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Discussion Starter #1
Call it a mid-life crisis, an epiphany, a long-time desire or whatever you want! This past spring and summer I intended to make a change or two in my life pertaining to my health and fitness. This all came to be after years of doing a lot of research and thinking and planning, but never taking much, if any, action. So here it is in a nutshell, my life story:

From the time I can remember I've always been 'bigger' than everyone else....not tall, fat. My clothes were 'husky' growing up. I was active all the time, but I can eat...a lot, and i certainly did. In my youth I was involved in baseball from Tee Ball through HS ball but no other organized sports. I lived on my bike all summer long and as long as the weather permitted I was riding somewhere. I was still fat, but I wasn't huge and wasn't a couch potato. I still ate too much and not the best things.

I graduated HS and went to college. Those few years saw my activity level drop dramatically and the pounds piled on. I started college weighing around 225lbs....ended closer to 270lbs. I had a job lined up before I even graduated and started a week after the close of school. My job, that I still hold today, plants me in front of a computer 8+ hours 5 days a week....just as it has for the last 13+ years! Well, I continued to eat poorly, not exercise and consequently sell to a high of 335lbs.

Over the course of many years I've abused alcohol, smoked, eaten poorly, not exercised, and generally ignored my health/body. I've dieted sporadically over the years and lost as much as 80lbs, but I can't sustain a diet that doesn't involve foods that I love and thusly gain it all back....and then some. This past spring I decided with a family history of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attacks, stroke, high cholesterol, heart disease, cancer, et al. that I need to get in better shape and take care of myself for my family's sake....and of course for my own.

Our 10 year anniversary was 7/13/12 and my wife and I had decided to go on a little vacation, leave the kids with her parents for a long weekend, spend some time having a good time and then afterwards we would, as a family, get healthy. We didn't do much in the way of 'healthy' prior and were excited to go on our vacation. Then it happened:

On 7/9/12 my mother came home from work to find my dad dead on the floor....a massive heart attack killed my diabetic, obese, inactive father at the ripe old age of 60! Three ours later my obese, inactive mother had a stroke at age 59!

We never got that vacation. The past six months have been spent running back and forth from Warren to Erie every other day to hospitals, rehabing my mom, fixing their financial messes, doing mountains of paperwork....in general NOT doing anything I had planned for the latter half of 2012. My mom is recovering. Still has a ways to go and probably will never be 100%, but she'll be able to live on her own. She's probably going to have to go onto disability and she'll need some help keeping up her house.

Around Christmas time we finally got around to joining a gym that we had two free 6 month memberships for. I've quit smoking, drastically reduced(maybe even eliminated) my alcohol consumption, started eating better foods and less food overall. We go to the gym 3-5 days a week and we're both feeling better in just a week so far. I know that it's early in the process, but I think that's part of the problem I've always had....it IS a process, it's not fast, there's no quick fix and it requires effort. Quit frankly, I don't want to die when I'm 60 or have a stroke or cancer. While I can't guarantee those things won't happen I sure can try to minimize those risks! I've got two young boys that need a father. A wife who deserves not to have to deal with the consequences of my indiscretions. A family to maintain in this crazy world.

I don't want to be diabetic. I don't want to have high cholesterol. I don't want high blood pressure(though I have it now!). I don't want to get cancer. I don't want to have a heart attack. I don't want to have a stroke. Being MORBIDLY OBESE puts me at high risk for all of those things on its own....throw in the family history and it's pretty much a guarantee. I can control at least one side of that equation so I will!

I QUIT! I quit abusing my body. I quit overeating. I quit filling my lungs with smoke. I quit sitting around doing nothing. I quit making excuses for the shape I'm in.
 

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Congrats on taking the first steps towards making a change in your life.

Here is some motivation:

 

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Jason, first of all I am sorry for your loss, and hope your mom's health continues to improve. I am much in the same boat right now with health. I was also a very heavy smoker until a year ago my wife and I both quit cold turkey. Unlike you I was always thin until I got tied to the wheelchair over 20 years ago and really let myself go. The pounds continued to add to the point where I just don't feel good. I started a diet the beginning of the year (first ever) and am already having a hard time. Your words have given me inspiration. Good luck with your continued quest for health.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Excuses are far easier to make than results! I've personified that approach....and I QUIT that too!


The treadmill tears up my knees. I simply cannot use one AT MY CURRENT WEIGHT. However, the elliptical doesn't hurt a single joint in my body, is more 'fun'(sorry, cardio just isn't fun for me(anyone?)!) and I feel like I get a better workout using it anyway!
 

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Don't give up! One of the best things for you right now is to have your wife to workout with. When one doesn't feel like it the other one will push to make you do it and vice versa. Exercising is mental not just physical! Go to the walking trail along the conewango!! Too bad i don't live in Sugar Grove anymore or i'd workout with you

Oh and don't get discouraged b/c the LBS aren't coming off fast enough. Pace yourself, don't overdue it and get hurt either
 

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Discussion Starter #6
IVN, God bless you, man! Congrats on the quitting smoking and dieting to shed some pounds! It's a commitment that's worth it!

I've always been able to quit smoking pretty easily....it's the staying quit that gets me. It's almost always alcohol that does me in. Soooo....fix that problem too, right? Working on it!

I supposed everyone is different when it comes to dieting so this advice might not be much help. What has been the only thing that has ever worked for me is to reduce what I'm eating to realistic numbers. A month ago I was consuming between 3500-4000 calories per day....and not moving hardly at all, let alone real exercise. I can't, for instance, expect to maintain a diet low in carbs forever....it works for a while, but it's not sustainable for me. So, I've found for me it's simply stick with what I normally eat, control the portions and add in more fruits and veggies. Add exercise to the equation and it goes faster. I've cut my calories down to 2200-2700 per day and I'm trying to burn between 350-600 calories every day with exercise....strength + 20 minutes of cardio 3 days a week and 30-40 minutes of cardio 2 days a week. I'll adjust as needed as I move forward. I'm quite strong and carry a lot of muscle, but there's a lot of fat too. I've got a large bone and frame structure, but shorter than average legs(I'm 5'9", my torso length is that of someone 6')....none of the charts or guidelines work out for me. If I weighed what the charts say I should be 160lbs tops....when I get to 200lbs I won't have 40lbs left on me to lose!

I understand you're restricted in what you can do with exercise, but I do know that lean muscle mass burns more calories. I don't know how or if you can add much there, but if possible you might want to try. Arm, chest and back exercises maybe? Punching bag for cardio?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The last two summers I've been riding my bike a lot. I know every inch of that bike trail! I do a loop from my house up the trail, around the state hospital and back the trail and through town to the house. It's 7.5 miles round trip. I'd do that daily and then Wednesdays I ride at Hearts Content on the ski trials and Tanbark Trail with the local bike shop. I lost 50lbs two years ago doing that and eating right. Last summer I was up about 20lbs from the holidays and poor habits and had just started losing again when the crap hit the fan with my folks. With all the trips to Erie and back my diet consisted of McDonald's....and more McDonald's since I was on the road constantly. Being mentally and physically drained I don't think I was on my bike 3 times after July. Another favorite trip on the bike was up to the dam and back on Hemlock Rd. That one is 17 miles round trip from my front door. I was doing that once or twice a week as well.

I'm committed! I'm sore from Monday's workout still, but I want nothing more than to be in the gym right now. It's a good kind of sore! It's a resistance day so I might give my sore upper body a bit of a break and work the lower half and core more today....followed with 20 minutes on the elliptical.
 

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My oldest son is a health nut. He's been on me to exercise (upper body). I had always been in a manual chair until I moved into the woods when I made the huge mistake of getting a power chair. My goal now is to get back into the manual chair.

BTW: A lot of the blame falls on you and RB for leading me to Nic-L-Inn.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I can't help it they have great food...especially the oh-so-healthy prime!


I'm on a hunting lease in NY...it's about 3 miles up Bone Run from the Nic-L-Inn!


I might have to do an extra 5-10 minutes on the elliptical tonight just for thinking about now!


I can see how that power vs. manual chair could change things. Hey, ease yourself into the manual chair for a period each day until you can do it all day! That's your cardio workout right there!
 

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Bean sprouts for bear camp it is!


Good for you, Slappy. I too took a good, long look in the mirror a few weeks ago and realized I didn't like what I was seeing and how I felt about myself. I started my diet and exercise two weeks ago. I licked the smoking thing almost 6 years ago. Like you, working on the hooch consumption now.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
As long as I'm driving I'm making sausage gravy and biscuits....it's burnt off by 10am anyway!

I'm not happy with my appearance, lack of energy, lack of mobility...all on top of the health aspect.

I'm liking the new gym experience though. Spent about 1.5 hours on the weights working head to toe yesterday. Even at my size I feel great after working out. I'm learning how to use some of the equipment, learning new exercises and having a good time doing it. I'm not going overboard with the weight, but getting reps in with manageable weight so I'm not drained when I'm done. Never joined a gym before so this is a new experience for me. The last time I worked out in this fashion was 15 years ago when I played HS baseball!

If I ever buy a piece of workout equipment for my home again it's going to be a gym quality elliptical. That thing kicks my butt and doesn't hurt me doing it!
 

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Good luck Jason and congradulations for taking accountability.You need to make going to the Gym a priority.Once you get rolling and it becomes part of your daily routine,you won't want to stop.If you do stop,it's hard to get back into the swing of it.

I go to a Gym everyday and have been doing so for over 20 years.I sit on a chair for 10-11 hours a day and would be a couch potato if it wasn't for working out.Even when I don't have time,I make sure I find the time.I usually lift at noon but today I got tied up at work and haven't made it yet.I haven't figured out how,but I'll be in that gym before it closes.

Just remember,you can run all you want but you need to resistance so keep lifting.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the kind words, dce! This is the first time I've ever joined a gym and I think that in itself is motivation. It's open 24/7 so I can go whenever so that's a nice perk. I hope I'm in a gym every day for the next 20 years too!


I keep doing the research to make sure I'm doing things right, talking to the trainers there, youtube, reading, etc. I have a tendency to over do it though so I'm trying really hard to stick to a simple, effective routine. The more advanced stuff will come in time.

I've been to the gym everyday for the last five. I'm looking forward to it again tomorrow morning as well for a quick cardio workout. I've started out with strength 3 days/wk with a 5 minute warm-up on the elliptical and then finish it with 15 min on the elliptical or treadmill. The off days are cardio only(30-40 min) to give me a day between weights to rest and still get the exercise I need. I'm looking forward to spring when I can get on my own bike though....cardio on machines just isn't my cup-o-tea, but I'll do what I have to do.

To be honest in just a week I feel a difference. I'm sleeping better. I'm more flexible. My head is more clear. I feel more motivated overall. It's a stress reliever too and that's a great bonus!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Gotta make the time! Had a long day yesterday and didn't get home until 9pm or a little after. Got to the gym for an hour around 10....late night, but I'm glad I pushed myself to do it.
 

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Jason, congrats on making a tough change in lifestyle. It will be well worth it.

I don't know if you have seen this website or not, but it has made a big difference for me. www.myfitnesspal.com

It is a great way to keep track of calories consumed and burned. Like I said, it is really working for me.

Keep up the good work.
 

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Keep it up Jason.One day,you won't make it to the Gym and it will ruin your day.When that happens,you know you're there.

I go every day but I don't overdo it anymore and I'm not all that serious.In my younger days when I had more testosterone,I used to be a pretty serious power lifter.Once you hit 40,it's much easier to get hurt so I just show up now lol.

Just remember,you have to start somewhere and you have nowhere to go but up.
 

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Buckethead said:
Bean sprouts for bear camp it is!


Good for you, Slappy. I too took a good, long look in the mirror a few weeks ago and realized I didn't like what I was seeing and how I felt about myself. I started my diet and exercise two weeks ago. I licked the smoking thing almost 6 years ago. Like you, working on the hooch consumption now.
Does that mean I have to up my game in that area come playoff time to compensate? Let me know, I'll have to start working out early to be ready.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
You better start last week if you're gonna over-consume at both Buckhead and my rates! Figure in an extra pint of 80 proof vodka for me. At least a sixer of I.C. Light pounder and some Beam for Buckethead! That should get you started. Really good or really bad games add another six 12oz Busch's to the list for me!

On second thought, you might as well quit drinking altogether for yourself and just pick up our slack!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
To be honest, guys, I know it's early in the process but I miss working out when I don't get there on the weekends(self-imposed rest days). I was jacked last night when I couldn't finish my cardio workout. I kept cramping up....need to drink more water! I did get 23 min on the elliptical out of the 30 I wanted to do, but the last 5 wasn't all that beneficial.

Also, I seem to be able to do 20 min of cardio AFTER my strength routine with no problem, but on cardio only days I struggle to get 30 minutes. I might switch it up in a week and just do a strength/cardio session every other day and skip the cardio only days in between for that reason. Any thoughts or suggestions?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Bucket said:
Jason, congrats on making a tough change in lifestyle. It will be well worth it.

I don't know if you have seen this website or not, but it has made a big difference for me. www.myfitnesspal.com

It is a great way to keep track of calories consumed and burned. Like I said, it is really working for me.

Keep up the good work.
I've checked it out in the past and will look at it in the future as well. For right now I'm not so much counting my calories as I'm just trying to establish a good pattern of eating habits. Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack. I've started adding in more green veggies, more fruit, less empty carbs and overall less quantity of food(instead of two or three or four servings I'll have ONE). That's working for now, but it won't forever I imagine. When I'm in that rhythm good and solid I'll start really tracking my calories so I can adjust accordingly. Carb heavy meals like spaghetti are just garbage for me though. We had spaghetti last night and I was starving the rest of the night. When we have more protein heavy meals like chicken with green beans and potatoes I'm not hungry the rest of the night.

I'm trying to stay off the scale except for my weekly check, but I had to jump on it this morning out of curiousity....down to 319 from 328 on 1/5. I'm sure most of that is water weight having tried to cut the salt down, but it's still encouraging.

I have some goals that I'm shooting for. I'm trying to lose 2-2.5lbs/week average for as long as it takes to get to 220 and we'll see from there. My short-term goal is to get to 250+/-10lbs by my birthday....9/10.

I drop a lot of pounds in the summer when I'm riding my bike everyday back/forth to work and then all evening long with the kids. I figure I burn in the neighborhood of 1000 calories every Wednesday on our weekly mt bike ride too....that helps for sure!
 
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