Friday, December 16, 2016

238 - under two hundred and forty

Another quick one today:
238.6 lbs (108.2 kg)
238.6 pounds. I'm going to look into the role of coffee drinking in weight loss. I've noticed that I'm drinking a lot of coffee lately, which coincides with my rapid losses. But, "correlation does not imply causation" is a phrase often used in statistics. More later...

Thursday, December 15, 2016

240 - Unstoppable

Few words (today), just:
240.4 lbs (109 kg)
Two hundred and forty pounds.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Reflecting on the great year

I actually read some of the information below on another website (about the Day One journaling app for Apple devices, at, but I'm going to adapt it for my own purposes here. It's a list of ten questions to ask yourself as you look back and reflect on the past year, and look forward to a better year ahead.

1. What was your favorite single day or event of 2016? What's the first thing that pops into your head that puts a smile on your face?

2. What was the best thing you built or created in 2016? We're all builders or makers in some way. What did you create this year?

3. What was the most impactful decision you made for you and your family's future in 2016? What will have a lasting effect on your family's lives?

4. What was your best financial achievement of 2016? It could be a wise purchase, a lifestyle change (new job, retirement), paying off a loan, or reaching a savings goal.

5. Did you achieve any lifetime goals in 2016? Did you cross any items off your "bucket list"?

6. What was the hardest lesson you learned in 2016? Making mistakes is easy, admitting them is hard. Wisdom comes with learning from your mistakes.

7. Did you develop any new hobbies or passions in 2016? And, are there any that you would like to take up in the new year?

8. What was your most humbling experience of 2016? What did you learn from it?

9. What is the one thing you are most grateful for in 2016? Use this quiet moment to properly reflect on the people and gifts around you.

10. What are your personal goals for the coming year? They can be family related, religious, health, financial or career goals.

My favorite event of 2016 was the first time I managed to successfully climb Mount Helena ( at the beginning of June. Sure, I had a rush of good hormones when I climbed Buttercup Hill the year before, or when I reached to top of Mount Ascension for the first time last March (, but the elation and jubilation of reaching the top of Mount Helena was the best.

In terms of creation, my best thing was the accessorizing of my bike. With its bright lights, rear view mirror, repair tools, pump, luggage rack and bag/panniers, it is now a well equipped device for getting around town and for getting good exercise (

My most impactful decision was to leave my job and move to my "spiritual home" of Missoula. I was really getting to like Helena (after nearly 20 years) but, even after only five weeks, I'm already really happy that the opportunities FOR ME are much greater in the Garden City. Generally, the people are great and the city has so many cool things to do and see and places to go. There's greater diversity here, people are more open-minded, and their politics are more akin to my own.

As we approach the end of this year, I would encourage you to answer the questions above for yourself. Hopefully, your own journey was as good as mine, and that you too can look forward to a bright and happy 2017!

Monday, December 12, 2016

244 - The fantastic year is ending with a bang

With only three weeks to go until the end of the calendar year, I've been contemplating what has happened in the past 12 months and what the future has in store for me. I'm excited! Usually, by now, I have already sent out my annual Christmas cards with their 'round-robin' letters. My friends all know how much I love to send (and receive - hint!) letters and cards in the mail. Anyway, it truly has been a fantastic year, and the best is yet to come!

January started out with me weighing 336 pounds (152.5 kg). This morning:
243.8 lbs (110.6 kg)
243.8 pounds, 92 lbs lighter in twelve months. Losing nearly eight pounds a month on average is a good, healthy amount. 

I was still living in Helena at the time (in January 2016), still working for the Dept of Public Health and Human Service in a job that had me practically tied to a desk all day answering a phone. I was walking the ⅔ mile each way to work (a 100 foot elevation difference so, yes, it was uphill both ways 😜), including in the middle of winter with all its snow and ice (and I can honestly say, I never missed a single day because of the weather). At this point I hadn't been riding my bike, which was still stored in my hall closet. I also hadn't substantially started hiking yet, although I had started to make plans to go to southern Oregon and see Crater Lake as part of a 100-mile PCT hike that was scheduled for the end of May. 

In July I had decided that I was financially stable enough to be able to leave my job and move to my "spiritual home" (where I'm actually living now) of Missoula, MT. There was a short 'blip' when I was in Sidney (eastern Montana) for a few weeks. My close friends know the details of that little escapade (temporary insanity? 😵) Anyway, I moved to the Garden City at the beginning of November and have been able to get back on my program (such that there is one - low carb diet and more exercise, basically) with great results. I've been riding my now-heavily-accessorized bike a lot (weather permitting), and walking more than ever before. 

So, next year I'm looking forward to finally reaching my final target - 178 lbs or (80.7 kg) which, for a 5' 10" guy (1.78 m) is still a BMI of 25.5 - so, technically, still overweight. I should be there by, say, mid-July. But, you know what? If it takes me until August, or September, or even December, I'm not that bothered. It's all a heck of a lot better than 405 lbs (June 2015) or 428 lbs (June 2014)!! Of course, there's the question of what to do about the 20 pounds of excess, flapping skin that will be hanging off me all over the place. "Surgery!" (I imagined myself saying that in a ringing, singing voice).

I still have some objectives to meet. I still want to find a place to do some boxing to help develop my upper body musculature. I still want to find a place to do T'ai Chi to help with the physical and mental/spiritual balance. I still want to do a long-distance bicycle ride (Portland, Oregon, is still looking attractive as either the destination or the starting point for that little tour). I really want to start dancing again. I have such fond memories of my daughter and I going to some contra dances in Helena, but that was six and seven years ago! I know that those things are all available here in Missoula, it's just a question of time and money, and making it a big enough priority. 

If you're in Missoula and you're interested in contra dancing, the Missoula Folklore Society has dances twice a month (first and third Saturday) from October through May ( Maybe I'll see you there? Oh, and Sara Bareilles? I'm still waiting for your phone call to ask me to be in a future music video of yours ("Brave" was brilliant! 

And, I haven't given up on wanting to complete my PCT hike, or climbing Mount Hood ("Go BIG or go home!", right?) I have unfinished business to take care of in Oregon, and I'm not going to let it beat me! 

I still want to expand my répertoire of mostly plant-based (but not exclusively vegetarian) recipes and learn some new cooking styles and techniques. I still want to learn and practise my own food growing, canning and preserving. Not that I want to be all "prepper" self-sufficient, but a little better preparedness doesn't hurt (interestingly, even after living in the US for 20 years now, I've still never fired - much less held - a gun. I get that question from my English friends all the time). 

In the short term, I want to start enjoying the winter (I never imagined that THOSE words would ever come out of my mouth!) I want to try snowshoeing (or cross country skiing, maybe). 

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom-of-night
stays this man from going outside."
2017 is going to be another fantastic year. If I can take some friends with me, old ones or new ones, it'll be that much better. If I can leverage the new-found knowledge and experience of healthy eating and exercise and weight-loss, and get myself a better job, or even just use it to HELP other people, I'll be delighted.