Category Archives: achievements

My (still) Large Tail and How I lost it…Part Two, Three years later…..


MY WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY (You really don’t need to read Part one)

 

I grew up overweight. Ever since I can remember I have never been in shape. Even though I did run track for about six months, very slowly, I was always large. At seventeen, I was five feet seven inches and 200 pounds, with a large spare tire – just not on my car. I am sure the Gatorade and candy bars I always bought at the little store up the street never helped anything.

This never really went away, a companion through my 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. It stayed with me through all those years, through thick and thin, usually thick. I think the most I weighed in at was 280 pounds.

It was my life style that was slowly killing me. I smoked up to or over two packs of cigarettes a day, ate fast food like it would not be there tomorrow. With working as a cook, in retail, as a courier and even a Security Guard…there was always junk food around – until I saw it. And then…when I got home it was time to cook something easy for dinner. Packaged chemicals wrapped in pretty boxes that claimed to be delicious and easy. Well…they were easy.

I knew I was overweight and it did bother me. I tried a few diets, too much work and too much exercise. Yes…I admit; I am the type of person that buys a piece of exercise equipment to watch it magically turn into a coat rack.

Due to rude kids, I knew during my school years, I was always concerned with how I looked, actually – I still am. But all I did until I was about 45 was fake it. I didn’t plan it, but I eventually saw a Doctor for the first time because of my gall bladder.

Along with other tests he did, I discovered I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a high blood sugar count. Borderline diabetic he called it, 99%. He was adamant that I was going to die soon. (I know it was just a ploy to fix myself.) Or course he gave me medication to cover the first two, but the “eating less sugar” was going to be difficult because there is no pill for that…yet.

Starting around 2010 I tried a few different diet books, I read Dr. Atkins book and all about the Sugar Busters. Still too much work, but I tried very hard to eat right and stop eating all the sugar. The most difficult part was – and still is – the last. It seems that everywhere I have worked as a Security Guard they have an unrecognized weekly or daily event celebrating Security Guards. That is where you are invited to take part any time they have a big dinner or event at the place you are working by bringing you the leftovers.  It happens more than you think it would.

I still didn’t eat right because of day to day temptations and my weight went up and down so much it made me dizzy.

Two things happened in 2014, I went to King’s Island for the first time in about ten years and discovered that all the best seats on the rollercoasters were made for people with a lot less fat. The second thing, my wife had her blood tested for the first time in a while and the results were not good. The Doctor told her the same thing, “If you don’t lose weight and eat right you will die.” Then he told her about a book called The Fast Metabolism Diet. When she came home she asked me to check it out – since all I did during the day was sit around the house and play video games or watch TV.

I did as I was told, I read it. Two things stood out that I knew my wife would not like, giving up cigarettes and caffeine. But we did, because this was a simple plan. It was hard work only on Sundays when we prepared our meals for the week, but it worked. I lost 80 pounds during that first year and it was to the point where we could do the maintenance phase of the plan, eating right; organic, no chemicals, no sugar, healthy fats. I still had fat to lose, but we were doing water instead of Diet Cokes, Diet Mountain Dew and coffee. We also moved from smoking tobacco to vaping (that’s a story for another time), and then something happened.

My schedule changed from 1st to 2nd shift and we began to eat wrong again. No more meal planning, a stop at a fast food place once or twice on the weekend and I started the Monster craze. At least I drank the ones without calories or sugar, but it was still unhealthy. I went from 175 (my lowest recorded weight at that age) to 185, sometimes hitting the scale at 190 then dropping back down. Cravings for peanut butter chocolate shakes from our local UDF or the occasional doughnut always were too tempting, so were all the left overs I was offered from people I worked with.

As to my overall health, I stopped taking the high cholesterol and blood pressure meds my doctor prescribed, because those issues had disappeared. Because of eating right for as long as we did my health was improving. But I had to get back on track, and I knew – or at least thought I knew – what I had to do. Once I controlled the temptations surrounding my everyday life my weight stabilized at 185, yet my doctor still considered me obese.

In 2016, the end of June, my life took a turn I knew would happen eventually; my mom was hospitalized and it wasn’t long before she passed away at 86. She had heart problems, high cholesterol, blood pressure, CDOP and a host of other issues. Her osteoporosis stood out the most in my mind, because I had it as well.

During my half century of life, I have been bounced around in numerous car accidents, slipped and fell hundreds of times, knocked down the stairs by 40 to 100 pound dogs – now my bones and joints were paying the price. Not to mention my short-lived experience with roller blading… (Another story for another time…ok, I will mention it. Went out twice, the second time I crashed and burned, tearing my meniscus in the process. After the surgery and when I could walk, I gave them away to my next-door neighbor.)

The last time I fell, 2015, I injured my back so bad I went to see a chiropractor. This was the third one I had ever visited and it never failed that after a visit I would feel worse than I did when I went in. After full body x-rays my fears were confirmed; a compressed disc in my lower back – L4 & 5, a bulging disc in my neck (it was so bad I did not have full motion), both my knees were almost bone on bone, and I had the beginning signs of osteoporosis. I knew that last part because of my clumsiness I always looked down as I was walking anywhere, it takes training to break old habits. My visits to the Chiropractor lasted a month.

In September of 2016, I heard about a new Gym in town. I have wanted to try one out, and figured I could get in shape, shaving the pounds off as I worked at it, but my wife was right. The problem with a gym membership is you get tired of doing the same thing all the time. Or at least I knew I would. But this new place, called Orange Theory Fitness seemed a little different. Their trainers and small one hour classes took a much better approach than your basic Gym. It is High Intensity Interval Training with a focus to stimulate your metabolism, increase your energy and provide group support and accountability. The main theory, that I liked, was if your heart rate stays up in the 90% range for most of the hour you can burn more calories when you are stagnate. And as I Security Guard I was idle a lot!

I signed up for a free class and spent an hour working out like I never worked out before. Now I had watched videos on work outs, tried the whole Pilates thing (that was a big mistake for my bones) but here, the trainers pushed me to my limit and I felt like I was tortured. I had spent the last hour using muscles that had laid dormant in my body for decades – and they all screamed at me, ‘What the F… are you doing?”

I figured, if I survived that one little hour than I could do it again…I may need a little time, like 48 hours, but I could do it. I signed up for three classes a week. True, my body was sore for a while, but I was back at it three times a week every week, pushing myself to my limit, but not over doing it. The awesome trainers they have love to make sure your form is right as you pump iron and do body weight exercises on the weight floor. Form is everything, even on the rower. Since I do normally walk a lot in my job, the treadmills were going to be easy…or so I thought. Push pace was a little rough at first than I figured it out. It’s all on the incline.

I do have to admit that after four months of doing this three times a week, I was not disappointed when the weight did not melt off my body. I felt better, had more energy, (still did three to four Monsters a day) and I was stronger. My normal aches and pains were no longer bothering me to the point where I couldn’t move sometimes. Now it was sore muscles, but they don’t stay sore for very long.

(April 3rd, 2017)

In January of 2017, someone heard I drank 4 Monsters a day and she handed me a Spark to drink instead of my regular Monster and I felt it was a challenge when she asked me if I was working out 5 days a week. Honestly, I did not know that was the membership I had purchased, but since then, I am there, 5 days a week, pushing to the all outs.

She also introduced me to Advocare. Now I had tried the diet pills, the diet shakes and all that other stuff…they never worked for me. But these products work. Now, as of this writing, I am 174 pounds, feel better than I have ever felt about myself. Yes…my back and knees still hurt daily, but not as bad as before, and I have full motion in my neck.

I have always been the type to avoid medication, corporate drugs and other things that have enough side effects and disclaimers that can kill you before you get better (IMO), however, these are healthy vitamins and minerals that help your body do what you want, lose weight, feel better about yourself and give you energy. I participated in the last 24 Day Challenge and lost 5 pounds and 10.5 total inches. I’m ready to do another one.

And last but not least….Before and after using Advocare products:

7 x 7 Link award


It’s been a while since I have blogged, so this one must be special. As I was catching up on all the blogs I follow as much as I can, my fingers found Jennifer Eaton’s blog, which I have followed since I discovered her and back a little. She received yet another award last week (Sorry I am late ringing your bell) called the 7 x 7 link award.

This doesn’t have a lot of requirements so I suppose I am worthy enough to achieve such an honor. The rules of this are as follows,

1)      Thank the person that gave you the award. This was an easy issue which I have solved in the first few seconds of writing this masterpiece.

2)      Write a post about said award. Umm, okay.

3)      Answer 7 questions about yourself. This could really get me in trouble.

4)     Link to
7 of your own posts: Most Surprisingly Successful, Most Underrated, Most Popular, Most Beautiful, Most Helpful, Most Controversial and Most Pride-Worthy. Oh no! I hate homework.

5)      Pass the award along to 7 bloggers that you think deserve it. Decisions decisions.

Thanks Jennifer! Her blog is full of helpful hints and tips on writing. Her style is just perfect and I really love the cute little pictures she puts in it. If you haven’t met her go over and read her series on The Gold Mine Manuscript. That is what started me reading her and it should do the same for you.

In case you didn’t realize, I am writing a post about the award at this very moment so I will skip this part of the requirements.

Oh boy…I’ll be right back, need to figure out some questions. Feel free to hang around here until my return…

Okay, I’m back. Sorry it took so long—slow computer.

SEVEN QUESTIONS ABOUT YOURSELF

Favorite color:  This would have to be purple. Or maybe black. Tough decision.

Favorite number: This would be sixty-nine. The reason is…it was a good year, yeah that’s it. It was a good year.

Favorite passion: That would be s….never mind. Since I have an addictive personality this changes from one thing to another on a constant basis, presently it is a game that isn’t a game called Second Life. (Normally, I would link this but I can’t because I am at work and the site is forbidden. DAMN!) After that it would be writing and reading.

Favorite day of the week: Right now it is Monday because I only work four hours. This is bound to change on any upcoming schedule.

Favorite alcoholic drink: Long Island Ice Tea

Favorite non-alcoholic drink: Do they still make those? The correct answer is Raspberry Green Tea, I almost drink more of that than I do coffee.

Facebook or Twitter: I use both about the same, these are easy to become so addictive to I try to stay away from them so I check them a couple times a day. I always throw every blog I read onto Twitter and Facebook and stay away from the silly games as much as I can. (To become addicted to something I actually have to like it.) Other than that I share, like, and retweet what I can.

Seven Posts in the following categories:

Most Surprisingly Successful: Actually, this was just a General Update about my progress in writing life and other adventures.  6 views, about as many comments.

Most Underrated: The Weeding..or something like that. Was the result of entering a  contest over here that everyone seemed to like, and the comments were very positive, but I think they forgot to hit the “like” button.

Most Popular:  This one didn’t surprise me at all, my Ships Of the Line for the Star Trek blog fest got 36 hits and 30 comments.

Most Beautiful: In looks my obit for Ch Lajosmegyi Bator Bulcsu would not be considered beautiful, but I still feel sad when I read it.

Most Helpful: This was a little hard to choose, but I figured that my post on The weekend movie list: was the first post that helped people save themselves from seeing those movies.

Most Controversial:  I don’t really do controversy, maybe that’s why a lot of my ratings are low, but I have a few in mind that will be causing a lot of fireworks in my house.

Most Pride-Worthy:  Am I allowed to pick the same one twice; my favorite is Ships of the Line. Well in case I am not I would say it is this one.

I will agree with Jennifer that this is a cool thing to do, go back and look at your old posts, figure out which one fits best where. But it since I only have 67 posts I didn’t have to go back very far. But if by chance you are reading this and wondering about who I am giving it too, here it comes:

M Pax has been a wonderful commenter, she actually has two blogs out there, one is way over here. I guess that doesn’t count as two, the rest of these inspire me.

Who Am I? | Official Site of Alex Laybourne – Author

ELLIE GARRATT

Kait Nolan | Action packed paranormal romance

Penny Jar | Memoir. Growing up only as the youngest of 9.

Novel Girl | Clear writing advice, comprehensive book reviews, & author interviews

J.J.Brown Author

These blogs have inspired me and taught me. Have a look and see what you think..

Mission Complete. What’s next?


To be honest I knew I could do it, it only takes the commitment to write, which I should do more of anyway.  The main issue, all the errors in it, I will tend to eventually but the important part now is to finish the actual novel.

It needs major editing and a little revising. When I became stuck I went off in a whole other direction. (Don’t you hate it when your characters don’t do what you tell them to do?)

But the important thing is I got past 50,000 words and I am close to an end.

I would like to thank my wife, who allowed me to take the time to write and did a lot of pushing to get me to finish—threating me with torture and other unspeakable acts does wonders for my incentive. Also my thanks to the kids for being quiet sometimes even if they looked at me like I was from a different planet when they were informed of Nanowrimo. Sure, they laughed when they saw me sitting in my office with my earplugs in—but they knew why.

I did attend three write-ins at the local iHop that went rather well—some of the group seemed a little distracting, but I managed. It did feel a little weird showing up there every Friday night with a gaming laptop.

During my down times I did get some very helpful advice from other bloggers, most of them were posted over on Kait Nolan’s site. She has a lot of great links that writers of all genres should check out.

Another one that is worth the visit is Emma Darwin and her blog, This Itch of Writing.

Now it is time to come to an ending on To Die A Slow death (It almost sounds like a Bond novel) and then the editing.

It was fun and kept me out of trouble. Now comes December, National Novel Editing Month, Na-No-Ed-Mo, and time to dust off my Chicago Manual Of Style.

To Die a Slow Death; The Catastrophe of Cataclysm. Part 4


Thanks for coming back for the forth and final part of my history with World of Warcraft. Sorry it took so long.

Brilance and Brallinoth soon followed the success of my Warlock hitting level 80. My Hunter, Drushi, was still stuck in the Outlands. Except for the Death Knight, these were the characters I made in my first month.

The grind continued, when I didn’t get bored with my Hunter I worked on getting him to 80. Every once in a while I would get tired of WoW and experimented with other MMORPG’s like Eve Online, Star Trek (which I couldn’t wait to play and sadly wasn’t pleased with), Lord of the Rings (another disappointment) and Rift. None of them compared to WoW, and I always came back.

One of the greatest things about World of Warcraft was the lore. In WoTLK the questing and dungeons were immersed in it. The normal quests of gathering supplies and odds and ends with a lousy drop rate were still there, but they were always the same quests, always the same dungeons. Even with the guild I joined things were going a little slow and it was beginning to deteriorate.

With all my travels to different realms, and my habit of starting new toons when I got bored, it wasn’t hard to notice that things changed. The beginning areas, where everyone went from level 1 to level 10, were easier. Someone took a nerf stick and started tapping at the Tree of WoW. It felt like they were making the whole game simpler for people that never played MMORPG’s, like me when I first started. As bad as I was at playing this game I really didn’t think it needed “fixing.” The idea of upgrades is to make the game better not easier, in my opinion anyway.

Just as I was getting fed up with the game, they decided to announce Cataclysm. In this expansion everything changed. The story goes that a giant dragon escaped imprisonment and scorched Azeroth, changing it forever. It also introduced two races you could now play, Goblins, for decades they worked with the Horde as indentured slaves. When they get the chance to make their own name in the world they take it. The other race was the Worgen, a werewolf type race that came out from the scourge attack on Gilneas. I wasn’t as excited about this as I was WoTLK. However – when I heard they were taking applications for Beta testers I jumped at the chance.

Two months before its release I was playing it. In less than a month I got a toon Worgen from level 1 to 60. Next was moving Artlu over to the beta server and I took him from 80 to 85. I enjoyed being a beta tester – where you give your thoughts on the quests and notify Blizzard of any bugs, and there were a lot of bugs. I was beginning to think that Blizzard was getting it right this time. The greatest new thing they added was the ability to fly on your own mount in Kalamador and the Eastern Kingdoms, where you leveled from 1 to 60. It came with a hefty price. The starting out quests in Gilneas were fun, a little easy to figure out. I was surprised at all the people in chat asking where everything was. I also started out a Gnome and worked my way out of the startup area. I played the beta for about a month before it was shut down to get ready for the release. As much as I disliked the first 80 to 81 leveling area I worked through it quickly, and the next and the one after that…and so on. There are a lot more breadcrumb quests now, taking you from one place to another, along with the usual delivery ones – now to a NPC standing ten feet away.

A few things that I loved about Cataclysm: the art work and the new profession of Archeology. Here was a gathering profession that no one could swoop in and grab from

One of the best new areas of the game.

you at the last minute. Speaking of the gathering professions, now you earned experience points from the herbs and ores you gathered. These are radical changes – since those are points you use in leveling you could go all the way to 85 just gathering things, but it wouldn’t be much good at getting reputation points and take way too long. There was that nerf stick again – it seemed to be doing more harm than good.

Soon after Cataclysm came out – I moved everyone I could to a different realm to meet a more mature guild – I got tired of the idiocies of the young.

I don’t know why, but after the grinding of dungeons and everything else looking for better gear, I have finally given up on this game. I will stay away until they put down the nerf stick – it isn’t making the game better. It feels like they took a huge nerf stick and beat the tree of WoW to a bunch of splinters.

I can still play till the middle of October, I don’t think I will. I did jump on to clean up a little; I’m down to two realms and eleven toons, including my originals. If I ever decide to go back, they will be there and I shall dust them off and try to remember how to play them.

But until then, rest in peace WoW, I’ll find something else to entertain me when I need a break from the real world.

A year of what?


What a year.

I couldn’t help but notice that most of the writers I have met through twitter are celebrating the end of the year with blogs of note worthy happenings of 2010.
As I sit here in my little guard shack thumbing through them I began thinking, what note worthy thing have I done?

And the question still lingers, waiting patiently for an answer.

I have published a book after saying I would for the past twenty years. Can we say procrastinator?

I quit smoking after trying for thirty years. I do enjoy a pipe in the evenings, it helps relax me.

I haven’t killed anyone this year no matter how much I wanted to.

Unlike a lot of people I have met at work, in the guise of a security officer, I am still here. What comes next year is fate. Some of them I will miss others I only wanted to shoot. Not to kill. Suffering is good for the soul.

And as I always do I have made more than one person smile or laugh, either on purpose or accident.

I know it doesn’t seem like a lot but the point here is that I did something.

As for 2011, well I would love to publish at least two or three more books, actually selling one or two would also be nice

Weight loss is heavy on my mind lately; (Sorry about that.) I got down to 190 once, for a few hours.

I don’t really make resolutions because I never keep them unless I make one not to make resolutions.

These are my goals. I’m happy with what I have done in 2010 and I have made my wife happy by not killing her kids and I do hope to continue that next year, since them moving out is probably not an option at this point.

What I am worried about next year: very soon we will be losing someone very close to us. That will be hard. And I am not sure if I will be working where I am next year or next month.

Fate has a way of surprising you when you least expect it, but like always we will conquer whatever comes up.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERY ONE!

May you conquer your fears, respect your peers, and always smile and act like you are enjoying it.
PS, I was thinking about posting a celebrity death list but I think that would be too morbid and I am sure someone else will do that.

Okay, I couldn’t resist. RIP;

2010 Celebrity Deaths « CBS Los Angeles- News, Sports, Weather, Traffic and the Best of LA