Motivation in the Mail

A First Week Weigh-In

If you are reading this blog as a result of a search you just conducted for weight loss, healthy living, workouts, or any combination therein, welcome! I am very pleased to have you here.

I hold a weekly weigh-in every Friday. It is one of my goals this year to lose this excess weight I have given myself. Right now, my goal weight is 180. I realize as I get closer to this goal, I may reevaluate, and I am fine with that. 180 is just a number that exists in my head so I can imagine, “That’s where I’d like to end up.”

I will point out that I am very broad-shouldered (God help me, I really AM big boned) and six feet tall, so 180 may be WAY too low. Regardless, 180 is what I am shooting for right now. We shall see.

As for how I am losing weight, I’ll write a much more detailed blog post in the coming days, but basically, I am cutting out white sugar, white flour, processed food, preservatives, and as many chemicals as I can.

I have to disclaim right now – the first few days of eating clean were HARD. I wanted nothing more than to say “screw it, I’ll just count calories!” and eat everything in sight.

I did not do this, because experience has shown me that, for me, a calorie is not a calorie is not a calorie. When I was in my mid-20s, that was absolutely the case. I could just eat less of junk and still lose weight. In my mid-30s, I cannot do that.

You will read a lot of bloggers say that where calories come from is irrelevant. For some people, this is true. If you are one of them, however, do not despair. A LOT of us have to eat clean (whether it is no processed foods, increased fruits and veggies, vegan, Paleo, or anything in between) to lose weight.

But the best part of this eating plan? I feel amazing! I have more energy, my skin is less greasy, my fingernails and hair are even growing faster (seriously – I actually noticed this), and when I do eat something “fake” and processed, within five minutes, I feel like crap. Eating clean makes me feel so good, it is now easy to stay on track.

That also said, I’m not gung-ho, which means I do “bend the rules” occasionally. Honestly, this is more for a financial reason than anything else.

I would say that I eat 90% clean, 10% off-plan. It may even be closer to 98/2, and there are many days in a row where I eat 100% clean. However, life is too short to give up soda forever, in my book, so I occasionally treat myself. I don’t view this as going off plan.

I track my food, although I do not, at the moment, count calories or keep up with points. (When I do track, I use Weight Watchers point system. Although I am not a member at the moment, I still think very highly of WW and their point system makes more sense and is easier to me than strict calories.)

My rule of thumb I am currently giving myself is that if I can lose weight by just tracking my food (currently by writing down in a moleskin journal I keep with me at all times), then I’ll continue just tracking. If I stop losing, I become more strict and keep up with points.

This week is a First Week (of the year) Weigh-In.

So, where I do stand right now?

January 6, 2012
Weight: 375.6
Change from Last Week (actually 1-1-12): -0.8 pounds
Change from All-Time Highest (was 402.3 pounds, several years ago): -27.2 pounds

It isn’t a large loss, but it is a loss. This week, I noticed that when I am hungry, I tend to go for nuts and other high-fat foods. They are clean, but they are still full of fat (albeit good fats) and calories. I am not limiting them, but I am going to be more aware of going for fruits and vegetables in the coming week. Hopefully, it will increase my weight loss for next week.

I have decided that for the first Friday weigh-in of every month, I am going to review my 2012 Resolutions and see how I am faring!

1. I am going to weigh less each month.
January’s Goal: Weigh less than 376.4 on February 1st.

To accomplish this, I will continue to work out, eat clean, and be mindful of what food goes into my body.

2. I am going to continue to eat clean.

This one is very subjective, so I am not giving myself a monthly goal. However, I am going to continue blogging about eating clean, so stay tuned.

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

Last year at this time, the gyms were so crowded I couldn’t stand it. This year, my wife and I work out at home. We can get just as good a workout at home as we could in a gym, and it’s free! This one is also subjective, but I will soon report on what we do for a workout.

Just know this – you can workout ANYWHERE.

4. On my food blog, I am going to create a different pizza each week for my 52 Weeks of Pizza Project.
January’s Goal: Create and document four different pizzas.

We’re doing our first pizza tomorrow night. No problem. I LOVE pizza!

5. I am going to obtain my ACE Personal Fitness Certification this year.
January’s Goal: Complete the first two weeks of the ACE 20-week certification program.

Yes, I know there are four weeks in January, but I am going to commit to only finishing two this month. I also am continuing the classes for my second Master’s degree, and I have to plan the curriculum for the classes I am teaching that begin this month. Two weeks will be a nice way to get back into studying.

6. I am going to write at least 10,000 words of fiction per month.
January’s Goal: Finish “plotting” and get those 10,000 words written!

I am a wannabe author. More to the point, I want to be a young adult author. I have a novel I am working on, and I’ve already got around 15,000 words written, but there is a plot snarl coming up I need to get sorted out. I can absolutely do this, though.

For me, the best thing I can do as a writer is to NOT STOP. If I take a few days off for any reason (usually because I hit a wall), it is so easy to just stop. I have to keep writing.

Okay, a few other things. I said back in December if that I could reach 369 by January 1st, I’d donate $100 to my favorite charity, and if I didn’t, I’d donate $100 to a charity that YOU choose. This is the survey. I opened comments to suggest charities, and these were the three that came up. Please vote, and whoever is ahead on

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

All three of these look like good organizations, and I am happy for any of the three to get the money. You have until January 12th to vote. I’ll announce the winner at next Friday’s weigh-in!

And lastly, you have until January 8th to sign up for the very first Healthy Living Postcard Exchange! This is a way to get motivation in the mail. Visit the link above to find out more and learn how to sign up. If you don’t want to join this month, you can, of course, join future months at ANY time.

We’re a week into 2012. How are you resolutions (if you made any) holding up?

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