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It’s been a week full of transitions


Whew! What a week!

Inside Tony's BrainBefore I “get into the weeds” and talk about some of the details of the past week, I thought I’d share a few random thoughts and observations in no particular order and no intentional emphasis… …sort of a “stream of consciousness” exercise.  Sound good?  Got your seat belt tightened? Are you mentally braced for the strangeness of entering Tony’s Brain?  LOL  OK then, here we go!

  • This crap is HARD!
  • This whole “getting fit & healthy” thang is gonna kill me!
  • There are a LOT of moving parts to this process.  Tug on one and the others shift. *SIGH*
  • I’m making progress!
  • I feel OLD. Some days more old than on others.
  • I am old. – evidence: I now have to use my reading glasses waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more than I used to…  *SIGH*
  • EVERYTHING takes longer than I thought it would
  • It’s a process… …I’m making progress.
  • I’ve GOT to do this. The quality of my remaining years depend on it.
  • I do feel MUCH better now than I did a couple weeks ago; something about paying attention to my diet, my health, and my fitness has changed my mental outlook.  Yeah, it is everything I’ve listed up above, but, even though only a tiny bit of progress has been made,
    I FEEL BETTER ABOUT MYSELF! simply because I’m doing SOMETHING to improve myself.  That alone is worth all this effort.

The cold hard numbers:

Slow Progress is still ProgressSlow progress… …but progress!

  • Weight 292.8 lbs — Total lost to date: 42.2 lbs / Left to loose: 97.8 lbs

    • no weight loss this past week…BUT check out the body fat % numbers!  Woo hoo!
  • Body Fat: 41.3% — Lost to date: 3.2%  / Left to loose: 28.8%
  • Muscle: 24.1% — Gain of .1% — Yay!!!
  • Visceral Fat: 29.26% — Average over 19 measurements — still getting data here.  Sometimes it is 29% sometimes 30%.  As you can see from the average it seems to be closer to 29%

How did the “plan” go?

Well, it was a mixed bag.  Mostly I stuck to it.  And I knew last week it was a “trial week” meaning that THIS week, beginning Mon Jan 4th was the “real” start of the new Game Plan.

Last week was to try it out and tweak it before jumping in for real.

There are LOTS of things that you have to change if you are serious about getting fitter, healthier and staying that way! In other words, if you plan on this being a permanent lifestyle change and not a temporary effort.

Some examples:

Tracking Calories / Switching to a balanced diet

  • Simpsons dueIt takes TIME to enter data into a program.  Whew!  Those nutrition labels are sometimes very tiny!
  • I am NOT currently eating a balanced diet.  Over the past week I have tended to eat a higher percentage of fat than recommended daily allowances. Also, my carbs are lower than they should be.  GOAL: I am going to try to adjust that this week.
  • I tend to eat calorie dense foods.  Ugh.  GOAL: try to adjust that
  • My sense of portions are way out of whack.  This ties into the other two things.  SIGH
  • I’m better with breakfast and lunch. Dinner is where the shit hits the fan.  Ooops! Did I just use a wordy dird? Damn right I did. 😉
  • I am successfully drinking more water.  Yay Me!
  • I only gave in one time and drank some diet coke.  — Yeah, according to the nutrition label, there’s nothing wrong with doing this but LOTS of articles on the subject and my own personal experience tells me that NOT drinking Diet Coke is better for me than when I drink a lot of diet coke.  I’m actually better drinking a Hansen’s Root Beer when the craving for a soda hits than drinking the chemical nightmare that is Diet Coke.  So there!  *grin*
  • I need to find and consume some healthy snacks…things that are high volume but low calorie and have some nutritional value.  Things that come to mind are raw carrots and cucumbers….things that are fresh and crunchy and filling.  — GOAL: do some research on this.

Daily Blood Glucose Test / Daily Blood Pressure Check.

I had some questions about this.  I am a Type 2 Diabetic and have been so for several years now.  My doctor assures me that IF I loose the weight and get my body fat percentage down, that I’ll be able to stop taking the diabetic medication and the blood pressure medication which keeps both of those conditions in check.

Questions I had at the beginning of the week:

  • How long does it take for the Blood Glucose Level to increase after after drinking a sip of coffee or taking a bite of food?  Actually for me I wanted to know more about the coffee than the food!  LOL

I am NOT a morning person.  My long-time roommate and best friend can attest to this.  He knows after living with me for 15 years to NOT even attempt to speak to me until I’ve had at LEAST one cup of coffee.

Truly, I’m not capable of conscious actions and thought until at least half a cup, so, performing my morning blood glucose test and the morning blood pressure check before consuming any coffee at all…OMG!!!!!!  I’ve mostly trained myself to do this, but sometimes…SIGH.

So, the answer?

  • It depends

SIGH!  I did some research and got all kinds of answers that basically boiled down to: It depends on the individual and it depends on what kinds of food / drink you’re talking about.  Basically high carb (including sugar which is a carb) causes spikes faster.  Fats and Proteins take longer to cause a spike BUT EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT so the only sure way is to experiment and find out what happens to your body when you eat/drink different things:

  • FOR ME: a cup of coffee doesn’t affect either my blood glucose level or my blood pressure.  I get the same readings pre and post not just one cup, but three cups of coffee.  I did the measurements over a course of four days.
  • My morning coffee is Equal Exchange Breakfast Blend, 1/2 tsp of Organic Sweet Leaf Stevia, and 4 Tbsp of Sprouts brand Organic Half and Half.

So….for the next couple weeks I’m going to take TWO tests, one that is “fasting” right after I wake up and the second after cup #3 of coffee.  Why? Because the fasting one is higher than I’d like…actually outside the recommended range,  SIGH, while the one after cup #3 of coffee is where is SHOULD be… so what the heck is going on?  I think it is because of my food choices for dinner which I’ll be changing over the next couple weeks so, for now, I need to do both in order to tell if my food changes have the desired effect on the AM fasting test.

Next Question:  What is the acceptable range of blood sugar level PRE and POST eating a meal?

THAT answer was a lot easier to find.  According to the American Diabetes Association here are the ranges (click the image for a full size view):

Blood Glucose Chart

And the good news is that I’m right on target!!!  Yay me!!!!

Final question on blood glucose testing:  Am I doing it correctly?

Again, the American Diabetes Association seemed to have the best answer:

https://www.diabetes.org/healthy-living/medication-treatments/blood-glucose-testing-and-control/checking-your-blood-glucose

How to check your blood glucose levels

Answer: Yes, I’m doing it right!  YAY ME!!!!

Omron Blood Pressure DeviceAs for the Blood Pressure testing, all week, whenever I did a blood glucose test, I also checked my blood pressure.  I use an Omron home testing unit.  Mine is an older one so the idiot lights on it reflect the OLD ranges, not the current ones but the measurements are accurate.  The current model is the Series 10 unit which I’d like to get but can’t afford.  It is on my “Help Tony on his Fitness Journey Wish List on Amazon” so if you’re in a generous mood and want to get it for me that would be AWESOME!

Eeeeeeennnnnyyyyyyyway…. My blood pressure is spot on!  Woo Hoo!  Yay for me!  Well, “Yay” for the awesome meds my doctor has prescribed to me that keeps my blood pressure where it should be.  Hopefully, eventually, I’ll get weaned off those meds as well as the diabetic meds.

ONE example of weirdness…

Tug on one thing and it affects everything.  So…to count calories and to track WHAT and HOW MUCH I’m putting into my body that meant that this week I had to:

  • Re-arrange stuff in my kitchen
  • Replace the batteries in my food scale
  • Ask my roommate if I could have the tiny drawer at the end of the kitchen cabinets closest to the wall where he had been storing the fuses for the condo. He said yes. Then clean it out and then put the measuring tools into it that makes it more likely that I’ll actually MEASURE the food that I’m eating.
  • Clean out my fridge, tossing a couple expired items of dressing, sauces etc.
  • PULL EVERYTHING out of my pantry and fridge, haul it to my bedroom where my computer and desk are located, then grab my READING GLASSES *Grrrrrrrr!!!!!*  sigh and input the nutrition label information for anything that wasn’t already entered into the database of the program I’m using.  THEN haul all that stuff back and put it into the fridge and/or pantry.
  • Order a couple measuring spoons because I discovered that I need some spares – easier to have the spares than to have to keep rinsing and washing the ONE of each size that I have currently.
  • Order a new lighted magnifier to put in the kitchen because the old one wasn’t working (did I mention yet that I’m irritated about needing reading glasses / magnifying glass to read nutrition labels?)  Oh? I did? Nevermind then! *hmmprhmph*

See? Tug one thing and….thar ya go! Whew!

And… don’t even get me started about 2020 / New Years Eve, the Covid-19 vaccine roll out, the delay in getting unemployment $$ from the newly passed relief bill, the massive train wreck that is our federal government….Aaaaaaaarrrrggggghhhhh!!!!!

thinking calming thoughts…thinking calming thoughts…

So…all in all, a good week!

Still lots of work to do and I’m sure that this coming week there will be more tweaks to the “Game Plan” but I’m on my way.

See ya on the dance floor!

Yay! The numbers are headed in the right direction! Woo Hoo!


Good news this morning!

Man's feet on a bathroom scaleI know from experience (having done this before) that I need daily feed back on the “stats” — otherwise I tend to get off track really quickly.

Last time I reported my numbers was on Dec 7th:

  • Weight 292 lbs — Loss of 7.8 lbs since my “restart on Nov 28, 2020”
  • Body Fat: 42.25% — Loss of .4 % since my “restart on Nov 28th”
  • Muscle: 23.6% — Loss of 1.4% — Not good!  I need to loose Fat, not muscle
  • Visceral Fat: 30% — same.  No change

My goal is to weigh in daily.  I’m still working on that HOWEVER…this morning, Dec 23rd, I did weigh in and good news

  • Weight: 289.6 — Loss of 10.2 lbs since my “restart on 11/28”
  • Body Fat: 41.65% — Loss of 1.0% since my restart date
  • Muscle: 24.5 — GAIN of .9% Yay! — Last thing I need to do is loose mass!
  • Visceral Fat: 29% — Loss of 1% since my restart.  Yay!

How’s that for a short and sweet post?  LOL

And my closest friends say “I can’t do short!  Aha!  That’ll show them.  grin

See ya on the dance floor.

Small steps to start? LOL! We’re talking MICRO-Steps!


3 Months from now you will Thank YourselfI’m starting… …again.

I’m not going to lie, I’m not “into this” or “excited” about working out.  I’m depressed.  I’m pissed off at myself for letting my body get out of shape and gaining back 20 lbs of the 70 lbs that I had lost.

Back in March when Covid-19 hit and the whole country shut down I was at my half-way point: 70 lbs gone / 70 lbs left to loose.

Now that number is 50 lbs lost / 90 lbs left to loose.

Now,  just walking to the kitchen to get coffee feels like I’m working out.  SIGH

But, the first dance competition of 2021 is in 107 days, in mid-March, and that is a little over three months, assuming that the Covid Pandemic is on the wane and the event is ACTUALLY HELD!

Which means that if I want to dance with my students in a weekend competition, then I have to get moving NOW!  Because frankly if the event were this weekend instead of three and a half months from now, I would not be able to physically do it.  No way, no how.

The sucky part of this is that getting OUT OF SHAPE is so frigging easy.  That is what the body wants to do!  Getting into shape and staying in shape is hard. Just doing that first teeny tiny step, then taking the next teeny tiny step…SIGH

But both mentally and physically I feel AWFUL right now.  I want to feel better.  So…today  I will do some “easy wall pushups”  I will do one lap of the “stairs” (I’ll explain what I mean by that in my next post) and I will do some stretching.

And it will be a start…again.

Heads up…

For those of you who are still on the mailing list, or see this on Facebook and/or Twitter etc, I am going to keep posts short, VERY SHORT.   For the most part.  LOL  We’ll see how that plan works…  I’m not known among my friends for my ability to “keep things short.”  I do tend to ramble on…  Tell the long tale…  oh!  Ooops!  LOL

Wish me luck.

Life is good…lots of dancing and getting healthy…and VERY BUSY!


I really need to do a dozen different posts…

…but this quick update is all I have time for!

This blog, for those who need the reminder is about ME!  Moí! And the stuff going on as I continue on my journey, dancing my way to Health and Fitness.

The short version is that finally after several awful years, things seem to be turning around, finally coming together for me.  Yay!

Not to create any false impressions…I’ve got a long way to go on many fronts: fitness, health, dancing, and financial, but for now things are progressing in the right direction.

So, in a completely random order here are some brief updates on what’s going on in Tony-Land:

I updated my event calendar:

There is LOTS of info about Moí embedded in the calendar as I yack about the events, classes, and workshops that I’m planning on attending or working so check it out:

https://txcowboydancer.com/event-calendar/

Next big event: IGRA Dance Round Up 2017

I am one of the invited instructors.   Yay! —> click the poster to the right to embiggen so you can read it and get more info about the event.  Here is the link to the full schedule of workshops and the registration form.

Here are the workshops that I will be teaching:

FRIDAY, June 8th
— 2:15 – 3:15 pm at the Roundup Saloon – Couples – “West Coast Swing”
4:45 – 5:45 pm at the Roundup Saloon – My Brand New Line Dance:
Dirty New Boots” 32 count, 4 wall, Improver Level
danced to “Dirt on my Boots / by Jon Pardi”

SATURDAY, June 9th
— 9:15 – 10:15 am at the Roundup Saloon – Couples – “Cha-Cha”
— 2:45 – 3:45 pm at Sue Ellens – Line dance – “Sunday Finest / choreographed by Jose’ Miguel Belloque Vane and Roy Verdonk” 32 count, 4 wall, Low Intermediate
danced to “Sunday Finest / by Sir Rosevelt
— 4:00 – 5:00 pm at Sue Ellens – Couples – “Night Club 2-Step”

Now accepting new ProAm Students!!!!

2011 UCWDC Country Dance World Championships XIXIf you have ever wanted to compete in dance, then give me a shout.

I have over 20 years of experience in Country Western and Line Dance competitions. Ballroom is also a possibility.

My rates are VERY reasonable and you can save money by buying packages of 5 or 10 lessons.

New Competitor Special

I offer a “new competitor” special — $70 for two private lessons (including floor fees).  You get an introduction to your choice of  eight county competition dances, six ballroom competition dances, and/or line dance competition info.

At the end of the second lesson you’ll have the information you need to make a sound decision about whether competition is right for you or if you just want to continue at the social dance level.  What are you waiting for?  Sign up now!

I hate to put in the disclaimer stuff, but if I don’t do it then people get upset…my special offer is not open to current DanceMakers students; I am a staff instructor there, so if you are already a student at DanceMakers, the normal DanceMaker rates apply. On the bright side, you are already part of an AWESOME studio family!!!!

On the Fitness Front:

My current weight is [drum roll please] 270.9 lbs !!!!

Total lost to date: 64.10 lbs, approximate left to loose: 75.9 lbs.

The exact amount left depends on my final body fat percentage.  My target range is 7% – 17% which, according to the information from the American Council on Exercise, at 7% would put me in the middle of the “Athletes” range for men on the low end.

On the high end of that target range, at 17%, I would be at the top of the “Fitness” level which is below the “acceptable level.”

Other progress indicators:

                    What 18 months of progress looks like

Yes, the weight loss is great but the MAIN indicator of my increasing fitness and health is my ability to move my body.  At my worst climbing a flight of stairs was a painful ordeal requiring a 20 minute nap to recover.  Yes, I’m prone to drama, but that is a cold hard fact with no exaggeration.

Now, I am dancing…a lot!

In Jan 2016, when I first became a “full pro” a single hour of dance class or a lesson was a HUGE achievement.  And one that required that I pretty much rest most of the next day.  Now, I can do 5-6 hours of dancing.  My feet hurt and I’m beat at the end of it, but after a full night’s sleep, I can do the same the following day.

I still have a way to go to be where I want to be, but I am sure I will get there.  This coming week will be a true test of my current fitness level.  very single day this week I have lessons with students, rehearsals, and then this coming weekend, I have the IGRA Dance Round Up.  My lightest day is 4 hours of dancing.  My heaviest day will be 6 hours (as of now), but when you toss in the commuting time…eeeeeeeeekkkk!

Other stuff in a random off the top of my head order…

  • I am now an Award Winning Choreographer!!!  Woot!  I competed in Choreography for the first time at the Texas Classic a couple weeks ago.  I entered my very first line dance that I’ve ever choreographed:  Dirty New Boots” — The judges gave me very high marks and I took 1st place!  Yay! A big shout out to my “back up dancers” friends who learned my dance and danced it with me at the competition.  THANK YOU!  Check out the photo to the right — click to “embiggen”
  • I danced for the first time in the Superstar Division at the Texas Hoedown in March — It is the highest level of competition.  Yay!
  • I danced for the first time as a “Professional” dancing with two of my students who competed in Newcomer ProAm at the Texas Hoedown in March.
  • I am on track to compete in Line Dance at UCWDC Worlds in San Francisco and ACDA Nationals here in Dallas.  Lots of rehearsing left to do and still have create my “Showcase” dances.  Eeeeeeekkkkk… But I’m on track.
  • The number of students I have is steadily increasing.  Which is way cool.
  • I am continuing to learn more dance steps, more technique, more Ballroom, more Country, more Line, more Swing…. Whew!  Bottom line: I am becoming a better dancer every single day.
  • My Diabetes is under control.  My doc says that I should be able to start reducing the meds early next year.  Eventually I will NOT be a diabetic.  Yay!
  • My physical therapy is complete and I now have 99% functionality in my left shoulder which was injured a couple years ago.
  • The treatments to manage the tingling in my left arm have mostly succeeded.  This will be an ongoing issue for me but at least I know there is a treatment.  I have no idea what’s gonna happen with my health insurance…  Grrrrrrrrr…. but for now, and as long as I have coverage, I can do the 3 treatments a year and manage the condition.
  • Finally almost done with fixing some dental issues that cropped up during the period when “my life exploded” and I had no health insurance.
  • Financially…well because I am teaching more students, all bills are being covered and I am eating better foods because I have more money for food.BUT I am still not making enough money to pay rent.  If not for the kindness of my best friend, I would be on the street.  He is letting me stay rent free in his spare bedroom.  Anyone want to make a donation
    Seriously…
    There is a back log of “things that had to wait til money got better that I’m working through.  Nothing that can’t wait a bit longer but it would be nice to have them now rather than later.  Check out my full list of “Things to help Tony on his Journey to Health and Fitness” at Amazon.com if you are feeling generous.
  • My truck is now paid off!  Yay!  That helped a lot on the financial front…but just when I was contemplating my influx new found wealth [tongue firmly placed in cheek]…my health insurance premiums for 2017 went up. Arrrrgggghhh Which pretty much wiped out the the “gain” I got from no car payments.  *SIGH*  Don’t get me wrong…I am happy to have insurance and it has saved my life, but this cycle of ever increasing health care costs is not sustainable.

Well I think that is the highlights…and the clock is ticking…I have to start getting ready for bed.  Tomorrow morning kicks off a non-stop whirlwind of activity for the next SIX DAYS!

I tell ya now…if I don’t drop a full percentage point of body fat and do not drop AT LEAST 5 lbs this week there is no justice in this world. Jus’ sayin’

See ya on the dance floor!

Soooooooooo close! 300.8 lbs!


This is going to be the week!

snoopy_happy_danceJust a very quick post to share some good news.  I just got off the scale and for the FIRST TIME in ages my weight has dropped below 301 lbs!!!

Yay!

Yippee!

Doing a “happy dance” in my chair as I type…which is quite the feat of dexterity!

Woot!

Uh-huh…uh-huh…uh-huh!

So, given that my weight is 300.8 lbs today and given that for the past few days it has been dropping by a few tenth’s of a pound every day, it is EXTREMELY LIKELY that by the end of the week I’ll be below 300 lbs.  For the first time in almost two years.  Yay!

Light a candle and send positive energy my way…

Keep me in your thoughts…

…and watch for a longer post later this week about my first week back in the dance studio.  Yes, it is finally happening.  I’m dancing again.

Woot!

See ya on the dance floor!

 

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