Friday, February 29, 2008

Feeling better now

Finally, I'm starting to feel better after today's microwave meltdown. I drove home with the windows rolled all the way down to air myself out. When I got home, I realized my clothing and hair reeked of the microwave smoke, so I got in the shower and washed my hair twice. Even then, I could still smell it. I think the stench just invaded my nostrils and decided to camp out there for a while.

It's now almost four hours after it happened, and my headache is subsiding. I had a spinach salad with salmon and chickpeas for dinner, and I think all that brain food really did the trick. I swear, when I inhaled that smoke, my I.Q. dropped about 20 points- and believe me, I don't have 20 points to spare.

My goal tonight is to relax. One of the ways I relax is by reading in the bathtub. Today I picked up a copy of Look Me In the Eye by John Elder Robison. It's a memoir of a man who has Asperger's syndrome. He also happens to be the older brother of Augusten Burroughs, who wrote Running With Scissors.

Anyway, I just wanted to check in and let the people know that I'm all better now, even if I did catch microwave brain cancer.

Microwave meltdown

Almost every day, I go to our company break room to nuke a cup of Campbell's Soup at Hand. Just like every other day, I went up there this afternoon, put in the container, and set the microwave timer for 1 minute and 30 seconds. I turned around to look at some magazines sitting on the table, and when I turned back, the microwave was billowing huge clouds of stinky, acrid smoke.

I called the extension for the guy around here who fixes stuff and he said he'd be right there. Next thing I know, the fire alarm went off. The entire building was evacuated. This is a really big building that I work in, too. I'm not sure how many people work here, but it's got to be over 1,000.

Even though it's not my fault- I followed the instructions just like I always do- I still feel like kind of a jackass. Also, since I stood in there for so long inhaling the fumes, I'm feeling kind of nauseous, headachy, and dizzy.

Here is my artistic rendition of the event that just occurred:

And now, I think I'm leaving early. This better not affect my race results tomorrow.

Gearing up for tomorrow's race

I'm getting very excited and nervous for tomorrow's Truffle Shuffle 5K. Last night I picked up our packets at the designated place. My number for the race is 1810. I looked up the year 1810 on Wikipedia and not much was going on. About the most excited thing that happened in 1810 was Beethoven composed Fur Elise.

There are a lot of good 5K tips for beginners on I'm grateful for the advice, because I really have no clue what I'm doing. Here are the big things I have learned:

1) Start toward the end of the pack.
2) Don't eat a big breakfast. There's no need to carbo-load for such a short race.
3) The day before, rest. Don't train.
4) Pace yourself. It's likely that you'll run a little faster than normal, so keep it in check so you don't burn out.
5) The goal for your first race should just be to finish. Don't have high expectations.

All good things to know, especially the one about breakfast. I wouldn't want to blow my biscuits all over the place for my fellow runners to step in. When I read I shouldn't work out today, I was heartbroken, truly.

My dad will likely be attending, so I'll gently ask him to interact with technology and take some pictures. If I get any good ones I'll post them. Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The enchilada thief

We have a dog. Have I mentioned that before? He's a Chihuahua named Buster, and we think he's pretty cute. He's not the fragile, shaky, nervous Chihuahua you might expect to see under the arm of Paris Hilton or Britney Spears. He's a pretty robust little thing.

Last night I made a new recipe called Enchiladas with Salsa Verde. I'd been looking forward to making these things for a while. It was a lot of work to cook the chicken breasts, shred them up, make the enchilada sauce, and assemble the dish before popping it in the oven. Any time I'm preparing food, Buster is close by. As I blended the onions, salsa verde, cilantro, and garlic in the blender, a small drop fell down to the floor, which he promptly licked up. Then, as I was chopping a red bell pepper, a piece fell and it was gone almost before it hit the floor. I guess by that point Buster knew he wanted an enchilada.

Angie and I eat dinner on tray tables in front of the TV. That's because we're classy. It's typical for the dog to sit between us as we eat, but he's rarely intrusive. He'll normally just sit there in hopes that we'll give him something. However, something must have snapped in him, because I barely had the first bite in my mouth before the little dickhead grabbed an enchilada right off my plate!

Imagine the little 7-lb. dog pictured above, with an entire enchilada hanging out of his mouth like a folded up newspaper. I was so dumbfounded that it took me a second to react. I reached out with my bare hand and grabbed the enchilada back. It was hot and steamy and it kind of hurt. Little bits and pieces of chicken, salsa, and cheese had already fallen on the couch by this point, and Buster ate every bit before we had time to blink.

Angie was kind of freaking out, saying "Did he just take that off your plate?!" and "Buster, NO!!! Bad dog!!" I however, just put the enchilada back on my plate and continued to eat it. I worked too hard on that damn dinner to let my pint-sized pup ruin it for me.

Even though Buster is of Mexican heritage, his little sensibilities were too delicate to handle all the spices, onions, and garlic he'd eaten. He didn't throw up, but he came pretty close. He was heaving and hacking like it was going out of style.

After getting over the shock of it all, we realized how hilarious the whole thing was. Seriously, if this had been on tape, Bob Saget would be handing us 10 grand right about now. The enchiladas were delicious too, by the way. I'd recommend the recipe.

Treats up in the hizzy part 2

So I just walked by the muffins. Big mistake. They are HUGE, and there are 3 different kinds...blueberry, chocolate, and banana nut. Someone already cut into one of the blueberry ones, so I grabbed the knife and cut myself a small wedge, probably about 1/10th of the whole thing. It was really, really good. Then I had another small piece. Oh well. I've been an exercising fool lately, so if I can't eat 1/5th of a blueberry muffin, that's not the kind of world I want to live in. If eating muffins is wrong, I don't want to be right.

Peeps always bringin' treats up in this hizzy

I know it's no one's fault but my own that I have difficulty controlling myself in the presence of yummy foods. I also know it's no one's responsibility but my own to monitor what I eat. I get that. I really do.

But dammit, people, why do you have to bring treats to work every single day?! Why?! First it was donuts, then sticky buns, then yummy chocolate eggs, and today we have muffins. I was hoping people would lay off after the holidays, but nope. I'm sick of it. It's a nice gesture, they're only trying to be nice...yada yada yada... whatevs. I'm done. There are a few people who sit over by the treat table who I like to chat with, but I seriously can't even walk over there any more if there are scrumptious baked goods on the table. It's just too much of a temptation and it screws with my head.

And thus endeth my rant.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

10 Minute miles! / Upcoming vegetarian week

On Tuesdays, I try to break personal fitness records. The past few weeks I've spent my time building up my endurance by jogging 5 mph for up to 65 minutes. Now that I'm signed up for a 5K race, I thought it was time to concentrate on building my speed and intensity rather than endurance.

Previously, the longest I've tried to jog at a 6 mph pace was about 3 minutes. It's amazing how watching The Biggest Loser during my workout motivates me. Last night, I ran four 10-minute miles. I took walking breaks between each mile to recover a bit. It was a great feeling. After I was done, I sat down on the couch, dripping in sweat, feeling like an athlete for the first time in my life. My arms are starting to get really toned. I may even...gulp...wear shorts this summer. I haven't done that since I was 12 years old. In fact, I don't think I've weighed this little since I was 12 years old. eesh.

Subject change...

Every now and then, Angie and I like to switch to a vegetarian diet. We decided to temporarily cut out the meat starting Saturday, March 1, and ending Friday, March 7th. I'm excited to experiment with some foods I haven't cooked with before, like quinoa. It's fun just to say that word. Say it with me one time- "KEEN-WAH." There, wasn't that pretty sweet? I'll also be making Red Curried Tofu, so I'll let you know what that turns out. I've only eaten tofu a handful of times in my life, and I liked it. Some people aren't into it at all, like my parents. They call it "toad food." Another good veggie recipe is Quick Vegetarian Paella. The portion size is very satisfying. I'm all about big portions with no guilt.

Vegetarian week will be kicked off with a trip to one of the best vegetarian/vegan restaurants I know of, Eden Alley. The place is located in the basement of Unity Temple church in the area of Kansas City called The Plaza. I've been there two or three times, and I've always gotten the falafel platter, which looks like this:

It may be time to try something new. I have it from a good source that the Spinach and Mushroom Loaf is really good:

I suspect Angie will order the tacos, which I've had a bite of and are delicious:

If you're so inclined, feel free to comment and tell me which looks the best to you. I very well may take your opinions into consideration when placing my order. I only get one cheat meal per week, so I want it to really count, people!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My big mouth?

I'm starting to realize I talk about my weight loss a lot during everyday conversation. I'm not referring to this blog, because weight loss, health and fitness are the central themes. People expect me to talk about it here. However, when I'm just talking to people, I think they're getting sick of it.

I try not to bring it up, but if someone asks me a question about it, it's hard to shut me up because I get so excited. I'm like Tom Cruise jumping up and down on Oprah's couch, only the topic is weight loss and not Katie Holmes.

Talking to a friend at work about it this morning, I got a weird vibe after saying I still want to lose 10-15 more pounds. I think that's a perfectly reasonable goal and it's not too low for my height and build. It was so strange the way she reacted. I guess if I lose 10 more pounds, I'll weigh less than she does, so she interpreted my goal as though I was calling her fat. This couldn't be farther from the truth.

Thankfully, there are a couple people here who are very much into fitness, so it's been nice having "buddies" to chat with about calories, running, weights, etc.

I think I'll stick to my strategy of keeping it to myself, and if someone brings it up, I'll keep my answers succinct rather than going on and on. I certainly don't want to annoy anyone.

The Truffle Shuffle

I'm very excited to report I just signed up for a 5K race this Saturday. This is something I know I've been capable of for a few months, but wanted the weather to improve before trying. The race is the 9th Annual Truffle Shuffle, which benefits the Jana E. Pinker Memorial Foundation. As part of the registration fee, I get a long-sleeved t-shirt, and a box of chocolate truffles from Andre's Confiserie Suisse, one of the best places in the country to get your sugar on.

I'm stoked about this. Angie signed up as well, and she's really excited too. I really want a picture of me crossing the finish line, but since Angie's in the race she obviously can't take it. My mom is really sick with an awful cold, so I don't think I'll ask her to do it. I wouldn't dream of asking my friends to drive all the way to the race location on a Saturday morning just to snap a photo. I'd ask my dad, but he would be the first to admit he loathes technology, and my digital SLR camera would be no exception. So, I guess we'll just bring the camera and take photos before we start the race and after we complete it.

In the meantime, I need to think of a goal time for the race. I know I can run at 5 mph for over an hour, but ideally I'd like to increase my speed. My next few sessions on the treadmill will be spent building up to 10 minute miles. Last night I did intervals of 2 minute runs at 6 mph, followed by 90 second walks at 4 mph. I did this for 45 minutes. Tonight I'll try to increase the running intervals while decreasing the walks.

It's strange to think about where I was physically at this time last year. I was almost 100 pounds heavier, and I couldn't run if my life depended on it. Now I'm going to run in a race. Unbelievable.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Appointment with the nutritionist

I just got back from my appointment with the nutritionist. She was really nice but she seemed a little nervous and unprepared. I told her about my weight loss and she was very impressed that I've done it all on my own, without subscribing to a specific "program."

She got some basic information about me and chatted with me while doing some calculations. I explained the main reason I was there was to determine the maximum number of calories I can eat per day and still maintain a 1-2 pound weight loss per week. She told me that in order to maintain my current weight with the amount of exercise I do, I could eat 2200-2400 calories per day. So to lose 1 pound per week (which is recommended at this late stage in the weight loss game), I would need to create a deficit of 500 calories per day, which would take me down around 1700-1800.

This pretty much falls in line with many of the online calculators I've been using, give or take a couple hundred calories. I shared my fears with her about upping my intake and seeing a gain on the scale. She told me to go up gradually and not freak out if I temporarily gain a couple pounds. She said to go up to 1500 for a couple weeks and see how it goes.

So, that's what I'm going to do. Sadly, I paid $55 to have someone tell me what I basically knew already. I guess I needed to hear it from someone with credentials, and not a dot com.

We also discussed the fact that I have high cholesterol. I told her about my dad, who can't weigh more than 160 lbs. soaking wet, eats well and exercises, and still had a triple bypass a few years ago. She told me I need to add more healthy fats to my diet and watch the saturated fat. Now that I have more calories to play with each day, I won't feel bad about doing that.

Tomorrow I'll put the "1500 Plan" into action. On March 15th I'll evaluate the situation and see how things are going.

Q & A

It looks as though actual people are starting to read my blog, as I'm starting to get comments from people I don't know. This is wonderful! On yesterday's post, I got this comment/question:

"I just wanted to know what finally clicked in your head it was time to get this weight off? I have gained over 50 pounds and now weigh 185 and every Monday diet is on then the cheating every weekend. I need to get it together. Any ideas how to get with the program and stick to it."

First, thanks for reading my blog and commenting. It's nice to know that people are tuning in. To answer the first part of your question, my decision to lose weight was a long time coming. I'd been very unhappy with myself for a few years and was ready to do it. However, the catalyst came in the form of reality TV.

Back in April of last year, I started watching a few television shows that focused on diet and exercise. I'm not sure why I started tuning into this stuff. Previously, I would change the channel whenever a show like that came on because it just reminded me how fat I was. Then I saw this show on the Bravo network called "Workout." It's a reality show about a bunch of personal trainers in Los Angeles. The owner of the gym, Jackie Warner, is a buff, hilarious, extremely tenacious woman with ultra-cool hair. I wanted to be her. For the first time, I didn't just want to lose the weight; I wanted to have a six pack and rock hard biceps too.

I started watching all the fitness-related television I could handle. I think they were rerunning The Biggest Loser at the time. There I sat on the couch, watching a 400-lb. dude run on a treadmill. If that guy could do it, I could at least try. The Biggest Loser has become one of my most faithful motivators. Every Tuesday night I watch these amazing people who have large amounts of weight to lose. Ten months ago, I was in the same boat, and the task seemed insurmountable. To see their dedication and focus each week refreshes me and gives me that "I CAN!" attitude all over again.

The second part of your question is something I struggle with too. Monday through Friday, you're on the program and doing great. Then, the weekend comes and you fall off the wagon. It happens to me all the time. As I've discussed in a few previous posts, I do have a planned cheat meal every Saturday. My girlfriend and I discuss what we've been craving and agree on something to indulge in. On those days, I do a more strenuous workout in hopes of canceling out any damage I'm doing during my cheat meal. However, this doesn't always work. I'm still recovering from Saturday's pizza party at the nursing home.

All of the advice I can offer sounds so horribly cliche (I tried to get the little accent mark over the "e" but I can't figure it out). You've heard it before- "If you slip up, you just have to get right back on the horse." Or "it's a marathon and not a sprint." So corny, I know, but after almost a year of counting calories and exercising my butt off (literally), I'm finally starting to believe all those cheesy adages.

Another thing that helps me is to know where my "danger zone" is when it comes to eating when I'm not hungry. When I'm alone in the house is when I have the biggest problem. I've been working on coping strategies, but I still have a long way to go in that department. Lately I've been reading health and fitness magazines, or playing Guitar Hero. Just trying to distract myself helps.

Wow! What a long-winded answer. Sorry about that. I hope it's helpful.

Tune in later tonight for a post on what happens with the nutritionist.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Pizza party at the nursing home- the day after

In a post last week, I recall saying that I could eat pretty much whatever I wanted for my weekly cheat meal, as long as I worked out really hard. I proved myself wrong.

Yesterday was my grandmother's 97th birthday. She's not able to get out much, so we took the party to her. I made a chocolate cake and we ordered pizza- one cheese and one supreme. Even though it was crappy old Pizza Hut pizza, I was still really looking forward to it. The party went well, and I had 2 slices of cheese and 1 slice of the supreme. Cake and ice cream too. When it came time to pack everything up, I kept two slices of supreme for Angie and me, and two pieces of cake. We wound up eating our leftovers last night just so we could get rid of it. That was my first mistake- taking stuff home. Should've just left it all with my parents.

I woke up this morning and was up two pounds on the scale. Oh, I forgot to mention I did 6 miles on the treadmill yesterday. I know the weight gain is mostly water and I'm sure it will come off quickly, but damn! I looked up last week's cheat meal, and it was much tamer by comparison. Pizza is all doughy and salty and cheesy, so it stands to reason that eating 4 slices would puff me up.

Today I'm feeling pretty crappy, both mentally and physically. Have you ever seen the movie Supersize Me? After Morgan Spurlock eats enough McDonalds, he starts feeling all depressed for no reason, and yet he still craves the stuff. That's kind of how I've felt all day today. I've had a bit of a headache and I've been irritable and overly sensitive. And I can't stop thinking about food. I feel like a junkie looking for my next fix. I ate a bunch of stuff this afternoon when I wasn't really hungry. The more I ate, the worse I felt about myself, which just made me want to eat more. Everyone who struggles with food addiction can relate to this cycle of guilt/eating/more guilt/more eating. It just really sucks when it's happening.

I'm really looking forward to my nutritionist appointment tomorrow. I know I've said it before, but I just want someone else to take control for a bit. I'm sick of over-analyzing every little thing I eat. Maybe this lady can just say, "okay, I want you to eat x, y, and z and not worry about the calories."

Okay, it's time for me to sign off and get the hell out of this house.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Diary of the Dead

I still like George Romero, but I'm sorry to say his latest film, Diary of the Dead, is really bad. Sorry, George, but it sucked.

I'm sorry to say the best part was when I ate the turkey sandwich I brought into the theater for lunch. Oh yeah... that wasn't part of the movie.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Zombies as a weight loss tool

When I'm on the treadmill, I enjoy watching zombie films. In old-school zombie movies, the zombies tend to be slow-moving. For this reason, I tend to steer toward the newer breed of zombie flick, where the flesh-eaters are "infected" with some kind of virus and they run like hell so they can catch you and eat you up.

George Romero is pretty much the undisputed king of the genre. His latest film, Diary of the Dead, is in theaters now, so go see it and give the man your money. I've met him, and he's really nice. So go see his movie, okay?

As much as I like Mr. Romero and his films, his zombies don't move quickly enough to spark me into a fear-induced running frenzy. Back in 2004, a remake of Romero's Dawn of the Dead was made, and in this one, the zombies are F-A-S-T. Romero fans kind of shunned the film because the director didn't make a huge effort to keep with the original feel. I liked the movie, though. In my opinion, the opening scene is one of the best zombie moments ever. If you've never seen it, here it is. It's a little on the graphic side, so don't press play if you're afraid of a little blood and gore.

I hope you're inspired to go for a run after this... I know I was!

When donuts attack...

Someone brought delicious, doughy, delightful Lamar's Donuts to work today. To me, they are pretty much the perfect donut. Krispy Kreme's donuts are way too sugary for me, but Lamar's... you can't hear it, but I'm making the Hannibal Lecter "fava beans and a nice Chianti" sound.

After someone brings treats to the office, an email promptly goes out to say there are [insert delicious item here] on the table by so-and-so's desk. I walked over there and saw a coworker friend of mine picking one up. Like a bloodhound, I sniffed vigorously in his general direction, but didn't pick up a donut. Looking at the nutritional information on the Lamar's web site, I was surprised to see that a regular glazed donut is only 220 calories, and they're pretty big donuts, too.

As I rationalized it more and more in my head, my self control went out the window and I decided to just have one. I went to the table and....DUH DUH DUH! They were gone!

I was disappointed for about a minute, but that feeling was soon replaced by relief. So, thank you to whoever took the last donut. You are awesome.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

List Making is Awesome / Possibility

I love making lists. One of my favorite things to do each week is sit down and figure out what I'll be making for dinner the following week, then make up the grocery list. Once I have all the items written down, I rewrite the list in order of the geography of the grocery store. For example, I write the produce down first, then canned items, then bread, frozen stuff, meats, cereal, dairy, then household items.

Yup, I'm a freak.

Still, as I've said before, planning ahead has played an enormous role in my weight loss. Knowing pretty much exactly what I'll be eating tomorrow helps me avoid temptation.

Yesterday I received some news about an awesome thing that could potentially happen to me. It's not set in stone yet, so I'm not going to elaborate except to say that this experience would be amazing. In order for it to happen, though, I need to lose 5 more pounds. Even then, it may not pan out. Still, the possibility has given me a kick in the rear that I've desperately needed the past couple weeks. Even though my exercise is going wonderfully, my eating has been on a slippery slope and I needed a wake up call. I've been sticking to my diet and exercise plan to the letter, and I'm doing great.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Why am I doing this again?

Since I recently purchased an iPod Nano, I've been introduced to the wonderful world of podcasts. On iTunes I located a podcast called Real Weight Loss by Bonnie. I don't really like the sound of the girl's voice, but once I was able to ignore that, I realized she was raising some great points and questions. The biggest one is, "why do you want to lose weight?"

Seems like an easy question, right? When I really thought about it, though, the answer wasn't so clear.

I think I was just sick of feeling disgusted by myself and disgusting to others. That was the main word that came to my head when I thought about myself back then. Disgust. So, I wanted to get rid of that feeling. I also wanted to be able to buy normal clothes. I was a size 26, for crying out loud. I was only one or two sizes away from not even being able to shop at Lane Bryant anymore. That's bad, folks.

Back when I was 264 lbs., I really thought that losing the weight would solve all my problems. Below I'm going to list some of the things I thought would happen, then right underneath each one I'll say what actually *has* happened.

1) I would have more self-esteem
-Yes and no on this one. In many respects, I feel much better about myself. I've accomplished something really amazing and I'm a stronger person for having gone through this. I can be more direct with people and I defend myself more when I feel provoked. It's mostly in private that my self-esteem takes a hit. When left to my own devices, I scrutinize my body and my worth.

2) I would be able to buy cute clothes in "normal" stores
-Check! Even though I haven't purchased many new clothes yet, I know I can walk into most stores that aren't Lane Bryant and find something cute that fits me.

3) My sex drive would improve
-A little, but I'm still lacking in this department. I plan to talk to my doctor about this at my next appointment.

4) My relationship with my parents would get better
-It has, and it pisses me off. They really are nicer to me now, and I swear I'm not imagining it. My mother even said she wanted a professional photo of me, which she has *never* said. There's no way she would've wanted that when I was heavier. I'm a little bitter about this, in case you can't tell. I feel like they should've been more supportive of me when I was obese. There was stuff to be proud of then, too. I wasn't worthless.

5) I wouldn't worry so much about what others thought of me
-Before, I always wondered if people were thinking "Oh my god, she's so fat." I guess I don't think that anymore, which is good. But, I still wonder what else they're thinking.

6) My general health would improve
-I'm obviously in better shape than I was previously. I can breathe easier. I don't snore anymore. I still have some other issues, such as a non-functioning thyroid (for which I'll take medicine indefinitely) and high cholesterol. Yup, I've lost almost 100 pounds and I still have high cholesterol.

7) I would feel more fulfilled as a person
-Although there are still areas in my life where I feel deadlocked, I do feel like the I'm a more well-rounded and fulfilled person than I was before. I want to be alive now. I wasn't suicidal before or anything, but that doesn't mean I was living.

8) I would be more willing to try new (or scary) experiences
-Definitely yes on this one. Since I've lost the weight, I've gone swimming at a public pool and driven on the highway, which I had a big fear of before. I also want to go horseback riding and take a vacation to a warm climate. I want to do outdoorsy things and enjoy the world, rather than sitting on the couch all the time.

9) I would be less lazy
-This has improved somewhat. I'm more of a go-getter these days. Still needs improvement, though.

10) I thought I would be less annoyed by the world in general.
-Nope, I think this one's here to stay. Stuff annoys me. Stuff that doesn't seem to annoy other people. The constant change-jingling of one of my coworkers. The way I can't stand the dust and clutter at my house, and yet do nothing to clean it. The way my girlfriend puts the silverware into the dishwasher (sorry, baby, but it drives me nuts). For some reason, I thought I'd be more laid-back and easy going with less weight on me. Probably a silly thing to assume.

As you can see, some things I expected came to pass, and others did not. I think that's pretty typical, but it's just good to check in with my motivations every now and then.

Off to the nursing home.

Upping my calories

Every few weeks, I get really unsure of myself and what I'm doing. Even though I'm still seeing 1-2 pound drops in my weight each week, I sometimes wonder if I'm doing this correctly. From the very beginning, I've been struggling with how many calories to consume each day. Most of the time I keep it around 1200, give or take a hundred, depending on the day.

There are a lot of tools on the web to help you figure this stuff out. Unfortunately, they all give me different answers. For example, I went to the "weight loss calculator" on the MSN site and told it my current weight and my goal weight. It informed me that in order to lose 10 more pounds by April 29th (that's 1 pound per week), that I need to eat 2111 calories per day, which seems way too high. Another site's calculator told me 1900. Another told me 1700. It's hard for me to believe these things. Of course, I've heard a million times that if you drop your calories too low, your body holds onto fat in an effort to conserve energy. However, I'm still losing, so I didn't think that was happening to me.

I'm really not sure what to do. I'm very happy to have that appointment with the nutritionist coming up. It will be nice to hear from a professional how much I should be eating.

The truth is, I'm hungry a lot. Or at least I think it's hunger. My notion of what hunger is has gotten so screwed up. There are often times when I honestly can't tell if I'm hungry, or if I just want the "taste" of food, or maybe I'm bored or pissed off, etc. I do feel like I deprive myself, though. This occurs mainly in the afternoons when I'm at work. I have a small snack but I still feel ravenous.

So, I'm going to try increasing my intake a bit. I'm really nervous about it, for the obvious reason that I'm scared I'll put weight back on. I'll probably see a temporary gain for a few days until my body adjusts, then hopefully it would go back down. I know I'm not going to gain 94 pounds back overnight, so I just need to take it day by day and see how it goes.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Cheat days revisited / Red Velvet Debacle

In a previous post, I posed the question "Should I keep having cheat days/meals?"

I think I may have figured out what I need to do. On those days, I just need to work out like a motherf*#@!r. I was on the treadmill for 6 miles on Saturday, which is the farthest I've ever traveled on foot at one time. Then, I did another 5 miles on Sunday. I had quite a few cheat items over the weekend and still didn't gain weight. Woot woot!

February 16th was my mom's birthday, and it was a "milestone birthday," which I guess makes it extra-super-deluxe-special. She always makes a wonderful birthday cake for me, and in previous years I've just bought a store-made one for her. I didn't want to do that this year, so I opted to make a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting.

Let me say that I'm not a very accomplished baker, mainly because I hardly ever do it. I love cooking, but baking requires a level of precision I'm not used to. I read the reviews of the recipe, and many said that it was dry, but this could be fixed by adding 1/4 cup oil to the batter, which I did. The batter tasted great (yes, I licked the spatula), and the cake smelled good as it was cooking. The icing was awesome. Basically, I tasted each component as I was making it. But, you can't really slice into the thing after it's assembled to see if it's good or not. It would be kind of rude to present a birthday cake with a big chunk of it already missing. So, I just hoped it would be as delicious as it looked.

Sadly, not so much. It was really dry and the cake wasn't sweet enough. The icing was still awesome, though.

This turn of events was a bummer on two different levels:
1) My mom's 60th birthday cake sucked. A person who is 60 obviously deserves a yummy cake on her birthday, not a sucky dry one.
2) I wasted calories on a cake that wasn't awesome.

Then, I had another piece. Heh.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

New After Photo / Short term goals / Body dysmorphia

Last year, when I first started my diet and exercise program, the thought that I would need to lose over 100 lbs. to get to my goal was extremely intimidating. So, I really tried not to think of the destination, but rather, the steps along the way. I did this by setting achievable short-term goals, like "lose 10 lbs.," or "get below 200 lbs." At first, the weight came off very rapidly, so it was easy to reach those mini goals.

I stepped on the scale this morning and saw that I lost another pound, which means I am only 6 lbs. away from losing a total of 100 lbs. My current short-term goal was to fit into size 12 jeans. I thought maybe today was the day, so Angie and I went to Old Navy. I'm not a huge Old Navy fan, but I've been getting their jeans pretty consistently so I go there to try on new pairs. So, I grabbed a pair of size 12s and went into the fitting room. They fit like a glove! That's one more goal I can cross of the list.

When I think about how far I've come, I really can't believe it. It's like it didn't happen. Sure, I feel a lot better and people keep telling me I look different, but when I look in the mirror I can't always see it. It's as if my brain hasn't caught up with my body yet. Angie took my new "after photo" today (posted on the right), and I just kept staring at it, not believing it was really me.

There is a person who works for my company whose physique I used to envy when I was bigger. She has a very average body; she's neither fat nor skinny. I used to think, "man, if I could just look kind of like that, I'd be all set." When I was riding in the elevator with her the other day, I saw our reflections, and I noticed my hips are smaller than hers now. I never would have realized it unless we had been standing side by side. If someone had told me "you're smaller than so-and-so," I wouldn't have believed it.

I think I have body dysmorphia. I need to change that, because I don't want to wind up one of those women who is never satisfied with her body. Even when I reach my goal weight, there will still be parts of me I can't stand. I have a pooch of flab above my belly button that drives me nuts. My boobs look like deflated balloons. I have loose skin. Most of the stuff that bugs me couldn't be corrected by working out anyway, so I don't know why I let it bother me so much.

Even so, I can appreciate the parts of me that have gotten so much better. I have collarbones! Who knew? I also have some serious muscles these days. Oh, and perhaps my favorite thing... I have a vein in my arm that pops out when I work out. I even think my nose has gotten skinnier. Seriously... check out the two photos to the right and you'll see what I mean.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Stupid scale

I weigh myself every day. There is much debate in the weight-loss universe on the subject of how often to step on the scale. Some say once per week, or every day, or once a month. Some say you shouldn't weigh yourself at all, instead opting to gauge your progress through body measurements.

When I first started my little project, I weighed in every few days. I had no system to it. I'm kind of glad I did it that way in the beginning. If I stepped on the scale on a daily basis, I probably would've quit dieting and exercising very early on. These days, I feel like I need a daily reminder of where I've been, where I am now, and where I'm hopefully going.

The reason I think the scale is stupid is, this morning I stepped on it and it said 171. That made me very happy, but I thought it might be a fluke, so I got on again. Still 171. I got reallly excited and told Angie, but then I made the mistake of getting on again and it was 173. I got on 3 more times, and it was still 173. Dammit.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy V-day / My sucky workout this morning

Happy Valentine's Day, gentle reader(s). Three coworkers brought treats today, including cupcakes, which are my Achilles heel. I was able to resist temptation, but those cupcakes looked really good. And they were miniature, too, so I easily could've rationalized it and said "well, since they're small, I can have one." Then I would've eaten 4 or 5.

I'm saving my calories for tonight's "Steaky Steaky Morgan Makey" Valentine's dinner, which I'm preparing for Angie as soon as I get back from the nursing home. The last time I had a filet mignon, I distinctly remember it being roughly the size of 4 x 6 photograph. Granted, that was in a restaurant, where they serve big portions. I did a little research last night and discovered that a 6 oz. filet mignon is about 350 calories, which sounded reasonable. So, when I visited the butcher and asked for 2 dainty fillets about 6 ounces each, I was slightly disappointed when I saw him grab a couple steaks the size of my iPod Nano. Okay, maybe a little thicker. But damn! I was expecting it to be bigger. Oh well, I'll be rounding out the meal with lots of asparagus, and I'm making Angie a baked potato also. I decided last night I probably shouldn't have a potato, but now that I see what a hockey puck my steak will be, I may change my mind. For dessert we're having strawberries and fat free Cool Whip. Nothing says romance like a plastic tub of a science experiment masquerading as a dairy product.

Subject change...

Alcohol kills my workouts. I had two light Heinekens last night. (Sidenote...playing Guitar Hero while slightly tipsy is AWESOME.) When I got on the treadmill this morning for my workout, I couldn't run. It just wasn't happening, so I walked the entire hour. That was fine back when I first started exercising last year, but nowadays, walking is boring as hell for me. I'm still proud that I finished the workout rather than copping out because I couldn't really run.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

How I Feel About Exercise

**Check out Drew's other comics at

You don't have to exercise to lose weight. I proved that when I threw my back out in October and stayed pretty much horizontal for a month. I was so scared I'd gain a bunch of weight back, but all I did was drop my calories a bit and I still lost about 2 lbs. per week.

Even so, I didn't feel good that whole month. I had headaches almost every day, and all the muscle I had built up was turning back to mush. I felt just like I did before I started this whole thing. When I got the "all clear" from my doctor to start moving again, I can't say I was looking forward to it, but I knew I needed to be working out. It only took about a week for me to feel better again. The headaches went away, and I could already feel some of the muscle tone returning. Oh yeah, baby. I have a six pack. It's just covered by a layer of fat.

These days, I exercise about 5 days per week. I do running intervals on the treadmill, and on Tuesdays I do an endurance run, where I see how long I can go before crapping out. Last week it was 50 minutes of continuous jogging. Tonight I'll try for 51 minutes and see what happens. I also do some weight training here and there, but I need to do it more often.

Do I like doing all this stuff? Um, no. Not one bit. While I'm on the treadmill, I'll be jogging away, perfectly convinced that I've been on the damn thing for 20 minutes. Then I look down and it'll be like 4 minutes. It's infuriating. I'm really not a fan of it. But the moment I finish the workout, it's a great feeling, and I'm glad I did it. It makes me feel better about myself to know I can possibly outrun a burglar, or a bear, or the police. Oh yeah, and it makes me healthier too, I guess.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Guitar Hero III = crack

My friend brought over Guitar Hero III yesterday. After about 15 minutes, I informed her she and her guitar would be moving in and playing video games with us forever. Strangely enough, she wasn't cool with that, so I had to buy my own.

This game is crack, people. CRACK! Are you ready for this?... when I was playing it tonight, I wasn't thinking about eating AT ALL! It's insanity.

So, nice knowing you all. I've been sucked into the Guitar Hero vortex and I doubt you'll ever hear from me again.

My first outdoor run

I've been spending a lot of time with the treadmill these last few months, and frankly, we're getting a little sick of each other. I don't like the way it collects dust even though I use it every day, nor do I like the squeak it makes when my left foot makes contact. I also can't touch it with my hands while I'm on it, because it shocks me like I just stuck my finger in a socket. I'm quite certain the treadmill is annoyed with me as well. I get all sweaty, and I shout profanity every time I nearly fall off it, which is pretty often.

So, I thought it was time for my first ever outdoor run. It's been freezing here, but on Saturday it got up to 50 degrees. I put on all my running clothes and checked myself out in the mirror. I looked quite a bit like this:

Okay, maybe not this bad, but pretty darn close. I had on a similar headband, but it wasn't yellow. I guess that was really all I had in common with this guy. But it gave me a good excuse to put a picture of Michael Cera in my weight loss blog. That's not something you're going to see every day.

Anyway, I started my run at about 2:30 pm. At the urging of my girlfriend and my mother, I took my cellphone with me, as well as my driver's license. In the event of death brought on by cardiac arrest, at least they'd know who I was. I had a playlist all set up in my new iPod just for running. Oh, did I mention my iPod has a built-in stopwatch?

Running outside is way harder than running on the treadmill. I had to stop and walk quite a few times. But, it was really cool to watch all the cars pass me an know they probably weren't thinking "man, look at that fatty jogging! What does she think she's doing?" I know, I worry way too much about what others think. But, that was really the main reason I didn't do much outdoor exercise before now. Pretty sad, I guess.

It was a pretty great feeling when I jogged up to my parents' doorstep and rang my doorbell looking like Rocky running up the stairs. I did 4.1 miles in 50 minutes, which averages out to be about 4.9 mph. WOOT!

Resistance is Futile

I got an iPod. As the spring approaches, I'll be more inclined to exercise outside. Unfortunately, there are not yet devices that look like this:

I would really prefer a "TV Headband" that I could wear while running. However, this might contribute to accidents, like tripping on a curb or getting hit by a car. So, it's probably better that no one invents these things.

So, I went ahead and got the 3rd generation iPod Nano, in the lovely cool green color. Why didn't I get one of these things sooner? It really is a fun little gadget. I've downloaded a ton of music, a couple of guided-meditation podcasts, and an episode of How to Look Good Naked.

Here is my iTunes mix of workout songs:

Roger that...we have reader(s)!

I've just been informed by a friend at work that she reads my blog. She also confirmed her roommate (who also used to work here) reads it too. This is a very exciting turn of events for me. When I started this blog, I wasn't going to tell anyone about it, but then I realized probably no one would read it. So I guess I gotta tell people. It's inevitable.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Not again!

Dammit, I just had another "mini-binge." I can't keep doing this. The time I have a problem is right after work (before dinner), when I'm alone in the house before Angie gets home. Tuesdays and Thursdays I'm safe because I go to my grandma's before getting home, but MWF I tend to have a problem. Wednesday I was able to avoid it by simply not going in the kitchen.

This obviously isn't going to work if I hope to get to my goal. One slip-up is no big deal, but when I'm having them two or three days a week, it's not good.

Kellog's All Bran = Colon Blow?

As referenced in last night's post, I had two big bowls of fiber-packed cereal right before bedtime. This morning, only one thing comes to mind:

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Cereal and yogurt are from the devil

Today I went by the store and purchased some Kellogg's All Bran Cereal with Yogurt Bites. This stuff is way too good. I had some at lunch mixed up with low fat yogurt. With 10 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein per serving, it really filled me up. That's pretty difficult to do.

I got so excited about my cereal discovery that I had two more small bowls of it after dinner. Eating after dinner is a big no-no for me, but I couldn't resist. It was too damn good.

It's the devil!

Last night's interval workout/ Thursdays at the nursing home

My interval workout last night went very well. I decided to do 60 second jogs at 6 mph, followed by 90 second walks at 4 mph. I kept this up for an hour. Doing intervals like this really helps the session fly by, because it's broken up into so many "mini-goals." It also makes it difficult to zone out, because you have to be paying attention to adjust the settings every minute or so.

The plan is to continue doing intervals, but increase the running portions and decrease the walks. I'll keep all two of my readers posted on my progress, but one of them lives with me so she'll probably already be aware of what I'm doing.

...Subject change...

My grandmother has been in a nursing home for almost two years now. She's 97 years old, and thankfully has pretty much all of her wits about her, but this wasn't always the case. Parkinson's is a real bitch of a disease. She started developing little tremors when I was a kid. At first it was barely noticeable and didn't cause any sort of decrease in her quality of life.

As time passed, of course it got worse, and it got to the point where she couldn't walk very well. She lived alone at that time, so I was worried for her a lot. I called her every day in the afternoon to check on her and work the crossword puzzle over the phone. One day, she didn't answer. I figured she was in the bathroom or something, because old people tend to hang out there a lot. I called back about 30 minutes later, and still no answer. I kept calling and calling, letting it ring for what seemed like forever, and she never picked up. By this point I was very worried, and I called my mom. She drove over there and found her on the floor, alive but pretty freaked out. It was the classic "I've fallen and I can't get up" scenario. She had been like that for hours.

She obviously wasn't thrilled to move into a nursing home and sit idly by as her family picked through her house and either threw away or sold most of her belongings. I can't even imagine how bad it sucks for her there. The fact that she is mostly mentally sound sometimes seems like a curse and not a blessing. If she were a zonked-out senile person, at least maybe she wouldn't realize how bad it sucks at that place.

At least we go to visit her. Either my mom, my dad, or myself goes every day. Tuesdays and Thursdays I stop by after work. I sit with her at dinner and we work the crossword, then we go back to her room for a bit and play gin. I'll admit it's not something I always look forward to. I have to take a Xanax before I go, because I get really tense and anxious about being there. Honestly, what do you tell someone who looks you in the eyes and says "Why can't I just die?" How the hell am I supposed to respond to that?

This is turning into a really morbid post, and I didn't mean for it to. But Tuesdays and Thursdays make me all wonky. Sorry.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Last night's record breaker / appointment with nutritionist

In all my whining about my lunchtime binge, I forgot to mention that I jogged for 50 CONSECUTIVE minutes last night. It was pretty awesome.

I consulted with one of my PeerTrainer buddies who is a runner, and she thinks I should concentrate less on endurance and start working more on increasing my speed. She writes:

"About the running, once you have reached the point of running 30+ mins consecutively you need to add more of a challenge.
Do you currently run with any resistance? If not make sure all runs are at least 1% incline. You will work both your quads and glutes a lot more...this may be the only change you need right now but if you want to bump it up a notch add intervals a couple times/ week.
Interval workouts are shorter (30-45 mins) will improve your speed. If you look back at my workouts you'll see one from my trainer where I sprint at 6-6.5mph for 1 min and walk 1 min both w\ a 3.5% incline...this is a tough one but you get the idea. The main thing is to go all-out (what ever that is for you) for 30-60 sec's and recover for 60-120sec about 15 times or more. Shorten the recovery time and lengthen the all-out time as you get fitter. Finally, change your endurance runs to 10 & 1's, Run 10min / Brisk Walk 1min start with 5 set and add a set each'll be running races in no time ;) "

I was able to build up to 50 minutes at 5 mph by using the principles of interval training, so I know it works. I just need to try a different interval now. Perhaps I'll do 6 mph for 1 minute, then walk for 2 minutes, and work my way up to running at 6 mph for 45 minutes or so.

Sounds like a plan!

In other news... did anyone catch The Biggest Loser last night? In the beginning, a couple of the contestants reveal to Jillian (one of the trainers) that they've been cutting their calories back. One girl was eating 1000 calories per day, and the other dropped all the way to 500. This is obviously too low, but it made me wonder if I'm on the right track with my nutrition.

I picked up the phone right then and called a nutritionist I saw in the newsletter of the local community center. I have an appointment on Monday, February 25th. I need to get her opinion on how much I should be consuming, and just get a general consultation. I'm looking forward to it, and I'll be sure to write about what we discuss.

I need to call my sponsor.

Remember my earlier post where I skillfully avoided a binge by blogging instead of eating? That strategy didn't work so well this afternoon.

My day started off kind of crappy. I had a totally weird dream last night which freaked me out and set a kind of negative tone for the day. Weight training was on my schedule for this morning, but I skipped it. By lunch, I felt like the world owed me something. That's the best way I can explain it. I felt like I deserved to stuff my face.

I got home for lunch and made my planned meal- a turkey sandwich with spinach, and cottage cheese on the side. While making my sandwich, I also got out the potato chips and starting snacking on them, along with more cottage cheese. After finishing my sandwich, I went for some cereal with yogurt, and then a fudge pop.

In the grand scheme of things, this binge (if you can even call it that) is not so bad. Back in the old days when I weighed almost 100 lbs. more than I do now, a typical binge would be a Big Mac meal at McDonald's, followed by a PB&J sandwich, then two huge bowls of ice cream, and then possibly another sandwich. This doesn't even compare to my old life. Still, that's not the point. The point is that I had a plan and I couldn't stick to it.

My attitude on days like this is kind of all-or-nothing. Now I seriously feel like the day is ruined, and I should just skip my 60 minute treadmill session tonight. The truth is, I just feel like crying right now. Too bad I'm at work and I can't let loose with the tears. People would look at me funny.

Angie has to work until 6:15 tonight, and I'm seriously worried about what kind of damage I will do if I'm alone with the refrigerator for an hour. I just called my mom to see if she'd come over and hang out until Angie gets back, but I guess her car is in the shop. It must seem pretty pathetic that I need a babysitter so I won't eat myself into a coma.

Cupcakes and cheat days

I had my cupcake on Saturday, and I do believe it was the most delicious cupcake I've ever tasted. Just as I'd fantasized, the cake part was white and the icing was pink and fluffy. It was pretty big, too. I had to cut it in half to eat it. Just writing about it is getting me pretty excited.

Saturday was my cheat day. I started having a weekly cheat day a few months ago because I was beginning to feel deprived with the whole "diet" thing. I didn't want it to turn into one of those things where I'd be perfect for so long that one day I'd just snap and gain back 90 pounds in one day. I know that can't actually happen, but for now I live in fear of it.

So for a while, I had a whole day where I pretty much ate whatever I wanted. Typically, there would be a gain of 1-2 pounds the next day due to all the salt and water retention, and I was okay with that. Then, in September/October I hurt my back and couldn't work out, but I continued to have the cheat days. A temporary gain of 1-2 pounds would turn into 4-5 pounds, and not all of it would always come off. That was scary and counter-productive.

I switched to a weekly cheat meal, rather than a whole day, because that seemed more reasonable. There are some definite drawbacks, though. For example, when you eat pretty much all healthy stuff all week, you really look forward to that one meal. There's so much you want to have... Mexican, a burger and fries, cheesecake, etc. It's so difficult to focus on one thing.

Anyway, so Saturday we went to The Mixx where I had my perfect cupcake. I also had a salad they call the "Heath Nut." It has greens, grilled salmon, red onions, walnuts, and soy nuts, with a low-fat pear and ginger vinaigrette. It was really good, and I know nuts are supposed to be "good fat." However, the sheer amount of nuts they put in, combined with the salmon and other stuff, leads me to believe that the salad alone was around 600 calories. So I basically used my cheat meal for a salad and a cupcake. Kind of depressing.

So that should have been it. I should have stopped with that one meal and not had another splurge for a week. Naturally, that didn't happen. That night we went to Angie's cousin's house for dinner and a movie. She made all the food with recipes from Cooking Light magazine, and it really was delicious. Scallops and pasta with a creamy tomato sauce, a salad, some garlic bread, and sheet cake. Of course, I had too much of all of it, thus negating the "healthy" factor. On top of that, I had 4 beers.

It doesn't end there. Sunday I planned to make dinner myself, but the day wound up being a stressful whirlwind and the last think I wanted to do when it was over was cook. We wound up going for Chinese food, where I ate enough rice, beef and chicken to feed a small village. Oh, and crab Rangoon. When I die, please bury me with crab Rangoon surrounding my body.

All of this resulted in a not-so-pleasant number on the scale Monday morning. I'm pretty much back on track now, but this has left me wondering if I should be having a cheat meal/day at all.

I'm pretty sure no one actually reads this blog, but if you do, leave me a comment and let me know what you think. One caveat- please don't say something like "having a cheat meal every week is the same as an alcoholic taking a drink every week." I reject that completely. An alcoholic doesn't have to drink to survive. I gotta eat.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Now you know what to get me for my birthday...

My 30th birthday is coming up in April, and I bet a lot of you are wondering what to buy me. Look no further. Are you ready for this? Wait for it... The Hawaii Chair! Watch and learn, people. If you don't see the video below, click here to be redirected.

I Want a Cupcake

Yup, that's right. I've got a hankering for a cupcake. I want it to be white cake with fluffy pink frosting. I want it to be dense, so that when I bite into it, it doesn't fall apart into crumbs. There had better be an obscene amount of frosting on that bitch, too.

There's a place here in lovely Kansas City called The Mixx that serves excellent salads. You go through the line and tell the nice man what you want in your salad, and he tosses it up in a big shiny bowl, flops a roll on top, and gives it to you. When you get to the end of the counter to pay, there is a b.e.a.uuuuutiful display of confections made by some local company. I've just emailed my girlfriend and informed her we'll be eating there this weekend. Hope she's on board, because like I said, I have a hankering.