Manly Moment

I don’t fit in well with men.  I never have.  I’m certain that comes, in no small part, from being a closeted gay kid/teen/young adult who was in complete denial.

I’m certain it comes, in no small part, from being a closeted gay kid/teen/young adult who was in complete denial and carried wounds from a lifetime of torment from my peers making fun of me and calling me names.

I’m certain it comes, in no small part, from being a closeted gay kid/teen/young adult who was in complete denial and carried wounds from a lifetime of torment from my peers making fun of me and calling me names and fearing that I’d incur the rath of more homophobic straight men if I so much as gave a hint of having paid any attention to, or noticing them.

It is my custom, therefore,  to keep my head down and try not to be noticed, in general, but especially not while I’m noticing those around me.

I’ll make no qualms against the idea that this experience has contributed to this feeling, but I’ve always found it annoying when I see guys apparently running into an acquaintance, in the gym.  There I am, walking on the treadmill, or using some weights or piece of equipment and I see a guy strutting through the gym, in no hurry to get anywhere and suddenly he see’s a guy, frequently of similar complexion and features, sitting on a bench with some dumbbells in his hands and they both stop to chat.  If I can hear their conversation it’s usually some random pleasantries that may be legitimate, but could just as easily be BSing each other and those around them.

I usually roll my eyes – because far be it from me to mind my own business and not form an opinion about things I know nothing about – and think to myself, “What bullshit.  I bet they don’t even know each other particularly well.  They just had to make a display for everybody else about how popular and manly they are.  I mean seriously!  You’re at the gym!  Just do what you came here to do and get out.  Other people want to use the equipment too!”

It’s so annoying, to me, to be at the gym when it’s crowded.  It seems like there’s always people in the way, from the moment I walk into the locker room to find a locker that’s not in a congested area, to the line to use the treadmills, to the crowded weight room where someone always seems to be using the item I need, to the moment I go back into the locker room where it seems like, no matter how long they had been in the gym before I got there, the men using all the lockers anywhere near the one I selected seem to be in the locker room and in the showers at the same time that I need to be there, affording me absolutely no privacy and in very confined spaces.  “Just do what you came here to do, and get out!

Today as I was leaving the gym, having already had my crowded workout, empty (for a change) shower and crowded locker room experience for the day, I strolled out of the locker room and through the gym toward the exit, surreptitiously examining the view on my way through, something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye.  A nice looking young-ish African-American man in black track pants and a plain white t-shirt with unimaginably clear, smooth skin and a neatly trimmed goatee was sitting on the seat of some machine or other.  “He looks familiar,” I thought as I continued to walk through, “but I don’t think I know him from work.” And then just as he saw me and smiled it dawned on me that he was one of my classmates from my EMT class.

I stopped, shook hands with him, and chatted for a few minutes before heading back to the office.  And as I walked away, I thought, “Ha!  Now I’m popular and ‘manly’ too.” And then I rolled my eyes at myself and, having done what I came there to do, I got out!

Catching Up

It has been much too long since I’ve written here.  Part of the reason I haven’t written is because I’m  not good at short and sweet, to-the-point posts and so what ought to be a quick few minutes to write, ends up being a couple of hours to write, edit, read, preview and re-read, and re-edit a crazy long-winded post, and I just keep putting it off which only serves to make them longer.

I’m going to try to be brief with this post, though I make no promises…

I’m not even sure if I had decided on this when I wrote my last post, but I am now on vacation not to return to work until Monday, August 30, 2010.  I put in my request to my manager for my vacation and he approved it and then sent me an e-mail telling me that he wanted me to be very involved in this month-long event in September that would require me to do all my planning and purchasing and compiling in half the time that everyone else has to get ready, all the while dealing with the group who is actually hosting the event but didn’t want to share any of their information.  It came down to the wire, but I believe I have everything ready now…  I hope.  If not, I’ll have two days when I get back to work to take care of it.  No pressure there.

I decided to take this vacation, really a stay-cation, because I have been exhausted for weeks, staying up too late, having to get up early in the morning, and upon learning of this event, staying much too late at work.  My life has gotten out of kilter and I desperately needed to right it again, and with my class start date looming, I really wanted to get a handle on things before hand.

I never made it to the gym all of last week, with the pressure I had to have my work in order before my vacation.  I was surprised to see how much I missed that.  I have to admit that while there was so much pressure and trepidation about the locker room when I first started going during the day, I now enjoy it and having a break from my work while I take care of myself.  Except for last week, I have been more consistent with going to the gym since I started the mid-day routine than ever before.  And I even enjoy taking a shower in the locker room there.  It’s a refresher in the middle of the work-day and it’s liberating to have gotten over my fears.  (Plus it saves on my water bill at home.)

On Friday, I did finally take a little break from the work craziness to have coffee with my friend John (John H).  Saturday was laundry day and Sunday I hung out with Lil’B.  It was still rather chilly and I had designs on going to the movies.  We haven’t yet seen Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.  I’m a BIG kid and I love those kinds of movies so I’ve been looking forward to it since I saw the first previews.  When I arrived at Lil’B’s house I asked him what he wanted to do that day and he said, “Miniature Golf.”  Hmmm.  OK.

So we went to play miniature golf while I was dressed/prepared for a chilly movie theater.  Green “painters” pants (green pants with deliberately laid out paint spots on the front) and a black t-shirt.  The jean jacket got left in the car.  There was no sun screen.  One of these days I’ll learn to bring along the sun screen just in case.  The weather was actually quite nice where the mini-golf place was.

After I dropped Lil’B off, I went over to my friends John H and John M’s house.  I think it’s cute that they both are named John, but John H says they always know who is being addressed.  (I have to admit that I once had a passing crush on a guy named Kevin and thought it would’ve been funny if we’d ended up together.  Then again, I was also engaged to a girl named Kerri and she thought it was “too sweet” that we would be Kevin and Kerri.  She meant “too sweet” in a bad way.)  The John’s and I had a wonderful dinner of Baked Ziti and Sourdough bread with an incredible blueberry and cherry tart that “John threw together while I was in the shower,” John H told me.  I left at about 10:30 and called it a night.

One of my objectives for this time off work is to get my body clock back on a decent schedule.  If I plan to continue to go to the gym during the work day and still work 8-ish hours, I’ve got to do better about getting to work “on time-ish”, especially on class days.  So I wasn’t too dismayed by having scheduled DirecTV to come and install new service at my house “between 8 and noon” on Monday.  Much to Mischa’s dismay, I pretty much went straight to bed when I got home and got up at 7:30 Monday morning.  Not early enough, but it was a start.  I won’t spend too much time harping on this, but DirecTV quite successfully managed to turn me from being a big fan/major proponent of their service to a stark hater who will tell everyone I ever meet (where the subject comes up) NEVER TO USE DIRECTV SERVICES, EVAR!!

Very quickly, I was a DirecTV customer for 5 years and canceled my service 6 months ago in favor of AT&T U-verse because of cost.  I don’t really love the AT&T product and will still maintain that the actual product offered by DirecTV is better, but I will never use them again.  Three years ago when I moved into my current home, the same day as my downstairs neighbors in this duplex moved in, I had the DirecTV service installed.  My installer had been here and at work for about an hour before another installer showed up to do the installation for my downstairs neighbors.  The two installers made the determination that they could provide both of us with service using only one satellite dish and splitting the signal between the two units.  This made everyone (most of all, our landlady) happy.  I explained this set-up to the operator when I placed the order to re-instate my service and he said it was great.

When the installer showed up here on Monday, at 11:55 he informed me that he could not do this but instead he had to install a second dish on the house.  I told him that was not an option and he said he couldn’t do what I was asking.  After speaking with the installer, and his supervisor, via telephone, and then a dispatcher in his office, I got conflicting answers about code regulations and DirecTV policy (the installation company is a third party) and various other, conflicting and contradictory reasons.  Finally I called DirecTV directly and after explaining my situation six times and being told that they needed to transfer me to “The right department” I finally got one very pleasant young lady who took the time to investigate properly.  After 52 minutes on the phone with DirecTV I was informed that they absolutely can do what I’m asking them to do, but that it’s at the discretion of the installation tech whether he will do it.  The best advice she could give me was that I should call the installer back and tell them this.  I was waiting for a call from a supervisor from that company anyway and when it hadn’t come in over 90 minutes (I told them I needed a call “right away” about what they planned to do because “my entire day is now on hold waiting for you”) I called them again.

I called the install company back and was disconnected right after they answered the phone.  I called again and the phone rang twice and then there was nothing but static and crackling on the line.  I called a third time and got an answer but the person sounded like he was across the room from the phone and the static and crackling were still there.  I explained that I was expecting a call from the supervisor and he insisted on knowing what it was about before sending my information on.  I explained the information I had gotten from DirecTV to him and then he seemed to disappear for a moment.  When he came back I couldn’t understand what he was saying and the best I could come up with was that he was e-mailing the supervisor this information.  After giving the operator an earful about how horrible their service is, how terrible their phone system is and how they’re making me question my decision to come back to DirecTV I told him that I expected the call from the supervisor within one hour.  If I did not hear from him within one our I was going to cancel my order.

When one hour ended, I called DirecTV back for one sole purpose.  I explained my entire situation, yet again, to “the right person” and I explained to her that I was just about finished.  I told her that I was calling to cancel my order, but before I did, I wanted to give them one last-ditch opportunity to try to save my business, because based on my own experiences, I was of the opinion that DirecTV has the best product on the market and I had once been a satisfied DirecTV customer.  She confirmed that everything I had been told was true but that it is up to the install company whether they would do it.  She said that she could not order them to do the install the way I wanted.  I made it very clear that if they didn’t I was going to cancel my order and she wasn’t going to budge.  Finally, I said, “OK, well then let me give you my order number so you can cancel my order.”  Without a flinch, or a hint of apology, she said, “Sure!” and put me on hold.  A few minutes later she came back, told me the order was canceled and asked if there was anything else she could do for me.  I said, “No!  I’m just really disappointed to find that you don’t care any more than that to keep your customers.”  Again, without an apology she said, “OK, have a nice day.”

I guess that wasn’t so brief, but you know me, once I get started…

The one bright point to that story is that while I was waiting for the installer and arguing with the people on the phone, I also made a huge dent in the mess that is my apartment.  I went through a bunch of papers and disposed of what I could, separating the rest to be filed away (which I still need to do).   I did a little bit of organizing and putting stuff away.  I really made a good start.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get started again since.

Tuesday, I got up with a plan.  I was out of bed by 6:45.  I spent the morning, taking care of some computer stuff I needed to do, while mentally planning my day.  I was going to leave home by 10:30 to go to the gym, spend 45 minutes doing cardio, take a shower (I wanted to compare the locker room and showers to the gym by my office) and then head toward my therapists office in Berkeley for our 2:00 appointment, getting lunch along the way.  I got a late start leaving for the gym.  I was all ready to go when…  My coffee kicked in.  There are few things I hate more than pooping at the gym so I was late heading out.  I got to the gym at about 12:20 and by the time I found a locker, and unpacked my gym bag, I really only had about 20 minutes for my cardio before I had to take my shower.  I went back into the locker room at about 1:05 and was dressed and leaving the gym by 1:30.

When I got into the car, I noticed I had a voice mail on my cell phone.  It was Deb, wondering where I was since I was 15 minutes late for our 1:00 appointment.  I called her back, but of course there was no way I was going to arrive before our hour was up.  I mentioned something to her about how I had it at 1:00 in my calendar, but in my mind it was “at our regular time of 2:00.”  She pointed out that 1:00 is our regular time, which, of course, it is…  Vacation brain fart!  One hundred dollars down the drain.

I headed to Berkeley anyway, because I had other plans for after our appointment.  After a quick stop off at Taco Bell, I went to the tattoo shop where I got my last piece done to look through their books for inspiration and to ask about piercing.  They don’t do piercing and I didn’t find any inspiration in their books, but they did refer me to another tattoo shop a mile up the street that does piercing, and with only a minimal amount of trepidation, and after many months (years) of consideration, I had this done:

Somebody needs a shave!

The upper one.  Obviously my lobe has been done for a while.  They said this will take 2-3 months to heal, but once it does, I’ll replace the stud with some sort of hoop.  The piercing itself really didn’t hurt, despite what I’d been told by some.  It was a little more tender after I left the shop, a kind of delayed reaction, but that didn’t really last all that long and then it was fine.  It’s a little ouchy while doing the cleaning routine, but for the most part I can’t even feel it, unless I bump it accidentally (doesn’t even hurt to lie on it at night.  Even the back of the post doesn’t poke into my head, which I thought it would.)

Today, I–  Well, I ended up sort of wasting the day.  I got up at 6:30 and putted around the house for a while, taking care of social networking stuff and doing my daily Fish Wrangler tournament.  I watched an episode of Glee and then I headed out around 10:00 for a…  personal grooming appointment… followed by a small amount of shopping and lunch.  Even less shopping than I had planned since I had the good sense to check the status of my checking account before I spent too much money.

So that gets us all caught up.  Sorry my vacation stories aren’t more exciting….

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and, somehow, soak my ear in salt water (part of the cleaning regimen.)  This should be entertaining!

Conundrum

I mentioned the other day that I had “pulled something” that made it difficult for me to stretch properly.  I wasn’t deliberately trying to be cryptic.  If you’ve read this blog very long than you know, I have no problem telling you that what I pulled was in my groin.  Heh, that sounds dirty.

Anyway, I was riding a stationary bike at the gym one day when I suddenly felt this sharp pain where my left leg meets up  with my pelvis, what I have learned is an abductor (?) muscle.  It only hurt for a second and didn’t prevent me from finishing my work out.  It doesn’t even hurt for the most part in my day-to-day activities, but I have found that certain movements, usually rotating outward, causes a twinge of pain and I am unable to do the classic stretching maneuver of sitting on the floor, placing the soles of my feet together and allowing my knees to naturally fall away from each other.

I wasn’t at all sure that this was contributing to my problems with Shin Splints, but when I realized it had been a good two months since the injury occurred and I was still having issues, it seemed wise to talk to a medical professional with the hopes of getting helpful advice how to speed things along in both the healing of this pain, and how to deal with (read: eliminate) the shin splints.  The Doctor didn’t really think there was much to be done for the groin thing, but agreed to send me to Physical Therapy anyway to make sure that there wasn’t anything they could do and to see if they can give me some advice about the shin splints.

I had the appointment with the physical therapist on Wednesday afternoon and after conducting a brief examination concurred with the doctor that there’s really nothing to be done.  She said, those kinds of pulls can take many months to heal and that I just have to wait it out.

She also showed me a couple stretches I can do that I haven’t been to help with my shins but her recommendation was to hold off the running for a while.  She asked me why I took up running and I told her: I know it’s good exercise, a good way to burn lots of calories and it’s something I’ve never been able to do before so I want to be able to.  She concurred that it is a good strategy, but she also suggested that I might want to wait until I’ve lost a bit more weight.  She wasn’t being unkind, as she acknowledged, I’m a big guy.  I’m 6’1″ and I have big bones, broad shoulders, and – in addition to being overweight – I have big muscles.  My calves are very big, my thighs are dense and tight.  Now if only those muscles were also lean, toned and defined.  *sigh*

Her feeling was that because I’m a big guy with a lot of bulk, that it may be too high impact for me at this point.  Interestingly, my knees do not hurt when I run, though they frequently hurt at other times.

She suggested that instead of running, I should try the elliptical machine, stating that it’s very similar to running as far as the movement and the calorie burn, but it is zero impact.  I told her, I can’t do the elliptical machine for very long and she said that I should just do what I can do (at most 5 minutes) and then build up.  She thinks that within three weeks I could do half an hour.  I have to admit, that’s hard for me to imagine at this moment, given that I know what it’s been like for me in the past, but then again, I never thought I’d be able to run for 3-5 minutes straight through either, and I was doing that at the beginning of this week.

But here’s my dilemma:  She did tell me that this was just a suggestion.  It’s up to me if I want to take her advice or not.  I’m not sure what to do.  I was into week four of the Couch to 5K (C25K) program and I don’t exactly want to throw that progress away.  On the other hand, she’s the expert; I am not.  I did, after all, go to see her for help with pain so I guess it would be dumb not to listen to her.  What she told me was that I should work on the elliptical machine and build up my endurance there and then when I get comfortable and can do half an hour or so on the elliptical machine then I can start adding back in some running.  It does seem like reasonable advice.  I’d follow it,no questions asked if I wasn’t nearly half way through the C25K thing but I hate to stop that after having made so much progress.

It seemed like a bit of a conundrum, but now that I’ve spelled it all out, I guess I know what I have to do.

Finally!!

By this time, it should be no surprise to you that I’ve been fat my entire life, unless of course, you’ve never read this blog before, in which case… I’ve been fat my entire life.  This, by the way, is not going to be a self-pitying, feel sorry for me post.  The fact that I’ve been fat my entire life is just that, a statement of fact.

Anyway, over the years, I have tried on more than one occasion to lose the weight and be skinny and sexy.  Over the years, I have failed repeatedly.  I can blame this on any number of factors, but the basic factors are as follows:

A)  I lacked will power and eventually got tired of depriving myself of anything and everything good and I broke and gorged; and

2)  I was trying to get skinny and sexy.  Two things I may never be able to achieve.

It is also not news by now, unless this is still your first time to this site, that I’m making an effort to change my life and be healthier.  This time around I’m focusing on eating healthfully, but mostly being cognizant of what I’m eating when I’m eating.  In other words, I may still have a piece of cheesecake (or four) around my birthday (Oh wait, that’s a post I never wrote – it was my birthday last Saturday and the end result of that day was four pieces of Cheesecake Factory cheesecake coming home with me (I can never decide) and being eaten over the course of three days) but at least I’m paying attention to what I’m doing, I’m allowing myself the indulgence and I’m moving on.  Most of the time, I eat healthfully and therefor, I do not feel guilty when indulging in something less healthful.  Anyway, this time around I’m focusing on eating healthfully and getting regular exercise.

In fact, I don’t even feel like it’s right to say, “this time around” because this isn’t a temporary situation.  I’ve made the decision to live my life in a more healthy manner and this is something I’ll be doing for the rest of my days.  I’m not worrying about what I look like (not that I don’t have a secret desire) or how much I weigh (although, as a fat person, losing weight has been and will continue to be a side effect of being more healthy) I’m just working to live a healthier lifestyle and let the chips fall where they may.

I’m getting a little off track.  Course correction now engaged…

I’ve been seeing the same doctor for at least five years now, probably longer.  My doctor is pretty cool for the most part.  I mean he’s a Doctor and I’m not looking to go out for drinks after our appointment or anything like that, but as far as Doctors go, he doesn’t scare me or make me feel anxious and that’s really saying something because I’ve always hated going to the doctor.  The biggest complaint I have about my Doctor is that every time I would go in to see him he’d ask me about my weight and why it was so high.  I’d give him some kind of answer to placate him and try to avoid really discussing it with him because I wasn’t really ready to do anything about it, let alone do the right thing about it.  Even though I didn’t dislike my Doctor like I have  disliked most Doctors over the years, I still always sort of dreaded going to see him because I knew this conversation was unavoidable.

About four years ago, I started The Abs Diet and lost 30-40 pounds.  I went out of town for nearly two weeks to visit my Aunt and Uncle and help plan and execute my Grandfather’s 90th birthday party.  During that time, I managed to eat fairly healthfully, but I didn’t exercise once the entire time.  I had an appointment with my Doctor right after I got back, though now I have no recollection of the reason why.  I sat on the table in the exam room waiting for him to come in, and feeling somewhat enthusiastic because I just knew my Doctor was going to come in and comment on the fact that I’ve lost weight and encourage me to keep it up.

When he finally did enter the exam room, he was all business (which he always is) and went straight to work addressing whatever my issue was at the time .  The good news is, he didn’t say anything about my weight.  The bad news is, he didn’t say anything about my weight.  Anything. I was so disappointed and while it would be inaccurate to say that “it’s his fault I gained it all back”, that’s how I felt for a long time.  I had done the diet, in part, to satisfy him and he didn’t even seem to notice.  (This, by the way, was an entirely wrong reason to do the diet.)  After that  I never got back to the gym and my dedication to the diet waned greatly to the point of hardly following it at all.  Eventually, I canceled my account because it was stupid to be paying for access to something I wasn’t even using.

Over the three or more years that followed, I gained back every pound I had lost and then some, culminating in the condition I was in when I started this blog, weighing 309 pounds, never exercising and being in a lot of denial about what I looked like and what my condition really was.

About a year ago, I decided that I wasn’t happy being so over weight.  I decided I needed to do something about it.  I wasn’t fully convinced yet, but I was working on it.  I started paying attention to what I was eating.  A lot of that time was spent paying attention to how bad the things I was eating were, while I continued to eat them, but I firmly believe that’s an important first step.  If you’re not being honest with yourself about your eating you won’t be able to change it.  OK, I’m getting off track again.

Anyway, a few months later, I began seriously considering a career change.  I’m still considering it and I don’t know if it’s going to be realistically feasible or not.  But I’m thinking of becoming an EMT.  (Clearly this part of this post is for you newbies who have never read this blog before – and my guess is there aren’t any of you reading this.  Oh well.)  I realized that I couldn’t physically do the job and that if I was serious about becoming an EMT I was going to have to make some serious changes in my life to be able to physically do the job.  What I realize now is, whether I change careers or not, whether I become an EMT or not, I don’t ever want to be held back by my physical ability again.

When I started, a year ago, just being cognizant of what I was eating, I lost 10-15 pounds.  When I went to take care of my mother, for two weeks, after her by-pass surgery and ate many of my meals (healthy ones) with her, (but still sometimes eating junk when not with her) I lost another 10 pounds, all from paying attention to what I was eating.  But by then I was beginning to be more thoughtful of my choices and deliberately choosing healthier fare.  Once I made up my mind that I wanted to be healthier physically, I joined a gym and I began really trying to plan my meals and eat better.

I am now, once again using The Abs Diet but not because I’m “on a diet”.  I’m using it because for a relatively nominal fee, I get a preplanned menu with good food (and the ability to swap out anything I don’t want), a prepared shopping list for that menu, a preplanned work-out routine for the gym and a mechanism for tracking my progress.  It takes all the guesswork out of it for me and I like that!  Using this program for guidance, but not adhering religiously to the letter of the law on it, I am, as of this morning, down to 255 pounds – which, by the way, is just one pound over what I weighed the day I sat in the Doctors office waiting for him to congratulate me only to have him not say a word.

What’s the point of all this?  Well, I’ll tell you.  I had a Doctors appointment this morning.  Nothing major.  I pulled something several weeks ago, while on the stationary bike at the gym.  I thought it would go away on it’s own, but it hasn’t and it’s preventing me from being able to stretch properly, which in turn is making it harder for me to follow through on my running endeavor.

I sat on the bed in the exam room for just a couple short minutes while I waited for the Doctor to come in and the minute he walked in the door, the very first words out of his mouth were, “Well, you’ve lost a significant amount of weight!”

Yes!  Yes, I have!  It’s about damn time you noticed!!!

Here We Go Again

Last Monday marked my final day of Personal Training for a little while.  I’m disappointed for sure.  I liked having the help, and the accountability is more helpful than you can imagine.  With someone waiting for you at a set time and day at the gym, it’s a lot harder to blow it off.  With someone telling you how many of which exercises you’re supposed to do, and not feeling sorry for you when you whine and whimper, it’s harder to slack off once you’re there.

Of course, there were some draw backs as well.  Tawaiin’s measure of my success was my weight and measurements.  There’s a whole elaborate set of measurements that they take every three weeks to track your progress.  I suppose that makes sense from a tracking standpoint, but it didn’t matter to me, weight loss wasn’t my primary reason to be there, and toward the end, I found that I was dreading going on the days that he would take my measurements.  My goal was to get stronger, have more endurance.  I’m not sure about the endurance, just yet, but I definitely got stronger, even just working with him one day a week.

Of course, I see a difference in how I look.  My waist is slimmer, my chest is less “moob”-like (that’s man boobs for anyone who doesn’t know.)  There is the slightest of diagonal lines running from my collar bones to my armpits and slightly less slight diagonal bulges running around the outside of my upper arms.  This is good.  I wouldn’t dare say I’m looking buff, far from it.  But this is good.  Imagine what I could have accomplished with twice a week sessions… or, you know, working out any other day of the week.

I couldn’t afford to see Tawaiin twice a week, and sadly, I never really learned how to work out on my own.  For the last month or so, I only went to the gym on Monday’s.  Not getting my money’s worth and not getting the maximum impact.  Nonetheless, I lost twenty-eight pounds; I don’t know how many inches; and four or five percentage points in “BMI”.  When I started, I was fully entrenched in the ”NOT HEALTHY” section of their chart.  On the last night, he took measurements and I was .01% below the “NOT HEALTHY” section in the “Acceptable” category.  I would have to lose another ten percent to fit into the “Fit” category.  I don’t know if that will ever happen.  I did build some strength and endurance, and for that I am grateful.

A few years ago, I signed up for a program through Men’s Health Magazine called The Abs Diet.  I really liked it because it took all the guesswork out of everything.  Computer generated, but fully customizable, weekly meal plans, daily work-out routines ready and waiting, progress tracking all right there on the website.  It was great.  It is for a fee, but it’s a pretty reasonable fee for what you get (about $15.00 a month.)

One of the new features since I last signed up for the program is a support section, a community of users in a forum and a personal journal which can be kept private or made public… Kinda like a blog.

Anyway, I wrote this, this morning and frankly, I don’t think I can sum things up any better than I did:

Yesterday was my first day of my second go round with this diet.  I did the Abs Diet for several months a few years ago.  I liked it and did fairly well with it without going crazy with every little detail.

I really enjoyed having the meal plan laid out for me without having to put much thought into it.  Each week, I printed out a detailed list of meals and a grocery list to accommodate those meals and, bam!, my thinking was done for me.  The part I struggled with was the exercise.  I never really knew what I was doing and my resources were limited.  I lived in an apartment complex with a gym, (now I live in a duplex) but it was a somewhat limited space and in the evenings it was too crowded to be able to make use of it.  I tried to make it in the mornings, and I did for awhile, but it was tough – I’m not a morning person.

(Full disclosure – I was also drinking pretty heavily and it was tough to make that fit into the plan and get up early enough in the mornings to work out.  Now I don’t drink at all, but I’m still not much of a morning person.)

I went on a two week vacation to visit extended family and didn’t work out a single day while I was away and I just never managed to get back on that horse when I came home.

I started that go round at nearly 290 pounds.  The lowest weight I remember seeing on the scale before I gave up was 254.  My weight climbed slowly – or rather, I thought it was slowly – and I was distressed but never motivated to do anything about it.  For the next three years my weighted fluctuated back and forth always climbing a little higher before coming down again and at my worst I was up to 309 pounds.

Through paying closer attention to what I was eating, eliminating Alcohol from my life and trying to be more active in general, in my daily life, that number came back down to about 288 pounds.

Last year, I decided I wanted to consider a career change and become an Emergency Medical Technician.  The field fascinates me and I’ve got some work experience that lends itself in that direction.  I looked at what they have to do, and I looked at my own condition and knew that physically, I can not do it.  I can’t lift the amount of weight an EMT has to lift and I don’t have the stamina to do a physical job all day long.

In October, I joined 24 hour fitness.  In November, I signed up with a personal trainer.  I worked out with him once a week.  I would have liked to do more, and he wanted me to do more, but it was simply too expensive to do more than once a week.  I’ve gotten own to 265 pounds.  Last week was my final session before the funding ran out.  I couldn’t afford to go back again.  I want to go back as soon as I’m able but it’s insanely expensive and I really don’t know where I’m going to find the funding to pay for it.  And then I remembered the Abs Diet.  I remembered the step by step outlines of what exercises to do and what food to eat and everything.  So I signed up again.

Yesterday was the first day.  I printed out my meal plan and my work out plan and set about making it work.  It was a little tough. I’m a big brother and I spend Sunday afternoons with my Little.  We went to a miniature golf/go kart/arcade/etc center.  Fortunately, food never entered the equation yesterday, but it was five hours out of the middle of my day and I didn’t manage to fit my afternoon “snack #2” into the day.  I went to the gym in the morning, later than I had wanted to.  I thought if I could get there early enough, the weight room wouldn’t be terribly packed and I could figure it out.  I realized, only after I got there and started reviewing the paperwork, that I really didn’t have a clue what I was doing.  The machines all look like medieval torture devices and there are limited, if any, instructions.  I ended up faking most of the exercises using the Nautilus type equipment at the other end of the gym that no one wants to use.

I know that I was better off using that equipment than not doing anything at all.  I also know that a leg press is not the same as a squat and that I won’t get the same results by doing different exercises than what the program prescribes.

I like today’s prescription.  Walk for 45 minutes?  I can do that.  That was always my favorite part from the last go round too…  I’m hoping that tomorrow, I can get into the gym super-early before work and fumble around like an idiot with some of the torture devices– er, weight machines and figure out what the hell I’m doing.

I walked in there yesterday telling myself not to worry about the other people and what they might think looking at me as I screwed everything up, but apparently, I didn’t listen.  I know that if I can just acclimate myself to how it all works, I’ll be fine.  It’s just the acclimating that’s proving to be difficult.  Here’s hoping for a better outcome tomorrow.