Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Catch-Up Time!

As you can tell from the last post, five year's of nothing and pain meds can lay waste to a body.  Don't get me wrong, I was never a bodybuilder, and I have never wanted that look.  Strength was my game, and that's what I trained for every day.  But at 300 pounds, I was about as lean as I could get.  I might have looked awesome at 290, but at the expense of strength according to my sport's nutritionist.  "Feed the muscle, and your body and workouts will take care of the rest," he would say.

8,000 calories a day wasn't too much.  Strongman is tough.  It's not just raw strength.  It's bursts of power repeated over and over again.  Each event requires multiple reps or multiple feats.  It's not powerlifting for sure.  So I wasn't worried.

But then the shoulder injury and diagnosis changed everything, and here we are in the hospital five years later and I had turned into someone I hated, yet, oddly enough, denied.  In my mind, I was still strong.  In the mirror, I was "yuck!"  

I thank my Surgeon, Dr. Ronald Delanois, for making me aware of the obvious.  You see, when he replaced my shoulder five years earlier just after I got injured, I remember him saying to his Residents that he had NEVER cut through so much muscle to get to a bone in his life.  He then went on to tell them my story.  However, when I walked into his office five years later, his first statement after seeing me was "What in the hell happened to you?"  

That was an eye-opener for sure.  After surgery, he told my wife, Sherry, that I could not stay in the shape that I was in or I'd have to have my hips re-replaced in two years.  I was ordered to drop weight and get back into shape.  At 385 pounds, I was probably the heaviest bilateral total hip replacement he'd done, and that holds true for most Orthopedic surgeons as well because it's a difficult recovery in itself at a normal weight.  But, it had to be done.  

I took that challenge and changed my eating habits during the month in the hospital.  I chose better foods.  I continued that after I returned home.  Even though I couldn't workout or even walk, for that matter, I decided to lose as much weight by eating healthy as I could.  The result -- by the end of December, I'd dropped about 30 pounds.  

I was also determined to get back on my feet and start doing some exercise too (let's call it "movement").  Fortunately, I was healing well, and I started to get ahead of their projected schedule.  I'd walk more, and I even went on a few hikes (though my Physical Therapist wasn't happy about that and put a stop to it).  I also went to the gym a few times and lifted my upper body in my wheelchair.  I was embarrassed, so I didn't go back.  But any activity was better than none.  The result was that I'd dropped another 5 pounds during January.

Now I was confident.  I joined the Family Y in February and started walking in the therapeutic pool.  I went from a 30-minute workout to an hour workout in a few days as I started to get my lungs back.  And I started lifting again -- this time, on my feet and doing both my upper and lower body without breaking my hip precautions.  Thanks to Freddy Lopez who was visiting Berris Sweeney for a week, I had a solid workout program.  And thanks to Scott Barker, a sports nutritionist from Greenville who I met on Facebook a long time ago through Tim Garriss, my diet is now right.  

Over these past four weeks, I've averaged a 5-6 pound loss per week.  I was down to 326 pounds last week for a 60-pound loss altogether since my surgery in October.  My goal is to drop another 50 by the end of May.  

Though I know I can do it, I need everyone's support and encouragement.  It's going to get tough as I go through the soreness and growing pains of weight loss.  Thank goodness I'm no longer on any pain medication.  I came off that over a month ago and went through some horrible withdrawals.  Hence, part of my "labors."  But I'm back on my feet now and ready to fight the battle with 100% ME.  

I'm trying to keep muscle and get rid of the fat.  Now, if that means I come a bit short of my goal, my surgeon won't mind because the muscle will help stabilize the hips and the rest of my body.  So, we'll see where this takes me.  In the long run, it doesn't matter, though, because I'll end up looking better than ever.  Sherry has never seen me below 300, she reminds me, and I think she's excited about the day I step on the scales and weigh 275.  If I'm lean at that weight, I'll be victorious.  

I'll post my daily workouts as if I'm writing a diary, and I'll post my weekly weigh-in and measurement numbers every Wednesday (hey, that's tomorrow).  Some weeks, the inches will decrease while the weight stabilizes.  Some will show drops in weight.  However, that's OK because muscle weighs a lot more than fat.  The measurements are as or more important than the weight in the beginning as my body adjusts to re-firing the muscles that have atrophied.  

For a visual, here's me in August 2013.  It isn't pretty, but it's where I started.  Even though it's not the best picture, it shows you what kind of shape I was in when I started this journey.

And, oh my...here I am the day of surgery.  A whopping 385 pounds!

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