Category Archives: knees

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:

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You did What?


Okay, I admit, was a little stuck on today’s entry, so I goggled blog prompts and found this, Imagination Prompt Generator It asks questions to get your juices flowing, I think I went through 10 before I came upon “What have you done before that you will never do again?” This caught my unwavering attention for two reasons, 1) A woman and I were discussing this topic just the other day, and 2) If I have an excuse to make myself look silly, I’m going to take it dammit.

Please enter my time machine.
Ten years ago, I found myself single and looking for love in all the wrong places, or at least the wrong web sites. Also included in my search for the perfect mate I tried to get back into shape. Driving on the road for nine years, stopping at all the fast food places I could (they should be called FAT food) and being married with kids for 22 years had a measurable effect on my waist line.

During my search, I began talking to a woman that had rollerblades and actually used them, three times a week. A light went off in my head and I immediately wanted to try this.
Part of our gym class when I was in high school was roller skating and the only difference was the position of the wheels.

The next day, I stopped at a used sport store and bought a pair of inline skates, the salesman was kind enough to throw in a helmet, elbow and knee pads. He wanted to sell me a DVD on how to rollerblade, I declined because I watched this stuff when they had it on TV years ago.

That weekend, I contacted my newest conquest friend and asked them if they wished to meet me this Saturday down at a little cement trail the city had built just for this type of insanity.
She laughed, I went by myself.

Once parked in a nice safe spot, I changed into my inline skates; knee pads, elbow pads and the helmet that made me look like one of the aliens from that Sigourney Weaver movie.
I started out a little shaky, trying to keep my balance as I circled my car, using it for support. After I got the balance thing all good I started pushing away from the truck and eventually made it to the three foot wide cement path. The ground was nice and even, no cracks, just a smooth blacktop trial heading off into the distance. I began at a safe speed and eventually worked up to an almost faster speed when I realized that the people ahead of me were dropping off the edge of the world.

“Darn, a hill!” I think I used another word there. Once I reached the top of the hill my momentum carried me over the top and straight down. At this point in my life I really didn’t want to watch it all over again so I turned into the grass and discovered how to stop safely. (The ground was very soft there.)

Once back on my feet I continued, by now I was soaking wet from sweating like a pig being led to slaughter. As I gained on a couple ahead of me, they were walking; I breathlessly asked them how long this track was.
“Six miles,” he said, “you’re about half way through it.”
I think the shocked expression on my face scared them because they began to run, real fast. Just about then, I wished for a lasso.

I plowed on, my legs and back wondering if they lost communication with my brain because they were screaming in agony. I didn’t even bother looking at my watch, but after what seemed like hours of torture, (imagine watching Jerseylicious) I saw the area where I parked my truck.

If my legs didn’t feel so numb I would have started dancing.

As I began the last 100 yards of the journey an older woman, maybe in her late 50’s slowed down and asked if I was okay. I told her I wasn’t sure because every part of my body was numb.
She told me to keep moving but start to slow down. I figured I wasn’t in hurry so why not.

Taking almost baby steps, I continued. Five minutes later a black SUV pulled up beside me, I thought for sure it was the government coming to arrest me for impersonating a physically fit inline skater. It was the woman that passed me a few minutes ago and she told me to get in.

My mom always told me not to get into a car with strangers, but my mom wasn’t here. I opened the door and hopped, err crawled inside, directing her to where my car was parked.

I thanked her as I fell out of her car, asking for her phone number on the way out. I was surprised I got it, but she told me to call her when I got the chance.

At least there was one positive note about my experience, and it wasn’t over yet. After I got home and staggered up the steps to my apartment, I collapsed on the bed. It was only 11am.

I woke the next morning, my body trying to remember how to walk. Muscles I didn’t even know I had screamed out in unison that I really shouldn’t move as I crawled into the bath tub to soak in a hot pool of water.

Two days later, most of the pain was gone and I decided to give it another try. But this time I played it a little smarter; I went to a local a park that had a one and a half mile trail. Once suited up, I pushed off and sailed down the first hill. As I rounded the top – I lost control (If I ever really had any at all) and ran right into the grass, tumbling about 20 feet.

I laid there for a second, testing my body to see if I broke anything, then looked around – good – no one saw me. I continued on the rest of the trail as my knee began bothering, but I assumed it was only old age. I did have one problem when I went down a very steep hill and saw a crowd of people standing at the bottom. I just yelled, “Move out of the way, I don’t know how to stop!” That emptied the trail very quickly.

When I managed to get back to my truck I sat on the tail gate and removed the skates and then the knee pads. That was when the pain hit me, like a ten pound sledge hammer hitting my knee over and over. I managed to hobble to the driver’s seat and thanked God that I didn’t have a manual transmission. The pain was in the right knee so I very carefully drove with my left foot. This took a little getting used to.

The next day, I wasn’t any better – it had swelled up three times its normal size so I had a friend take me to the doctors. It turned out I tore my meniscus in my knee. That required surgery and two weeks of recuperation.
I threw away the roller blades. I’m not touching those again, I wasn’t born with wheels on the soles of my feet, so I would I need to add them.

That’s mine, so tell me, what have you done before that you will never do again? (Don’t worry, I won’t tell a soul.)