bell in one hand and a King Size Kit Kat in the other - weighing in at 425lbs]

[Morning of Surgery, October 27, 2008 - weighing in at 402 lbs]

[My Son's Baptism, February 28, 2009 - weighing in at 297 lbs]

[Father's and Sons Campout, April 10, 2009 - weighing in at 276 lbs]


What is with the ChipIn widget and 'Dan Needs a Bike'?

In a nutshell I am looking for donations or sponsors. Donations can be of any amount and are made via your PayPal account to mine. I am hoping to raise as close to $1500 as possible by the beginning of July.

The money is needed to purchase a road bike, racing gear (clothes, shoes, helmet, etc), entrance fee to the race, as well as road side repair equipment and parts. It is a lot of money and a road bike by itself can easily cost more that $1500. I am looking to be conservative and get a decent starter road bike in the $800 to $1000 range.

The cut off date is so that I have 3 months time to train on the new bike and on the course itself. I am currently doing my best at training on a stationary bike. My ultimate goal is to race in a 100+ mile bike race. My first race will be the Tour de Scottsdale on October 4, 2009 and it is a 70 mile race.

Thanks in advance.

UPDATE 5.9.09: changed ChipIn from $1500 to $600 as I have been gifted a bike!!!


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tipping the Scales & My Solution


Most people who saw me at my largest will never fully understand. In fact most people who knew me well don't fully understand. They don't understand what it is like to weigh over 400 lbs. They don't understand how a person can get that large. Some people don't understand why a person that large can't easily take the weight off - or why they resort to something as drastic as weight loss surgery.

This post is to help you understand my struggles and how I came to finally make a change in my life and how I decided to start my journey of lifestyle changes with surgery.

[Me at my largest]

What Do You Mean I Don't Understand?

You might understand if you have ever:

  • not been able to put a seat belt around your waist (in a car or on a plane).
  • covered up the fact that the airline seat belt didn't fit and then get handed an extension when the flight attendant discovered your secret.
  • not been able to use a public bathroom because the stall was too narrow.
  • broken uncounted chairs at work, home, public places, etc.
  • not fit in a theater seat.
  • realized that you can't fit behind the steering wheel of many vehicles.
  • realized that you can't do many activities with your children because of your health and size such as camping, theme park rides, and just playing catch outside.
  • broken many toilet seats and an actual toilet floods your house.
  • had to deal with people constantly staring at you in public
  • been worried about how your presence is embarrassing to people around you.
  • ... this list can go on and on.

It's Easy to Judge

Trust me I know how easy it is to judge. It was being judgemental that was part of the problem. I was my greatest critic and from my constant personal punishment I made things worse. Self worth becomes nothing and the mental put downs are unceasing. After years of self punishment I began to learn to just be happy. So I was - happy and carefree. This was also self destructive. I became complacent with all my issues and "went with the flow". And I continued to get fatter. Getting fat doesn't happen overnight and so people think why don't you just stop eating and get off your lazy and do something about it. Good question and for people that are less than 100 lbs overweight it is a good solution. Once you start down the slippery slope of obesity it gets to a point of near impossibility to recover on your own. Your own body and mind resist change, mental and psychological issues come into play - and then the ever increasing added health issues stack up.

The odds began to stack against my favor

The longer I ignored my demons (personal self worth issues, overeating, and inactivity) the more difficult it became to fight back. As a child I formed habits that caused problems later in life. I was a inquisitive child that loved to learn and shore up knowledge. I loved to play with others and to read. I loved school. So how is that all bad? For me it was near deadly. I was extreme. Life must have balance and I was out of balance.

I read books all the time. I became the class "know it all". I wore bifocals when I was 6 years old. I was clumsy and not good at sports at all. I was also overly sensitive from an early age and wore my feelings on my sleeve. So when the teasing started (like most kids) I took it hard. I did things to protect myself from the teasing and avoided sports and athletic activities that could lead to embarrassment and teasing. I would even stay inside from recess. I became the teacher's pet as the teachers were always more kind to me than other students.

As I aged in grade school I became interested in activities that I was naturally gifted in such as academics. It was polarizing for me though as I garnered praise from parents, teachers, and other adults and more ostracism from other pupils. I started to long for friends but at the same time detest others. I drew inward a lot. Video games were invented and grew popular. Video games along with food made me feel good and didn't talk unkind to me. I always had 1 or 2 friends and they usually played role playing games, video games, or board games with me. This was my early childhood. See what it missing is enough outside play and what is seriously starting to go wrong is my emotional development. I am growing to hate myself and the kids around me. I hate myself because I am not like the other kids and I want more friends and at the same time I hate the other kids for not liking me for who I was. It was many years before I realized that I was as much of the problem as the other kids.

I began to put on weight. The teasing grew worse. My thoughts grew darker. My world was a sad one. Constantly saddened, my eyes searched the ground. I no longer looked others in the eye. I avoided confrontation. I avoided change or anything outside of my confort zone. The mental anguish grew every year. As I grew older I became more aware of how disfigured I was. I realized that no one was attracted to me and I started to feel very alone. I spent many days for many years crying and feeling sorry for myself. Even as I type this I realize that even people close to me never realized how dark my life was even in Junior High. So much so I don't want to go down this road of self loathing any further. I think I have illustrated the point sufficiently.

By the time I decided to better my life I was a Junior in High School and I was unsure of where to turn. I never did turn to anyone for help as I distrusted others. I started lifting weights. I had been an asthmatic and had severe allergies since early childhood so weight training worked good. I tried out for sports in my Senior year. Wrestling and Shot put and Discus. Wrestling was dismal and I cracked a vertebra in my lower back throwing shot put. I was forced to stop lifting weights and this was the last exercise I did of any kind for many many years.

I was tipping the scales at 315 lbs at 5'11.5" when I graduated High School.

I take full responsibility

I don't want anyone reading this to think at any point that I am making excuses or that I blame any one else. I just wanted to illustrate that through a serious of poor decisions starting in my early childhood I created a breeding ground for depression and over eating. I can't take any of that back.

So what happened that caused me to take back control of my life and why did I opt for surgery? I lost weight and gained weight many times over the course of my adulthood. In 2008 I hit my heaviest weight of 427 lbs. I wanted to lose weight for my wife and kids. But wanting to lose the weight for others just isn't good enough. You have to want it for YOURSELF. I had thought about and researched different weight loss options including RNY Gastric Bypass since 2001. Fear caused to push it back. Fear of being rejected by insurance, fear of not being able to pay for the surgery if I was approved, fear of not succeeding and losing the weight and keeping it off if I was approved and could afford it. Fear. Fear is a powerful motivator and it was the first emotion that helped push me in the right direction.

Over the years my health issues increased. In childhood I had asthma and allergies. Those continued and got worse every year as I got fatter. Like digging a hole, it is hard to get out.

In 2002 I was diagnosed with sleep apnea. It was pretty bad and I was falling asleep all the time at work and home. CPAP machine came into my life.

In 2005 my feet began to hurt and over a few months the pain became so unbearable I could hardly stand or walk after sitting or laying. I went to a Dr and was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, basically my feet and the bones in them had fallen arches because of my weight. I was given orthotics. Problem solved - I thought, what was really happening was the problem was masked. Just like the apnea.

In the beginning of 2008 I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and diabetes. More medication to mask more problems caused by my weight.

All of this started to get me seriously thinking but life was too busy for me to worry about all this (this was my line of thinking at the time).

Then the accident happened on May 24, 2008 that caused fear to change my life. Too keep it simple I was riding on a quad (without a helmet - yes lesson learned) and I went over a hill and off the quad, head first into a sharp rock. I was a great distance from a trauma center and with my family and my wife's families at a camping reunion. My head had its scalp split for about 10 inches. I had broken my neck in 2 places but didn't suffer any brain or spinal cord injuries. The actions of several individuals in the first moments after the accident probably saved my life and saved me from even more serious injury. These individuals were my wife (first on the scene) and my wife's brothers. I can never thank them enough.

[At the hospital after I was stitched and stapled back together]

[At home getting quite swollen]

I decided then after returning from the hospital that I didn't want to die young. Beyond that I wanted to actually LIVE life and be an active participant in my own life and the lives of my wife and children. I immediately began the process of paperwork and doctors visits to have the Gastric Bypass surgery.

While surgery isn't the answer for everyone and it has its associated risks, I know that I made the correct decision for me and my situation. I needed to make lifestyle changes and I needed to break free from the chains that I had placed on myself in the form of health problems. I needed the surgery to do this.

Since surgery

I had the surgery on October 27, 2008. The weight loss chart at the bottom of my blog is a clear illustration of my weight loss since then. My diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, and even allergies are gone or diminished greatly (My asthma and allergies are still there but much less severe and easily managed). I hope to be rid of apnea after a year. I no longer need my orthotics either.

A few months after surgery I wanted to start the next phase of my solution which was to become active. Cycling soon became a new passion. It is still very new to me. This blog will show me as I grow in my new hobby and passion.


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