Saturday, March 30, 2013

Eat Right, Exercise and Do It Forever

This was originally posted in the Get Healthy Challenge Blog that I'm participating in:

As Carly explained in her post, since I'm her husband and she is in charge of this challenge, I was required to join the group. Just kidding!

I actually like to try to be as healthy as I can, but food sometimes really gets in the way. However, I'm inspired by a friend of mine who said that his grandmother told him "nothing tastes as good as being thin feels."

I realize that this post is super long, but I feel the need to express my past experiences with managing my health and the changes that can happen from taking it seriously.

My weight fluctuated growing up quite a bit and particularly in my early twenties. The all you can eat college cafeteria plan helped me gain the freshman fifty and my first area in my mission covered a Tongan ward that loved to feed us tons of food. After all that I reached 264 pounds and stayed that way from 2000-2006.

BYU-Idaho 2006
BYU-Idaho Graduation 2006
Mission 200-2002

Three things really changed all that for me in 2006:
  1. My sister Lauren, who is part of this group, lost a lot of weight through changing her eating habits and exercising more. I was inspired by her results and decided that I needed to make some serious adjustments.
  2. Gary Crittenden, former CFO of Citigroup, came to speak at BYU-Idaho for a business summit and described his story of how he lost weight. He said that early in his career a manager told him that he need to stop wearing yellow shirts and that he was "too fat." The very next morning, he laced up his running shoes and ran before work and continued that habit for more than thirty years (He stopped wearing yellow shirts too, as far as I could tell!).
  3. For anyone who knows me well, I'm all about Apple products. During this time I was inspired by Lauren and Gary, Apple introduced the Nike Plus iPod running sensor. Of course, I HAD to get it the moment it came out and that really helped to provide the extra motivation I needed to begin my running routine.
And so began my regular early morning exercise. One of my health professors taught that "If exercise were a pill, it would be the most prescribed medicine in the world." I can definitely say that running certainly helped me get my body in better condition.

When I decided to take losing weight seriously, I decided to count calories and made sure that I was burning more than I was taking in. I planned out my meals based on the amount of calories I allowed myself for each day. For simplicity, I ate a bowl of Cheerios and a banana for breakfast, a turkey sandwich and apple for lunch and anything I wanted that was around 500 calories for dinner everyday for three years.

Photo from 2007 when I reached 155 pounds
With my new exercise routine and eating habits, I lost 109 pounds in eight months. Going from 264 to 155 in such a short time frame caused me to have to buy a whole new wardrobe every other month!

I never imagined that I could lose so much weight and certainly not in that short amount of time. It didn't seem all that short while it was happening, but I knew that it would pay off at some point.

Interestingly, I lost all this weight after graduating from BYU-Idaho when I moved to Arizona. I went back to Rexburg for a conference in 2007 and when I approached some of my old friends, they did not recognize me at all! They kept telling me I looked like a completely different person.

I love showing old pictures to new friends to show them how much I weighed just a few years ago. They also give the same reaction as my friends in Rexburg, saying that I don't even look like the same person.

Since 2007, I have gained some back, but I've stayed within a somewhat healthy range. I also kept the running habit and made it a hobby. I've run four Ragnar Relay races and one half-marathon!

Arizona Ragnar Relay 2011
Arizona Ragnar Relay 2012
(Carly and I are Bert and Ernie)
Charlotte Thunder Road Marathon 2012
When Carly and I got married in February of 2012, we decided that we wanted to have healthy eating and exercise habits. We tried several times to execute a healthy eating plan, but sometimes it only lasted for a few weeks. We even tried to stop eating dessert for a few weeks, but didn't see any results.

We discovered a key characteristic about ourselves through a principle taught by Clayton Christensen, a Harvard Business School Professor. He said that when committing to a goal, following it 100% of the time is easier than 98% of the time. If you follow 98%, it's always a battle.

Carly and I in Feb. 2013
For us, that meant following our healthy eating goals 100% of the time. We decided that we would not have desserts until we reached our respective goal weights. We even started it the week we visited New York City and denied ourselves of all the yummy treats unique to that area. We would say to ourselves, "I don't need that. I've had great treats before and I can have them again, just not right now." We made exception for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, but we went without desserts for six months. It was very difficult at first, but we gained so much confidence in ourselves and in our bodies. Carly talked about how much better she felt about her body, even though it didn't change in size or weight a whole lot.

Our new healthy eating habits included keeping our meals to 500 calories each, with 200 calories of snacks per day. We discovered after sticking to that plan and being patient with the results, it really helped us both get to a better weight. I lost more than 20 pounds in five months.

When we were at dinner with one of Carly's cousins (who also had dropped a significant amount of weight and kept it off), we noticed at the end of the meal we were super full, while he commented that he was "satisfied." That taught us that we did not have to eat until we were stuffed, like I would a lot of the time, but when we felt the amount was sufficient. We learned to listen to our bodies and recognize when we were eating to satisfy and when it was just for stimulation or out of boredom. Portion control is key!

I would also like to point out that I have not used the term diet. Diet to me is a temporary thing. I remember a 20/20 news segment that covered diets. I still remember the findings, "Eat right, exercise and do it forever!" Healthy eating habits are something you have to sustain for longer than a few weeks or months. It takes a lifetime.

Carly once told me about a man who was a professional dancer and professor at Weber State University, where she did her undergrad. When he was in his early 40s, he started slowing down and thought the dancing part of his career was over. One day, he decided that he was going to treat his body like an tool, an instrument for his life and career rather than just something that he obeyed. He was strict with his eating habits and religious about specific exercises. He was close to 60 and he was still performing professionally. We both loved that idea. Carly always laughs when I pass by some sugary treats and chant, "No! My body is an instrument!" Elder Richard G. Scott taught in conference a few years ago about receiving revelation. Part of what helps us to receive the Spirit is having healthy bodies.

While I certainly have not been perfect at weight control, I have definitely made some major changes in my life that helped me to feel more confident in my ability to not only master my weight, but also myself. Carly and I have gained a better understanding of how powerful encouragement from others, whether it's your spouse, a family member, or this group, can help you accomplish your goal. We've also gained a lot of confidence in our ability to control our habits rather than having them control us. That is something worth it's weight in gold!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bear Lake Trip

After graduation, Carly and I took a trip to Bear Lake last week and stayed at the Creamery in St. Charles, Idaho. The Pedersen's have been going to the Creamery for many years and Carly's uncle was gracious enough to let us come this last weekend. Carly's parents and most of her siblings and their children were able to come, as well as my parents and K.C. We mostly hung out and relaxed, but we had a couple family meetings. One of the meetings was on Mother's Day and we shared what we liked about our moms. Another meeting was about our favorite scripture and we learned a lot of new insights.

Playing games with some of my new nieces and nephews was really fun. In fact, there happens to be a firepole that most of us went down and I'm proud to say I was the first Native American to go down it!

It was super fun for our families to get to know each other better and enjoy each others company. Some of the best parts were sitting on the couch and just chatting.

Carly and I went up a few days before to hang out in Utah and spend time with friends and family. The day after we arrived, I got to participate in my first baby blessing for our new nephew Andrew. We also got to see Carly's alma mater, Weber State AND we got to see the Avengers, which totally rocked!

We are looking forward to many more trips up there in the future!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Christmas Break

Christmas Break was a blast! Carly and I flew to UT and got to hang with her family, meet old friends, and just have some fun. The first night Carly had her bridal shower and so her Dad and I went to the "man party" with my future brother in laws and nephews. We played some X-box Kinnect and had some hot chocolate. Afterwards I was taken to the bridal shower since apparently the tradition is for the guy to come to the last five minutes. It was fun because I got to see all the presents and get some of the food!

The next day we went to Provo and met one of her good friends Christen at Kneaders Bakery and had all you can eat french toast. Then we saw one of my college buddies Neil. Finally we dropped by my to see my best friends from my childhood, Pace and his wife Joy, along with Stephanie. It was fun to catch up and have them meet Carly. Steph said they needed to approve before we tied the knot!

Saturday, Carly, her parents and I got to see the new Mission Impossible. It was killer! Later on that day we had a dinner with some of the extended family and had a nativity scene with some of the smaller children. Loved it!

Christmas day was great of course since we got to have a musical program for sacrament. It always a great day when we get to recognize the Savior and his influence on our lives. The next best part was opening the presents! It was fun, especially with all my future nieces and nephews!

One of the best parts of the trip was visting the Bountiful temple, where Carly and I will be married in just a few weeks time. It is a beautiful place and I can't wait to go back there and marry her. I'm so grateful for temples and the authority to make it possible for marriages to last in the eternities. I know the Priesthood and the sealing authority in that Priesthood is real. That is one of the greatest gifts the Lord has blessed his children with.

Best. Christmas Break. With My Fiance. Ever!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bank of America MBA Leadership Development Program

I recently accepted an offer from Bank of America to begin their MBA Leadership Development Program (LDP) in their Consumer and Small Business Bank (CSBB) Division. The position starts at the end of June after I graduate from Arizona State. I will start with a class of 25 or so MBA grads, five of which will be from ASU. The program is designed to train incoming MBA's in general management to develop future leaders and executives in the bank.

The LDP consists of three rotations over two years. The first rotation is a corporate project in one of their divisions (Online, Mobile, ATM, Credit Cards, Demand Deposit Accounts, etc.). The second rotation consists of a two month mini-project with the other incoming MBAs and then a six month position where you work with a market manager and supervise more than 40 branch managers. The third rotation bring you back to a new corporate project for another eight months. Once the rotations are complete you move into a new full-time position such as product management or product development.

I'm super excited about this opportunity and thankful for the ASU alumni and Career Management Center staff that made it possible to land the internship last summer and the Bank of American associates that helped make it a great experience, ultimately resulting in this job offer.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I'm Engaged!

In case you haven't heard the news, I'm engaged to the beautiful Carly Pedersen! Just two nights ago I surprised her by having signs asking her to to marry me outside of the security gate at Sky Harbor Airport as she returned from her trip to Utah. With some help from my friends Meghan, Katie, Chantal, and Dane, we set up the best marriage proposal I've ever done!

As you watch the video, the reaction on her face is priceless. One of my friends said it gave him the same kind of goosebumps as he got when they let Rudy play for Notre Dame. This was a million times better!

I'm so grateful for Carly and the love we share. She has brought me a lot of happiness and joy. She has all the qualities I've been looking for in a girl and I told her that she was even better than my "list."

I look forward to the day we will be married in the Temple for time and eternity.

I love you Carly!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Six Minutes of the Dark Night Rises in Mission Impossible 4!

My roommate let me know today that select cities with IMAX theaters showing Mission Impossible 4 will  also show the first six minutes of the new Batman film coming out next summer! I CANNOT wait!

I'm super excited for Mission Impossible anyway, especially since it is a J.J. Abrhams film. For those who are unfamiliar, J.J. produced LOST and the most recent Star Trek.

The next Batman will be epic considering the last two were phenomenal. Chris Nolan, the director is a amazing. The first two Batman films he directed were some of my favorites of all time. He also did Inception, which was a remarkable film as well.

Anyways, I can't wait for this extra bonus in MI 4!

Friday, December 2, 2011


Thanksgiving was great! Carly and I flew to Charlotte for six days and had an absolute blast with the fam. We came in the day of Thanksgiving and Carly got to know the 'Rents, as well as KC, Lauren, and Cameron. Carly happened to just get her iPhone before we left, so she got initiated well into the family culture by trying out her new toy.

We went to Grandma Wade's house for Thanksgiving dinner and went to Kerry's house for Breakfast on Saturday. Both activities were super fun and it was neat to have Carly meet my extended family.

We had a lot of free time as well to just hang out, realax, watch a few movies, and have a lot of fun.

It was a great trip and I can't wait to go to Utah to meet Carly's family for Christmas!