Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Impressing Myself vs. Self License

Yup, I'm still here....still on the path of the skinny.  Three and a half months have elapsed since I first stepped on this bus and smoothly and steadily, it rolls along with few detours or speed bumps.  These past couple of weeks have been my most challenging ones thus far.  I have surprised myself on the good and bad sides of my day to day experiences.  Yet, even the "bad" things really have just been learning situations that I can place in my brain to reference for the next time.  The time since the DFC has flown by.  Truly, I feel like I left there last month.  I think of this as a good thing because I still hold all of this information that I learned there freshly in my mind.  I know that I've established habits that are taking hold and are coming so much more naturally at this point.  But the dark side lurks close by and I have given myself license at times that has resulted in negative consequence and has slowed my weight loss progress.

65 pounds have been shed to date.  To me, it finally feels like a significant number that has fallen off my fat ass!  As I stated above, there has been some learning experiences about my body's reaction to all that I have challenged it with on this journey, and challenge it I have!!  I'm a party person as it turns out.  I know.  Some of you are shocked by this revelation.  But I love a good happy hour, and I love a night out and about.  I track a lot of stuff on a spread sheet I built and this helps me to see trends in my diet and exercise program and helps to keep me honest with myself. (Especially, when I am out and about, this review becomes super important!)  Somehow, in all of my party prowess, I still have yet to order a pizza or a single chicken wing which I consider successful.  Fast food has virtually disappeared from my lifestyle, (or non-questioningly, lack of a lifestyle pre-journey) Mainly, I log my exercise, daily weight, blood pressure, and calories burned as best I can collect this information and most importantly, I track my calorie intake.  When I know I'm headed out on the town, I do prepare.  I am more critically aware of what calories will more than likely be ingested in party mode, and I try to be more frugal with my calorie 'spending' limit for a day or two prior.  There have been two times where I came home and had absolutely no idea how to score things on my sheet.  No, not necessarily from being face down after a few cocktails, but because I was at a restaurant and really couldn't guess well, or at a party where finger foods ruled.   I basically am counting calories as I prepare or order each meal to make sure I'm not out of bounds, and then each night I review each meal and snack throughout my day and enter it into the spreadsheet. I should probably have a booze calorie column, but I'm a little leery of tracking that info, and I know thus far, I haven't been disastrous in this area...again, I know you're shocked.  For now, I just count them with all the other little calories.

 I'm thinking about adding a sodium content column on the spreadsheet as I think this has done me in a couple of times.  This is where I think my challenges lay and it has become an area that impresses me to no end. There is a balance I am trying to achieve for myself and much of this balance does come naturally in how the DFC has taught me to react to food and exercise.  The balance teeters between quality of life concerns and leading a healthier lifestyle.  There is room for both I've found.  The 'license' I sometimes give myself comes easily, almost too easily,  and this is an area where I need to put in a double check for myself.  I've come too far now to allow a licensing issue to become detrimental to my progress and these are those situations that I can now reflect upon going forward.  The times that I've allowed license to eat, I end up going to stuff that the salt content is out the window.  Nothing will make you want to cringe more than stepping on the scale the next morning and you've gained seven pounds overnight.  Now, I know a lot of this is water weight being held back by that salt binge and it will go away, but thus far, it takes my body a few days to return back to where I left it before and then progress resumes.  Of the two times this has happened, one was conscious, and one was a miss-read on a label...or operator error.  Thankfully, I recover the next day and get back on track, but to me, it is lost time in weight loss progress and that is the trade off for a night out.  Mentally, I can deal to a point, but I can't say that there is not regret when these situations have happened.

For as much success that I have made thus far, there is no way that I could have ever made this journey without the support of those around me.  Family, friends, and coworkers have been invaluable to me.  But also from the owners and servers of the restaurant next door to where I work.  I merely show up and say the word 'yes' and they know that I want a chicken breast on a pita with a side of steamed broccoli and a salad. To be able to order off menu has been awesome to meeting my needs and so convenient.  I've befriended new folks at the gym who are now aware of my progress and give me a thumbs up or an approving nod when they see me trying to kill a machine.  I have an awesome support person in my life who is so genuinely supportive and has expressed her wish for my success since forever ago without ever being preachy. She welled up with happy tears at my progress when we started to discuss my success one night.   This both blew me out of the water and invigorated me at the same time. The fact that she was moved to this reaction totally surprised me yet, it shouldn't have at all given her long standing wish for me. An amazing, uplifting contribution.   Facebook has been an invaluable tool as well.  I can seek advice, demonstrate my accountability, and listen to information from so many voices.  The support online is awesome.  Recently, upon finally hitting a wall at the gym, I got so many great suggestions on how I can work through it and I have not seen the wall since!

My self confidence is huge right now.  It's just been growing.  I've always been a confident person in regards to my abilities and sensibilities inwardly, but for the first time in a long time, my outward confidence is beginning to show up again.  I've made some big life changes so far, and with this confidence, more life changes in other areas are on the horizon.  This is the year of Blair.  Good things are ahead, just need to get there.  My charted course is being followed and there are smiles...Really big ones!

Lastly, I recently got an email from the DFC concerning their plight though these touch economic times which is forcing them to experience another round of layoffs by a third, and a reduction of services to clients.  I'm sure the DFC will not disappear, and there is good business sense to their decisions that can not be denied, but it is sad to think that some of the great people who have launched me soon may have to deal with life disruption.  You'd think in this hugely obese population of ours that there would be endless supply of folks seeking out the help of a program such as that at the DFC.  But I guess this is not the case....If you know of anyone struggling with obesity, I can certainly recommend a place for them to begin their own journey.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Status: Plateau

Update: 55lbs gone...many, many, many more to go, but this is a great start...averaging about 5lbs per week.  This will slow down for sure, but I have loved the progress thus far.  I'm wearing jeans that I have not worn for 5 years and shirts that are 4 years old, this alone is back flip worthy!

I survived the holidays with such satisfaction with myself... for a change this year.  It's not like I held back and ate yogurt, grapes and green beans this season.  I ate what was served, and I did it with so little guilt yet with so much less celebration attached to the food itself.  My mother makes holiday cookies.  She doesn't really hold back, they are creative and yummy and they are a part of our family holiday traditions.  The volume was down for the first time in recent memory and I made sure I had a sampling of each type each day.  But I had them.  After all of the hard work I've been doing since my journey began, this was the test for me, celebration within limits. This time of year is typically the holy grail of bad habits and overeating.  I was so much more cognisant of what was going in me and I was okay with my calorie tolerances.  They were higher than I have had since my release, but not criminal or over the top. I kept a mental check list of what was being put into my gullet and this made it okay for me to have those fantastic cookies that are such a part of our family.  For New Year's eve, I knew roughly what was to happen that night, so I was able to prepare in advance so that I could work in those extra calories into the plan.  Hitting the low side of prior meals leading up to the big ball of love drop in Times Square, hitting the gym a little harder before and after allowed me to relax and enjoy the moment and not feel like I sacrificed. 

An extremely wise man (Okay, it was Brian the Physiologist, yes the one that makes pain a reality with a smile), preparing myself and other 'Duke DFC class of Thursday' graduates for life in the jungle upon our release, made a point of saying to us that it's okay if you blow the work out routine here and again. It will happen. Truly, the body will not explode if you don't work out one day in which you had planned.  Stay active as best you can, and get back into your routine as soon as you biggie.  No need to go into a depressive couch coma tailspin of worry and guilt over a blown schedule.  He made the further point that nutritionally, you can do so much more damage to yourself in such a short amount of time, that this is almost the more important thing to watch.  Needless to say, I have this thought welded to the inside of my forehead most days.  It is so front of mind as I address food each day and every meal. But alas, I have a personal failing to relay.

Where I succeeded through Christmas and New Year's with weight loss throughout with such ease and aplomb (self delivered pats on the back and a celebratory massage), I was next confronted with my birthday.  The planets aligned, clouds and rivers parted, and by some miracle, I had Sunday and Monday off this year.  Not to beat around the bush, I went on a bender of mildly epic scale. Happy Birthday to me. This apparently is my own national holiday, and it was treated as such.  Saturday night began the melee.  There was booze and celebration to where my car was required to stay in one place for the night and I moved seemingly mysteriously about. (yes, I do remember who I needed to thank the next day)  But there were many, many calories that I lost track of in liquid form.  After a scant few hours of re-charge, I spent Sunday on an impromptu "Happy Birthday Bloody Mary Tour 2012".  Looking back, it was an awesome tour...I had a ton of fun from 11am to Midnight, all on Bloody's (and water). I think I was in a dozen venues this day.  Looking back a little bit further, it was hard to realize my failing, and regrets built as I realized I let my guard crash down for the first time since Halloween.  Its not like I ate badly, no pizza or burgers, wings or anything fried, but I took in some quality Bloody Marys lots of them. (I actually had dinner at a neat little vegetarian joint, so it couldn't have been so bad), but..there was impactful things going on that would do me a dis-service. I have not done the proper research to discover the damage I did to myself nutritionally. The sodium levels found in this nectar-like delight I am sure are scary, but I can tell that salt was there in force, no question.  The scale proved this like a giant exclamation point on my Monday morning... Regrets?  Yup, darn skippy, plenty for all of us.  And I am thankful that I have just one National Holiday to celebrate, and it is behind me. 

With that little piece of background information laid out for your scrutiny, I had a hard time recovering from a weight loss momentum standpoint.  I have no real knowledge of the damage I did on the 'Happy Birthday Bloody Mary Tour 2012' and how it scientifically affected my body, but I landed flat square on a plateau from hell.  I'm sure the water retention was huge. Truly, I was bouncing up and down one pound each day for like eleven days, fitfully trying to get back on track.  Nothing.  Now even though I got back up on the bus of nutritional correctness and 6 days at the gym virtually immediately, I can not help but think of the calories and sodium I ingested in Bloody's

Don't get me wrong.  I am fully to blame for the' Happy Birthday Bloody Mary Tour 2012'.  But in blocking out most of my new found healthful habits, I was not a happy camper in the end and it took a lot of mental fortitude to get through what may have been a very natural weight loss plateau, or a natural weight loss plateau that was enhanced and extended by my choices.  It's hard to say if there will be a HBBMT13 next year, I can almost guarantee it will be a milder event for sure.

On to other disturbing topics.  I've held off since the beginning, to discuss, or bring to life any locker room stories, visually, it is painful...suffice it to say, I've seen a lot things I never need to relate, much of which I want to set my brain on fire not to remember.  But this week I saw what I found was the funniest things in quite a while and I literally had to choke back a laugh.  I know there is vanity in many of us.  I am not usually critical of this as I have so little vanity concerns in this regard as I just don't care, and more power to those who do.  There was a sighting.  Have you ever seen a wookie? I mean in person.  I saw one. This guy is hairy.  Not just hair, hairy is kind of an under funded word to make the impact I'm looking for....I'd have to describe him as furry.  Use your worst imagination and then double it.  Now, wax that Wookie from the belt line up.  Smooth as silk on the top half, Wookie full on for the lower half.  I had to look twice.  I thought he was wearing furry work out pants...  He was on the way to the shower.  Just saying.  Enjoy the visual.

Thank you all for your continued emails of your own inspirations and thoughts.  Your input is invaluable.  I love that you share your stories, advice and feelings on what my journey has dusted up.  Continued success is wished for all of those working on similar things!  Keep it up!

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Text Messages from the Weight Loss Study: Tips for success

I'll have a progress update shortly, but I had promised to publish the ideas coming from the nursing student who is trying to gauge the impact of technology on weight loss and seeing if there are ways to improve results.  These were some of the text messages I received as a part of a weight loss study from Duke. They were trying to determine if daily reminders and tips would help to increase weight loss efforts and also in maintaining that weight loss.  Many of you had asked me about tips and information that was coming out of my Duke experience.  These are good representations of what is rolling around inside my melon. Happy New Year!

Small diet changes add up.  Eat breakfast every day.  You will eat less during the day and it will help you reach your weight loss goals.

Weight yourself daily at the same time and on the same scale.  This is important.  Checking on you progress will help you control your weight.

Exercise regularly. Exercise will maintain a healthy weight, blood pressure and reduce problems with diabetes.

Sustain your weight loss.  Use the 'plate method'.  Fill up 1/2 your plate with vegetables, 1/4 with starch, 1/4 with protein.

Check your food intake.  Record everything you eat and portion sizes. Checking increases awareness of what you are eating.

Count steps to increase the amount you walk.  Use a pedometer.  Set a goal of adding 150 steps a day up to 5000 steps a day or 2.5 miles.

Use smaller plates. You will still clean you plate and feel satisfied and have better portion control.

Keep track of the things that lead to unplanned and overeating.

Activity burns calories and helps maintain weight.  Climbing stairs, parking further away, or walking to the office add up quickly to 30 minutes a day.

Eat slowly. Put fork down between bites. Check fullness level during meal. When full push your plate away.  Satisfaction takes 15-20 minutes.

Keep exercising! After 1 year dieters who exercise maintain most of their original weight loss.

Select healthy breakfast cereals.  Follow the "5 and 5" rule - 5 grams fiber & 5 or less of sugar.  Or try heart healthy oatmeal with honey.

Monitor your progress and how you are doing.  Schedule time to review your progress in your calendar.

Exercise helps more than just with weight loss.  It helps to decrease high blood pressure, improve diabetes and decrease cholesterol.

Reward yourself, It's OK to have a little sweet foods such as pie, cookies, and candy and alcohol.

Cross train.  Vary your exercise: walk, bike, elliptical, water aerobics, swimming, it will keep you motivated and have fun too.

Identify and change habits and foods that lead to binges, including risky foods kept in the house such as chips or watching TV while eating.

Stay on top of how you are doing.  Review your monitoring forms to check for patterns.  Monitor at least 2-3 times a week.

For general fitness exercise 30 minutes daily.  8-10 exercises, 8-15 repetitions, 1-3 sets, 30-90 second rest between sets.

Use a grocery list for grocery shopping and only buy planned for items.  This will help you buy good, healthy foods.

Limit size of portions at mealtimes by measuring planned servings. Keep measuring utensils readily available.

Weigh yourself daily. Place the weight on a graph to see trends over time.  It is natural to fluctuate daily due to things such as water.

There are more, but you get the idea... Cheers!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Looking forward...

So it has been a little while since I've last written.  Truth be told, I acquired a vicious virus on my laptop which put me out of order for a while.  Thankfully, all, less itunes, has been resolved.

I suppose I should begin with an update as 2011 comes to a close and it has been almost a perfect 8 weeks since I've began my quest for small-dom.  As of my weigh in this morning, I am down 43.4lbs in 8 weeks.  When I think about this too long I have two thoughts that go through my brain. First, I'm bewildered.  I can't believe that so much of me is gone.  It's just vanished, and I'm having such trying issues as finding pants that won't drop to the floor if I exhale too far. I've added holes to belts to counteract the force of gravity on my pants.  My steering wheel and belly have been divorced.  No longer with the car follow a true course with hands off the wheel.  And, driving up to my sister's for the holidays, I realized that there is a much bigger gap between the top of my noggin and the ceiling of the truck which really means that my "Lard Ass, has been reduced to just "Fat Ass".  I'll take it in those terms for now as they make me laugh, mark my progress, but don't get me to fully celebrate yet which, for me, works against my inner motivation to keep going.  Truly, I drank the Kool-Aid at the DFC and it's working. The other thought, and it's the evil, more motivational little voice inside me that says "that's it?".  All this work and effort and that's all you have to show for it?  I find I have to balance this little voice, but in a way, it keeps me going, reminding me that for all the success that I can physically see, feel, and touch, there is still a long, long, long way to go and I am on this path for me and my future. 

So people are noticing my diminishing self.  I lose weight in my face first, my man boobs are going away, and the aforementioned pants tend to gather as I cinch them down in place.  In some ways, I'm trying not to make this the topic of every conversation I have as I need to speak of other things and I find myself deliberately distracting topics in other directions.  But it is very nice and rewarding that folks have taken notice.  To date, probably the largest change besides actual proportion changes is my diet.  I have not had a single french fry, hamburger, pizza, taco, or gyro since I've started this path.  For that matter, I have avoided soups, chili, chips, and for the most part, a lot of red meat too.  I'm eating so much better than I ever have in my life prior, and by my own hand, which is the small miracle in all of this change.  Tonight, I'm having peel and eat shrimp.  One of my top 5 favs, and I'm so thankful that I can let the dogs out with this and hit the shrimp hard.  I will pair it with a cup of green beans, a salad with low fat dressing, and probably some corn or brown rice...TBD.  I don't feel deprived.  With the holidays, I've had a cookie when they arrive, not 20, I've taken part in the Fannie Mae mint melt-aways that come in by the box load from the reps we work with.  I'll limit myself to three for the day and that's it.  My mom's home bakes were hard to hold back on, but that really was limited by exposure.  My guard was loosened considerably for Christmas.  I didn't binge eat or anything, but if I wanted a cookie, it was mine....and I was okay with it.  I lost three pounds over Christmas, and got back on the trail the day after.

So paired with the diet has been the exercise.  I have maintained the 6 days per week plan consistently since I've returned.  My schedule complicates things as there are some days I'm working out at 9pm, and I have to get up the following morning to exercise again because I have the night shift to work.  I've varied what I'm doing, so that it doesn't feel like I got off the same machine 8 hours earlier.  I am continuing with the pool as I still enjoy it.  I have some issues with some instructors who take it too lightly and I have gigantic issues with the 60yr old ladies who like to use these classes as chat time with their buddies and pay little attention to what the rest of us are trying to do.  I just sneer at them in the pool and try to make big waves to irritate them.  Water volleyball is just fun.  I don't care who you are, it's just fun.  It's only offered once a week, but I think I'm staying in form for when I revisit the DFC...they'll have to watch out!

There are two, well three or four, actually, other motivational feeds that I am employing which have a remarkable affect on the psychology for what I am doing and I have been surprised at their impact on how I motivate myself to keep going.

First, I track a lot of information.  I track my weight, BP, exercises  times, calories burned, I have a pedometer and I record that information. If I use a machine that give me calories used and step counts, it is journalized.  I also keep track of four calorie counts: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and other calories.  The "other" category is the discretionary stuff like booze, snacks, ectcals for the day, but I can go to 2500 without issue if I want to....I save those for booze nights.

Second, I signed up for coaching sessions with the DFC that has me speaking by telephone to a behavior/lifestyle coach to help me adjust, address, voice, share and trade information.  This is nice because I worked with this person when I was there and it really binds me to the DFC which is helping to keep the information fresh and top of mind.

Next, I've had a few email exchanges with one of the physiologists that worked with me during my time in the South.  These are really informal and are usually referring to blog stuff, but it is just one more bond to the program that got me going and it is so very much valued to be able to report success back to the folks that helped get me going.

Lastly, I've signed up to be a part of a study by a nurse at Duke U.  Basically, they are trying to dial in on what types of support help people to meet success in meeting their goals.  Essentially, I receive a morning text message every day.  Usually a reminder of something we learned at the DFC, or a motivational thought, or some kind of tip that greets me each day.  There are some valuable tips, but I think what I will do for you is to transcribe them into a separate blog entry so that they are all in one place and I suppose I will update that list sporadically.

I hope this finds you all well.  I am really looking forward to a fresh 2012 and I'm looking in a forward direction, thinking of how much farther I will be this time next year.  Truly I will be a different person if I stay on course.  Cheers!  and Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Plan in action

My progress has been impressive, at least to me.  There are a lot of small hurdles I've found that exist in life to try and knock you off course.  I am most impressed by my internal compass that has really left me on track, even in situations of adversity that pop up.  More in a bit.  I'm surviving the jungle.  So much more easily than I ever, ever, ever anticipated.

I left off with my first grocery store, post DFC, that got cut off from my last entry, so I will try and fill in the blanks as it still boggles my melon.  A key element to my success, and much of what I was not doing prior to my program, was to get to the grocery store a.s.a.p upon my return to the jungle, so that I could restock, and begin to fend for myself once again.  I really see this as a key to eating a healthier diet.  There are a ton of tricks that float around, some are known, some I learned, and I'm stunted by friends who cough these up to me now, and I'm stunned that they know these things as the concepts are so new and fresh to me~ How do you know this stuff, and how and why did I miss this information in the first 45 years of my life?  Any how, my fridge is now like a foreign planet.  Seriously, a week later, and I still feel like I'm in somebody else's fridge...  I own flaxseed?  Wow.  I own flaxseed meal? Who are you Blair?  I think I have more fresh produce and fruit in my fridge than I have ever had combined for the last 10 years.  Barring, of course, frozen veggies, which I always bought, kept in the freezer for a thousand years to make myself feel good about the potential I had in the freezer, tried to use them, discover that you can't freeze things forever and still use them, and then pitch them.  I've done this for years.  It's a little scary to look back now... The one thing I've noticed, and it is probably some far off marketing trick, is the color of my fridge, once I open the door, is so much more festive.  I just always remember opening the door and seeing a palette of orange, reds, and yellows.  (the colors of Arm & Hammer box, mustard and ketchup, cheese among others)  Now, it resembles a rainbow of blues, greens, whites and reds...just something I've noticed.  

Shopping was funny and fun and took me forever!  I put an ap on my phone called "fooducate" (free, iphone and android).  This is a little tool that you take a picture of the UPC bar code, and it gives the product in question a grade (A-F) based on dietitian analysis, and then suggests 3-4 other options that are better for you.  Fun, but scanning will slow you down.  Pretty much the Kashi cereal line is my new go to brand, just fyi.  Reading the labels and actually understanding them more clearly than ever in my life has been eye opening, shocking in fact, and I'm so happy I took the time to do it.  The other basic trick I utilized was to shop the perimeter of the store and not go down the aisles.  90% of what I need is there.  It's all the junk on the shelves that is the dangerous stuff, and that is the word I use in my mind when I'm in the aisles.  Obviously, I need canned stuff and frozen veggies, cereal, rice ect that are in the aisles, but for the most part, I've changed my angle and I found myself hurrying to get out of the aisles so I don't get 'trapped' by something.  I'm so much more conscious, it is a little frightening to me.

I have to thank you all again.  The email and message volume has really been uplifting and I'm still amazed that some of you still want this rambling crap to continue! 

So, I have been to the gym six days this week. Yes, you read that correctly. As crazy as that my seem, this is my optimal goal.  If I have similar weeks with work and social life, it appears that 5-6 days is actually doable.  It is rough on the weekends.  Thus far my schedule has me working weekends and the facility I've selected at Loyola University's Medical Center is not as convenient time wise....good bye early morning hours of sleep, but I got my workouts in that I needed.  I've basically been working on my Cardio stuff, but I have to restart the strength stuff too.  I've damaged my shoulder slightly, a strain they said, or at least discovered a problematic joint I never knew was an issue, but I've tried to rest it.  Definitely not muscular, but sore none the less.  I have, however, found my pool time too.  They do have the synchronized water ballet classes, and they have volleyball once a week.  Now, I have issues there a bit, and one class I went to was like a coffee clutch for a bunch of ladies and there was little strenuous challenge involved.  I later asked the instructor if I had been in the wrong class and she said "no, nobody felt like pushing it tonight"  Nice lady, appreciate the waste of my time, I did what I could with the class, got my buoys going, and tried to do what I was doing at the DFC, but I knew I wasn't getting the same results, so I stayed after and swam laps as best I could, as I knew this would pick up my heart rate.  There is a deep water class on Monday, so I hope that will be a bit more strenuous.  I've learned that I need to shake it up so that I don't get bored. (There are still bouncy people to watch, so boredom is relative...I'm easily entertained, but to keep my own monotonous motions in check, diversity will help.)

A bit on tracking I guess.  I built myself a spread sheet that I can keep on my phone and lap top,  I update it all throughout the day.  So far, these are the things I'm tracking: Daily weight, BP, exercise activity, duration of said activity, if available, calories used for the exercise, Pedometer steps, and calories spent for that, Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, and other calories consumed.  I'm sure this will bore most of you.  But, I learned that weight loss is just about the math.  This made it easy for me.  My RMR (resting metabolic rate), the number of calories my big ass self needs to live, to breath, pump blood, think ect is some astronomical 3800 calorie number.  Much of this is due to my large size and this will go down as I reduce the Blair that we all know.  But in the meantime, the dietitian has offered up a calorie goal of 2500 cals per day, which I still find generous, but it makes sense.  Again, eventually, this will drop too.  To the best of my ability, I'm ranging from 1580-2050 per day.  Okay, this is 10 days of data, but I love 'buying' myself those unused calories.  There was one day, I maxed it out to the full 2500 with a little night life in the big city, but those were vodka calories and not french fry calories! 

There's more to talk about, but this is getting really long, so, next time I guess.  Be well.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Setting it up

I have been back a couple of days now, still work free, which is a little boring, but I'm off through Tuesday and I'm really glad I took the time.  It has allowed me to get things going at home without the complications of life to get in the way.  Unpacking after a month away, well, that alone is a chore, no less try and implement what is now in my head into my reality.

The momentum is still well in hand and active.  I have really surprised myself at how "front of mind" I have been with all that I have learned. It's probably just fear motivating me, but I'll take it, knowledge is powerful stuff.  My drive home was a good example, I got my exercise in each day, ate really well in non-fast food joints (I swear GPS is the only way....the blue highway signs before each exit just don't cut it). And my progress in setting up my world has gone really well.

So on Wednesday, my first day back, I got up and put a list together of all the gyms and fitness resources I have around me.  Brian did this for me preliminarily during my fitness exit at the DFC, but there was a lot we didn't cover.  I am so happy to have done this as it really became clear what I was looking for versus what is available.  My confidence is really high, but I won't say that walking into a prospective gym as a big man doesn't still draw those 'looks' from behind the counter, or from those in the midst of workouts.  The big difference now is that I don't give a crap about that, and I actually find entertainment in it.  In the past,however, this would have been enough fodder to alter my course and avoid the situation entirely.  I never could have even approached the thresholds of these places without having my confidence, from a fitness standpoint, elevated while at Duke.  That relatively small amount of time facing the fitness demons at the DFC, (my own inward demons, not the evilly creative Fitness Guru's at Duke that bring pain) really allowed me to conduct the search in a knowledgeable way, that in itself, raised my confidence.  It's really funny how this all works sometimes.  Psycho at one level, but pretty real stuff that has been a hindrance in the past.  The upshot is that I found an absolutely parallel facility in terms of offerings....and so much more.

I joined the Loyola University's Health and Fitness Center.  Tons of classes with a staff that is similar to the high standards I became accustomed to at Duke.  I really like the tie to the medical school and medical center here. They have the same machines I was used to using already, plus so many of them!  This place is huge, there is an indoor 1/8 mile walking and jogging track, that I have already used on the slow speed, and there is so much strength training equipment, weights, basket ball & racket ball courts, a couple of classrooms, two pools, and yes, they have water volleyball.  In a much more organized way too, which I'm leery of, but we'll see. There are seemingly endless treadmills, 14 different stair machines, ellipticals out the ying yang (which are still awkward for me to use...I'll save those for thinner days. I'll let the bouncy ones use there. There is a healthy snack shop, dietitians on staff, massage..everything truly.  It just goes on and on.  If anyone wants to go, I have guest passes if you want to come play.  The clientele is a ton different...(I didn't me 'ton' on purpose...but it applies.)  There are bouncy people here.  Think Tigger. Men and women, both bouncy, I prefer the latter.  These are the folks that are my polar opposite.  There is usually Spandex involved...and they know how to use it.  I find I am distracted by a bobbing pony tail.  I can't explain it, nor do I probably have to....I admit to being a dirty old man freely.  The medical school and hospital staff definitely skew the population here.  And yet, I find inspiration in all of this, go figure!  Of the 1258 (estimated and exaggerated) machines they have here....they have exactly two of the machines that I have established myself with at Duke.  On the tour, I asked if they had them, and Nicole (bouncy, who works here) explained that I would be fighting all the seniors for them, so I either feel a bit remedial, or they are not enlightened by the power of the spleen removing workout that I am used to and the power of this machinery.  In reality, the bouncy ones probably don't require them.  I'm off.  I really like the place, and on day one, I literally didn't want to leave, but my body told me to...

Next item to address was grub.  I did an excellent job of eating myself out of the house before Duke, so I was pretty much starting with a clean slate on my return.  My first trip to the grocery store was like a repeat of some of the nutrition classes I had.  I used some new tools.  One of the cool ones is an ap called 'Fooducate'.  This little gem allows you to scan an item's UPC barcode....

Edit note****sorry didn't proof it.  something happened to cut off the bottom section....I'll have to rewrite it later, I'm late for an appointment....crap, it was good too.  oh well. I guess that's all you get for now!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Travel & Home

My release into the jungle has opened my eyes.  I'm no longer in fantasy land.  Clearly, in many respects, my time at Duke was blissfully easy. This is the real deal, no joke.  I very quickly realized that I was probably a bit overconfident upon being set free and my original fears took hold, which is a good thing, and I'm happy they responded so quickly! This is hard on the outside.  Truly, the old habits, or at least their proclivities of thought process are strong and ingrained.  Little things like, "I need food, I think I'll grab a quick bite at _______."  Umm, nope, that doesn't work so well yet.  Don't get me wrong, I've done well during my trip much better than I imagined, and it waaasss possible, which was confidence building.  Where I have always known what I like to eat, and from where, that thinking, from the dark days of doom before the DFC, I was able to use as avoidance techniques.  I'm sure that I have not had my last fast food burger in my life, but I have goals now and those just do not help to get me there, so my desire is to avoid if at all possible.

Traveling and trying to get exercise in as well lengthened my trip a bit, but I think I smelled more roses than I normally would have.  Certainly, I've only driven by Mount Pilot, and now I have hiked its Ledge trail.  It nearly killed me, but in the past, this would have been avoided and appreciated from afar.  I later stopped at a lot of historic sites along the "bourbon trail" in Kentucky, got in some walking and explored a little horse country to get a better look at what I've been driving past all these years. It was obvious that I can not just rely on the hotel gyms as 3 of 4 machines were out of order the day that I tried to use it.

Home is just how I left it, but takes a while to heat this huge space to a comfortable level. and my plants are still alive!  Thanks to my sister for detouring herself to treat them to a rare watering.  I knew my years of neglect would pay off with their fight for survival and unusual man made drought.  I missed my couch and stretching out on it.  But at the same time, this has also been the potato holder and the centerpiece to a lot of bad habits.  I will be cautious that I don't extend to that space the same conveniences I once did. 

First habit breaker today.  I had breakfast.  I had breakfast at the table.  I had a hot breakfast, that I created, at the table, before noon!!  I was up with the birds...I know it is only an hour time change, but I swear it takes a toll and takes a bit to adjust back. I've got stuff to do today.  Grocery shopping will be the largest chore as I have to do it with new eyes, so I am fairly confident this will take three days as long as before. I will be joining the local gym today and hope I can workout there when I do.  I've got a few days to get things established the way I need them to be and I'm so thankful I took this time.