A Guy Takes On His Irrational Body Image

Three years ago I was hovering around 200 pounds. I had consistently been 190 or more for years. This was just the way it was. I felt embarrassed when I would see pictures of myself-especially the dreaded side profile with the full glory of my triple chin and huge gut. 

I’m not sure why I decided to lose weight- maybe with our son on the way I decided to get healthy. Maybe it was seeing all the health issues of my parents- my mom had just died of a massive heart attack and my dad had a plethora of issues that stemmed from diabetes to heart disease. I had been checked out by a doctor who couldn’t find anything particularly wrong. But, I knew my genetics were stacked against me.

Whatever the reason or reasons I started losing weight. I tried in the spring of ’08 but could not get below 190. I got discouraged and quit after a couple of weeks. I decided maybe it wasn’t that big of a deal and I had other things to focus on that were more important.

After our son was born my wife got focused on losing the baby weight. She was on fire-getting hotter by the week. I continued to look more like Shrek and knew I had to get serious. It was a whole year since I had tried but decided I could do it this time- I had a different motivation.

In the summer of ’09 I was working a lot of hours and began just eating when I was hungry. My natural hunger cues had been muffled by all the quarter pounders. Now, before you think I was following some diet plan like weigh down or some other plan- I wasn’t. It was a mixture of cutting calories and just not eating unless I was hungry.

Before I knew it I was 175. It was the easiest I had ever lost weight. I decided to just see if I could get back to my college weight. Within months I had hit 160. I no longer had that triple chin or even a double chin. I even looked slender from the side without trying. I shaved my beard and looked 10 years younger.

It’s been three years and I have stayed between 155 and 160. I have perfect cholesterol and blood pressure. My BMI is right where it should be for my height. But, the thing I struggle with most is not eating but rather my body image. I’ve heard the term body dysmorphic disorder. This is where a person focuses obsessively on an aspect of a particular physical feature and sees it as unusual or different than it actually is seen by anyone else. For me, I focus on my gut and think it’s poking out like it did four years ago- completely irrational. 

Weekends like this one I just had are where I struggle the most. We went to a wedding and ate out every meal. My stomach is bloated and I feel exactly like I did when I weighed 190-200 pounds. So, in my mind I look like I did then as well. It’s only when I see pictures of myself that I see how ridiculous those thoughts are and that they are lies.

I know this is an unusual post for a guy to write. Guys don’t usually talk body image- and i get it. We’re expected to either have beer guts or be metro. But, I don’t drink beer nor would I consider myself metro. I’m just a regular guy and I just want to feel as healthy as I look. I really don’t even want to have to think about it.

I know this is a struggle a lot of people deal with- men, women and teenagers. Unfortunately even elementary kids are getting in on the poor body image train. It’s a growing problem that’s not going to get better. Our society encourages vanity and indulgence. It’s a joke when magazines feature “plus” size models or “average guys”. But, “we” continue to allow ourselves to be lied to and buy those images.

How do you deal with body image? What do you do with the thoughts that hold you captive to low self esteem and a negative body image? How can we experience freedom in this area?

Brian also blogs on http://www.freedomunearthed.com

Sowing My Wild Oats: Doing what you can with what you have

tThe other night, I was invited to a murder mystery party-that I will write about later. I found out that we were supposed to bring a treat or side dish to the party. Not sure what to do, I figured I would pick up last minute junk from the store like chips or dip …or triple stuffed chocolate chips cookies. I remembered I had a cilantro plant from Hannah  and some yummy veggies vfrom Amanda

Instead. after running with my friend Amanda, she dropped off a bounty of tomatoes, purple onion,cucumber, purple bell peppers and green bellpeppers. I wasnt sure what to do but I  knew I could come up with something delcicious. I chopped up all of the ingredients then took several buds from mu cilantro plant my friend Hannah got me for my birthday. I added in black beans and sea aalt.

I must say it was a hit and I will def make it again. Don’t drool too much It’s not lady like.

Thow it all together fresh fromt the garden,

Winners of our first big Giveaway!

I know you are all sitting on pens and needles waiting to hear the results of who we voted for to win the big $15 Whole Foods Giveaway. And if not, what else have you been doing? Going on vacations, getting pedicures, romantic get-ways. Oh please. Brag much?

But, without introducing our winners, we figured we better post all of the yummy, mood boosting foods that were submitted. To see the original post, view it here

I know for my friends and I, we sometimes email each other a recipe and forward to about 20 people. It’s a great way to get creative and get new things cooking.

So, without further ado, here are the recipes submitted. Abby, at www.mckinney6.blogspot.com, she submitted mouth watering pancakes that are healthy!

Banana Almond Pancakes

Simply, healthy, delicious!

2 bananas
1 egg
1-2 Tbs almond butter
fresh blueberries
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
Mash bananas in a bowl.
Add the egg and almond butter, and whisk until well blended.
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
Pour small discs of batter onto the hot pan.
Add blueberries and walnuts as the pancakes cook on one side. Flip when batter loses its “tackiness” around the edges.
Cook other side slowly over medium heat until fully cooked. (We line the pan with coconut oil before cooking.)

My good friend Amanda that you  may have seen me running with recently, submitted her favorite salad.

Favorite salad

1 serving of favorite greens.  (I prefer organic baby spinach)
1 apple, sliced thin.  (I prefer organic Gala)
2 tablespoons diced red onion
1 serving of your favorite nut or seed.  (I alternate between sunflower seeds, cashew clusters, and plain cashews depending on what I have on hand).
1 serving feta cheese
2 tablespoons of Ken’s Raspberry Walnut dressing

That’s it.  Simple and delicious.  I have also tried it with blueberries, strawberries, grapes, or a combo.  I still prefer apple, but I’m pretty plain Jane.

A good friend of mine and writing partner, Hannah at www.hannahellice.com submitted a yummy seasonal salad. I am begging to come eat this!

Throw it all together salad

1 medium TOMATO (I used yellow because the red ones burn my mouth)
About a 1/4 of a RED ONION
A healthy dose of CILANTRO
1 cup of rinsed/drained BLACK BEANS
2 tablespoons fresh LIME JUICE
1 tablespoon RAW SUGAR

Chop everything up and voila! Tasty tasty salsa! I ate about two cups of it on baked tortilla chips the other night. My husband and I loved it so much that we made it the NEXT NIGHT to top grilled chicken and whole wheat cous cous. It’s my new favorite way to eat some wonderful summer produce!

A reader, Meagan decided that sweets make every woman feel better and submitted the following recipe.

Okay, this is totally unhealthy, but it definitely boosts my mood!

Salty PB Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


Soooo good!

Healthy mood boosters: Banana Soft-serve! (A frozen banana blended in a food processor

My friend and running partner, Summer submitted the following.

Greek yogurt “ice cream”
1 6oz plain greek yogurt
1 cup frozen mixed berries (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries)
1/2 tsp cinnamon (my favorite spice)
1 T. Truvia
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Blend in blender until smooth.  Soma consistnecy as frozen yogurt, and super fast!

She also submitted pumpkin whoopie pies which if you knew Summer, you would laugh. She is obsessed with all things pumpkin and I am  pretty sure buys stocks in Libby pumpkin in a  can,.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies (with Fall just around the corner, these are a winner)

So, who’s the winner? I know you are dying to know and I will let you know……………right after this commercial break. Just gettng…its not the Bachelor…not yet anyway.

We voted as a collective, and voted for Hannah’s throw it together salad and Megan’s mood boosting cookies. We are all about balance around here and we feel this exhibits it perfectly. Please email us to retrieve your gift certificate at either freeingsisyphus@allpointswhole.com or embracingscars@allpointswhole.com.  

Congrats Foodies!! Stay tuned for an AdvoCare givewaway soon!

Medical Mama Talks Moderation

Medical Mama on Moderation

Sometimes I wonder if our desire to be healthy or fit can lead us to extremism or  even bad decisions. This bothers me especially when it requires  uneccessarily spending large amounts of money. We all know the fitness  industry is a multi-million dollar one and they are making money off of  us! I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of looking to the next great thing  that is going to make us lose our gut, finally have a fabulous figure  and make us feel like we did when we were 18. (Man, if only.) We go out  and buy all the gear, the dvds and equipment only to give up after a few weeks of being hard core returning to our comfortable old habits. Such  is life and human nature.

By the  way, this is not the trend with the low-income patient population I serve and believe me, I would prefer some of this activity (without the fees) to nothing. Unfortunately, most of my patients have  grown up without the money or the know-how to buy fresh, healthy foods  or get regular physical activity. The food stamps only go so far and  usually land them in the middle of the store with the cheetos, snack  cakes (which are ten for a dollar!) and koolaid. I spend a lot of my  time encouraging baby steps (which I’m a strong believer in) like  cutting down from literally 5 to 3 Pepsi’s a day. Of course these bad  habits lead to diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and heart  disease–the #1 killer. We see all of these same diseases in high income patients who continue to spend a lot of money in the fitness industry,  but give up too soon and never get rid of that gut.

Equally disconcerting is watching people (even thin, active people) spend  hundreds and thousands of dollars on supplements, diet programs and the latest injection of a non-FDA  approved drug in hopes of attaining that long desired body or good  fitness feeling many times with no end change. The “no end change” is  one problem, but doing harm is another that concerns me more. There is  nothing wrong with exercise programs or even certain supplements. I’m  sure there are benefits from herbals and other supplements we don’t even know about yet. And there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to be heard. But, for now the statistical evidence doesn’t even really  show a definable benefit to taking a multivitamin with the exception of  folate during childbearing years to prevent neural tube defects.

My biggest concern is when people ingest supplements in high quantities  that are not regulated by the FDA or anyone for that matter. Most  likely, whole food supplements in moderation and basic quantities of  vitamins equivalent to a multivitamin will not do harm. However, we do know there can be damage done by high  quantities of even basic vitamins. And the side effects and drug  interactions for herbal supplements are forever long. Usually reports  about damage done by supplements come out years after they have been  ingested by thousands. Things like liver failure and death! It takes years of  research to establish safety and tease out possible interactions and  devastating side effects. And when I say research, I don’t mean research  done on google!

Just take this as your  moderation warning. Know exactly what you are taking. Realize no one is  regulating what is put in it if it’s not a prescription. Just because it says “natural” does not mean anything. Poisonous mushrooms are natural! Don’t take mega doses of anything (like 1500% of your recommended daily amount [RDA]).  Thankfully, God has given us everything we need for good health in a  balanced diet of whole, unprocessed foods and exercise. Take baby steps! We don’t have to spend tons of money to give our bodies what they need!

The information included on this site is for educational and special interest purposes only. It is not intended nor  implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his  or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own  situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading  the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.

The Fourth Dimension: Break Away!

This is my youngest, most talented, 13 year old sister’s contribution, so lets show her some love fellow bloggers!!! She is our youngest journalist extradornaire who  will be blogging on all things pop culture, beauty. fashion, teenage angst and whatever else suits her fancy!


Imagine this: coming home from a long day, kicking off your shoes, and settling into a soft couch in front of the TV to catch your favorite show. But then, during your show a certain terrible thing happens-commercials. Not only do commercials interrupt your happy time, they show you things you don’t need to see. Such as beautiful women lathering in expensive eye creams and working out on an insane contraption, just to loose the little healthy weight they have. Its ridiculous! You can get those same results without the time and money.

The eye creams that reduce wrinkles probably won’t work, and the cost is about $40.00 for no more then a tablespoon. Studies show that creams like Burt’s Bees, Shu Uemuro, Avon, and Decleor won’t give you the desired look. Also, if the product contains collagen, rubbing alcohol, or bleaching chemicals it will not do anything but harm. It will slow you down, dry you up, and whiten you out.

An alternative solution for a wrinkle reducer is to just simply wash your face with sensitive solution wash and moisturize with oil-free, spf 10+ face lotions. Companies such as Clinique sell lots of nurturing lotion varieties for each skin type. They leave your skin soft, relaxed, and oil-free. I myself own Clinique even better skin tone correcting moisturizer and Clinique dramatically different moisturizing lotion. But, the best part of buying from companies such as Clinique is you receive a bonus for every certain amount you spend, so you can try out all their new products. Another trick to try is putting Vaseline under your eyes before you go to sleep. The only problem is you need to remember to wash it off in the morning!!

Many people today believe they are overweight, but truthfully their not. Depending on your age , height, and health conditions your probably not overweight. The word “overweight” in used today’s society for anyone who isn’t model skinny, which is definately not true. But, if you do feel the need to loose 5 extra pounds, try drinking more water, cutting down on added sugars, watch out for the no-show menus, and become a more active person.

Drinking more water daily filters your systems for any bad chemicals resting in your stomach. It’s just the healthiest choice to choose. When drinking water, the best kind of water to drink is non-bottled cold water. Harmful chemicals have been found in the plastic of bottled water, and once heated to a certain temperate can go into your drink and cause harm to your body. Cold water takes longer for your body to process, so you burn more calories while drinking it.

Cutting down on added sugars is proven to help. Many Americans consume 475 calories of added sugar daily. That count can be cut down by instead of having  a soft drink (the leading sugar additive addiction) choose water. The no-show menu is the scariest of them all. Most restaurants won’t show you their calorie intake hopping that you’re not thinking about it. This will really hit you hard when it comes to a well rounded meal plan. Most entrees seem healthy but, there can hidden fats and oils.

Hour long activities to help you understand how active you are in burning calories… More than 100:

Walking at a 2 mile pace-183


More than 200:

Raking leaves-281

Cleaning (246)


Leisurely biking-292

More than 300:


Mowing the lawn-387


Baseball or softball-365

More than 400

High impact aerobics-493


Stationary biking or rowing-487

More than 500



Stair treadmill-657


These are just a few simple things to help you loose 5 pounds in under a month.

Hopefully these tips will help. I have one thing for you to chew on till next week… “If you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed.”- David Viscott

Thanks to-  Buzz.com, livestrong.com, ezinearticles.com, and shine.yahoo.com

Sowing My Wild Oats: When moderately healthy meets full on sugar binge

Today was quite a busy day for me. I started off with a 3.5 mile run with my girls. I was so proud of them as they rocked out 3.5 miles running 3/4 and running 1/2 mile . Excuse the picture…too early in the morning for my professional photog skills.

I ate a Chobani 100 calorie greek yogurt after and some coffee. (use your imagination…its a small white container with pink on top)That lasted about 0.2 seconds,

So, on my way to the Dr, I did what any healthy living blogger would do…I stopped at McDonalds for a large diet coke and oatmeal. Oatmeal cancels out brain killing aspartame, right?

I came home and munched on some pretzels and grapes…not organic (gasp!) Just on a budget these days! Again, you will just have to use your imaginations!

For lunch, I made a grilled cheese sandwich and decided to put some dried cranberries inside of it. It was so delicious oozing out.

So far, so good, right?

Well, here’s where it all went down hill. I took the teenager to Best Buy and was hungry. He made me eat a 3 Musketeers….well, more like I threw a fit for him to buy me one.

Then, I came home and managed to eat about 4 servings of Lays chips and I wasnt even hungry!

And if that wasn’t bad enough, although I was stuffed, I cohersed the tot into saying he wanted ice cream and ate a small Reese’s flurry.

Oh well, you win some, you lose some. Hopefully, its out of my system and my  7 miler will help cancel out my folly.

So, how’d you do today? Do you beat yourself up when you have “cheat” days or do you give yourself grace and chalk it up to balance?

Thanks to everyone who is still submitting recipe’s. We will select a winner tommorrow for a $15 giftcard to Whole Foods (my favorite store) I don’t know about you but reading these is putting my recent food habits to shame in big way!

And be on the lookout for a 24 day challenge giveaway soon! Get your stories ready for why you deserve or most need to do this challenge and try at your chance to participate in this healthy. cleansing detox that will change your life!

The Daily Sweat: Making Minimalism Work

Hello Sweaters,

A while back I wrote about how you could make the most out of an effective 20-30 minute workout when you hit snooze a few too many times with some at-home equipment.  At the time, I also said that you could make it work without equipment.  As some of you know, my move saga continues as my furniture has yet to arrive from the tundra of Minnesota – it’s only a week late.  So, yesterday, with no equipment I had to make it work, minimalist style.

One of the most effective tools each of us has is our own body weight.  That’s why exercises like push-ups will never go away no matter what kind of fancy gadgets those ingenious exercise scientists create.  So, yesterday I wanted to break a sweat and engage my core muscles, so I did a fast-paced body-weight workout that contained 2 supersets of the following exercises repeated three times:

12-15 pushups (arms under the shoulders)
15 tricep dips on file box I brought with me in my car pictured above
15 plie squats
15 regular squats
12-15 valislide reverse lunges (yes, my Valislides go with me everywhere)

Repeated the above exercises three times & then moved on to the next superset 3X:

15 one-legged calf raises
15 glute bridges
15 v-ups
12-15 supermans
25 situps

I tried to push each exercise, nose to ground on pushups, knee to ground on reverse lunges while staying fairly fast paced.  I worked up quite a sweat.  I would tell you how many calories I burned, but my luck and my Garmin has been on the fritz this week.  I would guess about 250-300 based on doing something like this before.

So, for you folks on the road for business, visiting the in-laws or just getting started there are plenty of exercises you can do without ever entering a gym or picking up a piece of equipment to get the daily sweat on and create or maintain core fitness.  Yes, I did have my valislides, but I could have done regular lunges without them. 

The point is that we don’t need all those fancy gadgets.  In fact, most of the boot camps you hear about utilize the concept that all you need is you and the dynamic force of your own body.  If you have any questions about the above exercisers, please feel free to email me at freeingsisypus@allpointswhole.com.

Sweaters – what is your favorite body weight exercise?  Please share for all those folks out there that are mortified to join a gym or fitness class, or for the business travelers or moms that can’t get to the gym.

And, remember, you can always make lemonade out of lemons, as the older folks say, and most times it’s better than the type you get out of a soda fountain.  Yeah, forgive the cheesiness, it’s early, and the movers just got here.  Here they come:

P.S. Don’t forget to post your favorite mood-lifting food or recipe for a $15 Whole Foods giveaway.  The only way we all get by is with a little help from our friends, so we need your input!

Please consult a physician or health care professional before using any of the general information that you find on the Site.