Who Is This Guy? - The Blog

Welcome to our blog about food addiction, obesity, gastric bypass surgery and of course, Who Is This Guy? ... the book

Thank You For Your Support

 

For those of you who have read my book, “Who Is This Guy”, and took the time to write a review for Amazon, my heartfelt thanks for your support.  Every review that was posted on Amazon included positive comments and encouragement for continued success in my journey.  You can’t imagine how important positive feedback is from time to time, especially when the journey is really a life-long endeavor.

 

 

As I said in my previous blog, I have managed to maintain my weight at 190 pounds despite having to curtail my exercise program to probably half of what it once was.  I think about the “whys” of being able to stay on track, when once that was such a struggle.  Is the weather a factor?  After all, who can think about overeating when it’s so hot and humid outside.  But, of course, that never stopped me in the old days. 

 

 

I tell myself that I deserve some of the credit for maintaining my weight simply because I have been diligent in staying with my plan.  I continue to keep track of what I eat and how I exercise.  I continue to get help with the underlying issues, which is just as important as eating a healthy diet.  And I am also focused on how much better I feel when I am living a healthy lifestyle.

 

Let’s see where this goes?  I do know that I am determined to stay focused and positive.

 

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Keeping it Together

 

Coming up on the one year mark of my last knee surgery, August 26th, to be exact, and I am still maintaining my weight at 190 pounds.

 

If someone were to ask me how I am accomplishing this monumental task, I would throw up my hands and say, “I have no idea”.

 

I am going through a stressful time right now, probably one of the most stressful periods of my life.  I would call it a sustained stress, meaning not event specific, but a stress that is a daily part of your life until such time as you can make changes and work it out.  I am thankful for the  emotional support I get at home, however, I am the person ultimately responsible for getting things back on track with my business.  Historically, I turn to food for comfort.  I also use the gym as a stress reliever.  I am working out most days, however, I am not able to work out at the level of intensity that I am used to because I am still dealing with knee pain.  Also, as I mentioned in my last blog, I am being cautioned not to use my right knee because of complications from the surgery.  Talk about stress, I may be looking at a third surgery on my knee.  The reality of it is that I may never be able to exercise again the way I used to if they are not able to get my knee functioning as it should.

 

Because of the possibility of being on a limited exercise program, possibly for the rest of my life, you can imagine how important it is, now more than ever, to be diligent about my eating habits.  I still keep a daily record of what I eat and the amount of calories I consume each day.  And that continues to be a big part of my road to success.    

 

I am not completely sure why I am continuing to do well in maintaining my weight through all the stress I’m currently going through, but my strategy and my focus remain the same. . . just take it one day at a time, eating clean, exercising and thinking positively.

 

I would appreciate your feedback and your suggestions about how you have dealt with the issue of healthy eating when you are stressed.    

 

 

 

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Dodging A Bullet

 

It’s been a while since my last blog.  The long, slow comeback from a second knee replacement surgery on my right knee has taken a lot longer to heal than anticipated.  In fact, it’s been nearly ten months.  I mention this fact because those who have followed my previous blogs, know that I tend to focus on exercising in order to keep my weight in check and also as a substitute for my unhealthy eating habits when I am not focused on eating “clean”.  Well, the level of exercising that I normally pursue has not been possible for the past 10 months because of complications in my recovery and I have to say, I’ve been very concerned about gaining back the weight I’ve lost without the benefit of my usual exercise routine. 

I’m not quite sure yet how I’ve managed to avoid this dilemma of being somewhat sedentary and, so far, not gaining weight, but I currently weigh 190 lbs. without the benefit of exercising at the level I’m used to.  I still go to the gym, but not as often.  I am not able to do cardio at all so my workouts are less intense.   I am struggling with staying focused on eating right and I’m worried that eventually the lack of exercise and the struggle to eat “clean” might catch up with me.  I think that being aware of the possibility of heading down that road is half the battle because a big part in the success of the program is self awareness and a dedication to honesty.

I’ll keep you posted as my struggle continues and I’ll let you know how I’m managing my issues.   Meanwhile, if you’ve experienced this type of problem, let me know how you’ve dealt with it . . . I’m always open to suggestions.

 

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The Book is Published

 

Well, my book was finally published this month and I know some of you have already read it.  It means a great deal to me to read your positive comments and remarks showing your support.  More importantly, so many people wrote to say that they shared those same feelings that I described in the book as I fought the battle to gain control and that they could totally relate to what I was going through.  It is my hope that they will take that message and pursue their own journey to better health.

 

The past few weeks have been exciting.  Some of you may have seen my interview on Face Book with People.com.  I’ve also just finished an interview with The LA Health Examiner which is a radio station in Los Angeles and have a couple more interviews coming up soon.  I have gotten so many compliments, not only on the book, but on my appearance at my current weight of 185 lbs.  And at the same time, so many people are reaching out to me asking for help or just wanting to compare stories.  I truly feel for all of these people because I do, indeed, know what they are going through.  

 

One of the reasons why the book took almost five years to finish is because I was reluctant to acknowledge what Dr. Forse kept calling my underlying issues.  He would, very tactfully, approach me from time to time suggesting that the book, in fact, could not be successfully completed without that final piece of the puzzle.  I thought I was just a unique kind of a guy who was wired differently than everyone else.  When I finally admitted, even to myself, that okay, maybe I did have a few issues to deal with, I decided to get help.  Only then could I begin to understand why it was so important to face the issues head on.  I could finally see, for the first time, that without facing those issues, I would continue to go on diet after diet without success and at the same time increase the possibility of going back to square one with my weight, which I never, ever want to do again.  I am very thankful that I had such a caring doctor who worked with me to get me to see how important the underlying issues really are.

 

I hope you will read the book and let me know what you think about it.  It is available on Amazon.com or Barnes&Noble.com.  Your comments are important to me.    

 

 

 

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Understanding the Medical, Social and Psychological Impacts to Obesity

 

The medical impact on your body when you are obese is extraordinary.  You are at extremely high risk for serious illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and certain types of cancer to name a few.  At best, your quality of life will suffer because of these diseases, at worst, they can cause death.

 

Social impacts to obesity are just as devastating.  I speak from personal experience when I tell you that it is most certainly humiliating to go to a movie theater and not be able to sit in the seat to watch the show.  I still remember having to stand in the back of the theater because I couldn’t fit into the seat.  Another experience that caused me emotional pain was going to a restaurant and having to ask for a chair without arms and pray that it was strong enough to hold me.  Airplane travel was also a nightmare.  I always felt embarrassed by infringing on the space of the passenger sitting next to me.  The feelings that you are forced to deal with play havoc with your self-esteem and your self-worth.  It creates anxiety which ultimately leads to depression.

 

The emotional or psychological impact to obesity is very much linked to the social impact.  When you are constantly fighting depression and anxiety, you have no desire to go anywhere and you have no energy to do anything.  In my new book, “Who Is This Guy?” I address all these issues and share the events that brought me to Dr. Forse for help, which ultimately led to my success.  I found out the hard way, you can’t do it alone and you can’t even begin to hope for success unless you deal with the big picture.  In my next blog, I’ll share some information from my book that might be helpful.  If you are interested in reading it, it is available on Amazon.com. 

 

I hope you’ll share your experiences with me and let me know how you deal with them.  Maybe I can help point you in the right direction.        

 

 

 

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Trying to Understand Obesity Disease

 

Trying to Understand Obesity

 

Obesity is now a worldwide health epidemic.  It is estimated that over one third of the population of the United States is obese.  Globally, more deaths are linked to obesity than are linked to malnutrition and starvation.  According to the World Health Organization, over 1.4 billion adults are overweight with over 200 million men and 300 million women classified as obese.  In my opinion, there are many reasons for this drastic rise in obesity, and I’ll share some of them with you now.

 

The lifestyle that most overweight people lead today is extremely sedentary.  We live in a world where so much can be done without leaving the comfort of our living room chair.  We can watch television, play video games, or use our laptop computer, smart phone or tablet.  With access to millions of websites, we can shop for clothes, gifts, groceries or renew our prescriptions.  Even a college degree is possible without leaving our chair or getting out of our pajamas.  We can also turn off our lights and lock our doors with the touch of a button.

 

You don’t have to look too far to find yet another reason for the rise in obesity.  The “fast food” establishments found on almost every corner are such a convenience in the busy lifestyles we lead.  They are a quick and inexpensive meal on the run, for sure, but at what price to our health?  Clearly, a trip to the supermarket for a supply of healthy foods will cost you more than the unhealthy variety, and that’s unfortunate.  Nevertheless, you can still have a healthy diet by making sure your trip to the supermarket is well-planned and cost efficient.  The choice is yours, and speaking from experience, I can tell you that the wrong choices have dire consequences.  Fast food and poor food choices played a significant part in my obesity.

 

In my next blog I will address the medical and psychological issues associated with obesity.  In the meantime, let me know what your struggles are and how you address them.      

 

 

 

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Getting back on track....It can be done.

If you're like me the holidays are a continuous battle. From Thanksgiving to New Years Day we are being tempted with unhealthy foods.  Candy, pie, cake, cookies, bread, gravy, potatoes, stuffing....I could go on and on. These are foods I normally wouldn't touch because I know that they will trigger my cravings.  Cravings are caused by the simple carbohydrates found in those foods. Simple carbohydrates are the quickest source of energy, but are very rapidly digested and won't satisfy your appetite for very long.

My solution to the holiday binge is to begin eating totally "clean" once the holidays are over. I increase my good fats and up my protein intake. I continue my normal exercise routine, drink plenty of water to be sure I am staying hydrated throughout the day, and cut out all simple carbs. Whereas simple carbs are bad for you because they induce cravings, complex carbs are very important to a balanced diet.  Complex carbohydrates are rich in fiber, thus satisfying and healthy. Complex carbs are usually found in whole plant foods that are high in vitamins and minerals. I eat plenty of vegetables, including sweet potatoes, and eliminate all simple carbs from my diet.  Within three or four days of eating "clean", the cravings are gone.  If I do slip and eat those "craving-producing foods, here's a tip that works for me and you might want to try; I distract myself until they are gone by keeping busy.  I clean my garage, go to the gym, take a walk or fold some laundry, and by the time I am done I no longer have that craving.  You need to be sure and do something that will keep your mind active. Sitting on the sofa and watching television or reading a book doesn't work for me.  Another way to curb cravings is to have a healthy snack like carrots, celery, cucumbers or other raw veggies. These will fill you up so you don't feel hungry anymore which, in turn, will lessen the odds of going for the "junk" foods.

So as difficult as the holiday season is, I have learned how to get through it the best I can and then make sure I start eating properly to get back on track once the holidays are over. That is what works for me.   The holidays are difficult to deal with, but if you stay positive and get back to the program in the new year, you'll be right back on track.  Don't give up.  It CAN be done!  I'd be interested in knowing how you handle the temptations of eating around the holidays and how you get back on track.  Please share your experiences.

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Update on The Book

We have almost finished writing the book that I have mentioned in previous blogs and the book proposal will be out to prospective agents soon.

To give you a brief overview, the book is about my life story in the first person.  A story of a nearly five hundred pound man with poor eating habits from childhood and a roller coaster ride, at times, of uncontrollable eating through adulthood.  It includes successes and failures at trying to manage my life and you will see how this out of control behavior extended to and affected other areas of my life.

The book consists of alternating chapters with my co-author, gastric bypass surgeon, Dr. R. Armour Force, a renowned specialist in bariatric surgery with over thirty years experience.  Dr. Forse’s chapters provide the medical point of view as it relates to the challenges of a person with overeating disorders.

The book is about more than just obesity.  Obesity is often a symptom of problems much deeper.  The fact is that all people with overeating disorders have underlying issues.  It is also a book about commitment.  The book points out that a total commitment to changing your life by changing your eating habits, including exercise as part of your day and addressing your underlying issues provides long term success.

Stay tuned for more information on the publishing date which we hope will be by mid to late summer.

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I am Back

I know it’s been a while since my last blog.  I have been busy at work and at the same time struggling with my eating habits and the weight gain that followed after the holidays.  I did okay until the beginning of November and then I struggled mightily until about three weeks ago.

It has been a constant struggle and I have put on weight, but the good news is that I seem to be back on track now and slowly taking off the extra weight I’ve gained.  No excuses, but I have not been able to exercise as often and as intensely due to back problems and a problem with my wrist, knee and shoulder.   I know that is part of the reason for the weight gain.  I was not burning off the calories.  Also, I was not eating clean and consequently, the weight was slowly creeping up.

For now, I am once again back on the program and I have a good feeling that I will keep going in the right direction.  Three perfect weeks behind me and I’m still in the zone.  I have started researching and experimenting with foods that could help to reduce inflammation in the joints which may help me with some of the discomfort I am having in my shoulder, back and knee.

I’ll share the information I find on what foods are working to reduce inflammation in my next blog.  Meantime, I’m happy with my progress and my continued focus. I feel so much better physically and mentally.

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Underlying Issues

Dr. Forse, who is the surgeon who performed my gastric by-pass surgery in January 2011, insists that all gastric by-pass patient's need to become aware of and address their underlying issues. Dr Forse goes on to say that there are always underlying issues for bariatric surgery candidates, that is to say anyone with a BMI index ( body mass index) that's over 40 and who's tried diligently to lose weight and has ultimately failed, there is always something underneath- something psychological- that needs to be dealt with. Without getting to the root of and dealing with those issues, even bariatric surgery will not always be successful.

I am in total agreement with Dr Forse that long term success for a bariatric patient essentially requires three primary disciplines.  First, a restriction of calories along with an understanding of what and when to eat. Second, lifestyle changes such as exercise and physical activity and third, the patient needs to identify and and understand how to deal with their underlying issues. This is why diets alone don't work.  Diets are doomed to fail for a patient who ignores the psychological component of why they overeat.

Personally, I am ashamed to admit that it is only now that Dr Forse's words are sinking in to my thick skull.  He has been telling me this for quite some time, but it is only recently that I "got it" and went to see a psychologist.  I made the appointment, in part to search for a clinical diagnosis for the book that Dr Forse and I intend to write.  I thought it was time to verify my self-diagnosis of obsessive compulsive personality disorder whih, I believed showed up as an inability to moderate much of my behavior, especially eating.  I thought I was just wired differently that others and needed to learn to live with that.  I am grateful to Dr Forse for being so patient with me and moving me in the right direction toward identifying my underlying issues. I was amazed at how wrong I was in my self diagnosis.

 

More to come on this subject in my next blog as we learn about the traits that drive me to distraction and consume more of my energy than the should.  For now it is safe to say that I am encouraged by the information that I am gathering.  Sixty two years old and I am still learning who I am and what makes me tick.  Fascinating.

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You can't outwork or out run a bad eating program

If you are a reader of this blog, you or someone you know is probably obese or at the very least, overweight.  No doubt you have read the numerous articles that are being published now about the risks of excess weight as it relates to cancer, diabetes, heart disease and a host of other medical issues and you are considering life style changes to improve your quality of life.

I know people who think that its just a numbers game and if they simply cut calories, they will lose weight.  I know others who make no diet changes at all but start an exercise program and expect that to be the answer.  And while they may see some short term gains from those actions, they more often than not fall back into their old ways and reverse any gains they may have made.

No matter how hard you work in the gym or how many miles you walk or jog, if you don't eat right you won't lose weight or get rid of that soft, puffy look. A sensible diet and exercise go hand in hand.  They fuel each other.  That's not to say that if you don't eat right you are wasting your time exercising.  Exercise has many benefits to your health. What I am saying is that if you are hoping to loose weight and improve your health, exercise alone or diet alone is not the long term answer.

What works best for me is a structured, disciplined exercise program combined with a proper diet that provides enough calories for me to maintain my energy. It is important that the eating program you choose allows enough protein so that your body burns fat and not muscle and that you consume enough of the right type of carbohydrates to maintain energy but not trigger cravings.  The amount and quality of fats you consume is also very important.  You should consult your doctor or a nutritionist before you start your program because we are all different and the program you should use will be based on age, health and/or physical restrictions.

If you are committed to changing your life, find out more about the diet and exercise that's right for you.  Be sure to get plenty of rest so that you have the energy and stamina to stick with the program.  It will make a big difference in the outcome.

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Trying to figure me out

For fifty years I tried to figure out why I could not control my eating.  Early on, I felt that it was because I was weak and lacked the discipline and self control that others had that enabled them to eat in moderation.  For quite some time I thought that I was born with more fat genes than most people and was just inclined to put on weight easily.  I saw myself as big boned, thought I had a slow metabolism and a bigger frame than others.  There was no question that I ate more than most people and that I ate an unhealthy diet, but I had to keep trying to rationalize it in my mind and come up with a reason for my problem.

It has taken a while, but I have made a lot of progress in the never ending pursuit of trying to figure me out.  In the past ten years I have come a long way.  I now know that I am not big boned and that my metabolism works the way it is supposed to work and that my frame is a normal size.  The problem is that I have a food addiction, or as I prefer to see it, an obsessive compulsive eating disorder.  When I allow myself to consume one of the trigger foods, I lose control and the cravings push me to overeat, which is when the struggles begin.  And then the race to see which behavior, controlled eating or out of control eating, will prevail.

I now know that this will happen to me every time I let myself have one of the trigger foods.  In my case, sugar, and especially sugar in the form of  chocolate, is my biggest enemy.  I am not forced to have these foods.  I am exposed to them visually whether in a store, a restaurant or at someone's home, and it is completely my choice whether I have them or not.  When I fool myself into thinking that one little taste won't hurt, I always, and I mean always, regret it.

The key to success when this happens is to get back into my comfort zone as soon as possible.  I need to be eating foods that I like and that make me feel full but don't trigger the cravings that cause me to overeat at best, and to binge, at worst.  I know the pattern well.  I drive myself crazy because for some reason, when things are going well, I will foolishly test my mettle again and see if the results will be different this time.  They never are.  So, I ask myself and anyone out there who may be experiencing the same problem, to share your insight.  Why do I keep repeating this same pattern?  I can't figure it out.

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Fear of Getting Hurt in the Gym

A major element in the continued success of managing my weight and eating habits is my exercise program, which, as I've mentioned before, is self written.  I am as ridiculous about getting to the gym and performing my scheduled exercise program as I am about the eating program itself.  As always, I break my program into 13 week segments.  Over the past several years I have pre-habbed (prepared for surgery) and rehabbed from three shoulder surgeries and a bilateral knee replacement surgery.  I have worked through various ailments such as stiff necks, sore backs, wrist pain, forearm tendonitis, pinched nerves in the thumb, hamstring pulls and other problems with my feet and ankles.  Each and every time, I have been able to make adjustments at the gym to my grip, gait or the level of weight I use, to find a way to keep going until I have worked out the aches and pains and the problem disappears.  I find that I feel better and the ailment improves more quickly if I stick with my program and continue to use the affected joints or muscles. 

About five or six weeks ago, I suddenly developed a problem that, at first, I thought was a hip problem. I have never had a problem with my hip before.  I tried working through it for a couple of weeks and when it didn't get any better but, in fact, got worse, I made an appointment to see my doctor and he scheduled an x-ray and an exam on my hip.  I told the Orthopedic doctor that it seemed to move from the hip to the lower back to the glute muscle and sometimes to two areas at the same time.  He said the good news was, the x-ray showed that I did not have a problem with the hip but that it was also the bad news because now I need an MRI to see if it is a pinched nerve, a disc problem or something else.

However, I am still going to the gym.  My workouts are less intense due to the restrictions I must impose on myself to minimize the resulting pain caused by the workout.  I feel pain for most of the day after my morning workout, which is something I've never experienced before.  I try to adjust my schedule and not go to the gym on Friday if I am playing golf that day(again, a new adjustment to my schedule) because the combination of exercising and golf causes me severe back pain.

As always, I am fearful of any changes in my routine.  The only changes I have made so far have not been made by choice, but out of the necessity of dealing with my medical problems.  The current routine works, and I don't want to take any chances by changing to a different routine if I can help it. What would you do? Please share.

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Starting to get some Traction

Have had two good weeks in a row but not a great day on Easter Sunday.  So on Easter, I used one of my 7 "cheat" days that I allow during this 13 week program.  Easter was tough.  I ate too much of the good foods and also had some jelly beans and a small piece of the most fantastic vanilla cupcake with cream cheese and coconut frosting that I ever tasted.  I also had a couple of bites of a bunny cake with butter cream frosting.  Other then Easter day, I have been doing fairly well at avoiding the trigger foods.  When I avoid the trigger foods, it is easier for me to stay on the program.  When I am doing well on the eating program, I feel the results immediately; more energy, sleep better, I'm more relaxed and I feel better about myself.

The results also showed up on the scale.  During the three months that I have been struggling, I gained about 5 pounds.  Last week, the week ending Easter Sunday morning, I lost 3 of those pounds.  I have to be extra careful right now because there is a lot of stress involved in my life.  Business is not good and there are some health issues in the family that add to the stress.  It has been established that stress is a factor for those with eating difficulties, and I can attest to that.  Usually, I am able to counter balance the effects of stress by sticking to my regular exercise routine.

Nevertheless, the bottom line is I feel more in control of my eating now than I have in the past three months.  Not totally in control, but making progress and closing in on the struggle.  If anyone is having similar issues, please feel free to share with us how you are dealing or not dealing with it.

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Struggles Continue

I am now into my third month of trying to regain my focus.  I have good days and some that are not so good, but I have, for the most part, been able to avoid the out of control days.  A good day is one where I am able to stay within my comfortable range of 1800 to 2200 calories and a bad day is when I am eating 2200 to 2800 calories.  An out of control day means I have consumed over 2800 calories that day.

Was having dinner last month with my friends Buzz, Tom, Leo and George.  Buzz made the comment that he admired my discipline.  My initial response to that statement was to say that I had no discipline at all, which was why I had such a severe eating disorder.  I told him that what he was, in fact, witnessing was my obsessive compulsive behavior being used to my benefit to help me control my eating problem, rather than my eating problem controlling me. The fact is that I cannot do anything in moderation.  After forty years of trying to understand why I could not control my eating, I finally realized that there is no answer to that question.  My obsessive compulsive personality disorder is not curable, but I have found that the solution to this disorder is in redirecting my energy and focusing it in a positive way.

I have directed my obsessive compulsive behavior toward exercise and obsessing over my eating program.  Even when I am not entirely on track with my eating, as has been the case for the past three months, I am still focusing on what my eating habits should be and trying to get back on track. For some reason, my exercise program never seems to be a problem as it relates to desire or intensity of the workout.  I never seem to lose my focus as it relates to exercise.

Can anyone out there relate to what I am saying?  Please share your thoughts and experiences so we can get some dialogue going on the subject.  Maybe then, we can all understand it a little better.

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Working Through The Pain

 

If I decided not to go to the gym on days that I was feeling discomfort or pain, I fear that I would never go. I always seem to be dealing with one problem or another.  It might be something wrong with my feet; either a callous on the bottom of my foot or a soreness in the instep that becomes a pain on the heal of one foot or the other.  My right wrist bothers me more often then not. I need a third surgery on my left shoulder that I am putting off because there is not much they can do short of a replacement and I'm not ready for that yet.  I seem to have chronic problems with muscle spasms in my lower back. I had both of my knees replaced seven years ago and from time to time I have inflammation and soreness due to overuse. Recently, I had a bad bruise on the inside of my right thumb which made it painful to grip the bar or dumbbell in the traditional way. As the saying goes, if its not one thing, it's two.

Through it all , I continue to get up in the morning and go to the gym. You improvise, you adapt and you do what you have to do to get through the workout.  I change my grip to take pressure off my thumb.  I limit my range of motion and never let the barbell travel behind my head.  I keep my thumbs up on lateral moves and I listen to my body and take it easy on my back when I need time to work through an issue.  I regularly see the foot doctor to scrape callouses and cut my toenails to prevent problems.

My fear is getting hurt to the point where I am unable to go to the gym.  I work through all the issues mentioned here because I find that I feel better working through the pain and using the parts that are causing me problems, rather then resting them.  They seem to lubricate and, consequently, work better when I use them.  Age may have something to do with it.  Long term use may actually mean that wear and tear is catching up with my 61 year old body.  But, I am undeterred because the great feeling I get from being fit is worth the pain.  I know that I will continue my five or six days a week in the gym for the rest of my life.

Tell me how you deal with your pain and discomfort.

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Holiday Struggles

Typically, I would stray from my strict eating plan between Thanksgiving and New Years. I would convince myself by rationalizing that it was all about moderation and not deprivation.  Each year I would struggle to get back on track after the holidays ended. Some years I would accomplish this during January and other years I would battle to get back into my eating plan for four to six months, having experienced weight gain and frustration in the process.

This year I stayed focused until the last two weeks of the year when I got weak and had small helpings of deserts on three occasions. That was all that it took. I am now struggling to stop the cravings and variations in my eating habits that leave me feeling uncomfortable. The "hungry horrors" have driven my usual 1900 to 2100 daily calorie consumption to 2300 to 2800 per day. That means I've put on a few pounds and I look and feel softer.

As usual it was the sugar that got me started. On one occasion I had some chocolate covered pretzels, on another it was a very small piece of apple pie and one other time it was three bites of cake with frosting.  I was also having more bread than usual and adding snacks more often because the cravings were calling for more junk food. The impact of these trigger foods is immediate. They sabotage my efforts to eat clean and stay on track. First of all these trigger foods do not satisfy my appetite and, more importantly, they interfere with the signals that indicate that I am full.

I am not capable of putting the brakes on without difficulty. I am struggling right now to regain the strict clean eating program that I was on before the holidays. I was completely focused for six months before this hiccup. I will get back on track.  I am just concerned about the damage I may do before I am back in control. Do you have the same problem? If so, please share with us how you deal with it.

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Starting The New Year Off On The Right Path

Whatever disappointing events happened to you health wise in 2011 is behind you now. Let's look ahead to 2012. First we need to set our wellness goals. Goals could be in the form of weight you want to lose, inches you want to trim or habits you want to change. Goals can be a combination of these, all of these or something completely different.

I find that once I outline my goals, it is easier to break them down into smaller components and create a plan to accomplish the goals. I find that breaking my goals down into 13 week segments works best for me. Longer than that and I find I lose focus and shorter goals leave me feeling like i didn't really get into it.

All my goals have three major components. They have an eating plan, an exercise plan and a monitoring plan. The monitoring plan includes critical measurements such as waist, chest and biceps. It also includes weekly weigh ins (once a week at the same time and on the same day) and keeping a food log, an exercise/activity log and sleeping and bathroom habits. Also important is how I feel each day (sluggish, hyper, tired, sore hungry etc.) This is all very important information because it allows you to see what effects different foods and/ or exercises have on your progress and your moods.

I find that if I create a plan that I am comfortable with and that allows me to stay totally focused and totally committed and in tune to what is happening to me, I have the best chance of being successful with my 13 week plan. I have to like the food I'm eating and not feel like I am depriving myself, I have to feel challenged by my exercise and activities and I have to feel well-fed, energetic, and well rested.

As we move into January, I intend to post my eating plan and my exercise plan for the first 13 weeks. I may also periodically share the log book/journal that I keep so that you can see the type of information that I consider important and which will give you some guidance in creating your own journal using some of my ideas. Remember, I have been at this for almost 11 years and have made a lot of adjustments along the way.  You will probably not get it "right" the first time either and will need to make changes.

I invite comments and the sharing of ideas. Let's hear from you.

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Getting The Message

Seems like everywhere I turn lately I am confronted with people who are self destructing. Causing harm to their own health and quality of life. Some, like my brother Steve, my sister Diane, my father John and my lifelong friend Leo have even had the benefit of warning signals that got their attention for a little while. Unfortunately, once they start to feel better, they go back to their old ways. I know that no one wants to be preached to by a neophyte.

But I get frustrated because I have been there and I can feel their pain. I know how overwhelming the task can be. I also know the consequences of continuing along the same self destructive path that they are on. I also know the solution to the problem. Just like in the old days when the doctor would say rest, take two aspirin and call me in the morning, I say adjust your eating habits, get some exercise and if you smoke,quit. For most people it is that simple.

This blog is not to give," how to", advice. I am writing this to share my deep concern and frustration for those who I care about and to hopefully initiate some dialogue with others who know people on the same path. How do you get through to your loved ones? We and they all know what lifestyle changes need to be made. We even know the potential consequences if the changes are not made. If you are like me, it is painful to watch someone spiraling out of control. Please share your comments and help me and others get some insight.

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