Friday, June 20, 2008

Country Biscuits w/ White Gravy .... MLBF heads South

Before telling you guys about my trip South, I want to thank everyone who answered last week's poll question. It's really good to know that I'm not alone with the issues I've had in the past and continue to have with food. Please note that I've posted a new poll that I'd like for you to take. Thanks in advance for participating.

OK, let's move on to this week's post:

Even though I will proudly tell you that I'm a Californian, I'm really a transplant from the East Coast, with deep roots in the South. And, did I have a ball this past weekend re-connecting with these roots at my mother's 70th birthday party.

My brothers, sister, and I actually wanted to send mom on a cruise or to some exotic locale, but she wasn't interested. Mom told us that she simply wanted to be around her family on this special day. And, that's exactly what we gave her--a mini-family reunion!

This trip was extra special for me because it was the first time I had seen many members of my family in well over 10 years; also, I had a new wife that everyone had heard about and was excited to meet. And, to top it off, many of them had seen my CNN interview and was seeing the new Muata for the very first time. Let me give you some highlights from my trip to the "dirty, dirty" as the urban youth there call it ... ;)

Crystal was a bit nervous about flying since this was only her second time on a plane, but I assured her that our economy airline was not only 98% on-time but pretty safe too. While sitting in the really narrow chair, I couldn't help but think back to how much I hated to take the plane when I was fat. It was really embarrassing having your thighs press up against the button to recline your seat when you're not trying to lean back. Man, I can't count the number of times I got reprimanded by a flight attendant for not having my seat's back in its "upright and straight position". It wasn't until I started to use a trick I picked from a radio personality out here that I was able to avoid this; he mentioned that a soda cap top would fit over the recline button to keep your thigh from accidentally pressing it.

One thing that I can clearly remember about being fat and flying is the fear of having to use an extender belt. There were times when I would have absolutely no more slack in the seatbelt, but I would force it to snap close because I refused to ask for an extender. I guess I saw this as a small victory for me because only fat people use the extender belts anyway. So, I would fly in this uncomfortable position just to continue to fool myself.

Well, on a much happier note, I was so shocked at how my former fat ass (literarlly) could easily fit in the seats and fasten the seatbelt. Guys, there was enough slack that I could've probably made an extender belt from it! I was so stoked that I snapped a picture before they made me turn my cell phone off.

While I was relishing in all the new found room I had in my crappy seat, a woman sat in the seat next to me. I would say she was in her early 30s, stood about 5'4 and weighed over 300lbs. It was a surreal experience for me, and not because she was obese. Hardly! My trip down south confirmed that the 66% figure that we throw out about the number of obese and overweight folks in this country is on the low end of the scale!

What made the experience unreal was watching how uncomfortable she was in her seat. She shifted from one side to the next, sat forward, all knowing that she would never be comfortable in a seat built for someone who weighs at least 100lbs less. It put a lot of things in perspective for me sitting next to her.

Now, for those of you who have never been to the South, let's just say that their idea of a salad is usually the slaw you put on your hot dogs or hamburgers! Or, at least this is usually the case with my family. So, I knew that I was going to be eating food that I normally wouldn't; however, unlike most people who lose weight and fear regaining the weight, I was far from worried because I had a plan.

Listen, I hadn't been to the South in quite sometime, so that means there were certain foods, like biscuits and gravy, that I knew I was going to eat. Hell, that's like going to Jamaica and not eating Ackee and Saltfish, their national dish. So, not enjoying some of those southern delicacies was not an option for me on this trip! My plan? Very simple ...

First, I checked out my brother's house for a good place to workout. He has a nice home gym complete with cardio machines and free weights, but you guys know me. I went outside and found that the previous owners had put up a wooden swing and slide set that, get this, had plastic gymnast rings! After going over and making sure that it could support my weight, I knew I was in business.

Every morning (YES every morning!), I woke up around 6am, went outside and did my joint mobility exercises, warmed up for 3 minutes with shadow boxing and dancing to my favorite salsa tunes. I'm sure his neighbors thought I was crazy to be exercising outside, but I just loved how clean the air was. OK, so after warming up, I did a simple circuit/complex of the following:

  • Hindu Pushups
  • Hindu Squats
  • Chin ups
  • Plyo/explosive Squats
  • Static hanging knee raise
I did 3-4 complexes w/ 60 seconds rest between each one. I finished everything off with 100 jumping jacks and another 3 minutes to cool down a bit before going back in the house.

Since I had my training routine set, the only thing I really concerned myself with was the amount of food I would eat over the weekend. Fortunately, my days of gorging myself simply because the food is there are over and that I can appreciate good food without going overboard. And this was a good thing because there was enough good food at Mom's b-day party, complete with a whipped cream filled strawberry cake and a super rich chocolate cheesecake!

My mom's party was a success and people could not believe how I look now. They let me know how proud they were of what I'd accomplished and how I want to help others. It really made me feel good to know that many of my family members were watching CNN the first time my interview aired. I guess my 1 minute and 43 seconds of fame was enough for many of them to want to start their own weight loss journey. A good friend of the family took professional quality pictures that I'll post when they're ready because I want you guys to see how sexy my mom looks at 70!

Before flying out of Atlanta on Monday night, Crystal and I were treated to a tour of CNN by the producer who interviewed me for my interview, Matt Sloane. As I said in my last post, it was an incredible experience seeing all the behind the scenes activities that goes on with one of America's largest news organizations.

And, before heading out to check out The World of Coca-Cola (note: the Beverly is DELICIOUS!!) and the Georgia Aquarium, Matt was nice enough to pose with me in front of the CNN sign. He's busy working on their 2008 Fit Nation Tour. Folks in Seattle, WA may see a familiar face on the bus! Sorry about the poor quality of the picture, but it was taken with my cell phone.

So, did I ever get my country biscuits and gravy? Well, yes and no ...

OK, we get to a nice down home southern restaurant for breakfast one morning, and I order what I came South to eat, and you know what? The biscuits were so damn big that I was only able to get through 3/4ths of the first one while the other one simply hardened along with the cold white gravy covering it. I never thought I'd see the day when two biscuits cover an entire plate!

Oh, did I mention that this was a side order? There's no wonder why our southern states have some of the heftiest folks in the country ....


lowphatcustomz said...

It is very funny that you bring up the seatbelt thing. Let me tell you why...I live in southeastern New Mexico , where BBQ is the staple of life. In 2007, I acquired a job with a company that was based in Holland. Well, in the beginning, I was told that my 2008 would be spent working in Holland. So in October of '07 my company decided to fly us to Holland to check out what our surroundings would be like. When I got on the plane in Houston (I weighed 334lbs), I noticed that I was having considerable difficulties latching the seatbelt. But I sucked it up because I too didn't want to have to ask for an extension. After this little incident, I remebered something that happened a few months prior to that that really hit my heart. My 5 year old daughter brought home a picture that she had drawn of her family, home from school one day. As you can guess, she drew daddy as a fat man. She didn't know, but the simplicity of a childs mind can put things in perspective very quick. So, with these two factors, I decided to change my life right then.
When I got home, I spent a butt load of money on supplements, workout equipment, and gym memberships. The weight started coming off slowly. It wasn't until I did some heavy research on diet and exercise that I started seeing the most effective results. I do have to admit that being over here since January has made it alot easier. My wife and mother in law are southern girls that were born to cook. So, being by myself and away from that talent has enabled me to reprogram my way of eating into a healthy experience. It has also allowed me to develop an exercise program without interruption. Don't get me wrong, I miss my family tremendously, but it has made it alot easier than the average person trying to start this in their everyday environment. I have been able to fly back and visit once for 3 weeks, and I am going home again next week for two. I too have anxiety build up knowing I am now leaving my "healthy zone" for the southern trend. The unhealthy cooking is nobody's fault, that's just the way it has been for centuries in the south. I have conqured this as well by doing the same as you. I develop a diet and exercise plan and stick with it, along with a bottle of chitosan too! Last time I went home, I lost 5lbs! I would like to report, that as of today, I weigh 248lbs. I feel great. My family will not recognize me from my transformation! I am very excited, equally excited to keep on going too. I am 6'2" and am targeting 190-200lbs.
I would also like to comment on one more thing that you blogged about earlier...using your body for resistance training. There has been nothing said more clearer than this..if you cannot do 20 push-ups, you have no reason being in Gold's Gym. If you are just starting a regimen, all you need is a push-up board and a little time in the mornings and evenings, along with a healthy diet. You will start seeing the weight drop in buckets!
I want to thank you Muata for your inspiration to this world on this life threatening disease. If it had not been for me cruising the web and looking at to see what was hapeening in the US, I would have not come across your helpful insight. Thanks again and keep on blogging. I love it!

Mr. LowBodyFat said...

You're more than welcome Willie, and thanks for sharing your story! Congrats on the weight loss and please come back and let us know how your family's reacted to your weight loss. Oh, and don't worry about eating some of that good southwestern BBQ! Just understand that you can't ever eat the same amount of it that you did when you were larger. Don't deny yourself but don't gorge either. You'll be fine!

spunkysuzi said...

Just wanted to say i just found your blog and wow there's alot of interesting reading here ;) Thanks

Mr. LowBodyFat said...

No problem Spunkysuzi, and thanks for stopping by.