Finding the Balance

15 06 2012

A pretty good week so far on the health front. Maybe after 6 months I’m finally starting to find some balance. The acupuncture sessions are reminding me that making the time for selfcare is so important and vitally necessary. I have my third session today and I’m eager to see what their scale says. My scale here is looking good.

I’ve been juicing during the morning lately. I love this Vitamix. It was an expensive investment that was really worth it. For starters, all of the pulp and fiber that a traditional juicer would expel, the Vitamix blends right into your drink. These are important vitamins and nutrients. Why let them go to waste.

Juicing gives me a chance to be creative with the ingredients I use and about 95% of the time I enjoy what I’m making. Yesterday I had blueberry and kale juice (with apple and orange). Kale has almost no taste when juiced and is one of the most vitamin packed, nutrient rich foods you can eat. Earlier in the week I had strawberry dandelion juice (with apple, orange and sweet lettuce) which is actually a near perfect combo. Dandelion is very good for your blood but can often be bitter. It is definitely an acquired taste. I find that the strawberries compliment the taste without totally masking it. The morning berry intake is very important. Recent studies indicate that just a half cup of berries a week helps to keep our brains sharp. This is an easy way to get your daily antioxidant intake boosted!

I’ve kicked up the exercise regiment a bit this week as well. I still need to be exercising more and this will likely continue to be a stumbling block for me for some time but I will keep working at it. Losing weight is a process. I know that I’d be further along in this journey if I exercised more.

Posts here at Johnnysized have been more sporadic lately. I try for 5 posts a week but lately it’s been less. I don’t want folks to think I’m falling off. If anything I am more engaged than ever. I’ve just had a lot of sticks in the fire recently. My photography gigs have been increasing and photo editing is extremely time consuming. I have some interesting things going on musically with my band’s second album nearing completion.

There is also this web series coming out on June 30th. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m getting my feet wet in the world of acting. I’m playing the part of a legbreaker. Give it a look:

More info at

Re-Birth Day!

26 05 2012

Wow, what a couple of weeks it has been.  Work has been insanely crazy.  And some photography gigs and other artistic pursuits have kept me extra busy during my typical downtime.  Trying to eat healthier while running myself ragged is also quite a challenge.  Admittedly I’m struggling some days.  But that is the beauty of each new day, waking up and getting a chance to start over from scratch and make your life what you want it to be.  Each day is a chance to recommit and become my best self.  Last night I had the best sleep that I have had in weeks.  That alone makes such a difference.

This week I celebrated my 37th birthday.  As I get older, birthdays become a strange thing.  As a child I would look so forward to birthdays and presents and parties with friends.  Nowadays though, I’m content to push the day off and try to find a way to go in reverse.  It’s not getting older that scares me as much as it is having less time.  In some ways I feel like this lifestyle change is a way to counteract thatt.  To make some changes in order to lose wight while gaining energy and better well being.  In so many ways, eating plant based has been like finding the fountain of youth.

When I was in high school I wanted to get into law enforcement.  I always had this nagging feeling that I wouldn’t live past my 2o’s.  I thought for sure I would be shot and killed while in that line of duty.  It’s weird but true.  In college I was actually shot at (being somewhere at the wrong place and time) and got away physically unharmed.  That is a story for another time.  That experience though made me feel temporarily bullet proof and the fear of being shot has never really returned.  But over the years since then, I put on well over 125 pounds.  I started to think that my poor lifestyle would be the thing to do me in.  I thought for sure  I’d be checking out early just because I had let myself go so badly.  There comes a point where a person can feel like staying on the path they are on is just easier than making the difficult changes.

I’m happy that as I begin my 27th year on this planet, I’m making changes that should help improve my quality of life and hopefully keep me in the game longer.  I feel tremendous gratitude for my family and friends.  My life is blessed.  I am striving to be the best that I can be.  I feel thankful for a job that makes me crazy but really does do a small part to make the lives if children a little bit better.  I am extremely grateful for my outside pursuits in the arts, the chances it gives me to express myself and meet fascinating, wonderful people along the way who have amazing stories.  Life is good.  I’m going to try to make it even better in the next year.

Thanks for reading!

keep in touch:

Mike Watt on Life, Death and Art

16 05 2012
Mike Watt – The man in the van with a bass in his hand.  For quite awhile now, Watt has been a lighthouse in the midst of my creative ocean – not steering me to the safety of the shore, but steering me away from it to untapped regions of the unknown where beautiful things can be born if you are brave enough to plant and water the seeds.  I’ve spoken about him in other posts so I won’t beat the same old stories to death here.  Suffice to say, he’s one very creative individual who has a beautiful mind and I’ve considered myself extremely fortunate to be able to interact with him now and again.  The world would benefit from more Mike Watts…I’ll leave it at that and move on to this recent interview with him:
Pic I took from the most recent missingmen 3rd opera tour in Philly
JS: Back in September I came down with a serious infection that took me about 5 months to fight off.  It changed my outlook on a lot of things and really spurred  me to make some long overdue lifestyle changes.  You had your own experience with a seriousness illness back in 2000.  Can you talk a little about that and how that experience spurred change in you?
WATT:  yes, the experience twelve years ago with that illness provided both the inspiration for my second opera and helped make me even more earnest to make as much work as I can with the time I’ve got left.  it was very profound feelings of mortality that shook me to my core. I was only fortytwo and still had so much more I wanted to do.  it was intense for me, big time.
JS:  I’ve come to realize from being sick that I’ve been terrified of pain all of my life and will go to great lengths to avoid it.  What do you think pain teaches us?
WATT:  I was born with bad knees and had much much pain there, surgeries in my twenties.  I think it even helped make me feel more paranoid, waiting for the next “incident” hell and shit like that.  pain can mold us into trippy shapes if we let it dominate us.  it is a tough struggle but seems like a part of the journey.   damn.   probably being born without pain is a challenge also, believe or not.   life is not easy but can be interesting if you put your heart into it.   the physical hells are struggles though, that’s for sure.
JS: We all have our own insecurities and fears.  I often am afraid of opening myself up to strangers in such a public way (as I’ve been doing on this website).  When you have pushed through your own fears in the past what have you found waiting for you on the other side?
WATT:  I got into music to be with my buddy d. boon and he definitely was not so fearful.  this helped me much and I borrowed from him on this, he inspired me to try and be brave but not conceited – he was like that: a very humble man who would try his hardest with expression.  I find when I push some fears away, there’s others waiting so the “fear problem” is never “solved” but rather constantly wrestled.  that’s a trip.
JS:  One of my favorite lyrics from your third opera “hyphenated-man” comes from the song  pinned-to-the-table-man.  “Loss and liberation, forever the connection, forever the question”.  There is so much in that one little sentence.  Can you expand upon the relationship between loss and liberation?  What is the connection and what is the question as you see it?
WATT:  I wrote that in saint petersburg (russia) way after all the other stuff.  in fact I recorded the spiel at my pedro pad when I got back cuz everything had done been done at tony maimone’s studio g in brooklyn already.  the problem was I was “ending” (I say that cuz in theory it’s supposed to be circular and unending) with the “man-shitting-man” part and I realized that folks might take that as the bottom line or some kind of summation/summary of the whole piece.  so what I did was the move the middle (hub) song to the end and instead of having one instrumental as originally planned, I wrote that spiel you refer to and put that part in the middle.  the spiel itself refers to middle years and the idea of reconciliation.  of course not everything can be reconciled and I had to acknowledge that w/a part like that “man-shitting-man” one but in other places, that can happen – even it can be very painful and be a tough lesson to learn.  man treating fellow man inhumanely can’t ever be reconciled in my thinking though, it is huge problem.
angels gate lightouse – April 22, 2008
 Mike Watt 

JS: I’ve really enjoyed your photography over the years.  Some of my favorites like the angels gate lighthouse pics can be found in your new book: mike watt  on and off bass (published by Three Rooms Press).   Have you found any intrinsic similarities between snapping pictures and making music?
WATT:  snapping pictures means trying to capture something you can’t really set up, the way I do it at the crack of dawn on the bicycle or in the kayak.  with composition, you’re more in charge of preparing the situation. there’s more chance involved I think with the pictures and more personal effort with the song stuff.  there are similarities with the idea of refining an expression in a way though, I agree with you there.
JS:  There are also excerpts from your tour diaries as well as some of your poetry in the book.  You have been exploring many different forms of art.  Is there a common thread or underlying drive that spurs you into these seemingly different artistic directions?
WATT:  laurie steelink at track 16 gallery picked the first thirtyfive shots, the three rooms people kat and peter picked the diary entries and the rest of the included images so I think in a way the book is a collaboration.  as for diary writing, I do that on tour to help keep focus and never reread them, so embarrassing to me! that’s the practical side to it.  I guess it is some sort of extension of some of the same stuff in the picture taking and bass plucking too.  I guess the common thread is fucking watt.
JS:  It sometimes appears that for many of us the act of “creating” is encoded into our DNA.  I don’t necessarily mean this in a religious way, but it just seems that we are wired to want to create.  Why do you think human beings find the act of creating, especially art, so important?
Watt:  john coltrane said something about musicians being after a truth and I’m thinking that could apply to the other arts as well.  it’s a search…

JS:  If your vast body of artistic work could only accomplish one thing, what would you want it to be?
Watt: to make folks feel safe to take risks with arts and expression in each of our journeys to find our inside voice and not just flop around in the very shallow pan of marsh, finding ourselves bound up in puppet strings.


Pic of Watt and me.  I’m over 400 pounds in this pic.  I never posted it before because I have always been ashamed at how out of whack I let my weight get around this time.  Now that I’ve lost some of this weight, it feels a little bit safer.

Mike’s book (it’s awesome, buy yourself a copy) can be purchased here:

Mike’s music can be found at itunes, fine music purveyors everywhere and here at his new label:

Info on all things Mike can be found here:

Watt’s podcast of interesting music and ideas here:

(Thanks again Mike!)

Wrestling with my Weight

24 04 2012

And so begins week 18 of my switch to a plant based diet and exercise regime. This week I lost another pound bringing my total weight loss to over 62 pounds. It was nothing short of a miracle to lose that pound this week because at one point I was several pounds up. My schedule was so packed with things to do that my discipline became severely tested. I had two pro wrestling photography gigs (including the great honor of photographing the 2012 Wild Samoan Cup) which meant late nights editing pictures. So on both nights when 2 or 3AM rolled around, I got hungry. My food choices weren’t always the best. But really, anything to eat at that time, just isn’t wise. I also only got in a DDP Yoga workout twice last week. Luckily snapping 1300 pics is no easy task and requires a lot of crouching so by the end of the second night I felt like I had done several back to back Yoga sessions. One thing I’ll say for the yoga, it helps me stay in a crouched down position for a heck of a lot longer. My flexibility is definitely improving.

One of my favorite pics from this past weekend:

and this one:

I’ll be spending the next two days driving down and back up the eastern seaboard of the US for work. Should be interesting to see how I can maintain a plant based diet while on the road like this.

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

My Man Crush

17 03 2012

For the past two weekends I’ve been partaking in an absolute meeting of my passions – photography and pro wrestling.  I’ve loved wrestling all of my life.  I remember being about 7 years old and telling my mother and grandmother, I was going to be a pro wrestler when I grew up.  I remember them quickly saying “no way”.  And so the dream died which is unfortunate.  It’s tough to be so young and understand the concept of following your dreams and living the life you want to live and not the one that others would want you to live.  Over the years though, I have continued to love the art of professional wrestling.  I see a fair amount of local independent shows and began to incorporate my love of photography from my seat.  I began capturing some decent pictures and eventually was able to parlay that into an actual job taking pictures.  Tonight I will take pictures for the legendary Wild Somoans’ WXW C4 promotion.  It’s my third official gig and is an amazing opportunity to get better at this fledgling craft of mine.

Last week, I took some pics for WiF and was able to talk to Ultra Mantis Black (^^^^Vegan pro wrestler ^^^^).  For those who have been reading a little longer, you may remember that I had the opportunity to interview UMB a little while back.

Last week I bought one of his t-shirts in a sixe XL.  I haven’t fit into an XL in a long, long time.  But it won’t be that much longer.  This gives me an extra something to work towards. I look forward to photographing a show with UMB sometime in the near future and sporting this:

Pink is my color isn’t in?

And while we’re talking about wrestling, I may as well share with you my man crush – World Heavyweight Champion (and vegan), Daniel Bryan.  I had wanted to interview him for this site but so far WWE media relations has turned me down. I recently came across this video though and thought I’d share it:

This isn’t a new crush though. I have enjoyed this guy for years in the indys and this is why:

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.

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