Saturday, October 26, 2013
Friday, October 25, 2013
Why "be weird Friday"? Why not? Friday is the day that I celebrate the precious freedom that we all have but rarely exercise...being weird.
I think it's a real problem. Not being weird.....but the fact that so few dare to embrace weirdness.
When you were a kid, being weird came naturally. It was called having fun. Laughing at silliness. Laughing at yourself. Somewhere along the line we became so self absorbed, so self conscious, that we lost the urge to just be goofy for goofy's sake. We became adults. We got serious. We grow old but, more tragically and unnecessarily, we act old.
When's the last time you were weird? Would you dance in a pink tutu?
Celebrate weirdness. Do something to make others laugh and you'll probably make yourself laugh as well.
And isn't that a great way to end any week?
Thursday, October 24, 2013
I'm a busy guy. I work all week in a demanding job. Up early in the morning and going all day. I don't have time to exercise....not today....maybe tomorrow...if I have time.
Then WHAM...in a hospital bed. Can't even go to the bathroom without nurse assistance. And, as I lay there in that bed with tubes and needles and wires; I think about how suddenly un-busy my days have become.
If I had exercised regularly beforehand, chances are I wouldn't have had to spend the time in the hospital. Maybe or maybe not...who can say? One thing that I do know is...I would much rather spend an hour in a gym than five minutes in a hospital. Exercise may just minimize future hospitalizations. Certainly worth an hour of my attention.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
Thursday, October 17, 2013
The cardiac rehab I'm going to three times a week is something quite unique. It's in a gym that's pretty much like any other gym with only a few differences. The primary difference is that it has a crash cart available just in case somebody's ticker gives out while on the recumbent bike. Of course, everybody is wired up to monitor their heartbeat and, every once in a while, you'll see the nurses run around to find somebody whose wire has slipped to make sure they didn't flatline. But all in all, it is just a gym...with the exception that most of the people using this gym are, shall we say, seasoned citizens.
And that's really good for me because it means there is no intimation factor going on. Nobody is showing off in the mirrors and nobody is trying to pick up a date or impress anybody else. Everybody is working on their particular workout plan. We are all there pretty much for the same reason....we want to get more fit so that we can live a few more years.
Though there is no real intimidation, there is still some things that irk me once in a while. For example; every workout session usually starts with a brisk walk around the track for a few laps. I usually begin at a pretty good pace and am counting how many times I'm going around the track and what machines I will be getting on afterwards. Then.....out of nowhere....some really old dude all hunched over goes shuffling by me like I'm barely moving. A couple of minutes later, he laps me again. "Really? Damn Grandpa, where are you getting your energy?"
Proof positive that age and fitness are not correlating values. Also proof that I am way, way out of shape if I can get showed up in a gym by Methuselah.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
I'm not hating....I was one too. Nearly a month of being a non-smoker has really opened my eyes to just how disgusting the habit is to those who don't smoke. It has also opened my eyes to how smokers are blind to these offenses.
Cigarette smoke stinks. There is just no way around this and the aroma hangs around a smoker like a fog. As well, five minutes in proximity with a smoker leaves you with the same odor. Smokers are immune to this because they are use to the smell. It's kind of like being in a feedlot....initially the powerful smell of manure knocks you back on your heels, but after a while, your nasal passages get overloaded and don't register the stench anymore. This phenomenon causes smokers to assume that nobody else can smell their cigarette smoke either, so they happily puff great clouds, usually right in your face. Nice folks who would be mortified if they publicly let loose with a fart that could curl paint give no thought to blowing out toxic pollution from their mouths.
"Do you mind if I smoke?" say the ever polite smoker who doesn't really expect an answer to the question.
"Hell yes!" I reply.
That response usually gets me sneers and grumbles as if I was impinging on their right to stink. I guess that makes me the one who is an inconsiderate asshole.
Wednesday, October 02, 2013
This was my first day in cardiac rehabilitation. It's an exercise center run by the hospital staffed by nurses for heart patients. The idea is to do cardio to help heal and repair whatever damage you may have with your heart or circulatory system. They wire you up and monitor you closely....I guess in case you seize up on them or something. It's a pretty nice place, very modern with lots of state-of-the-art equipment, and it is also populated entirely by older people.
Intimidation factor here? Zero.
Some of these guys though....really can punch out a workout.
Monday, September 30, 2013
Not really a fun vacation....but the longest I've been off from work for several years. Pity I had to have a heart attack to take it. Still, it was nice to goof off and take it easy for a week. I did peek at emails every once in awhile but managed not to really care about what was going on or feel any desire to respond.
I could get use to this.
All the more reason I need to get my ass back to work tomorrow.
Saturday, September 28, 2013
If you had suggested to me over a week ago that I quit smoking cold turkey, I would have said "no fuggin way". I was convinced that I couldn't cut myself off suddenly from nicotine without dooming any quit smoking attempts to failure after a matter of hours. I needed patches, gum, lozenges, e-cigarettes....anything to keep the nicotine going while not actually lighting up and inhaling smoke.
And it's really stupid when you think of it. I mean, for all other types of addiction the course of action is to stop using the addictive drug. Alcoholics aren't given an alcohol patch. Crack addicts aren't given cocaine mints to suck on. Yet there seems to be an acceptance around nicotine addiction that it is okay to keep taking nicotine while trying to detox from nicotine.
All other addictions have a 12-step program. I've never put much stock into AA, NA, or whatever Anonymous group ...I mean, don't get me wrong...if it helps somebody I am definitely all in favor of whatever works to get somebody to stop using a harmful drug. That's the point, when you boil it all down, of 12-step programs; stop using the drug. So I boiled it down a bit further and just have a 1-step program....stop smoking. I refused a nicotine patch while in the hospital. I wanted off the cigs. I wanted off the nicotine. I actually used the hospital as a detox.
It worked. I am nicotine free. Oh, I still have the cravings and the urges, but I can deal with them and I'm dealing with them with a clean body (relatively speaking). Cold turkey is really the only true way to quit smoking.
Also good for sandwiches...of which I would kill for one right about now...but that's another post for later.
Friday, September 27, 2013
There's an old saying...Life is what happens while you are making other plans.
Boy, is that a truism for me over the past week. It certainly wasn't in my plans to be diabetic with heart disease. I didn't exactly plan on giving up nicotine cold turkey. I didn't really plan on having to watch every morsel of food down to the last carbohydrate. I absolutely wasn't planning last week to be taking all kinds of medications, checking my blood sugar several times a day, and injecting myself with insulin. I didn't plan for any of this.
Yet now, one week from last Friday, my life has been completely changed. In a funny way, it may all be for the better.
Doesn't much feel like it right now though.
Monday, September 23, 2013
Isn't that the way things usually go? Everybody talks about doing this, doing that, not doing whatever....and we talk and talk and talk, but really, where is the pressure to change? I have the title of this blog of being finally fit after 55. Yet, here I am, after 55, still not fit. Probably best to change that title.
It was always sometime in the future. Someday. Not today though...got too much to do and reaaaalllly don't want to get into all that effort of changing my lifestyle today. Maybe this weekend. Maybe next month. Before my next birthday for sure!
It was all bullshit.
Oh, I was making small changes here and there. Losing a bit of weight. Kind of exercising. Eating better. But ignoring the big elephant in the room. My father developed diabetes. I knew I was a prime candidate for it, but I had myself in denial. My father had a heart attack which eventually led to his death. I also knew I was a prime candidate and also was in fever pitched denial about the possibility of following in Dad's footsteps.
Last Friday though, I started retracing some of those footsteps of Dad. I had been having chest pains off and on for several days. Usually they would go away and I would forget about it. Friday night though, they didn't go away after a few seconds...they go worse. Now, I may really thrive in the state of denial but even I know the symptoms of a heart attack. So, with great reluctance, I told my wife who quickly whisked me off to the hospital emergency room.
While getting poked and prodded at the ER, blood was taken and it rang the bell on the super duper sweet side. Into a hospital bed I went with IV's, insulin, constant monitoring, and scheduled for all kinds of heart tests the next day. The next day confirmed a problem with my heart and a stent installed.
So the upshot is....diabetes and heart disease. Neither possibilities any more. I'm having to make significant life changes in just about everything I do. No choice. No choice.
Well....I guess I always had a choice. I just have to live with the consequences of the ones I made for myself.
Monday, September 16, 2013
I'm up late at night, avoiding going to bed, because I plan to quit smoking tomorrow. Getting that last cigarette in and mourning the process of yet another attempt in giving up the filthy habit.
I've tried several times. A couple of attempts have been for several days..even weeks...but I always relapse and quickly return to my pack a day habit. It's really the one thing keeping me from my goal. Not diet. Not exercise. Smoking is the most damaging thing to my health and life hands down.
Plus, it's costing me a friggin fortune.
Tomorrow is going to suck. May as well suck it up and face it. Goodnight.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Actually....it's more like most of my time is writing, just not on any thing fun. My day is filled with writing reports, reading other reports and writing responses, letters, memos, policies...I spend hours typing away. So when I finally get home about the last thing I want to do is sit down and compose more writing. Skip a day, then another, and another. Before you know it, weeks have passed without doing a thing.
I think it is like exercise. You have to set aside the time to do it or it will not get done.
Monday, September 09, 2013
Where does the time go? It seems like only yesterday that I turned 55 and started this particular blog. Now I've turned 56 and not much has changed. Still kind of fat. Still out of shape. I think I have slowed down the spiral in turning into a blob...but I still have a long way to go.
And 56....man....that age has been bothering me all week. Jeeze, four more years and I'll turn 60 and, no matter how you look at it, 60 is old! I'm actually in spitting distance from Social Security. If I make it to the national average on age, I only have about twenty more years left alive.
Then, I decided to stop worrying about getting older and started looking at age as an accomplishment. I survived another year. I'm in better shape physically, mentally, and even financially than a lot of other guys my age. Let the birthdays come...fuck em. I can take it.
I'll keep on this goal of becoming physically fit because it is a REAL challenge. Any 20 something can be fit. Doing it after you've abused and neglected your body for over thirty years; that's an accomplishment. So...away with all this self loathing just because I managed not to die young. Back on focus. Back to the plan. Back in black baby.
Monday, July 15, 2013
Monday, June 10, 2013
It might not seem to some that I'm making much progress in losing weight. Certainly nothing dramatic like you see promised in so many diet and fitness programs. Yet, progress is there. My pants are literally falling off....as in dropping to my ankles unless I constantly hitch them up. I haven't had much time to shop for new britches lately but the danger of exposing myself has caused me to take a nail to my belt and add another notch. BTW, my forefinger is on top of the second notch....the one I buckled when I first bought this belt on my 55th birthday last year.
Thursday, June 06, 2013
As noted previously, I had received a couple of sample packets of a nutrition shake called Full Strength. It's a meal replacement designed for men, specifically for mid-aged men. I was impressed with the ingredients and the nutritional value of the stuff but...man, oh man....it's not cheap. It also isn't for sale in stores so I was a bit leery about shelling out a buncha money without even knowing what it tastes like. Most instant shakes that I've tried have an extremely funky taste to them. Oh...the advertisements all claim how delicious they are but they all seem to smell and taste like sweaty socks and dirt. At around $5 a packet, I didn't want to be stuck with a box of nutrition drinks that I would never use.
Shawn Phillips, the guy that sells this stuff, solved my dilemma by offering a couple of free samples. You can go to the Full Strength website and get one yourself. This was great. Now I could find out how it tastes and also see how it made me feel after drinking it as a meal.
I made the first packet for a breakfast. Blended easily. Nice consistency. Good smell. Great taste! I'm not kidding, this is the first nutrition shake that I've ever had that actually tasted good. Not just tolerable...but yummy good. It's very satisfying, giving a feeling of being full without feeling bloated. I felt pretty good for the entire morning so I'm thinking that my body had some quality fuel that it liked.
My next packet was at work. This is what I'm primarily looking for in a meal replacement. My schedule is usually extremely hectic and my lunch choices are almost always either gobble down fast junk food at my desk or skip lunch entirely...which invariably leads to snacking on chips and candy during the afternoon. I needed something that was fast and easy which would also make me feel like I actually had a meal so that I could get through the next few hours without wanting to munch on something. The Full Strength fit the bill pretty well. I was able to mix it easily in a shaker bottle and down the whole thing in a few minutes. I had absolutely no hunger for the rest of the workday and felt pretty good...no sluggishness or bloated out feeling.
So...I think I found something that will help me tremendously in managing my diet. It does cost more than stuff you could pick up at a store, but the quality is definitely reflected in that price. Besides, I can easily spend more on a bag of slop from a fast food joint. I may as well put the good stuff in my body. I'm worth it.
Thursday, May 30, 2013
All this doesn't mean that I'm some kind of Luddite. I love gadgets and gizmos but I'm also a cheapskate. I'm very particular about spending. I think folks who shell out a ton of money every month for their phone service are morons. I also think that those same folks who spend all day on their smart phones must have very little going on in their daily lives.
Anyway....what does this have to do with the price of rice? Just that I'm going to keep this blog going whether anybody ever actually reads it or not. I'll keep pecking away on my grandpa box even when I don't have anything particularly interesting to write about.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
But I'm back. I have spent the last few months concentrating on getting my weight down and under control. I've managed to keep it steady at just under 195 lbs. Not ideal and not my goal; but this is a long way from 260 lbs when I started my 50's. I still have a gut though it doesn't hang over my belt anymore. Now, my focus is on obtaining strength during the next three months.
Not an easy task. I'm going to try and tweak out my diet to help, plus increasing the intensity of my exercise. I still have folks that do all they can to convince me that I'm wasting my time. Men my age just get fat and lose muscle. It's biology. Accept it.
I refuse to accept being fat. I refuse to accept that I have to feel sluggish and be without energy. My thoughts are that those who say it isn't possible is that they are right....for them.
So, I'll try to get back that consistency in several areas, including writing here about the struggles, the triumphs, the setbacks, complaints, praises, off the wall stuff, and cat photos. Let's see what happens at the end of this year of 55.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Sometimes, life just doesn't always go according to plan. I finally found the time to take a long postponed vacation and start off with getting sick. Then, a superduper winter snowstorm comes in to bury me and derail plans of visiting family.
and....not much in the way of any exercise at all....stuck in the house...bored...and when I'm bored...I eat
Not one to give up though. Just whip up some lemonade. Sugar free of course.
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Great product. A packet of vanilla flavored, toss in a few frozen strawberries, add water, blend the hell out of it for about thirty seconds....and you get a great tasting, super thick, shake. No fat. Lots of fiber and protein. Loaded with vitamins. Fills me up and gives me good energy. I replace one or two meals everyday with this stuff.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
We all face challenges and we all face a choice....take it on or quit. The thing about trying to tackle a challenge though is that you might possibly fail. I think that's what keeps most from trying. I mean, failing sucks, no doubt about that. I think most people believe that it feels better to think of themselves as a quitter than a failure. We can make excuses for quitting. Failure is pretty much cut and dried.
It's an illusion though. Quitting causes resentment and regret. Whereas trying to accomplish something has the likelihood of at least obtaining partial goals, not trying at all gets you nothing.
Sounds like a safe bet to me. Either stand and complain about obstacles in your life, or aim high and try to overcome them. What have you got to lose?
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
One of my biggest self imposed obstacles has been "doing it later". This is especially so with exercise. It's always "I don't have time this morning" or "I feel kinda lousy" or "I have to prepare for a big meeting"....always something. Then I tell myself that I'll do it later, perhaps during lunch, maybe when I get home in the evening.
Of course I never get to it because the excuses I used in the morning sound just as good at the end of the day. So I miss a day. Then another. And another...well...you know. This morning I pushed aside the excuses and went out for a run (actually a fast walk, but that's the best I can do right now). It was cold. It was dark. It hurt.
But feels so good.
Monday, January 28, 2013
Heart and Soul
Thursday, January 24, 2013
I'm of the belief that butter (or really, any dairy product) is not bad for you. Overindulgence is...overdoing it on any food is bad for your body. Eat a sack of bananas in one sitting and see how you feel. Sure butter is full of fat, it is fat, but one of the goals I have is getting fit and healthy while still being able to enjoy food. There are just some things I eat that scream for butter. Taters, broccoli, carrots, peas, asparagus, etc., etc., etc. Gotta have butter.
One of the things that a lot of folks do in trying to lose weight is to use margarine, especially the so-called heart healthy stuff because it has olive or canola oils or whatever way it's made to convince you that eating this is like eating health food. It's bullshit. Margarine has the same fat content as butter. Sure, butter has cholesterol but guess what; there is no link of cholesterol to heart disease. Butter is a natural product used for thousands of years. Margarine is a manufactured product that is more closely related to plastic than any food item that has ever appeared on the planet.
It's all about moderation. You are not going to lose any weight if you sit on the couch watching TV and eating a couple of sticks of butter every night. I do think that it's okay to have a pat on your veggies. Just like there is no one thing that will magically make a person healthy...there is no one thing that will make a person fat.
Eat what you want....but control what you eat.
Friday, January 18, 2013
Motivation is that thing which compels you to do something regardless of your preference. External motivation is the easiest. Like the photo above; if a Tyrannosaurus is chasing you, it's a sure bet that you will give it your all in running like hell. No decision making on your part. You just do it. One of the best motivators I ever had was waaaaaay back in boot camp. All day long having a drill instructor screaming at me did wonders in motivating me to do whatever that insane man wanted. External motivation works dandy.
But what do you do when there is nothing external....when that motivation must come from the inside...when you must motivate yourself? Not so easy.
Yet...really....isn't all motivation external? There is no motivation on my part to eat a rack of ribs or a honking big bowl of ice cream. I can bravely conquer all obstacles in sitting on my ass and watching television. To do things I may not want to do though, such as eat healthy and exercise...well...I need something to motivate, to push, to MAKE me do what needs to be done. In my particular case, it's the unsettling knowledge that many guys I know around my age are having heart attacks or finding out that they have developed diabetes. They all have plenty of new found motivation after the fact. I just trying to attain that same level of motivation before it happens to me.
I wish I had that old drill instructor at my gym.
Monday, January 14, 2013
What if it turns out the *Ultimate Transformation* is not changing into some other, "better" version of self but releasing the story that there's anything wrong with who you are now--and thus releasing the weight, guilt, burden and compulsive need to "change" which is depleting the life energy you could be enjoying and sharing?
That's not an original question from me. It comes from a post on Facebook by Shawn Phillips. Shawn is amazing. Unlike most fitness gurus, Shawn actually speaks to the common person about health, diet, fitness, exercise....without all the hype and platitudes. I especially love his comments on Facebook. He just throws out these profound thoughts all the time. The question above that he posed has had me thinking about it almost every day for the last month.My conclusion is that this transformation I have chased after all of these years is not to change into a different person with a different body....it's to develop what I already am. It's not me that needs to change, it's just some things that I am doing. I need to let go of this goal of trying to become a new and better me and shoot for becoming a better same old me.
I dunno. This is a concept that is really hard for me to put into words. I want to lose weight and be more healthy...not that there is anything wrong with me but simply because I want to feel better and be able to do more in my life. There is nothing "wrong" with who I am right now and I don't want to change who I am right now.
Though I do want to see less of me in the mirror.
Thursday, January 03, 2013
I started off being fat on my 55th year. Oh, I wasn't morbidly obese or anything, but I have a fairly slight frame and it really shows around my belly more so than a larger man. Belly fat is the dangerous kind that kills guys my age, plus it just grosses me out.
It is surprisingly easy to lose several pounds. The trick is to keep it off. Like an addict....if you change a behavior (in my case, eating like a hog) you can start seeing immediate positive results. However, if you return to the old behavior, chances are the addiction will be re-established even stronger than ever. This is called yo-yoing in weight loss and it can actually leave you in much worse shape than when you started.
I wanted to avoid that so I concentrated on changing my eating habits; trying to eat healthy foods, avoiding the unhealthy ones, maintaining my activity level, managing stress, and not allowing myself to get so hungry that I will eat anything I can find.
The result is my weight today.
Tuesday, January 01, 2013
People are always making resolutions at the start of a new year. Most times, those heartfelt resolutions fizzle out within a couple of weeks and we revert to the same old comfortable patterns...finding ourselves at the end of the year wondering where the time went and coming up with those same resolutions for the next 12 months.
I'm as guilty as anybody. Hell...I've been knocking myself about a personal transformation for years.
This year's gonna be different though. I'm ready to break out of loops..those endless cycles...that feeling of spinning your wheels and going nowhere. I've spent a lot of time and energy to see what works for me but, more importantly, I've found out what doesn't work.
I have a path. I have a plan. I have a goal. All achievable.
This year's gonna be different.