Get Healthy or Die Talking About It

Good morning and welcome to my blog. I’m kickin’ off 2010 with a post on joining John P’s Health Challenge.

It’s been two years of talk, but so far no results in my plan to get healthy. As of this post, I weigh 215lbs, with a BMI 35.6, my waist is 42 inches, my stomach is 45 inches. I stand 5ft 6in tall. My neck is bigger than my biceps, and last time I bent over to tie my shoe I farted and scared the dog. You might be asking, “Just how in the hell could you let yourself go like that?” Well, if you’ve made a spontaneous purchase of fitness equipment during a 3am infomercial, only to refuse the shipment on delivery then maybe you understand. If you enjoy food, I mean REALLY enjoy food, then you’re speaking my language. If you’re busy doing other things then you might get it. To know me, is to know a highly motivated guy. I just haven’t focused my energy on my health. Shame on me. Here’s a quick timeline recap of my attempts to get fit:

May 31, 2008 – Wii Not Be Fit – view the cartoon fat version of me. My first documented attempt at getting fit. BMI 30.46, Weight 196.5lbs.

Dec 11, 2008 – It’s Not About Weight It’s About Getting Healthy – I use the phrase “two tugboats bumping”, laughter ensues. BMI 31.57, Weight 196.5lbs.

Jan 25, 2009 – Fit Photographers Update – My last documented progress report about a week after hospital discharge. The fitphotographers website has since gone offline. I’m hoping they stayed motivated where I did not. BMI 31.57, Weight 202lbs.

I encourage you to read those posts, it will give you some insight into how I managed to reach my current condition.

So what’s different now? At the moment nothing–I’m still a fat ass typing up a blog entry–BUT I’m hoping to execute my fitness plans better this go around. Step #1 is trying to follow the plan outlined by my friend John P over at One Man’s Blog. Part food, part fitness, it’s the social media support system that will help maintain discipline in my routine. That and a strong competitive streak might just keep me inline. Look for daily updates via Facebook & Twitter, and a weekly blog update on this topic of fitness. Step #2 is getting with my pal John Hays who’s all about being fit with Team Beachbody. He’s motivated enough for the two of us, which is good seeing as how I’m typing this and still have doubts.

“You can’t quit quitting.”

Heard that once, thought it was stupid, but then I’m the guy with the 45 inch waist…

Fit Photographer Update – Progress Month 2

I’ve realized that I miss the structure of my youth. (My Dad just rolled over in the grave hearing that) The benefit of childhood is the worst thing in your life was chores & homework. Oh how we wish we could grow up faster until we realize how easier things were before.

My independence has gotten the better of me because frankly, I’m lazy. You, my loyal readers may think, “How is this possible? A.J. is freakin’ busy ALL THE TIME!” but alas it’s true. The laziness I speak of is not so much a sloth-like behavior as much as it is a lack of action or execution of an organized plan. The laziness I speak of is a cunning imagination that uses my busy schedule as an excuse in for not getting things done–things that should be considered more important that whatever has my attention at the moment.

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It’s Not About Weight, It’s About Getting Healthy

Wii Fit says I'm Obese

If you’re reading Firgs’ blog (and you should be) then you know today she posted a shout out to the FPB, a space on the web where photographers from around the globe have gotten together to support & motivate one another to get healthy. I caught Carlos‘ announcement on Twitter earlier this month, and he had originally made the challenge to SWPB members. It’s no surprise that folks were interested, albeit reluctant to post revealing images of themselves. Today I join the ranks of those looking to get in shape. However, desire is not the same thing as achievement, which only comes with action.

I haven’t always been heavy, in fact, I was kind of the cute potbellied kid growing up. As an adolescent teen, I was always too skinny–like the kid in the comic book ads–and my father fed me all kinds of stuff to put weight on me. My favorite was the chocolate malt with wheat germ served up in a half-gallon container. I’d drink two of those a day as well as an assortment of potatoes, rice and plenty of starchy carbs. Still, when I graduated highschool I weighed about 125lbs, but I wasn’t so scraggly looking. I probably would have stayed skinny if not for the alcohol. Truly, I think that was the beginning for me. Nothing like alcohol to kill a super fast metabolism. Factor in all the things that come with being an adult, regular work hours which leads to money which leads to lots of partying followed by poor sleep habits exacerbated by a lousy diet all of which is ignored when you’re younger because “Hey! Why change things if nothing’s broken?” and it’s not surprising to me that I was in denial about my weight for so long. Let’s be clear, I’ve known I was getting heavier, but when I looked in the mirror I did not see the heavier version of me. My weight was not depressing me. When I looked in the mirror, I always saw my potential not my reality, and this time reality was going to slap me right upside the face.

2007 My weight about 225lbs.

I realized I needed to do something when I took a look at our maternity pictures taken last year. There was my wife glowing, and staring me down was a face I did not recognize. When did my head become so round? Where did my neck go? Did my wife & I really look like two tugboats bumping when we kissed? It was cute when Michelle was pregnant the way people kidded me about putting on support weight. That quickly turned to “WOW, did you get pregnant too A.J.?”, which didn’t have the same bit of humor. It wasn’t long after that my doctor put me on high blood pressure pills. Still the reality of my current condition didn’t inspire much of a change.

To quote Garfield, “Diet is DIE with a T on the end of it.” Let’s be honest, I’ve known exactly what I need to do to get healthy since last year. I need to eat better. I need to exercise. I need to use more calories than I consume. Pretty straight forward stuff, and yet here I am standing 5’6″ weighing in at 198lbs (which was a surprise as I weighed 215lbs at Photoshop World Vegas). According to Wii Fit, I’m considered obese with a BMI of 31.57, and as I write this I’m thinkin’ about Thai Food and a beer. Time my constant companion & most egregious excuse, just simply won’t bend to my control, or rather I’m not putting forth the effort to make it.

(Yeah, I’m suckin’ the gut in on the right. I do that subconsciously now, all the time, I have very strong ab muscles)

Left is relaxed, Right is how I always stand.ajwood_heavy_001

But then, I look at my daughter, and I think of my father who passed away when he was 57. I think of the history of men in my family ALL whom have died from heart disease. I don’t want to leave my wife & daughter before I am ready. In today’s world my daughter needs me more than ever to face the challenges life has to bring. So that’s it then. That’s my motivation. Lord willing, I’ll use that to make the changes I’ve been procrastinating for so long.

My Daughter is a constant source of Inspiration

P.S. – If you really must know about the tattoos, you can read about them in this old post.

Wii Be Not Fit

A hectic schedule, drinking, and poor diet habits, have led to a lifestyle that is a lot less fit than in my 20’s. While I wouldn’t consider myself obese, it wasn’t until a few months ago I realized just how much larger I had become. My friend Ricardo graciously offered to take some pics of Michelle & I just before Sydney was born. When Michelle & I reviewed the proofs, I was suddenly hit with the reality that I was heavier than I imagined (or not as skinny as saw myself daily). In fact, at 5ft 6in my weight hit a peak of 220lbs in January, but when I looked in the mirror I saw the beer belly that made me appear as pregnant as Michelle this past year. I didn’t notice how round my face had become or that I was slowly losing my chin as my neck had widened a great deal. The brutal truth had been revealed, and I could see what other people had been commenting on for over a year.

I had a chance to pickup the Wii Fit game released earlier this month, but had not set it up until this past week. I chose the Wii Fit mainly because the idea intrigued me, and I have already seen the benefits of playing Wii Sports. The game comes with with Wii Fit controller pad, which is a large floor unit roughly 18×9 inches. The unit is plastic, but felt solid and was fairly heavy. It’s powered by four AA batteries, which come in the package. Setup was a breeze, I simply inserted the Wii Fit game disc, and was walked through the process of creating my fitness profile.

In creating my fitness profile, I was asked to choose a Mii. This is the first game I have played where the Mii had hands & feet. That was not the only visual adjustment made to my Mii. After choosing the Mii you are put through a Body Test. You are asked questions about your height, age, and the weight of the clothes you are wearing. The test measure BMI, weight, and balance. The results of my first body test:

  • BMI 30.46 – Considered obese
  • Height – 5ft 6in
  • Weight – 196.5lbs
  • Balance – Poor (Afterwards, I realized the measurement is based on how quickly you find your balance)
  • Wii Fit Age – 42

Upon being told my Wii Fit age, my Mii character suddenly transformed into a heavier obese version. I was impressed and disgusted at the same time. Family & friends had chided me about my weight, but now the Wii Fit was piling on too. My results were certainly less impressive than when Ben Sanders jumped on his Wii Fit.

After completing the Body Test, I was asked to put a stamp on the Wii Fit calendar to mark my results. From there I had the option to go and try different workout routines. There are four main areas including Yoga, Strength Training, Balance, and Aerobic Conditioning. Keeping with the gaming theme, users are awarded Wii Fit points, which unlock various fitness games within the Wii Fit plaza. Being the first day, I simply went through a sample of each area.

I did well in the Yoga & Aerobic areas, but was weak again in Balance, which I attribute more to learning to master the floor controller, and my Strength was decent, but not great. You are led through the various routines by a virtual fitness instructor, and your overall fitness time is tracked to help create the graphs found in the Wii Fit plaza. I kept my first day pretty light, and worked out for about 45 minutes.

This morning was the second time I had used the Wii Fit, and upon entering the plaza I was told it had been 5 days since my last workout. The reminder can be encouraging or nagging depending on your mood when playing the game. I was asked to do another body test, and was surprised to see the following results:

  • BMI 30 – Still considered obese
  • Height – 5ft 6in
  • Weight – 193lbs
  • Balance – Good (Better since I understood how to take the test)
  • Wii Fit Age -31 (Yeah me! I’m 11yrs younger)
  • It was nice to see the progress graph after taking the body test.

Conclusion – My first impressions of the Wii Fit is that the game is well suited for anyone new to fitness. The instructions are clear, and the exercises are challenging, but not overly difficult. The gaming aspect is a nice touch to keep your workouts fresh & interesting. For someone who is active already, and in good shape, your opinion might be different. I think a fit person will initially enjoy the game, but soon become bored by the routines. However, I have not unlocked all the fitness routines, and I could be mistaken in that assumption.

I’m going to continue to use the Wii Fit to see if the routine can actually achieve some quality results. Not only am I trying to achieve good health for the sake of my family, but I was recently inspired by the CNN story on Muata Kamdibe who reduced his body fat percentage from 44% to 6.5%. His progress is documented on his blog “Mr. Low Body Fat.”

Update 6/6/2008Laura weighs in on the Wii Fit over at her blog.