Archive for the Words of Wisdom Category

Adjusting Goals to Deal With Life

Posted in General Information, Words of Wisdom on April 15, 2010 by uziel5000

In case you didn’t know, having a baby changes your life.

Having two however, pretty much flips everything upside down. Add to that these tough economic times and you start to wonder whether you  having children in the first place was a good idea. (The answer, at least for me, is yes)  I knew that adjustments had to be made. I just didn’t know how big those changes where going to be.

Finances

Our daughters are small. The oldest is two years old. Our newest bundle of joy is barely two months old. So that means milk AND formula, two different sizes of diapers, clothes, seats, strollers… you know how it goes. This has put serious stress on our finances, which is normal and expected. It’s my fitness goals and how I want to achieve them that have taken an unexpected hit. Here is how I am dealing with them.

Apart from the extra stuff we have to buy day in and day out, the one thing that really has affected our bottom line is day care. Our daughter has been with her mother since she was born. She has a part-time job working for my father putting all the paperwork and finances of his business in order and up to date. Since his “office” is a room in his house, my wife simply goes from our house to my parents house, does what she has to do for four hours and comes back. My daughter simply tagged along and played in the yard while mom worked. Now it’s complicated. She simply cannot watch over two kids and work at the same time so day care it is! Expensive is what it is.

On the fitness front, it meant giving up some things. After working out at home for quite a while, I was toying with the idea of joining a gym. More and better equipment and more people to motivate you were the main reasons I had in mind. Well, it’s not gonna happen for the time being. What really bothers me though, is having to give up Tae Kwon Do. I simply cannot afford it at this time. Earning a Black Belt is one of my goals but I guess I’m just going to have to postpone it for a bit. Not all of  it is doom and gloom though. Life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

After tackling two different types of workout videos at home (which have worked very well for me) I am “upgrading” to P90X. If you havent seen the infomercial, this is a pretty intense program and I’m expecting it to be pretty much the most challenging thing I have done so far. So I’m pretty excited. No martial arts? No gym? No problem and most certainly no quitting. I will talk about how I do with this new challenge very soon.

We, stumble. We struggle. We get back up again. (and again…)

Posted in Advice, General Information, Words of Wisdom on March 30, 2010 by uziel5000

Have I told you that changing your life is hard? Well, it is.

2009 had some really interesting ups and downs. After 6 months of losing weight, eating right and exercising regularly, came 6 months that quite frankly were a little weird at best, frustrating at worst. For a moment there, life seemed to be conspiring against me and my efforts to lose weight. I injured my back, had therapy, then rehab (my back still bothers me from time to time but to solve the problem I have to lose weight), all the while doing my best to keep my nutrition strict since I could not exercise. Then, my wife got pregnant.

I never thought such good news would get me into so much trouble.

You see, the first three months were fine and pretty normal. This is our second child so we knew what was coming. What I forgot was that the last time she was pregnant I wasn’t trying to lose weight. Here is where the problem starts. My wife is a picky eater by nature but when she got pregnant it got downright annoying. She simply can’t stand my food. As in my cooking. Doesn’t matter what I put in front of her, if I made it, it made her nauseous. She doesn’t cook so I’m left with asking her “Well what do you want?” A question always seemed to be answered with some type of take-out food.

You probably know how this is going to end. You figure: why cook only for me if I have to go out anyway? So you go and buy for both and you try to get something “healthy” for you but after a while that picture of the cheeseburger in the drive-through window starts calling your name…

Quite simply, there is no way to maintain a healthy nutritional program and eat take out food every day. Several months of this and I was almost completely back to my old habits. thankfully, two things happened stopped my downward spiral. First, the months I spent changing my habits really saved me from going totally into the dark side. Even when I was eating complete junk, I noticed I was practicing portion control and trying to make the best choices under the circumstances. I barely drank any soda when a year ago I would drink two and even three of those. Secondly, in February of this year my wife gave birth to another baby girl. The end result? I gained a few pounds but through it all I was able to maintain my weight somewhat. I survived.

So now I’m back to cooking which means I’m back to eating right and having 6 small meals a day. Changes in my lifestyle (two small kids!) means I have to modify my goals a little bit but I’m back exercising hard, eating right and working on a supplement program to help me out. I’m a happy man.

Next time I will talk about those goal changes (some forced, some renewed) and the adjustments I’ve had to make with the new addition to our family.

Things That Set You Back: Dealing With Injuries

Posted in General Information, Words of Wisdom with tags , , , , on June 19, 2009 by uziel5000

On a weight-loss journey, many things cross your path that throw you off course. Many of those things you have control of. Some things you don’t. One those things happened to cross my particular path.

About three weeks ago, I started to feel a sharp pain on my lower back. At first I thought it was a result of increasing the intensity of my workouts but after a while, I noticed it wasn’t going away. It started as what seemed to me, a pinched nerve. (I don’t know if it really was a pinched nerve but that’s how it “felt” to me) The pain would start at my lower back and go down my left buttocks. Al little research on the subject popped up that those were symptoms of psyatic nerve pain so I went to the doctor who told me to get some X-Rays taken. During the time between that visit and the follow up visit after the X-Rays, the pain evolved to what felt to me like a muscular spasm. It began very strongly and went away over some days. After seeing the X-Rays, the doctor told me I had mild osteoarthritis, a very common condition and that it was normal. He basically told me I was getting old. (I’m 32 so come on! I’m not THAT old) Suffice it to say, I did not take that well at all.

First, it didn’t feel like arthritis to me. Granted, I don’t know what arthritis feels like but osteoarthritis is the erosion of cartilege in your joints which should should(I think) give you the sensation of pain in and around your affected bones. In my case the lower back. It doesn’t feel like that at all. Second, what’s with this getting old crap??!! Third, He didn’t give me any solution to the problem. I realize that arthritis doesn’t really have cure and it’s degenerative but what about exercise? Can  I still do it? What kind of execise can I do then? How can ease the pain in the long term? I don’t want live off pain medication to continue exercising. The doctor’s answer was: “It’s gonna come and go, so exercise when you can. If you feel pain, stop.” Yeah. That made me feel better.

Truth be told, the Dr. is not a specialist so I shouldn’t expect him to be an expert on this but the problem is, he really bummed me out. A couple of days after seeing him, the pain was gone like he said it would so the very next morning I woke up and exercised. Three hours later, my back had tighten up to the point were sitting down was extremely painful. That was over a week ago. I’m still in pain to this day. THis was extremely depressing. After losing all this weight, I wasn’t going to be able to finish? That feeling better than I had in years would mean I couldn’t be active now that I was beggining to be able to do so many things? I still have more than half the weight to lose. Without exercise it would very hard to continue. And what about my black belt? The one goal I wanted to reach so badly. Could I still do Martial Arts? I needed a second opinion.

I set up an appointment with Sports Medicine specialist. The one doctor I never thought I have to visit. After all, my main concerns about this were about exercising so who better to answer my questions. I showed him my X-Rays and told him the whole story. Right off the bat, he told my problem was not the arthritis. It was too mild a case to immobilize a person so severely. The problem turned out to be the bottom-most disc in my back. the space between that disc and the next one is too close. It’s called compression. Not a good thing apprently. It seems the compression of the discs is causing instability in my lower back which the body tries to stabilize by using the muscles in the surrounding area and creates a spasm. THAT is what’s causing the pain and the stiffness. Problem identified. But it gets better. The condition is completely treatable.

The doctor told me I needed to solve this in two stages: First treat and get rid of the spasm with medication and therapy. He gave anti-inflamatory medication and a muscle relaxant to take before I go to sleep. After I finish writing this I will go to my first therapy session. Second stage is strengthening the lower back to avoid future spasms with more therapy. The great thing about all this is that even though I have to take it easy for a while, I will probably be able to continue doing Turbo Jam and Martial Arts without any major problems. For the first time in several weeks, I’m feeling much better and at ease.

They say all things happen for a reason and this is no exception. Although I got a bit depressed and was pretty worried for a ttime there, I learned a few very positive things about where I’m at as a person trying to change his lifestyle. First, I found out just how important exercise has become to me. The prospect of having to stop really got me down which means it has developed into a habit. A good one for a change. Second, that first visit to the doctor, despite being so depressing wasn’t all bad. He told me to get some blood work done and the results were great. Everything normal across the board. My cholesterol is 120. Very low for someone my size and weight. I don’t know what it was before I started to lose weight but that is certainly very good news.

Things I have learned

Posted in Words of Wisdom with tags , , , , , on April 26, 2009 by uziel5000

In choosing the path I was going to take to change my lifestyle, I did a lot of research and self-analysis to make sure I did everything in my power to avoid failure. I thought about how other attempts that failed and why. I thought about everything I have learned about nutrition and learned some new things along the way. Also, science has revised a lot of things we thought we knew about weight-loss through the years. These are some of the things I have picked up and learned so far.

ALL DIETS (EVEN THE CRAZY ONES) WORK

That’s right. Even the “Pound of Bacon a Day” Diet and whatever else you have heard of. You see, the thing about all diets and fads are based on the same principle: Someone- either by themselves or through some study- tried all these diets and actually lost weight. If that didn’t happen, then they wouldn’t be trying to sell it to you. So, in principle at least, they all work: If you follow the diet as explained, you will lose weight. Period. But if that is true then why do we fail so miserably EVERY TIME WE TRY ONE? The problem, it turns out, is not how diets works. The problem is that they are diets. You see, the definition we have given the word diet implies a finite, temporary thing. You eat a certain way for a period of time and lose x amount of pounds. Then it’s over. You are done. Back to the way you used to eat, or worse. Because you lost some weight, you actually feel you can eat more. The result of course, is you gain the weight back and then some. The worse part is that you end up with even more horrible eating habits than you had when you began the diet.

People who over-eat (and people who are obese and morbidly obese always are) simply cannot approach weight-loss by going on a diet. Not in the traditional sense. If you use the actual definition of the word diet, which simply means “the way eat”, then to lose weight and keep it off we don’t need to go on a diet. We need to change our diet. Forever. That means building an eating plan that allows you to lose weight but at the same time, you will not need to change too much once you achieve your goal weight. In other words, we need to change our lives by eating healthier forever. Of course, the benefits of getting in this state of mind are many. You will not only lose weight, but it will help you keep a more positive attitude and since it is a permanent change, your body will thank you for the rest of your life. I can’t stress this enough. If you are thinking of losing weight and not thinking sbout making permanent changes, it is actually better not to go on a diet at all. In the end you will end up in a worse situation than the one you began with.

THERE IS NO MIRACLE CURE

If it’s true that all diets works, it’s even more true that everything that promises a quick, easy or miraculous way to lose weight doesn’t work. There is an old saying that a person never learns by other people’s mistakes but if you listen to me now, you will save so much time and hassle. If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. There is only one way your body loses weight: You use more calories than you consume. A calorie “deficit” if you will. To achieve this deficit you have to eat less calories and burn some calories by exercising. Anyone trying to sell you any other way than that is lying to you. Period.

SOME SORT OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IS REQUIRED

Okay, in the strictest sense of the word, you could change your diet and lose weight without exercising. But I warn you: it will be SO MUCH HARDER to do so. All extremes are dangerous. If you do not exercise, you will have to eat so little calories to achieve weight loss you will probably be hungry and miserable all day. This leads to cheating and eventually quitting. Not good. Also, the oppsite is true. If you think you can lose weight simply by exercising, you better get ready to say good bye to your social, work and private life. To burn the calories needed to lose weight on the average diet of an obese person, you will probably have to exercise all day. Plus, an obese person simply doesn’t have the physical condition to do that anyway. Again save yourself the trouble. A combination of diet and exercise is the sure-fire ticket to achieve your goals.

I have many more little “nuggets of wisdom”. I will share them with you as we go along. Next time, I will tell you exactly how I’m applying what I have learned to lose weight.