Friday, February 18, 2011

My life my ride....

Its amazing how a simple thing like sitting on an aluminum framed contraption and an afternoon can change ones mood to the point that I would compare it to a high. The thermometer hit the mid 50's yesterday and wet roads be damned I wasn't missing the opportunity to get out on the bike for a ride! The trails are still covered in a heavy layer of snow so for safety's sake staying off of them until its clear and I can see the land mines which fell from the trees laying on the path is how its going to be. Everything is melting so the street looks like it is raining out and I was completely peppered with dirt, mud and puddle water by the end of my ride but it was more than worth that small nuisance, I thought that I had the bug to ride but after yesterdays trip around the lake and surrounding roads I am bit and can't wait for the weather to warm up for good.

The one time I stopped to snap a quick picture of my trusty steed next to the still frozen lake.

Figuring that I could get a decent workout if I targeted all of the hills I came up with a just over 6 mile loop that would assure that I hit all of the steeper hills and off I went. Amazingly enough not a single hill phased me, perhaps all of the high RPM spinning that I have been doing at the gym is helping me more than I thought! Dealing with puddles and just an over all soaking wet road for 70% of the ride only to have the other 30% be slush/ice patches or really sandy declines it was a dodgy ride to say the least and I did have one pucker moment where the Darwin alarms sounded loud and clear.

Coming down the steepest decent I got up to about 25MPH, this hill is usually a 35MPH hill but with the roads the way that they were I took it easy but there is one section that has a curve to it and I had relaxed because the middle section of the grade had no sand and was dry. Coming around that bend suddenly there was a small patch of slushy ice sort of like where the car tires make a rut and left that small patch on the side towards the center of the road and it was lining up perfectly with my line and I had to hit it, ooops. All at once in the 1.2 seconds that I had before hitting the patch I thought "Oh shit!", "I hope the tires hold onto this", "I should get a helmet", "You Shall NOT Pass!!" in my best in my head Gandalf voice and then the front tire connected with the beginning of what I thought may be the end. The warm weather had softened it up enough that the patch split with my tire in the center and for a split second I thought "Yay!!!" and then up onto the patch I went "Oh shit!", the bike slid off the side and I was back on the road surface with an adrenaline rush for my efforts.

Upon getting back to the house with my ear to ear grin I cleaned the heavy debris off of the bike and wiped it down, changed my dirt covered clothes and felt relaxed. I did get to use my new Garmin 305 that Wify got me for Christmas for the first time and it seemed to perform as it should have, it reported that I burned 762 calories on my 38 minute ride and I'll take it! I very much dislike wearing things on my wrist so getting a handlebar mount is on the top of my list of things to do and will likely place an order as soon as I click publish on this post. I still find it amazing that I was once upon a time a 500 pound guy that struggled to walk for more than 5 minutes at a time and when I hammer up a hill on my bike I think its somehow pushing me because I know what it feels like to be caged within my own body.

My life is completely different these days because of losing the weight, I am not alone in that I am sure anyone that has done it has similar feelings on the subject. My love for riding a bike was very likely always there but I stripped it away from my options when I allowed myself to grow to more than 500 pounds but I assure you that I will never see that side of the equation again. Make the choice, refuse to accept a life that involves a cage made of flesh and the entire world gets as big as it was when we were children with new experiences around every corner. For too long I sat idle on an old couch wishing that things could be different, these days I choose to take the difficult line and go uphill merely because it will get my heart pumping a little harder than the easy path would. Taking the easy path only got me into the quarter ton club and its not something that I want to be a part of ever again so I refuse to let it be a part of my life ever again.

My bike, my life, my terms, I ride for me and that will never change I will not be caged by my own hand ever again.

As Ever

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Define oneself by reinvention.

Getting over the flu and having not been out on my bike since before it got too cold and snowed in to do so has me itching for a ride but if you read my blog you probably know this. Today I woke up and the little man in the magic box claims that the weather gods shall shine upon my part of the world blessing us with a sunny 54 degrees today which means that I will perhaps get a chance to take ye olde mountain bike out for a trot around the lake. The rail trail is still covered in what appears to be more than a foot of now retreating snow and ice but the roads are pretty clear so I will take advantage of it congested chest be damned! My eating has been on point for the last week or so and my weight is reflecting that...sort of, I am not going up at all and coming down very very slowly over the past week but for being under the weather with no real workouts to speak of it is what it is.

This is whats in my bike bag, The bag itself with a map of some trails wify and I hike stuck in the net, 1 Live strong wrist band, 1 tube, 1 patch kit, 3 tire spoons, allen key for my brakes, small allen key set, 2nd small allen key set with screw drivers, multi-tool with small led flashlight, pressure gauge and the pump rides on my frame usually but it was in the bag when I emptied it so it made the shot.

This break in the weather is going to give me a chance to go over my bike and see what I need to do if anything to get it set to start riding regularly again, which probably just means putting the proper pressure in the tires. I do need to get a new under the seat wedge bag for my tools and junk that I bring along when I ride because last year the zipper failed on the one that I had which es'ploded the contents all over a bridge at speed during a ride so if anyone has a suggestion for a decent yet economical wedge bag I'm all ears! I don't mind using the small camelback style pack that I switched to when the bag broke last year but rides like today where I don't expect it to be more than a couple "warm up" miles on the hills around my house I would rather not have to wear a pack so getting a new wedge would be nice.

I think that its important to find a form of exercise that we enjoy doing as it will help to keep us interested in doing it day in and day out, I tried running and though it had its moments of awesomeness I just didn't take to it like I did to the bike. The bike riding allows me to see trails and sights that no other form of exercise would offer, I suppose running could give me some of the same but the range that a bicycle gives me dwarfs what running could ever hope to. My longest ride last year was 20 miles and this year I am hoping to achieve at least 50 miles in one shot perhaps even more! I have been mapping some routes for me to try out when it warms up and have a 21 mile trail ride that I am looking forward to and hopefully I will be able to do the round trip version of that ride and make it a 42 mile fun ride before the end of the season. My normal rides were falling between 15 and 20 miles depending on whether I left from my house or drove to a trail head in a different city and I was doing that two maybe three times per week, I would like to make my average ride a 30 mile round trip maybe extending out to 50 or 60 at a time but we shall see how that pans out.

My physical limitations shrink by the day as I get stronger and stronger, more weight comes off as muscle builds and my legs are starting to get quite large muscularly with all of the biking at the gym and on the trails. When I was 500 pounds I always thought about how strong my legs were, I mean hell hauling 500 pounds around everywhere I went they needed to be right? but since I started riding I have realized that they were strong as far as raw one time pushing ie: peeling my ass off of the couch to take a piss but when it came to anything lasting longer than about 4 minutes they didn't really have lasting power. These days I am seemingly unlimited strength wise and with my endurance and its clearer today than it ever has been how much I was fooling myself back at 534 pounds, I cannot stress enough at how happy I am that I decided to make that change in my life.

Today I leave you with a quote.

"I believe that one defines oneself by reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself. To cut yourself out of stone."
~Henry Rollins~

As Ever

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Gymnastics of the mind...

"You just gotta want it"

"Enroll in *insert main stream diet program here* and you will be successful"


"Join a gym and go every day"

If you ask anyone that's lost a significant amount of weight or even just 10 to 20 pounds how to lose weight you will undoubtedly get a plethora of different answers and none of them will be the same usually. Losing weight and getting healthy is not exactly rocket science though there is science involved I am in the camp that it is almost totally a mental issue that needs to be dealt with if successful long term weight loss is to occur. Eating unprocessed whole foods will help the cause for sure, exercising daily will almost certainly aid in shrinking your waistline but in the end if the mental part of that equation is left unchanged short term transformation just might be on the menu. Learning that food is merely fuel for our bodies has been something long lost on lots of people that find themselves in the position that I was in a couple years ago, when food takes on an emotional attachment is when we find ourselves on the wrong side of 500 pounds.

"Drink lots of water"

"Portion control is key"

"Count calories"

When we look at food for what it is things become very clear, food is merely the product that we ingest so that our bodies can function on a daily basis, in simpler terms, it is energy. So many of us find comfort in food beyond it being purely sustenance for our ever working bodies and unless we can get past that part of losing weight I am afraid it will be a constant struggle back and fourth almost infinitely ongoing tennis match with ourselves. Decide, make the choice to look at food as nothing more than fuel and the entire ordeal simplifies and yes I called it an ordeal because it best describes how the transition from emotional to as necessary eating feels. This change isn't easy, I will never say that it is an easy thing because its not and people who have never struggled with it may not understand the phenomenon but trust me its real and I feel it every time I get over stressed but not giving into it is key. I just said that its not easy but at the same time that I believe its not easy I do believe that its simple, Decide, eat right, exercise, see? simple.

"Ride a bike"

"Get a personal trainer"

If we approach it as if we are machines again things simplify, a machine has no emotions it does what its suppose to do and it continues as long as it is fueled and maintained properly. Food is our fuel and exercise is our maintenance we are in fact just a complicated machine driven by a motherboard or brain if you will full of emotion, control the emotional part and the machine will run as it should. When I began, this machine theory is how I lived, it was my mantra and I followed it as close as a human could because it was either that or deal with the possibility of dieing by my own hand which was clenched tightly around a fork. I still look at food as fuel but as I got more and more comfortable with the newer me I found that I am more willing to let things slide where grabbing an extra bite of this or that goes, no more.

When I started writing this blog I was a more than 500 pound man that honestly felt that unless huge changes were implemented that death was in fact not far away. Now that I am down more than 200 pounds and have kept it off for a couple years the game has changed somewhat, the players are the same in some ways but the stakes have changed a bit. Not having death looming ominously over my chubby shoulder has in time slowed my pace and the weight has not come off lately. Realizing that this game is one of a mental challenge more than anything else I need to push through the stresses that are slowing me down at this stage of my journey and get down to my goal weight more so to prove to myself that I can more than anything else at this point. Physically I am so far away from that 534 pound man that struggled up a flight of stairs worrying about if the pin would be pulled in the grenade of a heart that was beating in his chest but mentally I still find myself in conflict at times but then I suppose that is a game I will play for the rest of my life, just like every other person who struggles with their weight.

Weight loss is a game played in oneself head, it has nothing to do with the food, it has even less to do with the exercise, beat yourself in that chess game and you will have won your health back.

As Ever

Friday, February 11, 2011

She will not have a fat daddy...

Being in the right frame of mind is something that is more important than I can stress when health is the subject, I mean hell, look at the banner on this very blog? whats it say? "Its A State Of Mind" and when life tosses obstacles our way that doesn't mean a free for all back in the direction of an old lifestyle. I don't care what anyone says about losing weight its not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination and when that proverbial shit hits the fan sometimes we lose balance and land squarely on our padded posterior but if we refuse to get up then what? Well let me splain Lucy, Shits gonna happen, stumbling on the ice will occur from time to time and eventually we will in fact get comfortable with our health situation and ease back a bit on the strict programs that we have created for ourselves but the only thing that will tear the extra padding from our bones is a lot of hard work and dedication.

There has been extensive testing done on me and as much as I would like to believe so I do not have a mechanical bone structure, I am in fact a human being, I know! I was surprised too! but alas it is true that faltering at times is part of my story. Juggling seventeen things at once like a one armed circus clown with a blindfold on inside a lions cage just comes with the territory when you are a Husband to a lovely but quite insane lady and Dad to a kid that has special needs but there are times when putting yourself first isn't really what a fella wants to or can do. In the beginning I was the priority because I honestly believed that if something did not change in my life that it would be ended prematurely because of my heart grenading or something else equally as tragic but now that I am apparently in decent shape its hard for me to push everything else to the side like I once was able to do. Do I understand that making myself first is an important thing? absolutely, is it a reality to do so when I am not in imminent danger? not so much and the fact that I have floated right around 325 pounds for about a year now is proof of that fact.

There must be a balance between getting where I need and want to be with my health and physical self and prioritizing other things in my life without leaving one or the other lacking in attention but this is easier said than done I am finding out. When I am on I am on, it doesn't take much for that to happen and I will use yesterday to this morning as an example. I have been sick and my hip has been sore from when I slipped on the ice and those two things have kept me from working out the way that I wanted to but yesterday even though my chest was all kinds of congested I decided that I was going to do some calisthenics, so I did. This morning I woke up and weighed my bowl of cereal for breakfast, made my gallon of green tea and was off to the gym as soon as the kids left for school. I rode the bike at the gym for 40 minutes averaging 96RPM's came home made a bite to eat and updated my excel sheet for what went down the hatch and instinctively sat down to write a blog post, dems is what you might call habits. I don't like saying "Good" or "Bad" habits as I believe a habit is a habit whether it be good or bad and we need to decide which ones we will keep around, but my point is that it doesn't take much for me to get back into a rhythm with my day to day.

The pain in my chest from the push ups yesterday was a reminder that this is how I live now, my hip doesn't hurt any more and the remnants of my flu or whatever it was are weak enough that its not really effecting me and I'm back in the game just like that. My excel sheet is filled out for the day not because it needs to be but more so that I have an idea of where I'm going to be for the rest of the day with my intake, again a habit that I have created over the past few years. Making my way through my days the way that I should be in order for my health goals to be reached is very important to me, even if its harder for me to plant me in that number one spot on the "to do" list these days its got to be a priority for more than one reason.

I mentioned in yesterdays post as well as hinted in earlier posts that there is a new addition to the family on the way, when I say on the way I mean very soon! Things will most certainly change for me when this wonderful thing happens, I will no longer have the freedom to go gallivanting through the wooded trails all willy nilly on a whim as I will have stay at home dad duties to attend to. Getting creative with working out at home will very likely need to happen for me, of course I will still get out on the trails, it will just be more of a scheduled time sort of activity and most likely later in the day when I can have the lovely Mrs. take over with the bundle of joy but that's a hurdle to be jumped when it gets here.

From the beginning I have written this blog for me, I have kept anything not weight loss/health related out of it and it will likely remain that way but this post has a tad more personal stuff in it than normal but I felt that I needed to write it out so that I can re-read it to keep me on track in the future. Some health blogs are written with intentions other than losing weight and getting healthy even if the writers elude to this fact and others are purely from the heart sharing personal stories related not to health and or weight loss but a bit more of personal lives than I am usually comfortable sharing. I started writing this blog because I needed to do something to save my life and continue to do so for the same reasons as I had from Day 1 What ya see is what ya get and everything I write here is as real as a punch in the face regardless of whether the masses agree or not. I'm not into guest posts, shilling for products or telling anyone that reads this blog that I use X Y or Z when I don't but if you want an honest point of view from a guy that use to be 534 pounds I might just have what you're looking for here.

As Ever

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

As the fat guy turns...

Where the hell ya been man! ice dams & leaky roofs, what the hell is a roof rake? a bruised hip, piles of snow days for the kiddos then throw in some fevers and the fact that we're trying to get the house ready for the new addition to the family and well ya get a fella that doesn't have a lot of time to sit down and write a post. Over the past couple weeks I have gotten lots of emails and messages asking if everything is ok and the short answer is yessiree all is well besides the fact that I am nursing away a pretty gnarly cold that has been kicking my ass over the last week or so. Making it to the gym has been nothing more than a dream between the shitty weather, being sick, hurt hip and the fact that the kids have been home more than not lately but this shall be remedied as the arctic snow gods have seemingly taken us out of the target area for now so the animals are back to school and the roof is mostly shoveled clear so hopefully I can get my big ass back in the gym.

My inspiration.

My whole regimen has been suffering for the last couple weeks because of all of the crap going on and because of that I haven't been sticking to my calories as tightly as I should be. I am not gaining weight but I am not losing either, I have fallen into a holding pattern and have been circling the landing strip again which needs to stop! Not being able to workout seems to put me into that place where I start going nuts and thinking back to my 500 pound days I find myself wondering how I did it for so long without kicking down the walls. Being stationary is NOT in my repertoire any more, bat shit fucking crazy is where I am at right now with the walls of snow and ice that surround my house and my bike taunts me from the corner of the room to get on and go for a ride snow and 9 degree weather be damned. Everything seems to be easing back to being normal so as soon as my chest clears the gym is going on my list of things to do as I haven't had a proper workout in at least a week and a half unless you count the shoveling and roof clearing and I don't count that as a workout, that is merely work.

Very shortly with a new kiddo on the way my time will once again be taken up by changing diapers and reading books, this will undoubtedly change the way that I workout and when I can workout. I foresee lots of evening rides on my bike when the wife lady can take over and perhaps walking will become once again a daily workout as I will be plus one for a while. I need to pack into the next couple months as much work as I can so that I am as far along as possible when the tides change and my program will be dictated less by when I want to workout and it becomes more about when the free time shows up.

The hip is feeling better, my chest has finally stopped rattling and since the snow has stopped school is back in session! all of those things mean that I can get back to the gettin' down in the gym and with the days getting longer again the warm weather will be here in no time so the bike will once again be in use thus allowing happiness to flow from my pours as it should. Mainly the thing that has to stay constant is the keep on keepin' on along with the good habits so that I may one day actually cross over that 300 pound line drawn in the sand! I am as healthy as I have ever been in my entire life, I do what I want to when I want to and am seemingly unlimited physically these days.

My life, my rules, my end result because I insist on things being that way.

That's all I got.

As Ever