Friday, December 31, 2010

Which Day Of Christmas?

Oh boy.  After all of that talk about "better than yesterday" I forget to post yesterday.  It won't be hard to do better today.  To be fair to myself work was pretty awful yesterday, and after my show I was spent.  I also had another run in with the fact that negative emotions frequently manifest for me physically as hunger.  It is the hardest impulse to fight, too, because my ability to rationalize is never stronger than when my mind is elsewhere and dwelling on negative things.  There is nothing more I can do than continue to work hard and stay OUT of the kitchen or 7-11 when I'm frustrated or down.  today I'm in a pretty good mood, though.  Work closed down even earlier than I thought, so I had almost the whole afternoon to myself.  I spent a few gift cards and got myself a brand new digital camera, which will add incentive to fulfill my desire to include a lot more pictures on the blog.  It has a much better optical zoom, and since it is 4 years newer than my now former camera it should provide even better pictures.

As for tonight I don't plan to go too crazy with food, but there was an incredible deal on a pretty decent sparkling wine at my local grocery, so I will be drinking a bit tonight.  I have done good work so far this week, so I think I should still end up with a positive result this week.  We shall see.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Reaching for the FIVE GOLDEN RINGS!

Everybody's favorite line to sing in that song.  It turns out that today was another good one for me.  I am getting better about logging my food, a habit I have fallen away from, and it is amazing the immediate effect it has had on my intake.  Knowing that what I have eaten meets my calorie needs makes it easier to be satisfied with the amount I have eaten.  It must be the rational side of me overriding all else.

I have been thinking quite a bit about the reactions I got when I visited Houston this past week.  The most frequent question I got was "How did you do it?"  People are loath to believe me when I say "I stopped eating crap" or "I started eating moderately".  They think there must have been some trick or some earth moving technique.  Before I started this journey I thought that was the only way as well.  It isn't.  It is another face of the "get rich quick" epidemic of our society.   People, myself included, hate hearing that steady work, even if it isn't all that "hard" is the key to success, so they choose not to believe it.  I am not judging anyone, because that very train of thought is one of the many impediments I set in front of myself before starting.  I just find it funny to see from this side of the equation.  This realization about hard work, or rather steady work, has been huge for me in all areas of my life.  How can I not do all I know how to in my career knowing what I know.  I refuse to sit back anymore and wait for success, just as I have chosen to take mastery of my diet and health.  I am far from perfect, but I know and try to do what it takes, and that is better than what I did before.  I think my mantra for the new year will be "better than yesterday".  It embodies everything that has made my process work for me.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Four Calling Birds

Back on track.  It is amazing how much less hungry I am when I am eating properly.  I have to say my planning wasn't any better than on other days recently, I was just far less busy.  It is bad for my pocketbook, but great for my diet.  Since I was smart and saved a bit before starting this sales job my health is still the more pressing matter of the two.  This morning I was a pound lighter, which probably corresponds as much with some recovery naturally from my indulgences as the more austere intake I have had in the last day or two.  Either way I will take it.  I toyed for a moment with trying to tie today's post with the gift in the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas", but to be frank I really don't feel like working that hard.  I think that these 12 consecutive posts will do me a lot of good though.  I have been rereading the Holmes books this week and I think it is there that I ran into a phrase pertaining to the disinfectant qualities of sunlight, both literally and in the metaphorical sense that the more exposure something receives the less likely becomes the growth of undesirable or unsavory things.  For me it means the more I write the more weight I lose on the whole.  I started the blog for accountability, and like all things it only works when I use it.

Monday, December 27, 2010

On The 3rd Day of Christmas... true love sent to me three waves of clients.  Actually one wave was a no show, but I had to schedule for them, so this day presented with a vengeance the problem I have had with this job with regards to my health.  I had breakfast around 9:45 because my time at work started at 11.  I was supposed to have an appointment right at 11, but the client was an hour late.  I still took them out, but I got back 5 minutes after my 2pm client arrived.  I immediately started helping them and by the time I was done it was 5:30pm and I hadn't eaten since breakfast.  I wasn't in pain or overly hungry, but having that long between meals sends my body into storage mode.  I also tend to eat too much in the following meal.  I think I did OK, considering I have already eaten dinner and I forced myself to stop before I felt full.  We'll see what it does to my weight loss, but considering today is my veggie day I am glad it had to happen today when I am monitoring my intake that much more closely.  I am thinking about taking a few boxes of lean pockets or something similar to work to keep for occasions just like today.  I could eat a little something in as little as 10 minutes and keep myself on track a lot better.  It all comes down to planning, and I have known for some time how important that is.  I guess I am still adjusting to the new lifestyle with this job, and there is a learning curve to climb, both with my work and living with it.  I'm getting there, but I am not there yet and it is good to realize that.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Weigh in #48 - 2nd Day Of Christmas

Oh my.  This whole week has been a minefield.  As I said last night I made better choices this year than I might have in years past, but I certainly did not make perfect choices.  I suppose if in 47 weeks this is the first I have gained a significant amount of weight I can allow myself a little leeway.  2 parties, 3 family meals, and a lot of work and travel that threw off my consistency made this week the hardest I have had since I settled in to my original lifestyle changes almost a year ago.  It was Christmas, though, and I think a bigger mistake would have been to hide at parties and meals and miss out on the experiences of family and friends.  Right now my body is at an obvious "peak" and has not even had a chance to stabilize after all of the food and travel, so this number is a bit deceiving I think.  That should make it all the easier to get it back down to where I was and even lower, though.  Here are the numbers:

Current Weight: 291 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: -4.2 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 149.2 lbs

It really hurts that I am back under 150 total weight loss.  I know this Friday and Saturday upcoming will be less than ideal days, with New Year celebrations and then watch party for the bowl game, so I will be busting it through the week to set myself up for some success.  I would like to lose at least half of what I have gained in the past 2 weeks, so 2.2 pounds, this week.  It is a lofty goal at this point in my weight loss, but I think it is possible.  A 2.2 pound goal seems appropriate for my 2nd day of Christmas post, so I will leave it there.

On The First Day Of Christmas

I give to you my thanks.  I don't feel I say enough that the support and encouragement of every reader of this blog has been vital to my success so far.  Thank you so much.

A particular thank you goes out to my family, of whom I saw a little in the past day or two.  The trip home was a whirlwind, and I certainly didn't skimp at the several Christmas feasts I attended, but I made better choices than I would have last year, and that is a positive.  Tomorrow I will post my weight, whatever it ends up being, and talk a bit more about the trials of the holiday.  Merry Christmas, and thank you again.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Weigh in #47

We are now officially deep in the danger zone.  As busy as I have been with work, and with the company holiday party (catered with free booze) safely behind me, I have to say I am not too displeased with this week.  I was a bit more conscious of my intake, and I worked out 3 times this week.  Now, I did misbehave a bit at the party, and last week's poor choices carried over into the beginning of this week with a vengeance.  I have to say the fact I didn't gain 5 pounds this week is a minor miracle.  Here are the numbers:

Current Weight: 286.8 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: -0.2 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 153.4 lbs

 I gained a little, but that is basically maintenance since I posted my weight last.  I'll take it after this week.  The next 6 days are going to be key for me, because I don't plan to be too careful at Christmas with my family.  I am choosing to focus on the fun, but that means that from now until I jet my way to Texas I need to get some good work in.  I will probably pick up a couple heads of lettuce and pre-cook some proteins for some quick salads throughout the week.  That will have the added bonus of saving tons of time, because as long as the protein is already cooked I can walk home, prep my salad, eat, and be back at my desk in under 45 minutes, and I want to push hard at work going into the holiday.  Working commission has a way of bringing out the hard worker in the laziest individual. Two weeks left in the danger zone.  If I manage to break 285 by the new year I will count it a success.

On a housekeeping note I will be out of town next weekend, so my weigh in will probably have to wait until Sunday at the earliest, since using the same scale for every weigh in is key to tracking my results accurately and I am NOT taking my scale with me.  I will, however, be doing a 12 days of Christmas set of posts to give me momentum into the new year.  For those of you saying, "Chase, you missed the boat on the 12 days of Christmas already" to you I say "Wrong!"  Pardon me while I get all Catholic on you, reader.  The 12 days of Christmas are the liturgical celebration that stretches from Christ's Mass (December 25) to the Epiphany, or January 6th which is when we celebrate the arrival of the Magi to the Holy Family, and the day when the sacred mystery of Christ's status as both God and Man is revealed to us (hence the name "Epiphany").  This is the point when my Grandmother Barbara, who reads the blog, will be thrilled about my 8 years of Catholic education.  Love you Mammaw!  All of that is to say that the 12 calendar days between 12/25 to 1/5 are the 12 days of Christmas, and so on each of those days I will post about one success or failure, or a special thank you to one or more of the many people who have helped me in this journey.  It is my Christmas gift to you, and like the socks you get every year, you are getting it whether you want it or not.  Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rama, Rama, Rama!

Today was veggie day.  The problem of late with my vegetarian day has been that I eat out.  I shared my problems with homemade tofu dishes, but today I gave it another shot.  I planned ahead a bit more which allowed me to press the tofu overnight, giving me a much more pleasing texture.  The next step is to improve the marinade.  I went with a simple marinade I found online of soy and Chinese five spice.  The tofu was incredibly salty.  Way too much soy.  I only marinated for about 35 minutes, but I will probably cut that back to 15 or 20 next time.  The flavor was good, but just too salty.  For lunch I used that tofu in my usual basil dish.  For dinner I didn't want to do the same thing, so I did a little research and found a no cook peanut sauce recipe.  My second favorite Thai dish is the rama preparation which is the protein with steamed broccoli and peanut sauce over brown rice.  With a good peanut sauce recipe I decided to give it a shot.  I think I will redo this one soon with chicken, because the tofu was borderline unpallatable by this evening, but the sauce turned out great, and I have to say that steamed broccoli has become one of my favorite veggies.  There is such a great sweetness with cruciferous vegetables when you don't overcook them.  I think one of the problems I have always had enjoying veggies is poor preparation.  I am learning how to cook them how I like them and that is a lifelong skill that is going to make success much more likely.  I took a few snaps throughout the cooking to see how it turned out:

One of my favorite takeout places adds shredded carrot, and I like the sweetness and crunch it adds, so I ran a couple baby carrots over the box grater.  I have some chicken and another head of broccoli, so I will probably try a non veg version later this week to see how it turns out, but it is a great start, and another recipe to add to my arsenal.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sustainable Success

The fact that I work so close to home is a mixed blessing.  I can cook for myself more, but I am closer to my fridge all the time.  I am certainly eating more than I was when I worked downtown just because of the access.  I have also run into the issue of allowing myself to wait too long between meals.  I get really hungry and have a larger meal than I need to.  It is an adjustment that I am still making, but on the positive side I am maintaining and not gaining.  I also had one really solid work out this week and plan to get another in tonight.  If nothing else then this week will be positive because I will be stronger and healthier at the end of it, if not lighter.  I have also tried a few new things in the old cocina.  I substituted roasted red peppers for some of the olive oil and tahini in my ever present hummus and I am really happy with the results.  This weekend on my grocery run I picked up some rainbow trout which in addition to being delicious is a great sustainable alternative to other oily fish.  For the preparation I pulled out some jerk seasoning, a little salt and pepper, a little sprinkle of brown sugar, and some powdered chipotle.  I am REALLY happy with how it turned out, and I have a second serving for later in the week.

Paired with a side of asparagus it was a great meal, and pretty low calorie.  Challenges later this week include my vegetarian day (I had to postpone because by the time I was done with my client Monday it was 4pm and I needed something fast so I reheated turkey chili), and keeping a really close tab on my intake.  I'd like to get back to some of the fastidious habits that brought quick success.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Weigh in #46

Demanding.  That is the word I would use to describe this week.  I put in probably 45 hours at the (100% commission) day job and then I've had the shows.  Next week we start two show Saturday and Sundays, so things are only going to get busier, but I hope that some of the hard work at the day job is going to pay off with with a few sales.  I am pretty displeased with my discipline this week.  I really need to work on my accountability with diet this coming week, especially with some holiday dining coming up.  Some of the choices I made this week were calculated.  I am "living" a little bit more than when I was in the most serious parts of this journey, and alcohol was probably the biggest determinant of this week's numbers.  I still lot weight, but with as far removed from the very physical performance of my last show I am, and with my inattention to exercise I think some of that is muscle loss.  Here are the numbers:

Current Weight: 286.6 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 0.6 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 153.6 lbs

Nothing special, but still lower.  The way I felt this week told me I wasn't doing the right things, though.  Yes I was working really hard, but quality of sleep and some digestive problems (I'll leave it there)  are telling me I could be doing much better.  I rationalized some bad choices this week, and I didn't pay to dearly for them, but I may have rationalized myself into one or two too many compromises.  I need to be smarter.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Weigh in #45

4 danger days down.  This week has been pretty good.  Since the weather turned really cold I have not gotten out for any exercise, and that is something I need to be really careful about.  As I've said before the exercise has minimal effect on my weight loss, but it does have a positive effect on my health in other ways.  Too frequently I let my weight and the numbers I post be the only determinant of success, but maintaining a lower blood pressure, gaining the ability to perform with the stamina I want, and getting the physique I want are just as important.  It is not going to be as easy to stay motivated now that outdoor exercise is really out of the question, but I have the workout room in my building available to me, so while it may not be as much fun, I really have no excuse not to.  Even without exercise, and not really working all that hard I had decent results this week.  Here are the numbers:

Current Weight: 287.2 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 1.6 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 153 lbs

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Danger Zone

December has so many things I love.  Christmas, the opportunity to see family, first snow, the brisk weather, and of course the seemingly annual Oklahoma appearance in the Big XII championship game.  This December, however, has a new wrinkle.  Every party has delicious, high calorie foods.  The extra busy days lead to poor discipline with meal timing, which leads to me feeling hungrier than I actually should.  The colder weather sends my body into "storage" mode, which exacerbates the already difficult task of staying on top of my diet.  I have a few things working for me, but I think it is wise to put the challenges out there so that they can be in the forefront of my awareness. 

So now that the challenges are named, how do I beat them?  As I said, I have some things going for me.  My new job is pretty flexible with time, and I work a 2 minute walk from my apartment.  I have been able to eat at home often since starting, and that has been one of the keys to my success throughout the process.  The more I eat at home, especially home cooked meals, the more weight I lose.  It also saves some money, which is a nice bonus.  This December I also have 10 months of work and experience behind me to prepare me for the challenges.  The fact that I refuse to ever go back to the way I was, that I have only gained weight once or twice in 10 month, and the fact that everybody knows about it are huge motivating factors.  I enjoy being right more than any food item you can offer.  None of this is to say I am going to avoid every single pitfall.  I plan to indulge a bit: its Christmas.  I just know how to make the better choice, even when indulging.  I have the tools for success, and I am going to need all of them this month.  That being said, knowledge is power and one of the biggest reasons for my success has been this blog.  I am able to plan, voice my concerns, and take a wider view of the potential challenges I face, not to mention the incredible advice I've gotten from your comments.  So the challenges will come here first.  Expect some posts.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Weigh in #44

Thanksgiving has come and gone.  The day above all others that is most about food presented an incredible challenge.  I wasn't really "dieting" on Thursday, but all of the work I have done in the last 10 months really paid off.  My stomach is nowhere near as large as it used to be, and after one plate I couldn't do much more than nibble for the rest of the day.  I chose to indulge in adult beverages, but I also drank a lot of water, and my body never got into retention mode, which certainly saved me some immediate weight gain.  I had not weighed myself since and I had a holy crap moment this morning when I got on the scale:

Current Weight: 288.8 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 1.2 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 151.4 lbs

That is correct, I lost weight on Thanksgiving week.  To be honest I am surprised, because though I wasn't anywhere near as bad as I might have been in years past I certainly did not work that hard either.  Now, I weighed exactly that on Wednesday morning, so I only maintained through the holiday, but that is a huge success.  I will take results like this any week, and particularly on a week where so much could have gone wrong.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cooking With Tofu

Once upon a time this wanna be home gourmet was very afraid of tofu, both cooking AND eating.  When I decided to do the whole Meatless Mondays thing I know I would have to get over that, at least eating it from time to time.  I love Thai food, so that is where I started, and for the most part I have enjoyed it.  Of course, the cooks I am frequenting know what they are doing.  I, however, have only what I have gleaned from Food TV and some web research.  Nonetheless I decided the time was ripe for a DIY tofu meal.  I saw the package in the grocery and picked it up.  I let it sit in my fridge for a week.  I finally got the courage up and got cooking tonight.  I decided to stick with what I know and made my usual Thai basil recipe, but substituted some tofu that I pressed and marinated for the chicken.  I must say I am pretty pleased with how it turned out.  The marinade I used wasn't quite what I was looking for, and needs some tweaking, but I will definitely eat the leftovers, and try again.  It isn't as good as my favorite restaurant, but that may partially be quality of ingredients.  Next time I will go to the Asian grocery and get some higher quality tofu, but in a pinch the supermarket stuff isn't too bad.  What I did learn is that I enjoyed the mushrooms as a meat substitute much more than the tofu.  I am not a full time vegetarian, so the need to supplement my protein isn't great.  The mushrooms have a much more meaty texture, and I love the way they taste.  In the future I may stick with mushrooms, especially considering the calorie savings. What I can do, though, is maybe have an extra meat free meal every now and again and still have the filling serving I am looking for.  I don't know that there is anything wrong with saving some cholesterol and calories by skipping the meat a couple more times a month.  I think that may be an added bonus of cooking my vegetarian at home.  There are always leftovers, so the likelihood I eat more veggies is very high.  I think the moral of this story may be that practice makes perfect.  This won't be my last home tofu experience, and that is a success for the day.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Weigh in #43

What a busy week!  Between the show, which officially opens today at 2:30, but we have been previewing since Friday, and the new job, which I have been in training for since Tuesday, I have not had much time for cooking or writing.  Yesterday I had work, a dress rehearsal and a preview, so I did not have time to write anything, but I did weigh myself super early and here are the numbers:

Current Weight: 290 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 1 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 150.2 lbs

Hmm.  Not great, but I did lose some weight.  I have still been snacking a bit more heavily than is prudent, and not always the best things, but I am making the better choice more often, so I am seeing some success.  This week things should normalize a bit in terms of sheer time spent running around, but Thanksgiving is coming, so I will settle for maintenance this week.  I do plan on bringing some healthy, filling options to the Thanksgiving potluck I am going to, including the fall lasagna I posted earlier.  Since I have to be downtown at 5:45am to rehearse for our performance in the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade that morning, I think I will have earned a bit of a cheat meal, though.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fall Kitchen Escapades

In the last couple of months the blog has been as barren as the trees around the lakefront.  Id like to keep my pace around the 10-12 post a month mark, not only to keep interest up (both for you and me) but to keep my work in the forefront.  I may not have the urgency of the beginning of my journey, but I can certainly make the work as conscious as it has been in my most successful times.  The trap for me is saying "this should be automatic" and then quickly falling back into my former bad habits.  I may have personal inertia, but my personal friction seems to pull me back to the bad habits, hence the need to stay deliberate in my work.  I realized that I had not done an "In The Kitchen" blog post for quite some time.  I did a bit of cooking this week, so I thought I would take a few snaps to share.

One thing I wanted to try was to take more control of my snacking.  I am cooking most of my meals, why not my snacks?  I had a hankering for chips and decided if I made them myself I would have less on hand and I would have earned the indulgence.  I got various root veggies and some oil and got frying.

What you see here are sweet potatoes and parsnips.  I had a turnip, but the water content was so high that the chips burned before crisping.  As a famous hot lunch once said, though, "two out of three ain't bad".  As you can see there aren't a bunch of chips, this is probably two parsnips and one and a half large sweet potatoes worth.  Probably two to three hearty servings.  It was great that the yield wasn't that high because I didn't have a huge bag of chips sitting around tempting me, and I was more careful with them because I knew how much work went into them.  Not only in the cooking, but cleaning.  I had never deep fat fried before, and I do not have a fryer, so I used a normal pot.  There was oil EVERYWHERE.  Drips on the floor, aerosolized oil on most of my cooking surfaces, and on the ceiling.  I got the kitchen clean, but my apartment still smells like a McDonald's.  There was certainly a sense of accomplishment for all of the work, though.

The next kitchen project was a test recipe.  I had been inspired by a cooking show to make a fall lasagna.  Pasta is not on the top of my "healthy foods" list, but it looked incredible, and the annual Davis' turkey day potluck is coming up, and I am aiming to impress.  I trolled the internet looking for recipes and I found a Martha Stewart offering that looked promising.  In the comments I saw that people had success making substitutions with less fat and calorie ingredients, so I decided to improvise off of the recipe and see how it turned out.  I have to say I knocked this one out of the park.  This is butternut sage lasagna:

I was a little worried about the flavor initially, hence the missing piece.  It turned out great, though.  Creamy, savory, and surprisingly not as dense as I expected.  The absolute best part is that according to my calculations it is only 200 calories per slice.  Even if I am off by 50%, and I doubt I am, this is a reasonably healthy side dish for a fall occasion, and a great vegetarian entree for the meatless days. This one is definitely going in the recipe book.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Weigh in #42

Sorry the post is so late today, friends, but rehearsal called and I have been out of the house since late this morning.  This post is my 100th on the blog!  I don't know that I have ever been as consistent or diligent at any other project I have set myself, but while the moment to moment choices can be difficult I will never go back to the way I was.  This past week was not particularly great.  I had a pretty indulgent weekend and spent most of the week working that off, but at least I did not gain any weight.  Here are the numbers:

Current Weight: 291 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 0 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 149.2 lbs

I admit that beyond the indulgences I did not take as full advantage of the time off I had this week as I could have, but I did cook more than I have been able to in the past couple of months, and I got in two good walk/workouts.  Once the new day job starts, and we go into tech with the show I can't imagine things will get better, but at least I will have less time in the apartment being tempted by snacks and the television. In the couple days off I have left I plan to get some serious cooking done so I will be able to brown bag to work and eat well even in the time crunch of tech week.  This week I will break 290, so stay tuned for good results next Saturday.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

On The Nature Of Failure

A few weeks ago I made a trip to one of my favorite stores, Half Price Books.  For a tight-fisted nerd like me HPB is great because I like to own my books, but I don't really enjoy paying out the nose for a brand new book.  I had a mission: I was picking up sequel books in the Ender series, which I started reading so I could discuss it with my little brother, but enjoyed it for its own merits and decided to get the next few books in the series (at a discount of course).  While there I saw that the store had received a shipment of Craig Ferguson's memoir, "American On Purpose", that were brand new, but slightly off in some way, so unsellable in a big box book store.  So I picked one up.  I love Ferguson's show, and his patriotism and humor are inspiring.  I started reading last night and was immediately struck by the preface.  Ferguson has fallen in love with baseball.  His son now plays little league.  Ted Williams has famously said, "Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer."  Ferguson disagrees a bit, though, and so do I.  He sees baseball as an allegory for the American experience and is thrilled that his son loves this "most American game."

"He will know from an early age that failure is not a disgrace.  It's just
a pitch that you missed, and you'd better get ready for the next one.
The next one might be the shot heard round the world.  My son and I 
are Americans, we prepare for glory by failing until we don't."
I can't say that I expected to learn more about failure from baseball and a reformed alcoholic Scots immigrant comedian than in theater school or from all of my family and friends put together, but that may be a bit over-dramatic.  Those two may have just been the right lens through which to view my other lessons.  As an actor getting one callback out of ten auditions is about average, and booking one out of ten roles you callback for is about average too, or so I have heard.  I am lucky that I have been more successful in theater than booking 1% of my auditions, but certainly far from a .300 average.  That paragraph hit me immediately though, because it started to knit together many threads of thought I have had about this experience.  They are lessons I should have taken to heart sooner.  I have until know thought of failure as just that, failure.  Each instance was a separate test.  Pass or fail.  I should have been thinking about my failures in two ways.  In the immediate moment of course I have failed and a certain amount of disappointment is expected.  But in the grand scheme of things it is one of one thousand opportunities in a day to make the right choice, and one failure may teach me the lesson that leads to more success in the future than I could have had otherwise.  This of course applies not only to my health, but also to my acting, and even when dating or working at the day job.  I spent so long paralyzed by fear of failing even once that I never gave myself a chance to succeed.  Now that I have seen that the wins far outpace the losses, even at my worst, it is easier to keep going.

I look back on my posts and I can see that this way of thinking has been just around the corner for me for some time, but it is easier for me to think this way now because of how far I have come.  I have realized that if I never lost another pound I wouldn't too upset about it.  I like the way I look and feel.  I am not where I need to be for my health, however.  Today I calculated my BMI, or Body Mass Index, which, while crude, is a decent indicator of how one's weight is likely to impact one's health.  My BMI is just over 35, which is considered Obese class 2.  The website suggested I talk to my doctor about ways to lose weight.  Any BMI over 30 is considered obese.  Any BMI over 25 is considered overweight.  Now, as I said, the standard BMI calculation is crude and does not take muscle mass or frame into account.  Just to break the overweight/obese line I need to get down to 246, and to be considered "healthy" I need to get down to 204.  This is ridiculous.  I have a very large frame, my waist to height ratio equates more to the border between overweight and obese.  Supposing I split the difference between the two measurements then a weight of around 220-230 and a waist size in the 36 region are good final goals, as long as I work to tone and keep my fat/muscle ratios healthy.  At some point I am going to need some professional advice as to where is a healthy place to start the maintenance portion of my health journey.  Educated guesses have done me right to this point, but I can see myself stopping short of where I need to be without some advice.  Hopefully my new day job will provide me the means to get a decent health plan so I can actually see a nutritionist or bariatric specialist.  For now I need to keep moving in the right direction, and take more steps forward than back.  I have lost some of the urgency from the start of my journey.  I am okay with that, though I imagine the effect on the entertainment level of this blog might be detrimental.  What I have to do is channel the energy I had previously devoted to weight loss totally to other areas.  Now is the time for me to really focus on my career.  After this post is done I am buckling down to write cover letters for submissions to agents.  I start a new day job next week.  I open a show in 10 days.  I have plenty to do, but in the new world of "good enough" is not good enough, I can always do more.  Now off to do it.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Weigh in #41

Another week down.  Rehearsals for Miracle move apace and I am having a good time, though it is a completely different kind of environment than Spelling Bee.  Both were professional, but this one is more businesslike.  Because of how quickly we open (13 days from today) I have not had much time to get out and walk or exercise, but my diet has been pretty good.  Here are this week's numbers:

Current Weight: 291 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 3.8 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 149.2 lbs

40 weeks worth of work and I have lost almost 150 pounds.  I like he pace, even though things have slowed down a bit.  Last weigh in, I realized after the fact, was exactly 9 months worth of weight loss.  Since this week gives me such round numbers to work with I will go with this week for my averages.

Weeks: 40
Weight Loss: 149.2 lbs
Avg. Per Week: 3.73 lbs
Weeks to goal at current pace: 19.03

That puts me at 220 (if that is indeed where I end up) by mid-March 2011.  I am shooting for my sustainable weight by the time I can go out in a tee shirt, which in Chicago is April or May, so I can afford the occasional slowdown.  Where exactly I end up becomes less and less important to me the more I get used to the size I am at now.  One of the security guys at my building and one of our regular homeless guys outside of work both commented on my weight loss this week, which is quite gratifying.  To have people who are barely more than strangers notice and congratulate me pushes me to further success.

I was thinking today about what goal to set for myself next.  I don't know that one makes sense at the moment.  With the holidays fast approaching I think a commitment to make good choices in the whirlwind of possible negatives is as good a goal as any.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Weigh in #40

Not much to discuss this week.  I indulged a little bit too much, I was sick, so I was taking medicine that makes me retain water, and I didn't track things as carefully as I should have.  It could have been worse:

Current Weight: 294.8 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: -1 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 145.4 lbs

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Weigh in #39

A late post today, but rest assured I weighed myself at the proper time.  I had to rush out to pick up my headshot reproductions, which look great.  That means my off hours (not that there will be many with rehearsals starting in earnest) will be spent working on submissions.  Chicago agents, prepare.  Like every good actor my weight on my resume is not entirely accurate, and I have toyed with the idea of removing that altogether.  My picture is a good representation of my build, why do they need my weight?  They are not casting a number.  What are your thoughts, friends?  As you think about it, here are the real numbers:

Current Weight: 293.8 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 5 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 146.4 lbs

So much for the off week I was worried about.  Talking about my feelings on closing Spelling Bee certainly helped me get a better handle on myself, but I think the extra bit of rest is what really helped.  Also the fact that easily 60% of my non-breakfast meals this week consisted of lettuce and chicken breast with different dressings/salsas to keep it interesting.  I am definitely back in the right head space about a lot of things.  Things are starting to be exciting again.  As an analytical guy I have been examining what makes the way I handled my recent experiences different than I would have in the past.  My mini-depression certainly lasted for far shorter a time than I would have expected, and my weight results were pretty fantastic.  It goes back to doing what I am afraid to do, which is name the fear and don't hide it.  I hide it because it is personal and I don't want pity or even understanding.  I want to fix it myself.  I bit the bullet and put it out there this time.  I didn't get much in the way of response, nor did I want to, but even speaking it aloud was enough to take ownership of it.  And then it really didn't matter that much anymore.  I have been known to think about things too much and this is a good lesson for me.  The sooner I act on a situation the sooner I have a measure of control over that situation.  Now, can I do it in the future.  We'll see.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Ouroboros - n, a circular symbol of a snake or dragon devouring its tail.

A fitting title for this post for two reasons.  The first is as a tribute to my friends Scott and Jenni Sumerak.  Their theater company of the same name has given me two wonderful opportunities since I moved to ChicagoIncluded is my most recent show, which closed Sunday and was Ouroboros Theater Company's last production.  I wish them the best and I know that even though Ouroboros has closed its doors this is far from the last time we will work together.  The second reason for the title is about what the Ouroboros represents, at least to me.  This is a time of endings and beginnings, and for me they are running right into each other.  This post may be a little uncomfortable for me, because outside of my direct feelings about my progress and struggles with my health I have not talked a lot about my state of mind.  It may have been foolish to try to segregate that part of myself before, but I am certainly not going to put my whole life on here.  It drives me nuts when other people overshare and I plan on avoiding hypocrisy if I can.

This past week I started getting the idea that closing this show might not be that fun for me.  It has been a while since closing a show was a sad thing for me, but I knew this time it would be.  I definitely could have run the show much longer.  I feel like I still had room to grow in that role.  I was also incredibly proud of my work.  I don't know that it is the best acting I have ever done; the writing for my character is a bit thin so there is not a lot of guidance as to where his many oddities come from.  I liken it to driving on a roadway with very wide lanes.  Sure, it is easy to stay inside the lines, but it is almost impossible to drive in a straight line.  What I was most proud of was the embodiment of my personal progress that the role had become.  I was able to sing the role because of quitting smoking.  The dance, such as it was, would have been beyond me even a month or two sooner, let alone before starting this process.  Combining the singing with the dance was incredibly difficult, and something I really wasn't comfortable with until tech week.  Pair all of that with the incredible people I had the pleasure of getting to know and work with and it is little wonder this closing was emotional for me.  

And then I went home.  And started nibbling.  Well, I felt hungry, even though I knew I was full.  Actually, I had started the grazing when I started contemplating closing the show.  My disastrous date experience this weekend did not help much, although now it is pretty funny.  It reinforces the need for constant awareness.  I am the same person I always was.  I eat to feel better.  I gain weight very quickly.  I have to put the bad choices out of my reach.  My cast gift included bags of candy for everybody, but I only used about 2/3rds of what I purchased, so I have had candy in the house since about the time I started to get a little depressed.  Bad combination.  I have saved a couple boxes of Nerds, but just today thrown away the rest.  I hate being wasteful, but it is the only way I can do it.  I cannot have a bag of sweets in the house.  It is hard enough fighting the urge to eat when I am down, and having bad choices to hand makes it double difficult.  At least an extra apple or some hummus has some benefit.  It is funny that the biggest challenge I have encountered from this show was from closing it.  I figured that once I closed I would be able to redouble my focus and get some good prep work done.  Now I am thinking it is a blessing I have a new show to go straight into.  I get the feeling that this new show will be less of a "family" and more of a professional workmanlike atmosphere.  That is ok, but I want to be sure I don't try to replace one experience with the other.  I am hesitant to share most of this.  Partly because it is such a small thing to be depressed about and I feel whiny and self-indulgent, and partly because of my own tendencies to want to handle all of my problems solo, but having already gained over 1 pound since Saturday and trending up I need to be accountable.  I think to cap off my experience I should show a few more photos from the production.  Thank you to all of the photographers who helped capture the show and to all of my castmates for a tremendous experience.

Thank you everybody.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Weigh in #38

I don't really have much to cover this week.  Because of gifts for my fellow cast members that I made I have had candy in the house, which is not great.  That may explain my less than stellar results this week, but my body has been asking for more food.  I have been genuinely hungry a lot more this week.  I have tried to use good options to snack on, but I need to assess where this is coming from.  It may be my body starting to get into winter mode and I just need to be careful.  I will work on it this week.  Here are the numbers:

Current Weight: 298.8 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 0.6 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 141.4 lbs

After two great weigh ins I suppose I was due for a plateau  week as well.  I was thinking I would have a few weeks after my show closed to establish a routine, but I have booked another show and our first meeting is Monday, so there is no rest for the wicked.  I need to stay smart, but I wouldn't really mind if this was the new normal.  It is nice to have work.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

On Target

I took the opportunity this evening to look back a bit and see how things have matched up with my expectations.  I talked Saturday about how many of the fears I had that previously stalled my progress never materialized.  I had, of course, ideas about the positive changes all of the work would have as well.  Before I get too deep into those I want to reflect on my predictions.  Loyal readers may remember the most epic in what I am sure has been a series of moments of geek: my post Geek Time from July (  In that post I crafted a chart based on an equation I had come up with to not only fit a trend line to my weight loss, but to predict my future results.  It was not perfect as the line was already not quite fitting the data points, but it seems that I wasn't too far off after all.  I had already lost a bit more weight than it predicted as of week 23.  I am now 2 weeks and a day or so ahead of projections.  If I continue on that kind of pace I should be near my goal at week 70, but I am also beginning to think that goal may be too low.  One of my cast mates is maybe half an inch shorter than me and in very good shape and weighs about what I my original goal is.  Taking into account my very large frame and probable extra skin that will not go away for a while I think 240 may be much more realistic.  As I have said the goal is a zephyr, something to shoot for, but ultimately unsubstantial.  Where I stop I stop. 

As for the positive goals many of you can imagine what they are.  I of course want more acting work, and not only is that happening, but it is more musical theater work, something I have always enjoyed and the thing I was probably furthest from at my old weight.  I want good health and I am definitely on the track to that, and I have devoted quite a bit of time on the blog to discussing my progress in that area.  There are several other personal goals that I haven't devoted time to discussing, but I seem to be on the right track for those as well.  A friend of mine mentioned that one of her biggest challenges is making good choices on dates, and that is a problem I look forward to having pretty soon.  One of the fears I had, and one I did not discuss much Saturday, was of losing a part of my identity.  When my dad was up here a couple weeks ago he said my proportions are different than they have ever been.  He said the closest I was to this was at 3 years old.  I do not think I have changed, though.  Not in the ways that matter.  I still fight the same battles, but I have better tools.  I liken it to a sharpening.  When a knife is dull you grind away the old edge and set a new one.  You lose a bit of the original, sure, but in the process the metal is as sharp or sharper than it ever was.  I am now a more confident, capable, and certainly thinner version of myself.  It really feels like when you work and work a bit in a show and you put all of that technical preparation and thought into it and then you stumble upon the right combination of tone, intent, and timing that gets the response you know the moment deserves.  I am more able to be me know.  I am less in my own way.  It is dearly bought, but I have learned lessons that some folks twice my age don't get to experience.  I know for sure I will never go back.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Weigh in #37

Current Weight: 299.4 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 3.6 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 140.8 lbs

Why bury the lead?  This feels incredible.  Mid-week I was really worried about reaching the threshold this week.  I hadn't really lost a thing by Wednesday, but I was looking noticeably thinner.  I got a few comments from cast mates last night about that and I think my body really likes to work in chunks.  I think it took a few days to tighten up skin and tone a little bit and then shed a few pounds.  Who am I to complain?  If I am lighter, and I look thinner, and I feel good, then that is a good week.


Since about 350 I have been thinking about what it would mean to be under 300 pounds.  It is certainly the first time in my adult life I have been anywhere close.  Yesterday when I weighed myself I was 300.0.  Today I am 299.4.  The measurable, empirical difference is .6 pounds, or about 9.5 ounces.  The difference to the way I see myself, and the way others see me is massive.  Having a "3" be the first number in my weight was an automatic "fat".  Only 7 foot tall basketball players are healthy at 300+ lbs.  For everyone else it really doesn't matter how well you carry it, 300 pounds is obese.  The number has a connotative quality.  With a "2" in front of that number it feels so much different.  My goal weight is in the 2s.  Many people look great and are healthy in the 2s. Looking at it in a cold and calculated way I am only a cheeseburger closer to my goal than I was yesterday, but it really feels as if I turned a corner and can see the goal shimmering in the distance.  I have said before that I really don't know where my weight will end up, but all of the fears I had associated with starting this process have come to nothing.  I worried I would be less marketable, but I am in a show right now and just got called by an artistic director this week to be in another.  I worried I would be less myself, but I haven't changed a bit, I just have more energy to pursue the things I want.  I really worried that my self esteem would become tied to my weight, but I realized recently that that is how I was before, and now I have control.  I have finally been able to say, and pardon my language, fuck it to all of the niggling little mind games that I played with myself and the big rewards are starting to come.  Pardon me if I sound a bit full of myself, but I feel allowed today.  It is an exciting time to be me.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Weigh in #36

Howdy friends. As many of you know the annual OU-Texas football game was yesterday.  You can be sure for whom I was rooting, but due to the time constraints of my show I had to put in a shift at the day job yesterday and I missed watching the game for the first time since high school.  It was disappointing, but in the grand scheme of things it might have been for the best.  Of course the result was what I wanted, but knowing how much I struggle to control my diet at parties this might be the year it was a good idea not to go.  I still had a bump up in weight this weekend, but not too bad, and my overall results this week were excellent.  Here are the numbers:

Current Weight: 303 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 6 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 137.2 lbs

That certainly makes up for last week.  That also puts me in real striking distance of breaking 300.  I would love for it to happen this week because I will have my aunt and sister in town to see my show, and I would love to share this with them, but in the next two weeks it is sure to happen.  One of my friends gave me an awesome suggestion to do something active to celebrate, so soon after breaking 300 we are going to laser tag.  All will be welcome, and I think a big group could be awesome.  It won't be this coming weekend or anything like that, but within the next month or so I will get the word out and we will all head out to the laser tag...arena?  I don't know what to call it. I do know there are so many exciting things happening now.  Good auditions, a great show, and a lot of progress on many fronts.  I am not used to this kind of momentum and purpose.  I have spoken recently about trying to keep it going, to capture this lightning in a bottle.  At least for one week it appears I have.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Theory of Relativity

Einstein was a genius.  We know this.  I have discovered it anew this week.  Among many things, Einstein's combined theories of relativity posit that the faster you move the slower time passes as measured against a stationary object.  This has been the story of my life lately.  I know scientists hate it when physical principals are applied to human interaction, but it is applicable here, so I will.  With the day job and the show and my family and my run last week seemed to have more hours in it than usual.  I got so much done.  Yes I was tired and my weight results were less than what I would hope, but for three years I let things happen to me and I felt this week more in control of my destiny than at any other time in my life.  Then this week I have four evenings in a row off.  And the test begins.  It is going to be easy to slip back into a more leisurely pace, but if I can capture the feeling of the last few weeks I can do so much.  I don't think I need to actually stay as busy, especially since a little rest has already helped my health and weight (I am down about 5 pounds so far this week).  I just need to keep the urgency and momentum.  This week has been a good continuation.  I got new headshots taken Tuesday, got them printed at Walgreens (time was short) yesterday, and had an audition with Marriott today.  And it was a pretty good audition.  We'll see how it turns out.  I think the key is going to be staying vigilant and aware.  I need to keep asking myself what I have done for my health AND career lately.  Before I post a couple of the headshots a bit of housekeeping.  Because I work early this Saturday I will be doing my weigh in on Sunday again this week.  It is going to give a truer and more consistent number if I don't do my weigh in 4 hours earlier than I usually do.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Weigh in #35

OK.  This week was nuts.  Rehearsals every night but one.  Opening Friday.  A couple of parties.  A 5k.  My parents visiting.  My results can easily be explained by these things, but I am still disappointed by them.  I was on a pretty good roll early in the week, and then I started backpedaling.  I think it had less to do with food, because I wasn't terrible even if I wasn't always making a very good choice.  I think lack of sleep and a little alcohol combined to soak up water and sabotage my metabolism.  Here are the numbers:

Current Weight: 309 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: -1.2 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 131.2 lbs

Damn.  I was down about 305 mid week, so I am understandably a little disappointed.  I also learned a couple of things.  I relearned the importance of routine for me.  When things started getting busy this week is when I started moving the wrong direction.  The other is that I can still put on weight so easily that I have to stay vigilant.  I am not a big believer in "cheat" meals or days, but this week I had what you may consider one or two.  That was all it took.This pushes back my goals a week or two, but I still look forward to having a little get together to celebrate breaking 300 before this show closes.  I will have my evenings back Monday through Thursday, and I look forward to reestablishing a routine and enjoying a few weeks where I lose 3-4 pounds.  This is another dip on the trampoline week.

Before I go I thought you might like to see a few pictures from the events of the week.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Weigh in #34

Final countdown!  The show opens in 6 days and I am ready.  We all are.  Thanks so much to the whole cast for being incredible professionals and so giving on stage.  I know we have something that is funny, sounds great, and has a heart.  the last few runs before tech may be my favorite part of the process.  The kind of nuanced discoveries that feed me as an actor seem to come fast in the focused atmosphere of the last few runs.  Everyone has a firm grasp of who they are and it becomes so easy to play.  Because of all of that hard work, though, the amount of time I get to s[end on my health has been diminished.  I got out for a jog last night, but other than rehearsal that is the only real exercise I got this week.  Rehearsals are a bit demanding at times, and I am still struggling with the post show munchies, so my results are a little dampened by the late night eating.  I have tried to make a good choice with what I eat, but the best choice would be to not eat at all.  Oh well.  In both the rehearsal process and my health journey I have been fighting disappointment over not achieving perfection.  The words "good enough" used to be my mantra, but now they really bug me.  I just can't go to far in the other direction.  The struggle will be to appreciate my achievements, whatever they may be, and still stay hungry for more.  Here are the numbers:

Current Weight: 307.8 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 2.2 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 132.4 lbs

Decent results, and pretty consistent with my last few weigh ins.  Two pounds and change may be what I should expect for the near future, certainly until the show opens and I have time to build a more weight loss centered routine.  This next week I will be happy to take whatever I can get.  I have rehearsal every day except Thursday (weird, I know, but my director thinks it gives extra momentum into opening), so exercise in any meaningful way will be hard to come by.  I also have the Race for the Cure bright and early Saturday morning, so be advised that next week my weigh in will be on Sunday.  That will allow me to be consistent with my timing (I try to weigh myself around 9:00 am after sleeping in a bit on weigh in days.  Allows for pretty consistent measurements) and take a little reward from the race with any ancillary weight loss that might give me.  Don't forget to think about a donation to this worth cause, and also to check your calendars for when you can see my show.  Discount tickets are up on and great seats are still available at full price through the box office.  Message me for details or check out for all the information.  To quote my favorite book, "This is the deep breath before the plunge."

Friday, September 17, 2010

Training Day

With the 5k 8 days away and my first night off rehearsal since Monday I took the opportunity tonight to give it a shot.  I mapped out a 5k on my usual walking route, which in itself was a wake up call because it turns out what I thought was just short of 4 miles is actually about 3.25, so my evening walks up to now have not been as long (or as fast) as I thought.  I guess last time I mapped it I doubled back by accident or some other error.  The website I used is free, but not the cleanest experience so it is easy to mess up and have to backtrack.  This time I was exact though so here is how it went.

Distance: 3.13 miles/5.04 kilometers
Time: 41:08
Pace: 4.57 mph

Not bad in my mind.  I was able to jog about 2 out of every 5 minutes, which is an improvement over my last walk/jog outings where I was at about 1 out of every 3 minutes.  I know with time as short as it is I do not have much chance for improvement, but tonight's outing was educational, and I feel I can make some improvements just with a few simple changes.  Tonight I ate dinner about 5 minutes before going out.  About 10 minutes in I had a G.O.B. moment as my stomach felt like all of my dinner and the plate it came on were sitting between my lungs and stomach.

"I've made a huge mistake"

So in the future I will follow the old swimming rules and give myself at least half an hour after eating before getting on the jogging path.  I also think that in addition to the stretching I did before starting I should do some of my actor breathing exercises.  Muscularly I could have jogged a larger portion of the time than I did, but breath management forced me to slow it down.  Pushing like I have previously and did tonight has helped and will continue to help my singing while dancing, but maybe if I warm up my mechanism in that way I will give myself a better chance of managing my breathing on my jogs.  I would love to reach about 5 mph as a pace for the race, but I know that is really ambitious.  For now the goal will be to take time off every time I go out to jog.  My next go at it will be after rehearsal on Sunday.  I will go out for a walk after work tomorrow, but it will be pretty late, so I will keep it simple.  Weigh in tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Test For A Cause, and 30%.

Big week.  Monday night I committed to running in the Komen Race for the Cure on September 25th.  Many of you know I lost my mom to cancer almost 9 1/2 years ago.  Though it wasn't breast cancer I have a friend who went through a similar experience this year and she started a team for the race.  I had to participate.  It is a bit of a test of my health because I am "running" a 5k.  My evening walks are usually longer than that, but I walk those.  Here I will be trying to speed it up a bit.  Starting this Friday (rehearsals take up a lot of my time)  I will map out a 5k course near home and start pushing it a bit to see how I do.  You may notice that the race is the day after my show opens, and I have a show that night, so I will not be pushing it too much, but I would like to test myself.  As for the cause, if you are on facebook you have probably seen my messages about donations, but if you haven't please consider doing what you can.  A link on my facebook profile will take you right to my donation page, or if you email me at I will send you the details.  This is a great cause, so please consider even $1.


When I got on the scale this morning I weighed in at 308.2, which means that give or take an ounce or two I have lost 30% of my original body weight.  That is 3/5 of the way to my goal in about 3/5 of a year.   This gives me a really good chance to reach my goal weight, or at least be within striking distance, by spring of next year.  My pace may have slowed a bit, but it is hard to argue with the results so far.  30% is a bit more esoteric than a hard numbers goal, like 100 pounds lost, but it is double the major milestone that Weight Watchers sets, and those folks know what is going on.  It also gives me a measuring stick that is scalable.  Whether you started at 200 or 400 30% is huge.  The next goalpost is only a short way off, but it is one I have been looking forward to for a long time.  Get ready to celebrate because I am a stone's throw from being under 300 pounds for the first time in about 11 years.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Weigh in #33

Sick day has turned into sick week.  I had hoped a little bit that my illness would help my weight loss, but there is no such silver lining to this summer cold.  I actually have gained about half a pound since Thursday.  I knew before that DayQuil makes me retain water, but I have not been eating a whole lot, so it is a little disappointing.  I suppose that next week I will have some extra nice results, which should put me at 30% weight loss.  I am only about 2 pounds away, so that is a very reachable goal.  Here are the numbers:

Current Weight: 310 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 2.6 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 130.2 lbs

It is never a bad week when that second number ticks over.  I am within shouting distance of a couple of very big goals, so I have a lot to look forward to.  132.07 pounds lost will be 30% of my original weight.  I am also just a touch over 10 pounds from being under 300.  My weight loss has slowed down in the last month or two, so I am not sure how quickly I can achieve these goals, but they are not far off.  Once my show gets up and running I expect to have more consistent success because of the extra time I will have to cook and exercise.  Exercise is what I missed out on this week, otherwise I feel I could have had a very good week.  Lately I seem to have hit a tipping point in the way others perceive me and my weight.  I am getting more notice from folks who knew me before for the difference and a little notice from strangers, which is always nice.  The next couple of days I plan to gather energy for the plunge of tech week, which is only a week off.  I will be getting back to an exercise regimen as soon as I feel well enough, but the real hard work may have to wait a week or two.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sick Day

I should be at work right now, but whatever illness it is that is going around I've got.  It is not that bad, but a little extra rest is definitely on the docket.  I am in that somnambulant nether world between tired enough to sleep and just tired that you get when you are sick, so between running lines and drinking water I thought I would make an entry on the ol' blog. 

Rehearsal for Spelling Bee has been running apace and we got into the space this week.  Until last night I had felt very artificial and self aware in the roll.  Last night I made a decision that that would stop, and to a large extent I felt much better, even with the illness.  On the way home I gave thought to where the differences in my performance were coming from and it struck me how similar the issues I had and changes I made were to the ones I had with my health.  I was so much in my head that I forgot about the doing portion of the task.  I tried to plan and structure everything in advance.  I got obsessed with "making choices".  What I did last night was simplify.  I embraced the unpredictable nature of live theater and took what I was given.  In short I did the things I know I should do, but my analytical nature rebels against.  Laying the ground work is vital, but at a certain point you cannot plan your way to success.  It reminds me of the old baseball truism that you cannot steal first base.  You have to hit.  My health success started when I stopped thinking about what to do and took the leap.  It has been a great lesson for my acting.  I make good choices, but they come so late in the process that they don't really help my fellow actors and I don't give myself a chance to further grow.  They really haven't come until I was forced to act by the short time remaining in the rehearsal process.  I get stuck in the trap that making choices and owning the roll is a mental process only.  I think this show is going to be the start of a new way of working for me.  Preparation is key, but I plan to be bold and open earlier.  That is the risky part for me.  It can't be in my head anymore.  It is scary as hell, but as I found last night it is by far the best way to a performance I am pleased with.  I hope some of that makes sense.  It does to me, but that may be the NyQuil talking.  See you Saturday.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Weigh in #32

Chugging along.  This week was a little too busy to get in all of the work I would like to in terms of cooking and workouts, but I am doing the things I want to be doing, so I will take it.  Here are the numbers:

Current Weight: 312.6 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 2.2 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 127.6 lbs

Not bad.  Could have been better, but with the time constraints this week I feel good about it.  One struggle I have had in the past few weeks is late night eating.  I get home from rehearsal at 10:30 or so pretty hungry after having eaten dinner around 6:30.  Eating dinner later isn't really an option because of rehearsal, so I end up eating whatever is to hand at home.  I have tried chugging water to try to sate myself long enough to get to sleep, but most of the time that does not cut it.  I am genuinely hungry.  So sometimes I have half an apple if I have it, but other times it is less healthy stuff because it is too late to go to the store and I don't have anything better to hand.  One method I am going to start trying is taking something to rehearsal with me to eat on the way home.  It is less than ideal, because I would prefer not to eat at all that late, but especially after a dance rehearsal or a run I really am hungry.  If I don't eat at least a little bit then it takes me forever to get to sleep and I have to be at work by 8:30 most mornings and if I do it on the way home I give myself at least an hour to start digesting before I get to sleep.  It is an interesting conundrum.  If you have any suggestions please offer them, because I am still trying to figure out what the best option is.  So, that is this week's challenge.  I still hope to break 300 by opening, so I will need to average over 4 lbs a week to do it.  I can get there, but I won't be too disappointed if it takes an extra week or two.  It'll be easier to celebrate not on opening week anyway.  Today's challenge is to eat and drink smart.  College football starts today.  BOOMER SOONER!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What Have You Done For Your Health Today?

I don't really have much to talk about today, but I want to post at least twice a week, so I'll go with a stream-of-consciousness style today.  So far the week has been successful, but not overwhelmingly so.  Weight loss numbers aren't fantastic, but this weekend I did go out for a few drinks, so the fact I have lost anything at all is great.  Monday was a strong day, with a good day of Meatless Mondays and a better work out.  Walking is just not cutting it anymore.  I overheard someone discussing their training regimen for a 10k last week, so I decided to apply some of their training techniques to my evening by the lake.  I only went out for about 3 miles, but instead of brisk walking the whole time I would jog/run for 1 minute and then continue waling with as brisk a pace as I could muster for 2 minutes.  As the weeks go on I will increase the jog time and decrease the walk time, but I am going to take it slow. 

The title of today's entry came to me sitting on the couch trying to figure out what to write about.  I think this is a question I need to ask myself every night.  It is inspired by what I remember to be a World War II propaganda poster.  That kind of attitude of chipping in for a greater good, and the urgency of need, is the kind of attitude I want to capture.  Of course I am doing this for me, but I can't pretend I don't want this blog to be seen and to inspire others.  I make a big deal to myself about doing this the right way.  I don't want surgery or quick fixes or pills or any of the other bullshit we get sold.  My thought is I got myself here, I can get myself where I want to go.  What I have to remember is I took 25 years to get myself were I was.  I am working fast, but it is a life long journey and will not get me where I want to be in a week or two.  Even once I hit at or near my goal weight my skin and metabolism and inner health will take quite a while to catch up.  The key to fighting off the boredom and discouragement over the  pace will be to focus on the things I can do.  To take a step every day to get where I want to be.  To ask myself, "what have I done for my health today?"

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Weigh in #31

30 weeks of weight loss.  3/5ths of a year (just about) and I am pleased to say I am about 7 pounds shy of 3/5ths to my ideal target.  I did break my plateau this week and got back on track with my weight numbers.  I actually had somebody tell me I should stop losing weight this week because they thought I looked good where I was.  I appreciated the sentiment, but I am not at a healthy or sustainable weight right now.  I found my blood pressure cuff last week and started keeping track of that.  You may remember from when I started the blog that was one of my largest concerns was my blood pressure.  I was considered pre-hypertensive and certainly felt it.  Since January my average blood pressure has gone down about 25 points on the systolic and my diastolic about 20 points.  In fact the diastolic has been excellent in every reading, between 74 and 82.  My resting heart rate has also fallen from near 100 bpm to an average around 72.  Those are huge improvements for my health, but I could still bring that first number in my blood pressure down another 10-20 points and my resting heart rate could be closer to 60 in a perfect world..  I certainly feel the difference, though.  I actually get light headed when I stand up to quickly sometimes.  I imagine that my body isn't really used to a normal blood pressure.  Here are the numbers for this week:

Current Weight: 314.8 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 4.8 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 125.4 lbs

Very positive results.  It seems the one week in 4 with poor weight numbers pattern has continued, but the rebound afterward has remained part of the pattern as well.  If you look at the average for my last 8 weeks of weigh loss I have lost 3.1 pounds a week, or just shy of 1% of my current body weight.  That is with three weeks of tight schedules and lazy work from time to time.  That may be the thing I am most pleased with recently.  I have not had time to cook as much as I like.  I have let my good habits with record keeping and calorie tracking slip occasionally.  I have not had the kind of focus on my weight loss I had before, necessarily because of the focus my show is requiring, but it is still an obstacle.  With all of that I am still going in the right direction.  I have shown that I cannot afford to stop doing the little things that got me positive results, but I am making the larger habits, the life changing things, part of my life permanently, and mostly unconsciously.  I know when I haven't eaten enough fruit or veggies in a day, I know when I have overeaten, I know when I need water.  Those signals were lost or ignored before.  It is the struggles of the last couple weeks and the need to rely on unconscious training to get me through that helped me realize that.  I think a learning experience like that is a fair trade for a bad week with weight loss.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Austerity Measures

Hello again friends.  It has been a bit of an odd week.  I am fighting to not get sick, and I think I have licked whatever has been sneaking up on me, but my focus has been a bit off this week.  I failed at my Meatless Mondays challenge this week because I forgot it was Monday until about an hour after lunch.  I am doing tomorrow meatless instead, which works out great for two reasons.  One, I do not have rehearsal, which allows me to cook vegetarian instead of buy vegetarian.  The other is that I got out grocery shopping today and got some great produce at my favorite greengrocers, Edgewater Produce (I got three bags full of veggies and fresh stuff for $20), and a few delightful looking vegetarian options from Trader Joes.  Part of the issue the past week and a half or so is that I have not been planning ahead and I get stuck eating out way more than I want.  It is expensive, doesn't taste as good, and doesn't give me the kind of nutritional punch I get from cooking myself.  I can fill myself up way more for less calories with homemade meals.  Less sodium, too.  Now I have the supplies to get back on the horse, so to speak.

On that theme, I seem to have broken the plateau I was on for about 10 days.  I took steps Monday and Tuesday to really cut back on my calories.  Basically I ate chicken breast and lettuce with an apple thrown in for fiber.  Not fun for long term use, but fine for two days.  It has worked to break the pattern, though.  I am down over 3 pounds so far this week, and with an extra night off of rehearsal I can really get out for a good walk/jog a couple more times this week.  I have worked myself up to about 5 miles on my walks, which takes about 1:15 minutes or so. A great pace, and when I throw in 5 or so jogging spurts a good workout.  I have felt my endurance with dance stuff going up already, but I am a far cry from where I need to be for performance, so on off nights I plan to push myself even harder.  Anyone jogging late on the lakefront up North expect not only to see me, but hear me, because I plan on singing while walking/jogging to build up that capacity.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Weigh in #30

Well, we all knew someday this would happen.  I get a bit complacent, I get a bit too busy to exercise as much as I should, and I indulge in a few items that are incompatible with a weight loss plan, and this is what happens.

Current Weight: 319.6 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: -0.6 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 120.6 lbs

It is frustrating, because I did not think this week was that bad.  I still have not been good about logging my food, so i was probably deluding myself about portion sizes.  I did go out for a couple beers Thursday with the cast, which was a calculated risk, but with the other bad habits this week i did not have room for that risk.  There were some extenuating circumstances.  Rehearsal really cut into exercise time and since this week was mostly blocking there was not a whole lot of exertion there.  I was on a roll midweek and was already down about 1.5 pounds, but some digestive sickness forced me to take a medicine that really caused me to retain water...and other stuff.  That is probably TMI already, so I will leave it there.  I can't pretend that it is all (or even mostly) down to those circumstances though.  I have not been as diligent as I could have been, or have been in the successful weeks. If it is madness to do the same thing and expect different results, then it is probably equally crazy to switch things up and expect the same results.  Starting last night I really buckled down, logged my calories, got out for a jog, and  saw that even on a day that I thought was better than most of the week I was around 2200 calories before exercise.  Not awful, and I did lose weight over the past few days, but not enough to balance out.  I am going to go ahead and treat this week like a dip on a springboard.  I may not be going the direction I want now, but it will vault me higher once I get going the right way.  Expect greatness this week.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Visual Aide

I promised some before and after pictures a while back.  I hadn't been happy with any pictures until today, though it is not great.  The jeans I am wearing I bought accidentally 5 years ago.  They were 6 inches too small then and 12 inches too small in January.  They are a little baggy now.  Definitely feels good.

Directing last August, so just about a year ago.

Me this April, 3 months into my weight loss and about 3 1/2 months ago.

Today.  Since last August I have lost 120 or so pounds and a foot off of my waist.

I know I need the visual reminder every once in a while.  Thanks again to everybody for the support.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Weigh in #29

One more week down,  They really are starting to run together.  One reason this blog has been so helpful is because it breaks my journey down into manageable chunks.  I can feel how by now without the blog everything would have become one long slog with my failures magnified and my successes minimized.  This is not to brag about the blog.  I just realized how luck I got with this format.  After so many years allowing one wrong step to turn me around completely I am both moving in the right direction consistently and taking the mistakes and setbacks in stride.  One week, one day, one meal at a time.  Here are the numbers:

Current Weight: 319 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 4 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 121.2 lbs

Another great week.  Like I said last week the weight loss may be a pound or so higher than ideal, but I am a young guy and can probably absorb a few high weeks more easily than someone 10 or 20 years older.  Another blessing of starting now.  Those who are frequent readers may have noticed the same thing I am really excited about:  I have less than 100 pounds to my goal weight.  98.9 to be exact.  I thought about putting another line into my usual numbers about how many pounds remain to my goal, but I decided not to, and here is why.  That goal, 220.1 is an arbitrary number.  It sounds good, because it is exactly half of my starting weight, bu it was not devised with any medical advice or scientific knowledge.  It is on the border of the healthy weight/overweight line in the actuarial tables for my height, but I have a very large frame (when I grasp my wrist there is half an inch left between my thumb and forefinger), so it is probably a safe, healthy, sustainable weight for me.  Whether it is the right one is what I don't know, so I won't commit to it.  If I look and feel fantastic at 235, or if my body keeps going to 200 that is where I will stop.  This is all about health and I am starting to realize an arbitrary goal may get in the way.  From now on I will think of 220.1 as a median.  It is at or around where I should be, so that will be the placeholder.

In terms of more immediate goals I have three.  The first is 30% weight loss, or ~132.1, so I have less than 11 pounds to go for that.  Another is breaking 300.  That one is not much further off, probably two weeks past 30%, and I would really like to break 300 by opening of my show September 24th.  The last goal is a less quantifiable one, and I think that is a good thing for me.  Dance rehearsals have begun for the show, and in addition to boosting my numbers this week, they have shown I have a lot of work to do.  The dance is not that difficult.  It is a bit taxing, but well within my capabilities.  The difficulty is singing at the same time.  The core strength and breath management that takes is something I don't have right now. I am already doing crunches and leg lifts to improve my core strength, but I need ideas to help me improve my breath control during exertion.  Any of you with ideas on exercises please leave them as a comment.  It may be as simple as really pushing myself consistently and letting the strength build up, but I have a lot of friends who do a lot more musical theater than I do, so hopefully some of you have had similar needs in the past and can offer a solution.  Until next time.