Wannabe on the Trail: Fitness

I have a hard time with my weight—especially after having my baby—who’s now a toddler.

I pulled the sled for maybe five minutes before I had to take a break.

I’m thinking I might YouTube my weight loss journey. I also plan on posting updates on here as well.

I’m going to start documenting my weight loss journey for two reasons—accountability and because I searched for someone like me and weight loss on here and other platforms. It’s either CrossFit like folks or supermodel like women fitness gurus. Maybe I just suck at finding what I want…

I don’t ascribe to either of those—I look like a potato.

Potato fitness model at your service…

Side note, I do like CrossFit and if I wasn’t such an accident prone klutz I probably would go to the “box” if we had one in my little town.

However, I do know how to lose weight. Even though I look like this… It took me seven years and a child to get to this point.

My other problem with most fitness gurus—they make the thirty-day promise…

“In 30 days, you’ll have…” bullshit.

It’s bullshit too. If you’re already in decent shape, then yeah you probably could shred up.

But most people—nah.

And that is depressing, that we can’t just lose 30 pounds in 30 days and keep it off.

Yeah—you might lose it, but it will come back with a vengeance.

I don’t want the 30-day promise I want something viable. And maybe I’m not great at searching YouTube and other places for what I want so I’m making it myself and hopefully help someone else out.

Frankly, we have this bad habit of putting skinny above “healthy” some people need “extra” pounds in order for their body to function. Plus, some people are going to be predisposed to being a fitness model—the rest of us the plump Scottish pleasant running from the British.

I’m not doing this because I want to be skinny—other than I don’t want to buy jeans. I want to get back in shape, so I don’t sound like I’m dying hiking or chasing my toddler. Especially, when I’m hiking for work—park rangers shouldn’t sound like their dying going up a small hill.

That said, I’m glad I’m a river ranger and spend most of my time in a canoe… I don’t get out of breath often paddling.

River Rangering is where it’s at!

So, a little background on me.

I used to be in excellent shape pre-2006. I played basketball, softball, volleyball (for one year), and I “ran” cross country. Well, I showed up to cross country. I hated it—I’m built like a quarter horse, great for quick bursts of power but will never beat a Morgan or an Arabian in a long race.

But I was in wonderful shape— and I wasn’t healthy.

This might be TMI for the guys. I weighed in at 110-115 on average. 5’0 so that is “healthy” per BMI. However, I wasn’t having regular periods. Actually, my sophomore/junior years I don’t think I had any periods. I had cysts. Went to the hospital a couple times, had to have a cervix biopsy—which is extremely painful—found out I had POCS and went on the pill to regulate them. I still didn’t have periods.

Senior year I didn’t go as hard. I moved up to the 125-to-135-pound mark, which is borderline “overweight” and I finally started getting periods.

I also felt a lot better. I didn’t have the headaches, body aches, and sore ankles as much anymore.

I also stopped drinking Coke for a while—which might have fixed some of it too.

I finished out my senior year in high school and moved on to college. I no longer had a regiment, a coach to motivate me (like a drill sergeant), or peers to inspire me to keep doing the work. I probably should have joined the Army because I am motivated by a drill sergeant.

Summer kept me busy waiting tables and running my butt off on the ranch. I started college in the fall, and I had a one-hundred-mile drive round trip to my “local” community college.

That did me no favors.

Two and a half years later I went to ASU to finish out my degree. 

But I only gained 15 pounds in those two years. Went from 130 to 145.  

Then I didn’t have a reason to stay in shape. I puttered around in college and joined intermural leagues and I stayed in semi-decent shape.

Then I got depressed. I binged on horrible foods, late night study sugar snacks, and other unhealthy college food. I stopped going out for intermural sports. I didn’t know what I wanted to do in my life, personally or professionally. It was rough time.

I kept having doubts about what I wanted to do—agriculture or history. I should have just double majored looking back but at the time I didn’t know what I wanted so I added time to my degree…

It was adding to my waistline too.

Now, during this time I was working as a seasonal ranger, where I got to mix all the things I loved, history, outdoors, animals, traditional ranching stuff, the list goes on. Some of my coworkers noticed my weight gain and said some stuff—nothing unkind, just worried about me type stuff.

One of them mentioned how he used the pack test for wildland fire as motivation to get in shape.

As a kid I wanted to be a smoke jumper—I’m not tall enough but I could still do wildland fire. That broke through some of the depression. I needed a change—now important note you can’t change your way out of depression. You can bandage it but eventually the wound will fester again. I went to on campus therapy my senior year. Which helped immensely and luckily, I didn’t have a hormonal imbalance effecting my mental health at that time. Talking it out and creating goals, like pursing my wildfire certification were enough. I had a few goals when I graduated in December of 2012. But I wasn’t even close to being able to carry a forty-five pack in forty-five minutes without running (like I could run that anyway). 

I also wasn’t sure where I was going either.

2013 was kind of a bummer year for me career wise—I originally applied to a lot of parks but due to funding and the recession the only place that reached out was my home park, Ozark NSR, which was fine, but I really wanted to go somewhere else.

I also realized how bad my weight got by the end of the summer and how it was affecting me physically.

I hit the 160 mark after seven years. And I really didn’t want to buy new pants.

(I’m also noticing a theme—I slack off for seven years, don’t want to buy new pants, and I wind up hitting my breaking point.)


I need to start thinking every month is seven years in order to keep in shape—considering how 2020 and 2021 went that’s not to far off…

It was during this summer that I also started watching RuPaul’s Drag Race. I. Love. That. Show. It also helped with my self esteem and learning to love myself— because how in the hell you gonna love somebody else! It also made me realize I really need to figure out contouring.

In the fall of 2013, I put together a plan. I started it in the winter. Well, since I couldn’t turn down Christmas food—I started in January. New Year’s Resolution.  

I walked my ass off. Literally.

I took my dog out and we walked all over my cousin’s farm. Everyday for three months—didn’t matter what the weather was doing. We walked hills.

I cut off soda and drank sweet tea sparingly. I used portion moderation when I was eating and added more veggies to the plate than the “good stuff.” I didn’t change a lot of my diet though.

As long as you’re not eating junk food and fast food for every meal and you use moderation, you will see some weight loss, especially if you are working out. I don’t mess with macros or counting carbs, that only matters if you’re super into fitness. Average person, just adding more veggies and cutting out most of the sugar will do you wonders.

After March I started walking twice daily and going for longer walks. I also had a bit of good news. I was going to a new park for the summer! Niobrara National Scenic River was calling my name. Ozark called me in to train the new people before I left which was nice.

By the time I was ready to go in May I was back down to 135. I wanted to get ten more pounds off. Plus, I wanted to pass the pack test. I had until July for the pack test. I started running, lifting weights, and mixed workouts at this point. By July I was down to 125 and passed the test with a 1 minute and 45 seconds to spare.

I kept up my workouts—mainly because I didn’t get along with my roommate and didn’t have a lot else to do except hike on my off days.

However, when I went to my next job in Kentucky I started to slack off. I still puttered around but it was equivalent to my intermural sports days.

Then, in January 2014 I slipped on some ice and banged my knee and didn’t want to do my “bare minimum” work outs. By March I was back up to 135/140. But I was able to maintain that for a while.

It’s been seven years again and I had a little boy and I’m back at the turning point. However, I clocked in at 170 pounds this time.

Which means I’m losing because after birth I was right at 200 pounds. But I need to lose more.

I’m going to do what I did last time.

Walk my ass off. Only with two dogs and a toddler.

Because walking is low impact, free, and really the best way to start working your way up to doing more rigorous workouts.

It might take six months, but it has better returns in the long run. It might take less time carrying this 25 pound toddler.

I’ll probably make weekly updates because time is a luxury right now. Join me for low impact, moderation friendly, potato fitness model adventures!

Although… I might not start officially until January. Holiday Snacks and all…

Keep Wandering,


Published by BJ

I've always enjoyed the outdoors; I love camping, kayaking, and canoeing. However, I decided to break out the hiking boots for longer than a day or two and dive into the world of backpacking.

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