Saturday, March 21, 2015

I Don't Do Excuses

In October of 2010 I had just bought my first size 40 jeans at 38 years old. As a truck driver I'd steadily increased in the waist while my muscles shriveled and fat took a residence. I kept telling myself I'd eat at the buffet less and walk more. Especially since, looking around, I'd determined "buffet" was an acronym for "Big Ugly Fat Folks Eating Together". (This theory has never been disproven yet by the way). 

Well, as it turns out, two weeks after making the decision to get in better shape I was provided motivation in the form of nearly dying. See, I was trying to put an 80 pound tarp on top of a load and had me a little fall. Twelve feet to the concrete. That night they did surgery to put a metal plate in my right hand and immobilize it so that the 10 breaks in that hand could heal. I'm "equal opportunity" so I also broke my left hand in 5 places and cracked 2 discs in my lower back. That's when things changed. 

Six months I went through physical therapy and occupational therapy learning move my fingers, building strength in my right hand again. Being right handed this was painful on many levels. Small strength exercises at first..2 1/2 pound Dumbbells. Little pink plastic ones. Way to make me feel like a Barbie doll, doc. The first 4 1/2 months I kept being told I might never drive a truck again. So I pushed harder. I started pushing more at home too. "Just 20 seconds planking then you can try squeezing a racquetball..." No way was anyone going to tell me what I can't do. And those stupid pink Dumbbells? Pfft. I'll show them. A month and a half later the doctor pronounced I had 16% disability but could go back to work. So long as I didn't lift more than 50 pounds and I did monthly check ups. 

So I went to Walmart and bought Dumbbell bar and weight plates, a jump rope and a bit of my dignity. A quick stop at GNC resulted in whey protein and a blender bottle. I'd been studying up, you see. "Protein helps build lean muscle. Lean muscle burns fat. Plus, protein is filling." Ergo, protein shakes were going to become 2 meals a day. "Wait, if I take vitamins and get the nutrients I need I won't have as strong an urge to snack while sitting on my arse in traffic." So I got some Megamen's gold vitamins. 

Thus, my new lifestyle began. Slowly at first. Now, I use my 55 pound Dumbbells to do hammer curls, shrugs and skull crushers twice a week. I don't keep track of reps. I do it "to exhaustion". I modified a flat bench by removing the legs. Now I set it on a dog's food dish at each end and do dumbbell presses in my truck so I'm conserving space and getting my workout in. I jump rope daily. 50 reps, 45 second rest, repeat for 8 reps. Sometimes I do them forward, sometimes backward. That gets my cardio and fat burning. 

Buffets became motivation. I'd go inside the truckstop, see the morbidly obese grazing, then go out to my truck with milk to fix my protein shake. I'd use that to wash down cans of tuna. My breakfast became packages of oatmeal. All because I learned 2 things from that fall. First, no way was anyone telling me what I couldn't do. Second, most importantly, "you can make change happen or you can make excuses. Your call"

Oh, those size 40 jeans? I'm back in size 34. I'm 6 foot, 230 pounds and in the best shape of my life at 42 (rapidly approaching 43). 
Make change happen or make excuses. Your call.