Day 52 – Shoe Shopping

2013.04.14This was a very odd day.  Because we went to church last night, we had the morning to ourselves.

We knew that a trip to my in-laws was in the plan but I had no idea that we would spend so long in a shoe store, looking for some black flats for my wife.

I needed a pair of new black shoes as well so we divided when we entered DSW; I made my way to the one aisle of men’s shoes and she went to the 32 aisles of women’s.

Three minutes later, I had the box of new shoes under my arm and went over to check on my wife’s progress.  Or, I should say, lack of progress.

One hour later, we were at the checkout line, everyone completely satisfied.

It’s a metaphor of life, I suppose.  Men have fewer options and desire fewer choices.  I need shoes.  Black or brown?  Business or casual?  Size?  Here.  Done.

Women require more selection because they have more variables:  Purpose of shoe.  Possible locations they might be worn.  Number of outfits that might match said shoes.  Do they need to be flats, pumps, heals or stilts?  Will the bangles, bows, sparkles and buckles add to the look or detract?  Colors?  We’re still creating new ones to meet your individual requirements…And on, and on, and on it goes.

The same is true with weight loss.  I want to lose weight.  Done.  My wife is certainly concerned about a few remaining pounds but she wants to be fit.  She wants to have tone.  She wants to be a certain shape.  I just want it gone…Just like I want my shoes.

Day 39 – Birding Brilliance

A fantastic Black-crown Night Heron on the banks of a Brazos Bend State Park waterway.

One of my life-long loves has been viewing birds.  I’ve carried my binoculars to outlying states and foreign countries.  I’ve purchased birding books covering multiple continents.  I’m constantly on the lookout for another new bird, another clear song, another flash of color in a thicket.

So the opportunity to visit the Edith L. Moore Audubon park this morning and the  Brazos Bend State Park in the afternoon were opportunities that I could not pass up.  In one day I experienced the thrill of viewing nineteen birds I’ve never seen before.

The amazing assortment off alligators, ibis, and moorhens provided a fantastic birding experience.  This experience is the highlight of my trip to Houston.

Wouldn’t it be great if each week I could have the opportunity to experience something new like this?  Wouldn’t it be amazing if every moment was a new discovery?  A new view of the world?

That was my day today:  A new and exciting view of the world.

Day 32 – Will It Ever End?

One last Winter Blast!
One last Winter Blast!

It is hard to imagine that we must endure another round of winter weather but it is true.  The snow blew in yesterday afternoon and it seems that winter will never loosen its grip.  I know in my head that spring is coming but my ice-cold fingers don’t believe it.

I am excited to think that I will soon be able to walk sidewalks that are ice-free.  I will soon have my spade and rake out preparing the earth for our waiting seeds.  I will soon experience the warm sun on my pale skin.

It isn’t happening today, but soon…very soon.

Day 29 – Smart People

2013.03.22I’ve had a great privilege of working with really smart people.  It makes going to work every day a joy.

Today was a great opportunity to set around the table with a dozen brilliant scientists, statisticians, and researchers.  We discussed a new research study, the details of the science, and the action that will need to take place to make it a reality.

The meeting only lasted 55 minutes but it set a fantastic tone for the next two-and-a-half years of research.

I’ve never been known as a bright man.  It’s true.

Funny? Yes.  Sincere?  Usually.  Loving and honest?  Always.  A man of science?  Never.  But surrounded by these men and women of studies and science, these amazing people of knowledge and training, gives me a sense of pride.

The journey through this next year will require diet changes, increased activity, renewed spirit and energy and an effort to surround myself with brilliant people.  Perhaps a little of their smartness will rub off on me.

Hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?

Day 26 – Oh, To Be Young Again

2013.03.19My son and his singing group were honored tonight by the school board.  They received a gold at the state choral ensemble competition and they earned the praise.  It really was quite an accomplishment, especially since this was their first year as a group.

My son’s outfit was the perfect choice for the award.  It was also appropriate for the Madrigal singing group, of which he is a part.  He loved the outfit and even said that he was sad to have to turn it in.  You could tell, it fit his youthful mindset and his inner personality.

But watching him strut around in the velour robe and high-top boots reminded me of something I’ve forgotten over the years:  Sometimes it’s good to swagger.

After all, we were born to be Kings and Queens.

But somewhere along the way, life becomes burdensome, our memories become hazy, and our royal demeanor diminishes.

Over the decades we allow mortgages, car loans, countless hours of work, home repairs, and medical bills to distract us from our true calling.  We carry responsibilities that are too heavy and mundane and in the process, our shoulders sag under the weight.

But in truth, we were made to live larger.  We were designed to rule our lives, rather than allowing our lives to rule us.

Unfortunately, we’ve forgotten to wear the cape.  We’ve failed to lace up the gauntlets.  We no longer think to tighten the belt another notch and move forward with purpose.  We’ve forgotten that we are royalty; rulers of our own land and throne.  We have abdicated our position to the cares of this world and the search for riches and treasure.  We have failed to pursue the grand adventure that awaits us all.  We’ve forgotten that we must throw off the shackles that bind us and rush forth as one with authority and power.

After watching my son tonight, I desired nothing more than to lay aside my burdens and walk with pride and purpose, as is my royal privilege.  And, by Jove, I intend to do so!

Now, where did I put my crown and sword?

Day 19 – Another Day of Weighing

2013.03.12I’m at 107.4 today.  Yes, yes, I know that it isn’t Friday but I thought I’d stand on the scales to see how I’m doing.  That’s three pounds in just a few weeks.  My goal is 1/2 a pound a week and I know that the first few pounds  come off the easiest so I’m not fooling myself.

But I’m down nearly 3 pounds in a few weeks and that is a big deal.

I’m thrilled.  Sticking to the calorie counting has made a big difference.

Every day.  Count the calories.  See a difference.

Day 16 – Early Mornings are Killing Me

2013.03.09Can I just ask if anyone else has to get up at 3:30 in the morning on a Saturday to take their son to the school for a choir competition?

How am I suppose to exercise when I’m exhausted? How can I focus on my diet when I can’t even focus on the spoon in my hand?

And why does the school insist on torturing both parents and students with these events?

Day 12 – New Moon Rising

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s the bottom line…Here’s the truth.

This is a new life.  This is a new approach for me.  I’m not thinking short gains.  I’m not thinking quick loss.  I’m not worried about buying new outfits and getting my tan on.

I’m fat now and that won’t change too soon.  I know that.  I get it.

But my journey is just starting.  The plan isn’t to chop off massive pounds.  I’ll take off a little at a time.  I’ll lose a few pounds a month.

I’ve given up the fads and am changing my life…one day at a time.

Day 11 – Snowfall

2013.03.04The predicted snow wasn’t nearly as catastrophic as expected but it did provide the perfect opportunity to burn a few calories with some shoveling and early-morning movement.

It is probably the last snow of the season…and I’m good with that.  I can easily find new and exciting ways to get my daily exercise.

Day 7 – Chips, Please

2013.02.28This was a long day.  It started early in the morning with a conference that lasted the entire work day.  I drove to the church to run some lines for a short film I’m helping with and the day ended with a fun dinner with a friend.

Note:  Chips and Salsa are not bad for the diet.  Mushroom Quesadilla is not great for the diet.  TWO Mushroom Quesadillas are BAD for the diet.  Especially when they have so much salt!

Because I spent the day in a conference and the evening in practice, I didn’t get any more than 20 minutes of walking in today but that will improve, especially if I want to burn off the my beer.

Day 1 – Setting The Goals

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February 22, 2013 “Head Shot”

I turn 49 years old today.  It’s a good time for reflection and looking back over the years, I’ve made many good decisions:  My marriage, my children, my friendships, my writing.  These things make my life rich and joyful on a daily basis.

But I’ve also made several bad decisions:  My diet, my activity level, and my sedentary life-style (I like TV, okay?).  These things have reduced my enjoyment of life and, more importantly, resulted in an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and Alzheimer’s in my later years.

And so, as I get one year closer to my 50th birthday (and those later years of life), I’ve decided it is time for a change in those things I regret.  It’s time to plan for my future, rather than just live for the present.

Starting today, I will do some things a little different:

1.  I will reduce my weight from a current 210 lbs to 185 lbs before my 50th birthday.  Of course, this will require two actions on my part.  First, I will reduce the number of calories and increase the quality of calories that I take into my body.  To accomplish this, I will track my food using a web-based and phone friendly app called “My Fitness Pal”.  I will also switch to a Whole Foods diet that is meat and cheese free.  I will reduce my serving sizes and eliminate alcohol and caffeine from my diet.  This last part will take a little time but the entire experience is a journey so that is no problem.  The second aspect of this weight change will be an increase in exercise.   I’ll start by moving 45 minutes, 5 times a week.  That might be a stationary bike or a brisk walk with my dog.  Some form of movement will take place…whether I feel like it or not.

2.  I will increase my fitness level from ZERO activity now to completing a marathon by the Spring of 2014.  I currently have a fasting Cholesterol level of over 350 and rising blood pressure.  I jiggle when I move (which is why I don’t care to move too much).  But this will change, starting today.  As mentioned above, I will begin with moving 45 minutes, 5 times a week.  As warmer weather rolls around, I’m going to take my activity to the streets and start running.  I’ve completed one 5K race a few years ago and there was a certain “high” in preparing for the race.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t as prepared as I needed to be and received an injury when I tried to keep up with the Yuppies pushing strollers.  This time, it will be different.  This year I will work slowly, train smart, and compete responsibly.  I will complete several 5K races and a half-marathon or two.  My training will be designed to get me to that final goal of a Marathon in 2014.

3.  I will hike the KT trail in 2014.  The Knobstone Trail is Indiana’s easy version of the Appalachian Trail.  The KT travels more than 58 miles through beautiful Indiana forests and offers a hiker a challenge without the deadly altitudes of the Rocky Mountains.  I’ll spend weekends of 2013 getting familiar with the sections and prepare for a 6-day trip in the spring of 2014.  Of course, the ultimate goal is to get back to the Appalachian Trail and go further than the 4-5 miles we accomplished our first time out.

In short, this will be a challenging year.  I’ll document my successes and failures of these three goals here on this site but I’ll also continue to write for my other blogs.  I will continue to read as many books as possible and spend as much time as I can with the family and friends that I love so much.

I will take a daily picture of myself and post them here but will only weigh myself on Fridays.  Blood pressure and pulse measurements will be regular.  Cholesterol and other lab word will be conducted every 3-6 months.  You’ll see my progress and I encourage you to cheer me along my path.

My 49th year will be one of my best yet.  There’s no doubt about it!