Monday, July 7, 2014

Freedom Festival 5K Run

Obviously, since my goal is to run a half-marathon, I have to approach it with baby steps.  So, I ran a 5k on the Fourth of July in Provo.  It felt GREAT!  I've been training with a great app that tells me when to run and walk and what not.  My goals for this run were to not finish in last place and to run the whole thing (no walking). I succeeded in both. Around mile 2, I had to pump myself up because I was really feeling the pain. And they decided to make the last mile uphill. Also, as you can see, I ran it in 34:30 and came in 1481(st?) place! Out of about 5000, I'll take it! 

One thing that kept me focused is I made a mix with a DJ program I have on my computer. I compiled about 40 minutes worth of songs in one continuous track. I sped or dragged all songs so they were 155 BPM (or 77 BPM) and seamlessly transitioned between each track. 155 is my sweet spot. Not too fast and not too slow. I got this idea from an app called Rock My Run, where pro DJs have submitted similar mixes. This was so I can step to the beat and keep the same rhythm for the entire run. It really helps maintain the pace and pumps me up. I recommend checking out that app or even making your own.

Anyway, I want to run another one or two before I tackle a 10k.  I'll do that a couple of times and then I will start focusing on a half-marathon.  Here are pics from the run:

Thursday, June 26, 2014

3-day refresh

The first thing I did to start my transformation journey was a cleanse.  It's actually a new product sold by Beachbody.  Basically, it's a high-fiber diet, with veggies, fruits and high fats and a natural vegetable-based protein shake and it lasts for 3 days.  They market it as a product you can do anytime you're a little off kilter and need a jump start. 
The calorie intake was substantially less than usual.  I calculated about 900 calories a day.  BUT, I had great energy.  As I write this post at 630 in the morning the day after my last day on this, I still feel great.  AND I LOST 10 POUNDS DOING IT!!!


Trust me, one may think losing 10 pounds in 3 days is unhealthy.  However, considering the amount of nutrient rich foods you are still eating (Shakeology in and of itself is a miracle drink), believe me, it's safe.  But, I'll be honest, I'm glad it only lasted 3 days.  I love fruit, and fruit is pretty limited in this cleanse. So I can't wait to get back on it.

Here are a few picks of some of the meals:

 Anyway, I'm stoked that I was able to see some great and quick and HEALTHY results, but I'm glad to be getting back to a less restricted regimen.

What I'm planning on doing next is the 21-Day Fix.  It's a workout/eating program where the foods will be measured in containers.  I'm doing it because the biggest reason why I gained so much weight is because of my portion control.  I need to get back to better portion control.

So, I'm now at 259.8 lbs and I'm stoked to lose 40 more.

Here's to being 1/5 of the way done with my goal!!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


First off, this is not a "catch-up" post. Just know that we live in Dothan, Alabama as I go to medical school, Milana is growing up WAY too fast, and we're happy.

Now that that's out of the way, here begins a long, but worth it, post (TL;DR at the end for those lazy folks who don't like reading)...
As many people may know, I’ve wanted to be a physician for half of my life.  As a teenager, my initial intent for this dream was because TV made it look fun and I could make a good amount of money.  Then, I served my mission and realized I liked people and helping them.  And now, as I’ve graduated college, earned a master’s and married a remarkable woman with a wealth of knowledge in nutrition and health, I’ve learned that there is a strong trend of unhealthiness in the world, the US leading in most cases.  I have come to realize that my true mission in life is to teach and provide methods and treatments for people to live a better and healthy life.  To heal people of their physical ailments (as well as spiritual, but that is another post). This will allow me to do what I love, and provide well for my family.  There is only one problem…I am not a proper example of good health!

Jessica is a coach for Beachbody (the P90X, Insanity guys).  She started working to create a supplemental income while I’m in school, knowing that loans would not pay for everything we need (which was an accurate assumption).  Once medical school started, my list of priorities changed drastically.  My own personal health took the backseat because I felt overwhelmed and too anxious to use study time to workout.  This is COUNTERINTUITIVE considering the amount of research I’ve read AND CONDUCTED in my academic career.  I have a Bachelor’s in Exercise Physiology, where I’ve studied adnauseum the positive cognitive and mental affects exercise brings.  I mean, my thesis in graduate school was about the cognitive effects exercise has on medical students for crying out loud!!  It’s been studied and proven over and over and over. People who take to the time to be healthy score better on tests, are smarter, have superior problem solving skills, and overall better cognitive abilities than those who don’t.   

With this knowledge and logic in my mind, why am I not following my own paradigm?  After this weekend, I know the answer...

...because my mind is weak!

I'm one of the common stories, where I get the fire and go on a health improvement regimen, but start wavering a few months, weeks or even days in.  I KNOW I should, but my brain stops me, tells me "I'm too hard", "I'm too lazy", "It won't work", "I'll just quit anyway so why continue", "I'm too tired", "I don't have time", "I won't get enough brain food if I limit my carbs", "I'm too fat/weak/stupid/etc"...the point as been made.  The biggest frustration that I have is I don't know HOW I can keep that fire, and shake off all the negative thoughts to influence my actions.  This weekend has shown me: 1) I definitely can! and 2) How I can!

Ok, so let's backtrack a bit!  Why am I saying this on a blog?  1 word: 


Beachbody train their coaches on running something called "Challenge groups."  These groups are usually run via facebook so each participant doesn't need to be in a particular area to participate.  Jessica runs these groups regularly, and they can have up to about 15-20 people in the group.  To be part of a group, the participant needs to commit to a Beachbody program and Shakeology.  They need to follow the program and check in everyday to briefly explain how their day went.  They're actually a lot of fun, and the very first one I did was last spring with Jessica's coach and friend.  Jess and I checked in everyday.  I lost 20 pounds and about 15 inches and Jess had similar results.  Then...we moved and life got turned upside down with Alabama, the move, school, climate (it matters.  You can't do ANYTHING outside in the summer months.  It's too miserable), lack of time and too much stress.  All excuses, but they can really do a number on you psychologically.  Challenge Groups couldn't even get me through, especially once my wife started running them.  I was a terrible client for her.  I guess it's easier to say I'm not doing it to my wife than someone else.  As I type this, I realize the backwards wave of thought that portrays.  Nonetheless, it was reality.  I finally got to school and I felt the pressure to excel so much, that I was intensely focused on studying, sacrificing my health (I gained almost 50 pounds. Freshman 50 baby!) and even at times, my family. HOW WRONG IS THIS ENTIRE SCENARIO!?!?  

Luckily, I recognized my behavior regarding my family a few months ago and have been correcting that already.  But my health was another story.

Earlier this year, I went to see a doctor for a check-up.  At this point, I've gained about 25 pounds since the start of school.  I was waiting for the doctor to come in to the exam room and once he did, I was taken aback.  In walks a man who must weight AT LEAST 350 lbs.  I immediately judged him.  Why?  Because it makes no sense to me to listen to a health care professional tell me how unhealthy I am and what I need to do to be healthier, if they are morbidly obese.  I'm probably being a little harsh, and I know I shouldn't be so judgemental, but those were my thoughts and feelings.  I went with the motions, smiled and shook his hand, and left.  And at that time, I thought "How can this guy be a doctor if he's so fat?".  But, the funny thing is, for how passionate I was about my opinion toward him, I immediately started thinking about myself and thought "I won't ever get that fat!"  Ok.  So, here I am, an overweight medical student, thinking I'm better than this already established but obese physician because I'm not as heavy as him. WRONG!!!  It's just another way of saying "I know I'm fat, but at least I'm not that fat, so I'm just fine in comparison." So, I gained another 25 pounds for the rest of the school year.  

Apathy, pride, laziness and ignoring the true state of my health has led me to be the heaviest I have EVER been in my life.  I would try to convince myself to get motivated and eat better and workout, but I could never keep that motivation. There are many opportunities, almost daily, of exposure to free food at school.  I'd say 90% of the time they are unhealthy.  Being a foody, I got myself to the point where I would go to town on whatever food was in front of me.  I actually would use the excuse "I don't know when the next time I'll eat this will be, so I better eat up." I mean, I have actually admitted that to Jess and others.  I got to a point where I felt like I had a legitimate eating problem.  I lost control so many times.  BUT. I. DIDN'T. CARE! I would just eat and study, eat and study, over and over again.  My body creaks and aches in places it shouldn't be at my age.  I am in bad shape and unhealthy...But that's all gonna change!  And this resolve is all because of what I learned and felt over this past weekend.  

Ok, done backtracking!  Let's talk about how I'm gonna do this and make my mind stronger.

As a Beachbody coach, Jessica had a ticket to the Coach Summit in Las Vegas.  Since we were already in Utah, it made sense to drive down and make a great weekend out of it.  I went down with her, leaving Milana with Jess' mom (being the first time she was away from her mom for more than 8 hours.  Both Jess and Milana did great). We used this convention as a long weekend getaway, just us 2! It was therapeutic in its own right.  I was planning on studying a bit (Boards is next year and I SUCK at pharmacology) while she was involved in meetings and workshops, and then we would meet up for lunches and evenings out.  

On the way down, Jess wanted to listen to cds her parents let her borrow by a man named Kirk A. Duncan.  He's a self-help mentor, who teaches seminars on how to succeed in almost every aspect of your life.  She popped in a talk titled Vision Board Success. It was only about an hour but I was completely enthralled with it.  Basically, he talked about using a vision board (or dream board for all those pinterest users) to attain success that you never thought you could get.  He taught about how to chase away those negative comments and thoughts that convince you over and over that you can't do it, making you quit. THIS IS WHAT I NEEDED!  No more negativity that tells me to stop, that I'm too tired and lazy.  He taught about how we can get rid of the negative thoughts and only focus on the positive ones, making room for the brain to come up with solutions and actions in achieving those particular goals.

When we got to the Summit, and after Jessica got registered, we wanted to see if I can come with her to the meetings.  It was kind of sneaky since I didn't get a ticket, but luckily, the security was pretty lax and I was able to come to everything Beachbody had to offer!  And what they offered was invaluable.  I am completely convinced that Beachbody has a very genuine and vested interest in the health of their coaches and customers.  Obviously they need to make money, but throughout the entire summit, that was hardly ever talked about.  What they provided was 3 full days of self-help, motivation, and lectures on how to increase mental health, as well as physical health. The theme was "Never Give Up". They had Diana Nyad, the 60+ year-old woman who swam from Cuba to Florida.  Her talk was mesmerizing.  Going into the talk, I already marveled at how physically fit she must have been to do that.  But when she talked, she focused on her mental preparation and endurance.  I didn't even think about the amount of mental stamina it would take to do something like that.  This summit really convinced me on the importance of being healthy in all aspects of our life. They inspired us to be better for ourselves and our family!  Everything else will fall into place!! 

Then, something hit me, and here is the ENLIGHTENMENT: Here are some of the most successful coaches and entrepreneurs and fitness gurus teaching us how we can be better.  And, while I became inspired to be better for me, I looked at my wife and thought "Above all, I need to be better for her!" Jessica has been frustrated with the fact that she still can't get back to her pre-baby weight.  It's hindering her health, her beachbody business and her self-confidence.  I've never seen someone work at something as hard as she has for her own health, with minimal results.  A lot of that was on the back-burner because of the extra focus Milana needed when she was a baby.  Now, she is constantly frustrated because now she has the ability to channel more energy into her health, but can't see the change.  All this while I'm in the background saying "You can do it honey!" while stuffing my face with a donut and a cheeseburger, sitting on my butt looking at the Citric Acid Cycle.  Jess and I have a symbiotic relationship, as all marriages should have, which means we are interdependent on each other.  Everything I do effects her in some way, and vice versa. My lack of action is what's holding her back! My lack of support is weighing on her!! She's working out for 2 of us, and I have a TON of weight to lose.  I'm convinced that once I start acting out my support, achieving my own fitness (physical, mental and spiritual) goals, she will finally breach that plateau and see the results she has been striving for for almost 3 years!!!  

This is the culmination of the entire weekend, and I'd say my life so far.  Everything I do, must be for her and others! I need to be healthy to live a long and happy life, spent with the love of my life and my children.  I need to be healthy to help others in my community and in my future practice to achieve their health goals.  I must do this for me, but I'm really doing it for them.  They're counting on me and I must deliver so we can all find true joy in life!  I need to utilize the tools I've learned so far, from the scriptures, and other instructional references to grow a strong mental state to achieve these goals.

So this is what I'm going to do.  I'm going to track my progress via this blog!  I'm making myself accountable for anyone who wants to see how I'm doing, because that is going to help me stay on track.  I'll include pictures and videos, describing what I'm doing, and hope that there's at least one other person out there that can feel inspired to achieve their dreams.  I want to lost 50 pounds to be 210 and I want to eventually run a half marathon.  As of now, I have no desire whatsoever to run a marathon, but who knows what the future brings.

This is my resolve. I've included some pictures on how I look now, at 270 lbs! I have also included my vision board!


My vision board goals are as follows (left to right, top to bottom):
210 pounds
Straight A's in school
High scores for my Board exams next summer
Helping Jessica get to Success Club every month in Beachbody
Finding 3 great things to sell on Amazon (for more income)
30 minutes a day of scripture and self-help reading
Praying with my family EVERYDAY
running a half-marathon
Improving my focus and being more happy 

That's it!  I'll be back soon to discuss results of a 3 day cleanse I'm doing (Spoiler: after one day, I've already lost 4 pounds)

TL;DR - Basically, I'm fat and unhealthy and I'm committing myself, using the wide open field of the internet as my accountability, to attain my health goals of running a half marathon by the end of the year and getting down to 210 as soon as I healthily can.  I will use mental and spiritual health exercises to assist and guarantee success.  I am doing this for my family and for my career!