One Month At A Time

What I remember about the first few months of “One Month at a Time” is how weird the process was in the beginning. Often, it was I’d have an idea, it would get shot down and then we’d try something else.

Generally speaking, the months I learn the most are when I make myself uncomfortable. That’s true, regardless of who comes up with the idea.

After Veganuary was fully underway, we started to toss around ideas about what to do for the next One Month At A Time.

In a features meeting, my best pitch was to do a Couch-to-5K. It seemed like a natural transition from healthy eating, and sounded sort of easy, but nobody seemed interested. February is cold, and my pale legs probably wouldn’t make good pictures anyway.

Finally, someone suggested I join a local improv comedy troupe. The plan would be for me to immerse myself in local comedy, attend workshops, go to some shows, and (hopefully) by the end of the month, perform in front of a live audience.

The last part seemed like an invitation to a beating.

“Let’s do the 5K thing,” I tried again.

We put it to a vote.


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Wednesday Weigh-in

It’s been kind of a busy week. Sorry to be so slow to blog. Also, we’ll be changing up the blog schedule a little to accommodate the different projects, ongoing missions and to keep it a little interesting.

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One Month project updates and news

This week, I made it out to Firebreather Fitness in St. Albans, as well as got in two days at CrossFit WV (home base).

There will be more about that in next week’s column.

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Throwback Thursday: One Month and One Year Ago

This was how I kicked off last year’s column. Looking back, the irony is unavoidable.

Last year, the seasons were wildly muddled and created havoc with different plans (foraging, flying, caving, baseball), but this one turned out OK.

It was a good time and really need to get back to an ice rink soon.

One of the great things about West Virginia is that it has four very distinct seasons. Sometimes, we’ll get a short spring or a winter that won’t seem to end, but we always get summer and fall.

You can really see the progress of a year here.

As One Month at a Time has evolved, I’ve thought of trying to take advantage of some of the seasonal offerings. It’s a lot easier, I figure, to learn how to keep bees or look for snakes in the spring or summer.

Fall is maybe a better time to learn to make moonshine.


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Weight Check Update

Current weight: 203 pounds (for those of you following at home. I am up a pound, this week. Hopefully, that’s just because my lunches this week have been a little salty)

Current goal weight: 170 (but negotiable).

Weight medical professionals believe I should be: 144 pounds or roughly how much potato salad I have begrudgingly consumed over the course of my lifetime (I don’t like potato salad).

Blood pressure: 115/64 (Still medicated, but not as much. The doc cut me back)

Caffeine: One cup purchased from the Coffee Camper. It was the medium roast, which was OK.

Cans of diet soda consumed this week: A lot. Also, I’m looking for new flavors. I’m kind of wearing out on root beer and ginger ale.

Captain America t-shirt: I 100 percent am.

General outlook: I’m thinking a lot about how much I’d like a waffle right now. I’m not going to get a waffle, but I’d like one.


Today has been one of those days where a bunch of people have noticed that I’ve dropped some weight.

Minus whatever tomorrow’s weigh-in, I’m down a solid 50 pounds.

Exercise has clearly played a part, but… not most of it. I think it’s fair to say all these extra workouts have helped me tone up in places. The exercise has helped my blood pressure and my general well-being, but I tend to believe my reading about weight-loss, which is you want to get slim, have to cut your calories.

Paleo, Keto, South Beach, Weight Watchers or whatever: You can eat whatever, but you still have to burn more calories than you take in.

Of course, there are a lot of ways to do that.

Currently, I’m on a roughly 1500 calorie per day diet. I avoid sugar, baked goods, snack foods, pasta, potatoes and rice. I don’t eat a lot of dairy, don’t load up on fruit, don’t eat a lot of nuts or peanut butter, but stick with mostly vegetables and some lean meat.

I eat a lot of chicken, some fish, but not a lot of beef.

Chicken is cheap and the beef I can afford is fatty. Fish, I buy on special when I see it.

I keep an eye on my calories, my protein and my fiber. I don’t worry about vitamins much because I take multivitamin and eat a variety of veggies.

I keep a food diary on my phone, which takes a lot of the guesswork out of how many calories is this and how many calories is that.

I am devoted to adding in the data and try really hard to be honest.

Sometimes, there are multiple entries in the diary data base for particular foods. The urge is to choose the option that is most beneficial to my ego, but I look for what sounds realistic.

The diary also allows me to add in exercise, which it calculates as calories burned. So, if I go for a half hour swim, attend a CrossFit class or lift weights, it increases my calorie allowance.

I don’t use exercise to pay for planned or exercise to work off something I did earlier. I don’t use it as a reward, but try to use the extra calories to eat a little more, if I want to.

Usually, I don’t take back all of the burned off calories, though it can still end up loading down my evening meals.

The biggest trouble I have is balancing what I eat and when. I tend to eat light in the morning, a little heavier at lunch and then even heavier at dinner.

I think I need to work that out a little better because I get so hungry after dark.

Right now, I’m losing about a pound and a half to two pounds a week, which the doctor says is fine, but I expect that to slow down as I get closer and closer to my goal weight.

Barring falling off the wagon, I hope to hit my goal by Easter, but if I get to it by my birthday in June, that’s OK, too.

Monday morning check-in

This past weekend, I got to CrossFit Never Give Up on Friday and CrossFit WV, my home base, Saturday.

Never Give Up is the chief focus of next week’s installment, though I broke some ground at CrossFit WV and got myself into a handstand against the wall of the gym.

I honestly didn’t think it was possible, not for a guy of my particular girth, but what do you know?

I still have a ways to go before I can do an upside down pushup, but I’m in the parking lot of that particular ballpark.

In related news, I did a visit to my doctor last week. His scale agrees with my scale and his blood pressure cuff agrees with Rite-Aid’s blood pressure cuff.

He took me off the cholesterol medicine and we’re cutting my blood pressure meds in half, with the idea being that if I keep up with the weight loss and exercise, I could be free of the drugs by April.

I still have to go see the kidney doctor, however, which means that six pack of Fat Tire Ale I bought the week before Christmas is still completely intact.

I bought the Fat Tire because it seemed like a less physically taxing beverage than my preferred Big Timber Porter.

Here’s hoping the kidney guy tells me to just relax and have a beer.

I did not make it to self-defense class on Saturday, but plan to go Tuesday night. I could say that I had a good reason, but it was just to get my hair cut; clearly overdue, but not super important.

Also, I think I need to find a new barber.

Read Aloud on Thursday went well. The kids liked “This is a Ball,” by Beck and Matt Stanton, which was about as loopy as anything I could have come up with.

I liked it, too.

Looking ahead into February, I met with my new mentor/host for the month on Saturday to work out a rough schedule and plan of attack. We will start working on the next project soon.

I’m excited about it, though I don’t know how that’s going to fit in with the exercise and diet.

Last thing, I watched “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” on Netflix and started my April project early –well, no, it was more of a preview of things to come, but I did throw out a bunch of stuff and buy a drawer organizer for my kitchen.

Also, who really needs multiple garlic presses?

I don’t have an answer for that, but now I’m down to one now.

Friday roundup and resolution own up

There’s not much to report about my attempts at cutting back on social media.

Last weekend wasn’t great. I found myself edging back toward Facebook and Instagram. Rather than just posting what I was supposed to, I loitered a bit and wound up wasting some time scrolling mindlessly.

I’ll try again.

This sounds a little weird because until I can figure out how to get the blog to show up on the main newspaper website, this is being circulated entirely through the power of Facebook.

I post the link on my personal page and that’s my distribution.

So far, it doesn’t feel like I’m getting much traffic, but blogs tend take time and persistence to become noticed.

Nobody is bored enough to start following, but I’m patient and don’t have anything better to do.

Anyway, all I’m doing with this particular resolution is adjust my consumption to a healthy level.

I don’t think social media is evil. It serves a need. Everybody gets bored. Everybody gets lonesome. You just want to talk to someone about the new Netflix show you’re watching, but who in their right mind wants a text or (clutch the pearls) a phone call at 2:30 in the morning?

Why are you even up? Go to bed.

I hope to do better this weekend.

Meanwhile, this week with CrossFit has gone very well. I should make it to five classes total this week, including one in Hurricane and another in South Charleston.

I have also begun to finalize what I will be doing next month and what I’ll be doing in May. March and April are a little up in the air at the moment, but I have some good leads.

Suggestions, as always, are welcome.

Have a good weekend everybody.

Throwback to the Vegan Potluck

Earlier this week, I wrote about my lengthy vegan adventure and the local Vegan Potluck. I think I’d been a vegan for around a week when I attended.

What I remember was the food was really good, that I ate like a pig and the crowd was more diverse than I expected.

I think I expected everyone to be a yoga instructor or something.

Anyway, the Vegan Potluck is Sunday night from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 520 Kanawha Blvd. W.

Meanwhile, here’s my One Month piece on the potluck.

Editor’s note: Reporter Bill Lynch started the new year on a bold mission: to immerse himself in a different facet of life for a full month — every month — for all of 2016, and write about it along the way. The idea is to take something he knows precious little about, so he started with healthy food and opted to go vegan for January. This is the third weekly installment on how a meat-and-cheese kind of guy goes a month with out a burger. 

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Wednesday Weigh In

Current weight: 202 pounds

Current goal weight: 180 pounds, though I am considering dropping that to 170.

Weight medical professionals believe I should be: 144 or approximately the weight of a chubby wildebeest.

Blood pressure: 97/70 (medicated, but we’re checking with the doc this afternoon about cutting back or dropping the meds –fingers crossed. I could spend that extra money on HBO)

Caffeine: Two cups of pretty decent coffee.

Cans of diet soda consumed this week: Enough that I know I’ve had too much.

Captain America t-shirt: Today, I’m wearing a dress shirt, khakis and dress shoes, which is very much out of costume. Four people have told me how nice I look, which is an improvement from yesterday when I was told that I looked taller in print, but that I’m more handsome in person.

I get the strangest comments from random men on the street or in grocery stores.

General outlook: Feeling kind of groovy.