All posts by jmacofearth

Everyday It Is Simply About Making Better Choices

Little choices go a long way. Last week I decided, as I was drinking part of an afternoon Pepsi, that I would give up sodas for the month of March. It’s not a big thing. And as I was amazed to learn from the container, the entire 20 oz drink only has 250 calories. I don’t know what I thought it had, but that number didn’t seem scary. Still I am off the sodas. And this one is going to be easy for me.

I’m taking a step towards my fitness and health goal and away from the bad habit that put the Pepsi bottle on my desk in the first place.

I love a coke every now and then. But the rush of sugar is really what I’m craving. And sugar cravings are the enemy. One coke during the day and I’m going to be craving sugar for the rest of the day. Nope. Not this month.

I find ways to substitute other things for the things that are less beneficial. For example today I wanted my Pepsi but instead I am having a bubbly water. Same ice, same cool drink, same bubbles, zero sugar. That’s an easy substitution. And while 250 calories doesn’t seem like a lot, over the course of a week, drinking say 3 of them… That’s what I’m cutting out.

250caloriesI’ve had success before, going cold turkey on things like sugar, caffeine, so this is not going to be hard. But it is a step towards my fitness and health goal and away from the bad habit that put the Pepsi bottle on my desk in the first place.

Now, what am I going to have for lunch?

It’s always how much and what you eat. Yes, exercise, but watch your intake. You can’t out exercise a poor diet. Not possible. Eat better. Drink better. Walk further. And keep going.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney

My Perfect Breakfast

In an effort to streamline my life and fitness routines I have begun eating a very simple breakfast. Normally, I have a few spoonfuls of Greek Yogurt and some granola. I wanted to look at the differences between eating my FIT granola with yogurt or 2% milk, as that is also an available staple in my house. Here’s what I found.

First the yogurt. Add the healthy pro-biotics, yogurt is an easy win. But how does it stack up against 2% milk?



5 grams of fat in 2% milk and 120 calories. I guess that’s better than 8 grams in whole milk.

8 grams of protein and 11 grams of carbs. While the yogurt has 20 grams of protein and 25 grams of carbs. And yes, that’s a lot of added sugar to the yogurt: 20 grams vs. 11 grams for milk. But in my book the less fat makes up for the added sugar. Let’s see how the granola adds to the total.


Fat 2 grams, Sugars 3 grams, Protein 3 grams. A pretty solid mix. So for my morning meal the milk or yogurt makes a nice medium for the granola but has 60 more calories than the milk. I eat the FIT versions of granola which have less added sugar.

Eat well. Eat breakfast. Eat less.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney

What Are You Drinking This Summer? My Silver Bullet Coffee and Dreamsicle Smoothie

Well, I started out with trying the Bulletproof Coffee, but I got lost at the starting gate. I liked the idea of not blowing up my blood sugar and energy with my first two cups of coffee, but I didn’t think the idea of meal replacement via butter and coconut oil was such a great idea. So I modified a bit to something that really works for me. I call it Silver Bullet Coffee, partially in homage to the Bulletproof idea, but also referring to the NutriBullet on Amazon blender I use to bring it all together. Here’s the process.

Cold or hot, I use my NutriBullet blender to mix extra goodies into my morning and afternoon coffee. Blending the mix gives the best taste, in my opinion.


  1. Organic coffee (caff or decaf depending on your needs)
    Organic Coffee Company – Java Love / Keurig Cup
  2. Teaspoon of raw coconut oil. (source of calories and smooth internal functioning) Nature’s Way Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  3. Small teaspoon of Maca Powder (be careful with this stuff, start slow, build up. If you get too revved, dial back the Maca Powder first.) Navitas Maca Powder
  4. One shake of organic cinnamon, for taste. Organic Cinnamon
  5. 4 oz. of 2% organic milk.
  6. Ice.
  7. BLEND and ENJOY.


Same ingredients over ice. BLEND and ENJOY. Occasionally for the cold Silver Bullet I will skip the coconut oil, since it clumps.


When it’s hot outside and I need a treat. But I’ve had all the coffee I can handle, I make my dreamsicle smoothie.

  1. Ice.
  2. Small scoop of orange sherbet or mango sorbet
  3. 1/2 teaspoon of raw organic honey
  4. 10 raw organic almonds
  5. 4 oz. of 2% organic milk
  6. 6 oz. of non-fat vanilla yogurt

Monsoons, Milestones, and Magic Powders on the Road to Wellness

It’s been raining here in Texas for a while now. The windfall of water has taken it’s toll on my workout schedule a bit, but mainly in keeping me off the tennis courts.

Have you tried any superfoods as part of your health and fitness quest? What about Maca powder? Or coconut oil? Or omega-3 fish oils? Are there some superfoods that work and others that are more hype than happy? I’m sure the answer is yes. My run at bulletproof coffee was a bit of a wash, though I do think the coconut oil has helped my internal digestive system a bit.

Oh, and I did to the weigh-in, as promised.


Maybe not as low as I had imagined, but easily the best I’ve looked and felt in years. Of course, *love* has a lot to do with that.

And on that note, I found a great summer beverage that I’m trying to perfect. I’m a sucker for the frappucino or frozen coffee drinks. However, those are *loaded* with sugar and fat. So I’ve come up with my own variety.

Silver Bullet Cold Coffee(tm)

  • 1 brew of coffee – decaf or reg depending on the time of day or need of energy

  • 1 tablespoon of raw local honey

  • 1 teaspoon of raw coconut oil

  • 1 pinch of cinnamon

  • 2 – 5 grains of organic sea salt for minerals and trace elements

  • and today – 1 teaspoon of Maca powder (no idea, but a fad for sure – I’ll report back after a bit of experimentation with this super/mysterious food.

  • ice

  • blender to make frozen smoothie

Top 10 ideas from my holistic fitness and health program.

  1. Weighing-in is optional, not necessary to keep my motivation high, nor to inspire me
  2. Superfoods are also caloric, so let’s use a bit of judgement and see what feels good (all in moderation)
  3. Coffee is a health drink and a superfood combined.
  4. Coconut oil continues to astound me. Not as a weight-loss supplement, but certainly as a healthy fat and as a lubricant for all things.
  5. Today’s news: losing weight is more about eating less, rather than exercising more.
  6. Exercising everyday is a must. You’re going to miss days, so make those actual misses, rather than scheduled days off. The more the merrier. Two and three-a-days are amazing, but also taxing to your overall system.
  7. Sleep is essential. 8 hours is minimal.
  8. Waking up early, alert and inspired by what the day brings is a good sign of health and happiness.
  9. Finding someone to train with is the biggest boost to fitness.
  10. Finding someone to love is the biggest boost to life and overall health and mental resilience.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney

Superfoods: Do you believe in superfoods? Spirulina, Wheatgrass, Coconut Oil, Maca Powder, Asahi. What is and is not recommended? Here’s a bit of info on my latest experimental supplement.

7 Top Health Benefits of Maca Powder – Vegkitchen

related posts:

Do you want to try any of these superfoods for yourself. Here are the two main ingredients in my new cold coffee brew.


Time for a Fitness and Health Accounting

It’s easy to know when you are losing weight or getting more fit. Your clothes begin to feel loose. People may begin to ask about your fitness. “You look great,” might become a refrain you hear from friends. It’s a great moment. It’s also a temptation for me to celebrate with some unconscious eating.

This week we had my mom over for dinner. And of course we needed dessert. I got one thing I didn’t want and one thing I did. Turns out my guests ate the Oreo ice cream sandwiches but left the Heath Klondike bars. Guess who ate every. single. one of them? (frown)

Okay, so we get back up, we keep going. We thank people for the complements, but we don’t give our body-mind connection to go soft. I knew what I was doing when I bought the Klondikes. I was buying something I wanted. I was giving myself a treat. Not an issue, but not the beginning of a pattern either.

Back to the normal fitness and health improvement regimine.

So it’s been over 6 months since I added my love-interest and training-partner. And I can say my clothes are fitting better. I’m thinking of getting a new pair of jeans, that fits tighter. I like who I’m looking without a shirt, more and more. As a goal, I am moving gracefully into a healthier lifestyle and ongoing exercise program with the support and love of another person who’s already mastered their own eating-running lifestyle.

I’m even starting to run myself. Even when I don’t want to (I’d rather walk) I’m doing 1/3 runs on my walks. I’m getting ready to restart my competitive tennis activities. Right in the heat of the Summer. Oh boy. But right there beside me, is my partner and enthusiast, giving me ideas, asking me “what are you going to do today.” And she’s talking about getting in my workout.

It’s great if you can find someone to partner with. It’s really fine if they become life partners, and you begin cooking together, running together, and supporting each other in your healthier and healthier lifestyle.

Now comes the accounting.

I need to weigh in. Not that weight is my uber-goal, fitness and health is, but I have begun avoiding it. I don’t really want to know HOW MUCH I’ve lost. I’d rather keep it in the abstract and imagine. But I do want to know.

When we started I was at 240+. And that amazed me. I’d love to shoot for 200 even at some point. I know I’m not there. I know I feel and look better. But I don’t know how much better. I don’t have a measurement on my fitness level.  I know I can walk up the bigass hill much more easily. I know that my overall energy is much better. And I know a lot of this enthusiasm and joy has to do with my workout program and my joyful partner.

But how much?


Tomorrow. I’ll do it tomorrow. (Really.)

Take the next step,

John McElhenney

related posts:


Never Stop, Never Give Up! Getting Fit with a Friend!

It’s no accident that I’ve been silent here on my “fitness” blog. (Last post, Jan 7, 2015) It’s been a busy and rough few months since January. I’ve got a lot to share. I’ll start with my two biggest WINS and catch up on the other stuff in future posts.


A training partner will make all the difference in your life.


A love partner will make all the difference in your life.

Now the fact that I was able to combine these two amazing requirements into one partner, well… I’m blessed beyond belief. And maybe it was this blog that had something to do with it. See, she’s a fitness fanatic. Every night it’s the same question, “Are we going for our walk?” No matter how frickin hot it is here in Texas, she’s always asking. I’m always answering, “Of course. ¿Como no? Let’s go!”

That was the goal. Getting comfortable with my body, using smart workouts and smart eating as a tool to shed some unwanted baggage.

And she’s got an added bonus that is related to her fitness. She eats very little and what she does eat is pretty damn paleo. Very few carbs make their way into my diet courtesy of this amazing love interest. Sure, she’s taken my heart by storm, by exercise, by feeding me, and by… well, let’s keep some things private.

One of the first debunks she helped me with was this whole notion of Bulletproof Coffee. In general the idea is sound, in practice it’s a bit more like the Atkin’s diet. Sure you can do it. But bacon isn’t really the healthiest thing you can be eating.

I’ve recently returned to a modified super coffee by simply adding some coconut (oil, grated, paste) to my morning coffee. I am no longer adding butter. And I’m not really trying to skip a meal. But I am noticing that the blood sugar drop associated with high coffee consumption is gone. I can eat breakfast an hour later when I’m hungry, or skip it until lunch.

Right now I’m working in my living room, anticipating the kids summer wakeup time and eventual request for “breakfast.” And I’ve had my 2 cups with some coconut manna added, and I’m feeling not only energized, but calm and smoothe as well.

I’m not that interested in a “weigh in” as my GF calls it. Sure, I can be certain I’ve lost a good bit of weight since January, but it’s less about that and more about how I look and how I feel.

I’m noticing myself in the mirror a bit more. I’m not always grabbing for a shirt before walking around the house. I’m seeing myself in my Skype calls for business, looking quite svelt. And I’m enjoying the feedback and comments from my GF as well as casual friends who ask about how I’m looking so happy and so fit.

Again, that was the goal. Getting comfortable with my body, using smart workouts and smart eating as a tool to shed some unwanted baggage. I’ve not obsessed over any of it, but I have maintained a very steady approach to eating less fat, less sugar, and more lean protean. I’ve been cooking with my uber-GF and learning how to make healthier food that even my kids love.

Most of all, I’ve learned to love the progress, the process, and the slow and steady improvement in my fitness and stamina. I still can’t run up the 1.5 mile hill outside my front door, but I can run down it on the way back from my 4.3 mile loop. By August I’ll be running the whole thing, yes, even in the Texas Summer. I’ll just go at 6am.

Blessings and optimistic results for you.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney

related posts:


Celebrating the Consistency of My Fitness Program

As I gain momentum in my wellness and health program it becomes easier for me to eat better, to remain conscious of all the additives I am not ingesting, and I become more committed to my plan. But the results may take longer than I would like. I was hoping that after 3 months and say 6 – 7 desserts (including 3 slips) I would’ve seen more evidence of my efforts.

I’m not sure what I was looking for. Probably a girlfriend, actually. But let’s stick with the health aspects. I have enjoyed the feeling of mastery that comes with gaining control of and insight into my cravings. And, even with this new awareness, I have not hammered myself too hard for the few times I veered hard for a sweet or two. It’s all about the path and the progress.

It’s the journey I’m learning to enjoy, not the miraculous results of my new “diet” program.

And even with all of my positivism and esteem boosting perceptions of my new-found self-control, I have been a little disappointed that I’m not 20 pounds lighter, and 10 years younger. Of course, I just discovered coconut mana, so I’m willing to give myself another 30 days… Oh, wait.

No, I’m still happy with where I am. I’m a little rounder than I’d expected given all of my effort and exercise, but it’s the journey I’m learning to enjoy, not the miraculous results of my new “diet” program. That’s never been my goal. It’s been a tangential result, perhaps, that I’d expected to see as a side effect of my work, but still… Well, still, I was hoping for more than I achieved.

The good news is, for me, in 2015 I’m MORE committed to my health and wellness efforts than when I started in October. I *have* seen the results more in my self-awareness and self-image. I think I’m becoming more realistic about who I am and what my goals are. I still think I’m 42 instead of 52, but that’s a slightly different angle.

And while I am continuing my efforts in a more focused way, by writing about it, I can also see evidence, by the hole in these shoes, that I am putting in the work.

Along the three-month journey, I’ve learned that celebrating the victories is important for me. And today, I had a minor win that seemed worth pulling up into the spotlight.

Of course, my journey began long before I started writing about it. I’ve been re-investing a good amount of time and effort in strengthening and feeding my desire to get fit. And this past summer, I needed a new pair of tennis shoes, as I had accidentally packed mine in my storage unit after I sold my house.

Today, 7 months later, I have the worn through the sole of those shoes. That’s a good bit of time on the court. And what I see in these shoes is a victory. I am doing it. And while I am continuing my efforts in a more focused way, by writing about it, I can also see evidence, by the hole in these shoes, that I am putting in the work.

I ordered new tennis shoes online. And today, that’s a huge victory.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney

related posts:


What’s In Your Coffee?

UPDATE June 2015: I am not trying to skip my morning meal any more. I am now adding only coconut oil to my coffee for the blood sugar balancing effect. I like it. Makes internal digestion run more smoothly as well. (Read: Never Give Up post for more updates)

Stage One – Radical

Bulletproof Coffee is one of those ideas you hear about and go “What?” Butter in your coffee? And what’s all this hype about coconut oil? Please, anything that professes to cure all these things has to be 90% magical thinking, right?

Well, this morning was my first shot of BPC and here are my initial reactions.

  • Not too bad.
  • 3 hours into my morning and I’m just deciding to eat breakfast.
  • Perhaps I need to look into what coffee I’m drinking again.
  • Sure is handy that I was given a NutriBullet blender for Christmas.

Of course that’s not going to be enough to sustain my interest. Here are a few of the things that I heard about drinking BPC.

  • You’ll lose weight like crazy.
  • It will eliminate blood sugar surges and drops.
  • It tastes awesome.

And on day one there are only two of those claims I have any data on. Here’s my take.

The BPC I made today was tasty. I know the blending is the key, and mine was quite frothy and tasty. I didn’t really notice the butter/coconut that much. I could tell there was something else in the coffee, but it was pretty much the same. So, butter in my coffee doesn’t taste bad… WIN.

And in my normal routine, I’d be looking for food and breakfast within an hour or so of starting my day. Usually two cups in and I’m switching to decaf (if I want more) and hankering for an egg or bowl of low-fat granola. This morning I never even thought about my energy or blood sugar. And three hours later I was interested in food, but it wasn’t from a jittery need, it was just time to eat and I was hungry. WIN.

Of course, the whole hubbub about it won’t be very interesting if the top reason, weight loss doesn’t kick in. But again, that’s more of a long-term result. Let’s just enjoy the ride so far, shall we. And I’ll keep you up to date on my journey.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney

related posts:

reference: How to make bulletproof coffee – The Bulletproof Exec

image:  trying bulletproof coffee for the first time, cc 2014 john mcelhenney, creative commons usage


Time To Get Radical About Fitness and Health?

Okay, 90 days is a pretty good chunk of time. And… I’m slightly sad to report that my progress has not been the downward sizing spiral weight loss that I had hoped for. But then again… I didn’t really go for radical changes in my lifestyle or diet. Let’s recap the last three months of 2014.

  • I cleaned up what I was eating.
  • I started listening to why I was snacking or bingeing on sweets or salty snacks (reveal: most often it was not hunger but a craving).
  • I committed to the process of reframing my self-image in 100% positive affirmations. (still working on this one).
  • I examined my portions and old hard-wired programming to clean my plate.
  • I maintained a pretty good track record of exercise, though my 5-times a week slipped a bit in Dec. as the weather made outdoor fitness challenging.
  • I slipped a few times (of course I did) and promptly started again with the next morning’s coffee.
  • I almost completely eliminated fast food, packaged foods, and added sugar from my diet. (I say almost, because my son has a hankering for Taco Bell that I occasionally indulge, and I occasionally partake.)
  • I began to notice the small victories right away. I didn’t feel bloated much at all. My pants fit a bit looser.
  • I appreciated the feeling of mastery that comes from taking conscious charge of my program, even when I decided to vary from that plan or go off-plan completely for a meal.
  • I can count the desserts I’ve had in those three months on exactly one hand. (2 of those were unplanned ice cream slips, the other 3 were Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, Christmas pumpkin pie, and a piece of birthday cake at a friend’s party) Amazing to be able to recall and know that I was in control.

All good stuff. All steps along the journey, that will last a lifetime, now that I understand the process. You can’t go back to eating like a teenager, except in small doses. But you really don’t want to feel that way either.

So what’s next? There are a number of ways I could step things up radically in 2015, and I’m currently chatting with some people about which route to take. I promise to give you all the scoop as I get the information and make the choices that are right for me.

I am ready to get a bit more radical about my fitness and specifically the reduction of my belly fat. (And hey if that reduces my love handles at the same time… woo hoo!) Here are a few of the things I’m considering.

  • Working with a coach or a trainer. (What about both?)
  • Giving Bulletproof Coffee a try.
  • Fasting or cleansing for brief periods of time.
  • Going vegetarian or at least more paleo.
  • Doing a nutritional evaluation – to see if I’m missing some easy opportunities.
  • Taking BEFORE pictures as a motivational tool. (I think we have a hard time seeing ourselves.)

What’s worked for you in the past? What radical changes are you willing to make to reach your goals? And more importantly, what are you goals. Let’s see, I think I need to examine those again as well.

2015 Q1 Goals (let’s revisit these once every three months)

  1. Lose belly fat.
  2. Increase strength and muscle mass to up my burn rate.
  3. Find an indoor alternative sport so that I have options when the weather sucks (like this morning).
  4. Find a long-term relationship.

I know that last one isn’t a fitness goal, but it’s a motivational goal, so it stays.

There you have it. I’m resetting in 2015. I’ve had a great year, but I’m ready to take my fitness to the next level. What are your plans for your diet, health, and fitness in the new year? What can you start today?

Take the next step,

John McElhenney

related posts:

image:  ready to get radical?, cc 2014 john mcelhenney, creative commons usage


Wrapping Up 2014 and Putting Bill Murray on the Job

Well, things have certainly changed a bit since I started this blog. And things have stayed the same.

Here are some of my wins.

  • I’ve lost about 9 pounds since starting. And have not gained ANY during the holiday months. Oct – Dec.
  • I am extremely conscious of all sugar intake. Even relatively benign treats like low-fat yoghurt have a ton of sugar. Added sugar is the worst, but sugar is sugar in the end.
  • I have a slightly less harsh self-image. I am happy with my progress and happy with my resolution and will power.

And a few of my “still needs work” items.

  • I intentionally avoided any extreme dieting, and thus my progress has not been as rewarding as it might have been had I gone pure-paleo or something. I’m okay with this. But in 2015 I’m going to try a few new things.
  • My exercise has been consistent but has not really moved the needle like I thought it might. I’ve been consistently working out 3 – 5 times a week. I’m considering adding some running in with my walking. And perhaps adding a bit of strength training would be helpful to raise my muscle mass.
  • I’ve slipped into laziness this month. I’ve been very disciplined with desserts, but they have never *really* been my problem. Fresh salty tortilla chips have been one of my go to snacks. Ooops. I have been out of low-salt organic almonds all Dec. I need to take care of that.
  • I’d like to see a more significant weight loss and I assume that means working a bit harder at my program. I’m considering doing a few videos with local trainers and coaches who have offered their advice.
In 2015 I’m going to continue to visit with myself about my diet, my fitness and wellness (they are two interrelated but different things), and my self-image.

Overall, I’ve been working my FitbyTech program since October, and my Nike Fuelband would show only a few periods of low activity. I’ve been challenged by tasty foods and sweets that my kids like. At the same time I’ve kept a very positive attitude and even allowed myself to binge for a moment and not given myself any grief over it. So much of my life experience has been trash talking myself. I’m over that. There are goals I would like to hit in 2015, but I’m taking the loving approach.

It’s as if I were to choose the internal trainer I’d like to have with me. Rather than the drill sergeant in Stripes I’d like to imagine Bill Murray as my internal voice. And look at Bill Murray, he’s not the fittest or most attractive guy on the planet, but he sure seems happy.

In 2015 I’m going to continue to visit with myself about my diet, my fitness and wellness (they are two interrelated but different things), and my self-image. In bringing these ideas to light I am hopeful I can continue to improve in all three areas of my physical and mental life.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney

related posts:

image: bill murray promo shots from Stripes, creative commons usage