Monday, December 31, 2012

Day 307: I hope you're all ready to shift to high gear tomorrow!

Well, it's been an interesting Christmas Holiday. I had all these aspirations to live like a saint during the vacation...but I didn't. I let loose. Fortunately the damage isn't too bad. I'm ready to shift things into high gear with the new year ringing in and never look back.

I've been reading Bob Harper's latest book, "The Skinny Rules" and it has a lot of great eating guidance. I took the opportunity during my "time off" from training to actually make some turkey chili, using up one of the neighbors' Zucchini that's been sitting around since the fall. It was deeeelicious! He's got some other recipe's along with some great eating rules that I am going to work into my eating regimen.

Anyway, the real reason for writing was to wish you a Happy New Year! Again, I plan to shift into high gear. 2013 is going to be a big year!!

Have a great evening tonight, and I'm sure that you, along with me will be thinking about the changes we'll be making in our lives in the new year.

Happy New Year!


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Day 298-Weigh-in Day: 309.8lbs

Start Weight: 365.4
Last Week's Weight: 309.6
Current Weight: 309.8
This Week’s Weight Loss: +.2lbs
Total Weight Loss: 55.6lbs
Miles Biked this Week: 11.6
Total Miles Biked: 2041.4
Miles to Go: 5458.6

GEOGRAPHY (Where I'd be on the map having started at my house in Salt Lake City, Utah, heading for Tokyo):
Pacific Ocean (1330 miles off the west coast. I am heading for the Hawaiian Islands)

The Weeks Workout
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: GYM
Thursday: GYM +11.6 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Rest

Well, as you can see I didn’t really do too well at the gym this week. I would call this week a failure as far as getting to the gym, but I did stay about 80% on track with good eating. There was however a real bad 20%. (See eating below)

I kind of feel a need to let my hair down just a little and enjoy the holidays, but not too much. It’s kind of a tug-o-war with things right now. I am winning, but it has its psychological side effects. My wife tells me that I’m either black or white! It’s true. I have to be either doing it perfectly, or not at all. That doesn’t work to well for me though. Because even being 80% on track is a very good thing. It’s just if I’m not doing things perfectly, I feel guilty. The bottom line is that I gained 3 ounces which is no big deal, and I think I need to pat myself on the back for basically maintaining!

Now, realistically, I’m not going to hit my goal of getting down to 299lbs by the end of the year unless a miracle happens. I think I have already given myself a free pass for eating what I want on Christmas Day. I think that’s okay. But the feeling that I’m having right now, that is making me a little nervous, is that I want to take this coming week off from my training! The little devil on my shoulder is telling me, “It’s okay! Focus on Christmas and time off from work!” But there is something else in me that is saying, “Take Christmas day off, but challenge yourself to continue to eat healthy, and see if you can get to the gym everyday despite everything else! You can enjoy yourself even while spending 90 minutes at the gym. You’ll be happier when all is said and done!”

I guess when you’re creating a lifestyle change, you really have to do the things that you haven’t usually done.

What this really all comes down to is What Am I Doing?

Am I:

-Training to lose weight and ride to Fuji?
-Or, maintaining my weight?

The attitude for “maintaining” is a good attitude to have, but it’s not the attitude I need to succeed in this challenge. I’ve got to be In Training.

Something else I learned this week was:

At work we have a popcorn machine. For the past few months or so everyone has been popping popcorn and eating. I have had a bag or a handful here and there telling myself that it isn’t going to hurt. MyNetDiary tells me that popcorn isn’t that bad. One of the guys at work even said that the popper uses coconut oil so it’s healthy! So, I looked on the back of the label. It is high in calories! I think all the “little” handfuls here and there have added up! So, I’ve found another little area I can improve upon. I think sticking to good ole 100-calorie per bag microwave popcorn is going to be my best bet.

I ate more beef this week than I have in the past 6 months! I was just craving a good juicy burger and ate a couple. Also, I finally got seduced by holiday treats surrounding me everywhere, however, I didn’t go too crazy. Last Monday though I just got so tremendously hungry that I started eating chocolate, Chex mix, a cookie, a home-made sweet roll with cream cheese…all the things that had been dropped off by well-wishers! So I let loose a bit, but then reeled things in for the rest of the week. I organized my eating into portion containers to take to work so that I would get a 400-calorie meal every 3 hours.

Nothing here.


I hope that this coming week will be a wonderful Christmas for you and your family. Despite everything I said above, take a little time to enjoy yourself and count your blessings. It really is a time to celebrate the greatest thing to ever happen…the birth of Jesus Christ.

Merry Pedals!

Something similar-looking stared at me this week, so I hid my mouth!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Day 294 Motivation Tuesday-Meet Gary Brennan, the 39 Stone Cyclist!

This week for Motivation Tuesday, I have one of the most amazing stories to share with you. Gary Brennan lives in the UK, and is known as the "39 Stone Cyclist." For some of us that don't know what a "stone" is, it is still commonly used as a weight measurement in the UK equal to about 14 pounds. So, when Gary decided to make a change in his life, he weighed around 560 pounds! Imagine knowing that you weighed a quarter TON!

He was heading towards the path of gastric by-pass surgery to help get his weight under control. He says that walking to the bathroom would literally leave him out of breath!

Well, he did make a change, but it wasn't with surgery. Gary, also known as "Gaz," decided to jump on a bike and he has never looked back. Today at 180 pounds, he looks great! But he has worked hard to get where he is. In the following interview I asked him what he did during the cold winter, he simply said he put studded tires on his bike and continued to bike...amazing! That is true dedication.

I encourage you to go to Gaz' website after reading this interview, and read into a few more details of his life and what he has overcome...there are other obstacles that he has learned to get a handle on.

Sit back and be inspired!

Meet Gary Brennan...


Tell us a little about yourself
I'm Gaz, I used to weigh 39 stone (560 LBS). I fell in love with cycling and now weigh 180lbs, standing 6ft 3"it's a good weight to be. I've lost diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. Also with losing the weight , I've overcome the battle of an eating disorder of 27 years. I'm 32 years old, separated, and have 2 kids.

How long has your weight loss journey taken?
It took 2 years to lose the weight and it's been 2 years of keeping it off so far.

 What was the determining factor that made you want to get rid of your weight?
I was really ill. I have 2 amazing kids and I needed to be here for their future.

What motivated you to start bike riding?
I saw it as a new lifestyle as opposed to something that I was forced to go to , such as the gym.

Were there times you wanted to give up?
Not really, only on some looooooooooong hills. But once I have the bit between my teeth I simply refuse to give up, ever.

Did you ever hit a plateau and how did you get past it?
There were a few but it was a marathon, not a sprint and as long as I wasn't headed in the wrong direction then I was happy enough.

What forms of exercise did you do, besides riding?
I did a tiny bit of running but 99.9% was, and still is cycling.

In colder months, how did you exercise?
I got studded tires, 6 layers of clothes and just went for it, it was darn hard but it helped me become who I am today.

How do you find time to workout?
I cycle to and from work, daily. It's certainly become a lifestyle change.

How do you motivate yourself when you don’t want to workout?
Getting home to my super awesome kids.

What does a typical day of working out look like for you?
Get up, ride to work, work, then ride home :D

When you were losing weight, what was your diet like?
Rubbish! I had a selective eating disorder, meaning I only eat crisps and chocolate, but just much, much less than before. Now I'm happy to report I have normal eating habits.

What is your philosophy about eating now?
Try new things daily and don't ever let an eating disorder take hold again.

What is your post-ride nutrition?

What basic weight loss tips would you offer?
Eat less then you use, it's so simple but true. If I can drop huge numbers on such a poor diet then anyone can do it.

What sort of competitive riding do you do now?
I'm looking at taking up racing in 2013.

What advice would you offer to someone that wants to make a change in his or her physical activity?
Make it a lifestyle change and you'll never look back.

What goals do you have for yourself in the near future?
Enjoy my kids and look forward to happy times. I'm out of a real messy split , so there's still battles to fight. I'll enjoy some down time soon though.

What brand of bike do you ride?
Ribble, Cannondale

Where can we follow you on your journey (website, blog?)

@39stonecyclist on Twitter

Any parting words of advice?
Go for it, never look back and enjoy the new you. It's hard work, but worth it!


I think it would be inspiring to meet Gaz someday. I am proud of him and he is an inspiration to me, and I am sure to you.  It's great to see another brave soul taking on their demons and kicking them to the side of the road.

Next Tuesday, enjoy Christmas. And let that day be your Motivation Tuesday!

Merry Biking!


Gary Brennan (Gaz): The picture that started it all-560 pounds!

Gaz before his transformation

Gaz is now literally 1/3 the size of what he used to be!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Day 291-Weigh-in Day: 309.6lbs

Start Weight: 365.4
Last Week's Weight: 309.6
Current Weight: 309.6
This Week’s Weight Loss: 0lbs
Total Weight Loss: 55.8lbs
Miles Biked this Week: 39.7
Total Miles Biked: 2029.8
Miles to Go: 5470.2

GEOGRAPHY (Where I'd be on the map having started at my house in Salt Lake City, Utah, heading for Tokyo):
Pacific Ocean (1318 miles off the west coast. I am heading for the Hawaiian Islands)

The Weeks Workout
Monday: GYM
Tuesday: 5.04 miles
Wednesday: GYM
Thursday: GYM +26.96
Friday: GYM +7.7
Saturday: Rest

Well, I’m a little bummed at my results for this week. I worked very hard and I think I was pretty darn good on my eating. However I didn’t see any results on the scale. I so think though that there will be a change. Sometimes my results come over a two-week period, so I will be patient.

I have 16 days to lose 9.7lbs. Hmmmm…We’ll see what happens. I will say that I got a little tired of going to the gym this week. Over a 2-day period I went three times putting in about 35 miles on the bike.

Also, it was more resisting all the things that I want to eat at Christmas time. I was telling my wife I feel like I am only half participating in the holidays because I am not eating all the yummy stuff. Oh well, I want to get to my goal!

Still learning patience…I guess that’s a life long journey.

I ate at or below 2000 calories a day! When at restaurants I chose the low-cal healthier option. I’ll keep plugging away!

I did shoot a little video this week.


Happy Pedals!


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Day 284-Weigh-in Day: 309.6lbs

Start Weight: 365.4
Last Week's Weight: 311.6
Current Weight: 309.6
This Week’s Weight Loss: 2lbs
Total Weight Loss: 55.8lbs
Miles Biked this Week: 17.3
Total Miles Biked: 1990.1
Miles to Go: 5509.9

GEOGRAPHY (Where I'd be on the map having started at my house in Salt Lake City, Utah, heading for Tokyo):
Pacific Ocean (1279 miles off the west coast. I am heading for the Hawaiian Islands)

The Weeks Workout
Monday: GYM + 8.7 miles
Tuesday: GYM
Wednesday: GYM
Thursday: GYM
Friday: REST
Saturday: GYM + 8.6

Less than 10 pounds away from becoming a member of the “200 Club!” It is surreal! I used to dream about this, but it was so far away. This is more than exciting! Again, it’s all about Pain and Restraint, ha ha!

I got a good 5 days in at the gym, got a little biking in, and did some good walking (PAIN.) Also had a few Christmas parties this week at work and church, so it’s taken some self control to keep at the 2000-calorie mark per day (RESTRAINT.)

I’ve felt that feeling you get when you’re getting in the groove of motivation, and working hard, where you push yourself just a little more cause you know that you will reap dividends. Also, at the gym, I am trying to mix it up all the time so that my body gets something different each day. I do need to improve on the “getting down on the floor” stuff though. They have a circuit area at the gym where you alternate between weights and cardio. The cardio is simply doing stuff with a stair stepper. You’re either stepping up or getting down on the floor and back up. I think that will really do me some good. This coming week I think I will do the circuit a few times along with some stationary bike.

I’ve really got to start racking up the mileage. I’ll come up with a plan and then go for it. I am going to set a goal to get over a 100 miles at the gym this week. That means I’ve got to be on the bike at least an hour every day. With 5500 miles more to go in the next 8 months, that is 687 miles a month, or 171 miles per week. That’s a lot of pedaling, but, I think I can be doing some long rides on the weekends, and working on getting 20 miles a day during the week.

As you recall my goal a few weeks back was:

By December 31, 2012, I will weigh-in in the 200’s, and leave the “300 Club” behind me in the old year.

I set that goal at 317lbs. A few weeks later I am at 309.6. I am about half way there with a little over 3 weeks to go! We are on course. Focus, focus, focus!

Every day is a step closer. Decide what you want, and then take a step in the right direction. It may not seem all that closer to your destination, but one day you’ll wake up and realize that right over there…is the finish line…or your goal for the taking. There is still a long road ahead. I am 30% the way there. At least I am on the path, and at least I started.

Again, I had a church and company Christmas party this week. They were all decked out with little temptations here and there. I have to admit at the company party dessert at the luncheon was this delectable pumpkin spice pudding. One of the waiters was walking around pouring a little egg nog on top of the pudding. It was sooooo good! I ate…and loved! There were opportunities to eat snacks, cookies, trail mix, chocolate…and the list goes on and on. I ate at Subway a few times this week and the cashier offered me a free cookie both times! One time I told her I’d pass, the second time I took the cookie and gave it to a friend. Merry Christmas! ;) So there were many opportunities, but I knew with each opportunity, was a chance to make a “good” decision. I felt that I did that for the most part this week.

Well, we all have another 3 weeks of the Christmas holidays left. I plan on making each week as good as this week. WHAT, and miss all the yummy things to eat? Well, it means more to me to be inducted into the “200 Club” than feed my face on stuff that really doesn’t matter. At my company party, there was a bowl of fruit, and so despite all the temptation, there was always another path I could take to get me where I want to go!

No filming this week.


Pedal without a candy cane in your mouth!


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Day 277-Weigh-in Day: 311.6lbs

Start Weight: 365.4
Last Week's Weight: 317
Current Weight: 311.6
This Week’s Weight Loss: 5.4lbs
Total Weight Loss: 53.8lbs
Miles Biked this Week: 24.7
Total Miles Biked: 1972.8
Miles to Go: 5527.2

GEOGRAPHY (Where I'd be on the map having started at my house in Salt Lake City, Utah, heading for Tokyo):
Pacific Ocean (1262 miles off the west coast. I am heading for the Hawaiian Islands)

The Weeks Workout
Monday: GYM + 5 miles
Tuesday: REST
Wednesday: GYM + 10 miles
Thursday: GYM
Friday: 9.76 miles
Saturday: Planning a casual bike ride

Wow, working out at the gym is really working! This week I got to the gym 3 times, but also was able to get a good bike ride in. I finally picked up my wheel at the bike shop and rode to work. I took a longer route riding up to North Temple and then to downtown, and then to work. Ahh, nice 50-degree weather blowing in my face!

I got a call from my wife towards the end of the day yesterday that our van had broken down. My other car is having alternator problems, so I go to ride my bike from work, over to where she was. Fortunately it wasn’t too far…however, it was blowing against me and I got to pedal into the wind. It wasn’t very fun. We ended up getting our van towed away and my good wife and I walked a couple of miles home.

I took the time to watch a couple of my videos I made when I first started out on my challenge. I do see progress, but again, and I know I keep harping on this, I realize I made a mistake early in the game. Now I find myself up against a bigger challenge of losing weight before next June 1st. I got comfortable eating what ever I wanted, thinking that my bicycling was burning it off. Well, it was maintaining, but not helping me lose weight. Now, my new challenge is that I have 6 months to lose 101.6lbs! Gosh, if I had only known. Well, I guess this is part of the fun of the challenge---doing, assessing, learning, shifting, doing…
Okay, so as you remember, last week I set a goal. The goal is:

By December 31, 2012, I will weigh-in in the 200’s, and leave the “300 Club” behind me in the old year.

I have at least 11.6lbs to lose in the next 30 days, that is an average of 3lbs a week. I think if I stay focused, and keep doing what I’ve been doing consistently, I will achieve that goal! That will take me down to 90lbs to lose over 5 months, with an average of 4.06lbs to lose weekly over that 22-week period. Okay, it looks difficult, but I am going to give it my best shot. I’ve learned that nothing ever works the way you want, life lifes, however, I can do some new things that I haven’t been doing. I could do an extra 30-minutes on the treadmill, stationary bike, or Elliptical. I could do an extra burning of 600 calories a day, and that will almost get me that extra pound I need.

Can you see my OCD coming out?!

Okay, some of the stuff I put on my blog months ago, I wish I could go erase now. I look back and I think I sound like a fool. At first I was pretty strict. As I got into things 3-4 months, I thought simply biking along with eating less strict was going to get me to Fuji. Nope…I was a little too confident. What it really takes is making your self sweat no matter what exercise you’re doing (PAIN), and eating smaller portions more often during the day (RESTRAINT.) The cold hard facts are that for consistent weight loss, you’ve got to feel a little pain, and restrain yourself a bit. Hmmm…doesn’t sound as easy as I thought. When I first got going and my body hadn’t been exercising in my previous life, of course my body is going to shed weight. However the law of putting less in your mouth, and more in your exercise to achieve weight loss is an eternal law of physics. At first I was measuring portions, then I got a little lax and had “just a little more” of this or that when eating. Then my body got used to biking riding, and I somehow got frustrated with my plateau. A little closer and honest evaluation revealed this.

Again, I’ve been focusing on eating 5, 400-calorie meals a day. These meals are a balance between carb and protein. A few days this week I only ate 1200-1500 calories per day. I got a little hungry at the end of one of the days, but just went to bed. I’m also trying to not eat 4 hours before bedtime. If I do eat, it’s usually an apple or something simple.

My gym workouts are usually about 60-90 minutes in length. When I get home, I eat immediately as my body needs to fuel. Sometimes when I workout in the evening, I keep the eating to a minimum before bed.

No filming this week.

Here is a picture of the beautiful fitness room at my hotel last week that I never used! But I made the effort to take a picture!