Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Mental Game

The other day, I was discussing my blog with a friend and she said, "you have talked a lot about the physical side of weight loss, but not really the mental side. You have talked about doing more physical things and losing pant sizes, etc., but you have not talked about how it makes you feel." I agreed that it would be a great topic, so here I go:

It is a tough set of emotions to describe; there are so many parts to my thought process about everything. First, as cliche as it sounds, it has been a real roller coaster of a ride with many huge ups and downs. The constant thought of "falling off the wagon" and going backwards, of failing or putting all the weight back on. My weight loss is not one easy task, the thought that once all I get this weight off (if I'll get it off), what then? The toughest part of the battle, I know, will be to keep it off. Many say that to maintain the weight loss is harder to than to lose the weight in the first place. I worry about that even though I am still far from there. These are some of the thoughts running through my head from the start of this journey and it is these thoughts that also keep some people from even starting on the journey - because they fear it.

I have gotten better about not beating myself up over the scale, because I know when I am on plan, I lose weight. The plan works - stick with the plan. When I have a bad meal where not everything is 100% up to my normal standards of plan, I have learned to become okay with that. For example: if I go to a restaurant and forget to say no to some ingredient (like cheese), I just pick as much off as I can and get through it (without flipping out). I have learned to take one meal at a time. You have to do that because a lot of people will just have one bad meal and throw the whole day away, which does not work at all for anyone that is serious about losing weight. It takes a long time for your body to recover from a bad food day versus one meal. The current plan I am testing myself on calls for a light carb-feeding day and that means a sweet potato, not a pizza or a whole free-for-all day. The reason for that is because it would take many days or a week to get your body back on track in the right mode for a variation that big. Also, there is a mental implication with that too, because then you start to crave and look for that "cheat day," and then it compiles and fails. I know I have tried those kind of plans and it did not work after about a month.

The holidays are extremely tough too; I have had a couple emails about this. I know that Thanksgiving has now passed, but there are still more holiday parties coming for a lot of us. One of my emailers asked about what to do for Thanksgiving: should I just take a cheat day and then go back to normal eating after? He is a fellow Cross-fitter and healthy eating beginner, having just started his journey. He also asked if he should bring a salad to eat while everyone else was eating the more traditional foods. I told him that he could of course bring a salad, but turkey is not that bad for you and sweet potatoes are even good for you (depends on what is in them), certainly a better option than regular potatoes. Fruit and veggies are usually available and great to load up on. If you need to have something sweet and you can't bring something that fits your plan, the best option would be some pumpkin pie without the crust or cream on top. That will save you a lot in the long run. It took me a day or two to get my body back in order without falling of the wagon for Thanksgiving, more because of how my current routine was thrown off versus what I ate. I was totally calm about the change to my routine, because I knew Monday was coming when I could be back on a regular schedule and kicking butt on the weight loss side of things, and I have been.

How far you want to take the healthiness path is up to you. Sometimes information overload can make you so frustrated that it drives you crazy. For those moments, I have my wife and two great friends: Jennie and Amy, who are all doing the same things (for the most part) as I am, eating healthier and lower processed foods, gluten free, lower carb, etc. Our plans are not all exactly the same, but these women are on their journeys too. It really helps to have someone to vent to when you are freaking out because of something you ate, and they totally understand where you're coming from. Finding people like that really helps your mental state. Going back to an earlier blog post, the support group helps a lot and I could not do this without them. All of us need to decide what level we want to take our journey to, and its hard with so many choices like eating carb- or gluten-free, all organic or not genetically modified foods. Sometimes the choices frustrate me when I am looking for products I can trust. An example of this was when I sought a particular butter brand that I thought was a certain quality and then found out it was not after I had just bought some. It just made me crazy and I know it was just a little thing, but long story short, my friends talked me down and I later found other options that were 100% perfect for what I wanted and I am good to go. That may sound a little odd to some people, but I know a lot of people that have had similar issues like this when trying to figure out what works for  their plan. If you have an example, please share it with me; I would love to hear your stories.

About the emails I have gotten from the readers, I think many of you are also facing a lot of these issues and I think this example could help others too. The reader was asking how to make a change when his wife and co-workers are not supportive of what he is doing, eating healthier and working out (Crossfit). For starters, I will be here for anyone that needs someone to talk to! I also told him to "keep on the plan, because the plan works." This is the motto my wife and I stick to; it helps and it works. Also, be the leader  - even though it is hard - you will prove the nay-sayers wrong. After awhile, some of them will follow your lead. Friends and family will see it working for you, and even if they have different goals you will motivate them. Seeing this, in turn becomes motivation for you, it has for me big time! If you are looking for a gym or crossfit box and the trainers do not fit what you think your vision of yourself can be, find a different place. Having the right motivation is important to your success and finding that right fit is extremely important, if getting in shape is a part of your goal. While learning more about Crossfit, I have come across stories of places where they were not as friendly or they wanted you to pay extreme prices to get you to a certain level. Crossfit and any gym should have the goal of getting everyone that walks into the the place in better shape for their life. My crossfit box could have ignored my needs that way when I walked in for the first time at over 400 pounds. For one thing, I was too embarrassed to tell them, but they truly are happy to help anyone that is ready for the change and that really was a huge mental boost. Crossfit and working out is for everyone; it is scaleable for everyone's own abilities. It is so important to clear your mind, which is why I am so behind doing something active. My wife notices that I start to go crazy now if I do not get to do some type of activity. One might say the plan is working on me. A wise person once told me, "food is like a religion to some people, you can't push your thoughts about eating on other people..." (it was my wife), but it is true. I am here to help if you want it.
Halloween Party 2013

The other day I was shopping and looking at products that had weight limits and I thought, "oh, I can't use that; I am over the weight limit," and I had to do a double take, because I was under the weight limit and there was a click in my head - it was the weirdest feeling of excitement. I felt so proud of myself and I cannot wait to lose more weight to get under more limits on things. I have also now lost enough weight to have my doctor sign off on my hernia surgery, which happens later this month. I went in to see him in May and it was a huge mental blow when he told me that losing 40 pounds was not enough. Now after losing over 100 pounds, it was enough! I know the reason he wanted me to lose more is to have better success with the repair and less chances of having it happen again, but his approval was still a huge mental gain in the process. The reason I got this type of hernia in the first place was because I was out of shape and did not have enough core strength for my last job where I did a lot of heavy lifting. In my next post, I will give updates on the surgery with more pictures.

Remember, all this started when I joined a friend in doing an Advocare Challenge. If you want more information on starting the Advocare 24 Day Challenge or a 10-day cleanse package for the New Year, visit my web page for more information: https://www.advocare.com/130446300/  There are packages already set up. New Years Day is coming up and it would be great to start your new year off with a clean slate. You have the support to help you start your journey - take it as far as you want! Also I have had some huge support from Minnesota Top Team, which is where I do Crossfit.  Visit their website too if you want to learn more about them. They do so much more than Crossfit - check them out! (still not a paid sponsor) If you do not live in Minnesota, Twin Cites area, you're missing out. I love those owners and trainers!

I am currently eating a low-carb diet with right-size portion meats and high quality fats. This type of plan set-up allows me to do my own tinkering to find out what works for me. I will explain more when I am done with the phase I am on now. For a sneak preview, you can find out more about it by checking out Jimmy Moore and his websites and podcasts at http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/  
Jimmy has taken my emails and Facebook questions too; he is an awesome man!
Lastly, I've also followed Abel James' blogs, podcasts and videos on YouTube. This is my favorite; it is one of the best informational videos on healthy eating perspectives I have ever seen. In a future post, I will list other recommended sources, though these two guys are my favorite; check them out.

Also, thanks for reading my ramblings; please email me at DJUELL30@GMAIL.COM! My blog is also posted on MINNESOTA TOP TEAM CROSSFITS WEBSITE.   Tweet me @DUSTJUELL on Twitter. Here is a picture from our Thanksgiving workout; I am hanging on to the rope, wearing blue. This is just one small part of the crew!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The first 100

I can't believe I hit 101 pounds lost on November 5th; it was a great day! I started this journey on April 8th. I didn't think seven months ago that I would be sitting in the beginning of November down 10l pounds - it is crazy!

I have had a great team motivating me: my Crossfit family, my kids and my number one fan and supporter in this journey, my beautiful wife, Kazia. She has lost 58 pounds herself, a combined loss of 159 pounds between the two of us. It has been tough, but great! I ran my first 5k race with my Wisconsin friends, ran the Warrior Dash 5k obstacle course with my good friend Brian, and I am very excited to do more; I have some in the works already!

It all got started in April when we decided to do something about our weight. We had family members that died with their weight being a factor. It was a huge motivation to get started, so finally we did. I have talked about making the change and my motivation in the past. As you know, I started my journey with the Advocare 24 day challenge and eating within the guidelines of that program. Then, after awhile my progress slowed down a lot so I had to figure out what was going on and switch things up for a few months. Researching online, I learned about a man named Jimmy Moore. He has a blog and podcasts about Ketones and Ketosis. Ketosis is a term that means the body is burning fat rather than the sugar you are eating. It also has a lot to do with your cholesterol. He recommends measuring the level of ketones in your body, the more ketones, the more the body burns fat. Ketosis is engaged by cutting out more of the bad sugars, like in carbs (bread), eating less fruit or no fruit, and eating healthy fats. Portion control of meat is also important because they have proven that eating more than 6 oz. per meal can turn into sugar and not be good for your fat burning capabilities, and eventually overall health.

To engage my Ketosis, this is what I am eating now: I don't do dairy unless its in raw type form (raw cheese or Kefir), instead I have more coconut milk and use a lot of organic coconut oils. Also, when I am plateauing, I make sure I am drinking a ton of water and eating a lot of veggies - it really does help a lot.  I discovered that my current issue was that I was not getting enough good fats in my body. I did not buy a blood ketosis tester yet because the strips cost a lot of money, but I have cut down on my fruit intake. I learned it can be hard for the body to process the sugars to get your body in the right burning state as well. Here is one of his videos that goes over the basics. http://vimeo.com/77302989

A list of things I do not eat:
  • Pork - because of how badly it is processed (pork is not good for you no matter how it's processed though some may disagree)
  • Regular milk - again it is generally over-processed and often has a lot of bad things added
  • White carbs like breads and rice - makes your body burn the sugar in them instead of the fat you should be burning 
I have been in to see my doctors and they have loved the results that the program has brought me. It has worked for me and you can find what works for you, working with your doctor. Know that it takes between 40 hours to a week to engage the state of ketosis. If you want to try it, do it for about a week and then add some good carbs (like sweet potatoes) in for a couple of days, then take them out.

The main point is: do your research. If you do something and it stops working, keep tinkering, don't stop all together, as Jimmy would say. Make some simple changes and keep track of what you are doing, so you can monitor the changes. It works! Look at me - and check out Jimmy Moore at his blog and Facebook page. Do your research and find what works for you! DO FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT. 

Results and Measurements: 
In less than 7 months, I am down 101 pounds and 30 inches all over combined, my waist is down 9 inches alone.

Don't forget to follow my bogs on http://losingthefatman.blogspot.com and on http://info.minnesotatopteam.com/blog
I love to read your comments here or by email: Djuell30@gmail.com
And you can order ADVOCARE at https://www.advocare.com/130446300

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Getting started.

Most people are not ready to jump both feet first in to the water 100% like I did. Many people do not have a significant motivation to jump start the huge change in their life like mine. Yet you want to make a change because you know it's right and you want to be healthier, but you don't know where or how to start. Here are my thoughts to help you start!

First, I find that you have to set short and long term goals: lose weight, tone up, get in better physical shape, or to live longer. I wanted all of the above. Once you set a goal,  you have to figure out how to get there. I think taking the first steps can be the most challenging, like giving up something unhealthy and replacing it with something healthy. As an example, I gave up drinking pop and replaced it with Spark which I discovered as a part of my 24 day challenge (can be purchased separately). Spark is an energy/mental focus drink that contains some caffeine and a ton of great vitamins that you need. Some people don't want to use caffeine anymore, so a healthier alternative is unsweetened ice tea, my go-to beverage when dining out, or soda/plain water with a lemon, a natural diuretic and definitely healthier and cheaper than pop.  To kickstart an exercise regimen, go out for a walk. The key is don't over think it - just do! Try not to watch as much TV or play games on the computer. I have converted my work desk into a stand-up desk and I'd like to convert it to a treadmill desk at some point.

Warrior Dash
Half way 
Jumping the fire!

When I started this journey, one of my first goals was to complete the Warrior Dash with my friend Brian. Last month I did! It was not his first obstacle run and he got a great time. It was my first obstacle run and it was tough, but still fun. I finished at 48 minutes which was better that I thought I would. The rough terrain running was harder than I thought it would be and I slowed down in some areas because I did not want to hurt an ankle. I felt the obstacles were easier for me than the running. I went into every obstacle saying "I am going to try it and see if I can do it." Before I knew it, I was over the wall or the nets; I was proud of myself for trying and succeeding! I am already looking forward to doing another one next year, and hopefully with my brother and our sons too. 

Brian Miller and I
Making a nutritional change can be difficult as well, but creativity allows me to enjoy my favorites in a new (delicious and healthy) way. One of the best recipes I made last month was a simple Turkey Chili recipe. I am a 'fly by the seat of my paints' kind of cook, so it is very hard for me to write things down. I often toss in extra seasonings, so with this basic recipe, feel free to just add what you like. I thought it fit the season well. You can change out the meat or beans for whatever you have on hand. That is how I do my cooking and recipe modifications. Sometimes I do crash and burn - ask my wife and kids about some of the tragedies I have made in the past.

Simple Turkey Chili with Beans
1 pound of ground Turkey (Bison, grass feed ground beef or meat of choice)
1 can of organic black beans, well washed
1 can of organic garbanzo beans, strained 
1 large can of fire roasted tomatoes
3 tablespoons of garlic powder (optional)
3 tablespoons of onion powder  (optional)
3 tablespoons of chili powder (amount optional or leave out)
2 JalapeƱos, seeds and ribs removed (optional) 
1 small yellow onion, chopped (optional)

Brown the turkey in a large pot and add some seasonings. I always start with some garlic powder, onion powder and the chopped onion. Once browned, I add the can of fire roasted tomatoes with all the juice for flavor. I then add the washed black beans, the rest of the seasonings, plus the two JalapeƱos if you want a little heat. If you want it hotter, add more spices. To create a mild flavor, add less seasonings (or none). Cook until the mix starts boiling and until some of the beans open a little. Then, let it simmer on low for 20 minutes or longer if you want it to thicken a little more. Don't be afraid to add more kick; sometimes I pull out a bowl and add the spice or special ingredient so you do not wreck a whole pot, like I have in the past. if you don't like it. I have learned from my mistakes. I love to cook and this is a great base chili to get you started.

I am also working on a recipe for a pumpkin smoothie. I tried my first one and it has great potential! Pinterest is a good place to look for recipes and modifications. If you have a great (tasty & healthy) recommendation, drop me a line. 

I hit a plateau - it was bound to happen - but I have been getting through it. In the last post, if you are keeping track, I was down 75 pounds and now I am down 89 pounds. Overall, that is great progress since I started in April. Hopefully, I have broken through the plateau now by changing up my diet with plateau breakers. Also, I have been noticing that my body is changing. I have lost more inches and I can see more definition now in my arms and legs than a month ago. I am getting more toned, so I can tell I am gaining muscle, which is great! My results are measured in my improved health as well. Last month, I was retested for Sleep Apnea. When I was last tested, over 10 years ago, my sleep pressure number was 12, this time, my sleep pressure was 7. I also got a new sleep machine too. This pressure change is a huge improvement in my books. Building my core and chest muscles have really helped with my breathing and sleep is so important to the whole process of your body's recovery and overall health. *If you have issues sleeping, it is so important that you see your Doctor and talk to them about getting tested if they think you have a sleep disorder. It can change your life, and maybe save it too. I discovered I had Sleep Apnea more than 10 years ago when I fell asleep driving once; it could have been a really bad situation. Getting tested and set up with a Cpap machine saved my life. Inches lost will be posted in the next blog. 

Taking the first step is the most challenging, but I'm here to do it with you and we will succeed together! My older brother and sister-in-law started the Advocare 24 day challenge on the day after labor day. My brother is six feet tall and started at 227 pounds. He really is fit and has good energy levels, so friends wondered why he would do the challenge. His short-term goal was to tone up and lose about 15 pounds (program average is 10 pounds). During the process, I suggested maybe he could hit around 200, he thought I was crazy. Well, he hit 205 - better than he thought he was going to do. He is very happy with the results, fitting into a smaller jean size, and other clothes are fitting better too. His wife lost a total of 10 pounds and she is a smaller, petite woman who is also in good shape. She is also happy with their results. Ten pounds is a good amount for her and she was pleased that co-workers noticed the change as well.

Do what you can to make a change, whether you use AdvoCare like my family and I did or not, just do something! If it's too much, change one thing at a time - the changes can add up and help motivate you through your journey. 

Don't forget to follow my bogs on http://losingthefatman.blogspot.com and on http://info.minnesotatopteam.com/blog
I love to read your comments here or by email: Djuell30@gmail.com

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Living the Change

In my first post, I told you about the Advocare 24-day challenge, which kick-started my lifestyle change. It was awesome! I have continued on to eat healthy and stay focused when faced with challenges like my daughter's birthday, watching my family eating pizza and cake! I have missed those goodies in the past, but I am slowly missing them less and less each day. I am finding alternatives instead - more on that in a few.

It has been 90+ days since my first challenge and I am still losing weight, but I wanted to do another 24-day Challenge to give my weight loss a boost. As of now, I am almost done and it is going well. I am not losing the weight as fast as the first time, but that is what I expected. Before, I really needed more of a system cleansing. Overall, I feel better than before and am building more muscle. I am able to lift more weight now than when I started. I know that all of the hard work I am putting in is paying off. My box jumps have gone up 4 inches since last time I tried less than 30 days ago, and I can also do more of them. I will do another 24-day Challenge in 90 days, give or take, when this cycle is done to give me an extra push for the holidays.

I have less than 30 days until I do my first 5k obstacle run,Warrior Dash Minnesota. One of my friends is doing the race course with me and maybe more will come too. I will post pictures of that later! (I know I am crazy!) The countdown has begun: I go to Minnesota Top Team Crossfit classes at least 3 times a week, and hopefully more once my class finals are completed in the next week. I am planning to run more often each week as well, and because I'm posting it, you can hold me accountable.

Earlier, I mentioned that I found alternatives for things that I love. Let's talk Asian food for starters: I found that cauliflower can be for a replacement for rice in homemade fried rice. I am also using Braggs Liquid Aminos as a replacement for soy sauce. Bragg's also has an Apple Cider Vinegar (with the Mother). Both products are organic and great for you. (Not a paid endorser)
Photo: Cauliflower chicken fried rice.
I know it's not the prettiest picture, but my kids ate it!

Cauliflower Fried Rice Recipe
1. Rice one head of cauliflower in a food processor
2. Cook for 5 minutes in the microwave (add nothing)
3. Drain the water that cooks out
4. Pre-cook and shred 3 chicken breasts 
5. Pre-cook mixed veggies, any variety you like
6. Mix all ingredients in a Wok
7. When mix is half-way cooked, add two eggs: 
       Make an opening in the middle of the pan, pushing the ingredients to the side. 
       Add the eggs in the middle. Let the eggs set-up a little bit, then mix all together. 
       When the egg consistency is how you like them and mixed in, you are done! 
8. Add Braggs liquid aminos (soy sauce replacement) while cooking to taste  

My first try at egg and cauliflower tortillas was also a success. I want to add more flavor to them next time; they were kind of bland. Once I am done with my challenge, I will be making a cauliflower pizza crust, which will be the first pizza I have had since the beginning of April! More recipe ideas to come. Email me or comment here if you want these or other recipes, or just to talk about what I'm doing and how I can help you change your life too. I'd love to help!  DJUELL30@gmail.com

I am down 75 pounds as of today! Still going down and I am looking forward to the first 100 being done, hopefully soon! More pictures to come.

Thanks for reading! Follow my blog. Leave a comment.
See the blog posted on 2 websites http://losingthefatman.blogspot.com and    Minnesota Top Team.

Do for those who cannot! And thanks for your support!

Friday, July 19, 2013


Motivation is so tough to keep going. I touched on what motivated me in my first post to start my change and now I want to give my tips on continuing - maybe you will come up with some ideas from mine. I do not have all the answers, maybe we can share.

For the first change, you have to set an obtainable goal: I use 25lbs at a time. Now I have a lot of weight to lose, more than most people, so you can start with 5 and make a realistic time frame that fits you.

Second, you need to have a support team - I can help you! Email me at Djuell30@gmail.com or leave a post. I have my family and friends that hold me accountable and encourage me along the way. They call me out when I fall off the wagon, which this time I haven't because of the support I get from all of you.  When I tried other programs, I did fall off the wagon and eventually, I lost track of the program too.

You have to eat better and motivate yourself. You have to know why you are doing it.  Inform yourself, search the internet, use commonsense. Start with these videos (can be viewed at Youtube, Netflix, or Hulu):
These videos lead to other related video recommendations. Also, I love Dr. Josh Axe. He has good books, cookbooks and also a free podcast - listen at work to learn some basics on healthy eating. Once you educate yourself, you won't want to put that stuff in your body and it will keep motivating you to eat better.

Next, when I need a lift to work out, my most recommended video on YouTube is  Crossfit - Killing the Fat Man: Episode #1. In this video, Gary Roberts is showing that anyone can do it, whether you sign up for Crossfit or something else, watch it! In Crossfit - Killing the Fat Man: Episode #8, Gary gets his father who just recently had a triple bypass surgery to do it. If his dad can do it after that, you can too - and get your parents or grandparents to join you!! It's real - I am living proof! I was scared the first time I went to Minnesota Top Team (MTT). I have a friend Ben H. who is a member there and I have worked at a "gym" before, but this was different. I watched their videos and looked at other places online. It was totally different then I expected. Jennie C., one of the owners, greeted me when I came in the door, gave me a tour and got me signed up for Crossfit fundamental classes. (I am not a paid spokesperson for MTT - I wish I was) The fundamental classes were intense; I felt muscles I did not know I had (and I'm a former athlete). The trainers truly focus on scaling it to your abilities. It's not like they're a bunch of meat heads that run around telling you to "do the workout or get out!" Sometimes it looks intimidating, but it's not! All you have to do is walk through the door and they take care of the rest. I've come to know them as my second family. The trainers and the rest of the group help motivate each other to get through the 'workout of the day' (WOD). This is my motivational place; it could be yours too! Or find some other place that works for you!

Sunday, July 14, is now important to my motivation for two reasons:
  1. I ran my first 5k run! It was the Color Run at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. It was great and on very short notice I was able to fill in for someone that could not make it. I ran with a group of friends from Wisconsin. I'll admit I was pretty nervous, but I think I did a great job for my first one. I did not finish last, so that was a good thing.


It was a great success and did not cause too much pain afterwards :)

2. It was also a bittersweet day because it was the anniversary of my mom's passing eight years ago. The reason it was bittersweet is because she and my father are the reason I am on this journey and I am finally doing it.
My journey is going great so far and I know they would be happy for what I am doing.

Ok - next time I promise will not post any sad news.
Thanks again for reading, and all your support!


Saturday, July 6, 2013

First post ever.


I am a big guy - for now. I was encouraged by friends to start a blog telling my story, maybe it could motivate other people to lose weight or make another change they've been putting off. I am not a confident person, but four months ago I changed my life and I want to share that journey here. It started officially on April 8th, 2013. Essentially, I am in an ongoing battle to lose weight, which I have been in most of my life. I was always a big kid growing up. I would lose weight wrestling and playing sports in high school, which did not help my mental state any. After high school, my weight took off out of control when the activities stopped, and I ended up around 4 bills. I do not want to say the number because is is just disturbing to me to think that I actually made it to that number.

My wife and I would go to bed every Sunday night complaining about our mutual weight issues and how much we wanted to change our habits, but never did. So what made me all of a sudden change? In March 2013, my father died in a car accident. He drove off the road (reasons still unknown), and the coroner's report indicated he had a 90% blockage in 2 arteries, fluid in his lungs and just overall poor health.  These things could have contributed to his crash, but we will never know for sure. I also lost my mother in 2005 due to complications of an infection that could have been worsened by her poor health and obesity. My mother's death caused me to eat more, but my father dying in March pushed my wife and I over the edge and we decided to finally do something about our own health. I know everyone has their story and their tragedies, and mine may not be as bad as yours, but I am just a normal FAT man trying to get his weight and life under control.

I saw my friend on Facebook doing a 10-day cleanse and I was thinking to myself that I needed something like that to get me started. I asked him questions and learned that the cleanse was just a part of a total 24-day challenge through AdvoCare. It peeked my interest, so I did more research about it. I have done other diets or 'lifestyle changes' in the past, like all of us have that wanted to lose weight quickly. I also found out that he was going to a gym in Eagan, MN called Minnesota Top Team. Years ago, I even worked at a fitness club, trying to get myself motivated to lose weight and that OBVIOUSLY did not work. I have joined other clubs and that would help for a little while. I would start to get in better (so-called) shape - not really, I just could do the stairs better than before. I would always quit after awhile, when I got bored or lost motivation, but seeing my friend's results inspired me. What's different this time, someone reading this may wonder (if anyone beside my wife ever reads this), is that I know I have too much to lose and do not want my kids to have to lose a father or mother at a young age, like I have lost both. I am going to do everything in my power not to die young of natural causes. I started the AdvoCare 24-day challenge and my membership with Minnesota Top Team on April 8th, 2013 and lost 30 lbs. and 11.5 inches. Three months later, I am now down 58 lbs., and my journey is just beginning.

I eat better now and I am realistic. I have to be that way - I am afraid of failure. I am motivated by the people I know that are just waiting for me to fail and put the weight back on. I am also motivated by the information I learn everyday on how some foods are so bad for you, those that marketers are trying to get you hooked on, whatever it takes - like cigarettes, but worse. (More on this in a future post) I eat "clean" - no pork and no dairy (except in raw forms). I limit beef to mostly grass-fed when I can and I try to eat more chicken, turkey and fish. I eat no fried food and limit fast food restaurants; I still go out to eat, don't get me wrong, I just make a lot better decisions. For example, when I go to Culver's, I order a salad called "Avocado Pecan Bleu" (not available in all markets) with grilled chicken, no cheese and usually no dressing. At Chipotle, I order a chicken salad with no cheese or sour cream. I skip the beans and rice, and top my salad with onions, peppers, mild and medium salsa, corn and guacamole. Sometimes I feel like I am pretending to be lactose intolerant. When you go out, you have to be smart and most places are really understanding now because there are so many food allergies. They want people to keep coming back, so they accommodate. Sometimes I joke with the staff about being difficult and they are very nice about it.

I have tried a lot of nutritional products (multi-vitamins, shakes and supplements) and done a lot of research online and in stores about health food and vitamins. I am not a professional or a doctor, just trying to be an informed consumer and share my story. I started using the AdvoCare products when I started with the 24-day challenge and I continue to use them. (I'll explain more about the benefits of these in a future post.) I started with the Spark energy/focus drink, a great tasting powder you mix with water. Spark has three- to four-times the vitamin amounts compared to anything else that I have seen at Target or Whole Foods. The AdvoCare Spark and shakes taste better than the other ones I have tasted. Some competing products even scare me after reading reviews. I trust AdvoCare as an organization and believe in their products, so much so that I am now a Distributor. I am not a salesperson, I do not push anything on anybody, I just want to help people like I was helped and honestly, I wanted a discount on my own products. That is what most people do it for and whatever else you do with it is up to you.

I think I have rambled on enough for my first post. My new motto: DO FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT.  Thanks for reading my blog, Losing the Fat Man, and if you like it, come back to follow my journey, win or lose. Let me know if you have any questions!!!