Here's the skinny: I've been near 300 lbs. for years and need to lose weight. I'm married to a wonderful lady, and we have a family. One of our boys often asks if I'll run with him. I've always had to tell him, "No." In August of '09, my wife learned about a couch-to-5k running program, and I agreed to try it with her. This blog chronicles our progress on that training program. I hope I'll soon be able to surprise my son by telling him, "Yes, I'll go running with you!"

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Into the new week

I woke up tired and sore yesterday, and woke up down today.  My calves are sore from running in my winter gear this weekend, and from hiking over many hills throughout the day.  I came home from work yesterday not excited to run, but ready to run, but then I realized that all of my tech undergarments were still in the wash from this past weekend's camping trip, so I took a pass on the run.  I made productive use of the time, however, and got nearly all of this week's coursework done by the time I turned in.  I now only need to stay active on the course discussion board for the balance of the week.  That will let me get a head start on next week's work.

I remember my mother being after me regularly to get my room clean.  Typically, when I set about to do it, I'd find something interesting that would take my mind off the task and the task would then drag on and on and on.  I think I started keeping my room better when I discovered girls, and was allowed to have an occasional visitor of the finer persuasion.  Perhaps it is only fitting that my kids seem pretty much cut from the same cloth.  Unlike my childhood home, where my mother would not let us do household chores apart from our rooms (she said it was her job, after all), our kids have been doing chores since they've been able to follow instructions.  There's enough of them to spread out the work (perhaps that's part of the problem?), so none of them are overloaded.  Each has one chore room or area to care for each week, along with one specific dinner-related chore (e.g., clearing and washing the table, washing up the little ones, doing the dishes, sweeping the floor).  They are on a rotation.  Yet getting them to do that oftentimes feels like trying to pull teeth from a velociraptor.  If we put our attention one one or two who are slacking, the others start slacking.  If one gets a room cleaned well and early, some others will toss some things in it or make it a complete mess again.  I now understand why one of my schoolmate's parents made some rooms of the house off-limits, but that's a policy I would not be able to tolerate.  Perhaps I'll resort to my mother's course of action: wishing that her kids would grow up to have kids just like them. No, I would not wish that on my kids, though should they ever have kids of their own they might finally understand why I could so often get so frustrated so easily.

Anyway, I just wish they would realize that they get more freedom, and more privileges, when they take care of the house and keep up on their chores.  Time spent on chores--doing them, doing them again, re-doing them yet again--is time that could be spent elsewhere.  The extra wear and tear on the house and furniture means we need to repair or replace things more often, taking monies we could have spent on other things.

To top it all off, I'm not super-handy when it comes to home repairs.  There are some things I can do (I really like mudding and taping drywall), but most things take me so much longer and are so far outside of my comfort zone that I'm always second-guessing myself.  When the budget allows it, I'd rather hire one of the handy fellows from the church to come over and take care of project A or B, but the budget rarely affords such luxuries.

I'm really starting to sense that being healthy goes way beyond nutrition, rest, and exercise.  It has to do with limits and margins; it encompases how you live in all areas of life, not just what goes into the body through the mouth.

The cabin this past weekend had no TV, no computer, and no phone.  Heat was a wood stove. While there was time for fun and conversation, much time was spent preparing meals and keeping the fire going (to keep warm).  It hearkened unto a much simpler life.  Admittedly, a much harder life, but a simpler one.  I would just love to figure out some ways to simplify my own life, without making a drastic change like joining the Amish or moving to a cabin in the woods.  I really believe that a lot of the inner struggles that plague me arise from all the craziness I've allowed to come into our lives.  Running should be one of those things that gives me a taste of that simpler life, but in many ways it seems more like "just one more thing" I'm supposed to be doing.

Until my outlook changes, I just need to keep my feet going, my intake limited, and my sleep regular.  For now, that's all I can do.


  1. I was talking with someone once and the "Eat less, move more." slogan got mentioned, and the person I was with said "....and focus on the 'Move more' part." For me at least, if someone held a gun to my head and said prioritize those two things, I'd have to pick "Move more.". As long as I exercise, if I don't go crazy with food, things generally fall into place. In fact, this is one of the reasons I thought it cool you were pursuing the 1 Hour Runner program. I most definitely found there was something magical about that 1 hour point. The pounds seem to shed much more quickly when I could do that once per week. Another possible item to keep things simplified: Pick 1 (and only 1) eating habit you'd like to break - and stop that one. Don't worry about the other x you might also want to break - just focus on that one. Get your body used to that - then go to #2.......

    Good luck......and keep it up!


  2. Well, then, the one habit I need to break most is grabbing all the sweets and food I can find when I'm feeling down. Stress sucks, but eating when stressed sucks more.

  3. You have to remember that you have quite a load on your plate that many others would not be able to handle. You have a HUGE family, you are in school, and are trying to make a major life shift with your health. Any one of those would put a lot of folks over the edge. A lot of the battle is understanding what makes you tick, and taking it a step at a time--like you said, keep putting one foot in front of the other...

  4. I think simplifying things is key to making a house run efficiently. In your case this is especially true. 12 people living in a medium-sized house means that your family has about 3 times the amount of dirt and mess to deal with and no more time in the day than anyone else.
    Some people have the luxury of "just dealing" for a little while until the kids are all grown enough to help out. In your family, every time someone gets old enough to start pulling a little weight, a new baby has been added to the mix. That's about 16 years of babies if my math is correct :-) You have an extra challenge of having 2 little ones right now who need lots of attention. I watched them today. I had them for a little over 3 hours and I wasn't able to get any of my normal housework done because G gets in to everything and E would climb on top of the table every time I turned my back! It's not an easy job and I don't envy it.The fact that Mrs. F. is able to do laundry and get everyone fed while basically watching twin toddlers (not literally, but that's what it's like)is no small feat.
    So, I'm all for taking a hard look at everything (activities, your schooling, toys, games, clothes pets-- yes, I said pets) and saying "Does item give enough enjoyment/payout to compensate for the mess/stress/work/extra financial burden that it brings?"
    You'll likely find that so much of that stuff is not necessary. Is it getting in the way of good, strong relationships with family? Ditch it! (easier said than done, I know).


Curious? Surprised? Have some good tips? Please leave a comment for us here. We especially would love to hear about your successes, or to hear your words of encouragement. Knowing you're out there will help us to keep at it!