A closet full of clothes and nothing to wear…

That moment when all your “way too small” clothes are suddenly too big…

Those are 35″ jeans btw…

Got nothing smaller to try on…for me a VERY surreal problem…

You can read more about my fitness journey here.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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BooYEAH!

14.8% Body fat today. Another milestone made. Another wall smashed.

I’ve come a LONG way.

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Waffles of doom….

Notable at breakfast…an overly enthusiastic dude felt the need to get up from his meal, to come explain to me just how dangerous riding motorcycles is, and how it was gonna kill me someday…

Now…this is entirely possible…but despite the over-dramatic news stories and graphic pictures and videos folks seem almost desperate to share every time somebody, somewhere in the world manages to capture one, the statistics tell quite a different story.

Daily riding of my motorcycle, in the metro traffic, with NO GEAR AT ALL, doesn’t even make the possible top 25 causes of my “imminent demise”. With the gear and education and experience and other actions I take to moderate that risk it actually falls somewhere just slightly above getting struck by lightning. Twice.

Of course, you know what they say about statistics. Ask the motorcyclist that got struck by lightning while riding. Lightning AND motorcycling killed him. At the same time. Skewed the odds for the rest of us for decades I’d guess.

Don’t forget to add about 2 cups of syrup!

Anyway, there was some irony at play here…as “enthusiastic dude” was well over 400 pounds and his breakfast consisted of a VERY tall stack of full-sized waffles…I’d guess at least 8 of ’em…drowned in margarine and syrup. Conservatively there were around 5000 calories on that plate. Probably closer to 8000! 90% flash carbs, and the rest is saturated fats. One of those waffles a week could be a treat. He had a couple months worth.

I feel qualified to comment on both sides of this…as, yes, I DO ride (for those that haven’t been paying attention), and for decades if I walked into a room I was the fattest guy in there.

I also like waffles.

…and I know “denial” ain’t just a river in Egypt.

Motorcycling may get me someday…just like getting in my car…or walking across the street from my parking garage to work every day (the garage thing is marginally more dangerous than the motorcycle commute), but the dude preaching to me that I should quit it and “save my life”…is MUCH more assuredly killing himself.

His eating habits, size, associated insulin signatures and blood sugar levels, inflammation, and all the diseases they cause or worsen, will kill several hundred times more folks this year than motorcycling…and cars…and guns. Taken together, his lifestyle is the #1 cause of death in his age group. Taken separately, well, they are 4 of the top 5. Also 6, 7 , and 9…but it doesn’t seem productive to count that high for this.

He was preaching, not discussing, so the opportunity to point this out was lost, and had I forced the issue, would have been rejected and just made the day unpleasant.

Risk vs. Risk. When your level of risk has approached certainty, there’s little point in worrying about the minor ones.

Perspective matters…and it seems to be one of the things lost in the noise these days.

As in many things though…you’ve got to be ready to listen. I wasn’t…when I was the fattest guy in the room. I still don’t know why.

I’ll see you on the road.

…and very once and a while, I may even have a waffle!

You can read more about my fitness journey here.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Motivation Won’t Do It…

“You are SO motivated!”

I was breathing hard and staring down that damn Smith machine when she said it. I broke my glare at the assembly of cables, pulleys, sliders, and chunks of heavy iron and turned toward her. The glare wasn’t working anyway.

Protip: You cannot intimidate heavy iron, especially by staring at it.

I smiled at the PYTtm (Pretty Young Thing), evaluated her for a half-second, and decided she was looking for a conversation, not just a nod or platitude. I’ve learned, that in the fitness game, many folks don’t really want answers when they make comments or indeed, ask direct questions. Especially if the answers aren’t what they want to hear.

“Sometimes,” I cocked my head, “not always.” I pondered a little more, “Occasionally I suppose I am. Why do you say that?”

She was taken aback, “Well, you’re here…” she indicated the little fitness center at work, “a lot. And you work hard at it. I can’t seem to keep going. I lose my motivation.”

“Ah.” I glanced back at the Smith machine. It’s a nemesis really. And a benefactor. At least 3 days a week, usually 4, I spend time on it rehabbing my shoulders. It tries to be a ‘jack of all trades’ so there’s a lot of things it’s not very good at…but its arrangement of cables and varying handles and finely adjustable weight-loads makes it ideal to work a maddening array of motions for my shoulder recovery. That’s AFTER some cardio and whatever else I subject myself to that day to try to whip the rest of me into some other shape than “round”.

EIGHTEEN months of it now on the shoulders…around three years on the overall quest. I wondered what she’d think if she knew the REST of my fitness schedule…which involves multiple “elsewhere” workouts, a professional trainer/coach at his studio, and a “big box” facility I spend time at multiple times a week.

“Thing is, it’s not motivation,” I struggled to articulate it, “I’m not motivated at all today. I’m discouraged and tired and pissed off and really disappointed with some folks and frankly feel like eating an entire pizza and spending the rest of the day in bed.” I smiled a bit to soften the statement. “NOBODY can stay motivated all the time.”

“How do you do it then?”

I almost said, “Habit.” but hesitated. No. It’s not habit. Habit is the easy way…most folks arrange their lives around habit, doing basically what they must…to the minimum standard required. The easiest way. The least responsibility required. I “must” go to work, so getting up is habit. Paying the bills is habit. Going through life dealing with the mundane is habit. It’s the default. The minimum. No thought required. No real decisions. The easiest way.

I know this. Regarding my physical condition I did it for decades. It almost killed me. THAT’S the legacy of habit.

…and that simply won’t do.

There’s nothing default, minimum, or easy about the transformation I’ve undertaken.

The answer was already there, and popped into my head…and I hesitated to tell her. See, it’s an unpalatable word, as it simply and directly sticks the responsibility for “doing the thing”, whatever that thing may be, right where it ultimately belongs…with and on each of us.

It’s the choices. What you require of yourself. A lot of folks don’t want that responsibility and don’t like to hear it. Especially as it regards fitness. Doesn’t matter…they’ve got it anyway.

So I said it, “It’s discipline. Nothing less will do. Ya gotta OWN it…and do everything you can do…every day.”

“Oh.” She seemed disappointed. Many are when I get into the “meat” of this quest…they’re looking for the magic bullet. The shortcut.

There ain’t one.

“I just don’t have that.”

I grinned at her, “Sure you do. Discipline’s a choice. No more, no less. So is a lack of it. Doesn’t mean it’s easy,” I shrugged, “ya just gotta choose. A coach can probably help with that. I sure wish I’d figured it out about 4 decades ago…” I winked and turned back to the Smith machine.

Damn iron wasn’t gonna move itself, even if I returned to glaring at it, and the shoulders weren’t near sore enough for today yet.

Like most of life…it can be tackled at any level. It’s not what you CAN do…it’s what you WILL do.

Decide.

I’ll see you on the road.

You can read more about my fitness journey here.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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…and the bill comes due.

Of this fitness journey…back in 2017 I wrote this:

The real question is what it will cost me?

Even then I had the answer…

Whatever it takes.

…but as I sit here writing this…I’m wondering if it has cost me my 35-year career.

Scratch that. I’m not wondering. I’m convinced that it has…

***

When I started this transformation, and it became obvious I was serious about it, my trainers and other sources (reading of the very few others that succeed at this) warned me that the process, the time, and the dedication required to succeed would require significant, intrusive changes in my daily life and my interactions with others.

In short, I would have to “do” for me, rather than only for others. Time. Money. Effort. Redirecting some of them back to myself…a LOT of them back to myself…telling people “no”, would likely cost me some friends or family relationships.

I understood this…and my consensus was that any friends or family that didn’t support…or at least tolerate my efforts, were of the “toxic” sort and I was better off not surrounding myself with that anyway.

With this process, I was saving my life. It took me a long time to realize this. Nobody really has the right to ask me not to.

It took me a long time to realize that too.

So I learned to say, “No.” Not very well, but it’s a process anyway.

It HAS happened, toxic people surfacing, but has been blessedly little, and it turns out…I pretty much knew who they were anyway.

But then there’s my career.

From the get-go I’ve been careful not to “cross the streams” so to speak. I’ve managed for the most part to not allow my transformation quest to interfere with my career.

–I work out with my trainer at 0-stupid-30 so I don’t impact work hours.
–I’m a salaried employee with no set “9-5” type schedule so when I’ve had a doctor’s appointment or such, I’ve made up or exceeded the time it took.
–I do work out in the company’s little fitness room often during the workday, but it’s not on “their time”…I get lunches and breaks just like any employee and see the “salaried employee” thing above. I’m here early. I work late. And I’m often tasked to do things remotely (from home) for them and those are “my hours”.
–In TWO shoulder surgeries I only took a total of 5 days off and that was regular vacation hours scheduled well in advance.

My immediate supervisor has been great about it anyway. We’re a 24/7 operation and as long as we’re putting in the hours and getting the job done, he’s been flexible. Still, I’ve been careful not to “inconvenience” my employer.

Dedicated to the job and all that. It’s what a man’s supposed to be. Right?

After all, that’s the way our world works…and there’s benefits to dedication.

…or there were supposed to be.

Men have long sold their health and their soul “to the job”…I am discovering just how expensive it is to buy it back.

I have reached a point in my transformation where hard work, discipline, and mindful eating just aren’t going to be enough for the next step.

In short, I’m within a point or two of my ideal body composition. But…and I mentioned before that I had debated posting about this, but the final step in my transformation is the removal of excess skin. See, not to be too delicate, but when your gut was well over 60″ around even at the “under the dunlop” part…and now it’s a 35 at the widest…well, there’s a lot of skin left over that isn’t going away. Surgical intervention is the only fix for this and depending on the severity of the problem, NOT doing it can be debilitating and cause long term problems (life-threatening infections for one).

But, medical insurance won’t cover the fix…considering it “cosmetic” or “quality of life” instead of “preventative” or “acute care”. It only becomes something insurance will help with AFTER you’ve been hospitalized for a related, life-threatening infection or problem. We are NOT going down that road.

I find this ironic…as they WOULD have paid for a gastric bypass or such. But doing it my way? You’re on your own.

So be it. Penance some would say.

So, just like in this entire endeavor, I made sacrifices, scraped together the resources and the time, and have arranged to “do the deed”.

The one thing I DID need, was my extended sick leave. It was supposed to work like this at my company…the first 5 days of any absence for a medical issue you must cover under your normal PTO time. After 5 days we have an earned benefit (I fully vested in this 35 years ago) that provides for 1000 hours at full pay should you be medically unable to report to work.

I need three weeks. My PTO covers the first, the extended is supposed to kick in for the other two.

They denied it. Doesn’t matter that I will be medically unable to work. Seems they don’t consider the REASON I’ll be medically unable to work noble or sufficient enough to merit paying me the benefit I’ve earned.

Denied.

This was done through a third-party company they’ve contracted to handle such things…precisely so they don’t have to make these sorts of “caring” decisions…see, policy and procedure…oh, and bureaucratic confusion, even though not aligned with the benefit I’ve earned, make the decisions. Out of our hands and all that.

Therefore…I’m doing it anyway.

In truth…in the back of my mind I must have been expecting just such a dick-head move…as I have hoarded my regular PTO this year and have enough to cover (barely) AND I’d already worked with my supervisor to get the needed time-slot approved before I did anything at all toward getting the surgery scheduled. I expected the extended leave to kick in and had not consciously hoarded the regular time…but there ya go.

My worry NOW is I’m in a shrinking industry…and the tech side of that industry as well…both of which have a history of laying off folks that are a pain or tap a benefit…and I had to waltz into my local HR office and dump this entire mess in their lap with an adamant, “This is NOT what I signed up for.”

They DID say they’d look into it…and perhaps they’ll even do the right thing.

But…

If I wasn’t ALREADY on it…I expect I’ve made somebody’s shit list. NOT a good thing to do in a shrinking industry.

Friends, family, and former colleagues have all asked me in no uncertain terms why, with my skills and dedication, am I still here?

Truth is I LIKE what I do, I’m passionate about it, I believe it’s important, and I’m very, very good at it.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but as long as this company is in business…they don’t just need A butt in this chair…they need MY butt in this chair. The same is true for the rest of my team members. Talented, dedicated, passionate, innovative people are what’s required for a company to succeed and survive in a challenging environment.

I wish they still recognized that.

But this week had me as close as I’ve ever been to just smiling, sticking out my hand to shake, and saying, “Been nice. Thanks for the experience. Please DO call me when you’re serious about the business again.”

Not sure I’d answer the phone though.

Anyway…surgery scheduled. Money…LOTS of it, has changed hands. Unless a health or surgical scheduling issue comes up, the time off is happening. HOW it happens paperwork-wise is not my worry anymore.

Career-wise I’m sure something’s coming.

Whatever that may be, bring it on.

You can read more about my fitness journey here.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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17.2

In a weird head-space at the moment…

I’ve been battling my weight literally my entire life…battling it WRONG…but battling it…and of course, loosing.

On this journey, this time, I’ve learned how to do it…RIGHT…and I’ve done it.

It boils down to this…

I don’t need to lose weight anymore.

*blinks*

I don’t need to lose weight anymore.

Now, basically, I’m optimizing my body composition. Adding muscle, reducing body fat, leaning out.

It’s a different process. Sort of. Still means “eat right, work hard”…it’s just what “right” and “hard” mean are shifting. Last week my trainer had to tell me to eat more…

Eat more…strange concept…When I was fat, and diabetic, food WAS the enemy…neither of those are the case anymore. Note…ya still can’t eat crap.

Weighed in this morning…in the last week I worked harder than ever, I added around 3 pounds of muscle, lost more than that in fat..and am sitting at 17.2% body-fat. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been…even when I was in my “bullet-proof 20’s” and worked construction.

Numbers say 6 pounds of fat left to lean out, to reach an athletic 15% body fat.

These are numbers I’ve NEVER been…

Gotta go buy more clothes…got nothing left that fits. Again.

If you, the reader, gets ANY take-away from my entire struggle…it’s that self care (and learning HOW…our education was outright WRONG) should be your number one goal…and YOU are 100% in control of this process.

If you OWN it…at whatever level you can achieve…doing ALL you can EVERY day…well, it works. Every time.

I’m not done by any means. This is a lifetime pursuit, and I’ve a surgery scheduled to deal with the loose skin ya end up with from a better than 60″ belly…

But…

I don’t need to lose weight anymore…

I’m not sure I understand that just yet…

The hardest battle you will ever fight…is with yourself.

I win.

You can read more about my fitness journey here.

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Listen, and Understand!

“Listen, and understand! That Terminator is out there! It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop… ever, until you are dead!”
–Kyle Reese (The Terminator 1984)

Well…okay…maybe it’s not QUITE that dramatic…but perhaps it should be. The fictional “Terminator” managed to kill 21 (according to the ‘net) before getting squashed in a conveniently configured Terminator squishing device.

The thing I’m talking about today will kill around 1,100 people in the US, just today…and EVERY day…and it’s NOT fictional.

Take a look at this graph. Bear with me here…let’s say the graph itself represents your body’s dealing with a substance that is beneficial if your exposure is kept to a level that your RESPONSE remains in the blue band (normal range). If you are over-exposed to this substance your response becomes “dealing with a toxin” and the chart goes outside the blue band.

Outside that normal range, the substance AND your response to at become increasingly toxic. So toxic in fact, that if you continue to be exposed to this level of the substance over time, your ability to endure even normal exposures becomes weaker and you begin to suffer from things like kidney failure, nerve damage, blindness, lymphedema, heart disease, dementia, and a host of other dire side effects. Within a short time, if left untreated, this condition is lethal. Even when diagnosed AND treated, if you are still over-exposed, the condition is STILL lethal…it just takes a little longer.

The cart above is real, and that massive spike is the rise in glucose from “exposure”. Effects include ramping up the pancreas to “deep fat fry” levels of insulin production, which will…burn it out even whilst these high levels train your healthy cells for insulin resistance. Note both the high glucose level, AND the body’s response of a high insulin level are both harmful, even in otherwise healthy individuals. NOT a good thing.

So what is this “exposure”? Rat poison? Chemicals in water? Late night TV commercials? If it was any of those we’d ban it and hunt down and prosecute the folks marketing it to us.

But we won’t.

See that spike “out of the blue”? That’s the body’s response to a single bowl of breakfast cereal…that thing we’ve been taught all our lives is a staple and HEALTHY. Liver processing the sugar as a toxin, pancreas ramped up. Fat cells greedily gobbling up calories and growing, even while healthy cells are trained to be glucose resistant and are starving.

Breakfast cereal.

I can’t even tell you which one, as they’d probably sue me into oblivion for calling their extraordinarily high-profit product “poison”. Yeah, well. Anything high carb/sugar, low fiber? Sodas. Cereals. Breads. All the same…and that’s approaching 70% of the average diet. For many people it’s FAR more.

The American diet is lethal. But it’s DAMN profitable.

YOU…and only you…can fix it. This is a Terminator you can squash. It’s not even complicated. Note that I didn’t say it was easy. We are addicted to these foods, and the marketing is absolutely ruthless.

It takes time. Get started today.

You can read more about my fitness journey here.

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Viking Cycle Perforated Gloves–A Review

This spring Viking Cycle provided me with a couple of products to review.

First up is a pair of summer gloves to review. Those of you that have been following me know I go through a LOT of gloves (at least a pair a season, often TWO pairs…and Texas has a lot of seasons!) and am fairly picky about the fit and quality of them.

As a lifetime daily commuter and also a distance rider one lesson is that minor irritations add up to big problems on the road. Make sure your gear and your machine suit you.

Critical things with gloves include fit and cut.

Fit means fingers are the correct length and hug the hand. Tight without restricting.

Cut is how the gloves are sewn/structured. With a tight glove on, and your hand at rest, your fingers should be curved more or less in the same manner as your hand at rest with no glove. If they are not, the glove itself will be fatiguing just in maintaining your grip on your handlebars.

For a spring/summer I chose a perforated glove. I would classify the Viking glove as a medium weight, good in the heat and also in a variety of lower temperatures. I expect it would be comfortable down to about 40 degrees for short duration, 50 degrees indefinitely. In the Texas climate this is a “early spring all the way to late fall” glove.

I am quite happy with these gloves. I generally get gloves tight and let them “work in” to a perfect fit, and the size of these is as expected.

The cut is quite good, fitting finger length/palm and hand curve/orientation nicely. The palms are slightly padded and the knuckles are lightly armored. They are very comfortable.

The stitching is excellent and they are well made. They are holding up well to my normal abuse with no leather damage or loose stitching. The Velcro wrist closures are sturdy and well attached.

I can easily fetch my wallet, fish out a credit card, key digits on a gas pump/etc without removing them. Key for me on a distance run.

Fingertip “touch-screen” coating.

The only issue I’ve noted is the first two fingertips on each hand have a “touch-screen” coating. That is beginning to slightly peel. This is just the coating, the fingertip underneath is still solid. The touch coating still works, though this is not a feature I depend on as I use a motorcycle-specific GPS and the touch screen is calibrated for gloved hands.

Given the quality and features of these gloves at their bargain price-point and they are an excellent value. They cost around 30% less than my usual gloves and are easily as comfortable and durable. I will use these again.

These are the particular model glove I reviewed: (linky)

Other gloves available at Viking: (linky)

They have jackets and other gear as well at what seems a good price-point.

Viking also markets in the UK and “Down Under” so if you’re there, hit up your local sites:
Viking AU
Viking UK

Full disclaimer: Viking provided these gloves to me for review.
Full full disclaimer: If I didn’t like them I wouldn’t say I do…and I DO like them.

I’ll see you on the road,
CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Tempus Fugit

A long time ago…

Folks think I’m kidding when I say I’ve not been this low of a weight or body-fat % in my adult life…

Not kidding though. I’m that guy with hair on the right…and 16 or 17 years old in this pic…that’s nearly 40 years ago!

And today, I’ve got more muscle, am in better physical shape, have more endurance, and am wearing smaller clothes than in this pic…

Probably got more hair now too…it’s just migrated off the top of my head 🙂 …and you’re welcome for that visual.

I’m still wondering where the time went…

I’m around 240 in that pic…wearing 40″ jeans or so…

I’ll see you on the road.

You can read more about my fitness journey here.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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The Impossible Feat

Listen hard, listen well.
I have a story to tell.
This is not the beginning though…
…no…not the beginning at all…
…see, this story begins in Hell.

The “unofficial” scale… which normally agrees with the “official” one to any significant standard… says 225 lbs this morning.

That’s -202 for those keeping score.

I’m well under 20% body-fat, I’ve idealized every health marker, and sitting squarely in the “fit” category.

It’s not the end though. It took me decades to learn that fitness and self-care, mental and physical, wasn’t “selfish” or a luxury. The disciplines involved serve you well in all aspects of life, and the pursuit of them is not optional.

I started this journey with a goal weight. I don’t have one anymore, rather, I have a target fitness level. Slacking off ain’t in the cards.

Some low-points along the way (some paraphrased, but not as much as you’d think):
–My 1st doctor (scowls at my 427 pound weight): “Why are you even here?”
–A popular “big box” health club (as I’m attempting to sign up): “Oh hell no. You’ll have to bring certification from your doctor that you’re allowed to exercise!” (they wouldn’t even give me a tour)
–My 1st doctor: *laughs*
–My 2nd doctor (on being asked to help me lose 200 pounds): “Oooo. Lofty goal. Unreasonable though. Let’s try to lose, say, 20 pounds instead?”
–My endocrinologist (when asked what to do to get off some of these expensive drugs): *laughs*
–My health insurance: “No, we’re not paying for anything that might help the actual problem. Have some more drugs!”
–My employer: “Biometric screenings! Lifestyle surcharges! You fat fuck! You’ll NEVER meet THIS standard. Have a cookie! Pizza? Maybe a doughnut? Check out our new vending machine, it serves ICE CREAM!”
–A family member not seen in a while: “You’ve lost weight! OMG you have cancer!”
–The medical studies: “Only one in a million will try it. Only 10% of those will succeed.”

There’ve been highlights too:
–My trainers (when I asked for help): “Yeah, bring it! If you’re willing to work, we can do that!”
–Me (finally realizing it’s mostly a head game and I HAD CONTROL of it): “Holy shit!”
–My eye doctor (on learning I’d put my diabetes in remission): “Amazing. In 35 years of practice I’ve never seen it happen.”
–My wife (on seeing my progress): “Maybe I can do that…” *embarks on her own transformation journey*
–Me: *tosses a whole wardrobe of clothes because everything…all of it…is far too big*
–Random coworker: “You look damn good!”
–My current doctor: “Fantastic!” *fist-bump*
–The wife (raises eyebrow at me): “Growwwlllll!”

If I had to pick one thing I’ve learned in this journey, it’s this:
I can tackle absolutely anything I set my mind to.

…and guess what? You can too!

Bring it!

You can read more about my fitness journey here.

I’ll see you on the road.
CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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