I’m failing

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**Cross posted to fitlanthropist.com**


The one thing I promised myself when I got back into this, is that no matter what happened, I would be real about my experience. So, here’s me being real: I’m failing.

While sending the check off to Free Arts was a great feeling, hoping that our small, collective effort could help, the time lapse has yielded nothing good in terms of my weight. I feel my body changing, and it sickens me. Now, I’ve always been content with who I am, and have mostly been able to carry out my life with a decent dose of confidence, but I’m feeling the great effect of doing nothing.

I’d like to get started with the next fund raiser, and in fact, I’ve got a really unique, small foundation that I have some ties to that I think is very deserving. However, in order for me to pick up where I left off, I need to lose weight.

Yes, you read correctly. I gained weight back. I suck.

I have, however, started running again, though after a few weeks, I managed to find myself in a rut. I am not much of a morning person, so I’ve not been getting runs in. It’s getting way too hot out there…and I need to find away to get up early and get motivated again.

I’m not going to tell you how much I’ve gained back (it’s not much), but I need to get back to my magic number so we can start the dang fund raiser.

It’s time to stop failing.

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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’m here, I’m here…

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So, is it totally weird for me to say that I’m just kind of sick of blogging?  I mean, I am, but I’m not. I wish I could use some sort of voice-to-text software to put how I really feel into words. I’m in a funk, clearly, and I haven’t been too great at expressing myself lately. Perhaps I should try some video posts?

Well, as you may have assumed these first few weeks of monitoring my blood sugar has been interesting. I’ve been stable for the most part–a couple highs, a couple lows. I still haven’t gotten used to the finger pricking…

ME: Does it hurt?

NURSE: Oh, no. You can barely feel it, and if you do feel it, you get used to it.

ME: Well, okay, so I just press this in and then push the button against my finger like this and…OUCH!

In any case…I wish that nurse wasn’t a liar. 😉 My wife has been amazing at trying her best to ensure we eat the right foods, and I’m really grateful to her for that.

I’m also grateful to all of you who’ve been checking on on me. My blogging has taken a turn for the worse each semester and I continually get busier. I can only laugh when people assume that I (or ANY other doctoral student for that matter) has ample amounts of time to do whatever they want. Maybe some, but definitely not me. I am helping my major professor prepare a new edition of his book, writing a section of a teaching supplement for that book, working on a book chapter with him and another co-author, writing a book chapter of my own that’s due in a couple of weeks, submitting a couple of manuscripts to journals for reviews, working on several conference papers and starting to organize my data and model for my dissertation.

I’m busy.

So, I think in order to keep me motivated I’m going to have to make some changes. I don’t know what those changes would be off the top of my head, but change seems to help me focus on the big picture. My right knee has been bothering me for sometime so the running has more or less come to a halt. So, my good friend zapped a copy of Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred over to me. Jillian is about to become my new best friend, because seriously folks, I have to exercise. To break out of her monotony, I think it’s high time I bust out DDR a bit more, que no?

So, I’m curious?  What do the rest of you all do when your current exercise routine gets boring?  I mean I mostly run and ride a stationary bike. But I got rid of the bike (mostly for man related issues 😉 ) and my knee is bugging me.

Other than Jillian Michaels and DDR…any suggestions?

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!

***

[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?

“Well, that sucks…”

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Those were the first words uttered by me this morning after weighing in for the first time in probably a couple of months, and the first time I’ve recorded my weight since my October 20, 2008 weigh-in. Then, 340 pounds even. Today?

358 pounds.

I’ve gained 18 pounds, and the first thing I have to say about it is, “Well, that sucks.” 

Obviously.

I’m not too shocked by this gain, though I am glad that it is not the entire 30 lbs I had previously lost. Nevertheless, I’d probably be exceptionally upset if the gain was just a few pounds.

In any case, I have been working on some more goals, have talked to my trainer/coach/friend and wife and am ready to get back on the path to success. That kind of sounds cheesy, but hey, it is what it is.

Sorry this is so short, but stay tuned for some new posts!

I did what I didn’t ever want to do.

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I came in last.

So, I am in Nevada with my wife visiting her family for the holidays. We’ve had a good time and are heading to Arizona tomorrow to visit my family for a week, and then making the trip back to Georgia where I’ll start my FINAL semester of coursework. I know things won’t get much easier in the dissertation writing, but at least I won’t have to be on campus or go to classes. I’ve grown quite tired of them.

Anyway, back to the real story…

While here, we decided to participate in a new race in my wife’s hometown–a cross-country 5k.

There were only about 30 of us who participated in the race, so, at the starting line, I resigned myself to the fact that I’d probably come in last. And that’s exactly what happened.

I could easily be upset, but I’m not. After a semester that was exceptionally lackluster in terms of running and exercise, coming in last made me realize how much I’ve been missing. A lot. So, my wife hung out with me at the back of the pack, we chatted, talked about our exercise goals, and then ran the last quarter mile for a strong finish. Everyone in the family who participated got a medal, except me. But that’s ok, because in my opinion, mediocrity doesn’t deserve reward. I have, however, realized that I need to get back on track and make my health a priority.

Now my in-laws live in a small town, and there was talk of nobody wanting to come in last for fear of embarassment. More than anything, I think they were mostly joking (but there’s also a common retort in the family, in which one responds “60/40,” meaning what you said was 60% true). Regardless, I wasn’t in it to win it. I was in it to finish it, and that’s exactly what I did.

Cross-country races are probably not for me right now…I think I’ll stick to the road races until I’m in better shape and know how to navigate courses better. Granted, it was fun, but somewhat frustrating at the same time.

In any case, onward and upward…

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