Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday Inspiration

Every journey has it's challenges:  A year ago I could barely move, and today on a wonderful Seattle morning I was able to ride 24 miles and complete 1023 feet of climbing.  Granted it wiped me out for the day but if I can do it so can you.

Enjoy todays picture:  Mount Rainier from Bainbridge Island on a clear and cloudless day.


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Moving Matters

The Pacific North West in summer is a beautiful place.  It has been a full on summers day and Sarah and I got out on our mountain bikes for a short ride the local farmers market after taking the dogs for an early walk before it got to hot.

So let's talk about moving

Moving is one of those things that we just take for granted. I sure didn't think about it outside of activities like going to the Gym or Cycling.  But one of the things that I came to realize was just how little I was actually moving.  Especially during a work day in the office.  I started to watch others around me and noticed that the children run everywhere, then as we age and get sensible we also get sedate.  This is compounded by a lifestyle where we drive everywhere and park as close to the destination as possible.

I hate to state the obvious but our bodies are designed to move and to ensure we keep everything running smoothly, in today's world we have to make a conscious choices to ensure we break out of a sedentary way of life.

It is normal everyday movement that is important and not just the intense planned sessions of whatever you want to do for 30 - 60 minutes.  So I encourage you to make simple changes such as go for a walk (1 - 2 miles) in the morning and or evening.  Park at the other end of the car park and walk to wherever it is you are going.  Let's face it the parking is easier there anyway.  Ride your bike to work or to the shops if you can, garden a little or a lot, clean out the garage (mine sure needed it), but be conscious of how much you move and take steps literally to improve your health and well being.

Here is Sarah saying hi on our ride to the farmers market

We made it

Ah Cherries are always a treat :0)

Tomorrow I will share some of the tools I use to stay moving.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Healthly Garden Party

What a beautiful day in Seattle.  The weather hit the mid to late 80's and a perfect day for an office moral event at our house.  My work team came over and Sarah and I served up a healthy alternative to normal BBQ fare.

One of the challenges we faced with the change in our diet outside of eliminating  common foods such as bread was the concern that food could be interesting and dare I say tasty.  Well I can tell you it can be and today we served up a healthy meal to 11+ people who do not follow the same style of eating we do.  Here is what was on the menu.

Pulled Pork with Salsa Verde
Spaghetti Squash with coconut oil
Greek Salad
Avocado & Salsa
85% Dark Chocolate dipped Strawberries and Banana
Guests Brought
Grilled Vegetables
Broccoli Salad
Fruit Salad
Sorry I did not take a picture of the full meal but here is a picture from later when we had some left overs.  It does not do justice to the wonderful spread Sarah put together.

It is great when you can eat a tasty meal, have seconds and I my case thirds and do so with a smug feeling born of the knowledge that the food is both healthy and nutritious.   There are certainly challenges with eliminating ingredients but it need not compromise the love of great food.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Paddle Board Selection (Hemel Hollo 11)

Just got back from another great time on the water with the guy's from Hemel Board Company who we decided to buy our paddle boards from.  We tested there board's on Saturday and after deliberating hard we pulled the trigger yesterday and they are now in production.

We selected the Hollo 11 which is there 11ft board.  The board comes with a pad and new center grip not shown in the picture below (Full details here)

We evaluated a number of similarly priced boards by different manufacturers and test paddled two other boards before making the decision and it was a hard decision as there is very little review information available to help with making a selection at this time.  We learnt the lingo regarding the different types of boards "planing" or "displacement" and decided a "planing" board would match the time of paddling we are interested in:  Flat water with our dogs to start with building up to surfing and then maybe some competition.  Racer's have a whole other set of considerations that I will not cover here.  The Hemel board ticketed all the box's as did others from REI and local dealers such as Perfect Wave.

Now let me be clear the Hemel board is the more expensive choice and in SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) terms a newbie on the block but there were things about it that stood out to me and influenced the decision.

1.  The guy's at Hemel are confident in there product and are all about the experience and community making it really easy to try there board and welcoming you to the Hemel family should you choose to join.  For us that is an important aspect of the sport and worth a great deal.

2.  On the water the board was the most stable and the most agile I had tried.  After riding other boards I was thrilled to find out how easy the board was to turn and Sarah commented on how stable it felt compared to the board she tested a week earlier.  The board glides really well over the water and the board felt alive with only a small amount of swell on the lake.  I feel it is a board that will grow with us and I look forward testing it's limits on flat water.  I can't wait to be good enough to try it in the surf.

3.  The board is constructed differently than nearly all boards on the market.  Making them one of the few Hollow boards available.  This I am assured makes them more durable, easier to care for and therefore last longer.  Although I have little experience in board construction the detail makes sense (Details).  Most boards use an EPS core, here's an example  for Boga Boards.  In there FAQ  they describe there unique selling proposition and how to care for the board (FAQ).  Whilst I am sure there boards are good (I did not get to ride one) the explanation helped me with the Hemel decision as I am looking for boards that will last and grow with us.

4.  Lastly the board in made right here in Washington State, USA.  My research found that many of the boards on the market are very similar and constructed in China.  I understand the economies but there is something good about supporting local board shapers and I am excited to be part of there family.

Shane and I by the Hemel portable cabin (a cool old converted ambulance)

Daisy goes out for the first time


What you don't see is Daisy backing me off the board into the water :0) but here she is mastering the board.

Candy Nails it first time.

 Sarah and I rocking it on the Hollo 12.  Talk about a super stable board.

And that is the end of a great evening.  I hope you have enjoyed this post and I hope to see you out on the water some day.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Your Diet Your Choice

Yahoooo.  My first blog comment, thank you Marian.  "PowerUp" and take a look at this great Ted talk on what it takes to start a movement ("Ted Talk: How to Start a Movement")

Now that's out of my system, I am all energized and there is so much to talk about.  Todays topic is on the diet choice I have made and a little bit of why.  Before I get started I am also excited to tell you that I made a Paddle Board decision and I will share the detail in tomorrow's post.

I told you in my introduction post that my weight lost was all due to diet and it is completely true.  Today I live a Paleo Diet lifestyle.  No Wheat or Grain and very limited Dairy and Sugar (I would like to say none but there are times it just cannot be helped) and you can see the result.

No it was not an overnight thing it took me 4 years and a number of set backs to get here, some of them outside of my control and other's either because I slipped back into old habits or I was just not ready to make the commitment.  Desire wins out over knowledge all too often and still there are challenges.

I have no intention of telling you what to eat, how to eat or what choices to make.  What I do want is for you to feel great, look younger and be fit and healthy to do the things you love to do or have always wanted to try through out your life.  The journey starts by choosing to become informed.

I could not have done it or continue without Sarah's support and knowledge which is why I encouraged her to study holistic health coaching.  She is now close to the end of her course and has decided to specialize in Lifestyle Diet Transition for those looking to start the journey to healthy eating either from choice or like me or through necessity due to allergies or conditions.  (BTW whilst she is still studying she is looking to help volunteers for free in return for help structuring her program and building her confidence, I can pass you over if you are interested).

This is one thing that cannot be faked and exercise alone will not get us there.  I know how hard it is and that is why I am here to help.  PowerUp your life and max it out.  I would rather end my days fit and exhausted from all the wonderful people I have met and things I have done that wish I had made different choices.

I hope this has Inspired you a little :0)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Today I was reminded of how important a support system is and finding those who can coach you.  Jennifer thank you for your time.  Even coach's need coaching :)

After being rained on all the way home on a Seattle Summer day I wanted to share with you my new power pose and invite you to bring power into your life.

I dubbed it the "PowerUp Pose" after watching this great Ted talk Power Ted Talk it is goofy but it works.

Join me in Expressing your power and "fake it until you become it".  If I can do it you can too.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Let's Talk Weight

Firstly I have to share with you that after 2 long years today I rode to and from work for the first time.  It is only 7.5 miles but there is a 485ft elevation in the way coming home.  For the last week Sarah has been picking me up at the bottom of the hill and today I rode all the way home.  I was slow and it was hard but it felt amazing after all this time :0)

Since I am talking about exercise you might be asking yourself was the weight loss really attributed to exercise, it is not but after all that what everyone tells us.  When I went to the gym the fitness instructor showed me a representation of an overweight person that slims down in direct relation to the amount of exercise performed.   Well 3 years ago we did a whole year at the gym with a personal trainer and yes whilst I got stronger I did not lose weight.  2 years ago I was very fit and 190 lbs then as a result of injuries I was unable to train for 2 years losing both weight and muscle mass.  It has only been in the last month that I have started to train again and explore a completely new body.

It turns out that strength is directly related to exercise and weight whilst it can be influenced by exercise is directly attributed to what we eat.  Not rocket science really but a very significant concept to grasp.  It means that an hour session at the gym gets counter acted by the choice of food you eat afterwards.

Yes if you burn more calories than you consume you will lose weight but you have to burn lots of calories something that most of us do not do.  We also negate the effort we put in both in terms of weight and health through the choice of food we eat.

4 years ago during a particularly stressful day at work I met an alternative health practitioner who convinced me to attend a session.  Whilst the session was good the one thing he insisted on was attending a talk on healthy eating.  Now I must tell you at this point that I love food and would eat anything at the time so I was not very receptive to the idea of eating rabbit food.  Still I went along and to my surprise was inspired by the content of the talk.  Let me know if you are interested in the detail but suffice to say he started us on the journey to change our eating habits that led to Sarah enrolling to be a Health Coach and me losing 30+ lbs and returning to the weight I was at 19 sporting a 30" waist.

The journey was not easy and I fell off the wagon many times and even today the journey continues but I cannot stress the value it has had through back and knee injuries to finally getting me back to the type of activity I love.

You can have it too, I promise but it takes the following:

- Desire to want the change (not just wishing to change)
- Commitment to try new things and work through things like taste changes
- Perseverance to continue
- Forgiveness when you fall off the wagon (just get right back on)
- Support (We are here for you if needed)

For healthy living the other dimension is movement.  I was horrified to find out just how little I moved outside of occasional gym sessions.  When I say movement, I am not referring to high activity exercise, I am talking about simple movement, walking around etc.  In future posts I will talk about what I found out and the tools I use.

Today I am thankful for a wonderful wife without whom none of this would be possible
The love of 2 adorable pups
And the ability to climb a monster hill for the first time in 2 years

Let me leave you with an inspiring picture - enjoy :)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Weekend Summary

Here's a quick summary of the weekend.  I created this blog, wahoo.   I know, I know I hear you say "what's the big deal" well I got started and that is exciting and I feel there is so much to write about and share that I don't know where to start.  So I will start with a quick summary of the weekend's adventures.

Friday:  Sarah took and passed her penultimate Integrative health coach exam with a passing grade of 97%.  I am so proud of her.

Saturday:  Paddle Boarding Demo on Lake Washington.    My wife and I are really excited about the sport.  We had talked about it for a couple of years always passing it over as not for us, but a lesson whilst on vacation changed all that and it could not come at a better time.   I don't know about you but I find going to the gym a necessity rather than a desire.  I would much rather be outside but until now I did not have an activity that helped me build core and upper body strength.  Paddle Boarding fix's that problem, provides a great way to get on the water and spend time with my wife and dogs.  The challenge now is selecting the right paddle board for us.  We have now tried a Jimmy Lewis board, Perfect Wave Board and on Saturday a Hemel board.   Spent last week watching YouTube videos and looking at as many reviews and boards as possible.  We are close to the selection and I will share the decision with you soon.


Sunday:  I woke up feeling the goodness of Paddle Boarding on Saturday, so it was a slow morning setting up an old pulse meter to allow me to record my pulse rate whilst cycling and doing other exercises.  Pulse meter sorted I got my road bike out and hit an 18 mile loop,  the longest ride I have done for 2 years and it felt great.   My wife and I then spent a great afternoon catching up with friends and sharing my first blogs with you.


Firstly let me say I am new to blogging and to ask your patience as I switch from a more formal style to blogging.  In this blog I have two main goals.  Learn how to blog well and share my knowledge and experience with you for the purpose of mutual development or entertainment.

I was born in England and moved to Seattle, WA in 2004 where I live with my wonderful wife Sarah and our two dogs Candy and Daisy.


Life events over the last 4 years have inspired me to take a journey of self-discovery with the goal of living a long, healthy and fulfilled life.  This year I am starting the journey thanks to returning health and strength.  I won't go into detail here but if you are interested let me know and I will post more.   Pictures are worth a thousand words.  I think you will agree I have changed.


None of what you see was achieved through exercise it was all due to the changes we made in the way we eat.