I read Mike’s last post and got so emotional, I am so proud of him. He is working so hard to achieve his goal. His strides for success go much deeper than a smaller number on the scale, and it affects me more than you can imagine. People can see that there is more to this guy than meets the eye. That is what I love about Mike.

I am near my goal. I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I think the real fight is maintaining the magic number once you get there. I’ll need plenty of advice from those of you who have experience in this area. I am 5 pounds away from reaching under 200 pounds. 199?!!! I can’t remember the last time I read that on the scale.

March 2010

Before and Afters motivate me more than anything.
When Mike and I were dating he got me hooked on the motivational stories from Body for Life.¬† It’s kind of weird going back through pictures trying to find the fattest pictures of yourself. Sadly I don’t have to go far to find them, they’re actually really easy to find and I have many to choose from. Thinking back to last year when both of these were taken and how I perceived myself then.I had lost sight of who I was because I was content with where I was, but didn’t realize how much of myself I had lost.

Mike bought me the hat in the pic last night and a little house plant to thank me for my support, and to reward me for my own success. Let’s HIT these 5 pounds out of the park!!! Keep fighting friends. It is so worth it.
PS. Someday I want to dance a hip hop number by Tabitha and Napolean from So You Think You Can Dance. I am secretly in love with hip hop music and may or may not choreograph my own routines in my kitchen while washing dishes. “Nappytab” always wear cool hats too ūüėČ
Peace out yo!


IF I COULD TALK TO THE MAN IN THE PICTURE: A before picture that made me pause

Cleaning off my desk yesterday, my wife and I finally went through the oldest pile of papers we have put off for a long long time. One of the folders I pulled from the file was my application to be on The Biggest Loser. I opened the folder lifted a page and saw this guy.

At first I did not recognize him. Unexpectedly being confronted with the photograph was startling to me. “Oh my gosh babe look at this.” I had forgot that this picture existed. While we both gasped for a bit and stared at the photo I was exclaiming excitement at the realization of my progress but at the same time couldn’t help but feel compassion for the guy starring back at me.

In this picture, I still had not decided to change.
I had only decided that the problem was bigger than myself. I had given up on the idea that I had the power to do what was necessary. I decided it was either The Biggest Loseror weight loss surgery and that those were my only 2 options.

I was depressed, defeated but willing to do what I had to in order to lose weight. I stopped holding on to hope that somehow, something would change. I looked at the picture and it was like I didn’t see me. I am not that person. I simply do not identify with him as myself. To me, all of the features, the face, the hair … heck I was even wearing the same pants as I was in the photo at the time. I knew it was me but I couldn’t help but view the image as someone else.

I was going to do it. Not for a television¬†show,¬†for him and his family. I wanted to tell him so much, all that I have learned over the year, and about¬†all of the people he would meet along the way. I wanted to tell him¬†how his family, friends and community would see him changing his life, choosing to be healthy and be inspired by him. I wanted to give him a hug and tell him it is his time. It’s time to start now and forever. It’s time to make the choice to be healthy. I would tell him how it was going to suck sometimes. I would tell him he would have moments of anger and frustration but then I would tell him about playing with his kids for hours, running and chasing them like I did last night.

We would cry for a minute together and then I would tell him it was going to be worth every tear, every stomach ache and every drop of sweat. I would tell him about how the choice would effect him emotionally and spiritually and how it would change his work life. I would tell him that the hardest part about the whole thing was finally deciding to be honest with himself and how by doing that he would be able to break though barriers in relationship with Karlie, his family, friends and coworkers.

I placed the picture next to the bed and finished up the paper sorting with all of this on my mind. I got ready for bed, laid down and turned to the bed stand where the picture was laying and as I reached for the light I saw the picture again and paused. I felt a profound sense of peace. The guy I wanted to help change so badly had changed. He was me. Not the me in that picture but the me I had hoped for him. I turned out the light, closed my eyes and slept more peacefully than I can ever remember.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Exploring our interactions with what we eat & why

Social influence is something I think about a lot.¬†I use¬†twitter, facebook, this blog, Google+ and¬†other social sites¬†to get the “If I can do it, you can do it” message out there. I often think about the influence I had on others for so long to overeat. ¬†


As one of my long time fiends in the weight loss world has said, “First it’s food, then it’s poop”. The reality of food’s physical purpose is very simple and utilitarian. It is very simple in nature. The purpose of food is to provide nutrition to our body and mind. It is not something evil or good. It has no agenda to make you fat. It is fuel. While the utilitarian aspect of food is simple, the complexity of the roll that food plays in our lives is much more complex.


Cultures and food are inseparably connected. Food literally helps define culture. Indian, Mexican, Spanish, Scandinavian, Japanese, Chinese …. with the word “food” slapped at the end of any of these and immediately we can associate dishes, sauces, preparation methods and flavors. In a very real way food helps us define each other.
Food is something the human race all has in common. In order to survive we have the need to eat. Where food is located, culture is cultivated. While the need to eat is universal the types of food and the way it is prepared vary greatly.¬†Before my wife I NEVER would have tried Fiskepudding (fish pudding). While I am sure I will never eat it again, It was an adventure to explore a new food and culture in one small bite. Well I kind of spit out the bite but maybe a bite of the goat cheese … mmm goat cheese. ¬†


So, I am a Mormon. Many of you may know that already but why do I mention it now? No¬†we do not¬†have horns, no I am not a polygamist, yes we ARE¬†Christians in every sense of the word. Now that we have that out of the way … Mormons are notorious social eaters.

“When we meet, we eat” … as the saying goes in the culture. When someone gets married, we eat. When someone gets baptized, we eat. When a baby is blessed, we eat. When little Suzie goes from Primary into the Young Women’s program, we give her a bunch of candy to show our approval. When someone dies we eat. And we don’t just eat anything. When someone dies, we make the most fattening concoction of potatoes that I believe have ever been invented. We call ’em¬†“Funeral Potatoes”. Lisa at Feminist Mormon Housewives describes the dish perfect.¬†It’s like the goal is to dull all the emotion surrounding the loss of a loved one by eating this and¬†water logged,¬†canned¬†ham in order to enter a food educed lethargic state void of all emotion. While Mormons believe in a law of health called the Word of Wisdom, in practice, I think our culture and our faith often collide.¬† Social eating can be both good, and bad. In general I think rewarding with food is a bad idea and teaches kids incorrect principals about food. A good aspect of social eating would be cooking a healthy meal with your kids like my bud Ryan at No More Bacon recently talked about. I can’t help but get people excited about food. When I ate like a 500 pounder, I would get people excited about foods that were delicious but … well … would¬†quickly get you to¬†500 pounds. Now, I love to get people excited about sashimi, low calorie soups, Oroweat sandwich thins and eating delicious but healthy foods. Do you influence people food? I bet you do. Are you a positive influence or a negative influence in your local circles? ¬†


“Relationship with food” is a phrase I use a lot. Maybe a better way to describe it is¬†“emotional attachments that I have with food.” It is a scientific fact that food effects the chemistry in our bodies and in our brains. Emotion is deeper than an urge. I understand cravings well. With chocolate deserts titled Better than Sex (if you believe this you’re doing it wrong) it’s no doubt that we have primal urges towards food but the emotional aspect of eating is deeper than that.

In the movie Ratatouille,Anton Ego, a Chef Ramsay style food critic, tastes a dish and is instantly transported back to childhood. Smells, flavors and textures provoke emotions of comfort, innocence and simplistic joy. In a very real way he is effected emotionally and profoundly by food.

Because of the power that food can have over our emotions, if we let it, it can begin to control us. We use it like a drug to medicate our feelings with drastic side effects. I put together a chart of the destructive & addictive nature I let food become in my life. It was so bad that I honestly believed there was simply nothing that I could do to break the cycle.

Food numbed my emotions. I was angry, depressed hopeless. This is one of the reasons I share this stuff. I know there are so many more who are where I used to be. All I can say to those who are there is that it IS possible, it IS hard but it defiantly IS worth every bit of struggle.¬† Feeling emotion from eating food is not a bad thing but “emotional eating” as I have experienced it can lead to a lot of problems for you and your waist line. I heard Jamie Oliver once say “fast food is the opiate of the masses”. Do you use food to numb the pain like I did? Do you control the food you eat or does the food you eat control you? These were questions that were the hardest to face for me through the weight loss process.

My Grandpa Badger loves to cook. If ever there was someone that I felt put all of their love into preparing a meal, it would be my Grandpa Badger. When we visit Irvine, CA one of my favorite things to do is to go to his house for dinner. Grandpa was an English Teacher by trade and highly educated. If he ever learns to use a computer and reads this blog I am sure there would be more than a few face palms due to my grammar and spelling (sorry Grandpa).
The Badger family my Dad grew up in was one full of love. My Grandma passed before I was born but between her and my Grandpa, the Badger household was a pretty tight ship as I can tell. I have heard my Grandpa, when feeling melancholy, mentioned that he should have voiced his love more. Grandpa may not have always voiced his love, but he never failed to show it. Spending hours in the kitchen, constantly tasting to get it just right. Through food, Grandpa said many times what his mouth failed to speak.¬† In contrast, I put 1/2 a shaker worth of salt in my friend’s chocolate milk at school to communicate that I didn’t like him emptying his trumpet spit valve on my foot earlier that morning ūüôā Communicating through food is not necessarily a bad thing. What is important is what message are you communicating? Are you saying “I love you only enough to make you feel a short bit of happiness while slowly killing you.” while handing over a giant piece of chocolate cake? Or “I want to make you happy and live longer.” With a bowl of fresh fruit? It sounds a bit harsher than I mean it too but hopefully you got the idea. Food is something that should be used for our benefit and our health not to our demise.

FAT GUY vs. FIT: Won’t he ever give up?

Back in April I wrote a post, Fat Guy vs. Fit (The voices of my inner struggles). In the post I wrote about how EVERY time I would go to the gym, I would try and talk myself out of doing cardio. Luckily Fat Guy has yet to win the argument since I started on this journey But what gets me is that even after all this time he is still there screaming at me every time I start heading over to the elliptical machine.

There are some battles that Fat Guy doesn’t even try to argue about now. Drinking Mt. Dew, eating fast food and watching 4 hours of T.V. at a time are all things he has given up on. He knows it just ain’t happening. I have come to realize there is some stuff that he will just never give up on though.

There are only 2 things you can do when you come to the realization that your inner fat person will never give up on something.

  1. You can continue yelling “SHUT UP!” to that inner voice every time it starts screaming. It does get easier to shut out the voice but it will always be there for that day you are tired, hungry and emotionally spent.
  2. Take away the power the voice has over you.

How do I take away my Fat Guy‘s power? I am glad you asked.

To render the Fat Guy voice in your head you simply make the changes necessary so you are not put in the situation of having to listen. While it all inner voices are different there are a few things you can do to mute the voice before it even has a chance to get a peep out.

Making the choice to be fit is something that proceeds doing what is required to get fit. Maybe it is something as simple as laying out your clothes for the gym the night before. If you want to give Fat Guy a megaphone, wait to make the decision to go on a 6AM run at 5:45. Planning to exercise with someone is another easy way to render the voice powerless. Those who fail to plan, plan to fight Fat Guy.

For me, this meant running to and from the gym. I was sick of the same old internal struggle every time I got on the elliptical machine. Our gym, Crossroads Fitness is a perfect distance from my house that I can warm up on the way there and kick some butt running a different way (longer) home. I have taken the choice away. I HAVE TO do cardio if I want to get home. Discussion over.

The same goes with food. Fat Guy LOVES when I eat pasta. It’s a “trigger” food for me. He knows that regardless of how much my stomach has shrunk over time or how much will power I have, there is a chance he can get me to listen to him and binge. Back in the day I would eat 2 giant plates of spaghetti. I would be so full my stomach would hurt and I would continue eating it until I felt like I was going to vomit. (no laughing Hank) Today, I simply don’t eat pasta except for a rare, pre-measured portion situation. The simplest way to stop your Fat Guy from saying “Eat more pasta ya blithering boob!” is to not eat pasta.

Fit guy is my friend. He hangs out in the land of fit blogs, at the gym and by the water cooler. If I have been talking with Fit Guy all day, it’s easy to not be distracted by Fat Guy. If I exercise, eat balanced, nutritious meals and drink my water, Fit Guy is talking so loud in my ear, I can’t even hear Fat Guy when he talks. When I get in a slump, it’s easy for me to decide my slump will be over after I eat something I shouldn’t or skip just one planned work out. Good choices increase the likelihood that the next choice will be good as well.

How do you shut up your Fat Guy?

FINISHED MY FIRST 5K: Not at all what I expected

It all started a couple weeks ago when my work announced the “Corporate Games” were back again this year. A bunch of companies in Salt Lake get together to put on an Olympics of sorts and compete against each other. There are always 2 divisions in each event. There is a “In-it-to-win-it” and a “Just for fun” group. When I saw that they were doing a 5K I had this weird urge to sign up. Maybe it was because of the races Kar has been in this summer, maybe it was because I was delusional to how far I have come in this whole weight loss journey…. I don’t know. All I know is I had no time to train and had no idea what I was in for.
It was about August of last year that I really made the choice to lose the weight. Before that I was fickle and cared but didn’t have the drive to make it happen.I thought a 5K would be a good way to celebrate a year in fitness and lifestyle change. Sounds like a good idea right? I knew I wasn’t as prepared as I wanted to be physically but I never expected the emotional stuff that would come out during the race either.

Getting pumped with LMFAO’s Party Rock Anthem in my ears

I get to the race site, already apprehensive and get my first look at the course. “WHAT!? We are running on grass?” I was not happy. “Are you serious? Look at the steep hills!” I was kind of pissed. There was so much I was not happy about going into the race but at some point I just had to say “Screw it” and just tell myself it didn’t matter, I was going to do it.

We started off and there were a few people who were side by side with me but soon I was well behind the pack and dead last in the race. I was expecting to not do well but I guess the thought of finishing dead last just hadn’t crossed my mind before. When I should have been thinking about how awesome it was that I was even trying a 5K, all I could think about was how I was dead last. By the last lap I was pissed and emotionally spent. A lot of the emotions I felt came to the surface and I had to fight back my emotions as I crossed the finish line. I was pissed, discouraged and even depressed. I thought this was supposed to be something that would give me a boost, something that would make me excited and happy but I couldn’t help the inadequacy I felt. After I finished, I didn’t even want to take part in the after race event celebration. I just wanted to go home.

As we drove home I just bawled like a baby. I didn’t want to feel this way. I wanted to be encouraged and empowered by this experience, not feel inadequate and angry but at the end of the race I couldn’t help but feel like the fat kid picked last for everything, the fattest person in the room. I felt like I was right back at 524 pounds and that nothing had changed.

Jeffrey was so proud of his Dad. I love this kid.

After i calmed down and my endorphins calmed down, Kar set me strait. “You should be nothing but proud and thrilled Mike.” I started to see things as they were. I wasn’t the same guy I was at 524 pounds. That guy would have been home in bed still. That guy would have NEVER attempted to run in public. That guy didn’t exist any more. I may have been the slowest and the most fat person there, but I was there.

I guess even with all that I have accomplished and all the positive changes in my life it is still hard when confronted with the reality of how much ground there is still left to cover to get where I want to be.

The ADP 5K Team

By the time we got home and I got back to reality, I was able to see the accomplishment for what it was. My anger turned into motivation and my frustration into renewed commitment. I was able to celebrate what I had done and see a future where one day I would be able to RUN a 5K not just finish a 5K. I love my family for all their support and am proud to set an example for my kids.

I am proud that I did the race. I am motivated to continue on my journey and I am NEVER going to stop. Sometimes, in order to progress, you have to be hit in the face with humility but the pain and frustrations all part of the process. Embrace it, use it, and get it done.