Who am I, and what's this all about?

My name is Bret Belgarde and this is my blog. The main reason for this blog is to document my progress both in getting fit and as a hiker. This process actually started shortly after my 36th birthday, my general health seemed, at least to me, to have degenerated significantly. I weighed over 340 pounds, and smoked at least half a pack of cigarettes a day. My idea of exercise consisted of walking to the fridge to find something else to eat. To say I was out of shape would have been the understatement of the century.

My first steps were just general food intake control, like drinking water instead of Soda and reducing the size of my lunches from 1500 calories to 500. This worked well for me, at least for a while, my weight actually dropped  to the point that it could be read on the family scale (Woo Hoo! I was below 320). At this point I needed to do something more, I was loosing weight, but I really wasn't making much of an effort to change anything else. That's when my wife suggested that we go on a hike...

I'd like to say the rest is history, but I can't, That first hike was Abrams Falls (in the GSMNP), which by the end felt like my own personal Bataan death march. When we got home at the end of the day I was so sore that I could barely walk, and I won't even go into the chafing issues I had. Despite these issues I continued to hike, and  hiking slowly went from a little slice of personal hell that I lived through as part of an overall plan to get healthy, to something I genuinely enjoyed. Which leads me to today.

I finally kicked the smoking habit about a month ago, and the my weight, as of last Monday was down to 283. I've been hiking regularly since last march and just completed my first 100 miles last weekend.  Hiking has become an important part of my life and this blog is just my way of sharing it.

See ya'll on the trail.

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