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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One-Thousand Ninety-Six Days


I Awoke one morning

Though taken in July, 2011, this is pretty much how I looked in December 2011.

Though taken in July, 2011, this is pretty much how I looked in December 2011.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011.

I awoke that morning and I got out of bed.  Well, almost.  What I did was roll on to my left side and got my left arm under me.  I then swung my right leg up in the air and then down in an arc while pushing up with my left arm.  In this manner I propelled myself in to a sitting position.

Once there, I took my two blood pressure medications and prepared to push my body in to a standing position so I could start my day.

As I sat there, still clearing the morning cobwebs from my mind, reminding myself that I didn’t have work, that I was still on vacation, I came to a remarkable realization.

I was tired of being fat.

I realized I was ready to do something about it.

I was ready to change my life.

To this day I cannot tell you what clicked.

I only know that something did.

It was three years ago today.  One-thousand and ninety-five days ago.

I awoke that morning.

Finally

Where would I be?

I have no clue the course my life would have taken had I not altered my trajectory.  I wasn’t a little overweight.  I was morbidly obese.  I was FAT.  I was more than 100 pound overweight.  I was barreling towards an early demise.  Worse?  I didn’t seem to care.  I wasn’t doing anything at all to exercise.  I was eating a horribly unhealthy diet.  I was drinking Diet Coke by the case full.  10-12 cans a day was not unusual for me.  Five-thousand calories a day was not unusual for me.

I went for a walk.  I remember it as a cold and gray day.  Not sure if I remember that correctly but that is how I see it in my mind’s eye.  I drove to the High School track and walked one mile and I sat down and I panted for ten minutes afterwards.  And then I drove home.

Had I not done that….  What would have happened?

I took the first steps.

I haven’t stopped.

I lost weight fast.  I changed my diet.  I eventually gave up red meat and poultry.  I increased my activity level as I decreased my intake.  I lost the weight.  I have kept it off for the most part.

Had I not started this Journey….

I would not have made many of the friendship I now have.  I would not have developed others that have grown stronger.  I would not be in the cycling world.  I would not have the life I have now.  I might not have a life.  I might not be alive..

Where would I be?  I would be fifty-three and fat, assuming I did not succumb to high blood pressure and heart disease.   I am not trying to be dramatic here.  This is fact.  My odds were very bad.  My health was deteriorating.  It was getting ugly.

Here I am.

It has never gotten easy

I figured on this early on my Journey.

I figured it would never get easy.  It might get easier.  Never easy.  I was right.

The temptations are still there.  They still tempt me.  I made the mistake of thinking I could indulge.  I was wrong.  The weight came back fast.  I blew up to 235 pounds FAST.  I fixed it.  I refocused.  The weight is coming down.  The holiday season has been harder this year.  Not sure why but it has been.  It has not gotten easy.  It hasn’t really gotten any easier.

The traps are still there.  Portion size increased as it had to once I went in to maintenance mode.  The portion size increased too much and the weight started to climb.  Scaled that back.  Fought to control it.  Getting better at it.  Weight is stabilized and starting to come down again.

It has never become easy.  I expect it never will.

Beating the odds

I am beating the odds.

The odds said that I would gain back fifty percent or more of what I had lost within one year of reaching my goal weight and within two years I would have gained it all back.  The statistics are depressing.

I am beating the odds.  More than 2 years after hitting my target weight I am still within 20 pounds of it and I am back on the downward trend.

I slipped.  I gained some back.  I overate.  That was much more the issue than my activity level, though that two has slipped some.  Plenty of reasons but no excuses.

I will not give up or give in.

I am not going to fail.

I will not be fat again.

Where I am now

This is who I am and who I will stay

This is who I am and who I will stay

Saturday, December 27, 2014

One-Thousand Ninety-Six Days later where am I now?  I am fit.  I am off the BP meds.  My at rest heart rate is 64 Beats Per minute.  I can cycle 75+ miles.  I can hike and climb.

I am a “near” vegetarian.  I don’t eat red meats or poultry.  I still eat fish a couple of times a week but for the most part I follow a vegetarian diet.

I spend a great deal of time with my wife and my boys.  I have the energy now.  The Younger one likes to walk with me.  He counts my bleacher sets when we go to the school track.  The Older one likes to watch TV with me.  We also go for walks sometimes.

Missus and I walk together and have date-night a couple of times a month.

I work 11-12-hour days at my regular job and I work Saturdays most weekends at the bike shop.  I cut back on the Sundays.  I needed the rest… Come Spring I will get back to leading the Sunday Rides (I Hope).

Mostly where I am is in a good place in my mind.

Loving life

I am happy where I am right now.  Not happy that I gained weight back.  Mad as hell at myself about that.  Happy that I cared and stopped it.  Glad that I go it at 25 pounds and not at 75.

I am loving riding, hiking, walking.

I am loving having the energy to keep up with my boys.

I am loving the sense that I have control over this.

I am happy with the person I am now and pleased that the growth continues and I am still moving forward on the Journey.

I still have a plan.  I still have my goal.

I awoke on that Tuesday morning.

I am glad that whatever it was finally clicked in.

Peace


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Ramapo Rally, Cycling and Reasons


It started with an injury

It is well-known that I love to ride my bike. I take every reasonable opportunity to jump on the bike and ride. I take the long way from A-B so I can spend more time on the bike.

So why would I give up a perfectly good Sunday to work the rest area of a large ride rather than ride in it myself?

It started with an injury.

In the early summer of 2012 I signed up to do the Ramapo Rally in New Jersey. I had heard great things about the ride: well run, well supported, challenging and beautiful routes. I heard the rest areas were well stocked, the volunteers were fun and enthusiastic and that a good time was had by one and by all. As I was just getting in to good shape and had just missed out on doing the Five Boro Bike tour (sold out before I registered), I was looking for a challenge and I figured the 50-mile route would be JUST the ticket.

June 22, 2012 is the date I registered for the ride.

June 23, 2012 is the day I went on a Club Ride.

Twenty-five miles or so in to the ride I dropped my chain, spun out and tore the meniscus in my right knee.

The ride was out.

The club was fantastic and refunded my registration fee. That is unusual. Most rides will not refund money and for good reason. The money goes towards planning and if everyone who had second thoughts about a ride got the money back it would be impossible to plan accurately.

Seeing as I had the injury and had JUST registered… They were very kind.

Now the thing to know is that I was able to walk, climb stairs, stand… All without pain. Cycling hurt like crazy.

So I offered to volunteer and I was assigned to a rest area. We worked like crazy that day. And I loved it.

Last year I did it again and I supplied 14 dozen of Missus’ home-baked chocolate chip cookies and three of my wonderful apple cakes (recipe below). It was a fantastic time. So, this year I did it again and supplied the same fresh-baked goods.

At the Ramapo Rally Rest Area

At the Ramapo Rally Rest Area

Yes, most times I would rather ride. Most times I would rather feel the road under my wheels. Once a year, for this ride, I love to give my time and encourage the other riders. I do a number of organized rides each year. Most years I try to do the Five-Boro Bike Tour, The Ride for Autism, The NYC Century, Hub on Wheels and The Turkey Ride. The friendly faces at the rest areas, the tech support from the local bike shops, the banana, the cookie and the refill of the water bottles are very welcome. They add to the experience in a very positive way when done well. They are usually done well. On my first Ride for Autism I was pretty shot when I rolled in to the rest area at the 40-mile mark. I had ten miles to go, had become separated from my friend, and was really wondering if I should take the SAG (Support And Gear) wagon the rest of the way. After stopping at the rest area, getting the enthusiastic greeting, getting some encouragement and a quick bite, I felt revived and was back on the road, found my friend and finished the ride with him. Sometimes the rest area volunteers are the difference in finishing the ride on the bike or finishing in the SAG wagon.

So my knee injury turned me in to a volunteer this one ride per year. It was the best thing to come out of that injury.

Sticking to it

I looked back at the blog post I wrote about the knee injury. I realized I am still doing so much of what I was doing then. Eating right, eating less, moving more. Yes, I have gained a few pounds back, I am over the goal weight I had set of 210 pounds. I am not thrilled with this but I am OK with it for now. The weight will go up and go down. I understand that. I just have to stick to the plan which has worked so well.

I find that looking back at the posts helps me. It reminds me of the steps I have taken and the steps I need to keep taking. I will never give up this way of life. I am not going back to eating indiscriminately. I am not going back to being a couch potato.

I am sticking to it and I am enjoying the life I have now.

Yesterday at the rest area I so enjoyed being a part of the cycling community. I know so many of the riders and I have even sold a few of them bikes. They recognized me and I recognized them and we got to chat, we got to laugh and we shared that thing that cyclists share. The love of riding.

So I stick to it because I love it. I know what I was. I know what I am now.

This is why I do it.

Saturday Mornings

If I leave my house early enough, 6:30 AM or around there, I can get in a nice long ride before I need to be at the Cycle Shop for the day. If I plan it right , I get to SmartWorld Coffee at a little after 7:00 to 7:15 and I have time for a good cup of coffee and a whole wheat muffin, a few minutes of relaxation and then I get back on and ride another 25-30 miles to the shop.

This Saturday past was just such a day. On the road by 6:40, at the coffee shop by 7:15, coffee and a muffin, a little chit-chat with a fellow sitting outside at the sidewalk tables and then off on my ride. 2 hours and 51 minutes of riding got me to the shop on time and I had 40 miles under my wheels.

A muffin, a coffee and a bike.... Life is good....

A muffin, a coffee and a bike…. Life is good….

It was exactly the type of ride that I love most. A solo ride at my pace, my challenge and a little break to refresh the body and the soul.

The simple fact is this: I work long hours at my full-time job and there is a good deal of pressure. The Sunday shop rides are wonderful and I love leading them. They are fun and I enjoy the groups and the individuals but the rides are not relaxing. I watch out for the new riders, try to remember the route, try not to lose focus watching out for the other riders and crash (did that, not fun) all the while watching the clock and making sure we are going to make it back to the shop on time.

It is the Saturday morning rides that refresh me, clear my mind, rejuvenate my spirit. When I am riding on Saturday mornings I am alone with my personal challenges. I am free to fight my way up the hills, blast down the other side, watch my cadence, keep the pace up, challenge myself to ride better, not just faster. I am free to clear out the cobwebs and fight my personal battles on my own terms. Flying along the roads of Morris County NJ I am able to focus sharply on the task at hand to the point that it is almost as if nothing but the bike and the road exist. I hear the cars, I see the animals along the roads, I feel the air and hear all the sounds around me but I am not thinking about work, or pressure, or deadlines or anything but the focus of the ride.

Alpacas and a Synapse....  The farmlands of New Jersey

Alpacas and a Synapse…. The farmlands of New Jersey

It is on these rides that I understand the adage that cycling is as close to flying as you can get and still be on the ground.

There are times I want company on these rides and I will ride with others if I come across them on the ride. I have a friend with whom I have done a Saturday morning ride and we had a great time.

Mostly though, Saturday Morning is my personal time. The time I get to be alone with my thoughts, my energy, my efforts and my needs. I can ride as fast as my legs will take me. I can attack a hill in my way, not worrying about keeping up or waiting up…

I can stop for the cup of coffee without concern for another rider and whether or not they like a coffee stop on a ride.

It is my most selfish time. On these rides I am accountable to no one but myself and the rules and laws of the road.

Soon enough I will pull in to the parking lot and it will be time to clean up and get to work. The Floor Manager of the Day will have tasks for me to do, there will be prep work for opening up, shelves to fill, floors to vacuum.

Soon the customers will come in and I get to talk about bikes all day and be paid for it. A great way to spend the day. There are joys in the job. Selling a youngster his or her first “good” bike, a man my age getting back into cycling and the smile on his face when he rides the bike in the lot, the husband who comes in with his wife to buy her a bike and buys one for himself as well after seeing how much she is enjoying the test ride… This is why I love selling bikes.

But it is the Saturday morning ride that reminds me why I love cycling.

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.

Not my best day

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Not how I wanted the ride to go.

Sunday Morning, feeling ready to ride

Sunday Morning, feeling ready to ride

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

Two miles in to the ride things went bad.

I crashed. Hard.

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

Helmets work. They really do.

Big dent in the lid

Big dent in the lid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mostly I feel sore, stiff, and stupid.

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

Don’t do that.

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

Glad the bike will be OK.

To top it off, I broke a tooth tonight.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Peace.


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Health


The Healthy Choice

I started losing weight because I was tired of being fat, out of shape, ugly (in my eyes) and embarrassed. I started losing weight because I was afraid of dying early. I started losing weight because it was the right time in my life to change.

From the beginning I understood that it would be about more than taking off the pounds.

It would be about understanding me.

It would be about getting fit.

It would be about staying lean and fit and getting healthy and staying there.

I knew from day one of my Journey that I would have to travel the path physically as well as emotionally. I understood that there would be much more to this than merely eating less and eating right. Moving more, moving right would be a part of it as well. A big part.

It is very possible to lose 100-plus pounds and not significantly improve one’s health. It is very possible to do so and injure one’s health.

I didn’t want to simply lose the pounds. I wanted to roll back the clock if I could. I wanted to be younger. I felt so old on the day I started the Journey.

It is Mid-April now. 2014. I am still 100+ pounds down from my peak. Still where I want to be with my weight. Still building the fitness, riding the bike, walking.

I made a healthy choice. I never have followed a diet. No WW, Jenny, Atkins, South Beach…. I have never followed an exercise plan. I eat right. I eat less. I move more. I didn’t start a diet. I didn’t start and exercise plan.

I started a new lifestyle. I change my life and I made the healthy choice.

The Healthy Choice does not mean illness always leave you alone…

I am getting over the flu right now. It is part of why I haven’t posted on my blog in a while. It really knocked me on my back. It came on last Saturday. I was feeling a little off on my bike ride in to the shop. I started strong but faded badly as I approached the shop. I showered up and started work but by mid day my head felt “off” and I was feeling congested. I thought it must be allergies. It was busy at the shop and I was running about but losing energy with each step. At some point CB, one of the shop owners, asked me if I was OK. I think I was coming across as “cross”. I told her I thought I was dealing with allergies…

By night fall I was sick.

By the time I crawled into bed Saturday night I was running a fever of 101.1. Overnight the fever climbed and I was in hell by 3:00 AM when I sent a text to the bike shop boss that I would not be able to lead the Sunday ride nor would I be able to work. Sunday was hell. 103.4 fever. Joint aches. Violent shivering. Sweats.

Monday morning the Dr. confirmed it was the flu and ordered me to bed rest for the week. Anti-viral meds to fight the flu and antibiotics to prevent the secondary infections that often accompany the flu.

Here it is. Thursday. I am FINALLY starting to feel OK. The fever broke a couple of days ago but the joint aches and the general malaise that comes with the flu linger. Today is the best day so far.

The worst part for me was having to cancel the Father-Son vacation the Younger One and I had planned for this week. I was going to work Monday and Tuesday and then he and I would travel to New England Tuesday night to enjoy three days exploring.

I know it disappointed him but in classic form, he has handled it with grace and understanding.

I doubt I will be able to ride this weekend but I will keep the option open for Sunday. Monday I will return to my regular job healthy and strong. This was not how I wanted to get the rest I needed but at least I rested.

 

Peace


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It has been rough


Misery

Shakespeare wrote of a “Winter of Discontent” being turned in to a “Glorious Summer”. It is a great metaphor for misery turning to joy.

This winter has been miserable. I am waiting for the joy that will come with summer. I am waiting for the pleasure of spring.

Between head colds, which I have had aplenty, head concussion (mercifully, just one), snow, ice and bitter and persistent cold temperatures, I have been miserable and, probably, miserable to deal with.

My weight has climbed. My fitness has dropped. My attitude is horrible. I still feel awful from the most recent head cold. This is not at all fun.

I am trying to look forward and it is difficult. Every weather forecast calls for more cold, more ice, and more snow. The long-range forecasts do not show the expected warming trends of mid-March.

I am less than two months from the first big ride of the year. Less than three months from my planned Century ride.

I have ridden eight miles this year. Eight. Miles. This is not what I had planned.

This winter has been the hardest since I began the Journey. Illness, weather, depression, injury.

I am fighting it. The fog from the concussion has cleared. I am left with the weather, depression and illness. I will go to the Doctor today if he is available. Get some idea why this cold lingers.

Makes it impossible to ride even on the wind trainer. Depression is not something that lifts from outside influences so much as from internal. That is the harder fight for me. I have to avoid the spiral down. Depression feeds inactivity and weight gain which feeds the depression. Fighting it.

Misery. I hate winter.

Fight it with Plans

So here it is. I am making plans.

I still have the goal of 4000 miles on the bike this year. It will be difficult but not impossible and I am going to try like hell to make it happen.

I have the rides planned:

  • Five-Boro Bike Tour
  • Ride for Autism
  • Hub on Wheels
  • Discover Hartford
  • Fall Foliage
  • Turkey-Bike VI

I plan to lead the Sunday Morning Shop Rides. If the weather cooperates I think we will get them going again soon. The snow has melted off some…

I am back to the good eating plan that got me to my goal weight and I am confident that I will get back to 200 pounds. I am at 216 right now. I am not happy about it at all but being unhappy doesn’t change anything. Set the goal. Work the plan.

The issue is the effect this miserable winter has had on my mind and body. I am just so unhappy. I want to ride. I want to hike. I want to get outside and burn some energy and, in so doing, energize.

That’s it, isn’t it? Getting outside and burning the energy actually energizes me. It gets the mind active. It gets the body moving. I may be tired after a long hike or a long ride but my SOUL is energized. The soul. That THING within that give us our self. That which we truly are.

I am not the grumpy, depressed and frustrated person this winter has made me out to be,

I am energetic, I am aggressive. I am a writer, I am a cook, I am a jokester, a prankster, a hiker, a walker, a cyclist… I am ready to kick winter right in the ass.

Peace