Imagine
January 1, 2017

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Well, here we are. In less than three hours on the East Coast of the U.S., it’s goodbye 2016, hello 2017. Oh there’s so much promise in the new year, isn’t there?

We look back and forward at the same time. Look at the past with all its pain and suffering as well as its joys and loves. Look forward to all the hopes and promises that lie ahead.

Face it, it was a good year and a bad year. Family and friends coming together, family and friends having a falling out. Great financial decisions made and poor financial decisions made. Lots of laughter and lots of tears.

Some people say, “I can’t wait until 2016 is over”, as if 2016 had magical powers to create good or evil. We have hope that 2017 will be better, that we’ll be wiser, that fate will be kinder, that there will be peace on earth and goodwill toward men.

It’s a time of resolutions: I’ll lose weight, I’ll exercise more, I’ll be vegetarian, I’ll be kinder, I’ll be whatever. Notice in those, it all comes down to “I”. I want you to look at 2017 in a different way.

How about instead of “I” in us, we focus on “God” in us? We focus more on others instead of ourselves? But we ask for abundance, yet keep it for ourselves. We ask for health for us, but don’t help our weaker or older neighbors. We ask for deliverance, yet look down on others who aren’t delivered.

How about instead of asking God for things, we ask Him to change us? We can look at others that are different and still love them? We can debate without arguing? We can work things out peacefully instead of fighting?

How about we trust God instead of our bank account? Trust God instead of our job? Trust God instead of our wants? This could be an exciting 2017.

The Middle East is exploding. Syria is in shambles. We’ve had the most divisive president and election in the history of the U.S. We are divided in race. We are divided in politics. We are divided in religion. We are divided in class. We are divided in beliefs.

What if, seriously, what if everyone decided that they would be, as St. Francis put it so well, “instruments of peace”? What if we decided to not listen to the negative and find the positive?

I’m not talking about fantasy garbage like John Lennon’s “Imagine”, which states that we’d all get along if there wasn’t religion, governments, property, possessions, and poverty. That won’t happen. Our sin nature, untamed, will never permit that.

I’m talking about the basic biblical teachings of loving the Lord Your God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself.

Just think if everyone followed those rules. We all decide to get along?

Imagine.

 

273.6/263.0

 

Walking To 199
August 7, 2016

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As those that follow this blog know, this whole blog started with the intent to show this amazing progress I’d be making in my goal to get below 200 pounds. A lofty goal, realizing I needed to shed around 75 pounds to achieve this task. This is a long walk, apparently.

Over the months, and probably years, I’ve had ups and downs (puns intended) in the walk as well as in the blogging. My goal was to blog weekly, but it appears I’ve blogged weakly (another horrific pun. Sorry).

My blogs about weight seem self serving, so I’ve been thinking that maybe not so much about this struggle of losing weight should be focused on, but matters of life and sometimes death. Or sometimes just random thoughts rattling through this puny brain of mine.

With this being said, I feel that for me to say “I’m going to do this or that” to lose weight, whether its exercise or diet or whatever, is a lot of talk. I’m encouraged by some of you, and I thank you, and some of you are faithful followers whom I have shared my secrets and some humor. OK, I think its humor.

I will continue to blog, but because some have asked me how the weight is going, I will be listing my starting weight and my current weight at the end of the blog (starting weight/current weight). This, so those who are interested will note the progress, but not to bore others that have little interest in weight loss and may be a bit intrigued by my weirdness. (For example, the rule is “i before e except after c”. Except for the word “weird”. Weird is a weird word).

I may sometimes mention something about weight, but not to be a “wow, look how wonderful I am doing. Send me cookies”. I continue to hope that you find these entertaining, enlightening, or encouraging. There may be some Scriptural or spiritual references as Christ is the biggest part of my life, and I’m not ashamed of that.

I will try to be more regular (at my age, again, not easy) with the blogs to hopefully bring some joy in a dark time of history. Let me say that we have to stop the hate. The media wants us divided, black against white, gay against straight, Republican against Democrats, and so forth. Can’t we all get along?

Until then, I’ll just keep walking.

273.6/257.4

Already Gone
March 1, 2016

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Not trying to copy Bob Dylan (as if I could do it justice), but time is ridiculously quick. As I type this, it’s the end of February, and I can’t believe it’s gone, even with an extra day.

I remember my dad used to tell me how fast it goes as you get older. And now February 2016 is gone.

It doesn’t seem long ago it was New Years Eve 2000, and we all feared the planes would fall from the sky, the computers would crash, we’d have no food, not water, no gasoline. And here we are 16 years later.

It’s funny how things go as time passes. I’m not going to have the body that my head said I could have when I gained weight back 30 years ago. Still overweight, but realizing that I won’t have the “beach body” I thought I’d have. It’s that realization that is overwhelming now. I can probably lose some weight, diet the right way and exercise, pray that God gives me the strength to do that. But “beach body”? Nah. Time went too fast.

I’ll never get good at the guitar. I’ve had a guitar for 15-20 years. Oh, I can pick a few songs, but not where I can look at the music and play any song. It was hard to reach some of the chords. I don’t even touch it now. I practiced some for a few years, said I’d pick it up again, but it won’t happen. Not that I’m old and going to die, but just because that desire has pretty much left me. Time went too fast.

I’ll never get Bonnie the house she deserved. We lived out in the country for 21 years, 4 acres of land. Always wanted to get her a wrap around porch. Put a rocking chair out there, sit back and drink coffee in the evening watching the sunset, and strum my guitar. Sort of like Andy Taylor in Mayberry. I live in the city now. That porch isn’t going to be built out in the country. Time went too fast.

I’ll never get to England. Always wanted to walk Abbey Road, check out where Apple Studios was, visit the Cavern, go to Liverpool. Oh, and some other non-Beatle things are there I hear. But I’m not going to spend money on that now. Time went too fast.

I’ll never learn Italian. Bought an Italian course, never kept up with it. It’s a hard thing to learn a second language. At least for me it is. It’s too much work for now, and seriously, what’s the point?  Time went too fast.

I don’t want this to sound depressing or “woe is me”, like I’m old and ready to die, because I’m not. I suppose that if I desire, I can get back with the guitar or learn Italian. The key is “if I so desire”. The beach body and house with a wrap around porch in the country just ain’t going to happen. But see, it’s like John Lennon sang, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

Dylan is right on with this. Time flies, we grow old, our views change, and nothing stays the same. But like he says, “you better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone. Oh the times they are a changing”. Everything changes. But here’s the good news.

I am writing blogs. I am studying the Scriptures more than I ever have. I’m mentoring young guys at the church. I know God better than I ever have. I’ve learned how to pray, not how a book tells me to pray, but how God tells me to pray.

I play with my grand kids and spend more time with Bonnie and my kids. I enjoy the sunset and sunrise. I’ve rediscovered Buhl Park. I stop and smell the roses. I don’t drink, smoke cigarettes or pot. I remember “the night before”. I have deeper relationships with friends that are deeper than any I’ve ever had. I have a love for my wife that can’t compare to what it was 30 years ago or with any other type of love I’ve felt. Before I used to care what people thought of me. Today, it doesn’t matter.

I’ve learned to not sweat the small stuff and discovered that most everything is small stuff. I don’t worry like I used to. I have learned to keep expectations low on people and high on God. I’ve learned to lean on Christ more and me less.

Actually, life is good right now. The past is the past and it’s already gone. But today? Man, I really am digging it. And tomorrow? Can’t wait……..but let’s not go so fast!

 

 

Stuck In The Middle With You
February 23, 2016

 

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It’s been awhile since I talked of my walk to 199. It’s been a very slow walk.

Last year this time, my numbers were awful. Sugar up, cholesterol up, liver function not good. I then proceeded to walk most of the summer, lost weight (I was 276, I think), dropped to 264 (I think). Got lazy at the end of summer (which was gorgeous, beautiful walking weather through December), and didn’t do much.

I ate horrible again, went for easy instead of nutritious. Weight remained steady, but found that I have little energy. Picked up walking again in January, as it’s been mild, but not at the pace I used to walk. Didn’t change eating, and here I am. Sugar is way up, liver number is up, and getting screened for prostate cancer, as I had a bad urinary infection and they want to check it all out.

Ever walk down the street and catch your reflection in the window or mirror and immediately become shocked? I did. Shocking isn’t the word. Devastated. From looking at my body from my view (head looking down), it’s not George Clooneyish, but it’s not that bad. But when I see it from the side, it’s pretty revealing.

Well, we know the battlefield is in the mind, and my mind is sort of there. Ok, if it’s a battlefield, then picture you’re in a fox hole with a gun, but not sure if you want to put in ammo to fight. Yeah, that’s about it.

With me, I go through periods of doing real well and then periods of real  bad. My cousin John put it best, “All diets work if you stay on them”. I’m not into dieting (obviously) but do need to better watch what I’m eating. The Fast metabolism diet worked, but if I didn’t stay on it, I blew up like the Hindenburg. (Too soon?).

My mother was a diabetic. I am so like her. She would eat a donut, then increase her insulin shot. I’m the same way (without the shot!). Her answer to everything was “Eat. You’re too skinny anyways”. Sweets! My motto has always been, “I’d rather eat cake than steak”.

So this blog isn’t to tell you, “I’ve got this. I’m going to do better. I’m going to lose weight. I’m going to, as Seinfeld says, “yada yada yada”. I’m just telling you this is where I’m at.

My frame of mind is good (well, come on, as good as it could get), and I’m not anxious or depressed. Just want to fill you in on what’s been going on. I’m not going to continually tell you my weight, but I will with my struggles, as it may be helpful to someone. So if I come to mind, please pray for me. God is so good.

So thanks for your faithfulness. Still planning on Walking to 199, but not sure if I may have to pick up the pace or not.

 

 

 

Hello (Not Adele)
February 7, 2016

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This winter has been extremely mild, probably the mildest I ever remember for western Pennsylvania (the five winters in Florida don’t count, for obvious reasons).

Bonnie and I have been pretty faithful in our walking at Buhl Park, our favorite place to walk. Today, for example, it was sunny and 39 degrees, a bit brisk but if dressed properly, very doable. The coldest I’ve walked in was 12 degrees, but I wasn’t dressed properly.

Sometimes we walk in the morning, which is preferable unless bitter cold, and sometimes in the afternoon. We walked this afternoon, and Bonnie and I talked about the differences between morning walkers and afternoon ones.

Morning walkers seem to be more pleasant and friendly. They spot you from 15 yards away and begin their eye contact. As they approach, brief conversations occur. “Good morning, great day isn’t it?”. “Yes, unbelievable warm winter”. “Best I can remember”. “Hope it stays that way till spring”. “Have a good day”. “You too”.

Pleasant, friendly, and engaging. One of the things I like about small town living. You get to know people and people aren’t afraid to talk to each other.

Unless you’re an afternoon walker. They seem to be a little more “uptight”. Maybe it’s because they’re in a hurry or they’re on a break from work or maybe they think they’re better than you.

They spot you from 15 yards away and immediately lower their eyes. They move towards you but further to the side away from you. I like to force them to ignore me. I stare at them until they make eye contact, and if they don’t, I say, “Good afternoon” or “hey”. Sometimes they respond politely, but mostly they ignore or pretend they don’t hear. These are the ones not wearing headphones. The ones with headphones don’t acknowledge anything.

The girl yesterday was beyond ridiculous. We hit the 15 yard mark and she was wearing headphones. She wouldn’t make contact, not even a glance. And THEN as she is within 10 feet of me, she turns in the opposite direction of me and looks into the sky! I’m thinking, “Lady, I’m 260, what the heck is bigger that you’re looking at in the sky?”

And there’s no shame. I feel they go home and write in their diary, “Dear diary, I walked in the Park today and talked with no one. Oh, one or two tried to engage me with a “hello”, but I stared off into space as if I had spotted the Second Coming. Well done, diary, a good day”.

My wife Bonnie is the nicest person I know. She is ridiculously nice. I think I caught my diabetes from her sweetness. She has held the door for so many people when we’re shopping, I could get a burger and a haircut and she’d still be holding the door. She has a sign in our house that says, “Because Nice Matters”. People make fun of her, but I tell you, when people start to complain or judge, she gives them the right advice always and says afterwards, “And why do we do that?”. And the person she is talking to says “Because nice matters.” They know her.

Why is it that people refuse to be nice? A simple “hello”, a heartfelt “How are you?”, must be too taxing for people to say. It would require caring, interest, and possibly, oh no, love? When did we become a world of tin men? Trying to go to the Wizard to get a heart. How have we become so cold?

It reminds me of Matthew 24:12- “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold”.  Is that where we’re at? Have we chosen to build walls around us so not to get hurt? Can anyone break those walls?

The walls, my friends, come down from our side. We have to choose to trust, to engage, to “be bothered with other people”, and even to love. It’s as simple as a “hello”. Yet that appears to be, at least in the afternoon, the hardest word to say.

 

Melancholy Man
January 15, 2015

This year I turn 60.  6-0, sixty, LX, however you want to put it. It’s nuts.

I waste a lot of time. Games, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Watching continual ESPN SportsCenter, watching lousy football (Browns and the University of Michigan), and it’s going all too fast.

I keep listening to Crosby, Stills, and Nash’s song, “Wasted On The Way”, and it makes me melancholy. Melancholy that I’ve wasted too much time. Too many dreams and not enough pursuit of them. Too many ideas and not enough elbow grease to make them happen. At times melancholy is good. Because it makes you look at reality.

I am so much more than half way home (I don’t expect to live until 120 years old). I am aware of my mortality. But I think melancholy can make you better, if you just visit it and don’t build a house there. It’s a wake up, a “hey, this game ain’t over yet”. As Bob Dylan sang, “It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there”.

So I’m excited now. The weight “is what it is”. It may go down, it may go up. It may stay the same. I could pull a Chris Christy or Rex Ryan and get “THE” operation, but they tell me I’m not big enough. My options then are to lose weight or put on another 50 pounds. I opt for the latter, but Bonnie won’t let me.

I’m not focused on it anymore.

No matter what, God is good. I’m excited. I want to use my time better. I deactivated my Facebook account, and may also get rid of Instagram and Twitter. Baby steps, children, baby steps. I need to focus on the good things in life, and there are many. I need to focus more on the Word of God. I need to stop looking at others and their successes and begin to understand that if I haven’t reached what others have done (financially, physically, emotionally) that doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve failed. It means I’m not them.

I’ve eliminated a lot of stress from my life by eliminating a lot of stressful people from my life. I have to take care of me. And if other people have their feelings hurt, well, sorry. Sorry, your feelings are hurt but not sorry of my decisions. Your hurt feelings don’t get to me anymore. I’m moving on.

So it’s 9 months until 60.  Bring it on, because, honestly, I never thought I’d live this long.

 

Angry Young Man
March 8, 2014

Well, another week under the belt (that’s a sick expression for a guy trying to lose weight).

It’s been a weird week, eating habits were out of whack (amazing how old habits can come back like a pimple). So, on the good side, I worked out 3 times this week. So that’s good. But the weight this morning is 149.4.  Up 1.4 pounds. (I was upset, until I remembered, “I’m in the 240’s).  So, I figure I’ll have weeks like that. Good advice from my son Ben and my good friend, Vinny in regards to weight training. I got this!

I’m really excited spiritually, which leads to excitement physically. If I’m good spiritually, I’m good physically. I’ve begun to memorize Scriptures, a hearty task I might add. I read this book by Jerry Bridges and he said about memorization, so I thought I’d try it. He said to figure an area you need to work on (I narrowed it down to 15), and came up with anger.

I’ve always had an anger problem. I tell everyone that I can beat anyone in a “chainsaw throw”. I’ve thrown mine many times, and with quite accuracy and a distance of many yards. There’s also the “lawnmower kick”, but that doesn’t make the lawnmower go  very far.  Then there’s the “rip up the outside Christmas lights”, where they become so tangled, you just start ripping them apart and then throwing them away. More expensive than tearing up a phone book.

So, anger it is. We all have issues, don’t we? Overeating, swearing, anger, lust, hate, bitterness, prejudices, being a Steelers fan. We all do. It’s funny how we can easily point the finger at someone else, but not take to heart what we do. I guess it’s that sinful, human, nature we inherited. Stupid Adam and Eve.

But it can be overcome. The problem is that nobody wants to fight for it. Nobody wants to change. We become used to it, befriend it, and declare, “It’s just how I am! My daddy was this way, his daddy was this way, so it’s in the genes.” But it doesn’t have to be. Scripture tells us, for those who believe, “sin shall not be master over you  because you are no longer under sin but under grace”. (Romans 6:14).   That’s pretty thrilling.

I used to be a drunk, but not anymore. I used to do drugs. But not anymore. It’s because of God’s mercy and grace, and that very grace that brought me out from under the stronghold.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m still an idiot. In many ways. Too many to list. But I find that I make smarter decisions, better choices. Because of God. Yet, I’m still fat.

But I’m defeating this giant of weight. It’s being knocked down. I no longer live to eat, but eat to live. It’s because we, if we’re believers, we are more than conquerors. Able to do all things.

So how you doing with your giants? You can slay it, you know. I believe it. Do you?

Weight 249.4

My Girl
March 1, 2014

In my “Walking To 199”, I am so blessed to have the helpmate God gave me, Bonnie Bateman Marzano. Without her help in helping me make smart choices, cooking, and encouraging, my walk would be a stand still. To her, “my girl”, I’m grateful. Eternally grateful.

This week has been amazing in that I find that I am able to do this new way of eating rather easily. It’s been a struggle at times when I get discouraged, particularly in the beginning of the week, and find my weight either is up a pound, or I am breaking even. But, in spite of discouragement, we push on. That’s what conquerors do, right?

I had a foot problem and haven’t walked at all this week. I’m not sure how I injured it, but it went from the middle of the ball of my foot, up my middle toe, then over the top of my foot to about the middle. I walked with a limp for a while, but it is getting better. I can probably walk, but am choosing to be wise and let it heal.

I’ve tried many things over many years to help me lose weight. Actually, I was rather thin, mid 150’s, when I moved back here from Florida in 1984. But I was a smoker, drinker, and druggie back then. I quit all that and food took over. I never was a good eater anyways. That’s the Mistretta side of the family. Cake eaters.

I’ve always loved sweets, and though the taste is what I liked, it was the convenience that was truly attractive. I was and still can be fairly lazy. So much easier to grab a donut, a pastry, a cookie, than take the time to cook something. It’s sad, but that’s how I’ve been. My whole life. Until now.

This Fast Metabolism Diet has changed my life. It’s changed the way I eat, the way I drink, the way I think. I’m a devout Christian, a pastor as you may or may not know, but there is a Zen saying that makes sense to me. It was “when the mind is ready a teacher appears”. That’s how this dieting thing went.

My mind was ready to lose weight. I had not wanted to diet, and the Fast Metabolism Diet isn’t really a diet, but it’s a way of life. Eating right, taking time to succeed, avoiding failure, giving myself a chance to succeed. Is it like that in your battle? You try to do what you know you need to do, whether it’s stop smoking, eating poorly, drinking excessively, or drugging. You think you can do this by tapering off.  You’re kidding yourself. you can’t. You need to change. You need to change drastically. You need to get radical.

If I can kill this Goliath of weight, then you can too. Whatever your Goliath is. You can do it. I do it with God’s help. You may choose not to use God for help, but it is truly a much harder road. Christ is my strength, a never ending source of help.

God uses people. God uses diets, books, music, to reach us, to help us, to motivate us. You don’t always have to be overweight. You don’t always have to be a smoker. You don’t always even have to be a thief. Pray. Ask God to inspire you.

I’m seeing crazy numbers on this scale. Remember this all started with me at 273. Actually, the doctor told me that last March I was 286.  Today’s number on the scale blew my socks off. This is working. You can beat your Goliath. Do it. I’ll be praying for you.

Weight: 248.0 (Isn’t that freakin’ crazy?I only have 49 pounds to go.)

How Deep Is Your Love?
February 22, 2014

Well another week has come and this Fast Metabolism Diet is fantastic. I’m at 252.4, loss of 20.6 pounds since I started this blog in May, but a loss of 30.6 since last March. Yeah, this diet and exercise is a great idea. I’d prefer a pill and a donut, but that’s not how it works. To think that I could be at 222 next year at this time blows me away. With God, all things are possible.

It’s been a unique week. I’m not hungry, eat more often, have exercised a bit less, and the weight keeps coming off. People are asking me, ‘how do you do it’? I tell them the basics of this eating plan, and they aren’t interested. I get it. I was there. But thank God, I’m not there now.

It’s work. It’s dedication. It’s, as I read in “In Pursuit of Holiness”, making your body your slave instead of your master. Your body tells you to stay in bed, but you master it by getting up and exercising. Your body tells you you’re too tired to read the Bible, but you tell your body you’re going to read. I totally get it when people don’t want to do it. Just hoping that it will drop off. That would be so nice. But it’s not realistic.

It helps that I’m not doing this alone. My wife, son, and daughter-in-law are doing it, which makes this a lot easier. My niece Barb has started all this. She’s lost 60 pounds in 6 months. It’s a healthy diet, and with the ladies doing the cooking and my wife Bonnie always looking after me, this is so doable. (Is that a word? do-able? It is now). It’s an exhilarating feeling to get control over something that has plagued me for years. The only time I was thin was when I was drinking and drugging. I quit that and the weight came back on.

However, God, the biblical God of the Bible, through His Son Jesus, delivered me from the drinking and drugging and is helping with this “Battle of the Bulge”.  It’s tough at times, but well worth it.

This winter has been wicked. For the first time in months I’m able to see my yard. I’ve also noticed since the snow has melted that my dog has been eating well. Time to clean that up. But back to winter, it’s here. March is around the corner, hopefully spring too. It just feels better when it’s warm.

So, what’s your battle? Alcohol? Drugs? Weight? Anger? Fear? It’s all beatable with God’s help. Pray and work. You have to face your fears. But sometimes we need a wake up call. A DUI arrest. A heart attack. A panic attack. Now’s the time. Fight this before a doctor tells you  that you need surgery or drugs to fix it. You can do it.

Seriously, if a stooge like me is able to battle this life long war, certainly you can. I’ve got faith in you. But more faith in God.

Weight: 252.4 (and dropping)

I’m A Loser
February 15, 2014

Well here it is, 1 a.m. (EST) and I just got back from the gym. Yep, dedicated? Nah, took a nap earlier and couldn’t fall asleep so I thought, ‘why not’.

I’ve been really pleased with the meal plan I’ve been following along with a bit of exercise. I have found that with this eating plan, my proportions have been WAY out of control. Apparently, I’m eating for two, so if nothing else, this plan is fabulous in teaching me how to be moderate.

The most interesting thing with this is that when I’m done with my meal, I’m still a bit hungry. So I mumble and moan like the baby I can be, but realize that in 10-15 minutes after I’ve eaten, I’m pretty full. Plus two or three snacks in between and it makes for a pretty healthy lifestyle. Remember, this isn’t a diet, it’s a lifestyle.

I don’t know what a “leek” is, but it’s tasty. Bonnie made some up in a soup and it’s good. I’ve had no wheat, dairy, and I’ve only had coffee two days in the last 12 days, and I honestly don’t miss it. I haven’t been totally good, however, and being the “naughty boy” I am, I splurged on a donut today. I know my doctor says there is never a reason to eat a donut, but I politely disagree with her. If she keeps it up, I may have to switch doctors. It’s a nice treat. There was a donut shop in LA called “The Donut Shop West”. It was in walking distance from where Luke lived. So, I’d exercise by taking a walk, get a dozen donuts, and walk back. Best donut ever. They would slice any donut you wanted length wise and then fill it with cream. Enough of this subject. It’s like porn, can’t even think about it.

I’ve found that if I go out of my prescribed food list, there is no guilt. I’ve learned to live life and enjoy it. I have changed my eating habits so much, thanks to my wife Bonnie and daughter-in-law Amanda. They make it easier. You almost have to be a magician to make some of the meals, but they do a great job. It’s a lot of work preparing all three meals instead of grabbing a sandwich or a pastry. I’m learning, though.

It can get quite expensive at times though. Living in Pennsylvania, in February, fresh fruit and veggies aren’t available, so the price is gouged by the markets, and we have to choose to buy it or eat snow. Living in California would make it easier.

I remember being out there and stopping at a roadside stand and they were selling strawberries. I stopped to pick some up (they were huge and delicious) and the guy was also selling “Bing” Cherries. Oh my gosh, I almost ate the whole bag myself. I absolutely love Bing Cherries, you know, the big purplish kind.  I love fresh fruit. And it’s a part of “The Fast Metabolism” diet. It’s really not a diet, but a new way of eating.

The guy selling them was Mexican, and me, knowing five words of Spanish, told him “Buenos Dias”. He replied back to me, “Buenos Dias”, then began speaking Spanish. I said, “Oh no Hablo Espanol”, then he spoke in perfect English. Taught this Northern boy something about trying to be cute.

My granddaughter, Haniah, was all dressed for Valentines Day and was as cute as can be. She’s part of the reason I am trying to exercise. I want to dance at her wedding, not have her push me around in a wheel chair. I gotta dance, but in a very masculine kind of way, sort of like Ellen.

The weather continues to be rock solid cold. Down south when they get two inches of snow, it becomes a state of emergency. Here when it’s two inches of snow, we call it Spring.

The cold weather and cloudy skies tend to keep you sluggish, so exercising is a chore. You just want to veg on the couch, a remote in one hand and a root beer in the other, and flip through all 500 channels on DirectTV, and realize that there is nothing to watch. One night I was up late, and they had a commercial selling sex toys. Yeah, sex toys. On TV. It’s the craziest thing I ever saw. Never knew so many instruments could go so many places, and they ship it to your door. This is what America has become? We’re a mess.

So, I’ve rambled enough, but here’s the good news. This eating healthy and exercise works. Don’t need a pill, operation, etc., just healthy eating and exercise. Ready for this? My weight this morning was 255.6! I have not seen that number in years. Since March, that puts me at a 30.4 pound weight loss. And I’m not done. I’m on my way, Lord willing, to 199. Hope to get there by February 2015. That’s the plan. I’ve discovered through this program that two things kill, absolutely KILL your metabolism. They are coffee and alcohol.

Please continue to pray for me. I’m on a good roll now, but those thoughts keep entering my head to chuck it all and just eat like I used to. I hope those days are done. Maybe not the days as much as that lifestyle is done. The Apostle Paul says we are new creations. I believe the old Joe has died, and the Christ in me will sustain me to finish the work He has started in me.

My prayer is for everyone who reads this to be encouraged. Become hopeful. Being able to seize each day and have control of it, not have it control you. We got this. It feels good to be a loser.

Weight: 255.6