Monday, August 29, 2011

Southern Comfort, not just in a bottle

Let's admit it, most of us find some comfort in food. In the south we have made an art out of comfort eating. I mean every time grief is involved we try to say we are sorry by bringing a green bean casserole or a bucket of fried chicken! Right? Come on admit it you know its true. Whether we like it or not many of us struggle with eating in times
of stress, grief, and even joy. I think this comes from both natural and learned behaviors. The key to conquering our vices is awareness and planning.

Believe me I speak from personal experiences here, I find myself looking to food at times to provide what I feel like I am missing out on. We disguise this often in terms of reward. I have had such a tough day, I deserve "this or that." I have found that there is nothing wrong with enjoying food and there are times, yes you indulge, which is expected and fine. The difference is when you are continually "rewarding" yourself daily or weekly. Part of the key to weight loss is learning moderation along with food choices and significant exercise.

One of the questions that I often ask myself which has helped me so much in my own weight loss has been this: "why am I eating (or wanting to eat) this right now?" Sometimes the answer is, I have planned for this and it's ok, which means I am aware this is something out of the routine but I have conserved some calories and I know that have or will have exercised an adequate amount. Then there are times that the answer is, "I am feeling sad or overwhelmed or I am bored." It is important here to say "ok I don't need this vice," and find a different outlet for my stress. I admit that sounds neat and clean and it doesn't work always! Believe me I live in and experience reality :) but if we continue to ask the question, it can work.

The more you ask this of yourself the more it works. I use this question when I find myself eating at unplanned times and when I am eating or wanting to eat something outside the norm. Of course I don't ask this of myself when I am eating a breakfast or lunch that I have planned out and know that my choices meet my goals and are part of my eating plan. I do ask this question when I find myself sneaking into the cabinets mid afternoon hoping against all hope that I might stumble upon some sour cream and onion chips that I swore I would never buy again! ;)

Till next time....

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hiding The Soul

A big hello to you all who read my entries. Hope you have been having a great summer! I wanted to write about something that intrigued me this past week. I have been in Boston Mass for a conference in which I was surrounded by counselors, social workers, chaplains, and bereavement specialists. In one of the case studies we were discussing,the individual was working through grief and in that time had experienced significant weight gain. As we were working on the case as a group someone said I think this person is "hiding her soul, and the weight gain is symbolic of that." Hmm.... some deep stuff right?

This immediately sent me inward as I thought about my own experience and all the years I spent hiding my soul. For me, I am convinced this was true. I have never been able to name the exact issue that led to my extreme obesity. I mean I cant point to a certain place and time and say, yes this is where at all began! I wish in some ways I could say that, because then I could analyze the whole thing and maybe better understand. Instead over a period of time, pound by pound, I covered up my soul. Feelings of discontent, self confidence issues, feeling forced into certain models or roles, I allowed all of this to cover the light inside me. Instead of taking control, I sunk deeper into a myself. My external condition was representing what was taking place internally, I was hiding my soul.

That has been the work over the past 3 years, this past week marked the anniversary of when I began to dig back to the surface of who I am and who I was created to be. I had no clue back in July of 2008 that I would begin a course that has been and continues to be the hardest challenge of my life. I have clawed my way through over 220 pounds but I am not finished. I am continuing to uncover my soul. I still have emotional, physical, and spiritual work to do. I am far from finished but I know that I am not alone. I sense that some of you are with me. Lets continue to unearth that which is the better part of you and me.

Till Next Time.... Travis

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Ok so it has been some time since I last posted.......... Ok! it has been a really really long time since I posted! I am not real sure why I have been silent in the blogosphere, not a real good reason actually. I guess like anything else if you are not making a strong conscious effort, it can fall by the wayside. Ok I am through with my confession and apologies for the hiatus.

I wanted to log on and say a few things. First I have continued to work on my wellness goals. These past few months have been challenging but I continue to do what I know has brought me this far. For some reason I am struggling with the weight loss, well actually I am plateaued. I am in the discerning process now and I am trying to figure out why this is happening. I have contemplated everything from, well maybe this is where I am supposed to be, to, I am a loser I can’t do this anymore!!! It is funny and kind of sad how quick the human emotional pendulum can swing :) In any event I am not being passive about this whole thing. I am exercising and trying some higher sprits of intensity. I have also started tracking every bite I eat again. This was key to my early weightloss, so I am getting back to the basics. If I don’t lose then fine, I will know that I am settled in and I will have to accept that but I need try and make sure that I am diligent to do the work. I try not to get caught up on a number but rather aim to be healthy and allow whatever to appear on the scale. I admit that sounds noble but it is HARD to live out!

The second thing I wanted to accomplish by resurfacing on the blog is to encourage you all who also continue to push forward and I know that you are working hard. Keep up the good work and please know that even after losing over 22o pounds I still have to work to live a healthy lifestyle and I still face my own challenges. We are indeed in this together! I hope I will be posting soon and giving you a good report.

Till next time..... Travis

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Checking in

Hi everyone, I know it has been a couple of weeks since I last posted and I wanted to check in with you! I have stepped up my exercise routine and I have been very busy. Unfortunately I did not increase the exercise without kicks, screams, and adamant protest :) I have been doing this long enough to know I can't keep everything same, but it still not easy. So I hope everyone is keeping it going on your own health and wellness goals. I will check in soon. See ya out there on the sidewalks, pavement, and the gym!

Till next time....

Friday, February 18, 2011

Back in the Sky

Hi everyone! Wow here in the south February has given us a glimpse of spring and I am loving it!! As the weather gets warmer I hope you will take advantage of the fact you can get outside and enjoy the warmth and beauty of the outdoors. My personal preference is to get my cardio outside. Treadmills and ellipticals are wonderful and they both have been very helpful for me but there is nothing that can replicate the feeling of a run or walk outdoors. You feel the warmth, the breeze, and the scenery changes as you go!! I also feel like I get a better workout when I run outdoors opposed to the treadmill. My stride is natural and the incline constantly changes, not to mention the window shopping I get done along my route through town :) We need the sunlight, vitamin D is important and we know that sunshine can brighten our mood. It just makes sense to take that exercise routine outdoors. The good news is that as we get closer to spring you and I will have even more and more opportunities to get outside, not to mention the fact that daylight is lasting longer as we approach warmer weather!! Do I sound excited??
I also wanted to give you an update. Last week I was talking about "running against the wind," well I have powered through my funk and I am back in action. I am excited because on Sunday of this week I overcame a hurdle for me. I was able to run a little over 6 miles. I know for some that is not a great distance but for me it was huge! I had a mental block where I felt that I could not attain that distance, well I did and I have all plans of doing it again this weekend! I have lost a lot of weight but I still have new goals. That's what keeps me going, there is always new challenges for us to conquer! We are in this thing together. Neither of us are at the finish line waiting for the other to arrive we are running together. I have learned to celebrate my success but continue to set new goals for the road ahead.
I just checked the weather, here in the foothills of NC we are projected to be in the mid 60's today and mid 70's tomorrow!!! Try to get out today and do something, even if it is for just 15-20 mins. Come on you can spare that much time, right? I promise you will feel better if you take the time to do it. In the wise words of Sheryl Crow, "lets soak up the sun!"

Till next time.... Travis

Friday, February 4, 2011

Running Against the Wind

I admit it, I love Bob Seger, his music strikes a cord with me and I feel that parts of my own experience can be captured in some of his songs. That is definitely the case this week! I feel as though I have been running against the wind. For the past 2 and 1/2 years I have been on an incredible journey. I have made great strides and with God's help have accomplished more than I had ever dreamed possible, to which I am so thankful!! With that being said, I still struggle and this week has been a rough week. As I have said before my weight loss has slowed down, which I am ok with. I have accomplished so much and I know that I am living a healthy lifestyle so I am letting the rest of the numbers be whatever they will be. I would love to shed a few more pounds but we will see where that goes. That is not the issue that has discouraged me this week. I feel like I have been running against the wind when it comes to my energy level. I have dealt with a lack of energy for the past 10 days like I have never experienced in the past 2 years. At first I thought I was getting sick with a cold which never fully developed. As time went by I could not blame the sickness but nevertheless I was an engine that was way low on steam. This had such negative effects on my exercise routine. My running program has been compromised and cardio has almost been non-existent for the past several days! I say this here to let you know that we all have challenges when it comes to our exercise and diet. Even after a couple of years I run into road blocks from time to time. The difference for us comes when we push through this, which I will do and you will to, if you choose to. Let me let you in on a little secret. One day or one week does not define your success! I know this for a fact! You and I are on a journey that is about distance and endurance. There will be days that we have to stop but we start again. DO NOT GIVE UP!

The good news is, I think I may have found a reason for my energy vacuum. After discussions with Mandy this past week I discovered that some of my food choices, though very healthy, were not giving me adequate iron levels. So the past 2 days I have been eating some foods that are rich in iron. As of this morning I feel that I am gaining steam. The lesson here for all of us is to keep going, sure you have to stop a day or two but then go back and give it all you have! I may be running against the wind this week but hey I am still running!! :)

Till next time... Travis

Friday, January 28, 2011

Spice it up!!

Hi everyone I hope you have had a wonderful week. We are getting ready to close out January and that means we are getting closer to spring, well at lest I can see the glass half full right? :) If you are living in the south I hear we may see highs in the 60's this weekend!!! I intend to get out and get some vitamin D and exercise this weekend and I hope that you can do the same. Take a walk or stroll, moving is good for the body and the soul!

As we close out the month I wonder how you are doing on your goals? Maybe you are right on track and maybe there have been some bumps in the road either way you can still do this! One of the obstacles that people face is getting bored with their food choices. If you are going to stick with this lifestyle change thing, then you have to get creative. That's right, you have the right to be innovative when it comes to how you prepare your food!! One of the great joys I have found in the last two and half years is learning all these new ways to prepare food. I have found some great substitutes for my old favorites and then there have been times that my experiments have not turned out so well. The story of my attempt at making "healthy" chocolate no bake cookies has become folklore amongst the family. Then there has been success, such as when I took a suggestion from a friend and found that plain strained Greek yogurt works great as a substitute for sour cream! You should try it, it really is good.

I challenge you, look for ways to make new "favorite" dishes. Will it taste exactly like the fried additive filled concoction that you were used to? Of course not, but you will find that your body will love you for filling it with healthy nutrients. Before long you will be surprised to find that you will start craving the new healthy dishes that you are creating!! Don't sabotage your hard work and commitment by getting bored with the same old food. Fill the cabinets with wholesome ingrediants and get in that kitchen and work your magic. Remember if you need a taster I'm just an email away :)
Till next time... Travis

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Something not quite right?

Hello everyone, I hope that you have had a good week up to this point. We are on the down hill slide to the weekend!!!! I wanted to give you a quick message about something that is common among many of us when we initially change our diets and increase our exercise. This is the feeling of being unsettled or feeling blue. When you make positive changes in your diet and begin to exercise it is not uncommon for a week or so to actually feel worse than before you began your change. I know I know, that sounds terrible doesn't it? I mean you have made these great sacrifices and you are moving in the right direction and now I am telling you that you may feel sluggish or depressed in the first couple of weeks??? Here is the deal, you are making changes to yourself and to your environment and your body has to adjust to that. Some of the unhealthy food choices you had been making may have created a chemical reaction in which now you are withdrawing. Sound like addiction? Yes it is not unlike that, unfortunately most of the processed food that you may have been eating was actually poisoning you and creating a dependency. I don't mean to sound extreme but there is a bunch of research that points to this being fact. So between the fact that your body is trying to figure out this new regiment and the fact that you may be detoxing from an unhealthy diet, you may initially feel tired, irritable, and down and out.

This is also accompanied by the fact that you are now physically working hard. When you begin exercise you are physically sore but you also are opening a way for your emotions to find an outlet. There is something about sweating that opens up some of the "stuff" we have been bottling up in our life. It is not unusual during or after a work out to feel emotional. Its OK, this is a time to get some of this "stuff" out and this is a healthy way to do it! This may last for a week or two before you feel better and you may see this same pattern each time you increase your exercise or make a new change in your diet. Hang in there all this doesn't last forever and you will find that if you keep a healthy diet and exercise that you will be happier and have more energy than ever before, but for some you will need to work through this. DO NOT GIVE UP!!!! You can do this, as I said in an earlier post, you will have step outside your comfort zone but when you do you will be heading in the right direction!

Till next time.... Travis

Friday, January 14, 2011

We Have a Winner!!!

Ok everyone we have a winner, no wait make that 2 winners! Yes I have decided to give away 2 copies of the book. The winners are...... Amber and Crystal R! I'll wait for the confetti to subside................. Now I need for these people 2 individuals to email me a place I can mail their copy of the "The Maker's Diet For Weight Loss." Email I didn’t want any of the rest of you to turn up empty handed so here is the consolation prize. Below you will find a great recipe for a Raw Berry Crisp this comes via our friends at Whole Foods Market. You will notice it’s not extremely low in calories. Its dessert people!!! Enjoy it in its proper serving :) It is made with nutritious ingredients and is gluten free!

Serves 8
Rich nuts and sweet dates make a tasty topping for mixed berries in this no-cook version of berry crisp.

6 cups mixed berries, such as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and sliced strawberries
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup, more or less to taste depending on sweetness of berries
1 cup raw pecans
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1/2 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a (7- x 11-inch) dish, toss berries with maple syrup. Put pecans, walnuts, dates and cinnamon into a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Scatter nut mixture over berries and serve immediately, or chill until ready to serve.

Per serving (about 5oz/146g-wt.): 240 calories (140 from fat), 16g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 0mg sodium, 25g total carbohydrate (8g dietary fiber, 16g sugar), 5g protein

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Easy as 123

OK here we are in 2011. You made it through the weekend so how are those resolutions going? Maybe you had a few hiccups.. no big deal. You are so much more than one day, besides your goals will not be made or lost in the work of one day or weekend. The work you are beginning is about a change in the way you live!

I wanted to start the week off with another ingredient to being successful in your wellness goals. That ingredient is: Consistency. I eluded to this in the last post when I talked about the importance of accountability. Whether it is your menu choices or your exercise plan you have to develop some regularity to be successful. Human nature is that we are creatures of habit, so your goal is to develop some healthy habits and the way that you do that is to commit yourself to a diet and exercise routine and keep on schedule. The first step is to be reasonable. If you are starting an exercise plan or restarting a plan, set attainable goals. Maybe it is to walk outside or on the treadmill 3 times a week. I promise as you make progress and feel better you will want to increase your exercise because you are seeing results. Start slow and start with a plan that you can keep on schedule. This applies for your food choices as well. Develop a food plan that you can live by. Remember this is a change not a one shot diet! Lets stop the all soup for a week, watermelon the next week, and then eat fried chicken for 4 days straight diet :) !

One of the changes that I made in my eating choices was to go clean and organic. This has made a big difference for me. I would say that I eat about 80-90% organic. There are many reasons for this and I will dedicate a later post to the benefits of organic. That's just one example of how I changed my food choice that was not all about losing weight. So develop consistency within your eating. Maybe there is someone who works at your local gym who can guide you on some positive food choices. Health care systems have dietitians and you can schedule an appointment with the dietitian through your physician or in some cases calling yourself. Of course I will be providing my 2 cents worth here as well from time to time. The issue is develop consistency in your eating choices. If you need help with the exercise plan schedule an appointment with a trainer at your local gym. Any exercise is better than no exercise so just get moving. Remember consistency is your friend and will help you attain your goals.

Till next time... Travis