Tag Archives: exercise

Blog Reboot

It’s been over a year, and I have decided to pick up blogging once more. More than anything, this has to do with keeping myself accountable for my own well being.  I am still dealing with my depression, but I have decided that I need to work on physical fitness.  The other day I got on the scale and was horrified at what it was telling me: 309.  A mere three years ago, I was around 240.  That is insane folks.  There are reasons (excuses, really) for how this got out of control, but I can’t help but feel that it has a major bearing on my mood.

 So I am shifting gears as of today.  I’ll still mention mental health in passing, but this is all about losing weight, exercising more, eating better, and becoming healthier.  There is more to come, I promise.  Expect a visual makeover, for one.  

In the meantime, I will leave you with this.  Today is Wednesday, and I “started” on Sunday.  I have not killed myself exercising, nor starved myself.  Instead I am getting back into shape slowly, and eating sensibly (more on both later.) The result: according to my handy dandy app, I have lost 7.2 pounds so far.  Eat your hearts out, Biggest Losers.


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Two-Wheeled Love Affair

For a six-year-old, there probably isn’t anything that presents as much freedom as liberating your bike from its training wheels.  I remember having a tough time getting the hang of riding a true two-wheeler, although it probably had more to do with my confidence than anything else.  I would pedal for a few feet before putting my feet on the ground.  My dad would swear that I did it, but I was equally adamant that I didn’t.  My friend across the street had gotten the hang of it, and he was a year younger.  That lit the fire of determination for me.  Nothing like a little bit of peer pressure to get you going.  What finally got me going for good was our slanted driveway.  I climbed on in the garage, stood on the pedal to get me going, and have never looked back.

I can remember each bike that I have owned.  The first was red and white.  My sister had ridden it before me, so I had dad take the necessary measure of removing the basket in front.  Instead of tires, the wheels were made of hard plastic.  But it did its job taking me up and down our street.  As I became more brave I learned that those plastic wheels could make really cool skid marks if I got up a good head of steam and hit the brakes.

My next one was a true beauty, and looking back as an adult, a classic.  A Schwinn Stingray.  Red again, with ape-hanger handle bars and a red banana seat with a sparkly finish.  With real tires, this baby could take me around the block with no problem whatsoever.  All these years later I wish that I still had it so I could pass it on to my kids.  I don’t think that I am alone in my Stingray nostalgia.

I was getting a little bigger, and my next bike was a light blue mountain bike.  The tires were nice and wide, to take me off the beaten path.  Speed wasn’t much of a concern.  The best part about this bike was multiple gears and hand brakes.  I’ll never forget the day I went riding with my friend and he informed me that we rode about nine miles.  Nine miles!?  How cool was that?

Next up was a blue Diamond Back hybrid type bike.  Not a mountain bike, but certainly not a road bike either.  This was the first bike that I took on a sanctioned bike ride.  Riding 25 miles with my dad (and many others) was so fun.  Although in a couple of years I would be getting my driver’s licence, I didn’t think driving could be much of a step up in terms of freedom.  I could disappear for a summer afternoon if I wanted to.  When I was 15, my trusty steed did buck me off.  I knew that I broke my arm because I heard the pop.  I walked it about a mile home, informing my parents that we needed to make a visit to the hospital, but first we had to go find my glasses, which I hadn’t realized until then were missing off of my face.  We got to the spot and looked and looked.  Finally we rang the doorbell of the nearest home.  The gentleman that answered was apologetic–apparently this all took place while he was mowing the lawn–he hadn’t seen my glasses until the were a tangled mess of wire.  My bike and I weren’t on speaking terms for about a year, but we did eventually make up, and it still holds a place of honor in my garage.  I did learn one important lesson from that mishap.  Before that day I never wore a helmet.  Even though no company in the world can make a helmet that doesn’t make me look like a complete dork, I always protect my brain now.

My current bike is a road bike that I have had for three years now, I think.  Purists would probably scoff, but it is a Schwinn that I bought at a department store.  None-the-less it is lightweight, fast (at least for me) and nice to look at.  Now that I have kids, my mom bought me a trailer to take them on rides.  Trying to coax them in the first time was a little difficult (along with getting them to wear helmets) but once we were finished there was an equal if not more amount of coaxing needed to get them out. 

This year I have set a goal to ride in our local Bike MS ride.  150 miles over 2 days, by far the most for me.  But truly I love to ride, and knowing it is for a good cause helps with motivation.  Click on the link on my sidebar to learn more.

Until then, I will be seeing you on the trails.

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Filed under bicycling, bike, exercise, fitness

In Sunshine or In Shadow

One of the things that could be contributing to my depression is that I have slight vitamin D deficiency.  The best source of vitamin D is that which is produced in the skin due to exposure to ultraviolet B light.  That’s why Seasonal Affective Disorder happens–less sunlight, less vitamin D, less happy campers. 

So I suppose it should be to my advantage that Spring is starting to poke its head around the corner ’round these parts.  Although it has been chilly the last couple of days, last week it was downright gorgeous.  I took advantage of the beautiful weather one day and took a walk to receive a vitamin D injection.  I have to say that it did lift my mood a little.  Feeling the warm sun on my face, watching the little gutter-guided rivers of melting snow, stretching my legs–it was good.

I know that I should get outside more.  I enjoy exercising outside much more than inside.  I think that the reason for this is because the motivation is easier to find.  Outside, running, biking, walking, whatever–I can pick a target and say to myself “I need to make it there.”  Then, once I make it “there”, I can set a new target.  Inside happens more like this:  “OK, self, 20 more minutes.” Huff. Puff. Look at clock. “Still 18 more minutes?  What the hell!?”  But with the need for vitamin D, spending more time outside just being would even be productive.

There’s only one problem.  I’ve never minded the darkness all that much.  I think maybe this goes back to my childhood.  The house that I grew up in had a fairly sizable basement in which I ended up spending quite a bit of time.  When the lights were off (such as to watch a movie), it was dark.  Really dark.   But the darkness was somehow comfortable.    On a small side note, it is a little strange that the basement in question didn’t also acclimate me to cooler temperatures.  Down in our little den the temperature ranged from “cool” to “meat locker”, and yet I hate being cold.  Anyway.  So it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that when I chose a room for the mancave, it was in fact the basement.  I even told Lovely Wife once that I thought it would be cool to have a sub-basement room.  The look on her face told me that maybe she thinks depression and anxiety aren’t my only mental issues. 

Subterranean environments have always fascinated me, though.  I love going through caves.  Although our city is nowhere near the size it would need to be to support a subway, sometimes I think about how cool it would be to have something along the lines of the New York City Subway or the London Underground.

In the end I just have to remember all the beautiful outdoor places that I enjoy.  Afterall, nature is a much better architect that man could ever be.  Go stare at the Tetons for a while, take a drive through Spearfish Canyon, or relax on your favorite beach and tell me this isn’t so.   Besides, it’s good for me.

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THURSDAY FUN – YouTube music favorites

Marc Broussard.  I love this kind of music.  Enjoy.

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Filed under depression, exercise, outdoors, vitamin D

How am I doing? Ask my dog.

If your dog is fat, it is said, you need more exercise.  I guess in our case, this aphorism doesn’t quite hold water.  Although I do in fact need more exercise, my dog happens to be in tip top shape.  In fact, sometimes I worry that he is too skinny.  The vet assures me that it probably only seems that way because the majority of dogs out there are overweight.

I’m not quite sure how he does it.  We always keep his bowl full, so he eats whenever he wants.  Not to mention, he serves as a breakfast and dinnertime cleanup crew underneath the kiddos’ booster chairs.  I am fairly certain that he sleeps most of the day when Lovely Wife and I are away to work.   The last time that I took him in for his shots he had lost about a pound and a half.  Pretty significant when you only weigh 18 lbs in the first place. 

What his real talent lies, however, is in matching my mood.  I started noticing when he was a puppy that on days I was feeling good he would run around and play and be full of energy.  If I came home in a foul mood and plop down on the couch, he would snuggle up next to me and lay his head on my leg, a forlorn look on his face.  Recently he seems to have been a little more down.  We have considered getting another dog to keep him company during the day.  However, we have doggie-sat my parents pooch on occasion, and I am pretty sure that he goes about his normal routine. 

I visited the psychiatrist today, who reminded me that exercise is a good way to help with depression.  Exercise helps release those feel good endorphins.  So in our case I think that perhaps we need to make an amendment to the old axiom.  If your dog is depressed, you need more exercise.

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I figured that I should at least do a weekly update on my physical fitness.  The exercise isn’t going too well, which is a little stressful as the upcoming Bike MS is weighing heavily in the back of my mind.  I can report that Lovely Wife and I have placed at least a temporary moratorium on eating out, and it is already paying dividends.  This week I weighed in at 269 lbs.  I will gladly take a four pound a week loss.

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TUESDAY FUN – Photo Favorites

I took the following photo on our honeymoon.  Lovely Wife and I took a cruise and one of our destinations was the small Caribbean island of Dominica.  I had never heard of it before.  We were pleasantly surprised with Dominica.  Being less of a tourist destination than a lot of Caribbean nations, there really wasn’t much to offer in the way of beaches or shopping.  We elected to take an excursion that would take us on a hike through the rain forest to view a waterfall and then stop at a smaller waterfall with a pool that we could swim in.  Along the path I spotted this little fellow, almost begging me to take a picture.


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Growing old before your time…


I never realized that depression would feel quite like this until I was deep enough into it that I realized that is where I am.  I had admitted to myself on particularly bad days that I was depressed, but I didn’t think I was “clinically depressed”, whatever that was.  I’ve never felt the deep pits of despair, never even considered ending it all.

But all of a sudden I realized that I just wasn’t interested in anything. Going out, being with friends, reading, writing, playing music, listening to music, exercising, cooking, photography–all those things that used to help define who I am just didn’t seem all that much interesting.

Luckily I’ve had my family with me–Lovely Wife, Little Guy, Baby Girl–who do still matter.  In particular, Lovely Wife has been so supportive in helping me realize what was wrong and facilitating getting help for me.  Long after many spouses may have thrown up their hands in exasperation, she is taking those vows seriously.

Along with that jerk Depression, his good buddy Anxiety is always there with him working in tandem.  It seems like whenever I have a handle on one of them, the other decides to crank himself up to sabotage my mood. 

As of today, I am starting this blog as a journal on my journey back to health.  I hope to pick up some readers along the way–those of you that can help or encourage, or perhaps be helped and encouraged by me.


A few years ago, when Lovely Wife and I were a newly minted married couple, I had discovered the joy of working out–specifically running.  I used to think that “Runner’s High” had to have been an oxymoron.  But that summer, as the days went by, the miles piled up, and the scale went down, I learned to really take enjoyment from the activity.  Then I suffered a bout with back spasms, and have been off the exercise rails pretty much since.   Messieurs Depression and Anxiety haven’t helped the cause.

So part of my journey will also include physical fitness.  There are many boogey men that getting in shape will help me keep locked away in the closet.  The word “Moobs” comes to mind.  So does the phrase “Type II Diabetes”.  In order to be accountable in this area, there has to be a quantifiable measurement, so *gulp* here goes: 273 lbs.

As part of my total fitness goal, I have signed up for Bike MS: Pedal the Plains.  Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that affects more than 400,000 Americans.  Not only will the ride help me towards my fitness goals, but the money raised will be going to a great cause.  I encourage everybody to click on the link in the sidebar to visit my page and make a donation.  If you are in my area, I also welcome you to join my team.


I have decided to always end with something a little less serious.  The subject will change, but expect some common recurring subjects.

One of the things I love is music.  On a great tip I have recently been listening to Ray LaMontagne.  This particular song reminds me of where I am right now. 

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Filed under anxiety, depression, fitness