Monday, June 23, 2014

Why Walking Works For Me

About five months into the start of my blog in 2009, my dreams were big.   Ride the bike, enter races, lose weight, new lifestyle naturally follows...easy.

Then, I realized that weight loss would depend MUCH MORE on what I ate, than how much I sweat.  Bummer...I really wanted to maintain my pizza lifestyle.   

So, I became a big challenge guy.  I figured that if I set big huge challenges or goals for myself, I would HAVE to train more and more and therefore keep my pizza.  It was exciting to think of a half-marathon or riding a century cycling race (okay, even a metric-century cycling event).  

But after a few years of some big events, I could see that my activity AFTER the big race would taper off and I would backslide.  Big time.  Too often.  

So me and many other bloggers would have these seasons of highs and lows, gains and losses...which can be pretty de-motivating.   Makes you want to quit blogging for awhile. 

We've all known that walking is healthy, but also boring and slow and not sexy at all.   There has never been a movie-montage of the main character begginning a daily walking regimen.   No medals or t-shirts for walking events.   Right?

But walking as exercise is practical and does not lend itself to excuses.

I walk every day and so do you.  With FitBit, I still get a fun daily measure of my progress toward 10,000 steps per day.  There is a great website that allows me to playfully measure or compare with others.  And I find myself looking for opportunities to move more everyday and when I am behind on my steps, then I get motivated to jump on the treadmill (or a few trips around the neighborhood) and bang out a few miles in 30 minutes.

I typed this while on a treadmill (more on that later) and I don't know how many miles I have walked in this time (also on a long conference call), but I have not yet gone to the gym today and have logged in well above 10,000 steps (or 5 miles).    No cycling gear, no trip to the gym and no guilt for missing a workout day.   As a husband and father of three, I think this is perfect for me right now.

Big Clyde

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Paleo - Daniel Plan - Smoothie diet

For several months now, my wife and I have been substituting some meals for blended smoothies we make at home.   We watched "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead", bought the juicer and quickly realized how healthy the vegetable juices could be...but what a hassle with all of the produce shopping and prep.

So, we started adding in more smoothies with a very expensive blender.   Handfuls of spinach or baby kale were blended with bananas or blueberries and some chia, nuts or protein powder.   Yummy and pretty easy (though my wife is the one who prepares our smoothies).

Finally, about two weeks ago, a group of friends at our church started a Tuesday night group to begin The Daniel Plan.   Though it pretty much followed along with the same juicing/blending guidelines, there is also a faith and fellowship component added to this plan.  Nice.

Then, today I spoke with Neighbor Ted who now lives across the country.   As we were catching up, he mentioned that he has been pretty successful lately with a "paleo" diet.  

My question to you is this:  Have you followed any of these plans (juice/blend/Daniel/paleo) and what is your assessment?   Please let me know!

Big Clyde

Monday, June 16, 2014

FitBit Friends

The FitBit Flex is a wristband that tracks your daily steps (and a few more things) with a suggested daily goal of 10,000 steps per day (which is approximately 5 miles).   There have been weeks when I have hit that every day, but lately, I have been far below that.

This has been pretty great for me this year for a number of reasons, but they may be pretty obvious (more awareness, daily activity, no excuses due to ease, etc.).

Dan commented on my last post that he would like to join me as a FitBit Friend (or whatever they call it) so that we can see each other's steps, encourage each other, etc.    That would be awesome.   my email is and my username on FitBit is probably BigClydesdale or BigClyde...something like that (sadly, I can't figure out my own profile name).

I'll write more later this week about how I am choosing to eat better and the results.

Have a great week!

Big Clyde

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Writer's Block?

I'm back to check in with my blogging friends.   I see that several of my favorite bloggers from the past have moved on to other interests, maybe other social media venues or have just been busy.   Me too.

This has been a great year so far for me.   Mrs. Clyde is still doing very well with her work and her ministry as our worship leader at church.   She even lets me play bass or sing when there's a spot open.  My daughter just graduated from high school with a pretty impressive academic performance and has chosen to attend my alma mater in the Fall...a smaller, but well-known liberal arts university.   Makes me feel good that she may be taking classes from some of my old professors.  And my two boys are continuing to work very hard at school and will soon be participating in a community theatre production of Mulan.   If they are happy and healthy, my life is pretty full.

As for me...I'm doing fine, but in pretty much the same shape that I was when I started this thing.   Aside from wearing larger clothes, I am still fortunate to have no other health concerns (bp, cholesterol, etc...but how long can that last?).  In reality, I eat more nutritionally now (our whole family does).  We juice, we blend, we have salads and I have consumed more kale and spinach in the last 6 months than I would have ever predicted.   But those good choices only cover about 1 meal a day and I eat "like an American" the rest of the time...not helpful for weight loss.

 I also frequently attempt to get 10,000 steps in per day as recorded on my FitBit.   By the way, if you any of you want to connect via the FitBit website and be "friends" or whatever, I would love that.   It is fun to encourage each other that way.

And finally, regarding the title of this daughter is over halfway finished with writing her first novel!   It started with our family game called "Made-up Movie", which I wrote about in a few posts a few years back.  She took a fun plot that we generated on a car-ride and will soon have a novel longer than The Great Gatsby!  I will definitely read the book and look forward to seeing the movie someday.

But back to me (!), my daughter and wife have encouraged me to write this summer.   Yes, more blogging, but also writing a novel (or at least starting one).   I am thinking through some ideas now and am pretty excited about pursuing a new challenge.   I'll write about it as I experiment with it.

I have a summer goal of achieving 10,000 steps daily, at least 5 days per week (that is roughly 5 miles per day).   I'll update you on my progress soon.

Have a good weekend!

Big Clyde

Friday, February 7, 2014

10,000 Steps

Maybe I'm a bit late to the party, but I purchased a FitBit "Zip" pedometer about a month ago.  And one for my wife.   It seems so lame to measure only walking, or realistically, just steps throughout my day.   As usual, I recall measuring my running miles or cycling miles per week...not steps.

But here's my thinking:  my long-term health is dependent on consistent, long-term behavior.   Cycling daily or even several times per week means sacrificing other areas of my life that I don't really have a desire to sacrifice.  Running is just no longer a good idea for a lifelong exercise.   But walking, just walking, requires no equipment, special shoes, etc.   Obviously.  

Though not nearly as aggressive as cycling or other workouts, it is excuse-free for nearly all of us.   The goal from FitBit is to log 10,000 steps per day.   That equates to about 5 miles per day.   Without any extra walking, it looks like my normal steps per day only totals about 3,500 steps.  So, now when I am out and about, I check my little screen and find that I am parking further away, taking a few short walks and even a few hour-long walks just to get the steps in.   Not aggressive, but perhaps more consistent than my previous bursts of effort toward cycling or running.

Do any of you track your steps or walking miles?

Big Clyde

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Slowly Turning The Big Ship last post was in August, but I didn't expect to stay away for so long.   So, here's a brief re-cap of what's going on with me:

Family - All is well.  I'm married with three kids and all of us are healthy, working, studying, involved with some light extra-curricular stuff and church.  We are happy and blessed.

Work - Also, doing fine here.  Though the economy showed signs of improvement this year, things have still be challenging in my industry and I had a major year-long project to complete, which required extra hours and attention this year.   Goal was achieved and I am looking forward to 2014.

Health/Weight - No changes here, which is not a good sign.   I am still overweight and have not been working on eating better over the past few months.  My focus has been elsewhere and when I am not focused on eating healthy, I eat fast food, snacks, etc.  Otherwise, my health is fine.

Exercise - Can't recall my last run or decent bike ride.

So, why would I blog about any of that?   There's been nothing to say of any substance over the past few months, so I've stayed away from the blogging world.

I'm not certain that I will continue this blog because I feel like I've learned what I needed to learn by reading about nutrition, cycling, running, weight loss, etc.   The knowledge is easy.  The change in lifestyle is more difficult.   It takes a while to turn a big ship, but it DEFINITELY requires a skipper who is at that steering wheel.

My efforts began with cycling, then nutrition (really, counting calories) and eventually, running.   All were productive and fun.   But with each new effort, I put tremedous time and focus into them for short-term goals and results.  

I like cycling and will ride for the rest of my life, but I intend to ride for light exercise, fun, and errands...not as a goal-focused cyclist with my eyes focused on the next race or milestone.  It requires too much time in the saddle and away from other parts of my life that I enjoy more.

I enjoyed running, but accept that my knees only have so many miles in them and I don't want to be limping in my sixties, so I think I will never do another 10k.   Maybe a slow 5k now and then or a simple neighborhood jog.

As for nutrition, that is where I have learned the most (but again, have not consistently put that knowledge toward permanent changes in my life).   I'll write more about that in a post within the next few days.

I'm aware that this post might seem a bit depressing or disappointing to some of you and that's fine.   I guess I realized about a year ago that I could continue to do short-term goals, then fall back, then repeat...for the rest of my life.   But that was not the goal.   My goal was to make a sustainable change in my weight (whether it was through exercise or nutrition).   The patterns of exercise and nutrition that "work" are HIGHLY individualized in my opinion and we all have to figure out what patterns suit our individual lifestyles the best.   I haven't figured out how I will do that yet, but I think I am getting close to figuring out what will work for my lifestyle.  Many of you have already figured it out for yours.  Well done.

Finally, I wanted to say a very genuine "thank-you" to the few of you that somehow care enough about me to be reading this now.   I have not been as diligent on following other blogs recently and I feel badly about that.   But when I have checked in to see how my blogging friends are doing, I am always inspired that so many of you are still working out changes in your lifestyle, or riding your bikes, or signing up for new races.   I hope to someday soon be back at that type of activity, whether I blog about it or not.


Big Clyde