Time To Change – On Diets

So, what’s the goal here? I believe that a lot of folks struggle with the whole diet/weight loss/exercise journey because we’re told to aim at the wrong goal. So, let me offer up my thoughts on where we should all be aiming.

Right away, some folks will have an objection. We’re all in different places, with different physical and medical starting points. How can we all have a common goal?

Easy. The goal is a concept rather than a specific number. It’s not about ideal weights or perfect measurements or getting your glucose/cholesterol/whatever numbers just right. Those are markers of where we’re headed but it’s too easy to get caught up in some artificial numeric goal. The height and weight charts, the guidelines for the correct test numbers lead too many of us to focus on a “number” that will make everything all right. That encourages quick-fix solutions. The sooner you can get to the “right number”, the sooner everything will be fine.

The history of it all shows that this is a failed theory. Sure, you get there quickly. But can you stay there? Or do you bounce right back up again? I believe that shows that your objective was wrong. Fix that. and the chances of success (which are never guaranteed) will improve.

So, what should be the goal?

In simplest terms, a healthy lifestyle.

Any other objective will open you up to decisions that look right but won’t stick. This entire process is best when it is focused on a long-range goal. And that’s a way of living that keeps you healthy. Your healthy numbers may be different than mine, how you get there may be different than me. Our culture wants to believe that there’s only one body type that’s “correct”.

Forget it. Focus on what you need to do to be healthy. I need to lose weight. A few years ago, I discovered that when I was in the low 170s, all my blood test numbers were good. My blood pressure improved. I felt great. And I liked the way I looked. No six pack. Not ripped.


Laziness, my stroke, and some downturns in life pushed me out of that healthy place. But I know what I need to do to get back to my objective.

Don’t settle for the right “look”. Don’t make it about reaching the right “number”.

Be healthy.


My resolution remains:


want to am going to be The Guy again.  The Guy weighed 175 pounds and looked good and felt good.  And his blood pressure was good and his blood tests were good.



Active Minutes – Goal is 150/week

Steps – Goal is 10,000/day

Watch my activity on my Fitbit page

Biking Mileage – Winter Break

I track my mileage with MapMyRide

The next milestone is getting back below 185.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh-In Weight

192 pounds

Weight Change this week: -1.0 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date: 1.0 pounds– Goal is 17  pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/35


Time To Change – Setting The Starting Parameters

Some people are not going to like this post.

I understand that.  There are lots of ways to approach the process of losing weight and getting into better physical shape.  If a certain way works for you, I would expect that you will have an emotional attachment to that system.  There is a lot of passion that is generated by discussions of this sort.  It’s all good.  Remember that my criticism is of the system and not of the people who use it.  My approach is very simple.

Did it work for you?  Great.

Here’s what works for me.

You will never find a popular/fad diet here.  You will never find a diet that requires you to completely eliminate any particular food group.  You will never find a diet that requires unusual eating patterns (I’m thinking of regular fasting here).  You will never find a diet where you buy pre-packaged food.   The reason is simple.

I don’t believe in them.  I don’t believe they are based on good science that will help people in the long run.  I do believe that most of them can help you lose weight in the short term.  Possibly a lot of weight, possibly in a short period of time.

That’s not the answer I’m looking for on this journey.  I’m less than 20 pounds away from my goal.  I could jump on one of these quickie diets, drop those pounds in a couple weeks, get my “Damn, don’t I look good” photos taken and then begin the inevitable slide back up the weight chart.

Just. Not. Interested.

Here’s what my “program” is based on.  The sure knowledge that I eat too much, often of the wrong food and I sit on my butt for too much of each day.  I don’t need someone to prepare my meals for me.  I’m a grownup, I ought to be able to feed myself.  I don’t need someone to tell me I need to go outside and play.  I’m a grownup, I ought to be able to maintain the base level of activity to keep my body healthy.

I just bent some people’s noses out of shape.  That’s fine.  Remember, I’m describing my process.  The only one I’m responsible for on a daily basis.  That means learning what my body needs.  A body in late middle age.  A body with T2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  • It’s really not that complicated
  • But it’s still hard
  • People who want to sell me something should be treated with a LARGE dose of skepticism
  • It’s about a balanced diet
  • It’s about regular exercise
  • As long as you’re willing to put in the work, it doesn’t require anything fancy or expensive
  • If you’re not willing to put in the work, it doesn’t matter how much you spend
  • Success or failure is mine.

Your journey is different.  Even if you’re a late middle-aged, T2 diabetic with high blood pressure.  My way will almost surely work for you.  But I’m not offering a guarantee.

My job is to succeed on my journey.

My hope is to share what works and to inspire you on your journey.



(Some folks face different issues than I do.  It is possible to have additional medical conditions that make weight loss more difficult.  Their journies will be very different and more difficult.  My belief is that the majority of us don’t fall into that category.)

My resolution remains:


want to am going to be The Guy again.  The Guy weighed 175 pounds and looked good and felt good.  And his blood pressure was good and his blood tests were good.



Active Minutes – Goal is 150/week

Steps – Goal is 10,000/day

Watch my activity on my Fitbit page

Biking Mileage – Winter Break

I track my mileage with MapMyRide

The next milestone is getting back below 185.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh-In Weight

192 pounds

Weight Change this week: -1.0 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date: 1.0 pounds– Goal is 17  pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/35

Time To Change – Moving Towards A Little Less

I  am making some changes.  Again.

At the end of last year, things did not go the way I had hoped or planned.  Having been working on my health and diet for several years, that didn’t really surprise me.  There are just more balls in the air at the moment.

For the folks who have followed the posts regularly, you will have noticed that they disappeared.  There were two reasons for that.  First, I lost my motivation once the fall rolled around.  More on that in a moment.  Second, I was depressing myself with weekly updates and I was pretty sure that it wasn’t pleasant reading for you.

So change number one is that these posts will go to a once a month schedule.  That way I know I will something to say other than “Another week when nothing much happened”.  I will also try to add something of interest to the updates of weight and exercise.  As with most subjects, I have some opinions on a lot of what goes on around weight loss, diet, exercise and diabetes.

As to the first point, the fall of 2016 was not a moment in my life of warm memories and fond remembrances.  I was diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic, after years of lurking in the “pre-diabetic” category.  Plus in November, I lost my job.  I hadn’t lost the weight I’d wanted to lose, and I hadn’t found (still haven’t) a new full-time job.  I was feeling depressed and not really into sharing that.

But things need to change.  So we’re back.  There is some backsliding that needs to be fixed.  Then it’s forward to my goal.  Period.  Not open for discussion.

I’m back over 190 again, my A1C bumped up by 0.2 to 6.4.  Not a terrible increase but the wrong direction.  It will be checked again in June, so I have till then to turn things around.

Exercise is a challenge because it’s not cycling weather, by my standards.  So I need to walk.  30 minutes a day of active minutes.  I will be at the local mall during cold, snowy, windy or rainy weather.  I will walk in my neighborhood, at the local park or anywhere I can when the weather is good.  My doctor says that he sees the best results from the folks who walk regularly.  Works for me.

On the diet front, I remain convinced that the fancy diets, the ones that require you give up some kind of food, or eat certain exotic foods are garbage science and nutrition.  As a T2 there are things I need to control.  But there’s nothing I have to give up entirely.  Smaller portions of smarter choices and the weight will fall.  And the numbers will go with it.  Later this year, I will go into my thoughts on packaged diet plans.

I have one really great inspiration for losing weight.  One of my other projects this year involves videos.  Just did the test shoot last week.  And did not like what I saw from certain angles.  Talk about not having a place to hide!  I’m really excited about the project and vain enough to want to look good.  I’ll take whatever push I can get.


My resolution remains:


want to am going to be The Guy again.  The Guy weighed 175 pounds and looked good and felt good.  And his blood pressure was good and his blood tests were good.



Active Minutes – Goal is 150/week

Steps – Goal is 10,000/day

Watch my activity on my Fitbit page

Biking Mileage – Winter Break

I track my mileage with MapMyRide

The next milestone is getting back below 185.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh-In Weight

193 pounds

Weight Change this week: -0.0 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date: – Goal is 17  pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/35

From the Old Year to the New

This past year did not proceed as I anticipated.  Or hoped. Or wanted.

It did its own thing.  As with any year, I had little choice but to go with what’s given me.

Last year at this time I set out my objectives for the New Year:

No resolutions this year, just simple definable goals.

Health Goals:

Lose the last 20 pounds (be The Guy)
Keep my blood glucose within ADA ranges and work toward the lower ranges
Maintain a minimum of 150 active minutes a week

I managed to drop about half the weight, did OK with the blood levels until late in the year, and probably averaged the active minutes overall, but backslid there at the end of the year as well  Grade – C

Creativity Goals:

Add six more songs to my guitar competence list
Finish a writing project
Create a minimum of one good photo a month

The guitar goal never got off the ground.  I began the year with a shoulder issue that wouldn’t allow me to comfortably hold the neck and it went downhill from there.  I started another major project but nothing got finished.  And the photography was also a non-starter.  So a tough category overall.  Grade – D

Activity Goals:

Bike the Cap2Cap from Richmond to Williamsburg
Explore the parks nearby
Log a minimum of 1000 miles on the bike

I pulled the first off twice this year!  And I logged just over 600 miles.  That’s a personal best.  I got a little bit of park exploration in.  So I’d give myself a B- grade here.

Fun Goals

Visit five more historical sites
Go to the beach at least twice
Visit 20 wineries

Visited one historical site, got to the beach once and I don’t remember visiting any wineries this year.  Sigh.  Grade – F

Real Life Goals:

Find a new job
Find a new church home
Get involved with community group(s)

Thought I’d found a job.  Took a risk on something outside my comfort zone and discovered there was a reason it was outside my comfort zone.  A great company (Aflac) with some great products and people.  I’m just not cut out for that kind of sales work.  We did find a wonderful new church home, which has been an enormous blessing.  Community involvement is tough, did stay involved with the NaNoWriMo local group.  Grade – C

So what do I plan for 2018?  I’m going to take another shot at the same list.  It’s big and challenging.  There’s a LOT on it.  I put in italics the single goal for each category that I really want to cover.  I want to lose the final 10 (actually now 15 pounds), I want to do a roundtrip ride on the Capitol Trail.  Down and back, 100+ miles.  At the least, I want to ride it three times this year.  There are plenty of historical sites nearby, and a good number are free or inexpensive. And last, but absolutely NOT least, is getting full-time employment.  If I pull those off it will be a good year.  Anything beyond that will be gravy.

A Season of Thinking

Been gone for awhile.  Nothing bad has happened but a lot has happened.  It just seemed like a good time to sit back and think about what’s going on and where this blog fits.  So here’s where I found myself when all was said and done.

I still have hopes for this blog that I haven’t achieved.  Part of the problem is that this blog has to juggle several different parts of my personality and life.  I’ve tried to keep them separate with only limited success.  The obvious reason for that is that they are not separate.  All of them are integral pieces of who I am.  So it was necessary to find a better way to put this puzzle together.

Here’s the plan at the moment –

The current “regular” posts will continue but as monthly rather than weekly posts.  Too often I found myself feeling like I had nothing to add and the posts went up because they were scheduled to do so.  That’s a waste of my time to write and your time to read.  So the “Adventures in Urban Cycling” and “Time For A Change” posts will run monthly.  My intent is to make them a little longer so I can explore a little more about what is happening on each of those fronts.

You may note that there is no mention of a regular “Life Among the Unemployed” series.  That’s because I’ve left those ranks.  I am moving into a whole new professional world, health insurance.  It’s exhilarating and terrifying.  I may post about those experiences depending on how it goes.  I’m still pondering that.

Now just those posts would leave this a pretty empty blog.  And that’s never been the goal.  The original purpose, as I mentioned before, was to use this as a creative blog.  So I’ve decided to go all in on that subject.  “From A Craxy, Mized Up World” will become the official blog for my writing website (www.JDPhillippi.com).  That means there will be at least two posts relating to the subject of writing or dealing with my books and stories each month.  I hope to add two other “creative” topics each week.  The plan is that those posts will appear each Thursday.  I am looking at occasionally posting on the subject of faith (which remains an important part of my life), Thankfulness, maybe doing a little more with my explorations of RVA and the surrounding area.  There’s also the possibility of the odd wine/beer post too.  Who knows? Lots of room to explore.  All of this will slowly begin to show up in the next couple months with the final “launch” coming January 1, 2018.

Some of these changes are being made to simplify my life.  I was trying to maintain three different blogs, two Twitter feeds, create radio programs and a podcast.  It was a mess because there had never been a plan.  It had all grown organically.  Just like any weed.

So let’s get our baseline stories caught up.

Weight – 187.5      That’s up just a little bit.  Given how my exercise went in the tank over the last month, I’m very happy with that.

Biking – Mileage YTD – 538.2.  That’s on 24 rides through September 25.  That’s not bad, but still a long way towards my 1,000 mile goal.  September has been a total bomb for the riding.  I hope to take another shot at the Cap2Cap soon.

Active Minutes – Most of the month was fine.  The one week that was so low was also the week I misplaced the Fitbit.  Starting at the beginning of September my weeks went 226, 21, 130 and 138.

Diabetes – I’ll just be honest and acknowledge that I haven’t been testing my blood glucose.  I think I did it twice this month.  Both numbers were fine.  That’s not good enough.

I will probably look at refreshing the look of the blog as well.  So plenty to keep me busy between now and the first of the year.  I hope you will continue to enjoy what I’ve done before, plus what is to come.


Time To Change – Milestones In Sight

When I pulled the last post I noticed that last week’s weight was wrong.  And the goal to lose weight was wrong as well.  Not sure how that happened.  The correct weights are listed below.

I was a little surprised by that newest number.  My exercise has been a fraction below the recent norms.  Meanwhile, my eating has been better, but not particularly spectacular.

I’m back to doing some food logging.  Not every meal every day.  Since I eat the same two or three meals for breakfast, all within the ranges I want, there’s no real need to chart those meals in detail.  Lunch is usually OK, although I had a real stinker this past week.  It’s the kind of meal where I get to the end and look around thinking “Wait, what just happened here?”.  When I log the meal I get a much clearer idea of what happened.  In all it’s discipline busting glory!  One of the things I need to remember is that eating like that every once in a while is fine.  Some studies even suggest that it’s a very good thing to “reward” yourself with a bit of a splurge now and then.

My attitude on what I eat hasn’t changed.  I have “given up” one thing, sugared cola.  And if I need a quick glucose boost and I don’t have anything else, I’ll toss that one out the window too.  My weight loss mantra is: “Less, Better, More”.  Smaller portions of nutritious foods coupled with increased activity.  You can make that as “rocket science” as you want.  But it doesn’t have to be complicated.  The important part is confronting what we do. If you want to BS yourself, fine.  That’s one of the great things about the food logging.  An honest log takes the hammer to BS.

It is really that simple and it works.

On the exercise front, I continue to over perform on active minutes.  The goal number is a minimum of 150 minutes per week.  I’d wager my average over the last several months is close to twice that.  Steps continue to lag behind.  It’s been too hot to walk.  I need to add that in on days I don’t ride.  Riding was a little low this week because the bike went into the shop for a bottom bracket repair.  All is well, and we are back rolling again.  I am two easy rides away from cracking the 500-mile mark!

So that makes TWO milestones that are within reach.  That next weight is a pound away.  As always it’s been a bit of forward and back.  I’m OK with that too.  For the record, of my four guys in the graphic, I am somewhere between 3 and 4 (where #1 is the biggest guy and #4 is “The Guy”).  After that, a mere ten pounds to go.  The hardest ten.


My resolution remains:

want to am going to be The Guy again.  The Guy weighed 175 pounds and looked good and felt good.  And his blood pressure was good and his blood tests were good.

Active Minutes – 232

Steps – 16,590

Watch my activity at my Fitbit page

Biking Mileage – 39.1 miles  (2 rides)

Biking Total to Date – 456.28

I track my mileage with MapMyRide

The next milestone is getting back below 185.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

186.0 pounds

Weight Change this week: -2.8 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date: – 18.9 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/35

Adventures in Urban Bicycling – July

A tough month for bicycling.

On the positive side, I conquered the Cap2Cap trail for the first time.  That is a 52 mile paved path that runs from between the historic first capital of Virginia, Jamestown, and the current one, Richmond.  My first attempt was cut short when I did not balance my blood glucose properly for such a long ride.  Did much better this time.

The ride was a total of four hours and two minutes of saddle time with two breaks.  I took a quick one at roughly ten miles.  The biggest hills are in those first dozen miles, so I gave myself a break.  Then another twenty miles along for lunch.  May have stayed off the bike a little longer than I should have there (45-50 minutes), but warmed up nicely in short order.  Which is good for two reasons.  About fourteen miles after lunch you hit the Chickahominy River bridge, which is a high arch bridge.  One that never seems to end when you’ve pedaled that far!  The other issue had to do with heat.  I had left early to try and avoid the heat of the day.  It still caught me and the last ten miles were tough and the final five were very difficult.  But I made it.

Week three was a very light week for riding.  Weather again was the issue.  The Heat Index that week hit triple digits several times and I chose discretion.  I did get in a couple of rides as I continue to work towards my goal of 1,000 miles this year.

Otherwise, I’ve been exploring new places in Richmond to ride.  I rode out Monument (which is a major thoroughfare here in Richmond) to the Willow Lawn area.  Not a long ride, about 3 miles, but new experiences.  More riding with higher traffic.

Also enjoyed watching the Tour de France.  Amazing to watch those incredible athletes perform.  Hour after hour at 20+ miles per hour.  And simply riding for 100-200 kilometers.  Crashes barely seem to phase them.  I would be whimpering for months afterwards and they jump up, grab their bike, and take off once again.  Several of them crashed, re-started, and ended up winning the stage.  Awesome athletes.  And inspirations to those of us trying to crank along. Three cheers for team Cannondale/Drapac and Rigoberto Uran.  With determination and grit, Rigo finished second overall.  It was great to have a team to root for (all three American riders were on this team, so that made it easy).  All the riders continue to inspire me.  When it starts to feel tough, I think of what they go through and I push on.

The last full week of the month turned into a pretty good riding week.  Got a break in the weather, so I got to rack up several more rides.  Even set a personal best, approaching a 12 mph average for 90 minutes!  17.6 miles in 1:31.

Equipment is becoming an issue.  I’ve developed a wobble in the crank, the straps are breaking on my bike rack and my tire pump bit the dust.  Not the problems to be faced without steady income.  Sigh.  I shall soldier on.

Much to my great surprise, I’m almost half way to my goal for the summer with at least two more months of riding ahead.

I track my riding using MapMyRide.

Ride Total – 25 (through 7/26)

Mileage Total – 415.14

Let’s roll.