50 states at ranch again!

07 Jan
January 7, 2008
Miss America

Wow.  Okay, so I just got a laugh.  “My” ranch, the ranch that seasons two and three of the Biggest Loser was filmed at, as well as the Special Editions, has 50 contestants representing the US living at it again.  Check out “Miss America: Reality Check” on TLC.

Okay, let me stop and clear something up right now – I don’t actually watch Miss America shows.  Seriously.  I was flipping channels, caught a glimpse of the ranch and thought it was a Biggest Loser rerun so I stopped to see if it was my season or not.  Instead, a crowd of tiny little beauty queens come onto the screen with crowns and sashes!  Apparently Miss America is doing a whole reality tv thing with challenges and everything to become relevant again.  Anyway, I thought maybe I was wrong but I watched long enough to know without a doubt it’s the same ranch.  I recognized the rooms we ate in, the room I shared with Marty when I spent the night, the fields, the hills, and definitely the building.  Kind of strange to see a completely different show there!

And the Maine contestant was on screen for a few moments.  I’m pretty sure she is a quarter of my starting weight!

Starbucks … what happened?

07 Jan
January 7, 2008

I’m not normally into reviewing businesses on my blog, but … coffee (without anything added to it) is caffiene free, so I’ll pretend that I’m giving some diet tips …

Anyway, lately I’ve been pretty frustrated with my Starbucks experiences.  The name Starbucks used to mean a high quality experience to me, well worth the $3-5 per drink and over priced snacks.  I enjoyed the atmosphere, the music, and most importantly, the quality of the food!  My personal favorite was the hot spiced apple caramel cider.  That stuff used to be amazing … but not lately.  The last three (different) Starbucks I have gotten it at used bottles of Mott’s Apple Juice.  Juice?!?  If I’m paying four bucks for a drink, they can at least use cider, you know, like what’s in the name!  It really ruins the flavor and experience.  On top of that, the last couple times we’ve bought cookies for the kids.  $1.89 each.  Ouch.  But it quiets ’em down for a while, so it’s worth it … if the cookies are free.  I had been noticing that they didn’t seem soft or even remotely like they had been baked that day, but I didn’t think too much of it until last time … when the barista actually pulled out a bunch of individually wrapped cookies and started breaking ’em open for us.

Seriously?  Pre-packaged cookies for $1.89?  Fresh cookies aren’t that hard to do; my mom owns a coffee shop.  We have bags of frozen cookie dough in the back, and a special cookie oven under the counter.  We can bake 18 at a time in about twenty minutes – they taste awesome and are worth the cost.

Here’s what I think is happening; Starbucks got huge based on a high quality experience replicated across the country.  People go because they know what to expect.  But now they’re cutting costs to make more and more money.  Apple juice instead of cider because it’s cheaper and has a longer shelf life.  Prepackaged cookies instead of fresh because they are cheaper, less labor on site and last forever.  Steaming the same milk over in over in the same containers instead of rinsing them because it saves labor efforts.  Making two shots at a time to save time … and then leaving the extra sitting there until the next order comes along (someone trained at a Starbucks told me that one).  Are they really trying to become the McDonalds of coffee shops?  Sure, they’re everywhere … but they’re going to lose their reputation of quality.  I know I’m done!

Audio added to site!

07 Jan
January 7, 2008


I finally added some audio to my audio page!  Just click here to find where I’ll be posting various audio delights from time to time.  The two I added today were a radio interview I did shortly after the finale, and a message on perseverance.  The message, titled “Run the Race,” is actually pretty special to me because while it was delivered to my church, the actual audience was the 36 at home contestants of season three.  We were about half way through the eight months of our diet plan and it was becoming pretty apparent that a lot of us were feeling burnt out, frustrated, weary, whatever … the reality was, it was getting hard.  So my message, while speaking about spiritual perseverance and what the Bible has to say about it, very much used weight loss as a practical example of the spiritual principles of perseverance.  So, if you are in any kind of weight loss plan or lifestyle change, give it a listen – maybe there will be something in there to encourage you!


Biggest Loser Books

06 Jan
January 6, 2008


Well, I’m excited!  I’ve got a TON of Biggest Loser books on the way!  I’m kicking off two weight loss challenges in a couple weeks and I just ordered the materials … which turns out, is a lot of books!

Here are the numbers ….

30 of the Biggest Loser Fitness book

70 of the Biggest Loser Cookbook (with a picture of me in it!)

75 of the Biggest Loser Calorie Counter Guide (essential to any diet plan)

Anyway, I’m looking forward to their arrival!  It’s fun, but also essential to my keeping the weight off.  Every contestant that has managed to maintain the weight loss has done so by having some sort of permanent change in their life, whether it’s by becoming a trainer, leading weight loss groups, or joining some sort of sports team/activity.  For me, it’s the weight loss groups and speaking that keep me focused.


05 Jan
January 5, 2008

Wow, I got totally shut down.  Got an email yesterday from YouTube telling me my video clip from the season three finale of Biggest Loser was a copyright violation and that NBC had requested it be pulled.  I guess I was kind of caught off guard because I have had a few other clips of my time on the show on YouTube for a year now and it hasn’t been a big deal.  I guess the difference is … those other ones had a couple thousand views each over a year’s worth of time.  The finale clip had about 22,000 views in a few months – and half of those were in the last couple weeks.  That baby was picking up momentum!

Anyway, I had been telling myself it was okay to have my Biggest Loser clips on YouTube since I was in them … but after that email, I guess it’s time to wake up!  Consequently, I deleted all of them.  Oh well!  Speaking of YouTube, here’s a little gem from my sophomore year of highschool …

Diet Soda … causes weight gain?

04 Jan
January 4, 2008


I’ve read some recent articles about Diet Soda causing weight gain … which is mostly an explosive tag line to get people to read the article.  Every writer out there has to concede that in actuality, while it’s not healthy for you – diet soda doesn’t actually put on the pounds.  But for some individuals, it does make them more likely to overeat other things that do pack on the pounds.  In other words, for a certain percentage of people, when they’re standing at the register at Taco Bell (oops … now I’m hungry) or in other such food decision moments, they feel like it’s okay to have that extra burrito, or that double whopper or whatever because they’re making up for it by having a diet soda instead of a regular soda.

Here’s the reality: diet soda is not good for you.  It does nothing to make you a healthier person.  In fact, from things I’ve read, it’s most likely a negative influence on your health.  But it won’t put fat on you.  So here’s the deal, I drink diet soda.  I love it.  In fact, for me it’s how I satisfy my junk food cravings about 95% of the time.  And I think that’s the key; it’s not just one part of my junk food eatings, it IS my junk food most of the time (yes, I occasionally make a run for the border and grab a spicy chicken burrito).  So I’m satisfying my junk food urges without adding any calories to my eating.  So, if you can drink diet soda while keeping your other junk food cravings in check, then go for it!  Otherwise, you might need to cut it out of your system all together!

By the way, the reason this is all on my mind?  I picked up half a dozen cases of Diet Mountain Dew Code Red in Pennsylvania!  Woo-hoo!  You can’t get this stuff in Maine … a tragedy, I know … but thank goodness I have in-laws outside of Philly!  I have an excuse to stock up every half a year or so!  So here I sit, blogging about diet soda while sipping my Diet Mountain Dew Code Red.

Who am I kidding … I’m chugging that liquid gold!  Sure, I could string it out for months on end, but let’s be real here: I’ll have a lot more fun finishing all 72 cans off in three days.

My article at SYM!

02 Jan
January 2, 2008
 Hey everyone … the following is an article I wrote for the Simply Youth Ministry website … click the link to get the whole thing!
my spiritual health and my physical healthmy spiritual health and my physical health
Two years ago I became too heavy for the doctor’s scale to even register my weight – apparently the scale designers don’t think people over 350 …

Biggest Loser: Couples

02 Jan
January 2, 2008


I have to say, this season’s format is perhaps my favorite in some time; I wasn’t thrilled about the men vs. women (season two), I thought it was mean to mislead the 36 at home contestants of season three (we had no idea we would be sent home the first day until Caroline Rhea said it on camera), and it was cruel to let the black team of season four think they were being cut before it began.  However, I love this whole couples thing; accountability and support are absolutely key to weight loss, and I think these duos have better grounds for support and motivation than any other team.  At the same time, there is much great potential for conflict as years of baggage can come into play.  Should be interesting!

I kind of felt for Bob when everyone was rushing to Jillian … but let’s be real here; in all three seasons that Jillian has trained, her people have been the ones to win (Ryan, season 1; Matt, season 2; Bill, season 4), so it wasn’t really surprising.

So, my favorite for the season?  Grey team.  I don’t even know their names, but I’m partial to the color.  Maybe I’ll wear my grey shirt when I’m watching … speaking of which, I totally got a kick out of seeing myself two or three times in the opening clips of the episode.  So far I’ve been in every season since mine … even if it’s only for a few fractions of a second …

Biggest Loser memories

01 Jan
January 1, 2008
bl2 finale

 I was just flipping channels and happened across the Bravo channel … which is running a marathon of Biggest Loser season two today!  I only watched a few minutes, but it was strange – I hadn’t seen that season since I originally watched it … back then I was wishing it could be me, having no idea that only a few months later I would be winging my way out to the ranch for my turn!  It was fun seeing Dr. Jeff, Matt, Seth, Mark and others who inspired me to finally get healthy.  In particular, Dr. Jeff’s story was the one that finally pushed me over the edge to apply for the show – his desire to lose weight for his patients really resonated with my desire to lose weight for the teens I work with as a youth pastor.

I am kinda looking forward to the season two finale – I might turn back to Bravo for that.  While we were working out at home, the producers had sent all of the 36 at home contestants a copy of the season two finale for inspiration.  I literally watched it a couple times a week for the first couple months, and then every couple weeks until the finale.  Seeing their transformations and the excitement on their faces as they weighed in at their finale kept me motivated to push through to my finale!  Anyway, I had loaned my copy to someone around the time of my finale and they managed to lose it so I haven’t seen it since … might be fun to rewatch something that was so inspiring to me during my transformation!

Star Trek: Conquest

30 Dec
December 30, 2007

My favorite present this Christmas was the game Star Trek Conquest for the Nintendo Wii!  My wife knows me well!  In between everything else I’ve snuck in about five or six hours of gaming with this title!  I love it!  My first impression was that it was a dud; but after I gave it a second chance (and actually learned how to play) it really grabbed a hold of me.  I finally realized why last night: it’s basically the classic board game Risk (which I have loved for close to twenty years now) set in the Star Trek universe.  Great turn based strategy game which I find challenging, yet fun.  The graphics are good (although, for the best Trek graphics, Star Trek Legacy on the XBox 360 takes the prize), but they’re not going to blow anyone away.  One caveat (wow, big word … I’m impressed with myself); Gene Rodenberry (star trek creator) is probably turning in his grave – a game where the federation is trying to take over the universe by conquering and eliminating all other races?  Definitely doesn’t line up with the ‘core philosophies’ of Star Trek, but it’s still a good game!