You’re Not As Healthy As You Think

I’ve always considered myself “athletic” but never “healthy”.  Often times, many people think the 2 are interchangeable but I’m here to tell you they aren’t.  Sure, I’ve been able to play soccer but there were times that I jumped into a game only to feel the painful effects the following day or the next few days for that matter.  When I actually played a season, it would take me at least 3-4 games to get into game shape.

I mention all of this to you for a couple of reasons.  First, many of you might be aware of the lifestyle change I’ve been going through since September.  I’ve been participating in a competition at Oakland Christian set up similarly to NBC’s Biggest Loser.  In that time, I’ve lost weight, stepped up my exercise, and made lifelong changes to how I look at food and how I eat.  Second, as a country the trend is going in the wrong direction.  According to the CDC, over one-third (35.7%) of Americans were obese in 2009-2010.  If you look at the trend since the late 1990s, you will be even more alarmed.

I never really paid attention to these statistics before.  I assumed I was somewhat healthy and healthier than the rest of the U.S.  Boy was I wrong.  It wasn’t until I stepped on that scale in early September that I realized I needed to get serious.  I’ve done the up and down with my weight but was never able to maintain it for an extended period of time and when the scale registered 201.1, it was time to get to work but I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it.  Fast forward to November 9 with a weigh in of 176.3 and a total weight loss of 24.8 pounds.  In just over 2 months, I’ve been become the healthiest I’ve been a long time, I’m able to post good run times for me, and now I play soccer without worrying about “saving my energy” in games.  So how did I do it?

My Weight Loss Progress since September

You have to have a goal.  For me, when I stepped on the scale and saw a weight that disappointed me, the goal was to lose the weight.  In my head, I wanted to drop at least 20 pounds but as I got into the program, I increased the weight loss goal to 32 pounds for a goal weight of 169.  With anything you do, have a purpose or goal.  You have to know WHAT you want to accomplish and for me, I had data to back up the need for me to start shedding some pounds.

Once you know why you want to lose weight, you can focus on the how but before I share with you the tools I’ve been using, I also wanted to mention that if you do a program like this, do it with other people.  Being in community with people holds you accountable.  It motivates you and if you’re in a contest, who doesn’t want to compete?  This has been one of the biggest motivators for me as I want to encourage but I also want to win!  Now on to the tools.

Nike Fuel Band

Nike released their Fuel Band earlier this year and I was hooked.  Not only was it a cool piece of technology but it tracks my activity with steps, calories and Nike’s own metric, Fuel points.  Each day, you set a goal for Fuel points and your activity earns points to achieve that goal.  On top of that, you can see how you rank with friends that also have the Nike Fuel Band with a fully integrated iPhone app and badges you earn for achieving goals and milestones.

My Fitness Pal iPad App

The My Fitness Pal iPhone app has truly become my best friend.  With this app, I was able to document the food AND portions I was eating to make sure I was achieving my calorie goal each day to support my weight loss targets.  Throughout this entire competition, I’ve learned that what you eat and how much of it contributes to the success you’ll have in getting healthy.

I have 5 great reasons as to why I did this.  Their names are Julianne, Gina, Joshua, Jessica and Luke.  Since turning 40 this past March, you begin to notice the subtle aches and pains.  You notice it takes a little longer to recover from any activity.  You also realize, your kids are getting older and they want you to play with them and that means being able to keep up with their energy and participate in their activities.  I could do this before but I just couldn’t do it well.  What this also has done is given Julianne and I a “project” to do together!  We now can encourage each other by eating well, going on runs or bike rides, and enjoying the progress we are making by losing weight.

Finally, this experience will also be a good teaching opportunity for my kids to value their health and what they eat. If we as parents are modeling a healthy lifestyle to our kids, they then have an example to follow (hopefully) that will give them the tools they need to live and eat healthy and hopefully pass that on to their kids and future generations.

I’ve learned a lot about myself in these 2 months.  Yes, exercise and diet are the main focus but you also need to be motivated and don’t give up easily.  It’s not a quick process and as they say, “results very”.  Since I’m all about sharing my experiences with you, this is what I’d like for you to take away from this rather long blog post about my health kick.  It’s pretty simple.

  1. Have a goal
  2. Track your goals
  3. Be in community with people to hold you accountable and encourage
  4. Don’t give up
  5. Pray and give thanks to Him for your success.  I wouldn’t have been able to do this without God’s help and the people He put in my life to encourage me.

This is serious business everyone.  The health of our country is going in the wrong direction.  If you live in Michigan, you will be happy to know that we are the 5th most obese state in the country.  My hope is that you will think about what I’ve shared with you and not be accepting of these trends.  You can still eat what you want but you also need to balance it with exercise and how much you eat.  Once you’re able to get past this being a “diet” but rather a “lifestyle” you’ll succeed.

As we approach the end of 2012, why not consider making a drastic and healthy change for 2013?


The Christmas Revolution

The Christmas Revolution

Black Friday.  Cyber Monday.  Both of these conjure up images of people doing anything and everything possible to get the best deal and the newest stuff for Christmas.  I don’t have any issue with this.  We all want nice things but does this become the most important thing about Christmas?  Does it become so focused on self indulgence that we lose the meaning of what these holidays really should be about?  Family.  Community.

One thing that I’ve appreciated the most about Kensington Church is its ability to deliver impactful messages that make you think about your life and your purpose.  This holds true each year when they talk about The Christmas Revolution.  As we head into this Christmas season, I invite all of you to participate in something my family will be doing again.  Do something radical with the money you were planning on spending for gifts…spend it on someone in need.

If you’re interested in learning more about this program that has raised over $2 million for people in need, go to

This has changed the way my family and I view Christmas each year.  We appreciate everything God has given us.  More importantly, we value the people in this world God has given us the ability to bless financially.  Who knows…if enough people participate, we can make this something to look forward to after Thanksgiving instead of something peppery.

Detroit Still Has A Long Way To Go

Recently Men’s Health posted the Top 100 Socially Networked Cities in the U.S. There were a few surprises, especially with some cities that I expected to see in the top 10 (Chicago #39, New York #53).  There was also a little disappointment to see Detroit ranked #94 in the study and listed under “least socially networked.”  Yes, I know it’s ridiculous to put any weight in a study like this however, it did make me realize that the place I call home has a long way to go.  I sometimes forget that not everyone uses Foursquare or Gowalla to check in.  People I know still don’t get Twitter.  What is Instagram?  Tumblr…huh?  I think you get the idea.

This ranking goes further than being socially networked.  It goes further than the many entrepreneurs I know that are determined to open up shop in the city and look for their opportunities to make a difference Detroit’s rebirth.  What is going to actually make a difference?  I think it has to be the adoption of not just the social tools I mentioned earlier, but also the adoption of the technologies that are available today by the large corporations in the area.

Look at what Ford has done in the social space.  They are leveraging the tools.  They have created a personality behind the blue oval.  They are developing vehicles that leverage the new connected customer and making the car more than just a car.  Don’t blink.  Now they are looking to the cloud.

The biggest thing that we can do as “socially connected” people is educate.  We have a network that we should leverage and begin to find ways to teach others.  The biggest asset we have is not a particular product or service.  It’s actually our intellectual property and what we know about technology and the web that we must share.

I still see companies trying things they’ve always done before.  Marketing has changed.  PR has changed.  Sales has changed.  Customer service has changed.  All because of the web and the social tools at our disposal.  I’m not suggesting the web is the cure for everything (but it’s close!).  What I am suggesting is that the web has now become more of an integral part of how people and companies do business in the world today.  The “traditional” methods of doing business are now historical methods.  The “future” technologies are now current technologies.

It’s time to educate so Detroit can move up from least socially networked to one of the top socially networked cities.  What are you doing to teach others?  Start by inviting them to 2 upcoming events this April…Ignite Detroit on April 14th and Future Midwest on April 28-29.  After that, do something with the knowledge you’ll gain and the connections you’ll make.  #makeithappen

Maybe Glenn Beck Was Right

Before you decide to beat me up, please hear me out.

Glenn Beck has certainly caused a stir.  As much of a stir as Chris Hansen did when he did his report on NBC.  The people of Detroit are outraged, mad, offended, etc.  How dare he compare Detroit to Hiroshima!  How dare he lay blame on politics and government!  How dare he show those images of our once treasured architecture?  He is absolutely wrong in his assessment of Detroit.  Period.

Or is he?  Maybe there is some merit to what he was saying.  I’m not going to be popular for saying this, but I think he may just be on to something.  Take out the inaccuracies in his facts about the bailouts or the political blame and corruption for one moment.  The perception nationally is exactly what he portrayed.  It’s exactly what Chris Hansen portrayed on NBC.  If you ask anyone outside of Detroit, the perception is not entirely positive so I can’t completely disagree with Beck’s assessment of my beloved city.

I know first hand that the people of Detroit and of Michigan are passionate about this place and hate to hear when people say mean things about us.  However, the mean things are true and that’s why it hurts.  This is the reality of Detroit today.  Mayor Dave Bing in his State of the City even said Detroit was a “work in progress.”  Where we often get passionate is when someone outside of us speaks the truth.  To me it feels like we entitle ourselves to be the only ones that can talk about Detroit because we live here.

That’s one part of the problem.  We build up walls to divide those who can and cannot talk about Detroit.  It even happens locally.  Urban and suburban have disagreed for decades and a wall has continued to grow higher and higher separating the very people that can be mobilized into action to make a difference.  In my 38 years (soon to be 39) as a Michigan resident, all I’ve known is this “great divide” and very little has been done to break it down.

The other part of the problem (in my opinion) is the lack of action.  We are great at talking about how things can change in Detroit.  We are great at criticizing those that criticize us.  All talk.  Where is the action?  Who are the people that go out and do things to improve this city?  Who are the people that are making a difference?

I’m not trying to make light some of the amazing work that is happening in the city.  There are people and companies doing things to make Detroit better, but change truly won’t happen until the masses of people that call Detroit home (the region, not city proper) get off the couch and do something besides talk.

Mayor Bing closed his State of the City address perfectly with a call to action:

It is time for us to look in the mirror and recognize that Detroit is on the right track.  More importantly, it is time for all of us to think about what we can do to help our city.  Good government creates an environment to help regular people do extraordinary things.  It inspires people to work together and take responsibility for their community.   That is the Detroit we want to be, and are working to become. But we cannot do it without your help. It is time to ask…what will your contribution be?

That’s the solution.  Action.  Action causes change.  Speeches don’t.  So I ask you…what will your contribution be?  What are you going to DO today to make a difference and change perceptions?  What are you going to do to change the minds of national media like Glenn Beck and Chris Hansen so they can do a report on how Detroit has come back like Hiroshima?

Life Isn’t Standing Still

Dear Patrick,

Life isn’t standing still.  The world around us continues to move and isn’t going to wait for when we are ready to move with it.  Change needs to happen because “the way we’ve always done it” begins not to work.  Leaders realize this and thus make tough decisions that impact many.  The hope is that these decisions are made with long term vision in mind and not short term gain.

The difficulty lies when you are on the receiving end of change and not in control of it.  Fear sets in because you have no idea how this change is going to impact you or even when.  When you begin to hear how “the change” is going to happen you think that you probably would have done it differently.  You are not in control and you begin to criticize.

Well…stop it.  You often talk about how change needs to happen in order for organizations or people to improve.  Remember that.  Also remember that you are not in control.  Your faith needs to guide you in all you do from this point forward.  There is this verse that just popped into your head:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)

Soak on that for a while.  Anytime you have the urge to say or do something, read that verse before doing anything.  It will likely save you from doing something stupid.  God knows what’s going on.  If you trust that, your paths will be straight and you will realize the long term vision is being fulfilled.  Are you good?  OK…just wanted to make sure.

If you’re still thinking about being in control, look outside.  It’s snowing.  You can control a shovel later.

Your friend,


Look Right. Click.

In October of last year, I attended Catalyst in Atlanta.  Scott Harrison from Charity Water spoke about his organization and what they are attempting to do to bring clean water to the world.  It’s amazing how simple it is to participate and how impactful they have been in raising money for their cause.

As I was playing around with my blog tonight, I noticed a widget I could install for social causes and saw that Charity Water was participating.  Guess what?  If you look to your right, you’ll see it!  Now that you see it, please click the banner and help me raise some money for them.

Did you know that 1 in 8 people do not have access to clean, safe drinking water?  This is just 1 amazing statistic from their “Why Water” page.  Scott Harrison shares more in the video below.  It’s a highlight of his talk from Catalyst last year.  After watching it, look right and click.

Catalyst East 2010: Scott Harrison from Catalyst on Vimeo.

“Imported From Detroit.”

Before I say anything, watch this again.  And again.  And again.

This isn’t a review of Chrysler’s spot featuring Eminem that ran during the Super Bowl yesterday.  I think it’s safe to say that it was well received.  This is more about what that spot meant to those of us that call Detroit home (and I’m using Detroit from a regional perspective and not just Detroit proper).  We are a passionate bunch.  We are driven to see change happen in this region.  If you look at the community around local events like Tedx Detroit and Future Midwest, you will see a collective of people that share a common love for our city.  We are driven to show the world that Detroit is innovative and able to reinvent itself beyond just the automotive industry.  We actually do know how to use the internet and see it as a way to build community and foster growth.

Sure, we have a chip on our shoulder.  Have you seen what has been said?  Have you seen how Detroit has been portrayed?  Blight.  Political controversy.  We want to change that.  We want to show you the quality of people that live here.  We want you to discover the beauty of the state of Michigan.  We want you to join our community and leave here saying, “I love Detroit.  I love Michigan.”

Tall order given the skepticism of some, but within reach given the optimism of others.

Yes, I’m putting a lot of weight and faith behind a 2 minute car commercial.  However, it was more than that for me.  This was Detroit’s anthem on a national stage and people outside of Detroit took notice.

I’m Patrick Reyes…imported from Detroit (and an optimist).