Archive for December 2011

2012 Resolutions

I like New Years’ Resolutions. I always have liked them. Granted, the ones I’ve stuck to have been rare, but it’s a tradition. Every year, I make some, and I try to follow through on as many as I can.

Last year, I had a plan (which petered out in April) to follow up on my resolutions every month. I’m going to try that again this year. One difference between my 2011 and 2012 resolutions, however, is that I am going to try and make this year’s resolutions less number specific.

1. I am going to weigh less each month.

Last year, I gave a specific number I wanted to lose. Well, guess what. It didn’t work, and I finished the year weighing more than I did in January. I’m certainly not blaming that on the resolution. It was all my fault. My weight loss, for a variety of reasons, did not take priority in 2011.

I know that I will not reach goal weight in 2012. I have too much weight to lose. However, I want to make a dent in in it. Each month, I pledge to weigh less than I did the month before.

2. I am going to continue to eat clean.

My wife and I have been following our own version of “eating clean.” We are basically following an 90% clean / 10% not-clean approach, primarily because buying food that is 100% chemical, white flour, and white sugar-free is prohibitively expensive. Yes, eating healthy can be pricey, but we’ve found that lightening up JUST A BIT makes it affordable for us.

I’ll post about this in more detail in early January, but we’ve been doing it for a week, and the results have already been amazing. We’ve seen our weight drop (I’ve already lost what I gained in Vegas), we have tons of energy, and my physical cravings for junk food has been reduced to the lowest level I can EVER remember it being.

3. I am going to significantly increase my fitness without a gym membership.

As Tina and I are still paying off credit card debt, student loan debt, car payments, and a mortgage, we try to save money where we can. We’re not crazy savers. We don’t do extreme couponing (for the simple fact that you can’t buy healthy food with coupons) and we don’t deprive ourselves (we did just get back from Vegas, paid for by smartly saving money and finding amazing travel deals), but we do want to save money. We want to get out of the neighborhood we currently live in, sell this house, and buy a nicer, bigger house with land out in the country. Our goal is to do that in the next two years.

As a result, we realized we’ve been paying a healthy chunk of money toward gym memberships, and frankly, I honestly no longer believe it is necessary. I only have to look at people like Steve Kamb at Nerd Fitness who maintained a very high level of fitness while climbing. I look at the military, who certainly don’t work out in gyms (at least in Basic), and I don’t think anybody would deny that they are crazy fit. It can be done without a gym, and we are going to do it.

Yes, I am aware that saying I am going to significantly increase my fitness is purposefully vague. However, here is my list of the things I plan to be able to do when I am writing up my 2013 resolutions in a year.

I want to be able to do 100 regular push –ups (no knees, in other words) without stopping.
I want to be able to do 200 squats without stopping.
I want to be able to do an all-day hike at Mammoth Cave National Park this fall.

I desperately want to include a running goal, but my body has shown me that I MUST be lighter before I can begin running or even jogging. However, I can hike. Mammoth Cave National Park (less than thirty minutes away) has many all-day hiking trails. I don’t know which one I’ll do. I’m thinking Sal Hollow, which is eleven miles. It’s designated as advanced terrain, but I’ve known people who have done it who said that it is designated as advanced because you have to cross a few creeks. I grew up on a farm with a creek that runs through it. Creeks are no problem.

4. On my food blog, I am going to create a different pizza each week for my 52 Weeks of Pizza Project.

I don’t talk about it much here because I don’t post there as often as I’d like (although now that Tina and I are eating clean and cooking much more, I expect to post more often), but I also have a new food blog called Stellar Eats.

We LOVE pizza, and fortunately, it is a very versatile food that can be eaten clean. While in Las Vegas, we were at a shop that had a cookbook all about pizzas. I didn’t get it, but it did make me decide to do this. For the next year, we are going to cook a different pizza every week. Each pizza will be chemical and preservative free and 100% real food. I’ll post the links to the pizzas here on my main blog, too, but I’m really excited about this one. We love pizza and we love cooking. Win win.

5. I am going to obtain my ACE Personal Fitness Certification this year.

Last year, I failed by seven points. I have until August to retake the examination for a reduce fee. Even though I am completing the coursework for my second Master’s Degree, I am also going to take time each week to study for this exam, too. By fall, I will be a certified Personal Trainer.

6. I am going to write at least 10,000 words of fiction per month.

I love to write, but I seldom take the time to do it. I’ve got a young adult novel I am working on, and I want to finish it this year. I don’t know if I’ll look for an agent or self-publish or just enjoy it because it’s done, but regardless, I want to finish this year.

That’s it. A very short list for 2012. I’m certainly going to accomplish other things, but this is what I want to make happen.

Did you make resolutions?

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Motivation in the Mail: Healthy Living Postcard Exchange

I’ve had an idea percolating for a while. I actually addressed it in a minimal format LONG ago (as in prior to this version of Stellar Path, although a few of you from back then may still remember it), but I’ve decided that 2012 is the year to implement this. However, I cannot do this alone, so I need your help. But here’s the thing – it should benefit you as much as it will me.

And no, it’s not a Ponzi scheme.

Right now, I’m calling it the Healthy Living Postcard Exchange.

Here is how it works.

You are matched up, randomly, with some person. It may be a blogger; it may be someone without a blog; it may be someone you know well; it may be someone you have never heard of.

You send them a postcard from your area of the world. On said postcard, you will write some note of encouragement. From the generic “You can do it!” to a more detailed I-clearly-stalked-you-on-the-internet “I know you are struggling, but just remember the success you had last year in March. I’m pulling for you and you can do it again!” And then, you have something to put on your fridge (or bathroom mirror, or wherever is motivational to you) and maybe, it’ll help you stay on track.

Obviously, this will require you to share your mailing address with someone. All you’ll need to let me know is that you want to participate. Since we are just talking about mailing postcards, I see no reason that this couldn’t be opened up worldwide. Obviously, if you live in the U.S., it will cost slightly more to mail a postcard to the other side of the world than to the other side of the U.S., but since it is JUST a postcard, the cost is still typically less than $2.00.

If you want to participate, please email me the following information by January 8th to

1. Your email address
2. If you are a US reader, if you are willing to send a postcard internationally. (You can still participate if you only want to send domestic.)

I initially thought I was going to match up mailing addresses and so forth, but instead, I’ll email out a list saying who is matched up to whom, and you will send your person your mailing address.

If enough people participate, I’m planning to arrange it each month so that the person you send your postcard to will not be the person you receive your postcard from.

I know that a lot of us already “know” each other through the internet (and a few lucky folks out there know each other in person through Fitbloggin and other local meet-ups), but this seems to me it could be a great way to bring some of us closer together and motivate each other.

Right now, I’m thinking we’ll do this once a month, so if you want to bow out a month for whatever reason, no problem. But still… I think it would be pretty neat to think that at the end of 2012, you could have twelve postcards from (hopefully) twelve different people [if enough sign up, so please sign up!], all motivating you on your goals, weight loss, healthy living, healthy eating, working out, or WHATEVER.

So at this point, I just shamelessly beg. Obviously, I need people to participate. I’ll do the matching. All you need to do is email me the information above.

Anyone up for participating?

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Just a lazy lay-on-the-sun afternoon


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2011 in Review

The year is drawing to a close, and like so many other bloggers, I am doing a recap of 2011.

2011 has been a great year for many things for me. But not weight loss. I shall not cry and moan, as I know it has been 100% my fault. For various reasons, I was not ready to lose weight in 2011. Am I ready in 2012? I say that I am, but I also would have said this in December 2010. I am a firm believer that actions speak louder than words, so I will let my actions in 2012 speak for themselves. On the 31st, I’ll post my resolutions for 2012. Even though they fizzled out last year, this year, I plan to be less restrictive, more realistic, and plan for them to stick.

January 2011

January saw me cooking several vegetarian dinners, wherein I learned one very valuable lesson. I am not physically or mentally satisfied after a meal if I do not get some animal protein. Lesson learned. Let’s move on.

I also wrote a few posts on Gym Etiquette.

I got a traffic citation for rolling through a stop sign in my quiet neighborhood, which resulted in a $140.50 fee AND traffic school (but at least no points off of my license.)

February 2011

In February of last year, I made the decision to try blogging every day for a month. I did, and I enjoyed it. I may do that again in February of this year.

I signed up for Run For Your Lives, a zombie-themed 5K. (Did I actually run the race? Stick around for the October update.)

I posted about snow! As I write this in last December 2011, we have not had ANY measurable snowfall this year in south central Kentucky. I want snow so badly, I can’t stand it. But today, it’s in the mid-50s. I HATE THIS WEATHER!

I did manage to accomplish ONE resolution in 2011. We built a snowman.

I posted about the heroes of The Biggest Loser.

Tina and I celebrated our first Valentine’s Day as husband and wife.

March 2011

For someone who doesn’t claim to be a runner, in March, I did a huge thing.

I ran a mile without stopping.

Tina and I also ran/walked our First 5K.

April 2011

April saw our 2nd 5K, which we completely walked. It was such an ugly course and a generally unpleasant experience that it really turned us sour on running. I’m sorry to say that we never recovered, running-wise, and I am now back to the point that if I were starting C25K, I’d have to start at Week One.

I celebrated my 33rd birthday in April, and I briefly experimented with Paleo. I didn’t like it.

May 2011

May was apparently a very quiet month. I posted very few times, but my lovely wife did graduate with her BS in Biology.

June 2011

I decided to fully embrace my inner geek, and Stellar Path had the geekiest face lift to date.

In June, I reviewed both episodes of Power Rangers and Salute Your Shorts and applied the lessons learned there to weight loss. (I plan to do more of that in the coming year.)

July 2011

More Power Rangers, and I remember that I was very busy with work over the summer, so my blog took a bit of a back seat. (That happens a lot.)

August 2011

The fall semester started hard, and work picked up immensely. Doesn’t matter. I still love my job.

I took the ACE Personal Trainer Test and failed by seven points.

September 2011

I reminisced about 9-11.

Even though I was struggling with weight loss and fitness, I still wrote a post about Things I Love.

October 2011

In early October, I both injured my foot and got a sinus infection. Coupled with the fact we hadn’t been training, we were going to go into the Run For Your Lives with me as a spectator and Tina running and walking as much as we could. (However, the actual event ended up being a bit of a fiasco, and we were in a late afternoon time that didn’t get to go at all. The event organizers made it up to us (and everyone else who didn’t get to participate) by giving us a refund.)

We also celebrated One Year of wedded bliss.

For various reasons, we decided to give up the gym. I’ll post about that in more detail in the new year.

We also went on a weekend trip to Washington, D.C.

November 2011

I briefly entertained notions of becoming an astronaut. So not kidding. Check out November if you don’t believe me. But things change, including job security, and I am pursuing my certification in Library Media Science since I do get free tuition. Until I am on a tenure track position (which is not likely to happen any time soon), I’m afraid I just can’t justify becoming an astrophysicist on the side with my free tuition. My free tuition must be used to keep me gainfully employed.

Unfortunately, my weight continued its steady, slow climb upward.

December 2011

After the busiest semester of my life (both as student and instructor) were over, Tina and I went to Las Vegas! (Recap is still to come.)

And of course, we had another wonderful Christmas.

That’s my 2011 (in blog terms, at least) in a nutshell.

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A Christmas Gift

Loved these books as a kid.  Thanks to 3rd grade teacher Mrs. Jaggers for teaching me there was no such thing as girl books or boy books. Just great stories.


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12-31-13 - 412.0
1-3-14 - 407.0 (-5.0 pounds total)