Always Forward, Rarely Straight

25 09 2012

So I was living the dream, 70 pounds down, plant based diet, feeling healthier and full if energy – then vacation time came. After making the proclamation here that I would not allow vacation to derail me as it has done to so many others – it did. Day one of vacation started with pancakes, bacon and sausage and I never looked back. And a week spiraled into two months of eating a lot more of what I hadn’t been. The last time I looked at a scale I had gained back 12 pounds.

How does it happen? How do human beings that are so focused on a goal slip up like that and completely fall apart? For me, I was frustrated. I was tired of feeling like I was depriving myself and barely seeing the needle on the scale move. It was frustrating to go to my acupuncture appointments and pay hundreds of dollars and see that I lost .4 pounds that week when I knew how hard I was working to lose more. Some weeks, I was even slightly up. So despite the tremendous physical benefits I was feeling from acupuncture, I stopped going all together.

And same was the fate of this blog…checking in weekly to give the weight loss report – I’m just not wired that way. The self imposed “foot on the neck” approach does not yield lasting results for me. I need to have a more gentler setup.

In the past several weeks, I’ve felt a whole lot less full of vigor. I started to feel like how I felt a year ago right before I got sick. I’ve recently been eating an 80% raw diet of uncooked fruits,veggies and nuts in an effort to get back on track. I’ll be frank, I have no idea of what the future game plan is here. I’m just trying to figure out what works for me. Mostly plant based / mostly raw feels good but I’m just not sure if I have the strength or will to limit all food intake to that – at least for the moment.

I’m thankful to the many people who wrote me to see if all was okay or to ask what happened to the blog. It would have been interesting to blog during this two months “in the wilderness” but I just didn’t have it in me. I needed to hit the reset button and clear my mind. I feel like I’m in a better space now.

So for those still checking in, thanks so much. Here we go again…always forward, rarely straight….

Look Ma, I’m on TV!

27 05 2012

My friend Jaime has a fantastic new television show that teaches folks how to make amazing plant based meals. As you will see though, this show offers a whole lot more than just a few recipes. I make my appearance in the last segment to talk about how I came to adopt a plant based diet. I also get to try this amazing food. And that’s not hype, these dishes were fantastic! As you watch this you will see that it’s obvious that I’m not all that comfortable yet with sharing my story on camera but this was a very fun experience and a fantastic opportunity to let folks in my local area know about my blog.

I’m very much indebted to Jaime. People like her hold part of the map that I need to get to where I’m supposed to be going. The first night I met her I was really talking for the first time about my health, my new plant-based lifestyle change and my wanting to lose a lot of weight. I was terrified to talk about this in front of strangers (we were at a local bloggers meet and greet – yes, bloggers really do get out from behind the computer once in awhile. And when we do, we gather together and talk about blogging!). Jaime gave me a big genuine hug afterwards that completely disarmed me and made me feel much better about the situation. This is truly part of Jaime’s mission statement. She works to make the world a better place by putting part of her soul into so many of the things that she does. That night was the very first time that I truly realized that beyond my fear lies amazing and wonderful things.

please check out Jaime’s blog:

Who We Are

20 04 2012

Sometimes with art, you experience something that really moves you and you really wish that you would have created it. This is often the case if I listen to a song that moves me or if I see photography that really speaks to me. And so it is with blogging… This was the case today when I read this Facebook entry from an actor friend of mine:

I am not my body. I am not the things I feel or see or taste or hear or smell. I am only what I think. My thoughts are the totality of me. At my essence, I am electrical sparks jumping from synapse to synapse in a dance of joy and despair. All that makes me ME is nothing more than energy focused, energy shared and recycled throughout the world, connecting everything that has ever lived. If we released all of this energy simultaneously, the earth would shine brighter than the sun for a moment, and the universe would finally know we were here.
– Patrick Turner

Tasting the Agony of Defeat

30 03 2012

So the local blog awards were held last night and succumbed to the very stiff competition. With just three months of this page being in existence, I think it went as well as could be expected. The fact that it was nominated in three categories made me proud. But victory is so sweet and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to win. It does motivate me to work harder for next time. Things that we truly want should not come easy so that when we obtain them, we really savor it and appreciate it. I was very glad to see some of my friends win. Both those that did and didn’t are passionate about their craft and are inspirations to me. I made a few new friends as well and I look forward to reading their work.

So I came back home a beaten man. What to do? Bag of potato chips? Pint of ice cream? No!



In a suit and tie no less – because one should be professional at all times. I curled until I could curl no more.
As some of you may know, I dabble in the arts. Being of Italian descent, I thought it would be fun to audition for a local series about “the mob” (more info coming in the next several weeks when I’m allowed to discuss it). Ironically I was offered a part as a Russian Mob enforcer. The problem here is two-fold. I need to figure out a Russian accent pretty quickly. That is doable. The other issue is that the headshot I used to get the part is a bit dated. I weighed at least 60 pounds more at the time. But now, I’m the incredible shrinking man. So hitting the weights hard and regularly is imperative. I need to be lean, mean and hulking!

Da svidaniya comrades!
For now,

I See You But I Don’t Know Who You Are

29 03 2012

Tonight I will be attending the Best of the Valley Blog Awards for Northeastern Pennsylvania. It’s exciting to see that this little labor of love which is only a couple of months old snagged three separate nominations. I don’t expect to win anything but it really is an honor to be recognized alongside my peers, many of which I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for.

Events like this always cause me anxiety. In the past, I would try to pick a seat I could fit in comfortably although that is becoming less of a worry as my journey chugs along and I continue to lose weight. The other issue that I don’t talk about much is that I am face blind. Face blindness is the inability to recognize faces, even those I see semi-regularly. Sure I know my family, my friends and my every day co-workers but I’ve seen neighbors that live next to me in local stores and have been afraid to walk up to them for fear that it might not be them. In fact I still can’t say for sure if it was them or not. I’ve had co-workers from other offices that I used to work with daily who get bent out of shape if I see them outside of work and don’t acknowledge them. I’m sure it seems quite rude but it’s just my brains inability to recognize you. It’s nothing personal. Even watching movies or programs on television is a nightmare. If there are multiple people with the same hair color or style, I am done for. I cannot distinguish any of the top stars from each other. In my daily life I end up focusing on hair, distinguishing features, body movement and mannerisms to help me determine if someone is who I believe they might be. This often leads me to feel more socially awkward than I already am.

I used to think this was a normal experience for everyone but in recent years I have come to learn that it is an actual phenomena that1 in 50 people suffer from some form of. Some people can not recognize their own children. I’m lucky as my symptoms are not that severe.

So if you see me out and about and I don’t acknowledge you or I seem perplexed, just reintroduce yourself. I know it’s weird but it is what it is.

Our Biggest Competition is Us

14 03 2012

For as long as I can remember, I have despised competition. It does bring out the best in people but I’m just not wired that way. If someone comes across as being overly competitive, I will generally find myself pulling back. That’s not to say that there aren’t times that I’m competitive because I’m sure there are and I’m also sure that those times have more to do with my ego than anything else. And that is a big reason why I’m not a fan of competition. It can just look and feel ugly sometimes. One place where I don’t mind being competitive is against myself. With my artistic endeavors, I find myself trying to push myself to surpass the levels of my previous achievements. If I’m part of writing what I feel like is a fantastic song, I want to top it the next chance I get. I love photography and feel that I have a knack for it at times but I am admittedly a novice. If I have a good day of shooting pics, I will try to surpass it the next chance I get to use my camera. I’m always striving to get better in the hopes of being the best at what I do artistically. This too is ego, but at least it is aimed at self. This current journey of health and wellness that I have undertaken is also a competition against myself. I don’t mind pushing myself to see if I can achieve something that is incredibly difficult. I like the idea of taking my greatest weakness and turning into a positive force in my life. In many ways, I feel like the competition is already over because in my mind I have made it. Now it’s just about physically getting there.

Recently this blog was nominated in three separate categories (“Food”, “Fitness and Health” and “Personal”) for the Best of the Blogs for the local valley where I live. I’ve only been doing this for two months, so that was a really nice surprise and I did feel like it was an honor since I was nominated alongside people I truly respect who have been doing this with amazing quality and for far longer than I have. I also felt a bit nauseous because I hate the thought of trying to orchestrate a voting effort to win this thing. My blog is not about winning contests, it’s about winning over my weakness, It’s about getting my health back and getting a good quality of life. That is the prize for me. But I’d be lying to you if I didn’t admit that winning best in the area for the “Fitness and Health” category would be fantastically awesome. For one it would increase this site’s readership. And really, what is a blog without readers. But the real reason is this: it’s not every day that a guy my size wins an award for fitness and health. Frankly, it’s just about never. So it is quite appealing in that respect.

Having said that, those who read this blog and enjoy it can vote by clicking here:

Registering is fairly easy (enter your facebook or yahoo login info or your email). People can vote daily between now and March 25th. A blogger friend of mine, Jaime, has an excellent vegan food/ lifestyle blog “Save The Kales” that can be voted for in the food section. If you’ve never heard of it you really should check it out. It’s quite wonderful and has been a huge asset to me as I try to navigate my own plant based journey.

I was fortunate to meet Jaime during a recent meeting of local bloggers. I had only been blogging for a very short time and am typically a little quiet at first in new social situations. It was very difficult that night to stand up in front of a room of people whom I did not know and announce that my blog was about my efforts to lose 225 pounds and become healthy again. A gathering of bloggers quickly began to feel like an overeater’s anonymous meeting. I felt beyond skittish. I just wanted to run and hide. Afterwards, I met Jaime and she gave me a big hug. A hug from a complete stranger, sometimes that is all a person needs. I had been feeling so vulnerable and this one kind act wiped it all away. Jaime is that kind of person. She lives what she preaches. You can see it in the many local organizations that she is part of and you can read it in her writing. You should definitely check out “Save The Kales”. I think you will agree that it is an amazing food blog. We’ll be seeing more of Jaime here sometime in the future as an interview is planned. I’m excited because she is a wealth of knowledge and as a newbie to this plant based lifestyle, people who have been on the path for awhile are invaluable.

There are many other great blogs that are in the running. I’m blessed to be in an area with so many talented folks. Blogs like “No Room for Seconds”, “The Corner Seat” and “Laughing at my Nightmare” are all fantastic. Some are my “competition” (there’s that word again) – but if you find yourself with a little extra time, give them a look and consider giving them your vote. They are good people, great writers who have something worthwhile to say. And my hope is that at some point I will be able to collaborate with many of them as I definitely see crossover potential.

Johnnysized Recognized Locally

9 03 2012

I was thrilled to realize this morning that this little website has been nominated for best food blog and best health and wellness blog in the Lehigh Valley (Pennsylvania, USA). Voting is daily and you can login with your facebook info (or any other number of ways) if anyone is so inclined. If you enjoy what you read here, I’d certainly appreciate the support. There are also many other fine blogs there to check out so give it a look. I’ve only been doing this for two months, so it’s really an honor to be recognized.

Voting starts at noon eastern time on 3/9 and continues through the month.  Votes can be cast once daily here:

Thanks friends!

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