Team Sumoflam Progress Report: I’m NOT Climbing Back Up That Mountain

(This is the fourth post of the progress that David “Sumoflam” Kravetz in his preparation to walk the 5K event at the Great American Fitness Challenge on June 13.  David is a member of the organizing team and has been preparing for this event as a first step in improving his health)

Team Sumoflam T-Shirts for the Great American Fitness Challenge

Team Sumoflam T-Shirts for the Great American Fitness Challenge

As I write this post, we are only three days away from one of Lexington’s biggest ever fitness events — the Great American Fitness Challenge.  It is big because there are FOUR big race events happening that day including a 5K Walk/Run, a 15K, the All-American Obstacle Course and the SEAL Elite Obstacle Course.  There will also be Kentucky’s largest-ever Yoga Class, some other demonstrations, US Marines running the 5K in formation, members of the National Guard, the Lexington Police and the Lexington Firefighters participating in the obstacle events, some of which will have former Navy SEALs on hand.  Medals will be given out by a former US Army General and a former US Navy Admiral as well as a former Kentucky Governor.  It will be a HUGE event.

The participants in these events will run the gamut from svelt, well-built über-strong athletes, many of whom are CrossFit instructors and leaders.  There will be many who are running the 15K as a warm up to bigger events.  Many will be health fanatics.

BeachOn the other end of the spectrum is me…a soon to be 59 year old out of shape grandfather of nine (soon to be ten).  Chances are very high that I could be the last person to finish the 5K.  It has happened before.  But, I WILL finish!!

As I have noted in earlier posts, I started off this whole thing on April 1.  It was a good day to start.  I weighed in at 450 pounds that day.  I had a couple of months to prepare mentally, emotionally and physically.  And over the past 70 days I have made a number of sacrifices to get to where I am. And I have only just begun.


Tumbling down the mountain...from 450 to 414.4 in 70 days

Tumbling down the mountain…from 450 to 414.4 in 70 days

So, where am I?  As of this morning I am now at 414.4 pounds….a loss of 35.6 pounds over the past 70 days.  Check out the chart…you can see that I have begun tumbling down the mountain.  And I don’t ever want to climb back up that mountain again!!

Has it been easy? Absolutely not!  And nobody ever said it would be easy.  In fact, one of my key Mentors and supporters, former Navy SEAL Rob Roy (and author of “The Navy SEAL Art of War“) has noted that “only yesterday was easy.”  Each day we should be striving to build upon the previous successes and so each new day should present new challenges and obstacles.

And that is the nature of this beast.  And I continue to conquer the “downhill climb” from my mountain of unhealthy eating and unhealthy lifestyle.  With each step down the mountain I have gained new confidence, overcome fears and conquered bad habits.

But I must always be ready.

One of over 50 "Smile at a Mile" Photos

One of over 50 “Smile at a Mile” Photos

To start off the journey I took baby steps, only walking a mile here or a mile there.  Being the selfie fanatic that I am, with each mile I take a “Smile at a Mile” photo and then a “Two Mile Smile.”  My first “Three Mile Smile” selfie will most likely happen on June 13th at the Fitness Challenge 5K.  I have over 50 “Smile at a Mile” photos so far.

Walking initially was terribly difficult. My ankles and knees hurt.  After a mile or so I was tired.  I was truly out of shape.

However, as I have continued to stretch to new limits, not necessarily each day, but on many days, I discovered new strength.  I have seen the knee pain dissipate and I have been able to accomplish new distances. On June 7 I walked 2.67 miles.  I had hoped to go three miles, but I didn’t really look at my MapMyWalk app along the way…I ran out of road by the time I got back home.  Nevertheless, that was a new record for me.  The furthest I had walked since I walked a 5K in 2009 (and took dead last place).

Getting ready for "speed shopping" at Costco and parking in the furthest reaches

Getting ready for “speed shopping” at Costco and parking in the furthest reaches

In keeping with the walking theme, I have also made other adjustments.  Like anyone, I must go shopping.  In the past (pre-April 1), I would drop my sweet wife off at the front of the store and wait for her in the car. If I needed to go in, I would look for the closest spot.  Now, I have established two things for MOST of my shopping (if I am in a hurry…I bend a bit): 1. Park as far away as possible 2. Go “Speed Shopping” – walking fast with focus.

I use my MapMyWalk app to gather the information on distance and time.  And I book it.  My wife has been shocked because sometimes she can’t keep up with me!!  On the particular trip to Costco (see photo at left) my walk was 1.2 miles!!  Not bad for a shopping trip.  And I try to do that at every place I shop, whether it is 0.25 miles or the “Costco Mile” as I now call it.

Eating PlantPure now. Still not easy, but worth it!

Eating PlantPure now. Still not easy, but worth it!

As I noted, this is not easy.  I have made some MAJOR dietary changes along the way as well.  These are NOT “Diet Changes” but rather “Eating Lifestyle Changes.”  My wife has tried for a couple of years to get me to eat “Plant-Based Whole Food,” a step further than vegan. Though I had no problems eating vegan meals, I still wanted to be “flexitarian.”  But that all changed on April 1.  I now follow a much more “meaningful” dietary regimen.  Using recipes from PlantPure Nation and from Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn (the Author of “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease“), I have eliminated ALL oil from my diet, no white flour products (only whole grain),  no meat, cheese, dairy, eggs, etc., and I have even recently cut out avocados and nuts at the urging of Dr. Esselstyn, who actually called and spoke with me at length a few days ago (which was a shocker!!) in response to an email I sent him with some health concerns (see my personal blog at for more details)

All my supporters - YOU are Team Sumoflam!!

All my supporters – YOU are Team Sumoflam!!

Finally, I would never get there without the support of the REAL TeamSumoflam, all of my family, friends, co-workers and others that are supporting me.  Having them there for encouragement, coupled with my daily blog posts, which serve as accountability to both myself and them, has been a boon to me.

Doing all of these things on this journey requires good documentation.  Many have inspired me along the way and if I can inspire others as well, even one other person who has trod up the wrong mountain, then I will be grateful for the opportunity, even if I never know about it.

Its a wonderfully awesome journey so far, despite the challenges!

It has taken all of these combined changes in my life to get me to the point where I am today.  It will take the continuation of the same, and likely more refinements, as a strive for new accomplishments such as:

  • Independence from 400 by July 4 (hope to be 399 by then)
  • Walking the Midsummer’s Night 5K in August (and beating my 2009 time)
  • Getting a bike by Christmas 2015 (which I need to be to 350 in order to get the bike)
  • Being down under 300 sometime in early 2016
One Step at a Time to better health

One Step at a Time to better health

For me, there is no finish line.  I continue to press forward, one step at a time, one mile at a time, one less hot dog at a time, one more gulp of water a day.

Honestly, I don’t care about all of the other people at the Great American Fitness Challenge (in terms of where they are healthwise).  I am only focused on me.  If I end up being the last person to finish, so be it.  But rest assured, Team Sumoflam will cross the finish line on June 13th and will have victory. I will celebrate the victory. For the victory is against myself and my own personal mountain. And I am not climbing back up that mountain ever again.