Browsing Articles Written by

JP Smith


Facing the music

March 10, 2015 • By


Last month, we moved into our new home.  It’s the realization of something we had be hoping for years to happen.  However, in the midst of all this, priorities got shifted.  Scratch that…I shifted my priorities.  So, here’s how that looks.  My workouts happened less frequently  — I had to pack after all, right?  Then, it’s “hey, I’m tired.  Let’s just pick up something for dinner…again.”  Not to mention, “ooh, some ice cream would be good right now!”

Oh, it gets better.  With the new home comes unpacking,  arranging the home, putting shelves/furniture together.  Also, we still own our previous house, too.  So, we still have cleaning going on there and some repairs to do. So, to hell with working out, right?  Also, we had to check out all the place to eat in our new neighborhood.  There are a few good spots around, I’ve found.

As a result, I didn’t work out or even track my calories.  Before I knew it, I had gained back 15 pounds.

Well, okay, it wasn’t really “before I knew it.”

I had a feeling that the weight was coming back.  How could it not?  I was eating pizza, burgers, fried chicken, ice cream, doughnuts, cupcakes, cookies and candy.  On top of that, I was downing 20 oz sodas like it was nobody’s business.  I would go days without drinking a straight-up glass of water so, I knew I was going to have problems.  On top of that,  some of my clothes were feeling a little snug.

It was time to face the music.  I finally quit stepping past the scale and, this time, stopped and dealt with reality.  I had worked too hard to put myself on a good path to undo everything.  It was bad but, continuing the way I was would have been worse so, I took heart in that fact.

So, 15 pounds heavier, I got back on the wagon.  Yeah, it creaked a little when I got back on but, the important thing was that I was back on it.

I would love to say how easy it’s been but, that would be a BIG lie.  I told myself that I would be getting in a 4-5 mile run on the treadmill.  I was winded after two.  I did some bodyweight exercises and my shoulders and legs ached for two days after but, I am getting better.

Yeah, I could kick myself over my slip-up and drown my sorrows in butter pecan ice cream but, I’d be heavier, depressed and careening towards major health issues.  So, now, I am opting for the tedious work of developing better habits again.

In the meantime, I’m glad that the scale is going a little less high each time I weigh myself.



Where did the time go?

October 13, 2014 • By


It’s been about 8 months since my last post and, for all intents and purposes, this blog was abandoned.  So, anybody reading this probably thought I went off somewhere and drowned my sorrows in tubs of ice cream and mountains of french fries.

Nope…didn’t happen.

I actually have some good news.  I didn’t stop on my weight-loss journey.  Even though it’s not a fast as I would have hoped, I am still well on way to reaching my goal.

To date, I have lost around 65 pounds and for this first time since my early 20’s, I weigh less than 240.  If you’re do the math, in July 2013, I had gone back up to over 300 pounds.

Granted, I am at no risk of blowing away but, this weight loss has made me more energetic and focused.  It has also done wonders for my self-image and confidence.

Still, I am not done.  I still want to  get down to 200 pounds and even have a stretch goal of 190 pounds.

So, if anyone wants to offer up some insight or healthy tips/tricks, I’m all ears.

Also, in case you hadn’t figured it out…I’m back!

Diet & Exercise, featured

It’s a HIIT with me!

February 13, 2014 • By


If you follow me on Twitter (@challengebigman), you’ll know that I was planning on trying some High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to see if I can add it to my growing “arsenal” of workout options.  So, this evening, instead of my normal run, I replaced my treadmill routine of a warmup walk – 5-mile run – cooldown walk with interval running.  You can see in the image above that I started with a 10-minute jog and then alternated between a 35-second sprint and a 1:30 jog for 8 times and a cooldown jog/walk for 5 minutes.  My sprint wasn’t going to break any speed records — it was 8 mph.  Though I felt that I might’ve been able to move a tad faster, I didn’t want to risk flying off the treadmill on my first crack at this.

I definitely felt this workout but, I didn’t realize how much until about 45 minutes later.  My glutes (aka “butt muscles”) hurt.  My glutes almost never hurt but, I almost never sprint, either.  Heck, I think the last time I came close to a real sprint was about 2 years ago when I managed to injure myself in a basketball game (I was around 300 lbs at the time and not exercising much so, you can guess what a sprint looked like for me).  So, sprinting tonight was a relatively new feeling for me.  Surprisingly, though, it was actually invigorating.  I never thought I would say that about running.  The best part was that I finished a challenging workout in a little over half an hour.

The verdict: HIIT is a keeper.  I’m looking forward to making this a regular staple in my running workout and, possibly, in other areas as well.

Challenge, featured

Attitude Check: Dealing with temporary setbacks

February 12, 2014 • By


Last night, I got to spend a little time in the emergency room.  I was heading down some steps, with a glass in my hand, turned awkwardly and slipped.  Apparently, I tried to catch myself with the hand that was holding the glass.  It shattered and drove a broken shard into the spot between my palm and pinky.  The result was 5 stitches and an evening off from working out.

The funny thing was, as I am sitting there in hospital waiting to get seen, all I was thinking was, “I hope I can get out of here quickly so I can get home and work out”.  My thoughts of working out that night were dashed because, by the time I got my prescription for an antibiotic filled and got some dinner in me, it was almost 10pm and my hand was throbbing.  But, I was still proud of one thing: I knew that this was only a minor setback and I would be able to get back to my routine soon.  That a far different attitude than I had with my last injury.  The last time I hurt my hand, I let it take me out of the game for months, though it was entirely unnecessary.

So, yeah, it stinks that I hurt my hand. But, I am going to do a standing yoga routine tonight, some running tomorrow and, this Friday, I should be able to do some weight-bearing exercises on my hand.  With luck, about week from now, this should all be a bad memory.

All it took was a little attitude check.

Challenge, featured

Be the change

February 11, 2014 • By


I can’t be the only one who feels this way.  Don’t you hate advice from people who have had no success with the subject on which they are trying to advise you?  I don’t take marriage advice from people who have never been married or who are in crappy relationships.  I don’t take parenting advice from people who don’t have kids and I don’t take health tips from a person who’s not doing anything to take care of their own.

The funny thing is, I have often been the latter.  You know this person — they go on a diet on Monday and, by Wednesday, they are talking like some guru and, by Friday, they are going in with you to order pizza at lunch.  Yep, that was me.  You can see that here, on the site, with my infamous attempt at a 30-day juice fast that lasted about 8 days.  My wife loved me for ruining our juicer.

If I had to write a bumper sticker to describe the last several months, it would read “Shut up and do the work”.

For the longest time, I have been concerned not only about my health but, the health of family and friends, as well.  However, I know that I can’t just talk about changing, I have be the change.  I have to exemplify and model change in my living.  I can’t encourage my son to exercise and eat his vegetables as I wolf down a Big Mac and then plop myself in front of the computer.  I can’t challenge my wife to try out this new yoga program just by handing her an unopened DVD set with a thin layer of dust on top.  I have to pay the price and let the results do my talking for me.  In the end, I think I’ll not only do better but, I will make a positive change in the lives of those I love, also.

“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.”

-Mahatma Ghandi

Diet & Exercise, featured

Running for my life

February 10, 2014 • By


I have never really been a runner.  If I had to list my least-favorite exercises, running would probably be pretty high up there.  My disdain for running is directly correlated with my weight.  Not being able to run a block without getting winded is kind of embarrassing and kills your motivation.  However, something changed this past September.

I can walk like nobody’s business.  Even at 300+ pounds, I could walk 4 miles in less than an hour.  The problem was that, between the bad eating and my body being used to a walking routine, neither the scale nor my fitness level changed much.  When I really started to push myself last summer, I started taking on new exercise challenges.  One fateful September day (dramatic enough for you?), when I was on the treadmill, I got bored with walking and went from my normal 4-mph pace to a 5mph pace and ran for about 3 minutes.  I was winded but, I caught my breath and, a few minutes later, did it again.  I repeated this cycle once more and, once I didn’t keel over, something clicked in my head.

About a week later, bit the bullet and was determined that I would run a full mile.  It wasn’t pretty but, I did it.  This was a big deal because the last time I had run a full mile without stopping was probably my second year of college, which was over 20 years prior.

Two weeks later, I ran 2 miles without stopping.  I was then able to go from 5 mph to 5.2 mph.  A week-and-a-half later, I did 3 miles.  Now, along with the other exercise I was doing and my eating changes, running was a less-scary prospect.  I then started to bring the treadmill to an incline of 2 (out of 12), which is still my normal running incline.  After doing this for a while, I moved the speed up to 5.5 mph.  In December, I was just about to wrap up my 3-mile run when a voice popped in my head and said, “go ahead and do 4 miles.” I did it!  After a couple of weeks, I took the speed up to 6 mph.

However, last month, I really took it up a notch.  After I hit another first-time goal, I stopped the treadmill to take this picture:


I broke the 5-mile mark!

I still don’t consider myself a runner by any stretch of the imagination but, to go from not running to running 5 miles in the span of less than 4 months, is a blessing I don’t take lightly.  Right now, I am not running for enjoyment, I am running for life.  This is one race I aim to win.

Challenge, featured

Putting the Preaching into Practice

February 10, 2014 • By


It’s been a while since my last post but, I can tell you, that this is not indicative of my level of activity in taking on my challenge.  I shared previously how, by June of 2013, I had nearly gained back all of the weight I had lost previously.  When I finally got the nerve to get back on the scale, it read 304 pounds.  I was heartbroken, depressed and angry at myself for falling back so hard.  That was then, this is now.

Later, I shared when I had shed my first 30 pounds, and then 40 pounds gone.  Well, I’m now over 5o pounds lost (53 to be more precise). This means that I have officially passed the 50% mark of my goal to reach 200 pounds.

I am now at a point where I finally feel that I am practicing what I have been preaching.  When I started this blog, it was with the best of intentions but, for a while there, I was feeling like a bit of a hypocrite.  It was almost like I was trying to convince myself that, if I wrote about it, it would magically spur some action on my part.  Now, I know that nothing beats a failure but a try.  I am becoming living proof of that adage.

Now, back to work!

featured, News

Father loses over 30 pounds to save daughter

December 30, 2013 • By


As a father, my desire to lose weight has more to do with my child than myself.  I want to be healthy so that I can be there for him as he grows up.  But, what about the father who gets healthy so that his child can live?  That’s a man who gets my undying respect.

Eduardo Camargo’s baby girl was was born with a condition requiring a liver transplant.  Eduardo could have been a donor but, he had a problem — he was too overweight.  The buildup of fat in his liver had ruled him out.

This is where a father’s love kicked in.  Refusing to accept fate, Eduardo Camargo worked himself down from over 210 pounds to 180 pounds in a matter of two months.  He watched what he ate, drank only water and ran over 20 miles a week.

With little time left, he was able to donate a portion of his liver to his daughter, saving her life.  Because of the regenerative nature of a healthy liver, Eduardo Camargo has already grown most of his back.

Why lose weight?  I can’t give you every reason here but, one reason just might be that your kids need you.


Now that people are noticing my weight loss…

December 5, 2013 • By


It’s funny how the scenarios you play out in your mind differ greatly from reality.  When I started my latest weight loss journey (actually, this is probably my first real “journey” — previously, they were just short trips), I envisioned that it would go relatively unnoticed until about 50-70 pounds in and people would just mention, sort of incidentally, “hey, you look like you’re losing weight.”  In case you don’t know this, being overweight made it hard for me to be the center of attention.

Well, this is not what happened.  As I have shared before, I was at the point of buy 4x shirts and baggy jeans, thinking I could hide in them. Apparently, this just offered me more room to grow and, eventually, 4x became my size.  After losing close to 30 pounds, my previous clothing was mostly unwearable and I had to buy some better-fitting clothes.  While this was a good problem to have, there was some anxiety there, too.  I was afraid to let go of the “big clothes” because I was afraid that I might need them again (It was another month before I finally burned that bridge and donated them.  I don’t plan on going back).

So, I go into work wearing smaller clothes and, that morning, I have a co-worker pull me to the side and say, “Can I ask you a personal question?  Are you losing weight?”  I give my standard answer, “Yes, I am working on it.”  She say, “You’re looking good.  Congratulations.”  I thanked her.  But, I walked away saying, “Oh, boy.  It’s starting to be noticeable.”

Then, it started happening quite a bit more.  There were a few people at church, a few more people at work and other family member  commenting on my weight loss.

Here come the questions and my anxiety.

In my mind, I began thinking “wow, how bad have I been looking?”

But, after a few weeks, it’s gotten better.  I looked at some pictures from a trip my wife and I took to Las Vegas this past June and realized that I do look different.  The 4x shirts I was wearing in them were almost snug.  Now, they are in the donation pile or buried in the back of the closet, taking up space (yes, I’ll be getting rid of them).  Soon enough, the clothes I am wearing today will meet a similar fate.

Yes, I am being noticed but, when trying to lose 100+ pounds this is bound to happen.  So, I’m getting used to the attention and the questions.  Perhaps, if I do this right, I can help inspire someone else looking to make this change.

Challenge, featured

Over 40 down and moving on

December 5, 2013 • By


I couldn’t find a photo representative of my current weight loss so, just imagine having lost twice this.  Yes, I have passed the mark of being over 40 pounds lost since I started in early July.  To be more precise, as of this morning, it is 43 pounds.

I still have a way to go (60+ pounds) but, I think that I am on a good path.  In my last post, I was just on the cusp of being below the weight I was at age 27 (some 16 years ago…gasp!). Now, I am well past that mark.  So, now, we are working towards my next goal, getting down to the 50-pound mark and buying yet more clothes!

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