Forty by 40

November 1. All Saint’s Day. The day after Halloween.

And my birthday.

Goodbye, 37. Hello, 38.

Time for a change.

Therefore, today marks the start of my “Forty by 40” campaign. The goal is simple. Lose forty pounds by my 40th birthday. That’s two years away. Twenty pounds a year.

Ambitious, but not over the top.

More than ambitious though. Pretty much mandatory.

Simply, I need to get myself in better shape. I need to exercise more. I need to eat better. I’ve got to start somewhere. And that somewhere is here and now.

Why? I mean, heck, I’ve been ‘husky’ ever since mom would take me back to school shopping. Always needed the ‘husky’ size pants. I’m a big guy. I’m not huge. And, I actually think I carry it well. I won’t tell you my weight here. Sorry, I won’t. But, let’s just say you’d be surprised. At least I think you would.

And now I want to surprise myself and work toward this goal.

I’ve done well with the more exercise in the past. When I’ve belonged to a gym, I’ve pretty much been a gym rat. There were two spans of at least two years apiece where I worked out five days a week, including three spinning classes per week. I loved it.

With two kids, life is a bit different. The gym isn’t easy. But I need to make time to be more active. More than time, I need to make the effort. I’m not joining the gym tomorrow, but I’m going to be conscious of certain things. I’m going to try this slowly but surely and hope to build the activity level up.

It’s the food, though, that I need to work on most. I love food. Love. Love. Love. And, again, I’m not going cold turkey to start. I’m going to try to be sensible. That means no heath bar muffin from the bakeshop at work after I’ve already had two english muffins at home. And, you know what I put on those english muffins? Butter. And peanut butter. It might well be the best tasting combination ever. But, yeah.

This means no stopping for vanilla shakes on the way home, just because. I’m sure my son will still get McDonald’s treats. Well, maybe I need to try that southwestern salad or something. And, when I go to lunch at one of our regular spots, it means that when I pass up the reuben and rock the salad, that I need to get the fat free dressing.

Again, my goal here isn’t cold turkey on anything. It’s to try and ease into this and slowly make some life adjustments. And for those around me daily, I need your help. I’m not going to give up an occasional treat, but Chelle, no more muffins from the bakeshop. Anna, no more slabs of cake. Molly, no more pop tarts or incredibly good potato chips.

My wife is making me a birthday cake. But she didn’t buy ice cream. We agreed that the cake is sort of mandatory, but we didn’t need the ice cream to go with it.

The bottom line in this: I will admit to being a bit scared. I’ve never said this to anyone. Never written it.

My dad passed at 65 from cancer. His passing never really made me think much about my own mortality, so to speak. But, my brother. Yeah. If you’ve been reading, you know he died suddenly at 45. From a heart attack. And he was in fairly good shape. You hear about stories like him all the time.

I don’t want to be one of those stories.

I’ve already lived more than half of my father’s life and even more of my brother’s life. That’s not enough. Not when I’m the dad of a three-and-a-half year old boy and a four-and-a-half month old girl. Not when I’m still a son, brother, uncle, nephew, friend and husband.

So, yeah. Forty by 40. Slow and steady. Ease into it. Small changes. Small steps. And while I need your help with this, the effort is mine. It has to be. Can’t be any other way.

The last thing I want is to let anyone down. Especially myself. The time for excuses is over. And putting this out there publicly is hopefully all the motivation I need to meet this challenge.

What else? I got nothin’.

23 Comments on “Forty by 40”

  1. What a great goal! I’d bet you’ll be surprised at how quickly your small steps will lead to big changes. Good luck!!

  2. verybadcat says:

    Switch out those english muffins for oatmeal or cream of wheat. Good for your cholesterol and more filling than the peanut butter and english muffins. That’s my only tip.

    Otherwise, have a very, very happy birthday, and good luck with your goal!

  3. CuriousC says:

    Happy HAPPY Birthday!

  4. Stephanie says:

    Happy birthday dear Mike!

    Sounds like you’ve got the right mindset about the weight loss, and with the help of your family and friends, I’m sure you will be successful! Here’s to a happy and HEALTHY next two years and beyond!

  5. Melissa says:

    Happy Birthday! And good luck! Sounds like you are starting out on the right track. It’s not as hard as you might think – and think what a good example you’re setting for your kids.

  6. Molly says:

    Happy Birthday and YOU CAN DO IT!!! I’m convinced I won’t even recognize you at my wedding.

  7. Anna says:

    Happy, happy birthday, and we’re right there backing you up. Wait til you see what healthy replacements I have for those slabs of cake.

  8. elizabethews says:

    Happy Birthday, Mike! I’m super proud of you for doing this. You’ll be glad you did. Rumor has it that if you do something consistantly for 21 days it becomes a habit, so think of it as just getting thru the first 3 weeks. That’ll be the hardest!

  9. Michelle says:

    You know what this means don’t you? The next Angie’s lunch does not involve a pizza burn and massive heartburn. Instead, you get to try their fantabulous Greek salad with me. 🙂 You have a tasty new life coming up, even if you don’t think so right now.

    HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY. I’m excited for you. I think this year is going to be great.

  10. christine says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! If I could make you a low-fat french-silk pie (that wouldn’t taste like brown sludge), I would totally do it. Instead, I’ll say you are amazing for having such a worthy goal, and I know that especially with Renee’s help and encouragement, you’ll make it happen! Now I’m off to make an “earthworm birthday cake” for Mo’s 3rd b-day. Yum?

  11. L B says:


    IN the words of my man 50 Cent ” Go shorty it’s yo birfday! We gonna party like it’s yo birfday!”

    Anyways…want some advice?! Make the time you commit to working out/ being active your “ME” time. I used to think my “ME” time was me vegging out on the couch, but with this whole running thing I use it as my time to think and be alone with myself. The only time I feel bad about running, is when I don’t do it! So you are already off to a good start, do this for YOU. And when you are staying active you can still have treats…yup, I am a firm believer in this!

    Happy Birthday!

  12. Clink says:

    Happy BIRTHDAY!

    And I know you can do it!

  13. yeah, peanut butter and butter english muffins kept me going as a child. beyond awesome!

  14. Barb says:

    I know you can do it!! now that you have made the commitment in your mind.. you will make the commitment in your life…:) good luck

  15. Sarah says:

    Good for you! You’re totally going about it with the right attitude- small adjustments first.


  16. Chelle says:

    So here’s my challenge to you… Become my new walking partner. With Molly leaving, I won’t have anyone to walk with during lunch when it is nice outside. We don’t even have to talk about work… Just walk.

    And when we get really ambitious, we can walk to the gym and race on the bikes…

    PS: I have been paying for a gym membership and not using it. Why? I don’t know why.

  17. Fritz says:

    Happy Birthday Mike!
    I think you should make 40 X 40 t-shirts! they would be a huge hit!

  18. Each says:

    Happy Birthday!

    my OM just turned 38, he’s been doing it for a week now and i think he thinks its ok.

  19. heatherdc says:

    Hi Mike!
    I’m “LB”‘s roommate and this is the first post of yours that I’ve read but I have to say it caught my eye! I’m a Senior majoring in Nutritional sciences….if you need any advice/have questions or whatever I would love to help!!

  20. I was gone yesterday and missed the (blog) party, so happy belated birthday! I would normally insert something here about how I am sorry that your birthday weekend will be marred by your beloved Pats losing, but now that it is so close, I am, frankly, a little nervous and don’t want to provide you with any more fodder to use against me if the Pats should indeed win on Sunday. So yeah. I’ll just leave it at Happy Birthday. 🙂

  21. […] I will continue to work on Forty by Forty. A long way to go, but I am making progress. It might not sound like a big deal, but since […]

  22. Firefly says:

    Happy birthday man.
    anyone who wants to better themselves gets my respect.
    you go for it.

  23. […] I will continue to work on Forty by Forty. A long way to go, but I am making progress. It might not sound like a big deal, but since […]

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