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    Starting a Day-by-Day Chronicle

    I'm setting some goals, and to keep myself somewhat accountable to them, I'm going to post a day-by-day chronicle of what I'm doing to achieve those goals.

    I'll link the chronicle as soon as I get some stuff squared away with my hosting site.


    I want a Divorce

    *knock knock*  Is anyone out there?

    It's been a while.

    I'm not writing this post for anyone except myself.  If you're reading it, it's not because I led you here.  I'm just trying to give myself a swift kick in the ass.

    It's time to wake up.  It's time to stop screwing around with my life.  It's time to start behaving as if I want to live.

    Because right now, I'm dying.

    I'm not in immediate physical peril, but I am dying.  My biggest issue is that I'm accelerating the process with choices that are obviously detrimental to my well-being.  In the last couple of years - the time between writing my last post and this one - I've seen some pretty dramatic (and mostly negative) changes in my corpus mundi.

    First and most obvious is the fact that I am bloated and fat around the middle.  I'm squeezing my ass into 38" pants - a far cry from the 34" pants that I was wearing just a couple of years ago.  How much discomfort is required to break the pattern of destructive behaviors that will quite literally kill me much sooner than I am ready?  Reflect back to yesterday and the 36" adjustable waist pants that you were wearing that felt like they were crushing your junk every time you sat down.  Do you need to feel like you're trapping your nuts in a fabric vise every day before you say, "Screw this.  Let's fix it"?

    You haven't slept in a proper bed for years.  The couch is being ruined because your loud-ass snoring self is sleeping on it night after night.  The effects of this behavior are obvious - your wife sleeps alone in a separate room because your wall-shaking snoring keeps her awake; your relationship with her WILL suffer ill effects of such separation.  Do you even care?

    Your body is constantly racked with pain.  Your knees are being stretched beyond their normal limits.  Your shoulders are constantly in pain due to the way you fold them over each other at night.

    Your example to others in the dojo is not a good one.  You are yudansha.  Your body is one area of the self that you should control, and yet you treat your body with contempt.  Is that what you want for students who look to you for what it means to be yudansha?  Is that honor so insignificant that you blow off the responsibility of being a proper example?

    Let's not forget that nidan testing is coming, and in your condition the test might very well kill you.

    Yours is not healthy behavior.

    And what's with all of the shit you are eating?  Your online bank statement reads like a who's who of fast food joints in town.  Whatever happened to eating food... you know - REAL food.  Fruits, vegetables, whole meats - that stuff that is good for you - should be the norm, not the preservative-laden pseudo-food that you've been eating non-stop for the last few years.

    Let's list a few other symptoms that are besetting you right now:

    • heartburn
    • abdominal pain
    • ulcers
    • headaches
    • fatigue
    • sore feet
    • mood swings
    • digestive issues
    • crappy skin
    • chest pain/pressure
    • numbness/burning in your leg (compressed disc)

    Man.  Looks like life is great.  You appear to be doing everything right - if you're looking to park yourself in a 6' hole...

    Yep.  Time to fix this problem.  And not just for yourself.

    C'mon man!  Look at this website you've built here.  Look at the after pics from just a few years ago.  YOU LOOKED EFFING GOOD for a dude in his late 30's/early 40's.  GET THAT SHIT BACK while you're still alive to enjoy it!

    Last point, and maybe this will push you down that better road.  4 kids.  You've got 4 kids that are counting on you to see them graduate.  2 girls that want you around to walk them down the aisle.  2 boys that would probably want you to see the kind of man they grew up to be but still need to call when they have a question.  4 kids that want to have a father for years and years to come.  You're dicking around with THEIR futures, pal.  Not just your own.

    Now.  When you get home this afternoon, you greet your wife.  You tell her, "Honey.  I love you and the kids very much, and I'm sorry I've been treating my body like shit.  I'm changing things, starting right now."  Then get a bottle of water and drink it.  Grab some good food and eat it.  Then walk that beautiful woman you married down to work and get your ass home, into a change of clothes, and off to the gym.



    Struggle a bit.

    And live.

    And when you get home, take a long hard look in the mirror.  Tell that dying entity looking back at you that you're tired of being in pain.  You're tired of the struggle.  Tell him that you're done with him.  You're moving on.

    I want a divorce.  From my lazy, fast-food-eating, unhealthy 'other' side.  And that divorce is final as of today.

    44 years old is not too late to change your life.  In fact, it's just the beginning...


    Treat the Cause, not the Symptom

    I don't spend an inordinate amount of time in front of the tube, but when I do watch TV it seems like about 2/3 of the commercials I see are for prescription medicines that I should ask my doctor about.  Whether it's sleeplessness, erectile dysfunction, depression, stress, hyperactivity, cardiac trouble, or diabetes, there's a pill out there that will make everyone feel better.


    Try listening to the pharmaceutical commercials about 20 seconds in.  The list of potential side effects for most of the advertised drugs sounds far more frightening than the condition it's intended to treat.  Would I really want to risk engaging in suicidal behavior as I try to quit smoking with my pharmaceutical?  There's got to be a better way to give up smoking...

    From kids to the elderly, our country is being medicated to the gills, but all these pills do is treat the symptoms of a condition.  The cause goes untreated.  I'm gonna call names, which I'm sure is going to endear me to a number of pharmaceutical companies.  To that I say... big effing deal.

    "I Don't Like the Drugs, but the Drugs Like Me" ~M. Manson

    Smoking Cessation

    The Cause - People start smoking for a variety of reasons, among them the desire to fit in, rebellion against authority, and following in the footsteps of adult role models.

    The Drug - Chantix® Anti-smoking drug.  This particular drug has been linked to depression, suicidal thoughts, and violent behavior, according to the legal firm of Davis & Crump.  The drug reduces the attachment of nicotine to acetylcholine receptors in the brain and may also inhibit the release of the pleasure hormone dopamine.  The presence of dopamine is what makes cigarette smoking addictive, and this pharmaceutical may have a direct negative effect on levels of pleasure chemicals in the brain.

    Treating the Root Cause - Parents can prevent their children from picking up the habit by not smoking themselves and by developing a relationship with their child that makes the child feel loved and valued. Most important is actually having a conversation with your younger child to address the topic of smoking and its potential impact on health.

    Smoking is a tough addiction to overcome, but it can be defeated.   For those smokers that want to quit, you can follow in the footsteps of both my in-laws and my own father: quit cold turkey and chew lots and lots of gum.  Exercise will help immeasurably as it helps cleanse the body and restore normal brain function - and it releases pleasure hormones.


    The Cause - stress, fatigue, poor vision, dehydration, illness.

    The Drug - Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, Naproxen - These medicines simply mask the symptom by reducing swelling or muting the brain's pain receptors.  The cause of the problem is still there, but it is dulled to the point of being less of an annoyance.

    Treating the Root Cause - For the most part, drink more water and get some exercise.  Exercise reduces stress, increases immune response, and actually combats fatigue (as counterintuitive as that may seem).  For vision-related headaches, a trip to your local vision specialist may be in order.

    Erectile Dysfunction

    The Cause - causes of ED are numerous but are generally divided into psychological and physical causes.  Psychological causes include such issues as anxiety, stress, poor self-image, and depression.  Physical causes can include high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, low hormone levels, and high cholesterol.

    The Drug - pick your poison.  Viagra.  Cialis.  Levitra.  Any of these guys are willing to take your money to help you fulfill your basic needs.

    Treating the Root Cause - Look at the list of causes.  They read like a list of basic problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle.  While there are causes of ED that would require the use of pharmaceuticals, most people buying these medications would be well served with exercise and a modified diet.


    The Cause - Stress, anxiety, depression, emotional trauma, and health problems among others.  Sound familiar?

    The Drug - Ambien, Lunesta, Silenor, Sonata, etc.  There are enough drugs on the market for insomnia to choke a small elephant.

    Treating the Root Cause - With the possible exception of emotional trauma, most of the causes of sleeplessness can be managed with regular exercise.

    Hopefully a trend is becoming obvious.

    Pharmaceutical companies and medical professionals understand this concept - that those that exercise are far less likely to need their products and services.  Do I believe there is a conspiracy afoot?  Not at all (well, at least not as far as doctors are concerned.  Big pharma is another story entirely).  I do believe, however, that doctors are telling their patients what they want to hear - that "there's a pill for that."

    Pharmaceuticals, by and large, exist to dull the symptoms of our poor lifestyles.  As a nation, we must get out of the collective mindset that drugs exist to help us.  They don't.  They merely mask the body's natural signals, giving the illusion that all is well.

    I cannot sit here and claim that exercise will eliminate the need for pharmaceuticals every time for everyone.  I can say with a degree of certainty that a nation engaging in a regular regimen of exercise will put a severe dent in the need for drugs.  In other words, we have to attack the root cause of the problem - sedentary, inactive lifestyles that are breeding grounds for conditions that big pharma is only too happy to help you treat.


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    From the Heart...

    I haven't planned this blog entry.  I haven't written notes or anything.  I'm just coming from the heart on this one.  Shooting from the hip, as it were.

    I am a human being - prone to failures and fallings.  Recently, I've been mired in a bit of self-imposed guilt-ridden laziness that has prevented me from doing the things that are necessary to be effective as a mouthpiece on this website.  Alice and I were talking yesterday about how much easier writing for is when we're in the gym.  Until just a couple weeks ago, we weren't even members of a gym; we let our membership expire about a year ago.  After that membership expired, it was just a matter of attrition that stopped our writing about fitness related activities.

    Our diet soon followed our exercise patterns and subsequently went to hell.

    Now, that's not to say we've stopped exercising and given up totally on our health.  Not at all.  We still train in karate at least 3 days a week in addition to walking all over - to the store, to the post office, to the bank.  Physically we're not in a bad way.  We're just not training as hard as we could (or should).

    Now, before people write this entry off as a "poor poor pitiful me" post, let me clear up the intent of this post: We are normal people living in a normal world with normal issues.  When I read other fitness blogs, I'm sometimes led to believe that everyone else has got it all together - that they never stray from their diet and never miss a day in the gym.  The truth of the matter is likely that they (those other bloggers) are likely no different from us.  There are ups.  There are downs.  There are times when they wonder why in the hell they're going through the pain of exercising.  There are times when they eat like crap.  The difference is that they might not talk about it publicly.

    I'm here to tell you that Alice and I are not paragons of healthy virtue.  We eat junk.  We drink soda.  But those activities do not define us as voices in the fitness world.  Eating the way I do, I still come in at under 200 pounds because I work exceptionally hard in the dojo (my karate training hall).  Alice is still a lean mom of 4 that a good many women envy for the size 4 she wears.  She, too, works incredibly hard in the dojo, despite injury setbacks and a conflicting work schedule.

    So, we're fairly normal.  Our chief goal is to be better today than we were yesterday.

    If that's all you ever ask of yourself, then you're on a pretty good path.

    Be well!


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    I Am An Addict

    Addictions suck.  If you don’t think so, just try getting addicted to something and then try to give it up.  You know – just put it down, walk away, and never go back.

    Easy peesy.  Right?

    I am an addict, and soda is my drug.  Despite knowing that drinking soda is akin to consuming liquid toxic waste, I still can’t break my dependency on the stuff. 

    I had a moment of epiphany the other day.  It was in a period of desperate tiredness and strong thirst that I grabbed an ice-cold bottle of my fizzy friend and popped the top.  I took a swallow and came about this |  | close to being orgasmic.  I felt all quivery and heart-fluttery.  It's possible my loins even tingled a little. 

    TMI.  Sorry.

    I think I downed half the bottle in the first few swallows and then came to the sudden realization that I was enjoying this experience perhaps a little too much.

    I’m not proud of this addiction.  I’m a bit ashamed, actually, that I can come on here and speak about the horrors and inherent dangers of the chemical hodgepodge that makes up soda while I secretly cower in the corner of a dark room getting my bloat on.

    Yeah, I’m a hypocrite.  But I’m an honest hypocrite, and that has to account for something.

    A few weeks ago, I tried to quit cold turkey.  I was drinking a gallon of water a day and trying to act like I enjoyed it.  But caffeine is a bitch, and she likes to lay the smack down when she doesn’t have her way.  I made it 2 weeks before I popped the top again and fell off the wagon.  The grip on my brain was loosened and the headaches went away.  The fatigue was replaced by sugar highs and caffeine rushes.  I didn’t necessarily feel ‘better’; I just felt a little closer to ‘normal’.

    So I’m back to square 1. 



    There’s a solution to this problem.  I know there is.  It can’t involve will-power or chemical means because I don’t have the former and don’t want the latter. 

    Until a complete solution is found, I shall try to keep consumption in moderation.

    And I’ll hope that people can forgive me for being a hypocritical junkie.

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