Monroe County YMCA Blog

Bloomington, Indiana

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Weightloss Wednesday with Jim – March 13, 2013


Jim Kobow blogged about his participation in the Monroe County YMCA’s inaugural Weight Loss Program (Fall 2012).  He shared the good, the bad and the ugly of his journey in the program as he lost 40 pounds!  Jim is still working toward his overall weightloss goal and his participating in the Weight Loss Program for a second time.  Check out our past posts to see Jim’s previous entries.   Welcome back, Jim!  Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights with us.

You probably noticed no blog last week; well it was a hectic week to put it mildly.  My wife had just returned from Triathlon training out in Tucson, Arizona, and was very sick when she got home.  Between work and doing my best to make sure she was okay there was not a lot of free time.   The week leading up to that was … let’s say different for me.  I really come to appreciate Margie when she’s gone.  My life changes in many shapes and forms when she is away.  I tend to eat healthier when she’s around because she’s sort of the line judge in football making sure that I don’t jump offsides when it comes to food choices.  Not that she really ever says anything; it’s more of a mental check by myself knowing that she’s around.

I have been in a real funk … for lack of a better term.  My journaling has been nonexistent.  Exercise has been a struggle.  Food choices have been poor at best.  Have you ever been down that road where you are going to start something (diet, exercise, whatever) and you keep telling yourself, “I’ll start fresh tomorrow,” but then tomorrow never seems to come?  That’s been me trying to get back into my weight loss and exercise groove.  I will start the day out with either a healthy breakfast choice or a good lunch, only to crash and burn either late afternoon with a terrible snack or dinner.  Then end with no exercise.  Webster defines plateau as: a relatively stable level, period, or condition: a level of attainment or achievement, this probably best describes my current status.  I need to find that focus and drive that I had 14 months ago.

This has only been made worse by missing the last two weeks of weight loss class.  The first was work related and unavoidable. The second was last week because I had tickets to the Ohio State game and needed the time to get everybody picked up to arrive at the game on time.  I could have easily forgone this game, but it was senior night and I really wanted to be there for Jordan Hulls last game.  It’s easy to let go when there’s no accountability.  Webster defines accountability as: the quality or state of being accountable; especially: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.  I can admit that I have lacked accountability lately.  How do you get that drive, desire, or fire back to finish what you set out to accomplish?  There’s only one way;  you simply have to put your nose to the grindstone and put one foot in front of the other and continue to move forward.  You have to ask yourself how bad you want it.  Moving forward I restructured my plan.

My first move was that I enrolled in Boot Camp which meets Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings at 6:00am.  Anybody who knows me should know I’m not a morning person.  If I can manage to make it to these classes I know I will be successful.  The first week, after Wednesday’s class, I was pretty sure that I would never be able to sit down again without pain (Thanks, Denae), as we had done so many lunges that my glutes were screaming.  Boot Camp was my first step in getting refocused. The next step is to get the eating under control.  That will require journaling to make sure that I’m being completely honest with myself.  I know that I can do this.  It just requires a commitment that I’m more than willing to make.  The final step is to make sure that I’m making good food choices and not cheating myself by ignoring items that I eat that are not healthy.

This week in class we talked about healthy versus unhealthy cues, whether they are food or activity related and it really hit home with me.  The premise being that there are things in everyone’s environment that act as cues to eat healthy or unhealthy and to be active or inactive.  I think everybody in the class agreed that the weather is a cue for both eating and activity.  I know that lately I’ve let workplace negative cues affect me adversely.  We have guys bring in donuts on Saturday and I’d like to say that I avoided them but I’d be lying to not only you but myself.  The same day we had a customer bring in pizza from DeAngelo’s and I have to say it was delicious, for a few moments, but then I found myself feeling really guilty about eating it.

I hope that this week’s blog doesn’t come off as too negative.  These are simply the battles I have faced lately with my weight loss struggle.  I know that I’ve got two classes left to right the ship and I am determined to do so.  I’m doing better already.  As I write this, I’m enjoying a delicious Fuji apple rather than a piece of candy, and the weather man is calling for better weather so it will be easier to get outside and get moving.

See you next week.

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Weightloss Wednesday with Jim – February 27, 2013


Jim Kobow blogged about his participation in the Monroe County YMCA’s inaugural Weight Loss Program (Fall 2012).  He shared the good, the bad and the ugly of his journey in the program as he lost 40 pounds!  Jim is still working toward his overall weightloss goal and his participating in the Weight Loss Program for a second time.  Check out our past posts to see Jim’s previous entries.   Welcome back, Jim!  Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights with us.

We apologize for not getting you Jim’s blog last week.  So what you are reading here was actually written last week.  We will post Jim’s blog post written this week in a few days to get us all caught up with Jim!

Okay, so how in the world am I supposed to sit down and write this week’s blog after having just finished watching an amazing Indiana versus Michigan State basketball game?  On a positive note I think I lost a couple pounds while cheering the Hoosiers on to victory.  On a serious note, you didn’t miss my blog last week; I’ve been sick and didn’t manage to attend class last week or write a blog.   I have always considered one of my strong points to be that when I usually feel like I’m coming down with something I’ve been able to go to the gym and more or less sweat it out of my system.  Not the case this time.  I worked out last night for the first time since a week ago Sunday.  An eternity for me.   I can’t remember the last time I missed an entire week of workouts.  Unfortunately, sometimes your body just tells you it’s not going to cooperate.  It wouldn’t be a big deal if I simply would’ve eaten well.   There’s something about not feeling well that makes the body crave “comfort food”.  Foods that are healthy don’t seem to have the flavor I desire when I’m feeling bad. I seem to need those salty, heavy sauced foods which are full of flavor, and unfortunately full of fat and calories.  In reality it’s more likely that when we don’t feel good, we tend to sit in front of the TV and just veg out, and the natural thing to do in front of the TV is to graze.  A week and a half of no workouts and bad food choices meant that I knew what the results were going to be.  There would be no hiding the truth when on the scales this week.  I was prepared for the results that would come with this weigh in.

This week our class focused on making sure we are eating meals that are well balanced.  I have to admit this is a real weakness for me.  I tend to have meals that are strongly carb based or more concentrated on proteins.  I have a problem with vegetables and fruits in my meals unless I’m having a salad for dinner.  It’s not that I don’t like to have vegetables during my meals, it’s more that I’m just not good about preparing them in an appetizing way.  My cooking prowess for vegetables doesn’t go much past microwaving a bag of broccoli or brussel sprouts.  It’s hard to eat those same two every night.  If you’re not sure what constitutes a well-balanced meal you can visit the following website;   It’s a great check for what you should have on your plate each meal.  It also has some great tools available like  myplate videos, healthy eating on a budget, super tracker, 10 tips nutritional education series, sample menus and recipes, daily food plans, and printable materials to help with healthy food choices.

I definitely have two major weaknesses that I possess…eating a well-balanced plate at meals and eating too much processed foods, which tend to be really high in sodium.  This week’s smart challenge for me is going to eat less processed foods and to incorporate a more balanced plate at each meal.  I’ve also found my workout lacking some direction lately, so I decided to sign up for boot camp.  This is major for me.  The class is at 6:00 am Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays.  If you know me very well you know that I am not the best functioning individual at 6am in the morning.  Wish me luck.  The class begins Monday morning next week.

One thing I almost forgot, a week ago last Saturday I got together with my new friend Charles.   Charles had reached out to me thru Facebook Messenger.  Charles has been on his own weight loss journey and his mom, who is a childhood friend of mine, suggested he contact me for workout ideas.  He had never really worked out before other than he had started a running program he found online.  So we met Saturday evening at the Y and we had a great workout together.  We did some cardio, as well as some weight lifting.  He seemed to really be headed in the right direction and I wish him the best in his journey as I know it can be tough.  I’m sure he will be successful.  Charles, best of luck going forward.   I hope our short time together helped.  If you read this, I know you celebrated a birthday yesterday, think back to where you were last year and imprint upon your brain how much better you feel where you are now versus where you were last year.  Best of luck…one step at a time.

So, I’ve taken a little bit of a set back the last two weeks but nothing I can’t bounce back from.  I will continue on with my journey and toward my goal.  I will get there, maybe a little later than planned, but I will get there.  I saw a poster that seems appropriate right now, it said; “Whether you ran a 4 minute mile or a 16 minute mile, you still ran a mile”.

This week’s Results:

Starting weigh in 267.7 lbs.

This week’s weigh in 263.8 lbs

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Weightloss Wednesday With Jim, February 7, 2013


Jim Kobow blogged about his participation in the Monroe County YMCA’s inaugural Weight Loss Program (Fall 2012).  He shared the good, the bad and the ugly of his journey in the program as he lost 40 pounds!  Jim is still working toward his overall weightloss goal and his participating in the Weight Loss Program for a second time.  Check out our past posts to see Jim’s previous entries.   Welcome back, Jim!  Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights with us.

This week I was really focused on getting 100% back on program.  It’s Sunday night as I write this and the week has been really strong so far.  My exercise has been really good and so have my food choices.  My first really good success was Saturday night as I went to dinner with my wife.  We went to Lennie’s and I ordered a double house salad with fat free dressing and French onion soup without the cheese and croutons.  Sunday rolled around and I was planning on going to the IU, Ohio State women’s basketball game.  You’ve got to eat at the game, right?  Well this presents a problem because there is nothing really healthy at the concession stands and last year they started a policy of no longer allowing you to bring food or drinks into the game.  So I did the logical thing and made myself a turkey sandwich on a whole wheat sandwich thin, 1 oz of fat free pretzels, grabbed an apple and an orange and then put on my biggest and bulkiest sweatshirt. I then strategically loaded my lunch and asked my wife if she was a ticket taker would she suspect me of smuggling food into the game.  I managed to get my food into the game, but I think this speaks to a bigger issue.  Why should I have to smuggle food into a women’s game in order to eat healthy?  The news is plagued with stories about childhood obesity and how we are becoming so increasingly unhealthy in this nation.  So why we would not have healthy choices at a venue where lots of kids are in attendance, rather than forcing them to eat hot dogs, greasy pizza, or popcorn laden with oil and salt?  I know I’m on a soap box here, but I have to think back and wonder how my life might be different with healthier food choices at an early stage.  Most of the young ladies that attend an IU women’s basketball game probably dream of wearing that uniform some day and representing the Hoosiers; so why not offer them the options of healthy food choices that would help them possibly achieve that dream someday?  FYI, I did write a letter to Fred Glass, IU Athletic Director, voicing my opinion on this matter.

The second good thing that took place this week  is that I received a message on Facebook Messenger from a young man I did not know.  It turns out that he is the son of my next door neighbor when I was growing up.  Turns out this young man has lost some significant weight thru diet alone and is now trying to incorporate some exercise into his life, but is unsure where to start.  His mother has seen my transformation and I feel a twinge of pride that she directed him toward me for advice.  I told him I’d be happy to work out with him some night and show him what I like and what has worked for me.  I did explain that everyone is different and how important it is too step out of your comfort zone to try something different from time to time.  You never know what you may like until you try it.  I look at this opportunity as a way of paying it forward and hopefully it sticks for this young man, he’s made incredible strides on his own and I know that adding exercise will allow him to be even that more healthy and successful in his journey.

Super Bowl Sunday – a dieters nightmare!!! Google sometime how many wings, chips, and pizzas are consumed on Super Bowl Sunday.  It will alarm you.  I didn’t attend any parties this year so I would not be tempted.  I also started the game off in the Y watching it on TV while I exercised.  Turns out that’s a great time to attend the Y. I think I saw a few tumbleweeds go by my treadmill, it was that empty.  The only time better might be during an IU home basketball game.  My meal that night consisted of a grilled chicken breast with a little hot sauce, some roasted brussel sprouts and some brown rice.  I splurged during the second half of the game and had some light butter microwave popcorn.  Huge success for me as wings and nachos are a problem for me.

This week’s class was on how to successfully eat out.  There are a lot of easy things that you can do to be successful when eating out.  There are clues on the menu also; looking for grilled or broiled usually indicates a healthier choice.  If you are eating at a chain restaurant you can visit their web site and look up the nutritional values.  I have found the things that work best for me is simply explaining to the waiter that I’m looking for healthy choices and they are always willing to accommodate you.  I always order my salad dressing on the side, and if I’m ordering a steak, I’ll ask them to bring a box right at the start so I can portion it properly and put the rest in a take home box.  They do work for tips so they want to make you happy.   It definitely becomes easier thru time to make healthy choices and to understand what those healthy choices are.

Some this week’s results:

Starting weight 267.7 lbs.

This week’s weigh in 258.4


Weightloss Wednesday with Jim – Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Jim Kobow blogged about his participation in the Monroe County YMCA’s inaugural Weight Loss Program (Fall 2012).  He shared the good, the bad and the ugly of his journey in the program as he lost 40 pounds!  Jim is still working toward his overall weightloss goal and his participating in the Weight Loss Program for a second time.  Check out our past posts to see Jim’s previous entries.   Welcome back, Jim!  Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights with us.

Let me start off this week’s blog by apologizing for not producing a blog for last week.  It was an average week with a lot going on at work which made it hard for me to sit down and have the time to write anything.  It probably had more to do with the fact that I just didn’t have anything to say…I know that’s hard for some of you to believe.  I had an average week with ok results. I lost 1.3 lbs.  Not the kind of number I wanted to put up but definitely movement in the right direction.  I did do one thing that was different last week and that was I went to 9Rounds Fitness.  It’s a boxing/kickboxing fitness center.  The premise is that you do 9 intervals of 3 minutes, with 30 seconds in between rounds.  Doesn’t sound too bad; 3 minute stations with each station having different elements of exercise with 30 seconds to recover in between stations.  WRONG!!!  The 30 seconds is spent doing jumping jacks and other various jumping and skipping activities.  I did pretty good till the 8th round, which was on the speed bag.  I looked at the trainer and told him I was spent.  He told me that most people gas out on the 4th or 5th station and he didn’t think I would make it to the 4th and he acted impressed.  That made all the more determined to finish the workout. We took a short water break and then finished the last station.  This was one of the hardest workouts I’ve ever done.  I love to try new things that test me and this definitely was a great test.  I won’t be joining the 9round fitness center but I’m glad that I tried something new.  Sometimes our gym activity can get stale and we need to change that routine.

Flash forward to this week … a train wreck would have been prettier than what I imagine my results will be this week.  I’m not sure where I derailed, but I haven’t tracked my food and I haven’t been in the gym.  Monday night I had a great workout followed by a good workout after class on Tuesday.  Then came Wednesday, I started the morning early in Indianapolis at the Auto Auction.  Coming back to work and closing the dealership at 7pm I had no intention of even pretending to go to the Y.  Then the food issues started.  Thursday should have turned it around for me.  I’ve mentioned before what an incredible boss Cary Curry is to work for and  I can’t say it enough.  Thursday we had a wellness coordinator, Jodi Hoagland, in for a luncheon to speak about nutrition and eating healthy.  To top things off we had a completely healthy lunch as well with a choice of Turkey, Roast Beef, or Veggie sandwiches from Jimmy Johns (without the mayo) and a fresh mix of fruits.  You would think this would have pushed me to the Y that night…wrong again.  Then Friday came and I did eat healthier and got a workout in.  The train derailed again on Saturday when they ordered Aver’s pizza for lunch.  Cream and Crimson pizza, how can a true Hoosier say no to it?

So here I sit Sunday evening, not making excuses but ready to accept the consequences of my behavior.  When I worked security for Target stores my boss told me that when approaching a shoplifter the one thing you have to keep in the back of your mind is “that for every action there is a reaction” …  the lesson being that when confronting a shoplifter, approaching them aggressively would cause the reaction to  be one of aggression.  Good advice.  I know that my actions this week will result in a reaction by my body.  It’s one I’m not proud of but I accept it for what it is and know that at this point all I can do is try and mitigate the damages on the scale Tuesday night.  The positive is that I actually spent 3 hours in the gym this morning.  I have eaten well today and tracked everything.  I don’t really know what caused the lapse in my self-control this week.  I would guess it’s the same reason that I once weighed 344 lbs.  The difference now is that I have the ability to see when things are spinning out of control and make the necessary adjustments to calm things down before they are too bad.  The one thing I have come to understand is that this journey is a marathon not a sprint.  I’ve come to realize that one thing that has hurt me is not having a goal.  When I started this journey I wanted to lose 50lbs by my 50th.  Then I was training to run the Las Vegas Half Marathon, which helped to keep me focused till the end of the year.  So here it is.  I currently weigh 261.3, at least until I weigh in Tuesday night, but I am going to be at my goal weight on July 15th which is my 51st birthday.  That’s almost exactly 25 weeks from tonight.  My goal weight is 210, so I have to average right at 2 lbs. the rest of the way out. I’m hoping Tuesday’s weighin doesn’t bump that average too much higher.  This is a highly doable goal as long as I stay focused, which I know that I can do.  So to all that read this, July 15th there will be a celebration not of my Birthday but of my accomplishing what I set out to do a little over a year ago.

UPDATE:  Well we’ve weighed in and the damage was not as bad as it could have been.  I gained 1.5 lbs. which I’m not proud of but I’m back on track.  I’ve had three really strong nights in the Y and am moving forward toward my goal.  The other positive is that by missing last week’s blog, I’ve had a lot of people approach me and ask if they simply missed it.  So I know that people are reading this and hopefully they are gaining insight from my trials as well as my victories.  Here’s to the victories OUTWEIGHING the failures

Starting weight 267.7 lbs.

This week’s weigh in 262.8 lbs.


Weightloss Wednesday With Jim – January 16, 2013


Jim Kobow blogged about his participation in the Monroe County YMCA’s inaugural Weight Loss Program (Fall 2012).  He shared the good, the bad and the ugly of his journey in the program as he lost 40 pounds!  Jim is still working toward his overall weightloss goal and his participating in the Weight Loss Program for a second time.  Check out our past posts to see Jim’s previous entries.   Welcome back, Jim!  Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights with us.

I decided to take a different approach this time around.  Instead of writing my blog after the class, I am actually writing before the weigh in on Tuesday evening.  I’m not sure why I decided to do this other than like the old saying goes…”hindsight is 20/20”.  Last class I wrote in reaction to my weigh in, and I thought it might be a little different to approach the blog this time from what I perceived about my week before knowing my results.  Here goes nothing.

Last week as I left work for the Y and the Weight Loss class, one of the guys asked where I was headed and jokingly I answered rehab.  He looked at me kind of puzzled and I said I was joking.  As the week passed and I thought about it, I realized that I really wasn’t.  One of the definitions of the word rehabilitate is “to return to good health after illness, addiction etc…”  Truth is I have a food addiction, and this class serves as a support group and means for me to return to good health.  So yes I do go to rehab Tuesday nights at 6 pm at the YMCA.

The things that went well for me this week, probably better than ever in my life, I tracked very well.  What I mean by tracked is that I documented my entire food intake for the week.  I’m sure I missed something, but not much.  The other thing I did this week that was really good is that I made pretty healthy food choices.  I track my food online at, a website that you can use to journal your food as well as your exercise.  The one area I did notice in looking back at my journal was that I had some days with a really high sodium intake.  This comes from eating processed foods which are usually higher in sodium in order to preserve the food item.  I’m hoping this doesn’t reflect negatively at Tuesday night’s weigh in.  My SMART goal for the week was to eat a healthy breakfast every morning to start my day.  I pre-made steel cut oats and put it in the fridge by individual servings with craisins and cinnamon.  That worked great for me other than there seems to be an oatmeal fairy in our house.  It seemed like more oatmeal was consumed than merely by me.  That oatmeal fairy’s name might be Margie.  I knew I had done a good job in making a healthy breakfast as my wife is currently training for an Ironman triathlon and wouldn’t be eating it if it weren’t.

Those were the positives.  From a negative standpoint, I really struggle with getting enough water when it’s cold like it has been.  I know that drinking enough water is a big part of successful weight loss.  Most times when we think we are hungry, it’s our brain telling us we need hydration.  Water is also important in flushing out our bodies.  I know that I will have to make a better effort on water consumption next week.  The other area where I struggled this week was exercise!  This is usually my strong suit.  I may not be the fastest or strongest at things but I put the work in. This week it was not happening.  I was going to the Y but my workouts lacked drive and determination.  I was going through the motions and I knew it.  Then came Sunday and it’s like somebody flipped a switch.  I was at the Y Sunday morning around 8am and there for 2 ½ hours.  I was back at 5 that night for another round.  This intensity continued into Monday night’s workout.  I hope it will reflect in tomorrow night’s weigh in.   I’m not expecting a big weight loss this week.

This week’s class focus was on our meal patterns and how they affect our metabolism. This focus is to eat 3 meals with 2-3 snacks to let your body know that it’s not starving and storing is not necessary.  This is even more important when it comes to eating breakfast.  Breakfast is important because it tells your body that it’s time to break the fast and rev up that metabolism to fuel the body, and studies have shown that people who eat a healthy breakfast tend to make healthier choices throughout the day.  I was thinking that my SMART goal this week would be to refocus on exercise or my water consumption, but I changed my mind after class.  I think I have the exercise focus back, and I can make the water happen.  My smart goal for this week is to focus on a consistent meal pattern with 5-6 smaller meals each day.

Starting weigh in267.7 lbs.

This week’s weigh in 262.6 lbs.

Week two begins


Weightloss Wednesday With Jim – Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Jim Kobow blogged about his participation in the Monroe County YMCA’s inaugural Weight Loss Program (Fall 2012).  He shared the good, the bad and the ugly of his journey in the program as he lost 40 pounds!  Jim is still working toward his overall weightloss goal and his participating in the Weight Loss Program for a second time.  Check out our past posts to see Jim’s previous entries.   Welcome back, Jim!  Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights with us.

My name is James Kobow for those of you that don’t know me.  I am 50 years of age and have been overweight my entire life.  I’m not just talking about a few pounds overweight; I’ve been close to 100lbs overweight my entire life.  I am a Sales Manager at Curry Auto Center in Bloomington, which means I work long hours, usually working till 8pm or later each night.  It can be stressful at times and doesn’t really promote healthy eating habits.  Going to the gym can be just as tough, when you’ve worked a 10 – 12 hour shift it can be the last thing on your mind and your body can tell you that you should simply go home and rest for the next day.

Flash back to November of 2011 and something clicked in my brain.  I was 344lbs.  I decided I was tired of living life with restrictions.  What restrictions you ask?  I was tired of having to order clothes over the internet, having to ask for a seatbelt extender when my wife and I took a flight, or worrying about whether I could fit into a ride when we went to Kings Island.  I decided it was time to lose weight, since I would be 50 in July I set my goal to lose 50lbs by my birthday.  I signed up to run the Disney Marathon Relay in January with my wife (what a way to start a weight loss journey).  I struggled to complete 13.1 miles in 4 hours.  My journey had begun.  By July 15th I had hit my goal and had lost 50lbs, but I was still heavy, but I was at least out of the 300’s for the first time in a long time.  My wife Margie approached me one day and asked if I would be interested in participating in the YMCA weight loss class.  I told her it sounded interesting, and then she hit me with a twist.  Would I be willing to write a blog about my experiences during the class?  I decided this seemed like not only a good motivator, but a great accountability tool.  I took the class in the fall and I managed to lose 40.5lbs the first class.  Even more exciting for me was that Margie and I entered the Zappo’s Rock n Roll Half Marathon Las Vegas.  It seemed like a fitting gauge to really measure my year of change.  The run took place on December 2nd and I finished in 3:14 minutes, more than 45 minutes faster than my performance in January.

The holidays came and I made a decision that I had been good all year and I would eat anything I chose.  So between the holiday parties, cookies, and candies brought to the dealership, and the justification that I could get back on track anytime; I ate what I wanted.  Now to counter this I did continue to exercise, just not as consistently as I should have.  Throw in a few snow days and Holidays where the Y was closed and I knew that I was a little off track.  Not completely derailed, I did manage to get some runs in.  Margie and I ran Christmas morning together and then again on New Year’s Day.  This derailment would prove to be an 11lb addition to where I left off in the class.  So we get to Saturday evening and I tell Margie it’s time to get back in weight loss mode.  Monday comes and as I arrive at the Y to workout I see Margie and she asks if I would like to do the weight loss class again.  I told her I would ponder it while I worked out.  What was there to think about?  I either am serious about completing my journey or I’m not.  So, here I am…

The class this time is being taught by Molly Packard who is a nutritionist and personal trainer for the Y, and she is assisted by Chris Zonkel, who participated in the class the 2nd time it was offered (Chris also blogged about her journey and it’s available thru this link).  Let’s talk about the class.  The class is an hour long each week for 12 weeks, the first half of the class is dedicated to lifestyle and food choices, with the second half of the class being about exercise and fitness.  This week we made our introductions to each of the participants and we shared what we hoped to get out of the class.  It’s funny having done the class once before, I have that insight that while we were strangers to each other at that moment the other night, we will become close to one another in the next 12 weeks, as we are about to share a common journey and goal.  While our reasons for participating in the class may differ a little, we all need and want to lose weight.  The first week focus is on how to track your food and what is important to pay attention to on food labels.  The focus of this class is twofold, 1st on fat grams and making sure that you are eating healthy fats; 2nd on adding activity to your lifestyle.  We also set a weekly SMART goal.  These goals must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic/Relevant, Timely.  My first SMART GOAL is to eat a healthy breakfast daily.  I struggle with this and then overeat as I go thru the day.  Eating a healthy and filling breakfast each morning I am sure will get me started again in the right direction.

Starting weight 267.7

Week 1 begins

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Weightloss Wednesday with Jim – December 12, 2012

It is Wednesday and that means it is time for “Weightloss Wednesday with Jim” at the YMCA blog!  Jim has graciously agreed to share his experiences as he participates in our inagural “Weight Loss Program” at the Monroe County YMCA.  Previous posts are archived on this page if you’ve missed one.

Jim shares with us his experience at the Zappo’s Rock ‘n Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon last week.  We’ve been on pins and needles waiting to hear how it went!  This may be Jim’s last “Weightloss Wednesday” blog post, but there are plans to have Jim visit the blog in the future!  Thanks, Jim!

Now on to the good stuff … drumroll, please …

Hard to believe this will be my last blog.  Where has the time gone?  I write this as we are flying back from Las Vegas.  Many of you who are my friends on Facebook will already know the results, for those of you who don’t they will follow soon enough.

Let me share some minor victories first.  We flew to Las Vegas on Southwest Airlines, and for the first time in a long time I didn’t require a seatbelt extension.  I could even use they tray that is in front of me.  I haven’t experienced that in a while as well.  We went to the race expo and it felt even better knowing the shirt I received actually fit.  These are all things most people can take for granted, but as a large adult these were morale builders for me and gave me a sense of accomplishment.  Traveling is often looked upon as a time for eating uncontrollably, but not for me.  First I had a half marathon taking place in two days and I’m also still a ways away from my goal weight.  We did visit Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill in Caesar’s Palace for dinner, and I can proudly say I had a great salad and the absolute best chicken and black bean quesadillas.  Saturday my morale got another boost when we went down to meet friends whom were arriving for the race.  Our friend, Lisa Fulkerson, kind of looked past after getting off the shuttle and then she finally realized I was standing in front of her and she stated, “Jim, I didn’t recognize you!”

Saturday was casual and spent relaxing. When Sunday arrived I started to feel excited, but anxious.  The race wasn’t scheduled to start till 4:30 pm.  We started making our way to the start line around 3:00pm.  If you have never competed in a race like this, you are assigned a corral.  This is where you line up for the start of the race.  They send you off in waves to alleviate the course having too many runners on it at one time.  They put the slowest runners toward the back as to not impede the faster runners.  I would line up in corral 35 out of 36.  They must have really thought I was slow.  To say it was a windy night would be an understatement.  I heard later that there were wind gusts up to 45 mph.  We started the race running the first 7/10ths of a mile into the wind and then made the turn onto the strip toward the major casinos.  Everything was good and at around mile 6 I heard my wife call as she was headed back to the finish line.  This gave me a psychological boost… surely I must be close to the turn to head back.  Nothing was further from the truth!  I had at least 3 miles before I was headed back toward the finish line.  We finally made the turn at mile 9 and I was starting to feel the effects of the wind and what would later be dehydration.  The hardest thing for me during one of these races seems to be hydrating properly.  I told myself just keep moving forward, one step at a time.  It is mile 10 and now the wind is directly in my face. The mile marker signs are already overturned from the wind and I continue. My right quad muscle is burning and I’m fighting off cramps in my calf even though I’m wearing compression calf sleeves.  I’ve been on the course 2 hours and 17 minutes.  I simply have to keep moving forward to have a PR.  I can taste it.  I simply can’t run anymore.  Finally at mile 12, I tell myself to start running … there will be plenty of time to be sore tomorrow.  I get within distance of being able to see the finish line.  There is no way that I am not going to run across this finish line!  The clock above read 4 hours 4 minutes and 50 seconds.  My Nike watch shows 3:14 and I know that I have finished better than any half I have ever run before!

The best thing about this race was that it finished right in front of our hotel. Back at the room I log on for official race results and am ecstatic to see 3:14:32, more than 15 minutes better than I have ever ran a half before!  I won’t lie, Sunday night and Monday day were painful.  By Tuesday I was feeling pretty good.  Not sure I want to run another half marathon, but I’m not completely sure I won’t either.  My running coach, Brant, had worried that the late part of the race might be a problem for me as I hadn’t really done a run over 7 miles in my training. He was correct but overall everything worked out great.  I am so pleased with my results and in the back of my mind I know there is room for improvement.

The sad part is that our YMCA class is over.  The best part is that I learned so much. Not only about exercise and different ways to incorporate it into my daily life, but it helps to have insight as to how you got to this place in your life.

Jim running in Orlando, January 2012.


Jim running in Las Vegas, December 2012.

I started 2012 by completing my half of the Run Disney Marathon Relay on January 8th and posting a time of 4:00 hours at a weight of 336 lbs.  It was a very satisfying December 2nd after completing the Zappo’s Rock n Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon and posting a time of 3:14 at a weight of 256 lbs.

The year has been life changing for me, but make no mistake, I’m not done…not by a long shot.  I still have at least 35 lbs. left in my journey. So you’ll see me in the Y sweating away.  I hope that my insights have added insight to others journey and if nothing else, given you a sense of that it can be done if you simply apply yourself.  I’ll throw this out there as well, if you simply need a gym partner to motivate you to the gym, you can contact me on Facebook (James Kobow). I am more than willing to meet somebody if you need someone to help get you to the Y. So in closing here’s to you seeing LESS of me as my journey continues!