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Making Positive Changes Despite the Challenges

I have been living the single life for a while now. I am pretty well into my 4th year. If my bathroom is not clean, it's my fault. I am a bit of a neat freak, so that doesn't happen very much. Between  running, work, traveling, and weekend races, I am not home much.

All that is about to change.

If you have been following my posts for any length of time, you know life ain't all that easy for  me. I do my best to keep a good attitude. I took a stress indicator test the other day. My life  circumstances totaled totaled up 652 out of 1,467. 

Anything over 300 is not good for your health.

All that makes sense. There are times in life where you don't get to make choices, you just have to  play the cards in your hand. I am working hard to stick with the program and manage the stressors  as best I can. 

Of course anything over 100 is likely to cause sickness.

I made a list of the stressful things and I have determined there are a few which I can work on changing. I was  laid off a year ago, and I was out of work for six months. I took a 6-month contract which looks like  it's almost over - I am not sure. I have a couple of interviews and I am hopeful to have a fulltime  job with benefits. Soon! 

Because I have been driving about 100 miles a day (160km), I decided to move and get three or four  hours of my life back.

Interestingly, obesity is one of the side-effects of stress. Despite how involved my days are, I do to eat  properly; however, I am still up a bit. Getting fit is probably the greatest triumph of my life. It's  frustrating, but I accept it for the moment. Fitenss has gotten me through quite a bit.

So what I am doing besides trying to change the things I can?

I get up and relax with a cup of coffee. I need some time to zone out and mess with art or social  media. I found a few tips for commuting that helped. Audio books instead of the news, and my  favorite, taking off my shoes for the drive home.

I pray, lay down for 15 or 20 minutes after dinner, drink green tea, and call one friend a day.

I still plan my menu for the week, shop, and meal prep on Sundays. I use my measuring tubs for  lunches and snacks. I run at least three days a week. I am looking forward to having more time for  that after the move. 

There is one more thing.

I met a great gal over a year ago. That has evolved into something quite wonderful. It is amazing  how much peace the right person can bring into your life. It's nice when your mate has fitness in  common with you and you don’t have to explain your food choices or even the time it takes to train  for a marathon. 

A number of years ago I was embracing my singleness. That's HERE.Today I have  to leave a sticky note on the bathroom mirror to remind me to leave the toilet seat down. 

Thanks for the votes and comments.

Dialing in the Calories and Running Marathons

The older you get, the easier it is to regret that fact that you didn't do anything about your health for too long. Long enough to end up on MFP. I will turn 60 next year. I first joined MFP when I was 53 - right after a week-long stay in ICU after having congestive heart failure.

Whatever the reason that you joined, the good news is that we are here!

Once you get started logging food you also learn a lot about what you are consuming. I have done this for so long, it is hard for me to be off more than 100 or so calories for any given meal.

The hard part for me was thinking I could eat whatever I wanted, and getting control of portions.

My nutritionist started me on 2,500 calories a day. I gained weight. She dropped it to 2,200. I was doing 3 miles, 3 times a week and lifting weights 2 days a week. She cut it back to 1,800 and I stayed even.

Then she cut it back to 1,600 calories a day and I started losing.

I had lost about 44 pounds prior to having heart failure. I had a steady loss of about 30 more pounds. That is when she put it back to 1,800. I gained 10 pounds in 3 weeks.

Back to 1,600 I went and my weight dropped to my lowest in decades, 197. I stopped lifting and ran 6 days a week. I ran four full marathons in 2015. In fact I ran three in three months.

I admit, despite the cancer which had no real symptoms, I felt better than I had in decades.

In late 2015 I began having digestive issues. After having a colon tumor removed, I have had a dizzying array of tests, scans and tried a number of medications.

Cancer is scary.

I have worked hard at eating the "right" foods. Then there are all the supplements, oceans of water, essential oils, prayer and positive affirmations and still, I am not feeling great. 

I confess, I only ran 6 of 10 miles last week, and this week, I ran 5 1/2 of 13. :(

Yes, I am concerned about getting ready for the Berlin Marathon. The runs were disappointing - and now it's summer, not my favorite running season. I missed Dublin last year. I couldn't even do 8 of my 20 miler.

What am I going to do?

I will do what I have always done. I will push myself to the limits. I have a missed a few marathons due to things like surgery. Life. When I run, I beat cancer and despite not feeling well, I am certain that I am healthier than I would have been had I not stuck with the program.

And yes, I will be in Berlin.

Even after 6 years, this fitness thing requires effort

It's been 2194 days in a row. It sounds like a lot, but logging in doesn't matter all that much. What matters are the changes that I have made to be fit. A lot more fit. I call them lifestyle changes.

In the old days, I stopped using the scale at 276 pounds. I am sure I went higher; close to 300 pounds.

I guess you have to ask yourself what is fit and why am I here? And in my case, why am I still here for over 6 years? Why is MFP a staple of daily life? There are lots of reasons. I tried diets, eating what I wanted to in moderation, but what really changed was the long list of things I no longer eat.

Sure I missed certain foods for a while, but I am just not interested.

Here is the list of things I haven't had in a year or more (if I did, it was a very small amount so I didn't die that day): Casseroles, crock-pot meals, sauces, gravy, white potatoes, rice, all candy except for a bit of chocolate, sweet drinks with or without sugar, deep fried foods, cereal, bread, chips, pasta, McDonalds, Arby’s, BK or Wendy's anything, processed meat (except for a rare few slices of nitrate-free bacon because I am human).

I am happy to report that sex, err waffles is still on the list.

A lot of folks don't want to restrict their diet. I had to. 
I have made a number of friends here on MFP. Some have crossed over to Facebook and a number of them I have met in person at races. I have been writing this blog for all of my tenure on MyFitnessPal.com. I even wrote a book ICU to Marathon a couple of years ago. Writing has been a way for me to focus on what matters in life, have some fun, and express feelings in a forum where someone might even care. Some folks don't get me, but it seems like they don't last too long. I have deleted thousands of inactive friends on MFP. A few come back. There are some of you that have been here for a long time!

Getting fit has been a lot more than just losing weight!

I am down somewhere between 70 and a 100 pounds. My waist went from 44" to 33". I was pre-diabetic, had higher blood pressure than I do now, and my cholesterol was pretty high too. I went from huffing and puffing a 55 minute mile to running a 6 minute mile - just one, but hey. My heart catheterization, meniscus repair, rotator cuff surgery, the removal of 4 melanoma and Basal Cell carcinoma spots, as well as a colon tumor have all been successful! My blood work and last echocardiogram were all normal too. I have run 82 races including 7 marathons, 14 half marathons and some other shorter stuff.

Despite having cancer, I can run a half marathon tomorrow if I feel like it.

I guess over all, I am fit. I am still keeping a prostate tumor under surveillance. For the most part it hasn't been a problem for running or eating. However, I have had some digestive issues going on for the last year or so. They are playing with another medication and I am hoping to get it right soon.

Life isn't always easy.

I am making the most of every day, and eating all the right stuff. The doctors have had me all over the map with different diets this last year trying to get things working for me. In spite of all that, I am working to finish my next book, visiting my kids, enjoying my new relationship, saving for retirement and spending the rest.

I have endured a lot since I came to MFP. What I haven't done is give up.

Idioms for Health and Fitness Nuts

I have traveled a lot, and even in my little town I meet folks for who English is a second language. For me, the language of nutrition and fitness is a second language. I mean, when I started, I thought a burpee was a couple of bodily functions gone wrong - like a hickcough.

My neighbor is Brazilian and I love his accent and fractured idioms! My favorite is "the whole 9 shebangs."


It got me to thinking about some of the sayings Americans use (don't like it, piss off no offense to the rest of the world) in day-to-day life. What if nutrition and fitness was my first language, what would they mean then? How would they change? Here is a intor into my little world.

- As easy as [tofu] pie!


- The bee's knees [needed arthoscopic surgery].

- As happy as an [unfried] clam.

- Big fish in a small pond: now a meal for four.

- Blast from the past: before pics!

- Catch 22: Could be good or bad depending on whether it is a filling 22 calorie snack food or a 22 pound weight gain.

- Brownie points: Colon cleansing.

- Chick flick: Half a chicken tender.

- Close but no cigar: 200.1 lbs on the scale damn it!

- Cold turkey: unhealthy processed meats filled with sodium.

- Doom and gloom: A 1000 calorie a day diet.

- Fancy pants: 2 sizes smaller then the ones from last month!

- Ethnic cleansing: No more pizza and beer!

- Fanny farm: Where we used to live before C25K.

- Going postal: Mail order diet food.

- Heavy metal: Fitbits, GPS units and HRMs.

- Identity Theft: After pics!

- In the bag: Purchase healthy food.

- Jump the gun: Run your first 5K!

- Kangaroo court: Message boards.

- Jump the shark: Mad fitness workout!

- Kit and caboodle: Properly fitting sports bra or other undergarment.

- Lame duck: Posting that you are not going to log for a few days.

- Off the record: Not logging all your food.

- Pi$s off: Getting ready to weigh in.

- Play by ear: New running tunes!

- Red letter day: Over your calories.

- Sold down the river: Health food store is too far from the house.

- Spill the beans: In the south = peanut farts, up north = eating a high protein/high fiber diet.

- Tuckered out: Week 3 of C25K. :)

- Zero tolerance: Rules for not adding friends.

Thanks for reading along! I appreciate the votes and comments. Feel free to add your own.

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