It’s A Marathon, Not A Sprint

So I’m off to see my dietician again this morning.  It’s my fourth visit since the beginning of the year and things are looking good so far in 2012.  I’m down 9.6lbs since January 1st, which I’m quite happy with.  I mean, it’s no “Biggest Loser” number or anything.

Ahhh…but that’s the kicker, isn’t it?  For as inspirational as that show may be, it’s sometimes difficult to remember that these folks aren’t working any real jobs during their time on the show. All they do is work out…all day every day. So if a 400lb man loses ten pounds in one week, that’s kind of to be expected.

Any other time I’ve tried to lose weight, I’ve gone down a few pounds in the first week or two then have given up.  Whether it’s because I told myself that I was done trying or if it was because I told myself I had done enough, I never seemed to stick with things for more than a few weeks.

I’m about to start my second month of this new living experience. At this point, it hasn’t been nearly as tough as I thought it would be. Sure, the first couple of weeks were bad…but that was more about me trying to break some REALLY unhealthy habits.  Sunshine told me that I’d be doing healthy things out of habit after a few weeks and y’know what? I am.

As I enter my 40th year of life, I almost feel like I’m learning how to live all over again.  Here are some of the changes I’ve made thus far in 2012:

  • My after-hours snacking is at a minimum. And when I do snack, the worst I’m having is some popcorn.  
  • I’m walking at least 30 minutes every single day, whether the weather co-operates or not. I’ve been outside in some crazy sub-zero temperatures, too…so I’m definitely dedicated to increasing my walking and exercise habits as the weather gets better.
  • I’m eating more vegetables. Am I eating Sunshine-levels of veggies?  Heck no. But I’m having 3 to 5 servings of veggies most days, and that’s a HUGE change for me.
  • I’m eating breakfast regularly. One of the things I’ve learned is that I absolutely NEED to eat breakfast early because it kick-starts my metabolism.  If I skip breakfast, like I’ve been doing for the past 20+ years, my body doesn’t know that it needs to get going so it’s a major reason why my metabolism is so bloody slow and I’m the size that I am.
  • I’m counting calories. I’m not on a diet…I’m just making better choices.  I can still squeeze in a chocolate bar every now and then, but only if my daily calorie count says I can. I’m trying to stay at 2,000 calories or less per day, and by eating more healthy choices it’s actually leaving a bit more room to have the occasional 300-calorie treat.

I’m not saying I’m an expert or anything. I’m not claiming to have found all of the answers.  But at this stage in the game, I’ve already gone farther into making permanent life changes than I ever have before…and it’s all a bit exciting.

Both my personal dietician and my healthy eating class dietician have said that if I lose 1 – 2 pounds per week, that’s the healthiest way to go.  Pretty much anything more than that you are probably going to gain back when all is said and done.

So 30 days, 10 pounds. That’s just over two pounds per week on average. If I continue this for just another couple of months and stay on track, I’ll have hit my goal by April.

So with February popping up tomorrow, I know that I’ve got two pretty difficult months in front of me. I’ve got twenty more pounds to lose and a lot of mental obstacles to overcome.

But with the way I’ve been feeling lately, I honestly think that I’m going to make it this time. I’m not only going to lose the weight that I’ve been wanting to lose for the past five or six years, but I’m going to do it in a way that helps me continue to maintain a healthy weight going forward.

It’s not a marathon, it’s a sprint…and I’m doing whatever I can to ensure that regardless of WHEN I finish, all that matters is the end result.

And if I can do it, ANYBODY can do it.

The Dumbest Thing I’ve Heard Him Say

When I was in high school, my dad was adamant about me getting good grades. “It is a different time”, he’d say. I would get grounded for bad marks. I was expected to get a 75% average, which I thankfully pulled off when all was said and done.

My how things have drastically changed with my dad since then.

I was having lunch with the family yesterday when discussion came up about my little brother’s grades. He’s 17 and is expected to graduate this June, but seems less than enthused about trying to make that happen.

My dad said that if my brother could pull off a 70% average by the time he graduated, he’d send him on a trip somewhere (probably New York, by the sounds of it). He then said it was a pretty safe assumption that it wouldn’t happen.

Really?  I mean…it’s 70%. It’s not like he was asking for a 4.0 GPA or something like that.

Turns out my brother is currently averaging between 55%-60%.  I was a bit surprised to hear that because one of the promises that he made to our mom before she died was that he’d graduate and do his best in school.

When I questioned why the marks were so bad, my brother immediately jumped into the conversation with the following nugget of wisdom:

“I don’t believe that school grades are an accurate reflection of my actual intelligence.

I absolutely lost it at this point.  I mean, seriously?  DUDE…you’re seventeen years of age! At seventeen, your high school grades are your ONLY reflection of intelligence.  I mean, where else are you going to pull your knowledge from…your vast life experience??

Sigh.

Honestly…I believe that people who say things like that are absolutely effin’ lazy, plain and simple. All he wants to do is sit around and play video games all day.  I mean, I can understand that…not wanting to do much at that age. I remember what it was like for me.  But at that age I not only had a part-time job but I had a plan of what I was doing after high school. Was it the best plan? No. Did I know what I wanted to do the rest of my life?  Heck, I still don’t know and I turn 40 later this year.  But at least I knew that I was going to school and had an idea of where my life was supposed to head after I graduated from high school.

My brother doesn’t have the slightest clue.

And what’s worse is that if I had that exact same lackadaisical attitude twenty years ago when I was in high school, my dad would have kicked my ass. I’m not really sure why things have changed but I’ve got my theories.

Am I out of line, though? Should kids just not give a shit these days and “let it fly” to see where their life takes them? Because to me, that was the dumbest thing I have ever heard my little brother say.

My daughter’s now a teenager

My daughter celebrated her 13th birthday this week.  She’s now officially a teenager.

Ugh.

I knew this day would come eventually. To me, this is almost as big a deal as it’s going to be when I turn 40 later this year.

UGH.

I guess it’s just one more sign that I’m getting old…and that, quite frankly, sucks.  I’m not ready to turn 40 yet. I’m not ready to mature yet. I’m not ready to worry about the clothes my daughter will wear out in public because they show off too much skin.  I’m not ready to tell her that she can’t litter her body with tattoos until she’s 18 and it’s out of my control.

On the other hand, I’m really looking forward to watching my little girl mature. Teenage years seem to rush on by so fast…she’ll be off to university before you know it.

On the other hand, I still want my little girl to remain a little girl.

Sigh.

So happy birthday, Rugrat. Even though we’re not as close as we’d like to be and we don’t talk as often as we’d like, we both know that we love each other…and when looking at life’s simple pleasures, that’s one of the greatest gifts that we share.

Visualizing a great you

As I’ve mentioned over the past few months, I’ve been going through a depression that’s been extremely difficult to kick.  It’s really been a combination of a multitude of things over the past year, and everything seemed to culminate in late November/early December.

I feel like I’ve been happy lately, though…and I attribute that to a few different things. 

The first is obviously my incredible relationship with Sunshine.  At the risk of sounding lame (and I know that people are already rolling their eyes), it just seems that we end up getting closer and closer together every single time we’re together. I can’t imagine my life without her in it.

The second has been my Employee Assistance Program contact through work. “Tom” has been absolutely amazing…not only being able to recognize things through my multi-layered messages, but to also relate to a number of things in my life because of similarities in his own.  Just to be able to dive into some things that I didn’t really care to dive into (like my feelings on my dad’s relationship with his new fiance) have helped me a lot. 

The final road to being happy again has been to find the self-esteem that I’ve long been unable to find within myself.  To say I’ve had self-esteem issues over the years would be a tremendous under-statement. But somehow that has been changing a bit over the last month or so.  I don’t know if I’m quite ready to say that I love myself yet, but I feel like I’m finally going down a path that could very well lead me there…and that’s an exciting feeling to have.

One of the exercises I’ve been asked to perform is trying to visualize a great me.  Not just picturing myself thin and on a beach somewhere counting my money, but to realistically sit with my eyes closed while trying to visualize what is great about me…and that’s something I’ve never really done before.

Imagine…

…being healthy.  What does that mean to me?  It means being able to watch my son grow up. It means being able to fully enjoy the second half of my life in a much better way than I did the first half. It means not always looking over my shoulder to see if a heart disease or clogged artery is coming after me.  It’s really me living life to the fullest and being happy. So for the first time in my life, my health is a big priority for me.

…being positive about myself. What would it mean to NOT be so self-depreciating all the time? What would it feel like to not have doubts or negative feelings about every little aspect of myself?  If I can look at myself in the mirror and smile knowing that there are a number of positive traits about myself that I’ve always refused to recognize, just imagine how good that feeling will be if I mean it.

…feeling energized. Life is entering a very scary yet exciting time for me. The health changes, the weight loss changes, moving on from mom’s death, knowing that the future is full of fun and possibilities as long as I continue to maintain a firm grasp on the present…visualizing being happy and excited for life on a daily basis will truly be an incredible feeling if I allow myself to feel it.

…being at a healthy weight. This all began because I spoke to a dietician back in early November and got scared about my weight. I hated the way I looked and it was not only affecting me mentally, but it was having physical effects, as well.  I finally TRULY realize that losing weight in a healthy way is not a race but a marathon.  My lifestyle changes are small and slow yet steady and ongoing…and eventually these changes are going to benefit me physically.  I’m down almost eight pounds since January 1st, so my journey is taking me in the right direction.  I’m seeing a dietician every week and am attending healthy eating classes every week.  I’m making changes and sticking to them, even when I’m alone and the only person accountable for keeping me in line is myself.

It’s not going to be easy and it’s not going to happen overnight, but I’m more committed to making these changes than I ever have been before, and I gotta say…visualizing a great me isn’t too far of a stretch at the moment.

Do You Act Your Age?

Ever since I was a teenager…

No, check that.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been told to “act my age”. I know that as my son grows older that I’ll be saying those very words to him (and, thus, my dad will somehow channel through me).

I’m turning 40 this year and I can say without a doubt that I do NOT act my age. I never have and I don’t think I ever will.  That’s not to say that I’m not mature.  I don’t bring a whoopie cushion to work or pull non-stop pranks on friends and family.  But I am at a stage where my daughter is thoroughly embarrased to be seen with me in public, ESPECIALLY if I’m with Sunshine.

In fact, one of the glorious things that makes our relationship so amazing is that we’re both so much alike in our zaniness. 

EXAMPLE: We’ll be standing in line at the grocery store when we’ll start “jaw-jacking” back and forth. She’ll tell the cashier that she doesn’t know who I am and that I’ve been following her around the entire store.  I’ll respond with “Worst first date ever”.

All we’re trying to do is elicit a reaction from the cashier and those within earshot.  And sometimes we’ll have a conversation like that without anybody even paying attention to us.

Maybe that makes us attention whores (well…we do blog, after all), but it totally makes us immature.

OR DOES IT??  Does having fun immediately mean that you’re immature?

If we joke around that one of the dancers at the strip club we visited on Friday looks like a post-op trannie, does that make us immature?

If we hear a song while walking through the mall that we like and we both spontaneously break into spasmic dancing like we’re Elaine from Seinfeld, does that make us immature?

If we sit back and watch new episodes of Beavis & Butthead and laugh hysterically (“Hey…is this Real Housewives of Detroit?”), does that make us immature?

If we use “That’s What She Said” on a daily basis as if it were just a normal part of life, does that make us immature?

Well…if it does, then I NEVER want to grow up.

**********

What say you? Do you act your age?

The Best Part of the Show

I can’t remember when, exactly, the conversation turned from going to a movie on a date to going go a strip club, but that’s what ended up happening in the days leading up to this past weekend.

In the act of full disclosure, I admit to readily going to strip clubs when I was single in my 20’s.  I went a lot, actually.  I’m not proud of it, but that was something I did. Looking back, I can totally see why I went. It’s more than just watching a woman take her clothes off.  When you go repeatedly, it’s because you’ve got other self-esteem issues that you’re trying to overcome…and those issues are either dealt with or hidden.

Luckily for me, I was able to put that life behind me and move on. I last went to a strip club on the night of my bachelor party…and I really didn’t have any intention of going to another one any time soon.

But after knowing that Sunshine was interested in going to one (she has never gone before and even put it on her list of “Date Bucket List” items for 2012), my own interest went up…a lot.

So here’s the deal: we went to the club, we sat there and critiqued, we laughed, we went home.

Seriously…that’s all that happened.   Y’see, I don’t know what we were really expecting from the evening but what ended up happening was that the two of us just sat there and laughed and had a really good time…most of the time at the expense of those around us.

There were some interesting characters…

  • The drunk patron who kept playing the drums and his “air harmonica” through every single song…and even when there wasn’t any music playing.
  • The 40+ year old stripper (or at least the 20-something who had the face of a 40-something). She danced a lot, but the dancing was definitely a way to over-compensate for her lack of looks.
  • The stripper who wore “that dress”, who while extremely attractive couldn’t dance or strip to save her own life.
  • The two young women who entered the club on their own who looked like they were a week late for amateur night (seriously…”Amateur Night” was a week prior). They came in for awhile, had a couple of drinks, danced at their table, and then left when nobody paid much attention.  And no…they wouldn’t have won any contest that I was judging.
  • The food menu that included pizza, chicken wings, and a 12-oz steak.  The thought was maybe we could sit directly next to the dance floor while eating chicken wings.  I mean, that would be able as odd as you could imagine.  And really…how good would a 12-oz steak be at a strip club?
  • The butch, lesbian, 400+ pound DJ who got golf claps from us every single time a stripper was done and she had to come out and wipe down the two poles to make sure they were clean for the next stripper.  No…she didn’t do that good of a job.

Each stripper came out and “danced” to three songs. The first one was supposed to be the tease. The second one was where they showed their breasts.  The third song (after a brief break for a wardrobe change) was described by the DJ as “the best part of the show”. Sunshine and I laughed hysterically every time she said it because it just meant that everybody in the club would be seeing “the naughty bits”.

Trust me…on a couple of the strippers, it really WASN’T the best part of the show.

So in the end, we simply got up and went home.  No big partying. No wild stories. No craziness in the “champagne room”. Just a couple who had a fun time at a place that we probably won’t ever go back to.  I mean, it was fun and all…but the location didn’t really scream out “y’all come back now”.

If nothing else, we at least got to check off an item on our bucket list together.