It’s the little things that destroy us
Pet peeves, I know we all have them. I can say with relative confidence that over the past year some of my pet peeves have gone away and some new ones have surfaced. One here at work really bugs the crap out of me. At both main entrances to our building there are automatic doors for the disabled. Simply press a button and one set of doors opens up. What infuriates me is the number of healthy, non-disabled, and extremely lazy people that use the button. I find it shocking because the act of opening 2 doors should not be so physically taxing on your body that you require a button to do it for you.
I refuse to use the automatic doors. I also changed where I park. For the past few months I stopped parking up near the front entrance. I now park in the rear parking lot so that not only do I have to actually walk more than 20 feet to the door, but I also take the stairs. When leaving work the other afternoon, someone from another department, who was clearly in a major rush to leave, briskly walked past me so she could leave before I did. Almost like it was a timed event. After walking around me quickly, she hit the button to have the doors automatically open for her. I kinda smirked at her and used the regular doors. You know, the ancient devices that require you to push on them and swing on regular hinges. I think I ended up out of the building before she did. Quite humorous.
Look, I get it if you are afraid of germs and don’t like touching public doors. I understand if you have a physical disability and need doors to be opened for you. But 99% of the people I see using these at our building have no disability, unless laziness is now a disability. The saddest thing I have seen is watching someone use those doors because their hands are full with a bag of fast food and giant soft drink.
Why does this matter to me? I think it is these small compromises where we lose our control of ourselves. Little things like this become big things. You start taking the easy way out. I know this from experience. Our building is only 2 floors yet last year I used to take the elevator downstairs to get a Diet Coke from the vending machine. Yea. Not my best moment, but I’m changing all of that. What I have found is that by making these small choices on a daily basis, it makes the bigger choices easier. I honestly believe that so much of what we become begins with the very basic and minor decisions that we make. It is only 2 cookies. I’m tired, I’ll workout tomorrow. I hit the gym hard so I will only have a few wings at dinner. I can start back on track next week. I have done that all my life it seems, give in on the little things, and look where it got me? I have been in a battle for a year now to regain control of my health. If I can’t walk more than 20 feet to the building and also have to rely on the automatic door, could I ever expect to finish a marathon? It all starts somewhere. I refuse to give in any more. Done with that.
And I may be the oddball at work for doing this. I’m the guy that parks far away, always takes the stairs, brings a gallon of water to work, is always eating something healthy, and gets up “before God does” just to work out. But you know what, I am OK with that. In fact, I welcome it because it is volumes better than where I have spent the previous years of my life.
The Toughest Journey
One thing that I love about CrossFit is when people ask me how much weight I have lost. Inside, I am grinning when I tell them 80lbs from my heaviest. They usually respond with “wow, that is crazy” or something along those lines, bringing the grin to the surface. There has been a few times when my homie Ben has been standing there with me and I absolutely love pointing to him and saying “Yea, but this guy right here has lost 170 pounds!” It makes me feel so good to brag on the guy because he deserves it.
Ben has accomplished a lot. A lot. But the great thing about Ben is that he isn’t done. You see, he is tackling his first 26.2 at the Publix Marathon this March. He has been given a new voice in that he is blogging on the Georgia Marathon site. He wrote up a great summary about his journey so far that is well worth a read. Read it. Reblog it. Retweet it. Share this and spread some inspiration around.
I’m cheering you on, Ben. You are doing some great things.
Eat a cheeseburger or something…
I can SO relate to this post. Every last bit of it.
My favorite part of it was when someone told her to “eat a cheeseburger or something”. As if consuming some mass produced, overly processed piece of garbage is going to magically snap her to what others deem to be a healthy weight. Give me a break!
When I tell people that I would like to drop about 20 more pounds, they look like I told them I have a baby yak growing from my left armpit. I am thankful that when people who have not seen me in a while recognize immediately that I have lost weight, but what they do not know is that I am still technically overweight. Right now I have been hanging at 220lbs. I would love to be 200 or 195. But I don’t want to just drop weight for the sake of losing it. I would like to be lean and have more muscle. So getting to that goal will take me a bit longer given where I am right now.
People only see weight loss at first. They don’t get everything else that is going on. So when I tell them I want to lose some more, they freak out and claim that would be unhealthy. They don’t really know to ask other questions about your general health since the weight loss is the most notable difference. I just have learned to take it in stride. I have also learned not to share all of my goals with everyone who asks, just because I know that they won’t be able to understand. Just like I have had to learn, others need to learn that weight is not the sole measurement of health. I just tell them thank you for the compliments and that I am just working hard on staying healthy. That’s all that I give them. But inside, I know what my goals are. I know that they are healthy goals. I know that they are obtainable goals.
Just because you are in the gym doesn’t mean you want to lose weight. Just because you workout doesn’t mean you will be anorexic. What it means is that you want to be healthy. You value the body you have been given and want to take care of it so that it will last you as long as possible.
Julie puts it great when she finishes here post with this:
I am in the gym to gain muscle. I am running to build my stamina. I am losing weight to be a better, healthier version of ME.
I say keep going Julie. And never let anyone stand in the way of what you want to accomplish.
Not just about losing weight
When the wife and I first started the journey of a lifestyle change, obviously losing weight was chief among goals. As I have moved forward, it has become painfully obvious to me that weight is not the sole measurement of health and that I need to look at the big picture. I enjoy comparing numbers of weight, BMI, body fat, cholesterol, etc. because I like seeing progress everywhere, not just on the scale.
I swapped doctor’s offices and had some more bloodwork done. This new office is on the ball, man, let me tell you. I did not have to wait for them to call. Only a few days after the test I got the results in the mail. At the very top I saw “This is to inform you that your tests are normal." Basically all of my life, my results have come back with something out of range or abnormal. This was a major victory for me. But comparing them to where I have been makes me even happier.
During an appointment back in April, some of my liver enzymes were elevated (not sure how much) and I had to have an ultrasound. That doctor told me that I had a fatty liver. This latest test revealed that I now have normal live enzymes. Every single number or measurement taken in this blood test returned in a healthy or normal range. That is major news for me. Don’t get me wrong, I still have work to do as I would love to improve my body fat percentage and BMI, but this is proof to me that I am doing the right things.
Dropping weight is really quite an amazing thing. Stuff happens that you never expect to happen. Last week my shoes felt bigger. I kinda shrugged it off, but yesterday during lunch I swung by the shoe section and tried on a pair of size 11s and they fit great. I have now lost 2 shoe sizes.
GPOY: Body assessment edition
In an email exchange with Brenna, I had mentioned how much more guts she had than me for posting some of the photos that she has. Perhaps I still have growing to do, but its hard to post certain things still. For example, when I went paleo, I took measurements and took a shirtless before photo. Right now, it petrifies me to think about posting that. So instead, you all are getting this semi-goofy shot of me this morning.
Anyway, our box is doing a 30 day fitness challenge starting October 3rd. It is a challenge that involves nutrition as well as a special WOD which we do on Monday. We did body assessments this week. Normally I would not want to post these, but as Brenna told me, doing it can be freeing. So here are my numbers as of this morning according to our gym:
- Weight: 224.4 lbs
- Body Fat: 18.1%
- BMI: 29.6
- Arms: 12 1/2”
- Waist: 41”
- Thigh: 23 1/2”
Normally when people see me, they dont think I weigh what I do. I’ll take that as a compliment. While I am not thrilled with these numbers, I have to remember that they are drastically improved over what the same analysis would have shown a year ago (My BMI was nearly 40 this time last year). My body fat percentage is now in what is considered an “acceptable" range.
Lastly, I am now wrapping up my 3rd week of paleo. We took measurements when I started and my waist measurements then were 43”, so that is something to get excited about. I have seen some other numbers drop, too, so I am not totally discouraged by all of this. In fact, it is rather enlightening because its more proof I am headed in the right direction.
My 4 year old put these signs on all the bedroom doors in our house. This is on our door. The frown was for my wife since she was sick and the smiley was for me because I wasn’t.
Our 19 month old had been sick and was with her grandmother. Yesterday my wife sent me a text at 2 saying she got sick at wok and was headed home. I got a call around 4:45 from our 4 year olds daycare that she had gotten sick 3 times. Managed to take care of everyone as best as I knew how. Got my oldest in bed with my wife while I tended to little Emily. Emily was up every hour until around 3 or 4. Lauren was sick until around midnight. Gina was not getting sick but tired and aching all over and didn’t have the energy to do anything. I tried my best to bounce back and forth and check on everyone. Ended up sleeping on the couch. It wasn’t a fun night.
Today we are feeling a little better and had a chance to talk. I have been down and not feeling 100% but I have not been sick like everyone else. Two really long naps during the day seemed to help. It’s actually a miracle in my mind that I have not been sick like my girls. I just can’t help but think that making a change to a healthy lifestyle back in December has helped build strength in my immune system. It’s not just about losing weight. It’s about overall health. I could be wrong here, but in the past, I probably would have been the first to get sick. Just makes me wonder.
As the house quiets down, I think everyone is getting back to normal. Tomorrow will be a brighter day.
Visit with the new doctor
I did get a bit of good news, though:
Granted, that is with BP medication but I don’t think I have ever seen numbers like that. I went to a new doctor’s office this morning and my BP was in a normal range when they took it. Normally it is high when taken at the doctor’s office.
The new doctor and office was great, vastly different from the chaos I have had to endure at the other place. I told the doctor that my ultimate goal was to not have to take BP medications. He told me that if I keep going the route that I am going then he doesn’t see why that could not happen. Much better news than what the last doctor said. Since I had elevated liver enzymes during a previous visit, this new doctor opted to draw blood (which I expected and planned for) and I am actually looking forward to getting the results back so that I can compare with my last.
It is tough being patient with this, but I keep telling myself “trust the process, trust the process”. It took me nearly 35 years to wreck my body. Keep in mind that a little over a year ago, my BP was 200/106. I remember having 3 nurses check it, my wife afraid that I would be admitted to the hospital, and being given a pill and not allowed to leave until it started to come down. So I am certainly making progress. This is not and has never been strictly about losing weight. Its about being healthy. And it is going to take time to get to my final destination. But the good news is that I have it in sight and I know I will get there.
Our little one was feeling better yesterday afternoon and evening, and both girls slept through the night (amazing in itself), but Emily woke up this morning not feeling good again. Amazing what a sick child does to you. This week has really been off track for both my wife and I and we are already worn down from it. Because she was up all night sick the night before last, neither of us got sleep. Neither of us exercised. Today is my normal rest day, but I feel like I have cabin fever. I am going to have to make time today to go do something or I may just go insane.
Got a text from my wife saying she was heading home… Sick. Going to be a long night.
I was walking back to my office this afternoon and something shiny caught my eye. I thought it was on the ground. Turns out it was my belt buckle. Not used to being able to look down and see it!
Pants have been a little baggy lately so I thought I would bounce over to the store during lunch to try on a new pair, the next size down.
SIZE FREAKING 34!!!!!!
When I started to get healthy I was in a 44 that was tight. In the back of my mind I wanted to get down to a 36. It’s been so long since I have been able to put on a 34 that I don’t even remember it.
Yes, I stood in the store lobby to post this.
Saturday mornings are the best…
I have heard that after starting strict paleo that I should see some performance drops in the first week or two. I have had our box owner tell me this, as well as 3 trainers, and 2 members who have followed the same plan. Naturally since I wrote last night about not seeing any drops, I would experience that today. It’s all good though. They have all told me that it bounces back after this adjustment period.
Got to the box a little early and hit some deadlifts before the WOD. Then did bench after the WOD. Here is how it went down:
Warmup: 16 rounds of tabata jump rope
Each station was technically 4 minutes. You work for 2 minutes straight and then run 100m after 2 minutes. The time remaining is your rest prior to the next station. This is where I felt the drag in performance. One of my slowest yet.
- Burpees: 30
- Air Squats: 57
- Lunges (weighted 15#): 49
- Sit-ups: 58
- Box Jumps (24”): 22
- Mountain Climbers: 70
- Push-ups: 40
Final score was 326. One of the lower scores after looking at the board. But hey, it’s all good. I am in a transition phase right now and I am not going to let it get to me. I am still in there doing the work. I will fight through. I will come out better on the other side.
The Next Step: Paleo
Ever since starting CrossFit, I have heard over and over again about this paleo diet and how awesome it was. I had been following meal plans similar to what was laid out for me after going through the Biggest Loser 30 Day Jump Start book. After giving up red meat (due to issues with gout) back in January, I had assumed that paleo would mean I would be eating red meat every day or taking on something similar to Atkins, or another fad diet. But then I did some additional research…
This is not what I had in mind…
I got back from my run this morning and was tired. It was not my best run to be honest. My left foot is giving me issues. I had a totally different post in mind to write. But I started to think about how selfish it would be to complain about any of this.
You see, the truth is that I have the ability to get up in the morning and run. I have the ability in the morning to get up and go to CrossFit. I have my health and a happy family. As I sat back and think of all the families that deal with children who may never walk or run, the families that have lost parents, families that may never experience the joy of having kids, I feel pretty blessed right now. I actually feel pretty spoiled to be able to get up and exercise and complain about how I felt before hand. So you aren’t going to get any complaints from me this morning.
What you are going to get is that I got up and ran this morning. 6 miles in just over an hour. And I am thankful for the ability to do it.
What are you doing today?
On our calendar at home, my wife and I kept track of the days of our new lifestyle. At first, it had a lot to do with the fact that the book we were going by was a 30-day thing. Then it got interesting to see how far along we would get. 250 days ago we decided enough was enough and changed our lifestyle.