James talks about the 18 month journey to getting Bariatric Surgery.
Saturday, July 21, 2018
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
James and Annette discuss BMI (Body Mass Index) and how bad a measurement it is. And how to decide on a "goal weight". Or whether to even have a goal weight. And the difference between being healthy and being at a "normal" weight.
Wednesday, June 27, 2018
James and Annette talk all about the types of food they typically eat. They're not keto, paleo, vegan, vegetarian. Don't do Whole 30 or Intermittent Fast. You'll have to listen to find out what they're diet is all about!
Thursday, June 14, 2018
Monday, June 4, 2018
But that's not what happened. I was blessed to work at a place that had health insurance that covered bariatric surgery and I actually had the procedure. And I'm happy to say, I've made the most of it. Overall, I'm happier and healthier than I've ever been. I lost a lot of weight and now I'm doing things fitness wise that I never dreamed. But there's a fine line between bragging about my accomplishments and being proud of them. Obviously I'm proud of what I've done and how I live my life but I also don't want to "push" my lifestyle on others. When people engage me in conversation about my health or running I'm happy to talk about it. Because I think it gets them thinking about their own health and how they may be able to improve it. But I also don't want every conversation with me focused about me and my health. I love learning about other people's lives and sharing opinion/stories.
What's kind of stuck with me is when people tell me "you're inspirational". When I hear that I think, maybe my story and lifestyle can inspire others? Maybe hearing my story will inspire someone to take a walk that day (which happened). Or feel better and optimistic about their upcoming weight loss surgery (which is happening). Or be that last little kick that inspires someone to run a 5k (the reporter who wrote the story in the SLO Tribune told me he was thinking about doing a 5k and when he met me he committed to it. He actually beat me in the race!)
So now I navigate how I want to proceed at helping others. Am I this super-altruistic person with no ego that just wants to do good? Not quite. I LOVE the feeling of making even a small difference in someone's life. And the positive attention and recognition is great. But I also feel I have a unique story and sharing it with the world may be an example to some. And that may lead to folks leading a healthier and happier life. And that's kind of what we all want, right?
In July, Annette (my girlfriend) and I will be going to the Obesity Action Coalition "Your Weight Matters" annual conference in Denver. There will be thought leaders, doctors, and people affected by obesity there. My main objectives are to learn and have fun. I'm also looking to network and get feedback on how to best spread my message and help others. And I'll be running a Half-Marathon too which I'm excited about. My first out of state race!
We also plan on starting a "Bariatric Runner" podcast. As far as I can tell, there's not a lot of content out there, podcast or otherwise, that focus specifically on bariatric athletes. But I know there are A LOT of bariatric athletes out there. Hopefully it will find an audience and people will enjoy it and get some good information/entertainment out of it. There are many challenges to being a weight loss surgery athlete that the average person doesn't know about. This platform will give me an opportunity to dive into those.
So, that's the plan. To stay healthy and start branching out a bit more. I'll have to manage my time a better but that's ok. I need make sure I keep up with my eating and exercise. I'm on a lifelong health journey that God-willing will last another 50-60 years.
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Now, believe me, I know I didn't win the Heavyweight boxing championship. But I did do something fairly remarkable. I went from being a morbidly obese human being weighing over 400 pounds to finishing a Marathon. I finished the San Luis Obispo Marathon on April 29, 2018. Pretty good if I do say so myself. In the process, especially over the past few months, I've gained a bit of notoriety. I've been interviewed on a few Podcasts, been featured in the newspaper. And became a bit of a celebrity. Virtually everyone has something nice to say about my accomplishments. I'm very appreciative of all the nice words and try to convey that in my responses. I know that I'm in my "15 minutes" so to speak. I'll never run another "first" Marathon.
What I don't want is for this to be the pinnicle of my running career. I'd like it to be the start of my Marathon career. I don't want to be remembered as "the guy who used to weigh 400lbs that ran a Marathon". Over the next few decades I'd like to be referred to as "the guy who weighed 400lbs that KEEPS RUNNING Marathons". I've grown to love being active and exercising. I embrace all forms of movement. There are things I haven't gotten into yet, but who knows?
But I love the running. I can put on my sneakers and just go. No fancy equipment needed.
So... I ran my first Marathon, now what? Well, I have a 5k scheduled for Memorial day week-end. And a Half-Marathon in July. And a couple more 5k's in August and September. And the City-To-The-Sea Half in October which I hope to break two hours. And then a 20-miler in November. And the California International Marathon in Sacramento on December 2. I hope to break five hours in my second Marathon.
I think those races will keep me busy. Let's keep RUNNING!
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
In November of 2016 I started running regularly. When I say "regularly", I mean in my daily walks I'd run a few hundred yards or maybe a mile at a time. I didn't want to overdo things. I had weighed over 400lbs just a few years earlier. After having bariatric surgery in 2015 I was now in the low 200's. Everything had gone really well but I found the weight creeping back on a bit after a bout with shingles. As the days passed I ran more and more. Then in late December I decided to try and run a 5k without stopping or walking. I did it! It took me over 37 minutes but I did it.
Shortly thereafter I signed up for my first 5k race. It was on February 20, 2017 in Ventura. A rainy day but I was determined to do it. I crossed the finish line in 34:51 and collected my first MEDAL. The next month on my birthday I ran another one. And in April I ran the 5k during SLO Marathon week-end. I was so excited and confident that I could progress with this whole running thing that I signed up for the SLO Marathon in 2018.
Over the following year I increased my running and entered more races. Multiple 5ks and 10ks. A couple of Half-Marathons and even a 20-miler. When the calendar turned to 2018 I developed a training plan and focused on the Marathon. All my races up until then became "B" races. I wanted to be prepared as possible for the BIG one. I had a few setbacks during training (like most do). Twisting my ankle in February and catching a cold in March. But I knew overall I was doing fine.
As race day approached my anticipation grew. To go from being morbidly obese to a Marathon finisher? I never even thought of such a thing much less dreamed it. Seventeen days before the race the SLO Tribune interviewed me. My girlfriend ordered shirts with "Team James" emblazoned on the front. People at work started asking me more and more about it. The support and encouragement I received was really phenomenal.
I woke up at 4am on race morning. I only got about five hours sleep. We headed to Denny's for my pre-race breakfast. It worked for me in March so I thought I'd try it again. One of my Supervisors got up early and drove to the start so he could wish me well and say a little prayer for me. I told myself I was going to take it slow and now worry about time. I just wanted to enjoy the experience and soak it all up.
My strategy worked. I enjoyed every second of my journey. The crowds were great. The volunteers were awesome. And the race organization was top notch. In all honesty, it couldn't have gone any better. Multiple friends and co-workers came out to root me on as I traversed the 26.2 miles. I stopped and took selfies with them all. A couple of guys even ran with me a few miles. And my girlfriend Annette who has been my #1 supporter was there the whole time. At the start, on the course and the finish. We took a bunch of pics and then had some wings to celebrate!
My final time was 5 hours, 24 minutes, 19 seconds. Not that it mattered. I had just completed a MARATHON.
James talks about the 18 month journey to getting Bariatric Surgery. Bariatric Runner - Episode 1
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