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The Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition Blog is the place for conversation and discussion about topics related to sports and sports fitness, general fitness, bodybuilding, nutrition, weight loss, and human health. Here, you'll find everything from nutritional information and advice about healthy eating to training and exercise tips for improving your overall well-being.

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Becoming "Half the Man I Used to Be" (Part 1)

Posted February 01, 2010 6:00 AM by merph

Hello, CR4! I'm merph. I'm a 29-year old Computer Science student at the State University of New York in Albany. This is my first blog, at least for a site with an established user base.

Unlike NaturalPro, I am not a bodybuilder. I am not an athlete. I'm not even fit, though I'd like to think I'm headed in that general direction. Until I began my "journey," I was an example of the stereotypical sedentary, fat American male. In the spring of 2009, I weighed in at 335 pounds. I was a mess… my weight had finally reached the point where it was adversely affecting my life beyond being unhappy with my appearance. I would get winded walking up a couple flights of stairs, have pains in my calves just walking around, and suffered from heartburn for at least two years.

How Did I Get Here?

Once upon a time, I was a sick, skinny kid. I had my tonsils removed when I was seven, and since then I've been slowly growing; the vertical growth stopped during high school, but the horizontal growth didn't.

As a child, I didn't learn healthy eating habits and I wasn't very active. While other kids were out playing baseball in the neighborhood, I was inside playing Nintendo. These habits stayed with me into adulthood. I was never happy with the way I looked, and often thought of dieting. My weight gain was gradual, but over time I amassed a large collection of clothing that no longer fit me. I didn't see a noticeable difference in the way I looked in a mirror, but I did see it in pictures. Instead of doing something about it, I was lazy; I became camera shy instead.

Of course, I wanted to lose weight. I'd buy "low-fat" foods and think I was eating healthy. I didn't pay attention to, and had no knowledge of nutrition in general. I wasn't motivated enough to do anything serious about my health. Looking back on it, I can't believe the way I used to be. I consider myself a fairly smart person, and it pains me to see how ignorant I was.

Making a Change

I found the motivation I needed to make a major lifestyle change in New York City this past May. My wife and I walked around Manhattan for hours with some friends while we were in town for a wedding. I had dealt with pains in my calves from walking before, but it was unbearable that night. Every step I took elicited a sharp, burning pain as I plodded along for three to four hours.

I started eating healthier and being more active in June. Since then, I'm proud to say that I have lost almost 100 pounds. I have more to lose in order to reach my goal weight, but I'll get there. I used to think that losing this kind of weight was an impossible task. It's not. It's amazing how simple it is.

When people see what I've done over the past eight months, they always ask me, "What's your secret?" There is no secret – the answer is available in hundreds of books and who knows how many web sites; it just takes motivation to make the right choices.

Why Blog?

In terms of fitness and nutrition, I am a voice from the complete opposite end of the spectrum than NaturalPro. With my blogging here, I hope to share what worked for me and discuss some of the hurdles or issues that I've dealt with along the way. Maybe I will be able to help someone else to turn their life around from a fitness standpoint. If a fat, lazy person like me could do it, anyone can.

History

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

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#1

Re: Becoming "Half the Man I Used to Be" (Part 1)

02/01/2010 9:43 AM

Congrats on your first CR4 blog entry!

Just wanted to say how proud I am of the commitment you two have made to your health. Imagine the years you'll be adding to your lifespan-- that means even more opportunities to hang out with us and play Nintendo ;^D

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#8
In reply to #1

Re: Becoming "Half the Man I Used to Be" (Part 1)

02/02/2010 7:00 AM

Thanks Mel!

It's not just the potential years added that makes me happy, its knowing that my quality of life in the future will be improved. When my wife and I have kids, I'll be able to keep up with them... and instill good habits in them from the start so they don't end up like I did.

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#2

Re: Becoming "Half the Man I Used to Be" (Part 1)

02/01/2010 12:34 PM

Though I never had a weight problem. I can only imagine your strength. You photo looks good.

Your title is what caught my attention, Becoming "Half the Man I Used to Be" (Part 1)

I would like to briefly share with you the reason.

I have a twin sister. I was driving past her place after work and she and her boys were making fence for their horses along the road. So I stopped to see if I could help, she looked ragged and the boys (ages 12-14) looked like they were going to cry. I asked her what was going on. She just looked at me. I asked where her husband is. Her return glare could kill.

Then I heard him, yelling at my sister for not having the fence made, he yelled this from all places.....the house. She replied she did not have enough posts. He then turn and yelled at the oldest for not bringing enough posts. I never saw my sister so angry.

She pocket her hammer. turned and yelled. "Dammit Pete, I not half the man I used to be, you leave those boys alone".

I fell because I laughed so hard that the three laughed at me.

looking forward to part II

p911

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#10
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Re: Becoming "Half the Man I Used to Be" (Part 1)

02/02/2010 7:09 AM

Thanks phoenix911,

Funny story. I spent about an hour trying to come up with a decent title before I settled on that. I got it from the Stone Temple Pilots song, "Creep." I figured it was appropriate. When (not if) I get down to 167.5 pounds, I'll be exactly that... half the man I used to be.

Cheers,
Merph

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#12
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Re: Becoming "Half the Man I Used to Be" (Part 1)

02/02/2010 11:54 AM

merph:

I had a girlfriend who's daughter she takes care and cares about her appearance, but has a weight problem, She's 16 years old. Great personality. personable, upbeat, happy, bullheaded, deaf and defiant. A typical teenager. She has perfect hearing and eyesight.

We keep in contact.

I do have a question, if its not too personal.

How differently do people treat you now as compared to before?

p911

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#13
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Re: Becoming "Half the Man I Used to Be" (Part 1)

02/02/2010 12:16 PM

It's probably a combination of my change in appearance and my increased confidence due to it... but I have noticed that people in general seem to be a lot more friendly. I think I've struck up more random conversations with strangers in the past three months than in the rest of my life combined.

People that I know have complimented me on my weight loss quite a bit, and more than a few have asked me how I did it. I even convinced one of my friends to adopt my diet/method and we've been in pretty constant contact keeping each other motivated and on the right track.

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#3

Re: Becoming "Half the Man I Used to Be" (Part 1)

02/02/2010 12:11 AM

Hello Merph,

Congratulations on your achievement. I am curious, can you share your dietary changes with us? What was your diet before and what did you change to?

Thanks,

John

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#7
In reply to #3

Re: Becoming "Half the Man I Used to Be" (Part 1)

02/02/2010 6:44 AM

Hi JBTardis,

Of course! That's going in part 2, which I haven't finished quite yet.

Until then... if you're curious what I'm eating now, you're welcome to check out my personal blog at http://www.fagerstrom.us. I keep a daily log of my foods there.

Cheers,
Merph

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#4

Re: Becoming "Half the Man I Used to Be" (Part 1)

02/02/2010 1:33 AM

Thank you sooo much for bringing your story here. I used to be very active, and the sedentary life has been gaining on me for the last half dozen years, and I have the desire to change, but it has been difficult to turn that into action. Sometimes you just need to know it can be done. great message. I wish you the best.

Chris

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#9
In reply to #4

Re: Becoming "Half the Man I Used to Be" (Part 1)

02/02/2010 7:03 AM

Thanks chrisg288,

I spent many years wanting to change but not acting upon it. I always thought losing weight was nearly impossible... I'm glad I was wrong. It just takes the motivation to ditch the junk food and start eating better, which I didn't have until my body started complaining.

--Merph

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#5

Re: Becoming "Half the Man I Used to Be" (Part 1)

02/02/2010 3:26 AM

Generally you might begin to think if you have diabetes. If you do not know much about sugars, all diabetes is pertaining to your body is a abundance of sugar that will not store in the tissues and thus become attached to hemoglobin. If that is a issue then think what is hemoglobin but a grouping of blood cells that are literally many human cells which have a specific instruction to make hemoglobin in the first place and this generally is the same with all cells in the body to make new cells and to do one other thing which is to make new blood vessels which tends to make you think more about your retina than your arms or legs. OK now just how cells get this information to do this depends on a good communication network, your nervous system is the best and it trunks to the spine from all else which is vital organs having cells with instruction duties. However when this becomes a problem to communicate because of a pinched nerve and a slipped disc that could be in your spine or a bad vertebrae causing the cutoff communications your brain and that vital body region does not communicate properly. So let's not forget that DNA must sequence of the RNA chain the instruction to begin with, and the instruction will continue till that is accomplished and that concludes the alpha and the omega starts the process again some other area and these millions of communications are called VEGF Signaling. Perhaps you have not heard much about VEGF Signaling but without that your body would continue to create such things as tumors as well as body fat and a congested heart leading to a heart attack. So now in judging more conclusive evidence we also can conclude that VEGF variations can be the exact reverse of tumors, a bad congested heart and even fatty tissue. Now if you really want to know if your body is up to this communication course it was made for and think something is wrong that might be causing numbness in your limbs, feet, pelvic, hands, fingers, etc. then you really need to schedule a MRI so that the VEGF Signals can be traced and anything that is not being received by the brain becomes a factor on the MRI Scan, your then in luck in determining what and how to approach your bodily problem.

Therefore, I might conclude rather certainly that diabetes does not have anything to do with nerves, it is a hemoglobin-blood sugar problem and diabetes does not cause blindness because the right eye coordinates with the left leg or left arm and the left eye coordinates with the right leg or right arm and what VEGF Signals are in either arm or leg also is in that particular eye. Recall, VEGF Signals give the cells the instruction to create more cells and or more blood vessels and in the eye we find a retina that needs blood vessels and that encourages the rods and cones to multiply so if your suffering blindness it is because of the lack of coordinated VEGF Signals, not because of a hemoglobin-sugar problem in your blood.

Just so I can be of assistance, do get a blood sugar meter and check your blood sugar everyday, eat no sugar in anything, drink plenty of water and no more than 8 glass fulls, keep your blood pressure down using cinnamon sticks/cinnamon tablets/cinnamon whatever add it to your hot cocoa each morning, pickles esp. whole pickled red beets, sea salt (not common table salt), figs and pain medication if you intend to take on a fat burner such as "Smart Burn with Hoodia", and theres "Hoodia Liquid" in a small bottle you could use for those times you get hungry to curb the appetite.

I hope this will help you and your feet cause I go this round each day since my back operation to recover the loss of rods and cones in my retina so I can once again see plainly in my left eye. The operation restored my VEGF Signals 100%. Good Luck to you.

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Re: Becoming "Half the Man I Used to Be" (Part 1)

02/03/2010 10:56 AM

like t kow more about Electric transportation - Thanks cal1159909- (George)

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#6

Re: Becoming "Half the Man I Used to Be" (Part 1)

02/02/2010 6:06 AM

All i can say is Die Fat or Get tough - the only two i know of ---- George

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#11

Re: Becoming "Half the Man I Used to Be" (Part 1)

02/02/2010 9:26 AM

I have an older brother that is going through the same scenario right now. I have two older brothers, we are all the same height but I am the smallest of the three of us. I was always conscious of my weight and physical appearance and worked out a lot training to get the bodybuilding physique. I never got that big or even close but I stayed a good size. I am 40 now and I am about 6 foot and only weigh 195 lbs. Now, my older brother the middle one, he was a cross country runner in high school and very good at it and placed in the state meet in Missouri. When he graduated high school he weigh only 155 lbs. He is now about 250 lbs. and this is after losing over 100 lbs. to get there. My oldest brother never got over 300 lbs. but he got up there above 250 at times. I just watched them as we got older and I never wanted to be like that so that is why I stayed active working out. I don't work out anymore because my kids and work keep me active enough so I don't have much time for it. But, I still watch what I eat. The funny thing is that my brothers kept teasing me when I graduated high school and saying wait until you get married and then you will look like us. I didn't gain weight, then it was wait until you hit 30. And again I didn't get as big as they were. Then it was wait until you hit 40. I am now 40 and I can still were the same belt that I wore in high school.

Well, now after all of this rambling on, I must say congratulations and keep up the good work. You make me think a lot about my brother that is doing the same thing and I am very proud of him for what he is doing. He lost is first wife to breast cancer 7 years ago and after that is when he really started packing on the pounds and put himself up over 300 and 350. He was to the point that he couldn't sleep real well because he couldn't breath right laying down. My whole family was afraid for him and his health. He has two daughters and they are both getting married this year and he is going to look great for their weddings. But, this goes to show that even a very athletic person as a child like him can get lost in food and lose the care for themselves as they get older. But, I am very proud of him now as I am of you and I wish you and your wife the very best. Keep up the good work and I look forward to the rest of your story.

God Bless you.

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Re: Becoming "Half the Man I Used to Be" (Part 1)

02/02/2010 12:21 PM

Thanks for your kind words.

I'm glad to hear that your brother is getting healthier. I've found so many similar stories on various forums on the internet... they are very encouraging. It's good to know that I'm not alone, and it's interesting to hear other people's stories and how they achieved their weight loss goals.

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#15

Re: Becoming "Half the Man I Used to Be" (Part 1)

02/02/2010 6:40 PM

Nice going and good for you!

Fortunately for me my normal work keeps me quite fit and well muscled. I have been asked many times in my life by more overweight people what gym I go to to stay fit so that they could join. I always tell them I don't need to, its a waste of time and money. I have then usualy suggested that if they really want to get in shape to come and work with me for a while. I will even pay them while they are getting in shape instead of them paying to get in shape!

Not one has ever taken my offer. It has always irritated me how those same people have "tried everything" to loose weight except eat less and take better care of themselves.

I am glad you are taking the resposibility for your personal health and apearance. I hope far more will follow your example.

Just dont take it too far. Too thin is as bad as to fat. Being healthy requires a little reserve for the hard times of being sick and what not.

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#16
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Re: Becoming "Half the Man I Used to Be" (Part 1)

02/03/2010 10:35 AM

Thanks. I've got a while before I need to worry about being "too thin," but I know what you mean.

Out of curiosity, what do you do for work?

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Re: Becoming "Half the Man I Used to Be" (Part 1)

02/03/2010 4:02 PM

I am a "jack of all trades" person so I do everything from welding and metal fabrication including machining and what not to electrical and electronics work form the small to the industrial level to some degree. I also help out around the family farm and do some side line truck driving as well.

One of the things I have always asked people to help me with that wanted to get into better shape is just doing the basic work around the farm. Most of its not all that physically hard but gives a good full body workout and is easy to pace yourself while doing. Its what keeps me in shape! Hauling a ton or two of wood one day is a good workout. The actual physical demands are more spread out and not focused on one major muscle group. Its basic lifting, walking, and tossing.

Same with most of the other clean up work we have. its not high energy but more of a steady action type of physical exertion. That sort of stuff they say is good for you.

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#19

Re: Becoming "Half the Man I Used to Be" (Part 1)

02/09/2010 1:04 AM

I totally agree that real physical work beats gyms. If you don't have a farm or a physical job, it would be good to garden, kayak, walk, jog, or do something outdoors. It is better for the mind and spirit than a gym. You also have time to think, and it reduces your stress more. Gardening can also help your budget quite a bit. I guess hauling the firewood keeps you busy in North Dakota in the winter time. A great way to save money, as long as you don't cut off a body part or have a chain brake and smack you a good one. I just got done doing an hour of scraping ice off my driveway. Actually enjoyed the exercise. Recent studies find that exercise is the best thing to keep the brain in shape too. I just lost 15 pounds with Weight Watchers Online. No meetings with a bunch of heavy housewives. It is really simple to use software, with a wealth of tools, and advantages. I think it cost me $20 per month. Three months at a time.

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#20

Re: Becoming "Half the Man I Used to Be" (Part 1)

02/19/2010 9:43 AM

good luck with it.

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Re: Becoming "Half the Man I Used to Be" (Part 1)

03/12/2010 11:24 PM

I have now lost 24 pounds, at a rate of 2.2 pounds per week, using Weight Watchers Online. My wife has lost 23 pounds going to WW Meetings. This is with virtually no aerobic exercise. I found some information on the relationship of muscle mass to metabolism. If you can keep your muscle, and just lose the fat, you can keep the fat burning rate up. Aerobic exercise does not build or maintain muscle very well. It is great, in moderation, for physical and mental health. Heavy muscular development depends on resistance exercises. Carrying a lot of fat around builds muscle, but as you lose weight you lose muscle too. So you need to maintain, or build your muscle to continue the rate of weight loss. Free weights, body weight exercises, calisthenics, isometrics etc. all build muscle more effectively. Especially for the upper body. The muscle will keep you losing weight, being strong, and looking good. This is not to diminish aerobic exercise. I need to get on the treadmill more too.

I have a buddy who lost about 75 pounds with running, he has run into a lot of stressors, hit the winter months, got depressed and gained it all back. He looks heavier than ever. It is a lot easier to build or maintain muscle mass. It takes a lot less time and energy. Twenty minutes three times a week is all you need to do. You have to reach the point of failure each time though. You work until you can't do any more. Muscle burns fat 24/7.

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