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Self Care

Recently I have been considering the idea of Self Care. For most of my life I would have considered self care to be selfish or self serving. For some, depending on the home they grew up in, it might even be considered as sinful. However, in this fast paced, life draining world that we live in, a world that wants more from you in every way, we must find ways to some how nurture ourselves.

The act of finding space to rejuvenate, to focus on what personally is needed to be restored, to breathe and feel, I believe is the start of self care. Without a focus on ourselves and what is personally needed to continue growing and thriving, we cease to exist. We might occupy space and be present, but we cease to be an individual who is able to contribute based on the uniqueness that each one of us brings. Today as I allow myself to relax and just enjoy a day of doing nothing more than what I want and desire, I am caring for myself. At some level it seems wrong for me to focus on me, but at the same time I feel better because of it.

If as you read this you find that you have no idea what you might need or want (I can identify), take a look at this list of 100 Extreme Self Care Ideas that I found. Pick one or two and see what kind of difference it make. Sometimes the battle is just to take care of yourself.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Playing the Game

We've done it! Darla and i have finally accomplished our goal of paying off our cars. It feels great to not have a payment, to know you are capable of doing what you set out to do. So how do we want to celebrate? By buying a car of course.

Two nights ago Darla and I were driving past car lots in Beaverton when we drove past a shinny, gray, convertible. If you have read any of my past blogs you know I have always wanted a Circle Car. A Circle car is of course a car with a circle emblem. Audi's, BMW's, Mercedes are all circle cars. We circled back to see what it was. I have been secretly wanting a Mercedes SLK350 convertible, or an Audi convertible. What we saw was something I had not considered. Pulling into the lot I came face to face with a Nissan 350Z convertible roadster. It was used, but i was definitely intrigued. To my surprise Nissan is a circle car. I walked around it once, I walked around again. The lines of the car were beautiful. Darla, smiling at me said, you have to drive it. As I was about to go in, the sales guy came out, and that is when the game began.

Abdul came towards me with a huge smile, "You like, it's a beauty." he sensed he had a fish on the line, and that fish was me. The car had only just gotten to the lot a few days before, it was sure to go fast. He went to get the keys and Darla parked our car. As Darla got in the 350Z there were the comments on how much nicer the car looked with her in it. I of course was thankful it was only a two seater and only Darla and I could fit. As I turned the key the engine roared to life. Abdul said something about a high performance package and we drove off. Wow, wind in my hair, power in my hands, and smile on my face. We zipped around turns, exploded off the line with each green light, then we started to recognize the rattles and squeaks that come with a used car. Returning to the lot I explained to Abdul that while I liked it, this was not the car. He then smiled even bigger and said he had two brand new ones out back that were only $3000 more. Like lambs to the slaughter we followed. It was white with a black top. 6 speed automatic, a 370Z convertible. This was a driving experience. Darla and I giggled as we drove. I envisioned a race track as I worked through the gears. No rattles, no squeaks, this could be it. Back to the lot, and it was time to be reeled in.

Abdul was waiting, he could tell "we liked." As we walked back in, he said, "which do you like better, the black or the white?" "The white one of course," came rolling of my lips. "Cash, or do you want me to finance for you?" He was good, leading me right down the path towards a close. I new the next question would be, how can we help you take this car home tonight, and on cue, that is what came out of Abdul's mouth. I gave him my, this is the first stop, we weren't planning tonight response, and let him know I was interested in what it would cost me monthly. Yep, I gave away the first point. Abdul now knows I don't care how much the car costs, only what the payment will be. And, Abdul zeros in, "What are you hoping for?" My reply was the simple, not sure just wanting a ball park. We gave him the stuff he needed and then he brought out Corry, the finance guy.

If Abdul was good, Corry was better. He was smooth and calculating. He didn't mind those long periods of silence designed to make you sweat and give in. He once again started to work on our monthly range, and got us to bite. He wasn't sure if he could swing it but he would try. He came back with numbers and term lengths. Darla was firm, she was set on the amount and no more than 72 months. Corry left to talk to the unseen manager to see what he could do. Back again, but still not at our spot. It was then that we noticed we were working with a higher price for the car then the one Abdul quoted. We were told that was a special price that ended on July 31, we just missed it, bummer. He went to see once again if they could flex, and again came back a little closer. Would we go with 78, or 80 month terms? We were only $24 per month off that way. We said no, and that we would be more excited to be $24 off in our favor. We got up, thanked them for their time, and headed back to the car.

Yesterday morning I got on line and was surprised to see the very car, listed at the price Abdul originally gave us. I sent a quick email to Abdul and told him how close we had been, and if the had used the right starting price we would have bought last night. I also said but since the had been willing to drop $5k off the price we were negotiating last night I might come in for a $4k reduction off the current price. Last night, Scott the sales manager left me a message stating he had good news. I'll call today to see what the news is. What a Game.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Dreaming Away

Sometimes the battle isn't to lose weight, or to get stronger, sometimes it's about doing your best to stay engaged. To stay engaged in relationship, to stay engaged in the job, to stay in community, to stay with the task. At times I find myself thinking more about change, maybe a new car, a new house, a new place to live. Perhaps it's a new job. The battle is about staying with it at times.

Sure dreaming is good. It can actually help spur on creativity and new ideas. But it can also be dangerous, causing you to check out, to disengage, to loose focus because your focus has shifted. I'm not sure how to fight it, or even if I should. I think it is most important to just acknowledge it and the impact it can have. For me dreaming is part of living. But living also has to do with sticking with it when things get hard or tough. Today however, I am dreaming of the warm beach, of winning the lottery, and of new challenging adventures. Tomorrow, I will be back at work Battling On.

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Dog Mountain on Fathers Day

At ten O'clock we converge on the Dog Mountain trail head. By we I mean the Samuelson family. Some of us have boots, others have running shoes, and a few are in sandals. We have water, cameras, jackets, and energy. From the minute we hit the trail it is almost straight up. We are heading 3 miles to the top. Derek keeps telling us the easy stuff is ahead. As we keep going I become more and more out of breathe, my calves start to burn, and I start asking if it is really worth it. At a split in the trail we are given a choice. We can go a shorter more difficult path, or an easier, longer route. Of course, we go shorter. As I look up I see Gray running up the incline. there is no questioning the beauty of this hike. I am in awe of the trees and under growth. The wind is blowing in the trees and the sound is amazing.

Making one last push, we come into a clearing and all the pain is forgotten. It doesn't matter that you would have gone the less difficult route. You are here. The jackets come out as the wind blows. You watch the clouds race by. And you are taken in by the view, the accomplishment, by the wonder of nature. As you look around you see smiles and you enjoy a break from walking. We have climbed over 2800 feet in elevation to get here. We have walked for two hours. And, as you look at everything around you it doesn't matter.

We slowly start back down. Now the legs start to hurt in a different way. The knees scream, the steps jar. But the destination is more than the bottom and the seat of the car, it is Walking Man Pub. It is food and an icy beer that I am hiking down for. As we sit and recount the hike we are tired, relaxed, and glad for the time spent together outside in Oregon. Happy Fathers Day to each of you. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

The Mind as it Relates to the Battle

Tonight as I sit here thinking about life, I come back to the realization that the battle is all in the mind. Win there and you have won.

Some times the battle ends in death

I recently had my 48th birthday. We hung out as a family, did some hiking, and had a small party. Throughout the day, I found myself thinking that I might be closer to the end of the race then the beginning. It wasn't a depressing or morbid thought, it was just looking realistically at life. We only circle the sun so many times, take so many breaths, have our hearts beat so many times. The real question is what are you doing with the time you have.

As I jumped on facebook today, I came across a post from my cousin Jill. After a short battle my Grandpa Louie has passed away. My cousin had this to say:

The world lost an amazing man today. A missionary, a lovely person, a very wise man, loving, caring, extremely smart, Knowledgeable in many languages, teacher of many things...love of my grandmas life...our grandpa. He went to be with God today: he waited until he made sure Grandma was settled in to their new living center and getting used to her new surroundings. We will all miss him and his presence. ♥

For Grandpa Louie he made the most of his time, and those who knew him were different as a result. Even so, his battle ended the way all of our battles will end. Make the most of the time you have. We don't know how much of it we have.

P90X - Day 60

Sixty days of P90X are in the books. I have faithfully been at it everyday with the exception of 1. But I made it up by working out twice the next day.  I have been sore, at times discouraged, but mostly I have felt great about myself.  I debated about putting pictures up on this page do to embarrassment of how out of control I had gotten. Yet on the other hand I have worked hard for two months and have some great results to show.  So take a look at what can be accomplished when you "Do Your Best, and Forget the Rest." Thirty days left and there is no way I won't make it to the end.

P90X - Day 46

I want to stay true to the intent of this blog.  My goal way back when it started was to talk about try to find a way to live healthy in an unhealthy world.  A world that is constantly tempting you to take a short cut to happiness, health and wellness, and yet continues to produce more and more people who live unhealthy lives. Over the last 4 years I have made many great starts towards a healthy live style.  I have also blown it and given in to the many messages around me.  As a result i have yo-yo'd up and down with weight.  I have been bordering on being diabetic, I have joined the ranks of those taking blood pressure medicine, and have like so many, resigned to the lie, that this is how life is going to be.  Well no more.

This blog is about the battle.  The biggest battle is the one I have with myself.  I am determined to win this battle, to regain my life, and to start living the way I was meant to live.  With that in mind, I started P90X back on January 5th.  It is now February 19th and I just completed day 46 of the 90 day workout.  While I am lossing weight, and changing the way my body looks, I am learning so much more.  I am learning that by working hard I can change the direction things are going in my life.  I am talking about more than health and fitness.  I am learning that when I feel good about myself it has a direct impact on my job performance and my relationships.  I am realizing that I do have the strength to stick with something and am determined to see it through to its completion. I am in my 7th week of P90X.  I have lost 26 lbs. I feel like I am finally doing something important for myself that will reap life long consequences.  This is all about becoming the best me I can be.  I was looking at the pictures of me on the header at the top of this page.  The picture on the far right is from me in April of '07.  I had gotten down to 211 pounds.  This morning I was 210 lbs.  The difference is that I have been converting fat to muscle, so my build is much better today than it was when I was 43.  I am starting to realize my dream of being in better shape when I hit 50 (yes, 2 and a half years away) than I was at 30.  I am trying to decide if I will do another round of P90X after I finish in April, or if I will start training for a Marathon.  My goal is to develop a life style of health, wellness, and fitness, that will carry me through the rest of my life.  I am well on my way to winning this battle.

P90X - Day 39

I am 39 days into P90X and starting to see some big changes. Over the first 3 weeks I dropped 15 pounds, but then have been stuck at 216lbs ever since.  My wife keeps telling me not to let the scale be the determining factor, but I can't seem to break free from it.  I was feeling a bit discouraged, realizing I was building muscle, that weighs more than the fat I was losing, but still discouraged.  At day 30 I took the second set of pictures. While I didn't see a flat stomach and six pack abs, I did see that I was slimming down a little.  I also noticed that there was some muscle definition replacing some of the sag.  My chest was starting to look a little more like the chest I remembered in days gone by (still a long way to go).  the start of this week I heard Tony H talking about '"Bring it," once again.  Only this time I told myself, I am going to make sure I am drained at the end of my workouts.  My muscles haven't really been sore since the third week, so I thought, turn up the intensity, do more, push harder, but be smart about it.  As a result, I felt like I was going to throw up after finishing twice this week, looking in the mirror, there is even more definition. To top it all off, this morning I was 209.  That means I am 27 pounds lighter than I was January first and 22 pounds less than when I started P90X.  I am no longer among the obese, just at the high end of overweight.  More than anything, I have maintained a fitness lifestyle for 39 straight days.  Kind of amazing for a couch potato like me.  I have just finished yoga, still can't do it all, but am doing a lot more than the first time round.  I continue to wonder what I will do to continue this lifestyle when I complete the first go around of P90X.  Maybe start again and work to get in even better shape.  My future goal continues to be clear, to hit my 50's in better physically, spiritually, emotionally, and relationally, than I hit my 30's.  At this point I am 39 days into my plan to get there.  My your battle go well for you.

P90X Day 33 - Starting to see the difference

I'm just over a month into the program.  I've been sweating, I've been jumping, I've been doing push ups, and using bands (instead up pull ups).  I also have been modifying the routines, taking breaks, doing my best and forgetting the rest.  I have been stuck at 215 pounds for a week, but my kids and wife tell me they are noticing the changes.  I can tell you I am feeling better about who I am as a person, my outlook on life is changing and I am excited about the future.  Today I looked at my pictures I took on day one and compared them to day 31 (yes I was a day late). Guess what, there is change.  Muscles are starting to show up, the man boobs are not as pronounced, the waist is starting to look different.  There is a long ways to go, but I am definitely on my way. 

My question now is how will I sustain this as a life style change.  I don't think I will be able to do extreme workouts 6 days a week for the long haul, but how will I continue with what I have started?  One thing I have been thinking about is my long term goals, and I have finally defined it in a nice little statement. "I will enter into my 50's better physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually than I entered into my 30's."  I am currently 47 and a few months from 48, so I have time to work on this goal.  I am currently working on my physical and emotional state of being.  These impact my relationships and where I am spiritually.  As I make progress physically with P90X, it is opening the door for growth in the other areas as well.

I can't wait for these next 4 weeks to fly by and hit the 60 day mark.  I am excited about what is happening to me both outwardly and inwardly.  My your battle go well.

P90X Day 28 - Still at it

Yep - I am still at it 28 days later.  Its a Sunday, I pulled the short straw and am weekend manager so it is up at 5:30am.  So far so good.  I am almost through the recovery week and the change of pace is welcome.  Week three was the toughest so far.  My muscles just seemed tired.  Everything was harder to do.  But I am motivated to keep it going.  I am down 15 pounds which is a great motivator.  Two more pounds and I am no longer Obese, just overweight.  I guess I should cheer. Only 45 more ponds to go.  I am beginning to notice changes in my body.  Little definition here, less of a bulge there.  I keep telling myself time is my friend.   As I am thinking about the process of getting to the point I am at, and were I want to get back to, I realize my real goal is to develop a sustainable strategy of eating and exercise that I can carry on throughout life.  I have two and a half years before I hit 50 (scary thought), and my goal is to hit 50 in better shape than I hit 30.  That means consistent exercise, healthy eating, solid relationships, and meaningful work.  At this point, P90X is a key part in getting were I want to be in life.  I'll keep you posted on the battle.

P90X – Starting to feel the Difference, Week 3

I just finished Plymetrics for the third time, so I am now 16 days into the program.  I was up way to late last night finishing financials for work so today felt tougher than last week, but I am starting to see and feel the results.  First, I am not as sore as I was the first to weeks, I am recovering more quickly after the workouts, I am starting to feel more like an athlete again, the moves are becoming more natural, and the weight is starting to come off.  I started at 231lbs. on day one.  Now on day 16 I weighed in before working out at 217lbs.  That is a 14 pound weight loss.  The work outs are long and hard, but worth it.  I feel more relaxed, my wife says I have color in my face that wasn’t there, and the bulge is slowly starting to disappear.  I am becoming more flexible each day.  Kind of cool.  My middle son is now doing it as well, I guess he can’t let me become more fit than he is.  Also noticed that my blood pressure is coming down.  What was 144/98 was 128/77 last week. 12 more days and I am done with the first 30 days.  Funny but I can’t wait to take pictures.

P90X Day 11 -

I'll admit it, I have been a couch potato for the last 17 years of my life.  I surf a little, I ski a little, some years I try jogging, some years I try soccer.  But for the most part, I enjoy tortilla chips, salsa, the couch and the tv.  And, I can't forget to mention beer, who could resist all the Oregon Micro Brews.  As a result I have made a long climb from 178 pounds in 1985 to 236 pounds at the start of 2011.  That is 48 pounds in 16 years, or 2 to 3 pounds a year. It happened slowly, just crept up on me.  Actually it surprised me when I really took a look at it.  So I decided to take a different path.  I realized I needed to do something dramatic to get moving in the right direction.  With the gain of weight has come blood pressure medication, the inability to do as much physical activity as I want (even though I am still pretty active, its just not as easy), and a hard time bending over in the middle. Not the way I want to live the next half of my life.

So, after watching a few infomercials, talking to a few friends, and knowing I needed something to kick start by sorry ass, I have begun P90X.  I figured extreme is what I needed to make a 180 degree turn in direction (as well as get down to 180 lbs.)  As I type today my chest hurts, I feel lame because yoga is not my thing, but I am relaxed and already seeing my fitness improve.  I have never done more push ups on my knees, but I am going to keep doing them until I can do as many normal push ups as the guys in the video.  I can keep up on the shoulders, I'm not doing pull ups and instead using the bands.  Not sure I could pull up 230 pounds more than once if I had to. I almost stayed up for all the plyometrics the second week, and I can tell you it will probably take me all 90 days to get to the point were I can do the yoga and actually bend and balance to the point I feel like I can say I do yoga.

The hardest part so far is the amount of time.  Most workouts are more than 50 minutes and yoga is much longer.  Lucky for me I started as soon as I got the CDs, without thinking and yoga lands on a Saturday.  I have to get up at 5:30 in the morning which is also a huge change in lifestyle for me.  But I figure I have 17 years staying up late, sleeping in, eating junk, and basically not doing what I need to do for me.  I should probably plan on spending most of the next 17 years working out, eating right, and thinking long term instead of immediate gratification.  At this point I am 11 day in with 79 left to go.  In this Man's Battle I am determined not to be beat.  If you want to partner up for encouragement or to share stories just leave a comment. Here is looking to April 4th, my 90th day.

P90X Day 2 - Can you say Plyometrics

Ok, sleeping last night was hard.  Every time I rolled over or tried to push myself up in bed my arms screamed out.  Day 1 was still hitting me.  But once again the alarm went off at 5:30 am.  Today I found myself jumping, bouncing, basically it was almost an hour of sweating.  Wow!  I again did my best.  I couldn't do it all, but I tried it all, and I did it as long as I could until I could do no more.  I would rest for a few seconds and jump back in.  I wanted to through up as it all ended.  Arms still sore from the day before, and know the rest of me wiped out.  Drinking water like mad, sweating it all out, making my lunches and eating according to plan.  Two down and Eighty Eight more to go.  I found myself walking around the house making the P90X sign with my arms.  My wife and kids think I am a nut.  I feel like This is going to be a long haul.  They say no pain no gain.  I am just hoping my arms are ready for tomorrow.  Not sure what shoulders and arms will be all about, but my arms are hurting.

P90X Day 1

Its the night before I start P90X, and I am questioning my sanity.  Why do I think I can do this, why do I need to do this, isn't life ok the way it is?  The reality is I am 231 pounds and fall into the clinical definition of obese.  On New Years Day I was 236, but I started working the South Beach Diet plan, which in many ways is not to different from P90X's Phase 1 Fat Shredder plan.  I haven't been working out consistently for almost three years, and then it was only for about 5 months. I am 47, and I would say when I was 19 is when I was in the best shape of my life. I hate getting up early, and I like to eat.  So it feels like everything is stacked against me.

However, I took the pictures that they want you to take, the front, back and side.  When did I get so overweight.  I don't see it when I look in the mirror, but there I am in pictures looking larger than life, and definetly larger than I ever wanted to be.  I also feel myself becoming less able to do the things I want to do as a result of being to heavy, and to out of shape.  Sure I can hike miles, I can do an elliptical trainer, but I want to be able to run with my wife, play a little soccer with my adult sons, and feel like I can sit in a hot tub and not feel shame. So there is my motivation

So at 5:30 am my alarm rings, the disc goes in and I start warming up.  Not so bad.  I am huffing an puffing but doing it.  Soon the workout starts, and we do a few push ups.  I listen to Tony Horton say "Do Your Best," and to pace yourself.  He asks the people working out how many push ups they are going to do, and they are all in the range of thirty.  I think to myself 10, at 10 I am still feeling good and try two more before stopping.  Then to pull ups.  There is no way I am going to be able to lift this heavy body up and down for pull ups, so I opt for the bands.  Then they go back to pull ups, then bands, then pull ups, then bands, and on and on and on.  Pretty soon I am only able to do three or four push ups while on my knees, and even then my arms are shaking, but I push through with sweat pouring off me.  Of course Tony and company are still pumping out 30 at a time, but Tony states that a few of those on the video when they were newbies struggled like me.  There is hope.  I Did My Best and Forgot the Rest.  Then I realized I was suppose to do the Ab Ripper routine as well.  I tried to do the first set with them and realized I would never make it, so I turned off the video and vowed to do it after work.

A few hours later, knowing I had done my best, I couldn't forget the rest.  Soreness started to settle in to my arms..  At lunch I was having trouble lifting a glass of water to my mouth without feeling the pain. I hurt in places I didn't know had muscles.  In some ways it felt like two a days for high school football.  I laughed at myself and again thought, what is a 47 year old guy like me thinking.

I came home and tried the Ab work out.  At one point my stomach completely cramped up.  The muscles in my stomach were so tight I couldn't move.  After relaxing them a minute I went on to the next routine.  I did my best, stuck with it till the end.  I didn't do nearly the reps they did, but tried all the exercises.  I have survived day 1 of P90X.

PX90 - This years resolution

I have been looking for a weight loss program or workout program for over a year now.  I have tried South Beach Diet, with really good success, I have a 24 hour fitness membership, but I get going and then I stall.  I love to see quick results, but sustaining something over time has always proved the challenge for me.  As I realized a long time ago, something has got to change, and that something is me.  A few things that I realize as we head into 2011:
  • I will be turning 48 this year - that seems really old, but it doesn't have to be.
  • I weighed 236 lbs as I stepped on the scale yesterday morning, that makes me obese.
  • I know what it means to eat healthy and smart but I chose unhealthy and stupid
  • My job is full of stress and it will only increase not decrease
  • I have stopped doing some of the things I enjoyed doing because I am out of shape.
  • My self esteem is affected by all of the above
So my goal is to be in better shape when I hit 48 this June, to weigh less at my Birthday this year than I did last year, and to do something that I can sustain when the days get warmer, when BBQs start being the weekend norm, when beer starts to flow more often than water.  I figure I have to figure out healthy living before I get to fifty, or I may have a much shorter life than I am planning on having.  

Having tried a few things over the past few years, I have listened to friends talk about Medifast, I have watched them bomb out on Atkins Diet.  But I have been intrigued by a few people I know who have tried PX90.  My son and daughter in law, cousins, etc...  I am intrigued at how many complete the program and then go back for another round.  Most of them don't talk about the weight loss, although that happens, instead they talk about how much better they feel, their strength and energy.  There are many testimonials out there, I have not found any that say it is a sham.  So today I have signed up for PX90, asked for my free resistance band, and will start following their diet.  Should be here in 5 days or less.  If I push I could by half way through my second round by my birthday.  I am doing it for weight loss, energy, self esteem, and to feel younger.  I'll keep you posted on how I am doing.