A Fat Man's Journey (Working my way back…)

An Attempt to Journey from Fat to Fit in a Lifetime. Eat right, Eat less, Move more


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February? ALREADY?


 

febHow Did That Happen?

I am trying to wrap my little brain around the idea that it is already February. January went by so quickly and I feel like I have done NOTHING. No hikes, no long walks, haven’t been on the trainer… The only thing I have done is a walk at lunchtime two of the last three days. Nothing to brag about. 20-minutes each.

As soon as I am done writing this I am getting the bike mounted on the trainer. That’s step one. Actually getting on it is the rough part…

The year goes by too quickly.

Falling in Love Again

I work at a local bike shop on Sundays. At one time I worked both Saturday and Sunday but that was too hard on me with a full time job the rest of the week. It was taking too much time from family and from actually riding a bike…

Working at the shop has always been enjoyable for me. Talking bikes all day with people who want to talk about bikes. It was great.

Then about a month ago something strange happened. Instead of waking up on Sunday morning and thinking “OH BOY, OFF TO THE SHOP!” I was waking up on Sundays and thinking “Oh damn, off to the shop”.

It reached a point that I was considering talking to the owner and, in essence, resigning from the shop, maybe just staying available if he was really shorthanded. I even discussed it with a co-worker.

I don’t really know why this happened and I really struggled with it. I discussed it with Missus, a friend or two, and really was ready to have that talk with the owners of the shop. Maybe I was burned out from too much work and not enough play? Maybe I had simply run my course there and it was time to step away?

I worked last Sunday and really entered it with sort of a fatalistic feeling. If I didn’t enjoy work that day I would speak to the owners that week. They deserve better than a salesperson whose heart is not in it.

The day started slowly. Winter is quiet time in the bike world and it is expected that it will be a slow day.

Mid-day things picked up and I sold a bike to a nine year-old just a day or two from his tenth birthday. He was a tall youngster, ready for his first Adult sized bike. Discussing options with the young fellow and his dad we soon came to a narrow selection and the boy picked out the bike he wanted. The smile. The enormous smile.

About an hour later a young man of about twenty-two or so came in with a friend. He was looking for his first “good” mountain bike.   I showed him a few options, discussed what the various features on the bikes added to the experience, what justified the price on bike A versus bike B. His friend was doing a good job of egging his buddy into buying a bike and pretty soon that selection was made and a young man was ready to go flying through the woods on the local trails.

As the day began to wind down a father and son came in. It was the son’s birthday, turning 14. Time for his first adult sized bike. Again we discussed options and choices and dad encouraged his son to consider this versus that. Soon decisions were made and another young man had his dream bike.

Three sales in the cold of winter, three young men, ages 9 through 22, leaving with big grins and good bikes.

I now remembered why I used to wake up on a Sunday morning excited to go to the shop.

Suddenly I felt the passion again. I remembered what it felt like in May of 2013 when I sold my very first bike on my very first day at the shop. IT is an interesting thing. Yes, you are happy that you closed a sale. That is a part of our jobs after all. There is more to it I think, at least there is for me. Selling bikes is selling passion. We are all there, at least in part, because we have a passion for the sport. When we have sold a bike it is tangible evidence that we have shared that passion.

Maybe it was just the winter doldrums. Maybe it is just being tired. I’m not sure. I am sure that this past Sunday I rediscovered that part of the passion, the passion for sharing this sport. It felt like falling in love again.

Weight Loss

I have hit a small plateau. The weight has stabilized briefly at 12 pounds down. Up a pound down a pound but averaging the 12 pounds down. I expected this and I am ok with it. All the more reason to get the bike on the trainer and kick up the activity a little bit. Or a lot.

I am down a waist size and that makes me grin. Shirts are starting to hang a little more. More smiles.

I like being thin. On my way back there.

 

Peace


4 Comments

Update and Stuff


How’s The Knee?

knee-anatomy

The knee is not making the progress I wish it was… Yesterday, while working at the Bike Shop, I turned on the knee and experienced eye-crossing pain in the area of the Lateral Collateral Ligament, one of the two that have minor tearing from my injury in 2012.

In general terms the knee doesn’t feel right. The bone bruise still hurts, I was told it would hurt for a couple of months, but more than that is the pain I feel in the areas of the MCL and LCL.

Time for me to schedule another appointment I think…

How is the Weight Loss coming along?

 

Not badly at all! I am glad to say that I am down 12-13 pounds (depending on whether or not I have had a cup of coffee) and I am pleased with that.

I am on the second to last hole on my belt. This is a belt from my days over 300 pounds. I started wearing it again when I gained back some weight to remind me that I had come along way and I could get back to where I was, either for the good or the bad. It was entirely within my control. I could work towards the short end of the belt, meaning I was gaining weight, or I could work towards the long end, meaning I was taking weight off. I am moving in the right direction. I have moved four holes on the belt. One more and I can move to the shorter belt.

I have also dropped a pants size, back to 38-inch waist. Soon a 36… Then back to the 34-inch waist. That is where I belong…

How is the Eating Right part of this going?

breakfast

Two eggs, a slice of toast, grits with cherries, a glass of OJ and a cup-a’    Such a good and nutritious breakfast.  This is what I mean by eating right.

It is going well. I am still struggling a little bit with portion control but I have the right foods in the plan. When I started this Journey, Missus and I changed the way we cooked. Not just the foods we cooked but how. Instead of making large quantities, we changed to making just two servings of whatever the meal was to be. In other words we moved away from family-style cooking to portion based. Two pieces of fish, two servings of vegetable, two salads… You get the idea I am sure. We cooked separate foods for our boys. Missus made meatloaf or mac and cheese and so forth for them but for us we made fish or vegetable dishes in two-portion quantities.

For some reason, we started to drift from that and started to make extra. We have gotten back to portion controlled cooking.

I am also counting calories actively again. Every single thing I eat is recorded and tracked so I know if I am getting away from my plan…

Working… 12 pounds or so down. Happy with that.

And the Move More part?

DSCF6119

One of my favorite places to walk, The Rockefeller Preserve in Sleepy Hollow, NY.  It is also a really good place to trail run….

This is the challenge with the aching knee…   I went for a long walk with a friend through a neighboring town this past Saturday. The town is known for its steep hills and quiet neighborhoods. We started just off Main Street and walked to the highest point in town, known as Sheep Hill. From there, on a clear day, you have some beautiful views of the surrounding town and can see New York City, some 35 miles away. Saturday was not a clear day. The views were restricted to the surrounding towns. All told we walked a hair over five miles. Felt good at the time for the most part. Some minor knee aches but certainly tolerable.

It was later that night when the knee really let me know it was unhappy with my efforts. Ibuprofen and rest.

So I am moving but not as much as I would like. The cold has kept me off the roads on my bike so I am uncertain how the knee will behave when tasked with pedaling. I can do deep knee bends without increased pain. I am hopeful that this will mean pedaling is not going to hurt….

If I find the knee can take the stress of running, I plan to do some trail running in the spring. I used to trail run as a teen-ager and I enjoyed it a great deal. I still did some in college and even in my early twenties. I haven’t done any type of running with any serious intent since then. I have done a few laps of the track just to see if I could but that is it.

I think some trail running would be fun and maybe a little easier on the knees than road running.

Of course there is the cycling and I have already talked about those plans. I truly love being on a bike.

The knee is the key. I think it will be OK.

Peace


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Another Day, Another Effort.


Back to the Walking

When I started the Journey back in 2011 the first bit of exercise I did was to walk the track at the local high school. Today I did just that. Unlike my first walk, where I struggled to walk one mile, today I walked three miles at a brisk 15-minute mile pace.

Felt good.

With the walking and some hiking, and time on the trainer with the bike, I plan to keep the fitness level up this winter as I continue to shed weight.

Lunch with a Friend from long ago…

Today I went to breakfast with my younger son. It is a Saturday morning tradition for us. The younger fellow and I go to a local landmark diner for breakfast, conversation, some laughs, mostly for time together.

grange-rougeFour hours later I was back at the same place with Missus. We had lunch with a friend of mine from high school. JKS and I were friendly in high school. Not close but always a warm welcome and a how are ya. We had choir together for three years and one summer during our college years we worked at the same plastics plant in the neighboring town. My nickname for her was Twiggy, after the 1960’s supermodel. It always elicited a roll of the eyes…

In any case, we had not seen each other since that long ago summer at the plastics plant and recently reconnected due to Facebook.

Today we met for lunch. Missus and Me and JKS and her husband SS.

I hope they had as good a time as Missus and I did. Good conversation, good food, good company.

I had a Greek Salad.   Very tasty. Very in line with how I like to eat.

Eating out has always been a challenge. Servings are large and it is difficult to estimate how many calories are involved…. I think I did well by eating the salad. The veggie burger and fries was tempting…..

Writing even when I am not sure I have anything to say….

I am committed to writing every day when ever possible to do so. I will write even when I have nothing much to say because I need the discipline that comes with the writing. Bear with me.

As when I first started this blog, there will be days of triumph and days of disappointment and I will write when I am manic and when I am depressed… The point is to write, the chronicle, to keep the light on.

Goals

  • Back to 210 in late spring, early summer
  • 3000 miles on the bike in 2017
  • My first century ride
  • Raise $5,000 for the Ride for Autism
  • Ride the Century in the Light House ride in Maine
  • Run a 10K (Yes, run. Me. Run)

The first one is the tough one.

 

I hope you will keep reading and commenting….

It helps

 

Peace


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The Journey, The Shoulder, The Winter and the Coming of Spring


The Journey

Long time. How are ya?
This winter….

Despite the impression some may have, I am not done with my Journey. I took a break from writing because I wasn’t sure I had much to say. After this difficult winter, the pressures of my job (I got a promotion!) and the depression I have been dealing with over some physical issues, it just wasn’t in me to write. I am still working on a healthy life, eating right, moving more. I did gain weight this winter, a little over 20 pounds, but nothing like the weight I have lost and nothing that sets me too far back of my plans and goals or discourages me. I knew from the start that I would have successes, failures, victories and setbacks. Admittedly, this winter was not a victory and it was not a success. It is not how many times you fall that determines success. It is how many times you get back up. I keep getting back up. I am back up now.

The Journey, as I have said from the first, is a life-long thing. There is no final stop but there are many stops along the way. I know what I want from the Journey. I know what I want from me. I want to be fit. I want to be reasonably lean, 200-210 pounds. I want to eat right and still enjoy what I eat but in smaller portions and without snacking and indulgence.

I want to encourage other and to be encouraged by other. I want to recognize in myself the issues that have driven the obesity. Why I overeat if I let my guard down. I want to be optimistic but cautious and practical in my approach. I want to ride my bike, go on hikes, be comfortable in my skin and happy with the course my life is taking.

I see in some people a disturbing tendency to revel in the failures, misfortunes, missteps and pain of others. I feel sad for those people. Sad and twisted little beasts who cannot enjoy the success of others because their own life is hollow and riddled with failures they cannot see as their own.

When I learned that I am responsible for all that I am I was able to start this Journey and make of it what it is. It is a ride. I have had up days and down. I have lost weight, gained a little back, lost it again, gained a little back….. I blame no one because this is not an issue for blame. It is a part of life, my life, my Journey.

Anyway, Hi, I am back and I hope you will stop by and read a little….

My Right Shoulder

A couple of years ago while doing longer rides I started to experience pain in my right shoulder and between my shoulder blades. In 2013, while riding the NYC Century, the pain became so sharp that I nearly abandoned the ride at the 35-mile mark.   I continued on despite it all and I was able to ride 75 miles. It was a week before the shoulder stopped hurting. It has been a constant issue since then and it has really caused issues with my riding. Anything over 35-40 miles and the pain in the shoulder and between the shoulder blades became hell. The pain in the shoulder became a constant companion. Something like a dull toothache with occasional flares of eye-crossing pain. Since I crashed last summer there has not been a day without some pain in the shoulder. Since last fall it has been a steady presence.

I finally went to the Doctor about it last week.

The news was not good but it could have been worse.

Torn Labrum

Bursitis

Arthritis (this getting old stuff…)

 

A cortisone shot has helped with the bursitis. We are taking a wait and see with the rest of it.

The upshot is that I was able to ride yesterday for the first time in a long time. I did a short ride, fifteen miles, and I didn’t push it but I rode and I didn’t have pain in the shoulder.

This is a victory.

I am out of shape, carrying 20 pounds more than I want to, but I rode and it didn’t hurt.

It’s a start.

Winter

Maybe winter is finally leaving? We had snow just a few days ago. Not much, an inch on the lawns, sidewalks and cars…

But still snow.

My mother used to have the “winter blues”. Today they call it Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I too do not deal with the long winters as well as some. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I have SAD but I don’t like the winters the way I once did. I didn’t do any cross-country skiing this winter; I didn’t ride my bike at all. I went outside only so much as necessary. And this has been the winter that refuses to end.

Yesterday made it to the low 60s and I rode my bike for the first time since last November. It is a grey day today but warm enough to ride and I will get in another hour ride today. Tomorrow I will hike with my friend PGB. Starting to get outside again. Starting to get fresh air in my lungs.

It is finally feeling like spring. Finally feeling like there will be warm sun on me.

Though my ride yesterday was short it was a great feeling. The wind over me, the legs pumping, the heart beating harder the lungs pulling in the air… I love the feel of sweeping through a turn, bike leaning, tires digging in to the road. I got that feeling yesterday and though I only averaged around fourteen and half miles per hour I did have short stretches of good speed. And it felt wonderful. It was the type of first ride of the year that makes you want to get back out the next day.

So, yeah, winter seems to be leaving and spring, though a little later to the party, seems to be bringing with it the excitement I usually feel when spring and cycling season arrive…

The Journey…

Peace


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The Cold of the Winter


Not a Fan

When I was a teen and then in to my early twenties I enjoyed the cold.  It rarely bothered me.  I would shovel the snow in a T-shirt.  I walked two miles after a blizzard to see my girlfriend when I was sixteen.  Winter was not a problem for me.

It is now.

I hate the cold.  Truly hate it.  I rarely ride in the winter.  I barely get out to hike.  I dream of a job transfer to the dessert southwest….

I haven’t cross-country skied this winter.  Not nearly enough snow most of the time and a little leery of it since my concussion last winter.

So I sit and wait for spring.

Winter?  Not a fan.

Plans for Spring

I have the usual bike ride planned this year.  I am doing the 5-Boro Bike tour again.  I went off the deep edge and paid for the VIP package so I can be sure to start near the front of the 32,000 riders.  Nuts?  Yes.

I am doing the Ride for Autism as I do every year.  It is the one ride it would hurt me to miss.  Eighteen people have signed up to ride as a member of the team.  I hope we get more before the ride in June.

I hope to lead the beginner/intermediate bike rides again for the shop.  If I don’t lead I will still partake.

I didn’t come anywhere close to my mileage goal last year.  I hope to get the miles in this year.  If all goes well I may be able to limit working at the shop to Sundays.  That would certainly make Saturday an easier day to get in the miles…  Maybe get some club rides in.  I haven’t ridden with the club in three years.  I pay dues…  I really should get out on a club ride or two.

Spring is only 6 weeks away, not matter what the forecasting rodent says….

Cooking

Udon and VEgetable Soup.  Perfect for this cold winter night

Udon and VEgetable Soup. Perfect for this cold winter night

This time of year there is a positive for me: I cook.  I make soups.  Pot upon pot of soup.  Today I made my “everything in the pot” veggie soup.  Whatever is in the fridge and the freezer and is considered a vegetable gets tossed in and I cook it until it is soup.  Today it was mushroom, onion, kale, corn, broccoli, sugar snap peas, tomato and tofu.  Cover with water, season, cook…

I served it with Udon noodles…  It made for a wonderful dinner.

Tomorrow I will roast some squash and make roasted squash soup…  Fill up the freezer, it is a long winter.

I also plan to bake some breads.  I am picking up a computer from a friend and I am going to bring him some breads to thank him for his help.  Good man.  Deserves some fresh-baked breads.

I love to cook.  I just wish I could get out of the house…  I need to hike… I need to bike…  Cooking will have to do.  And the treadmill….

My Weight

I am doing OK.  Not great.  OK.  I have put on a little weight, 10 pounds, this winter.  It is slowly coming down.  Lost 5 last week.  Want to lose 20 more by the end of March and then 20 more by June.

I sometimes stop fighting the fight.  I admit it is hard to always say no to pizza and cookies and donuts.  I do.  I still do.  But the fight is hard.

I have been fighting The Black Dog again.  It has had the upper hand recently but I can feel that I am pulling out of it.  Missus is so tolerant when I am in the cave.  She waits, knowing I will pull out of it somehow.

I have some very big decisions to make and I am struggling with the choices.  It isn’t always easy to know what to do with one’s life.  I am still trying to decide what to be when I grow up and here I am in my mid 50’s….

So eat right, eat less, move more….

It is always a struggle.  I will not be fat again.

A Little of my prose:

One advantage to being depressed is I write….

 

I wrote this last week.

The Photograph of the Moment

1/24/2015

 

Sitting on the hill, waiting to take photographs in old style with film, sitting on the ledge looking out to the valley with a camera ready in hand.  Looking for that moment when the light would be just right, the perfection realized, sitting still up on the hill waiting for the sun to set.

 

Sitting in the special quiet and looking out to the distance where a bird is gliding. Sitting waiting for that perfect moment in old style with film, when the moment would be just right, nearly perfect, sky and earth one.

 

Sitting, now watching as the sun begins to set, sitting on that ledge, sitting as the slight chill sends a shudder along the arms.  Sitting on that ledge as the sky begins to glow a softer light, nearly perfect, nearly right.  Sitting on that hill with the old camera in hand, film is wound and shutter cocked and the light is nearly there.

 

Sitting on the hill with the camera at the ready, sitting watching for that moment coming soon, with the sky now orange and the clouds now fringed with light, sitting on the ledge, feet near the edge, watching for that perfect moment, that perfect light. The sun now setting in amber, the sky now perfect, the moment is now and then nothing.

 

Sitting on the hill, the moment passes, camera hanging from the hand, the sky was perfect, too perfect to photograph in old style on film.  The moment committed to memory where it will stay in perfect light. Now standing, now walking away from the ledge.  

 

 

Peace


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One-Thousand Ninety-Six Days


I Awoke one morning

Though taken in July, 2011, this is pretty much how I looked in December 2011.

Though taken in July, 2011, this is pretty much how I looked in December 2011.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011.

I awoke that morning and I got out of bed.  Well, almost.  What I did was roll on to my left side and got my left arm under me.  I then swung my right leg up in the air and then down in an arc while pushing up with my left arm.  In this manner I propelled myself in to a sitting position.

Once there, I took my two blood pressure medications and prepared to push my body in to a standing position so I could start my day.

As I sat there, still clearing the morning cobwebs from my mind, reminding myself that I didn’t have work, that I was still on vacation, I came to a remarkable realization.

I was tired of being fat.

I realized I was ready to do something about it.

I was ready to change my life.

To this day I cannot tell you what clicked.

I only know that something did.

It was three years ago today.  One-thousand and ninety-five days ago.

I awoke that morning.

Finally

Where would I be?

I have no clue the course my life would have taken had I not altered my trajectory.  I wasn’t a little overweight.  I was morbidly obese.  I was FAT.  I was more than 100 pound overweight.  I was barreling towards an early demise.  Worse?  I didn’t seem to care.  I wasn’t doing anything at all to exercise.  I was eating a horribly unhealthy diet.  I was drinking Diet Coke by the case full.  10-12 cans a day was not unusual for me.  Five-thousand calories a day was not unusual for me.

I went for a walk.  I remember it as a cold and gray day.  Not sure if I remember that correctly but that is how I see it in my mind’s eye.  I drove to the High School track and walked one mile and I sat down and I panted for ten minutes afterwards.  And then I drove home.

Had I not done that….  What would have happened?

I took the first steps.

I haven’t stopped.

I lost weight fast.  I changed my diet.  I eventually gave up red meat and poultry.  I increased my activity level as I decreased my intake.  I lost the weight.  I have kept it off for the most part.

Had I not started this Journey….

I would not have made many of the friendship I now have.  I would not have developed others that have grown stronger.  I would not be in the cycling world.  I would not have the life I have now.  I might not have a life.  I might not be alive..

Where would I be?  I would be fifty-three and fat, assuming I did not succumb to high blood pressure and heart disease.   I am not trying to be dramatic here.  This is fact.  My odds were very bad.  My health was deteriorating.  It was getting ugly.

Here I am.

It has never gotten easy

I figured on this early on my Journey.

I figured it would never get easy.  It might get easier.  Never easy.  I was right.

The temptations are still there.  They still tempt me.  I made the mistake of thinking I could indulge.  I was wrong.  The weight came back fast.  I blew up to 235 pounds FAST.  I fixed it.  I refocused.  The weight is coming down.  The holiday season has been harder this year.  Not sure why but it has been.  It has not gotten easy.  It hasn’t really gotten any easier.

The traps are still there.  Portion size increased as it had to once I went in to maintenance mode.  The portion size increased too much and the weight started to climb.  Scaled that back.  Fought to control it.  Getting better at it.  Weight is stabilized and starting to come down again.

It has never become easy.  I expect it never will.

Beating the odds

I am beating the odds.

The odds said that I would gain back fifty percent or more of what I had lost within one year of reaching my goal weight and within two years I would have gained it all back.  The statistics are depressing.

I am beating the odds.  More than 2 years after hitting my target weight I am still within 20 pounds of it and I am back on the downward trend.

I slipped.  I gained some back.  I overate.  That was much more the issue than my activity level, though that two has slipped some.  Plenty of reasons but no excuses.

I will not give up or give in.

I am not going to fail.

I will not be fat again.

Where I am now

This is who I am and who I will stay

This is who I am and who I will stay

Saturday, December 27, 2014

One-Thousand Ninety-Six Days later where am I now?  I am fit.  I am off the BP meds.  My at rest heart rate is 64 Beats Per minute.  I can cycle 75+ miles.  I can hike and climb.

I am a “near” vegetarian.  I don’t eat red meats or poultry.  I still eat fish a couple of times a week but for the most part I follow a vegetarian diet.

I spend a great deal of time with my wife and my boys.  I have the energy now.  The Younger one likes to walk with me.  He counts my bleacher sets when we go to the school track.  The Older one likes to watch TV with me.  We also go for walks sometimes.

Missus and I walk together and have date-night a couple of times a month.

I work 11-12-hour days at my regular job and I work Saturdays most weekends at the bike shop.  I cut back on the Sundays.  I needed the rest… Come Spring I will get back to leading the Sunday Rides (I Hope).

Mostly where I am is in a good place in my mind.

Loving life

I am happy where I am right now.  Not happy that I gained weight back.  Mad as hell at myself about that.  Happy that I cared and stopped it.  Glad that I go it at 25 pounds and not at 75.

I am loving riding, hiking, walking.

I am loving having the energy to keep up with my boys.

I am loving the sense that I have control over this.

I am happy with the person I am now and pleased that the growth continues and I am still moving forward on the Journey.

I still have a plan.  I still have my goal.

I awoke on that Tuesday morning.

I am glad that whatever it was finally clicked in.

Peace


1 Comment

Three Days


 Back at it.

I am back at it.  Three days.  Back to the plan, focused back on the goal.  Eating Right, Eating Less, Moving More.  I have pulled my calorie intake back to weight loss mode (sub-2000 calories) and I am making the point to do laps of the plant floor a few times a day.  Started Monday Morning.  3.6 pounds back off as of this morning.

I am not sure why I drifted.  Tired? Stressed?  Both?  Don’t know, and this is what concerns me.  For more than two years I was able to stick to it and then I drifted off and put 20 pounds back on much faster than I took it off.  Scary and frustrating.

Back at it.

Eat Right.  Eat Less.  Move More.

I know how to do this and so I am doing it.  I am making it happen again because getting fat again is not something I can allow or will allow to happen.  I didn’t like begin fat.  I was miserable, depressed, sad….

Since I lost the weight I have felt better physically, mentally, emotionally……  All ways imaginable.  Riding the bikes, climbing the hills. Hiking the trails and paths are all things I could do fat and I am not going to give them up.

I had gotten up to 230.2 pounds.  This morning I was 226.6.  Tomorrow? Well, who knows.  All I do know is I am back at it.  Eat Right.  Eat Less.  Move More.

I will get back under 210.  There is no option for failure.

 

Peace