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Today, in spite of still being woefully out of shape, I felt like my old self again.

I take that back.

I actually felt like my NEW self again. My old self was slow and lazy. My new self, post 2010, likes to get out and explore on foot.

The other day, while checking out a house for sale for a friend, as I drove through the neighborhood in question, I noticed a stone path. It led up between two houses, heading back towards the back of the neighborhood. It got my curiosity stirred up.

So today, when I went out for my rualk, I headed towards that neighborhood. I ran over and followed the path up between the two houses and into the woods. It wound around behind the neighborhood and eventually started to dump me out onto some private property.

At this point, if I were to cut through the woods, I was only a few yards from the major thoroughfare of the area. So I cut through the woods, scampered down the embankment, and headed back to the house. That’s right. I said it. I scampered.

Did I discover the lost city of Atlantis in my exploration? Nope. Did my wanderings unearth El Dorado? Not at all. How about the Fountain of Youth? If only.

But it was fun! And it made the run into a bit of an adventure.

I’ve hiked 20+ different trails/parks in Georgia, so it was bound to happen eventually. I got lost.

I was hiking at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, and I decided to take a route that I’ve hiked several times. I’d always gone one direction, but today I tried the opposite direction. At the halfway point, you cross over the main road very close to an intersection. They’ve been doing some construction on that intersection and they’ve rerouted the trail.

I headed down what I thought was the correct trail, but it just dwindled away to almost nothing, then connected to an open field. I followed the “trail” around the edge of the clearing, which I then found out just circled the clearing. I also discovered that I couldn’t find where I had entered the clearing.

The one thing that saved me was that I was still, relatively speaking, near the road, and I was able to follow the sound of traffic back to the pavement.

Since I was never really lost (Hey! I knew where to go, just not where I was!), I was not overly concerned and spent most of the time just laughing at myself.

It was still quite the adventure!

Most weight loss programs tout, as their main selling point, “Quick” or “Fast” results. The reality is that your body can only metabolize fat so fast, so barring intervention by a surgeon, weight loss is going to take a while.

Of course, that means that the more you need to lose, the longer it will take to reach your ultimate goal. I fully expect it to take a year to get to my goal weight. A year!!

Wow! Talk about delayed gratification!

So what is one to do? A year is a long time to wait for anything. (Like, for example, the next Avengers movie!) That’s where the “1 Meal – 1 Workout” philosophy comes in.

When I first started my journey to better health, wrapping my mind around the need to lose 175 lbs or so was not something I could do. I decided to approach it one day at a time. Then, I broke it down another level: one meal at a time.

My goal was (and still is) at each opportunity, to make the best decision that I can. One year to go? Nah. One meal to go. I can do one meal.

If you’re wanting to make some healthy changes, and you’d allow me to give you one piece of advice, be intentional AND pragmatic about being active.

By intentional, I mean that you should know ahead of time when you’re going to exercise. For me, just saying, “I’m going to run 3 times this week”, without knowing WHEN I’m going to run, won’t work.

Likewise, saying something like, “I’m going to start exercising. I’m going to walk 3 miles every day!” just isn’t realistic for me.

I like to use Google Calendars to schedule my workouts. If for some reason I can’t make a particular workout, I reschedule it. So if your plan is to work out twice this week, figure out when that’s going to be and write it down. Post it on Facebook. Send yourself an email.

I know that this is an oversimplification, but fundamentally, it’s worked for me!

Aaron, it’s been two weeks. So what’s the plan? Believe it or not, I do have one. It’s called “Absolute Total Transparency”, or AT&T.

Oh wait…that won’t work. How about…”Absolute Transparency Mode”, or ATM? Maybe not…

Maybe “Butler Extreme Transparency”, or BET? Okay…forget it.

I may not have a name for it, but I do have a plan, and it does involve transparency. Each week I’m going to post a blog. That blog will have 4 things in it (at least).

1) Total weight loss, starting from tomorrow as a new marker
2) Weight change from previous week
3) Exercise log from previous week
4) EVERYTHING I ate from the previous week

I don’t think I can get much more transparent than that. And again, if nothing else, it’s going to give me a high level of accountability.

This is going to be quite a bit of additional effort to post this info, so my goal is to do it for 90 days…basically through the end of February.

Let the information sharing begin!

When I tell people I’m allergic to poultry, they almost always respond with a series of question.
The first question is the title. “You’re allergic to poultry?”
The answer?
I am, in fact, allergic to poultry. That’s why they call it fowl! (Get it? Fowl/foul…it’s a pun…or I guess a homonym, actually.) It’s a pretty rare allergy. I’ve actually never met another person with this same allergy.

The second question is, “What happens when you eat it”? Imagine hives in your throat. It also makes me feel like I have the flu. If I touch poultry then touch my eyes, the swell, water, and itch.

The third question I always get is, “Are you allergic to eggs, too?” No. No, I’m not.

The last question is always, “Are you allergic to ALL poultry?” To which I answer, “I don’t know, I quit trying different birds after the 3rd one made me sick.”

I’ve course I don’t order any chicken dishes, or things made with chicken (or turkey, etc.). The trickiest thing is chicken broth. It’s in everything. Soups (just about all of them unless they say vegetarian), fried rice, beans, red sauce, and the list goes on.

Tonight we picked up some BBQ on the way home and I got caught by one of the more subtle traps. Based on my reaction, my guess is that they smoked chicken or turkey BELOW the rib tips that I had. The smoke contained just enough atomized fowl (foul) to make my mouth itch, my eyes itch,and me to feel just a bit out of sorts.

What does this have to do with getting healthy? With exercise? Weight loss?

Nothing. Just thought I’d share.

I’m writing this post 1 year, 5 months, 3 days, and 50 pounds since my last one. I, of course, would love to be able to say that I’ve LOST an additional 50 pounds, but unfortunately that’s not the case.

I could enumerate the reasons/excuses for my weight gain, and I may do that in a future post. But for now, this is just my announcement that I have pulled myself out from underneath the wheels of the wagon and climbed back on.

I’m not sure how many people are actually still subscribed to my site. It doesn’t really matter. Just like when I first started blogging/posting/podcasting, I’m doing it for me. I have to make good choices for me and my family. I have to do the right thing for me and my family. Yes, I DO want to help others. Yes, I DO care if other people are healthy, but that can’t be my primary motivation. It’s got to be internal.

So, what’s that internal motivation for you? (See…still trying to help others, too!)

Tonight I decided that I’m just working too hard.  Well, not really…that’s an overstatement.  But I am making choices that are causing me to work harder than necessary.

Food. I still love it. I have to be vigilant with my eating or I easily slide back to a lifetime of bad eating habits. 

My son wanted some cookies tonight. When I opened the package I also grabbed myself some. Just a few…okay, five. They were very good.

Serving size? 3 cookies

Calories per serving? 140

If I do the math right, those 5 cookies were about 233 calories. It took me about 2 minutes to eat them. (I’ve always been a fast eater – another bad habit.) 

Tonight I ran 3 miles. Fancy-net-calorie-burn-calculators on the web say that at my current weight that burns around 500 calories.

In two minutes of weakness, I “wasted” half of my workout tonight. Was that a good choice? Nope.

That’s a mistake I’m going to try not to make again.

So to everyone that donated to the American Cancer Society and supported me through my training, today was the day.

I’ve been having IT band issues since about week 10 of my training plan. I had tried to train around it/through it and still get ready. I had toyed with the idea of only doing the half marathon, but decided that if I was pain free on race day, I would attempt the full.

The first 10 miles were great! No pain and feeling good. On mile 11, my left IT band decided to rebel. For the next 2 miles I struggled, but I was in a lot of pain. At mile 13 or so, I decided I just stop before I hurt myself. However the Sag Wagon was still a bit behind me, so my only options were to sit on the sideline or keep walking. I kept walking, and the Back of the Pack (the last official runners – these guys keep the minimum pace) eventually caught up to me.

They were alternating running and walking, but I couldn’t walk fast enough to keep up with them when they ran, so I had to either get in the Wagon or get on the sidewalk. I got on the sidewalk and pulled out my map. Before the race I had a suspicion that my IT band wouldn’t make it, so I brought a map so I could walk it out.

Then I ran into another problem. The map wasn’t very detailed and I was actually concerned about getting lost. There also wouldn’t be any water along the route.

I decided I would try to push on. I had rested for a couple of miles, so my IT band felt a bit better. The Back of the Pack was about 50 yards ahead of me, so I tentatively took off running and I was able to catch up with them. My IT band wasn’t hurting TOO bad, and they were doing a 30 second walk/30 second run so I was able to hang with them.

After 5 more miles (between mile 20 – 21), my IT band finally said, “ENOUGH!”, and I couldn’t run any more. At that time I decided if I wanted to live to run another day, I should pull the plug, so I got in the Sag Wagon. Long story short: I didn’t finish. But I managed to do a half marathon AND a 10K…and that’s the way I’m going to look at it.

My new friend Roger Wright came down from Boston to run the race with me and turned in a great time. He’s the one that inspired me to run the race in the first place. It was nice to meet him and his wife, and I just wanted to thank him for coming to Atlanta!

Thanks again to everyone that has been so encouraging. If I didn’t tag you in this poston Facebook, that’s just because I’m a wee bit tired. 🙂

Till the next one!

Well folks, I guess this is as official as it gets:

Marathon Confirmation

In just over 10 days, I’ll be running my first marathon! It’s still a little surreal, but this email I received made it a bit more real.

Roger Wright will be running it with me.  Actually, he’ll be running it in front of me since he’s quite a bit faster than I am. I’m under no illusions that this will be “fun”. I think it might be life-changing. It will definitely be a milestone that I personally never thought I would never put in the done column.

If you’re of the praying sort, I would appreciate your prayers on that morning. (It’s Sunday, March 17th, just to be clear.)  The race starts at 7:00 AM. I’m a slow runner at the best of times, but after 20+ miles, I’ll most likely going REALLY slow. I hope to finish in under 6 hours, but it may take closer to 7. It all depends on how my knee holds out…which is specifically where I could use those prayers.

Anyway…the date is approaching. I’m sure we devote a podcast to it afterwards so you can hear all about the blisters, aches, pains, and triumphs!