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Chosing to live life healthy

My goal at the beginning of this year was to lose another 50 lbs. Much to my chagrin I have not gotten close to that number yet. January 1 is not here just yet, so there is still hope. There is hope that I will lose some more weight. I might not lose the 50 lbs, but that will not be a show stopper for me. My ultimate goal is not necessarily to pick an arbitrary number on the scales, that will make me happy. A number will not make me happy or healthy. My goal is to live life healthy. The key word is to live life. Live life to its fullest. To do what I can, with what I have, today. I chose to not live in the past or to wallow in my past failures or regrets. I chose to look forward to tomorrow and to try to make better choices.

I have determined that I will try to make better food choices so I can eat healthy. I am also determined to get a minimum of 1 hour of exercise every day. Whether I am going to planet fitness or walking I chose to exercise because it is good for me. Exercising helps me to reduce stress and increases the quality of my cardiovascular system. Yes, you can start to call me Mr Exercise. I believe that weight loss will occur if I do both of those things.

In an effort to remain committed to my exercise goals I am participating in the first 5k walk on Thursday October 11th in the evening. A 5k is a little over 3 miles and since I have been walking 2.5 miles and put o 4 miles I know that I can do this. No, I will certainly not finish in the top 10 percent during that event BUT I promise that I will finish. I will finish and I will be happy that I did it. I am actually going to consider it my exercise time for that day. See how easy that is? Make a commitment to do something and then find ways to do it. You can do it and you can have fun at the same time.

No matter what type of exercise you chose to do, just do it. Walk, ride a bike, go to the gym, swim , anything. Whatever you do, do not give up on yourself and do nothing. Someone posted something funny on Facebook the other day that I can relate to. It was a picture of a fat man who was walking. The caption said something like this. ” you may be going slow but you are walking laps around people who are still sitting on the couch.”. To me, that was a a positive encouragement.

When I walk the Arthur Ravanel Bridge in Mt Pleasant I usually feel like a slug. I have everyone passing me going both ways, up hill and down hill. I could let that discourage me and get depressed about it. If I were to say that I do not have to fight those feelings I would not be totally honest about it. There are days that my weight and being morbidly obese does get me down. There are days I would rather just sit on the couch and surf the Internet. I chose to overcome those feelings and realize that it is going to take some time to reach my goals. I also have a lot of folks in my life that encourage me and cheer me onward. That encouragement is worth its weight in gold. To those of you who take the time to do that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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Growing older is not for sissies

I spoke with my sister in law Lisa the other day, and we both share several things in common. We both love Katy, and we are on a healthy living journey. Lisa and I were chatting about high blood pressure, healthy eating, weight loss and exercise. We both agreed that it is a lot of work and takes a lot of determination. Lisa said something that made me laugh. Lisa told me that getting older is not for sissies. I laughed when she said that, and I have to admit that she is right. Getting older is certainly not for sissies.

As if growing older normally, without any health issues were not bad enough, just imagine growing older with health issues such as high blood pressure , diabetes and other health issues that can hinder your weight loss journey to healthy living.

If you watch the news long enough, you will come to realize how fat and obese, a majority of Americans have become. We live in the land of plenty, and for some of us, that is evident on our waist lines. As I look back ,I realize that I did not become obese overnight. On several occasions ,I have come to the point where I realized that I needed to do something, anything, to stop the numbers on the scale from getting any higher.

Just as the road to obesity is a journey that takes time, the road to healthy living is a journey that takes time. I have been on the journey now for a little over 2 years. I know that I have had some success because my waist line is shrinking and my clothes fit differently. Thanks to changing my eating habits, and increasing my level of exercise I feel much better. I have more flexibility and more energy than I have had in many years. I am at a place in my life where I am tired of being fat , but now I am doing something about it.   

For those of you that are on the same journey to healthy living ,here are a couple of tips to help with your sanity.

  • you should never compare yourself to others. You are on your own unique life journey with your own unique issues.
  • do the best you can do TODAY with what you have to work with.
  • plan your journey and decide what changes you need to make
  • talk to your doctor BEFORE you make any changes in diet and exercise
  • if you have health issues be sure to address those with your doctor.
  • remember to make changes one step at a time. Do not try to make all the changes at once and overwhelm yourself.
  • set realistic goals, that you know you can achieve. Setting goals that are not possible will only cause disappointment.
  • learn how to eat healthy food and change how you look at food. Food is fuel for your body.
  • figure out if you are an emotional eater. If you are, work on fixing that.
  • Stop eating foods that are bad for you and cause you to gain weight. Educate yourself
  • drink a minimum of (8) 8 oz glasses of water —> start at one glass per day and work your way up from there
  • exercise your body daily. Get up, move around, walk, swim, do something. Anything is much better than nothing.
  • surround yourself with supportive people who can help you be accountable and be an encouragement

In my following blog posts I plan on talking about my “healthy living” sanity tips, and I hope that what I write with regards to my journey ,will encourage someone else. Above all, please understand that any of this takes self determination, and the willingness to change. Healthy living and losing weight takes real work, and no it is not for sissies either. I figure that if I can affect change in my life and see benefits then other people can do the same.

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Living with hypertension

Every day that we wake up is a gift from God. I am sitting here next to the open windows listening to the birds sing and enjoying a cool breeze coming through the windows. I spent a few moments this morning picking up different items that our furry children have knocked off the desk and other furniture. My wife’s birthday presents which are her newest furry children, have turned our house into their playground. Kittens are like babies in that they are full of energy and nothing escapes their adventuresome spirit.

In the last couple of years I have reckoned the fact that I need to live a healthier lifestyle. Like most Americans I have been living through the consequences of obesity. I went from being a very healthy male to a middle aged obese man. How did I get there? I got there by going from a very active lifestyle in my youth, to a mostly sedentary lifestyle. I ate what I wanted and got very little exercise. One day I woke up and realized that I have not seen very many older people that are severely obese. You could say that was my wake up call. I realized that if I want to live much longer that I needed to make some radical changes in my life style. It meant that I needed to eat less, eat healthier and get regular exercise.

One of the consequences of being obese is high blood pressure. I have been managing high blood pressure for almost a decade. One thing that is important to take note of is this. Hypertension can cause heart attack and stroke. One or both of those can be life ending events. The longer that hypertension goes without being treated increases your chances of having either one of those. Over the years I have gotten familiar with how I feel when my blood pressure gets out of whack. When my blood pressure starts to climb I feel nervous inside. I feel anxious and I start to get light headed and sometimes dizzy. I hate it when episodes of high blood pressure make me feel that way. My tendency has been to ride out the storm until it passes. Denial sets in and I do not want to admit that the episodes are a sign of what is to come.

Yesterday I had another episode. I thought that I was going to have to ask my daughter to drive me to a local health clinic. Instead of driving myself or calling an ambulance, I rode out the storm. I sat here at my desk with my blood pressure monitor and waited until the pressure went down slowly. Instead of going to the doctors office I decided to tough it out and go to work. I ignored the fact that I needed professional medical help. You would think that after living with hypertension for almost a decade that I would know the warning signs and know how to react intelligently. Instead, I went to work and decided to ride out the storm on my own. That lasted for about 2.5 hours and then I told my employer that I needed to go to see a doctor. Back in February of this year my co workers go to watch me get carted off in an ambulance. During that episode my heart was throwing PVC’s and making me feel really strange. PVC’s are premature ventricular contractions where the heart is not pumping the blood in a steady rhythm. I have been having PVC’s for several years but did not realize what it was. I would be driving down the road or doing whatever and I would get this nervous fluttering sensation in my chest. There would not be any pain associated with the event so I always opted to ride out the storm. Back in February the episode lasted for hours and put me in a place where I could no longer ignore the symptoms.

I am glad that I finally took myself to Healthfirst and saw one of my favorite doctors. We have been going to Healthfirst in Charleston for over 12 years. They are a faith based healthcare facility that I would recommend to anyone. One of the things that I love about them is that they are very professional and at the same time care about their patients. Most of the time they get you in and out of there within 15 to 20 minutes. I have been to some doctors offices where you show up at the appointed time and it can be upwards of an hour before you actually see the doctor. That has never happened to me at Healthfirst. My doctor listened to my concerns and then ordered an EKG, blood work and an echocardiogram for my heart. The good news is that my heart is in good condition. We just have to get the hypertension under control. My doctor told me that the Maxide that I was taking was no longer working for me. Over the years I have changed and the benefits of the drug were no longer benefits. Now I am under orders to take it easy for a couple of days, and start taking new medicine. I am hopeful that the new meds will help me to get the hypertension under control. My goal is to put the episodes behind me and that they do not happen as frequently. My doctor told me that my heart is greatly benefiting from the cardio level exercise at the gym. He told me I was doing a good job and to keep it up.

I am thankful for life this morning and that I feel better. I am going to take it easy and enjoy a day away from the office. I plan on going to my happy place and reading a book I started weeks ago. I plan on soaking up everything around me and appreciating it. I plan on slowing down so that I can appreciate those things that I take for granted. One other thing that kills people and causes hypertension is stress. We live such busy task oriented lives that we do not recognize the symptoms of stress. We like to call stress multitasking. Maybe we would be better off by taking on less tasks. One of the drawbacks of living in a digital age, is that we are distracted by so many things. Our attention is divided so much, that we are losing the ability to focus on a single task. Our goals are important to us and we get consumed with the details of trying to make those goals a reality. I am not saying that goals are bad. What I am saying is that we need to find balance with our goals, and not kill ourselves trying to reach them.

My hope for you dear reader is that you will learn from my mistakes. I want to encourage you to slow down and reduce your stress levels. Be good to yourself and get regular exercise and eat healthier. Be sure to get plenty of rest as well. Find the time to enjoy life in whatever way that you can. Reach out to those that you love and let them know how important they are to you. If you do these simple things you will experience a fuller more abundant and healthier life.

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Open Source Weight Loss Week 4: Always be training

I read this article and loved it immediately.  As most of you know I have been on a “healthy living” journey for the last two years that includes eating healthier and getting more exercise.  The goal is to ultimately become healthier, lose weight and increase the quality and longevity of my life.  Join me in reading  Open Source Weight Loss Week 4: Always be training

 

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My Happy Place

Today is the last day of my four day weekend.  In some ways I am sad, but in other ways I am looking forward to the familiar routine of going to work.  This morning I got out of bed and headed over to Planet Fitness, to meet my friend Teddy for a 70 min work out.  Teddy does his thing and I do mine.  We do not necessarily work out “together”, but we have healthy living in common, and we have decided to encourage one another to show up.  I am so thankful to have someone that will help me, by motivating me and being an encouragement. 

When we moved to West Ashley, we did not know much about this part of Charleston.  One day I decided I needed some “me time”, and I decided to explore our neighborhood.  That included driving to the end of Wappoo Rd just to see what is there.  That is where I discovered “My Happy Place”.  I discovered that this place was called “My Happy Place”, because of my check in on FourSquare.  For those of you that might not know, FourSquare is a location based GPS app, that you can install on your iPad or iPhone, that allows you to share your travels with others.  As I checked in there, I looked around and understood why someone named it that.

myhappplace2012

It is good to have a peaceful place to go, where you can by by yourself, or with a loved one.  Katy and I often get lunch, and then drive over to this location, and sit by the water and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.  It is good to listen to the water lapping up against the rocks, and to visit with the occasional seagull or blackbird that comes close to the vehicle, looking for a free hand out. I have found that it is important to find a “Happy Place” where you can find peace and solitude and become one with nature.  Life is too full of tasks and goals that consume all of our time.  

Where is your Happy Place?  Where do you go to enjoy “me time”?  Do you go there by yourself or do you share it with a loved one? 

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No excuses for not losing weight

I will no longer fall victim to my own excuses for not losing weight.  In 2012 I have set a goal to lose another 50 lbs.  In the last year and a half, I lost 50 lbs., and then I went on a rollercoaster ride, of gaining some of it back, losing it, to gain some of it back again.  I have decided that in 2012 I am going to continue on the weight loss journey and work on my goal to get under 300 lbs.  I have 50 lbs. to go in order to meet this goal and I feel like if I do the right things that I can accomplish the goal.  My long term goal is 50 lbs.  My short term goal is 1 lb per week.  I want to lose 1 lb. per week and keep it off.  I do not want to continue down the rollercoaster ride that I was on in 2011.  

One of the ways I am going to lose 1 lb. per week is to go to Planet Fitness five days a week.  I am going to shorten my work outs to one hour and focus on aerobic exercise for half of that time and then circuit training for the rest of the time.  In the past I have been going three times per week and spending 90 min to 2 hours and then skipping a day in between work outs.  In 2012 I am going to step it up and do more focused work outs. 

One of the ways I am going to lose weight is by disciplining myself not to eat those things that I know will cause me to put on weight and not lose it.  I am going to do my best to stay away from breads, pasta, rice, potatoes, sugar, chocolate, sweets.  I am going to eat wraps instead of sandwiches on bread.  I am going to try to drink more water during the day and less Diet Dr. Pepper or Coke Zero Cherry.  It took me a year and a half to get away from the sugary soda pop so I have met a goal in that regard.  I also need to eliminate snacking late at night when I am on the Internet or watching the idiot box.  If I need to snack it will be sunflower seeds.  That is something that meets the psychological need to cram something in my mouth and is very low in calories. 

Exercise is work but it is the best thing you can do for yourself.  Love yourself by eating better and getting more exercise in 2012.  We all need encouragement to do better in this area.  I want to encourage you to make a commitment to yourself and to me to stop making excuses.  Start over in 2012 and do what you need to do to be a better, thinner and more healthier you.  You can do it!!

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Saturday at the gym

Good morning sports fans! Are you a fan of healthy living? Do you eat the correct foods and get enough exercise on a regular basis? Do you drink 8 glasses of water per day? Do you get enough sleep each day? Do you live a balanced life that is stress free? Is being stress free possible?

If you are like me, you are able to answer yes to some of those questions, and some of them are reminding you of areas of improvement. I believe that I struggle in some areas because I struggle with self discipline. It is not for the lack of knowledge that I struggle. I know what I must do. The hardest part of doing something is making a commitment and following through with it. Doing it no matter what. Having a “nothing will get between me and my goals so help me Jesus” attitude.

Having a positive mental attitude and believing you can do it goes a long way. Setting reasonable goals that are achievable is important. Understanding our limits and pushing ourselves to excel past those limits will keep us motivated. Losing weight, building stamina and strength are all important things to consider.

My goal today is to lose 26 pounds by the end of this year. I know I can do it because I have been working hard at the list of questions I asked earlier. I am learning how to make adjustments in my life so I can enjoy healthy living. One baby step at a time. One good decision at a time. I must commit to a lifestyle change.

What are your healthy living goals and what obstacles are standing in your way? You may be surprised to find out that all of us share in these obstacles. Together we can push past the obstacles, get back into the battle and find victory as we work towards our goals. You CAN DO IT!!

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A beautiful day

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If you are like me you have had some days that were just horrible.  The kind of day that made you want to crawl into bed into a fetal position and just die.  I am happy to say that the good days like I am having today seems to make those days pale in comparison.  I am having an awesome day today and I thought that I would share some of the sunshine with the rest of you.  No, they did not increase my medications and the only meds I am on is blood pressure medicine so that is not the reason.

I am having such a beautiful day because I am somehow in touch with the many things I have in my life that is such a blessing.  I was just thinking a moment ago about how nice it is to have a job on a resort island.  How many people get to drive to a resort island every single day of the week?  How many people can go for a walk down to the beach during lunch and experience the crashing waves coming on shore?  How many people can step out of their office and see deer, raccoons and hear the waves crashing on shore behind their office?

It is hard to believe that 2010 will be in the history books in 2 more days.   This year has been somewhat difficult for us financially thanks to the downturn of the economy and me being the only one working.  The positive part of the economy and our budget is that we have been forced to redefine what our wants are and our needs and budget accordingly and live with less.  In our society and especially in the western world it can be very difficult to live frugally when you are tempted at every nook and corner to buy this or that new gizmo.  The marketing ads are very successful in driving people to separate from their hard earned cash.

This is a beautiful day not because I have lots of cool stuff from Santa Claus or lots of money.  This is a beautiful day because there is a lot of beautiful sunshine outside and because some of that sunshine has leaked into my heart.  This is a beautiful day because I have an awesome family who loves me and who I try to love back every single day.  It is a beautiful day because of my church family both online and offline and all of my friends as well.   This is a beautiful day because I am alive and my family is relatively healthy and we have a place to live and food to eat and clothes to wear.  I have to remind myself that no matter how bad we may think we have it there are folks right here in our own city who don’t know where their next meal is coming from.  There are folks in our city all around us that are fighting with depression or are in prison or the hospital.

This is a beautiful day because I survived one more year of living and might even get to live another year in 2011.  I will have an opportunity to look back at 2010 and learn from my mistakes and set achievable goals for 2011 and work towards them.  My goals for 2011 are very simple.   I want to continue to go to the gym three to four times per week and get myself into shape and lose weight.   I started my healthy living routine in earnest back in June of 2010 and I have seen some very good results.  I want to use that as a spring board in 2011 to continue seeing results.   There is no better present to oneself or ones family than healthy living.  When I say healthy living I mean good eating habits, regular exercise and balanced living.  I could probably write a book just on that last sentence and maybe in 2011 I will try to break all of that down and blog about it more.

Tonight I will bask in the joy of this being a beautiful day because I will be meeting up with some of my social media peeps in North Charleston as we help the HugTrain get started out of Charleston.  According to the website “The HugTrain is a rail trip organized by Arie Moyal, taking him around the USA spreading holiday cheer and raising funds & awareness about mental health one hug at a time.”

I was not aware of this until Andra Watkins wrote about this on her blog and my wife and I have decided we want to support this cause in our own small way.  I am hoping that each of us can donate whatever we are able to donate and get this HugTrain started across the country with a bang.   I understand that with this economy that most of us can not give much.  The important thing is that we give something if only our support this evening by giving and receiving hugs in North Charleston at  the Madra Rua Irish Pub in North Charleston starting at 7 pm.

  Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 James Moffitt

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Living a dream

Is this a dream or is it a nightmare?  I woke up this morning and the last thing I remember from my dream was looking at a computer screen looking for a picture of a blue mushroom.  At this point that is all I remember about the dream so I guess that is ok.  I seem to have a lot of dreams about cities and lots of water.  I wonder if our living close to the Atlantic ocean has anything to do with that? 

underway

Compared to a lot of folks in this world I am living a dream.  I am married to a wonderful woman who has given me some of the best years of my life.  I am amazed that she has not changed the locks or moved away and not given me her forwarding address.  I am not sure I would have put up with me for all of these 21 years and because of that I am extra thankful for my “Gizmo” who has endured my personality and shortcomings. 

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I have been blessed to have a career in the I.T. industry for the last 21 years and that I can always seem to find a job that pays fairly decent.  We have always had a roof over our heads and food to put on the table.  We have two vehicles to drive and two wonderful teenagers living at home with us.  I could write a book about what it is like to live in the same house with two teenagers.  Seeing as that is out of the scope of this blog post I will say that while they can drive me out of my mind at times over all they are very good children. 

I am thankful for my friends that I have met through social media online and through the local “meetups” and “tweetups”.  I am not a social butterfly and I tend to steer away from events that thrust me into the midst of any size crowd with lots of other humans.  Twitter, FaceBook and local events have enabled me to move away from my security bubble and to expand my horizons. If it were not for some of the people I have met online I would probably be a recluse.  My heart felt thanks goes out to those of you who know who you are but will remain nameless in this blog post.

I am thankful that in the last 5 months I have seen some progress in my being the biggest loser in my family.  I have lost close to 45 lbs and have lost 3 inches in my waist line.  My pants are already getting too big for me even though I just had them taken in 2 inches.  This is very exciting for me because I have spent the last 10 years being so depressed about how bad my self image was and how it was affecting my ability to go out in public and be around other people.

This is November 2010 and Thanksgiving Holidays are just around the corner which means I will possibly celebrate another birthday on the 27th.  That means that I will be 49 years young and the BIG 50 is right around the corner.  I think that means that I am getting to the top of the proverbial hill and that next year I will begin the decent into my second childhood.  I hope and pray that the decent into my second childhood will be delayed for quite a few years to come and that I can experience good mental and physical health while I am doing it.  With all of that said, we all have a lot to be thankful for and I am hopeful that each of us will take the time to step back and reflect on the many blessings that we do have all around us.  

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Post-Workout Muscle Soreness

Post-Workout Muscle Soreness.

  Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 James Moffitt

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