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.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

5 Mondays

I thought I would take a little time today to talk about one of my newer habits, Meatless Mondays.  I have to say it has been going very well.  I haven't been tempted to cheat, mainly because I have found some delicious options that I am not tired of yet.  Except for the first one in the challenge I have had to work every Monday, and I have had the same thing for lunch each time, a falafil sandwich from the Mediterranean bakery down the street.  It is something I really like, falafil is very lightly fried so I feel like it is a treat, and because of the hummus, babaganouj, and veggies with which I can customize the sandwich it is something I can do once a week and not get tired of.  Is it a perfect meal?  No, a crudites platter, a piece of fruit, and maybe a small piece of cheese would be perfect.  But my sandwich is tasty and not too bad on calories (I figure it about 500), and that helps me succeed.

Last night was another very successful meal in my Meatless Mondays challenge.  I was over with some friends doing them a favor and they cooked me a delicious meal of steamed zucchini strips with an avocado lemon vinaigrette and roasted sweet potato medallions.  First off, I want to thank Sam and Kat.  The meal was delicious and I will gladly come over to reflect light in a menacing way any time you need.  Second, this was an ideal vegetarian meal for me.  Why?  Because it was delicious, introduced some new ideas in the kitchen (that sauce is one I am stealing to use again.  I would be great on a white fish), and had an "treat" element to it.  In this case the "treat" was the sweet potatoes, which were oven roasted in medallions with a honey and black pepper glaze.  Very tasty.

I am really pleased about my success with forgoing meat one day a week.  It gives me control over that part of my diet.  Before I felt like every meal had to have meat in it, otherwise it wasn't really a meal, just a large snack.  That is ridiculous, I know, but it was how I felt.  Another positive seems to be that I can actually eat a little more, both volume and calorie wise, and still have good results on the scale.  It could be the fiber or other good nutrients but because of that Monday has become a day to look forward to because I can indulge a bit with my portions.  I am shocked by just how successful it has been, even with rehearsals, but because of all of that I know I can make this a permanent, positive addition to my life.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Weigh in #28

There is something about being in rehearsal that makes all the small annoyances that tend to set me off just float by the wayside.  Maybe it is having a focus point for my energy, or maybe I was just itching to get back on stage, but I never quite feel right without a show to work on.  This makes me think I can take that energy and focus it on preparing audition pieces and marketing stuff.  No more between production laziness.  For my health this week, I feel pretty good about things.  I was short on time, but I got out for about 4 miles of walking each of the last two nights, and last night I made good use of the little hill north of Montrose on the lakefront and ran a few hills.  I mentioned Thursday that I had been good in terms of preparing food fro rehearsal nights, and considering I have about 15 minutes between getting off the train from work and getting in the car to drive to rehearsal, I really need to keep that up.  I have good options in a pinch that I can get out, but they are never as good as home cooked, not just for flavor, but cost and health as well.  Here are the numbers:

Current Weight: 323 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 4.2 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 117.2 lbs

Not bad at all.  It certainly makes up for last week, the results of which were a little disappointing.  I think that with a little push I can be at or near 300 by opening of my show, which is September 24th.  I will keep the goal at the next week, or by the weigh in of October 1, but it would certainly be nice to hit it early.  Looking at the math I have about 7 weeks to opening, and 23 pounds to go, so as long as I average 3 and a little bit pounds a week I will get there.  That is right at my 1% so it is definitely doable.  Breaking 300 is probably the goal I am looking most forward to other than the end goal because it has been about 9 or 10 years since I was under 300.  I think I mentioned before that I already started writing that blog post in my head.  I am also really focusing on this goal because with the added business and little bit of complacency as of late I really need to keep my eyes on the prize.  Goals and this blog are what are helping me do that, so thanks for sticking with me.  This week we start dance rehearsals, and although this show is not dance heavy, I expect to work up a sweat, so I expect some good results this week.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


What an amazing week.  There is nothing like starting rehearsals for a show you are really excited about.  A read through and two music rehearsals are already in the bag and I have a couple of nights off to rest and catch up.  I took my day off from the day job on Tuesday to do a little cooking, so was prepared and smart with my meals even with a time crunch.  The trick now is to keep it up, but I feel prepared for the challenge.

I see things every once in a while that reaffirm my choice to get this journey going and out there for all to see.  Today I read about John Goodman and his 100 pound weight loss.  John Goodman is one of the actors I feel similar to, and who I really respect.  The other was John Candy, so if you put them together I guess that would make me John Goodbar (my apologies).  Moving on, Mr. Goodman mentioned in the interview that his previous lifestyle was a "waste".  It is a sentiment I can relate to.  I think back on the missed opportunities and experiences I gave up because of my choices it is hard not to regret, but I can really use that as fuel to keep me moving.  His change is also likely to help his career, which is a great example of why my previous fears were so misguided.  The choice for better health is always the best one, and as I have said my main goal is to make the best of all available choices.  Fear led me to use my career as an excuse, when in actuality it should have been a driving factor in making these changes.  It may not have been at the start, but it certainly is now, and I feel my recent successes are evidence I am on the right track.  See you Saturday for the weigh in.