La La La La – Elmo’s World!

I don’t know what I offer with this blog except for a place that I a) vent, b) rant or c) list a lot of goals that I have not yet achieved. Kind of stuffy around here as far as content goes, eh? My wife is finding and becoming way more secure in her writing, and I am so happy for her and to see it, but dammit! I am the creative one, why do I not express myself well in this blog.

Actually, that is the note I ended up wanting to talk about. She posted a good post something about looking in your neighbors window and lusting after their spouse and stuff and shit, or something like that. Wait no, it was judging yourself based on the kind of car your neighbor drives, that is it. We shouldn’t do that was her point and that she had been trying to write for others, instead of herself.

Go get them babe! Make sure to tell them all of our dirty laundry. Literally, the pile that grows on my side of the bed.

OK, seriously now though. Too much we judge ourselves by others standards and it is not fair to us. I am totally guilty on all counts of this. Man, I have been to the top of the mountain, I have held the ring son. What do I mean? Settle in, I will tell you.

It’s like this. I had never been a confident young man. I am shy, and I have many neurosis. It blows my mind that people look to me as a leader professionally and personally. But that is another story; I am shy. I would rather curl up with a book than go out, anywhere. Then I got fat, then I got a divorce (you all have read this part over and over), then I lost a lot of weight and on the way I stopped giving a shit what people thought of me.

THAT was the magic that is missing in me right now. Not giving two shits about what people think. I am so mired right now in being the guy that lost a lot of weight and gained it back. Oh yeah, people are saying and thinking it. But what happened to my Fuck Them attitude? I was balls out losing the weight the first time; I’d show up for a dinner ‘date’ wearing the shorts, tee and sweatshirt I had just worked out in, carrying my back pack and bleeding from the fall I took cornering too fast, and I DID NOT GIVE A SHIT.

I am sure people looked and judged, they always do, that is why the marathon was attacked this week (a basic judgment by one over another), but I have lost and need to find that feeling; I need to rise above the masses, hold my middle finger to the world, and be Mike, the impossible modern day warrior. I have fucking goosebumps right now.

This mid-week check in is different than I wanted to go; but I have ti tell you, this week has been one big pile of horse shit and I am ready for the weekend. Yep, I am broke, but it doesn’t cost a damn thing to sit out in the sun with your beautiful wife, reading, going to the gym, and just thinking about your place in the world and the good you can do. Doesn’t cost a damn dime.

As I was saying, before I got all Ted Nugent, was that on a scale of 1 to 10, this week has ranked bullshit. I mean, the Boston Marathon is attacked, some major shit goes down at my work, The pres and some Senator are mailed ricin, and then a fertilizer plant blows up in Texas. What the fuck? And on top of it all, I’m broke. Shit man, the doobies broke up?

But I have had some joys this week, here they are:
Daugher 1 drew a couple pictures for me
Daughter 2 and I have a new game called scrunch the face and blow air outta your nose

Wife is regaining her smile and swagger

Son 3 has worked out at the gym twice with me this week.

I think, personally, the good outweigh the bad this week, and over the weekend, I am going to thank the Goddess and the God for being there, listening and loving.

Be blessed all, go do some good. And if you see sons 1 or 2, tell them to call pops.

Advertisements

I want it all, but I want it now

I am not the worlds best blogger, nor am I the best reader of blogs.  I believe exponentially, if I read more blogs and commented more and liked more, I would probably attract more readers as my style would improve and my name would be out there, getting friends in the electronic world; friends I would probably never meet.  then my white papers discussing the attractiveness of big data as it relates to social media, politics and used car buying would spread the doctrine of Mike Hildebrand as you followed me on my journey in weight loss.

But I am probably too lazy for that.

Week 2

Week 2

So without further ado, it is time to give the 40 while 40 week 2 recap.  Are you as excited as me?  It has been an up and down week for me.  It is true that, like my mid-week post stated (late) that I had hit the gym more and harder, I feel that I am still not giving 100% which makes me just a touch sad.  Before I get to that, let’s get to the numbers:

Weight:  Hovering around 348 (damn, up that much?)
Letters / Thank you’s written to date:  3
Gym Visits (PTD – Project To Date): 5.75
Items Crossed off of 40 while 40 list: 2
Days without Smartphone: 21
Biological fathers written: 1

OK first things first.  2 things are crossed of my list; take my picture at Valley of Fire (and for those interested, last blog I mentioned I’d have some awesome pix?  instead of me posting here, go over to Southern Fried in Vegas, who was recently Freshly Pressed by the way, and read her post with the pix in them), and I have begun my family tree.

It is not much, but I found a great website, www.familyecho.com, which is easier to use API wise than Ancestry, and much easier to navigate.  No research tools that I find useful, but a great mapper of the tree – go take a look, I will update it as it grows.

The other item to address from the numbers is that I have not yet mailed the letter to my bio-dad.  I have been trying to decide if that is really a good idea and what my motives are for wanting to reach out to a man who doesn’t know I exist, or more importantly, doesn’t care.  I have to think on this one still.

I swear, there is no odor!

I swear, there is no odor!

OK, back to the task at hand.  Take a look at these shoes.  These are the first pair of running shoes I bought since I was a “Real Adult“.  surprisingly, they do not smell.  I bought them while I decided to live or kill myself.  that was 2010, so obviously….but a lot changes in 3 years.  I have ridden the roller coaster of massive weight loss to gain, and now I am on the precipice of facing nearly the exact same hurdle, and I find that even though I have “been trying”, I have not given myself 100% to this.  Why not?  I don’t know.  These shoes sure have, they are full of holes with no traction.  They canter to the inside, so does that mean I pronate or not?  I can tell you I do heel strike, that is for sure.

I am not ready to give up these shoes, first I am too fat for the pair I bought to replace them 50 pounds ago and second, my life as I know it today was born in these shoes.  They have run, biked, hiked, swam, and walked miles.  They look it, full of holes and all used up.  But their character still shines.  You can see the logo that they are new balance and there is a quiet dignity left in these shoes.  maybe a little spark left?  maybe.  A little one.  I commit right now to honor these shoes (sounds goofy), by giving them the same 100% they have given me.  You don’t die working out, you are reborn with each bead of seat, burpee completed, yoga pose mastered.  You become the 100%.

Sand, sand, sand

Sand, sand, sand

I want to live a life transparent and full, like the sand in this jar.  This my jar full of sand I have collected from Red Rock.  there is no room in this jar for anything else.  I want to live in such the same way, so full, so contained and transparent.  I want to be the beacon to my kids and neighbors as much as they have told me I had been.  This sand, in the year I have vowed to keep it, will not change,  The wind and the air and the water will not impact it.  The only way it will change is if I make that change.

Not unlike myself.  There will be days I am totally unmotivated.  There will be setbacks, I just have to remember, the sand does not change, unless I let it.

See you in a few days.

Dark Secrets of a Wanna-Be Executive (aka creepy corporate culture)

An honest life is a hard life to live; that is a piece of what my 40 while 40 is about – really discovering the man I am and the man I am still to be.  But it is also about having fun, a lot of fun growing with my family and my friends and myself.  It is very hard to be honest with yourself.  I think it is actually easier to be honest with others, unless of course they are asking about you.

You like?

You like?

“Doing great, thanks!”
“We are all good!”
“Out of sight!”I probably said each of those once over the last week, the last one is a little weird, I agree.  Stuff it, I said it and I probably thought I meant it.  But the truth is, no, I am probably NOT at 100%.  I do not see myself the way other see me. I cannot for some reason, but I am trying.  And that is my week one item I like about myself.  I like that I can always try to be a best version of myself, and try to see myself the way others do.  I may not always show it, but I do; and often I like what they see. Sometimes, I see the truth of what they see and it inspires me.

Back to honesty, I had gone into this week with the utter intention of working out 7 days this week, working on the walking, moving toward running, etc. But the truth of the matter is that I have had one mediocre workout as it got interrupted by two of the beautiful girls in my life.  I REALLY need to get into the gym; for my health, love and family as well as my own enjoyment of riding the bike and lifting the weights.

Left, their idea of yoga; right, what it looks like for me (hell, I wish I was that flexible)

Left, their idea of yoga; right, what it looks like for me (hell, I wish I was that flexible)

There is a darker side too, to the weight loss.  I work in a corporate culture that rewards folks that are more fit.  I look at the executives at my company and for right or wrong, those that are “going somewhere” within company are runners, cyclists, athletes all.  I am regaled with stories of seeing the CEO at hot yoga (hey, for me, any yoga is hot and sweaty), or the AVP in Human Resources that is running the half marathon and so on. It is painfully obvious what I need to do to get ahead at work.  Fuck the fact that I have basically taught myself Business Intelligence Applications development, SQL Server and SRSS while employed and underpaid there, now I got to lose 140 pounds too.

**DISCLAIMER – I work for a great company, with great people under me, peers and leadership; I am fortunate to have great mentors and friends there, I just hate the fact that is sometimes is surface over substance in some views.  The company itself is a caring, community minded leader on the cutting edge of what or mission, vision and values are, and am proud of the work I do and for who, truly I am.  I also  know who reads my blog **Truly, I need to lose the weight anyway, but I digress.  Pardon my venting.

Basically then week one of 40 while 40 saw some highs and lows, I went and got the photo of myself at valley of Fire like I wanted and posted last time, so I can cross that off my list.  I wrote a couple of thank you notes to some colleagues. That made me feel good, to foster a thankful attitude.  I also wrote the rough draft of the letter to bio dad.  So yes, I did not work out, but I can cross three things off and am on track with two others.

What to do now?  I am headed to the gym with my wife who was just Freshly Pressed (awesome, baby!) where I will put in some work on the bike and some abs.  Then a steam.  This week, I plan on really focusing on getting back into the gym and getting ready for a couple of events that fall on the same day 35 days from today.  My mid-week blog will be about the events, hold your breath.

Thanks for stopping by.

FACTS Week One:
Weight: 345
Letters / Thank Yous written:  3
Gym Visits: .75
Items crossed of 40 while 4 list to date:  1
Days without SmartPhone:  11

Just Plain Sick

I am a firm believer that there is a higher power out there. Maybe more than one. A lot of folks don’t know this about me, but almost ten years ago to the day, I had decided I wanted to be a Lutheran Pastor. I was going to go to parochial school, I started looking and planning on moving to Colorado where the nearest ELCA ministry college was. I was 29 and on the fast track with God; but then I stopped hearing his voice, then I stopped even listening. Then, even I stopped caring. That was ten years ago, and in that time, I have come to grips with that loss of faith and the empirical worship I have now. I follow a greener, more pagan fellowship with my God and Goddess now. And I am happy, if not a little lackadaisical in my worship. Remedy needed.

My point is not about religion and whether my God is better than your God (he kind of is, but later on that – Just kidding, same god, different belief structure). But my point is rather about hearing the voice of God or the Goddess. I believe you can hear or see or feel the power of that which is outside of you if you listen. I believe that every day we are getting messages from powers greater than ourselves, we just are not in tune with them.

So this week, when I have read or heard on NPR, three stories of men no older than 42 at my weight dying of heart failure, it grabbed my attention. By the balls.

Look, I procrastinate, I get caught up, I want and need and desire things right damned now. And sadly, I know that doesn’t work. Sometimes I pontificate just to pontificate because I like to read my own words. This is not one of those times. I have sucked the joy out of being a jolly fat guy, and am tired of people calling me big guy. But, not unlike 2010, I find it hard to just get off the couch.

Granted this week the typhoon that is a bad spring cold has run through our house but-raping everyone as it goes. So, I have a VIABLE reason not to work out the last three days, But what about the week before that, or before that, or….You get the point, right?

Amanda and I started the Henderson Lighten up determined to crush the competition, and the first week we totally did, that was 5 weeks ago, and I am now as heavy if not slightly heavier than when we started (my scale only goes to 335, and my reckoning, that puts me at 337-342).

I am going to start small, I have already realized that if I am going to lose this weight, I have to be realistic. I probably will not be a competitive triathlete by October, But 2013 can always be the year where I turned this shit around for good and got the fam involved and we lived healthier ever after right? Right. So I am going to start my goal off small. Our next weigh in for the Henderson Lighten Up is next Wednesday, I am determined to be able to read my own weight on my own scale, and then we can get a new goal right? Right.

I overheard another message this week, maybe not from a higher power, but maybe from all the Nike YouTube I have been watching, ‘Stop chasing your dream, go make your dream’ and I loved it.  Amanda asked me this week, which was the biggest motivation ever, if I was going to do the C25K training again, as she was thinking of joining me.  WOW!  How much of a message from your higher power is that?  Your spouse wants to run with you?  I always have excuses for not running again, but I am done with them.  After a couple weeks maintenance and to get my endurance where it needs to be, I am going to start this amazing program over again, with my wife!

Anyhoo, I don’t have much more to say than that.  I will post again next week, let you know about the weigh in, running plans and maybe talk about the difference between healthy porn obsession and unhealthy addiction.

Thoughts of a wannabe loser, a blog post

Trying to lose weight is very difficult. Its easy to stutter and have to start many times over. Its also very easy to get trapped into trying things to speed up the process, motivate you or just do out of some level of self-loathing.

I find myself over the last two to fifteen months in that hamster wheel where you start, stop and gain. The SSG principal a lot of dieters get into. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this and have decided there are some rules you have to live by. Some of them are not new, most in fact, but it is a new observation for me.

1. It is not a diet–This is the most important thing to remember. If you diet, you WILL lose weight, I promise, but I also know from years of experience that you will gain it back. The only successful way to keep weight off is to make long-term (life) changes to the choices you make regarding the food you eat and your activity level. They don’t have to be terrifically theatrical like a juice fast, going vegan, eating only non-processed free range organic duck liver; but they do have to be different than what you are doing now. And for the love of all that is holy, drink more water. If you think you drink enough, double it.
2. Do not keep up with the Jones’–I have a good friend, like a brother to me actually, and I have only known him a few years; but he inspires me so much but that can be dangerous too. You cannot chose to live vicariously through someone else. This friend is turning 30, he is a decade younger than I (I am literally 33% older than he) so his body acts and reacts different to stress, fatigue and activity. I cannot be him. In fact, as much as he inspires me, and we have similar interests, I don’t want to be him (sometimes I feel like our overlord does). I want to be the best me that I can and that includes doing some of the stuff he does like biking or hot Pilates, because they sound amazing and they are fantastically healthy. Let him be him, you be you and I will be the me; we will just be the best we can.
3. It is going to hurt, sometimes a lot, but find your inner super hero–I didn’t know I had inspired anyone. See, I yo-yo’d because I lost focus, reason, clarity and goals. I had gone from nearly 400 pounds down to 250-245, in a little more than a year. How? Hard fucking work. So much so that I was about to get those words tattooed on my knuckles. I started running, and it hurt. I biked to work, and some days it hurt. I actually became the bike guy. I did not have car, and I rode my bike everywhere. My son and I would go to the grocery store, ride the strip, I’d ride to work – hell, my wife fell in love with the bike guy (it is awfully hard an embarrassing to tell your first date, guess what I have no car; you become afraid she will be singing “No Scrub”). Somewhere I become the boyfriend guy, then the engaged guy, then the father to be guy then the truck guy, then the mini-van guy and then the 330 pound guy again. I forgot my superhero alter identity, Bike Guy – until recently. One of my employees who is new to my team, said that Bike Guy had inspired him and a lot of people. It made me feel good. I felt like Superman in Superman 3 when he is a drunk bum; or any movie where the hero got a gut and then a montage later, he was svelte again. I really need a montage, but I am willing to put in the hard, heavy work. And hurt from time to time.
4. You have to have a reason–Originally my reason to lose the weight was hatred, raw and burning loathing for the woman who told me it was impossible for me to change. I wanted to prove to my ex she was wrong. After 50 pounds, I realized it was really about me, then it became about wanting to run a triathlon. Then, well, I just forgot. It became easy for me to eat doughnuts again or skip workouts. But here I am at the nexus of turning forty, and it is going to get harder, and I have SO much I still want to be able to do like play soccer, climb, canoe and yes run triathlon. But the biggest reason is that I have a beautiful family that I need to be around to take care of, and to do that right, I have to put my health needs first.
5. You have to have the most amazing support structure–I mean the most amazing. Loved ones and friends that are willing to not roll your eyes when you say, “I swear, in the morning, no more hot dogs”, or when you come home “hone, I am not eating solid foods for ten days”. Hell, they not only cannot roll their eyes, they have to go out and buy you the veggies to juice. Your support system is there to listen and love you no matter what. That being said, they are not responsible for your weight loss and lifestyle and you cannot ask them to change to meet your needs. Remember that, let them be the best they can, but you be the best you can. That being said, if you can find a fitness or accountability buddy – do it, you chances for success are that much better.

Anyway, these are just some of the things I had been thinking over the last week and realizing where I had forgotten my path, especially the superhero alter ego. It is time for me to bring back Bike Man I think and do battle with the jack asses in their car.

Go move today.

Joe Cool Rocks the Westfront Auditorium this Saturday

I am pretty inconsistent in my writing and for that, I am just lame. I don’t even have a great excuse like I have school and work and family. I estimate there is about 2 hours of my day that I waste doing stuff like scratching myself, hanging out in bathroom stalls trying to get a few moments of privacy, or just staring at my PC that I could dedicate to blogging more. But if I write it, will they come?

What makes a blog magical? I have read some blogs that are fantastic, well written and put together well and I read them; even if the subject isn’t necessarily in my arena. Now, that being said, I know that I am more tempted to read new blogs based on searches of things I am interested in, so I have tried using tags that were specific to my blogs like porn, sex, babies, shirtless men and broad wired big data analytics but I still struggle to find my blog niche. Maybe if I just keep writing, I will get a narrative thread, get better at writing and finally break through. Maybe.

Or maybe someday my kids will find my blog and just think what a douche there dad was. Maybe.

In recent news, I am not now or in the near future moving to Utah. There is happiness and sadness about this. I can focus on the betterment of Mike now (spending more time with friends, making new friends, fitness, recipes, making beer and just all around becoming the dude you want to hang out with this summer). I miss my boys, but maybe the little shits should visit here?

Amanda and I are participating in the 12-week Henderson Lighten Up event, which is a free city sponsored weight loss and fitness awareness program. We are mid week two right now. Both of us had a great first week, Amanda would kill me if I posted her weight, but she tore it up and crushed a 2.36 % overall weight loss. Fucking amazing! She had thought that .75% would be a lot. Admittedly, it will get harder, but what a start. She is now at Zumba working off our cheat night of AYCE Sushi.

As for me, I came in at 2.26%. Way above the 1.25% I had guessed, but well below what I am capable of. I will take it more seriously and crush the next ten weeks. I have been watching Nike Commercials all morning, and reading my fitness blogs. I follow Power of Run, who truly inspired me to get over my fear of starting to run on her post here, go check it out, very worth the read.

That’s about it, I am writing a creative blog entry for next time called 25 Hour Fitness and the power of Combat Yoga, but I am still ironing it up and polishing it off.

Big props and shouts to my friends and those that inspired, motivated, or were just there for me this past 7 days. Mahalo and love to you all. Go find your greatness this week, I am getting ready to go ride a bike, talk to you soon.

I hate this

I hate being fat.  I hate that I have to work so damn hard at losing weight.  I hate that I look in the mirror and see someone that I hate.  I hate that there has been more than one relationship in my life that has been ruined by my weight and self-deprecation.  I hate that I can’t breathe when I walk.  I hate that I lost 125 pounds and then gained 50 of it back.  I hate that I cannot wake up to go to the gym.  I hate that the fact that I am fat impacts my ability to earn income at my work more than my lack of a four year degree.  I hate the look I get from people.  I hate that sometimes the only happiness I feel is when I am eating.  I hate the shame after getting happiness from eating.  I hate that I can’t climb, run, bike, swim or even just play with my damn kids.  I hate that I use terms like flip the switch or turn it around.  I hate diabetes.  I hate that I have diabetes and high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  I hate lying to myself thinking I am going to start, tomorrow.  I hate tomorrow.  I hate the alarm at 5 AM.  I hate my ratty tennis shoes that have holes in them and are barely hanging on.  I hate my new tennis shoes that I haven’t worn because I gained weight too fast at first and they do not fit.  I hate that I cannot sleep at night.  I hate the insanity creeping up in the middle of the night waking me in a cold sweat and keeping me asleep.  I hate that sometimes I fall asleep on the toilet in the middle of the night because I am so tired.  I hate pretending.  I hate that I know what to do and don’t do it.  I hate people telling me they love me anyway.  I hate it when my kids when they say “you aren’t fat”, I hate liars. I hate that my wife has to love me.  I hate it when my wife tells me go to the gym.  I hate when my boss tells me go to the gym.  I hate when my friends tell me go to the gym.  I hate society when it tells me go to the gym.

 I hate that they are right.

 Time to do something tonight, right now.  Not tomorrow.  Flip the switch and turn this around.

 I love my wife.  I love my kids.  I love to run, swim, climb, and bike.  I love to play with my kids.  I love going to the gym.  I love the look in people’s eyes when they see me at the gym.  I love the way my clothes fit after a few weeks even.  I love being tired after a long ride.  I love that I can get healthier and battle these symptoms. 

 I am learning to love me.  That is a hard process.

 I love that I hate that it is totally worth it.