Health Journey-The beginning.

This post is going to go into detail about my new quest, to be more active and get to a better state of health. Some of the details may bore or disgust you, but you’ve been warned. People wanted to know about my experiences with my new Fitbit and the DDP Yoga program. Today is day one. Not sure when I’ll blog about it more, but I need to blog more, so this might be an outlet for that. People who read my stuff for politics to or my usual rants should look elsewhere.

I’ve never been good with my health. I was raised by two people with polar opposite opinions of the medical profession. My mother was a raging hypochondriac,which made it doctors insane when she had actual health problems. It also tended to make them prescribe her something just so she’d go away. I had a doctor admit that to me once.

My father was raised in farm country in Minnesota. He hated doctors with a passion, mainly because of the medical professions inability to diagnose my grandfather’s PTSD and depression, a situation that peaked with my father being literally chased around his house with an ax, as my grandfather mistook him for a German soldier in a flashback. Those same doctors also told my grandfather he was faking it the six times he had heart attacks in the 60’s. Small town life , it gets you the best medical care.

So take those warring forces, and it’s no wonder I have issues with my health. Then I was born with medical issues, and they both overreacted, badly, I was a breach baby, born legs first. When the doctor pulled me out, he literally dropped me onto the ground.  I landed on my shoulders and back. As a result, I’ve always had motor skill issues, and I didn’t develop upper body strength normally. It’s why I type like a wino,looking down,hunting and pecking.

It also left me with a condition called Hirschsprung’s disease.  Basically, part of my colon has no nerve cells. It’s made me have issues as long as I can remember. I’ve had more constipation and bowel accidents than entire nursing homes. I’ve grown out of most of my issues, but it really does isolate you.

Just when my parents thought my body couldn’t surprise them again, I started having seizures when I was six. I only ever had petit mal ones, the ones where I turn off like a light. Once had a neurologist think I was faking, and came out of a strobe induced seizure with a six inch needle through my hand. Mom wanted me to go back to that guy,scarily enough.

So I grew up with bowel issues, a lack of arm strength, and lots of doctor visits. Add in a prescription for phenobarbitol, and is it any wonder I only have one friend from childhood, and lots of it is blurry?Oh wait, that was because they waited until I was nine to take me to an eye doctor because I said everything looked spray painted at a distance.Most of this was handled by my mother. My dad was too busy being an emotionally distant workaholic to do anything but complain about the bills.

Thankfully, much of this changed with puberty. I grew a lot, and found regular consumption of microwave popcorn(not kidding) stopped most of my bathroom issues. With an increased metabolism, and my own money, I went on a junk food spree from sixteen to twenty six. I was 186 and 6 foot 3 when I left high school. I also knew jack shit about nutrition, and didn’t care.

I was a young man in my twenties. Dennys, TV dinners, booze and every fast food chain you could name was my friend. Add in a divorce and living with an angry and cold father, and you’ve got a great recipe for being an emotional eater.

I like fast food, but I LOVE stuff from gas stations and bodegas. Bad day? Don’t worry, Trevor, just walk down to the corner store and Little Debbie will take care of you, her and Dr. Pepper. It’s a problem I fight to this day.

I think I was about 30 when I really noticed I was gaining weight. I’ve always had body image issues, but a girlfriend made me take a hard look at myself. And I really didn’t like what I saw. But my answer was to drown my sorrows every morning with St. Louis Bread Company bagels on my way to work every morning. It was a pattern of bad eating that a retail career would only reinforce for years.

I maintained a weight of about 230-250 for about the next ten years or so, my record low weight being 230 on my wedding day. I settled into my usual bad eating, but now I had a partner in crime. Actually , four of them. I love people who complain about the state of health in this country, and then can’t explain why a burger is a buck and a salad is seven dollars. It costs to eat healthy, folks, and with three mouths to feed, starches and hamburger helper become the norm, not the exception. I’d like to say I stepped up and tried to get my step daughters to exercise and eat better, but I foolishly believed that was school’s job.

The first real hitch in my health giddyup came in 2006. I had a night of massive painful heartburn. Turned out to be my gallbladder trying to kill itself. A surgeon helped it the rest of the way, but I foolishly didn’t listen when he said no fats for six weeks after the surgery. LISTEN WHEN THEY TELL YOU THIS. I had a liquid rainbow coming out of my ass for months after. Even now, some foods set off my system at a moments notice.

You’d think this would make me think more about my health, and you’d be right.  My wife and I have joined the YMCA more times than I care to think about. Planet Fitness is  three stoplights from my house. We were there for a year, went 12 times. Even 24 hour access couldn’t get me to exercise.

So what’s different this time? Why should anyone believe this will work better this time? I don’t know. All I know is that it feels different. As do I.

I turned 48 last week. I’ve been unemployed for over a year, mostly to care for my granddaughter and help home school my daughter. I’d like to say the free time has allowed me more time to exercise, but the inverse is true.

I’m 48, and I feel like I’m 65. If they offered me my SSI tomorrow I don’t know if I’d turn it down. I’m tired all the time. My knees, hips and shoulders bother me much more than they did a year ago. I feel old, not to put a fine point on it. I feel like I’m months, not years away from needing a Rascal.

Also, I went to my doctor last month. Got put on a second blood pressure medicine. My BP is up near 160 still.  I’m now at 314, the heaviest I’ve been, ever.With people I know dropping from cancer and suicide, I’m going to be honest:I’m fucking scared.

Hence, the DDP Yoga and Fitbit. I’m trying to fix my diet,a process that’s as much mental as physical.  Both of these claim to help with both, so let’s look at the first day with both.

I set up my Fitbit Flex 2 this morning. Going to use it for steps and sleep montoring. It can do diet, but I’ve got to settle on one before I can use it for that. My initial goals are 8K steps a day and six hours of sleep a night, both of which I haven’t had in a while.

DDP Yoga came in the mail yesterday. I paged through the accompanying book, reading about his exercise and diet plan. The diet plan is pretty much a standard heart healthy one:cut out the processed foods and dairy, and go organic or not at all. Not in a position yet to afford organic everything, but going to cut out as much of the processed as I can

I got up this morning and popped in the DDP Yoga DVD,disc 1. The first section is on breathing. He’s a big advocate of breathing from your diaphragm, which gave me aikido class flashbacks.  Not too bad.

The next section was called Wake Up. It’s designed to be done partially in bed,but I was already up. So I laid on the floor, and did the stretches. They helped me feel better, but didn’t really give me a clue about what made DDP Yoga different.

The third section was called Beginner’s Beginning. It’s designed for folks with limited mobility, which turned out to be me. Much of DDP Yoga works on a combination of Yoga moves and dynamic resistance.  You get as much out of it as you put in. Reminded me of watching Jack LaLanne as a kid, but DDP is much lively and positive. He has you do the moves with help of chairs, and puts his own spin on moves. He has you do is signature Diamond Cutter move as a way to push your arms against each other and build strength up. He couches moves in sports terms like Grabbing the Ball and Touchdown. I do like that he calls squeezing your arms down and around Hulking Out. All in all, it’s a pretty strenuous workout, even at the beginning stage. I got all the way to the first chain of moves before I had to stop.

I’m hoping to do more with this tomorrow, and going to attempt the basic workout, the Diamond Dozen, on Monday.  Until then, try and keep it safe,OK? And if you need help, talk to someone, even me, if you need someone. Bye.