Sunday, February 20, 2011
Happy Sunday, everyone! I hope your challenge is going well. Some random ramblings about things I am happy for today.
1. New clothes, new sizes. I have gone from size 58 pants to 44 pants. Size 4X shirts to 1X. I bought new dress shirts for $7 on sale this week--in old days they would have cost me a minimum of $25 dollars if I could find them at all.
2. Warmer weather. I love to get outdoors, but was very limited during our recent cold/snowstorm. Snow shoveling was about the only activity I could get in. We have actually been in the 70's two straight days.
3. Ability to continue workouts and tracking even during busy/difficult times.
4. Being noticed. Went into a local financial business that I hadn't visited recently and got "the stare" and the you've lost a LOT of weight, haven't you!
5. Capable of work without exhaustion. I can work up a storm and not suffer for it.
6. Break from classwork. I am in an "off" session from teaching, so have a little more time for everything.
7. Health. I have not had a bad cold or the flu all winter--far different than previous years.
8. Strength. I can carry a 50 lb bag without my back hurting for days.
9. Friends. In "real" life as well as "spark" life.
10. My many blessings. To be involved in church, work, and activity, to enjoy living on a farm in the Ozarks, to be able to help others--just a few of the blessings I am thankful for, including this wonderful site--Sparkpeople.
Wednesday, February 09, 2011
What a Winter--to paraphrase Yakov! I lived for a year in Moorhead, Minnesota, just across the river from Fargo, N.D. of the movie "Fargo" fame. That winter was ridiculously cold and snowy--but the hearty Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish community up there would just shrug it off with sayings like "Ya well we do have 9 months of winter here and just 3 months of pretty tough sledding." I was there to teach at a local college.
When the college sent me on a trip to Memphis for a national convention in the middle of March and I had to dig my way out to drive to the airport I couldn't believe it! But when I arrived in Memphis I was truly awestruck--the grass was green, the trees were budding, flowers were blooming and spring was in the air! Add to that my trips to Beale Street and to local barbeque restaurants plus a cruise on the Mississippi with a big band playing I swore that would be my last winter there. And it was! I have nothing but admiration for the stoic folks who live in the far north and are well-adapted, but this Southern boy was not prepared for how COOOOLD it could be at -40 with a 50 mile per hour breeze and a snowpack that lasted through mid-April when the lakes finally began to ice-out.
Fast forward about 30 years and I am nicely situated near where I grew up and living on a small farm in the beautiful Ozarks of Southern Missouri. I have been semi-retired for a year and a half and supplement my income by teaching online college classes which do not require me to leave the house--although I love to get out and explore my surroundings. This winter has brought back those memories of winter in the far north--although I will confess this is nothing compared to what they have on a regular basis. But for Ozarkers--this is a record-setting winter--with the largest snow totals in either 20 or 40 years depending on which cafe you visit to talk with the local coffee club.
I have already blogged about many phases of my journey from 385 to 304, but I would like to reemphasize that this is not just about weight loss. I am more physically fit than I have been for many years. By regularly working out at the gym (I am in mourning because it is 35 snow-packed miles from here), taking regular walks, doing strength training and now shoveling snow I can take on challenges that would have frightened me out of my wits 10 months ago. I wrote a blog about my last episode of snow shoveling and I was hoping that would be my last--but here I am for part Deux.
Last night we got 10 inches of new snow.
That was to go with the 18 inches we already had which had melted somewhat for a new total of 21 inches as you can see in this picture.
Sadly, I had been carrying our snow shovel in the car which, as you can see, is some distance from the house.
Alas--I would have to use our much smaller shovel to cut a path out to the car. I am not quite there yet, but much closer than I was--after all I need cardio for tomorrow too! Here is the proof that I am a changed man once again--a man wearing size 44 jeans instead of 58, 81+ pounds lighter, who can shovel snow with the best of them.
I have no desire to move back north and I am anxiously awaiting the balmier weather predicted for next week (50's instead of the present 14!). But one way or the other, I am grateful to be a stronger and healthier man right now. If you think it can't happen to you, I am living proof that you should never give up--in the words (allegedly) of Churchill--never never never never never give up! Have a great winter--and we can welcome spring back very soon.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
I am so glad to write this blog--it won't be a long one, but I just wanted to share how I am feeling about FINALLY breaking through this number. If you have followed my saga you know I thought I was nearly here some time ago, but then realized I had a malfunctioning scale. I ordered a new one, and my heart sank when I saw the 312 pound figure--up 7 from where I thought I was! Thankfully, this is a great scale and gives me consistent readouts, so this time I am not hesitant to report my results.
The holiday season has not been kind. I did not have major food bad days, but just the fact that my gym was closed extra days, the cold and snow precluded the only alternative for cardio that I enjoyed and just a general mental struggle because the weight was higher than I had thought.
Then, beginning January 6 I increased my teaching work load and a week later added a third class--this meant a lot of additional time and made getting to the gym (I drive 35 miles to get there) much harder. Further, the software learning curve for the new school has been a lot worse than I expected, I have had to deal with some family illness, and combined with a naturally difficult season I have had the worst struggles of this whole change in lifestyle here at SP.
The motivation I get from this site and my SparkFriends has been enormously important to keep me going. Several times I have been very blue and someone has sent me a goodie or expressed appreciation and encouragement--or I have read a motivating article from the great folks here at SparkPeople--and have had the courage to "keep on keeping on." So--despite all my problems, I finally got a day back at the gym, worked hard on eating nutritious food and the weight began coming off this week. And when the scale showed 304.6 this morning--I really needed it and it came at just the right time. My original weight just before joining Sparkpeople was 385, so this brings me to 80.4 lbs lost. I have blogged before about the tremendous changes this has brought to my life, so I won't go into everything here again, but my life is definitely so much better now.
If you are feeling blue or needing encouragement I urge you to share your situation with friends here at SP--no one else will understand those problems like they do. When I see friends I haven't seen for a while they will comment on my loss and want to know what I am doing and that is great, but it is not NEARLY the motivation I gain from this site. I know I still have a very long way to go, but I know that with God's help, the help of family and friends, but most of all from my SparkFriends that I am going to make it all the way. I hope that you find the help you need today, and please know that if I can do this at my age and condition when I started, anyone can. Don't ever give up and don't let anyone convince you otherwise--you can do this!
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Snow is not a frequent visitor to our small farm in the Ozarks, but when it comes it can shut down everything for a few days until it ultimately melts. This morning I awoke to about 4 inches of new snow and it was a beautiful sight from my kitchen window. Normally, in the past I would have waited a couple of days to try and get out in the hope that the snow would go away on its own. But now, my life is very different.
Today, I knew I needed to get in some exercise time and that shoveling snow is a pretty good cardio and strength workout. A year ago I would have been frightened to death that I would take about one scoop of this very wet snow and have a heart attack. I also feared losing my balance and falling on my face.
Since April of 2010 I have not only lost close to 80 lbs, I have gained a great deal of strength and stamina. By joining a yoga class, my balance is improving every week. So, I was really looking forward to facing something that would have been my nemesis a year ago.
The snow was very wet and heavy, but it was also beautiful and fluffy--and my two cats jumped into it and began to play. Here are some of the tracks they left behind.
I am proud to say I shoveled my back porch rather quickly, then my sidewalk and the area around my cars.
I also lifted the 25 lb bag of ice melt and applied it to the sidewalk, and I did all this without even breathing very hard. It was cold but bracing and I really felt alive--considering last year I would have spent the time cowering inside and barely able to get out of my easy chair. Here is my sidewalk.
The strangest things become exciting as I travel this journey to a better and healthier life. If you think you cannot join me, you are wrong! If I can get my body out of my chair, deal with my diabetes and charcot's foot, track all my food, get in daily fitness no matter what--then you can too. I encourage you to start today!
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