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Sex and Chocolate and 10 Fitness Tips

Sorry for my whiney-a$$ post last week. It was a tough week. MFP is a where I get my support. It’s a lot cheaper than a shrink. So, thanks! BTW - I had another ER visit yesterday and this time they put me on muscle relaxers and a new painkiller.

I fell asleep drinking coffee.

I have been on MFP for a long time and made some real-life friends. A few of them are on my favorite call list on my phone. A community is a good thing. Most of the struggle with more than fitness. In fact, some of that struggle may be behind our poor eating and fitness habits.

But this isn’t a therapy session.

I was thinking about the things that help me stay on track with my fitness. The truth is, some days I don’t feel like doing the right things. Interestingly, it is the running (cardio) that helps me maintain my emotional health.

Sex and chocolate also help.

For decades I was depressed. I even took medication on and off for it throughout the years. I had one that I took in the evening. Mostly I just liked that it made me sleepy. Before that it was alcohol. Sleeping was a depression escape for me.

Running changed all that.

I used to pray that I would feel better. I used to feel depressed when I got up. In my late-40s I started to be physically ill. I tried some weight loss stuff and even worked out. I got hurt at the gym and had rotator cuff surgery. I also got PF from bad running shoes.

I stopped exercising, gained a ton of weight, and felt like doing absolutely nothing.

Then the congestive heart failure and the lifestyle change. Here are 10 things I do to stay fit.
1 - Make a meal plan for the week
2 - MFP friends
3 - Schedule my runs in the calendar
4 - Keep my running gear where it’s easy to get at (but doesn’t stink up the house)
5 - Portion sizes
6 - Food scale in the beginning
7 - Coffee
8 - Lots of water
9 - No cheat days! There are enough holidays and celebrations for the whole year.
10 - I still pray.

There you have it. Did I miss anything?

I Need a Break!

I think I deserve a break in life, but I guess am not going to get one - yet. Today is rather emotional for a lot of reasons - I am hanging on as I work from home - in my underwear, which are clean.

It's the little things.

For over three weeks now, I have had persistent headaches; some so severe that I went to the Emergency Room twice. Round one's diagnosis was viral - well after they gave me a CAT scan and ruled out an aneurysm or stroke. There was a battery of tests for tick- and mosquito-borne diseases. So, I left with painkillers, a $100 co-pay, and not much else.

No answers. All tests negative.

Round two this last Sunday came up with a very different diagnosis. Cervicalgia. It sounds sort of like a nonsense word from a Mary Poppins song. I had all the symptoms right down to night sweats and pain so bad it made me nauseous. They took cervical x-rays. Son a gun, some of those poses hurt like hell!!

I'm though, but this one beat me.

I now have new medication (steroids) to fix me up and I'm continuing the Nsaids. I also have a referral for an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in spines and neck injuries. I have been this route before with both my knee and my shoulder. Steroids, PT, probably an MRI and who know what else they'll want to do after that.

I am tired of the chronic pain.

I have been running as much as I can despite the weather and the headaches. I am even tired of thinking about much of anything. My head hurts. Last night I sat down to relax. There hasn't been too much of that lately if you have been keeping up with my escapades.

I rarely watch the news anymore.

I got a weather alert about flooding in our neighborhood on my mobile. We flipped on the TV and then checked with the neighbors. They filled us in on the details of living on the waterfront. We made a plan for the cars in case the parking lot flooded at high tide. It made for shallow swimming and bathing for some local birds the day before.

Then I received another alert: the governor proclaimed a mandatory evacuation for us.

I didn't even get to sit for an hour. My wife and I packed and made arrangements with some friends to get to higher ground. We also booked a hotel just in case. That was a fiasco on the hotel site as they were "sorry you just missed it" one after the other. Trying to find one close, not too expensive, and on high ground. I was really on the edge.

I was angry. My head was pounding. My wife talked me off the ledge. I got it done.

Laying down, I decided to read a little. I needed to do something. I found this article about myocarditis. "My Flu Symptoms Almost Led to Heart Failure." I had it in 2011. I spent a week in the cardiac intensive care unit.

I confess, I broke down.

Then my Apple Watch displayed the Breath app. I wanted to throw it in the f&^%ing ocean. I had another call for work, then I went an lay down again. I did breath -

I still need a break.

Today is 9/11. I knew families of some of the those lost. I missed my run in the 9/11 Memorial Park today. I am sad about.

The sun was out, but now it has started to rain. Soon it time to get in the car and head out.

9/12 - I didn't even get this done. The good news is that the forecast has gotten better and, although we are still leaving, it looks like primarily a rain event with some local flooding.

I have a few doctors appointments, and I am considering a leave of absence from work. I just want my life back.

The Real Me

I know that some of you missed my posts and others sent messages to see how I was doing. Thank you! It has been a really tough season.

It has been tough to stay fit as well.

Five weeks ago, my wife and I left our apartment where the psycho landlord lived downstairs (who we had to take to court for harassing us). We felt safer in a hotel. Needless to say, moving is hard enough, harder when you can't park a truck to load it.

Hotel living isn't all that great and your food choices are pretty much out of control.

The stress, lack of sleep, long hours trying to manage work, moving, logistics, housing, and stay sane wasn't easy. All this led to an unhealthy lifestyle. I started skipping runs, finishing meals at a restaurant which I usually would have brought half home...

You probably think I am going to obsess about weight gain. I did gain a few pounds. OK, 10.

It is worse than that. Two weeks ago, I ended up in the ER with a very serious viral infection; not unlike the one which caused me to have congestive heart failure 2011. This one, decided to produce stroke symptoms. 

Painful. Scary.

They rushed me in for a cat scan. Scared my wife. Fortunately the severe headache, one which made it so I could hardy see, was caused by something less damaging than a stroke or aneurysm.

Some pain killers and I was much better.

I turned 60 in the middle of all this. I am still in a hotel part-time (still working in MA), but we finally have a home in Virginia. That is a dream come true.

When I am there, I get to live on the water.

So what's the moral of the story? You have to take care of yourself. If you don't, you'll get sick. If you don't work on being fit, you'll get sick. Maybe not right away, but sooner of later.

Be fit. Don't get sick.

If you like the blog, please give it a vote! Share the URL if you can. MFP has taken blogs out of the mobile app and mobile website Community. If you are not my friend, it's unlikely you'll see them unless you are on the web version of MFP. You can also check my profile or bookmark this page. It takes 20 votes in 24 hours to make the Top Blogs which is only available on the desktop version.

Why Can't We Just Accept It, That...

You've met them. Some of them are your MFP friends, and others are in real life. They are people who can't see that they are in trouble with their weight and ultimately their health. And worst of all, you could be one of those that continue to give yourself permission to avoid the reality.

You know that you are in denial when:

- The doc says you need to lose weight, and you think, I don't look that bad.

- Your insurance company gives you $600 a year in savings for doing their health rewards program and you think about all the food you could buy with it.

- You buy a selfie stick to get the best aerial shot for your Facebook profile pic.

- You say that if God had wanted you to exercise and touch your toes, He would have put them higher up on your body.

- Your favorite pants don't fit, and you blame your spouse for washing them in hot water and then drying then on high.

- You go to the coffee shop and tell the cashier the coffee is for you, and the donuts are for your pet Fighting Fish, when the truth is it's the other way around.

- You go to an "all you can eat" restaurant or buffet because you have invested in their stock.

- You eat whatever you like because you get a lot of exercise - pushing the buttons on the remote.

- You heard that there were two pieces of cake in the fridge, and think how sad it is that you missed one.

- Instead of looking at the size tag on clothes, you look to see if it has elastic.

- You kick the scale, well, because it's a scale damit.

- All your vacation photos at Disney were taken at the Food Court in Epcot Center.

- You get flowers and chocolates from an admirer and throw the flowers out.

- You eat because, well, your mouth wasn't that busy at the time.

- You are out of breath just thinking about exercise.

- You go to weddings because the cake is free.

- You tell yourself this is the last pizza... today...

- You try to do a push up and discover that a number of body parts have not left the floor.

Mostly in jest... just coming back from a couple of weeks being pretty sick. 

Thanks for the votes and comments.

Friend me at your own risk.

How Pathetic Am I? You Decide!

If you've read any of my blogs, you know that I am pretty pathetic. Whether it's at the gym, out running around my home (actually I need one of those) or at the race course, I do so dumb stuff. I have a long pathetic history and doubt much will change soon, if ever.

I am the person that causes others to say, "you won't believe this!"

Here is my most recent Top 10:
-1 Instead of pinning my race bib (number), I pinned my glove to my race shirt at my last 5K. (Sandy will remember this!)
-2 I put a pathetic race shirt (which I designed) on backwards.
-3 I forgot my running shorts and ran in my tech long underwear (guys with a fly hole) at lunch. Instead of being embarrassed, I was a little bummed that no one beeped and shouted about one of my body parts.
-4 Dropped my water on the treadmill and turned it into a lawn sprinkler.
-5 Went to work and forgot to pack a towel in my gear bag. Yes, I used a lot of paper towels. Ummm... on 2 occasions.
-6 I forgot to put a hair comb in my bag. I had a meeting with the VP of marketing not long after my workout.
-7 I left my bionic running clothes in a hot car for 5 hours.
-8 The same hot car melted my deodorant stick and Body Glide.
-9 Told my oldest daughter about dork move #1 above and she told me she had 2 different color gloves on.
-10 My youngest daughter overheard us talking about #9 above, and admitted she had pinned her number on upside down at the 5K on Saturday.

There you have it. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. And the most pathetic thing of all? This list took less than 5 minutes to write.

And a final warning. I ran a race with a friend from my run club. We are sort of close to the same pace, so we see a lot of each other during races. She has caught the pathetic runner bug from me. It appears that after 5 steps her bra malfunctioned and she had to run an entire a 5K like that. I just hope that I am not in any of her race photos. 

Thanks for the votes and comments.  (Please vote, otherwise MFP does not pick them up.) Please feel free to join us in the Pathetic Runners group on Facebook. There are 11,000 of us.

25 Reason You Might Not Have Logged In

As of today, I have been on MFP for long enough not to read the message boards any longer. I don't log food so much anymore. Why? Because I know how many calories everything that I eat is. Some days I have new dish and I will log that. Last night is was chipotle shrimp and sea scallops with a little Spanish rice and refried beans with green chilis.

I weigh myself every week!

I read that some of my friends have not logged in for x amount of days and I wonder why? None of them make excuses online, so I can only imagine - and you know my imagination.

1. You left your Smartphone at a bar, but can't remember which one.

2. You know which bar, and you are embarrassed to go pick it up.

3. You are no longer with us because you were harpooned on the beach by Asian whalers.

4. You dropped your Smartphone in the toilet while going #2 before your weigh in.

5. You were abducted by aliens and forced to ride what you thought was Space Mountain until you threw up. Since then, anything with a screen is terrifying.

6. You didn't pay your cell and cable bills.

7. You got your headphones stuck in the treadmill and you are still there.

8. You had to move back in with your mother and there is no cell signal in the basement.

9. You actually have a job where you are required to work, and it's not near a computer.

10. You got a new PC and forgot your password.

11. The dog ate your Smartphone.

12. You couldn't type in your password on the Smartphone, so you smashed it.

13. Someone hacked your account and gained 122 pounds on your behalf.

14. You're mad because someone told you NOT to eat your exercise calories.

15. You're mad because someone told you TO eat your exercise calories.

16. You were mugged by a chocolate cake and are being held for ransom.

17. You were hoping for a better description in the "Describe the Person Above You" thread.

18. You broke both your arms pole dancing.

19. You ran a marathon and took a wrong turn.

20. You're wedding day came and went.

21. You're new lifestyle doesn't include social media.

22. You became and expert nutritionist.

23. You took up smoking and don't know how to log it.

24. You reached your goal and no longer need support, or to support us. :(

25. You gave up, which really hurts our feelings. Now you are a loser.

Why do you skip logging in?

Thanks for the votes and comments. (You can do both!)

Friend me at your own risk!

How Do You Play the Game?

As a life-long New Englander, I am pretty blessed when it come to sports teams. I onlly like hockey and Facebook after the Patriots get in the Superbowl.

Neither team is in its season.

I am pretty sure I am leaving New England and moving somewere I can't use my hockey equitment. It's a game I grew up playing and with my fitness resurgence, I started playing again. For now, I will look forward to running and playing the calorie counting game.

So how do you play the game? Here are a few thoughts.

- Think fitness, not weight loss.
- Think inches, not pounds.
- Think about what you are doing right.
- Add new foods first.
- Replace old foods second.
- Schedule your workouts.
- Start slow and move towards the goal.
- Reward your success.
- Confess your failures.
- Get proper equipment! (Running shoes fitted by a running store, bike fitted by a bike store! New TV remote, etc.)
- Get a few cheerleaders!
- Do it for yourself.
- Set goals. This is tough one. What is a good and achievable goal? What if you don't make it?
- Change your goals if you need to.
- Stay away from bad influences! (or shoot them!)
- Get enough friends so you enjoy your journey.
- Read success stories!
- Don't give up!

That's what I have, what did I miss?

Thanks for the votes and comments! (You can do both!)

Have You Made a Goal?

When I got here, I had a goal of getting thin. I didn't really know how to connect my idea of thinness to my reality. I just wanted to be thin. I imagined myself when I was skinny. I know some of us were never skinny, but I was.

I have made all sorts of goals, and even acheived some.

Ealry on, I wanted to be in onederland, and I made it there for a few months. Before I had congestive heart failure, I wanted to run a 5K. I thought that would be no problem. Even after CHF, I worked at C25K. It took 8 months.

Then it was a 10K and a half marathon - and finally a marathon in 2013.

Sunday night I waited to sign up for the Tokyo Marathon. Spots go quickly, and despite haing a 30 day window, they are gone in days. Four of us were online to make it past the high-traffic errors as registration opened up. Julianna got in first. Susan was second, and I never even got a page nor did another friend. Working via phone and text messages Susan completed the pre-entry phase. Julianna got snagged somewhere in the middle of that trying to pick a charity.

When I finally received the pre-registration email, I was able to link to the charity donation creation site.

It was clunky and slow, (My internet was out, so I was using my mobile hotspot.) but I created a donation page. In order to register, you have to meet your donation goal before you can become a runner, so I tried to pay that in advance. The credit card company decided that my card was purchasing a fraudulent product, so it was declined. I borrowed Ruth’s card which was also declined. Fortunately she got a fraudulent activity alert which she could approve on her phone app.

I resubmitted the payment of 100,000 yen.

Next, I received an email saying that my donation had been received and if I wanted to be a charity runner, I had to go to the marathon registration site. The registration page would not load the first couple of times I got there; when it finally did, it did not offer the United States as a country of origin.

I the midst, I had to scramble to find my passport in order to complet the form.

After a few minutes it finally cooperated and I was able to get to the registration confirmation page. When I went to submit the payment for the registration fee, the website gave a 500 error. Fortunately a couple of refreshes of the page and it successfully posted the payment and sent me an email receipt. In all I received nine emails during the process.

So yeah, I am in for Tokyo on March 3, 2019.

Thanks to those who helped me get in the door, and the rest of you for your ongoing support of my world majors challenge with cancer. This will be my last world major, and if you’re not familiar, google "Abbott world major six star medal." If you’re into bling, this thing is the size of a dinner plate.

Some of the most inspirational words I received this year. "Your position as a charity runner in Tokyo Marathon 2019 has now been finalized!

After Kicking the Scale Across the Bathroom

Some days I need to win. Well, after all this BS with doctors and food, and trying to run, guess what? The effin' scale started paying attention. Since I got back from London a few months ago, I am down from 217.1 lbs to 206.9.

You do the math.

My clothes fit better and my running seems better too. In a few days I need to register for the Tokyo Marathon which takes place next March. I need to be great shape for that - an no I don't mean round! I am working on my speed and not dying in the heat for right now.

I have also been working the food portions like a boss.

I am working towards running 100 miles a month, though with all that is going on with our move, I probably won't make it for June.

I am looking forward to being moved and settled in somewhere in the USA by the end of the summer.

I have to see the gastroenterologist today. Despite a lot of stress with moving, I feel lke I have the medication worked out as well, as it has been in a couple of years. That sure makes running easier.

That's it for today. Pack my stuff, see the doctor, get in a run, watch the food portions and work towards the life I almost stopped dreaming of.

Today Is My Someday

Some days I don't really know about life. I have taken a few hits in the last couple of years. Back some years ago it took a year to complete Couch to 5K. Most of you know that I have cancer and I am working through the treatment options visiting different doctors.

Cancer sucks.

In the past 4 years, I have lost a few days worrying about cancer. :( Then I decided to live. I tried to make decisions that would make me look back and say, "I am glad I did that." They were health decisions, relational decisions and spiritual decisions.

I decided that today was "someday."

If I were to make a list of the crap that has gone down in the last few years I would probably shoot myself before I finished writing it. However, I am focusing on my progress not my history. I have lost almost 80 pounds and went from a wheezing-fat-old-guy to a slimmer, fitter runner who can knock out a marathon.

How does one live with cancer? You live life on purpose.

You plan to do things you were putting off, and put off things you were planning that don't get you to your goals (in my case planning my dreams). You say I love you more and get a second goodbye kiss. You look up friends you haven't seen in a while. You shut out the people that minimize your feelings by saying, "It's early, at least you won't die.", "My dad had that an he was fine." or "My uncle had that an he died."

When surgery has the potential to reduce your quality of life instead of make it better, it's not and easy option to choose.

As surgery looms on the horizon, I am not thrilled - not even close. It's not like my knee surgery or heart surgery which made my life better. It's not the same.

It's scary.

As a runner I have overcome a lot. Most of it was mental. I just didn't think I could do anything - not a mile, not a 5K, and certainly not a marathon! I even had medication and doctors opinions to bolster my excuses for not trying. I found a hundred reasons to quit, and only one to help me succeed: a better life. How I feel at the end of a run is the only reward I have. It's not the bling, the cheering, the personal accomplishments, no it's how I feel.

I made a goal of running the 6 World Major Marathons and 5 are in the books!

I remember when a 5K was about as daunting a run as I ever thought I could face. I ran it. I am pretty certain I will be taking my stupid tumor to the starting line of the Tokyo Marathon in March.

I really can't wait!

For today, I am eating well, flossing my teeth, engaging my wife and kids, working, praying, and living in the moment. Tomorrow may never come, and I don't know if I've "got this". I don't know if I will win against the Big-C or not. I just know that I am looking forward to being with Ruth, hugging my kids, catching a little sunshine, making a co-worked smile, and letting the things of God swirl around in my spirit.

Ruth and I have decided to risk it all to move to a place where we can live out our last days. We should know this week.

In the mean time, I have I am looking forward to today. There will be running, coffee, sunshine, kisses from my bride, phone calls with the kids, and maybe I'll call a friend to say hello.

This is the day I was always waiting for!
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