Saturday, December 6, 2014

Post-Thanksgiving Update

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, without a doubt. It isn't as commercialized as a lot of the other holidays, and it isn't about getting something (if you don't count Black Friday), but giving something instead -- that would be giving thanks for what you already have. It's about reconnecting with friends and family, and getting together to share in the delicious bounty that this earth provides. This year, my in-laws were in town, which meant two meals with turkey and all the trimmings -- and both my wife and mother-in-law come from a line of talented cooks!

So, how does one handle two Thanksgiving feasts while trying to live Glutton Free? Run, Forrest, Run!

The kids' school was hosting a very casual "Turkey Trot" 5K (3.1 mi.) run/walk the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, so our family decided to participate. I was able to make better time than what I normally run for a 5 mi. trek, thanks to one of the teachers setting a good pace just ahead of me. The pace was fast enough that I was actually sore the next day, and I've been running two or three times a week for 7 months now.

We had our first feast Wednesday evening, and was it ever a good one -- I was able to limit myself to a reasonable dinner portion, but I especially enjoyed the two pieces of chocolate cream pie that I had. So, that just meant I was out the door at around 9:00 Thanksgiving morning for a 5.2 mile run at record pace (9:24 per mile) before we headed out to feast number two. Once again, I was able to limit myself to just one delicious plate, but then there was pie. Key Lime Pie. Yeah, I had two pieces of that one, too.

Saturday morning was my next opportunity to run, and I was able to keep a pace very close to my Thursday run. It felt good to be able to run my usual route at a faster pace than before.

The Sunday morning after Thanksgiving, I decided it was time to face the music and see what the damage was, so I stepped on the scale. I had weighed in just over 181-lbs. two weeks prior, and was fully prepared to see a few pounds added back. But all that running must have worked, because my weight was down just under a pound!

I was only able to run one time in the week since then, and I added a steep hill to my run for the first time (I had always walked it before). When I weighed in this morning, the scale showed 178-lbs.! Not since sometime in 1992 have I weighed that little. Okay, I guess it's time to figure out this "maintenance" thing, because this is about as far as I really want to go. 

I ran my numbers through the caloric intake calculator once again this morning because my weight is considerably lower than when I started my fitness plan. In the process, I realized I had never changed my exercise level to "intense" instead of "light", something I should have done as I started running rather than walking. The recommended caloric intake level the calculator spit out was a full 350 calories per day higher than the goal I was shooting for. Or I can just keep doing what I'm doing and not worry about all the Christmas goodies that are starting to show up around the office... :-)

I'll make it a New Year's resolution to eat more calories... maybe.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Cold Weather

Oregon's Willamette Valley maintains a fairly mild average temperature during the winter, but during times when there is an inversion present (warm air aloft, cold air below), the wind sheltered areas can drop well below freezing at night. This makes early morning walks or runs a bit of a challenge.


This morning it is 22 degrees Fahrenheit (or -5 Celcius, for those north of the 49th). I don't like going out to exercise in that weather, but I have Under Armour ColdGear, and the skies are clear, so I really can't start making excuses on a day like this. At least the fog hasn't set in yet. Let's git-r-done!

Does anyone have any cold weather exercise tips they'd like to share? (comment below)

On a side note, I have to say that I am pretty excited after this morning's weigh-in (if I was in California, I would be 'stoked'!). I have not weighed myself in almost a month, and have not really stuck to my diet/exercise plan 100%. With the combination of going on a family vacation and getting a minor head-cold, I went through a 2-week period where I only ran once. I also ate a few things I normally wouldn't have while on vacation.

So I am especially happy to report that I weighed in at 181 lbs. this morning! That is over 1-lb. lighter than my last weigh-in 3+ weeks ago -- I was fully expecting to have gained weight since last time. If I can maintain similar fitness performance over entire winter, I will be thrilled come spring.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Before & After

I never intended this weight loss blog to be an "oh look at me" kind of thing, but as my cousin, Ms. Tammy, pointed out in an email conversation, it might be helpful for those who stumble across my blog to see 'before' and 'after' photos. So here you are -- now you can see the difference between me at over 240 lbs., and me at just under 185 lbs. 

May these photos inspire someone to embark on their own journey of healthful living.

January 2011
October 2014

Most people say that they can really see the weight loss difference in my face, so I posted the close-up photos first. I believe that January 2011 was when I was at my absolute heaviest. I may not be quite as heavy in the following 'before' shot, but it's not too far off...

June 2009

October 2014

Now let's keep this journey going!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Let the music move you...

One thing that keeps me moving when I am walking or running is music. It's nice to have a beat to move in time with, and sometimes the song lyrics can motivate you, too. Whether it's an iTunes playlist or a Pandora station, on an iPod or on a phone, the music will keep you moving.

While I was running yesterday, the song "I Lived" by OneRepublic played on my Pandora station -- this song has both the music and the lyrics to make you want to step up your pace. It made me want to just loop the song over and over and over...



Friday, October 3, 2014

Sugar Addiction?

Are you fed up with the obesity epidemic and sugar addiction that is taking over America? As a recovering sufferer of both, I am; but sometimes I wonder how I will keep my children from falling victim to the sugar trap. I'm hoping that the documentary, "Fed Up", will provide some insight. Here is the trailer:

If you've got a spare 2 minutes and 25 seconds, I think the trailer is worth watching.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes

Before being told that I was pre-diabetic, I never gave a second thought to what the risk factors might be. In my mind, I was still fairly young and fit, and worrying about diabetes was the furthest thing from my mind. That diagnosis meant taking a crash course in learning what exactly type 2 diabetes was, and how I could prevent it...

I was involved with an online discussion today about what some of the causes of type 2 are, and was reminded how many misconceptions are out there. One person was asserting that the only thing that mattered in prevention of type 2 was eliminating virtually all sugars, starches, and carbohydrates from your diet. According to them, even whole grains were the enemy, and would contribute to blood glucose level spikes. Therefore, they suggested that everyone eat a highly restrictive low-carb diet, even to the point of eliminating complex carbohydrates -- something that goes a little too far, in my opinion .

I couldn't be too judgmental about that viewpoint, though; as it wasn't long ago that I believed the same thing -- I thought that all I had to do was cut out carbs and everything would be OK. Well, it turns out that there's more to it than just that. 

First, let's look at what type 2 diabetes is: Facts About Type 2

With type 2, either your body doesn't produce enough insulin on its own, or your body's cells ignore the insulin. When you eat starches and sugars, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is a basic fuel for the cells of your body. Insulin moves the glucose from the blood into the cells. If you aren't producing enough insulin on your own, or your body's cells are stressed to the point that they resist the insulin altogether, then you end up with excess glucose levels in your blood.

As noted in the link, having too much glucose in the blood can starve your cells for energy, and over time high glucose levels may harm your eyes, heart, kidneys, and nerves.

So, what exactly causes type 2 diabetes? Well, there are a number of risk factors involved, so it's difficult to say that any one thing causes it. The main risk factors include family history of type 2 diabetes, ethnicity (blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, or Asian Americans), body weight (obesity), low activity level, and age (40-45 and older). 

Notice that carbohydrate intake is not part of that list. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't watch the amount of sugar you ingest, because obesity is still a major risk factor, and there are a lot of calories in simple sugars -- and if you take in more calories than you burn, you will gain weight.

It's obvious that there is a lot of misinformation out there about type 2, so the American Diabetes Association was nice enough to put together a fact sheet listing many myths about diabetes: Diabetes Myths

If you are concerned that you may be at risk for type 2 diabetes, the ADA also has a Risk Test that you can take. I took the test based on my current weight and activity level, and it put me at "low risk". But when I went back and entered my formerly obese weight and lower activity level into the test, it told me I was "high risk".

If you have more than one of the risk factors, and the risk test places you in the "high risk" range, it isn't too late to reverse the trend. Eat a balanced diet. Exercise. Burn more calories than you take in. Type 2 Diabetes doesn't have to be something that "happens to you" -- you can choose to make sure that you beat it before it beats you.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Glutton Free Dessert

There's nothing that says eating a healthy diet has to be bland and boring. In fact, based on my own experience, an eating plan that doesn't allow any sort of fun is not going to be effective in the long run because it will soon grow tiresome.

It was not long ago that I [mistakenly] thought that I despised dark chocolate, but maybe that was because I just hadn't tried any good stuff. But after being told that I was "pre-diabetic", I knew I had to make a change, and Google searches indicated the lower sugar content in dark chocolate (when compared to milk chocolate) made it a reasonable dessert option for me.

Finally, I gave in and bought a Ghirardelli variety pack that included small squares of both 60% and 72% cacao, as well as truffle filled and salted caramel squares. Immediately I noticed complex flavors with both of the dark chocolate varieties, something I never got with milk chocolate.

What I was even more excited about was the calorie count. At 50 to 60 calories per square, I could eat two squares for dessert and get some intense chocolate flavor, all at a fraction of the calories present in a bowl of ice cream or a stack of chocolate chip cookies. On days when I didn't have many calories left, I could just eat one square.

I found during the summer months that fresh fruit made a great accompaniment to the dark chocolate -- strawberries, peaches, mangoes, etc; they were all good. Or, if I have been really good, a dark chocolate square set atop a small piece of brownie and microwaved for a few seconds is absolutely divine.

I had originally considered calling this blog "The Dark Chocolate Diet" before settling on "Glutton Free", because I felt that keeping some kind of dessert in my eating plan was so important to my successful results. This doesn't have to be all carrots and celery. You can, and should, have a little fun with it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I'll only run if...

You've probably heard people say, "I'll only run if something is chasing me". Well, I've got lots of things chasing me... obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, depression, sleep apnea, etc., etc., etc.

There's no way I'm just going to sit on the couch and let it all catch me.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

One Goal Reached - Now What?

In my very first blog post, "What is The Glutton Free Diet?", I stated that my goal was to lose weight until I made it down to 185 or 190 lbs. Well, I weighed in at 189 lbs. yesterday morning, so where do I go from here? My wife tells me that I can stop losing weight anytime now, but now that I'm rolling with this fitness plan, I don't want to stop.

First and foremost in my mind is how difficult it is to maintain healthy eating habits and an outdoor exercise routine when the weather outside is frightful. My track record over past winters is poor at best, with last winter being the best I've done in recent history -- I came out in the spring at about the same weight I started at in the fall. So that means I can't really relax yet.

The way I see it, I have about seven weeks until the days really start to shorten up, so I need to make hay while the sun shines. I also need to maintain a healthy diet to continue combating high blood sugar and high cholesterol, so the only thing I could do on the food front is bump up my caloric intake a little -- but without allowing things like French fries and big bowls of ice cream to creep back into my diet.

So in essence, nothing changes... yet. I can relax a little when it comes to how many calories I take in, but the basics remain the same:

  1. Excercise. Walk, run, ride bike, etc. Just get off the couch a couple times per week.
  2. Lower your sugar intake. No soda pop.
  3. Cut the simple carbs. Complex carbs are okay in moderation.
  4. Drink more water.
  5. Make smart food choices. Get a side salad instead of fries.
  6. Pay attention to your calorie intake. If you take in extra calories at lunch, eat less for dinner.
  7. Don't over-eat. Dish up small portions. Stop when you are full. 
If I weigh in at 185 lbs. when I go back to the doctor in April, I will be quite pleased.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Caloric Intake

On the most basic level, any weight loss or healthy living plan will only be effective if it enables you to burn more calories than you take in each day. You can choose any successful diet plan out there -- it doesn't matter what gimmick is used to accomplish the weight loss, the reason for the weight loss is directly correlated to caloric intake.

How many calories each person needs each day is going to vary depending on a variety of factors including age, weight, height, activity level, etc. Luckily there are many online calculators out there that can estimate the amount of calories you need each day to accomplish your goal -- whether that goal is losing weight, or simply maintaining your current weight.

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) Calculator: BMR Calc

The BMR calculator will give you an estimate of the amount of energy your body would expend if you basically just laid in bed all day. The online caloric intake calculators will use this BMR figure, along with your standard activity level, to determine approximately how many calories you need to consume to accomplish your goal. The following calculator will provide three different intake options: one for maintenance, one for fat loss, and one for 'extreme' fat loss.

Daily Caloric Intake Calculator

I have used both the standard "fat loss" and "extreme fat loss" figures in the past to determine my daily caloric "budget", and have found both to be effective. I currently use the standard calculation because I am in this for the long haul, and found the extreme option to be overly restrictive, and it was too tempting to binge after several days of limiting myself to 1500-1600 calories (especially when accompanied by regular exercise).

For maximum effectiveness, I suggest using a smartphone or iPod app that will track your calories for you -- some of them even have extensive food databases. I have had good luck with the free version of DailyBurn Tracker, and found the barcode scanner to be useful for many pre-packaged items that I consumed. A quick Google search for "Calorie Counter App" will tell you that there are many other options out there, too.

The idea of tracking every calorie you ingest may seem like a real bother, but it really helps you grasp the amount of calories in the different foods you eat, and eventually you may not even need to use the tracker. My daily eating schedule is routine enough that I no longer need to track with an app -- I know that I will have approx. 1000 calories available for dinner and dessert, so I will try to make appropriate choices when I fill up my plate. But if I hadn't spent time tracking every calorie, I wouldn't know that a piece of whole grain bread is going to have ~110 calories, or that a typical piece of pepperoni pizza is going to have ~300-350 calories.

No, this calorie counting thing isn't very glamorous or exciting, but it is effective, and it is part of the Glutton Free way.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Afternoon Snack

After a busy couple of weeks and a bout of writer's block, I am back -- with a snack.

Snack time for me is around 3:30 PM, and I generally try to eat something high in protein, but foods that fit within my overall caloric intake goals. On days that I don't run, that means about 200 calories; and on days that I do run, it could be 300-450 calories.

My old stand-by for non-running days is 1 oz. of Tillamook Pepper Jack Cheese and half a serving of Blue Diamond Habanero BBQ Almonds. On days that I do run, I will switch it up to a full serving (28 pcs) of almonds and sometimes add in a piece of fruit.

1 oz. of pepper jack (110 cal.) and 1 serving of almonds (170 cal.)

That's it. It may not look like much, but it easily tides me over until dinner, yet doesn't fill me up to the point that I don't feel like running an hour after consuming it. If I don't have those exact items on hand I will just mix it up, but keep the same concept -- I'll substitute a different type of nut or cheese, or put peanut butter on whole-grain toast, or add some vegetables into the mix.

After consuming my afternoon snack on a non-running day, I will typically be at around 800 cumulative calories for the day, which leaves me with approx. 1000 for dinner. Some would say that only consuming 800 calories by that point in the day is bordering on deprivation, but if your body feels good enough to go out and walk/run 5+ miles, I would say that it is plenty. This, again, is where willpower comes in to play -- the easy way out is to say, "there's no way I could do that"; instead of telling your growling stomach that it will no longer be controlling you.

Once again, this is all what works for me. Some people need more protein and calories for breakfast than I do, and that is fine, as long as they keep in mind that those additional calories in the morning will need to be subtracted out of what they eat later in the day. If you eat 750 calories at breakfast, just remember that you will not be able to eat very much the rest of the day if you want to lose weight. There's no miracle food or formula here -- just burn more calories than you consume.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Glutton Free Lunch

Continuing the theme of what my "glutton free" diet consists of, I present to you: The Glutton Free Lunch.

That's it... a single 200-300 calorie pre-packaged meal, Sriracha hot sauce, and water. For several years now, Lean Cuisine's have been a part of my lunch -- I find them to be both healthy and flavorful. They provide a good mix of protein, vegetables, and carbohydrates. If you don't want to do store-bought meals, you could always portion out your own left-overs in a similar fashion -- but be sure you know approximately how many calories you are eating. By the time I finish my lunch, I am typically at 500-550 calories for the day.

That holds me over until around 3:00 when I have a small, high-protein snack. If I get hungry in between, I just drink more water... that usually helps get rid of the growlish feeling in my stomach. It's easy to get psyched out and say, "I have to eat more than that for lunch", but that's where willpower comes in -- if you allow that voice to win, you will never be successful at trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Now, as I have stated in other posts, there is no cookie-cutter approach to the glutton free way, so there is some flexibility on when you eat the majority of your calories. If it's easier for you to control your dinner calories than your lunch calories, then by all means, eat a bigger lunch. But if your friend calls and wants to go out for dinner, just keep that big lunch in mind when making choices at the restaurant. Or if you come home and find that your spouse has made your favorite spaghetti recipe, you will need to have some self control (even more than if you had eaten a smaller lunch).

Stay tuned for the next episode: Afternoon Snack

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Glutton Free Breakfast

Since the Glutton Free way is really about eating a balanced, managed-calorie diet, what each meal consists of is really up to the individual -- as long as it fits within the overall goal. Some will need a larger breakfast and smaller meals later in the day, while others won't need much at the start of the day. I am one of those that doesn't need much to start the day...

This is what my typical breakfast consists of:

One 16 oz. cup of French-press coffee, with raw sugar and half-and-half, and a 120 calorie breakfast bar (full of complex carbs, protein, and fiber). On a typical day, that is all I need. On days when I know I will be running an hour or two later, I need extra protein, and will skip the granola bar and go with a sausage & egg biscuit and some fruit -- or scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, and fruit. Gone are the days when I can chow down on a stack of pancakes or waffles topped with maple syrup -- too many calories, and too many simple carbs.

On weekdays, I eat my breakfast before 6:30, so by 10:30-11:00 I am ready to eat lunch -- then a snack at 3:00 PM, and that leaves me with 1100 to 1200 calories available for dinner. But I won't get into those meals with this post... they will have to wait until next week.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Glutton Free Diet May Eliminate Heartburn

A new not-so-scientific study shows that following a glutton free diet may completely eliminate heartburn. It should be noted that this study, which has been ongoing for over twenty years, was conducted with a small sample size -- one. That one would be me.

For all of my adult life, I have kept chalky antacid tabs by my side to combat frequent bouts of heartburn. I tried Pepcid AC, but didn't find it effective at all. The only prolonged periods of heartburn free life that I've experienced have come during times of watching my calorie intake, and avoiding over-eating. Sure, there are certain foods that will trigger it with a small portion, but overall I am enjoying life without Tums.

If you are tired of that feeling of acid bubbling up into your esophagus, tired of drinking the Maalox or popping the Rolaids, tired of taking your daily Prilosec; try eating less instead. Sure, it's not as easy as getting a prescription from a doctor, and you will likely miss the satisfaction of a completely stuffed stomach; but the end result is that you will feel better and may even lose some weight in the process.

I plan to continue this study indefinitely... or for at least as long as my own willpower continues to keep my appetite in check.

Friday, May 30, 2014


Willpower. Self control. Stick-to-it-iveness. Intestinal fortitude. Determination. Resolution. Commitment.

Call it what you will, but one of the essential keys to successfully living a glutton free life is your own resolve to stay the course. Resisting temptations, ignoring urges, forcing yourself to get out and move -- it all takes willpower. The best laid exercise plans, the healthiest lifestyle choices, the most fool-proof trendy diets -- all are worthless without your own will to accomplish your goals.

At 3:00 in the afternoon when your stomach's growling and you really want that bag of Doritos and a crisp, cold, sweet Mexican Coke -- you have to be strong and resist. Drink some water instead. Those complimentary donuts that someone brought to the office? Just say 'no'. The Sour Cream Lemon pie that was specially prepared for Easter Sunday? OK, you can have a small piece of that, but you'd better cut those calories out somewhere else.

Asking for the "glutton free" options at your local Cheesecake Factory or Claim Jumper restaurant isn't going to get you very far -- it is up to you to either choose healthy menu options, or divide your meal in half at the start and take the rest home. If you find yourself at Red Robin craving a burger, ask for a side salad in place of fries -- and figure out how many calories were in that burger, because you will need to give up eating something else to compensate for it.

Of course, choosing a restaurant with healthier menu items is a better idea, if you must go out. Grilled salmon and vegetables is almost always a better option than a fattier, higher calorie hunk of beef; but it requires willpower to order the fish, because a big, juicy steak would surely taste better. At that very moment, when flipping through the menu and deciding what you will order, you determine whether or not you will succeed at losing weight, lowering your cholesterol, keeping your blood sugar in check, reducing your sodium intake, and eating a balanced diet. No gimmicks. No preset program. Just you making a choice.

No sure-fire, fool-proof, be-all end-all diet needed. No revolutionary, cutting edge scientific break-through. Just follow the same wisdom that has been around since the book of Proverbs was written thousands of years ago -- don't be a glutton. It's that simple. It's that difficult.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hop, Skip, Jump.

Walk. Run. Bike. Swim. CrossFit. Garden.

The first rule of the Glutton Free club is to get off the couch. You can't lose weight if you don't burn more calories than you take in, so if you sit in an office chair all day, and then come home and sit on the couch; you probably aren't going to have much luck taking off the extra pounds -- and starving yourself isn't part of the Glutton Free way.

If you can't make time to go to a gym to workout, find some activity in "your own backyard" that will work for you. I can't seem to make time to get to a gym, but I have plenty of black-top and sidewalk right outside my front door. I can walk, run, or bike. If time is the issue, try some high intensity interval training. But do something. If the weather outside is frightful, go to a thrift store and buy some weather-appropriate workout clothes. Or spend the money on some decent Under Armour ColdGear or HeatGear and quit making excuses.

Back in April of 2011, when I first decided that I didn't want to spend my life at 240 lbs., I made an abrupt lifestyle change by starting a "Couch to 5K" program. I downloaded a C25K app for my iPod Touch, and found the training routine to be very effective. The weight really started to come off fast when I limited my calorie intake to 1800 calories per day.

By August of 2011, I had dropped to 197 lbs. and was able to do 5K jaunts three times per week. The only problem was that I had started so abruptly that my previously-complacent 40-year-old body did a little bit of complaining. I was icing and elevating my knees constantly, trying to reduce the tendinitis pain, but eventually it won out. By the end of the 2012 summer, the combination of knee, shin, ankle, and achilles pain had taken their toll, and I gave up on running... and fell back into a bit of a slump.

By April 2013, after a winter of way too much cheeseburger and fries gluttony, I was back up to 230 lbs. My wake-up all came with a spring trip to the doctor to finally get my over-40 labs done -- and everything came back borderline high. I knew I had to do something, so I started walking. I take my son to karate three times per week, and I had been spending the whole time just sitting -- sometimes in a chair at the dojo, sometimes in the local coffee shop... consuming empty calories. So now, I get out and move, and I limit my consumption of empty calories.

You can start out at a casual pace, but should work towards 15 minute miles for as many miles as you have time to walk. If you get the RunKeeper app for your phone or iPod, you can listen to music (I use Pandora radio) and have a voice that updates your pace every 5 minutes. After a year of walking, I was finally able to consistently get under a 14 minute mile average over 5 miles, in a town full of tough hills.

After hitting a bit of a weight-loss plateau at ~208 lbs., I decided to shake up my walking routine by adding some running -- and I'm happy to report that the transition has been both effective and mostly pain-free. Most importantly, there has been no sign of the tendinitis pain in my knees that I encountered three years ago. I still have to do a combination of walking and running, but hope to increase the amount of running I do each week.

No more excuses. Get off the couch and get moving. It's all part of the Glutton Free lifestyle.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What is The Glutton Free Diet?

So, you may be asking, "What is The Glutton Free Diet?" Well, besides being a play on words, it is a not-so-revolutionary, not-so-new, healthy way of life that can be summed up as avoiding gluttonous behavior (a glutton is a person who eats and drinks excessively or voraciously).

The main points of the Glutton Free Diet are probably the same lifestyle changes that your doctor has been telling you to make for years now. After a while you feel like you are living in a Kaiser Permanente commercial. The main points are as follows:
  1. Excercise. Walk, run, ride bike, etc. Just get off the couch a couple times per week.
  2. Lower your sugar intake. No soda pop.
  3. Cut the simple carbs. Complex carbs are okay in moderation.
  4. Drink more water.
  5. Make smart food choices. Get a side salad instead of fries.
  6. Pay attention to your calorie intake. If you take in extra calories at lunch, eat less for dinner.
  7. Don't over-eat. Dish up small portions. Stop when you are full. 
Everybody has slightly different dietary needs, so customize as needed, but keep common sense at the root of your food choices. 

In my own case, I have struggled with obesity, high cholesterol, and prediabetes in recent years. A year of vigorous walking (three times per week) was able to help drop 15 lbs. and bring the cholesterol under control, but my blood sugar levels took another step closer to the diabetic range, so I needed to make some drastic changes.

For me, French fries are the enemy. So are big bowls of ice cream -- I often eat a small piece of dark chocolate for dessert instead. No more soda pop or dried pineapple. Pasta and bread are okay in moderation, especially if whole grain. In addition to making better dietary choices, I have stepped up my game and added running to my exercise routine. The year of walking has been good for my knees and tendons, and the transition to running has been mostly pain free.

Just over three years ago I weighed 241 lbs., and today I am right at 200 lbs. My goal is to make it down to 185 or 190, and then transition to a caloric intake level that maintains my weight. For reference, I am 5'-10" tall and 43 years old. [3/29/15 Update: I just weighed in at 176 lbs.]

I don't really know where this blog will go, but I hope to post whatever I think pertains to living the "Glutton Free" life.