Thursday, January 31, 2019

Fitness Bloggin'

One of the things I promised to talk about in this blog is my fitness... journey? Let's be real, I hate the language that the #fitspo people use on social media. In fact, I had fitness Instagram, but it became way too cumbersome to keep up. I hardly take care of my personal social media accounts. Right now, between Snapchat and and Instagram, that's where my fitness posts end up. I also re-post to Twitter from Instagram since it's super easy to do so.

So, back to the meet of this post, fittin' this blog in. Like so much social media, we tend to only post the good so it looks like things are rolling. Now, I don't intentionally do that, but if people are taking motivation from our fitness pages, of course we want to only show when we're rocking it. But there's a real-life side to it we try (or maybe it's unintentional) to hide.

I am confident in saying I'm in the best shape I've ever been in. I'm 38. It's been a conscious and sometimes very difficult choice. My cardiovascular health is not as good as it's been recently, but I hate treadmills and when the temperature is below freezing, I make the choice not to run. I secretly have come to really like running.

Right now, I have the chance to lift after school in Dorchester's weight room. It's awesome. I generally have it all to myself or only another teacher in there. It's kinda peaceful and it's definitely making a difference.

My Fitbit daily steps goal is 12,000. At this point I'm entirely unsure why I boosted it from the 10,000 that's preset, but I did, and it's something I try to hit daily. If I don't make it, I at least push to make sure that I average 12,000 per day. That's attainable.

A big part of fitness is diet. I know this. I basically haven't had soda in over a year. Do I still drink them from time-to-time? Yes. When I say I haven't had soda in over a year, what I mean is drink it once or twice a month, if that. It's not something I choose. I don't buy from the machine in the teacher's lounge. I don't keep it at home.

I'm not perfect when it comes to my diet. We still eat a lot of prepackaged stuff in our house, but we're getting better. The biggest change I've made is portion. I don't know where I got the notion that "men should eat big", but I'd always upsize my meal at fast food joints. I'd always get the biggest option at ice cream places. I've stopped doing that. I do much better with fruit or granola bars for snacks, things that fill me up, but have other nutrition in them (yes, I know it's not perfect either) so I stay full longer. I drink a LOT of water.

This is more background than I'd originally meant, but all of this is to say that fitness is not a straight line, at least not for me. I'm still a little fluffy in places, but I'm working on it. As I type this, I'm coming off one of the laziest, cheatiest days I've had in awhile. I was just over 4,000 steps. It won't throw me off of my trajectory. We had a "Cold Day" off of school as the temperature barely broke zero and the wind chill was between 15 and 20 below. Oh, and Everett had a double ear infection so the fever the day before dictated that he was home from daycare, so I got a full day of playing with a healthy kiddo (no fever yesterday).

One of the things that I feel like is lost in so many fitness discussions is grace and forgiveness. There will be days. My goodness will there be days. Days when you just don't feel like it. Days when life suddenly gets in the way. Days when you just. Can't. Work out. Holiday season days (ya know, when the calorie count for everything somehow suddenly doubles). You have to forgive those days, or they'll knock you completely off your path.

I've been there. I've been knocked off this path many times before. In fact, I've started this more times than I can count.

I'll always remember the day in December my second year teaching. I picked my kids up from PE and the PE teacher told me that I'd be doing the January healthy eating challenge with my kiddos. What came out of my mouth was, "Okay," but what was in my head was, "Why?". I then took another pull of my Cherry Coke and looked at my watch. It was 9:30 AM. The why was answered for me. I was 235 pounds that Christmas. By the BolderBoulder that May, I was down to 205. I'd done well.

That didn't really stick, though. I mean, I tried, but the walk to the fitness center in my community was, like, almost a full block, and mostly I had other things I wanted to do. Then I moved to Nebraska and the list of reasons grew. I mean, I sorta tried to. My weight never again broke 215, but I never got in to a real routine.

Then I met Keya. Keya makes fitness a priority. I realized if this woman was going to commit her life to me, that my committing mine to her meant more than saying I'd be faithful and all those other wedding vows. I had to commit to her lifestyle. To say that there have been speed bumps in that process is an understatement, but now we own three major pieces of fitness equipment. Neither of us ever lets two days pass without a workout, even if it's a small one. I hope that the example we set shows Everett and any future kids that fitness is fun and a priority.

When people ask me why I workout my answer's almost always the same, "To get less fat." They usually respond with, "You're not fat." That's not what I said. I know I'm not. 205 pounds spread out over a 6'7" frame isn't fat. Not even close. In fact, even in losing those 30 pounds, it was hard to tell because of my height. But there are places I'd like to clean up, and that means being less fat.

I suppose I've reached my goal of being less fat, but I'm not as less fat as I'd like to be. My lazy/cheat days tend to be fairly epic with me thinking eff it, I've already taken today off, let's really make it count, but I can refocus the next day and get back after it. I, gasp, LOOK FORWARD to working out. My story isn't anyone else's. You can't compare your fitness to another person's, that's a great way to get discouraged and knocked down.

However, I do hope that if you're taking time to read this and are some point on your, sigh, "fitness journey," that you can take some solace in knowing it's far from a straight line. Sometimes it looks more like a topo map of the Colorado mountains and there are precipitous drops. You can get there. I did.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Corporate Entities

I haven't forgotten. This blog wasn't a "Hey! Three weeks and then gone again!" No, actually this time, I've had too many ideas floating around in my head, and wasn't quite sure which one to give life to. I have a series of stories that will make their way into posts on this blog. I also figure I'll write about fitness, parenting, life, ya know, just whatever.

But I got to thinking, while I was in Minneapolis for the National Championship, about those companies that we just assume are national, but aren't, or companies whose reach is greater than we realized.

That thought got me thinking about random conversations I've had with friends through the years related to corporations. Blue Bell Ice Cream, for example, basically used the same jingle for 30+ years. I'm pretty sure the only reason that Discount Tire stopped using the commercial where the old woman throws a tire through the window is that TV technology got so good the commercial looked terrible. According to Youtube, the commercial was originally filmed in 1975. I know I saw it into the 21st Century.

So, I guess what it comes down to, is this is going to be somewhat rambling about the companies that are in our lives, and the effect that they have (mostly on mine, obviously).

As someone who grew up in Denver, if I simply type, "Now you have a friend in the diamond business..." anyone who grew up someplace where Shane Company has stores will have some version of the end of that commercial that tells you where there store was. In Denver for a long time it was ..."just off Arapahoe Road on Emporia Street, one-half mile of I-25. Open Monday through Friday till eight, Saturday and Sunday till five." Then adding a new store and the online options changed it all and when we were back in Colorado this last time, I couldn't even recognize it, but hearing Tom Shane's voice was still somewhat comforting.

Menard's is a company that comes to mind when I think about a company that feels ubiquitous in many places, but others may have never shopped at one. Menard's is even more common than Home Depot and Lowe's in many parts of the midwest, but there isn't one east of Ohio, south of Missouri, or west of Wyoming.

Grocery stores are another weird one. In Colorado it was Safeway and King Soopers (owned by Kroger). In many of the smaller towns you'll see the Kroger stores branded as City Market. Living there for 30 years, I'd come to rely on King Soopers for a lot of things. When I moved to Omaha, the Kroger brand was Baker's, but King Soopers it wasn't. Here, I've discovered the joy of Hy-Vee. It's actually the best. My buddy Jack got REALLY excited about Hy-Vee when we were hanging out one night.

The catalyst for this article was driving around Minneapolis and I saw a storefront for Paul Davis Restoration. That was a brand I'd seen in Lincoln and Omaha and assumed was local. It might be weirder to discover that a company you thought for sure was only in your part of the world exists other places.

I fully acknowledge that this is written with no input from others, and my perspective about brands who've crossed my path in my life. Maybe reading this made you think of something down these lines, or maybe you smiled and realized you weren't alone.

The last thing I'll mention on here is the Diamond Store. When I moved to Colorado Springs, I'd grown accustomed to large-market type commercials. The low quality of commercials in Colorado Springs blew my mind. I can't remember most of the ads, but the worst was the ninja ad. It's really difficult to describe, and a cursory glance through YouTube didn't show me any of their commercials, BUT it was bad. It's basically this rotund, middle-aged man with a beard who is fighting ninjas in the jewelry store (he was in all their ads, I assume to this day he owned the store) and it ends with the tagline, "Not even ninjas can keep you from the great deals" or something to that effect. It was terrible, but here we are, 15+ years on and I still remember it.

Thanks as always for reading!