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...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Hodgepodge

Biggest Loser

After watching the latest episode of Biggest Loser Tuesday night, there isn't much for me to say. It's more of the same old same old, but for some odd reason I still feel compelled to watch.

Extra large people sweating, whining, crying, throwing fits and sweating some more, edited together in overlapping chunks of footage designed to generate a sense of drama sandwiched in between an endless parade of advertising.

And I sat through the entire two hours. I guess the brain likes to get its share of junk food, too.

Sweeet!

The evening temperatures started to dip into autumn-like territory in South Jersey this week. Which can mean only one thing: Spiced Wafers and Hazelnut coffee.

You can substitute your favorite hot beverage for the hazelnut coffee, but that's my current poison until further notice...

Read A Book, For Free

Earlier this week I reacquainted myself with my local library, a building that I haven't entered in almost five years. I felt like a kid opening presents on Christmas morning! I forgot the treasures that lie inside, just waiting to be rediscovered. Do yourself a favor this month - step away from the computer, go to your local library and find a good book, the kind with real pages, and read it! You'll be doing yourself and your library a big favor.

Avast, Matey!

Talk Like A Pirate Day is almost over. Starting tomorrow, we're safe for another year.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Weigh In: Week 73 (Unofficial)

Last Week: 158.8 lbs.
This Week: 159.2 lbs. (unofficial)
Change: Up 0.4 lbs.

Starting Weight: 292.0 lbs.
Total Weight Lost: 132.8 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 didn't attend my weekly meeting this evening, mostly due to the fact that I forgot my materials at work, but also because I'm going to start weaning myself from attending the meetings every week.

Since I made lifetime status back in June, I am only required to weigh in at a Weight Watchers meeting once a month. I've been attending every week until now partly because it's free, but also because I wanted to make sure I had a handle on maintenance before I cut back on the meetings.

I think that the last 12 weeks of weigh ins have shown that I'm not having any trouble right now keeping the weight off. I understand that constant vigilance will be needed to make sure I don't begin to backslide; that is one of the reasons I started this blog in the first place.

So tonight's weight is from my bathroom scale, with the time and conditions being as close to my regular meeting conditions as I can make them. I'm satisfied with the reading this week, especially since I've forced myself to start replacing some of the "diet" foods I've been eating with their regular counterparts.

Now to get ready for the coming week...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Weight Loss Blog Roundup #2

After a busy weekend away from the blog, it's time to get it back in gear! To start the week, here's the latest edition of the Weight Loss Blog Roundup, covering posts from the last week. Enjoy!

Gal from 60 In 3 tells you Everything You Need To Know About Workout Food

SkinnyBitch from CR - Getting and staying skinny the healthy way, talks about planning ahead of time when she's Feeling Splurgy.

Here's another great post from Cranky McSlacker over at Cranky Fitness, on Re-Motivating: When it Just Ain't Happening.

Jonathan has found the Click! over at Jack-Sprat.net.

Is emotional eating simply a bad habit? Kathy from Kathy Calculates says Don't Ask Why?

Ralph from RightSizingAmerica suggests that You may be too fat to go through the drive-thru, after reading about car weight limits.

Finally, Roni from Roni's Weight Watchen Pages wants to let you know that Hunger is Not an Emergency!

That's all for this week, thanks to all the blog authors mentioned for the great articles! Have a great week, everyone.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

All You Can Eat For Philly Sports Fans

The Wachovia Center, current home of two of Philadelphia's pro sports teams, hockey's Flyers and basketball's 76ers, has just announced a new program for their fans. For an extra $20 per ticket, you can now buy an "all you can eat" ticket to home games. All you can eat seems to be a relative term, however.

Purchasers of these special tickets will be given wristbands to wear and can only get their free food from two special concession stands. These stands will only be serving a subset of the food available at other stands. Fans will have a choice of hot dogs, soft drinks, popcorn and nacho chips and salsa, which is only a subset of the wider selection of foods available at most of the other stands and specialty restaurants there.

Anyone who attends sports events these days knows that this promotion has the potential to be an instant success. The prices for food at arenas these days will guarantee that. I know that in my formerly fat life I would definitely be motivated to buy these tickets and "get my money's worth" of food.

The first thing I noticed when I heard about this was the lack of healthier choices on this all you can eat menu. I realize that asking for healthy choices at a sports arena is like trying to find a Democrat in New Hampshire, but at the very least, how about some grilled chicken? Maybe a turkey burger?

Oh, there's nothing to worry about after all. The local sports talk radio station just mentioned that they use trans fat free oil at the concession stands. It looks like they're worried about our health after all...

Do any other sports arenas around the country offer anything like this? What's your take? Feel free to chime in!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Obligatory Biggest Loser Post...

I'm not what you would call a fan of reality shows, but last year I watched The Biggest Loser, primarily because I was about five months into my own weight loss journey at the time. I could identify with a lot of the contestants, at least before the whining started. Despite the "dramatic" cuts to commercials, the staged surprises and every other reality show cliche that was thrown in for good measure, I was hooked. Biggest Loser became one of my guilty TV pleasures.

Fast forward to Tuesday's season premiere (if you don't count last week's "reunion" show.) of season four. Last year's gimmick was choosing contestants from a pool with representatives from each state. This season, they humiliated one third of the would be contestants by having two team captains choose sides in that old school yard ritual that almost every overweight kid has suffered through.

The six contestants not picked watched the newly chosen teams ride off into the sunset, thinking that they're going home. They start turning to leave, but wait! Jillian, the trainer from the first two seasons, pulls up on a motorcycle to save the day, telling the outcasts that they will form a third Black team to compete against the Red and Blue teams.

After that, the show pretty much followed its usual formula, with occasional cuts back to the Black team training in the desert with Drill Sergent Jillian.

I know it sounds like I'm ripping the show a lot here, but mostly it's my heavier than usual sarcasm that's rearing its ugly but lovable head. I find that once I can get past the artificial drama and staged scenarios, there is a nugget of watchable show here. But I'll never admit to that in public.

My favorite part of the show last night, staged or not, was when 62 year old grandfather Jerry not only beat out every other contestant in the initial race for team captain, but at the end of the night dropped 31 pounds at the first weigh in, the most weight that anyone in the history of the show lost in a single week.

Final verdict? I'll be back for next week's episode. Just don't tell anyone, okay?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Weigh In: Week 72

Last Week: 160.6 lbs.
This Week: 158.8 lbs.
Change: Down 1.8 lbs.

Starting Weight: 292.0 lbs.
Total Weight Lost: 133.2 lbs.
Starting BMI: 43.2 (Morbidly Obese)
Current BMI: 23.4 (Normal)

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

Well, I'm back down this week, but I'm not going to worry about it. I've been eating healthy and eating enough, I think that my body is just trying to find some equilibrium after being in losing mode for so long. As long as I feel fine I'm not going to stress over it, especially since I have a checkup with my doc coming up.

But just in case, I ate a nice, fatty, greasy dinner tonight, and I'm going to settle down in a little while to watch Biggest Loser with a cup of coffee and a Tastykake* Coconut Creme Pie. Pretty ironic, wouldn't you say?

* Tastykake is a regional baking company that makes a wide variety of scrumtious treats. Their Coconut Creme Pie just happens to be one of my favorites, and something I haven't enjoyed in a long, long time.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Weight Loss Blog Roundup #1

In addition to writing this blog, I've been reading other weight related blogs and thought that I would link to some of the posts from the past week that captured my interest, and hopefully will do the same for you. So without further ado, here are some of the most interesting posts I read in the last week:

Jonathan at Jack-Sprat.net talks about losing and maintaining and the challenges involved.

Kathy over at Kathy Calculates has opinions about scales, weight loss programs and perfection. And I think she hits quite a few nails right on the head!

Jake from Bring It! is dealing with fitness goals and health issues while serving in the U.S. Air Force.

Ralph at RightSizingAmerica talks about an article in Reader's Digest magazine discussing the latest trend for chefs, cooking great tasting dishes with little or no fat.

Mystic Kitty is dealing with the Birthday Lady at her new job over at Mystic Kitty's FUN Adventures.

David at Is It Too Late To Lose Those Pounds? learned about the benefits of taking a little stroll.

Does Roni at Roni's Weight Watchen Pages have a pizza addiction?

Looks like I found Cranky Fitness just in time! Crabby McSlacker waxes philosophical in her blog about the pursuit of perfection, and why it's a bad idea.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Skinny Guy's Core Wingless Hot Wings

In honor of the first Sunday of the 2007 football season, I decided to share my buffalo wing substitute. I've tweaked it to be WW Core friendly, so I don't even need to count points for it.

You'll see that the amounts called for are very imprecise. That's because this is a very personalized dish, and everyone has a different tolerance for spicy foods. If you like it mild, go for the lower amounts, if you like the heat, don't be afraid to go crazy!

Skinny Guy's Core Wingless Hot Wings

Skinless chicken tenderloins, about a pound
Hot sauce, about 5 or 6 tablespoons
Fat free margarine, about 4 or 5 tablespoons
Minced garlic, 2 or 3 cloves
New Mexico Red Chile Powder, several teaspoons
Black pepper, to taste
Butter flavored cooking spray
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional, not Core)

Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Spread them out on a sheet of waxed paper and spray with cooking spray. Turn them over and spray again.

Next, coat them with the chile powder and black pepper, maybe a little cumin if you have any on hand. Flip the pieces over and repeat.

Preheat the oven to about 350. Take a baking tray and coat it with the cooking spray, then place the chicken pieces on it. Pop them in the oven. Let them cook for about 20-30 minutes or untill done, turning them over about half way through.

While the chicken is in the oven, combine the ff margarine, hot sauce and garlic in a small saucepan on low to low-medium heat. Add chile powder and black pepper to taste, stirring occasionally.

When the chicken is done cooking I take it out of the oven and place the pieces in the saucepan and let it mingle with the sauce for about 15 minutes.

I serve it in a bowl and like to toss it with some grated Parmesan cheese.

In lieu of blue cheese or ranch dressing, sometimes I'll combine equal parts of fat free plain yogurt and fat free mayo with some dill weed, mustard seed and maybe some other spices to taste. Perfect for celery dipping, and it's also Core.

Enjoy the football season!

Friday, September 7, 2007

The 500

Today marks the 500th day since I started Weight Watchers. While it sounds like a long time, the time really does seem to have flown by. During these 71 ½ weeks I've learned a lot and gone though a multitude of changes, both physical and mental.

I've learned that I can do whatever I set my mind to do. That it's never too late to change. That it won't hurt to get up off my posterior every now and then. That I don't need to eat everything in sight before anyone else sees it.

I've learned that it's ok to leave food on my plate. That being hungry does not mean I need to stuff my face. That my success can inspire others to have success. That I look good in pants with a 34 inch waist.

I've learned that maintaining my weight loss is an entirely different challenge than losing 130 pounds. That there are times when I still have trouble accepting a compliment. That I still enjoy getting those compliments. That sometimes I have to come first.

I've learned that a good meeting and a good meeting leader are important allies. That eating the right foods is just as important as the amount of food one eats. That yogurt is not evil. That ordering a healthy meal in most restaurants today would try the patience of Job.

I've learned that no matter what anyone says, the occasional cheesesteak still tastes delicious. That the key word is occasional. That there were bones under all that fat. That there is no reason I shouldn't be able to keep this weight off for the rest of my life.

But the most important thing I learned was that in order to make it though 500 days of Weight Watchers, I just had to do it one day at a time.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

New Features

I added a few links to the sidebar on the right to give new visitors to Gotta Keep It Off! easy access to a few earlier posts about me, including my "before" and "after" pictures.

I'm also going to start learning a little about CSS templates to see what I can tweak to customize the site a little bit because, well, standard templates can be so boring. If anyone has any tips for customizing Blogger templates or can point me to some tutorials, I'd be grateful!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Weigh In: Week 71

Last Week: 160.2 lbs.
This Week: 160.6 lbs.
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

I had a good weigh in tonight. Even though it was a small gain, I'm still within the range I've set for myself. And considering that it was a stressful, busy week, I think I did just fine.

Believe it or not, the biggest challenge I faced was a couple days where I had a difficult time getting enough to eat because I was on the run on those days. Unlike before when I would just indiscriminately pick a drive though and grab a heart attack on a bun with a side of cholesterol sticks and a diet soda, I found myself driving past the drive throughs and waiting until I could find better selections.

The Biggest Loser

I watched the Biggest Loser: "Did They Keep The Weight Off?" special on NBC tonight. They basically spent a couple minutes with 9 previous contestants and weighed them in to see how they were doing weight-wise.

It was obvious that almost all of them put a few pounds back on, but that should be expected given the drastic means that their weight came off in the first place. They all did keep the vast majority of their weight off (I imagine they wouldn't have been on the special, otherwise).

Loser was a guilty pleasure of mine last year, given that I was in the middle of my own weight loss battle and I'll probably tune in again starting next week just to see if it keeps my interest.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Are You An Owner Or A Manager?

I drove past a local church recently and the message on the sign outside raised a very interesting question. It read "Are you the owner or manager of your life?"

Almost immediately I imagined a business. I also imagined the owner and the manager of this business. The manager takes care of the day to day details of the business, dealing with inventory, employees, customers, suppliers and hundreds of the unnamed details that go along with running a business successfully. Most of the time it is a very reactionary job.

On the other hand, the owner of a business is responsible for putting the pieces in place that will allow the business to not only survive, but thrive. It is critical for an owner to see beyond the day to day details and to set goals and make decisions that will benefit the business in the long run.

Both roles have their places in any successful venture. But in the weight loss venture, many folks get so wrapped up in managing the day to day details, reacting to the scale, or their next meal, or their hunger or cravings, that they totally ignore thinking about the long term. Instead of putting the tools in place that will make it easier to achieve their goals, they wind up chasing the scale or looking for a quick fix and failing. They forget how important the big picture is and fail to prepare for it.

Don't get me wrong, you still need to manage the day to day details of losing weight. But by becoming the owner of your weight loss efforts you will be increasing the odds for your permanent success.

So, are you an owner or a manager?