Thursday, August 14, 2014

Guest Entry: My Weight Loss Journey, by Mike Calvert

Hi everyone!! I'm very excited to have the most important man in my life share a contribution on my blog.

Over the last 6 years, my husband has gone from smoking 3-4 packs a day, to gaining weight (up to 300 lbs!), to being medicated for the rest of his life, to losing over 140 lbs.

Last month, I had seen a few articles with the Huffington Post from other people telling their weight loss stories. I suggested my husband write his own story, just so he could have it and re-read it if he needed motivation in the future. Well, maaaybe I sent it to Huffington Post ;) There is no way this man's story wouldn't be inspirational to others, and if your story can change someone's life for the better, why not share it?

They loved what he wrote, and they published it this morning, though they compressed his story for length.

Here is the full, uncompressed story from the most amazing man I know, my husband, Mr. Michael Calvert!!


My Weight Loss Journey

Name: Mike Calvert
Age: 29
Height: 5'11"
Before Weight: 300 pounds

I was 20 when I met my wife. I had been smoking like a chimney for almost a decade, and I had no aspiration of quitting or doing anything differently. A couple years later, when she started having allergic reactions and her health was impacted just by me smoking, I knew I had to stop.
That was probably the hardest thing I’ve mentally and physically had to do.
In 2007, as a New Year’s Resolution, I made the decision to quit, “Cold Turkey.” I started cutting back, and then in March, I threw the pack away. I was good for about 3 months, and then I relapsed.
I had a cigarette on the 4th of July.
The first time I quit, it was for my wife. She never asked me to quit, but I did it because of her, for her and her health. She helped me realize that I needed to do this for myself, and not for anyone else. This was a decision and a lifestyle change I consciously needed to make.
In March of 2008, I quit again. Cold turkey, again. But this time, I did it.

Why did I tell you that? To lead me to how I gained my weight.

How I gained My Weight:
After I quit smoking, I could actually taste. I tasted food, drinks, snacks… anything meant for consumption, I consumed, because it didn’t taste like ash. I absolutely loved food. I also didn’t have a little stick of cancer making my metabolism run through the metaphoric roof, so my body took a lot longer processing everything that I was eating. That year, I spent fully enjoying food, and the next year, my wife got pregnant with our first child, which led to sympathy weight gain. It just happened, no one really paid too much attention to it, but I went from a 26 waist to a 46 waist.

Breaking Point:
I saw a picture of me and my son and realized I hated the way I looked.
When I was 20, I was a skinny 140 lb guy, and in 2 years had more than doubled my weight to 300 lbs at my heaviest. It felt foreign, and unacceptable. I didn’t like the way I looked, and I knew I had to change.  Then, with perfect timing, during a company Christmas party a couple of co-workers suggested we participate in a “Biggest Loser” type of event, and we would add some monetary value to sweeten the deal.
I am usually a type to think things over, but at that moment, I took it. I saw it as an opportunity to change and I took it.
I put $200 in the pot.
I’m not a competitive person, I just wanted to give myself motivation. So we started week one and I weighed myself in. I started a simple diet with a simple plan of walking every day at lunch with friends who were doing it too.
Slowly people quit off for one reason or another, whether they got hurt or they didn’t want to walk at the pace. In the end there was one other person with me through the whole thing.
I stuck through and beat the competition by losing 20% and weighed in at 215 pounds.

Just like when I quit smoking and relapsed, I did the same with my weight-loss journey. I reached my goal and felt great and started eating again. But, just like smoking, I did it for the wrong reason the first time.
While the weight-loss was for myself, it was for my image, and not for my health. I wanted to look better, and I wanted people to see me differently. Work was stressful, home life was stressful, we just had another baby, we were saving to buy a house.
Within a year, I was right back up to 270.
Along with the weight gain that stress brought on, I also started having anxiety and panic attacks, only I didn’t know that at the time.
During one such anxiety attack, I thought I was actually having a heart attack. I had my wife pick me up and drive me straight to my doctor’s office. He told me no heart attack, but I had a text book definition of anxiety, and I also had high cholesterol.
He started me on Lipitor, and basically I’d have to be on it for the rest of my life.
That’s where it got serious for me.
I had an amazing wife, two beautiful children—a boy and a girl. We have a wonderful life, and I wanted to be around for everything it has to offer. My maternal grandfather had died of a heart attack, and my uncle had just gotten out of the hospital from a heart attack. Dying was literally the last thing on the list of things I want to do in life. I knew Lipitor wasn’t going to fix it, but being medicated really hit a nerve with me. It really changed my way of thinking.
Just like smoking, this was a decision and a lifestyle change I consciously needed to make.

How I Lost It:
Just like before, I started with eating well and walking. I kept a food diary of literally every single thing I ate or drank, all day, every day. I drank more water than I probably have in my entire life, and I also was very loyal to taking my vitamins.
This time I also ended up running! My wife purchased me a second-hand commercial treadmill as a surprise and it really helped to motivate me and get me going. I also joined a fitness group online to help keep me accountable and motivated. I downloaded apps on my iPhone to help me do pushups, sit ups, squats, and pull ups.
Eventually, I participated in a 5k and a 10k… what a great feeling that was! But the best was on May 4, 2014-- I completed the OC Half-Marathon in less than two hours, with my family and friends cheering me on at the finish line, wearing shirts they made for me. 

After Weight: 155 lbs

I have lost a total of 145 lbs in my journey.
My goal is to maintain my weight and gain muscle mass.
Though I have been mostly running, I’m interested in biking and swimming, and hope to complete a triathlon one day!
I am proud to be an involved, active father and positive role model for my children, happy to be a healthier and happier man for my wife, and proud of myself for doing something I wasn’t sure was even possible.

I truly love my life and value everything I have. It is worth living for.

Facing A Family History Of Heart Attacks, Mike Calvert Lost 145 Pounds, via the Huffington Post

Friday, August 8, 2014

"Big, Bad, Scary" Facebook Messenger

I've had at least 20 friends on my facebook newsfeed show honest concern and fear with the recent changes to the facebook mobile app and being 'forced' to download the facebook messenger app. Most of them have been referring back to one Huffington Post article, "The Insidiousness of Facebook Messenger's Mobile App Terms of Service," written by Sam FiorellaPartner, Sensei Marketing; Author, Influence Marketing.

First off, let me start by saying-- this guy is obviously aware of what he is saying. He's a marketing professional, using trigger words as scare tactics to get you riled up about the big scary changes facebook made and continues to make.

Now, on to the meat of the issue. Facebook does not and will not control your phone... the app permissions are generic, and fall in line with other popular apps you may already have on your phone. All this means is that the app will control certain features of your phone when you click on them, within the app itself.



Example 1: In-App Camera
When it says the app will control all functionality of the phone's camera, it means that the camera is being used with the app, not that the camera will turn on and take pictures randomly. A lot of other camera apps share the same permission. Without the permissions, the app itself would error out and fail to work if you clicked on the photo feature.

Example 2: In-App Voice Record
When you choose to use the voice recorder, it means the app will control the functionality of the microphone of your phone, and record whatever it is you're recording, and send the recording as soon as you're done recording, without you needing to do anything else with the phone. It doesn't mean the app will randomly start recording your voice at any given moment. Other voice recording apps share the same permission.

They are very generic permissions, and a lot of facebook-change-haters are hopping on the bandwagon again, to nay-say and scare everyone out of supporting the newest change to facebook. All they do is bold the scary wording and leave out the simpleness of it all. They don't show you just how many apps are worded exactly the same way.

This is one comment that I happen to agree with, and also happens to have a reply from the article's author:

Again, you will see him using words and phrases (once you give permission, automatically, hacker) to give you an uneasy feeling. It's important to know that when you download an app and give it the specific permissions it needs to work, it is given strictly to that app and that app alone. The permissions do not carry over to other apps under the developer, the permissions are not applicable to any other app in your library, and the permissions do not allow a developer to pull your information via the app and implant it anywhere else.

Example 3: Outlook Email
Outlook is an app on your computer. It is an email service application. That app uses the information from other email services (such as your company's email, yahoo, gmail, and hotmail) to be fed through it. That doesn't mean that Excel or PhotoShop will have your email contact information. That doesn't mean I can get your information from Outlook. It just means you can use all your email addresses in one place, out of convenience.

I'm not an author or professor or licensed professional... I'm not an employee of facebook, I'm just using my head. I'm offering a common sense response to someone who is clearly trying to scare the masses of facebook, and sadly, it seems to be working.

Disagreeing with me is fine, but saying mean, rude, or hurtful things is not. If you have questions for me, I'm here. If you have questions about the app, contact facebook!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

...did my time machine work?

A music video from the year 2000 is trending on facebook right now. Why? How? What? HUH?

Yeah, I really don't even know.

The music video is "Nobody Wants To Be Lonely" by Ricky Martin and Christina Aguilera.

I KNOW! I agree with you, but I still don't know why it's trending!!?!!

Either facebook is trying out something weird, their trend machine is broken, or my time machine is kinda like the TARDIS... it doesn't take me where I want to go, it takes me where I need to go.

New question: Why do I need to go back to the year 2000?