Monday, August 12, 2013

The making of an action hero pt23

Entry #22. I used to wear a cross. It started after I graduated from high school. I went with a bunch of friends on a pre-college freedom celebration which found us one night on the boardwalk on the Carolina shore. While one of my companions had his ear pierced, I picked up a brass cross on a leather cord. Back then I had a straightforward faith. I went to Church, sang in the choir, and had a strong relationship with God. My faith in organized religion was shaken a year later. I finally had enough of petty people treating the church as their personal reserve to the detriment of others. I prayed in my own way and continued to wear a cross. I still remember one of the sermons from when I was a teenager. I can’t remember the point of the lesson, but part of it was a story about a man who wouldn’t sand off the edge of a cross he carried in his pocket. He said the periodic poking reminded him not to grow complacent with his worship. I wore the cross to remind me of my beliefs and those who drove me away from the church. When I moved out on my own for the first time, I bought a heavy gold cross from an estate sale. I wore it for ten years, every day. The thing is that after a while, the cross stopped symbolizing my personal relationship with God. It started representing my success…because it was gold and expensive. I didn’t like what that said about me. Mind you, I never wore any of these pieces where people could see. They were personal, like my faith. I wanted something different. I wanted something that would remind me to be a better person. I wanted something that would inspire me to be a stronger person. Strength is one of those characteristics that everyone defines differently. See a linebacker…he’s strong. See a boxer half his weight? He’s strong too. See a person who overcomes adversity to succeed? She’s strongest of all. Somewhere between the end of college and now I stopped feeling strong. I stopped believing that I could make better choices. I knew intellectually that doing so was an option. I just lost faith in myself. It was easier to keep avoiding exercise and eating poorly than to turn around and admit that I could, at any time, have stopped the spiral. Symbols have power to me. I grew up in a church where the cross and the bible meant something. All through high school I wore a letter jacket emblazoned with my letters for chorus, wrestling, and academic success. I love that jacket. It meant I was someone. It meant that I had accomplished something special. It hangs in my hall closet to this day. To some people symbols are simply vanity, ego worn to make a point. To me they are reminders of who I am and who I can become. All those English classes and Sunday school lessons reinforced my belief that symbols are important. So when I began looking for a symbol to replace the cross, it wasn’t a minor undertaking. I hadn’t started the action hero plan back then, but I knew I wanted to make some changes. I looked for totemic images of strength, often returning to my favorite animal, the wolf. I looked through rings, necklaces, and bracelets. Everything I found was either costume jewelry or didn’t resonate at the right level. Then my favorite jewelry maker, R.E. Piland, came out with a stylized hammer. It was cast heavy silver. It was a hammer, both a tool and a weapon. Something clicked for me. A few months later, the brunette bought it for me as an unexpected and generous gift. I mounted it on a heavy silver chain and have worn it every day since. I make this point because, most of what I’ve written about to date has been about success or my journey in that direction. I’ve done well. It’s been years since I was under 300, and I’m rightfully proud of that accomplishment. But, this last week hasn’t been a success for me. I was sick for three straight days. I stayed at home, drank a lot of water and did nothing. Sure, when you’re sick there’s only so much you can or should be doing. I basically had carbs for every meal and didn’t go out of my way to eat better. I didn’t eat a lot, but I didn’t eat well either. Plus, when I’m just sitting around the house I tend to snack more. It was the difference between having 1500 calories in three nicely balanced meals and 1500 calories in nutrition neutral consumption. That’s how back-sliding starts. You have a snack here and a snack there and before long your discipline is gone. It wasn’t a big deal; I just stopped making the additional effort for a few days and really felt terrible afterwards. On the up side, our nutribullet blender and my exercise DVD arrived that week. I’m not making excuses for what happened. I haven’t gained weight, but I haven’t lost weight either. So I’m going to focus on making the most out of these new arrivals. My friend Corc is going to walk me through the first DVD Thursday. I’m experimenting with oatmeal smoothies for breakfast. I’ve ordered a larger water bottle for work and the beast survival pack ™ is almost complete. I simply have to remember every morning that success doesn’t come from a theme song, a light box, or a set of steel clubs. It comes from deciding every day that I will do better. I will be strong. I will smash my weakness with a hammer of willpower. I will exercise. I will eat better. I will not make excuses. Today’s intake: A breakfast shake of oatmeal, almond milk, peaches, and blueberries with a banana. Work meal=A pepper turkey Swiss wrap, an apple, and a hand full of unsalted almonds. Dinner was chicken, zucchini, onions, garlic cloves, peppers, and mushrooms over pasta with a spicy pesto Alfredo sauce. I’m pretty sure that’s the last of our Alfredo. Weight this morning was 297.2 pounds. Since my average last week was 296.92 pounds, that number has to go down.

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