Manage Your Energy – Change Your Life

To jump start my weight loss journey in 2015, my first task was not so much about managing my eating but more managing my energy.  What does that mean?  A book recommended by my company business unit was key to this –  The Power of Full Engagement  located here Power of Full Engagement

The Power of Full Engagement talks about ways to manage energy to be a more effective leader. Based on training for athletes, the premise of the book is that we need to have cycles of stress and relaxation in order to increase energy and performance. There are four quadrants of energy and the first is physical. Let’s just say that in this area before my successful weight loss journey, I had a bit too much relaxation and did not take a respite from the daily grind to schedule in physical activity.

In previous big pushes at work, I reveled in seeing how long I could stay at my desk and how much work I could produce in a day. My only respite was the Philly Cheese Steaks at Jersey Mike’s. Let’s just say I was not building physical energy or releasing stress (or enough of it – only that amount that is released in a cheese steak coma).  People who know me know I like to be the iron man of work.  But my interaction with my team was suffering and so was my health.  The nadir of this period was the day I tripped outside my Delivery Center at 3 am, and hit the ground!  It took more than a few minutes to get up.

After reading the book and not wanting to repeat a face plant on the lawn of the delivery center, I established a physical routine and healthy eating to bolster my physical energy.  Here is what I did.

  1. Get out of my chair at least once an hour.
  2. Switched from prodigious amounts of coffee to hot tea.
  3. Do at least 30 minutes of exercise a day which I put in my schedule.  Yes, I now do Yoga, water aerobics, and Zumba.
  4. Changed from Philly cheese steaks to smoothies, salads, and our healthy snack machine when pressed for time.
  5. Increased sleep from an average of 5 hours or less to at least 6.
  6. And went to prescribed doctor’s appointments instead of toughing it out.

The result was my energy increased, my disposition improved (ok I know I can still be a bit imposing on occasion), and I am getting more work done in shorter time. You can see the difference in managing energy.  The first picture is of me is me in 2015 just before I started this routine.  The one next to it is me yesterday is me as one of 2 people to finish 4 hours straight of spinning class in support of St. Jude’s in Life Time North’s “Ride for A Reason”.  There is still time to donate so if you want to here is the link to my donation site!  Help us drive to knock out childhood cancer.

Ride for A Reason FundRaiser


Two Essential Ingredients to Weight Loss – Family and Friends (Part Two)

Two key ingredients to sustained and maintained weight loss are family and friends.  They are just as important to your weight loss journey as healthy food, careful tracking, water, and exercise.  I wrote about the first of these ingredients – family – in Part One of this blog here Two Essential Ingredients to Weight Loss – Family and Friends (Part One).   On this one, I tackle Part Two – friends – in this blog.

There have been three categories of friends that have helped me as I lost 170 plus pounds and kept it off.    Here is how Work Friends, Facebook Friends, and Fitness Friends at Weight Watchers and Lifetime Fitness have helped me along the way.

1.       Work Friends – My friends and colleagues at Accenture have encouraged me on and challenged me over these last two years.  First, my company has a program called Accenture Active where I had the good fortune to be one of 30 selected Journeyers when we initiated the program.  As a Journeyer, we had bi-weekly meetings to touch base and learn from each other.  We also had access to special lectures to inspire.  One particular one was given by Diana Nyad who told us how she trained to be the first person to swim from Florida to Cuba.  She accomplished it at 64, after several previous tries.  Her story a long with the Accenture Active group inspired and made it easier to keep on plan.  If someone can swim to Cuba, I can lose a 100 lbs.  Here is a link to Diana’s wiki page if you want to learn more. 

Diana Nyad

Second, my office friends and colleagues formed a Fitbit group.  I cannot tell you how the many contests drove me to exercise more!  I actually walked the halls of the Columbus Sheraton to pull ahead of my colleagues.  My friends also helped me accomplish a long-term goal of walking 50 miles in one day.   My friends from our sales team that walked 10 miles with me with their kids, partly in the rain!  That is what I call support! Below is a the Fitbit badge to prove it. 

Image of FitBit 100,000 step sandal
50 miles in one day!

2.Facebook Friends – My friends on Facebook were also a great help in my Weight Loss.  First, they gave me Likes to my corny workout rhymes (Example:  Today I did the typical, 5 miles strong on the elliptical!).  They also gave me Likes and a few Loves as I hit my weight loss milestones.  Along, with individual friends on Facebook, I was helped immensely by some of the Facebook groups.  Four groups in particular, Weight Watchers Saturday Round Rock Group, Sheri’s FIT (my sister-in-laws great workout group), Spreading Positivity, and the West Point Class of 85 site.  Each site gave me helpful hints and encouragement.  For example, yesterday I learned that I could get Center Cut bacon which was only 2 Weight Watcher’s Smart Points for 3 pieces!.  That made my day and helped me get my bacon fix while reducing calories and keeping the pounds off. 

3.       Fitness Friends –  I already discussed my fellow Journeyers at Accenture Active.  There are two other fitness and weight loss friends I want to give a shout out to.  First is Weight Watchers in Round Rock Texas.  This group literally changed my life.  I love meeting with them every Saturday to trade tips, words of encouragement, and recognition.  I also found out for me as a guy it was a good fit, so do not let anyone discourage you guys out there.  I found that it had the accountability and recognition of the scale while it taught me to be more empathetic and listen more. Here is a link to the meeting if you decide to join us!

Weight Watchers Round Rock

The second group is my exercise groups at Lifetime Fitness.  As I got more fit, my fitness classes changed from Water Aerobics to the Spinning AMP course.  I even have done Zumba and Yoga!  In all the classes I loved the friendship, exhilaration and fun!  I want to give a special shout out to Corey’s Saturday EDG class at Life Time Austin North.  I now know as many hip-hop songs than some of my kids (although I will never beat my son!).  I also know I can get over 130 RPMs (wait till I get my cycling shoes this Tuesday).  Spinning is Winning!   Here is the link to Life Time North Austin location.

LifeTime North Austin


In closing, weight loss is not an individual sport.  It takes family and friends to help you to reach your milestones.  



How to work and lose weight!

Some people say losing weight and traveling are diametrically opposed.  I beg to differ!  I lost over 170 lbs ins a year and a half while traveling on a weekly basis.  This is how I did it:

  1. Eat at the concierge lounge for breakfast –  When you travel often, you normally get access to a concierge lounge.  You can use this access to your advantage if you make the correct choices.  I love Sheraton and SPG but other hotels have similar offerings.  Here is the approach.  For breakfast, fill up on lean protein (hard-boiled eggs, non fat Greek yogurt, etc.), oatmeal and fruit.  Also grab at least two bananas and two apples for your snacks throughout the day.  Lastly, stay hydrated by taking a few bottled waters.  9 times out of 10 when you are hungry it is just a substitution for being thirsty!
  2. Walk to work.  No Uber for me!  Unless it is pouring or 10 below (sometimes the case in the Midwest), I walk to work.  I also pick a hotel about a mile away so you get 2 miles in no matter what.  This at least gets you up and going.  Remember to bring a book on tape (Podcasts and Overdrive if you are a member of a library are free!)  or time your walk with a work call.   It gets you outside and you barely notice the activity.  One other trick in DesMoines.  Take the Skywalk if it is cold.  It is indoors and actually can make you sweat if it is cold outside!
  3. Plan your lunch and order it up-front.  When we are traveling for work, we are often pressed for time at lunch.  Client meetings and working through lunch is often the case.  When you know that is going to happen, either order lunch in advance and track your calories or bring a low cal lunch with you that you pick up on your morning walk.  When in one city, for example, I order a healthy soup such as Chicken Noodle or Turkey Chili on an app from Zoup.  I then pick it up when ready.  It gives me a quick 10 minute break on my trip to pick it up and burns the calories that I am about to eat on the walk!  If you are even more pressed, you can eat from a vending machine but be careful!  My go to’s are Peanuts, Peanut butter crackers, and the chicken salad with crackers.
  4. Walk and meet clients.   Sometimes you are hard pressed to get your assignment done and you become what I call a “work potato”.  That means you sit at your desk and crank out the next deliverable without getting up and walking to your client to learn what they truly want.  Walking the length of the hall to see your client and to understand their needs can better burn calories and also save you time! Instead of guessing your client requirements, you can talk to them.
  5. Eat at the concierge for dinner.  This is the bookend to number 1.  Most concierge places provide appetizers, vegetables, cheese, and a desert for dinner.  I load up on the vegetables, each an appetizer or two and get an ounce of cheese.  I skip the desert normally and opt for a banana instead.  This routine is a lot less calories than going to have a steak on the company dime.  Your boss and body will love you for it!
  6. Walk before Drinking – A long day out of town and at work usually deserves a beer if not stronger.  But you cannot drink without a plan to burn it off.  Most cities either have a trail near beer or sidewalks to get to it.   I check out a different brewery within a mile and plan a walk for my reward!  Here is me walking past the Maxwell’s Silver Hammer in Columbus en-route to my evening beer!maxwell
  7. Break up the day – When you are out of town, you are not pressed normally with the activities that may take time at home.  You usually can leave after your last client meeting, exercise, and then get another 2-3 hours of needed work done.  Plan accordingly to get some exercise so you are even more productive.
  8. SLEEP – Usually when working out of town, you get to stay in a hotel near your work.  Even though you may be walking to your work, I have found that it is a lot less time to get to work, allowing more time for sleep, even with a tough work schedule.  Also, you are eating at the concierge where the food is already prepared!
  9. Weight Watchers – I never miss a meeting even if I need to stay in town for work over the weekend!  I have attended my weekly meetings in Columbus, Phoenix, Houston, Salt Lake City and other cities while out of town.  Going to a meeting in another town is always invigorating!

Working out of town does not mean you have to gain weight.  It actually is an opportunity to shed more or keep fit.  If I did it, you can do!  Life is fun and attractive, when you are traveling and stay active!