Thursday, November 12, 2009


You take my hand,
I'll take your hand
Together we may get away
This much madness
is too much sorrow
It's impossible
to make it today.
Neil Young
Happy Veteran's Day. I wish I could report happiness and success since coming back but the truth is I have struggled. I really miss the structure I get at the Ridge. I miss the weather. I miss the lift I get from the other campers. But mostly I miss the healthy, calorie counted food. Everyone has their struggles and most are much tougher than what I view as my nemesis. It seems hollow for sure that on Veteran's Day I continue to bemoan that fact that I can't seem to conquer my food issues. I'm Oprah but without the money, responsibilities, and stress. What can you do? Change and try to be better. I was going to say smarter, but screw that, I'm smart enough to figure this out, yet I seem destined to repeat my mistakes. I had originally chosen the fall to return to the ridge because I know that it is the beginning of my hardest period. Spring and summer I have been successful. I have been successful at the Ridge. I have yet to get the sitting on the couch, watching every football game, snacking dummy out of my system. I am trying to make some changes. I signed up for some cross training boot camp classes and joined another local gym. I want to amp up my workouts because that always seems to help with my ability to control eating. But what it comes down to is exercising restraint, which for the silly hedonist from Wisconsin shall forever be a challenge. Give me a hard time, I deserve it. That being said it has only been a couple weeks and what I view as failure this year I probably would have been viewed as success two short years ago. Anyway, confessing my sins to you guys isn't easy but I do try hard to be accountable and I am trying to be better. So let's do some more questions because I did get a few from people that I want to answer.
What do you eat when you are at home?
For the last couple weeks you can envision a tailgate party and that was me. However going forward I really rely on chicken breasts for the bulk of my proteins. I'll put them on low calorie buns, dress them up with hot sauce or mustard, mix them in salads. I'm not really a sweet guy, although you may not have guessed that if you saw me Halloween night :( I have a wife who tries very hard to prepare healthy and fabulous meals. We do tend to eat out more than we should but I have really taken home from the Ridge the lessons Paige taught us at the restaurants. I know how easy it is to out eat your workouts. Especially when for many years my workouts were walking to the Fridge. That, at least, is not the case anymore, and while I admit my food issues I should as well admit that exercise is a regular part of my week. I have tried with success to eliminate anything fried with the exception of my 100 calorie bags of chips that tend to soothe the salty, crunchy I crave the most. I don't eat a ton of red meat, mostly 95% lean burgers on the grill. I like shrimp and have that once a week. I do not eat enough fruits or vegetables but I am better. And Emily will kick my ass for this for sure. I am rarely a breakfast eater. I like to work out first thing in the morning and just don't feel like eating before I work out. It's a work in progress, better today than before but a long way from ideal.
The music on your blog. What's up with that?
Obviously I'm a music freak and as someone called me recently a "lyric parrot" I choose music for the quotes each day that I have heard recently, that mean something to me, or are from an artist I like. I have used quotes that other people have given me, used songs off cds that my friends have made me. Sometimes they match up with the days entry, sometimes they have no relevance other than I like the song they came out of. I, obviously, use quotes from artists that I really like. I have used quotes from concerts I am seeing or my friends are going to see. Music brings me so much happiness and I can't tell you how many times it has helped me take a few more steps when I wanted to stop. I want to share this music with anyone who reads this. If you go buy some of this music that I love it will make me happy. If it stirs a memory in you that's really cool as well. The quotes don't have hidden messages, I'm no Dan Brown. I just like starting each blog entry with some music. Add some music to your day!!!
Is one week at the Ridge worth it. Will I change?
I don't know is my answer. Probably at least 50% of the people come for just one week. Most of the people with whom I have maintained long term contact with were the people that stayed for longer than a week. I have seen a lot of happy people after they have spent one week there. Everyone is better off for having gone be it one week or 15 weeks. No one leaves without finding out that they could do a lot more than they thought they could. No way anyone was doing 6 hours of exercise before they went. I know no one does that when they leave either, but you do it when you are there and most people are shocked that they can. I would recommend a week if that is all you can do. But once you leave it's on you, Will you change? probably not, but some people do and you will get the tools to change, but buying a shovel and a plow doesn't mean a garden is going to grow in your backyard.
I know you are a Terps fan but I see you wearing Florida shirts and Texas shorts and all sorts of other college teams paraphernalia. What's up with that?
I'll happily admit that I have become a whore for college shirts and shorts and sweatshirts. I went quite a few years without being able to wear any team apparel because they didn't make them in my size. I remember going to the Orange Bowl one year in the early 00's and having a seamstress sew a terrapin onto a shirt I thought was red but really turned out to be more burgundy when all was said and done. It has gotten easier. 50% because I am in to manageable sizes and 50% because the rest of the country has gotten fat enough that clothiers realized that they were leaving money on the table by not catering to this segment of the population. So when I got the chance I started buying whatever I could and more of what I really liked. So yes I have off the top of my head Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin, Iowa, Iowa St, Ohio St, Penn St., Michigan, Florida, Miami, Florida St, BYU, UNLV, Georgia, USC, Nebraska, UCLA, Syracuse, and I am sure a few more that I am forgetting beside my ever present Maryland attire. However I can assure that unless I have lost some bet there is no freaking way you ever see me sporting UNC or Duke attire. Even a whore like myself has some principles.
Is the first week the hardest?
Yes and a small amount of no. The first week and especially the first three days will be the hardest days at the Ridge from a physical stand point. I can assure that it will not be worse than Tuesday and Wednesday of your first week. You will be sore, you will be tired and your body will be asking you questions you don't have an answer for. If you are long-term you will start to question if you were insane. Thursday it gets better. It's also hard the last few days before you leave. You get antsy, you get to daydreaming, you have friends that you have made that are ready to go home. The people whom I admire the most are the longtermers that keep it together and persevere through the end and those are the ones that I think have done the best long term after they have left. I haven't done that yet.
What's up with movies this year, they are terrible?
Good thing they decided to expand the list of best picture nominees to ten this year because I have no clue who could possibly be on that list. Up will be on the list, but it's not Oscar worthy. I have seen some absolute crap as well. Couple's Retreat, Taking Woodstock, Earth, Imagine That, Transformers, Public Enemies, and Where The Wild Things Are all made me want to gouge my eyes out with a spoon. Up, 500 Days of Summer, Star Trek, and The Hangover were all good but none of them are even remotely in Oscar consideration in a normal year. Hopefully the next 7 weeks bring something good.
Why no pictures this week?
I haven't broken out the camera since Ingrid Michaelson weekend, which was really only a couple weeks ago but seems like forever. I'm going to see Steely Dan Saturday night in Milwaukee and hoping to pull off the daily double by going back the following night to see Bruce Springsteen. The holidays are coming up so that will mean pictures. I promise some pics of me in my new class and at the gym which has, a sand pit but not a net in that pit. It's all good, just shaking off the last of my Ridge post-partum blues. I'll be better...promise Peace, jim


VAgirl said...

So glad to see you posting again. I've been struggling too since leaving the ridge. Right now I'm telling myself just to take it a day a time.

I always love to look at which lyrics you've posted ;)

karen said...

Great swim work out today! One stroke at a time. I thought I was swimming next to M. Phelps in the pool!

Cameron and Michelle said...

Hey Jim, finally got a chance to catch up on your blog a little. I am sorry I didn't get to see much of you during your stay here. I did the stop sign 3 times this last week and thought of you every time. I also thought of you during treading this past week. I have started budget, treading and the lovely stop sign again. I love it all! Hope all is well. Keep up the good work!

Sabine said...

Hi Jim,
Yes, I missed your blog too. I would check every couple of days. Your gym has a sand pit, how hard is it to get a net? You got one for the pool at the Ridge.
Just continue to do what's right and try to reduce what's not so right. I know. it's easier said than done. I had fallen off the wagon in Gmerny early October. I can gain 7 pounds in 10 days , no sweat, and lothing lost since...
I hope you'll find your way onto "the path" soon. There is a free week at FR on the line for
You should still try some breakfast. Even when I work out in the morning, I workout better with something in my stomach. I like the ready to make Qauker oatmeal packets, one pack, water , 30 secs in the micro, if you want to live it up cut up a banana and you have less than 300 cal. practically on the go......
Looking forward to many more blogs....I am off to Florida for most of December and January.....Good running weather.
Take care! Sabine