This morning’s run was good but hot. Running with a binder on is almost like running with a sweater on. I really want top surgery so I can just run with a single layer.
It’s weird. When I first got my Vibram Five Finger shoes I wasn’t sure how I’d respond to the running but thus far, my body and mind have been in sync. I’m actually enjoying it. And that feels weird for some reason. I guess I was kind of surprised how much I’d enjoy it.
To make it even better, the weather was perfect this morning. After the storm went through the area yesterday, the temps dropped and the humidity vanished. Running this morning was glorious. The temp was cool with a slight breeze to follow me as I ran through the Park.
So far, I’ve finished the 2nd week and will start, on Wednesday week 3 (jogging for 3 minutes at a time) for nearly 45 min of walking and jogging.
Oh wow. I’ve been bad again about keeping things up to date, eh? Lots of good things have happened in the last little while so may be time for an update.
Yes, yes. I did succumb to the hype and got an iPhone 4. And to be honest, I love it. I still haven’t had the same issues that I keep reading about. My signal has been pretty good to begin with and I did get a bumper (which has been recently refunded thanks to Apple). I had been waiting, for what seemed like forever, for Otter Box to release their Defender series case. That arrive today and my iPhone is now snuggled into a decent case to protect against my clumsiness. Thankfully, it’s not as nearly as big as my Blackberry Otter Box case nor as heavy. The multitasking OS is awesome now and far more helpful. I’ve become more of an app addict and have found more apps that are useful for me.
And speaking of apps, I started using C25K (Couch-to-5K). I’ve been using this in the last couple of weeks to increase my weight loss. I had lost 10lbs but had plateaued. With my online teaching and the heat index, I hadn’t been leaving the apartment that much. This program has been helpful at pushing my body to burn more calories. Every other day I run/walk (5 min warmup, 30 min run and 5 min cool down) towards eventually running a 5k (this is a 9 week program). Once I do that, I’ll probably get the “Ease into 10K” (10 week program) or “Bridge to 10K” (6 week program). Thus far, I’ve lost an additional 4lbs (see chart below).
While I still qualify as “morbidly obese”, I’m making progress. I’ve dropped 3+ points on the BMI scale and if I continue at this rate (about 7-8lbs per month, I might break 200 by the end of the year. This would be good for a variety of reasons: better health, top surgery options, better self-opinion of myself. I’ve never been happy with myself when I can barely fit into seats on airplanes and this will help me deal with that better. I’ve lost about 2-3 inches off the waist as well so that’s good.
And I might be flying more (not necessarily more often but rather I may be doing fewer online classes). I’ve gotten a new role in the company. While I’m still an instructor, I’ve also picked up the role of tech lead. This will mean I’ll be doing more specialized classes and a lot of research (which I enjoy and should allow me a more flexible schedule). I’m still waiting to see what happens with the visa (should be hearing on that in September sometime). Although I cannot leave the US until that time is up, I may have to so I can get a new passport. I finally got my birth certificate changed and have sent off for a new SIN number. With the birth certificate and SIN, I could finally get a new passport with my new name.
I don’t think I could ever envision I could be this happy with my life.
Life is good, indeed.
But well worth the wait for the Fall. At the end of August, I’ll be heading out to Los Angeles finally. I’ve begun the slow process of getting rid of what we don’t want/need any more. My forays into Craigslist proved to be without success. People expect goldmines for the price of a pack of bubble gum. So I’ve given up on selling it and decided to give it to charity. I figured if I have to give it up for pennies, it might as well go to helping someone truly in need. I think I might try them (likely Salvation Army since they are one of the few who will pick up in Queens — I know, I know; they have a nasty LGBTQ policy but poverty and helping those in need doesn’t) in a couple of weeks and see if they will come and get the sofa, my old desks, the bed frame (I’ll sleep on the mattresses fine), dining room table and about 6 bags of clothes.
So while I’m depressed at being alone (to a degree — whiny, old cat doesn’t count), I’ve had some good things happen. Work wise things are going well. I can’t get into details but there are some changes and it may mean an ok change or a wonderful change. We’ll see. In other work things, there’s a new visa in the works so that bodes well for the long term. So fingers crossed that in September or October I’ll have a new visa. 🙂
In other news, I succumbed to all the hype and went for the iPhone 4. I did need to get a new phone since my existing one died a horrible death (closing it caused it to shut down or crash — even on a full new battery). It’s a great phone and I’ve been enjoying it. I think I got the one that actually works compared to the news reports I’ve been reading. I am getting a case for it. The glass front and back make me very nervous. I’m a klutz when it comes to geek gear and this is why I have an Otter Box on my Blackberry. I so need to get one for this thing. Until I get a good case, I’m getting a decent one for now. I may get an armband case/carry as well. I’m going to start running in a couple of weeks to help improve my weight loss.
I got a Body Bugg a few weeks ago to help me track my calorie burned (if you’ve ever seen Biggest Loser, you know what a Body Bugg is). It’s been pretty awesome. I even know how well I sleep each night. It’s been pretty good at helping me keep on track for my caloric intake and output. I still have to record what I eat. I’ve plateaued a bit over the last couple of weeks so I figure running, even 3 times a week, will help break that a bit. Additionally, I’ll have to add push ups and pull ups to my daily routine to help me improve my chest muscles in prep for future plans.
Anyways, to say that life is good is an understatement albeit a bit lonely with K. 🙁
I’ve been far more remiss at posting blog entries this year than last. I think it’s because my life has become rather mundane although it’s been starting to ramp up a bit. This year has started off great and seems to be continuing (and potentially gaining speed) to be great. I’ve been hearing rumblings of a new work visa that will keep me here, potentially on a very longer term. I recently got a promotion (yay!) and a little pay bump (double yay!). That, along with a strong desire to finally skewer the remaining bits of debt that I have, have resulted in less stress and a more positive outlook on life. Things will get quiet here soon as K heads to L.A. next week and Bobcat and I stay here — for now. I’ve been trying to avoid buying things and actually have been contemplating selling certain things on Craigslist starting next week.
I have some concerns for the move, particularly how long it will be before Bob and I can go out to L.A. The very last date will be the end of August but I’m hoping for before then (end of June or July). The other concern is Bobcat herself. She ain’t no spring chicken any more. At 16, she’s cranky, whiny and a bit senile. She wasn’t happy about the flight from Toronto to NYC and a flight to L.A. will not be fun either. If she comes onto the flight with me, she’ll be non-stop meow and worse than a baby crying. But I feel guilty about putting her in cargo. Ya, I know. I baby her far too much but she is my little furrkid.
My transition, such as it is, continues happily. I’m becoming a bear, I think. **ROFL** Hair loss is not an issue for me. I am contemplating moving up surgery to sometime this fall once I’m in L.A. A few of my fellow transmen recommend a specific doctor there and say that he does wonders, even for larger guys. I think once I’m in L.A. and have settled on a new doctor/health care environment, I’ll make a consultation appointment with this doctor to see about how much and how long before I could have the surgery. I have to admit being tired of binders and the constricted feel of it all. And I’d really like to not have to bike long distance with a binder (I’ve done it before but I don’t think I want to continue to do it).
One of the things that I will have to do is return back to a vegan lifestyle, more than like a raw vegan (or at least 80% raw vegan). I want to see if I can completely eliminate all processed food items (save for almond milk and cereal grains) from my diet. Not only will it help me lose the necessary weight for surgery but will generally help extend my life. K and I have become huge fans of The Biggest Loser. (ok. I’ll admit it. Jillian is hot!) These people are incredibly awe-inspiring. I would love to have a trainer again and be able to work out at a gym again but I’m afraid to. Most gyms have strict policies about locker room usage. Being in L.A., especially if the gym is within walking distance, will open up more workout opportunities but I think I’d rather be able to do so with shirt off or with a muscle shirt.
So that’s life in a nutshell at this point.
I just realized it’s been over a month since my last post.
Bad, Linus. Bad, bad, bad.
Although, I suppose it’s good. Work has been busy and I was on the road a bit (pictures to be added to my flickr account later). I was in California for two weeks (one week for work and one week for the holidays). It was good and the more I visit there the more I look forward to moving there — especially to escape the cold weather we have here. I have to admit to starting to get anxious about the move. I really do want to unload some of the larger items I have (anyone want any computer books and a 3 year old — but in good condition — Dell computer?). Some books I want to keep while others I do need to unload (anyone want to give a home to a bunch of Calvin&Hobbes, Baby Blues, Cathy and similar “comic strip” books? Just pay shipping). Given that a lot of the books I can get now I can add to my Kindle app on my iTouch, I don’t need as many physical books. I definitely want to lighten my load and overall human footprint.
I hate giving up books as I know the value of knowledge and I know how much I spent (it probably could have paid for my top surgery at this point) but reality is that I’ll need to lighten this load before we move. Some things will not be parted with (both bikes, cigar collection and comic book collection, 2 computer desks) but other things will go (clothing will be a big one as well since there is a lot I don’t wear any more or is too small). I still have stuff in Ontario that I never moved down because we just didn’t have the space. If we get a house at some point, I’ll move it down then (antique bed and indoor bicycle trainer amongst other things).
So that’s priority #1 for this year. Getting ready for another large move.
Have I mentioned how much I hate moving? I have a spent a lifetime on the move and there really was only once where I stayed in one place — that was in Toronto for nearly 9 years. I have to admit it was a nice apartment and the street was good but sometimes you do have to move on. Hopefully, one day, I can finally settle to one place — ideally a house I own — and not move again until its to the ground.
My next priority is losing weight and staying active. For January until April 1 I’ll be teaching almost exclusively online. While it’s nice that I get to stay home for that time, it kinda sucks because my office chair has been slowly melding to mah butt. And mah butt flowth over. So, time to get rid of the butts (big butts and little buts) and be more active. I have begun using my iPod more and more to do home exercises. And have been watching my intake of food in general (less in and more out == more weight loss).
I’ve been a bit better about working out before class starts, doing a simple routine of weights (mostly upper body) and some yoga (about 10 min worth). It’s not much but it is a start. I’ve incorporated an iPod app that is working me towards 100 pushups and another that is working me towards 200 situps — all in “good form”. The situps are not much of a problem but the pushups are a challenge. I’ve had to do modified pushups for now. My upper body strength sucks in the worst way.
Add to that a reduction in food intake and I should lose some weight and tone up a bit. I want to hold off on a full out cardio regime until we’re settled in Los Angeles. Then I want to take advantage of the many bike paths there. One thing I noticed far more in L.A., compared to NYC, is the amount of bicycle riding. Now part of keeping me on track is to be upfront and open about how I’m doing. So.. I’ll be posting a chart as to the weight loss over the next few months in various posts. I haven’t decided yet whether to add it as a side widget.
So after the Planet Fitness stuff and my recent doctor’s visit showed that I’m overall doing well as far as health I could use some exercise (one of the major challenges and downfalls to working at home more often than not). So I decided to make it simple and cheap.
1. Walking up all the stairs at least once a day for a week and then changing it two doing it twice in one “sitting”. I found out that doing this once will burn off about 140 calories (we’re on the top — 7th floor — of the building so I run down all the stairs and then walk up them at an even but brisk pace).
2. I have two kettle balls (one’s 15lbs and the other 25lbs) and an adjustable dumbell (from 1lb to 15lbs). I use these for simple curls, triceps and such.
3. I got an Iron Gym after recommended to me by a few guys in a support group. When I first started using it, I actually saw results. I don’t know why I stopped but I started again. Great for back muscles (lats, traps and such).
4. I haven’t started the situps and pushups yet but will start those soon.
I figure the sooner I get into this as a habit the better. From Jan until April 1 I’ll be home for all of it except two weeks (one week will be in Toronto and another in Vegas).
Dumb bell cost: $12
Kettle bells cost: $50
Iron Gym cost: $29.99
Sweat trickle down back, knowing I’m losing weight on my terms & without some contract: priceless.
I think I may just go basic and run up and down the stairs (that’s 7 flights of stairs with 13 steps each so a quick bit of math –> 91 steps) a few times for cardio in the winter. I have kettleballs, a simple dumbbell, Iron Gym Pull Bar (yes, that thing from TV), crunches, pushups and my Wii (for added excitement). I was thinking that the gym might be worthwhile because I could get a trainer at the location to help me focus a bit. Bally’s was already off my list. I’ve never been fond of them and any gym that can’t quote a price to me over the phone is out as is anyone who does hard sells (Bally’s is known for this). It shouldn’t be that hard.
Really, it shouldn’t.
NY Athletic Clubs were also out because they seem to have a similar rep and Lucille Roberts, a women-only’s gym, well, would present a problem now, wouldn’t it? So I thought why not take a look at Planet Fitness? They’ve been advertising a low rate ($20/month, no contract) and had simple gym design. They weren’t for the fitness buff but for the person who needed to get into a shape other than round (the side effect of a geek’s life, even a vegan one). So I sent them out an email to find out what packages they could offer and asked what their position was on transgendered/transsexual individuals. They replied today with a cheerful email about all the things they offered, a listing of two payment options (contract and no contract). And, oh ya. The transgendered thing? They go by the state/federal documents identifier.
Ya. Not for me.
At the least they notified me in advance to avoid embarrassment and I will be writing them a “thanks but no thanks” letter. It’s fine if my passport says that but reality is that I don’t look like that letter. And I can bet that many women won’t want a guy in their change room. It’d be too disruptive and likely to set their “Lunk alarm” off (their “lunk alarm” is something akin to an air raid that goes off when someone drops the weights heavily, intentionally or not). They probably didn’t think of that when they sent me the email.
Society will always have me pegged in the wrong hole until I have all surgeries so that I can fit into the little single box that someone sets out for me, eh? On the top end of the scale, this boils down to money. Or more succinctly, potential loss of money and the cost to create an environment that would be open to all. And by all, “they” mean the cisgendered society at large. Conforming means that things are all the same and often costs are lower as a result. Additionally, there is the potential loss of existing customers when a “we’re-not-quite-sure-but-it-may-be-an…??” comes into a change room, customers may get that “ick!” feeling and will let management know about this, in both loud voice and dollar signs. However, let’s be honest here: the concern isn’t really an FTM in the men’s change room but rather the MTF in the women’s. It is the old idea that a “man” (physical stuff between the legs concept) is some kind of perv who wants to rape.
It makes me wonder if some of the health issues that many trans individuals face pre and post surgery isn’t due to the surgery or hormones but from the lack of access to facilities to do necessary exercises (e.g., I would love to be able to work out at 5am, grunting and sweatin’ to the oldies — which for me is the 70s and 80s). And that second guessing ourselves comes from a lack of body image and chance to adjust that image because of a lack of facilities. Now all of this is supposition on my part given that many trans individuals, particularly here in the US, sink a fortune into the day-to-day needs of legal costs, hormones, doctors and surgeries (never mind the fears that comes with what society has portrayed many as — monsters). And when you do all of that, your living costs will often be kept to a minimum so that means smaller place to rent/buy and less food options (often resulting in cheaper options).
I guess I’ll have to figure out something on my own to work out and improve my overall fitness. Running up and down those stairs should be a good start but it’s a shame that I couldn’t find a place where I could do it without potentially waking up my neighbours and actually get advice when I need it.