Monday, October 6, 2014

Monday #6--My beautiful struggle

"Without a struggle, there can be no progress."

                                       -Frederick Douglass

I am 323.6 pounds.  That sucks that I do not weigh less than that, but it is not all bad news.  Yesterday I got on the basketball court, dribbled, ran and shot the ball for the first time in a long while.  It felt very good to run up and down the court (by myself) and dribble the ball and make layups again.  And by felt very good I mean, "OH GOD I AM SO OUT OF BREATH.  WHY DID THEY MAKE THE RIM SO HIGH?  I DON'T WANT TO BREAK A LEG ON THIS COURT OUT HERE ALONE!  THIS WAS SO MUCH EASIER WHEN I WAS YOUNGER!"  Besides the wheezing, I really enjoyed it and bouncing a ball and moving was special yesterday.

I am incorporating more activities into my weight loss; things I can do with my wife and kids.  I love walking and playing basketball so while the weather is nice those will be my main activities.  With winter coming (no House Stark-o) I have to come up with some fun indoor exercises to get me moving and keep me interested.  I have to eat fewer calories, and burn many more calories so now I have to get to work!

Always the Black Pirate...always:

Nothing motivates me like seeing other people beating me.  The reason I know how to tie my shoes and ride a bike is because of my sister.  I remember when I was a kid and my parents tried to show me how to tie my shoes I gave up because I decided it was too hard.  I had the foresight to know that shoe tying was not something I needed to clog my brain with when there needed to be ample room for comic books and fantasy.  Until one day, I saw my little sister sitting down on our steps with untied shoes.  I expected her to call my parents, but what I saw next amazed me.  She took the rabbit ears and put it through the rabbit hole and tied one shoe, then she tied the other shoe, and then she got up and walked away.  I felt like I just saw an alien moonwalk across our driveway while pointing at me and nodding its head to an intergalactic beat.  I didn't know many cuss words then, so I just yelled "NOOO" in my head.  It was either that exact day or the next day that I learned to tie my shoes.

A similar thing happened with riding a bike.  My parents tried to teach me to ride a bike, I fell a few times and then decided that bike riding wasn't for me.  See..the way my body was designed was not symetrical to the shape of most bikes therefore I had to sit down and read a comic book to work on my eye muscles.  Then I saw my sister riding a bike and I am not quite sure, but I think she may have been popping wheelies and doing handstands that first time.  Either that or that is what I imagined she was doing since I thought bike riding was impossible.  I was determined to ride a bike just like my sister did no matter what.

Actual picture of the first time my sis' rode a bike:

No matter what meant I fell on my ass every chance I had.  I was finding new ways to fall off of a bike.  Sideways, forward, backwards, upside down, reverse cowgirl...I think that last one was not a typical falling off of bike position but I was an innovator.  It hurt to fall off that bike, but what hurt worse was my pride since I was the only person in our house who did not know how to ride.

Then this one day I decided to go outside early and practice by myself.  I felt good that morning and for some reason there was no one outside when I went out.  We lived on a U shaped cul-de-sac near the end of the horshoe and I decided to ride into the middle of the street towards the center of the U.  When I say no one was outside, I mean no one was around like my name wasTom Cruise and I was driving through Times Square in "Vanilla Sky".  When I say no one was around I mean like Will Smith when he is in NY in "I Am Legend", except I didn't have a dog that would become a mutant I would have to lovingly choke out.  

                 I think he was outside though:

So I got on that bike and I expected to fall.  Except I didn't fall, I was staying up.  I was staying up!  It was the shakiest bike ride in the history of bike rides, but I was staying on that bike!  I was shake-riding my way down the street.  

Now if this were a movie, you would see me--this oversized kid shake-riding on a little bike.  Then the camera would pan out to a skinny, ominous looking tree that was growing at the middle of the U.  Then you would see me with a gigantic smile as I was shake-riding down the middle of the street looking down at my bike and not noticing the terrifying tree which seemed to be growing bigger and thicker the closer I got.  You would start to see me shaking even more, the camera would fade to black and you would hear a big crash and THUMP!

Well this was not a movie.  I shake-rode that bike to the middle of the U; I think my front wheel hit the edge of the curb and I fell head first off the bike.  Either I hit the curb (head first) or I hit the tree (head first).  To this day the last thing I remember is starting to fall off the bike.  The next thing I remember is waking up on the ground (ALL ALONE IN A POST-APOCALYPTIC WORLD) getting back on the bike and shake-riding home.  My non-remembering or questioning of what happened will be important to the story (I promise).

I had what I remember to be a normal night and then when I woke up in the morning I had a huge black eye.  My mother was worried and my father said, "Did you get in a fight?  If you did the other guy better look a lot worse than you do!" (Philly stand up?)  I could not remember for the life of me why I had a black eye.  Honestly, I didn't even remember falling off the bike or waking up on the ground.  That was very scary, because I thought monsters were whooping my ass at night and then taking my memories away.  Which is crazy, but the only rational explanation to a kid for not remembering why you have a black eye.

Then the next day, flashes of memories started coming back to me.  I was sitting down watching television, and a flash of my shaky bike ride came to me.  Then a few hours later a flash of the skinny tree came back to me.  Then finally, I remembered the feeling of the bike tipping forward and the feeling of the curb getting closer to my face.  I never remembered the impact, but the final thing I remembered was getting off the ground and riding home.

That was my first concussion.  I rung my own bell and I understood from personal experience what they mean when they say people with concussions have memory issues.  I don't remember ever hearing a person who suffered a concussion remembering the hit.  It is like the mind shields us from pain, in reality a concussion occurs when your brain shakes in your head so the mind may not be able to process what is actually happening at the moment of impact.

Me a doctor? No I just read:

I finally learned to ride a bike, so I was successful.  I needed motivation.  I now have to create my own motivation to get moving and drop these pounds.  I will lose 100 pounds during this journey, but I need partners.  Are you willing to stay with me on the journey and take your own journey as well?  Let me know and join me next week. 


  1. I'm with you, man. I can relate to a lot of what you are struggling with. I weigh 228 lbs right now. When I got married 4 years ago, I weighed around 175 (I was in great shape). Job, stress, poor eating, not working out, too much travel, too much drinking (with and without clients), and in February of this year I hit the heaviest I have ever been. I stepped on the scale, and whether it was water weight or an aberration or even low, I will never know, because I weighed in at 248 and it scared the hell out of me. I started working out, I cut out alcohol, and a few months later I was down to 215. Then I hurt my shoulder. That put me out of commission and broke my routine. Fast forward three months or so, and I've started working out again, careful with my shoulder, and hoping to get back on track with my fat loss. Mine is a 70 pound journey, and I'm twenty pounds in. I've got 50 to go. Inevitably the journey is one with a lot of learning curves. My body is not the same as it was ten or fifteen years ago, and with the extra weight not any exercise is suitable--I can't run, and I have to avoid anything too high impact or that strains any of my injuries. Part of the struggle for me has been in finding ways to adjust proactively to my reality. Anyway, I'm with you, and I'm rooting for you all the way to that 100th lb.

  2. Thanks for the comment and support bro! You are making your progress and the pain and setbacks will just make your success sweeter. Thanks for reading along and encouraging me along my way!