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.

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.