Category Archives: goals

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:

Advertisements

I’m still alive and kicking


I’m still alive and kicking.

Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated. At the moment I am retooling “The Set’la” and I will be working on it as much as possible.

Life likes to get in the way but I think I have to set aside at least an hour or two daily for writing. The first chapter of “The Set’la” is ready, now I am working on the rest of them.

Last month, the wife and I decided to finally attack our pool with a vengeance. The dreaded Japanese boxwood shrubs now look like Bonsai trees. This did require the use of a chainsaw and my wife constantly saying, “Be careful!” For some reason she had visions of me cutting off assorted limbs that were not attached to the bushes. I don’t really blame for this since I am one of the few people she knows that can trip walking on flat ground. But I still have all my appendages and have come to the conclusion that at 55 years – my body is not use to hard labor. That’s why I am a Security Guard. The next step on the pool is replacing the lines and pool liner. This is a very expensive project but it must be done. Once it is finished we will spend more time in it, and be able to enjoy it more.

As for the writing – I must admit that the last review I received on the “Set’la” has discouraged me a lot from writing much of anything. However I am throwing myself back into as much as I can, my other short stories are being but on hold at the moment as I discuss the future of the book with a beta reader I have found.

Journey of Tara is still doing well, so far I have sold 97 copies in a little over two years and in the back of my mind there is a sequel trying to come out.

So with that said, I must get back to the editing world as I clip away at my book. Don’t worry – no chain saw will be involved in this process.

Thanks for reading, feel free to comment.

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.

Nanowrimo update


Just a quick note on my word count for National Novel Writing Month.  The distractions are still plaguing me. If the face it’s not 1 thing it’s another but I know these are just excuses I’ve been using on a regular basis. Lol. On the average I have managed about 10000 words a week and should hit 30,000 tonight with the write in at the local iHop.  Last week I got a little stuck so I shot my main character. Now I feel a little weird about doing thing like this because I never really wanted my characters to hate me. But there are surprisingly a lot of very helpful websites out there that give you great ideas on how to make your character hate you. Most of the ones I found came from links on Kait Nolans blog, which I will link in here later.
Im actually doing better at this than I thought I would do, but since I am nearing the end, I have to end it…somehow.
On a little side note, Scrivener for Windows was finally released last week, or the week before (I find it odd they did this just in time for Nanowrimo, but I went ahead and plopped down the not earned cash for it. It should help in the end. If you use Scrivener let me know what you think about it. I need to learn how to use it now.
Well I must get writing. I thought of some plot developments on my way into work this morning, so I have to remember then now.
Have a great weekend everyone and thanks for visiting.

Distractions….


I’ve had a few. (Why is Frank Sinatra running through my head?)

Distractions, as a writer your life is filled with them from the time you take your first sip of caffeine, or whatever beverage you are prone to drink, until your head hits the pillow when you finally go to sleep. Sometimes, they don’t even stop then.

Case in point, for the past four or five years I was distracted by a silly MMORPG called WoW. I had to pull myself away from this thing to write, which is what I love. Now I am suffering from an acute case of WoW withdrawl . I’m sure with the right medication I will be fine.

Monday I began a new blog entry that was originally supposed to be a five to six-hundred word essay on the new Fall TV season. I started at work and typed away until either the phone rang or I had to take care of other people’s issues. By 5pm it was up to 1667 words. That was perfect; I hope I do that well in November during the National keyboard replacement month. (Or would that be December?) We have to pound out 1667 words a day. All I needed to do when I got home was a little research on the net and a few more paragraphs, then figure out where to break it up and I would be fine. The plan was to finish it the minute I got home. After all, the step son would be in his room playing a game, and since the dinner was the step daughter’s responsibility this evening I had faith that I would be able to sit on the couch with my laptop and finish it up. As I turn the corner onto our nice peaceful little cul-de-sac I see not just one car in the driveway – but three. One belongs to a friend of the boy, the other to one of the girl’s friends. J, the step son, is pretty quiet unless one of his games gets him too excited and he starts screaming at his team mates. He is also a little deaf due to the whole portable music thing so the TV is going to be loud. L, the daughter, on the other hand is very hyperacctive and so are most of her friends. This was one of them.

‘Okay,’ I say to myself, breathing deep enough to inhale all the air in my van, ‘I can do this.’

One set of kids (young adults?) sit in the family room, TV blaring, watching old TV shows. Part of the other pair sits splayed out on the couch trying to beat a PS3 game while L is making noise in the kitchen.

Courageously I sit on the couch with my laptop and open up my newest word document. I should have gone up to my office, not realizing that the whenever the little horribly drawn cartoonish character on the TV died she would scream, and L would laugh. This wasn’t working. As much as I tried, my eyes would not stay on my monitor, they kept going to the TV. My mind thought it was a lot more interesting than the white rectangle on my desktop covered with black markings.

Before I realized what time it was, dinner was ready and I had to surrender my laptop so I could ingest protein. Once dinner was done, it was time for Terra Nova. Even though I do record it for later viewing L insists on watching it when it is on. Between the two of them I might have heard one or two lines of dialogue. I have never understood why people yell at the TV, it wasn’t the TV’s fault that the football player dropped the ball or the hero made a stupid wrong turn.  We all know there is someone on the other side of that door that he is about to go tthrough.

Too late to start writing again once it is over, and we head to bed. My mind shuts off and the next thing I know, it is Tuesday morning and I have to be at work in a few hours. Tuesday‘s are not too bad, slow and quiet. If possible I may get something written done, but still the distractions occur. Work does take precedence even over my writing. I don’t know why – but it does.

I was looking forward to the afternoon though – the kids would be working until 2pm and I would be blessed with at least three hours of quiet when I got home.

Once I had Star Trek: TNG up and running, sitting comfortably in my office with my computer slowly coming to life – the dogs decided they wanted some attention or a visit outside. They settled for the visit outside and it didn’t take long for them to start barking at something. I surrendered to fate and spotted the tiny icon on my desktop, a bronze colored circle with a big gold “W” in the middle. My mouse was pulled to the dot – calling at me from afar – one right click and the screen blazed to life with the music and design of World of Warcraft – and a small webpage opened up saying “I’m sorry, your account is expired. Would you like to sign up again?”

That stopped me and I came to my senses and quickly closed it – opening up my word document again. But that wasn’t the end, my cell phone went off with a custom ringtone, music and then the voice of Billy Currington singing, “God is great, beer is good…and people are crazy.”

“Yes mom?” I calmly answered…

Three hours later I hung up the phone and now it is time for dinner, TV, and then bed. The day goes so quick!

Now it is Wednesday, I haven’t touched that blog entry since 4:30pm on Monday. But I did manage to type 1034 words in less than ten hours
while I worked had some spare time on my hands (between the distractions).

I’ll get through November, with the distractions and I’ll do it my way. Or someone else’s way –

(Oh a Bunny!!!)

Life in the fast lane?


MOVIE: We had two movies on our list to watch this weekend, Friday was Little Fockers. To be honest, I was playing Civilization V and didn’t even watch the movie. The wife said it was cute. I always loved Robert Di Niro when he plays tough serious guys, and the humor he does in those roles makes me laugh, but I thought the first one was stupid and I knew this one would probably be worse. I find it hard to believe they made three of these movies. I never could get the humor of Ben Stiller and I simply hated Zoolander. I know sometimes a silly stupid comedy is what you need. I suppose this is something I never really got into. I have always gone by the theory that if a movie doesn’t make me laugh in the first ten minutes I won’t like it. Maybe I should change that to thirty. I bought Civilization two nights before just so I would be ready.

LIFE: Saturday morning, as I was trying to conquer the world instead of writing, my mom called and said she wasn’t feeling good so I took her to the ER, alone. To make a long story even shorter than it needs to be, she was admitted and is currently having a large amount of tests done to figure out why. The thing about Medicare is that since she doesn’t have to pay for it the hospital insists that they run every test they can, she doesn’t pay for it but they get their money either way. And they wonder why Medicare is having financial problems. She has improved since she has been in. This isn’t the first time she had heart issues that the hospitals never seem to find anything when she goes in. I was there from 10 AM until 5 PM, and I needed to be. When I got home – the wife couldn’t come because she was playing taxi service – we settled down and watched another flick:

MOVIE: Unstoppable (2010) is the tale of a runaway train speeding through Pennsylvania. (This is based on the true story of engine 8888 from the CXS stables which ran away in May of 2001. It traveled from Walbridge, Ohio to a town about 55 miles north of Columbus reaching speeds of up to 47 MPH.) This had enough nail biting suspense I had to stop playing my game and actually watch it. Chris Pine and Denzel Washington star as the two heroic engineers, actually Washington was the Engineer and Pine was the Conductor. (Is that type casting from Star Trek?) They ended up stopping the train and saving a city from almost total destruction. Type casting again? This is a great movie with enough action and suspense to keep your heart racing and your toes tingling. Writers did take advantage of a few plot twists I am sure, like making it go faster and carrying more than just two cars of dangerous chemicals, not to mention a steep curve they had to negotiate. I’ll have to dig a little deeper to find out more and wonder if my favorite line in the movie was real dialogue:

“How’s Will (Pine)?” Connie asked when he made it back into the cab.

“He’s ahh…He’s different. Over” Frank (Washington) replied perfectly straight.

Guess you will have to watch it. I did find this new clip from the real incident:

And this trailer:

TELEVISON: Sunday was a little different too. This time the wife was gone all day and I was stuck at home. You would think I would get more writing done wouldn’t you? I watched my Star Trek marathon; I’m just now finishing up the second season since the kids have an issue with Sci-fi, as I continued conquering the world on Civilization V. I think I have three more nations to kill before I manage it.

WRITING: As I might have mentioned in a previous post, I signed up for the NaNoWriMo, the grueling month of November when the only thing I will be doing is writing. I have three plot lines in mind:

1)      A sequel to Journey of Tara where Dirk and Tara search for someone behind the killing of thousands of people.

2)      A Sci-Fi story that involves time travel and dimensional shifts.

3)      A Fantasy that sends a Prince on a journey to find the murderer of a King that leads him into a land of dark black magic (maybe – I think this has been done before.)

One thing I have been trying to do is type at least 1667 words per day, that is what you need for 50,000 a month, and I got close Friday on a small piece I was working on, 1250 words. Need to do better.

As a side note, I would like to thank everyone that downloaded my books last week – it was a record breaking week for me and that always makes me feel good, as do positive reviews. (Hint) {If there are any negative reviews please send them to me so I can add comments as needed and I will return them.

Just kidding…

Really…

It was a joke. }

Answer me this;

Are you signed up for NaNoWriMo? I’m looking forward to it myself, just need to do it!

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