Four Days In…

57403-New-Year-New-Beginning

It’s now four days into the new year. Four days have already passed in this new year “full of promise and potential.” 

I feel a little overwhelmed already… I am reminded of the old Weight Watcher’s mantra, “If you fail to plan, plan to fail.” Ugh.

There is a certain burden I feel whenever the year changes, a responsibility to “make this the BEST year ever.” It weighs heavily on me, this responsibility to be, oh, I don’t know – super human or significant or special. I am not sure what I am “supposed” to be in this big, bright virgin new year. Sigh. I am in my mid-fifties; you’d think I would have a handle on all this by now.

I remember from my expensive-but-now-largely-under-utilized Franklin-Covey training that most people are good at the “big rocks” but the little ones just get lost by the wayside. This year, I want to address both my big AND little rocks.

So, call them resolutions, call them goals, call them objectives – whatever! – I have a few things on my 2015 “list.” I have to admit, I was inspired to create this list in no small part by my beloved husband Martin, who went to the trouble to create a personal “pin board” of all his plans for 2015. (He inspires me in so many ways, that guy!) Anyhow, here is my short list – just five, in honor of five – a blog – for the remaining 361 days of 2015:

1. I want to be healthier; to that end, I WILL lose 50 pounds by the end of June. Health is the main goal, but weight loss also plays into my next objective.

2. I want to travel. I WILL go to Europe with my Sweetie this summer, spending one week in his native Poland, meeting his family (finally!) and experiencing where he comes from, then spend an additional week – just the two of us – exploring France or Germany or England – somewhere. Once I lose fifty pounds, I will look sexy as hell in a bathing suit on some European beach, am I right?

3.  I want to live in the moment. I WILL acknowledge the past but leave it there and not let it define me in the present. Listen, 2014 SUCKED for me, personally and professionally. Were it not for Martin, I would have probably off’d myself. (Just kidding, kinda’). But, point is, I will not dwell on my suck-y past year and, instead, embrace the coming year with hope and optimism.

4. I want to spend more time with people I love. I WILL engage with friends more, and let the people I love know how important they are to me. All too often I am happy just being with my Sweetie but have come to understand that this behavior is a bit of laziness on my part, coupled with a fear of “falling short” – maybe I can’t cook as well, or maybe I am not flush enough to go out to fancy restaurants or maybe our sofa is a bit faded. The truth I need to remember is that with true friends, one never falls short. Bringing in Chinese take-out with true friends is as wonderful as dinner out at a four-star joint.

5. I want to remember to always be grateful. I WILL cherish every great thing that happens to me, every day, whether that is just driving home and getting all “green lights” or finally (potentially?) winning the HGTV Two Million Dollar Dreamhouse (OMG, please!!!) I sometimes forget that my life – as imperfect as I think it might be – is probably envied by many. I have a reasonable job (granted, it could pay more), my Sweetie and I have a pretty great apartment, we have some kick-ass friends, I have my health and I have a man I adore that adores me back. I often need to remind myself of these realities…

So there you have it – my “short list” for the coming year. I feel confident I can make all these things happen. I will definitely keep you posted and you remind me, too, if you catch me falling short. In the mean time, have a GREAT new year and always remember this:

find time

Butterflies…

Today, one of my FAVORITE sales reps, Kim WB, stopped by the studio. It is always great to see her; she is more like a friend than a rep (although she is great at BOTH!) Today we were laughing and swapping stories and – oddly enough – looking at pictures. I commented on one image of myself that I looked “…nice and round and boob-y.” Kim told me to be quiet, said I looked great and reminded me that each of us are always our own harshest critics.

I love her for that…

I have never had a great body image. Even when I was in my 20’s, taking amphetamines every day (under a doctor’s supervision, of course!) and had a 32″ waist, I was unhappy with myself. I always feel like the pale, bloated, redheaded kid hiding in the shade at the pool, wearing a t-shirt so I don’t “burn.” (It’s a bitch being fair, LOL!) Anyhow, now comfortable in my “later years,” I have made peace with my complexion – in fact, lots of people envy my wrinkle-free, un-sun damaged skin. I have accepted the fact that I am, by genetics and birthright, a “bigger guy,” although I am trying to release the thin, healthy me inside.

Part of my insecurity insanity is that, among my circle of friends, two are pretty successful on Weight Watchers. two just enjoyed great success on a 21 day “cleanse,” one – now – and one more in a week, will be protein-sparing and of course, my beloved Martin looks like a super model. Sigh. Then there is me.

The good news is, Martin loves me just as I am – and supports me trying to release the thinner me. We have AMAZING friends that love and support us, too, so I consider myself very lucky. And I also definitely believe that I will be thinner when I am ready – I lost 85 pounds before on Weight Watchers and so far have lost 25 (granted, that 85 came off in ten months like fifteen years ago and this time, it has taken two years to get to that 25. Oy!) Plus, I absolutely believe a big part of what makes people beautiful, men or women, is the fact they love and accept themselves as they are – confidence and security emit good-lookin’-ness in spades.

Anyway, I get home from work, check Facebook and the lovely Kim has sent me this quote,

BW Butterfly…along with a little note that says something to the effect that this was what we had been discussing earlier this afternoon. It actually made me tear-up a little…

Thanks, Kim, and thanks to ALL my friends that love and accept me just as I am, that support me as I try to better myself and and remind me that I am pretty good already. Thank you, Universe, for Martin. You know, at some point in my near life-long weight-loss journey, I remember doing an exercise where you were supposed to stand naked in front of a mirror with a bag over your head – I guess the thinking is that by detaching your face from your body, you are able to be more critical and objective.

I am now wondering if, by not being able to see our faces, we are not able to see the true, genuine “us,” just like a butterfly cannot see their beautiful wings. Screw that bag thing…

Great Expectations – Five (5!) Projects in Process

Like most of us, I am REALLY good at imagining projects and goals that I want to undertake/accomplish/achieve. However, like most of humanity, I am really good at the “conceiving/conceptualizing” part and really BAD at the “follow-through/completion” part.

In no particular order, here are five of my current personal “in-the-works” projects and/or undertakings that are all in some stage of their evolution…

Goal 1  – Losing weight/getting healthier/living longer – Green Healthy Living Apple Illustration on white background.Success so far – since joining Weight Watchers (almost two years ago), I have lost 28.4 pounds. I am also eating much healthier – thanks, Sweetie! – and exercising with a bit more regularity. In fact, I walked to work twice last week, a distance of 2.3 miles each trip!

Goal 2 – Write the next “Harry Potter/Twilight/50 Shades of Grey” – blank-journalSo I have a “tween-y” book concept outlined in my head already: characters, back story, plot, plot twist, story arc (I’m thinking a trilogy!) – almost everything I need. I am still struggling to create the “antagonist(s)” and am also having a bit of a hard time just getting started. I understand now why writers in movies always “go away” to write; it takes focus, time and a lot of energy. In my defense, however, I will soon have posted one hundred (100!) consecutive, daily blog posts, so that must count for something, right?

Goal 3Become an uber-successful interior designer – 

FabulousI have been working within the A + D (architecture and design) community for almost 25 years now. We just moved the duoHOME storefront and design office to one of Cleveland’s more upscale suburbs so I am hoping that this formula works:

(New location + Continued Hard Work) x Bustin’ Ass = SUCCESS!!! 

Goal 4 – Achieve marriage equality in America/repeal DOMA ASAP – 

weddingI am blessed to be with the greatest guy I have ever known. I want to marry him – and not some cheap ass, watered-down version of marriage. I want the full-blown, 1,138 legal rights and privileges afforded couples by marriage. I want us to be treated in every single nuanced way that our heterosexual brothers and sisters are treated when they get married – with respect, dignity and kindness.

Goal 5I want to live forever… 

universeOK, so I’ll concede that this is probably the least attainable goal  but it is a goal nonetheless. I mean, I have already shared I am with the greatest person ever – I kinda’ hope to have endless time with him. I also have a lot of “stuff” left to do. Plus, I just heard a TV program state that time is only an invention of the human mind, as a means to catalog and record events as they happen, to help us remember… I am going to do my best to prove that that idea is correct.

And I am going to keep working on this list as hard as I can.

Bananas – the ultimate betrayal?

I felt betrayed by on old friend today, someone I have loved for many, many years.

Bananas.

Image

Yes, bananas. Today I saw a post on the internet that screamed “To avoid BELLY FAT, always avoid these FIVE foods!” – followed by a squiggle arrow that folded and unfolded unto a drawing of a banana. Turns out, bananas are my Judas.

I have loved bananas my whole life. My Mommo (my Grandmother) always joked that before my siblings and I went to Tennessee to visit her, she always had to “..lay in a supply of bananers for Timmy.” My grandparents were even so doting as to stock their freezer with Mayfield Dairy (not available here) Frozen Banana Pops, an artificially-flavored-and-colored frozen confection that could not be beat in the heat of smoldering July evenings in Louisville, Tennessee.

A “special” dessert on my birthday? Banana pudding.

My favorite ice cream creation? A banana split.

Heck, I even really – honestly, kinda’ – enjoyed watching The Banana Splits growing up…Image

(click on image above to hear The Banana Splits theme song)

…not because they were great – “adventure hour, really?” – but because of B-A-N-A-N-A-S. So, you can understand my disappointment when I discovered my favorite number one, grab-n-go “healthy snack” was, in fact, revealed to be my waistline’s number one enemy.

I still remember the JOY I felt when the latest version of Weight Watchers moved bananas into the “Zero Points” category of fruits and vegetables. Hooray! Now I could eat bananas with no guilt, and indulge my nibbling obsession without remorse. Then I got the news…

“Bananas increase belly fat. Bananas contain a difficult carbohydrate to break down. Bananas inhibit your body’s natural ability to produce insulin. Bananas cause male pattern baldness and dry skin.” (OK, that last entry is a lie but, gosh, I felt that way!) Anyway,

What was I to do with this new information? How could I ever forgive bananas for a lifetime of lies? Would I ever eat banana bread again?

The truth is, in my humble opinion, EVERY food is good for you and EVERY food is bad for you. The reality is that no food is inherently bad its what we (meaning “I”) do with them that makes them a good choice or a bad choice. I have spent my whole life working to release the “thin, healthy inner me” and have had some success, and some setbacks.  As so many people on the same journey say, “I am a work in progress.”

My journey is far from over but I WILL get there. And, honestly? Banana will be there with me – not BANANAS, but banana. No food is “bad.” No food has any magical power to melt away body fat, just as no one food creates spare tires around our waists. As they say, everything in moderation. Now I just have to include bananas on the moderation list.

I forgive you, bananas. I hope you will forgive me for judging you so harshly…

The New Year Walk of Shame

One of my goals this year is to adopt a healthier lifestyle and lose some weight – fifty-five (55) pounds at least, ideally more. To that end, I have re-committed myself to Weight Watchers, the program that helped me lose almost eighty (80) pounds about a decade ago. The most recently-introduced Weight Watchers program is called “Weight Watchers 360.”

WW360

I’d like to make it very clear that I am not being “compensated for this endorsement” – I just know Weight Watchers works when you follow the program. And that’s where I trip up all the time…

Follow the program. To be honest, I have been a card-carrying member of Weight Watchers – this go ’round – since September of 2011. And, after only a few short weeks of membership in 2011, I had lost twenty-five (25) pounds. I got my award and everything. Then the trouble began.

You see, I need to constantly remind myself that membership alone is NOT what causes weight loss; it is participation and commitment. So, once I stopped tracking and weighing, started nibbling and, um, “slightly over-portioning,” well before I knew it, I had regained ten (10) of those precious lost pounds. Now, as anyone that has ever tried to lose weight will attest, a gain of ten ounces or ten pounds is no different – it is emotionally crushing. It saps your willpower. You become frustrated and angry, although you really have no one to blame but yourself. As weight-loss guru Richard Simmons used to say during his Deal-A-Meal informercials, “No one is holding that fork but you.” Meaning me…

This past Saturday I attended my weekly meeting and weighed in for the first time in 2013. The Weight Watchers counselor asked me to step up onto the scale. The numbers rolled past like I was playing a game on The Price is Right. When the numbers stopped she entered my weight, closed my weigh-in book and told me she was happy to see me. When I finally worked up enough courage to OPEN the booklet, I was happy to see the damage I had inflicted on myself by not weighing in for three weeks (and enjoying every Christmas cookie, candy and sweet that came within five feet of my lips) was not as severe as I had feared. I am, thankfully, actually UNDER a number I hate so in a way, I was happy with the weigh in. But I had gained weight nonetheless…

I always call weigh-ins where I gain weight “Walks of Shame.” 

In this week’s meeting we talked about “Hedonistic Eating,” which is eating for the sheer joy of it. That’s me, a hedonistic eater. To be totally honest, I am rarely hungry. I guess I have eaten hedonistically for so long that I rarely have a chance to GET hungry. I am a serial nibbler. I nibble on fruit, I grab a candy bar at the drug store, I pinch a cookie when I pass thru the kitchen. I don’t really have a trigger food – food IS my trigger.

So I have re-committed to the program. I have reminded myself that it’s not like I am in an iron lung, or a wheelchair or insulin-dependent (yet!) I stepped back and realized that, if counting oyster crackers and spending a few minutes posting in an online food journal were my BIGGEST challenges, I was lucky.

I am also lucky that I have a super-supportive partner who not only celebrates my successes but also comforts me when I am less than successful. He’s an amazing guy. So, I am moving forward into 2013, confident/hopeful that I will have no more walks of shame. Plus, besides myself and my sweet partner, I cannot let Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Hudson down…

jessica-simpson-jennifer-hudson-weight-watchers-commercial   

My name is Tim. I am a vitamin-deficient pill popper…

I have an amazing primary care physician – I call him Dr. David and he is the nicest, most polite GP one can imagine.  And in his role as well-meaning caregiver, he decided I needed to have a “big boy physical” to get some baseline numbers going into the new year.  (I had a few health “things” in 2012; more on that in future posts).  So, in an effort to take advantage of my already-fulfilled, $5K insurance co-pay deductable for 2012, I went for my physical on 31 December 2012 at 9:20AM.  Yes, on New Year’s Eve.

On a day when the majority of people are most worried about how good they will look in a new blazer or slinky LBD, I was “Naked, gown on, open to the back” at 9:20 AM on New Year’s Eve.  To borrow a phrase from one of my favorite animated cartoon characters, “Happy Happy Joy Joy.”

I think most people reading this entry have probably endured a complete physical at least once in their lives so I won’t bore you with all the details; suffice it to say that whether your favorite moment is “Now, turn your head left and cough.  And again” or “Please put your feet up in these stirrups; now, try to relax” they all happened during my physical.

This physical was also my first, um, how shall I call it? – my first SENIOR physical.  There is something slightly ego-deflating when your physician asks you to “…squeeze his hand as hard as you can” and then asks you to “…push away and then pull back” as he holds your forearms.  (I kept scanning the room for a quad cane and/or a walker as my parting gift). Anyway, the physical went well.  I was dismissed with my Hemmocult II Sensa Patient Kit (don’t ask!) and my blood work req sheet for the blood tests required.  Fifteen minutes and four vials of blood later, I was done.

I was actually feeling pretty good about my physical.  Sure, I have a BMI that screams “MORBIDLY OBESE” but otherwise, I felt pretty good about everything.  And I had committed to Dr. David to lose at least 10 pounds before my next follow-up in eight weeks (gulp!) so no worries.

So literally the next day – New Year’s Day – Dr. David calls me at home at like 5:35PM with my test results.  (He is so awesome).  I get all the letters and organs confused but Dr. David rapidly congratulated me on my kidney-thyroid-liver-hcl-ppg-abc-whatever-the hell levels  – they were all great, he said.  He wished me a Happy New Year and hung up.

Two days later, I get another call from Dr. David.  One last test result has come in, and he’s a little concerned.  Turns out my Vitamin D level is really low, a 21 when the acceptable baseline is 30.   There is silence for a moment then he explains that Vitamin D “…comes from sunlight.”  This he says to me, the PALEST man on earth, the man who freckles as he walks to the car, the man who wears moisturizing face cream to bed with an SPF of like 60.

I mean, who the heck is Vitamin D deficient?  Me, apparently.

So, no big whoop.  Now I  take 2000 IU’s of Vitamin D3 daily, along with my daily multi-vitamin (especially-formulated for men over 50), my Prostate 5LX (herbal supplement that promotes prostate health), an 81mg aspirin (all patients over 50 take it to help prevent anything horrible from happening when/if I have a heart attack), 5000 mgs of Biotin (to promote healthy hair, skin and nails), a B-12 Complex with C (increased energy and alertness) AND recently I have also started taking daily ibuprofen to help with the swelling caused by my plantars fasciitis. Yes, in addition to being afflicted with vitamin deficiencies, I also suffer from “excessive pronation ” when I walk.

Who knew that all it took to be healthy was a heavy, over-the-counter drug regimen?

It’s Opening Day at “five – a blog”

Welcome to “five – a blog,” a personal year-long, online diary of my life.

Why a blog?  Well, I was inspired to create a blog for a few reasons, not the least of which is my loving and supportive life-partner Martin, who has always said I should share my thoughts with the world.  (He’s pretty awesome that way.)  I also always seem to have a lot of thoughts in my head and have been looking for a creative avenue to “let them out.” You see, my name is Tim and I am an interior designer, small business owner, uncle, partner, activist, friend, sibling – well, just so many “titles” that it is hard to list them all here. 

Above all, I’m just an average guy that has a voice and like all of us, would like people to hear it. 

I was also inspired by a sweet meme I saw on Facebook – it showed a jar with lots of small slips of folded paper inside, all bearing hand-written notes.  The meme caption suggested we write down everything good that happens to us and slip them inside the jar.  On New Year’s Eve, we are to open that jar and remember all the good that had happened during the preceding three hundred and sixty-five days.

This blog will be my jar…  We’ll just open it every day.

Finally, why “five?”  Well, I suppose I wanted a blog name that sounded mysterious and was not easy to decipher, nothing like “I HEART Fluffy Puppies” or “Breeding Exotic Reptiles for Fun and Profit.”  Too obvious for me.  I also wanted a blog name broad (meaning vague) enough that I wouldn’t be pigeon-holed into a narrow spectrum of topics to discuss.  And, being honest, the number five just keeps appearing in my life and sort of speaks to me.

Tim’s Short List of Five “Things” –

  1. I have a fondness for prime numbers; 1, 3, 5…
  2. I am a 50% partner (5-0) in a home furnishings store/design studio. 
  3. In November 2012, my business celebrated its five-year anniversary.
  4. On June 6, June 2013, I will be fifty-five years old (5-5).
  5. As part of my commitment to leading a healthier lifestyle, I am planning on losing fifty-five pounds (5-5).
  6. In August of 2013, I will celebrate my five-year anniversary with my beloved partner, Martin. Five amazing years.
  7. I have five nieces that are the joys of my life.  (I also have two nephews that I love like crazy as well but they didn’t fit the whole “5” thing I have going on…)
  8. I have lived for five decades and, if when my commitment to a healthier lifestyle becomes a success, I plan on living for five more…

So, there you go, just a few reasons for the five, and why I have decided to share my life and thoughts with you.  I hope you enjoy this project as much as I do.  On this first day of 2013, I am filled with hope, joy and optimism for the next 364 days.  Thanks for coming on this journey with me…

PS – I PROMISE I will commit to at least five days of entries…   😉