Quick Thoughts on the Love Loud Documentary

I just watched the documentary from Dan of Imagine Dragons about his Mormon LGBTQ fest, Love Loud and I’m conflicted. On one hand, I applaud the effort and cause. On the other, knowing that this very popular band has a singer that is a devout Mormon who likely gives massive amounts of money through tithing to an organization that is so oppressive and against so much of what I believe, gives me pause, and makes me rethink how I feel about Imagine Dragons and this documentary.

What's really messed up about this situation, and especially the story of the singer of Neon Trees coming out as homosexual, is that their lives are all about the church, its culture, and family bonds within the church, which is completely understandable. They absolutely love the church that at the same time, shuns them if they're LGBTQ. It’s so contradictory, but their love of the church and its community runs deep.

It was strange to watch as an outsider of the church. I was moved by many aspects of the documentary, but there was always an asterisk associated with those moving moments.

I'm not trying to comment on the church and their stance (ok, I am—it's wrong), I'm just saying that while I applaud the effort of the Love Loud fest, I still feel uneasy about supporting its inherently flawed cause.

Also, this post was basically five minutes of brain dump. Don't be offended. I love you.

Word Of The Day: Dorsiflexing.

Well, it looks like it’ll be a little bit longer before I’m running again. My right leg is having issues—I'm thinking I have mild Plantar Fasciitis (heel pain) and lactic acid build up in my calf and in the same muscle on the front of my leg that I’ve been having pain issues with since I first started running. That front leg muscle is responsible for dorsiflexing (lifting the toes and front of foot). I can’t lift the front part of my foot as high as the other. Also, I can’t put my body weight on my heel while lifting the front of my foot, as it just falls flat when I try. I can feel the muscle struggling and it feels weak. My focus for the next few weeks is fixing my bum leg and foot.

Yvonne bought me a vibrating massager for my birthday specifically for these issues and I used it for 20 minutes tonight, absolutely crushing my calf and front leg muscles. It was pretty painful, but it already made a difference—big difference. Way more progress than foam rolling the muscles.

I also need different work shoes. My Red Wing heavy-duty construction boots just wont cut it anymore. I’m walking so much more at work while at the same time, doing less intensive physical labor, and the flat soles of my boots are really affecting my leg. So, I’m in the market for some athletic shoes that have leather uppers, safety toes, slip resistant soles, and are EH rated (these are requirements of my employer). I found a couple of options online, but I really need to try some on in person.

Finally, it looks like I’ll be getting into biking, probably outdoor, maybe indoor, maybe both. The impact on my legs from running 30 miles per week is too much right now. I think I can still run a couple of miles a day once I recover, but I most definitely need to mix it up. I haven't really ran since last Thursday or done any cardio, for that matter (outside of a couple of rowing sessions and a brief run on the treadmill), and luckily, I’m maintaining my weight loss. But, I need to exercise. So, bike riding it is. I’m looking forward to it.

Luckily, this all happened at the end of my weight loss journey, but I still want (need) to run, and I will run once I’m better. I have goals I want to attain, so hopefully this leg issue will be resolved in a timely manner.

Before and After: Healthy Eating and Running My Ass Off to Lose 78 Pounds.

The title says it all. Many folks I’ve talked to about my weight loss journey that began in October of 2017 asked if I had a before and after photo of my progress. To be honest, I rarely took full figure shots of myself back then and didn’t think I had a “before” photo of myself. Turns out, I have one from February 2017.

So, here it is. Looking at myself from then brings up many emotions, the strongest of which is a feeling of heavy anxiety. I never want to weight 256 pounds again. I’m healthy, I’m a runner, and I’m much happier.


Update - 5.13.18:

Many people have been asking me what I did to achieve this. I didn’t really want to write a lengthy blog post about it (Drew Beechum from the Maltose Falcons wrote an in-depth post about his recent 100 pound weight loss journey that's fantastic), but I did recently respond privately to someone who asked how I got into running. So, I'm just going to post my response to that person here. Hope this helps!

I started running, but very slow. I listened to my body and would adjust my pace so I was comfortable, almost to the point where I felt like I wasn’t trying, and tried to maintain that. Usually 20-30 minutes daily (DAILY—I didn’t take days off unless I was sick or injured and literally couldn’t walk). I would “run” for 30 minutes after work, at a 14-15 minute/mile pace, then before bed, I would walk on the treadmill, but at the maximum grade (10%) for 10 minutes.

After every workout, I was drenched with sweat. I gradually got faster and ran further distances. My first 5k was a month after I started and was a 11 minute/mile pace. I also did rowing when I couldn’t run for a couple weeks due to a sprained ankle. I never stopped. Now, running is just a part of my day. 2 miles before work, 3 miles or more after, 4-5 miles or more on Saturday and Sunday.

I use my Apple Watch for recording workouts. It’s a huge help and great motivator. I also have a Fitbit One in my pocket all day (I've been using the Fitbit One for years). I record everything and every activity. If I don’t have tangible data, I feel like I wasted an opportunity to document my exercise. It's really nice being able to reference data.

My advice is this: be really active, but don’t hurt yourself. Really cut the calories and stop eating unhealthy. I’m fully vegan now. I was mostly vegan before I decided to start running, except I’d have cheese or dairy now and then. That is no longer the case.

My diet is plant-based and I eat triple the amount of vegetables than I did before. I still eat chips and have desserts, but it’s limited. I love chips and hummus, but I realize that I’m just using the chips to deliver the healthy hummus to my stomach. So, now I eat baby carrots with hummus and it’s awesome. Stuff like that. The way I see it, if you’re gonna work so hard to sweat and exercise, you don’t want to throw it away by eating crap. I ran and worked hard, so I needed to respect that and my body.

These days, I’m maintaining the running, still limiting my calories (I’m not hungry, but I never feel stuffed), and drinking beer without really worrying about any of it. I am still on a trajectory to get to 175 pounds, but losing that last 10 pounds from 185 has taken about two months. Once I lose another couple of pounds and hit my goal, I’ll be in maintenance mode and focusing on strength training.