diet, exercise, goals, intimacy, weight loss

It Begins

Well, here we go.

I realized over the summer of 2010 I’d gained a LOT of weight. I quit smoking in February 2010, and between that time and October I’d packed on a lot of fat. By the end of November, I couldn’t even fit in the same suit I’d bought to fall off me back in 2007.

Actually, it fit fine in August, if a bit snog. I wasn’t grossly undersized, at least not the pants. (The jacket always felt a bit too small, even when it wasn’t.) But by November of 2010, I couldn’t button the pants safely – it felt like if they didn’t cut me in half, the button would do that rocket-launch snap-off thing from the commercials and ricochet around the area like a stray bullet.

So, I knew I’d degraded, but I didn’t realize just how far, just how bad.

My wife and I don’t own a scale; haven’t for years. We did see our clothes getting tighter, yes. And yes, we noticed our constant and relentless back pain, the fact that we couldn’t stand, walk or even lay comfortably for extended periods. We knew we were fat, just not HOW fat. Not exactly.

I spent a long, long time out of work, languishing as I approached 99 weeks and feeling afraid and nervous. We ate because it was the only pleasure we had left. I won’t go into details, but suffice it to say, I can’t afford Viagra without health insurance and that’s the only thing that would have been able to provide another pleasure outlet. I was too fat to even have sex. I couldn’t sustain an erection. I couldn’t do anything and I was MORE than frustrated. MORE than.

God, in His infinite glory, moved in our lives in a major way. From July 31 to December 9, 2010, he did some of the most incredible work I’d ever heard of Him performing in anyone’s life. Anyone I know, at least. He reclaimed out lives and gave us a job, NOT a contract position but a REAL, FULL-TIME position with a good, stable company. He provided so much, in so short a time. Here I am, completing the third month of my new job, and I’ve already replaced the tires on the car (they were almost six years old!), had some much needed work done on it, changed the oil for the first time in two or three years, bought my wife a computer she lived without for two years, bought a new one for me, got our Internet connection restored after being without it for almost fourteen months, bought Christmas gifts for the kids for the first time in five years, got them a PS3, games, remotes, a new 40” LCD HDTV for my spouse of longsuffering, and so much more. I can’t believe it. It’s been amazing.

But the one thing I wanted for myself more than all of that was to begin the weight loss journey. I got on the Atkins Diet again (last time was 1998!), knowing I’d regressed more than I’d ever regressed before. That is, I’ve never, ever been anything remotely like this fat. EVER. And once I got on that program again, determined NOT to do it the way I did it before which caused severe depression and a divorce, I also knew I’d have to exercise to get where I wanted to be.

Whew! Long story, right? Well, it’s not over yet. Before I lost the cable due to poverty in March 2010, when they finally even cut off the basic cable, I saw an infomercial for P90X. I was hooked immediately and deeply.

But I couldn’t afford it. We could barely afford to eat and keep the remaining utilities on, how could I invest $160 for the program? I couldn’t. So I waited and hoped. Things got worse, but then, as I stated above, the world bent to God’s will and His will was to right our listing ship.

So, in the meantime I did some research and found that, before P90X, there was Power 90. It’s the pre-cursor, the introduction, to the P90X-type of body reformatting program. I knew when I found it, this is where I’d have to begin. I just wasn’t in good enough shape to start with P90X, period.

So in February 2011, I ordered Power 90. And on March 5, 2011, I began.

Why is this blog called the Illinois Body Reclamation Project? Because I have long, LONG believed if I’d stayed in California, the place of my birth, or had gone someplace outside the Midwest, I’d not be so far gone.

Of course I hold Illinois to blame for many other things as well, but that’s another story, another blog, another life. Illinois destroyed my body in my mind, and I have determined to reclaim it once and for all.

And so, today I begin to document the journey. I’ll start by sharing my very embarrassing BEFORE photos and mark my progress along the way. Think I’ll drop a nickel or two on a scale, too, just for giggles.

My goals aren’t “weight loss” specifically, though. My goals, which are admittedly aggressive, include reducing my body fat to under 10%. I don’t think I’ve ever been that lean in my life, even at my most fit, but then I didn’t target that as a goal before either. I wanted to be “cut”, or as we said in our day, “ripped”, but didn’t know how to do that. I have a better idea now. So the first goal is to reduce my body fat to below 10%.

My second goal is to develop functional strength. I want to be able to do 50 push-ups before I reach my body fat goal. I want to be able to do at least 20 chin-ups and as many (or more) pull-ups. I want to be able to do at least 100 crunches/sit-ups too. Strength which is usable in practical living is much more important to me than being able to bench press thus-and-such amount, or to curl such-and-such amount of weight.

And my final goal? To be sexually appealing to my wife again. She found me desirable once. I want that back. But not just sexually attractive; it’s also my goal to be the sexual partner she once had in me. And after only ONE night of working out, the experience WAS better. MUCH better. I don’t know if that’s going to be consistent or not, but it’s a fact for day one.

So, next post will be the before photos and measurements, but not the weight. I don’t have a scale, remember?

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