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.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Googling yourself and an eerie coincidence? I think not.

Have you ever googled yourself? (is it me or does that sound dirty?) I know, I know, how vein and conceded right? Sort of, but I was reading an article on cnn.com about young job seekers hiding their facebook pages so potential employers cannot see their extracurricular activities and musings. Well, I happen to be searching for a new job myself as I just finished my degree in Management (with a 4.0 by the way) and have enrolled in grad school. (I’m an attractive employment candidate right? Any takers? Anyone? Hello, is this thing on?) Anyway, I wondered, what happens when you google my name? So I did, and it turns out there are several people out there who share my name. There is a Joe Riddell facebook page that is not my own, there is Joe Riddell, owner of Riddell Realty in Lexington, KY, there is even a Joe Riddell on twitter with the screen name ‘horsemanjoe,’ which reminds me of Ric Flair and Arn Anderson, but that is a different topic for a different day.

The fifth item down on the list was this.

Joseph Riddell Death Notice: Joseph Riddell's Obituary by the ...
Feb 22, 2010 ... Online death notice for Joseph Riddell. Read Joseph Riddell's life story, offer tributes/condolences, send flowers or create a Joseph ...

www.legacy.com/obituaries/.../obituary.aspx?n=joseph-riddell-joe...- Cached

Weird, right? Maybe a bit strange. Normally this type of thing would not bother me except I was listening to my Pandora internet radio and it just so happened that the song “You Only Live Once” by The Strokes was playing in my ear. (to be fair the lyrics aren’t really about life and death, but the title certainly implies it) Now I don’t believe in signs or karma or any of that stuff at all. I just don’t. Everything is random and things just happen. But this was strange. Even to me. So just this once, I’m taking it as a sign, whether it is fabricated in my brain or not. And from what I am going through at this time it was the perfect combination of two random entities that came together at the exact right time. I needed to see this, ponder it, and absorb what it means.

I do only live once. I had better make the best of it. What would my life story say? What would my legacy be? It's time to start living and it's time to start appreciating what I am and what I have.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I was over visiting Prior Fat Girl’s blog spot earlier today and she posed the question about your biggest fear. A lot of folks commented and there seemed to be a common theme. People are afraid to fail, people are afraid that they will not lose the final five, people are afraid that they will gain it all back. For anyone who has struggled with weight and the whole yo-yo dieting thing, these are all very real and very legit concerns, but I have a different fear.

My fear: Getting to my goal, and still not being the person that I thought I would be. A better husband, a better father, a better person. I'm afraid that I will come to the realization that it wasn't the weight, it was me.

I have had success. I lost about 120 pounds. You see, I always thought that my weight was my number one issue. Don’t get me wrong it was/is still a HUGE issue, but I’m not going to fall over dead of a heart attack at the age of thirty. I eat better now (mostly) and work out (running about 2.5 miles per day) so physically I’m better. Mentally, though, is where I struggle. When I first started out I felt great and invincible. Everyone noticed the weight loss, my confidence was beaming. Now I’m just a normal guy. I have let this weird mental block negatively impact my relationships with my wife and kids. I may have a different body, but I’m still acting like the same jerk. I thought that was all supposed to change once the weight came off, like I was magically going to become this awesome person. It didn’t. So I guess I have realized my biggest fear. The weight was just an accomplice, I’m the real reason I am the way I am. I need to figure it out. My confidence has been shaken, and is practically non-existent. I must figure out a way to change this person that have become. When I was 345 lbs I could get away with being angry, zero confidence fat guy, but now I don’t have an excuse. Now I have to get to the bottom of it, confront the real issues. Some how, some way, I will figure it out and become the husband, father, and man I’ve always wanted to be.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The post I never, ever wanted to write (and I still don’t)

I admit, I have slumped. I have allowed my “holiday break” to spill over far into the New Year. I am very, very disappointed in myself. Embarrassed and ashamed even. I know I’m not the only one to struggle and gain weight back, but I was so strong in my resolve and I was so determined dammit. I was not going back, not at any cost. It wasn’t going to happen to me. On Jan 5th, I weighed in at around 233, (I was floating between 227-233 around that time) but then something happened. Something terrible. It’s like I just lost control and went crazy. I stopped eating properly. I would persuade Rach who wanted to continue to eat healthy to order pizza or Chinese or Thai or Popeyes Chicken. I found myself stopping in at Quik Trip for their oh so delicious donuts and muffins. I would “forget my lunch” so I could go out and eat at work. For the entire previous year I had NEVER went out unless it was with a longtime friend or my boss (which was maybe three times) I would only eat out once a month on Rachel and I’s date night. And even then I found myself eating less. I was in the groove.
But, that groove ended and here I am. My clothes began fitting tighter and I noticed I was feeling worse. I started to feel like I used to, lethargic and lazy. Hell I had even joined a gym and worked out somewhat regularly, but my eating was so poor, so sugar and fat laden that I gained more and more. When it was just ten pounds, I thought no big deal, then it was 15, then 20, then 25, and approaching 30. I had lost complete control. What happened? Am I really doing this to myself. I signed up for the Trolley Run for motivation. (donate or sign up here) I ordered a size large t-shirt. No way I would fit into that unless I lost the extra weight. Didn’t help. I even started a strict training regimen. Didn't help either. On Monday morning 3/15, The Ides of March, I weighed in at 255. 30 effing pounds over my low weight of 225 in October. I was and still am devastated and depressed and just plain down about it. I am better than that. I know this, my wife knows this, anyone who has ever met me knows this, but what I have done, gaining this weight back is terrible and I feel as if I have let a lot of people down especially my family and my friends.
Monday I put an end to it. 255? Not in my house. Not anymore. My friend Sean Anderson has coined the term iron clad decision and the steel curtain zone (always makes me think of the Pittsburgh Steelers) but that is what I did. I don’t care how hungry I am or what I am craving or how tired I am, I am making this commitment to myself. Food will not beat me. Just when I though I had landed the knockout blow Mike Tyson style, food jumped up and got me good. It has stunned me and wobbled my knees, but I’m not down. Food may have won round 2 but this fight is far from over. In fact it will probably last until the very end, but it is a battle that I will win. See you in Round 3.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Training for the Trolley Run

The Trolley Run is coming up in about 8 weeks (April 25th) so Rach and I have started training for the run. Now we do subscribe Runners World and of course we have the interwebs so we have a gambit of information on when to run, how far to run, what form is the best, what shoes to buy, what music to listen to, how long our strides should be, how to breathe, etc, etc, etc… Who knew that running was so difficult*? Here I was thinking it was one foot in front of the other over and over again until you could move anymore. Apparently it’s quite the science, so we sat down together and developed plan (how nerdy is that?) and scheduled our runs and gym time.

*Funny story, my senior year in high school I decided that I was going to run cross country ( I weighed about 190 then, but still fat) just for fun. Fun my ass. Far from fun. 3.1 miles of pure hell. Okay to be fair I never made it 3.1 miles. During “practice” I would catch rides from people back to the school and never really finish. Of course I was on the JV team, only because there were not many people that wanted to torture themselves. So there I was at my first race wearing shorts that were too short and a “jersey” or whatever you wore in a race that was too tight (they did not make XL, Cross Country runners do not wear XL). I started out strong and was not in last place, yet. The race was in Pleasant Hill, MO and part of the course zigzagged through a giant field. Down and back, down and back. I finally reached the end of the field course and all my buddies were there cheering me on, even though I was in dead last and I mean dead last. My closeset competitor was probably on the bus back home by now. I went to turn the corner to head towards the finish line and my great friend Rusty, who I had known since I was like 7 said something that made me want to punch him right in the face. He said “dude you have to go through the field, again” Right there that very day I retired from Cross Country.

So Rach and I have worked out a nice schedule to train 5 days a week at the gym and how far we are to run each day/week. This week we are to run 2.44 miles 5 times for a total of 12.2 miles for the week. The next week we bump the 12.2 miles by 10% to 13.42 miles for a total of 2.68 miles every day. We do this 10% thing each week and by the end we have worked ourselves up to 4 miles. Yesterday I busted my ass and ran 2.5 miles in about 30 minutes. Now obviously I need to improve my time, but even though I’m older, and fatter than I was in high school I can run better. Of course today my body is crazy sore and I was only able to eek out 1.5 miles in 20 minutes throwing me off my training schedule, but I still feel good about it. I often think back to that race at Pleasant Hill and I wish I would have run that gosh darn field one more time and finished. At the Trolley Run, I will finish no doubt about it.

Oh and by the way if you have read down this far click on this link and consider donating or running with us. Thanks.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Trolley Run 2010! The IncrediBella’s!!!

Think you can beat a former (and still a little bit) fat guy in a four mile race? Only one way to find out.

Hola blogland. It’s that time of year again. Kansas City’s Trolley Run 2010, a four mile jaunt through the Brookside District of Kansas City to the Country Club Plaza. Rach and I are running this year and I invite everyone to join us. This is the largest fundraiser that my daughter’s school, The Children Center for the Visually Impaired, does all year. This is a very important event for the school as it helps support the school and the wonderful services they provide for my daughter and all the children that attend. I’ve shared Bella’s story before, and CCVI has helped her grow tremendously in physical, mental, and emotional capacities. We will never be able to re-pay our debt to this organization so I am asking everyone that reads (all 15 of you) to consider running or jogging or walking alongside of us or donating a small or large amount to a great cause.

A few fun facts about the Trolley Run
  • Largest timed 4-mile run in the United States
  • Since 1998, Home of Men’s 4-mile U.S. best
  • Since 1999, Home of Men’s Masters 4-mile U.S. best
  • Since 2001, Home of Women’s 4-mile Course record and American record

The IncrediBella’s Fundraiser Page is located here…and here… and in case you missed it here
Our team name if you haven’t guessed is The IncrediBella’s* (pretty clever, eh? see what I did there, instead of the Incredibles, oh nevermind I’m sure you get it) and the website is pretty easy to navigate so donating or signing up to run is a breeze.

*We had two other team names picked out, the first “CinderBella and the Pumpkins” and the second more racier one “C.P., P.V.L., C.V.I., WTF?”, but decided The IncrediBella’s was the clear cut winner

Thank you so much for all your support. I hope that we will see some of you there (Scott S., I'm talking to you, you hear me?) April 25.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

1 Year, 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8,760 hours

January 5th 2009- 345 pounds
January 5th 2010- 233 pounds

I took a bit of a hit during the holidays, but I have still have accomplished so much. I finally started weight training and I hope to be down below 200 by April 19, 2010. Why, you ask? We are taking a nice family vacation to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. There is an indoor water park at our resort so it'll be best for all sighted people if I get down below that 200 mark.

I need to focus on about 2.5 pounds a week and I will be good to go.

I read a blog written by The Kansas City Star's Sam Mellinger yesterday that touched me, for I am an animal lover. And he is 100% right. This dog was treated so bad, so brutally, but he perservered and overcame.

"Fletch's is the face of resilience, and of inspiration. He's a dog at the Humane Society, and a former bait dog -- which is exactly what it sounds like. His lips and part of his mouth are still mangled and scarred from the abuse. Much of his face is damaged, maybe forever. It's sickening. It's heartbreaking. And it's inspiring. The first time we met he walked right up and seemed happy enough to let a complete stranger take him out and rub his head and ears and neck. He wagged his tail and played a little fetch before he got too cold and wanted to go back inside. Once there, he rubbed up next to me for some more love. It's impossible to imagine how horrible his old life was, where he was kept alive only to be attacked and abused and pushed close to death. There are crimes that do more damage to society than animal abuse, but people capable of inflicting this kind of torture are among the worst kind of human beings. Some dogs never come back from this kind of abuse. They become permanately incapable of interracting with people or other dogs, either paralyzed by fear or jumpy to fight anything close. So to see Fletch now, relatively happy and open to new people, is incredibly cool. If it's possible to be inspired by and look up to a dog, that's me. What will I ever go through worse than what he's already beaten?"

Monday, January 4, 2010

Mis-Quote of the Day!?

Here I am at work, avoiding doing actual work, when I stumble on this Time magazine article about people being paid money to lose weight. You can win $100.00! Sweet, I thought to myself.

I got about a third of the way through the article and their was an interview with a lady who is apparently obese. This was her quote:

"Sure, I'd like to look and feel better, but it is so subjective. Money is a better motivator because it is tangible. You can hold it in your hand."

By this point my ADD kicked in and I stopped reading, but if you need money to motivate you to lose weight, then you will ultimately fail. Weight loss is subjective? Really?

Weight loss is tangible. It can be measured. It is visible. You can feel the difference. How much money is 10 more years of life worth? I'd say more than $100.00.