Mental Toughness, Motivation and Day 5 of eating CLEAN

My parent's pantry!

It is day five of eating clean. What a roller coaster ride! I can’t believe how hard it has been! The funny thing is all I had to do was eliminate sugars – which I found to be really hard by the way since I love my coffee with about four sugar packets and a quarter cup of cream in the morning. I had to eliminate Peanut butter as well, whelp! This guy here eats about a jar a week. It has been a key ingredient of my diet for my whole life, I believe in the sixth grade I was up to three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches a day; Thanks Mom! I also had to eliminate Alcohol, and grains from my diet as well. While my diet has been tough, I am already noticing the difference. I have dropped about three pounds and I am starting to notice that my love handles are starting to shrink. I really didn’t want to post that but I made it a goal to be more truthful this year. What I am noticing during this key five day period that this diet has been a case of mental toughness and boy, have I grown from the past year and half with my mental toughness due to my weight loss, Spartan races, marathons and doing CrossFit. I absolutely love food – I was taught to eat everything off of my plate for dinner before I could do anything and if I didn’t, I got a scolding from Dad and occasionally my lovely crazy grandmother. It was tough growing up from a family where food is certainly a way of expressing love and on top of that, food was not to be wasted! On top of that I dated an Italian girl for about seven years and yes we ate a lot of pasta, so not having it right now on top of exercising almost twice a day has been hard! I also think I have a relationship with food, I think I can acknowledge that and I think a lot of other people who are heavier can attest to that as well!

So back to mental toughness and motivation. It is key that I have a goal and that goal is eating clean for thirty days which will clean my system out of all of the garbage that I have been eating. The motivation that I have is my body is going to look and feel better after the thirty days – hopefully! The diet is based on getting rid of inflammation which in my case, I have a lot of that around my stomach area! Ha-Ha So in terms of mental toughness, when I am coming against forces like my family wanting to order pizza last night because that’s what we do on Friday nights, I suggested to my mom that I have to eat clean and to please let me take her fifty dollars that she would have to spend on pizza and let me cook something healthy! She said yes!  Especially since she doesn’t have to cook which after cooking for five boys for the past twenty years, you can see why! I also saved her about thirty bucks since dinner was around 29 dollars, another plus! On my first day, I turned down a beer from a good friend after helping them with their water heater and if you know me, I NEVER turn down a good beer.

The biggest animal is not eating clean for thirty days but it is fighting yourself, your mind against the temptations that exist. It is easy to say oh well, I can have this, it is just one but what you are really doing is defeating yourself, before you know it, you will be saying well I already had one, what’s one more going to hurt and before you know it, you ate a whole box of cookies or a whole jar of peanut butter! I came home to my parent’s house this weekend due to a business meeting out in West Chester and there was my favorite cake on the table called a babka (a sweet yeast cake) and there are cookies still left over from Christmas! I have yet to touch them and I don’t plan on it. It will be much safer when I get to my bachelor pad that has barely any food in it but for now, I credit CrossFit and all of the races that I have done for improving my mental fitness. Without my mental fitness improving race after race or workout after workout, I wouldn’t be this good right now. Mental fitness is hard to come by and I have taken a lot of hits along the way.  I gave up playing college baseball way too early because I didn’t feel appreciated. I blew up on my diet after college because I was focused on taking care of someone else besides me. It is easy to say yes to the desert placed on your table at family dinners. It is easy to say yes to a beer with a friend because of the instant gratification that happens because of it. Our society is certainly struggling with that concept today with statistics that show more than half of Americans are obese and more than half of marriages end up in divorce. Say yes to something that is hard andit will change your life in the LONG run.

If I were an employer, I would immediately hire me or anybody else that has done races or does CrossFit because it takes an incredible amount of mental strength to complete those and trust me, you want someone that is not going to give up before the work even starts. We live in a world full of anxiety where people are scared to take chances before even taking the first step. Once you beat the negative voice that is talking in your head, everything else suddenly becomes easy! Tell your mind that you are going to accomplish something and the rest will follow. It is important to have goals because having goals will encourage you to stay motivated. Have rewards as well! I am hoping to look better than ever after this thirty days and hopefully if I do, I can implement it into my lifestyle and then have occasional cheat days to treat myself.

Take necessary actions to build up your mental toughness, it will make you stronger as individual and it will attract others around you that are the same which will enable you to be better off for it.  Once you achieve something relatively small, then all of sudden, a domino effect of more positive things keep happening in your life.

Work on your mental toughness by achieving one goal today. Tomorrow, when you wake up work on achieving another goal before the end of the day. Make it a habit.

Well time for me to do my workout of the day, I am going to run a mile as fast as I can which I am aiming for under seven minutes. Not bad for a guy who could barely finish one a year and a half ago.

Have a great weekend and look for my next blog post next weekend where I am going to write about being out of my comfort zone at my first CrossFit competition!

Until next time,




My weight loss journey

My Weight Loss Journey
In October of 2011, I was living life. Of course, I thought life could be better but at that time I just accepted a job with Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and I was on my third year of living with my long term girlfriend who I thought I going to marry someday. But something inside of me didn’t feel right. That day I touched the scales and saw that my young college athletic body was no more. I had reached 260 pounds and at 5’7, that was a lot of weight. If you do the math that is 3.88 pounds per inch on my body, which means if I was six foot four I would be a NFL lineman.  It was a sad point in my life considering that I was 175 pounds during my junior year playing baseball for York College of Pennsylvania (Yes it is a real college and yes there is more than just farming around here) I was fast, really fast, and fast enough to beat 75% of the kids on my team in a sixty yard dash. 
I can sit here and make excuses of why I let myself get that way. I could blame on starting a business with no contacts, to being stressed out from my relationship because I was concerned about keeping her happy when she got home so we could enjoy ourselves later, I can blame it on not playing any physical sports for the first time in 20 years of my life but I won’t. I didn’t exercise because I thought I was “too busy” and eating was a true love for me! My eating habits at the time were based on me running them off and eventually the pounds compounded into where I was at that moment. I was disappointed. Even after looking at the scale, I had zero motivation to do anything about my weight and keg shaped stomach.
My wonderful girlfriend and best friend at the time (weird that they are the same person, I know) decided she was going to sign us up for a 5K because she was annoyed that we ate McDonalds two weeks before and we both got seconds along with milkshakes as well. This decision probably saved my life. We signed up for the David Tome Run which is held in Spring Grove which is a great cause if you are interested. The first day we decided to run, I could barely do a mile without being so out of breath that I thought I was going to die. The next day, it was worse because I had gotten so sore from the previous run, I didn’t even go to work the next day so I can slept in to wear off the lactic acid that seemed to be taking over my body. I was trying to find every excuse in the book, one day it was my knee, the next day I had a headache and then the next day, work was awful but I knew that I paid for my registration for the race. I did not want to flush fifty dollars down the toilet. We made our runs eventually into a habit; (we tried mornings but never seemed to work so it always happened before dinner) it also helped that if I didn’t get my run in, then I couldn’t have something. I will let your minds wander about that something. We changed the way we ate dramatically even to the point where I got the Italian girlfriend to give up her regular spaghetti to whole grain pasta.
It was race day and it was cold, I was miserable as I was scared that I was not going to finish the race.  That race was a big woof for me as I was running and my girlfriend who provided the best support for me, she could have ran loops around me but stuck around me to make sure that I wouldn’t give up or take a cab to the finish line. I also saw that I was in the same crowd with all of the rest of the BIG crowd including one of them that was an active COP! We finished in 36 minutes. I completed it and I felt very good about it. To tell you the truth, I was angry about my time. What I should have been proud about was my completion and the fact that I lost a couple of pounds. I also felt better, was sleeping normally, and had more energy that I could devote to my business. Something in me wanted more, and I was glad about that. The next couple of months, I had friends asked me about our race, even suggesting doing a half marathon with us and I looked at them as if they should be sent to the looney bin!
I was still not satisfied with my weight and decided to do some weightlifting with my buddy every Thursday before we went out to have a couple of beers. I fell in love with it again as I used to lift weights all the time in college with my ass of a roommate who I know consider one of my best friends. To this day, I think weightlifting is what brought me to greater heights in my weight loss because not only was I running, I was lifting on the same day and burned close to a 1,000 calories a day.
But I hit a wall in November; my relationship was falling apart, business was really slow and I could not seem to lose any more weight, even though I was doing the same exercises.  My Thursday night buddy told me one day that he was doing the Tough Mudder which is 11 mile plus run that includes 15 or more military style obstacles, one of them includes running through twenty yards of wires that contained 10,000 volts of electricity (I should have said no right then and there but the beers had already kicked in. I said maybe in hopes that he would forget next week but the following week, he decided to show me a video of the crazy stuff they do and it was amazing. The first ten seconds of the video showed an Iraq war vet that had both of his legs from knee down blown off from the war, wearing prosthetics and doing the race. At the end of the video, I just looked at myself and said I have both of my legs, why am I continually battering myself into saying I can’t do something when this guy who gave his body away for our country and is still doing stuff that most normal people can’t do. The race was four months away and I had to start training right then and there or I wasn’t going to make it. I started going on long runs, and by long, I mean more than three miles. It was rough from the get-go, it is even harder when you want to run long distance and you are still running at a 12 minutes pace. One day, I read in runner’s world which I thank every day that I read this article and to sum it up, the article stated that for beginners, you should do a workout where you run for five minutes and then walk for five minutes. I enjoyed this immensely because when I ran, I was running at a good pace and I could run further. I was able to do eight miles in January when three months beforehand, I was unable to do one.  One important thing that I
learned is that the mental part is the hardest, your body can do lots of thing but your mind always stops you. There are individuals out there that will work out hard enough so that they throw up, that takes tremendous willpower and something that I hope to achieve someday.
My friend and I decided that the weekend before, we would run a 5K which was exciting for me to do because I wanted to beat my time by a lot. I did my race in 28 minutes!!! A huge difference. I felt so good! I drank a couple of beers and all of the sudden; I was worried about the Tough Mudder which was taking place in five days. I was worried enough that I considered dropping out! Race day came and it was twenty five degrees outside when we left the house which at the time we were on the way there, I became incredibly worried because I knew that the first obstacle was going to be ice bath, (a 10 yard dumpster filled with water and ice with a wall in the middle that makes you go under) I was going to get wet in this weather and run a half marathon on top of that!!! I will write more about the Tough Mudder in my next blog but I did manage to complete it!
Three weeks after the race, I needed to do something to keep me going on this weight loss path so I decided out of the blue that I would do a half marathon in my hometown. I finished in two hours and thirty minutes. I still want to punch the kid in the face that did it in an hour and twenty minutes, I will give my props to him, you are an incredible athlete and you make me want to work even harder.
Today as I write this blog, I am down to 220 lbs, I have lost forty pounds in six months which is incredible. What is even more incredible is that I still want more. My next goal is run the Spartan Race competitively next weekend and to be 185 pounds by Labor Day weekend. I can’t tell you how much more confidence I have in myself with talking to business clients or to the girl next door, my energy is insane as I only need seven hours of sleep now and my stress level is not there anymore. I went from being a person who wanted to go Freddy Kruger on everyone to being Jimmy Buffet on the beach with a margarita in his hand singing his songs. The advice I would share with you is find something physical that you love doing and get really good at it, always be willing to try new workouts, I did hot yoga and it is hard – it is not a girly exercise, obstacle racing is a lot of fun, get friends that would be willing to do the exercises with you because they will hold you accountable and push you to do more when all you want to do is stop and give up. Nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it but we all need help so go to Barnes and noble, read some self-help books, read inspiring biographies and have a conversation with a guy or gal that was in the same shoes that you are standing in right now because we all need to convince ourselves that there is more in us that we know of. If you guys have any questions and want to talk to me more about this, schedule a time to meet with me. My email is 
Thanks for reading and I hope this was helpful,