Monday, December 21, 2009
*This joke is borrowed from comedian Brian Regan who tells it way better, well of course he does
That was yesterday morning and today… whew... my body aches. But it is a good ache. An ache of accomplishment. (ain't alliteration awesome) I really enjoyed working out and was proud of myself for not being intimidated as I know I would have been just a year ago. Other than my appearance that has to be one of the biggest changes in my weight loss journey. I never really enjoyed going to the gym as I hated being looked at like the fat guy and I always felt like everyone was staring and laughing. I know they weren’t, not at all, but my self image and feeling of self worth held me back. I’m still working through, but the improvement is drastic. Yesterday I felt like I belonged. I'm off the sidelines and in the game baby!
My plan is to get out of bed at 5:30 ish every morning and go workout. Rach is going to go after I get home from work (which I have scaled back on big time, just weekends for the p/t job now)
Wish me luck…I just hope I do not take a hammer to my alarm clock in the morning.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I think I gave it away by the title, but my life has been consumed by work for the last month and a half or so. My job at Buca Di Beppo is going along nicely. I have been in server training (cue The Jefferson’s ‘Moving on Up’ music) for the last couple of weeks so I should be waiting tables very soon. (TAJ, I did learn that menu by the way, the Chicken Saltimbocca is amazing) So my weeks have been a lot like this…
Monday: DST 8:00-4:30,
Buca 5:00- 10:00
Tuesday: DST 8:00-4:30
School 6:00- 10:00
Wednesday: DST 8:00-4:30
Thursday: DST 8:00-4:30
Friday: DST 8:00- 4:30
Saturday: Buca 4:00-12:00ish
I really enjoy work, but I miss my family. I miss my wife and kids very much so. The good news is that we have finally started to be a little more financially stable, but at what expense? I do not like missing bath time, story time, and bed time. I do not like hearing that my kids are crying asking for me. It is hard. Really hard, but I will make it through. Rach has been fantastic through all of this. I’m not sure how in the world she does it. No clue. I’m not sure I could. She is just so damn amazing and I am extremely lucky to have her.
My weight “loss” has suffered too. I have maintained, which is good, but I am still very far from where I want to be and I am struggling big time. I haven’t exercised like I should, I have been eating like a fool (damn muffins), the scale may not show, but I feel it. Funny how that works. When I was 345 I would somehow convince my self that I wasn’t that bad. Now at 230 I am trying to convince myself that I am a lot better off, but that is becoming more and more difficult. Weird role reversal for sure. I’m really not sure how to get back to it. I am very motivated and very driven, but energy wise (physically & mentally) I am drained. I am not sure how some of you guys do it. I guess it’s just like anything else, you just have to do it. I’ve read blog after blog, and I realize that I am not any different that any one of them. Everyone has jobs, kids, tragedy, and all kinds of difficult circumstances to overcome. I just cannot figure it out. Many of you cruise along and I am struggling.
I feel as though sometimes, I am slipping into poor habits and I rationalize it by saying “oh look I haven’t gained any weight” and “oh I can turn it on any time I want” but I’m bit worried. Those thought were what got me to 345 in the first place. I’m hoping that identifying the problem is a step in the right direction. I’ve written so many times how I will never go back, and dammit I’m not. It’s time to get it together and just do it. Because I truly believe now that I can do anything I want. I’m not going to let mole hill become a mountain.
I guess the bottom line is that I know what to eat, how to eat, when to eat, why I eat it. I know how to exercise, what to do when I exercise, why I exercise. Now it’s just a matter of putting an action plan into place and following up with it. I think I will start now. Nothing like walking up and down eight flights of stairs for the remaining 20 minutes of my lunch.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The next two months were a horrible period in our lives. Rach spent all day and all night at the hospital. After work I went straight to the hospital and we were typically there until 10:00 or 11:00. Poor Bella had so many tests ran and so many needle pokes and multiple blood transfusions. We theorize, and I say theorize because the hospital will not confirm, that she had a stroke at roughly 2 weeks of age. After that day of the stroke we saw a discernable difference in her behavior and an MRI confirmed our suspicions. Brain damage so severe that at one point a doctor referred to her brain as “Swiss cheese.” We were not sure to what affect it would have on her future. Sadness. Despair. Depression. Anger. These words described my feelings.
I mentioned multiple blood transfusions because of her bleeding disorder. Initially it was diagnosed as hypofibrinogenemia which mean she did not produce enough fibrinogen. So to dissolve the brain bleed, she was in need of additional fibrinogen and there was no way to get pure fibrinogen so she received a cryoprecipitate, which is a blood product that has many different blood plasmas pulled together. Whew, still with me. So in short, she received a blood transfusion of cryoprecipitate three times a week.
One vivid memory from the hospital was a good one. It was New Years Eve, and of course Rach and I were with Bella in her room and it was dark and quiet and at about 11:58 Bella woke up just long enough for us to kiss her and wish her a Happy New Year. There was a fireworks display nearby that we were able to see from her window. It was perfect. One of the best moments of my life.
Two months, tons of questions, no real answers. That pretty much sums up the grueling hospital experience. Rach had endured more hurt and pain that anyone should ever have to. I was an angry, emotional wreck. We found out that we were finally getting to go home. Bella was going to get to sleep in her crib, in her room, meet our dogs, and take a bath in our bathtub. Finally, what a relief. Her future, still uncertain, but for now we got to go home and experience being parents. We had a discharge meeting with the nurses where we were told that we would have to come back three times a week for blood transfusions to prevent bleeding and that Bella had such severe damage to her brain that she may never progress past the point of a two month old baby mentally. The anguish that one feels to actually hear that is torture, but there was a bright side, we did get to go home.
Rach had to quit working to take care of Bella which hurt us financially, but it had to be done. It was the only option. Also a plethora of therapists were going to come to the house to work with Bella on developmental progress and to continue to assess her. If you are keeping count we now had to go to the hospital three times a week, schedule therapists come to the house weekly, and continue our appointments with neurology and hematology. It was hectic, very hectic, and Rach had to take it on by herself, as I was so mad that I let it affect our relationship. I shut down and fell into depression. My baby girl was sick, my career was pitiful, and my marriage was suffering.
Some may wonder why I am writing such a painful memory, but I do not want to forget. I will never go back to what I was. I gained more and more weight during this period. I lost more and more confidence. I was at rock bottom, for several years, even after my son was born in June of 2008. My life, as I have written earlier, changed drastically whenever I made the choice to lose the weight and get healthy. This is part of my healing. I am going to be the husband and father that my family deserves. I am making incredible progress. Bella’s story for me is motivation. I will never shut myself off as I did then. Bella’s story is incredible and inspiring. I cannot wait to continue to share it…
Friday, October 23, 2009
There we were on Monday at the hospital, no baby, no real idea what was going on. No clue if everything was alright. Talk about nerve racking. Stressful, traumatic, worrisome, tense, hectic, upsetting, painful were just some of the words to describe what was racing through the Rach and I at this time. I don’t remember Monday. Not one bit. I’m not sure what we did. I think I went home to get some things, I don’t know. I think Rach and I cried and questioned why this was happening. I had never had strong religious faith, but now what little faith I had was completely gone, replaced by anger. Anger that a supposed God would allow this to happen. Was I being punished?* Monday went by and I’m sure we probably received a call from the Children’s Hospital, I just cannot remember. It is a painful memory, one that has been blocked.
*To this day, I still feel this way. One of my issues not solved by weight loss. One that I need to confront, but I am just not ready to forgive yet. The thought, still makes me very angry. Something that I hope will start healing by telling this story.
I do know that Tuesday, Rachel was discharged from the hospital and we made the trip over to Children’s Mercy to see Bella. The hospital is very colorful and very welcoming as it should be as it is allegedly one of the best children’s hospitals in the nation. It is a very large hospital and we parked on level three of the underground parking garage. The yellow submarine level. I thought it was strange to name a parking level after a Beatles song about drugs, well maybe it’s about drugs, I guess that’s not a proven fact, but still. The hospital is huge and it took what seemed like a lifetime to get through the security station, through the foyer, down a long hall, down another long hall, up the elevator to level three (where the NICU was), and then to check in with the NICU desk, and then to scrub and sanitize our hands, and then finally to enter the actual NICU, easily the saddest place on Earth.
The NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) is where babies who are born with complications are kept. A lot of times they are kept in incubators because they are too small and most of the time there are machines hooked up to them with tubes and wires. Just an awful and saddening sight to behold. We finally made it to Bella’s spot on the floor. She looked ok, except for the band aids and the IV that they had inserted into her head. Maybe a little yellow from jaundice, but other than she was aware and looking around and we got to hold her and feed her and everything. Just like everything was ok.
We met with the Hemonc Doctor (Hemonc is short for Hematology-Oncology) and my first question was why oncology, did Bella have cancer? Dr. Neville assured us that no she did not have cancer, but that her blood was not clotting due to a lack in fibrinogen production. Fibrinogen is a protein found in our blood that is one the steps in the clotting process. Bella either 1) was not making it or 2) what she was making was defective. But at this time that was not concern number one. Remember when I told you that the second the Doctor who delivered Bella used a vacuum extraction, that our lives changed forever? When she used the vacuum to get Bella out, she caused trauma to the brain. Normally this would not do damage as the trauma would clot and be fine. But with Bella’s condition with her fibrinogen, the bleed continued and caused severe damage. Bella had brain damage. Any hope that we had disappeared instantly, replaced by even more fear and in my case anger.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
So here it was 6 weeks from our daughters due date, a chilly Saturday night. I remember that Dane Cook was hosting Saturday Night Live for the first time. Rach was lying in the hospital bed in labor, as she was induced by the Doctor. She was in pain all night and I cannot imagine what it was like for her to be so uncomfortable and scared. I tried to be there for her as best as I could. We were both nervous and unsure of really what was happening. It’s not something you can ever prepare for, no matter how many books you read or videos you watch, it’s just a nerve-racking event. Like I said Rach was in labor all night, then the morning came, and she was in labor all morning. They increased the Petosin, the drug that actually induces labor, and the contractions became more frequent. Finally, after many, many hours of pain, and a failed epidural, Rach was ready. Holy crap it was happening. I wish I could say that I remember everything in exact detail, but it was a blur of action. The Doctor, which I must remind you wasn’t our Doctor, was doing her thing and trying to get our baby out. It seemed to be taking forever. I would never say that panic was ever in the Doctors face, but I got the feeling that she was nervous that it was taking too long and I could all of a sudden feel the sense of urgency. Then the doc used a device known as a vacuum, and this was the moment that our lives changed forever. A vacuum extraction was needed to help get Bella out. When she came out I was scared to death, she was not crying initially, but soon after we heard whimpering then crying, so whew everything is ok. Bella weighed 4 pounds 8 ounces, which was super small but not life threatening. They whisked her away and the Doctors worked on Rach to get her all taken of. I honestly cannot say what happened in the next few hours. Bella was in the baby room, getting all of her newborn screenings done, I was talking with my family and Rach was recovering form a very difficult labor. Of course stupid me remembers that the Chiefs were playing the Broncos that day and we won. While Rach was resting I got to go into the baby room and see Bella. She was so tiny and precious. My hand would cover her entire body from the neck down. To me she was beautiful. She was perfect. My gosh, I fell in love. But, I was still a wreck, was I ready for this? Could I do this? A new responsibility that is more important than anything in my life. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I was full of doubt.
Rach finally got to see our Bella. She was so elated. I mean the happiest I have ever seen her. It’s hard to put into words how great of a mother Rachel is. She was from the moment she found out she was pregnant.
There was a problem though, a seemingly huge problem that no one told us. A problem that was so glaringly obvious on this perfect, precious, little girl. Our little girl. You see when they do newborn screening they use little pin pricks in the hands and feet to get blood for testing. Poor little Bella had tiny band aids around her hands and feet. When Rach touched them they instantly became blood stained. Bella was bleeding at a very rapid rate from just little needle sticks? What was wrong? No one knew. No one had a definitive answer. The Doctors hypothesized that she since she was premature she was just not clotting yet. Ok makes sense I guess? We were concerned and scared, but I know with 100% certainty that we did not know the magnitude or severity of this bleeding problem. No one did. It would fix itself, the body would eventually catch up they said. We stayed with Bella as long as we could. She did not get to come back into our room with us. She had to stay in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) for observation.
So we went back to our room, watched the Transiberian Orchestra on PBS and talked about everything. We expressed concern and confusion over what was happening, but we were still confident that everything was under control and we fell asleep.
I’m not sure of the time, but we were both woken up by the sound of people coming into our room. Bella was with them in one of those little carts that you see the preemies in. You know with the holes for peoples arms to go through. Two of the ladies were dressed very differently. They honestly looked like astronauts in their suits. This was very bizarre to wake up to in the middle of night. I was very disorientated and confused. They went on to tell us that Bella had continued to bleed out and needed to be transported by helicopter to the children’s hospital. What? So these ladies dressed in space suits are taking Bella, by helicopter to Children’s Mercy Hospital? What was happening? Panic set in for both of us, but they assured Rach and I that this was just precautionary and that Children’s Mercy was better suited to handle Bella’s care. So we said our goodbyes to Bella, and off she went for her first ever helicopter ride. Rach and I lay beside each other and I’m not even sure what emotion to use here. We were motionless and speechless and downright scared to death. We had no idea what was going on. We felt so helpless. Fear overcame us. Obviously everything wasn’t alright. Something major was wrong. Several hours passed and then the phone rang. I answered and the lady on the other end introduced herself as a Hematology-Oncology Doctor, I cannot remember her name, but what she said chills me to the bone to this very day.
She said… “If your daughter doesn’t receive a complete blood transfusion, she is going to die.”…
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
It was the perfect spring day outside. The grass was green, the weather was great, and like always I had high hopes for the Royals. We had literally just signed a contract and wrote our earnest money check to buy our “next step” house. We were at a point in our lives where we felt somewhat comfortable. We were ready to take our lives to the next level. Start a family, you know, finally become a grown-up. We had been trying to get pregnant for a few weeks.*
*Okay am I the only one that cannot stop thinking about all the bumping uglies people are doing when they say they are “trying to get pregnant?” Maybe I’m in the minority, but I doubt it.
And on that perfect spring day Rachel had been having heartburn which I found odd, seeing that she had never had heartburn before and I told her, I bet you’re pregnant. I had many thoughts run through my head when that that little pee stick showed a blue plus sign confirming my pregnancy theory. My very first thoughts were excitement, happiness, and pure joy. Then slowly but surely doubt crept in as I wasn’t sure how this was going to work. I was nervous. I was scared. I was uncertain of myself. As we all know life moves on whether we are ready or not so…
We moved into our new house and Rachel, (who is the most beautiful pregnant person I have ever seen, she just glows and is so dang cute) was able to transfer to a management position at a new bank branch so we were alright. Except that I couldn’t keep my job. Which is another story altogether. Let’s just say that my five year career in the mortgage industry had very few ups and lots and lots of downs. I worked for many companies as a loan officer and was never successful at any of them. Quite frankly I stunk. I was lazy, unmotivated, and not driven whatsoever. Not a very good recipe for a salesman.
This obviously led to undue stress on Rachel and me, and with a new mortgage payment over double of our previous one, it was imperative that I got my act together. But I didn’t. You see I was over-weight, not at my heaviest, but still morbidly obese. I was depressed and unable to handle my feelings. I gained more weight and then some more. Pregnancy weight…right. Wrong, through my immature actions, selfishness, and inability to hold a job I have always felt guilty and responsible for what was to come. If I would have “shaped up” and got my crap together, who knows? Maybe there would have been less stress, maybe then things would have turned out different? Just maybe.
In September, Rachel starting suffering from pre-eclampsia, a condition that includes high blood pressure and swelling of hands, feet, and ankles. And by November the condition had worsened and Rachel was put on bed rest. Of course being the wonderful husband I was (this would be the perfect case for a sarcasm font, hey Bill Gates, get on that would ya?) I failed at yet another mortgage job and somehow suckered another company into hiring me. Well the new company held training in St Louis, MO so when my pre-eclampsic, 7 month pregnant wife needed me most to care for her while she was on bed rest, I was gone. Way to go, Joe. Way to go.
I was gone a week for training and then came back for the weekend to go to an appointment to make sure everything was ok. Our baby’s due date was in late January but here we were at a Doctors appointment on a Saturday, being told by a Doctor (not OUR Doctor mind you, he was out of town, well of course he was) that we were not leaving the hospital without a baby. Gulp! This is too early. We are not ready. Oh lord, what am I gonna do?
Well she was wrong, we did leave the hospital without a baby, our journey had just begun…To be continued…
Friday, October 16, 2009
In the mean time I took on a part time job as a Wait Assistant * at Buca di Beppo two weeks ago. I don’t mind the job, not one bit. It is fast paced and I am constantly moving and quite frankly I feel like I get a decent workout when I work a shift. For those that don't know Buca di Beppo is a wonderful Italian restaurant that serves the biggest family style portions I have ever seen. And it is good. I mean really good.
*Wait Assistant is a fancy term for busboy. Yep I’m a busboy. Talk about a slice of humble pie. But hey apparently I wasn’t qualified to be a server. You know, it’s too complicated for someone with no experience. They are right I’m not qualified to be a server, but I am qualified to be their manager… in due time…
Well as soon as I started, my mother-in-law, (who to be fair has done a lot for Rach and I over the years, but her and I do not necessarily have the greatest relationship) told my wife “oh Rach, you know he’s going to gain back all his weight, being around all that food.”
Now to me, that is motivation.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
So we left the store with our bag of chips and some other groceries but I still wanted something. Something more. So I coerced my wife into going to the chinese buffet. Which isn’t any good, but it satiated me and satisfied my craving. So much so I still have an unopened bag of chips.
My point being that willpower will ultimately fail. It’s a sad truth for me, but a truth none the less. In my opinion it’s not real. What is real is keeping your body full by putting the proper nutritional foods into it. That way your brain doesn’t go into overdrive to try and satiate itself. You can’t beat your brain. It will always will in a fight. But you can keep you brain ‘full’ if that makes sense.
Sugar and caffeine are proven to trigger cravings. Sugar is found in almost everything that comes in a box or can or bottle. Whether it’s called sugar, fructose, corn syrup, or the ever popular high fructose corn syrup it’s all sugar and that is bad.
Willpower? No. What I do have ‘real’ power over is how I eat to satiate myself throughout the day. If I make the right choices for breakfast, lunch, and snack, that I will not get those cravings that just are impossible to stave off. The biology of the body just works that way. We are built to store fat during famine, thus naturally when we are hungry; we tend to be drawn to food high in fat so we lower our chances of starving to death. At least that is my quantification of the whole food thing.
And now I present to you the 0-16 2009 Kansas City Chiefs. Oh my.
And why do the Royals always win in September when it doesn’t matter?
Thursday, September 17, 2009
So early on in my journey I swore off soda completely. I drank only water and juice. Just recently have I discovered the joy of Diet Mountain Dew. I used to turn my nose up to diet soda because well it was gross. But now, Diet Mountain Dew gives me a nice dose of caffeine (which may or may not be bad for me, I mean they put it in pain medicine right?) and it really helps with any sweet craving that I have. I absolutely love it. So here’s to Diet Mountain Dew, the soda with all the kick and zero calories.
While I’m on the subject of weight loss, my wife Rachel, announced that she wants to run a marathon next year. Whoa, 26.2 miles. Sounds painful, but you know what, I am 100% behind her and I am willing to do it with her. The challenge intrigues me and I know if we set our minds to doing it there will be no stopping us. We typically run about 2 miles most nights anyway so what’s another 24? Uh… a lot. But it’s a journey that I want to take with my wife and I feel that it will help us strengthen our already very tight bond.
I weighed in at 226 pounds today so I have regained my momentum on the scale. And yes I do weigh everyday and every night. I know it’s not really healthy for me to do that, but I am sort of a scale junkie. If my scale broke you might find me at the nearest highway weigh station to satisfy my craving. For some reason it drives and motivates me. Maybe someday I can break that damn scale Office Space style and finally free myself. Until then, I keep plenty of 9-volt batteries on hand.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
My friends* and I were e-mailing each other at work yesterday and the topic of “you know your adult when…” came up. We then compiled a list back and forth. I thought it was funny. Maybe you will, maybe you won’t, but I bet you can relate to one or two of them…
*My friends would be Scott & Rusty, both of whom I have known for over 20 years. They are both totally awesome and much funnier than I am.
The list…which apply to at least one of us or all of us…
-Fall asleep at 8:45
-Bitch about the weather
-Determine if cheap baby wipes are the same as the expensive ones (they are not)
-Think about the good old days which include George Brett
-Genuinely get pissed at the skateboarders in my street
-Drive a Lincoln
-Graying hair or beard
-Knees, ankles, & hips pop even if I’m only moving my arms
-I have no earthly clue who Taylor Swift is
-I don’t care who Taylor Swift is
-I think about tax implications of every move I make
-The weather app on my iphone is probably the most used
-I will never, ever do the stanky leg (2 of us still aren’t sure what the stanky leg is)
-Genuinely get pissed at the bumping rice rocket, tricked out car on my block (I hope that’s not racist)
-I drive a station wagon
-I have to use the old swing my head back to gain momentum to get off the couch
-Don’t have cable because I think it’s too expensive
-Love Werther’s Original
-Visit restaurants like Cracker Barrel & Golden Corral
-Put on shorts and house shoes when I get home, but leave on my black socks
-Get pissed when the neighbor’s dog craps in my yard
-I care more about lawn maintenance than what style of car I drive
-I enjoy talk radio
-My pants actually fit
-I don’t care how tough I look
-I care more about how my lawn is looking than my hair
-I look forward to the nightly news
-I have a long hair on my back, just one. There is also on my right earlobe
-Teenage girls dress too slutty and the guys look like street bums
-I think that teachers, firefighters, & cops should be paid more than pro athletes
-I would rather rent a movie and stay in
-I like cleaning out my garage
-I watch what I eat
-Lightning bugs make me happy
-I read for fun
-I like getting up early
-Coffee tastes good
-I enjoy talking to my elderly neighbors (as long as their dog hasn’t crapped in my yard
-Bitch about the mailman being behind on his route
-Re-use ziplock bags if possible
-Time it just right so I fertilize my lawn just before it rains
-Bought one of those suction cup mats that go in the bathtub to avoid slipping
-Love to drink different kinds of tea
-Pixie sticks taste like shit
-My bedtime has reverted back to what it was when I was 7
-I like driving without the radio on
-I now understand why my dad was so angry all the time
Monday, September 14, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
August 3rd 234 lbs
August 10th 229 lbs
August 17th 234 lbs
August 24th 230.5 lbs
August 31st 231 lbs
September 7th 231.5 lbs
September 11th 229.5 lbs
So as you can see I’m in a bit of a holding pattern here, which is not necessarily a horrible thing since I have been eating like an a-hole and being my own worst enemy* I haven’t posted in a while simply because I just haven’t been in a good mood. Life is in a tough spot right now and my weight loss journey has suffered. Quite frankly I’m surprised that I haven’t gained 10-15 pounds. My meals have consisted of eating out at pizza buffets, Chinese buffets, and Mexican restaurants that use enough cheese to cover the state of Rhode Island.
* There is a 90’s song by Lit called My Own Worst Enemy that is wonderful drinking music. I would love for Jack Sh*t to do one of his parodies to it.
I wrote a cocky, arrogant post a couple of weeks ago called Will it matter? I was feeling good, riding high on the weight loss horse. I weighed 225 lbs one morning. I felt invincible. Well truth be told, that post was more of excuse to eat like crap. I’m not really sure where I went wrong. Early on in my journey I was consistent and steadfast. I would not stray at all, except on my once a month “date nights” with my wife. Lately I feel as though I can eat whatever, whenever I want. I feel as though I’m out of control. I must somehow find the internal strength to regain my control and start doing the things that made me successful in the first place. Like my blog friend Sean always says, good choices. I must begin making good choices again.
I know I’m not alone in the weight loss struggle and just when I got cocky and thought I had it figured out, BAM! I learned I didn’t know shit. It’s like the weight loss Gods said check yourself before you wiggedy wreck yourself. (I’m pretty sure Jesus said that once too) I got lost made the U-turn and started back down the road to 345 lbs. But I got news, it ain’t happening.
I never thought that after I dropped so much weight that it might get harder. I should have known better. Keeping it off is the real struggle. But it’s a fight I’m ready to take on. A fight I have prepared my whole life for. For me, everything started with my weight loss. I always hid behind my failures because I could blame it on my weight. Now I must face my real issues. Issues that have been hidden under layers of fat. Issues now that are on the forefront of my mind. Issues that must be taken on head first. My ego took a hit. It needed to. The ship is getting righted as we speak.
I want to mention one other thing, and I know that it’s 9/11 and it should be mentioned more often, but I have a good friend that I have not spoken with since October 2004. He’s in the Army and has been serving in Iraq. His name is Curtis Swearingin. I’m not sure where he is now or if he is ok, but I want to say thanks to him and all of his military brothers and sisters.
Monday, August 24, 2009
* I still don’t get tractor pulls. I mean really who cares? Oh and the carnival. Remind me never to allow my children to ride carnival rides that whip upside down at breakneck speeds that just happened to be constructed (a term I use very loosely here) in less than 4 hours by Lester and his half wit carny brothers.
In addition to the wonderful odor of animal smells there was the classic aroma of “food on a stick.” I think you all know what I’m talking about. State Fair food has to be portable and it has to be deep fried. And what is more convenient than a stick to tote around deep fried food? I mean you have your classic hot dogs on a stick, Twinkies on a stick, pickles on a stick, chicken on a stick, donuts on a stick, meatballs on a stick, biscuits and gravy on a stick, ice cream on a stick, nachos on a stick, and salad on a stick? Ok there is not really salad on a stick but if there was, well that would just be gross. I mean there would be salad dressing all over the place and it just wouldn’t be very good. In addition to all this food on a stick they have smoked turkey legs that weigh roughly 37 pounds and tacos with sour cream and guacamole and quadruple cheeseburgers with bacon, mushrooms, and fried eggs on them. It is a food lover’s paradise. I was in heaven. Oh man oh man was this going to be good.
Except…. I was on a diet. The Atkins diet to boot and I didn’t want to “cheat.”
And that is why I don’t call it a diet. People “cheat” on diets which is ridiculous way to think about losing weight. I told Rachel that I cannot believe that I didn’t eat some of the things that I wanted to back then. How stupid of me to actually believe that I was never, ever going to eat carbs again. Really? No pasta or bread for the rest of my life? Yeah, that’s realistic. In the scope of my entire life that has spanned a glorious or inglorious (whichever way you look at it) 29 years, what difference would it have made if I had indulged in a couple of corn dogs and a cheeseburger and fries that day??? The answer…it would not have a made a bit of difference to me today. Not one. In fact if I went to the State Fair tomorrow I would eat some of those things and not even think twice about it. You see, when you commit to change your lifestyle, it is not a banishment of all foods that are not good for you. What a silly way to try and live, to deprive yourself of some of the pleasures in life.
That is why I know I will be ok in my journey. I can eat that food, and yes enjoy Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter Dinners. BBQ’s with my family and friends and drinks at happy hour. Sure I am entirely conscience of what I am putting in my body and the effect that it has on the scale. I’m still going to eat the way I should be eating all the other times. I am too far in, to slip back into my old habits. I have way too much time and energy invested in the new version of me to let it go away. But I’m not in prison. Eating still makes me happy, but the difference now is that it is not my hiding place. It is not the shelter that I take cover in whenever life sucks. I have new habits of exercise and a new motivation to be best person I can be. I’m not afraid that eating a piece of cheesecake will make me go back to my old ways. I am confident that will not happen.
Not now or not ever.
In five years I don’t want to look back say that I wish would have eaten that fried Snickers bar on a stick I want to seize the day. I want to say dang! That was freaking delicious, now let’s go run 3 miles!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I love The Biggest Loser and I cannot not even count the number of times I told my wife that if I was on that show I could win the whole thing. I felt like I needed that show to force me to lose weight. I needed Jillian and Bob and a giant scale to force me to exercise and eat right. I always knew in my heart of hearts that only if I could be on that show, I would lose weight and change my life. As it turns out all I needed was a little kick in the pants. That said though, my weight loss journey coincided with the last season that started in January 09'. For the first 2 months or so, I would have never fallen below the yellow and would not have faced elimination. It helped motivate me and inspire me to keep doing what I was doing. I saw that if those guys could do it, so could I. I saw them busting their butt everyday not only for the cash prize, but for the ultimate prize of life. They constantly talked about changing their life. Each and every one of them was of comparable size to me and each of them was given a gambit of health tests and evaluations and were told that they were going to die soon if they didn’t change. So was I.
More recently the show started to focus on the question “why are you overweight?” Sure you eat too much and lay on the couch watching reality TV, but the answer is deeper, way deeper. The real question is why don’t you care enough about yourself, why don’t you respect yourself enough, why don’t you think you are worth it?
Most of us that are morbidly overweight have the same story. We struggled with our weight all our lives. We were always the fat person that was funny and would do spot-on Chris Farley impersonations. Our self confidence was non-existent. Maybe we didn’t feel loved enough or maybe we didn’t feel as though we were meeting expectations or maybe we just wanted to just go away and be forgotten. Food was a refuge. It made us feel good, because it didn’t judge, it did what it was supposed to do and it filled that emotional void.
I had a conversation with a couple of people at work who said that when they see overweight people with giant McDonalds sacks full of food or fat people getting on the elevator to go up 1 flight of stairs, that they had no sympathy for them and actually spoke as if they were quite disgusted. My co-workers are not bad people, but how can they be so judgmental? Fat people don’t want to be fat. You know when your high school counselor asks you what you want to be when you grow up. A morbidly obese person whose internal organs struggle to sustain life everyday is not the answer that they get. Food is an addiction, just as powerful as any drug or alcohol addiction could ever be, with one huge difference. A food addict can feed their addiction way easier and cheaper than a heroin addict can. It takes all of $4.32 to buy 4 double cheeseburgers from McD’s which happens to total 1760 calories and 92 grams of fat. That’s a helluva deal at only $0.0025 cents per calorie. The calories though, aren’t even the worst part – that comes after you gobble down the 4 double cheeseburgers in about 6 and a half minutes and you feel guilty and disgusting. I know this for a fact.
I’m not sure how to reach out to people that are in this place; because I know when I was at my heaviest the “I can’t” attitude reigned supreme. I didn’t want to hear it. I knew I needed to make a change but I wasn’t willing to. I wasn’t ready. I had to be ready mentally and emotionally to change. I had to answer the question of why am I fat? Once I was ready to face that question, I was ready to conquer my food addiction and lose the weight for good. That is why I refuse to call what I do a diet. Diet insinuates a short term fix. What I do, is for a lifetime.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
My journey is far from over for I have many more pounds to lose and even more life challenges ahead of me. I am glad to share it. I was initially embarrassed to write with such emotion, but it has been therapeutic to me and I anticipate that it will continue to have that effect. I would also be lying if I didn’t say that the comments don’t help motivate and inspire me. Initially this was just supposed to be a chronicle of my weight loss on Myspace, and it has turned into so much more. I am in the process of discovering myself. Facing my fears, and strengthening my weaknesses. It is proving to myself that I am worth it. That my family is worth it. I am starting to believe. Believe in myself. Trust in my ability and not just live up to my potential but exceed it.
I would be remiss not to mention that this blog, Sean Anderson's Day 327. It is hands down one of the best things that you will ever read. Everything he says is true. Every. Last. Word. I am still in the transition process. I am changing for the better. “I can’t” will soon be eliminated from my vocabulary. It has been and will continue to be a hard road to follow, and it will be a daily struggle, but I am ready.
My weight loss was just the start. That was the easy part. It was the first step. If I hadn’t taken on that challenge I wouldn’t be ready for the next phase. I owe a lot of my success to my wife, Rachel. She has been my rock and my support. I will repay this debt by being the best husband and father that I can be. That is a promise.
Thanks again for reading and a thank you for all of your support,
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
I often do not like to divulge many personal feelings in my blog. I am the happy go lucky person that enjoys life, at least on the outside. My wife and my circle of friends could tell you of a different Joe. One who is still sad. One who still sees his life as unfulfilled. One that wakes up everyday trying to figure out what his purpose is. Sure I have changed my life, but I did not solve anything. Some people may read this and question my love for my family, but that is not what this is about. I have the best wife in the world. My kids are fantastic. I live for my family. I may be a little grumpy, okay a lot grumpy with them, but I love them with all my heart and would sacrifice everything for any of them. I should treat them better, they deserve way better.
My problem is between my ears. I cannot get out of my own way. My weight issue has held me back for a long time. It has kept me from chasing my dreams and I have never stepped out of my comfort zone. I may have lost weight, and even gained some confidence, but I’m still scared. Scared of another failure. Even without the weight I am being held back by my weight. Somehow, someway, I must confront this demon. Step outside my comfort zone, take the leap. I deserve happiness and so does my family.
But…the last ten years of my life has been littered with poor decisions and failures. I never found my way, if you will. I was content just getting by and most of the time I barely did that. I stayed in a “career” that I knew wasn’t a good fit for me just because I was afraid. Growing up through school, I was smart, never anything special, but I didn’t have to work too hard at anything to succeed. I never developed a solid work ethic and always expected things to come easy to me. Wrong! In college I did the same but instead of A’s I got C’s and eventually I quit. Quitting became the motto of my life. I quit my marriage to Rachel, I quit many jobs by simply not caring, and I quit myself. I was in a dark place. A place that I am still slowly crawling out of. At that time I could have lived or died and did not care. I floundered like that for many years. I kept seeing my best friends become successful doctors, engineers, and artists. I saw my brother become a manager of a major restaurant. I saw my sister go to school to enter the health care field. I saw my wife give up everything to support our special needs daughter and thank goodness because I was absent, not physically, but let’s just say that I had checked out. I was witness to all of this and it pushed me deeper and deeper into the depths of depression. I was The failure. I was The one who hadn’t realized his potential. I gained more and more weight and even hoped to have a heart attack. Everyone would be better off I thought. My daughter deserves more than loser like me. These are the thoughts that crossed my mind. Everyday. Day in, day out. Every hour, every minute, every second. Thank God for Rachel. She never stopped believing in me.
I did finally got a job that I liked. It didn’t pay very well but I enjoyed the work. It was a good fit for me. I even felt a little better, but I wasn’t cured. Rach and I had our second child in June of 2008. A little boy. This should motivate me right? Nope. I never understood how people got to weigh six, seven, eight hundred pounds. Suddenly I started to understand. I understood that it is a conscience effort. People don’t accidentally weigh 800 pounds. I was well on my way.
In August of 08’ I popped the buttons off both pairs of pants that I wore. I decided that enough is enough. I vowed to lose the weight. I even bought a giant poster board and drew a weekly chart with weight and measurement columns. I saw that poster board in the closet the other day. It had the first week and second week filled out. Yep, quit again. Another failure. More depression. What could I do? How could I motivate myself?
So I inquired about going back to school. As it turns out they don’t care how much you weigh as long as the bill gets paid. So I started back on a Tuesday night at 6:00pm. It was a big step for me. I was scared to death. I wanted to leave as soon as I got there. I was always social around people I know, but in a classroom full of adults and professionals. I was horrified. I was also the fattest person in class. I hated myself for this. During presentations I was embarrassed and ashamed. No one takes a morbidly obese person seriously. How could they?
I was never going to make it. Quitting again I thought to myself. Figures.
Except something happened. Something deep within. Something I cannot explain. It coincided with New Years in 2009. It wasn’t a resolution but something more. A commitment to myself. A commitment to my family. I’ll never forget that night on January 4th. Rachel and Bella were playing with finger paints at the kitchen table and I had my shirt off so as not to get paint on it. I was so fat I could barely muster the energy to play with paints. I told Rach that this was it. Never again. I’m losing this weight for good. I said it with conviction. Of course I’ve said it many times before, but this time I meant it. Rachel drew a red smiley face on my belly and wrote the word bye-bye, and she took a picture. I looked like the freaking Kool Aid man. I put the picture on myspace and started a blog. How embarrassing. How humiliating. How disgraceful. How motivating? How inspirational? I received several words of encouragement on that first blog. I lost 20 pounds my first week. Then 7 pounds. Then 8 pounds. I took a picture every Monday and wrote a blog about my weight loss experience. It helped me. Soon I was below 300 pounds. I changed my thought process. I didn’t want to have a heart attack any more. I wanted to live. I want to be something. But I’m still scared. I may have lost all this weight, but I’m still that fat person who fails. I’m still a loser. That is what I’m dealing with right now. Overcoming those thought pattern that filled my mind for the last ten years. The voice in your head that says “you can’t do it” “you’re too stupid” “you know you will gain all the weight back”
Yeah that voice is still holding me back. But, losing this weight has also put another voice in my head. He says “you can do it” “you are worth it” “if you want it, go for it” “you deserve this”
They battle it out on a daily basis. My own little rockem sockem robots in my head. Some days the negative fella wins, but you know what? With every pound, every success, every ‘A’ in my college class, my confidence grows. The positive voice wins most of the time. I am starting to heal. I am almost ready for my next step.
You see, I have wanted to be a lawyer ever since I was a little kid, when I sat in my living room with my Mom and watched my first episode of LA Law. I love the theory of law. I love analyzing situations, seeing the angles, and arguing my point. I will make a great lawyer. I never concede defeat. My #1 dream job would be playing for the Royals, becoming a lawyer is #2. Actually I might try out for the Royals at this point, but really, being a lawyer is my calling. Unfortunately, I wasted my opportunity when most people grasp it and chose not to finish college. Now at 29, I am scheduled to graduate from college in May 2010 and I am going to take the LSAT in September, maybe December. I’m still scared though. Can I do it? Can I even get into law school? If I do get in, can I cut it? The answer is yes.
Literally as I have written this blog, I feel better. I feel stronger. Maybe this is the first step to conquering that demon that is known to me as the bad rockem sockem robot. The weight loss was a catalyst, but to continue I must face my fears. I will succeed.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Joe, how are you going to lose 36 pounds in 2 months? That's a great question, I'm so glad you asked. Let me tell you.
#3)Exercise. Exercise. Exercise.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
1/12/09 325 lbs (20)
1/19/09 319.5 lbs (25.5)
1/26/09 312 lbs (33)
2/2/09 312 lbs (33)
2/9/09 303.5 lbs (41.5)
2/16/09 301 lbs (44)
2/23/09 293.5 (51.5)
3/2/09 290 lbs (55)
3/9/09 286 lbs (59)
3/16/09 281.5 lbs (63.5)
3/23/09 274.5 lbs (70.5)
3/30/09 272.5 lbs (72.5)
4/13/09 270 lbs (75)
4/20/09 268 lbs (77)
4/27/09 264.5 lbs (80.5)
6/13/09 244 lbs (101)
And for my most recent picture taken with a fairly crappy cell phone which helps explain the wonderful color.
7/15/09 235 lbs (110)
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
First thing we did was visit Butterfly World while we were waiting for our resort to get our room ready for check-in.* I was not impressed with BW at all. Talk about a snoozefest and for $18 bucks a pop I was hoping the butterflies would at least perform circus tricks or something. On Saturday we went to Predator World, which in my opinion was the coolest place we visited. We got to see the Black Mamba which is one the worlds most dangerous and deadly snakes. Rach and I fed sharks and a sea turtle and I fed some stings rays. The highlight of Predator World had to be seeing the tigers get fed. The tigers there were beautiful. They had 3 Bengal tigers and 2 white tigers. It was amazing to see them eat. One day we went to Moonshine Beach on Table Rock Lake and let Bella and Remi swim in the lake and play on the beach. They loved it. Bella did so good swimming and Remi is quite the ladies man.
*How in the world can check-out be at 10:00am and they cannot have a room ready until 4:00pm? That's ridiculous. Oh and memo to The French Quarter Resort.. when someone calls a week ahead of time to reserve the crib for their one year old, don't give it to someone else. Remi did not make a very good sleeping partner.
Rach and I threw caution to the wind and ate anything and everything our hearts desired. Let's see; Chinese Buffet, check... Chicken Fried Steak, check... Mexican Food (twice), check... Fat Burger, check... Blackberry Cobbler, check... Brownie Fudge Sundae, check... Ben and Jerry's Seven Layer Coconut Bar Ice Cream (should have had this every day), check...
So as you can see we did our fair share of eating, and it did taste really good especially the Ben & Jerry's, man that was good. But you know what? It made me feel awful. It made me tired and lazy and just downright lethargic. My stomach hurt a lot and I just didn't feel as good as I usually do. I like eating healthy. I really do. I feel better and I have more energy when I avoid all the bad foods that are loaded with sugar and fat. Plus whilst on vacation I managed to gain five pounds in five days. Do the math and that's one pound a day! No can do. Not I. I ain't never going to weigh 300 pounds again. NEVER! Basically I figure that I need to eat healthy oh 90% of the time and I should be just fine.
On a non-vacation related topic, my brother purchased the Power 90 DVD set and is going to let me borrow them. I plan on doing it religiously for the 90 days. I am going to take pics at day 1, 30, 60, & 90. I will post my first pics at Day 30.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
*The most widely known legend attributes the phrase "Show-Me State" to Missouri's U.S. Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver, who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1897 to 1903. While a member of the U.S. House Committee on Naval Affairs, Vandiver attended an 1899 naval banquet in Philadelphia. In a speech there, he declared, "I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me." Regardless of whether Vandiver coined the phrase, it is certain that his speech helped to popularize the saying.
Fortunately for me I love competition and I see myself as a tough competitor. I could care less about prizes or awards, but I love the recognition and the thought of being the best. It drives me. Tiger Woods may be the best example of a driven man that the world has ever known. Widely regarded as the greatest golfer to have ever lived and he STILL pushes to get better. Still practices 6 hours a day. He is so mentally tough that he has an unfair advantage every time he tees it up. He doesn't want to just win, he wants to crush his opponent into submission. That's the drive I want. It is amazing.
In 6 short months I have been able to lose 101 pounds. I have already changed my life. But I can be even better. I can lose another 60 pounds. Get the six pack abs, the chiseled chest and arms. I will finish a triathlon. No scratch that, I will not just finish, I will be a threat to win. I spent most of my life overweight, and unhappy because of it. I still have a ways to go but it will not hold me back anymore. My family life is better. My work life is better. Everything about my life has improved. It will only get better.
As far as the Missouri 60, I want all that participate to succeed. Tony has a great idea. He is an inspiration to many. Every day is a new day. A day of new choices and the day to change your life. Challenge yourself. Step outside your comfort zone. It will make you a better person.
But as previously stated, my competitive juices are flowing and the Tiger Woods in me want to crush the competition. My goals are set. I will succeed. Here is my picture. Talk to you soon after my first goal is met.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Much like Tony I have changed my life. I now weigh 244 and my goal weight is 180.* I have also read many of the weight loss blogs that have been followers or commenters of the Anti Jared and I feel a sense of understanding. I too know the rigors and struggles of being overweight and if I can make the change anyone can.
*180 is my goal weight simply because it sounds like a nice round number. In all actuality I will let my body decide what my ideal weight is. Maybe it's 200 or maybe it's 170. I will know when i get there
Five months in and I'm down 101 pounds. How low can I go? Only time will tell.