Saturday, July 31, 2010

Weigh in #27

Now that was a week.  Other than an bump up in my weight over the last couple of days, which I was expecting with my poor habits this week.  Stress may also have played a part, as my body may have relaxed a bit once I finally booked the show.  hopefully between helping a friend move today and starting rehearsal this week I should get myself right back on track.  I just need to make sure I prepare the way I need to so I don't get stuck without a good meal option.  Here are this week's numbers:

Current Weight: 327.2 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 1.2 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 113 lbs

Not bad all in all, but considering I was at 326 mid-week, I know I can do a bit better.

6 Months

Weigh in #1 was January 30th of this year, and yesterday marked exactly six months since that day.  It is amazing to think how far I have come since then.  My diet and palate have completely changed, I have doubled the pace at which I can walk (and I have even started throwing in some sprints), and of course I have lost 113 pounds.  I had no idea I could drop that much so fast.  Part of my inner monologue in the past that had held me back from starting this process was because I thought any meaningful progress would take forever.  That is the kind of thought process that sabotages both my health and my acting, because I shy away from the big risky choices and half-ass the whole thing.  I have already committed to no more of that, but I will go ahead and re-commit myself. 

On the other side of that coin I thought losing that much weight would have a more drastic effect on my appearance.  My body certainly has changed, but nowhere near as much as I thought 115 or so pounds would look like.  That is frustrating at times, but in a way it is a good thing.  Another one of my huge worries, and roadblocks to starting, was what I would look like after the weight loss.  I didn't know what my type would be, how it would affect my career, and a host of other things.  The fact that I think I still look like me, just a smaller, fewer chinned me, is a good thing.  I'll try to get a picture today so I can post a before/after.

One last, unexpected benefit has been the change to my work ethic.  Perhaps I simply have more energy, or perhaps one good choice begets another and so on and so on.  Whatever the reason I am working harder and smarter at my career in the theater than I ever have before.  In the last 6 months I have had as many auditions and callbacks as I had in the rest of my time in Chicago.  It drives me nuts to think what could have been, but looking forward I know I can work even harder to get to were I want to be.  I am not content to just get some work every now and then anymore.  Theater is my career and I plan to start treating it that way.  It may take some compromises with other aspect of my life, but knowing what it can be I refuse to let it be anything else.

Onward once again.  Looking at the math if I keep losing about 1% of my weight a week I should hit my goal about weigh in #70.  We'll see where things settle out in the end, but for the moment I am satisfied with how far I have come.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

All In

Here is how things stood as of last post.  I had turned down a small but juicy role in a Shakespeare show to keep myself open for one of my dream roles, Barfee in Spelling Bee.  That is the kind of all or nothing choice that I struggle to make, but I went in head first this time.  Tonight was the callback (#2).  I felt really good about my work and on the way home I got the word that I had booked it.  After taking such a big risk having it pay off is incredible.  Even better was the knowledge that I had gone about it the right way.  I want to thank those of you who gave me such great advice in this situation.  Some comps are definitely on the way.

With my health I have felt myself getting into a bit of a rut.  I haven't been logging my calories the way I should and I have been indulging a bit more than I should.  The results I have had recently show few to no ill effects so far, but if I am not careful my good habits could go by the wayside.  I have found myself rationalizing my laziness by saying that I am allowing the changes to be more organic and letting them be part of my everyday life.  That assumes that at some point I will stop logging calories and staying on top of things, which is the wrong mindset.  I need to stay aware because I have shown that I to easily fall into bad habits.  I am recommitting now to doing this the right way and working hard from here on.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Weigh in #26 - Stopping In Centerville

Hello again to all.  It seems like I say it every week now, but this week has been a bit of an adventure.  It seems that as a side effect of my determination to make things happen, things are actually happening.  Who'd have thought?  I had two callbacks this past week and results were fantastic.  I can't fully say until next weekend how things have turned out, but I was given a choice that I had a very hard time with, and made one of the decisions I don't think I would have had the gumption to make before taking more control of my life.  Risk-taking and bold choices have been a weakness in my actor's toolbox, but in this instance I certainly put myself out on a ledge.  I turned down one roll to keep myself available for another, so it is all or nothing now, and all on me.  If it doesn't work out I will have no regrets, but I don't plan on letting that outcome happen.  By my next weigh in (which will mark 6 months since weigh in 1) I will know, so stay tuned.  Here are this week's numbers:

Current Weight: 328.4 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 4 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 111.8 lbs

In the words of Sir Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, DFA "We Did It!" (Cue Balloon Drop).  As of yesterday I had lost over 25% of my starting body weight, and I am 50% of the way to my ideal weigh loss. For those of my Texan readers you will now see that the title is a reference to the town midway between Houston and Dallas, the town I always seem to have to stop in for one reason or another when on I-45. Today I hopped on the scale to find I had dropped an extra pound or so, which I will gladly take.  This week I again overshot my ideal weekly weight loss, this time by about a pound.  I am alright with it because I let myself relax a bit this week and my body did it naturally.  I didn't restrict my calories quite as much, I got in two good walks, and I let my body do its thing.  The results certainly speak for themselves. 

Over the last month I have identified two factors that really affect my results:  alcohol and lifting weights.  Whenever I drink alcohol, even a little, which is really all I have allowed myself in the last 6 months, I can guarantee that the next two days or so I will not lose weight.  I may not gain anything from one or two beers, but any adult beverage seems to hit the pause button on my metabolism.  Weight lifting has a similar effect, although hopefully for a better reason.  My body puts on weight very easily, but it seems that goes for both fat and muscle.  When I do a little lifting my weight loss slows, but pretty obviously because I am gaining muscle.  I have had a week where I lost very little, but all my clothes felt considerably more loose.  Now that I am aware of these effects I can use them strategically.  I can devote one week a month to gaining muscle and know that my weight loss may not be great.  It certainly makes it easier to accept poor numbers when you know you have made gains elsewhere.  Of course I could be wrong about all of this, but I don't think a little extra weight work once a month is ever going to be a bad thing. 

One more goal down.  The next big one is breaking 300, so I'd like to set a finish line for that one.  I think that by the end of September  I should get there.  I know I am looking forward to this goal because I found myself planning that blog post already.  It is going to take about 3 pounds a week to get there, which is right where I should be, but no matter how I do with this next goal I am on the back stretch now.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Weigh in #25

What a week.  I suppose I am getting what I wanted.  I am busier on the acting front and I am taking the time I need to achieve the results I want both in theater and with my health.  The day job has been a little crazy lately, but nothing too bad.  I took a different tack with my exercise this week.  Last week I had three days with even aerobic and weight exercise.  This week I was a bit inconsistent, but I got out for a couple of walks and did a little bit of weight work, mostly core stuff.  One exercise I came up with is to take my two new 10 pound free weights and shadow box until I can't hold them up anymore.  The combination has worked.  I probably ate more this week, but less of the bad stuff, and the exercise was less than I thought I needed, but not bad overall.  Perhaps I have been trying too hard and taxing myself too much.  Then again maybe the weight work I did last week is paying off now.  More muscle means more calories are required just to keep me alive.  Perhaps I should focus one week a month on really working to build muscle.  It will help my body rebound into the correct shape and burn more calories.  I have lots of options it seems, so I'll keep experimenting.  That is enough rambling for now.  Here are the results:

Current Weight: 332.4 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 6.4 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 107.8 lbs

That certainly makes up for last week.  That is actually more weight than I would like to lose on a week by week basis, but averaging the last 3 weeks I am looking at 3.6 pounds a week, which is close to a manageable pace, and near the 1% of my body weight I should average a week.  Looking at my pace I have a decent chance to get to 110.05 pounds lost, which is 25% lost, and 50% of my goal weight loss

One other adjustment I made this week was a nod to my blood pressure, which I have not been measuring consistently, but I can tell by the way I feel is still high.  The one nutrient issue I have not made the kind of strides I would like to so far is with sodium.  Last weekend I bought a salt substitute and have started working it into my diet, as well as substituting other flavorings for salt, like the Ponzu I mentioned in my vegetarian meal.  The sodium is not bad, especially considering it is soy based.  This should help not only with my health, but with water retention, making my weigh ins more consistent.  When I am cooking at home my sodium intake isn't terrible, but I seem to be one of those folks that is very sensitive to salt, and to achieve the results I want I need to really cut back, probably under 1500 mg a day.  I am not going to go crazy until I speak to a doctor, and at the moment that is not really an option so i will make solid choices until then.

Another week then.  I have two callbacks this week and a goal to hit, so I look forward to updating you.  Coming up soon is also 6 months of the blog.  Stay tuned for a bit more math and another opportunity to take stock.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Jumping The Shark

Generally a show jumps the shark right about the same time as it spins off a new series.  Hopefully that is not the case for me.  My friend Amy Vorpahl, who has been a regular contributor and a great friend, has started her own blog.  It is titled The Amazing Shrinking Actress and is my official sister blog. Amy's goals are slightly different than mine, but our ultimate aims go hand in hand.  Amy is in very good shape, but is based in Los Angeles and wants the kind of body that is required of the industry out there.  For that reason she is shooting for a pretty ambitious goal.  Amy is one of the most driven people I know, so I look forward to following her as she smashes expectations.  You can follow her blog too by clicking the link on the right.

Vegetarian Cooking For Dummies

I was leaning toward talking about walking a mile in the shoes of a hippie, but they often do not wear them, so we will stick with the title I have.  Yesterday was the first Monday in my new Meatless Mondays program.  I did alright, even well.  I was smart and made sure to have things I knew I liked around.  I also had a little bit of an indulgence on hand in case I really felt deprived.  I saved so many calories on my meals that I felt completely okay having a little bit of dark chocolate.  My lunch was pretty basic, and mostly stuff I already had to hand.  Some hummus and pita chips, a selection of cheeses, grapes, and a small salad.

You may be saying, "Chase, cheese is not the best choice when on a diet."  You may be right, whoever you are, but cheese is maybe my favorite food ever.  It is magical and wonderful and a gift from God.  Those three small pieces you see, altogether less than 3 oz., may look the same, but they were varied and delicious.  I will never ever give up cheese and I am happy to work a little bit harder to keep enjoying it in moderation.  It was a balanced and delicious meal, and definitely something I could get used to.

Dinner took a bit more planning.  One vegetarian option I knew I would enjoy in lieu of meat as an entree was mushrooms.  Portabella mushrooms are large, meaty, and when prepared correctly almost like steak.  I started by marinating the mushrooms briefly in some Worcestershire Sauce and an ingredient new to my kitchen, Ponzu.  Ponzu sauce, or Shoyu Ponzu, is soy sauce mixed with citrus flavors.  the sodium is much less than straight soy and it has a little sweetness that is very pleasant.  It is the sweeter soy sauce you get when visiting nicer sushi restaurants and they present you with several sauces.

I sauteed the mushrooms so that they were firm, but nice and hot.  The rest of the meal was simple.  I broiled some asparagus for a filling side dish and rounded out the meal with a side salad.  Here is the completed plate.

As you can see this is a lot of food, and altogether it was less than 300 calories.  Even prepared lean and mean a meal with that much chicken would have been around 500 calories.  The meal really stayed with me as well, which surprised me.  I was worried that the meal would prove less substantial and that I would get hungry again before bed.  This was not the case at all.  Marinating the mushrooms gave me a great flavor and texture, and I didn't miss meat at all, plus the food is less calorie dense than meat, allowing me to make a large plate.  I was plenty satisfied and pleasantly surprised.  I won't be able to do the same dish every Monday, so I am looking for suggestions that will fill up this omnivore, but now I am sure that I can survive and enjoy a day as a vegetarian.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Weigh in #24

Hmmm.  This has been a puzzling week on the weight loss front.  I made some positive choices, and though I have already highlighted my struggles over the weekend I thought this week was generally very positive.  I purchased a couple of free weights and some other workout supplies to make working out even easier, including a workout mat for use in my apartment.  Now even if I cannot get to the workout room or out on the lake front I can so some crunches and curls in front of the TV.  I was able to get in 3 pretty decent workouts this week.  I did focus a bit more on weight based exercises than aerobic stuff this week, so muscle gain may explain some of the lackluster numbers.  I can actually see and feel a bit of a difference, so I don't think I am just rationalizing.  I may also be in the point on my personal cycle where I don't lose much that week.  I haven't seen a pattern, but I have had a few solid weeks in a row, so I was probably due for a week of lesser results.  Here are the numbers:

Current Weight: 338.8 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 0.8 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 101.4 lbs

That is the lowest number I have seen since I started in January, but I still lost weight so this week was still a success.  When you consider that over the course of the week I drank the equivalent of a six pack of (non-light) beer and a few mixed drinks, not to mention a few deserts and sweets at parties, I did alright to lose weight at all.   Hopefully the work I did this week in the workout room will pay dividends in weeks to come by making my body a more efficient calorie burning machine.

Setting My Course

Thanks to all of you who submitted some goals for me to consider.  There were so many great ideas that I am sure before long I will have added most of them to my internal checklist, but a few really jumped out at me.  Star contributor, and great friend, Amy Vorpahl offered the idea of percentages.  I really like the idea of measuring how much of my original weight I have lost as a percentage.  As you saw from the last post I get a little geeked out by math stuff sometimes, so this one is right up my street.  The next two big percentage goals for me are 25% and 30%, which are 110.05 pounds lost and 132.06 pounds lost respectively.  I love having one that I am not too far from and one that is still a bit off to keep me motivated.  25% will be huge because it will also be 50% of my goal weight loss, a very big milestone.  That one is definitely on the list.

Another goal Amy offered is to build a new repertoire of monologues/songs.  As my type changes I will definitely need them.  I spoke in a previous post about my new monologue filing system, and part of why I did that was to categorize a new monologue into what I already had.  I have been learning a new song and a new audition monologue for the last couple of weeks, but I like making it a definitive goal and setting a number.  More on that to come.

Both Katie Canavan and Sara Jo Buffington talked about meal planning and trying to go a certain period of time using only home cooked food.  I really like that idea.  It is going to take some planning, so I will post when I am about to start my preparations and probably go for a week or so.

On the meal planning idea I had heard about a trend that struck me as a really good idea.  A lot of nutritionists, chefs, and various other food folks have offered the idea of "Meatless Mondays".  I think part of it is to encourage vegetarianism.  I think the human animal is intended to be omnivorous, and though I feel that animals should be treated as humanely as possible and try to buy to reflect that, I have no moral compunction against meat.  So, for those reasons I do not plan to become a vegetarian, nor do I think there is much value for me in vegetarianism full time.  I do eat meat far to frequently.  My breakfasts have been almost exclusively meat free, so I know I don't need meat to be satisfied, but I have always been compelled to include it to round out a meal.  My goal is this:  On Mondays I will make at least one of my main meals, either lunch or dinner and both when I can, meat free.  This will push my creativity in the kitchen and introduce me to new veggies and preparations.  This will also save me calories, save me some money, and probably improve my health.  I am going grocery shopping today, so this challenge will start this Monday and I will post pictures of my vegetarian meal/meals.

Well, I think that is enough to be going on with.  My standard goals remain:  Lose weight, make the best choice available, book a gig, do something as often as possible to improve my preparedness or skills as an actor.  These are just some extra incentives to keep my eyes on the ultimate prize.  Until next time.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Geek Time

I thought it might me interesting to look at my weight loss in a mathtastic way.  I spent quite a bit of time futzing with Microsoft's more nerdy functions in Word and Excel to figure out the most accurate and understandable plot for my weight loss.  Plotting the data into a scatter plot was pretty easy.  Figuring out the right trend line to extrapolate the data into the future was the tricky part.  I tried linear, which was a bit clumsy.  I tried logarithmic, which I am too far removed from Calculus to completely understand.  I know what the numbers say, and I know the trend line looked right, but I couldn't say why and that is no use as a tool.  I finally decided on a good old exponential trend line.  I had to put in data to get the graph out to my goal weight, right now set at 220.1, so I entered a rough average of 2.5 pounds per week, which gets me to the goal weight on week 70 of this journey.  The trend line I got works great.  What is more it looks like I am consistently pushing that trend line down, which gets me to my goal more quickly.  For my math inclined friends here is my weight loss extrapolated and presented as a function: y = 426.35e^-0.009x.  This chart, other than being kinda cool, allows me to see how my week by week weight loss fits into the grand scheme of things.  It should be a great way to keep me on track.  Here is the chart itself:

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Deja Vu All Over Again

Well, parties are over.  The fourth and my 100 came and went, and thanks to all of the food and drink I had this weekend, 100 went and has come again.  I am now right back where I was on Saturday, so on the consequences level my indulgences did not cost me too much.  This weekend did show that my body still really wants to put on weight.  I didn't eat too badly.  I indulged in a couple of cupcakes, and a few beers and mixed drinks.  I put on two pounds in two days.  At first I was a bit worried, but now I am not bothered too much by all of it.  It helps that I lost the extra pounds almost as fast as I put them on, and the extra urgency to get back under 100 has gotten me to workout twice this week already, a habit I hope to keep up.  Now that I know I can lose the weight and that I have the habits I need for success and indulgence now and then is something I feel okay with because I feel a measure of control.  It is good to know because I have seen how fast six months can go and in the next six months are Thanksgiving, Christmas, at least two trips home, and football season (AKA beer season).  I will need to exercise (pun intended) every measure of control I have.  Once I am at a stable weight it won;t matter quite as much, but until then I must practice vigilance.

Pulling Out The Road Map

I have a new participation stunt for you!  200 pounds is a long way away, but it is the next meaningful goal I can think of.  I am looking for a nice intermediate goal to shoot for, and preferably one that doesn't have as much to do with my weight.  Anyone with an interesting idea please submit it.  What is the next milestone I should shoot for?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

100 Weight Feast/Fourth of July

Just a few pics from the festivities.  Thanks to all who made it so much fun.  I look forward to the next go 'round for 200.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Weigh in #23

Goodness, what a week.  Busy with theater and a big milestone in my weight loss.  I don't have much else to discuss right now, especially since I still have some cleaning to do before the party.  I will post some pictures tomorrow.  I did gain a bit of the weight back from the dance call, but I am still safely under 100.  Here are the numbers:

Current Weight: 339.6 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 3.6 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 100.6 lbs