Health life

3-Month Check In

On 4/20/15, I walked into DC Fitness for the first time in my workout gear.  Ready to have my newly acquired trainer put me through my first workout.  One of the exercises that day was push-ups.  I was able to do 4 standard pushups, a weak 5th one, then dropped to my knees to finish the set of ten. I was able to do even fewer “real” pushups on the next 2 sets. (More on this later.) I was fat, out of shape and looking to improve those conditions.

Today is the 3-month anniversary of that fateful day.  I checked in on Facebook, one month into my journey, and have not updated since.  I had such a huge outpouring of support and kind comments of encouragement that I thought I should check in.  Besides all the kind words, I had several people that told me they were inspired by me.  THAT, is truly humbling.  If I can encourage only one person to make a healthy change, I will have successfully paid it forward.

While it’s not Biggest Loser material.  Here’s me 30lbs lighter:

2015-04-20 08.48.54

I put together some of my thoughts 90-days into this journey.

Forget the scale, it’s just a number.

We seem to measure every successful diet by the pounds lost.  I’m not here to throw stones at anyone who does this. Hell, I do it.  However, I have found that I’m finding much more joy in the “little things”.  Like:

  • cinching up your belt until you are out of holes (maybe you should buy a new belt or add more holes)
  • wearing shirts that used to look like a sausage casing on you, now hang loose (see above photo)
  • not getting winded walking up a flight of stairs
  • walking the same route, but cutting 5 minutes off your time (because you were able to run some of it)
  • buying jeans in April, because none of yours fit, but now you can’t wear them because they are too big
  • getting compliments from random people about your weight loss
  • being assigned 3 sets of 15 pushups and being able to do all 45 with perfect form 3 months later when you could barely do 4 on that first day
  • THAT’S the fun stuff.  You get enough of these “small things”, you end up realizing the big number on the scale.

Log it, log it, log it.

I had a compliance person once tell me, “If you didn’t document it, it didn’t happen.”  I carried that into my exercise life.  I log everything that I consume.  I log every exercise I do.  I use the MyFitnessPal (MFP) app on my iPhone.  I use a heart rate monitor that syncs back to MFP so I don’t have to enter all my exercises.  (If you are interested in the details of what tech I stuff I use, see the bottom of this.)

Get Started

My advice to anyone looking to get healthy;  get started.  You don’t have to set a grand master plan, tell everyone to stay away from you while you diet, just make some changes to start.  Eat more fruit, drink more water, take the stairs, park at the end of the parking lot so you walk further, get a FitBit, log your food (paper & pencil is cool if you don’t want to be a geek like me).

The best advice my trainer has given me: “Don’t ever be hungry, don’t ever be full.”  If you eat out of boredom, like I always did, stop before you go into the kitchen to graze.  Get a glass of water instead and after drinking it, wait 15 minutes and see if you feel the same cravings.

Folks, I’m not where I want to be, but you know what I am?  Happier and more energetic.  I look for ways to be more active because I know it will pay off more than the Lay’s potato chips will.  If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.  I’m not an expert, just a dude on a healthier lifestyle journey.

Tech Stuff I use  (You can skip this if you are not interested in geeky stuff.)

MyFitnessPal (click for link to the site, it’s free)

Since MFP is one of the most popular sites for food tracking, almost every food is already there for you to add to your list.  They also have a bar code scanner that you can scan something you just ate, enter the quantity and its added.  Very cool, if you are so technically inclined.  

Scosche Armband heart rate monitor.  I have never been a fan of chest strap monitors.  This fits nice and from my tests gives an accurate reading.

The fitness tracking app I use is Endomondo  Although, there are several.  (MapMyRun, RunKeeper, Nike Running) Endomondo links with MFP, so my exercises show automatically.

My newest addition is my Apple Watch.  I have become absolutely obsessed with getting all three of the daily activity rings. Move – calories burned, exercise & stand.  (I was shocked to find how many times in a day I have not stood up for over an hour.  The Apple Watch reminds you to stand at the 50 minute mark of the hour if you have not stood for over a minute.)  Here’s what my streak since getting my watch look like:

Apple Watch streak

life Media sports

Jansky SFG Artwork


Last last summer after John Jansky completed my “Playoff Beard Art“, I asked him about doing something with my Souza Financial Group logo.  John delivered the finished product to my office today.  It is awesome!

Besides the great colors, John was able to incorporate my passions.

First and foremost in the center of it all is my family.  Next up is the Blackhawks behind the “SFG”.  Next is the Cleveland Indians.  The maroon represents my schools; DHS & SIU. The outermost ring is of course my business.

John absolutely nailed it.  The gallery below has all photos.   I will be IMG_5516hanging this in my office this week,  if you would like to stop by and see it.

To see more of John’s art, check out his Facebook page and website.








life Web Stuff

Happy 10 Years

Quick name a website that has been around longer than Twitter, Facebook or The Chive?  I know it’s easy, but hey 10 years is nothing to sneeze at. What started as a site for my constituents to contact me turned into my personal blog.  Anything amazing on here? Not really, but hey, half of life is just showing up and that’s what had done for 10 years, show up.

Here’s what the old version looked like back then.

Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 7.59.12 PM

life Web Stuff

Use Your Facebook Status to Change your Life

Facebook is an interesting animal.  I was an early adopter to FB (started 6/14/2007) and as an almost 5-year grizzled veteran of the social media behemoth, I have seen some interesting happenings over that time.  However, the most interesting item has to be what your FB status says about you.

In researching this post, I went back and read all my posts over the past few months (I usually update once a day or so).  Now, if I didn’t know anything about me, I would gather that I am the class clown, post funny stuff and try to make myself seem witty.  That my friends is dead on.  Now, I didn’t say I was funny or witty, but I try.

So, I took some other FB friends of mine and read their posts over the past couple of months (the new Timeline feature makes that real easy).  It’s interesting what you see.

I have friends that attempt to be wittier than me (they try).  I have friends that have a genuinely positive outlook on life.  Everyday is glorious.  Sunshine, rainbows, unicorns and puppies.  Ya gotta love it.   I have friends that seem to have lives worse than “Born Loser”.  Nothing goes their way.  Every bounce of the ball is off their foot.  The glass is way past half-empty.  Then I have friends that live if only for their kids.  No post goes without a mention of their children.  I’m not saying that’s bad, just follow me on this.

But, I would like for you to look past the above general stereotypes and read YOUR posts.  Do you see a theme?  FB is a simple way to get what’s going on with you out of your head and out there for the world to see (like this post.)  I believe that what is going on in your life manifests itself to a FB post.  So, how is that going to change you life?

Read your posts.  If every 3rd one is about how terrible your job is, or how you are dreading work,  maybe you need a new job.  Are they easy to come by, no.  But you have to decide that you are going to start looking.  If every other post is “why do bad things happen to me?”  Then you are giving a self-fulfilling prophesy.  What is making these bad things happen?  Your financial situation?  Your job?  Your partner?  Use that to look inside yourself and find a positive way to change it.

Now, you happy people don’t get off the hook either.  If you were one of the before mentioned unicorn people, nice work.  However, make sure that if that is your attitude, you are sharing it with others that don’t have it.  Is one of your friends one of the people from the last paragraph?  Call them.  Take them to lunch.  Share that good juice that you got with them.  They need it.  If you do, it will fuel you even more.

Now, I hope that I don’t lose friends on FB because you think I’m pointing fingers, I’m not.  I love all 703 of you like you are my own internet children.  More importantly, I hope this reaches at least one of you 703 and helps you in the new year.  Have a great day.




Seconds of Beauty

I saw this video this morning and I thought it was really cool.  Especially this time of year when we are rushing around buying gifts, pepper spraying people at Walmart and baking cookies.  Take a second to soak in the beauty that is life.  I just looked up from my desk to see all the pictures of Truce & Jennifer on my wall.  That deserves more seconds than 1.  My point is this; life is a beautiful, wonderful gift, take a second to take it in, marvel at it and rejoice in it.  Doing that several times a day changes the entire way you look at things.  It gives you a great perspective on how wonderful and beautiful life is.  It’s raining and cold here today, but I can’t help look out the window and enjoy the simple beauty of the rain.

Have a wonderful day. (Watch it full screen if you can.)

Seconds Of Beauty – 1st round compilation from The Beauty Of A Second on Vimeo.