Friday, August 12, 2011

Bad Seasons, Good Seasons (Part Two)

(Part One is here)

Since I started working out about 3 or 4 months ago, I have gotten a lot of enthusiastic feedback from friends and family, with everything from, "good job!" to "please just shut up" and "oh god, why won't he shut up?".

Luckily for me, I am a little deranged and both types of responses just encourage me even more.

But I do get a little discouraged that some other people have reacted to their own friends and family who are trying to get fit with snide comments about their being proud and arrogant about it (which someone said to a friend of mine who was excited about gains and improvements they were making).

I myself have desperately wanted to focus on changing my diet and exercise for many years now, but I simply could not do it with my health problems being so incredibly out of control.

I saw fitness as just one part of an overall plan to improve my health and alleviate a severe nerve pain condition, which I talked about in detail in Part One of this writeup, which is essentially a 2-part finale about my first time finishing P90X (the 90 day fitness program).

Every time I would read over the years about someone else who was focusing more on improving diet and exercise, I would mentally file that away as encouragement to set the same goals for myself. I never considered it a competition.

I deliberately chose to never sabotage myself by begrudging or resenting them for their working on getting healthier.

So, for the last 90 days, I kept a semi-regular "diary" online of my chronicle through this first time of doing P90X. I tried to make it silly, sarcastic and amusing, so it would be more than just one paragraph of me repeatedly saying "I worked out this month too - still chubby".

I wanted a journal to look back on and track my progress, make one or two people laugh with me (or laugh AT me, either way is fine) and maybe even spur someone else into focusing on improving their diet and exercise as well.

Barely over 4 months ago, I ran 2 times around the track at the college near my house (1/2 mile) before I felt like I was going to die. It took between 5 and 10 minutes.

A few minutes ago, I ran my first 5K (5.2K or 3.22 miles) which was 13 times around the track. I did it in exactly 28:00 and I actually feel great.

As you can see, I am still conscious and can even write mostly coherent sentences.

That does not mean I was smiling the whole way around the track just now. Or smiling during those hour a day, 6 days a week workouts for the last 90 days. It is work. Hard work.

But it is SO worth it.

Most of my waking hours, I feel much better than I did 4 months ago, with more energy, better moods and even greater mental focus for work.

But the best part of it all was something I secretly had hoped for, yet was still unexpected enough that it sneaked up and surprised me.

About 3 or 4 weeks ago, my doctor ran down a huge list of questions about my pain condition, number of weekly headaches, migraines, etc. I did not realize that for a full month, they had improved dramatically. I forgot they had not bothered me enough for me to pay as close attention to them for several weeks straight. I also had gone a whole month without having to renew my migraine Rx for the first time in years.

I am still in pain. All day. Every day. But it is less.

That fact alone is worth swearing off of doughnuts.

I just have to do the math. I am awake and thus in some level of pain for 16 hours a day. Sometimes more, as it wakes me up during the night.

But the pleasure of the sugar of a doughnut only lasts for a few seconds to a minute and then drags you down for hours and then over the years adds pounds, increased health problems etc.

It's simply a poor investment with miserable returns.

And over time of cutting them out, you begin to remember that fruits and vegetables actually taste AMAZING.

And they also make you feel better for the whole 15 hours, 59 minutes of the day that you are not eating the doughnut. And you'll probably live longer.

I am going to go through the P90X one more time, starting in a few days. I actually ate incredibly better than I ever had this first time, cutting out all junk food, etc. but only followed the specifics of their diet plan about 50 to 75% of the time.

I will follow the diet more closely this time. It's a great investment.

Right before I ordered the DVDs, I made a vow to myself to not miss one single day, unless it was absolutely impossible or injurious to not miss it. I worked for a whole week with a minor injury three separate times. I worked with a burning fever and sickness for a whole week and a half.

The very first day, I finished the hour workout by running to the bathroom and throwing up (good lord, they will NEVER pay me to promote their product...).

But I kept pressing play. Every. Single. Day. Unless it was literally impossible.

Now that I can make it through all of of the P90X videos and even have energy to spare afterwards (which only started happening in the 3rd month), I believe I will benefit from the program even much more by going a second time through.

With cancer, strokes and heart disease having struck both my parents (and their parents) and knowing that I have those genetic predispositions, let alone my own pain condition of over 10 years, I hope to keep this fitness ball rolling and stave off the ill effects of aging, even if it means having an apple instead of a doughnut from now on.

And if I encourage even one person to try out improving their diet and exercise and then they get even a little healthier, feel better and they get to live a slightly longer, better quality life with their loved ones... then I think all my daily blabbing has been worth it.


  1. Thumbs up! I'm glad you came over into health land sooner than later...good job!

  2. Okay clearly I didn't wait until after fit club to read this, cause here I am like 4 minutes after my fb comment. Regardless...I have loved reading every blog post. I am so impressed with your personal dedication, ability to work through the pain and even extra sickness here and there. Your journaling has such candor and honesty and your support for others is heartwarming. They would certainly pay you to promote their product, it's about honesty, hard work, and support. Amazing job on your first 5k, so proud and can't wait for round 2!!! <3 Your Coach <3

  3. wow dude, those pictures are so amazing, you practically look photo-shopped but I've seen you in person and I know the change is legit... too legit to quit, right Pat? :0D

    Good work and keep it going!!!!

    *Jersey Shore Fist Pump* (((wooh!))) (((wooh!))) ((wooh!))) ....knew you'd appreciate that inspirational gesture. ;-)

  4. Jenn - you may or may not already know that I am pretty skilled with Photoshop... I did contests, photo restoration, etc.

    Were I a dishonest man, Photoshop would not have helped P90X make my muscles look bigger in these photos... it would have given me more hair on my head and leveled out my nipples.

    And to think I was shy once.

  5. That was gonna be my main complaint - the unleveled nipples. I mean, if 90 days of working out won't level your nipples, what's the point?