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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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