GUEST POST: Jodus Learns How To Be Healthy

Hello L4L readers!  I hope everybody’s been having a wonderful holiday weekend.  We sure have been.  It’s nice to have a four day weekend to take a step back from our busy schedules and hit the reset button.  Leah of course, still has to work her part-time job.  She at least had two days off to catch her breath. 

Anyways, Leah thought it’d be a good idea if I wrote a guest post and told you a little bit about my weight loss story and my transition from being REALLY unhealthy to being MOSTLY healthy.  I’m a work in progress (Leah can attest to that) but I have really come a long way.  The timing of this guest post couldn’t really be any better.  I’m in the best shape I think I’ve ever been in and I ran in my first half marathon this weekend.  Woot! 

This is the first blog post I’ve ever written, so please bear with me. 

So, I guess you can say that prior to my relationship with Leah I was….. well….. kinda….. out of shape.  I might have had a few extra pounds around the mid-section.  Alright, fine.  I had a lot of extra pounds and was REALLY out of shape.  On one miraculous occasion during my fatty-days, I actually weighed myself……uh yeah, 235 lbs.  Yikes!!  I’m a hair under 6’2" tall, with a medium frame.  235 lbs is more than I needed. 

I wasn’t always that way of course.  I just never got rid of the Freshman 15 (or 30 in my case).  I carried all my terrible eating (and drinking) habits I developed in college  into my post-college years.  I knew I wasn’t eating healthily.  And for some reason it didn’t really bother me.  Life is about a great many things.  One of which is choices.  After college, I moved away from Utah to the far off and distant land known as Seattle.  I did so without having a job lined up and quickly had to make some tough choices.  Keeping yourself fed is not a choice, but choosing how to do so is.  My priority was to spend as little money as possible on groceries while I tried to get on my own two feet.  Isn’t it a shame that the cheapest stuff in the grocery store is also has the lowest nutritional quality (something I didn’t even think twice about until Leah entered my life). 

Complicating the whole spend-as-little-as-possible-on-groceries-thingy was the fact that I was incredibly lazy.  I didn’t mind cooking as long as I didn’t have to be the one doing it.  Ever felt that way? 

Consequently, the meals I "cooked" at home looked something like this:

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Or this…

LeanPockets_supremepizza-745588

Or this…

70662_01003_B_TOP_RAMEN_CHICKEN 

Or this…

kraft

Um, yeah.  I think most of you out there know this stuff is a bunch of crap.  But it was cheap and easy (just like I like my…..J/K!).

Oh, and I loved dining out (have I mentioned that I was lazy and didn’t like to cook?).  I had a knack for finding the places that offered the best table-for-one experiences.  Most of which included a plethora of beers on tap (I’m a sucker for a good micro-brew).  I’d saddle up to the bar and order a pint, then peruse the menu for the best burger-and-fries combo I could find.  I usually finish with another beer (or two).  I’d use this meal as my means to measure the numerous table-for-one dining experiences against each other. 

So most of the dinner-out-meals looked like this:

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obriens_alpineduet

(Disclaimer: these pics were stolen from Google images.  Sorry.)

I eventually reached a point where I realized that I needed to do something about my health.  My answer:  to go running.  I ran everyday after work.  Then I started running before and after work.  Did I think to change my diet?  Nope.  It didn’t even occur to me to do that.  Did I stretch or do weights?  Nope.  As a result…..I lost weight.  But not safely.  I think I dropped to as low as 200 lbs before I injured my back.  And let me say, a back injury is not fun.  Nope, not fun at all. 

I put about another 20 lbs back on while recovering from the back injury.  Sidenote: Don’t forget to stretch after each run…..you don’t want tight muscles.

So, I developed the desire to be healthy but not the ambition (or the sense) to do it safely. 

<Enter Leah>

At this point, you’re probably all well aware of Leah’s ability to live healthily.  To cook nutritionally balanced meals.  To make eating well a priority.  And to have fun doing it.  Well, I’ll just say she had a profound impact on my life.  Especially in regards to eating right.  She has graciously (and patiently) educated me along the way. 

For a little over a year…..Leah and I counted our calories.  We did so by keeping an online food journal on TheDailyPlate (you’re probably familiar with it yourselves…..it’s now found on LiveStrong).  It really helped me learn about WHAT I was eating and WHY I was eating it.

Leah helped me change what I was eating.  She taught me about nutrition, portion control, and holding myself accountable.  One of the features of TheDailyPlate, was their weight chart. 

Here’s my weight chart (starting at 219 lbs on May 20, 2008):

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And here’s my weight chart again (showing me at 180 lbs on May 16, 2009):

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That’s a loss of 39 pounds in less than a year.  Woot!!  And the cool thing is….that it was EASY.  And FUN.  I didn’t have to starve myself at all.  I just had to pay attention to what I was eating. 

Here’s the same weight chart showing my net calories:

image

Look at some of those spikes.  Haha.  On average, I stayed around 2,100 calories.  It amazes me that some people feel that they have to starve themselves to lose weight.  I learned that you can lose a great deal of weight by paying attention to the nutritional elements of the food that you eat, and staying active.  For me, staying active has meant more running.  But now I balance that with stretching, weights, and recently….yoga. 

I think it’s important for me to mix up my being-active routine.  Otherwise, I tend to get bored and slack off.  Mixing it up can be a lot of fun too.  Leah and I decided to mix up our normal weight routine while introducing a little bit of structure.  We each tried The New Rules of Lifting (Leah bought each of us a copy…… Isn’t she wonderful?). 

Leah’s copy:

the-new-rules-of-lifting-for-women-lift--2769693

My copy:

NewRulesOfLifting-783284

I really enjoyed following the weight routines outlined in this book.  I agree with the author’s weight lifting philosophy and enjoyed his overall approach.  It was a fun read too.  The workouts were great.  They provided just the right amount of structure (which really helped me move efficiently from one exercise to another), but also gave me enough freedom to add my own personal touch.   I put this book down and stopped following the routines when the training for my first half marathon got too demanding.  Now that the 1/2 is out of the way (met my goal of finishing in under two hours – 1:59:19 – BTW…… hooray!), I think I’ll be starting back into Lou Schuler’s book and following the routines again.  I’m pretty darn sure Leah would give a positive review of the "For Women" version.  You may want to check both of them out.  Or find a similar book that helps you mix things up in the gym and avoid getting bored.

I’ve also added yoga to my being-active routine (thanks to Leah) and have really enjoyed it so far.  It’s much harder than I thought it would be.  Unfortunately, we don’t have a photo of me doing yoga yet.  Hehe.  Consider yourselves lucky.

Another great way to mix up my being-active routine was to decide to sign up for the half marathon I mentioned earlier.  I highly recommend doing so yourself.  Yes, I’m sore.  Yes, I have the biggest blister I’ve ever had in my life currently residing on the bottom of my right foot.  But, I am proud of myself for setting and meeting my goal.  I got to the point in my training where I actually looked forward to my runs (Leah was there to motivate me on the few occasions I wanted to be lazy…. Thanks again, Leah!).  I definitely see myself running in another 1/2, but am still unsure about the whole marathon thing.  Eh, it just sounds so hard.  Hehe.  Anyway, we also ran in an 8k/5k race and had a lot of fun with that as well. 

5k 002

So, yeah.  The whole eating right and staying active thing isn’t as hard to do as I once thought and it’s made a ton of difference in my life.  I’ve found that eating healthy does cost a little more money (upfront), but you get what you pay for.  I’d much rather buy whole wheat pasta, a chicken breast, and some veggies than buy a bunch of Lean Pockets for my next meal. 

The old Jodus didn’t make his health a priority.  But the new Jodus does.  And I couldn’t be happier.  Don’t get me wrong, I still have moments of weakness when I break down and eat most of a pizza.  Or order a huge burger, fries, and a couple of beers when dining out.  But those moments are few and far between.  And with a consistent and balanced approach to being healthy, those moments of weaknesses are a lot less noticeable when I jump on the scale. 

Well, I think I should get off of my soapbox and stop rambling.  I can’t thank Leah enough for helping me learn to live healthily.  It was challenging at first, to break my terrible habits.  But once I was able to do that, being healthy became my new normal. 

I also can’t thank you enough for reading this long rambling post.  It was fun for me to put it together.  I wish you all the very best as you face your own dietary/weight challenges.  If I can do it, anybody can.  Haha.  J/K.

Look for Leah’s recap on the race today. She’s got all the pictures!

Thanks!

-L4LH2B-

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5 Responses

  1. Great post Jodus! Sounds a bit like my husband. I love hearing a guy’s point of view on changing unhealthy ways.

  2. You totally remind me of my boyfriend!! Except, his diet is still a work in progress. Like you, he doesn’t like cooking. But he’s at least starting to take an interest in eating somewhat healthy. He’s a hardcore cyclist, so if I tell him certain food will make him faster, he eats it 😛

    I also did New Rules of Lifting for Women and LOVED it!!! You have an awesome perspective on being healthy – congrats on everything! From the weight loss to the stellar half mary time!

  3. Outstanding Jodus. You really have accomplished something. It takes a lot of dedication and determination to reach goals like weight loss and completing a half marathon. You are an inspiration.

  4. That was very inspiring! I hope I can follow your example and loose a few extra pounds also.and start running regularly, and being a little more active. eating healthier would also be a plus!

  5. […] It’s been awhile since I last put together a guest post for Leah.  She usually lets a few months go by before she politely “suggests” that I “volunteer” to put another post together.  The only other guest posts I’ve produced have been to show you one of my work trips to San Diego and to tell you about my journey to becoming healthy.  […]

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