Archives For Living Better

Here I Go Now…AGAIN…

January 3, 2017 — 1 Comment

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!

I had that special moment today…the moment when time stands still and you realize that your life has changed…and it’s changed for the spectacular.

Let me back up a bit…

I Spin three times a week.  On a rare occasion (and I mean rare) I will Spin on Thursday nights during our 4:30pm class.  Yesterday I decided that I was going to drive in JUST for Spin.  So at 3:30pm, I left my house in Petaluma and drove to Novato.  I got to my office just before 4pm.  I set up my bike and waited for my instructor (Glen), and the other students, to arrive.  I remember looking at the clock…it read 4:20pm…students are here, but no Glen.  No Glen?!  This is odd.  Glen has never missed a since he started teaching this class over two years ago.  I feared that something happened…my fear was heightened given that Glen recently purchased a motorcycle.  My mind went a little crazy and I hoped and prayed that nothing serious had happened.  I asked Sue, one of my Staff Managers at the club, if he had called.  She said, “No.”  Even more odd.  Glen would have called if there was a problem.  The clock now reads 4:27pm…

I think to myself, “I’m going to have to teach this class…”

I duck into our orientation & therapy room and compose myself.  Forget that I’m about to teach my first Spin class TOTALLY unprepared…but I was completely worried that something bad had happened to Glen.  But now, there was no time for conjecture or panic.  I had a room full of students who were ready to Spin.  The clock on the wall reads 4:29pm…

As a health club manager, I just move into operations mode and handle the problem.  I’m not focused any longer on the fact that THIS will be my first class, I just have to make it happen and make it good.  I tell the class, “I’m not sure where Glen is, but let’s get started.  I have not prepared a program, obviously, for this class…but I will give it my all and I promise you a great, fun class…” Oh my God, why did I just say that?!  The clock reads 4:30pm…  Time to start…here I go now…

From the moment I opened my mouth on the bike…from the moment I spoke the first instruction…I was calm and focused.  All that matted was that I delivered a superior class.  My worries and fears did not exist and I refused to give power to something that is created out of thin air.  Before I knew it, the clock read 4:50pm…  Had twenty minutes passed already???

My energy was high on all levels.  As soon as I started I mapped out a program in my head.  I need to follow the program, keep my energy up, and watch my students for correct form and posture…all the while being aware if my form AND balancing my breathes so I could talk over the headset microphone.

I used some traditional moves and used some of my own.  I mixed it up and gave them something new.  I didn’t want to rest on what was easy.  I wanted then to love this class.  I didn’t want any of them to feel disappointed because Glen wasn’t there.  But I caught myself…I have no control over their reaction.  I only have control over my delivery and attitude.  I stayed focused and kept giving it my all.  The clock now read 5:15pm…and that’s when it happened…the moment it all clicked for me…

In the midst of my coaching, I got a glimpse of myself in the mirror…a glimpse of me on the Spin bike, coaching, instructing…thriving in the moment…  Who is that guy?…that thin guy?…that guy with defined, strong legs and that smallish butt?  Oh my God…it’s really me!  This is surreal…  The clock reads 5:23pm…  The class has seven minutes left…

My students…let me say that again…my students…were working their butts off…I could see how tired they were…the loads of sweat pouring off their bodies…  On the other hand, I was on fire.  My energy level was so high I thought I was going to jettison right out of my seat.  I smiled and realized I was going to finish hard and strong…and I was going to lead my class to do the same.  The clock now reads 5:25pm…the last song is coming on…

I tell everyone to take a deep breath…that we are going to ride this one out with fury and fun…we’re gonna give it our all…I tell them to, “…Focus on the beat of the music.  Ignore any tiredness.  Know that you are strong and will finish strong.  Know that you can achieve it if they focus on what they want…”  It’s now 5:28pm on the clock…only two minutes left…everyone is giving it their all…

Right now, I’m just a ball of energy and inspiration.  All I care about is the group finishing strong…praising them for their work, their commitment…I’m trying not to yell into the mic, but I can’t hold down my excitement…only a few seconds left…almost there.  The clock reads 5:30pm…it’s over…it done…my first Spin class as the sole instructor…My students sweaty, tired…and smiling…

I’m on cloud 9….no, more like cloud 27…

I completed the class with a few traditional stretches and some new ones.  My students all liked the new moves.  They came up to me and let me know they really liked the class.  They told me that i worked them hard and they like it.  I was beaming…

It turns out that the stars aligned for me to get the validation I didn’t even know I needed.  Here’s what happened:  Glen missed a class.  I happened to be there.  I taught the class.  I had not prepared.  I gave it my all.  I was good.  The class was happy…

If it had happened any other way, I would not have had the experience of how really prepared I was to teach a Spin class on my own.  I knew deep down I could do it…but I did have nerves…I had nerves because it mattered so deeply to me.  Being thrown into the fire without ANY preparation taught  me how strong I was.  It taught me that I have been ready for some time…more than ready…

I could not have done what I did if i hadn’t committed to transforming my body from the inside out.  My clean living and eating provided me with a body that could “do the work” and do it well.  Although far from perfect, I now have a body that acts like a well oiled machine.  It gives me the energy I need when I need it and can sustain coaching a 50 minute, intense cardio class…while talking no less!

What a great evening!  I’m still on a high.  I was smiling all the way home.  I was smiling in the shower and doing little happy dances.  It was like I was in love…that feeling when your falling in love and everything is new and fresh and you are smiling all day long just at the thought of the other person…that’s how I feel right now…right at this moment…

The clock reads 12:11am…  I am in Spin in less than six hours…Time for sleep…

Yes, I am in love…with my life…and all the possibilities…

Mark-Before-and-After-090913I have to be honest, when I woke up this morning and stepped on the scale I was very disappointed.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  I had gained a pound in a week.  This was the first time in four months that I hadn’t lost any weight in a week’s time.  Just before stepping on the scale, I thought to myself; if I only lose one pound, that would be okay…but the way I feel, I’m pretty sure I’ve lost two or three pounds.  I even entertained the possibility that I could even have hit 189.  I knew it was a stretch, but I had been working sooooo hard, I thought it was in the realm of reason.  So again, I was shocked when the scale indicated that I had gained weight.

I got off the scale and started to contemplate; Had I done anything different?  Had my food changed?  Had my exercise changed?  Nothing pointed to any lax behavior which would cause the gain…and then it hit me…I had to have gained muscle.  I had lost fat and gained muscle.  In the last week my clothes were fitting looser.  I could see the definition in my upper legs emerging from cycling at least 15 miles…everyday.  My waist seems smaller and my pants were looser.  In four months I have gone from a 40″ waist to a 32/34.”  But, even with this realization, I still wasn’t embracing the big picture.  I was still focused on the one pound gain…until I took my 120 day pictures…WOW…what a reality check.  Looking at the AFTER pictures, I could really see how my body has transformed, not only in the last four months, but in the last 30 days.  It’s for this very reason why it’s so important to take before, during, and after pictures as you lose weight, gain muscle and move towards a healthy lifestyle.

People are walking up to me and calling me “skinny.”  In relationship to what I was four months ago, I guess I am skinny.  It’s hard to believe that I could be called skinny at 195 pounds…but then again…it’s all relative.  It’s not as though I’ve been sitting on the couch consuming an unhealthy liquid diet without exercise (hello, can we say Optifast?! Gross).  On the contrary, I have been committed to exercising and building a better body through exercise, daily!  It doesn’t matter how much I weigh, it matters how much my percentage of body fat is actually decreasing…and that is going down steadily.  Again, the pictures don’t lie.  My closes fitting looser don’t lie.  Measurements don’t lie.

Yesterday was a busy day (as so many of them are these days) and the sun was beginning to set when I went for my usual daily bike ride.  I try to go early in the morning, but it doesn’t always work out for me.  My commitment is daily exercise, and I’m open to however that shows up in my life.  It could be a bike ride or a walk with a friend.  It could be a run or a friendly tennis match.  It could be a 30-minute swiss ball workout or a hike with a colleague…However exercise show up is just fine with me as long as I stick to my commitment of choosing it daily.

So far daily exercise has not been a problem.  I look forward each day to working out and exercising my muscles.  It’s become a tad bit addicting.  I’m not so much addicted to the endorphin rush as I am excited about how, at 46 (47 in less than 30 days), my body is performing better than it has been in some time.  I feel like I’m in my twenties…seriously, I do…and I was in good shape in my twenties.

So back to last night and my late bike ride…I had a definite moment of clarity that moved me emotionally.  As I rode back towards home, the sun was setting beneath the rolling hills of Sonoma County.  I was riding fast and the wind was whipping past me.  My legs were a bit tired but my exhilaration of the experience kept me focused on having a great ride.  I loved being on my bike and didn’t want to end quite yet.  I felt free and alive and was so incredibly grateful for the life that I’m experiencing…living…right now.  And then it suddenly hit me…this new attitude…this new way of perceiving exercise…it was a joy…a privilege…something that was a gift to myself and not an impediment of my day and time.  It was a new way of living…and it literally took my breath away…

I had never experienced such a feeling.  I’ve been active all my life (sometimes more than others), but I have never embraced exercise as a gift and privilege…I always perceived it as a necessary nuisance to achieve good health.  Exercise, for me, was the price you paid for the chance of living a quality life.  It never occurred to me that being able to exercise is the evidence of living a quality life.  It has become clear to me that exercise–the harmonious moment of your body–is a gift to yourself…a symphonic-like reminder of the incredible machine that you are.

I pray that I never forget that…and in not doing so…I celebrate every movement my body allows me to create until my last dying breath.

One of the MAJOR criticisms about the Paleo approach is that the lifestyle advocates NOT weighing, measuring, or portioning food. While it’s true, this is an integral Paleo principle, it IS possible to adapt a Paleo approach to food selection and still weigh, measure and portion your food. Paleo is a lifestyle approach, a framework. In fact Robb Wolf, author of the Paleo Solution advocates the examination of Paleo as a “STRUCTURE” within which you need to pick and chose what works for you, not a diet that requires absolute adherence. Naysayers of the Paleo plan will say that it’s impossible to lose body fat while on the Paleo plan because you’re unaware of how much you’re consuming.

If you’re a Paleo, or looking into becoming a Paleo, the following are tips for achieving fat loss while making the switch!!!

1. ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN. The old saying goes: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Have a realistic goal and set specific targets for your week to reach that goal, with regards to your nutrition. Part of the beauty of the Paleo approach is that it’s so OPEN–you can virtually have any lean protein source, fresh veggies, and fresh fruit. If you’re out to eat, or get caught in a business meeting or other engagement, it’s SIMPLE to make good, adaptive decisions that will keep you on your plan and not derail your progress. As long as you opt for plain grilled items, veggies prepared plain, salads free of dressings, cheese, condiments, beans and grains, and/or fresh fruit options, you’ll be FINE!! It’s virtually impossible to over-eat while being a Paleo because there are built-in defense mechanisms with the food options available to you. Fresh fruits and veggies are full of filling fiber and protein boasts the highest satiety of any macronutrient–even fat! Think about when you’re at your hungriest…how many tomatoes, baby carrots or chicken breast filets could you eat? Not too many I’m sure…yet given the same measure of hunger how many cookies could you eat? EXACTLY!  Stick to the rules of Paleo as your basic framework and structure a plan within that framework. Have no fear of overeating, it won’t happen!

2. GET MORE SLEEP. Sleep does more than help your body recover from a long day — it actually helps you fight fat. In fact, researchers at the University of Chicago reported that sleeping less than 7 to 8 hours can increase your appetite (forcing you to overeat), slow your metabolism (causing you to burn fewer calories) and make the body retain more abdominal fat. Lack of sleep also tends to increase our body’s response to stress, which has a domino effect on cortisol. The more sleep deprived we are, the more stressed we become, the more cortisol we release, AND the more cortisol we release the harder it is for our bodies to handle stress. Elevated cortisol disturbs our sleep, then we go into our day tired, which further elevates stress which further raises cortisol. You see the problem by now; disturbed sleep makes us more prone to stress, which raises cortisol, which suppresses immune function, elevates blood sugar levels, decreases sex drive and decreases insulin sensitivity. Whew, that’s one crazy chain of events! Once sleep gets out of whack, you’re REALLY in trouble. Think about it…for most of us, stresses that would otherwise be manageable become UN-manageable when we’re tired. Staying up too late, neglecting sleep quality, or not sleeping long enough can seriously affect your ability to handle stress. Here’s a fun fact: JUST ONE NIGHT OF MISSED or INADEQUATE SLEEP CAN MAKE YOU AS INSULIN RESISTANT AS A TYPE 2 DIABETIC.  Your physiology simply is not normal when you don’t get your zzz’s. Even if you work out and your food is pretty good, you can seriously undermine your health and add inches to your waistline by mismanaging the amount of hours you sleep each night. So try to sleep more.  Shoot for AT LEAST 8 HOURS of solid zz’s a night, and not on the couch with the TV on. Make sleepy time SLEEP time; dark room, quiet, no distractions, time for zz’s.  Need another reason to sleep more? Lack of shuteye is also associated with bad workouts. Do yourself a favor and get some rest. Your body will thank you.

3. KNOW HOW MUCH YOU ARE EATING. I know I know, this flies in the face of the Paleo (no need to measure) mentality but despite my making the Paleo switch I’m still an advocate of taking into consideration the calories in vs. calories out old school mentality. You need to know what your daily calories should be and if you’re hitting that mark (or close to). You don’t need to be a calorie zealot, within range is perfect, but for most of us, we GROSSLY underestimate the amount of calories we are consuming a day. Research has shown that most people grossly underestimate how much they are eating, sometimes by up to 50 percent! There are a number of ways you can track what you are eating, but whatever system you use the key is consistency and accuracy. I simply write it down in a food log which I made customized to my own needs (on my computer), but there are DOZENS of nutrition journals out there; both online and physical bound journals for writing down your daily intake.

4. SAY GOODBYE TO LIQUID CALORIES. This is the cold hard truth, most beverages out there in WaWa coolers and on grocery store shelves are chock-full of sugar, additives and other gross disgusting carbohydrate and calories.  In fact a recent study L done on 810 male/female subjects from Baltimore, Baton Rouge, Durham, and Portland found that liquid calorie intake had a stronger impact on weight than solid calorie intake. The results are going to be published in the April 1 issue of the American Journal of Clinical NutritionNow when I say GOODBYE to liquid calories, I also mean RELYING on liquid meal replacements as well. Stop with the grab and go protein drinks, the store shelf smoothies, ALL OF IT. Say goodbye. Goodbye to sodas, fruit juices and other forms of pre-made drinks. Liquid calories do not satiate as much as whole foods, nor are they as nutrient dense and satisfying. Void of fiber, one of natures built in “over-eating” defense mechanisms, its easy to over-consume when you’re consuming liquid calories. Cut them out, even if they’re PALEO friendly. Look to whole, natural, SOLID foods to sustain you!

5. MAKE YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE. All of us, even the BEST of us, need support in our fitness endeavors. We live in a society that makes it HARD to be healthy…that’s a fact. Announcing that you’re making a change to those around you and inviting them to be a support system for you can make a WORLD of difference in your success. If you don’t think you’ll get the support you need from friends and family, extend your radar. Reach out for a coach or nutritionist. Maybe a personal trainer a few times a week. Join an online forum; there are SEVERAL out there that are Paleo oriented! There are even more that are weight loss oriented!  Join one, join more then one, the more support you have the better! Having someone, or multiple someones to reach out to on rough days, to cheer you on when needed, and to offer motivation and inspiration can often times mean the difference between success or failure on a plan!

6. VARIETY IN YOUR WORKOUTS. As with food, variety in workouts is extremely beneficial. This is directly in line with the Paleo lifestyle.  For a high-impact workout that will kick up your metabolism in a short amount of time, try alternating cardio and resistance training in a circuit. For example, start with 5 minutes of cardio (treadmill, bike, elliptical) immediately followed by a dumbbell circuit of cleans, cleans and press, lunges, military presses and bent over rows, where each exercise is performed for eight repetitions. By using compound movements you’re recruitig total body co-operation for maximal burn.

7. EAT MORE FAT. Did you know that the Institute of Medicine recommends that a diet be made up of 35 percent fat? Turns out, high-fat foods like avocados and healthy oils can help you lose fat faster than other diet approaches. Fat from healthy sources such as lean animal fats, coconut oil and raw coconut (chalk full of MCT’s), seeds, avocados and healthy oils are EXTREMLY beneficial in improving body composition and stimulating weight loss. Just remember that peanuts are a legume NOT a fat and peanut butter is NOT Paleo. Cut it out. Look for fats with good balances of Omega 3′s. Keep in mind if you’re REALLY trying to lose a ton of weight that nuts should be limited to no more then 4 ounces a day as they can hinger your progress. However if you’re already lean, you can eat more nuts especially walnuts which have a favorable omega 6 to omega 3 ratio. Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Cashews, Macadamias, Pecans, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds are great. Olives and avocados are good too. Also look for olive oil, walnut, and flaxseed oil. It is my choice not to eat any nuts.  For one, I want to lose weight and I have found nuts to work against me.  For more information on this, read my post, “Are You Nuts…

8. EAT MORE PROTEIN. Protein helps you maintain lean body mass (muscle, not fat), and increases the thermic effect of your diet. In order for your body to GET energy from the food you eat, it must expend some of its OWN energy. This phenomenon is called dietary induced thermogenesis (D.I.T) and protein has a higher DIT then body carbohydrates OR fat.  This can subtly contribute to the “calories out” side of the energy equation. As a bonus, eating protein keeps you fuller longer, and researchers have shown that it can reduce how much you eat per day by hundreds of calories. Look for healthy, lean protein sources; farm raised, cage free, grass fed if possible. Those types of meat have healthy ratios of protein to fat, such as 80/20. Look for skinless turkey breast, shrimp, lean pork tenderloin, lean beef tenderloin, skinless chicken breast, sirloin, lean ground turkey or ground beef, Omega 3 eggs, egg whites, cod, halibut, haddock, salmon, tuna (in moderation due to mercury), bison, venison, etc….

9. BECOME A HEAVY DRINKER. No I’m not talking about alcohol. While there’s nothing magical about water, the process of consuming lots of liquid can trick you into feeling less hungry. What’s more, when you’re dehydrated you burn 2 percent fewer calories per day, says University of Utah researchers. So if you struggle to control your appetite, drink up before your meal. Then drink some more. You’ll be more likely to fight off fat. Adequate water intake also aids in digestion and in the absorption of nutrients. It helps your body to flush and dispel waste and toxins and it lubricates joints and muscles for exercise.

10. TRY INTERMITTENT FASTING. Intermittent fasting is considered one of the more controversial eating habits. Intermittent fasting combines long breaks from eating (12 to16 hours) with a shorter feeding period (8 to10 hours), or fasting for 24 hours once per week. While the behaviors might seem extreme, research indicates that this method not only is linked to healthy weight loss, but also preserves muscle mass.

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

A Sense Of Pride…

July 2, 2013 — 1 Comment
The Statue of Liberty carrying the PRIDE America sensible pair of

The Statue of Liberty carrying the PRIDE America flag…in sensible pair of wedges…lol

The parade started with two balloon sculptures that read "LOVE WON."

The parade started with two balloon sculptures that read “LOVE WON.”

Sunday, I attended the 43rd annual San Francisco PRIDE parade.  It was a gorgeous day.  The weather in San Francisco could not have been better.  The feeling in the air was one of acceptance and equality like had never experienced before.  This parade was different.  It marched on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision which brought same-sex couples the same, federal marriage rights as straight couples.  The decision also led to the collapse of DOMA and Proposition 8 in California.  There is still a long way for the country to go.  The GLBT community won’t rest until all 50 states share marriage equality.  But I know that it isn’t a matter of if, but simply a matter of when.



So many people attending the parade from every ethnic and religious backgrounds were celebrating the unquestionable right to love who you want to love.  Most pride parades have a touch of rebellion tossed in the mix of celebration.  This year rebellion took a back seat to a full sense of equality and validation.  We, as a GLBT community, are finally and truly “the same” in the eyes of the federal government.  We are equal to and not less than.  A truly unbelievable concept for our souls to grasp.  So many years of living as second class citizens.  It’s still hard to believe that all the dreams and hopes I had as a child for myself…a the chance at a family…an opportunity for a real wedding…well, it’s all possible.  Simply life changing.  It doesn’t matter that I might be too old to start a family.  It’s the knowledge that I can if I want to and have every aspect about that decision validated by my country and state.

I don’t care how much weight I end up losing.  Nothing could have made me feel lighter than having the chains of oppression removed from my body.  It’s a brand new day.  It’s a brand new time.  If you should see me walking around and you think I happen to have a bigger smile on my face than normal…well, I do.

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It’s only Monday and I’m ready for the weekend to be here already.  I’ve been so busy the last couple of days.  It could have been easily one of those times

I'm feeling good today!

I’m feeling good today!

when I put my exercise on the back burner in lieu of paperwork and meetings–but I didn’t.  I got in several Spin classes over the last couple of days and one of my sprint-walks.  The most disturbing part of the last few days is that I’ve haven’t lost any weight. 😦  I’ve been at the same 224.8 pounds for three days.  Has my food in take changed?  No.  Have I added any different foods?  No.  Have I cheated in the slightest bit?  No.  Am I frustrated?  Yes!  I’m assuming that my body is going through some natural adjustment and I just have to a wait it out, or rather “weight” it out.  I really killed it in Spin class this morning and I cut my calories c slightly, so I’m hoping to lose something tomorrow morning.  I’m sooooooo close to a total of 30 pounds lost I can taste it.  I literally only have one pound to go to mark 30 pounds lost!  I can feel the pressure I’m putting on myself to lose weight every day.  I can feel it and I always try to remember that this is a 10k run and not a 100-yard dash.  I’m in it for the long haul and I need to be kind to myself and keep on moving.  I like how I’m feeling and it’s nice to start getting a shape back again that isn’t round.  I like the way my face is thinning out.  I’m starting yo feel like I’m getting back to my normal body.  Yes, I still have a way to go, but I’m starting to see the a bit of faint light at the end of the far away tunnel.

My NEW favorite meal...

My NEW favorite meal…

My new favorite meal is baked herb chicken breast on top of assorted greens, tomato, avocado, fresh basil and dressed a homemade mustard-garlic vinaigrette.  I think I could eat that salad every day and not get tired of it.  It’s so dang yummy!  I usually cook 5-6 chicken breasts ahead of time and just pull one out when I need it for a meal.  They are very moist.  I bake the breasts squished together (i.e., very tightly packed) in a glass baking dish and I baste them at least three times the hour and fifteen minute cooking time.

Alright, that’s all for today.  My eyes are getting heavy and I need to go to sleep.  Okay, here I go now…

Maya Angelou“I don’t know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes – it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, ‘Well, if I’d known better I’d have done better,’ that’s all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, ‘I’m sorry,’ and then you say to yourself, ‘I’m sorry.’ If we all hold on to the mistake, we can’t see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can’t see what we’re capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one’s own self. I think that young men and women are so caught by the way they see themselves. Now mind you. When a larger society sees them as unattractive, as threats, as too black or too white or too poor or too fat or too thin or too sexual or too asexual, that’s rough. But you can overcome that. The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself. If we don’t have that we never grow, we never learn, and sure as hell we should never teach.”

~ Maya Angelou