OK… How long has it been since I did this on a regular basis? Answer, too long, and too much is happening, albeit slowly, not to put some of it down for posterity. The biggest news for me personally is the one thing that I am always afraid others will just yawn and tune out… My weight.

I started back on January 12th with complete and utter disregard for my New Year’s Resolution to start Jan 1 with a strict regimen of walking. I started off with just 20 minutes a day but rapidly realized that unless I was going to push myself to get back as quickly as possible then the whole process was going to be excruciatingly painful. So I went from a sedate 20 minutes 4 days a week in the beginning to 45 minutes every day within the first month. Of course, my weight remained resolutely high, determined that it could outlast my will. We have, of course, had this fight before, I think in terms of score, we are about even. However, this time I was not to be discouraged. I was determined that if I was going to change some things in my life, then I had to change some things in my life. Simple, right? Well, actually yes, it is. If you think about it, I wanted to change my health, my weight and my habits, so I had to change the support system on which those things relied. It was time to start felling the tree at the base, rather than trimming the top with nail scissors.

So I decided that since Lent was at hand, that giving up Diet Pepsi, my vice of choice (if you can call that a vice!) was a good thing and that modifications in my diet were needed. I figured out that if I wasn’t drinking DP, then I should be drinking water, and upon working out how much we were spending on pop each month, figured it was actually cheaper to have a water cooler in the house than it was to buy soft drinks. I called Crystal Springs and within a few days we had an ultra-cool orange opaque water cooler in the kitchen. We went to Loblaws and bought a water bottle each (those funky unbreakable ones) that meant I could carry around a litre of water with me and we were set. So far, so good. I am drinking lots of water, mostly because we also have a water cooler at work which I can use and bring home a liter of water every day and I haven’t missed DP at all to this point. An interesting side effect to drinking upwards of 2 liters of water a day is that I am not snacking and I am rarely hungry. This is partly in line with my dietary changes but also because when before I would have reached for some pistachios or some trail mix, I am now having a swig of water and it is basically the same. I noticed that I was only eating out of sheer boredom or habit and that if I replaced the food with something else it really didn’t make a difference. I guess it was the action of distraction that I was pursuing. So once the water decision was made, I thought it prudent to change my diet to match. Now, it has been years, literally about 20 years since I first discovered that my body reacts very differently to protein than to starch and so ever since I first lost 100lbs after coming to Canada I have praised the notion of a starch free diet. I picked up a book from my parents while we were in Australia last year called Protein Power which does a bang up job of describing the insulin control method of eating. This is what works for me. I know this because I have a low tolerance for sugar spiking. Even though I have a relatively slow metabolism, still once the sugar makes it’s way into my system I spike and dive with alarming amplitude. I have discovered now that if I avoid starches and refined sugars that I am rarely tired during the day and that once it comes to bed time I fall asleep with little problem.

This is a revelation of magnitude in my life by the way. I am known to many as a ferocious twitcher at bed time (myoclonic jerk so I am told) I have seen doctors about it, I have eliminated foods and stimulants to no avail and seemingly have never been able to shake this twitching. Now I am not suggesting that I am cured of it, but certainly since I have eliminated refined sugars I am finding that I am not waking myself up or punching myself in the face while I sleep giving myself nosebleeds.
So far be it for me to say that I am set for life, I will say that at this time I have a pretty good handle on things. I am no longer taking any supplements for the gym which has eliminated any (regardless of their “natural” status) stimulants, I am over the pop thing which means I am no longer worrying about exactly what the Nutrasweet is doing to my insides and I am eating a healthy, relatively balanced diet of high protein, lots of fiber and fruits and vegetables.

So what is the result? Well, to date (Jan 12 to March 14 – 62 days) I have lost a total of 16lbs (almost half my goal) and cut my bodyfat by 7%. My plan is to get back to the weight I was before I had surgery by June 1st. This means another 24lbs in 77 days which should be a breeze. Of course, once I get there I will be back where I started, wishing I was 20 lbs lighter… but we shall see.

The bigger picture here, of course, is that my health is improving. My blood pressure is most certainly falling, had I had all these things measured I would know but I am afraid of becoming a hypochondriac who counts every point in every direction and lives in fear of straying from the path. My best gauge is that I feel healthier, I breathe easier and my body doesn’t feel as sluggish as it did. Not only that, but the acid reflux is almost completely gone without using digestive enzymes to help and I think a large part of that was the acid from the pop I was drinking. I have to admit that 2 litres or more of DP a day is not the kindest way to treat your body.

Most of all… I don’t feel boring! I don’t feel like I am on oddity that people regard with disdain either because of my meager success or my strength of will, but rather I feel like I just changed one of two things that nobody would really notice and am reaping the benefit. Slowly but surely my waist is shrinking, I am getting some definition back and some of my old clothes are fitting again which is always a huge motivator.

But I have to admit that I owe a large part of my success to our decision to purchase a treadmill for the basement. I have been finishing the basement since last summer and during the winter we decided that part of it needed to be a gym of some sort. Some stretching mats, a water cooler (that was the seed of the idea) a treadmill, a small stereo and maybe a small TV would be great. Add to that some weights of some sort and you would have an adequate replacement for the gym on the days when you just couldn’t spare the time. But more than that, Nicole and I had been walking 4 miles a day during the summer and once the weather got colder we just stopped. The beauty of the treadmill is that regardless of the Canadian winter, I can still walk and be healthy any time I want. I am now up to 45 minutes twice a day and on occasion have jogged 10 minutes or so… Don’t even ask me when I last ran any length of time… But the convenience of having a machine in the home is simply that a 45 minute walk for me takes 47 minutes, that includes travel time… But if I wanted to do that at the gym, it would be an hour and a half epic that ends up frustrating half the time. At least this way, if I feel like going, I can be on the treadmill before I change my mind.


Today is thankfully the last day I have to sit in the main switch room (or closet, if you prefer) and monitor the network. It seems that after the massive Mydoom and Netsky outbreaks, that our virus problem is finally coming under control. The desktop solution is finally working, no thanks to Command whose documentation is about as useful as a chocolate frying pan. But above that, the powers that be have finally upgraded the firewall to stop harmful attachments from entering the e-mail system. Why, oh why, I hear you ask, wasn’t that done eons ago? Well, the only thing I can say is that priorities here are akin to something Alice may have come across, with an IT Director sitting at his table of managers having tea. Nevertheless, better late than never and as usual in a hospital environment it took a physician to complain to make everyone jump like grasshoppers. So the network being far more quiet, I am now able to coordinate the walkaround to upgrade every PC in the campus to the new Antivirus version. Fun!

Yesterday was a bundle of laughs too, since it was the day that the Finance department got moved from the old Novell server to a new, bigger Unix box. However, the person meant to assist me with the rights decided to go on vacation the day he was supposed to do it, leaving my boss, Captain NoTime to do it for him. Beyond me how there is no mention of a reprimand for dereliction of duty but then again how would I have heard since I was left to do the entire conversion alone. However, save a few minor glitches the entire thing was done over the course of a day and a half with no data loss and only minor adjustments to the rights. Check that one off… Maybe next time we will do things my way instead of following the suggestions of the uninformed few. Scratch that, next time, we will do it my way. The irony of common sense hangs heavy in the air these days, let me tell you.

But enough about work… Nicole and I have been coaching (and I include myself only because I get to take the video and do the analysis) a couple of new private class gymnasts which has been a steep but enjoyable learning curve for me. Enough so that I am seriously contemplating taking my level 1 coaching course next month. Since I have been a coach / trainer for a great deal of my life, I can’t see why this would be any different. In addition, the closer I get to my old self fitness-wise, the more I crave being able to contribute to things, rather than being the sad and pathetic injured guy on the sideline. My star is warming up to shine once again, and I can’t wait…

But first we have to resolve a couple of issues… A roundoff that is too high and too slow which leads to a back handspring that looks more like a failed back tuck, and another back handspring that is so long that there isn’t a mat long enough to catch it… I am stumbling through the application of basic physics and biomechanics that I know to a sport that relies heavily upon the theories of conservation of momentum and centripetal forces. Plus crying… there seems to be a lot of crying at times… faceplants off beams, bruised shins falling off beams, various vault injuries, stubbed toes and sprained elbows all seem to lead to two things… Crying and pouting. But it all pales to the size of the smile you see when one of the kids finally learns the move they have been working on and is so excited to show it to their parents… That is a moment worth working for…