Week 48: A little bit of progress, a little bit of pain

Week 48 was another big week for my Operation Melt journey full of lots of fitness-related activities with some progress and setbacks. This week also marked the 11-month anniversary of starting my journey. It was also about the 15th week where I could enjoy free time in between jobs to spend time focused on fitness and side projects without having to work it around the day job. But I think those weeks are coming to an end, so I need to make the most of the week ahead of me.

First Time 5k Preparations

As I have talked about over the past few weeks, I am hosting the Operation Melt First Time 5k on Saturday, June 16 at the Scioto Audubon Park in the Brewery District. The goal is to run my first 5k the same way as I have approached the rest of my journey, by doing it my way. I have an expanding group of friends who are all going to get together and run with me and we are making it a fundraiser with proceeds going to Central Community House. Click on the following image to read the full information.

This week I continued both training for the 5k as well as trying to figure out the course. On the course side, I have finally figured it out and have designed a good 3.1 mile course that I pretty tree covered since it will be June but also gets us out into the sun a little bit at the same time. The map of the course is available below.

On the training front, I am doing ok. I know that I can run a full 3.1 miles as long as I am careful with my pace. If I make sure to stay at a pace of 10:15 to 10:45 per mile I am great. If I speed up I wear myself out too much. Plus I have to make sure to properly fuel, stretch and hydrate before running or else I may have pain that forces me to walk.

Finally there is the music piece. I know that it sounds strange but music really makes an impact on me and how my brain functions. So that means that listening to the right music while running can make all of the difference between a good run and a crappy run.

Dealing with Hip Pain

One thing that has been slowing my 5k training is that I have developed hip pain. I can easily go run 1-2 miles with no issues at all. I can easily go walk 10 miles with no issue. But I am having a problem when I run 2.5 miles or more where I am starting to develop pain in my hips, primarily my left hip, that really hurts. It forces me to a slow walk and that sucks.

This week I took multiple steps to try to alleviate this issue. First off I have started a pre-running stretching routine. Previously, my only real warm up before running was to eat some food and give it time to digest and then to spend 5 minutes or so walking before running. But as my frequency and distance has increased I have identified (with the help of some friends and pros) that I really need to stretch with a focus on my hip flexors.

Here are some of the stretches that I have added into my routine… clearly from an online source and not pictures of my, I haven’t changed my appearance that much!

In addition to the stretching there are a couple of other steps I have taken. First I bought a foam roller and am trying some foam rolling to see if that helps. I have also replaced the arch support / insoles in my running shoes to help improve the cushioning and foot support.

The last thing I am doing to help the hip pain is much harder for me. I need to incorporate rest days into my routine. They need to be “real” rest days and not the rest but walk 8 miles days that I have traditionally included. I need days where I do no working out and my only exercise is what I do just living life and not anything defined. This is really tough for me, particularly right now when I am working to achieve some goals.

Revised Weight Goal is at Risk

I continue to make progress with the weight and my quest to hit my revised goal of 125 pounds lost by 6/15. As of this week, I have hit the 114 pounds lost mark but I continue to see wild fluctuations and inconsistent progress. I am pretty sure that I will not hit 125 pounds lost by the 1 year mark – which is 25% more than my original goal.

My body has become very sensitive to high sodium or high alcohol days and I can almost guarantee my weight will be up the next day. In fact, my weight this morning (Sunday) was 3 pounds more than my weight on Saturday morning. But I also had 3000mg of sodium yesterday with a few drinks. I am almost always explain why my weight went up and know that it is temporary water retention, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating.

I continue to see progress with my body too. I bought new pants this week and I am a solid size 38 waist now after starting at a 52. Plus I continue to see more and more definition coming to my muscles in my arms and elsewhere. The growth of my muscles and the associated muscle mass is part of what is contributing to my slower weight loss now.

As I said I am continuing to see progress with my body and even my shadow is looking skinny!

Career Progress

My final update for this week is on the career front. I am very close to having a new job that I can announce and would expect to start somewhere in the next 2 weeks. This will certainly change the daily routine that I have developed since leaving my last job but I am hoping that it will not have a negative impact on my fitness goals.

At the same time, I am continuing to make progress with building Operation Melt into a business where I can focus on fitness full time and help others. I am exploring the world of online coaching as a way to directly help people with their own fitness journeys.

I even have a working vision statement: “Creating a world where goals don’t die of loneliness!”

There is still a lot of work to do before this can really be a business and even more before it is a business I can focus on full time. Until then I am happy to just have it as a “side hustle” as long as it is helping people and doesn’t prevent me from being successful in my day job. The next big step on the Operation Melt business front is to get the book published. It is about 50% edited now and getting closer to being ready by the day.

Check back next week for more!

Last week’s stats (5/7- 5/13):
Distance walked/run: 48.2 miles
Total calories burnt: 27,374
Total calories consumed: 13,879
Weight change: 2.5 pounds GAINED!

Reflections on Leadership: Leaders Are Learners

Reflections on Leadership

Thank you for reading my weekly reflections on what it means to be a great leader. I hope that these thoughts can help you with your own leadership development journey. Please feel free to share your perspective on this topic, my Reflections on Leadership series or anything else via a comment on this article, a like, a share or message me directly.

Weekly Inspiration

Leaders are learners

I spent a big portion of last week at the CMH Startup Week conference learning about startup businesses, smart cities, social enterprises and other interesting topics. Since then, I have spent some time on follow-up reading and exercises based on the conference. I learned so much and it really got me thinking about another key trait of the best leaders I have know.

Great leaders are lifelong learners and try to gain knowledge every single day. They are never done learning and that makes the can make the difference between success and failure in your leadership journey.

Think for a second about your own career. How much has the nature of your work evolved in just the past few years? If you don’t keep learning, you won’t keep up and you will allow yourself to become obsolete. Think ahead to the next 5 years or 10 years and how different the world is going to be. If you stop learning now, how will you survive as a leader?

Wondering how you make sure you are always learning? Well, after lots of reading and learning about learning, I have identified 4 main steps to improving daily learning.

Be Self-aware: this is critical through every aspect of your career and life! You don’t have to strive to be an expert or even interested in everything, you need to be yourself. But you do need to figure out what those things are that interest you and that you could learn and talk about every day. Hopefully those things are relevant to your work because that will help you be a better leader.

Be Curious: after you have figured out what the things are that interest you the next step is to unlock your natural curiosity. Strive to learn how things work, why they work that way, who the people are who are associated with the things, why they are associated and any other piece of knowledge you can gain. Think of your curiosity as a beast with an insatiable hunger that you need to feed.

Be an Explorer: the next step is to be an explorer on a quest. At every turn be looking for the opportunity to feed your curiosity. There are many routes for this:

  • Asking questions
  • Reading articles, books, blogs
  • Listening to lectures and podcasts
  • Observing your interests in action even if just on YouTube
  • Build theories and attempt to disprove them
  • Attend training classes
  • Try new things hands-on

Be a Teacher: finally, try teaching others about what you have learned. This helps better cement your understanding and to help others feed their curiosity beast. Talk about your interests, share articles that you found interesting with your insights about why, teach concepts to others, write a blog or anything else that helps you move from learner to teacher.

Call to Action: find something you want to know more about and learn something new today! Then, share your newfound knowledge with somebody else to help reinforce your new knowledge and build somebody else’s knowledge.

Thanks for listening!

Milestone: 11 months of melting

Today marks the 11 month anniversary of my decision to change my life on 6/15/2017. I decided that I was going to lose over 100 pounds in under a year and that I was done with being overweight.

So far, I am down 113 pounds and am on track to lose 125 by 6/15/2018.

On this “Transformation Tuesday” and this anniversary, I wanted to share another before and after picture from May 2017 and this month – pretty much 1 year apart to the day.

This journey has been amazing! I am smaller and healthier than I have ever been through my entire adult life. I am more confident than ever and have discovered a lot about myself.

The past few months in particular, during my unplanned “sabbatical” between jobs has been a time of tremendous growth and self-discovery. A big part of what I have discovered is that I have a passion for health and fitness and I am working on turning that passion into something bigger.

I am now 30 days out from the 1-year anniversary and the conclusion of the planned timeline for my journey. But my journey will not be coming to an end because it is a long term commitment and I don’t want to do it twice. Plus I have more goals that I haven’t achieved yet.

To celebrate the “conclusion” of my original fitness project, I am hosting and running a 5k on 6/16 – the Operation Melt First Time 5k. This will be a great way to commemorate the successes that I have experienced so far. I am so excited about the prospect of running in my first organized 5k!

How many other people go from 325 pounds to running a 5k in just one year?!

If you would like to join my 5k or would just like to make a donation in its honor, that would be amazing! Just click through from the link above.

After the 5k, the future milestones include publishing my book and running more races including the Columbus Oktoberfest 4-mile in September. Plus, I have some more goals up my sleeve too… so stay tuned!

One last word on these 11 months: thanks!

A big thank you to everybody who has supported me, followed along, commented, shared or in any other way openly or quietly helped. I could not have been successful without your support!

Week 47: Wrapping up month 11 with more progress

This was a great week for my Operation Melt journey. The weather was marvelous and I was able to exercise outdoors every day and was even able to catch a beautiful sunrise while out running.

Plus I continued to shape the future of Operation Melt with some new milestones along the way. So please read on to learn more….

New weight loss milestone

Last week I talked about how I was almost at the 100 pounds lost mark. Well, as has become my tradition, I never hit 110 pounds lost mark exactly, I blew right past it! On Monday morning, I stepped on the scale and it said that I was 111.2 pounds down. That was a great surprise.

Then I continued seeing results after that and got to the 112.2 pounds lost mark this week. My app is projecting that I will hit the 125 pounds lost mark between 6/13 and 6/17 based on my current weight and rate of loss.

So I am cautiously optimistic that I will hit my revised goal of being under 200 pounds of total weight within a year.

You can’t win every day

If you can accept losing, you can’t win.
Vince Lombardi

People ask me if I have ever had setbacks along the way in my journey. They ask me if I ever have days where I fail to lose weight. They ask me if I ever hit weight plateaus. Basically they are asking me if I ever fail along the way in my journey.

Yes! Something I know today that I didn’t know a year ago is that weight loss is a game of ups and downs. There are days where you step on the scale and you are amazed by how much weight you lost in just one day and overall. But there are the other kind of days too, still amazed but not positively.

My body (as are most) is very susceptible to temporary weight fluctuations driven by a couple of factors. Two big factors that lead to weight fluctuations for me are higher alcohol and sodium intake. Both things cause you to dehydrate a bit and your body to retain water in your cells. Water has weight to it and you will see your weight go up. It isn’t “true” weight gain because, as long as your calorie balance is right, it isn’t possible to gain fat in that short time. It is just water weight and a temporary fluctuation.

This week, after having a huge win with getting to the 112 pounds lost mark, my weight went the other way. Then, for the next 4 days, my weight went up about a pound per day. Super frustrating!

I know the increase is a temporary fluctuation and that is should all drop plus some on Monday or Tuesday, it is still annoying. So I am just going to keep going and I will get there.

Helping other people through Operation Melt

I have said before that one of the things that keeps me motivated is when I hear that my story has inspired somebody to start their own journey. It is energizing when I find out that something I have shared is a motivation to get started or that I helped somebody figure out how to get past some obstacle. I really love helping people melt their obstacles and help equip them to accomplish any important goal, fitness or non-fitness.

For example, sharing stories about my setbacks and the ups and downs along the way may help somebody not get discouraged the first time the scale goes up one morning. This could make the difference between continuing forward or giving up and I want to make that decision easier to make in the positive.

This is what motivated me to attend a conference in Columbus this week, CMH Startup Week. This conference provided great information, panel discussions and mentoring to people who currently run startups or are considering starting a business. It was an amazing conference and I learned so much.

My goal for the conference was to get some knowledge, some expertise and some coaching on how to grow an idea into a business. I wanted this because I have an idea…

I want to turn Operation Melt into a business. I want to help others achieve their goals, whether fitness or not, and feel more successful. I want to help tackle the obesity epidemic in the US that is expected to grow to 50% of Americans being obese by 2030. I want to turn my newly formed passion for fitness into a career.

It will take a ton of work to turn Operation Melt into a business. But, if I have learned anything along this journey, I am not afraid of a little hard work to achieve my goals. I just need to make a decision to do it and know why it is important to me. Then I need to build a plan and measure progress every day. After that, it is just working my ass off!

Operation Melt Instagram

Earlier this week, I finally launched an Operation Melt Instagram account (@OperationMelt). This is something I have been wanting to do for a while but just never made it a priority. Well it is there now and I am pretty active.

My goal for Instagram is to show everybody how I am living a healthier life in more of a semi real-time manner. The website is great for telling and explaining and giving updates, but Instagram gives me the added ability to make it visual.

So please follow me on Instagram in addition to Twitter and reading the site. I will share tons of healthy tips and tricks and even some of my hacks. Plus, you will get to see some of the fun places that I like to go when I exercise.

That is all for this week. Check back next week for exciting updates about my job search as well as an update on where I am with the preparations and training for my first ever 5k race. The countdown is on to the big day, the anniversary of kicking off Operation Melt is just a few weeks away and there are lots of milestones left to hit between now and then!

Check back next week for more!

Last week’s stats (4/30- 5/6):
Distance walked/run: 52.6 miles
Total calories burnt: 27,848
Total calories consumed: 16,769
Weight change: 3 pounds lost

Reflections on Leadership: Leaders Judge Appearance

Reflections on Leadership

Thank you for reading my weekly reflections on what it means to be a great leader. I hope that these thoughts can help you with your own leadership development journey. Please feel free to share your perspective on this topic, my Reflections on Leadership series or anything else via a comment on this article, a like, a share or message me directly.

Note: I am publishing a day early this week due to some schedule conflicts. Enjoy!

Weekly Inspiration

Leaders judge appearance

No, not like that!

When you rise to a leadership position, or really any time, it is not right to judge people by their appearance in a professional setting. As America has become more casual, more inclusive and more tolerant, people have started expressing themselves more through their appearance. This is why you have to take time to dig deeper and look for everybody’s talents and contributions.

It is more important than ever to not judge a book by its cover…. when the book is a person!

When I talk about leaders judging appearance, I am speaking about making sure that work products / deliverables are properly finished. To understand what I am talking about, please picture the following scenario.

You have just assigned a task to somebody to research a new idea and to put together a presentation on how it could help your business. Your plan is to have your direct report present this information to your boss as a proposal to pursue an exciting new project. This project could be a huge transformation for your business and you are excited for the potential. Plus, this is a great growth opportunity for your direct report to get face time with your boss. A clear win/win situation, right?

You direct report comes back after 2 days of work and the results aren’t exactly what you were expecting. She has all of the right content, a brilliant assessment and the perfect conclusion, this is going to be a huge innovation! But, your excitement immediately drains from your face because the presentation missed the mark in another way. All of the content is included in a 3-page slide deck, all text, with no formatting, multiple fonts and sizes and spelling errors. This is not a presentation that you can put in front of your boss. It is a great coaching opportunity, but not the influence tool it needs to be.

This scenario, that I totally made up, happens all of the time for leaders and it is frustrating. The reason it is frustrating is because the way your look products look is nearly as important as the content itself. When you produce a deliverable that is full of spelling errors, inconsistent formatting and missing the professional polish of a final document, it makes it harder to digest. The appearance overshadows the content and leads you to subconsciously discount the value of the content. And, because this is a document, not a person, the appearance matters…. Design matters.

Jony Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer, sums up why design matters so much in products in the following quote… and where would Apple be without fabulous design:

When you see an object, you make so many assumptions about that object in seconds: what it does, how well it’s going to do it, how heavy it is, how much you think it should cost. The object testifies to the people that conceived it, thought about it, developed it, manufactured it. Ranging from issues of form to material, to its architecture, to how it connects to you, how you touch it, how you hold it. Every object, intentional or not, speaks to who put it there.

So, please make sure that you are focused on both content and design. Don’t let a lack of finish or polish on a work product overshadow the hard work you put into the content.

Call to Action: after you are done with a work product, take a pause before turning it in. Look back over your deliverable and think of it is a “product” that you are selling. What things in your deliverable may reduce the value of this product to its consumer? Take a minute to fix spelling, grammar, font consistency, your template and use some images to help tell the story.

Thanks for listening!