Tag Archives: Losing weight

Advocare 24-Day Challenge

The challenge starts with 10 days of a cleanse then follows with 14 days of a “max” phase. We started on July 9th. Today is the last day of the challenge. I feel pretty great. Better than I have in years actually. And I’m down 10 pounds. Yay!

The Cleanse

Right out of the gate I had to change some habits. Advocare recommends some serious diet restriction for the 10 day cleanse and I wanted to do it right. These were the food suggestions I tried to go by:

  • No coffee, tea, soda, or alcoholic drinks
  • No white flour, white rice, or refined sugar
  • No fried, deep fried, or processed foods
  • Avoid red meat, shrimp, and bottom feeding fish/shellfish
  • Limit milk, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy
  • Try to eat natural, whole foods.

I’ve suspected for quite a while now that processed white flour is killing us all. And yeah fried chicken just isn’t as healthy as grilled chicken. And I would miss having a steak dinner. But I can do anything for 24 days. My biggest concern was coffee. Seriously my morning coffee (and my afternoon Coke Zero) is a kind of ritual that I clung to during the work week. But low and behold, and I never thought I’d say anything like this, but I don’t need my coffee anymore. Not even sure I miss it.

With the schedule of meals and snacks, I can’t remember a time in the last 24 days when I’ve felt hungry. I’m alert in the afternoons, I’m energetic in the evening, and I’m totally not sleeping through my alarm.  And did I mention I’m down 10 pounds?

Three moments

During the max phase of the challenge, three moments immediately come to mind and are worth sharing here. I’ve found them very empowering.


I went to the store to pick up a few things. Mostly just something for dinner that night and something for lunches. I counted 12 things (few enough for the express lane) and noticed 11 of them were from the produce section. Salad greens, potatoes, cilantro, avocado, tomatoes, and so on. Item #12: slivered almonds. I don’t remember ever grocery shopping like that. I feel really good about it.


On Day 19 of the challenge, I went to dinner with my best friend to celebrate his birthday. We found ourselves at a pub. I decided to step a toe over the line and celebrate with a ribeye steak and a black and tan. I woke up the next morning feeling like I was digesting a brick. I seriously hadn’t felt that awful I don’t know how long. It took me until the next day to feel right again. It’s always been hard for me to adequately judge day to day what in my diet affects my level of well-being; it’s hard to know what food gave me heartburn or indigestion. But it’ pretty clear that 12 ounces of ribeye steak absolutely wrecked me. I mean wrecked me. It crossed my mind, and since then more than just once, that maybe all these years I was routinely feeling awful and had gotten used to it.


And this happened today. I went to the break room in the office to refill my water bottle and someone had left out food. It was Jet’s Pizza and there were 6 boxes of it and it was still warm. And it didn’t even smell good. It didn’t look good. I wanted nothing to do with it. It was a moment of clarity, that this greasy pizza was not fuel, it was barely food. It was trash and it would wreck me. And I remembered how I felt after that ribeye. And I could easily say no thanks.

What I’m Learning

Some of my favorite foods are far from healthy. I’ve had a strong desire for a decent cheeseburger for about a week now. And some Hattie B’s. And I want to cook up some mac & cheese. And my sister bought me a variety of craft beer from a brewery down the road from her house in Holland, Michigan. I’m not pouring it out, I’m gonna drink it. But moderation with food isn’t something I think I ever really learned. I think now I’m finally getting a handle on what moderation looks and feels like and actually living that out. So yay for personal growth! Advocare calls that a “non-scale victory”.

I’m gonna keep going. Over the next several weeks, I’m gonna have a few beers and eat some of my favorite pizza, but I’m keeping this change to my routine. I certainly can’t argue with the results. If anybody has questions about Advocare and the 24-Day Challenge, I can answer any burning questions (though my wife is the real expert).

Getting After It, Again

In the last month I trained for the Shoney’s 5K Family Fun Run in Downtown Nashville, only to check myself into the hospital that morning instead. The diagnosis was gall stones and an infected gall bladder and I required two procedures, one to remove each of them, and was on short term disability for two weeks. The following week I traveled to Los Angeles for vacation and after spending 10 hours walking around Disneyland, the next morning I caught a nasty head cold that in some ways is still lingering. Yesterday, for the first time in over a month, I went into the exercise room at the office and went through my workout routine.

I’m slowly approaching the point where I need to concentrate more on exercise and less on diet. As long as I keep active and chasing after a time/distance goal and keep the diet in check, the weight loss should take care of itself. Now it’s just a matter of getting after it. I need to find another 5K.

Tis’ the Season for Crawfish Boils

There were four crawfish boils I could have gone to this weekend, but as schedule permits, I could only make one. I’m glad I went to this one. Up in Ashland City, in the backyard of an old farmhouse, and it was very well done. Four batches in all, each getting hotter, just poured right over a recreation table covered up with newspaper. I never did try the corn on the cob, since people were lined up for those. But must have had at least 3 pounds worth of crawfish. Mighty tasty. I’m not sure how all that eating will impact my diet, but I would think it takes more energy to harvest the crawfish tails than the caloric intake of the food.

It couldn’t have been nicer weather for most of the day, sunny but not too hot. Plus there was a horseshoe pit. Every Saturday should be like this.


And it went to a good cause, raising money for a local animal shelter.

Losing Access

A security audit late last week took away my permissions to our production environment. A few tasks are now just sitting in my Actionable folder until such a time as I get that access back.

To be honest, my first reaction when I couldn’t hit prod was to login to our credit card processing web portal. I logged in successfully; whew, that means I’m not getting fired. My second reaction was to ask why. I did so innocently and curiously, because demanding access to prod is fightin’ words for some folks. It’s been an interesting day to say the least.

It sucks to lose access. Giving the DBAs scripts to run won’t satisfy every need I have to hit prod. The day will come when one of the DBAs will need to join some 3 hour Webex because I can’t troubleshoot it alone, not without access to prod. There’s plenty to keep me busy in the meantime, but I know for certain that my boss won’t allow anyone else do my job.

On the brighter side, it was someone’s birthday today in the office and there was cake. I didn’t eat any but I did have a finger’s worth of icing from the tray [as is my custom]. And I was rewarded for such restraint because Mr. Weight Scale told me I’ve dropped 3 pounds since last week. That’s 49 pounds in a little less than 6 months. So many people spend years trying to lose weight with no success; the kind of success I’ve been met with has been humbling and rewarding.

Motivation to Seek Results

It’s been a long week and I weighed in. Haven’t lost a thing. I haven’t gained any weight, mostly because I’ve been conscious of portion control. My eating habits are off balance. I’ve had battered and fried Chinese food for 5 meals in the last week, not to mention the outrageous meal I had last Sunday and cheesecake I ate last night. I’m not snacking and I’m not eating a 4th meal, but I am trying to make myself feel better by eating. All I’ve wanted all week is comfort food [hence the Chinese delivery].

I skipped my workout yesterday because I will be walking my endurance distance on Sunday [hopefully outside if weather permits]. I skipped my workout today for no good reason other than I just wanted to get home. Tomorrow, me and 15 of my closest friends are meeting up at a place in Kentucky called Patti’s, which is about a 2 hour drive. Big pork chops, legitimate desserts, and hopefully a relaxing atmosophere.

I don’t know why this week has worn on me so much, but it’s pushed me back into some bad habits, the worst being laziness in my diet. That all changes on Sunday. But first, tonight I’m polishing off that cheesecake, tomorrow I’m having pork chops, and maybe by Sunday my mind will be in the right place, because rain or shine, I’m walking 7.5 miles.

Soup Sunday

The event is called Soup Sunday and it’s been going on in Memphis for 20 years now. It’s to benefit Youth Villages, a fantastic non-profit that has a tremendous impact in the lives of kids in the Mid-South. I think it’s important to support charity, but even more important to support the charities you think do the most important work. YouthVillages is great and I feel great about giving them my money. That, and they put on quite an event at Soup Sunday.

This was my second time to go and I still made two rookie mistakes.

  • I filled up on so-so offerings. So much good food, why mess around with something average.
  • I forgot to bring home the list of booths so I can see what restaurants I need to go to. There was one booth that offered a Spinach and Feta soup with Rosemary-Garlic bread that was out of this world. For the life of me I can’t remember where it was from and I’m afraid that today was the last time I’ll ever have that soup again. It was just that good.

I also got to get in some time playing a new board game with Mom & Dad. It’s called Ticket to Ride and it is quick to learn but can involve several different winning strategies.

This was quite a start to my week of vacation. My plans to last-minute catch a plane to Cactus League Spring Training are all but called off, since the Mariners signed Ken Griffey Jr. and all preseason tickets got snatched up. I just can’t justify buying a ticket to a spring training game from a scalper. I still need to get in some running this week and I’d like to also hang out in White Bluff for a day and Louisville for one or two days. I need to remember that just because I’m on vacation from work doesn’t mean I’m on a vacation from diet and exercise. I’m still pondering other things to do with my time off, like taking two days and skipping off to The Gulf or Chicago or St. Louis, but I just don’t know. I’m still not a fan of traveling by myself to do nothing more than sight-seeing.  It’ll be next Monday before I know it and I promised a coworker I’d come back with a tan, so I need to find something worthwhile to do.

Running vs. Never Running Ever Again

Back in December in a moment of pure ambition and one-up-man-ship, I committed to running a half marathon in April. I’ve been in the gym 3 or 4 days a week for the last two months getting started on my training regiment. Some days I am amazed at what I’ve accomplished since starting my diet. That’s usually only 1 day a week. The other 6 consist of aching.

I have no idea what raceday will be like. It’s still around 3 months away and I can’t even finish on a treadmill what looked like manageable goals. The only way I’ve been able to start building my legs is using an eliptical and that’s an entirely different experience. I need to start running outdoors before raceday gets too close, but it’s not going to be until winter passes. I don’t want to think that my ambition has gotten the best of me, but there’s no way I’m going to quit. Unfortunately, too many people would hold it over my head for too long. I guess that’s what friends are for.

New Diet

So about 3 weeks back I was challenged by one of the company directors to lose some weight. He pulled $20 out of his wallet and put it in front of me to buy this book called The Beck Diet Solution. I’ve been reading the first couple of chapters and it has a few pointers, but I can’t say I’m swept away by it. But I have learned two very important lessons thus far:

  1. Food tastes too good to eat such little variety. Eating less volume (1400 calories a day) means I can’t satisfy myself with how much I’m eating. On my cheat day last weekend I ate lunch at Sonic and mostly regretted it. It all tasted the same. Fruits and vegetables are where the flavor is at.
  2. I want other things more than food. Last week we celebrated a coworkers birthday in the office with a birthday cake. I really didn’t want any. Someone was being kind and cut a piece and put it on my desk. I didn’t think twice; I brought it back to her saying I appreciated the thoughtfulness but I wasn’t going to eat it. “You don’t want cake?” “There are things I want more than cake, like lowering my risk of dying of heart disease by age 60”

I couldn’t believe the words were coming out of my mouth. Still can’t, but I guess this is just the new me. I’m going to bed a little hungry tonight, I know I’m going to wake up ravenous and I’m looking forward to starting the day with a healthy breakfast.

I’ve lost 10 pounds in the last three weeks. It’s the easiest 10 pounds I’ll lose, but there’s more to come.