Andrew

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Time for a change…refocus on what is right.

In Uncategorized on January 15, 2017 at 10:53 pm

I have been writing this and one other blog for nearly nine years now and each time I write I focus on my weight loss and how my weight affects my life, my hopes and my dreams.  As I go back and read the posts I have made I am taken by the fact it seems I have ridden a weight loss roller coaster and chronicled this wild ride for all to see in my blogs. To be honest I am have grown tired of writing these types of entries as each one only serves to fuel the defeat and embarrassment I feel deep inside myself for being the size I am and not doing anything about it.  While I continue to be a large man who is in desperate need of weight loss, I now refuse to dwell on it with these posts and now intend to write about people, places and things that bring a smile to my face and hopefully, to the faces of those who read my posts.  I do intend to update my blog about where I stand with my weight but it is time to get back to what makes me happy and has no calories involved in it and that means writing.  It’s time to look for the good, the awesome and the inspirational and shed some light on those who likely would shy away from the spotlight or perhaps not even have a chance to have that light pointed at them.  From here on in, less woe is me and more wow, look at them.  Change your mind change your life!

And since we are on the subject, my wife has a close friend who has battled cancer for a number of years now.  When I say she fought it I mean she fought with the spirit of a warrior while squeezing every drop out of life that she could.  This is a woman who is the mother of five children (I know she would say six if you include her husband but I won’t do Jim like that) and never stopped to take a moment to cry about the predicament that she was in.  Michelle beat breast cancer only to find another form of cancer returned a few years later but never once did she slow down.  Being one of these people who refuses to take no for an answer, Michelle would regularly turn to YouTube in an effort to find out how to frame, build and wire her new craft room and even how to put siding on her own house.  Nobody ever told her no and lived to see Michelle be defeated in her tasks.  In short, she was a person who inspired others just with the smile on her face and the encouragement that came from her lips.  She believed we all had greatness inside and we needed to turn that greatness loose just like she tried to do.

As I write this Michelle is laying in a hospital bed in her living room, waiting for the moment she steps across that great divide and comes into the presence of God. Surrounded by those who love and care for her, Michelle is in a fight that even she cannot win.  In the last two years she has done all she could to hold off the inevitable all the while continuing to be an encouragement to her friends and family with that trademark smile of hers plastered across her face.  Even in her closing days when she was still able to speak she was laughing with and at anyone who had spent time at her side.  The time has now come for Michelle to close her eyes and await God’s call.  I look back at her life and remember how she would always encourage Sharon and myself to lose weight and offer to join us in any activity we chose so that we would not be alone.  Michelle got “it” and knew that left to our own devices we would never take any action and sadly, she was right.

When that inevitable time comes and Michelle leaves this world and moves on to the next, I will forever remember her face and gentle prodding to make a difference in our own lives. Her continued encouragement to build better lives for ourselves will always remain with me and push me to reach those heights that she believed Sharon and I could reach.  And next time I need to re-wire a lamp, I will look it up on YouTube and thank Michelle for the confidence to just make it happen.

 

 

Only Time Will Tell……………

In Uncategorized on April 26, 2015 at 7:56 pm

If one chooses to listen, time can teach us lessons about life, love and just about anything else if we choose to let it.  Recently I was sitting at Starbucks and eavesdropping on a conversation between two men who appeared to be in the early ’60’s who were discussing life. One man was overweight but was dressed in running shorts and a windbreaker and appeared to have just finished a vigorous walk that left him sweaty and winded.  The other gentleman was well dressed and was at the coffee shop at the friends request to talk if only for a few minutes.  Their conversation bordered on the normal “guy” stuff but it suddenly took a turn for the serious when the sweaty one told his friend matter of factly, “life is too short to worry about stuff I used to worry about”.

When we are younger we are obsessed with getting ahead in life. Raising families, giving our children all they could ever want, buying homes, getting that incredible job and accumulating so much stuff that we have to rent storage lockers for it all.  As time marches on and the kids move out, we finally have time to evaluate who we are and where we are in life and many, like the man I heard today, realize that great car, incredible job and storage locker full of stuff just doesn’t matter any more.  As I continued to listened to the conversation of these men, they talked about their family and how important relationships have become to them.  I heard one of them read a text he sent to his son on what appeared to be a very important day in his child’s life.  The text was a simple one that told his son that he was proud of him and he knew he would succeed in whatever he was doing that day.  With tears in his eyes, the man read the simple reply from his son which said “thanks Dad, you don’t know how much that means to me”. As the conversation continued, my mind wandered to to those simple words I had heard many times before.  Life is too short…….why worry about stuff?

I sat in the basement yesterday, sorting through piles of “stuff” I have accumulated and tried to sort out what I wanted to keep and what I wanted to sell or toss out.  As I sat I realized I really didn’t want to keep any of it because, at my age, what was I really going to do with it anyway. This stuff I was sorting through only had marginal meaning to me and no meaning to any of my family.  Ten years ago I would not have felt this way but today, there is no doubt in my mind that, like the oder man I heard today, life is too short to hold onto stuff that has no meaning.  It is time to clean my life and make a break from much of the garbage that has held me back and make some new experiences.  Time to move that clutter in my life and break from who I am and quit worrying about things that are no longer important.  Let’s face it, at the age of 51 I do not have a lifetime ahead of me and I need to make the best of the time I have left.  I need to do all I can to extend my time by taking care of my body and safeguarding my mind.  Spend time with those who are important to me and stop spending time on things that will not do me any good.  It is time to stop talking and start doing.  Lets see where this new attitude takes me.

A Christmas story that is good all year round!

In Uncategorized on January 17, 2015 at 2:12 am

Recently my wife and I ventured out in the December cold to downtown Chicago so that we could look at the Christmas lights and browse the Christkindle German Market. The night was cold and a damp wind was blowing off the lake but the streets were decorated in their holiday finest and the feeling of Christmas was in the air. We browsed the market and munched on potato pancakes while looking at handmade ornaments and other German Christmas decorations. The market was packed and not easy to navigate as thousands of others obviously came up with the idea of visiting the market, just as we had. After a while, Sharon and I had decided to leave as we had grown cold and the hot chocolate we were drinking no longer held any warming potential. We made our way to the back side of the market as this exit was less crowded and made our way to the main street where we could get to our car and get warm. I had lost track of Sharon and back tracked looking for her as I knew she had no idea how to get around the bustling city. It took just a few steps and I instantly saw her. I stood back so that she would not see me and watched in amazement as she did something I never expected. Sharon was standing next to a bus stop, talking to a homeless man who was sitting Indian style on the street, his head down and a sign asking for money in his hand. Sharon was not only giving this man money but she was actually talking to him. For someone who is was very timid when we first met, I was totally shocked by her actions.

As others passed by and saw right passed this man, he slowly lifted his tired head and looked in amazement as my bride started to talk to him. Sure, people would drop coins in his cup out of a sense of duty or guilt, but surely nobody stopped to take the time to talk to the man as a person. Nobody seemed to care about this homeless man but as I walked up I heard my wife asking this seemingly insignificant man about his age. I gasped as I realized that she was carrying on a conversation with a person that I had previously walked by and paid no attention to. I was just as guilty as my fellow shoppers in the market of ignoring the homeless as I shopped for treasures for those who probably would not appreciate them anyway and honestly did not need them either.

We found this man to be engaging and thankful for some human conversation. We found him to be 50 years old but looked much older. I guess that is what life on the streets will do to you. We talked of insignificant issues and spent a few minutes just treating him as a human. Of course, we dropped some bills in his cup and hoped that he could use the money to buy himself something to eat and not something to ease his pain on this cold December night. We shook hands and we walked away, exchanging God’s blessings and hopes for a Merry Christmas. I walked away with the image of this man burned into my mind.

As the Christmas season progressed I have thought of this man many times. The image of his face with a tired, sad look has haunted me since that night a few weeks ago. The only thing that has caused me to smile is when I look back on this encounter, I see my wife showing incredible compassion towards someone who others saw as a roadblock. She put her fear aside and found a man who needed to know someone cared about him. She found someone who needed a hug along with a few dollars and gave this homeless man one before she left. She helped to wake me up to the reality of life and the need to help those who are less fortunate, even if those who are in need are out of my comfort zone. The woman who I never thought would reach out to a homeless man beyond dropping a few coins in a cup really showed me something that cold December night. She showed me the meaning of compassion in action and how a simple, kind gesture has the potential to make someone’s day. I knew this to be true because as we left, that man who had a sad, tired look on his face now wore a bight smile as we shared a few laughs together. Although he remained homeless, Sharon was able to brighten his day, if only for a few moments and let him know some people really do care.

Who am I am and what have you done with me?

In Uncategorized on March 16, 2014 at 7:46 pm

I have been reading a book that was written by a career minor league baseball player who finally got his shot at the Major Leagues after playing six years in the armpit of the Major Leagues. It is well known that life in the minor leagues are filled with long bus rides, junk food and the constant fear of being cut from the team due to poor performances on the field. For 40 days this player experienced the opulence of being in the Majors but also felt the incredible pressure of being under the microscope of millions of eyes watching your every move.  This experience turned him into someone he was not.  This normally fun loving guy now snapped at his fiancé, found himself drinking more and was questioning the confidence that he always had in himself.  It wasn’t until he had a huge fight with his fiancé just two weeks before their wedding that he realized the big leagues changed him into someone he wasn’t.  He had spent so much time trying to achieve his goal of pitching on a Major League mound that when he finally made it, he could do nothing more than worry about staying there.  A bad outing on the mound, a sideways look from a baseball veteran or even a harsh word by an opposing fan caused him to second guess himself and question what he was doing.  The dream he realized was certainly not the dream he had in his head since he was a small boy.  All those hours of hard work and all his lofty dreams did not measure up to his expectations and made him into someone he didn’t recognize when he looked at himself in the mirror.

This story got me to thinking about life itself.  Growing up one dreams of being a baseball player, a scientist or even a fireman or policeman.   You have wild eyed dreams and you know that fulfilling these dreams are going to give your life satisfaction as well as happiness until the day you die.  The suddenly life hits.  You realize you either are not the student you need to be or you discover you hate science and will never be a scientist.  You realize you cannot hit a curveball and your dreams of wearing a Major League uniform are crushed or you realize that being a cop could be detrimental to your very life. In short, life happens and dreams are thrown out like yesterday’s trash.  Depressing isn’t it?

I have spent a good deal of time in the last year thinking about unrealized expectations and a life that may have failed to live up to my childhood dreams. I guess turning fifty years old may do that to some people and I certainly am no exception.  I am now looking back to take inventory of my life and see if my current life measures up to who I thought I would be when I dreamed years ago.  I am a father, a husband, a son as well as a college graduate.  All things I hoped that I would be when I “grew up”.  What I am not is a home owner, a millionaire and a first baseman for any big league team that would have me, all which I just somehow knew would come true.  Some of my childhood dreams were certainly attainable and some not but that hasn’t stopped me from mulling these dreams over and over in my head and wondering what went wrong.  Like the minor league pitcher I couldn’t help but be disappointed in who I had become even after seeing many of my hopes and dreams come true.

After spending a year literally thinking about who I am and where I have been I have come to the realization that I want to reinvent myself as I enter the later years of life.  I have decided that I have become literally fat and lazy, not only in my daily activities but in my mind as well.  I admire those who are much older than I who continue to attend college, try new things and make a difference in their own lives even when they are much closer to the end of their own end than they are the beginning.   It is obvious that playing for a Major League team will never happen at this point but I might find just as much satisfaction coaching Little League baseball as I would have playing ball.  Saving money to travel and see grandkids or see sites I have always wanted to visit will help round out a life I know I never dreamed of as a child but now long for as an adult. 

That baseball player I spoke of would eventually realize that attaining his dream of playing big league baseball was not at all what he hoped it would be.  The money was great but the expectations were immense and much more than he could bear.  He would continue to play baseball for a few more years before hanging up his glove and spikes and walk away from the game as a player.  After a good deal of soul searching he had finally realized that there was more to life than what he had dreamed of as a child.  He has reinvented himself as an author and broadcaster and has seemed to find much more reward in these roles than he ever thought he could.  He found happiness where he never would have dreamed he could. He allowed himself to think outside the box and look for opportunities in other areas and found satisfaction where he never thought he could.

Finding satisfaction in an area I never thought I would is now my new goal.  At the age of fifty I am not dead and can do so many things with my life.  I am married to a great woman and since my children are grown and I have a college degree in my back pocket there should be nothing that stops me.  I think I have been so focused on losing weight and what this change would mean to my life I have lost focus of where I wanted to go.  For so long now I have told myself that my life will start when I lose enough weight that everything has been on hold until that day arrives.  Like that baseball player, it was so easy to celebrate my success and too easy for me to get down on myself with my failures.  I let the lack of weight loss overwhelm me and derail any plans I may have had for my future.  No longer can I allow my life to be dictated by weight loss as I have too many interests that are waiting to be experienced to be hampered by one aspect of my life.  Make no mistake, weight loss is one of my top priorities but is not THE top priority.  I have a life to live and allowing myself to have other experiences while I lose weight will help relieve the boredom of the life I have created for myself.  Like that ball player, I need to get into a new frame of mind and look for opportunities where I would have never looked before.  I need to reinvent myself and decide what it is I would like to do with the rest of my life.  I may not become an author or a broadcaster like that former baseball player but there is little doubt I can find just as much satisfaction in what I find as he did in the life he is now living.  Now it is just a matter of getting this new life started and heading in the right direction. 

This was the winter of my discontent…..

In Uncategorized on March 1, 2014 at 9:27 pm

Winter has a strange way of derailing the best laid plans of man or beast.  Good intentions can be replaced by complacency while laziness sets in for the long, cold season.  This winter has been especially cruel due to the record setting number of sub-zero days and the near record snow falls which has resulted in inactivity and lack of desire to do anything remotely resembling fitness activity.  Let’s be serious here.  Who really has the inclination to go outside in weather that is seeing temperatures that are colder than one’s own home freezer and walk on sidewalks that have turned to skating rinks?  Nobody, outside of fitness freaks and those who own a pair of cross country skis dare venture outside in this Midwest weather.

Winter starts out with a holiday that encourages overindulgence with Thanksgiving and all the gastric delights it has to offer. It then continues with Christmas with its egg nog, cookies and other treats held back for this particular time of year.  Winter then segues into New Year’s where consuming massive amounts of food and drink is not only accepted but encouraged.    Winter then lulls us into a state where all we want to do is fluff our nests and cuddle up with a bowl of our favorite comfort food and wait until the crocuses pop up through the ground in a time frame that seems like an eternity. Winter is not a friend of fitness and only perpetuates the sedentary lifestyle.

This winter has been hard on my trek to a healthier lifestyle and has killed any momentum I had built up for weight loss during most of last year.  I have found myself forgoing the extensive indoor walking at work and the diet regime I had set up for myself in exchange for extra time on the internet and foods that are of no use to me.  This has been a pattern in my life that I was determined to break but I soon found myself doing the same old things.  The difference is this year, I knew how good it felt to see the success on the scale after all my hard work yet I decided to turn my back on this success and go back to my old ways.  With each passing day I pushed those thoughts of doing the right thing and replaced them with thoughts as empty as the calories I was consuming.  This year I knew I knew what I had to do yet I decided that I was not going to do the right thing. 

This brings me to today, March 1, 2014….the start of spring according to the weather man.  Despite that fact it is snowing outside and we are expecting 6 or more inches of snow and the next week’s temperatures are forecasted to be in the mid-teens I am determined to get back on the horse (bike) and not fall off again.  I worked up the courage to visit my doctor’s office today to weigh in for the first time since October and discovered that I had “only” gained six pounds despite my best intentions to gain more this winter.  I rejoiced in the fact that I did not gain even more weight than I did and vowed to get back down to my previous weight within two weeks.  Once again I am feeling the need for the thrill of seeing decreased numbers on the scale and the ability to walk further than I have been able to in recent years.   I am remembering how the compliments from friends pushed me even harder to decrease my size and I am mad at myself for allowing winter to come between me and the person who I am striving to be.  Today, on the first day of spring, 2014 I now declare winter to be over and my quest to be less of a man (in size only) to be renewed.  Winter no longer has a hold over me and I refuse to let it derail my plans of becoming who I really want me to be.  Now if I can only convince Mother Nature that winter is done.

Stalled………..

In Uncategorized on November 10, 2013 at 3:47 am

As I write this I am just about feeling back to normal after battling a terrible case of bronchitis and, as the doctor put it…nearly pneumonia.  Sadly, this has greatly hindered my attempt to lose more weight and I have to finally admit I will more than likely fall short of my goal of losing 80 pounds by New Year ’s Day.  I had been hindered from doing much walking as each step would undoubtedly cause me to cough uncontrollably which is not a good thing where you are trying your best to stay on your feet and walking any sort of distance. As I mentioned, I am finally feeling much better and can resume my exercise this coming week.

Taking this time off has not been all that detrimental to me as I have not gained back any of the weight I have lost but it has taken the edge off of the focus I had previously.  I find myself slacking and falling back into some old ways of thinking that I have to work to avoid.  It is so easy to get back into a bad habit and find myself back into the same old ruts I was in before I started this weight loss journey.  Deciding to not take a walk because I just don’t feel like it or eating something I know will only cause pounds to be put back on are the battles I find myself waging day after day.  After sitting around for nearly three weeks with this bronchitis the battle has become larger for me.  I need to power through this and continually remind myself the reasons why I am losing the weight and not fall for the momentary satisfaction that a drive through can bring me.

One thought that I continue to have in my head is that I am envisioning myself smaller than I really am. I am thrilled that I have lost 52 pounds and feel so much better than I did when I was larger but the stark reality is that I am still an obese man.  Even though the 500 pound signpost is but a distant memory, the point is 449 pounds doesn’t make me a shadow of my former self by any stretch of the imagination.   I am still fat and I still have a long way to go before I am where I want to be.  It feels like I am feeling satisfied at my current weight and I need to knock that thought out of my head to keep powering through this weight loss journey.  I am not sure what it will take to make me lose the idea that I am happy where I am at because all the things that motivated me at the beginning are still there.  Prayer and determination are about my only hope at this time. 

The November winds are blowing and the fall crispness of the air is making way for the winter freeze which would normally signal a hibernation of sorts for me.  A season of listlessness followed by eating any number of comfort foods was the way I would usually survive the winter months but I am determined to avoid the hibernation factor this winter.  I have no excuses as I have a large and warm building at work in which I can easily walk each day to get my daily dose of exercise.  I am still holding out hope that I can find a bike trainer that I can afford so that I can ride my bike in the basement which will only help to increase my weight loss.  Anyone have one they want to sell cheap?  LOL

Bottom line is I have been lulled into a sense of comfort and need to reignite the fires that drove me to put down the chocolate bunny the day after Easter, 2013 and decide I was sick and tired of being who I was.  It is back to the drawing board for me and changes are going to be made once again to get me to where I need to be.

Just an update….thats all….

In Uncategorized on August 24, 2013 at 7:14 pm

It’s been a little while since I have written in this blog and I felt it was time for an update.  This post will be more or less a chance for me to keep a track record of my progress so anyone who reads this I do apologize in advance if it lacks the usual wittiness.

As of this writing I am currently recovering from my two week vacation and have spent the last week working on losing the two pounds I gained while I was out.  I can say that I have now officially lost 43 pounds since I started getting serious about my weight in April of 2013.  At my highest weight I was 527 pounds so being down a total of 69 pounds has made a world of difference to my knees and overall health.  I can now walk much greater distances without having to stop and suck massive amounts of air and can happily say that I am no longer the 500 pound man that I used to be.  Those times are behind me and will continue to be but a blip in my rear view mirror as my weight loss continues.  My goal of losing a total of 80 pounds by Christmas is certainly one that is attainable and one I am positive I will easily hit.  After being this size for many years of my life the possibilities of having a life that is totally different from the one I have known is exciting and scary all at the same time. 

Another important change is that while I have been out on vacation Sharon and I were able to order bicycles that will support our size.  While this may sound like a petty thing let me tell you finding a bike to hold someone my size is not an easy proposition.  After literally two to three months of research we have decided to buy bikes made by Worksman in New York City (http://www.worksmancycles.com/).  This company is one of the last (if not THE) last major company to make bikes in the United States and they specialize in heavy duty bikes for various uses.   While pricy, we were able to find a few bikes in our price range and Sharon was able to take hers home from the dealer while I had to order mine.  Hopefully I will have it within a few more weeks so that I can combine walking with bike riding in an effort to really lose weight.

So this is where I am at right now.  43 pounds down, able to walk much longer distances than I have been able to in at least two decades and an overall feeling of better health is something to be very happy about.  I still have a long way to go as I want to lose a total of 200 pounds but every little step and every ounce lost is a step in the right direction. Now I just need to stay away from vacations so I don’t put back on the weight I have lost and continue with the downward spiral of the scale’s numbers.  

Stacks-O-Pants

In Uncategorized on July 2, 2013 at 7:27 pm

Probably one of the worst parts of being fat is that I have been forced to look at stacks of pants and jeans that I have collected in my closet that I have been unable to fit into. Many of these pants still have tags on them from a failed catalog purchase or are jeans were purchased at the correct size but they were just cut wrong. Most of these items were so small on me that the only way I could fit into them was to lay on the bed and have my wife pull them on me like she was pulling on a brand new pair of cowboy boots. I literally had this stack of pants/jeans sitting in my closet for years, sitting there, mocking me, reminding me of hopeful times but yet I could never fit into them. Why didn’t I get rid of them? Well I was going to lose weight of course. I knew that someday would eventually come but I was just not sure when. That time has come!!

A few weeks ago I decided that I might actually have a shot at these clothes fitting without making me look like a sack of potatoes that was about to bust through their bag. I pulled the previously mentioned jeans from the pile and to my great surprise I was able to pull them up to the place in which they should be. No saggy butt jeans that showed my underwear for me but jeans that actually fit the way they are supposed to. I then excitedly grabbed the slacks that were once angrily thrown into the back of the closet and found I no longer had a need to be angry as they now also fit. One by one I pulled items from the pile and each time I did so I found my wardrobe had increased. Fresh from my success at getting this stack of pants to properly fit I ventured to the dusty back corner of the closet where shirts I have not been able to wear in a few years resided. To my surprise these shirts also now fit me because of my recent weight loss. My happiness was tempered by the fact that these shirts were probably very much out of style and should only be worn around the house or when I need a rag to wash the car with. I am no slave to fashion but even I recognize that these clothing items would probably earn me a spot on the People of Wal Mart web site if I were to wear them in public. Never the less, my recent weight loss has allowed me to greatly expand my selection of clothing while reducing my overall weight.

While I am sure there are many things greater than fitting into long forgotten clothes but I am hard pressed to find anything that would equal this monumental feat. You see, these clothes represented a terrible time in my life in which I knew I was increasing my waistline but would not allow myself to be honest about it. I would buy clothes that were the size I was hoping I would be and not the size I was at that time all the while falling deeper into the abyss of weight gain. We had moved a number of times in the last five years and each time this stack stayed with me, hidden away like the shame of being a 500 pound man. I never wanted to admit to myself that these clothes didn’t fit me just like I would never see the actual fat man staring back at me in the mirror each morning. After all, if I couldn’t see it then it wasn’t true. A lie I would constantly tell myself and one I would constantly believe.

As great as this success is I cannot help but to use it as fuel to my weight loss fire. I love getting back into these clothes but my mind cannot help but wonder what it will be like to get into clothes that I used to only dream about. The freebie shirts they occasionally gave away at work, the sports jerseys I always wanted to own but would never find in my size, the suit I always wanted to buy but I was sure I looked terrible in. Fitting into these long forgotten clothes is only the tip of the ice berg to me as there are so many other things I want to do once I lose the weight but being able to dress nice and have someone look at me because I am smartly dressed and not because of my size is something that is no longer a dream but a very real possibility.

I’ve Got Friends in Low Places…….

In Uncategorized on June 22, 2013 at 3:56 pm

This week I had a chance to visit some old friends. These “friends” of mine have never been good to me but they represented a time when I was comfortable, happy and content with the life I was leading at that time. These friends were always non-judgmental and happy to see me every time I paid them a visit while at the same time being so very bad for my physical and mental wellbeing. While they always greeted me with a smile on their face I knew deep down inside they never had my best interest in mind. These friends were deceitful and I let them do this to me. Mr. McDonald, Ms. Little Debbie and the rest of my friends from a past life came back this week and tripped me up and I let them.

Oh sure, I knew what I was doing. They didn’t force me to hang out with them but the weight loss had been so easy up until this point I figured I would stop by my former friends and show them what I had become. What’s that? A small bag of fries you say…..of course…why not? I have been doing so well just one small bag wouldn’t hurt. A donut for my drive to work? Well I haven’t had one of those for a while and I deserve a treat so why not? A dog and a beer at the ball game? Of course that is perfectly acceptable but the brat and chips was probably more than I should have expected.

Let’s just say a hard lesson was learned this week. I weighed in this morning and saw that I had actually gained one pound since last Saturday. The weight loss up to this point had been so easy for me that I allowed myself to cut corners and eat some I had forgotten about. I became overconfident and found myself staring at the scale in disbelief of what I was seeing. Somehow I knew this week was going to come because in every weight loss plan some disappointment is sure to flare up and smack the dieter back into reality. We all become complacent at times and allow old habits to creep back into our routine and derail our best efforts. It is what one does after these moments of weakness that defines their strengths. In short, I needed this week to kick my tail and get me back on track. The sting of the glowing red numbers staring back at me with a weight I thought I had left behind is honestly an overwhelming feeling and not one I want to feel again. It is this sting that will carry me through the coming weeks and months and will push me to remain on track and continue to strive to achieve my goal of a more than 200 pound weight loss. I have resolved to not feel the sting of a bad week, hanging with old friends ever again.

I want to ride my bicycle I want to ride my bike…………………..

In Uncategorized on June 13, 2013 at 5:26 pm

One of the many activities I enjoyed as a child was spending countless hours on my bicycle, riding around the small, rural neighborhood I grew up in. We did not live anywhere near a town or city so all of the kids were forced to travel under our pedal power over the one paved road and countless other gravel roads in the neighborhood. We also would go “off road” in a transformed weed-choked vacant lot where a house was once excavated but never built and turned these dirt mounds into countless ramps and jumps from which we nearly killed ourselves on a daily basis. The children of Riverside Park pedaled everywhere and it was never unusual to see 2piles of bikes strewn about in a front yard while spontaneous games of baseball or ghost in the graveyard were under way. In Riverside Park, a kid without a bike meant he or she blew out a tire taking a jump on the dirt hills or he was being punished for some obviously unfair reason. As I grew older, bicycling was an activity that was best left to the younger crowd or those who had lost their license to drive as a result of too much partying at the local establishment. After all, I had owned a car from the age of 16 so there was no real reason for me to get around town on anything but four wheels and an engine. It was only recently that I had run across a blog that has changed my opinion on the need to go back to pedal power as a means of travel as well as exercise.

Let me just say that I always had dreams of getting back on a bike as I loved it as a kid and enjoyed the freedom it provided me. I knew that as long as I had my two-wheeled companion I would be able to make summer days stretch and at the same time keep up with all my friends. As a large man I had researched many options for cycling but knew that there was no way I would be able to ride as I surely would bend a frame or wheel or perhaps bust some other essential bike part and my dream of becoming Lance Armstrong would be shattered. A few days ago I found a blog by British man named Gaz who mirrored my life in so many ways. While he was about 50 pounds heavier than I was when I started this weight loss journey, his thoughts and opinions about himself where the same things I have thought about myself over the years. He had the same type of job I currently have and even looked a bit like me in some ways. The amazing part of this blog is that Gaz decided one day to buy a bike that would hold him and make a change in his fortune. I will let you read the blog to see how well he did (let me tell you….you need to read the blog or at least look at the pictures) but lets just say the man is now an inspiration to me.

I had mentioned in a blog or two that doctors have told me that I would need the gastric bypass surgery in order to lose weight as anyone my size will never be able to accomplish this goal on their own. Gaz has shown me, once again that while doctors are smart people they don’t know everything. Medically, doctors can spout facts and provide a reality check but what they don’t take into consideration is the basic human spirit to survive. Once that switch clicks in one’s head that there is a goal to accomplish, there is no medical reasoning in the world that will prevent someone from attaining this goal. Gaz is a prime example of a man who was driven to not only change his life but change how he saw himself. He didn’t give a damn that he LOOKED like a fat man on a bike and cared less what others thought and plowed through the embarrassment to find a new person living inside the 560 pounds he was trapped in. Nothing was going to stop him and honestly, by looking at the pictures on his blog, nothing has.

Gaz has stirred something inside of me that has propelled my desire to get back on that bicycle and explore new possibilities. There is a whole world out there that has been shut out to me as a fat man and it is a world I want to see for myself before that day comes when I am no longer physically able to even attempt pedal power. I don’t want to be older and wish I had given myself a chance to once again feel the wind in my face as I pedaled my bike and explored the neighborhood of my adulthood. Maybe I could come across that front yard filled with bikes just strewn about and meet up with friends who started an impromptu game of ghost in the graveyard. Maybe I might even find that vacant lot with dirt hills that tempt me into just one more daring run off the end of a rock filled ramp. Most likely I will find myself, a man who was able to drop a large amount of weight doing something he loved as a child. No matter what I find I know I will have a man I have never met who has given me the inspiration to get off my butt and explore my neighborhood once again under my own pedal power.

Visit Gaz’s blog at http://39stonecyclist.com/pictures/