Admitting and owning up to my weaknesses is very tough for me. Its tough for a lot of people. Taking ownership of those weaknesses is the very essence and reason this blog exists. One weakness that I had when I was overweight was to hide my emotions and feeling of sadness behind a mask of comedy. I hated being overweight and instead of dealing with the issues of why I was overweight, I dealt with it by taking on a persona of the funny fat friend.
That personification worked for my friends and family. But it really wasn’t working for me. I was able to get by, but I wasn’t improving myself. I knew I wanted more out of life than to be that funny guy that everyone knew was overweight. The more I perpetuated the funny guy, the more ashamed I became of my weight and health. It was difficult to break that mold as everyone loved the funny fat guy….except me.
I lost 50 pounds and haven’t lost my sense of humor. Looking back, I’ve realized that the funny guy persona was less about being funny and more about deflecting thoughts and discussions about my health. It feels great to just be me and not have to develop and live up to a fabricated persona. The one positive aspect that I have taken away from that time in my life is that my friends and family loved me regardless of my outward appearance. They love me the same and will be able to for many more years. That would have been cut short if I continued down my health destruction path.
I’ve left that persona behind, no longer need it. I’m more focused than ever to be myself, be healthy and created laughs well into the future.
I’ve learned a lot of things in the last year and a half. I’ve learned that I can overcome many things. I’ve learned what my limitations are. I’ve learned that I can defy those limitations and push past them. I’ve learned that I can be tempted yet not cave in to delicious junk food. I’ve learned what clothes I like to workout in. I’ve learned what time of day is best for me to eat. The list is endless. However, the most important thing I’ve learned is that I’ve failed and fallen many times and that I will continue to do so and that I have the power and will to get up, learn a lesson and keep going.
This was a tough lesson to learn. The first time I failed was my first full weekend after starting my weight loss journey. I ate like I have never eaten before. It felt good at the time, but the scale begged to differ. It would have been easy for me to quit right there and tell myself that I can’t do it. That I can’t eat right and lose weight. It would have been easy for me to shut it down, return to my usual habits and continue to gain weight. But I refused; I picked myself up and forged ahead.
I soon learned that falling down is all part of the experience. It comes with the territory. Once I understood that, I took more risks and pushed myself. I knew that I would fall down. But I also knew that I would get back up and keep going. Failing isn’t a bad thing, in fact I think its necessary. To truly understand my limits, to learn and to grow, I know that I need to push my boundaries. In doing that, failures will happen. When I push those limits and fall down, I take a few moments to understand why, learn from it and keep going.
I think too many people go into weight loss with the idea that it will all go smoothly and the pounds will melt off. When they encounter a bump in the road, they get bummed out and revert to their old ways. I see too many people that do well for 2 weeks, a month and then gain all the weight back plus some. They fell down along the way and didn’t get back up. Getting back up is, for me at least, the key to losing weight and living the life I want to live.
Know that falling down and getting up is within me, I have been able to push my limits even further and experiment with different things. What time of day I eat, what I eat, how much water to drink, when to workout etc. Its been fun to learn my body and how it reacts to different scenarios. Most of the experiments are failures but in failure comes knowledge.
I know that I will fall down and fail dozens of times in the future. But I will also get back up!
Losing weight is hard. Losing weight has put me through emotional roller coasters, bouts of low motivation, hunger pangs etc. There is so much physical and mental effort that goes into losing weight. Sometimes it becomes overwhelming. Being overwhelmed has led me to binge eating (mostly on desserts…I love ice cream). Trying to lose weight by myself was not successful as there is no avenue for an outlet or to have someone push you. Enter social media/networks.
There are tons of people going through the same things I am going through and they are all willing to sit in my corner and cheer me on. The people that I follow on Twitter (and follow me) has proven to be a valuable resource and tool in my effort to lose weight. The value of the information they share is priceless and I am grateful for each person that takes the time to share what they are doing to fight the good fight. But it goes beyond that. Real relationships are being formed on Twitter than have a positive impact.
If I am having a bad day, I know that I can turn to Twitter, and describe that my motivation for exercising is at an all-time low. I know that in a matter of minutes, I will have several people give me the pep talk I need. There are people in my corner, people that I have never met in person, people who really care and they want to see me succeed. To me, this is amazing and something I don’t take for granted.
I learn so much about health and weight loss everyday from Twitter. More importantly, I learn about people and how powerful it is to have people who care rooting for me. Its hard not to join the cause and help out as much as I can. When I see someone on Twitter who needs a boost, I make sure I reach out to them and let them know that they can do it. That there are people out there who care and want them to achieve their goals. This creates a very positive and powerful relationship between people who have a common goal and share the same struggles.
I urge anyone trying to lose weight to get involved in social networks and form relationships with other people trying to lose weight and get fit. The positive energy is undeniable and amazing.
There are way too many people that I could mention, however, I want to take a moment to mention someone who I met on Twitter that has become a friend. That person is Miller (@retroactiv_). I was in a bad mood one day after a bad experience at the gym and I made a small comment on Twitter. He reached out to me and gave me the positive pep talk I needed to keep going. The amazing part of this story is that I had never met or talked to him before. He reached out cause he saw someone who needed motivation. I am glad to call him a friend and know that by pushing each other we will reach our goals.
The moral of this post is that you don’t have to go at it alone. There are people out there willing to help and be there with you!
My wife and I love watching movies. We don’t necessarily enjoy the theater experience, so we wait for movies to go to rental before we watch them. Our rental method of choice is Redbox. Its inexpensive, its convenient and Redbox always has the most recent movies. However, there is one major downside to renting movies from Redbox. Most Redbox locations are inside McDonald’s.
Every time I go to rent a movie, I am deeply tempted to order the very thing that helped contribute to being overweight. As I enter McDonald’s with the thoughts of what comedy I’m going to rent, I smell the sweet aroma of freshly cooked fries and unbelievable, yet gross, dollar menu McDouble Hamburgers.
Its extremely difficult to rent a movie without wanting to stuff my face with the worst food America has to offer. Yet, I persevere and endure for the sake of a good comedy. I know that its just a matter of time before I potentially cave to temptation. I am declaring, from this moment on, that I will never go to a McDonald’s again to rent a movie. The easiest way to control a problem is to avoid temptation. For example, if a recovering alcoholic wants to avoid a relapse, they should not visit a bar…even if they are only ordering water to drink. Its just a matter of time until temptation wins. Avoiding temptation is, for me, the best way to not be tempted.
I just learned that a Redbox has been installed at the grocery store that I shop at. This is where I will be renting movies from now on. This is a welcome surprise and one that will help me make better decisions. Thank you Redbox…Horrible Bosses is a funny movie!
This past weekend (12/03/11), I participated in my first duathlon. This event was a 4-mile run followed by a 10-mile bike. The event is called Chilly Cheeks because the event is ran regardless of weather conditions. They said that some years is warm and dry out, but that wasn’t the case this year. It was cold, windy, snowy and downright brutal.
I got to the event and parked my bike in the transition area (shown in pic). I immediately went back to my warm car and waited for the event to start. As I sat in my car, I watched other participants pull up and get ready for the event. As I was people watching, one thing quickly became apparent. I didn’t have the right gear to run/bike in these conditions. All of these other people had high tech gear (shirts, pants, socks etc) and I had the stuff that was in my drawers at home. I was ill-equipped…this is something I made a note of for next time. The next thought in my head was that I made a fatal mistake. I didn’t bring a change of clothes! I will be driving home in cold and wet socks and shirt. Another lesson learned.
The race started out as any other race. I was excited as I approached the start line. The run was a 4 mile loop that finished at the transition area. As the start gun went off, I began running at my normal pace. Not too long into the run, I realized that I have never really run or trained with the amount of clothing that I was currently wearing. I wonder how this will impact my pace. The run was pleasant and the cool air really didn’t bother me too bad. The first 1.75 miles of the run was on a snow packed road. My feet were staying dry and fairly warm. The rest of the run was on a trail and my feet became an issue. My feet got wet and my toes were starting to get really cold. I now regret that I didn’t bring a change a socks for the transition. I tried to put my toes out of my mind and just finish the run.
I entered the transition area (shown in pic on right) and began to get ready for the bike leg of the race. I took a bit longer than I wanted cause I ate a well needed Clif Bar. When that was down the hatch, I grabbed my bike and off I went. The bike portion of the race was an out and back course that followed the run for the first 2 miles.The first part of the bike leg was actually kinda nice. The course was flat so I was able to go fast and the wind wasn’t too bad. About 4 miles into it, the wind kicked up which made it very cold. I brought ski goggles so my vision wasn’t an issue, but the wind was ripping right through me. At the half way mark of the bike I was ready to throw in the towel. But my ego wouldn’t allow that. I had to finish. The ride back to the finish line was a bit downhill so I pressed on. To my surprise, I passed a few people which just added to my motivation to finish.
I saw the finish line and started peddling as fast as I possible could. My toes were frozen and I wanted to get warm. I could see the end in sight and I wanted to cross that line so I could get in my warm truck and thaw out. As I crossed the finish line, I felt a great sense of accomplishment. I withstood the elements and finished my first duathlon. The best part of crossing the finish line was still to come. After I took off my timing chip a warm cup of Cup O’Noodles was waiting for me. I devoured that cup of noodles.
When I got home, I looked online for my results. I finished in a total time of 1 hour 49 minutes 39 seconds. The 4-mile run took me 45:56 and I completed the bike in 58:30.
In retrospect, I might have been a little crazy for going out in the elements to run and bike…but I am glad I did. I pushed myself and accomplished something. The race was a lot of fun, even with the crazy weather. I look forward to the other 2 duathlons in the Chilly Cheeks series!
I learned a lot of lessons due to preparation. Better stated, the lack of preparation. After a few failures, I got the hint and started preparing a bit more. My weight loss has benefited from preparation. From writing a to-do list, to laying out workout clothes the night before and to preparing food.
Preparation is the difference between:
- Eating an apple for a snack rather than finding a gas station and chowing down on a Milky Way. B
- Bringing a healthy lunch to work rather than finding the local pizzeria and having two huge slices of pie.
- Walking around the gym aimlessly wasting time and getting in a quick and effective workout
Preparation is a key element to weight loss.
When I first started to lose weight, I was ill prepared. I woke up in the morning and made a half attempt to pack a lunch but was never really satisfied because I was running late to work. I go to the gym and decided ad hoc what I was going to workout. I didn’t bring any snacks to workout so I found myself in the aisles of 7-Eleven looking for something “healthy” to eat. Each week, I got a little bit better at preparing and overtime, I became and expert at preparing myself for the next day/week and planning out what I was going to eat as well as my exercise routine.
On Sundays, my wife and I make a dinner menu for the week to come and go grocery shopping. The menu also includes several lunch options to bring to work during the week as well as a litany of healthy snacks. This may sound trivial, but planning out your week menu and only purchasing the food for that menu helped me not binge eat on crap food at home; because there was no crap food on the week’s menu, there was no crap food at home.
When I first started experimenting with preparation, I wasn’t very good at it. I forgot things, or I prepared the wrong things. Its a lot like weight loss. I had to practice at it, tweak the method and find what worked for me. Just like anything else, once I got good at it, it became a habit and is now a part of my daily routine.
Preparation is an essential tool for my weight loss. Try it out!