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Self-Imaging

Do you remember when you first thought about losing weight? I was very obese weighing in at just about 300 pounds. I am 6' 1" but, according to my cardiologist, I should be closer to 190.

And this is why BMI is BS. ;)

I have a picture that was taken when I was 33. I looked great in that image! I stopped looking in the mirror after 41 years. I even shaved in the shower. I always had that skinny me pic as a fantasy. I still do. When I did look in the mirror, I was depressed. I had more than let myself go.

I really wanted to be thin, so I got to work.

I lost 20 or so pounds pretty quickly. I dreamt of running. I started the Couch to 5k program. Then I had congestive heart failure. That set me back.

I didn't quit.

I kept on working out, eating less, and running. As I started to feel better, I also started to look better. My self-image was changing. It was an important step to accept where I was while I worked for a future goal.

I had never really examined my self-created body image.

Speaking of body images, I had to get up at 5:30 to be at the MRI center for 6:30. My priorities were coffee, food so I could take my pain medication, and well, not wearing anything metal. This was MRI number 6. I know the drill.

It's not that I'm going for a record, but if I was, I am off to a good start.

It's warm here today, and it was flip-flops, a t-shirt, and gym shorts. There is something wonderful about being able to go around in public wearing your PJs. Just one layer away from the bed.

I was slid into the imaging machine like an <insert metaphor here>.

I don't really like the tube. I close my eyes, listen to all the buzzing and clanking, and try not to hold my breath. They clamped my head in something like an S&M mask.

It was white and not black. No studs.

They put the whip in my hand (emergency buzzer) and left the room. I tried to fantasize about something other being stuck in an elephant rectum. Is this what it feels like to be an earthquake victim?

OMG, I have an itch!

I start praying and 30 seconds in, I am pretty sure God is mad at me for something, I mean here I am in a tomb thinking about S&M. 

Ahhh, images of my wedding to Ruth.

The beach. Click, bang, buzz. Now I am pretty much terrorized. It sounds like GANGNAM STYLE! "Oh, God!" I cried out.

"Are you OK?" came the voice from the tube.

"Just fine, sir. I feel good about myself"

Results next Monday.

You Can't Outrun a Bad Diet

It's a huge battle which I suck at some days. I don't know about you, but even though I am not afraid of being mugged my a chocolate cake with vanilla icing (is this profiling), this effing food thing is tough. It does not care how fit you are, or what you do; when you consume more calories than you burn, you gain weight.

This should be easy-peasy after seven years. It's not.

Most of you know that since I first logged onto MFP I became a marathoner. I have run nine of them. The real deal, the 26.2 mile (42KM) kind! I have run about 90 other distances and did a 60-mile charity run across Massachusetts and a 30-miler across Rhode Island. I do love running, but it is not a weight loss program.

You cannot outrun a bad diet.

Marathons are a lot different than shorter distance races. You need to have lots of rest before and lots of recovery time after. With a 3-week taper leading up to the race and a week or two of recovery, you don't get a lot of exercise in.

Not good!

The problem is that it is hard to cut down on your food intake. Well, it is for me. I need to be in a highly controlled environment. That means nothing that I should consider an occasional treat can be within walking distance. I can't have leftover birthday cake, chips, dips, and other types of snack foods close by. Or Halloween candy! 

I just can't do it!

I have to divide up portions meat, fish, chicken, and turkey when I get home from the grocery store. It's SO easy to toss the second turkey burger in when I get home from work and I am hungry. If there is more than one in a package, I will eat them all.

The good news is that when I run, I am a lot less hungry.

Now I need to get ready for Tokyo. They have a strict time limit and pull you off the course if you are not on pace! I cannot afford that. This will have to be one of my best marathons in terms of time.

I will finish my last World Major!

Did I say I need a controlled environment? I make lots of good food choices. I usually skip desserts except for special occasions. I drink oceans of water and coffee (no sugar). 

What I don't do was control portions.

One of the things I know about failing is that we give ourselves permission to do it. We make excuses. "It's only once", "it's vacation", "it's OK to start over tomorrow", "it's just a stressful time" and the hits keep on coming. In 7 years on MFP I have seen a lot of people come and go - a lot - thousands in fact!

Overeating is an enemy of mine.

The fact still remains that 55% of those who lose weight will not keep it all off, 20% will return to their previous weight and 20% or so will gain even more weight then they lost. That leaves 5% to win the championship and make a true lifestyle change.

I want to be one of them.

It's All About Today!

I stupidly started smoking cigarettes in 9th grade. I was feeling cool, and no one seemed to care. Oh sure, they told us how bad it was, but it was too late. I was hooked. I was a real pro blowing smoke rings through smoke rings - and coughing up a lung every morning. I quit in 1994, but my first wife died at age 56 of lung cancer. We said we would quit the same day.

She told me that day she would start tomorrow.

I guess there are lots of things that are bad for you in life, like too much food, or too much alcohol. And there are lots of other warnings that I probably disregarded, such as a padded headboard for safe sex.
 
This month marks 5 years since my first cancer diagnosis and 38 years without a drink or recreational drug. 
 
If you are new, sometimes it takes a bit to get your sea legs. There is a lot to learn about food, exercise and living life in a society that plops killer portions in front of you day and night.

What can you do today to be a success at the weight-loss game which is good for your health?

- Log it!
- Log it all!
- Make MFP friends.
- Search the forums. (actually, don't do that)
- Read the blogs. (Well, at least this one!)
- Ask questions.
- Don't lie about your bad days.
- Find people that have achieved your goal. I friend the runners and the old guys that lost 100 pounds!
- Drink water.
- Take a walk or a run.
- Take another walk or run or a ride or a swim or a trip to the gym.
- Don't quit.

No matter what, do it today!

I Will Recover

There is something daunting about fighting illness and trying to prepare for the last marathon of the World Majors series. I haven't really run a long distance in months. I know I have time to train, but I wonder if I will be prepared.

I do know that I will be there.

Currently, the preparations are mostly mental. I keep telling myself I will finish no matter what. I am getting in a number of short runs a week. Some are walk/runs, others are run/runs.

Others are no run/no runs.

This morning I got up and was almost headache free for an hour. My physical therapy and chiropractic care have made some progress. Once the headaches start, I am onto my regimen of medication which includes NSAIDs and muscle relaxers.

Then my ability to think ceases and I am a zombie for most of the day.

In the midst, I have not forgotten how to live life. My family and friends are familiar with my complete brain freezes in which finishing a sentence is impossible. Ruth has been gracious filling the blanks so I can keep on going.

We had a small dinner party for 7 on Saturday night.

I read excerpts from my last book. They laughed, we had fun! Then without out even one glass of wine Jane began to tell us stories about lost islands in the Caribbean, cliff diving, and nudist colonies. We laughed some more.

I saw the spinal surgeon last Friday.

He thinks I am making some improvement. He said I could run a little as long as it didn't make things more painful. It turns out the gentle massaging of the disc and the higher rate of blood flow is good for my condition. I have had a similar condition with a lower back disc, and running is the one thing that makes it feel better. 

He recommended cortisone shots to see if that would take away the pain.

I have had them before and didn't have that much luck in reducing the pain. But what the heck, it's pretty bada$$ have a needle the size of the radio tower on the Empire State building stuck in your neck and shoulder.

It makes for good reading.

It's been a few days... nothing much. I am about to take my meds and zone out for the day. If I feel better later, I may work on my World Majors tattoo so it's ready when I finish Tokyo.

Taking the Next Step

I am sitting here this morning trying to get my head into a run. It used to be easy. I looked forward to a cool morning run. Last year I was looking forward to the fall runs and I broke my leg on the first one.

I sat for nearly 10 weeks doing pretty much nothing.

It really hurt my training for the London Marathon. Heck, I fished in the emergency tent. But I got it done. I have been lucky to have such great supporters. From the days of my first blogs to running marathons for charity, so many people have joined in the cheer me on.

I am really grateful for all of that.

Tokyo is in March. They have a course time limit, so there will be no excuses. I have to run an 11-minute mile so I don't get swept. It's a bit of pressure. It's also a kick in the butt to get back in shape.

This health journey has a lot of twists and turns.

I have been out of work with this neck thing since August 13th. I have been on steroids, NSAIDs, Tylenol, and a couple of muse relaxers. 3 Emergency Room visits, three doctors, a spine specialist, a physical therapist and now the chiropractor are involved.

I will get well!

I will train, lose the 15 pounds, and complete Tokyo, I just need to get out the damn door for this run.

Fitness History for the Doc

I have decided to use my two or three hours of minimally pain-free time to write and get a few important things done - like pay bills and some other stupid adult stuff.

I am off to the physical therapist today.

I woke up this morning with a headache. As I went to slip out of bed, my neck popped and the shooting pain shattered the peaceful morning light. I managed a couple of cups of coffee. I can't take my NSAIDs and run, so I rushed my morning routine to get out the door with Ruth.

I like running with my wife.

Mostly I get to talk and she listens. ;) Seriously (I know, you never thought I would say that!), we both work from home and spend pretty much 24x7 together. We love it. I tease her about being missed when she uses the bath.

We have a really good thing.

I have to run. It fixes my head, keeps the weight off, gives me time with her, and is probably good for other things like my heart, not killing stupid people, and - well, you know - it makes waffles taste better too.

Staying fit is a good thing.

When I left the ER that last two times, they gave me a print out on my BMI (body mass index). It was not really encouraging as I am overweight again. According to the numbers anyway. I need to follow my own advice and get the food back on track.

The food is fine, it is just that the portions are too large.

Fitness and diet (what I eat or don't eat, not what I follow) have made a big difference in my health. I had to fill out a questionnaire for my new doctor. They asked how many surgeries I've had. I needed an extra sheet of paper for that. I needed an extra sheet for diseases I've had. Just one line for cancer. That's bigotry. 

Do you smoke? Quit in 1994 How much? None
Do you drink alcohol? Quit in 1980 How much? None
Do you take recreational drugs? Define recreation. OK, I quit in 1980. How much? None
Do you use caffeine? I wasn't nominated for the Supreme Court of the USA. Yes, coffee. How much? Under the advice counsel, I plead the 5th and do not wish to answer this question and incriminate myself.
Sexual history: Umm, my wife. She has power of attorney and is designated in my living will and I am not going to screw that up.

Sadly, I am on a couple of medications for this stupid neck thing. I would like it to be none, but at least for today, I have a little relief.

Please vote and comment here. It helps others who don't follow me have a chance to join the party!

Healing and Fitness

After 3 emergency room visits, a pile of anti-inflammatories, muscles relaxers, and painkillers, as well as a visit with the spinal specialist, I have a diagnosis.

I'm suffering from old age.

The compressed nerve in my neck apparently craves drugs. I m obviously related. The surrounding soft tissue craves water. Amazing, something I have been lax on and can actually change. The treatment is take it easy, drink water, get PT, and take the anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers.

Did you know that muscle relaxers work on your bladder? Me either.

They also zonk me out, so the resting part is easy. What I don't like is they make me forgetful. I just can't concentrate for more than 20 or 30 minutes. It is frustrating with so many things to think about and focus on. It's bad enough where I can't do my job. I am on disability at work for a few weeks.

I think I could plan my own surprise party at this point.

My food consumption is back to normal, my running, not so much. I am running 3 times a week for 2-5 miles. Sort of like starting over again. Tokyo is in my sites. I will get there. Probably not the best idea, but sitting around depressed and getting fat is also a bad idea.

The good news is that I will be out of pain soon!!

As always, thanks for reading along. Please vote on the post. Feel free to leave a comment here too. I appreciate the ones in my feed, but making the Top 10 is harder than ever now. Most folks can't even see the most popular page unless they are on a desktop. So kind friends, it's all up to you.

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.
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