Ups & Downs

Last week was a tough week mentally
Had a lot of issues to work thru

I mentioned that I was talking to a girl last week (gasp)
I am still talking to her
It is amazing what talking to someone can do for you
She was surprised that she rated a mention
After talking to her for a while I am glad to mention her :)

Friday I went to see my counselor
He reads my blog
He asked a question that I tossed a knee jerk response to
Didn't think about it but just spouted it out because it was the "right answer"

The question he asked was "What will you do if your pictures don't show any improvement?"
He had seen that I was worrying about it
My immediate response was that I would just look at my performance improvement and be satisfied

The question kept percolating in my brain over the weekend
The answer wasn't satisfactory for me for some reason
I couldn't figure out why

This morning while I was working out I had an epiphany

What will I do if my pictures don't show improvement?
Will I quit?
Will I toss in the towel?
Will I give up?

I know I won't
So if I won't quit or give up, why am I worrying?
What I will need to do, is to look at what I am doing and see if there is something I can change

My initial answer was legitimate in a way but totally way off in others
My performance, body shape and blood work are all measurements but they aren't the true goal
Doing the right thing for myself is my improvement, not the measurements
Doing the right thing for myself is my goal

So, no, I will no longer be worrying about whether or not my pictures show any major improvements
I will no longer be worrying about whether or not I improve my workout or not each week
I will no longer be worrying about improving my blood work measures but will do what I can to make changes to improve them to be healthy

I will keep doing the right things for me because they are the right things to do

My goal is to do the right thing because it is the right thing, not just to improve some measurement


Take a Chance

I want to clarify on my earlier post
It applies to all my posts really

This blog is here for me
It listens to me
It forces me to organize my thoughts
It makes me put them in some sort of order
Those thoughts and emotions are what I am having at that time
What I am dealing with

When I type them out and put them on here it is like someone taking the monster out of the closet and exposing it to the light of day
It is my way of acknowledging the bad feelings about myself
Acknowledging the emotions that I am dealing with at the time
It is a way to process thru them
Some can talk their emotions thru with a friend
Right now, I don't have that someone

Some hold them in and they will eventually cause harm to those people
Harm that has to be dealt with at a later time in order for them to move on and grow past the feelings/emotions

This is my way of dealing with emotions and feelings that are coming up wtih my journey and life right now
Of dealing with old emotions and feelings that become exposed by my journey of growth
Of exposing them to healing light

I have been told that this blog is motivational and inspirational to some
That also inspires me to write
If I am having feelings of past failure, current failure or worry about future failure, then I am sure someone else will, is or has felt the same thing
This is my way of paying forward the love and support I am getting by writing
If this helps you, inspires you, motivates you or even reminds you of what you dealt with and made it thru then hopefully at some point in the future you will be able to help, inspire, motivate or remind someone

No matter where you are in your life, you aren't alone
It might feel that way
You might believe that completely
You aren't alone
Sometimes it is hard to see that person that is there because you have your walls up
I did that for years
I hid behind walls, I existed, I wasn't living my life I was existing in my life

I am taking those walls down
I will live my life fuller than ever before
I will probably be hurt by someone in the future because of it
But I also might find and be loved deeper than I have ever been loved before
I am making that choice
I am taking that chance because the choice and I am WORTH IT


Mentally in an odd place now
Not sure why

Things seem to be going well
- Workouts going good
- Talking to a new friend online. She and I seem to be getting along well. Meeting next week. I can tell we can be friends for sure and maybe more.
- Making headway at home in getting the house cleaned up
- Food choices are pretty good and fairly clean
- Miss my dad but know that I need to keep going

So why can't I get rid of the feeling that something is going to go wrong?
So why can't I get past the point that when I get good things that they are going to be taken away?

I know this feeling
It is when I have stopped or quit before

I want good things in my life
I want health
I want love
I want happiness

Why can't I get past the feeling that something is going to go wrong because I don't deserve good things?

Why can't I get past the feeling that no matter how hard I try that I won't get to keep good things in my life?

Why can't I get past the feeling that I am not good enough?

Why am I having such a problem believing in myself right now?


Live or Hide

Everyday you take 1 step closer to dying
You can either try to hide from death which also hides you from life
Or you can realize, embrace and live your life

Last Friday I went to the service for my father
I can choose to hide and shelter myself or not choose which is the same thing
Or I can choose to use this to wake me up to do the things that make me happy, that let me make others happy and better

The best legacy anyone can leave behind is for people to say "He LIVED his life and made others lives better, they were better for knowing him"

I am better for having known my father

Some people have told me I need to take time off
To heal and mourn
To shelter myself until I can come out stronger

I have thought about the idea
I can't do it tho
What I choose to do is to heal myself by getting healthier
What I choose to do is not feel sorry for myself but to celebrate my life and the legacy of my father
What I choose to do is to push myself and make myself better

Right now I am in my strength phase of my working out
Saturday after the internment I went to the gym
I had to push myself to my breaking point, pick myself up and do it again and again
I broke down into tears at least 4 times while I pushed myself harder than I have in a long time or even ever
I used that emotion to push myself and drive thru the pain
When I was done I was amazed
Where I had been doing 4 sets of 6 at 45lbs/hand with dumbells I finished by doing 1 set of 3 at 80lbs in each hand
Where I had been doing 4 sets of 6 squats at 70lbs I went up to using the 100lb dumbbell then using cables up to 200lbs then finally to doing a regular deadlift with 1 set of 3 at 277.5lbs
Where I had been doing 4 sets of 6 pull downs at 90lbs I managed to get 1 set of 3 at 200lbs (form suffered at that point tho)
Where I had been doing 4 sets of 6 with 50lbs of curls I managed to get 3 reps at 110 but suffered with form so went back to doing sets of 3 with 100lbs and had several sets

Yes, I am proud of what I did

I was thinking about a phrase used by some
I decided what that was going to mean for me
Every day I will strive to live my life to the fullest
I will work on myself to make myself healthy
I will open myself to more experiences
I will do my best to not say "NO" automatically but at least think about it

I am making progress in getting my house cleaned up
Throwing things away that I don't need
Making progress every day
Even if it is just a small change
My goal is to have my main floor cleaned up so company could drop by and I wouldn't panic or pretend I am not home
I am giving myself until Memorial weekend to be done
This won't include the finish work on the kitchen (paint walls, trim and new flooring)
I also need to get a new bed so will rearrange my bedroom

I joined a dating site
I am trying to get used to not getting responses
I think it is rude but I guess that is the way it works
Maybe someday I will get a response that says "Yes, let's talk"
Might try a different site that is more selective in matching people up

Pictures in 10 days
In some ways I am looking forward to it but in other ways I am nervous
I am worried that there won't be any changes
I feel that I am improving but it still scares me that I won't see it
I think that would be the hardest thing to keep me motivated thru

Overall, I am doing ok


One of the Longest Weeks

Last week I posted about how I wanted to be the best I could be
How I wanted to get healthier and stronger
How I needed to deal with the pain of not feeling good enough

Little did I know that on Tuesday I would get a phone call that put a lot of things in perspective
I get a call from the VAMC at 14:12 saying that they had gotten a low blood pressure reading from my dad while he was on dialysis
When they checked they found him unconscious and no pulse
At the time of the call they were trying to revive him
I sent an email to my boss, started shutting down my pc (I was at work in Red Wing. 57 miles away) and got out to my truck
I called my brother and sister and then started driving
While driving I was on the phone a lot talking to family
I had to struggle to not speed, even using cruise control at times
I knew it would be over, in 1 way or another, by the time I got there

I got the word while driving, forced it actually since my brother was at the VAMC already and getting frantic, that they had stopped trying to revive him
I was both devastated and relieved at the same time
Devastated that I had lost my father
Relieved that I wasn't going to have to make the decision to pull the plug if needed
He had a DNR, machines only long enough to get family there, do not maintain on machines to maintain a vegatable state

It has been a long week since
I have struggled to eat right
I struggled to get into the gym
I even struggled to take my meds and even when I did they weren't on time

Wednesday I didn't go to the gym
First time since I had started going
I am ok with that
I don't think I even need to forgive myself since I know it wouldn't have been good
I was in no shape mentally to go

The rest of the week was bad eating for me
Not too much of things I don't normally eat, only some, due to schedule
What I was eating was enough to add to the stress and make me feel sick
I asked a great friend to help me out by cooking up some whole chickens I had bought and didn't know when I would be able to deal with them
Didn't want to waste them and it gave me something to just grab that was healthier

Friday I told myself I needed to go to the gym
Several reasons
One was to help relieve some stress
Another was to help burn off energy
And one I have learned about myself, I could not let go of the momentum I had

I had a counselor session scheduled for Friday afternoon already so I obviously went
We talked a bit about a lot of things
When I mentioned my going to gym, he commented that I didn't need to push myself to go
I told him that I had to go
I had made a vow to myself to make a change to my life
To live it fully and do the things I needed to do to make it healthier
I also knew that, given the choice, my dad would want me to go
I needed to keep that momentum going becuase I knew the last thing my dad would have wanted was to use his death as an excuse to stop going
The longer I was away the harder it would be for me to get going again
I know that about myself

I have had people tell me that my journey inspires them
That blogging and telling people about my struggles and victories helps them
What people don't realize is that they can be an inspiration for someone else too

I think that is the best legacy someone can have
For people to say about them: Their life inspired someone and made the world a better place

I posted a couple things on FB but I will post 2 things here that meant a lot to me before and now mean more
I want to live my life by these 2 things
Poem by Linda Ellis called _The Dash_
Song from the movie _The Bucket List_ by Tim McGraw called _Live Like You Were Dying_


Will I ever be good enough?

In Dec 1987 I had surgery for testicular cancer
I spent the next year trying to recover from multiple surgeries and radiation therapy
I was in the USMC at the time

I worked hard to get into shape and lose my excess weight
I was big and over limit
I had been that way even before the surgery but it got worse after

I was hitting the gym occaisonally but mostly running
I was up to 45 miles a week
I was able to do a ton of situps and pullups
My PFT (Physical Fitness Test) scores had me in the top % of USMC fitness
But I was too big for them

I could run 3 miles in 18:35 and 10k in under 43 minutes
I still wore a size 42 pants tho
Which according to the USMC wasn't skinny enough
My CO got me discharged for my weight

I started reading Real Strong
It made me start to realize how much that had affected me and my image of myself
No matter how hard I had tried, how strong I was and what I did I wasn't skinny enough to be good enough for them
I was and am still a Marine
I earned that title and am proud of it
But I wasn't good enough for them
They kept a drug user over me so my not being skinny was worse than being a druggie
I really didn't realize just how much latent anger I had
I really didn't know how much it hurt
It is something I will have to work out now

I started this blog to help me get better
To express where my pain, struggle and issues are
I don't know that I will ever get to the point where someone would use me as a poster child for motivation
You know, those super in shape bodies that say "Keep going" so you can be like them

Fine then
I won't be that poster child
What I am going to do is this: BE THE BEST I CAN BE
I doubt I will ever get a 6 pack or single digit fat %
I am now coming to realize that shouldn't be my true goal

I am going to get stronger
I am going to get healthier
I am going to be the best I can be


How am I doing it?

In 3 months I did this

I did it by eating things like this

and getting my butt in and using these (3 1/2 weeks so far)

Eat real food
Avoid starchy vegetables, grains, sugars and legumes
Eat a lot of leafy greens, colorful vegetables, fish/chix/grass fed meats

And then get off your ass and lift
Forget the running
5lb of muscle is a lot more dense than 5lb of fat

1lb of muscle burns an extra 50 calories a day
So converting 5lbs of fat to muscle means 250 calories burned a day

Running is NOT a good fat burning method
Women (and men) WILL NOT bulk up by lifting unless you really try
Remember Linda Hamilton?

And you know the biggest thing about all of this
It isn't a diet that I can't sustain
This is a life change


Improvement Steps

I was reading one of Robb Wolf's articles and decided to grab some of it and then add to it some of my stuff

I am going to modify what Robb Wolf said slightly since I can't use his first person for myself

7 Steps to Success

The program that Robb Wolf laid out in his book is pretty solid and it was born of observing people both succeed and fail in the attempt to change their lives.

Here are the broad brush-strokes of what you need to do to change:

1-Clean out the entire house. All the crap get’s bagged up and donated to charity. The crap you are trying to justify saving for the kids will undermine your efforts, follow the program.

2-Go shopping. Use his/a shopping and food guide and go get some chow. A lot. Learn to cook, use the food matrix.

3-Go to bed early. In a dark room. Repeat daily.

4-Get some exercise. I (This is me saying I too) do not care what kind. Make sure it is appropriate for your fitness level. I (This is me saying I too) personally like lifting weights (muscle helps insulin resistance and burns calories), but I’m just kind of a meat head. Do what you like.

5-Do this for 30 days. Change takes time. Patterns establish with repetition. Most psychology gurus say we need to do something for 21 days to affect change. Fine, we’ll go 30.

6-Track progress. He describes how to do it in his book, I provided a reminder here(robbwolf.com/2012/02/06/paleo-diet-am-i-losing-enough-weight). If you ask me about your weight, we are going to have a hell of a problem! (My personal opinion is to put scale in closet or donate to charity)

7-Report your experience. (Find a group/friend/FB group)

Personally I will add these (And don't do them more often than every 4 weeks)

1-Do a workout as a baseline to come back to later and see your improvement. Something like 20 pushups, 20 situps, 20 squats and 20 lunges for time. Keep track of how long and how you felt.
Do it again after a month of working out. Did you improve? If so, You FRAKIN' IMPROVED. Own it. Strut it. Test again in 4 weeks.

2-Take measurements. All over. Ankle to neck. Get a friend to help if you can. Not over clothes if possible.
Do it again after a month of working out. Did you improve? If so, You FRAKIN' IMPROVED. Own it. Strut it. Measure again in 4 weeks.

3-Take pictures. In your undies. Front/Side/Back. Pick a spot where you can duplicate the lighting, your position and camera position. If you can find a friend/family/group to show the pictures do it. It is called accountability.
Do it again after a month of working out. Did you improve? If so, You FRAKIN' IMPROVED. Own it. Strut it. Take pictures again in 4 weeks.

No improvement?
Honestly did you stay on program?
You can lie to everyone including yourself but your body will know and show better.



This weekend I made some food choices that wern't the best choices I could have made

I had been craving some foods
I ignore cravings normally
I can just skip by them in most cases but if they have been hitting me for a while I will sometimes just go for it
I went ahead and made the choice to eat stuff that I knew wouldn't be good for me

I felt like absolute crap this morning
I kept having excuses run thru my mind this morning
Reasons I could avoid going to the gym
Running Late/Feel Bad/Work Issues/Tired and Sore/Rest up for trainer on Wednesday
The general phrase for these mental gymnastics is called "Fuckits"

When feeling Fuckits you have 2 choices
Accept the feeling or Work thru it
This morning I went ahead and worked thru it

I went to the gym
I had already changed up my workout in my workout book
Today, knowing I was behind anyway, I knew I had less time to work
So, I used lighter weights, kept the reps and took out the rests
I got pissed and I pushed it as hard as I could
Finished 10 min faster, exhausted but not as muscle tired as normal

On a different note
I have found that using protein powder with some glutamine help with recovery and DOMS
I take a bottle with the powder and add water at the end of the workout

4 farm eggs
4 slices of farm bacon
several cups (uncooked) of sauteed spinach
1 medium organic tomato

I love eating healthy

I have to call doctor
Almost out of Asparte and don't have more until Apr 17
Not sure I will make it
Using less but still need it to keep sugars down

Looking to open a spreadshirt shop
I have made a couple inspirational picture things
People like them
Might be able to sell them
Would be nice if I could