(Non-Fiction Friday) The Patreon Update

The Misdirected Patreon campaign is proceeding awesomely (is that a word?), with over $70/month in support thus far. Thanks to everyone who has decided to help out by becoming Patrons of Misdirected.

Though I have put out a new Patreon video here, the short version is this: Every dollar Misdirected earns through patrons is a dollar that gets invested back into supporting the Misdirected community. Funds are used to pay fees, buy equipment, and free up blocks of time that would otherwise be used for things that are not related to Misdirected. Misdirected will go exactly as far as our Patrons carry it.

Also, about the whole fiction writing thing: while I am using this site to talk about my fiction writing, my fiction and Misdirected are not related. They are more like roommates, sharing space in my brain. I will do my best to try and make this division a little clearer in the months going forward.

Thanks again for all your support of Misdirected! I look forward to developing a closer relationship with you all as we expand Misdirected’s reach! As always, drop me a line with any comments, questions or suggestions you might have.

Happy Friday,

Jeremy

Waving The Weight Loss Wand

Why bariatric surgery is not an easy solution

Most of the bariatric patients I know spent several months learning what they were getting into. Meetings with nutritionists, doctors appointments, and even psych evals were all required for Lor and I. Their purpose? To prepare us for the massive life changes that came along with bariatric surgery.

Apparently, not everyone gets the kind of preparation we did.

I Didn’t Sign Up For This

A few days ago, I discovered a very unhappy bariatric patient online. Her complaint (paraphrased by me) went something like this:

“I am sick of reading all this negativity! If I had wanted to sign up for calorie counting, food nazis, daily exercise, and never eating anything good, I would’ve just done THAT, and not had surgery!”

Yeah, sorry your surgical team didn’t make that a little clearer to you. Or that you weren’t really paying attention in the months before surgery. Because all that “negativity” is exactly what you signed up for by going through with bariatric surgery.

Let’s Be Honest

But, seriously: did you really think of having your innards rearranged or removed as a shortcut?

The vast majority of us that have gone through surgery have tried changing diets. We’ve tried going to the gym. We’ve tried buckling down and making major changes in our lives. And, every time, we have not only failed, but we’ve usually left ourselves worse off than where we began. Some try the latest crash diet, lose 10 or 20 pounds, and fall off the wagon. Their metabolic processes, undergoing starvation conditions, then pack the pounds back on as fat. This usually leaves a person heavier than where they started.

Or, they could take my route. I would try (and fail) to change my diet. So, instead, I would take up exercise. But I would inevitably be in a hurry to lose weight. So I would push the exercise a little too hard. Within a few days, I would injure myself, and wind up unable to do much of anything for a few weeks. During those weeks of physical inactivity, my weight would skyrocket.

In other words, we’ve tried all the things you said you would do instead of surgery. They didn’t work. So, we went forward with surgery: a combination of dietary restriction, negative reinforcement (in the form of dumping syndrome), and dramatic weight loss that freed us up to begin a sane exercise program. There was no magic wand that made us weigh less while maintaining the lifestyles that made us obese in the first place.

All This And More

And this is the thing that is misunderstood about bariatric surgery: it is not a shortcut. It is not a “get out of food-jail free” card. It is a dramatic solution to a chronic problem. First, we have surgery. Then, we get to go forward with all the solutions everyone thinks we should have done in the first place.

I will be on daily vitamins and supplements for the rest of my life. When I reach “maintenance mode” I will still be eating under 1,200 calories a day or so – normally enough to sustain a 120-pound person (roughly). I will not be eating carb-heavy foods like bread and french fries and pasta as part of my normal diet. Carbonated beverages like Coke and beer are gone forever.

Maybe this sounds negative to you. I have a different view on negativity. All I have to do is remember what it felt like to weigh over 300 pounds. Now THAT was truly negative.

If you truly were not prepared for what was coming with bariatric surgery, I am truly sorry for you.

But, I admit that I am puzzled by someone who wants to have surgery instead of making lifestyle changes. And, I kind of doubt that was your mindset when you signed up for the procedure that would change your life.

Just sayin’.

Sympathetic But Unconvinced,

Jeremy

The Valentine’s Day Hangover

The misery of those kept out of valentines day

Welcome to the day after Valentine’s Day. For many of us, it was a time to talk about hearts and flowers, right? To analyze “true love”, open up about feelings, and to share our innermost selves with the person closest to us.

Except, of course, things don’t always work out that way.

The Side We Never See

I could have written a long and truthful article yesterday talking about my relationship with Lor. But anyone who follows Misdirected already knows that we have a loving and successful relationship.

But, what about my friend that wants nothing more than a family, and can’t seem to create one due to societal pressure to be someone she is not?

What about the woman I know whose husband just left her a few months after her bariatric surgery, not able to deal with the concept of a transformed, confident woman in his life?

Was there any place on Valentine’s Day for the man I know who went through dramatic weight loss hoping to find a soulmate, only to discover that, on the inside, he is still a “fat man”? Unwilling or unable to believe that anyone could ever find him attractive, let alone love him?

Valentine’s Day (or V-Day, as we call it around here) can be the most miserable of all holidays.

Under Pressure

There may be no greater discomfort than being surrounded by friends, family and co-workers, all celebrating Valentine’s Day. There are flowers on desks. New expensive jewelry being displayed. Casual mentions of the romantic dinners taking place later that night. All of which leaves the single person to ask: what is wrong with me? Why am I somehow on the wrong side of this societal wall?

It applies a different pressure to those in troubled relationships. Why, they ask themselves, does everyone else seem so happy? What is wrong with me? Why can’t I make my love life work?

Our culture demands that a person be in love, and have a happy relationship. No provision is made for those who are alone, no exceptions allowed for those going through difficult times.

This despite the fact that half our marriages end in divorce.

The 50% Rule

What the heck does this have to do with obesity, you might be asking?

My observation is two-fold. First, we are expected to be young, slim, and beautiful as a society. Despite the fact that better than 50% of us are suffering from some form of obesity.

Secondly, obesity is, in and of itself, a stressor on relationships. Destructive lifestyle habits, poor self-esteem, and a sense of personal helplessness do not make for strong interpersonal relationships.

But, maybe worst of all is the sense that no one around us understands. The world expects us to be skinny. We are failing. The world expects us to be happily in love. We fail at that as well.

The world, it seems, is rejecting us at every turn. We do not possess the ability to meet society’s expectations for our body-image or our relationships. What the heck can we do?

Breaking the Contract

We need to learn to break up our unhealthy relationship. Our relationship with popular culture, that is.

Being obese is hard. Making a relationship work is hard. Doing both at the same time may seem to be impossible. The last thing we need on top of all that effort is to be allowing ourselves to worry about what everyone else thinks. Learning to love yourself first is the key to success in both successful relationships and body transformation.

Tell me, does paging through Cosmopolitan make you love yourself more? Maybe it is time to put the magazine down.

Does watching the television commercial telling you that the only way to demonstrate your love is a ring costing several thousand dollars make you feel secure? If not, change the channel.

You might have had a lovely Valentine’s Day yesterday, filled with love and flowers and romantic gestures. Good for you!

You might have spent the day yesterday in uneasy silence with your partner or spent it by yourself. Good for you, too!

We are all worthy of love. And the most important love is the love we need to have for ourselves. Indeed, all other love flows from that relationship.

My fondest wish for you today is that you learn to love yourself. Look in a mirror today and say “I deserve love.”

Keep on practicing until you mean it.

Much Love,

Jeremy

 

What “Oops” Really Means

The Dangers of Over-Training

It all started so innocently. What harm, I thought, could a little change in my workout routine do?

It Isn’t The Fall That Kills You…

Last Thursday we made a change to our routine. Instead of our usual weightlifting, we spent some time working with a medicine ball, tossing it at each other. Got a great feeling of arms/back/shoulders work, really felt it the next day. I went home feeling pretty excited about injecting some variety into our workouts.

Friday the day was just gorgeous. So, instead of heading to the gym, we went down to the Bosque (the forest on either side of the river, for those who don’t know the term.) We walked a couple of miles. I should have been doing day 3 of my C25K routine, but figured “I’ll just pick it up tomorrow”.

On Saturday, we somehow never made it to the gym at all. When it became apparent it wasn’t going to happen, we both swore solemnly that, no matter what, Sunday we would get there.

…It Is The Sudden Stop At The End

Have you ever tried to squash three missed days of gym activity into one Sunday morning?

I have. I don’t recommend it.

I don’t think that changing up your routine is a bad thing. In fact, it is an excellent way to “shock” your muscles into development.

Getting outdoors for exercise is a great way to keep your routines fresh.

Skipping a day periodically is certainly allowable. We have real lives, and can’t be slaves to our workout routines.

Doing all three back-to-back-to-back, then trying to make up for lost time in a single day? Yeah, not so much.

Today, I am absolutely crushed and hurting from attempting (and failing) to pull off a C25K workout in the same day that I made up for two skipped weightlifting days. It was a bad idea, and I doubt I really got a whole lot out of it, ultimately.

Work Out With Your Head AND Your Muscles

So, what should I have done? Just picked one day, worked through that routine, and chalked the rest up to experience.

It would almost certainly have been a net gain, compared to the impaired workouts I am going to have today and tomorrow from over-training yesterday.

As it is, I am just going to re-start Week 4 of my C25K tomorrow, rather than try to pick up where I left off. I would prefer that my C25K be synchronized with my workweek, instead of starting week 5 of my C25K on day 4 of my “real” week, if that makes any sense.

Ah, well. We live, we lift, and we learn.

I wonder what that sounds like in Latin?

I Am Hurtin’ For Certain,

Jeremy

(Fiction Friday): Why No One Wants To Visit Ash Falls

Why No One Wants To Visit Ash Falls

I mean, I get it, sort of. Ash Falls is a creepy place. Maybe not included in everyone’s immediate travel plans. Corrupt cops, demonic entities, vampires and werewolves…maybe it doesn’t sound like an ideal destination for a family vacation.

Free Means Free

Even so, I am puzzled by the fact that thus far only 6 people have signed up for our contest. I check my reader numbers daily. (Bloggers are kind of obsessive that way.) I know how many people have viewed Misdirected since the contest opened – 101, to be exact. And, out of 100 people, only 6 are interested in getting free stuff? Obviously, I have not clearly explained what is happening over at Fiction Vortex.

Fiction Vortex is leading the charge in serialized fiction. Instead of waiting for your favorite author to put out a new book every year (Or 5 years, ahem, George R.R. Martin), you get a new “episode” involving your favorite characters once a month. This is not getting a book chopped into 10 pieces. This is more like watching a television show like “Arrow”, or “The Blacklist” – each episode exists within a larger story arc, but has storylines that are resolved or moved along in each episode.

The cool thing is, with multiple authors in each setting, you are getting a new episode within that setting every week. If you find a setting you like, you sign up, settle in,  and never run out of things to read again. Your stories are never further away than your phone, computer or tablet.

A Universe Of Options

Now, here is the cool things about the giveaway we are running: you don’t have to spend the $10 in credit on the products being released in the Ash Falls storyverse. If ghosts and vampires in Oregon aren’t your thing, you’ve got options.

Like galaxy-spanning sci-fi? We’ve got that. Stories of desperate souls attempting to escape their wrongful imprisonment? Yup, got that too. How about dark conspiracies and hacktivism? Oh, man, we’ve got you covered there. And we are adding new authors and storylines constantly.

If you have the slightest interest in reading fiction, you are doing yourself a disservice by not signing up for our current drawing. Even if you think your chances of winning aren’t great, they sure as heck aren’t bad at this point. And successful contests lead to more contests, leading to more opportunities to win, etc.

What Are You Waiting For? Sign Up!

Seriously, $10 in Fiction Vortex credit will buy you 10 different episodes. That works out to around 100,000 words – an entire novel. Heck, go buy an entire novel if you win. Or, buy 10 different Episode #1s from 10 different stories. Explore until you find the stories that speak to you. (That’s what I did, back before I was a Fiction Vortex author.)

But, whatever you do, don’t get left out. Free stuff is free stuff, man. And who doesn’t like free stuff? Drop your email address in the box up and to the right and get in on this thing while the odds are still good!

Puzzled But Hopeful,

Jeremy