By Patrick Pittman, Cooking Light Social Diet Member
I'm Patrick. Right now I'm the only one on the Social Diet "board of advisors" who does not work at a magazine devoted to cooking, food and healthy living. But I am married to someone who does (Ann, who's in charge of all the food editorial at Cooking Light). I am 44, I drink a lot of coffee, I enjoy home improvement and building, and I really love chocolate. Professionally, I am a nurse, but since I only work Saturday and Sunday of each week -- something called a Baylor shift -- I feel it is more honest to say I am a stay-at-home dad with twin 7-year-old boys.
Over the years, I have slowly gained weight, owing mostly to a two-year stint working the completely disruptive night shift, along with some exhausted-but-happy, new parent food indulgence. I found myself at 185 to 190 pounds needing to lose about 20 pounds or grow four inches taller.
Sometime after the pressure and guilt of this year's annual New Year's resolution had worn off, I decided, for real, to become more active and to try to improve my diet. Then along came the social diet, and I got an UP band to monitor my exercise. (Actually, I have two Up bands, but one is in a creek -- or in a fish in a creek -- that runs to the Gulf of Mexico). And that's how I discovered my own definition of cross-training: lots of home improvement with a bit of running in between.
Before it floated away, my first UP band logged me 24,000 steps (12 miles) when I mowed my brother's huge yard in Mississippi -- and I think that number is accurate. I realized then that I have more motivation for fitness if I am doing at least two things at once (e.g., cutting grass and getting a cardio workout). My favorite workouts involve hauling dirt and crossties, building a raised-bed garden, carrying lumber, digging holes and hammering nails for a deck and a pergola. It's hard work, both muscle and lung work, and it has taught me that although boredom is my enemy in ordinary fitness routines, a good variety of projects will easily defeat that enemy.
With the kids being out of school for the summer, my "me time" has been shortened from every morning and early afternoon to just an occasional outing when I can drop the kids off at Ann's work. That's when I do my other training: I meet a trail-running group at a local park, Red Mountain, that was carved from reclaimed iron-ore mining land, or I meet for a run downtown in support of a charity (usually, there's a free local beer at the finish line).
A trail running group at Red Mountain Park
It's working. I've lost more than 10 pounds. Meanwhile, there's a big side benefit to my cross-training approach: as I get in better shape, our house becomes a better house; as I find more to do in Birmingham, it becomes a better place to live. The support of the Social Diet group keeps me motivated, and the Up band is always there to remind me that keyboard strokes aren't the way to reach my goal...
Enough typing: I need to go chop some wood and dig a firepit for a barbecue.
Would you like to join our weight loss project? Set goals, share ups and downs, and let us know what works for you. Comment here, email letters@CookingLight.com and tweet @Cooking_Light using #SocialDiet.
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Scott Mowbray is the editor of Cooking Light and believes that every meal of every day should be absolutely delicious -- just a bit less of it to be eaten from now on. He's set a 20-pound weight loss goal over 20 weeks, by Nov. 1
Erin handles PR and loves all things food -- cooking, baking, eating, and drinking. Working at Cooking Light is a pretty sweet gig, even if it comes with some occupational hazards (you can have one too many bites or sips!). When she’s not writing press releases and pitches, she’s in her home kitchen with her husband cooking and baking up a storm. All Cooking Light recipes, of course!
Allison is a contributing editor to and spokesperson for Cooking Light magazine. 2013 is a big year for her; on Valentine's Day she became mom to two delicious baby boys, and in October, she'll be birthing Lighten Up, America, a cookbook she wrote in collaboration with Cooking Light. Her goal is to lose the baby (or babies) weight by the time her book comes out.
Allison works on all things digital at Cooking Light, and in between posting and tweeting, she spends her time chasing after 2 little girls. Her weight loss goals are focused on fitness and spending just a bit more time on herself (spending any time will be an improvement).
Michelle lives in Manhattan and -- with moderate success -- juggles a demanding marketing job at Cooking Light and MyRecipes.com; a patient and forgiving husband; a hyperactive 7-year old son; and a way-too-sparse social life. It took 7 years, a combination of Weight Watchers (she’s a lifetime member), regular personal training sessions, and a colorful assortment of mid-life crisis’, but she is proud to be fit and back to her pre-pregnancy weight.
Patrick Pittman is 44, went to nursing school for his midlife crisis, works in an ICU in Birmingham, and takes care of twin 7-year-old boys during the week. He played soccer nearly all his life, but stopped when the twins arrived. While he doesn't miss the competition, he wants to be back in shape and just healthier in general. People think of him as patient, but he really thrives on quick, noticeable results.
Sean Kelley is an editor, writer, and video producer of health and wellness content. He splits his time between a small farm in Alabama where he raises two kids amongst okra, peas, and honey bees, and Atlanta, where he works for Sharecare. His goal is to lose 20 pounds by Jan. 1.
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