Motivation this semester and concluding a few past posts

Throughout the semester I have felt unmotivated.  I really don’t have any clue as to why though.  I really want to do this whole school thing and get my degree so that I don’t have to work in the factory the rest of my life but for some reason that isn’t enough to keep me going anymore.  I am finding it harder and harder to concentrate on the readings every week, although this could be due to the fact that the weather is getting nicer and instead of being outside doing fun things, i’m either at work or cooped up in my apartment doing schoolwork.  I think this summer will prove to reinvigorate me though as I am going to be doing a lot of fun stuff such as working Summerfest for Harley.

Now that I got that off of my chest, I can use this final blog post of the semester to provide some updates and closure from my earlier posts this semester.

For starters, I still haven’t gotten my motorcycle back yet.  It’s all paid off and waiting for me but my license plate bracket is still on back-order and won’t be in for another week or two yet.  It was supposed to come in mid-March and I am not too happy about this.  Usually i’m not a big complainer but this is ridiculous.  I am hoping to spin this to my advantage though and possibly get my 5,000 mile maintenance checkup done for free instead of having to pay $250 for it.  I also want to get free winter storage for next year which will save me more money.

In regard to my earlier comment about being unmotivated, I think I might  be able to diagnose why.  The last couple of weeks I haven’t been working out due to work and school concerns.  When I don’t workout I get a bit irritable and my mind gets a little unfocused and cloudy.  Once the semester is over I will have more time and can hopefully get back to my workout schedule.

Finally, I have been on Welbutrin for a little over a month now and sadly, i’m still smoking.  I haven’t given up on quitting yet though and will try a bit harder once semester is over because I’m not sure that quitting would be good for me when I have a lot of school work to do and am a bit stressed.  On the plus side, the Welbutrin is good as an appetite suppressant so with not working out I haven’t gained any weight!

Hopefully I will continue to write blog posts as they are a good way to just vent and get my thoughts out on paper.  I have to say, I was a little worried about coming up with content for these over the course of the semester but once I started writing it came to me very easily.

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Riding season is here, still no bike and an update on my smoking cessation effort

I need to vent a little bit here.  Riding season is officially underway and I have yet to be out on my motorcycle yet.  I have all of my upgrades done and have paid for the labor and should have it back already.  However, due to an issue with one of the suppliers, my new license plate bracket still isn’t in and it was supposed to come in the second week of March.  Apparently, there is still a week lead-time on the part and it won’t be available until April 13th.  I am not very happy about this and hope that it’s shipped and installed not long after that.  I hope that because of this mix-up I can hopefully get something out of the dealership such as a discount on my next service since I plan to put enough miles on after the semester ends to get me to my next recommended servicing.  I’m not usually like this and I know that sometimes accidents happen but I am losing valuable riding time that I can’t get back.  On the plus side though, the dealership did say they will deliver my bike back to me and waive the delivery fee since I have spent a lot of money with them!

Since I don’t have a lot more to say about that right now, I think I should also offer up an update on my smoking.  I have the Welbutrin to help me quit, however I think that I’m actually smoking more now.  Also, the pills give me extreme cottonmouth and a little bit of paranoia I think.  I must admit though that the paranoia could just be attributed to the fact that I saw it on the side-effects list.  I will say that the medication has helped me in other ways though, such as increasing my focus and allowing me to concentrate on my schoolwork which in turn allows me to get more done in less time.  It has also helped a little bit in speeding up my metabolism and suppressing my appetite at night.  Since I work late hours this has really helped me to stop overeating and going to bed right away after work.  I hope that it can actually help me quit smoking though but it’s going to be a rough journey either way and I can only hope that it gets easier the longer i’m on this medication.

Finally, as a side note, my workouts are going great.  I really do need to start working out my legs though as I’ve been focusing on my upper body and I am starting to look really disproportionate.  I took off from lifting this week because it’s been a rough one but i’m hoping that once the semester is over I can get back to killing it at the gym (and my home gym) and really focus on changing my body composition.

As an added bonus, here’s two pictures of my motorcycle after my upgrades:

I put on a detachable windshield, a two person seat, a detachable sissy bar, and passenger footboards.

Smoke em’ if you got em’

Smoking.  My first cigarette was one that a friend of mine took from his mom’s pack and we smoked it on the way to school, I think it was a Liggett.  While I had my first cigarette at the age of 14, I was not a full-time smoker until I was 18.  The first thing that I did when I turned 18 was to buy a pack of cigarettes.  Up until that point, I had relied on friends that would give me one or my old neighbor who was a couple of grades above me and was old enough to buy them for me.   Looking back at that decision, I wish I would have never even started.

I have tried to quit smoking in the past (quite a few times) and after almost 12 years of being a full-time smoker, I think it’s finally time to quit.  I have tried the patch, gum, lozenges, and even Chantix but all to no avail.  This time, I am trying Wellbutrin and the nicotine inhaler. The inhaler is relatively new I believe but definitely expensive.  Hopefully this is the combination that helps me to quit.

I would like to be done smoking for good by my thirtieth birthday which is June 27.  Whether or not I will stick with it this time is hard to tell.  I smoke because I feel it helps me with some underlying anxiety issues but I am sick of it running my life.  I’m sick of the smell and the wasted money (almost $50/week) as well as the wasted time.  I have to have a cigarette after almost everything I do. I can’t think of any good reason to continue smoking, however I’m addicted. A majority of the time that I smoke, I don’t even really want to be smoking but I feel as if I need to.  My main problem with this whole quitting situation is what to do with the extra time that I will have from not smoking.  Since I smoke all of the time and associate it with everything I think that quitting may increase my anxiety as I won’t know what to do instead of smoking.  However, on the positive side, the Wellbutrin that they gave me supposedly decreases your appetite so I should be able to shed a couple more pounds!  Quitting should definitely also help my cardio so that is another plus.

I set my quit date for April 1st, to allow the Wellbutrin to build up in my system and to make sure that I can handle any side effects that I may encounter.  I will hopefully have an update on my progress with this in my next post and hopefully I can have some positive news!

Also, I ham including a picture of the inhaler and the whole package, this is what $350 worth of smoking cessation products looks like, I’m definitely thankful for my healthcare spending account card!

Getting in shape…more of a marathon than a sprint.

I have struggled all my life with being overweight.  I shouldn’t say that, I have struggled most of my life with being overweight.  I didn’t really start to pack on the pounds until about fourth grade and graduated high school at a mostly fat 225 pounds.  After high school I started working at Walmart unloading trucks and lost a lot of my weight, getting down to 169 pounds.   Four years later in 2009, I was laid off from a job and started putting the weight on again until I topped out at 285 pounds in November of 2015.  It was at this time that I bought some workout equipment off of Amazon and started becoming serious about working out again.  I had dabbled in weightlifting on and off throughout the years but I always found an excuse not to continue with it.  My reality check was when I woke up one morning, looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize my face anymore.  It was time for a change!

Fast forward a year later to November of 2016 and I was down to 240 pounds.  Working out everyday and not eating out as much really helped me to trim down.  Now, three months later I have plateaued.  I can’t seem to get below 24o pounds and my goal is to be 225 pounds by summer.  I know that I am losing body fat because I went from a 4x shirt and size 38 jeans to a 2x shirt last month and size 36 jeans and a 1x shirt and size 34 jeans this month.  I get that lifting weights isn’t helping on the scale because muscle weighs more than fat but it is a little discouraging at times.  I think that part of the issue may be that with school starting up I haven’t had as much workout time as I normally do.  I think that eventually I will be able to overcome this plateau, it’s just going to take cutting more calories and increasing my cardio.

I recently tried to take the easy way out and ordered pro-hormones from Supplement Warehouse, a recently defunct supplement store.  The purpose of the hormones, which are legal and not quite steroids (similar effects, not as harsh on your body), is to pack on lean muscle and maintain the muscle that you have while burning fat.  I hit many roadblocks when trying to acquire them though.  First, the brick and mortar store had them back-ordered so I had to go to their online store and put an order in so that when they were in stock I could get them before they ran out again.  Next, they shipped part of my order and didn’t have an update as to when the next part of my order was going to be shipped.  Finally, I received an e-mail about the company shutting down and not being able to fulfill their outstanding obligations to their customers.  Now I am out $100 and for that amount of money i’m just going to chalk it up as a loss.  I tried to take the easy way out and give myself a bit of an unnatural edge when it comes to getting in shape and it could have been dangerous because the products I was getting boost your testosterone levels beyond normal and there is no guarantee your body won’t stop producing it naturally.  I must have someone looking out for me and I need to take this as a sign that taking the easy way out is never the right way.  This is why I say that getting in shape is a marathon and not a sprint, I will be able to achieve my fitness goals but I will just have to do it naturally and work harder for it.

Is it time to bring the bike out yet?

This past fall I had completed the rider course through Harley-Davidson and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF).  I must say, it was something that I never really had an interest in until I started working for the company.  After completing the course I bought my first motorcycle, a 2014 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim.  I only had about a month and a half of riding season left by the time I got my license but I must say it was a life-changing experience.  I wish that I would have done this a long time ago!  Here is a picture of me with my bike:

me-and-bike

There is something very therapeutic about hopping on the bike, cranking up some music and just hitting the open road with no destination in mind.  You can clear your mind and just let go of everything that’s bothering you.  The feeling of the wind in your face and the smell of fresh air gives you a sense of freedom that you just can’t find when riding in a car.  Now that I have experienced riding, I don’t think that I can ever go back to not riding.  Ever since I put the bike into storage for the winter, I have had the itch to get it back out and start riding.  My plan is to hopefully take it out towards the end of April so that I can get as much riding in as possible this season.  I am definitely not happy about the prediction that we have six more weeks of winter left, however I am watching the extended weather forecast everyday so that I can bring the bike home as soon as possible.  I plan to ride every day this summer and won’t use my car unless I absolutely have to.  I added a bunch of upgrades to the bike this winter, such as a windshield, 2-up seat and sissy bar to make sure that it’s ready by the first day that the weather breaks.