Monday, January 30, 2012

Nutrition has never been as important as is it today.  People are becoming more and more attentive to what they are eating and what will help them stay as healthy as possible.  There are a few things that I recommend to all my clients.  Stay away from Gluten, the effects are not worth it.  You will feel so much better when you remove it from your diet.  Secondly, incorporate about 75% of protein into your meals and leave about 25% for complex carbohydrates, remember, anything white is bad for you!  Finally, I believe in a regimen of daily vitamins.  Along with a good multivitamin, fiber, iron, B-12, and calcium with vit-D, I recommend the following be a part of your daily nutrition routine.  These can be easily found at your health food store or online from
Importance of Fish Oil in your everyday diet and nutrition plan……
·         One major health advantage that one can obtain from the use of Omega-3 fish oil is that it helps in the reduction of triglycerides by up to 50 %. This is important and may help prevent heart disease as well as the onset of diabetes. Considering this health benefit - even the FDA approved and recommended certain fish oil supplements recently.
·         Another benefit of Omega-3 fish oil is that it can reduce high-blood pressure in a person very effectively because of its ability to expand the blood vessels.
·         Many people with depression and other known mental health problems have been found to have lower levels of essential fatty acids in their blood. Recent studies show that fish oil may be beneficial in the treatment of depression.
·         Decreases pain and inflammation… Consuming Fish oil moderately decreases exercise-related inflammation.  Omega 3 fatty acids, particularly EPA, have a very positive effect on your inflammatory response.
·         Studies suggest that the fatty acids found in some fish promote ideal brain function…Increasing the amount of omega-3s you consume may improve one’s memory and general IQ.
·         A growing body of evidence to the effect that omega-3 fatty acids can help to prevent the promotion and progression of certain cancers. They stop the alteration from a normal healthy cell to a cancerous mass, inhibiting unwanted cellular growth and causing apoptosis, or cellular death, of cancer cells.

      ·         Omega 3 fish oil believed to be beneficial for treating rheumatoid arthritis in some people.
·         Fish oil can slow down or reverse the process of atherosclerotic plaques.
Why is a B-Complex Vitamin important to help me lose weight and stay active???
There are basically eight essential vitamins that comprise Vitamin B Complex. They are : Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide or Niacin), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine or Pyridoxamine), Vitamin B7 (Biotin), Vitamin B9 (Folic acid) and lastly Vitamin B12 (Cobalamins or Cyanocobalamin). This combination of vitamins is necessary for the processes of the body to function properly. This group of water-soluble vitamins plays an essential role in cell metabolism, immunity and nervous system functions.
·         One of the Vitamin B complex benefits is energy production. With Vitamin B1, the carbohydrates that we consume are converted into glucose. After that, Biotin, Vitamins B2, B3, B5, and B6 help in converting the glucose into energy. This is why if a person has a deficiency in these vitamins, fatigue and lethargy could be felt by him.
·         Another of the Vitamin B complex benefits is promoting of healthy nervous system. The Vitamin B5 that is included in Vitamin B complex helps in the correction of the adrenal glands’ functioning and in the production of substances to regulate the nerves and hormones. More so, Vitamins B1, B6 and B12 assist in the correction and the regulation of the nervous system’s functions, which includes the functioning of the brain.
·         Good digestion is another benefit of the Vitamin B complex. It helps in proper digestion and healthy production of hydrochloric acid (HCL) which the acid breaks down carbohydrates, fats and proteins more efficiently. Deficiency in Vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6, digestion could be seriously impaired and one could have severe digestion problems as a result.
·         Also another Vitamin B complex benefits is alleviating of stress and anxiety. They are very useful and beneficial in helping to relieve the symptoms of anxiety and stress caused by the hustle and bustle in life especially for busy executives that have tons of workloads to complete and working parents that need to juggle between work and family. Because of stress and anxiety caused by various factors, many individuals couldn’t sleep well and that is where Vitamin B1, B3, B6 and B12 will assist in alleviating sleep problems as well as normalizing sleep patterns to allow such individuals to handle stress and anxiety.  A deficiency in any of the Vitamin B Complex vitamins can lead to feeling stressed, anxious and depressed.
·         There are more Vitamin B complex benefits that you can have by taking natural vitamin b foods that are rich in B vitamins (e.g. whole grains, beans, bananas, brewer’s yeast, etc.).  Watch out for the gluten though!
·         It can help you not only in making your nails, hair, and skin healthier and also giving you a great general well-being and superior health benefits.  we need the following B vitamins to ensure the good health of these structures - Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B9, Vitamin B12, Biotin and Choline. Deficiencies of any of these B Vitamins can lead to dry, grey skin, dermatitis, wrinkles, acne, rashes, falling hair and weak, splitting nails.
B Vitamins are water-soluble which means any excess will be excreted through the urine. This also means that B Vitamins need to be taken on a daily basis, as the only one we can store is Vitamin B12. Taking a high dose Vitamin B Complex (50mg - 100mg) daily can turn urine a bright fluorescent, this is perfectly safe and normal so don't be alarmed!  Keep up on your daily water intake of at least 64 ounces.

Monday, January 23, 2012

"Break the Fast" to Shed the Pounds....

The Importance of Breaking the Fast:

Adding breakfast to your eating pattern is a major step to improving your overall health and fitness lifestyle.  Some people skip breakfast in an effort to lose weight, but the practice is more likely to cause weight gain than weight loss. Skipping breakfast is strongly linked to the development of obesity. Studies show that overweight and obese adults, even children, are less likely to break the fast each morning than their thinner counterparts.  By eating a healthy high protein breakfast each morning and recharging your brain and your body, you'll be more efficient in just about everything you do. Starting your day with a good breakfast boosts your energy, increases your attention span, and heightens your sense of well-being. You’ll be in better control of your emotions. A good breakfast is one that provides at least one third of the day’s calories. Studies recommend eating within the first hour of being awake each day.  Your semistarvation can create a lot of physical and intellectual problems as well.

According to research, skipping meals, especially breakfast, can actually make weight control more difficult. Breakfast skippers tend to eat more food than usual at the next meal or nibble on high-calorie snacks to stave off hunger. It is often a late sign when you feel hungry or your stomach "growls".  Several studies suggest that people tend to accumulate more body fat when they eat fewer, larger meals than when they eat the same number of calories in smaller, more frequent meals. To people trying to lose weight, especially bariatric patients, skipping breakfast may seem like a perfectly logical way to cut down on calories and lose weight. It's important to educate others about the importance of the morning meal and the role it plays in maintaining good health and preventing obesity.  Preparing a good breakfast can be as quick and easy as some Greek yogurt with agave nectar or a slice of whole wheat toast with peanut butter. Below is a great, quick egg recipe you can use to jump start your morning metabolism and start burning those calories before you even begin to exercise!  Time invested in breakfast is much more valuable than the few extra minutes of sleep you might get by bypassing the morning meal. 
And remember, Health is by Choice...not by chance! The choice is yours. By adopting a better diet and wiser lifestyle habits, you can live longer, feel better, and enjoy a healthier, more productive life.

Simple, easy ways to add Breakfast:

• Start Small. If your not a breakfast eater, begin with whole wheat toast and/or a piece of fruit. In a few days, add more food.

• Choose Fruit for Breakfast. Fruit gives you fiber. Fresh fruit is the best choice. There are many to choose from: oranges, grapefruits, apples, bananas, grapes, kiwis, mangos, melons, berries. Eat two servings of fruit every morning. Canned fruit is NOT a good choice, typically high in sugars/syrups.  Look for fruit in juice instead.  Add dried fruit to your cereal.

• Eat High Fiber Hot Cereal. Hot cereal is the best choice, but there are several brands of cold cereal on the market that are high in fiber and low in sugar. Oatmeal is a favorite hot cereal, I usually put a teaspoon of agave and peanut butter along with a banana. Try a seven grain cereal and experiment with different grains such as millet, brown rice, quinoa, corn grits for a variety. Try cooking grains in a crock pot overnight and it’s already the next morning. Or cook up a large batch and re-heat the next day. Make your own granola. Add a high fiber cereal to your favorite low fiber cereal. Gradually increase the amount of the high fiber cereal and decrease the amount of the low fiber cereal. For example, if you like cornflakes, add Wheat Chex to the cornflakes. Each morning add a little more Wheat Chex and a little less Cornflakes.

• Choose Whole Grain Bread. Eat two slices of toast in the morning or a whole grain bagel. Spread with fruit spread or applesauce or your favorite nut butter.

•  Greek yogurt, plain.  The fruit typically high in sugars.  Take the plain and add agave nectar.

• Instead of scramble eggs try scrambled tofu. You’re in for a great surprise. Scrambled egg whites with a side of bacon is a great way to start your morning too!

• The sky’s the limit. The only limitation is your imagination. Make it a priority. Eat breakfast.

Quick 7 Minute Microwave Egg Scramble:

This recipe makes a very light, fluffy scrambled egg. The salt and paprika add extra flavor, but doesn't overpower the other ingredients and can be omitted.

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 1–2 minutes
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
¼ teaspoon salt (To taste)
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
⅛ teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon margarine or light spread
  • In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the milk, salt, pepper, and paprika.
  • Place the margarine in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high heat for 30 seconds, and then for 5 seconds at a time until the margarine melts (total cooking time should be 30 to 45 seconds).
  • Pour the egg mixture into the bowl, stirring.
  • Microwave the egg on high heat for 45 seconds. Stir to break up the egg a bit, then continue microwaving for 30 seconds, and then for 15 seconds at a time, stirring each time, until the egg is just cooked through. Serve immediately.
Scrambled Egg Variations
A few additions can transform basic scrambled eggs into a hearty meal that will easily serve as a lunch or light dinner. For cheesy eggs, add ½ cup shredded American or other processed cheese to the eggs after they have begun to thicken. For a heartier dish, add ½ pound of cooked and drained bulk sausage or bacon to the thickening egg mixture. And to create Denver-style scrambled eggs, cook ⅓ cup chopped onion, ⅓ cup diced green pepper, and ⅓ cup diced ham in the melted butter before adding the eggs to the bowl.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Gluten Free Pizza!

Gluten-Free Pizza
For tomato sauce
1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes with added purée
4 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar or artificial sweetner
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

For pizza crust
3/4 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup white rice flour*
1/3 cup chickpea flour
1/3 cup sorghum flour
1 teaspoon xanthum gum
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup whole milk or plain soy for lactose free
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast, from 1 (1/4-ounce) package
2 teaspoons sugar or artificial sweetner
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

For topping
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated (about 1 tablespoon)
4 large fresh basil leaves, roughly torn

You can also add any additional toppings, verify they are gluten free!

*Be sure to use white rice flour; brown will result in gritty pizza dough.

Special equipment:
Special equipment: pizza stone or heavy baking sheet, baking peel or heavy baking sheet, parchment paper

Make tomato sauce In a 4-quart nonreactive saucepan over very low heat, stir together tomatoes and oil. Bring to simmer, cover partially, and continue simmering, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced to 1 cup, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in sugar, salt, and oregano, cover. Keep warm or refrigerate, covered, up to 5 days.

Make pizza crust In bowl of electric mixer, whisk together tapioca flour, white rice flour, chickpea flour, sorghum flour, xanthum gum, and salt.
In small saucepan over moderate heat, stir together milk and 1/4 cup water and heat until warm but not hot to the touch, about 1 minute (the mixture should register between 105°F and 115° F on candy thermometer). Stir in yeast and sugar. Add milkyeast mixture, egg whites, and 2 tablespoons oil to dry ingredients and, using paddle attachment, beat at medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until dough is very smooth and very thick, about 5 minutes.
Remove racks from oven, set pizza stone or heavy upturned baking sheet on bottom of oven, and preheat to 400°F. (Preheat at least 45 minutes if using pizza stone or 20 minutes if using baking sheet.)
Have ready two 12-inch squares parchment paper. Scrape half of dough onto each square and form each half into a ball. Coat each ball with 2 teaspoons oil, then use oiled fingertips to pat and stretch each ball into 9-inch-diameter round, 1/4 inch thick, with a 1/2-inch-thick border. Loosely cover rounds with plastic wrap and let rise in warm draft-free place until each pizza is about 10 inches in diameter, about 20 minutes.
Using baking peel, transfer 1 crust with parchment to preheated pizza stone and bake until top is puffed and firm and underside is crisp, 5 to 10 minutes. Using baking peel and discarding parchment paper, transfer baked crust to rack to cool. Bake second crust in same manner. (Baked crusts can be made ahead and frozen, wrapped in plastic wrap, up to 1 month. Thaw in 350°F oven until hot, 4 to 5 minutes, before topping and broiling.)

As I continue to travel along the path of changing from Overweight to the Endurance Athlete, I have found my body is continuing to evolve as well. I recently have found that I have severe GI issues with soy products and gluten. So in my search of food alternatives to continue to fuel my body and the training for my two upcoming Ironman events in 2012, I have found some interesting snack and meal ideas online. So you ask, what is gluten and what are the effects on the body? Gluten is a term used to describe a group of plant storage proteins found in wheat, barley, rye and certain oats. It is responsible for the elastic quality of dough that is considered desirable for baking. More recently it has been added to a number of unlikely food products including ice cream, salad dressing and ketchup, where it is used as a stabilizing agent.

Ingesting gluten leads to irreversible damage of the lining of the small intestine. This basically results in weakening of the immune system since essential nutrients and vitamins are not absorbed. Given below are some harmful effects of gluten.

Abdominal Bloating
Abnormal Stools
Calcium Metabolism Disturbance
Impaired Growth
Intestinal Malabsorption
Iron-Deficiency Anemia
Muscle Wasting
Offensive Stools and Subtle Cramps
Poor Appetite or Irritability
Poor Muscle Tone (Hypotonia) and Joint Swelling
Recurrent Oral Ulcers
Severe Weight Loss or Gain

As I removed gluten from my diet a few months back, the amazing transformation in my energy level and lack of irritability was profound. Unfortunately, if I ever re-introduce it into my diet I pay the ultimate price! So as endurance athletes, how can we fuel properly while removing the gluten from our diet? Finding easy snacks can be a challenge when living gluten free. Here are some ideas. Please share yours!

1.     Carrots, apples, or celery slices with: Hummus, salad dressing, cream cheese, or peanut butter.

2.     Hard boiled eggs

3.     Sprouted peas and lentils. (great by themselves or with salads for a protein boost)

4.     Corn (tortilla) chips with salsa or bean dip

5.     Trail mixes - nuts, raisins or other dried fruit, seeds, chocolate chips. Bhuja makes some really nice mixes all gluten free. My favorite is there spicy peas that I mix with almonds and raisins.

6.     Smoothies – Start with a liquid: water, milk, rice milk, nut milk, coconut milk. Add any fruits such as kiwi, strawberries, frozen bananas (my family's favorite), blueberries, etc. You can also peanut butter, almond butter, protein powder, flax seeds, chia seeds, cocoa, yogurt, or some greens. I typically use Hemp Milk, frozen berries, Acai berry, almond butter, a probiotic, and Hammer Whey or Soy Protein powder mix

7.     Cubed deli meat and cubed cheese (double check that they are gluten free)

8.     Popcorn

9.     Yogurt (not the frozen kind)

10. Easy, sweet nuts: Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil with 2 tablespoons maple syrup and a dash of salt. Mix with 2/3 pecans or walnuts. Bake at 300 degrees until it bubbles (about 15 minutes). Delicious! Tastes just like pecan pie to!

Finally, I have found Hammer Nutrition Products, to be gluten free and very well tolerated by my sensitive GI System. I highly recommend their products for the endurance athlete with a sensitive tummy! I wish everyone successful training, STAY ON!!! KEEP ON!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I can't......Or can I???

Lately, I have seen a lot of people that have no belief that they are capable of doing anything they set out to accomplish. After what I would call an "off year" in 2011, I was determined to make 2012 my year and so far it's been a success. I have battled with obesity and health problems for years and I finally won that battle.  I lost 140 pounds and freed myself of any and all health issues.  I competed in 2 full marathons; a Sprint, Olympic, and half Ironman Triathlon; and multiple other endurance running events, something that 2 years ago I wouldn't even have dreamed of doing.  I am working hard to train for two 70.3 Ironman Competitions (Puerto Rico and Boulder), and my first 140.6 Ironman in St. George, Utah.  I am still considering whether or not to do Louisville, KY.  I am training 120+ miles per week and 20-30 hours per week.  I feel great, feel like I have control of what I am doing and the direction that my success is leading me.  I value the opportunity to work with such a great training organization in PRSFit and Coach Jeff.  I made valuable and lifelong friendships with members of Team MARATHON Bar.  I know that over the next few weeks as I prepare for IM Puerto Rico and finally get my new Fuji D6 TT Tri bike out on the road, that I will be pushing myself even harder. I never thought I would be swimming 2-3 miles a morning and not drowning!  I am still trying to recover from literally running into a parking meter while training in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  Seriously, though off the subject, who still uses parking meters :) 

Friends, let me tell you if you want something, you and only you can make it happen.  The resources are endless.  Drop the "poor me and I can't attitude" and drive your own success.   I promise you, it works!  How many of us ever live our lives to full potential, how many even step out of our comfort zone once in a while and try to make a change?  We get cozy in life and with our daily and weekly routines, we can almost set our clocks by what events happen throughout the week.  We get comfortable with our excuses.  We lose the little bit of motivation we had to begin with.  We start with the "well next week I will start" statements.

While I know there is no easy solution to convincing ourselves we can, I suggest you just flow with the opportunities that come along.  If it feels right, do it, if it doesn't then just let it go and wait for something else to come along.  But don't give up completely and look for excuses as to why you can't do something about it.  Keep yourself in control of what you choose to do, this includes your own happiness. You can only control your destiny so stop worrying about everyone else's!  Be your own inspiration and while you learn to inspire yourself and push yourself forward to achieving whatever you desire, be a positive driving force to those around you.  Be an influence for someone else to make the changes.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bariatric Surgery, I cheated didn't I???

Severe obesity is a chronic condition all over the world that is very difficult and often extremely expensive to treat.  We have all tried the diets, paid overpriced gym memberships, hired personal trainers and weight management coaches, joined Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Atkins, you name it!!! On average, a person will pay 25% of their annual salary to a plan to lose weight and get healthy that they eventually will fail.  In the United States we spend $41 billion on weight loss options, while Americans spend $168 billion on fast food.  Where is the disconnect?  Can you now see why for one reason or another we have all failed?  These "plans" have sent us crashing down with a burning flame. Then comes the discouragement and disappointment of not achieving an unrealistic goal that we set for ourselves.  But should we just sit back and feel sorry for ourselves? 

For some people, weight loss surgery -- or bariatric surgery -- can help by restricting food intake or interrupting digestive processes.  But keep in mind that weight loss surgery is a serious undertaking.  You should clearly understand the pros and cons associated with the procedures before making a decision.  While some doctors and patients feel as though this is a "magic bullet" that will make everything better, all they are doing is a major disservice to their patients.  This is not a magic bullet that makes everything better.  It takes commitment, hard work, and a desire to change previous poisonous behaviors.  I should know, 2 years ago I underwent the first of 3 bariatric surgical operations to help get my life and health back on track.  Surgeons now use other techniques that produce weight loss primarily by limiting how much the stomach can hold. Two types of surgical procedures used to promote weight loss are:
  • Restrictive surgery: During these procedures the stomach is made smaller. A section of your stomach is removed or closed which limits the amount of food it can hold and causes you to feel full.
  • Malabsorptive surgery: Most of digestion and absorption takes place in the small intestine. Surgery to this area shortens the length of the small intestine and/or changes where it connects to the stomach, limiting the amount of food that is completely digested or absorbed (causing malabsorption). These surgeries are now performed along with restrictive surgery.
Through food intake restriction, malabsorption, or a combination of both, you can lose weight since less food either goes into your stomach or stays in your small intestine long enough to be digested and absorbed.

I was always an active person, playing every sport that I could, transition from season to season and sport to sport.  My parents, traveled all over the great state of Georgia to get me from practice and competitions, purchasing all the latest and greatest equipment, and making sure that I had all the tools to be as successful as I could.  So then, why was I so overweight and unhealthy as an adult?  I ate good, exercised, did everything I thought I was supposed to do.  Bought the books, the memberships, and killed myself with P90X (Literally killed myself, that program is an ass kicker)!  Moving from Georgia to Colorado, I started to learn to embrace a healthier lifestyle, again becoming active in sports and fitness and focusing on better eating habits.  But no matter what I was doing, I kept gaining weight.  While living in Crested Butte, Colorado at about 9,000ft above sea level, I finally had the "epiphany" that something was going drastically wrong with my health.  I was rushed to the hospital with a hypertensive crisis, basically my blood pressure was high enough that I could have had a stroke, all at the young age of 33 years old.  My sleep apnea had become out of control and I was suffering from pulmonary hypertension and the beginning of left sided heart failure where fluid was beginning to build up around my heart and lungs.  My pulmonologist decided that BiPAP was not enough, that I needed to walk around with supplemental oxygen while breathing and functioning day and night.  I walked out of the hospital that day and said ENOUGH!!!  I made an appointment to attend a bariatric surgery seminar with Dr. Michael Snyder and the Denver Center for Bariatrics and little did I know that night in Denver would not only change my life, but save my life.  I can't help but get a little emotional as I sit here and type this.  I attended the seminar and at the end I raised my hand, "Dr Snyder, I am 33 years old, on BiPAP, supplemental oxygen, and nearly stroking out, HELP ME PLEASE!!!"  I started the process and about 30 days later and hours of research and questioning anyone I could, I went under the knife for the first time to have a gastric lapband placed.

So while I went off on a little tangent there, I have to go back to the "magic bullet" idea.  I learned to call bariatric surgery my tool.  This tool is no different than someone who uses Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, etc.  They are all tools to help us lose weight.  But with these tools also comes the commitment and behavior modification.  Whether you are on a diet or you had surgery, you still can't eat the same bad foods you did before but in moderation.  You can't sit on the couch watching Biggest Loser eating BonBons and Chicken McNuggets and still lose weight.  You have to change your eating habits, portion control, types of foods you eat, sugar intake, etc.  Eating is a learned behavior. Often, people eat under stress. You have to find the reason why you had the bad eating habits to begin with.  Are you an emotional eater?  Did you just not make the time to cook a healthy meal and went for the easy, pick up on your way home fast food?  Think of it as also your tool to adjust your lifestyle.  There is nothing selfish about taking some time for yourself, especially if it means getting your health back.  Sit in on a support group, find a buddy to work with (very similar to a sponsor at AA), someone that can help you be accountable for your actions and help you make those lifestyle changes.  I try to be that person for many other bariatric patients, whether they are having surgery, had surgery already, or have to explore other non-surgical options.  Don't be afraid to ask for help.  You didn't become obese and unhealthy overnight, and you certainly aren't going to lose the weight and gain back your health and wellness overnight, but DON'T GIVE UP!

Finally, I talked about the first of 3 bariatric operations.  I had my lapband placed 9/17/2009.  Within about the first 5 months I lost 70 pounds.  But I sensed something was wrong.  In February of 2010 I had what we thought was a leak in the port of the lap band and I had it replaced, a port revision.  Well, that wasn't the issue.  The band itself had sprung a leak.  Although my fitness had kicked into high gear as I started training for my first full marathon, I wanted to make sure that my lapband was working correctly.  I hit the 100 pounds lost goal, started my tattoo sleeve, and in March of 2010 had my entire lapband replaced.  My tool was once again working properly.  While I was sure that I had learned correct eating habits and had a great training and workout routine, it was comforting to know in the back of my mind that my tool was once again 100%!!!  I kept to my plan, finally on October 17th, 2010 I made it to 140 pounds lost as I lined up to start my first full 26.2 Marathon, the Denver Rock n Roll Marathon.  I no longer suffered from any medical conditions and I felt great, like I had gotten my life back.  Last week I had a sleep study and 2 years ago I averaged 180 episodes where I quit breathing in my sleep per hour.  Today, I average 4 and my pulmonologist is astonished at what I have transformed into.  Since that day I have competed in 4 full marathons, 16 half marathons, 27 10K's, 32 5K's, 1 Half Ironman, and am training for 2 more half Ironmans, and my first 2 Full Ironman competitions.  I feel blessed to have gotten my life back and do not feel for one minute that I cheated  by having bariatric surgery.  My article published on about Overweight to Endurance Athlete, I was called a cheater by someone.  I had to work to get to where I am, and those of you that know me, know that I work every day to stay where I am at.  Again, it is no "magic bullet"!!!  And I must thank each and everyone that has supported me through my journey.  I am truly thankful.  If you are interested in bariatric surgery, no matter where you are, please visit  and you can see my transformation firsthand!!!