Struggling.

There. I said it.

Right up there in the headline. See it?

Yup. It’s official.

I’m struggling.

That’s part of the reason I haven’t been here in, oh, forever. Because, yeah, I was really looking forward to writing the “I succeeded at Forty by Forty” post. Not so much.

That’s just one of the ways I’ve let myself (and probably others) down.

There are more. Lots more.

And remember that lesson that this isn’t a space for you, it’s actually a space for me. Yup. It’s true. Especially now.

I’ve been wanting to come here for a while and didn’t know what to say. Still don’t, really. But figured I’d start with this. Gotta start somewhere, right?

Part of this hit me the other day when I saw a facebook status of two friends being together. One of them I’m in regular contact with. And the other, well, I should be — and I’m not. And it bothers me. To the point that I need to fix it. And to the point where the one I am in regular contact with texted me the following, “No matter what, you can’t lose sight of the people that have always been there.”

That stung. Hard. And it’s totally true. This person is someone I trust explicity, have shared so much with — and I’ve totally dropped the  ball. Why? I don’t know. I have a reason, but I’m not sure I’m even buying it — but now I need to correct my actions — and that’s just one area.

I had a major screw up at work last week. Well, hard to call it a screw up. Point is, I delivered on everything I was supposed to deliver — and well, I might add — but the recipient didn’t think the same way. And the person’s words attacked me at the core — questioning my ability and my decision making. Why did it hurt? Because I put my heart and soul into making this really good thing  happen. It’s still a really good thing. It just probably won’t happen again (when it had the chance to). And, so, yeah, I cried at work. Absolutely lost it. When your insides are challenged — as mine were — that’s one way to respond. Maybe not the most professional, but, yeah, I did it. Only one person saw it and handled the situation amazingly well, but now, yeah,  you all know it.

Oh, and I’m 40 now. Nice. Moving on.

Just questioning a lot of things. Re-examining a lot of things. Trying to figure out a lot of things.

Impossible? Might be. But have to try.

Because if I don’t, I’ll only struggle even more.

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2009 — The Resolutions

Ok, I’m putting them out there. Why not? Need to try and be accountable. I sometimes have trouble being accountable to myself, but if I put these out there, I almost need to be accountable to you — in order to not let you down (a strange form of motivation, don’t you think?).

But, before getting to 2009, let’s take a look back at the 2008 resolutions (in the archives if you want to read the entire post) and see how we did. Not terribly good, I’m afraid.

This is what I wrote (with my notes after each one):

Well, here are five things I’m bringing to you, 2008.

1. I will continue to work on Forty by Forty. A long way to go, but I am making progress. It might not sound like a big deal, but since November 1st, I’ve only had doughnuts on two occasions and McDonald’s on one.

RESULT: I did pretty well here. The official first-year loss is  just shy of 30 pounds. But, I’ve stumbled in the last couple of months. Need to get it back.

2. I will continue to work at learning how to eat better and, most importantly, I will excercise more.

RESULT: I definitely learned how to eat better, and, for a great deal of the year, i did just that. Need to get out of the slump. And, oh yeah, the excercise thing.

3. I will keep working to be the best parent I can be. It’s not always easy. There can be amazingly frustrating experiences. But when Erin smiles or Aidan says, “Dad, can you play with me?” Then  you know it’s going to be a good day.

RESULT: Honestly, it gets harder and harder. Patience is not something I  have a lot of. And I am tested daily (often multiple times). I think I’m doing a pretty good job, but I know how frustrated I can get, and I know I can do better.

4. I will start the college plans for the kids. They each have money. They each have an account. We are saving, but it’s time to start the actual 529 plans.

RESULT: Sadly, did not accomplish this. We have continued to contribute to the kids savings accounts, but I’ve got to get the 529 thing underway.

5. I will be the best blogger I can be. I know, it sounds like a cop out just to get to number five, but it’s true. I will work to be here more because, well, apparently you like it that way.

RESULT: That’s for you to judge, but the madness of the year took me away from here in big chunks. Some of you are still with me, and that’s an amazing thing. True friendships have come from this. I can only hope that as I continue to write, more of the same will follow. Even though that’s not the goal of this, it’s a pretty cool thing when it happens. So, I thank  you for sticking with me.

So, overall, I’d call the grade for meeting last year’s resolutions an incomplete. Did some things very well, but didn’t close the deal, so to speak.

As I get ready to unveil my resolutions for 2009, the goal here is to accomplish all of them. To be able to look back and be proud of the accomplishments.

OK, here we go, 2009.

1. Meet the Forty by Forty goal. I got well more than halfway there in one year. This is the ultimate test of my ability to get back to something I was so successful in and seal the deal. More updates on the overall program later.

2. As part of that, exercise. This is separate because it needs to be. It’s not just part of one goal, it needs to be life-changing. I need to get back in the routine. I was on the elliptical tonight for 22 minutes. That might not sound like much, but the machine hasn’t been used since May. Yeah, May. One day at a time.

3. Health update. I’m 39. Haven’t had a physical in a few years. Oh, and did I mention my dad died at 65 and my brother at 45. And Mom is having open heart surgery next week. I’m  not making light of this. I should have been at my doctor’s office within a week of my brother’s funeral. I wasn’t. And if you know me, you know there’s enough guilt inside me already. But, in my defense, that’s why Forty by Forty was started. I knew what I was going to hear, and I wanted to get a head start on it. I was scared. Quite frankly, still am. But, I already have a physical scheduled for the 14th — and I’m sure we’ll be talking about all sorts of stuff. One step at a time.

4. Financial future for the kids. Not starting the 529s was a mistake. Need to get that done this year.

5. Continue to be the best dad I can be. Why is it a resolution? Because it’s hard work. I have my moments. We all do. I get frustrated very easily. I’m not necessarily trying to rid myself of the frustration, but to find better ways to deal with it. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And I just want to (continue to) do it well.

So, there you have it. A look back at 2008 and five resolutions to work on for 2009.

I’ll keep you posted as we go — but here’s hoping next year’s recap of these resolutions is a good one.

How about you? Working on any big resolutions this year?


Catching Up…

When multiple people say, “jeez, you haven’t posted in a while,” I guess that means something. Beyond the obvious that, actually, I haven’t posted in a while.

So, here I am. Recommitted to you. Again. Yes, we’ve gone through this routine before. And we’re going through it again. And if you stay with me, you’ll be better for it. (Well, no guarantees, but it sounded good.)

Therefore, without further adieu, a few randoms to get things going again:

I heart Jennifer Nettles. I’m not a country guy at all. But, I’m better than that. I’m a Sugarland guy. I love this band. It’s the only country act I dig. Her voice just, well, does something to me. And, actually, let’s talk about this for a second. They aren’t a band. It’s all Jennifer, all the time. Sorry, Kristian, but you can’t come close to her. You may write some of it, I don’t even know, but Jennifer is the reason I love the band — and probably a ton others. And when I saw them Friday night (for the second time), his effort to be in the limelight with her was incredibly distracting. Her, on the other hand? Well, she can distract me anytime.

We won’t talk about the Patriots on this blog until next year, OK? Good.

Mad props to one of my most loyal readers, JenBun. You know, this is what blogging does. Here’s someone that I probably would never be connected with. Yet, here we are. I’ve been a horrible reader and commenter lately, but JenBun stands and delivers every time. I write something and she comments. And I love that. Something is here that she likes, so she comes back. Who am I to argue? Point being, she’s fun, and she’s always here. That’s a good person — regardless of in real life or just, you know, this blogging thing.

Why is that four year olds not only have the ability to blow you away with everything that comes out of their mouth, both good and bad? Aidan, love him. I mean beyond love him. You all know that. But this weekend? Wow. Renee and I were, how can I say it, tested. Only a million times.

I won’t give you some of the bad stuff he’s said — mostly talk back smart aleck kind of stuff. But, here’s a good one. “I like Wednesdays at school the best. Because it’s in the middle.” So, at four, he’s mastered the concept of hump day.

Pushing Daisies is required TV watching for anyone who reads this blog.

I owe you an update on Forty by Forty. Soon. Let’s just say things will be better when ice cream can no longer be purchased. It’s not that bad of an update, but I’m definitely in a rough patch. The cider donuts aren’t helping either.

Molly is getting married in a few weeks. And I’m beyond thrilled to be there.

Well, I think that’s enough of me for now. What do you think?

Thanks for sticking by me. I’m doing my best to make you proud again! 🙂


Forty by Forty — Damn You, Ice Cream

So I did something last night I haven’t done in a while. More than a month to be exact.

I got on the elliptical machine.

Exercise has been the biggest missing link in the Forty by Forty Campaign — which has been, overall, going very well.

When we bought the elliptical, it took a week to put together because we could only do it at night after the kids were down and it was a tedious process. I did it for three straight days and then we had to ready our basement for the waterproofing work. Needless to say, that was a major disruption and it was almost a month before the basement was put back together. All the while, no elliptical.

And then, once all set, there it sat. And I sat right next to it, in front of the TV. I know when I get going, that I’ll be fine. It’s just the task of getting going that is the hardest part for me.

And, I also know that this challenge is going to be hard. Yes, I’ve had great success so far, but my goal, at the end of two years (and it hasn’t even been one yet!) is to still be down 40 pounds (at least). Maintaining is just as important as losing.

Summer has brought pitfalls — or more specifically, temptations of ice cream, hot dogs and cookies. My theory is not to ignore these, but to have them in moderation. Sometimes (ok, a lot of times) that can be a very hard thing to do. And I haven’t had the best last couple weeks eating wise.

However, two things happened yesterday that have renewed my motivation.

During the day, I was walking to a location at work and a woman who I see infrequently said, as we walked by, “You continue to look fabulous! Keep up the great work.”

Then, when I was meeting with someone I see about three times a year, she ended the time together by asking me what my secret to success was.

Those were good feelings. Very good feelings. And to some degree, part of my motivation is to not let these people (and you) down. You’ve helped and supported me. I don’t want to disappoint myself by disappointing you. Whatever it takes, right?

Then, last night, Renee (who continues to look beyond fabulous and is also buying clothes much smaller than she used to) said, “Can you give me an elliptical lesson?”

So, there I was, telling her how to use it, and there she was, hopping on for 20 minutes. Well, jeez, how could I not get on after that? So I did. And I made 20 minutes, too.

And tonight I hope to do the same thing. And tomorrow. And Thursday. And Friday. This is the key week. I need to keep it going. For you and for everyone who has encouraged me to succeed.

And, quite honestly, and more importantly, for me.


The (Partial) Results Are In…

So I stepped on a scale today. For the first time in a long time.

Why?

Well, you’ve heard about Forty by Forty, and if all goes well, you’ll continue to hear more about it.

But, this is a milestone day of sorts. Forty by Forty started officially November 1, 2007, when I turned 38. The goal was to start a life-changing approach to eating and exercise that would help me to my goal of losing forty pounds by my fourtieth birthday. Not a quick fix. A (hopefully) life-long change. Slow and steady, so to speak.

I resisted getting on a scale throughout this process because I didn’t want to get locked on numbers. If there were results, they would be evident, and they are. It’s so cool when people say, “are you losing weight?” or when I buy pants two sizes smaller than when I started.

I also didn’t get on a scale when I started, partly because we don’t own one. But, I can tell you within 10 pounds of where I’m pretty sure I started this process. That’s going off a last doctor’s appointment and even knowing that I gained weight since then, because I had to buy larger pants.

Things have definitely changed. I like salad now. For real. I mean, actually really enjoy it. I’ve bought an elliptical machine because the exercise thing was the hardest component to get going and still isn’t anywhere near where it should be. I’ve bought smaller pants. Tee shirts that didn’t fit me like I would hope now fit me pretty well.

I’m just thinking about stuff a lot more than I ever have. And that feels good. I feel like I’ve accomplished something. I can see the results.

And now, it’s time to share them. Because you guys have been here the entire way offering your encouragement and support along the way. And that has been beyond valuable. It really has.

To mark the occasion, Anna actually brought her scale into work today. She mentioned it yesterday and I thought she was joking, but when I got here today, there it was on my desk with a note that said, “I bet you’re more than half way there.” So, I took my shoes off, stepped on, looked down and was …. shocked.

As I said, I’m confident within 10 pounds of where I started…so if you go right in the middle of that number, then so far, I’m down 27.5 pounds.

Can you believe that? How crazy is that?! How good is that?!

That’s 70 percent to my goal in six months!

It’s fabulous, but it’s also motivation. Motivation to get to my goal within a year. But, more importantly, motivation to keep up the work that I’ve done so far and make sure that I maintain. That, quite honestly, is my biggest fear — maintaining.

But, I gotta tell you, seeing that number — a place I can’t even remember being at — feels pretty damn good.


Since We Last Met…

Well, even though I say I Got Nothin’, it certainly seems like that’s hardly the case. Here’s a recap:

I haven’t touched the elliptical in almost a week. But, it’s not because I have decided that I hate it. No, it’s because our basement has been torn apart to (hopefully) solve our semi-annual water issue. If I can ever figure out the picture thing, I’ll show you visuals. Basically, an internal sub-floor drain was put in. What does that mean? Jackhammers and dust. Lots of dust. Just in time though, apparently, because it’s pouring out. Hopefully this brings the much needed peace of mind.

I will get on a scale before Thursday. April 30th marks the end of six months of Forty by Forty, so I think it’s time to get a number and see where we are.

Do you know how many calories are in Girl Scout cookies? Lots. To think, I used to grab three or four — at a time.  And, if that alone doesn’t show you how I’m trying to change, picture this one:

We’re driving home from somewhere on Saturday, Erin’s asleep, Aidan’s awake. I pull into the grocery store lot. Renee’s wondering what for. I tell her I’ve got a salad craving for lunch and I want to try the store’s salad bar. That it would take me less than five minutes in and out. The result? The best salad bar I’ve encountered anywhere. Who knew?!

And, who knew I’m an inspiration. I got a fabulous email from one of my regular readers and a member of my blog roll (but I’m not telling who!). She told me she was so inspired by what I’m trying to do with Forty by Forty that she’s going to try something similar, too. How cool is that? By no means am I truly an inspiration, but it’s cool to know that something I’m doing has made someone want to try the same thing.

Speaking of my blog roll, and this one’s for you, JenBun, the identity of my blog crush is no longer secret. All the kids in gym class, in the cafeteria and on the bus are talking. But, seriously, if you haven’t read this blog, check her out. Ask anyone who knows me, it’s hard to get me laugh out loud. But her words do that. And, when she’s serious, the words are deep and meaningful. And, as an added bonus, she likes the Sox, Pats and REM.

Other things to update you on…well, Erin got her first haircut a couple weeks ago. PIctures of that to come, too.

Aidan’s fourth birthday is coming soon, too. In fact, it’s May 8th. Four years. I can’t even believe it. He’s getting a tee ball set (with a real aluminum bat — yikes!) for his birthday. And a bike.

Then, just a month after that, we’ll celebrate Erin’s first.

Aidan made it through his first movie yesterday. Renee took him to see Horton Hears a Who. He came home and told me, “Dad, we didn’t bring home any popcorn for you. But it was good.”

I think that covers some immediate stuff for now. More to come. Thanks for hanging in there.

What else? I got nothin’.

 


Forty by Forty Frustration

That sound you here?

Yeah, that’s me. The winded me.

The first official workout on the elliptical just took place. And, let’s just say it beat me up. And, let’s just say it has opened my eyes up to the fact that I have a long way to go.

I know this. But it doesn’t make it easier. Not when I could barely make it 20 minutes on a machine that I used to go on for 40 minutes at a time without any trouble. But that was five years ago, when I was last exercising on a regular basis.

And, while there’s no doubt the Forty by Forty thing has been working for my waistline, there’s one very strong realization right now — it has done nothing for my cardiovascular health.

Which I knew. Which is why we bought the machine in the first place.

I mean, I’m realistic. I didn’t expect to jump on it and go crazy, but I did expect I would have an easier time than I did. And that’s what’s frustrating. That I let that part of me slip so much that I’ve now got to work incredibly hard to get it back.

But I will. I’m committed to this. I’m committed to making this a lifestyle change. When I used to be a gym rat, the cardio part was fun and, dare I say it, easy. The problem then? I still ate like crap so I never really lost much of anything.

And I never realized that. Until now. Now that I have proof of what better eating can do, I have to work harder to make the entire switch — of bringing the exercise level where it needs to be. Where it should be.

It’s only been about six months. This will be a journey. It has to be. It’s the only way I can make the changes I want to make. So, I have to be patient. Again, I know this. But it doesn’t always make it easier.

I will also get on a scale at some point by the end of the month, since that’ll mark the six months. I didn’t want to get on before and lock in on a number. I’m curious to where I’m at, but I know there has been change. My fear of the scale is being frustrated with the number or then trying so hard to reach the next number. That’s why I didn’t want to get on it. But, I think six months is a good time to check in, so to speak.

While tonight has been a bit frustrating, the overall fact is clear — I want to do this.

But, more importantly, I need to do this.

And I will.