Sunday, September 7, 2014

My Personal Fitness Journey Part 2

If you've read part 1 of this blog then you probably already know what my strategy for getting into shape was going to be: start small, make gradual changes, be consistent, and don't be afraid to take short breaks from the plan.   Small changes are the easiest to make.  These small, gradual changes build up over time if they are maintained.  Taking a week off to relax mentally or rest a twisted ankle or sore shoulder is smart for your body and prevents mental burnout. Even though I had a plan and great motivation there was one thing I wasn't prepared for: the response of those around me, both positive and negative.

In 2009 and 2010, I still didn't have access to a fitness center.  So I did what I could with sit-ups, push-ups, and jumping jacks along with removing soda, beer, and other junk food.  The weight slowly started to slough off.  By the time 2011 rolled around I was down to 220lbs.  Some people who don't see me often started to notice.  Others started to notice my change in eating habits.  I wasn't eating as much greasy food or fatty food.  People noticed I wasn't eating bacon and asked if I became a vegetarian.  No, I was just eating a healthier option.  People wondered if I no longer liked them because I wasn't drinking booze with them.  We were still friends, but I don't need booze to hang out or to have fun.  I received a few positive comments but the majority were either worried or concerned comments.  This was a surprise to me.

Finally, in 2011, I had access to a fitness gym.  One goal I had this year was to get to 200lbs before the wedding day.  This is what I weighed when I started college in 2004.  After a lot of hard work I was able to reach my goal by reminding myself of my goal and my wife motivating me along the way.  With the drop in weight I felt happier, healthier, and had more energy.  My healthier life for an improved well being was just starting.  I kept it up the following years.  Slowly changing my goals and my methods to keep things fresh.  The picture on the left is from a vacation trip with Lisa in 2012; I'm enjoying a Hershey Smore bar. 

Thanks to a co-worker and his competitive nature I was pushed to do additional things.  Things such as tracking calories using an App called "Lose It" and riding the trails of Omaha area.  The picture on the right is from a trial ride to Elkhorn with my co-worker in 2013.  As time moved on more and more of the comments I received were of the positive nature.  Why did it take so long to receive more positive comments than negative ones?  Maybe it has something to do with the current American culture?

The picture on the left was from an Easter celebration in 2014.  Just before my 29th birthday I reached a goal I never thought I'd reach.  My weight dropped to 170lbs.  Over a 5 year period I lost about 70lbs.  My new goal is to maintain my weight between 170 and 180.  So far I have been able to maintain.  I'm happier, healthier, and I generally feel better.  My body still creaks and I tweak muscles once in a while but it occurs less often and the pain is much lower than it was when I started this journey.

Not until 2014 did the majority of comments I received about my getting healthy became mostly positive.  I still receive a few negative comments such as "you're too skinny now" or "I can see/feel your ribs, that can't be healthy."  The first time in my life I'm not listed as obese on the BMI chart and I get called too skinny and unhealthy.  I guess the negative comments never go away.  There were times in the past 5 years that the negative comments got to me and almost broke me.

Getting through the negativity was just as difficult if not more difficult than the workouts themselves.  The motivation I had and the support given to me from my wife, friends, and family is what helped me get to and maintain a healthy lifestyle.  I thank them for it and I love them for it.  Five years after my golden birthday, my Chinese Zodiac year, and my commitment to improving my health.  I am in my best shape I have ever been. 

(p.s. added 05Oct2014: Something I forgot to mention about getting healthy versus just losing weight was an improvement.  My resting heart rate dropped from 68 five years ago to 48 this year.)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

My Personal Fitness Journey Part 1

Five years ago.  Seems like a long time, yet not so long.  In 2009 I turned 24.  If you believe in astrology, the Chinese Zodiac, and other sayings about luck and destiny, then 2009 was supposed to be a great year.  It was my golden birthday year (turned 24 on the 24th), my Chinese Zodiac year (Ox), and Geminis were supposed to have great luck in relationships.  Turns out that it was not a great year but a fantastic one.  The love of my life, Lisa, and I started dating in January.  The photo on the left is from the night of our first date.

I'm going to take a step back before going forward here.  My whole life I've tried to live a healthy lifestyle but have always struggled with weight.  I never thought of myself as obese, just a little overweight.  Never unhealthy, just less healthy than I could have been.  I tried to keep myself in decent shape.  In high school I took up sports, a weight lifting class, and many other school activities.  In college I would walk to Hy-Vee to get groceries or to Amigos for fast food (both were about a mile walk round trip).  In college I also irregularly went to the gym, took up a fitness cycling class, and tried to watch my food and beverage intake (easy to overdo it when you're stressed and focused on other things).

No matter what I did though, year after year my weight kept creeping upwards.  I didn't care too much at the time.  Until the summer after my 23rd birthday.  I have bad joints to begin with but I, for the first time, felt the toll on my body from being out of shape.  I creaked more, I hurt more, and was just plain tired more.  At first I thought it was just part of getting older, but after a while I felt like my body was falling apart faster than it should have been.  In December 2008 I moved in with a friend, Sam, at an apartment complex with fitness center.

When New Year's rolled around, I weighed about 235lbs and I made a pledge to get into that gym and to get healthy.  I would work out in the morning in the gym for about 15-20 minutes.  I started slow so I didn't burn out, hurt myself, or grow tired, which was smart thinking and, for a time, it was working.  I was slowly losing weight but working out by itself only helped a little bit.  The increase in activity made me hungrier so I ate more.  In late spring of 2009 I moved out of the apartment complex and lost access to a fitness center.

However, I didn't change my eating habits.  By the time Lisa and I took a trip to Kearney that summer (see photo at left) I had reached my heaviest weight: 240lbs.  Seeing the scale and having knee pain from just sitting in a car for more than an hour, I realized something.  I needed to improve my health.  Not just for me, but for my family and my future family.  I was having fears of being in a wheelchair by the time I was 35 due to my joints, and I didn't want to let that come to pass.

I am a strong self motivator, but when it comes to being healthy I have always struggled.  This time was going to be different.  This time I had additional motivation, an additional motivator: the lovely lady in the photos with me.  This time I was going to make it.  This time I had a plan and the motivation.

Busy Two Months

I've been meaning to write a blog for almost two months now.  I've been mulling over a certain blog topic for over two months now so let me describe what has been going on and then I'll get right to working on my other blog.

Lets see, here is a synopsis of what has been happening.

1. Started looking for a house.  Just wanting to get ideas, not expecting to find anything.
2. Found what we wanted in a house and a location.
3. About two days after deciding on getting the house we find out we are expecting. 
4. About 2 weeks after the expectation notification and two weeks before we put the down payment on the house.  Lisa gets in a car accident.  Luckily she and the baby are fine.  The car was a loss though.
5. On 30June we get Lisa a new car.
6. 01July was the down payment day on the house and we started the paperwork process.
7. The last two weeks were meetings with our financier about loan approvals, mortgages, and other paperwork.
8. Last week we got to see the baby's heartbeat with an ultrasound and started notifying friends and family.

9. All the while we are both busy with work...
10. ,,, and trying to stay healthy.  For instance, Lisa will ride a stationary bike for short periods in the fitness center and recently I finished a 50+ mile bike ride.  My longest ever.

So busy, so exciting, so much to still look forward to.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Alumni Basketball

I previously discussed Alumni Basketball in an earlier post.  This is to provide an update on how things went. 

The 2004 team got 3rd in a double elimination tournament.  We won our first two games to get us into the winners bracket but lost our next two on day two.  We had 7 people playing on day 1.  It might have been the lowest number of players on a team.  I scored a few points, got a few rebounds, and gave our teams better players a breather.  We fell apart on day 2 though because we were down to just 5 players.  Two of the guys had to leave.  The games are two 20 minutes halves and not being able to take a breather is what doomed us.  In the first game on day 2 we were down by 20 at half time but clawed back to within 6 with 4 minutes left in the game.  We just couldn't keep up the pressure and pace; we lost by 11.  Game 2 of day 2 was similar.  We had a 5 point lead heading into half time but we were out of gas and slowly fell behind as the clock ticked by; ended up losing by 12.

I was in better shape and I played better than last year.  I had a great time playing and it was even better being able to hang out with old friends (some were bullies to me when we were younger so should they be frenemies?  I wasn't perfect friend back then either.).  We played darts, had a few beers, caught up on how our lives are now, and we reminisced.  Some of them have changed, some haven't.  I'm definitely more sociable than I used to be. 

After the games we said our farewells and well wishes.  I hope they all have a great year and that I get to see at least a few of them again before the next basketball tourney.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Alumni Basketball

Soon will be my 10 year high school reunion.  The get-together will be later in spring.  First up though is the Alumni Basketball Tourney.  I wasn't even decent at basketball during high-school.  I played on the Freshman-Sophomore team almost exclusively until I called it quits due to knee pain.  I was on the JV squad for a short while but I didn't play more than 60 seconds.  I didn't play my senior year because it wasn't worth it for me just to sit on the bench. 

After I graduated I had no desire to play in the alumnus games.  I wasn't in shape and had other things going on.  Plus the guys who did play were from the Varsity squad and I had no idea what plays they ran or how they signaled each other.  The previous thought bothered me more so the first few years of the event.  I felt like I didn't belong.

Last year was the first time I didn't have college classes/activities going on in the spring.  I had been trying to get myself into better shape.  I hadn't seen many classmates since our 5 year reunion so I thought I'd give it a shot and play in the tourney.  I was able to hang with my classmates and others from my hometown I hadn't seen in years.  Some had changed while others hadn't.  I had fun. 

I didn't play great and we didn't win much.  10 years ago our class was a talented team but we were runners and gunners.  Age and being out of shape really hinder that style of play.  I was happy that I was able to play.  I even scored 6 points in the 3 games.  However, even though I was in better shape than previous years, I was still winded and sore as heck.

I look forward to this year's tourney.  I'm in better shape.  I'm better prepared but that doesn't improve my basketball skills.  I just hope I'm not a hindrance during the games.  Last year I was bowled over on defense a few times because I wasn't ready.  This year, I think I am.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

First Blog Since MySpace

That title makes me feel old.  Ok, I haven't blogged in years.  I've done some postings on Facebook and some gaming websites but nothing serious.  I thought it might be interesting to restart a more regular blog.  Put down some thoughts, see where this leads me.  My writing style is more of a stream of consciousness when it comes to blogging; specially my sentence/paragraph structure.  Oh well, I try.

I wonder how long it will take for me to figure out how this website works? How to do links, etc...?  Trial and error. 

Maybe this will be a weekly thing.  I don't know yet.  I have a few ideas for topics.  Plus I do plan on bringing over some previous write-ups for my "Anime Moments" mini-blogs, that I've been doing off and on, and continuing that theme here. 

Enough blabbling.  You all have a good night.