I’m Losing It!

Weight, that is.

I wouldn’t say that I jumped on the “New Year’s Resolution” jam-packed bandwagon, but late in 2017 I kind of made a decision that I wanted to get down to a more manageable weight. Winters in Minnesota are prime weight gaining time, and I wanted to avoid it this year. Throughout my life, I have had weight that has fluctuated fairly drastically. My freshman year in high school, I was around 140lbs, when I graduated I was hovering around 200. I’d like to say most of that was muscle (and honestly-some of it was), but a lot of it was Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. You guys, I ate it like it was candy; and I made it per the instructions on the box, you know, with 1/2 a stick of butter. At night–I’d eat it at night!! The WORST possible time to shove anything in your face. A tongue-in-cheek “thank you” to my parents for having a steady supply of it in the pantry. Not their fault, however. I made it, I ate it. To this day however, it is still absolutely delicious–let me state that fact.

In college, like most people-I peaked. Not mentally, athletically, sexually, or spiritually; I’m still waiting on those. I peaked weight-wise: Senior year, 218lbs. I realize that for many people-that isn’t that bad. Hell, my youngest brother is cut like a Greek God and weighs about that much and looks skinnier than I do. For me, however; 220lbs was the “OMG” moment. I had gotten engaged at the time, and I told her that at the wedding I would be 180lbs. 6 months, no problem. She was supportive and decided it would be inappropriate to laugh directly in my face.

The day of our wedding, I was 179.8. BOOM! I’m not sure that 40lbs in 6 months is healthy and recommended, but I did it anyways.

Fast forward 9 years I had gotten back to about 197-199. When I gain weight, I tend to gain it in my chest, back, and face. It’s not a good look, unless your, I don’t know–Santa(?). I also have a family history of males having heart problems as well. My dad had a heart attack in 2007 I believe, his dad had open heart surgery, his dad had a heart attack, so on and so forth…. I had also just had a routine physical and the Dr. told me that my blood pressure was borderline high, I had slightly high cholesterol and I was overweight (the last one wasn’t shocking). Knowing that I have 2 little kids that I want to be around for in 65 years and that I was probably exiting on to Heart Attack Alley, I needed to change.

I reached out to my aforementioned brother, Matt, who is a personal trainer and asked him how a dad of 2 young kids with a full time job can lose weight. His response was simple: “Stop shoveling food into your face hole”. Point taken, Matt…thanks. #brotherlylove

So, I made a “lifestyle change”. I stopped eating so damn much. Basically, my meals for the past 3-4 months have consisted of this routine: For breakfast I have a piece of toast (no, its not organic or gluten free or whatever…It is whole-wheat bread heated up), with 1/2 an avocado spread on it, with a fried egg on top, and a banana. Lunch is usually a salad that I bring from home; usually no meat, no cheese; 6 croutons. Dinner/Supper is whatever I want, I’ve had like 400 calories all day! I also try not to eat after 8pm. For snacks I have fruit, carrot sticks, and I drink a metric ton of water. Dammit, it’s working; I’m down almost 15lbs since mid-December.

“But Mike, how do you keep your muscles?” Terrific question, thank you for asking. I knew that I would probably need to work out a little bit, even though I hate it. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so it made sense to do something. I researched that push-ups are a terrific at-home workout because they work a ton of different muscles around your body if done correctly. So I have an app on my phone called “Push Ups (genius!)” that reminds me to do push ups every day. So far, since Jan 1, 2018 I have done almost 5,000 push ups. My mom told me that she can tell–I’m not sure if that counts or not, but I’ll take it. I’m swimming in a hotel pool this weekend with some family that hasn’t seen me in a while, I’ll keep you posted. I’m sure you’ll be anxious to hear the update.

In an interesting twist, I went to the dentist the other day (my dental health is a whole ‘nother blog…I’ll save you the details, let’s just say–I have another appointment) and they do what they call a “courtesy blood pressure check”. They checked mine and rattled off some number over another number, said “hmm”, and wrote it down. “Is that good?” I asked sheepishly, expecting an ambulance to back up to my chair. “It’s almost perfect!” she said. My blood pressure had gone from borderline high to perfect (basically) in under a year. Keep in mind, I haven’t really done anything outside of eat healthier and do a stupid number of push-ups. This was the first time that the whole “feed your body with good food, and good things will happen” had ever had an effect on me. Also, I’m not sure if that’s an actual quote or not…if I just made it up right now, I’d love credit–I need some followers. :D

The entire reason for this post was that I saw a very overweight gentleman at the store this morning buying 8 (EIGHT) 1.25L Mountain Dews, and I was buying a case of water. I didn’t even mention that encounter until right now…oh well. That’s what happened and somehow it brought me to this. If you want to lose weight, you can; just stick with it and eventually you’ll get there! People now days are learning how to be kinder and more supportive, they’ll help you! Thanks for reading.

Please eat responsibly.

-ML

Still winter…

As you probably know, I live in Minnesota. Living in Minnesota, there are two things every year that you can bet on. It is going to snow and it is going to be cold–you can’t avoid it. Minnesotans, for the most part, embrace the cold and fluffy winter snows. We joke about it, we laugh at the southern states when they get a “dusting” and all hell breaks loose; and for a couple times a year, we enjoy the bragging rights of owning the coldest city in the contiguous lower 48 states-International Falls. This year, even the Super Bowl branded the events leading up to the big game around the hashtage #BoldNorth. Its cold and it snows, but I challenge you to tell me another natural event that can transform a landscape from dull and dirty to clean and bright like a fresh coat of snow. That is, of course, until we dump salt and sand everywhere making it look more like a spilled chocolate malt than a winter wonderland.

When we get the first snowfall of the year, everyone seems to embrace it and we say things to each other like “Well, I think this is here to stay”, “Have you gotten your snowblower ready, yet?”, and my personal favorite: “They’re predicting a bad one this year”. Who is? The talking weather heads on TV with the inevitable weather reports claiming that the next winter storm will be the end of life as we know it. Dramatically, we still find a way to survive. The first snow, will always bring two things: 1.) the obligatory “my view of the snow is more beautiful than your view of the snow” social media pictures, and 2.) Idiots. . . Every. Single. Year. The idiots come out of hiding.

Living in Minnesota, we have winter 4-5 months out of the year. We claim that we know how to survive in it. Yet every year, there seems to be a 3 month learning curve for some people remembering how to drive in snow again. Now, I get it; if you’re driving safely and something happens that’s one thing; Or, if you’re a 16 year old kid trying it out for the first time-you get a free pass for a couple years. However, if you pass me at 92mph in a snowstorm driving a 250lb Ford Focus while adjusting the radio; you’re an idiot. If my kids are in the car and the road conditions are “iffy at best”, I’m going 18mph–tops. You can flick me off, you can make fun of me, I don’t care. I’m not an idiot (when it comes to winter driving-other topics are up for debate). Also, every year we also hear about someone who thinks that the 3 day old ice is going to be strong enough to hold their 18,000lb SUV so they can shave 4 minutes off of their commute or get a fish before everyone else does. Unfortunately, a lot of these end up tragic.

With a 3 year old daughter who loves being outside, it makes the winter a little more manageable. I never thought at age 32, that I would voluntarily jump headfirst into a snow bank just to hear a 2 second giggle from a kid! There is something about those laughs that is almost addicting…once you can get your kid to genuinely laugh and smile at something you are doing; it’s really hard to stop! The “playing outside” days seem to be few and far between, but they definitely make you appreciate the time that you get with the kiddos in the snow. Ultimately, every winter that passes gets one more winter closer to my kids not wanting to go outside and play in the snow with dad.

December comes and goes, and the same with January. Once the calendar turns to February, even the most die-hard winter lovers are doing the ‘ol “Oooooookaaaayyy. I’m ready for this to be done”, full well knowing that we have at least another month and a half left. I’m not even sure it’s the snow that makes us start to despise winter-I think its the cold. 3 straight months of being cold and paying high heating bills start to take their toll.

The silver lining is that the weather is generally warmer in February/March and the sun stays out past 4:15pm. If you have kids like I do; it is so much more appealing to bring them out to play in the snow when its 30 degrees (this probably still sounds cold to some, but remember #boldnorth) than when it’s -20. The sun also seems warmer as well. But that might be because we haven’t’ seen the damn thing since Thanksgiving either, I’m not sure.

Also-Groundhog Day is the dumbest thing that has ever been used to predict anything. Groundhog Day doesn’t apply to Minnesota. We’re having 6 weeks more of winter every year, I promise.

When March arrives, it might as well be June 20th. If you’re looking to people watch, come to Minnesota and watch the native Minnesotans walk around in our shorts and T-shirts, myself included. Prime people watching time is around mid-March, book your hotel now. After months of being cryogenically frozen, it doesn’t take much to thaw us out. 50 degrees should do the trick.

All things being equal, and they’re not, Minnesota winters can actually very fun and Minnesotans DO enjoy it for the most part. We embrace the cold, we embrace the snow, and it makes us get that much more excited for Spring, Summer, and Fall (by far the best 2 weeks of the year in Minnesota). There are so many things to do (personally, I don’t do many–but I know people who do and they seem to enjoy them): Ice fishing, downhill skiing, ice skating, dog-sledding, cross-country skiing, sledding, pond hockey, snowmobiling (I’ll have a blog post about my near-death experience on a snowmobile in the future), snow-kiting, fat-tire biking, and snow-shoveling. The last one sucks, but people do it I guess for “exercise” or something like that.

-ML

Saturdays have changed…

Happy Saturday!

10 years ago, I would have been sleeping in until noon, trying to remember what city I lived in. My Friday nights used to consist of going out with friends, getting home early Saturday morning and sleeping until noon, ready to go do it again Saturday night.

Every Friday night, there is still a part of me that thinks that for some weird reason, I’m going to go back out to the bars, drink myself silly, and then come home; chug a bunch of water, and then wake up at noon and get ready to do it all over again. This literally never happens anymore. Now my Friday nights consist of diapers, Mickey Mouse, a glass of wine, and in bed by 9pm. I’m not complaining-it’s just different.

Let’s be serious, I physically can’t go do what I used to in college anymore, and I’m not sure that I want to either. When the rare chance comes when my wife and I do go out for a “night on the town”; the kids are still going to get up at 5AM. They don’t care what mom and dad did the night before. It’s pretty inconsiderate if you ask me. 5AM used to be the middle of the night, but now it’s pretty much my daily ‘rise & shine’ time.

Right now, as I write this, my 3 year old is sitting next to me hugging my right arm while she watches a “Sparkle Spice” YouTube video. Deviating a bit; have you seen the YouTube videos that toddlers are watching now days? They are literally adults either opening new toys or playing with toys in-front of a camera, using silly voices and many are making MILLIONS OF DOLLARS A YEAR doing this. Some people have all the luck.

Back to me. Last night (Friday), my wife and I watched an episode of “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” on Netflix on our laptop while drinking wine out of a Tervis Tumbler and were both sleeping by 9:30. “Saturday is going to be great” I thought, I haven’t had 10 hours of sleep since Bush was in office.

Fast-forward to 1:30AM. Scream-crying from the 9 month old’s room. Parents-you know the cry…the one where you’re not 100% certain they are going to stay conscious during the duration of the “exhale cry”. Oh goody…

Fast forward to 3:30AM. Silence!! Not a peep from either room. Let me say, my wife is a champ; I rarely get up with my youngest daughter. Not because I don’t like helping (ok-sometimes I’d rather sleep), but because she has the patience of a saint. For 2 hours, she was in her room making sure she goes back to sleep while I watch the 3 year old on the monitor, anxiously awaiting her inevitable wake up cry from the demonic screams of the 9 month old. Lucky for me, last night she didn’t wake up. “OK”, I thought as my wife got back into bed “I can still get about 8 hours of sleep if we make it to 8AM.

Fast forward to 5:20. 3 year old is up. I mean, up-up…ready for the day. Ready to party. Maybe tomorrow night I’ll get 8 hours.

This is my life now and I wouldn’t change it. It is weird how much life changes in 10 years. For some it doesn’t, and that’s OK-but I love the way things are now. I loved life 10 years ago and I love it today, I just have darker circles around my eyes now. The priorities in life change over the course of 10 years. Mine sure have-more than I ever thought they would. I’m OK with that. I’m sure in 10 years, they’ll change again… They might change in 10 minutes, who knows! That’s what makes life fun!

I’m not sure where to go with this post or how to end it–but I wanted to keep the posts coming and according to experts, you’re supposed to have “content” almost on a daily basis. I’m not even sure this counts as content–there isn’t even a point. It’s just a stream of my consciousness–which maybe will be what this entire blog will be. I don’t care, I like it.

-ML