Sunday, September 23, 2012
Fall is upon us. It means more to those of you that have actual seasons/winter, but even here in Northern CA there's a change in the air.
For me it's a mixed bag - always one of the busiest times of the year for me at work, it's my favorite season. The weather is just right, I love fall foods, the holidays....all ties back to childhood I'm sure. The flipside is that it's historically been a real stressful time. In my younger days when we were just starting out it seemed like financial crises always seemed to hit in the fall. There was always back to school and the stress of a new schedule (and drama) around the kid.
Now, it's a little more straightforward for me. San Francisco Fleet Week is coming up in two very short weeks and we play a huge role in that...between a seminar on civilian/military disaster work for senior officials (Admirals, Generals, Mayors, Senators...even former Sec Schultz comes every year) and the fact that we have 500K extra people to watch the Blue Angels along the waterfront makes for a lot of planning and a very busy week. Literally th0usands of details have to be coordinated, and lots of work arounds developed when that fails, in order to make this a fun, safe, successful event.
This year it's even more complicated -there's a 49er game, a Giants playoff game likely, the Columbus day parade, a huge music festival and America's Cup racing at the same time.
Following that is Halloween, a rather important state wide public earthquake drill, a huge SWAT exercise (50+ teams and 50+ hours of continuous action), all capped off with hosting a meeting for emergency management executives from biggest cities in the US. For that one I much prefer to be an attendee rather than the host...just sayin,
So the short explanation of that long list is simple: I'm scared of losing my momentum.
I'm looking at a couple of months of really long hours, heavy stress load (I have a great crew, but I still have to answer to the boss, the Mayor, partners....), a bunch of media.....and that's if everything goes RIGHT. If something goes wrong....well...it's gets ugly(er).
Food choices, willpower, and exercising are all going to be tested. There are dinners, drinks, receptions to tempt me. In the op center candy and pizza are mainstays. IT'S BAKING SEASON around my house.
I've done really, really good in the last few months. Historically Fall has been my fall. I'm not gonna lie to you...I'm scared I'll screw up and fall again.
Saturday, September 01, 2012
It's been an interesting week...ups and downs, schedule changes...challenges. You know, life.
One interesting thing I faced was a decision about a work related dinner. Part of my job involves social/professional events - dinners, lunches, receptions etc. It just goes with the territory when you're one of the people that faces "out" in the organization. I'm expected to maintain good relationships with other entities - it's politics and as much as I'd like to say it doesn't matter in emergency management, it does. But that's another blog altogether.
We had visitors from our sister city Taipei this week and I was asked to brief them on how we prepare, manage, and recover from crises. No biggie- I do this several times a month for visiting delegations - it's a fun part of what I do. The group invited me to a dinner that evening when they set up the appointment. It was accepted as a matter of course.
Then, something happened as I got closer to the date. I started seriously stressing out about it. I was going to be a formal Chinese banquet.....which take like 2-3 hours and I would have zero control over the menu. Oil, noodles, rice...fried bits of goodness...I was freaking out. I KNOW me. I knew I'd be in control right up until the first course arrived (that would be one of probably 10). Then I'd lose it. I'd be hungry, it would smell good, it's expected that you eat....it would end in disaster.
But it's the job right? It's expected.
I made myself a promise this year that I'd put myself first....I'd look after my health, focus on losing weight and exercise, write more and continue my education. In spite of work demands, family demands...life. So far I've done pretty well. My family is supportive - even putting up with my bicycle and exercise apparatus taking up the garage. I'm taking care of business with the doc and I feel great. Greater than I have in a long, long time.
I'm even getting back into clothes I haven't worn in years (good thing men's fashions don't change all that much). I eat pizza once in a while and don't hate myself -of course I eat the thin veggie type and own it in the tracker, but I just keep plugging. The key is I'm in control.
So...I was selfish. I opted out from dinner. And I was OK with it - the world didn't stop. No international incident.
I'm feeling pretty good about the decision. I kept my priorities straight. I put my needs first and avoided what I knew would end in dietary catastrophe.
Saturday, August 25, 2012
This go 'round with the whole weight loss thing is different for me.
First, I'm older and wiser (but we won't talk about that - be glad you're making the changes you are now, my 20 and 30 something friends!).
Second, I'm looking at changing my life instead of my pant size.
It's been interesting...slow, I push forward and then slide back...but never to the point of losing the war. So I make progress. That makes it worthwhile.
Every once in a while though, and my friends we all know this, it's frustrating and you just want to throw in the towel and reach for the cookies.
The last few days have been like that for me. I've let myself off the hook on sugar a bit too often, there were cookies in the house (danger...danger...danger insert klaxon sound here) and my schedule has been a bit screwy. It's a formula that can derail the best intentions.
So, as I sit here feeling like I have a hangover (it's often the way I feel if I don't eat right or I eat too much) I'm trying to figure a way back. I keep going through the motions - tracking food, workout...but it's been kind of half hearted for the past couple of days.
It occurred to me that I'm playing the longest game of golf in my life - for my life. This isn't a team sport (that is not to imply that having a team of supporters isn't key - but let's face it, in the end it's up to the individual to do or not do what needs to be done) and I'm only competing with myself.
No wonder I suck at golf. Seriously, you need to watch your ankles when I play - it's more like field hockey than golf.
Golf is an interesting sport - it's all about and up to you, you can do it cheaply or you can spend millions, you can be as competitive as you like (but it only makes you crazy)....sound familiar? With all the plans, drugs, devices and ways to compare ourselves to those with perfect bodies this could be the story of weight loss in the new century.
There's one key thing that I learned about golf (in the few times I've played) and that is to set it up, relax and let it happen.
Once you figure out the form, you just gotta swing through and be relaxed about it. It doesn't always fly straight, but it will fly.
If you're too lackadaisical you're not playing golf - you're just ruining some grass. If you nut up about it, you'll ruin the grass and you're day.
As soon as you start half hearting it you start to swing badly, then starts the negative self talk and things really go to hell. If you don't stop, hit the reset button and realize what's happening you'll have a rotten day. Throwing your clubs isn't all that helpful.
In a life change scenario that bad day can become a bad month and then you're starting over.
I don't want to start over. So this is me hitting the reset button before things get out of hand.
And there's one key lesson from my times through this weight loss gristmill...recognition needs to be followed by acceptance, then you can get back to action.
Y'all have a good weekend. I'm going to get off my ass and do something. Check in later.
Friday, August 17, 2012
I have flintstone feet.
You know the kind - flat and wide..could use them to stop the stone wheeled sedan.
As a result I have to be careful with pressure. Not exactly my forte - I'm a guy that has always powered through things. Suck it up, sometimes it hurts, power on, uh-rah kind of attitude.
When a patient is 800 pounds and you have to carry them down 5 stories, sometimes you just gotta get creative and determined and get it done. When a car is upside down, sometimes you gotta twist about to get inside and treat the driver while someone else is peeling off layers of metal. I think you get a sense of my attitude. I've never been a marathoner, but if something needs to get done, it needs to get done. Sometimes it requires a little mind over body.
So, over the years I've hurt myself a time or two. Mostly pulls and strains, bumps and bruises. That sort of thing.
10 years ago I stated getting these blisters on my big toes - usually under a callous and they were a b**&h to heal. Like weeks and weeks.
I started seeing a podiatrist and it got a little better, but I really wasn't all that compliant - keeping pressure off the foot really didn't work for me (or work).
Then in January I finally got hit with the Big D - diabetes - and it's taken me 8 months to really come to terms.
I have fully engaged my get it done side...and I've lost weight, no more excuses and exercise most every day attitude. Then it happened..a blister that had healed up reformed on Tuesday. I had done a mile and half on the treadmill and then spent all day on my feet running a major exercise with our military partners. When I got home I found it. I was really upset - because with the big D going on I'm really reluctant to power on...seen way to me toe-less victims of diabetes.
For two days I was grounded. No exercise - my elbow was acting up so no lifting, and no serious walking. I finally had time this morning to dig out my old bike and air up the tires. I rode a mile or so just to get reacquainted and prove I could do it without killing myself.
It was SO COOL - I haven't been on a bike in years! I can really get back to that...and no elbows or toes were injured in the making of this blog post.
My whole life has been ab0ut determination and finding the work around -and now, at 42 I'm finally applying the same attitude to myself and my health.
I'm a little slow...what can I say?
Sunday, August 12, 2012
One of my biggest challenges has been to maintain a positive outlook. Yeah, I know, if you're reading this you're probably saying, "yeah, and.....welcome to the club."
The thing is, it's only been in the last few years I've really been honest about it. I used to look at myself in the mirror and feel pure loathing, which of course led to depression and put me in a funk all day. You can guess the food choices that get made from that particular basement of emotion.
Then, once I started being honest with myself I started to pay attention to triggers. Fight with my wife, work chaos, politics (work and personal), child drama - all these things were triggers. I know, I know...you're going "duh." Cut me some slack - I'm a guy, this whole feelings thing is foreign.
I also noticed that my diet had a huge impact on my mood - and sometimes makes me more susceptible to the triggers, which of course leads to poor choices and you have what my psychologist friends call a sick cycle. Thank you for that Dr. Obvious. How 'bout some use information, like winning lotto numbers.
The trick then, in this vein of obviousness, would be to avoid stress and eat right. Okaaaay. I wouldn't be here if I were good at that. (And you get to come along for the ride as I noodle through these tidbits of myself. Aren't you lucky? Sorry....I'm good with the facade, but inside the framework is undergoing a serious retrofit. )
On the stressor side.... I'm in emergency management and used to be a paramedic....hello...my work IS chaos! So that should be "normal" for me, right? Funny thing is that sort of stress isn't stress to me. It's what I grew up on. Multi-vehicle accident? No problem. Tsunami warning? Done. I get into my zone and get calm and clear when faced with real crises (good thing huh? or I'd really suck at my job, which would be bad for everyone involved). Office politics - now that will stress me out. Trying to think three steps ahead of my boss and the Mayor, member of the Board or some lesser political figure? That will raise my blood pressure and cause me to reach for the pizza.
How in the hell do those of you who have spent 20 years in an office do it? Sometimes the pettiness and illogical arguments make me crazy. Sorry - digression. See, it's a trigger!
I've gotten pretty good at it over the years, but it still can sometimes send me straight to the basement. So, it's a constant battle to stay out of the basement. Choosing how I react and being proactive to prevent foodiness moodiness. I've come to realize that in that moment I need to avoid sugar and exercise. I keep a band in my desk and seated pedal thingy under it. I just have to remember to use them. Some days are better than others, but I keep pushing and taking the wins - refusing to dwell on the downfalls.
Don't get me wrong, I still don't *like* my reflection, but I see potential and successes instead of loathing. It's a step.
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