Monday, March 29, 2010

Googling yourself and an eerie coincidence? I think not.

Have you ever googled yourself? (is it me or does that sound dirty?) I know, I know, how vein and conceded right? Sort of, but I was reading an article on about young job seekers hiding their facebook pages so potential employers cannot see their extracurricular activities and musings. Well, I happen to be searching for a new job myself as I just finished my degree in Management (with a 4.0 by the way) and have enrolled in grad school. (I’m an attractive employment candidate right? Any takers? Anyone? Hello, is this thing on?) Anyway, I wondered, what happens when you google my name? So I did, and it turns out there are several people out there who share my name. There is a Joe Riddell facebook page that is not my own, there is Joe Riddell, owner of Riddell Realty in Lexington, KY, there is even a Joe Riddell on twitter with the screen name ‘horsemanjoe,’ which reminds me of Ric Flair and Arn Anderson, but that is a different topic for a different day.

The fifth item down on the list was this.

Joseph Riddell Death Notice: Joseph Riddell's Obituary by the ...
Feb 22, 2010 ... Online death notice for Joseph Riddell. Read Joseph Riddell's life story, offer tributes/condolences, send flowers or create a Joseph ... Cached

Weird, right? Maybe a bit strange. Normally this type of thing would not bother me except I was listening to my Pandora internet radio and it just so happened that the song “You Only Live Once” by The Strokes was playing in my ear. (to be fair the lyrics aren’t really about life and death, but the title certainly implies it) Now I don’t believe in signs or karma or any of that stuff at all. I just don’t. Everything is random and things just happen. But this was strange. Even to me. So just this once, I’m taking it as a sign, whether it is fabricated in my brain or not. And from what I am going through at this time it was the perfect combination of two random entities that came together at the exact right time. I needed to see this, ponder it, and absorb what it means.

I do only live once. I had better make the best of it. What would my life story say? What would my legacy be? It's time to start living and it's time to start appreciating what I am and what I have.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I was over visiting Prior Fat Girl’s blog spot earlier today and she posed the question about your biggest fear. A lot of folks commented and there seemed to be a common theme. People are afraid to fail, people are afraid that they will not lose the final five, people are afraid that they will gain it all back. For anyone who has struggled with weight and the whole yo-yo dieting thing, these are all very real and very legit concerns, but I have a different fear.

My fear: Getting to my goal, and still not being the person that I thought I would be. A better husband, a better father, a better person. I'm afraid that I will come to the realization that it wasn't the weight, it was me.

I have had success. I lost about 120 pounds. You see, I always thought that my weight was my number one issue. Don’t get me wrong it was/is still a HUGE issue, but I’m not going to fall over dead of a heart attack at the age of thirty. I eat better now (mostly) and work out (running about 2.5 miles per day) so physically I’m better. Mentally, though, is where I struggle. When I first started out I felt great and invincible. Everyone noticed the weight loss, my confidence was beaming. Now I’m just a normal guy. I have let this weird mental block negatively impact my relationships with my wife and kids. I may have a different body, but I’m still acting like the same jerk. I thought that was all supposed to change once the weight came off, like I was magically going to become this awesome person. It didn’t. So I guess I have realized my biggest fear. The weight was just an accomplice, I’m the real reason I am the way I am. I need to figure it out. My confidence has been shaken, and is practically non-existent. I must figure out a way to change this person that have become. When I was 345 lbs I could get away with being angry, zero confidence fat guy, but now I don’t have an excuse. Now I have to get to the bottom of it, confront the real issues. Some how, some way, I will figure it out and become the husband, father, and man I’ve always wanted to be.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The post I never, ever wanted to write (and I still don’t)

I admit, I have slumped. I have allowed my “holiday break” to spill over far into the New Year. I am very, very disappointed in myself. Embarrassed and ashamed even. I know I’m not the only one to struggle and gain weight back, but I was so strong in my resolve and I was so determined dammit. I was not going back, not at any cost. It wasn’t going to happen to me. On Jan 5th, I weighed in at around 233, (I was floating between 227-233 around that time) but then something happened. Something terrible. It’s like I just lost control and went crazy. I stopped eating properly. I would persuade Rach who wanted to continue to eat healthy to order pizza or Chinese or Thai or Popeyes Chicken. I found myself stopping in at Quik Trip for their oh so delicious donuts and muffins. I would “forget my lunch” so I could go out and eat at work. For the entire previous year I had NEVER went out unless it was with a longtime friend or my boss (which was maybe three times) I would only eat out once a month on Rachel and I’s date night. And even then I found myself eating less. I was in the groove.
But, that groove ended and here I am. My clothes began fitting tighter and I noticed I was feeling worse. I started to feel like I used to, lethargic and lazy. Hell I had even joined a gym and worked out somewhat regularly, but my eating was so poor, so sugar and fat laden that I gained more and more. When it was just ten pounds, I thought no big deal, then it was 15, then 20, then 25, and approaching 30. I had lost complete control. What happened? Am I really doing this to myself. I signed up for the Trolley Run for motivation. (donate or sign up here) I ordered a size large t-shirt. No way I would fit into that unless I lost the extra weight. Didn’t help. I even started a strict training regimen. Didn't help either. On Monday morning 3/15, The Ides of March, I weighed in at 255. 30 effing pounds over my low weight of 225 in October. I was and still am devastated and depressed and just plain down about it. I am better than that. I know this, my wife knows this, anyone who has ever met me knows this, but what I have done, gaining this weight back is terrible and I feel as if I have let a lot of people down especially my family and my friends.
Monday I put an end to it. 255? Not in my house. Not anymore. My friend Sean Anderson has coined the term iron clad decision and the steel curtain zone (always makes me think of the Pittsburgh Steelers) but that is what I did. I don’t care how hungry I am or what I am craving or how tired I am, I am making this commitment to myself. Food will not beat me. Just when I though I had landed the knockout blow Mike Tyson style, food jumped up and got me good. It has stunned me and wobbled my knees, but I’m not down. Food may have won round 2 but this fight is far from over. In fact it will probably last until the very end, but it is a battle that I will win. See you in Round 3.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Training for the Trolley Run

The Trolley Run is coming up in about 8 weeks (April 25th) so Rach and I have started training for the run. Now we do subscribe Runners World and of course we have the interwebs so we have a gambit of information on when to run, how far to run, what form is the best, what shoes to buy, what music to listen to, how long our strides should be, how to breathe, etc, etc, etc… Who knew that running was so difficult*? Here I was thinking it was one foot in front of the other over and over again until you could move anymore. Apparently it’s quite the science, so we sat down together and developed plan (how nerdy is that?) and scheduled our runs and gym time.

*Funny story, my senior year in high school I decided that I was going to run cross country ( I weighed about 190 then, but still fat) just for fun. Fun my ass. Far from fun. 3.1 miles of pure hell. Okay to be fair I never made it 3.1 miles. During “practice” I would catch rides from people back to the school and never really finish. Of course I was on the JV team, only because there were not many people that wanted to torture themselves. So there I was at my first race wearing shorts that were too short and a “jersey” or whatever you wore in a race that was too tight (they did not make XL, Cross Country runners do not wear XL). I started out strong and was not in last place, yet. The race was in Pleasant Hill, MO and part of the course zigzagged through a giant field. Down and back, down and back. I finally reached the end of the field course and all my buddies were there cheering me on, even though I was in dead last and I mean dead last. My closeset competitor was probably on the bus back home by now. I went to turn the corner to head towards the finish line and my great friend Rusty, who I had known since I was like 7 said something that made me want to punch him right in the face. He said “dude you have to go through the field, again” Right there that very day I retired from Cross Country.

So Rach and I have worked out a nice schedule to train 5 days a week at the gym and how far we are to run each day/week. This week we are to run 2.44 miles 5 times for a total of 12.2 miles for the week. The next week we bump the 12.2 miles by 10% to 13.42 miles for a total of 2.68 miles every day. We do this 10% thing each week and by the end we have worked ourselves up to 4 miles. Yesterday I busted my ass and ran 2.5 miles in about 30 minutes. Now obviously I need to improve my time, but even though I’m older, and fatter than I was in high school I can run better. Of course today my body is crazy sore and I was only able to eek out 1.5 miles in 20 minutes throwing me off my training schedule, but I still feel good about it. I often think back to that race at Pleasant Hill and I wish I would have run that gosh darn field one more time and finished. At the Trolley Run, I will finish no doubt about it.

Oh and by the way if you have read down this far click on this link and consider donating or running with us. Thanks.