The Day The Band Broke

It has been no secret to anyone here on Misdirected that I have not been enjoying working out. Whether doing home aerobics, walking, or performing “resistance exercise” with those hideous oversized rubber bands, I have just not been “into it”, as they say. Oh, I have been doing it, of course. I just haven’t been enjoying it at all.
This is strange, because I used to be a weightlifter, 15 years and 1 disability ago. Not a bodybuilder, mind you – a weightlifter. That was my primary form of exercise. I would spend hours at the gym, several days a week. I carried a spiral notebook to log my progression, worried about form, complained about cardio, challenged myself to perform “just one more rep” when working a muscle group to failure. I really dug it.
Yesterday, Lor wandered into the office and announced that we would be adding a stop to our daily walk. We would walk a mile up to our local community center, work out there, instead of at home, then walk back. I shrugged, and went along with it. At least it meant no time spent with the rubber bands for that day, right?
The gym at the community center (pictured above) was really pretty impressive – 6 or 7 cardio machines, and a whole bunch of multi-function weight machines. I downloaded an app (of course) to get a suggested workout, and then started hitting the machines, beginning with the bench press.
Now, mind you, I am someone who used to be able to bench 250-ish pounds. So, it was a little depressing to spend some time figuring out that my current 3-rep max was a measly 70 pounds. (3-rep max: 3 repetitions of a weight exercise where you can lift for one second, hold for one second, then lower the weight over 3 seconds with perfect form.) Hooray for the strength benefits of resistance band exercise. Dejected, I set my weight at the next lowest setting (55 pounds) and started cranking through my first set of 12.
Somewhere through my second set, I found I was actually enjoying myself.
I went through an entire full-body session, over the course of about an hour. Sure, the numbers were fractions of what I used to see, back in the day. But the challenge of maintaining form, the sheer visceral feel of moving real weights was amazing. Today, I am sore everywhere, in a really good way. Best of all, I can feel that I have been working out in my drooping chest and arms. I can’t wait to go back.
At last, I seem to have found my endorphin-releasing exercise. It isn’t walking, it isn’t running, it certainly isn’t resistance band exercise. Just good old-fashioned straining and grunting as I fight the weights. I am already making plans for breaking up my weight training over multiple days, just so I can spend more time at the gym. Makes me wonder why I didn’t do this all along.
Other than because Lor hadn’t suggested it yet, of course.
Ready To Throw Away The Giant Rubber Bands,
– Hawkwind

Big Brother Speaks

Chaos and Mayhem in 2008
We’ve talked a lot here about what family support means to a person who goes through bariatric surgery. Getting some family members or friends “on board” with you dramatically increases your chances of long-term success – just like a lack of support frequently translates into a lack of focus and eventual regain. But, what does family support mean, really?
Though it may come as a surprise to you, it turns out that the great majority of the readers of Misdirected are not current or potential bariatric surgery patients. But most of my readers have someone in their lives who is severely obese, and who is maybe tiptoeing around the concept of bariatric surgery. For the great majority of you, you want to know how to best support the person you care about that is considering tackling this journey, without feeling like you are pointing fingers and shouting “You are SO unhealthy! Have surgery!”
I have spent very little time talking about my family here (excepting Lor, of course) other than obliquely. As I say frequently, those are not my stories to tell. But major changes take place in the lives of those whose loved ones have gone through this process. My brother has been a rock throughout this process for me. He has been a source of encouragement, a fountain of exercise and nutritional information (he is a personal trainer), and someone to whine at when this all seems to be too hard to continue anymore. And, he has recently asked for the opportunity to address the Misdirected audience. 
His unedited comments follow. 

“An open letter to family and friends.
Jeremy, Lor, and I  met as teenagers,  I am mentioned in the blog as Jeremy’s brother. His family adopted me as a teen for reasons that don’t matter here, but I use as a reference to set the tone. 30 years later, we are still standing through thick and thin. water flowing bright and clean, and dirty and turbulent at times,.Jeremy and Lor have been a part of me through all of it.
The past year has amazed me though. The decision and life changing choice the two of them made has amazed me, and made me so proud. They stepped outside of fear and judgement and made a life for themselves that is so very different from before. I cannot begin to say how this has changed the both of them. I won’t say for the better, because, through all of this I have had the honor to see the rough parts of their hearts. Thank you both for everything, and I pray that your journey keeps going forward. 
The reason this is an open letter though is because of this. I saw new smiles on my brother and sister at the party he talked about. I saw that his blog had brought people together. I saw smiles and gleams in the eye that offer new hope. I wish everyone well and wanted to take a moment to applaud you all and offer my congratulations. This is hard work and a  hard line to tow.
I am lucky to have these two in my life. Because of that, I appreciate the people who have taken this journey with them. 
Thank you to all, Jeremy and Lor I love you both and will never be able to convey how impressed and proud of you both that I am.”
In case anyone was wondering: this is what supporting your loved one looks like.

Humbled And Lucky To Have Such A Brother,

– Hawkwind