Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Ep 006 - James & Annette OAC Road Trip, Part 2; Our Thoughts on the Obesity Action Coalition "Your Weight Matters" 2018 Convention.


July 19-22 was the Obesity Action Coalition Your Weight Matters convention in Denver.

We had a great time in the Mile High City meeting new people and learning about obesity bias, advocacy and weight loss/management.

We detail the events and happenings over the four days and sum up our thoughts and experiences.


Bariatric Runner - Episode 1

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Ep 003 |BMI, Goal Weight, Healthy Weight


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.


Bariatric Runner - Episode 1

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Bariatric Runner - Episode 002. Food... what we eat!


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!


Bariatric Runner - Episode 1

Thursday, June 14, 2018

To Weigh or Not to Weigh, THAT is the Question!

3/16/15 359lbs
Like many Americans, I've had a love/hate relationship with the scale. For most of my adult life, I didn't really like what I saw unless the number was getting smaller. But over the years it kept getting bigger and bigger. The highest it got to was 403lbs in February 2014. 

But with the help of bariatric surgery in 2015 I was finally able to lose a massive amount of weight. A year after surgery I was under 230lbs. And in mid 2017 I dipped under 200lbs. Half of my body weight, wow.

By any measure I'm doing GREAT. Obviously, I've lost a lot of weight. But I no longer have diabetes. I'm off of the seven prescriptions I was taking daily. All my blood markers are good-great. I can do things with my body that I never dreamt possible. My mental and emotional health is better. My doctor tells me I'm his "model patient" and that I have my food down to a "science". And I've done this without counting calories or stressing about food. I eat mostly whole foods and exercise regularly.
06/10/16 200ish
Since meeting the surgical team in January 2015 I diligently recorded my weight. You can see a chart of it here:
Sometimes I would weight back to back days but usually I tried to have a few days in between. Sometimes even weeks. I wanted to get to a point where my weight mattered very little. I think people (especially bariatric patients) place too much emphasis on that number. After all, there are plenty of ways to measure health. But we (as a society) don't go around telling people our blood pressure or resting heart rate or A1C or how fast we can run a mile, etc, etc. Weight seems to trump everything when it comes to how we feel about our health.

When I cleaned up my diet and starting running in late 2016 the pounds just melted off. About a pound a week for eight months or so. And for the most part I've stayed the same weight for the past year. But it seems the last few months a couple of pounds have crept back on. I can feel it in my belly. I'm not concerned that I'm going to gain a ton of weight or anything. My main thing now is that I know that if I weigh less I'll be a faster runner. I'd love to break two hours in my next Half-Marathon and five hours in my next full.

One of my New Year's resolutions was NOT to weigh myself after January 1. I even had my girlfriend hide my scale. So far I've stuck to that. I love the freedom not weighing gives my mental health. I figure for most of human history people didn't know how much they weighed. Do I really need to? On the other hand... I kind of feel like I should weigh myself because one of my caveats in my resolution was that if I felt my clothes getting tighter I would weigh, just to see where I'm at. So... I don't know. For now I'm not. I think I just need to get back to basics with the food and watch my "indulgences" a little better. I still feel great and can run all I want. 

Thoughts? Any personal experiences and feedback welcome!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Helping Others


Over the past several years since I started living a healthier life I've received many compliments. Phrases like "You look great/healthy", "You're amazing", "You're truly inspiring". Of course I love hearing that stuff. It's a bit hard to believe that those words would be directed at me. For so many years I thought of myself as the Fat Guy that always had something self-deprecating to say about myself. I felt I was destined to remain heavy and unhealthy. I would live out my life slowly deteriorating and probably die in my 60's (if I made it that long)

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

I Ran My First Marathon. Now what?!?

I don't want to be James "Buster" Douglas. For those of you unfamiliar, Buster Douglas was the first man to beat "Iron" Mike Tyson in a boxing match. This was back in February of 1990. Up until that time, it was thought that Tyson was unbeatable. Douglas was a 43-1 underdog but did the unbelievable and knocked out Tyson. Later that year he fought Evander Holyfield and lost the title. After losing the title, he lived off his millions and got fat. He retired for six years and briefly returned to the sport. Most people haven't heard much of him since 1990.

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

From 400lbs to 26.2Miles. My SLO Marathon Journey

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.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

SLO Marathon


The countdown is on. 25 days until my first FULL Marathon. On April 29 I'll be running the San Luis Obispo Marathon. I'm excited, nervous, anxious, prepared, under-prepared, all of the above! As you can see, the banner has been erected on Higuera Street.

My training has kind of been up and down since the beginning of the year. Not gone exactly to plan but what training plan does. I've tried to adjust and get the most out of each day while still living my life. I think I'm prepared. But I know that this will be the most difficult physical thing I've ever done in my life. Five hours of continuous (mostly) running.

To be able to just finish will be an amazing accomplishment. Doing something like this wasn't even on my radar a few short years ago. But as I've progressed with my fitness, and now my running, I've been able to accomplish things I never thought possible. By the end of the month I'll be able to call myself a "MARATHONER", for the REST OF MY LIFE.

Friday, January 5, 2018

New Year's Resolutions

So, these are my 2018 resolutions in order of importance:

1. Complete my first marathon. I'm signed up for the SLO Marathon in April. If something happens with that one then maybe another one later in the year.

2. Do one non-running/walking exercise per week. Things like biking, weights, sports, etc.

3. Finish 2018 under 200lbs. On January 1 I weighed 198 so I don't have a lot of wiggle room here. If I stick with my habits I see no reason why I can't make this happen.

4. Not weigh myself on my scale for all of 2018. Honestly, I'm doubtful on this one because I think curiosity will get the best of me eventually. But as long as I'm not going up a size in clothes I don't think I'll really neeed to weigh.

Ep 007 - James' Weight Loss Journey Part 2, 3/15-10/16, Massive Weight Loss then Shingles!

James talks about his initial weight loss from March 2015 thru October 2016. Connect with James: https://bariatricrunner.com/ https://www...