Friday, December 31, 2010

Get The Party Started

Do you have a New Year's resolution? Many people will be committing to do something different in 2011. You can probably guess that one of the most popular resolutions each year relates to fitness and health. Thousands of people will aspire to lose weight and become healthier in the next year. I hope and pray that many will succeed. I know that they can, I know that you can! There are many important factors in a positive change for health but let me just drop 2 ideas that are very and I mean VERY important.

1. Leave comfort behind! What I mean here is that if you want to work on your health in 2011 then you have to be willing to step outside your comfort zone. To succeed you must take risks and there will be times that you are uncomfortable. Hey, if losing weight was easy and effortless, well then I would not be writing these words, because we all would be in great shape. Truth is, losing weight and taking care of our health takes work and I mean hard work! So be willing to be uncomfortable. For some that may mean that you join a gym despite the fact that you are embarrassed about your weight. Others may have to set that alarm a little earlier to get some much needed cardio into your routine. None of us are perfect all the time but you must develop consistency and be willing to get outside your comfort areas.

2. Be Accountable! Studies prove over and over that when we are accountable we are more likely to stick with a plan. I want to encourage you to find a way to be accountable. You need someone in your life that will NOT let you off the hook so easy. It is great if you could find a workout partner or someone who can walk with you at a certain time. If that can not happen, then find someone who doesn't mind checking in with you from time to time to make sure you are sticking with your wellness plan. As I said, this person needs to be someone who can be confrontational in an appropriate way.

So there you have 2 IMPORTANT keys to being successful if you have a wellness goal in 2011. These have been cornerstones in my own journey. Keep checking back and I will keep posting. I have some plans for the blog in the new year. Some of those plans include chances for you to win some cool stuff! I will be giving away a few things from time to time. I hope everyone has a fun but safe new year's eve! Stay tuned and remember all your hard work, discomfort, and accountability will be worth it! You are worth it!

Till next time...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy Holidays

Hello everyone, I hope that you had a Merry Christmas! I know I know, it has been a while since I posted and I am sure that some of you have wondered if I was ever going to post again. I am sorry it has taken me so long to post. I would love to tell you some story about how I have been out doing such meaningful work that has enhanced the human race that I have simply not had the time to post one word. Well I cant say that but I will tell you that I am sorry that I have not updated lately and I intend to do better. I know that many of you do read this blog and you have been kind enough to email, twitter, or facebook me and tell me what my story has meant to you. For your kind and encouraging words I say thank you!! I enjoy reading what you all have to say and I appreciate that you take the time to read my thoughts. With that being said I intend to make some commitments. I have decided to make frequent blogging one of my new year's resolutions. Who knows I may even throw in a vlog from time to time, yes I am crazy like that!

Now I admit I do not have the need to tell the virtual world every time I decide to go for a run or workout, so I intend to keep my post to at least 1 time a week and sometimes maybe 2. I also want to keep the words to a reasonable limit. I think in the past I have had long entries and that overwhelms me and probably you the reader as well. So after this entry, I will attempt to be brief with my updates, a few paragraphs at the most. So there you have it, my commitment to write at least once a week on the wellness blog. Feel free to ridicule me and harass me if I do not hold up to this resolution. Now on to an actual update on my wellness and weight loss.

I am continuing to work on my own health, back last spring I picked up running and have now ran two 5Ks and am currently training for my first 10K!!! I remember back when the only running I thought of was running to the kitchen :)! My how times have changed. I am very slow when it comes to running but I am loving it! I have found nothing that challenges me more and works my WHOLE body like running. When I first started, I would walk 3 miles, within that walk I would try to run 1min and then walk. Gradually I built up to running the entire time but that didn't happen fast. So, remember if you decide to start running take it slow and gradually work your way up.

My weight loss continues but it has slowed down. I am totally OK with that, I have come a long way!!! To date I have lost 222 pounds. If I do not lose another pound that is fine. I am continuing to eat healthy and exercise consistently and I am letting the rest fall into place. I believe that living a healthy lifestyle is much more than just numbers on the scale. OK thanks for reading everyone and look for more consistent posts soon and as I said maybe even some video messages from yours truly.

Till next time.... Travis

Friday, October 8, 2010

Weight Plateau

Hello everyone!! It has been a while but I am back for now :) I think one reason I have been rather quite is that I have went through a new experience that has taken some work. My project has been overcoming a weight plateau. I have had plateaus in the past but they have been a couple of weeks at a time. Most all of us who have embarked on any weight loss experience have had to deal with the fact that at some point your weight loss seems to go into hibernation. You are moving right along and all of sudden it feels like someone put on the brakes! I have had the experience of going two weeks without losing any weight and feeling overwhelmed. Having said that, this last bout with the Plateau has been tough!! I went 5 weeks before I saw some positive results. I tell you this to say, we all have to deal with Plateaus. I have been changing my life for over 2 years but I still have to work at it! During my recent struggle with the evil plateau I found my self getting very frustrated. I was exercising hard and I knew that may calorie intake was within range of where it should be, yet the scales did not move. It was amidst my frustration that I learned something very important. Something that would change my number on the scale and also something that changed my perception about food.

I have already mentioned the important role the personal trainer has played in my journey. It was after consulting with Mandy about my diet that I came to the realization of what I already knew deep down, which was all calories are not created equal. I had been eating the same things for the past two years with great success but it was not working anymore. I was so confused by the fact that my calorie intake was lower than what I had burned but I was not losing weight. After Mandy and I looked at my food log she was able to help me see that I was still taking in some calories that were not the best. I did not take this news well. I was willing to make changes but I did so kicking and screaming. I had changed so much in my life over the past two years that I did not want to make another change! After some pouting and mumblings I was ready to change. For me the issue was that I was taking in more carbs than was working for me. To get myself over the plateau I would have to limited my carbohydrate intake for the next several weeks. My metabolism needed a boost and this was the way to go. I took the advice and made the changes. After 5 weeks, I finally saw the scale move in the right direction!! After the first week of making the changes I lost 3 pounds, the next week 2 more pounds, and this week 2 more pounds!

Plateaus can be so overwhelming but they can be broken. Maybe a week or two is manageable but when you go into 3, 4, 5, or 6 weeks with no loss, it is terrible! Your mind starts playing those old painful messages and mind games. All of a sudden you start doubting yourself again. You begin to fear what if this is it, what if I never loose another pound? Have I come this far to fall short of my goal? All these feelings are normal and were definitely part of my thought process these past few weeks. The good news for me and for anyone else on this journey is that you can and will break through the stale mate of the plateau. Positive changes in the diet will move you in the right direction. Sometimes a simple change can do the trick but other times it may require a bigger change. The good news is that the changes you make may not have to be a "from here on" type of change. Sometimes your changes can be short term until you get moving in the right direction and the weight will continue decrease. I am proud to say that I have fought the plateau and I won!!! Well I won this last round anyway :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Motivation Part II

Largest weight picture! 2008

To pick up on the last entry, here are parts 3 and 4 of my starting point. The third aspect in my motivation came after my return home from the transforming trip to California. I was ready to make a change emotionally and physically. This was so important in what lead to what happened next. My place of employment had just started a wellness program, and there was a new emphasis on how to help employees feel better and live a more healthy life. Part of my employer's plan was negotiating a reduced monthly fee at one of our local gyms. Fortunately for me, this was achieved, and a group of employees and I went together to sign up. This was the first of many trips inside Lifestyle Wellness and Spa. Signing up at the gym sounds simple and really didn't take that much effort right? Well for me, that was not the case. I knew that I needed to do SOMETHING, to bring about this change that I desperately needed but I was unsure where to start. I hoped that by paying a monthly fee I would be more motivated to use the facilities and get on track to wellness. The idea of the gym was intimating for me. I was extremely overweight, which in itself was embarrassing, but now I was going to a place focused on fitness and I was very unfit. I had the wrong perception of the gym. I had supposed that it was a place where everyone was fit and at their ideal weight. I felt that they only went there to maintain. For some, this is true, but for many of us there, it is not true. The fear I had that I would be looked down upon or judged was far from reality. Thankfully, I found a warm reception, and as I made gradual progress, I found great encouragement from those around me. Being a part of Lifestyles was an important part of my progress.

The fourth and final factor in my change came from someone who I decided would be a major part of any success that I would attain. I felt that if I was going to make significant progress, I needed an experienced guide, a coach to help me navigate the long, hard journey ahead. Right after I joined the gym, I sought a personal trainer to complete the combination. Lifestyles has wonderful personal trainers on their staff, and I have been fortunate to experience this first hand! For the first few months, I worked with Marty Barabas who helped me begin to understand how our bodies work best when we use proper alignment. We also focused on the importance of increasing the heart rate in cardiovascular exercise. Marty realized, and helped me realize, that I needed a major overhaul on not only what I ate, but how I ate. He set me up with a different trainer who had an enormous wealth of knowledge concerning both proper diet and physical exercise. In December 2008, Mandy Huffman became a part of my wellness journey. I have a hard time putting this into words because Mandy was and is more than my personal trainer, she was/is exactly who I needed to be my coach. No one besides God, has directly impacted my health and weight loss like Mandy has. To say I am thankful to and for her is not enough. It has been through her knowledge and dedication to me and my health that I have attained and am attaining my wellness goals. I found the coach I needed to keep me accountable and to advise me on a complete lifestyle change. It has been through my conversations with Mandy that I have transformed my food choices (which we will talk about in later posts). I am a walking example of what clean wholesome food and exercise can accomplish, With Mandy's help I have lost 209 pounds and I am still going!

It is amazing what has happened in my life since July 2008. I will give you no illusion, this has been the hardest work of my LIFE! Nevertheless success can come and it can come to you when you are willing to work and work hard. I am excited about this website. I am so grateful for all of you who take the time read my thoughts and share in my story. I think there will be some good stuff coming on this site. As you have read, Mandy Huffman has been a major part of my success and she has agreed to write here as well, from time to time. I am so excited that you will get to hear first hand some of the great information that has helped change my life. In the next few weeks Mandy will post about personal training and how important it is that you find the right fit for your needs. This is going to be great! Much love to you all and your comments, Twitter messages, and Facebook posts continue to encourage me more than you will ever know!

My current picture

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Over the past year, I have had people ask questions about my weight loss. Two of those questions have been asked over and over, and by many different people. The first is: what made this time different, and why were you able to be successful in your weight loss now when you had not been successful in the past? The second is: how do you get motivated and stay motivated? I can only answer these questions from my experience and this may not be the answer for everyone. In the next few posts, I will be talking about individual factors that led to my change. I also want to talk about that important topic of motivation. So today I will start from the beginning and post more of my story as we go.

The "why now" question: I really believe there were four things that came together at a close proximity of time that moved me in the right direction. I will talk about the first two now. In the next few posts, I will talk about the other two. The first was the trip I took to California for my cousin's funeral. The plane ride was, to say the least, "tight." I feared the trip for days before my flight, and I remember praying for open seats on the plane so I would not cramp the other passengers! I was surprised at how much space I took up! I thought to myself, this is crazy! You must do SOMETHING different! My brother flew with me on the trip out, so he took the brunt of the cramped quarters. His patience and kindness are what I am thankful for still to this day. He was not able to fly back with me, but took a flight directly back to the city he lived in, leaving me alone on a packed flight back east. I realize that the person beside me had to be uncomfortable, but I imagine he was not nearly as uncomfortable as I felt both emotionally and physically. Along with the painful plane ride was the reality of why I was on this trip to begin with, which leads me to the second event that moved me in the right direction. I was going to my cousin's funeral who had died at the young age of 50. My cousin, Mike, had endured a battle with cancer after other struggles within in his life. Mike succumbed to complications from cancer, but his choices in life had contributed to his early death. So, there I was on a similar track in life: my choices affecting my health, my choices affecting my emotional and physical comfort, my choices were hurting my family and those I loved dearly. I said "let's face it Travis, you are killing yourself! You are on a path that you will be lucky to even see 5o years old! You will be dead if this continues! Come on, you have to make a change!" It was this reality that helped move toward healing. I was confronted with the fact that my family was in grief due to one of us dying way too soon. I truly felt that if I did not make some major changes, that this same grief was coming again as a result of me.

So, why now? It had to be now. I had considered this reality before, so the idea that I was killing myself slowly was not a new one for me. Having said that, this reality combined with my cousin's death was very profound. This was the beginning of my transformation. At the time, I had no idea how powerful this would be, nor the role it would play in my journey.

Now, everyone does not have to have such an experience to get their attention, but I do believe we all have to understand that there is a sense of urgency. Our motivation can be rooted in the fact that today can be a day for change and there must be change! Whether you want to lose 10 pounds or 100 pounds it starts with your desire to change and an urgency to make it happen. Yet there is more, urgency may be enough to get you up and moving, but it is not the entire key to your motivation. Change must be and can be. It will bring you to your feet, but our motivation can be short lived. In the future I will be talking about two more things that helped motivate me and kept me sustained past the feeling of urgency. If you have a feeling deep down that you need a change then you are on the right track! Celebrate that today and let your change begin! Thanks for taking the time to read my story and I hope what I post here can be tools for your health and wellness.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Here we go!

Well I have started a new venture, as if I do not have enough to do already! Many people know that I have changed my life in drastic ways these past 2 years. I have lost over 200 pounds and I am still working to achieve my weight goal. Along this journey people began to ask me for ideas and suggestions that might help them in their own fitness goals. I am by no means a professional on this topic but I can share my experiences, so this is what this blog is about. I will be sharing what I have learned along the way as well as keep you updated on my own progress. I thought it might be good to have a place to direct friends and acquaintances to whenever they ask me about my progress or for ideas concerning motivation. I truly hope this is helpful in some way. I will make no promises on how often I will update this site, as in the past I can drop off the grid quickly and for long periods of time. Nevertheless I intend to include regular updates for recipes or interesting articles that I encounter and find helpful. Thanks for visiting here today and thank you to all my friends and family who have supported my wellness journey. It truly has been a voyage that has required Me and YOU. I hope that now I can be apart of other's passage to wellness.

With Love,