Archive for the ‘Motivational’ Category

As you know, I’ve started a new job. Unemployment was the reason I had time to exercise and turn my focus toward weight loss and better health. I’ve been talking lately about how I don’t want the daily grind to set me back.

I came home from work on Monday night, said hi to my dad, got changed into shorts and sneakers and took My daughter outside. I walked and she biked for 30 minutes. I only got a mile in with her beside me but it was the 30 minutes of slow, deliberate walking that Primal Blueprint Fitness requires. I was happy about that. The weather was beautiful and the sun stayed up just long enough.

I’ve worked it out so that I can exercise with her on Tuesdays too. I have to take her back to her mom on Tuesdays after work. There’s a park with wide sidewalks around a lake that I can take her to. Once we arrive, we can exercise until her mom gets there and then I can continue at a quicker pace to get ready for the Disney half marathon. I had planned to do this last night after work but the weather had other plans…

I’ve got two months to prepare. Keep an eye on my road to the marathon weekend!

I’m so excited about The Primal Blueprint way of life. I am so glad to be part of a network of people that are living a healthier lifestyle. My sister and brother-in-law do it. My father is involved and doing great. When Mark Sisson issued the Primal Blueprint 30-Day Challenge on Mark’s Daily Apple, I wanted to get some friends involved.

So, I started a Facebook group and told 664 friends that they had to message me if they wanted to participate and be part of the group for 30 days. Only 14 people made an attempt but that’s 14 people that want to be healthier. I can only hope they see something in the changes I’ve experienced in only eight months.

I started the group on 9/14/11 and offered up documents, links and a few recipes and ideas. One week later, on 9/19/11, we started our 30 day journey. As of this posting we are exactly half way there. This is day 16 for all of us. I’m sharing a few stories of the people who have really jumped in and made the change because their lives required something that works.


Stefanie is a long time friend. Okay…she’s actually my sister’s best childhood friend. I used to be a little sh!t and beat her up and hold her underwater in our pool and headbutt her when we had people on our shoulders during chicken fights in the water. I was a complete a$$. We grew up and I still leave the occasional nasty, sarcastic comment on her Facebook wall but she’s really like another sister and when she told me about her stomach issues, I suggested The Primal Blueprint. Stefanie is really doing great and I’m excited for her. Weight loss is not the reason every person begins a primal lifestyle. She had been having some stomach problems and after a series of tests, the doctors were unable to determine the problem. I suggested the grain-free primal lifestyle. She wrote me this morning and here’s what she has to say about it.

So far my Primal experience has been amazing!!! As you know, I have been dealing with severe stomach issues for the past few years but symptoms became worse in the past several months. Pain, bloating, nausea just to name a few. I did this, not so much for weight loss, but more as a way of life to feel better. I can begin to tell you the SIGNIFICANT changes that I have noticed. I have had zero pain/discomfort within my stomach, I have more energy, I am sleeping better and I am no longer a grouchy ass because I feel great! I can’t thank you enough for passing this new way of life on to me!!!


Medical students often don’t get a lot of sleep, and meals are usually eaten on the run between classes, clinical experiences and studying. Exercise is limited at best because most of the day is spent on reading and sitting in lectures. As someone who doesn’t lose weight easily and who is prone to gain pounds quickly, I worried that starting medical school would mean going up a dress size or two. Instead, I have actually lost weight since starting school and a good deal of my clothing has become too loose. It’s because I started eating primal when I started school. Instead of munching on the starch-heavy cafeteria foods at lunch time, over the past two months I have opted to pack a primal salad, soup or leftovers from dinner. During breaks between classes, I take a walk outside instead of surfing Facebook. The results have been great. I feel better; I look better and I am happier. I worried that cooking at home and taking time out to exercise would decrease the amount of time I had available to study and increase my exam-time stress. That hasn’t been the case at all. Taking 30 minutes out each day to walk has given me time to destress and think, away from books, notes and tests, so that when I do sit down to study I am more focused and retain the information better. Eating better and exercising has helped me feel more energetic. And, what’s better, buying and preparing my own food has helped me adjust to losing a disposable income for medical student loans. All in all, switching to the primal lifestyle has made life easier and better.


Going primal: well, to be completely honest I chose to go primal as a last resort. I never struggled with weight issues until after the birth of my daughter 9 years ago. Since then it has been a constant up/down/up/down/up/up/up/down battle. I have built muscle under fat, over fat, I have extra skin, its just gross. Anyway, I have used pills, starvation, deprivation, low fat, low calorie, eating 6 times a day, taken shots, seen doctors, personal trainers, taken the advice of numerous educated and uneducated people. The thought of a high fat diet scared the bejeezus out of me otherwise I might have done this sooner. I figured though, that if you could do this, then I could do this. My friend, who I have known for many years and just recently became closer with. HE did it. Over 100 pounds. So why not?

So, after all trials and tribulations here I am. On the 30 day challenge and going strong. I’ve been about 98% primal so far. I DID eat a small pumpkin spice gelato when I was out looking at houses with Bryan but I don’t feel guilty about it. I literally have had no contact with bread, pasta, grains, beans, peanuts, etc.

I am avoiding the scale until the 30 days are up. I FEEL AMAZING. No bloat, no 3:00 slump. I’m happier and less stressed. Well, Bryan may not agree with me on that one. LOL. Truth be told I don’t really miss the breads and grains. My entire family loves the dinners I make every night, especially my kids. They are so conscience of what is going on their plates. Its adorable. I am satisfied on less food, because the food I am eating is so much more nutritious.

I wish I did go primal sooner. But I can’t look back. I still have a lot to learn, but I’m looking forward to it.


I call him “dad”. I can’t say my sister and I weren’t concerned when we found out dad was enjoying retirement by hanging out having drinks socially and eating pasta and cheesesteaks multiple times per week. During my unemployment I had to stay with dad for a few weeks. In that time, I cooked and exercised with dad and by the time I left he had made The Primal Blueprint part of his lifestyle and daily routine. I wasn’t preachy or whiny. I just showed him how I ate and cooked him some of the incredible tasting meals that are able to be enjoyed. He made the decision on his own. He’s reading labels and making sure there’s nothing bad in there. Just this week he was at the grocery store and jumping for joy because they started to stock Applegate Farms products. Look at the picture of the man! He’s Stand Up Paddleboarding and enjoying a new outdoor activity at age 65. He owns his board, he walks and bikes everywhere now and he just told me he decided not to renew his senior bus pass. I asked dad to give me his best explanation of how he feels and he wanted to tell everyone this:

The Primal Blueprint lifestyle has made me feel healthier than I have ever been. Along with exercise, I have lost 15 pounds in just a few weeks. I have had more energy lately and have lowered my blood pressure considerably without medications. I am able to fit back into some very expensive clothing which I had not worn in many years. My self-esteem is at an all time high. Thanks to my son and daughter for their encouragement and for setting an example for me with The Primal Blueprint. I have become a better man for it. At age 65, I have renewed the youth I had when I was 18.


I am feeling much better since I have started. It’s still early in the game, but I have lost 10 pounds since I started. I also have Rheumatoid Arthritis. And since I have started, I am not waking up with aches and pains. I have done a little research and the starches and carbs actually aggravate arthritis. With this primal eating style. The inflammation should be less noticeable and, in turn, make the arthritis go into remission. That’s enough for me. No pain, makes for a happier Amy! Thanks for having me on board.




So, there are just a few of the group members and they’re all seeing success in different ways for different reasons. I’m seeing changes every day. When my daughter is with me I feed her primal meals of fruit, all-natural meats, I make my own ice cream and popsicles for her and she never complains. If you love your kids and want to get ahead of the things that food manufacturers are putting in their products, read The Primal Blueprint and change your life now. The money you spend on a little research and food now will quite possibly be saved in medical expenses later. If you’re interested in The Primal Blueprint, you can buy the book from my Shop and a portion of the sale goes into my account for fitness needs and registration fees. You can also start reading Mark’s Daily Apple and Primal Toad for great articles and ideas.

Stop by tomorrow for The Missing Link. Talk to you later.

What Will Be?

I woke up this morning wondering. I’m 36 today. I’m not a little kid getting excited about how many gifts I’ll get to open and which friends will be at my party. I’m not wondering if my mom will bake me a Star Wars cake like I wanted. That was then. This is now…and it’s different. This morning I woke up wondering what will be the greatest thing I get to experience today as I celebrate another year.

Will it be the awesome chalkboard art on the kitchen wall that my sister and brother-in-law made for me while I slept? Will it be the gift of organic gummies and 70% dark chocolate they left on the table for me with a card to open?

Will it be the incredibly funny “The Office” card that they gave me knowing my sense of humor to a tee and creatively expressing something on the inside that they knew would make me laugh out loud? I have to admit that I LOVED this card!

Will it be the 2X Egyptian cotton shirt that my Mom and Chris sent from Hawaii that fits me perfectly and makes me feel happy and slim?

Will it be the VERY generous check I got from my father to purchase whatever I want? (note: don’t worry, dad. It won’t get spent on video games. This one is going toward practical things that enhance my fitness.)

Will it be the amazing video of my little girl singing her own “happy birthday” song that she made up?

Will it be the fact that I woke up to be greeted by my friend, the scale, telling me I’ve lost another pound? That’s pretty good too.

Will it be all the birthday wishes on my Facebook wall from friends and family? Will it be the surprises I’m in store for later?

To all of my friends and family that have been sending me wishes and gifts on this day, thank you! Thank you, thank you, thank you. Nothing I’ve received so far has gone unnoticed. I appreciate every wish and gift from every one of you. All of your wishes and gifts are an incredible addition to the best gift I’ve received this year…


As I turned 35 last year, I didn’t care about going out to jog or paddleboard or bike. I didn’t care about changing to a paleo/primal lifestyle. I didn’t care about expanding or enhancing my life. I was getting older and depressed and felt there wasn’t any way to go but down but I learned. That has been the greatest experience. Waking up and understanding that, at 36 years old, things aren’t over. I’m older but I’m wiser and younger and happier and healthier. I’m blessed with many things I never had…

Happy Birthday to me!


Posted: August 10, 2011 in Fitness, Motivational


Bringing my paddleboard back to Orlando from Cocoa Beach today. Dad got a new set of Yakima racks for his jeep and we have just made it over the high bridges. I am really looking forward to having my board in town so I can go out on the local lakes.

Paddleboard Orlando

Posted: August 3, 2011 in Fitness, Motivational, Reviews

I’ve been talking a lot lately about my favorite outdoor activity: Stand Up Paddle Boarding. Since I’ve started doing this, I’ve been getting a lot of questions from friends asking things like:

What is it?
Where did it come from?
How did you get in to paddle boarding?

So I’ll take this post to tell you a little bit about it.

A Brief History…

This is going to be very brief because I haven’t actually researched where it came from until today. If you’d like the history of Paddle Boarding according to Wikipedia, click this link. As far as explaining how I got in to it, I just saw people doing it. The first one I saw was my uncle, Mark. He shared some pictures of him out in the surf and on flat water on his Facebook.

Here are a few:

That first one is my favorite. The airborne dog seems to like it too. After seeing my uncle, I started a few Google searches for Paddle Boarding and I came across Paddleboard Orlando.

Paddleboard Orlando

This seemed pretty perfect. I managed to find paddle board lessons in the town where I live. I really thought I’d need to head out to a coastal area and learn there. This was much more convenient. Paddleboard Orlando is owned by Ned Johnson and David Rose. In addition to the paddle board lessons they host, they have a paddle board store set up at Ski World Orlando. You can also shop online here: Paddleboard Orlando Store. You’ve got to take a look at both websites if you’re interested in this sport.

My First Time

Ned explains the basics.

I went out on my first paddle board lesson with Paddleboard Orlando on June 22, 2011. I was still slightly over 300 pounds and I didn’t bother mentioning that to the owners. That was bad on my part. I arrived at Dinky Dock in Winter Park just before 6:30 p.m. Ned showed up with the boards and paddles. There were around 12 other people there for the lesson. We were each fitted for proper paddle according to height. After that, we were given a board. They gave me the biggest board they had but didn’t bring a board that was large enough to support my weight. I was able to sit/kneel and paddle. I tried standing up on the board and fell off into the lake. I think after that, I was just slightly scared to try again since I wasn’t up for looking like an idiot twice. Everyone else stood up on their first try. I still had a great time. I enjoyed the feeling of being out on the water and going wherever I wanted while getting great exercise. Everyone there enjoyed the experience. Some were on their second lesson and came back with a friend. Ned was extremely informative and encouraging. I told him I’d be coming back with friends and he told me he’d bring a bigger board if I let him know in advance.

Take 2

One of the SUP Cruise Meetups

So after my first lesson, my father took an interest. He was ready to buy some paddle boards. I convinced him to come out to one of the beginner lessons with Paddleboard Orlando first. We both signed up and I asked Ned to bring the big board. This time I was under 300 pounds and determined to stand up on that board. I already had the paddling part down and just needed to balance myself enough to stand. We met on the shore by dinky dock again and Ned sized us all up for paddles and boards. After all the ladies were helped on to their boards, Ned helped me and then dad. We both stood up right away and never fell off. On top of that, I was putting a pretty good amount of strength into my strokes so I was able to stay right up at the front of the group next to Ned. The whole time he would throw me little words of encouragement by telling me “Dude I’m so stoked you’re standing”. The best part of the beginner paddle board cruise was toward the end of the lesson where Ned yelled out to the group “I’m not feeling it. Let’s stay out a bit longer.” Why not? The weather was nice. Everyone was successful and enjoying the new sport. I couldn’t get enough of it. So we all brought our boards to a spot on the water where we took a break to sit on the boards to rest and chat. It was great talking to some of the others that were first timers.

Proud Owners

On the Banana River with my new 12' paddle board.

Since that night, dad and I have been shopping around for boards and he found and purchased two twelve foot boards. We take them out on the Banana River in the morning and at sunset when I come to visit him. It really is a great way to get outside, burn some calories, take in the scenery and be at peace. I have to give major props to Paddleboard Orlando for giving me my first lessons and for getting me incredibly excited about Stand Up Paddleboarding. If you’re looking to tap in to a new outdoor activity, give this a try.

Paddleboard Orlando host multiple paddle boarding events each month. If you’re interested in signing up for one of the meetups, go to and sign up for a free account. Once you’ve done that, go look at the calendar and find a beginner SUP cruise that works with your schedule. They’ve got great special rates for Florida Residents that are well worth the price. Go check out Paddleboard Orlando and email me at to let me know if you’re going for a lesson. I’ll be glad to come along!

Talk to you later!

The NOT-SO Little Things

Posted: July 28, 2011 in Motivational

I Feel Good

I’m six pounds away from a 100-pound loss. I’ve noticed some changes but nothing that has changed me into an annoying person. At least…at least, I hope not. You’d tell me, right? I mean what if I’d lost it all over night? How would I act? I noticed something today that equates to the 30 second mark of this video clip. Would I be like this?

Or would I be more like this?

Both versions of Buddy Love experienced a major weight loss overnight due to a miracle drug. So all of the feelings that come with gradual weight loss are shoved into a single moment. Will I be like those guys? Nah. I’ll be better educated about good eating and exercise. I hope I’m as cool and calm as Jerry Lewis’ version of Buddy Love minus the condescending, annoying a$$ho!e part.

I’ll just be happy being me. A NEW me.

I’m Blessed!

In late June, I asked friends and family if anyone would be willing to donate to help me cover the registration fees for the Walt Disney World 1/2-Marathon in 2012. It was already 50% full and I didn’t want to miss my chance. A PayPal account was set up on June 25th and I received full support from friends, family and fans in just 16 days!


I waited two days on the edge of my seat for the funds to transfer from PayPal to my private bank account so I could register for the event. I woke up this morning to find the funds moved over this morning and immediately went to the ESPN/WDW website to register. I experienced a huge mix of emotions…everything but sadness and anger. I was really happy as I filled out my registration. The thought of crossing that finish line made me very excited! Then the fear came. I’ve finished two 5k runs. That’s just over three miles and the 1/2-marathon will be over 13. I know I can handle three and now I’ve got to be able to prepare for 10 more. The fear of failure will definitely help motivate me through the training.

One More 5k

I’m signed up for Track Shack’s 20th Annual Celebration of Running 5k on 8/13/2011. After that, my focus will be completely on the Disney 1/2-Marathon. My first day of marathon training is July 30, 2011. That training will continue for six months at a minimum of three days per week. I think I’d like to do four to six days of training per week.

Thanks For Your Support

Thanks to all of those who made this possible. I understand that many are in the same financial boat as I am and unable to contribute toward my goals. I’m still thankful that you believe in my mission and support me by sharing my story.

To those that made this possible by financial contribution: Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Divorce, job loss and continued unemployment have made this a difficult season in my life but it’s the season in my life that I’ve changed most for the better. I’ve never had another time in my life with so much difficulty that yielded positive results. This is that time for me and I’m very grateful for all of it.

Stay Tuned

I am going to document as much of my training, feelings, goals and frustrations over the next six months. Stay with me for the story.

Talk to you later!

I’d hoped to bike a quick 14 miles tonight but the awesome summer weather had other plans. I hitched the bike to my car and tried to bike in Altamonte then the storm started. I drove back to Oviedo and the storm followed me there too. No biking tonight. I’m going early tomorrow.

I accomplished two things today. I stayed 100% primal and I stayed off the scale. My weight keeps fluctuating down to 301 and back up to 305…I can’t seem to get under 300. I put the scale away for a while. I’ve realized I lost my focus. I was doing great when I concentrated on primal eating and staying within my calorie range.

Lately as I’m close to getting under 300, I’ve been checking the scale daily for that goal. I’m going to stop. It will only frustrate me more and I don’t want that disappointment back in my life.

I’ll check on Fridays only. Wish me luck. I’m attempting a month with no grains at all. Primal Blueprint allows for an 80/20 ratio on occasion. I’m planning to go 100% no grains until August. So when my friends come to visit in July I’ll have no Italian dinners out!

I DID Life

Today I was able to meet my next goal! If you’ll take a look at the banner up there, you’ll notice a new check mark over The Do Life Tour 5k. I jogged/walked my first 5k and managed to finish in under one hour. 59 minutes and 46 seconds to be exact but it was my best run to date. If you’ll go back five months with me to Warrior Dash, you’ll remember I was pleased to have finished it but a little put off at the fact that it took me 1 hour and 40 minutes to get through that 5k with obstacles. I was dead last for the entire event.

Today was better! I hope I can adequately recall each moment of the day so you can share in my excitement.

Quick Note About Today’s Blog

It’s highly interactive. Names like “Ben”, “Pa” and “Jed” will link to their individual blogs when you click. I encourage you to find motivation in each of their stories and follow them to see how they progress. There are lots of pictures today. Each picture can be clicked to enlarge so you can get a better view of the day I just experienced.

Fitness, Inspirational, Motivational Santa came to town!

That’s how it was. It felt like Christmas morning to me! Matt and I arrived at Winter Garden Station to wait for the start of the 5k. James and Lori arrived shortly after and we walked over to meet Ben, Pa and Jed. In addition to meeting the guys from the Do Life Movement, we also immersed ourselves in a group of local people that are equally motivated by Ben and his story. (photo break: click to enlarge each)


Winter Garden Station Trail head


The Do Life Tour travel vehicle


Do Life Tour meeting area

Meeting Ben Davis for the first time

Meeting Ben was an incredible moment for me. Here’s a guy that was a little less than my size when he started and look at him now! Look at me now! I’m happier to be healthier! He came over and introduced himself. I said “Hi, I’m Pat”. He questioned, “Pat”? So I told him he knows me as Pasquale on the web. So we chat for a sec and he moves away to the car. He comes back over to me and hands me an envelope. I didn’t see him hand these out to anyone else. This was an emotional moment for me and you’re about to see why…


This is the envelope that Ben handed me.


Inside the envelope

In case you can’t read it, it says:

I just want to say it’s incredible to see how far you’ve come. As someone who has gone through a similar journey, I know how hard it can be.

Congratulations on making it here, and keep rocking it as hard or harder than you have thus far. You and I both know that it’s worth it to keep at it.

Good luck on your trek to the marathon and let me know when you get that medal around your neck.

Do Life,

Benjamin Davis

P.S. This is the picture from our first.

The picture is signed by Ben, Jed and Pa and if you’ve followed my blog about my story room when I’m older, then you know that this will be a definite part of the story to be found framed behind glass somewhere on the wall. Okay, here’s a long photo break:


James and Lori


My posse (L to R): Matt, James and me


Matt...always trying to look cool.


James takes a moment to chat with Ben.


Ben and his motivators with me and mine (L to R): Pa, Ben, Me, James, Jed and Matt.


We took a picture of the entire group before the run.


Ben explaining how the run will go and thanking everyone.

On our way. I managed around 1.25 miles of straight jogging before a break to walk.


Standing at the half way point for a picture.

Matt got ahead of us to take this picture. One of my favorites!


Ben coming back with the rest of the group waving the Do Life t-shirt like a flag.


Another picture of me and Ben after the event. Red-faced and sweaty.


Everyone went to 4 Rivers for lunch and fellowship.


This one won't be framed. I'm planning to wear it. I bought it in 1XL size so I've got something to work toward!

So, there you have it folks! It really was a great day. I feel really good about all of it and I know the next one will be even better! Oh yeah, it’s possible I’ll be doing another 5k on July 4th. We shall See.

One Last Thing

I know you’ve seen a lot of pictures but I wanted to show you the first picture I took when I woke up this morning!


Never Forget

Posted: June 16, 2011 in Friends, Motivational


Since my divorce, I’ve tried to get by with as few things as possible. Prior to that I had this emotional attachment to things…trinkets, statues, posters, collectibles. They all had attached memories. I learned to detach the memory and keep it with me but to get rid of the physical inventory. I parted ways with a Star Wars collection that ranged from 20-30 years old. The guy that bought it paid very little for it and I’m pretty sure my heart broke a little bit that day. When I look back on it today, I don’t mind so much. I remember the fun those toys brought me and I get to relive the fun through my 4-year old padawan who has started a little Star Wars Clone Wars collection of her own.

Today I woke up early and had the urge to start downsizing again. I organized the things I needed and started a trash pile for the things I didn’t. It’s a good feeling when you clear the space around you. To de-clutter is to de-stress.

Then I came across this one collection of items. One that I haven’t moved from the spot where I placed it on the day I received it. The collection looks like this:

  • A shirt with a race tag on the front
  • A medal that simply says “finisher”
  • A fuzzy hat with plush stuffed horns

The shirt is unwashed. After Warrior Dash, I showered off the mud and sweat that would come out of the shirt but otherwise, the stains of the day are still there. Mud splatters cover the front. A muddy hand print lies smack in the middle on the reverse side from where I received a pat on the back from my friends.

The medal isn’t gold. It’s not strung on a beautiful ribbon. It’s not heavy but it reminds me that I crossed the finish line. When I think about it further, I wasn’t finished that day. I was just starting.

When I’m old and finally free of this struggle with obesity, I don’t want a lot of things. I want one room. Maybe a den, an office or a study. It would be great to have the bookshelves full of books and information that got me to take the steps toward healthy living. I want a rack filled with medals. I don’t want them to be Gold, Silver or Bronze. I just want them to say “Finisher”…to say “I did it”. Each book, medal and ribbon would have a story to go with it.

In the center of it all, I want these three things: The dirty shirt, the cheap Warrior Dash medal and the goofy hat all encased in a framed box behind glass where everyone will notice it and question it. That hat will certainly catch the eyes of my grandchildren in the same way it catches my daughter’s eye when she sees it. And when they ask “what is that stuff, Grandpa”? I’ll simply answer “It’s the stuff that made it possible for me to be spending time with you right now.”

So, what helps you look back and remember important events in your life?