Monday, June 23, 2014


Just checking in with y'all...

Boom! Lost my job today.

There you have it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Too Much Work

Hello everyone! Yep, I'm still here. Nope, I haven't done much winch the 24 Day Challenge.

Does it matter why? To me: not really. I do not need to be reminded daily, by anybody, that I haven't done much. Call it stress, call it money, call it whatever you want to.

Believe me, I'm harder on myself than anyone else. It confusing, really.

I know I must change. I know I'm the one in charge if changing myself. I know that some of you struggle with time, money, food, etc... just like me. I know that for some of you, it might not be as hard of a struggle.

What I've gotten myself in to is a streak of making choices, knowing what I want, but again, not doing anything about it.  Do I need to see it on paper? Do I need to track calories? I'm still figuring it out. But the stupid thing is, I know the answer to these questions.

But I have my word that I'd let y'all follow my Journey for a year. Whether it be all good, mostly good, or just some good. I'll keep my word and share the truth, being honest.

How are y'all doing on your promises to yourselves? Can anybody out there relate to where I'm at right now?

Right now I feel like 400 pounds would be a miracle. Just a few weeks ago, you could've out the number 400 on a big old sheet of paper, held it in front of me and I would've torn right through it!

I get it. Another day. Another promise.

So here is me, today. Struggling. I'll check back in with y'all in a week or so.

Maybe, just maybe, I'll wake up and make shit happen. I know I can do it. Just gotta take that first step. Again.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Got Strength?

Just checking in with y'all! I know I know I know... My blogging has been missed these last couple of weeks. By you and me both! Well we're still here!

How many of you have weaknesses? Ask yourself, "What is my weakness?"

Now, tell yourself, "My strength is..."

For me, I know minor alone on this, one of my fitness-related weaknesses is that I don't eat well, clean or structured, if I'm not working out! This is something that I do not "like" about myself.

Since being off our "Challenge," we have not been Perfect. I'm not getting into the details, but I'll share this: we haven't been 100%. Not like we know we can be.

So, to do some touching up, we've stocked our clean food back up. We broke out the sewing tape, we've already prepared our meals for tomorrow.

We've tried doing well, without preparation. It hasn't worked. We tried staying in shape by working out without going to the gym, that didn't work either.

Gym membership has been signed up for! Yes!!! I'll tell y'all something real quick and I won't lie to you neither. I'm looking forward to doing this new challenge that we've presented to us. If it's not challenging enough, you won't try as hard to achieve it. I geel real good about knowing a little but more about nutrition and heart rate training. I feel like we know enough, not all, but enough to get our butts in gear the way we know works.

I know that just because we don't "know everything" about how the body works, carbs, starches, proteins, good fat, bad fat, power lifting, light lifting, interval training, cardio, etc... Big effin deal! We know some basics. We can learn along the way.

I will blog! Just not every day. But I like sharing the inches that we lose. We're thinking we'll measure every Sunday evening. Just FYI.

I love you Katie!

This Is The Best Day Of My Life!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Diabetes Check Up

Holy cow it feels like it's been a while since I been on here.  Well, it has.  Maybe 4 or 5 days?  I could be wrong. But anyhow, I told ya'll that I'd share news as I saw fit, or anything that I thought ya'll might find interesting. Rumor has it, and I've also been told personally, that some folks actually have taken a liking to my good 'ol story tellin.  The ones that don't like my story tellin, well they ain't said anything to me, so they'll have to suffer. ;)

Anyhow, I had a diabetes check up today.  I haven't had a chance to go in for a check up in a while.  If you're a new reader/follower, I have Type II Diabetes.  So far, after having it for a couple years now, the only time my blood sugar levels get high in particular is if I have an infection somewhere, or an open wound somewhere on this big ol playground that is my hairy body.  But overall, my check ups usually go well, with nothing major for news.  I also get my liver functions tested in the blood work, to monitor if there is any fatty tissues building around the liver, causing abnormal functions, etc...

You'd think after having it a couple years now that I'd be all "down with the lingo," but I'm not.  I just listen to the doc and follow the directions he gives me.  Really, since starting and finishing our AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge, we've eaten cleaner and worked out more in 24 days that we've done in a couple years of time, combined!  But, I go in there, they check my bloods and what not, check my feet, check my legs (I also have the beginning of varicose veins), and I were compression socks/stockings to help with the swelling and irritation of the skin on my lower legs.  Everything turned out ok!  That made me happy.  The doc was pleased to learn of the use of the AdvoCare cleanse and 24 Day Challenge, since it's herbal stuff and nothing really invasive like a colon cleanse where they're roto-rootering your ass all up in there (I'm totally not judging right now).

The only thing he gave me a little talking to about was getting my eyes checked.  There was a fancy medical term he used, but I'll just say that he told me to get in and get my eyes checked, but not for vision.  Instead, if ya'll don't know, they're making sure there are not any veins on the back of the eyeball itself, or any crystallization, etc... In English terms, they need to check to see if there are any complications of diabetes, on my eyeballs.  You've heard of people getting their foot amputated, or half their leg, or another limb because of complications... Well, you can also lose partial vision, or all vision in one eye, or both, in a very short amount of time.

But, even though I've always been big, I've usually gotten good reports from the doc, from what I can remember.  Granted, going to the docs, with no parents, when you're young, how do you really know what they're talking about?  This doctor in particular, upon accepting me as his patient a few years ago, he immediately just laid it out and said, "With your size, health can be a big concern if we don't know what's going on inside of your body."  He immediately invested time and effort in keeping me his patient for a long time.  We ran tests after tests.  I had ultra sounds done on my liver, on my testicles and scrotum (sorry if this is too detailed!), he had a biopsy done on the inside of my liver, checked for thyroid issues, etc... He even steered me away from the idea of gastric bypass.  Just didn't want me getting my hopes up because he knows, all to well, from other patients, that just getting approved for it through insurance, can be a long drawn-out issue.  Sometimes, depending on the patient, I'm sure that could tie into more and deeper depression, leading to binge or emotional eating. 

He also had me sent over to a Sleep Lab to get tested for Sleep Apnea.  It was very soon confirmed that it was a serious case.  So now that I've been his patient for a few years, we get to the point where we're on first name basis. We kind of know the general area he lives in, out near us.  We know a little about his family and his son playing little league baseball. We know a little bit about where he was raised.  He knows Katie as well and takes really good care of us. He gets us in there and it's not just all "this is your condition, here's some medicine, now leave." He takes his time, he explains stuff.  Just today I just briefly questioned him for a suggestion regarding one of my younger brothers' health. He just said here are some simple things he can try and if it doesn't improve in a few weeks of this routine, then he still needs to get checked out. 

But, back to why I went to him this morning.  Again, to refresh, he was thrilled regarding the weight loss of Katie and I.  My blood pressure was 116/74.  My bloods after my nigh time fast of approximately 12 hours was 5.7 (they don't like them up over 7.0), so my bloods were good. The other tests that they ran on my drawn blood will likely be in this next Tuesday, with it being a holiday weekend.

So tomorrow, we have some work to do in the yard!  My back usually hates me after I do it, but I really do like to do it.  A king size bed with no bedframe, is not forgiving at all. But oh well, life goes on.  We'll see if we can make a dent in what needs to be done.  Who knows, I might even work out later in the afternoon even after working in the yard. :) 

Memorial Day Weekend is always a good time to knock the rust off the BBQ grill and start the summer time rituals.  We'll drive up to Smithfield, UT (just past Logan, UT which is where Utah State Univ. is).  It is a pretty drive. But we'll meet up with Katie's family up there for a little reunion. They're'll be some food around I'm sure.  So it is important to plan and prepare.  My plan is to eat cleaner this weekend and have a good breakfast before leaving the house for the drive.  Then I will eat whatever is there, in proportionate sizes, but I'll drink lots of water and keep calories and workouts in mind.  I'll tell you, since being off the fat burner, the vitamins and not eating clean as clean, I can sure feel the difference in working out and in drinking water.  I was literally shocked at how fast I felt the difference. 

You should have seen my face with the first sip of Diet Mountain Dew that I took.  I was like..."That is Diet???"  Hahaha, it was a good one. 

But, I'll wrap this up.  My friend, who started the 24 Day Challenge after Katie and I, she is now finished.  I don't have the inches report yet, but she lost 17 pounds!  She started at 234 pounds.  Now is 217.  Good for her!  I just wanted to share that with ya'll.

Bring on the yard work! 

Today Is the Best Day of My Life!!!

I love you Katie. ;)  How you doin???

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Challenge After the Challenge

Hi all!  How about that last series of blogs, eh?  Taking you through our experience of the 24 Day Challenge from AdvoCare.  Sharing our numbers, our pictures, our successes, our little victories. 

Well... Now What???

How do we follow that up?  Simple.  We take what we learned and move forward.  My buddy shared with me that the success is not within the 24 days of the challenge, the success is after the challenge. Day 25, Day 76, Day 103, Day 187, Day 367, Day 523, Day 842, etc... What are we going to do from here? All of them days are more important than any of the 24 days of the challenge.

As I've said before, the 24 Day Challenge was to prove to ourselves that we could do it.  We did do it.  Perfectly.  The Challenge was only ever intended to be a Jumpstart for us to get in line and build a routine that works.  Then take that routine and use it as a blueprint for the next little bit, where we get to a point where we're doing it without even thinking about it.

So, since we were so successful and pushed ourselves using that measuring stick of each day of successes, building up to our 24 days where we could finish it, making every day count and being able to look back and say we did it, perfectly... Why not follow our 24 Day Challenge with our own Challenge After the Challenge?

Sounds good to me.  I'd still like to keep track of our inches, so that we're able to see numbers associated to our efforts, since I'm expecting the numbers to be "not as great" as we were during our 24 Day Challenge.  But the effort will be there.  I do believe, whole-heartedly, that you keep your motivation going, if you're able to see relation between efforts and results.  If you don't see results, your efforts won't be as great.

But, I'm going to continue to blog.  It just won't be all centered around the 24 Day Challenge.  I'm still offering my coaching to anyone that uses my website on the right of this, to purchase and do the Challenge themselves.  Maybe they're looking to get their own Jumpstart, or they themselves are at a plateau.  Shoot, maybe they're just wanting to mix things up a little and need a good cleanse, so that they can start from ground zero and their bodies can be ready to absorb the nutrients needed.  A good cleanse is key to putting good powerful nutrition and fuel in your body.

So, these last few days, that we planned to be "off" are over.  I've been still drinking plenty of water and not skipping meals.  Didn't eat any junkfood really, but I can tell you, the stuff that I have eaten... I can sure feel the difference in my sleep, in my energy, etc... from eating very clean, to not eating as clean as my body has become accustomed to.

I, of all people, have all the excuses to BS stuff in my corner to say something stupid like, "Why start back on track on a Monday?"  Well, I'll tell you why.  You're only as strong as your toughest weakness.  It doesn't matter what day you start or that you pick to get back on track.  The most important part is the actual decision to take that step and start!  But here is the cool thing: we've already had this day planned.  It's not like we're just pulling it out of left field and saying, "Tomorrow is the day that we'll take no more crap!".... instead, we're making another promise to ourselves.

Does anybody remember the last time that Team Braaten made a promise about some 24 Day Challenge?  I do! Now, it's time to capitalize on what success we've built.

Tune back in!  Share if you like!

This Is the Best Day of My Life!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

24 Day Challenge: Results

Well, yesterday was the end of our 24 Day Challenge.  We measured last night and weighed in this morning. I've held you all off long enough.  If I feel up to it, I may blog a little after sharing.

But before share, let me say a little something.  I can tell you, that with today being our first day "off" the 24 Day Challenge, I was expecting to be able to jump right back into the foods that we ate before.  You know, the chips, the breads, the diet sodas, the condiments, the gravies, the grease.  Not that I had planned on going back to the way I was, but I did already tell myself that I was going to allow myself to have something, if I wanted it.  Not binge and not allow myself to have whatever I wanted, but if something caught my eye... Knowing that we put off my birthday celebration and Mother's Day celebration that we'd probably go out to a dinner or lunch.

Today though, my body was telling me when it was time to eat or grab a snack.  It was telling me that it was thirsty.  I didn't ignore what it was telling me.  I ate a little here and there.  We were fed at work today, hamburgers, salad, rootbeer floats.  None of it looked good to me, really.  I kept portions in mind. First thing I dove into?  The salad!  Then I only ate one piece of the bun with my burger that had lettuce and tomato on it.  I took a sip of the rootbeer, but tossed the rest.  You know what?  That satisfied me.  I found myself wishing I would've packed our lunch, like I've been doing the for last 24 days.  This morning for breakfast, I had a breakfast burrito.  Well, actually, I had about 1/3 of it.  I didn't dare try to eat the whole thing.  Besides, I didn't want to.  I ate my eggs, some hashbrowns, some of the ham.

And water?  I found myself getting out of my chair, not counting the ounces, but I was drinking that stuff down.  I did miss my Fruit Punch Spark drink though.  I also missed my Berry flavored Meal Shake with a banana, for my usual breakfast.

But the reason you all are checking this blog is for the numbers.  So, here you go:
Katie lost a total of 34.75 inches (all over her body) and a total of 12 pounds.
Nick lost a total of  46.75 inches and a total of 30 pounds. I weighed in this a.m. at 437 lbs.  Started at 467.

This was over a 24 day period, where we worked out in our Heart Rate Zone for 30 min, every other day.  So, you can see, the Lose 12 Inches program is true to our results.  But what don't you see?

You don't see that we were true to our word.  We said we would do the 24 Day Challenge.  We did it. You don't see whether or not we ever cheated.  You have to take our word for it.  We didn't. You don't  see that we didn't, ever, skip any meals.  Again, going on our honesty on that one.  Not one meal was skipped.  You don't see that we missed any workouts.  You don't see that, simply because we didn't skip any.  Matter of fact, both of us were not happy with the numbers that we got 4 days ago, as far as inches. I guess we were spoiled by the bigger numbers in the first 2 weeks.  :)  But, we worked out, Monday AND Tuesday, wanting to round out our 24 Day Challenge, giving it the TEAM BRAATEN effort!  We wanted to make this challenge Count!  We only get one chance at a 24 Day Challenge. You get one chance to get it right. I can tell you that the transformation I feel inside, and what I see in my wife... I'm not shocked, but I've been waiting for this moment.

I've been waiting, but not taking action.  But now that I've acted, I can see a difference. A difference in my attitude. In my effort.  In my passion.  I used to think that breaking the 400 pound plateau was not impossible, but just too much work. It used to appear to be too hard.  It was easier to sit there and do nothing.  You know what?  Now, I'm talking with my coach and my wife to figure out where I need to be in order to get skin removal surgery! We're talking with a realtor about putting ourselves in position to buy a house in the next 12 months!

You only get one chance at life. 

Today is the best day of my life. 

Take a look for yourself, rather than reading the numbers.  Here are some pics of yours truly and my truly. ;)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Day 22 Results; Weighing In

Today marks the wrapping up of 22 days.  Three weeks ago, if you would have told me that I'd lose the weight that I've lost... I don't know what to say.  I'm shocked.  Weighed in at 439 today. Loss of 3 pounds from last week.

Sure, honestly I was skeptical, simply because you think that all the "fast weight loss" stuff is a gimmick. Not that I didn't trust my coach/trainer Ryan Cowboy Ehmann.  He'd done the 24 Day Challenge himself.  His wife was the one that opened the door for us all.  Drew Brees, the quarterback for the New Orleans Saints is the National Spokesperson.  They are not just "only diet/trim products." They have supplements for Extremely Active and Fit athletes, all the way down to people that are beginners, wanting to ease their way into nutrition.

But what did I have to lose, to try it out?  What is the down side to making a commitment to yourself, making a promise and saying that you're going to do something and then following through with it.  Granted, the 24 days is not through yet.  It will not be until this Wednesday, when we go to sleep, until it's finished.  But what we've gained since starting is far greater than any number on the scale that I've seen so far. 

Heck, I'm stepping on scales now.  I used to avoid them.  We're looking for other ways to get our workouts in.  We are trying to find good ways to incorporate different tastes into our foods.  We've actually bombed an apple/chicken dish!  It was terrible.  But I sucked it up and finished it, for it was at that point, I was not eating for taste. I was eating for fuel.  Katie got up, washed off her chicken and then ate it. 

Since measuring last night, I've been down on myself.  The numbers were not big.  At all.  Not as big as they have been. It was confusing because we've stuck to the book. We have not missed a meal, cheated, or missed a workout.  But one week's results does not measure the things we've learned, or the things that we'll take with us.  The journey is not done in 21 days.  But, good patterns are developed, if you'll allow them to be.  Truly, before this 24 Day Challenge is over, I am thankful for the education that I've received from it.  I recommend it to anyone.  It really is a Jumpstart.  Before, I could never imagine myself being "thin" or active.  I was just so used to being huge.  When I had went back up to 467 pounds, I remember thinking that I was never going to be below 400 pounds, let alone 300 pounds.

Now, Coach Cowboy and I have talked.  We're thinking that I'll need to get to about 220-230 pounds to be considered for skin removal.  But honestly, I've never thought it was an option!  Now??? I totally have goals.  I know I'm not going to magically get to 230 pounds in one 24 Day Challenge.  But after stepping on the scale today and still seeing a loss, I know I'm going in the right direction. 

Katie and I have talked today about my feelings.  We know we're not done. We know we have work to put in.  But I know I'm not here alone.  I am very thankful for her.  A loss is a loss.  But more importantly, we did not break any promises to ourselves this week.  We said we'd workout every other day and not skip meals and eat clean.  We did.

Katie actually reached out to my buddy Chris, who I met in Montana at the Fitness Ranch for the first time. She reached out to him, after he had messaged her, just to check in and give her a little encouragement on keeping going and telling her he was proud of her work so far.  She let him know that she knew I was down because of the numbers.  Again, he responded telling her the same thing that I'd told Chris in Montana, last summer (2013), "It's a marathon, not a sprint!"   Today, he then texted me and says, "Progress is Progress, Nick. No matter how big or small."  Even my youngest brother Kevin replied and was excited about the loss.  I know that I've got support.  I try very hard to support Katie.  I know there are others out there, feeling the way I felt last night. Again, this is why I share.  But still, I know we're going in the right direction. It is a little easier to understand now, since we have had big numbers for 2 weeks.  Our bodies are bound to get "used to" the routine and slow down.  But that cannot stop us.

Without further ado, here are our numbers, after 22 days:
Katie 12.5 pounds lost 29.25 inches lost (5.75 inches this week)
Nick 28 (3 pounds this week) pounds lost in 22 days; weighing in at 429 pounds: lost 37.35 inches lost (4.25 inches this week)

Not jaw dropping, no.  But still, we have proven the lose 12 inches in 12 workouts, before we've even done 12 workouts.  We've not cheated.  We've not skipped any meals. We have not had any dairy.  We have not had any soda or diet soda. We have not had any snacks or chips or cookies or candy.  Before, all of this stuff that I've mentioned, would have been done daily. Sometimes, a couple times in a day.  We will go out for a dinner, when we're done. We will take a few days off.  But, we'll get back on track.

I promise myself, that I will get back on track!  What have we shown this far?  We have kept these promises. 

I am still very proud of what we've done.  I can't wait to see where we end up.  I feel like a freight train and nothing is going to stop us.

This Is the Best Day of My Life! 

I love you Katie! To my other people supporting us: thank you!  We love you all.