Thursday, October 24, 2013

Weigh Ins 4:30-32

Friends, it has been an interesting few weeks, but overall successful.  I finished my run of my evening show, I rehearsed and opened a kid's show, and got through an illness. My knee is still giving me problems, so exercise is severely limited.  I weighed in today at 482.6, which is almost 2 pounds in the last 3 weeks.  This is not great progress, but it is movement in the right direction, at just over half a pound a week.

My focus right now is on healthier eating in regards to my cardiovascular health.  I have new doctor who is going to help me stabilize my blood pressure, but I need to make sure I'm doing my part on the home front.  Losing weight is part of that, but reducing salt and other undesirable nutrients is first on the list.  My hope is that one will lead to the other, and that by reducing the things that give me trouble with blood pressure I will have overall better meals and start losing a bit more weight.

On the exercise front I have to be smart right now.  I need to give my knee at least this week to rest up and get healed and then start working in some moderate movement to keep up the strength.  Mindfulness and building better habits are going to be key moving forward and will set me up for better results through the year end.  I would love to be under 350 for the new year, and I think this is a very reachable goal.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Weigh In 4:29

The thing about yo-yos- what goes up must come down, and vice versa.  I completely erased last week's big gain with a big loss.  The stress and poor meal habits that come with tech week and opening a show took their toll, but a more normalized schedule got me back to exactly where I had been, 384.4. Though I am treading water over the past 2 weeks I still take that as a victory.  No I want to take this big week and tack on another for good measure.

Unfortunately, my ability to exercise outside of the show is now compromised.  Due to my fall and probably some overuse issues as well I have sprained my knee and have a contusion of the patellar tendon as well.  Rest and elevation are indicated as much as is earthly possible for the next month or so.    While it is disappointing to be laid up like that I want to take it as an opportunity to be very precise with my diet.  Once I have a better foundation there I can jump back into workouts when I am ready.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Weigh In 4:28

Oof.  Not a great week.  I came in at 388.2, which is a considerable backtrack.  The combination of tech, bad choices, and some other things definitely put me on the back foot, but there was some good this week too.  My clothes are fitting more loosely and considering how physically demanding the show can be I would like to think I gained a bit of muscle last week.  This is the time of year when football games, get togethers, family visits, and holidays start to conspire against me, so I need to be extra vigilant.  I have made some positive choices already this week, so here's hoping for a nice loss.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Weigh In 4:27

A little late once again, but tech week will do that to you.  I came in at 384.4 this past week, which is a solid loss.  All of the dancing and work we've been doing for the show has given me a bit of leeway the past week, but it is back to mindfulness now that the madness has calmed a bit.  I will of course post a weigh in this coming week, but I have no idea how things will look.  and I'm going to make the choice to be OK with that now.  It will make things much more enjoyable down the road.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Weigh in 4:26 - A Choice Is A Choice...Isn't It?

Halfway through the year.  I'd be lying if I were to say I am where I expected I would be.  This far into my weight loss in 2010 I had lost 112 pounds, which is an unbelievable number.  This time around I have lost just over 30.  I weighed in this morning at 385.6.  I am still learning not to compare the two.  I am on the right track and this time around I feel I am progressing in a much more sustainable way.  As energized and successful as I felt last time I can look back on it and see that I was not buying into the lifelong aspect of this journey.  So, smaller numbers, but slow and steady wins a race like this.

I planned to pen a post this weekend and I did not, but the points I was pondering then are still applicable (Alliteration over). The past couple weeks in my life I have been pointed to not just the power of choice, but the power of positive choice.  It may seem ridiculous, but I feel that one can make the same decision for two different reasons, and because one comes from a positive and one from a negative the results will be vastly different.  In my life the last few years I have made many fantastic choices for terrible reasons:  I eat healthy because I want to avoid health problems, I want to not be fat, I want to avoid being seen as something I do not want to be, I cannot do this because it will cause bad things to happen. Lately I have been trying to focus on positive choice: I eat healthy because it is a gift to my body, I want to achieve certain physical goals, I want to be seen as a collection of positive attributes, I can chose this because in the long run I will be happier.  Until recently I would have said this was "six of one, half dozen of the other".  And I would have been wrong.

This is a lesson I was first exposed to by Audrey Francis at school last summer, and continue to be faced with both artistically and personally.  Avoidance and negative choice is the surest way to create negative consequence.  Rather than working to avoid an undesirable outcome I should chose to work toward something positive.  Looking back it is no wonder I got burned out after spending so much time denying, avoiding, and making saying "I can't" several times a day.  If each meal becomes an opportunity to treat myself well rather than a pitfall to avoid then the habits I want to form will become much easier to live with, and I can create a personal culture of self-worth.  Ultimately I have to accept that I am worth healthy food, strength in my body, and pride in my career.  And self worth is something I have to learn.  Thank God I have so many opportunities to do something right for myself.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Weigh Ins 4:23-25

Well, that was an unplanned break. I didn't really have a good reason for it, I just put the blog low on my priority list.   The last couple weeks have been up and down and I am currently at 386.8.  I hit 30 pounds down last week and jumped up a bit this week, but I am doing the right things for the most part, including pretty strenuous rehearsals at the moment, so the results should come.  This week I definitely need to buckle down a bit on home cooking, so I will be investing time there and hopefully get a nice boost.  I saw a neat recipe on Food Network that I plan to adapt to be a bit healthier.  Things are pretty busy at the moment, so expect a more complete check in this weekend.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Weigh In 4:22

If consistency is the name of the game, then I have that in spades.  I lost another 1.2 pounds this week, taking me down to 386.4.  I am within shouting distance of losing 30 pounds overall, and that is no mean feat.  Are things moving more slowly than I would like?  Absolutely.  But a positive difference I feel this time over three years ago is that I am developing a lifestyle.  I am imperfect and I am allowing myself to be.  But the curve of progress is bending in the right direction.  I am fairly consistently losing about a pound a week.  And if I can do that with what is, lets be honest, very little effort then when I decide to pour it on a bit I can maybe get ahead of the pace.  This week was one of those times where I made steps to maybe gain a little momentum.

I met on Tuesday with a former theater colleague who is a personal trainer.  She and I crafted a game plan of some exercise I can and should do every day to build core strength, balance, and start to build up some muscle.  What effect this will have on the number on the scale is hard to say, but if I replace every pound of fat I lose with a pound of muscle I am ok with that for the time being, because eventually biology will catch up with me and I will start to use up some of that stored fuel.  I have a 1 pound baseline of progress that I have maintained for half a year.  As frustratingly slow as that is it is not all I can do, but rather a foundation to build on.  This week is the first of trying to attack this problem on two fronts.  Anybody familiar with military history knows that defense on two fronts is difficult, and I plan to take the advantage it gives.  Add in the bonus of having considerable movement in some of my rehearsals for my show and I am going to have some pretty good activity in my life.  I expect some good things in the coming month.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Weigh in 4:21

Another late post!  one of these weeks I will get back on the stick and post on time.  Wednesday was actually quite busy for me so not only was I not able to post, but I didn't even weigh myself, so this week's numbers are from Thursday.  I was down 0.8 pounds, which while small is a loss, and consistent with my results to date.  Considering my complete lack of exercise it will have to do.  I weighed in at 387.6 on the new scale.  385 this week would be fantastic, and I feel I am doing pretty well so far.  I had a very vigorous dance rehearsal on Thursday as well as some other intermittent physical activity.  Paired with good good choices so far I think I am on the way to good results.

My appointment with the personal trainer got pushed back a week, so this Tuesday I should get some new strategies for building physical strength and stamina.  Rehearsals for my show should start to be more consistently movement heavy as well, so I feel good about where I will be going forward.  I now need to commit to it.  I hope for a more thoughtful and detailed post (and on time) this Wednesday.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Weigh In 4:20

Decent week.  I am a bit behind in posting due to a combination of things, including booking a show!  I will be performing in Route 66 at Metropolis PAC in Arlington Heights this fall.  I get to sing, dance, and even play a little guitar.  Back to the weigh in, I ended up at 388.4 on the new scale, which is a loss of two pounds.  I was able to get back my small gain and then some, and considering I still have the difficulty of a night shift job I feel pretty good about that.  I did not work out beyond walking on my lunch breaks, so I have lots of room for improvement there.  This week I will have my first meeting with an acquaintance who is a personal trainer, and I hope she can give me some techniques and workouts that will be effective in boosting my metabolism and building a little bit of strength.  Given the difficulty I have had thus far I am hoping this is the missing link between me and some good results.

A new month means new goals.  I am going to keep them ambitious, as there is no reason to be anything but bold when setting goals.  I would like to get to 375 by the end of this month, which gives me about 5 weeks to lose 13+ pounds.  That is big, but very doable.  My friend Sam has given me the extra motivation of a possible theme park trip in Florida next summer, and I want to get back on some roller coasters.  That is going to take big weight loss, and as slowly as things have gone so far this year (less than 30 pounds in 6 months) I know I can do it.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Weigh In 4:19

This was a rough week, folks.  I started a new temp job that has me working early, late, overnight, and everywhere in between.  One necessary evil this week has been a ton of caffeine, and the changing hours have had me struggling to figure out meals.  Add in an inability to exercise as much as I have been in recent weeks and you get a gain.  I feel a little lucky it was only a pound, to be honest.

I weighed in at 385 on my old scale, and 390.4 on the new one.  I weighed myself during the week to measure the difference and about 5 1/2 pounds seems to be the average, so I am going to call it 5.4 and call it a day.

As things stabilize this week my hope is that I can eat a little better and take a few more pounds off.  I am still adjusting, though, and my shifts are still all over the place, so I am not going to kill myself to do it.  I still struggle with thinking of this as my new lifestyle rather than as a temporary inconvenience.  For as slow as it is going this time around I am able to enjoy myself a bit more, and maybe that is a good balance.

Friday, July 19, 2013


The new scale has arrived!  It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of my old one, but it has a very wide base which will help with accuracy, and it is new and factory calibrated, so I know it is (more) accurate than my current scale.  Here is the old one:

And here is the new one:

An unfortunate reality is that my current scale is inaccurate in the wrong direction.  I opened up the new scale and weighed myself on both and the new scale was 5.4 pounds heavier.  I was 384 on the old and 389.4 on the new.  Now, I have been weighing myself on the same scale the whole time so this does not change how much I have lost, just where I started and where I am now.  I will do a couple more calibrations to get an average difference, and then I will adjust my previous numbers to match.  So far I am break even for the week (though I weighed later today than usual), so that should make things a little easier.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Weigh in 4:18

It finally happened.  My scale has finally shuffled off this electrical coil and stopped working.  I should say I can still get on it and it will still give numbers, but they are so inconsistent and it takes so long to figure out what it wants to do that it is not useful right now.  I had to weigh myself 4 times today.  Once it settled on a pound up, once on a pound or so down, and twice it just kept fluctuating between 370 and 390 and then settling around 384 and then jumping all over the place again.  I took 384 as the number because that seemed to be the consensus number, but I could be a little up or a little down.  Suffice it to say that I had another mediocre week, although probably down just a tick.

This week I was victim to some poor preparation on my part.  I wasn't as strict on myself with food as I was last week, which is OK because I cannot do that every week.  I also was a bit lazy with exercise, though I still got around 35 points worth.  I missed out on monday because I was supposed to have a dance callback but the choreographer is injured so it has been moved to next week.  I did not want to tire myself with a workout or long walk earlier in the day, so a day I had planned to get exercise turned into one I did not get any.  Working exercise into my day to day life is still a new thing, so I must continue to get better at that.

A new challenge starts this week as well.  I have a new temp job to take me through to the start of my kids' shows in the fall.  It is part time, but mostly 3rd shift, so I will need to stay vigilant and work to plan my meals as I will be completely changing my body clock and personal schedule.  This is less than ideal, but I need work, so I will have to learn to work around it.

This coming week I know I can do a better job of working out and managing my food choices.  It sucks that I have to be as vigilant as I need to be, but complaining won't change that.  This weigh in puts me just over 1/3 of a year from my restart on the blog, and about 6 1/2 months to a new year.  In that time I have lost 20 pounds, and 26 for all of my time on weight watchers.  That puts me losing about another 40 or so for the year, and I would love to kick that up a bit.  Shooting for 320-325 by next January is a solid goal, and I would love to be under 300 for next summer.  If I can establish a better rhythm and habits, and keep going on my exercise I know I can blow past that, but purely based on what I have done those goals seem reasonable.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Thin Margins

In the past few weeks I have alternately been frustrated and elated with my results.  The frustration was from doing things right and not getting rewarded.  The elation was from reversing the trend.  One thing that has become frustratingly clear is how thin my margin for error is. This post is not to make excuses, but rather get out some big frustration I have over it.  I feel like I have to be constantly perfect in order to have consistent results, and that is the kind of mindset that leads to burnout and acting out against my diet.  I did not realize at the time, but 3 years ago this came so easily.  I barely got exercise, I frequently indulged in (reasonable) cheats, and I was losing over 3 pounds a week easily.  Now I can only get that eating 6 salads in a week and 5 workouts.

There are always things I can do better, but I would be inhuman if I didn't find it frustrating and see the distance to a healthy weight as very daunting.  Losing a pound a week is quite reasonable for folks looking to lose 20-30 pounds, but I need to lose at least another 130 pounds.  At a minimum.  At a pound a week pace that is two and a half years away.  In the 5 or so months I have been on program I have lost 25 pounds.  25 pounds is a lot and something I am trying to be proud of, but there is so far to go that It can be hard to see the trees for the forest, to corrupt a phrase.

Looking on the bright side I have only been really committed to working out for 3 weeks.  One of the surest ways to increase metabolism is to increase lean muscle mass, and as the work I am doing compounds I should see better results and have more of a margin.  As I have mentioned many times my meds put me on the back foot, but they also make workouts possible without having a heart attack, so I will have to take the good with the bad.  There is room for improvement with my diet, and every little bit helps.  The Weight Watchers Points system is helpful, and a little more user friendly than calorie tracking, but it is not perfect, and some points are better than others.

This is a constant learning process, and it is something I have to live with forever.  Sometimes that takes adjustment.  A little progress is still progress.  The journey can be as valuable as the destination.  I think tomorrow that will feel truer to me.  Today I had to talk it out a bit.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Weigh In 4:17

Now that is more like it!  After last week's debacle I was hoping that my body was merely trying to reset and not that I had made some huge error in my accounting of things.  As I posted earlier in the week the 4th was not a great day for me on my diet, so I am even happier that I managed to have a great week and still have one ridiculous day.  I weighed in this morning at 385.2, which is a loss of 3.2 pounds.  That is the kind of range I would like to be in on a weekly basis.  If I can string together 3 more weeks like this then I can hit about 375 by month's end, which would achieve my most ambitious goal for the month.  Considering how previous weeks have gone this may not be realistic, but I think shooting for somewhere south of 380 is a solid goal.

Considering the fact my diet was not perfect this week I have to look at the other changes I made to see from where the progress came.  The first, and most obvious, is from exercise.  Last week was decent, but this week was great.  I hit the elliptical 3 times for a total of about an hour, and took an hour walk as well.  Unfortunately being a big guy meant that this also meant that by yesterday I had a bit of a chafing issue, so yesterday I also did a few reps with my free weights, and although it probably did not do much in terms of calories it did get my blood pumping just a little bit and couldn't have hurt, especially on a day when a jog or walk was painfully unrealistic.  I have discovered that Netflix is my best friend for working out on the elliptical because it does just enough to take my mind off of how sweaty and tired I am and keep going.  A sitcom episode is perfect because by the time the credits hit I can slow things down and cool off and have about 25 minutes done.  Walks are less of a problem because I am outside with much more pleasant surroundings and it is not nearly as vigorous as my elliptical sessions.

Another strategy that helped this week was my protein buster.  Two days of salads had me craving anything but by the third day, but it really got me back on the right track.  Starting Sunday I pretty much ate as I normally would.  The results speak for themselves, so I think at least every other week a few salad days consecutively are going to become part of my repertoire.

This week I want to keep going with what I achieved this week.  This is a great baseline to shoot for, so I plan to keep up what has worked.  40-50 points worth of exercise, a few salads, and keep it sensible otherwise.

Friday, July 5, 2013

That Escalated Quickly

Oh Holidays. The parties, the fun, the frivolity all create an atmosphere of inattention to making good eating choices.  Compound that with a little booze and the hand to mouth filter gets quite weak.  Yesterday was 2/3rds fantastic, one third nuclear holocaust.  By the time I left for my party I still had about 30 daily points left.  By the time I was done I had used all of that and all of my weekly points.  It is amazing how fast that can happen.

Yesterday was a fantastic reminder of what liquid calories can do to you.  Alcohol and sugary drinks are pretty high in calories and points while offering absolutely nothing in terms of filling you up.  It is the dietary perfect storm.  Now, things like the 4th of July are why you have those weekly discretionary points, but my margin of error for the week is now quite a bit smaller.

On a positive note I have already done one walk and one elliptical session so far and have earned 20 activity points.  Since I start every week with 49 discretionary points that sounds like a good activity goal for me.  Considering an hour walk or a 20-25 elliptical session equals 10 points I just need to get 5 of those in this week.  And that is very doable seeing as I am 40% of the way there already.

The salad kick started today and I am roasting some chicken for homemade salads as I type.  3 days of that should clear away some of the Independence Day excesses.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Weigh In 4:16

OK, this was a pretty terrible week.  It didn't feel that way as I was experiencing it.  In fact, judging by the goals I set last week I did quite well.  I could have cooked more for myself, but I got a little behind on keeping my place clean and couldn't afford to make the problem worse.  I did have alcohol on Sunday at a birthday party, so that goal was not met.  On the positive side I did much better with my water intake, I kept 26 of my discretionary points, and I got 27 activity points, which while short of the 30 point goal I set was still more than I got last week.

And I gained 2 pounds.

I have to think this is just one of those weeks where my body had to reset, or perhaps the added exercise changed things for me and after an adjustment I will be back and better than ever.  Part of the reason I try to maintain so many of my weekly points is to give myself a buffer in case I have under estimated portion sizes and things like that.  If I am eating something I did not make from scratch for myself it can be very difficult to accurately track my points.  Keeping those points gives me a 1-2 point buffer on every meal.  Add in the activity points and I had two large meals worth of points left over this week, and I find it very hard to believe I was off by that much.  So I chalk it up to a fluctuation I can do nothing about and keep going next week.

I do think this week I am going to take a page from the old Quick Weight Loss Center days and do a protein buster.  What that entails is basically eating nothing but salads and white meat chicken for 2-3 days, excepting breakfast.  I can do fruit for snacks, but lightly dressed lettuce with chicken is about it in terms of meals.  On that program It was used to start off with and to bust plateaus.  I have resigned myself to the fact that on my blood pressure meds I may never have big numbers, but I can at least get back this week's stumble and then some.

This week I would like to keep up the strides I have made with exercise.  As I mentioned I was able to get 27 points worth of work in, but all of that was done in only 2 elliptical sessions.  An upside to that was that I was forced to stretch myself out  little bit and go longer than I was comfortable going to get to the point total I needed.  If I can combine the increased stamina from this week with a little more frequency then I think I can set myself up for a good week in that regard.

Ultimately this week is a great reminder that despite all of the scales. systems, diets, gyms, and nutrition advice ultimately our bodies are going to do what they want to do sometimes and we are really making a lot of this up as we go along.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Party Prep

Multitasking and planning ahead.  Two things that are weaknesses for me, and two things I am trying to do today.  One of my friends has a birthday today, and we are grilling on the beach.  Normally I might use this as an excuse to cheat a little bit, but this week I want to buckle down as much as I can.  Since I have the time I decided to prep some good choices to bring with me.  As we speak I am putting together my turkey meatloaf burgers to take along with me.

For those newer to the blog this is a recipe I came up with a couple years ago.  I take about a pound or so of veggies and run them in the food processor to a coarse paste.  Today I used a couple bell peppers, a few mushrooms, a whole onion, and some zucchini.  I cook the paste down to concentrate and dry it out and then I mix that with the ground turkey.  When all is said and done I end up with meatloaf or turkey burger that is about 1/3 veggies before I even top it.  This stretches the meat too so I can fill up on an appropriate serving more easily.  Today I will be using lettuce instead of buns, so I should be able to fill up smartly.  The week has felt mediocre so far, so I hope I can use this as a springboard to a strong finish.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Weigh In 4:15

A solid week.  I weighed in this morning at 386.4, which puts me down another 1.2 pounds.  Still not the kind of numbers I would like, but solid.  I had 2 days where I churned through pretty much all of my regular points and weekly bonus points, and the other 5 I ended up about 3-5 points below my daily target.  A big improvement this week was with exercise.  I got out for a 40 minute walk on Thursday, a 45 Minute walk on Sunday, and a 22 minute elliptical session last night.  That added up to 26 activity points, or a large meal's worth.  I did not include a session of weigh lifting I did, as I still have not quite figured out how to track that at the pace I go.  I usually take about 20- 30 minutes and curl and crunch and lift while watching tv.  I will take a break between reps, and if I get caught up in what I am watching maybe a longer break.  I would rather track conservatively, so I left it out, but that was probably at least another point or two.

I am hoping that though this week's weight loss was modest I have set the table for bigger weeks to come.  I cooked for myself  lot more consistently this week, with only a handful of meals that I did not prepare for myself when I had the chance.  That is a trend I definitely need to keep moving with into this week.  Some of my meals were a bit more rich than is probably advisable for a quick weigh loss plan.  I made a big pot of stew that, though balanced and veggie filled, had beef which I know stalls my weight loss.  That is ok this week.  Getting into the habit of cooking again consistently is more important in the short term.  Some of my meals were excellent, and this week I plan to make better strides in that direction.

So, the plan for the coming week:
-Keep cooking!  The more I make for myself the better.
-No booze.  With a party and a baseball game and the Stanley Cup Finals this past week I definitely drank more than is advisable for weight loss.  This week I will abstain and see what happens.
-Better water intake.  I think this week I was a bit lax in my hydration.  Water keeps things moving and keeps me healthy.
-At least as many points worth of exercise as this week.  The goal is 30
-Keep at least 20 of my weekly discretionary points.

I want a big week and I think this should put me on the right path.

Friday, June 21, 2013

If Some Is Good...

Then more is better.  Or so goes the tale.  I am trying to get back to the kind of results and enthusiasm I had 3 years ago.  Part of that is getting back into the habits that served me so well.  One of them was blogging regularly.  I have been doing my minimum one post a week for a while, but I think a few days of extra attention to myself and to organizing my thoughts should be helpful.  Another positive habit I had previously was cooking for myself with consistency.  I have been a bit lazy about that, so this week I am making the choice to buckle down.

Yesterday I made a trip to Costco and picked up some heavy duty supplies.  Peppers, Broccolini (my new fave veg), potatoes, asparagus, stew meat, wild caught salmon, sweet corn,and a few other goodies.  I have gone now a full day without eating anything pre made, and let me tell you it is a HUGE difference.  It is always nice to know what is going in your body, but the points savings I have been able to make are just as fantastic.  Last night I had 6.5 ounces of salmon, a handful of broccolini, and two ears of corn with a little bit of seasoned butter that I whipped together.  I cooked everything on my cast iron grill pan to get a little bit of summer going.  Altogether it was only 15 points, 13 if you 86ed the butter, but at that low of a total why would you?  It was super filling and super flavorful, and having bought in bulk super cheap.  Even with wild caught salmon if that meal was more than $6.50 I would be shocked.  When cooking for 1 price is a real concern, so finding a good repeatable meal from bulk food is awesome.

Last night I also threw some ingredients in the crock pot and I have been feasting on beef stew all day.  I used a generous amount of Guinness in the sauce, and potatoes aren't the best health food, but it is a good balance of veggies, meat, and carbs and is very filling.  Again a large bowl is in the 15-20 point range.  If those are the kind of meals I can stick with then I am going to have very positive results.

Last night I got out for a 2 mile walk, and that is another habit I need to get back into.  I need to be gatting out for at least 45 minutes of aerobic activity 3 times a week, and 3 sessions with at least a little bit of isometric exercise weekly would be good too.  Aerobic exercise is going to strengthen my heart and increase my stamina.  Isometric exercise is going to build muscle mass therefore increasing my resting metabolic rate and helping me burn more calories with less effort.  You can't really lose large amounts of weight solely through exercise, but paired with diet it should help me get much more impressive results, and more importantly feel and be more healthy.

I often forget, but this blog is also about my life as an actor.  It has been a really slow 6 months, and I think I need a bit of a kick in the pants.  The only person who can do that effectively is me, so I am taking steps to be more active.  I am shopping around to get my voiceover demo reel done, I just picked up a new box of headshots (same pic, but it was a feeling of accomplishment to get through an order).  Today I received the next weapon in my marketing arsenal: business cards.  The website I used is a little pricey, but the results are hard to argue with.  Two sided, full color, well designed cards for less than $0.50 a piece is a small price to pay, and if they are a hit I will order in bulk next time.  I also included a QR contact code, which seems to be the new wave in actor marketing.  I can have my info uploaded directly to their phone, direct them to a URL with my resume, website, or reel.  It should be a powerful tool.

The weekend has begun and it is going to be a busy one, so I am making the decision to be mindful now.  I'd love this to be a 5lb week, and that requires 7 straight good days and a little luck.  I can control the first part, and here's hoping for the second.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


This is more exciting than it probably has any right to be. Last week I went to dinner at an amazing farm to table Lowcountry style restaurant not far from my apartment. One of the appetizer plates they had was a selection of homemade pickles. In addition to a bread-and-butter pickles they had fennel fronds, okra, and onions and all kinds of different vegetables on the plate. Pickles have always been one of my favorite better for you snacks, and I figured: if this restaurant can do it why can't I? So this week I set out to make my own bread-and-butter pickles at home.

Part of the inspiration was seeing canning sets at Target last week, so I picked one up on a quick trip over there and set about to making my pickles. I found pickling cucumbers at the grocery store, and most of the other ingredients I already had on hand. Since I was making a refrigerator pickle it was pretty easy. I didn't have to waterseal the jars or do any of the other really difficult and time-consuming stuff that goes along with true preservation. Also, since I was making a bread and butter pickle there is far less sodium since sugar is used in the brine far more than salt. I did salt the cucumbers and onions before covering them in the pickle juice, but this was just draw excess moisture and I quickly rinsed off the salty leavings. This means these particular snacks, though a little higher in calories than the traditional pickle, are far better for me in terms of my blood pressure. 

Here is a photo journal of the process:

This is the canning apparatus after a 10 minute sterilization in my oven.

Here is my brine containing apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, mustard seeds, sugar, celery seeds, turmeric, garlic, red pepper flakes, cloves, and a little water so that it didn't get too concentrated as I boiled it.

Here are the salted cucumbers and Vedalia onion. Also my foot is in the picture.

There are the veggies in the jar, and then after I poured the pickle over them. I let them cool and then threw them in the refrigerator to set.

According to the recipe these are best after about a week, but I did open a jar last night to give one a quick try and they already taste fantastic. I can't wait to see how they develop and have 6 pints worth for snacks over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Weigh In 4:14

Mediocre week.  I wanted to get some exercise and really didn't.  I had some back issues last week, but those are mostly cleared up now, so I probably could have gotten at least one good walk and some weight lifting in, but I decided to do other things. Not that that is the end of the world, but I feel that if I want to get the kind of results I expect (larger numbers) I need to commit more fully to doing all the right things.  That also includes cooking and avoiding alcohol.  This week I drank with some regularity, which is fine.  A beer or two every once in a while keeps me happy and sane.  But 4 times this week is more than I should indulge in a week if I want to keep losing weight.  That is on me to be able to be in party/theater situations, particularly where there is free beer (That is not even FAIR!), and not indulge every time. I don't need to, but I want to, and putting myself and my goals first in that situation is paramount.  I also need to allow myself to leave those situations.

This week I did a moderately better job of cooking and not eating out, but again I didn't do as well as I could have.  The next big step is always having an option that is quick and easy at home so I can remove excuses for eating out.  After that I need to start bringing meals with me when I am out and about.  Particularly with my heart issues I need to take more control of and responsibility for what I put in my body.  I am starting to have things to do and people to see, so I need to plan ahead so I can do those things.  Procrastination and self sabotage are not an option.  I deserve better.

This morning I weighed in at 387.6.  That is a very modest loss of 0.8 pounds.  I stick by the rule that any week where I lose weight is a good week, but I know I can and could have done better, so while I am pleased to continue moving in the right direction I am far from satisfied.

Expect a food post later this week!  Snacks are always difficult for me, so I am making my own.  I am canning a big batch of bread and butter pickles today, and making a pickle that has very little salt is going to be a great snack and flavor enhancing condiment for me.  Pics to come!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Weigh in 4:13

Lucky number 13!  Great results this week, and that on top of what I would consider not really being as present and active in my choice making this week.  I had some parties, I had some dates, and I didn't get too worked up about what I ate/drank.  This week goes to show what attitude and momentum do for me.  I felt good and had a good time this week, and I have several weeks of positive momentum behind me to keep me moving in the right direction.  That doesn't mean I can go nuts and stop tracking or anything, but I am getting to the point where I have built strong habits that can carry me through in less than ideal situations.  The hardest thing about committing to weight loss is constantly feeling like I have to think about it actively.  It burns you out.  This week was great because I wasn't constantly thinking about it, but I still made good progress.

This morning I weighed in at 388.4, which hit several goals for me. I lost over 2 pounds this week, which is where I want to be on a week by week basis.  2 pounds a week is a little over 100 pounds in a year, which gets me where I want to go in a reasonable amount of time.  If that can be my floor, at least until I get to around 350 or so, then I will be pretty happy. Weight Watchers also informed me that I hit 5% weight loss this week, which was my first goal! 5% is a considerable amount and something I am pretty proud of.  The next goal is 10%, which is right about 369.  I'd like to be there before the end of July, if not sooner.  I also got under 390 this week, which was my goal for the week, so it was nice to be able to set an immediate goal and hit it when I said I would.

This week I would like to land somewhere between 386 and 385.  I did OK this week cooking, but I think committing to making more of what I eat is going to be the next big step I can take to get more consistent, and larger, weight loss numbers.  Because of a couple of injuries recently (I rolled my ankle, AGAIN, which messed up my back, AGAIN) my commitment to physical activity has been lackluster to say the least, so I want to get healthy and get out in the nice weather we are having in Chicago.  Anything to add a little boost to my metabolism and to help me feel good about myself is going to be important right now, so that is another positive step I can take. So until next week I will make like Fozzie Bear and keep Movin' Right Along.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Weigh in 4:12

     Okay!  I took a few weeks "off" due to a big road trip to Texas.  I left pretty early on a Wednesday, which is of course weigh in day.  I did get to weigh myself but did not get to write a post.  I weighed in at 392 exactly that morning, which was a very small loss.  As I get more used to the side effects of my new medications I am coming to realize that this is the new normal.  There will always be more that I can do to get better results, but the fact that I am still losing weight on a drug that causes weight gain is a success that I will own.

     So, the trip was not my greatest moment as a healthy eater.  For most of the trip there wasn't a lot I could do.  I went home to do a benefit performance for my high school theater teacher and the department.  Well, three straight days with ridiculous, and I mean insane, rehearsal responsibilities meant: 1. moms were buying pizza and kolaches for everyone to eat, for which I was grateful to have something to eat, but not for my diet, and 2. called for quite a bit of drinking.  At that point it was just medicine and I do not feel bad about it at all.  By the time I got back to Chicago I had stabilized things a bit, but on Friday morning a quick check on the scale had me up around 395, which was not what I was hoping for.

    This morning when I got on the scale things had changed a bit, and for the good.  I weighed in at 390.6 this morning, which is only 1.4 pounds down from my last "official" weigh in 2 weeks ago, but about 4-5 pounds down from this Friday when I did my status check, which is the light I am going to choose to see it in.

     A big positive this week, and something I intend to take forward with me, is my goal management.  One of my biggest bugaboos is getting overwhelmed by everything there is to be done.  Whether it is cleaning my apartment, doing all it takes to be successful and make a career as an actor, or any of the other thousands of things we all want to do with our lives I see the distance to the finish line and how little I have done and I get discouraged.  It seems impossible and I quit.  I am not proud of it, but there it is.  This week I managed to completely clean my apartment for probably the first time since I have been living here.  I made a huge list of every little task I had to do.  There was a lot, but it was manageable.  I was able to get going on a task and if that got boring or overwhelming I had a list of other things I could switch off too.  As things got done I could cross them off the list, and as I crossed more and more tasks off the list the list got smaller.  I was able to build momentum rather than feel was pushing a rock up a hill that would roll down on me at any second. I have talked about my personal inertial in the past and this time I was able to put that tendency to my advantage.  I had a great week.  I really feel I am moving in the right direction in many aspects of my life and I know that attitude is going to lead to better results here.  Under 390 next week.  I am looking forward to it.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Weigh in 4:9

This was a really interesting week.  The past few days have shown me just how much food can affect how I feel and just how fast that can happen.  Today I have a pretty blistering headache, and though I do not know what it is from I am reasonably sure what I ate recently had something to do with it.  I can say with some surety that I am not dehydrated, so at least there is that.  Even with my big cheat day Monday I still had excellent results.  I had an early job interview this morning, so I had to weigh in after eating breakfast, but it was a pretty light meal.  I weighed in at 392.6, which is a drop of 2.4 pounds.  Every week I seem to do just a bit better, and it is definitely the trajectory I want to be on.  The goal for next week is to get into the 380's.  I'd also love to start to see some reduction in clothing sizes.  I think I am close to going down a pants size, so that will be nice when it happens.  One of the benefits of having done this before is that I have an excellent selection of clothing in various sizes, so I won't have to do much shopping, and since I organized it a few months ago I know where all of it is.  It is the little things I guess.

I got some decent exercise this week between a couple walks and a dance call, but I can definitely do more in that area.  Something I have yet to do in all my years trying to be healthier is make exercise an everyday part of my routine.  I want it to be habitual.  I want to notice when I don't do it, and that is going to take practice and repetition.  There is nothing for it but to do it over and over until it is second nature.  That is a path I want to start now.

I feel I have set some good, solid goals this week, and they are things I really think I can accomplish before I head home to Texas for a little bit.  Here's to another good week.

Monday, May 13, 2013


All of us are getting older.  I am certainly not as far down my path as some, and I hope I have a really long time left, but sometimes I feel a difference.  Today I had an audition early and got pretty sweaty at the lengthy dance call.  I had the rest of the day off, so I decided to treat myself to lunch and a movie.  I got a burger for lunch and a treat at the movie and pretty much destroyed my budget for the day, but I was okay with that because I had not used any of my discretionary points for the week.  What I was not OK with was the way it made me feel.  I was a bit sodden down after lunch, but the treat destroyed me.  I got chocolate covered almonds as a decent choice (but it was still candy).  I thought I was doing ok but by the time they hit my system I could barely see straight.  I had the whole shebang: Headache, rushing pulse, and I felt antsy.  It is official: I cannot do sugar anymore.  When I was younger, as I am sure was true for most of you, I could put back just about anything.  Now I feel worse after eating too much sugar than after drinking a bit too much.  It is a little odd because candy and sweets have been such a big roadblock for me.  I guess this is just another little bit of incentive to be smart about it.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Weigh In 4:8

Another week, another set of solid results.  I was hoping for bigger numbers, but down is good.  I lost nearly 2 pounds this week and I am now down to 395 exactly.  That puts me more than 15 pounds down since starting Weight Watchers, and considering the up and down nature of my progress since then I feel good about that.  I am behind for my May goal, but it is a pretty ambitious one.  What I really need, and what I really WANT is a big week.  6-8 pounds.  One of those every once in a while does so much for my confidence and adds a great boost to my motivation.  One of the nicest things this morning was being able to cross another benchmark off of my fridge.  I should explain.  On my refrigerator I have a graduated countdown for every five pounds.  395 was the next to hit and I got it today, so I got to cross it off.  Next is 390, and I'd like to be there in the next two weeks, although next week is doable if I have a great week.  I haven't really been sacrificing a lot, so in terms of the balance I am striking I am in a pretty good place.  I also got out for 3 legit walks this week, so I am getting much closer to my exercise goals.  Yesterday I got stuck downtown for a few hours so I just walked around.  I started around Willis Tower, went to Millennium Park, walked around the park, got lunch outside, and walked to work.  All in all about 3.5 miles and at least an hours worth of walking.  Unfortunately I was in my dress shoes, so I ended up with some mean blisters, but I had a glorious afternoon, so it was worth it.

One positive from this week is that my cravings for and my ability to resist sweets have gotten better.  I want them far less frequently, and when I do, and I walk into 7-11 and stare at the ice cream cabinet, I am better able to say "No, I can't buy this because I will eat the whole pint right now".  Which would be 900 or so calories.  I also feel sugar in my system a lot more.  If I indulge in more than a modest amount I end up with a killer headache and some pretty bad dyspepsia too.  This is probably from dehydration (sugar is hydrophilic) but the lesson is to keep off the sweet stuff.

Ok, for the coming week I want to keep going on the goals I set last time.  I want to work in a little bit more strength training.  Some core work and a little bit more weights.  I did a little bit of arm work while I was bored, and I can feel it, but I need more consistency if I want lean muscle mass.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Check Up

I went back in today to see how my body has responded to the blood pressure medication and I am very happy to say I am at near normal levels now.  The remaining 10-20 points I need to drop are more properly attributable to my weight and continuing reducing sodium, so there is still progress to be made, but I am definitely on the right track.  Another perverse positive I took from it is that it wasn't all directly my fault.  It is now pretty clear that this is something I am pre-disposed to.  I don't know why, but that makes me feel better about it.  As a bonus he even set me up on some heartburn/reflux medication.  It is the same as the over the counter stuff, but a lot cheaper as prescription.  Who knew?

I have noticed more than once that the quality of my environment plays a large part in how I treat myself.  I made a few changes at home this week that should make it just a little bit nicer of a place to spend time and it really does perk me up.

I treated myself to a little pasta yesterday, but I didn't go overboard and stayed around my point goal for the day.  I still hope for 4 pounds this week and I feel I can do it.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Weigh In 4:7

Solid week.  I was able to let go a little bit this weekend and still have good results.  I would have preferred a slightly bigger number, but I wasn't really disappointed at any time this week (except I got a little tired of salads) so that seems like a solid balance.  I lost 2 pounds this week so I am down to 396.8.  I wanted to be at 390 by today, so I am a bit behind, but I had two pretty awful weeks to start the month, so I am reasonably sure I did the best I could the last 3 or so weeks.

This month my goal is to add back in some more physical activity.  The weather has finally gotten pleasant, at least for the time being, so I went out for a walk last night.  I am also going to start back up some light weight lifting.  Adding some lean muscle mass should help keep my metabolism up and help me burn through more calories even at rest.  I need to be a little bit careful how hard I push things because of my now diagnosed blood pressure issues, so I won't be going balls out anytime soon, but a little here or there 3 or 4 days a week at a minimum should be a good start and help build good habits.

For the past couple weeks a friend and I have been helping to keep each other honest and texting our daily food diary to each other.  I didn't ask her before I posted this, so I will just say thank you to her and that it has been really helpful to have some extra motivation to be smart about my intake, particularly late at night when I am at my weakest in terms of cravings.  It is a lot easier to stay out of the fridge once I have texted at the end of the day, and that has been a really positive step.  I am not really one for meetings or talking about what I eat and my health with strangers (in person) so the blog and a well placed friend are my best tools for staying accountable and making good progress.

So, goals for the month:
Get up to walking or getting some exercise 4 times a week.
Keep tracking every day.
Keep adding more fruit into my diet.  I seem to have great success on the days where I get at least 2 servings.  The fruit seems to stay with me longer and prevents me from getting too hungry.
Get down to 380.  Maybe overly abitious, but I've got 4 and a half weeks, so that's less than 4 pounds a week.  If I am smart and aggressive I can do that no problem.  I am due for some strong weeks.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Anger and Frustration Are Renewable Resources

I have never really had to go looking for stuff to tick me off.  Usually I can find something pretty easily.  All of that is not to say I enjoy it, I really don't, but it is what it is.  Today's peeve really got under my skin, though.  An acquaintance on facebook was talking about today being a 5 cookie day and hash tagged it with something like "fatkidproblems" or something similar.  The issue is that this young woman is no where near what I would call chubby, let alone fat.  She appears to me to be in fantastic physical condition.  Liking cookies doesn't make you fat.  It makes you normal.  Congratulations you like delicious baked goods.  Join the club.

This bothered me so much because being fat sucks.  A lot. It affects everything in my life and while this person can, every once in a while, pig out on cookies I cannot.  I cannot control myself around them so I cannot have them around.  Not her fault, and I am glad there are people who can enjoy those things responsibly.  My other issue was that it treats fat like a state of mind or an action one can make.  I am "being fat" today.  It minimizes what is a dangerous and unfun health condition, something that could kill me if I don't get it under control.  I am not going to say anything to this person because this is my problem not hers, but sometimes you gotta get frustrations like this out early or they fester.  Rant over.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Weigh in 4:6

Weird week friends.  As I mentioned in my last post my appetite has been all over the place.  I didn't do great for 4 straight days, but the last couple have been fantastic.  Last night I had 16 points left when I went to bed.  The inconsistency has made it more difficult to anticipate and control things like cravings, so I am just glad to have lost a little bit this week. I am at 398.8, which is a loss of .6 of a pound.  Considering my difficulties this week I will take it. I had to average three readings from my scale because it was all over the place this morning, twice refusing to even lock in on a number.  I think after 3+ years it is time for a new scale.  I will certainly have mixed feelings about saying goodbye to my companion and source of constant judgment for the last 3 years.

The one pattern I have seen even this week is one I have known about for a long time: fruits and vegetables are the key to controlling my appetite.  When I can have a full pound of salad for lunch for 15-18 points that sets me up great for the rest of the day.  It also sweeps away (so to speak) any small mistakes I might have had because of all the fiber.  I really think that is the key, so that is what I will focus on this week.  Sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, salads, and stir fries (with low sodium sauces).  I'd love to have a really strong end to April and take some good momentum into May.  Looking back to  the first year of my weight loss I am about 20 pounds heavier now than I was at the end of April that year.  Considering I started 30 pounds lighter this time I really need to get on the stick.  I am trying not to so much compare my progress this time to last time, but use it as motivation and to remind me that I have done it before.  I am in a different place mentally this time, so of course it is going to be different.  There are lots of positives for me to build on, though, and I would love to get back to the kind of results I was getting back then.  4-5 pounds or more every week would be fantastic, if even for a few weeks just to get me back on a good trajectory.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Finding My Way (On A New Road)

That will be the title of my new weight loss single.

This week has been an interesting learning experience. The new medication I am on just makes me feel different. I fall asleep a lot more easily, which is generally a positive, but I am a little bit drowsy a lot of the time, and I have a lot of trouble getting up in the morning. My appetite has swung wildly as well. For most of the week I wasn't really all that hungry, and was able to stay 10-15 points under my budget without any hunger or deprivation. On a side note, I haven't really laid this out before, but I have 71 points for the day which near as I can tell is about 2100-2200 calories per day. 10-15 points under is about 300-400 calories, so those days were excellent. The past 3 days or so though I have been ravenous. I am really not sure what causes changes like this. It could be the medication, it could be a blood sugar thing, it could be the dip in temperature. I have no idea, but it certainly has been a struggle. I still have a few of my weekly points left, but I need to really buckle down for the next few days if I want a good weigh in. I am giving myself permission to not be perfect this week, but I would certainly like to at least tread water if not lose weight. All of that being said I can certainly tell a difference since i started the meds. I do not feel as anxious or angry as frequently as I did previously. Recently I had been able to tell the second food hit my system, and I can no longer feel those blood sugar spikes. in a couple weeks I will go back in to see how things are looking with the numbers, but I certainly feel like I am on the right track.

Today is feeling like a salad day. I have the day off, so even though the weather absolutely sucks here in Chi-town (we had moderate flooding after about 6 in of rain, then snow and freezing temps in the last week) I want to get out for a walk. Days like this can be my downfall if I get bored and eat mindlessly, so I need to be on top of that. I am reasonably sure I can use today to kickstart the week, though, so let's get to it.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Weigh In 4:5

Let me start by formally moving weigh in day to Wednesdays.  I work at least one weekend day and Monday and Tuesday, so between that and the fact that weekends tend to be the times I hang out with friends Monday was not the best day for me.  I had pretty darn good results this week.  I am at 399.4, which is just over 4 pounds less than last week.

I had a huge wakeup call this week that has certainly added some impetus to my journey.  It started Saturday.  I visited a friend's house out in the suburbs for poker night and was helping out in the kitchen when I had an accident with a kitchen knife.  I was chopping too fast with an unfamiliar knife on a plastic board and my finger slipped under the knife.  It was a pretty bad cut, but I was able to get it closed up with some super glue.  On Monday I decided to have a doctor look at it just to be sure, and while the cut was fine my blood pressure was not.  It was 180/121, which if you know anything about blood pressure is dangerously high.  Have a stroke any second high.  I have always have somewhat elevated blood pressure.  Before I ever smoked, before anything else it was a bit worrisome but doctors always told me to wait and see. That is clearly no longer an option.  This is the first really big and scary secondary problem from my weight and lifestyle, although there is likely some element of genetics about this, so even when I get to my goal range this very likely could still be an issue.  So now I am on a long term prescription to help control it and I will need to follow up to see how it is working in a few weeks.

In terms of my diet I need to be as vigilant as ever.  Sodium is a huge issue, so my old standby quick meal, Lean Pockets, is probably out now.  Any processed or restaurant food I need to be careful of.  At home I was already cooking with a mixture of a potassium chloride salt substitute and kosher salt, which is easier to use moderately, so I will keep that up.  Soups can be troublesome, so I can only do homemade from now on, or Campbell's heart healthy soups, which are really good and low sodium (comparatively).  The doctor also recommended abstaining from alcohol for the foreseeable future, which kinda sucks.  Not that I drink all that frequently, but I really like good beer, and a bourbon at the end of a crappy day can be really nice.  Oh well.  Nothing is permanent.

Monday coming home from the doctor I was really angry.  About the situation, at myself, at pretty much everything.  Then I turned on the TV and saw what had happened in Boston.  There's some perspective for you.  I've truly got minor problems compared to so many, so I'm going to try to swallow my anger and get to work on fixing this.  This week was a good step.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

On The Completion Of Journeys

There are many comparisons one can make for the journey I am on.  A race, a marathon, a quest.  In thinking about why I backtracked and where my frustrations have come from I have realized that none of them are nearly as apt as they seem.  The reason is that this journey never ends.

I have probably said this before, but saying it and appreciating the truth of it from a logical perspective are quite different than actually accepting it.  When I got to a weight I was happy with in 2011 I was really burned out.  Part of that was from outside forces.  Work sucked at that point and my dissatisfaction with the pace of life was at it's zenith. But a lot of it was because I wanted to be done.  I was tired of thinking about calories and weigh ins and writing about my successes and failures.  I felt the "finish line" was near.  So I stopped thinking about it, and I got out of the good habits I had established, and of course I gained the weight back.  My current frustration is because I have done this all before, and last time I had so much excitement and that is just not there anymore.  I suppose this is good practice for the long term relationship I pray to God I am in someday.  In a way, though, these particular frustrations may contribute to a more lasting success.  Novelty isn't really going to play in this time, so there will be no let down when it wears off.  To stretch the previous metaphor a bit: there is no honeymoon, so there will never be a point when the honeymoon is over.

The most positive thing I can say about this perspective on things is that it is harder to come at it from a self loathing place.  As exciting as starting out and losing weight can be it can come from a place of trying to "fix" what is "wrong" with me.  This marathon will never end.  There is no finishing line, so it doesn't matter how quickly I get there.  As frustrated as I am at the moment with my lack of results for the past couple of months since I have been really thinking about this again, I have made progress.  I am tracking my food.  I am making a conscious choice about everything I put in my body.  I have made it infinitely harder to lie to myself about the consequences of this sweet or that snack.  And this is something I will need to do for the rest of my life.  Some people can play it fast and loose, but I never ever will be one of them.  And that should be okay.  I should be deliberate about the choices I make or they're not choices at all.  Permanent success takes a strong foundation, and I am building that right now, regardless of what the scale says.  As I have said in the past: All I can do is make better choices today than I did yesterday.  If I do that, I'm gonna be okay.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Weigh In 4:4

Another weight gain.  Small, but I am going in the wrong direction.  I find that frustrating this week especially because I felt I had a pretty good week, and my points back me up.  I have had some big schedule changes, so maybe I can chalk it up to that, but all of these"reasons" for my lack of success are starting to feel like excuses, so I need to do better.  I am at 403.6 and if I am going to get to 375 by month's end I need to get on the stick.

Finding Support

This morning I read a pretty good article about emotional eating.  One of the symptoms the author highlighted was lying about what you eat for no reason.  I am unreasonably embarrassed by what I eat sometimes, and conversely I play up my healthier choices when they happen to perpetuate an illusion about my eating habits that makes me feel better about myself.  Logging my food of course helps with this, but compulsively lying about my eating really does indicate an unhealthy relationship with food.  Committing to this blog and to complete honesty here is really hard for me, but it will not be helpful to me unless I can do it.  There are certain things I just cannot be around.  I can't be around sweets right now.  I am incapable of control.  I came home from work super hungry last night and it took every bit of willpower not to just buy a frozen pizza.  If I could be moderate with it it wouldn't be so bad, but I would eat the whole thing.  I can't do that.  This part of my journey feels a lot harder this time.

This same article put a spotlight on an unfortunate truth about weight loss writing and products in America:  They are, almost without exception, all marketed to women.  This is lamentable for a couple of reasons.  Firstly it indicates the problem with the collective body images of women in this country.  That is not to say that those women have a problem, it is a societal issue.  Many women who are perfectly healthy and beautiful (curves are a good thing, ladies) are trying to achieve the near impossible.  And it is impossible for a reason.  I ran across a couple of internet articles debating the benefits of whether women's thighs should touch or not.  It was disgusting and had nothing to do with helping us be healthier.  But there certainly are plenty of people out there trying to make a buck off of this obsession.  It makes it so much harder for us to accept ourselves, which I have found time and time again is the key to making any sort of positive change in my life.  I imagine it is the same for everyone. When I came to terms with the fact I would never be skinny, but I could be healthy; that I didn't really want to be a stick, and that my self worth wasn't tied to my waist line I had a lot more success.

The second issue with the heavy focus on women in diet and weight loss marketing is the effect on men who need help.  It sends the tacit message that as a man this is not even a problem you are supposed to have.  Suck it up, get in the gym, and be a man.  Guys don't have enough emotional life to emotionally eat.  I am with weight watchers now and they have created a new portal "Weight Watchers for Men" to fight this, I suppose.  I don't imagine it is much different from the ladies' version, if at all.  It just serves to remind guys that they can use it too. Part of me feels dumb for even being mad about this.  I will say that among my friends I have tons of support and have gotten very little judgment.  I have a personal community that is fantastic.  But it would be nice to have a place to read what other gents have to say about their struggles.  I'd love to see some guy-centric writing about our unique struggles with health and diet.  Somehow it seems to be more ok for there to be a defined idea about what a guy's body is supposed to be.  Women get hit over the head with it a lot more, I will not deny, but there is plenty of pushback too.  We generally understand that it is not OK to fat shame ladies.  I would argue it is not so (or less so) for guys.  So here is my pushback.  My goal is to be the best version of me I can be.  Big arms and a six pack are not important to me and will say nothing about who I am or how much success I will eventually achieve.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Weigh in 4:3

Backtrack.  I am guessing it has something to do with weighing in completely dehydrated last week and  being generally healthy this week.  I gained back about a a pound and a half, which is, coincidentally about the amount of water I drink in a day.  Slow but steady is frustrating, but the right way to do things.  8 pounds of weight loss in about 6 or 7 weeks is not too bad.  My goal this week is to have my first super week.  5 pounds plus.  Who knows if it is realistic?  I really want to be under 400 again, and I want to get to 375 by month's end.  The first goal is easy and I should probably get there this week.  The second will take some doing, but if I do the kinds of things I know how to do it should be doable.  I've lost over 30 pounds in a month before, so 25 is realistic if ambitious.  Here's to another week.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Unintended Reset

One of the benefits of my brief but severe illness has been that it gave me a bit of a natural reset on my diet. I had a whole day where I didn't eat, and as I have added food back in I have had to keep things pretty simple. I also get full just a bit easier so my portions have been better. That is not to say I have been perfect. I had a sever sugar craving midweek and went to town on some ice cream, but for the most part I've had a pretty solid week. I have also taken a few steps that i feel will have a beneficial effect. Not having enough to do is really bad for me. Boredom and loneliness often end up manifesting as eating and more eating. When I had so much initial success I was working a pretty low stress job with a manageable and predictable schedule. Well I am headed back to the same job now (though part time). I think the structure and the fact that there are half a dozen really solid food options within 5 minutes are going to be big positives for me. It will guarantee me a bit of walking time on workdays, and there should be enough down time for me to really cook on a regular basis, and take some classes and make forward progress with my acting. I am pretty blessed to have a really solid financial backstop, so I do not necessarily need the job for the financial aspect, although money is helpful. I just think having a routine is going to be a good step forward.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Weigh In 4:2

It has been an interesting few days. Friday and Saturday were not great. March madness, hanging out with friends, and generally being a human being put me behind the 8 ball. Then came yesterday. I woke up really early and feeling not great. Somehow I had picked up a really aggressive stomach bug. The downsides should be obvious. Without getting too graphic let me just say I'm glad my toilet and tub are close enough together to use simultaneously. There was an upside, though, which was it was a fairly effective reset button for my weight loss. I couldn't keep down water, let alone food, so I didn't use any of my points yesterday, and I got a pretty wicked core workout. All of that added up to me losing almost 4 pounds this weigh in. I figure about half of that is from the bug, but if I am smart I can use an unfortunate situation to my advantage. There is no reason I have to put that weight back on. I am not back to 100%, so it is probably going to be a soup and saltines kind of day. This seems like the perfect time to start building some new habits, so let's see how things go moving forward.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Commitment Issues

It is amazing how easily the excuses can pile up. This past week I skipped my weigh in on purpose. St. Patrick's weekend is, I would imagine, universally bad for weight loss. Add to that my friend's birthday that weekend as well and I just didn't feel a weigh in Monday would be representative of where I actually was. This week has been a bit up and down. Yesterday was a bad day. Self control has been a struggle. OU's basketball team's tournament game was last night so we I hung out with friends. A few beers and brownies later I had shot my weekly budget to hell. It isn't too bad, and I had a couple days 5-10 points below budget, so I am probably on track, but I wanted to kickstart things this week. If I lose weight at all it will be a minor amount. I suppose that gives me something to shoot for next week.

Having something to look forward to is a huge part of what I need to motivate myself. I haven't had much to do lately and that makes it way to easy for me to eat my boredom or depression. It sucks not having a goal each day, and there is only so much I can do to create busy work for myself. There are only so many job interviews or auditions out there, and there are days I have nothing. This coming week I have an audition for Steppenwolf's First Look series, and this is a big deal for me. Something like this can really help get me out of a funk, and I can already feel the difference. I need to capture this little bit of momentum and make it work for me. Weigh in will be on Monday, and we shall see how the last 2 weeks have gone.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Breaking Bad Habits

It is frustrating that after the relative ease of starting things last time around that I am having so much difficulty this time. I am slowly losing weight, so I should probably be patient, but it is hard to have patience for myself after putting myself back in a situation I never wanted to be in again. I think those frustrations were less apparent last time is that I was able to get them out constructively here, and by posting regularly I was proactive and got out ahead of my frustration. I need to be sure to be proactive. Have the right things in the house, and do the right things. Make them habits. I am not even two weeks into blogging again on a semi-regular basis, so the habit is not set yet. I don't think I have been able to buckle down and create the good diet and exercise habits so that they are like second nature to me. I am not doing anything too bad, just not really taking command of the situation. Here's hoping by facing it here, I can be more effective in the real world.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Weigh in 4:1

While this is not week one, this is the first official weigh in of the fourth year(!) of this blog. Year 3 was pretty awful, so here is to turning over an old leaf, so to speak. I weighed in at 404.4 this morning. It has been slow going the past 5 weeks, but I have been going. I've lost about 1 lb a week so far. Not great, but losing is always preferable to gaining. Let's see how this week goes.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Have A Nice Day

If Friday night was not my best (I went out for drinks with friends) then yesterday was that much better because of it. I managed to stay 10 points below my budget without being hungry all day. As always veggies were the key. Both of my main meals were salads and that has always been a great way for me to get full for fewer calories. I even found a new dressing to make that helped with the salad fatigue. Today is the second day of my salad plateau buster so I need to to keep up the good work today and hope that it kickstarts my weight loss. I am not expecting great numbers tomorrow just because of the slacking off I did Monday and Friday this week. Drinking has always thrown major speed bumps in my progress, more than just the calories. That is not to say i have some sort of problem. i probably only indulge once a week at most, but something about alcohol stalls my weight loss for a few days. I'm not sure why, but I know it will happen, so I'm not going to worry about tomorrow's weigh in. In the coming week, though, I'd love to see big numbers. I'd love to see myself back in the 300s by next week. We shall see.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Monday Monday. That day kicked my ass. I got stuck out without many good options and by the time I got home I was hungry and had a lot less in the fridge than I thought I did. I haven't had all of my discretionary points this week, but I certainly haven't buckled down the way I'd like. I made a quick grocery run today and have salad and chicken for a couple days worth of meals. Certainly enough to kickstart things. My usual plateau buster is a couple days of salads. I have made good progress with cutting out sweets and I have gotten much better with my water intake. I am making the right strides, but I haven't really buckled down yet, and I need to. I need to do it soon if I plan to get anywhere near my goals for may. Lets see if I can really buckle down and get some positive results this week.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Last week, though not as successful as I would have liked, was positive. I lost about 3 pounds, which got me off of a plateau I had been on. I think the points system is a bit dangerous for me. One of he things I learned early on was that the type of food I ate was just as important as the amount. Points don't have that taken in, though dietary fiber does mitigate some points in certain foods. A good combination of what I did before and what I am doing now should give me the ease I am looking for without the mental strain that kept me from doing the work in the first place. Lets see how this week goes.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

If I Am Thinking About It

If I am thinking about the blog I am going to post.  I need to get back in the habit.  My success can be tracked exactly by how frequently I post.  When I was on top of it and posting at least weekly I was losing weight.  When I stopped posting I stopped losing.  I wish there was a Weight Watchers widget for blogger so I could easily post my points on a daily basis.  I went over today, but I treated myself to some middle eastern food and while I may have overeaten a little bit it was all pretty healthy stuff:  Shawarma, Hummus, pita, veggies.  I also had not used any of my weekly points yet, and still have 40 or so left.

For those of you not familiar with Weight Watcher Points Plus system it is a way of tracking your intake.  The program allocates a certain number of points that you can (and should) use daily.  For me that is 71.  I figure each point is worth roughly 40 calories, so 2800 calories a day, which seems about right.  Those points are only usable on that day.  You also get a bank for the week that you can use at any time.  I get 49 additional points a week to use for parties, cheat days, if I want a drink or desert every once in a while.  I have been staying pretty much on track with the points, but haven't had much success yet.  I lost 5 pounds over the first two weeks and I have gained a pound or so over the last 2 weeks.  I think this is due to a combination of slightly underestimating how much I am eating, which is difficult no matter what system you use, particularly if you freehand cook like I do, and Weight Watchers possibly allocating too many points for the week.  I am going to stick as closely to the plan as I can this week and try to leave about 20 points on the board.  If I do not see better results I will take points away from my daily balance.  We shall see how things go.

Walking A Maze Blindfolded

That is what doing this all over again has felt like.  It is all the more frustrating because I have done this maze before, so it feels like doing it again should be even easier.  Since visiting my folks for my birthday I have made some very positive changes.  I am eating out a lot less, I have cut most of the sugar out of my diet, and I am making better choices on a meal to meal basis.  I am just not seeing the results.

I have stopped gaining weight, which is a step in the right direction I suppose. I also can't help but feel that once I break that barrier and start losing I am set up for success.  My parents are doing Weight Watchers, and I joined them to give myself fewer excuses to keep good track of my intake.  Calories in/ Calories out is not good enough anymore, and weight watchers takes into account some of the other things I need to keep in mind.

My big goal is to lose 50 pounds by the time I go back to Houston for my theater teacher's 20 year celebration.  I had set 390 by March 1st as my first goal, but that looks like it is not going to happen.  375 by April 1 is the next goal, and I feel it is achievable if I focus on a few things.  1: keep up the good work with my diet. 2: get more physical activity.  Not having something to do everyday makes staying sedentary all too easy, especially with the awful weather here in Chicago. 3: Focus on sodium.  My blood pressure is too high, and flushing out that crap should help take other bad things with it.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Show That Never Ends

Trying to avoid messing up is the easiest way to do it.  This is a lesson I learned this summer with regards to my acting, but six months after my classes it is hitting me to apply this to my life.  A sports truism is that you play to win, not to not lose.  The past year I have been playing not to lose.  I have not respected myself and this journey and I've paid the price with a huge setback.  I am not all the way back to where I was, but I have gained back over 100 pounds.  What I forgot is that this is not a game.  It doesn't end, so I can't lose.  But I haven't even been participating.

Trying to avoid admitting this has made it far to easy not to get back to doing the things that made me successful in the first place.  In some perverse way making the change was owning the mistake, and I was avoiding it.  But this morning I got back on the scale, ate a salad, and so far today has been a step in the right direction.  I frequently allow myself to be a victim of inertia, and the stress of my former job and the boredom of not working have taken their toll.  I let myself grind to a halt.  I feel a bit stupid, because as much as I want to believe it is hard it really isn't.  As long as I set myself up to be successful I have a much better chance to be.  It is about playing to win.

I took a year off, essentially, but I am allowing myself to be held accountable.  It is the only way I can get back on the stick.  This morning I was 404 pounds.  I told myself before I would never have that 4 in front again.  I plan to make this the last week it does.