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

Monday, June 7, 2010

Learning to Fly

Many guys must have been called crazy as they tried to strap canvas to wood planks in a quest to fulfill their vision of flight. Many also failed. Even one of the famous Wright brothers in the end lost his life in one of his own planes.

I recently saw the new “Alice in Wonderland” movie and one of the things hit me. Both her father and the Mad Hatter both pointed out that essentially crazy people are the only ones who really get any big things done. Maybe a “sane” person would have given up on the whole light bulb idea after maybe a hundred tries, never mind over a thousand.

Vision. Obsession? Insanity? I love G. K. Chesterton’s quote, “Angel’s can fly because they take themselves lightly.” There does seem something poetic, even a romantic lure about what seems to be insanity. That drive is important, crucial.

I don’t know what has gotten into me about bicycles but if you ever get to see the movie, “The World’s Fastest Indian” maybe you can understand that odd drive a bit more. It’s doesn’t even matter how fast I ride my bicycle… but for some reason I’ve just got to ride it with passion.

So now I have this nearly functional 10 speed road bike aka, “SHADE” originally built in October of 1983. I have $28.50 from doing a yard sale to try to raise the bicycle repair fee fund. But the question is when ever I can get it or the Green lady fixed so I can ride a road bike what will I actually do?

How do I teach it… and myself to learn how to fly? First of all two things primarily make you go faster on a road bike. One, a lighter road bike (Well it’s about as light as a small tank but it is what I got and what I can afford, but I did strip off all the reflectors and kickstand to do my part) Then there is the lighter me… (still working on that but I can proudly say lighter than last year!) And of course, light in the head, check!

Then there is the idea of more power… Back to the Wright brothers. When they wanted a powerful yet light engine for their plane and they couldn’t find anyone who could make one… so you know what they did? Yup, these crazy bicycle guys made an engine for themselves, in fact one that had more horse power than they estimated while building it. Well, last big ride for me was 23 miles on rail trails on dirt and small gravel so I’m building my engine!

There is a third thing that has to do with aerodynamics but I find that a just a real drag to talk about.

Anyways these guys also needed a place to do their tests with the gliders, kites, and planes. They found a great beach area with good winds. The poet in me kept asking myself, “Where do I learn how to fly on a bicycle?” then it hit me. There is a perfect strip of level road in a line that goes parallel to the local airport complete with wide breakdown lanes to ride in. I will be peddling faster learning to fly on my road bicycle as those planes leave the ground right close by! How’s that for some visual motivation?!

At Foolsfitness we are requesting permission for take-off…Alan

Thursday, June 3, 2010

tHe SeCrEt CaVe

Is it a Hobbit Hole or a Troll Cave?! Yesterday I did 23 miles on My “Boba” bicycle on rail trails in Derry, NH. This picture is of a tunnel that goes under the main road above it. I’m proud of the ride, but I did need several rest breaks. My training for road racing continues the best that I can… until I actually have a functional 10 speed road bike.

Did you ever feel that as hard as you try you just can’t seem to get it right? This last week I ate way too much and the menu was not healthy. Who can I blame? Why do I do it? This is so simple and yet so complex. I even have a motto pledge for Foolsfitness you can read on the right column that breaks it all down. In even a more simple form… eat sanely and move. Why is that so difficult? I seem to make things way more complex than they need to be and I don’t know why.

It’s so easy to give in to the compromises. One justification here and then another. Imagine just a 20 ounce cola a day, each day for a year… Such a little thing? The caloric equivalent of 26 pounds! Sure I’ll take that second helping, yeah ok, just a little more of that there… Just another donut, all right- one more slice of pizza.

Last year I got a single gear bike I named Blue. I found her super reliable but needed more gears for hills. So this spring I got My Raleigh 7-speed Venture, “Boba”, suitable for all of my basic riding. (so first quick and easy mistake??? Should have saved for this one first? Error: Looked for the quick fix first that didn‘t really address my real needs, ended up spending more in the end…. Sounds like a few candy bars I‘ve eaten?)

I have a new goal recently to start informally racing road bikes, which in itself I think is a grand idea…All I need is a road bike. Simple!!! Yet I got an old 10 speed that I hoped to fix up but it’s going to be a tough (if not frankly impossible) project. So I get it in my head for *ANOTHER* cheap 10 speed at another yard sale, yet I cut corners again. AGAIN with the quick and easy fixes… I made the exact same mistake twice with compromises, cutting corners, and going for short cuts.

My new road bike I’ve named “Shade” needs I think a bit less work than the other, “Green Lady”, to have the bike shop guys true the rear wheel, adjust the brakes, and tighten a brake grip on Shade I‘m not sure yet. I just sold ole Blue for $35 which I intended toward tune up fees for Shade…but needed to divert those funds to help out a friend.

I wonder if I’m still falling for the general trap… the quick and “easy“, cheap, and cutting corners thinking. In the fitness journey it is simple, but gimmicks and quick fixes aren’t the path. I think I still need to work on investing in the future properly. It seems like these two bicycle mistakes are just extensions of my old philosophy thinking toward food too. Oh, look! I think I’ll get a candy bar. Did I pay attention to how much food I just ate in that last meal, and when I ate last? Just what exactly was my intention in my actions and how on Earth did *that* just work toward it?!

This is simple. Eat sanely and move. Yet it falls apart with shortcut or compromise thinking. It doesn’t work with impulse. It isn’t about a trick. There are no tricks. It works when you stay in the simple direction of where you want to be. The solution almost sounds too simple, it’s not adventurous or sexy at all. Even seems a bit dull doesn’t it?

Maybe we even make it way more complex than it needs to be at times too? Fine… Eat sanely and move, and also have a nice PEZ dispenser with you at all times loaded with one roll of PEZ candy per day. (a roll of PEZ isn’t even 50 calories) plus PEZ containers are cool.

Maybe “The Secret” is that the next quick fix, compromise, exception, excuse, or broken 10-speed… all get nowhere fast.

At Foolsfitness we always fall for the quarter behind the ear trick!- Alan