My Thoughts on #MeToo

 

My Thoughts on #MeToo While I was away house-sitting, a social revolution erupted. Harvey Weinstein got himself deposed on the basis of his assaults on women. This led to a Net-wide discourse on sexual assault and harassment, which was topped off by Alyssa Milano creating the following Tweet on Twitter:

And the Internet exploded.

Hiding In Plain Sight

I’ve seen many a Twitter trend in my years near the platform. But I don’t know that I have ever seen one with such a broad demographic. Many authors I follow “Me-Too”-ed. But so did many of my friends, who’ve never mentioned it to me before. My wife, of course, was not hesitant to #MeToo, given some of the horrendous experiences she has endured over the years. But many of my female family members were also not silent, with aunts and cousins all speaking up about this shared awful experience. My own mother, for heaven’s sake, felt compelled to add her voice. Where there had been nothing, suddenly a tribe was forming through a public statement of two words. It was like watching a vast army erupt from nothing, all united against the foes that had spent so long hiding in plain sight.

I saw a few men, both gay and heterosexual, attempt to jump on board as well, I also read a few well-reasoned opinion pieces on why maybe they should remain silent. Their experiences are no less valid, of course – but this was, at its heart, a battle cry of millions of women who have been victimized by a system of male hierarchy and dominance. In my mind, this would be like joining a symposium on breast cancer and spending time talking about epilepsy. It is not that the subject is less valuable – it is just that this is not the time or place for that subject to be aired.

By The Way, #MeToo

I say that because I do not want my own silence in the Twitter uprising to be misunderstood. I will stand by and watch (and cheer) as these women gather together and recognize their numbers and their strength. Who knows what they will do with such a powerful consensus? In an age when an admitted sexual predator holds our nation’s highest office, there is no better time for these women to stand together and speak together with a single voice, demanding change.

However, Misdirected is my personal forum, and here I am perfectly comfortable saying whatever I wish. With those caveats in mind, here goes:

#MeToo

It was 1991, and I was only 21 years old. Those who know me know the department store I was working for at the time. An extremely aggressive female supervisor began making flirtatious advances. Then unwanted physical contact. And eventually began proposing sexual acts. I attempted to back off on the basis of my marriage and my religious beliefs. She was unmoved and unrelenting, being also married herself.

My male co-workers were of no help. Their opinion was unanimous: “Dude, you should just hit that.” Most were baffled as to why I would turn this woman down in the first place. My female friends at the store were sympathetic, but had some bad news for me: “You’re just going to have to put up with it.” They had, of course, been dealing with this kind of behavior from their supervisors for their entire careers.

Desperate, I spoke to the store manager. (There was no HR department to chat with in those days.) He grimaced, turned red, and said something to the effect of: “Yeah, Jeremy, sorry, but…no one is going to believe you.”

I quit the next day.

You Go, Girls

So, ladies, thank you for stepping up and stepping forward. I applaud your courage and your self-worth. And I can only hope that, out of this movement, changes will come.

The kind of changes that a single young man was not able to make because no one would ever believe him.

Sound familiar?

Stay Strong,

Jeremy

…And Here We Are Again

Jason Aldean Quote

I had a blog post ready to roll this morning. A charming little piece, talking about back-sliding and goal setting. Just the thing to inaugurate our re-focus on all things fitness here at Misdirected.

And I woke up this morning to a Facebook report from a close friend who had been at the Jason Aldean concert in Las Vegas last night. “Active shooter situation Mandalay Bay dozen or more shot shooters on 32nd floor…confirmed one officer down with GSW to neck.”

The Morning Brings No Answers

His post was dated seven hours ago. First, I confirmed that he was ok – he was still posting to FB as of a couple of hours ago, so I can breathe a sigh of relief that someone I really care about – someone who has been a surrogate son to Lor and me – is currently out of harm’s way. I quickly checked to see if my cousin, who also lives in Vegas, had checked in. Using the Facebook “Safety Check” he, too, had declared himself safe. Another sigh of relief.

Then, turning to CNN, I found out that a whole lot of other loved ones are not OK this morning.

Deadliest Mass Shooting in US History.” I won’t repeat the details here. I am no journalist, and you can get far better info than I can give you. But, once again, a single person (apparently) has decided to act upon their rage by attacking a large group of innocent people.

I don’t know what this person’s motivations were. In truth, I don’t particularly care. There is no motivation that justifies attacking thousands of people whose only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. (Yes, that sounds like Queensryche, and no, I don’t particularly give a damn about that either right now.)

One man. More than 8 rifles. Thousands of fans enjoying Jason Aldean.

And now we have more than 50 people dead, and better than 400 injured.

And, today, my own perspective has shifted. These weren’t just random strangers I feel sort of vaguely bad about. My own family members were among those in harm’s way last night.

A Harsh Slice Of Reality

And the damnable thing is, I am a gun owner.

My guns are securely locked up in a gun safe miles away, but they are still mine.  I am part of what gets referred to as “gun culture” in the U.S.

You know, the same culture that works tirelessly to protect the rights of people who want to haul multiple rifles into a hotel room in Las Vegas.

I am sure that, as the days and weeks roll on, we are going to hear about the various laws that are already on the books that this shooter broke. The new gun control laws that would have had no effect, the existing laws that weren’t properly enforced…all the usual tropes and quotes that emerge after another mass shooting.

Yeah, there’s the rub right there, isn’t it? “Another mass shooting.”

And, in response, the families of nearly 500 people will be asking why something wasn’t done to protect their loved ones.

Kurt and Jeremiah, I am so thankful that you are safe.

But half a thousand other families have nothing to be thankful for this morning.

The gun control debate is about to get rolling again, and I am no longer sure I am on the right side of it.

Pray For Las Vegas,

Jeremy

 

I Am Officially Certifiable

Ace Personal Trainer Certificate

The rain was drizzling down not unlike Boston or Seattle when we pulled in the driveway last night. We had spent 12 of the last 36 hours in the car and were worn down to nearly nothing. I shuffled over to the front door, unlocked it, then listlessly flopped open the mailbox, only to discover a certificate sized-envelope from ACE Fitness.

I then spent the next ten minutes running around the house in glee, shouting “It’s here! It’s here!”, much to the consternation of the puppies and the exhausted amusement of Lor. Funny, that.

Recognition In An Envelope

I eventually calmed down enough to open the envelope, and was able to spend a few moments basking in the glow of my achievement. There, in my hands, suitable for framing, was my ACE Fitness Personal Trainer Certificate.

You might find my enthusiasm a little odd. I’ve just finished getting my first book published. I’ve spent the last 14 months losing nearly half my body weight. Why all the excitement about a professional certification?

Mainly because I wasn’t sure I could manage to earn the certification.

My novel is very exciting. Losing 130+ pounds has been life-changing. But the certification…it involved using my brain. Extensively. Including parts that don’t work so well anymore – mainly my memory. I can barely remember my own name half the time. And I was supposed to learn enough to get through a 150 question exam? On subjects that I knew almost nothing about?

Remember, I am the guy that flunked out of Biology twice in High School.

So, yeah. This is a really, really big deal for me.

Base Camp Achieved

Let’s take a look back in the rear-view mirror, shall we?

In September of 2015, I was morbidly obese. I weighed almost 300 pounds, and the majority of life was barred from me.

 

In September of last year, I was 2 months out from bariatric surgery. I was down to 224 pounds and was beginning to think that I had achieved my weight loss goals.

And as of last night, I am professionally certified to assist others with their own fitness journeys. How about that?

If the “weight-loss” journey is like climbing a mountain, I can safely say I’ve reached a major base camp before tackling the higher parts of the ascent.

I needed a publisher to get my novel written. I needed an awesome medical team to get me started losing weight. But I had to take that ACE Fitness exam all by myself. With a broken brain, no less.

This achievement was personal.

The Climb Goes Ever Upwards

So, I am a certified professional. Now I am going to start taking on clients and building a practice, right?

Well, no. Not exactly.

I began my CPT training largely due to Misdirected. I kept fielding questions. About diet. Or about exercise. Maybe pertaining to obesity and surgery and genetics and fat-shaming.

And I did my best to answer these questions, I really did. But, anytime someone would ask me what my qualifications were, I would have to say something like “Well, I used to weigh a lot more…”

I realized that I was going to have to expand my scope of knowledge, and in an organized way. Certified education seemed to make the most sense. Since I am mainly dealing with questions about day-to-day life, becoming a personal trainer just made the most sense.

When creating content for Misdirected, I now have the backing of an international organization with 65,000+ healthcare professionals to draw on. I can look through my manuals, check online training, or chat with fellow trainers. I feel much more secure now, creating content from the perspective of a trained professional.

Also, this isn’t the end of my education. My intention all along has been to specialize in working with obese patients, especially those who are looking into or who have just gone through bariatric surgery. There is additional training available for me to broaden my knowledge in those fields. And I will be pursuing it, as time goes by.

A Laser-Like Focus

Also, now that I’ve split my fiction news off to a whole new website at the Ash Falls Gazette, Misdirected can get back to what it does best. We will return to exclusively focusing on weight loss, exercise, diet, and the occasional “this is my life” post. Many of you have requested that change, and here it is.

I am very excited to have made it this far with all of you! I look forward to our continued growth as a weight-loss and lifestyle change resource for you.

We’ll see you here next week. To stay plugged in throughout the week, remember to follow us on Twitter @tjschofield or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tjeremyschofield.

Keep Putting One Foot In Front Of The Other,

Jeremy C. Schofield

ACE Certified Professional Trainer

 

Boise Book Fest 2017

Boise Book Fest 2017

Howdy, readers! Bet you thought I had abandoned you, right?

But, no, actually I have been a little busy. First, I was sick as a dog. Then, after I recovered, I had to start preparing for the BIG IMPORTANT EVENT coming up in my life…

I am going to the Boise Book Fest. In Boise (duh), where I have never been. To hang around with the folks from Fiction Vortex, who I will be meeting in person for the first time.

But, most importantly, I will be going to Boise as an author. Like, of my very own book.

The Dream Is Real

As anyone who follows me on Facebook, Twitter, or here knows, I have been waiting for Inheritance to get published for several months now. And it turns out the book got to FV headquarters a couple of days ahead of schedule. (Our pre-order period is still in effect, though: 4 more days till the 15th, then they go up to full price!)

And, with that, I am officially “official.” Even if I never write another word of fiction (not likely), I will forever be a professional fiction author. People are actually paying to read a story I wrote.

How about that?

I was discussing this with my writing group over the weekend. Authors have very strange egos, consisting of multiple personalities. On the one hand, we think so much of the stories in our heads that we want to share them with the world. Egotism, maybe? Narcissistic personality disorder, possibly?

But, after the stories are created, we are inevitably crushed with self-doubt. Everything else we read is so much better than anything we could ever create. Why on Earth would anyone want to read what we have written? Much less pay for it?

I don’t know if I will ever cease being surprised when someone buys a copy of Inheritance. Check in with me after I’ve sold a few hundred thousand copies.

Into The Wild Blue Wonder

And so, it is with equal parts excitement and trepidation that I am planning on getting on a plane to head to Idaho.

For one thing, I am just flat out excited to go somewhere I’ve never been before. I love to travel and haven’t done much of it the past several years.

On the other hand, I’ll be sharing oxygen with several other, much more successful authors at this conference. That is a bit intimidating. Part of me wants to soak up brain-share from those who have Been There and Done That.

The other part of me wants to be recognized as an equal, fellow author.

I mentioned the split-personality thing previously, right?

Conferences are supposed to opportunities for learning. You should be spending your time in workshops, metaphorically sitting at the feet of the masters of the craft. Time should be invested in networking and making important contacts. If the opportunity presents itself you might meet a publisher or an agent who is interested in a potential project.

I, however, will be spending my time behind the Fiction Vortex table, explaining episodic fiction and trying to sell my books. Since I may have overestimated demand for our samplers on my initial order by about half a case’s worth.

Still, I will be doing even my sales routine as the author of a real, live book. Of my very own. That I totally wrote.

Who am I kidding? I am as giddy as a preteen at a One Direction concert.

One Direction is still a thing, right? I haven’t been paying attention – I’ve been busy writing a book.

Boise Here I Come,

Jeremy

One-Seventy-Nine

Regain. It is a word that strikes terror into the hearts of bariatric patients. An admission that things have not gone as planned, regain means that the changes after surgery have gone off the rails. Regain feels like a failure, and it carries the bitter taste of defeat.

Oh, How Dramatic

All this introduction to explain what flashed through my mind yesterday morning, when I stepped on my scale for my weekly weigh-in, and saw the numbers “179.4” flash up at me. Alarmed, I stepped off the scale. I moved the scale, made sure it was level. Gingerly, I tried again. “179.6.” Yikes! Maybe I wasn’t stepping on the scale exactly in the center. I tried a third time, carefully placing my feet this time. “179.3.”

Thank goodness I wasn’t using the logging feature built into the scale. It would have thought I had weighed in for 3 separate weeks in less than 60 seconds.

Then again…there was a reason I wasn’t using the logging feature, wasn’t there? All week long I had been feeling the malaise. I knew I didn’t feel right. All my shiny new clothes were just a bit too snug.  My suspicion was that I was moving backwards, and now here was proof, glaring at me from the bathroom floor.

Drama. I am making a mountain out of a molehill here, right? Compared to my all-time low a few weeks back of 174 pounds, 179 isn’t that bad, is it?

Yes…and no. The problem is that last week I was at 177, a gain of two pounds from the previous weigh-in. That number I wrote off as statistical variance – you can gain and lose a couple pounds over the course of a day easily. (And this is why it is important to do weekly weigh-ins at the same time every day. Preferably immediately after you wake up.)

But two weeks in a row, both edging upward by a couple pounds? This isn’t statistical variance. This, my friends, is the beginning of a trend.

The Cold Equations

By now, we all know the numbers, right? It all comes back to Resting Metabolic Rate, the number of calories your body burns while sitting around doing not much of anything. If you ingest less than the amount your body needs, you lose weight. If you take in more than your body needs, it gleefully stores the excess as fat.

Diet and exercise, then, are two sides of a balancing act: the weight loss teeter-totter if you will. We eat all day, every day, to provide our bodies with enough energy to keep the vital organs working, to stay upright and moving. But any extra whatsoever will be taken by our treacherous metabolism and stored as fat.

So, we try to go to the gym, to walk, to keep moving somehow to place our bodies into a caloric deficit so that more of that stubborn fat will come off. The body eventually gives up and adjusts, raising the metabolic rate to reflect all this activity.

But, what happens when you slack off at the gym for a couple of weeks because your schedule goes crazy? Without changing your diet to reflect the drop in physical activity?

One-seventy-nine. That’s what happens.

The Non-Alarmist Solution

I freely admit I am being paranoid about this. But I’ve worked pretty darn hard to get here. I’ve had 80% of one of my major organs lopped off, for goodness sake. From walking to running to jumping to lifting heavy objects and putting them down, I have pushed pretty darn hard to get from 302 to 174.

I am not interested in moving backwards.

Now, the last two weeks have been insane, I grant you. My PT certification exam. The publication of my first book. The weekend-long science fiction conference I just attended. I skipped maybe half my gym days. I took some shortcuts in my diet, especially during the Con.

So, now, I get to repair the damage.

This is the point where many of us panic. We freak out over our regain and hit the Big Red Button of diet and exercise changes. We switch to an all protein shake diet. Maybe we try a juice cleanse. We commit to stupid amounts of work at the gym, hoping to undo weeks or months worth of neglect in a few days.

Sadly, it doesn’t work that way. In my case the numbers here are pretty small: I’ve gained about 2.5 pounds a week for two weeks in a row. Happily, I can work on safely losing that amount every week. I can repair the damage in two weeks or so.

Not in a day via a marathon session at the gym. Not in a week by a juice fast. But by taking a safe, methodical approach.

I already know how to exercise every day – I just haven’t done it for two weeks or so. I already know the secret to a healthy diet: buy non-processed foods at a grocery store and prepare them at home. For the next two weeks, if it doesn’t come out of my fridge or my pantry, I don’t eat it. As simple as that.

Resuming The Journey

Success tends to be followed by a downturn of some kind. This is because success requires effort, and effort is tiring. There is nothing wrong with the fact that I have “rested” for a couple of weeks after one of the most stressful periods of my life.

However, I am reminded of a man I know who went through bariatric surgery, trained for a year or so, then ran his first marathon. Six months after the marathon he had regained 30 pounds.

Why? Simple. He took some time off after the marathon (which was fine) and then never started running again (which was NOT fine.)

All backsliding starts with a single step backwards.

Bad habits and lifestyle choices are always waiting for us, at every turn. This is just as true for those who have never had bariatric surgery as for those who have. What you choose to do every morning will determine your success for the weeks and months to come.

And I have another conference coming in only 3 weeks. I’ve got only that long to get my head back in the game. I need to re-develop my discipline, and make sure that the next time I am away from my normal routine for several days that I find ways to incorporate healthy choices.

After all, I don’t want to come back in a month and write an article titled “One-Eighty-Nine.”

I Shudder At The Thought,

Jeremy