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Tue Jan 22, 2013, 12:04 PM

Have you ever done a complete 180 in attitude about something?

I have, fairly recently. I have completely changed my attitude about fitness from where I was as a teenager, some 30 years ago.

When I was a kid, I was the weak, nerdy, non-athletic bookworm who was into early computers (I thought a Commodore 64 was the ultimate!). And, I hated PE with a passion, it was mostly an excuse to get abuse from the more athletic guys and ignored or dismissed by the teachers, although I pretty much learned how to survive it by hanging in the shadows as much as possible, trying to blend into the background like a chameleon.

My attitude back then was "this is for dumb jocks, the ones too stupid to use their minds". And, I actually kept and reinforced that attitude through my college days.

An irony here, though, I have had some "interesting" physical health problems over the years. I was in high school when I was diagnosed with primary hypertension, and it wouldn't be atypical to have readings of something like 210/140 at a routine check. So, I was on meds for it at age 17. Not a good thing. No apparent correlation to anything medically, either, I weighed about what I weigh now, say 160ish, and am 6' even, so I wasn't grossly overweight by any means. At 18/19, just to add to the joy, I started having times when I felt very dizzy, weak, unsteady on my feet, and I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, albeit pretty mild. Again, no real obvious cause, I had actually lost some weight at the time and was down to probably my lowest adult weight, around or just under 150. When I was in my 30's, I developed GI bleeds, and ultimately had a part of my stomach and small intestine removed in 2007, due to repeated peptic and duodenal ulcers of an "ideopathic" origin, ie, they didn't really know why, probably autoimmune, since they didn't respond to treatment of H. pylori with antibiotics. I was a sick pup for a while in my 30s, I had terrible, agonizing stomach aches many nights, where I would sort of curl up into a ball because the pain was so bad, and I felt like crap yet again most of the time, and "ordinary" activities were taxing. So, I know what it feels like to be "unhealthy" and it is NOT a good feeling.

Now, another contributing factor to my attitude - perhaps this is more "out there" than the first, I was actually afraid, very irrationally, of the world political situation and that it would mean I would somehow be sucked into the military during some kind of crisis. I was deeply influenced by the attitudes of my oldest sister, who was part of the student resistance to Viet Nam at the University of Michigan in the late 1960s, and even though I was very young, I took that to heart and feared the entire concept. Of course, due to world events, like Iran and Afghanistan, and Reagan being in the Whitehouse, I figured a war was imminent at any time. I will never forget how traumatic it was for me to go to the post office and register with the Selective Service. Now, anyone with half a brain would know I was never going to be cannon fodder given my health status of hypertension (this was about a year before the diabetes thing popped up), but I still worried, excessively, about it.

So, that lead me to a place where I was sick, and I was completely unwilling to do anything to get better, because I thought if I were fit and healthy, it would leave me open to being drafted. Stupid, irrational, FUBAR thinking if ever there was. I stopped going to doctors entirely by about 20, maybe 21, and other than an ER visit for a severely sprained ankle at about 28 or 29, I didn't see a doctor until I had repeated bouts, probably for at least a year, of the severe GI pain and bleeding, when it was no longer an option to ignore it. I know it's pretty typical of guys to try to plow through the pain and avoid seeing a doctor at all costs, but that isn't really a good idea in most situations. Ignoring problems just makes them worse.

So, after my GI surgery in 2007, I had another reversal of fortune. I was maintaining about 175-180 despite the GI issues prior to surgery, but I lost about 25-30 lbs after - in late 2008, I weighed in at 155, I was pretty thin, too thin, really, for my six foot frame. And, for the first time in a long time, I felt like a million bucks -- high energy, able to do pretty much anything I felt like, able to do all kinds of routine physical things like shoveling snow or pushing a mower with no problems at all. It was very liberating both physically an mentally.

And I fucked it up in about 2 years. I gained a LOT of weight by going back to very unhealthy eating habits -- drinking a ton of pop, eating junk food and fast food for the calories I wasn't getting from pop, which was probably about 75% of my daily intake. And, big surprise, I felt like crap again, with everything that went with it, well, at least I assume, because again I quit going to my doctor. Out of shame, embarrassment, and a feeling of "I can handle this on my own" -- except I couldn't.

So, August, 2012, as most of you know, was the "August of my discontent" or, perhaps a better way to phrase it, the most fucked-up month of my life. While it was mostly a question of the mind, my physical health could NOT have helped -- I weighed 210 lbs when I stepped on a scale for the first time in 3 years back in August. A gain of 55 LBS from my 155 low in 2008. None of my clothes fit. I felt terrible all of the time, a lot of headaches and dizzyness, problems sleeping, some GI distress although nothing like I had previously experienced. I was, of course, a mental basketcase as well as a physical mess.

Although I would never recommend my method, panic attacks, of getting into a fitness regime, I am happy to say my thinking about this issue has changed 180 from where I was. I SO look forward to my gym workouts, cycling, and all of the other new things I have embraced. I am very careful about what I eat now. I try to get enough rest (not ever going to happen, alas). I drink a lot of water, close to a gallon most days. It has all helped dramatically. I have now lost 80% of my excess weight. My strength and stamina are improving dramatically. This morning, I was able to run 10 complete laps around the gym at my club, for a total of 0.6 miles -- If you had asked me in July whether I would be running in January, I would have accused you of being high, because it was not even on my radar screen. And, it feels like a permanent change now, I really want and need to do this on a daily basis. In fact, when I'm done with one of my group fitness class workouts or a one on one with my trainer, I feel tired, even drained, sometimes weak, but I feel about the best mentally I have in ages, and physically I rebound fast and feel like a million an hour or so later.

To tie this all together -- why the weird tangent about the military? Because, something I never would have thought of doing, but I want to enroll in a military style fitness training program later this year to close out my year of training. How crazy is that? Me, doing that? I know I can be ready to do it by the fall, and I'm so looking forward to doing it. To me, it will be the ultimate way to face some deeply ingrained past fears and issues.

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Arrow 13 replies Author Time Post
Reply Have you ever done a complete 180 in attitude about something? (Original post)
Denninmi Jan 2013 OP
zbdent Jan 2013 #1
Denninmi Jan 2013 #2
Aristus Jan 2013 #3
Denninmi Jan 2013 #4
discntnt_irny_srcsm Jan 2013 #6
discntnt_irny_srcsm Jan 2013 #5
Warren DeMontague Jan 2013 #7
Denninmi Jan 2013 #8
Warren DeMontague Jan 2013 #11
radicalliberal Jan 2013 #9
Denninmi Jan 2013 #10
Warren DeMontague Jan 2013 #12
kimtjj195_tx Jan 2013 #13

Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 12:49 PM

1. chicken ...

used to be nauseated by the smell of fried chicken.

Now I love it.

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Response to zbdent (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 01:20 PM

2. Hey, you were a brave man just to read all of that.

I should lean to keep it short and sweet like you did.

Enjoy the chicken!

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 03:48 PM

3. The death penalty.

As recently as 15 years ago, I was real gung-ho about the death penalty. Really kill-kill-kill, rah-rah-rah about it. Somewhere along the line, I changed my mind about the whole thing. I really think it is beneath a civilized society to put someone to death. It means we are no different and no better than people who commit murder.

I don't know how to account for the change of heart.

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Response to Aristus (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 04:10 PM

4. I have really mixed feelings about it.

A few, very few, crimes rise to the level that I could support a death sentence. Someone truly evil, like Eichmann, or perhaps the 9/11 terrorists had any been taken alive.

For the day to day, DP is both excessive and inefficient in so many ways.

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Response to Aristus (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 11:09 PM

6. I have as well.

The heat of battle is the only fitting place to mete out death. In civilization, life without parole will do nicely.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 11:07 PM

5. Soft of...

...I used to be a Republican.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 04:52 PM

7. No. I mean, yes.

Okay, serious question deserves a serious answer:

Fundamentally, my political views solidified at about age 12 and have remained essentially the same. One of my first memories of budding political awareness is seeing this puffy, smirking, marshmallow-faced asshole blathering on and on on my tv set, and every word out of his sanctimonious fucking mouth was pissing me right the hell off.

Later I found out his name was Jerry Falwell, and he claimed to speak for something called "The Moral Majority". I decided then and there that I must be part of the immoral minority.

On some issues i have gone from relative indifference (based more upon a youthful attitude of "it doesn't affect me" than an active opposition to he idea) to passionate advocacy: universal health care and gay marriage equality being two of those.

In terms of personal life, i wouldn't consider my changes 180s so much as growth, usually borne of life experience. I don't drink- haven't or a long, long time- but it took me a while to figure that one out. I exercise, because not exercising had consequences. When i was a very young man it was difficult for me to be monogamous and faithful - but I got all that out of my system well before i got married. (Good move.) etc.

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #7)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 05:07 PM

8. Have you ever seen this video by Genesis?

I loved it, thought it was a great satire of televangelists:

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Response to Denninmi (Reply #8)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 03:35 PM

11. Yeah. Totally. Although I'm more of a Peter Gabriel than a Phil Collins type.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 07:07 AM

9. Greetings, Denninmi! :) We had a brief exchange in one of Bonobo's topics a few days ago.

I wish I had spotted this topic of yours sooner.

I'm very sorry to hear about all the health problems you have had for much of your life. I can easily relate to your situation because of my own, although they're relatively few in number.

I'm not sure I would say you "changed your mind" about the benefits of physical exercise, and the reason why is you were never educated as to the necessity and benefits of physical exercise. The sad (and infuriating) fact is that none of us had the opportunity to learn these important facts because the mandatory boys' P.E. of our generation was a hypocritical fraud, as well as a bully's paradise. You (and the rest of us) were never instructed as to how necessary exercise was to develop and maintain good health. P.E. should have had a different name. There was no education in "Physical Education." The class was totally useless to nonathletic boys. The policymakers should have been honest for a change (instead of being so boneheaded and hypocritical) and named the class "Forced Sports" because that's all it really was. As far as I'm concerned, the President's Council on Physical Fitness was nothing but a big joke, and a cruel one at that. Were any remedial programs ever provided for those students who were out of shape? In the school years when I was forced to take P.E., I never even heard the words "exercise program" fall from the lips of any of my so-called instructors -- who, incidentally, didn't even teach about the sports themselves. I have nothing but contempt for those who want to impose the same sort of P.E. on the latest generation of nonathletic boys. (I'm amazed the defenders and promoters of the "old P.E." even include some progressives! A RW stance, I must say!) Yes, I realize there are school districts that have innovative P.E. programs; but the "old P.E." is still around in far too many districts, as far as I'm concerned.

Just think how healthy our society would be today if the nonathletic kids had been educated as to the benefits and, indeed, the necessity of physical exercise to one's health, especially with regard to preventing certain diseases! But that was not done because nonathletic boys were nonpersons in the world of mandatory P.E. and school sports -- nonpersons who were deserving of no concern or respect whatsoever. The fact that this vital information was not provided, especially to those who would have benefited immensely, is downright criminal.

To get back to the point I was making, you were never educated as to the benefits of physical exercise. Instead, P.E. forced you to associate (at least on an emotional level) any physical activity with sports and bullying. But the truth is that there is no real connection between sports and exercise programs! The most efficient way for a sedentary individual to get into shape is by getting on an exercise program and is NOT by wasting time learning how to play one or more sports. A sport should be a physical activity that a guy chooses to engage in for recreation of his own free will. But, of course, what has been the practice for generations is that sports are supposed to be test of manhood. Well, to that notion, I have this to say: Baloney! So, I would say the following to any sedentary guy whose boyhood mandatory P.E. experience left him with nothing but emotional scars: Physical fitness has absolutely nothing to do with sports! A health club is not a school gym! You won't regret placing membership at a good health club and hiring a personal trainer! Your health (and possibly your life) depends on it!

Just so I won't be misunderstood by any of the sports fans who read this post of mine, no, I do not believe team sports should be removed from schools. Every opportunity should be provided for all the kids who want to play sports. I even favor retaining the "old P.E." as an elective. Just let the kids who aren't interested in sports opt out.

Sorry for the lecture/rant, Denninmi. I just thought you were being unfair to yourself. I'm quite impressed with your own exercise program. It sounds even harder than my bodybuilding program. Of course, once I've gotten over the flu, I'm going to begin using an elliptical machine (one with movable handles) every single day when I don't do weightlifting, as my personal trainer told me to start doing. I mean using one for an entire hour uninterrupted. Now, that's murder!

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Response to radicalliberal (Reply #9)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 10:30 AM

10. Hey, no need to apologize.

Last edited Thu Jan 24, 2013, 12:08 PM - Edit history (1)

I love a good rant. I'm great at posting them myself, so it's all good.

I completely agree with your assessment of high school/junior high school PE classes. It was something I dreaded every day from the first of it to the last of it. In Michigan, we only had to take one year in both junior high and high school. Knowing then what I now know, I would have at least tried to get something out of it. As it was, I did nothing useful for those two years. The one thing I can say for certain, it rewarded nothing but showing up, I got straight A's in both junior high and high school just by showing up, changing my clothes every day, and trying not to attract attention. Which was the only bright spot, because I was a straight A student and would have been devastated to have had my gpa messed up by that class. The other thing I remember, now that I think about it, was spending at least a few weeks, probably 3 or 4, of the first month of my high school PE class in the library "studying" because of Dr's orders that I not participate in any strenuous activities -- among the other joys in life I've been through, at 12 1/2 I had a testicular torsion and removal of the left testicle, and it left me with "phantom pain" for about 3-4 years, severe enough that I spent a good deal of time down for the count and sick to my stomach. That left me pretty self-conscious too, especially about having to take showers, even though the condition isn't outwardly visible, they, of course, used a silicon prosthesis. Sorry to be graphic about it, probably TMI. Of course, that definitely left me questioning my masculinity on some level at times. I guess it was all part of the package deal of my health situation. Little wonder I'm messed up.

I absolutely LOVE my gym, ok, health club - it's a complete facility, other than lack of in indoor track. But, to be honest with you, I AM having a do-over of my high school experience, the right way, how it should have been but wasn't. They offer a lot of things, including some team sports, that I'm not doing now, but would like to check out. That's just me, my life as a kid was really messed up all around, my father was very abusive and didn't allow me or my family much interaction with the outside world, so for me, this is paradise. Just what I needed at this time in my life. God knows, having gone through what I did last summer, if I were just sitting home nights and weekends, I would be in a much worse position both physically and mentally.

And, hey, I did my 10 laps again this morning. I'm still slow, and I still get winded. And there was a woman in there about 60-65 "power walking" and she was almost as fast as I was at a slow jog. But, damn it, I kept catching my reflection in the glass of the windows as I went past them, and I felt like a million bucks doing it.

No way in Hell I could do a full hour on the elliptical, unless maybe I did it at an extremely slow pace. So, hey, I'm really impressed with you, too. And thanks for the vote of confidence in me. I also added another 10 lbs of weight this morning when I was bench pressing, up to 75. It was NOT easy, I only did about 28-30 of the 40 reps I wanted to do, but it's still progress.

Have a great one!

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Response to radicalliberal (Reply #9)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 03:37 PM

12. Honestly, my issue with health clubs, etc. is getting my ass over there and setting aside the time.

I've found it's personally cheaper and way easier to set myself up to do as much as possible at home.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 10:33 PM

13. Oh definitely, on several occasions

 

For example, I used to hate broccoli. Now, I quite like the stuff. Also, I am more supportive of women's rights, including access to contraception.

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