Monday, August 17, 2009

It's the Little Things

I went out to eat with friends on Saturday night. One of the attendees has not seen me in a few months, and when she arrived (she was the second of our group to arrive), I called out her name. She looked around to see who was calling, so I called again. This time she looked at me and verified that she was the person whose name I was calling. I told her I knew that and jokingly told her my name. She looked closer and studied my face, and finally it dawned on her that I was who I said I was.

That was a great feeling! Apparently, losing 190 pounds is noticeable.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

My Life Story

I've decided to try to note my history. If family members see it, I may piss some of them off, I may give them info that they didn't know before, but I think my life has some great stories in it. If you're interested, go to

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I'm not even original anymore

This afternoon, I found myself feeling a bit, well, empty of thought. I keep thinking that something must come to me at some time, but it just isn't happening. Then I thought I'd come here, post something, and just hope there was some meaning to say. I wanted to use the heading, "I have nothing to say," but as I started typing that, I found that I've used that entry before.

Oh, well, I still don't have a thing to say, but I've now spent better than a paragraph even relaying that thought.

It's Thursday, which means it's pool night, but even that isn't an original thought since Tuesday or Wednesday would have been pool nights as well. I'm getting stir crazy. How do other people deal with this feeling? Nothing! Sorry for wasting your time.

Monday, July 27, 2009

3/4 Complete

When I started my weight loss push just over 13 months ago, I knew I was committed to getting it done, but I had experienced that commitment before without the results I'm seeing now. I shall now attempt to pat myself on the back without breaking my arm. Since my start at 440 pounds on 6/23/2008, I am down 181 pounds to 259. All without surgery.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Okay, I haven't posted in quite a while, but life has continued for me.

No, my love life hasn't improved. The woman I love (I sure wish it could be "used to be in love with") has decided she is ready for love again, just not with me. I'll be a victim of love for the rest of my life, I think.

But that wouldn't make me awesome. Let me explain.

Until June of last year, I was fat. And I don't mean that in some cool sort of way, I mean it literally. I was fat. Wait, this is the Internet. I can prove it. Here's a picture of me before the first game played at what is now called University of Phoenix Stadium. It's from August of 2006 before the preseason game against the Steelers.

That's me at 440 pounds. Of course, when you weigh that much, it's hard to find places with scales that can actually weigh you. For me, it was the VA hospital that put me on a scale that, I think, could handle a man in a wheelchair.

This was simply a case of not caring. I wasn't looking for love, my kids didn't look down on me (hey, I'm their dad), and I have a good job. Besides, losing weight would mean losing all the good food I love to eat and probably exercising occasionally. No thank you.

But a tragic thing happened along the way, not to me, but to someone I cared about. Jorge Lopez owned the APA franchise for the Phoenix market. APA (for those who have never heard of it) is a national organization for amateur pool. I started playing in 2003 and have continued ever since. But Jorge was also overweight. His total number of pounds may have been lower than mine, but he was also a physically smaller person, so we had about the same build. Adding to his troubles, Jorge was a smoker and had enjoyed his share of alcohol in his life, two things that were not a part of my life at the time (I don't smoke, but I can enjoy an occasional shot of Patron). In mid-June of 2008, Jorge passed away.

That made me sad, but not enough to change my life. For that, I had to hear the shock of Tim Russert's death. His was not blamed on his weight, but his weight was not properly in check. The two men died 8 days apart from each other.

My youngest was just two months away from starting her college career, and suddenly I worried that I would miss important parts of her life. I decided to change. Sure, I've decided to change at other points in my life, and I failed. Why it worked this time, I'm not sure, but it worked.

Starting on June 23rd, I changed my ways. I altered my eating. Since I knew that I'd still be eating out regularly, and since I've never been good at counting calories, I decided not to do that. Instead, I adopted an attitude of not doing stupid things. My food rules:
  • No ground beef. An occasional steak was fine, but I do not eat ground beef.
  • No cheese intensive foods. This means no pizza, no nachos, no quesadillas.
  • No deep fried foods. No french fries, no potato chips (though I allowed myself baked chips), no buffalo wings (funny side story on the buffalo wings: for the first four months, I didn't know they were deep fried and ate them every Tuesday at Native New Yorker).
  • No desserts. None, zilch, nada. I don't even do "healthy" versions of dessert.

But that's not all. I also decided to start exercising twice a day. I live alone in a three bedroom house, so I converted one of the bedrooms to an exercise room. At first it was a recumbent bike with a portable DVD player on a TV dinner tray. Four months in, the bike was no longer challenging me, so I got an elliptical machine. Two months after that, I added a flat screen TV on the wall and a weight lifting bench. Finally, I put in a universal gym for weightlifting.

Unfortunately, I still shoot pool three nights a week, and I don't get home until around 10:00. Combine that with a 5:30 wake up for the morning exercise, and I didn't have time to exercise in the evening when shooting pool. To eliminate this excuse, I joined Bally Fitness at 59th and Peoria. Now, Tuesday through Thursday, I get my evening exercise halfway between the office and the pool hall.

A couple of months ago, the elliptical machine broke. I priced a new (nice quality) one at Costco for $740, and decided to join a gym near home instead. So now I belong to two gyms having added the Surprise location of Mountainside Fitness.

But what kind of results did I get? I'm certainly not done with this process. At first, the weight seemed to just be melting off. For the first three months, I averaged a pound per day. It's kind of funny, by the way, how you can tell people about all the weight you've lost, and their reaction is often one of offering advice on how to lose more weight. I've learned how to politely ignore since then.

There have been plateaus. I hovered at 300 pounds for quite a while around the time of the Super Bowl, but I was so happy to be only 300 at the time since it meant I fit on all the roller coasters at Universal's Islands of Adventure.

But then came another incentive, this one in the form of competition. My gym has a contest going to see who can lose the most weight (and inches at the belly button) during the period of July 1 through September 30. I intend to win. Since the contest started, I'm down another 14 pounds (in 20 days), and as of today, I'm at 262. A more recent photo doesn't exist yet, but I'll find one eventually.

Now to fix my love life.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Recognizing that there is likely only one person who ever reads these entries (me, of course), I feel the need to do a little virtual bloodletting. Perhaps the experience will allow me to move on from the dead end my life seems to be and move on to more productive pursuits. For that matter, the new year is a reasonable time to attempt to move in a different direction.

I've long had a strange envy of people I have no respect for. Odd as that may sound, it's rooted in the apparent ease with which some people are able to manipulate the emotions of others to their own advantage, a talent which I lack.

While the emotion of love is the easiest to relate to (and the one which motivates me currently), this is by no means the only arena where people of this ilk are likely to thrive. And to some extent, it appears that a lack of concern for the feelings of others improves the ability to succeed in those areas where I wish I had more pull.

It's summed up in the adage, "Nice guys finish last." But damn it, I'm a nice guy. I don't say this to be overly self-complimentary, but to focus on the failing that limits my options in life. My status as "nice" is undisputed. The ex-wife who left me recognized it as a failure of my persona in that being nice precludes being dangerous or exciting. Our marriage failed (in my opinion) due to the distinct lack of excitement between us. While both of us were to blame, I cannot ignore my complicity, but I also must protest that this is simply a trait that I must learn in order to possess.

But that's old news. The marriage ended 14 years ago, and I stopped pining for my lost love only a year after its demise.

No, the current headache is in relation to the one I am in love with now. She's an amazing person who sees me socially but is not similarly in love with me. She knows my feelings and loves me in a more platonic sense, but clearly she does not welcome my romantic feelings. I've known her for quite a few years and have harbored feelings for most of that time, but this was not convenient since she was married to another. That guy was the sort of whom I am envious. Put simply, he is a jerk. He mistreated his wife, his relationship and continues to mistreat their children. Yet this is the man for whom she devoted over a decade of her life.

I never revealed my feelings for her while she was married, and had she never divorced, she would be oblivious to them even now. And now she is in no position to love me or anyone else thanks to the years of damage done to her by this, well, jerk.

I keep telling myself that in time, she'll come to love me in the way that I want her to, but I'm either impatient or too aware that success will never come. You see, I am a nice guy. I live comfortably, I'm loving, I'm a great dad, and I'm completely devoted to her happiness. And while I have to admit that I'm not a great looking guy, I'm also not grotesque, and I don't think this is a driving factor for her. But I am of the opinion that if she was inclined to ever love me, it would have happened by now, and her feelings for me would have made her frustration over her dissolved marriage a moot point.

But that just isn't in the cards. Whew. That was not cathartic in the least. Something needs to change, I just don't know exactly what.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

A Quiet Life

I have a rich life.

I have family who love me as a father, a grandfather, a son, a brother, an uncle. I have friends I can count on who don't condition their friendship on what I do for them. I have interests that occupy my time two nights a week and Sundays during football season.

Still, I was home on Monday night looking at the Christmas decorations I had set up. I turned all of them on and watched as the train toured my living room, the monorail visited the Disney landmarks on my living room floor, and lights made my home as merry as one could imagine.

It was so depressing, therefore, to contemplate sitting in the house, alone, looking at all these reminders of friends and family.

Yeah. I think I need a good cry to get this out of my system.