The Journey (The Second Time Around)

Frank Sinatra sang, “Love is lovelier the second time around.”  Personally, I couldn’t agree more.   Over the past two years, there have been many positive changes in my life.  You can read about many of them here in previous blogs.

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Through it all, there were times that I had to really be honest with myself, which wasn’t always easy.  I had to make some hard decisions.  I could no longer lie to myself about my feelings.  I had to really examine my life and the things that I was doing.  The more I did this, and the more decisions I made, it became easier to “get honest.”

I had a follow up appointment with my doctor about my blood pressure on Friday.  For the most part, it is under control, but on occasion, I will get a headache or just not feel right.  Usually, this means my blood pressure is up.  I looked up my past two visits (in January and September) to see what my blood pressure readings were.  It wasn’t those numbers that bothered me, though.  I noticed that since September I had gained about 30 pounds!  All of a sudden I felt like Fat Bastard from the Austin Powers movies!

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I am not going to lie, I knew the shirts I was wearing were beginning to get tight.  I also knew that my jeans were a big more snug than they should be.  I have found that working overnights has really put me at a disadvantage.  I tend to snack more.  I tend to drink more coffee (hence – more creamer).  I tend to do fast food in the morning on my way home.  It is just not good.  I had to do something.

I have struggled with my weight all my life.  I was always a chubby kid.  I was active (played baseball, rode my bike, walked, played football, etc) as a kid, but I was also taking every opportunity to eat.  I remember sneaking food all the time.  I would go to the fridge and eat bologna right out of the container.  I would eat bread and butter, candy, and whatever I could find in the house. When we ate fast food, I always chose the biggest sandwich (Big Mac, Whopper, etc).  I was sometimes eating and not even realizing it!

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One of the most embarrassing things I ever did was at a friends house.  I think it was a birthday party, I don’t remember.  What I do remember is that we were all sitting around talking and watching TV.  I was sitting in a chair and there was a bowl of Doritos next to me.  As we talked and whatever, I literally ate the whole bowl!  It was probably a whole back of chips!  Everyone saw me.  I was probably like a machine – take chip, eat chip, swallow, repeat.  When it was pointed out that I had ate the whole bowl, I probably pretended to laugh it off, but that day has forever remained etched in my mind.  I was humiliated – and I was responsible for it.

They say that comedians usually have issues from childhood that steer them into a life in comedy.  I can totally see this.  I used humor as a way to cover for many things growing up.  I figured people didn’t want to be the “fat kid’s” friend, so I told jokes and made people laugh.  I guess I thought people didn’t mind being friends with the funny kid.

I remember having to go to a special store to buy jeans for school.  I needed the “husky” size.  My dad used to joke with me about my pants waist size.  There was a big guy we knew who wore size “52” and every time I had to buy dress pants, my waist size was growing.  My dad used to say, “You don’t want to be in 52’s!”  He said it jokingly, but he was probably trying to say, “Hey, son.  You really should watch what you are eating.”

As a teenager, I saw a weight counselor.  I remember having this workbook where I logged my food (I often lied about it), and the feelings I was having when I ate.  What emotions were driving me to eat?  That’s the kind of stuff they wanted to know.  Back then, they put me on a diet, which was very hard to keep on.  We visited my grandma every Sunday and she always had a crap ton of Italian food.  She was always giving us food, candy, and baked goods.  My battle with my weight was one I always seemed to lose.

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Shortly before by 28th birthday, I was wearing size 48-50, depending on the style of pants.  I tipped the scale at about 300 pounds.  I had popped in to see my old high school band director and he had lost a lot of weight.  I asked him how he did it and he said he did Weight Watchers.  He told me how it worked, and I went and signed up.  On my 30th birthday, I celebrated the fact that I had lost 30 pounds with friends.  I eventually lost over 100 pounds!  The day I hit my goal weight of 199, it was truly amazing.  What a feeling!

I kept the weight off for some time and then I had an allergic reaction to a medication.  I broke out in hives and red spots.  The doctor gave me steroids, but the spots and hives wouldn’t go away.  They gave me a hefty shot of steroids and then had me keep taking the steroid pills, too.  They spots and hives finally went away, but I packed on 40+ pounds in a matter of weeks.  That was the beginning of the slide.

As an emotional eater, I turned to food for comfort during some difficult times in my life.  Loss of a job, the death of my mother, the death of my grandma, the deterioration of my marriage, the loss of another job, and depression led to much more eating, and drinking alcohol in abundance.  You can imagine what that did for my weight.  Now, fast forward to the last few weeks….

A co-worker has been doing Weight Watchers to get ready for her daughter’s wedding.  The more I have watched her do this, the more questions I asked her.  Then, I saw another friend of mine post daily pictures of her daily walk times.  She is out there every day and working hard!  My wife and I have talked more than once about losing weight and eating better.  I have said “I’m gonna do this diet.  I’m gonna join a gym.  I am gonna….” and yet, hadn’t done anything.  That changed Friday.

Friday morning, I had my alarm set so I could get up and shower before the doctor appointment.  Sam had to be up early to be at her clinicals.  I woke up with her I jumped on the scale.  I told her I was not waiting any longer.  I was joining Weight Watchers again.  It helped me before, and I know it will help me again.  I need to be accountable to someone and this would do it.  I signed up for the online app and decided it was what had to be done.  When she left for work, I noticed I had 2 hours before I had to leave, so I went to the bedroom, grabbed my jogging pants and a sweatshirt, and went out to walk!  I didn’t have a whole lot of time, but I walked for about 30-35 minutes and came home to shower.

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When I arrived at the doctor, my blood pressure was high – 132/91.  When he came in, I told him what had transpired that day.  He told me I was doing the right things and once again told me (as he has numerous times in the past) to get off of midnights. That’s kind of hard to do when you work in a sleep lab and run sleep studies.  He asked me to relax and he wanted to get my blood pressure again.  When they took it again – it was 132/100.  It was higher!  That visit only solidified in my mind that I had made the right choice to begin a weight loss journey.

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So here I am, the second time around, doing Weight Watchers (or WW, as they are going by now).  While it is scary to put this out there for strangers and friends to read, it had to be done.  I need to be accountable to you and to myself.  It’s been almost 20 years since I was 199 pounds, and I know that the older you get, the harder it is to lose weight.  That’s ok.  I’m going to work just as hard as I have putting the rest of my life back into order.  I am doing this for my children.  I am doing this for my wife.  I am doing this for my family. I am doing this for my friends.  I am doing this FOR ME!  I want to be around for a long time.  Life is too good now, to not stick around to enjoy it.

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The journey begins …..

 

 

Top Fives

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Writing is good therapy for me.  Not being on the radio every day, I feel that my creativity is down.  Being able to write certainly helps me to start thinking a bit broader.  Any writer will tell you that inspiration can be found almost everywhere, you just need to find those things that inspire.  Facebook can sometimes be that inspiration.  I have three or four ideas that I am writing about now, but for today – here’s a bunch of lists.  Perhaps, it will get you to know me a bit better.

A buddy of mine posted this on Facebook, so I posted it on my page as well.  Some of these were more difficult than others to answer.  If more questions come in, I’ll probably save them for a future write up.  For now – here are the answers to those who asked…..

Top Five Flavors (Lee)

  1. Chocolate
  2. Strawberry
  3. Mint
  4. Banana
  5. Lemon

Musical Bands (Steve)

  1. The Beatles
  2. The Rolling Stones
  3. Queen
  4. Dave Clark Five
  5. Led Zeppelin

Musical Artists (Steve)

  1. Dean Martin
  2. Elvis Presley
  3. Roy Orbison
  4. Frank Sinatra
  5. Andrea Bocelli

Radio Personalities (Joseph)

This one is SO difficult, but I will name those who were an early influence to me.

  1. Jim McKenzie
  2. Paul Christy
  3. Richard D.
  4. Johnny Molson
  5. Casey Kasem

Favorite Comedians (Jane)

This is also difficult, because there are so many of them.

  1. Jack Benny
  2. Redd Foxx
  3. George Carlin
  4. Don Rickles
  5. Robin Williams

Movies (Aaron)

This is next to impossible to narrow down to five.  I would prefer to do this by genre, but even that would be difficult.  Right now I am doing the 10 movies that had an impact on me on Facebook, which narrows it down a bit.   At this very moment, I have decided that I can’t answer this unless I am given a genre.  WAY TOO difficult to narrow all the movies I love down to a top 5.

Pick Up Lines I Have Heard (Christina)

  1. Got any Italian in you?  Want some?
  2. (Licks finger and touches girl’s shirt) Let’s go somewhere and get you out of those wet clothes.
  3. Tie your shoes!  I don’t want you falling for anyone else!
  4. I know you are busy today, but can you add me to your “to do” list?
  5. My lips are like Skittles.  Wanna taste the rainbow?

Foods (Deb)

  1. Lasagna
  2. Tacos
  3. Ravioli
  4. Steak
  5. Chicken

Sex Positions (Warren and Christopher)

I know that it says ask me anything … I’m sorry, boys, but this one is not for public knowledge.  If you need ideas….go to the library and check out a book …. or a porno movie.

Current Songs (Pam)

Music is also something that is easier for me to narrow down if you ask for a genre or format.  I asked Pam to narrow it down and she said “current music”.  To me, some of today’s music is just awful.  There are some songs that I think are ok and that people dance to at gigs – these are those songs.

  1. Can’t Stop the Feeling – Justin Timberlake
  2. Feel It Still – Portugal, the Man
  3. Perfect – Ed Sheeran
  4. Love Runs Out – One Republic
  5. Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars

Songs I Played in High School Band (Chris)

  1. Four of a Kind (Trumpet feature)
  2. Tin Pan Alley
  3. Hall of Fame March
  4. Sing, Sing, Sing
  5. The Seventies

Comedy Movie Lines (John)

This one is also SO unfair!  There are SO many lines from each of my favorite comedy movies.  Maybe I need to do a top five lines from each movie at some point….for now….here are these:

  1. “I am serious.  And don’t call me Shirley” (Airplane)
  2. “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries” (Monty Python and the Holy Grail)
  3. “What knockers!” (Young Frankenstein)
  4. “It looks good on you though!” (Caddyshack)
  5. “It’s a beautiful place, Bob” (Blues Brothers)

Thanks everyone!