May 28, 2013 The Journey No Comments

I have always considered myself healthy, at least when compared to the typical American.  For the most part I made healthy eating decisions, I didn’t abuse my body with drugs or alcohol, I remained fairly active up until my early thirties when kid #2 arrived.  Growing up my family and I lived out in the oak studded hills of Mendocino County wine country; or as I would affectionately call it “the boonies”!  We lived on just over 20 acres and this was considered a smaller property with most parcels ranging in the 14-40 acre range in our “neighborhood”.  Our house was essentially at the center of a large loop that traced the west slope of a moderate coastal range mountainside.  The last 2 miles in either direction of this loop were to be navigated over a pot hole laced dirt road.  It was the country life that’s for sure.  Our source of heat in the winter was a wood burning stove and lots of blankets, our source of air conditioning in the summer was a window mounted air conditioner called a “swamp Cooler”.  The winters were fairly mild, it got pretty cold but rarely would we see snow.  Summers were hot, several 100+ degree days.  There were a lot of advantages to rural living, but the glaring disadvantage was transportation.  I rode my bike a lot.  It was about 15 miles to the nearest town (Ukiah).  I would ride into town to work or for the hell of it.  I would get rides to school from neighbors, or get a ride or borrow a vehicle from my parents whenever possible, but to meet up with friends or go to work I was usually on my own.  I finally bought a truck when I was a senior in high school.

I rode my bike a lot, I enjoyed it most of the time.  I also played a lot of baseball and soccer in high school and the endurance I gained from riding 50-60 commuter miles a week paid huge dividends in my performance.   As a pitcher I had really strong legs, I generated a lot of power from my lower body and had very successful Junior and Senior years as a pitcher.  I started racing mountain bikes at age 16 entering some local races.  At 17 I started traveling to races and having some success in the sport class.  By age 19 my racing slowly faded out as I left behind the comforts of home life and set out on my own moving to Rocklin, CA..  Once again, without a vehicle I relied on my bike as my main mode of transportation.  I continued to take prerequisite courses towards my pre-physical therapy major and for income I worked at a local gym as a certified personal trainer.  It was during this time when my body underwent its first major transformation.  When I started working as a personal trainer I was incredibly fit, aerobically speaking anyway, at around 185lbs and just 5-6% bodyfat.  I began working more in the weight room and spending less time on the bike.  I also began changing my diet to take in more “protein”, which to me meant eating meat or dairy at every meal, 5 small meals a day.  The diet plan had a name, I can’t recall it specifically but it was basically engineered for me based on how I answered a litany of questions about my body type & fitness goals.  It was essentially a prescribed Atkins type diet, very similar to what modern amateur body builders might still subscribe.  Lots of chicken, dairy, and fish with sides of veggies and very little grains, fruit or root vegetables.  It worked..  I gained muscle mass pretty easily and in about 6 months shot up to 210lbs.  I didn’t have a body builder type body, just thicker version of my old scrawny self.  I also did a lof of rock climbing, hiking and backpacking during this time, so my body wasn’t just built upon a isolated “gym” strength training regime.  Results were good but I couldn’t keep going with that diet for much longer.  It was too expensive, too restrictive, and all the meat and dairy were wreaking havoc on my digestive system.  I stopped the diet and just tried to eat as healthy as I could without a regimented plan.  I stopped working out after a scary incident in the gym where I thought I ruptured a disc in my lower back while trying to sled squat an obscene mount of weight for my size.  I spent about a week in bed, turned out ok but scared me out of the gym for many years, I never did return to the weight room with intentions to “bulk up”.

Almost 17 years later, far less fit and active than I was and my weight had slowly crept up to a high of 242lb.  I say this was my high, but honestly I don’t weigh myself very often.  At one point I did step on a scale and was shocked to see such a high result.  I do believe there was a time my weight exceeded 242lb, but I have no physical proof.  I hovered between 220lb and 225lb for about 5 years in my mid thirties, getting in a ride or some type of exercise when I could, but for the most part my 3 part role as father, husband & employee took most of my time. It was last couple years where I really packed on the weight.  With kids getting a little older and life seemingly got a little less hectic I found myself with more time.  So what do I do with all this time?  I worked more of course!  As an eCommerce specialist there is always new stuff to learn.  I also did a fair amount of side work for extra income.  I would work days in the office and spend my evenings in my home office.  I snacked a lot, taking frequent breaks to rest my eyes and step away from the computer I would often head straight for the fridge or pantry for a lite snack.  My wife and I have always been on the healthy end of the spectrum when it came to food purchasing.  We didn’t buy potato chips, candy, or other common snack foods hanging around in our pantry.  Our kids didn’t drink soda but I would occasionally buy 12 packs of coke for myself.  12 pack wouldn’t last me long, maybe 4-5 days.  It was precisely because of this reason that I didn’t buy it often.  Once I had it I couldn’t stop drinking it.  I don’t care what any government research center says, sugar is addicting and coke is a highly addictive product.  I don’t buy it anymore.  I don’t miss it either.

I have recently made drastic changes to my diet and life in general.  About 3 years ago I quit my job.  It was a great job, I miss certain parts of it.  I worked for a large internet based sports eCommerce conglomerate that sold Tennis, Racquetball, Skateboarding, Bass Fishing, Inline skating, Running, and Cycling products. While each category (tennis, running, etc..) was a separate entity, they shared certain resources such as HR, Programming, graphic design, imaging, video and accounting departments. As project manager I was basically the liaison between the categories and the creative departments (imaging, graphic design, programming, and video).  I would help facilitate re-designs, new features, new product launches (blogs, video segments, special photo shoots, etc..), and so on.  The work was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it for the most part.  There were some issues but for the most part I was really happy there.  I left primarily because my kids were starting school and with my wife and I working full time we were basically absentee parents.  It was tearing me up inside that while I worked someone else was caring for my kids.  On weekdays I would see them for 45 minutes or so in the morning, then again for about 2 hours at night before they went to bed.  I left on good terms, my wife works for the running division, its a really good company to work for.  I had some other stuff lined up that didn’t pan out, I ended up with a great opportunity at a online golf shop doing much of the same stuff I did with the last company only on a smaller scale.  I have been there for almost 3 years now.  With the work I do I have the luxury of working from home a few days a week.  Despite the substantial cut in pay, it’s the best decision I have made career wise.  There was some undesirable side affects though…  Sitting at home in my comfy chair, my kitchen only about 30 steps away..  I started gaining weight pretty quick.  I wasn’t used to having such quick access to a plethora of food.  Like I said before we don’t buy junk food, but anytime you eat more calories than your body is burning you will gain weight! And so I did, I tacked on about 20 extra pounds in less than 2 years.

I don’t have any regrets about anything I did or did not do in my past.  I have very few skeletons in my closet, I sleep well at night knowing I walk a straight path.  I find myself in a lot of situations where I could take advantage of certain resources and I don’t.  I have no desire to.  I think my moral compass is pretty strong and I like that people trust me.  I would have liked to finish college but that is more of a personal goal, I think success comes from within, not a certificate.  I had a lot of great experiences, lots of outdoor excursions that  I was fortunate to be a part of.  I dropped out of college when I was around 21, I don’t consider this a failure, I did earn 2 associates degrees, became a certified personal trainer and had a hell of a lot of fun!  I took a lot of health science classes including 2 semesters of nutrition science, 2 semesters each of Anatomy, Physiology, chemistry and biology.  I took a semester long course specifically on exercise  science as it applies to personal training (Personal Training Certification course) in which nutrition was covered quite a bit.  In nutrition classes and elsewhere meat and dairy were touted as essential to our existence, unless you had a rare allergy that prevented you from consuming meat and dairy it should be a staple of your diet.  This was something I never questioned until recently, it made sense to me.  Vegan/Vegetarianism was not something that I ever really understood, it just didn’t make sense to me why someone would voluntarily eliminate such essential foods from their diets.  I am not much of a conspiracy theorist but I do feel we as a population have been duped on many levels by our government.  Nutrition is of primary concern to me and I think government is to blame for our growing obesity and health issues.  What they allow big food to get away with is far worse than murder, its genocide.

Morning Blend

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Strawberry (frozen)
  • Blackberry (frozen)
  • Banana (frozen)
  • Cara Cara (frozen)
  • Dates
  • Ground Flax Seed
Written by berezay