What I learned – a BIG LOSER indeed.

I’m on track to complete 12 marathons in 12 months, October 18, 2014 to October 11, 2015.   My October 11 is scheduled to be the Steamtown Marathon in Scranton, PA.  Just for good measure though, I’ve signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon on October 25 in Washington.

It was literally two years ago today that I stepped on that scale and saw that very scary number.  It was two years ago today I learned diabetes was on my immediate horizon, that if trends continued, I may not see 50.  It was two  years ago today that I decided I had to change.

My walking and running – mostly inside, was done watching a lot of episodes of THE BIGGEST LOSER.  I know – lots of problems with that show.  Losing massive amounts of weight over just 20 weeks is dangerous.  One of the things my Doctor told me on my one year anniversary (June 24, 2014) was that I would keep the weight off because I did it right.  Sometimes the folks on that show keep it off, sometimes they don’t.  I hope she’s right and work everyday to ensure that’s the case.

People ask me what I’ve learned going from “morbidly obese to marathon runner”.  Here, in no particular order, are 24 things I’ve learned in 24 months:

1.  It’s not too late to start. Just because most of your life was spent overweight, obese, or even morbidly obese, doesn’t mean it has to end that way. Your life is now.

2.  As your fat goes away you will feel hard things below your chest – they are supposed to be there. They are called ribs.

3.  You are going to relapse. You will eat some bad food.  Maybe even a lot of it.   Don’t beat yourself up and don’t give up. Get back on the treadmill and do an EXTRA few miles. Now you are even for the day. It’s like the sin never happened. The extra exercise is like confession, except for the body.

4.  When you sleep on your side, your knees will hurt because it’s bone on bone not fat on fat. It hurts a bit at first. Deal with it.

5.  The most miserable thing to do at the start of the diet is to exercise. As you go on and are successful, the most miserable thing to do is to skip a night of exercise.

6.  An hour at Planet Fitness is better than an hour at Planet Wings.

7.  You can have TWO bowls of Cheerios with Almond or skim milk, and an apple, and you’ve still had LESS calories and fats than just one bagel.

8.  There are people who can’t run. Be grateful you can. Think of what those who can’t, would give to be able to do it, just once.

9.  You really don’t miss soda.

10.  Low fat Greek yogurt – blueberry or cherry or vanilla is much better than a bagel for breakfast. South beach diet bars are delicious substitutes for candy.

11.  When you make hotel reservations you look to see if they have a fitness center first. Yes, even before checking the free breakfast buffet . . . It’s a good thing.

12.  When you can coach your kid’s team instead of eating a bagel on the sidelines, it’s worth it.

13.  You can have more fun with your spouse. Lots more fun. Get your head out of the gutter, I didn’t mean it that way. Ok. Maybe I did.

14.  Your family will have to sacrifice as part of your diet. They will lose you to a treadmill or gym but ultimately gain much more of you back, even though there is less of you. But they are sacrificing too.

15.  Get the bread off the table. It is your enemy. No bagels. No butter. Fight the carbs.

16.  Almost everything else in moderation. Yes, including pizza.

17.  You don’t miss sugar with your coffee if you add some sugar free flavoring.

18.  That thing with the belt that goes at a certain speed with rails on the side is actually not a place to hang clothes on. It’s a treadmill. Use it.

19.  You can watch The Biggest Loser without embarrassment.

20.  Your blood sugar score is not to be feared.

21.  Your life insurance costs drop. A lot.

22.  You will probably live longer, but even if not, you will live better.

23.  After you start losing weight, particularly if you lose a lot, some people you only see once in a while won’t recognize you. Some of my wife’s family I see just once a year thought she remarried. Some were even happy about that.

24.  After the pounds start to drop off, you might be annoyed that you didn’t start earlier. Not meaning to annoy you, people will ask you “now don’t you wish you did this years ago”. Don’t be annoyed. You weren’t ready to start yet. Whatever got you started, at whatever point in life you did, be happy. YOU started. Congratulations.

I love being a loser.  With Toma, winner of most recent season of The Biggest Loser while I was picking up my bib for the Walkway Over the Hudson Marathon.  #TeamToma
I love being a loser. With Toma, winner of most recent season of The Biggest Loser while I was picking up my bib for the Walkway Over the Hudson Marathon. #TeamToma
March, 2013.  Size 50 suit. 48 pants.  I'm glad to be a Loser.
June,  2013. Size 50 suit. 48 pants. I’m glad to be a Loser.

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Living in the Hudson Valley of New York State, at age 40 (almost 41), I had a health scare and had to make serious changes in my eating and exercise habits. This is the story of how, I went from Morbidly Obese to being a Marathon Runner and ran 12 marathons in 12 months. After I ran several more, I did something I never imagined possible: I am an Ironman.

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