Get on your feet…..

March is half way over and the progress I am making toward not only weight loss but a healthier lifestyle is moving right along. As of this morning, I weighed in at 235.8 lbs down 253.6 on January 2. (That is a loss of 17.8 lbs for those of you keeping score at home). My clothes fit better, I am two notches down on my belt and I feel 100% better than I did 11 weeks ago. It took me getting to a point were I was miserable before I committed myself to this change and that is a crying shame. Regardless of how or why I got here, I am here but, I have a long way to go to reach my goal of 220 by April 26. Now that I have my eating habits somewhat under control, it is time for me to get off my lazy butt and commit myself to more physical activity.

I admit I have been some what lazy in the past 4 weeks when it comes to gym time. I have made every excuse in the book why I can’t go but that is all they are, excuses. To be honest, the gym is not the only way for me to get physical activity in my daily life. We all can do little things each and everyday that will make a difference. One way is just to get off your ass and on your feet. Yes I am talking about walking!

Walking is a wonderful exercise that anyone and everyone can do. A certified nurse practitioner told me that just by walking 10 minutes after a meal can help increase your metabolism drastically. Walking after eating speeds up digestion as well as metabolism too. It helps our cell organisms to work more and get a better flow of oxygen into our system to speed up the required biochemical process to release energy. Energy burns calories and burning calories is what weight loss is all about! Who among us cannot spend 10 minutes walking after lunch most days. Most of us get an hour for lunch. It takes you, lets say, 20 minutes to eat so that gives you 40 minutes left of your hour lunch. On a beautiful day in the spring, walking 10 minutes around your company parking lot at a brisk pace should be a breeze. After dinner at night, you and your spouse can walk the dog (if you have one) for 10 minutes and not miss the next showing of “This is Us!” You just have to commit yourself to doing it, just as you have committed yourself to a healthier weight/lifestyle. It all goes hand in hand.

“If it is to be, it is up to me.” Make this your mantra in life and let nothing stop you from achieving your goals. Whether is a lifestyle change or starting a new endeavor, commit yourself to it, focus on your goal but most importantly GET OFF YOUR ASS AND ON YOUR FEET! You can not move forward while your butt is planted on the couch. Go ahead and try, I’ll wait……

Go be the best YOU, you can be today!

Waiting for…..

I attended my Aunt Hamdy Mae’s funeral today and got to visit with my cousins and friends of our family. It was a very nice service. the weather cooperated and the ladies of the church prepared a spaghetti and meatball lunch for us afterwards. Although it wasn’t the ideal of circumstances, it was nice to see every one. We, as a family, even found our grandfather’s grave. He passed away almost a year after my father was born so, none of us had ever met him. As we said our goodbyes, we all agreed we needed to make an effort to see more of each other and not wait until a funeral to make that happen. That got me to thinking, we spend a lot of our lives just waiting. Waiting to start a project, waiting to start losing weight etc…..we sit around waiting for this or that and wishing for change. The question I asked myself was why?

I think some of us wait on that perfect moment to come before we start anything. We keep waiting and waiting until what we are waiting for just gets pushed to the back burner. Maybe we are just afraid to change or to fail, so by waiting, you avoid that feeling. Possibly it just laziness. We wait for someone else to do it with so we can blame them when we fail. Truth is the longer you wait, the less likely you will even start. Jump in feet first and do the best you can with what you got. “Fake it till you make it” is the battle cry for all of us.

Stop waiting and just go for it. Change is scary for all of us but it is necessary in most cases. Don’t wait for the perfect time or a tragedy to make your change. Do it now!

 

Remembering….

My Aunt Hamdy Mae passed away yesterday. She was 86 and growing up, she was a huge part of my life. She was married to my dad’s oldest brother, Uncle Quinto. Unfortunately, as I grew up and went on my path, I lost contact with her along my cousins, who were also a huge part of my youth. It is a shame that so much time has passed before I saw her again. It will be two years ago in May since that visit. She was frail, sight not as good as it once was (although she could see well enough to call me fat) and not the presence she once was but, she was still my Aunt Hamdy Mae. She got to meet both my son and my wife, the two true loves of my life and that I am thankful for. We missed a lot of years but she still had a piece of my heart.

On my dad’s side of the family, affection was not a big part of our life. My Nona (Italian for Grandmother) was very affectionate but most of my aunts were not. I am not saying they showed no affection at all but, compared to my mom’s side of the family, where hugs and “I love you’s” were always abundant, that was not the case here. Except at my Uncle Quinto and Aunt Hamdy Mae’s house. There I always got a hug from one or both of them. I loved going over to their house mainly because there I had 3 cousins who were more like big brothers to me. I looked up to Joe and Pat as one would a big brother and Micheal was closer to my age. Ann was the only girl and much like a big sister. she married early in my life so, I did not grow as close to her as the boys. Aunt Hamdy and Uncle Quinto made me feel right at home always. When I was in my teens, I worked at Uncle Quinto’s gas station on the weekends and would spend the night with them when I did. Aunt Hamdy was like having another mom in another town. I cherish those times spent in that house. Uncle Quinto passed away in the fall of 1983 but Aunt Hamdy still lived in that same house up until she moved to Hattiesburg, MS.

When I was in college, Aunt Hamdy Mae worked as a nurse in the local hospital. I can remember having blood sugar problems and she was in the one that my friends would take me to I had my spells. She just took care of me, no questions asked. Everyone that knew her loved her. That is just how she was, She was opinionated and spoke her mind but she never did harm to anyone. As I grew older, I lost contact with her and my cousins. A group that was once so close just grew apart. When dad had his stroke, I had asked other family members to contact them to let them know, no one did. Our family is just strange like that. Thanks to Facebook, I was able to reconnect with Joe and Pat. I plan on keeping that line of communication open, I don’t want to lose contact with them again.

I wish I had made more trips down south to see her, I just did not. Time is such a fleeting thing and we don’t know how much time we have. Hug your loves ones, make sure they know you love them, without any doubt.  Say I love you often and with conviction. Aunt Hamdy Mae will always be in my heart and memories. Death cannot take that away. She may no longer be on this earth but, I have a feeling she will be watching over us from above with my Uncle Quinto. She spent the last 35 years without him and now it is their time to be reunited. I will see them both again as will my cousins. Keep my cousins and their families in your thoughts and prayers please. This will be a tough time for them although they know she is a better place, selfishly they wish she was still here. That is just human nature. So if you are one to partake in adult beverages, please raise a toast to my Aunt Hamdy Mae tonight and one for my cousins.

Love you Aunt Hamdy Mae, till we meet again.

Seeing is believing….

My wife and I have committed ourselves to the healthier way of living and for better or worse, we are going to stick to it. It hasn’t always been easy, temptations are everywhere. My wife is a dental hygienist so you think she would be safe from temptation during the work day, WRONG!! Everyday she sends me pictures of cupcakes, pastries, cakes etc…. that someone has brought to their break room. She has resisted so far but, it has been tough on her to do so. I am a parts manager at a car dealership so temptations are all around me. Snacks in the machine, someone brings a cake or cookies, someone goes out for lunch and brings back a big delicious cheeseburger. The biggest temptation of all; we have a popcorn machine her at the dealership. The smell of freshly popped popcorn is almost more than I can bare but, so far, I have resisted. All the hard work is paying off and I have the pictures to prove it.

We went with some friends to see the broadway play “Wicked” the other night. We went to eat before hand and, as usual, we had to take pictures. One picture of the both of us got me to thinking, “I wonder how much we have changed since the first of the year.” I scrolled through my pictures and found one of us that was taken the January 1 and I compared it to the one taken the other night. You be the judge:

The scale may not show the loss that we had hoped for but it is obvious to me that we both have lost some inches and flab. Look at out faces. The change is remarkable to me in only 67 days. We have worked so hard and to see this change is very encouraging. Pictures are a wonderful way to gauge your progress. As I have said before, sometimes the scale doesn’t tell the whole story. Take pictures and compare them every 30 days. They do make a difference and tell the whole story. Don’t rely just on a scale for your progress. Remember, slow progress is still progress so don’t give up!

My personal goal is to be at 225 by April 26th. Today I am at 238 so I know I will make it. In fact, I am so confident that I am moving my goal to 220. I have not asked my wife what her weight is, (I am not stupid!) but I know her goal is get healthier which in turn will help her feel better and into her”Skinny Jeans”  I am so proud of her!!! She is my inspiration!!

Don’t be afraid of pictures, they can be your biggest motivator! Go out and be the best YOU, you can be today!

 

Broke down the wall….

Weighed in this morning and for the first time in what seem forever, I broke the 240 threshold. This morning I came in a 238.2 lbs and man, did that number bring a smile to my face. I have been stuck in the 240s for what seems to be an eternity. For the past week I have been hovering around 240-242 and nothing I was doing seem to get that number to change. I actually considered taking my scale and replacing the batteries because I thought the damn thing was stuck!!! Today, I finally broke that barrier and am now in the 230s. I have lost a total of 15.1 pounds since January 2nd.

The scale can be evil and we all know this. It can be very discouraging to someone who is trying to change their lifestyle to a healthy one and not seeing the change on the scale that you want to see could just cause you to say to hell with this, where are the donuts??? Maybe the scale isn’t moving as rapidly as you hoped but, what about the other factors? How are your clothes fitting? How do you actually feel? Although I was stuck in 240 land for a while, my clothes felt looser and I am wearing shirts and jeans that I haven’t been able to for a while. I feel so much better, not hurting in my joints, able to breathe easier when I sit down and sleeping much more soundly. The change doesn’t always show up on the scale. Don’t let the scale be the only indicator of change, look for the other indicators that yes you are changing and see what a difference that makes on your attitude.

In January, 36 inch waist pants were busting at the seams begging me to move up to 38 inch! Today, my big butt is in a pair of 35 inch jeans and having to wear a belt to keep them in place. If it sounds like I am bragging, you are damn right I am!! I have worked hard for the past 8 1/2 weeks and it feels so good to see the fruits of that labor. I still have a long way to go to get to my goal of 220 but I know am heading in the right direction and to  have my wife tell me how proud she is of me is just icing on the cake.

If I can do this,  YOU can do this. Set your goal, point yourself in that direction and let nothing stop you. As Nike says, “JUST DO IT!”

Go out and be the best YOU, you can be today!!

 

 

 

 

 

Lead us not into temptation….

Being healthy takes discipline, make no mistake about it. You have to get your mind focused and commit to doing what is right as far as nutrition and exercise. I can resist most of the “bad foods” such as fried foods, processed foods, etc…. and I really don’t miss them. I was at my wife’s niece’s birthday party yesterday and there was cake and ice cream readily available but, I held fast to my commitment and politely turned down the generous offers of these yummy treats. I do well in most situations that are outside of the home however, I am very weak when it comes to going to the movies and resisting the urge for one of my all time favorites, POPCORN!!

I love popcorn, it is probably my all time favorite snack. It has been that way for me as long as I can remember. I think it is safe to say that is an addiction for me. I have to keep it out of my house as I have no self-control at all where popcorn is concerned. I have done a really good job at home simply because we do not buy it and therefore I am free from that temptation (Out of sight, out of mind). However, going to the movies is a totally different story altogether. I succumb to the fact that I will buy a tub a popcorn, a large soft drink (Coke Zero so not as bad as it could be) and will eat the entire tub while watching the movie. More than likely, we will go get our free refill and start over again mid movie. I will skip snacks and reduce my calorie intake at meals just to justify my weakness. I need help!

One thing I have learned on my journey to being a healthier version of me is labeling foods good or bad is not necessarily and good thing. Moderation is the key. Don’t deprive yourself of things you love, just eat in moderation. Learn what a serving size in on all your foods and do your best to stick with it. Did you know that a serving size of ice cream is only 230 calories? Do you know what that serving size is? It is a 1/2 cup and who in here has eaten just 1/2 cup of ice cream. If you are raising your hand, stop it!! Stop your lying ways!! You, like me, are more likely to eat 1/2 tub that 1/2 cup. Bottom line is, you can have all your favorite foods, IN MODERATION! If you slip up, don’t beat yourself up with the guilt trip either. Move past the indiscretion and jump back into your healthy ways! In my case, instead of eating an entire tub of popcorn, I should downsize to the bag and try not to eat the entire thing. It is all about moderation.

We all have our weaknesses when it comes to food. For some, it is chocolate, others it is cake and still others, like me, can’t resist the savory. This is where we have to dig in the hardest and fight off those unhealthy temptations. If you slip, forgive yourself and keep moving forward. No one will eat completely clean 365/24/7 unless you are a professional body builder. Us average people are going to slip up sometimes. If the urge is just to overwhelming for you to deny, check the serving size and try to stick with it. Temptations are a part of life, have been since Adam and Eve. Let’s just make sure our “Apple” isn’t our downfall!

Go out and be the best YOU, you can be today.

If it is to be, it is up to me…

Wow did 2 months fly by or what? Hard to believe we are 2 months in to 2018. Time flys when you are having fun huh????

I have never been one to listen to self-help mumbo jumbo before, I just never got caught up in all of that. I have several friends who will swear by the likes of Anthony Robbins, Dr. Phil, etc…. but I just never latched on to that idea. How could anyone who wasn’t me, know how to fix me or make my life better? No one has the problem I face, I am unique and am the first to ever have these feelings of self loathing, depression, no future and such (You can sense my sarcasm here right?) Truth is, I didn’t want anyone’s help. I was going to figure all this out on my own because I AM MAN HEAR ME ROAR!! I followed this line of thinking and sure enough, I came out of all that gloom and doom to the a happy life and I am very lucky to have it. Although I would not change any experience I went through to get here, I was a stubborn ass for not looking into what these experts were saying. I blamed everything from God to the mail man for all my troubles and bad luck. Once I let all that blame go and started realizing that it the universe was not all about me and my problems and utilized the phrase, “If it is to be, it is up to me” life started getting better. It took me 6 years to work all that out. If I had listed to that “mumbo jumbo” from Robbins and the rest, probably would have done it much sooner. That is basically what they preach.

Things just don’t happen the way you want them too just because you are you. YOU are not entitled to anything. YOU have to work for everything you get, whether is in your personal life, your business life or your spiritual life, you have to make the efforts to make change happen for you. If you don’t go into the gym and work your butt off while you are there, eat the right foods and get the right amount of rest, your body will never change to what you want it to be, PERIOD! You can’t just will yourself into shape. If you don’t put in all your efforts in your marriage or relationship, how can it possibly work?? If you start a home based business and you don’t pour your heart and soul into making it a success, it will not be a success. If you have all the tools,support and knowledge available to you and you refuse to use them, you are at fault not your business. You have to want to succeed in your life just as much as you need to breathe or eat. You have to work hard and put forth all the effort you can muster each and every day. If you have a minimum wage work ethic, you will never see millionaire wages or results. “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten”. – Tony Robbins

A new month brings with it an empty slate, You can make this month anything you want it to be. Why not make this month the one that starts your new life? Why not give it 30 days and do things totally different from the way you have before and see what happens? What have you got to lose???? You have tried it your way right? How is that working for you???

Go out and be the best YOU, you can be!!!

Peaks and Valleys

This has been a crazy month for me. Business is picking up at work, my wife was gone on a west coast cruise for week, it has rained just about everyday this month, our dryer bit the dust and we had to purchase another one. I have maintained my healthy eating habits, however, I failed to get into the gym regularly for the past 2 weeks. I have no excuses other than I just have not made it a priority. Where January was a peak in this lifestyle change I have adopted, February has definitely been a valley.

I have found in my experience when it comes to just about anything, you are going to have your good days and your bad days. Good days (Peaks) are easy. On these days, you are motivated, driven, feel on top of the world. It is easy because everything just falls into place. You make every traffic light, every thing goes right at work, every rep you do at the gym is better than the last, the weight is falling off and you are seeing the changes in your body. These are the day when it is easy to move forward in your goals and you actually see the light at the end of the tunnel. Then BOOM, the bottom falls out and you are deep in the valley of despair! When you hit those valleys, man is it tough to work your way out of them. It seem that nothing goes right in any aspect of your life. Work stinks, appliances break, you get a traffic ticket, don’t seem to have what it takes to make it through the simplest of workouts and you have stopped losing weight, in fact, you gained a pound or two! This is when it is hard to stay motivated and positive. Valleys suck the life out of you but, this is where your beast growth can actually occur.

Valleys should be looked at as a challenge. You should attack the valley in your day, week, month etc… with all you have. It is here where you show exactly what you are made of. One of the best phrases that trainer Tony Horton uses is, “Do your best and forget the rest.” There are going to be some days when you are going to struggle but, always do the best you can do and forget about it. Don’t dwell on these valleys and you will find that they really aren’t as bad as you think they are. I will also let you in on a little secret, the peaks aren’t as great as you think they are either. It is all about perception. One of my mentors in the business world told me, “Perception is reality.” If you perceive something in a good way or a bad way, you are right! Whether you think you can or think you can’t you are right! It is all about mindset. Each day we get to erase the chalkboard and start fresh. This is true during the peaks and valleys in your life. Everyday is a new day and you should attack each day that way. Yes some days will be better than others but do the very best you can on that particular day and always move forward.

February has been a valley for me but, March is around the corner, I am still on track toward my goal and today is a new day. And this valley I am in hasn’t been all that bad, I am actually wearing a pair of jeans today that I haven’t been able to get into in 18 months. I think I see a peak ahead folks and I am heading toward it!!

Go out and be the best YOU, you can be today!!

 

February 19, 1999

This date may not mean much to the rest of the world but to me, it is one of the greatest days of my life. On February 19, 1999 at 11:50 PM, An 8 lbs 8 oz boy was born to this world and at that exact moment, my life changed. I was no longer just Ricky the son, Ricky the brother, Ricky the husband or whatever else I had been known as up until that point. With the ear-piercing scream of the newly born child I then became and will forever be known as Dad.

I had a feeling this was going to be the day. The due date was the was actually February 5th so we were at week 42 on this day. We went in to the doctor for the weekly check up and the doctor told us, “Well, he isn’t quite ready yet but, from what we can tell, he is around 8 lbs now. We can wait another week or we can induce labor today. If we wait, he may come on his own before the week is up. I suggest since you are here now, let’s induce but it is up to you.” We discussed and decided the world was ready for his arrival. We got checked into the hospital and alerted the family that this was going to the day. The induced labor and we waited. And waited, and waited and ……. That hard-headed little boy wasn’t ready to come out yet!!

My now ex-wife had two children before we had gotten married. She had one boy and one girl and they were 16 and 14 at the time. Her labor with the both of them lasted and average of 2 hours. This one however was going to be much, much longer. Almost 12 hours to be exact. It was a long day but, he was well worth the wait. I never knew it was possible to love someone so much after seeing them for the first time. I was excited and scared at the same time. I was so afraid I would break him the first time I held him. He was so tiny and I felt like a giant compared to him. I mustered up my courage and picked up my son for the very first time and from that moment on, I was hooked. I loved that child with all my soul from that moment on. The picture below is the first picture of my son and I.

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19 years have gone by in a flash. I vividly remember your first steps, your first words, your first day of school, I remember them all. What to you seems like 19 years, to me feels like a blink of an eye. You will never understand this until you become a father yourself. You are an adult now but, will always be my baby boy. You are your own man now, paving your own path in the world. As each day goes by, you will need me less and less. As each day goes by, my pride for you grows and grows. We have been though good days and bad, good time and hard times and lots of smiles and tears. We went through a time where it was just you and me, to now when “Ms Anna” came into our lives and saved us both. Watching you grow into the man you are has been my privilege, being you dad is my honor. Happy Birthday son, you will always be “The One and Olmi” to me.

 

What is your “WHY”?

I have been studying Network Marketing for a little while and one of the selling points of which ever business you choose to be a part of is your “Why”. Why are you in this business? What is your driving force behind this? What is YOUR story? We all have a story, whether we know we do or not. Your story is what brought you to the point of starting your own business or in my case, brought me to the point of wanting a healthy lifestyle. You must know your “WHY” if you want to be successful at any endeavor you choose. Some will say right off the bat, “I want to be rich” or “I want to lose weight”. Those are fine answers but, they are not really your why. You must dig deeper within yourself to determine what your why is.

My “Why” for choosing a healthy lifestyle is simple but I really had to dig deep to discover it. I will be 53 in March and my  beautiful wife will be 44 in August. I think the average 1st grader can determine that is just under a 9.5 year difference in our ages. Let’s put this in even simpler terms; when I graduated high school in May of 1983 my wife was 8 years old and just finishing up the 3rd grade!!! At my current weight, I am at risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke etc… If I don’t do an about-face and get back on the track of a healthy lifestyle right now, I may not be able to later. I could very well let myself get into such a shape that there will be nothing I can do to reverse the effects that my lifestyle choices have done to my body. God brought us together at the right time in our lives so, I need to do all I can to live a long, happy and healthy life so I can be around to enjoy it with her. My son will be 19 in a few days and I need to stick around a little longer to make sure he stays on the correct path to becoming a valuable member of society. I still have so much to live for and accomplish and it is up to me to get healthy. My “WHY” is my love and devotion to and for my family. I have to do all I can to be around for as long as they need me and if the God is willing that will be a long, LONG time.

Find out what your “WHY” is in all that you do in life. Once you find your “WHY”, the rest will be easy for you to accomplish. Try it for yourself and see. Right now, stop what you are doing and ask yourself, “What is my WHY??”