Giving Up on Giving Up

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Diamond Dallas Page has inspired so many people earth-wide to take control of their health and wellbeing.  He frequently tweets “If you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up.” (follow him @DDPYoga).  

Shawn Michaels wrote in his book Heartbreak & Triumph that it took him a few years after the birth of his child to give up on drugs and alcohol.  His painful journey and resurgence could inspire anyone to want to do better.

So what keeps holding me back?  I often have excuses. There’s always something happening that will cause me to not do what I know I should do – not just for my sake, but also for the sake of my family.  My wife.  My son.  My soon-to-be-here daughter.  I’m not living this just for myself, and I know that, and there’s not a day that goes by that the thought doesn’t cross my mind.  What’s holding me back is me.  

I want to do better.  I want my family to know that I want to do better.  Now I have to just prove it and do it.  

Hypertension

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I’m coming to realize that I have been insane. Insanity, as (erroneously) attributed to Albert Einstein, is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing for the last 16 months or so.

November 2012 I began a journey with DDP Yoga in which I managed to lose weight and improve my wellbeing. A few months later, I had stopped the workouts but maintained the nutrition piece of the program. But at this point that nutrition is a distant memory.

Now I am facing a likely hypertension diagnosis and I can feel the fatigue that it’s causing. My body is so tired and in constant pain. I’m in worse shape than when I originally started the program.

I must fix this. Nobody else can do anything that will fix me. I have to do the work myself and I have to start soon.

No more excuses. No more lying to myself. Thursday morning will be the beginning of a new journey that will be better documented and I am determined to be successful this time.

Let’s do this.

DDP Yoga Blog – Day 93: I Will Not Give Up

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It’s been awhile since I’ve written about my journey in healthy living. There have been a few hurdles along the way, but still I have managed to drop around 25 pounds in 90 days.  The key is not falling all the way off the wagon – in other words, if one of the three legs of the DDP Yoga program is temporarily weak, strengthen the other two.

In December, I had the worst sinus infection of my life, which put a serious damper on my exercising.  Since that time, both my wife and son have also had sinus infections.  In mid January, I seriously aggravated my injured back.  Shortly after, my wife seriously injured her knee.  I got better, and my back improved, but then we had a series of nights over a couple of weeks with extremely little sleep.  I’m already not a morning person, but after not sleeping much over the course of a few days, exercise took another back seat.  I was keeping up with the January WIT challenge and actually managed to hammer out real push-ups for the first time in 15 or more years.

I attempted the Diamond Cutter workout in late January and would have made it through had I not been interrupted by my toddler son.  He meant well, but it’s hard to work out with him playing under my feet.  Things were getting better.  My cardio was improving.  I could feel the muscles in my body getting stronger.  I felt pretty good.  And then it happened again – another back injury.  The back injuries are not related to the workout program.  My back feels great after a workout.  I’m not sure what is causing such frequent flare-ups, though.  I just know that it’s extremely disheartening to be having such issues so early in the program.

The way I’ve been able to keep things on track is by continuing to eat clean and healthy.  We’ve discovered an awesome local online farmer’s market through http://www.locallygrown.net.  We’ve ordered local produce for several weeks in a row.  I’ve developed quite the appetite for kale and greens in general.  The mere sight of a sugary soda makes me want to vomit.  Zevia, the all natural stevia-sweetened soda, keeps me happy on the soda front.  My wife gradually eliminated sugar from our home cooked meals and also from her tea.  Sweet tea is no longer appealing to me.  Please give me unsweetened with a side of stevia.

I’ve also continued reading on http://www.TeamDDPYoga.com and trying to keep up with the journeys of others.  Something that is a little disconcerting is that several folks who started near the same time as me have disappeared without a trace.  We’ve all had some hurdles – and will continue to have more hurdles – but nobody said this was going to be easy.  It definitely requires some work, and as I said in the beginning, when one leg weakens the others must remain strong.

If you’re reading this, please don’t give up.  Even when things get difficult or when life throws lemons at you, please keep on going.  Rocky Balboa said “It ain’t about how hard you can hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.  That’s how winning is done.”  I’m tired of being a fat loser.  I’m ready to be a winner.  I can see in the mirror how I’ve made some progress.  I’m going to keep on making progress.  I’m going to own my life regardless of the obstacles that creep up in my way.

What Terrifies Me? The GMAT.

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I am terrible at following directions and reading instructions.  That’s a major disadvantage in taking the GMAT.  The GMAT is designed to test how the test taker thinks and not necessarily how much the test taker actually knows.  That is fine – I am a pretty decent problem-solver.  However, in order to successfully conquer the GMAT and obtain the score I need (440, because a 433 is an impossible score and a 440 helps more than a 430) I must learn how to properly follow the directions.

The first several practice questions thoroughly stomped my rear.  The thinking I put into those questions was rendered worthless.  In another universe, my answers may have been correct, and in fact the work I put in was correct.  The problem was that I had not read the instructions correctly and thus I answered the wrong question.

Last night provided some better results.  I attempted 12 practice questions and managed to answer 8 of them correctly.  This weekend I will attempt a full practice exam and see how things go from there.

The biggest reason this is so terrifying is because there is a lot riding on my GMAT score.  I essentially have one shot.  Yes, I can take the exam again after 31 days, but the issue is money.  At $250/exam, I cannot afford to miss the necessary score the first time.  I never thought I would find myself going back to school for a Master’s degree, but it just makes sense financially and also helps to facilitate many of my family’s spiritual goals.  I have received a generous gift that is allowing me to take the exam the first time.  I hope the opportunity is not squandered away.

Every Day is a Brand New Struggle

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The last couple of weeks have been difficult on the exercise front. I had been waking up at around 5am to get in my workout first thing in the morning, but due to a series of middle-of-the-night sleep interruptions I allowed myself to get back into my old habits of sleeping as late as possible. “I’ll exercise tonight” became “I’ll get back on track in the morning” and until today it just did not happen.

Thankfully, on the nutritional side of things, I’ve been excelling to new heights. I’ve had meat very sparingly, and with the exception of one cheat meal (a free meatless pizza for me and my family) I’ve had awesome discipline. Thanks to that discipline, I’ve dropped to 310 pounds for the first time in a few years.

I wonder where I’d be right now if I hadn’t taken two weeks off from the exercise plan I had set forth. That’s enough motivation for me to get back at it.

Reflections of Things Left Unsaid: #2 – Manipulation

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I’ve lived with the lie for far too long.

In the fall of 2000, a particular female accused me of punching her in the stomach during an extremely heated argument at the end of Chemistry class.  She smacked me in the face a little and left some scratches, but it all cleared up in a couple of days.  What didn’t clear up were the whispers that I had maliciously hit a poor defenseless girl for no good reason.

I don’t remember what the argument was about, but it was well above the boiling point of my temper threshold.  I had a ridiculous shirt wrapped in a plastic grocery bag.  We were supposed to take some pictures of it that afternoon to list it on eBay (that didn’t happen, and I somehow still have the stupid shirt).  My temper got the best of me.  From a seated position, I threw the bagged shirt across the room in a fit of rage.  My hand never touched anything.  Whether that bag hit her in the stomach on its way across the room, I’ll never know, but I definitely did NOT punch her.  It was ok, though – most people knew she was a manipulative liar and believed me when I told them that I didn’t hit her.

Months later, somehow, I found myself on the receiving end of some communication from her again.  I didn’t really care at first, but eventually she convinced me to go to the mall with her.  Things started to get serious again, mostly because I’m stupid.  She said that she couldn’t trust me completely because I had hit her.  Instead of protesting, I apologized.  I lied to her to get her to falsely trust me again.  It worked, and everything was just as awful as it ever was until she started hooking up with a married guy 13 years older than she was.  I realize now that he was my escape from her, even if I didn’t know it at the time.

Over the years since, she and I were on again off again friends.  A couple of years ago, I just stopped talking to her.  She had manipulated, twisted my words and actions, put me down, insulted my entire life, and generally spit on me for the last time.  Sometime last year, she wrote me an email asking what she had done to make me not talk to her anymore.  I let her have it.  It was, so to speak, the figurative punch in the stomach.

If you ever read this, know that I apologized for something I didn’t do for the sole reason that I was bored.  I never hit you, and apologizing for it was a mistake.