I’m into fitness, take 13: Mashed potatoes and barbells


Six months without dairy-laced mashed potatoes. Damn did they taste good.

Aw, Thanksgiving. I’d been looking forward to this day for a long time. One-hundred-twenty-eight days, to be exact. That’s how long it’d been since I’d gorged on dairy.

During that time, I lost about 30 pounds and six inches off my waist. It was worth it, no question. And Thanksgiving served as one of my motivators.

I circled a few dates on the calendar when I revamped my intake (remember, I don’t use the “d” word; it’s a lifestyle change). One was my first attempt at a 5K on September 24. Another was the Bow Tie Ball on Nov. 19. The third was Thanksgiving.

Setting goals is critical. Running my first 5K helped get me through the summer.

The good news is I did eat quite a bit, notably the mashed potatoes (a longtime favorite) and three pieces of pie. The bad news is that I felt guilty. Despite all the running, lifting, situps, sweating, fending off trips to American staples (and obesity traps) like McDonald’s and Taco Bell, I still felt bad about eating poorly. Never mind that I didn’t eat nearly as much as I have before on this day.

Instead of dwelling, I did something that made me feel a little better: I worked out. Fortunately, my dad has a weight set. Once my stomach settled roughly seven hours after eating, I went up stairs and busted out a 45-minute session of bench presses, military presses, curls and several other lifts. I added 250 situps and ran double-digit stairs.

The point is, even if you have a bad day at the table, don’t let it affect your day at the gym. You’ll feel better. After I wake up and cut wood for several hours tomorrow, all that guilt will be gone. And I’ll circle another date on the calendar: Christmas. Tis the season for cheating (but just a little).


Before and after, though I've dropped another 30 pounds since the after.

It’s a little sad, maybe really sad. Early tonight, I was thinking about my weight on Thanksgiving. That love-hate relationship with the scale has been a mostly-unhealthy obsession for years. So much so that I went all the way back to college and knew exactly what I weighed …

1998 (senior year of college): 190

1999: 195

2000: 180

2001: 215

2002: 260

2003: 280

2004: 280

2005: 260

2006: 260

2007: 255

2008: 275

2009: 300+

2010: 250

2011: 213

Me at 213 pounds this week, about 100 fewer than two years ago.

Not a pretty picture. And I’m mortified at that jump from 2001 to 2002. That was in the midst of a bad marriage/divorce. Instead of focusing on the negative … on the positive side, I’ve lost about 100 pounds in two years.

I’m so thankful that my body had enough left after years of abuse that I could get back in shape. Losing 100 pounds in your mid-30s simply is not easy, nor is carrying all that weight for all those years. To not have any major health problems, from diabetes to heart disease to cancer … I’m grateful.

I’m also thankful to all of you who have been so supportive during this reclamation project, from my family and friends to my girlfriend … I can’t express how much it means. And to my loyal “following” on Facebook, you have no idea how much your compliments and “likes” mean. They are great fuel.

Happy Thanksgiving. Thank all of you for making a difference.


4 thoughts on “I’m into fitness, take 13: Mashed potatoes and barbells

  1. Josh Ervin

    Ernie- if there is one thing that hasn’t changed about you, it’s the way you write! Your able to pull people in with your words and share thoughts, facts, and feelings. It’s refreshing, considering all the garbage that’s on television and in the news papers these days. Congrats on getting and staying healthy! Have a great Xmas and new years!

    • Ernie Webb III

      Josh, this is one of my favorite comments, not just for this blog but during my career. It means a lot when people say things like this. Thank you and happy holidays to your family, as well.

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