Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Diets, The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Okay, are you ready for this; I am on a pretty serious and new diet. The diet is the 6 Week Michael Thurmond Body Make Over. The diet guarantees my wife and I to lose 30 or more pounds each in 6 weeks and so far, three days worth, it isn’t the easiest thing on the planet to follow. Now I have mixed emotions from a variety of directions regarding this diet. There is the good, the bad, and the ugly. Let’s start out with the ugly.

The truth is I am kind of ticked at how I have let my body get in the last number of years. I was a college athlete and played football and soccer in college. I tried basketball but it was just too hard going right into basketball from football. I never played soccer until in college and wish I had it all to do over again as I picked up the sport very fast and was pretty good. After college I played competitive soccer, including 6 years on a semi-pro team. I was playing on a Division A, or Premiere League soccer in Tulsa when I was 36. For those that don’t know much about soccer, that is impressive. I was playing with college aged players, and many of them were quite good. Not only was I playing against and with them, but holding my own still doing very well. I also coached some High School teams and have such fond memories of those years.

I was always chunky growing up but prior to going to college I decided to get myself into shape. I still have a lot of photographs but between all the running, the weight lifting and more, I looked and was in pretty good health. I love it when my son looks at those photos and says to me, “Pops, you were buff.” Coming from a physical specimen like him I am reminded of who I was, and what I have become. I continued my athletic involvement after college, but not after some relapse. I allowed myself to get out of shape pretty badly, up to 297 pounds from 185 pounds when I played soccer and football. I decided to get busy and did just that, I got down to 205 pounds and at 7% body fat. It was during these times while working out religiously on the Cybergenics and Weider weight lifting programs. I was taking all the right supplements, (except for ephedra) and playing soccer, and doing a ton of cardio. I got to a point where I was in the best shape of my life, not bad for someone in their mid to late thirties.

Just as I thought things were going great, disaster hit. I went to a point where I was lifting weights on Saturday to a soccer game on Tuesday when I left all of the great progress and years of dedication behind. I was doing my pyramid set of weights at the Tulsa Eastside Gym. I started out with my warm up of 15 reps at 135 pounds on the bench press. I would pyramid up to a final set of 265 at 4 reps... The full pyramid sets included 6 sets going from lower weight to heavy weight, little rest between sets, and going to maximum failure where I couldn’t do the exercise. I would have a one minute to one and a half minute rest and start the next set. I knew I was in trouble when I couldn’t get 4 reps of my warm-up set at 135 pounds. I tried the work out that day, but my shoulder was in excruciating pain.

This was bad news but I figured I could at least run. It was on the following Tuesday that my team Hilti International had a game, a premier division game. It was in that game that I was playing as a midfielder, and forward. As I was chasing down a player to defend I tore my hamstring. For a period of 6 weeks I couldn’t lift, and couldn’t run. I got into a really bad habit and got really lazy, no excuses, but the years I had worked to develop an incredible habit of staying in shape was torn apart with two injuries within a week. The really bad thing is that I let the power of those injuries take over the years of work I had done. How many times have any of us done anything like that, worked so hard for something, then just let it go with a temporary set back. My weight went back up to about 285. Over the last year or so I have tried to get my weight down and it is down now to about 275. This is a lot more weight than I want to carry and I can’t do the fun things I used to do. To me, my body, a temple from God, had become ugly. It was time to do something about it, I don’t want the setbacks be what determines my life and my progress.

Now let’s look at some of the things that are bad regarding this diet thing.

First, I don’t know how to say it, but diet food and healthy food sucks with the exception of some of the summer fruits which I really love. I would really like to have right now, this very instance, a Georgia Mud Pie Blizzard from Dairy Queen, but…., it seems like foods like that, which really taste good aren’t on my diet. Now don’t get me wrong, I would have been happy today with a salad with dressing on it, not a ton, just enough for flavor, but on the diet I am on, this is a no go. It seems as if it is that way with a lot of foods. It isn’t that I have been hungry, but I have had terrible cravings. I guess I am learning lessons about letting the set backs control my life. If doing the right things, maintaining the right ways, I could enjoy these types of things on occasion, but unfortunately just like all of us, sometimes drastic measures are needed to bring about drastic change. Of course none of us like those drastic changes, we might even see them as bad, but that don’t change the reality of where we may be at.

Another thing is that I happen to have a body type that holds onto everything. One reason for that is being diabetic, my body just doesn’t respond to certain foods in the right way. Another thing is my poor metabolism, although that has improved since my gall bladder surgery some months ago. I’ll tell you, there are times things are miserable. Now don’t get me wrong, I have done the weight cutting and weight loss thing in the past, but it has never been fun. I know I need to remind myself that food is fuel, but sometimes food is really good too. One of the challenges all of us have to face is the need to understand moderation and controlling our actions with wisdom and smart decisions. On that point, I know I haven’t always been the smartest kid in the class, but I do have enough sense to know that I am responsible for the decisions that got me to the place I am at. When we can all address issues in our lives and make the needed improvements, then we will ultimately find joy in something other than the things we crave in our weak points.

I realize a person can’t have it both ways. I hate being sedentary, I love the outdoors, camping, sports, and all of those guy types of things, I don’t believe getting older implies you have to give those things up. For me though, being over weight plays on all of this, it plays on the types of things I can do, and more importantly it plays on my health. The older I get, the more I realize I want my health, I can indulge on occasion with food, but I know from my experiences, I can easily get out of the habit of taking care of the body, God has given me. I also know that the family tends to go down the same path as the weakest member of the family. It is why my wife is doing the diet with me; it is also why we have both fallen off the track regarding taking care of ourselves. Our goal is to be okay with getting out in a bathing suit towards the end of July, this will give us a huge part of the summer to enjoy the summer, and the exercise is easier during this time of year.

Now let’s go and look at some of that which is good;

One of the best things we were a lot of searching, purchase of a program, not inexpensive, that we know research backs and where the program works. This is important because we took the first step. I learned a long time ago, we can all dream, but dreams are of little value if we don’t act on those dreams. On this, both my wife and I are working. We have started the process that includes both diet and exercise. Simply put, we are watching what we put in our bodies, and making sure that we are doing the exercise necessary to help our bodies. Each of us, if we recognize the things that need to occur in our lives will be better off but sometimes we never get there because we don’t take that first step to make the needed improvement, whatever that improvement may be.

There is more good that happened though, we should never loose site that we recognized a problem. So many people just ignore all of the things going on in their lives, whether it be their weight, their attitudes, their temperament, their love affair, and on and on. One has to be willing to look at themselves with a discerning eye. How are they doing, not just in one area but all areas? When you get to the point you can do that, it is a good thing, because at that point one can begin to make the improvements needed. This isn’t just true for me and my family, it is true for all of us.

I know I am now on this journey to better health. I am on it with my wife, and I am on it with you. At least from the perspective you can help hold me accountable, accountable with things like questioning my progress, questioning and challenging me to keep eating right, and on and on and on. That is a good place to be, it kind of exemplifies where family and faith can come together, coming together to where friends become like family, not only in relational ways, but practical ways. Of course I don’t expect the journey to always be fun, but I do know that if I stick to it, bear it out, the end results of where I am going is a much better place than where I am at now.

What is the journey you need to look at taking? What are the things holding you back from the good? Are you willing to take the necessary steps? Are you willing to partner and help others out? I hope so, for none of us are perfect, and we are all on this journey. It just so happens that for the moment, taking care of God’s temple is a part of my own journey. We each have our own journeys though, where is yours taking you?
Here are a couple of videos for you today that are appropriate for the article, as with both of them, if you don't see the video click on the link, but, if the video is there, just click on the video.

This one appropriate for the whole family

This one is pretty good, but may have material that is offensive to some. It does address some serious issues in a comedic way.

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1 comment:

John said...

Nice observation, thanks.