Monday, December 29, 2014

There's No Place Like Home For The Holidays

Spending a week in your hometown, surrounded by your family and your old friends, can make you question who you are.  We all like to think that we know who we are, but it's not always easy. 

I'm charming.  I'm a nice guy.  I'm funny...

No.  I am hilarious.  

I am fairly confident in those things most of the time.  

Sure, I'm charming, but compared to my older brother Barkley, I am about as charming as a 3rd-rate used-car salesman.  Barkley is one of those guys who can talk to anyone, anywhere, about anything, and he is just incredibly likable.  In fact, I don't think I know anyone who has ever met him who doesn't like him.  When I'm around him, I still feel like the little brother watching carefully and trying to pick up a few tips.  

I always thought I was a nice guy.  After catching up with old friends on Saturday night, I learned that I was actually a terrible roommate to my friend William when we lived together during our freshman year of college.  I know he's telling the truth, but I seem to have completely blocked out that period of my life.  Apparently, while suffering through my first real breakup with my high school sweetheart, I was basically depressed and angry all the time.  It was actually very difficult to hear.  It is strange and disconcerting to hear someone talk about you in a way that is the antithesis of what you are used to.  It makes you question who you really are.  

I do know that I am funny.  I can make old friends laugh just as easily as new friends, and I can always make my family laugh.   Still, when I'm around people who have known me since I was a child, it is more difficult to tell stories and be in the spotlight.  It's not hard, but it is harder than usual. 

My brothers and my cousins don't see me the same way that my colleagues do.  My current group of friends don't see me the same way that my high-school friends do.  I don't even want to scratch the surface of what it's like to sit in a room with the girl that I was madly in love with when I was 15 years old, but let's just say that I'm an extremely different person in that situation as well. 

In the end, other peoples' perceptions of you can affect your own self-image.  I'm not sure why I'm even writing about this because I certainly don't know the answer (or even the question for that matter).  It has just been on my mind while I was driving ALL DAY LONG.  

I'm glad to be home and I'm looking forward to resuming a more normal schedule next week.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you all a Happy New Year!

* * *

I did surprisingly well over the holidays.  I averaged about 2500 calories per day, but I still only walked about 15,000 steps.  I lost 0.4 pounds.  I was actually hoping that it would be a little bit more, but I have to be happy that I didn't gain weight under the circumstances. 

I have lost 29.6 pounds total (in 84 days).

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Try To Focus...

This week required an extraordinary amount of focus.  Next week will too, but for a different reason.

Monday and Tuesday were normal work days.  Wednesday through Sunday, I had two weeks of work to do in five days.  I've done it before, but it is never easy. 

The hardest part of sitting still and being that productive is keeping your focus. It was difficult 10 years ago before social media and smartphones, and it is even more difficult now.  Still, I managed to get all of my work done so that I can take off for the holidays.  

While I'm in Louisiana celebrating with family and friends, it will be important to stay focused on my diet and exercise objectives. It will be easy to get distracted with all of the things there are to do (and all the food there is to eat). 

If I can just stay focused, everything should be okay. 

 * * *

Last week I averaged about 2500 calories per day, but I only walked 16,000 steps.  I lost 1.4 pounds. 

I have not been walking enough, but I have a feeling that's going to change next week when I am in the presence of my father who counts his steps religiously and averages over five miles per day. 

I have lost 29.2 pounds total (in 77 days). 

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Ground Is Harder When You Hit It At Full Speed...

Vince Lombardi said "It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up."

It was bound to happen sooner or later.  Something was going to tempt me at the wrong time, in the wrong place, and I was going to fall face-first off of the wagon.

Well, after ten weeks of staying the course, I finally tripped.  I consumed around 7500 calories on Saturday.  I won't bore you with all the details, but there was a buffet brunch, a road trip, and a Christmas party involved.  It was an all-out binge.

When I got home late Saturday night, I made the decision to fast on Sunday.  Please do not reply with comments about how I didn't eat enough calories on Sunday.  I firmly believe that occasional fasting is good for the mind, body, and soul.  I am in no danger of being malnourished because I fasted for one day.

That being said, the fast worked.  It was like detox.  I feel like I'm back on track even after a terrible day of excess.  It was fairly easy to right the ship this time.  I hope it will be a while before that happens again.

* * *

I made another unfortunate trip to the Friend Zone last week.

A few weeks ago, I ran into a girl that I worked with in the past.  When I say that we worked together, I mean it in the loosest sense of the word.  We worked for the same company in different departments and we never interacted with each other.  While we did know each other, we didn't hang out together.  We were basically just acquaintances who had the same employer.

I ran into her at a charity event a few weeks ago and we exchanged phone numbers.  I wanted to ask her out, but I didn't want to be ambiguous about it.

In the past, I have made the same mistake over and over by saying something like "I've been invited to this awesome event, would you like to be my date?" or "I have tickets to this awesome concert, do you want to go with me?"

I knew what I was doing.  I was being non-threatening and friendly (and trying to avoid instant rejection).  I was hoping that they would go with me (which they almost always did) and maybe they would fall for me when they saw how great I was (which they never did).

Not this time.  This time I was determined to be clear about my intentions.  This time I gathered up my courage, picked up the phone, and said the words "I want to take you out on a date."  I know that I said it right because I wrote it down on a note card before I called.

"I want to take you out on a date."

...AND she said yes!  What?  Did that really happen?  Awesome!

No... not so fast...

Unfortunately, the date idea was to go to an awesome event with a very exclusive guest list.  Maybe that's why she misunderstood me.   Five minutes into what I was certain was a 'real' date, she made an offhand remark about the guy she's been seeing.

I think you could actually hear my ego deflating at that moment.

I know one thing for certain about dating.  If she is talking to you about another guy, you are not on a date.  You are 'just friends' and (in my case) you're going to stay 'just friends' because she'll never see you any other way.

Needless to say, I 'm disappointed.  I was so sure I had been more transparent with my intentions.  In the end, I'm just too 'friendly' for my own good.

I am trying to focus on the quote from the top of this entry.  "It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up."  It's a little harder to do when it comes to romance, but my only other choice is to stay on the ground.

I don't like it on the ground.

* * *

Last week I averaged about 2800 calories per day, and I only walked 24,000 steps.  Nonetheless, I lost 1.6 pounds.

I have lost 27.8 pounds total (in 70 days).

By the way, THIS is what a bad day looks like when you count your calories...

Monday, December 8, 2014

When Opportunity Knocks...

Recently, I have been given some extraordinary opportunities to pursue a few lifelong dreams of mine.  It's actually quite overwhelming to be faced with such good fortune.  I am doing my best just to keep everything in perspective.

Doctor Oz, who is a frequent guest on our radio show, read this blog and asked me to write an article for his website.  It was a huge honor just to be asked.  I am writing this blog for very personal reasons, but it helps to know that people read it.  It helps even more to know that some of them actually like it.  I don't foresee this turning into a side job, but it is nice to know that I can still write.  I hope that my journalism professors and my high school English teacher, Mrs. Gibbens, would be proud.

Stand-up comedy on the other hand is something I have always dreamed of pursuing beyond parties and open mic nights.  I am not going to quit my day job and sacrifice everything in order to pursue such a career.  However, I have kept working on material and practicing my delivery just to hang on to the dream.  It's also a lot of fun.

Killer Beaz has also been a frequent guest on our show.  He has been my friend for over a decade now.  I have never asked him for help.  I didn't want to put him in that position.  However, during a show in Baton Rouge a few weeks ago I got the chance to open for him and he was impressed.  He invited me to open for him on Saturday and it went very well.  Now, I have a gig in Huntsville, AL doing stand-up comedy on New Year's Eve.  It's amazing how things can happen so unexpectedly.

I want to do all of these things that I enjoy.  I just can't lose sight of my goals.  I can't let food get in the way any more than it already has.

I didn't walk at all this week.  I'm not going to offer any excuses except to say that there just wasn't any time.  I know that's not good enough.  I have to find ways to exercise even when I'm extremely busy.

This is not going to be an easy journey.  Sometimes, it's important to remind ourselves of that.  If I lost one pound every week for two years, I would still weigh 240 pounds.  My life would be radically different.  It would be a vast improvement, but I would still not be done.

I would still be obese.

This is a marathon, not a sprint.  I need to just keep on walking and do my best to enjoy the walk...

* * *

Last week I averaged about 2400 calories per day, but I only walked 17,000 steps.  I lost 3 pounds.

I have lost 26.2 pounds total (in 63 days).

Here's a bonus picture from my stand-up routine on Saturday night.  I have no idea what story I'm telling in this picture, but I bet it was a good one...

Monday, December 1, 2014

Love Is All You Need...

WARNING:  I have been told that this post might be construed as a 'pity party' and that some people won't like it.  I am sorry if you feel that way, but that is not that way it is meant to be received.  The whole point of this blog is for me to write about what I am feeling and this is what I'm feeling.  So...

I've been struggling a bit lately with my 'singleness' (which I didn't think was a real word until spell check left it alone just now).   Yes, I'm lonely, but that's nothing new.  I have just reached a point lately where I really want to be in a relationship again.  It's been more than a year since I've even been on a date.  As much as I hate dating, it's a necessary step toward finding someone.  There is something holding me back though...

Most of my adult life, I have been fat.  So, it's easy to make the connection between my fatness and my troubles with women.  You try to convince yourself that it doesn't matter, but you know it does.  Other people, especially women who are not interested in dating you, will also try to convince you that it has nothing to do with your weight.  It has almost everything to do with it.

I say 'almost' because there have been a few short periods in my life when I wasn't overweight.  I didn't have any success with the ladies then either, but I should point out that those were brief moments in my lifetime of otherwise being fat.  So, it's easy to chalk up all my problems to insecurity and lack of self-esteem, which stems from being fat and being rejected because of it.

I won't even focus on the girls who rejected me from the beginning.  Let's just look at the one's who accepted me temporarily.  Every girl that I ever cared about eventually left me for someone who was in better shape.  That's just a fact.

The worst example is, of course, my ex-wife.  I actually got a warning from a friend of mine before we were married.  My friend, Mary Lynne told me that my then-fiance had asked her if she thought I was going to lose weight before our wedding.  My ex then said that she thought I needed to lose about 30-40 pounds before the ceremony.

Let me take a second to point out that if you don't think that's a terrible thing to ask, then just think of it this way.  What if a man asked that question about his bride-to-be?  What if he went to one of her friends and asked "Hey, do you think she's gonna lose weight before our wedding?  She really needs to drop about 20 pounds."  There's no way that conversation is not offensive.

It bothered my friend very deeply.  It bothered her so much that she told me about their conversation as soon as she could.  Mary Lynne said that she didn't even know why it made her uncomfortable, but that she knew that she needed to tell me.

I pretended that it wasn't a big deal.  After all, I did need to lose weight before the wedding, right?  I told her not to worry and I tried to forget about it, but it always lingered in the back of my mind.

My marriage had plenty of problems, but I know what was the biggest problem.  I gained weight.  In some ways, I think I let myself go because I wanted to prove to myself that she would love me no matter what...

She didn't.

I'm not just assuming that she stopped loving me because I got fat (or fatter).  She straight-up told me on more than one occasion that she stopped loving me because I got fatter.  It's very hard to be the best version of yourself for someone who doesn't really love you.

This is not a sob story.  I'm not looking for pity and I am certainly not looking for a phony pep-talk about how "it doesn't matter what you look like" because you will never convince me that is true.

The reason I am writing about this, aside from my goal of being honest about what I'm going through, is because I know that I have to come to terms with these emotions.  I read an interesting article about the importance of a 'feedback loop' in fitness success.  Basically, it says that you have to see 'fitness reward' that is more positive than your 'fitness pain' is negative.

In some ways, this blog is my feedback loop.  It is meant to keep me on track.  However, no matter how much weight I lose, or how much thinner I look, or how much better I feel, it won't be enough.  The number on the scale getting smaller can motivate you to keep going for a while, but it is not enough.

So, what do you want?  I want to be in a real relationship with a woman who really loves me.  I know that these two things (love and appearance) should be separate, but they're not.  I want to find love and I know that I can't do that unless I look better (and by that, I mean be thinner).

This may not be the best approach to fitness or love, but I'm being completely honest here.  I am doing this for all the right reasons, but none of those reasons will hold up over time.  The only positive 'reward' that will be worth all of the 'pain' is love.

* * *

Last week I averaged about 2400 calories per day and I walked over 40,000 steps.  I only lost 0.6 pounds, but that feels like a huge win on Thanksgiving week.

I have lost 23.2 pounds total (in 56 days).