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


Update and Stuff

How’s The Knee?


The knee is not making the progress I wish it was… Yesterday, while working at the Bike Shop, I turned on the knee and experienced eye-crossing pain in the area of the Lateral Collateral Ligament, one of the two that have minor tearing from my injury in 2012.

In general terms the knee doesn’t feel right. The bone bruise still hurts, I was told it would hurt for a couple of months, but more than that is the pain I feel in the areas of the MCL and LCL.

Time for me to schedule another appointment I think…

How is the Weight Loss coming along?


Not badly at all! I am glad to say that I am down 12-13 pounds (depending on whether or not I have had a cup of coffee) and I am pleased with that.

I am on the second to last hole on my belt. This is a belt from my days over 300 pounds. I started wearing it again when I gained back some weight to remind me that I had come along way and I could get back to where I was, either for the good or the bad. It was entirely within my control. I could work towards the short end of the belt, meaning I was gaining weight, or I could work towards the long end, meaning I was taking weight off. I am moving in the right direction. I have moved four holes on the belt. One more and I can move to the shorter belt.

I have also dropped a pants size, back to 38-inch waist. Soon a 36… Then back to the 34-inch waist. That is where I belong…

How is the Eating Right part of this going?


Two eggs, a slice of toast, grits with cherries, a glass of OJ and a cup-a’    Such a good and nutritious breakfast.  This is what I mean by eating right.

It is going well. I am still struggling a little bit with portion control but I have the right foods in the plan. When I started this Journey, Missus and I changed the way we cooked. Not just the foods we cooked but how. Instead of making large quantities, we changed to making just two servings of whatever the meal was to be. In other words we moved away from family-style cooking to portion based. Two pieces of fish, two servings of vegetable, two salads… You get the idea I am sure. We cooked separate foods for our boys. Missus made meatloaf or mac and cheese and so forth for them but for us we made fish or vegetable dishes in two-portion quantities.

For some reason, we started to drift from that and started to make extra. We have gotten back to portion controlled cooking.

I am also counting calories actively again. Every single thing I eat is recorded and tracked so I know if I am getting away from my plan…

Working… 12 pounds or so down. Happy with that.

And the Move More part?


One of my favorite places to walk, The Rockefeller Preserve in Sleepy Hollow, NY.  It is also a really good place to trail run….

This is the challenge with the aching knee…   I went for a long walk with a friend through a neighboring town this past Saturday. The town is known for its steep hills and quiet neighborhoods. We started just off Main Street and walked to the highest point in town, known as Sheep Hill. From there, on a clear day, you have some beautiful views of the surrounding town and can see New York City, some 35 miles away. Saturday was not a clear day. The views were restricted to the surrounding towns. All told we walked a hair over five miles. Felt good at the time for the most part. Some minor knee aches but certainly tolerable.

It was later that night when the knee really let me know it was unhappy with my efforts. Ibuprofen and rest.

So I am moving but not as much as I would like. The cold has kept me off the roads on my bike so I am uncertain how the knee will behave when tasked with pedaling. I can do deep knee bends without increased pain. I am hopeful that this will mean pedaling is not going to hurt….

If I find the knee can take the stress of running, I plan to do some trail running in the spring. I used to trail run as a teen-ager and I enjoyed it a great deal. I still did some in college and even in my early twenties. I haven’t done any type of running with any serious intent since then. I have done a few laps of the track just to see if I could but that is it.

I think some trail running would be fun and maybe a little easier on the knees than road running.

Of course there is the cycling and I have already talked about those plans. I truly love being on a bike.

The knee is the key. I think it will be OK.


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Looking Back, Looking Forward and the Right Decision

Eight Days

I know where I was two years ago.

I was here. In Jersey. I was working at a plastic compounding plant as the Plant Manager. I was not overly fond of the job but it paid and I was optimistic that I would grow to like the place. I was 310 pounds or somewhere around that.

I was trying to figure out the holiday schedule and I was trying to figure out if I had any nice clothes that fit so I would have something to wear to our friend’s Christmas Eve party in five days.

I was not thinking that in eight days I would finally reach that place where I would finally do something about my weight and my lack of fitness.

I didn’t know that in eight days I would start the Journey.

I am thinking about this a great deal this week. I am counting down in my head to the two-year mark. Two years from the day that I woke up and told Missus “I am starting today”.

I will write more about my thoughts as I approach that day.


Last night at the Bike Shop Holiday Party the shop owner, BP, asked us to share our cycling goals for the coming year. He told us they had to be Specific and Measurable. Each of us had something we wanted to do. Return to racing, compete in a triathlon…. KF had the best one. She simply wants to ride again. She had a serious accident and returning to the bike is a worthy goal and one none of us is foolish enough to think is out of reach for the woman we call Fury.

As the question worked its way around the table I had plenty of time to contemplate my answer. I had goals in mind. I know what I want to accomplish in the coming cycling season. How to put it to words…

Because I was sitting just two places from BP and the question started in the other direction, I had plenty of time to think, as I would answer next to last. When it came to me I made one little joke and then I stated my goals. Thirty-five hundred miles and at least one Century.

Those are my goals.

My cycling goals.

On the grander scale my goals are to get to and maintain 195 pounds. I want to see two years at or below my goal weight in August 2014.

In business we say goals have to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.

I think mine are all that.

There is one other goal. It isn’t really Specific and I am not sure how I would measure it. I certainly hope it is achievable. I know it is relevant and I hope it will be timely. I want to be more comfortable being me.

That is my life goal.

The Right Decision

I started working at the bike shop in late May of this year. I needed a second job and the income that would come with it. The owner and manager at the shop both thought I would be a good fit. I love bikes. I am personable. I have a good story to tell. Everything else would come, they assured me.

I sold a bike my first day. I sold three the next. I have sold many bikes since. Customers come in looking for me. I enjoy the interaction. I love putting someone on a new bike and seeing the smile on their face as they roll it out the door and take it home.

It goes well beyond that. It is the group of people I work with. At the Shop Holiday Party last night I realized just how much I enjoy the company of the people I work with at the shop. The diverse personalities united in a shared love of cycling and all things bicycles. The easy humor. The laughter. The conversations. About Bikes. About Cars. About plans and rides and goals.

It is the shared enjoyment of seeing a coworker take his new bike out for the first time. It is, for me, almost a sense of family.

I take an odd pleasure at being the “old man” of the shop (though the owner is only a few months younger than I am). I enjoy the “kids”. I learn from them every day that I work and every ride I am on with them.

Today I was the coworker taking home his new bike. The grin on my face was matched only by the smiles on the faces of my friends and coworkers at the shop.

BP made this happen for me. He worked with me and made this bike a reality for me.

Much more than the bike.

I have not always made great decisions. We all make mistakes in our lives. I look back at the decision to leave the plastics compounding plant and I know I made a mistake. I thought I was doing the right thing. It didn’t work out.

Synapse Hi-MOD 2

Synapse Hi-MOD 2

I know I made the right decision when I asked BP and NP if they would be interested in hiring me for weekends at the shop.

I know that a good portion of why I have stayed fit and kept the weight off is the shop rides and more than that, the encouragement from the people at the shop. From the occasional kick in the head from CB for my occasional self-doubt, to the critical bits of advice from BP as we ride, to the challenge from KE, JS and NP to ride harder, rider further and rider faster…. This has been the right decision.


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So Many Miles Still to Travel


I started this Journey to save my life, though I didn’t realize it at the time.

I started this Journey because being fat had gotten old and I was no longer young.

I wanted to belong.

I wanted to have a place in life. My life.

So I started to walk and I started to eat right and I started to take the weight off.

I got on the bike on a wind trainer and I couldn’t pedal. My bulk was in the way.

I cried. The feelings, the emotions, the anger at myself for getting so fat came boiling up and I cried.

I lost weight. I walked more and then I hiked and I worked to get back to the bike.

I had forgotten.

I had forgotten the joy of riding.

Then I rode.

In early March.

I got on the bike and I rode

I went eight and half miles.

I gasped for air as I got home. The long shallow climb from the center of town to my home lest me winded with wobbly knees.

But I rode.

I rode ten miles

Then I rode fifteen miles.

On the Croton Bridge, April 2012. 22 miles, a thousand miles from where I had been

On the Croton Bridge, April 2012. 22 miles, a thousand miles from where I had been

In April I rode twenty-two flat miles. I was tired. My legs hurt but I did it.

I rode more.

I lost more weight.

I hiked more.

And I rode.

In June I rode 50 miles. My friend had to help me up a couple of hills but I made it.

I rode and I remembered. I remembered how good it felt to be on a bike.

I fell in love again.

I fell in love with riding again.

And I rode some more.

And I fell deeper in love and I remembered. I remembered the joy of wind across my body, the rush through the air, the sense that I was almost flying.

I had forgotten but now I was remembering. It was coming back to me. All the joy and pleasure of a long ride on a nice day with no destination in mind, just a desire to turn the wheels.

I hurt my knee. Tore the meniscus and I couldn’t ride. My only question to the doctor was when can I ride again.

And then I was back on the bike. Four months after the injury I rode again and the love was still there.

And winter came and I don’t deal well with the cold so I hiked and I walked and I waited for the warm weather of spring. But the cold lingered so I rode. I went out and I was cold but I rode. And I rode some more and the love was still there. The passion was there and I rode. And I learned.

I learned I was good on a bike. I could handle a bike and I could flat-out burn it on the flats.

And people encouraged me and some called me an inspiration. And I rode. And I started to lead the rides and I found people asking ME for advice on how to ride.

And I piled on the miles. 1000, 1500… I rode. I rode whenever I could and I fought off my doubts and my fears and I rode some more.

I did rides that I was afraid to do. Too hard, to long… I did them. And I am told I inspire.

And today as I sat in my office at work with the door closed so I could have a few quiet moments to eat my light lunch and relax I finally understood.

I figured it out. I know now what changed.

I didn’t know but I am certain I now know what changed December 27, 2011.

Just before the start of the ride.....

Just before the start of the ride…..

I realized it today as I thought about the ride on Sunday. The ride that so frightened me on Friday. It came to me slowly, almost like a distant voice. I realized what happened that morning in December as I sat on the edge of my bed and tried to gather the momentum to hurl my 306 pound body to an upright position so I could walk to the shower. I have tried to understand what changed, what happened, why that morning, why that day.

As I sat in my office today and thought about the ride, the ride I was glad I did, the ride I was afraid to do, it came to me.

What I decided that morning in December of 2011 was to no longer give in to the fear.

That was it.

I was not going to be able to not fear. The fear would be there. The fear of change, the insecurities, the doubts. Something inside said enough. It was time to stop giving in to the fear, running and hiding behind food, behind excuses, behind the closed doors of a panicked self.

So I got up and I said enough. I fought off the fear and I started the Journey in to the unknown. I would fight the insecurity and the self-doubt and I would face the things that frighten me.

And so the Journey began. I could have stayed fat. I could have stayed out of shape. It was easier than the Journey has been but it was time to fight past the fears.

And Sunday I fought past the fear. I faced my fear of riding up hills, the fear of failure. I rode.

And I finished

And I traveled further than the fifty miles on the map.

There are so many miles still to travel, so many hills still to climb. I know now that I can fight pas the fear and I can travel those miles. I can climb those hills. It may hurt. I may not be fast. I will get up the hills. Look how far I have come.



A Weekend in New England


My good friend NI has been after me to ride with him in the Hub on Wheels ride in Boston for several years now. He is a Boston native and justifiably proud of his city and “The Hub” ride. I was signed up to do it last year but the knee injury put the stop to that.

After I signed up this year, NI said “well seeing as you are driving up this way anyway why not sign up for the Discover Hartford Ride held the day before “the Hub”?”

So I did.

The “Discover Hartford” ride is 40 miles through the streets and parks of Hartford. I would guess at about 1000 riders take part.

I know very little about Hartford other than my friends MK and LS and their twin sons live in the area. I have only been to Hartford once or twice and those were brief visits.

It amazed me to see how beautiful the city is. The parks are wonderful and all over the place. The bike paths trace the rivers and hills and the city seems very bike friendly.

Bushnell Park, Hartford, CT. The start of the Discover Hartford Bike Ride

Bushnell Park, Hartford, CT.
The start of the Discover Hartford Bike Ride

The ride was wonderful. The weather was perfect. My single quibble is the rest areas were not well stocked. Bananas and water. That was it. No “rest facilities” except at one stop where the bakery in the strip mall allowed riders to use the one bathroom. I hope that as the ride grows the rest areas will improve. Otherwise the ride was fantastic.

Until the last one and a half miles

No matter the distance of the ride, when I get within a couple of miles of the end I get a burst of energy. I start riding faster and my aches go away and I am flying. It was under this scenario that NI and I started our two mile run to the finish. We started riding faster, letting it all go, and not saving anything. We came around the bend with about a mile and a half to go and at about 20 miles per hour I hit a small, sharp rock with my rear tire.  Just as I thought “I hope I didn’t damage the brand new tire” I heard and felt the BANG. The tire and tube had exploded. And yes, I mean exploded. We were in an underpass and the bang was dramatic with the echo. I had no problem bring the bike to a quick and controlled halt and was never close to crashing but with the tire totally deflated in an instant and the rim hit the street and was badly damaged.

Death of a Tire and a Wheel. The tire had 38 miles on it when it was dealt a dastardly death

Death of a Tire and a Wheel.
The tire had 38 miles on it when it was dealt a dastardly death

With no repair possible (the tire had an 8 inch rip in the side wall) I had to carry the bike the last mile and a half of the ride.

For some reason, while not thrilled by this development, I had fun with it. I carried the bike, NI rode VERY slowly alongside me under his “no Cyclist Left behind” policy (a good policy by the way) as I walked , and we enjoyed the rest of the ride-walk. It is surprising to me how I now take some things in stride that at one time would have ruined my day.

Across the Park in Hartford

Across the Park in Hartford

A view of the City Skyline on a Beautiful Morning in Hartford

A view of the City Skyline on a Beautiful Morning in Hartford

The Registration Tent for the Hartford Ride

The Registration Tent for the Hartford Ride

The afternoon was spent finding a local bike shop (Center Wheel in West Hartford) and having lunch with MK, LS and their twins while we waited for the bike to be repaired. So glad my friends were patient and flexible. It was a great time eating and chatting with them.

I was lucky (?) that the shop had a used rear wheel in reasonable condition with a tire and tube also in reasonable condition and for a reasonable price they switched over the rear cassette (gears) and mounted it on my bike. If not for that I would have had to forego the Boston ride for the second year in a row.

I have to say I had a great time. I had a wonderful 38 mile ride, a 1.5 mile walk, lunch with wonderful people, and I have a great story to tell.

I will put Hartford on my Annual Ride list along with the NYC Five Boro Bike Tour, the Ride for Autism, the NYC Century and Hub on Wheels.


The Hub on Wheels ride is better than the Five Boro Bike Tour.

There I said it and I mean it.

It is more fun. It is easier to ride. It is MUCH less crowded.

The ride is fun. The city of Boston is beautiful. The route is enjoyable and varied some of the views are incredible. Part of the route takes you through one of the most beautiful, picturesque, and quaint cemeteries you will ever see. That one of the rest stops is in the cemetery is somehow fitting and odd at the same time. I can only say that this is one rest area you really want to stay for only a short time…

A side Street in Boston on a Beautiful Saturday evening

A side Street in Boston on a Beautiful Saturday evening

Looking down the side street.  It was beautiful evening

Looking down the side street. It was beautiful evening

Wonderful little restaurant in Boston's north end.

Wonderful little restaurant in Boston’s north end.

The ride started in a driving rain but about a half an hour after the ride started the rain stopped and soon the roads began to dry. For a long while it was simply a gray sky and then, with about a third of the ride left, the sun came out and we were treated to clear blue skies and some beautiful views. The last rest area was along the shore and it was magnificent.

Views along the water front as we approach the last rest area.

Views along the water front as we approach the last rest area.

The skies cleared and gave us beautiful blue skies as we finished the last third of the ride.

The skies cleared and gave us beautiful blue skies as we finished the last third of the ride.

A view towards Boston

A view towards Boston

The used wheel on the back of the bike held up and the ride was un-dramatic.

The friendship and the banter and the pleasure of the ride could not be surpassed. In contrast to the New York ride, the Boston ride seemed much more “lighthearted”. People seemed to be having fun. It is a much more hilly ride than New York and, at fifty miles, it is ten miles longer than New York and yet at the end of the ride I felt less worn down.

Friends at the end of the ride.

Friends at the end of the ride.

I regretted that we had driven in to Boston instead of riding in because I would have enjoyed another ten miles on the bike. All in all I had one of the best riding experiences in a large organized ride that I have ever had.

I hope to make the Hub on Wheels an annual event. It was fun. Fun is good.

The Weekend Behind Me

When I got home yesterday I could look back at a very good weekend. I had good meals and kept my eating in check. I had good company and many laughs. I got in 88.5 miles of riding and 1.5 miles of walking with a bike on my shoulder. I visited my old college and had lunch with one of my old professors. I spent the evening before with one of my oldest friends (SS) and her boyfriend (HH) and we smiled, we laughed, we had new experiences and we enjoyed each other’s company.

It was a joy to walk in the door at home and have the dogs trample me; the Younger One hug me, the Older One yell down the stairs and welcome me home and the Missus give me a hug and a kiss.

It was the sort of weekend that recharges you even though you are exhausted when it is done.

I could not help but reflect on what this all represented to me. When SS hugged me and realized she could grasp her wrist while hugging me… When Doc (my Old Professor) saw me for the first time without the weight and congratulated me…. When I rode 50 miles the day after riding 40 miles….

It is an amazing thing to me. I know it is me, I know I did it… Still I am amazed. I am continuing to do it. I am still on the plan. I am able to do things I could only imagine doing just two years ago. I now know for certain fact that I could do High Point to Cape May in three 80 mile days. I doubted it. Now I know I can.

I have found life. I have found living. It is not a “me” held captive in a fat body, unable to do, to go, to see, to enjoy. I am doing the things that other wish they could do and I am doing it because I made a choice, a decision to change my life.

This weekend was everything I could have hoped it would be: A great time with great friends doing fun things.

The cold weather is coming. I will soon be riding less. The Sunday shop rides will soon stop for the year and I will ride only when the weather is favorable. Mostly I will hike and ride the trainer and the rollers. I need three hundred miles to get to 2500 for the year. Next year the goal is 3500.

This weekend was a weekend of renewal. It was a weekend to discover how far I have come. It was a weekend to be comfortable in my skin, in my new me. It was a weekend that proved to be affirmation of all that I have been working towards.

When MK saw me for the first time since I was 305 pounds he shook my hand, looked me in the eye and said “who are you and what have you done with the rest of Mark”. I got a good hearty laugh. It was a wonderful feeling.

This weekend was so affirming. It was so strong a weekend for me. I cannot find just the right words to express it. It was a wonderful weekend and everything I wanted it to be.

The Weekend Ahead of Me

I am lucky I suppose. I have a wheel-set that I bought for my old bike just a few weeks before I tore up my knee last year. I don’t think it has 300 miles on it. After I injured the knee I bought the new bike and the old bike was retired to the bike closet.

That wheel set is now on my new bike and I took it in to the bike shop tonight to make sure I had done everything right in switching over the gears and so forth. I did OK.

The positive here is the wheelset I had sitting on the bike in the closet is a little bit better than the set I just took off due to the damage to the rear wheel. All in all I am coming out of this OK.

The best part is it means I can ride more this coming weekend. I would like to get in 75 miles for the weekend. We will see.

The Journey

I am doing well. My mind is clearer than it has been in year. I am happier being me. The overeating that has defined so much of who I thought I was is under control. I still fight the urges and I do slip from time to time but never with the foods I shouldn’t eat. Maybe I have a bowl of cereal when a piece of fruit would have been a better choice but I don’t sit down to a tub of chocolate chip cookies.

I still have to remind myself to stay on course. I still have to push myself out of the chair and get outside. The reason I plan so many rides so far in advance is to make sure I stay motivated.

I will not be fat again.

I have to always tell myself this. I have to continually reinforce the mindset. Eye on the goal, follow the plan, continue the journey.  I never leave home without my Fitbit because I want to make sure I am not deluding myself about my activity level.  The Fitbit rode on my shoe for both rides this weekend as it does on every ride.

Visits from the Black Dog are further apart and are of shorter duration but they are not gone, perhaps they never will be. I understand it better. I know how to handle it better but the depression still hits.

I love the me I am now. This was not always the case.

I write about my cycling so much because it is the cycling that renews me. The successes and even the failures while riding are my energy. They build my confidence. The distances traveled. The hills climbed. All this is what adds to my ability to stay on the Journey, to follow the plan, to set and achieve the goals.

I will not be fat again


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ME as I know Me

Riding one year later

On June 23, 2012 I was on a ride with the bike club. It was the first time I had ridden with the club. I finally felt I was in good enough shape to ride with the group and felt confident that I could do the 50 mile distance.

I struggled with the hills and I was having trouble with the shifting but I was doing great on the flats and was not having any trouble keeping up with the rest of the riders. I was silently reprimanding myself for not getting the bike fixed after the Ride for Autism two weeks earlier. I had trouble with the shifting on the Five Boro Bike Tour in May and again at the Autism Ride. I took it to a local bike shop and the mechanic made a few adjustments but still the shifting issues remained. I knew I should take it in to another shop where I had a little more faith in the mechanics but time and stubbornness and procrastination and here I was on the club ride.

We were 19 miles in to the 50 miles when I over-shifted on a short but steep hill. I dropped my chain, spun the pedals, snapped out of the pedals, hit my knee on the handlebars and landed awkwardly. It didn’t hurt. I put the chain back on, remounted the bike, and rode another two miles to the bagel break and didn’t really think much about it other than the knee hurt where I smacked the handlebars.

It was after the rest that the knee started to hurt. It was a stabbing pain. The more I pedaled, the worse it became. Soon I was dropping off the back of the ride. My speed dropped from 17-18 to 8 miles per hour.

Soon I realized this was more than a bump.

I took a short cut while the rest of the group went along the planned route and I met them where my short cut and their route came back together. I had ridden 30 miles total, 11 since the “incident”. I couldn’t pedal a hill. I could barely pedal on the flats.

I rode another 3 and half miles. The route took us past the street where I live and I left the ride at that point. 33.6 miles in to a 50 mile ride I had to give up.

I managed to stay on plan despite not riding my bike again until the end of October, two weeks after the Surgeon took a chunk of torn meniscus out of my knee, electing to leave the two ligaments with the “minor” tears alone. I lost more weight, hit my goal weight and blew right past it all while not riding my bike. I could still hike on gentle trails but steep climbs and rugged trails were out of the question.

Yesterday, as I have mentioned before, was the anniversary of this little misadventure.

I have no lingering issues. The knee aches once in a while; the ligaments are still torn and let me know about it now and then, but the knee is strong.

Yesterday I rode 16 miles from my home to the bike shop and then went on a 25 mile ride with another fellow from the shop and a customer who showed up to ride with us. When it was all done I had put in 41 miles, 8 miles more than I got in a year ago and I managed to do it without injury.

The route I led us on went right past the road where I hurt the knee. I was happy to not repeat the adventure.

So good to be riding again. So happy to be enjoying the feeling of riding. On the ride yesterday I took a very sharp turn on a downhill at a sharp lean at more than 30 miles per hour. Later in the ride I hit 44.6 miles per hour on a downhill and only failed to top 45 because a car pulled on to the road down the hill and I let up a little to make sure we wouldn’t meet by accident.

now over 1400 miles for the year.

now over 1400 miles for the year.

These are the things I enjoy about riding: Speed, freedom, solitude AND camaraderie (I love my solo rides and the group rides), the feeling of accomplishing something, the amazing feeling of the road going under the wheels… I think you have to be a cyclist to understand…

My Brother is Coming to Visit

I mentioned in an earlier post that I haven’t seen MB (middle brother) in about 2 years. He lives on the west coast and I am here in the east. Getting together typically requires a family event and there just haven’t been any in the last two years that I was able to attend. Well our Great Aunt is turning 90 and MB is heading east to join the celebration.

He will stay with us Thursday night before traveling with our Uncle to the get-together in Maryland.

I am really looking forward to seeing him.

He has not seen me in person since I began this Journey of mine. He has seen pictures and knows the story but he will see me as a lean man for the first time EVER on Thursday.

For some reason, his “approval” means a great deal to me.

Being one year and two weeks younger than MB, I have always been in his shadow a bit. He is an athlete, tall, handsome, intelligent, successful…

His “thumbs-up”… Well, I hope he approves…

It will be good to see him

Taking a Weekend Off

I love working at the bike shop. Truly. How bad can it be? I get to talk bikes with interested people and I get paid to do it. I am also learning a great deal and I always love that. The negative is that while I am working in the shop on beautiful weekend days I am not out riding my bike…

This weekend I am not working Saturday because I am heading to my Aunt’s birthday party and I may not work Sunday because I could use a weekend off. Of course if the shop needs me I will be there… BUT if I do not work I will be out on a club ride. I am thinking 50 miles…

this may be my favorite picture of me....

this may be my favorite picture of me….

The rest of the day I will spend with my family. Maybe grill some salmon and some veggies. Maybe just relax.

I Think (maybe too much)

My Journey has taken me places I never thought I would see. Places in my heart and in my mind. I found a ME I didn’t know was there. I had given over to being a fat man. I had surrendered myself to a life of obesity. I had become inside what I looked to be on the outside. I was a fat man. I joked about it at my expense. I justified the extra slice of pizza or pie or cake by figuring I was already fat.. That one slice wasn’t going to make it any worse or better…

On my Journey I have had to confront that fat man. I had to demand answers. Why did you allow this? What motivated you to over eat so much? What emotional damage are you trying to heal? The hardest part is I had to be willing to face the answers.

I learned much about myself. I am still learning. I know that I am nowhere near able to “coast”. I still have to watch everything I eat. Count everything. Record everything. I still wear my Fitbit every single day. If I forget it I am depressed for the entire day. Like the tree falling in the woods. Does it make a sound if there is no one there to hear it. Does the exercise count if the Fitbit doesn’t record it?

I know that I have to do this. I know that I have to push myself relentlessly.

I weigh myself EVERY SINGLE DAY. I never miss. I travel with a digital scale so I can weigh myself when traveling. If I see 205 lbs I buckle down and work ever harder.

I know this about myself because I learned it over the last 546 days.

A hike this past Winter.  You have to know where I was to understand what it meant to me to be there.

A hike this past Winter. You have to know where I was to understand what it meant to me to be there.

I like me. I like me more than I have in many years. I don’t know with certainty when I stopped liking me. I suspect that my obesity and not liking myself are linked. I will tell you this: not liking me came first.

I think we all have parts of ourselves we do not like. Things about our personalities, habits, traits, body.. that we don’t care for.

Somewhere along the line the parts of me I didn’t like came to dominate my view of myself. I saw the bad, forgot about the good.

Over the course of my Journey I started to understand this. I was able to find more about me to like. I tried to stop having my view of myself dominated by the negatives.

This has nothing to do with my life mind you. I have a wonderful family. Great friends.

This has to do with ME. The inner ME.

Over the course of this Journey of mine I came to understand this a bit better. I came to understand that I was viewing myself in the fun house mirror. I was seeing a distorted view. I wasn’t seeing reality. The good was hidden by the distortions in the mirror.

Over time I worked on this. I got back to doing the things that gave me joy when I was a younger and happier man. I started hiking again. I started cycling again. I got back to reading books and spending quiet time with Missus and Da Boys.

I started to like me.

I see myself if a less distorted mirror now.

I really like what I see.



A Monday Post

June 17, 2013

Next Sunday will be one year since I tore the meniscus and two ligaments in my right knee.

Why not wait until the anniversary to write about it? Because yesterday I rode my bike over many of the same roads I rode the day I tore up the knee. That day, June 23, 2012, I was 22 miles in to a 50 mile ride when I got hurt. I was not riding particularly well but I was mostly keeping up with the group and I was not the only one who had to walk up Vreeland Avenue.

Yesterday I ride with my boss at the bike shop and one other fellow. They are both stronger riders than I am and they had to wait up for me a couple of times. I was not riding particularly well but I had some good moments. I paced my boss up a hill and rode that one hill very well. I struggled on Vreeland Avenue BUT I DID NOT HAVE TO WALK IT.

Leaning in to a fast sweep.... The camera is parallel to the handle bars.....

Leaning in to a fast sweep….
The camera is parallel to the handle bars…..

Crossing the Reservoir Bridge

Crossing the Reservoir Bridge

Approaching the Reservoir Tavern...

Approaching the Reservoir Tavern…

This ride was only a little under 25 miles, not the 50 mile ride I was on nearly a year ago. I have ridden further than that and I do so on a regular basis. But Sunday was a 25 mile ride and I was not riding well and…. But I didn’t walk Vreeland Avenue.

On June 17, 2012 I weighed 225 pounds. I am 25 less now. One year ago I was still taking the weight off, still getting in to shape. I was walking long hills.

I didn’t have to walk Vreeland Avenue yesterday.

And I finished the ride in good health. This is a good thing.

Next week I may ride with the early group on the shop ride. They ride hard and fast. If they drop me that will be fine. I need to ride with better riders riding at a brisk pace if I am to get stronger as a rider myself.

I would not have dreamed of that ride just one year ago… Now I think it may be time…

Acknowledging the Changes

I have changed the title of the blog a little. A FAT MAN’S JOURNEY (OK, NOT SO FAT NOW…) Really more like adding a subtitle…

Why? Well, I suppose it is to reflect the changes in me. I do not have a fat body any more. I am still, inside, in my mind, emotionally, a fat man. The body on the other hand….. Well, simply put…. I am not fat.

I remember when I wrote a blog post as I crossed under my goal weight of 210 pounds. I remember that rather than exultation at reaching the goal weight, I felt relief. Not relief as in the pursuit is over but rather relief that no one could look at me and say I was fat. I could not be called a fat man anymore. I was simply not fat. I was almost in tears as I wrote those words. I didn’t realize just how much being “the fat man” hurt until I wrote those words and the tears started to falls.

So I have added the subtitle. I am not fat. I am not ever sort of fat. Not on the outside. Not where you can see. Inside, in my emotional self I am still the fat man. Still afraid of being called fat, being made fun of, being afraid of being embarrassed by not fitting in a seat, standing out due to my size.

The subtitle s a start for me. An acknowledgement of the change.

Nice Dinner

Tonight we had a really nice vegetarian dinner. Most of our dinners are vegetarian come think of it.. Anyway. Tonight I grilled Kabocha, sweet potato, and plantain. Missus roasted golden and red beets and I took the greens from the beets and chopped them up with some onion and red pepper. I steamed them in a foil pouch on the grill.

All very tasty, very nutritious, very healthy. We sat on the back deck and relaxed and enjoyed the meal.

The Younger and I discussed science and school and had one of the more grownup conversations we have had to date. He is a bright kid.

The dogs romped about on the deck; Casey chasing birds, Cody wondering what is wrong with Casey…

It was a joy.

Life can be that way.



Thursday and All is Well

Odd Things

I knew that losing weight and getting fit would bring on changes in my body. I just wasn’t really prepared for just how extensive those changes would be. As Missus and I did a next-to-last purge of the fat man clothes a few nights ago I came across a pair of dress slacks that I had for years. Wonderful wool slacks, a medium gray, the best pair of slacks I have every owned, now way to large. How large? I was able to put BOTH of my legs in to one of the pants legs… Should have taken a picture of THAT….

Jackets once too tight now wrap around me like a bathrobe. Sweater once snug are now like tents on me.

All three males in this household wear the same waist pants! 34-inch waist on the Older, the Young and the Dad….

Odd things.

Like these....

Like these….

I started wearing Bib-shorts for cycling a number of years ago because the waist on regular cycling shorts would roll down because of my gut. Bib-shorts would serve the dual purpose of preventing that and holding in the belly so I looked a little thinner.

I got to the point I was wearing XXL bib-shorts.

Now all my bib-shorts are too large on me (even the XL) and I now find that I wear a MEDIUM in a regular cycling short. How’s THEM apples….

Fortunately I do have a couple of pair of bib shorts that still fit OK and I can wear them but…. Well, I am looking forward to buying regular cycling shorts. IN A MEDIUM!

My jersey size is still an XL… Go figure… Well that is at least in part because I like a slightly loose jersey and my long torso begs for a longer shirt….

Odd things…

Trying to Keep the Calories UP

I am having trouble again keeping my calories up. I find that with the new job (and the increased walking and so forth) and my continued slide to vegetarian I am coming in at

Roasted Cauliflower, Sweet Potato, and Broccoli, Coriander Chutney, Matouks Flambeau Hot Sauce and  Lentils in a spicy tomato Sauce...

Roasted Cauliflower, Sweet Potato, and Broccoli, Coriander Chutney, Matouks Flambeau Hot Sauce and Lentils in a spicy tomato Sauce…

1000 calories or more UNDER plan. This would explain why I have dropped 3 pounds this week on top of the two I lost on the ride this past weekend. I have dropped from 206 on Friday last to 201 this morning.

I have to watch this. Dropping that much that fast at this point is not a good thing. I have to find a way to increase the calories without putting myself at risk of losing control of my eating. This is a concern for me no matter what. I just have to watch it so closely…

Tonight I find myself at a 990 calorie short fall. This is after I allowed myself a chocolate chip cookie (empty, but delicious, calories). So I will be adding in a more substantial lunch at work to see if I can bring the calories up that way. I also need to increase the size of breakfast. Ding that my last three breakfasts have been less than 300 calories… Should be closer to 450 now that I am in maintenance mode…

When I was fat all I really thought about was food. Now that I am lean and for all of the Journey all I ever really think about is food.

Just a different angle on it now…

Giving Back to my Sport…

One of the nice things about an organized bike ride, be it a fund-raiser or just a fun ride, is the rest areas. Free food like PB&J sandwiches, bananas, cereal bars and the like, and water bottle refills, restrooms, and a place to rest up off the bike for a few minutes. They are staffed by volunteers who would probably rather ride but give back to their sport and work the rest areas instead.

I volunteered for a ride sponsored by my bike club last year because I could not ride due to my knee injury.

I was asked to volunteer again this year and I have agreed to do so. The ride is the Ramapo Rally and I will be working the Montville Township NJ rest area. Look for the guy with the Pepper Theme cycling cap.

I look at it as giving back to the sport that has given me so much.

All is Right, Right Now…

Life has normalized a little for us right now. I am working and feeling good about the new job. It is right in my wheelhouse in terms of skills and knowledge and I am enjoying the challenges and I feel on top of my game.

The boys are doing well. The Younger is doing well in school and he is great at watching the Older one for us. The Older one is doing fine, still is, and always will be, a challenge but he is settling a little and his rough times are getting shorter, less rough and a little further apart. We think we have found a program for him for two or three days a week and so he will be able to get out of the house and be with his peeps. That HAS to help. Missus is looking forward to a few hours a few days a week to herself.

It has been a rough road the last few months. I dealt with much self-doubt and frustration. In the old days I would have found refuge in food. This time I found refuge in activity. Cycling mostly, hiking as well. I found the release and relief in pushing myself. This is so far removed from where I was.

So right now, this day, this week, All is Right with my little corner of the world.

A little side note

A note to my friends at home, on Facebook and on this blog, and to my family for their support of the Ride 4 Autism.  So far your generosity has raised nearly $1000.00 on my ride page.  I am stunned and deeply humbled by the generosity.  Thank you