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I made a decision exactly 1000 days ago today. It’s really not anything special, and tons of other people have made this decision, and so much more. But it was a decision to take back the health I had let slip through my fingers for so many years.

I’ve posted about this enough over the last nearly 3 years. The truth is I’ve been
“in shape” at this point for more of those 1000 days than not. I don’t even really remember what it was like to be 50 lbs overweight anymore. I don’t remember what it was like to not be able to run a 5K whenever I want, or test for my 2nd degree black belt a couple of weeks ago.

The picture on the right is who I am now. It’s who I used to be, but had forgotten. I’m thankful for some of the health scares I had that woke me up. Even though they had nothing to do with being out of shape (viruses, appendicitis, etc…), they still made me aware of how frail we all are, and that, while I may not be able to control whether I get hit by a bus or something else, there are many things I CAN control with my health. Not only myself, but my family deserves that I do all I can do to be healthfully here for as long as I possibly can.

I have nothing to sell you except hope. I’ve used no special diet (I hate that word. I prefer “nutrition plan”), I’ve used no pyramid scheme or shake or supplement. I’ve simply made a daily commitment to my nutrition and exercise plan. Daily. 1000 of them in a row, in fact.

If you find yourself in the place I was 1000 days ago, I simply urge you to start. Be reasonable with your nutrition plan. The 8oz. cheeseburger I ate tonight was fabulous, and I don’t sweat eating it one bit. I wouldn’t have had a problem eating it while I was getting in shape, either.

Those who deprive themselves of foods they enjoy on a regular basis will find themselves overindulging in moments of weakness. Those who are unrealistic in their exercise goals will injure themselves and slip back into a sedentary lifestyle. Those who have milestones in their minds that are not reasonable will find themselves discouraged and giving up before any real breakthrough happens.

You CAN do this! You GOT this! It’s up to YOU!

Just start! And, if you stumble, it’s okay! I don’t care whether you use MyFitnessPal, some other app, or just pen and paper, log everything you eat, and log every exercise you do DAILY, with a knowledge of what it will take to meet your goals, and it WILL work for you.

It WILL!!!!!!

Go get your health!

-BB

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 Wow… Wow… WOW!!!!!

I began my lifelong journey of physical fitness exactly 365 days ago today. Today, as I type this out, I am 50 lbs. less of a man than I was 1 year ago!

Along the way, I’ve picked up some partners in phyiscal fitness… some who are beginning their own journey, and some who simply inspire me on mine, thanks to their level of commitment and accomplishment in their personal training. The partner I’m most happy about joining me is my wife! She has recently renewed her commitment, and has frankly been knocking the cover off the ball! I’m so proud of you baby!

I am so thankful for those who have encouraged me and joined me along the way. We all need accountability and encouragement. Especially me!

If you follow me on various social media accounts, you’ve probably grown weary of hashtags from me like #KeepPushing, #NextLevel, #Phase2 or other terms. These have been more for my own personal accountability to the journey than anything else. For those of you who are annoyed, well, I guess I’m sorry? For those of you who have been encouraged, believe me, many of you are an encouragement to me as well!

I have been in maintenance mode on my weight for several months now, and I’ve added strength training to my regimen. It started out as all cardio and food logging, and then I added the strength training once I was about 80% of my 50 lb. goal on weight loss. That’s when #Phase2 began, sometime in January. 


From here on out, I’ll post about it less on social media, but now, #Phase3 begins, which is simply the ongoing commitment to personal fitness.

This is about taking care of the body God has given me, and it’s about setting a great example for my family.

Folks, if I can do this, I really mean it… anyone can!

You DON’T need a gym membership (although we have since joined one), and you DON’T need to buy into some supplemental company’s pyramid scheme from your friends on facebook and twitter. If those will help you, great. I’m sure some of the products out their are legit, but NOTHING, not a personal trainer, not a shake, not a diet plan, or anything else will work until YOU decide to make a DAILY COMMITMENT to YOUR health.

I’m a big believer that you have to log every single piece of food you eat, even if you do it on a pad of paper, and you have to log every single exercise you do… and you HAVE to do it EVERY DAY.

Even on the days when you exceed your calorie goal. Really, it’s okay. It’s just accountability. Whether you CHOOSE to exceed or it genuinely happens by accident, log every salad, every piece of chicken, every hot dog and ice cream sammich. Log it all… every time. That way, you know where you’re at.

Oh, and you have to be honest about how much you’ve eaten and exercised. If anything, overestimate how many calories you’ve eaten, and underestimate the calories you’ve burned, because it’s WAY easier than you think to do the exact opposite and completely torpedo all of your efforts.

I have not been on a diet. I’ve eaten anything I want, but by logging, it makes me aware of where I’m at during the day. Most days, I log as soon as I eat or exercise, so that I know what I have left for the day. And, there have certainly been days that I decided to go run another mile or so, because I knew what I was going to be having for dinner that night 😉

I never have a “cheat day.” Rather, I just log what I eat, and stay accountable. Most days, I’m right around my calorie goal… some days, I’m not. I’m ok with it either way, and the accountability just keeps me on track.

In terms of exercise, folks, I literally started out with just walking. That’s it. I gradually added some jogging, cycling in the basement, and other things along the way. Walking will absolutely get the job done on calorie burn though… you just have to be willing to log several miles per week. The weight loss is really more about eating less calories than you expend, so if you’re willing to cut back on food enough, you can actually lose all the weight you want without ever taking a single, solitary step on exercise. The exercise just gives you some cushion on what you  can eat, and will help accelerate your weight loss.

Your weight loss will not be linear. It may look, according to that screenshot above, that I always lost weight. NOT TRUE! I only logged my weight on the days that I actually DID LOSE weight. On the days I gained back a pound or two, I just didn’t log those (I still logged my food and exercise every day though.) And, although I did weigh myself daily (and still do probably 3-4 times per week) I didn’t really worry whether one day was up or down…

Rather, I trusted the process. Trust the process of burning more than you eat, and YOU WILL lose weight, too. It’s just a mathematical fact for probably 99% of the population. It’s not your age, gender, this fad or that… Trust the process, and don’t look for a shortcut.

I’ve tried shortcuts… believe me… I know how tempting it can be when you’re desperate and without hope. The fact is,  there is hope… Day by day. Make the decision each day, and if you have a “bad” day (I’ve had PLENTY over the past year) just get back up again the next day and keep on logging. Every. Single. Day. Before you know it, 365 days will have passed, and you might see something like this. Check out a few before and afters:

Before:  

    
    

And now, AFTER!!!!!!!!!!

  
    

Guys and gals, I’m not selling a single, solitary thing here, except hard work, and personal commitment. Find your “why” for doing it, set short-term, achievable and realistic goals, and just keep building. Don’t even focus on the long-term goals at the outset. Just day by day. After you establish a pattern and habit of making it happen, say 6 to 8 weeks in, then you can start setting some mid-range goals, and then after, say, 6 months, it’s time to look longer term.

And log EVERY SINGLE THING YOU EAT. EVERY. SINGLE DAY.

And, log EVERY. SINGLE. WORKOUT.

Keep Pushing, my friends. Just keep pushing!

Blessings,

-BB

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The kiddos have been asking about getting baptized. What a fun topic to discuss with a bunch of 7 year old children! I mean that both seriously and sarcastically, of course. The rabbit trails inherent with any conversation with just one 7 year old, let alone four of them can be challenging in itself, not even mentioning so deep a topic as baptism! 🙂

Yesterday, since we couldn’t get to church with the icy roads, we decided to “do church” at home, and this seemed as good a time as any to begin the conversation.

My wife and I began studying the topic with them from the Scriptures, but we did not use baptism as a starting point. Rather, we began in the Old Testament, studying the initial perfection of Creation, the subsequent Fall in Eden, and the sacrificial system set up after that. We spent time in Hebrews and Leviticus studying the necessity of blood for the forgiveness of sins.

We talked about the transition from the Old Law and the repeated sacrifices by the High Priest that could never really forgive sin, but rather pay for them for a time until Christ became our Great High Priest and gave the Once For All sacrifice through His blood on the Cross. How through one man (Adam) came sin and death, but through Christ came life and forgiveness.

We discussed the fact that it was God who made both the first sacrifice (the killing of animals to clothe the nakedness of Adam and Eve) and the final sacrifice (Christ’s death on the cross to finally and completely cover our sins).

We didn’t even really get into baptism. We just talked about this foundational theology. Sounds like a lot for some 7 year olds to grab onto, doesn’t it?

I didn’t have high expectations of retention for them at this point, but I quizzed them at the end of our study, and then again last night before we went to bed. I mean, I hit them with some pretty deep stuff. There’s no way they could retain all that, right?

WRONG…

I kept on nailing them, and even threw in a couple of questions I hadn’t really gone too in-depth with them on during our study just to see how they’d answer, and I’m telling you, with every question, they knocked it out of the park!

Our kids are smart…

Or, maybe this stuff just isn’t as hard to understand as I seem to think it should be for a 7 year old.

Either way, we’re pretty proud parents. We always knew they were smart kids, but good grief!

Next up, we’ll talk about grace, faith, works, and how all that plays with baptism, salvation, etc… You know: “What really saves us?” “Is baptism a work or a response of faith?” stuff like that…

It will be interesting to see how they process all that for sure…

Blessings,

-BB

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Back in July, I posted about the beginning of a new, healthier lifestyle (tied in with a spiel on setting goals) I was embarking on. Within minutes, I was bombarded with offers from well-meaning friends about the latest and greatest supplement they were taking that was changing their lives and guaranteed to change mine too. Man, these were some seriously awesome products being pitched at me, with phenomenal reports of results!

I don’t begrudge any of these friends offering me their products… I’m sure they have had their lives changed, and are healthier because of their belief and buy-in of those products. However, having started out at the end of July weighing in at 225 lbs on a 6’0 frame and BARELY able to WALK, much less RUN a mile to, at the middle of November, weighing in at 194 lbs (still not to my target, but getting there rapidly) and regularly jogging north of 4 miles at a time, with a personal best distance of more than 7 miles, I’ve found the secret to fitness and weight loss that puts all others to shame. Guys, this will change your life, and make you healthier than you could EVER imagine!

It will make you drop pounds and increase your fitness and cardiovascular profile by leaps and bounds in as little as 3 1/2 months, and make all your friends ask what the heck you’re doing to get so fit!

What’s more, I eat whatever I want. Wanna know where I’ve eaten? Try this list: Wendy’s, Culvers, Chipotle, Chick-Fil-A, McDonald’s, D’Arcy’s Pint (the 2000 calorie horseshoe), Chinese Buffets and all you can eat Walleye at Top Cat’s in Springfield…

At home, I’ve eaten spaghetti, ziti, lasagna, steak, and burgers…

I’ve had Red-Velvet cake, I’ve had beer and wine. I even pigged out at the Signature Chef’s Auction for the March of Dimes last week.

All that, and in around 3 1/2 months I’ve lost over 30 pounds!

Are you ready for the answer? Just keep scrolling down, because I’m about to give you the secret to changing your life!

Hard work.

Yup, that’s it. Hard work…

I haven’t taken a supplement, shake, or pill from one of these multi-level marketing brands this whole time. In full disclosure, I did purchase a soy-based protein powder that I usually mix with skim milk for my breakfast (and, oh my gosh, it has REAL SUGAR in it! For shame!) and I do take a glucosamine supplement to help with my aging knees. I buy them both at Wal-Mart, folks… Wal-Mart… Doesn’t cost a whole lot.

Also, I religiously log every single calorie, every single day on MyFitnessPal. I religiously log every workout of every kind on MapMyFitness, which then ports those burned calories over to MyFitnessPal so that I have a reasonably accurate count of how many calories I’ve consumed and burned.

In short, it keeps it in front of me. There are days that my Net Calories Consumed exceeds my goal of roughly 2080 to lose 1 lb per week, but more days than not, I come in well under (which explains the more than 1 lb./week average, of course.)

It causes me to think about what I’m eating, and when I’m eating it. If I know I’m going to be pigging out of an evening, I just scale back more during the day… or perhaps I run a little more to help buffer the calories… whatever it takes. It causes me to stay on top of things.

I basically just don’t eat as much of the things I’ve always eaten… And I exercise a WHOLE lot more. Weight loss really is a matter of simple math, no matter what anyone tells you. You have to burn more than you eat. If you don’t do that, you will never lose weight.

I could barely walk much of the time when I started out at the end of a run. I won’t tell you I have no pain anymore, but I’ve built strength in the muscles surrounding my joints, and I’m getting less pain, not more, even though I’m doing more miles than ever.

As I approach my weight goal, I’m mentally preparing for what I view as “Phase 2” when I will still run and do cardio, but I may scale that back a bit to make more time for strength training. Phase 1 for me has been mostly about reducing weight and improving cardio.

The truth is I absolutely hated running before I started this, and I still hate each and every step. However, the immense satisfaction I have at the end of a run makes it worth every single step…

Hard work… yup, that’s the secret. The discipline to tell myself “no” on overeating, and the discipline to get up at 5am (or find time when I might want to do something else) to put in the miles on the pavement when I really don’t want to.

Hard work… I hope you guys will buy a ton of it!

It WILL change your LIFE!

-BB

P.S. First: A HUGE thank you to folks who have been encouraging me along the way! I still have a long way to go!

Second: This was not meant to slam anyone who has offered me their products… Please don’t take it that way. I’m just trying to make the point that it’s not so much a “system” you can buy your way into, as it is a decision to change your life. You can use whatever system you like. If the culture of your supplemental company helps you achieve your goals, I think that’s a great thing.

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I’m out of shape… WAY out of shape.

I used to be able to do all kinds of things “fit” people do. Now, I’m a plump, typical, 6’0 tall, 225 lbs. American who really needs to do something about it.

I also can’t remember the last time I ran one complete, consecutive mile without walking through part of it… It’s been a WHILE.

I’ll also soon be entering the last few years of my 30’s. I can feel the clock beginning to tick…

This past week, I decided enough is enough. No more excuses about my (legitimately) bad knees keeping me from running, or that there’s no time to exercise, or that eating health(ier) is just too difficult. So I started doing something…

I started walking.

On Monday, all I did was walk a mile. Tuesday, I mixed in some running (if you can call what I did “running”). Wednesday, I mixed in some more running. Thursday, my body told me I needed to pace myself a little bit and not run so much. Moments ago I just finished Friday’s walk/run. It may have been even harder to get through than Thursday was.

Something occurred to me as I was pushing for one last stretch of running hard this morning: I know that my “ideal” weight for my frame is somewhere around 180-190 lbs. That should be my goal, right? I mean, anything in there would be a HUGE improvement over where I am, right?

Then I realized I was wrong. Living a healthier lifestyle should be my goal. Let me explain:

Living a healthy lifestyle is not an end result. It is a series of habits, activities, and choices one develops and adheres to as a part of who he or she is. The end result of having better health (i.e. target weight, lower blood pressure, etc…) will naturally flow from that.

Am I saying I should never think about getting to that 180-190 lbs mark? Absolutely not! It’s something to strive for, to be sure.

However, whether your goal is for your company to reach $1,000,000 in sales for the first time (or $1,000,000,000 for that matter) or whether it is for your family to spend more time together doing meaningful things instead of watching TV, or for you and your spouse to spend more time in prayer together (another thing I need to do a better job leading in), I’d like to offer up for consideration that perhaps your daily focus is in the wrong place if you are focusing solely on that end result.

Once you know where you want to go, I submit that it is better to focus on the daily habits and activities that will get you to where you want to be. There are SO many things that can come up to get in the way of your ultimate end goal, that you ARE GOING to fall down, perhaps many times, en route to it.

Larry Bird didn’t become the greatest free-throw shooter in the history of basketball because he focused on the end goal… He focused on shooting more free-throws every morning before most people even wake up. Apple didn’t become the juggernaut it is because Steve Jobs focused on becoming the highest grossing tech company in history. No, he focused on making sure that DAILY, he and his team were focused on delivering the greatest customer experience possible.

I’m trying to keep this in mind as I think about where I am right now. I’m not looking to be the next American Ninja Warrior (right now, anyway). I’m not even focused on running a half-marathon. However, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted to focus on getting back down in that 180-190 lbs range.

But what I realized today is what my commitment must be. I am committing myself to stay focused on making better daily choices to lead me down the path to a healthier lifestyle. I will stumble – sometimes due to circumstance, and sometimes due to choice – but overall, I will get better at this day by day.

At some point, weighing 185 lbs (or becoming the next Ninja Warrior) will come.

In your personal, family, spiritual, community, and professional life, what are you focusing on? The end result, or the daily activities that get you where you want to be?

Both are important, but the latter is far greater than the former.

 

Blessings,

-BB

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