From FAILURE to CHANGE: A new beginning and a new site

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I would say that I have learned to fail more in the past year than any other period of my life.

It’s true. Though I don’t have time or space to tell you (and surely you don’t have the time either), this year has been one that has challenged me in nearly every facet of my life. So, where have I been?  Certainly not here, and certainly not losing weight.

I have lost the battle…but the war goes on.

I would understand if people have written me off. I would understand if people have decided to stop following my progress (or lack, thereof). However, for the handful of you who have stuck it out with me: thank you. I hope you’ll follow me into a new phase of this journey of mine.

www.fitlanthropist.com

That is where you can find me now. I know the title is a little silly…basically just adding “fit” to “philanthropy.” But what a portmanteau, eh? So, surely you have a question or two about it.

Somewhere down the line, I lost my motivation. It happens. I’m not happy that it happened, considering my wife and son should be plenty for me to get motivated. But nevertheless, it happened. I have always been a proponent of charitable giving and service, so I thought to myself, “Why not go one more step and tack on some additional motivation?” So, beyond myself, my wife and my son, I am going to challenge myself to lose weight for charity. For every pound I lose, I will pay $1 (US) and solicit others to match my amount. That’s the crux of it, but you can read more about it here. It’s a work in progress, but I’ve got to start somewhere. And for those of you who are part of the Twitter craze, I’m here too: @fitlanthropist.

It’s time to transition. I’ve slipped, yes, but given up I have not. I look forward to catching up with you!

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Getting Creative

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Well, after a long and somewhat weird Georgia winter, the weather is finally starting to get nice. Seems like we’ve had only two days of sunshine the past two weeks. The beginning of March was horrible as we got six inches of unexpected snow dumped on us, and then the rain came and never seemed to really stop. Today I can finally see the sun…and I hope that I can get back out and pound the pavement again.

But because running has taken such a back seat lately, I figured getting back to a decent point where I feel like I can start running again is going to take some creativity. So, my wife and I are going to not only stick with Jillian Michaels…but we’ve also set up our Dance Dance Revolution again. We did it for about 20 minutes the other night and I was embarrassed at how much of a sweat I had broken due to such “little” work. But I guess it was something.

This is my last semester of coursework..and I’m really happy. Some of the most pressing struggles of my life have occurred in our first two years here, and of course, as my luck would have it, these things coincided with my classes. It’s been hard…especially listening to faculty criticize me (At one point, I would have written constructive criticism there, but they haven’t, save maybe a couple, been very constructive at all). I’m not one to use all of these struggles as a crutch or an excuse, but I should get used to the faculty 1) not caring about my personal life and 2) judging me exclusively on my academic work. I thought that the conferences, book chapters, book reviews, and papers under review might suggest I’m doing a half decent job…I mean, that’s what a professor does…it’s not like I’m going to be taking classes and worrying about stupid grades my entire life…but whatever. I’m not going to let that get me down. I do have people who think I’m doing a great job, and I have several external folks I’ve made connections with that also seem to like the progress I’m making and have a bit of an interest in my work. Maybe this department just takes a hardnosed beat-’em-into-the-ground approach. OK, then.

Bottom line is this: I’ve organized my committee, I have a dissertation topic and data, and a plan to enhance it. All I have to do is finish these next four weeks, study like crazy for comprehensive exams, pass the exams, defend a prospectus, and write and defend a dissertation. I have a plan. I will succeed. I’m tired of being made to feel as if I don’t belong here…but, guess what? I’m here, and I’m not leaving. The only way I leave is with my Ph.D..

However, I must incorporate a plan to improve my health, and I’m going to do it with the same zeal that has pushed me into my plan for finishing my degree.

These are battles I will not lose.

I did it…everyone knows now…

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Here’s what I posted on my blog earlier…letting everyone know about FGiaLC…wish me luck!

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[Disclaimer: This is kind of a long and serious post.]

Most of you know that Holli and I have been into blogging for a decent amount of years now. I tend to be fascinated by anything electronic, and at one point in time had strong interests in researching the Internet as a means of advancing organizational goals for my Ph.D. I still do, just maybe not as much.

Anyway, I’m digressing already…

Very few of you are probably aware of another blog I’ve been keeping since last summer, and more than likely there is a reason for it. This blog has been one of my decision to have a healthy life, to lose weight, and to start running.

Yes, I am a fat guy who runs. And I love it.

rhys-3-weeks-old-and-johns-5k-037

In fact, I ran so much from July to October last year that I lost 30 pounds. Didn’t notice? That’s okay. I didn’t really either which was the depressing part. What I did notice is that I have gained half of it back. I even ran a 5K last year that I took third place in for my age group (and yes, there were more than three of us). I don’t know why it is that I’ve been captivated by running, but I enjoy it when I get the time, and I don’t intend on quitting any time soon.

Most of the people who read this blog and know me have known me as a fat guy. Let’s dispense with the subtleties of whether or not I’ll get offended and call it what it is. I am fat. I know this, and have known this for most of my adult life. The blog, which you can view HERE, is one of the mechanisms I’ve used to keep me motivated. But, sadly, my studies and my family require significant amounts of time, and so the degree to which I need to be held accountable must be augmented. I’ve let the blog slip a bit, and have had a hard time regaining momentum. So, I am letting all of you know that this blog exists, and am allowing you to come into what was previously a private endeavor.

I am doing this primarily for my health. Today I was informed by my doctor that recent blood tests showed an exceptionally high glucose level and that I more than likely have developed Type II diabetes. Obviously, this is not good news, but I can’t say that I am altogether too surprised. My mother’s side of the family is replete with cases of diabetes…though it seems as if I am the one who was the youngest to receive the diagnosis. And obviously, the fact that I weigh in well over what I should is not helping the situation any.

This is not for vindication by any means. Yes, I was harangued, teased, ostracized, and bullied by a few people growing up in my little “Town of Friendly Neighbors” and I remember the who, what, and when of it until this day. But, I have gone on to achieve many of my life goals–mainly finding an amazing wife, starting our family and obtaining my education–without letting it ruin me. So, this is not to get back at anyone. I once heard a general authority of my church give a talk in which he stated, “You can describe a man in inches, pounds, complexion, or physique. But you measure a man by character, compassion, integrity, tenderness and principle.” My principles tell me to forgive those who embarrassed me. They didn’t know any better. And moreover, I have the best set of family and friends I could ever ask for, so it should be of no bother to me now.

I really don’t know who reads this blog any more, other than the faithful readers who leave comments on a regular basis. I do know the power of diffusion though. I know that our blog is probably linked to several others thereby spreading the knowledge that it exists. There are those of you who have never left a comment, those of you who probably haven’t spoken to us in quite some time, those of you who might not know us, and frankly those of you who might not even like me (I couldn’t say ‘us’ there because, come on, who doesn’t like Holli or Rhys?). I am sure that now that I’ve divulged the fact that I have a fat blog out there, my friends, family, spiritual leaders, colleagues, co-workers, and stalkers (ha ha) will have access to it.

That’s fine by me.

Since I started the other blog, I have found people literally from all over the world who have been exceptionally supportive and encouraging. One of these new friends even sent me some CDs full of running songs and a pair of running socks to help keep me motivated. Amazing, right? If someone who is still somewhat of a stranger is willing to lend so much support, then why not share this blog with family and friends? They have been exceptionally supportive, and I hope you will too. If you don’t comment this blog, that’s fine, but I hope you’ll feel compelled to comment on my weight-loss blog. Invent a name if you have to.

Now, I’ll be honest in letting you know that I can be quite candid on the other blog. Granted, I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve in real life, but probably even more so on my weight-loss blog. This hasn’t been easy. It never has. But it’s something I have to do, and I hope the reasons why are as implicit to you as they are to me.

Okay, okay…I’m doing it.

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I have finally reached the point where I am now compelled to “go public” with this blog. I am nervous, but frankly what do I have to lose?

1. I am married to an absolutely wonderful woman and have a beautiful baby boy. Who am I trying to impress?

2. So what if people know about it. Maybe the blog could actually change some perceptions about how I treat my health.

3. Accountability. Did I mention that I’m currently engaged in a research project on public sector accountability? All of these issues I’ve been paying attention to in terms of state agency service delivery could literally be adapted to my own weight loss journey.

I have been showing strong signs of diabetes for months now, and though I have a family history of it, I don’t want to deal with it for the rest of my life. I’ll be headed back to my doctor soon for more blood work, and hopefully I can get a definitive answer.

So what? The rest of my family will find out, my other friends and colleagues might also find out. My religious leaders and potential employers could even find out.

I don’t care.

The time has come for my health to be priority number one. Wouldn’t everything in life be much better if my health was too?

Time to go public?

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The title of this post makes me laugh a bit. First, because the questions sounds like I’m about to start selling shares of my (non-existent) company on the stock market, and secondly, because it’s the exact opposite of the question many of my “family blogger” friends ask in relation to the privacy of their blogs (Should I go private?).

Anyone who knows me knows I’m overwieght…er…obese (man, I hate that word). But, for the most part, most people I know are unaware of this blog. Those of you who’ve stayed with me over the past several months know that this isn’t the first time I’ve posed this question. I’ve asked myself the very same question after almost every post I write.

Then why don’t I do it already?

The biggest benefit I see to letting people know about the blog is accountability. Not in the sense that my professors are going to start asking me about how my weight loss is going, mind you, but in the sense that I would have then revealed the journey that I’m on. However, it’s a journey that’s mine and mine only…so the biggest measure of accountability I have is to myself.

Frankly, I have no idea who could end up reading what I have here. I only found out recently that a former crush of mine was following me on another blog for the past couple of years. Awkward…yet somewhat gratifying. Ha.

Arguments, people. That’s what I need. Tell me (if you so desire) why you think it might be beneficial to open up to others about my blog. If I’m so compelled…it might just happen.