Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I made it!  With my party celebrating the achievement planned for this Saturday I had to do it this week, and I did.  This morning I broke 100 pounds.  I hit 101 to be exact.  I am thrilled.  The outpouring of support and congratulations on facebook this morning has been overwhelming.  Thank you to all of you for everything you have done to help me.  I am already one pound into my next 100 and I look forward to knocking that out in short order.

Today is one of those serendipitous days when the "Actor" and "Shrinking" events in my life go hand in hand.  Last night was my second callback for Metropolis, this one for 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.  I went in with a few warnings about the difficulty of the dance call and more nervousness than I have felt for a callback since high school.  This is one of those shows that I have a strong goal set for.  I was called back for the role I wanted.  We started off singing a bit in small groups and after an hour a few folks were cut.  Then the dance started.  My friend who told me about the combination wasn't lying.  The words "one of the hardest dance calls" were thrown around by some pretty dancery looking folks.  We had to have been going for at least an hour and a half.  I probably have the dance call to thank for pushing me over the hump with my weight because of the level of difficulty.  It is one of the best workouts I have ever had.  After the dance call I was a bit worried.  There would be cuts before folks would be allowed to sing their solo stuff.  The word came out and I was in, so over the next hour or two I sang a couple of times and did all I could after such a long and strenuous day.  And then it was done.

Around midnight (I arrived at about 7:00) I got into my car and started the 45 minute drive home.  I was exhausted. I am still a bit tired as a matter of fact, and more than a little sore. I was still a bit nervous because I want the gig, but I was also content.  I have been happy with callbacks before, but this is the first time I felt a sense of achievement over one.  It was hard and long and I was not the slightest bit disappointed with my performance.  I was prepared and happy to be there.  I made some choices, got some laughs, met some great people, and had a great time.  I have heard at least one person I know has been offered a role and I have not heard anything yet, so my expectations of being cast are a bit low right now, but it is hard to be too disappointed.  I did absolutely everything I could.  I left nothing on the table. If I don't get it I will be disappointed, but I won't regret anything about the experience.  I don't know that I have ever had an experience as an actor like that.  Since day 1 of this blog I have talked about my susceptibility to what I call "personal inertia".  I go with the flow.  When I am acting I am not as malleable as I should be.  I make a set of choices and I stick with them.  I am, if I say so, a pretty good actor, so most of the time my choices are perfectly good, but almost never the best they could be if I was more open and agile.  That I do regret because the work I have done is gone and I know in almost any case I could have easily done better if I had put in the effort.  Never again.  My journey to health did not start as one about mentality so much, but as cerebral as I am it certainly has trended that way.  I am learning how to work hard and not settle for whatever comes my way.  I have always feared disappointment, but now I am learning how to be content without being satisfied.  I ask you once again, do not let me become complacent with my work or my health.  I am ultimately responsible, but I guarantee I am going to need a kick in the ass every once in a while, and I hope you will help me with that.  Thank you again for all of your support.  101 and counting.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Weigh in #22

Welcome back friends.  This week has been so busy that I haven't had much time to think about the blog, but maybe that is just what the doctor ordered.  The results this week speak for themselves:

Current Weight: 343.2 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 5.2 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 97 lbs

Gotta love a +5 week.  I am now three pounds from my 100 pound target.  Today would have been the initial deadline, but circumstances forced me to move it back a week.  I have a hard time being disappointed though.  I am really looking forward to my 100 pound party and now I am almost positive I will hit my goal beforehand.  This week has been a great test for me and I am really happy with the results.  Not just because of the numbers, which are great, but because of how crunched my time was.  The fact that I was able to keep moving in the right direction without devoting as much focus to my journey as I might in another week is very heartening.  I think it shows that my good habits are just that, habits.  They are becoming my default.  Of course I had to make an effort, and I did some smart precooking and shopping this week, but some of the things I did because they had become second nature.  One of the major goals of this whole process has been relearnign how to live in a healthful way and I think this week has been a major step forward.  I will definitely post the minute I hit 100 this week, so stay tuned.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Waiting Game

It has been an interesting week so far.  Sketchbook is chugging along and work is exactly what it always is.  My callback for Metropolis went well enough, but I have not heard anything yet about that show.  I did get another callback for a different production today, however, and that is where today's realizations come from.  One of my coworkers also auditioned and was called back relatively early in the afternoon.  I did not hear anything for a while and I got more and more worried and impatient.  By the time I got home from work I was sure I wasn't called back.  I couldn't leave well enough alone though and tried to find out for sure, concocting some story about a possible conflict that I called the casting department with.  Thank God they did not answer.  I went to my show and decided to let whatever would happen happen.  Then they called.  And I got the callback I desperately wanted.

As I drove home I reflected on the day.  I mused how one thing can turn a lackluster day into a really nice evening.  I then realized that the callback experience I just had is a microcosm of my problems with patience in my journey to health.  If I had been content with progress as it came I would not have risked considerable embarrassment.  I would not have lapsed into poor professionalism.  I would have saved myself a lot of grief and disappointment and still gotten exactly what I wanted, just a little later than I wanted it.

Expectation seems to be the crux of the issue.  I think it was reasonable to expect a callback.  I am perfect for the role and had a really good audition.  Putting the theater company on my time line was unreasonable, however.  My arbitrary time line came and went, but they just hadn't gotten to my name yet.  I feel like I am fighting the same thing with my health.  I expect a certain weight loss goal, and when I don't hit it I feel like I have done something wrong.  In actuality I have made many more good choices than poor.  My body is just changing at its own pace.  it can be frustrating even fighting setting unrealistic expectations, especially when I want to set positive goals to push myself.  There is a thin line between the two.  I don't think I have found the middle ground just yet, but perhaps today is an opportunity to examine.  I certainly expect I will improve.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Weigh in #21

Today is the twenty first weigh in, which means 20 weeks of weight loss.  A nice round number like that calls for a by-the-numbers review of my progress so far.  This past week has been quite positive.  I have been listening to my body more this week and trying not to be as rigid with my diet as I have been.  I have still been making good choices, but instead of having my meals and snacks when the clock says I should I am eating when I am hungry and waiting when I am not.  If I feel more hungry that average I may eat a bit more, trying to stock up on veggies first.  All of the work I have done in the past 4+ months has retaught me the feeling of hunger, and now I am trying to listen to my body.  My self control where food is concerned seems to have gotten much better as well.  I bought a pint of Ben and Jerry's FroYo last week and was able to enjoy a bit, maybe 100-150 calories worth, and put the rest away.  before I probably had at least half of the pint at a go.  That was a very positive experience for me because I was able to enjoy the treat, not worry about it too much, and still make a good choice about how much I would have.  With all of that in mind here are this week's results.

Current Weight: 348.4 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 4.8 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 91.8 lbs

That is more like it!  An almost 5 pound week without too much austerity on my part.  I worked hard, but I have decided that 100 will come when it comes, so I am not going to push or deny myself too much trying to get there faster.

Also, since there has been a request for more pictures I have this one taken this week at my friend Laura Mecsey's going away party.  We'll miss you Laura, but good luck and thanks for the great snap.

Break It Down

Are you ready for some math.  When I looked at these numbers I could not help but feel very proud of what I have done so far.  It may seem contradictory to put this down on my blog but I am not one to make much of my accomplishments.  I feel justified today.

Weight loss over 20 weeks: 91.8 lbs
Weight loss average, weekly: 4.59 lbs/week
Weight loss per day (Jan 30-June 19): ~0.66 lbs/day

If we put my weight loss goal at 220.1 (exactly half of my starting weight)  I have 128.3 lbs to go.  Although I know this weight loss pace is unsustainable as I lose more weight it is fun to think that if I did maintain this pace I would reach my goal in 195.66 days, or exactly on New Years Eve 2010.  Even at a 2.5 pound-per-week pace from this point forward my goal is less than a year away.  Who says math can't be fun?

edited to reflect correct total weight.  previously said 358.4, which was an error.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Staying Busy

Quick update.  Weight loss this week has been excellent so far, but I have been really up and down so we will see what the numbers look like on weigh in day.  For a while it seemed like weigh in fell on the low end of my fluctuations, but lately it seems that the scale has caught me on the upswing.  I also think the actual time of day really changes the readings.  I always weigh myself in the morning just before bathing, but depending on what time I work that day or have worked the night before it can vary by 3 or 4 hours.  The later I wake up the lighter I seem to be, but it may all be in my head.  Then again maybe sleep is good exercise for me. 

On the theater front:  Metropolis called me back for their next show.  They are doing Boy's Next Door and from what I have seen so far it looks like a great challenge.  I hope to impress there and maybe get a few more callbacks as their season goes on.  I forgot last post that I have an audition this week for Sunday In The Park With George for Porchlight, so it looks like another busy theater weekend.  I wouldn't want it any other way.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Putting In Time

Boy, for a day off yesterday was sure busy.  I had a callback in the early afternoon.  It did not go as well as I had hoped for a combination of reasons, but I made a choice and took my (one completely cold) chance.  It was exactly the opposite of what they wanted, but I tried to adjust.  We'll see.  By the time I got home and ate a late lunch it was time for me to go to fight call for my show.  The show went well and I got a chance to visit with some friends (thanks Ryans and Davis'!) for 45 minutes and change before my audition at 10:15pm in Arlington Heights.  This one was for Metropolis and it went extremely well.  It is always gratifying when a casting director says you gave a great audition.  I think I am right for a couple of shows they are doing this season, but what they think is more important.  I hope they do think they can use me but I have done what I can do.  No other auditions are on the horizon for a while, but I'm keeping my ear to the ground.

Since shaking off the rust after my forced hibernation from auditioning this winter I have really hit a comfort zone auditioning.  I think there are a couple of reasons.  My weight loss has given me a new confidence physically that cannot but show when I perform.  My good personal habits have also extended to my actor preparation.  I am far from perfect, or even where I really should be, but I am learning the kind of hard work that I have avoided in the past.  I have always known the value of working hard and that an actor has to, but the gratification I feel when I have done my job well is unexpected and a nice reward.   Truthfully some of the anal retentive things I have come up with have surprised me.  I have created a monologue filing system in my computer that allows me to pull up a monologue by time period, style, and play.  Out of character, but useful.  I think all of this boils down to refusing to let the world happen to me anymore, which I suppose means now I am happening to the world, so watch yourself.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Weigh in #20

Blogging from work.  SHHH!  I am on break, so I guess I am safe.  Another up and down week.  On wednesday the scale said I had already lost 3 pounds, but by the next day two pounds were back, which makes me think that after a long rehearsal the night before I turned a 5 into a 2 in my head.  Oh well.  I knew that the more weight I lost the less I would lose at any given time.  I really was excited for what I thought would be a big week, but the results were only middling.  I truly have been building muscle due to my show, which is gratifying.  I am also losing inches which makes my body easier to support.  I just would love for the number sto show it.  Here they are:

Current Weight: 353.2 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 2 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 87 lbs

More tomorrow on my day off.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

And It's Only Half Over!

Wow, what a week so far.  I am in hell week for the short play I am in and the festival is what all festivals are: madness.  Add to that my day job and I am pulling some long days.  The brightest silver lining to all of the exertion is that I am definitely giving myself some leeway in terms of calories.  It has been a very positive week on the scales so far even with a couple of slip ups and indulgences.  In the past the weight loss formula has been weighted heavily toward diet, but burning calories has been the key this week.  The demands on my time this week have forced me into some less than ideal choices, but I have had some breathing room to absorb that.  I have tonight off, however, so I was able to cook earlier and I am currently watching the Blackhawks.  I love Thai food because I can cram it full of veggies and it tastes awesome.  The little Thai place around the corner makes a delicious basil chicken so I decided to give it a shot tonight.  I used my Epicurious app to find a recipe that seemed right and added a bunch of veggies to round it out.  I then added one of Minute Rice's instant brown rice cups and had a very full meal.  All of the Asian sauces seem to have higher than ideal levels of sodium, but with light soy and some careful preparation I was able to keep it reasonable. Here are some shots.

Chicken, peppers, jalapenos, mushrooms, and a little onion.  I am boiling down the pan juices and sauce to make it a little less runny.

The basil and lime that I added at the end.

The finished dish.  It was quite tasty.  It didn't get as spicy as I like it, so I added some sriracha hot sauce, but a fine meal all said.


It is official! The 100 Weight Feast is scheduled for July 3rd at 5pm.  An evite is out and up on facebook as well, but if you need the info post your email and I will add you to the invite.  Don't think I forgot you or do not want you there.  I want everybody.  I just only have a few folks email addresses.   Come celebrate 100 pounds gone for good!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mind Games

I have always known that this process wasn't going to be easy.  I am fighting 25 years of bad habits and less than ideal genetics.  I did hope some things would get easier, and truth be told some things have.  Having lost as much weight as I have has made exercising so much easier, and therefore more likely to happen.  My stomach has shrunk, so I can't eat as much as I used to.  The one thing that has not gotten easier has been the mental aspect of my diet.  I crave, get tempted, occasionally give in, and then regret.  I find myself thinking about food so much.  Some of that is about planning and doing the preparation that keeps me out of trouble, but the rest, and the majority, is the darker stuff.  It may be my imagination playing tricks on me, but I am so jealous of the people who seem to enjoy food, but over whom food has no hold.  It may be that there is no one like that, but it certainly seems like all those skinny bastards out there have no trouble with, say, a sudden, visceral urge to eat an entire movie theater bag of sour patch kids.  It strikes me that it is as unhealthy to worry and fret over food as much as I seem to at times as to have the sort of emotional connection I have had for years.  It may be that I always have to fight urges like this.  I am extremely lucky to have not known true hunger in my life.  I have been hungry in the "it is time for the next of my three meals today" kind of way, but not the way so many of the less fortunate around us are.  That opened the door for my relationship with food to become what it was for me: a purely hedonistic one.  If that kind of relationship doesn't work between people, imagine how harmful it can be between a person and the thing that keeps them alive.  I am also a very logical guy, and when I make mistakes or struggle with temptation I find it especially galling because it is not a logical thing.  I cannot explain many of those things, so I find them very hard to combat.  Part of me is reluctant to write about this because I don't control it.  However, it just occurred to me that it is logical, in a perverse sort of way, that for such a cerebral person the mental aspect of this journey is proving the hardest.  I don't know what to expect from this posting.  I know I cannot be the only person in this boat.  I suppose that by naming the problem, and sharing it with you, I hope to gain control over it.  It certainly won't happen overnight, but  as Lao-tzu said "the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step".  If nothing else I have proven that over the last four months.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Follow Up

Great news!  The audition went very well and I have been called back.  This is a theater company I really want to work for, so this is a big deal for me.  I feel like the positive result today is a product not only of the physical work I have been doing, which makes me much more marketable, but as a result of my improved personal habits.  I am preparing for things the way I should.  I am still far from where I need to be to achieve the kind of success I want.  I constantly fight the impulse to sit back, to do it later, to let someone else control what happens to me.  "Proactive" has become my new catch phrase and goal.  I have already had more auditions in the last 4 months than in my first 2 years in Chicago.  There aren't more theater companies, I am just doing the legwork.  It is discouraging to think what I could have done if I had been smarter sooner, but I refuse to lose any more time.

Weigh in #19

Bounce back week.  It wasn't stellar, but results are in line with my expectations.  They had been a little better yesterday, but with my usual day to day fluctuations I came up a little this morning.  I am prepping for an audition as I write, so this post will be short, but I will sum up the week when I return from work tonight.  Here are this week's results.

Current Weight: 355.2 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 4.2 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 85 lbs

That is a nice, round number.  I only have 15 pounds left to reach my 100 pound milepost. I would have to lose 5 pounds a week to hit my goal by my deadline, but with the extra week before the party I should be able to get there before we start celebrating.  I am going to do my best at least.  Everybody who would like an invite please get me your email address.  You can post it here if you are comfortable, or email me at  Evites go out this week.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Who Would Have Thought?

Something strange occurred today.  I worked until 4:30 and had rehearsal at 6.  When I looked up directions to the theater where we were doing our walk-through I saw that it was about 3 miles from work.  The theater is easily accessible via public transit, in fact the blue line is steps from both my place of work and the theater.  The odd thing is that I decided to walk.  I obviously didn't have to.  I have been having good results this week and have gotten in a couple of good workouts.  I just did it because I had the time.  I have always shied away from doing more than I have to in instances where it I am the only person affected.  When others are counting on me I am pretty good about stepping up and going the extra mile, but for myself I have tended to do the bare minimum.  I was talking about this with several folks on Monday, but I feel that it is part of my philosophy on choice.  When presented with options, be they physical or dietary, I try to make the best choice out of those options presented.  Walking was the better choice and I had the time to do it.  I think the more I make the right choice the easier it will be to both recognize and accept the best option.