You never know what childhood perceptions are going to turn into landmines until you step right in the middle of one. My first experience with this phenomenon was a few years ago when I realized why I so dearly love to drink soda. For me, the progression goes like this:

Soda = Treat = HAPPY! = Grow-up-and-drink-ALL-the-soda

It’s as simple as that. The fizz and the cola taste just make my day better. Figuring that out after umpteen years has broken the chain, if not the want. As in, I don’t drink it all the time now, even though I still want to. Instead I just chug lots of water and enjoy the occasional treat. Landmine deactivated.

Yesterday, however, I derped right into a new mine, and this one went off. What was it? A tic tac. More specifically, a big honking package of fruity, delicious tic tacs. I started picking these up a few weeks ago because they’re nice to nibble when I’m working at the computer. Where is the boom, you ask? It’s in the sugar content. Oh yes, they have sugar!

Because of my erroneous childhood perception that tic tacs were sugar-free (no idea where that notion came from), I thought I could nom away at them and not bother to log the nommage. WRONG! Yesterday I noticed the ingredients list has sugar first. Uh-oh. So I plugged in the 75 that I had nibbled over the day to find 150 wasted calories and a completely blown carb macro. My fasting blood sugar this morning was horrific.

So now I’m sitting here with two packages of uneaten tic tacs that I no longer want because all I see are tasty little Doom Nuggets. In the grand scheme, this isn’t a big deal; life will go on, sugars will return to normal, and I’ll know better in the future. I’m a bit miffed at myself for not paying attention, but this mini debacle did manage to improve my mental metal detector.

Read those labels, folks. Boom-shaka-laka.

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The Hobby

Many people, whether they’ll admit it or not, have hobbies. One of my biggest used to be video games. Yeah, you read that right, it’s in past tense. My interest waned completely and I haven’t played one since July. Looking back over my blog posts of the past six months or so will tell you what replaced them, but I’m not bringing this up to talk about why. We’ve been over that. I’m bringing it up because I realized this morning that I have another, hidden hobby that I never realized existed. Brian will read this and say “Well, DUH,” but I was blind to the deeper connection until now. Here’s the process.

When I decided to get more serious about my health and found Myfitnesspal, I also found that they had forums. Yay! What was the first thing I always did when starting any new video game over the last 15 years? I went straight to their forums to get information and suggestions from people who played through before me. Therefore, diving into nutrition/fitness threads to begin research felt like the most logical progression for this new endeavor.

I have since spent an inordinate amount of time haunting those forums and sorting through conflicting, muddled, and often outright erroneous information. It was rather daunting at first, but I’ve since learned to smell junk science (or bro science) from a mile away. I’ve learned what works, why so many people try so hard to avoid what works, and why the multi-billion dollar weight loss industry exists. All of this has improved how I eat and train.

Just as the video game forums made me a better player, the nutrition and fitness forums have made me a better badass. When I realized this, I also realized that I really am a Semiprofessional Forum Lurker. Connection made! My hobbies have a support hobby. Even gardening. Yes. That is fantastically dorky, and I’m not sorry at all.

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Neil Armstrong, Halfway There

Today is one of those big days for me.

You know the ones I mean.

This is one of those days when something monumental has happened.  I’m not talking about getting a package you’ve been waiting on, or your favorite show is back on the air after a long hiatus. I’m talking about one of those days that’s going to stick with you for the rest of your life because it represents something huge and noteworthy in your personal story.

This morning, I stepped on the scale and it read 350.

As of this morning, I have lost 125 pounds from my highest weight.

As of this morning, I am now halfway to my goal weight of 225.

I was so thrilled when I saw the scale settle exactly on 350.0, because I knew this was going to be a great day. I told H and I did the truffle shuffle all over the kitchen out of giddy, stompy joy.  It’s been so long, and I’m getting so tired.. but I’m halfway there.  I know it’s going to get hard now, and it’s going to test me SO MUCH more than it has already before it’s over…

… but I’m halfway there.

I came to work, bouncing in my shoes, itching to share my good news. I practically ran to the offices when I heard the voice of one of my friends in the hallway so I could tell her the news.

She couldn’t have cared less.

No one cared, actually. People are sick of hearing about it. I tried to tell coworkers and based on their reactions, I shut the door to my office and buried myself in work.

I was hurt. My god, I was hurt.

I know the world isn’t all about me. I know I’m not the center. But I just wanted my friends and coworkers to share in My Day. This is like a graduation, or closing on your home, or any number of huge adult achievements we all share from time to time. We share those experiences with our friends so they can leap for joy with us.

Here’s the kicker.  They’re sick of hearing about it.  I agree with them.  I’m sick of it too. I’m tired of the journey. I’m tired of putting my head down and forcing out another 10 pounds; another 10 minutes on the elliptical, another 10 miles on the bike.

Neil Armstrong  was the first human to set foot on the moon.

When he got there and took that first step, his journey was only halfway over… just like mine. Like me, I’ll bet he was tired, scared, euphoric, and dying for someone to share the experience with.

The hardest part of the journey was over; now it was time to take in the view and pause for some reflection. He still had to get home alive, but at that moment, I doubt he was worrying about that very much. 
I don’t expect the world to celebrate my accomplishment like it did his, but I’m not going to let the fact that the world doesn’t give a damn about one fat man’s halfway point diminish my sense of accomplishment at what I’ve managed to do, because I didn’t do it for the world.

I did it for H4rpy, and I did it for me.

To my friends who know and DO care: I love you. I really do, and you know it.

To my friends who don’t care: I’m not stopping. I get that it’s an uncomfortable subject, and I will stop talking about it with you, because I DO respect you and I love you as well. I’m just sad that you’re not coming with me anymore.

I’m sad I’m going to have to leave some people behind with the other 125 pounds of junk weight as I blast off from the moon and head home. There’s still danger and my mission can still fail, but in a way, the hardest part is over. Even if I crash and burn, I’ll still land.

I may not have walked on the moon, but for a little while today, I felt like I could have. I’m never going to let myself forget that feeling.

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