See Your Toes launching a new weekly feature in April

We are about to launch a new feature that I am very excited about!

I have been very happy with the growth of See Your Toes over the last few months and we look forward to growing and evolving into a better blog. What I really want to do here is become a place for you to not only find out about what I did to lose weight and keep it off, but I want to be a place where you come to find out about the latest in health and fitness.

We are also going to spend more time talking about kids health issues as that is really where my passion is. This blog will strive to keep a good balance between kids, adults and family health matters.

So what’s new?

See Your Toes Expert Interviews

If you know me from my from prior to launching this blog, you probably know at different times over the last two years I have done a lot of Skype interviews with the topics of sports and real estate. Well now I am preparing to take that format here. I am going to be launching a four times a month interview with different leaders from around the web.

The four areas we will be focusing on, one per week for the first four Thursdays of each month are:

  • Exercise/Running
  • Diet/Food
  • Kids Health
  • Success Stories

I have already started to line up guest for next months shows. So far I have not had anyone say no, so that is a good thing. I intend on keeping each video interview short (close to 5 minutes) and post them on the blog.

If you have anyone in any of these four categories you think I should be interviewing, or if you think I should be talking to you, make sure you leave me a comment either on the blog or on the Facebook Page or hit me up on Google Plus or Twitter.

Don’t end up with a dead hooker in your trunk

About two months ago as I was finishing up my training for the Arizona Rock ‘n Roll Marathon, I decided to go for a hike. About two miles into the hike I took a misstep and did something to my right knee. Of course later that day I thought it felt better so I decided to go for a run and after three miles I was limping and having to call home for someone to come pick me up.

Over the next two weeks I would continue to try and push it so I could run the marathon. I kept icing, taking ice baths and kept running. A week before the race I realized it was not going to happen so decided to take some time completely off. Three weeks later the knee finally started feeling better.

I now run with a knee wrap, which helps incredibly. I have been amazed how well this $14.99 elastic band really works.

This week my knee has been flaring up a little and as I was talking to my Jason, my Crossfit coach this morning he asked me if I was still icing and taking ice baths and using anti-inflammatory meds still. I told him no, because it had been feeling better. That is when he told sat me down and told me a little story.

“Dean, let me tell you a little story about how an athlete and a schizophrenic are alike. See what happens is a schizophrenic starts to hear voices in their head and they get the urge to kill cats and run over dogs. Eventually it gets so bad they have to take medication to make make life feel normal again.

An athlete will get injured, start taking their anti-inflammatory meds, walking around with ice and taking ice baths to make the injury feel better

As soon as the schizophrenic stops hearing the voices they tell themselves that they feel better so they can stop taking their meds. Two weeks later they end up with a dead hooker in their trunk. 

Message of the story, don’t end up with a dead hooker in your trunk. Keep doing what has worked to make the injury feel better.”

Thanks Jason. Off to the ice bath.

Photo Credit

Paula Deen should be ashamed of herself, and removed from air

A missed opportunity to education on diabetes

One subject I get passionate about is diabetes. If you follow me on Google+ and I hope you do, you saw that evidenced last week when it was announced that celebrity “comfort food” chef Paula Deen came out of the closet and announced she had type 2 diabetes.

I am not happy at all and think it is disgraceful how she has handled this. Paula Deen has proven to be a horrible role model for our youth and in what could have been a great teaching moment, she is teaching the exact wrong thing.

So why am I passionate about diabetes? Because my kids risk of getting diabetes is higher than normal because their mother is a type 1 diabetic and has been for a dozen years.

So quick lesson, what is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

In both cases, diabetes means the pancreas has either lost the ability to produce insulin (type 1) or is losing that ability (type. 2). The biggest difference? Type one cannot ever be cured or managed long term without actually injecting insulin into your body.

Type 2 diabetes can somewhat be controlled with diet and exercise and weight loss. Type 1, while your spikes can be controlled by your diet, you will always need to inject insulin.

Insulin is released by your body to help regulate sugar in your blood. Too much sugar in your blood can have a damaging effect on your organs long term whereas too low of a blood sugar level can lead to dizziness and a coma. So yes insulin is vitally important in the right amount.

So we know that diabetics have issues regulating their body with insulin naturally. So let’s think logically for a second. If your body is harmed by too much sugar in your system, and your body cannot fight it naturally with insulin, maybe, just maybe you should try to keep your blood sugar numbers from spiking too high too often.

What is sugar?

Well, we all know those Cocoa Puffs and candy bars contain a lot of sugar that is probably going to make your blood sugar levels jump, but what else? Did you know that carbohydrates are sugar? Yes, even those “oh so good for you” whole grains are sugars when they reach your blood.

Bread, pasta, chips and just about anything with flour is going to turn into sugar in your body. Now not all carbs are the same, carbs with a lower glycemic index will turn into sugar slower, but guess what, they still will turn into sugar.

So what does this have to do with Paula Deen?

No matter how you look at it, diet is closely related to type 2 diabetes. And more importantly once you have diabetes and are paying attention to your blood sugar levels diet is extremely important. What do you want to avoid? Sugar and processed carbohydrates.

Paula Deen has said that being diagnosed with diabetes will not change the way she cooks. It is very evident that her cooking will not change because she has had diabetes for three years and has not changed her cooking. Her staples are still macaroni and cheese and cake. Two foods any diabetic will tell you are going to had a very negative effect on their blood sugar levels.

So why will Paula Deen continue to cook the way she has always cooked? Well, let’s follow the money. Deen is not concerned about her cooking because she controls her diabetes with a drug. Yes, and when did Deen decide to come out? After she was sponsored by the same drug company.

Paula Deen as a public figure could have done so much more. Paula could have learned more about the disease and learned that with proper diet and weight loss (again proper diet) she could have controlled her type 2 diabetes and taught her loyal fans a healthier life style.

Paula could have taken her show in a great direction. She could have taught people how to make their same favorite meals but with natural whole foods, not processed crap. She could have taught the nation about the benefits of eating real food and staying away from anything that is processed. Instead, Deen has chosen to take the money and continue to show Americans how they can continue to eat crap and get sick.

The more I write, the more upset I get. I am pissed off at Paula Deen and I am really not sure how she looks at herself in the mirror in the morning. Yes I feel bad she has diabetes. I would not wish that on anyone. But as a prominent figure in the diet industry, she has missed a great opportunity to help educate Americans.

Do as I say, not as I do

Don't make the same mistake as me. Allow your body time to heal

I started training for the PF Chang’s Rock ‘n Roll marathon 12.5 weeks ago. I decided to try a marathon using the Crossfit Endurance method of training. 12.5 weeks later I think that was the right choice as I feel fit and ready to run. Unfortunately I will not be toeing the line this coming Sunday because of a knee injury.

Know what really sucks about a leg injury while training? What really sucks is when that injury was not running related. If it was running related I could look at what I had done as far as milage, equipment and figure out what had happened. Here I know.

I love to hike. It is probably my favorite activity to do with my kids. About two and a half weeks ago I was out hiking and I stepped off a large rock and was not paying attention to my footing. As soon as I landed my foot rolled and my knee buckled. I knew it was not good, but we were on our way back to the car so I just walked it off.

Driving home I could feel something in my knee was off, but just figured it was a little nagging something and it would get better quickly.

Later that afternoon I needed to return something to Best Buy and figured it would make a good afternoon run. My knee felt ok so I decided to give it a go. About three miles into the run I felt my knee acting up. About four miles into the run I decided to walk the last mile. Something was just not right.

After calling for a ride home I iced it and thought just a day or two of rest would be good. I talked to my Crossfit coach and he told me to take a week off and give it a good rest. Well I did most of what he said and gave it a good four days off then tested it.

I started running again and each time I would run I would feel the knee a little. It was never bad pain, but I knew it was there. Instead of taking a good week to ten days off I kept “testing it.” Yesterday was my last test. I failed!

If I had just allowed it to heal itself I would probably be running Sunday. Instead, I will be watching from the sidelines and planning my next race.

What is next? I want to say the Phoenix half marathon on March 3rd, but I am holding off setting any future races. I am going to force myself to take a good solid week off from running, rowing and any knee related activities. I will do what I can with my Crossfit coach, but he agrees I need to give it time to heal. The next option for a marathon is the LA Marathon on March 18th. My base is good and I feel like I could run a marathon today if my knee was better. Now it all depends on how long it takes for the knee to heal.

So what to do if you get injured? Allow your body time to heal. If I had done so there is a good chance my post early next week would be about the wonderful experience I just had running a marathon on limited endurance training.


12 things to keep you on track in 2012

Stay on track in 2012

Welcome to 2012, many of you have made goals and hopefully decided to change your habits to get back in shape and stay there. Here are 12 things you can do right now to help you stay on track.

  1.  Get up – Having trouble fitting in your workouts? Well get up 30 minutes earlier. This was the best thing I ever did to get in consistent workouts. Making sure the workout was done before anything else could get in the way is the only way I personally could make sure it was done for the day.
  2. Make it a quicke – No need to spend hours working out or doing PX90 for 60-90 minutes a day. Learn about high intensity interval training (HIIT). These are short, quick, intense workouts that you should be able to get a good burn on in 10-30 minutes. See my at-home workouts for some ideas.
  3. Consistency is everything – Decide what your schedule is going to be and stick to it. Don’t miss workouts whenever possible. Also be consistent with your eating. It takes longer than you think to form habits. I found out early that cheat days did not work for me. I had to be completely committed and do it consistently for real results.
  4. Get out – If you are sitting at home looking for something to do- get out. Get out and go for a hike, this is my favorite. Get out and go for a walk with your special loved one. Get out with your kids and go play Frisbee or head to the playground. There is no reason you cannot run around the playground and play on the monkey bars they are a great workout.
  5. Around the edges – When you go grocery shopping stop buying processed foods. The best way to do this is shop around the outside aisles at your grocery store.
  6. Make it yourself – You are going to be amazed how much better homemade food tastes and how easy it is. Make your food every morning like pizza egg muffins and every night like this pork recipe.  Trust me, you will learn to make things quickly.
  7. What’s your number – What goals do you have? Is it a weight you want to reach or a body fat percentage? Is it a jean size or a new squatting max lift? Maybe you want to run a 10k or set a PR in an race? Whatever your goal is, tell the world and place the number somewhere you see it every day. Never forget what you are working towards. But to do that, you need to know your number.
  8. Try it in a group – Looking for some people to help keep you on track? How about joining a group or organization. This could be a running club, a group at your gym, a walking group, a bootcamp group or even a group of new friends on Daily Mile. Find someone to help you get out there on those days you may not feel like it.
  9. Color me green – Do you like the color green? I hope so, at least on your plate. I was not a green fan, but over time eating lots of kale, spinach and broccoli, I have learned to really like them. Find easy ways to prepare these foods like brazed kale or spinach in your omelet and try to make sure there are lots of greens on your plate with your meals.
  10. Become the biggest loser – We all know about the show “Biggest Loser”. Well how about starting your own competition? Make fun contests among friends or co-workers. A three or four month contest can help keep you on track and build a competitive environment that can help you stay focused. Think about making the losers give a donation to the winner’s charity of choice.
  11. Get smart – Think you know a lot about health and fitness and eating? I did too. Then I really started educating myself and realized most of what I knew was wrong. Watch documentaries like “Fathead“, read blogs like “Mark’s Daily Apple” and read books like “Why We Get Fat” and find out why what you think you know is probably wrong.
  12. H2O – Learn to love water. I carry a half gallon jug around with me and try to drink two of them a day. Water will keep you hydrated and feeling better. When you are not drinking water try to drink coffee (great with cinnamon) and tea, both hot and cold and stay away from other beverages. Yes, that includes diet soda.

There they are, 12 things that can help you get in shape and stay in shape in 2012. What other things work for you? Leave a comment below and let me know.

Photo Credit

What is the best at-home exercise – Meet the burpee

push ups outside

Top of S. Mountain. Great for pushups, not so great for burpees

I was out at a football game a few weeks ago and my buddy Kevin asked me what the best exercise he could do at home was. While any good at-home workout is going to consist of a variety of exercises, if I were to pick one it would, without a doubt, be the burpee. The burpee is so effective that I am actually going to have a challenge for 2012 that I will announce next week which revolves around this one exercise.

What is a burpee?

The burpee is a simple full body exercise. Here are the basic steps in performing a burpee:

  1. Start in the standing position
  2. Squat down and place your hands on the ground in front of you
  3. Kick your feet back quickly so you are in the top of a push-up position
  4. Do a pushup all the way down
  5. Jump your feet back in so you return to the squat position
  6. Jump up and raise your hands up above you

There it is! Simple right?

Here is a video I found on Nerd Fitness. Steve Kamb does some excellent videos on his site.

Crossfit Lifestyle also has this video which shows some modified burpees.


I believe the burpee is the the single most effective at-home body weight exercise you can perform. Muscle Prodigy agrees and named the burpee as one of their best ways to get back in shape without spending a penny. Some of the best conditioned athletes in the world such as MMA fighters and Crossfit competitors do a large volume of burpees in their training.

In one round of a burpee you are doing a squat, a plank, a pushup and a jump squat. When you do them consecutively without stopping you are also getting a good cardio workout. Any quick exercise you can do that will strengthen your hamstring, quads, arms, abs, chest, front deltoids and improve cardio on one quick movement has got to be a favorite for anyone looking to get a quick workout in and make it count.

Still not buying it? Drop and give me 20 burpees right now. It should only take you a couple of minutes and tell me how winded you feel.

Real life conditioning 

I remember back in my 20’s when I went to the gym all the time working out and I would do pull exercises on Monday, Push on Wednesday and then Friday would be legs. All in the name of adding muscle. What I realize now is muscle building has no real life benefit. I now understand that true conditioning is becoming stronger and more conditioned to help in real life situations.

Burpees may not make your biceps bulge like standing for hours doing barbell curls, but it is going to help you out a lot more in real life situations like moving furniture, working on a car or yard project, or running from zombies.

Can’t beat the cost

Most exercises you read about are not going to be free. Even running, unless done barefoot is not free. A burpee is truly free. You do not need any weights, or tracking devices or specialty clothes or anything else. All you need is your body weight, a desire to push past the pain and a floor to land on.

Another great thing is you can do the burpee from anywhere. All you need is a 6’x3′ clear floor or ground space and you are good to go. So if you travel a lot, find yourself in hotels and maybe end up in cold snowy places during the winter, you always have the burpee to fall back on.

Burpee workout

A burpee can be combined with other exercises as part of a workout, or you can do them as a workout in their own. Two popular ways to do a burpee workout are the burpee ladder and the Tabata workout.

With the burpee ladder you start with ten burpees as fast as you can. Rest one minute. Then do nine burpees as fast as you can. Rest one minute. Then eight and so on.

For the Tabata workout, have a stop watch handy where you can see it. Do as many burpees as you can in 20 seconds. No slacking here, bust them out hard and fast. Then rest for ten seconds. As soon as the ten seconds are over, bust out burpees for another 20 seconds and continue this workout for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes you are done, and trust me, you will be done!

I am not the only one who thinks the burpee is the best workout. Here is a New York Times article talking about the best single exercise.

Whats next with the burpee for me

I have a sickness when it comes to challenges. There, I admitted it. As they say admitting it is half the battle right? I seem to thrive on them and they almost always bring out my competitive side.

I have a little challenge I am going to be announcing next week with the burpee. I am going to combine the burpee with a challenge and hopefully raise some money for one of my favorite charities Mothers Fighting For Others. Sorry, that is all you get for now. Next week I will give you more details and I will be asking for your help.


How long does it take to form a habit – Longer than you think


Habits take time

If I asked you how long it takes to form a new habit, I think there is a good chance you would say 21 days. That is kind of the standard answer many of us are taught, but come to find out, it may be a lot longer.


When I was looking to get back in shape I knew I had to change the way I ate. How bad were my eating habits? I used to carry around plastic spoons in my car so if I stopped in a local Circle K and I wanted a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food, I would be ready. On a typical day I would grab a donut or two in the morning, and a candy bar or two in the afternoon to go along with my quick stop at the McDonald’s Dollar Menu. Did you try the McDonald’s Rolo McFlury? I got hooked on those. It really is amazing that I did not gain even more weight than I did.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. When I knew it was time to make the change and my reason why became big enough, I knew it was not going to be easy. The reason your why has to be so big is because it is going to take a long time to create a new habit. The 21 days to form a new habit turns out to be a myth.

According to a new study I found on PsyBlog, it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit. It really comes down to  how tough the habit was.

A simple new habit such as drinking a glass of water a day did not take long to form, but a tougher habit such as doing 50 sit-ups a day took much longer than 66 days. I am going to put new eating habits somewhere between those. So if you are looking to change your eating habits, and when it comes to weight loss and seeing your toes again, that really is the most important thing, you need to be committed.

For me the first two weeks were the toughest. I started eating real food and my body craved the sweets and processed junk I used to eat. About a month in, the cravings really started to slow down. My family started the same time, and I think they had a similar experience. I really noticed the difference in the kids and their cravings about the two month mark when we got to Halloween. We started talking to the kids about it early and they were somewhat resistant to the limited candy they could eat, but by the time we hit the two month mark of only eating real food they were on board with the plan.

What this new study shows is that making any change in lifestyle, (exercising, eating better, drinking water, you name it), is going to take time. Plan on committing to something for a full two months before this new behavior truly becomes a habit.

Photo credit


Connect with me on Daily Mile

Dean Ouellette on Daily Mile

Connect with me on Daily Mile

How do you track your workouts or your runs? For me I have tried a few systems off and on over the years, and my favorite is Daily Mile.

I have not always been the best at logging my workouts. I am making one of my goals for 2012 to log every one of my workouts for the year. Be it an at-home workout, Crossfit gym workout, run or a hike, I am going to log it in 2012.

I would love to connect with you on Daily Mile. Hit me up, just click this link or at any time you can access my Daily Mile link on the right sidebar.

Nine tips for for surviving the holidays and holiday parties

Holiday party tips

These are not recommended holiday party snacks

You decided you wanted to get back in shape, but the holiday season is here and that means holiday parties. The holidays are busy with family, friends and usually lots of food. Let’s be honest with ourselves for a minute, most of the food you will find at parties are not the types you want to be consuming if you are looking to get back in shape or looking to stay there.

These challenges do not mean you cannot have successful weight loss during the holidays. The holidays also should not be used as an excuse to wait to start your weight loss program. Here are ten of my favorite tips if you are looking to get back in shape and rediscover your toes during the holiday seasons.

1. Make it a competition

Want to get motivated to get back in shape during the holidays? Why not make a competition out of it. Creating competitions is one of my favorite ways to accomplish any goal. Why not create a weight loss competition now with some of your friends and colleagues. A friendly wager among friends who can encourage and help motivate each other, or a little trash talking is always healthy too. Another suggestion is have everyone put in money and the winner gets to pick the charity all the money is donated to.

2. Exercise first thing in the morning

Let’s face it, the holidays are busy for everyone. If you are looking to get back in shape or working to stay there during the holiday season there is a good chance your planned nightly workout is going to be interrupted. The easiest way to make sure you get your workout in during he holidays is do the workout first thing in the morning. Starting tomorrow each Monday you can see the See Your Toes home workout of the week. Each workout will take less than 30 minutes, most will be under 20.

3. Have an extra intensive workout day before a splurge

The best way to stay on track with weight loss during the holidays is to avoid splurging at a party. Some people though really want to splurge at their company or family Christmas party so this advice is for them. If you know you are going to be binging, then the day before do an extra hard workout. Two terms to become familiar with are glycogen which are carbs stored in your muscles and intracelluar triglycerides which are fats stored in your muscles. An extra intense workout the day before your party will work towards depleting your glycogen and intracellular triglycerides in your body and the new energy you eat will be stored to refill the deleted supplies.

4. Plan ahead – Eat before you go

One of the best ways to not be tempted to splurge is fill yourself up before you head to the party. There is a good chance your party will have some foods that you can eat, but there will still be lots of temptations. Take some time to eat before you go and it will decrease your appetite and cravings.

5. Use a smaller plate

Part of weight loss is psychology. Most of us were taught as a kid to clear your plate. Horrible advice by the way. When you arrive at the party and start filling up your plate there is a good chance you are going to eat everything on your plate. So grab a smaller plate.

6. Do not drink your calories

Stay away from the soda and load up on water. If you are drinking alcohol look at wine which is a much healthier selection than a margarita or other mixed drink. Your calories are going to add up quickly, do not make the matter worse by downing a huge glass of calories. I can assure you they are not on any weight loss program.

7. Go heavy on protein and veggies

I went to my first Christmas party of the season and as much as I planned ahead to eat before I went, work got in the way and I arrived home just in time to leave for the party. So when I arrived at the party and it was time to eat, I surveyed the surroundings and knew my options were very limited. Luckily there was two large plates of turkey and a very large pan of ham. My plate was about 1/2 ham and turkey and the other half was filled with cauliflower tomato bake and squash. So when in doubt go with hearty helpings of protein and vegetables.

8. Sample small

If you are in the weight loss phase of your life and trying to get back in shape resist the sweets at all costs. If you are in a staying in shape phase and you really want to try some of those sweets, sample small pieces. You do not need to drink the eggnog, snack on M&M’s then try the cherry pie and cake. Just going for one small piece of your favorite treat will satisfy the craving and not cause your body too much damage.

9. Blog – Facebook – Google+ it

Maybe you need some help from your friends and family. They can help hold you accountable if you ask them for help. Tell your friends what you are doing and then continue to update them with a blog, Facebook updates or Google+, whichever is your preferred method.

10. Bonus tip

Go ahead in the comments below and let me know your favorite tips. What do you recommend to get through the holidays without gaining weight?

Lisa Johnson, one of my favorite fitness bloggers also has a list, some similar, some much different


Get back in shape – It all comes down to one word

My Why - SYT Get Back In Shape

This is my why, what is yours?

Do you want to know how to get back in shape? We are going to be covering that in great detail. That is why we are here. If you are serious about getting back in shape and reading just our second blog post, how is not the most important question.

So what is the key to getting back in shape?

Before you can work on getting back in shape, and staying that way, you need to answer one question first, Why?

I know what you are thinking, “oh here we go, more motivational malarkey.” Well I can tell you from experience, if you want to get back in shape, you can start, but you will never finish if you do not have a why so powerful it drives you.

A few years ago I joined a gym. They had some sort of sale, and it was less than a mile from my house, so I joined. I was getting heavier than I wanted, and I knew I had to start working out again.

Over the next couple of years, that gym did remarkably well off me. In two years as a member I think I may have walked through the doors a dozen times. Maybe.

After the first year, I had been perhaps 8-9-10 time? So what did I do when got to the end of the first year? Well I re-upped for another year. This year was going to be different. It was different alright. I went somewhere closer to half as much as the year before.

Why did I not go? It is easy to see now that my why was not strong enough to drive me to go. I wanted to get back in shape, but obviously my desire was not strong enough to get me off my donut eating butt and get out the door.

So what is the difference between those who take off the weight they want and keep it off vs those who do not meet their goals? Their why is big enough. It simply comes down to that.

Things are different now. I realized my health was getting so bad that unless things changed, there was a decent chance I was not going to make it another 20 years. I realized I was setting a terrible example for my kids. Unless I changed something my kids would most likely follow the same unhealthy path I was traveling.


There are going to come days that you do not want to work out, or you do not want to eat healthily. An occasional deviation from the path is acceptable, but when you take that day off, every day after that you take off is going to make getting started again harder. You need that why to resist temptations and when you give in to get back on track.

Do you know that obesity has surpassed smoking as the leading cause of preventable deaths? I am going to pause here and let that sink in for a few second. Maybe you need to read that one more time. That right there should be a strong enough why to get back in shape.

Just carrying around ten extra pounds is estimated to shorten our life span by three years. Are you carrying around 30 extra pounds? Most of us are. That thirty pounds will cost most people seven extra years. I do not know about you, but I want to live to be older. I want to be an extremely active 80 year old traveling the world.

What is your why? It will be different for everyone, but everyone needs one.