Finally Doing My Part
April 1, 2017

 

OK.

So Bonnie said something totally profound to me. (She does that, quite a bit). She said, “Joe, you are totally happy with your health if you can take a pill to make it all better”. Ouch. Hurt like pricking my finger to take my blood readings.

She’s right.

I’ve been flirting with my diabetes, well, actually its a wild affair, for 18 years I think. It has been manageable by walking, kind of watching what I eat, and then just living life. Well, apparently, life has changed for me.

My readings have not been good for a while, going between 180-210, especially in the mornings. So the doctor increased my meformin from 500 twice a day to 1000 twice a day. I thought the increase would keep me at status quo. But oh no, not at all.

My next step is insulin. I told the doctor. Give me two weeks of diet and exercise and see if I can change this. So I’ve been working it. Like a champ.

Walking, more often than not, and eating much better. I’ve added color to my diet: peppers, veggies, all sorts of healthy things. Bonnie has been cooking a “Mediterranean Diet” from a book she got. Healthy choices, better choices. Couldn’t do this without her. Couldn’t do this without God. Who thought I could or would want to eat healthy?

Sugars are rarely in the 150’s mostly 1320’s-140’s, sometimes in the mornings, and dinner time around 97-120.  There is nothing to brag about so I’m not bragging, but finally the light has clicked on. I’m eating better, exercising a wee bit more, and avoiding sweets totally (although Bonnie made this black bean cake that’s a killer). Eating more veggies for sure, and healthier snacks.

I’m saying this to encourage others that may be going through this. It’s doable. Pray. Research. Change some habits.

I’m excited, down to 254, lowest I’ve been in at least 10 years, and its dropping off.

You can do it. Seriously, if I did it, so could you.

273.6/254.4

Changing of the Guard
January 11, 2017

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Well here we go, the changing of the guard.

America changes every 4 or 8 years and we are in for another change for president. Whether you love him or hate him, too bad. He will be president in 10 days. President of the United States.

Such hatred during elections. Name calling, losing friends, losing customers, jobs, all because of differences of opinions and tastes. We need to tolerate other views.

For example, I have many, many friends that are Pittsburgh Steeler fans. Am I still friends with them? Of course. It’s differences.

I wonder, what would happen if we could disagree and be ok with each other? Let the other person have their opinion without dismissing them from our lives, or calling them names. I notice both sides of the political spectrum that each side called each other the same name: Hitler, fascist, stupid, and other things that are very hurtful.

If you’re a Christian I want to remind you of something. If you’re not a Christian, then I want to enlighten you with something.

Romans 13:1- “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Yep, think about it.

Barrack Obama? Yep, placed there by God. Donald Trump? Yep. Placed there by God. So when we argue or name call  the president ( or president-elect), then your argument is really with God. Not that dirty, rotten, so and so that doesn’t agree with you!

Without getting into a discussion or argument, the Bible shows us that He puts people in power to bless or punish a people. So you can look at the president and decide which one it is.

We are a peculiar people, aren’t we? We take things personal and we try to demean people that don’t think like us. They’re uninformed, uneducated, even “deplorables”. And doggone it, we are right! Right?

Look at the crazy world we live in. Just think if we all could live together in peace. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

So as a Christian to other Christians I challenge you. Follow what Paul told the Romans in Chapter 12:14- “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

If all my brothers and sisters in Christ did this, no matter what the response is from those around you, we may not have peace on earth, but we will have peace with God.

Imagine
January 1, 2017

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Well, here we are. In less than three hours on the East Coast of the U.S., it’s goodbye 2016, hello 2017. Oh there’s so much promise in the new year, isn’t there?

We look back and forward at the same time. Look at the past with all its pain and suffering as well as its joys and loves. Look forward to all the hopes and promises that lie ahead.

Face it, it was a good year and a bad year. Family and friends coming together, family and friends having a falling out. Great financial decisions made and poor financial decisions made. Lots of laughter and lots of tears.

Some people say, “I can’t wait until 2016 is over”, as if 2016 had magical powers to create good or evil. We have hope that 2017 will be better, that we’ll be wiser, that fate will be kinder, that there will be peace on earth and goodwill toward men.

It’s a time of resolutions: I’ll lose weight, I’ll exercise more, I’ll be vegetarian, I’ll be kinder, I’ll be whatever. Notice in those, it all comes down to “I”. I want you to look at 2017 in a different way.

How about instead of “I” in us, we focus on “God” in us? We focus more on others instead of ourselves? But we ask for abundance, yet keep it for ourselves. We ask for health for us, but don’t help our weaker or older neighbors. We ask for deliverance, yet look down on others who aren’t delivered.

How about instead of asking God for things, we ask Him to change us? We can look at others that are different and still love them? We can debate without arguing? We can work things out peacefully instead of fighting?

How about we trust God instead of our bank account? Trust God instead of our job? Trust God instead of our wants? This could be an exciting 2017.

The Middle East is exploding. Syria is in shambles. We’ve had the most divisive president and election in the history of the U.S. We are divided in race. We are divided in politics. We are divided in religion. We are divided in class. We are divided in beliefs.

What if, seriously, what if everyone decided that they would be, as St. Francis put it so well, “instruments of peace”? What if we decided to not listen to the negative and find the positive?

I’m not talking about fantasy garbage like John Lennon’s “Imagine”, which states that we’d all get along if there wasn’t religion, governments, property, possessions, and poverty. That won’t happen. Our sin nature, untamed, will never permit that.

I’m talking about the basic biblical teachings of loving the Lord Your God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself.

Just think if everyone followed those rules. We all decide to get along?

Imagine.

 

273.6/263.0

 

Walking To 199
August 7, 2016

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As those that follow this blog know, this whole blog started with the intent to show this amazing progress I’d be making in my goal to get below 200 pounds. A lofty goal, realizing I needed to shed around 75 pounds to achieve this task. This is a long walk, apparently.

Over the months, and probably years, I’ve had ups and downs (puns intended) in the walk as well as in the blogging. My goal was to blog weekly, but it appears I’ve blogged weakly (another horrific pun. Sorry).

My blogs about weight seem self serving, so I’ve been thinking that maybe not so much about this struggle of losing weight should be focused on, but matters of life and sometimes death. Or sometimes just random thoughts rattling through this puny brain of mine.

With this being said, I feel that for me to say “I’m going to do this or that” to lose weight, whether its exercise or diet or whatever, is a lot of talk. I’m encouraged by some of you, and I thank you, and some of you are faithful followers whom I have shared my secrets and some humor. OK, I think its humor.

I will continue to blog, but because some have asked me how the weight is going, I will be listing my starting weight and my current weight at the end of the blog (starting weight/current weight). This, so those who are interested will note the progress, but not to bore others that have little interest in weight loss and may be a bit intrigued by my weirdness. (For example, the rule is “i before e except after c”. Except for the word “weird”. Weird is a weird word).

I may sometimes mention something about weight, but not to be a “wow, look how wonderful I am doing. Send me cookies”. I continue to hope that you find these entertaining, enlightening, or encouraging. There may be some Scriptural or spiritual references as Christ is the biggest part of my life, and I’m not ashamed of that.

I will try to be more regular (at my age, again, not easy) with the blogs to hopefully bring some joy in a dark time of history. Let me say that we have to stop the hate. The media wants us divided, black against white, gay against straight, Republican against Democrats, and so forth. Can’t we all get along?

Until then, I’ll just keep walking.

273.6/257.4

He Ain’t Heavy……Well, Yeah, He Is
March 16, 2016

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So I went to the doctor’s last Friday for a follow up appointment from when I had my urinary tract infection. Listen to this wonderful story about my health insurance.

Before I took the insurance, we called to see if our doctor was covered, and was told she was. I then asked what hospital I was to use, as my doctor is associated with the one at the end of my street, called Sharon Regional. So they said it wasn’t on the list, but I was “probably” covered. I don’t trust any of them.

Let me back up. In February, I ended going in to see an associate of my doctor, as my doctor wasn’t in, and told him my complaints. He gives me a urine test and says there is an infection. Antibiotics and if there are still problems then I should go to the ER.

That night, I couldn’t breathe. Bonnie was at work, she calls the insurance and says what’s going on and what hospital should I go to. The lady said Sharon Regional wasn’t covered and I had to go to UPMC (which I preferred as I believe it’s a better hospital. I’m so glad Bonnie called, because this gets better). So off I go and all sorts of tests, x-rays, etc., and I go home.

Now I like my doctor and I’m deciding do I find a doc associated with UPMC? After all, if I’m hospitalized, she can’t come see me. So, as I like the doctor, I’m keeping her.

Ok, back to the present. Before I go to the doctor’s on Friday, Bonnie opens the mail and we get a bill for my urine test. My doctor’s associate, apparently, sent it in for testing TO SHARON REGIONAL, and I got a bill for $500! I’m going to sell my urine if it’s that valuable! Chanel No. 5, look out.

Now my doctor who I saw last Friday is a sweetheart. I like her personality and her medical skills. So she tells me my blood work is good and I’m in “great shape”. (I love this doctor). Other than my sugar which was 8 on my hemoglobin A1C. It should be 6 or lower. So, back to walking and watching what I eat. I also have a cyst on my kidney that they will monitor.

I’ve discovered something about me during this aging process. I’ve said this before, I don’t care much what other people think. They want me to get on the scale, and normally I empty pockets, wear shorts, no socks, take off coats, and trim my nails and eyebrows to get my weight taken and tell myself that the kidney cyst must weigh 5 pounds AT LEAST. Not anymore. Jeans, hoodie sweatshirt, socks, jacket, pockets full of keys and a wallet. It didn’t matter. I am what I am.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m going to try to lose weight, and normally I weigh myself in the morning with just my gutchies on (sorry for the visual there), and weigh myself before and after my shower and take my lowest number. However, I’m no longer stressing about it. I’ll try my best and weigh myself occasionally. I’ll exercise and attempt to lower my A1C, but that’s it. No fad diets, but will try to get off the diabetic med.

Now, I realize I am in “great shape” because of medicine. So I will try my best to get off the meds for blood pressure (maybe just quit following the Browns, that should lower it) and keep the cholesterol low. I’ve incorporated oatmeal with all natural peanut butter and add fruit. Actually, it’s my favorite meal, at least for now.

I want to be around for my grandchildren and dance at their weddings. (When I dance now, I realize I move like a drunk rhino or Elaine on Seinfeld). So I’m not making light of it. I want to encourage everyone to do what you can to lose the weight you need, strengthen the muscles you need, and don’t give up.

In the meantime, I cut my portions, have an occasional piece of Philadelphia Candies chocolate, share mini M&Ms with Haniah, but try to focus on more balanced meals. Ok, yesterday we had Olive Garden and I ate enough bread sticks to build Trump’s wall, but that wasn’t the norm. I wish it could be. When I’m home I eat wheat pasta, and I hear my mother’s voice saying, “Joey, I raised you better than that”. But, she died at 68 from complications from her diabetes and heart. So, Mama, I gotta do what I got to do. With the help of Christ, through prayer.

I hate on Facebook when people say, “I’m going to do this” or “I’m going to do that”. Just do it. After you’re done, let us know what you did. That’s my plan. An occasional update. Today I weigh 273.6, fully clothed, as I don’t want to have you visualize me, you know, the other way.

 

Bye Bye 2015
January 1, 2016

Well, my “New Years Resolution” is to blog more. See how long that lasts.

Happy New Year to all or any faithful followers. The weight struggle remains real: 260-265 consistently. I imagine that must be where I like to be, because that’s where I be.

It’s been an interesting year. I had gotten off of Facebook because of all the arguing over sports and politics. I have gotten back on because I miss getting updates on what’s going on with my friends. I will, however, not argue sports or politics.  But this has been a good year.

I turned 60, that’s a biggie, and I’ve embraced it fully, and am actually loving getting older. God has blessed me with so much in 2015 and I don’t know where to begin.

Good health, a grandson, Zeke (or Zekers is what I like to call him), Zeke’s dad is buying a house across the street from me, which excites me, Yankees made the playoffs with marginal players and people only about 20 years younger than me, and the Browns are 3-12 with the possibility of being 3-13 after Sunday. I mention the sports teams because I don’t get as upset as I used to.

Example: My boys (Luke, Ben, Josh) and me went to our first game all together. Josh is a Steelers fan, so this was probably just for laughs for him. It was Monday Night Football. And, it was against the Ravens and it was a good game.

Browns line up for a winning field goal and it was blocked and the Ravens ran it back for a winning touchdown. Josh was shocked, Ben just stared into heaven, perhaps asking God why He hates the Browns and the city of Cleveland so much, Luke was mouth wide open. Me? I just laughed. Typical Browns. I’ve  reached that point of life when I don’t worry about stuff like that very much. Very much.

For my 60th, Josh and Jo Jo bought me a ticket to see the University of Michigan play against Rutgers at THE BIG HOUSE! First time there and it was just Josh and me. What a blast.  Michigan won big, but it didn’t matter, the place was fabulous. Loved being there and I discovered that 52 degrees in Ann Arbor, Michigan isn’t quite the same as 52 degrees in Sharon, Pennsylvania. We froze our tails off. But it was a super experience and I want to go again.And besides, how many people can say they got to see both of the Harbaugh brothers coach this year?  Checked off the bucket list. they had a very good season this year. Go Blue!

Things I’ve had too much of this year: Kardashians, Bruce Jenner, Isis, Bill Cosby, “affluenza”, Entertainment Tonight, Hilary Clinton, and biased news shows (left and right).

Things I look forward to in 2016: Closer walk with Christ, losing weight, Yankees winning #28, Michigan beating Ohio State, someone developing a plan to beat Isis, and people loving each other no matter what their color, religion, or sexual choices are. I’ll love you, but don’t try to make me accept your belief if it’s not Biblical.

To everyone: Peace.

 

How Deep Is Your Love?
February 22, 2014

Well another week has come and this Fast Metabolism Diet is fantastic. I’m at 252.4, loss of 20.6 pounds since I started this blog in May, but a loss of 30.6 since last March. Yeah, this diet and exercise is a great idea. I’d prefer a pill and a donut, but that’s not how it works. To think that I could be at 222 next year at this time blows me away. With God, all things are possible.

It’s been a unique week. I’m not hungry, eat more often, have exercised a bit less, and the weight keeps coming off. People are asking me, ‘how do you do it’? I tell them the basics of this eating plan, and they aren’t interested. I get it. I was there. But thank God, I’m not there now.

It’s work. It’s dedication. It’s, as I read in “In Pursuit of Holiness”, making your body your slave instead of your master. Your body tells you to stay in bed, but you master it by getting up and exercising. Your body tells you you’re too tired to read the Bible, but you tell your body you’re going to read. I totally get it when people don’t want to do it. Just hoping that it will drop off. That would be so nice. But it’s not realistic.

It helps that I’m not doing this alone. My wife, son, and daughter-in-law are doing it, which makes this a lot easier. My niece Barb has started all this. She’s lost 60 pounds in 6 months. It’s a healthy diet, and with the ladies doing the cooking and my wife Bonnie always looking after me, this is so doable. (Is that a word? do-able? It is now). It’s an exhilarating feeling to get control over something that has plagued me for years. The only time I was thin was when I was drinking and drugging. I quit that and the weight came back on.

However, God, the biblical God of the Bible, through His Son Jesus, delivered me from the drinking and drugging and is helping with this “Battle of the Bulge”.  It’s tough at times, but well worth it.

This winter has been wicked. For the first time in months I’m able to see my yard. I’ve also noticed since the snow has melted that my dog has been eating well. Time to clean that up. But back to winter, it’s here. March is around the corner, hopefully spring too. It just feels better when it’s warm.

So, what’s your battle? Alcohol? Drugs? Weight? Anger? Fear? It’s all beatable with God’s help. Pray and work. You have to face your fears. But sometimes we need a wake up call. A DUI arrest. A heart attack. A panic attack. Now’s the time. Fight this before a doctor tells you  that you need surgery or drugs to fix it. You can do it.

Seriously, if a stooge like me is able to battle this life long war, certainly you can. I’ve got faith in you. But more faith in God.

Weight: 252.4 (and dropping)

If I Fell
January 11, 2014

So about four days ago, I fell down my basement steps. Yep, I did. Actually, not all the steps.

Have you ever gone down the steps and thought you were at the bottom step, but there was one more? Yeah, me too. I hit the ground knee first, ended up on the ground on my back, glasses one direction and phone the other. So, other than a hurt knee, daily headaches, and bruised ego (“I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”), I’m ok, just sore. Real sore.

But I pushed through this, continued to do the treadmill, and watched my diet. Well until yesterday. We were celebrating anniversaries and I ate some pasta and didn’t exercise. So, yeah, took the day off. But today is a new day.

I’m finding that I’m not like those guys you see on the videos. The guys on You Tube where they lose 130 pounds in a year. These guys change their eating completely, exercise rigorously, and don’t take days off. I’m not like that, I guess. I am living life, but watching what I eat most of the time, and exercising more often than not. That, apparently, is my reality in this “Walking to 199”.

So, I haven’t lost 130 pounds, but since March I’ve lost 26. I was at 30, but put a couple pounds on. I still have two months until March and should lose thirty by then, again. But if I lose 30 pounds a year, I should hit 199 in 26 or 7 months. That works for me.

I’ve found I can maintain my weight, but I’m not at a weight I want to maintain. So I know when I get down to my weight that I will maintain it. I’m finding that diets don’t work, well, they do in the short term, but they don’t work as a lifestyle.

We head up to Erie today to visit Bonnie’s cousins (well, my cousins too by marriage), and we will probably eat. No, I know we will. So I will enjoy the day yet try to be careful. I will do the treadmill again as soon as I’m finished with this blog. I try to be consistent. At least fairly, consistent.

I’ve laid off the weight training for now, focusing on cardio and trying to focus on weight lost. I will focus on looking like the Hulk when I drop some more weight.  Beast mode can wait. I’ve realized that I can’t continue to enjoy cake or cookies more often than not, but just occasionally, like once a week or so, as a treat. I’m a cake eater, thanks Mom.

So, I want to encourage anyone else on this journey, whether it’s weight, addictions, whatever. Live life. Love life. Fight hard for what you want. Pray. Trust God.

Weight: 160.2

Looking At The Rain
December 21, 2013

With Christmas and New Years Day approaching, it’s very easy to get distracted from your weight loss goal. My goodness, I mean cookies, different dishes, all sorts of things that make you forget that you have a goal.

The Christmas season is the best time of the year, but it could bring on a flood of emotions, some good, some bad. Memories of childhood, lost friends and relatives, a “simpler” time.  And we can use this as an excuse to delve into some “comfort foods”.

There’s a song by Gordon Lightfoot, old but new because I never heard it, called “Looking At The Rain”, a reminiscing song about times past. And it got me to thinking about how we reminisce about things that make us happy and sad. This time of year I think of when I was a young boy and the family would all be together and we’d have get togethers. My mom and dad were still alive and I was a young boy who didn’t know about the cares that my mom and dad may have had, or any world problems. Heck, we were in the middle of Viet Nam and the threat of nuclear annihilation was very real.

I miss my mother-in-law Nadine Bateman. She lived on the property we had in West Middlesex. Christmas Eve was when Santa would arrive at her house and my kids and Bonnie and I would “go down the lane” to her house after church and the kids would be opening up their presents. Oh, we would eat! She always had plenty of goodies. Good memories.

I got a realization this past month, well, since Thanksgiving. The old saying goes, “You can’t go home”. I never understood it. Of course you can go home. You can visit there, take vacations, trips, whatever, but you can go back home. But I’ve just understood that you can’t go “home”.

“Home” is the way things were. I can go back to my house I grew up in, but there won’t be uncles, parents, the player piano, the Italian cookies, the booze.  Ok, you can buy cookies and booze, but I think you get my drift.

Nadine isn’t here. My kids are grown. We can’t go down the lane. We don’t live there anymore. We may seek comfort foods to help deal with the losses, the reminders of good old days. The food won’t bring back those times.

But we have memories. Even though we can’t go back to those times, we always have to remember the times that brought joy, and the times that brought sorrow. These times are what make us what we are. Now we have to handle the past, and live for today. Today we are making memories for our children. Today will be our kids “good old days”.  It’s ok to look at the rain.  We can visit there.

But we can’t live there anymore.

Killing Me Softly
December 7, 2013

Wow.

Yesterday was one of those days. Ok, not exactly YESTERDAY, but let’s say from 6 p.m. Thursday through 3 p.m. Friday I ate eight donuts. Now, not the real large donuts, but medium size. Why? Well I’ll give you the rationale, then tell you the truth.

Rationale: With donuts in the house, other people will eat them and they’re trying to lose weight too. I am helping them.

Rationale: They’re small donuts. Not much weight in them, they’re glazed, they don’t weigh much.

Rationale: I’m supposed to eat every two hours because I’m diabetic, so a donut or two every two hours is good for me.

Truth: I’m lazy.

I’d been hungry most of the day, and, admittedly, it was an easy fix. Can’t say it was I had a “craving” for sweets. Can’t say, I “longed” for donuts. I can say that I was hungry, and was too lazy to cook anything. So, a donut sufficed. Well, really, they’re small donuts, so two at a sitting would “take the edge off”.

I’m pathetic. Truly. I look back at that and think, “whats up with that?”. Lazy. Not in the zone. Backslid diet wise. Call it whatever. A bad day.

A wonderful elderly woman at my church, Betty, told Bonnie that I’m trying to kill myself. Am I? Do I have a deep desire to just give in and do whatever I want? Of course I do. And so do you.

We all do. It’s called a sin nature. We desire the things of the flesh and even though we know better, we continue to dive into activities that are not healthy for us. It used to be drugs and alcohol. For some people it’s porn. For others it’s stealing. For someone else it’s holding grudges. To another, it’s slander. Or to some it’s smoking. Or drugs and alcohol.

If I gave into my eating desires, I’d be “Sprinting to 300” instead of “Walking to 199”. We may stumble, but we are not defeated. You know what the kicker was with this whole donut incident? The thing that aggravated my wife, my kids, and church people?

I lost three pounds! I thought, “wow, I’m onto a secret. An all donut diet”. Of course that’s not true. It will catch up with me eventually, like every sin does. But God’s grace keeps me. There’s a quote that George Steinbrenner kept in his office and I’ll paraphrase it.

“I’ve been hit. I’ve been wounded. I’ve fallen down. So I will rest. I will rise. I will fight again”. Something like that. So that’s what life is all about. How cool if we never screwed up! But realistically, that’s what we do. We mess up. But with Christ, He is able to keep us from stumbling.

But we’ll stumble at times. And even though this was a bad stumble, the times between stumbles are becoming longer and longer. That’s progress. So we move forward.

Seriously, I don’t want to kill myself. There are too many people out there who have never had the pleasure of meeting me yet. People that I haven’t had a chance to irritate yet. People I haven’t had a chance to encourage.  Let’s do this.

Weight: 260.8