Conrad

November 30, 2010

My sister Laura, has a little dog, named Conrad.  He’s my doggie nephew, and he’s a cutie.  Here’s a pic:

Laura brings Conrad from Chicago when she visits our parents in Michigan, and she brought him last week to Colorado for Thanksgiving.  I’ll see him again at Christmas.  Laura says that, after spending a few days in Michigan with the extended family, Conrad gets depressed when they get back to Chicago and it’s just the two of them again.  He sleeps all day and mopes around the house.  He is without his pack.

I’ve been feeling the same way since coming back to California.  It’s rare that I see so much of my family at one time, like I did in Colorado last week – it only happens a couple times a year, and I miss being around them.  Luckily for me, I’ll see most everyone again in Michigan at Christmas in only a few weeks.

The good think about Conrad’s post-family depression is that he snaps out of it after a few days.  I’m sure I will too.  Exercise always helps.  Tomorrow I’m waking up early to go work out in the park with Oscar and Joe, and this morning I did 45 minutes on the bike at the gym, then some back exercises and abs.

Keep it up, David!

PS – Look up!  I have a new header on this website!  Photograph and design courtesy of my friend Glory Gale, one of the men behind the highly-acclaimed, highly-influencial hot wings blog Large Hot, which you can read by clicking here.  What do you think?

 

 


Thanksgiving Success!

November 29, 2010

Lots of catch-up today.

1) Weigh-in. I weighed myself yesterday, and while in Colorado for Thanksgiving week, I lost 1 pound!  Here’s my updated chart:

I managed to lose my 150th pound, and during a holiday week!  I credit myself, for working hard to eat well (even though I broke both my Thanksgiving rules a little bit), having great workouts 4 of the 5 days I was there, and having an amazingly supportive family that makes it all easier.  All four of those workouts, actually, were with one or both of my sisters – which made them more fun and more rewarding.

I’m now 252 pounds, and within striking distance of my next goal, which is to weigh an even 250 pounds.

2) Exercise. I’ve had three great workouts in the past three days.  On Saturday, my last day in Colorado, my sister Sarah and I did Richard Simmons’ Sweatin’ to the Oldies 5 DVD in her family room (you can check it out and buy it here).  I haven’t done it in at least 6 or 8 months, but it was easy for me to pack, so I took it along on my trip.  It’s about 50 minutes of cardio dance aerobics, and it’s very colorful, and Richard is, well… in full Richard mode.

Today I went to the gym and did 45 minutes of cardio and then about 10 minutes of some basic toning exercises with some free weights.  And yesterday, I went for a run!  It was on the cold side (for Los Angeles), and very windy, but I went for 46 minutes without stopping, and ran 4.2 miles.  Here’s my route:

I started at ‘A’ (heading east), and ended at ‘E’ – both are 4-5 blocks from my house, so I got a nice walking warm-up and cool-down in there too.  Time to update my chart:

  • 9/21/10: Distance: 3.1 miles.  Time: 41 minutes.  MPH: 4.53
  • 9/27/10: Distance: 3.3 miles.  Time: 45 minutes.  MPH: 4.4
  • 10/5/10: Distance: 3.2 miles.  Time: 40 minutes.  MPH: 4.8
  • 10/12/10: Distance: 3.8 miles.  Forgot to note time and MPH
  • 10/16/10: Distance: 2.9 miles.  Forgot to note time and MPH
  • 11/1/10: Distance: 3.1 miles.  Time: 36 minutes.  MPH: 5.16
  • 11/6/10: Distance: 5.1 miles. Time: 60 minutes.  MPH: 5.1
  • 11/14/10: Distance: 3.9 miles. Time: 45 minutes.  MPH: 5.2
  • 11/28/10: Distance: 4.2 miles. Time: 46 minutes.  MPH: 5.47

I’m getting faster!

3) Bed-Sharing Update. A follow up on a post from last week, in which I shared my fear of death by futon (basically, that the futon would break, sending me tumbling over a balcony and to my death 10 feet below), and my deciision to avoid the risk by sleeping instead with my 5-year-old nephew in his double bed.

I ended up spending 4 nights in my nephew’s bed, and it was a much better alternative.  He’s a sound sleeper, so he never woke up when I came in for bed after he was already long sound asleep.  He also moves a lot in his sleep, so I got kicked a few times, and once, he slowly migrated over and rested his little head on my shoulder, which I thought was really cute until he started snoring in my ear.  That didn’t last long, because I repositioned him.

4) Old Produce. I blogged before going to Colorado about the fresh produce that I hoped would keep for the 5 days I was gone.  Well, it was all fine when I got back, and I ate most of it (the carrots, celery, apple, and half of the frozen grapes) yesterday.  Which means my house was almost completely produce-free.  Which brings me to…

5) New Produce. Here was my produce bowl after lunch on Sunday:

That’s one lonely sweet potato.

So I headed to the grocery store.  I had been running errands, and didn’t have tons of time, so I gave myself 10 minutes to go in to Superior Grocers (I’ve been there once before, read about it here), get some produce, yogurt, and some sort of fish as another protein source to have on hand (I have other groceries to buy, but wanted to make a list, which I didn’t do yesterday – I’ll try to do it today).

Here’s the bowl when I got home:

That’s 1 bag of broccoli slaw, green onions, a 12-ounce bag of carrots, a cucumber, 1 pound of green beans, 1 green pepper, 4 bananas, 4 apples, 3 tomatoes, 5 oranges, and the orange thing in the back is called a Table Queen Squash, which I’ve never bought before (or heard of), so I’ll be trying that this week and will tell you all about it.

And the grand total?  $6.16! They had some amazing prices yesterday: navel oranges were 17 cents a pound (my 5 were 25 cents), cucumbers were 20 cents apiece, and that squash was only 27 cents (it was priced at 14 cents a pound).  Add in 4 Yoplait Lights (60 cents a piece, on sale) and almost 1 pound of imitation crab meat (on sale for $1.99 a pound at the fish counter, I bought $1.69 worth) and my whole grocery bill was $10.25!

Keep it up, David!


How a 400-Pound Man Flies

November 28, 2010

Yesterday, I boarded an airplane for my flight back home from Denver to Los Angeles.  As I was settling into seat 21C, I looked up and saw a very large man making his way down the aisle.  He was over 6 feet tall, and probably over 350 pounds  He was walking sideways, sort of, at an angle so he wouldn’t collide into every seat as he walked passed them, with his arms up, his elbows above the headrests.  His eyes were darting back and forth, registering which aisle seats already had people sitting in them, and taking care as he passed, so he wouldn’t bump into them.  When he got to me, he paused, checked his ticket, and sat down across the aisle, in seat 21D.

I was sitting across the aisle from my former self.

It’s not easy or comfortable to fly when you’re 400 pounds, as I was before I began losing weight.  I hated every moment of it, starting from my arrival at the gate.  This is when I would start looking around and sizing up the other passengers – literally.  I would look and see if there was anyone else as big as me.  More often than not, I would be the biggest person on the flight, and all I could think was that everyone else was noticing me and hoping that they wouldn’t be sitting next to me.  Maybe they’ve sat next to obese people before.  Maybe they’ve had to experience now rolls of fat spill over the armrest and into their space, sometimes making it difficult to operate the controls of the little TV in the seat back in front of them.  I used to think, as we waited to board the aircraft, that I can’t blame those people that were hoping I was in some other row.  I wouldn’t want to sit next to me either.

When booking air travel, a top priority was not to book a middle seat.  Window or aisle was always preferred, and I would oscillate between which I wanted more.  If it was a red-eye or a long flight where I would want to try to sleep, I would pick a window seat, so I could shift my weight slightly, and lean against the side of the plane the entire time.  That way, I would be doing everything I could to keep all parts of my body in my seat and my space, instead of intruding in the space of the person sitting next to me.  But if the flight was shorter, or during a time when I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to nap,  I’d pick an aisle seat.  In an aisle seat, I could stick one of my long legs into the aisle, which felt nice, and I could shift my weight slightly and lean into the aisle, as to not bother or intrude in the space of the person next to me.  This, by the way, is an excellent way to get smacked by the drink cart every time it passes.

Ultimately, it was lose-lose, because I was never comfortable on a plane.  I couldn’t lower the tray table, because my gut was too big.  I had to sit the entire time with my arms somehow crossed (which made reading a book challenging), because I couldn’t let them rest at my sides, as my sides were already pouring over the tops of the armrests, so resting my arms over that would put them fully in the seat (or the lap) next to me.

Worst of all was the seat belt.  I was too big for the seat belt.  It’s been years and years since I could wrap it around me and click it shut.  I would have to ask for a seat belt extender, which was always a mortifying experience, because I was certain everyone within four rows of me could hear me and were judging me.  I used to love the flight attendants who would just smile or nod when I asked them for one, and then, minutes later, just slip one to me nonchalantly as they walked by, without even making eye contact, like it was a drug deal or a hand-off in a spy movie.  Finally, about 6 years ago, I got tired of drawing attention to myself, and just stole a seat belt extender.  It became a permanent item on my checklist when I was packing.  Cell phone charger?  Check.  Toothbrush?  Check.  Seat belt extender?  Check.

Yesterday, I wondered if the man sitting in 21D was thankful for the considerate flight attendant on our flight, who was very discreet about delivering a seat belt extender, although I did catch the transaction out of the corner of my eye.  I know I smiled at that moment, and, to be honest, my eyes watered, because I had just buckled my seat belt minutes before, and I didn’t need a seat belt extender.  I left it at home.  Now that I’ve lost nearly 150 pounds, I can fit in the regular seat belt just fine, and with room to spare!

I know I’m never going to be really comfortable on planes.  I’m 6’4″, so my legs will always be cramped, and the head rest often hits me at my neck.  But, boy, how things have changed.  When I stand in the terminal, I don’t feel like all eyes are on me.  I can lower the tray table completely.  My body fits comfortably between the armrests, and no parts of me spill over the tops of them.

I’m just a guy on an airplane, not the fat guy on an airplane.

Keep it up, David!

PS – This is my 100th blog post.  A big thank you to all my readers out there – I appreciate your love and support!


The Day AFTER Thanksgiving

November 26, 2010

I’m feeling quite proud of myself at the moment.  Normally, after a day like yesterday, when I eat way more than I usually do, I have the tendency to stay off-track.  Now that the train is derailed, why bother staying the course, right?  (Yep, I’m mixing metaphors)  But yesterday was Thanksgiving, and there’s no day like Thanksgiving, and therefore, no reason to continue eating like it was.  So I’m back on track, and ate wonderfully today (including staying away from most of the leftovers - more on that later), and I got a lot of exercise.

The exercise began early in the morning – my sisters, Sarah and Laura, and I headed to Sarah’s gym and took a group exercise class at 8:30am run by a trainer named Heather.  There were about 20-25 of us, in a big circle in the gymnasium at the rec center (read more about it here), and Heather had us rotate through a variety of strength training exercises for a minute each.  We went through the circuit twice, and some of them were really tough.  Then we headed up to the track, and all of us jogged around the track in a line.  The person at the end of the line had to sprint past everyone in front of them, and get in position in the front of the line.  Then the new person at the end of the line sprinted to the front, and so on.  With 20-plus people in the class, it probably took about 10 minutes for everyone to get their sprint in.  The last thing we did was abs, back in the gym.  We did the kind with a partner, where one person pushes their partner’s straight legs to the ground over and over.  My sister Sarah would probably say that the low point during the class was when, as I was standing over her, pushing her legs, sweat rolled off my nose and landed in her mouth.  Sorry, Sarah!  All in all, the class was an hour.

We swung back to Sarah’s house, and picked up her husband Justin and their two kids, and headed back to the rec center to use the pool.  The pool is awesome – actually, I should pluralize that, as there are multiple pools.  Check this place out:

That’s a lap pool in the foreground, and a lazy river wraps around that giant slide.  I can’t remember the last time I went down a water slide, and it was a blast.  I went down it more times than my 5-year-old nephew!  There’s also a separate kids’ pool:

Not pictured is a waterfall at the other end of the kids’ pool, as well as a hot tub and sauna.

I haven’t swum laps since high school, when I quit the swim team after swimming competitively for about 10 years.  I did about 250 yards while at the pool today (10 lengths of the pool), and I was pleasantly surprised when the technique came back to me, like riding a bike.  My endurance, of course, wasn’t what it was when I was a swimmer, but it made me think that perhaps I should look into local pools when I get back to LA and maybe incorporate swimming into my exercising.

On to my eating:  Here’s a complete rundown of everything I ate today:

  • Breakfast: 1 banana, 1-2 ounces leftover turkey, raw veggies (tomato, celery, mushrooms, red pepper), 
  • Lunch: Salad (romaine, cucumber, peppers, scallion, radish, cherry tomato, croutons, 1 tsp dressing), 4-5 oz leftover turkey, 1/2 pear
  • Dinner: We went to Noodles & Company, where I had their Med Salad, dressing on the side (and I only tried once), and no feta.  What was left was: greens, onion, olives, grilled chicken, tomato, and about 1/2 cup pasta, no sauce/butter/or anything.
  • Beverages: 9-11 glasses water throughout the day.

The only leftovers I ate was turkey!

Tomorrow is my last day in Colorado before heading back to LA tomorrow night.  I’ll be sad to go – it’s been a great week!

Keep it up, David!


Quickie Thanksgiving Post

November 25, 2010

It’s  just past 10pm on Thanksgiving Day, and I’m thankful for having an amazing family, and thankful that I was able to be with most of them today.

Although I didn’t blog about it, I had come up with a couple ideas to help get me through this food-based holiday without sending the number on the scale skyward .  One was that I would photograph everything I ate during my Thanksgiving dinner, and the other was that I wouldn’t take seconds of anything.  Technically, I ended up breaking both rules, but I did pretty good sticking to both of them.

Here’s what I ate during the big Thanksgiving meal.  Everything in it was homemade, most of it by my brother-in-law Justin, who loves Thanksgiving more than any other holiday, and is a really terrific cook.  One of his Thanksgiving traditions is oyster soup, so that was the first course:

Here’s my plate full of all the main Thanksgiving foods:

Clockwise from top, that’s stuffing, brussel sprouts, dark and white meat turkey, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes (with a little gravy).  Although I wasn’t going to get any seconds, I did eat more turkey, and about 1/4 cup more stuffing – neither of which I photographed.

Dessert:

A small slice apple pie, a small slice of pumpkin pie – both made by my mom.  I also ate a pumpkin cookie (unphotographed).

And that’s the damage from the big meal.  I ate a lot – much more than I usually eat during one meal, but also much less than I’ve probably ever eaten during Thanksgiving.  Here’s some good things about the day:  Breakfast was pretty healthy, I got some exercise (about a half-hour walk to the park and back), and tomorrow, bright and early, I’m going with both my sisters to take an exercise class.

Hope everyone out there had a lovely Thanksgiving, and Keep it up, David!


Acorn Squash

November 24, 2010

It’s my second day in Colorado, and a little while ago, my parents flew in to join in the Thanksgiving festivities.  My other sister is landing in a few hours, too, and I’m doing the airport run.  We’re also gonna pop Prince of Persia into the DVD player, so I’m gonna make this quick.  Well, I’ll try to make this quick.

Tonight my sister and I made another fantastic dinner for everyone, which a little assist from Whole Foods – where Sarah (my sister) and Justin (her husband) picked up a pork loin with an apple-cherry stuffing inside.  But what was really delicious was the side dish – Roasted Acorn Squash Mash.  Here’s the recipe (it’s from Martha Stewart, and she calls it Gratineed Baked Squash Halves, but I like our name better).  I’ll walk you through it, since we changed a few things (sorry, Martha).

We started with 3 acorn squashes, which I cut in half.  It wasn’t an easy task – it involved a cleaver, lots of leverage, and strength.  Good thing I’ve been working out!  I then scooped out the seeds:

Meanwhile, on the stove, Sarah whisked together a mixture of 2% Horizon Organic milk (instead of half and half), garlic, and sage.  She also added a tablespoon of butter:

Here’s Sarah whisking away:

The mixture then got divided among the 6 squash halves:

Ten minutes before they were finished roasting, Sarah sprinkled each one with Swiss cheese (instead of Gruyere) – this picture was taken halfway through that process:

After they came out of the oven, each one was served in its own bowl:

And each individual diner used their fork to scrape the squash from the sides, and mix it with the cheese and the creamy liquid in the center.  Here’s what the final mash looked like:

I had no trouble eating all of mine (which also had about 1/3 of the cheese the other ones had, per my request):

It was FANTASTIC!  I highly recommend to everyone.

Earlier today, Sarah and I headed to her gym, like we did yesterday.  Today, I ran 1 mile on the track (in a little over 11 minutes), and then did 35 minutes on the elliptical.  My shoulder is acting up – I think I’ll take tomorrow (Thanksgiving!) off from exercising and let it rest.

Keep it up, David!


First 24 Hours in Colorado

November 23, 2010

I’ve been in Colorado for about 24 hours now.  Lots to catch up on!

I got in last night at around 10pm.  Last night I slept on the futon in my sister’s library/loft.  I’ve been coming to my sister’s for Thanksgiving for the past 5 years or so, and this is the third year I’ve slept on this futon – every year since they moved in this house.  Here it is:

Yep – that is a Jerry Garcia woven blanket!

The very first night I slept here, two years ago, I got the crap scared out of me within minutes of lying down.  The futon frame wasn’t fully settled into position or something, and the whole thing shifted under me.  I became, in that instant, paranoid that I would fall off the futon, crash through the railing and fall to my death in the foyer below:

It didn’t help that I was also significantly heavier back then – nearly 150 pounds heavier.  As anyone who has spent any time in any college-related living situations know, futons aren’t really the sturdiest pieces of furniture around, and I was also rather concerned that I would break the futon.  That it would splinter and buckle and collapse under my weight.  And after it collapsed, surely I would tumble through the railing, and fall to my death.  I was literally scared to death.

But I slept on it for during visits for two years, and last night, I slept on it again.  This time, I didn’t hear it creak under my weight.  This time, nothing shifted.  It didn’t seem nearly so precarious.  It never occurred to me once that I would plummet from the second floor to the first.

Tonight, though, I’m playing it safe.  Despite my weight loss, and my much-lessened paranoia, I’m opting to share my 5-year-old nephew’s double bed.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

This morning, my sister and I dropped her kids off at school, and headed to her gym, the Bob L. Burger Recreation Center in Lafayette, Colorado.  It was really impressive!  It has a huge pool area, with a 25-yard lap pool, lazy river, 3-story water slide, smaller kids slides, waterfall…  I’ll take a photo because we’re going back to go swimming on Friday.  There’s also lots of cardio and weight equipment, much of it in a huge atrium with skylights, and a track that circles it on the second floor:

I ran around the track for 10 minutes.  Each lap equaled 1/16th of a mile, and I lost count after about 4 laps.  Then, I jumped on an elliptical for 22 minutes, and then I spied a machine I’ve never seen before:

It kinda looked like an elliptical, but different.  I was curious, so I jumped on.  It was tough to figure out, and then it was a blast.  You move your feet in a circular motion, like an elliptical, but you can vary how long your stride it – you can keep it nearly vertical, mimicking the motion of a StairMaster, use it like an elliptical, or stretch your stride out so it’s like you’re making long bounding leaps.  It’s called an Adaptive Motion Trainer, and you can learn more about it here.  Anyway – I was on that for 22 minutes as well – so add in the 10 minutes of running, and the 22 minutes on the elliptical, and that’s 54 minutes of cardio!  My sister, meanwhile, jogged on the treadmill for 60 minutes.  Not too shabby for either of us!

For dinner tonight, my sister and I made a delicious salad together:

Not a great photo, but it’s arugula, roasted butternut squash, toasted walnuts, dried cranberries, parmesan, and a warm apple cider vinaigrette.  It’s a recipe by Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, and here it is.  It was delicious!  A big hit.  We also threw a big steak on the grill, but I only had about 1 or 2 ounces of it, to try it.  The salad was filling enough by itself.

Keep it up, David!


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 701 other followers