This is a Periscope replay of a #CapeTravelScope. In this scope we get to see a seal up close and personal in Hout Bay, South Africa.

If you are interested, I broadcast regularly on Periscope. My primary broadcast topics are travel, health, technology, and photography.

You’ll need to download the free Periscope app if you want to watch live. You can get the iPhone and Android versions here.

Once you have Periscope installed you can follow @jakelyman for live broadcast notifications.

This is a Periscope replay of #CapeTravelScope. In this scope we take a helicopter ride over Cape Town, South Africa.

If you are interested, I broadcast regularly on Periscope. My primary broadcast topics are travel, health, technology, and photography.

You’ll need to download the free Periscope app if you want to watch live. You can get the iPhone and Android versions here.

Once you have Periscope installed you can follow @jakelyman for live broadcast notifications.


How To Jump Start Your Weight Loss: Part One

For a moment I couldn’t close the door to the airplane’s toilet. I was smashed up against the mirror, the wall, and I was perilously close to touching the toilet – something I try to avoid at all costs before I get a chance to disinfect it. No, the plane wasn’t crashing. I’d like to say the airlines build their bathrooms way too small, but the sad reality is this: the claustrophobia was self-induced.


For 20 years I’ve spent my life feeling like there wasn’t enough space for me and a recent trip on an airplane was the latest in a series of frustrating claustrophobic experiences.

Walking Down the Aisle of the Plane

I bumped into 90% of the people I walked past on the airplane. That means if I walk down the aisle facing straight forward I bump into every shoulder and chair. I’m a courteous guy and don’t like doing that to people.

Perhaps I should have shuffled sideways down the aisle? Good thought, but not possible. It turns out they don’t make cut-outs in the seats to accommodate a belly as large as mine. This is made worse by the fact that I was wearing a backpack and dragging a suitcase behind me. There would’ve been unconscious passengers in my wake if I did that.

Thus, the airlines have forced me to master what I call the “74 degree shuffle”. Here is what you do if you want to try this: Turn your shoulders approximately 74 degrees while keeping your hips at approximately 6 degrees (because it’s nearly impossible to keep your hips facing exactly straight forward when turning your shoulders almost 90 degrees). If you master this technique you can reduce the number of impacts with passengers and seats by approximately 50%. Better than nothing.

Eating on the Plane

Ah, economy class. The food quality is less than average while the lack of space in which to eat that food is impressive. On my last flight the lack of space had somehow increased. We’d spent nearly a month back in Canada and the US visiting friends and family. On the flights to North America from South Africa I was almost able to put the seat tray all the way down. Almost.

Now, four weeks later on our way back to South Africa it appeared that the airline had shaved another inch off the space between the seats. The tray was firmly resting on my belly. At least this airline was thoughtful enough to have trays that fold in half. I didn’t know where to place my food on the tray but at least I could put the tray all the way down!

And what do I do with my elbows while eating? The seats are so narrow I’ve had to learn a technique similar to the “74 degree shuffle” where I attempt to eat with my elbows tucked in tightly to my belly. It’s a challenging and very uncomfortable way to eat a meal.

Using the Toilet on the Plane

I already mentioned at the beginning of this post that I could barely close the door to the bathroom. I bumped into every single surface in the bathroom at least a dozen times and smashed my elbows and shoulders at least five times.

Don’t get me started on what I endured to get my pants down and the absolute mission I had to go on to get back off the toilet. When I left the bathroom I was exhausted and terrified. It was a 13 hour flight and we were only 3 hours into it!

Sleeping on the Plane

I didn’t get much sleep on any of those flights. The seats are so narrow that I spill out into the aisle. And this contributes to joint pain because I cannot fully extend my legs in flight. This meant my knees hurt throughout the entire duration of all four flights and it kept waking me up. This also impacted the sleep of those closest to me – my family.

That wasn’t the only thing impacting the quality of sleep for me and those near me. My loud snoring was waking me, my family, and the strangers near me. When you wake yourself up with your own snoring you know it’s LOUD.

You Must Find Your Why

Figuring out why it’s time to change is the first critical step in jump starting your weight loss.

Of course, nothing I’ve outlined in this article is the airlines fault. It’s mine. So, too, is the lack of space in my car (especially in South Africa where the cars are tiny!), my lap when my daughter sits on it, my shoes, and my pants (they are tight!). I cannot tell you the number of times I thought I had split my pants getting into or out of my car…not to mention the times I actually did it. Yes, TIMES is plural. Stay tuned for those stories. My obesity caused all of these painful experiences.

Self-induced claustrophobia is just one of many reasons why I’ve finally decided to make a permanent change when it comes to managing my health and taking care of my body. The plane ride pushed me over the edge and caused me to begin cataloging all the reasons I had for making this change.

The list from the plane ride alone is compelling:

  • Moving around the plane
  • Getting into and out of my seat
  • Storing/retrieving overhead luggage
  • Having enough room in my seat
  • Being able to put the food tray down
  • Ability to eat the meal in relative comfort
  • Taking up others space because I spill into their seats
  • Using the toilet
  • Having room to work on the plane if needed
  • Sleeping on the plane
  • Embarrassment over snoring
  • Guilt for interfering with others sleep

Once I had my list of reasons for change I put them up against the cause of my obesity: the enjoyment of food without boundaries. My list of reasons for change is LONG. It’s comprehensive and far outweighs my desire to enjoy food in the absence of boundaries. I’ll start to break the list down for you in part two of jump starting your weight loss.

Start making your list (if you need to change something in your life) and let’s compare notes in the next post.

If you struggle with weight, have you experienced self-induced claustrophobia? In what ways? I would love some help adding things to my list so leave some items from your list in the comments!

This is a Periscope replay of #CapeTravelScope. In this scope we encounter some Ostriches just off the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.

If you are interested, I broadcast regularly on Periscope. My primary broadcast topics are travel, health, technology, and photography.

You’ll need to download the free Periscope app if you want to watch live. You can get the iPhone and Android versions here.

Once you have Periscope installed you can follow @jakelyman for live broadcast notifications.

This is a Periscope replay of a #CapeTravelScope. In this scope, I discuss the view from one of the lookouts on Chapman’s Peak Drive in Cape Town, South Africa.

If you are interested, I broadcast regularly on Periscope. My primary broadcast topics are travel, health, technology, and photography.

You’ll need to download the free Periscope app if you want to watch live. You can get the iPhone and Android versions here.

Once you have Periscope installed you can follow @jakelyman for live broadcast notifications.


One Simple, Proven Trick that Will Bring Delight

“Daddy! Don’t forget my owl backpack!” yelled my daughter, Katie, as I walked out the door. “Don’t worry, sweetie, I have it! I’ll miss you all day, but your buddies will keep me company. Thanks for sharing them with me!”


“No problem, Daddy. Oh, I almost forgot! You need some honey for Baby Pooh, coloring supplies for Belle, gloves for Elsa, snacks for Princess Sofia, and extra pixie dust for Tink. And here’s their lunches,” she said. “Good thing I gave you my owl backpack.”

“No kidding, sweetie. Thanks again! Can’t wait to see you tonight. I love you. Have a great day,” I said.

And with that, I was off to work with my laptop bag and the cutest owl backpack a grown man could ever hope to carry to work.

What started a year ago as a fun way to connect with my daughter throughout the day has led to a wonderful and ever more elaborate way to foster that connection.

Whether you have a toddler, pre-schooler, or young child at home or in school here’s a fun way to stay connected with them if you are separated during work or school hours.

Your mission, should you chose to accept it is to:

  1. Infiltrate the toy lair. Find a toy, doll, or buddy they play with on a regular basis. The more you see them playing with it, the better.
  2. Ask them tomorrow morning if you can have some company while you are at work or otherwise separated from them. After all, you are quite lonely without them around and could use a buddy to hang out with. Have fun negotiating which buddy you can bring with you. Keep it simple at first so you can build things over time.
  3. Take a picture or two of your new companion throughout the day and send them to your child. Try to develop a narrative with the picture. For instance, one time I put Winnie the Pooh, or “Baby Pooh” as he is known in our house, on top of my keyboard. He was facing my computer. I took a picture and sent it to my wife along with a message that stated that Baby Pooh was causing trouble and I needed my daughter’s help. He was slathering honey all over my keyboard and it was now too sticky for me to work on. Would she please advise? She replied with an effective strategy for dealing with the situation. Time and again she’s come up with creative ways (including drawing pictures of that particular buddy’s favorite thing to distract them and then sending that picture to me) to get her buddies out of trouble.
  4. Start asking your child to suggest who you should bring with you. This has now taken on a life of it’s own as you saw in the first part of the post. Each morning my daughter dutifully chooses who I should take with me, gives me instructions for caring for the multiple buddies, and has even started packing that adorable back pack for me.
  5. Consider working this into your nightly routine with your child. Each night at dinner I now tell the story of what happened that day at work. My daughter is visibly squirming in delight as I elaborate on the crazy day I had because those wonderful buddies were with me. Some nights this even continues right to bed time when I tell her a made-up story concerning some of the characters I brought with me that day.

So what happened today at work with my daughter’s buddies? I’m glad you asked. It was crazy…

Queen Elsa fell asleep. All day. I couldn’t figure out why. When I told my daughter about it over dinner she promptly explained it was because Elsa was up all night running around Cape Town freezing the mountains.

Princess Sofia wanted a picnic in the beautiful spring sunshine so she left and went outside all day – we didn’t see her until it was time to go home. Princess Belle was causing trouble trying to break a bad guy, Prince Hans, out of jail. Again, without even thinking, my daughter told me it was because Belle didn’t realize he was a bad guy. (Don’t ask why I’m introducing some of these concepts to a five year old, ok?)

Baby Pooh was so full from eating too much honey that he just sat there all day.

And Tink? That’s the best part of the day. She flew around the office packing pixie dust into the overhead sprinkler system. Then she set it off. When the dust covered everyone and everything, the entire office started to float around for the rest of the afternoon.

I have no idea how long this will last with my daughter and I’m sad at the thought of it ending as she grows up, but I’m soaking up every minute that I can.

Have fun putting your own twist on this and do me a favor:

Let me know what strategies you are using to stay connected with your kids. If you have older children and have something similar you do with them that is age appropriate, I’d love to prepare in advance for that so do share.

Which Logo Do You Like Best?

Help me choose!

I’ve been working on setting up my new blog for the past few weeks. I still have a lot of work to do to get it to where I’d like it to be and one of the unfinished tasks is the creation of a logo.


A few days ago I kicked off a design contest on 99designs. I’ve been working with a great group of international designers and I’ve narrowed it down to the final three. I’ve got my favorite but would love your help in making the final decision.

99designs has the ability to create a poll to solicit votes on favorite designs. I’d be grateful if you took a moment to take my poll. I’ll report back in a future blog post with the results.

If you are interested in the results and would like to be notified, head to my email subscription form at the top of the page.

Thanks in advance for your help.

3 Things That Ambush Your Goals

The year was 1992 and I double checked the scale’s readout as I stepped off. It read 193 pounds. “Oh my goodness,” I thought, “I’m way too chubby!” If I’d known what it would read 20 years later I would have passed out.


After stepping off the scale I looked in embarrassment at my work colleague. 193! I couldn’t believe how much I weighed! While working at a feed mill bagging feed for farm animals my buddy and I thought it would be fun to take a break from weighing feed in order to weigh ourselves.

It wasn’t fun anymore. I groaned and said, “I have to lose weight!” I was 17 and I was carrying perhaps 10 lbs of excess body fat on my 6’1” frame.

Fast forward to January of 2013.

I grimaced as I stepped down from the bathroom scale that now read 305 pounds. How is that possible, I thought? The last time I weighed myself I was 280! Perhaps I ate a bit too much this Christmas? “I have to lose weight!” I thought.

I Tried to Lose Weight

I tried. I really did. I ate relatively clean and worked out almost everyday for six months. I lost a ton of weight. By June of that year the scale was reading 223. I was down 80 lbs and was convinced this was the year I’d be partying like it was 1992. I was only 30 pounds from 193!

It’s funny how a body weight that once embarrassed you can eventually sound like a dream come true.

Then the call came from my employer asking if my family and I would like to relocate to London for an assignment. We were pumped! We love to travel and know from personal experience that there is a big difference between going somewhere for vacation and actually having the opportunity to live there for a season.

We packed our bags (which makes it sound easier than it was) and moved to London.

If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to move overseas, rest assured that an international move to a new country is no small task. Nor is it easy to face a new job the day after you land in your new country. Especially when you have to move in stages as we did.

As it turned out, circumstances dictated that I move two weeks in advance of my wife and daughter. Furthermore, my wife was pregnant with our second daughter and miscarried the week before she and my daughter joined me in London.

Yes, I was alone in London when it happened and she was back in the United States without me. Ambush. I wasn’t prepared and didn’t see it coming.

My Defeat Triggers

Here’s the equation for you: New country + new job + heartbreak = ambush.

All of us run flat into the brick wall of life now and again and depending on how fast you are running it can really hurt. On this occasion I was sprinting when I hit a brick wall made of stress, lack of routine, and heartbreak. The results are in, I fell flat on my face with my weight loss goal…

Fast forward to July of 2015.

288. Yes, that’s what I saw when I stepped off the scale. So very painful.

Have you been here before? Have you set a goal and failed to obtain it because you ran into those things that trigger defeat for you?

Here are three big defeat triggers that I’m watching out for as I pursue my goals:

1. Stress
2. Lack of routine
3. Heartache

Identifying the defeat triggers is only half the battle. We need strategies in place to disarm them when they try to ambush us. And that leads to something you could help me with…

Question: What are your defeat triggers? I’d love to hear about two or three of your triggers and some of the strategies you use to disarm them. This list shouldn’t be “3 Things That Ambush Your Goals” it should be “10 Things”. Leave a comment. I can use all the help I can get!