Thank you all for your generosity!

It’s official! Due to several very generous sponsors who donated more than they pledged, I am happy to share with you the total amount raised for the Rutger Hauer Starfish Association! I transferred the funds today and by all accounts this was a great success. Thank you to everyone who supported my efforts throughout this process.

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Screenshot from my Paypal transfer today!

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The Verdict is In!

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Final Weigh in: 232 lbs

Well friends, my Healthy Living for Starfish initiative is officially finished. It’s been a wild time! I learned a lot about myself and what I’m capable of and made some money for the Rutger Hauer Starfish Association in the process. But before I get too mushy, here are the final statistics.

When I started this one month ago, my goal was to lose 20 lbs. over 30 days. It was always an ambitious target and I took my best shot at it, but I fell just short.

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Me one month ago

Day 1: 248.5 lbs (113 kg)
Day 30: 232.0 lbs (105.2 kg)
Total Weight Lost: 16.5 lbs (7.5 kgs)

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Me today.

Total Pledge $ per Pounds Lost: $34/lb
Total Raised for Starfish: $561 ($34 x 16.5 lbs)

I have had so much wonderful support from friends new and old, family, coworkers, strangers, and, of course, my friends at the Rutger Hauer Starfish Association, Grazia and Paolo. I even got a shout of encouragement from DDP himself!
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Finally, I have a special thank you to Rutger Hauer who has been so supportive from the beginning. I would not have taken on this challenge without his approval and support! I’m glad he did, of course, because I’m happier and healthier than I was a month ago.

Some final thoughts:

DDP Yoga

I went into this knowing exactly what DDP Yoga was and what it could do for me. I’m hooked now and I can’t complain with the results. I’m stronger and leaner. I have higher stamina and I’m noticeably more flexible! Had I not injured my knee playing soccer, I know I would be even further along than I am. I’m taking baby steps to get back in to regular DDP Yoga workouts without putting too much strain on my knee. No matter what your level of fitness, DDP Yoga may be an excellent way for you to kickstart your health. Just look at what it’s done for Arthur:

Advocare

There’s a lot of information, misinformation, and opinion out there about Advocare. What I can say is it delivered on what it promised for me: nutrition, energy, and promotion of weight loss. My energy levels were noticeably higher throughout the experience and it helped me control my portions and consume fewer calories. That being said, Advocare alone is most likely not going to help you lose a lot of weight long term unless you combine it with increased exercise and a cleaner diet. The same can be said for any supplement system. There’s not such thing as a magic pill that will make you skinny without you doing your part, believe me I’ve tried my fair share. Advocare may or may not be for you, that’s certainly for you to decide, but it did help me start off on the right track!

I want to give a final thank you to all my pledge sponsors who showed enough faith in me to pledge their hard-earned money for a wonderful¬†charity. It was a strong incentive to keep pushing and make good food choices when Chipotle or a pizza sounded so good! I could not have done it without you. Remember, you do not need to wait for an initiative like this to donate to Starfish. You can always find Rutger’s signed memorabilia available on the Starfish website, or you can simply donate at any time.

In 30 days, I am 16.5 lbs lighter. I have a long way to go to be my ideal weight, but I’m well on my way!

Day 29 – Feeling Good!

Two more days to go! Despite my disappointment in my last weigh in, I’m maintaining a positive attitude and finishing strong! To be sure, my quest for better health will not end on Thursday, but will continue well beyond. My wife and daughter will return from Japan in mid-July and I know what I’ve accomplished so far will be a big surprise for them, but I plan to maintain healthy eating habits and exercising. I don’t want my daughter to have to worry about her father’s health in the future because of weight. I’d much rather be a healthy, energetic Dad that can keep up with a growing daughter.

My knee is doing better. I saw the doctor and she wants me to ice the swelling and take ibuprofen to help. I’m supposed to rest it from weight-bearing exercise for one-month, but I admit I’ve done some DDP Yoga exercises that do not put much strain on the knee and I’m still raising my heart rate, breaking a sweat, and burning calories! I wear a brace during exercise just in case and so far there’s been no increase in swelling or discomfort. In fact, the pain is diminished and swelling is down.

My final weigh in for this weight loss challenge for the Rutger Hauer Starfish Association will be Thursday morning. I’m feeling great about it! I may not hit my goal of 20 pounds in 30 days, but whatever the number I have met my goals of 1) starting a new road to health, 2) losing weight, and 3) raising money for a charity close to my heart in the process.

Tune in Thursday for the final tally!

Day 25 – Weigh In

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2 pounds lost in the past week. I have to say that I’m a bit disappointed, especially after the strong losses I had at the last weigh in. I’m down a total of 14 pounds and with 6 days to go I have to lose 1 pound/day to reach my goal of 20 pounds. This is, after all, a quest for long term health for me so even a small step is a step in the right direction. But this is also for charity and losing 2 pounds brings in more money from my very generous pledgers, but it makes the goal more distant. So, yes, I am happy that I lost weight, but I’m disappointed it wasn’t more.

Last night after work my left knee swelled up with fluid. There wasn’t much pain, but the swelling was noticeable and made the joint feel tight for walking. I’m trying to get in to see my doctor to have it looked at, but I’m thinking it’s a possible meniscus tear. Hopefully the doctor can see me today, but regardless it’s going to hinder my exercise ability for the foreseeable future. Pushups and crunches maybe.

Day 24 – Last day of Advocare

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Join Rutger Hauer to fight HIV/AIDS

Today is my final day on the Advocare 24-day challenge. I will do an official weigh in tomorrow to get a final tally on weight loss with help from the Advocare supplements. I’ve already seen quite a bit of weight come off, of course, so regardless of what the scale says in the morning, I can honestly say that Advocare has helped me achieve what I have so far. I’m still feeling much more energetic and have a smaller appetite than before I started, which both point to long-term weight loss and health.

I’m still nervous about the weigh in. Since my last one a week ago, I’ve done almost everything I should be doing. I’ve followed Advocare to the letter, I’ve been drinking more than the recommended 120 oz of water per day, I’ve been eating very cleanly focusing on reasonable portions of protein with vegetables, mainly salads with balsamic dressing and small amounts of avocado with them, asparagus, and broccoli. I’ve kept carbs down to a minimum, though I’ve had moderate amounts of brown rice and a few sweet potatoes and very little dairy save one cup of plain greek yogurt (never cared for plain yogurt before I tried Fage, which is delicious and creamy).

The only thing I’ve done differently was cut back on DDP Yoga to give my knee a rest. Since Tuesday night, though I’ve been increasing exercise and did a full Mix Tape yesterday without much discomfort in my knee, so I think it’s getting better. I’ll finish strong tonight after work with a last workout before a good night’s sleep and then weigh in. Whatever the number might be, I’m sure I’ve lost weight since last week because I didn’t do anything that would put weight on. If the number is lower than my expectations, it’s still a gain for the Rutger Hauer Starfish Association for whom this whole project is raising money. Rutger and Starfish have both been amazingly supportive throughout, with updates on Rutger’s official site, an official page on the Starfish fundraising page, and advertising via the Starfish Facebook page.

Regardless of the scale tomorrow, I have one week to go before the initiative is complete! That 20 pound goal is in my sights and I’m going to nail it!

Day 22

After a few days to rest my twisted left knee, I felt strong enough to return to a full DDP Yoga workout this morning. I did Fat Burner, which is an entry level, 25-minute workout, but make no mistake it’s definitely challenging. I admit that after a few days without much exercise, I felt lethargic and could feel myself regressing. I used to find it amusing when people would say that they feel great after a workout, but I’m starting to understand what they mean. It’s quite a natural high! My knee felt no pain, but is a little tight as I sit here, so I’ll still take things day by day. Whether I play soccer on Saturday or not will be a game-time decision I’m sure.

I promise not to make this blog about the World Cup too much, but I got home from work with about 5 minutes left in regulation in the US-Ghana match. I saw the heartbreak as Ghana equalized, then elation as the US went ahead! A happy day indeed!

Finally, do you remember “The Blerch?” He’s that little¬† guy who has that tiny voice that keeps you from doing what you should do. I’ve become quite fond of the Blerch idea and I was delighted to find that The Oatmeal is publishing a book on The Blerch. Details are here. There’s also a “Beat the Blerch” 10k, Half-Marathon, Full Marathon in Carnation, Washington. It looks like a wild, fun time complete with people in Blerch suits chasing runners throughout the day. No, I will not be attending.

NEXT WEIGH IN: FRIDAY MORNING!!!

Day 21

 

Hello friends! Again, I need to apologize for not updating as regularly as before. Work this month is incredibly busy and I’m having trouble finding the time. But, I’ll get back into things.

Are you swept up in World Cup fever yet? It’s everywhere and I’m pretty happy about it. Congratulations to Rutger’s home team Holland winning their debut game in spectacular fashion. Sadly for our friend Sarah, England could not pull of a win, but Grazia and Paolo should be happy that Italy did. Since my wife is Japanese I was pulling for them over Ivory Coast, but it didn’t work out. They still have a chance. Tonight is the USA game vs Ghana and even though it’s the “Group of Death,” I’m hoping they can get out of the group stage. It’s going to be a great tournament if the matches so far have anything to say about it.

Speaking of soccer, I played Saturday. I’m in a local recreational league and we play every weekend during the season. I played around 75 minutes total, almost solely on defense, and felt strong, flexible, faster, and can feel my stamina growing. The bad part is I twisted my knee and left me in a little pain, but mostly with a feeling like something is “catching” at times when I walk. Yesterday was sore and “catching” but today is just tight so I think I’m getting better. Still, I’m going to limit the amount of strain I put on it exercise-wise. Maybe just 3-second pushups and DDP’s Red Hot Core workouts. Back to basics!

I’m still eating cleanly, taking my Advocare supplements, and drinking my water. Water is so important. I’ve been trying to eat more leafy salads to fill me up and to give me more fiber. I think I’ve been a bit protein-heavy and need to get back into a balance to bring more fiber into my diet.

Thursday is my last day with the Advocare supplements. I’m going to finish strong and do a weigh-in on Friday morning to get a final, accurate amount of weight lost with the help of Advocare. I’ll let you all know how it goes on Friday with a general roundup of my thoughts on Advocare.

Finally, to all the fathers out there, Happy Father’s Day (belated)! You are appreciated and loved.

Day 17: Weigh In

236.5 lbs. (107.3 kg)

Success! This morning’s weight clocks in at 236.5 lbs for a total of 12 lbs (5.4 kg) lost in slightly over 16 days! I’m well on track now to meet the goal of losing 20 lbs in 30 days. I’ll try to write more later today, but there really is no motivation quite like watching those pounds drop off the scale.

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Day 1

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Day 10

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Day 17

Day 16

This! THIS RIGHT HERE!

 

I hope you all will forgive me for not posting a daily update yesterday. I’ve been fairly swamped at work and it’s taking up a lot of my time. Ordinarily I would carve out a few minutes to write something, I don’t feel too terribly guilty about it because I really liked my post on Monday, so leaving it front and center for another day was fine with me!

The photo I put up above came across my Facebook feed this morning. Prior to my commitment to health I would see little sayings like this, sometimes even thinking to myself that their messages were exactly right, then continue on eating whatever unhealthy food I was snacking on at the time (probably pizza, knowing me). Now, I see the wisdom in these little tidbits and am trying to take it to heart. Wisdom comes from making mistakes and learning from them and after years of doing exactly what’s described above, I think I’m finally starting to gain a little wisdom.

I’m still working the Advocare MAX Phase. It consists of supplements and a daily meal replacement shake (mixed with water). I’ve generally been making breakfast then bringing the shake mix (in individual packets) to work for a quick lunch. It makes it very easy since I’m sitting at a computer reading all day anyway. Thank God for my shaker bottle! I have not had significant issues with hunger from just taking the shake and my overall appetite is much decreased from when the “Blerch” ruled my life. Perhaps this is what “normal” feels like. Hello normal, nice to meet you.

DDP Yoga is going really well. My endurance has increased, as has my flexibility. I’m not really measuring my “strength” in any tangible way, but the 3-second pushups are less difficult and I’m less winded overall when I do the workouts. I’ve recently stepped it up a bit and added DDP’s Red Hot Core workout as an addition to my normal workout schedule. Red Hot Core is a relatively quick (12 minutes) core workout that is challenging without being ridiculous. It definitely gets my abs shaking and firing and I’m adding it on daily at the end of my regular workouts. Take a look at a sample:

Those 12 minutes go by quickly, but in the midst of 20 of those scissor crunches it can feel like forever! For those wondering, DDP Yoga used to be called “Yoga for the Regular Guy” hence the reference to YRG. I’m not sure if they will rebrand the videos at some point, but the important elements are the exercise.

Tomorrow is weigh in day!

I’ll check my weight tomorrow morning to see how I’m doing and will record it here with a photo. The reason I’m doing it on Day 17 is because the Advocare system is a 24-day one (10 days of cleanse, 14 days of MAX). Day 17 is at the halfway point in the MAX phase. Technically I should weigh in until Friday morning since that would be the measurement including day 17 and would represent the true halfway point, but I’m anxious to see where I am. I might weigh in again on Friday just to see if there’s any difference.

Finally, and I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but it’s not too late to pledge. Remember this is for a worthy charity! For more info on the Rutger Hauer Starfish Association and how I’m helping them, click here.¬† For more information on pledging, click here or on the “How to Pledge” tab on the left side menu. Thank you to all my generous sponsors!

Weekend Roundup (Take Two)

Today begins day 14 and the fourth day in the second Advocare nutrition phase. Tomorrow will officially be the half-way point. I’m going to do an official weigh in on Thursday morning to give an update and check my status, so hold on to your pants until then! I know I have to since they are quite a bit looser than when I started! Ha! Yes, that was a terrible joke.

I’m really starting to hit my stride, I think. I’m much more energetic than I’ve felt in years. On Saturday, I woke up early and did an entry-level DDP Yoga routine (called Energy), then went out to play soccer that afternoon. I played all 80 minutes and I felt full of energy. Usually I huff and puff running around trying to catch my breath and needing to come out for rest several times per game, but Saturday it was smooth sailing. I attribute this to the combination of losing weight, raising my endurance through regular exercise, a clean diet, and nutritional supplements. Sadly, my soccer skills remained unchanged.

I think there’s a lesson to be learned here. It’s not about changing one thing that will lead to better health (though every little bit helps), it’s got to be more comprehensive. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to exercise more without changing much about my diet, or changing my eating without upping my exercise. The mind can talk you into anything and I’ve heard my mind whisper a lot to me over the years, like “If you reduce your calories and keep doing what you do normally, you’ll eventually lose weight,” or “Since you exercised today you can have that doughnut. It will all even out.” It’s maddening because it all sounds so warm and fuzzy. In fact, it’s self-deception and at some level we all know it when we give in, but we do it anyway.

The always funny and insightful website The Oatmeal calls this little voice “The Blerch” and he’s the fella at the top of this post. Cute isn’t he? The Oatmeal’s “Blerch” fights against the author’s fondness for long-distance running and I urge you to take a few minutes to read it because it’s absolute gold! My “Blerch” fights against eating right, exercising, and writing. It’s still early, but I think I’ve sat my “Blerch” in the corner for a time-out. I’ll let him sit there awhile to think about what he’s done!

What’s your Blerch? :)

from The Oatmeal