Thursday, June 9, 2011

Alice's Bucket List: It's manic

Alice's Bucket List: It's manic: "I know I said this yesterday, but I can't believe that so many people have taken an interest in my blog. They even mentioned me on This Mor..."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Washington Bullets

So no chart or weight update, I figured I needed to give it a rest for awhile. Though I am back at it as of today, this last week was certainly an exercise in gluttony and excess activity. I figure we walked something like 25 miles or more in the last 5 days. Most of that was concentrated into a two day period as we strolled with purpose around the nation's capitol. In a one and a half day period we visited three out of four of the Smithsonian museums on the Washington Mall. I can't even start to explain what an incredible experience we had this past weekend. But I will certainly try...

  • I can certainly understand why D.C. is a magnet for conspiracy theorists. There are so many odd pictures and sculptures in the architecture. I am not sure why a rhyton of a flying ram is on the Rayburn building but I am sure it has something to do with some sort of ancient Masonic intrigue, ha! It is, however, an ancient symbol from the Middle East or Greece. I suppose it was common to have winged mammals with cornucopias protruding from their asses in the ancient world. Below is an example of a rhyton.

  • If you are going to stroll the mall, I highly suggest you let B.B. King accompany your journey as he did ours. "Let the Good Times Roll" was being played by the man himself on the capitol grounds. The previous night a gorgeous rendition of "America the Beautiful" ended our adventure for the day. It was awe inspiring.
  • You can learn a lot in a museum and we certainly did. Saccharin is made from sweet coal tar. No wonder it has been labelled as a carcinogen. Yummy.

  • Just happened to pick up a copy of Ideas & Discoveries Magazine at the Baltimore/Washington International Airport. There was a great article on unsafe food substances and how they conspire to, literally, kill us. It just further cemented anything I already felt about processed foods. It is one of the best magazines I have come across in a long time.
  • Also received a copy of the Smithsonian Magazine now that I am a card carrying member.
  • In our quest to get Christy as many crab cakes as possible, we wound up on the Delaware shore on Monday where our Daisy got to play in the Atlantic.
  • The winner of the crab cake contest went to Plato's Diner in College Park. The lump cake was the size of my fist.
  • On our crab cake quest we also ate at the Silver Diner in Laurel, MD. They take diner eating to a whole new level. Click through to see the menu.
  • Christy also found her personal Mecca - the National Conservatory and Botanical Garden in the shadow of the Capitol building. The woman loves her plants and crab cakes. I need to learn botany and how to shake a container of Old Bay Seasoning quick.
  • Daisy got to play with and compete against children from all over the United States and several countries during the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals. Watching the joy on her face and the way she interacts with others filled my heart with joy.
  • The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History taught me that I am part Neanderthal. Well...that explains a lot.
  • NASA sponsored Daisy's event and had a tent shaped like the earth. We got lots of cool swag which was fantastic.
  • NASA sponsored Daisy's event. Almost everything in the massive dome tent was about global warming and eco stuff - not as fantastic. It was like being directed to the ice cream store for a free scoop and once you get there all the ice cream is broccoli flavored. I want to be inspired to reach for the stars not to reach to the ceiling to replace the energy wasting light bulb with a LED.
  • It was Memorial Day weekend and there was a huge bike rally and I was able to capture this picture at the Vietnam Memorial. I will let the pic speak for itself.

  • They had drained the large reflecting pool on the mall. Christy said the treasury had it done so it could recover all the change on the bottom.
  • I thought the people in DC were incredibly nice. I will always remember how several people in a 7 Eleven tried to help Christy get the cup of coffee she wanted.
  • I can highly recommend the Chicken Cheddar Sub at Potbelly's.
  • We ate at the Old Post Office. The place had a higher level of security than most government buildings. I would not recommend eating there, like, ever. The only thing I can relate it to is a third world bazaar. Very strange place right on Pennsylvania Avenue.
  • I hereby apologize to Christy and Daisy who both looked like zombies after each day on the mall. Christy's ankle was bleeding and kept a stiff upper lip while Daisy was worn out and let everyone know all about it. I am a juggernaut, I admit it. Everest would give me the mehs because what is it, like a few miles uphill or something?
  • We had a gap of time where we couldn't be with Daisy for a couple of hours because of the competition. We filled it by exploring more vinyl than we had ever seen in one place at CDepot.
  • Next to CDepot is a great place to buy hooker shoes if you are in the market.
  • I gave Daisy a penny to carry through the Lincoln Memorial which she promptly dropped nearly a hundred times on our trip.
  • I hate vuvuzelas after watching the closing ceremony of the World Finals. They are the horns of hell or judgment day - take your pick.
  • Five Below is such a cool store. I wish we had one here.
  • The University of Maryland has to be one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country.
  • We slept very little most of the time and it was alright. We never had any time to develop jet lag.
  • The Minneapolis Airport is a hot mess.
  • My new favorite Smithsonian Museum has to be the American History Museum since they don't have the Enola Gay at the Air and Space anymore. They shipped it elsewhere. Sad. Sad. Sad.
  • Where the hell did they put Fonzie's jacket?

Well I think that is most of it. All in all, I think it was one of the most interesting vacations of my life. I left out a lot of stuff but if I don't stop I'll never post this. My week was filled with tears of joy and pride along with smiles and my wanderlust was fed, if only for a short time. My daughter amazed me more than once. But I can't wait to see what adventure awaits Christy and I in the future. But I do know I can't imagine any future adventure without her. Right now I need to find a good recipe for crab cakes.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I'm Free

188.4 lbs

I gave myself a break last week and it has been working out okay. It should be a cinch to drop into the 186 range this week. I know I said that last week but uh... well. Okay, so I have no excuses except that I really had a good time last weekend with the end of the play I was in and all. But this week has been different already. For those of you who read the blog you know that by now I am gluten free this week. It honestly has been easier than I expected but a bit weirder since I am now hyper conscious of everything that passes my lips. I am beginning to seriously consider that gluten just isn't my bag baby, yeah! (oh that joke was so 10 years ago, I apologize weakly).

So what the hell can't I eat this week? Well, here is a good laundry list:

  • Wheat - except buckwheat who was always my favorite Little Rascal.
  • Rye - well crap, there just went my whiskey. By the by, the term " drinking whiskey and rye" in the song American Pie is the equivalent of saying "drinking vodka and vodka". Sigh.
  • Barley - now there goes the beer! Will this hell ever cease?!
  • Oh cripes let's just say most grains except corn, okay? I don't have all day to list grain sources, ya know?
I also have to be conscious of things you wouldn't suspect like certain meats (some of them have gluten added during processing - you have to read the union label or call the company) but I have been avoiding meat this week so that takes care of that! Also I have been steering clear (like I don't already) of most anything breaded or in a cereal box. Heck, processed crap overall is a no go unless it says that it is gluten free. It's like a minefield. If I were eating like a do on the weekends during the week I would be losing my mind except for one thing: going gluten free seems to be a pretty smart way to go in a dietary sense. I have noticed that when I eat things packed with gluten it makes me a bit wonky, so to speak. It could be that I have not overindulged in many things that have gluten but I think there might be something more to it.

Over the past month I have noted that I feel fairly awful after eating something packed with gluten. Now that doesn't mean I have Celiac Disease that just means I probably have a mild allergic reaction when I eat it in quantities. Similarly, when I drink Guinness beer I feel pretty decent but a wheat beer just makes my head hurt and my tummy go funky. Guinness only has barley which has a much milder effect as a grain than wheat. It really explains a lot. Like I have said before, sometimes we have a natural aversion to things or we unconsciously make the choices we do, due to underlying factors we just don't consider or understand - yet. I think this might be one of the reasons I very rarely eat pasta. It really has never appealed to me to a level, where I say, I can't wait to have spaghetti! Manicotti? Oh hells yeah but there is a lot less noodle type material involved and more cheese, meat and sauce there to fill my belly.

Going gluten free doesn't mean you will fall apart or anything. There are a lot of gluten alternatives and I might bring this into my weekends. Fresh and Easy (Tesco - if you are on the other side of the pond) has a display with some fantastically yummy gluten free alternatives to everything from pancakes to cupcakes. I might just have to try some. But if you go gluten free will you lose out somehow physically or mentally nutrition wise? No and if you click through to the following article, I'll prove it:

Is a gluten-free diet behind Djokovic's smash success?

From my own personal viewpoint, I can honestly see where a gluten free (or lowered substantially) lifestyle could be beneficial. I have always preferred buckwheat pancakes over the flour kind and gluten filled donuts really should not be a staple of my diet anyway. And since I don't really know what einkorn is (another grain but where the hell it comes from is beyond me), I could avoid that fairly easily I think. I see semolina printed on pasta boxes but semolina sounds like something really dirty inside my head and since it is in pasta, consider it done. Lots of things to ponder after this week, that's for sure. However by the time Saturday rolls around, I probably won't be pondering it over a flour taco or a donut. Okay maybe one donut - preferably gluten free. Yum, buckwheat donuts. I knew there was a reason he was my favorite Little Rascal.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Goody Two Shoes

188.2 lbs

It's been sort of a weird week on the old weight chart. There has been ups and (mostly) downs. I am pretty close to where I ended up last week which is OK, all things considered. If I lose a half a pound that would be great but no biggie if I don't. The only thing this week I can speak to is the fact that protein is definitely your friend when you get are inching towards what should be a set point weight wise. Between Tuesday and Wednesday I lost nada. I pumped up the protein and - boom. 1.5 lbs in a day. I will be getting back to normal next week, so 185 is going to get owned. It's a Friday, so what better way to spend than day than by dropping the top on the Science Mobile and going for a ride (whoosh!)

Okay so there has been odd news this week in science. For one thing, I know I will avoid drinking coffee while having sex in the throes of an allergy attack. My head might explode! At least that is what the men and women in white coats tell me. Well, they also tell me to get back to the padded cell but that is an entirely different issue. Basically the scientists say that if you have sex, drink coffee, work out strenuously or sneeze, you increase you risk of having an aneurysm. You know, that little event where your brain goes poof because a blood vessel ruptures. Lovely. Just what I need, another reason to be a good two shoes. It's not I am saying that the research is faulty. It's probably not but, face it, life is full of risks. So, I will continue to have sex and drink coffee while running around the room sneezing. Don't knock it unless you've tried it. I like to call this maneuver a "Turkish Track-meet" and it is quite satisfying. Why do scientists spend all their time worrying about my head exploding? Because they can. It's not like they are doing a "Turkish Track-meet" or "Lithuanian Handbag" or anything, they are way too busy with science and that makes me sad.

Coffee, Sex Increase Aneurysm Risk

Whoosh! Now on to the next topic - salt. Now everyone has been told and has perhaps told someone else from time to time that salt is bad for you. It's an evil crystal that will kill you. Yes, kill you. Deader than doornail. Well since the scientists have spent their time on science instead of debauched acts of perversity they figured out that salt might not be so evil after all. In fact, it might help to prevent heart disease. Just like the once vilified egg, salt might be making a come back. Sure it makes you retain more water than the Hoover Dam but studies show that there is a link to higher salt intake and a lowered chance of contracting heart disease. Already, there are folks poo-pooing it. But science does not like change, particularly medical science. It took a guy drinking nasty bacteria and experimenting on himself to show that ulcers can be cured. Now we rarely hear of ulcers anymore. The same goes for study after study after study showing a high protein and fat diet is more beneficial than a high carb diet. Pssst! Here's a secret, it actually lowers bad cholesterol and raises good cholesterol. So I can't see salt being any different. Scientist, while mostly sexless, are just like you and me and are prone to believe conventional wisdom until the evidence becomes an avalanche.

The governments (local and otherwise) are just as bad and will keep trying to snatch the shaker out of your hand and the meat off your plate though I don't see any reason why. Maybe the government should actually listen to the scientists but I suspect they don't because they ARE actually having sex, perhaps too much and with anything that moves. If you don't think the government wants to reduce your salt intake - think again. It's already happening and there are standards and bureaucracies in place that are doing this as we speak. God I really hate Nanny States. Maybe we can throw salt in their eyes and blind them temporarily while we try to eat something not resembling soylent green.

Low-Salt Diets Reduce Heart Disease Risk, Right? A Study Disagrees

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

190.2 lbs

So last week I bottomed out at 187.8 lbs. I was at 21% BF overall. That's pretty good. I am hoping to end this week below 186. If I hit 185, I will be ecstatic. The days of huge drops do seem to be gone, however. Losing weight sometimes requires a degree of mental concentration that I needed to use elsewhere the past week or two. It's not to say that I do not keep goals. I am still looking forward to certain experiments I have put off. They cross my mind at least once a day. Heck, new experiments cross my mind once a day. This crap had me even contemplating the contents of my dog's food! "Eat Like a Dog", that's the kind of stuff that enters my brain. Actually looking at the contents, I think the dogs eat better than I do most days. And so it goes.

One thing that entered my brain this week was something I have been following for some time, the change in our military's diet and exercise regimen. It seems for most military members the days of marching around with a 50lb rucksack are gone. The reasons for this are multi fold. First, new recruits have the physical stamina of a flu infected sloth from sitting on their sofas playing video games all day. Sedentary is the new fashion. Who wants to actually get in shape a little before you go into the service? Secondly, all that cardio was causing a huge amount of injuries for no good reason. Excess cardio was stripping recruits of muscle which, uh ya know, you might need to actually carry a weapon or something. Third, humping a rucksack while marching in a straight line for 20 miles prepares you for nothing more, strategically, than the occasional camp out at "Fort Whatthehellwasithinking". Let's just hope that Private Joker brought the s'mores.

The military has been making this transition away from mindlessness for quite some time. The newer military physicians and dietitians were appalled at what the establishment saw as good old diet and physical fitness. Besides, if you are getting shot at, walking tediously in a straight line is probably not going to be part of your agenda as a soldier. At the very least, I hope not. The food was also an issue. Having been the recipient of numerous meals with names like "Shit on a Shingle", I can tell you that very few things I ate in the military were what I would call overwhelmingly nutritious. On some bases, it was like a smorgasbord of everything a teenage boy would want. Now that can be a problem. To misquote Kipling, "A fat mongoose is a slow mongoose and a slow mongoose is a dead mongoose."

Well the military has figured this out and here is an article about where they are now in the process of revising the overall diet and exercise regimens of our brave men and women in the Armed Forces. They deserve to eat healthy and live long and full lives. That is my real hope for them, longevity.

Let's be frank, the pay is not good in the military though the personal sense of security through benefits can be a bonus. Hearing about how one of our elite teams took down Bin Laden this week just reminded me that they do this type of stuff everyday. We just never hear about it, I can assure you. And on top of it all, being a soldier or airman or sailor is one of the lowest paid professions in this country and they are one of the few citizens not afforded the same freedoms you and I take for granted while fighting for those said rights.

The guys who took down the most evil terror mastermind ever probably make less pay than the assistant manager of your local gas station unless they are an officer. Most of the guys, the hired help that do the dirty work, aren't officers. The old saying goes that an army marches on its belly. It might seem silly for us to spend time and money to adjust a soldier's diet or make them do Pilates but if it helps them come home safe and sound, I see no reason not to do it. Some things we do in this country aren't worth the time and cost but seeing a combat soldier come home to the loving arms of his family is simply priceless.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Canary in a Coalmine

190.8 lbs

So I drifted into the 180's and down past the 190 mark over the weekend. 190 should be on its way out permanently here in a week or so. I intend to blow past 190 again tomorrow, wish me luck. What I find more and more interesting is how I am listening to my body more. That might be the most valuable aspect of all this oddness I have put myself through. But in the end I will find out what works and what doesn't; what raises alarms and what I never really needed to worry about in the first place. For example, clarified butter and brazil nuts are fine - heck most nuts are fine but as for almonds, not so much. Corn crashes me but a bit of whole grain or cheese here and there seem to be okay, it's all when I eat them.

There has been some interesting news over the past week concerning diet and microbiology so let's jump aboard the Science Mobile (whoosh!).

First off there were several articles concerning two new eating disorders and whether they were truly eating disorders. I am sort of on the fence. The first is called Adult Selective Eating Disorder which I kind of think is bunk. Basically, you have an eating disorder now if you like eating only certain foods that are normally enjoyed during one's childhood like pizza, french fries, etc. - i.e. picky childish eaters who can't be bothered with watching Giada make something they can't pronounce over on the Food Network. Since someone just sort of pulled this one out of their ass, there is no collective scientific evidence whether this is good or bad.

The other new eating disorder has a cool scientific sounding name: Orthorexia. What this essentially means is that you call up the pesticide guy from Ortho and when he gets to your door you kill him and grill him. No, actually it is just another type of picky eater (their words not mine) who limits themselves to wholesome foods. Wait... on second thought, I have just jumped right off my fence, this one sounds like bullshit to a certain degree as well. Researchers fear that by not eating processed crap and avoiding caffeine, alcohol, sugar, salt, wheat and dairy foods that eventually, maybe, perhaps you might become anorexic. I can see it being part of an anxiety disorder certainly. But most people are obsessive about food. If you inadvertently insult the way anyone eats, you are looked upon as a vile creature who stomps on puppies and kicks children for fun. This isn't because we are all some oddities of nature or science, it is very natural to defend our food, just like hungry dogs. If you haven't eaten for a day or two and your spouse starts snatching things off your plate, they are likely to be called Stumpy for the remainder of their lives no matter how in love you both are. Stupid animalistic nature. Openly addressing my wife here: yes baby, I think the hook prosthetic is hella sexy.

I can definitely see where the egg heads are coming from on these new eating disorders. In fact, I did a bit more research and there are tons of eating disorders I have never heard of like drunkorexia, manorexia and diabulimia. There is a whole cavalcade of things you might, possibly, perhaps, maybe be suffering from at any given time. Now that is not to make light of disorders - they are real and they have been deadly or life threatening for a lot of people. But these two new ones, well, I can think of a good majority of the people I know suffering from these disorders. I wonder if there is some type of disorder that makes people worry about getting a disorder. Perhaps there is a disorder where you are scared shitless to eat anything by articles about scientifically unconfirmed eating disorders. From what I have read, I am unsure about what scientific category I fall in. Perhaps I have a disorder that frets about not having a disorder. Hmmm I will have to take the Science Mobile for a spin and do more research, there might just be a really cool name for my newly made up...uh...discovered disorder.

Two New Eating Disorders - Are They Real?

Oh and by the way, the writer of the article above writes for one of the most unfortunately named websites of all time (yum! kids!)

Oh and as for microbiology, here is an interesting article on the bugs in your body that are your friends. Sort of like a toddler's morning television show but less cuddlier. Anywho, you have one of three types inside your body and when we can figure out definitively which specific one each of us have, we should be able to plan our personal diets accordingly to make our lives much easier and healthier. It could be that gaining weight or losing it is just a response from our personal microbiomes to the foods we eat. When we eat the wrong things, microbiomes suffer just like a canary in a coalmine and we gain weight. The transverse is true as well. Perhaps people who can not gain weight are not getting the proper nutrients from the food they eat because their microbiome is overactive or is being improperly fed. Either way, I think we are on the cusp of a revolution in how we eat. It would be a lot easier than substituting, deleting and adding things to your diet to see what works if you already knew what would work.

Three Types of Microbiome Subtypes

Friday, April 22, 2011

So Close

190.4 lbs

Tomorrow could be sub 190 and maybe it won't be. I think it has been a fairly successful week of doing all of this. I didn't run like I wanted to because, quite honestly, after 4 hour rehearsals half the week I was tired as all get out come the next morning. I am going to do some intervals this afternoon after I wrap up work but that's going to be about it.

I made some clarified butter last night and my belly couldn't be happier. Tomorrow I plan on taking Christy (unbeknownst to her) down to the 99 Cents Store for some shopping. Next week is going to be really really hard. Again, I might be pushing things off until I feel I am at a comfortable point which really makes me quite pissed at myself. Then again I wasn't really planning on doing a play or running to the complete opposite end of the country a month or so from now. I think the most important experiment might be the one dealing with a vegan diet. On of my fellow cast members just happens to have Celiac disease and if she can do it, I better be able to - famous last words. Men make plans and God laughs.

I have promised myself that if I do get down to my original target of 182, I will treat myself to the new double vinyl album that Kate Bush will be dropping on the 17th of May. So I have lots of time to reach my goal don't you think? You people don't know how much I love Kate Bush. In 4 days she will also be releasing a short film on YouTube for the song Deeper Understanding. Guess what will be the name of the blog posting that day? Here is the song without the visuals and it is incredible how prescient she was about today's all consuming computer culture - considering the song was written over 20 years ago:

The following is one of those fantastic songs people tend to forget about or never even heard since it was pushed almost exclusively to AOR instead of all the cool radio stations. Some people remember when these folks ruled the airwaves and they did it for a very long time. Some people view them as cheesy. But really, great lyrics, great voice - how can you go wrong? Ladies and Gentlemen - Hall and Oates!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Mayor of Simpleton

191.8 lbs

Another big drop. Damn, I might have to do horrible things to my diet on Sunday again. Uh, but no. 190 is the goal by the end of the month, if not the week. I have two more weigh ins. I should be very close and then we are on to 185 lbs. I ain't counting my chickens before I kill, clean, cook and eat them. But if I do count them I know how to fry them in clarified butter now.

From the start of all this, Christy and I have kept our eye out for clarified butter or its not so distant cousin, ghee. I have hit the organic section of the local market, the whole food stores and the high end stores and found nothing, nada, zip, zolly. I have read the health benefits of ghee or clarified butter in health articles, books and Ayurdvedic websites. While reading through the last of these I couldn't help but to read them in my head in the voice of Mike Meyers in "The Love Guru" (a particularly bad viewing experience I am still coming to grips with). For more than three months, I have not been able to find this wondrous butter with no lactose or hard fat anywhere. It is also supposed to be quite delicious and does not cause spikes and drops in the metabolism which is the key to weight loss. Lose the spikes, lose the weight. It's as simple as that.

Well, a friend asked me a few questions because she is doing pretty much the same thing I am and wanted to know about clarified butter. I was, of course, at a loss until yesterday when I decided to Google "Clarified Butter" (duh? seriously). Clarified butter or ghee isn't something you can buy. It's the extruded contents of monkey breast milk beaten with garden rakes in front of screaming elderly women. Well, it could be something that arcane as far as I knew. Instead, it is nothing more than slowly melted/cooked unsalted butter with the water and fat solids removed. Ghee is made in a similar way except it is boiled to a brown nutty color and then cooked slowly for a period of time before removing the solids. Clarified butter is often referred to as drawn butter but they are not the same unless the solids and the process to render the butter is performed. Upon reading various recipes, including one from Alton Brown, I can tell you that the process is relatively simple and easy.

Now you may be saying to yourself, what? Butter is good for you?! Pshaw! Well yes in most cases and no in some. If you don't believe me, you can always read this fine article all about it. Did you know that clarified butter has a higher smoking point than normal butter? This makes it ideal for a high temperature saute'. Clarified butter also has a very long shelf life. Ghee and clarified butter also help with the absorption of vitamins and minerals making it a fantastic way to ensure whatever food or supplement you are taking gives you the maximum effect. This last reason was why I wanted it so desperately. I needed it to level up my testosterone in combination with Brazil nuts or some other testosterone increasing food like pumpkin seeds. Brazil nuts and pumpkin seeds were also a search and find affair until today when I checked again at Trader Joe's - voila' - nuts and seeds - duh!

Here is a quick overview from Associated Content about the benefits of clarified butter and/or ghee:

"Ghee is most notably said to stimulate the secretion of stomach acids to help with digestion, while other fats, such as butter and oils, slow down the digestive process and can sit heavy in the stomach. Although tests and research are still ongoing, it has been used in Indian medicinal practice to help with ulcers, constipation, and the promotion of healthy eyes and skin. An Indian folk-remedy for thousands of years, ghee is also said to promote learning and increased memory retention. It is used in Indian beauty creams to help soften skin, and as a topical for the treatment of burns and blisters.

In addition to ghee's nutritional value, it is rich with antioxidants and acts as an aid in the absorption of vitamins and minerals from other foods, feeding all layers of body tissue and serving to strengthen the immune system. A high concentration of butyric acid, a fatty acid that contains anti-viral properties, is believed to inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors."

Damn, who wouldn't want to add ghee to their diet? Because the fat police say that the saturated fats will clog up your heart. Now if you read the article link I posted previously, you can groan at this point just like I did. Heck we could start our own chorus. Now wouldn't that be fun?

So for the lack of a bit of reading and more in depth research I have been without something I would have been able to make a staple of what I am doing all along. Tonight I hope to cook up a batch of clarified butter for the first time. I am going to get right on that after I sell the lactating monkeys, the garden rakes and persuade the Sun City Women's Glee Club to go home.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Video Killed the Radio Star

195.4 lbs

That was quite a drop. 4.2 lbs in a day. That's water weight people. My experiment in eating crud on Sunday gave me exactly the results I expected and that's a good thing. I am now wondering how close I can get to 190 this week. It's only Tuesday and I have progressed at a much faster pace than I did last week. Since my low weight was 191.6 lbs last week, I should be very very close this week unless something surprises me significantly.

I haven't done this in awhile but today I will share with you some tidbits from studies on health and weight loss from around the web. First off, we have a study about video gaming and weight gain. Really, I didn't need a study to tell me that people who play video games are fatter than their more active counterparts. Anecdotal evidence is all around us. I remember watching a documentary on gaming addiction not too long ago and one of the gamers dropped weight like crazy after quitting video games. His skinny cousin, who was just beginning, packed it on like nobody's business and was quite obese by the end of the documentary. But what I didn't realize was that it was not only the sedentary behavior, it was the fact that video games actually triggered a response to eat more. Here is the study.

Once I thought about the study and put it through my lame layman's filter, it made perfect sense. Your brain needs sugar. It's like your mind is a zombie in reverse that does not want brains, heck it already has that, but it wants sugar to feed the brain. Mental exertion triggers us to eat more sugary crap so that we can fire off synapses. It also gives a quick boost of energy. If anyone doubts that sugar is a drug, they only need to look at the study - they are the same physical responses the brain in an addict creates to get more drugs. Damn. It's also why you feel like crap for a day or two when you ween yourself off of it for the most part.

Now on to the next article. This one talks about a new diet called the Dukan diet. To be honest, I thought it sounded rather sensible. It's freaking simple and I have very little problem with any of it. For some odd reason, some dietitians do and that is what shocks me. I wonder if people spout shit without thinking most of the time or to get their names out there. Here is the article.

Hmmm so why I vehemently disagree with some of the people they talked to for this article because they say things that are dead wrong and I think they should have really stopped and looked at the diet before they spoke. I actually think if you are going to do an article on a a diet program or medical science you should not talk to someone who has a vested interest in an opposing viewpoint like Dr. Congro. She throws off a few comments about salt and fat content and restricted calories and tries to undermine it with scare tactics. Restricted calories have been proven to be one of the few paths to longevity and unless you are talking trans fats, most fats are good for you. I only agree with her on salt intake because there is no need to add extra salt to your food which is nothing the diet recommends. Her counterpart, Dr. Connie Diekman had the following to say:

Diekman said the limits on carbohydrates aren't supported by science.

Uh, yes they are. The more articles I read, the more I have come to the conclusion that restricting carbohydrates is exactly what you want to do to lose weight - carbs are calorically dense and on the most part empty calories. Her quote is pure bullshit. Here is another rather vapid quote about the upcoming Royal Wedding:

"As a registered dietitian, and as a recent mother-of-the-bride, I would caution the royal bride-to-be's mom that she is going to need all the energy she can to thoroughly enjoy this very special day. Carbohydrates are the food that provide us with that energy."

I think this says, to a lot of people, "Go ahead and and eat as much crap as you want." Now I am sure her words were cherry picked for the article because that is what writers sometimes do but I am a little weary when scientists start throwing out quotes about the Royal Wedding.

Now I will go on to say that I do not endorse any diet whatsoever but the Dukan diet sounds viable and sensible since it shows you how to come off the diet and how not to pack the weight back on. That is something that other diets rarely do. Who wants to be on a diet the rest of their lives? What Dukan recommends at a certain point is a simple lifestyle change and from my personal experience that is something I can support fully. I also support Congro's efforts as well since she has been helping people to lose weight and be healthy through her own program. What I can't support is a scientific knowledge base that seems to stop somewhere around 1998. There have been so many studies and so much information to come out the past ten years alone, that it is breathtaking and warrants some rediscovery. I am also more aware that sedentary behavior and the over consumption of carbohydrates (often paired with trans fats) is a sure recipe for disaster and heart disease. Your weight is the key. Her recipe and the scientific recipe tend to differ greatly from what I can take from this article. All in all, interesting stuff as the battle over the bulge continues. Just remember to eat your lean proteins, slow carbs and dark greens and you'll be just fine.

Monday, April 18, 2011


199.6 lbs

Very interesting stuff on the chart. Basically you are seeing what happens when you take the whole weekend off. I did hit 191.6 lbs before raising the bar to 198 and then 199.6 this morning. Unfortunately, I was also very very sedentary on Sunday but I think we deserved it, Christy and me. I do feel more achy this morning than I have in weeks because of all the excess sugar. Sugar is not my friend. Still, it gives me an opportunity to see how hard I can work to get back to achieving goals. That's why I am incorporating running this week instead of next week. Next week will be the $20 Challenge. I had little time to shop and it would feel like cheating if I didn't start on a Sunday. But I can start running anytime I want. I will need to run this week just for the extra boost of energy.

I got a call yesterday afternoon, during my stupor, that I let go through to voice mail. Last night, after my jelly bean fueled day of laziness, I decided to listen to said voice mail. It was a call from a director, I know, who is doing this play downtown and he wanted to know if I would do a part at the last moment. After talking to Christy, I called him up and told him I would take it. 15 minutes later, he was at my door with a script in his hands. This is going to be an interesting week since I have about ten days to memorize my lines. If it were a small part it would be easy peasy lemon squeezy but this is not small. I like small parts, by the way, because you step on stage, do a bit of gunslinging and then relax backstage until the curtain call. This one will be an endurance test. Of course, since my mind is on weight loss, it got me to thinking how I would normally approach these sort of things since they can be time consuming.

During a play, it is almost inevitable that I will gain weight. There is a tendency for us theater folk to grab sustenance anywhere we possibly can due to the rehearsal schedules. Fast food seems to be one of the only viable options. You would think that standing under hot lights and running about on stage would make you drop weight like nobody's business but you would be wrong in most cases (unless it is a British sex farce or musical - both of which call for you to be almost always in motion). Now I am wondering how all of this will fit together and I think it might actually be better for me in the long run since Saturdays are usually long rehearsal days and I can avoid the Sunday slump that used to happen as well. It's about to get veddy veddy interestink!

There we have it boys and girls. I will be doing a play with a very truncated rehearsal schedule. We go up on the 6th of May which means I basically have very little time to get it all memorized and in my bones. The week leading up to the first performance is called hell week. So I have the remainder of this week and then the next to get it all together. Oh and I have to get myself a Jersey accent and quick. But all in all, I am looking forward to it. I like a challenge - sometimes.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Running In The Family

193.2 lbs

So the chart has been bouncing around a bit this week and so has the blog. I did have a post on Wednesday and forgot to post it elsewhere, it can be found here. It is a brief synopsis of what will happen the next few weeks, check it out. As for the weight thing, well I sort of took a rest because there was so much going on this week. Not a huge rest, just a little one. The upshot is that I am now at 22% body fat which is pretty good. I think I can beat last week's weigh in but I don't think I will break the next barrier of 190 lbs. I have been so busy with friends and finishing projects around the house and work, the bouncy bit doesn't bother me much. Like my dad always said, some days the dragon wins.

One of the first things I noticed after losing so much weight is how much I started to look like my father. I am not really sure if I saw it in the mirror before even though I often see it in my personality. I had always looked a lot like my mother before and that is generally true for most men. Somehow my father's genetics came out in a big way. You might not necessarily see the difference or even agree but I can tell you that my father's eyes stare back at me now. It's a bit disconcerting.

All our lives we search for small ways to define ourselves, what we do, what we say, how we act and often how we look. Some of us want to distinguish ourselves from the herd, as it were, while some want to blend in with the cattle. I was never the latter. I should say I haven't been the latter since I was about 13 years old or so. Blending in was a survival technique from moving so often; keep your head down and don't draw attention. Making yourself noticeable was a sure way to get your ass kicked until you learned how to kick ass.

My dad has always been a bit fiery and sometimes curmudgeonly. I have no doubt that he would have won any fight that he was faced with in life. He is also a very funny man and few things can keep him down for long. The man can work his body to failure and often has at times. He just has this spirit I always hoped I could acquire somehow and maybe I have, I will never be sure. So seeing my dad staring back at me in the mirror was not necessarily a bad thing. It's what the eyes say at times that sets me aback. What man will you be? Are they proud eyes? Do they like the man they see? There is some phantom limb effect that I have where it occurs to me, at small quiet moments, that my eyes are no longer mine, they are now truly my father's.

As I have went down this little path I have chosen the past few months, I see more than a glimmer of my dad in my resolve. In some ways it has been another motivator among several as I have went along. My father has never heard the word quit. One time my dad and his brothers built an extension to my Grandparent's house over a weekend - roof and all.

When I shake off this mortal coil, I can only hope that people will say, I was so much like my father. I can not fathom a greater ending to a life well lived. My only wish is my children will hope for the same.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


193.6 lbs

Short little blurb today. I am going to lay out what the next few weeks will be like for me as the experiment morphs and changes for awhile.

  • 17-23 April - Living at the 99 Cents store or "How to Screw Up a Diet On $20 a week"
  • 24-30 April - Running in the morning and it's effect on all of this. (I have been meaning to do this for quite some time now)
  • 1-7 May - Going vegan the hardest way possible or "Gluten Free and Proud to Be"

There you have it in a nice neat little list. A wonderful cavalcade of self abuse for your reading enjoyment. Yeah that's what I am here for people, I am simply a clown for your amusement except I don't get all pissy about it like Joe Pesci does.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Nineteen Forever

195 lbs

Well this should be the end of Mr. 195 lbs for this week. It would have been the end for him earlier than tomorrow's weigh in but beer had to be drunk and life had to be lived. I had an imperative to go share the next to last NBA game for the year here with my dear friend Lee. For once, this last part of the season, the Suns didn't stink up the court. Even when the team looks like they are phoning it in, they still put on a good show. The only thing I used to hate, past tense emphasized, were the seats - they were just narrow as all get out. Now I realize that the seats weren't too narrow, I was just too wide. I missed the full enjoyment of watching Kevin Johnson, Steve Nash and Charles Barkley over the years just because I couldn't be a bit more honest with myself. Sigh.

Before I forget, I must tell you that today marks 90 days of weigh ins. So officially we are at the 3 month mark and counting Saturday's weigh in at 192.6 lbs, I am 40 lbs down. By the 12th of May, if I am still on track, I should be a lower weight than what I was at 19 years old. I now wear a pair of paints with a 32 inch waist which is what I wore when I was 17 years old. I need to remember to mark my jeans with a permanent marker because my son has already, inadvertently, wore my pants to school once.

This whole affair has been like stepping into a time machine; a different mindset comes back to me with each pound lost. I just feel younger somehow. Getting down and knocking out 10 push ups is hardly a chore anymore. I have earned back my sense of taste and sensitivity to certain foods. I had a couple of corn tortillas for lunch with my tasty and cheap fish tacos yesterday and my ass was dragging in the afternoon. I am more aware that food should be treated like a drug than ever before. In the past, I would simply shrug off the afternoon blahs as routine but now I see them as something more, something I shouldn't have to endure or put up with. Really none of us should settle for such abuse. Remember, drugs abuse the user that abuses them. I am not saying skip the fish tacos at lunch but I would think more than twice about the fries. Just knowing the effect food has on my body just makes me wish I would have known all this before I had all those early classes in my 20's fueled by Vivarin and coffee. If my body is a temple, then it was once filled with donut chomping caffeine freaks in monk robes emblazoned with "Who Farted?".

Now I don't want to go off and make my temple, as it were, filled with dour accountants who look over their glasses saying, "Do you really want to eat that?" all the damn time but maybe just occasionally. That would kill the joy of regressing mentally a bit if it was all the damn time. Sure, I have known 19 year olds who think like that and are physical embodiments of Greek statues. Their souls seem to be just as joyful as a statues as well. Happy mediums, ya know?

Tomorrow, I will have a rundown of the experiments this month which include a $20 a week challenge and by the end of the month going gluten free vegan for a week.

Here are pics of the progress thus far from Day 20 to today:

219.2 lbs - January 29th

195 lbs - April 12th

Friday, April 8, 2011

Break On Through (To the Other Side)

193.6 lbs

Ah, I have the swagger of Jim Morrison right now minus the drug abuse, rotten leather pants or bathtub. Yes, yes, yes. Bye, bye, 195 lbs until this coming Sunday. If I am good enough, I won't see you for long 195, you fat bastard. Instead of feeling like I am in limbo, it feels more like playing limbo - how low can you go?

Now I posed a question on what should be my next experiment yesterday and the winner is (due to underwhelming response ha!) - eat on $20 from things bought at the 99 Cents Store. But here is the kicker, I am also going to do a vegan diet modified by my friend Melissa who offered an option #4 that was not even on the table. That week will be difficult and I know it has been difficult for Melissa since she has to also limit certain things in the vegan diet because of Celiac Disease in her family. There are no glutens allowed and also Melissa has to make sure there is no processed sugar or soy. Celiac Disease is a serious allergy to gluten, particularly. It causes the small intestine to basically stop processing food efficiently when gluten is present and gluten seems to be everywhere, even in whole foods. The damage to a person's digestive tract who has this disease, after eating gluten, is devastating. So Melissa's job each week is to make sure her children are able to grow up healthy and strong with a very limited dietary palette and she has to do this without the benefit of processed foods. Hats off to Melissa! I used to watch her chow down on burgers when we were younger, so she has to have the strength of Atlas to pull it all off on a daily basis.

By watching Melissa's posts on FB and posts from other friends, I have noticed how intolerant people are to other people's dietary needs. One post in particular caught my eye and here is the story. For those who are link impaired, the story basically goes a little something like this. A waiter, claiming to be a Chef in a high end restaurant caused a furor by openly saying he was poisoning those who have Celiac Disease by surreptitiously putting gluten in their food. He openly mocked them and posted it on his Facebook page. The idiot nearly closed down a restaurant that was very accommodating to those who could not have gluten in their diet. It also caused a furor among those who have the disease. I would call him a bastard but bastards have guile, he is just a self important imbecile.

The same goes for those folks who whine about people who have peanut allergies. They act like it is imagined or something relatively mild like lactose intolerance. So many imbeciles have killed or maimed those with the allergy because somehow they thought they were funny or know better. My point is that why should we be making it hard for those who do not have a choice in what they can eat? Hey I have no problem with the way I or others might want to poison ourselves. I do have a huge issue with those who would choose to poison other people. People with food allergies have it hard enough as it is. I would think if you asked the same people who think that people with Celiac Disease or any other food allergy are just faking it whether it was appropriate to make fun of someone in a wheelchair and they would say no. I also feel the same way about those who ridicule the obese because, quite honestly, if they had their choice they wouldn't be.

There is the plain and honest truth, a lot of us have choices but a few of us don't. Perhaps the obese woman in the motorized cart at the grocery store has been on a medicine that makes it impossible to lose weight. Maybe the really big guy at the bank has a genetic disorder that doesn't allow him to process food properly. You never know.

For those of us who are overweight and do not have any particular medical reason for being so, the choice is pretty simple but fairly difficult to make. One word comes to mind when I see someone who has lost a lot of weight through diligence alone - courage. The same word comes to mind when I hear of people living day to day in an environment that could kill them. Imagine a world where the next bite you take might kill you, maybe that will make your own choices easier because we do, actually, live in that world. The thing is, the food we eat is a whole lot deadlier to a few of us even without overindulging. As my friends and I have learned, food is a drug, use it wisely.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Little Things

195 lbs

So we are back at the bottom again. 195 lbs has now become my nemesis. I blame myself for this. I really need to up the exercise and with my chest hurting this week, it just was not in the cards. By tomorrow, I should be as good as gold and I plan on waking up early and doing a very small amount of running. It will be interesting to see what effect it has on all of this. I have hardly ever been a morning exercise person. It just has never appealed to me. Lunch time and evening yes, morning no. I am going to give it a shot.

I have some catch up to do. I think I promised some science last week but I need to focus on some little things first. It's more of a mental clean up around the blog here, mainly spurred on by helping my friend Tammy who is trying "4-Hour Body". Here is a laundry list of errata and other items I needed to address or have addressed elsewhere:

  • I keep using the term human biome but to be accurate the term is microbiome. There is some pretty important stuff coming out scientifically in this arena which will change the way we eat and also help us understand our bodies better. Think along the lines of the human genome project and you'll get the picture. Mapping the microbiome is going to uncover lots of surprising things about how we use food and how the critters in our system convert it.
  • I can't say I am doing "4-Hour Body", I'm really not now. My friend Tammy is however. Comparing our diets, I can tell you that I haven't fallen off the wagon, I've just changed horses.
  • It might seem like I am not experimenting at all but I keep adding and subtracting things as I go along. This week I added Niacin and if you would like to know why, here is a nifty link to the Mayo Clinic. In addition, I have been adding small amounts of lemon to my bottled water. Lemon helps to even out blood sugar spikes and makes the large amount of water I drink very very tasty.
  • Someone asked me a very good question last week, why binge? Basically it resets your metabolism so it isn't falling through the floor from "reduced" calories during the week. Right now, I am fighting a plateau or set point so bingeing becomes even more important to help me break the 195 lb barrier.
  • I think, after waffling a bit, I am at the final 10-15 lbs. 15lbs more lost would be fantastic. I am also calculating what I will need to do to maintain that weight. Basically if I skip the ridiculous amounts of sugar I used to eat, I'll be fine. I am also going to switch to whole grains again for any bread fix I might need.
  • There are a number of experiments I want to do and if you are a regular reader and have come this far down the page I am looking for your vote on what will come next. Below is a list. And you can choose 1,2, or 3.
  1. Eat for a week on nothing but food bought from the 99 cents Store - healthily and under $20 (not including tax).
  2. Try losing weight on nothing but fast food for a week.
  3. Cut most fat and and go all carb for a week - nothing is out of bounds as long as the fat stays under 20 grams per day.
I personally would like to do number one. It sounds like it would be most the useful and most difficult. Number two is fairly easy, except for breakfast and the timing I would like to still maintain for eating. I could also do number three with some abandon and more than likely still lose weight.

Let the voting begin!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Washing of the Water

195.6 lbs

Geez, that was one heck of a drop in body weight but at least I know why. I did quite a bit of reading and I am fairly sure I will be avoiding ibuprofen in the future. The effect on your kidneys is frightening. It basically impairs them and your kidneys are what excrete excess salt using something called prostaglandin. Essentially, what prostglandin does is dilate your blood vessels to get rid of excess salt in your body. What ibuprofen does is not only block your body from producing the type of prostglandin that causes inflammation, it blocks them all. So basically your kidneys are running very inefficiently and that decreases their ability to get rid of salt which in turn increases water retention. Why I went back up yesterday instead of going down was because of my ibuprofen intake the previous day. Oh and another nasty little side effect, increased blood pressure. Lovely. Lose the pain, get a stroke, fan-freaking-tastic.

So what appears to have happened is that the levee broke and I was able to rid myself of all that water stored up in my body. I still firmly believe that this is what happens from Sunday to Tuesday each week after my binge day. My inadvertent experiment with ibuprofen proved it by proxy. On a day where I would normally be ridding myself of all the water and waste from Saturday, it stopped cold and did a little jump. Once the dam broke it plummeted farther than it has on any day during this whole thing. There are some great benefits to keeping tabs on yourself physically and a little experimentation never hurt anyone unless it is with over the counter medication or certain drugs.

The one thing I really noticed was the heavy feeling of carrying so much water in my body. My clothes felt funny on my body. Frankly, I felt fat, it was not pleasant. Now I can hear all the women out there screaming, "It's called bloating, you idiot!" I can't imagine what the fairer sex has to go through each month. Oh sure the tampon commercials make it look like such a joy. Who wouldn't want to live in a world where flowers suddenly appear and floating bits of cloth turn into clouds before your eyes once a month? Tell me that. It would be a really cool experience, like an acid trip without the brain damage just because you got your period. But words like bloating, in commercials, are meaningless to most men. Even typing the word "bloating", just sounds funny in my head. I really had no concept of what it meant until recently. I can certainly empathize to a certain extent now.

You learn a lot from the little things. I gave myself a quick education on water and its role in the human body beyond what I normally knew because of ibuprofen. Getting deep into the human biological aspect of water was interesting. How the kidneys and liver work in concert to use the fluid and food you ingest is an amazing process and it is one I have abused or have taken for granted for years. Certainly, the specific toxins (salt is a Godsend and an enemy) water rids your system of each day is enough impetus to make sure you drink more each day. Since I live, literally, smack dab in the middle of a desert it even becomes more important. Water is pulled out of your body at an alarming rate in a cold or dry climate due to the low humidity. Before you know it you are dehydrated and your organs start to shut down.

Beyond general health, water is your best friend if you are trying to lose weight. It helps you feel fuller and studies show that people who drink more water have significantly lower weight gain over their lifetimes. Water, scientifically, is one of the least understood substances on earth. Scientists are often baffled by its ability to change state and transform under certain conditions. It's like the stuff was some sort of magic elixir. I am here to tell you that it is.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Eat the Rich

198.2 lbs

Oh no! Something new! I have never ever had an up tick this early into a week. I know what caused it, stupid ibuprofen - lots of it. I have a pulled muscle in my chest and it hurt like heck yesterday. It is still a little sore today. If you want to really scare the living hell out of yourself I strongly suggest starting the day with a sharp pain in the middle of your chest. I was in full freak out mode until I realized that it hurt when I pushed something or pulled something with my left arm. Basically, the muscle was pulled where it attached to the breast bone. I am not sure if it is chondritis which is basically a problem with connective tissue in that region since this seems to be going away. Damn if it didn't hurt and make me want to run to an E.R. at 6:30am in the morning. After I figured out it was not some problem with the most important organ in my body, I was a little better. An ice pack my wife made and some rest did wonders. I am not a huge fan of ibuprofen at the moment. I took at least 1000mg yesterday and it did nada.

Now if I were rich man (cue Fiddler on the Roof music), I could have simply called up my private physician and he would have walked me through a self diagnostic. I don't have that luxury and most of the people I know, don't have that luxury. To be fair, most of us have at least some basic access to medical care. What we don't have and what delineates us from the rich, is the money and resources that allow access to personalized physical regimens and specialized diers. If you want to be healthy and thin, all you have to do is pay the price. That doesn't sit right with me. It also does not sit well with my chef or personal trainer. Oh I know what you are saying! Oh he can afford a chef and personal trainer - the bastard! But you have to understand, they work very cheap. They are me. I always knew there would be perks to having a split personality disorder.

Okay, I don't really have a split personality disorder yet (a man must have his goals) but I do take care of myself by myself. I can assure you, that was not always the case. I realized all it took was a little discipline and some reading. You can do it too. No matter what the diet and exercise industry tells you, you don't need a personal trainer or a private chef or a home pilates master, you just need you.

Now having said all that, there is a distinct advantage the rich have that is an intangible. They can push responsibility off to someone else at certain points. They also can have outside motivation for a price. Want to lose weight? Just dial up Henri and he will make sure you eat a healthy meal. Feel a little flabby? Jillian will be there to slap your fat ass around the gym. Speaking of healthy meals, that is also another advantage, they can afford to eat healthy. But everyone can afford to eat healthy, we just do not have the personal will or discipline to take that extra time from watching the Oprah network to cook or prepare something that doesn't have 20 mysterious chemical names in the ingredients. Processed food will make you fat - that's the facts Jack.

What about my flabby ass? Well, you can also be your own personal trainer and set goals and map out and organize how you will get there. All it takes is just a few organizational skills which can be easily acquired and, of course, the D word - DISCIPLINE.

So I keep using the D word. Do rich people have more of it than others? I really don't think so. Now those from wealthy families have always eaten well and have been involved in a lot of activities since birth. The same can not be said about the poor and middle class in our nation. There is a whole different mindset that tells us that Little Debbies are a wholesome snack. Our go-to eating establishments aren't some place that serves lean beef and veggies, they are fast food joints that serve crap and they are more ubiquitous than traffic lights.

I personally think, with a little work in this land of plenty, we could all eat like we are rich. In a land where a dozen eggs are $1.50 and ten snack cakes are $1.99, it's just a matter of choice. Christy and I were walking through the 99 Cents store one day and we both came to a realization - you can eat pretty well in America for very little. There were fresh veggies and whole grain breads and, hell, they even had supplements. The rich might not have to work hard for their good health but with just a little extra work on our parts we can eat and exercise just as well as they do.

In the end, all I know is that when the big one comes and we are all reduced to cannabilism, I am hitting the rich section of town because I bet they are all tastier and a whole helluva lot better for me. Lean meat - yum!

Listen to my boy Lemmy, tell you all about it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Hot! Hot! Hot!

197.6 lbs

Not quite losing like I want or should. I am, however, increasing muscle mass but I hope to see below the 195 mark this week or even lower. I got a really good chance of making it this week because I had fun on binge day and that usually helps break the "wall" I hit every few weeks or so. I tend to notice this "wall" happening when I get a slight up tick in my weight on Saturday morning. Hopefully what I did on binge day did the trick.

This Saturday we did a few special things for binge day. We had donuts in the morning as is per the norm these days. At lunch Christy and I ventured out to the Carlsbad Tavern in Scottsdale. There is a particular burger there that I love and I had never taken Christy there before. The restaurant is basically New Mexico cuisine with a few twists. The burger that I mentioned earlier is a habanero burger and it even includes warnings in its description on the menu. Like they say, you order it, you own it. It's one of the Food Network's best burgers in America and it is mostly certainly its hottest. The thing actually has ground habaneros inside the burger and even the side salad has a jalapeno dressing.

It's not the first time I had this burger. Either the burger has become milder over the years or I have become desensitized by eating so much hot stuff while living here in the Southwest. In the past, upon eating one of these fire breathing monsters, I would sweat profusely and on one occasion I even lost hearing in one ear as my hair felt like it was growing out my head. The thing goes beyond hot and keeps going. Now, to be fair, I did do a very sensible thing before eating one this time, I drank some milk. It used to be standard with your order for them to offer a glass of milk (they don't now) but I had to request one this time (in the past I shooed it away). I am glad I did. I still got a small endorphin rush and my hair felt like it was growing slightly but it was nowhere near the gastronomical armageddon I had endured previously.

I love very very spicy food. Right now, at my work desk, sits a bottle of the hottest stuff I have ever put into my body - Blair's After Death hot sauce. But still, it is only 50,000 scoville units which is roughly 10 times hotter than a jalapeno. Supposedly what I ate over the weekend was pushing 100,000 scovillle units. I can tell you that it really wasn't even close to being as insane as After Death. I usually only put a drop or two of it on anything I eat because the smoky taste that I crave will turn into the searing pain that I don't. Besides the possibility of chemical burns, hot sauce is very good for you.

The endorphin rush is a plus but there are also nice side effects that the capsaicin in peppers provide. Mainly, it lowers blood sugar and cholesterol in your body. Oh and if you are up to it, like me, it tastes yummy. I have become a connoisseur of sorts when it comes to my peppery condiments. I generally avoid anything with a filler food such as carrots. If I wanted carrots, I would buy them and I definitely don't want anything screwing with the taste of my hot sauce. I am looking at you too, Mr. Tomato - stay in ketchup and salsa like you should!

At this very moment, as I type this on my lunch break, my hair feels like it is going all wolf man like as I ingest a diablo shrimp salad covered with hot sauce - with a little added After Death. It is so very good. Try a little bit of hot sauce on everything, it's fantastic.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Goonies 'R' Good Enough

195 lbs

I kind of expected it not to drop that much, so for once this week it has been within expectations. I had little sleep last night and that pretty much kills a weigh in. But you know what? I am changing physically. It sort of feels like am Eddie Murphy in the Nutty Professor. Except I don't turn into a swaggering asshole. Well, at least not more than normal. I never thought this level of transformation was possible frankly. I even said so a couple of months ago. That got me to thinking, do we all cast ourselves as being one way or another as if there were a die somewhere that stamped us out as we are forever? For some weird reason this made me think of The Goonies.

I started to think of the proverbial chubby kid, as comic relief, motif that permeated most 80's movies. The Goonies was one of them and Stand By Me was another. I am sure if we sat around together we could come up with a dozen more easily. Now I had read an article, a few weeks ago, about the casts of the two movies I had mentioned. I found it interesting that both of the chunky kids in each movie had grown up to be very healthy looking people. Here is Chunk doing the truffle shuffle.

Here is what he looks like now:

He has grown up to be an entertainment lawyer and he barely looks like the same person now. I bet he is eternally grateful that he did not have to go through life truffle shuffling every time someone recognized him in public.

Now let's look at Jerry O'Connell, the kid from Stand By Me:

Here he is now. A little something for the ladies out there:

Oh and ladies, you are welcome.

But you might say, "Hey, they are kids, they lost the baby fat!" Well true baby fat is brown fat and brown fat helps burn calories the same as muscle. Yes, you will lose body fat as you grow older but that's only if you are able to maintain a certain calorie level that matches your age appropriate height and weight. Calories do not count for much but in this case, they do. Now let's see, what about an adult that has transformed themselves even though most of their adult lives we have seen them as something else entirely different. I have just the guy, John Goodman.

The man used to be 400 lbs only 9 months ago!

How did he do it? Some fantabulous Hollyweird miracle diet containing the placenta of a giraffe and fried monkey balls? No, he took accurate measurements. John said in an interview that he would lose 60 lbs every Spring and would regain it once Winter hit (an upcoming subject for the blog - warning: the science mobile will show up). The trick for John was to measure his body fat % which is and will always be a much better assessment of your overall weight loss than almost any other. That's all it took, careful and accurate measurements. That's is also what it takes to keep it off. Continuously losing more muscle than fat each time you crash diet will send your body into a spiral that is hard to pull out of without some serious exercise via weight training. The catch-22 is that is hard to get that exercise when you are really obese but it is not impossible, you just have to ease into it. Always remember baby steps, not baby fat, are what wins the race.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Don't Let's Start

195.2 lbs

Once again, I can't explain myself. Another pound gone and I did actually work out last night but not very hard. It does appear, at this point at least, I will have to work on a new chart tomorrow. I don't feel I have done anything differently this week. Have I? (cue dramatic soap opera chord sweep).

It's just been a short time since I started and I haven't looked back too deeply. That is, until today. I have a friend who is trying some of this for herself by using the diet regimen laid out in The 4-Hour Body. She is having a hard time because of the legumes and beans. In short, she hates them. It was then that I realized that I have eaten beans perhaps once or maybe twice a week for the past month and a half. I think the last time a bean touched my lips was Monday. Wait! I think now it must have been last week. Oh man, I am really screwing up this whole diet thing. I can't even recall what I ate! Uh, wait yet again, I am not doing a diet. But the short little email exchange this morning made me realize how far I have strayed off the reservation and forged my own path. That's only if I imagine there was a reservation in the first place.

Here is what I ate day so far (while I still remember!):

  • Chorizo and eggs
  • A banana
  • A large protein shake
  • A Country Club unwich (turkey, ham,provolone, tomatoes and mayo in a lettuce wrap) from Jimmy John's (really cheap eats)

There is a lot of protein in there but there are still some carbs and greens. Overall, not bad. Overall, it is not how this whole deal started out. A typical day would include beans and spinach. Now? Perhaps I have some spinach and perhaps I don't. I think this evening will entail a nice salad with balsamic vinegar and some olive oil because I feel a bit full at the moment and it is getting much hotter outside.

Now you already know I have added bananas but I also have tried to include more greens in general and more nuts. There are some protein shakes in there with vanilla yogurt. I figured out that, unconsciously, I have been doing a body builders slim down diet. It's the type of eating regimen that builders usually do before competitions to cut the fat while keeping muscle mass. This new way of eating plus the workouts have come up huge in the numbers. I have one more week after this and it will be the three month mark and about 40 lbs gone.

If there is one bit of advice I can give, it is this: keep with whatever your doing as long as it works. The longer you keep with it, the easier it becomes. Most dieters fall off the wagon completely before any of their sacrifices produce sustainable dividends. If folks would just make a promise to themselves that they will battle through the cravings and other indignities for just 60 days of their life, they would be incredibly happy with the results. Even if you are only dropping a pound a week, that is still 8 lbs off of your frame in 60 days or 8 weeks. It's the follow through and not the swing.

There is one more bit of advice I gave my friend: make sure you have number consistency. It's incredibly important. How many times have you tried to lose weight and noticed your numbers floating all over the place? One day you are down 2 lbs and the next you are up 4 lbs. Who would want to keep with a diet that screws with your weight inconsistently? No one and that is why diets often fail. Time and place are everything. I have our scale in the walk-in closet and it is one of the first things I do each morning and I do it at approximately the same exact time every morning. I can not stress this enough. Your numbers drive you and everything else when you choose to make a life change where your diet and weight are concerned. You can't really measure your progress with a mirror at first, so your only option is the dreaded scale.

Don't be afraid to start now or set a day in the very near future to make a change. One question that I failed to answer for my friend was whether it was better to have a binge day on Saturday or Sunday. You know, it really doesn't matter. I have thought of shifting mine to Friday but Saturday seems to be good because I have all day at home to pig out. If you decide to do a binge day it is important to remember to binge only during the waking hours of that day - it doesn't work if you try to bridge a 24 hour period. Even now I am going to try and cut back on carbs on binge days, they make me sleepy and I crash early. It's less of a true experiment decision or even diet change, it's just more practical. I want the whole day not just the time until I eat myself to sleep. I am going to start that change on Saturday, I'll tell you how it goes. Two weeks from now I am changing my meal schedule to 5 a day - I'll keep you posted when and if that happens. Flexibility counts for a lot at this stage in the game.