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.


Tonight I lost a friend. His name was Peanut. He was a really sweet cat. His original name was Zero. But when I first met him I thought his ...