Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
November 3, 2016
I had an epiphany the other day, not a religious one so to speak, but one that made me love life and realize one of the biggest choices in my life is still a valid. I ate the best vegan pizza I had ever had in my entire life. It wasn’t because it had been a month or two since my last pizza, but it was seriously that good. Those that have read the blog for sometime know my history with the American/Italy co-production that is the modern pizza. I used to eat four or five family sized pizzas a week, typically leaving very little behind even when I ate cheesy garlic bread or chicken wings with the meal. I was so bad, my neighbor one day looked into my trash can and noticed there was nothing but pizza boxes (of course, this was when my roommate still lived with me and we were both pizzaholics). My dogs would go nuts when the word “pizza” was uttered and knew exactly what a delivery guy’s purpose was when they saw them at the door. There was the epic time in 2013 when I stopped going to a pizza joint called Marco’s and they sent me some primo coupons just to come back. This was a place that gave me great coupons all the time and the manager would come out from behind the counter to shake my hand, greeting me by my first name and easily obliging to my requests for extra sauces. They were out of business less than a year after I gave up dairy and then subsequently went vegan. I rarely eat pizza anymore, even though it was such an important staple in my eating life. Okay, I should not call it important, but damn I ate a lot of it. I still go nuts and can easily eat a whole pizza in one sitting, even if I have enough sense to stop eating it so often. So yes, pizza has been a pretty big deal in my life, for it makes me weak at the knees much like a beautiful woman would for regular men. One of the most important moments in my transformation was when I went to a really good pizza chain up in Phoenix and survived one of the best smelling places I have ever been in, a pizza joint that loved spices and marinara as much as I did. So from eating four pizzas a week to maybe eating four pizzas this past year, I would say I have kicked the habit and can truly enjoy the food when the opportunity presents itself. Veg Box Cafe here in Tucson made some of the best pizza I have ever had in my life. I am not a fan of Daiya cheese, but it was so good that I even put up with that stuff.
I was able to control myself for the most part, eating only four or five slices (me and my two friends ordered two pizzas between us) when I could have easily eaten an entire pizza and then some, possibly pissing off my friends or leaving me wanting for more food as I engaged in the idea of sharing. I guess this is that whole self control thing I have learned to control these days even though there are times where I feel utterly powerless against food. I have maybe had four or five pizzas this year, maybe 30 or so beers and have not made potatoes for a good month. If anything, I’m conquering new avenues in my health and my life, learning to manage certain urges that used to control me. The alcohol and the soda drinking (which will be my fourth anniversary of not drinking that poison in February) have been big surprises but the pizza eating will always be the victory. Of course, darn Veg Box had to make the best darn pizza in town. I mean, they combined all the best elements of their business together—their bread, commitment to organic food, and their tasty pomodoro sauce—into one amazing pizza. I was floored by how awesome it was. I guess it is a good thing that I have learned some good self control and can keep myself from undertaking some harmful eating habits. Especially now that I am pushing so much harder and doing so much better health wise. Yeah, I complained my weight went up a little bit, but then again, that most likely is muscle and I am not terribly overwhelmed by the gain.
Eating has been getting weird for me lately, mainly due to the nature of my job. I mean, when you sit down a good eight hours of the day, the need for sustenance is not overwhelming. In fact, I seem to fall into the trap of not eating anything! It kind of happened to me on Sunday when I was gunning for a six-mile run and ended up only surviving two! How in the world did this happen you might ask? Well, I didn’t really eat anything during the day and was going to eat some dinner when I got home from work at 3 p.m. But then I ended up helping my father with some stuff and merely ate a snack before I went on my run. Needless to say, I crashed pretty quickly. There was this burning sensation in my stomach that told me “you didn’t eat enough!” and pretty much made my whole body feel tingly. Oh well, that is what I get these days. My relationship with food has been quite unusual, for I pretty much eat only to survive and keep my protein up for plasma donation. I’m just not one of those people that want gigantic muscles and can eat all day long due to the simple burn there body naturally produces. I looked at the eating regimen of one of my favorite vegan spokesman in former bodybuilder Robert Cheeke. The guy is still eating 4,000 calories a day, spreading his food out over five small meals, sometimes eating every couple hours before he finally hits the gym. I was kind of stunned in regards to that kind of schedule, especially considering all of my eating problems in the past. I kind of commend people that can maintain that sort of schedule without really overeating. Maybe some day I will have enough discipline to attain such a goal. Perhaps such a mode of thinking could help with my fat burn and aid in the body sculpting I so desperately desire. We shall see. I mean, I see the horror stories from the famous people that have to bulk up for their superhero roles like Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans. “It’s weird when you have to eat and you don’t feel hungry” said Hemsworth when he first established the crazy health regimen he needed to turn into Thor for the first time. Personally, I can’t imagine living like that, especially considering the life style I currently live and the eating issues I had in the past. Perhaps some day I will be ready to take on such a regimen, but right now I have to believe now is not the time even though I absolutely hate the way my body looks. I am still getting used to the idea of eating three meals a day, which of course is barely something I started doing a few months ago. When you are a little broke like I was, you seemingly cram all your food into one or two a day! Essentially, eating four slices of a moderately sized pizza is a victory in itself.
Eating will always be an issue for me, for there are still days where I just don’t feel like eating when I don’t have to. There are days where my body still surprises me in regards to the effort. I had an extremely small meal for breakfast on Tuesday, for I was still reeling from the previous day where I pretty much sat down the whole day. I put together a pretty good workout for Tuesday, blowing through roughly eight workout movements, with the toughest coming near the end when I tried doing some functional stuff. It was not easy and I in turn had a pretty sizable lunch in response to the post workout shakes I was suffering. I already know this yo-yo eating is gonna have to stop and stop soon. Right now, my body is doing okay in regards to the weirdness I am going through, but eventually I will need to figure out something that will give me some good energy for when I need it and not make me feel too full due to the lack of activity I am going through each day. Fortunately for me, the saving grace is the push-up challenge I continue to do day in and day out. I have seen the results of this working in my favor, mainly in my arm definition and the fact I don’t consider push-ups to be horrible torture. I am dealing with a welcome problem in regards to the push-ups, whether I can actually keep doing them as the days mount up. I’m on Day 63 today, and that means I have 63 push-ups waiting for me at the end of my shift. Of course, I have been running into one problem with my form, which primarily relates to my general ability to get my elbows at a 90-degree angle. I can do it most of the time, but usually when I get close to the end, I kind of falter. Eventually I will get better my friends. If I was doing the standard 22 push-up challenge that most people are doing, I could probably do the deeper push-up. And what happened to the 22 push-up challenge? At least in regards to the people on my social media feeds, I don’t see anyone doing this sort of viral activism anymore. I guess this can be my thing now, for I do feel a little bit of closeness to the issue of suicide amongst the male population, especially in the military ranks. In fact, it seems rather sad that this happens to be “Movember” once again, and it entered the public ether with a whimper rather than a big bang like in previous years. Much like my accusation of the general public when it comes to men’s health, the trend only seems to work when people are trying to push some sort of ridiculous standard of supposed manliness (i.e. growing a beard) while once again forgetting the whole intent of the movement. I’m not surprised really, for people are way too wound up about the election, the World Series and the protests in North Dakota. It is only normal that the health of men should take a back seat to the onslaught of the media’s preconceived idea of news. I don’t intend to forget for one second, which is why I will continue to do the push-up challenge despite no real fanfare or anyone noticing. I am used to not being noticed anyway.
I’m sorry if this just seems like another random post about things going on in my life. There are just some days where you want to speak out about things and mention some great things that are going on. A friend of mine expressed how great it was to finally run the Chicago Marathon after having missed out on it years before. “Life is precious and you should live it.” Right now, I am not really living life much right now as I struggle to save for some stuff I need and clear some debts. I still have a lot of catching up to do and thus, freedoms that I used to have on a regular basis will slowly start trickling back into my life as I get use to them. I mean, I used to make a weekly sojourn to Veg Box and this past week was the first time in months I had been in. Now of course I was happy for the occurrence due to the creation of the pizza menu, but I also felt a little whole knowing I can actually do some stuff to get out in the world again. Getting a chance to actually live a little bit of life. I need to do this more often now that I have to listen to the nonsense of dozens of people every week. I’m hoping I can experience a little bit of life in a couple weeks after I get my paycheck this week, for a couple of my favorite bands are coming in this month. Gogol Bordello and Dream Theater are hitting Tucson on back to back days, and the great thing is it won’t affect my work schedule! Who would have though having your official weekend be Tuesday and Wednesday would actually work out for once. Here’s to hoping if I can swing the ticket costs!
If it comes down to a choice, it will definitely go to Dream Theater, for I have seen Gogol so many times, I pretty much remember the vast majority of people that have gone to the least few concerts, remembering them for the yells of excitement as we all with and push around in the mosh pit. But I have been a Dream Theater fan for 23 years, and have never seen them once. I didn’t care much for their recent album “The Astonishing, which is what they will be playing primarily, but to hell with it! Hearing James Lebrie belt it and John Petrucci rip out some chords and Mark Mangini bang some skins on his crazy drum kit. Okay…now I definitely have to go if I can. Let’s hope there are some tickets still available on Friday!
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Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
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