Category Archives: Health

It’s all going to work out, remember that.

Published / by Tim

There have been times that I thought I couldn’t last for long but now I think I’m able to carry on. It’s been a long, a long time coming but I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will.

-Sam Cooke

Change. 25 years ago I was minding my business, graduating from high school, getting a part-time job, going to school and somehow I never stopped to think that everything I knew would be completely different just a few years later.

People I thought would be my lifelong friends found new, exciting and yet different paths than I was on. School changed the way I think. Marriage changed my identity. A career changed my course in life. Children changed my worldview. Age has changed my dreams. The changes are not all bad, gray hair and belly fat are not too great, admittedly, but I am healthy and comfortable and happy. Change has not done me in.

I think change gets a bad rap. Often people talk about how uncomfortable, painful, awful, icky, horrible change is. The thing is… It’s not the change that’s the problem. I think the transitions that compose change are what is difficult, uncomfortable, painful. Transitions are that period of time that I associate with growing pains. Remember growing pains? Those horrible, dull, throbbing pains that nothing really seemed to help. The pains that indicated that new heights would be achieved. We all love getting taller (change) but we would all just as soon avoid the growing pains (transitions).

Even when transitions aren’t painful, they take time. I am not a patient man. I do not like to wait. Sometimes all I really want is the change to happen. I don’t want to wait. I don’t want to struggle. Exercise… yeah, you know where I’m going with that… Losing that last 5 pounds takes… FOREVER… or so it would seem.

Transitions are the difficulty of change and I have a Transitionfew things I’ve noticed help transitions go easier. First, mindset is key. If you let yourself be in a fixed mindset you will consciously and unconsciously fight change and ultimately extend the transition time. Mindset aimed at Growth (Thanks Carol Dweck) helps us embrace change and the difficult transition periods that occur when change happens. Dewitt Jones, national geographic photographer, says we should reshape problems into opportunities. I think that’s the mindset we need to adopt to best deal with transitions and change.

My other observation is that it is helpful to look for ways to promote change in the quickest way possible. If you start to feel like your job is not going so well, it might be a good idea to look for ways to begin transition on your own terms. Take a class. Network with people. Read the want ads… move in a direction that suits you, but don’t sit idly by and wait. Action is always better than reaction.

Finally, if you find yourself in a transition that is especially difficult, find someone you trust to support you. Share your story. loneliness breeds melancholy. A counselor or therapist may be just who you need to make sense of your transition. Sometimes a listening friend who has earned the right to hear your story can be a great help. Brene Brown’s book Rising Strong was a read that helped me think through this aspect of having trusted people in my life.

Change and the transitions that get us there are all gonna come. How we approach them can make all the difference.

Health and fitness?

Published / by Tim / 1 Comment on Health and fitness?

When everything you think you should write about scares you to write about, what should you write about? Yes, that’s what has been banging around in my brainpan this week. I have all these ideas, but they require vulnerability and a willingness to reveal some weakness I have. This week, being “open” doesn’t really set well with me.

So after a lengthy internal debate, I’ve decided I will begin to tell you about my exercise and fitness… struggles… adventures…. dilemmas… whatever you want to call them. I’m not “excited” to share this, but I think the story is getting better. So, here we go…

When I was in high school (every fitness story seems to start in high school) I was a soccer player. My high school was small. To field a team we needed 11 boys. We had 11. This meant that we all ran our guts out almost all of the time, whether we were practicing or playing a game. I was probably in the best shape of my life at that time. I have always been heavy framed. Which is not to say fat, but even when I was very lean, I was not “skinny”. I weighed 175 lbs and was in good health. I drank too much coke.

College rolled around and I got married. My wife is a good cook. I ate well and stayed around 180 lbs. I walked or bicycled all over the place in college so I got enough exercise to keep my soda pop habit from taking over my midsection. I remained in decent shape through college.

I graduated and got a job teaching and started making a good living wage. We did not have children and we were pretty active. Having a good job meant that we could buy “better” groceries, Tillamook ice cream, and real Coca-cola. It was at this time in my life that I really started gaining weight. Teaching, while keeping me mentally challenged, had me slowing way down. Even when I was moving around the classroom, it was not strenuous. I didn’t walk as much and I never rode my bike any more. 4 years in I weighed 220 lbs. Then we had kids.

It’s a strange thing that happens when people decide to have children. Eating is important for the mother. My wife is a healthy eater. She eats veggies, salads, lean meats and she is skinny. I ate more too. Sympathy? I don’t know. but I gained a few more pounds and the baby arrived. I was still teaching all day and sitting grading 8th grade essays in the evenings. Between the sitting and snacking while I was grading, I grew to 235 lbs. I knew I was getting fat at that time and it was frustrating… but not enough to move me to action.

Me (256 lbs)

Me in white @ 256 lbs.

I taught for several more years. We had a second child and I got a master’s degree. Going back to school kind of did me in. I was either reading, writing or grading papers during most of my free time.  With the reading, writing and grading came glasses of soda and cookies or other munchies. I knew I needed to be more active so I tried golf, but it was frustrating. My bike sat in the garage unused and deteriorating. I was plumping up. And then I took an office job.

The office job meant that I switched to drinking coffee as it was in good supply at work. Drinking coffee, in and of itself, isn’t horrible. The problematic part is, the perfect complement to coffee is a pastry. Sweet pastries and doughnuts seemed to show up in the office with some regularity. A coffee and a maple bar were a great way to start a fun-filled day of meetings and paperwork. It was during this time that I also discovered beer.

One thing led to another, I became a school principal and one day I woke up feeling horrible, looked in the mirror and I was horrified. There was a fat old man looking back at me. I decided to get out the scale and see what the damage was. The scale broke which was a bad omen. I purchased a new scale and it revealed that I weighed 256 lbs. (the heaviest I have ever been) It was a sad and sobering moment. I was sick, tired, fat, and unhealthy. I had all sorts of bad eating habits and I didn’t really feel like being active. I stood there with tears streaming and a craving a coke. I knew something had to change. That was 18 months ago.

To be continued—