Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Rockin' Eve

Well, hardly Rockin', but it'll have to do...

I've been pretty occupied since my last post with holiday visiting, events to attend and various and sundry ordinary things. Thank goodness that things will soon be getting back to normal very shortly. Until then, we have our traditional early New Year's Eve dinner out and a lazy New Year's Day at home.

I hope everyone has a wonderful start to the coming new year and that you do your best to get what you want out of it!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Interesting Observations

First of all, I hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday. My holiday had the usual allotment of the good and the bad, with the good winning out yet again.

I noticed several interesting things as things ratcheted into high gear going into Christmas. I know that I fell into a pattern of mindless eating, especially when near Christmas cookies or other holiday treats, over the last few days. I also paid less attention to my "comfort zone," and ate until uncomfortably full, both on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

In fact, it may not have been as mindless as I thought, since I do remember being aware of what I was doing at the time. I do know that I'm not concerned about it, mostly because I didn't let it spill over to today.

What really surprised me was how easy it was for me to go from "indulgence" to "overindulgence." I imagine it's just something else to file under "Constant Vigilance."

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

No weigh in report, no sage words of advice, just the heartfelt fish that you all have a happy and joyous Christmas!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Here Comes Santa Claus!

Right down Santa Claus Lane...

It could possibly be the most linked to site on the Internet on December 24th, but that won't keep me from linking to it. After all, we need to know where that fat, jolly old elf is, don't we?

NORAD has been helping children around the world track the location of Santa on Christmas Eve since 1955, and as technology has improved, so has the ability to track Santa. This year, NORAD has integrated Google Maps and Google Earth to help with its annual mission.

Without further ado, find out where Santa is!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Extreme Christmas Shopping

Not! I was able to complete my shopping today with a minimum of fuss without having to go anywhere near the mall and the dreaded food court.

But in the spirit of enjoying the holidays, I bring you another Christmas game, Xtreme Xmas Shopping. Good luck!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Rockin' Around The Shopping Mall

I was out all day today with the Mrs., taking care of her last minute stuff. Which means my last minute stuff has to wait until tomorrow. Such is life...

In the meantime, here's some Christmas fun for you from OfficeMax. It's just a bunch of silly holiday games, including the popular "Elf Yourself." Have a ball!

PS The chances are pretty good that I won't get back to any serious posting until after the holidays. Not to worry, though. I'll still try to find something to keep you occupied.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

12-20

December 20, 1959
Tada! Look out, world, I'm here! That's right, 48 years ago today I made my debut and ever since then the universe has been toying with me in the same way a cat toys with with its prey before deciding it has had enough fun. It usually doesn't end well for the prey...

December 20, 1975
The universe gets serious. My grandmother was rushed to the hospital the day before and passed away the day after. I think it's safe to say that my 16th birthday wasn't my favorite.

December 20, 1984
My first birthday as a married man and the last in a long time that found me weighing less than 200 pounds.

December 20, 1988
My first birthday as a dad! My daughter was born that August, and I couldn't have been prouder.

December 20, 1989
It started out normally enough, but I wound up getting my most surprising birthday present of all when my son decided that he didn't want to be born in February, and decided to show up rightnow!!! We almost lost him, but today as he celebrates his 18th birthday he's a healthy, happy, athletic teenager who lives to give his good old dad grief!

December 20, 1999
Fast forward ten years later and the universe is warming up to give us the most frustrating year that we've ever had, starting with my diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes just 19 days after this birthday.

December 20, 2005
In contrast, this birthday preceded what turned out to be a very good year for yours truly. A new job within my company led to an improved attitude and the beginning of my weight loss journey. Take that, universe!

December 20, 2006
The first birthday since 1984 that I clocked in at under 200 pounds. I'd lost almost 94 pounds by this point and was in a groove that wouldn't quit.

December 20, 2007
That brings us to today. I'm down over 130 pounds from my starting weight, about 165 pounds from my all time high weight in 1989, and very thankful that I found the inner strength to do what needed to be done. It's the second best birthday present I've ever had. (See 1989 above for the best one...)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Weigh In: Week 86

Last Week: 160.8 lbs.
This Week: 159.6 lbs.
Change: Down 1.2 lbs.

Starting Weight: 292.0 lbs.
Total Weight Lost: 132.4 lbs.
Starting BMI: 43.2 (Morbidly Obese)
Current BMI: 23.6 (Normal)

Started WW: 25 April 2006
Reached Goal: 15 May 2007
Started Core: 13 June 2007
Reached Lifetime: 26 June 2007

First off, I'd just like to say hello to anyone from my local WW meeting who is stopping by looking for the recipe I mentioned at the meeting tonight. Just click here and you're all set! I whipped it up at the beginning of the football season to help me get my wing fix while watching the games. Please feel free to stick around and enjoy the rest of the site while you're here.

Looks like I'm hanging in there, staying in that two to three pound zone that I've been in since hitting lifetime. The longer I do this the more it seems possible to keep right on doing it. Although I have to admit, I'm getting a little tired of having these staring contests with those Christmas cookies! Sooner or later, I'm bound to blink, and that can only lead to trouble.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Juggling Cats

Maybe not cats, but I've been keeping quite a few balls in the air the last few days. There were equal parts stress, running from here to there and back again, celebrations, holiday madness and computer failure, just to name a few of the things that had to be dealt with.

The most painful was the death of the hard drive on my daughter's laptop. We've been waiting for her new laptop to be delivered and it was as if her old laptop went into a jealous rage, killing the hard drive before anyone could rescue the data that was on it. The hard part was informing my daughter that the last year and a half of her college work had been lost. She was especially distraught about losing all of her nursing files.

Unfortunately, it seems as though all of us learn about backing up our computer files the hard way.

On a brighter note, we were invited to help the president of my son's high school celebrate the 25th anniversary of his ordination into the priesthood. It was a wonderful evening, attended by many members of his blood, religious, and school families. Did I mention there was plenty of food? And drink?

The bottom line is that I survived all that and managed to keep the damage to a minimum. While there was a time or two that I may have been on the edge, I managed to stay in control. I didn't engage in any stress eating, and at the anniversary celebration I indulged in some treats without turning into a human vacuum cleaner.

Now if I can just talk my wife out of baking more Christmas cookies...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Never A Dull Moment

I won't be blogging for a few days, lots of things keeping me busy right now. All is well, nothing to worry about, I just need time to take care of a few things. Until then...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Weigh In: Week 85

Last Week: 159.6 lbs.
This Week: 160.8 lbs.
Change: Up 1.2 lbs.

Starting Weight: 292.0 lbs.
Total Weight Lost: 131.2 lbs.
Starting BMI: 43.2 (Morbidly Obese)
Current BMI: 23.8 (Normal)

Started WW: 25 April 2006
Reached Goal: 15 May 2007
Started Core: 13 June 2007
Reached Lifetime: 26 June 2007

I had a challenging week this week, but in the grand scheme of things I'm doing fine. I just need to make sure that I don't let the busy times, the stressful times, give me an excuse to backslide. Right now I have the tools to keep this weight off. The only thing I have to do now is practice everything I've learned and to keep my head in the game. So even though I'm up this week, I know why I'm up and I know that it's not the beginning of an upward trend. Especially since no one will be baking any more Christmas cookies in two weeks...

The challenges aren't over, though, and I'll have to be vigilant. The rest of this week will be just as busy as last week with plenty of chances to derail myself. As long as think before I eat, I shouldn't have any problems. It will be interesting to see how it plays out, to say the least. Whatever happens, it should make for some interesting reading.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The One Person Who Should Be Fat

You need to go here.

Notes To Self

  • Eating out four nights in a row is not conducive to healthy eating habits.
  • The 12 dozen Christmas cookies your wife brought home from a cookie swap are not calorie free.
  • You're supposed to eat to satisfaction, not to stuffed.
  • Tired and cranky does not become you.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

At Least I Didn't Eat It

The stress, that is. In spite of my best laid plans, I had a bit of a blow up on the way home from a night out with the family last night. It could have been averted if I had tried a little harder, but buttons were pushed and I couldn't resist pushing back.

Things are much happier today, thankfully. I had to run out to the market to restock some of my essentials. I even found something new to try. Couscous is something I've been hearing a lot about lately, so when I saw some whole wheat couscous in the store I decided to give it a whirl. Once I figure out the how and what, I'll give a report on the results here.

Something else I've been picking up on a semi-regular basis is German Dark Wheat Bread. Pepperidge Farms and Arnold's both make it, but so far I've only had the version from Pepperidge Farms. If you like a hearty, dark bread, it's very good. Much better than the low calorie bread I ate while I was losing. But since I eat nowhere near as much bread as I used to, I decided that when I have it, I'm going to make it a good one!

I will be trying the Arnold's variety very soon, though, as it was on sale today. It's a few more calories a slice than the Pepperidge Farms, but not enough to keep me from buying it. As with the couscous, I'll report on my impressions after trying it.

Time to start getting ready for another night out tonight. There's nothing like the holiday season to keep you on the move, that's for sure!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Christmas Specials You Must Miss!

Call me twisted, but I think this article by science fiction author John Scalzi from 2004 is hilariously funny.

The 10 Least Successful Holiday Specials of All Time

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Envelope, Please...

Thanks to Veronika, I received the "A Roar For Powerful Words" award the other day. It's an interesting award, not quite a month old, yet this branch of it already has been awarded nine times before it came to rest here. If you enjoy reading good writing, check the bottom of this post for links to the bloggers who received it before me as well as the bloggers I nominate below.

Now, on to business! The guidelines state:

Seamus says : Those people I've given this award to are encouraged to post it on their own blogs; list three things they believe are necessary for good, powerful writing; and then pass the award on to the five blogs they want to honour, who in turn pass it on to five others, etc etc. Let's send a roar through the blogosphere! The image above can be copied and pasted onto other blogs. Also, a small size of the award for sidebars can be found over at the writing circle site.

My three things that constitute good, powerful writing can be summed up fairly easily.

1. Have something to say. I have a problem listening to people who go on and on about nothing. The same thing is true when I'm reading, whether it's on paper or on line. Please don't waste my time!

2. Say it honestly. If I can't trust you when I read what you write, why should I bother? And believe me, you're not as clever as you think. If you're being disingenuous, your readers can tell.

3. Say it effectively. There are numerous times throughout the course of my daily routine that I'm expected to work hard. I don't want to do it when I'm reading. Please learn to spell and have a basic grasp of grammar. If I have trouble making it through the first paragraph, chances are I won't be back!

Without further ado, here are my choices for this award:

Jonathan at Jack-Sprat.net
Robin at CR - Getting and staying skinny the healthy way
Dinah Soar at Diary of a Not So Mad Housewife
Gal at 60 IN 3
R.E. at A Healthy Path

All five of these recipients meet the three qualifications I outline above. In addition, they all manage to bring their own unique perspective to their writing without forcing it on you. They relate to their audience without talking down to them and the best thing that I can say about them all is that they keep me coming back for more. I enjoy reading their blogs and I think you will too.

Thanks again to Veronika, who received the award from Laura. Laura received the award from Shelli, who was nominated by CanadianSwiss. CanadianSwiss received it from SwenglishExpat, who received it from Eric. Eric got it from Zirelda, who was awarded it by mapiprincesa. Still with me? Mapiprincesa received it from Chief Biscuit, who received it from Seamus of Shameless Words, who originated the award. Congratulations to all the recipients!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Weigh In: Week 84

Last Week: 160.0 lbs.
This Week: 159.6 lbs.
Change: Down 0.4 lbs.

Starting Weight: 292.0 lbs.
Total Weight Lost: 132.4 lbs.
Starting BMI: 43.2 (Morbidly Obese)
Current BMI: 23.6 (Normal)

Started WW: 25 April 2006
Reached Goal: 15 May 2007
Started Core: 13 June 2007
Reached Lifetime: 26 June 2007

I just wanted to get this report in before I turned in for the night. It's been a long day and tomorrow is coming up fast.

I know I'm usually a little more long-winded than this, but I'm yawning so much right now that I feel like the MGM lion at the start of the movie. Don't worry though. I'll try to come up with something that's extra verbose tomorrow!

Monday, December 3, 2007

An Award? For Me?

Apparently so! Veronika from MY STRUGGLE WITH LOSING WEIGHT has honored me with the "A Roar For Powerful Words" blog award. It's been almost a full day since I learned about my award, and Veronika's done something that few folks have been able to do, namely, leave me at a loss for words!

Here's why Veronika thought I deserved the award:

Skinny Guy – because I’ve never came a cross a person with such a desire and determination to change. He truly is an inspiration for many of his readers.

For those kind words I can only say thank you, Veronika. I started this blog as a motivational tool for myself, to keep me focused enough not to undo all the hard work that it took to lose my weight. The notion that other people come here not only to read my words, but also find themselves inspired and motivated by them, is a very humbling thing.

There are a couple of strings attached to this award, however. First, I'm supposed to turn around and pass it on to five other bloggers whose writing I perceive to be good and powerful. Also, I need to list three things I believe are necessary to make writing good and powerful.

I will do these things before the end of this week. In the meantime, I'd like to thank Veronika one more time and encourage you to visit her blog for her own brand of good and powerful writing.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Put To The Test

Well, it didn't take long...

I went into work yesterday for a little weekend overtime. Since I'm working on the last paycheck before Christmas, I thought a little last minute cash could be useful.

About halfway through the day I received an email from my wife that threatened to test my holiday goal. Halfway through a load of laundry, squealing noises and the smell of burning rubber started emanating from the washer. Ugh. And because we had previous plans to go to my mother-in-law's after work, I didn't have time to look at it when I got home from work. But it sounds suspiciously like an expensive repair bill or a new washer is now on our Christmas list.

On top of an almost $800 car repair from before Thanksgiving, this new development is already testing my resolve to stay in control despite the stress. So far I'm managing and not thinking about food to deal with the stress. I'm happy about that.

In fact, the way I'm dealing with it right now is by blasting Christmas music a volume level that even my teenage son might find uncomfortable. And it's working. It helps that no one else is home right now. But now I have to go run some errands.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

My Holiday Goal

On this first day of December, I have finally decided on a goal for this holiday season. It's a fairly simple one, and it isn't even entirely related to my weight. My goal is to not lose control.

It's easy to lose control during the holidays. There are many opportunities to get caught up in what everyone expects the holidays should be. I should know, I've been a willing victim to most of them. But this year, I want to be able to make it to January 2 without losing control when faced with all these ghosts of Christmases past.

What this means is that I will attempt to recognize stressful situations before they have a chance to surprise me. I will do my best to not let things that are not in my control get to me. I will not self-medicate any stress I do feel with food and will aspire to politely assert myself when the holiday food pushers align me in their cross-hairs.

I will work hard to refrain from losing my temper with those to know how to unleash it. I hope to be as gracious, kind and thoughtful with family as I am with friends and strangers. Most importantly, I want to remind myself every day why we're celebrating the holiday in the first place.

I realize that a lot of what I'm saying describes how I should act every day, but I also know that the things that I've mentioned are sometimes the first things to be sacrificed during the chaos of the holidays. If I can make it though the season accomplishing this goal, it will be the best present that I could have given myself this year.

Unless I buy that 65" plasma TV, of course.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mr. Creosote

In honor of yesterday's temporary derailment, I present for your enjoyment a clip from the movie "Monty Python's The Meaning of Life," featuring a old favorite, Mr. Creosote. How much damage can a mint do, anyway? It's only "wafer thin" after all...

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Warning: Mr. Creosote uses bad words and likes to vomit. A lot. So if that's not your cup o' tea, you might want to skip the video.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Weigh In: Week 83

Last Week: 159.8 lbs.
This Week: 160.0 lbs.
Change: Up 0.2 lbs.

Starting Weight: 292.0 lbs.
Total Weight Lost: 132.0 lbs.
Starting BMI: 43.2 (Morbidly Obese)
Current BMI: 23.7 (Normal)

Started WW: 25 April 2006
Reached Goal: 15 May 2007
Started Core: 13 June 2007
Reached Lifetime: 26 June 2007

I survived Thanksgiving week with only a 0.2 pound gain, but in retrospect it may not have been such a good thing. I know that sounds crazy, but I'll try to explain.

Since Thanksgiving dinner last week, I've been indulging in a generous portion of Jewish apple cake for dessert every night. After splurging like that for the last 5 nights and only showing a 0.2 pound gain, I gave myself permission to overeat when my wife and I went out to dinner tonight.

Not only that, but when we came home, I willfully made it a point to finish off the last of the apple cake (almost 2 servings) even though I wasn't close to being hungry. Not only that, but when my wife tried to remind me that I had said over dinner that I wasn't going to have any cake tonight, I told her I changed my mind and not to worry about it.

I'm more worried about my behavior on this one rather than whatever number the scale will show. There's absolutely no reason in the world I should have stuffed my face like I did tonight, and I know it. My stomach definitely knows it as well. It hasn't felt this bloated in a long, long time. I thought that pigging out like this was something that was behind me, but apparently I'll always have to be on the watch to make sure I don't let it sneak up on me again.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Aftermath

Wow! Four days away from the blogosphere has really left me behind. I've been catching up on my reading and commenting on other blogs and almost forgot to update this one! But I'm here now, so let's dig in...

Thanksgiving dinner was wonderful. We enjoyed a fresh turkey with all the trimmings. I had a nice helping of the turkey and enjoyed everything else in moderation. I even had a baked sweet potato instead of the mashed sweet/white potato dish (although I did have a taste!).

Come dessert time there was pumpkin pie and fresh Jewish apple cake, so I had a slice of each! Wicked of me, I know, but somehow I didn't think it would make all that much of a difference, you know?

In fact, it's true confession time. That Jewish apple cake was huge! And delicious! And I've had a generous slice of it each night for dessert since Thanksgiving. But once it's gone, it's gone. I'll know tomorrow night if there was any holiday "damage" to deal with, and if there is I'll deal with it then.

I also made a great Turkey Vegetable Soup with Barley over the weekend. I don't really have a recipe to give you, it was just another one of my "throw everything into a pot and see what happens" recipes. I boiled the turkey carcass & giblets for a couple hours, strained them, added a bunch of veggies, turkey meat and barley to the strained stock and simmered it for about 45 minutes. It's a hot, tasty dish perfect for the cooler weather we're having as we get ready to head into December.

Stay Tuned...

I'm back after a short hiatus over the Thanksgiving weekend. I'll post all about it later today...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Despite having to put a new fuel pump on my car yesterday, I have very much to be thankful for today. My family is home and safe, I'm in the best health of my life, we have a roof over our head and food in the cupboard, and all kinds of other things that get taken for granted every day.

So to everyone who visits the blog I just want to wish you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving and hope that you also have plenty to give thanks for.

The turkey is in the oven, football will be starting soon and this is probably the last time I'll be on the computer for the day, so enjoy yourselves and have a great holiday!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Weigh In: Week 82

Last Week: 160.8 lbs.
This Week: 159.8 lbs.
Change: Down 1.0 lbs.

Starting Weight: 292.0 lbs.
Total Weight Lost: 132.2 lbs.
Starting BMI: 43.2 (Morbidly Obese)
Current BMI: 23.6 (Normal)

Started WW: 25 April 2006
Reached Goal: 15 May 2007
Started Core: 13 June 2007
Reached Lifetime: 26 June 2007

I'm down a pound this week, but the week ahead is going to be a bit of a challenge. Normally, our Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday would have been manageable enough since dinner will be at home and totally under our control. The one thing that isn't under our control right now involves a car that refuses to move under its own power. Of course, it chose to exhibit this behavior at a most inconvenient time.

Plenty of holiday food plus added stress from dealing with an unexpected car repair could lead to problems if I let it, but I'm going to do my best to avoid going crazy this week. Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sorry, No Thanksgiving Tips

Today I was going to write a post with tips for getting through the Thanksgiving holiday while sticking to your weight reduction method of choice. But about halfway in I deleted what I had written and decided to just ask you to remember a few things this week instead.

Remember that you'll be gathering with people that are important to you. Make sure you let them know that.

Remember that no matter how tough your weight loss journey has been, there are still people in this country who go to bed hungry every night because they have no other choice.

Remember that there are families that won't be together on Thanksgiving because one of them will be on foreign soil, in harms way.

Remember that while things could always be better, they could always be worse.

Finally, remember to be thankful for the things you have and for the troubles that you don't.

Have a great week, everyone!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Field Trip: Philadelphia Diabetes Expo

I took my annual trek into Philadelphia this morning to visit the American Diabetes Association's Diabetes Expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. This was the forth or fifth one I've been to, and as usual I took the train into Philly to avoid the hassle of driving and parking in Center City.

I can't verify it, but it seems to me as if the Expo has been getting smaller every year that I've been going. At one time the seminars were held in separate rooms on the mezzanine. Now, different speakers are in "rooms" that are nothing more than areas separated by curtains where they compete with each others amplified voices, not to mention the noise of the entertainment in the general hall.

There also seemed to be many fewer exhibitors in attendance. The major insulin and blood glucose monitor companies where there, as were the pharmacy chains, but I don't remember seeing any of the other major pharmaceutical companies there. I managed to walk the floor fairly quickly, picking up many of the usual "freebies," including a new blood glucose monitor.

The day wasn't a total bust, however. I had a pleasant conversation with Alison Dryer, an RN at Abington Memorial Hospital, which was sparked by a plastic replica of one pound of fat on display at their booth. I also attended an informative talk on Type 2 diabetes given by Dr. Anthony Cannon, a New Jersey endocrinologist who gave some interesting insights on the spread of Type 2 diabetes and the increasing importance of diet and exercide in treating it. He also held a very informative Q & A session afterwards.

Unfortunately there weren't enough exhibits to keep my interest long enough to pass the time until the other talk I wanted to hear, on diabetes and nutrition, began. So after Dr. Cannon's presentation I packed up and started off towards the train and home to New Jersey.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Diabetes Lights The World Blue

On Wednesday, dozens of monuments worldwide were bathed in blue light in recognition of World Diabetes Day. Below are some images from a handful of these monuments from around the world. All images are from the World Diabetes Day website, except where noted.

San Francisco, The Coit Tower


San Antonio, The Alamo


New York, The Empire State Building
(From radio station 1010 WINS in New York)


Pisa, Italy, The Leaning Tower


Sydney, Australia, The Sydney Opera House


London, England, The Eye


These sites and many others around the world brought attention to the worldwide problem of diabetes and hopefully it will help pave the way for a cure in our lifetime.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

World Diabetes Day

Today is World Diabetes Day. It is a day of increased recognition of the effect of diabetes worldwide. It is a day of education about the seriousness of the disease and awareness that many people who suffer from the disease, especially children, do not have the needed tools and medications to battle it.

Personally it means that I will remember those whom I have known and loved that have died from complications of the disease and that I will do my best to not be counted among their numbers. I will also be praying that those I love who also have this disease will take it upon themselves to care for themselves so that I may enjoy their company for a long, long time.

It is my hope that a cure for diabetes will be found during the lifetime of all those who are currently afflicted and that all those who are at risk of getting the disease take that risk seriously and that those who are able can avoid being diagnosed.

I also hope that the public, the media and the government realize that there are several types of diabetes and that not all who have the disease could have avoided it. It is a disease of genetics as much as it is a disease of lifestyle.

Finally, today is a day of unity for all those who are affected by diabetes, whether you have it, are a caregiver for someone who has it, know someone who has it, or are in a position to help in the fight against it. If we all take an active part in this fight against diabetes, the children of the world will one day have one thing less to worry about.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Weigh In: Week 81

Last Week: 159.6 lbs.
This Week: 160.8 lbs.
Change: Up 1.2 lbs.

Starting Weight: 292.0 lbs.
Total Weight Lost: 131.2 lbs.
Starting BMI: 43.2 (Morbidly Obese)
Current BMI: 23.8 (Normal)

Started WW: 25 April 2006
Reached Goal: 15 May 2007
Started Core: 13 June 2007
Reached Lifetime: 26 June 2007

Things have been slightly hectic over here since the weekend. As a result, I missed posting yesterday's blog roundup and was barely able to get this weigh in posted tonight. I guess that's what happens when posting to your blog isn't the only thing you have to worry about!

As expected, my weight is up a bit this week after the wedding Friday night and the football party on Sunday. Even so, I'm still far enough below my goal weight that I needn't worry. Now it's into the home stretch leading to the Thanksgiving weekend. I'm actually looking forward to it. How about you?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I'm Not Out Of The Woods Yet...

The weekend's festivities aren't quite over. Yesterday was a day of recovery from the wedding. It was certainly an off day as far as following the Core guidelines went, and I definitely didn't come close to having any well balanced meals. We were out most of the day, visiting several home centers trying to get some research done for some home projects coming up, then a trip to the supermarket and some other errands. Quite the busy day!

Today, however, is the day I pick up the party pack that I won last month. I was able to avoid keeping the food in the house by offering it to one of my son's buddies who has invited my boy over to his house for some football parties before. His dad was nice enough to invite us to stay for a while, so I do plan on sampling the wares, but fortunately I won't have to deal with any leftovers.

The worst part about the whole thing is that the way the Eagles have been playing lately, I'm not sure if the game will be worth watching...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Grand Experiment

We all had a great time at the wedding last night even though we had to leave a little earlier than we would have liked. Our nursing student daughter had to get back to the dorms last night and our son had an early alarm this morning for a school related practice. Besides, mom and dad don't hang nearly as well as they used to, but we won't dwell on that...

The experiment I'm talking about in the title of the post is the way I approached my plan for eating at the wedding. Since these are good friends of ours, I decided to concentrate more on enjoying the celebration of their daughter's wedding and less on being anal-retentive about what I was eating and drinking.

I had a few things going in my favor with this approach. First, I'm already below my goal weight. Since I don't have to worry about posting a loss every week, I can afford the occasional blip up here and there. Also, I think I've actually learned a few good habits since I've started this whole weight loss adventure, so I thought I'd give them a hard core workout. Finally, since my wife has threatened to start calling me "Mr. Bones," I knew she'd be happy to see me eating "normally."

I grazed the hors d'oeuvres, concentrating on the out of the ordinary treats instead of the kinds of things you can pop into the microwave at home. The sit down dinner was very good, and the portions and side dishes were not out of line with what I've been used to eating lately, so there weren't any major issues there.

That pretty much left the two problem areas for most folks. You guessed it, alcohol and dessert. On the alcohol front I think I did very well. I probably had more to drink last night than I've had in the entire previous year, but that's more a function of abstaining for the last year than the amount I had last night, especially since I was driving. All things considered, I was a very good boy.

Dessert, on the the other hand, started out very innocently. I began by putting two or three of the small bite-sized sweets onto my plate. Then they rolled out the cakes and pies. Since I'm not a chocolate fiend, I was able to avoid some of the richer looking concoctions. Then I saw what looked like a cross between an apple pie and an apple cake, cut into pieces that were entirely too large. I took one, thinking that I would eat just a small portion. After all, it's a strategy that I've successfully used in the past.

Time for my grades. For Hors D'oeuvres I give myself a B. Pretty good, but I could have done better. I earned the same B for Dinner since I didn't need to polish off the mashed potatoes. My Alcohol grade is an A because I had just enough. Dessert gets a big, fat F because everything was just to good and I wound up showing no self restraint at all. Overall I think that works out to about a C+ for the evening. Not bad, although I do have to work on bringing that dessert grade up.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Just Passing Through...

I've been pretty busy between work and not-work over the last few days and really haven't had much time to post. Time to post coherently, anyway.

There won't be any more posts today, either, as we're attending the wedding of a friend's daughter this evening. There will be eating and drinking and dancing and fun.

Please make sure no one rearranges the furniture on me until I get back. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Weigh In: Week 80

Last Week: 159.8 lbs.
This Week: 159.6 lbs.
Change: Down 0.2 lbs.

Starting Weight: 292.0 lbs.
Total Weight Lost: 132.4 lbs.
Starting BMI: 43.2 (Morbidly Obese)
Current BMI: 23.6 (Normal)

Started WW: 25 April 2006
Reached Goal: 15 May 2007
Started Core: 13 June 2007
Reached Lifetime: 26 June 2007

Now that Halloween is over, the rest of the holiday season looms ahead, waiting to pounce upon those that are unprepared for its challenges. Challenge #1 of the season for me is coming up in a few days; my daughter's godparents are marrying off their oldest daughter on Friday evening and it's going to be a party to remember.

Judging from other special occasions I've had to face, I should be able to manage this one as well. One of the things that has helped me get through these situations is to just try and make the better choice. Not necessarily the best choice, but the better choice. I have found that if I make the better choice often enough, I usually enjoy better results over the long haul.

So when the holidays are in full swing and you're faced with a myriad of food choices that would tempt even the strictest Weight Watcher, just do your best to make the better choice and be satisfied knowing that better choices make for better results.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Weight Loss Blog Roundup #9

In honor of National Diabetes Month, this week's roundup is chock full of diabetes resources. These sites belong to private and government organizations that are active in the fight against diabetes.

The International Diabetes Federation is an international body that concerns itself with the worldwide spread of diabetes, especially in undeveloped countries. The IDF is also the sponsor of World Diabetes Day on November 14th and the first ever United Nations Resolution recognizing World Diabetes Day.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Diabetes Web Site contains information for the general public and professionals about diabetes, including research, statistics, and educational publications.

The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse is another government web site dedicated to distributing information about diabetes to the public as well as patients and health care professionals.

The American Association of Diabetes Educators is a professional organization for certified diabetes educators. There are several resources available there for patients as well, including a database for finding a CDE in your area.

The American Diabetes Association is one of the country's leading organizations involved in diabetes education, research and advocacy for all persons suffering from every type of diabetes and its complications.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is dedicated to finding a cure to Type 1 diabetes, previously called juvenile diabetes. Its chapters and affiliates span the globe in its efforts to defeat Type 1 diabetes.

There are some strong opinions out there about the effectiveness of some of these organizations; this list is just a starting point for folks who want or need to learn more about diabetes. Feel free to leave links to your favorite diabetes sites in the comments section.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Some Time To Recharge

Everyone needs to take some time off every once in a while. Whether it's for a physical or mental break, when you come back you feel much better equipped to deal with the things you need to deal with.

That's why I'm taking the weekend off. No blogging, no web sites, no email. I'm just going to take some time away from the computer and relax. Well, relax as much as my wonderful wife will allow.

So don't expect to see me around these parts until Monday, but don't be surprised if I make it a three day weekend since my Eagles are playing the Cowboys Sunday night which means I'll probably be up past my bedtime. Again.

Before I go, I just wanted to mention that two friends of Gotta Keep It Off! are finalists for the 2007 Weblog Awards.

John from John Is Fit is a finalist in the Best Medical/Health Issues Blog category.

Israel from Fat Man Unleashed is a finalist in the Best of the Rest of the Blogs (8751+) category.

Both of these blogs are great reads and if you feel the same way, head on over via the above links and vote for them. You can vote once every 24 hour period, but act soon before the polls close on November 8, 2007.

Good luck, guys!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

November Is American Diabetes Month


Diabetes has touched my life and the lives of those dear to me for a little over a decade now. Since November is American Diabetes Month here in the US, and since there are many diabetes events going on world-wide this month, I plan on devoting a few posts to different aspects of this disease throughout November.

I haven't discussed it much here, but I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes almost 8 years ago. My father-in-law passed away after his diabetes, along with other complications, cut short his recovery from a broken hip. Two months after that my wife was diagnosed. So for us, diabetes is something we deal with on a daily basis.

I'm going to try to post about different diabetes resources, some of the national and international diabetes organizations and what they do, and basically anything else related to diabetes that I can think of. I'll be posting about World Diabetes Day, celebrated on November 14, as well as about my planned visit to the Diabetes Expo in Philadelphia on November 17.

It is very important to realize the impact of diabetes not only in the United States, but around the world. I'm hoping that by talking about it here during the upcoming month, I will have done my part.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

No Man (Or Woman) Is An Island

One of the themes that has been a constant since I started writing this blog is the idea that each person has to be responsible for their own weight loss. No one is going to do it for you, and when you deviate from whatever plan you're following to lose your weight, it is of your own doing. After all, no one is forcing any food down your throat.

But the fact that you have to do this for yourself does not mean that you have to do this by yourself. A strong support system is essential for anyone involved in a difficult venture and I am sure everyone reading these pages would agree that losing weight certainly qualifies.

That is one of the reasons Weight Watchers is so successful. Their meeting based weight loss approach has been thriving for over 40 years. It has definitely been a positive factor in my story. But it hasn't been the only one.

Being the computer minded person that I am, one of the first resources I turned to was the Weight Watchers web site. Their Community Message Boards offer dozens of different support groups to talk about all aspects of your weight loss journey. As a guy, I became particularly interested in the Guys On A Diet board, otherwise known as GoaD. The guys (and gals) who post there have a no nonsense approach to losing weight and offer lots of support for one another. The best part is that you don't need to be a member of Weight Watchers to read or write on the boards since they're open to the general public!

The blogging community is also very supportive. I found that out once I started this site. There are plenty of bloggers out there who are fighting the same fight against fat, yet we all bring something different to the table. Hopefully that enables us to learn from each other and try different approaches when we are running into stumbling blocks. You can check out the blogs listed in the sidebar or read the comments and visit the sites of the folks who post here.

In my opinion, the most important support group you can have is your family. Even though they may not understand the struggles that you're facing as you try to shred your excess weight, you can always count on them for unconditional love and support. Well, maybe it would be easier if Mom didn't try to fill you up with the best chocolate cake in the world every time to go to visit her, but hopefully you're lucky enough that she understands when you only have a small taste.

The trick is to take advantage of these and all the other support systems available to you. They're there, you just have to use them.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Weigh In: Week 79

Last Week: 160.0 lbs. (Unofficial)
This Week: 159.8 lbs.
Change: Down 0.2 lbs.

Starting Weight: 292.0 lbs.
Total Weight Lost: 132.2 lbs.
Starting BMI: 43.2 (Morbidly Obese)
Current BMI: 23.6 (Normal)

Started WW: 25 April 2006
Reached Goal: 15 May 2007
Started Core: 13 June 2007
Reached Lifetime: 26 June 2007

I finally made it back to my meeting tonight for an official weigh in. Actually, it was my second meeting of the day, since I popped in to visit my old At Work meeting to help a coworker celebrate reaching Lifetime today. Congratulations, Alison!

At tonight's meeting we talked about other ways to measure our progress besides the scale. It's important because some people live and die by the number on that little box every week and lose sight of the other signs of success. The clothes that fit better, the increase in energy levels, the toned muscles, the easier breathing, the compliments from friends and family; these are all signs of success that are just as valid as the reading on that scale. It's very important to acknowledge those victories, especially because the scale can be quite fickle at times, leaving us feeling frustrated and cheated.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Weight Loss Blog Roundup #8

It's still Monday here in New Jersey, which means this week's roundup is still on time. Let's see what gems I was able to unearth for you this past week, shall we?

From John Is Fit, we get to listen to John as he talks about A Great Visit to the Doctor. Congratulations, John!

Crabby McSlacker takes a break from the usual crankiness and posts about Happy Healthy Things over at Cranky Fitness.

Jake is in the middle of dealing with a lot of physical issues over at Bring It!, but he's announced "I Just Won't Quit!"

60 in 3 has gone canoing, but before he left, Gal shared 5 Things I learned At Lunch with us.

Another loser discovers that it's not always the numbers on the scale that measures success. Just ask Israel of Fat Man Unleashed, or as I like to call him, The Incredible Shrinking Fat Man.

Finally, The Diet Pulpit's Lady Rose reminds us to be vigilant as she shares some Salad Secrets with us.

Thanks for checking out this week's roundup. I'm working on a few ideas for next week, so stay tuned...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Flights Of Fancy

I was lucky enough today to enjoy a special treat. A coworker of mine invited me to go flying with him in his homebuilt airplane! I may have mentioned it before, but just for the record I am a huge fan of airplanes and flying, so this was a big deal for me.

There's a small airport about 5 miles from my house and he had a reason to be landing there today, so I drove over to meet him and actually managed to get there in time to watch him land his plane. Once he parked the plane, I met him over by the skydiving school. His 89 year old cousin was going to go skydiving today!


My friend on final approach

Before his cousin and the rest of the family got there, we hopped into his airplane and took off for a little fun in the sky. It was a little windy, but once we got up to 4000 feet, the air calmed right down. The views were spectacular! We could see both the Philadelphia and Atlantic City skylines just by turning our heads.

Flying over South Jersey

Then the moment of truth arrived when my friend told me that the plane was mine to fly and let go of the controls. It's actually not as terrifying as it sounds, since airplanes like to fly straight and level. After a little of that and some simple turns, I gave control back to the left seat and we started back to the airport, where we had an uneventful landing.

Skinny Guy, Aviator!

The one thing that made this so enjoyable was that I fit into the cockpit of the plane without any trouble at all, something I wouldn't have been able to do 18 months ago. The plane seats two people and the interior is only about 43 inches wide at the shoulders. It didn't even occur to me that I didn't feel cramped up in that small space until I was driving home!

The only problem now is that I'm starting to feel an itch. An itch that I haven't felt in years. A very expensive itch. I wonder how much flying lessons cost these days...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Good Night, Sleep Tight

Left to my own devices, I would probably go to bed around one or two o'clock in the morning, and wake up somewhere around nine o'clock. Unfortunately, the real world requires that I set my alarm for 4:30 AM so that I can get to my job and do my part to make the world a better place, or pay my bills or something like that.

Anyway, any reasonable person would assume that I would just get to bed that much earlier so I would still get a good night or rest. But noooo, my brain doesn't quite work like that. It's always raring to go late into the night, locked into it's own circadian rhythms and not giving a second thought about what time I have to get up in the morning, despite over 20 years of the same routine.

The result is many years of 4 and 5 hours of sleep per night and being an absolute zombie in the mornings until my brain realizes that yes, I am awake, and that I probably should be functioning at some higher level than that of a turnip. Which is probably why if I even needed a blood transfusion the doctors would call Starbucks* and not the Red Cross.

As it turns out, my lack of sleep may actually have contributed to my former obesity. Surely not as much as my 5 cheese steak a week habit, but a contributing factor nonetheless. Studies from the University of Chicago, Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, and the Harvard Women’s Health Watch all suggest that there is a direct link between the amount of sleep one gets and the levels of certain hormones that regulate appetite. In other words, the less sleep you get, the greater the chance of putting on the weight.

So do yourself a favor. Get some sleep.

(I actually began writing this post late last night, but started nodding off at the keyboard.)

* I don't drink Starbucks coffee, but there are more Starbucks in the world then WaWas, so I used the more universal reference...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Pretzel Man And Other Indulgences

Every Wednesday afternoon at work, one of the guys brings in some warm, freshly baked South Philly Style soft pretzels. They are big and doughy and covered with salt, just like a good pretzel is supposed to be. He also has a large squeeze bottle of hot Bavarian style mustard. Put a bit too much on your pretzel and, well let's just say it's difficult to describe the feeling of trying to regain control of your sinuses after the choking pain subsides.

I don't indulge in these pretzels every week, but every once in a while I'll decide that I want one. So I'll have one. I'll dutifully log the points for it, usually before I've even finished wiping the mustard from the corners of my mouth.

Sometimes I'll get a hankering for an honest to goodness peanut butter and jelly sandwich. My wife keeps our bread in the refrigerator, so I'll take out two slices and toast them ever so slightly, then smear two tablespoons worth of peanut butter on one slice, and sugar free strawberry preserves on the other, then mash 'em together. I usually wash it down with either ice cold skim milk, hot coffee or no sugar added hot chocolate, depending on the season.

I've already talked about my favorite fall cookie in this post. It took me about a month to get through the first box, and that was with the help of my family. Right now I'm still working on the first sleeve of the second box. I suspect the rest of the box may last through Thanksgiving.

The reason I'm talking about these indulgences is not to torture you. It's to make the point that these treats are things that I was not willing to give up in my quest to lose weight. So I did what I needed to do to fit them into my new lifestyle. That means that I don't have them all in the same week or on the same day or even in the same hour, which in the past wasn't as outlandish as it sounds today.

Now I take my time and enjoy them, and they taste so much better than anything that comes in a wrapper or bag that you mindlessly pop into your mouth and swallow before it even registers that you ate it. Be aware of what you're eating and make sure that it's worth it to you. Then find a way to fit it in. It's not easy, but it can be done.

Because I just can't imagine life without soft pretzels.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Secrets Of Successful Weight Loss*

Weight Watchers Edition

If you haven't already guessed, I'm a big fan of Weight Watchers. Their program has helped me lose over 130 pounds, and so far has helped me keep it off. Not every weight loss plan works for everyone. But if you're going to try Weight Watchers, here are the steps you need to follow to give yourself the very best chance for success. Keep in mind that Weight Watchers is not magic. It's not rocket science, either. But it takes a certain mindset to be successful at it, and not everyone who joins is up to the task. But it can be done. And here are the steps that will help you do it:

1. Make the commitment.

Do not fool yourself. whether you need to lose 10 pounds or 200, you need to make the commitment to do it. Weight Watchers, done correctly, is about a change in your lifestyle. It is not about going on a diet. If you are not willing to make the commitment to a new lifestyle, it is very likely that you will fail. So before you even walk in the door, make sure that your mind is in the game.

2. Be accountable to yourself, for yourself.

Now that you've made the commitment, don't sabotage yourself. Don't sell yourself short. You need to believe that you are worth the time and energy that it is going to take to do this. You will also need to stand up for yourself. You are the one who is responsible for every morsel of food that goes into your mouth. Don't give that control away to anyone else!

3. Read the materials.

There is a wealth of information in the set of materials you receive when you join Weight Watchers, whether you go to meetings or join online. Don't just skim through them. Read them. Familiarize yourself with the plans. Ask questions at your meetings or on the Weight Watchers web site. There are all kinds of resources available to you. Don't be shy. Use them. That's what they're there for!

4. Follow the program, as written.

This is where it falls apart for many folks. They either follow the program half-heartedly, rely on incorrect information from other people, tweak the rules to suit themselves, or haven't read or understood the program. Whatever your reason, you need to follow the program! Weight Watchers has been in business a long time and they spend tons of money researching the science behind their program and testing it in different markets. As far as I'm concerned, in most cases they know what they're talking about.

5. Enjoy the journey.

One of the key concepts of the Weight Watchers program is that it is not a diet, it is a lifestyle change. You will need to learn to replace old unhealthy habits with new, healthier habits. But these need to be changes that you can live with, otherwise you will eventually give up because you will feel too restricted. Life is too short. Make changes you can live with and you just may be able to enjoy losing weight!

*While this post is geared towards the Weight Watchers program, the steps can be adapted to almost any program.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Weigh In: Week 78

Last Week: 160.6 lbs. (Unofficial)
This Week: 160.0 lbs. (Unofficial)
Change: Down 0.6 lbs.

Starting Weight: 292.0 lbs.
Total Weight Lost: 132.0 lbs.
Starting BMI: 43.2 (Morbidly Obese)
Current BMI: 23.7 (Normal)

Started WW: 25 April 2006
Reached Goal: 15 May 2007
Started Core: 13 June 2007
Reached Lifetime: 26 June 2007

As you can see from the unofficial numbers this week, I managed to handle this week's challenges fairly well. Jury duty wasn't a real problem once I found a local restaurant with some healthy choices. And on Saturday, our anniversary night out was a lot of fun and I was able to navigate through all the food choices by watching portion sizes and concentrating on enjoying the show.

I don't have much else to say tonight, other than to encourage everyone working on their own weight loss to keep fighting the good fight!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Weight Loss Blog Roundup #7

As promised, this week's roundup features the ladies. We even have two blogs that make their debut appearance on the Roundup. I hope everyone enjoys these posts as much as I have.

R.E. of A Healthy Path shares her thoughts on one of my own bad habits, Big Bites.

Weightwachen.com's Roni is ranting about Overeating, Cycles, & Binges.

The gulf between medicine and public health has Robin thinking about doctors and patients over at CR - Getting and staying skinny the healthy way.

Kathy Calculates: Weight Loss features a post all about Moderation. Thanks, Kathy!

What's in your head? Dinah Soar tells you that The Fat Is In Your Head in her Diary of a Not So Mad Housewife

To wrap things up, Crabby McSlacker talks about one of my favorite foods over at Cranky Fitness. Garlic: Stinky but Stupendous talks all about the pros and cons of that wonderful bulb.

That's all for this week. Be on the lookout for Roundup #8 sometime next Monday.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Party Like It's 1984

I took this weekend off from my usual routine, and for a very important reason. Yesterday marked 23 years of wedded bliss to my wonderful wife. I've learned over the years the importance of celebrating this day appropriately, and I'm happy to report that my better half has informed me that my efforts this year were highly successful and very much appreciated.

So what did I do to earn such high praise? I took my lovely wife and our two teenagers out to a wedding. Specifically, Tony and Tina's Wedding, an interactive dinner theater featuring the antics of two Italian-American families as they come together to celebrate the marriage of their two children.

The icing on the (wedding) cake was that the show was held on The Spirit of Philadelphia, a cruise ship that sails the Delaware River, giving fabulous views of the Philadelphia skyline and waterfront.

The actors did a fine job, especially when it came to involving the audience in the show. In fact, my son was picked on several times and even wound up in the family portrait! If you ever get a chance, it's a great show to see and I heartily recommend it.

Now to figure out what I'm going to do for our 24th anniversary...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Living Offline

Every once in a while, the world offline grabs a hold of me and won't let go, and this week seems to be one of those times. I've been dealing with all kinds of time thieves, some more important than others, but it was clear that something had to give. Unfortunately for the folks who come here to bask in the wisdom of Skinny Guy, posting to the blog is generally one of the first things to go.

We all have priorities in the real world and they affect everything we do. For the last 18 months my health has been near the top of my list, and as a result I feel better than I ever have. I'm eating better, I'm moving more and I'm actually in a better place intellectually and emotionally.

Don't worry, though. This post isn't an announcement that I'm going away or anything like that. This blog has been a helpful tool in keeping me motivated through my maintenance and it's introduced me to many like-minded folks who are a pleasure to interact with through their blogs. It's more of a pause to look over my shoulder to appreciate how far I've come in spite of all the demands in the real world. I'm damn proud of myself and there's absolutely nothing wrong with saying that.

And there's nothing wrong with any of you saying it either, no matter how far along you are in your journey. So make sure you say it today.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Path Of Least Resistance

This is going to be a short post after a long day.

I had jury duty today. I was actually able to find a decent spot for lunch. I was feeling good that I didn't have to settle for the hot dog carts or the fast food places all around the courthouse.

After I was done at the courthouse, I picked up my wife at home and drove her to a doctor's appointment. On the way home it was decided that we would order a pizza and take it home for her and my son to have for dinner. I was planning on whipping up a quick dinner from my stash of handy ingredients.

But by the time we got home, I was hungry, I was tired, and I just didn't feel like "whipping up" anything. So I had two slices of pizza. Not exactly the healthy dinner I had planned, but today the path of least resistance was a choice I could live with.

The difference is that I always used to take that path. Now, it's more of an aberration than a habit. There's been a fundamental shift in my mindset and I'm finding that I'm adjusting to it quite nicely.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Weigh In: Week 77 (Unofficial)

Last Week: 160.2 lbs.
This Week: 160.6 lbs. (Unofficial)
Change: Up 0.4 lbs.

Starting Weight: 292.0 lbs.
Total Weight Lost: 131.4 lbs.
Starting BMI: 43.2 (Morbidly Obese)
Current BMI: 23.8 (Normal)

Started WW: 25 April 2006
Reached Goal: 15 May 2007
Started Core: 13 June 2007
Reached Lifetime: 26 June 2007

That's right, this week we have another unofficial weigh in. I'm not avoiding the WeightWatcher scale, we've just been pretty busy at home. And since I've already logged my official weigh in for the month, there's no added pressure to make the meeting.

As you can see, I'm up a little bit again, for the fifth straight week. While I am still way below my goal weight, I don't want to let this trend continue too much longer.

I'll be facing 2 challenges this next week. First up, I've been summoned for jury duty tomorrow. I'll eat my usual breakfast before I go, but lunch will be a mystery until we're released for lunch, whenever that may be. It shouldn't be all that bad, though.

The other challenge will be Saturday night when my wife and I will be out celebrating our wedding anniversary. We'll be going to a dinner theater where they will be serving Italian favorites such as Chicken Cacciatore, Pasta with Marinara Sauce, Italian Sausage, and Caesar Salad. I should be able to manage just find, but plenty of temptation will be there.

Good luck to everyone out there facing their own challenges this week, and remember, if I can do it, so can you!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Weight Loss Blog Roundup #6

Do you think I waited long enough to post the Roundup this week? Fortunately I'm a little more punctual at work! Without further ado, let's get to it:

This week I decided to do a Guys Only roundup. Don't worry ladies, it will be your turn next week.

Over at Ralph's RightSizingAmerica blog, he discusses the results of a poll and asks, "Best Fast Food Or Worst?"

Guess How Much I Weigh is a new addition to the Roundup, and Tony lets us in on His 5K Plan.

In his post I WANT DESSERT!, TB of TB's Journey talks about his longing for a real dessert.

In this weight loss adventure, acknowledging our failures is just as important as celebrating our successes. John of John Is Fit knows that when he says he Needs To Do Better.

Jonathan says If You Believe It, It's True over at Jack-Sprat.net.

Finally, Gal gives us a quick fix at 60 In 3 with The Quick Guide to Losing Belly Fat. Or does he?

Next week: An all ladies Roundup! Stay tuned!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Cranberry Jaunt

I was back out on the trails of South Jersey today, as our hiking group met up on the edge of one of the Garden State's many cranberry bogs for another outing. Unlike last weekend, the weather was crisp and cool, ensuring a comfortable time for everyone.

The sandy trails wove around and through the bogs and cedar swamps, with plenty of nature to enjoy along the way. At one point we saw two deer across the water on one of the other trails, but that was the extent of the wildlife sightings for the day.

I'm certainly enjoying these weekend hikes. The folks of the outdoor club are very friendly, and I'm amazed at all the new things that I've been discovering in the place that I've lived for almost three quarters of my life.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Shopping Spree

Shopping for clothes as a fat man was never a pleasant experience for me. Ever since I was a kid and had to go to the "husky" section of the store, a feeling of dread would come over me each time I needed new clothes. Why dread? Because I knew I would have to schlep over the the big & tall store. Funny thing is, I never saw any tall guys there. At least not unless they were also very wide.

Once I walked through the doors, they still always seemed to be out of my size. Not that it mattered much, because the styles they were selling always seemed to have everything going for them but style. Unless, of course, you like to wear T-shirts sporting "big dogs" on them.

Once I began losing weight and shrinking out of my fat clothes, things started getting a little better. I still lived in jeans and T-shirts and sweats because I didn't want to spend a fortune on clothes that I'd have to replace in a month or two or three. But the freedom I felt when I realized that I could finally shop in regular clothes stores and not have to pay the big man mark-up at the B&T store was one of the best non-scale victories of my entire weight loss adventure!

Which brings me to earlier today. Next weekend my wife and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary and for our night out I had to buy new a new sports coat, dress shirt and slacks. We went to a local men's store where I was confronted with racks upon racks of clothes in my size. It was a thing of beauty to be able to have that many choices!

I was able to walk out of the store today with some new clothes that are very flattering thanks to the good fashion sense of my wife. In fact, I think I could even start to tolerate clothes shopping in the future. Maybe even enjoy it! Who knew?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Weigh In: Week 76

Last Week: 159.8 lbs.
This Week: 160.2 lbs.
Change: Up 0.4 lbs.

Starting Weight: 292.0 lbs.
Total Weight Lost: 131.8 lbs.
Starting BMI: 43.2 (Morbidly Obese)
Current BMI: 23.7 (Normal)

Started WW: 25 April 2006
Reached Goal: 15 May 2007
Started Core: 13 June 2007
Reached Lifetime: 26 June 2007

It's been a great week for me this week. In continuing with my One Thing commitment, I've been putting a lot of energy into restarting my regular walking routine, and I've been able to parlay that energy into action for 6 out of the last 7 days. Now the pressure is on to keep it going!

This week is the fourth week in a row I've had a gain on the scales, but add them together and they still don't equal the loss I had 5 weeks ago. All in all, I've been very content with my maintenance journey. I'm looking forward to continuing my walking routines, especially since I've added hiking to the mix. In fact, I'm contemplating another outing in the woods this weekend.

Have a great week, everybody!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Weight Loss Blog Roundup #5

Happy Columbus Day to everyone in the U.S., Happy Thanksgiving to our friends in Canada, and an all-purpose Happy Day to everyone else checking in today.

On to this week's edition of the Roundup:

Jake had a Close Call and talks about it over at Bring It!

Kathy Calculates not only weight loss, but whether or not she is a Confused Consumer.

TB takes time from TB's Journey to realize This Is Fun. Weight loss? Fun? He's serious!

Israel is back this week talking about part of his weight loss tools in his post Yogurt: One Of The Weapons In My Arsenal. Visit Fat Man Unleashed and read all about it.

Jennette is a new addition to the roundup, and over at Half Of Me she talks about A Matter Of Taste.

What exactly are The Benefits Of Gum? Head over to John Is Fit and let John lay it all out for you.

That's it for this week. Thanks to all of our roundup bloggers this week. It's great posts like yours that enable me to have something to blog about every Monday.

Have a great week!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Happy Trails

Tiring of walking loops around the neighborhood and local parks and ballfields, I took to the internet earlier this week to see if I could find new and interesting ways to burn some calories.

My search led me to the Outdoor Club of South Jersey, and this morning I participated in a 6 mile hike through New Jersey's Wharton State Forest, near Batsto Village in the heart of the Pine Barrens.

There was a large group of folks assembled at the rendezvous point when I arrived, and a short while later we were on our way. The pace was comfortable, although the weather was unseasonably warm and humid. We trekked though heavily wooded areas, more open areas, along the Batsto River, over some small streams and even though historic Batsto Village.

The time flew by, so much so that I was surprised when we found ourselves back at the Visitor's center at the end of the hike. I'm definitely going to check out the schedule to find some more of these hikes to participate in!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Everything I Ever Wanted To Know About Food...

...I learned from the Nutrition Facts panel.

You know, that little white box hiding on the package that your food comes in. Do you read it? Do you understand it? Do you ignore it?

Since I started losing weight in April of 2006, I've sometimes felt I was a slave to the Nutrition Facts panel. "How many calories is this? What's the fiber? This has too many grams of fat!"

As time went on and I began dropping the pounds, I began to see that little white box as my ally in the Battle of the Bulge. In this battle, information is power and that panel is the ultimate weapon!

Am I being a little over dramatic? Maybe, but the fact remains that even now, there's not a day that goes by when I don't check the Nutrition Facts panel on a packaged food that I'm planning to eat.

Here's a video from the US Food and Drug Administration from 1995 that explains how to read and use the label:

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Friday, October 5, 2007

And The Universe Laughed...

I really don't know what I was thinking when I entered the drawing, but I filled out the form, dropped it in the box and went on my merry way. It was probably just out of habit. Maybe I was hoping for one of the consolation prizes, like a hat or something.

Yesterday as I was going through the mail, I noticed a letter addressed to me from my local supermarket. I opened it and discovered that my entry was pulled from the box and that I was the winner of a "Field Goal Party" in the store's "Ultimate Tailgate Party" contest.

I now quote from the letter (minus the store's name):

Your prize consists of the following: Party for 15-20 people
  • 3 foot Hoagie
  • 5 lbs. Potato Salad
  • 5 lbs. Buffalo Wings
  • 1 lb. Crab Bites (made with 100% crab meat)
  • Custom Decorated 1/2 Sheet Cake
  • 1 Case of Soda
  • 2 Bags each of Potato Chips & Pretzels
  • Plates, forks, napkins and cups
I really don't mind winning the prize. And I doubt that I'll have any major trouble being around all that food when we redeem the prize, although I'm sure I'll be sampling some of the wares. I'm just enjoying the irony of having entered hundreds of these types of contests over the years and not managing to win a thing until after I've finally managed to adopt healthier eating habits.

One More Thing

After posting One Thing on Wednesday, I took my own advice to heart and have managed to get at least a half hour of walking in every day since then. What makes it so unusual is that I've managed to wedge the walks in at work during my lunch and breaks, instead of sitting around and surfing the net. I even found a few guys to walk with during lunch.

All it takes is one thing, folks.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

One Thing

One thing. That's all, just one thing.

Doing just one thing can change your life.

It doesn't matter what this one thing is. Not as long as you do it. Don't talk about doing it. Don't think about doing it. The actual doing of this thing is what counts. It doesn't have to be a big thing. It can be the smallest thing you can think of.

But make sure you do it. And when you do this thing, take note of the result. Here's where it gets complicated. If you don't like the result of doing this thing, don't do it anymore. If you do, then do it again.

The sum of all the different things that you do make up your life. The small things, the large things, the easy things and the difficult things, they are what your life is made of. The things that you've done so far are what made you what you are today.

If you want to change what you are today, then you need to do things that are different than the things that got you here. And it has to start somewhere. So find something that will get you started. Anything. That one thing. And do it.

Because doing one thing can change your life.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Weigh In: Week 75

Last Week: 159.6 lbs. (unofficial)
This Week: 159.8 lbs.
Change: Up 0.2 lbs.

Starting Weight: 292.0 lbs.
Total Weight Lost: 132.2 lbs.
Starting BMI: 43.2 (Morbidly Obese)
Current BMI: 23.6 (Normal)

Started WW: 25 April 2006
Reached Goal: 15 May 2007
Started Core: 13 June 2007
Reached Lifetime: 26 June 2007

I made it back to my regular meeting tonight. I'm only up a few ounces from last week's unofficial weigh in, so everything is is fine on the weight front.

I'm still having some issues on the exercise front, but I'm working on finding a way to get through them. I know it will come together, I just have to get it done.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Weight Loss Blog Roundup #4

It was a busy weekend at Gotta Keep It Off! headquarters, but now that the work week is here it's time to round up my favorite posts found on some of the many weight loss blogs out there on the internet. I hope you find them as interesting as I did.

Israel at Fat Man Unleashed Almost Didn't Workout, But Then...

Rob asks How Important Is Your Drinking Water? over at the Former Fat Guy Blog

Gal over at 60 In 3 helps us make choices when eating out by asking Appetizers, Good Or Bad?

Lily of Lilly Loss Lbs., guest posts at Cranky Fitness: Lily On Procrastination

JackSprat.net
's Jonathan comes up with a workable solution when traveling. Read about his Best Laid Plans...

TB gives us his Weight Loss Resume at TB's Journey

That's it for the roundup this time. Have a great week!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sports Sunday

Today has been an exciting day, as the Mets lost and the Phillies won, clinching the NL East Pennant. Way to go, Phils! My daughter was lucky enough to be at the game. She'll remember that for a long, long, time.

And in a little while, my Eagles are going to be up against those hated NY Giants up in the Meadowlands. So it's been a big day to watch sports on this beautiful Sunday.

It hasn't been all watching sports, though. In the last four days, I was able to to get in some walking on two of them. Not bad for easing back into things.

Time for me to go get my pregame rituals started, so enjoy your evening, whatever it is you're doing.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Start Me Up

Yesterday I said it was time to get started, and today that's exactly what I did. I made time to get out for a 50 minute walk at a nearby park, and was glad I did. It felt pretty good.

I realize that I need to string a bunch of these together before I can claim to have overcome the inertia I was talking about in that post, but at least I took the first step.

So will your intrepid blogger be able to continue with this latest commitment to regular exercise? That's a darn good question. And I honestly don't know the answer. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to give it my best effort.

So stick around. This ought to be fun!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Inertia

Back in July I talked about inertia and escape velocity as it related to getting up and actually doing some exercise. Well, I'm sorry to say that I pretty much crash landed not too long after that and haven't been doing much moving of any kind in since then.

I won't bore you with excuses, but they're there. Maybe some of them are legitimate, but I suspect most of them are not. The bottom line is that I shouldn't be ignoring a tool that will not only help me keep this weight off, but will help me live a much longer, healthier life. After all, that's why I started this journey in the first place.

So I'm working on a plan to fit some activity back into my daily grind. Things that I know I will do, the same way I changed my old eating habits into new, healthier ones that I could live with.

Time to get started...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Weigh In: Week 74 (Unofficial)

Last Week: 159.2 lbs. (unofficial)
This Week: 159.6 lbs. (unofficial)
Change: Up 0.4 lbs.

Starting Weight: 292.0 lbs.
Total Weight Lost: 132.4 lbs.
Starting BMI: 43.2 (Morbidly Obese)
Current BMI: 23.6 (Normal)

Started WW: 25 April 2006
Reached Goal: 15 May 2007
Started Core: 13 June 2007
Reached Lifetime: 26 June 2007

I stopped by my old Weight Watchers at Work meeting for a visit this morning. It was nice to see my former leader Pam (Hi, Pam!) and the other folks there that I knew. Of course, there were some new members there as well. In fact it was a decent sized group, and close to half of those that stayed for the meeting were guys. They're definitely a motivated group and I wish them great success!

I didn't weigh in at this meeting because I had already planned on attending my regular meeting this evening. Unfortunately I had forgotten about another commitment, and since I still haven't mastered the whole "being in two places at the same time" thing, I did an unofficial weigh in at home again this week. I am staying right around the weight range I want to be in, so I just need to continue doing more of the same.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Weight Loss Blog Roundup #3

It's Monday again! Time to get forget about the excesses of the weekend, to get back to work, and to see what's been brewing in the weight loss blogosphere in the past week. So here's a few posts to ponder while you're trying to get through that first cup of coffee. Enjoy!

TB has been moved to the point that he's given us his Ode to Oatmeal.

John tells us why Losing weight is like the stock market.

In one of the classic struggles of weight loss, Kathy invites us to Guess who went down tubes today.

Feel like a little Chinese? Scott, one of the contributors to the Former Fat Guy Blog, gives us a lesson on stir frying in Healthy Asian Cooking Part IV.

Roni tells us about The making of a gym rat.

Finally, Gal teaches us How to build a balanced meal.

That's it for this roundup, hope you enjoyed it!

Update: Edited some links

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Wedding Update

This was the actual topper for the wedding cake. Let's just say that my side of the family has an interesting sense of humor...

We had a great time at my sister's wedding yesterday. It was a nice, casual affair at my niece's home. I probably had a little more to eat than I had planned for, but yesterday was not about how much I ate, it was about my sister and her new husband.

Of course, my weight did come up as a topic of conversation plenty of times yesterday, since it had been a while since some of my family had seen me. My mother, of course, thinks I'm too thin, even sickly looking. Never mind that the last time I'd seen her I was only five pounds heavier! Bless her for caring, though.

So congratulations, D & T, and may you both have many years of happiness ahead of you!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Goin' To The Chapel

'Cause my sister's getting married...

I'm heading to the northern suburbs of Philly today to celebrate my sister's impending nuptials. Since I know my sister knows how to throw a party, I'm looking forward to a nice, relaxing afternoon. It's this morning and the evening that are going to be killers...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I Hate Blog Spam

Just a heads up to those of you with your own blogs. There's a new tool out there called BlogRush that is supposed to be a legitimate tool for driving traffic to your blog. Well, someone just spammed my comments with a link designed to enhance their account standing for this tool.

Since the spammer didn't leave a direct link to his blog or any email contact info, I deleted the comment and contacted BlogRush support and I'm currently waiting for their reply. I'll update this post when and if I hear back from them.

So in the meantime, be wary of any comments to your blogs with links to this tool.

I would really hate to have to moderate the comments here...