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Life for me has been going at 100 miles per hour…or at least that’s what it feels like.  So many changes and so many new aspects of life to deal with…again, that’s what it feels like.  I’m not at all complaining.  Quite the contrary, I believe that’s where life is the most exciting.  A clip from the movie Parenthood sums it up best of all:

Reflections Of Paradise

My trip to Hawaii for my birthday was incredibly wonderful…and way too short…LOL.  I could have laid in the sun and swam in the ocean everyday for hours.  My good friend Dana and I stayed at The Modern Honolulu.  It was a beautiful hotel where luxury and guest satisfaction are a huge priority.  I would highly recommend a stay there.  Here is a short video of the gorgeous property:

I have to say that I felt really great on this trip.  Not only was I feeling in top health (knock wood), I was really enjoying how I was looking in my body.  It seems nowhere else does your hard work pay off than in a swim suit at the pool or beach!  I ate pretty much Paleo the entire time I was on vacation…with a few exceptions…I had an alcoholic beverage now and then AND I enjoyed a few wonderful desserts…after all, it was my birthday.  In spite of my indulgences, I kept everything in moderation.  I woke up each morning around 5:30am and worked out in the hotel gym for about 90 minutes.  It was a great way to start my day.

Most of our time was spent driving around the island and either doing a bit of sight-seeing or discovering cool beaches to plant our towels for an hour or two.  The rest of the time we we either at our beach near our hotel or poolside.  I may have turned 47, but I did notice that I was getting a few looks from some of the other hotel guest when I was sunning myself…that felt good.  I would laugh to myself and say, “Yep, daddy still GOT IT!.”  Below are a few pictures from the trip:

One of the two pools at hour hotel, the Sunset Pool at The Modern Honolulu...

The Sunset Pool at The Modern Honolulu…

No stress here...

No stress here…

A beautiful sunset dinner on Waikiki Beach...

A beautiful sunset dinner on Waikiki Beach…

I worked out every morning at 5:30am for about 90 minutes!  It was a great way to start my day!

I worked out every morning at 5:30am for about 90 minutes! It was a great way to start my day!

Dana surprised me with First Class tickets from SFO to Honolulu...Yes, that is champagne that we are drinking!

Dana surprised me with First Class tickets from SFO to Honolulu…Yes, that is champagne that we are drinking!

Feeling GOOD and trim in my board shorts / swim suit!

Feeling GOOD and trim in my board shorts / swim suit!

At a great luau called "Chief 's Luau."  Great food, great show and lots of fun activities...Yes, we made our headbands!

At a great luau called “Chief ‘s Luau.” Great food, great show and lots of fun activities…Yes, we made our headbands!

At the Moana Surfrider Hotel for breakfast.

At the Moana Surfrider Hotel for breakfast.

A panoramic of North Shore...

CLICK to see the full size! A panoramic of North Shore…

We rented a convertible to drive around the island.  We got upgraded, FOR FREE, to this nice red Camaro!

We rented a convertible to drive around the island. We got upgraded, FOR FREE, to this nice red Camaro!

On Vacation…

July 27, 2013 — Leave a comment
A great place to have a run in the morning.

A great place to have a run in the morning.

So another crazy, busy week…especially since I had to finish up a great deal of work so I could take a short vacation.  I’m sticking to my Paleo diet, but I did decide to allow myself to have a glass of wine or two while on vacation.  I have two caveats to the inclusion of wine during this extended weekend.  I can only drink wine if, (1) I have less than two glasses per day, (2) the drinking of alcohol does not increase my appetite to the extent that I’m hungry when I shouldn’t be, and (3) I feel no adverse physical effects from consuming alcohol the following day.  If ANY of these issues crop up, I’m done and back to water and herbal tea only.  Last night I had a couple of glasses of wine and no problems.  In fact i woke up this morning EARLY and went for a long walk, sprint, hike from 7:50am to 9:10am.  Okay, it was more of a hike than it was a run.  I’m not conditioned…yet…to run or sprint up hills like these…Lord have mercy that was tough!

I’m here in Bodega Bay with my longtime grammar and high school friends.  We are celebrating our 20th anniversary of our first annual camping trip back in 1993.  Well, this year we are not so much camping as we are renting a wonderful house in overlooking the ocean. It’s absolutely a blessing to have people in your life who you have known since you were kids.  They are extraordinary people who make my life journey so full and exciting.

Back to the diet.  Last night my stomach was a little upset.  Although I am sticking to Paleo choices, certain food items are creeping in that have proven to be problematic to my body.  It may be simple as there are too many non-organic variables in the food choices this weekend.  I’m better this morning.  No issues.  We’ll see how the weekend progresses if I level out or if my stomach continues to bother me.

It feels very odd not to be weighing myself each morning.  I’ve been weighing myself every morning for almost three months.  Today is Saturday.  My next weigh-in will be on Monday morning.  I would be happy to stay the same, but given that I’m sticking to Paleo and choosing to exercise each day, I would hope to have lost something over this 4-day vacation.  I’ll post more later.  We are all getting ready for a day at the beach.  Gotta go sunscreen up!  Here I go now…

I used a Garmin app to track our distance and time.  I wish it had the ability to give me our elevation...because we were high up!

I used a Garmin app to track our distance and time. I wish it had the ability to give me our elevation…because we were high up!

This past Sunday I went on my first hike in about two years with my friend Kevin.  I’ve always liked hiking, but really haven’t taken the opportunity to get out there and do it.  We hiked up from Indian Valley in Novato to the top of the mountain where the city cell and radio towers are located.  About two-thirds the way up the trial the difficult is minimal…but THEN you go off the main trail to a secondary “no man’s land” trail, as I call it, straight UP to the top of the mountain.  It’s a steep climb for most of the way.  It took us two hours to hike up the mountain and about two hours to hike down.  They say that the uphill climb is the hardest part, but the downhill venture was a battle in itself.  Sometime the path was so steep and rocky that you could barely keep your footing.  There was at least twice I had to run ahead of a potential fall.  Do you know what I’m talking about?  As you go trekking down a steep mountain and you begin to feel yourself slipping forward, you need to engage in a jog or run in hopes of regaining your balance.  I would have to say that going down the hill was a little harder than going up.  It really put a strain on my knees, but I was fine by the time the hike was over.  The next day I didn’t have any aches or pains.  The following day after that, my legs ached a little bit, but my knees were golden.  I have to say that my knees would have really hurt if I hadn’t been eating so well.  The cutting out of foods that cause inflammation in the body has been a godsend.

At the top of the mountain!  What a view!

At the top of the mountain! What a view! CLICK to enlarge!

I have to say that Kevin’s support during the hike was extraordinary.  He told me that we were there to enjoy ourselves and that we would only go as far as I felt comfortable.  He was committed to me having a great experience and not hating my first time returning to hiking.  His support was free ego and the pressing of his own agenda.  He held no expectations and was clearly present in the moment of what mattered: walking with his friend Mark in the beautiful outdoors…nothing more.

It’s so important to have supportive people in your life when climbing towards a goal.  Good support is unconditional without strings.  The supporter simply desires to offer encouragement and validation.  The key to good support is that the supporter has no investment in the outcome or result.  So many times our support may become tainted because we desire a certain outcome to occur for a friend or loved one.  We get so focused on them achieving the goal that we forget that it is their journey and not ours.  I’ve had friends in the past become “disappointed” or “sad” when a certain goal I was striving for was not achieved.  Their reactions varied from actual verbal criticism, to a silence and avoidance of the subject.  When such situations happened, I felt crappy. I felt as though I not only let myself down, but I let others down, even though my goals had nothing to do with anyone else.  A good friend supports you no matter what the final destination.  They are simply a cheerleader on the road with you during your journey…and no matter where you end up, they are there to bear witness to your effort and determination.

Now, when I’m talking about support I’m not talking about offering honest and truthful feedback.  That is very important in any relationship…to offer up the “things” that people don’t often have the courage to tell one another.  Just realize that what you might deem as reality is only your perception of the matter and not what actual is.

Down 40 pounds!

Down 40 pounds!

On another note, I have made it past the 40 pound mark!  Yahoo!  It feels real good to be down 40 pounds.  I’ve gone from a 40 inch waist to a 36…or have I?  Actually, I have made it into 34 inch shorts!  I was looking for my stack of 36 inch waist shorts the other day when I stumbled on a stack of 34s.  I thought I would try them on and see if I could tell how long it might take me to actually fit back into them…and they fit!  They fit perfectly.  On further examination I realized that my 36s were getting really loose.  It was like a free shopping day.  There was even a pair of European cut shorts (cut tighter in the hips) that I was never able to get on and they fit superbly!

I have just over 13 pounds to break under the 200 pound mark.  I’m anxious to get to that point but I will let my body do it’s thing and get let it get there when it wants to.  I mean, I’m not going to push it by cutting needed calories or go crazy with exercise.  I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing because it’s working.  As soon as a get into the 100s, I’m moving to weighing in once a week.  If I had to guess, I would think that I should hit that mark sometime in mid to late August.  I’ve enjoyed and needed to weigh myself in daily to learn how my body is reaction to my food and exercise regime.  I think I have a good handle on it right now.

A word that I try to incorporate in my daily life.

A word that I try to incorporate in my daily life.

A final note on my hike with Kevin.  When we got to the top of the mountain, I took a moment to take in my accomplishment.  I realized that it took something to get up that mountain; to push through any pain, discomfort and exhaustion and get to the top.  I didn’t make any demands of my body other than to have it push on.  I didn’t have any time expectations on how long it should take me, I was just going to finish.  At the top I looked at the beautifiul valley floor and gave thanks for my ability to make the trek to the top.  I gave thanks to all the people who hike the trail and take the time to make sure that it is clean and safe.  I took a moment to be grateful to all those people min my life that inspire me on a daily basis…and just before I headed down the mountain, I took a rock from the ground and scratched the word “inspire” on an old rusty sign post.  Here’s hoping that it will motivate others when they get to the top.  There are many things we can do for others in our lives; many gifts we can share.  One of the greatest is to be a light for greatness towards the betterment of life.  Simply put, we are meant to…we need to…inspire

Today was a good day all around.  As soon as I woke up, I was determined to make my first double workout day.  I planned to go to the club in the afternoon to spin for and hour, but also I would also include 30 minutes on a suspended elliptical.  However, I started my day working in my home office.  Between answering emails and scheduling meetings for next week, I started preparing dinner.  What did I make you ask?  Carnitas!  If you have ever made carnitas, you know that it’s a bit of a long process…well, it can be.  It’s not difficult but it can take some time.  I’ll put up my recipe in the next couple of days.  They are yummy!

On the way to the club to workout.  I'm workin' this bandana, okaaaaay!...

On the way to the club to workout. I’m workin’ this bandana, okaaaaay!…

Now back to my workout.  So, I made it to the club around 3pm and somehow quickly made it over to a suspended elliptical machine.  The club was virtually empty.  This time of year (when it’s nice out) and in the middle of the afternoon, is the best time to work out if you’re someone who doesn’t like crowds.  Although we never have crowds at Healthworks, it was exceptionally sparse today.

So I did my 30 minutes on the elliptical.  I kept a medium evaluation at all times and I manually adjusted my resistance from 4 to 16 (max setting is 20).  Now, I wasn’t on level 16 for long periods of time, maybe 1 to 2 minutes, but I got there.  I’ll increase my duration over time.

About a half hour later it was time for spin class.  I was a bit tired when I started.  I could feel the muscles I was working on the elliptical doin’ a little screaming.  I just stayed focus on getting to the end of the class no matter what.  If I had to ride with little less resistance on the bike, so be it.  All in all I did well.  I got a second wind 30 minutes into the class and finished fast and strong.  It helps that our spin classes are incredible.  One of my spin instructors, Glen, is a fireball of energy and fun.  He loves to spin and he loves making people feel good about themselves.  He always brings a huge smile and a truckload of child-like enthusiasm to his classes.

Michelle (our club superhero) came into the class just after it started.  She walked across the floor and I could help think to myself, my God, she looks amazing!  There were a few times that I glanced over at her and was simply awe struck at how much she has transformed her body.  As she rode I could see how well her arms and legs have become defined.  No one would ever know that this woman had once carried an excess of 90 pounds on her body.

After class Michelle was nice enough to come up to me and congratulate me on my success for far.  We chatted about how when you start a diet program it can be so exciting and new; that it’s great to see yourself get to a positive place with all your hard work.  Michelle new that my initial 30 day cleanse was about to be up.  This coming Monday is my last day.  She asked me what my next step would be after the cleanse.  I told her I was going to keep on practicing a Paleo diet/lifestyle.  It’s works really well for me so far.  I’m dropping weight and it’s completely cut my hunger.  Michelle reminded me to be open to a possible time when maybe I need to “change it up.” She encouraged me to have a plan for when I’m dining out and when I’m at celebrations, etc.  She asked the question, “So, are you never going to ever have another potato chip again? Good question.  The answer is that I’m taking one day at a time and choosing to live and eat this way each morning.  My commitment is to a healthy and strong body, not a diet.  I will eat this way until it doesn’t work for me anymore, and then I’ll switch it up.

For Michelle, she loves the fact that she can have a single scoop of ice cream, love that experience, and not ending up wanting more or eating the whole carton.  This is a great way to look at living in the real world.  A world filled so many great culinary experiences.

For me, the most important aspect to remember about striving for good health and good nutrition is that we all have the power to make the choice to live a better life.  We can make great choices moment to moment–even in the shadow of bad choices, we can let go of the past and make good choices.  We can be successful because we simply state that we are going to succeed and take responsibility for all of our actions.  We can either create a story for ourselves that states that losing weight is hard and difficult or we can create one that says we can lose weight without stress, drama, or pain.  I’m going for the later.

This blog entry will be one of a more personal entry.  Today is Mother’s Day and I’m at spending the day at home doing some paperwork for the club and preparing food for week two of my nutritional cleanse.  Last week I made beef bone broth.  This week I’m making my broth with chicken bones.  The house smells of good, old-fashioned chicken soup.  Chicken soup and Mother’s Day…the two seem to go hand-in-hand.  Today I’m reminded of my mother who passed on 14 years ago May 10th.  The last time I saw my mother alive was on Mother’s Day.  She died the next day after battling a long illness.  Mother’s Day is always a tad bittersweet.  However, I’m was lucky.  I was blessed with an amazing human being whom I had the privilege to call mother.

My mother, like many good mothers, taught me from right and wrong.  She taught me to respect myself and others and pressed the great importance of always demonstrating good manners and being polite.  She always said that, “…it cost nothing to say please and thank you.”  The value of these lessons are immeasurable and have been the underpinning of me becoming the man I am today.

But it’s the other lessons she taught me that have shaped my heart and soul.  They have made me strong and allowed me to have compassion and strength in the most dire of circumstances.  I share them here is a simple, to the point, list:

        1. Always look at life with the innocence of a child.  Like a child, always see the world as a giant playground–endless and breathtaking.
        2. Choose laughter whenever possible.
        3. Open your home as generously as you open your heart.
        4. Always share what you have with your friends and family.
        5. Don’t save your good or favorite things for a special day.  Make everyday special and use the things that you love and bring you joy.
        6. Everyone is beautiful.  See the good and beauty in everyone.  Take the time to tell them what you see.
        7. Always keep a smile on your face.
        8. Never turn a blind eye to someone who is hungry, tired or lonely.
        9. Money can bring out the worst in people.  Never let it control your life.  In the end it’s just paper.
        10. When you feel surrounded by darkness, always focus on the light.  Sometimes the only light may be in your own heart.

Thank you mom.  I’ve learned your lessons well and practice them everyday of my life, and most importantly, I pass them on to the world around me.

I love you.  You are missed.