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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The Journey, The Shoulder, The Winter and the Coming of Spring


The Journey

Long time. How are ya?
This winter….

Despite the impression some may have, I am not done with my Journey. I took a break from writing because I wasn’t sure I had much to say. After this difficult winter, the pressures of my job (I got a promotion!) and the depression I have been dealing with over some physical issues, it just wasn’t in me to write. I am still working on a healthy life, eating right, moving more. I did gain weight this winter, a little over 20 pounds, but nothing like the weight I have lost and nothing that sets me too far back of my plans and goals or discourages me. I knew from the start that I would have successes, failures, victories and setbacks. Admittedly, this winter was not a victory and it was not a success. It is not how many times you fall that determines success. It is how many times you get back up. I keep getting back up. I am back up now.

The Journey, as I have said from the first, is a life-long thing. There is no final stop but there are many stops along the way. I know what I want from the Journey. I know what I want from me. I want to be fit. I want to be reasonably lean, 200-210 pounds. I want to eat right and still enjoy what I eat but in smaller portions and without snacking and indulgence.

I want to encourage other and to be encouraged by other. I want to recognize in myself the issues that have driven the obesity. Why I overeat if I let my guard down. I want to be optimistic but cautious and practical in my approach. I want to ride my bike, go on hikes, be comfortable in my skin and happy with the course my life is taking.

I see in some people a disturbing tendency to revel in the failures, misfortunes, missteps and pain of others. I feel sad for those people. Sad and twisted little beasts who cannot enjoy the success of others because their own life is hollow and riddled with failures they cannot see as their own.

When I learned that I am responsible for all that I am I was able to start this Journey and make of it what it is. It is a ride. I have had up days and down. I have lost weight, gained a little back, lost it again, gained a little back….. I blame no one because this is not an issue for blame. It is a part of life, my life, my Journey.

Anyway, Hi, I am back and I hope you will stop by and read a little….

My Right Shoulder

A couple of years ago while doing longer rides I started to experience pain in my right shoulder and between my shoulder blades. In 2013, while riding the NYC Century, the pain became so sharp that I nearly abandoned the ride at the 35-mile mark.   I continued on despite it all and I was able to ride 75 miles. It was a week before the shoulder stopped hurting. It has been a constant issue since then and it has really caused issues with my riding. Anything over 35-40 miles and the pain in the shoulder and between the shoulder blades became hell. The pain in the shoulder became a constant companion. Something like a dull toothache with occasional flares of eye-crossing pain. Since I crashed last summer there has not been a day without some pain in the shoulder. Since last fall it has been a steady presence.

I finally went to the Doctor about it last week.

The news was not good but it could have been worse.

Torn Labrum

Bursitis

Arthritis (this getting old stuff…)

 

A cortisone shot has helped with the bursitis. We are taking a wait and see with the rest of it.

The upshot is that I was able to ride yesterday for the first time in a long time. I did a short ride, fifteen miles, and I didn’t push it but I rode and I didn’t have pain in the shoulder.

This is a victory.

I am out of shape, carrying 20 pounds more than I want to, but I rode and it didn’t hurt.

It’s a start.

Winter

Maybe winter is finally leaving? We had snow just a few days ago. Not much, an inch on the lawns, sidewalks and cars…

But still snow.

My mother used to have the “winter blues”. Today they call it Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I too do not deal with the long winters as well as some. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I have SAD but I don’t like the winters the way I once did. I didn’t do any cross-country skiing this winter; I didn’t ride my bike at all. I went outside only so much as necessary. And this has been the winter that refuses to end.

Yesterday made it to the low 60s and I rode my bike for the first time since last November. It is a grey day today but warm enough to ride and I will get in another hour ride today. Tomorrow I will hike with my friend PGB. Starting to get outside again. Starting to get fresh air in my lungs.

It is finally feeling like spring. Finally feeling like there will be warm sun on me.

Though my ride yesterday was short it was a great feeling. The wind over me, the legs pumping, the heart beating harder the lungs pulling in the air… I love the feel of sweeping through a turn, bike leaning, tires digging in to the road. I got that feeling yesterday and though I only averaged around fourteen and half miles per hour I did have short stretches of good speed. And it felt wonderful. It was the type of first ride of the year that makes you want to get back out the next day.

So, yeah, winter seems to be leaving and spring, though a little later to the party, seems to be bringing with it the excitement I usually feel when spring and cycling season arrive…

The Journey…

Peace


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A short post tonight


Bubble Head.

A short post tonight because I am tired. This concussion has taken and continues to take quite a bit out of me. I was told to expect this but we all like to think we are special and I wanted to think I would somehow NOT suffer the consequences to the degree I was told to expect.

concussionI am not special.

It is always a crushing blow when I realize that.

I worked at the shop yesterday and today and I HOPE I didn’t mess up the transaction much. I did sell a few bikes but I keep forgetting how many.

It was all in all a normal weekend if I felt anything close to normal.

The best I can describe it is a I feel like a bubble head. It feels like my head is light and unfocused. You should see just how badly I am typing. If not for spell check and the backspace key this would be utterly unreadable.

If I was sane I would have taken a few days off from both jobs, gotten a Doctor’s note … I am not sane.

The plusses: my balance is slowly returning. I went up and down a 6-foot step-ladder today without falling. This is a plus. I shouldn’t’ have done it but I was lucky in that the customer helped me as I took a bike down from the upper rack. Normally I would never pass the bike off to the customer. I did this time.. Then I realized just how dumb going up the ladder was.

Yesterday and today were passable cycling days and I did no cycling. I don’t trust my balance that much yet.

I am fine driving. I feel ok behind the wheel of the car and I am ok sitting here and typing but, as mentioned, my typing is worse than normal.

A week to ten days my doctor told me.

Today is the 8th day. If I don’t feel much better on Tuesday I will go back to the doctor.

Still Behaving

My weight is stable at 214 right now. Still being good, still behaving. I did have a couple of light days the last two so that is good. I expect it will start to move down again soon. I will be glad to see the low-end of 210 again.

I will be so glad to supplement the eating with exercise. Wish it would warm up

Snow predicted for Tuesday night.

I am off to sleep.

Peace


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Another day of behaving


This is how

I mentioned my weight had spiked.

It is coming back down.

I have said it often.

I will say it again.

Weight loss is accomplished by making good decisions one decision at a time.

Each time I am presented with the opportunity to eat I have to make a decision. If I make a good decision, the right decision, I will maintain my weight or I will lose weight. If I make a bad decision, or enough bad decisions, I will gain weight.

So the last few days I have been working at making the right decisions. Good decisions. Eat the right foods in the right quantities.

If I keep doing this I will have my weight back to 200 pounds.

If I don’t then I will gain weight and if I let it go on long enough I will be 300 pounds again.

This is how it happens. This is the secret to weight loss or weight gain. Making decisions. Good or bad. It is all about the decisions I make.

The last three days I have been making good decisions.

I was 214.0 pounds this morning. Moving back in the right direction. Not every morning will show a weight loss. Some will show a gain. The secret is keep making the good decisions. The weight will come back off.

Feeling a little better

I don’t really remember much about the head concussion I had as a child. I remember the hospital and being frightened. I don’t remember much how I felt.

I have never really thought much about it. I recovered. I went back to school. I don’t think it occurred to anyone at the time that the head concussion and my difficulties in school that year might have been related…

I will remember this concussion. Well, I will remember what my concussed brain lets me remember.

I have not felt “right” since it happened. light-headed, off-balance, achy. My head hurts. My neck hurts. I feel “not myself”. I am forgetful. I tell someone something and five minutes later I tell them again. Missus asks me a question and I have no idea what she is talking about.

I am told by those with advanced degrees in this sort of thing that this is all quite “normal” for the situation. The brain does not like being bounced around inside the skull and it will let me know this in no uncertain terms.

Yesterday I could not balance on one leg.

tightropeUnderstand this. My ONLY athletic ability of note is a good sense of balance. It is why I am so good at riding a bike. It is why I can ride a bike with no hands on the bars as well as I do. I used to ride all through my neighborhood no-handed, turns and all. I even rode up and down hills no-handed. My sense of balance is why I rarely fall on ice. I am a Weeble. I wobble but I don’t fall down.

Except (it would seem) on skis.

I have always been good at standing on one leg. I could always walk on narrow beams without falling. I have a good sense of balance.

This week I have felt out of balance. I would have to lean against walls or doorways if I was standing and talking to someone. I drifted when walking…

When I tried to stand on one leg I would stumble over and have to catch myself.

Today I was able to stand on one leg for a few minutes.

This is a good sign.

My balance is returning.

I still have a headache. I still feel lightheaded and my neck still hurts. My balance is returning and this is a big positive for me.

I understand concussions a great deal better than I did…. I think next time I cross-country ski I will wear a helmet….

Peace


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OUCH


I Crashed HARD

In the words of my oldest brother, the one who played Rugby into his late forties despite being half the size and twice the age of the other players, “that good health stuff is going to kill you.”

I do try to stay active. Despite the snowy and cold winter to which we have been subjected, I have tried to keep moving. Not always have managed but I have tried.

I have not ridden a single foot outside on my bike this year. Too much snow, too narrow and icy roads….

I did, however, have an opportunity to get in some cross-country skiing.

The Monument in the distance from the Patio at the Lodge

The Monument in the distance from the Patio at the Lodge

High Point State Park is, as the name implies, the highest point in the state of New Jersey. A mere 1803 feet above sea-level, it does not impress people from New England and it is barely a foot hill to people from the west. It is ours and we love it. The state runs cross-country ski trails around the park when the snow fall will allow and this year the snow fall allows…

I asked the owner of the Bike shop if I could start and hour late on Sunday, he said yes and so early on Sunday morning I drove the 45 minutes from my home to High Point, paid my $18.00 for a trail pass (which is ridiculous…) and off I went.

I was the first person out on the trails! Fresh snow! I was having a blast! About 1 km from the lodge I had to cross an asphalt paved road. Now here is where we come to the part of the story where I say “I knew better” because I did. I do. I know and I knew better than to do what I did.

You see, though I have been cross-country skiing since 1990 (there was a ten-year period when I didn’t at all) I have never been “Good” at it. Truth be told I am pretty bad at it. I am clumsy, not at all smooth, never get in to that nice rhythm that “good” skiers get in to. I consider it a great day on the trails if I only fall 4 or 5 times. I know it will happen and so I have become quite good at falling. Despite this I really enjoy the skiing and I love the feel of the cold air and the special quiet of the woods after a snow fall.

So I came upon this asphalt paved road. Covered in snow. Sloping down across the level trail.

I knew better.

I knew I should take off my skis and walk across. It is exactly what I did when I skied the same trail last year.

I didn’t do that. I got stupid.

I tried to ski across the road.

If it had not been snow-covered I would have walked across because I would not have wanted to damage my skis on the road surface.

It was snow-covered.

I got stupid.

I tried to ski across.

Now to understand this you need to understand what I mentioned above. The trail was level. The road crossed it at 90 degrees and sloped down to the left.

If I had entered the road left ski first this probably would not have happened the way it did. I would have ended up sitting on my rump, questioning my sanity. I would have kicked the skis off, stood up, walked across the rest of the way and reminded myself to walk across on the way back. It would have been an amusing little story to tell on myself.

I entered right ski first.

There was ice under that snow.

The right ski slid left and before I could even think about the fact that I was falling I hit the road HARD. Damned HARD. Painfully hard.

I landed on my right side. My shoulder taking most of the impact. That drove my arm in to my ribs. My head snapped violently to the right and hit the road. I rolled on to my back and laid still for a moment, assessing the situation, hoping the stars would clear out of my eyes, trying to determine just how bad this fall was.

It was not good.

After a moment I figured out nothing was broken (as far as I could tell) and I could probably get up OK. I popped off the skis and I did get up just before the plow truck came through. Despite the ringing in my ears and the pain on my right side that started at my lower rib cage and continued unabated to the top of my right ear, I crossed the road and continued skiing. For about 200 yards. At that point the pain in my right side and the ringing in my head convinced me I should start back towards the lodge.

Here is the kicker: I was still having fun. I was hurting. I was hurting a great deal but I was enjoying being outside, skiing and feeling the cold and that special quiet after a new snow.

At some Point I noticed that I had broken my left ski pole and I was having trouble controlling the left ski due to problem with the binding. I actually skied past the lodge and went up a side trail when I finally gave in to the broken equipment and the aching body and I went home.

I showered and dressed and I drove to the bike shop to work, arriving on time for work despite it all.

All day long it sounded like I had my head in a bucket. I felt light-headed and I needed to sit down often. My neck was now tightening up and I was exhausted.

I went to work on Monday and after not sleeping well Sunday night I was really feeling it all over. I couldn’t turn my neck to the right, my shoulder wouldn’t let me lift my arm over my head and my head was still not feeling right.

Missus made an appointment with the Doctor for me and after the usual tests and such he declared that I had suffered a head concussion. He sent me for x-rays on my neck and told me to get a few days of bed rest and be prepared to not feel right for a week to ten days, go to the emergency room if I start to vomit or lose consciousness….

OUCH

OUCH

I rested all day yesterday. Really had no choice. I would not have been good behind the wheel of a car. I went to work today but came home early. Too light-headed and out of balance when I was standing. It is the tiredness that really bothers me. And the Nausea. Well Ok, most everything about this bothers me: neck pain, rib pain, arm pain, headache, dizziness… Crashing is not fun at all.

I have to work tomorrow and Friday. I am conducting the monthly safety training. The Topic is “Slips, Trips and Falls”. I couldn’t make this up.

I wish I could say I have learned some sort of lesson beyond “don’t try to cross a road on your skis”. I haven’t. At least none that comes to mind right now. I am only disappointed that I won’t be able to get out and ski again next weekend.

Maybe the lesson is to listen to the owner of the bike shop and take up snow shoeing.

The Journey and a Detour

I wish I could report that my weight has held steady and I have been keeping my eating in check as this cold winter has moved along. I can’t. I am over 215 pounds right now. I am not happy with myself at all. I can think of many excuses for this slip but they are just that, excuses. The simple fact is I have slipped. I have been eating more than I have been burning. I have been finding reasons to eat more than I have been and I am paying the price with a climb in my weight.

Today I got back to the plan: Light breakfast, light lunch, light afternoon snack (an orange today) and a good dinner. Later I will have a simple light snack of a slice of bread and a slice of cheese. This is what got me to 200 pounds. This is what will get me back there.

I will write daily again. Even if I think I have nothing to say. That focus of reporting on the Journey helped me get there. I slipped away from it and I have paid the price.

I suppose we all have slips and trips and falls.

The real problem isn’t that you slipped or tripped or fell on your Journey. The real problem is failing to get back up.

I am getting back up.

Peace.


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Thoughts on a Cold Tuesday Night


This is getting to me

Winter is getting to me.

It feels like it is never ending. Bitter cold. Wind. Snow.

It seems like a bad dream…

I can’t get outside and enjoy. Time is a constraint. I can’t take the time to go cross country skiing. The weather won’t let me ride. I am not enjoying this one little bit

I am feeling the winter blues.

Vegetarian (almost)

Tonights dinner.  Fairly typical.  Vegan Chili, stir fried veggies, naan and chutney

Tonights dinner. Fairly typical. Vegan Chili, stir fried veggies, naan and chutney

I have been drifting this way for two years. It started with the decision in March 2012 to no longer eat red meats. Slowly I drifted away from eating poultry. There was no decision in this case. I just drifted away from it. I cannot remember the last time I had poultry….

Slowly vegetarian dishes replaced the fish dishes and now I have fish only once a week or so.

I have never been healthier. Blood pressure, cholesterol, hear rate… All my blood numbers are great.

So why not go all the way? The only dairy I consume is the milk in my coffee and on my cereal and cream cheese on my bagel. Once in a while I have some cheese on my veggie burger….

I could go all the way to vegetarian. Fact is it would not be hard for me to go vegan. I really don’t want to give up cream cheese and lox. Yep. That is it. The only reason I have not gone vegetarian is lox and the reason I don’t go vegan is lox and cream cheese.

Strange reasons to not do it but I am not ready to give up those two foods.

Maybe someday….

I am Still a fat man.

I have taken some heat for this but I will say it again anyway:

Being obese is like being an alcoholic.

Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.

Once a fat man, always a fat man.

I am not longer medically obese. Not at 210 pounds and 73 inches. Not medically. Not officially. Not on the insurance forms…

But I am inside. In the makeup of my body and my brain I am still Obese. My body, my brain still craves much more food than I eat. I am still prone to overeat if I don’t pay strict attention. I am still sorely tempted to eat that donut, have that pizza, eat 10 cookies…

I know very well how easily the weight comes back. Much faster than it comes off.

I can’t for a minute stop thinking about it. I sit down to a meal and I have to plan it out. Every bit that I order. Every morsel that I eat. I have to plan it.

If I don’t I gain weight. Simple as that.

With this winter, with the inter blues and the lack of exercise, and all the other reasons, excuses, explanations, causes….

I gained 8 pounds. It happened FAST.

I looked away for a moment and the moment was 8 pounds on me.

I drifted up slowly from 205 to 208 and suddenly I was looking at 216.

I am now back to 212.

It is going the right way again.

It happened so fast.

I have no excuses. I simply lost sight for a brief moment. I stopped thinking, focusing, watching…

Back at it.

My goal is to be 205 on my birthday in March.

This is never going to end, this Journey of mine.

I’m Ok with that.

Peace


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I Needed a Break


Hi, remember me?

I haven’t posted in 12 days.

I needed a break.

From everything.

I couldn’t do that so I took an unannounced break from writing the blog. I hope I didn’t disappoint anyone or lose to many followers.

I have to admit I am a bit worn down.

Work, work, family, stress….

Just tired.

So I put the blog aside for a couple of weeks and now I am feeling a little more energetic and ready to write again.

I really enjoy writing this blog but I wonder sometimes if I actually have anything to say.

Well, I will keep writing anyway. I write for me. I have always liked to sound of my voice….

Something I wrote

I wrote this a couple of months ago. A little poem in shadows and dreams:

Autumn..

11/19/2013

It was the breeze, the rustle of leaves. A hint of winter in the air, hiding under the warmth of the late Autumn sun. Low angled light passing through trees, long shadows along the path, the quiet crunch of steps on the dry leaves.

It was the view, the far off mountains. A hint of color left on distant trees, the river below framed by the bridge, the sound of the train heading north. A distant horn, a hawk circling above. It was the winding path through open fields and dense woods.

It was the whisper, the murmur of a soft voice. A hint of laughter in the voice. A soft giggle and a shy look. It was soft hair hanging in bangs across the eyes and a slight blush. It was a soft touch, lightly with gentle finger tips.

It was the kiss, lips lightly touching, softly brushing. A hint of quivering in the touch. A deep breath and a stiffened back, and arms held at length. It was a moment, sweet and passing, eyes meeting eyes and tears met with tears.

It was the coffee, warming cold hands, giving cover for the quiet. A hint of confusion, small talk, hesitant words. It was promises made and meant to be kept. Sad goodbyes, warmth inside and plans to meet again.

Winter

We have been dealing with a nasty winter here. Cold. Snow. When it isn’t cold it rains. When it is cold it snows. Riding my bike has not been an option. Walking has been difficult. I have been riding the bike on the rollers and the trainer but it isn’t the same and when I get home at night in the cold and dark I just have little motivation.

I look forward to the weekends but the weather has been awful.

Maybe next weekend…. Forecast is for mid thirties. We can but hope.

The winter I started this Journey the weather was good. Very little snow. Warmer than normal temperatures most days. I was able to get out and walk most days. I wonder if I had started this Journey during a winter like this one if I would have had the success I have enjoyed.

I wish I could at least get out and cross-country ski but my schedule just does not allow it. This past weekend I was down with a cold so nothing was happening for me. Love cross-country skiing. I am really bad at it. I love it anyway.

Remembering Mom

Surrounded by family... Mom in her glory

Surrounded by family… Mom in her glory

This past Thursday was my Mother’s 75th birthday. Well, it would have been. Mom has been gone more than 20 years. She was 54 years old when cancer took her from us. I am still shocked. She was a force of nature. Tall, attractive, strong, brassy, loving, hard, compassionate, tender, quick to anger, quick to love. She could have dominated a convention at Madison Square Garden. People were drawn to her. She was drawn to people.

Each of her four children can remember tough times with Mom. She was demanding. She was unforgiving. She formed opinions and it could be nearly impossible to move her.

Each of her four children can also remember wonderful times with Mom. Moments when her softer side would pour out to us. Moments of deep compassion and love.

Mom was capable of incredible love and kindness. She was the friend who would never leave your side when you needed a friend most.

I remember when Mom became friends with June. My folks had joined a community club and had met a husband and wife. June and my mother hit it off right away. What Mom didn’t know when she met June was that June had cancer. As June became more and more ill my mother became the friend who sat with her late in to the evening, reading to her, mopping her brow, feeding her ice chips. June’s other friends had run. Seeing a friend dying is hard and they couldn’t take it. Mom took it. She didn’t have to. She was the new friend. No one would have thought anything about it if Mom had simply drifted away. That wasn’t Mom. She was never one to drift away. Mom was with June as she began to fade the last time. Her husband, her daughter and son sat at her side and as Mom quietly left the room they called her back in and asked her to stay with them, asked her to share the last moments with their wife and mother.

Mom was slow to get over the loss of June, Just as she had been slow to get over the loss of other friends for whom she had been there. Mom knew she would be hurt. She also knew that her friend needed someone and that she had the strength to be that someone.

When Mom was diagnosed with cancer I cried like a young child. I thought she would win. Mom always won. I was scared for her, for me, for the family and so I cried but I thought she would win. Even when I came to understand that it was a cancer no one beats. I thought Mom would be the one.

I was thirty-one but I had the hope of a child.

When Mom lost the fight eleven months later I sat in my car and I wailed. It was a sound I didn’t know could come from me. Pure grief expressed.

Twenty and a half years later I am still in pain. I still miss my Mom. I am the most like her of her four children I think. I am quick to temper, quick to love. I take things to heart, I am the friend who will be there when you dearly need a friend.

I express love the same way my Mom did. I cook for you. I visit you, I invite you in to my home. I share my life with you. That was Mom.

I tell my children about her. Danny knew her but he doesn’t remember her. He was only two when she left us. We named Kyle for her. His Hebrew name, Chaim, is the masculine form of my mother’s Hebrew name, Chaia. The name means Life. Somehow fitting for a woman who had four children. Even more fitting given her inner force.

I miss Mom. I always will.

Peace


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Two years in to the Journey


In The Begining

I have written about this many times in the last two years. December 27, 2011, my date of awakening. No, I don’t think that is overly dramatic. It was in every sense an awakening. It has been in the last two years in every sense a Journey of discovery, of awakening to possibilities.

I had been depressed in the few days leading to the 27th. I had seen how I was. I had seen my reflection and it shocked and saddened me to see what I had become. I realized I was fat. I don’t know the mechanisms of the mind and how it can make you not see reality but it had cast me blind to the reality that I was a massively large man, more than 100 pounds overweight. This realization took an already dark mood and turned it in to a very deep depression.

Then

Then

On the morning of December 27th, a Tuesday off from work, I awoke and as I sat on the edge of the bed, taking my blood pressure meds before getting up to shower and start the day, I stared at the floor. Trying to gather the strength to power myself to the standing position, I could feel my mood slipping deeper in to the hole.

I have no idea why it clicked but it did. I don’t know to this day what it was that about that moment but something happened. I turned to Missus and I told her “today, I am starting today”. She asked what it was I was starting and I told her I was going to lose the weight and I was starting that day right then.

And so it began. The Journey.

Last year I wrote perhaps my longest post to mark the first anniversary of the Journey. Don’t know if this post will be anywhere near as long but I have much to say today.

Obsession

The Journey quickly became my central focus. Some called it an obsession and other worried about my mental state. I was never so concerned. I knew what I was doing was saving my life. I

The Fitbit. It is a little over 2 inches long and 3/4 of an inch wide. I clip it to my pants pocket or my shirt collar when I am wearing my sweatpants. You can toss it in your pocket... I am told that women often clip it to their bras.

The Fitbit. It is a little over 2 inches long and 3/4 of an inch wide. I clip it to my pants pocket or my shirt collar when I am wearing my sweatpants. You can toss it in your pocket… I am told that women often clip it to their bras.

started traveling with a scale so I could stay on top my recording my weight. I have recorded it nearly every day since I started that day in December.  I bought a FITBIT to record my activity level and to this day I wear one every day.

I Have stayed focused. Is this Journey an obsession? I guess. I would have to call it a healthy focus myself but you can call it what you want. I enjoy my foods. I still have to resist the temptations to overeat and indulge in sinful delights but I am able to resist. I need to. I know the risks.

Two years now…

After today's ride.  Getting there.....

Mid way on the Journey

I didn’t know it was going to work. When I started this. I was in such a bad place emotionally. I was fighting the Black Dog to begin with and then came that moment of start realization that I was FAT. If you haven’t been there you simply can’t understand. How could I have not known I was fat? It seemed obvious to everyone around me but I didn’t realize it. Not the way others did. I would joke about being fat. People would say that I wasn’t really THAT big. And that was what I heard. That I wasn’t really big… I was just large, a little overweight..

I started this Journey in a very deep and dark depression. Maybe that is why it clicked. Maybe that is why I was able to grab on to the so tightly. I needed something to pull me up.

I don’t know and I suspect I will never know what made it work and why it started that day two years ago today. I only know that something clicked.

It took me 8 months to drop 95 pounds. Another couple of months to get to 105 pounds. I have maintained my weight below 210 pounds since August 8th 2012 with only a small handful of days above 210. I am 209 as I write this.

Two years now. I am at this for two years. Two out of what I hope will be another 30.

2013 was a year of learning to maintain. Maintain my weight of course. Maintain my fitness. Maintain the activity, the focus, the drive. 2013 was learning to be a lean person. 2013 has been about learning my capabilities even as those capabilities increase.

I didn’t know I was a good rider. I have learned that at the boot of NP, CB and BP and many others at the shop who have encouraged me and lit a fire under me and kicked me hard when I have needed it. CB has told me to shut up about riding badly more than once.

At the Start Line at 6:40 AM and ready to ride. Trim. Fit. Ready

At the Start Line at 6:40 AM and ready to ride.
Trim. Fit. Ready

2014 will be, I hope, a year of expanding my capabilities, improving on the distance I have come thus far. I am committed to never being obese again. I am also committed to worrying about a pound or two weight gain less because I know how to keep it in check. A pound up should not be cause for panic as long as it is followed by a pound down soon thereafter.

Two years in to the Journey. I am still learning a great deal about myself. I am learning more about the issues and emotions that drove the eating that created the weight gain.

What I have learned so far is more than enough to fill a book, or a blog for that matter. I and certainly a happier person. I am certainly “better adjusted” now that I have come to understand so much about myself. I am enjoying things on face value now, no longer so suspicious so suspicious of the motives of others.

I am learning that good things can happen for good people and I am learning that maybe I am one of those good people.

My Loves

I love cycling. I have made that plain. I ride whenever I can and where ever I can and with whomever will ride with me. I Love hiking but I don’t get to do it nearly as often as I would like. Life gets in the way. Part time and

full-time jobs get in the way. I can cycle to the Bike Shop and I ride with the folks at the shop. Hiking does not have those opportunities attached to it for me.

A Place Along the Journey

A Place Along the Journey

I love my walks. Those are easier to get in then the hikes but I only really walk when cycling is not available for some reason.

I love Cross country Skiing and I got back to it this past winter for the first time in 10 or 12 years.  It was a blast!

I am as happy as the picture would seem to indicate.

I am as happy as the picture would seem to indicate.

I love writing this blog. I hope it has not grown tedious for everyone to read but I still enjoy writing it.

I love cooking. The way I cook now, lighter fare, is enjoyable for me. I love the way we eat now. Not quite a vegetarian, I do eat 90% vegetables, grains and fruits and

Kabocha, Baked Salmon, Mixed Grain Rice with Black beans....a the way I eat

Kabocha, Baked Salmon, Mixed Grain Rice with Black beans….a
the way I eat

about 10% dairy and fish or poultry. Poultry is actually very rare….

I love the way I feel and, yes, the way I look. I no longer expect to see a fat man when I look in the mirror. I am growing accustomed to seeing the me I am not. I am less surprised when I don’t see the old me.

I love my family and it is a joy to be able to enjoy them more. I can go for walks with the Younger One, I can goof around with the Older One and I can walk with Missus. I can enjoy their company because I am not always exhausted.

I love the feeling that I may actually stick around for a while and not die suddenly of a heart attack… This is a good feeling.

Goals

On the left: Last year Ride for Autism On the right: This years Ride for Autism.  Even 30 pounds make quite a difference.

On the left: Last year Ride for Autism
On the right: This years Ride for Autism. Even 30 pounds make quite a difference.

AS I enter my third year on this Journey I have goals I need still to reach. I want to get to and stay under 200 pounds. I want ride a Century. I am aiming for 4000 miles in 2014.

I want the visits from the Black Dog to become much fewer and farther apart. I would like the duration of the visits to shorten as well.

I am thinking of going vegetarian but I am not sure I am ready for that.

I want to see my friends more often, read more books, sleep better at night

I want to be sitting here in one year writing about the third anniversary.

The Coming Year

As I stated above, I am looking to improve on all things in 2014.

I also have some plans.

I have several rides planned for the coming year. Most of them are Charity Rides. None of those are the kind where you have to solicit donations.

On the Queensboro Bridge, May, 2013

On the Queensboro Bridge, May, 2013

Here is my list of planned rides:

  • Five-Boro Bike Tour, 40 miles
  • Ride of Silence (a memorial ride to honor cyclists killed by motor vehicles)
  • RIDE FOR AUTISM, 100 miles (Lincroft, NJ)
  • Discover Hartford, 40 miles
  • Hub On Wheels, 50 miles (Boston)
  • NYC Century, 100 miles
  • Tour of Bergen County, 50 miles(Bergen County, NJ)
  • Ashford Century, 100 miles (Rural Ct.)
  • Fall Foliage, 50 miles (Rural NJ)
  • Turkey Bike, 25 miles (North Jersey)

That’s the plan… There may be others. I may not do one or two of these but that is the plan.

I have started a team for the Ride for Autism.  It is called “Danny’s Team for the Ride For Autism” and it is named for my Older One.  The link will take you to the Facebook page and I hope you will LIKE the page.  You don’t have to ride and you don’t have to donate.  Just knowing you are supporting the team and encouraging the team is more than enough.  Our goal is to get as many people to ride as Danny’s Team as possible and to raise as much money in entry fees as we can.

I also have a dream of raiding from New York City to Miami Florida to raise money for Fragile X and Autism Research.  That will be harder to pull off but I am working at it.  Just not sure how I would get the time off work or pay the bills while I am riding to Miami……

Giving back to the sport I love for all that it has given me.

Peace