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
May 11, 2017
Here is something that I have noticed about my life as of late. Over the last five years, I have been super focused about various things in my life. I have managed to stay on a program for myself, establishing a good regimen not only with my gym time but also with my personal ethics and eating methods. Sure, the amount of calories has not always been perfect, the good thing I can say is the fact I have managed to stay alive and keep moving forward with my life. It’s hard to really to say that if nothing had changed, I might be dead right now. Or possibly thinking some seriously stressful thoughts considering the flux our healthcare system is in right now, with the knuckle draggers in charge slowly sending us into an oblivion. Let’s just say, I would be in some pretty dire straights if I had not made the decision to actually try and take care of myself. Would my parents have buried me by now? Would my Facebook page be a strange time capsule of my final days? Would I ever have had the chance to meet the most beautiful woman in the world (which I did by the way!)? Would my dogs seriously miss me? I really don’t know what would have happened to me if I had not made the change that continue to run my life right now. May 6, 2012 was the first official day I walked into Parsons Training, going on a journey that has managed to last over five years. May 8, 2012 was the official first workout I ever did, a series of basic movements that seem so easy for me now but were strenuous when I started. Truthfully, I had never been pushed that hard in a non-competitive format, and this was only a 35-minute workout. In a lot of ways, life began that day for me.
I won't talk in the religious sense of my journey, but more along the line of recollection. During the years 2000 to 2012, there are a lot of details that I really don’t remember anymore. During this time, I was starting the steady climb in weight and it appeared to have no real end point for me during that time frame as well. I originally thought my real eating problems started in 2005 but watching an old video of myself in 2000 made me realize that I was having weight and food issues further back than previously expected. Perhaps it was the fact that my true eating problems gestated in 2005 in regards my hole filed memory, when I worked at a Circle K as a second job and found it insanely easy to doctor the waste reports to my favor, eating role food on a regular basis and not even having to wait until they became dried and wrinkled form being out too long. Yup, I was openly stealing and the help of the food situation made it a lot easier as well. I mean, we already had tons of theft and waste to begin with, who was gonna really stop me from going a step further. So yes, the life that ultimately turned into a Taco Bell and pizza habit was righteously born that day, but that was merely the final step in the process or me. What had started in the late 90s had finally entered into a stage where I was out of control and lost. I had become a food addict. Just to give you an idea of how bad things got for me at one point, here was an idea of some of the meals I would eat on a regular basis (and I mean at least once or twice a week).
—Jack in the Box: 2-4 Jumbo Jacks, six tacos, three orders of fries. I would often replace the Jumbo Jacks with two Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburgers and get more tacos…because two Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburgers didn’t satisfy me.
—Taco Bell: 12 tacos, and typically a Mexican pizza and a large grilled burrito. If it was the first meal of the day (typically lunch, I would have four additional items on top of the tacos).
—I pretty much ate two pizzas at a time from most places. Marco’s Pizza I couldn’t go full out on due to the grease content…which I why I loved the place so much. I also ate cheesy bread as well as chicken pieces.
—eegees: a local sandwich joint here in Tucson where I would get two footlong sandwiches, ranch fries and a couple more orders of fries.
—Subway: I usually got two large sandwiches, and what I would do is get a bag of Fritos from the store and some bean dip, and wash that all down with a one-liter bottle of soda.
—Mr. K’s Barbecue: I would get a family sized order of mac and cheese (capable of feeding four people) along with fries, ranch beans, potato salad and order of hot links, brisket and pulled pork.
—Carl’s Jr.: Get a couple of the Double Western Bacon Cheeseburgers along with two orders of chili fries. I usually ate there late at night due to the fact the food quality during the day was not as good as it was at night. I would also get two massive breakfast burgers and a breakfast burrito from that place in the morning.
—McDonalds: I hated that place, but I often times got six sausage McMuffins and six hash browns to start my day.
—Tania’s Tortillos: A nice little Mexican place next to my parent’s house, I usually got two huge burritos from the place on a pretty regular basis. The current owner of the place, Tania herself, dubbed me the place’s best customer!
There were a lot of other horrid examples I could throw out there, but these were the usual places that I would stop by at least once a week. Taco Bell and Marco’s actually got to know me over a period of time, mainly because the people recognized me by the vastness of the order. I always wondered about the people that work at these places. Did they ever suspect in the back of their mind that I was the one eating all of this food? I mean, I worked in the food industry as well and never really suspected anything, mainly because I worked right next to a fraternity and sorority and knew massive orders were mainly to get over hangovers for massive numbers of people. This is one of the great mysteries I had in my life, mainly because I was always so self conscious about who I was. I often time trapped myself at home because I knew I was a giant eating machine that probably didn’t deserve your love or your respect. As you can tell, the budget was often blown during the week, an I sometimes wonder just what I would have been able to buy if I had not wasted so much on food and drink during this time. These are some of the regrets that I live with these days, and they tend to haunt me as I have some struggles with my body and my food intake there days as well as some of the struggles with money.
I think this is why I am glad I decided to stick with this whole fitness thing. Not because it is hard and making me doubt my abilities and my body, but because everyday there is a chance for improvement. Every time I step in that gym, I am setting myself up for failure. I know there will be days where I will not be able to go as hard as I want, but if I pull off the minor miracle that I start out with, then it is a win for me. Just this past Tuesday, I pulled another double session just like last week. I kind of burned out the previous week, surviving only 34 minutes of John Shaver’s Olympic lifting instruction. I had burned myself out on my regular workout and went too heavy to start my olympic lifts. I overworked my arm and tired myself out. There was a tightness growing in my left arm and just doing anything above my head was aggravating my elbow as well. Rather than getting angry and feeling like a quitter from the previous week, I adjusted my first work out, ate a little more food before hand and survived two 50-minute sessions with only a ten-minute break between them. I was rather proud of myself from doing this, and it proved that you can teach an old dog some new tricks, even though they have gone about their life living only one specific way.
I have a hard time believing I have been doing this “fitness” thing for five years now. Over the course my life, I often times run into these dips where I want to do something and then lose interest in it quickly. I was really into reading and going after Choose Your Own adventure books and Tom Swift, Jr. books. That faded quickly when I started getting nostalgic about old Nintendo games. These days, I work on the weight loss aspect of my life, especially while my running is taking a bit of a dive right now. For the longest while, I was really into almond based ice cream, but fortunately I have given that up for a while. And of course, I was regularly going to Taco Bell, but I at least have made some strides to get rid of that aspect of my life. So yes, being on a consistent fitness regimen for over five years now has been a difficult journey for me. I’ve been injured, I’ve been sick and I have been uninspired. I have been without a car and unemployed. I have eaten well and eaten nothing but rice and beans. I have been depressed and I have been hopeful. I have been alone and I have been in love. So many things have happened these five years and I have managed keep this thing going. For me, that is a huge win in my life, mainly because of my ADHD-like desire to try new things. I think this is why I have struggled to find a job that really gets my heart racing. Perhaps I seriously need to work within the health and fitness field. Who know, maybe some day soon. Either way, I am quite proud of the fact that I have managed to stick to this as long a I have, and it just goes to show that if you surround yourself with good people, good things will happen. All the things that have changed in my life are directly tied in with being fit and being healthy. My adherence to my vegan lifestyle. My continuous drop in drinking alcohol. My continued anti-soda, sports drink and energy drink stance that I have pretty much adhered to for the longest time (especially since I would always take advantage of those aspects in my life). So yes, while I have an unhealthy obsession with fitness from time to time, it has led me to make some massive changes in my life that have benefited me for the better, and I am extremely grateful for that.
I look in the mirror these days and still look in awe at what I have done, even though there may be days that I don’t like the way my body looks. Changes happen slowly, and some changes happen quickly. Take for example the old haunting grounds at Marco’s Pizza. Less than a year after I started going to Parsons Training, the place was closed. I gave up dairy as a challenge from Jon and then went vegan in October of 2012. The place was closed by the end of the year. I often times wonder if my lack of a presence killed that place, especially since I was pretty darn exclusive to it when I ate my pizza. I wouldn’t really know, for it takes more than one person to really bring something down, but who knows. It is a fun story to think about because the company sent me some special coupons when they noticed I stopped showing up. Trust me, it must have been Earth shattering for them. Either way, this continues to beg the question for me….just how much longer can I really do all of this? I mean, this sort of thing is kind of a long drawn out process, and the results are still slow to come in for me. Right now, I cannot really afford to quit this thing in my life, for what the heck will I do with my time once I start getting rid of all the fitness and working and stuff?
Right now, I am more than happy with what I am doing. Working out, struggling with various exercises, yo-yoing on my max weights and trying to rebuild my running ability. Right now, I can’t really see myself doing anything different than that. While I seem to be forgetting those dark years filled with heavy eating and drinking, I do remember the emotional feeling of that particular time frame. The despair, the loneliness and the utter feeling of worthlessness really brought me down. I don’t ever want to feel those sort of things again in my life. I think more than anything, I need to stay on the track not just for my physical health, but mainly my mental health. It’s all symbiotic. You have to maintain a good mind and good feeling about something you are doing in order to make yourself continue with the process. Right now, I am riding on a five-year high and I really have no intention of jumping off that train.
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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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