A good friend posted some pictures of our visit to the pumpkin patch on Facebook. I was going through them looking for shots of my Son in the vast sea of children (most of them hers), not recognizing anyone until I caught a glimpse of her husband in the crowd. My first thought was, "Who's the fat guy talking to Mark?" but on closer inspection I realized it was me... I thought he looked familiar!
I made the mistake of standing, nakee, in front of the mirror on Friday. At home I know where the full-lengths are strategically located and I make it a habit not to get caught in front of one, but we stayed in a hotel this weekend and I wasn't paying attention. I woke up from an afternoon nap and dropped my clothes on the floor before darting into the bathroom for a shower and spun right into a full-frontal. I think it would be safe for me to say that you can ask anyone that knows me and they would say I am anything but vane, however, this was not a pretty sight.
What I saw made me disgusted to think that, not a year earlier, I stood in front of a mirror looking at a body that was mostly crippled on one side, promising myself that, if I regained my strength and coordination, I was not going to fall back into the bad habits that allowed me to get out of shape. I, honestly, don't know what happened. Although, I haven't been a fitness fanatic, I am still eating ten times better than I was before the stroke and working out more often also, yet I have gained more weight in the last 12 months than I have in any period in my life.
I have cut the salt, the fat, and the carbs and, as a result (and with the added help of some really good meds) I have brought down my blood-pressure and my cholesterol to acceptable levels but even with the additional exercise, I am still not losing-- and sometimes even gaining, pounds. My first thought was that the medications could be contributing to my difficulties, but nothing I have read would lead me to believe that any of them would cause a problem.
I tried to blame some of the weight on sympathy gain because my wife is pregnant with our second child. I could believe that was the problem until my sympathy gain exceeded her actual weight gain and M3S exclaimed that Dada was going to have a big baby when he understood that Mama's belly was getting big because it had a baby growing in it.
I know that some people pack on the poundage when they quit smoking but I would have a very hard time using this as an excuse considering I quit overnight with the only ill-effect being that I was tired all of the time. I continued to lose weight for the first three or four months afterward so I don't think the delayed nicotine withdrawal argument is going to fly.
My wife tends to think that it is all because of my age. 43 is not what I would consider old now, though, 25-30 years ago I certainly would. If I can't use my lost youth as a legitimate explanation for the stroke-- I can't use it for a good reason to be lazy and out of shape either.
During my rehabilitation, I fell into some excellent habits. I took my diet and exercise to the extreme-- partly because I was scared to death of dying, but mostly because I wanted to be sure to get a good head-start because it would be hard to keep up that pace and not start slacking. That slacking, however, came back way too quickly once I got back to a semi-normal routine. I went from being bored and looking for things to do with all of the free time I had to being worn-out all the time when I went back to work. In addition, sitting at a desk all day isn't very healthy either-- at least with my nicotine habit, I would get up to go to the smoking area four times a day.
I have always enjoyed working out earlier rather than later and, from what I've heard, this is much better for burning calories. I find it extremely hard to get myself motivated to go to the gym after work-- or even worse, after dinner. There is a group of people at work though that actually workout before they come in but I could just never see myself getting up before the Sun, dragging my butt out of bed, into the car and up to the YMCA, when I could do something much more sensible and enjoyable, like... sleep!
This was before the incident with the mirror, though, and my knee-jerk, paranoia, hypochondriac reaction to get up early the next morning, drag my sorry butt out of bed, down the stairs (instead of the elevator) and into the hotel "fitness center"-- two treadmills and a stationary bike. They weren't the best facilities but I got in an almost 50-minute session before MLW and M3S came down looking for breakfast and the other key to the room.
Later in the afternoon, I commented how it felt good-- mentally and, surprisingly, physically-- to get up and get in that workout early in the morning... and while on vacation to boot. My wife suggested that I should try it when we get home, and reminded me that I usually get up to load our Son in the car for her at 5:30 anyway. I never thought of it like that.
So, this morning, I gave it a shot. MLW, gently, woke me at 5:30 so I could carry 38 pounds of dead weight 50-feet to the garage and load M3S into his car seat and then I dragged my sorry butt into the car and to the Y. I got in a 5-minute warm-up and stretch, 18-minutes on the treadmill, a quick upper-body circuit and 16-minutes on the elliptical machine. I still had time to take a nice hot shower and stop back by the house to pick up a few things that I forgot before I was off to work.
I don't know how I will hold up the rest of the day. It is only lunch time now but I am already feeling a little tired. I hope that I will soon pick up a second wind, though, because I am committed to giving this a shot, at least, through the end of the week. I'm sure it will get easier if I get used to it.
Besides, I weighed in while I was at the YMCA and I'm a little embarrassed to say that I tipped the scales at 191. I'm embarrassed but still willing to post my weight here as well as my goal of 182 by December 31 and 175 by February 19 to better hold myself accountable. There is not a lot of people that are reading this blog but, probably, enough to get on my case if I start slacking again.