5:30 isn’t early enough…..

For the last few weeks, I have been getting up around 4:45 AM everyday to go the gym. I decided that it would just be best for my family and me to go at that time. It allows me to get my workouts in and still be home early enough to get dinner cooked and take care of the dogs while my wife gets her workout in after work. The gym I am a member of is on the small side but has a big membership. The afternoons and evenings are packed so, getting to the machine or weights you want is sometimes a struggle. I thought by going in early that I would basically have the gym to myself. I was wrong!

I get to the gym at or around 5:30 every morning and the parking lot is full of cars when I get there. I don’t know why but it still shocks me every morning. I cannot believe how many people are at the gym at that time of day. When I walk in, every cardio machine is taken with, let’s just say “Senior Citizens”, God bless em!! They are on stationary bikes, treadmills and ellipticals, just a talking to each other like they are in church or the coffee shop. Some are using the weight machines and some are rocking the free weights. It does my heart good to see them doing their thing and proves that you are never too old to get healthy.

There is also the types that treat the gym as it is a social event. They are half-ass working out while discussing the current events, their plans for the day and complain about their wives/significant others. For every 1 minute of exercise, there is 5 minutes of discussion. I don’t know about you but, I don’t like hearing myself talk at 5 in the morning let alone anyone else! These type people really confuse me!! Then there are the girls that come in that are either just getting started and don’t want to be seen by anyone or the “Fit Girls” who want to workout without being ogled at or hit on by the next group…..

The “POWER BRO’S”! Yes, these bozo’z are even at the gym in the early hours. This group is at every gym in America. They are all muscled up, hair just right, wearing the latest in fitness attire and have the newest design and edition of headphones. They spend more time fist bumping, high fiving and mirror gazing than they actually do working out. They usually run in a pack of 4-5, the biggest muscle head being the alpha. As he goes, the rest follows. If he grunts, they all grunt. Usually in this pack is “The Runt”. He has the least muscle mass of the bunch but he is the most enthusiastic to be there. The others try to teach them their ways but, he is far behind the curve. While the others have already developed their muscles and are just there to “hang”, he wants to work out. They usually answer his questions and give him “Ata Boys” here and there. They tie up machines and area’s of the gym where the mirrors are, admiring their physiques in hopes that the one or two younger girls that have ventured into the gym this early in the morning are sneaking glimpses of them.

I have found that it really doesn’t matter what time you go to a gym, you usually will find all types of people at there at that time. Just get there, do your thing and silently laugh to yourself and the different characters you will see. Life is too short not to enjoy the little things in life! Just go and have fun!!

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

Small choices, big impacts……

Yesterday was an important day in history for me. If you have been following my blog, you may remember one of my first. “How Snoopy Changed My Life”. Well, on April 12, 2015, I sent my Anna the following picture and the rest as they say is history:

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The choice I made to send this to Anna had an amazing ripple effect not only on our lives but, my son’s and a little family that we were able to help along the way. When Anna and I decided we were to be married, we started looking at a new homes, one that would be a fresh start on us both. The house she lived in was from her previous marriage as was mine. Anna had already decided to sell her house before we started dating and unfortunately, I was in no position to do so at the time. My divorce, along with a job loss in 2009 put my in financial straights and to save my home, I had to declare bankruptcy. It is something I am not proud of but at the time it was necessary. Anna sold her house almost immediately, then moved in with Ethan and I shortly there after. We determined that our best course of action for the immediate future was to just live in my house, save our money and get us a house after I get my bankruptcy closed. Together we made plenty of money, so saving and waiting was a no brainer, right? Anna, however, is a bit stubborn when she wants something. She contacted a patient of hers, who just so happened to be a mortgage lender, just to see what she would qualify by herself on a loan. Well low and behold she not only qualified, but was approved for plenty and so the hunt was on. We found our dream home which put us in a different school district, which put my son in a different school, which allowed him to play football again (His other school said he wasn’t good enough to play), which led to this. The kid that wasn’t “good enough” became all district and the face of the school’s football team.

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Now, what to do with my house? I was in no position to sell, the house was not in the greatest shape, it need some work done to it if I were going to rent it. It was fine for us but, to rent it out for what I needed, it would have to be renovated a bit. We could leave it empty and still make the notes but, insurance required the house to be occupied. As we were pondering just what to do, God had already planned what our next move would be. There is a young lady who is employed at my workplace. She was going through a rough time, her husband was going through an addiction problem which had effected her and her children’s lives. They were living in a little house that wasn’t much of anything and paying entirely too much for it. She was barely making ends meet, not good with money and going through a treacherous time in her life. Knowing what she as going through, it dawned on me that my that my house would be perfect for her. It was in much better shape that what she was currently living in, it would give her stability and a fresh start. I felt God was talking to me and it was my duty to help her. I talked it over with Anna, we both agreed we should help her and by doing so, would help ourselves at the same time. I went to the young lady, made her an offer, you can rent my home for this amount and I will pay all your utilities. I will help you develop a budget and this will help you get on your feet. It will allow you and your children to have a nice home, neighborhood to live in, within a mile of all the schools. You can make changes to the house if you like and if your projects become too much, let me know and we will help. Also, when you get to the position when you can, if you would like to buy the house from us, we will sell it to you for what we owe on that date, so it is like you are renting to own. Oh and we won’t take no for an answer. After a few tears were shed, she agreed. moved into the house and has made it her home. Even better news is, her husband has gotten himself clean and is working on repairing their family.

Every choice we make in life could be the one that changes everything. Every choice we make has consequences, good or bad. The thing is, we never know which choice we make is going to be that one that has a ripple affect not only on you but the people around you. People with addictions made the choice to one day try this drug, or drink and those choices effect and ripple throughout their lives and well as their families. A snoopy picture, sent as a flirt on a whim one day not only changed my life, but many, many lives. I wondered today, what would have happened if I did not send that picture? Where would we all be had I had not made that choice? A friend of mine, Scott Goodrow said it best: “Remarkable how the smallest choices can have such a huge impact. We make choices every day in our life. We choose what time to leave our house, which route to take, what to eat, what to say, how to react, etc….. We make choices everyday and even the smallest of those choices could change everything. If you are going to make choices, shouldn’t you make good ones? Who know is the choice you make today, will be your Snoopy story tomorrow????

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

One day of bad choices………

One of the hardest things about eating clean is having to give up some of the foods you absolutely love. Foods such as pasta, pizza, french fries, etc…. You don’t have to give them up forever but, you do have to pick and choose when you eat them but, if you are starting out of in the middle of the journey, it is best that you avoid these foods like the plague. If i did not believe that before, this weekend made me a believer!

When I commit myself to anything, I become obsessed with it. Whether is be a project, a game, working out or going to a healthier lifestyle, I go all in with it. I have been hard at this healthy lifestyle change going on month #4 so I have been charting just EVERYTHING. Things food, water intake, steps taking and weight are daily activities for me. I kind of go OCD when it comes to these, it is just how I am, can’t help it. Saturday was no different. I got up, weighed in a 225.6 lbs, made my breakfast and charted to 240 calories I had taken in and the day was starting off as any other, or so I thought.

A friend of ours had the Grand Opening of her beauty shop so we stopped by to show our support. We weren’t going to stay long as we had an appointment with a CPA about our taxes. When we arrive we notice there is a Taco Truck parked outside the shop. Knowing we were crunched for time, my wife suggested that we just get something from the truck for lunch. As I looked at the menu, there was nothing that fit what I had been eating for the past 3 months. So, we decided to split a Beef Brisket Quesadilla and a Fried Chicken Taco. What could it hurt, right? The quesadilla wasn’t that big, came in 3 pieces so, we each had 1.5 pieces of the quesadilla and one fried chicken taco apiece. I did not fill overly full and thought this wouldn’t hurt me too bad. I have been very good so, this one little guilty pleasure wouldn’t kill me, maybe…..

After the tax man, we went home and decided to go to a movie. Our son tagged along so it was family night out. Of course when you go to a movie, you got to have popcorn. So, my wife and I split a bucket of popcorn, no butter so it can’t be that bad right??? After the movie, we let my son choose what would be our dinner choice. What else would a 19-year-old beast of a man-child want but PIZZA. We order a large meatlovers pizza and my wife and I split a huge greek salad. I had 2 slices of pizza, half a salad and water and did not feel stuffed nor bloated. On our way home I thought to myself, “You cheated today but, probably didn’t hurt you too bad. Just call this your “Cheat Day” and enjoy it” Sunday morning rolls around, I get up and get on that scale. 230!!! I had gained almost 5 lbs in one damn day!!! I looked in the mirror and my face looked swollen. All the sodium I taken in the day made me retain water and I was dearly paying for it!! Although the weight gain was mostly fluid, this taught me the effects of poor eating choices. It is ok to have pizza, popcorn and tacos in moderation, it is never a good idea when you are eating clean to have day filled with them. My fat, swollen face was proof enough for me.

After a day at the gym and back to eating clean, I weighed in today a 228.6 down from yesterday but still up from the Saturday low. I have every confidence I will get back to losing again but it will take 2-3 days of gym and clean eating to make up for a day of bad choices. I will say though, that pizza was DAMN GOOD!

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

Losing never felt so right….

I am a loser and I could not be anymore happier about that fact. Losing never felt so good and to tell you the truth, I really hope that I continue to be a loser for the at least the next 3 weeks. If I can continue to be a loser for that period of time, I will be a true winner!! Now, I know you are asking yourself, “How can I be a loser for so long and at the end be a winner?” Well my friends what I am losing is weight and inches!!

If you have been following along, you know that on Jan 2nd of this year, I started the journey to getting back to being a healthier version of myself. To summarize, in 2015,  I let myself go and in a short 3 year time frame I went from a healthy 215 lbs, in shape man to a 260 lbs out of shape blob. I was always tired, making excuses and literally hurting everyday. I had just had enough and decided that it had to come back off.  I picked my day, January 2, 2018, I set my goal which was to be at the weight I was when I got married in October of 2015 which was 228 lbs. I set my date which to achieve this, April 26, 2018, my wife’s big Seminar for her SeneGence International direct sales business. I weighed in on January 2, 2018 at a whopping 253.6 so, to achieve this I had to lose 25.6 lbs in 114 days, a challenge but definitely doable.

Here we are on April 3, 2018 with 23 left til Seminar and I am proud to say that yours truly is loser:

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I cannot put into words how much better I feel with this weight off of me. My clothes fit better, I sleep and rest much more soundly now and I have developed much better eating habits. I have not, however, been working out like I should but, I have taken steps to rectify that this month. With the love and support of my beautiful wife, I am 1 pound away from my goal and have now pushed that goal back to 220 lbs by April 26. I will achieve that goal and will then only be 5 pounds away from the weight I was on the first date with my wife.

I am not posting this to brag. I am posting this with the hopes that maybe it will inspire others to get of the couch and get moving to a healthier life. I am not going to lie, it is hard but, anything worth having isn’t easy. It took me longer this time to get the weight off than it has in the past and there were many days I wanted to give up. I just kept reminding myself that if I wanted to be around to spend a good and active life with my wife, it had to come off. I did not want to get up in years and be in such bad health that I could not enjoy my life. Did I get frustrated at time, hell yeah I did! There were many mornings I wanted to throw that scale as far as I could because it wasn’t moving down fast enough or at all for  that matter! I just kept moving forward each and every day. I celebrated privately every time I had to pull my belt up a notch, putting my 2 XL shirts to the back of the closet because they no longer fit or having to throw away my “Fat Boy Underwear” because were just TOO BIG!! If I can do this, each and every one of you can do this. You just have to make up your mind to do it and go! I don’t care if you need to lose 10 or 100 lbs, we all have to start in the same place, DAY ONE!

I would be remise not to mention how fantastic my wife is doing in her journey as well. She has lost so many inches in so many different places and she looks and feels fabulous. I am so proud of what she has achieved and she is my inspiration to keep moving forward. She has her own goals of what and wear she wants to be and I will support her with each step she takes. I love her for who she is but so very proud she is getting back to the healthier version of herself. It won’t be long until we will be back to the weight we were when we started dating, almost 3 years to the date:

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So yeah, I am a loser!! And I am damn proud I am!!!

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

Day one or one day…..

I decided that this week, I am going to get up at 4:45 AM, go to the gym and get my workout in. It has been a struggle lately to find enough time in the day to get my work out in. I am at work everyday around 7:15 AM and leave for the day around 5. My wife has her training at 5:30 PM 3 days a week and my son does his own thing whenever. We have 2 dogs to take care of, dinner has to be cooked and that means one of us has to get home between 5:30 and 6:00 PM. I tried to go work out at 5 but, there is always a packed house at the gym during that time and getting a good work out in is dang near impossible. I just decided that I would not go in the afternoons and try to workout at home instead. That wasn’t working out either as trying to get dinner ready, take care of 2 dogs and whatever else may come up just made getting a workout in very difficult. My wife would say, “We have to find a way to let you workout too.” I’d always say, “One day honey, I will get there one day.”

I think we all have that mindset when we start thinking about a lifestyle change or plans, whether it be getting healthier, saving or making more money, taking a vacation or a project around the home. The battle cry is ,”One Day, I will do…….” ( you fill in the blank). “One Day” is the same thing as “Tomorrow”. It is that mystical day that never seems to come around. “One day, I am going to lose weight”, “One day, I am going to get myself in to shape” “One day, I am going to take that cruise/vacation”.  We keep saying this as if that “One Day” will just pick itself for us. Unfortunately, that is not how it works, YOU have to decide which day is going to switch from “One Day” to “Day One” Ben Franklin said is best:

“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”

Today was “Day One” for me. I got up, went to the gym, go in a good 45 minute workout, showered at the gym and heading in to work. I arrived early to work, more energized that normal and attacked this Monday instead of letting it attack me. I thought getting up an hour earlier that normal would have me tired and lethargic but it was the exact opposite. Now, I can get through the rest of my day knowing I have gotten my workout in and it feels great. Turning that “One Day” into “Day One” was a great decision for me and I bet it will be for you too. We all have to start somewhere so, what is stopping you? Let this be the “Day One” for you and say goodbye to “One Day” You will thank yourself when you do.

Go be the best YOU, you can be today!

That’s the way that the world goes round

“That’s the way that the world goes ’round
You’re up one day, the next you’re down
It’s a half-an-inch of water and you think you’re gonna drown
That’s the way that the world goes ’round” – John Prine

I remember the first time I heard this song. I was a freshman at Delta State University, away from the watchful eye of my parents and doing what every red-blooded american 18-year-old male was doing at that time, PARTYING! My first semester of college was mostly a blur and I had the grades to show it, (Sorry Mom and Dad). I also worked 30-40 hours per week at a drive thru convenience store called “The Barn”. That was the best job I had until I became a bartender later on (That is a story for another time). It was there I met Jerry. Jerry was a few years older than me but, we became fast friends. He had his own house and we spent many nights over there drinking beer and listening to music. Jerry introduced me to John Prine, a singer/song writer who was not in the mainstream music scene. He had some great beer drinking, sing along songs that resonated with me.  It was his song “That’s the way the world goes round” that struck me as profound. Google this song and listen to it and maybe you’ll get why. This was the first song that made me think. Music can do that for me. The lyrics of a certain song may strike me in a different way that others. I often use music to communicate what or how I am feeling. I will send my wife a song sometimes, just to let her know how I am feeling that moment. I may hear a song that is 30 years old but, it will mean something totally different to me now. At 18, all I really felt was scared and confused. What the hell was I supposed to do with my life?

My son recently approached me about an idea he was having. He was thinking about joining the military, specifically the Marines.  This came completely out of left field as my son has never shown an interest in the military. First thing I ask was why. Then the next line of questions were who talked you into this, what brought this on, when did this become an option for you etc…. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the military and have great respect for those that serve. My father as in the National Guard and my brother served in the first Gulf War. I have many friends that are military so it is a great career choice but, I don’t believe it is for my son. He is not one to take orders, does not like to be told what to do and really has a hard time listening and doing as he is told. The military would be great for him but, he would be miserable for as long as he had to serve. I explained to him that although your father has a lot of connections and can do a lot of things, getting you out of the military is not one of them. He had made up his mind to go talk with a recruiter, take some test etc…. but promising me he would not sign anything before talking with me. After a few days, I had a man to man talk with him and discovered, he really is his father’s son. He, just like me at his age, came to the realization that he had no clue what to do with his life, he was 19 with no direction and scared. He just figured the military would give him something to do and the Marines were the “coolest” branch. After a few talks, I got him to understand that it is ok not to know what you want to do in life, but to be a Marine, you have to KNOW that is what you want. It is not the place to try and figure that out.  My dad never talked to me like I talk to my son, he just wasn’t that guy. I wish sometime he would have been when I was 18, because I really needed direction. Luckily my dad did instill a good work ethic and common sense in me so, I made it out of “Teen Age Waste Land” unscathed.

I am now 53 and have a really good life. I have an amazing wife that I love completely, a great son who will grow up to be a great man and an amazing family that supports me. I have a close knit group of friends that “get me” and blessed they are in my life. I am for the most part healthy, working on getting healthier. I have a great job with people I like working with and I can truly say I am a happy person at this stage of my life. If I could go back in time and talk to my 18-year-old self, I would let him know it is normal to feel confused and scared at this time in life but, it will all work out. Every rocky road, disappointment, heartbreak and failure along the way has made me the person I am today. I would not change a thing because it was that path that lead me to where I am right now. Right now is a pretty great place to be for me.

Maybe you are lost, confused, scared or just tired with your life right now. Take a step back and look at what has you feeling that way. I am guessing if you take the time to look at what is causing you all this grief or pain, you will see that it is just “a half inch of water and you think you’re going to drown”.  Just remember this is just another path to your destination. You may not know where your destination is right now but, I know God does. Trust that there is a reason for every thing you are going through. Stop, breathe and keep moving forward, whether it is in getting to be a healthier you or trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow up. Do the right things and good things will come your way. Maybe today you don’t have a clue but, that is ok, “That’s the way that the world goes round.”

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

If not now, when?

I have made it no secret that in the past 3 years, I have basically just let myself go. In April of 2015, I weighed 215 lbs and was in fairly good shape. I was going to the gym on a regular basis , eating right (most of the time) and I looked/felt great. I started dating Anna, was happier than I had ever been in my life and began to REALLY enjoy myself. In a 6 month time frame, I went from a 32″ waist pant size to a 34″ that ballooned into a 36″, busting at the seams, should have been a 38″, shortly there after. In 2017, we went to see Garth Brooks with some of our friends and as we often do, we took pictures to capture the moment. This is me, February 2017:

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I remember, after seeing this picture, getting on a scale and seeing just how far I had fallen. I weight 263 lbs in this picture. At my heaviest, I was at 265 lbs and at the rate  I was going, I going to surpass that with ease. I started watching what I was eating, working out here and there and started 2018 weighing in at 253.6. I managed to lose a little less that 10 lbs in about a year. I was not committed to being healthy at all, I was just going through the motions. I made every excuse in the book as to why I could not lose the weight but the main reason was very simple, I was not committed. This is how I looked January 1 2018:

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I felt bad, wasn’t sleeping well and the only comfortable clothes I wore were sweats or pajama pants. I was a heart attack waiting to happen, it was just a matter of when. I decided then and there that I was going to drop this weight and get healthy again. I started eating better foods, cutting out all sweets, lowering the amount of carbs I was taking in and exercising a bit more. I would park further away from the entrance of work or the grocery so I would have to get more steps in every day. I started this blog, logging my food and even weighing it to get the right amounts in and not over eat during meal times. I joined a program called “Noom” that helped me to reeducate myself on proper nutrition and type of foods I need to be eating. I resist my urges to grab late night snacks before bed or 2-3 beers in the evening time. I have not been hitting the gym as I should but, I will do better with that. I am telling you all this not to brag, rather to share with you my determination to get this weight off with the hopes that it will inspire you to do the same. This is me, a couple of days before my 53rd birthday (yes I did have a small sliver of cake. My wife made it from scratch and it was my birthday, Get off me!) I am not where I need to be but, I am in a better place than I was:

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Take a look at yourself, a hard, honest look. Only you can decide when you will get healthy. All the blogs, self-help and weight loss programs will not to a damn bit of good if you do not commit yourself to being a better you. If you want to be healthy, if you want to just feel better than you do now, COMMIT YOURSELF TO IT RIGHT NOW! If not today, then when? Tomorrow? Like the Garth songs states, “If Tomorrow, Never Comes” then what?  Don’t wait for the perfect time to start. If you do, you will never get going. Start today by walking 10 minutes after you eat a meal. Start today by pushing that second plate away at dinner. Start today by replacing that greasy cheeseburger with a grilled chicken sandwich. I don’t care how you do it, just START TODAY! Get yourself a weight goal, or a pant size goal or any other goal of your choosing, write it down, place it where you see it every day and just go for it. If I can do this, you can do this. You just have to commit yourself and set your sights to where you are headed. Each day, you’ll get closer to that destination. It all starts with that first step. If not today, WHEN???

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