Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dreams can come true..

I had a dream the other night that has been on my mind all week. All I remember is that I was sitting in a window seat on a airplane and I instantly got that sick to my stomach feeling as I saw that people were starting to board the airplane, I was worried about somebody sitting next to me. Next I looked down to see how much space I was occupying in the seat next to me and to my surprise I could see the space in between the two seats, I was shocked. Then somebody came and sat next to me and I just sat there for a minute waiting for them to complain about sitting next to the fat guy. Oddly they didn't complain at all, they looked over at me and flashed a smile. Inside my head I didn't believe this was happening, was it possible that I lost the weight and I could fly without worries?! Then it hit me.... the seat belt..... I hadn't tried to buckle it yet! I quickly grabbed the belt and slowly brought the two ends together across my lap..... CLICK! I looked down in shock, I just fastened my seat belt without a belt extender!

Then I woke up...

 You see at my size flying is an extremely nerve racking experience. Most people who fly generally only need to worry about packing their back and getting to the airport on time. I however have to worry about those things in addition to the things my self consciousness has me worrying about:

  • Where exactly is my seat on the plane?
  • Will the plane be full ?
  • Will it be possible to have a empty seat next to me? 
  • What type of connector is on the seat beat? (They are generally two types and I own one of each, its so embarrassing to ask the flight attendant for en extender so I bring my own)
  • Will I be able to board the plane in the earlier groups?
  • What if the plane is filled to capacity?
  • Will someone complain about sitting next to me?

Then to add to it there is the anxiety I feel as soon as I walk into the airport. I feel like everyone is looking at me and praying that they don't have to sit next to me. Sitting at the gate waiting for a flight is one of the worse feelings I have ever felt in my life. 

I haven't been on a airplane in over two years. The fact that I refuse to fly affects a range of aspects in my life. I cant visit family unless they are within driving distance. It's affects my job and the possibility of getting a promotion that would require more travel. It also definitely kills my chances at future job opportunities in other parts of the country or world, how do you tell a potential employer who wants to meet you that you don't fly?! 

I have no doubt that the dream I had the other night will come true one day. I am very much looking forward to it, there is a whole world out there and I want to see it!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Weekly Check In - 11/20/2011

Checking in for the week!

Usually I do a vlog but I didn't get a chance to this week. I had a really off week this past week. Didn't feel good the first half of it, felt sluggish which slowed me down during workouts, and also did horrible with my water intake. On top of that it was a VERY stressful week at work which isn't an excuse but it's just the truth.

I weighed in this morning and I was up 4 lbs. I was a little irked but I had a feeling I would gain some this week. After speaking with Amer he told me not to really worry about it, he said its very unlikely that I would gain 4 lbs of fat in one week and I definitely agree with him on that. I am positive that the combination of my stressful work week, poor water intake (yes you can gain weight from not drinking enough water), a few skipped meals, and my lack of sleep all contributed to my gain this week and I am not going to let it get to me. Each day is a new day with new opportunities for improvement.

This weeks goals are to get back on track with my water and get to sleep on time!

What are your goals for the week?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thank you for always being there for me...

This post is to all the people in the fitfluential, fitblog, fitbloggin, and many more. 

Today was my birthday, we wont go into how old I am :)  But I did want to say that I am so touched by all the birthday wishes I have received from everyone on twitter and facebook. I wanted to write a post to thank all the people who I have met through facebook and twitter, many of you have made a huge difference in my life.

I have never really been a big birthday person, mostly because for most of my life a birthday was just a reminder of another year of failure in the weight loss department. Things are a little different know. I'll be honest and say I am not anywhere near where I want to be yet but I haven't given up for the last two years, and I wont ever give up. I made the commitment in May 2009 that I was going to finally lose the weight, the road since then has been bumpy but my engine is still full of gas and to me that is a huge win. In the years before 2009 I always gave up after a few weeks of trying and I always hated myself for it.

The difference in my life now is even though I may have a bad day, week, or month I always pick myself up and keep moving forward. It's hard for me to admit that I need people, it's hard for me to reach out and say I need your help. For most of my life I haven't had anybody to lean on, I have always had to figure things out on my own and just hope for the best. I can proudly say that I have survived almost all the situations that life has thrown at me. The one thing I haven't been able to do on my own is lose the weight. Like I said before it's not easy for me to say I need people but honestly I need all of you. My life has been drastically changed in a positive way by you. I try to always have a game face on but I struggle just like anyone else. Some days I want to quit, just give up, skip workouts, binge eat, etc. On the bad days I often think of many of you. I see your faces in my head, I hear your voices in my ear, and I think about your battles and all that you all have been through and that's when the switch goes off in my head. I tell myself Alan you can do this, Alan you are not alone, Alan you WILL do this. I no longer ask myself if I can do this, I know I can and I am.

I have lost most of my old friends since I started this journey. Unfortunately I was forced to choose between their friendship or a healthy lifestyle, and its obvious what I have chosen. You all have become my friends and my family in a way. I rely on you more than you know. I just wanted to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for always being there for me, I hope you know that I am always here for you.


Checking In - 11/13/2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I dont want to start tomorrow...

My choice to fight obesity and take back my health has been a rocky road, as it is for most people. I love the fight, I love the results, I love how I feel, and I love when I am in control. In my case my battle has somewhat caused me to cut off a lot of people in my life. I mean I have friends and family but I don't see them that often, my healthy lifestyle doesn't seem to sync with theirs. I never realized how much food is such a center of attention on a lot of social scenes until I started trying to lose weight. It's always "hey lets go out to dinner" or "lets grab lunch", etc.  I often decline these offers because for me.. right now... I need to stay away from those environments. I hate that I have to make that choice but its not an option, and its not easy. At the same time it's not easy living life at 400 plus pounds, its not easy to look at myself in the mirror, and it's not easy to face the world in this body.

I don't lie or make up excuses about why I don't want to go out, I just tell people the truth...that's the bottom line. A lot of times the response I get is "well you can start your diet tomorrow", actually no I cant. I don't want to start tomorrow, next week, or next year. I spent most of my adult life telling myself I'll start tomorrow, eventually tomorrow becomes never. I proudly choose to start today.

I am thankful for the people who understand my decisions, I don't mean to be rude or anti social, I just want to reach my goals and I wont let anybody get in my way. Thankfully my immediate family understands my situation, they know when I say no it's because I want to live. You choose to spend your nights as you wish... if you need me you can find me in the gym.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

5 Reasons to Fight...

The number reason I fight everyday is for myself!   I am also very proud and happy to say I have another 5 great reasons to fight and those are my nieces and nephews. I adore them all and I treasure every second I get to spend with them. They bring me so much joy and I want to be around for them for as long as I can. I want to watch the grow, learn, and love life.  They constantly remind me of why I cant give up, why I can let up, and why I cant walk away...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I Didn't Hear No Bell...

I feel like I have written this exact blog post a million times. About two months ago I hurt my back and I was basically out of the gym for a solid four weeks resting my back. Did I enjoy sitting out for that period of time? No, but I really had no choice. During that time I did my best to concentrate on my food and nutrition since that was really all I could do, and lets be honest it was a daily battle.

Fast forward to one month ago my back is all healed up and I am ready to get back in the gym! I start back with my workouts but I felt drained, no motivation and overall just fed up. My confidence was way down, I started to feel extremely self conscious in the gym again and I started skipping workouts. When I start to slack in the gym I usually start to slack on my nutrition and from there it just snow balls. The worse thing for me is down time. Once I am out of my routine for an extended period of time its always a bloody battle for me to get back into it.

 Another thing I lose during down time is my confidence! When I am in the gym I need that confidence, I need to be able to walk around the gym like I own the place, I need to be able to look all the fit people in the eye and say YES I am using that and NO I am not done. Of course nobody likes a cocky A-Hole in the gym but internally I need that edge because if I have that 1 ounce of uncertainty in myself then I wont give it my all.

For me.... right now..... at this time....... my food choices and workouts go hand in hand. When one is missing the other suffers. I cant explain why but I just know thats how my mind and body operate at the moment.

Like I said before I feel like I have written this exact blog post a million times, maybe it takes a million and one times, or maybe a million and two or three? I don't know the answer but I know I will keep writing it for as long as I need to. 

Picking myself up...... You are not starting over Alan you are just getting back in the boxing ring..... you didn't hear a bell did you? Didn't think so!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Do you dread stairs?

What do most people think of when they see stairs? Most probably don't think twice but being overweight changes all that.

Three years ago I dreaded stairs! My knees just couldn't take them, they would crack, they hurt and going up a small flight of stairs felt like I was running a marathon. At the time this was a huge problem considering I was working as a onsite Construction Project Engineer and I was constantly out in the field going up stairs and climbing ladders. Most of the time I had to do stairs one at a time because of my knees.

 I remember one day my Project Manager told me I needed to set up a punchlist walk with the Owner's Representative for one of the buildings we were building. Now mind you this wasn't a normal building, it was a massive 30 story warehouse type building that housed extensive mechanical systems that are supposed to help the power plant reduce emissions from burning coal. The walk through included checking every door in the building to make sure they worked properly and that they weren't damaged. My stomach was in knots because there was doors all over this building, it wasn't like you just go straight up a flight of stairs and check each one. The stairs winded throughout the building with all kinds of cat walks and platforms. I swear I thought I was going to die that day! I lugged all 480 lbs of me up, down, and across that building for almost 3.5 hours in the middle of the summer. I felt so embarrassed inside because I knew the people who were with me that day knew I was struggling. What was I supposed to say to by boss thought? No I cant because I am too big? 

I look back on that day and find myself thankful that I went through it, its helps me appreciate today a lot more. Reason being that even though I am still in the low 400 lb range I can RUN upstairs now with no pain at all, I might be breathing heavy when I get to the top but I still can do it.

And actually you know what I would love to do one day that involves stairs? I want to take the stairs to the top of this beautiful building in Chicago. Who can arrange that? :-)

Willis Tower aka Sears Tower

What challenges have you over come lately? What challenges are you working on overcoming?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Small Changes..

Today I wanted to talk about something I am proud of, its nothing huge but to me it means a lot. 

A few weeks ago I was eating lunch in the break room at work and I looked up and noticed the vending machine in my face. I thought to myself I have been working here for almost a year and I have never even thought about this machine, I mean I had seen it but it just never caught my full attention. 

I then thought about how a couple of years ago this wouldn't have been the case, a couple of years ago this machine would have haunted me. I would of had to have something out of it, something to make me feel good inside. I remember whenever I would stay at a hotel I would load up before I headed up to my room for the night. You know of course I needed some chips to munch on while I watched TV, then of course I need something sweet for after dinner, and I couldn't forget that late night snack. I mean I was in a hotel so if I got hungry late at night I would surely have to have something to eat!!! 

I feel like I have changed so much in the last two years. Am I were I want to be yet? No. But I am well on my way. The vending machines don't haunt me anymore.

And actually the other day I found myself in front of it looking to purchase something. It was 10 am which is when I have my morning snack, I looked in my cooler to pull out my hummus and rice cakes when I realized I had left all my snacks at home on the counter! (hate when that happens). I did however remember the hummus but I had nothing to eat it with so I thought HMMMM let me check out the vending machine. So after haggling a co worker  for some loose change I made my way to the break room to see what my choices were. So I scrolled through carefully weighing my options, I ended up going with the pretzels which I could use to dip in my hummus.

Bottom line it's the small things that make the big differences in this fight!

What are you proud of lately? I want to know..

Checking In - 8/1/2011

Sunday, July 31, 2011

HolaBirdSports $50 Gift Card Giveaway Winner is......

And the winner is.................... Tiffany Nico from Simply Shaka! 

Tiffany please email me at to claim your prize!! 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Holabird Sports $50 Gift Card Giveaway!!

Welcome to my blog's first giveaway! The awesome people over at Holabird Sports  have agreed to give away a $50 gift card on my blog.

Holabird Sports was founded in 1981 and has evolved from a tennis pro shop into a racquet sports and running specialty store. They are based in Baltimore, MD and for 29 years they have been providing people with the Holabird  advantage: Selection, Price, Service and Reliability.

I personally have experienced the Holabird advantage! There have been a few times where I couldn't find a product in my size, for example last year I was looking for some Under Armour compression shirts in a 3X but could only find 2X. I tweeted @HolaBirdSports and they told me they would speak to their Under Armour Rep to see what they could do. A few days later they contacted me and asked what colors and styles I wanted and about a week later they were on my front door step. NOW THAT IS CUSTOMER SERVICE! Also for all those hesitant about buying shoes online? Holabird Sports never charges a restocking fee for returns! So check out their website and see the details below on how to enter for a $50 gift card!

To enter to win a $50 gift card:

  •  Leave a comment on this blog post about one piece of running/workout gear that you couldn't live with out. (this is the only required thing you need to do to enter the giveaway)

For additional entries you can do ANY or ALL of the following items, just make sure to comeback and leave a separate comment for each item.

  • Follow @HolaBirdSports on Twitter
  • Like Holabird Sports on Facebook
  • Write a small post on your own blog with a link to this post about what you would buy with the Holabird Sports $50 gift card then post a link to your post in the comment section of this blog post. 
That a total of (4) possible entries! The giveaway ends on Sunday July 31st at 6 pm eastern time. Open to US residents only. Winner will be randomly selected using and notified via email. Winner must respond within 24 hours or another winner will be selected. 

Get moving people! 

Down but not out!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

You are not the only one.....

About two weeks ago I was in the gym on a Saturday night, there wasn't an extreme amount of people in there but there was a nice little group in the weight room. I usually don't talk to anyone while I workout, actually you will rarely even find me making eye contact or even noticing what anyone else is doing. I prefer to get in, do my thing, and get out.

 On this night though I did notice someone, he was probably in his mid twenties, not too tall but built well for his size. I noticed him while I was doing some wood choppers on the cable machine. The reason I noticed him was because he was doing one handed pull ups on the squat rack. I thought to myself DAMN one handed pull ups! I looked at him with envy for a bit then moved on to my next exercise and didn't give it much thought.

Awhile later I noticed the same guy, this time it was for a different reason....... I noticed him because he only had one hand. I didn't know what to think at first, I started to watch him as he worked out and he was doing everything that anyone else in that gym could do and even more.

Have you ever thought that you were the only one in the world who was struggling? The only one who had to adapt? Have you ever asked yourself why me? Told yourself it isn't fair?

The fact of the matter is I CHOSE all the decisions that got me to my current state of health. I wasn't dealt a bad hand, I just decided to go all in when all I had was nothing but a bluff going on. That guy in the gym most likely didn't have a choice about his situation but he persevered, he came out on top. Why? Because he wanted to, because he chose to. I know for a fact that things that happen to me in my childhood have contributed to my current state but I also know I am way past the point of assigning blame to anyone. I am at a point where I control my destiny.

You are not the only who is in this battle but you are the only one who can choose what happens next....

Monday, July 11, 2011

My Eggplant Dish!

My mom makes this amazing eggplant dish and I decided I would try to make it on my own tonight, I don't have a recipe but I have a general idea of what is in it.

You need the following:

20 oz Ground Beef or Turkey (I used turkey)
2 Canned Diced Tomatoes
1 Large Eggplant
1 Red Bell Pepper
Spices (you can pick your favorites)
1 package Quinoa
Chicken Broth
11 x 7 baking dish

So first thing you want to do is pick a nice sized eggplant.

You need to slice the eggplant into even slices, not too thin and not too thick. I also personally like to leave some of the skin on the eggplant. After you slice it then you want to lay them out on a baking sheet with the sliced red bell pepper. Salt and spice as you see fit. Bake the eggplant in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 30-40 min.

I used Mrs. Dash

While the eggplant is baking go ahead and get your ground turkey ready to cook. Get a skillet with some olive oil hot and ready. Add some garlic and then add your meat.

20 oz ground turkey meat at 7% fat
MMMMM Garlic

While your meat is cooking go ahead and start on the quinoa.

Trader Joe Quinoa
I personally use a rice cooker to make my quinoa, its quick, easy and always comes out perfect. I make a box at a time and store it in the fridge to eat during the week. First you want to make sure you wash and drain the quinoa. Then I put it in the rice cooker pan with a ratio of 1 to 1 of uncooked quinoa to chicken broth. I prefer to use broth because it gives it a bit of flavor.

Love this Rice Cooker!
By this time the eggplant should be near done.

Now you'll need to get your diced tomatoes, I love the flavor of 365 italian style diced tomatoes that Whole Foods carries!

Next you will need to get a glass dish and put a little of the diced tomatoes on the bottom, then add a layer of eggplant, then the layer of turkey meat, and finish it off with another layer of eggplant and the rest of the diced tomatoes.

Next you cover it in foil and put it back in the oven on the bottom shelf for 20-30 minutes at 375 degrees.

The finished product!
Plate your quinoa and add the eggplant on top for a delicious meal!

I loved this dish so much, my version isn't anywhere near as good as my Moms! As far as the nutritional information I calculated the following:

20 oz of ground turkey at 7% fat - 832 calories
1 large eggplant - 132 calories
2 cans of diced tomatoes - 350 calories
1 red bell pepper - 30 calories
1 tbsp olive oil - 120 calories

Grand Total: 1464 Calories 
Divided into 6 servings at 244 calories per serving not including the quinoa.

Hope you guys try this dish, if you do let me know what you think! Make it your own!