Tuesday, August 30, 2016

More steps

My weekly average number of steps has increased recently to the point where I did more than 70,000 steps in both of the last two weeks:
> 70,000 steps in both the past two weeks

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Big changes coming up - trying to sustain the momentum

People who know me will know that my last blog post was carefully worded: "Moving again", and "coal train from eastern Montana"!? More details will be published soon enough, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that I'm leaving Helena at the end of September. I've handed in my notice at work and told my landlord that I'll be vacating my apartment. The wheels are in motion! 

I moved here to Helena on the Labor Day weekend back in 1996, and was fortunate enough to get a job within four days. Life has been a rollercoaster ride of ups and down, but mostly ups, ever since (buying a house, the birth of my daughter, a few job changes, divorce, moving house a few times, new relationships, etc.) Especially in the past 14 months, almost all  the changes have been good ones. 

I've managed to lose 122 pounds in 14 months (405 lbs down to 283 lbs). My waist size has gone from a shocking 60" to a not quite so shocking 48". I used to struggle to find decent clothing to wear. Last week I bought my first pairs on non-5XL non-sweatpants. When I'm in a car, I can do the seatbelt up without needing an extension. When I'm in a restaurant, I can fit in the booths now - I don't need a table. Whereas I used to only be able to walk a city block, now I can regularly walk 8 and 10 miles in a day. I've climbed Mount Helena three separate times in the past three months - that's three more times than in the previous 19 3/4 years of living here! My average weekly number of steps has increased from 35,000 to 70,000+. 

Now, a new phase is about to begin. I want to find a new job, preferably one that is not sitting behind a desk all day. I want to be able to share the gifts that I have (knowledge, wisdom, experience, compassion, love, inspiration, etc.) and thereby enrich the lives of other people. At the same time, I have to maintain my own progress. I know I'm only half way there yet... I still need to lose another 105 lbs. I still want to fit into 36" waist pants (I haven't done that in 25 years). I still have lots of other goals and stepping stones along the way. 

My third time at the summit of Mount Helena (August 27th, 2016)
Eastern Montana will certainly be quite different from the more picturesque mountains of western Montana. Thinking about the positives, it'll make cycling a lot easier. I'll be able to develop those leg muscles more steadily. My former plan: to ride a bike from Helena to Portland, might need to be changed or postponed until another year. A quick-and-dirty calculation says that from Sidney, MT, to Glacier Park is about 487 miles, along US-2 (the Hi-Line). That would still be a good challenge!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

283 - moving again

After bouncing up and down around the 284 lb mark, I'm finally moving in a downward direction again. This morning I weighed in at 283.2 lbs. Yesterday I walked 21,000+ steps (10 miles), and most of them were in the 90 °F hot sun. At one point, I was stuck on National Avenue in Helena, waiting for a hulking long coal train from eastern Montana to clear the crossing. Kind of an appropriate metaphor, really (making good headway, then stopping, but ultimately moving on).

Astute readers of this blog will know that those words were carefully chosen  ;-)

Friday, August 05, 2016

I'm still very much alive

Have I really only posted one blog post in the past month? What's happening? Well, dear reader, it's the plan coming to fruition! I'm spending more time doing the things that are important, and less time in front of my computer(s). About two months ago (maybe ten weeks now), I disconnected my home Internet. For a guy who works with technology (more on that in a moment) that was a radical step. Suddenly, there was nothing for my Chromebook and my laptop and my two Raspberry Pis and my Amazon Echo ("Alexa, I love you!") and my cloud-connected printer and my music and file server to connect to. So I turned most of them off and packed them away. "You're fired!"

An unintended consequence was that my power bill was $30 lower than normal last month!

I've been able to get back into my reading and writing hobbies. I've started watercolor painting again. I'm beginning to get a life back, and it feels great.

I'm sad that the darker (longer) nights are returning. Whereas it used to be light until almost 10 pm (22:00) here, it's now dark before 9 pm (21:00). I guess I won't have to feel odd any more that I'm going to bed while it's still light outside, huh?

I recently acquired a proper, powerful headlight for my bike. It's just annoying that people are so untrustworthy that I have to remove my bicycle pump and tools and lights every time I leave my bike in public. Nobody has stolen the seat yet, but I'm sure that'll happen one of these days too.

284.6 lb
I did hit a new low weight recently, 284.2 lbs (although the photo was from four days earlier, when I was 284.6 lbs). I've been slowly adding back more carbs to my diet as I attempt to increase the amount of fiber. It's a tricky balance - too much fiber/carbs and the weight loss stops or reverses, too little and I'm eating lettuce ten times a week :(

I've seen some good blood pressure readings recently. After months of 140/95 or thereabouts, my last few readings have all been around 110/65, with my resting pulse rate down to 64 as well.

I made another successful summit of Mount Helena last weekend.
Chris atop Mount Helena - July 30th, 2016
I got up super early, walked the two miles from my apartment to the foot of the mountain in the dark (with a head lamp), then climbed up the 1906 Trail and down the Powerline Trail (hard work on the thighs) before the hot sun came up.

This coming weekend I'm going to attempt Mount Sentinel ("the M") in Missoula. I've been contemplating moving there some time. Maybe the time is now? Maybe it's next spring? Perhaps it won't happen. I don't know yet.

There's more to report, but it'll have to wait until another time.