Sunday, April 18, 2010

Week 9 of my weight loss challenge.

This was a good week. This was a busy week. This week I have proven myself that simply being busy is not an excuse to not get fit. It certainly makes things a little bit more difficult, but it is surprisingly doable. In the Harvard Medical School guide to Men's Health, Dr. Simon says that we can break down our exercise time into segments and we would still get the same benefits that we would if we were to them in a single try. This means that If I only have time for a 1o mins. walk at the moment, I can perfectly walk for 10 mins. with the hope of having a 20 mins. walk later in the day, amounting to 30 mins. of exercise for the day. I believe this is very important for all of us who are busy. It is so easy to procrastinate doing exercise when we are so busy that we can get caught up in our own excuses/lies that we finally decide not to keep up with our plans.

I didn't have a lot of free time this week. But I somehow made time for exercise. If I only had time for a 20 mins. walk for a given day, I walked those 20 mins. I would later compensate with an extra walk in the day. Some days I chose the long way home from College just so I could get those extra steps. It feels like cheating, but it really works. At the end of the day I had the feeling that I did not exercise enough just because I didn't do my walking in a single try. But in the end, all those steps amount to something, and no step is ignored or forgotten by our bodies. I had somewhat surprising results at my weight in, mainly because I wasn't expecting much of a change.

But enough of that. Here is the weigh in results for week 9:

Week 8 weigh in: 307 lbs.
Week 9 weigh in: 304 lbs.
Total weight loss: 12 lbs.

Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised with the results. I thought my scale had gone nuts and I weighed myself 3 times, getting the same results. I can't wait to get under the 300 lbs. mark soon! My vocational director even told me that we would have a party whenever I break that mark! Thank you all for your support and see ya next week!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Week 8 of my weight loss challenge.

It's been a tough week. It was my first week of class after the Spring break, and I found myself buried in homework. There were days when my mind and body were dedicated in study from rising until 9pm at night. Sometimes I lacked the time to exercise, other times I simply lacked motivation. I still managed to exercise a couple of days, but not nearly as much as I would have wanted it. And to top it all off, we had a priest from the main province visiting, which meant dining out 3 times this week.

I finally have a break today, and the time to exercise and relax. I went for a 4 mile walk today to dowtown, and I enjoyed every minute of it! First I went to a famous park where the "Full House" houses are (that's how I call them):

Then I went to the majestic Civic Hall, which to me feels like a small piece of Europe in San Francisco:

Boy do I really need a haircut! I've been neglecting and delaying the imminent visit to the barber shop. This morning I went out with my old black jeans, a simple shirt and jacket. I didn't comb my hair, and it was an unholy mess. I don't "dress out" for exercise. Needless to say I wasn't in my best style. Apparently, there is a group of Christians that go into the city visiting the homeless in downtown, offering a "good morning", a smile, a snack, and a "God bless you". Great job these guys are doing! I was very happy to see this needed work being done. The thing is, a couple of them confused me as a homeless and offered me a snack! I got a good laugh out of it. I didn't get mad or ashamed, because I honestly don't think myself as "better" in any respect to the homeless in the city, but I thought it was a good and funny indication that I really need a haircut (btw, all these pictures were taken with my phone on my walk).

But enough of that. Here is the weigh in for week 8:

Week 7 weigh in: 307.
Week 8 weigh in: 307.
Total pounds lost: 9 lbs.

Was I disappointed? Yes and no. I was disappointed because I could not exercise as much as I wanted. I had a stressful week, and I'm glad is over. But then again I was not disappointed because I was actually expecting a weight gain, but I managed to maintain my weight. I promise to step it up for the next week, and I expect big weight loss for the next week! Thanks again for your support and see ya next time!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A chat on the bus with an Atheist...

It was a beautiful afternoon in Concord, CA. The imposing sun radiating, its warm rays hued in golden painted the atmosphere, giving life all around it, and erasing the memories of the gray, rainy, cold winter. I was walking out of the movie theater in downtown, went for a walk to a bookstore, and bought the book "The Collar, A Year Inside a Catholic Seminary" by Jonathan Englert. Enjoying the beautiful afternoon with a walk through downtown, I finally arrived to the bus stop at the BART station. Next to me was young person. Latino, around 5 feet and 9 inches. His hair was neatly combed backwards, casually dressed, but surprisingly presentable. I opened my new book and started reading the introduction. He looked at me, then at the book title and read it aloud "a year inside a Catholic Seminary" said he with an air of dissatisfaction, as if saying "I wouldn't want to be in a Seminary". "Are you very religious?" he asked in Spanish. "Yes" I replied, "matter of fact I'm a seminarian myself". He opened his eyes, his head nodding a few times., "What about the sexual abuse scandals?" he asked. "I don't understand the question" I responded. "It doesn't concern you?". "Well, yes it does, I think it's terrible what those priests did". "What I mean with 'it doesn't concern you' is that you are not there for that reason, it has nothing to do with you" he clarified. "Yes, of course, I'm not there for that reason". "You know, I'm an atheist". "Oh really?" I responded. The Atheist looked very surprised at this and said "You are the first person who reacts this way, interesting". "What do you mean?" I asked smiling. "Usually people call me names and stuff when I say this".

Our bus arrived. He started telling me a bit about his life. How he had tried out some churches, was taught to be a Christian but eventually fell off the wagon. About his kid and her mother, and how she pleaded for him to be at his son's baptism. "I told her that I don't have to be there, it doesn't mean anything f to me". An old friend got on the bus, one that I haven't seen for years. We talked for a bit, but then went back to the Atheist. He then started questioning me about my vocation (or rather my present discernment of this vocation, which I may or may not have). "Obviously, since I am an atheist, I don't believe in the love of God, but one must be much in love with God to be a priest" "Yes" I responded. "Is it love for God the reason you're pursuing this?" "Yes" I responded, knowing that my love for God is not as strong as it should be, or as I want it to be. "Did you have a romantic disappointment?". "No, well, I did have a disappointing relationship with my ex, but I spent 2 years alone discerning whether I want this or not, its not because of that that I'm here". "I'm asking this because too many go into seminary because of these sorts of disillusionments"." I know" I said, and added, "I think that's a terrible mistake" Being on the topic of love, I remarked that I didn't know how people called him names and mistreated him for being an atheist. He said that sometimes people thought he was incapable of loving. "But I am loyal, I know about love, and have morals" he asserted. "Obviously" I said, "as a believer of God I believe that he is the source of love, and you are not outside of this love. I dunno why people think you are incapable of love, why they treat you like an almost inhuman just because you are an atheist". "Yes, inhuman, some think I am like that". After that he received a call, "I'm on my way on the bus" he told the other person on the phone. Our conversation ended and he continued talking on the phone.

I honestly don't know if the Atheist was being truthful or not. Was he playing the victim? But the scenario that he painted was not very unrealistic. I have seen it unfold a few times in my life. We don't have many atheists in Latin America, and is always surprising to find one. I do think that this conversation, though, can be a warning to how Unchristian we can be. Jesus calls us to be loving. I'm not preaching tolerance and being accepting of everything, but simply accepting and loving of others. So many times do we fail to love the sinner and hate the sin. We fail to see that atheists are atheists for a reason. Some have emotional scarring, others intellectual reasons. Some, sadly, are atheists because the behavior of Christians too often doesn't reflect the love of Christ. We can be hypocrites, condemning "holier than thou" Christians, failing to see that we are here by His grace. We are Christians because we are sinners. We fall. We commit the very sins we denounce in others. We fail to love as Christ loves all of us. No human creation of God is incapable of loving, whether he or she believes in God or not. But we Christians can fail in loving others when we don't reflect Christ in our lives, but rather our own darkness disguised as light. Jesus came not to condemn the world, but to save it. May we do the same as His disciple.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Week 7 of my weight loss challenge- The joy of walking.

This was a good week. I finally have my Spring Break from school and now I have more time to exercise and relax. Yes, I find it amazing that I can now say in one sentence the words "exercise" and "relax". But I find exercise relaxing. I will go one step further, I fell in love with walking. I used to hate walking, now I love it. It is amazing how your mind expands while you are walking. You pay attention to little details you normally ignore if you are driving. If you are walking in the city you appreciate the city even more. You find new things, new paths, new parks that you didn't know existed.

This was my experience this week, where I found one of the most beautiful park in San Francisco. San Francisco is for me, the perfect city to walk through. Last Thursday, coming back from College in the bus, I could see a park one block away from Masonic, on Haight street. I never explored that part of the infamous hippie street. But I decided to explore the park in my next walk. I thought I would find a small, uninteresting park, but instead I found this huge hill, with all sorts of beautiful trees and flowers. Just perfect for hiking. And so I did, not knowing what to find. Midway through the hill, I stopped to catch my breath and I was greeted by this beautiful view:

After a few minutes of resting, I decided to continue my hike. Turns out I was just in the middle of the hill, and I had much to hike. The park was beautiful. Imposing and leafy trees casting a relaxing shadow on my path, the sun's ray carefully squeezing in between the leafs, leaving bright spots on the ground. Pushing myself harder I finally arrived to the top. where I found a small open grass area. Someone was sleeping face up on the ground. A couple was kissing and hugging, a lady was calling her dog to come. The view was again, beautiful, this time revealing the western part of the city, the Golden Gate bridge as my background:

I discovered the joy of walking, and now I'm looking forward to new places to explore. Yesterday I walked through UC Berkeley and Berkeley's downtown. Today maybe SF downtown. But who knows? Maybe I'll explore a city I don't know very well. The possibilities are vast, and I keep my mind open.

But enough of that. Here is this week's weigh in:

Last week weigh in: 308.
Week 7 weigh in: 307.
Total weight loss: 9 lbs.

So there it is! I was really hoping to lose to 2 pounds, but in all honesty, I'm not too worry about the scale anymore. I'm more interested in making a lifestyle change that I can pursue and enjoy for the rest of my life, instead of enduring a painful, temporary diet that will leave me powerless once I lose all the weight. I'm more interested of being healthy. Losing weight is only a secondary side effect. My goal is no longer to lose weight, but to be healthy.

Thanks for your support and see ya next time!