2 Months, 4 Runs, One Great Cause

Yesterday I talked about how MOCEAN Cape Cod went above and beyond in their sponsorship and helped me get into a second race. Today, I have more news on the same topic….two more runs have been added to the calendar!

People are really responding to this campaign I’m putting forth. The more people and businesses I talk to, the more people want to back me and help me do this thing. It’s great to have support in an endeavor such as this, and it’s nice to know there’s people out there that care about people getting healthy as much as I do. As far as I’m concerned, being able to raise money for charity while doing all that is icing on the cake.

SO, two more runs in preparation for the half-marathon. What are they? And who’s backing me to run them?

Read more…

Getting things in MOCEAN – Running Update!

A lot has happened in the last sixteen days. In order to make fundraising for The V Foundation possible I’ve been hitting the pavement hard in search of sponsors for my big half-marathon run. I’m happy to say…I’ve been incredibly successful! I’ve been floored by the outpouring of support and by all the businesses who have responded to my story and have committed to sponsoring me! I want to recognize and thank all of my sponsors and talk about how some of them have gone a step further to support me, but I can’t do ALL of that in one post…it’d be too long and you’d get bored.  Instead, let’s talk about one particular addition to what’s becoming two months of training and races.

Those who have been reading “So THIS Is Fitness…” know that Sportclips is the title sponsor for my half-marathon run. I called that the “platinum level” sponsor. I have also been seeking Gold and Silver level sponsors. One of the Gold level sponsors I’ve secured went a step further and, among other things, went beyond the “Gold” level, allowing me to register for another race in preparation for the half-marathon! That’s awesome! What race? Who did it?

MOCEAN Cape Cod! That’s who. I poked my head in to the store one day (in Mashpee Commons, by the way), had a GREAT conversation with Ryan, the owner, and he seemed really into the blog, my story, and what I was trying to do. He threw out a lot of great ideas and hopefully late in September or early October we’ll be able to hold a fundraising event at his store (as long as I can think one up!). He was so into everything I’ve got going on with this that he not only signed on to be a Gold sponsor for the half-marathon, but he’s now the title (Platinum) sponsor for another run! How excited do you think I am to add in another run to this little campaign? Yeah. So, what run is this?

The 5th Annual Canal Run For The Troops 10K

October 5th, at 10 am, I’ll be starting what promises to be a beautiful run along the Cape Cod Canal. What a great way to spend day 2 of my birthday weekend! Turn 25 one day, go run a 10K the next. Works for me

This run is put on by a great little organization called Cape Cod Cares For Our Troops, headquartered in Brewster. I poked around their website, and they actually do a lot for Cape-based troops. You should check out their site (linked above).

There’s something I’d like to point out about road races:

One of the nice things many people don’t realize is that when you sign up for a road race like this, where an organization is putting it on, your entry fee isn’t just helping to pay for the running of the event itself – your entry fee is a donation to the organization and the (presumably) good work it’s doing. They plan to use the money raised from this run to send 1500 Christmas care packages to our troops deployed overseas. Seems like a worthy cause to me. Maybe one will make it to my cousin Joshua, who knows.

This Is Only Going To Continue Growing!

That’s not the only run I have the privilege of adding to my little campaign here, but I’ll save the rest for another update. I’m so excited at what this is turning into, so happy at the outpouring of support, and I can’t wait to really get rolling with this! I want to send a BIG thanks out to Ryan and his crew at MOCEAN in Mashpee. You can find them in the Mashpee Commons at 34 Steeple St., on Facebook here, and at their website here.

I’ve got about two weeks until the real training starts. Once I get all the sponsors lined up and confirmed I’ll get everything in order for fundraising, which will probably happen about the same time I start some serious half-marathon training! Keep an eye out for the next update – it’ll probably be about the other runs I’m adding in!

If there’s one thing you learn from this – let it be that anything is possible. In March I had never run before, now I’m sponsored for four races. Wait…did I say four? You’ll have to find out about the other two next time 😉 Don’t forget to “like” the Facebook and follow the Twitter – I post more frequent updates there – you might get some cool insider info!


Let’s have a little talk about -Haters-.

We all know what haters are. We all probably know some haters too. Odds are, many of you out there might even have haters of your very own! I’ll go ahead and say that 90% or more of the haters out there are the people I’m talking about in this post. Up to 10% might have a legitimate reason for hating…maybe. For the purposes of this article, let’s assume we’re talking about the 90% that I’m about to describe.

Ultimately, I have to say...I don’t hate haters. If you think about it the way I do…you can’t help but love them just because of their very nature. Haters are important! Just not for the reason they wish they were. On this Motivational Monday morning, I think its time to talk about the haters.

What drives a hater? What do Haters…hate? Why?

So, before we go on…you might be wondering what exactly I mean by “hate”. What does it mean to be “hated on”? How does someone “hate on” you?

Think back to elementary school, middle school…yes even high school. The haters will make fun of you. The haters will belittle you and your achievements. The haters will try to recruit others to their side to make you feel like you’re all alone. The haters will bully you and badmouth you. Haters will spread rumors about you. They’ll try to make you feel like everything you’re doing doesn’t matter and no matter what you do, in the end you’re just a loser wasting their time.

If you’ve seen people getting “hated on”, you’ve probably wondered what that person did to “deserve it”. If you’re getting “hated on” yourself, its probably bothering you that you don’t know why! I’m going to make this REALLY simple:

Haters Hate Your Success 

Yes. It really is that simple. Haters are bitter. Haters are jealous. Haters see in you a reflection of everything they wish they were. Haters want to be able to achieve what you have achieved. Have you lost weight recently? Your hater feels fat. Have you run a race? Your hater wishes they could run. Your hater DID run that race? You got a better time than them. I’m sure you get the point.

I know this seems really childish and like something that belongs in grade school…but it’s the unfortunate truth. Rather than celebrate your successes with you the haters try to wash it away and put you down. Rather than try to improve themselves and work on their shortcomings, they focus their energy on bringing. you. down.

But why?

Because the haters can’t be bothered to do the work.

Haters are often people who suffer from things like “The I Don’t Feel Like It Syndrome”. Maybe The Fear Monster has them in it’s grasp. Maybe they’ve got a Napoleon Complex or The Scale discouraged them so badly they just can’t bring themselves to try anymore. Maybe they’re lost in “America The Fat”. Or perhaps they just can’t drum up the motivation to get it done. Whatever the reason…SOMETHING is keeping the haters from getting what they want and being happy, and it’s everything that YOU have managed to work past to reach your successes and keep on going. That makes your haters very mad. It frustrates them. People often get angry or begin to hate what frustrates them or what they can’t understand. So since the hater can’t get past whatever it is stopping them…the mindset becomes toxic.

If the hater can’t have success, neither can you!

THAT, in a nutshell, is why haters hate. If the hater can’t be happy…if the hater can’t lose weight…if the hater can’t run a race, get an A+, get a girlfriend, get a promotion…neither should you. They hate seeing you get what they want. That’s why they hate on you and try to bring you down – they’re trying to make you quit But this is why I love haters.

Haters let you know you’re doing a good job

Honestly, the more hate I’m catching…the harder my haters are hating, the better I must be doing. If they’re hating on me that much harder then I must be making that much greater of an achievement. THAT is why I said haters are so important – haters are your success meter! Don’t let them drag you down or discourage you – rather, let your haters be encouragement to go harder. See how much you can make the haters hate you. I’d like to hope that eventually they’ll either give up hating or start backing you, but it could very well be the case that they just can’t get past whatever their own problem is…and they’ll just keep on hating. So what. Let them hate. Just remember what it means.

By continuing to do what you’re doing you’re sending a message to your haters:

Your Opinion Does Not Matter.

Your continued success and your positive attitude lets the haters know that they are powerless to stop you. In the end, you should probably take pity on your haters – they wish they could do what you’re doing but they can’t beat their own roadblocks. They can’t plow through like you have and get down the road to success. 

Sucks to suck. 

So next time someone starts hating on you or trying to bring you down…just smile at them, walk away, and know that you are what someone else wishes they could be. Don’t let the haters get you down or stop you – let them push you and encourage you to keep achieving new heights. Don’t be afraid to post those before & after pictures. Don’t be afraid to talk about how you got where you are.

Don’t be afraid to keep becoming a better you. “Haters gonna hate”.

Let ’em.

The Goldilocks Problem – Body Image

I thought I was pretty original with this one, but apparently some scientists thought they were clever too…so I guess I have to be specific in my title. I’m sure you’re all familiar with the story of Goldilocks, right? Goldilocks and the three bears, three of everything, one was always too cold/little, one was too hot/big, and one was just right? Yeah…today, think of us – the American People, as Goldilocks. Forewarning – this is, to some degree, going to piggyback off of America The Fat, so having read that might help you understand where I’m coming from with some of this.

The problem we face in our society and our culture today is – we can’t find “just right” like Goldilocks did.
That’s not necessarily all our fault either…we aren’t generally encouraged to find “just right”. Instead, we’re told to pursue “too small” or “too big”.
Look at the media, at TV, at movies, at society in general…everything we see either encourages us to be (what I consider) too skinny or tells us that being fat is OK. The examples of “fat being OK” are glaringly obvious and easy to see (my opinion) as its thrown in our faces to make those who are fat feel better, but the “too skinny” message is a little more subliminal than that, so let’s tackle that first.

What is too skinny?

I assume its easy to understand what “too big” means, and I’m sure many of you can visualize it…but what about “too skinny”? What, exactly, constitutes “too skinny”?  “Too skinny” is a stick figure. “Too skinny” has no muscle definition and looks like you’d blow away in a strong breeze. When I think “too skinny”, I think of people doing whatever they can to lose weight, be “thin”, and look as tiny as they can. Guess what weighs a lot? Muscle. The “diets” many people do in order to lose weight and achieve “too skinny” don’t just make you burn fat, they also force your body to break down muscle as well. That’s not healthy! If your body is at a point where it has to break down muscle, it means it is malnourished and not getting enough nutrients and fuel! Here’s my prime example:

Giuliana Rancic. Those of you who watch E!, any kind of gossip news, the TV Guide channel or any kind of red carpet anything have seen this woman. So what’s my issue with Giuliana?

Img Credit – Fame

Well, for one, she’s a perfect example of the kind of body being shown by Hollywood to women as ideal, and let’s be honest – what we see on TV, especially those sorts of programs, is meant to be our model for ourselves. We’re taught to idolize the famous, envy the rich and powerful, and do what we can to be more like them. That said, look at some of the celebrities we’re either told or supposed to imply are the standard of “attractive” that we should be – Giuliana being one (who, by the way, started her own “fitness” website to “help” others get in the “perfect shape”…). Keira Knightley is another one – Pirates of the Caribbean anyone?  It’s tough to find if you go out searching for it, but its there and its sneaky. I had to think about it for a minute, but then I looked at some pictures of Megan Fox from Transformers, and I can’t decide without watching the movie again, but from pictures I can see online, she definitely rides the line. What was the big reaction to her in that movie though? Sexy. The problem with things like that is, while she may not actually be “too skinny”, women, especially teenage girls and women in their early 20’s, want to be that skinny, so they become “too skinny” as a result.

I will say – while this IS still a problem, its becoming less of a problem as we begin to demonize certain celebrities and their behaviors – certain celebrities who, in addition to drug problems and bad behavior, happen to also be too skinny, so that becomes bad too. As long as there are celebrities like Giuliana who are being praised, and movies showing near-toothpicks like Megan Fox in Transformers, it will still be an issue…and frankly I don’t foresee Hollywood casting directors changing that anytime soon.

How About “Too Big”?

I want to be clear here – when I say “too big”, I’m not talking about people who are riding the line and are somewhere close to being “just right”…I’m talking about people who are clearly “too big”. Visibly overweight. When you get winded going up a flight of stairs, you might be “too big”. When you can’t see your toes over your belly you might be “too big”. When you regularly put down over half a pizza by yourself in one sitting you might be “too big”. The worst part of “too big” is that this country is making it OK. Let me give some examples:

Some of you may be familiar with this popular recording artist – Adele. She’s a well-known big girl and I’ve actually read a quote from her saying she’s not concerned about weight and being skinny – she never plans to lose weight. She basically said she could be a house but as long as she’s making quality albums she’s ok with that. That is the wrong message to send. But that’s not really what I’m talking about: Adele’s attitude, I feel, just implies that being overweight isn’t something to worry about. What I’m talking about is much worse than that. What I’m talking about is a culture that makes it acceptable to be overweight. Teaches us that everyone is beautiful and to love your body.

Img credit – Fanpop

Let’s get this straight – I thought Pitch Perfect was hilarious. That said, now that I think about it, I have a BIG problem with the “Fat Amy” character. Basically, Fat Amy is teaching people that it’s OK to be fat, that skinny girls (or “twig bitches”) are mean and not to be admired, and that you should love yourself and your body regardless of your size. The movie uses her size for many jokes (both physical comedy and verbal jokes) which, of course, I would expect in a comedy. However, when you couple those jokes with the message the character is sending, you kind of glorify being big like that. They’re portraying her as a strong character because she’s overcoming adversity and being happy with herself. I can’t agree with that. We shouldn’t be teaching people that maintaining an unhealthy body fat percentage is ok. It creates health problems! High body fat percentage puts stress on your body in so many ways, it puts you at risk for heart disease, diabetes and more…why are we telling people that’s OK?

I’m gonna get up on my soapbox for a minute – this is going to be a long paragraph.
Your doctor should be telling you what a healthy range is and helping you figure out a plan to get healthy. Your doctor should also be describing all the health risks associated with being overweight. One of my faithful readers and members of the “So Fit” Family messaged me a link a short while ago and I have to tell you it got me so fired up I wanted to pop. There are, apparently, doctors out there who are telling people that it’s OK to be fat, that aren’t making an issue of it, that aren’t weighing you when you come in for a visit and tell you not to worry about losing weight. I don’t even know where to begin with this.

First off, a clarification – not all of the doctors on this list are internal medicine – there is a wide variety. There are internal medicine, family medicine, naturopathic, OB/GYN, midwifery, psychologists, therapists, gastroenterologists, etc etc. What bothers me is that these are doctors making it OK. If nobody else in the universe tells you the health risks of being overweight and urges you to “get healthy”, your doctor should. Frankly I think it’s irresponsible and a violation of the Hippocratic Oath to tell people it’s OK and to tell them they don’t need to worry about their weight or think about losing any. When someone walks in your office door and is 400 LBS…you offer them help, not a mozzarella stick (there is no tall person alive tall enough for 400 lbs to be healthy…please correct me if I’m wrong). Now, don’t bite my head off here – I understand that many people don’t go to the doctor because they’re embarrassed about their weight and don’t want to weigh in, yes I do believe these people should be able to see a doctor without having to be ashamed…but if you feel ashamed because your doctor is telling you about the health risks you’re currently facing…shouldn’t that be a hint that you’re not happy and it’s time to do something about it? If the doctor is being a jerk about it and is intentionally making you feel ashamed about it, that’s another thing entirely and I don’t condone that, but what we have out there is the exact opposite – doctors making you feel good about being overweight! That’s something that needs to stop. Another part that gets me fired up is: some of those doctors out there who are psychologists or therapists are basically preying on those who are overweight. These doctors get the overweight to come in under the auspices of caring about them and not making their weight an issue. That’s deceptive and dirty. Ok…off my soapbox…

Add on to all of those things we just talked about the general culture of “love your body” “it’s OK to be big” and “be happy” that these promote and what you have is a nation of overweight people who are empowered to pick up that chicken wing and chow down because y’know what…I’m OK with this and it’s OK to be big! Add in “The I Don’t Feel Like It Syndrome” and you have a recipie for disaster.

Y’know…let me tell you…I was Mr. I’m-Big-I’m-Not-Ashamed for a while but y’know what…when I stopped fooling myself and lying to myself…I admitted that I really wasnt’ happy. That’s when My Story and My Transformation began. Don’t forget…I was a pretty big guy…so on a lot of this, I’m speaking from experience. I may have seemed happy or tried to be happy, but I really wasn’t. It was the biggest thing dragging me down in my life.

So What Is “Just Right”?

Do we really know what “just right” is? We’re pulled in two directions so much that many people don’t actually find the way to “just right” or the tools to figure out what exactly that is. Where’s the happy medium between “too big” and “too skinny”? Well, many would say to follow a “body mass index” (BMI) chart…but I’m not sure I agree with that. BMI charts follow age and height to find what your ideal weight range is. The government website where I found a BMI chart DID make a point to say that it is inaccurate for those with an athletic or muscular build, or for those who are older or who have lost muscle weight. Not everyone who is 24 and 5’8″ should weight the same…some are lean builds and some are athletic. So BMI Chart is out. My vote is to use the Jackson & Pollock chart.

These charts, I think, hit the nail on the head. They go by age and gender, and there is a range! Lean, Ideal, Average, and Above Average. I’m gonna go ahead and say that, since this IS “America The Fat” that “average” is probably “slightly overweight” and “above average” is probably “too big”. I’m not sure where I fall right now because I can’t for the life of me figure out how much pressure to use when I use my body-fat measuring calipers. I’ll go more in-depth on this in a later article, but the basics here are: women have higher acceptable body fat %’s than men because they have more need of it in their bodies. These charts use age because as you get older, you naturally have / need more fat in your body. Like I said, this is a really REALLY basic explanation but the gist here is, I think this is the chart to follow. Ask your doctor to help you figure out your body fat percentage and go from there. This is also good for those building muscle as it allows you to account for muscle in your body – notice this chart doesn’t use weight as a measurement! Imagine that…weight itself isn’t everything.  I feel like I’ve heard that somewhere before…

“Just Right” is different for everyone. Some of you might want to fall into the “ideal” category, some of you might want to be a little more in the “lean” category. Just make sure if you’re gonna go down the “lean” road you have some muscle in there…don’t go down the “lean” road in such a way that you become “too skinny”. I don’t want to sound like I’m putting down the “love yourself” idea, but you should be able to love yourself and be healthy too! It’s all well and good that people want others to be happy, but there’s nothing wrong with being fit and healthy as a means to be happy . All too often the “fit” people are demonized as the jerks, the evil ones, the people putting me down for being fat. The sad truth is, there are “fit” people out there who DO actually do that. So my advice to you is – Offer help, not hate.  Part of why this whole “love yourself, fat is OK” thing is out there is because of “the jerks at the gym”. Let’s try to turn that image around, ok? Otherwise Goldilocks is never going to find “just right” and we’ll end up like the humans in Wall-E. Nobody wants that.

America The Fat

Not sure if you’ve noticed, but there’s a serious problem in this country. I’m not sitting here trying to lecture people about the “obesity” epidemic, or spit out some figures and statistics at anyone. I’m talking about what I see in the world around me each day. What am I talking about?

img from medicaldaily.com

We, as a nation, are fat. And for the most part, it doesn’t really seem to bother us. Not as long as the line at McD’s isn’t too long.

The problem is – we want what we want when we want it. When do we want it? Now. What do we want? What we like. Don’t worry,  we know what we like…

Everything we’re told to like.

Sugary, salty, fatty, sweet and designed to taste so good we just. want. more. What foods do you see advertised on TV? What delicious delicacies are you told are so good, so irresistible, you simply HAVE to go out and get it right now? Everything bad for you. Fast food burgers and fries, ding dings and hoo hoos, little snack cakes, drive-in hot dogs and potato puffs you don’t even have to get out of your car for brought to you by people who can roll to you (because why should they be bothered to walk if you aren’t?) and cheese poofs that look bold and daring because the cheetah eating them is a jerk. All these awful foods are glorified and celebrated as something we are privileged to be able to have. But that’s just ONE part of the problem…

IN MODERATION, and I mean, like, as a once-in-a-while treat…I suppose it could be possible that your health and energy level wouldn’t suffer too much from all this stuff. Problem is we don’t seem to understand the concept of moderation. I find that many people just aren’t taught limits. Our bodies will tell us  when we’re full, when we are satisfied…when we are sufficiently nourished.  When I was little, I was told to finish my plate before I was allowed to have dessert. “Eat your food, there’s starving kids in Othercountria”. That’s great, stick it in a box and mail it to them…little-kid-me is full! And that is the instant we are taught to ignore anything resembling a signal from our body. We also don’t eat slowly…we just inhale this stuff. People eat all this awful “food” so fast that it doesn’t even register with their body that it’s in there, so we miss the signals our body is still trying to send us. 

And this is a behavior that we celebrate!

How many food-eating contests do you see? Food “challenges”? That famous American hot dog eating contest on July 4th? Where like 10 people line up on a nationally televised stage and try to shove 50+ hot dogs down their food-hole in the fastest manner possible? Seriously? It’s disgusting to watch!  I used to LOVE “Man vs. Food”…I thought it was awesome. Then over time I noticed the guy on the show seemed to be getting kind of fat. Like visibly, noticeably fat. Pretty soon after that there was a new show called “Man vs. Food Nation” where he wasn’t the one eating, it was other people! Imagine that.

Speaking of portion size – I was talking with a co-worker the other day and I mentioned that I really liked the bbq chicken pizza at such-and-such restaurant – it was REALLY good and very well-done. They replied “Oh, I don’t like such-and-such restaurant…their portions are so small!”. Really? Their portions are actually a pretty good size…it’s just not the overflowing platter of nom that we’re taught to expect. What a shame that’s the expectation…the food at such-and-such is actually really good and not the typical get-fat-and-blow-up fare you get at most big chains. 
And y’know what makes this awful food and lack of moderation even worse

It’s all so cheap you can feed the wife and kids too!

Ten dollars feeds the WHOLE family from the dollar menu! Got a powerful appetite all on your own? Get a big box of heart-stopping tasty for just $5! Want to make sure you REALLY fill up? There are plenty of buffets to choose from, some as cheap as 4.99 for endless everything!

Appetite Stimulus Plan? Are you kidding me?

This has got to be one of the top reasons, as far as I’m concerned, that we as a nation are so fat – it’s so damn cheap! I know as a recent college grad I have been broke since I was “on my own” in college. What happened when I got hungry? I’d find something cheap! But boy was I HUNGRY! Well, I was taught to make sure I got my fill…Easy beans! 4 bucks at Taco Bell and I was stuffed for the night. Then again, that 4 bucks’ worth of food was probably more fat and calories than I should’ve taken in for the whole day.

Another problem with all this cheap food we stuff ourselves with is…it’s cheap! Not just price-wise, but quality-wise too. Next time you go grocery shopping look at the ground beef. Notice that the higher the fat content (and lower the quality) the less expensive it is. The health food section, “natural” section…whatever they call it… is often much more expensive than the rest of the store – prohibitively expensive for many people.  The average American can do a pretty good job eating relatively healthy, but the average American is also pretty decent at stretching a buck – so the cheap stuff makes it into the cart.

But if you’re feeding the family with this…that means the kids are eating it too.

img from the-menace-of-obesity.com

This is one of my biggest problems with this WHOLE thing…we’re teaching our kids that not only is eating to excess ok, but its the norm. Some of you may know, I work in a pretty big restaurant chain (over 100 locations)…and I’m in a tourist town, so LOTS of people come in. I can’t tell you how many round children I see walk in the door. ROUND! I can’t understand how, as a parent, some people can allow their child to eat so much that they become so fat they’re round. Kids can’t get their hands on that amount of food on their own, it’s being provided to them. I don’t even know what else to say…it’s just irresponsible to feed your kids that kind of food that often and that much that they blow up. And this isn’t a nutrition thing…but most of these kids aren’t encouraged to go out and play all that much…many of these kids are the same ones who sit at one of my tables with their eyes glued to and hands surgically attached to a GameBoy or smartphone playing games. Not the best way to burn off the 3000 calories your kid ate today.

No. You’re not. You’re bored. Put down the burrito!

I guess where I’m going with all this is – we need to SERIOUSLY re-examine how we as a nation behave when it comes to food. Fast food, snack food and deep-fat are so ingrained in our culture that it’d take a pretty big paradigm shift to get truly healthy. This whole problem, coupled with the “I don’t feel like it syndrome” is why we’re in such a bad situation right now. However, if we take baby steps, follow good nutrition guidelines like I’ve talked about before, and embrace healthy-eating movements we can start going in the right direction.  

I implore you – start at home, with yourself and your kids. Be conscious of the foods you’re putting in your mouth and putting on a plate for your kids. Make sure not too much of your food is coming from a greasy bag or box handed to you through your car window. Listen to your body – it will tell you when you’re done. We eat for nourishment and to enjoy the taste, not because we’re bored.  Teach your kids healthy habits and the right foods to eat. They’re learning from YOU – so make sure you’re careful about what you’re showing them.

We, as a nation, don’t have to be fat. But it starts at home. With you.