Thursday, January 2, 2014

Here is to a New Year!

       So as many of you know, I made some big health changes in 2013. I went from 360lbs to 225lbs. I am still working at my ultimate goal of weighing 190lbs. Sure there are times when it is tough, but I have been armed with knowledge! The folks at Take Shape For Life have helped me, and taught me how to view food differently. On my journey I became a health coach helping others discover Optimal Health and how to survive the holiday season. One comment I get a lot is, "Oh it has got to be tough." I tend to just smile and nod, sure it is a challenge, but Take Shape For Life really makes the planning of a meal day extremely easy! How easy is it? Take a look at the chart below.

       One thing people don't realize at first is that you will not be going to your favorite Coffee establishment any more. Well at least while you are on plan. You will not be going out to eat until you understand what a "Lean & Green" meal is. As a health coach I am here to guide you and give you the resources you need to start your journey to health. It is up to you to want it! You have to make the decision that you are worth investing in! Which leads me to the next comment I get often, "I wish I could afford it."

       When I was starting out looking for options, I was introduced to TSFL and my initial reaction was "Oh that costs too much!" As the months passed I was on my 3rd failed free diet plan and I was on my way back to weighing 400lbs, while the person who had introduced to Take Shape For Life was nearing 70lbs lost! I sat down and took a look at what was preventing me from affording TSFL. First thing on the list was our TV service. Did we like it? Sure we did, but did we need it to be healthy and survive? No we didn't, so we cut our TV service and hooked some rabbit ears up to our TV. Second on my list was my internet gaming services. Did I like it? You bet your pants I did! Was it promoting health in my life? No it wasn't. So I cut those. Half way there! What else needed to change? My vending machine habits. I spent close to $125.00 a month on soda and snacks!!! So that had to go. Then came our groceries. Since we did not have to buy much for me to eat any more, we were able to take that savings and put it towards me getting healthy. 

     Now is the best time to look at what you are doing, and how is it impacting your health and the health of those you love. Be honest with yourself. Evaluate the things you are spending your money on, and stop doing the things that prevent you from reaching your health goals. I don't know about you but sitting on the couch or at my computer never got me closer to my health goals.....or washboard ab's. You are worth the investment!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Don't go it alone!

     Wow has it been one year already?! Well I did say that I would post some pictures here of my progress. I am not however ready to post any silly shirtless pictures! Sorry ladies. I am not done yet but have come a very long way. When I started really thinking about losing weight I was at 420lbs. I may have been bigger at some point but I do not know for sure, lets just say I couldn't find a scale outside a doctor's office that could measure my weight. On my own I may have gotten down to 340lbs but last year at the Dr's office I was on my way back up weighing in at 360lbs. What I was doing on my own was just not working, and I was only 40lbs away from breaking the 400lbs mark..... Again. I needed help.

Andrew Schwab of Project 86 and me. — in Nashville, TN.
     I was just popping stuff in my mouth, not giving a care about calories or what it would do to my body. The picture I have to the right is of me and the front man for Project 86, Andrew Schwab. In this picture I was probably over 420lbs. Some of you know this about me, and some do not. I work in broadcasting, and like most office jobs I am stuck at a desk, meeting, or console for 8+ hours a day. One thing I would do is go through the office and raid candy jars that people put out to share and just munch on these snacks to help pass the time. When I look back at this I just shake my head. I did not see what I was doing to myself. People would buy me exercise books or video's for birthday's or Christmas. People would try talking to me about joining a gym or training to run. I did not want to talk about it and I wanted to get there on my own! Yes I am doing the face palm right now, because I would either shrug off the advice or just toss out the books and video's I was given. Looking back I really wish I still had some of those! What was my problem? In short food addiction. I did not want to admit that I had a problem. I love food, and at that time I really loved sitting down an destroying an entire can of cashews. That doctors visit last year was the tipping point. I needed help, and I should not be doing this alone.

I went from wearing a size 50 to a size 40 in under a year!
     My mom had been bugging me. She would call and say, "You really need to call my health coach with Take Shape For Life! The food is awesome and I think you would really enjoy talking to my coach." I would reply, "Yeah ma, I'm all set. Maybe some day." Did I mention she called me almost every day from when she started the program? What did I learn here? Even if you are 34 and have a family of your own you should still listen to your mother......Some times.....Ha! If you have been here since day one then you know that I am very happy with the results I have had with Take Shape For Life! The picture to the left is me after losing 114lbs in under a year! I started September 1, 2012 and this picture was taken end of July beginning of August 2013. My coach had been there. He was a guy who was overweight and was having strokes and other health complications. So we connected right off the bat. He guided me every step of the way and was available to me when ever I needed him for support. I started right before the holidays and with out his support I could not have done it! Finding a plan that works for you is part of the process, but admitting that you have a problem and getting a valid support system in place are the two most important steps you must take before going down this road. So if you are starting down your own road to weigh loss make sure these steps are taken first.

  1. Admit that you have a problem
  2. Make sure you have a valid and concrete support system. (I recommend a health coach from TSFL who has been in your shoes)
  3. Be committed to reaching your goal 100%
  4. Make a list of things you want to do at a healthy weight. Then do them!
  5. Have fun with it, and share your joy and success with others!
     As some of you already know I too have become a health coach with Take Shape For Life. If you would like to join me on this road to weight loss please feel free to schedule a time to chat with me. I have been there and can help you on your journey to a healthy you! Don't go it alone! Together we can rock this thing!

Peace and good vibes,


*Results vary. Typical weight loss on the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan® is 2-5 lbs per week for the first 2 weeks and 1-2 lbs per week thereafter.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

September 12th is National Discover Your Optimal Health Day!

     September 12th is National Discover Your Optimal Health Day! I have set some time aside to talk to any of you, one on one, who are interested in learning more about Take Shape For Life. 
I can make a phone call, or we can do FaceTime, Skype, I can even come to anyone who is within driving distance of me. This is a great time of year to learn how to eat healthy and not be hungry, and how to survive through the holiday season without destroying all of your hard work! Step one is connecting with a health coach who can help guide you along the way so that you may find your way to optimal health! Send me a message or give me a call and together we will discover the healthy you!

*Results vary. Typical weight loss on the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan® is 2-5 lbs per week for the first 2 weeks and 1-2 lbs per week thereafter.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Finding what inspires you.

     Everyone has that moment where they are hit with the reality that they need a goal and they need to reach it no matter what. For the past few weeks I have been thinking of my goal of getting down to 190lbs. Can I reach this goal, should I reach this goal? Well the answer is yes and YES! When you enter a race you sign up to finish! You don't get half way and say, "Well that's good enough." That coach inside you is screaming, "You can't stop now! There is much more in you and now is the time to give it all you've got and finish this thing!"
My buddy Greg after the Spartan Race.

     This past weekend my buddy Greg volunteered and ran in a Spartan race. In this same race there was a team with a few members who were multiple amputees. Below is a video of them completing one of the obstacles. I personally have never been faced with the type of challenge they are faced with, not just in the race but also this thing we call life. Watching them complete the challenges of that race and finish has inspired me to not just meet my weight goal but also continue to train so that I can complete one of those races! One thing to keep in mind is you must absolutely have a support system of people who will add giant amounts of positive support in your direction. Its hard at first but it is important to limit the amount of time you spend with people who say that you can't do something. If you have the mindset that you can and you have proper support then there is no doubt that you will!

     Now is the time to make some goals for yourself. Don't wait till New Years Eve to come up with a list. Make one now. What better time than now to get fit? Schedule an appointment with your Doctor and ask them what they think is a good plan of action for you. Have a list of programs with you and ask them their opinion on it. Last year I asked my Doctor about Take Shape For Life fueled by Medifast and he had nothing but positive things to say about the program and highly encouraged me to start on it, "ASAP!" So I did and you folks have been reading my blog ever since I started. This coming Sunday will be the 1 year mark for me and so far I have lost over 114lbs with Take Shape For Life.

     I know you can do it, no matter what path you pick! Just like you all I needed was that inspiration and a good dose of positive mojo. Just pick your head up, dust yourself off, and lets rock this thing!

All the best,


*Results vary. Typical weight loss on the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan® is 2-5 lbs per week for the first 2 weeks and 1-2 lbs per week thereafter.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Reaching those goals!

     When I first started out on this road to weight loss I was not too sure I would be able to do it. Sure I had some lofty goals, but in the beginning they seemed so distant and out of reach. Right now I am at 112lbs lost in under a year and have gone down 10 pants sizes! Oh did I mention that I just ran in a 5k event here in Maryland? Did I also mention that I ran the entire thing in under 38 minutes?!? My official time was 00:37:50.3 that is right, my fastest time ever! Last year on this date it was still sinking in that I was 360lbs and only 40lbs away from being 400lbs again. I knew I had to do something, and I could NOT afford not to!

     This past weekend was the River Valley Ranch 5k & 10k Trail Run. My friend Greg and I had set a goal last year of running the 5k race. I am looking forward to being able to do the 10k trail race next year. As we were finding our place at the starting line, with the 10min per mile group. We noticed a big guy come walking up getting in line behind our group. As he was walking past us we could not help but hear him complain about how far he had to walk from his car to the starting line. He went on about how his walk was basically 5k already. I really hope he was kidding because it was only a few hundred feet at best. I looked at Greg, shrugged and thought to my self, "I bet you $20 we do not see him cross the finnish line." Both Greg and I were watching for him but he never showed up again. Then it hit me. Last year that was us. Both Greg and myself could not walk up the stairs from my basement without getting winded. Now we are running or walking 5k several times a week, and Greg is training for a half marathon!

Greg and I before the race. Me on the left. Greg on the right.

We had just left the starting line!

     I know what you are thinking. Right now you are saying to yourself, "I have got to get out and start running!" Well sure you could do that, but what you should really do first is take a good hard look at what you are eating and drinking. This is why I went with Take Shape For Life fueled by Medifast. Yes just like any other health program there is a cost, but this is the only one where I saw awesome results personally. All of my meals are provided and measured for me by Medifast, and the only meals I have to make are my Lean and Green meals. I am not buying groceries for myself, I am not spending money to go out to eat. In fact we are saving money with this meal plan! I needed a program that forced me to start thinking about what I was eating and how much. I used to just love eating fried chicken, and now just the sight of it makes me sick. The old me would go to a KFC and order a 6 piece meal and 2 extra biscuits with a large rootbeer and potato wedges. The new me would slap that out of my hands and pull me along by the ears!

     I strongly recommend finding someone who has been where you have been. This is why the free Health Coach from TSFL was worth it to me, a person that went through the program before me who could properly guide me along the way. Which is why I became a Health Coach myself! I want to help others, and I firmly believe in the TSFL program! No it is not the only one out there but it is the one that worked for me. I just have 58lbs till I get to my goal weight. So what is stopping you from starting down your own road to weight loss? For me I had to face the facts and stop looking for excuses. It is as easy as saying, "I want to do this, and I AM going to do this!" I am here and I can help you find the way to the path that I found last year, with some much needed help.

These are size 50 pants that fit me perfectly last year! I am now down to a size 40.

*Results vary. Typical weight loss on the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan® is 2-5 lbs per week for the first two weeks and 1-2 lbs per week thereafter.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I wish I could do that.....

     Now that I am beyond the 100 pounds lost mark, a lot of people have been reaching out asking me what I did. I tell them about the Take Shape For Life coaching program with Medifast meal replacements and how awesome the program has been for me. Then I get, "Boy I wish I could do that." At that point I keep my cool on the outside, but on the inside I'm saying, "Hello McFly! You CAN do that!!" I was there, I have been at that point. I remember my mom trying to get me to just try her meal replacements, she even planned out a sneak attack meeting between me and her health coaches! Yes, I learned my mom's tricks early on. I still remember the day she wanted to see a ballet at the Palace Theater in Manchester New Hampshire. I thought we were just going in to see what was coming up for the next month or so. Before me and my brother knew it, an usher was escorting us to our balcony seats. I was not happy that I had to watch dudes prance across a stage wearing tights that I am sure were 20 sizes too small for them! So when my mom wants me to be at a location at a certain time I ask lots of questions.

     It was the fear of losing out on something I love. Food. What I did not realize at the time is that I had the wrong idea of food and its purpose in my life. Before I could start on any weight loss program I needed to be in the right mindset. I needed to be in a place where I wanted to do this and that I knew I could do it. I may have mentioned this before but I had applied for an increase in my life insurance policy. That way if something happened to me, Steph would be able to pay off the house and have a place for her and the kids to live. Because I was over 360 pounds at the time I got a rejection letter. That got me thinking. If I croaked tomorrow Steph would not have enough money to keep the house and her financial future would be tight for a while. A few days after that I was reminded of a promise I made to a friend who was dying of cancer. It was a couple weeks before she passed after a church service. She said, "Mike take care of your heart." You see, she had lost her husband to a heart attack. This got me thinking as to why I thought food was so important. Why did I always have to have the biggest rib or the biggest steak, heck even the biggest cookie! I had an addiction, and I never realized it until that moment.

     I was a person that used to say, "Boy I wish I could do that." or "I could never do that." as I sat on the couch stuffing my face with chips and ice cream while watching The Biggest Loser. The last thing some one that lives with weight wants to hear is, "Hey your fat, why don't you do something about it!" Yeah I was pretty aware that my cloths didn't fit right, or that I lost my breath climbing stairs. What I needed to be reminded of is that I can do anything I set my mind to. Wait what? Yes that's right, you reading this can do anything you set your mind to! The key is having a plan to follow and then stick to that plan! Stay true to the plan, be honest with yourself, and do not go it alone. Accountability is very important! That is why I have done so well with the Take Shape For Life program. The Medifast 5+1 Plan is all I am eating to make sure my body remains in the fat burning stage until I reach my goal weight. My coach is available to me 24/7 in the case I am feeling weak or tempted. No matter what don't go it alone!

     I was a guy who could polish off a box of Little Debbies Oatmeal Cream Pies, a 12 pack of Mountain Dew, a bag of Lays Sour Cream n' Onion chips, a box of pop tarts, slim jims, a medium pizza with extra cheese, Swiss Cake Rolls, and Hostess Apple Pie and Blueberry Pie all in one night and still want to eat more. Wow reading that list in my head sounds crazy to me, but that is how I used to eat. I did not care and I did not pay attention. If those around me didn't plant that seed, I am not sure if I would of come to the realization that my eating habits needed to change. So as I get closer to my goal weight I will continue to share the struggles and triumphs of this road to weight loss, with the hopes that my message will plant a seed to help some one see that there is no such thing as impossible. You just have not discovered how to get there yet.

Your friend on this Road To Weight Loss,


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Maybe I'm just supposed to be fat?

     Maybe I'm just supposed to be fat? That is what was running through my mind over a year ago after my last failed diet. I had tried just about every diet out there. Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, South Beach, Fat Smash, Slim-fast, Special-K, and even one where you just drank juice. For me I never felt good or ever saw progress (personally) with any of these diets. Sure I would have a friend or two where it worked for them, but for the money I was spending it was just a gut wrenching feeling to get on that scale after a month's worth of work and see a big fat zero. Two of those diets I actually gained 5 pounds resulting in a 10 pound gain instead of a much needed loss! Yes, that is the epitome of frustration.

     Any one who has known me since childhood knows that I have always been overweight compared to others in my age group. The biggest I ever got was 420 pounds following college. At this point (in my mind) the options for me to lose weight were scarce. I was looking into getting gastric surgery, man oh man I did not want surgery! Some of the physical challenges I was having started pushing me to that option though. I started getting a pain in my hip that shot down my leg to my foot. This was a constant pain that wouldn't go away. I had also slipped and tweaked my back, I was ok at first but later that day I went to stand and my legs just gave out and I fell to the floor. I remember some one had come to the house to pick up my daughter for the day to watch her and I had to crawl on my hands and knees to get to the door and she then had to help me into a chair. That's right all 420 pounds of me. It was rather humiliating. Later that year my wife got me a chair for my home office. I didn't even have the chair for 2 days and I broke it. My weight was just too much for it. What was I going to do? I could not go on living like this! My daughters need to have their daddy around and I was determined to do what ever it takes. Then I got a call that planted a seed.

     My sister Cindy called me informing me that my mom was in the hospital and things were not looking good. At the time all I knew was that my mom had a stroke and that her lungs were filling up with fluid. After a few days I was able to talk to my mom and found out that her kidneys were also failing. Her Doctor had made it very clear that she needed to do something about her weight and because of her condition along with her diabetes surgery was not an option for her. If she did not do something to get her weight down she would not be here. Woah. That is some heavy stuff, but that seed got a plant growing. He talked to my mom about a program with Take Shape For Life that uses Medifast meals to help people lose weight. Like any diet there is no guarantee and results vary person to person, but my mom gave it a shot. I took note and watched her progress. Before I stepped into the ring I wanted to see if it really worked.

     To my surprise it was working for my mom. 33 years of my life I watched my mom try every diet under the sun and finally one is working! Later that summer local morning radio personality Mike Alley announced that he to was going to give Medifast a try. That was it, that was the push I needed to call my mom's Health Coach and say, "Sign me up!" My mind set was right and I told my new Health Coach that I was ready to rock this joint! So here I am today. So far I have lost 105 pounds with the Take Shape For Life program and I just have 65 pounds to go till I reach my goal. Did I mention that they have asked me to join their team of Health Coaches? If you have found yourself asking the same question I asked, "Maybe I'm just supposed to be fat?" Then now is the time to do something about it! The link I have provided below has a contact form. If you fill it out with your contact information and hit submit I will personally call you and tell you how excited I am for this program and that you are not alone in this journey! I will be there every step of the way helping you on your path to Optimal Health!

Here is a current before and after picture of me with my girls! On the left I am currently at 255lbs. On the right is me at over 360lbs.

All the best,