Monday, December 6, 2010

The Blues and a Guitar that Quacks Like A Duck!

First an odd disclaimer: to someone that might be reading this that I promised a guitar to for Christmas… (*NO* this one is not your gift, and you can’t have it… this is a different guitar! Yours is a deep red classical, and of a quite higher pedigree)

OK, Back to the blog post:

Well, I’m almost back to functional here. But the tosses and turns have somehow left me spun around and like 40 pounds heavier in about 3 months… insane, I know. after all the hard work, all that damage… I blame that wild medication reaction some, but I also have take full responsibility for me eating waaay too much and not doing gym, volleyball, or riding the bicycle… What can I say other than I just don’t feel well…

With all this bizarre stuff going on I got into a funk, I’m still in a funk…

Naturally I should start learning the guitar and play the Blues, right !?!

So let me share a story about my new hobby and not giving up…

Foolsfitness would like to tell you a story about a guitar. This is not just any ole guitar, but the kind that is destined for legend… or at the least it just has a bit of the blues injected into it through it’s tough times. I can see writing up several blues songs just about this guitar I call “Mouse” that I have starting out walking on the blues road with.

I’m talking about an old Harmony ¾ folk steel string acoustic guitar, near as I can tell circa 1984. How the little guy started out I wonder… maybe like most of his other little siblings in some hard life stuck with an abusive relationship with a kid who didn’t know any better or much care about how he treated some whim Christmas present.

Of its past I know it was bought at a yard sale, and *then* stored in a barn for years. A lady who is a friend of mine, her mother gave it to me. While it was in kindness, that I appreciate, I think she appreciated to be free of the clutter too. The mother’s husband put on a high E string as the old one had long since seen string heaven.

So I get the guitar and turn it over looking at the sunburst color on the front and deep wood grain on the back. It was proudly showing off it’s “steel reinforced neck” sticker that was peeling up and I heard something loose rattling about as I turned the guitar around. Apparently in it’s life it had also had some side work as a mouse shack. I removed a bit of fuzz and a little kernel of something I couldn’t quite reckon what it was from inside the sound hole after a *whole lot of shaking going on*…(Couldn’t resist the song pun)

These strings, or the five that hadn’t been replaced were rusted. I take it to a pal who tunes it by ear the best he can, He’s old and hard of hearing, but I’m tone deaf and can’t play a chord to sound right anyway, so I don’t much care. I figure close is just fine.

Over the next week I broke another string and while tuning it after replacement broke a third. Then broke one of other the *new* ones I just put on… maybe some bad mojo for running away with some mouse’s pad, or just ignorance on my part being new and over tuning it?

So I cut off *all* the strings and spend a night just cleaning the whole thing. I bring it to a local guitar shop who says it won’t stay in tune because the bridge was lifting, wants to charge me 25 bucks to put strings on it with also the warning that he could snap off the bridge in the process too… on a guitar that bought at J C Penny that cost that much new, and street value now is about 20 bucks! Let’s just say between two sets of strings I have invested more than what I could likely buy another whole guitar just like it for.

So I take my frustration and a new set of soft steel strings (2nd set of strings) away from that shop and hunt down *another* friend. This one a bit younger and still has that youthful “can do” enthusiasm. She takes the guitar and lets just say the old thing needed a woman’s touch. However sure enough the bridge starts prying up and she can’t keep it in tune. But she explains to me that it’s still a good starter guitar and it’s reasonably close to in tune.

I squirted a whole tube of super glue gel under the bridge to keep it from popping off and it seemed to harden enough to keep a bit better tune for a couple of weeks. I’ve become Ahab and this is my whale obsession. Yet there is something freeing about the whole thing here. I have it leaned against my bookcase and maybe because it didn’t cost a lot it’s less intimidating somehow and I seem to pick it up frequently to practice a few chords while dinner is cooking, and also I’m not afraid of leaving it out around the cat. She has NOT decided it is a scratching post (Yet?)… even though I’ve decided to call my new (er old) guitar “Mouse“.

The superglue turned some of the bridge wood and surrounding area white. So naturally I took a trusty sharpie marker and went to work on my guitar's shoe shine, as well as touched a few chipped color areas too. Superglue, permanent marker… hey, no duck tape yet.

As I'm starting to learn more I'm exploring the neck of the guitar a bit in playing beyond open chords... I've got a few high spots that buzz a couple of notes here and there that I know after looking very careful is not my finger position. Perhaps this will make me learn alternate fingering of notes as I'm going to have to work playing around them.

Yet in the “Blues Beggar style” (Do I even have a style yet?) I think I have developed a signature note. You could look at the guitars warped neck as irritating, and I do to some extent... but I found playing a version of the four note “I am a man” or Hoochie lick (Low E fret 3-0-3-5) the last note gives me an odd buzz. So I've been working on a pop of the string and a twisting lift off bend that makes the note "Quack" So it doesn’t have duck tape yet, but it can quack!

So in the future when you think of Quackery (or is it tom foolery?), you may just think of “The Blues Beggar“!
aka Foolsfitness
or Alan…
aka the artist formally known as any of the above and just likes to refer to himself in third person.

So the “Mouse” and I are both playing a little out of tune just fine together. It’s not as tasty as Chinese Food, but I can practice my “licks”… actually so far it seems like a bit of good therapy. -Alan

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gone Crazy, Back Soon!

I took a picture of this I saw the other day… You see before you a RV on a bus frame that has a shelf on the back that holds a full size dresser motorcycle (the kind with a dash, radio, windshield, lazy boy type seat, and floorboards.) Now that is towing a SUV behind it and believe it or not the SUV has a rack carrying two mountain bicycles!

I mentioned in a couple of posts I felt like was coming to a cross roads. I’m still being at a bit of Zen about what path of many to take. I got a bit sick and the doctor prescribed something I was hyper sensitive to, and it though me for a major loop. Believe it or not in a span of a couple of weeks I gained 20 pounds! All my hard work, then something I take that was suppose to help me sends my body in some kind of craziness. The doctor woman was freaked I was going to have a seizure and I was shaking so badly. When they loose their cool in front of you I think it must be kind of serious. She kept saying, "I'm glad I saw you today" over and over.

SO, thus… I haven’t been posting, and likely until I get back to some more “natural” state I’m going to be off. I haven’t been bicycle riding, volleyball playing, or much of anything. The whole thing really sent me for a loop. Ironically in the past when a doctor prescribed something I reacted badly to what ever that was too… I must have some kind of funny wired system that likes a specific harmony that hates anything in it?

I have been getting out a bit with a new friend. She brought me to a sports game, or rather I think dragged me a bit because she had to as her brother was getting her to go with her folks, so I could be her company. I didn’t mind it, but don’t think I’ll become a rabid fan of that sport in the future.

We might pick up guitar playing in the near future together though which I think is a great idea, especially with winter coming here. I think people focus so much on the weight loss thing sometimes they forget what they are going to put in place of the whole food thing. For me it was never just about food, but replacing it with living life more fully.

Who knows, we might make some money off the guitars. People might pay us to stop playing near them… or we could threaten to hit them with the guitars unless they give us money? Don’t forget to post your comment with ideas for our new “band” name or names of songs we should make up?

I’m leaning toward classical acoustic guitar, but she has access to two steel strings and an electric too, and her dad works as some kind electronics repair wizard who could probabally build us amps or what ever. (Ironically she’s never played her guitars… she got them as gifts last Christmas... but it's no fun to play alone) I might be able to pull off some background tracks off the internet to make something loosely resembling music if we can figure out how to play a chord, then another two chords right after it… (hey, it seemed like a good idea for a hobby at the time.)

I hope this post made some sense… This is why they say doctor’s are “practicing”... they are only people too, but I think I would have been better off just letting the flu or what ever it was just ride out naturally, then the whole medically altered prescription mess. I’ve always thought God made you a certain way for a reason, and altering it just seems like a questionable idea in concept to me.

Don’t forget that at Foolsfitness we are starting a garage band, going on tour near you soon! - Alan

Thursday, September 30, 2010

VolleyBall 2nd Season Return

I returned to playing volleyball after a summer off and the first thing the coordinator said was, ”You’ve lost weight”, which was a neat little treat. I’m currently holding at about 285.5 or about 2 pounds or so up from the lowest in the blog. Not too bad.

My triumpant return to my second season of adult pick up volleyball… well, most of us were a bit rusty not playing all summer. I noticed my jump had improved, after all I’ve got less weighing me down than before!!! However, it will take time to rebuild accuracy. I’ve always joked that if a ball comes anywhere near me I can promise a hit but the direction afterward is totally a different matter.

I haven’t been blogging as much, I think partly to stressors (both good and bad) like after the car needed a head gasket *THEN* the master cylinder for the brakes went. The landlord finally pretty much finished the roof section over my part of the house last weekend. I’m hoping I can find a time stretch of reasonable uneventfulness to just sort of channel my chi so to speak.

I remember the first time last year I played volleyball, the morning after I seriously had trouble just getting off my futon to get to the bathroom and took serious consideration of giving up playing. This time, I did loose most games and I went home drenched in sweat. But the morning after was just a tiny bit sore, not much at all. Also a new perspetive that although I wasn’t playing my best I have more confidence that my skills will return in short order. I’ve always played for just the enjoyment of playing it anyway.

So what’s next? I’m not really certain. As I hover around the 60 pounds off mark I feel like there is some cross roads coming. I don’t really know what they are yet. I’ve never banned food and I don’t think I will ever start to, but maybe trying to add in some more nutritionally dense choices. I’d like to say the exercise thing will be more structured, but I’m just more of a zen type guy. I got a bit sick and the side effects of the medicine have given me a low grade headache I keep confusing for a low blood sugar hunger. Then again maybe that’s just an excuse.

Like I said, I feel like my “chi” isn’t centered and I’m coming to some crossroads but I’m not sure what’s next. I’ve been off the bicycle for a while now and I can’t pinpoint why… maybe it was just all the stress over fixing the car I can’t say. Maybe V-ball will bring me back. Then again maybe in some ways that drop of weight is slowly changing me into a different person in other ways than on a scale and I have to take some time to adjust to that too.

Some of this is that I don’t want it to be all about the numbers on a scale and know it's not. I think people get lost in the numbers and forget about the question of what’s next.

The Blogfather of Foolsfitness- Alan

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pow Wow Possibles Pouch

Above is a Micmac from the Mother Earth Creations Pow wow.(No, that guy is *NOT* me) But Below is *MY* new "Possibles Pouch"This bag I got at the Pow wow and was made by a traditional tanner with spare shoe leather. She originally designed it as a children’s bag but it is big enough to be an adult’s “Possibles Bag”. The small pouch could carry a small clay pipe and tobacco or some trading beads. I bartered with the lady for it with some of my own beads and a small otter pendant. Next I went to other traders and hunted down some bone for the tassels, and finally to yet another crafts woman who donated some glass beads and put it together for me. I gifted her a buffalo tooth and turkey feather in thanks for her work.

I think this pouch is a good illustration of our journey to become more healthy and fit. There was much searching and many stops along the way. If you look closely the beads do not mirror and match exactly, just as our journeys are not on perfect and on some ruff roads at times. I even had to switch out a couple of beads as I wanted to keep it closer to traditional and made the mistake of getting two resin ones.

I think we each carry sort of an invisible “Possibles Bag” with us in this journey. I like the name of it. Our intentions and desires are in that bag, but only if we have carefully collected them knowing what we really want. That bag can easily be filled with other things. It can only hold so much. Yet having “Possibles” in that pouch, we can’t know exactly what everything is that is in it either. There just might be more in there than we could possibly imagine! It’s only in searching and in intentional purposeful action can we try to pull that “possible” out of the bag.

I’d be great to just reach in and whip out six pack abs but it takes time to look for them, action and intention. I doubt they are in my bag. Yet a couple of years ago if you told me that racing a bicycle on a NASCAR track or seeing the two hundred’s on a scale again were in there I would have laughed at you. Who knew that was in there?! I found them with some hard searching and action.

Open up your “Possibles Pouch” and share with me what you find, and what it is your looking for if you feel comfortable with that. But at least on your own, open that pouch and think about what it is in there that you are looking for and reach for it with action.

At the Foolsfitness gym it’s that crazy Indian guy called “Wandering Mouse” who is the chief fool.- Alan

Monday, September 13, 2010

It’s Gone!

The tragedy! The horror! This travesty against Foolsfitness will not prevail! Since April 1st of last year I’ve had one “official” scale I’ve used at my work. She’s seen me after my 10 mile bike rides, buffet adventures, and we’ve walked this road together hand and scale for over a year… The company decided that it was best to use the best scale at another location with more access to the public. She left me with one parting gift to say farewell… 286.5 or just about half way to my vision of where my weight should be.

The new scale, or rather older scale came this morning to the office to replace her… like she could ever be replaced!!! This scale tried to win me over with a weight of 283. I think it’s pretty close to accurate as I have a digital scale at home. Moreover at the 59 pound off mark! Still, this scale isn’t *MY* scale.

I’m hoping to get a picture of the Pow-Wow up next post but of course wanted to share the above. Also, I attended a multicultural day event locally last weekend. I got to hear Celtic folk music and African drumming. There were booths of lots of local organizations. It’s funny, when I mentioned going to the event to a coworker she asked, “How was the food?” I answered that I didn’t partake. Sure there were food booths from cultures around the world, and now that I think about it they smelled good and might have been neat to try but I had just brought 3 granola bars to have over the day. It wasn’t about the food. Had I wanted to eat something there I guess I could have had if I had chose to, it just really wasn’t on the radar.

I think that’s part of the focus for me now that it isn’t a food question really. Rather it's not a food answer to the questions I'm asking. That’s why in the Foolsfitness pledge I say there are no “good” or “bad” foods. They just are things. Food is neither a friend nor an enemy. Some are denser in calories or nutrition… It’s the Foolsfitness UN-Common Sense, it’s not a diet at all. I don’t even like that word. It's almost a Zen transcendence where food isn't even in the question and thus it falls in order naturally.

There are no trick foods, magic pills, or workout gismos in the Foolsfitness Way. If I want pizza or soda I have some. If I didn’t that would leave me in fear over the food giving it some kind of power it doesn’t have unless I give it to it. Banning foods seems crazy to me. It gives them power when they are just things.

That’s not to say I just eat anything in any volume at all. Part of this journey is learning to understand what is sane. It goes back to the Foolsfitness Pledge of Power of the Plate, awareness, and choices. I don’t live on only cheeseburgers or just salads either. At that Pow-wow I made the choice to eat more high calorie foods in larger portions and enjoyed them... but it was a choice I made and was aware of.

In wanting to be more fit (notice I didn’t even say lose weight) I just am trying to honestly answer “Is this what I’m really hungry for?” Food fixes food problems (you need to eat to survive), but it’s just not a permanent and proper solution to some other things… It's just not the answer to some of the questions I've asked from it.

At Foolsfitness we just had pretzels for dinner!- Alan

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Camping in a Hurricane

What do you during a hurricane? You go camping of course! Foolsfitness enjoyed camping at a Pow-wow over labor day weekend. There was some cool stuff going on. I hadn’t camped for a little over a year and being 50 pounds lighter made a major difference. One simple thing I noticed was just zipping up the sleeping bag. With the exception of the zipper sticking a bit that bag actually fit. I also noticed setting up and breaking down now that I think about it I neither got winded, nor needed major breaks.

It was odd shopping for food. I was actually looking for dense caloric values this time as I wasn’t sure how much energy I’d be spending. The camp site is primitive (no power or water) and I’d be active moving about a lot… although I never danced in the circle.

The weather was an adventure. The first night it was near high 80’s, then the next night the hurricane Earl’s edge neared the area. It was just a bit of wind and a few hours of hard rain. Then the next night the weather system totally shifted and I could see my breath at night.

I tried to come reasonably prepared. There is a tarp over my tent secured to trees and staked in three locations with heavy stakes. I came early to set up before the rain. The tent itself had the small pin stakes and there was a ground tarp underneath, to help keep me dry.

The people next to me had a fire pit going late at night and one suddenly screamed “What is that coming out of the hole!” I’m not sure if the heat of the fire pit helped the little turtles hatch underground but my campsite was under siege by a raiding party of turtles determined to get to the pond below me.
It was strange to hear the little guys scuffing along the edges of the tent looking for a way around to get to the water. At one point the guy at the campsite next to me started collecting them in a bucket so they wouldn’t get stepped on and after showing them to other campers in the morning brought them safely to the water’s edge. He had over 20 of them!

I’ll write more specifically about the pow-wow part in the next post but this experience really got me thinking about how important preparation is in a task. Someone in another site had to borrow a camp hammer from me at one point and I even shared some wood. I prepared for the weather and what I’d need. It took thinking and work but it was important and paid off. Isn’t it like that in working to get fit?

Also I was very moved by those little turtles. They were singularly focused to get to the pond. Even in the bucket they were constantly moving and climbing over each other trying to reach their goal with every ounce of energy they had.

Perhaps that’s a lesson for us in this journey too. One is preparation and knowing the goal. I didn’t forget my camp hammer and had camp fire could be lit with a single match. I just bought a calorie counter book the other day and maybe a food scale is around the corner. The second is the perseverance of a turtle. Just keep on going. Being prepared and knowing your goal without the effort of single minded movement of trying to get to those goals won’t get you to the sweet water’s edge!

Next post some more specific pow-wow stuff from foolsfitness.- Alan

Monday, August 30, 2010

Trashing a Convent

I was there watching as they ripped the porch off the building. As it tore off there was that sick sound of splintering wood.

What you are seeing is a building that formerly housed Nuns that taught at the Catholic school next to it. The Church (as I understand it) felt that it was too expensive to keep up on the building repairs, perhaps in light of its current usefulness. Nuns don’t live there now. Actually no one could live there now.

I think it’s going to be converted to a playground for the school.

Time is constantly moving forward. Sometimes it’s easy to get distracted but in the background time passing can not be denied. Change too… seems to be such a constant. Sometimes change can be good, while other times I struggle with it.
Lately I’ve been thinking about how even if we make no choice time will ultimately make a choice for us. This fitness thing really confounds me at times. Naturally it’s important to set specific goals then work toward them (else it’s so easy to drift aimlessly)

OK here’s the current paradox for me. Am I still me after loosing 50 pounds and more? I’m different. I can run, I do a lot more… I’m thinking I even think differently. What about when I was much heavier? I always thought people were shallow if they “Judged a book by it’s cover” and wanted them to like me for me, what ever I weighed.

If you see just about any movie (or even commercial) I can’t help but think how shallow it is… You see models, you don’t really see leading actors that are obese (with very few exceptions and many of them are the target for cruel humor) Physically fit people are there for a reason… they have some attraction, else they wouldn’t be there if they didn’t sell cars or movies. In the past it always bothered me thinking about how shallow it was.

Yet now I wonder something else. These changes of getting more fit are deep and seem to impact many areas. If a person cares about their body, themselves… are they placing more value in themselves, thus naturally generating more confidence?… more MoJo?

I can’t help but think about that old line that women say, “I want you to respect me for my mind.” I wonder if the mind body health connection is far stronger than I once believed. When people comment about how others have “really let themselves go.” I’m starting to have trouble with the blurred line of what is healthy and what is shallow.

If you don’t care about you and don’t value yourself (including your physical health)… maybe isn’t it harder for people to care too? I’m not sure what to do with it. I hope I can see the “real” person, whoever they are. But at the same time I have some magnetic pull toward the fitness too. Getting back to those pictures… Is it just a building? Is it a Nun’s home and a piece of history that bothered me so seeing it ripped apart? Can it be both?

Of course most of you that have read the blog for any time at all know that a little bit of arrogance is the Foolsfitness way. - Alan

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Over 50 Pounds off and Control

What if I said to you I hit my 50 pounds off mark? Well, Foolsfitness just hit the 53 pounds off mark, just to show off!!!

The picture you see above is a switch panel at the Belnap Mill, that was a water powered sewing mill that made clothing, and in the early twenties it also supplied some power to the town.

I’ve been thinking about control. I just snapped the stem on my only Pipe this morning by accident. The pipe was a treasured gift. The stem had been chipped for about a month but today was the day when it broke. (Some of you may know I smoke Captain Black Royal Pipe tobacco.) I was kind of crushed by it. I don’t consider myself a rabid smoker and could easily go a few days without it but I hate to buy another pipe that will not be from “that” person. I have trouble even thinking about throwing the pipe away.

So many things are out of our control. We can influence things but accidents, illness, even how others choose to think of us we have somewhat limited control (sometimes no control) over. Even at that mill, at times of low water in the river those wheels would slow down or even come to a stop.

Of the few things we do have a lot of control over I’ve come to think about lately is what and how much we eat. We have the power to be aware, to choose… or give that power away. While that power isn’t available to us always… it may be there much more than we think. We may not notice that switch we are able to pull if we are not looking.

As I hit the 50 pounds (and more!) mark I didn’t have the confusion I had at hitting the 200’s. I noticed the more control I have gained, realizing that control I had the power to use, if I so chose. I thought about what “treat reward” I should give myself and oddly the food reward thing wasn’t high on the list. I think it’s because in this journey it’s become not about banning any food really, just learning the power of the choices. I still eat some pizza or ice cream or such… just not all at once and in more controlled portions.

Also it’s become less about the food as time has gone on. It’s more about the whys, and then the food thing seems to fall into place better. I think it’s like digging closer to the roots rather than focusing on the branches, and how the leaves take care of themselves.

It’s the developing Foolsfitness UN-Common Sense, Awareness. Power of the Plate, and what we Choose. - Alan

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Bicycle Race (Conclusion)

(This photo is thanks to A pic of me in the pit about 3/4 the way through the race and those guys in the background are still flying by so fast they are a blur!

(continued from last post) So I ripped and yanked at the bicycle to pry and wedge it out of the Jeep (thanks Brad for letting me use your Jeep!). I’m thinking 1994 Jeeps were not designed with the transport of 1984 10-speed bicycle hauling in mind.
Getting it out and onto the pit row area I slowly rode back and forth trying to test out gears and figure out which were the ones I wanted to use on the mile oval.

Everyone seemed to be going around the track with their bicycles warming up. Two things popped into my mind. One, these guys were going faster slowly warming up than I could go all out and two I couldn’t help but think if I do much more than a lap I won’t have any energy left to race. The race was officially for 30 miles for the A’s and I think 24 miles for B’s… I went around the track once and then tried to look nonchalantly inconspicuous sitting on my bicycle in pit row watching the racers zip by as I waited for the official to tell us all to line up in our groups for the race start.

My goal here was to show up and try to do 3-5 miles. Next years goal is to finish a race. Don’t forget I’m still a 290 something pound guy here! When I started this blog April 1st of last year I wouldn’t even fathom in my wildest dreams of trying putting a 10-speed under me on top of a NASCAR track that someone like Mark Martin races on. It wouldn’t even cross my mind… ever.

It’s been an incredible adventure since the start of this blog. Some of this stuff has been so mind boggling for me. The first time I really ran or I could pull myself out of a pool without the ladder steps. When I put on an XL shirt. When someone actually stopped me out of the blue and said, “Wow you’ve dropped some weight.” Playing volleyball. Not being a slave anymore to the All You Can Eat Chinese Food Buffet! Slipping on shorts that are 8 inches less than April of last year… I just don’t have a frame of reference to fully comprehend these totally new to me things.

The race began. First the A group, then each group started after a short pause. After C group I got ready. When I got my “Go” I cranked those gears and tried to catch up to the C group to draft. Drafting, if done well, can save about 30 percent of your peddling effort so it’s important stuff in bicycle racing. By the first turn they had near a ¼ mile on me. I pulled to the right and ran wide corners out of respect to just let the racers pass unhindered as I peddled. The basic difference in my speed would be as if walking as a jogger went by. After I had made 2 miles I think I was passed nearly twice by everyone. I knew deep down I didn’t have a chance at really “racing” while it did hurt a bit that I couldn’t even keep up for a single lap, I was still doing it, out there, not just being a spectator.

After 3 miles I slowed a lot. Then on the forth mile I rode into the pit and told the scorekeeper I was done. She smiled and told me that being the only one in the beginner class (D) if I could pull a couple of more laps I could rack up some reasonable points. I had a choice to make. I was tired but I decided I came to ride and that was what I was going to do and got back out on the race track.

Somehow the spectators watching got news of this whole thing playing out of this near 300 pound guy who had lost a lot of weight pouring his heart into his 1st race. I racked in 5 and 6 miles… then as I passed the start/finish line people started really cheering me, actually way more than the normal regular racers. My bike started squeaking and I searched for a gears I could work with… My head hung low mouth open and literally slobber flew out of my mouth. I cranked telling myself “Plod on. Just keep peddling” The bike wobbled as I rounded 7 and 8 laps! People started going crazy cheering as I rode by. I was so spent, but I decided I would make double digits… I rode 10 miles.

I don’t understand how the scoring works really, but I think I earned 18 points. Ironically while not finishing the race I still took my class (which is kind of obvious since I was the only one in it). I think? It doesn’t totally matter, I just did what I came to do.

Two things really threw me though. One was a couple of people asked me, “Did you have fun?” As strange as it sounds I stopped blank and honestly had no answer for them. I didn’t “not” have fun I guess. But it just wasn’t even in my frame of reference doing this. This journey is a ride for my life. This is the fight of my life. It’s not that I don’t have fun along the way but it’s being driven internally as I *have* to do this. It’s not “have to” as a punishment, but it has become part of my being that is unavoidable. It *IS* me.

When I started the blog last year I remember that moment. It was very late at night and I felt like a caged panther, internally pacing back and forth. I even woke up a friend that night and told them it was really important that I get a picture of myself right then. Those doe deer in the headlights eyes have been replaced, as you can see on the side panel in my emerging from the darkness pic. That picture too I remember, I had rounded the corner into my bathroom and saw something in those new eyes. It shocked me so much I had to take a dozen pictures to replicate it. I don’t think Fools Fitness is a joke, Maybe the first few days it seemed that way… and I am quick to poke fun still, but it’s become much more.

The 2nd thing that really threw me was getting home and the next morning. It would be easy to say I was sore, spent, and tired, but I really wasn’t. I wasn’t actually that sore…What I was I am not sure if I can explain. I have never experienced it. I was hollow. It was not like your really dim tired like a low battery but like the battery had been completely removed. I don’t know if it was that I had spent so much adreniline and energy for so long and experienced what bicyclists call a “bonk” which is like a diabetic shock with low glycemic sugar thing or what. I’ve heard that some astronauts experience heavy depression after returning to Earth, which makes some sense. How do you top that? What exactly do you do after seeing the edge?

I have a long way to go still, no delusions there. Yet this event was a climbing Mount Everest thing somehow. It’s going to take time to process. I don’t have a frame for the experience. I don’t mean it’s a bad thing, it’s just I can’t seem to understand it. The 7 time Tour De France Bicycle racing winner Lance Armstrong had a book titled, “It’s Not About the Bike” and I agree with that title. This wasn’t a bicycle race at all… it’s incredibly more than a bicycle. I can’t grasp it. Maybe in time I will understand it?

At Foolsfitness we are just speechless- Alan

Monday, August 16, 2010

I'm a Bicycle Racer!!!

I went to race *my* Bicycle at NHIS NASCAR track in a certified NHCC (New Hampshire Cycling Club) for the 1st time last Thursday. I arrived 40 minutes early to wait at the gate with my bicycle in the back of a borrowed Jeep.

My bicycle is a yard sale bought, 26 year old, Sears, Roebuck and Co. 10-speed I’ve nicknamed “Shade” with balloon size tires, not the razor thin ones on the regular racers I chose for several reasons.

One, my huge tires support my weight. They create more friction and take more effort to pedal but none of that really was critical as I knew I wasn’t going to be a contender. This wasn’t a race for me it’s a journey. Actually my front tire leaks a bit of air too. I haven’t dared changing the tube as the tires are showing some dry rot and might crack if I start bending them around. I haven’t got a “real” air pump yet… I begged a guy to use his, most of them have nice vertical pogo stick/jack hammer kinds, but found out that many of them use special nozzles as well. With no luck I used my emergency pump, smaller than a paper towel tube, and cranked it about 50 times. I have no clue what pressure was in my tires… I just felt them, I haven’t invested in a tire gage either yet. If you haven’t picked up on part of the theme, that will continue by the way, this was a passionate but “no budget” endeavor.

Two, this bicycle it was what I could afford. Most of these guys (and a few gals) ride carbon fiber bicycles that can cost thousands of dollars (yes, that’s plural) and weight near half mine and are designed around aerodynamics as well. A seat on one of those bikes can cost more than my bicycle. I had the forethought of removing all the reflectors for a few ounces and perhaps should have removed the kick stand as well for the race but didn’t. I’m not sure if the kick stand bracket is holding the bottom of the frame together. At the end of my riding I started to get concerned as the bike started making a squeaking sound like an old rusted tricycle or red wagon that had been left out in the rain many nights.

I didn’t even have a 10-speed really. One low end rear wheel gear won’t grab on, thus I was sort of running a 8-speed. You may think I’m putting down my bicycle here while I’m just being a realist. Actually my bicycle Shade made me so proud in her running. The Bicycle shop guys I go to (M.C. Cycle and Sports) did wonders for her with what they had to work with here. That night I rode faster on level ground under my own power on a bicycle than I ever have. I even wonder if that bicycle has ever even seen that speed before. How fast you ask? No speedometer yet, remember poor boy here?! I didn’t even purchase a water bottle for it yet either.

I actually have two other bicycles… a currier bicycle, “Boba”, equipped with a water bottle, speedometer, and more… but it’s a workhorse to deliver packages and is a hybrid. The third bicycle, the 74 Raleigh GT grand prix mark 5, “the Green Lady“, is a project for the winter I hope to make my racer for next year… but right now you can‘t even ride it. (that was unearthed for 35 dollars and I plan to raise it from the dead.)

But back to waiting at the gate to get in and get warmed up to race. I was one of the very first there. All the way driving to the speedway in the Jeep I felt like I was in an aerobic workout. The thing was is was a nervous thing at all. If you ever see a freshly caged wolf or panther at a zoo they are constantly pacing their cage emanating with potential energy. I think it was more adrenaline than fear.

I paid my entry to the speed way fee, then my race fee to the NHCC lady. I’ve come to watch a few races but this was my first participation, my first ME actually racing *IN* it. No longer on the sidelines of life folks! There are division classes people race in. A’s are the ninja racers, B’s a bit slower… down to D’s and finally Junior’s. I got a D… for beginning racer. She actually seemed to want to put me in C group first, while that might seem like a big compliment the truth is there were no racers in D group. I politely begged for a D. I was a beginner and this was my first race. I can’t help but wonder if the D in D group secretly stands for “Dead” as in this is how fast dead people can pedal.

She was even kind enough to grant me a number choice of 42, which is about symbolic of the weight I have dropped in the last year. (I hung it on a bookcase at my house after the race!) Actually in my nervousness I miscalculated and should have asked for number 48... But 42 is a great number, just read the book “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and you will find out that 42 is actually the answer to “life, the universe, and everything” anyways… I sheepishly asked another rider to help pin it on me. They have to go on sideways on your left kidney area so when you are leaned down on the bike and pass the finish line your number can be easily read to be recorded.

So I was *finally* after all this, now about ready to get my bicycle to the track and to the pit row area then race. Gee… this post is getting kind of long…

AM I GOING TO LEAVE YOU WITH A CLIFFHANGER TO THE END OF THIS STORY UNTIL NEXT POST?! Can I possibly be that evil by not telling you how I faired in the race until next time? Yup. Next post… story continues, Coming soon…

At Foolsfitness sometimes we can be cruel- Alan

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rocket Fuel

(Movie Announcer’s deep voice) Against all odds… He was determined to bicycle race. It didn’t matter he was riding a yard sale 10-speed, or that the aforementioned bicycle had a slowly leaking air front tire or even that the bicycle would be the oldest and heaviest on the track. His own weight twice that of other racers would not deter him from his vision! It didn’t matter that his own car was in the shop, as he begged a friend for use of another to transport the bike and himself to the race. It didn’t matter he worked all day or had little rest due to people fixing his roof and constantly banging on his ceiling for the last two weeks. He would not be denied. Not as those storm clouds loomed over ominously did it deter him.

Oh he knew he had no chance of finishing the races distance. Yet he would do whatever it takes within his power to fight, to show up, and to ride… be it 2 laps or 5. He wasn’t racing any other bicyclist on that track. This was only a war between he and himself. Two months of training and nearly fifty pounds lighter than less than a year and a half ago… He suited up… packed the bicycle in the borrowed Jeep and headed toward his destiny.

(TUNE IN NEXT TIME …-Monday afternoon eastern standard USA- if I can I'll post the results of this wild journey, to find out the conclusion)

The picture above is Rocket fuel. I have no real idea what to eat to prepare for this but I figure some hydration… sugar, long term fat, and some protein… I got red drinks because they are like FIRE and it’s launch time baby!!! I’ve got my panther like muscles ready to spring, pounce, and sprint… ready… Go!

At Foolsfitness it’s really about T-minus 2 hours until track time so we got to sign off- Alan

Monday, August 9, 2010

Zero Calorie Sundae!

That’s right folks I’ve found the zero calorie sundae. Actually it’s a six ounce strawberries and cream frozen yogurt that comes in at 160 calories and it’s only a dollar. (I won’t give a brand name because they don’t get free advertising from me!!!) It seems to work pretty well for my needs of an Ice Cream fix.

Why did I say it’s no calories you ask? Well, I decided to go for a long walk to the supermarket to get it. I just tracked it with my bicycle (for another one today) and it comes in at 6 miles. I’m thinking calories in and out must be pretty close to even? Moreover last night I got to enjoy a nice sunset and even found 2 pennies on the walk.

Today I hit the scales at work for an unbelievable 295… the lowest in the journey of the blog. I think I can now safely say I’m in the two hundred club!!! I’m not sure if you can actually loose weight off your wrists but I just had a link removed from my watch too!!! I know that my old college ring is way loose now. I’m thinking of thread wrapping it for the time being as resizing it now seems silly when I’m going to have to do it lower again soon.


1st I picked up new cables to install on the green lady (my 74 Irish Raleigh 10-speed bicycle restoration project) and am trying to figure out the old style tubeless tires, as they are going to need to be pulled off. They are so dry rotted they are like stone.

2nd Weekend number two of the roofers banging on my roof. I’m trying to channel the thing into positives, like forcing myself out for extended walks.

3rd My poor little car indeed needs a new head gasket. What can I say except big bucks ouches? But it needs to be done. What you going to do?

STRESS: I mentioned last post about stress. I’m trying to learn that the solace of a heap of Chinese Food or pint of ice cream seems like a quick temporary reprieve… but in the end it costs, a lot. I’m trying to see through the eyes that wolfing down all that stuff out of hand in reality ends up robbing me of a little bit of life for that fake momentary comfort.

So, things could be way smoother… but they could be worse. However I’m really thinking about how I’m starting to look at food in proper proportions, and while enjoying it not just eating as some kind of Olympic sport or hiding in the momentary comfort of it.

It still freaks people out when they hear that I still eat Funny Bone Cupcakes and Cookies, or donuts. It’s all in the fact that I don’t eat them all at once. It’s the Zen way of foolsfitness Awareness, mindfulness, the power of the plate…

Foolsfitness is not about the “Common sense” guru’s pill popping, exercise gismo, or the only fruit on Friday fad diets.

Foolsfitness is UN-Common Sense! - Alan

Thursday, August 5, 2010


It’s been one of those weeks where you end up on the couch in a fetal position wishing you never got up. Well, in honesty it could be worse but I don’t do the stress thing very well at all.

First the landlord is working on the roof. I live on the top floor and while I appreciate having a new roof trying to stay there during work… it’s like being in a drum. So I figure I’ll head to the beach and go for a swim. I get to the beach and there is a high bacteria warning… so I can’t swim and can’t relax in my house…

The next day I leave my house trying to do the beach thing again leaving before the banging starts and still there is the high bacteria thing going on and still can't swim. A friend gave me a ticket to go on a ship that goes around the lake. I finally get a bit of peace and quiet. However I seemed to time it all wrong as somehow I got back to my house just as the roofers came for the late afternoon work they decided to do.

So Monday rolls around and I’m pretty much drained not getting the rest I should, but I cheer myself up as I’ve been eyeing a new netbook… 5 hours later as I’m driving from work I’m pretty sure the head gasket in my car is shot (A pretty major repair) … so somehow in a mater of hours I went from going to look at and nearly ready to get a netbook I’d been eyeing for months to trying out how to balance the bills for the month and pay the car guy and rent at the same time, in the hole big time.

So thus ends the tale until next time… I’m waiting to see what the mechanic says after he’s able to look at the car.

So the picture is me over the weekend before the anvils started falling down around me. (I looked so happy) Somehow this morning work scale says 299. Not bad with a bit of stress eating. Maybe this is some weird chance to learn about functioning under pressure, testing my metal, resolve, and general invincibility...

But At Foolsfitness we have to admit we are tired.- Alan

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sick + Twisted Madness

There it is… I can’t say what came over me. I don’t think you can claim I’m a user, but I am “experimenting” with the salad thing. This is the 1st salad I think I may have eaten in I don’t know how long!

I approached the salad bar cautiously as the produce stocking kids watched in amazement for in the end there isn’t even any salad dressing on this stuff. I had no real idea how to proceed making an actual salad… you see in my very few experiences long ago the general plan was just to load it with as much gooeyness and drench it with as much salad dressing as possible.

Another amazing picture…

I’ll grant you there is some crunchiness and lots of color in this stuff. My basic plan was to take just a tiny little of everything… I suddenly realized how sick and twisted this idea was… It was my plan at the Chinese Food Buffet place yet scaled down to near sanity in reasonable portion sizes. Freaky times my friends… freaky times… After the whole bizarre trip I got so scared so I got a candy bar later to clear that taste out of my mouth. (OK it’s not that bad) but I ate little green tree things and leaves I mean come on!

You should have seen the odd looks I got as I took the container out in the parkking lot of the supermarket and took a picture of it on the hood of my car.

I saw 299.5 on the scales at work today… maybe a touch dehydrated but that’s with shoes and all, and I’m counting it. Of course even in a day my weight can shift up to 4 pounds… but still having the number 200 something even if it’s 299 seems like something monumentally less than even just 301.

At Foolsfitness we are not sold on the salad thing yet… but might experiment again- Alan

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Shopping Adventure Part II

Here are the Emperor’s new clothes… comfortable enough to wear a day, 1st time in a very long time wearing an XL shirt without a number in front of it. Those shorts 8 inches less than a year an a half ago from a 54 to a 48! Next it’s time to loose that egg shape and get them to look right on me… I can’t get too comfortable into that dangerous “Breather Syndrome” that someone told me about where I forget where I want to go and loose focus on the choices I am making… So it’s time to get work on getting rid of that glazed donut look around the middle!

Speaking of glazed donuts, this picture was taken in front of a wall next to a local Duncan Donuts. Before that I had walked in the place and stood just out of line for a good minute or two… seeing those racks filled with all that baked and puffy goodness. The Butternut Crunch tried to call to me, we had been very close friends in the past but I pretended not to hear. Everything Bagel tried to tempt me with some cream cheese too.

I finally got in line and I asked the woman behind the counter if they had a nutritional sheet I could have… It was a riot, the woman looked at me so confused… I think she may have been mentally trying to figure out what other donut shops they could call on to restock their shelves after I had ordered.

After a moment she stumbled out the words, “You could get them on the internet.” Then I think I gave her a complete mental shut down as I just tilted my head and said, “Thank you” turned around and just left. Not a single donut in hand. A couple of years ago it would have been at least two and a large ice coffee with double sugars and maybe even cream in the coffee. That was so fun!

(In other news…) Sean Anderson is encouraging people to drink more water… Foolsfitness is giving a thumbs up to the whole water idea in general. Fools Fitness even got the picture to prove it!!! We try to drink some daily… We even shower with the stuff ! A great story that came with this shot is immediately after a friend took the picture it started to sprinkle, then it started raining harder and harder. My impulse was to get back to the car, not that I cared much about being wet but I wanted my camera dry.

In the car I asked “Where’s the water jug?“ In my haste picking up my shoes I had forgotten the 5 gallon jug on the beach. It was down pour raining, but I shrugged to my fate and ran to get it. Look closely at that last sentence… see the word *RAN*? I had this weird epiphany half way through ,”Wait? I’m running…a distance?!” I got back to the car and gleefully giggle, “Did you see it… I *RAN*!” to the friend almost like a little kid says “Look momma! Look what I can do!” Let’s just say maybe it’s not a big deal for some folk…(and apparently not that person from that look of “so what?“ I got back) But if you can not remember the last time that you really sprinted, at least not vividly that feeling of flying, almost like there just be that slightest chance that you take one more step and just might float into the air… it’s like a little kid who finally takes those training wheels off their bicycle. I can run! Well, at least for a little bit…

It’s surreal… I guess I had this mental block telling myself “I don’t run” (which was very likely true for a very long time) but somehow I finally forgot to remind myself. I didn’t plan it and didn’t think about it and then it was almost like looking in as third person… hey, you know your running here, right? Maybe that’s why Foolsfitness sometimes refers to himself in third person…That surreal thing, then there is the world domination evil mastermind thing, and hopefully it also may impress the ladies too. (By the way ladies, yes that guy in the pictures above is single… commence swooning.)

At Fools Fitness we refer to ourselves at times in third person because… well…we’ve just got too much arrogance to fit into first person sometimes! -Alan

Friday, July 23, 2010

Worship at the Sixteen Hundred Calorie Chapel

I drew this very early this morning after watching a DVD movie that someone very dear to my heart bought me as a gift. Sometimes it seems like lately I've been worshiping the god of the fast food chapels.

Below is a pic of the flat on my Raliegh Venture bicycle "Boba"... what can I say, some times it's just hard to get out of bed... and then away from the kitchen, or the fast food joints, or the ice cream...

One more cola, a bit more ice cream, and a couple of cupcakes and I'll be ok...

At Foolsfitness we feel like the girl in the Wizard of OZ... once the tornado stops we will be ok. (Oh wait... then there is all those munchkins of the lollipop guild, yum!) **Put the candy down slowly sir and step away**- Alan

Monday, July 19, 2010

Breaking News

We interrupt this normal blog posting to share with you this breaking news. I’ve finally beaten back the weight enough to see the scale read under 300! That’s 299 and something. For soooo long all I got was EEEEE or OL for overload on that home scale… now it actually identifies me as a person!!! Once I got my home scale to function I went weigh crazy, weighing with and without shoes, trying on different clothes, after I went to the bathroom, or took a drink. That number was with wearing my cross. (yes fill in the blank there)

Then within a week naturally I switched to my Dr. Evil super villian self complete with the evil laugh and world domination plans thinking I’m invincible… little extras without regard, and the next "breaking" news… about 7 pounds gained in about seven days (currently 307)!!! I think that breaks a record for me for most gained in that period of time.

Those clothes I mentioned buying in the last post I went crazy with them too. First wearing them to work. Then going out. Then around the house... basically until they smelled just plain bad. I just couldn't wrap my mind around wearing them somehow and kept on trying them back on. (then I was so giddy with it I completely forgot to take a picture of me wearing them to boot)

The last bit of current "breaking" news… my bicycle "Boba", her back tire, punctured not once but in two places by glass today. So I’m stranded about 5 miles out from home looking at a very long walk… and the friendly state trooper policeman (who also enjoys riding bicycles) sees me in my plight and offers me a lift home so I can get my car to come back and rescue my poor Raleigh bicycle. I've named that bicycle well... My "Boba Fett" bicycle seems to be just the essence of chaos.

As I’ve mentioned before I have the bicycle repair shop on speed dial. I got it repaired with a new tube, but I asked them to walk me through repairing it… next time I’m not going to be stranded but can fix it on the go as needed. (well after next paycheck when I can get a another spare tube and a portable air pump)

I guess the current breaking news is that I'm sort of on overload. Some of it very good too. But I guess somehow it seems like a lot at once. Have any of you folks who have lost weight, did you go somehow temperarily insane by it?

We now return you to your normal foolsfitness blog posts.- Alan

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Transformations + Shopping Adventure (Part I)

This was the day. I had thought about this trip for a while, a long while. My palms sweated as I grasp the steering wheel and put the car in gear. Driving to this fate my heart raced. I needed a plan, but an undertaking like this I don’t really have a reference for. I had to count on my quick wit and raw basic survival instincts if I had any chance to make it.

I thought of some kind of military movement, scout the area… move in from the side slowly, keep a keen eye on the lookout for any movement. I had walked slowly into the department store and eased my way toward the clothing section. The guard, the “can I help you find something” person seemed to make about 5 minute loops. I needed perfect timing, else I knew I’d be shuffled off into the big men’s section area that contained sweat pants and plain cotton tees in 3 and 4XLS. It was a place they were trained to herd guys like me.

I knew that section well. It’s the bad lands area where they charge some cruel sort of tax of another 2 dollars because you’re big. I had tried to rationalize it in the past with reason of the garments just using more fabrics but deep down I know it’s a punishment, the big guy tax. Moreover it’s a punishment because there is no clothes of any fashion at all… just some kind of single color prison garbs.

I slowly moved quietly into a corner of clothes that had emblems, patterns, even logos and cartoons on them. My eyes were stunned by a mosaic of colors, I just stood there for 10 minutes. I actually had a choice. Eventually a woman stood beside me looking at character tee shirts and gave me a warm smile, almost to say, “It’s ok… you’re welcome here.” Did she know? Was she a guardian angel who knew me over 40 pounds heavier? I took a cleansing breath and tried not to tremble.

I cautiously reached for a pair of cargo shorts, the biggest they had on a normal rack. The last time I wore something like this was when I was a kid. I remember years ago I had just given up on this section of clothing all together as any hope to find something in my size was just futile. Now I had to go to the dressing room to try this thing on. There was no way around it. I had to ring that attendant bell that makes everyone in the store within 50 yards look at you. Inside that room I changed into those shorts, and just sort of pulled them up and buttoned them. I looked into the full length mirror on the door just stunned. I sat down on the stool in there and just looked at this image of a guy that I guess was me for a very long time. It was so long I’m pretty sure that the woman gave me an odd but just momentary sideways glance when I left the changing room.

I kept looking at those small, so tiny, cargo shorts as I walked stunned with this glazed expression on my face back toward the men‘s section… they looked somehow so small that they could not have a chance to fit me. Yet this trip down the twilight zone wasn’t done… I promised myself I’d get a shirt too.

Once more I stood in front of clothes. I loathed that 2 dollar big men’s tax and somehow out of sheer anger I grabbed an XL shirt. I’d make it fit! I’d inhale for all my worth! That shirt would stretch before my sheer will until the seams would give in!!! Again I returned to the dressing room. Luckily I didn’t have to ring the bell again. I scooted in before she even saw the shirt I chose, because I knew she’d take it away from me for my devious plans of shirt abuse were afoot. Then I… um… put it on. I could breathe somehow! I could sit. It even seemed to have a tiny bit of stretch left in it? Again I sat in that room and starred into the mirror. An XL fit? Surely it was a big XL, a gift of the Gods, but even so it was an XL. I checked the size again… there was no number in front of the XL. Moreover… NO big men’s 2 dollar tax came with this shirt. The shorts still came with that loathsome tax but the shirt did not.

Before I left I went other places in that store… then I wonder If I was abducted by aliens again as somehow I had spent 2 ½ hours there, or couldn’t account for the lost time as I was on some spaceship… but in *PART II* the story continues with this odd adventure wondering the store that ends at home with trying something else purely impossible… and also picture of me in my NEW CLOTHES!

(The pictures I found were of over a few years I think the oldest was about 4-5 years back, the newest within a month)

At Foolsfitness we hate the dressing room bell you need to ring!- Alan

Monday, July 12, 2010

1360 Calories under 5 Bucks

How’s this for a goof up? I go for a long walk and I’m famished hungry, delirious from heat exhaustion, about to pass out from dehydration (aren‘t I great with excuses!) … I stop in to McD’s and get a double cheese burger, mcchicken, small fry, and a sundae… Under 5 bucks and over 1300 calories!!! Add a couple of ketchups and any fudge factor in their numbers and it’s easily over 1400.

Before I continue with the story : I haven’t posted in a while due to here being in a massive heat wave mostly. As I work a lot outside, my main focus after work is to just go to bed next to my air conditioner. I haven’t rode my bicycle in over a week due to this heavy heat and humidity, that looks like it will carry pretty much through this upcoming weekend at least. On a positive note though, I’ve tried to substitute some swimming at the lake in to just cool off and also get in a little movement. I’ve also had a art job doing a family crest coloring job to put on tote bags, and when I’m on the computer lately it’s been all art.

But back to my story of walking through the vast wastelands of heat and humidity. Luckily it was a long walk, and considering me not eating anything else for the afternoon and night, after I add in breakfast and a snack before I’m tipping easily over a normal dietary requirement of calories for a total day! Can you believe 1360 calories in a couple of sandwiches, tiny fry, and small sundae! I tried to adjust the best I could with what I had done but the “power of the plate” and what I choose to put on it or remove from it… Well, Can I blame that evil clown and his dark powers? I could have eaten 3 candy bars and had less calories!

I could have done this waaaaayyyy better with switching to a yogurt parfait without granola and single cheeseburger to bleed off over 300 calories in just that. Ironically the fries were the least of the calories in the meal. Of course I could have tweaked it further with holding the mayo… or one of the items all together. Wait! Can I blame that wonderful menu board lit with such colorful pictures of all that beautiful bounty to behold? They have some subliminal flicker in it that renders everyone helpless, a slave to any whim of hunger… right?

You’ve at least got to cut me a bit of credit of being aware of what I had chosen (at least after) and not just shrugging my shoulders or not paying it any mind at all like the old Alan. I even tried to adjust the day around it the best I was able to. I did NOT order a regular coke and can’t remember exactly the last time I did. Still, I could have gone with a big mac and large fry and still been under that 1360!

I shudder just watching someone dumping sugar and cream into their ice coffee now, but I’ve still got to learn to eat out well. I can now boast seeing 300.5 on the scales (soooo close to that 299 mark!) yet I’ve still got to see how well I can learn to navigate real world conditions eating out rather than at home making my own meal.

A recently friends invited me to a local ice cream shop. While I chose small, perhaps I should next time substitute frozen yogurt for the ice cream. Again, that small awareness can make a small tweak a huge difference in calories.

Maybe I should still carry around a granola bar to stave off rabid hunger in the future. I’ve got out of that habit but in the past it seems to have served me well. Also, of course, to remember this and learn from it to keep my goals in parallel not perpendicular to my choices in the future.

At Foolsfitness we have progressed toward goals with buying 34 bags of M+M’s yesterday… insane? Actually is it? One normal sized serving bag of the new pretzel kind of M+M’s falls in at 150 calories, which I actually think of as a good snack choice. I’m also looking into some frozen yogurts that literally could be the difference of nearly a thousand calories off a Ben + Jerry’s Ice Cream container of similar size!

In the end I actually think of it as a victory. I hugely failed caloric wise, but I’m aware of it and learning (Hopefully) Actually I have a bunch more of wonderful news to share… but alas this is getting to be a long post so I guess it should wait till next time…

I hate that overused phrase “lifestyle changes” but it really seems to me like I’m having to totally deconstruct the old ways and having to learn everything all over again. I don’t think things like the Chinese Buffet really have the same pull at all now, as it‘s not just me pulling back (I think that tug of war would be just a “diet“) but trying to set out pushing in a whole new direction. Although I do still like their ice cream! But still, walking away after one plate and some ice cream… I’d find that difficult to envision a couple of years ago.

At Foolsfitness we are babies taking their first steps.- Alan

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Twilight: Eclipse, Are We Food Vampires?

I am of 2 minds when it came to this series. One me could barely get through the first two books and movies (I can only hear about how this girl Bella swoons over this guy so many times before my eyes glaze over) Yet I’m fascinated by the pull of the story for so many and enjoyed Eclipse (the movie and book) far more than the first 2. Naturally I can’t help but poke fun in that idea of domesticating vampires and naturally mock “sparkly!” as the guy twitters in the sunlight.

Back to a fascinating idea though, The series is written from the point of view of the girl Bella. The author just published a book in the story from another vampire character’s point of view. “Bree Tanner” gets a few minutes in the film and a few pages in the book Eclipse, But in this short book “The short life of bree tanner” you get the story told from her point of view through her eyes.

What does this have to do with weight loss and getting fit you may be asking yourself? I think about how throughout all of this Bella and Bree (and everyone else) is making choices. Some of them are tough choices. Most of them have consequences.

What’s the draw about Vampires that fascinates us? As I read that “short life of bree tanner” I can’t help but think of how these “newborn” vampires are almost slaves to their drive and whom for more blood almost in a frenzy. It has such a power over them. Even the “cool” Cullen clan has to fight those urges to stay in control, to make the right choices.

I’m hesitant to talk about things in terms of “food addiction” yet if there is some truth to it, no question to the facts that hunger drives us and eating literally alters our chemical balance, We seem to be put in a very dangerous position too. Consider we must “feed” or we will starve. We couldn’t be an alcoholic that chooses to never drink again. We need to learn such control. If we give in to all the eating frenzy we could kill… ourselves.

Are we Food Vampires? Do I somehow loose a bit of my humanity attacking the half gallon ice cream or bag of donuts? Boy, for me it takes a lot of the shine of coolness of vampires off and now it’s like reading those two books and seeing it though another character’s eyes… this time it’s almost an affliction, even food could easily be a poison in excess unchecked uncontrolled as well as a necessary needed cure for hunger...

At Foolsfitness it’s time to feed. Yet I need to learn a new way… sort of the Cullen way to food. To sedate that hunger without loosing myself in the process -Alan

Monday, June 28, 2010

Deprivation and My Wrists

I found my wrist bone a while back and remember being very concerned at first wondering what that hard lump was. If you’ve ever been seriously heavy such odd things can be so profound. I can’t help but touch that bone once in a while out of some weird amazement. I joke with friends about finding half an ab too. Feeling the bone in my hip, ribcage, or being able to finally stand up on the pedals on my bicycle or zoom up a hill that I couldn’t tackle before. They are all little treats almost as good as cupcakes!

I actually did have a donut this morning. (Notice the word “a”) Sometimes on a whim I want to hit the Chinese Food Buffet or go for a quart of ice cream… I’ve been thinking about “DEPRIVATION”, Why should I “deprive” myself of eating a whole pizza or (fill in the blank here________ ) ???

Yet really I have already been depriving myself in a way by doing those old things! They have forced me to sit on the bench in life. To be on the sidelines while others who are not limited by the extra 150 pounds or what ever that lets them enjoy life more fully.

I heard something on the news about the new “Harry Potter” theme park. Apparently in their designs they made some of the rides with harnesses that just are not going to go around the average 300 pound guy. Should I ever want to go there, I’d be “deprived” of that!!! I’ve been deprived of spiking a volleyball or hitting a home run. Even at one point of zipping up a flight of stairs without being forced to do an imitation of Darth Vader’s breathing at the end. I’ve even been deprived of using my own digital bathroom scale, for I weigh so much that all it says is * O L * (overload? Like I need a reminder?) I remember at one point I didn’t even dare to step on one of the older doctor scales as they maxed at 350.

I have traded a few king sized candy bars to see the number 306 on the scale at the office today. Yet as I mentioned I did have a donut today, and a frozen yogurt cone yesterday too. Lately I’ve been aiming for around 300 calorie mini meals when I get up, about 11, 2, 5, and 8 at night. If I’m just a bit mindful 300 calories can be decent. That could be a candy bar or a bag of chips, chicken noodle soup with a small can of mixed veggies in it, two packs of oat meal, a burrito … just not all at once. If I want a bigger meal I just try to combine two of those times and do up to 600. Just mindful, aware, purpose full.

Here is a fun game. Get a big bowl and go over to your sink. Run what you think is a cup (8 ounces) in it and now pour it into a measuring cup. If you are like me and some other members of the Foolsfitness Fine Fellowship you can be pretty far off! Really try it, you may be surprised. I’m trying to learn sane serving portions and I’m considering a food scale. I keep a half cup measuring cup in my oatmeal container to use to so I don’t just randomly keep pouring.

Speaking of random, I’d like to try to catch up on a few different thank you’s, questions from folks and all.

* Thank you for the new award. As you know I run with scissors so following all the directions for these awards is about as difficult for me as herding cats. But in thanks I’ll just give you 4 random facts about me: I tend to like Existentialist thinking, I own the movie “Flushed Away”, and I like real old style hats like fedoras or driving caps but are not too fond of baseball caps. I tend to read a lot… some books written before I was born.

* Sports in general. I’m not big on watching any sport… I’d rather try to play them but only in a fun, no pressure, game. I never thought golf was interesting at all but it might be fun to drive the little cars. However miniature golf is a hoot. Every golf game should involve a windmill that you need to time your putt., or cute animals that eat your golf balls then catapult them someplace. If I had to watch a game I’d watch Soccer (real football), it seems faster than baseball, without the stops every four seconds of American football, yet not going up and back 300 times like basket ball. NASCAR bothers me. I want to see them turn both ways like road racing. I also want them to drive actual stock type cars that are close to real cars that anyone could own.

* The “Green Lady” 74 Raleigh vintage bicycle project I haven’t done anything with yet beyond asking my local bike shop which quoted me about 200 dollars in repairs and also taking out a bicycle repair book from the library to try to understand how to fix it up. I’m thinking it may be a winter tinkering project, or I might just be like the guy who has an old hotrod project in his barn that he goes and stares at from time to time and enjoys just the ideas and possibilities. I do have major concerns about the rusted front fork. I am trying to come up with plans to completely reverse and reangle the handle bars too. It goes against the general design as they want you to be crouched down for aerodynamics, but I find it really hard on my back to ride like that and I want to ride more sitting up.

At Foolsfitness we either now “deprive” you of any more to this post (until next time) and “deprive” ourselves of writing anymore (until next post)… but don‘t deprive yourselves from living life!- Alan

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Play Ball Batman!

Today I learned I can *NOT* catch a softball and they are not really “soft” at all. In the Foolsfitness world domination plans Cross training is important. After I am done praying, which is sort of a pun but no joke: Jesus Saves yet I don’t want to Bible thump here… Anyway I try new things in fitness and of course try to learn to eat a little better and in more sane portions.

So today I played my first “game” which is actually not a “league” at all but a community pick up game where people just show up and try to have fun hitting balls around and try to run in circles. I’ve never played beyond being forced to in gym class so many years ago I‘d rather not mention, I don’t own a glove (I had to borrow one) but I showed up. I honestly couldn’t catch one ball. Since I have never played I assume if I keep trying this I might just be able to catch a ball someday perhaps out of sheer luck or a developing skill.

The people there were very great and mellow. I actually could hit a bit. Over the night I got two singles. I think they were being kind and really only earned one though. Yet via team mates I actually eventually got all the way around moving a base on each hit and scored my first run too! Actually “running” may be a strong term, although I don’t think I waddled.

In trying to get into the spirit of things I created my own baseball card. I’m not sure if you can be really official unless you have one? I also wore the tallest socks I had and pulled up my sweat pant legs to my knees. I think if I play again I should chew gum too?

I currently have lost some feeling in my pitching hand and what I can feel in it aches. But it was some fun to try out something new and in the end I did have a workout judged by my severe need of a shower when I got home.

(If you have trouble reading the “Stats” on the card)
Hits: Took A Few to the Head
Saves: Only Jesus Saves
Spits: Pretty Well
Bats: Poorly
Throws: Worse
Runs: No, Just Trundles
Doubles/Triples: Portion Sizes
Pinch Hitter: Why pinch the hitters?

Feel free to click on the image to enlarge copy an print it. Fold it in half vertically and have your very own collectible and amazing, “The Batman” Alan, Baseball card!

At Foolsfitness we are not “Out” of the game yet!

Monday, June 21, 2010

8 Inches Gone an 3 New Notches on Belt

I have some motivational clothes on my bathroom door as a visual reminder of where I want to go. I’ve been wearing size 54 clothes that are getting more and more baggy. After making the third new notch in my belt on a whim I tried to put on the smaller shirt and pants. I just put on size 46 jeans and buttoned up a shirt that I haven’t in a very long time (if ever?) I hit the scales and saw 310.5 the other day.

It’s odd, in this journey I’ve dropped to that weight before about 6 months ago then started gaining. Before I couldn’t put them on. What I hadn’t realized is I have been trading some fat now and getting more muscle! Don’t misunderstand, along the journey there have been lots of goofs where I have again wolfed down a whole pizza, seen a half gallon of ice cream as a challenge, and visited the Chinese Food buffet place loads of times.

I’ve been learning, even in mistakes I’ve been reflecting on what happened. I hope somehow this may motivate someone out there that is struggling and also of course share this in a celebration with my many blogging friends. I can not say if I can do it you can too… But I will *SHOUT* if I can make progress, maybe… just maybe if I can do it maybe YOU can do it too!!!

SO WHAT IS THE TRICK? WHAT IS FOOLSFITNESS MAGIC SECRET? I’m *NOT* about fad diets, magic pills, super workout gismos… I want to even urge you to see a doctor and have them monitor your progress to be safe before trying anything (Even though I haven’t) but I’ll share some of the things I’ve done, they may not be right for you, or even safe… Maybe you have a better way for you, if so great! I do have a couple of degrees but they are NOT studies in physical health. I’m no doctor. (ok, enough disclaimers) here is a few of the things I‘ve been doing and thinking about…

VISUAL REMINDERS: I’ve kept a coin in my pocket, yellow live strong style band around my wrist, a picture of a healthy bicycle rider on my fridge door, and the aforementioned small motivational clothes hanging right on my bathroom door.

FOOD: At first it was just eat a little less and move a little more. Then it was reading the packages and really thinking about the caloric intake and monitoring how much I ate in a day with a goal of around 1500 calories. I have no interest in magic bars or super shakes… I want “real” food. Many days chips, pizza, chimichungas, even candy bars get in. I try to have a goal of “Mindful, Aware, and the Power of the Plate” you can see in the Foolsfitness Pledge I created on the right column. I’m starting to look at reasonable portions even thinking what if I took half of what old Alan would put on his plate? I ask myself “Am I really hungry?” Is this sane? What about one sandwich instead of two. What about mustard instead of mayo? Do I need all that sugar and creamer in my coffee?
Then I try things a bit different.

One now it’s a can of chicken noodle soup with a small can of mixed veggies in it. A major bowl of hearty soup for just under 300 calories. Or looking at a little difference of two brands of chicken and tuna salad. One can be 100 calories less in that simple choice. Yogurt differences between brands in calories can be significant too.

I *DON’T* WORKOUT! What?! Workout denotes Work, effort, drudgery! I play! I’ve picked swimming and bicycling that’s easy on this heavy guys knees, volleyball that is fun. Walking looking at the birds and trees. Kids get plenty of exercise if they go out outside and play. I want recess. Why beat on my knees painfully running or contorting myself around some weird workout gismo machine?!

GOALS: first it did start out as just eat a little less and move. Then it started to evolve. Without specific goals it’s so easy to drift aimlessly getting nowhere fast. Now it’s an hour swimming, or 10 miles on my bicycle. Training for an upcoming bicycle event. Even longer goals like trying to improve to become a personal trainer to help others who are like me, understanding more of what it’s like to walk in shoes weighed down with 350 pounds. No offense to the fit all their life jocks who are personal trainers, who I’m sure many are wonderful people, but can they really understand what it’s like to live as someone who weighs twice what they do without experiencing it? Several commenters mentioned writing a book. If that helps people maybe I will in the future someday. Hopefully it will be more fresh and real, without the diet gimmicks. Hopefully people will laugh and be encouraged!

MODIVATION: Perseverance is so hard I can’t even write it without my spell check. If it was easy we would all be fit and healthy. People want the simple quick trick. IT’S HARD! How’s that for sugar substitute coating it? I mentioned the motivation clothes, picture on my fridge. Reading people’s blogs and writing my own forces me to think, or reminds me, about where I want to go. Vision in goals. I’m even considering getting a subscription to a fitness related magazine so each month I’m forced to get a reminder of my goal just by checking my mail. Even my cat in the picture at the top of this post is curled up with a Lance Armstrong book looking for her motivation!

Phew, long post… but allow me to take some time to gloat in being so jazzed about putting on a size 46. I’m sure to some of you it might still sound huge while others may long for it. I’ve got some way to goal but I dare you to actually whip out a real life ruler and look at eight inches visually, in reality, and say that isn’t an accomplishment. Maybe someone reading this understands my struggles, fight, progress, and now realizes that just maybe they can do it too. Maybe some of you ahead of me can keep on pulling me along through the tough times (PLEASE!)

At Fools fitness an Atlas weight belt now drapes over the bathroom door, it’s like a Championship World Wrestling Title Belt waiting for me to fight for it, and win it!- Alan

Friday, June 18, 2010

Riding Wildfire for the First Time

It was a horse who had been neglected and forgotten for so long. She was cooped up in a tiny stable, unable to run for ages. Today she tasted some freedom, and the rush thrilled her. The first few strides were tentative, even wobbly like a newborn horse. I brought “Shade” next to the runway at the airport. We stayed there for a while and as those planes took off and landed I think both of our pulses quickened. Especially as a small jet’s engine whined with power as it took off like a rocket in almost vertical assent.

I had planned a six mile ride, for both of us to get use to each other. I was on a new saddle seat that was like a rock and with every bump in the road it jarred me to the bone.

If you haven’t caught on, this isn’t a horse… but rather an old eighties 10-speed road bike I’ve been trying to get back to functional for a while now. It’s a whole new riding position, as I try to keep adjusting my hands on the “reins”, those curly handlebars will take some getting use to as well as the feeling like I’m riding in the fetal position.

I used the horse analogy here because it was such an odd ride, but in an exciting way. As I said at first I was just trying to adjust. As I explored the gears a bit I started pumping my legs, pom pom pom. It was like an old horse just set free after being tied up for so long. Suddenly I started really rocketing, “she” wanted to run free and wild! I went so fast for a short burst I actually got scared. I’ve stripped the bike for weight of about just about everything not essential so I don’t have a speedometer on it to say how high it got up to.

But it was like an old horse just set free in another way too. After a mile sprint my body screamed to slow down. By the two and three mile mark it was back to a easy gait trot. I headed back to put it in my car. It’s going to take time for my body to adjust to the increased pull of aerobic capacity and also my muscles building up for the new riding position. Almost like an old horse that had to start out slow again, but got so over thrilled to be able to run once more.

To get Shade back to my car I had a short steep hill to climb. I was spent but didn’t want to walk much so I made a run on the flat before the hill figuring I’d stop half way up and walk it the rest. It was almost like she wanted one more sprint before going back in the stable of the back of my car. I zipped up the hill so far I just thought, just keep riding… and I did all the way back to the car up that hill.

I didn’t hit 6 miles, more like 4... But sometimes you don’t make your goals… somehow you make something even better. I got to my car and glanced down at my shirt. To use one last horse analogy… I was the one ridden hard and put away wet. Nice. It amazes me to think about how a year or so ago I wouldn’t even dream or even think about trying some of this stuff.

Well as that song goes, it looks like I “got a ticket to ride”… but unlike that girl, I care.

Speaking of songs…at the Foolsfitness gym that old song “Wildfire” plays on the speakers often. Actually as a kid it was one of my favorite songs.-Alan

Monday, June 14, 2010

Laughing with 14 Pounds of Kitty Litter

Picture this. Sweet victories!!! It’s pouring rain, as a couple of teenagers ride by my bicycle and do the Simpson version of “Haw-ha!” They had no idea for they laughed in ignorance while I was laughing in sheer bliss riding my bicycle

What is so funny about riding your bicycle in the pouring rain? 14 pounds of kitty litter, or rather 2 seven pound bags of kitty litter in my rear panniers of my bicycle, along with speed stick, 10 razors, wallet and cell phone… oh and a paid bill. (hey that envelope counts for an ounce or so!!!) all in plastic bags to stay nice and dry. Some folks may call it crazy, other’s may call it doing errands, or training… maybe it’s all three?

I was in a cotton shirt and khaki shorts, likely a few pounds heavier too being soaked. What is so funny here?! I laughed in joy for one thing… about a year ago I tried to tackle a hill I call the Friendly’s hill due to that restaurant at the top and last year I had to stop half way. Moreover last year I recall a kid on a BMX bicycle whipping by me and a mother with a stroller almost keeping pace ahead.

This day was different. I laughed. A deep laugh as weighed down by rain and kitty litter I climbed that hill with breath to spare! No stops.

I also laughed today as I stepped on the scales at work…. 316. That’s about 1 ¾ less than last check. I laughed again as I quick snapped this picture above with my phone… My cat has other plans for the proper use of my gym bag.

It’s pretty funny right now at Foolsfitness- Alan

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Ninja in the Candy Aisle

A dark silence fell around me as I stood in that aisle of brightly colored bags that contained all sorts of shapes of sweet candy goodness. I remember being there for a very long time in some odd trance state. As an old west gunslinger I stared down a pound bag of M+Ms. I justified to myself that they were a good price, the best deal for the money. I told myself I could just eat a few and tuck the bag away for later in my house.

At that moment a petite woman with a little girl came into my peripheral vision. The little girl picked up a big candy bar and asked her mother the question… The woman shook her head no and told the little one to put it back, then shuffled the child away from this dangerous scene of a very large man standing, staring into the oblivion of chocolate. The woman obviously sensed in some natural maternal protection instinct to whisk her child away from this vampire of chocolate prepared to pounce. The Late Croc Hunter guy would be saying, “Danger, danger, danger” right about now.

I had heard that woman’s “no” in the back of my head before. A small voice of my own in me echoed it. Then the louder voice claimed I would not be deprived!!! Wait, am I hearing voices… (well, that’s for another blog post) but I took a step back. I picked up the half pound one instead all proud of myself, but yet again I didn’t even need to look at the calories on the back to know what half of a ton of calories is.

Then a box boy of the supermarket approached very slowly. He had seen this look from this size of person in this aisle before. He was not going to interpose himself between me and the candy for his own safety. Making no sudden moves to startle me he wisely eased himself behind me and passed without a sound.

I set the second biggest bag of M+Ms back too. Then I decided I would get two king sized candy bars. Sure it was an insane choice, yet somehow justified. As I approached the check out I just felt Mr. Foolsfitness giving me that gentle tap on the shoulder. “Mindful, aware, choices.”

I set back that king sized four pack of peanut butter cups for two normal packs… one I would give to a friend. And that massive family sized bag of M+M’s by the check out had reduced itself to a tear and share one, a sort of one up from a normal candy bar.

I enjoyed my single pack of 2 normal sized peanut butter cups before I got home. But when I got back I saw that bag of M+M’s once again. First it went in the fridge. I was confused. It didn’t instantly go in my mouth! Then I laughed and took it out and put it up on my bookcase shelf as a trophy. Today I won. Sometime it may get eaten but not today.

At Foolsfitness Chocolate’s kung-fu is weak, and no match for our Bike-fu.- Alan