Archive for ‘MEactive’

August 8, 2011

Pucker Up

Here We Are Again

The expression goes “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” but what if you don’t like lemonade?    I am still riding high from the fact that I have a much needed personal trainer and today I received word that he could no longer make himself available for personal reasons. I get it, I have been there. People have to take care of themselves and their families first and he is no different. I applaud him for putting his own health first.

While I am happy for Ian, the bottom line is that I am back to square one. A big giant crate of the best lemons money can buy, and I don’t want more lemonade! In the past, this is exactly the type of thing that would have started me on a pity party. Why does stuff like this always happen to me? Why can’t things just work out? Well because shit happens that’s why. If I back down every time that life presents a challenge, I will never really grow as a person. I see how lucky I am to have the opportunities that I do have and I see examples daily of people who have so much more to overcome than I do.

If They Can, I Certainly Can

I could go on and on with examples of people, even close friends and family even that have much greater health challenges to deal with than I.  In each of their cases it is perseverance and acceptance that allows them to maintain some sort or normalcy in their lives.  It would be almost disrespectful of me to throw my hands in the air and say; “well I guess this was just not meant to be;” and resign myself to the fact that I am overweight and unhealthy.

I have the ability to do something about a good portion of the health issues that I have. No, I cannot re-grow cartilage in my knee, and there is not a lot I can do to reverse the arthritis that is starting to settle into my joints from overuse and carrying a huge load around for many years. I can however, take a considerable about of weight off my body, reduce my pain considerably in the process and be less of a burden on the health system in the long run.

So what am I going to do about it? Make lemonade of course! I have many options available to me at this point. I learned some new stuff in the process of working with my trainer for the last couple of weeks, and I remain very motivated. I can continue to work out on my own and hope to gain the results I am looking for that way. I can connect with some of the other offers that I received previously, and determine if they are still willing to work with me or, I can reach out to some new trainers and see what’s still out there for me.

Half Full It Is

As a recovering optimist, I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and that there is a lesson I need to learn in this situation. What might it be? Will I ever know? That’s not something that I can answer right now. Hindsight has a funny way of showing us what we can draw from any given situation when we are ready to see it. It might be as simple as proving to me that I am a changed man and that I am not going to back down. That I can fall into some adversity, deal with it in a mature way, and try again until I get the desired result.

So to that end, I have contacted a few new trainers, I met with one already tonight who was fantastic, and I will meet with another tomorrow. I just need to have a little faith. To overuse another cliché, one door has closed but if I am paying attention, I am sure to see another open.

Peace,

Leslie

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July 28, 2011

Four Cheeseburgers and a Diet Coke?

Not Tall Enough for 400lbs

Today on Newstalk Radio 1010 in Toronto, I spoke with Jerry Agar about swimming at the Campbell-Wynn’s, working out with Ian Dunn of Ian’s Inferno, and my lifelong struggle with food and weight. Listen by clicking below!

Peace,

Leslie

July 27, 2011

Ian’s The Man!

Ian Dunn of Ian's Inferno

All Fired Up

Thank you Ian Dunn! In the ongoing story that is my recent journey I have started training with a personal trainer.  I recently sent letters to many fitness centres and personal trainers in the area looking to find someone to work with me in exchange for some publicity work. I did receive several very generous offers but Mr. Dunn of Ian’s Inferno seemed like the perfect fit for many reasons. The first thing that caught my attention was Ian’s passion and drive. He immediately sold me on his ability to motivate and inspire. The tone of our initial communications went a long way to grabbing my attention. Once I started to look into Ian’s background and credentials the choice became clear.

Looking through Ian’s website I noticed that he and I had some commonalities. With 17 years as a physics teacher Ian and his own overweight body began a journey get in shape and make a drastic career change. His coming out on the winning end of both of these objectives told me that Ian Dunn is a man that reaches his goals. So when he tells me “We will meet your goals, and we will both benefit from the experience,” I believe him.

Ian was once a 275lb man himself and shaped his body and his life in a way that I would like to emulate. We have started our journey together in earnest and I am already feeling different. In reality, I am sure there is not a lot physically that has happened with two workouts under my belt, but mentally I have not been this fired up about something in some time and I have already learned a lot.

I now have a great compliment of fitness options at my disposal. My hope is to work with Ian 3-4 days a week and continue swimming 3-4 days a week for a truly balanced fitness program. Gratitude is a word I feel like I have been overusing as of late but it is truly the best word to describe how I feel. I am so grateful for the Campbell-Wynn’s coming into my life, and it is with great gratitude that I begin to work with Ian Dunn as well.

As always, I will keep you posted. Here is a little snapshot of where we have started off.

Peace,

Leslie

July 18, 2011

Just Get There

Monday Morning Blah’s

Monday mornings have never been great for me. I have never let them hold me back but I certainly need to give myself an extra kick in the butt to get going. This morning was worse than I have seen in some time in that respect. I just did not want to drag my sorry behind out of bed this morning. Fortunately there were two things that helped get me up and make it happen.

The first was a commitment I had made to take my daughter out to the house I swim at to go horseback riding. The remarkable family there has been making an effort to get my daughter on the horses to learn how to ride and take care of them.  Their 15 year old daughter had offered to give her a lesson this AM and there was no way that I or she was going to let me miss that opportunity. So that would have at least got me to the house.

2-4-6-8 Who Do we Appreciate!

Knowing that it was possible that I would get to there and choose not to swim, I had to take some specific action to ensure I got my much needed exercise. I reached out to get some support, something that I have been poor at in the past. With an attitude of “I can do it myself” or “I don’t need anyone’s help”, I have often seen my good intentions and will power fade, along with my exercise regimen.  As I am convinced that this time will be different, I needed to take some different action.

I texted a friend and was honest with her about my lack of motivation to do my laps.  Wisely she suggested that I not worry about the laps and just commit to getting to the pool and into the water, that’s it.  She also gave me a little bit of cheerleading! In the end, this was the little nudge I needed to get myself out there and into the pool. A little bit of accountability goes a long way too as I knew she was going to ask me how it went.

I got there, and I got myself into the water to warm up, still not certain that I would begin my laps. I told myself just to do two warm-up laps and see how I felt. As soon as the cool water started to move around me and I started to breathe deeply, I was hooked. It really is such an enjoyable experience to be in the water. By the time 60 minutes came around on my timer, I had to make myself stop I was enjoying it so much.

Short Memory

As I sit here five hours later, I am totally free from pain and completely energized. Why is it so hard to remember that the next day when it’s time to get myself back there? If I could take a picture of how I feel right now, I would never need help getting my butt to the pool, sadly I can’t so I will have to continue to take all the help I can get!

June 28, 2011

30 Days Later – Part 1

How We Doin’

As a former business owner and manager it comes instinctively to me to stop frequently through any project and at various milestones to determine what’s working and what’s not working. It’s a perfect time to remove any roadblocks that might hinder continued success.

It has been one month since I first jumped into the pool to start the MElaps portion of my MEfurbishment. I thought it would be as good a time as any to have my first look back to assess how far I’ve come in the first 30 days.

The first thing I did was contemplate the different areas that have been impacted by my starting to swim. There is of course the obvious one, health but upon reflecting on the situation I can see that it goes beyond that. I have seen changes in my physical health as well as my mental health. There are positive things to look at around community, friendships and parenting as well.

Over the next few days I will look at each of these and think about where I have come from and where I am going. Today we will start with the one that most people are most interested in when I bump into them or receive emails, physical health. Here is a quick snapshot of what’s changed in the month.

Physical Health

Improvements

The most obvious change has been in my physical health. It is amazing to me what one month can do for changing your health. I have dropped 11 pounds so far but I know that I have lost more than that in fat. My clothes are fitting much differently and I am reminded each day when I buckle up my pants that there is more going on here than weight loss. I have already moved over four notch holes on the belt in just 30 days! I notice a considerable difference in the muscle mass in my arms, shoulders.

When walking, my steps have started to even out and my limp has reduced slightly. This tells me that my left leg, the one with worst knee is beginning to strengthen as well.  Something as simple as pushing off the wall of the pool at the end of each lap feels different as a result of this exercise too. There is, without a doubt, a much more evenly balanced power in my legs.  It would be great to be able to test my cardio in some way because I can feel a substantial difference in my breathing. The Wii Active 2 does have a fitness test that measures heart rate and recovery, but the test is hard on my knees. With a little more strength in my leg, I may be able to consider doing this test again to be able to measure my cardio improvement.

I know you are wondering how this has impacted things in the bedroom. Well, I haven’t had one leg cramp at night since starting to swim, a common problem before. In addition, my sleeps have been much better when I have slept. Get your mind out of the gutter!

Roadblocks

Swimsuit

Looking back there have been two things that have hindered my improvement this month. My notes from each day show the most consistent hindrance was my bathing suit. Yes, I said my bathing suit, sorry for the visual. While I don’t want to go to the extreme of using a brief style Speedo bathing suit, my current suit is now way too big and actually restricts my movement considerably in the water. Big size bathing suits aren’t cheap so I might try to hem and take in the current one if possible to allow for a little more freedom of movement and allow me to get through the next couple of months before buying a new one.

Counting

My obsession for knowing how many laps I have completed has actually slowed me down in the pool. For the first week or two, I was stopping after each lap to hit the lap timer on my cell phone, I progressed to using a waterproof watch but still found this a distraction. In weeks three and four I stopped timing each lap and just timed my entire swim and counted my laps out loud while swimming. This was definitely an improvement but I still find it to be a disruption. I find my time in the pool doing laps to be quite meditative and I really want to be able to let go of counting and timing altogether but still hold myself accountable.  I decided that this week I will move up to swimming for 60 minutes and just start a countdown timer so I can let go of time altogether. Over the next couple of weeks I hope to be able to come up with a better system for mindlessly counting my laps so I can let go of that too. I even thought of jimmying up a piece of string with close-pins or something that I can just slide at the end of each lap. My inner MacGyver is up to the challenge.

All in all I must say that I am thrilled about how things have gone. I have managed to keep myself from trying to add on 20 laps per day in an attempt to improve beyond what is reasonable and healthy. This is a big step for me, someone who is always looking for instantaneous gratification and results.

In the next post I will look at how my relationships and sense of community have changed since hitting the water. The changes here are perhaps the most rewarding of all and certainly the biggest surprise. Stop by tomorrow and have a read.

Peace,

Leslie

June 6, 2011

Weekend For The Soul

What a great weekend!

Friday was a PD day for the school kids in Ottawa so that meant a day off and in essence, a long weekend spent with my daughter. Awesome! The owner of the home where I swim suggested my 12 year old was welcome to join me at the house swimming and even cooler, invited us to come out later in the weekend to show her the horses as well. I gladly took her up on both of these offers.

Play Like A Kid

After some much needed rest and a lazy morning sleeping in, we headed out to the pool and hit the water. I had explained to my daughter that I needed to do my laps first and then we could frolic about after that. While it was a slight distraction to have someone in the pool while I was doing my laps it paled in comparison to the fun that we had when I had finished the “exercise” portion of the swim. Once I was done we grabbed a foam football and started to toss it back and forth to each other making dramatic dives for the catch. We invented our own little game had a best 2 out of 3 series. What a blast! I thoroughly enjoyed myself. We laughed hard and made fools of ourselves for about an hour, but it felt like only minutes has passed. The focus was not on the exercise but we were getting some nonetheless. It was a great start to the weekend.

Just Say I Do

Friday evening I had the pleasure of witnessing some dear friends of mine “tie the knot.” It was a great wedding and the entire evening was filled with more laughter, moments of intimacy, and a real sense of what is important in life. Family, friends and time spent connecting and celebrating with those that are important to us. While the numbers fell as the evening progressed there were several of us who kept the party going. We were further rewarded when we were able to be a part of some even more special moments during the after party at a local pub, and the late-late night or early-early morning breakfast at a local diner. Highlights included the father of the bride showing up at the pub unannounced to fanfare, and who will ever forget the spontaneous applause in the jam packed diner when the bride arrived in her stunning dress. Unforgettable!

Horse-Play

Sunday brought moments of joy that any parent can relate too. As my daughter and I drove out to the ranch to meet the horses and the awesome family who lives there, I could sense her anxiety. Understandably, meeting new people at the best of times is can be awkward and stressful. Throw in the circumstances by which our two families have met (my swimming pool ad), and finally the apprehension about perhaps sitting on or riding a horse for the first time and you have a potpourri of emotions tugging in all directions.

Our hostess did a fantastic job of easing my daughter into the process. She started with introducing the horse, explaining a little bit of his history, then moved into the grooming of “Spider”. Together they cleaned the coat, the hooves, and saddled the horse with a focus on safety, both for the horse and the rider. Next, sitting on the horse, feeling Spider’s movements and tendencies, being lead on the horse with myself and another on either side of the horse, and then finally actually riding, steering, starting stopping and instructing the horse on her own. I was completely amazed in the transition. What I witnessed was a microcosm of how gaining confidence works. Her demeanour from beginning to end was truly night and day to see as an outsider. By the time she was done, she was beaming, sitting tall with confidence and looking each of us in the eye just a little bit more.

Leave it to a twelve year old to reiterate to me what continues to need being reiterated. When we come upon a challenge in life we have two choices, the safe easy way or the challenging, sometimes stressful path that is inevitably more rewarding. She reminded me that I have been doing that myself! When I say to her “you must be so proud of yourself for putting yourself out there,” it reminds me that I too should be proud. I am proud. I can only hope that along the way I will try to continue to take the next step in putting myself out there. With that, there will continue to be substantial rewards and endless learning.

Last night our weekend wound down surrounded by family and extended family enjoying a meal together. A fitting end to a weekend for the soul. A glass of wine, a cold beer, some great conversation and the sound of kids giggling in the background.

It really doesn’t get much better as far as weekends go. I need to remember that it didn’t take a flight, a reservation, or a new gadget to bring the contented feeling that this weekend brought. There is no reason why I can’t do it again next weekend.

Actually, there is no reason that I can’t find a way to do it today, right now.

Peace,

Leslie

May 27, 2011

Swim Day 1

Can You Say Lap Pool

Wow what a busy couple of weeks! I can’t believe it’s been almost a week since I last posted. It feels like so much has happened on my road to MEfurbishment. This week I took a huge step forward in my bucket for physical health with the start of my new swimming practice.

With the overwhelming response I received to my ad to use a pool in exchange for cleaning it, I met a great family just 15 minutes from my home. They have a wonderful 60 foot indoor lap pool which was a great way to get back into the water after years of avoiding the deck of a pool like the plague.

I swam for the first time after doing my allotted service of vacuuming the pool. What a treat! It was so great to be back in the water. I am going to track my progress on what else, another tab called MElaps.

Don’t Try This At Home

To start I did some warming up by just walking the length of the pool and back a few times, then I started my laps. I was pretty discombobulated at first, flopping around like a fish on a hook, but gradually I found my stride and settled on what used to me my favourite stroke, the breast stroke.  I ended up doing 20 laps total for a swim time of almost 20:00. It was a totally different experience for me than other types of exercise that I have undertaken. The nice cool water made me feel like I could go forever! Thankfully I listened to my intuition and stopped exercising after the 20 minutes and just goofed around for a bit after that because using those muscles to that extent had me pretty stiff the next day.

I am cautiously optimistic that I will be able to continue to keep a consistent swimming practice as a form of fun and pain minimizing exercise.  Keep your fingers crossed!

Hey check me my new favourite pool out below!

Peace,

Leslie

May 21, 2011

Someday Soon

My Motivators

It’s a beautiful day in sunny Ottawa today, the kind of day that just screams, use me! Occasionally on days like this I think of the many things I could be doing, if I had other parts of my life in order. These are things that I can’t do due to physical or financial limitations.  I decided that I am missing an opportunity to use these things as motivators to push forward in my MEfurbishment.

To that end I thought I would use a little bit of time this morning to make a list of some goals, things I would like to be able to try at some point in the future. This will help me with my MEbucket’s as well. When looking for things that will foster and develop a certain bucket, it is helpful to have a master list to draw from. This is also a great tool for looking back to see progress. A year from now, when I look back over the year and see some items crossed off my list I can feel a sense of accomplishment and gratitude.

Below is a list of things that I would like to bring into my life at some point in my journey. I would love to hear from you about some of the things that are on your list. Things that you have been putting off, preparing for or just haven’t got to yet.

Someday soon I will…..

Peace,

Leslie

May 19, 2011

Enough Wise Ideas

The Execut(ion)er

I’m a great starter. It’s always been one of my strengths to come up with big ideas. I do great research, I plan well, I create custom forms of tracking and accountability and then I get at it. Occasionally this gets me into trouble.  After the high of all the strategy and planning wears off, I am left with delivery. Execution. Monotony.

It is clear to me today that this is a short sited view when I quickly forget why I had the big idea to begin with. There was something I wanted to manifest in my life, some goal I wanted to reach, or some problem I want to solve. Without the execution of the plan true MEfurbishment will never happen. This is the insight I had when I was meditation this morning.

Happy Life

I have had lots of ideas and lots of plans lately and I want to make sure I take stock of my progress but also remember where I am heading with all of this. I want to MEfurbish my life. My buckets are clear and my plans are made. That is not to say that this are rigid or unchangeable but rather that I must not allow myself to become distracted. I am aiming for good health, good relationships, and a happy life.

All this is to say that the tone of is moving out of an ideas phase and into an action phase and this is what I will continue to share with you in the weeks ahead. To that end I have added a new widget to my sidebar that shows my weight loss to since I started tracking my food and exercise on myfitnesspal.com

I have a lot to do to move the needle in this and my other buckets before I get back to ideas.

Wish me luck!

Peace,

Leslie

May 18, 2011

MEbucket Is Full

20/20 As They Say

It’s funny how the passage of time or some new insight can totally shift your perception on something. I was spending some time this morning reflecting on MEbucket’s and looking too see where I need to take some action. I began by going through my list of bucket items to see where I have not taken any action recently and an interesting fact came to light.

When I placed my ad on Kijiji at the beginning of the month, there was no doubt in my mind what bucket I was trying to take action in – Health. It is really interesting to me that now in hindsight; I can see how this action is having an impact in the area of every one of my MEbucket’s. Here’s my breakdown.

Health

This one is pretty obvious and was my original intention. The most basic goal here is to get some activity. In my struggles with my weight, most recently I have found it hard to find exercise that I can actually do. Finding access to a pool that I can use will be easier on my joints and as a result, I will be able to sustain it. It’s also something that I love and miss doing. To be excited about exercise is something that I know will only benefit me in the long run.

Finances

Money talks, and since I don’t have any, there hasn’t been a lot of talking going on lately in this area. With my current financial situation, it was imperative that I look for a means of exercise that was cost effective. What could be more cost effective than free! My willingness to do some manual labour in return for access to a pool is my means of “payment.” The other less tangible thought I have is that my overall health and level of fitness are both likely to have a positive impact on my ability to generate income in the future. So this saves me money now, and makes me money in the future. I like that!

Creativity

I have received many many emails, comments, well wishes, and shows of support since my CBC Interview was broadcast on May 17th. Without a doubt the word used most to describe the steps I took to prioritize my exercise by placing an ad to do manual labour in exchange for pool access was “creative.” I would never have really looked at it that way unless others told me it was the case, but now I can see it clear as day. I guess desperation is a real springboard towards creativity.

Environment

The impact to the environment is a little more subtle than some of the other more apparent buckets nut it is there, in the nuances.  There are many times that I end up using my car in a situation where I would certainly be able to use a bike or my legs if I was in better shape. Running errands locally, doing fun things with my daughter and a variety of other things that I typically use my car for could be done without the vehicle.  Wear and tear on my clothes, the amount of packaging I end up using, and even the frequency of my trips to the doctor are all impacted by my size.

Community

This one is a no-brainer. The community has just opened up in front of my eyes as a result of this situation. I am getting so much support from the community it is mind blowing. Even more, I am going to be meeting some members of the community as I get out there and start to use their pool. The interview on CBC was a direct and extreme form of conversation with the community and the connections I have made are priceless.

Fun

This may be the most exciting bucket that is going to be filled by my reaching out. The idea of swimming frequently has been something that I have carried around with me for some time. When I was younger I was a fish! We had a pool in our backyard when I was in elementary school and I missed it ever since.  I am so pumped about getting an opportunity to get into the water and get my heart pumping.

Relationships

I will be forging new relationships and making the ones I have stronger. I have already met several new folks and plan to me meeting more over the next few days and beyond. Exercising, getting in better shape, and spending time discussing this project with friends and family are already having an impact.

I know I have made a great decision for my overall happiness when I can look back and see that every bucket I have is filling up. Something tells me that I may even start to overflow in a bucket or two and really, can I ask for anything more than that?

Isn’t life grand?

Peace,

Leslie