Oddly-Colored Veggies, Part Three

March 20, 2011

First I found rainbow carrots.  Then, I found orange cauliflower.  And now, my streak of finding oddly-colored vegetables continues, because I found these at Whole Foods:

EASTER EGG RADISHES!

This bunch had radishes in four different colors:  the standard deep red, then very hot fuchsia pink, purple, and white.  Here they are removed from their greens and sorted by color:

I love radishes.  I love how unique they taste: peppery and crunchy, and I’m just realizing right now as I type this sentence how difficult the taste of radishes is to describe.  There was a short spell last year when I was seeking out radishes every week at the Beverly Hills farmers’ market, because one of the vendors was selling radishes that had grown to outrageous sizes.  Check out this radish, that’s bigger than an apple (sorry for shoddy camera phone photography):

And here’s a slice of that radish, with a paper clip for size comparison:

That radish was delicious, but I digress.  Back to the easter egg radishes.  I trimmed off the tops and bottoms of all the radishes and gave them a good wash.  Since I’ve eaten the regular, deep-red radishes countless amounts of times, I singled out one each of the pink, purple, and white radishes:

These photographs aren’t doing the pink radish (on the right) justice.  They are incredibly vibrant and bright, but the photos make them seem more red than they actually are.  Foiled again by my poor photography skills!

I sliced up all three radishes (and placed the white slices on my knife blade, so you could see them, instead of blending into the white cutting board):

I sampled one slice of each color, and 1) they all tasted the same, and 2) they all tasted like radish.  I wasn’t expecting them to taste differently, to be clear, but there was a small part of me secretly hoping one color would taste radically different somehow.  Alas, it was not to be.

These radish slices went into the salad I made for lunch the other day:

Also in there:  mixed greens, red bell pepper, mushrooms, scallion, roma tomato (which is actually at the bottom of the bowl, under the lettuce - I clearly wasn’t thinking about this picture during salad assembly) and sprouts.  The sprouts were daikon radish sprouts, so with those, and the easter egg Radishes, this was one spicy salad!  After snapping this photo, I added 2-3 tablespoons light Asiago Parmesan vinaigrette.

It was a great salad.   And I still have a lot more easter egg radishes in my fridge.

Like I’ve been doing all this past week, I’ll end this post with a Food Log, like I said I would.  So here is my…

Food Log for Saturday, March 19, 2011:

–Breakfast: 1/4 cantaloupe; 1 apple; 1 packet instant oatmeal; 2 hard-boiled egg whites

–Lunch:  2 frozen waffles, with 1 tsp jam each; 2 soy sausage patties (still in a breakfast mood, obviously!); carrot and celery sticks; tomato slices

–Snack:  1/4 cantaloupe

–Dinner:  Salad (spinach, other mixed greens, bell pepper, scallion, mushrooms, garbanzo beans, tomato, 3 tbsp salsa); 1 whole wheat tortilla; 1 banana

–Beverages:  2 liters water; 8 oz skim milk; 1 liter sparkling water; 2-3 glasses water

Keep it up, David!


The Week In Workouts

March 19, 2011

It’s been a busy week, but I’ve gotten lots of workouts in, and there’s lots to catch up on.  Let’s see… where to start… where to start?  I should probably go back and figure out where I left off in my last “Week in Workouts” post, but it’s late, and I’m tired, so screw it.  I’ll just do the past week.  Want more?  Tough.  File a complaint with the blog police!

Saturday, 3/12/11: I took Richard Simmons’ class at Slimmons, and he played all-new music.  It was a very good class, and not overly packed, which was nice.  Since Richard was out of town during my actual birthday on the 5th, he called me up at the end of this class, along with 4 others, and led everyone in a group performance of “Happy Birthday.”  Having 75 people sing to you is a great way to start your weekend – I highly recommend it!  For anyone that isn’t familiar with Richard’s classes, they’re a fantastic workout, and tons of fun.  There’s 45 minutes of cardio/dance aerobics (very similar to Sweatin’ to the Oldies); then about 10 minutes of toning with free weights, then 10 minutes of sit-ups and push-ups, then Richard gives a little 5-minute pep talk to end the class.  And, yes, anyone can go, and it’s only $12.  Twelve dollars.  To work out with Richard freakin’ Simmons.  Yep, it’s the deal of the century!

Sunday, 3/13/11: 50 minutes on an exercise bike.

Monday, 3/14/11: 50 minutes on an elliptical.

Tuesday, 3/15/11: Boot camp class with Craig Ramsay, and it was tough.  Before class started, Craig says, “Hey, let’s go to my car, and grab some kettlebells.”  My reaction?  “Oh, crap.”  And, of course, I said it out loud.  My experience with kettlebells has been very minimal, but enough to know that the next hour was going to be brutal.  Kettlebells are weights that are designed to be swung around in all sorts of crazy ways, meaning you’re working tons of muscles at once (here’s some basics on kettlebells if you’re unfamiliar).  Sure enough, the hour was pretty brutal, and I left barely able to lift my water bottle to my lips.  The next morning, my shoulders were still very sore.

Wednesday, 3/16/11 – Nightswimming:

“Nightswimming deserves a quiet night
I’m not sure all these people understand
It’s not like years ago,
The fear of getting caught,
Of recklessness and water
They cannot see me naked
These things, they go away,
Replaced by everyday”

Those, of course, are lyrics from R.E.M’s 1993 song “Nightswimming” (listen to it here). That song ran through my brain on a loop on Wednesday, because I decided to break in the new Speedo swimsuit that I bought a few days ago at the pool, and, coincidentally, it was the first time I’ve swam in that outdoor pool at night.  Man oh man, I’m in love!  I haven’t worn a Speedo in about 16 years, since I swam on my high school’s swim team, and it makes all the difference in the world.  Being aerodynamic in the water rocks!  I had a great workout, and felt sleek and fast.  I was still sore from the kettlebells… But I had a productive 50-minute swim nonetheless:

  • 1000 yards warm-up (200 free, 200 IM, 200 kick, 200 pull, 200 IM)
  • Descending ladder, all free (400, 300, 200, 150, 100).  The 100 was an all-out sprint (1,150 yards total)
  • 3 x 50 yard free all-out sprints (150 yards total)
  • 200 yard cool-down
  • TOTAL:  2,500 yards (that’s exactly 100 lengths of the pool)

Thursday, 3/17/11: My friend Chris asked me the other day if I’d be down with working out together in the mornings.  I love working out with friends, and since we live in the same neighborhood, I jumped at the chance.  We decided to go running on Day 1, and met at 7am at a local park.  Chris calls it Porn Star Park, because in the summer, he’s noticed it’s very popular among the big-fake-tittied, scantily-clad, bottle-blonde crowd, and Chris is convinced they’re all porn stars.  He very well may be right: 90% of all pornography is filmed or produced in the San Fernando Valley, where Chris and I, and 1.75 million others, live.

Anyway – I brought along my camera to snap a few pics, but really, there’s not much to see.  It’s a big park, near a freeway:

Due to a slightly groggy brain, thanks to the very early nature of the workout, I failed to note what time we started or stopped, but my guess is that we were running for around 50 minutes.  Based on the signage at the park, I’d guess we went about somewhere between 3.2 and 3.5 miles, but, again, I didn’t really pay attention.  It was nice to catch up with Chris, though, and I look forward to working out with him more.  Just in case you’re wondering, there were no Porn Star sightings, but, of course, I certainly wouldn’t recognize anyone anyway.  When I hear “adult film,” my mind goes to Merchant Ivory films, doesn’t yours?

Friday, 3/18/11: Well-deserved REST DAY!

And since I’m sharing every single thing I eat this week, to show how I log my food, here’s my…

Food Log for Friday, March 18, 2011:
–Breakfast: 1/2 cantaloupe; 2 hard-boiled egg whites
–Lunch:  Sandwich (whole wheat bread, turkey breast, mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumbers); 2 pickle spears; fruit cup; 1 Kashi granola bar
–Dinner (Lotus Vegan restaurant):  1 fresh roll (lettuce, carrots, scallions, mint wrapped in rice paper, with 1 tsp peanut dipping sauce); shrimp salad (cabbage, mint, scallions, red onion, other veggies I’m forgetting, soy shrimp; some sort of oil-free thai chili dressing)
–Snack:  15 Runts (candy from a gumball machine at the movies; I was really craving something sweet, and 50 cents for a palm-full of candy seemed better than a $4 huge box of something from the concession counter.  FYI, the banana Runts are my favorite.)
–Beverages:  2 glasses hot tea; 2 water bottles (64 oz each); 1 liter sparkling water; 34 glasses water; 1 more liter sparkling water

Keep it up, David!


Diet Soda & Chart Update

March 18, 2011

My friend Adam asked a really great question in the comments section of my post the other day about Food Logging.  He read how diet soda was one of the first things I gave up when I started trying to lose weight, and wrote:

“Can you explain the reasoning behind giving up diet soda? I’ve heard this before, but never understood why.  One explanation I’ve heard is that when people drink diet soda, they may subconsciously feel they are therefore allowed to stray from good behavior in some other fashion.  The explanation that makes more sense to me is that by drinking diet soda, one conditions himself to crave something artificially overly sweet with a meal, which is a bad trend.  Are either of those reasons what you’ve been told?”

I’ve heard, over the years, a lot of chit-chat about how terrible diet soda is for you, although I never thoroughly researched it myself.  A quick online search turns up a few scary things to consider (as well as articles articulating the two points Adam made while asking the question):

When it came down to it, Adam, I cut out diet soda because Richard Simmons suggested I make that change.  I wasn’t a diet soda fiend before – I drank, on average, 2 cans a day – but it seemed like an easy swap to make, especially when I was just starting out and the prospect of changing my entire diet seemed overwhelming.  At the time, I wasn’t sure how successful I’d be at losing weight, but I knew cutting out diet soda was something I could definitely work on, so the idesa of making progress in that small way seemed promising.  I also didn’t quit it cold turkey – I weaned myself off of it over a month or so, and used Crystal Light as a crutch.  I would buy the single-serve packets, where you’re supposed to dump 1 packet into a 20-oz bottle of water, shake it up, and voila! You have Crystal Light lemonade or fruit punch or whatever.  Except that I would dilute one packet into 1/2 gallon of water, so the flavor (and sweetness level) was much weaker.  I drank my weak Crystal Light for months before I felt ready to switch to plain ol’ water altogether, which is mostly what I drink now (with occasional milk, juices, and teas, and very occasional alcohol).

What I’ve found, now that I stopped drinking diet soda, is that I have far fewer sweet cravings than I used to have when I drank it, and I love that.  I can remember countless times when I used to feel thirsty at work, grab a Diet Coke, and then, 1/2 hour later, feel the desire for something sweet, and before I knew it, I’d be dipping into a bowl of candy.  The few times I have had diet soda in the past few months (I drank some Diet Sprite at a wedding, mistaking it for water; and have sampled some home-made sodas from my SodaStream because I was curious), I thought it was ridiculously, revoltingly sweet, and I love that I’m no longer accustomed to the taste – it makes saying No to diet soda so much easier.

A huge part of my weight loss success has been pinpointing when and where I get easily tempted to make poor choices, and finding ways to plan alternatives or avoid those situations.  Knowing that cutting out diet soda has squashed many of my sweet cravings is all the reason I need to continue to not drink it!

Before I move on, just a friendly reminder that if you have questions for me, then ask away!  I read every comment left on this blog, so you can ask that way, like Adam did, but if you’d rather ask me something anonymously, you’ll find my email address if you click on Contact at the top of the page.

TIME FOR A CHART UPDATE!

I weighed myself yesterday morning, and… I’m down another pound! That puts my weight at 237 pounds, and my total weight loss at 165 pounds!  Here’s my updated chart:

I’m on a roll!

Lastly, I gotta share my Food Logs, like I promised I would the other day.  I didn’t do it yesterday, so I have two days to catch up on.  Here they are:

 
Food Log for Wednesday, March 16, 2011:
–Breakfast:  2 packets instant grits; 1 big bunch of grapes
–Lunch:  1 fake chicken (Quorn) breast; assorted raw veggies (broccoli, cucumber, tomato slices), 2-3 tablespoons honey mustard salad dressing for dipping; 1 apple
–Snack:  strawberries
–Dinner:   3 oz turkey jerky; 1 egg white; 1/2 cup pretzel crisps; 6 oz nonfat peach yogurt; 1 banana
–Beverages:  2 water bottles (64 ounces); 1 glass hot tea; 8 oz skim milk; 1.5 liters water; 1 liter sparkling water

Food Log for Thursday, March 17, 2011:
–Breakfast:  2 hard-boiled egg-whites; 1 apple; 1 banana; 8 oz orange juice
–Lunch:  Big Salad (mixed greens, tomato, mushrooms, scallion, red pepper, sprouts, radishes, 2-3 tablespoons light vinaigrette); strawberries
–Snack:  celery sticks; 8 ritz crackers w 1 tbsp peanut butter
–Dinner (Hugo’s Restaurant):  The Power Of Green Salad: spinach, green chard, broccoli, green beans, asparagus, dried cherries, sunflower seeds, 2 tbsp sherry vinaigrette dressing on the side.
–Beverages:  1 liter water; 2 water bottles (64 oz each); 8 oz skim milk; 3 glasses sparkling water; 1 liter water

Keep it up, David!


My Weight Loss In Quarters, Oreos, Tubas and MORE!

March 17, 2011

Last November, my friend Jen and I hijacked the dog food aisle at a local K-Mart for a little photo shoot.  I had lost 147 pounds at that point, so we stacked up 147 pounds of dog food and Jen took my picture with it.  The photo turned out really wonderfullyyou can see it here, and also read about the importance of dog food in my weight loss (no, I don’t eat it… ewww).

The photo got a great reaction, and since then I’ve been thinking about other ways to visualize and comprehend my weight loss.  I’ve now lost 164 pounds, which is a lot to wrap my mind around!  After a few weeks (off and on) of brainstorming, researching, and calculating (and an assist from my friend Steve), I’ve generated a list of things that weigh roughly 164 pounds.

I PRESENT TO YOU, MY WEIGHT LOSS IN…

…QUARTERS. I’ve lost the equivalent of $3,280 in quarters – that’s 13,120 of ‘em total!

…OREOS. 164 pounds would be 6,560 Oreos. That’s over 128 standard 18-oz packages.  If you were to stack up all 6,560 Oreos, they’d reach a height of 172 feet – 21 feet higher than the Statue of Liberty!   It makes me wonder how many I’ve eaten in my life.  I bet it’s a lot – I love Oreos!

…TUBAS. The Cerveny Kaiser Tuba (model CBB 701-4RX) weighs 25 pounds, so I’ve lost more than six of them.  How many are in a marching band?

…OWEN WILSON. The handsome star of “Marley & Me” and “Zoolander” (and my sister’s celebrity crush) reportedly weighs 160 pounds.  I’ve lost him.  If he lost 160 pounds, he’d disappear completely.

…LAWN MOWERS. The Craftsman 21” Rear-Bag Push Lawn Mower weighs 75 pounds, so I’ve lost more than two of them.

…OSTRICH EGGS. With an average weight of 3 pounds, I’ve lost 54 ostrich eggs.  Each egg may contain as many as 2,000 calories, so that’s 108,000 calories total!

…BILLY BOOKCASES. These popular 3-shelf bookcases, sold at Ikea, weigh in at 45 pounds apiece.  I’ve lost three of them.

…HARRY POTTER BOOKS. The hardcover edition of the heaviest book in the series, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”, weighs 1.4 pounds.  I’ve lost 117 copies.  These should fill up those Billy Bookcases.

…BIGFOOT GARDEN STATUES. This 28 1/2″ high hand-painted statue would make a lovely addition to anyone’s backyard.  But why hide him in the back?  Put him out front, and your house will quickly become the talk of the town!  While actual sasquatches probably tip the scales at hundreds of pounds, this likeness only weighs 12 pounds, meaning I’ve lost 13 Bigfoot Statues.  And, yes, this is actually available for purchase.  All you need is $99.95, plus S&H – you can buy it here.

Have a great idea for another visual way to represent weight loss?  Tell me about it in the comments section!  And…

…Keep it up, David!


Listen To My New Song! (Plus, Welcome!)

March 16, 2011

Remember a few weeks ago when I wrote about my amazingly talented musician friends Kristy and Mike, who wrote a song (!) based on me and this blog?  They recorded it, and it’s beautiful, and now you can hear it!  More on that in a couple paragraphs…

…I wanted to start with a greeting to everyone visiting Keep It Up, David for the first time:

Super clever, I know… It’s the best I could do at 11pm!   Seriously, though, I’m so glad you’re here.  Please take a look around!  The menu along the top of the page is a nice introduction to me and this blog. The Story So Far chronicles my history with obesity, with more on how Richard Simmons has helped me.  There’s great Before and Current photos in the Photo Gallery, and My Favorite Posts is, well… that’s pretty self-explanatory!

I try to post something every day, so there’s always something new for you to check out (my most recent posts are collected in the “Need To Catch Up” box along the right side of the page).  I love connecting with my readers, so follow me on Facebook and Twitter (both are also great ways to learn about new posts), leave me a comment after any of my posts, or shoot me an email – you’ll find my email address if you click on Contact at the top of the page.  You can also subscribe to receive new posts via email – check out the “In a Nutshell” box along the right side of the page!

Now that you’re all settled in, let’s get back to my song!

To catch everyone up, my friends Kristy Hanson and Mike Chiaburu just formed a band called East Paris, and wrote a bunch of songs based on the writings of some of their friends.  They wanted to write a song based on my blog, and I suggested using my post “One Year Ago Today” as a jumping off point.  They got to work, and a few weeks later, they premiered my song, which they titled “Today’s The Day”, at a show in Hollywood, and it practically had me in tears.  They finished recording it this week, and I’m proud and excited to share it with all of you!

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO “TODAY’S THE DAY.” They’ve also provided Keep it up, David readers the ability to download the song for free, so take advantage of the “Free Download” button on that page!

I suspect you may fall in love with Kristy Hanson’s voice, like I did when I first her sing over 10 years ago.  So check out her website, and sample her other music at her iTunes page – her newest album, Into the Quiet, is simply stunning.  You should definitely buy it!

Every time I listen to Kristy sing, whether it’s live in concert or on one of her albums, I’m reminded of how special and extraordinary she is.  I’m lucky to have Kristy and Mike in my life – they’re tremendous friends and unwavering supporters, and this song is one of the best gifts I’ve ever been given, and I’ll never forget that.

I can’t sign off without including my Food Log for the day, since I’ve committed to including, on this blog, every single thing I eat this week.  Here’s my…

Food Log for Tuesday, March 15, 2011:

–Breakfast:  2 packets instant oatmeal; 1 banana; 1 box raisins
–Lunch:  Big Salad Bar: mixed greens, carrots, peas, tofu, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, white beans, roasted beets, balsamic vinegar (no oil); 6 saltine crackers
–Dinner:  Leftover Black Bean and Corn Salad; Leftover Sweet Potato and Squash Soup (from my freezer, I forgot I had this!); 1 veggie burger patty w/ 1/2 cup sauerkraut
–Snack:  100 calorie pack Lorna Doones; bunch of grapes
–Beverages:  2 water bottles (64 ounces each), 2 liters water, 1 glass hot tea, 1 liter sparkling water

Keep it up, David!


New Swimsuit

March 15, 2011

Back in November, I bought my first new swimsuit in three years.  The difference between my old suit and my new one was striking (see the photo for yourself here – it’s very cool), because the old one was size 3XL, and the new one was size XL – I had lost about 145 pounds at that point.

I bought the new suit because I was going to Colorado for Thanksgiving, where my sister Sarah and her family lives, and I wanted to go swimming with them – there’s a kick-ass pool they go to all the time at their community center that has a three-story slide and lazy river (photos here).  So I bought a casual truck-style swimsuit, and it served me well.

Being in that pool at Thanksgiving reminded me how much I like swimming, and what great exercise it is.  So in December, while in Michigan for the holidays, I drew upon the 10 years of competitive swimming from my childhood, and started swimming laps at a local pool.

I’ve now gotten into a rhythm of swimming here in LA about once a week, and I love it.  But I’m still wearing those non-aerodynamic trunks.  It’s time for a new suit for my workouts!

Growing up, I used to practice and race in the standard, skimpy, 3-inch men’s Speedos that left nothing to the imagination.  I’m so glad that styles have changed, and now Speedos can be found that look like bike shorts, that go from waist to just above the knee.  A big improvement!  I found a simple black suit that I liked, and because of a birthday gift card from Sarah and her family,  the suit didn’t cost a cent.  Thanks, Sarah, Justin, Sam, and Allison!

Here’s the new Speedo, next to my old trunks:

What’s that?  You want to see a picture of me wearing the swimsuit?  UmNo.  That’s not gonna happen.  I’m not ready to share that much of me on the World Wide Interweb!  If you want to see me in aquatic apparel, the closest you’re gonna get is me in a wetsuit, which you can see here.

OH! I nearly forgot!  Whereas trunks are sold in standard sizes like M, L, and XL, Speedos are sold by inches, like pants.  That Speedo is a size 36″.  It’s the first 36″ anything I’ve bought – all my pants right now are 38″.  I’m not ready for 36″ pants yet (I want a Speedo to be super snug, and that’s not how I like my pants), but that’s still totally something I’m proud of!

I blogged yesterday about how I’m going to share everything I eat this week, as part of my return to Food Logging, so here’s my…

Food Log for Monday, March 14, 2011:

–Breakfast: 1 packet instant oatmeal, 1 banana, 1 apple
–Lunch:  Leftover Black Bean and Corn Salad, sliced roma tomato, big bowl of raw broccoli
–Snack:  1 apple
–Dinner:   Egg Scramble (2 handfuls spinach, wilted, 3 egg whites, red pepper, mushrooms, scallions, herbs); 2 pieces dry wheat toast; big bunch of grapes
–Beverages:  2 1/2 water bottles (64 ounces each), 2 glasses hot tea, 2 liters sparkling water

Keep it up, David!


Food Logging 101

March 14, 2011

Over the past few weeks, I’ve gotten a couple inquiries from readers asking me to go into more detail about what and how I eat.  While a significant portion of this blog is food-related, most often it’s posts about specific meals or recipes, and commonly ones that involve an informercial product.

I can definitely understand the interest in my diet – I’ve lost a large amount of weight, and eating well has been a major component.  I’ve shied away from going into tons of detail so far, only because, as a blog topic, it kinda bores me.  There are lots of blogs out there where people share everything they eat, every single day, and I decided when I started this blog that I wanted to do something different.  I never want to be bored when I write this blog!

Because I don’t focus on everyday eating, though, I realize that my readers haven’t been included on the very basics that fuel my food choices, so I thought I’d get into that today.

In a nutshell, I’m not on a specific diet.  I don’t do Weight Watchers, or Atkins, or follow day-to-day menu plans.  I also don’t count calories or fat, although I’m aware of them, and sodium, too.  The biggest weapon in my weight loss arsenal is the Food Log.

When I started working with Richard Simmons in January of 2009, he asked me to start writing down everything I eat.  Everything.  The simple act of keeping track of everything that went into my mouth really changed the way I looked at food.  I’m a grazer – I could easily snack all day long if I wanted to, and I did.  When I had to write down all of it, though, all of a sudden grazing was a lot less appealing.  Every handful of Goldfish crackers, every fun-size candy bar… individually, I never thought such small portions of food would ever do that much damage, but when you gotta write it all down, you can see, right in front of your eyes, how quickly it adds up!

Richard didn’t give me a template or program for my Food Logs – I just started writing them my own way.  I know there are lots of Food Log systems out there, where you can plug your food into websites or Apps (if you have a favorite, please share it in the comments section), but what I did was just keep my Food Logs in the ‘drafts’ section of my email, and then, every 4 or 5 days, email it to myself.  The emails go into a folder, and I can go there whenever I want to pull up everything I ate on any specific day in 2009.  The truth is that after I email it to myself, I rarely go back and look at them again – I find that the act of keeping a Food Log is what keeps me on-track.

When I started my Food Logs, I began making changes in my diet – some were changes I wanted to make on my own, and others were suggestions from Richard.  It was a slow process.  Richard really pushed to me to stop drinking Diet Coke, which I eventually did, but I didn’t do it cold turkey, I eased myself off of it.  Since I was bringing my lunch, and often dinner, to work everyday, I wanted to transition to lots of Lean Cuisines and similar frozen entrees, but Richard encouraged me to stay away, as they’re usually pretty high in sodium and have all sort of chemicals.  I still keep a couple in my freezer, in case I’m really in a hurry or haven’t been able to get to the store, but it’s been a few months, at least, since I last had one.

I didn’t go vegetarian, but I also cut back on meat.  I was vegetarian for about 6 months a few years back – it was an attempt to eat better that worked for a while, then went belly-up.  I’d say that now I only eat meat 3-5 times a week, but it varies.  I love soy- and veggie-based meat alternatives, like veggie burgers and soy sausage links, so I always keep a few boxes of those in the freezer.  Fish is really great for you, so I try to eat fish every week, although lately I haven’t been as good about that.  Going vegan would be quite tough for me – eggs whites are a major source of protein for me, as is yogurt.

I’ve also cut back on carbs, although, like calories and fat, I don’t monitor carbs.  Some days might be nearly carb-free, but other days I’ll have a foot-long from Subway or some other ginormous piece of bread, and never feel terribly guilty about it.

The biggest shift in my diet, though, has been the huge increase in the amounts of fresh fruits and veggies that I eat every day.  I buy tons of produce every week, and like having a lot of variety in my fridge and in the bowl on my counter.  Most of the time, I eat my veggies raw, because I like them, it’s convenient, and it’s healthy.

Those are some of the basics that I put into place, over time, that started me on my weight-loss journey.  Everyone is different, so it may not work exactly the same for you, but it’s what works for me.

What I’m going to do for this week (Monday 3/14 – Sunday, 3/20) is include, in the blog, my food logs every single day.  This will give you a better idea of what I’m consuming now, and it’ll be a nice little push for me, too, because in January, I stopped my Food Logs, just to see how I would fare without them.  I’ve lost about 5 pounds since then, which is fantastic.  I also ended up plateauing through all of February, and I’m not saying the plateau is directly related to the absence of Food Logs, but maybe it played a part.

In the meantime, below are my first four Food Logs ever, from January of 2010.  If Food Logging is something you’re interested in starting, than you can see how I started 164 pounds ago!  Keep checking back throughout this week to see this week’s Food Logs.

Keep it up, David!

+ + + + + + + + + +

SATURDAY 1/23/10:
–Breakfast:  2 packets instant oatmeal, bananas and cream flavor); 1 banana.
–Lunch:  2 salad wraps.  Made of: 2 whole wheat tortillas, 2 big handfuls of mixed salad greens, 1/4 onion, cilantro, Mrs. Dash.  1 pear.
–Snack:  1 more salad wrap, same as above
–Dinner:  At BJ’s Brewery, I had Thai Shrimp Lettuce Wraps, no soy dipping sauce.  (Nutritional guide on menu estimated around 300 calories and 2 grams saturated fats, but didn’t list total fats)  Also had 6-8 french fries (off friend’s plate)
–Beverages:  1 can La Croix sparkling water, 1 diet coke, 6-7 glasses water throughout day.
SUNDAY 1/24/10:
–Breakfast:  2 frozen blueberry waffles, each with ~1 tbsp pomegranate jam.  1 pear.
–Lunch:  Veggie Wrap:  Made of 1 whole wheat tortilla, 1 big handful salad greens, and 1 tray Green Giant “Just For One” portion of Cauliflower in Cheese Sauce.
–Dinner:  Subway – 12″ Veggie Delight sandwich, on whole wheat bread. With Lettuce, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Green Pepper, Onion, Spinach, Olives, Honey Mustard.  No cheese/mayo.
–Snack:  1 sugar free popsicle.
–Beverages:  1 can diet sunkist, 1 liter flavored sparkling water, 3-4 glasses water.
MONDAY, 1/25/10:
–Breakfast: 1 packet instant oatmeal, bananas and cream flavor; a carton strawberry Yoplait 99% fat free yogurt
–Throughout the work day:  1 apple, 2 clementines, 2/3 cup goldfish crackers, 1 bag (16 oz) baby carrots, 1 piece sugarless gum.
–Dinner:  Sesame Chicken w/Noodles Lean Cuisine
–Beverages: 1.5 water bottles (64 ounces) of water, and 1 Crystal Light raspberry lemonade flavor packet; 1 diet coke (2:30pm), 1 caffeine free diet coke, 10pm.
–Snack: 1 sugar-free creamsicle.
TUESDAY, 1/26/10:
–Breakfast: 2 packets instant oatmeal, one blueberry/cream flavor, one peaches/cream flavor; 1 banana.
–Throughout the work day: 1 bag (16 oz) baby carrots, 1 single-serving bag BirdsEye SteamFresh peas, 1 apple, 4-5 red pepper strips (off veggie tray, no dip), 2 tootsie rolls (the 2″ kind), 2 pieces gum
–Dinner:  Chicken Portobello Lean Cuisine
–Beverages:  1.5 water bottles (64 ounces) of water, and 1 Crystal Light lemonade flavor packet, 1 diet sparkling lemonade, 1 beer, 2-4 more glasses of water.

Black Bean and Corn Salad

March 13, 2011

My friends Heidi and Tom had a lunch get-together today, and it was absolutely fantastic.  They set a high bar: they served 4 courses, plus an appetizer, and it was all delicious.  I won’t go into all the specifics, mainly because Heidi just re-started her own blog, and will surely post photos and details there, but I will say that they calculated the calories in every dish they prepared, and typed up a menu so we knew exactly what was in every dish, and what the calorie damage was.  ‘Damage’ is the wrong word, since everything was very healthy and light, but you get what I mean.  Heidi and Tom are really passionate about trying new things, adapting recipes, and finding creating and inspired ways to eat well, and it was a treat to be included when they share their love.

I offered to contribute to dish, and ended up bringing along my Black Bean and Corn Salad.  This has been a go-to bring-along salad for a few years now.  It’s colorful and festive, tastes wonderful, has cheap ingredients, and it’s pretty easy to put together.  You can easily modify it depending on your mood, or what you have in your fridge and cupboard – I don’t think I’ve made it exactly the same way twice.

Take a look for yourself – and the recipe follows.

Black Bean and Corn Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans – rinse ‘em and drain ‘em
  • 1 can (15 oz) corn – drain ‘em
  • 1/2 cup scallions
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced (I have smaller peppers right now, so I used 1 1/2 of those)
  • 1 small can (2.25 oz) sliced black olives
  • Other options: I’ve used different colored bell peppers before, or added some roasted red pepper, or 1 cup of diced cucumber or zucchini, or 1/2 cup of diced red onion instead of the scallions.

Dressing:

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced in a garlic press (I like garlic, so today I used four cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (I actually forgot to add this today, oops!)
  • 1 cup salsa – I use whatever catches my eye at the store.  Today, I used Tequila Lime Salsa that I found at Whole Foods, which, FYI, doesn’t actually have tequila in it.

Directions:

Chop up the veggies so everything is uniform and roughly about the same size as a black bean.  Add the black beans, corn, scallions, celery, red peppers, and olives in a big bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients.  Add the dressing to the salad, give it a toss, and that’s it!

I told you it was easy.

I figured out the nutritional data using a recipe calculator I found here.  The salad can serve eight, and each serving works to be 137 calories, and 1.5 grams of fat.

My friends loved it, and so will yours!

Keep it up, David!


Homer

March 12, 2011

I can’t believe I forgot, when I posted my weigh-in results yesterday, to share a milestone I’ve been waiting months and month to reach!  Talk about burying the headline!  Well, I remembered this morning, and late is better than never, so here it is:  I now weigh less than Homer Simpson.

I’m a longtime fan of “The Simpsons,” and used to be just about the biggest fan one could ever be.  In the late ’90s, I collected Simpsons merchandise, I taped every single episode onto VHS (I had over 20 tapes, and made custom-printed sleeves for each), and, in September 1997, during my freshman year in college, I started a Simpsons-related email newsletter that eventually attracted some 4,000 subscribers from dozens of countries and every state.  (This actually pre-dates blogs by only a few months – the term ‘weblog’ was coined in December 1997.)

Back in the fall of 1995, I was a junior in high school, and had just gotten my first lead role in a school play (I was Fred in “Noises Off”).  On November 5, 1995, an episode of “The Simpsons” called “King-Size Homer” aired.  I remember watching it in the basement of my friend Jocelyn’s house (we were probably supposed to be doing physics homework).  The episode of one of my all-time favorites.  In it, Homer decides to gain 61 pounds, so he can go on disability and work for the power plant from home, then nearly causes an explosion when he neglects his responsibilities.  It also revealed, for the first time, Homer’s weight: he’s 239 pounds (before he starts his 61-pound gain).

As of yesterday, I weigh 238 pounds. I weigh less than Homer.  I don’t know why this is so important to me, but I’ve thought about it for months now – ever since I got down to 260 or so, it’s occurred to be that soon I’ll weigh less than Homer.  I know that Homer’s not real, and I exist in one more dimension than him, and that I’m taller than him (in another episode his height is revealed as 6’0″, and I’m 6’4″), but hey – I’ll take any motivation I can get!

I really wanted to include a photo of Homer in this post, but Fox is very protective of their property, so instead I’ll include this clip from “King-Size Homer” that Fox posted online, where Homer, now 300 pounds, is working from home, and easily distracted:

I was really hoping to share the scene where Marge expresses her concern, but I couldn’t find it, so I’ll just transcribe it:

Marge: “Have you lost your mind?  Have you thought about your health or your appearance?”

Homer: “Oh, so that’s it, isn’t it, Marge?  Looks.  I didn’t know you were so shallow.”

Marge: “Oh, please.  I would love you if you weighed one thousand pounds, but…”

Homer: “Beautiful.  G’night!”

It’s all so wrong, but “The Simpsons” made it oh so funny.

Oh – one final thought:  At the end of the episode, Mr. Burns agrees to pay for liposuction, so Homer can get back down to 239.  I’m losing my weight through diet and exercise.

Keep it up, David!


BIG NEWS! Run! Chart Update!

March 11, 2011

I thought I’d start off today with some BIG NEWS, so big all capital letters are required!

My appearance with Richard Simmons on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” is getting rebroadcast next week!  Woo-hoo!  Tune in Wednesday, March 16, 2011 (go to www.ellentv.com to find out when it airs in your town).

Here’s what I want you to do: Tell someone that’s important in your life and is struggling with their weight – family member, friend, co-worker, neighbor, whoever – to tune in on Wednesday, or set their TiVo, or you set yours and invite them over, or met up at Sears and watch on 40 TVs at once (however you want to do it!) and then direct them here, to this blog.  Tell them to just check it out.  I’m not selling videos or supplements or pills -  I’m just proof that anyone with hard work, discipline, and the right attitude can make healthy changes and lose the weight.  I have good days and bad days, and I share it all here.

Tons of you have stepped forward, in emails, comments, Facebook posts, and tweets, and have very kindly shared what an inspiration I am.  I don’t tire of hearing it, even on days when I don’t feel it, mainly because my readers have become a huge source of inspiration for me.  All of you encourage me to keep it up, and I listen, and it helps.  So tell your friends to watch me on Ellen, and tell them how much you enjoy my blog (which hopefully is true, or you wouldn’t be here right now), and give them the URL (www.keepitupdavid.com), and point them towards my Facebook and Twitter pages, both of which are great ways to hear about new posts.  Are you clear about your assignment? Good!

Moving on….

Since Richard Simmons was in New Zealand all last week, I was really looking forward to taking his class last night at Slimmons.  I had every intention of going, too, but life got in the way.  And by ‘life’, I mean ‘my air conditioner was broken and the repairmen needed 10 hours to fix it.’  It’s a big mess that I won’t get into here, but when they showed up at 9am, it never occurred to me that they wouldn’t be finished in time for me to make it to Richard’s 6:30pm class.  They left at 7pm.  And they’re back this morning, to do more tests.  Good times.

After their departure at 7pm, I was already dressed to go exercise, but one thing led to another.  Oh, I should watch the news.  Oh, I’ll just send some tweets first.  Oh, maybe after “The Big Bang Theory.”  I’m sure you know how it is.  It wasn’t until after 9pm, when I caught myself absent-mindedly taking off my gym shoes, that I finally sat up on the couch and forced myself to go workout, and I was grumbling the whole time.

I decided to run.  Since my new running rules dictate heading to different locales other than my dreary neighborhood, I headed 10 minutes away to my old neighborhood on the edge of Burbank.  The streets are wide, empty, and lit, and I’m familiar with all of them.  While driving there, I decided on a route – a big loop that, when I drove it in my car, measured 1.5 miles.  My plan was to run it twice, and hopefully a third time:

I felt good during most of the first loop, but towards the end of it I was noticing my grumpy factor rising, and the fatique already setting in.  I pushed through it, and by the middle of the second loop I was feeling a lot better.  By the time I got to the end of the second loop, though, I was ready to stop, and so I did.  Two laps is 3 miles, and that’s a good run.  Time to update the 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
  • 1/4/11: Distance: 3.0 miles. Time: 34 minutes.  MPH: 5.3
  • 1/24/11: Distance: 4.4 miles.  Time: 45 minutes.  MPH: 5.86
  • 2/1/11: Distance: 1.9 miles.  Time: 20 minutes.  MPH: 5.7
  • 2/9/11: Distance: 3.5 miles.  Time: 38 minutes.  MPH: 5.52
  • 2/16/11: Distance: 2.9 miles.  Time: 33 minutes.  MPH: 5.28
  • 2/27/11: Distance: 5 miles.  Time: 60 minutes.  MPH: 5.0
  • 3/3/11: Distance: 5.4 miles.  Time: 57 minutes.  MPH: 5.13
  • 3/10/11: Distance: 3.0 miles.  Time: 34 minutes.  MPH: 5.29

When I got back home, I jumped on the exercise bike with the intention of pedaling away for 15 minutes to supplement my run, but I ended up pedaling away for 30 minutes.  The bike in the little gym in my building has Tetris on it (well, it has a very-similar-but-different-enough-game that doesn’t infringe on copyright), so I played one game, and did really well, and that led to 30 minutes.  I made it on the leader board, but I’m the only one on the leader board (I guess it’s not very popular amongst my neighbors, or they all suck).

I’ll end with a weight loss chart update:  I weighed myself this morning, and DOWN 1 POUND! Awesome!  That puts my weight at 238 (18 pounds away from my next goal), and my weight loss at 164.  Here’s the chart:

KEEP IT UP, David!


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