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.