In It to Gym It Month — Strive for Five

Alabama — as a state (and as a concept, really) — has its fair share of problems. The divide between rich and poor is as deeply cut as its ever been. Our public education system is crumbing under an incredible strain and years of budget proration. The new governor was in office barely long enough to get a cup of coffee before he stepped in it big time and brought the nation’s scorn and ridicule upon us — once again.

But, my god, what the state gets right is the food. If you can’t find it fried and/or covered in gravy, you’re not looking hard enough. Best food known to man, from the seafood on the coast to the barbecue as you travel up the plains and into hill country. (Although I cannot speak for the quality of the North Alabama white barbecue sauce, I will say I find the whole idea to be absurd. But, under the right circumstances, I might be willing to give it a try.) Point is, though, that if you eat this stuff long enough, it’ll kill you. Or give you enough complications from the diabeetus that you’ll want to check out on your own.

The state’s flagship university, however, is trying to do something to combat the problem of obesity and inactivity (at least in its employees) by offering the Strive 4 Five program this spring. With this program, teams of up to five employees sign up and try to reach at least two of the following five daily goals:

  1. Eat five. Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables.
  2. Drink five. Drink five or more cups of water.
  3. Think five. Five minutes of a calming or reflective activity each day.
  4. Move for five. Exercise 30 minutes per day for five days a week.
  5. Lose five. Maintain or lose five to 10 pounds of weight. (This, thankfully, is a program-long goal.)

We (as the College of Communication and Information Sciences faculty and staff and various and sundry GTAs) got an e-mail about the program forwarded to us about a month ago. As soon as I got it, I knew I wanted to try and get a team together. Why? Well, it’s something else healthy to do with my life. (And, if you haven’t noticed, I’m big into that these days.) Plus, it’s a way to make sure I’m doing the things I need to do on a daily basis, like getting those five glasses of water (something I’ve never done) and making sure to get those five servings of fruits and vegetables.

So I sent out my own e-mail and got three other takers:

(I suppose this is a good as time as any to unveil my official privacy policy. If you have a blog or other strong social media presence, I will presume you live your life much as I do at this point — very few secrets. Does that mean I’m going to tell all of yours? No, of course not. But I will drop your name and significant details of what we do together unless you tell me something is off the record. [Haha…it’s like I’m a journalist or something.] However, if you are not plugged in, if I do not have some idea of how private you wish your life to be, I will assume you wish to live in the warm cloak of anonymity — ergo, no names or easily identifiable details.)

  • Brian. He is thin like whoa. Ran track in high school. Could probably kick my ass if we ever got drunk enough to fight. Eats, however, like a single college-age male should (in that his freezer is full of Hungry Man frozen dinners). He’s in this, as far as I can tell, to eat less like a bachelor and more like a human. (But those nights of bachelor chow are fond memories of my own. Want a big pot of beenie weenies for dinner? IT’S ON.)
  • Professor X. Note: not his real name. He’s been fighting weight for quite some time. Signed up, I believe, for the accountability and group support.
  • Professor Y. See previous.

Yesterday was our first team check-in at Rose Administration. Brian, Professor X and I (Professor Y didn’t make it) walked over from our building around 9:30 and officially signed in. At Rose, we were given the paperwork for the program and a little scpheel about each one of the goals. (Professor X and I also signed up for 7 a.m. workouts on the Quad that will start up in a couple of weeks. Oh boy. I might regret that one.)

Here’s my score sheet with all of yesterday’s goals met:


Strive for Five scoresheet. Accountable, it keeps you.

Note: we’re going from Thursday to Wednesday as a week, so that’s why I have all of the furious scribblin’s there at the top.

So here’s how I did yesterday:

  1. Eat five. One banana (which is two servings, making it amazing), a snack pack of baby carrots and three servings of carrot veggie wedgies. I think that covers it?
  2. Drink five. This is going to make me sounds stupid, but I had no idea how easy it would be to get this water in. To drink five 8 ounce glasses, I only had to down two 20 ounce bottles of water. Maths. They work.
  3. Think five. So yesterday was a pretty taxing day. I taught my lovely undergrads in media law, and I had my own class in media history. But it’s the prep that really takes it out of you. So, after my last class of the day, I went into my office, shut the door and, well…got my nerd on.

    Imperial class U.S.S. Montgomery

    Yep, right there in the office, I booted up Star Trek Online (jeeze, I’m getting nerd all over my blog). That’s my ship (one of them, anyway) there in the picture. She’s the U.S.S. Montgomery (a capital name for a capital ship…BWAHAHAHA), and, well…here’s her captain:

    The vice admiral has the bridge.

    Yeah, that’s my character. Vice Admiral Will Nevin. (Don’t ask why I used my real name. Plz.) And I’m very happy to be a vice admiral. You should have heard the jokes my wife made when I was Rear Admiral Will Nevin.

    OK, yes, that’s more than you ever needed to know about my Star Trek Online habits. Suffice to say, it was a nice way to unwind after a long day.

  4. Move for five. Nailed this one. An hour of cardio plus 15 minutes on the free weights.
  5. Lose five. It seemed like the program organizers were only interested in those losing weight here, so the team didn’t officially sign up for this goal. (Professors X and Y will continue this goal on their own, I believe.) Definitely would have done this if it was an option.

So that was Day One of Strive for Five. And I’m already a banana into Day 2. (Alas, I’m behind on my water.) We’ll see how the rest of the program goes.

(And I’m sorry for getting my nerd everywhere.)

[EDIT: Today’s think five is only slightly less nerdy — enjoying the episode of Price is Right I missed yesterday while eating lunch in the office. Nice and quiet and relaxing.]

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10 Responses to “In It to Gym It Month — Strive for Five”

  1. 1 Cyndi
    January 28, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    That’s an awesome program. I chug water like crazy to offset my Diet Dr Pepper addiction:)

  2. January 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    I am on those crazy people that loves water. I have a 32oz. cup that i drink from everyday and end up refilling it about 4 times a day. If anything I drink to much.

    Here’s a question I though about last night. Does tea count as water?

    Good luck on this. I would definately do it with you if I worked there. Sounds pretty cool.

    • January 28, 2011 at 2:40 pm

      You know, at some level, anything you drink would be water, so I count only pure, good ol’ fashioned water as water. But I don’t really have a reason for that. And I’d probably count Propel or vaguely flavored water as water.

      Tea…hrm. That’s a good question. I would say that sweet tea (the good stuff) is a definite no. Anything else is probably a shade of maybe?

  3. January 28, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Wait wait wait … WHITE barbecue sauce?? You’re kidding, right? That just sounds wrong on so many levels. LOL Now about the Lose Five – was that for losing five pounds in a week? Just curious. Keep up the good work, hon! :)

    • January 28, 2011 at 3:13 pm

      Yeah, I don’t get the white sauce either. But the northerners (meaning the strange folk from North Alabama) swear by it. And yes, it the five pounds was for the whole program, however many weeks that is. :-)

  4. January 29, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Some corrections Will. I’m not skinny like woah. I used to be. I know me complaining about my weight probably sounds arrogant, but I do wish to get back to the point in my life when I proudly walked around with no shirt on all the time. Yeah, I was one of those douche bags, and hopefully with this program, I’ll be that douche bag again.

    Experience tells me that you would win a drunken fight between us. My normal drunk mode usually consists of me experiencing some type of spiritual euphoria where John Lennon sings All You Need is Love to me while I hug anyone within reaching distance. I have been in one drunk fight, and it apparently involved me punching my friend in the arm where he had a sunburn, about a half hour of our friends holding us apart while we belligerently hurled homophobic insults at each other, and ended with him giving me a DDT on a couch. Neither of us remember any of this, but the pictures are certainly incriminating.

    Eating healthy has been tricky, but I was reminded on Thursday how much I love apples. I find my diet usually revolves around what is easiest to purchase at the grocery store. Buying fruit requires trigonometry as far as I’m concerned. Can someone please just put apples in a box and stick a price on them for me? I really don’t have time to be weighing things and doing arithmetic when I’m hungry, which is naturally the only time I go grocery shopping.

    And finally, thank you for the link to my blog. It is my life’s mission to shamelessly promote it at any given opportunity. So in case you missed it, check it out at http://www.mbbandb.wordpress.com! Totally free to use!

    • January 31, 2011 at 5:29 pm

      You ever try the ready made apple slices? Usually come in a bag and what not. That should help you out. Also, people who walk around all the time with no shirts are definitely douchebags.

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My name is Will. This is my story.

After a life of overindulgence and great fun, I tipped the scales at somewhere on the wrong side of 350 pounds in February 2010.

In less than a year, I lost 16 inches on my waist, 5 inches on my neck, three shirt sizes and 175 pounds.

I earned this new body. I intend to keep it.

Got questions? Need advice? Email DTWRmailbag@gmail.com and I'll try to answer 'em.

Before (Fall 2009): 350 pounds

During (August 2010): 250 pounds

After (December 2010): 180

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