Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Food Experiment on the Real Cost of Celebrating

If you are gaining a little weight every year and you are not sure why, I think this post will help you. You will realize what a difference a day can make.

I did a little food experiment this past Easter Sunday.  Since losing 60 pounds over the last few years, I have been doing very well at keeping that weight off. So, I decided I would “treat” myself to one ‘bad’ day and enjoy my Easter the old school way - with TONS of food and candy.

I tweeted that I was going to eat ‘bad’, but would own my decisions by tracking every calorie in Myfitnesspal.  That Tweet received a lot of re-tweets and comments.  One person even asked me if I would tweet the final tally at the end of the day.  As a non-calorie counter he was curious to learn the final results. 

Then this got me thinking…Maybe I shouldn't go old school crazy.  I could go "new school" crazy. Allow myself a bad day, but reign it in a little bit with some healthier food choices and exercise.  Then see how big of a difference it would be between the two. Could I still feel like I celebrated  being moderately bad instead of no holds barred bad? And so my experiment began.  I would track everything I ate as I enjoyed my Easter day.

As a side note, I track NET calories (total calories eaten – calories burned through exercise).  My normal goal is to consume 1,740 net calories a day (to lose a little weight) vs. 1,940 net calories a day (to maintain my current weight).

So this is what my Easter day looked like:

I had a 2-course breakfast, consisting of a toaster tart (frosted strawberry with sprinkles, YUMMY!!) which was 200 calories. Then I went for a walk.  When I returned from my walk, I indulged myself with a homemade Easter cookie dipped in coffee, which was 230 calories.

I did very well on lunch! I made lots of healthy decisions here, with a low-calorie ham and pickle sandwich on small, thin, low-calorie bread. And rather than chips, I ate blackberries and grapes. The total count for the entire lunch was 317 calories!!!!

I was a naughty boy! I decided it’s Easter; no way I would skimp on dinner. My mother-in-law made lamb pasta, just because she knows I love it.  In addition to the pasta, I had some honey ham, a salad (just to be healthy) and even drank a can of Pepsi. All-in-all a total of 1372 CALORIES!!!!!!

I also ate snacks throughout the day:
  • Homemade cookie dipped in a little red wine (you know you want one) -- 285 cal
  • Texas sheet cake (one piece) -- 235 cal
  • 22 jelly beans (yes - I counted every jelly bean I ate) --118 cal
  • 1 chocolate chip cookie --130 cal
  • 11 mini Cadbury candy coated chocolate eggs --174 cal

Before you take your shoes off to try and total up all the snacks, let me help you - IT WAS 942 CALORIES!!

Now, I did take a 5-mile walk between my breakfast courses and a 3-mile walk before dinner, which burned 415 & 276 calories respectively.

My total count for the day: 3,061 calories in – 691 calories burned = 2,370 NET CALORIES

Alright, I had a bad day. It was 430 calories more than I should have ate to maintain my weight.  However, the day could have definitely been worse. I would have normally eaten way more for lunch and A LOT more snacks. However, I only took 3-4 jelly beans and 1or 2 chocolate eggs at a time. In the past, I would have taken them by the handfuls. 

This Easter was one of the few times that I only 1 piece of Texas sheet cake, which led my mom to believe I was not feeling well.

In the past, I would have never exercised on Easter.  So, if I would have eaten a normal lunch, had handfuls of candy instead of a few pieces at a time, and ate more cake, my day would have been very different.  It would have added at least 1,020 calories to my day.

So, my previous Easter holidays would have looked like this:

4,081 calories eaten (this is a low ball) – ZERO burned = 4,081 NET CALORIES. That would be 2,141 more than I should have consumed to maintain my weight.

So what does all this mean?  Well one of the many things I learned from my friend Dr. Sherry Pagoto is that 3,500 calories equals to 1 pound, so a deviation of +3,500 will lead you to gain 1 pound. Therefore, if I had 10 days of celebration each year with 430 extra calories (like I did at Easter), I would gain 1.23 pounds every year – all due to those 10 days. 

If I had 10 days like I used to have (with an extra 2,141 calories) I would gain 6.12 pounds EVERY YEAR JUST FROM THOSE 10 DAYS!!

how long do I have to stay on this thing to burn 2,141 calories!!
You always hear about people putting on 5+ pounds every year as they get older.  Could it just be from overindulging 10 days a year? Hmmmm…. is it that simple? A fancy night out at a high end restaurant, birthdays, holidays, etc. It’s easy to over do it on just 10 days a year.

Without over-doing it, I still enjoyed my Easter and with a little more exercise this week, I can make up for the extra 430 calories I ate.  It would be very difficult to correct a day with an extra 2,141 calories. All the exercise I would have to do to burn those extra calories would never be worth that one day of fun. The price you pay for a day like that is just too high.

So the next time you are out or celebrating at home, try to plan your day and make some healthy decisions. It could be the difference of gaining 1 pound or over 6 pounds for the year.  Just think about it - with 10 bad days a year, in just 4 short years, you could be 24 pounds heaver than you are now.  Trust me I did it!! But I will never do it again!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

#Marathonaweek- It's all the Rage

It’s new.  It’s all the rage.  Everyone is talking about #marathonaweek!! Well maybe not, since I just started it, but they could be.  Let me start off by saying I’m not a super runner, I only recently started thinking of myself as a runner.  I have yet to run a full marathon and have only done one half marathon to date.  I really only started to truly run over the last few years.  So the thought of running a marathon a week seems crazy, right?

Let me clarify. You don’t run the 26.2 miles in one day, you take the 7 days to spread it out.  You could run 4 miles a day for 4 days and 5 miles a day for 2 days and take a day off, or run 13.1 miles on 2 days, or 6.55 miles on 4 days, or.. You get the idea, I could probably come up with at least 2 more combinations, but you decide how you want to do it each week. Have fun with it. I have the week start with Monday and end on Sunday, this way if you are falling behind you have the entire weekend to catch up

I started doing this over the summer by accident (most my great ideas are accidents).  I was on the phone with @drsherrypagoto (my running buddy) going over our mileage for the week and she said, you know, we have ran over a marathon every week for the past 4 weeks!  After that I made it a goal to continue to do it every week.  I was doing well for a while but with the holidays, and the weather getting colder, people seem less motivated to stay on track and I’m no different.  That’s why I loved Runners World #rwrunstreak and my (shameless plug) #loseapound. So I told Sherry we need to get back on track and do our 26.2+ a week.  She agreed.  We even got her sister (@ptrunningmomof4 another running buddy) to commit as well.

If there is one thing I have learned this year by co-founding #plankaday (another shamless plug, sheeesh how many more is this guy going to put in here!) it’s that misery loves company and there are a lot of crazy, healthy runners on Twitter.  So come on and join us on #marathonaweek! All you have to do is tweet your progress a few times during the week “just did a 5 mile run. 17 miles total towards #marathonaweek!” and once on Monday to give your final results “28 miles total for my #marathonaweek!” or “only did 18 miles for my #marathonaweek :( Ill get it this week” You get the idea, again have fun with it..  SO if you want to join the fun, tweet me at @mbfgmike and I’ll add you to my #marathonaweek list. Follow the list, read the #marathonaweek stream, and help encourage and motivate one another to keep up with our running!!  Oh and one last shameless plug.  If you want to read about my running, and who wouldn’t, you can read an interview another running buddy of mine  (@whohastheruns) did on me here

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Is It Possible To Be A Jackass & A Good Person At The Same Time?

OK, can you be a jackass and a good person at the same time? I think so, as long as you keep the good person in mind and have fun with the jackass part. I like to think of myself as a good person, and I know I’m a jackass (people tell me all the time, so it must be true).

So first, lets look at what it is to be a good person. Let’s face it, there is much less of them around than jackasses. 

I think a good person is someone who follows these simple rules:
  1. Treat people as you would like to be treated.
  2.  Listen to people, you have 2 ears and one mouth, use them proportionately.
  3. DON”T go into a conversation with a predetermined thought to say, and force it in whether it fits or not. THAT’S annoying jackass (hey, if you brag you got the jackass down).
  4. Truly care about your friends. That means be happy for their successes not jealous. It also means be courteous of what is important to them even if it’s not to you
  5. DON’T BRAG, no one likes it, and it's usually used in a way to make yourself look better and put others down.  If you want to do that, do it in a more creative way. I mean you have a brain, use it fool
  6. BE PATIENT!! I can’t stress this enough. This will help you cope with almost anything; letting someone vent, letting a disagreement go, or lessening the effect of a bad situation, ect.
  7. Let someone win an argument when its important to them, and not so important to you.
  8. ALWAYS try to see things from other people’s point of view. Also, sincerely acknowledge their point of view before disagreeing with it.
  9. HELP!! When you see someone needs help, help them!!! (My God what’s wrong with you? Help people damn-it)
  10. Before doing something negative ask yourself what you want to accomplish (the end game) and act accordingly
That’s it.  If you follow these rules, you will be a good person whether you like it or not.  And the good news?  If you play your cards right, it will also let you be a jackass.  You will be able to say to someone “you know today’s not your best look”.  If you see a situation where people are arguing, you can jump in and say something completely rude and they will laugh and you will have diffused the situation.  You will even have the ability to say things that are completely political incorrect, and people wont get their panties in a bunch.  Like I said earlier, I’d like to think of myself, as a good person, and I know I’m a jackass too, a good one at that.  It’s like my mom always said, “It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you’re good at it.  If your going to be a garbage man, be the best garbage man you can be.” Well Mom, I hope you’re proud, because I’m the best jackass I can be.  I even have people tell me “you’re such a jackass, I can’t believe you get away with it” or “If I said that, I would get punched in the face, But they smile at you instead.” Well you see grasshopper, if people know you’re a good person and truly care, you can get away with stuff because everyone knows its coming from a place without mean intent.  That’s what it’s all about.   People can sense when there is intent of malice or intent to be honest and helpful.  You can: say things that are bold, call people names, make fun of them, disagree to an extreme and if they think your intent is not from an evil place, it will be accepted.  If you truly live your life as a good person (see above rules), you can be a sarcastic jackass and people will just say, “ I love that guy”(or girl) and thank you for being you.
Good luck and try not to get punched in the face.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Guide to Losing a Pound During the Holidays

This post was originally done in 2011.  It was such a success in helping others and myself over the holiday season. Every year I come back to follow and promote it.

I (mbfgmike) was tweeting with Jule_E and purelynumbers, and we decided to start the #loseapound hashtag on Twitter. We say this year is going to be different!  We will not go into 2012 with an extra 4-5 pounds of “winter weight” courtesy of Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Years.  I hate spending the first few months of a year trying to get back to my pre-Thanksgiving weight.  So, our plan is to LOSE at least one pound between now and Jan 1st, and we want you all to join us.  How to lose a pound during the holidays you ask? Well I'm no expert.  Everything I have learned about diet and weight loss has come from other people.  Some stuff has worked for me, and some has not. I will share my plan, which is based on what has worked for me in the past.  If there are things that work better for you, I would love to hear about them.

 First, I will look at what I know will happen. I will over-eat at Thanksgiving, Christmas dinner will be tragic, and my family has 2 heart-clogging, yummy, calorie-packed breakfasts (one is the weekend before Christmas). Then, there’s New Years dinner and Drinks,  Forget about it.  I’m doomed!! How am I going to lose weight during all of this? Crap, let’s not forget all the leftovers I HAVE to eat. Ok, this might be tougher than I thought.  I need help. I need a plan. I might need bigger pants after all that food too. Is there a way to eat all of this, enjoy the holidays, and lose weight? Maybe I can make some little changes on the bad days, and bigger changes on the rest of the days to hit my goal.

I will over-eat on Thanksgiving, I know that will be the case, I’m weak, and will cave.  So knowing that, I will also make some good decisions. I will try to over-eat some things that are better for me. Maybe a piece of fruit, instead of an extra piece of pie.  Ill put more veggies on my FIRST dinner plate, than potatoes and stuffing.  Dare I say even use less gravy than normal?  This may not seem like much, but doing these few things could easily save me 700 calories. Holy Crap - that’s more calories than I normally eat for lunch or breakfast!!!  Doing similar things on the other holidays will also help out tremendously. When going out and having drinks, I’ll stick to light beer or Guiness (that only has 112 calories), use club soda as a mixer instead of tonic or fruit juice, or just order a good whisky “neat” and a glass of water. Every one of these decisions will save me calories and help with my mission.

Ok, now we have step 1 make good significant decisions on the bad days.  I think we need 3 more steps to follow. More than 4 would complicate things and less than 4 won’t seem like it would be enough to help accomplish such a big task.  So now I will make up 3 more steps so it seems more official.
Step 2 will be keeping track of your food.  I find that if you’re more conscious of what you shove down your gullet, the less you shovel in.  This is just another way of saying count your calories. I use Myfitnesspal for this, it has a great database of foods, and it keeps track of net calories (calories in –calories burned).   That’s a great tie into step 3: Exercise!! Yep that’s right, it needs to be done. Jule_E says try for at least 3 times a week, but if your eating more, you need to exercise more. It’s that simple. Again, I find that Myfitnesspal works great for this. Now for step 4: Use Twitter. This challenge was created because of a conversation on twitter, and it is a great positive forum to rely on each other to accomplish the goal. When you make a goal public and report in when doing good and when struggling it helps keep it on the forefront of your mind. Twitter also helps us to motivate each other, and pick up one another when we fall.  It makes it more fun when you have a group, and that helps to stick with it.  So we want you to tweet that you’re going to join us using the #loseapound hastag so we know you’re on board.  Then continue to use the hashtag as you report in (try to at least 3 times a week).   You can search the hashtag to read the stream and comment on everyone's progress.  If you’re not on twitter, leave me a comment and ill try to find you on Facebook and we can report in that way, or continue to use the comment section of this post for your reports.

So to recap, we want to lose at least a pound between now and Jan 1st and will do so by following 4 simple steps:

1) Make good significant decisions on the bad days
2) Keeping track of your food
3) Exercise!!
4) Use twitter (#loseapound)
Let’s all have fun and start tweeting!!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Candy, an Epidemic in Overindulgence

Unlike most people, I love candy, any kind of candy: Chocolate, gummies, hard candies, chocolate-covered hard candies with a gummy inside. You get the idea.  I could keep eating till I explode; it’s hard for me to have self-control. I figure I’m alone by what I see all around me.  I see candy dishes in people’s offices with candy in it (if it were my office, it would be empty!).  I see people in the line at the store NOT buying a candy bar that’s right there in front of their face.  I have even noticed once a year on October 31st everyone is giving their candy away to strangers who stop by; the problem is that the kids come home with as much as you gave away! Don’t get me started on the leftovers!

Ok so if you’re like me, how do you control yourself?  I have found that resetting the candy clock back to zero helps.  You see, at first, 12 M&M’s might be enough to fix the craving.  Next week it will take 24, then an entire bag, then a ½ pound!! UGGHH make it stop!  I find that stopping cold turkey for just a week or so is extremely helpful.  It resets the candy clock; 12 M&M’s will be enough.  No need to eat a bag of cherry cordials, 2 will do it.  No need to eat 20 mini Heath bars… (well ok, maybe still eat 20 Heath bars, their sooooo damn good! JUST KIDDING!)  Trust me this works! I have reset my candy clock every time I start getting out of hand, and it really does help.

I started going #candyfree publicly on Twitter, and have gotten a few people to join in and help give moral support. I have found that Twitter is a great place to get support for any type of healthy behavior.  #Candyfree started with me (@mbfgmike), @jaimejean478 @jrlemons ,and @mygolfclubs. We wanted to go into Halloween #candyfree, and we all did a pretty good job of doing just that.  For me I ate the least amount of candy I can remember on Halloween, all thanks to my resetting of the candy clock.  We also tweet our good and bad days to each other, and have started using the #candyfree hashtag.  Since then, a few more have joined in, and we are working on a #candyfree November.  Hopefully all the Halloween candy will be gone by then.  So if you want to reset your candy clock, tweet me, and make your vow public.  Do it for a week, a month or more, and I will support you to accomplish your goal.  I have also started a #candyfree list on Twitter that I’ll add you to and you can follow.  I also suggest searching the #candyfree hashtag to read the stream and join in the fun.  Halloween is already more than a week in the rearview mirror, and I know there is plenty of that yummy goodness laying around, so this is a perfect time to go #candyfree and reset your candy clock! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ideas to make your #plankaday minute more fun

For those of you in #plankaday you know how much fun we have made AB workouts. Thanks to all the #plankaday’ers, @drsherrypagoto and I (@mbfgmike) have had more fun then we ever thought we would when we started this.  For those of you who are not part of #plankaday, what the hell are you waiting for; Plank, tweet, repeat. (learn about it here:   Plank A Day Revolution

 I have built up to doing one-minute planks (trying for 3 a day).  I know it sounds easy, but man that is the longest minute of the day, and the last 15 seconds seems like an hour! What is needed is something to keep your mind occupied.  I used to use music, but lately there have been some fun ideas to keep your mind off the pain.  I challenge all our #plankaday’ers to jump in and give them a try.  Your first two fun assignments are to see how many NFL teams you can name while planking, and how many 80’s sitcoms you can name while planking.  Sound easy? You will be surprised, as your brain freezes, while you try to think and plank at the same time (not quite as easy as thinking and chewing gum).  I’m a major NFL fan, and did a horrible job my first try.

 If you need a little inspiration take a look at @purelynumbers , @realDMK @and_she_tweets  @coachKristieLV  & @ needsexample they have all had fun with this.  Lori (@purelynumbers) was able to name 20 NFL teams, and 15 80’s sitcoms.  So not only does she have the record for most Penalty planks, but I think she has the lead on these two little tasks.

The side effect of having all this fun, is that in an effort to name more, you start to extend you planking time without even knowing it. I ended up extending one plank by 30 seconds while trying to name the NFL teams.  So come on all you plankers, give it a try and report back via #plankaday tweet.  And if you have any other fun ideas please let me know.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mike's Daily Motivation

For those of you who follow me on Twitter (mbfgmike) you know I write daily motivations from a different point of view.  I find that overstating the obvious makes me feel better about the things around me that piss me off.  I also try to accept and laugh at the failures that happen around us all day. We usually don’t focus on the failures, we tend to only focus on success, yet there is so much more to learn from failure. It can stop us from repeating the same mistakes. I always say I would rather learn from someone else’s mistake than make the mistake myself.  I have had some followers tell me about the things that piss them off through-out the day and that has helped inspire a lot of my motivational sayings.  I find that by making fun of and venting about the incredibly stupid things people do around us on a daily basis makes it a little more tolerable to deal with.  I mean if we can’t laugh at and learn from the idiots around us, what’s the point of having them around? The response I have gotten shows it’s therapeutic for many.  So if there is something or someone driving you insane tell me about it.  I’ll reduce it to 140 characters and tweet it.  Trust me it will make you feel better.  So reply to this post or email me at and I will help make your pain go away.  Here is a list of a few motivations inspired by people like you.

Every problem has a solution, don't get frustrated because you’re too stupid to solve yours.

Kindness is like knowledge, too much will irritate people, and possibly get you punched in the face.

Be brave, take risks, if it goes bad you can always find someone to blame.

As the world changes around you, stay rigid and watch the world pass you by. Then you will have nothing left to worry about.

Use the words nice, attractive, & love more often than nasty, ugly, & hate, this way it will mean more when you say I hate your nasty ugly face.

Today's moments are tomorrow's memories until you become senile and forget everything. So really what's the point?

Try not to be an average person because the average person is stone stupid.

If you feel like you’re not as productive as others in your office, go bother them in their office. Then you both will be out of a job.

If you think people dislike you, there's a good chance it's not all in your head. After all you can be an ass!

If you don't have anything nice to say, keep your mouth shut & send an email, that will never backfire.

Today may be your lucky day, but I doubt it, chances are you already wasted your lucky day on something stupid

When punched, punch back 10 times harder. When loved, love back 10 fold. In either case you will be teaching a valuable lesson

You want motivation to work hard, look at your mortgage statement jackass!!

You aren't alone, plenty of people make a career out of being a complete idiot.

Trust in your abilities. You might as well, no one else does. Then on the off chance you're right you can stick it in-their-face

When someone helps you out, pretend it never happened. Otherwise you'll have to return the favor (time consuming)

Relax, coffee in hand, dew on the grass, birds chirping, mornings are good because you haven't had time to screw up the day yet.