Day 2071 “My Arms are Tired” Edition

I lifted a lot today.
It’s hard to type. My arms are tired. The Rock is a jerk. I’ll explain in a minute.

Breakfast: I kept it simple (and ordinary) and had a waffle with peanut butter. 9 points

IMG_1004Lunch: I had to make a TJ’s run for work so I went ahead and picked up my favorite frozen meal…well…only second to Amy’s Enchilada Verde. SOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOD!!!!! Anyway, lunch was only 9 points. Yerm!

Pre-workout snack: I had a piece of Dave’s Killer Bread with peanut butter and raspberry spread. 7 points. 

 

 

FullSizeRender

Yeah…I have some work to do.

Workout: The other night, Megan showed me this crazy blog where this guy named Mark C. Webster challenged himself to not only eat like The Rock but work out like The Rock for 30 days back in February. While The Rock’s meal plan is flat our koo koo bananas, his workout plan is pretty awesome! Tonight, I decided to start his workout plan. I’m not going to make a challenge out of it or anything but I think it’s a good way to kick start my weight lifting regimen. Tonight, I did his chest workout which was brutal. I did 30 minutes on the elliptical and then started to lift. I am pretty wiped. Anyway, my Underoath Pandora station got me through it. Thanks, band that got me through my teenage angst!

FullSizeRender (1)Dinner: Have I mentioned that my wife was a culinary magician? Tonight, Megan transformed a 39 cent box of mac n cheese into something that would make any hipster restaurant incredibly jealous. Thanks to the magic of Tillamook Cheddar, bacon, panko bread crumbs, pickled jalapenos, and love, Megan made one killer batch of mac n cheese. It was soul foodtastic. Yep, my wife is a stud. (Oh yeah, I had some pineapple juice too.) 31 points. 

So today I had about 55 points. Not too shabby! Overall, I’m feeling pretty good about the week. I have surpassed my Fitbit goal every day so far and I’m drinking my share of water. It’s been kind of a hard week having this blog as my #framework has really kept me on track. See ya tomorrow.

 

 

Day 2069

Why, hello! Let’s get this going!

(Oh yeah, tomorrow is Wednesday. Get stoked for…wait for it…WORDLESS WEDNESDAY!!!!)

Breakfast: Waffles and peanut butter. Nothing new. 12 points.
lunchLunch: 
Today was day of our photo shoot at work so I took the photographer to our college’s cafe. Now, the College Cafe at Edmonds is not your average, run of the mill, World Famous Bean. No sir, our cafe has table service and everything is made by our students! I had the pesto pasta with seared shrimp and red peppers. It was magical! I had one of their delicious chocolate chip cookies for dessert. YERM!
24 points 

 

#POWERSTANCE

#POWERSTANCE

Exercise: After work, Megan and I went for a walk around Greenlake, the best walking trail in Seattle! The weather was perfect and the puppies were plentiful. We even saw a few ducklings! Nothing like a long walk with your boo after a long day/week/month/year.

 

 

 

 

tofu tacosDinner: Since we were down in the area, we stopped by Shelter for dinner. And no, not a homeless shelter. Far from it. Shelter is this super trendy restaurant with massive windows and a spectacular view of the lake.  I went with with the fried tofu wanton tacos with cilantro slaw. Megan and I split an order of their avocado fires which are just as indulgent as they sound. Dinner was about 20 points. Give or take a few points.

 

So today I had about 56 points which wasn’t too shabby! While I only have 10 weekly points left (not counting my activity points which are still a thing…I think?) I am learning something new about my eating decisions and why I pick certain foods and how much. It’s only the third day in but I’m feeling great. See ya tomorrow.

Day 2068 Meowtastic Monday

Before I get started thank everyone for your love and support over the past 24 hours. I have the best readers on the interwebs. You all rock! Now, back to your regularly scheduled blogginess.

Breakfast:  Peanut butter and two waffles. Keeping it simple. When I got home from work, I had another waffle and a little peanut butter which is a pretty big win on its own. I still have issues with post-work eating. It’s hard not to eat all the things before dinner.
14 points 

burgerLunch: Today was the first of a two-day photo shoot with a professional photographer on campus. We trapezed across campus and took photos of hundreds of students (trust me, I have all the waivers to prove it.) Anyway, as I’ve mentioned before, Edmonds Community College has an amazing culinary program which means our campus grill is fantastic! I ordered a cheeseburger with fries. Everything is was made in-house down to the bun. Go Tritons! 19 points

workoutWorkout: After work, I had a date with Senorita Elliptical and it was magical…and by magical I mean painful but awesome. When I was done, I had three Starbursts which was 3 points. 

 

 

 

zombie cupDinner: Tonight, we had an FFK classic: UNCLE JIM’S CHILI!!!!!! Nothing like an amazing bowl of yuminess to finish the day. 20 points. 

Dessert: Megan and I are desperately missing Disney so we made pineapple ice cream float in our favorite Disney cups. I went with my zombie cup from Trader Sam’s. GAAAAAHHHH I miss Disney. 10 points. 

 

(FFK 101: If you’re new to the FFK, 90% of this blog of me taking weird selfies. This is my reality. Enjoy.)

Anyway, I had 66 points which is a lot but didn’t feel like a lot. If anything, I think that’s telling about how much I’ve been eating sans counting. The past two days have already been a pretty big eye opener in the best way possible. It feels good to have my life back on track. See ya tomorrow.

Day 2067

Sooooooooooo….yeah.

I’m not going to act like I haven’t posted in four months. I’ve wanted to blog about all the things from Game of Thrones to eating to the Biggest Loser study to how I have struggled with this whole plate spinning adventure that is my life. While living in Seattle has been a hard adjustment at times, it has provided me with some amazing opportunities in other parts of my life which has made it all worth it. But now that the honeymoon is over, (well, whatever honeymoon comes after a hellacious six-day trek across the country anyway) I am ready to get back this part of my identity. I miss being the FFK. I miss my fitness tribe. I miss losing weight. It’s time to get that part of my life back. So, why now start from the very beginning? It’s a very good place to start!

Weigh in: So I’m not going to sugar coat it…I gained 5.4 pounds the week before last. Spring is a crazy time in higher education which leads to a lot of stress eating. Last week, while I still didn’t eat super well, I made smart decisions and drank a lot more water. Plus I had some more time to reflect on my life which really helped my stress levels. I lost a pound this week which was awesome! I’m ready to get the rest of that gain off!

(To avoid any confusion, I am not in the 220’s like this photo that recently circulated around the interwebs. I’m not there…yet. I weighed in at 263.6 this morning. That’s still a 93.4 lb loss for those playing at home. So yeah, I’ve still kept that much off since 2011. That’s an amazing win on its own! Anyway, where was I? I’ve missed these parenthetical rants.)

Breakfast: Megan made this delicious crustless quiche with asparagus, mushrooms and gruyere. It was only 16 points. 

FullSizeRenderLunch: This afternoon, Megan and I went to the Starbucks Roastery for some Serious Pies. Yes, the Roastery is so epic that is has its own Tom Douglas restaurant in it. While we usually get our own pizzas, we decided to share one and got a salad too. We split this insanely scrumptious oil-based wood fire pizza with smoked mozzarella, garlic, chive blossoms and this some cured pork that I can only describe as Bacon’s hipster cousin. Half the pie was about 15 points. 

Snack: My coworker brought me a few bags of ketchup chips from his recent trip to Canada. Sooooo good, eh? I weighed out a few grams to make sure I was eating an actual half serving. They tasted like childhood. And ketchup. 4 points for a half serving.

After some serious spring cleaning, I had a 4 point piece of Dave’s Killer Bread and 2 points of peanut butter.

We also went to the Lake Forest Park farmer’s market and I had a kona coffee popsicle from the Seattle Pops stand. It was about 5 points. (There was supposed to be a selfie of me and an alpaca here but it won’t upload properly. I’ll post it to Instagram. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that there was an alpaca at the farmer’s market. Because…Seattle.)

IMG_0915

Check out my strong neckbeard game. And my strong fat neck game.

Dinner: Last night, we made some halibut fish tacos with this cabbage slaw with cilantro, lime and purple onion. Since we still had some slaw left, we made them again! Halibut is not only in season right now, it’s only one point for three ounces. Score! We lightly breaded the fillets with flour, egg and panko. Add some avocado and sour cream? Money. Anyway, four tacos was 21 points. Not too shabby!

So today I ate about 63 points which is over my 52 point daily allowance. I dipped into my weekly points which was definitely worth it.

Well, there it is. More to come. See ya tomorrow.

 

Moving Across the Country and Other Adventures

Moving is hard.
If anyone tells you otherwise, they are liars. That, or they had professional movers.

(I’ll get to that in a minute.)

For the past month or so, I have tried to put my finger on the proper word of the year for 2015 because it truly was the tale of two years. I started off the year by running the most exhausting trail run I’ve ever taken on, the Swamp Forest Half in Tallahassee, where I relied on salt tablets from strangers and the shear will to survive (and shower) to make it through. In a way, that race was some weird metaphor of the year itself with its unexpected adversity and with my hobbling away knowing that I would eventually race another day. After a few other awesome races with friends throughout the year, we flew up to Seattle to take on the Seattle Rock n’ Roll Half and coincidentally (as in I got off the plane and the HR department called me to asked me set up an interview) interviewed for the job that would have us back up in the Evergreen State less than a month later. That time, we packed a little heavier.

Back to my opening line, moving across the country took every ounce of marital fortitude and luck we could scrounge up. At this point you’re thinking “but Nathan, it’s just driving a truck! How hard could it be?” Well…it’s not just driving a truck. It’s driving a GIANT truck with your car attached to a trailer that’s held on by a few chains with all of your worldly possessions inside. It’s also the getting stuck on an abandoned road with a locked gate at the end of it in Monroe, LA and you have to back the truck up 100 yards with no shoulder and with the help of Monroe’s finest all because you tried to take a shortcut to Cracker Barrel thanks to Google Maps NOT ONLY to get your truck stuck at a gas station 5 hours down the road in Canton, TX. It’s the getting through the 75 mph winds on a two-lane stretch of stretch of interstate in Wyoming for nearly 200 miles. And it’s the driving into a new town and your bank freezes your account because you are trying to pay for your first month’s rent with it and then you spend all night moving everything up the stairs with no A/C during a freak heat wave. (Shout out again to my brother-in-law Andrew, cousin-in-law Darby, and my in-laws Mark and Pattie for helping us get everything in the apartment.) Then, your wife flies to ENGLAND the first week of living in this new place and you have to figure it all out pretty much on your own. So yeah, it’s not the driving that makes moving across the country. It’s everything else.

Now I’m exhausted from just writing that. Someone get me a Powerbar.

Where was I?

Like all moves, those first few months are hard. Everything changes from a new phone plan, to where you run on Saturday mornings, to where you get takeout, to who you hang out with, to dealing with a new job. I simply spent August through November trying to establish some semblance of normalcy in my life. Thankfully, I have an amazing wife and live in a city that I absolutely adore. And while I was trying to get back to normal, I ended up scaling back on the other facets of my life that make this blog interesting. You see, blogging, running, and healthy eating are all these muscles that you have to continuously work on to get stronger and to make them easier. 2015 essentially gave me this trauma-inducting atrophy that affected all of those things. While I’m nowhere near back to square one (square one was almost 100 pounds ago) it surely feels that way.

So now we’re here in 2016. I’m 29, have a new job, live in a new city, attend Weight Watchers meetings with some truly amazing people, and am slowly easing my way back into this fitness identity that I have missed dearly. This blog gets me out of my head. I can be open about my life and hopefully inspire others during their own fitness journey. Expect a lot more from the FFK this upcoming year.

Call it FFK: Seattle.

YEEEEEEOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!

[Insert some weird The Who and Soundgarden intro music mashup here]

 

The FFK is on the Move

So I realized that I haven’t talked about it here on the ol’ bloggy blog, but I have a pretty epic announcement!

WE ARE MOVING TO SEATTLE!!!!

Seattle Bound

Space Needle not to scale to human person.

A few weeks ago, I was offered the marketing manager position at Edmonds Community College in Lynnwood, Washington! My first day is August 3rd and we are moving next Friday. (Yes…as in seven days from today. Holy Moses.) Ever since our wedding day, we have wanted to move to Seattle. It’s been a dream of ours for so long and now that it’s finally here, I still haven’t completely processed that it’s actually happening. It will probably hit me when we’re driving through Colorado or something.

It’s weird because while I am still in pseudo-disbelief, I’m doing everything I can to remain present in this moment. My time in Tallahassee has been so pivotal both as a professional and as someone who dramatically changed his life by losing more than 100 pounds. It didn’t, but a lot of times it feels like my life began in Tallahassee. It’s when I took on this new identity of a fitness blogger who runs half marathons and names his kettlebell. Over the past week, I’ve passed certain parts of campus and I think back to these key moments in my life and all I want to do is write about it. But I’m pretty sure that would just end up with me bawling on my computer which is not good.

It’s also weird because it feels like Megan and I have been in Tallahassee over three acts: Act One) Graduate School
Act Two) Working at Admissions
Act Three) Working at the Center
While we have had some of the same close friends over the past five years, we have also been close with others who have come and gone. Specifically my close friends in grad school and from our church when we first moved here. That cast in Act One were there from the very beginning of my weight loss. They watched me slowly shrink into a completely different person and supported me the whole way through. I can’t thank them enough. I couldn’t have done it without them. But Act One feels so far away now. Since then, I feel like I’ve gone through all these other incarnations with other awesome supporters along the way.

I am starting another Act One next week. A new chapter in my life where people don’t know my story and that I wore a size 60 suit to my wedding. It’s a fresh start and that’s kind of refreshing. For a long time, I thought about taking the “1” off my weight loss number to see if that would motivate me to lose more weight. It was easy to get complacent when I could say “I’ve lost 130 pounds.” But I knew that wasn’t possible if I was in the same place where I weighed 357 pounds. While that first 100 pounds is still a part of my identity, I can now think of my current weight as my starting point. Recently, my feelings about my weight are very similar to how I felt when I first started: I know I need to lose weight or it could get ugly fast. So this new phase is kind of like American Horror Stories or True Detective: it’s different characters with the same theme under the same title. Either way, I’m incredibly excited for this new adventure and what it means for my journey up Mt. Fitintoskinnyjeans. See you soon.

 

Introducing #FFKFitby30

For the past few weeks, Megan and I have binged watched the entire series of Game of Thrones. You know, that show with the dragons, ice zombies and Peter Dinklage. The show is simply amazing and I can’t believe it took me this long to finally watch it. Anyway, while we were watching the fifth season the other night, I thought to myself “wow, I wonder how old Kit Harington (John Snow) is. He must be like…37 or something.” So, like any good TV consumer, I went to IMDB to look for his age. Aaaaaaaand he’s 18 days older than me. That means we graduated high school at the same time, we were in awkward puberty at the same time and we probably secretly even loved Nickelback at the same time. When I told Megan, all she could say was “we’re old.”

While this might mean that I’m just not good at guessing the ages of people, it just reaffirms my false belief that I’m younger that I actually am. (At this point, I’m waiting for some red head to come up to me and say “you know nothing, Nathan MacDonald.”) The reality is that I am an adult and life his happening right now. This all kind of came to a head when I realized that as of June 13th, I am a year and a half away from turning 30. My twenties are almost gone. And I’m kind of sad about it.

At this point, I know you’re ready to comment with a remark like “ummmmm…you’re not that old. Stop whining!” or something like “dude! 30 is the new 15!” But for me, it’s more than that! I’m seeing that 3 number as a finish line for goals that I set nearly a decade ago. (Yes, the FFK is turning 5 years old this year.) I need to think of my journey in those terms so I mentally keep going. More importantly, I need to breath new life into this journey.

With that, I would like to introduce you to #FFKFitby30.

Below is a manageable list of goals that I will conquer before January 13th, 2017 (you know…when I turn 30). Some are serious, some are silly, and others are just plain cool. My plan is once I complete one goal, I will add another! So here we go!

  • Exercise for 30 minutes four times a week.
  • Complete a marathon
  • Run a race every month
  • Do a pull up (yes, one pull up. I can do a tenth of one right now…)
  • Weigh in below 200 pounds (199.8 lbs totally counts!)
  • Get certified in a fitness program like TRX of kettlebells
  • Track my food six times a week

So seven reasonable goals that all benefit one another in some way! I’m going to start tracking food tomorrow in a food journal on my phone and Megan and I also started Insanity Max 30 (check it out! It’s awesome!) last week! I’m ready to begin this journey to 30 and using these goals as my map!

Here. We. Go.

Why I’ve Gained 30 Pounds

I’m having a rough night and I need to talk about it.
#realtalkwiththeFFK

For the past two years, I have slowly gained 30 pounds back from my lowest weight of about 225 pounds. Want to hear the weirdest part? I didn’t know why until tonight.

So yes, two years ago I did start a new job and I thought that was why for a long time. But today, I finally realized what happened that first week of work that created this mess.

Dear reader, it’s weird…

Here we go…
In my office at work, I have two screens: my MacBook Pro laptop screen and my 24″ Apple monitor which is perfect for Photoshop and other design programs. A few weeks in to my new job, I turned off the monitor and I saw myself, my 225 pound self, in the screen. Then a voice that was essentially non-existent in my life, or at least one that had been silent for years, popped into my brain. “Holy crap! You are still fat! You know that, right?” It was like years of suppressed negativity crashed through my mental fortress of positivity. At that moment, I stopped loving myself. From that moment on, I saw a fat version of myself in that screen and any other reflective surface for that matter. I even saw it today and told myself the same thing. It felt like after that day, instead of working harder in the gym (which still wasn’t the right answer), I ate my feelings and essentially lost any amount of self-control I had.

I know this doesn’t make any sense. Please don’t try to explain how the image I see in the screen is a refraction so it’s larger. I knew that then and I know that now. Sadly, none of that matters to the part of my brain that controls my self image. All it sees is a fat Nathan. I think the reality of it is that I hadn’t confronted a lot of the serious body image issues I had dealt with all my life. I guess I kept them in check by losing weight and exercising. Eventually, those successes wore off and my guard was down. This is a lot of the reason why I’ve been silent on the blog for the past few years. I haven’t valued my success myself the way I should.

So now what? Now that I’ve figured out this possible root cause, how do I make this gain just a slight detour in my life? To be honest, I’m not too sure. I do, however, feel like a small proverbial weight has been lifted off my chest. I know it will take time to lose those 105,000 calories, but I’m ready to get back in the right direction.

More importantly though, I’m ready to love myself again.

Extracurricular Living

Throughout my academic career, I was a pretty average student. Sure, I won the Taylor Elementary Geography Bee in 1998 because I knew that soda was made with corn syrup and is one of the top commodities produced by the US, but I wasn’t always the top of my class…or…ever the top of any class. In fact, Mrs. Lewis, my AP US History teacher in high school, told me one time that I was a B student and I always would be. (The wonderful faculty of Hillsboro High School in Hillsboro, Texas, ladies and gentlemen.) Now granted, I had some pretty awesome teachers as well like Mrs. Walters, who thought I was a pretty strong writer, and Mr. Davis, who helped me build a deer blind (which was big enough to be considered a tiny house by today’s standards) but overall, I was still just a funny fat kid who was always ready with a ridiculous joke or a comedic fall-out-of-the-chair routine in Ms. Tirey’s class that would have made Chris Farley proud.
Then…I got to college. A fat kid’s time to shine.
Artist rendering of Nathan MacDonald as an adult

Artist rendering of Nathan MacDonald as an adult. Not to scale.

Growing up, everyone told me that college is where you become the person that you’re going to be for the rest of your life. I was ready to finally flutter out of my cocoon and become the awkward butterfly I was born to be. Before I knew it, I was a part of the Freshman Action Council, I was singing in the college choir and eventually, I was pledging a social club (basically a fraternity at a Christian university. Same amount of weird pledging activities but with Bible verses) oh yeah, along with a social life, a part time job and a full load of classes. (Sing Song was thrown in there somewhere too. But that’s for another blog post. Here’s what I’m talking about. Yes…this is a thing. And yes, that is Megan directing. And yes, that is me as an obese Mickey Mouse.)

 But, to paraphrase Uncle Ben, with great time-sucking activities, comes great drop in GPA. I wasn’t a stellar student in college either; it was almost as if that Mrs. Lewis had accurately predicted my future. I left college with a lot of practical experience, but with a transcript that resembled a terrible pick of letters in a game of Scrabble. No vowels (or A’s) to speak of. I wanted graduate school to work, but I knew it was a long shot.
When I finally got in to grad school at Florida State, I flourished. I was on top of my assignments, I worked on group projects with brilliant colleagues, and for once, I was successful at this whole school thing. Consequently, I began my weight lost journey and lost 50 pounds in about a semester.
Why the sudden change, you ask? I didn’t let my extracurricular activities get in my way. I had spend my entire academic life focused on the wrong things. If I had put half as much effort into studying as I did at buying weird CD’s at Hastings, I would have been a pretty great student. Instead, I let the inane obligations of my college life take charge because they weren’t studying, which was hard for me. Up until grad school, that was my life in a nutshell: I didn’t want to work hard towards something because if I failed, it would have been a waste and I would be embarrassed like the time I broke a chair in the fifth grade in front of Brianna Allen, my elementary crush and my friend, Isaac Bray. Trying hard had gotten me nowhere. Why start now?
For the past year, I have let extracurriculars get in the way of my life. I worry about work instead of working out, I eat out to suppress my stress about finances and I watch TV instead of blogging. I do everything I can to avoid eating right and working out consistently and I have paid for it by gaining 30 pounds over the past year. Since October, Megan had I have been eating a heavily plant-based Nutritarian diet (I’ll talk more about that in another post soon) and at one point I had lost close to 15 pounds in about a month! Instead of continuing that momentum, I let my extracurriculars get in my way like not making a healthy choice while eating out or skipping a work out to go to a happy hour. Before I knew it, I was back to where I started and then some.
When I let my extracurriculars build up, I become lethargic and I just become numb and aimless. Losing weight and getting fit is a lot like a race with a finish line, you have a goal in mind so you train for it with purpose. Recently, I’ve been like a boxer beating the air.
So this week, I have re-framed my way of thinking and have created more of a structure for my life. Next week, I’m going to start for the Seattle Rock n’ Roll Half in June and for another awesome half in October (more on that soon!) Last night, I did interval training with a group of awesome friends for the first time and I’m going to use that as the anchor of my training this time around. I’m also going to start riding my spin bike when I’m watching TV, something that I used to do when I was at my lowest weight (not a coincidence). Finally, I have retooled my view on food. While I am going to Austin, the food mecca of the world, next week for SXSWedu, I’m not going to go all YOLO every meal. I am going to indulge, but I’m going to balance it with healthy meals too, along with a few runs thrown in.
I know I have been quiet on here for what feels like the last year, and I’m sorry. I haven’t made time for the FFK because frankly I have been embarrassed about how things have been going. Now, I know I’m not going to be perfect, but I am going to strive to write something ridiculous like this post once a week from now on. I’m still going to post my weigh in’s on the FFK Facebook page and I’ll throw in a Wordless Wednesday here and there. Thank you all for being amazing readers, supporters and friends over the years. You are all amazing.