Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Rich O 2.0 Part 1- How We Got Here (Or How Getting The Shingles Changed My Life And I Never Had A Chance To Thank Them)

OK, I admit it, I'm not nearly as smart as I think I am. Oh, I'm not stupid, I'm just not smart. Well, at least not when it comes to taking care of myself. I'm 46 years old, Type 2 diabetic and have been overweight most of the latter part of my adult life. Ironically, I never get sick hence I rarely end up at the doctors. This past February I developed a painful rash in the middle of my back and from a discussion with someone who had been thru it before determined it was shingles. So I did something out of the ordinary- I went to the doctor. OK, actually it was a nurse practitioner which was cool as my primary is kind of a tool. She confirms it's shingles and prescribes an anti-viral. As I get up to leave she informs me it's been nearly 3 years since my last physical!! I agree she's correct and, based on a pact I made with a friend, I consent to come in for a physical. Long story short- height 5'9', weight 234 lbs (actually down over the last few years but still), blood sugar A1C was in the range of 11 when it should be lower then a 6, blood pressure was 140/89 with a resting bpm of 106 and my cholesterol was borderline high but as a diabetic, too high. By the grace of God I hadn't done any damage to my internal organs but still, yikes. So she upped my diabetes med, put me on something for the cholesterol and high blood pressure and sent me on my merry way and told to come back in 6 weeks. Wake up call #3. Something had to be done so I...wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. Just how the hell did I get here?? Glad you asked...

Growing up I was small, thin, and physically not very strong. Maybe what you'd call a late bloomer. Somewhere around the summer of between 7th and 8th grade 2 things happened. I started filling out and I discovered weight lifting. Becoming the strongest I could be became an  obsession. I never cared about a body builders physique just raw power. The high school gym wasn't enough anymore so I saved my money and joined Mike's gym (calling it a shit hole would be an insult to actual shit holes) and learned a lot more about serious strength training. I graduated from high school around a solid 200 lbs with a bench press of around 325 lbs. In college I threw the hammer on the track team but was far and away the smallest guy there at around 210 lbs. The coach and his star athlete were both heavy into performance enhancing drugs which was something I would never consider. I did learn good strength training from the experience and by the time I graduated I was around 225 lbs and had a bench press (always my best lift so its my best point of reference) of around 375 lbs. In my 20's I fluctuated from a lean 185 to a stocky 250 all the while only being concerned with being the strongest guy in the gym. Somewhere around 1996 I blew out my knee playing touch football and needed surgery. It turns out I hadn't had a physical since my college entrance physical in 1984 (I'm serious)!! I get on the scale and to my horror I'm 297 lbs!!!!! I never would have guessed as I always thought I had that 1960's wrestler/tight end sort of look; big chest, big belly, short thick arms. But really? 300 lbs?? Wake up call #1

Flash forward a few years. Now in my early 30's walking around at a "trim" 265 lbs. Still healthy, still stronger then most guys 10 years my junior peaking at a 485 gym lift bench press. Then it all started unraveling. Chronic issues with both shoulders cropped up and I started training down. In 2003 2 things happened (things tend to happen in pairs for me). I moved out on my own for the first time ever and I completely tore my right shoulder rotator cuff. I didn't know how to cook so eating healthy wasn't a priority and as I had moved a stones throw from a dozen bars...well, enough said. Much like with the knee when I went to have should surgery it turns out my last physical had been that now infamous 297 lb physical in 1996!! Ugh. So I have surgery, get the physical and await the results which don't come. A couple months later, out of curiosity, I call and ask what happened and they tell me it slipped thru the cracks. One night, coming home from the bar, I check my mail and there's the results. I call my older sister and ask what blood sugar in the 200's means?? She tells me I'm diabetic and call the doctor right away!! I'm not going to lie, I cried a lot that night. Thinking about everything I would have to give up was crushing to me. Wake up call #2

Well the diabetic thing wasn't the end of my life. I got meds, changed my diet, found an interest in cooking and lived a slightly healthier lifestyle. At this point I was around 240-245 lbs. I checked my blood levels, watched what I ate etc etc etc. All seemed well as I still hadn't had one tell-tale symptom. As my cooking and baking skills improved my healthier eating backslid and I started eating like a non-diabetic. I mean, I took my meds and I felt great. At the same time my wear and tear injuries started accumulating and getting to the gym to train became more and more a chore and going just for cardio was almost unthinkable. I got into a prolonged slump. My hours at work changed to going in an hour later and working an hour later at night. This was the perfect time for a fresh start of fitness and activity in the morning! Well, that didn't happen. Worse yet trying to get to the gym after 7:00 at night just wasn't happening.  As irony would have it I was the walking around the lightest I'd been in more of a decade but lying just below the surface I was in bad shape

So that brings us back to where this tale started. I was guilty of the Deadly sins of both gluttony and sloth and that had to change...but that's for next time

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