Monday, April 27, 2015

Just Kickin' It

First of all...THANK YOU!!!  In the last week, I have had over 900 page views on a blog that just went public last Monday.  That's AMAZING!  I've also added some links on the right side of the blog so you can subscribe to this page and not miss when I post an update.  Choose whichever you like and wait for what's new.

I titled this week's blog post "Just Kickin' It" because I feel like that is what we are doing here together. You are all either old friends or new friends but friends nonetheless. Along those same lines, I was able to take a night this week and hang out with those old college friends I mentioned in an earlier post.  Some of the guys were involved in a state bowling competition so the central location in Indianapolis provided an opportunity to catch up on old times.  More on that later.

Also this week, our nurse at school enacted a healthy challenge.  This is not necessarily a competition, even though we are compiling scores, but more of a personal challenge to make healthy decisions each day.  The challenges include things like; step count for the day, servings of fruits and vegetables, fresh air time, and others.  Check out the picture to see how I did for the first week.

I obviously have some areas to improve in, but I think I did considerably well in some of the other areas.  You only get to count one of the weekend days and I chose Sunday because Saturday was not a good choice day.  Again, more on that later.

After taking the blog live last week, I spent a lot of time looking around for inspirational items or simple knowledge that I could share.  After all, you don't just want to read about me.  I actually opened the Moleskine I have been carrying around in my bag for quite some time and put it to some good use.  Deciding to write this blog has brought an invigoration to my life that I am quite excited about.

Here are the things I have found so far in my research that I wanted to share.  I went to the Runner's World website (because I like their shoe reviews) and ran across an article titled "A Weight Loss Manifesto."  In this Article Amby Burfoot is discussing things he has learned while interviewing doctors at Pennington Biomedical Research Center.  Quite a bit of science is discussed in this short two page article, but a couple quotes caught me with a bit of laughter attached in the middle of a "duh" moment.  Dr. Joseph S. Alpert, M. D. said, "You only have to exercise on the days that you eat."  Wow!  How much more true could that be.  You put calories have to get calories out.  It's a simple equation.  Eat more than you burn and you gain weight.  Burn more than you eat and you lose weight.  I just think it is hilarious how simply he explained it.

The second quote I took away from that article is from the author Amby Burfoot.  He is trying to be simplistic in the things that must be done every day to maintain health. "Food. Feet. Water. Repeat."  Again, how much more simple can you be?  Yet, the knowledge contained in those four words is extraordinary.  Occasionally, an author can cut away the fat (pun intended) and put down exactly what they want to say in just a few words.  This is a prime example.  I am thinking about creating a shirt with either these 4 simple words or graphics to represent them.  If you read Burfoot's article, you might see my comment asking for permission to do so.  He hasn't said yes or I will take that as a yes by default.  I'll let you know when I get the design done and maybe I will post it online so you can buy your own.  But, let's not get ahead of ourselves.

As I said before, I was able to hang out with my friends this weekend.  Yeah, we went out to the bar.  Yeah, I had some fried shrimp, and a sandwich on Rye, and some fries.  But, I stayed away from the beer and pop and went solely with clear alcohol with a couple of  juice splashes in the shots I did not order.  I didn't get out of control, didn't make a fool of myself, definitely didn't drive, and had quite a good time.  I even found out that one of them is reading my blog and I hope he continues to do so.

However, it threw my body into a little bit of an unbalanced state.  I know I held some water weight back after what I ate and drank.  I decided, with a little input from my brother-in-law, to take a Monday weigh-in total rather than a Sunday.  Big Difference!  Sunday would have put me at almost a pound gained, but Monday put me at 287.7 lbs.  Another 1.7 lbs down.  Not as good as last week, but I'll take it.  It's about small victories and that one day turn around was a small victory for me.

After a great night with friends, I came home to a pleasant surprise.  My lovely wife had been researching healthy lunch ideas while I was away and I got to taste the tuna salad recipe she had tested out.  It's Pretty good.  We left out the celery and onions (and substituted celery salt for vege-sal), but it turned out pretty good.  Hopefully the teacher's lounge doesn't mind the tuna salad smell.  Hoping to help her find more of these.  I'm going to post this one to my Re-Dan-imation Pinterest Board.

Until next week... "FOOD. FEET. WATER. REPEAT!!"

Monday, April 20, 2015

Truly Inspired

The blog title has multiple meanings this week.  First and foremost, I have completely dedicated myself to this process.  I am using MyFitnessPal to diary my food daily and have upped the goal on my FitBit from 10,000 to 12,000.  I had a group of coworkers include me in a workweek challenge on FitBit so that helped a lot too.  I think I like the competition.

On Wednesday, I mowed the lawn for the first time of the year and as the self propel function of my mower isn't working its best I decided to actually push the mower the entire time.  That was rough...ugh!  However, I was still down in step count so I forced myself to stay outside and walked roughly 12 laps of my cul-de-sac for an additional 3,500 steps.  That's right folks.  I met my goal and exceeded it. I exceeded it a few other days as well.

For the entire week, I have been under my calorie intake goal and I can tell from that fact alone that I have lost weight.  Not as much in definitely equals more off.  But, as the weekend approached I started thinking about inspiration in other ways.

For many years, I have watched my former high school band director fix his health in the exact manner I am attempting now.  He weighed basically the same as me when he started but is about 5 inches taller than me.  His name is +Christopher Day and you should read his blog.  He has gone from weighing 300 pounds to completing multiple marathons, being sponsored by Team Refuel and completing a full Ironman, and this weekend, raced in the Boston Marathon (a crowning achievement for many athletes)  I considered this man a role model in high school and do so still today.  I hope to achieve just a small portion of the success he has reached through his weight loss.  He has led his wife and children to a healthy lifestyle as well simply by making great choices for himself.  Thanks Mr. Day (still sounds right at 32).  I hope you get a chance to read this.

Now for the update you are all concerned about.  How much weight did I lose this week?  With the amount of determination I have shown this week and the will power I have shown when I open the fridge to pour some water I weighed in on Sunday morning at....... 289.4!!  That is 4.9 pounds for the week and an even 5 pounds since starting.  I doubt the following week will be as fantastic since this is the true first week of effort, but who knows.  I am proud of myself!  No more 290s for this guy!  That's what happens when you start the process of Re-Dan-imation!!  Thanks for reading.  Until next Monday.


Monday, April 13, 2015

A Slow Start

This week I have been slamming myself getting ready to host a local 5K/10K for which I am the chairman.  The event is called the Spaghetti Run and is put on by the Frankfort Indiana Jaycees (of which I am a member).  I have raised all the funds and have made contact with our timers to forward them our current registrations.  But, with the amount of school responsibilities taking up my time and the wonderful rainy weather it is becoming difficult to pick up and/or complete the last few tasks which includes marking the course.

HOWEVER, the weather on Friday made a turn for fantastic!  While I was able to help a little at the Italian Buffet put on by our local Rotarians, and also the namesake for the Spaghetti Run, I was also able to run out after school to gather a few necessities and mark the course.  I made it to around midnight with a 5:50 wake up time on Saturday to begin prepping for check-in in the morning.

Everything was fantastic on Saturday!  The weather was great for the runners, albeit a little chilly at the beginning for my course attendants.  We had an extra 5-10 people sign up the day of the race.  We did have 3 people unexpectedly pull off the course without telling anybody and then walk home, but we eventually caught up with them and everyone was accounted for.  It turns out that we made enough money to keep the bills paid at our hall for a few months and help with some other projects we have coming up.  I even went to a friends house to help finish building a swing set for his kids.  THAT THING WAS HEAVY!!!  And, we were able to have a good evening sitting around the campfire with friends.  All in all, a good day.

Sunday morning was the first weigh in.  294.3.  A whopping one tenth of a pound weight loss.  However, it was a loss.  My devotion this week was lacking, I hadn't started monitoring my food intake and was yet to increase my activity level.  So, I'll take it.  Anything is better than an increase.  Next week will be better.  I guarantee it!

Monday, April 6, 2015

First Blog

Why Re-Dan-Imation?

Well, let's just say I have tried this before.  I have succeeded and failed again and again.  But, this time I am making a change.  The time is now.  I currently weigh 294.4 lbs.  I am a big dude.  I am a chunky monkey.  I am a fluffy fella.  I am also a loving husband, a son, a brother, a friend, an educator, a community member, and probably many more things I haven't yet thought of.  Today is the beginning of a new Dan.  Today is the beginning of a guy that thrives in life.  Today is the day I change the way I look to the world.  Today I begin reanimating myself live and in color. 

To put it mildly, I have had a few struggles in my life.  These are not excuses, but they definitely don't help with the mental psyche.  I grew up overweight.  I wore husky jeans and LA Gears (do those even exist anymore).  I was bullied in middle school, but I am not sure my parents ever really knew about it.  I distinctly remember forgetting to wear green one St. Patrick's Day and being cornered by a few students pinching me while I huddled in the corner to protect myself.  I remember hating to change clothes in gym and then ending up getting a stray towel whip to the corner of my eye (lucky I didn't turn around any faster).  I remember that I was sad to move in 8th grade because there were a few people that appreciated my help in math class and I thought they appreciated me for other reasons.  When I moved to that small school, I got a little attention because (at my own demise) I chose to wear gym shorts and t-shirts to school.  However, I again showed a little panache for learning and found a group of friends almost right away.  I found that the musical organizations I was a part of brought out the best parts of me and those people didn't care about the weight.  I finally found myself.  Fast Forward a few years and I have a girlfriend, the respect of my peers, and I am heading to college.  I'm on top of the world.

Well, I was on top of the world, until I realized I knew absolutely nothing about music theory or composing, and although I was a fairly good musician at my small school, I couldn't come close to competing with the people at an 18,000 student university.  I enjoyed my time in Marching band at BSU my freshman year.  I loved playing at the football games.  I still remember facing foliage (north) and pool (south) during summer and fall practice.  But, I don't even own my trumpet anymore.  I sold it to my middle brother.  The one I taught to read music and who now actually is a music educator.  Skip a year and I am on Spring Break.  I drive up to visit the girlfriend at her school with flowers and a t-shirt from my parents.  I sit in my car for 4 hours waiting on her to get out of softball practice only to find out she is taking another friend to Chicago and hadn't told me because she was afraid I would tell her mom.  After a 20 minute screaming/ crying match in the parking lot, I am now heading back to school, lost and alone.  This was the last time I "succeeded."  I figured nobody was going to find me attractive enough in college so I started hitting the treadmill and lost what I remember to be about 20 pounds.  Probably not enough to make a noticeable difference to anyone around me, but I felt better.  I rode my bike around campus a lot, but I was pretty much a loner.  I quit marching after the previous year, I didn't really have any actual friends from my classes.  I was trying to make it on my own.

My junior year I met a group of friends that I still talk to and hang around with.  However, somehow I still find myself the butt of most of the jokes.  Maybe I make myself an easy target.  But, behind the jokes, the friends truly do care and I am thankful for them.  I do my fair share of joking in their direction too.  I am back on the horse and riding my way toward graduation.  By the way, I ended up switching my major to elementary education and I am glad I did.  My group of friends and I had our fair share of late nights, vacations, libations, and many other things that kept us together, including all working in the same liquor store.  After graduation I found a job roughly an hour away.  I tried living in the same college town for a while and the money didn't work out right.  I moved back in with my parents for 6 months and the drive was even farther.  So, I moved out on my own about 15 minutes from my school and got busy living the bachelor life.  I enjoyed my apartment, got a dog, found an extra job to afford a new car.  Gave the dog to a friend at the second job because I now wasn't home enough to keep the dog from chewing up everything.  And at about this point I met my future spouse at school.  We dated for about a year, got engaged, married, and moved into a house of our own just 7 tenths of a mile from the front door of school (even thought I always said I wouldn't live in the same town where I taught...LOL).  Life was great.

Little did I know that asking my wife to wait a year before we started trying to have children would bring such hardship.  After trying for a year, we began talking to fertility doctors.  Long story short, we have spent roughly 4 years and enough money to buy at least one fancy new car if not more.  The results have been 3 miscarriages (one at 17 weeks) and enough stress and heartache to bring a lineman down to his knees.  We haven't given up and will not give up hope.  During the time we were trying to have children, my dad had done incredible work on his weight.  He lost roughly 80 pounds and was looking the healthiest I had ever seen him.  He had cut down on smoking picked up on walking and was much happier and talkative.  He even surprised us with a family vacation to Myrtle Beach over spring break one year.  I couldn't have been happier for him!

My birthday, June 1 2013, I had decided I was going to make a change for the better myself.  I had asked my parents for a Garmin Forerunner 10 watch for my birthday to monitor my runs and bike rides during the summer.  We went to Don Pablo's for my birthday dinner and I received the watch I had asked for.  Needless to say I was excited.  We spent the remainder of dinner talking about our upcoming initial try with IVF.  We discussed the shots, the procedure, the waiting game.  My dad said it sounded scary and mom seemed a little nervous, but we were simply excited to get it started in the hopes of starting a family.  Instead, just 6 days later, and 2 days before my parents anniversary, my family shrank by 1 after my dad decided to take his own life.  The last conversation we ever had was on my 31st birthday.  Much too soon to lose a father who you were so proud of.  It turns out that struggling with money drove him to the point of no return.  There were no warning signs to speak of.  There was nothing but a family lost for hope at a time when it seemed we needed it most.

Family streamed in from Missouri to support my mom and I was able to stay with her for just over a week.  We laid my father to rest by burying his ashes under a tree in the courtyard at Abe Martin Lodge in Brown County State Park.  If you are ever there, stop by and say hello to him.  I had used my Forerunner watch a grand total of 1 time after I got it, but after his death it was a painful thing to look at, let alone use.  I honestly don't think I even touched it again for a few months.

As you may be able to tell, my past few years have been riddled with uncertainty, pain, and stress.  You may understand why I have not been on the health wagon.  I don't know if I am scared to turn into my father or not, but what he did has certainly changed my life.  I have already begun fixing my issues with money.  Now, I am on my way to fixing my battles with my weight.  I will beat this.  I will succeed.  I will prevail.  I will maintain.  I will Re-Dan-imate myself.

Follow along through this journey.  Or stop by every once in a while.  If you have made it this far through this post, you have made it far enough to show you care.  Thanks for reading.