Footage From My Game Show Appearance!

April 21, 2011

Yesterday I stayed on program – I ate well, and had a great workout at the gym (30 minutes on the arc trainer, 30 minutes on the elliptical, over 950 calories burned between the two).  But I couldn’t stop thinking about that stupid pound that I’ve been unable to lose for a few weeks.

So, time to adjust my thinking.  Time to focus on what I’ve accomplished, instead of dwelling on what I haven’t.  And I have the perfect visual aid to help: video footage of myself, on national television, from when I was significantly heavier.  And that footage is from… WHEN I WAS ON A GAME SHOW!

It was “Merv Griffin’s Crosswords,” which aired for a year, starting in the fall 2007.  I taped my episode on September 17, 2007, and it first aired on April 4, 2008.

This was during a long period in my life where I didn’t own a scale and couldn’t even weigh myself at my doctor’s office, because her scale topped out at 350 pounds, and I weighed more than that.  I would guess that I weighed in the high 300’soh, and keep in mind that the camera adds 10 pounds – ha!

Now, I weigh 238 poundsFocus on what I’ve accomplished, instead of dwelling on what I haven’t.

Wanna watch?  Here are the videos.  It’s broken down into the four segments, and because these don’t have commercials or end credits, you’ll need about 20 minutes to watch all of it:





It’s not easy for me to watch these videos.  I’ll explain why, and share some behind-the-scenes scoop… in tomorrow’s post.

In the meantime, you can compare this to much more recent video footage, from when I was on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” a few months ago, which you can watch here.  Here’s side-by-side screen grabs from both shows:

My god, what a huge difference!

Keep it up, David!

My Week of Workouts AND Chart Update

April 20, 2011

I had a really good week of exercise last week.  The last time I wrote about my workouts, it was after a weekend that involved a visit to Slimmons, a hike, a run, and a StairMaster, so I’ll pick up where I left off.  Here’s the run-down:

Tuesday, April 12:  Boot Camp Class with Craig.  Craig set up a circuit that we rotated through, and introduced, for the first time since I started taking his classes a few months ago, a jump rope.  Two of the stations on the circuit involved jumping rope for one minute, and I hadn’t picked up a jump rope since my PE1 class in high school, like, 15 years ago.  I’ve never been good at jumping rope, and, to be honest, I wasn’t certain I could do it, but when it came time and I rotated to that station, I surprised myself, and was able to keep it up for most of the minute!  That was a pleasant little shock that got me through the rest of Craig’s tough class, which also featured a military crawl station, where you crawl across the floor, pulling yourself on your forearms, while your legs are straight balancing on the tips of your toes.  I can barely do it, and I wince just thinking about it.

Wednesday, April 13:  Swimming.  Tavi came along, too.  100 yards warm-up (200 free, 200 IM, 200 kick, 200 pull, 200 IM), then I swam 1000 yards (40 lengths of the pool) without stopping (something I’ve yet to do), and then 300 yards cool-down.  2,300 yards total, in 1 hour.

Thursday, April 14:  I took my mom, who was visiting, to a class at Slimmons.  Richard Simmons taught it, and you can read about it, and see a picture, here.

Friday, April 15:  My mom and I each did 45 minutes on a recumbent bike at a gym.

Saturday, April 16:  Went for a run while hanging out with two of my cousins.  My cousin Aaron helped me improve my form, so that was great.  Read all about that run here.

Sunday, April 17:  A planned rest day.  Even though I didn’t have a dedicated workout, I still felt exhausted at the end of the day, because I spent probably a hour (maybe a little longer?) perched atop a stool, installing a new light fixture in my place:

In theory, it wasn’t supposed to be that difficult – I had all the pieces and tools (except for wire strippers, which I picked up at Sears for a few bucks), except for that I couldn’t get the damn thing to hang straight.  If I wanted it to hang crooked, like the whole room was on a leaning ship, I would have been done in 1/2 the time, but that wouldn’t cut it for me.  So that meant dismantling it a few times, re-aligning and fidgeting with various screws and nuts, my arms above my head the whole time, mumbling and cursing under my breath, occasionally holding myself back from chucking the whole fixture out the window.

The kicker is that I’ll need to go back up and fix it again this weekend.  It may be hard to tell in the picture, but the fixture isn’t flush against the ceiling, it hangs a millimeter or two down.  Not acceptable.  Which means I have to swap out two screws for slightly shorter screws, so it’ll fit properly.  Good times.

Monday, April 18.  Unplanned rest day.  I wanted to head to the gym, but I was exhausted after work.  It had been a busy weekend – my folks were in town, and we were on the move: we went to San Diego, we went out to the suburbs to visit other relatives, we went to a concert, we went shopping for light fixtures (see above).  Monday night I got home, pulled out some gym clothes, and thought ‘man oh man, I just wanna watch some TV first.’  Who has two thumbs and never got off the couch?  THIS GUY.

Which brings us to Tuesday, April 19 – time for a weigh-in.  I got up thinking I was sure to lose the pound that I gained a few weeks ago, that, so far, has refused to fall off my body again.  I had done a lot of exercise, as this blogs illustrates, and had eaten pretty well.  Which is why I was a little frustrated when I got on the scale, and it read:

238 POUNDS.  Same as last week.  Now, I have every reason to be happy, as I didn’t gain, and that’s a good thing, but I really want to lose that pound!   (Oh, and if you’re curious, I disregard the 10ths of the pound – I’m the sort that can easily start obsessing over the numbers, and focusing on what comes after the decimal point is a surefire way to drive me crazy, so I just don’t do it.)

I updated the chart and extended my plateau:

It really is good news that I’m down 164 pounds.  I try not to forget about that.  But what I found myself thinking, repeatedly throughout the day, were a bunch of If Onlys.  If only I had worked out last night.  If only I didn’t have that piece of cake that my aunt made on Saturday.  If only I had pushed myself a little bit harder.  If only.

But when I look back at the week, I’m happy with the choices and decisions that I made, and it was a pretty awesome and memorable week, so screw you, If Onlys.  Screw you.

Last night it was back to Craig’s boot camp class, and, in addition to a bunch of free weight moves I’m familiar with, Craig included another device I’ve never ever worked out on before: a trampoline.  What fun!  We would do a minute at a time running in place on a little trampoline, trying to get our knees as high as possible.  Exhausting, but fun.  The class was a great start to a new week.  Next Tuesday, I’ll lose that god-damn pound.  I hope.

Keep it up, David!

Can You Guess What This Is?

April 19, 2011

Over the weekend, when my parents and I went to my aunt and uncle’s house for dinner, I brought along a food item to share.  Here’s a picture:

Can you guess what it is?

Here’s some more information and hints:

  • I know if looks like cat food.  It is not cat food.  It is intended for human consumption.
  • I did not make it myself.  It was canned, and I opened the can, and inverted it onto a plate.
  • I picked it up when I was in Sweden last summer.

Any ideas?

Would another picture help?  Here’s a piece of it on a cracker.  My aunt Annie is the hand model.  Nicely done, Annie!

Any guesses?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?

It’s Reindeer Pate.

Where else have I seen the word ‘Renpate’ before?  Oh yeah, it’s this woman’s name.  I wonder if Ren Pate has ever eaten Renpate.

I bought the Renpate at the airport in Stockholm as I was leaving the country, for two reasons:  1) I love trying new things, and 2) I wanted to spend the remaining krona (Swedish currency) I had in my wallet so I didn’t have to deal with exchanging it back into dollars.  I also bought a couple packages of jerky that was made from reindeer and elk, and I ate that soon after getting home, and apart from being incredibly salty, it tasted like other types of jerky, although perhaps a touch gamier.  That jerky was the first time ever I’ve eaten deer of any kind (although, since then, I’ve had venison at Coach Insignia, a great restaurant in Detroit)!

And now I can add reindeer pate to the list of things I’ve tried.  I only ate two pieces, each about the size of what Annie’s holding in the second picture, and, well, I didn’t love it, and I didn’t hate it, but I don’t need to eat it again.  I’m not much of a pate eater in general, so I can’t tell you if I didn’t like it because of how it was prepared, or if it was the reindeer, although I’m inclined to think that it wasn’t the reindeer, because gamier meats don’t turn me off.  My mom could definitely tell there was liver in the pate (we checked the ingredients list, and sure enough, reindeer liver was listed), so I was impressed with her palette, and my cousin thought it tasted just like Spam, which I’ve never tried before.  My only thoughts on the pate was that I had assumed that pates were a little smoother that this was – this was almost meat-loafy in texture, and wasn’t very spreadable, which is another characteristic I associate with pate.  It didn’t taste bad, but, again, I wasn’t ready to shout from the rooftops.

Since this is a health-focused blog, it would be great if I could share the nutritional value of the reindeer pate, but I can’t, as it wasn’t listed on the package.  They did have an ingredients list, though (in English as well as in Swedish), and the primary ingredients were reindeer, pork, and reindeer liver.

I don’t like leaving you all empty-handed, so I researched reindeer meet in general, and found it to be a pretty healthy red meat option.  Reindeer meat, when compared to beef, is low in fat and calories:  100 grams (about 3.5 ounces) of reindeer has 107 calories and 2 grams of fat, whereas sirloin has 230 calories and 12 grams of fat.  A leaner cut of beef, like round tip, is still over 3 times fattier than reindeer – it has 186 calories and 7 grams of fat.

And here’s an interesting article tracing reindeer consumption in the U.S.  Did you know that reindeer aren’t native to North America, but were brought to Alaska from Russia in the 1800s as a source of red meat for Eskimos?  I had no idea.  The article also talks about how, in the late ’20s, reindeer was poised to become a major competitor to beef across the country, until the depression killed off all interest in anything even slightly more expensive than beef.  The reindeer market never recovered, because by the time the depression ended, the story of Rudolph had been introduced and taken off (pardon the pun), endearing reindeer in the hearts of children and families everywhere.

I don’t eat much red meat.  Before sampling the reindeer pate, it had probably been a few weeks, at least, since the last time I had some (I can’t even remember, to be honest).  But I’d be interested in trying reindeer again, although not in pate form.  You could give reindeer a try, too – check out these websites for reindeer sausage, jerky, or chops and steaks (although they’re currently sold out of everything).

I’m writing this just minutes before heading to bed… and in the morning, I’ll be having my weigh-in.  I hope to break this plateau and lose the pound that I gained a few weeks ago.  I’ve had a good week, so it may just happen!

Keep it up, David!

Running Lesson

April 18, 2011

Yesterday, my parents and I headed out to the suburbs for dinner at my aunt and uncle’s place.  My aunt Annie made a delicious, healthy meal (chicken with olives and dried plums, brown rice, salad), and after dinner, I headed out on the streets with two of my cousins, and we went for a run.

Here’s the breakdown of our little running posse:

  • Aaron.  16 years old, on his high school’s track and cross country teams.  Roughly 5’10” and 120 pounds, max.
  • Macrae.  My age, running is a main source of exercise.  She runs 6-8 miles a few times a week.  Roughly 5’2″ and 95 pounds, soaking wet.
  • Me.  Just started running 7 months ago.  I run once a week, if that, and go, on average, 4 miles.  Currently 238 pounds.

I’m not belittling my abilities as a runner – in fact, I’m quite proud of my running.  I only draw the above comparisons because, for some reason, I had thought all day long, before the run, that I was going to be able to keep up with them.  Ha!  Nope, that didn’t happen.

I had a great workout anyway.  We ran a few miles around Aaron’s neighborhood to warm up, with Aaron and Macrae circling back around every once in a while to let me catch up with them, and then we found a quiet cul-de-sac and ran some stride outs, which I had never done before.  Aaron described them as short, fast little spurts.  They’re not all-out sprints, but the goal is to push yourself to go faster, and lengthen your stride, without letting your form get sloppy.  We ran down the street, then walked back to our starting point, and did that loop 5 times.  Then we ran back to Aaron’s house, taking the long way, to add in a little cool down.  All in all, we were gone for 45 minutes, and got back just in time for dessert (homemde lime cake – I had a tiny piece, but didn’t eat the frosting).

Running the stride outs was really fun – I’ve never done any sort of running drills before, so I liked doing something different.  It also gave Aaron an opportunity to better see my form, and after some careful observation, he noted that, basically, I’m doing it all wrong.

Aaron’s diagnosis was that I was heel striking – landing on my heels instead of landing on the balls of my feet.  Heel striking isn’t a great way to run, because, as Aaron explained it, your heel doesn’t absorb the impact of your foot hitting the concrete, so the force of the impact travels straight up your leg, where it’s absorbed by your knee, hip, and back.  It’s hard on all those joints, and can also cause shin splints.

So Aaron showed me how to improve my technique, and for the last few stride outs, and our cool down, I was landing on the balls of my feet.  Holy cow, that’s much harder!  Phew!  I know it’s something I’ll get used to, but man oh man, I was exhausted after we finished.

Working on improving my form will be a nice focus during upcoming runs.  I look forward to that.  And I appreciate Aaron’s interest and guidance in helping me become a stronger and better runner.  Maybe some day I will be able to keep up with him.

Eh, probably not.  But that’s okay – I don’t need to compare myself to high schoolers in order to feel like an accomplished athlete.  Plus, I can kick his ass in Scrabble.

Keep it up, David!

Slimmons Photograph

April 17, 2011

Take a look at this photo:

That’s me, Richard Simmons, and my mother!  My folks are in California this weekend, and my mom and I took Richard’s class together.  Richard loved meeting her, and introduced her to the entire class after it was over.

Read more about what’s it’s like to take Richard’s class, or click on Photo Gallery at the top of the page to see ‘Before’ and ‘Current’ pics of me with Richard.

My mom had a great time… I saw her smiling throughout the workout, and all my Slimmons friends was practically lining up to meet her.  A few folks, on separate occasions, said to my mom: “You must be so proud of your son!”

Her response?  “Yes, but I’ve always been proud of him!”

Keep it up, David!

Abate Fetel, Bullet, and More

April 16, 2011

Four food-related topics today.  Let’s see what’s on the docket…

1) Abate Fetel Pear.  Remember this guy, that followed me home from Whole Foods the other day?

It’s an abate fetel pear, which is a pear variety that was developed in Italy hundreds of years ago by monks.  I had never heard of it or seen one before, and this morning, I ate it for the first time.  Well, first I cored it:

And then I cut it up:

And then I ate it.  It was fan-freakin’-tastic!

I followed the advice that I found on this blog post, and ate it while it was still a little bit firm.  My mom, who’s in town visiting right now, also had some of it, and we agreed: that is one tasty pear.  I’m not a good enough writer to describe how it differs from other pears, and I’m not even sure I could differentiate between pear varieties in a blind taste test anyway, but if you see one, try it.  You’ll enjoy it!

2) Bullet Radish.  Last week, I shared a new radish discovery: French radishes, which are more cylindrical than regular radishes.  They reminded me of bullets, so I snapped this pic:

Here’s one of the comments from that post, from my sister Laura:

Love the radish-bullet comparison photo! Maybe you could trim one end of the radishes to a little bit of a point to really hammer that comparison home?

I enjoy a good challenge, and have never really whittled before, so I pulled out my paring knife, stuck a piece of straw between my teeth, and went and sat under a tree by the swimmin’ hole to gave it a whirl.  After playing around with a couple practice radishes (and promptly eating them), I took a particularly bullet-esque radish, and did what I think is a nice little carving job on it.  What do you think?  Does it look even more like a bullet now?

I should try carving zucchini into little pistols, and create targets with concentric onion slices, and create a whole firearm-themed salad.  It’s kinda dorky, but anyone that knows me will confirm that I’m a dork and that’s exactly the sort of thing I’d spend my time doing!  At the very least, I could start carving soap or something – you know, so I already have a hobby I can focus on when I get sent to prison for being too handsome.

Wow.  I can’t believe I just typed that.

3) Lunch at Hugo’s.  My mom and I went to one of my favorite restaurants, Hugo’s, for lunch, where we met up with a couple of my friends from high school.  I love Hugo’s because they have a huge, varied menu, with a ton of healthy options, and lots of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free stuff too.

They have a section of their menu that I don’t think I’ve ever ordered from before – the Create-A-Bowl page.  Basically, you pick 3 to 5 items from a list, and they throw them together in a bowl, and you can add a protein and a sauce if you’d like.  There’s literally thousands of variations, so you can switch it up every time and never ever get the same dish twice.  Here’s the menu page:

I created a bowl.  I ordered steamed veggies (which was broccoli, cauliflower, and zucchini), cooked beets (which were roasted), and sauteed leafy greens (which was kale and chard).  I asked them to add sliced turkey breast, and the Honey Chipotle sauce.  Here’s my lunch:

It was delicious.  Filling, loaded with veggies and protein, and a lot of flavors and textures.  And pretty healthy to boot!

4) Squash.  A couple of you asked, in the comments section, to share what I did with the butternut and delicata squash I peeled when I was experimenting with my new vegetable peeler.

The answer is quite boring.  I chopped up the delicata in chunks, and put it in a Tupperware.  Then I chopped the butternut into chunks, and that went into another Tupperware.  The next day, I brought the delicata Tupperware to work, and for lunch, I nuked it for about 5 minutes (I added about 1/4 cup of water, and covered it with paper towel, so it would steam).  Then I ate it.  The day after that, I did the same thing with the butternut.  If I had planned my lunches this week a little more than I did, I might have thought to throw in some herbs and/or spices, or maybe a touch of brown sugar or honey, but I didn’t, and I didn’t mind.  Most of the time, I eat pretty simply, and most of the time, my simple meals satisfy me completely.  Oh! I didn’t eat the butternut plain – I ended up using a packet of soy sauce to gussy it up.

Keep it up, David!

What’s In The RediSetGo? Part Thirteen

April 15, 2011

Well, folks, it’s been about a month and a half since we last played What’s In The RediSetGo?  You can thank my desire to buy a new RediSetGo as the reason for the hiatus – and I still haven’t purchased a new one yet  – but tonight I envisioned a meal that I didn’t want to make any other way.

So shut the blinds, lock your doors, and turn your cell phone to ‘vibrate’, because it’s go time.

If you want to squeeze in some practice rounds of What’s In The RediSetGo? before continuing, go to My Favorite Posts – the first twelve parts are archived there.

Are you ready?


A TUNA BURGER is in the RediSetGo!

I picked these up at Whole Foods the other day – I had never tried one before:

The back of the box says that each burger has 130 calories and 5 grams of fat.

Before I get into what I did with the burger, I have to switch gears for a while, as one of the other elements to the tuna burger meal needs some explaining.

Remember all the produce I picked up at Whole Foods the other day?  There was one vegetable I left out of the photo.  I could hardly believe it when I saw it at the store – it’s yet another type of radish!

I thought I must have surely found all the varieties of radishes out there.  Besides the common red radishes, I’ve blogged about Easter Egg radishes, and then I found black radishes and French radishes, and, the other day, I found these:

Anyone know what they are?

They’re called watermelon radishes.  I had never seen them or heard of them before, so, naturally, I bought two.  Here they are washed, and with their ends cut off:

This is when I really got intrigued, because every single other radish I’ve tried, whether is was red, purple, white, pink, or black, was still white in the center.  These, however, were a lovely shade of pinkish red!  I cut more slices because I was so curious:

Beautiful!  I was hesitant to eat a slice, because it could either taste delicious, like regular, easter egg, and french radishes, or be completely unedible in its raw state, like black radishes.  I closed my eyes and took a bite, and… delicious!  And the radish taste was more subtle than in regular radishes – these guys are winners!

OK – back to the tuna burger.

I wanted to make a really incredible (and healthy) sandwich, so I cut a whole-wheat pita (155 calories, 0 fat) in half and toasted it.  I added a handful of spinach, then put down the cooked tuna burger, then a few slices of radish:

The green sauce is actually a brand-new salad dressing that I bought for the first time:

I’ve been meaning to purchase this salad dressing for literally months.  It was recommended to me way back in October from my friend Penny, who told me about it in a comment she left on this blog post.  I love cilantro, and I haven’t been impressed with many of the salad dressings at Whole Foods, where I’ve been doing most of my shopping lately, so yesterday, while running errands, I finally picked up a bottle at Trader Joe’s.  Damn, I should picked it up months ago, because it’s delicious!  I might be my new favorite dressing, and I’ve only eaten it once!  Oh, and it’s 45 calories/3.5 grams of fat for 2 tablespoons, but I only used about 1, so we’ll say it had 25 calories/2 grams of fat.

Sidebar about Penny:  I know Penny because she’s one of my sister’s best friends.  I don’t see her that often, but I got to hang out with her for a few days back in December, and in addition to being smart, witty and fun to be around, she is one fit lady, which impresses me so much, as she’s the founder and owner of a booming cupcake bakery in Washington D.C. (check out Hello, Cupcake here).  She is literally around thousands of cupcakes every single day – that’d be a recipe for disaster if it were me.  I don’t know how she does it!

Anyway, I devoured the sandwich in a matter of minutes, if not less.  The cilantro dressing and spinach went great with the fish, and the radish added a little spice and crunch.  Including the pita, the sandwich added up to 7 grams of fat and about 320 calories.

Keep it up, David!