Resistance Training

So, over the weekend, I ended up adding a little extra weight to my exercise regimen. No, I didn’t have an all-you-can-eat pizza party last week or anything like that. No, what I did instead was this:

Some background: Vixen, the dog pictured above, has had a very sore butt for over a year now. It is so sore that she will not use the bathroom unless “helped” by taking her for a walk. So, for over a year now, I have been having to walk her every single day. She seems to equate being walked on a leash with taking care of her digestive business, so she spends a few moments in discomfort, then continues on her way, happily exploring the neighborhood. Weird.

Now, before the howls of outrage start, we have already taken her to the vet. Several times in the last year. The vets are just as mystified as we are as to what the problem is. In fact, we are going back to the vet’s office today to pick up yet another medication to try on her to see if we can bring her some permanent relief.

Back to the picture above: our walks had typically been just under half a mile – just around the block where we live works out to .44 miles. This has been pretty much the only type of exercise I have been able to do, and even something this minor has tended to take me about 20 minutes, putting me on pace for a leisurely 1.2 miles/hour walking speed. Carrying 300 pounds around any distance is hard.

However, since Lor joined our walks and I started the pre-surgical diet the walks have been getting a little longer (and a little faster) every day. Yesterday morning, we made the decision that we were going to try a new, slightly longer route. Everything was going swimmingly until, at about 1.2 miles in, Vixen sat down, and refused to go any further. She had enough walking for one day, thank you very much.

Undaunted, we stuffed her in the backpack and walked the rest of the way home. I was surprised at how calm she was – just sorta hanging out, watching the sights, no resistance or struggle at all. I was also surprised at how much I felt a 5 pound Chihuahua on my shoulders and back. You wouldn’t think 5 pounds would amount to much, but boy did I know she was there. Guess it is time to start adding some push-ups to the old fitness routine.

If you have a family dog and are finding it difficult to get motivated to start a daily workout, walking your dog is a perfect entry point. Every single day I have had no choice but to get up off my ass and take her for a cruise around the neighborhood. I am allowed no excuses, no “I don’t feel like going to the gym today”, no other lame arguments as to why I shouldn’t get active on any particular day – the dog has to be walked, and that is that. Though I feel bad for her butt-related problems, I am also kind of grateful that this has forced mobility on me all this time – I might be at 350+ if I had not been doing any physical activity at all. Now there is a sobering thought.

Wondering What Will Happen When We Get To 5 Miles A Day,

– Hawkwind

Top 10 Things I Won’t Miss About Being Obese

“Normal-sized” people, you might just want to skip ahead a couple of paragraphs. You are totally not going to get this. And, also, easily offended or delicate people might just want to wait for tomorrow’s post. ‘Cause I am about to get uncomfortably real in here.

My fellow members of the Fat Person’s Association, have you ever pulled that trick where you put both hands under your belly fat, lift it up, and then rest it on a convenient table/bar/desk? Don’t you just revel in how good it feels on your back and shoulders not having that weight there for just a minute? Yeah, me too. Pretty sure Lor has never done it, and I certainly wouldn’t do it in front of her since I would then have to spend the next hour disinfecting whatever surface I had performed this on. But, man, for just a moment it feels less painful to be obese.

This morning, after I (hypothetically) performed this maneuver so I could breathe for a minute, I was struck by how weird it was. And how much I am not going to miss doing this, and so many other weird things I only do because I am fat. Which leads me to…

Hawkwind’s Top 10 Things I Won’t Miss Post-Surgery

10. Tying Shoes: If you are of a normal size, this is something you probably don’t give a moment’s thought to. The shoe is untied, you bend over, tie it up, and you are on your way. Doesn’t work that way for me. I am so overweight that I can not see, much less reach my toes. I also have two arthritic knees. So, tying shoes for me involves sitting down, lifting a leg as high as I can, stretching my arm down to grab it by the ankle, then lifting it up to rest over one knee. THEN I can tie a shoe. Repeat for the other side.

Mostly, I wear slip-ons these days.

9. Creaking Furniture: Getting into a piece of furniture designed for a normal human frame is a challenge. I lower myself ever so gingerly onto whatever I am sitting down on, listening to the creaks and groans of structure not designed to hold this much weight, hoping it doesn’t buckle and leave me on the floor in a pile of wood fragments.Getting into bed is even worse, as my bedframe screeches and groans like an F-150 being used to transport a killer whale.

Those computer desk chairs that are supposed to last 10 years? I’ve been through 3 of them since 2010.

8. Gasping For Air: The story is the same, no matter where I am. Walking the dog. Getting groceries from the store to the car. Walking from one end of the house to the other (and we have a SMALL house). I am invariably gasping and wheezing as if I had a 20-year long 2-pack-a-day smoking habit. Any exertion at all and I am gasping like a fish, huffing and puffing like an old steam locomotive. Yes, I know I live at 5,500 feet, but once upon a time I didn’t have this problem.

7. Living In The Slow Lane: Speaking of walking the dog, I used to think there was nothing worse than walking the chihuahua and not being able to keep up with her. I was wrong. Now that Lor is walking as well, I have two expectant faces looking back at me from half a block away, waiting for me to catch up. No matter where I go or with whom, you can guarantee I will be the caboose, trying valiantly to catch up and failing.

6. Not Looking In Mirrors:  As I detailed yesterday – when you are in my condition, mirrors are not your friend. You look away, you focus on another part of the room, you do whatever you can to avoid seeing yourself by accident. Whatever it takes, I do not look directly at the melting snowman covered in flesh that I have become.

5. “I Can’t Believe I Ate The Whole Thing”: Fellow members of the FPA, you’ve all been there with me. The entire bag of Doritos. The whole Chocolate Cream Pie. The 5th trip through the line at your favorite all-you-can-eat place. Followed immediately by the soul-crushing guilt. How did I eat all that? What is wrong with me? The astonished looks on the faces of your dining companions don’t help, so we tend to do this kind of thing at home. In front of the TV. In the dark. With the blinds closed. At least we can go to bed afterward and tell ourselves that “Tomorrow I’ll do better.”

But we never do, do we?

4. Eye Contact: Once upon a time, before I became a code monkey, I was a hell of a salesman. Firm grip, sincere tones, and most importantly – solid eye contact. When the potential customer had to look away from my gaze, I knew I had won.

Yeah, I let Lor handle our face-to-face negotiations now. Because I can not maintain eye contact with anyone for any length of time. I see the disgust, or the loathing, or worse yet the pity reflected in their eyes. “Poor guy – if only he would learn to put down the ice cream and pick up a barbell.” Yeah, I know you are thinking it, buddy. I want to grab them by the shoulders and yell “It’s not that simple!”

But I don’t. ‘Cause, you know, eye contact.

3. Dressing: Oh my God, where to even begin here. My wife is a clothes hound. Color, form, and fit – these things are so important to her. But, unlike me, she still has a figure. I look like a potato with legs. So, I wear the loosest pants I can find (so I can breathe). I no longer tuck in shirts, accepting looking like a slob in the hopes that this will help disguise my fat. (Hint: It doesn’t work.) I don’t worry about colors, or fabrics, or matching – I care only that I can fit things around my corpulent frame. Lor constantly tries to convince me that I would feel better about myself if I worked more on my personal appearance.

I constantly tell Lor that you can’t shine shit.

2. Going to the Bathroom: This might be a good point to get young children and easily offended people safely moved to other activities. Because going to the bathroom in my condition sucks. As a man, you’re supposed to be able to urinate standing up. As a morbidly obese man, this becomes an issue. Why? Because your fat obscures your genitalia, that’s why.  If you urinate standing up without making some pretty serious weight-bearing adjustments, you will be peeing on the back side of your fat pouch. Not fun.

So, no matter what operation I am performing, I have to do it sitting down. Now, have you ever been in the position of estimating the opening on a toilet? Because I certainly have. With so much mass it is very easy to “miss” your placement and make a mess at the front end or back end. I do everything I can to just take care of my business at home.

Plus, not all toilets are terribly stable. See issue # 9.

1. Fat Person Sex: Oh, man. The sexual life of an obese person is not a happy one. When you lay 300+ pounds on top of another person, it is not commonly thought of as pleasurable. Mostly it is thought of as “death by asphyxiation”. Flip things around, and your partner gets to listen to you wheezing like a dying animal while watching waves of fat rippling across your body like sand dunes being blown across the Sahara. Sounds really sexy, right? Yeah, not to mention the fact that male obesity also carries along with it depressed testosterone levels – not only are you less interested, but you are less able to do anything about it when you are interested.

Yeah, not going to miss that one bit.

Many people I have chatted with pre-surgery are still on the fence about the whole process. They worry about reduced diet, about social stigma, about being killed or damaged on the operating table. And, while their concerns are valid, I am ready to get going on this surgery thing, even considering my fear of hospitals.

Becuase I am mainly worried about leaving fat residue on the kitchen table from “resting” there for a minute.

Breaking Out The 409 (‘Cause Lor Is Gonna Read This),

– Hawkwind

To Climb The Impossible Climb

I had mentioned I married a sadist, yes?

Over the weekend, Lor had a dream. Inspired by our recent hike out in “the real world”, she decided that we should head out to one of the better trail heads here – the ones maintained by the city – and climb up into the foothills. Accordingly,  I gathered up a walking stick, some water, and a Chihuahua, and we drove up to the base of the Embudo Trail, about 4 miles from our house. Once there, Lor spotted our goal for the day. (See picture above.)

 

All she wanted to do was climb to the top of that thing. Up the Embudo Trail, a mere 1.5 miles each way, to the Embudo Springs and back. Only 2,000 feet of elevation change over sandy terrain, certain to be filled with coyotes and rattlesnakes. What could go wrong?

 

I shouldn’t have worried about the coyotes and the snakes – they sat along the sides of the trail and laughed as I passed by, huffing and puffing all the way. Ten minutes in I felt like I had been walking for days – thighs quivering, calves burning, ready to lay down and quit, and maybe die while I was at it. I have religiously walked our dog every day around our neighborhood for months, refusing to reduce my mobility anymore, so I thought I could deal with a little hike up into the mountains. Let me tell you – it is a whole different thing walking uphill through sand than it is walking on pavement through a mostly level neighborhood.

 

Lor and Vixen were patient, but maybe a third of the way up the trail, I was done. I collapsed on the side of the trail, where Lor unmercifully took this motivational shot of me:

 

Didn’t know they had whales in the desert.

 

From now on, all I have to do when I don’t want to exercise is look at this picture. I may make it the background on my phone. I look truly, truly hideous. My earlier article, filled with platitudes about how feeling good is more important than looking good? Still valid, but looking this bad makes me feel bad. I want to ask “What happened to me?”, but I know damn well what happened to me. Take 10 years of Shiner Bock, add 1 year of Depakote, then layer on 12 years of fear that exercise will cause seizures. Stir briskly, drink it down, and you, too, can look like this!

 

On the way back down my legs were quivering piles of jelly, no longer really working correctly. I got to the car safely nonetheless, and pulled out my phone to see exactly what I had done for the day:

 

 

 

Please note – we completely missed the trail. We’ll do better next time.

 

 

1 mile, straight up and straight down, in 52 minutes. I can’t remember the last time I walked a mile in the mountains. I can’t remember the last time I exercised for 52 minutes.  Maybe there is something to this outdoor hiking thing after all. I just have to tell myself I will do better next time.

 

Oh, yes – there will be a next time. The background photo on my phone tells me so.

 

Still Recovering,

– Hawkwind

Do the Math

My mind is on numbers this morning. Since I am a poor mathematician, this can only lead to ruin and despair, but that is what I am thinking about nonetheless. Whether calculating percentage of weight loss from my highest point (5.5%, last time I checked), how much money is in the bank account ($26, last time I checked), or how many wins the Diamondbacks are going to need to capture the West this year (I am thinking 94, the division has gotten a whole lot tougher), an endless parade of numbers, equations and statistics are marching across my brain this morning. So, since that is where we are at, let’s use it, shall we?

The first post on Misdirected took place back on July 7, 2010. (I refer to the blog as being 3 years old because there were two massive breaks in there, each lasting over a year) In that time, we have had 16,300 page views. So far, so good, right? Well, dig this number: a full 1,449 of those page views have happened within the last 31 days. Basically, since we stopped talking about games and started talking about the upcoming Gastric Sleeve surgeries. Almost 10% of our total activity, over three-ish years of posts, has taken place in the last month. I am amazed and humbled that so many people are so interested in what Lor and I are doing here to get ourselves healthy, joining us on our “weight-loss journey” as they like to call it. Thank you for your interest and your support!

Some other numbers: Yesterday Lor dragged Vixen and I up into the foothills above Albuquerque for a hike. We managed a half hour hike, covering just under 1 mile, dodging cactus and coyote poop all the way. But, it was exactly what we needed – here in the American Southwest we are surrounded by gorgeous landscape just waiting to be explored, and instead I have been daily walking the dog around the blocks of our neighborhood. Very flat, very stable, very boring. As an additional “benefit”, today I feel like I was doing a legs day at the gym yesterday – very sore every way I move my lower body. Hiking up and down elevation engages all those stabilizer muscles and unused muscle groups that the trainers at the gym love to talk about. We need to add this to our regular schedule at least once a week, at least until we can afford to get mountain bikes. Then things are really going to change!

One last number I’ve been thinking about is a weight-loss goal number. At my initial meeting with my surgeon, I was so stunned to hear that I should be under 200 pounds again after the post-surgical weight loss that I forgot to ask how far under I should expect. Are we talking 199? Or more like 180?I have every intention of beginning weight lifting again as soon as I am physically able and am very curious what kind of “build” I should expect. I mean, are we talking Dustin Pedroia from the Red Sox? Or more like Maurice Jones-Drew from the Jacksonville Jaguars/Oakland Raiders? ‘Cause enquiring minds want to know, and all that.

I had better give this subject a rest before I start counting fingers and toes and Chihuahuas. Thanks again to the readers of Misdirected – nothing has made me happier than sharing these experiences with you all.

10 and 10 and 2, In Case You Were Wondering,

– Hawkwind