Workout and shout out

Today is day 12 in the gym out of the last 16 days.

Five days a week for the past 2 weeks and 2 days.

I want to thank Joshua Samuel for giving me a workout routine that fits my experience, age, and ability.

I’ve never met Joshua except in the social media world. He’s an actor, bodybuilder, ex-marine based out of LA. He and I butt heads over a lot of hot topic areas but that hasnt stopped us from becoming friends. Thanks for your help Joshua.

Monday- chest, Tuesday- shoulders, Wednesday- back, Thursday- legs, Friday- arms and abs

Me. No more hiding.

I was blind to who I had become. I knew I was fat but I tricked myself into thinking that was all I was.

The truth is I had become a shell of who I was, who I needed to be. At my heaviest, at the end of last year, I avoided physical activities, was angry most of the time, stopped being the husband and father my family deserved. I was there, a part of the family, but a hollow me. I stared at my smartphone, aimlessly flipping through apps like a bored person staring in a refrigerator thinking something new would jump out.

If my children drew a picture of me I would be holding a phone in my hand.

I’ve spoken before, in previous posts, how it took me a long time to understand the depth I had fallen. How long it took me to prepare for change. Now I’m four months into this change and I’m happy, but I have setbacks, I have bad days. I have the tremendous fear I will fall back to old habits.

So I’m sharing a photo of me. One I hate to see more than anything. Me, with no shirt on. No adjusting my shirt to hide the belly fat, no more XXXL shirts so I could hide my gut.

This is me, a few months ago. Even with 45 dropped from my body this picture is still pretty accurate for how I look. It reminds me of how long I have to go.

I have no idea if anyone reads these blogs. I dont really care. I’m writing and sharing them for me. So I can look back at the first year or me.

My Voice Is Back

I’m at the gym.

My Voice is here.

I try to block it out but the voice in your head is the loudest voice there is.

You failed. You’re a failure. It’s too late.

Give up.

Look at the guy. Look at her. Look at their form, their muscles. They’re better than you. You’re doing it wrong. Put the weights down and go home. Sit on the couch. Watch a tv show. Eat. Eat it all.

You failed.

M Voice shows up a lot. A constant reminder of me. A constant reflection of who I am, then and now.

Am I a failure?

Give up.

You’re fat. Nothing will change that.

The funny thing about my Voice is it comes in flashes. Moments of self doubt. Moments of humbleness. Random moments.

Yet as quickly as it arrives, it can be pushed aside. By a song, a friend, a look in the mirror. A glance of approval from a stranger reassures you everything is fine and you can keep moving forward.

Today my Voice was pushed aside by lyrics from a song by Common that danced into my ears betweens sets:

Sittin’ in a shadow of me, gradually battlin’ me
A fall from grace like Adam and Eve
Search for the inner-Vatican in me
The temple, the body, I’m mental, I’m godly
Somehow I made my mess-ups my hobby
Is it the stress and the pressure? Probably
Out here with much anger inside me
Don’t know who my friends are, stranger inside me

Am I a failure? No. Have I failed? Yes. My failures dont define me though. How I act after failure does.

Goodbye, Voice. For now.

CARBS

I went to the grocery store with my daughter and she asked for powdered donut holes. Being a loving dad I said yes, knowing I wouldn’t be able to eat them.

Being on the keto diet means low carbs. I get 25 grams of carbs a day and I get them mostly through vegetables.

I looked at the nutritional value of the donut holes. THREE of them equals my entire daily carb allowance.

THREE. I used to eat at LEAST ten at a time.

Weakness discovered

I stumbled. Not badly, but I stumbled. I found a weakness. After nearly two months of no cereal, no breads and pasta, no legumes, no sweets (other than my keto chocolate cake a few times) I started eating 80% cacoa chocolate bars, which are ok to eat on keto.

But I’ve discovered that I’m munching on them, snacking too much, craving them.

My weight loss hasn’t taken a hit, yet, but I have a feeling it will if I continue.

So, that’s that. No more chocolate snacking.

Ninja dad?!?

I’m going to be an American Ninja Warrior.

Yeah, you heard me. This 40 year old, arthritic, obese stay-at-home dad is going to be an American Ninja Warrior.

I’m crazy, I know. I’m also serious.

During today’s weigh-in, the scale informed me that I am 30 pounds lighter than I was on January 1st.

30 pounds.

That’s like, 120 quarter pounders from McDonald’s.

So, feeling invincible as I am right now, I want to set some crazy goal to strive for. I used to want to run a marathon just so I could say I could. While that still is a possibility, I think I want to be a ninja warrior.

What makes it harder is the fact I’ve never, in my entire life, done a pull up.

Never. Not once. Not even close to once.

So.

Yeah.

I’m crazy.

Crazy serious.

A stumble

It’s here. I knew it was coming. I knew this moment would happen. A stumble on my mission. Over the last week I have been less disciplined on my food tracking. A little more careless on how much and what I’m eating. Even if my eventual goal is to be able to eat without tracking, for now I need it to help me.

I don’t think I’ve gained any weight. Maybe a pound. But it’s the lack of discipline that is creeping in. The gateway to my giving up. I’ve been through it before. Get a little loose with the directions and eventually I’m face deep in ice cream and a third bowl of Coco Puffs.

BUT, the good news is I am aware. Today I, reluctantly, completed day 2 of an Ab challenge. Sit ups, crunches, leg lifts, planks. Oh how I wanted to skip and eat an uncounted breakfast. But I didn’t.

Take each meal, each day, each moment as it comes. Don’t think of tomorrow when you can’t focus enough on now.

So that’s what I’m doing. Focusing on each moment. Getting through each moment. Tracking each meal. I’m allowed to stumble. I’m just not allowed to use that as an excuse.

Onwards!!

The Secret to Losing Weight Revealed!

Nice clickbait title, isn’t it? The secrets to losing weight have been revealed to us! Click on this article and you will find all the answers you need!The dieting secret THEY don’t want you to know about!

All joking aside…..what if the answer to weight loss really IS in this post? And it’s not that diet companies don’t want you to know about it, it’s just that they don’t know how to talk to you about it.

The secret to weight loss isn’t a pill or a specific diet. The secret to weight loss is you.

What? Really?! I clicked on this post for that?!?! Hear me out and think about it. When you break it down, when you pick through the giant heap of reasons for success and failure, it always leads back to you. Your mind, your thoughts.

As a fat person I have stood in front of the refrigerator, door wide open, eating out of the carton of ice cream, and feeling awful about myself while doing it. I know I am fat, I want to change that I am fat, I know what I need to do, yet here I am, eating cookies and cream with the largest spoon i could find. Maybe when I am done I will be motivated for a change. Maybe for the next few days I will cut back on bad habits, eat some vegetables, go for a walk. Yet by day three or four, I’m finding ways to justify that extra chip or two. That larger portion of cake. That midday candy bar.

Your mind is your greatest asset and your greatest obstacle. In order for you to truly be successful with a new, healthy lifestyle, you have to convince yourself that you want to do it. And I’m not talking about momentary motivation. Anyone can get motivated for a moment. It’s those who can get past the motivation and into the habit who are successful. Play We Are the Champions by Queen and I will get pumped up to do something good. When the song ends, however, the moment passes. Motivation is a good song on the radio that will end in a few minutes.

So you need to have a discussion, a long discussion, with your mind. Sit down, get comfy and speak out. Say, “hello mind, it’s me. Let’s talk.” Ask your mind what changes you want to make. Get personal. Tell your mind what scares you, what hurts you. Give it reasons why you think you’ve failed in the past. Your mind is a middle school journal. Spill your guts to it. Break it all down and get to the source. For me, it took realizing that I was embarrassed and angry at how I looked. And that anger was being projected out onto the people around me, which happened to be my kids and my wife. I realized how depressed I was over my weight. And I cried. I cried a lot. And then the next day, I repeated the process. I looked inward to see what was bothering me, what was hurting me, and why. And I cried again. A good, deep healthy cry.

I continued this process for a long time. Being depressed isn’t going to get fixed on the first try. So I kept talking to my mind. Before I could eat healthy foods, I need to eat healthy thoughts. (Really? that is so cheesy) BUT IT IS TRUE. If you aren’t at least accepting of who you are or where you are at, you raise your chances of failure. If you can’t acknowledge that yes, you may be hurting, you raise your chances of failure.

Admit your biggest fears and disappointments to yourself. Admit the things you love as well. Be honest with yourself. Get your mind in order.

YOU are the biggest asset to your weight loss journey. Understand you may have setbacks, slow periods, frustration. Understand that a specific diet plan may not work for you. But in the past, before you had a candid convo with your mind, a failed diet plan might have meant giving up entirely. The new you, however, is able to understand that your healthy journey is a windy, exciting road with many paths. Sometimes you may have to double back and go a new way. Sometimes you may get lost. That comes with the territory. You are a stronger person now. Your mind can take those setbacks now.

As some wise women once said…Free Your Mind and the Rest Will Follow.

25 Flippin’ Pounds Gone!

HOLY MOLY WHERE DID IT GO?!?!

25 pounds. 25 pounds that I had with me at the end of 2017 are now gone. Forever. I lost them…And I’m never going to look for them. They are lost like a single sock in a drier. Lost like Jack and Kate and no, we DON’T have to go back.

It feels good. It feels really really good.

Do you know how much 25 pounds is? It’s like 25 pounds of butter. Or 25 pounds of pennies. Or 25 pounds of ANYTHING!! Ok, that didn’t really make a good image. Who cares.

25 pounds!!

37 Days and Counting

Thirty seven days. That’s how long I have been on this keto friendly journey. In that time I still have not eaten cereal, chips, ice cream, crackers, cookies, pasta, rice, beans. I have not eaten a handful of whatever lunch or snack I prepare for my kids. My family had Smores, I did not. My family had queso at a restaurant. I did not.

So how do I feel? AMAZING. I might not have been eating what I used to eat but I am eating great food. And not snacking has helped me sooo much. I’m down 22 pounds, I have energy all day, I’m feeling great.

(Side note, I have been dealing with a nasty cough and some congestion, which I will be seeing a doctor about today)

But other than that, I am feeling awesome.

Dropping weight has slowed a LOT since I started but I expected that. I never thought I’d lose a pound a day like I was in the beginning. Now I’m happy for a pound a week.

So, here we are, onwards and upwards. To infinity and beyond. Live long and prosper. May the force be with you. Have a smurferrific day.

Robert and the ER

The plan that I came up with sometime in mid-2017 was to work on me, as a person. Work on my depression, my anger, my frustration with being overweight and then, when my mind was in the right spot, turn my attention to the number on the scale. Get my mind right, then work on my body.

The funny thing about the universe is, sometimes, your plans don’t mean squat. Sometimes the universe gives you a signal that it’s time. And if that signal wasn’t taken serious enough, the universe gives you a swift kick in the pants. Or chest in my case.

December of 2017, my wife and I flew to Breckenridge, Colorado for a long weekend getaway with a group of friends. I expected laughter, some tubing, and most of all, relaxation. While I got most of that, my vacation began with a trip to the ER, chest pains, and trouble breathing.

When traveling from a few hundred feet above sea level to many thousands of feet above sea level, your body has to adjust. At 12,000 feet above sea level, your body has to work very hard. And when you are severely overweight like I am, your body has to work even harder. Your blood pressure can rise, your oxygen can drop, you can get “altitude sickness”. To me, within hours of landing in Denver and then driving to our cottage just outside Breckenridge, it felt like someone was kneeling on my chest. My heart rate was up, my blood pressure was up, and I was googling my symptoms (which is an awful idea, by the way. Just terrifying).

The next morning, with the chest pains still there, I went to a doctor. (yes, I understand with chest pains I should have gone earlier. The nurses reminded me of that over and over). While my friends went tubing I was getting an EKG and chest X-Ray. Some vacation, huh?

Now, I think I should tell you that during all this I remained, for the most part, very calm. Like it was a routine thing to go to the hospital with chest pains while on vacation. And why was I so relaxed?

Robert. The gate operator at our car rental place in Denver.

Robert told me I would be ok..before I even felt chest pains.

Normally when you rent a car you drive to the gate, hand them your paperwork, they say good day and open the gate. But not Robert. He checked our paperwork and then asked us to roll down the windows. (There were six of us in the car) Robert then proceeded to give us a three minute motivational speech about letting go of the past, accepting it, and moving forward. “There’s only a few weeks left in 2017. Whatever negativity you had, whatever problems you had, let them go,” he said as he wiped his hands clean. “2018 is a new year. A new time. A new way to move forward.” He talked of being in the moment, cherishing it all. And then he looked at me. Right at me. He pointed a finger in my direction and said “Especially this guy. He needs it. You need it. Let it go. Move forward.”

It would have been easy to laugh off our encounter as just some random wierdo. It would have been wrong too. Everyone in that car felt what he was saying. We all knew he was right. So when I found myself in an X-Ray room, I naively knew that I would be ok.

I knew my time for change was here, now. No more waiting. No more preparing. Now. I had found a sense of peace within myself and knew I would be ok. I knew I had work to do, a lot of work, but I knew I would be ok. I was ready.

The test results came back and I had not suffered any sort of heart attack. My blood pressure had lowered to a good range. They tested my oxygen levels and they were lower than they should be. After a nice oxygen mask session, me levels went back to normal and the chest pains disappeared.

I left the ER and walked into the cool air of wintery Colorado. A fresh start on life, a smile on my face, and the words of Robert buzzing in my head.

Let it go. Move Forward.

My weight

It really is hard for me to talk about how much I weigh or share photos of how I look. It embarrasses me. Just saying the number out loud makes me cringe. For the longest time I thought being fat meant I was a failure. I was embarrassed meeting my wife’s coworkers because I felt my weight would affect what they thought of me or my wife.

Now, understand that most of this is in my mind. Nobody fat shamed me. Nobody ever winced at my weight when they met me. Nobody has ever treated me differently. Or if they have, they’ve done a great job of hiding it.

I’m not ashamed of being fat. Not anymore. Being fat didn’t have to change who I was as a person. For too long I let my feelings about my weight control how I acted. I was angry at myself and let that control who I was to the rest of the world. It has taken a long time to see through that bad image of myself. I honestly think if I had started a diet without working on my mental state first, I would fail. Understanding the long road ahead will have setbacks and bumps has allowed me to stay focused. I will have setbacks. I will plateau. I will be frustrated. But that doesn’t need to control who I am as a person. I’m going to stop hating me.

Below is my weight loss since I began this journey. I am not ashamed to share the number anymore. It’s just a number.

I refuse

I refuse to believe I will fail.

I refuse to believe that I can’t get healthy again.

I refuse to believe that I will always be fat and in pain.

I refuse to allow my fears to control me.

I believe in myself.

I believe I will do this.

I believe I will succeed.

I am my only enemy and I am the only thing standing in my way.

Standing on My Wall

I’ve said in past posts, 300 pounds is my wall. Mentally. I have tried to lose weight before and plateau at 300. Or I get just below it and plateau then gain it back. I have not weighed less than 290 in a LONG time.

As of today, I have reached 300 pounds. I have lost 18.4 pounds since January 1st.

So. Here I am. At my mental weight wall. This time, I am going to kick it’s ass.

Losing Weight and Your Mind

Every diet plan and workout routine has a clear path to follow. Eat this, don’t eat that, do this workout routine on these days, hop on one leg, bark like a dog (a big dog). Ok that last part was from Coming to America but you get the point. They all have a plan on how to lose weight. Yet there is one area that they don’t cover in detail, or at all in many cases. They don’t cover how to get your mind prepared to make a change. You can be handed a meal plan, a workout routine, and a week of groceries but if you are not ready, mentally, to go through with it then your chances of failure grow.

Speaking for myself, I can talk my way out of any healthy change in diet or exercise. I sneak junk food and act like if nobody saw me then I wasn’t cheating. I can drive up to the gym, sit in my car, and convince myself that making the effort to drive to the gym was enough. And then when I openly break with the plan and quit, I blame my lack of weight loss as why I quit and not on all the cheating I did. “Well, I tried, it didn’t work. Hey where did all the candy go?”

Fighting your own insecurities and fears is as hard as any calorie counted meal plan. It’s hard to escape from yourself. You’re always there.

Getting myself into the right mental state has been a major part of my current situation. I am working on my mind as hard, if not harder, than I am working on shrinking my gut. It has helped my attitude at home, with friends, with life in general. It has helped me stay focused with this new diet and health plan.

Feed your mind with healthy ingredients and it will work as well as a diet.

300 can kiss my grits 

300 pounds. I don’t know how many times I have tried to lose weight over the years only to run into a brick wall when I reach 300 pounds. No matter what I do, no matter the diet or lifestyle change or workout I start…once I lose enough weight and reach 300, I don’t go past it. Or I hover just below it for a week then bounce back up. And then I shut down. I give up. I get upset and stop fighting. Because 300 blocks my path.  

300. My mental wall. 

So here I am, new diet, new outlook, new attitude. Today I weigh 303. I’ve lost 17 pounds since December 19th, just under a month ago. 

300 is staring at me. Taunting me. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t on my mind. (I also wouldn’t be blogging about it)

I’m nervous. 

But I’m also prepared, mentally and refrigeratorly (I made that word up. You’re welcome) 

My path is clear. 300 is just an imaginary wall. It’s just a number. That number doesn’t define me. Not anymore. 

This. Is. Joshua. 

I hate this

Ok, I hate this part. I hate photos of me unless they hide my belly, my balding head, my flabby arms. I loathe pictures of me. Burning hatred. 

So posting a pic of me while not sucking in my gut or pulling my pants up above my belly button to hide the pudge, is really tough for me. 

This picture is painful to see. 

But this is who I am. This is where I am. I have a long road to go but, I think, I’m ready for it.