Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Losing my closest Friend

Goodbye my old friend. You have been so faithful these last twenty years. There have been ups and downs, and you were always there, hugging me.

I don’t even remember how we met. I’m sure you were amongst so many others who could also have been as perfect a match as you, but you had a certain je-ne-sais-quoi I couldn’t resist.

You never judged me, you adapted to all my changes, within your limits. I never let you fulfil your hole potential even though it came really close.

You probably felt I was pressuring you too much sometimes and you sure buckled up!

If I had to start over, we would probably never meet. But we can’t change the past. There is just not enough space around me for you anymore. 

Know that I liked you the way you were. I will not punch you another eye, you deserve better than this!

It’s not you, it’s me. I’ll find others to hold me back but you will not be forgotten. I am letting you go. 

Goodbye my leathery friend!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Sleepmore in Hudson

Last week, I was in a 100 k Vivofit challenge (100 k in a week). I didn’t brag about it, I just mentioned it last Monday and didn’t change anything in my training to win it but I did! My second win in 2 weeks. I didn’t push for it, I just walked the number of steps I had already planned and ended up walking 137,141 steps. If I was not such a lazy bum, I could have walked 150 K. LOL. This week, I de-enrolled from challenges; I want to give someone else a chance to win. :)

Last night, I slept 7 hrs and 8 minutes. I woke up at 5:30 and went to the living room. I never have any idea what time it is when I wake up and when I saw the clock I couldn’t believe it. This is so unusual for me to sleep over 6 hours. Look at the graph from my Vivofit, there are lots of periods where I was in a deep sleep (flat lines at the bottom).

The bad thing about sleeping more is that it gets me late to start my day. We were going to play Pickelball this morning. When we do we leave at around 8:00 AM. My whole schedule was getting out of whack! 

Coffee is my number one priority. I prepare my coffee the night before and in the morning just hit the ON button to get my wakeup elixir… not this morning, I had forgotten to prepare it :( I made it and settled down to drink it, thinking I would forego the walk this morning.

I read some blogs and then I remembered, I was accountable… if I don’t do something, blabbermouth (me) is going to tell you folks about it. So thanks to all of you, I went out to walk before Pickelball. I’m not being sarcastic, thank you all.

Today my blog has grown! It now has pages (tab) at the top. It almost looks professional, however, I’m just the author and professionally speaking, web design is not my cup of tea!

I decided to display my five steps program where I can easily find them with one quick click and also have a tab for my training. Sometime in the future, I’ll add one of those “About me” tab where I can outrageously tout my own horn. Ha ha ha

That’s all for today my friends, I have to send my post to the approval committee (my wife) for improvement and proof reading and while the committee is busy, I’ll work on a project that is close to my heart… playing Heart solitaire is what I mean. :)

It’s the week before Easter and the chocolate orgy, are any of you going to participate in the orgy?

Sunday, March 29, 2015


Today is my weight day. So, this morning I stepped on the scale, the final number (which I checked twice thinking my eyes were not really awake yet) is 191.0 lbs!

Folks that is a drop of 5.8 lbs in 2 weeks. More than twice my goal of 2.5 lbs. How is this possible?

In the past 2 weeks:

I ate healthy. I had chips and chocolate once, not pigging out, no more than 200 calories worth of junk.

In the past two weeks I exercised EVERY day! The first of those two weeks I only walked. On the second one I walked, played Pickelball and did the C25K training. I stepped an average of 10 miles per day.

The side effect of those 2 activities I added last week is… sweat! So I think this week’s lost has a lot to do with liquid and I’m expecting the next weighing day will not be so impressive as everything will balance itself out, we’ll see.

The greatest news… according to Doctor BMI, I’m now overweight, I left behind the obese fellow who was walking with me. He just couldn’t put up with my lean mean machine anymore.

This is the weight I was in my early forties (over 15 years ago), but I was no way near in as good a shape as I am now.

I will mention it again because I think it’s my number one key to this success… NO BOOZE! Best decision ever!

Already Sunday, it’s chilly in Florida this morning 6 C. (43 F.), yesterday we went to the beach. There was a cold wind from the North and we had to wear a jacket but the sun was shinning and we walked a loooooong time on the beach.

I hope you all are having a great weekend.

It’s cold in Florida, can someone close the door up North we are getting a draft down here!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Who let the kids out

We play pickelball with mostly retiree. Wednesday there was a 80 years young man playing. He was fit, anyway, everyone there are fit and enjoying life at warp speed. It sure beat being retired and spending all the time watching life go by from the couch!  

A while back, someone send me an email about Rose. I don’t know if it is a true story, but I found great life wisdom in it. This is such a great story....hope you enjoy it.

The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder.

I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.

She said, 'Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?'

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, 'Of course you may!' and she gave me a giant squeeze.

'Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?' I asked.

She jokingly replied, 'I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids...'

'No seriously,' I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

'I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!' she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake.

We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this 'time machine' as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium.. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor.

Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, 'I'm sorry I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know.'

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, ' We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing.'

There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day. You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die.

We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it!

There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.

If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.

Anybody! Can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets.

The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets…'

She concluded her speech by courageously singing 'The Rose.'

She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives. At the year's end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those months ago.

One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.

Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be.

These words have been passed along in loving memory of ROSE.

REMEMBER, GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY. GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL. We make a Living by what we get. We make a Life by what we give...

God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.

'Good friends are like stars...... .....You don't always see them, but you know they are always there.'

I wish my friends you are all having a great Saturday and take time to play...

Friday, March 27, 2015


This morning I woke up and opened my eyes. I had no idea what time it was but all my signs were telling me it was time to get up. I just followed my internal clock. My clock was off, way off, it was 03:30!

I was up, no one to play with, so I just laid down on the couch to catch a few more hours of sleep.

Let me just show you a picture of me sleeping. At this time, I’d like to give a warning as I sleep au-natural…

I showed you mine are you going to show me yours?

I love my Vivofit; it registers my sleep pattern for the entire night and I can check it out on my computer screen. What you are looking for in this graph and ONLY in this case, is a flat line at the bottom of the graph. It also tells me for how long I slept; in my case it’s usually between 5.5 to 6 hours. Not last night, I got up at 05:16 and slept for 6 hours and 49 minutes. You see the spike where I drew a yellow not-so-regular-circle; that’s when I got up thinking the day was waiting for my entrance. 

I selected the red not so smiley tired looking face, to represent my night. It’s how I felt. I’m usually all happy and excited to start a bright new day, not this morning.

I was not in a good mood. I knew today being Friday I had to walk 15 K steps.

Also around 08:30 we were to leave to go to the rec center to play pickelball. Since I slept longer than usual, I was running late but I had already poured my coffee.

I looked at the Weather Network, they forecasted rain starting in the next few minutes. That was not improving my mood. I don’t mind walking in the rain but I had not time to walk in the rain, come back home, have a shower and go to the rec center. I bet you folks thought retirement was easy without any stress road; ah it’s not the case every time.

I had a dilemma, should I walk after we returned from playing pickelball which is a whole workout in itself and after 2 hours my energy might just not be there for a walk.

I didn’t have time to write my post, which I always do in the morning. It was not improving my mood!

So at 06:00 AM, I decided to go for a walk around our block. I thought when the rain would start I would just come back to the house. My coffee was still full, so I decided to bring it with me… now you’re talking multi-tasking 
extraordinaire! If I could just walk 2 to 3,000 steps, I would declare this successful.

I got outside, looked up to see if the clouds looked as bad as what was on the Weather Network. What I saw were stars… What the heck, if I can see stars, there are no clouds, if there are no clouds, there is NO rain, right? Or is this just my Canadian wishful thinking brain?

So off I go with my coffee in one hand, and a little smile growing on my face. I walked 2 streets and came back home to drop off my coffee mug, I didn’t need the extra weight.

It ended up being one of my nicest walk so far, I felt happy and content, I looked at the sun rising, I even came back home once again and got my camera. See below for pictures of this glorious day.

There are two lessons I learned today, one is that if you decide you are in a bad mood you can just keep the blinds closed and you will be right, but you can change your mood by just going where you are happy.

Speaking of happiness, this morning I was walking, the sun was rising, I was wearing shorts and I was completely happy! Back home, this winter, I walked in the snow in very cold temperature and I was completely happy… so lesson number two, happiness is NOT related to the environment you are in, it’s that warm feeling inside all of us.

Since Feb 23th, I haven’t had any alcohol, but this morning I was drunk by this new day. 

By noon, we had played 3 hours of pickelball and I had recorded over 15 K steps. I could just sit down on the couch and give myself a high five for one exceptional day when accountability was my main source of inspiration.

I hope every one has time to enjoy what is important to them, and that you keep happiness in your soul. Have a great weekend, thanks for reading and for all your comments.

That palm tree, we own it... never thought we would own one of those!

Our pool, we share it with the rest of the community! 
Strange at 07:15 AM no one was there!

I got hit by those glorious rays!

 I didn't know my wife was shooting me, the smile is real from having fun

Mrs Richard serving!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Couch to Fitness

A long time ago, I can even tell you exactly how long ago (it was January 31st this year) I was doing a lot of couch training. I could do 8 hours and more of sitting-down, watching TV show marathons, pushing-off the couch to do laps to the fridge and cupboards then cooling-back down on the couch. Oh those days, I was so fit as a captive TV audience! It wasn’t just TV shows, I also watched Hockey games, so you can see I was a well-tuned athlete.

All those years of intensive couch training now going down the fitness drain, what a waste. I now spend over 4 hours a day working on building a leaner fitter me. I can barely watch one hour of TV without falling asleep.

In this previous post, I had debated about walking versus running. I had decided to walk. In my plan’s first step, I only walked. I lost over 20 pounds in less than 2 months. 

I’m convince that I could walk all the way to my weight goal. However, my ultimate goal is to be healthy. My weight would be down but my general fitness would suffer. 

So in step 2, I have decided to add cardio training in the form of running. I started a program called C25K which stands for Couch to 5 K run. It’s an 8 weeks program leading up to be able to run 5 K. It alternates jogging and walking for specific length of time. I don’t want to run too much, my weight would just put to much stress on my knees, so I’ll repeat the first week training until I reach my step 3 (180 lbs). The first week is:

  • Brisk five-minute warmup walk.
  • Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.
I’ll do that 3 times a week.

If you want to learn more about C25K’s training program, you can just go here. 

On another subject, we are really excited, we found a place where to play Pickelball. If you don’t know what Pickleball is, it’s a great game played on a court and is a cross between tennis and ping pong. After 15 minutes of play, sweat was coming out of every pore, but what fun we had. Yesterday we played for 2 hours. Wants to see what it’s all about? Check it out folks…

So my training priority has shifted, in order of priority:
  • Pickleball – When you exercise, fun should always be number 1.
  • Walking – Can be done any time
  • Running – Speeding the cardio fitness

My schedule will be:

- Monday: 15 k Steps and Pickleball
- Tuesday: 20 k Steps combining walking and running
- Wednesday: 15 k Steps and Pickleball
- Thursday: 20 k Steps combining walking and running
- Friday: 15 k Steps and Pickleball
- Saturday: 15 k Steps combining walking and running
- Sunday: 15 k Steps

I’ll proceed with caution, if I see a problem, I’ll modify my schedule. But as long I can keep it up, this will be my routine. This is not a long term plan, it’s for the next month or so and subject to change without notice :)

What about you, are you keeping up with your schedule? I hope you are all doing great.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Testing: Chips and Chocolate

Yesterday night I had chips and chocolate! 

In the cupboard we had an opened box of Julienne (chips) bought in January. They were stale, I didn’t care; I was doing a test. I put a small portion in a bowl, sprinkled some vinegar on them, and proceeded to move them from the bowl to my mouth. As far as tasting sensation goes; nothing unexpected, doesn’t mater the amount of vinegar you put on, stale chips are stale chips. But I was not looking for an orgasmic type of sensation… I was doing a test!

After a few trips from the bowl to my mouth, I ended the test and concluded it was successful. I didn’t need to finish the bowl.

In the cupboard we also had a bag of chocolate covered almonds. Nine of those are worth 220 calories. They were as fresh as if I had picked them up myself in the morning. I took five and didn’t even bother to select the five biggest one. 

After eating three, my test was done, I didn’t have to suffer and eat any more. I was satisfied and concluded the first part of my test was over.

What kind of diabolic test is that you might be wondering?

In the past two months, I have commented on other blogs saying “Have faith in yourself”. However it’s easier said than done.

How could I give this advice without doing it myself? Since I came back toward the “healthy light”, I haven’t trusted myself. What I’m doing is abstinence. I didn’t trust myself for making the right decision so I just ignored my desires and moved on. This is NOT dealing with the issues! I have a control issue; I can’t drink or eat bad stuff in moderation.

Abstinence is easy to do when you are in a controlled environment. In Florida, my wife and I are pretty much our own social circle right now, there are no temptations. It’s about to change.

I have to learn to have faith in myself. This is why I had chips and chocolate. It has been on my mind for a few days and I kept delaying the test. Now that the test is over with, I’ll go back to abstinence but I trust myself to do the right thing when I’ll be faced with choices.

I know one occasion is not a lifetime commitment but I’m working on fixing my food control issue and it’s a lot harder to accomplish than losing weight. The next test will be with my in-laws next week and around a fire with friends during the coming 6 months. I’ll see how I perform.

I am conscious that if I don’t deal with the issue, I’ll lose weight and I’ll gain it right back!

Do you have faith in yourself?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Walk in the (under) cloud

Mental health

When we encountered a “lump” on our road a year and a half ago, we had put our Florida home up for sale. We had bought the house, prior to getting the bad news, in the spring of 2013. The house was sitting empty and we knew we couldn’t be there for almost 2 years. Being unfurnished without pots and pans, or dishes etc, we couldn’t even think about renting it out so selling it was the logical step. Yesterday I went to our park’s office and removed our home from the market! It is so uplifting mentally to know we are really getting back to the life WE had planned! :)


Guess who finished first in last week’s steps challenge? ME
I don’t know how it happened. I had surrendered and accepted defeat but the person who was in first place on Saturday didn’t register any steps on Sunday! So, with only (ya right only!) 139,429 steps last week, I crossed the finish line first.

Now the bad news… I haven’t register for it but I’m enrolled in another challenge, it’s a 100K Steps Challenge (I guess who ever crossed 100K steps first wins)… I’m not too sure if I’ll go for it, I’ll probably just do what I had planned on doing.

Yesterday’s walk

Yesterday night it poured, it was so loud, it woke me up (and I’m a heavy sleeper). If it had happened in our Northern home, we would have heard nothing and woken-up to a total white-out from a mountain of fallen snow. But in Florida, the rain just ran away to the gutters.

In the morning, between two rain showers, I quickly put on my walking shoes and got on with my steps. It was nice outside but the sun was not shinning, it was hidden behind the clouds. I was in my zone, step, step, step, drop, step, step, drop, step, drop, step, drop, drop, step, drop, drop, drop, drop. You didn’t expect an auditory description of my morning’s stroll did you?

It started to rain, a little drop here and there, nothing to be concerned about. The house was never further than 10 minutes away. After a few minutes of this nice and cooling drizzle, the rain started to be heavier and heavier. It came down to the point where I had water running in my eyes, down my spin, my walking shoes were soaking wet. And I, with a smile on my face, just kept going because I hadn’t finished my intended number of steps. Anyway, once wet you can’t get any wetter!

So far, I have walked while it snowed, in very cold weather, in the rain, in hot and humid temperature. I have also walked on paved roads and snow packed roads, in stores and shopping malls, on trails and in parking lots. I have even walked before the sun rise, after the sun set, or in the middle of the day. So I guess, walking can be done anywhere, in any conditions and at any time. I have no excuses for not going out and enjoy stepping out to a healthier-me.

I hope you folks are doing great, the more people crossing the health line the better we are at this race!

I'm trying the wet look, do you think it's working for me?

 Water on the ground is from my shirt!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Step 1 – Check!

Do you know how to eat an elephant?

If you got excited reading this question and imagined the prospect of binge eating an elephant or if you are looking forward for recipes, what wine or what sauce goes well with this giant… you will be disappointed! Sorry, in my defence (pun not intended) I wrote this blog early and I was trunk with my morning weight!

Do you know how to eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time! LOL
This is the way I always manage everything in my life. I take small bites until 
I’m done with the whole thing.

Ten days ago, I wrote a post describing the steps I would take to reach my ultimate goal of losing 65 pounds in a year. You don’t need to look them up, I reposted them below in blue, including what I was expecting for each step

My plan to lose my weight is split in 4 steps. I didn’t put a time frame for them as each steps is dependent on achieving the previous one and if I had a “by date” time frame on them and I missed, it would have been too stressful.

The fifth step is about maintaining and there will be no end date on that one.

Step 1 – Lose 20 pounds (Start: Feb 1st, 2015 - End: March 23thd 2015)

Today I reached a weight of 195 lbs and I’m done with step 1!

This was the step where I learned to say “NO” to friends, family, stranger and myself. No cake, No chips, No wine, Yes to water (nobody likes negative people). It was the learning step.

It has been 51 days of hell, misery, self doubt, tantrum, and I found that it was so easy.

One of the ingredient about swallowing that bite was my Triple D. Not my cup size folks LOL I mean: Discipline, Dedication and Diet.

I served over 15 years in the military and I was not as discipline as I was with this first step. I have been out walking through all kinds of weather; snowing, very cold temperature and in the heat and humidity of Florida, EVERY day. I even walked on days when we were spending long hours in the car.

What can I say about being dedicated; I’m really successful but I’m still looking for better ways to change my lifestyle. I’m looking at food with new bright eyes; if it’s not good for my health it’s not good period.

When I started in February, I thought I would just slow down with certain food. But I’m so dedicated that I didn’t just slow down, I stopped without even finding excuses to fight back. I accepted and moved on.

The biggest and best decision I took: NO alcohol. I was drinking pretty much every other day and not always in moderation. In the past, it would get me so much off track that I would end up dismissing my “health resolutions”.

When I’m talking about diet, I’m not referring to those programs that restricts you to only food which will make you quickly lose pounds. I’m talking about a way of eating that is healthy and is a life long meal. Now, I eat a lot more… fresh vegetables and fruits. I also eat less (as far as portion size). I completely cut out refined sugar; I was eating dessert twice a day. I rarely have fried food, and no unhealthy snacks. It’s all about lifestyle!

I will post about the next steps when I complete them. Thanks for reading, I appreciate all the encouragements and advices given. I hope you folks are doing great and that you are getting healthier with every decision you make. 

Step 2 – Lose 15 pounds

That step will change my label from obese to overweight. Can’t wait to proudly tell everyone, “I’m Overweight!” Weight at the end: 180 pounds

Step 3 - Repeat Step 2

This is when your mind is working its hardest at tripping you… “No Richard you are feeling great you don’t need to go further”. The easiest way of dealing with that: “Shut up mind, you don’t know what you are talking about.” Weight at the end: 165 pounds

Step 4 – Lose last 15 pounds

I didn’t put any time frame on any of those steps, but this one will take the longest. It will change my label from overweight to normal. This is the weight I was in my late teen and early twenties, too bad I threw away all my clothes from then. Weight at the end: 150 pounds

Step 5 – Maintain

Just thought I’d mentioned it here to remind myself about it. This is when I’ll see if I really changed my lifestyle or if I just dieted and I’m slipping back. I’ll have more to say about this as I get closer to this step.

 A good thing I cut my toes nail last night!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Listen to yourself

One of the reason we have a weight problem is because we are not listening to ourselves. In my case, when I was a kid, I was always told to finish my plate or I would not get dessert. There are 2 things wrong with that statement; first, we should not finish our plate if we are full and second, dessert should never have been glorified as a reward.

Can’t change the past, however we can change our present and future. 

Yesterday for lunch we had pasta in tomato sauce. Even though I love pasta, once I felt I was full I stopped eating. Double winner here, first of all I ate less because the portion was smaller than before, plus as a bonus, I stopped as soon as I was full. I’m really starting to listen to my needs and not to my wants.

Another good thing which happened a few days back; I had ordered a salad for lunch. The dressing was in a small dish, containing about a third of a cup (thousands of calories I’m sure). Before, I would have just poured the whole thing on my salad. No more instead I just lightly touched the dressing with the bottom of my forkful. I was tasting the dressing with every bite and I was happy. At the end of the meal, there was maybe a spoonful of the dressing gone.

Enough about good news, it’s time to do an update about the competition. 

Yesterday I walked over 25,000 steps. I was sure I would have all my rivals eating my dust… but when I uploaded the data and checked out the score, I was second!!! What the heck, I should have been first, way ahead of the competition, winning by a landslide.

I analyzed to see what went wrong and how someone else could be ahead. I’m convinced that eliocks has attached his vivofit on an hamster and we all know how those little critters can step a lot in their wheels.

So today my goal was to walk around 30,000 steps. I went for my walk earlier, didn’t even have my coffee yet. After about 30 minutes, I felt a soreness in my left knee.

In the past 6 days I have walked over 55 miles. For a 55 years old obese man, not the smartest thing to do. I really wanted to win the competition but first and foremost and the only thing that really matters is I need to be healthy.

Having a sore knee this morning was a message from my own body telling me to slow down. So I’ll be stepping down the “podium” and gratefully accept that I did exceptionally well for my condition. It’s the long range that is important and I can’t do that without listening to my body!

Are you listening to yourself?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Sound of Nature

Yesterday morning when I first looked at my competition for vivofit, I had slipped to number 2. To be number 2 back in January would have been more than acceptable for me but in March with a leaner and better tuned machine, it was not!

So at 06 hundred (06:00 am), I put on my walking shoes, a smile on my face and started to work on my steps… for 2.5 hours. By the time I got back to the house, my Vivofit was really happy with its 15 K steps. My goal for the day was 25 K steps so I was 3/5 done.

It was dark outside; since we changed the time, the sun rises at 7:30. It was quiet and peaceful, I just love mornings.

I was listening to some Zen type music where roosters are roosting…, doves are doving, thousands of birds are singing and stepper and stepping. WAIT a minute! I had no earphones on, the Zen music was live music, it was the real thing, the sound of nature awakening.

I was walking on the street. I could have walked on the sidewalk as I was alone but there are some bushes on some lots and in bushes there might be snakes, and I have a phobia about snakes. I think it’s a hereditary condition, in my root tree, there are Adam and Eve…

At around 6 and a half ish, the sky slowly changed from a deep dark canvas where you can see stars to a dark blue where you can start to guess your surroundings.

At 7:30 the sun rose, beautiful and breath taking! It was pink and the bottom was almost blue. I didn’t have my camera; it would have been a post card shot!

So, yesterday with 25,671 steps total, I took back my rightful place as number 1 in the competition.

I’m not the only one pushing farther because of the Vivofit, my wife also got one and she is also pushing it further. Yesterday evening we went for a walk (I still needed 4 K to reach my goal), she also needed 4 K to reach 15 K. When we got back home, she uploaded (sync) her Vivofit. She was disappointed because she didn’t get a new badge. I showed her the ones I have and commented about one called “Double Goal”. Every day depending on how many steps you take, Vivofit gives you a goal to achieve for that day. If you step double this goal you get the badge. My wife looked at her goal and she needed about 1,200 steps to get the badge. We were sitting watching TV, she got up and started to step on the spot to get the “Double Goal” badge. She did it! I’m not the only one having fun! :)

How are you doing? I’m still catching up on blogs, comments, emails, I’ll get there eventually. Weekend is generally a slow blogging activity time so I might be able to catch on all of you today or tomorrow. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Real Amazing Race

After travelling through 2 countries, 2 provinces, 9 states, we are home in Hudson FL. We went from -10 C. (14 F.) and snowy to 32 C. (89 F.) and sunny. We had 8 meals on the road and NO unhealthy snacks and NO wine.

Yesterday’s meals:

For breakfast we faced to a detour, we had the choice between: eggs, bacon, sausage, pancake, cinnamon rolls; or cereal, yogurt and a banana. We picked the latter one; it was quick, healthy and tasty.

For lunch, we went to Subway. We ordered 1 foot long ham sub with tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers, NO cheese. We split the sub.

For supper, we went to our favourite hamburger place: Five Guys. We ordered a little burger each (we just didn’t feel like splitting it) and ONE order of small fries. As suggested by Martha the previous day, I had checked the nutrition value on the internet: Beef patties: 220 Cal., the buns 260 Cal., the fries 526 Cal. So we each ate about 650 Cal. I know the math seems off but we didn’t eat all the fries. I could have stayed away from the buns but it didn’t mater, my calorie intake for the day was low.

This is not my weighing day but I looked for the damage on my scale this morning and I lost weight! I’m winning the amazing weight race! I’m not reporting my weight before the 29th but I’m exceeding my goal. I was anxious about our trip down but with a little planning, AND sticking to the plan, there was no dent to our new lifestyle.

Enough with the good news, I have the regret to inform you, I slipped to number 2!

Yesterday I was keeping an eye on Andersontam who was the second on this international-challenge-from-hell. You know what happened? Number 4 Elieocks stepped over 26,000 times in the day and overtook us all. I am not giving up, I will step it up today, but if any of you know about a “hit man” that is not too expensive, drop me a line anonymously. : )

Today we have to take one more trip as we have returned to our home which is mostly empty of fresh food, so a trip to the store is in the agenda. I also have about 100 emails to read, comments to comment on, 3 days of your blogs to read and comment. Couple of games of solitaire to play (so to keep my mind sharp), 150 recorded TV show to watch, however, we won’t watch them all today because I have to step outside 25,000 or more times.

Can’t wait to read you all, have a great Friday.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Bonjour from Charlotte NC

As I write this post, we are in our hotel for the night. There were no fights, arguments or insults in the car today, nor yesterday, nor any other days. Just my way to say it was a regular ride for us :)
We ate 3 meals, again today! Breakfast at the hotel was pretty good (health wise) without boring you with the details, one of us ate healthier than the other. However at this time so as not to offend myself, I won’t reveal who had peanut butter on a toast… I can hear your gasps over here, please keep it down! LOL

For lunch we went to Craker Barrels, did you know they have salads? Maybe it’s only me who never looks at the salads selections on menus. I ordered a fried chicken salad. I dismissed all the croutons (except for one cause I wanted to make a quality control test), didn’t eat the cheese, and ate the devils egg after removing the yolk. When the waitress came back to our table, she asked: “Do you want dessert? Our specials today are blab bla bla…” I interrupted her and said: “I’m sorry, I stopped listening after you said ‘dessert’! ” and just smiled. She knew I was humouring her and that I was not being rude.

For supper we went across the street to a Shopping Mall. At the food court we got spaghetti with tomato sauce. The waiter was insisting we take the included garlic bread… Bread! Crazy North Caroliners!

I don’t like to give advice but I’ll give you one today anyway. If you get some gadget like our Vivofit, DO NOT click on the Challenge tab! You hear me? DO NOT look at it, step away from the keyboard. I didn’t know, I clicked on the tab and it enrolled me in a challenge with real other users. The challenge last 7 days, 7 DAYS, there are 4 days left. Do you think I have time to go out and walk frigging 15,000 steps or more. We are spending over 10 hours on the road. 

But I’m enrolled and if that was not bad enough, I’m number 1. How many times was I number 1 in my life? Never! This might have gone to my head a little. So I have no other choice than stepping it up, I don’t want to slip to second place, I’m number 1! I can’t just let number 2 take over, I have pride, my whole country is probably following this competition. 

What is the prize you ask not? I have no idea, I clicked on the damn Challenge, I can’t focus on the prize. It’s probably going to be: a signed letter from the prime minister of Canada; a new car; a trip around the world on foot; my picture on all kinds of promotion articles where I will receive royalties check no doubt; or my Own TV show “Tonight with Richard” I just don’t know!

So after our car ride, I went out and stepped 15,923 more times. 

The Challenge from Hell!

By now, Today is Yesterday!

Small activities can have big payoffs

Four posts ago I wanted to talk about small things we do for ourselves that can bring huge benefits but then I took a detour but it’s ok, it’s all related. 

Comparing myself with others, I realized that I was not in such a bad shape to start with. I’m not an athlete by any means but I was in good enough shape to do almost anything and I was wondering how come…

I think what maintained me in a relatively good physical shape is the small things I did and do every day.

When I was working, my office was located on the 6th floor. I took the stairs whenever I could. I could climb up and down those stairs 4-5 times a day, it adds up quickly. I still take stairs wherever ever I can.

When I started taking the stairs, it was tough. After 2-3 floor, I would slow down to catch up my breath, but in no time, I could easily climb those stairs.

If I go to a store, I don’t park by the door. If you are looking for my car, it will be by itself at the end of the parking lot. I can’t tell you the number of times I see drivers circling around searching for a spot close to the door. Meanwhile, I have time to get out of my car, and get in the store. If you were to ask those people why they didn’t park in one of the empty spot at the end of the parking lot, a lot of them would probably say they were in a rush… well, guess what, I would beat them to the door every time!

I don’t take my car for errands that are close by. For example, if I go to the front office of our park, I walk. Last weekend my wife commented that it took me less than 10 minutes to walk there and back. OK last weekend the car was parked at the front entrance and we couldn’t drive it to the house but still, in the summer I still walk instead of taking the car. How many people do that? My guess is only a few!

Some of my small activities include, raking and sweeping the pine needles, the leaves and all the other stuff that comes from pine trees, on our 2 lots, every few days, I’ll also do our neighbors’ lot if they’re away, helping our neighbors doing some construction works; they are all good opportunities for being active.

I truly believe that would I have been taking all the short cuts, I would not be in this shape today and I would instead need to lose hundreds more pounds.

In the past 5 days, according to my Vivofit, I walked 85,000 steps. Those steps were NOT a punishment, I enjoyed every one of them, they are a reward. This is what we all can achieve if we just take small steps, every day.

Maybe some people would think they are just too obese to move, they should read about Sean who was walking a quarter of a mile at 505 lbs. Sean’s example made me realize how stores like Walmart who provide electric carts for shoppers, are not helping morbidly obese people. The best thing for them is to walk. The stores are enabling those customers who are one more bite from the grave. It makes no sense to me. I’m sure there are some people who need a cart to get around, but if the pain of walking is from too much weight… See, if someone is drowning because they have tied weights to their feet and you throw them a lifesaver, they might stay afloat a little bit longer but after a while, their arms will tire and they will let go.

Maybe some people think they are just too old to get back in shape. We lived in Europe for several years and we constantly saw people in their eighties going to the market on their bike or on foot. They swept the sidewalk in front of their home daily. In Germany, many towns and villages host Volksmarch which are walks in the countryside with an itinerary for 10 and 20 kilometers; a lot of young-at-heart people just enjoying their time and walking with the younger crowd.

Do you do small things that are helping you physically?

Today is our second day on the road to Florida. We did pretty good yesterday with eating at the restaurant, I even walked over 13,000 steps. 

I'm beat, I'll probably be catching with all the comments and your blog on Friday.  Meanwhile, I'm watching you... so be good, keep the good choices and NO excuses, you can do it!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The void

Last week, my wife and I were sitting together on the love seat watching a TV show. 
When a commercial came-up, she looked at me, for once she was not rolling her eyes and she told me there was a void expanding between us.

I didn’t argue, I have to admit, she was right. We used to be Siamese twins, joined at the thigh on the love seat, no more, there is a void now, about 4 inches between us.

I just don’t know what to do with this, should we consult an expert? I think I’ll just let her go even further. If we want to be nearer we are just going to have to move our buns closer to the love seat center.

Today we are on our way back to Florida; my goal is to log 10,000 steps for each of our 3 days travel. We are going to be extra careful with the food but it’s going to be restaurants all the way :( 

Look at that steps count from yesterday!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Have to Weight

Oups yesterday’s spoiler is tomorrow’s post. Sorry, I forgot that I had also meant to post my weight every 2 weeks and today is Weight Day. It’s either time for joy, celebration, and dancing the dance of success or it’s a dark and an humiliating day without dancing, just a walk of shame!
I will weigh myself every 2 weeks on Sundays. My goal is to lose 2.5 pounds every 2 weeks (1.25 a week). I don’t have my specific weight from March 1st but I have the one from February 15th (4 weeks ago). At the time, I was at 208 lbs. So for today to be a day I can declare as successful, I have to be less than 203 lbs. What is my weight this morning? 

196.8 Lbs

This is a loss of 11.2 lbs in 4 weeks, it's  more than double my intended goal. I’m extremely happy however I think I lost a lot of liquid with all the walking of the past 3 days, I will be expecting in the next Weight day to lose less than 2.5 pounds. I know it’s easier to lose weight in the beginning. I’m conscious it will be more difficult in the future. 

Nothing unexpected happened yet and now I’m building-up a little safe zone for when it will slow down. Next week, once I’m back in Florida, I’ll set a maximum of calories I want to eat in a day and will start eating accordingly.

I will also report on my weight when I reach a certain milestone. Those are the days where you will see a picture of my toes on a scale. The next Milestone is 195 lbs (It will be 20 pounds total since I started this health journey) and at 191 lbs when my BMI will be less than 30 (I will only be overweight). Hey anytime I feel it’s worth bragging about, it is a perfect time to post it.

As part of my celebration, I’ll go out and steps a couple thousand times :)
I’m still stepping up to my Vivofit, 18,782 steps to be exact. Is anyone else doing great? Anyone needs a pep talk? It’s not because it’s the weekend that no one is watching you! (StalkerRUs)

 I like to dedicate this song to my fat!
 "These boots are made for walking"

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Getting Healthy

Lately I have been reading blogs that mentions “health is not a number”. I agree, you can have two persons with the same height and same healthy weight and one can be healthy and accomplish everything they want to do in their day while the other is often ill and can’t do much.

My goal is to lose 65 lbs in a year. Weight is the number one factor endangering my health right now. Losing that extra weight is something I can physically measure and track its progress. As a goal, I didn’t write “Get Healthy” how would I measure that? I have always enjoyed numbers and statistics, and here again they help me make this journey more tangible. Once my goal is reached, I will be concentrating at ways to maintain a healthy weight and other ways to be healthier. This is when the new lifestyle will be completely implemented.
When I look at my goal and compare with others… I really think I’m lucky, I could be hundreds of pounds away from a healthy weight.

I follow Sean's blog; he weighed 505 pounds, that’s a quarter of a ton! He had problems finding a scale that would be able to weight him. On his first day to getting healthier, he walked a quarter mile. Can you imagine yourself doing that? To help me visualize it, I imagined going to a gym and lifting and carrying 300 pounds for a quarter mile… I wouldn’t even be able to lift that much weight, forget about walking with it!

After 10 days of his turn around, he was walking a full mile! Isn’t that something?

Today Sean is in the two hundreds range, the man lost more than one obese-me in weight. Astonishing!

So I guess my biggest challenge is my age. My doctor has been telling me for years that as I age, my metabolism is slowing down and it will be almost impossible to lose weight.

I read about Gwen, in 2013 she was in her early 60’s and she lost 66 lbs. Amazing!! Too bad I can’t use the age excuse anymore.

We all have choices: we can choose to follow good examples, we can choose to be good examples or we can just find excuses.

Spoiler alert… Today’s post was supposed to be about small things we do for ourselves that can bring huge benefits but I didn’t even get to that part yet so tomorrow’s post will be all about it.

Have a great Saturday, I hope you folks are keeping active and are doing your best to stay healthy.

I walked over 30,000 steps in 2 days... 

Yesterday walk in the park!

One more badge, I'm going to run out of skin to be tattoo with all those badges :)

Friday, March 13, 2015

10,000 Steps and Not Counting

“Walking is man's best medicine”
- Hippocrates

Today my wife had a doctor appointment. She will have to be checked for the next 10 years. For the first few years it will be every 3 months. The doctor was so happy with her weight lost; he drew a smiling face on her chart.

Following this fun and entertaining event (NOT), we went to Costco. My wife needed to get her new glasses adjusted so while she was busy with that, I walked around the store, just browsing. We didn’t need anything so I was not really looking for anything in particular, except, I have been thinking about buying a gizmo like a Fitbit for a while.

I looked at the Fitbit at Walmart but it doesn’t tell time. If I’m going to wear something around my wrist, it might as well double as a watch.

In Costco, there was a distant relative of the Fitbit, it’s a Vivofit! I rationalized that with all the money we saved not purchasing wine and not eating at/from restaurants, I should just treat myself and get this “toy” and I did!

When we got back home, I was in a hurry to set up my Vivofit. It took 10 minutes and it was ready for counting. I had to test it right away. Last week while walking my usual loop on the campground, I literally counted the number of steps it took. I had counted close to 2,000 steps. Now, armed with my Vivofit I let it be the judge and it came to 1,700 steps. I was off by 300 steps, not too bad.

I had 1,700 steps under my belt and plenty of places to go, so I decided to get my numbers up to 10,000 steps; I thought it would make for good blogging (read BRAGGING) material and it would also be nice to get more exercise.

I did it! I busted the “steps bank” on the very first day thanks to my new best friend Vivofit…! However, I’m a little disappointed, I was expecting that when I would reach the 10,000 mark, there would be some happy beeping sounds, confetti’s thrown in the air, or a message: “Congratulations RICHARD you have reached your destination!” but nothing happened it just kept on counting like it was no big deal. Sigh

It was a great walk, the sun was shinning and it was a nice and cozy -6 C (21 F.) and I had a lot of time to think. I realized that now that I’m tracking the number of steps, I do not need to walk the same loop anymore. I took full opportunity of it and walked all over the place, I even found 2 trailers’ door opened (not something anyone wants in the winter).

We are leaving for Florida next week, it’s a 3 days car ride. Every time we will stop, I’ll walk a few thousands steps to reach 10,000, even while traveling. I love to have a routine and this gizmo will sure help me with that.

In the fall my doctor warned me, NO CREAM, he was not drawing a happy face on my chart. I think you folks are going to get me in trouble… There are 11 coaches (followers), but you are the cream of the crop! You guys are the best, thank you so much for your encouragements, it means a lot to me.

This was in the afternoon, it still had the new car smell!

This is my total for the day... almost 13,000 steps. My wife told me to go back outside to get to 13 even, didn't happen. I want to keep room for improvement :)

 Because I broke a couple of steps, I got those 2 merit badges, I'm so proud I'll get them tattooed, anyone has suggestion as to where?

 This is a Vivofit's graph from last nigh sleep 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Home Sweet Home

“If you feed them, they will come” – Me

Most of the blogs I follow lately, are about health. People log in how much exercise they do and for how long. Some of them read my blog and they might find it suspicious that I don’t post about me exercising and think I am forgetting it.

This is not the case, I am exercising however I’m not keeping track for now.
In the good old days, when life expectancy was 53 and a half, life was tough but people were eating healthy and exercising a lot. 

An healthy adult could eat 100,000 calories a day consisting mostly from beef or pig’s fat and they would disregard the lean meat and give it to the dogs. Fruit and vegetables were available for a very short time but nobody cared, as long as there was bacon on the table they were happy. To make sure they had enough fat in their diet, they would put butter on the bacon. The vegetarians were the one who would eat a small potato with the fatty meat.

They exercised a lot: running all over the place after some strayed calves, jumping on the back of a horse that didn’t want to be jumped on, sitting-up on the balcony rocking a chair, swimming in manure…

By now you might be wondering why are we getting a history lecture from the not-to-be-published-ever Richard’s history book?

Simple, my exercises are related to our current living arrangement and are more about what we need to do than what I want to do. Did you make the link with the history lecture? Those people were also living a difficult life and were doing everything they could just to keep breathing. I know I could have been more direct without going back hundreds of years but what would be the fun of that?

Our home in Canada is a summer home. Because the water pipes are not deep enough, there is no running water in winter. There is not even a ploughed road. We park at the front entrance of the campground where there are washrooms/showers opened year round.

A round trip to the entrance is about a quarter mile walk. Everything we need we have to carry in and carry out including water, food and their by-product; we are setup with water in jerry cans and dry toilet (for the lady). If I want a regular toilet, it’s a quarter mile walk. I do this several times every day because I also go there to brush my teeth.

Some people might think it’s a hardship (that explains why we are alone) but I love it. I also bring bags of corn with us. It’s over 50 pounds per bag but corn is so good… for our deer.

I also walk a lot on the park just for the exercise. The streets are reduced to snowmobile trail which are packed snow. I estimate I walk about 6 to 8,000 steps a day. It might not be 10,000 steps but it’s a good workout. If you have never walked in the snow (I am not pointing out anyone here Natalie:) ); it’s like walking on the beach, your feet do dig in the snow but that’s where the comparison ends, because it’s cold, slippery, you don’t have the open sea to look at and there are no women in bikini (ha ha ha couldn’t help myself with this sexist remark, but believe me I’ll pay the price, when my wife reads this she is going to give me “the look”, I might have to sleep with the deer. See the extent of my commitment to this blog)

Here some pictures of the place:

The home (shoveling might be required)

 View from the sofa

 The road to heaven (great place to walk)

 Early morning of weight training

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Stepping Up and Jumping Down

The following picture has NOT been modified in any way by any one. 

I jumped the 200 pounds mark and joined the one hundred pounder group, holy Molly! There is no turning back, I’m going down. I don’t have a parachute so how much damage will be inflicted? I’ll know once I’m on firm ground.

As I said nothing has been modified in the picture. I have been keeping watch on that jump to get below 200 for a few days now. I think the scale was teasing me, for two days in a row it was showing 200.0. For those 2 days, I was only wearing a smile when I stepped on the scale even waited for nature to take its course before weighing in. After the second day I was thinking about shaving my legs in order to tip the scale in my favor.

My goal is to lose 65 pounds in a year. I will accomplish this in 5 steps.

Step 1 – Lose 20 pounds

This will bring my weight to 195 pounds. This is the steps where you learn to say “NO” to friends, family, stranger and yourself. No cake, No chips, No wine, Yes to water (nobody likes negative people). It’s the learning step. Weight at the end: 195 pounds

Step 2 – Lose 15 pounds

That step will change my label from obese to overweight. Can’t wait to proudly tell everyone, “I’m Overweight!” Weight at the end: 180 pounds

Step 3 - Repeat Step 2

This is when your mind is working its hardest at tripping you… “No Richard you are feeling great you don’t need to go further”. The easiest way of dealing with that: “Shut up mind, you don’t know what you are talking about.” Weight at the end: 165 pounds

Step 4 – Lose last 15 pounds

I didn’t put any time frame on any of those steps, but this one will take the longest. It will change my label from overweight to normal. This is the weight I was in my late teen and early twenties, too bad I threw away all my clothes from then. Weight at the end: 150 pounds

Step 5 – Maintain

Just thought I’d mentioned it here to remind myself about it. This is when I’ll see if I really changed my lifestyle or if I just dieted and I’m slipping back. I’ll have more to say about this as I get closer to this step.

My goal is to achieve all this in a year but I’m realistic and if after 6 months I see it’s not feasible in my allotted time or if I have already reached my goal, I’ll adjust but I WILL NOT QUIT.

Are you stepping up and jumping down?