Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Interview with Jimmy "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" Moore

OK Guys, today I am very happy that for my first of a series of interviews I plan on conducting this year is with no one other than a personal friend, an online mentor, and all around good guy. Yes, I'm talking about The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Man himself, Jimmy Moore. Jimmy has been on the forefront of not only the low-carb movement, but the movement to allow people to have more than just a high-carb, low-fat choice in losing weight and maintaining it.

Jimmy's personal weight loss story of losing close to 200lbs prompted him to start a blog, write a book, and become one of the most recognized health bloggers on the internet. His very informative and entertaining blog,
Livin La Vida Low Carb, has been visited by thousands of viewers across the globe and continues to gain popularity as folks are starting to take notice of the healthy, low-carb, lifestyle that continues to help many overweight folks lose the weight.

Most people don't know that it was because of Jimmy's encouragement that I decided to start my very own weight loss blog. That's right, if it wasn't for Jimmy, there would be no Mr. Low Body Fat's Blog! And since I started in August of last year, I can tell you that I've bugged Jimmy more than I had in the two years I'd been following his blog! OK, let's move on to the interview where I ask Jimmy a couple of questions about his weight loss, his blog, the Kimkins fiasco, as well as other hot topics:

  1. Jimmy, welcome to my blog and thanks for agreeing to be the very first interviewee for my blog; I really appreciate it. Alright, I know that you have written a book about your inspiring 180+lb. weight loss journey; however, could you give my readers a re-cap of how you went about losing, and keeping off, so much weight?

    Well thanks for having me today. I always count it a privilege to share my story with others and help them in any way that I can. It's all a part of my desire to give back for the miracle that has happened in my life as a result of losing as much as I did. My personal weight loss journey began the exact same way that most of us who have attempted to lose weight has--I was dissatisfied with how I looked and felt, I was on the brink of putting my health in permanent jeopardy, and I felt hopeless that there was any way out of this deep hole I had dug for my life. But there was one thing different about this time that I had never done before. I decided that the choice I would make to lose the weight would be something I would do for the rest of my life to keep the weight off. If you merely go on a diet to lose weight just so you can get back to eating the way you did before, then hear me out on this--YOU WILL FAIL! On January 1, 2004, I decided after trying to figure out which nutritional plan was going to enable me to lose weight and then continue eating that way long after the weight loss ended that I was going to go on the Atkins diet. And when I say Atkins, I'm not just referring to meat, eggs, and cheese.

    There is so much more to this way of eating than that as you will discover in Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution. If you claim to be doing the "Atkins" diet and never even bothered to open the book, then you are NOT doing the Atkins diet. You can't possibly know how to do a diet that you've never even read. READ THE BOOK and absorb all the lessons that the late great Dr. Robert C. Atkins shared therein. You're weight loss journey will be that much better if you do. When I started, my weight was 410 pounds, I had a size 62-inch waist, was wearing 5XL shirts, was on prescription medications for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and breathing issues. I was quite literally a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode at the age of 32. My brother Kevin had suffered a series of three heart attacks within the span of a week that nearly killed him when he was the exact same age, so I was deeply troubled and worried about my own health for the future. Unless you've been morbidly obese, you cannot even begin to understand the enormous pressure of living this way. You don't want to be fat, but that's exactly where you are. It is quite literally a lonely, bleak, and miserable existence from quite arguably some of the most intelligent, loving, and caring people you'll ever meet. These are the people who are overlooked by our society, but they have just as much to contribute as their leaner counterparts.

    As for my Atkins lifestyle change, it started off pretty rough during those first few days, but I was determined that this time failure was NOT an option. The sugar withdrawals I endured gave me bad body aches, headaches, and such that I felt like I was detoxing from a cocaine addiction. I've never taken drugs, but in those first few days and weeks of the Atkins diet, I could finally imagine what it would be like to break an addiction to drugs. This one had a deep stranglehold on me just like the worst recreational drug you could ever take. It took a little while for my body to adjust to ending my sugar addiction, but when it did the real benefits of livin' la vida low-carb began in earnest. After one month on the Atkins diet, I had lost 30 pounds. I thought to myself, WOW, this diet really works! But I hadn't seen anything yet because in month two another 40 pounds were gone from my rapidly shrinking body. Holy cow, is this REALLY happening to me? By the end of ten weeks I had lost 100 pounds and I went on to lose a total of 180 pounds in 2004 despite a 10-week weight loss stall right smack dab in the middle of the year. I persevered despite the pain, despite the mental challenges, and despite the fact that I had lost weight and gained it back before. It was gonna be so worth it for me this time and I had a feeling something major was about to happen for me in my life.

    Four years later, I'm living a dream life: after losing all that weight that changed my physical life, I decided to start my "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog in April 2005 to share with others about my weight loss success and to help keep myself accountable. It's kinda hard to gain back your weight if you have a whole buncha eyeballs watching you on a daily basis at a blog. Of course, I also wrote that book you mentioned to tell my story in greater detail since people were curious about how I did it. Writing a book was one of the most gratifying experiences of my life and I'm ready to write even more books this year and beyond. As the blog audience continued to grow, I was approached about doing a podcast show and started "The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show with Jimmy Moore" in October 2006 which now has over 100 episodes. My wife Christine then started joining me in August 2007 for some fun and educational new YouTube videos about low-carb living to reach a new audience of people who had never heard of me. Finally, last month I released a brand new sugar-free, low-carb dark chocolate raspberry bar called "The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Bar" from the makers of ChocoPerfection. I like to stay busy with all of these things because it motivates me to continue doing the things that got me here so I can not just keep the weight off, but to maintain my health for many years to come. Livin' la vida low-carb is not just about getting skinny--health is the PRIMARY reason anyone and everyone should be eating this way. Weight loss is a nice side effect of the low-carb lifestyle.

  2. I think that it is safe to say that more people probably know you more as "The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Man" than your real name. What caused you to start your blog and the whole "Livin La Vida Low-Carb" concept?

    I'm not ashamed of nor do I run away from the branding of "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" in as many avenues as possible. If someone finds my blog, podcast, YouTube videos, chocolate bar, or anything else that I've done and can change their life like I did, then the work I invest is all worth it. And from the hundreds of e-mails that I receive on a daily basis, that's precisely what is happening. Nothing is more satisfying than knowing you are playing an instrumental role in the success of others and that's what keeps me going regardless. The story about how my blog got started is that it was almost by accident. I was already a contributing opinion writer at a web site called CommonVoice.com where most of the columns were about politics (I have very little interest in that subject now--EEEK!). But after this enormous weight loss, I had written a few columns about my weight loss progress and success. Because anything posted to CommonVoice.com showed up in Google News searches, it captured the attention of lots of people who were interested in learning more about my story in a more intimate way. And everyone I ran into wanted to know, "How'd you lose weight?" A friend of mine who has a very successful political web site had decided to try his hand at blogging in early April 2005. I had heard of a blog, but really wasn't that familiar with them at the time. Commonvoice.com was a pseudo-blog because I could write whenever I wanted about what was on my mind. But seeing this new blog from my friend got me to thinking that this would be an excellent way to get the word out about my weight loss success, give me an outlet for writing about those experiences, and enable me to connect with others who struggle with their weight and health.

    And thus was born the concept of "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb." It's something that has flourished beyond anything I could have ever imagined. People are looking for someone they can relate to who understands them without being judgmental or preachy. That's why my motto is to "educate, encourage, and inspire" others as they begin this journey for themselves. That's what I was about then and what I'm still about today.

  3. Again, following your lead, I'm thinking about doing a video blog of my 12 week "In Search of Sandow" Body Transformation" that I'm currently doing. Well, you've recently ventured out into the world of video blogging on youtube along with your lovely wife, Christine. What made you try such a different type of media? What are some of the pros and cons you've experienced so far with video blogging?

    Absolutely, you should start doing YouTube videos. Just make sure the quality of your production is the best it can be. Get good lighting, make sure your sound is as clear as possible, look directly into the camera when you are speaking, and just be YOU! It's a great avenue for how-to videos like what you are wanting to do, so GO FOR IT!!! Why did I decide to start doing YouTube videos? Simply put, it was a new audience of people to reach with the message of "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb." There are people who live on YouTube and so that is an attractive place to capture new faces to the concept of low-carb. And quite frankly I was disappointed at the lack of quality information about low-carb on YouTube. Other than my fellow 200-pound Atkins diet weight loss success story and friend Kent Altena (bowulf) who had posted a series of how to do Atkins videos in 2006, there was nothing positive on there about living the low-carb life. I mean, come on! We all know how wonderful this way of eating is and how much it can change your life. It was high time that even more voices in support of livin' la vida low-carb made their presence felt. And so I did and got my wife Christine to join me (which was amazing since she is a big-time introvert married to an ultra-extravert). But we've had a blast with these videos.

    Pros? Definitely, you can reach new people who would probably not find you otherwise. But once you got 'em hooked on your videos, they'll start checking out your blogs, podcasts, and other entities to continue the learning process. Plus, it is another way to have an outlet for sharing about my success. It's been almost three years since I started my blog and there are STILL brand new people finding out about the work I am doing. I never assume that everyone knows about "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" because there are hundreds of millions more who don't. YouTube is yet another way to tap into that pool of people.
    Cons? It takes time to record and produce a YouTube video. First we come up with what we're gonna talk about, then we start recording the 10-minute video speaking almost exclusively extemporaneously because we don't want to sound scripted or robotic. Anyone who watches our videos will tell you that the unexpected is what they enjoy most about our videos. But this does open the door for leaving out some important things when you don't go by a rigid format. I think the trade-off is worth it, though, because people connect with the reality of how we present ourselves. Nobody is snoozing through our videos. :)

  4. Jimmy, like you, I'm a big fan of the Biggest Loser. I've been hooked since the first season. I know that you have blogged about the show on numerous occasions and communicated with some of the contestants here in the US as well as internationally from the show. I really enjoyed your recent interview with Pete from the second season. So, why are you such a fan? Why am I such a fan of The Biggest Loser?

    It's simple: that television show is changing the lives of real people for the better. You and I both know the pain of being morbidly obese and the struggle to overcome that major obstacle in our lives. The process is not easy, but it's not impossible either. I especially like the fact that they give people hope for a future they didn't know existed yet and an opportunity to see exactly what they can do when pushed to display the strength they have within them. The connection people make with these contestants rooting them on as they lose the weight and get their health back is what makes this the most wildly-popular weight loss show in the history of television. The trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels as well as some of the nutrition experts on the show like Dr. Michael Dansinger recognize the value of individualizing a diet plan that will work for each contestant. The monolithic low-fat, low-calorie approach to eating is not espoused on the show although I wish they would make it more explicit that they tailor the nutritional aspect of the contestants to maximize their ability to shed the pounds. And every single winner of The Biggest Loser in the United States and Australia has implemented some sort of a carbohydrate-restricted diet which tells me this way of eating is indeed a very viable way to help bring about weight loss and improved health.

    Wanna know what my dream show idea for The Biggest Loser is? Low-fat vs. low-carb! Put half the contestants on a high-carb, low-fat diet a la Ornish and pit them against a team of contestants following a high-fat, low-carb diet. Talk about a runaway, slam dunk for livin' la vida low-carb and what great television that would make! But you and I both know that'll never happen because that would create such a demand for low-carb that the sugar, grain, and junk food industries would probably go out of business overnight. That wouldn't be such a bad thing, ya know? :D

  5. I think it's safe to say that you have interviewed some of the biggest names in the low-carb movement, as well as the diet industry as a whole. OK, describe the absolutely worst interview that you've had. Now, of course I'm not expecting you to reveal the person's name, but just tell us what made it such a horrible experience. The more detailed, the better . . . ;)

    I'm gonna be honest with you...I haven't had a "worst" interview. Whenever I am given an opportunity to speak with someone on my podcast show or send them interview questions for my blog, it is an honor to have a chance to speak with others who have much more knowledge and wisdom about diet and health that I do. So I remain humble and respectful because they took the time to talk to me. Not many people have the almost instant access to a whole array of experts at their fingertips, but I do and I am very grateful. It's all about cultivating those relationships with the people so they will feel comfortable speaking with you anytime. One such extreme example of this is low-fat diet guru Dr. Dean Ornish. Back in 2006, I tried to get an interview with him to share with my readers at my blog. He agreed to the interview after about six months of working out the details (he got married that year, so he was a little busy). Finally, in October 2006, that interview took place although Dr. Ornish was still a little concerned that I would try to twist his words into saying something he didn't say. But I assured him I recorded the interview and would write what he said verbatim. And I did. That experience enabled me to cultivate a cordial relationship with him that continues to this day. In fact, Dr. Ornish has a new book that recently released called The Spectrum that incorporates some of the areas of commonality he and I talked about during our first interview and he came to me about doing a second interview. We'll definitely be working out the details on that very soon.

    I suppose the worst experience I have had TRYING to get an interview with someone is Dr. Joel Fuhrman. He is a well-known vegetarian author of the book Eat To Live and an outspoken critic of the Atkins diet, so I wanted to interview him to ask him some specific questions regarding his opposition to livin' la vida low-carb. Since I had interviewed Dr. Ornish, a much more famous low-fat vegetarian than Dr. Fuhrman, I didn't anticipate getting an interview would be an issue. But the webmaster for his blog Gerald Pugliese rather bluntly responded back to my request by saying "you're a nobody--just a lowly blogger like me." It's interesting that I'm such a "nobody" because they sure do talk about me and link to posts I have written quite a bit. Oh well, it's their loss and it makes you wonder what they're trying to hide. If he's worried about having his core nutritional beliefs challenged, then he should be afraid--VERY AFRAID!

  6. Alright, now switching gears back to a more serious topic: online weight loss scams. To those of my readers who are not familiar with the whole Kimkins fiasco, please go here for a rehash. OK, instead reliving all that madness Jimmy, could you try and help me understand why people continue to support this big fat fraud? I mean, come one, she's been outed and forced to come clean. What do you think?

    I wish I knew why in light of all the evidence showing the Kimkins diet fraud which was created by a morbidly obese 300+ pound woman named Heidi Diaz who has been a well-known scam artist for years is still so attracted to this plan. It is basically a ZERO fat, ZERO carb, protein-only diet that is causing some really dangerous health complications to happen in the desperate and unsuspecting dieters who try it. The calorie intake of the people following this plan as Diaz, who is neither a doctor nor a nutritionist, wrote it out is around 500 a day. Yikes! This diet is nothing more than a one-way ticket to anorexia and death due to malnutrition. I suppose people are so desperate for weight loss that they'll even try something this drastic to see if it will work for them. It's a sad day in our society when people are more concerned about weight loss than they are about improving their health. The latter is worth so much more to your body long-term which is why I emphasize that fact more and more in all that I do. National television exposure of the fraud as well as an ongoing class action lawsuit against Diaz will eventually come to a head and hopefully bring this diet imposter down for good. For the sake of the tens of thousands of people who got sucked in by this scheme, I can only hope that day will be sooner rather than later.

  7. Jimmy, I was excited to see that you have decided to make 2008 the year that you get serious about resistance training because you're not happy with the way your body looks. I can fully relate as I have experienced the same thing after losing over 100lbs. What was the catalyst that caused you to post shirtless pictures of yourself to your readers? I mean, what kind of guy would have a blog and show shirtless pics of himself? ;) No, seriously, what made you want to pursue a more lean and svelte look?

    Actually, I was so ready to get going with this that I started back in early December 2007 because I wanted to do this for real this time. I've been wanting to build upper body strength ever since I lost my weight in 2004, but didn't really know where to start. Despite losing a massive amount of weight, I've never felt comfortable with the way my body looks. Yes, I'm no longer that morbidly obese man that I once was, but I don't feel comfortable walking shirtless on the beach anytime soon. Why? I've got a belly full of loose skin and I'm just plain weak from the waist up. My legs have always been strong from carrying around 400+ pounds for so many years. But now it's time to work on my arms, shoulders, chest and abs. The problem for me was I am utterly clueless about where to start. Doing cardiovascular exercise on the treadmill or elliptical machine is easy--you just hop on and start sweating! LOVE IT! But lifting weights and doing resistance training was a mystery. Am I doing it right? How do I know which exercise to do to work a specific muscle group? How often can I workout so I can start firming up areas of my body? Is there such a thing as too much weight lifting? All these questions and more have swirled around in my head ever since I lost weight and quite frankly I had never received an answer to them until recently.

  8. I know that you've recently hired a personal trainer to help you reach destination lean. I think this is a great idea Jimmy, and I'm not saying this because I've decided to study to be a certified personal trainer. So, how is it going? Do you find that you are more motivated to push yourself when you have a trainer? Could you give my readers an idea of a typical workout routine?

    The main thing that has helped me this time around is hiring a personal trainer. Sure, there are lots of books and instructional videos out there which are excellent resources to use. But the personal touch of a trainer has committed me to doing this for real this time rather than hoping it will happen and then giving up in frustration. I've got a one-year contract with a trainer, so I HAVE to do this. If you are unsure about what to do to shape your body, lower your body fat, and get fit, then a personal trainer can help you get going the right way. I'm a little more than a month into this and have already seen a BIG difference in my biceps and shoulders. My chest, abs, and the rest of my arms still have a lot of work left to be done, but we'll get there. The ball is rolling and I'm ready for the ride.

  9. Jimmy, you are always sharing with your readers exciting low-carb news before it breaks to the major media outlets or those stories that never make it. So, what are some new things on the low-carb horizon that you think my reader's should be on the look out for?

    There's always so much going on that sometimes it is difficult for one person (ME!) to fit it all in. But I try my best to write about the most important stories that people should be aware of as they are happening. It makes my blog the "go-to" place for all things low-carb and I've purposely done that by design. Sure, there are other excellent blogs like yours, Regina Wilshire's "Weight Of The Evidence," Dr. Mike Eades' "Health and Nutrition," and many others who have their niche. And mine is to write as much as possible about livin' la vida low-carb so that you'll never be in the dark about what's happening with this way of eating. Hmmmm, is there anything new on the low-carb horizon you should know about...oh, yes, there is. Just as there was in January 2006, a brand new scientific sessions conference on carbohydrate restriction is scheduled for sometime this year and guess who one of the major sponsors of that conference will be? Yep, it's the American Diabetes Association who just this year has decided to promote low-carb alongside low-fat diets for diabetics. This is a major deal because much of the low-carb research has been about disease control with conditions like diabetes rather than weight loss. Losing weight is a given now on low-carb diets, so the researchers are now much more interested in the health improvements. This conference will present all the latest science behind livin' la vida low-carb and I personally look forward to being there to actively report on what is happening behind-the-scenes. It's truly exciting for those of us who support low-carb living!

  10. HOT SEAT QUESTION: OK, Jimmy, you are my "blogger" mentor and good friend, but I have to put you on the hot seat. This is something that everyone I interview has to experience. So, let's get to asking the hard question(s). I see that you have a new livin la vida low-carb chocolate bar, which you guys can check out and purchase here. While I'm happy that you are starting to offer branded products because of all your hard work in getting your name out there, I feel a bit ambivalent about you offering a candy bar to your readers and viewers. As a business venture and offering an alternative to the sugary bars out there, I can see why you would feel this gap, with obviously a good tasting product--the reviews are glowing. However, do you think that you are sending a mixed message to your audience, especially in light of your new commitment to exercise? Hey, is there a LLVLC protein bar/shake or something more health-ful in the works?

    Nah, that's not a hot seat question! I'm happy to talk about my amazing new low-carb chocolate bar. "The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Bar" is indeed a VERY healthy product that I am proud to have my name on because it is only made with the highest quality of ingredients, including coconut oil, cocoa butter, chickory root for fiber, and so much more. There are plenty of excellent protein-based shakes and bars out there to power you up for your workouts, but that's not the purpose of my bar. This chocolate is designed to give you the decadence of a gourmet European bar without all the sugar that generally accompanies it. With most low-carb chocolate bars these days infested with inferior sweeteners like the stomach-busting sugar alcohol maltitol, I am proud to offer a dark chocolate raspberry bar that people who need a little sweet in their life can enjoy without the guilt. After all, what would life be like if you couldn't eat chocolate, hmmm? :)

    Jimmy, I can't thank you enough for your time in allowing me to interview you for my blog. You have inspired me, as well as countless of others, on my weight loss journey with your passion and getting the message out to the lay person approach. Please keep on doing what you're doing Bro and know that you have a home here and are more than welcome to stop by any time.

    You are VERY welcome, Muata! Take care!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Let Your Mortality Serve As Motivation

Guys, I have something a bit personal to share with you today. I got a call from my mom yesterday, and she told me that my Auntie had finally passed on after a four year long battle with cancer. Since my mom had been to see her the last couple of weekends, I knew that she was literally on her death bed, so the news wasn't that shocking to me. However, thinking back from the time that she was first given 4 months to live, more than four years ago, until she finally died on this past Thursday, compelled me to share something with you, but I ask that you bear with me as I make my point.

My Auntie was a strong and proud woman who taught me many things, especially the family gardening secrets that she learned from my great-grandma. So, my avid love for gardening or just growing plants in general was definitely nurtured by her. She also constantly encouraged me as I worked and struggled my way through my Masters and PhD programs by allowing me to rent out her basement. I was experiencing really tough times as a poor, hungry, and jobless grad student, and I would have been homeless if it weren't for her taking me in.

Nevertheless, one thing that I observed from afar these past four years is my Auntie chasing after one treatment to the next in an attempt to "beat" her disease. While her warrior spirit was admirable, I can't help but shake my head because she spent the last four years of her life constantly in pain from one experimental chemo treatment to the next. There was one treatment where they had to put her hands and feet in cold water because of the heat generated by the chemicals they were pumping into her! Fellas, the truth is that my Auntie was, like many of us, afraid to die, and this fear caused her to miss out on possibly the most precious time of her life: her last years.

So, what in the world does this have to do with my weight loss blog? In a word, it has everything to do with not only weight loss, which is only a by product of our real goal here--taking control of You! Yes, I've read many books on nutrition and exercise that have been extremely valuable on my journey; however, there was one book that crystallized everything for me. After reading Dr. Wayne Dyer's Your Erroneous Zones, I had a new perspective on life. Yes, I'm talking about the same balding guy that seems to be on PBS 24/7 talking about his latest books or CDs. Honestly, I can't vouch for any of his other books or products since I haven't read or purchased them. Your Erroneous Zones was all that I needed at that point of my life, and reading it literally changed my life because it caused me to change my way of thinking.

I strongly encourage you guys to read this book, which was first published the year I was born, because it helped me to get over the fact that we are all going to die one day, and that fearing it was absurd. Why fear the inevitable? Yes, I know that many of us fear the unknown or the unexpected, but that doesn't keep those things at bay or even eliminate them, does it? Of course it doesn't because if it did, my Auntie would still be alive. We can will ourselves to live longer than the "doctors" have given us, but in the end our mortality wins out. So, is this something that we should cower in the face of or grit our teeth over? Hell no!

You use it at motivation to have the life that You want to live in the body that You want to have. People often ask me why I have set so many goals and challenges for myself. Well, it's actually quite simple. I realize that this is the only life that I will consciously live in the body I currently have. Now, there are hundreds of beliefs about what happens after we die, which is fine for explaining what happens after we stop breathing. But, what about all the years we have in between our first and last breath? Are we simply going to live a mundane life of unfulfilled dreams and aspirations, waiting for that dreadful day when we die?

I can't speak for you, but I believe like one of my fitness idols, Jack LaLanne. In an interview about his longevity, the interviewer asked Jack does he think about dying, and he scoffed at the question and told her that, "I'll think about dying when I'm dead!". Now, this is exactly the type of attitude about living life that I'm getting at guys.

For me, I'm going to live my life to the fullest, aggressively (thanks Mike), and without fear of dying. My life's goal is to complete as many challenges and goals that I set for myself and to live my life without regret of what I should have done or what I could have done. I think that a verse from Dave Matthew's song Lie In Our Graves sums it up best:

I can't believe that we would lie in graves
Wondering if we had spent our living days well
I can't believe that we would lie in graves
Wondering what we might've been
I can't believe that we would lie in graves
Wondering if we had spent our living days well
I can't believe that we would lie in graves
Wondering what we might've been
Is this the person you want to be? Lying on your death bed, wondering about all the things you said you wanted to do, but never did. Talking about all the accomplishments you decided not to pursue because you short-changed your own abilities. Are you really going to live your life wondering what you might have been if you had stood up and taken charge of your destiny?

Yes, I blog about weight loss and my journey to getting lean and ripped; however, these things are secondary to my goal of living a full, satisfying, and successful life, which I define for myself. I think this gets lost in all of the before and after pictures, debates about counting calories, losing weight as a hobby, etc that I blog about. Nevertheless, if you are simply losing weight for cosmetic or narcissistic reasons and haven't closely analyzed how this is part of you taking control of your life, then you're sadly missing out on the bigger picture.

* * *

As I plant my traditional and hydroponic gardens this summer, I'll think about my Auntie and the times that we've spent together. However, I'm going to remember my Auntie as she was before the last four years of her life because this is when she was focused more on living instead of focusing on trying not to die.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Skill of Losing Weight - Series Introduction

Five years ago, I decided to take control of my life once and for all, just like the countless number of guys will do this year. So, what makes the start of their journey different from mine? Did I know more than they did before I started? Well unless having back issues of Men's Health made me some sort of weight loss stud, then I guess I did. But, we know that wasn't the case.

Now that I've lost my extra chub, I get "So, what's the secret Muata?" or "How can I lose weight like you?". Well fellas, one of my New Year's gift to you is that I'm going to answer that question for you; however, I'm going to take a different approach . . . a really different approach.

This year, I strongly encourage you to approach losing weight as you would learning a new skill or hobby. That's right, I want you to view weight loss as you would learning how to play an instrument or a new dance. OK, let me back up and explain why I think this is an approach that you should adopt for this year.

Believe it or not, when I'm not obsessing about getting my six-pack, I actually have many hobbies and skills I've picked up over the years. For instance, I'm a musician, writer/poet, hydroponics/traditional gardener, part-time Linux addict (go open source!), salsero, and kettlebell enthusiast, to name a few. And you probably thought I was just some guy who likes to post semi-nude pics of himself on the net, eh? Well, my skill level in these hobbies range from a step above a beginner to intermediate; although I've not mastered any of them, it's OK because I have the basics down and, therefore, a solid foundation to build on.

Guys, you can view weight loss as no different than any of the hobbies you currently have. For example, I don't care if you've had dreams of being the next Victor Wooten (where are my bass players?), you had to start with learning the basic bass chords and keys first, right? Of course you did, and I believe that you had to practice too, didn't you? OK, I know these may seem obvious for anyone wanting to learn to play an instrument, but I believe that these, and a couple more, apply to weight loss also.

On my five year plus weight loss journey, I've come to recognize that there are five common characteristics of learning a hobby or new skill that can be applied to losing weight too:
  1. Take the time to learn the basics FIRST!
  2. Practice, Practice, Practice
  3. Be patient with your progress
  4. Look for other like minded hobbyists
  5. Don't worry about making mistakes
In my upcoming series of posts, which will span the next couple of weeks, I'm going to elaborate on each characteristic separately. So, stay tuned and get ready to pick up, and dust off, an old hobby you may have abandoned back in the day because, whether you realize it or not, it's going to help you lose weight!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Starting Measurements, Workout, and Diet Posted ...

Hey Fellas, I just wanted to let you know that I've posted my starting measurements (compared with those of Sandow's), the workout(s) I will be doing for the next 6 weeks, and my daily diet requirements for my 12 Week In Search of Sandow Body Transformation. Feel free to check them out at my other blog:

In Search of Sandow

Monday, January 7, 2008

MLBF's "In Search of Sandow" Body Transformation Challenge

I've always been told that I have an old soul. I've always credited this to my hanging out with many of my mom's friends at a young age, which caused me to think differently from many of my peers. Well, this has continued well into my adult years because I consider myself, as the ESPN Classic commercial used to say, Old School!

Whether it's driving a 20+ year-old Mercedes Turbo Diesel, blasting Eric B and Rakim's My Melody (where are my hip-hop historians), or using fitness equipment that has been around for over 100 years (e.g, kettlebells), I enjoy using and studying about classics. Well, when it comes to the male physique, I'm really old school when I look for inspiration. While there have been great and marvelous physiques over the decades, one has always stood out to me as a physique that just about any man can achieve with hard work and the proper information about nutrition and exercise. And that was the physique of no one other that the great Eugene Sandow--the father of modern bodybuilding!

When I thought about a goal I need to work towards this year, I saw the picture above and knew instantly what my extremely lofty goal for the year is going to be. Yes, I believe that I can train my body to the point that my physique can rival that of the great Sandow. Pipe dream? Maybe it is, maybe it's not; but, I'm more than willing to challenge myself to find out.

So, to kick start my goal, I've decided to start another blog to detail my 12 week "In Search of Sandow" Body Transformation Challenge. There, I'll detail my daily caloric intake, exercise, and overall thoughts about the process. For more information about my challenge, which I will start today, please go to my other temporary blog: MLBF's "In Search of Sandow" Body Transformation Blog.

Don't worry guys, I will still post here weekly as I've been doing, as the other blog is solely for my personal challenge. As a matter of fact, be on the look out for a series of posts about losing weight as a hobby in the upcoming weeks. Also, I'm in the process of securing interviews with many authors, strength and conditioning coaches, health bloggers, and natural doctors. So, be ready for many new and exciting things from my blog for 2008!

Oh, just in case you were wondering, no, I'm not going to take pictures in leopard print bikins or with a leaf like the picture to the right! However, I haven't ruled out white tiger print bikinis just yet . . .


Saturday, January 5, 2008

Grow Your Own Food in 2008

Well, not too many people know, but MrLowBodyFat is also a home hydroponics gardener. That's right, I've grown 'maters, cukes, watermelon, cantaloupe, bell peppers, chiles, gourds, and tomatillos to name a few. What's really crazy is that I grew all of them without using dirt! For more information on hydroponics, click here. And, to see some of the gardens, hydro and traditional, that I've had since 2004, feel free to check out my public web albums.

I have to warn you that when you are first starting out with hydro-gardening, it may seem a bit too complicated and expensive, especially if you decide to buy a commercially made hydroponics unit. So, if you have never tried your hand at home gardening, then I have a great, inexpensive, and simple project for you: grow mushrooms!

That's right, you can buy a home mushroom growing kit and grow more than enough fresh mushrooms for you, your family, and probably your neighbors too. I don't know about you, but I just love mushrooms, which are a good source of minerals such as selenium, ergothioneine, copper, potassium, and vitamins B and D.

Besides the obvious health benefits of eating mushrooms, you have never tasted a mushroom until you eat one that's freshly picked! However, keep in mind that our stomach's acid can not break down raw mushrooms, so you have to cook for your body to absorb the healthy minerals and vitamins I mentioned above. Knowing this, I think it's pretty funny that raw mushrooms are always available at virtually every salad bar. Do yourself a favor, if you can't steam or sautee them before putting them into your salad, skip 'em unless you simply want the extra roughage.

What? You don't believe that our bodies can't breakdown raw mushrooms? OK smart guy, do one small experiment for me. Swallow a small, raw mushroom whole, and keep check of your stool the next time(s) you go the bathroom. Just don't freak out and think that you've crapped out some important internal body tissue when you see a whole or partially-whole mushroom floating around like I did! LOL!

For more pictures of the mushroom kit I used and how it progressed to my first harvest, check out these pics. To read more about the kit and the company selling them, check out:


Shipping was pretty fast for me since I live in CA; nevertheless, the kit was shipped soon after I ordered it online. I ordered the half white button mushrooms and portabellas!

Please let me know if you order one and how it turned out.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Don't Be This Guy in 2008

It's finally here--2008! This is the year that you have made the decision to finally start your weight loss journey. You made your New Year's resolution a month early and joined the gym to show yourself that you are really determined this time. In addition to your new gym membership, you've picked up a tub of Whey Protein, fat burners made from Artic sea weed (that promise you can lose weight without exercising), and your trusty tube of man-boob eliminator cream.

But, you don't stop there. You figured that since you're going to the gym, you have to dress the part, right? So, you go out and buy new workout gear, with matching shoes, towel, and weight lifting gloves. You decided against buying a weightlifting belt this week, but plan on coming back for it.

OK, you can dress the part, but what in the world are you going to do once you get in the gym?
"No problem!" you say to yourself, and you simply dust off the stack of your favorite muscle mags in the corner and start flipping through looking for a good program. As you thumb through the pages and pages of ads and paid bodybuilders lying about how great a certain supplement is, you make sure to dog ear the programs that promise to Blast the fat, Burn the fat, and Melt the fat, etc. Oh, and you tear out the program that tells you that its scientifically researched exercises are specifically designed to Burn Belly Fat First!

Yeah baby, now you are ready to go to the gym to get that body that would make Zeus jealous. As you walk up to the gym for your first workout of the year, you are more than prepared. Hell, you've even brought a small tablet to write down the endless number of reps you're about to perform from your
Burn Belly Fat First! program. You don't use a PDA; you're too old school and serious about working out for that!

But, to your surprise, as you open the gym's door, it's packed wall to wall with guys who are not only dressed just as nice and color coordinated as you are, but they are also slowly mulling their way through their own complicated routines they lifted from a muscle mag too. On top of everything else, they're hoggin' up all the cardio machines, and there's a line of guys waiting to use bench press and lat pull-down machines even though no one is using the dip and pull-up tower.

"Now what?", you think to yourself as you walk back to your car promising that you'll make it to the gym earlier tomorrow . . .