Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Spartan Hercules Hoist and what's eating you

What does Rocky have to do with a Spartan Obstacle Course Race?
Rocky faced every challenge with determination to succeed.  Sometimes the challenges were bigger than he was.  That only made him try harder.  He had heart, guts, and determination.
Our weather is back to normal for this time of year.  Cold temperatures with some snow.  I'm sort of a fair weather Spartan.  Last week I purchased a pulley and a length of rope to put a Spartan Hercules Hoist on the beam where I also have attached the top of my climbing rope.  When the weather gets back to warmer, I will get up on the ladder and get that attached.
My plan is to have two different weights to hoist.  One for women and one for men.  I am going to pour mixed cement into a bucket and while it is wet, place a huge I-bolt in the middle and once the cement is hardened, the rope can be attached to the I-bolt to pull the weight up to the top of the pulley.  Here are a couple pictures of what the Spartan Hercules Hoist looks like at the obstacle course races:
I only purchased one pulley, so only one person can hoist at a time.  I'll have it set up so that it can quickly be changed from the lift weight for women to the lift weight for men.  The standard weight for men is a little over 100 pounds and about 75 pounds for the women.  This "obstacle" requires you to use your upper body strength.  I learned the best way to successfully get this started is to firmly grasp the rope and then lean back to the ground using your own body weight to initially pull the weight upward.  Just using your arms to pull the weight up wastes your upper body strength unnecessarily.
Anyway...when I get it completed, you can know I'll post pictures and hopefully get some action shots of team members using it to train.
My physical therapy is almost complete.  Next week is my last scheduled physical therapy appointment.  I have to say that PT works, if you do the assigned PT work you are supposed to do.  I am happy with the progress I have made and am nearly 100 percent back to being able to train without restrictions.
I weighed 200 pounds this morning.  Since mid January that is a loss of 14 pounds.  I will soon be back in ONEDERLAND. 
Myfitnesspal - the app on my smart phone is really working out for me.  Like the physical therapy I have been benefitting only works if you use it.  After I reach goal, I will continue to use this app, as I have no desire to gain back the pounds, so that I can lose them again later down the road of life.
I read a lot of your blogs.  I see the same struggles with weight loss and gain.  I see some bloggers who go through food binges.  I read about the guilt, the shame, the despair.  That is a lot of emotion tied to food.  I think a lot of times it is misdirected emotion.  Food has no emotion, other than the ones you place on it.  So is misdirected emotion if you think about it.
What emotions are you not dealing with directly, that you are using food to either dull your senses from dealing with that emotion, or are using food to enhance that emotional state?  Only you can answer that.   
When you discover the answer, maybe that will be the start of choosing to eat to feed your mind and body nutritionally beneficial foods over all the junk that is available.  Find out what's eating you.  Until next time - AROO!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Are you relying on a magic feather?

If you are in my generation or older, you probably remember seeing the cartoon feature Dumbo.  It was produced in 1941.  Back in the olden days before VHS and BETA tapes, the Internet and Youtube, Redbox, Hulu, DVD's, Blu-ray, etc., etc., (seems the list is endless)  Walt DISNEY studios used to re-release some of their more popular feature presentations every 5 years in the theatres for a limited run.   So I remember seeing DUMBO in the theatre as a small boy.

Now there are many life lessons to be learned from watching Dumbo.  Today I just want to focus on one in particular.  Dumbo was picked on because he was different.  His ears were abnormally large.  Today it would be called bullying.
Dumbo had potential for greatness.  Dumbo couldn't see it.  He felt like a shamed loser.  There was a mouse that befriended Dumbo.  The mouse's name was Timothy.  Timothy discovered Dumbo's unique talent.  But in order to get Dumbo to believe he could achieve, Timothy convinced Dumbo that there was a magic feather.  And so long as he held on to that "magic" feather he could fly.
Finally, Dumbo realizes that he can fly without the aid of the "magic" feather.  Dumbo achieves greatness as a circus elephant and becomes the star of the show.  In the end, he becomes self confident in his own abilities to achieve and be his own personal best.
The Diet Supplement industry makes BILLIONS every year selling the consumer "magic feathers" in the form of fat burners and appetite suppressants.  So do the companies that sell packaged foods mailed right to your door.  No measuring and no calculating of food portions.  Just pop it in the microwave and heat it up.
Sometimes these products produce results, because YOU - not the product you purchased, are making it happen.  They (the diet products) are the magic feather.  But as soon as you let go of the magic feather (stop using the product) you usually end up back where you were.  Your self confidence is zero.  Because you don't believe you can make it happen without your "magic feather."
We need to replace the I CAN'T do that with the I CAN.  I have a lot of I cant's.  But I try not to let that stop me from doing anything productive.  So I try and focus on the I cans of my life.
I can walk.  I can walk/jog.  I can squat.  I can lift.  I can get physical exercise that makes me stronger. 
I am intelligent enough to choose to be healthy.  I have a brain.  I don't need to purchase a month's supply of pre-packaged foods delivered directly to my home to take the "guess work" out of eating.
We can chose to eat intelligently and healthy.  Anything less for most of us, is just a weak excuse.  I know a woman that eats on auto-pilot.  If people are eating ice-cream, she fixes herself a BIG bowl of ice-cream.  If her children do not eat every chicken nugget on their plate, she will "clean" their plates for them.  The same goes for any dessert they leave on their plates.
This woman has many health problems.  Many of her health problems are indirectly and directly associated with the way she eats and feeds her children.  When she visits our home, there have been many times her children have wondered what I am eating.  When I show them, the usual response is...eww, that's disgusting!  It is usually a large green salad with 3 or 4 veggies tossed in, or green vegetables that they don't recognize, as they don't eat these foods in their own home.  Pretty much the majority of food eaten in their home comes out of a can or a package.  Very little food there is fresh produce.  I've been there over the years for different get togethers.  I've learned to eat at home before I go over for a visit.  Usually they have a salad.  It is often just iceberg lettuce and a bottle of Ranch dressing.  That is often the only veggie in the house.
For this woman - the magic feather she is searching for is the "right" doctor that can give her the "right" pharmaceutical that will magically cure all her ills.  I'm not trying to insinuate that her pain and suffering are not real.  I am suggesting that her pain symptoms could most likely be reduced and/or eliminated through healthier eating and light to moderate exercise.  Over the years she has asked me to provide her with nutritional guidance, or with exercise information.  I have given her books on diet and exercise that she asked for.  I don't know if she ever read any of them.  I don't think they provided the magic feather she was hoping for.  I care about this lady.  She has been very kind to me over the years. 
She struggles with the same issues many of us struggle with.  Self discipline, telling our inner child "no" and being responsible for our own health, instead of searching for the magic feather.
In my new facebook group I joined, I am learning just how mediocre I am.  It is a real wake up call to the possibilities of life as I grow older.  Many of these men and women are very financially successful in life.  They are executive officers in their chosen professions.  They are busy people that lead busy lives.  What we (they and I) have in common is a desire to be in better physical condition next month, then we are this month.
What is the magic feather that this group is using?  It has two ingredients.  Real food coupled with regular exercise.  By real food, I mean fresh produce, and meats and fish that are unprepared.  You need to cook them at home.  The one ingredient foods that don't have a list of ingredients on the side of a box.
The exercise is mostly lifting with dumbbells.  Just basic exercises that work the muscles.  Here is a couple photos of one of the ladies in the group.  She is a married mother of two children and is 47 years old.
This woman's goal is to compete in fitness competitions.
There are two men in the group that have shown to me the difference that being fit over being thin makes.  Both men are 6 feet 2 inches in height.  Both men are over 40 years old. They are about 11 years difference in age.  Man A weighs 214 pounds.  Man B weighs 176 pounds.  They both posted shirtless pictures to show their progress.
Man A - 214 pounds
Man B - 176 pounds
Now remember that both men are the same height.  Man A weighs 38 more pounds than Man B.  Here is what I learned from this:  Exercise, specifically weight bearing/resistance exercises that build and maintain muscle mass makes a huge difference is our appearance.
These men might be the same height.  They might wear the same waist size in jeans.  That is where the physical similarities end.  What do they both have in common?  The desire to improve the status quo.  Man A has a head start over Man B.  Can Man B achieve the same results that Man A has achieved.  Perhaps.  Will it take hard work and dedication?  Of course.  If it were easy, then everyone would be doing it.
Aside from not relying on magic feathers to realize my dreams...I'm learning that you are never too old to stop dreaming.  You are never too old to stop believing in yourself.  There is one question that you need to ask yourself though:
To be completely honest with myself, in the past...yes, yes they have.  Being a part of this group of elite achievers has taught me that the only thing holding 99% of us back from achieving our full potential is the person that I watch shave in the mirror every morning.  I've also learned that when it comes to producing our personal best, that age is just a number.
Age has nothing to do with our ability to plan, execute and achieve what we want in life, if our health is reasonable.  And if our health is reasonable, we may be able to change it to exceptional.