Purge Update / Week of Workouts

March 31, 2011

I’m happy to report that my mental purge the other night was quite successful.  I woke up yesterday feeling a lot stronger, and reading your amazing comments and thoughts as they trickled in throughout the day helped me immensely.  I had a really good food day, too, which was nice.  Oh, and I had to tackle a new assignment at work, and had evening plans (more on them later), so there really wasn’t much time for my wandering mind.  I got home last night around 10:30 or so, and ended my good day by catching up on a few favorite shows on my TiVo.  I also made an executive decision to hold off on writing a new blog post until today.

One of the elements that made my Shitty Sunday so shitty was that I didn’t rally to get some exercise in.  So, in the spirit of focusing on the positive and not dwelling on the negative, I thought I’d remind myself of all the exercise I have done lately.  It’s been a couple weeks since I did a Week of Workouts post – I’m due!

Let’s go back about a week or so…

Tuesday, 3/22/11: Before work: 45 minutes on the elliptical.  After work:  Craig’s boot camp class, which involved lovely devices called DynaBands.

Wednesday, 3/23/11: A boot camp class at my friend Chris’s gym.  You can read about both boot camp classes at the end of this post.

Thursday, 3/24/11: 50 minutes on the elliptical.

Friday, 3/25/11: Planned Rest Day.

Saturday, 3/26/11: I took Richard Simmons’ class at Slimmons.  Today’s theme was Rock’n’Roll music, and Richard was in full KISS makeup.  Wanna see for yourself?  Check out this YouTube video (which you can see me in):

Sunday, 3/27/11: Unplanned Rest Day.

Monday, 3/28/11: 50 minutes on the elliptical.

Tuesday, 3/29/11: Craig’s boot camp class.  For this class, Craig set up stations around the classroom, and we rotated through them, doing different exercises for 1 minute at each one.  I was sore after, and the next morning.  I love when I’m sore – for me, it’s a reminder that I really accomplished something.

Wednesday, 3/30/11: Last night, I met my friend Tavi at the pool.  Tavi hadn’t swum laps for exercise since his freshman year in high school, and wanted to give it a whirl again.  We did 1,000 yards to warm up (200 free, 200 IM, 200 kick, 200 pull, 200 IM), then did two 500s freestyle.  Then Tavi challenged me to see who could swim farther underwater without coming up for air, and I’m a competitive sonofabitch, so I took him up on it.  We tied – we both made it the entire length of the pool.  Add in a few more lengths for cooldown, and my total yardage was 2,150 yards.  This was the first time I’ve had a workout partner in the pool since I began incorporating swimming into my routine in December, and I really enjoyed it.  Tavi did, too, and just texted me, in regards to swimming, “I want more!”

The pool that I go to (see pictures in this post) is in a park that also has a few baseball diamonds, and, as luck would have it, a bunch of friends had a softball play-off game on one of the fields last night, so after we were done in the pool, Tavi and I wandered over to cheer them on.  It was a nice way to end the day.

Keep it up, David!


Gain. Purge.

March 30, 2011

I woke up today, and this happened:

It’s the first time that I’ve ever gained weight in the 14 months since I started this whole shebang, and I really, really hate that my chart now has a line that’s going up.  I really hate it. But it’s there.

I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been in a funk about it all day.  Perhaps it’s silly (it probably is), because it’s just a pound, but my mind hasn’t wandered from that pound, and what it represents, all day.  I can predict what some of you are thinking: don’t be so hard on yourself… it’s just a pound… everyone stumbles… you’ll rebound… look at what you’ve accomplished… what the fuck is wrong with you that you’re so depressed so quickly after working so hard to rid yourself of the last depression? Didn’t you see the dozens of amazingly positive and supportive comments from your post on Sunday?

Yes, I’ve seen them, and today I re-read them, and yes, they help.  One of the things I battle regularly is the feeling that I’m alone in all this, even though I know I’m not, and your comments do wonders as ammunition in that battle.  And yet.

The photos above show the Gain I refer to in this post’s title.  Now for the Purge.

Don’t worry, it’s not that kind of purge.

I’m going to spill all of it.  I’m going to articulate exactly the thoughts that keep returning throughout the day.  They’re what I want to purge out of my system.  Maybe, once I get them out of my head and into the universe, I’ll be better equipped to just move on.  It’s worth a shot.

Take a deep breath, David.

Generally speaking, I’ve been feeling a little defeated lately.  Some of it, I think, is residual frustration from my recent month-long plateau, but a lot of it stems from a notion that’s really sunk in and grabbed hold lately – the notion that this really will be a life-long struggle; that despite my accomplishments this will never be easy; that I’ll never be able to really let my guard down.  Then, when I have days where I lose control, as I’ve had the past two Sundays, I start thinking about how close I must be to losing my footing altogether, and starting down a slippery slope that leads to me gaining back 165 164 pounds in a matter of days or weeks.

Yes, I’m aware I’m extrapolating to an end that, according to the laws of science, just isn’t possible, but I go there because that’s the theme of a recurring nightmare that I have.  Every few months or so, I wake up in the middle of the night from a dream about how, without notice, I’ve gained back every pound I’ve lost, and everything becomes excruciatingly difficult: None of my clothes fit.  The seatbelt doesn’t reach across my waist.  People point, shake their heads, laugh, and walk away.  These dreams terrify me.

It’s an completely unreasonable fear.  I know that.  But they’re the dream-world version of another fear: that a time will come when I won’t be able to keep it up. That my success has an expiration date, and once that passes, my willpower and resolve will evaporate.  My pride will disappear.  And the pounds will return, and unpack their suitcases, and settle back onto my body with no intention of ever leaving again.

I know I have to be in this for the long haul.  My weight has been a life-long issue so far, and it will continue to be.  There’s no way around it.  I think about the decades still in front of me, and reflect on how hard I’ve worked over the past year, and wonder, despite the new habits, if I’ll have the stamina to keep it up for 40 or 50 more years.

I hate where my mind goes next.  I caught myself twice on Sunday, and once earlier today, wondering: Am I worth it?  Am I worth staying on top of the ball for the years and years to come? I know the answer.  Of course I am.  No doubt about it.  But then why do I ask myself that question?  How does it even come up?  Why is it that despite all the good I’ve done, despite all the changes I’ve made, despite all the hard work that’s been paying off in spades, despite all of it, I still think like I used to think during the darkest days of my life? I don’t want to be terrified of my own mind, but in the past few days, I have been.  It’s the worst feeling in the world.

So when I lost control for an hour the other day, and found myself next to an empty box of Corn Pops, I didn’t think of it as a minor slip-up.  When I stepped on the scale this morning and saw that 1-pound gain,  I didn’t think it’s some small obstacle I could easily overcome.  My mind, instead, races way past ‘minor slip-up’ and ‘small obstacle,’ and settles quickly on ‘this is major, because now you’re so much closer to being back at square one, and you’ll never regain this momentum.  You’ll never be this successful again.  You’re inches away from returning to that place where you’ve spent years before, that place where you’ve come to terms and accepted the fact that you were meant to be obese and unhappy, with a life that’s ultimately unfulfilling, and, in all likelihood, solitary and short.’

I wish the stakes weren’t so high, but they are.  This is my life.

Earlier this evening, I talked through a lot of these feelings with my sister, and it was very helpful.  During the phone call, she said the one single thing that made me smile more than anything else today:  “You’re right, David, it will be a life-long struggle.  It’s going to be a life-long struggle for all of us.  It’s in our genes, and that’s just the way it is.  We all inherited weight genes, and depression genes, but hey – at least there aren’t any stupid genes that got passed down.  It could be worse – we could be stupid!”

She has a point.  This would all be a lot tougher if I were dumb.

I’m done purging now.  It’s 1:30 am, and I need to go to bed.  My immediate gut reaction is that I do feel better, so maybe this whole exercise was a fruitful one.  I’ll let you know how I feel tomorrow.  And, in the meantime, I’ll focus on some good things:  1) Today I ate really well.  2) Today I had a wonderfully brutal workout at my boot camp class.  3) Tomorrow I plan on eating well and have a great workout planned.

Look at that! Three reasons, right there, to say…

Keep it up, David!


A Much Better Monday

March 29, 2011

Just as so many of you predicted in your comments, emails, tweets, and messages, today turned out to be a whole new day.  Go figure!  My really shitty Sunday ended, and was followed, as Sundays often are, by a Monday.  While many Mondays can stink for their own reasons, mine turned out to be pretty good, and a vast improvement over my Sunday.  Here are the things that contributed to my much better Monday:

1) You. So many of you came out of the woodwork to offer support and guidance, and sent love and good vibes my way.  I read every comment and email, and appreciated every one of them.  So, thank you.  What a network I have!

2) Richard Simmons. He never fails to make me laugh, and while I didn’t see him in person today, I watched his new video.  Earlier this month, he flew to New Zealand, and shot the new in-flight safety video for Air New Zealand, and it’s the funniest safety demonstration I’ve ever seen.  Have you seen it yet?  Take a look.  Fans of The Amazing Race, keep your eyes peeled for the Phil Keoghan cameo!

3) Scream 4 Trailer. I love the Scream movies, and in a few weeks, the fourth one will be released.  I can’t wait!  Today I watched the trailer for Scream 4 for the first time – it looks terrifyingly fantastic!  As an added bonus for me, it was filmed in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where I lived for 5 years, so I’ll be on the lookout for familiar locations.  Have you seen the trailer yet?

4) Batman. A good friend of mine (I’m going to protect his anonymity, as he’s rather private) read yesterday’s post and emailed me a quote from, of all places, a Batman movie:

Alfred Pennyworth: Why do we fall sir? So we might learn to pick ourselves up.
Bruce Wayne: You still haven’t given up on me?
Alfred Pennyworth: Never!

Although I’ve seen all the Batman movies, I couldn’t remember which one it’s from, and my friend had to remind me it’s from Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan’s 2005 movie that featured Christian Bale, for the first time, as the Caped Crusader.  Then he sent me the clip from the movie that features the quote (it’s at the very end):

I muttered “Never!” in my best Michael Caine accent under my breath for the rest of the day.

5) New Music. I bought a song for my workout playlist that I love.  It’s “Stereo Love” by Edward Maya and Vika Jigulina.  It’s not brand-new music, but it is brand-new to me.  I’d embed a video here, since I’ve already embedded three others in this post, but I couldn’t find one on YouTube that was embed-able (is that a word?).  But go to Youtube, after you finish reading this post of course, and search “Stereo Love,” and it’ll be the top result.

6) Me. I saved the best for last.  The thing that most improved my attitude today were my own actions.  I ate really well.  I went to the gym after work (and listened to the above song about 3 times on the elliptical) while yelling out the answers to the Wheel of Fortune puzzles.  Then I indulged in a little retail therapy, at Whole Foods.  It’s been a while – months, perhaps – since I’ve shared my produce purchases, but I lined it all up on the counter tonight.  Check out what’s new in my refrigerator!

Let’s see – starting from top left, and going clockwise, there’s celery, a cantaloupe, baby carrots, a mini-watermelon, mushrooms, bananas, asparagus, a container of pre-cut broccoli and cauliflower, strawberries, a starfruit, zucchini, green grapes, cameo apples, yellow carrots (read more about them here), Persian cucumbers, red bell pepper, roma tomatoes, red bartlett pears.

Here’s a closer look at the starfruit.  I’ve never bought one before, and have no idea how to eat it, but that’s what the internet is for.

Don’t you worry – I’ll definitely share my thoughts on this guy when I eat it!

OH – and that’s not it!  There are two items I didn’t include in the photograph, because I’m so flippin’ excited I just had to keep them a secret for now.  I’ll let you in on the secret soon enough.

Now to figure out what I’m going to eat tomorrow!

Keep it up, David!


Another Shitty Sunday.

March 27, 2011

I don’t want to write this post, but I’ve postponed it for hours already, so time to bite the bullet and get it over with.

I’m not gonna write much, because I’m not feeling well.  I’ve been sneezing all day, and my nose is nicely alternating between being fantastically stuffed up and then dripping like a faucet.  Good times.

In addition to not feeling 100% physically, I’m down in the dumps emotionally, too.  And that’s why I don’t want to write this post.  For the second Sunday in a row, I allowed my eating to spiral out of control.

Breakfast was fine: a veggie burger in 1/2 of a whole wheat pita, a banana, a pear, and some yogurt.  Then, around 1pm or so, I tried to rally myself up off the couch to go and exercise.  I failed.

Then, while still on the couch, I decided to figure out what I was gonna do for lunch.  I have plenty of fantastic ingredients for a kick-ass salad, but when I was fast-forwarding through some commercials on the TiVo something caught my eye: an ad for cereal.  I’m not even sure exactly was the commercial was for (Special K something-or-other, I think, I didn’t even stop the fast-forwarding to watch it in real time) but the seed was planted…  and it quickly took root and branched out, and coiled around every part of my brain: I want cereal, and I want it now. My next thought was: the mini-mart across the street has cereal! Next thing I know, I’m at the counter at the mini-mart, pulling money out of my wallet while the guy puts a box of Corn Pops into a bag.  And a canister of Pringles, because they were one aisle over.

Twenty minutes later, and the whole box of Corn Pops are gone. Eaten.  Same with the Pringles.

Two minutes after that, and the remorse sits in.

Ten minutes after that, and I’m face down on my bed, head in my pillow, thinking of the good week I had just had, and how I probably just undid it all.

Right now, I still feel pretty shitty.  I’m trying – really trying – to not be hard on myself.  I know I’m stronger and better than my actions today suggest.  I re-read my blog post from September, when I had my last cereal binge, and after that one, I was able to rebound quickly and get back on track – but I’m not feeling that kind of energy right now.  I’m trying to put together a game plan for tomorrow – one that involves good food and exercise.  I’m trying to focus on what I’ve accomplished.  Trying to remember that everyone has slip-ups, and falling isn’t the important thing, it’s how you get up.  Trying to NOT feel like a failure.  Trying to move on.  Trying…  trying…  just trying.

All this trying is exhausting, and I’m not sure it’s working.

I normally end all my posts with ‘Keep it up, David,’ but I’m not feeling it tonight.


Do I Look Like Taylor Lautner?

March 26, 2011

In January, a few days after my appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” aired, my friend Debbie sent me an email saying that someone had posted a comment YouTube saying that I look like Taylor Lautner.  What the person, whose user name is “chuuchiee”, actually said was:

From a long distance, David looks a bit like Taylor Lautner.

Then, when my episode was rebroadcast a few weeks ago, someone named “Cecy J.” posted a comment on the Ellen website, saying:

Great Job David!!! Awesome and Inspiring!!  P.S. Anyone noticed that he kinda resembles Taylor Lautner??? Just saying.

When I heard about the first comment, I laughed it off.  Sure, I took it as a compliment, since, after all, Taylor Lautner is a huge Hollywood heartthrob that gives girls a tendency to shriek and go weak in the knees.  And, I noted that the compliment had conditions: I only looked a bit like him from a long distance.  So, Taylor and I could stand together at the end of a football field, and you could stand at the other end, and just try to tell us apart!

After I saw the second comment, however, I got curious.  Do I look like Taylor Lautner?  I hadn’t considered if there was any truth to the comparison… until now.

Before I get to the side-by-side photos, I thought I’d help out the readers who live on the moon or under the sea or, for some other reason, don’t know who Taylor Lautner is.  I did my research, and found out that the two of us actually have a few things in common:

  1. We were both born in Michigan (Taylor in Grand Rapids, me in Pontiac).
  2. I love sharks, and Taylor starred in the 2005 film The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D.
  3. We’ve both appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in a wet t-shirt.

Okay, so 2 is a stretch, and 3 is a flat-out lie, but still, we’re both native Michiganders.  Taylor, Madonna, and I should start a club!

Taylor is best-known for playing Jacob Black in the Twilight movies – a role that made him a star in the dreams of millions of teenage girls worldwide.  Last year, he was #2 on Glamour magazine’s list of “50 Sexiest Men of 2010,” and he was also #4 on People magazine’s “Most Amazing Bodies” list.  He’s reportedly worth over $30 million – not too shabby for a 19-year-old.  That’s right, he’s nineteen.  And not even “almost twenty” – he’ll be 19 until next February!

What I really like about Taylor is that he works hard.  After making the first Twilight movie, the producers considered re-casting the role of Jacob Black, since in between the first and second movies, Jacob supposedly bulks up and becomes a werewolf (I haven’t read the books and have only seen one of the movies, so pardon me if my Twilight trivia isn’t exactly right), and they thought Taylor might be too scrawny to play the bigger, beefier Jacob.  So Taylor set out to prove them wrong, and after wrapping production of the first movie, he hit the gym, and he hit the gym hard.  He ended up gaining 30 pounds of muscle in a year.  According to the December 2009 issue of Men’s Health, the 5’10” Taylor went from 140 pounds to 170 pounds, all in muscle mass.  Impressive! (When I first read that, I thought, ‘Cool! I’ve lost more weight than the old, scrawny Taylor, and am only 5 pounds away from losing the new, beefcake Taylor!’  See more fun weight loss comparisons here.)

Ready for some photographic evidence to judge for yourself?

Here you go.  Taylor is on the left, and I’m on the right – just so nobody’s confused!

Oh, but let’s not forget that we may only look alike from a distance, so maybe you should look at smaller photos:

You could even step a few feet back from your monitor to increase the distance.

Since I like to be thorough, here’s some profile pics:

After spending hours scouring the interwebs for Taylor pictures, taking photos of myself, and writing this post, I stand by my initial gut reaction, which is to be flattered, although I don’t see the similarity myself.  But I open the floor (and the comments section) to you:  so, what do you think?

I’ll say this much: I don’t think I’ve ever been compared to a hot piece of 19-year-old Hollywood man-candy before, so…

Keep it up, David!


PHOTOS! Part Two

March 25, 2011

Hey!  Do you notice anything new about my website?  I have a new header!  The photo on the left is from 2007.  The photo on the right was taken earlier this month by Mike Rozman.  What do you think?

Earlier this week, I posted some new, awesome photos of myself, taken by the brilliant Mike Rozman (check out his website – he’s in the process of overhauling it, but the photo gallery is up, and it’s amazing).

Here are the rest.

The third one is my favorite of all of them, I think.  For now.  I notice new things about them all the time, so the one that’s my favorite rotates a lot.

Read about what the photo shoot was like here.

Enjoy!

Keep it up, David!


Reader Question, Office Temptation, Boot Camp

March 24, 2011

Three topics today.  Let’s get started!

1) Reader Question. I got a great question the other day in the comments section.  Lisa wrote:

I need to lose about 35 lbs. and am working with a trainer. The problem is I am an emotional eater. Before you started this journey, would you say you were an emotional eater? Do you think that’s how you gained the weight? I am talking to a therapist too about this, but I know the best advice comes from people who have experienced this firsthand. My problem is that I use anything “bad” that happens to me during the day as an excuse to emotionally eat. It sucks and I have to get myself out of this rut! I have lost 10 lbs. since Jan. 1st but gained some of it back, despite working out on a regular basis, because of the emotional binges. Anything you can share with me would be a tremendous help!

Ugh, emotional eating is such a hurdle, and I’m sure most of us deal with it in some way.  I wouldn’t say that I used to be an emotional eater, I’d say that I’M STILL an emotional eater, but I’ve developed some habits and techniques to combat tough times.  Food provided comfort in bad times, was a release in stressful times, and was a way of celebrate in good times.  There were very few emotions that I didn’t respond to by eating, so yeah, that’s pretty much the definition of emotional eating!

The good news, though, is that you can combat it, and it sounds like you’re on the right path, and I applaud you for working with a therapist.  Here’s what’s been working for me:  I took reward and celebratory foods off the table.  I used to treat myself:  if I was feeling great because of an accomplishment, than I told myself I could stop for ice cream, pick up a pizza, or load up on candy.  There have been times in my life when I was exercising, but eating poorly, and partly it’d be because I’d think, regularly, “yeah, I can have more fries and a shake – I had a good workout yesterday.”  Not anymore.

Focusing on changing my thought patterns during good times seemed like an easier challenge, because when I was really craving something as a celebratory treat, I could say ‘no’ to myself, and, instead, focus on whatever it was that provided me a reason to celebrate, and still feel great.  What I’ve found is that because I refuse to indulge in reward foods, I now have the great motivator to prevent binging in bad times:  After all, why should I console myself with crappy food when I won’t reward myself with it?  It’s a little mental game that works for me, and maybe it might work for you, too.  I hope this helps, Lisa, and KEEP IT UP!

Have any tips to battle emotional eating?  Share them in the comments section!

2) Office TemptationAs I mentioned yesterday, I recently started at a new job, and get to show up to an office every day for the first time in a few months.  That also means I get to, for the first time in a few months, deal with office temptation.  Here’s what tempted me yesterday:

Look! A fun-sized box of chocolate-covered raisins!

Did I say fun-sized? I meant a THREE-AND-A-HALF-POUND BOX.  Here it is next to my cup of tea:

It’s even bigger than my friend Jamie’s head, who has “a notoriously large head” (her words, not mine):

This beauty (by which I mean the candy, not Jamie, although Jamie is also definitely a beauty) was just sittin’ in the break room, left out for everyone to enjoy.  I don’t know where it came from, but there it was.  And I really wanted to have some… until I crunched some numbers.  Here’s the nutrition label:

There’s 30 chocolate-covered raisins in a serving, and 40 servings in the box, so that’s roughly 1,200 raisins total.  At 170 calories and 6 grams of fat a serving, that box contains 6,800 total calories and 240 total grams of fatGross.  Of course, a numbers for a single serving aren’t terrible, but I know that I couldn’t, and wouldn’t, eat just 30.  So I stayed away altogether.  Hopefully the box will be gone tomorrow!

3) Boot Camp. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I took, for the first time ever, two boot camp classes on two consecutive days, and man oh man, am I sore.  On Tuesday, I went to my now-regular boot camp class with Craig Ramsay.  He had us working with DynaBands, these latex stretchy bands that you can use to strengthen and tone your muscles.  It was my first time using a DynaBand, and it was fun, because it was new for me, but like every Craig Ramsay class, it was tough.  The exercises he taught us focused on specific muscles, but we would do them in lunge or squat positions, so other muscles would be utilized for stability and support.  Brutal.

If that wasn’t enough, on Wednesday, I went with my friend Chris (my most recent running buddy) to a boot camp class at his gym, where I had picked up a free 7-day pass so I could work out with him.  That class was taught by a nice woman named Kristy (Christy? Kristi? not sure of the spelling), and it involved free weights, a step, those giant balls, and a mat.  Thankfully not all at once, but I’m sure that day will come.  I’m tired just thinking about it!

This morning, I did cardio: 50 minutes on the elliptical; almost 550 calories burned.

Keep it up, David!


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