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Getting started on a healthy living journey – Letting go of the junk

Just the week I was driving to work and listening to one of the radio personalities on His Radio. I have been listening to His Radio for quite some time, probably 10 to 12 years. Leslie and Rob are the folks that handle the morning show and I listen to them every morning on my way to work. One of the things I like about their show is that they talk about real life issues. Some of the stuff is funny and silly but some of the stuff is “rubber meets the road” type of stuff.

On this particular occasion Leslie was talking to Rob about her “healthier living” journey. She told him and the listeners about how she has been saving clothes in her closet that are way too small and has been hanging on to them in the hopes that she will eventually be able to wear them again. At some point Leslie realized that hanging on to those clothes became a dark cloud that was hanging over her head. She realized that by hanging on to the clothes that she was placing an unreasonable expectation on herself. By doing that she was constantly beating herself up for not being able to wear the clothes. Leslie decided to keep one or two outfits as a reminder of the goal she has for herself but she got rid of the other clothes. I believe she said that she decided to get some new clothes that will fit her now with the understanding that this is where she is at today.

One of the most powerful things that she said, was that she needed to get to the place where she could accept herself ,and love herself for who she is today. Rob Dempsey is the co host on the morning show on His Radio, and in the last several years his healthy living journey included losing a ton of weight and getting into better physical shape. I believe that Rob understood what Leslie was saying ,right along with a lot of the listening audience that morning.

In my last blog post I listed some “sanity saving” tips for getting started on a “Healthy living” journey. One of the tips was to “Never compare yourself to others. You are on your own unique life journey with your own unique life issues.” One of the things that Rob said in his response to Leslie, was that his focus was not on losing weight. His goal was to live healthier ,and as he went down that “healthier living” road, he also lost a ton of weight. I believe that where we place our focus mentally is key. We have to find a way to love ourselves where we are at today. Once we can do that then we can make plans to better ourselves. If we keep comparing ourselves to other people ,who may be thinner, or in better shape ,then we are going to focus on the wrong thing. If we allow our emotions to be controlled by a number on a scale then we are in for an emotional roller coaster that will result in a poor self image, low self confidence and situational depression.

Yes, we all want to look good and feel good about how we look on the outside. The important thing to remember is that who you are is way more than what is on the outside. Our bodies are a temporary shell that houses our heart, mind and spirit. Our soul, spirit and mind defines who we are. Once we are able to recognize these things, it will become easier to focus on the right things, and then we can get on with the healthier living journey.

Please understand that God loves you no matter what you weigh. God gave you the body you are in, and we are responsible for being a good steward of that body. I truly believe that there is as much of a spiritual aspect to our healthy living journey, as there is mental and physical. Sometimes we need to call upon God for the strength that we need, to move forward in our own unique life journey. One of my favorite Bible scriptures is Phillipians 4:13. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

If there is something that you are hanging on to that is keeping you from your healthy living journey, please let it go. Let it go so you can move forward and make the necessary steps to start your healthy living journey. Find people that you can surround yourself with that can be your cheering squad. People who will love you and accept you for who you are and encourage you to take those next steps.

Just remember, you cannot eat an elephant all at once. You have to eat it one bite at a time. The same goes with your healthy living journey, you have to take it one step at a time. Before you know it you will see some positive results and that will give you the courage to keep on keeping on that journey.


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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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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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Moving on in 2012

I am happy that 2011 is behind us, and the holiday season is over.  Our family is on the mend and we are all feeling much better.  I am back to work, Justin is back to school, and spring semester for college starts up on January 9th for me.  I am not looking forward to school starting up again, but I am getting closer to my goal with regards to getting my associates degree.  I have three more semesters or 27 credits or 9 classes to complete for my degree program. 

There is a lot of talk on TV and social media about New Years resolutions.  It is a known fact that most folks who make New Years resolutions have a very difficult time keeping those resolutions during the new year.  One New Years resolution is to lose those extra pounds that we packed on as we gorged ourselves during the holidays.  Gym memberships go up and folks make an effort to work out.  I am ahead of the curve on this one folks.  I did not gorge myself during the holidays and I was sick and lost weight.  That was one positive thing about being sick.  My short term goal is to lose 1 lb per week and I am hopeful that I can meet or exceed that goal. 

In 2012 I plan on continuing my healthy living goals which are very simple.  I plan on eating meal choices that are healthier for me.  I also want to work on burning more calories than I consume.  That means that I need to continue down the path of going to Planet Fitness on a regular basis.  I would like to see myself going to Planet Fitness every day and getting a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic exercise.  Aerobic exercise is where I will begin to burn fat cells at an increased rate. 

In 2012 I plan on being less critical of myself.  I plan on living one day at a time and do the best I can with what I have.  I am my own worse critic, and boy do I love to judge myself, and remember those stupid mistakes from the past.  There is nothing I can do about the past, other than to learn from those mistakes and move on. 

In 2012 I plan on reducing my consumption of social media.  If I were honest with myself, I would have to say that I am a technology junkie (addict).  Technology to me is like mind candy, and I can not get enough of it.  I love social media, and having the ability to make personal connections with different people, via the many social media apps online.  I have an account with Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Google Plus, LinkedIN and many more.  My goal is to reduce how much time I spend on the different social media portals.  As I have been consumed with social media, I have gotten caught up in mindlessly wandering through multiple social media streams of endless content. 

In 2012 I want to help others, become more aware for their need for personal and family defense preparedness.  I have begun to work on a series of articles that take a no nonsense approach, to what personal and family defense preparation is and is not.  I want to find a balance between preparing for the end of the world as we know it, and the belief that crime happens to other people.  My goal is to help people to be better prepared to keep themselves and their families safe in the world we live in through common sense solutions. 

In 2012 I want to be a better husband to my wife of 21 years and father to my children.  I want to be more thoughtful, compassionate and loving.  I want to be a better Christ follower and someone that gives of myself back to the community.  I want to be a better friend that brings value to the lives of others.  I want to continue to be an encourager to those that need encouragement.   I want to be a man of integrity, courage and compassion. 

Dear readers, what are your goals for 2012?  Do you share some of my goals or are they very different than mine?  How can we help one another to be who we want to be?  I look forward to your comments. 

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Good personal hygiene habits can reduce illness

In the last two months my son has come home sick from West Ashley High School.  I know that he got sick from school, because that is where he spends the majority of his time.  In a classroom full of other students that may or may not be sick.  From what we understand, the rules state that a child is not considered sick, until they are throwing up or running a fever.  If they are not showing those two symptoms then they have to be in a class room.  What if the child is not showing those symptoms?  Does that mean that they are not sick?  What if the child has visible signs of a cold such as a runny nose, constant coughing and an overall not feeling good?  What if the child has a Viral infection or bacterial infection?  How contagious are those?  I spent some time on the WAHS website and I see nothing that outlines what constitutes a sick child or when they are sent home to the parents.

I am no health expert but I have spent enough time in the medial field as an EMT and a ER tech to know the basics.  EVERYONE must practice good personal hygiene to prevent the catching of, and spreading of germs.  Germs/pathogens is what gets us sick.  I understand that our children must receive an education and that the public school systems have to implement rules that are for the good of everyone involved.  I also believe that rules should not be so iron clad that there is no room for common sense.

For instance, our son came down with Mono, and was sick beyond the allocated number of days that he was allowed to miss in one school year.  A doctors excuse was not good enough for school administrators.  We had to write a letter to the principal advising them that the doctors excuse was not fabricated, and that we did in fact see a medical physician that diagnosed him with mono.

Every single time my son comes home with an ugly cold, it circulates through our entire family which causes us all to make the trip to the doctor for shots, antibiotics, steroids and breathing treatments.  Initially, we wait and try all the over the counter drugs, like NyQuil, Dayquil. Sudafed, Benadryl, before we make the trek to HealthFirst in West Ashley.

I remember a time when a common cold would last me 48 hours to 72 hours, and then it would be gone.  In the last couple of years, I believe that the common cold virus has gotten progressively aggressive and uglier.  Maybe the over use, and abuse of antibiotics over the years, has allowed the virus strains to adapt and are more resistant to treatment.  If you are a medical expert or know more about how this is happening please weigh in on the comments section.

The bottom line is this.  We can help each other out, if we will just follow some common sense practices, with regards to personal hygiene.  I will list a couple below as a reminder.

  • cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze ALL THE TIME
  • wash your hands BEFORE you touch something in the kitchen
  • Use HOT water and SOAP when cleaning the dishes and pots and pans
  • wash your hands with SOAP and HOT water AFTER you use the restroom
  • do NOT shake hands or get close to other people if you KNOW you are sick
  • ENCOURAGE other people who ARE sick NOT to touch you or loved ones.  (do it in a loving but firm manner)
  • Do NOT share straws or drinking glasses with someone if they are sick
  • Do NOT put your hands up to your face after touching a door handle or elevator hand rail or elevator button.  If you can touch it IT can have germs that will possibly get you sick
  • keep hand sanitizer with you at work and use it OFTEN.  If you wind up touching office equipment that other people touch, USE the hand sanitizer, or wash your hands on a regular basis.  If others can touch it they can leave a nasty surprise for you.
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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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Healthy living – making better food choices in 2011

In one of my last posts in 2010 “ A Beautiful Day” I made the following statement.   “Healthy living means good eating habits, regular exercise and balanced living”.  In 2011 I would like to dig into these three items and see if I can relate to them in a way that will be helpful to all of us.

How many of us want to be unhealthy?  How many of us struggle with health issues?  I would dare say that most people I know struggle with at least one health issue if not multiple health issues.  Some of those health issues are inherited through the gene pool and some of them happen because of poor life choices.

I have high blood pressure.  I am adopted from an orphanage in Germany so I have no clue what my biological health history is.  Maybe my biological family had high blood pressure and I just inherited it.   Maybe, and this is more likely, I have high blood pressure because I am over weight and out of shape.  In 2009 I made a decision to do something about being over weight and being out of shape.  I believe that through regular exercise, blood pressure medicine and healthy food choices that I can lower my blood pressure.   I have proven that to be true over the last two years.

The first item on the “healthy living” list is “good eating habits”.  When I was a teenager I could eat everything in sight and never gain an ounce.  I will need to dig out a picture of me when I was a teenager, you won’t believe that I was skinny as a rail.  At some point in adult life, I let myself go, my metabolism slowed down, and then I woke up to the image of “Muffin Man”.  That process was a gradual process that happened over a period of years. The only way to learn how to develop good eating habits is to gain knowledge in that area and finding out what the experts have to say about it.

A dear friend of mine paid for me to go see a nutritionist and to take a fitness exam.  This was back in 2008 before I made the decision to be more healthy and lose weight.   I took the fitness test and it was confirmed that I was horribly out of shape, and that if I did not make some radical changes and soon, that my only option was an early death. In other words, with my weight and blood pressure issues, I was a candidate for a heart attack or stroke.

At the time that I took the fitness test I was eating a 1500 calorie diet, and I was not losing an ounce.  The nutritionist gave me a strict list of what I could eat and things I absolutely should not eat.  He also told me that by eating a low calorie diet, that my body was storing fat because it thought I was starving myself.  He told me that for my weight, and life style , that he recommended that I eat a 3500 calorie diet. That consists of lots of vegetables, lean meats , some fruit and lots of water. It also required lots of aerobic exercise to help start burning calories.

Even though I have not followed the strict diet suggestions from the nutritionist, here is a list of things that I know I should stay away from.   Most of these items can be listed under the category of  “processed foods”.

  • cheeseburgers
  • French fries
  • Fried foods of any type
  • mashed potatoes
  • white rice
  • bread (especially white)
  • sugar
  • candy and sweet soda pop drinks
  • sweet tea
  • red meat
  • ice cream
  • pastas
  • cookies and pastry
  • cheese

As you can see this is not an all inclusive list.  Everything on that list however, I love to eat.  In order for me to lose weight I have to make healthier choices and not eat as much of those items as possible.    Here is a list  of substitutes that I am trying to consume instead.

  • lean meat
  • fish
  • whole wheat wraps
  • Splenda instead of sugar
  • un sweet tea
  • Diet Dr Pepper (with moderation)
  • more water every day
  • fat reduced ice cream (on occasion)
  • lots and lots of vegetables (steamed if possible)
  • whole wheat bread ( when I must have a sandwich)
  • fruit for breakfast
  • oatmeal
  • 8  80z glasses of water or more (very important)
  • Crystal light to flavor the water
  • tuna fish

I guess you could say that I have been following a very loose Atkins diet for the most part.  Once a week I have a cheeseburger and fries.  I do my best to eat healthy and I also do not think of this as a diet.   Diets are meant to be broken and once you fall off the diet bandwagon you can put the weight back on.  The whole idea is that there has to be a life style change. The food choices have to be made for the right reasons and it has to be something that you stick with over a long period of time.

My hope is that this article will spur you on to finding out what works for you.  We are all made differently and not everything will work for everyone.  The key is to eat better and more healthy foods.  Do the research and start your healthy choices at the grocery store the next time you go to shop.  If you know you should not eat it, don’t buy it.  If the junk is in the house then you will be tempted to eat it.  Use a menu system and plan out your meals.  You can visit Heather Solos at Home Ec101 for help in that area.

As much as possible make your meals and take them with you to work and stay away from fast food restaurants as much as possible.   If you are forced to go to McDonalds get a chicken wrap or a salad instead of a greasy cheeseburger and fries. Get a diet soft drink instead of a regular soft drink or un sweet tea.

One tool that you can use to help yourself stay accountable is to find an online support web site that can help you track your progress and count calories. I will list a couple that I have found to be helpful.

SparkPeople

Calorie Counter

My Fitness Pal

Weight Watchers

If you can educate yourself as to the right choices to make on what you eat then your body can start to mend itself over time.  I would highly recommend a trip to your family doctor and getting a full physical done so they can do blood work and make sure that changing your diet will not impact your health in a negative way.   Your decision to eat right, get plenty of exercise and live a balanced life has to be a permanent life style change.  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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Mind over matter

Katy and the kids are off to work and school and it is just me and the pets. I have an evil grin as I imagine the things I could do to rid myself of my own personal Farmville.  I love my wife dearly however I do not love all of these pets.  I have a couple of favorites that I would probably spare if I were to ever go off the deep end but the rest of the critters would need to run for the hills or perish.  I guess that explains why most of the cats keep a wary eye on me and never turn their backs on me. They can sense that I am secretly plotting against them.  I love to day dream about what I could or might do to get rid of the excessive pet population in my home and then I am snapped back to reality with regards to divorce court.  I am not sure I want to push my wife’s love to a vote over me or the pets. Something tells me that I would suffer her wrath to the point that it is just not worth the brief moment of pleasure I would get to empty out Farmville. 

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Today is the first day of my three day weekend.  I plan on having a leisurely morning which will include my regular trip to Planet Fitness in a few minutes.  My body is killing itself trying to convince me to use my three day weekend as an excuse to stay planted firmly in my recliner and to enjoy some well deserved laziness.  I am tempted to give in to the belly aching and whining from the flesh this morning but then I remember how much work I have done up to this point to gain the momentum I have gained and the weight and inches I have lost.  That did not happen by listening to the flesh and allowing it to talk me into a lazy bliss.  I will be stifling the moans and groans and I will drag my carcass out to the truck and drive over to the gym.  That always seems to be the hardest part, getting started and convincing myself that the trip to the gym is worth it. 

It is a mystery to me why at this stage in my life I have this huge amount of energy and motivation to do what I am doing.  Over the last 9 years Katy and I have been working through several stages of grief as we absorb the impact of losing one of our children to cancer. Having lived through 14 months of watching our daughter get sick and then sicker and then pass away has caused a huge rip in the fabric of our entire family.  That takes a lot out of you emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  When you take a beating in those three areas the flesh usually has its way with you and you don’t really pay much attention to what is going on.  Nine years later I guess we are managing the grief more efficiently and now we are finding a place where we can refocus our energies in other places and not dwell on the pain as much.   I would like to take all of the credit for going back to school after 20 years and getting gobs of motivation and energy to kick start my wellness program.  I am thinking that my motivation and energy must be a God thing.  I know that I have several people in my life that have been praying for me and my weight issue for quite some time.  These people have watched me and wondered why in the world would I let myself go as badly as I did.  How is it that I could waste so much time with trying to justify the issues and just be satisfied with the way I looked despite the fact that I was on the road to a heart attack or stroke? 

I may not be able to put my finger on exactly what happened within me to kick start my action but I am thankful for it.  Maybe it is a combination of friends praying for me and the Holy Spirit of God prodding me gently and methodically over the years.  No matter what the reasons I am happy to find myself on the track of getting better.  Slowly but surely I am working towards my goal of losing one pound per week and getting in better physical condition.  This is my body that God gave me to live in and it is my duty and responsibility to be a good steward of what he has given me.  My flesh is not who I am.  My flesh or the body that you gaze upon when you see me in real life is only a shell for the person within.  Some would say that when you die that is all she wrote and there is nothing else. You die and that is it, it is over.  I chose to believe that the spirit within me, who I am will live on in the hereafter.  At some point I came to the realization that my not taking care of this body was slowly but surely speeding up the process for me to meet the hereafter.  I realized that as I look around me I do not see any obese old people.  Have you noticed that for yourself?  You do not see severely obese old people because obesity eventually kills you.  I do not want to live through diabetes, high blood pressure or the many physical ailments that comes along as consequences of those issues. 

Mind over matter means that in my mind and spirit I am taking possession and control over my flesh.  I have decided that my flesh will no longer have dominion over my destiny.  I will no longer allow it to rob me of precious years of life.  I realize that no matter how much I work out at the gym that ultimately I will experience that physical death that we all will face one day.  Nevertheless that does not mean that I can not take care of the body that God gave me and enjoy life to the fullest in a body that is in good shape.  I am also thinking that while I am increasing the longevity of my life that I will be able to do things that I otherwise would not be able to do.  I am hoping that at some point that my wife will be encouraged by my progress and that she will adopt the same mindset as mine and start doing some regular exercise as well.  Mind over matter means that when we go to the grocery store that we determine that we will not buy crappy junk food and we will buy fruits and vegetables and lean meats.  We will decide to eat smaller portions and not sit in front of the idiot box and eat comfort foods that make us feel better about ourselves and ultimately eat ourselves into the grave. 

I used to get depressed when I saw advertisements for the TV show the Biggest Loser.  Now I am getting to the point that I am proud of those people for what they are trying to accomplish in their lives.  I realize that they probably get paid nicely for being on the TV show but despite that they have the courage to stand before a huge TV audience and admit that they need to lose so much weight.  I am proud of the fact that despite all of the odds and the difficulty of exerting so much energy that they are doing whatever it takes to lose the pounds.  Yes, working out takes a lot of energy and at the age of 48 it is way harder than it was when I was in my teen years or the 20’s.  In 1.5 years I will be 50 and I know that I know that it will only get harder to do this.  In my mind I want to be the biggest loser in my home and in my neighborhood.  I no longer care what people think of me and how I look because I know that I am doing everything I can to get exercise  and eat right so I can obtain my goals. 

My hope and prayer for you is that I can be vulnerable before you with my actions, feelings ,thoughts and fears so that you might be able to identify with me and realiz
e that you too can do whatever it takes to make permanent life changes that will help you be the biggest loser.  Today is the first day of the rest of your life.  Today is the day that you can and should make steps towards making good life choices and develop new and healthy habits.  You will have to decide what it will take for you to make these changes.  I hope and pray you make those decisions and changes in your life now while you are able to do it.  You can do it!  I have faith in you that you can and will make these changes. 

 

  Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 James Moffitt

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Weight loss and where do you start?

I have been struggling with weight loss for at least 10 years now. I did not wake up one morning and I was fat.  It was a slow gradual process, sort of like putting the frog in a pan of cold water and slowly turning up the heat until one shocking moment arrives and the frog realizes he is dinner. I think that is the way it is for us. Time goes on and we grow older and the weight just creeps up on us.  When I was in my 20’s I could eat whatever I wanted and not worry about it.  When I was in grade school and high school I was very active.  I played basketball for 5 years in school, ran 10 miles a day and lifted weights.  I was very athletic and in shape.  As I entered into adult life my priorities changed and I found myself having to focus on working and paying bills and surviving in the real world.  At some point exercise and wellness became a thing of the past and it did not occur to me that in order to stay well exercise and eating healthy needed to be a life long life skill.  

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A picture of me in 2008

In September or October of last year a friend of mine at work turned me on to Take Shape for Life.  This is a wellness program that helps you to make a radical change in your eating habits.  I do not believe that regular exercise is an integral part of the program but I am sure that they encourage it if you are physically able to. Take Shape for Life to me was like taking a smoker and one day removing all cigarettes from them and telling them you will never smoke again.  I walked around angry for about 2 weeks because I had committed to removing the foods I loved to eat from my diet.  I hate the word diet so we can substitute eating habits if you like.  No matter how hard I tried I just could not convince myself that the food substitutes that they provide for you tastes like real food.  There were a couple of snack items that they provided that were not that bad but all in all my success with the program failed hopelessly.

I did learn some things from Take Shape for Life however.  Here are a couple of things that I learned.

A. I have to want to lose weight for me and no one else.

B. I should want to lose weight because I want to have a normal healthy life

C. I should want to lose weight because I want to feel better and look better

D. I should want to lose weight because I want to live longer

E. I should want to lose weight because I do not want to live through the consequences of obesity

 

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Picture of me in Sept of 2010

The hardest thing for me was to come to the reality of not doing something about the weight problem. I came to the realization that if I wanted to lose weight that I had to want it bad enough.  No one else is going to be more motivated than me to lose weight.   In other words I could not depend on someone else’s motivation to make the decision to do it. I had (still have) a monkey on my back and the only person that is going to get rid of it is me. I can lean on friends and family for encouragement and help but ultimately it is going to me that has to do the work.  

Take Shape for Life was not the program for me however it did help me to shock the system for two weeks and during that time I noticed a couple of things.  I did lose about 25 pounds and I felt so much better.  I did not lose 25 lbs in two weeks but that came off over a period of about 6 weeks.  I transitioned myself off of Take Shape for Life to a modified Adkins eating plan where I cut out as many carbs as I could. Here are some things that I stopped eating on a regular basis and sometimes not at all.

A. potatoes

B. pastas

C. white bread

D. sugary soda pops

E. sweet tea

F. regular ice cream

G. white rice

H. sweets such as candy, cakes, pies etc.

That is a very basic list of things that I cut out of my diet and with some regular walking I started to see some more weight fall off of me.  Between November of last year and about January or March of 2010 I started having major problems with my left knee to the point that I needed a walker to just get around.  That meant that I was unable to walk in our neighborhood and that was depressing to me because I knew that I needed to walk. 

One day I got sick and tired of being depressed about my weight problem and decided to switch doctors and go to a doctor that one of my co workers referred me to.  I had a full physical expecting some of the results to come back with bad results.  The doctor and I were amazed at the fact that there was nothing wrong with any of the blood tests.  Everything was in perfect order when it comes to blood sugar and cholesterol.  The doctor told me that I would be around a long time and he also agreed with me that I need to lose some weight. I realized and was reinforced with the fact that if I continued to let the weight stay where it was that I was a candidate for a stroke or heart attack.  One of the side affects of obesity is high blood pressure and I have been on meds for that for several years now.

We moved to West Ashley in June of 2010 and I am now about 7 minutes from Citadel Mall. My son and I went to the mall one day doing some exploring and I found Planet Fitness. The sign on the outside of Planet Fitness said membership is 10.00 per month with no contract.  I looked at Justin and told him that I had no excuse not to join with the cost being as low as it is and my being so close to the mall. I have been going to Planet Fitness now since the end of June. I go three to four times per week and when I go I do not play games.  I get on the elliptical trainer and I run for 30 to 40 minutes at a very brisk pace.  I get my heart rate up to 145 to 155 bpm which is in the 80 to 90% fitness range for my age.  I am 48 years old and I weigh 328 lbs as of today.  I am of the opinion that if I can do this anyone can.  Most folks I know are no where near as obese as I am so that means to me that it will be e
asier for them to do this physically than it is for me. 

When folks look at me they figure me at about 270 lbs but I am very big boned and I carry the weight well. When I started this journey last year I was close to 366 pounds. I was at a size 58 pants and I had resorted to wearing shirts that I could wear on the outside of my pants so I could mask the weight issue. I felt bad, my knee and feet hurt me to the point that I needed a walker to get around. My self image was in the basement and I was not really happy with myself.  Put all of that together and all I was able to do was to go back and forth to work and church and that was about it.  I was too self conscious about how I looked to bother going out into public because I was just too embarrassed about how I looked. 

In the last month I have taken 5 pairs of pants to the cleaners and had them taken in 2.5 inches.  The pants are at size 54 and they are starting to get loose on me already.  I am looking forward to having them taken in some more between now and January 1st 2011. I have said this before and I will say it again.  Losing weight is a lot of hard work. My weight loss was jump started by regular aerobic exercise.  I realize that not everyone is as obese as I am and therefore maybe they do not need to be as extreme with their work out habits. We are all on our own unique individual journeys and that will require an honest assessment of where we are and to set some goals.  My goal is to lose 110 lbs between June of 2010 and June of 2011.  That means I have a lot of work to do and I have to change my eating habits in a radical way.  I have a good head start and I have seen some improvement which makes me happy and it is motivating me to keep on keeping on with what I am doing and to improve upon it. 

Most, if not all of the battle to lose weight is in your mind and heart. Your flesh is not going to want to get on an elliptical trainer or do circuit training with weights. Trust me when I tell you this, if you listen to your body its natural tendencies will be to whine and moan and complain that it wants to stay at home in bed or in the recliner or couch with a bag of potato chips or a bowl of ice cream and do nothing.  You have to decide that you are sick of being the way you are and be determined to make some life changes.  We all get to that point differently and we all need different types of motivation and encouragement.  The important thing for you to understand is that you can do it.  You have the ability within yourself to do whatever it takes.  One of the first steps to making these life changes is to educate yourself on what changes that need to be made.  If you are struggling within yourself on making those changes then you may need to ask God to help you. Every single day when I am on the elliptical trainer I quote Philippians 4:13 that says “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”.

I have faith that God in me can give me the strength to keep going and to do the exercise even though my body is screaming that it wants to stop and go find that bowl of ice cream.  I will tell you that the longer that you do regular exercise the easier it does get.  I have found that my body is slowly but surely responding to the exercise and now I am looking forward to going to the gym and starting my day off with a good work out. You will be very happy in how much better you feel and how much energy you will get because of it. 

In my next “Wellness” blog posts I am going to try and focus on specifics. You know my story now and I am hopeful that it will help you to jump start what you need to do to get motivated. I would encourage you to respond via the comment section of my blog and let me know how you feel or where you are at in your wellness program or let me know you need encouragement to just get started.  My desire is to share my journey with as many people as possible so that others like me can find success now and in the future.  This journey is not a part time effort or only for a season, it is for life.  We can do this if we take it one day at a time, one prayer at a time, one decision at a time. 

  Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 James Moffitt

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