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.

 

Blessed beyond measure….

Another birthday has come and gone. I have been fortunate enough to have seen 53 of these in my lifetime and God willing, I have many more to come. I had a goal on my weight to be at 235 pounds by my birthday. I weighed in yesterday morning at 234.8, goal accomplished. I have a long way to my goal of 220 by April 26th but I am closer than I was. I feel so much better, I sleep more soundly and my clothes fit me a lot looser. I am very happy with my progress. One day at a time is my motto.

I don’t like being doted over.  Although I am very thankful to still be around to celebrate my birthday, to me it is just another day on the calendar. I don’t like to be fussed over nor acknowledged over just being born. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate when people wish me a happy birthday and all that comes with it, I just don’t like all the attention. I guess that comes with age I am not sure. I may get that from my father, he has never been one to celebrate himself too much. I do however, make a big fuss over my wife and son’s birthday. I like spoiling them, I am just not into being spoiled myself. My wife, bless her soul,  takes how I feel about my birthday and throws it out the window. She is a mess like that. She tried her best to surprise me on these occasions with my son as her accomplice. Most of the time, I catch on before the surprise, I am too observant. But every so often, they get me.

This weekend, my wife started her, “It is your birthday!” celebration. My birthday fell on a Monday this year so, she started this on Friday. I told her over and over, “I don’t have birthdays any longer” but she just ignored my pleas and kept on. Saturday, after doing an event for her cosmetics business, (www.SassySmilesbyAnna.com), we went and had lunch with my son and headed home. I knew those two were up to something, it got way too quiet in the house. As I made my way around the house my wife hollers, “STAY OUT OF HERE! GO BACK TO THE KITCHEN!” I knew then, they both ignored my request and had gotten me a present. As soon as they appeared around the corner, I knew exactly what she had done and told her, “Someone is in trouble!”She just smiled….

A few weeks ago, I had made the comment that Ostrich Skin Boots were on my bucket list. I wanted to just go by a boot store and look at them, try them on, see if I even liked them. We went to a couple of places, I tried on a few pairs and in fact did like the boots, but not the price tag that came with them. I told her as we were walking out of the last store, “Do not come back and buy these boots!” This is something I will save up for and when I find the right ones. I will get them.” She just smiled and said “OK”. I began looking on the internet and found a place that made hand-made boots and a more than reasonable price. She saw me looking at them one day and the nosy gene took over. “Where are those?” I told her and again, proclaimed “Do not go and buy these boots! I will get them if/when I am ready.” When she came around that corner with my son, holding what was without a doubt, a birthday wrapped boot box, I knew she chose once again not to list to me. Inside that box were the most beautiful pair of ostrich skin boots you have ever seen. I tried them on or I should say, attempted to try them on. They were a bit to narrow for my big foot. Fortunately, the company has a guaranteed fit policy so no worry, I will have the right size soon enough. The statement, “It is the thought that counts” never fit better than at that moment.

On my birthday, my wife posted on Facebook that today was her hubby’s birthday and wanted everyone to celebrate with us. She posted the picture below and my phone blew up the rest of the day. Last night, my son treat us to dinner and my birthday was complete.

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I am not sure what I did to be blessed with such a wonderful woman as my wife and the greatest son on the face of the earth, but I am glad I did. The more I think about it, the more I realize I have been blessed all my life. I have a great mother and father, an amazing brother and sister and 4 wonderful nieces. I have two aunts that are like my another set of mothers and all of them have been there for me through some of the darkest times in my life as well as all the best ones. I have a great group of close friends that I consider family that I just could not imagine life without and thank God for every day.  Not only did I gain a wonderful wife/soul mate, I have been accepted and loved by my in-laws, who are some of the finest people I have ever met. Even when I did not acknowledge nor recognize it, I have been extremely blessed all my life. I think if we all take the time and look at what we have rather than what we don’t, we would all realize that we are blessed beyond measure. I am going to make it part of my daily routine and thank God for all the blessings he has bestowed upon me. I think if we all would do that, maybe we would all start seeing the world in a different light.

I don’t feel I deserve the blessings I have but I am so thankful for all of them. And if you are taking the time to read my blog, I am thankful for you and blessed you took time out of your busy day to read my blog. I hope it blesses you in someway or inspires you to be a better you. We all should strive to be the best versions of ourselves daily. I for one am going to try, will you???

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

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.