Dealing Others’ Reactions To Our Weight Loss Part 3

Part 3: All In The Family

Part 1: The Hidden Power of Secrets
Part 2: Partners In Crime

Story Time

Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood. – Fred “Mr” Rogers

When we first built our home gym in our finished basement, one of the immediate benefits was that I was no longer spending the time driving to and from the gym. A second, arguably more important, benefit was that the kids could be in the gym with me. We used a large play yard, foam interlocking floor mats, and a bouncer to allow a safe space to bring our daughter into the gym. After being home all day with a 6-month-old, my wife could hand off our daughter for some “mommy time” while I was able to do my workout and spend time with my little girl. This also meant that instead of listening to my normal but varied gym music (90’s rap, metal, etc), I switched to listening to classical and/or Yo Gabba Gabba music, but some changes are definitely worth it.

Yeah, I realize that many gyms have daycares, but I think that this is a better option for parents AND kids. What’s more restful and energizing than getting a hug or kiss between sets? If you said nothing, that’s correct. But think of the benefits for your children too! They are seeing from a young age that being physically fit is important to you, thus, you are making it important to them too. This also allows you to become a positive role model for them in the area of physical fitness, regardless of your level of actual fitness.

Remember, kids do what they SEE, not what you tell them to do.


In this article, I will look at how my family has integrated exercise and nutrition as a positive focus for our daily family life. If you don’t have any children, this article, unfortunately, won’t really apply to you so I’d say it’s safe to skip if you really want, although you may find some value and/or humor in some of it. 😉

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Squatty Potty (colon) The Best Crap I Ever Bought

It’s A Stool to Help You Move Your Stool!

I’m not sure if you’ve seen the advertisement floating around the internet that shows a unicorn pooping rainbows, but once you see it, you’ll never forget it.

So, here it is:

I was initially fascinated by the idea of what essentially amounts to using a cheap plastic stool to get your body into a more natural position for bowel movements. However, being the miser/thrifty dad that I am, I just ended up using the small stool that my son uses to be able to reach the sink which really didn’t make a difference.

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Dealing With Others’ Reactions To Our Weight Loss Part 2

Part 2: Partners in Crime

Story Time

In part 1 of this 3 part series, I mentioned that at the beginning, only my wife knew that I was starting this journey. Without her support, and help, I don’t know how I could have gotten started as quickly as I did. While smaller changes at one time are generally are easier to make into long-term habits when embarking on a lifestyle change, I was facing a ticking clock like I was Jack Bauer in 24, counting down to the birth of my daughter.

So we went at this with all guns blazing and started making big changes, at all once. I don’t really recommend that you do it this way for a few reasons. First, it can be overwhelming. Trying to change your built in habits all at once means that you are going to have to temporarily allow your diet and exercise changes to taking over your life. That means really focusing on it, putting energy toward it, and prioritizing it. And that may mean some short term suffering, and de-prioritizing other things such as a social life, free time generally spent on relaxing, etc.

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“I Can’t Cook” Handbook

Cooking. It’s one skill that while I’ve dabbled in it here and there (I make some amazing scrambled eggs), it’s not something that I’ve mastered. Like anything else, the only way that you get better at it is by failing, learning, trying, and adapting. However, I find no pleasure or joy in it, and honestly, really dislike it.

Thankfully, my wonderful wife is an amazing cook and enjoys it. However, as time is our most precious resource, sometimes cooking is our last priority. Well, how do you feed a family of four when you often can’t prioritize cooking, while still maintaining the lifestyle changes that have made lasting weight loss possible? I’m glad you asked!

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Dealing With Others’ Reactions To Our Weight Loss Part 1

Part 1: The Hidden Power of Secrets

Story Time

“The strong people are not those who show strength in front of us, but those who win battles we know nothing about.”

47 Days. That’s how long it was until I told another soul on this earth (besides my wife), that I was attempting to lose weight. Even then, it was through an anonymous post on the internet (hey, shout out to the SomethingAwful forums again). It would be even longer before I confided in those closest to me, my friends and family.

At over 400lbs, I was already an introvert and as antisocial as they come. I had tried and failed so many times, I wasn’t yet ready to tell my friends and family that I was trying to lose weight because I was afraid to fail yet again. Even though as the weeks flew past, and the weight dropped off, and I was falling in love with the process, I was still afraid. Afraid that it wouldn’t last, that this was a dream, and maybe deep down, afraid that I somehow didn’t deserve this. I put my head down, and I did the work.

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The Vampire Weekend

(not the band. sorry, not sorry.)


Flash back to 8 years ago. It was March. Breaking Bad aired its first episode 2 months prior. Rhianna’s song, Umbrella, was on the radio every other song. The first Iron Man movie was coming out in about 2 months. I spent my evenings playing World of Warcraft with my online friends. I was my guild’s main tank. This meant that it was my job to piss off the boss monsters so that they only attacked me and not the characters of my friends. It wasn’t easy. It required figuring out the best equipment to do the job and that changed depending on which boss monsters you happened to be fighting.

For my job, I spent my days writing scripts that automated stuff for other office workers. But between projects, when most people were browsing the internet for cat pictures, I was figuring out which pieces of equipment would help me fight those bosses and tracking the data using Microsoft Excel, and I wrote complex formulas to analyze which piece of equipment was optimal for each situation.

Oh, and I was over 400lbs. I was in constant back pain. I gorged myself on pizza smothered in ranch dressing because it was easy to make (simply dial the number for delivery, cover with ranch, boom). I hardly ever moved except to move between chairs. At most it was office chair, to car seat, to home computer chair. In fact, even getting up to walk to the restroom often made me out of breath.


The World Was About To Change. At Least Mine Was.

I found out that my wife was pregnant, and had my epiphany moment.
I felt a lightning bolt strike me, filling me with the absolutely certainty that I had to lose weight, and I had to start right now…

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A Big Ball Of Timey-Wimey Stuff

“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint – it’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly… time-y wimey… stuff.”
-The Tenth Doctor, Doctor Who, episode “Blink”

Time Is The Only Currency That Matters

Time. Time is the only real resource or currency we have. We exchange our time for money, services and experiences. We also tend to waste time on things that don’t really matter. I do that too. Even now. Hell, I procrastinated writing this very article because my fear of writing is something I struggle with, and rather than keep trying, I scroll through Facebook or Reddit or play video games. But as I recently talked about in my blog post about conquering fear, the things we fear may be the very things we need to focus on, as fear indicates we are out of our comfort zone. And when we are out of our comfort zone, we grow.

“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.” – Bruce Lee

You probably feel like every other person on this planet: that there is never enough time to get everything done. There is a constant struggle of trying to fit in the things that you want to get done and the things you need to get done. Things you need to get done are the steps that allow you to accomplish both your short term and long term goals.

Simply trying to do everything is only going to result in you feeling like you’ve accomplished nothing.

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Fear Is The Mind-Killer

Fear. (n.) an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat.

How Fear Affected Me

Fear. It often lurks in the back of our mind, feeding the subconscious mind ideas that are counter to our goals. Per the definition above, fear is caused by a belief not necessarily by actual fact, meaning that our subconscious fears could be holding us back from our realizing our true-selves.

It wasn’t until I had my epiphany moment, and made the choice to live, to be there for my wife, for my daughter, and myself, that I realized that my entire life up to that point had been ruled by fear. I was afraid to lose weight. I was afraid to fail. I was afraid to succeed. I was afraid of what people would say. But in my epiphany moment, none of that mattered. I became separate from my fear and the fears I had related to weight loss no longer mattered because my reason why was greater and stronger than the fear. My fears had felt real, and thus had paralyzed my actions in the past, but once my true-self revealed it’s desires, my fear felt cheap, and like a bad dream, rather than a fact of my reality.

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Making Malfouf – a super tasty Middle Eastern dish!


What the malfouf?

When I first started dating my wife, I was super picky. When things got serious enough that I was invited to a family party, I was warned in advance that I might not be familiar with the food that was there. I was way outside of my comfort zone and ended up eating nothing but pita bread. Oh, how times have changed. Now when we have family dinners and parties, I’ll often be one of the first people to ask if there are going to be any of the Lebanese dishes that I was once too picky to eat.

One of my absolute favorites is called malfouf. Traditionally, the dish is meat and rice rolled in cabbage or grape leaves, but we tend to opt for the more casserole-like version.

Two specific things to note.

  1. Once you have meat spiced with cinnamon, you’ll wonder why you’ve never tried it.
  2. This is one of those dishes where the left overs are better (I promise).

The below recipe is provided courtesy of my wife and are her words!

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Set Yourself Up For Success During The Holidays

“With the holidays coming the paranoia and worry and stress over diet is starting already. Listen: If you are fortunate enough and blessed enough to have a family tradition of holidays meals – then have a “healthy” perspective about that. This is not the time to get all bent out of shape over “sticking to my” diet. Don’t lose sight of why you are doing all this to begin with! If you can’t embrace and celebrate with food the spectacular holidays and events that tradition and culture provide, then your diet mentality is HURTING YOU” – Coach Scott Abel

Like Coach Abel said, many people are likely stressing out over the holidays, but you shouldn’t be! You need a strategy that allows you to enjoy them, and not feel stressed or guilty. Recognize the signs of obsession before they start to take over your life.

So how do you set yourself up for success over the holidays, when holiday celebrations tend to stretch from December 23rd to January 2nd?

Here’s what I recommend