Monday, January 31, 2011


I have mentioned before that I do not like using food as a reward.  I think it sets a bad precedent because what can be used to reward can be used/withheld for punishment, and that is completely antithetical to my methodology for a healthy relationship with food.  I am not above rewarding myself with stuff though, or asking for things that will help my weight loss as gifts.  Just before my birthday I visited my little brother in Georgia and his family gave me a couple pans as gifts.  I then used a gift certificate for another pan as a reward for my 1 year.  These are my new beauties:

Bottom right is an anodized aluminum non stick pan.  Non stick is great for low fat cooking because oil is a choice, not a necessity.  This one is oven safe to 350, and not scratched, which is more than I can say for the non stick skillet I have been using for 6 years.  The old one had lived a good life, but the even heat and versatility of this pan, even though it doesn't have a lid, is worth it.

The top pan is interesting.  It is a 12 inch "everyday pan"  by Calphalon.  It is stainless tri-ply with an aluminum core.  The pan is oven and broiler safe and the lid is good to 450.  The shape is interesting.  It is a cross between skillet, saucier, and omelet pan, but heats very evenly and sears like a dream.  both of those pans were from the Baquets, and they have gotten good use, so thank you very much Peter, Ashley, Jude, and Julien.

The bottom left pan is also by Calphalon, with the same construction as the other pan.  It is a 2.5 quart standard shallow sauce pan, but the shape makes it flexible enough to use as a smaller saute pan in a pinch.  I look forward to some small batch soups and chilis from that baby.

One thing that I have discovered is that, although my Walmart pans have done me great service over the years, there were a few things they could never do, being cheap non-stick.  One was go into the oven, and another was true searing.  Searing is so important to me, because brown food tastes good, and proper searing means I have more flavor with less sauce or other fatty toppings.  Oven safe allows me to sear and bake for even, tasty foods and only one pan to clean.  One dish I have wanted to try for a while was frittata.  Now I have the pan to do it, and here are the results.

Picture one is just before the trip into the oven, and picture two is the finished product.  I caramelized some onions and threw in some frozen (and thawed) asparagus and peppers.  I also shredded up a little left over chicken and topped with a variety of shredded cheeses I had little bits of left over from breakfasts.  This thing cooks up so fast, is dirt cheap, and is stupid easy.  It is an incredibly filling breakfast that is good for a week in the fridge, so you can expect this to become a staple in my kitchen.  I don't like eggs very much, and I love this.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Weigh in 2:1

One year ago today I stepped on the scale for the first time.  To that point I had been able to convince myself of a lot of things, but the truth wasn't in there.  The quantifiable reality of the situation did what friends, colleagues, and doctors could not.  I had started this blog for accountability from the outside, but now I had personal accountability, and though you, my friends, may cheer for me in the good times and bad, none of you are as hard on me as I am on myself when I do not work hard enough.  I am okay with failure after a good effort, but too often I let failure come without really trying.  Stepping on the scale the first time was a refusal to behave in that way any more.  Weigh in #1 may have been the hardest part of this process to date.  It is a stark thing to see 25 years of bad habits boiled down to a number.

In the year since I truly started down this road I have gotten on the scale many times.  I actually had a friend suggest I weigh myself less frequently to avoid becoming obsessive.  Funnily enough that was never going to be a problem for me.  I crave information, it is probably the #1 feature of my personality, so after the first weigh in the scale simply became a source of information.  I treated it like checking the balance on my bank account.  I have overdrawn before, but never because I checked my bank balance too often.  Weighing myself helped me recognize patterns and respond quickly to poor choices.  I got away from that in the last couple of months, along with some other things, and my results suffered.

Today I check my balance sheet for the last year.  I am interested to see how the numbers stack up, and since I am doing this as I write, you will get my first impressions.  Here are the numbers as of today:

Current Weight: 285.2 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 4 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 155 lbs

Great week.  This makes up for some of the slip ups of the last month, and is a great springboard into the new year.  I am a bit off of where I wanted to be.  In November I was thinking I would be down around 260 at this point, but the winter is a hard time to lose weight, and a small weigh loss with steady maintenance of the good results of the previous 10 months is nothing to sneeze at.  Here is a break down of the year:

Weight Loss Total (Year 1): 155 lbs
Weight Loss Per Week:  2.98 lbs/wk
Weight Loss Per Day:  0.425 lbs, or 6.8oz per day
Percentage Of Total Body Weight Lost: 35.21%

I must admit I am at a loss.  I have been disappointed with my progress for the last couple of months, but the totals and percentages are a real eye opener as to just what I've accomplished.  Losing 6.8 ounces a day may be the number that shocks me the most.  To put that in perspective that is 1 2/3 sticks of butter...a day.  Over the course of the year that equals 155 boxes, or 620 sticks, of butter.  Now not all of that is fat.  My body is handling less mass, so it necessarily uses less muscle, but if the body fat monitor on my scale is even close, then at least 2/3 of my weight loss has been body fat.  That seems like a pretty good percentage.

At the pace for the last year my original weight loss goal is about 22 weeks away.  That is unrealistic.  Weigh ins will now become progress checks, but now that I am down to a more manageable weight there will be a much broader set of metrics and goals.  Waist size, stamina, toning, and over all health are now more important than that "number".  I think I am really entering a new phase of my health journey.  I will not change what has gotten me here, but there are certainly things to add.

(Please read the title as "year 2, #1".  This will be the new title scheme on weigh in days.)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Milestone Week

Today is the first of several milestones I will celebrate this week.  A year ago today I gave up sodas.  Other than one sugar free mixer I used I have kept that promise.  Soda is fine in moderation, but I cannot be moderate with it, so it had to go.  Starting out I thought this might be one of the most difficult things, but I feel so much better, and that one change had such a massive effect on my health, that I have never once been tempted to go back.  I miss the occasional Dr. Pepper, but only briefly every once in a blue moon.  The hardest part was the day after.  Tomorrow I will "celebrate" the anniversary of the worst headache I have ever had.    I think I will honor the occasion with a tall, frosty water.

This week has been positive so far, though my scale is on the fritz, so weighing myself has been a bit more of a pain.  I continue to be amazed, even a year on, that I am more full and satisfied when I eat appropriately portioned, well balanced meals, than when I have a larger, poorly balanced meal.  It is easy to forget with the breadth of expression available to us as thinking, feeling beings, that our more primitive bodies have only a few ways to tell us what we/they need.  If I miss out on something vital, say fiber, then even though my stomach is full the only way my body can ask for that missing piece is with hunger.  It can be as frustrating to satisfy what my body is asking for as it is to placate a crying baby.  It needs SOMETHING, but the language isn't there.  Of course, I may be talking out of my ass here, but in the last year of paying more and better attention to these things this seems to explain what I have encountered.

Sunday will mark one year since my first weigh in, so expect an in depth breakdown of my results, and of course, weigh in #1 of year 2.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Weigh in #52

No there was no "true" weigh in 51, but I want to keep things on pace.  I have not done well over the past couple of weeks, but I did get some much needed rest and a mental and physical vacation.  The time has now come to recommit and start again as if it is the first time.  Next Sunday will mark exactly one year since weigh in #1.  I have been blogging almost one year now, the 26th will mark that milestone.  This will be a week of hard work.  I have been living for about 2 months in maintenance mode.  I do not know whether this is just a comfortable weight for my body, if I changed so much and took so much for granted that I got off track, or if the winter put me into storage mode, but a new push begins today.  It will be hard to get back into the habit, but I will be logging every single thing I eat from tomorrow onward.  It was easier not to, but the past 2 months have shown me what that gets me.  I am much healthier now, but I am not where I need or want to be.  Here are the numbers, and my jumping off point for the coming year:

Current Weight: 289.2 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: -2.4 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 151 lbs

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I'm back.  I went out of town and decided to take a little bit of a vacation from everything, including the blog.  Complacency was starting to set in, and I felt a reboot was in order.  Luckily, today is a very good day to start again.  Today I turn 26, and I cannot help but reflect upon the last year of my life.  So much has changed for the better that, though I am another year older I probably have more years ahead of me now than I did at this time last year.  As for my missed weigh in, I will weigh in as usual this weekend, probably Sunday.  As an unofficial update, a pseudo weigh in #51, I will say that I have hovered around 290 the past week or so, so not great, but considering the lack of thought or effort on my "vacation" I didn't do too badly.  I am trying hard to get to 285 for the weigh in, so austerity measures are in effect.  The time off from work and thinking about my weight constantly is going to be a very good thing for me.  Since August I had been going with one or maybe two days off in a row, and rarely one without travel or rehearsal.  Having 5 days without work or theater, and 3 of those consecutively without any travel as well was much needed.  I was getting a bit burned out.  Now I feel more capable of buckling down and pushing through the last 50 or so pounds of weight loss I'd like to achieve.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Weigh in #50

Sorry about being a day late, but either Sundays or Fridays will have to be my new weigh in day.  I now work Saturday and Sunday, but Saturday is 8:45am to 6pm, and Sundays are only 10am to 5pm, so of the two I am much more likely to write and get an accurate weigh in on Sunday.  Fridays I am off of work, so that is a possibility as well.  I am going with Sundays for now.  Good results in the past 8 days.  Here are the numbers:

Current Weight: 286.8 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 2.4 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 153.4 lbs

I am now just .2 lbs from my overall low water mark and excited to forge into new territory.  Another 16 pounds in 3 weeks is not going to happen, so my original goal of 170 total weight loss is out the window, but if I can break into the 270s by the end of the month I will feel good about that.  That means in just about three weeks I need to drop 7 pounds.  2 1/3 pounds a week is no mean feat, but it is doable.  Now to do it.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I am a little disappointed in myself.  I missed the last of my twelve days of Christmas.  Yes work has been busy, and I have an excuse, but I don't want to use one.  It just goes to reinforce my need for constant vigilance.  5 out of 6 is good, but not really good enough to get where I want to be.  To tell the truth the well of inspiration is a bit low at the moment.  I am sure by Saturday I will have a bit more to say, but for now that's all I've got.

Now for some planning.  My birthday is the 20th and the one year anniversary of my weight loss is the 30th.  On the 30th to celebrate both I want to go play laser tag at the whirlyball stadium on Fullerton.  Please comment if you would like to come.  We will have to walk in because a reservation is just too expensive (who knew an hour of laser tag cost $500+).  But I would love to have you all there to celebrate and get a little fun exercise with me.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Lords Leaping, Or Some Such

Today was fun.  I did pretty well with my intake, saw a fun movie, and got some good work done in my actor life.  I have been in voice lessons for a while now and have been building up my book for musical auditions.  My voice lesson went well and I have far more songs from which to chose than when I started up.  It was also very nice to get away from the frustrations of the day job, as I only had two very minor intrusions to think about today and I got to turn my mind off for a large portion of the day.  Rest is important, and today I got some.

Monday, January 3, 2011

10th Day

I am really running out of stuff to write about.  Epiphany needs to hurry up.  Tomorrow is an off day, so I plan to work out a bit and get in my meatless day, which wasn't today due to time constraints.  I am still struggling with mindless snacking and not doing the things I need, particularly eating fruit.  My culinary hero, Alton Brown, recently lost 50 pounds and he has done it by doing much of what I have done.  One of his go to breakfasts is a fruit smoothie, and I am going to try it out.  It is based on frozen fruit mostly and should be pretty easy.  We'll see how it tastes.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

9th Day Of Christmas

Now it is time to buckle down.  This weekend has been fun, but I haven't been that disciplined and the problem is that the few calculated choices to indulge make it easier to slip up later.  Well, the holidays are over and I have 4 weeks until my 1 year anniversary.  I don't think 3 pounds a week is unattainable, but it will be very difficult.  This week has to lay the groundwork.  One more resolution is to eat slower.  This is something I can start immediately and should make a big difference for me.  My show closed today, so my time constraints should be lessened.  I can cook more, and the fact that my current job does not require me to order, eat, and return from lunch in less than 30 minutes should help me slow down and know when I am full before I have overshot it.  I also need to get back on the stick with exercise.  December was really bad for that, and building up a bit more muscle mass and getting some aerobic work will give me a little leeway with my intake and give me a little more of an edge with recovery.

For the events this weekend I did my part by bringing some snacks, and I tried to keep them a bit healthier than your usual gameday fare.  I brought my ubiquitous hummus, and lately I have been making rosemary hummus with fresh rosemary and rosemary olive oil, which has been a big hit, both to my palate and at the two parties I have taken it to.  I also made guacamole.  I love tex mex food and avocado, when eaten in moderation, is incredibly healthful and satisfying.  Yes it is fatty, but it is the right kind of fat, the kind that keeps your body moving.  The only problem with good fat is that it is calorie dense, so care is needed.  Lucky for me the guac was such a huge hit that 4 avocados worth disappeared so quickly I wasn't tempted to get seconds because there weren't any.  Other than the 4 avocados I included finely diced onion, a brunoised jalapeno, the juice of 1 lime, a good handful of finely chopped cilantro, 4 cloves minced garlic, and a couple spoons full of some homemade salsa I had around.  I don't usually like tomatoes in guacamole, but I used more the flavorful liquid of the salsa for some extra brightness.  I also seasoned it with ground chipotle, cumin, and salt and pepper.  Here are pics of the process, and I used my new camera which has a food setting, so tell me what you think:

You can see to the far left the onions.  They are soaking in water with a little vinegar, which takes some of the bite and bitterness out and makes the raw onion much more friendly.

You can see I diced the avocado in the skin and then I scooped it out with a spoon to keep a nice texture.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Weigh in #49 - 8th day of Christmas. Happy New Year!

Happy new year!  December has come and gone.  I have 30 days left until the 1 year anniversary of my first weigh in. 2010 is the second year in a row I kept my resolution.  In 2009 I resolved to stop smoking, and I have not had a cigarette since August of that year.  In 2010 I resolved to take control of my health, and though I continue to work I feel that I have taken that resolution to heart.  Before I announce my concrete resolution for the coming year here are the numbers for this week:

Current Weight: 289.2 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 1.8 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 151 lbs

Not too bad, especially considering I polished off an entire bottle of sparkling wine myself last night (I brought a second to share).  One fun side effect of my weight loss is that I am a little bit cheaper date than I used to be.  Considering how much trouble I have with moderation in most things it is a very lucky chance that I have no problems being moderate with alcohol.  I just happen to enjoy a little bit of a buzz at a celebration with friends and it takes far less alcohol, and therefore calories, than it used to.    As for the week's results I was a bit shy of my goal, but chop off last night, which was a calculated indulgence at a celebration, and I'm right where I wanted to be, in 6 days no less since my last weigh in was on a Sunday.  From the last weigh in of November to now I only gained .4 pounds, which I feel is a very successful December.  It was a very nice way to end the year, and is going to be a great springboard into 2011.

Resolve and thou art free. 

I have posted previously that my ultimate resolution for the coming year, though a bit trite, is "Better than yesterday".  Over 11 months of, if not hard, then constant work I have found that taking too long a view or focusing too much on the length of the whole journey is crippling.  All I can do is try to be better than I was the day before.  This applies in all aspects of my life.  There are so many things I want, and I now firmly believe they will come in their due time, but only if I am ready for them.  If I work an being a better actor, a healthier person, and a better man than I was yesterday, then the success, health, and relationships I am looking to build will come.  I have to believe that and do that which is in my control to achieve them.  So much relies on the chances of life that for someone who needs a rational and logical progression of events to make sense of things it can be maddening.  So I'll do what I can do and try to accept the rest.

As for a more concrete resolution I do want something specific towards which I can work.  Long ago this blog became about more than just my weight loss, so I feel comfortable posting that I resolve to be more accepting of the foibles of my fellow man, and of myself.  To be more concise I suppose I could say I resolve to accept imperfection with good humor.  I admit to judging myself and others too readily, so that is something I would like to work on this year.  Feel free to post your resolution as a comment.  I have found that public accountability is the surest way for me to maintain a goal,and if you would like to try that with your goals for the coming year please do so and we can keep each other on track.