A Fat Man's Journey (Working my way back…)

An Attempt to Journey from Fat to Fit in a Lifetime. Eat right, Eat less, Move more


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A Few Comments for a Monday Night


It was a little chilly tonight as I set out on my walk. Strange. It was so nice all day while I was stuck inside at work. When I got home I had a nice dinner and then went for my walk. Old habits… I took my keys with me. Not sure why. I didn’t drive to the track, I walked. And there were my keys hanging like dead weight in my pocket annoying me. Old habits…. So accustomed to driving everywhere. The thought of walking to the track… Almost an alien thing to me. Does it make sense to drive half a mile so I can walk three?

When I was a child I lived in a town with no school busses and in those days parents didn’t drive you to school. We walked. We walked everywhere. It was the normal thing to do. We would walk from our house on the hill all the way to the high school on the other side of town so we could watch the Saturday game. Then we walked back. Up the hill. In winter… 1.3 miles each way. We didn’t think anything of it. We just went.

Now I am proud of myself for walking the half mile to the track so I can walk 2 or 3 miles… Strange.

I hiked ten miles on Saturday, 4 miles yesterday and walked 4 tonight.  Three days, 18 miles.  Just have to get out and do it.

A Bridge Along the Trail

I think I mentioned that I am now in the 240’s. I have left the 250’s behind, I believe for good. I have to admit that I have amazed myself. I look at the chart, I look at the calendar and I am amazed that someone could lose more than 55 pounds so quickly and feel so good, be so fit.. Then I realize that I am that person and I am dumbstruck.

Still have not had red meat since March 14 or an egg since I have no idea when….

The progress continues. I am still losing at a rate of 0.47 pounds per day. Of course that includes the rapid weight loss when I started. Over the last month I have lost at a rate of 0.3 pounds per day. Still quite aggressive. Still feeling good.

I saw a man walking on the track today. A man probably around my age. As I watched him walk slowly around the track I thought “that is me 4 months ago”. He walked the outside lane on the track so as not to impede faster walkers and runners. He walked with heavy steps carrying a large body. I would guess he is around 300 pounds. I wanted to encourage him but he seemed, to me, unapproachable for some reason. But he was out there. He was doing it. As I did the bleacher-sets and my calf was aching and my hips and knees were uttering minor protests, it occurred to me that the only parts of my body not complaining are my lungs and my heart. I was not winded. I was not tired. I ran ten of the 20 bleacher-sets that I did today including the last 5. Unthinkable just a short time ago.. Yes, that man was me 4 months ago. If I see him again I will try to engage him in conversation and let him know it can be done and he is doing it.

I am still thinking about running. Have done a very little bit of it. I know that I can… at least I think I can… So why don’t I just do it? Fear? I don’t know… getting silly I guess. I think I need a snake behind me…. THAT WOULD GET ME RUNNING

Peace


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Ginger Scones, Long Walks, and Breaking Barriers


Long-walks and Ginger Scones

Walking. A simple task right? A point A to B sort of thing at its core. Walking. Walking can tell us so much about ourselves. Tired walking the dog? Pretty good sign you are in bad shape. Invigorated from 40 story climb up Turkey Mountain … Pretty good sign you are turning the corner.

Today PB and I took a nice hike around the local county wilderness area. Pyramid Mountain (Turkey Mt. is a part of the same park). Understand that I live in a state where the highest point above sea level is about 1850 feet.

Looking east towards NYC on Turkey Mountain. Lake Valhalla is to the right.

My brother on the west coast laughs at what we will call a mountain in New Jersey.

Still is it what we have and it is what I hiked today.

I can say honestly that I could have gone much further than the 4 miles we trekked. I say that with mild shock because I truly could not have walked half the distance when I started this journey and to do the 4 miles in the steep hills a day after a 10 mile hike through The Preserve… Well I just love the way it makes me feel.

PB is a friend of long-standing and a supporter of my fitness and weight loss efforts. I have now done several hikes with him and at first he waited up for me as we walked, now we walk about the same pace. Progress….

PB is also a skilled baker and today he brought along ginger scones. Now, as I mentioned, PB is a supporter of my efforts and he is not trying to tempt me to the dark side.. He checked on-line and tested the recipe and found that each scone was a respectable 250 calories. I can certainly fit them in to today’s plan…

Missus and I will each have at least a part of one, perhaps saving the rest until tomorrow…

I did have a taste when I was given the scones and I have to say they are incredible…

SO back to thoughts on walking.

An abandoned surface mine along the trail on Turkey Mountain

I find that the walking, even when with a friend, is a time of solitude and respite for me. Respite from the pressures of the world outside of the park, the pressures of day to day living. At some point along the walk we came on an area known as The Glen. This was a hang-out in High School. A place to escape parents and other ADULTS. Now it was a place to escape the world outside. I noticed as we stood there that the mechanical world seemed so distant. Sounds of cars and trucks, planes, and lawn mowers were faint almost to the point of silence. Only the breeze through the trees and the sounds of birds…

The trail starts at a cut for power lines. It is a long and steep climb. A section is known as 100-steps because of the rock steps put in by hand by long forgotten men, probably to aid access to the power lines or, if they are earlier, just make it easier to get to the few farmsteads that once stood on these hills. I am told no one really knows the history. It is a daunting start to a hike. Standing at the bottom, looking up the hill, seeing the rocks to be climbed. It is a wonderful feeling to stand looking at that and know that it will not be a problem. And it wasn’t/

It was a great long-walk in the woods with a friend who made me Ginger Scones that I could fit in my plan.

Breaking the Barrier

I broke the 250 pound barrier today. Hell I smashed through. I am now at 248.4 pounds. It is nearly indescribable how it makes me feel. This felt so far away when I started the journey. The half way point, 45-pounds, felt so far away. Now I am down 57.2 pounds. I have 38.4 to go. I have taken off so much and improved my health so much. I can’t wait for my next physical. I am tempted to schedule it right away! I want to see what my pulse rate is now. I want to talk to the doctor about when I can start trying to move off the BP meds.

I told PB today that I truly feel 10 years younger than I did just 4 months ago. No hyperbole, no dramatic license. I Feel the way I did when I was 40. I have a spring in my step, a lightness on my feet. I sleep better, a have more energy through the day. I am back in love with cycling, walking, hiking. I am energized in ways I did not expect when I started this.

When you are 100 pounds overweight it seems like a long way down. Lose ten? Still have 90 to go… Lose 20? Still 80…. It seems like such a long way to go.

I have dedicated myself to this. I think about it every day, every hour of every day. Nothing is eaten without thought, contemplation, reason… Beyond the eating I have dedicated myself to fitness. Walking, Hiking, Cycling…

This has been one of the most wonderful endeavors of my life and it is nowhere near finished. The next 38 pounds will fight me I am sure. They will lose. I will be 210 pounds again.

I broke the 250-pound barrier. The Journey continues. The plan keeps working, the Goal is still there ahead of me.

Tonight I am celebrating by eating a 250-calorie Ginger Scone baked by my friend.

Peace.


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What Life Can Be


A day in the Country

I had a wonderful walk in the country today. 10 miles or so on the trails of the Rockefeller Preserve. I really recommend the Preserve. A wonderful place to spend a day and then a visit to one of the many small towns in the area for a nice bite to eat at a quiet café where you can enjoy the local color and have a pleasant meal. Such was my day today.

I came home and made a vegan squash soup. This link will take you to the recipe.….

Easy and tasty and low in calories.

These days are the type of day I wanted to have in my life again as I started this Journey.

Tomorrow I will hike again, this time a more difficult trail at the local county park. Maybe 5 or so miles on more technical trail, up steeper hills.

Then again a nice dinner, time with the family, the sense that all is right….. This Journey of mine has delivered to me in multitudes the benefits’ I had hoped for.

I really don’t Give Advice

I was asked for advice yesterday. A friend at work who is a good 50 pounds overweight by his estimation asked me what to do. I told him to just do it. Do not look for an ideal time, a right set of circumstances. DO it. DO IT. See the Doctor, get the Doctors advice, but DO IT. Pass on the doughnuts, the pizza, the fourth and fifth meals of the day… The big thing for me was I decided that NOW was the time. Not tomorrow, not after the holidays, NOW.

Where this came From

Can you imagine? I started this journey right between Christmas and New Year?

That is what it was for me. I decided to do it. I wanted my life to be better. I wanted to hike, and walk, and cycle. I wanted to cook healthy and delicious meals. I wanted to like who I was.

I saw a picture taken of me at a restaurant a week or so ago. I was truly surprised by what I saw. I saw a thin face and neck and a leaner body. I have seen other pictures taken recently, some of which I have posted here. Something about this picture though really struck me. I was so happy looking at that picture…. It shows the results of that dedication, that decision 4+ months ago to DO IT. I had to change my approach to food and to fitness and to live a better life.

No fad diet of lima beans and hot peppers, washed down with lemon juice was going to change my life. I had to do that.

That is my advice. DO it. DO IT. DO IT NOW. There will never be a more right time. There will never be a better opportunity. NOW. NOW is when.

Now I am 55 pounds in on my plan to lose 95. I am leaner, more fit, happier… All because I decided to do it. Now I can hike. Now I can cycle. Now I can walk with my family, my friends. I can enjoy life. I can experience what life can be…

And one more little Suggestion…

I have cooked with so many vegetables… I am eating foods that a few months ago I didn’t know existed… I cannot imagine being closed-minded about food and trying to lose weight. That might seem counterintuitive. A person that loves the variety of food that I enjoy would have trouble losing weight because there are so many good things to eat.. But I think it is just the opposite. I think it is MUCH easier to lose weight if your tastes are wide-ranging. It allows you to enjoy more low calories selections. My love of vegetables allows me to eat a large quantity of food but at a low-calorie penalty. I prepare them well, I experiment and I try strange combinations… and all of it results in a satisfied palette and a full stomach. If your tastes are narrow you do not have the opportunity to find the more filling, lower calories foods. Your comfort zone is too confined. You might be a person that eats eggs, bacon, burgers…. Where do you go from there when trying to lose weight? Your only option is to significantly reduce the quantity of food you eat, rather than lowering the calories while maintaining the volume.. Make any sense? SO the little suggestion? Expand your culinary horizons.. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and try new things….

Peace


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Finding Me


I started this Journey to lose weight and improve my fitness.  I knew that the way I was going I was putting my life at risk.

I looked at my family and friends and decided that they were worth staying around for if it was at all within my control to do so.

Struggling to climb stairs, out of breath mowing the lawn, the view in the mirror, all this and more told me that I was on the wrong path, a self-destructive course.

It was not what I wanted, not what I expected when I entered my adult years..

I started the Journey.

I started to lose the weight

I began working on the fitness.  First with short walks, then a little longer, then I added the bleacher-sets and then back on my bike…

The weight began to come off.

I stopped losing my breath climbing stairs…

Along the line somewhere, I started to find something.  It has taken me time to understand it and I don’t know that I do fully…

I think it is called “peace”.

I have never rested easily.  I always found it difficult to accept things outside of my expectation, to go with the flow, to deal gracefully with the unexpected or unwanted.  I have fought an often-losing battle against certain aspects of my nature.  I think the term “emotionally volatile” has been used.

Peace was not something I really much experienced for long.  There was always some sort of turmoil within, something just on the edge.

Then I started to notice a change…

Over the last several months, I have had to fight the battle less and less often.  I am comfortable, relaxed, more accepting.  I feel an energy that had been missing.  I am fighting myself less.  I am using the energy once lost on the internal fight to move myself forward.

From nearly the first, I realized that this Journey was about more than fitness and weight.  I wasn’t certain what it would prove to be but I knew there was more to it.

Bridges along the way

I found value in myself.  I started to see that I was more than a placeholder, a person filling time and space and then forgotten.  I started to see “ME” as having intrinsic value to friends, family, self.  I have started to understand that with recognition of value comes a sense of worth that perhaps was not always there.  I have started seeing a different ME in the mirror.  I see an older man than my mind’s eye is accustomed to seeing.  I also see a thinner, healthier me.  However, what I think I am seeing looking back at me is a man more at ease with himself than at any time prior in life.  I believe I am seeing not a new me but the “me” that has always been there, waiting under the surface, waiting for me to realize that I was there.

I don’t want to be maudlin, dramatic or silly here.  Really, I am not at all about finding inner peace and being one with oneself or nature or any of that, I am certainly not “a spiritual person”.  Something about this Journey has been comforting I guess.  Maybe it is the process of writing this blog or the time I spend by myself or with friends walking in the woods along the trails. Maybe it is the introspection needed to dedicate to the new way of living.  Maybe it is the new way of living in and of itself that is bringing this sense of peace to me.  I don’t know.  I wish I did.  I can only say that I believe it is real and lasting, as real and lasting as I want the other changes in my way of living to be.

I said early on in the history of this blog that I felt some changes in my mindset were inevitable as I went along the Journey.  I am pleased with what has been happening so far.

It is fun waiting to see what happens next!

Thank you for allowing me to ramble on.

Peace


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Some Thoughts and a bit of Blank Verse


I didn’t walk tonight though I did plenty at work. Raining and cold tonight and I am really frustrated with the weather. My long ride this weekend is now to be a long hike on Saturday along with the previously planned hike on Sunday.

Actually I am going to try running some of the trail in NY on Saturday, something I really loved doing in my younger days. WE will see how it goes…..

The weather is really getting to me. It is affecting my mood and making me somewhat surly… I want to ride, I want to walk and this weather is killing me. Cold is the one thing I cannot deal with while riding….

I broke the 250 barrier today. Stepped on the scale and it read 249.6. Very please. SO much has gone in o to this effort.

PB is making Ginger Scones and bringing some with him for the hike on Sunday….. He calculated the calories. 254 each!! I can fit a half in to the plan and I will do so…. I like scones and I like ginger. Stands to reason I will like them together….

I put on 40 inch waist pants last night and they fit snugly…. Soon, Soon, Soon…. 4 months ago the idea was laughable…

Here is a little of the blank verse I write:

Because I Didn’t Go.

4/26/2012

I didn’t go.

It has left a hole. I didn’t go and there’s a dark spot where light should have shined. I didn’t go because I wasn’t ready and then that day never came and so I never filled that page in the book. Still the page lies blank though the pages around it are filled with scribbles and blots of ink.

I didn’t go.

That seemed right at the time, but I didn’t go and never did, though that was never the plan.  I didn’t go and so the page stayed blank and the hole unfilled. I didn’t go and you were right at the time but I never went and now it all seems wrong. People unmet and times unlived because I never went because I didn’t go and it seemed so right at the time.

I didn’t go.

I am left to wonder what would I say now if I had gone then and the hole had been filled and the page written. I didn’t go though I know now that I should have and now it is much too late to be young again and exploring for the first time. I didn’t go and I know you were right but I sit some nights and I feel the regrets of the page I never wrote, of the light that never shined. I didn’t go, I wanted to so and yet I knew I knew it then but I miss it now and so many years have passed.

I didn’t go.

I can’t join the conversation and I can’t share the memories because I didn’t go and I never went and now the time is past for me. I didn’t go. I should have gone and I should have fought and I should have risked so I could write that page, and have that chat, and fill that hole and see the light that might have shined if only I had gone.

But I didn’t go.


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A Short Post for a Wednesday Night


An interesting day on the Plan front: I spent most of the day fighting the urge to eat bagels…. I had one for breakfast and then spent the rest of the day fighting the urge to have more. This is the first time since I started the plan that I had such strong urges…

I was able to resist. I had a good day calorie-wise. 1400 so far. I will have a snack before I go up. I find that I am still having trouble getting enough calories…. Even though the weight loss has slowed down… I am still sitting at about 1800 calories a day and I am burning around 3500 so the weight loss will pick up again but I have eaten some very salty foods lately and I am sloshing when I walk from the retained water…..

Plans for my weekend activities are coming together. A 40+ mile ride on the North County Trail, we plan to do a round trip…. And on Sunday a hike locally with a good friend. I feel guilty taking so much time from my family. I love being with my family, doing things as a family… I need to do these rides and hikes. I have to ge in the mile sand the calorie burn…

Long term: it will be better for my family. Short term, I appreciate their understanding…

Our New Island Counter Top

I didn’t get in a walk tonight but I feel confident that I got in my calorie burn. I removed the 340-pound stone counter on the kitchen island by myself and installed the new butcher block counter by myself…. Pretty sure I got the burn in!!

So despite the temptations, and despite the lack of an evening walk, I am feeling good tonight.

Sorry for the short post…

Time for sleep

Peace