Hunting Athlete, Cancer Dad: My project is done, but I'm not quitting

I guess I forgot to share this with all of you last week, so here it is.


Well, the reason I started this, a paper for a substance abuse, class is now done but I am going to keep sticking to the plan.  When I weighed in this week I was back down to where I was prior to the gout flair up, which is huge for me because I haven't been exercising but I was able to lose a few pounds..  I was finally able to start running again yesterday, even though not as much as I have wanted to.  Over the next few weeks things will start to calm down a little bit for me.  I only have one more week of my Ski Patrol medical class, so that frees up my Wednesday nights, and only a couple more weeks of school, so that helps too.  By the second week of December, my life will free up a little so I can get back in the gym on a regular basis and get some miles, even with the holidays.

For those that are interested, here is the paper I wrote going over what I truly went through over the last six weeks battling my addiction to junk food.  It is long, but it's quick and easy reading.

A little over 8 weeks ago I embarked on a journey to give up something to learn about the process of combating addiction.  Throughout my life I have battled, and seen others battle, addiction and this was a chance for me to truly study the fight against addiction.  At this point in my life I have given up tobacco, I’ve never done drugs and I rarely drink, so there was only one thing I could I could give up that would affect me like an addict giving up drugs, soda and junk food.  Throughout my life I have struggled with my weight and the last eighteen months have been the worst after my son was diagnosed with cancer.  In a matter of a few short months, years of hard work battling my weight were lost.  The struggle with my weight boils down to the fact I eat like crap and this was my chance to fight it and really have a fighting chance.

I feel many people are stress eaters, I definitely am.  Between my work, going to school, my sons battle with cancer and relationship issues with my wife, stress was going to be the one thing that would break me.  If there is one thing about me that can get me in to trouble is that I’m stubborn, and to get through this I needed to use that to my advantage.  I have learned if I have a goal that is within my reach it is that much easier for me to work for and attain that goal.  When I decided to run my first half marathon, I knew when it was and how hard it was going to be and I went after it and got it done, that is what I needed to do to be successful at this.  When I first made the decision to give up soda and junk food I sat down and came up with a plan as to how I was going to get it done.  Over time, I have been given a ton of advice and information to make the right choices when comes to what I eat to lose weight and get in shape, I just have never been able to put it in to practice and get it done, this time it’s going to change.

            My first step was to plan things out……... I needed to at a minimum plan my breakfast, lunch and snacks during the day for work.  I also needed the support of my family because if there was a ton of junk in the house I wasn’t sure how successful I could be.  When it came to my food plan I started with my breakfasts and lunches.  Over the years I have used the meal replacement shakes, drink mixes and supplements from Wilderness Athlete and liked the taste, so that was step one.  A big plus with meal replacement shakes for me was the ease of fixing them while at work, it was so easy to find some water to mix it that I wouldn’t be tempted to get something quick and easy (junk) if I got busy.
The second part was the snacks.  I had a previous meal plan from one of my first CrossFit coaches that included various snacks that I modified to fit what I would eat and what I could easily take with me to work.  My snacks consisted of fruit, vegetables, jerky, nuts, cheese & salami, tuna & crackers, cottage cheese & berries and the like.  These were also all measured out so I knew how much I was eating because another part of my plan was to track everything I ate so I could see what was going in and what was working and what wasn’t when it came time to weigh myself.

Another part of this was really stepping up my running and workouts.  I really needed to put it all together to get the results I wanted.  I had several races planned for October, so running was going to be a huge part of this.  I set a goal of running and lifting weights a minimum of 3 days’ week each but shooting for 4 days each.

The first week was pretty tough.  A new employee at work brought in donuts and I couldn’t resist, but I only had one and I tracked it, so I saw what it did to my intake for the day.  Throughout the week I had some serious cravings for a soda but I was able to resist.  Besides the donut, one night after our family walk/run we hit the new ice cream sandwich shop and we went to a birthday party at Chuckee Cheeses’ and I gave in both times, but everything I ate was tracked.  It feels good to get my family involved and watch everyone enjoy it and get healthy at the same time.  I did have some serious cravings for a soda, but I was able resist out of fear for what else I might have gotten from the store.  The biggest plus for the week was running my first 5K under 36 minutes and averaging under 12 minute miles over a 9K race.  The sub 26 minute 5K was something I have been chasing for years.

Week two started good, not due to lack of cravings but the fact I am too busy to deviate from my plan.  Tuesday I broke down and had tacos from Del Taco, but no soda and everything was tracked, so I can see the results.  Wednesday will probably the toughest day of this whole thing and it did not end up good, but it could have been much worse.  This was the day of my son’s six-month post treatment checkup at Children’s Hospital in Oakland.  Road trips are the worse for me, and sitting and waiting at the hospital definitely increases the stressors.  I broke down and had some soda and some junk, but again, it could have been worse.  At lunch, I had a slice of pizza, some fruit and some cottage cheese.  Instead of each of us getting burgers and fries on the trip home, we split an order of fries between three of us.  So I have learned, I just need to stay strong.

As week three progressed I was very happy with myself.  We had a water main break at the house and even with dealing with that it didn’t force me into breaking down other than a soda from Costa Vida with dinner one night.  With Logan, he doesn’t eat nearly as much as he needs to and sometimes you have to break down and get him what he will eat and that is usually McDonald’s chicken nuggets.  On Sunday after the boys and I ran the Komen 5K I took the boys to McDonalds for lunch and I had absolutely no desire to eat anything from there.  This shows me how much stronger I am when it comes to what I am putting in to my body.
By the end of week four I was feeling good.  I was down about 12 pounds, which really helped.  The biggest boost was running in to some old friends who couldn’t believe the change in my appearance because of the changes I’ve made and the hard work I have but in.  This was topped off by running a 10K personal best while pushing Logan in his stroller.

Week five was more of the same.  Friday night I had some soda and we had a veggie and chicken pizza, but this was after a four mile run and my calories were still under so I will take it.  I still have cravings, and I will give in to some extent, but never to level I would previously and rarely does it happen multiple days in a row.

In the end I feel I did much better through this then I thought I would do.  Yes, I broke down and had a couple of sodas and I ate some crap, but not to the extent I would have prior to this.  Over the weeks I reached some major goals which helped keep me going.  I lost close to 16 pounds, over 5 inches and 5 percent body fat all because I changed what I ate.  Prior to this I was running and working out this much, if not more, but this truly proved to me it was more about intake then exercise.  Another major plus for me was my family got involved with this as well. With the exception of Logan, we are all eating much healthier and exercising more effectively.  We are also saving money because we aren’t eating junk or drinking soda.  There were weeks I spent under $100 at the grocery store to feed a family of 4, which I feel is huge.

Overall, I feel so much better and it’s because of the changes I’ve made to my food intake.  I’m eating so much healthier that I can feel the difference.  During the 6 weeks I think I had less then 4 sodas, a couple slices of pizza and one fast food burger and some fries, a huge improvement.  The other plus is I feel sick when I have broken down and had a lapse.  Sometimes it’s physically sick and other times it’s mentally sick that I broke down and took the easy way out.  Making this change is tough.  It’s hard work, but in the end it was well worth it.  Because of what I have been through the last few weeks, and what I have accomplished, I want to continue doing this and see how far I can get.  It has definitely been life changing and now that I know I can do it, I want to continue.

Have a great night, and for those of you going through this with me, don't give up, it's worth it in the end!!

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