Monday Grab Bag

January 31, 2011

I had a long and full weekend, and am gonna use today’s post to catch up on some odds and ends that I haven’t blogged about yet.  What’s first?

1) H&M. Thanks, first of all, for all the great comments on all the new clothing I picked up the other day.  I’ve been wearing all new clothes for the past two days and I’m lovin’ it!  (I even have a picture to prove it – keep reading.)  But when I was getting dressed the other night, only a few hours after leaving the mall, I realized that I bought the wrong pants.  Ugh.  Remember these?

They’re the kick-ass black/white/gray subtle plaid cargo pants from H&M.  I tried them on in two sizes: 38, which I was pretty sure would fit (and they did), and 36, because I was curious how close I was to fitting into a size 36 (the answer, by the way, is pretty far off).  I thought I had a pretty good dressing room system, since I was trying on about 10 things: keepers in one pile, and no-thank-yous in another, but I must not have been paying attention, because the 36s ended up with me at the counter, where I paid for them, then brought them home, then desperately tried to squeeze into them later that night.

So yesterday I went back to H&M – a different H&M, since I was already in a different part of town.  I found the rack with the pants, and searched for a pair of 38s.  Crap.  They were out. Annoyance level quickly rose.  I decided to go find someone that worked there, to see if they had any in the back or something, and as I approached the counter, there, on a random rack, that must have been returns or go-backs or whatever, I spied a singular pair of my pants.  I beelined for them, and sure enough, they were 38s!  Score! H&M gladly swapped the pants and I went on my merry way.

2) Cirque Berserk. On Saturday night, my friend Steve and I went and saw our friend Tavi, who’s an aerialist (read about my recent hike with him here), perform in a circus called Cirque Berserk (I’d post a link, but the final performances were yesterday – you missed out!).  It had a lot of trapeze and trampoline and acrobatic elements, and it was really fun, and a good show.  Tavi and his acrobatic partner, Neal, do an aerial act called straps, where there’s two hanging cords, with adjustable loops at the end.  Tavi and Neal loop their hands or feet through the loops, and seconds later, they’re performing feats of strength and flexibility 15-20 feet off the ground.  It’s amazing.  Here’s a photo of Tavi and me after the show (Cirque Berserk has an death/underworld theme and sensibility to it, which explains Tavi’s ghostly make-up):

Yep, that’s my new shirt and jacket – thank you for noticing!

Before the show, Steve and I had dinner downtown, near the theater.  Two restaurants had waits of an hour or more, so we ended up at Rock’N Fish, mainly because they were able to seat us in about 5 minutes.  I’m glad we ended up there – it was tasty!  I had the Napa Sonoma salad.  It had baby lettuces, sun-dried tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and pine nuts.  I had the balsamic vinaigrette on the side and had them add some seared Ahi tuna.  It also had mozzarella, which I asked them to hold, but they didn’t, but it was two slices of buffalo mozzarella that I could easily take off, and I ended up eating one of them anyway.

3) Eggs. I hard-boiled 5 eggs on Saturday before leaving for the mall, and yesterday I cracked open one of them and found out I didn’t cook them long enough.  The white was almost done, and the yolk was still runny, and the shell didn’t come off easily at all.  Yuck.  I was running out the door, so I couldn’t do anything about them yesterday, but right now, as I type this, I’m re-boiling the other four.  According to this blog post, it can be done, but the eggs may end up a little rubbery.  Hmmm.  Will keep you posted.

4) January Workouts. I can’t believe it’s already the last day in January.  January was a great month for working out – all in all, I worked out 27 out of 31 days!  Here’s my most recent workouts, since I haven’t blogged about them lately:

  • Friday, 1/28:  Rest Day.
  • Saturday 1/29:  Richard’s class at Slimmons.
  • Sunday, 1/30:  45 minutes on stationary bike.
  • Monday, 1/31:  40 minutes on arc trainer, followed by 15 minutes of toning/abs.

5) Chart Update. I’m ending the post with some photos that I know y’all love – my weight loss chart!  I weighed myself on Saturday, and I’m down another pound!  That puts my weight loss at 160 pounds even.  Here’s the updated chart:

Only 22 pounds until I reach my next goal!

And here’s the whole chart from a fun new angle – from the beginning of it, when I was at my heaviest, looking down at the weight I’ve lost.

Keep it up, David!


Hello, Americana!

January 30, 2011

This week I cleared out space in my closet and dressers.  I few days ago I got, in my hot little hands, the gift cards that were so generously given to me by Ellen (which arrived to the Ellen offices when I was in Michigan, so I didn’t get them until I got back).  Which means that yesterday, I was in the perfect position…

…to go shopping!

My friend Jen came along with me – she can work her way through a mall better than most people (certainly me), and she has a great eye and fashion sense.  Here are three more reasons I love shopping with Jen:

  • The day after I asked if she’d come, she emailed me a game plan – she had gone to the mall’s website, scoured the store directory, and identified all the stores we needed to hit.
  • When we were driving to the mall, she directed me to a side street where we got a great parking space, avoiding paying for parking at the mall itself.
  • She was excited to document the entire excursion with photographs, which will make writing this post so much easier (and so much more fun!).

We went to The Americana At Brand, the mall where I was given the gift cards.  It’s in downtown Glendale, California (only about 15 minutes from my place), and it opened a few years ago.  We only focused on clothing, but there’s also a big movie theater, a Barnes and Noble, a bunch of restaurants, and other shops and retailers.  There’s a park in the center, with some dancing fountains, and there are apartments and condos above all the stores:

By the time we left, it was turning dark.  Here’s one of their signs:

So…  wanna see the fashion show?

First stop was Urban Outfitters, where I picked up 2 shirts:

The orange plaid shirt may not be a keeper, I haven’t decided yet.  I like the colors, but it’s a tiny bit tight through the back and shoulders, so I may return it.  Those photos, by the way, are totally against the rules:  Jen was asked not to take photos in Urban Outfitters.  Whatever.   Oh, and guess who we ran into at Urban?  You’ll never guess.  My friend Glory!  I love Glory, she’s so hilarious and so much fun to be around.  Wanna see Glory in action?  She was on TV last month, and her skirt got ripped off – it’s very funny.

Next stop was H&M.  Glory had a few spare minutes, so she came along, too.  I probably tried on 10-12 different things, and found some keepers:

I love these pants.  It’s hard to tell in the picture, but they have a subtle gray/black/white plaid pattern, and a bunch of fun details.  The brown polo was really thin, and I didn’t love it, so I didn’t buy it.

My friend Jim will love that I bought this gingham shirt:


I also picked up a couple V-neck tees ($6 a piece) and a pair of black workout pants.

Right next store to H&M was Forever 21, which apparently has a men’s section.  I’d never been in a Forever 21 before – but this jacket was literally the first thing I picked up after walking in:

A saleswoman saw Jen take this picture and told her photos weren’t allowed in their store.  Oops.  She also asked Jen to delete the photo off the camera, and Jen did a bang-up job miming doing just that.  And I bought the jacket – it was only $37!

We headed into American Eagle Outfitters, where I picked up two t-shirts (buy one, get one 50% off).  Here’s one of them:

I wanted to see if I could find a new pair of sneakers to work out in, so we ducked in the Puma store.  They didn’t have anything I liked in my size – I’m a size 14, and end up buying a lot of my shoes online – but I did find this shirt, and it was 50% off:

And there you have it, folks!  Everything I bought today at the Americana.

There was a lot of stuff I tried on and didn’t buy.  We went into A/X Armani Exchange, where I tried on a pair of pants and a zip-up top:

The photo doesn’t do justice all the details and seams in the pants, but they were too snug around my waist, and not quite my style – maybe if I owned a motorcycle.  The top, though, I debated.  It’s actually a dark navy zip-up dealie, and there’s a brighter blue lining that you can’t see.  It was on sale (50% off), and I would have bought it if they had it in a different color – I already have a zip-up hoodie that’s navy with brighter blue details.  I liked Armani Exchange, though, and will remember to go back once I settle into my final goal weight (which I haven’t determined yet).  They have fun, different clothes, but it’s too pricey for transition clothes.

Figuring out what stores I like and don’t like was actually one of the best things about this excursion (apart from buying lots of new stuff and not paying for a single cent of it).  I never stepped foot in any mall stores for probably a decade when I heavy, because I never could buy anything at any of them, and now, there’s just tons of places to check out.  I like Armani Exchange, but we also went into Calvin Klein, and I didn’t really like their stuff at all.  I tried on a couple things at J. Crew, found it pricey for transition clothes, but will probably go back once I reach a final goal weight (or, at least, check out their outlet store).  There’s stuff for me that I like at H&M and Urban Outfitters, too!

I’ll end this post with a couple definite ‘no’s.  This J. Crew long sleeve tee was not flattering…

…nor was this long-sleeve number from Urban Outfitters:

All told, I walked outta Americana with 4 tees, 4 button-down shirts, 1 jacket, and 2 pairs of pants.  Not too shabby!

Keep it up, David!


Your Questions, Answered

January 29, 2011

I’ve gotten tons of new readers over the past few weeks, thanks to the exposure from appearing on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”, and I’m thankful that each and every one of you has checked out the blog, and I also love that so many of you feel compelled by what you’re seeing and reading to leave notes in the comments section.

Due to the number of new comments and because I ended up going out of town for a while right after the show aired, I haven’t been able to respond to many of them, although I have read each and every single one.  I thought I’d dedicate a post to answering a few of the questions you’ve been leaving in the comments section.  If this goes well, maybe it’ll become something I do on a regular basis!

Before the questions, though, I want to clear up a little kerfuffle from a couple weeks ago.  That’s right, I just used the word kerfuffle (and had to look up the correct spelling).  I got a lot of comments on my post where I shared the first mean comment that I’ve gotten (read the post here).  One of the comments was an apology from ‘Mike Hunt,’ the guy who left the mean comment in the first place.  Except, though, that it wasn’t.  I have a good friend who anonymously leaves comments every once and a while with the goal of trying to make me laugh (he’s not anonymous to me – I know which comments are his, even though he uses a fake name).  The apology came from him, with the thought that it might make me smile, which it did.  What I didn’t expect was that other people would then contact me, saying ‘Oh my god, that guy apologized!  I’ve never seen that before!  What are you gonna do?’  Um, I’m gonna do nothing.  ‘Mike Hunt’ is still at large, and he did not apologize, nor do I expect him to.  Case closed.

OK – here are some questions:

Mindy wrote:

Edgar Sawtelle is a fabulous book. Have you read Water for Elephants? That’s a good one too.

I finished The Story of Edgar Sawtelle a few days ago and absolutely loved it.  And yep, I read Water for Elephants and really enjoyed it, too.  Have you seen the trailer for the movie version with Reese Witherspoon?  Watch it here.  Gonna need to find a new book –   suggestions, anyone?

Zach wrote:

I need help. I just need ideas for what to eat, and how much to eat. Life is going nowhere right now, and I am a depressed eater. I eat whatever I want and in huge quanities. At this rate I am going to hurt myself. I weight 358.4 lbs, at age 25, standing right at 6 foot tall. All of my weight, ALL OF IT, is in my belly. My back hurts, shoulders, I am starting to have a hard time running short distances. I just woke up the other day and decided I need to stop wearing 4X polos. So do you have any tips to get started?

Hey Zach!  What I would recommend is to identify one thing you can do, starting tomorrow, to be healthier, and then do it.  Can you take the stairs to get to your office instead of the elevator?  Can you replace a couple sodas and drink water instead?  Can you pack your lunch instead of eating out?  Start small, and do one new thing for a few days.  Then, add a second new thing, and, a week later, a third, and so on.  I’ve been in your shoes, and I know how daunting it can seem, but one small change isn’t daunting at all, and you’ll find that once you start making those changes, you’ll gain some momentum, and see that those small changes, added up, can make a big difference!

Shelby wrote:

What do you do to stop cravings, also are you just doing exercise from the Richard Simmons videos? I have some health problems like asthma and bad knees and wonder if the video workouts are hard.  Good luck with the rest of your weight loss.

Hi Shelby!  Ugh – cravings are hard!  I can watch a commercial for Oreos and by the time those 30 seconds are over, I want some!  But here’s what’s been working for me lately:  I refuse to let myself act impulsively.  I identify a craving specifically – so, instead of thinking ‘I really want something sweet,’ I narrow it down to exactly what I’m craving: ‘I really want a Butterfinger Blizzard from Dairy Queen.’  Then, I sleep on it.  Many times, I wake up, and the craving is gone.  Sometimes, I still have it, and it’s stronger.  Then I start figuring out what I can eat that will satisfy the craving without making me feel guilty.  I’ve found that if I don’t satisfy the craving at all than it just gets stronger and stronger and I’ll end up making some really poor choices or binging.  For the Dairy Queen craving, I ended up, after a few days, going to Baskin Robbins and getting 300 calories worth of sherbet.  You can read more about that craving battle here.

Oh wait – Shelby’s question is a two-parter!  As for the exercise, I’m currently up to 5-6 workouts a week, and I switch them up – I take classes at Slimmons, do cardio and toning at the gym, and go running, too.  You mentioned having bad knees – have you tried doing a chair workout?  I haven’t done this myself, but Richard has a DVD called “Sit Tight” that’s a complete workout without any stress on your knees.  Check it out here.  I’ve done Richard’s “Sweatin’ to the Oldies 5” – and the good thing about it is that you can only do what you can.  Who’s gonna know?  If you can only make it through 1/2, than do 1/2.  Maybe the next time you can do a few minutes more.  That’s how you’ll get stronger!

Thanks for the questions, everyone, and, more importantly, thanks for reading the blog.  If you have a question for me, leave it in a comments section.  I read every comment – every one of ‘em!

Keep it up, David!


Goodbye, Clothes

January 28, 2011

The other day, I posted a great photo of me wearing my old winter jacket (Didn’t see it? click here).  In that post, I mentioned that I was cleaning out my closet – some early spring cleaning, if you will.  Today, I tackled my dressers.  I have a lot of clothes that I can no longer wear, because they’re too big, and I’m tired of lookin’ at them, I’m tired of them taking up space, I’m tired of mixing up the clothes that fit with that clothes that don’t…  I’m tired of all of it.  So I’m cleaning it all out, loading up the trunk, and donating them.

Wanna see all the clothes that are headed to the thrift shop?

I took an inventory, and here’s just some of the things included in that pile:

  • 1 winter jacket (in the foreground)
  • 12 short-sleeve t-shirts
  • 3 long sleeve t-shirts
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 7 pairs of casual pants
  • 2 pairs of dressy pants
  • 8 button-down shirts (of varying levels of dressiness)
  • 11 polos/collared pullovers
  • 3 sweaters

Here it is, bagged and ready for the trunk of my car:

Here’s the really cool thing:  Most of these clothes were actually purchased in the middle of last year – they were the first “skinny” clothes that I bought after dropping 70 or 80 pounds!  That means I’m onto, basically, my third wardrobe.  Wowsa!

It’s also the second major charity donation I’ve made since beginning this journey – in Mid-August, after I began purchasing the first round of smaller clothes, I cleaned house and got rid of about 75% of my wardrobe.  Here’s what that pile of clothes looked like:

Halfway through, I took a break to make some lunch.  It’s been a while since I’ve featured one of my salads on the blog, but since I got so much good salad stuff at Whole Foods yesterday, I thought I’d share today’s salad with all with you.  Here was my lunch:

In the mix:  mixed greens, green pepper, cucumber, radish, butter beans, beets, capers, 2 teaspoons soy bacon bits, and 2-3 teaspoons light Parmesan Asiago dressing.  It was a big salad – the photo doesn’t do justice to how deep that bowl is.  I also had an apple.

Breakfast was the same juice mix I’ve been making for the past few days, about 1 cup of cottage cheese, and 2 pieces wheat toast.

Keep it up, David!


My First Trip to Whole Foods

January 27, 2011

Well, not my first ever trip to Whole Foods.  I’ve been there before.  But today was my first visit since being given a very generous gift card on national TV.

It was a quick visit today.  I have plans to scour every inch of Whole Foods, and try tons of new things (and blog about them), but today I was out running errands, and I just needed to quickly pick up a few things, mainly produce and protein.  And I didn’t make a list before leaving the house (I always like shopping with a list, it curtails impulse purchases), so another more major visit is right around the corner, I just didn’t get it together to make it happen today.

Here’s the closest Whole Foods to my house – it’s in Sherman Oaks, CA:

It’s pretty small for a Whole Foods – more like the size of a CVS than a grocery store.  But they have pretty much all the departments: meat and seafood counters, prepared foods counter, flowers, bakery, etc., with most of the groceries and supplements packed into about 4 aisles in the center.

I only hit 3 departments:  dairy (where I picked up eggs and cottage cheese), frozen food (for veggie burgers), and produce, where I picked up all this:

Clockwise from top, that’s 1 bag salad mix, loose carrots, 3 banansas, a cucumber, 2 roma tomatoes, 1 shallot, 1 red and 1 green bell pepper, and a head of celery.

It’s all organic, and the prices reflect that:  $1.29 a pound for the carrots (I bought $1.14 worth), $0.99 a pound for the bananas (I bought $1.43 worth), and $1.99 for the cucumber.  At $1.99, the bag of salad looks like a good deal, but it’s only 4 ounces, so I’m not sure if it is or not.  Altogether, I spent $13.14 on this produce.  Add in the other groceries mentioned above, and my total was $31.74.  Thank you, gift card, for taking care of that!

Dinner tonight will be a veggie burger, and probably a salad, since I have lots of good stuff for a salad now.

Keep it up, David!


Some Thursday Food Notes

January 27, 2011

What’s been on my mind, lately, food-wise.

1) Tupperware. I love me some Tupperware.  My aunt gave me some new Tupperware as a Christmas present, and I’m using it all the time.  It’s from their FridgeSmart collection – containers specially designed to keep produce fresher, longer.  It works because the containers have vents that you can open or close, depending on the type of fruit, so the gases that speed up the rotting process can escape.  This picture is from a couple weeks ago, but I never posted it, as my spur-of-the-moment trip to Michigan made me change a lot of plans:

From left to right, that’s celery, radishes, scallions, carrots, and broccoli.  I ate lots of it before the Michigan trip, but came home a week and a half later to find the radishes, scallions, and carrots still good!  The broccoli, not so much.  Want some Tupperware of your own?  Why not buy it from a former child star?  That’s right – Danny Pintauro from Who’s the Boss is a Tupperware representative – check out his website here!

2) Carrots. I love baby carrots.  I can eat an entire 1-pound bag over the course of a day – I did that yesterday, actually.  And here’s a fun fact for ya – did you know that a vast majority of baby carrots aren’t actually babies at all?  Take another look at the packaging next time you’re at the store.  Chances are, the bag will read “baby-cut” carrots, which means they’re actually full-size carrots that are cut down into 2-inch chunks, peeled in industrial peelers, and tumbled so all the edges get smooth.  I had heard that years ago, and was reminded of it a few days ago in Michigan when I found the largest baby carrot ever in my baby carrot bag:

Click here to read a USA Today article about the history of baby-cut carrots.  It’s actually pretty interesting.

And has anyone seen, at their grocery store, the new baby carrot bags?  I remember reading in September about how baby carrot companies were launching a baby carrot marketing campaign encouraging people to “eat ‘em like junk food”.  Part of the campaign was redesigning the packaging so they looked more like snack food bags:

I haven’t seen these bags at any stores by me yet, what about you?  I think the whole thing is kinda silly, but I don’t have kids, which seems like the target demographic.  And here’s the website that goes with the campaign.  Kinda annoying, but for all you iPad and iPhone users, it has “the world’s first carrot-crunch-powered video game,” so drop everything right now and head over to the App store!

3. 7-Eleven. Remember a few weeks ago, when I posted the pic of the 7-Eleven that’s opening next door to my gym?  Well, I went to the gym last night for the first time since returning from Michigan, and it’s open for business.

I’m going to try to stay out of that 7-Eleven altogether.  I don’t need the temptation so close to my gym, period.  I’ll keep you posted.

I had a nice workout last night, too.  I spent about 45 minutes doing toning/strength training (emphasis on arms, shoulders, chest, back, abs), and then wanted to do a little bit of cardio, but the ellipticals were all in use, so I headed outside and ran around the block for about 12 minutes.  I walked a little to cool down, and headed home.

4. Juice. I’ve been a juicing fool.  I have a bowl of citrus, courtesy of Tavi’s fruit trees, so yesterday and today I’ve been starting off my day with a tall glass of juice.  It’s a mixture – the juice of one grapefruit, two tangerines, and one orange (that I had in my fridge from before):

Tasty!  Yesterday, it was just part of my breakfast – I also had a packet of instant oatmeal, and a yogurt.  I didn’t really eat a proper lunch, but grazed all day:  the aforementioned 1-pound bag of baby carrots, 2/3 cup butter beans, another tangerine, 1 box of raisins, 2 rice cakes.  Dinner was two open-faced tuna sandwiches:  2 pieces wheat toast, each topped with tomato slices and tuna salad, which I made from one 5-ounce can of tuna (packed in water), mixed with mustard, radishes and scallions, and a couple tablespoons of Greek Yogurt.

Keep it up, David!


My Incredible Shrinking Clothes – Jacket Edition

January 26, 2011

It’s been a while since I’ve done an Incredible Shrinking Clothes post (see the most recent one here, or go to My Favorite Posts to see all of them), but I have a good one for today.  I decided that I needed to clean out my closet and dressers again.  I have a lot of clothes that I’m no longer wearing because they’re too big, and I want them out and gone from my house to make room for new clothes.

While going through the closet, I pulled out an old winter jacket that I used to wear at my heaviest.  I didn’t wear it often – I don’t think ever in Los Angeles – but since I’ve gone to Michigan every Christmas, and I’ve spent many New Years in Chicago, it’s come in handy then.  It’s a size 4XL (!) and it was part of – get ready for this – George Foreman’s clothing line at Casual Male XL.  Yep, he doesn’t just hawk countertop grills, he also has a clothing line for big and tall men.  Well, he used to, at least, I don’t know if he still has the line or not.

Anyway – I tried on the jacket one more time before tossing it into the “donate” pile:

Wow.  That’s a big jacket.

A few weeks ago, I got a new jacket, as a Christmas present from my parents.  It wasn’t a surprise – I helped pick it out with my mom and sister, but I love it and wear it all the time.  Ladies and Gentlemen, check out my new jacket:

It’s not real leather, which I didn’t realize until we got home from the mall, as it feels and even smells like leather, and you bargain-hunters will be happy to hear that, all told, it was 70% off.  Score!  Oh, and I nearly forgot – the size is XL.

Keep it up, David!


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