Chart Update and Collage

May 18, 2011

I was very excited to step on the scale this morning.  I had worked my ass off, exercise-wise, over the past week, and eaten really well, too.

Last week, I weighed 239 pounds.  Yesterday, when I got on the scale, I weighed…

…drum roll, please

…238 pounds!  WOO-HOO!  Down one pound.  Fantastic news!  All you regular readers know that for the past few months, I’ve had my rough patches, whether it’s hanging on for dear life, so I don’t fall off the wagon, or confronting the terrible voices in my own head after a gain.  I don’t think I’m done with the plateau, which I’ve basically been on for a few months now (more on this later), but it does feel good to work hard and stay focused, and see that resolve reflected on the scale.  There have been weeks over the past few months where I feel like I’ve done everything right, but haven’t seen the number change – that’s the joy of a plateau, and it’s completely frustrating.  But that didn’t happen this week, and that’s fucking amazing.  Pardon my French.

So – time to update the ol’ weight loss chart!

Look at that!  I’ve lost two pounds over the past two weeks – the same two pounds that I gained during the two weeks that ended two weeks ago.  Ya follow?  I sure do like that the line is heading downwards.  Down is good.

If I were to sum up my weight loss progress over the past few months, I could basically say that I plateaued in February, dropped a few pounds in March, plateaued again in April, and since then fluctuated up and down a few pounds.  But when I look at my chart during that time (and I spent a good long time looking at my chart today), basically what I’m realizing is that it’s been one big long plateau pretty much since the end of January.

To illustrate that point, I took a few more pics of the chart, and assembled them together in a fun little collage.  Take a look:

Hmmm – you may not be able to read the numbers in the collage – they’re pretty small, so I’ll walk you through it.  The left-most number is 242, which is from my January 29 weigh-in.  I lost another pound a week later, and plateaued at 241 until the beginning of March.  Throughout the first half of March, I dropped 4 pounds – this is where I hit 238, my current weight, for the first time (on March 11).  I got to my all-time low, 237 pounds, but gained a pound back, and stayed at 238 from March 29 – April 19, and then I gained two more pounds, which I’ve since lost, which brings us to the present, where I’m back to weighing 238.

All that is a lot of jibber-jabber that can be boiled down to the simple fact that in the past 3.5 months, I’ve stayed within a five-pound range.  That’s one long plateau!  On one hand, it’s a little frustrating, because generally speaking, I’m busting my balls to lose weight, and I’m not really doing it.  But on the flipside, Holy Shit!  I haven’t succumbed to the difficulties and given up, or taken a few days or weeks off and seen my weight shoot up 10 pounds.  That’s something to be proud of, and I’m very proud of that.  There’s that saying: When the going gets tough, the tough get going, and that’s exactly what I’ve done.

This bodes well for whenever I reach my goal weight, whatever that may be (it’s still TBD), because then I have to transition from weight loss to weight maintenance, and winter/spring 2011 has shown me that I’m capable of weight maintenance.  These 3.5 months have been good practice for the rest of my life.

I’m ready to keep losing – I’m 18 pounds away from my next (but possibly not final) goal weight, and these past two weeks, where I’ve posted losses, is a good foundation to build on.  And you know what?  I’ll say it.  I’m proud of this post, which marks a shift in thinking about my plateau.  And for those two reasons, I say…

…Keep it up, David.

Kale Chips

May 17, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my friend and office-mate Maggie bringing in some homemade kale chips.  Maggie was inspired by watching Gwyneth Paltrow talk about them on The Ellen DeGeneres Show (watch the segment here; she also makes a vegan paella), and I, in turn, was inspired by Maggie.  So I made kale chips a few days ago, and I documented the process with my handy-dandy camera.

The first step?  Buying kale.  I recently bought kale for the very first time.  See?

I was super excited to buy this kale, and I bought these two bunches knowing that they were destined to be turned into chips, and yet they sat in my fridge, untouched, but about a week.  Kale is a hearty green, however, and so when the time came for the kale to meet its destiny, it was still in good shape.

I got out my cutting board, and laid out the two bunches of kale:

Each kale leaf has a thick stem going down the center that you don’t want to eat – so you gotta cut them out, one by one.  It’s easy to do:

After depositing the stems in the trash, rip up the leaves into chip-sized pieces.  No need to be scientific or exact – just rip big pieces in several smaller ones.  Then, you give the kale a good wash.  My kale was kinda gritty – so I piled all my kale pieces into a colander, and rinsed it all under the faucet.  If you have a salad spinner, use it!  I don’t have one (and don’t want one, either – just another kitchen device that I don’t have room to store), so I got out a clean kitchen towel, and rolled the kale up, and gave it a good squeeze, and than seemed to work pretty well.

Here’s the dry kale, in my new orange bowl that I got about a month ago:

I drizzled 1 teaspoon of olive oil into the bowl.  I have this basil-infused oil, and I actually don’t remember exactly where it came from… it was either given to me as a gift, or I may have won it in a foodie-related package at a silent auction a few years back.  Either way, I like it, and thought it’d work well here:

Most kale chips recipes also call for salt, but I try to cut out salt wherever I can, so instead, I tossed in some Mrs. Dash (table blend) and cumin, because I love cumin and thought adding a little smokiness might be fun.

One you have your kale oiled and seasoned how you want them, lay them out in a single layer on a baking sheet.  I sprayed my sheet with a light coat of Pam, just to be safe:

Into the oven they go!  350 degrees, for 20-30 minutes.  You want the kale to be crispy all the way through, but they’ll go from crispy to scorched quickly, so you gotta watch them near the end.  I pulled out mine out after 25 minutes, and about half of them were perfect, and half of them were a little too brown.  Not inedible, but not perfect, either.  Those not-perfect ones, interestingly enough, taste really similarly to scorched microwave popcorn; whereas the good chips taste so much like potato chips, you can hardly believe it.  They’re crispy, light, subtle, and delicious.

That’s the finished product in a Tupperware-type container.  I divided the chips between two of those containers, with the idea that I’d eat one over the course of the day, and take the other to share at the office the next day, but guess what happened?  I ate both containers, completely, before bedtime.  All gone.  And they were good.  And so guilt-free it’s ridiculous!  Oh, and I haven’t mentioned that kale is a superfood – a great source in vitamins A & C, copper, manganese, calcium, and a bunch of compounds that may help prevent cancer.  I’m going to keep making kale chips – are you gonna give them a try?

Keep it up, David!

Piles of Produce and My Week in Workouts

May 16, 2011

1) Piles of Produce.  How sad is this fridge?

You don’t get much more bare than this!  A trip to Whole Foods rectified the situation.  I stocked up on a lot of basics, and check out all this produce!

Starting in the back left, and moving clockwise, we have:

An orange flesh melon (more on this below), celery, a mini-watermelon, a bag of kale salad, asparagus, baby carrots, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, sweet mini bell peppers, green peppers, yellow squash, roma tomatoes, Persian cucumbers, bartlett pears, and fuji apples.

My new-to-me item of the week is the orange flesh melon.  Here’s a close-up picture:

According to the interwebs, an orange flesh melon is a hybrid between a honeydew and a cantaloupe.  It’s supposed to taste like a honeydew, but be orange like a cantaloupe.  We’ll see about that!  Stay tuned to the blog for pictures after I take a cleaver and hack it open.

2) My Week in Workouts.  It’s the start of a new work week, so I thought I’d look back at my last week in workouts.  I’m very proud of my exercise this past week.  I decided to really devote a lot of time to weight training.  For the past few months, I’ve been hearing left and right that the key to continued weight loss, at this point in the game, is weights.  By building up my muscle mass, I’ll burn more calories throughout the day, and I’ll also burn more calories when I do do cardio. (tee hee, do do!)

Despite hearing this, from a variety of reputable sources, I hadn’t, before this past week, overhauled my workouts to include more weightlifting.  My workouts haven’t been weight-free – though he’s currently out of town, the boot camp classes I’ve been taking with Craig are almost exclusively weight-based, and Richard Simmons’ classes have some toning in them (though not much).  It’s not that I don’t want to increase my muscle mass, or that I don’t like weights – neither is true.  The reason why I haven’t adapted a more weight-intensive workout regimen is mainly because weight-training requires so much more thought.

I find cardio to be very easy on my brain.  I can get on an elliptical, arc trainer or exercise bike and just go, pushing myself physically, while letting my mind wander, get wrapped up in music or TV, or (and this happens frequently) come up with sassy retorts that I wish I had said during conversations held earlier in the day, earlier in the week, or years ago.

Weights, however, require thought.  I gotta remember proper form, posture, and movement.  I like to have a game plan, so I know what machines I’m going to hit next, and I have to be able to be flexible and come up with alternatives when those machines aren’t available.  None of that stuff comes naturally to me, either, which makes it more difficult for me.  I know, I know, it’s just weight training, and not brain surgery or rocket science, but a lot of the time, at the end of a long day, the last thing I want to do when I arrive at the gym is think.  I just wanna move.  I just wanna sweat.  Which is why, more often than not, I gravitate towards cardio.

But not last week!  Check it out:

  • Monday, May 9:  5 minutes treadmill (warm-up).  30 minutes of weights.  18 minutes on elliptical.
  • Tuesday, May 10:  Rest day.
  • Wednesday, May 11:  25 minutes weights.  8 minutes stairmaster.  16 minutes arc trainer.
  • Thursday, May 12:  5 minutes treadmill (warm-up).  35 minutes weights.  10 minutes elliptical.
  • Friday, May 13:  30 minutes weights.  15 minutes arc trainer.

Note:  I varied the weights from day to day, so I was never focusing on the same body part or muscle group two days in a row.

  • Saturday, May 14:  Richard Simmons’ class at Slimmons.  Read more about it here.
  • Sunday, May 15:  My first swimming workout in just over a month.  I did 1,000 yards warm-up (200 free, 200 IM, 200 kick, 200 pull, 200 IM); 1 x 400 free, 1 x 400 IM, 1 x 200 free.  2,000 yards total.

Those 4 workouts with an emphasis on weight training simply felt great.  I loved feeling a little sore every morning that week, and I did notice by the 4th workout that I wasn’t minding the added thought (or maybe it was just becoming more habit-like, therefore requiring less thought).

One more photo before I wrap this post up…  you’ll notice that my workout on Wednesday involved 8 minutes on the stairmaster (which I used while waiting for an arc trainer to open up).  I really pushed myself for those 8 minutes – taking the steps 2 at a time (except for the first minute), and upping the speed every two minutes.  As a result, I burned 135 calories (in 8 minutes!) and climbed 38 flights.  Y’all know how I love to compare my stairmaster accomplishments to skyscrapers around the world…

…so this time we’re heading across the county to Hartford, Connecticut, which is home to City Place I, a 38-floor tower that is the tallest building in the state.  This is what I climbed (and in 8 minutes!)

Keep it up, David!

Another Slimmons Saturday

May 15, 2011

I had a really fun morning at Slimmons yesterday.  Kenlie (of All The Weigh fame) was still in town, and Heidi (of Finishing the Hat fame) is a Slimmons regular like me, so we took a few more pictures of the three of us, like we did when we met for dinner earlier in the week.  Here’s a couple in the lobby of Slimmons:

The class was packed, but a good one.  Richard Simmons’ theme for the day was all music by either Michael Jackson or Pink, and he put together for an outfit that accommodated both.  His Michael Jackson look was a version of Michael’s red jacket with black trim from the Thriller video, and every time the music switched from a Michael song to a Pink one, the jacket came off, and underneath, Richard was wearing a red, sequined bustier.  Yep, Richard rocked a bustier.  Oh, and he also pinned a red flower in his hair to complete the Pink look!  Here’s Richard, Kenlie, Heidi and I after class (with Richard in the aforementioned bustier):

OH!  And don’t get jealous, my Australian readers, but yesterday, after class, I met a lovely woman who just happened to be an Australian celebrity! 

Her name is Ajay Rochester, and around 7 or 8 years ago, she lost well over 100 pounds, wrote a book about it, and ended up bring invited to host the Australian version of The Biggest Loser.  She hosted it for 4 seasons, published a few more books, and runs a couple websites: My Healthy Body Club, a few online club which provides support to people struggling with weight loss, and Chasing Oprah, her blog.  She a lovely, sweet, vibrant, and funny woman – it was a pleasure to get to talk with her for a little while.  Here’s Ajay and me (we’re both very sweaty!):

Ajay made the move from Australia to Los Angeles last year, and she told me that she saw Richard and me when we were guests on The Ellen DeGeneres Show a few months ago, and she was so touched and inspired that she had just had to come to Slimmons and take a class herself.

Me? Inspiring people who themselves have inspired thousands of people?

Keep it up, David!

Counting the Days…

May 14, 2011

Anyone want to guess what I’m holding in this picture?

Any guesses?  Anyone?

It’s confirmation of my purchase of a new RediSetGo!

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged about the RediSetGo, my very favorite infomercial product (watch the infomercial here).  Here’s the thing: my RediSetGo has seen better days.  The timer is broken and the non-stick coating is starting to peel away (which is no bueno).  It’s been about a month since we played What’s In The RediSetGo, and almost a month and a half since I spent a Friday night on a failed shopping trip, when I came home without a RediSetGo in my hands.

Earlier today, after talking with a co-worker about a variety of informercial products, I looked around online and saw that RediSetGos (or is it RediSetGoes?) were on sale (25% off) on Amazon.  Their price was now $29.99, and since they qualified for free shipping (a great Amazon perk), that’d be the total cost.  Meanwhile, the RediSetGo website is currently running a promotion where you get TWO RediSetGos for $69.80, or $34.90 apiece.  Lastly, compare that to the As Seen On TV Store at the mall, where my friends Heidi and Tom saw them for sale (and promptly texted me) for $69.99 eachHighway robbery!

Amazon, you just made yourself a sale!

But wait, there’s more!  As I went through the checkout process, I learned that I had an Amazon credit or gift card that I hadn’t used.  I’ve been racking my brain, but, honestly, I have no recollection where this came from (it’s been a while since I’ve purchased anything on Amazon – but I’ll take it!)  That knocked $24.01 off the price, meaning I only paid $5.98 for a brand-spanking-new RediSetGo!

And I only have to wait 5-9 business days before it arrives!  I don’t know if I’ll be able to sleep until then.

If you want to get a $29.99 RediSetGo, then click here.  You gotta act quickly – as of right now, as I type this, they only have 4 more in stock.  Who’s gonna get them?

Keep it up, David!

Healthy Food and Unhealthy Food

May 13, 2011

Let’s start with the unhealthy food.  My friend Huck, knowing my tendency to blog about Oreos (in posts like this one, ooh, and this one!) alerted me to this news story that has been popping up all over the interwebs this week.  Have you heard about the newest Oreo that Nabisco is releasing in stores this summer?

It’s called the Triple Double Oreo:

That’s a cookie, a layer of chocolate cream, another cookie, a layer of regular cream, and another cookie.  My mouth is watering just looking at it.  But I will need to stay away, though… if I get my hands on a bag of these calorie- and fat-bombs, than I will eat the entire thing.  I’ve done it before.

My question is this:  Why stop there, Nabisco?  Maybe they have bigger plans ready in case this particular product flies off the shelves (and why wouldn’t it?).  I’d like to see a DoubleStuf Triple Double Oreo – which would be the cookie above with twice as much of each layer of cream.  Then they could have a Quadruple Triple Golden Oreo, which would be cookie, cream, cookie, cream, cookie, cream, cookie, with all the cookies the vanilla flavor.  Or, why not the Fudge-Covered Peanut Butter DoubleStuf Heads or Tails Quadruple Triple Oreo, which would be chocolate cookie, peanut butter cream (x2), golden cookie, peanut butter cream (x2), chocolate cookie, peanut butter cream (x2), golden cookie – and the whole thing dipped in fudge.  Then, someone at the Texas State Fair, which is renowned for its deep-fried-food innovations, can toss the whole thing in the FryDaddy, and make a Deep-Fried Fudge-Covered Peanut Butter DoubleStuf Heads or Tails Quadruple Triple Oreo.

My god, I think I head a heart attack just thinking about it.

Let’s move on to a (much) healthier food item.  Remember the yellow champagne mangoes I recently bought?

Well, the other day, I ate ‘em.  And they were delicious.  They tasted like regular mangoes, which I just learned were called Tommy Atkins mangoes, but they’re a little bit smaller, have yellow skins, and smaller, seemingly flatter pits.

Mangoes aren’t the easiest fruit to cut up, but this is how I did it.  First, I cut off the two sides of the mango, along either side of the big flat pit:

This represents, actually, a majority of the edible flesh of the mango.  There’s some remaining, clinging to the pit, which I just sucked on.  Mmmm!   For these two pieces, I then scored them:

And then, because these were very ripe (possibly a couple days overripe, even), I was able to slide a spoon along the edge, separating the flesh from the skin, and scoop out the mango pieces, like you would the flesh of an avocado.  And voila!  Mango pieces ready for my lunch bag:

Mango is so freakin’ good.  If you don’t like mango, than there’s something wrong with you.  There – I said it.

Oh, and if you ever run into my friend Huck (who showed me that bit of Oreo news), ask him what a “ho-fro” is.

Keep it up, David!

Blogger Dinner! (and Chart Pics)

May 12, 2011

Yesterday’s post was short and sweet, thanks to a technical issue – my computer’s trackpad was completely busted.  But now, the trackpad has been replaced, and my computer is back on my lap where it belongs, thanks to the extremely helpful folks at my local Apple Store.

Part of me wanted to play on my newly-fixed computer all night, but I didn’t, because I already had other plans… to meet up with two other weight-loss bloggers for dinner!  One of them was my good friend Heidi, whom I’ve known since 1997 – she was one of the first people I met in my department at the University of Michigan, when we were both Freshman.  We may have even met at orientation, neither of us can precisely recall.  (I remember where I met Heidi – on the sidewalk outside the Power Center on campus – just not exactly when).  Anyway – her wonderful blog is Finishing the Hat, and she’s documenting her weight loss – she’s lost 46 pounds since January – and she shares lots of recipes and ideas.

The dinner was planned because the lovely Kenz, who blogs at All the Weigh, is in town this week, and that’s just fantastic!  She’s chronicling her weight loss on her blog – she’s lost more than 120 pounds -  and keeps a fun, honest, and insightful blog.  Kenz planned this trip so she could come out and take a couple of Richard Simmons’ classes, which I’m sure she will write about in detail soon (she’s already posted a picture).  His videos have played a major part of Kenz’s weight loss journey, and it’s great that she was able to come out and meet him.

Here’s Heidi (on the left), me, and Kenz:

Add it up, and the three of us have lost around 330 pounds!  HOLY CRAP!  Add in Heidi’s husband Tom, who, while not a blogger, frequently shows up in Heidi’s posts, and I think it’s more like 360 pounds (I’m pretty sure he’s down around 30 pounds, at least, since January)!

The fifth person at our table was Kenz’s friend Kent (say that five times fast), and we had a lovely evening at San-Sui, a sushi restaurant.  I ordered a sashimi salad, which was a ton of mixed greens and a variety of slices of raw fish (salmon, tuna, squid, and some things I didn’t recognize but ate all the same), with a citrus dressing that I got on the side:

I also ordered a simple cucumber roll:

(Tom ordered one too, which is why there are two on the platter)

Before tonight, I only knew Kenz from reading her blog and exchanging tweets, so it was really fun to learn more about her and hang out.  I’ll get to see her again before she leaves town at Slimmons on Saturday – I’m looking forward!

Before I go – I mentioned yesterday that when I weighed myself this week, I was… down one pound!  Woo-hoo!  Here’s how my chart is looking:

I went from 240 to 239, which means my current weight loss is at 163 pounds.  This also marks the first loss I’ve had in about two months, and I currently weigh what I weighed on my birthday, which was on March 5th.  I don’t know what the actual definition of ‘plateau’ is, but I still think I’m one, and will be until I bust through my previous all-time-low, which was 237.  I’m a couple pounds away, but I’ll get there!

The other fun thing about weighing 239 is that I’m now the same weight as one of my very favorite fictional characters, Homer Simpson.  When I first reached 239 pounds in March, I wrote a blog about Homer – so if you missed it then, check it out now.  It’s a good one!

Keep it up, David!

Technical Difficulties

May 11, 2011

I’m experiencing some technical difficulties.  Hope to get a new blog post up soon.

OH – But I will share the news… had my weigh-in yesterday, and I’m down one pound.  Woo-hoo!  I’ll share my updated chart soon… hopefully…

Happy Wednesday – have a great day and make good choices!

Keep it up, David!

Bag and Bones (Part II)

May 10, 2011

I went to the gym last night.  My workout started with 5 minutes on the treadmill to warm up (speed = 3.5, incline = 12), then 30 minutes of weights (focusing on mostly chest, back, and arms), then 18 minutes on the elliptical (resistance = 25).  But what I want to write about are two observations I made while at the gym.

Observation #1 involved my gym bag.  I don’t have a dedicated gym duffel bag.  I usually throw a change of clothes and a bottle of water and whatever else I need into a reusable grocery bag and dump it in my backseat or trunk.  About a week ago, I picked up two new reusable bags at Whole Foods.  They’re designed to look like a bunch of bumper stickers, and I noticed one last night, while the bag was sitting on the counter in the locker room at the gym, that I hadn’t noticed yet.

Here’s the entire bag:

And the particular bumper sticker that caught my eye:

I’ve heard jokes for years from all sorts of people all stemming from the basic premise that, because of their higher prices, Whole Foods should really be called Whole Paycheck.  How interesting that Whole Foods is reclaiming that phrase, and using it on their own products!  I dug a little bit on the interwebs and found that Whole Foods has been trying for a while now to free themselves of the Whole Paycheck nickname – here’s two articles from 2008, one from The New York Times, and one from the New York Daily News, about efforts to appear more competitive by emphasizing value in its advertising and offering free ‘value tours’ at some locations, where an employee can show you around and point out wallet-friendly options and deals.  Has anyone taken a value tour?

I say good for Whole Foods for owning their nickname and trying to turn it into a positive by spinning it into commentary about their relationships with farmers.  I don’t think it’ll be enough to shed the nickname, or lose their reputation for being one of the more expensive grocers around, but I do think it’s kinda wonderful when a company acknowledges negative attention, because it shows that they’re listening to their consumers.

Observation #2 involved me.  Does anyone remember this photo?  You’d have to be a looong-time reader – I posted it way back on September 16, 2010, in my 6th blog post ever:

Back then, when I posted this picture, I had lost about 130 pounds, and I was ecstatic because I could see my collarbones for pretty much the first time ever in my life.  Finally – something me and the cast of “Gossip Girl” had something in common – visible collarbones!

Last night, I spent 30 minutes watching myself in the mirror while lifting weights, and 18 minutes watching myself in a reflective window on the elliptical, and I noticed, for the first time, that I could see my collarbones even with a shirt on!  Once I noticed them, it was all I could focus on.  I snapped this pic as soon as I got home:

There they are, creating shadows!

Keep it up, David!


May 9, 2011

What a fantastic, busy weekend it was!

I spent a lot of time with my friend Natalie, who was in town from New York.  She came along on Saturday morning to Slimmons, and had a ball dancing and sweating with Richard Simmons.  Our friend Hanna also joined in the fun as well.  The theme this weekend was New Music, and Richard was dressed as a sailor.  You can see for yourself – here’s his 2011 Mother’s Day message:

Natalie and I also took a stroll along the beach in Venice, made a quick stop at the Citadel Outlet center (where I picked up a shirt at Banana Republic Outlet for $14 – score!), and spent the evening in lovely Cerritos, a suburb of Los Angeles that I’ve never really been to before.  Natalie is a singer, and she was in town on a tour of The Mikado (a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta) that was playing in Cerritos, so I saw her perform, and afterwards, met a bunch of the other cast members, and went out for a drink with them (I got sparkling water, natch).

My Mother’s Day was spent with my aunt, uncle, and cousins in another, different suburb, and last night we saw another show, God of Carnage, a very funny and entertaining play.

OH!  And the weekend kicked off with a very exciting piece of news… I’m meeting Kenz from All The Weigh later this week!  I love her blog and find her inspiring and funny, and she’s spending the week in California and coming to Slimmons!

She (jokingly - I hope) mentioned in her blog that she’s expecting me to show up with some new variety of oddly-colored vegetableThe pressure is on!  What if I just spray paint a celery stalk neon yellow? Ha!

And now it’s Monday.  I have a bag full of healthy food for lunch, and a change of clothes in my car so I can hit the gym after work.

Keep it up, David!


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