Wednesday, January 26, 2011

That Was Then, This is Now

As always, I would be remiss if I didn’t send a big THANK YOU to all the people who read the blog, email, Facebook, or face to face share comments on how happy you are, how proud, how inspired by the lifestyle changes I have made. It truly is humbling to realize the cheering section out there!
Chris Thomas-2002
I wanted to share my experiences from this week.  As many of you know I have been in software sales for 10+ years. This week was the 2011 kick off meeting in San Francisco. It was a tremendous experience and a reenergizing event…but let me provide some context.
These events while enjoyable for the camaraderie and spirit can be a wreck to your health, especially if you live like this guy --->
Remember, my 400 lbs was attained by a lack of self control and bad habits around food, drink, and sleep.  Now picture me at these events…Vegas, Orlando, New Orleans, San Fran, food of all kinds on buffets at all times, a bar (very often an open bar), any guess what happened?  You got it, I went after it like it was the last time I would see food and drink in my life.
I shared with a friend this week…a guesstimate for an event for the “old Chris”
  • Breakfast Buffet-Croissants, eggs, bacon, more bacon- 1200 calories
  • 10 am break- Cookie (or 8) and soda pop- 300 calories
  • Lunch Buffet- Everything X2- 1800 calories
  • 2 pm break- ICE CREAM!!!!- 400 calories
  • Happy Hour- 2-3 beers and 6 dirty jokes-400 calories
  • Sit Down Dinner with Dessert (duh)- 2000 calories
  • Close Bar- 11 drinks, 4 rude comments and a partridge in a pear tree- 1100 calories
  • 2 am Room Service- Wings- 800 calories
  • No physical activity- the only thing I could say no to!

By my math that is a day of roughly 8000 calories, enough for a small village.  I am still not sure why I used to feel so bad at these meetings J
Fast forward to this week with the “new Chris”…connecting with friends via email to line out running not drinking, packing running shoes and running maps, a plan for food and drink.  Can I share my Monday?
  • 4:30 am- 6 mile run with Shana- a nice young lady from the Omaha area, she was in town for a work event as well and she didn’t look comfortable running by the homeless people by herself at 4 am so I invited her to run with me, I guess I was a safer option that the homeless J  She is a career woman, a triathlete, and a great mom (daughter is a swimmer and she does the swim leg with her mom during the tri’s in support)…super good run.
  • 7:00 am- Clear head, eggs and coffee for breakfast- 500 calories
  • 10 am- snack- banana and bran muffin- 400 calories
  • Lunch- Chicken and salad (skipped potatoes and desert)- 600 calories
  • 2 pm-Break- Kind Bar- 200 Calories
  • 5 pm-Protein shake- 200 Calories
  • 7 pm-Share my story on 5K Company run with CEO and 2010 Hawaiian World Champion Ironman Chris McCormack
  • 8 pm Dinner- Salad and Seafood- 1000 calories
  • 9 pm- 2 sips of wine and in bed by 10:30 pm

I ate less than 3000 calories (not optimal as my daily goal is 2300, but I will take it). I ran 9 miles out in the great weather, a PR for the 5K (26.50 min).  Oh and did I mention I ran with a World Champion Ironman?
Our key note speaker on Monday was Chris McCormack, he shared a truly inspirational story about leaving his finance career in his 20’s to go train to be a professional triathlete.  He struggled with his body breaking down, lost his mother to breast cancer, but continued to push and persevere to become the only person to do 4 sub 8 hour ironman’s (2 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26 mile run). Look for him on a Wheaties box this Spring.

Chris and Chris- Taleo 5K
Our company in a great effort to promote a healthy lifestyle sponsored a 5K run, Chris asked to join us and he came down to the race.  As we are running our 1 mile warm up to the start line I am next to Chris, he tells me the Nike Free’s I have on will revolutionize running…I told him to stay out of my head…I was out to win (kidding). I shared with Chris that I picked up running 7 months ago, ran 2 half marathons, started a running club and lost 50 lbs in 2010 to bring my total weight loss to 180 lbs in 8 years.  He was very supportive, our CEO was running in front of us and heard me mention my story, thought it was great and I then held Q&A with our CEO and the current Ironman World Champion about my lifestyle changes.  Can’t believe I just typed that...what a surreal moment.  I will remember it forever; up until the moment Chris pushed me up against light pole so he could pass me (kidding again).
In all seriousness, a really special day/trip, connecting with a GREAT support network I have that are more friends than co workers, sharing with Mike, sharing with Chris…having control of my life, happy and healthy, not a bad way to start the 2011 work year.  Will see many of you at the meeting next year, I WILL be at my goal weight of 200 lbs, down a total of 205 lbs…half the man I used to be!
My best-
Chris “I ran with the World Champ” Thomas

Friday, January 21, 2011

Four Steps to Sustainable Peak Performance – Do More and Feel Better with Scott Peltin

An article so good, we stole it:

Four Steps to Sustainable Peak Performance – Do More and Feel Better with Scott Peltin

You can't build authentic, consistent relationships when you feel like $#%$. I know this well, which is why I eat right (veggies and meat) and make sure exercise is a part of my schedule almost every single day.

Scott Peltin, author of Sink, Float, or Swim, teaches companies and their employees how to think differently and take better care of themselves. Typically he finds that only 5 percent of any given company are sustainable high-performers who know how to maintain their peak over time.

Recently Scott lead an Relationahip Masters Academy masterclass around creating new habits in four key areas – mindsets, nutrition, recovery, and movement – so that brain and body can stay at their maximum capacity.

Peltin points out that you make 1000 choices a day and each of them either increases or decreases your brain’s performance. Many of us make bad choices out of habit; Peltin’s goal is to shake that up. Here are four ideas you can put into practice immediately.

1. Mindset: You have over 60,000 thoughts a day. Reframe thoughts that drag you down. Instead of thinking “I’m overwhelmed, “ think “I am present.”

2. Nutrition: FORTY PERCENT of how you feel right now is due to your last meal. Did you eat a meal that set you up for success? Make sure that every meal you eat fuels you properly for your activities of the next three to four hours.

3. Recovery: Take breaks! Plan small downtimes during the day. The brain can only work for about 90 minutes without needing a break. Plan your schedule in 90 minute blocks, and take a break at the end of every increment.

4. Movement: Add more movement to your schedule. It doesn’t need to be hard-core exercise, just anything that increases your body’s range of motion. For help, download 10 simple “daily prep” movements, all tied to breathing exercises, at

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Choosing a Shoe

Out of all fitness attire and equipment properly fitting shoes is the very most important thing for an athlete (that's you!) to choose correctly. There has been a lot of advancement in the last few years in shoes. There are many aspects that you should realize when selecting which shoe to buy, but one major aspect is what type of activity are you going to do with the shoe. Many types of athletic shoes are better than your average sneaker, but athletic shoes have their own categories.

Walking shoes are manufactured in such a way that supports your foot more stiffly. Of course it can be worn for most other activities but walking shoes have a lot more cushion on the inner soles. Walking shoes are meant to be supportive while walking.

Many people ask what the difference is between running shoes and walking shoes. Running shoes have become quite the different shoe. They come in different widths and have different types of soles to help the runner out. Many running shoes have springs, air bags, and gels in them. Running shoes can vary from weight and the lightness of the material used. One of the huge differences you will see in running shoes will be the price range, which many of them can go into the hundreds.

There are many types of specialty shoes these days and the most popular today is the Shape-up type of shoe. These types of shoes create a definite curvature at the bottom of the shoe which allows the stress of each step to work out the hamstrings and calf region of the person's legs. Many people see this as a plus so they wear them in their daily activities which can give them a good work out.

Cross training shoes are a cross between running shoes and a good durable walking shoe. One of the biggest differences in these types of shoes is how it maintains its rigid structure. It will be useful when weightlifting, running, and general fitness. Most people often choose these types of shoes due to the fact they offer great comfort and are not as pricey as the top of the line running shoe.

The bottom line is that you should find a store that hires people who use the types of shoes they sell. For example, a Kansas City favorite Garry Gribbles' Running Sports (now in Lawrence and Topeka!) only hires runners. Although we don't endorse one store over another...we do try to keep it local. Members of TRR have had great experiences with the staff at Gribbles'. They evaluate your stride, let you take them for a test-run, and don't try to sell you the most expensive shoe on the rack! Best of all, they are always willing to share advice about running. 

PS - TRR is a registered team with Gribbles, so we're eligible for a discount day... coming in the Spring!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Food: The Drug You Can't Avoid

Thank you to all the people who sent kind words based on my last post “My Story”.  If it provided a bit of inspiration or ideas to use even better!  I have had a few requests for more detail about how I have made these lifestyle changes.   
Specifically, how did I change my diet?
This is very simple:  you want to lose weight? You want to feel better?  Want to get back to “your high school weight”?
Follow these two rules:
·         Never eat out, Never.
·         Only purchase foods at the grocery store your great-grandparents would recognize. 

That is it, thanks for checking back in and best of luck…(HA!!)

So as you can tell, these two rules work if you live in a fantasy world where Michael Jackson was normal (RIP) and the rivers flow of beer.  Unfortunately, we live in reality and the two rules are very, very tough to follow. So let’s look a bit deeper…

1. Never eat out, Never This has been a huge part of our lifestyle change and the hardest.  I love eating out, I love different types of food.  I once had a trainer tell me ‘Once you walk through the restaurant door, you have lost”

Remember this has been a 10 year journey for me.  I spent a long time justifying my eating out.  Oh, I just had the salad, I skipped the hashbrowns, drank water.  Any way you slice it you will inevitably have more calories and more options than you have at home.  Again, if you are like me and don’t have the most self control you have also walked into the restaurant thinking “I am getting the salad, I am getting the salad”…then you order the cheeseburger!  Sound familiar?   So where is the happy medium with this rule?

A few tips…

Be honest with yourself/Sacrifice this is tough with a bad habit but think twice; Are you really making a good choice going out? How many times do you eat out per week? Are you modeling good behavior for your family? Why are you going out?

30 Day Pledge Try to improve on this item with a 30 day pledge. The pledge may just be to track how many times you eat out for a month (be honest).  Or, cut back from 7 times a month to 4.  Whatever it is, make it attainable and reasonable.

If You Go Out Eat a salad beforehand, look up menu on line and order without looking at menu, drink water, split entrees, order items that don’t appear on the menu (One restaurant we go to I get 4 poached eggs and black coffee, nothing else!)…these are a few strategies to ensure the meal you have is not a full days worth of calories.

2. Only purchase foods at the grocery store your great-grandparents would recognize: Again, this has been a 10 year process and I still have a challenge with this…my cart 10 years ago was full of processed foods…soda, chips, little debbies, etc…you don’t get to 400 lbs eating arugula! I ate processed foods with little to no nutritional value.  Let’s be frank these items are awful for you and if you are like me and they are in your house you eat them, they taste good!  If your cart has vegetables and Doritos in it…tell me honestly what will you go for when you are tired? stressed? hungry?  I know my choice!

Had a trainer tell me to “Make your house a fortress”…if the bad food is there you will eat it!

I then started filling a cart where I bought “better” foods or at least tricked myself into thinking I was shopping healthy.  Let me know if you have said this “I am not sure why I am not losing weight?  I have replaced Doritos with Wheat Thins (Calcium fortified) and I no longer buy ice cream but I buy yogurt (enriched with Vit D).  My Little Debbie’s have been replaced with Nutri Grain cereal bars (low fat).”

Guess what?  You are still buying the same thing (in essence)!  If you really follow the "great-grand parents rule" your shopping cart should be a cart with fruits, vegetables, nuts, coffee, meat, items they would recognize 80-100 years ago.  Did Great Grandpa Albert know what a cereal bar is?  A wheat thin?  Not at all! Not to sound harsh don’t buy it.  Just don’t!     

A few tips:

·         Shop with a list and stick to it
·         Shop the perimeter (fresh foods)
·         Be honest (again)- what is in your pantry?  If an item has more than 5 ingredients, throw it out or quit buying it.  
·         Don’t shop hungry
·         Read Labels

So in closing, please don’t get discouraged, this is VERY hard…if it were easy people would be buying lettuce not ice cream.  But if you can try to remember a few tips and be honest with yourself hopefully you can make lifestyle changes that you will pass down for generations.