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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Time, Life, Moving along, a Reminder of the circle of life and Hikes and My Annual Maudlin List of Thanks


Time

I have been a busy fellow.

I have been working 11-12 hours per day at my regular job.  Many reasons.  We have much to do and the goals are high.  We have all been pushing to improve operations and we are making headway but it makes for long, long days.  I have stopped working at the bike shop for now.  I need the time off to rest on weekends.  The shop owner has been very good about giving me this time off.  I have been off from my regular job the last five days.  I burned off my last vacation day for the year on Wednesday and the plant has been closed since Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

This adds up to five much-needed days of rest.

Now I have the energy and the time to sit and write  blog post.  See how neatly this all fits?

Life gets in the way

I have been trying to get the time to work on this blog.  I know I haven’t posted in a long while.  Really I have been just too tired and too wrapped up in my day-to-day to sit and put my mind at rest enough to write.  It’s a shame because I love writing this blog and it just hasn’t been in me to write.

I have also gotten careless and lazy.  I haven’t been recording my weight or what I have been eating and the result is that I gained back 20 pounds.  I am very unhappy about this but I am working hard to take it back off and get focused back on the plan and the goal.  There  are a great many reasons and excuses for this.  The truth is I simply lost focus.  Life got in the way.  Work at both jobs, stress, a battle with the Black Dog…  I lost focus.  I am getting back to the focus now.

Moving Along

A co-worker at the bike shop, the fellow who brought me in to the shop as an employee, the fellow who sold me my Trek Madone two years ago, is moving along.  He has been at the shop two or three years and he has decided it is time to move on.  He has taken a “dream job” with a bicycle company and will be moving to the Midwest.  NP has been a source of support, information and inspiration for the last two plus years and I have enjoyed working with him the last year plus.

Missus and I met with NP and his Missus this morning at a mutually favorite place for breakfast.  It is actually the first time we have gotten together socially.  It was enjoyable.  We chatted about the shop, about his new job, the move to the new area, the adventures he and his Missus have in front of them.  We laughed a good deal, Missus and I enjoyed their company a great deal and we wished them the very best and asked them to stay in touch.  Missus sent them off with a couple dozen of her famous chocolate chip cookies.

We all meet people in our lives who in a quiet way help you move along.  NP was one of those people for me.  Though a far more skilled and faster rider than I am, NP never declined an opportunity to ride with me, never showed impatience with my struggles up hills, never failed to listen attentively to my dumbest questions.  He helped me a good deal to move along in my cycling life and along my Journey.

Now he is moving along to a great adventure and opportunity.

I hope we do stay in touch.

The Circle of Life

Wally and I met the first week or so of our freshman year of high school.  He introduced himself to me by saying (in a deep bass voice no 14-year old should have) “HI, I’m Big Wally”.  I responded “yes, yes you are” and a friendship was born.  We would remain friends for the next 35 years.

Thanksgiving Day would have been Wally’s 54th birthday.  He died in 2010.  It was a tough Thanksgiving for me in any case.  No friends or family for Thanksgiving dinner, nowhere to go for the holiday.  Just a quiet day with Missus and the boys.  That it was also Wally’s birthday made the day darker and harder.

The next morning I learned that old friends of ours were presented with their second Grandchild.  On Thanksgiving Day.  On Wally’s birthday.

My mood lifted.  I now have a happy thought to go with November 27.  I will always think of Wally on that day.  Now I will also think about my friends and their second Grandchild.

You can always find a happier memory to soften the harsh memories.

The circle of life.

Hiking

??????????MT and PGB and I went for a hike today.  Seven or so miles, some climbing, on snowy, slushy, sloppy, and sometimes icy trails.  It was chilly but not COLD and it was a good brisk hike that soon had us opening our jackets and taking off our gloves.

??????????

Though it was a gray day, it was not a bad day for a hike.  There were a great number of people on the trails with us today and everyone seemed to be enjoying the day.  I think everyone was also surprised as we were at the number of people out and about.

??????????

The hike was fun, pure and simple.  MT and PGB are intelligent and knowledgeable on a range of topics so the conversation is good.  The park we went to, Harriman State Park in New York State, is not all that far from us and it presents some challenging trails and some easy trails and some of the views are spectacular.  The three of us have hiked it together several times and PGB and I have hiked it together a few times as well.  I always enjoy the hikes.

??????????

Today was not a difficult hike but it was a hike that demanded our attention.  The trail was slippery from the recent snow and the warming temperatures had turned some areas to slush and some areas wore a thin layer of ice.  Concentration and attention to the trail was important today.  At the end of the hike I was tired.  I also felt great!

??????????

Cycling has become painful for me due to some issues with my right shoulder so I need hiking to tide me over while I allow the shoulder to heal (or not).  Last time I went on a hike with PGB and MT, about three weeks ago, I had some problems with an erratic heartbeat.  I have had the issue for years and it is not anything that I worry about.  It just flares up and saps my energy when it does.  That hike was difficult.  I was very tired and the climbs were difficult due to the heartbeat thing.  As suddenly as the flare-ups occur is how suddenly they stop and the next day I was fine.

The heartbeat thing hasn’t reared up since that day and it left me alone today.  I was able to climb and hike strongly and I felt good throughout.  So yes, I was tired but I felt strong and I came out of the woods energized.

My Annual Maudlin List of Thanks, 2014 Edition

I am thankful for my boys.

The Younger One is growing in to a pleasant young man who has a level of kindness and patience in him that he certainly did not inherit from me.

The Older One is loving, sweet and funny.  The last year has been difficult but he has settled down a little bit as the new medications have helped.  He still will always face challenges and life will always be shaped by his needs but the love we get from him and the beauty he brings to our lives is immeasurable.

I am thankful that Missus and I are still together after 26 years.  No marriage lasts this long without some major bumps in the road.  I am glad that we always seem to find a way to smooth them over.

I am thankful for my siblings. PCG, BMS, and PCS are good, caring and loving people.  It is an unfortunate fact that we are scattered across the country and we do not see each other as often as we would like.

I am thankful for my siblings-in-law. KBS, who has been in a part of my life for longer than nearly anyone I am not a blood relation to (except for JKN and KEB), and who is much more a sister than a sister-in-law, CBS, whose company I truly enjoy and who I wish we could see more often (if she wants to bring my brother along that is ok), and GG, with whom I know I would be close friends if he didn’t live 3000 miles away.

I am thankful for my nephews and my niece.  MS, GS, and NS are wonderful people.  Caring, intelligent, loving and committed.  They are proof that involved and loving parents raise good children.  I am proud to be their Uncle and thankful that they seem to enjoy spending some time with me.

I am thankful they have J, A and H in their lives.  I adore J and A and I am truly happy that MS and GS have such wonderful ladies in their lives.  I haven’t had the opportunity to get to know H but I look forward to it.

I am thankful for my Grand-Niece.  She is a real cutie and I am excited by the opportunity to watch her grow.

I am thankful that I have the world’s best Mother-in-law.  She is a caring and wonderful lady.  She has never once interfered in our lives but has always been there for us. I am thankful that at Ninety she is still with us and still sharp.  NC is a pretty great sister-in-law.

I am thankful for SR.  She is a Grandmother to the boys and a friend and advisor to us.  She is involved, supportive and loving to all 5 of her “grandchildren” and we are all better for it. And I am grateful that I have formed such a good friendship with her son.

I am thankful for our group of friends.  The last few years have seen our group shrink for a variety of reasons but those remaining are dear to me and I am truly thankful to have them in my life.

I am thankful for the 39 years of friendship with the girl with the yellow rose.  Everyone should have in their life a friend who will embrace you when you are down, smack you out of it and hold you while you steady yourself.  We are that for each other.  I never doubt that when I need her she well be there.

I am thankful for the 41 years of friendship with The Little Girl Next Door. I have not been the friend to her that I should have been over the last year plus but she has understood and she has accepted.  I am thankful that she is finding her bearings again after her loss.

I am thankful for The Teacher.  She is a good friend and though we don’t see one another often, I know she is there and I am thankful that she will kick me when a kick is what I need.

I am thankful that SS has HH and I am thankful that I can call them both my friends.

I am thankful CRF has MF and that they are both my friends.

I am thankful for the friendship with NI.  He is a true friend and a great partner in cycling crime.  The good times and the laughter do not seem to have an end.

I am thankful for the friendship of The Friends.  My hikes with PGB and MT and our occasional dinners are a critical part of my journey.

I am Thankful that MTT found UJT and that they have committed to a life together.  Though MTT and I are not as close as we were years ago he is still my third brother and always will be.  His joy in his life is a joy I share.

I am thankful for and grateful to BP and CB.  Welcoming me in to the CC family and their support, patience and encouragement is deeply appreciated.  They have helped me on my Journey in more ways than I can list.

I am thankful that when the new ownership of my company “cleaned house” I was one of the few left standing.  I see good things ahead and I am grateful that I have the opportunity to “show my stuff”.  That is all anyone can ask for.

I am thankful that I have seen the age of 53 and will soon cross 54 in good health and fit and trim.  The Journey continues and despite some setbacks and stumbles, it moves along. I am thankful that I have a family that understands that I need to cycle and hike and they are patient and forgiving of my time away from them to do this.

I am thankful that I can laugh and love and write and talk and can be with friends and family.

I am especially thankful that my friends and family have made it through since last Thanksgiving.

I am thankful for life and the richer place that it is because of the people who are readings this.

Back on the Journey, back on the path, back towards the goal.

Peace.


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Losing Myself


A Hard Stretch

I haven’t written in a very long time. I just haven’t had my brain in the game.

I will not make excuses. I have put on 15 pounds and I am not pleased with myself. I know why. I have been eating too damned much. And I know why I have been doing that. The Black Dog has won a few rounds recently.

I have been working 12-14 hour days at my regular job. I have been working Saturday and Sunday at the bike shop.

When I take time off on the weekend it has been for organized rides or to attend to family responsibilities.

What I have not been doing is taking time for me.

And I am paying a price. Maybe a very high price.

I am exhausted. My abnormal heartbeats have returned. I am not sleeping at night. If I had much hair I am sure it would be falling out.

It is hard to put to words exactly what I have been feeling. Almost numb but not numb enough.

Vacation would be good but I am out of vacation time.

This has been a hard stretch and I don’t see an end.

I took Sunday off this past weekend. I had hoped to do the Tour De Bronx, a nice relaxed pace ride around The Bronx, but shoulder pain is keeping me off the bike right now. I hiked instead. MT and PB, my hiking partners of the past couple of years, and I went on a hike here in North Jersey. 7 miles or so. Not too difficult. Fun. When the hike ended, we went to lunch and shared some good conversation. I didn’t really want the afternoon to end but they went their way and I went home. Reorganized and rearranged our bedroom. Relaxed.

Not nearly enough but it helped.

Yes, this has been a hard stretch.

Finding me.

The last couple of months I have had the sense that I am having trouble finding my center.

In the past just being on the bike has been enough for me to clear my mind, correct my mood, get me centered.

Lately it has not worked.

Riding has been painful. My right shoulder. The muscles between my shoulder blades.

I last rode three weekends ago. My shoulder still hurts. Deep in the joint.

Cycling never hurt before.

Now it is hurting every time I ride and I am developing a fear of the pain.

I am trying to rest the body, give it time to heal, give me time to rest.

But not cycling hurts the mind. I miss the feeling of the bike under me. I miss the rides.

The last time I was off the bike for any length of time was in 2012 when I injured my knee. I am not enjoying this right now anymore than I did then.

So I have to find a way to find me. A way to blow out the buildup of stress. Away to clear my mind. I need to find a way to focus on me so I can focus on my family, my friendships, my life that does not include working.

I have 15 pounds to lose.

I have a mind to refocus.

I have much to do.

 

Peace.


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Perceptions


This confuses me

It is almost as if people want to diminish the accomplishments of others. I will see if I can make this make sense.

First: I know everyone is unique. No two people, even twins, are exactly alike. Our life experiences shape us and even raised in the same household by the same parents at the same time and sharing identical genetics will still result in two unique individuals.

That said…

I lost weight because I ate less and I moved more and I stuck to it. I didn’t follow a DIET. I didn’t get on a program. I just reduced my intake, watched the nutrition, walked, then hiked, then rode my bike. I am keeping the weight off by doing the same things…

And it was never as easy as it looked.

Never

If it had been easy I would never have started this blog to keep the momentum going. I would not have needed this outlet if it was easy.

I was fat for so long that I had come to accept that it was my lot in life, that being fat was who I was. It wasn’t easy, it still isn’t, to deal with my failures and my insecurities and the emotional train wreck that had helped fuel the weight gain and my perception of myself as that fat guy.

So when you see me and remark on my weight loss and then tell me who you just cannot lose weight… Well, it almost feels as if you are diminishing what I and other who have lost weight have done and continue to fight to do.

I cannot think that this is how it is meant but it is a thought that tickles at the back of my mind and it bothers me.

PGB is an example of misperception. I am sure he weighs within a few pounds of his High School weight. My mindset was that he was one of those lucky people who simply didn’t gain weight. Somehow, magically, he was able to eat JUST the right amount to stay at a set weight range.

I am sure he would beg to differ on that point. He works at it. He watches his weight, adjusts his activity level and food intake to pull the weight down when it creeps up and makes sure that he stays in the range he has set for himself.

My typical dinner

My typical dinner

It isn’t easy. It takes focus and discipline.

When someone tells me how hard it is for them… Well, it feels like they are saying it was easy for me. It wasn’t and it isn’t.

I watch everything I eat and I try to keep the weight down. It creeps up and I get on top of it. Right now I am about 6-7 pounds higher than I want to be. I want to stay between 205 and 210. I am at 216 right now. I am adjusting. I am bringing it down. It isn’t easy. It will never be easy.

It has nothing to do with looks

“You Look Great”.

I like hearing it. I am human and I have my vanities..

It isn’t about looks. I was never particularly handsome and being lean doesn’t change that. My ears and nose look huge now than there isn’t a fat face to hide them. Nothing is going to change that this side of plastic surgery and I am just not that interested….

It isn’t about looks.

The young lady who grew up across the street, and went on national TV to lose weight, looks wonderful. She was always pretty. Now her beauty shine through. Ask her and I suspect that she will tell you she is happy about her looks but even happier about the improvement in her physical and emotional health. I haven’t spoken to her. This is purely assumption on my part.

It really isn’t about looks.

I think the people who lose weight and keep it off, the people who really adjust their life style and their habits, are the people who realize they HAVE to do it for their health. Not just say it but KNOW IT. Know deep inside that is they don’t change, don’t adjust, don’t take of the weight then they are on a quick slide down.

It has nothing to do with looks.

But it’s ok to tell me I look good.

He doesn’t know it yet….

I am going to ask my friend NI if he would like to ride from point A to point B (A and B to be determined) on a week-long ride. I am not in to rough touring. I am thinking motel to motel over the course of a few hundred miles…

My Bike

My Bike

Next spring or summer.

For the hell of it.

If he is still reading my blog…. He knows now….

 

Peace


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Thoughts on Life


Been Looking Back

I was reading some of my old posts today. One was remarkably like the one I posted last week. Only the passage of about 18 months and the perspective that brings really differentiates last week’s post from the older post.

I think this is telling. I think it points to a truth about this Journey. For all I have learned about myself and my needs and my motivations, the same thoughts, fear, concerns, and questions exist today as when I started. The truth is that it will always be this way.

And I am ok with this. I understand that the scars never really heal over. It never really goes away, the urge to eat; the desire for food is always there. It is controlling it that matters.

If I have learned a lesson on this Journey, it is this: each day is important. Each meal matters. Everything I do will affect what I am trying to accomplish. For all the weight I have lost, for all I have learned about myself, I am nowhere near the end of the Journey. I can still fail. I don’t fear it as I once did. The potential will always exist.

I have kept the weight off longer than most who lose a great deal of weight. This does not make me immune to the traps and pitfalls all around.

I have a healthy fear of gaining the weight back. I know how easily I can fail, fall back, slip up…

Cutting back

I love working at the bike shop. If I could go back in time to my early twenties knowing what I know now I would find a shop like this one and BEG the owner for a job and I would do it for the rest of my life. Too soon old, too late smart…

All this said, and as much as I can use the income, working at the shop had one notable drawback. I have so little time to do the things I love. I have less time with my family, less time to ride, no time at all to hike.

I think come fall I will ask the owners if I can cut back to just Sundays and the occasional Saturday and weeknight. I would never cut back now. Summer is BUSY season and I think I am a help. At this point I have gained knowledge and experience and I would not want to leave the owners short-handed. They have been extremely good to me and there is no way I would leave them short.

I just need more time for family. I need more time to hike and ride.

We will see. I hope that it would work for them..

Weekend Plans

The July 4th holiday is coming right quick. No work ANYWHERE on Friday. Golden opportunity for a long bike ride and a hike.

I have a couple of people interested in a fifty-plus mile ride on Friday morning. I think that would be a great time if the weather agrees.

Afterwards I would like to get a hike in. I should see if PGB and MT are available. It has been a very long time since we have hiked together. In between I will spend time with my family, cook on the grill, have family time… Mixing the two is a challenge but I need both to maintain my sanity (such as it is).

Saturday I will ride in to the shop and on Sunday I will ride in and lead the Sunday Ride. I Evening with Missus and Da Boys.

Bliss.

Oh, the Younger One is nearly my height now. He just turned 14.

Sigh.

He will pass me soon.

An Interesting side effect of the weight loss: I shrunk in height.

I was just under 6’2″ when I was at my peak weight. I am now JUST a hair above 6’1″. Makes some sense I guess. My shoes size dropped from a 12 EE to an 11.5 D and my hat size dropped as well. Ya lose weight nearly everywhere… Just hard to imagine I could drop nearly ¾ of an inch.

It’s OK. I would rather be lean and shorter than what I was and taller.

Thinking about this: What I was…

What I was and taller. Interesting that I should write it that way.

What I was…..

What was I?

I was fat and I was miserable and I hated who I was and what I was.

I think about this a great deal because I have never stopped exploring why I got so heavy.

What I was….

I will never be again.

 

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.


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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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Today


March 11

I turned 50 on March 11, 2011. I weighed somewhere around 300 pounds and my weight was climbing. If asked, I would have told you that I doubted I would see 55. I also would have told you that while I wanted to lose weight, I didn’t expect I would. I wasn’t doing a damned thing to make it happen.

I had lost some weight in 2004. I gained it back. I had lost weight in 2010. I gained it back.

I would have to admit that by 2011 I had accepted that I was a fat man. I was going to stay a fat man. I would die a fat man.

Between March 11, 2011 and December 27, 2011 something in me changed. Something fundamental to who I am and who I wanted to be changed and I really don’t know what. Simply put it really doesn’t matter. What matters is it did change. I did change.

By March 11, 2012 I had dropped to the 268 pounds. I went for a walk with The Younger One and I took a bike ride. It was 62 degrees and I got in a ten-mile ride. It was slow and it was difficult but I did it.

March 11, 2013 I weighed in at 203 pounds. I had a head cold much as I have one today. I was able to get in a ride on the Sunday before my birthday but this time I rode 30 miles despite some cold weather and the head cold.

And today I turn 53.

I again have a March Head Cold.

Riding my Synapse is good for my synapse.  Getting ready for this evening's ride

Riding my Synapse is good for my synapse. Getting ready for this evening’s ride

Finally the weather is good. It was 62 degrees when I got home from work. I changed in to my gear and I went for a short ride. I went only 8 miles. Loaded with cold medications and my head all congested…. But I rode. That is what matters. When presented with ample and legitimate excuses to not ride I still rode. I got in my Birthday Ride.

Today is more than a birthday.

Today is a good day for remembering and thinking and committing to continued progress.

My life has changed a great deal since December, 2011. Three birthdays now and I am a very different person. I am fit. I am lean. My mind is clearer and I am happier. I have kept this going since 2011. It is a part of me now.

There was a time in my life when I really would not have expected to make it to 53. So many of my friends did not. Here I am. Still riding. Still moving. Still on the Journey.

Birthday Cake

The Younger One begged and pleaded with Missus. He cajoled and he wheedled. He convinced Missus to make me a chocolate birthday cake.

How could I refuse a piece?

I didn’t. I have a nice sized piece and it was delicious.

Of course I ate a light dinner to prepare for the cake.

The Younger One had a piece as well. A nice thick piece. Just so I wouldn’t eat alone of course.

I have a very giving and caring son.

The Long Winter

I must be living right. Today was magnificent. In the mid-sixties and sunny even when I got home from work, It was perfect riding weather. It was exactly the sort of weather I love riding in. Nearly no wind and the temperature right in my comfort zone.

Tomorrow it will be cold and rainy. On Thursday there is a real possibility of snow and ice.

Somehow on my birthday we had beautiful weather.

It has been a long and unhappy winter. Today I rode 8 miles and they are the first miles I have put on my bike this year.

And the winter is not over yet.

But the signs are there. The sun is higher in the sky. The snow begins to melt. The cold spells are shorter.

Spring will be here and I will be healthy and I will ride.

And the Journey will continue.

I will get out and get in some hikes before working at the shop on weekends. I will get in early morning ride on the weekends and I will get in some evening rides during the week.

It is all this and more that fuels me. It is this that keeps me on my Journey. The plans and the goals. The memories to be made of standing on a bluff and looking over the Hudson, of flying along a country road on a solo ride, of sharing the companionship of good people as we pedal along in a group ride.

It is the view in the mirror when I see the me I am now. It is the disbelief when I look at pictures taken of me only three birthdays ago. It is the knowledge that while it is not always difficult it will ever be easy and I am good with that. I am ready.

When I was 50 years old and 300 plus pound I didn’t think I would make 53. I have no idea why I was OK with that.

Now I am 53 years old. I am a Father. I am a Husband. I am a Brother and an Uncle and a Cousin and a Friend.

It took me many years to understand the value in being all that. It took me many years to understand that I was the value in being all that.

Yes. Spring is coming. It has been a long winter.

Peace