The Man in the Mirror

A quick video from my trainer on my journey (so far).

I do need to thank Rowelett Transformation Center and my trainers not just for teaching me how, but for teaching me that I could.

Main lessons learned?
–Life, not just fitness…is mostly…a head game.
–I am, above all else…a work in progress.

Shortly I’ll be moving all the fitness blogs to their own site…and getting back to the motorcycling books/stories on this one. More about that later!

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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A post/surgery fitness update…

For those following this fitness journey of mine…I owe you an update!

I originally started blogging this stuff for a couple reasons…heh…partly because it’s become habit for me to blog stuff to help organize my thoughts, and later, because some folks were following along and told me recording my struggles and progress was helpful.

*shrugs* I’m a writer. It’s what we do.

So along those lines, I resolved to blog the good AND the bad of this journey. Transparent. Well…as transparent as the Fat Man in the mirror can be anyway.

It’s been 3 months since my skin removal surgery…and while I’m on schedule for recovery, it’s not quite as far along as I’d like.

Current state is the numbness around the incisions is fading fast, and the result is they are quite sensitive and incorrectly “stimulating” any area on or near an incision results in a pronounced weakness/shocky/shudder that follows the entire lengths of them…and that’s somewhat over 6 feet of ’em!

It’s annoying…BUT, it is NOT overly painful…just somewhat surprising when it occurs (and it’s getting more frequent/intense) and has more impact on my mood and abilities/performance than I want to “allow”.

It’s also not unexpected really, as I AM where I and my surgeon expect me to be in my recovery. This was a serious/major surgery and the issue is basically a stage in the healing. I knew from the get-go that 6 months is the “full recovery” period.

Sings in my best Bon Jovi voice “OhhhOhh, we’re halfway there!”

With the surgeon’s blessing I’m back in the gym, and progressing rapidly back to “pre-surgical” performance. Despite some real improvement, I’m NOT there yet…as I proved to myself with some rather lackluster dead-lifts this week. I didn’t hurt myself or anything…I’ve learned good form and to listen to my body…and I hit a certain weight (315 pounds I think) and it didn’t feel right and I didn’t complete the lift. I ended up with a max 2 of 290 I think (I’m a bit fuzzy on the weight of the trap bar I was using). Anyway, I’ve done the higher number and more before.

Didn’t feel “right”. One of the tricks is deciding whether the “shut it down” signal is a real limitation or your brain…I am uncertain here, but willing to work my way back and want to avoid injury.

Now…the “full disclosure” for those following along…it’s not all good news. The bad news is that I’ve let my weight creep up 10 pounds since the surgery.

Not quite as bad as it sounds, as a couple pounds of that is added muscle. The important number is body-fat percentage which I’ve let go over 20%. Not good…

I AM still dealing with rather random swelling/puffiness/water retention as an after-effect of the surgery and experience shows that can dramatically impact the InBody scan…

…BUT…

Let’s not make excuses here…the numbers are slowly rising and consistent. I could list lots of reasons…heck, “post surgical swelling” sounds great and is even validated by my surgeon.

…BUT…consistent numbers tell the undeniable story.

…and excuses don’t get the job done. That right there…the head game…is the ONE thing that matters most in this journey.

This is on me, plain and simple. I’m not watching the diet (specifically the quality of it) close enough, and not exercising enough to overcome that.

The exercise I’ve been phasing in…and I think I’ve been hitting it as hard as is wise to do so. Continuous improvement of my performance is a sign of that.

But the diet I CAN control. That’s on me, and I’m disappointed in myself. Many have heard me say, “I’m not going back to what I was.”

That’s an “all costs” thing. But it’s slow and insidious. It requires attention. It mandates the head-game.

On the other hand…I am solidly in the “fit” category of the world…and in better shape than I’ve been in my entire adult life.

But that’s not good enough.

So, 20 pounds or so to hit 15% body fat…and I know how to do that.

It’s time I got back to work.

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Not Morning Girl

The wife shook me urgently awake. “Don’t you have to work today??”

I sat bolt upright in bed. “Shit!” It’s been a while since I forgot to set an alarm. Usually doesn’t matter as I seem to wake about the right time anyway. I leaned over to give the wife a smooch, but “not morning girl” was already sound asleep, back into whatever dream she was having.

I rolled out of bed, put on some coffee, and hit the shower. Drying off afterwards I noted the Big Orange Cat eyeing me sleepily from his usual place on the bed between our pillows. That was important somehow…but I couldn’t figure out how at the moment.

I grabbed for some socks and underwear and stumbled into the living room. Flipping on the tube to check the traffic report I grabbed for my coffee and began to rapidly dress. It’s a particular talent…to simultaneously sip coffee WHILE you’re putting on your underwear…

The TV was weird. There was no traffic. There was no news. Rather, some infomercial was trying to sell me some oxygen generator or sleep therapy thing. I flipped to another channel. It was a talk show hosted by some singer I vaguely recognized.

What the heck?

Then I realized what the location of the Big Orange Cat meant…see…as soon as I’m up in the morning he’s quite verbal about asking me to let him out for his dawn patrol. If I’m not up by 0-stupid-30 (4:30am or so) he’s not shy about telling me to get my ass out of bed to let him out. He takes his dawn patrol quite seriously.

But it wasn’t time for a dawn patrol. Or a traffic report. Warily I eyed the clock, trying to focus on the sleep blurred red numbers.

2:27. Yes, that’s AM. Sigh. “Not Morning Girl’s” dream was apparently that I was late for work.

Oh…and as I’m climbing back into bed she mumbles, “You’re home late…”

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Reflection?

I celebrated a birthday yesterday. It marks an interesting day…as 5 years ago my health was such that there was no way I was going to make it to this day.

I changed that.

The passing of time…usually marked by things like a New Year, Christmas, or birthdays, inevitably leads to reflection, and often to evaluation.

So many view that year gone by…as a step closer to the end…or away from things “they could” and the like…and it colors not only their reflections of the present, but their view of the future.

As a young man from my position and background…with my future prospects…I would have bet I wouldn’t make 30.

I just passed my 55th birthday. Is that too late? Is my life over? Have I peaked? Physically? Mentally? In my enjoyment of life? Experience make me jaded? Grumpy (as it seems to do to so many). Weary of the world? Is THAT my topic of reflection?

I’ve always tried to make my way…but mostly…for my first 5 decades, I went were the winds blew…yes, I worked hard…but really I coasted down the easy or expected paths. It took me to a “not good” place. Was that my lot? Was that all I could expect?

Hell. To. The. Nope. Not reflecting on that.

So what ARE we supposed to reflect upon?

Shit, I don’t know…but I do know this…the future…tomorrow, next week, next year…are what we CAN exert influence on…what we can steer or lead…and as long as we’re breathing it’s not too late.

I *know* this. I’ve done it. Am I another year…or decade older? Sure as hell am…and I’m better than I’ve been in decades…physically, mentally, financially.

It didn’t “just happen”. It was not luck. It was a choice, followed by learning what it would take, and most importantly, by DOING those things.

Ten years difference in the photo below. I was even heavier after that 1st photo…and didn’t really start on this endeavor until I hit 50. On the right…I’ve lost more weight then I weigh today. 222 pounds down. Added muscle too. Beat high blood pressure, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and a host of other things that were adding up to take me before 55.

And I’ve not peaked. Not even close.

If experience has made you weary…it’s time to take a different road. There’s more to see…do…experience…than can be done in a dozen lifetimes.

It’s nothing more…or less…than a choice.

Get on it.

I’ll see you on the road.

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Mostly Human

Sitting here in my recliner…casting music vids at the “wall ‘O boob tube”…taking a much needed rest day. Sleep is still tough…work has been at its most challenging, and recovery from this surgery takes a LOT out of you.

I had the shakes this morning. They were, at least, somewhat less than yesterday.

Yeah, I went back to work too soon. Can’t be helped. I am what I am…I do what I do. I’ve made my way in this world on my will and ethics…work and otherwise…despite some bad hands dealt. I come from a *long* way down and am constantly aware that because of what and who I am, there’s no safety net.

One or two missed steps and I’d be back in the mire I fought my way out of years ago.

I am unlikely to change “what brung me” to any serious degree.

I’ve time to reflect today…the human organism is a fantastic thing, at least if you give it half a chance. The sheer severity of the punishment you can inflict on the human body…that it can and will recover from, all the while permitting you to be as functional as is possible, is truly amazing.

But the mind must be involved. Resilience, it turns out, is an act of sheer will. The hard work is the easy part. If I regret anything of the past…it’s that it took me so long to understand that.

This isn’t just about the recent surgery…it covers near 5 decades of bad choices, overwork, self-neglect, and injuries.

And despite it all…today, finally, I’m healthier than I’ve ever been. I did the work. I paid the price…and the interest.

The “tearing me down” phase is over. It’s time to remake the man.

So yeah, I need this break…and a few more. I still feel guilty about it…but my focus is changing.

I stared at the man in the mirror for a long while this morning. I STILL don’t recognize him…but…at least now I can see he’s on his way to becoming the man I always thought I was.

…or perhaps dreamed I could be.

It’s a high bar I’ve set…but I’ve already decided that I’ll clear it.

Whatever it takes.

I’ll see you on the road.

I still don't recognize the man in the mirror.

Me at 205. That’s 222 pounds down and I’m still puffy/swollen from the surgery.

“Break me down and build me up
Whatever it takes
‘Cause I love the adrenaline in my veins
I do whatever it takes
‘Cause I love how it feels when I break the chains
Whatever it takes…”

You can read more about my fitness journey here.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Viking Cycle-Sport/Street Medium Backpack Review

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

I reviewed a pair of gloves from them here. Yep, I’m still using them.

Next up up is a backpack. Now, i’m normally NOT a backpack kind of guy…as a distance rider one of my secret weapons is a backrest on my cruiser and that’s not normally compatible with a backpack.

I DO commute though, and nearly always have some sort of bag with me. Laptop, chargers, lunch, workout clothes, whatnot…all travel to work with me nearly daily. I’ve been using a duffel tied down on the back seat for the task. Once at my destination, I have to toss it over my shoulder for the trek up and down at least a half dozen floors of stairs, crossing the world’s most dangerous street, and so on, so a backpack wouldn’t be out of place.

Viking provided their Medium Black Street-Sportbike Backpack for review so I gave it a go.

The backpack turned out to work as well as the duffel for me, as the backpack has plenty of straps and loops etc to be able to strap it down as easily as the duffel when I’m on the bike with the backrest. When I’m on the other machine, the backpack wears comfortably and has a good arrangement of straps and adjustments so it stays in place and isn’t distracting.

It’s semi-rigid, has compartments that easily hold my laptop and junk, and the medium will accommodate my “commute load”. It would not be big enough for overnight.

The backpack has good quality, durable zippers and it looks like quality stitching and construction. I’m happy with it.

The Viking medium Sport/Street backpack

The strap arrangement is comprehensive and effective

Suitable compartment for laptop/tablet

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

Motorcyclehouse AU
Motorcyclehouse UK

Full disclaimer: Viking provided this bag free of charge for me for review.
Full full disclaimer: If I didn’t like it I wouldn’t say I do…and I DO like it.

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

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My current look….

The pain, the recovery, the interruption of my routine, work, and other aspects of my life, the expense, and the feelings of weakness or “inability” all add up.

What does it mean?

Meh. Not much. I’ve got this…

But there are the nightmares to go along with it.

What bothers the self-made man that preaches resilience? What phases the man that’s seen the things I’ve seen?

Probably NOT the usual. Monsters and demons don’t phase me the least as I’ve faced worse in real life than my brain can ever cook up. Sometimes won, sometimes not. Ironically, Due to the very surgery causing me the pain, I no longer bear the external scars from most of that stuff LOL! All got taken off in favor of some brand new ones.

As always…there’s enough of a seed of truth to make the thing legit…at least in the dark of night…in this case…my ability to protect and provide and face off the dark things in the world and hold on to the light things I’ve built my life around.

When ya think, “I’ve got this…” and then your brain spends an eternity in the night replaying every failure, every bad decision, every serious pain…and telling ya, “You think so?”

Heh…yeah. Subtle. I’d have slapped it with a margarita but I’m not all that much of a drinker and it would interfere with the healing anyway….

This too shall pass.

I’ll see you on the road…soon enough anyway.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Groan….

So, just over a week ago I had skin removal surgery.

Hard work can only do so much…and I did it.

Having lost 210+ pounds, achieved sub 15% body fat, added some muscle, beat diabetes, tuned up my cardio-vascular system to better than it’s been since I was a teen, has put me literally, in the best shape of my life.

Almost.

See, the extra skin does’t go away. There’s no cream, magic cure, exercise, miracle laser, etc that will do anything for it.

It has to be cut off. A lesser weight loss and many will not need it done. For me it became functional, inhibiting movement and causing injury if I did was “aggressively mobile”.

This is not a decision I made lightly. It’s a serious surgery.

Turns out I’m also recovering from hernia surgery…

Ah, so THAT’S why THAT particular pain seems so familiar. Ugh.

So, y’all have heard the term “tummy tuck”? Sounds innocuous right? That’s ONE of the procedures that was part of my surgery last week.

Thing is…tummy tuck is a nice, innocent sounding name for a HELL of an intrusive procedure.

They actually cut along the bikini/pubic line, peel the entire skin layer (and any fat) off CLEAR above your naval, then chop, stretch, sew, fit etc. to remove the extra and make everything fit nicely.

Google/youtube it if you still think “tummy tuck” (also known as abdominoplasty) sounds like a minor thing.

IF YOU ARE NOT the queasy type, here’s a picture of some of what they removed from me. That’s a 12″ ruler in the center of it.. linky linky to graphic pic

But there’s something else…since the abdominal muscles are completely exposed at this point, any and all muscle damage (common from pregnancy in women, hernias/strains in men, etc) is repaired. Obesity by itself causes muscle separation here as well.

I had a pretty severe hernia repaired via lathroscopy and mesh about 5 years ago. As good as my surgeon was at that time, these are patch jobs, done to repair the acute problem with as minimal intrusion as possible.

In a “tummy tuck”…with the abs exposed, they repair EVERYTHING…

So it turns out my old repair was reworked, and other defects corrected. I had a few. Lifetime of hard work and all that.

So yeah, all the pain of the massive incisions AND the hernia recovery as well.

In those moments when the pain from something over 70” of incisions isn’t at the forefront…I had that familiar ab agony…yep…I’m also recovering from a massive hernia repair.

Fun! 🙂

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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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