Archive for August 7th, 2010


As I kept saying, once I got my CPAP, I was going to start exercising. So far, I’ve kept my word. I’ve walked and gone to the Y and spent time on the cardio equipment there. I’ve got to be honest that adding exercise to my routine is probably the hardest thing I’ve done yet. Because of my size, I’m not entirely comfortable on the machines but not so uncomfortable that I can’t use them. Additionally, I don’t have much experience with exercise so I’m cautious about what to do since I don’t want to hurt myself. For now, I’m just riding the stationary bikes, walking around the track or walking on a treadmill. I have scheduled some time with a trainer at the Y for instructions on how to use the rest of the equipment and to hopefully come up with an exercise plan that will help me to build muscle mass and continue to lose weight. Because I have a membership to the Y, things aren’t as fast as they would be if I were at an expensive gym but I can wait 10 days to talk to someone and keep up doing what I already know how to do while I wait.

Adding exercise to your life is always a challenge if you are not used to it and it is so easy to find reasons why not to exercise. In my home, I have a Nintendo Wii and I use the Wii Fit game. It makes exercising a lot of fun and easy to do in private. This is a great tool for exercise if you do not want to go to a gym or are uncomfortable working out in public. I have been weighing myself with Wii Fit and it provides a great visual overview of my weight loss in its graphs. It makes me happy every time I see the graph line go down to the right every day or two as I continue to lose more. If you have other reasons or excuses for not exercising, I really recommend looking at chapter 6 of the book Savor. It has a lot of great ways to address the most common reasons people don’t exercise.

At this point, I’m at 306 pounds and I’m hoping to be at or under 300 on or shortly after I turn 36 on the 10th. This is the lightest I’ve been in a couple of years and I’m looking at old pictures of myself and seeing what I could look like again if I continue to work on having a healthy lifestyle. This is motivation for me. I see recent pictures and I don’t like what I see. I see old pictures and I want to get back there. That’s why I’m sitting here with sore legs and blistered feet. They are a small price to pay to get over the more intense physical and psychological pain that my extra weight has caused.

Today, I went out in public wearing one of my favorite T-shirts that I hadn’t worn outside of the house for a while. I had gotten so big that the bottom of my stomach was visible because the shirt couldn’t cover me. Now, when I put the shirt on it fits me again. Meanwhile, my pants keep threatening to fall down so I’m going to have to go out soon and get some new ones. I really love being able to wear old clothes again and having to go get new ones. Usually, when I went shopping for clothes, it was because the old ones “shrunk” and needed to be replaced. Now, it’s me that’s doing the shrinking.

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As I’ve been sitting, I’ve been trying to remain non-judgmental about whatever thoughts pop into my mind. When I first started meditation, I felt like my mind was a hummingbird that was constantly flying around without rhyme or reason. My thoughts don’t race around as much now as they used and for short periods of time I’m able to achieve nothing but concentration on my breathing and my focus. The big difference is that now, when my mind starts to wander, I acknowledge the thought and am aware of it and I allow it to leave without entertaining it. This is called mindfulness of the mind in mind by Thich Nhat Hanh. Within the Kwam Um school of Zen that I am a part of, sitting like this is called “strong sitting”.

Strong sitting is a way of being aware of the mind and its workings but not being attached to thinking. When I worried about my thinking and tried to eliminate it and got frustrated with myself, I was being attached to my mind and was attached to the thought of being able to keep a clear mind permanently while sitting. However, I have been reminded time and time again that nothing is permanent and that even in my sitting, my clear mind is impermanent. My attachment to my mind and thinking was causing me to miss out on the bigger picture of why I sit. The reason is simple: we sit to sit. There is no such thing as “good sitting” or “bad sitting”. It simply is. When one goes into a meditation session, one should go in without a preconceived notion about what to get out of it. Meditation is simply a way to be mindful of the moment in the moment. It is an opportunity to be mindful of the breath, mindful of the mind, mindful of the objects of the mind and mindful of your surroundings.

All this mindfulness is accompanied without judgement. When a wholesome thought comes into my head, I try to acknowledge that I have just had a wholesome thought. When an unwholesome thought arises, I acknowledge that I have just had an unwholesome thought. With enough practice I’m sure that I will continue to be able to let go of my attachment to my thinking. It’s the biggest challenge that I have when meditating. However, just like with my weight, I’m noticing improvements and positive changes. I will continue to practice strong sitting both at home and in Sangha and I will not judge my results.

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