I’m never getting on the wagon again!

Weird statement huh?

Let me clarify what is meant by that statement.  I’ve been on and off the diet wagon for years!  I’m tired of getting on it, just to fall or jump off later.  So, I’m not going to get back on.  I’m gonna let it pass me by and keep on going to its destination.

Why am I doing this?  Because I don’t necessarily want to go where it’s headed.  My journey is my own, and I will forge my own path!  I have to work this out for myself. Now, that doesn’t mean that I won’t need help along the way.  Encouragement, admonishment, etc.  The last time I was on this journey, I tried to lose weight too fast and it cost me.  I was happy with the loss, but my body basically gave me the middle finger.  My heart wasn’t happy with the sudden changes and it let me know.  It took a few months and 2 cardioversions to get over that hump.  Since then, I have let my self-pity and depression take over my willpower.

Let’s talk about what happens when you give up….YOU GAIN A LOT OF WEIGHT!! When I stopped eating right and exercising, I had lost about 50lbs.  In the year since I gained 75-80lbs.  Yeah…it sucked.  Of course, what do you expect to happen when all you do is eat and lay in bed.  It’s not rocket surgery or brain science people!!

Now let’s talk about the toll it took on my body.  Stupid high blood pressure (190/130 avg), constant pain, headaches all the time, stomach issues, eyesight issues…the list could go on.  What really made me realize the enormity of it (nothing like turning a blind eye to all the other things) was when I started having major issues with personal hygiene.  Yeah, when it is a chore to take a shower and to clean yourself you know there is a problem.  Yup…its embarrassing!!!  Downright humiliating, and that was just the thought of having to have help to do theses things.  I’m 42, I shouldn’t have to have help with my daily hygienic needs.

So here we are.  I have been eating healthy and walking for about a month now. I have lost about 35lbs and feeling much better.  Not going to push it too hard, but I am going to work. I don’t want a repeat of what happened last year. It was a pain in the rear and it cost me not only health wise, but also monetarily.

What does that mean?  eat healthy and exercise.  Cutting back on calories and putting in work to regain my health and strength. While I would love to do this in 9 months, I realize that it will be a long process. Yes, there will be ups and downs. I will fall, and I will get back up.  Remember, I’m forging my own trail, not walking down a smooth road.

So, see ya wagon!! Have a safe trip to your destination, I’m going my own way, I can use the exercise!


Wake up calls…they aren’t just for hotels.

Yes, wake up calls are nice when you are at a hotel, but not when they happen in real life. This call wasn’t me having a heart attack or anything, but it was a reminder of why I am needing to lose weight and get my health in order. It was also a reminder that I am not getting any younger. 😦

I was in a production this past weekend. Dracula Unearthed, it was a lot of fun! Singing, ballet, drama…good times all around. It has been a long time since I have been in a production this large. While it was a blast, it was also really tiring. Yep, getting A-Fib 3 weeks before the show didn’t help at all. Add that to the hours of rehearsals and you get a very tired Mathew. A lot of stair climbing, running up and down ramps, just movement in general. It made me realize how far I have to go.  I have made good progress, but still have a long road ahead.

PAIN…lets talk about the pain I experienced. Ankles, knees, and hips. They all hurt! Being on your feet for hours on end if you are a normal weight takes a toll. Now, what if you are carrying around an extra 200 pounds? Yeah….wasn’t fun.  I would wake up and hobble around the house for a few hours trying to get the kinks out. I am only 41, but felt like 81. Tylenol to the rescue!! This was the wake up call!! Top that off with being extremely weak and you have a wining combination folks!!

All I am saying is that it was a good reminder of how much work is needed to get to my goal. Have I slacked off in the past couple weeks?  Yup! This whole heart thing has kicked my tail. No energy, no appetite, semi depressed…it all plays a part.  Is that a good excuse? NOPE, NOT AT ALL!!! I just let it get to me. Have i gone crazy with my eating?  Nah, just not eating super healthy. I miss the gym…..I really do. Although, this past week was good exercise. 🙂 I wanna get in there and throw some iron around and get my sweat on!!

What to do now? Get back on that wagon and keep going!! Yup, it is a process that is filled with successes and failures. Accompaniments and setbacks.  I just happen to be going through a setback. It’s ok, I’ll make it through and keep going. If you are going through something like this also, go to your support system and let them help you through it. Maybe you need some encouraging words, a hug, prayer….or maybe you need a swift kick in the pants! Whatever, get what you need to help you through the struggle. I’m thankful for all my friends!

Remember, to stay strong and keep exercising that willpower!!!  Yes, I am talking to myself also. 🙂

Setbacks….they stink!!

Setbacks….we all have them. You are in the midst of completing a project for work or school and all of a sudden something unexpected happens and you are delayed. In my case, everything is going great. Losing weight, feeling better, blood sugar is better than it has been in years. Then you are swimming one afternoon and your heart decides that it doesn’t like you and goes into Atrial Fibrillation. This happened almost 2 weeks ago. I have had issues with a-fib before so I foolishly tried to talk myself into thinking that isn’t what it was. Went to the doc and yup, that is what it was.  So, what does that mean?  I can’t workout like I have been, I’m retaining more fluid than normal because my body isn’t getting rid of it like it should.

How am I handling it? Not well actually. I am extremely frustrated….no, scratch that.  I AM PISSED!!!! I am doing well, eating super clean, exercising, losing weight and BAM all of a sudden my body decides to give me the middle finger.  Now I’m stuck for the time being. It has an effect on me singing. Never mind that I have gigs coming up soon. No worries!

It is really hard for me not to just say screw it and just give up.  What is the point of me even trying if my body isn’t going to let me.  Now, am I going to give up? No, i’m not. Doesn’t mean that I don’t want to though. Have I blown my diet for the past few days? Yup! Having this “I don’t give a crap” attitude isn’t a good thing. Don’t worry, I have my chicken marinating at the house and I will cook it this afternoon and be good.

I was hoping it was something like low potassium or something of the like.  Nope! All my labs came back dang near perfect. So, we have no idea why my heart decided to do this. I have to wait for it to convert back on its own. Well…I have 2 more weeks left before they hit me with the paddles to try to get it back to normal. Let’s pray that it will convert on its own. Not only do I not want to go through all that mess, but I don’t have insurance, so its gonna cost me a crap ton of money that I don’t really have. Anyone wanna donate to the “Newman needs money” fund? Ha!! Seriously though, I honestly think that is what is stressing me out more than the actual heart issue.

What does it feel like to be in A-Fib? Well, first off all I want to do is sleep. You become super lethargic. You have issues with your breath. Not that you can’t breathe, you just get winded REALLY easily. Seriously, walking from one end of the house to the other will cause you to get winded.  Yeah, even for a fat dude, that is a bit extreme. On top of all that, you have to take blood thinners so you have a less chance of developing blood clots.  Yeah, there is blood pooling in a chamber of your heart that is basically sitting there. It can congeal, and when your heart kicks back to normal, it can throw clots all through your system. You guessed it…..it would be a bad day. So, more than the money aspect, I need it to fix itself so I can stay alive and not have a stroke.

Honestly, the whole situation is just crappy. It will eventually work itself out. Either my body will heal on its own, or hitting me with the paddles will do the job. I realize that this post has been a venting session for me. I need it, I will do my best to make my next blog more upbeat. I am just being honest and transparent about how I am feeling right now.

Ok everyone, have a great week!!  Stay strong with what you’re doing. If you do fall, get back up and keep on going. If you set back, keep on going. IT IS HARD!!! I know it is, just keep going forward. Yes, I am talking to myself also!! Talk to you all again next week. Join me in praying that everything will be back to normal.


Does it get tiring? YES!!!!

Does this new lifestyle change get wearisome?  YES…ABSOTIVLY, POSOLUTELY YES!!! I am tired of all the meal prep. I am tired of all the dishes (ok all you moms out there, you can quit laughing now!). I am tired of not being able to eat whatever I want. I am tired of constantly having to think about my time management in relation to when I have to eat.  Yes…I’m just tired……SOMETIMES I JUST WANT ALL THE FOOD IN MY MOUTH!!!

Now, do you know what else I am tired of? I AM TIRED OF BEING FAT!!! I am tired of being a slave to my body. I am tired of being held captive by all the medicine I have to take to stay alive. I am tired of my blood sugar and blood pressure staying high all the time. I am tired of getting winded when I walk anywhere. I am tired of sweating like a banshee when I breathe. I am tired of all the looks i get when I go anywhere. I am tired of having to worry about what kind of vehicle I can get because of fitment issues.  I am tired of being unable to sit in any booth at restaurants. I am tired of having to buy my clothes either online or at one store in Little Rock. I am just tired of living a life of unspent potential because this shell is holding me back.

Now, can you guess which “tired” I am the most tired of?  Yup, the second. Why am I  writing all this? What does it have to do with anything? BECAUSE SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED TO VENT!!

The whole process can get overwhelming, and sometimes you just need to talk it out. This is where having a great support system comes in handy. It is very easy to get so wrapped up in this process, that you just want to quit. Enter your friends and family, or whomever you have for a support system. We have to go to them and tell them what is going on. Let them help you. maybe all you need is someone to just talk to, or maybe you need a kick in the butt. Whatever, just lean on them.

I woke up Saturday with an “I don’t give a crap about anything” attitude. All I wanted to do was go to every buffet in town and just make a gluttonous fool of myself. Don’t worry, I didn’t. I ate clean and healthy….dang it!! 🙂 I have hit that wall that we all hit once we have been doing things different for a while. That place where things are slowing down a bit and you are getting tired of being “good”. We all have been there, it happens. The key is to not just push through it, but to KICK THAT FREAKING WALL IN THE FACE AND WALK RIGHT OVER IT!! Yeah, i’m still struggling with wanting a dozen tacos, with a side of cheeseburgers and a 3 pizza dessert. As I talked about in the previous blog, I am pretty sure that is never going to really go away. Just don’t give in to it!

Friday is the day I have designated for my cheat meal. My plan has been to just cheat for supper on Friday nights. That was all fine and dandy till I gave in and went to Tio’s for lunch.  Yeah, i slipped up. Like I said before, it’s gonna happen.  Ok, so what did I eat? I had fajita chicken nachos and chips and salsa. While I was disappointed that I slipped up, I was also happy about something. I didn’t eat myself stupid!! I only ate half of the salsa bottle they brought (normally it is 2 bottles of salsa and at least 2 baskets of chips).  I was able to stop eating when I was full. I realize how funny that sounds to most people. “Of course you quit eating when you were full, that is how you are supposed to do it.”. It’s true…..for most people. When you are an addict to food it isn’t that way.  Let me let you peek into the mind of a fat person for a second. My doctor once told me the three reasons we stop eating.

  1. We run out of food
  2. We stuff ourselves so much that we will puke if we take another bite
  3. we don’t want to embarrass ourselves while in public.

Hit the nail on the head with that one!!! There is no off switch, so for me to realize that I am full and to quit eating is HUGE!! I could have cried right there. No kidding! Yeah, I should have not done it, but now I know I have the ability to do it.

I paid the price in water weight gain.  Between that and supper at Mellow Mushroom (yum!!), I put on 6 pounds. Now, that should come off fairly quick, but is it really worth it?  Nah, it isn’t. It is all a learning curve…..I took the curve too fast and paid the price.

Why am wiring all of this? Transparency!! Gotta keep it real with you all. I had a bad weekend, it happens. One of the reasons I write this blog is to show everyone that this is normal. It isn’t magic, and sometimes it really sucks!! To maybe help that one person out there who needs a word of encouragement, or for that person who is on the same journey and needs to see that they are not alone. Also, it is really cathartic!! It helps me to not go crazy. 🙂

Ok everyone, I’m out!! I have music to finish learning, and just not a great deal of time to do it!

As my boy Caleb always says…STAY STRONG!!!! 

Thanks for reading this tangled mess I call my thoughts.

May all your chicken be grilled and your vegetables be steamed!!

Cravings, Cheat Meals, and Fluid Retention….OH MY!!!

2 days from now will mark one month since I started my lifestyle change.  I have lost 31 pounds so far. Yes, I am very pleased with that! So pleased in fact that I treated myself to a cheat meal last Friday night.  What did I have you ask…..MEXICAN!!! CHEESE DIP AND NACHOS!!! It was glorious!!!  Ok….the cheese dip was glorious, the nachos were ok. My tastes have changed al lot in the last month. Don’t get me wrong, it was good, but not as fulfilling as it used to be. To be honest, I am both happy and sad about that.

Lets talk about cravings for a few minutes. We all have them. If you are or have been pregnant you know better than any of us. I obviously don’t know as well as you do. LOL!! What i do know is that it is a pesky little bugger!! Some days all I want is 235 cheeseburgers, then the next day I want to swim in a pool of cheese dip. Basically, my body is craving what I used to feed it all the time. In a way, I guess you could say I am still detoxing. Now, how do I get over all these cravings? I just live with them. There is no magic pill or potion I can take that will make me not crave these things. Until my body is completely used to this new way of eating and life, it will be a daily struggle. I am literally having to train my mind and body to accept that food is fuel…NOT A FRIEND!! Honestly, I think my craving are more about me missing food that actually wanting to eat it.

The reason I say this is because of my experience this past Friday. Went to Tio’s to chow on some delicious food and left somewhat disappointed….and happy at the same time. Weird I know, but hear me out. I told you I think my cravings are me more missing food than actually wanting to eat it. This is what I am basing that off of. What kind of sadness was I experiencing? Ok, did you ever have a friend in high school that you did everything with? You were together all the time? Then either you or they move away for some reason? Then when you all get back together you are expecting to sync back into the old friendship you had before, only to come to the realization that you both have changed and it isn’t the same. That is they type of sadness I was feeling Friday. I know….IT’S ONLY FOOD!!! You have to realize that for someone who sees food as a friend and companion, that is exactly what it is like. I was sad….I just lost a really good friend.

Now, I was also happy! Why? Because I am no longer seeing food as a friend and comfort. Yep…the same reason I was sad was the same reason I was happy. LOL!!  Wrap your head around that for a minute. My dependence on food as a comfort and friend is slowly going away.  THIS IS A GOOD THING!!! The less I depend on food as “someone” to turn to when I am sad or lonely, or bored, or breathing, etc….the more likely I am to keep going and keep this change in lifestyle.  I see this as a victory!!

Now let’s talk about cheat meals. I ate Tio’s for supper on Friday, then decided that I would to Golden Corral with my dad for breakfast. Boy was that a mistake!! I didn’t eat a lot of carbs, mainly stuck to eggs and meats. Now, the meats that I ate were LOADED with salt. How much? I gained 7 pounds just in water retention from two meals. Yup, you heard me, 7 POUNDS!!!! Now, yesterday I ate clean and drank a ton of water and lost 5 pounds. Yeah, it comes off that quick when you are peeing all the time. LOL!! So what did I learn? First, don’t eat more than one cheat meal a week! 2. When you do cheat, be careful what you are putting in your body. 3. DO NOT EAT MORE THAN ONE CHEAT MEAL A WEEK!!! 

I am interested to see how different everything else is going to taste. What is my cheat meal gonna be this weekend? Don’t know for sure. I might actually give it 2 weeks before I have another cheat meal. We will see. It depends on my weight loss this week. I am thinking pizza….you might see me cry if I don’t like that as much. Ha!!! I hope I don’t……such an odd thing to say!!

Ok, enough rambling for today! I hope that you all are staying strong! Remember to exercise that willpower!! I believe in you! As I said before, if you need someone to talk with, or to vent frustrations, holler at me. IT IS A TOUGH ROAD!! DO NOT GIVE UP!!! I said it before, and I’ll say it again. In this journey you will fall down, GET BACK UP AND KEEP MOVING!!! Learn from your failures and use them to improve yourself!! That is how we grow!!!

Now, get out there and move!!!

“I wish I had your willpower…”

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this phrase over the past few weeks.  That and others like it. “I just can’t do it”, “I would love to do that, but I am too busy.”, “I just love to eat.”.  Blah, blah, blah….yeah I get it. You want to lose weight.

Here is a suggestion from Nike….JUST DO IT!!!  Time for some real talk. You do have the will power, you just don’t want to do it.  Plain and simple.  Harsh as it is, it is the truth. Yes, 10% of you may want to do it, but the other 90% of you enjoys life as it is. What is the purpose of tis blog? To talk about sacrifice. YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO SACRIFICE SOME THINGS TO GET IT DONE!!! Believe me, I am preaching to the choir on this one. It is what I am living right now and let me tell you something. IT IS HARD!!! It sucks when, as my friend Lori put it, you’re eating clean but all you want to do is take a bath in cheese dip with a straw. It is a daily battle with your body!

You need to think of your willpower like any other muscle.  It needs to be exercised to get stronger. Sure, it is weak right now, you aren’t using it.  Trust me, the more it is used, the stronger it gets. The first week is a struggle. Your body is in detox and you want all the food in the country! You have quit drinking soft drinks and coffee every day. No more added salt to your diet. You have stopped eating carbs all the time. Your body doesn’t know what to do. Therefore, YOU FEEL LIKE CRAP!! It is gonna last for a few days.  Push through it! You are gonna have headaches, your body is gonna feel like you have a cold. (aches, lethargic, etc) and you might even run a mild fever. I am speaking from experience here mind you. Your diet completely changes. Grilled chicken, turkey, and fish become your normal protein. You are eating vegetables all the time. Your intake of water has increased to at least a gallon a day. You better be ready to pee ALL THE TIME!!!  I limited my coffee intake to 3 small cups a week. Trust me, it is like sweet nectar from heaven!!! No creamer or sugar, either black or 1 sweetener.

I am starting my fourth week, and my body is now used to it.  Do I still want all the cheeseburgers, tacos, and pizza? ABSOLUTELY!!! Remember when I said it’s mind of fatter?  That is exactly what it is. I have been to a mexican restaurant with some friends and had a few glasses of water whilst they partook of some yummy goodness.  Guess what? It really isn’t that hard to sit there while they eat.  I was shocked, I figured I would be dying. Nope! Sure, I had the desire to eat all the chips and salsa, but I exercised the muscle called willpower.

So I have talked about willpower, what else do we need? PEOPLE TO HOLD US ACCOUNTABLE!! I have talked about this before. If you can find someone to take this journey with you, even better. If not, DO IT ANYWAY! Find a weight loss support group, some friends to keep you on track, join weight watchers…DO SOMETHING! You need a good base of support. You are gonna need this for the days that you just want to give up and eat everything!! Sometimes you will need an ear to vent your frustrations, other times you will need that person to give you a kick in the pants! I am blessed with a great group of people to hold my feet to the fire. If I didn’t….I would find a support group or something of the like.

Cheating….it is gonna happen! (with food, not your spouse!!!) This is like falling down while walking. If we just lay there after we fall, we are not going to reach our destination. If we put this mantle of “you have to be perfect or you will never make your goal” over our lives, we are doomed for failure. We are human, we fail! The sooner you can accept this, the sooner you will realize that you can reach your goals. Now, that being said, we should strive to do the absolute best we can. Just know that you’re not perfect and that is ok. Know that I am not talking about cheat meals. I wanted to have 4 weeks of clean eating to get my body used to all the changes before I eat “unhealthy”. I feel like a cheat meal every week is a good idea. You give your cravings some satisfaction, while you aren’t completely destroying your progress. Now, I will post more about that once I have had a cheat meal and we’ll see how my body handles it.

Also, we need to accept the fact that there might be times where we don’t see weight loss.  Keep at it!! You might need to hire a personal trainer and get some advice on how to switch up your workouts or tweak your diet. YOU CAN DO IT, I PROMISE!!! You have the strength of will to get this done, whether you need to lose 30 or 230. You have this conquered, you just don’t realize it. You have to be the master of your body, not your body being the master of you!!

If you don’t have anyone to keep you accountable, I’m here! Doesn’t matter if we know each other, or you are just someone 1000 miles away reading this. I know the process stinks. You hurt physically and emotionally and you might need someone to just listen. I’m here for encouragement!  I want you all to succeed in your journey.

Now, go forth and exercise that muscle called willpower!! I believe you can do it!

Thanks for reading all these ramblings, I pray that they are an encouragement!

Where have you been Newman?

Aaaaannnnnnnd I’m back!!!

It has been 2 years since my last post. Where have I been you ask? Being fat and lazy, that’s where!! Eating way too much and being sedentary. Why? Because dieting and losing weight is difficult.  That is it…plain and simple. How is that for an excuse? Horrible, but honest and transparent. I am still all about being transparent.

Why now? Because I just turned 41 and I’m sick of being sick. Plain and simple. I”m tired of spending all of my money on food and medicine. I looked at my bank statement a while back and it was nothing but food and medicine. Seriously….I would say at least 90% of all charges were from some sort of eating establishment. It was disgusting!! I don’t make enough money for it to be going down the toilet!! Another reason? Performing!! If you know me, you know that is a big part of my life. Singing and performing and what not. I was hired recently for a few shows. Whether you are singing an oratorio, or an opera, it requires stamina and energy. Neither of which I had in abundance. So, it was time for a change. A COMPLETE change. Food, lifestyle, everything!!!

So, what now?  What am I doing? What has changed?  Good question….I have an answer.

Let’s start with where I was about 4 months ago.  I was up to 465ish.  I didn’t have a scale at home to weigh, so I had to go by the Drs scale from my last visit. Did I start eating different and exercising then?  No, I just didn’t eat as much and started to drink more water. Now, lets cut to a month and a half ago. At this point I had lost about 20 pounds and decided that I needed to get a personal trainer. So I worked with her for about a month.  I lost about 5 pounds.  Why so little?  BECAUSE I DIDN’T CHANGE MY EATING HABITS!!!!  She is awesome, but your trainer can only do so much…the rest is on your shoulders! So, 2 weeks ago I decided that I had enough!! Thus started the lifestyle change!! Eating super clean and healthy, and hitting the gym on a consistent basis.  So, in the last 15 days I have dropped 21 pounds!! Yup….when you treat your body right, it is ready to get rid of all the excess.

Now let me clarify…I AM NOT DIETING!!  That would mean that I am going to go back to eating crap at some point.  Nope, I am in the process of a total lifestyle change. I am eating clean! Grilled lean meats, steamed veggies, very few carbs, salads (healthy, not covered in cream based dressings), no more soft drinks, maybe 2-3 small cups of coffee per week, no sugar, very little sodium and TONS of water. Eating 6 times a day,  Hitting the gym 6 days a week (3 days a week weight work, 3 days cardio in the pool). That is it.  Nothing special, no fad diet, no pills or supplements, no surgery…just hard work.  A COMPLETE LIFESTYLE CHANGE!!

So other than the weight loss, have I seen any other results?  YES!!! My blood sugar has finally come down to a normal level.  It was running anywhere from the 200’s to the mid 300’s all the time. It is now in the high 90’s to low 100’s on a consistent basis. I have so much more energy!!! I don’t want to sleep my days away anymore.

Do I miss all the food I used to eat?  ABSOLUTELY!!!! I want a cheeseburger wrapped in a pizza, stuffed in a burrito that is covered in white cheese dip!!!  LOL!! Hello, my name is Matt and I have a food addiction!! I talked about that in a previous blog post. Mind over matter?  Nope! MIND OVER FATTER!!! Does that make sense? Maybe not, but it does to me.

Now, with all that being said, I am going to need support! Not financial (though if you wanted to send me money that wold be cool. LOL!!), no moral support.  There are going to be days and sometimes weeks where I am completely drained and wanting to just say screw it. There is something about people just giving you an encouraging word. It really does help.

Ok, I am done rambling for now. I will post again soon.

If you are reading this and need to lose weight, I encourage you to start. If you have fallen off the wagon, i encourage you to get back on! Yes, it is hard, and it takes work, your body will not be happy with you at first, but I promise that it will be worth it in the end. I have a long way to go, but that is ok. It isn’t going to happen overnight. I’m going to fall, but I will get back up and keep going.

Go forth and get healthy!!!