It was over two months ago I made the decision to write about my journey to pursue a healthier lifestyle (losing weight or so I thought). In that time, I have been fortunate to re-connect with people, hear about the successes and struggles of others who know what the daily grind is of living healthy. I say grind because it is a continual battle against the flesh to say no to something “quick and processed” versus grabbing the item that is much healthier for you. I have no elaborate stories this time of trips to PJs Pub for their wings (though they are good as are Hanley’s Ale House in Providence) or late nights trips before work to places like Taco Bell or McDonald’s rather I am beginning to understand about the other aspects of being healthy.
Ones emotional health is as important as their physical being. As the weather warms up each day, there are less clothing being worn by both men and women. The long skirts become shorter, the shirts become sleeveless showing off an assortment of physical attributes that will tend to catch a strangers eye. There are those people who worked vigorously during the cold months towards obtaining a figure one would be proud to flaunt at the beach and then there are those who purchase the longer t-shirts, shorts in an attempt to cover up what so many others already realize (they have some size to them).
I mentioned the emotional along with the physical because they tie together with most people. We all want to be accepted amongst our peers. How often do we look at somebody because they look a certain way and judge them accordingly (good or bad). I’ve been asking myself this question more recently as I deal with my own battles being an outgoing guy. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to come into contact with people from various walks of life who have deposited (and continue to invest) in my life. Despite all of that, it is tough at times for me to go somewhere because I’m not comfortable with the way a piece of clothing reflects my “girth”.
Where am I going with all of this? Good question. I want you to look at the person who is bigger in size and ask yourself “Do you look at them the same as you would a person who is ‘average’ in size?” If you believe in your heart you look at all people the same then that’s cool. If not, take a moment and put yourself in their shoes. Maybe that person is dealing with stress and turns to eating as a way to cope. Perhaps the person has tried numerous times to obtain a certain goal but it has been a challenge for them. The pressures of work/trying to find a companion has bogged them down to the point of isolation.
I’m realizing each day this journey is more about helping others than it is about me. Those who understand my plight and are dealing with the same thing, stay encouraged!
The last time I wrote on this blog I was in flight to Oklahoma. The opportunity to see two people exchange their vows along with the anticipation of reuniting with friends gave me a great deal to be excited about. When I landed in town it was quite warm! In New England I had the excuse of cooler weather to hide my “frame”. It was easy to throw on a sweater along with a shirt and tie. My thought process was “if it works for Bill Cosby why not me?”
I quickly realized it wouldn’t fly and found most of the shirts I packed (ones I wore last year) to be tight in the mid line area which made for some discomfort. I did find time to hit the gym at the hotel and it felt great to get the blood flowing. About forty-five minutes on the elliptical machine and burning four hundred plus calories. Not the number I was looking for but you have to ” crawl before you can walk”. I spoke with a friend during my trip who expressed their journey in losing weight. They were down about twenty pounds and you could notice the difference. I was happy to hear about the things they were doing and asked them to read my blog (yes I’ve become one of those people). The feedback was positive along with a few tips I could incorporate for myself.
The hardest part of that weekend was putting on a suit that fit me very comfortably and realizing there wasn’t much room this time. I did some dancing but found I had to stop sooner than I wanted to. This was due to being out of breath quickly (which isn’t a good feeling). There’s no way a thirty-two year old should be tired after dancing to a couple of songs. Instead of taking off the suit jacket (as it was pretty warm) I kept it on. I was ashamed of the large frame and made a feeble attempt to hide it.
Upon my return to New England, I remembered my vow to drop five pounds and got to work! I reacquainted myself with the gym (elliptical machine and weights). I’ve had my ups and downs but continue to look at this journey as a daily process. The late night runs to Cumberland Farms for chocolate glazed donuts, rotisserie chicken amongst other things don’t help the cause. My current resides at 245. Not quite the five pounds I was shooting for but progress nonetheless. We will see in a couple of weeks how things progress. In the words of Ron Burgandy, ‘ You stay classy Planet Earth”….
Asking to be held accountable and having people willing to follow through on it is two different worlds. Lip service sounds good, looks good; When someone steps up to the plate and provides what you are asking for, be sure you are ready for everything.
Within the last week, I have reconnected with people I have not spoken to in a long time. Finding out there are others out there who have/are going through the same challenge is encouraging as I continue this journey. One person was kind enough to share with me their plight. They wanted to lose weight because they figured people would look at them differently, they were able to and realized after they still weren’t happy with themselves. It got me thinking a bit. What is my purpose for doing this? Is this some public way to gain attention? Am I truly committed to doing this and encouraging people along the way? Hard questions with simple answers.
A year ago around this time, I was on the same journey. My goal was to lose weight but I wanted to do so because I wanted to look good. It wasn’t so much for making healthy choices (long-term). I had this false sense of security which led me to trying new things (tango-lessons, co-ed dodge ball and kickball). Yes, I play co-ed dodge ball and kickball. Don’t knock it until you try it! Doing all three things were a fun time. It felt great being active, trying new things, meeting new people. One night during the tango lessons, I took a look in the mirror (for those of you who know me best, know this used to be a regular occurrence). I seen this stomach poking out a bit and it made me uncomfortable inside. After that night, I stopped taking the lessons. Looking back on that moment, I realize that was pretty vain. I allowed the way I looked to stop me from doing something I’ve always wanted to do. I continue to participate in the co-ed leagues because it forces me to stay active and socialize.
Currently I weigh 248 lbs. I was asked last night what my goal was and I responded by saying “I want to live a healthy lifestyle and help others in their journey.” Further pondering, I need something tangible/concrete. So here it is! My goal is to lose five pounds by April 19th. It is something that I believe is very doable. Thanks to those who have taken the time to read this blog. Your feedback/encouragement has been great. Don’t let me slack now! Yes, Mr Danker-Dake, Ry Guy and Mama Dukes keep coming at me.
In a journey there are triumphs, slip ups, set backs and comebacks. All we can do is continue to press on towards the mark….
It’s been more than a week since I last wrote in here. Not much has transpired since then. My weight currently resides in the upper 240s and I still have a desire for wings at PJs Pub (located in Cranston, RI). I haven’t made it to the gym due to other obstacles not accounted for (such as work, lack of sleep, minor injuries and procrastination). I find it interesting that we have the ability to justify not doing something that is potentially good for us. Like putting it off for next time will somehow bring about different results. At the end of the day, either we choose to do it or we don’t. Choice is a word that is powerful in that we all have the ability to make one. It doesn’t discriminate on age, gender or beliefs; there is no currency needed to use it.
As the seasons change, our clothing choices become lighter along with longer hours of daylight. We slowly put away our winter jackets/sweaters in exchange for short sleeve shirts and baseball caps. The sweaters kept me warm but also provided a security blanket. It made me comfortable as I could “hide” my stomach width. No one will notice this “bulging belly” was my thinking. If I felt someone was making a face towards me because of my size, I used humor to mask my feelings of insecurity (often referring to my stomach as my babies) The fact that I cannot button my suit jacket comfortably or that it cuts off my breathing when I bend over to tie my shoe laces is a “gut check” (no pun intended). No person should allow themselves to get to the place where these things are happening. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
The hardest part is the feeling of guilt that follows the moments of pleasure from eating a juicy burger with bacon and Cajun fries. It weighs on a person emotionally, mentally and physically. You feel like a failure. Our society has engrained in us to get everything done quickly but there are NO quick fixes for living a healthy lifestyle. It’s a daily process. We see the commercials with fit people but we don’t see the early morning runs, late night excursions to the gym or healthy eating to maintain that figure. Kudos to those people who are able to live a healthy lifestyle and chin up to those who struggle daily like myself. You can do it!
The feedback from those who have read these digital entries has been positive as it is not easy to allow yourself to be vulnerable. That being said, words are seeds and need some action behind them to blossom into something greater. Your input/advice are seeds to me. Now it’s time to put action behind it. You ready to go? Lets get after it! Until next time….
I determined when I started this that I would write as I deemed necessary. I figured once a week would be enough to document this journey as well as not to bore myself or the audience. Yet here I am, less than a week, writing again.
This week has gone by quickly. Working third shift it seems my days and nights have submerged into one continual moment. Last week was easy to hit the gym and maintain a proper diet (outside of those McDonalds fries). I made a conscious decision not to grab wings from PJs and opted to bowl instead. It was good to get the blood flowing and knock down a few pins.
I tried a few slices of Domino’s pizza along with the bacon/jalapeño cheesy bread. The pizza wasn’t much to be desired but that cheesy bread was good till the last bite. I would say Domino’s has a winning combination with that bread! You think I shared it with my grandmother? Nope! I chewed that down as quickly as I could. Clearly a moment of greed more than hunger.
As I mentioned earlier, I work third shift. Since starting nights, I’ve learned through advice and trail/error what is good for my body and what is not. Five hour energy drinks, Monster and Red Bull are short term solutions to staying awake as your body will eventually crash and hard! When I’ve eaten light foods such as salad/fruits every couple of hours, my body felt good. Last night, I ignored this and went to both Burger King and Taco Bell. I wanted a grilled chicken sandwich but chose the double whopper with bacon along with late fries. At Taco Bell, I opted for the potato burrito and killed it. However, as the night ensued, I felt like I should throw up as my stomach was reliving the Civil War. Who would get the win? The North (me up chucking) or the South (in the voice of Tay Zonday, “Chocolate Rain”). Let’s just say I was “relieved” to make it home….lol.
After eating that food, thoughts of guilt and frustration entered my mind. Part of this process is being accountable and taking a look at the bigger picture. In order to obtain your goals, one has to be honest with themselves. Did I slip up? Yeah I did. Will I allow it to hold me back from achieving what I’m setting out to do? No I won’t.
Currently on this journey I am five pounds lighter. That tells me I can do this! I encourage those who read this, to stand firm in what you are striving for, whether it’s a healthier lifestyle or mastering Rock Band. Hard work is hard but in the end it pays off. Until next time….
The breakfast I sunk my teeth into one morning last week. Seems like I forgot to mention the hash browns I had too!
It’s been a week since I made my decree to the world. Though my goal is more about a healthier way of living versus the total number I was able to drop four pounds. Through a consistency of eating properly(for the most part) and exercising I obtained a good number for the week. I recognize hitting that total each week is unrealistic but it is a very good feeling.
Along the way, I have received words of encouragement/advice from many people. Our words do have a way of inspiring others to push a little harder. I cannot call this blog a “confession” without mentioning the mountain top pile of scrambled eggs, three strips of juicy bacon, tantalizing corn beef hash and perfectly grilled cornbread I sunk my teeth into one morning for breakfast. Did guilt come across my mind as I made my dream a reality at that moment? Heck No!!!! I loved every minute of that meal. The only thing that weighed heavy on my mind following was the comatose sleep I would submerge in for the next few hours (Yes, that sleep would be glorious!)
There were other moments of weakness as well. The ritual trips to PJ’s Pub on Monday Nights for thirty-five cent wings (you haven’t had wings until you’ve eaten PB and J wings), the drive-by to McDonald’s on my way to work. There is something spell-binding about a fresh order of those fries. In the words of R. Kelly, “My mind is telling me noooooooo, but my body, my body is telling me yesssssssssssssss”. Would you believe me if I told you I heard it in my mind at the very moment I placed that order. I shoved those fries in my mouth quicker than a kid stealing a cookie from a cookie jar.
After those moments of gluttony, reality quickly sunk in. I felt the guilt of having ate those fries (not so much for the breakfast though). I was quickly reminded of the numerous times before I decided to make a change but would fall off the proverbial wagon. We will have falls/spills in this life. You can either pick yourself up and persevere or simply stop trying. I opted to get to the gym and as mentioned earlier, I was able to drop some pounds. Actually going to the gym can be a challenge in itself. You cannot help but compare yourself to those around you. At the end of the day, all you can do is put your best foot forward. The gun has sounded and I’m off running my race….
Can’t confess about something if you aren’t caught in the act.
This is the beginning of my journey. One that I have embarked on several times over the past few years. It started freshmen year in college–slender build, big appetite, and a metabolism that could hide the glutton within me. Over the next few years, one pound became five and five turned into ten. I told myself I can “lose this in a matter of weeks”. I figured I could turn it off and on like a light switch. “I’m young”, “I have time” seemed to be the credit card of procrastination I would use when that plate of potato salad was calling my name. I tried a couple of diet routines that seemed to work for a time. The weight was coming off and the self-esteem would grow. Only to end up back in the same position feeling frustrated, disappointed and embarrassed.
Here I am before you all. Stepping out there and onto the starting block. I contemplated whether or not to make this process a public one. I recognize accountability is essential in this process and I sorely need it. I ask that you take this journey with me as I strive, not towards a number, as much as I move forward to a healthier way of living.