Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Weigh In: Week 66

Last Week: 161.4 lbs.
This Week: 161.0 lbs.
Change: Down 0.4 lbs.

Starting Weight: 292.0 lbs.
Total Weight Lost: 131.0 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 seem to be doing well after my first full month of lifetime status, ending the month at the same weight I started the month. My average weight for July is 161.2, which I'm very happy with.

I hate to blog and run, but it's past my bedtime and I have a busy day ahead of me tomorrow. I'll post more when I can keep my eyes open, I promise.

Labor Day Challenge Update

As part of a challenge I joined on the WeightWatchers.com message boards, I set the following goals to meet every week though Labor Day:

#1 - Walk 3 days a week minimum, at least 30 minutes.

#2 - Post to this blog at least 5 days a week

#3 - Follow Weight Watchers' 8 Good Health Guidelines every day

Walking 1/3

Blogging 3/5

Good Health Guidelines 7/7

As you can see, I slacked off again this week, although I did manage to get all the Good Health Guidelines in. For some reason I think this challenge is doing the exact opposite of motivating me. I think it's making the blogging and especially the walking feel too much like chores.

I don't need any extra excuses to not walk, and I really want to continue blogging on a regular basis, but because I want to, not because I have to. For that reason, I think that I'm going to not worry so much about this challenge, and just see how I do without any extra self-imposed pressure.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Dinners Past And Present

I really enjoyed my dinner tonight. It was a last minute, easy to fix meal that left me quite satisfied. It got me to thinking of some of the things I used to eat on a regular basis, and I must confess, I am definitely not that person anymore!

For tonight's meal, I sauteed up some fresh diced bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and tomatoes in canola oil, then crumbled up half of a previously cooked 93% fat free hamburger pattie and added that to the mix.

In another pan I started a three egg omelet, then poured in the filling mixture when the eggs were ready and added some shredded fat free cheddar. I also toasted up a light multi grain english muffin that I topped with some fat free margarine.

For dessert I cut up some strawberries, an apple and a peach, added some blueberries and mixed them in with some fat free plain yogurt with a little artificial sweetener for taste.

To be fair, I've also enjoyed this dinner in the old days so many pounds ago, only with all full fat ingredients. And the dessert probably wasn't quite as healthy.

One of my more typical meals from back then would probably make me sick today, especially if I tried to finish it.

For example, one of my quickie meals from when I was working part time at night was some take out from Micky Dee's. A supersize Quarter Pounder with Cheese meal, complete with the supersized french fries and the large diet Coke was a popular choice.

And when you grow up in the Philly area, another staple is the cheese steak sandwich. My "usual" was a mushroom cheese steak hoagie, with mushrooms, fried onions, hot peppers, lettuce and tomato. I'd also get some cheese fries, which were served in one of those metal take-out tins. They would fill it with fries and melt some mozzarella cheese on top. Of course, I'd wash that down with a diet Coke as well.

More often than not, I'd have two or three of those a week. It's sobering to think of how I abused my body with food.

I'm just thankful that I don't do that anymore.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Attitude Is Everything

"It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome."

William James
1842-1910, Psychologist, Professor and Author


I'm not a psychologist and I'm not one to sign on to every "feel good" fad that comes down the pike. However, I firmly believe that the above statement is a basic truth when it comes to how people deal with things.

I can't tell you how many times that I've faced difficult, unpleasant tasks over the course of my life. As I look back on them, I can't help but notice that the ones I faced with enthusiasm and an open mind are the ones that seemed to be the most successful, the ones that seemed to be finished the soonest, and the ones that I remember having the most pride in.

For example, when my wife and I first moved into our house, there was much work to be done. Painting, landscaping, and all the usual grunt work that accompanies turning a new house into a home. None of these projects were what I would call easy or pleasant, but because I knew I was working on something that was important to my wife and I and would benefit us greatly, I had an excellent attitude going in and the results showed it.

Of course, there have been other projects that haven't gone as well. Not all of them were disasters because I had a bad attitude, but I guarantee you that the ones that I faced with a bad attitude are not fondly remembered by this household. Unfortunately, some people that live here will not let me forget them.

And so it goes with weight loss. I knew going in that losing weight, especially the amount I had to lose, was not an easy thing to do and that keeping it off was even tougher. I knew that I didn't want to go on a diet, that I really needed to change my entire lifestyle as far as food was concerned. Otherwise I was going to die, or worse, be crippled, probably before I hit 60.

So I decided that I was going to do whatever it took. Once I decided to follow Weight Watchers, I was going to follow their plan with no "tweaks" or "cheats" that might take me off course. I opened my mind to a new way of eating. And when there were occasions that called for it, I did allow myself some indulgences without feeling guilty about them, no matter what the results of the scale were.

My attitude allowed me to accept what I had to do, and each success I had allowed me to build on that attitude and gave me the willpower to continue. It was the most important part of my success. It allowed me to know, on Day One, that I would eventually be what I am today, a lifetime member of Weight Watchers.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Weigh In: Week 65

Last Week: 160.8 lbs.
This Week: 161.4 lbs.
Change: Up 0.6 lbs.

Starting Weight: 292.0 lbs.
Total Weight Lost: 130.6 lbs.
Starting BMI: 43.2 (Morbidly Obese)
Current BMI: 23.9 (Normal)

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

I'm up a little this week, and even though I had some pizza and beer in Connecticut this weekend, I don't think that's the reason. I just have a feeling that I'm not going to be one of those people who's weight stays at one number all the time. As long as I'm within a certain range I'll be fine.

Of course, there's another challenge coming up this weekend. A local establishment is having a clam bake that we've been invited to attend. I don't know any of the details as my wife found out about it through one of her coworkers and she made all of the arrangements. It does sound like a great time, though, so I'm looking forward to it. As always, I'll let you know how I did.

Labor Day Challenge Update

As part of a challenge I joined on the WeightWatchers.com message boards, I set the following goals to meet every week though Labor Day:

#1 - Walk 3 days a week minimum, at least 30 minutes.

#2 - Post to this blog at least 5 days a week

#3 - Follow Weight Watchers' 8 Good Health Guidelines every day

I didn't meet any of my goals this week.

Walking: 0/3

I've been having a hard time with my walking commitment this week. I could use the weekend away as an excuse, but that's all it is. It seems that I'm having a difficult time reaching escape velocity. This may be the same problem that I had trying to lose weight on my own. Even though I had been successful in the past losing weight on my own, I needed the accountability and structure of Weight Watchers to be successful this time.

Given my life-long avoidance of physical activity, I may need formal structure in this area as well. I had a 3 month membership at a local gym last summer and managed to get my money's worth, going several times a week during the length of my membership. I only stopped for financial reasons.

Now that I don't have to pay for Weight Watchers due to my lifetime status, it just may be time to head back to the gym. I'll be making the final decision shortly, but I think it's the only way I'll be able to follow through on my commitment to exercise.

Blogging: 4/5

I sat down to write a blog entry last night after things settled down from their normal craziness, and promptly found it impossible to keep my eyes open. So rather than trying to force something in order to hit my Labor Day Challenge target, I turned the computer off and went to bed. I'd rather write quality instead of quantity, so I don't feel too bad about this one.

Good Health Guidelines: 6/7

I only missed one of the guidelines this week, and that was the healthy oils on Saturday when we were on the road. I'm ok with this one also, since I've actually been doing very well meeting this requirement since I switched to Core over a month ago.

Looks like I have my work cut out for me this week. I'll let you know how I did next Tuesday!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Finally Home!

We're finally back from our busy weekend. The last 48 hours were pretty hectic and not very conducive to healthy eating, but I did my best, and think I was fairly successful.

We went to Massachusetts to retrieve our son, who had been up there for the week. After traffic stretched our drive out to six and a half hours, we arrived, packed up his stuff and drove down to Groton, Connecticut where we stopped for the night.

For dinner we drove to nearby Mystic, where we ate at the famous Mystic Pizza, the setting of the 1988 movie of the same name. I had half of a small veggie pizza, which I estimated to be about the same size as two regular pizza slices. I also enjoyed some Mystic Seaport Pale Ale with my pizza, which tasted very good and complimented the pizza very nicely.

Come morning, we stopped in a local establishment for breakfast, then went into North Stonington, just north of Mystic for Stonington Winery's Wine and Food Festival.

It was a little early in the day and we did have to get back on the road shortly, so we skipped the wine tasting. We did sample a lot of the different foods and treats that were there. I even brought home a jar of horseradish mustard that was particularly tasty.

A weekend of driving over 700 miles round trip and somewhere close to 12 hours in the car may not have helped my efforts to stay on track, but I think I maintained enough control that any damage on the scale will be minimal, and I couldn't hope for more than that.

Friday, July 20, 2007

On The Road

In about seven hours my family and I will be in the car heading north to Massachusetts for the weekend. We'll be on the run the entire time, so it may prove to be difficult for me to stay on the straight and narrow during mealtimes.

I'll just have to give it my best shot and deal with whatever happens. I have healthy snacks packed for the ride, so that should help.

So everyone have a great weekend, and I'll try to get back to the blog on Sunday night after we get back home!

Weekend Assignment #175: TV or Bacon?

Time for more fun from John Scalzi's By The Way.

Weekend Assignment #175: TV or Bacon? By which I mean, you have to choose one of these two things. Whichever you choose, you get to continue to enjoy. The one you don't, you lose forever. So which will you choose? The pixellated, phosphorescent pleasures of television's hundreds of channels? Or the smoky, meaty pleasures of bacon? You must choose!

Why TV and bacon? Well, because they are two things most people seem to like, and they are (usually) entirely unrelated, which makes choosing between them more interesting.


This weekend assignment is pretty easy for me, actually. Bacon goes, television stays. And I can sum it up in exactly 3 letters: NFL.

From August to February, I'm a pro football junkie and watch every game that I can. Not to mention the pregame, the post game, the highlights, everything. Although I do draw the line at watching the draft. That's almost as bad as listening to that British idiot on that singing show.

So yes, I'll keep my TV, John, thank you very much.

Extra credit: Current favorite TV show and/or variety of bacon.


Picking a favorite current show is tough because I really don't watch too much TV. I don't get HBO, so those shows aren't even in the running. I was always missing Battlestar Galactica, so I never got to watch enough of it to keep up with the story.

I guess I'd have to pick Heroes, even though I missed the first few episodes. It feels like I'm watching a live comic book and for some reason it works for me. My guilty pleasure last year was watching The Biggest Loser, which is understandable given what I've been up to for the last year and a half.

And for extra, extra credit, my favorite TV show of all time is Babylon 5. And it could also be considered a current show since a new Direct-to-DVD B5 movie is being released at the end of July.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Broken Appliances, Ice Cream, and Me

Why doesn't anything break at a convenient time?

We had a late dinner this evening and while we were eating there was some laundry going through the washer and dryer. The dryer stopped before the cycle finished, and every time we went to restart it, it ran for about 3 minutes and cut out again, even after we gave it a chance to cool down.

Of course, everything was needed for the morning, so off to the laundromat I went with two loads of wet laundry. I arrived about 8:40 pm and dropped both loads into one of the big front load dryers, deposited my quarters for 15 minutes worth of spin time and waited.

It turns out that 15 minutes of spin time was all I got. When I opened the dryer after the timer went off, it was completely cool inside, the contents still as damp as when they went in. Did I mention the place was supposed to close at 9 o'clock?

The attendant let me run the stuff in a different dryer for a half hour or so, the first 15 minutes on their quarters. That got the laundry dry enough to transport home and be put on hangers to dry the rest of the way.

So now we get to play repairman tag and run back and forth to the laundromat to dry our things until our machine gets fixed. I know that these kinds of things happen to everyone on a daily basis no matter where you go, but I usually don't get around to remembering that until after the situation is resolved to some degree and I've had a chance to relax. Thank goodness I'm not as bad as I used to be. I'd probably be going on about it for a few days...

The only real effect that this had on me food-wise is that instead of having the bowl of fresh blueberries I was planning for my snack tonight, I allowed myself some comfort food in the form of an Edy's Slow Churned No Sugar Added Vanilla Almond Ice Cream Bar. I think it takes longer to say it than it did to eat it!

Edy's Ice Cream is probably one of my favorite summertime indulgences, and as far as indulgences go, this really wasn't a bad choice. It was a self-contained portion, and at 190 calories, 9 grams of fat, and four grams of fiber, it certainly didn't do much damage to my weekly points allowance. Besides, comfort food isn't necessarily a bad thing. Like anything else, it's when you abuse it that you run into trouble.

So instead of the getting the post I had started to think about writing earlier in the day, you got to listen to me whine a little bit tonight (assuming you made it this far). I apologise for that, dear reader, and promise that it won't happen again.

Until something else breaks.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Weigh In: Week 64

Last Week: 161.6 lbs.
This Week: 160.8 lbs.
Change: Down 0.8 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

Since hitting lifetime I've been down, then up, then down again. Some folks call that maintaining, and it sounds good to me. I'm very comfortable with where my weight is and I don't mind if it swings up or down a little bit each week, as long as it doesn't wander too far in either direction.

This weekend may be a bit of a challenge, though. We'll be on the road Saturday and Sunday, driving up to the Boston area, picking up our son and heading back down into Connecticut where we'll lay over in Mystic for the night. Then early Sunday afternoon we'll get back on the road and head home to South Jersey.

I'll definitely be spending a little time between now and then planning out some easy to pack meals to bring along. Stay tuned for updates as the weekend draws closer...

Labor Day Challenge Update

To recap, last Tuesday I joined a challenge on the WeightWatchers.com message boards that lasts through Labor Day. Most people select weight goals, but since I'm a lifetime member, I set the following goals to meet for the challenge:

#1 - Walk 3 days a week minimum, at least 30 minutes.

#2 - Post to this blog at least 5 days a week

#3 - Follow Weight Watchers' 8 Good Health Guidelines every day

I'm happy to say that I made each one of these goals this week!

I walked 35 minutes (& ran 10 minutes) on Sunday, 60 minutes yesterday and 30 minutes today. I also posted to the blog Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday, yesterday and today, and I completed all 8 Good Health Guidelines every day this week.

Now let's see if I can string two weeks together! And it's never too late to join in if you'd like. Just post your goals for Labor Day in the comment section and stop back to update your results each week.

Monday, July 16, 2007

I Feel Great!

In June of 1999, a man began a coast to coast motorcycle trip with seven of his riding pals. About 50 miles into the trip it started to rain, so they began to pull over at the next overpass in order to change into their rain gear. As they pulled over, one of the other bikes lost control and skidded into this man as he was getting off his bike.

As he lie in the road, he discovered that only thing keeping his foot attached to his leg was a flap of skin, some tendons, and what was left of his jeans. As a state trooper was getting statements while they were waiting for the ambulance, he asked the man how he felt.

The man clenched his fists, lifted his arms over his head and said, "I feel great!"

Pat Croce is a legend in the Philadelphia area. He was a pioneer in the sports physical therapy industry and eventually talked the owner of the Philadelphia 76ers pro basketball team to sell the team to a group that he put together.

He is also known for his enthusiasm, dedication and positive attitude. He went from the very real possibility of losing his leg to walking under his own power less than six months after the accident, as much as on the strength of his will as on the skill of his doctors.

I read Pat's book, "I Feel Great and You Will Too!" sometime in 2000, not too long after I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. His positive attitude leaps out from the pages with only a fraction of the energy that I've witnessed on local television and radio, which I'm sure is itself only a fraction of what it is in person.

There have been many times since I've read that book that I've been ready to give up, knowing that I was probably going to die young because of my weight, my blood pressure and my diabetes. Or worse, I'd suffer a debilitating complication that would force me to be a burden to my family. It was only a matter of time.

Now, after losing 130 pounds and being the healthiest I've been in years, I look back and wonder what I was thinking. I now can begin to understand the positive attitude of Pat Croce, because I can start to feel it too. Not only do I feel great physically, but my attitude has never been better. Who would have thought it possible?

Pat Croce, that's who.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Jersey Fresh

One of the perks of living where I live in South Jersey is that there are a lot of farms and farmer's markets not too far away. And this is the best time of year to pick up all kinds of fresh vegetables, especially since the produce available in the supermarkets is overpriced and of very poor quality.

Today while I was out and about, I pulled over to a roadside stand and picked up a small basket of Jersey tomatoes and a few pints of local blueberries. They're certainly going to make a great addition to tonight's dinner.

Say what you want about the Garden State, but sometimes it just can't be beat!

Escape Velocity

Escape velocity is popularly understood to be the speed an object needs to achieve in order to leave, or escape, Earth's gravitational pull. In general terms, to escape Earth's gravity, you need to accelerate to about 7 miles per second, or 25,200 miles per hour.

I think it takes about twice that to get me up off my rear end.

To quote the first half of Sir Isaac Newton's First Law of Motion:

An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted upon by an external and unbalanced force.
That's me in a nutshell. It has been all my life.

To be sure, there have been bursts of activity here and there, especially since I started Weight Watchers last year. I even belonged to a gym for a while. It just seems that I always drift back to an inactive state.

That's part of the reason one of the goals I set as part of my Labor Day Challenge was to walk 3 days per week. Since setting the goal, I haven't gotten out to do any walking. Until today. Which was the last day to begin walking and still have a chance to meet my walking goal for the first week of the challenge. It certainly wouldn't look good, or feel good, to miss one of my goals in the first week, would it?

Object at rest, meet external force.

So I got up off my rear, went outside, and walked for 45 minutes. Actually, I only walked for 35 minutes. Those other 10 minutes? An alien life force took over my body and made it run for 10 minutes.

That's the only explanation I can come up with, because I don't run. I can't stand running as a matter of fact. So it had to be aliens.

So now I just have to make sure I get out and walk on Monday and Tuesday. And I need to watch out for those pesky aliens.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Cooking For One Again

I lost half my family today, since my wife is taking my son up to New England for some college visitations. Then she'll drop him off at a music camp for the week and then return sometime Sunday. My daughter is staying home because after all, somebody has to stay home and put up with me.

That means I'll pretty much be cooking for one all weekend. My daughter is probably going to be busy with her own plans for from now through Sunday, so she'll probably be out for dinner, or she'll just nuke something from the freezer. There's no doubt that she would turn her nose up at anything I would make anyway.

So the plan is to head out to the supermarket after work tomorrow and find some goodies to whip up into something delicious.

A friend of mine from New Mexico just sent me about a half pound of New Mexico pure ground red chile, which I'm really looking forward to using. I'm thinking of trying Jim's recipe for Carne Adovada, which I've quoted below:

Carne Adovada is an extremely popular New Mexican dish. It's found at every good New Mexican restaurant in the state. It's lean pork maranated in red chile and roasted until it falls apart.

The chile MUST be pure ground red New Mexican Chile. Basic McCormicks grocery store spice shelf chile powder won't work. There are a lot of other ingredients in it that alter the flavor (ie cumin, garlic, salt etc) NM red chile can be found in numerous places on line.

INGREDIENTS:
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 (or more) tablespoons New Mexico red chile powder
2 1/2 cups warm water
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/3 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon salt
3 pounds lean cubed pork stew meat

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a skillet or frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Stir in flour and brown until light golden brown. Blend in chile powder. Slowly add water, stirring until lumps are removed. Add garlic, oregano, cumin and salt. Simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

2. Place pork in a large baking pan or casserole pan. When chile mixture has cooled, add it to pork and mix until pork is covered with chile. Marinate pork for at least 12 hours or overnight.

3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

4. Bake pork in preheated oven for at least 4 1/2 hours, or until meat is well cooked, tender and falls apart.

Serve in tortillas (burritos), as a meat entree with beans and rice or with eggs (for breakfast)


Thanks again, Jim!

Squee!!

Squee! Squee! Squee!

Hello to everyone who knows why I squee!

(Don't you just hate inside jokes?)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Alternatives To Healthy Junk Food

I'm not a real big fan of 100 calorie packs. I call them "healthy junk food." I've had some on occasion, and they can help with a sweet tooth, but ultimately they leave me wanting. I'd much rather have something with a little more "umph" to it.

Turns out I'm not alone. Over at MedicineNet.com, there's an article about 100 calorie packs and 22 healthier alternatives.

Some excerpts:

American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Marisa Moore, RD, likes 100-calorie products for their portion control, convenience, and ability to satisfy a sweet tooth. But because many of these snacks lack fiber, she says, they won't stave off hunger for long.

"The 100-calorie snacks lack staying power, and as a result can lead to premature hunger and a higher calorie intake in the end," she says.

She'd rather see people choose snacks that provide needed nutrients while taming hunger. For example, she says, "in only 160 calories, a serving of almonds is satisfying and provides heart-healthy fats, fiber, and calcium."
The article goes on to say:
Dietitians agree that the best snacks satisfy hunger while helping meet our daily dietary needs, especially for fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy.

"Look for snacks that contain protein with healthy carbohydrates and fats, and eat your snacks slowly so they fill you up," says [Baylor nutrition professor Suzy Weems, PhD, RD].
Sounds pretty sensible to me.

The entire article can be found here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Weigh In: Week 63

Last Week: 161.0 lbs.
This Week: 161.6 lbs.
Change: Up 0.6 lbs.

Starting Weight: 292.0 lbs.
Total Weight Lost: 130.4 lbs.
Starting BMI: 43.2 (Morbidly Obese)
Current BMI: 23.9 (Normal)

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

Even though I'm now a Weight Watcher's lifetime member and only required to weigh in once a month, I've decided to continue attending meetings every week for the time being. In the future I may change my mind, but in the short term I think it will help me stay focused.

This week was my first gain since I hit my goal weight back in May. One thing that I noticed about my weigh in routine lately is that I don't worry about it being consistent down to the last detail. It helps that I'm over 7 pounds below my goal weight, which gives me a little room to work with.

Before, I would stop eating and drinking water after lunch and not resume again until after my meeting that evening. I would wear the same types of clothes to the meeting and empty my pockets of my wallet, keys, watch, and any extra change before I stepped on the scale. In other words, I used the tricks we all use to get the lowest possible reading on the scale.

Today I drank water all afternoon in work, had a quick PB&J sandwich when I got home because I was a little hungry, and didn't bother emptying my pockets before I jumped on the scale. It wasn't that I didn't care what the scale said, it's just that I knew that as long as I was in the same neighborhood, I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. It's called maintaining! And next week I plan on being in the same neighborhood.

Besides, if I had to stress about my weigh in routine for the rest of my life, I think those happy young men in their clean white coats would be coming to take me away sooner rather than later, ha ha!

Labor Day Challenge

Over at the WeightWatchers.com message boards I've joined a Labor Day Challenge. For folks still losing weight, the challenge generally involves losing a certain number of pounds that each participant chooses for themselves by the end of the challenge. Many folks set other types of goals, which comes in handy if you're on maintenance or a lifetime member.

Since I've decided to join the challenge, I've also decided to update my progress here on the blog, especially since one of my goals involves the blog.

Here are my three goals for the challenge:

* Walk at least 3 times a week, for at least 30 minutes each time

* Post to this blog at least 5 days a week

* Follow Weight Watchers' 8 Good Health Guidelines every day

My walking goal is there because it is something that I haven't been doing as much as I should, and I need to get up and out to make sure I don't start lapsing into bad habits again.

As far as posting to the blog, I don't think there's any immediate danger of not posting regularly, I think it's just more of a reminder. After all, I started this thing to help keep me on track, and if I started posting less over time I might start letting other things slip. (And I promise there won't be any "This is my post for today" type posts!)

The Weight Watchers' 8 Good Health Guidelines are just what the sound like, healthy habits that contribute to a healthy lifestyle and can also aid in weight loss efforts. A few of them have given me a little difficulty every know and then, but hopefully this challenge will help me stay focused on them as well.

Wish me luck, and play along if you'd like. Just post your own goals in the comments section and update them as we head towards Labor Day.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Today Was A Great Day

Part of my Sunday routine is spent getting ready for the work week. Cooking and packing my work lunches, making sure I have enough oatmeal packed for my breakfasts, running out to the store to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables, and discussing with my wife what the dinner menu will look like for the rest of the week.

More often than not, something comes along that decides your to-do list wasn't all that important anyway. Fortunately, when it happened today it was for a good reason and not for any kind of family emergency.

One of my son's buddies was at the beach today and invited my son to come down and spend some time hanging out with him. The beach in question is about 45 minutes away from our place, and we were to be his transportation to and from said beach. We decided to make an outing of it instead of a 90 minute round trip to drop him off and a possibly longer round trip to pick him up considering it was the end of a holiday weekend.

After we dropped off my son, my wife and I set out for the boardwalk. It was a hot, crowded afternoon as only a Sunday afternoon at the South Jersey shore can be. Not only was it crowded with people, it was crowded with all the usual temptations. There was salt water taffy, fudge, caramel popcorn, funnel cake and all manner of other gooey and tasty treats. The path to hell may be paved with good intentions, but it sure looks a lot like the Ocean City, NJ boardwalk when you're trying to keep your weight under control!

I only succumbed to the temptation once, when we stopped for a slice of pizza at one of our favorite boardwalk institutions, Mack & Manco's. I knew I could stop at one slice of pizza, especially at $2.00 a slice, and after I got that taste for some kind of treat satisfied, the other options weren't as tempting after all.

Before long it was time to head back, and we got home around 9:15. My planning for the day was shot, but I was able to spend a great afternoon walking the boards with my wife. I was still able to throw something together for Monday at work, have a great day down the shore, and not let all the temptations there affect me. Today was an easy day for me. I know they won't all come this easy. But the longer I do this, the more I believe that I can keep doing this for the rest of my life.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

A Blessing And A Curse

I love my family. I just can't eat with them. Rather, they can't eat with me. I'll eat almost anything. In fact, they have a game they play where they try to list 10 things that I won't eat, or at least try. They haven't finished that list yet. It's part of the reason I got so big to begin with.

On the other hand, my wonderful wife has a nice, long list. Tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, pork, and mustard are just a very few things on her list. My daughter's list is even more extensive, and even some of the foods she likes, she won't eat if they've been reheated the next day.

I'm holding out hope for my son. He can hang with me with most things, including the spicy stuff. He still won't go anywhere near mushrooms, though.

As you can imagine, it's made for some interesting mealtimes, especially since I started my weight loss journey. Between everyone's different tastes, my change in eating habits, and the fact that our teenagers actually think that they have lives of their own, I'm finding that not only do we not always eat together, but that for many meals I need to fend for myself.

So much for family time at the dinner table.

But at the same time, it has given me the chance to get creative in the kitchen again. I've always shared cooking duties with my wife, although she would insist that it wasn't always an equitable split. But instead of cooking for my family's limited tastes, I could now cook for me, and start expanding my food universe.

I've been making dishes with different whole grains and beans, different meats, a wider variety of vegetables and lots of spices that the rest of the family would rather forget exist. I'm trying different combinations of flavors and choosing as many fresh ingredients as I can.

I've always been the mad scientist of the kitchen, throwing things together in different combinations to see what I come up with, but that part of me had been pushed into a little corner a while ago. It really feels good to let him loose again. Because if I can eat healthy and have fun doing it, there's a good chance that I'll be able to keep this weight off for a long, long time.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

My Story, Part Two

By the time May of 1999 rolled around I had ballooned up to 325 pounds. Things didn't look so hot at work, so I started taking classes in case I needed to find another job. I was going to school during the day and working at night, and maybe getting about 4-5 hours of sleep every night.

About two weeks before I graduated from school, I came down with pneumonia and nearly didn't graduate. Once I recovered, I started losing weight with very little effort. I also started becoming extremely thirsty, drinking gallons of water a day and urinating just as much. By the time January of 2000 rolled around I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

So there I was, just a few weeks after my 40th birthday. I had high blood pressure, diabetes, and weighed 290 pounds. I started taking care of myself, got my weight down to about 275, but soon after it started back up and seemed to stabilize at 290 plus or minus 5 pounds.

As long as my blood pressure and blood sugar readings were under control with my medications, I really didn't pay attention to my weight. I did become somewhat concerned in 2005 when my meds had to be increased, but not concerned enough to do anything about it.

By the start of 2006, I was on 4 daily blood pressure pills and two diabetes pills. Then something interesting happened. That April my 16 year old son started giving me grief because he was starting to grow taller than me. At the same time, he was rowing for his high school crew team, trying to make a lightweight boat.

That's when it hit me. Here he was, taller than me, rowing in a boat where the maximum weight was 150 pounds. Almost twice his weight. I was almost twice his weight. That hit home. Hard.

They say God works in mysterious ways. The next week I saw fliers in work for the next Weight Watchers at Work session that was starting up. Coincidence? Anyway, I signed up, took it seriously, and now, a little over a year later, I'm under my goal weight, a lifetime member of Weight Watchers, and probably within 5 pounds of my son's weight. I never in a million years thought that I had it in me to make such a profound change. I guess we all have something within ourselves that enables us to do something life changing. We just have to keep looking for it until we find it.

So that's my story. I hope I hope you enjoyed it.

My Story, Part One

Hutchdaddy over at Hutch Off The Cuff just posted a short summary of his weight loss journey so far, so I thought I'd do the same.

I never remember being anywhere near thin growing up. I always remember needing husky clothes, and even though I remember playing outside a lot, I was never what you could call athletic. There was also a lot of emotional/stress eating back then, as my parents had divorced when I was 4, and I was never very comfortable around the man that eventually became my stepfather.

In high school I was smart enough academically to take enough classes to avoid having to take gym throughout my four years there. My interest in aviation had me considering the Air Force Academy at one point, but I was put off by the fitness requirements.

By the time I graduated, I was about 5' 9" tall and weighed about 215. I remained in that neighborhood through a few semesters of college, then aircraft mechanic school. In the meantime I met this young lady who captured my fancy, and in 1982 we announced our engagement.

As the wedding date drew closer I was determined to look good in my tuxedo and began a diet of my own design in order to drop 40 pounds. I also started working out with the RCAF 5BX Program and by the time of the wedding in October of 1984 I had reached my goal of 175 pounds and I looked and felt great.

Unfortunately, I thought my work was over at that point and began falling back into the old habits. My new bride's wonderful Italian cooking skills and my own love of cooking didn't help my waistline at all, and the weight started coming back.

At one point, I don't remember when, I tried the Atkins diet and lost 50 pounds in three months. I stopped because I just couldn't continue eating that way any more. I'm glad that it works for some people, but I just couldn't do that for the rest off my life.

(This is turning into a longer post than I anticipated, so I'm going to stop here and post Part Two a little later.)

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Didn't I Just See You In The Post Office?

Today someone told me that my "before" and "after" pictures looked like mug shots.

All I'll say about the matter is that I've never been convicted of any crime.

They Say It's Your Birthday...

Tomorrow is July 4th, the 231st anniversary of American independence from Great Britain.

I probably won't be blogging over the next few days because of the holiday, so have a safe and enjoyable Fourth!

Enjoy your 231st birthday, America!

Weigh In: Week 62

Last Week: 162.4 lbs.
This Week: 161.0 lbs.
Change: Down 1.4 lbs.

Starting Weight: 292.0 lbs.
Total Weight Lost: 131.0 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

Another week on maintenance with a loss. It's puzzling, because I've stopped trying to lose weight. I'm eating plenty of food. I'm not going hungry. Is my body just trying to find out what weight it wants to be? Who knows?

I'll just keep tweaking for now, and continue to monitor my weight. I'm still solidly in my healthy weight range, so I'm not too concerned. Even though I'm lifetime now and only have to weigh in once per month, I'm going to continue to go to weekly meetings at least until things stabilize.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

As Promised: The "After" Pictures

I'm not sure that I'm used to seeing the new me in photos yet, but here are the official "after" shots, taken earlier today:


Parties and Holidays and Cook-outs, Oh My!

I had a great time at a graduation party yesterday, in spite of the lack of many diet friendly foods. Some people would stress out in this situation, while others might just throw caution to the wind.

But with a few simple precautions, you can navigate any occasion with a minimal amount of damage.

First and foremost, remember that you're going there for the people, not for the food. Spend time talking and hanging out with the other people there, don't just hover around the food table.

Make sure you don't go there hungry. Have a small meal before you get to the party. If you get there hungry, you're more likely to pig out on everything you see.

Be very selective in what you do eat. Most of the items you run into at these events are the same things you'll find at every party you attend, so there's no need to sample every one of them at every party! Pick one or two special dishes that you don't run into every time and try those. After all, the rest will probably be at the next function you go to.

Alcohol is fine, but just remember moderation. If you're at the party to get drunk, then I guess you're not really worried about your weight. If you can't have one or two drinks without having a third or fourth or more, consider not having any. Not only do the calories in alcohol quickly add up, but you will also soon forget about your eating plan as well. Plan wisely.

And even if you do go a little overboard, don't beat yourself up over it. Don't dwell on it. Acknowledge what you did and turn it into a learning experience. Most importantly, get back on the plan with the very next bite that you eat! I can't tell you how import it is to not let one bad meal turn into two bad meals or act as an excuse to get completely off tract for a few days or even a week!

These are just some of the things I've learned since I started losing weight last year. I hope they'll come in handy for you, too.

By the way, at the party I attended yesterday, I probably had one helping too many of the roast beef, I enjoyed the two beers I allowed myself, and sampled two small homemade desserts that were delicious, and I still managed to stay within my plan. It can be done, you just have to do it!