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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I am doing Well


Hi ya

Hi ya

HI

I haven’t posted much recently. I have been working 10-12 hour days and I have been very tired but I am fine. Thanks for asking.

The weight is good. A little elevated but I am on top of it and the cycling is going very well. IT has just been hard to find the time to do much of anything other than work and get in a couple of rides on the weekend.

Today’s shop ride was called off due to the threat of rain and the wet roads from the overnight rain. So of course the weather cleared as soon as we called off the ride. The radar showed more rain coming…

Disappointed.

I did get in a good 32 mile ride yesterday so it is not a total loss.

Coming up to the Anniversary

On August 8, 2012 I made it to my goal weight of 210 pounds. The anniversary is coming up and though I am a few pounds above that weight right now I am still very pleased with where I am weight and health-wise and I will observe the date with a couple of slices of Reservoir Tavern pizza.

I am beating the odds. The averages say that I should have gained back at least 50% of the weight I lost by now. Some studies suggest that 80% of people who lose more than 1/3 of their body weight will regain 100% of that loss within two years. Those odds are terrible.

I have gained back 10 pounds. Not happy about that but I am not distressed over it either. I am working to bring it back down slowly and I will get there. The important thing is I am not eating the wrong foods nor am I snacking. My meals got a little too big. I recognize that and I have corrected it. The activity level is high. I just adjusted wrong…

So how have I managed so far to “beat the odds”? See above. I track it. I watch it. I adjust. I plan. I ride and I walk. I work at it. I look at before pictures. I look in the mirror and I tell myself NO. It will never stop being a THING for me. I will not relax, indulge, splurge or walk away from all that I worked so hard to accomplish.

The anniversary is coming up. This is a very important date for me. It marks the day when it all came true. The dream of no longer being a fat man. If I ever get a tattoo I think it will be a bicycle wheel with the date 8/8/2012 under it and the motto “Eat Right-Eat Less-Move More” above it.

So PGB, you up for some pizza in a couple of weeks?

Vegetarian

Not there yet. Not sure how to give up fish. I love lox and I love sushi and I just haven’t been able to bring myself to give them up entirely. I rarely eat poultry and I never eat red meat (defined as any meat from a mammal) but so far giving up fish has been harder than I am willing to deal with right now.

The interesting thing I find is that people assume that it has something to do with animal rights and cruelty and so forth. While I deplore cruelty towards animals (including the human animal) I have no real issue with animals as food for humans and I am by no means an animal rights activist.

For me it is purely a health issue. The research is overwhelming that people whose diets are high in red meats have a significantly higher rate of cardiovascular disease and live shorter lives. That was the drive behind giving up the red meat. Giving up poultry was a simple and easy next step towards a healthier diet. Next would be fish but I just can’t get there. Yet.

Thoughts

When I started this Journey fear was a big part of my life. I was afraid of dying. I was afraid of failing. I was afraid of the Journey itself and what I would learn about myself.

I am not afraid so much anymore. I am comfortable with who I am and what I have learned. I am healthy now. No more BP meds, no more “pre-diabetic condition”, health at rest heart rate, healthy weight. Blood numbers are all good.

I am much more comfortable with being me. I am not as easily angered as I was. I am pleased with me.

And this is what I tell people who ask me about losing weight: Eat Right-Eat Less-Move More and get to know who you are. If I had not explored me, primarily though the exercise of writing this blog, I would never have gotten here. I would not be just a couple of weeks away from two years reaching my goal weight still lean and healthy. I Would have been another who didn’t maintain it. I would have been another who gained it back. The battle is not won. It will never be won. I am still the person who weighed 320 pounds. The ghosts are still lurking. I know them now. I understand them better. I can keep the demons at bay now. I can because I confronted them.

If all I did was Diet I would be fat again.

I know this as an unquestionable truth.

I never Dieted. I am still not Dieting.

Eat Right-Eat Less-Move More and get to know yourself.

Peace


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Climbing Hills and Other Points Along the Road


Living this way.

If you read this blog with regularity, you know the date. December 27, 2011. That was the day I began the Journey. I wanted to lose 75 pounds. I weighed 306 pounds and I figured losing 75 pounds would be a heck of a good thing. That would bring me down to 231-230.

I revised that quickly. A few weeks in to the Journey I decided that 210 was a better weight and that became my target. I wanted to lose 96 pounds.

I really didn’t know what I was doing. I started this blog so I could keep a diary of the trip and to keep me motivated.

On August 8, 2012 I reached 210 pounds. I have been below that weight for much of the journey since and I have learned to love the way I live.

I am so far from that person. The FAT person. The man in the pictures, hiding behind everyone else, trying to not look so large. I was “The Great Carnivore”. My diet was heavy on meat. Also heavy on Peanut Butter and Jelly. And White Bread.t

And I was fat.

Now? I have not had red meat since March of 2012. I rarely have poultry. I sometimes eat fish. I haven’t had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in more than two years. I will have a piece of whole wheat bread with a light spread of peanut butter about once every two months.

I was sedentary. Sitting on the sofa and watching TV was my evening, my weekend day, my activity of choice for times away from work.

I ride my bike now. I lead rides. I often do 40-mile rides. 60 miles? 75? Yes. I rode 3000 miles last year.

I eat right. I eat less. I ride my bike.

I am living this way. I am not afraid of regaining the weight. I know I have to watch it. I know I have to be careful. I can’t get careless but I know I have the plan, the knowledge and the habits developed to stay in my weight range.

This is how I live. It is not a fad, a DIET, a “program”. It is my life.

I understood right from the beginning that this had to become life. Diets are designed to end. They are designed to fail. “Programs” end. Programs Fail.

I had to make this the way I live. For the rest of my life.

Climbing Hills

It is a matter of perspective.

I love to ride. I am good on the flat roads, the rolling roads and the down hills (I LOVE DOWN HILLS) but I am not good on the hills.

Now BP, my boss at the bike shop, says I lack perspective. We are all bad at hills if we compare ourselves to others. And there is a good point there.

Here is my point: I am a weak hill climber. I climb them anyway. I am better than I was two years ago. I am better than I was last year. I may never be a really good hill climber but I am getting better. My point is that I am doing it. Despite how much I hate the hills, I am doing them. Despite how much I struggle, I am doing them. I am in the game. I am fighting my way up the hills.

Bad at running? Run anyway. Bad at hill climbs? Climb them anyway. Get in the game.

One the first shop ride I went on in early 2013 I had to walk a couple of hills. The group had to wait for me. I was the slow rider in the back.

I stayed in the game.

By July I was leading the ride.

I am not good on hills. I climb them anyway.

I am better at climbing hills than everyone who doesn’t try.

All a matter of perspective.

The Man in the Mirror.

I cried. I stood there and cried. I was seeing me, it seemed, for the first time. I cried.

Never again

Never again

I was in my late forties. 48, on the cusp of 49 I think. I was looking in the mirror and for some reason I realized just how big I was. I cannot tell you why. I think I have written about this before. I still have no answer.

I was around 320 pounds. Looking in the mirror that day I saw the roundness of my face, the second and third chin and the sheer size of ME.

And I cried. For a moment. I stood there and I cried.

It was the second time that I realized just how very large I was. The first was a picture taken at a family celebration a few years earlier.

This time… Looking in the mirror. Not able to blame the ten pounds a camera puts on.

I cried.

This weekend I looked in the mirror. I was getting ready for my Saturday morning ride (more on that later) and I saw a different me and I have to tell ya… I didn’t cry.

I saw the lean face. I saw the lean neck and shoulders. I saw a me that is very far from the person I was 5 years ago, 3 years ago, even two years ago.

Thought I would mention it.

The Saturday Ride

I have not been getting the miles I want on the bike.

The irony of working part-time in a bike shop is how little time I have to ride. I work my regular job Monday through Friday and I work the shop on weekends. This leaves precious little time to ride.

The nice weather helps on Saturdays and I lead the shop ride on Sundays.

Saturday is my solo time. It is the ride where I push myself and challenge my abilities. I ride as hard as I can for as long as I can within the 18 miles or so on the route to the shop.

This weekend I changed the routine. I changed my course.

I left earlier and I plotted out a course to take me about 29 miles with a little treat at the halfway mark.

At a little after 7:00 AM I mounted up and set out.

Now to really appreciate this ride I need you to remember what I said about climbing hills..

The first quarter of a mile of any ride from my home is downhill. If I turn right at the bottom of the hill I can stay on a generally downhill course with only a couple of climbs all the way to the shop over the course of about 18 miles. If I go straight I have a nearly two-mile climb. The first part is relatively steep. The rest is just long.

I went straight. I had my third best time climbing that hill. Proud of that.

Elevation Map from the ride on Saturday

Elevation Map from the ride on Saturday

Then I continued on past some beautiful farm fields, winding roads through wooded areas, a couple of nice climbs and then a ride through one of the underappreciated towns in New Jersey, Denville. A quick stop for a small coffee at Smart World and back to the ride.

Along the Route of the  Ride on Saturday

Along the Route of the Ride on Saturday

Some rolling hills and a couple of short climbs, a wrong turn or two and I saw a friend from the shop cycling in the other direction. I waved, he waved and I rode on. A few minutes later JS rode up to me, deciding that riding with a friend was worth diverting from his planned route. We rode the remaining eight miles together, a little chatting but mostly just two well matched riders enjoying a roll through the towns along the route. JS could easily ride away from me if he wanted to but we ride well together. It was fun.

At the end I had 29 miles in and a new route to follow on my way to the shop.

It was joy. Challenging myself, picking the harder, longer route. And to ride it so well.

Yes BP, you are right. It is a matter of perspective.

 

Peace


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The Monday after a Really Good Weekend


A Week can Change so much

A week ago, I was counting the wounds, measuring the damage and thanking the fates that the crash was not worse.

On the scale of bike crashes, mine was quite minor. I had road rash, a broken helmet and some sore spots. Overall, I was lucky. The was nothing broken and nothing requiring surgery to put right.

This weekend I returned to riding. I have never been the sort to be afraid to do something that got me hurt previously. If I were, I never would have fallen in love a second time. There was no hesitation to getting back on the bike. I never worried about it, never questioned anything once on the bike.

Saturday was the day of the most important ride on my calendar. The Ride for Autism. I first did the ride in 2012. Now it is my annual focal point. So appropriate that the ride would fall on the Older One’s 23rd birthday.  He was very excited that I was riding for him on his birthday.

It was also my first ride since the crash. My only concern was the ability of my body to rise to the occasion, past the bumps and bruises, past the lack of conditioning. There was no fear.

I love riding. No crash was going to change that.

My annual picture at the first rest area of the ride for Autism.  Missing NI

My annual picture at the first rest area of the ride for Autism. Missing NI

The ride was WONDERFUL! Sixty-two miles through the New Jersey countryside, past horse farms and cornfields, through small towns and along country lanes and orchards, rolling hills and long flat sections. It was a blast.

I was tired and sore at the end of the ride. The body was not quite ready but we managed, my body and mind, to get the full distance in. I might have been able to do the 100 miles. I am glad I did the 62 instead.

Overjoyed? The first time I did the ride it was the furthest I had ridden in 20 years. It was a slog. My good and true friend, NI, pushed me up hills. Exhorted me to push myself, nearly dragged me across the finish…. Last year I was very strong and we rode together well. This year I rode with a group from the cycling club as NI was unable to make it. WE had a good time. They rode better than I did but we finished close together and enjoyed lunch at the end of the ride as a team.

Yes, I was Overjoyed.

Saturday night I sent a text to my friend and co-worker asking him to lead the Sunday ride. My legs were tired and sore and tight. I didn’t think I would be able to ride on Sunday morning.

Sunday I awoke feeling strong and rested with no tiredness or soreness in my legs.

I lead the ride on Sunday. We rode Twenty-five and a half miles. There was one good hill and it let me know the legs were tired. On the downside, I blasted. I went in to the highest gear and spun like mad. I hit 40+ miles per hour and felt no fear at all. Only exhilaration.

Feeling Right

I am feeling “right”. I like the way I eat, I like the activity level, I like the way I look. Most importantly I like the way I feel about ME. The inside ME. I feel so right within my skin.

Yes, this is because of the weight loss. It is more because of the changes I need to bring about for the weight loss to happen.

Introspection, deep-diving one’s brains….

Has its place.

Just thought I would mention it.

The Sunday Ride

So, as mentioned above, I rode on Sunday. I led the Sunday ride with the able co-leadership of JS, one of the people I work with at the shop. I took lead, he was the sweep. The sweep is the fellow who ride along at the back of the ride to make sure we don’t lose a rider off the back…

We had nine other riders along yesterday. Nearly perfect weather for eleven riders to explore northern NJ.

What a fine ride. I think the good weather put everyone, riders and drivers alike, in good moods. We had none of the typical close encounters with drivers. No nasty long and loud honks of the horn, no close buzzes…. Several times the drivers stopped to allow us to cross a street or hung back until there was a good and safe place to pass. I cannot tell you how much that was appreciated.

Getting in the 25.5 miles on Sunday told me so much about myself as a person and a rider. I was sore from Saturday. Not painfully so, not “DON’T RIDE” sore, but the kind of sore I might have used in years past as an excuse to chill in the morning, have a lazy morning… I rode. I knew I could work the kinks out. I knew I WANTED to ride.

Felt great. Felt truly great.

Rides like this remind me why I love to ride. I am not a racer. I never was particularly fast. I can hammer it on the flats when the spirit moves me, but I was never a racer. I have never competed on the bike…

I love to ride to the best of my abilities, get out on a beautiful day, feel the road roll under the wheels, the bike banking in to a turn, the satisfaction of getting to the top of that brutal hill, enjoying the thrill of the fast downhill and enjoying the properly sore muscles at the end of a good brisk ride.

And I am able to do this now. Not three years ago. I couldn’t do it. Three years ago, Summer of 2011, I couldn’t do this. I couldn’t ride. I could barely walk up stairs.

While riding yesterday I thought about this. I thought about riding 62+ on Saturday and another 25+ on Sunday. Not bad for a man who was close to 320 pounds three years earlier. I kind of smiled as I thought about it.

The Journey… 88+ miles of cycling this weekend. Another 6 miles of walking. All in all a busy weekend. I have done more miles in a weekend that is certain. But it doesn’t matter. What matter is I what I did this weekend. What I will do the next weekend. What I CAN do now. All this is what matters. I can play with my children, take walks with my sons, work in the yard, climb the stairs, take hikes with friends, ride…

I can do this now. The Journey has brought me here.

All it took was deciding to take the first step.

 

Peace.

Not my best day

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Not how I wanted the ride to go.

Sunday Morning, feeling ready to ride

Sunday Morning, feeling ready to ride

I lead the Sunday morning beginner/intermediate ride at the bike shop. It is one of those things I really enjoy and today promised to be a great ride. The weather was great, the attendance was excellent and I had a nice route planned for the group.

Two miles in to the ride things went bad.

I crashed. Hard.

I lost my focus for just a moment, took a wide line through a turn, clipped a curb….

Helmets work. They really do.

Big dent in the lid

Big dent in the lid

I came away from the crash with some nasty scrapes, bumps, cuts and bruises, a wrecked helmet, a mild headache (no concussion) and a major bruise to my ego.

The bike is fine. A couple of minor repairs and it will be as good as new.

I was able to ride back to the shop while the rest of the group rode on and enjoyed a really nice ride in the country side.

Cracks inside the helmet.  This one is no retired to my bike closet.  A reminder that hubris is a bad thing

Cracks inside the helmet. This one is now retired to my bike closet. A reminder that hubris is a bad thing

OUCH.  My right elbow.  My right side is scraped from knee to shoulder

OUCH. My right elbow. My right side is scraped from knee to shoulder

I keep a first aid kit in my car and was able to tend to my wounds and then I went over to the nearby pharmacy and picked up some more stuff. After the manager arrived at the shop I was able to go in and shower up, get the rest of the wounds cleaned and bandaged and then I worked the day at the shop. Sold a few bikes.

Mostly I feel sore, stiff, and stupid.

I did what I always preach not to do. I allowed myself to become distracted and lost my focus. BOOM.

Don’t do that.

I am sure this is a lesson learned for me. Painfully, but learned.

Glad the bike will be OK.

To top it off, I broke a tooth tonight.

Sometimes it doesn’t pay to get out of bed.

BUT this is where working at the shop pays off for me.

Today a young man of 9 or 10 came in with his Dad. He got his very first grownup bike and I had the privilege of setting him up and helping him select the bike. I had the pleasure of seeing the joy on his face as he test rode the bike. I saw his smile when Dad said “let’s get it”. Later in the day I helped a woman select her first road bike. She discovered riding a year ago. A woman in her forties, she hadn’t ridden since she was a child. Then she decided she wanted to get fit and a year ago she bought herself a Hybrid. A friend talked her in to training for triathlons’. Her Hybrid just wasn’t going to cut it. After having a professional fitting done I worked with her for a little more than an hour. She was a little confused by the range of available options and we worked through it until it became clearer for her. Then we went outside and she test rode a bike. We worked on the shifting, how the brakes work, the differences in the handling compared to the Hybrid. When it was all done, she had selected a bike, was comfortable with the selection, and was excited about getting out on the road on her new road bike.

These are the things that put a shine on the day.

There was also a some gentle, touching moments to the day.

A mother and father came in today looking for a used children’s bike for their son. A child of about 8, he appears to be non-verbal autistic. He loves to pedal a bike. I helped them select one of the used bikes, actually one I had taken in the day before. A bike with 20-inch wheels, with training wheels already on it and in nearly new condition. This little boy, alone in his world. He lit up when he sat on the bike.

The father, in labored English, explained to me “my boy is special needs”. I told him I understood. He thanked me and asked if I knew where they could find help for their son. I gave him the email address of Autism NJ, the organization that benefits from The Ride for Autism. He, his wife and his son left with smiles.

Maybe I am wrong. Maybe today was a very good day.

 

Peace.


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Family, Overindulgence, and a Ride with a Friend


Memorial Day Weekend with Family

Friday night was a visit to hell.

We drove from New Jersey to Virginia on the Friday night of a long weekend. Had to be done. No other option. It was hell.

The drive from Jersey to my brother’s home in Virginia is a five-hour affair on most occasions. For the annual Memorial Day weekend visit we typically leave at silly o’clock on Saturday morning, pull up to the hotel at 11:00 or so, rest up and then go to my brother’s home around 1:30 to visit a little before the festivities start at 2:00.

That would be normal.

This year was not normal.

This year we had a naming ceremony for the first member of the next generation, my nephew’s daughter, a two-month old bundle of love. This required arriving Friday night for the early Saturday service.

Six and a half hours of heavy traffic, much of it stop-and-go.

The Older Son does not deal well with this. I don’t deal well with this.

We survived.

Grand-Aunt Missus with Grandniece

Grand-Aunt Missus with Grandniece

The festivities on Saturday, both the naming ceremony and the cookout, were smashing successes. Visiting with my niece and my nephews, seeing my brother and his wife and all the friends I only see at the annual cookout, and meeting my Grand-Niece, all added up to pure joy.

The weekend was too short. I would have liked to stay longer on Sunday but obligations drew us home. We had to be back in time to pick up the dogs from the kennel. Other responsibilities had to be met.

But it was a joy.

Overindulgence

I thought about it carefully. Then I decided to allow it. I overindulged on Saturday. After a light breakfast, I allowed myself to eat and enjoy the foods at the cookout. Well, not all the foods. The stars of the menu are all red meat related. Ribs, Skirt Steak, Beef Chili, Burgers, Hot Dogs…

I brought a vat of Vegan Chili. It was very well received and went quickly. There were also homemade black bean veggie burgers made by AH, the partner of my Nephew G. They were delicious. And I had fruit, salads, brownies….

Oh yes, rum chocolate bon-bons…. OH MY they were good.

So I went way overboard.

And it is OK.

This morning I was actually down one pound from Friday.

Still heavier than I want to be and I am back on the plan and I am working it off.

But for one day…

It was OK.

A Ride with a Friend

I met ES when he and his wife AS started showing up last spring for the Sunday Shop Rides. A really nice couple. Pleasant to talk with, great to ride with. Bright, Enthusiastic and engaged in the rides.

Everything a Ride Leader could want from riders.

When they didn’t show up for the ride one summer Sunday I assumed that their children were home from camp and that was that.

It was more than that. ES had been involved in a bad bike crash. It took a great deal of focus and effort, I am sure, but he returned to cycling and it was my joy to be involved in helping him select his new bike.

ES and AS have rejoined the Sunday rides and it is once again a pleasure to ride with them. I didn’t lead the ride yesterday because I was heading back north from the family visit.

Riding Country Roads in New Jersey

Riding Country Roads in New Jersey

I had planned to do a 60 mile ride with the bike club in The Hudson Valley but I just could bear the thought of a 120-mile round trip in the car.

I was really pleased when ES told me he was available for a ride today.

So we met a the bike shop (a good midway point between our homes) and set out on what we originally planned as a 48 mile ride. Memorial Day Parades changed that to a 42.5-mile ride… It was Great.

I can’t speak for ES but for me… It was GREAT. We rode at a relaxed pace, took one long break and a couple of short breaks and chatted much of the ride when we could ride side by side. It was a ride with two personalities. The first half of the ride had nearly 2000 feet of climbing. The second half was flat to downhill…

I knew I would enjoy selling bikes.  I knew I would enjoy leading the Shop Rides.  I didn’t know that I would develop friendships with “customers”

Fun time. ES and I are well matched in our riding abilities. ES is MUCH better on the hills than I am but I am able to ride the rolling hills and the flat areas with him and he is patient about the long climbs.

I am working hard to be ready for the Ride for Autism. A ride like this is good prep….

Thanks ES.

My Attention

I have not been tending to this blog much recently. My efforts have been directed towards WORK and the Ride for Autism.

This ride is very important to me. Raising funds, getting people to join the team… So far the Team has raised $2,600.00. A wonderful thing. Wonderful and generous people have donated whatever they could and I appreciate it more than words can express.

It will be a fun ride. Some are doing the Century. Some are riding shorter distances. It is all good. The important thing is to show up. To engage. To make the effort. I appreciate it all.

So that is where my attention has been. Diverted from this important part of my life to another.

Today I rode 42+ miles. I am preparing to ride 100 in June 7th. I am doing this because The Older One cannot. I am doing this because I want other parents to have the resources available to them that were not available to us 20+ years ago.

To all who are supporting the team or have joined the team I offer you my deepest thanks.

Today’s Ride was beautiful.

June 7th the ride will be meaningful.Dannys team 2

 

Peace.


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The Black Dog Won


Not the Weekend I Wanted

This was the weekend of the Five-Boro Bike Tour.

I look forward to this ride for one reason: Riding with my friend NI.

The rest of it is OK.  Thirty-two thousand riders make for quite the spectacle.

The ride was Sunday.  I had a good time on Saturday.  I met up with NI and a friend of his and we traipsed around the city, had a good lunch, did the registration thing…

It was Sunday that The Black Dog took his bite and I couldn’t, or didn’t, fight back.

I awoke at 4:00 AM, got ready for the ride, loaded up the car and drove in the New York City.  By 5:30, I was approaching the area where I would meet NI.  Then it happened.  The stress?  A stomach bug?  I am not sure.  I pulled over to the curb on a side street in lower Manhattan.  There and then, I lost what little breakfast I had.

I contemplated this.  Thought about what it was all about.  What caused this?  I turned around, went home and went to sleep.  I didn’t do the ride.

I never really felt any better yesterday.  I thought I would ride in the afternoon if I did but I didn’t  I didn’t feel much better and I didn’t ride.  Riding might have been the best thing for me.  Doing the tour might have been the best thing for me.

I simply couldn’t fight The Black Dog.

I sat on the sofa speaking to no one, doing nothing.  I wanted to climb into a hole and pull the earth back over me.

I don’t like when this happens (no kidding, right?) and I am not sure why it does.  I wish I could understand what is happening in my head a little better.

If I did understand it better, then maybe this would have been the weekend I wanted.

Guilt

I am not living the life I imagined I would have when I was a teen and well in to my twenties and even my early thirties.

I didn’t expect to need two jobs.  I didn’t expect not to be able to afford a vacation once a year or to have the difficulties I have.  This is not what I expected at all.  I really don’t like my career.  I am good at it.  I just don’t like it.  I don’t have time to do the things I like.  I work seven days a week.  I take off a weekend and I feel guilty.  I am taking money out of the family pot and I am leaving the shop shorthanded.  I don’t get to do the activities I so enjoy: hiking, cycling, spending time with my family and friends.

It is the guilt that cripples me.  If I work all seven days, I feel guilty for taking time away from the family.  If I don’t work the weekend, I feel guilt over not making the money.

This is not a way to live.  This is a way to die.

At this time there is little I can do to change all this.  I have to keep pushing.  I am not sure where this pushing will get me but I have to.  There is no other choice.

So I deal with the guilt.

My weight

I am the heaviest I have been since the middle of the summer of 2012.  I am up to 217.  This is not a good thing.  I have no excuses.  I have given in to the depression and the stress and I have over-eaten.  I have not pushed past the depression to get on the bike.  I have walked.  HUGE amounts of walking.  I have set a course in the factory and I make sure I walk it throughout the day.  It is great for fitness.  I am fit.  But I have out-eaten the calories I am burning and that is no one’s fault or responsibility but my own.

217-pounds. Pants are getting a little snug.  T-shirts are getting a little tight.

I have to get back to what I know works and I need to stay there.  I have indulged.  Cookies.  Buffet.  Not what, who or where I want to be.

It will not stand.

Getting it back together

I will take some days off work in the next couple of weeks. Take a few vacation days.  I will get on my bike and ride.  I will get out and hike.  PGB is sometimes available mid-week.  Perhaps he will be able to join me for a hike in Harriman.

If I don’t get my mind cleared and my heart right I will surely end up either insane or fat.  Insane I can accept.  Fat I cannot.

I understand the expression “a life lived in quiet desperation” now.  I didn’t always.  I do now.

Things have to change.  I need to make them change.  I need to get my heart and mind back on the same page, focused on the same goals, the same life plan.

I cannot accept what I am doing to myself with food, with stress, with life in general.

Getting it back together is must happen.  It has to start happening now.

Is life a constant battle for everyone? So many people I see seem to have it together.  I sometimes feel I am a single step away from the abyss.  Stepping back from that fall is the hardest thing to do when the Black Dog seems to be standing behind me baring teeth and growling.

Cycling, and time with friends, has been my escape from The Black Dog.  This weekend I didn’t fight hard enough.  I let the Black Dog win.

I have to find a way to fight harder. Or maybe I just need to be smarter than The Black Dog…

 

Peace


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Turns


Life

I was sick two weeks ago. I wrote about it. Just feeling normal again now.

Life has been interesting recently. I would like life to be a bit less interesting.

I love being who I am now. I have to tell you that.

I was never all that much a fan of me over the years. I have battled depression, fought off per self-image. I have been shocked when I was complimented on anything. I have been riddled with doubt.

I caved in to the negatives and I made them self-fulfilling.

I just don’t do that now.

And I like this about me.

Yesterday I led the shop ride and had a really good time of it. A group of seven of us left the shop at 8:30 in the morning and we did a 25 mile ride over the roads of Northern New Jersey. It wasn’t a fast ride but it isn’t intended to be a fast ride. It is a beginner/intermediate ride and we try to keep a moderate pace. Yesterday we averaged about 13 miles an hour while moving. And that is just fine. The important thing is we had a good time.

Living is what you decide it will be. I have decided life will be fun.

I am not going to live the rest of my life the way I lived the first 50+ years.

That Said…

I have been dealing with The Black Dog recently. I think the flu had something to do with it. Also stress at work. My “real Job”, not the bike shop job. The only stress there is I don’t get to work there often enough. Like Every Day…..

The shop can induce some stress. Trying to keep several customers happy at once when the store is very busy… But there are rewards. Making friends out of customers. Seeing a customer get on a bike after years of not riding and seeing the joy on their face as they test ride a bike. A customer recovering from an accident getting the bike of their dreams…

There are the rewards of working with really fine people. People who are passionate about bikes. Passionate about customers. Passion is something missing from my “real Job”. No one there has it. They go through the motions. They get the job done.

The Black Dog tends to hide after a couple of days with me at the shop. He can’t keep up with me. If I didn’t work at the shop I would surely go insane.

Recovery

This past winter was hell. Truly hell. I was depressed much of the winter. The cold kept me from riding. The ice, the snow, the rains, the grey… I gained a few pounds. Nothing terrible. I expected it but I did gain a few more than I thought I would. That gain is mostly gone now. I am riding. Eating right. I am doing the things I know will help me stay in the range.

I am recovering. Slowly.

My head concussion symptoms are fading. I do still have some trouble putting a sentence together once every so often. The owner of the shop asked me a question and I had trouble answering. He said for a moment he thought I was having a seizure. I think it scared him a slight bit. Just the way my mind works now. Sometimes the words get stuck on my tongue.

I am told by people with MD after their name that this is normal and it will pass. I didn’t do what the Doctor told me to do when I got the concussion. I didn’t stay in bed for a week with not TV, no computer, no books. I took two days off and I went to work. Why? Because I was afraid of losing my job. Because my company has an immature approach to illness and injury. Such is life.

The effects of the flu lingered longer than I expected. Two weeks later and I am finally feeling myself….

This is good.

So I can ride. I can eat right. I can work at the shop and I can save my sanity by doing so.

I am recovering from a lifetime of issues. These latest are just minor bumps in the road.

Rides

Ride season is here.

Next Sunday I will take part in the TD Five Boro Bike Tour

Me and 32,000 of my closest friends…

It will be insane but I am looking forward to it. There is only one reason I am looking forward to it. The opportunity to ride with my friend NI. We met through this ride and we have now been friends since 2010. I list him high on my list of good people and I only wish we lived closer together so we could ride together more often.

NI and I do five rides together. The TD Bank Five Boro Bike Tour, The Ride For Autism, The NYC Century, The Discover Hartford Ride and, Boston Hub on Wheels (the best of the bunch in terms of quality of the ride). I would do Montreal as well but it is out of the scope of my budget….

I cannot tell you how enjoyable rides like this can be when you ride with a friend and you can share the accomplishment.

Fun time.

I am a little discouraged with the fund-raising efforts for the Ride for Autism and Danny’s Team. I had hoped we would raise more than last year. I raised $1495 last year. This year we are at $1,118. Maybe more will come in. It is for such a good cause….

We do have 8 or 9 members of Danny’s Team now. This makes me very happy. That is a few more people who signed up for the ride and that is the primary fund-raising means for the ride anyway.

I hope to find a few more rides to do this year with NI.

Join us!

 

 

Peace