Hummingbird caught in mid-flight as it tried to calculate how to get around the wasps that were crowding around the nectar jar.
Snap Dragons after a rain shower in Memphis.
Shared Fitness Tracker
As the common story goes, I was incredibly skinny in high school, and then I gradually gained weight in the years that followed. Oh, how many of us have gone through this? Our bodies stop burning fuel as rapidly once we reach a mature age. Unfortunately, our mouths usually don't get the hint until it is way too late.
About 16 years ago, I weighed 208 lbs and felt very sickly all of the time. A friend and I decided to follow a workout regimen at the gym for three nights a week. We both needed to lose weight.
I changed my diet. I gradually weaned myself off of meat, sugar, caffeine, and processed foods. I was something like a Vegan, but with a few bizarre twists. I felt great. I biked about 16 miles every day and hiked every weekend. This was in addition to the visits at the gym. I fell to 165 lbs, which is the top end of my optimal BMI.
Then, I had a weird thing happen. I found myself bouncing in and out of depression, usually accompanied by gorge-fests. Gone were the veggies; in came the fried chicken. What followed was the foregone conclusion: I got fat. I was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and I began to take medications.
I went from 32 inch waist pants to a monstrous 42 in about 6 years' time. Yeah, some of it was due to the medication, but most of it was due to a pointed lack of exercise and a herculean effort to inhale the worst foods possible.
When the 42 inch pants needed to be held up with suspenders, I realized that I was getting really close to a look-alike Santa Claus -- minus the jolly laugh. (Ho ho ho...pass the brownies please.)
Well, another weird thing happened, which should have changed my life completely, but only managed to suspend my trough-feeding for a few months. I caught an infection that stuck to my aortal valve. I had several weeks of periodic episodes of mind-numbing pain all over my body. I turned out that my aortal valve was falling apart and my heart was trying to make things work. The only thing that worked was open-heart surgery. I had the valve replaced, and I spent several months recuperating in the comfort of my living room.
Thereafter, I spent about two years pretending that I was dieting, when in fact I was merely looking the other way. My weight dropped, and then rose to 214. My doctor warned me several times to keep the weight off. His words fell on deaf ears.
Can you recount the number of times someone said to you that you had to lose weight?
At work, a friend of mine quit smoking and went on a diet program. He lost some weight and we talked off and on about dieting, etc. One day, I received an email from him with a link to SparkPeople.
Lo, and behold, I found a healthy-living community that had all of the right things going for it. It took a few weeks to get in the groove, but I decided to take a very close look at what SP had to say about dieting and exercise.
The most important thing (and I cannot stress this enough) -- the MOST important thing -- was my nutrition tracking. In the beginning, it was very hard to keep my caloric intake within the recommended range, but I stuck to it.
My wife and I signed up for a yearly subscription to a local gym, and I started the exercises, as recommended by SP. Boy, was that a smart way to start. I was so very weak, I could barely finish the minimum sets.
As of October 16, 2008, I lost 23 lbs, and I feel 1000 times better than I did just a few months ago. My goal is to reach 164 by August of 2009, and I know that I will reach it, if not before.
Everyone has their own way of tracking their nutrition, exercise, etc., and my way is generally less rigid than a lot of SP folks. Once I realized the general amount of food that gave me the caloric intake SP recommended, I stopped tracking the food as precisely. I know that I will come back to tracking my nutrition when I feel that my weight has changed enough to warrant a fresh new look, but I also have confidence that I know with a fair amount of accuracy the amount of food that I need to keep myself in the proper range.
I suppose it's a part of my personality. I like to learn how to do things and then dive right into it with minimal support. Few others do things this way, and I am glad for that. We should all do what we feel is best for ourselves.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of joining SP is the chance I now have to communicate with other people who are trying to do the same things that I am.
I don't see myself as very supportive or motivating, but I will always be as honest as I can and tell it as I see it.
Right now, things are looking good.
| current weight: 182.0