Weight Chart Update AND Underground “Before”/”Current” Photos!

April 25, 2012

The last time I weighed myself, two weeks ago, I had to give myself a big ole pep talk. And I needed it. And it worked! The past two weeks have been full of good choices and healthy eating. But I also had a major body part conspiring against me: my foot. After injuring it last week, I spent the better part of three days plopped on my couch, icing and elevating it. I did make it to the gym for some upper body workouts, but I also ended up having a couple more rest days than I had planned.

Given the circumstances, I’d quite happy with the results of yesterday’s weigh-in:

Maintaining my weight is a good thing. Nope, I’m wrong… it’s a GREAT thing.

Here’s another shot of my weight loss chart:

This morning I took a good long look at the first year of my chart, which I condensed, a few months ago, onto two pages. These two pages will always be a great motivator for me:

So, for everyone keeping score at home, maintaining my weight means I’ve still lost 162 pounds. And counting.

MOVING ON.

I was downtown a few days ago, and some friends and I went to lunch. We headed over to 505 Flower, which is an office tower that has an big underground shopping center beneath it. The shopping center is mostly restaurants and eateries, and I had a fantastic salad at a place called Salata, a Texas chain that opened their first California location last year.

As exciting as that salad was, what was more exciting was that it was my first time at 505 Flower in about three years, and I had the chance to update a “Before” picture!

505 Flower has these glowing yellow and blue walls near their escalators, and, truth be told, they’re kinda cool and kinda hideous at the same time. Three years ago, I got a picture with my friend Heather in front of the wall, and it’s a terrible photo. It was taken at 1am, and there’s nothing I like about it, and that what makes it a perfect ‘Before’ photo!

You can see the version with Heather (and a more recent picture with Heather, who has lost 50 pounds, by clicking on Photo Gallery – there are lots of ‘Before’ and ‘Current’ photos there).

And here I am, just a few days ago, in front of the very same wall:

Pretty. Effin’. Sweet.

A note to anyone who finds themselves at 505 Flower: as tempting as that glowing wall may seem, it’s a really tough background for a Kodak moment. My friend Maya took the above picture, and she took about 15 just so I could have one that turned out semi-decently. I have a hunch that not many people will look good in front of that shade of glowing yellow. But if you’re in downtown LA, I invite you to go and prove me wrong!

I actually LOVE another picture that Maya got of me – full silhouette!

This picture makes me want to shout GO BLUE! – and if you’re a fellow University of Michigan alum or fan, than you’ll know why.

KEEP IT UP, DAVID!

PS: Tomorrow’s the deadline to enter my giveaway to win a $68 fresh fruit bouquet from Edible Arrangements. Have you entered yet?

CLICK HERE! CLICK HERE! CLICK HERE! CLICK HERE! CLICK HERE!


My Incredible Shrinking Clothes – Sportcoat Edition

February 8, 2012

A trip to the dry cleaners isn’t usually anything to get excited about, but I was geeked to go to the dry cleaners yesterday. And the dry cleaners didn’t disappoint! I wasn’t there to pick up a piece of clothing that had been cleaned. Nope – I was there to pick up an article of clothing that had been altered for me. To learn the rest of the story, we have to jump in a DeLorean and time travel 14 months into the past. Buckle up!

December 2010. My friend Laura’s wedding is fast approaching, and I have nothing to wear. I’m losing weight at a steady clip, and my one suit no longer fits. Alterations to every seam to make it fit would be costlier than buying new clothes, so I opt for the latter and hit the discount stores. With your input (thanks to a poll on this very blog), I buy a sportcoat (and pants, but this blog is more about the sportcoat). I go to Laura and Chad’s wedding, and have a fabulous time. Here I am with the bride:

Beautiful, right? And Laura looks amazing as well! HEY-O!

(Fun fact about Laura: She was one of the people who, way back in the day, encouraged me to start a blog in the first place, and for that I’ll always be grateful. I can’t wait, when I’m super famous and super wealthy, to screen her calls and pretend I don’t know her. Just kidding! Or am I?)

(Fun fact #2 about Laura: I don’t think she’ll mind me saying, but her weight has been all over the place in the past year, and that’s because a couple months ago she and Chad had a baby! Now she’s reading Keep It Up, David as a tool to help her lose the baby weight, and I have no doubt she’s gonna do it. And their baby, by the way, is adorable.)

January 2011. The ensemble in the above photo gets worn a second time, when I deliver the eulogy at my grandmother’s funeral. I’m thankful that Laura’s wedding forced me to go shopping, because there was no time in my grandmother’s final days and during the prepping for the funeral for me to make it to the mall.

February 2011. The ensemble gets worn a third time, at a fundraising gala for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. I’m working the event as a volunteer, and my friend Nicolette walks up to me at the gala, looks me up and down, and says something to the effect of: “You look very nice, David, but I think your jacket may be a little big.” The jacket is two months old at this point, although I have lost weight during those two months. I take the entirety of Nicolette’s comment as a compliment, and smile. A big shit-eating grin. I love shrinking out my clothes!

We’re done time traveling. Back to present day. A full year has gone by, and I’ve had no occasion to wear formal clothes (which is not abnormal in casual Los Angeles). This year’s gala for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra is approaching, and I’m volunteering again (I still have community service hours to work off for punching that cop). Last week, I take the sportcoat to my cleaners, which has a slew of tailors on-site. The tailor ends up removing a couple inches of fabric from the sides. Wanna see me in the jacket now?

This is what I’m wearing to the gala, from head to toe.

Let’s talk sizes! I’m not wearing the same pants to the gala this year that I wore last year. Last year’s pants were 40″ around the waist, but I got a great new pair as a Christmas present (thanks, Mom and Dad!), so I’ll be wearing those this year, and they’re 38″ (I fit into both 36″ and 38″ pants right now, depending on brand and cut).

Even more exciting: The jacket is a 48″ Long – although not after it was taken in! My previous suit jacket was a 54″ Long – check it out:

I hate this photo – I look like Kevin on The Office, but with more hair – but it’s the only one with that suit.

And the piece de resistance: The suit I wore at my heaviest, in July 2009, to the wedding of my friends Lisa and Matt in New Jersey. This suit is size 64″ Long, and it was ordered from a catalog – even big and tall stores don’t carry suits that big.

The number in suit sizing refers to the distance, in inches, around the widest part of your chest, doesn’t it? So, my advanced math skills tell me that a drop from 64″ to 48″ in suit size reflects a loss of 16 INCHES around my chest (and now a little bit more than that, thanks to my jacket getting taken in). WHOA!

Keep It Up, David!

Check out My Favorite Posts for all the Incredible Shrinking Clothes blogs – this is the ninth one!


Getty Center “Before” and “Current” Photos

January 31, 2012

I’ve posted “Before” and “Current” photos before (including an awesome pair about a month ago, and check out the Photo Gallery to see all of them), but the ones I’m sharing today are definitely some of my favorites. I can’t wait for you to see them! I’ll get to them in a little bit, but let me share some other pictures first.

On Saturday, I met up with my friend Paul and his husband Court. Paul and I met when we were students in the theatre department at the University of Michigan, and after graduating, I headed to L.A., and Paul headed to New York City. I’m totally envious of Paul’s job – he’s a technical director for the Metropolitan Opera – and I’m envious of Court’s career too, for that matter – he’s a scenery and costume designer who works throughout the U.S. and Europe. I studied theatre design in college (and have the degree to prove it), but before graduating I decided I wasn’t cut out for it professionally. I’m thankful to have a handful of good friends from that program who have forged wonderful theatre careers (Paul being one of them), because whenever I hang out with them, I can live vicariously through their stories and imagine my life in an alternate universe. For the record, I don’t regret not pursuing theatre design as a career – I love theatre, but I’m happier being an educated audience member.

Enough back story. Paul and Court swung through Los Angeles on their way to Hawaii, and I met up with them at the Getty Center, a giant art museum on top of a hill in Los Angeles. Here we are (Court on the left, Paul on the right) in the gardens:

The Getty Center is an impressive place. Designed by architect Richard Meier, it opened about 15 years ago, and cost $1.3 billion. The artwork is displayed in five two-story buildings arranged around a center courtyard. Other buildings house offices, a restaurant, an auditorium, and a research facility. This is basically the same photo as above, but without anyone blocking the view:

People (including me) come to the Getty Center for the architecture, gardens, and views as much as they do for the art. This was my fourth or fifth visit, and I’ll never get tired of walking around that campus. The landscaping is full of colorful and exciting plants…

…and the view is second-to-none. It spans from the ocean to beyond downtown L.A., and we were there on as an extremely clear day:

The skyscrapers in the distance are downtown L.A., and the closer ones are Century City and Westwood.

It was fantastic catching up with Paul and Court as we wandered through the galleries. They were also more than happy to help me with my little project. And that brings us to…

…Some AWESOME “Before” and “Current” photos!

I know I said no more back story earlier, but I lied. There’s a little more back story, and here it is:

The last time I was at the Getty Center was in the summer of 2009, when I came with Tavi (my aerialist/dancer friend that gets mentioned way too frequently on this blog) and a friend of his. Here’s a picture from that outing showing how big I was at the time:

What we’re doing is recreating the sculpture on the left that we had just seen in one of the galleries, of the Greek god Cronus (the Romans changed his name to Saturn) devouring one of his children. The sculpture had been the basis of a funny conversation – basically, Tavi thought it was sweet that it showed an old man kissing a baby, but when I looked closer, I saw that the baby’s hand was completely inside the old man’s mouth, and it was clear he certainly was not showing affection.

By the way, I had forgotten how disgusting and disturbing Greek mythology can be. Not only did Saturn eat five of his own children, but he also castrated his own father, and tossed his testicles into the sea (Fun fact: the testicles created a white foam in the ocean, from which the Goddess Aphrodite emerged!). Saturn’s sixth child, Zeus, was hidden from him, raised by a goat, and returned as a grown-up to overthrow him. Zeus, using a potion, also forced Saturn to barf up all the siblings he had eaten, and they all survived.

The sculpture is really quite stunning – much more appealing to look at than Francisco Goya’s painting of the same event. There was a print of this painting hanging in my grandparents’ house when I was a kid (I think it was my uncle’s), and it gave me nightmares. Literally. (Fun fact: Goya painted this directly on the wall of his own dining room – can you imagine looking at that every time you sat down for a meal? It’s now in the Prado Museum in Madrid).

OKAY, OKAY, enough with the mythology lesson. Get on with the pictures!

In addition to staging photos where it looks like we’re eating each other, Tavi and I also took photos in the garden, and because I hadn’t been back to the Getty since losing over 165 pounds, I thought it’d be fun to recreate two of the photos as closely as I could. Paul and Court have great eyes for detail, so they helped figure out the angles and get me into position.

So without any further ago (I swear), I present:

GETTY CENTER “BEFORE” AND “CURRENT” PHOTO #1:

and GETTY CENTER “BEFORE” AND “CURRENT” PHOTO #2:

Holy Crap, what a difference two and a half years makes! These pictures make me so happy – you have no idea. And doesn’t that statue have a nice rack?

The Getty Center also provided a nice bonus workout. I say ‘bonus’ because I had already taken Richard Simmons’ aerobics class before meeting up with Paul and Court. In addition to walking around the enormous campus for a few hours, I also walked up to the museum itself. While the museum is on top of a big hill, the parking garage is at the base of it, and there’s a tram that connect the two. I had no patience for the long tram line when I arrived, so I decided to walk up the hill. It’s not a long walk – 3/4 of a mile – but the whole way is up a steep grade. Here’s one the trams that passed by on my way up:

The three us also walked down when we left. An extra 1.5 miles of hill walking? Yes, please!

One final picture. We stayed at the Getty Center until after the sunset, when the sky turned all sorts of gorgeous colors.

I have a whole lifetime of sunsets like that to look forward to, and that’s just another reason to…

KEEP IT UP, DAVID!


Year Three

January 23, 2012

This post completely snuck up on me. For some reason, I had it set in my head that I would be writing this post later in the week. And then yesterday, I realized that it was January 22nd. Which means that today is January 23rd. Today is my anniversary.

Two years ago, on January 23rd, 2010, I met with Richard Simmons, who offered to help me lose weight. He had me start keeping a food log that he looked over every week, keeping me accountable for what I put in my mouth. It was the beginning of my effort to lose weight.

January 23rd, 2010 marks a number of of other important beginnings: the beginning of my friendship with Richard, the beginning of a focus on health and wellness unparalleled by any other period in my life, the beginning of an attitude shift towards confidence and self-appreciation. I can see this date whenever I want, because it’s at the start of my weight loss chart – the very chart that shows that since January 23rd, 2010, I have lost 166 pounds.

I was recently thinking about some big hypothetical what ifs. What if I hadn’t taken Richard Simmons up on his offer? What if I had continued to believe that my body was never going to change? What if I hadn’t challenged my own engrained notions that I could never successfully lose weight?

These what ifs led to a depressing series of visions: me, heavier than ever, sitting around, surrounded by junk food wrappers. Me, walking into a big & tall store for the umpteenth time, seeing all the same clothes over and over again, knowing exactly what I’ve already tried on. Me, continuing to slowly isolate myself from the people that love me, continuing to convince myself that I wasn’t worthy of their attention.

But you know what? They’re just visions. There is no alternate universe where I’m lounging on the couch, chocolate smeared on my face, screening my calls. And you know why? Because I took those first steps, on January 23rd, 2010, and it was hard and I was scared, but I kept looking forward. I kept moving forward, finding new ways to be healthier and implementing them, continuing to exercise and push myself like I’ve never done before.

And look where I am now. It’s the beginning of my third year on this track, and I look and feel like a completely different person. One of the things I’ve heard on multiple occasions, from the people in my life that have known me for years and years, is that they don’t recognize me in old photos anymore. They don’t remember the 400-pound body I used to have.

What I find exciting is that the same thing is beginning to happen to me. That guy, in those photos, is starting to seem foreign. The memories of struggling to get in and out of a low-riding car or feeling winded after walking up a hill are fainter, and evaporating more and more each month. It’s exhilarating, because it means that all this effort and determination is really sticking. I’m proving to myself, with every passing day, that this isn’t some fluke or some miraculous spurt of good health. It’s evidence that I’ve changed my life.

That change began on one day: January 23rd, 2010. Today is January 23rd, 2012, and I challenge you to make today a new beginning. It doesn’t matter if this is Year 1 of trying to lose weight, or Year 3, or Year 33 – take this opportunity to start making changes. They can be small at first, or you can dive right in – but either way, make a change. You deserve more.

We’re only three weeks into this new year, but it doesn’t need to be January 1st to make a resolution. My resolution, that I reaffirm on every post of this blog all year long, is to keep it up.  I need to keep it up, because I love shopping for new clothes in increasingly smaller sizes. I need to keep it up, because I want as much time with my family and friends as I can get. I need to keep it up, because I know that the love of my life is out there somewhere, and I won’t find him if I’m holed up in my room feeling sorry for myself. I need to keep it up, because my life depends on it.

So that’s exactly what I’m gonna do. What about you?

Happy Anniversary, David. And…

KEEP IT UP, DAVID!


I’m Baaaaaack! (Plus, a ‘Before’ and ‘Current’ Photo Comparison)

January 3, 2012

TUNE-IN ALERT! I’m going to be on “The Doctors” this Thursday, January 5th! The show’s topic is “Weight Loss Secrets From A-Z” and unless I got edited out (always a possibility), I’ll be featured in a video with Richard Simmons taped at Slimmons! Read about what happened at the taping here, and click here to find out when it airs in your town!

——————————–

My first blog post in 2012! Happy New Year, everyone!

I had a wonderful, fun, and healthy week in the Caribbean, but I’m glad to be home – sleeping in my own bed for the first time in 2 weeks felt great, and I love having regular, high-speed internet access! I’m still exhausted – getting home from Puerto Rico yesterday took a looooong time. There were no delayed flights or lost suitcases (thank god), but from the moment I arrived at the airport in San Juan to the moment I walked through my door, nearly 18 hours had elapsed. Plus, I had been up for 6 hours already in Puerto Rico… meaning I was awake for 24 continuous hours, excluding some slight dozing on the plane (I can’t sleep well on planes, because I can never get comfortable enough, thanks to my long legs and the fact that my head rises higher than the back of the seat – three cheers for being 6’4″!).

There is a lot to share from the past week. I have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of photos I’m still sorting through, and yesterday at the airport, I mapped out a plan on how to share it all in fun, exciting ways. It’s gonna take more than 1 blog post, that’s for sure!

I’m actually gonna head back to bed for now. I’m still beat, but I’m awake because I forgot to turn off my alarm before crashing last night at 3am. I’ll start writing about the cruise a little later today. In the meantime, I thought I’d share a quick ‘before’ and ‘current’ photo comparison.

BEFORE: This is me in 2007, when I went on an Alaska cruise with my family. I’m standing in front of a small seaplane that I rode in during one of the stops:

CURRENT: Here I am in front of the Adventure of the Seas, the cruise ship I spent the last week on:

KEEP IT UP, DAVID!


New Before and Current Pics

September 18, 2011

The other day I mentioned my amazing friend Katherine, who’s in town from Sweden with her husband Peter and their two young sons, and who brought me all sorts of fun Swedish foods to try.  Yesterday, I spent the afternoon with her and the family, plus a handful of other friends.  The occasion was the baptism of Katherine and Peter’s younger son, Kai, who’s 4 months old.

I was looking through some old photos of Katherine and me, and it seems like a great opportunity for a new Before and Current photo comparison!  Yeah, I know, I kinda sorta did this yesterday, too.  Sue me.

The baptism was held in the lovely and lush backyard of Katherine’s cousins, who live up in the hills not too far from me, and have a beautiful home (with a jealousy-inducing enormous kitchen).  I got all excited when I drove up, because I passed this sign as I entered their neighborhood:

Mountain lions?!?  I should call my realtor and see if I can afford anything up this way (news flash: I can’t).  Mountain lions aren’t the only cause of danger in these parts.  There are also black bears and coyotes, and also wildfires and landslides.  These folks are always on their toes!  Two years ago, the enormous Station fire, which burned 250 square miles of these mountains, came within 100 yards of where we were.  Because all the vegetation above them was torched, on the rare occasions that it rains, mud flows freely down their street, so the city installed these barricades to keep the mud out of peoples’ homes:

The barricades will stay up for a total of five years, until enough vegetation has taken root on the mountain to help curtail the erosion.

Anyway, I digress.

The baptism was beautiful.  The ceremony was led by a Swedish priest, a lovely woman who conducted parts in Swedish and parts in English, and there was a guitarist who provided musical accompaniment for the hymns, as well as “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” which were worked into the service because Kai’s older brother, Stellan (who’s 2 years old), loves to sing and they wanted him to feel included.

Katherine’s cousin prepared a delicious lunch (salmon, two types of salads, and a zucchini casserole), and we spent the rest of the leisurely afternoon talking and catching up with everyone.

Before I get to the Before and Current photo comparison, one quick pic of me and Stellan, who is my Godson:

OK, on to the photos I promised in the title.  Here’s a picture of me and Katherine from July of 2008.  We’re on the beach in Malibu:

And here we are yesterday, with the addition of little Kai:

So much change has happened for both of us in these three years:  I’m down 170 pounds, and Katherine has gotten married and has had two adorable kids!

The side-by-side:

Keep it up, David!


Haircut and Haul

July 22, 2011

There were a couple things that happened yesterday that really made me feel good about myself – and after this tough week (with my three-pound gain), they couldn’t have come at a better time.

1) Haircut.  I warned you all last week that I was gonna get a haircut, and I got one!  I had Heather, my hair stylist, take before and after pictures, so here’s the before:

And the after:

Lookin’ sharp, right?  I love it.  I’ve trusted Heather at Glendale Salon Spa with my hair for years now, and she’s never let me down.  When I went up to the front desk to pay, Renee (the manager and quite possibly the owner – not sure) looked up from what she was doing and blurted out “Oh my god, you are so hot!”  That was my cue to start blushing.

Every once in a while, I catch an unexpected glimpse of myself – usually, it’s a reflection in a window or mirror, where, for a split second, I don’t realize that it’s ME, and all I see is this thin figure and I wonder who the hell it is, and it catches me off totally off-guard.  Once I saw a shadowy figure in my bedroom and thought someone had broken into my house, and I was ready to bolt for the kitchen to grab a knife before it sunk in that the person that I saw was ME in a mirror.  I suppose, living in this body every single day, that I’ve gotten accustomed to my own point-of-view, and I completely love and appreciate those moments, scary as they might be, when I see myself, and this body that I’ve worked so hard to change, from a different perspective.

When I first looked at the above photos, on the little screen on my camera, I had one of those moments again.  I saw the before picture and thought, ‘Who is that in the background?  I don’t remember anyone else near us…  WHOA! That’s me, in the mirror!”  I zoomed in and looked again… at my long neck… the absence of additional chins… what appears to be pectoral muscles… and it felt really wonderful.

2) Produce Haul.  Nothing quite lifts my spirits like a stroll through a produce department.  And I was due yesterday for a little shopping trip.  After eating breakfast and lunch, I barely had any produce left in my house – just a single lonely tangerine, some alfalfa sprouts (originally bought for my kick-ass sandwich for five – see the recipe here), and a few remaining kumquats that came off my friend Robert’s tree:

Since I wasn’t in the mood to create a kumquat/alfalfa/tangerine recipe (note to the producers of “Chopped” on Food Network – that could be a challenge on your show!), it was time to go to the store.  Lucky for me, there’s a Whole Foods a few blocks away from my salon.  So I zipped over there after getting my hair did and ended up bringing home a nice big produce haul that I can’t wait to dig into:

There’s some glare from my flash – sorry about that!  Starting from the top right and going clockwise, we have:  pre-washed kale/chard salad mix, baby carrots, strawberries, blueberries, a red onion, 2 tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, black grapes, cherries, zucchini, santa rosa plums (they’re small and tasty), 3 peaches, 4 valencia oranges (I plan on juicing them), 3 nectarines, a green pepper, a cucumber, a bag of celery hearts, bananas, and a container of broccoli and cauliflower.

And, I saw another new-to-me stone fruit that I can’t wait to try, since the apriums I wrote about yesterday were so delicious.  Anyone know what these are?

They’re called mango nectarines.  I know nothing about them, except that they’re still pretty firm, so I’ll let them ripen a bit before digging in (and sharing the experience with you).

OH – one more picture to share.  The Glendale Whole Foods is right across the street from the Casual Male Big & Tall store that was one of 3 stores I could shop in when I was at my heaviest (subsequently, they got hundreds, possibly thousands, of my dollars over the years).  Well, the Casual Male used to be across the street.  I must not have been paying attention, because at some point in the recent past, the Casual Male and the gas station next door were demolished, and construction started on this building:

I don’t know what that building is, or will become, but I checked online, and the Casual Male moved about 10 blocks away.  Not seeing the Casual Male there reminded me of one of my all-time favorite blog posts – from last fall, when I said good-bye to shopping at big & tall stores FOREVER.  If you haven’t read my open letter to Casual Male, click here – it’s a good read that I’m quite proud of, and when you get to the picture of the store in my car mirror, know that I spent 10 minutes aligning myself in the parking lot, blocking traffic, to get that shot to line up.  I do it for you, blog readers!  NO.  That’s a lie.  I DO IT FOR ME.  Your enjoyment is an added bonus, and my knowing how much you enjoy it is the best added bonus of all.

Keep it up, David!

COMING UP:  There was another great moment yesterday that I want to share, but since I thought this post was getting a little long, I’m going to save it for next time.  It involves a major Los Angeles landmark (no, not Angel’s Flight)!


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