Mindful Eating

My relationship with food is changing. I’ve always had a good relationship with it. I love food. I love to try new things and I love to eat. I always have.

I still struggle with not wanting to eat everything in sight. But since I started paying attention to what and when I eat, my relationship with food has improved.

When I have a set number of containers of food I can eat everyday on the plan I’m on, it helps me think through my choices. Do I want to blow all my carbs early in the day? Is that sandwich worth it?

What about proteins? Where do I want to spread them out? How will I ever fit that many vegetables into my day? And the fruit! What about those fruits?!

I’ve been at this for about a month and I’m far more mindful about what I eat. And I’m more appreciative of that food.

After dinner and my workout, I was hungry and looked at what I had left for the day. I had half a container of healthy fat (the blue container of cheese) and three proteins (the red/pink container with yogurt). My snack for the night was one red container of greek yogurt, 12 slices of lunch meat and a few small cubes of cheese.

Beachbody Containers for food

Before I started this plan, I would have reached for ice cream or more of the enchiladas we had for dinner. I would have eaten more than I needed to feel full. I would have eaten until I was emotionally fully. Not physically full.

Feeling full and being done is something I struggle with. In my head, I need to clean my plate every time with every meal. It doesn’t matter if I’m eating at home or out at a restaurant with a 3-meal portion of food. I need to make it disappear.

It’s a behavior I am fighting and this is helping. Being mindful of what and how much I am eating helps. I have a structure for food. And tonight, as I laid in bed reading, I enjoyed every single slice of that ham and turkey and I savored each little bite of cheese.

I’m seeing the changes in my body an I’m really happy with it. I’m down 20-25 pounds. I can’t tell for sure because when you’re as fat as I am, despite ordering a scale online that supports a weight larger than yours, it still disagrees with itself. It varies 3-5 pounds even when I step on it twice in a row.

But the difference is clear to me. The number is not as important to me as the inches I’ve lost around my waist. Nor as important as my wife being able to reach her arms farther around me when we hug. Or when my shirts fit better and I look better in them.

It’s still a very, very long journey but I’ve made that first step and I’m not dead yet.

How I lost 20 pounds in 21 days

Less of me.

It as the name of a Tumblr site I started years ago. Then it was abandoned just like the effort it was started to support.

I am fat. When I bought a new scale that wouldn’t error out when I stepped on it, I was around 380 pounds. I was dangerously close to 400 and that was frightening because I want to be around for many decades to come. I want to be there for my wife and to live the life we’ve worked so hard to make for ourselves.

It was time to change. I’d talked about it and made small efforts before, but it was time for a big change. That change has come in the form of BeachBody’s 21 Day Fix.

I am wary of all the competing weight loss ideologies and programs available. Many of them require massive life changes and specific eating regimens. They require math and points and other nonsense to eating right.

21 Day Fix is a simple container system. You get X number of containers for fruit, vegetables, carbs, protein and healthy fats. The containers are sized to promote better eating. The program also comes with a book and app that lists examples of each food group and quantities of those foods. This may sound like a small thing but for someone who knows little past what’s a fruit or a vegetable, it’s very useful as a starting point.

There’s also a shake mix that comes with the program that’s chock full of nutrients. It has the added benefit of being a replacement for sweets. My wife has serious sugar cravings and the shake killed her cravings altogether. It’s also been a good way to eat vegetables I wouldn’t ordinarily enjoy.

Eating is half of the story. The other half is a daily workout program. For 21 days, it’s work and sweat and suffering but with noticeable results. I just finished Day 10 and I am already noticing differences in my body.

Granted, I started around 380 pounds (I say around because the scale couldn’t quite decide if I was more 385 or 383. Maybe 386). But I started very heavy so I had almost nowhere to go but up.

In the past week I’ve noticed my belly getting smaller. My arms are stronger. This change was punctuated by my wife saying the shirt I wore to a recent family dinner looked looser and better on me than it ever had before. What more motivation do I need than the woman I love telling me I look better?

She’s completed her 21 days and has moved on to another program and saw great results too. She’s lost weight, gotten stronger and feels better about herself.

I will be honest. She was my gauge for whether this program was worth it or not. There’s so many options out there and everyone wants to sell you a slimmer you. But it’s still up to me to put in the work to make it happen. I don’t want to buy all my food from a program. I don’t want to perform algebra at every meal. I wanted something simple an effective.

Seeing her lose weight and inches was exciting and I hoped with all the weight I have to lose I would see good results quickly too. There’s nothing worse than putting in work for a long process and not seeing any changes for a long time. That killed my motivation in the past. But this has been good for me.

So where am I after 21 days? Am I all talk and no action or have I seen some changes?

Today is Day 21. I am 15 pounds lighter and 3 inches less around the waist. My wife gasped in surprised when she hugged me Christmas Day after I had worked out. She could get her arms further around me than she could before. And that’s thrilling to me that not only am I seeing the changes, but she is seeing them too. It feels good and I want to keep that feeling going. Tomorrow I embark on my next month of working out and eating right.

If you’ve been looking for something easy to do at home and make a change in your life, won’t you join me?

Zombies, Run!

I love what Six To Start is doing with fitness apps. (Sorry, Conor.)

It all started with Zombies, Run!. It’s the first running app I’ve used and enjoyed. It tells a story while you run interspersed with your own music. The idea is fantastic. You’re a new runner at a colony after the zombies have risen. You’re sent out on mission to rescue people, pick up supplies, and investigate sightings of people.

Each mission unfolds through radio communications from Abel Township, your home base. Between the transmissions, I select a play list of music, or I can choose to run in silence between the story. I get to listen to the music I want and I have a story I’m anxious to hear. After the story is over, the app kicks into radio mode. The play list I’ve selected continues and instead of story, I get to hear from the local talk from the radio hosts at Abel Township. It’s a fun way to handle the problem of the run outlasting the recorded story.

There are two other parts of the app I like. First, during the runs I collect supplies. It could be bits of wire or food. It can be telecommunications equipment or bandages. I use the supplies to rebuild and improve my base.

Second, is the Zombie Chase option which is exactly what it sounds like. Zombies are chasing you! The app calculates my average pace over the last 30 seconds, then for the next minute, I must go 20% faster to outrun the zombies. There are audio cues of the zombies chasing after me, and beeps to show how close they are. And after one minute, the app will tell me I’m safe again.


Most of the time I’m able to outrun them, but if I’m caught, I lose the supplies I’ve collected for the mission. So it doesn’t kill you or stop the mission, but if it’s late in the run, I could lose a lot of supplies. This option can be turned on and off for safety. When I’m on a track, I’ll enable it. If I’m running near a road, I keep it turned off so I’m not running in circles trying to avoid zombies waiting for a light to change.

This app uses GPS to map your runs and keep track of distance. There is also a pedometer mode I use when I’m on a treadmill. The company supports itself through selling the new seasons of stories for a couple of dollars.

There are also training programs for 5k, 10k and 20k races. The app continues to grow. With extra mission types such as AirDrop, which is to run out to a place in the real world to recover a supply drop. Supply runs is similar in that it’s a round trip. Run out, get the supplies, and run back to where you started. The app also syncs to RunKeeper. This is nice if you follow people over there so they don’t have to run from Zombies. But you can have your runs show up over there is your friends or family use it to track their runs.

All your progress syncs through ZombieLink to the web. This app is the reason I ever started getting out and exercising with any consistency. I still struggle with it, especially now that it’s cold and I’m lazy. But Zombies, Run! is the reason I’ve enjoyed my workouts.


If Zombies, Run! doesn’t interest you, The Walk may be more your speed. The Walk is a A 500 mile thriller where every step counts. It’s time to walk for your life. The story is a bomb explodes and you’re given a package that could save the world. To survive, you’ll need to walk the length of the UK. The developer is in the UK. It’s a great pedometer. It also has a story to tell that unfolds as you walk.

Six to Start, the company behind Zombies, Run, and The Walk, have been doing cool things in the area of fitness. I’ve tried a lot of apps and nothing has stuck with my like Zombies, Run! I’ve also tried The Walk but it didn’t stick with me, though I’ve recently downloaded it again to give it another try.

They also released Superhero Workout. This app takes the promise of Microsoft’s Kinect and put it into a phone. It uses the front-facing camera to track your movements. I have not tried this app but given what Six to Start has done before tells me this is going to be a good app too. Like their earlier apps, you’re not just working out. You’re working to complete missions and become a superhero.

If you’ve read this far, I’ll treat you to my profile on ZombieLink. You can see how long it’s been since I’ve gone for a run. Please yell at me about it. Let me know if you’re a Zombie Runner and we can be buddies. It will help motivate me to get off my butt and use the app again.

Zombies, Run!, The Walk and Superhero Workout are all available for Android and iOS.

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