What Chuck Ate Issue #3: Richmond Edition

The Deal

After our last vacation ordeal, we had another trip planned for the 4th of July planned to Ocean City, MD, and Wildwood, NJ. However, due to a family/personal issue we had to cancel that trip, and instead travel to Richmond, VA to be with family.

I’ll be putting a pause on blog posts for awhile as I’m not going to be able to prioritize writing. However, I did want to get this issue out before that.

I am hoping to pick things back up next month as I have a bunch of ideas beyond this series.

The good news is that since we haven’t had any luck with actually taking a vacation this year, we are going to try one last time and head to the Outer Banks of North Carolina in August.

Anyways, on to the food!

For Richmond, since we were able to pack our own groceries, my intention was to stick to “normal” as much as possible even though there would be some restaurant meals. Let’s do this!

Read moreWhat Chuck Ate Issue #3: Richmond Edition

What Chuck Ate Issue #2: Bahamas Edition

pirate stout

The Deal

As I’ve recently mentioned in Issue #1, summers can be particularly troublesome for me. My wife is a teacher, and as such, we try to cram all of our traveling/vacation for the year (not including business travel) into a short 3 month window.

I also mentioned that I’m not a fan of being strict on your vacation, and I advocate “relaxing the constraints” to enjoy the vacation as long as you return to your pre vacation eating immediately upon returning. What you do when you return from vacation is more important than what you do ON vacation.

This recent trip was our family’s one big vacation (with 8 of us including my adult brothers) going to the Bahamas for a week. I didn’t intend on training at ALL, nor did I have any particular dietary constraints. I set the expectation that I would IMMEDIATELY return to my normal habits on Monday June 20th.

In fact, since I’d been making such great progress, my coach and I discussed “pre-gaming” and “post-gaming” in regard to my dietary and nutrition plans. I’d ramp up the protein, ramp down the calories, and up the intensity in my training by reducing my rest periods, upping the volume by adding some extra sets and reps, and adding some post workout cardio. So I did this to the week prior, and the week after.

So, here’s a quick look into how someone that used to be morbidly obese at ~410lbs , and has kept off a 200lb weight loss for 8 years, eats on vacation without constraints, and without training…and the repercussions of doing so. Spoilers: Not everything is peachy keen.

“I was a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan

Read moreWhat Chuck Ate Issue #2: Bahamas Edition

What Chuck Ate Issue #1: Canada Edition

The Reason For This Series

One issue that was always a stumbling block for me when it came to dietary choices was eating while traveling. For the most part, for myself and for most people, I’m a fan of not being super strict during vacation. I’d rather you just enjoy yourself. As long as you return to your normal habits immediately upon returning (like..the day after, not the week after..yes I’ve done that too), any scale weight will likely drop right off…especially if you don’t stress over it!

It’s not what you do ON vacation that usually causes you issues, it’s when you start to return to bad habits BEFORE and AFTER vacation!

However, since my wife is a teacher, we tend to travel often during the summer as opposed to one really big vacation. That means that I needed a way to do that without feeling like I was backtracking. One way to keep myself accountable (outside of having a coach myself) was to keep a journal of what I ate and did, so I’d like to share that with you in the hopes that you can get an idea of what maintaining a 200lb weight loss (and maybe even making some progress) looks like when I’m away from home.

Read moreWhat Chuck Ate Issue #1: Canada Edition

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.

From http://familytipsandtalk.com/children-are-great-imitators/
From http://familytipsandtalk.com/children-are-great-imitators/

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. 😉

Read moreDealing Others’ Reactions To Our Weight Loss Part 3

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.

Read moreSquatty Potty (colon) The Best Crap I Ever Bought

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.

Read moreDealing With Others’ Reactions To Our Weight Loss Part 2

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.

Read moreA Big Ball Of Timey-Wimey Stuff

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.

Read moreFear Is The Mind-Killer

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

Fitting Fitness Into Your Vacation

The Two Mindsets of Fitting Fitness Into Your Vacation

Vacations are times of rest, relaxation, and freedom from our regular activities, which often leads to changes in our eating habits throughout the vacation. When faced with trying to figure out how to enjoy vacation and still be faithful to the new eating habits, it is not uncommon for people to have some minor anxiety over vacations in relation to their new eating habits. There can be an overwhelming feeling that taking a vacation from those new eating habits is going to have a lasting effect by erasing their hard earned progress.

I felt that way for a long time. I struggled, bouncing back and forth between using vacations as an excuse to eat all of the things and trying to ignore the fact that I was on vacation all together in regard to my food choices. I would either eat all of the food I had been previously denying myself in quantities that my former 400 lb self would have enjoyed, or I would try to make the healthiest possible choices for every single vacation meal, agonizing over the menu often hours in advance of heading to the restaurant. I also once brought my scale with me on vacation so I could monitor my weight throughout the week. I can say with hindsight that neither approach made me happy, and that I was doing myself and my long term happiness a disservice.

As with most things, a middle ground approach results in the best of both worlds. For the most part, I now don’t obsessively track things, I enjoy alcohol and desserts every day while on vacation, and I take a break from the scale. What’s most important is what you do the day you come back after vacation. Sure, you might step on the scale that day (I don’t actually recommend it), but what I mean is that regardless of what the scale shows, or how much you ate and drank on vacation, as long as your eating and exercise habits return to their new normals, then so will your scale weight. What you ate on vacation should have no lasting impact. People (formerly me!) get into trouble when they continue the vacation style eating and possibly lack of exercise long after the vacation has ended.

Back to Back Vacations: A plan is needed!

This summer for my family has been awesome so far.

Read moreFitting Fitness Into Your Vacation