#MondayMotivation - Find your mountain

I want to backpack in or around Mount Rainier National Park the next time I go there. So, until solid goals are set, the motivation for any exercise or healthy habits is this photo:

Find your motivation and get to it. I really needed this little adventure to kick my ass into gear. I feel alive again, truly! I am thankful to have people in my life that were willing to show me these places that keep me wanting to be better as a human.

A Healthier Mike - 10/19/2018

Day 4 - October 18, 2018

Yesterday was… bad for health, good for flavor. I didn’t avoid free breakfast, I didn’t make a healthy dinner, I didn’t run or walk, I didn’t track, and I didn’t walk at lunch. I had beers and bad food at a movie but I had a decent lunch and I’ll have a decent lunch today too. I’m about to fly out this afternoon and I’ll be on the go, so food will be limited as I’ll end up in the middle of nowhere. I’ll be exercising daily, though, so there is that!

Daily Goals:

  1. Avoid snacking at work (this includes any free breakfast)

  2. Make a healthy dinner

  3. Walk or run outside if weather and time allows

  4. Track my food intake

  5. Walk a little at lunch

Additional Daily Goals:

  1. Close all rings on Apple Watch

  2. Read a chapter

Mental Notes

  • I was in a much better mood today, if not a little flighty. I’m completely ready for the weekend and my lack of sleep really highlights that.

  • I’m already looking forward to scattered cell signal, fresh air, and GREEN trees.

A Healthier Mike - 10/18/2018

Day 3 - October 18, 2018

Yesterday ended up being a shit show of a day for food. I had good intentions, but gave in too easily to my Chipotle bad habits. I had a big lunch, didn’t track my food beyond that, fast food for dinner, pizza for a snack, and didn’t exercise. I did close the rings on my Apple Watch, but I did not stay anywhere near my calorie goal.

I was an animal and I lost control, as I often do. I get lazy, I fall victim to laziness, and I am easily swayed into bad decisions. I got a bad haircut and It sent me in a spiral all evening, I was super tired by 9 pm so I just cashed in after eating too much. My sleep quality, probably due to having to get up to pee and having WAY too much salt all day, was very poor. The poorest all week.

I brought some squash and ground turkey today for lunch, but already had two small pieces of pizza for breakfast that I keep forgetting to log. I did avoid snacking at work yesterday, I did not make a healthy dinner, I did not walk or run, I did not track my food, and I didn’t really walk at lunch. I’m 1/5 for yesterday. Today will not be much better. Here’s to fresh air and hiking this weekend. Please gods I hope it resets me.

Daily Goals:

  1. Avoid snacking at work (this includes any free breakfast)

  2. Make a healthy dinner

  3. Walk or run outside if weather and time allows

  4. Track my food intake

  5. Walk a little at lunch

Additional Daily Goals:

  1. Close all rings on Apple Watch

  2. Read a chapter

Mental Notes

  • Today has started off poorly already, I woke up grumpy and had a shitty drive into work. Stressful and annoying. Trying to turn it around

  • I’m trying to be positive and thankful and happy about leaving tomorrow, but I’m just not quite there… hopefully by morning.

A Healthier Mike - 10/17/2018

Day 2 - October 17, 2018

I successfully made it though the day well under 2000 calories and didn’t feel deprived. I didn’t quite keep it SUPER low carbohydrate, but it was under 80 grams total. The carbs I did have came from fresh fruit and squash, not sugar or flour.

I did not exercise, nor did I try to exercise. I was lazy and depressed, so I really should have but didn’t. I did make a healthy dinner and enjoyed some dumb TV. I walked in the rain to get the mail and to take the dog out a few times. All food ingested was tracked and accounted for, even the snacks. I closed all of the rings on my Apple Watch yesterday, and intend to do the same today.

Daily Goals:

  1. Avoid snacking at work (this includes any free breakfast)

  2. Make a healthy dinner

  3. Walk or run outside if weather and time allows

  4. Track my food intake

  5. Walk a little at lunch

Additional Daily Goals:

  1. Close all rings on Apple Watch

  2. Read a chapter

Mental Notes

  • I am looking forward to some solo hiking on Saturday. My brain has been a mess, up and down, just needs some wide open space and fresh air.

  • Working on how people affect my mood is work, but paying off.

A Healthier Mike - Starting Over

Day 1 - October 16, 2018

I think I made it 10 weeks, mostly, kind of. I never make it very far, but I always tried again.

I’m going to start using Nike’s Run Club app and begin a training program that eases me into running outside, now that I can. I’m going to do the treadmill a couple of times this week before I head to Washington state for the weekend.

Honestly, my weakness is anything easier than putting in effort. If I can buy pre-cooked food, I’ll do it. If I can avoid exercise, I will. I have an excuse for everything. I enjoy exercise once I do it, and I enjoy cooking once I do it, it’s getting through the initial feeling of laziness to JUST FUCKING DO IT. I know, it sounds so lame.

It sounds lame (again), but I think seeing that I’m not meeting goals on my apps will also make feel like I need to work harder to meet them. With the NRC app and the Apple Health app, I will be reminded of my lack of ambition.

I’ll probably update in here often, but I’ll make a big update bi-weekly or monthly to update via the socials.

Today’s Goals:

  1. Avoid snacking at work (this includes any free breakfast)

  2. Make a healthy dinner

  3. Walk or run outside if weather and time allows (if not, go do a good walk w/ incline to simulate hiking on the treadmill)

  4. Track my food intake

  5. Take a lap at lunch if weather allows, if not, just walk to car and then walk around the parking garage a few times

I’ll check back in tomorrow to revisit the goals and set new daily goals. Starting on Monday, I’m going to set weekly “big picture” goals as well. Daily goals help manage the small things that lead to a big picture, but the big picture goals may help overcome the insecurities I have - we’ll see.

Mental Notes

  • I have too many podcasts and not enough time or brain space to take them all in. This gives me anxiety. SO, I’ve been unsubscribing to the more superficial ones and keeping the more meaningful ones.

  • I’ve started writing down every though I have and simply doing that makes me feel so much better

  • The Breathe app on my Apple Watch is lovely.

#MondayMotivation - upcoming hikes!

As much as I love the cloudy days, I’m excited to see some sun in the forecast for the Pacific Northwest this coming weekend. I’m always prepared for rainy hikes when I’m up there, but I’ll take the sunshine if it shows. I’m motivated this Monday by the memories I have from previous trips to Olympic National Park. I’m looking forward to hiking in trees and fresh air on Saturday and Sunday. I haven’t hiked in a while, and it surely wasn’t very fresh feeling the last time I did. I’m excited to meet a new friend who will guide me through the area and hopefully future hikes!


#ForestFriday - Wishing for snow!

Cooler weather has FINALLY arrived here in Texas and it has my brain thinking beyond fall and into winter. I also know, some places already have snow, and I’m jealous. Anyway, here are some photos from the forest in Northern Michigan around my grandparent’s house. Not quite the wild and free mountain forests, but the forests I grew up exploring! (November 2007)

#WayBackWednesday - Arches!

My process for Way Back Wednesday:

  1. Create a huge list of possible ideas, become determined to pick something

  2. Forget about the list and just scroll through all of my photos until something just speaks to me

I love to plan things out, but I hate sticking to a plan. Whatever. Here are a few shots from Arches National Park this past August that stood out and whispered through the digital waves to share them again. Arches is easily one of my favorite places and I see it differently every time I visit. Enjoy this week of Way Back Wednesday that doesn’t go WAY back at all.

Who cares what might have been?

I try not to dwell on what might have been had I done something differently in my life. BUT, there is one decision I wonder about and it takes over my brain from time to time. If I had taken the city planning/code enforcement job with the City of Westworth Village (on the west side of Fort Worth) instead of the control room operator job at Quicksilver Resources, where would I be? Quicksilver paid better, a ton better, and it was an obvious choice from a financial standpoint. I was just starting to come out of my dark hole of financial depression - I had been paying my bills in full, and on time, for the first time in MONTHS. I was starting to know what it felt like to be an adult, despite having to borrow my aunt’s car to go to the job interview because mine didn’t have air conditioning. I felt Quicksilver was the responsible choice, and I don’t think I was wrong about that, in the end.

I accepted a job, in the oil & gas industry, and essentially felt I had backed myself into a corner career wise. There are a lot of energy jobs in Texas and nationwide, but I wasn’t learning skills that would make me valuable to many companies. I sat in a control room, a data center with 12 screens, and monitored natural gas production for three years. I finally found a way out and ended up in the environmental department to learn new skills. I started to learn about environmental remediation, permitting, and plenty of other marketable skills but was laid off within about 15 months because the company had failed and filed bankruptcy. I ended up back in a control center, for another failing company, as a contract employee on a non-permanent basis. I jumped at my current role, another environmental job, but have been there for two years and haven’t had many opportunities to learn new things or see any room for advancement. I don’t hate the work, but I don’t love it either. It’s pretty normal, from the sounds of it to feel that way about work. Who knows?

I wonder what I could be doing if I had accepted the planning job, for less money. Would I be happier, more fulfilled? Would I have a solid foundation for a career in city planning? Would I be struggling with my bills the same way I am now, or worse?

Things that wouldn’t have gone away: my habits. I have bad habits when it comes to spending and saving. I don’t think any amount of money, short of six figures, would solve that problem. I feel if I had taken the road through city planning, I’d be below my current and previous pay grades, which were higher, but maybe I’d feel more challenged and have more room for growth? I don’t know, like I said, I try not to waste too much time on the whole concept.

I do know one thing going forward, I’m not going to solely follow the money - unless it’s a LOT of money. I’d like to learn new skills, get into a career that offers room to grow and challenges me along the way. I’d love to work with a city, county, or state government. Only time will tell what happens with my current job, but I know if I don’t make the positive changes it’s going to continue to just be okay enough to stay.

Instead of going over the scenarios and wondering how my life could have been different, I will focus on the HERE AND NOW. I will try to find ways to improve my current life, career path, and mindset. Instead of wasting brain power on the “what if” thoughts, I’m going to harness it into “if this, than that.” I’m not always successful at getting out of my own head, especially when I’m having a bad day, but I have worked hard to be mindful about this topic and I plan to work hard to carve the path I want instead of what I “backed myself into” or “what the industry says I should do.”

#MondayMotivation - Take a break!

Take a break, get up from whatever you’re doing if you can, and walk around. Or if you’re standing all day, go sit down for a minute. Just take a break. Stop reading the news for a few minutes and look at some cat videos. Whatever floats your boat and fits your situation.

During the work week, I get up every hour and do a lap around the office. Sometimes, if I have the time and/or the weather is nice, I take it outside and do a lap around the building. I used to walk on my lunch hour, but I’m taking shorter lunches because I want to be here less and anywhere else more.

Find what works for you. When I’m at home, I try to take the dog on a longer walk for at least one of the three or so he gets in the evening. You deserve a break!

#ForestFriday - TGIFF!

Thank goodness it’s Forest Friday!

The photo I’m sharing is from when I was working on location, during one of the recent weeks away from home. When doing my field work, I often find myself on these narrow back roads and it is one part of the job I do not mind at all. Take a minute to find something you love and focus on that today!

#WayBackWednesday - Olympic National Park

I’m working on being more positive and upbeat so here are some photos from my trip back in March to the beautiful Olympic National Park in Washington State. When I need a moment at work, or anywhere else, I just try to remember my three glorious days in the trees and on the beach in the Olympic Peninsula. What do you do to take mental breaks? Where does your mind wander in a daydream? Feel free to share your magical places. Have a great Wednesday and week ahead. You’ve got this!

This is currently the background on my work PC… Helps me stay calm! (Quinault)

Rialto Beach - a peaceful evening watching the sun set

In the Hoh Rain Forest… with the sun peaking through the mossy trees

At peace among the trees on the trail to Sol Duc Falls

#MondayMotivation - Let it go!

If you can, let that shit go. Stop and think, is it worth holding on to this baggage? Is that point necessary? I have to do this a lot, and can stand to do it more, but letting go is the BEST feeling. SO, let it go if you can, and if you can’t I’d suggest finding a way to confront/deal/breakdown whatever the issue is. Here’s a picture or two to distract.


#MondayMotivation - Good Stuff.

When my friends and acquaintances share their health or life progress and push forward even if it’s difficult or painful, it’s inspiring. When I see the person who is struggling as hard as me but still going during lap three, I’m inspired, When that lady at the Target checkout was just so chipper and patient, I was inspired. I’ve been finding motivation at every turn, and I think it is mostly because I’ve adopted a better attitude towards everything.

I really have to work hard to forge my own positive attitude, as I’m sure many do, because of the negativity surrounding us in our various circles of life. I don’t always succeed, but I’ve been very good about just being the “silver lining” guy or staying away from things that spark negative mindsets.

I’m drawing inspiration from things and people in new ways, taking notes all the time, and trying to find more people to connect with on a real level. When I’m positive about one thing, it bleeds over into another and I’m back on track with everything in no time at all.

Other Motivational Items this Monday:

  • Cool, rainy weather in Texas has made me feel ALIVE! Bring it on.

  • It’s Autumn… ‘nuff said.

  • This is the FINAL week of being gone ALL week for a while. Just normal, short trips ahead.

  • There’s a new Singletrack to listen to while driving around all week.

  • I only have about 6 more books to read before 2019!

A Healthier Mike - Week 10



Welcome to the Week 10 recap. It was another bust. So, in light of my choices, I’m reworking my plan. Low carb is a quick way to lose weight, but has never proved to be sustainable for me or anyone near me because we simply give up and go back to our old ways.

Over Week 11, I plan to figure out a plan for me, my health, and my lifestyle. More frequent exercise, a variety of exercises, cooking at home, more vegetables, more fresh food, less sugar, and more fun hopefully.


This week was somewhat better, until the weekend when all hell broke loose. I have not tracked food since Wednesday, had too much food, and drank too much beer. Shocking, I know. HA.

What I do, when being good:

  • Eating between 11 AM and 7 PM most of the time

  • Eating under 2000 calories, but not worrying if it’s over and due to vegetables

  • Lower carbohydrate - not eating unnecessary carbs

  • Allowing a day every now and then for indulgences

  • Walking every day of the week

  • Continuing on with the Couch 2 5K

Long Term Goals:

  • Lose a total of 34 lbs by the time I turn 34 on 12/06/1984

  • Maintain a weight low enough to enjoy kayaking, canoeing, hammock swaying, and cycling

  • Continue with running until I can finally run a 5K in full

  • Create new goals

  • Go a full month with 10,000 steps per day

  • Become fit enough to do an all-day trek with thousands of feet in elevation change

  • To fit in to my puffy vest and other outdoor clothes that don’t really work for chubby folks


Things I’ll track: calories, exercise, weight, happiness level, difficultly level, and other stupid stuff via a spreadsheet.


  • Fresh, uncooked, zucchini in my salads

  • Hazelnuts

  • Cold Brew on draft

  • Supportive people


  • Running again!


It’s another week out of town for me, so I’ll be eating out for most of my big meals and potentially work 10-12 hour days. I’ll use the hotel gym and work to make smarter choices while eating out - it’s going to have to start as simple as that.

Week 11 has started, at this moment, and I’m working on portion control and choosing healthy options. I limited my food intake from the hotel breakfast, I have a packed lunch with fruit, veggies, and tuna. I’m ready to try harder.


Got some work to do, folks.

#MondayMotivation - Go forward and get ready!

Thanks for unintentionally motivating me

Inspiration can come from many places and this time it was a simple message from someone in the online outdoor community who I admire so much and want to camp/hike with eventually. I don’t think the message was intended to be motivational, but here I am writing a little blurb about how it lit a fire under my ass.

Keep going, work harder

I really want to be able to start somewhere at dawn, hike all day, gain thousands in elevation, camp, and hike back out. I think the pros call it “backpacking” or something, but yeah, that’s what I want to seriously get in to and I’ve been saying it for a while. This fall the plan is to hike to Guadalupe Peak in Guadalupe Mountains National Park as well as do several practice backpacking runs in local state parks with “primitive” hike-in sites. I’ve never been more motivated to do these things because next year, I want to head to the real mountains (you know, the ones with snow on top and stuff out west) with people and feel completely limitless.

Other things that are motivational this Monday…

  • Cooler weather, though it’s still really damn humid

  • Fall hiking and camping ahead

  • Family camping weekend

  • Potential trips to Minnesota and Washington in October

  • People that just keep livin’ and making the best of life

In other news…

I’ve been on a quest to get healthier and I’m at week 10 with a little bit of a stall, but that’s being revamped too. I’m not exercising enough and I’m not even close to hiking enough. It’s been hot and miserable and I’ve been relying on it as my go-to excuse. I’m sure there’s a pattern of this behavior, if I looked back, because this is how I operate. I get lazy, bored, blah blah blah.

It’s not about the pounds for me and I need to convince myself of that. I just want to be healthier and able to go up that mountain or live past 40. I’m not an all or nothing guy and I shouldn’t treat adjustments to eating and exercise that way either. Everything in moderation, avoid excessive crap, at least walk an hour a day, and continue training for the 5K.

I’m not sure if this is motivation for you, but know that I’m rooting for you in whatever you’re doing and I’m here to say GET IT! Work hard, forgive yourself, and keep going!

#ForestFriday - Kenai Lake

Today, in photos anyway, I’m heading back to Alaska to Kenai Lake. We camped here for one night last June on our family adventure around Alaska. Enjoy some photos and the escape back to the forest. I hope you get outside this weekend!

#WayBackWednesday - Cool at the Canyon

WBW 9-12.jpg

This is going to have to be a quick post, but it’s my website so I can do whatever I want. This week has been busy, but let’s throw it back to March of 2015 at the Grand Canyon. My other half and our best friend Nikki set out on a road trip (which will be featured eventually - it’s a work in progress) to see the Grand Canyon, Vegas, and Zion. Here are a few photos from the South Rim on that cool March morning.