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Food, Feet and Atilla the Hun

Back in February of 2011 the doctor gave me a rather stern warning about my weight and my current health issues that are related to it. Although my blood pressure has always been about 140 over something - hey I am mostly a Type A - he thought it should be lower. So at 276, 111 pounds more than I weighed when I graduated high school, I made a few changes in the way I ate. Then my wife asked me to join a sadomasochistic trainer to do circuit cardio twice a week. (We are still married!)

The shrink-wrapped 6-pack has to go!

In the first In It to Lose It class, I nearly blew my cookies; God's way of letting me know that eating cookies was a large part of the my weight problem. (Actually in 2004, I had an injury to my foot from improper use of the treadmill along with cheap sneakers and I stopped exercising.) The class, however; it was pretty bad! I should have left my water bottle closer to the floor and brought an oxygen tank. The one-to-ten pain scale used in hospitals, now needs to be extended to 15! Webster, the writer of the definition for agony was certainly well under 50-years-old when he penned it. The editors need to add a fourth description: "just freakin' shoot me!"

I got home that evening and didn't feel like eating - sort of like a New Years morning hangover.

I am now done with the seven weeks of torture and there is just one left to go. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, I can! In fact, I have even gone for two additional workouts each week without the scrutiny of Attila the Hun. God knows his eternal destiny - hey I am no Rob Bell.

Now that I can actually talk during a workout without swallowing my tongue, I intend to contact Sir Hugh Beaver to request a record review for the use of the phrase "this sucks", which has eclipsed the Guinness Book of World Records for the utterance of aforementioned phrase in a single hour.

I am making progress. I am down about 55 US pounds, my running speed is up to 7 mph from .007 mph, I have gone from less than a mile per workout to around 3, and everything that hurt before, hurts more than before.

Then there is the food, glorious food. God in his infinite wisdom had McDonalds razed! My favorite drive-thru restaurant, the one just a few miles from my home, it is gone! And the local Uno's Chicago Restaurant is closed for remodeling until fall. A couple of weeks ago I went into Big Fresh and had an allergic reaction to the all natural food. My wife and I have figured out how to order Kidz Meals at Olive Garden, we just have the 7-year-old call; three meals, under $11!

The byproduct of a high fruit and vegetable diet is obvious, but I can't find anyone to pull my finger. I don't miss the rice and potatoes too much either. Honestly, I haven't made that many changes to my former diet - or I didn't think so an until now. Here is a self-test to see if you are actually a dieter, or a normal eater.

-1 Does the dog food look appetizing?
-2 Do you try to eat the crumbs from the bottom of every package and lick the bottom of the yogurt cup?
-3 Have you extended the 5 Second Rule to 40 minutes?
-4 Do you only weigh yourself after going #2?
-5 Have you purposely tripped a skinny person on the escalator at the Mall?
-6 Have you called the cable company to block pornographic restaurant commercials?
-7 Do you "suck it in" and look at yourself in the mirror?
-8 Have you dreamt of a vacation to the Food Court at Disney World?
-9 Have you thought of eating foods sacrificed to idols?
-10 Have you started to read the Bible to see what foods will be on the table at the great Banquet in the clouds?

If you answered YES to two or more of these questions, you might have a clue as to what is going on with me these past eight weeks.

I know, diets usually fail, and one needs to make a lifestyle changes. For a desk-jockey this is a big change, and if all goes well, I will be running a 5K soon!

How about you, are you in shape?

5 1/2: A Lesson on Gym Etiquette and Fitness

Readers of my other blog know that I had a serious cardiac event a few months ago, that I bought a new Android phone, and that I have been working out for quite a while. Today you get to meet the child of those three parents!

Gyms are interesting places. The YMCA where I live is sort of the Walmart of gyms. It's big, it's got a lot a stuff in a huge building, and the people, well, they are colorful.  I am going to start a page People of the Y. It is some of the same characters you see on the People of Walmart site only dressed in spandex.

Come with me on a short journey from desk jockey and couch potato to amateur runner and health nerd as I share the essentials of getting into shape. 

-1 Equipment: If you are going to be a health nerd, you need health nerd stuff. First, you need running shoes. It is best to get the ones that do not have the flashing LED's and Dora the Explorer or Diego on them (seriously, get good ones!). 

Then you need a musical device: iPod, SmartPhone or MP3 player will do. If it is really sharp looking gadget, then you'll need to get the Velcro armband holder for it.That way you don't have to hold it when you use the rest room. If it is a cheesy Barbie phone, you may want to stitch a pocket for it in your drawers. 

Be sure that you have headphones; at the gym, sharing is not caring!

If you are really cool (like me!) you need a heart rate monitor (HRM) to keep track of your pulse. Some of them have alarms so you know when you are about to die on the treadmill. Mine is wireless, and to my surprise, not only does it show up on the special decoder wristwatch I have as well as my SmartPhone, but it displayed on the Precor treadmill too. Freaky! What's next: A study to show that diet and exercise is the only good way to lose weight?

-2 Apparel: In the old days we had sweat pants and sweat shirts. Period! Walmart could have saved aisles and aisles if that were still the case - but it's not. Now you can get Spandex (please don't if it makes you look like a package of pork tenderloin!), polyester, fake velvet and even sequins. I am just kidding about the sequins - I hope. So what;s up with cheap polyester? It makes noise, lots of noise. The good news is that if you are huge like I was, you won't be going fast and you be able to keep it under 90 decibles! The velvet sweat suit with the nice little piping and stripes, be careful. If you fall on the treadmill, it 's like a long-haired cat caught in a lawnmower. I 'm just sayin. Oh, and remember, Richard Simmons is not trendy.

-3 Diet: Come on, you've maybe tried a few such as Jenny Craig, Atkins, South Beach or the Dill Pickle Diet. If you are going to lose pounds, you need to change the way you eat. Dill pickles are 0 calories, so try them seriously! Dump the sweet drinks, cookies, candy and chips. It's over. You may want to get rid of white rice and potatoes too! Only whole wheat or whole grain bread, bagels and crackers if you are serious. Get yourself an 8oz measuring cup. You get two filled with veggies or fruit for each meal plus 3-4 oz of meat or fish. The trick is to chase down stuff that makes it taste good - there are loads of spices besides chocolate and salt. 3 snacks a day of something nutritious and you're done! I went from 276 to 219 exercising 3 times a week for 30 minutes. Without the exercise while I was sick, I still lost 10 pounds in 2 months.

-4 Music: If you are going to move, you need music. It should rock, you are not meditating for God's sake! I suggest, Led ZeppelinBurn ServiceSteve MillerKutlessTim Hughes and Jason Aldean.

-5 Events: I need a goal, and you might too. Mine is a 5k race. My first for next month is Run, Walk or Crawl 5K in a nearby town.  There has got to be some slow people there! Sure, in high school I ran it in 16:57, but now I'm happy with 35 minutes.

-5 1/2 Noom! - I have a app on my phone entitled Noom/Cardio Trainer. It keeps track of all my exercise and food consumption! (Here is another one that is pretty cool if you don't have a SmartPhone: Hey, use this site!


How about you, are you as healthy as you'd like to be?

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