You know that you’re a fanatical book collector when, while going through your library, you stop and do a count and you discover that you own no less than 50 medical books, and you’re not even a medical professional.

On the Trail Again

It’s fire season, so I am avoiding all back-country camping for a few months. That said, we have Scouts and Scouters who need to break in backpack gear and get used to our packs.

So we took some of our Scouts out on a shakedown hike to Sycamore Falls in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. It was warm, a couple of our number did not bring enough water, and it was more strenuous wearing masks, but it was a lot of fun and a real confidence-builder for a Troop that has made car camping a habit over the last few years.

I can’t wait to head into the back country in a few months…

Patchology: Presidential Champion

Back in July I talked about how important the President’s Challenge and the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) were to me changing my thinking and my lifestyle, to getting me off my ass, off of fast food, and onto a much better life.

After earning the PALA four times, I decided to take on a much tougher challenge, the Presidential Champions Award. I managed to make it to the Bronze Award finally in 2016 year, and was starting work on Silver when the program was terminated in August 2017 by a President for whom “fitness” was, apparently, a four-letter word. 

So I am doubly proud of this award, which is the highest recognition that I have received for any physical activity since I was in High School. It took me the better part of a year to complete the requirements, and by the time I had completed it, fitness had become a part of my life, rather than something that intimidated me.

Turkey Smash

Sunny’s homemade turkey smash burger: half a pound of 99% lean ground turkey breast in three patties; two thick slices of fresh white onion; two tablespoons of Walden Farms zero-calorie Thousand Island dressing, all on an Albertsons Signature Kaiser roll.

Goodbye junk food.

Quest Support

During my fitness journey, @questnutrition for me has been more than just a source of nutrient-balanced meal-substitutes: they have been a source of inspiration, opening my mind to the possibility that food that was good for me actually could TASTE better than food that is bad for me.

Quest has been a lifesaver over the last week, helping me add 87g of extra protein to my diet each day – essential when subsisting on Scout summer camp food that is typically higher in carbohydrates and fats than proteins. 

All this and Kosher, too. Thanks, Quest. 

My Liquid Power Breakfast

I am short 26 days to retirement, and I am finding that I need all the help I can get to stay focused. Keeping my morning meals liquid has helped. Clockwise from left:

  • 64oz of ice water with 1.5 scoops of electrolytes
  • 50 grams of rolled oats and 32 grams of whey protein with 3 ounces of water (for a treat, I swap the water for plain unsweetened almond milk)
  • 32oz of homemade cold brew (Black Rifle Freedom Fuel dark roast)

Hope everyone had a safe and fun July 4th weekend!

Patchology: The First Goal on The Journey

I suppose that the prospect of a healthy life should be adequate incentive for the obese to get off their butts and change their lifestyles. As a former member of that crowd, I can attest that experience and statistics suggest otherwise. Sometimes you need a big incentive to get you off of a couch. And sometimes you just need a 4″ x 4″ strip of embroidered cloth.

Offering any reasonable incentive to entice people out of McDonald’s and off the couch is not only a good investment in public health, it also begins a virtuous cycle. Getting people addicted to earned achievement instead of instant gratification is a very different kettle of fish than rewarding mediocrity, especially if you build a program that rewards higher and higher levels of participation and achievement.

When I first started to work toward this patch, I weighed somewhere north of 360 lbs., which even on my 2m high frame made me obese. Given that for a long time I refused to step on a scale, I may well have been “morbidly obese.” Today I weigh 216 lbs., have a BMI of 24, and am healthier at 57 than I was at 35 in good part due to the President’s Challenge, of which the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award, or PALA, was a part. The act of exercising regularly, recording the foods you eat, and gradually replacing less healthy foods with healthier choices is a powerful start, and was my ladder to a place that I always felt – and, indeed, was often told by professionals who should have known better – was beyond me.

I earned the award four times in the five years, and subsequently used it as a stepping stone to higher achievements. But I can honestly say that this program probably saved my life and my marriage.

It is one of my proudest achievements, and I will wear this patch on my BSA Jac-shirt with pride.

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