Monday, February 28, 2011

When You Give Help, You Give Hope

April 17th, 2011. Put that date in your calendar for that is the day of the annual Trolley Run, a four mile race that benefits The Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired. Last year, racers big, small, fast, and slow alike lined up to support CCVI and raised over half a million dollars. This is where I ask you, my friends and family to help me in reaching my goal this year.
My name is Isabella Riddell, and I am five years old. I have curly blond hair that bounces when I run and bright blue eyes that sparkle when I smile. Mommy says I could be a model because I am so beautiful. I go to CCVI four days a week and my classroom teacher, Ms Kitty and her assistants Ms Eliza and Ms Andrea help me do things that I was never sure I could do. You see, CCVI has provided support and assistance for children like me and their Mommy’s and Daddy’s for close to sixty years. I have a condition called Cortical Visual Impairment. My brain doesn’t let me see very well. I also have epilepsy, cerebral palsy, and afibrinog-something or another. At CCVI, I receive not only therapy for my vision, but physical therapy, orientation and mobility therapy, assistive technology, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. I even get to swim once a week in the pool for aqua-therapy. Mommy and Daddy tell me that I have continued to amaze them, my teachers, and my therapists by what I have been able to accomplish. Just this year alone my speech has increased literally tenfold.
The expert therapies and classroom education I receive are not cheap, as each child costs approximately $30,000 per year. This is funded primarily through generous private donation and charity fundraisers such as the Trolley Run. This is where I ask you, my friends, my family, my neighbors, and my community, to help and support a cause that is near and dear to my heart.
CCVI is an amazing organization and enough great things cannot be said about it. CCVI has been the greatest influence in my young life. I have been able to overcome adversity and conquer obstacles that most none of you could even dream of. I have been able to do this because of CCVI’s tireless dedication and efforts.
Any amount of monetary donation is greatly appreciated as CCVI will continue to play a role in my life for several years to come. You can mail your donation in check form, made payable to CCVI to:
Isabella Riddell
1702 NW 63rd Terrace
Kansas City, MO 64118
You can also visit my web page and donate electronically at
Our goal this year is to raise over $2000! Please help us meet our goal and I’ll buy you dinner, okay probably not, but I will give you a big hug and a sloppy kiss.
The IncrediBella, aka Isabella
& Family

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

An e-mail from food himself.

So you think you have this whole weight loss game figured out huh? You think you’ve mastered calories and killed the cravings? You think you can overcome me? You think you have the strength to take down your biggest nemesis and your best friend at the same time. Think again Joe, you don’t know sh*t.

See you at lunch time,
Food (especially the sugary, greasy, fatty kind)

This is an e-mail I got today from my good friend/arch enemy, food. It loves to do this to me. It knocks me down and picks me up. It is there in good times and bad. It comforts me and is literally killing me.

I have publicly (remember the weekly weigh-ins that lasted 2 weeks?) and privately vowed to lose my remaining weight. I have set goals and made plans and drawn up excel spreadsheets to track my loss. Except for whatever reason I have abandoned them. I made the choice to take the easy route or should I say the more delicious route. It was a poor choice.

Right now I am at 255 pounds. About 30 pounds more than I was last October. I am struggling to deal with my food issues. I try to rationalize it by saying to myself, “Self, you are just a big guy, you always have been.” And food is laughing at me, mocking me, saying yeah sure, you are “big-boned.”

I turn 30 next week. Yeah I know, people say, you are just a baby. But hey 30 is big deal. I have played it off like it wasn’t. I told my wife when she turned 30 that it is just a number, it doesn’t mean anything. I think I was wrong. It does mean something. It means your twenties are gone. It means that you are no longer viewed as a kid anymore.

That said, I have taken a new lease on life. I finished my degree in management. I have started appreciating my family and stopped taking them for granted. I am enjoying life. I love my life. I would just love it a lot more if there was less of me (about 70 pounds less).

People who have never been overweight will not understand that. That is why I love writing this blog and reading Sean Anderson, and Tony, and Jack Sh*t and numerous others. They understand my plight. They get that e-mail from food daily.

I am humbled and appreciative of everything I have. I just recently got promoted to a new position at Buca Di Beppo. I am the new Assistant General Manager. I worked my way up from Wait Assistant (which is somewhat of a busboy/bread/drink fetcher hybrid.) I am very proud of this accomplishment. I am going to be successful for I am good leader. I am very level headed and I am passionate about taking care of my customers and employees.

Now I have to be as passionate about taking care of myself. I am confident in myself and I have a wonderful support system. My wife, Rachel, is a role model to me. I look up to her. I have written about her before, she is such an amazing individual. I will do this not only for me, but for her too. She deserves my very best, and she will get it.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Monday Weigh in 6/07/2010

260.5 lbs.... Headed in the right direction.

A 4 pound loss isn't too shabby, and sure as hell beats a one pound loss.
I put a lot more effort into my food intake, though I should still take it easy on the pretzels. Low fat and low calorie, but full of enriched flour and carbs, so that will be my focus this week, cutting those delicious salty, crunchy snacks.
I even made it to the gym and ran outside. A pretty solid week.
Onward to 200 or bust!

Non related weight loss thought of the week.

How the hell would we ever have an oil shortage when that one leak is filling up the whole Gulf of Mexico with the black gold? Can we all agree that we are done with oil? 2 wars, Sarah Palin talking, and a ginormous oil leak in the gulf. All four, very bad things for this country.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Monday Weigh in 5/31/2010, it's a loss but...

264.5, a whopping 1 pound loss which less than stellar for sure.

Apparently I'm a lot like Big Papi. A very slow starter only to kick it into gear as the season progresses. That and I'm awesome in those Sportscenter commercials.

This week I will be more focused and determined. Follow a stricter workout plan and be a little less liberal with the food intake.

Goodbye now.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday weigh in 5/24/2010

Drum roll please............................................................................................................................................

265.5 lbs. (I just got owned by the scale)

Ouch, I knew it would be bad, but I didn't know it was that bad. Ok I had a bit of an idea, but damn. I could probably sit here and write and write and write a lot of BS about what happened and what I'm going to do, how I'm going to do it...blah, blah, blah. But I'm not, so I'll spare anyone that takes time out of their day to read this. By the way, if you do read, thanks.

Same place, next week.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Monday Weigh-In

On Monday, I am going to start a weekly Monday weigh in. This strategy worked really well for me in the past and held me accountable for my actions.
I have some great new opportunities (some which require weight loss) upon the horizon that I expect to materialize. Despite some setbacks in the past few months, life is looking up. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.

Monday, April 26, 2010

2010 Trolley Run

My $15.00 digital watch alarm is beeping. Normally that alarm seems fairly quiet, but at 5:00 am it might as well be turned up to 11. (A Spinal Tap joke for those of you not in that club) It’s dark. It’s raining. Why am waking up so early on a Sunday morning? Oh yes! Race Day. My first race since the Pleasant Hill cross country debacle 12 years ago.

It was still dark when I got the kids out of bed. Bella was sleepy eyed, but precious as always. Remi wasn’t as precious as he hates mornings, much like his mother. He grunted and groaned, and wouldn’t eat breakfast. But soon Grammy Lynette and Papa Phil show up (they are part of our 20 person team who are walking in the race) and Remi was apparently really trying to impress them with his sweet skills so he perked right up. Bella seemingly has an endless supply of energy so she never seems tired. She is ‘on’ all the time.

We finally get loaded up and head out to find a parking spot at the Country Club Plaza. Of course we are running about 15 minutes later than we wanted. That’s just the way it is when you have kids. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Thankfully we find a spot. One of the perks of having a disabled child is that handicap tag. Hey, don’t judge me.

It is STILL raining. You know one of those nice Spring showers, the absolute perfect weather for sleeping in. Not so perfect for running 4 miles.

There were lots and lots of people. Over 10,500 runners signed up for this race. It was an amazing turnout. By now, it had stopped raining. We were lining up to take the shuttle buses over to the starting line. The line stretched about 1,000 blocks. Well it seemed like 1,000 blocks. For those of us with strollers we got to get in a special bus lane. Unfortunately only Remi and I got on this special bus and we were separated from the group. It sucks being separated from the group. Luckily, my team, The IncrediBella’s eventually all made it to the start of the race intact.

Rach and I were in the Yellow wave, for slow joggers and fitness walkers. I’m not sure what a fitness walker is, but apparently it’s the equivalent to a slow jogger. Remi and Bella were with their nana, papa’s, uncles, aunts, and grandma in the leisurely walking wave.

The race was about to start, it was probably 55 degrees or so and a bit windy. I would call it chilly and I’m not ever really cold. But there was Rach and I, getting ready to start our first race ever, together. It was awesome. I was excited. I was nervous. Can I finish? It’s all about finishing. That’s the goal. But it’s a 4 mile race and I have never ran more than 3 miles. Focus on the finish.

So we start. And it feels like we are on a nice pace. Not too fast, not too slow. We start passing people and very few people are passing us. It feels great to be in this pack. It is quite a thrill. The congestion does get a bit annoying and slows us some, but we are moving along nicely. My legs feel good, my breathing is good. All of a sudden there is the Mile 1 Marker. 1 mile down. I looked at my watch, about ten and half minutes. Hey that’s good, right? We feel good. Rach seems like this is effortless so I tell to go ahead if I am slowing her down, but she stays right by my side. She was amazing. The second mile was by far the hardest. My legs started to get tired. No no no, we aren’t even halfway done. My breathing was labored. I was struggling. I knew I had not prepared for this like I should have, but I was not stopping. People all around us were slowing down and walking. Not us. Not today.

Then the Mile 2 Marker came. There were people on the course cheering us on shouting words of encouragement and that helped… a lot. We were halfway done. I don’t know what it was or what happened, but all of a sudden it got easy. My legs were just moving. One foot in front of the other. I guess this is the “runners high?” We passed more and more people. Rach and I were side by side. Soon, we approached and passed the Mile marker 3. We were almost done. This was uncharted territory for me. I have never ran more than 3 miles, but I think I could have ran 10* with the way I felt. More people were stopping to walk, even some people that had passed us earlier. Not me and Rach. We kept moving, faster and faster and then, there it was, the finish line. I motioned to Rach to kick it up, let’s finish strong. And we did. We sprinted through the finish line. 4 miles down. 4 miles that just 18 months ago
might have literally killed me.

*I seriously doubt it

I weigh 250 pounds now. Maybe the fastest 250 pounder of the day? I felt pretty damn proud of myself for finishing that strong and never walking. Rach pushed me through it. She could have gone faster, she will never admit it, but she can smoke me. She has been doing some serious training for this. But she stuck with me and I love her for it. We started together and finished together. Our official time was 43:52 which breaks out to a 10:58 per mile pace. I was super pumped after the race. I felt great. It was an amazing experience and I will be doing it again. In fact we signed up for 2 races last night, an 8k on Memorial Day and the 5k run at Kaufmann Stadium in September.

This race has sparked my motivation again. I want to get faster and faster. And I will.