HAPPY NEW YEAR! And… Christmas in Michigan, Part Two: Exercising Like a Lunatic

January 1, 2017

HAPPY NEW YEAR! The new year excites me, because it means my anniversary is in a few weeks. I’ll soon be starting my SEVENTH year on my weight loss journey, and I’m still going strong. I’m so proud that I’ve lost 160 pounds and kept it off for two-thirds of a decade!

new-years-before-current

That picture on the right is from Read the rest of this entry »

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Bad News and Good News and One Brief Shitty Moment at the Gym.

December 17, 2013

This post will be a combination of many things. There’s good news. Yay! There’s bad newsBoo! There’s more bad news. Double Boo! And there’s a lot to catch up on. Let’s not waste any time!

First and foremost, I’m back to exercising…. for now. (Cue foreboding music. That ‘for now’ will be explained later.) Read the rest of this entry »


New (To Me) Whole Foods

June 23, 2011

I went to a Whole Foods the other day that I had never been to before.  More on that in a paragraph or two… first a quickie gym update:

So I forgot my gym bag yesterday, and I ended up not working out (which was fine – I was due for a rest day anyway).  This morning, I made sure to grab my gym bag, because I had it packed, ready to go, and I had placed it right in front of my door, so I couldn’t leave without picking it up (or tripping over it, which is also a possibility, as I can be a klutz).  It was a long, busy day at the office (and a great day, too, but still tiring), and without thinking twice, I went straight to the gym after leaving the office.

I did 35 minutes of weights (biceps, shoulders, some chest and tons of squats and lunges), and then I wanted to use a StairMaster to add another building to my skyscraper collection, but both of them were in use, so I grabbed an Arc Trainer, and did 25 minutes of cardio on it.  I love the Arc Trainer, because I can burn an incredible amount of calories, and I think it’s fun, and before I started I thought to myself, “It would be great if I could burn 500 calories in these 25 minutes.”  I only glanced at the calorie display a few times during the 25 minutes, but when I looked after I was finished, guess what it said!  No really, guess!

Nope.  Guess again.

Nope.  Guess one more time.

Give up?  It read 498.  So close!  Ha!  Next time.

OK.  Back to Whole Foods.  Many of you know I’ve been frequenting Whole Foods almost exclusively the past few months, thanks to a fantastically generous gift card that I was given.  Stuff I buy at Whole Foods pops up in the blog regularly (most frequently in posts about new types of produce or oddly-colored vegetables).  Most of my Whole Foods excursions are to the location that’s closest to me (makes sense, right?), although I also love the Tarzana store and the Glendale store (which I haven’t taken pictures of, I don’t think).  A few days ago, though, I was hankering for a new Whole Foods experience, so I headed to a Whole Foods that I’ve never been to before: the one in Porter Ranch.

I’ve never really been to Porter Ranch before.  It’s an upscale neighborhood that turned out to be only 15 minutes from me, but it’s 15 minutes in the direction that I never ever go in (northwest), which is why I’ve never been.  It’s nestled up against some mountains, and it’s really pretty up there – if you’ve seen E.T., then you’ve seen Porter Ranch, as a lot of that movie was filmed in Porter Ranch.  The actual house where the family lived in the movie is in another part of Los Angeles called Tujunga, but a lot of scenes, including the one where E.T. makes the boys’ bikes take off and fly so they can avoid the cops, were filmed in Porter Ranch.

I didn’t see any extra-terrestrials when I was in Porter Ranch, but I did see their Whole Foods, which is conveniently located 2 seconds off the freeway:

Remember that scene in E.T. where the mom goes to the store to buy organic quinoa and watercress?  They filmed it here.  Oh, you don’t remember that scene?  That’s probably because I made it up.

Since I began losing weight, I’ve gotten in the habit of judging supermarkets first and foremost by their produce departments.  I’m not a Fresh & Easy fan, because I don’t love their produce aisle.  I love Trader Joe’s for some things, but I’m never impressed with their produce.  The Tarzana and the West Hollywood Whole Foods produce sections are great, but Sherman Oaks East, which is the one closest to me, has the tiniest produce section I’ve ever seen (granted, every department in that store is tiny, as it’s a tiny Whole Foods).  Here’s the Porter Ranch Whole Foods produce section, with a couple strangers that wondered into frame:

It was good sized, well stocked, had good signage, and was easy-to-navigate.

I picked up a new type of produce while there.  Regular readers know that I’ve been enjoying kale lately, so I got super excited when I saw this:

It’s Dino Kale! It has thicker, heartier leaves than regular kale.  I have yet to do any research on Dino Kale, but if you have any tips or suggestions for how to use it, let me know in the comments section.  Can I use it the same ways I use regular kale?  I kinda love the name Dino Kale, too, especially since it does look like something I’d feed my brachiosaurus.

I didn’t take a picture of my entire produce haul from the Porter Ranch Whole Foods (oops), but it also included cucumbers, tomatoes, berries, nectarines, and mushrooms.

And I’d totally go back to Porter Ranch Whole Foods – parking was a cinch, it wasn’t that crowded, and it was clean and bright, and my little journey makes me want to go find other Whole Foods locations to explore.  I’ve heard good things about the Valencia Whole Foods from a friend at Slimmons – maybe I’ll head up there next.

Keep it up, David!


Pulling Myself Back On The Wagon

April 27, 2011

So.  Just to catch everyone up… yesterday, I felt like I was getting dragged behind my wagon, nearly ready to fall off the wagon altogether.

Today, I feel like I have two firm grips on the wagon, and I’m in a great position to continue pulling myself up and out the dirt and dust.

Yes, that’s an improvement!

I’d say today was a successful day.  More successful than the past few days.  Here’s why:

  • I went to the gym after work, and did the exercise I was planning on doing.  Almost exactly.  The intended workout was going to be 30 minutes of weights, then 30 minutes of arc trainer, and then abs.  I ended up doing 25 minutes of weights before jumping on the arc trainer (because one opened up, and I had to claim it before someone else did).  I burned well over 600 calories on the arc trainer, then did my sit-ups (about 100 of them), and walked out of the gym feeling good.  I take that back – I felt great.
  • I ate much better.  I ate all the veggies I brought along for the day (the uneaten broccoli and cauliflower from the day before, bell pepper, and yellow squash), and supplemented it with proteins (beans, tofu, a little grilled chicken) from the salad bar at the cafeteria near my office.
  • Snacking was curtailed.  I didn’t go completely snack free – I had 8 saltine crackers mid-afternoon, and a few pieces of candy, too.  A big improvement over Monday.

Oh, and there another small morning snack that made its way into my mouth.  “Snack” might be too generous a word – it was a sample.  My new friend Maggie, with whom I share an office, made…

…Kale chips!  I tried a couple (for the first time ever):

Basically, you can take kale, which is a dark leafy green, rip it up in pieces, drizzle them with a little olive oil and salt, and bake ’em for about a half-hour, and they crisp up and taste like potato chips, except for that they’re not potatoes, they’re kale (which is a nutritional powerhouse)!

Maggie was inspired to make kale chips by Gwyneth Paltrow, who was recently on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and showed Ellen how to make them:

I’ve eaten kale before, at restaurants and such, but I’ve never bought it before.  I think I’ll have to pick some up next time I’m at the store!

Before I wrap this up, I just want to thank all of you that posted such wonderful, supportive comments yesterday.  My tendency, despite knowing better, is to gravitate towards thinking that I’m on this road to health all by myself, so thank you for reminding me, for the 10,000th time, that I’m not.  Keep it up, readers, and…

…keep it up, David!


Back to the Blog

April 12, 2011

Yesterday’s post, where I compared my weight loss to M&Ms, bowling balls, country music stars, and more (did you read it? It’s quite fun!), was my first real blog post in almost a week, and it felt nice to post something again, although I must admit it also felt nice to take a little break from the blog for a few days.  I find that I put undue pressure on myself (in many regards), and last week I found myself getting stressed because I was struggling to come up with blog topics, and I started feeling like if I didn’t post I’d be letting my readers down, and that stressed me further and made it tougher to come up with compelling things to write about…

It was a nasty, vicious circle (and so unimportant, in the grand scheme of things), but I recognized it, and decided to step away from the whole situation altogether.  I don’t want that stress in my life, especially not linked to blogging, an activity that I enjoy, and find motivating and therapeutic.  Not thinking about the blog for a few days was a lovely respite, and, of course, once I stopped looking for topics, all sorts of great ideas came to me, including some of the weight loss comparisons in yesterday’s post.  So now there’s some catching up to do, and I look forward to doing it!

I thought I’d first catch you up on my exercise.  Last week I didn’t work out as much as I would have liked (which, I think, added to my stress).  Monday was a planned rest day, but on both Wednesday and Friday laziness got the better of me, and I didn’t move a muscle.  Luckily, I had great workouts on Tuesday (boot camp class) and Thursday (ellliptical, free weights, and recumbent bike at the gym), so the week wasn’t a complete wash.

So, on Saturday morning, I decided I couldn’t let the past week become a habit, and since then, I’ve had 4 fun, great workouts, and lucky for you, they all come with visual aids!

1) Slimmons (Saturday Morning): The theme for Richard Simmons’ class on Saturday Morning was all new music, and Richard decided to dress as a pink poodle to lead the class.  Because I’ve been posting videos from recent classes, you know that Richard goes all out when he dons a costume (this post has a video of him as one of The Four Tops, and this post as a video of him in KISS make-up and wardrobe), and Saturday was no exception.  Check it out!

Did you see me in that video?  I’m in a green t-shirt.  It’s strange – when you watch the video on YouTube, you can easily see me behind Richard during the last 10 seconds or so, but when I embedded it here, I get cropped out.  Oh well.  It was a crowded class, but a good one, and I’m quite certain the first class I’ve taken that was taught by a dog!  I saw Richard kiss a few people after class, and then wipe away the pink smudges he left on their faces… hilarious.  I got away pink smudge-free (we air-hugged).

2) Fryman Canyon Hike (Saturday Afternoon). I was putzing around my place later that afternoon when my friend Chris texted me, and proposed going hiking.  I didn’t have plans, so why not?  We headed to Fryman Canyon (which I’ve blogged about before – here and here), and had a great hour-long hike.  At one point, Chris snapped a picture of me on his phone, which he emailed to me later, with a subject line that read “Album Cover”.  Sure enough, it looks like it could be the cover image of a 1960’s folk album, so I had a little fun with photoshop and came up with this:

It’ll be available on iTunes and Amazon soon (and by ‘soon’, I mean ‘never’).

3) Run (Sunday Afternoon). It’s been a loooong time since I’ve gone running – the last time was way back on March 17 (with Chris, folk album photographer extraordinaire, at Porn Star Park).  So on Sunday, I laced up my shoes, grabbed my iPod, and hit the streets.  I set out without any goals, as far as route, distance, or time were concerned – I just decided to go for as long as I could, and since it’s been about three weeks since I’ve gone running, I didn’t have huge expectations, either.

So how did I do?  Not too shabby at all.  I ran for 47 minutes, and went 4.5 miles.  Here’s the route I ended up taking:

Wanna know how many fast food restaurants I passed along the way?  Ten.  Del Taco, Subway, KFC, Carl’s Jr., Taco Bell, another Subway, Burger King, McDonalds, El Pollo Loco, and Jack in the Box.  I’ve eaten at every single one of them, too, back when I used to eat fast food (I still eat Subway every once in a while).

Time to update my running 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
  • 3/17/11: Distance: ? Time: ? MPH: ? (I forgot to note everything.  Oops!)
  • 4/10/11:  Distance: 4.5 miles.  Time: 47 minutes.  MPH: 5.74

Hello, Speedy Gonzalez!  That’s my second-fastest pace ever! Wowsa – wasn’t expecting that!

4) Gym (Monday Evening). After work, I headed to the gym, where I did 35 minutes on the Arc Trainer, and 13.5 minutes on the StairMaster.  Like last time, I tried to do as much of it (excluding some warm-up and cool-down time) doing 2 steps at a time, and this time, I also decided to push myself and see how fast I could go.  Normally I top out at Level 12 or so, but this time, I made it up to Level 14 (for about a minute).

The total numbers of floors I climbed was 70, so for today’s visual comparison, we’re going all the way to Yokohama, Japan.  The tallest building in Japan is located in Yokohama – it’s called Yokohama Landmark Tower – and whadya know? It has 70 floors!  Yep, I climbed the equivalent of this:

Between the Arc Trainer and the Stairmaster, I burned over 900 calories!

Keep it up, David!


My Exciting Friday Night

April 2, 2011

Seriously, you guys, try not to be be jealous, but last night was just about the most exciting night you could ever imagine.  I’m still recovering, and it’s 4pm the following day!  It’s days like this you should be thankful that I’m a blogger, because I’m about to take you step-by-step through it.  It’s the sort of evening that some day, when I’m old and sitting in my rocker/hovercraft, I’ll reflect on, and a smile will spread across my face, and the robots that I’ve hired to take care of me will whirr and click, because they’re sentient, and they’ll know exactly what I’m thinking about.

That, my folks, was sarcasm.

After leaving the office, I headed to work out.  All day long I was thinking that after work, I should go running, since it’s been two weeks since I’ve last run (which was with my friend Chris in Porn Star Park), but when I got into my car, the thought of running just didn’t excite me.  It requires thinking and planning, and those were two things I didn’t want to do.  I know, I know, running doesn’t exactly require the same brainpower as rocket science or Ikea furniture assembly, but I try to go running in new places, and hadn’t given a lick of thought to where I’d run, what the route would be, where I’d park, and how I’d challenge and motivate myself to finish.  Instead, I decided to head to the gym, and work out on two machines that I haven’t touched in a few weeks: my dreaded frenemy, the StairMaster, and my favorite cardio machine, the Arc Trainer.

I started on the StairMaster, set the timer for 12 minutes, and after a minute of warm-up, did the remaining 11 minutes going two steps at a time (except for about 30 seconds towards the end, when I was really pushing myself and struggling to keep up).  I did a minute to cool-down, and the total result was 230 calories burned and 66 floors.  Y’all know I love to equate my StairMaster accomplishments to buildings around the world, so last night was like me climbing the 900 North Michigan building in Chicago:

I’m familiar with this building – my sister, a long-time Chicago resident and renowned architect, has an office a few blocks down Michigan avenue, and my brother and his family used to live quite literally three blocks away.  900 North Michigan is a fancy-schmancy building – it’s home to the Four Seasons hotel, and there’s a mall in it, too, that has a Bloomingdale’s, and a bunch of other fancy shops like Gucci and Michael Kors.

After the StairMaster, I climbed aboard the Arc Trainer for 35 minutes, and burned an additional 700 calories while watching Law & Order on TNT.

With my workout complete, I drank about a liter of water, changed out of my sweat-drenched clothes, drank another 1/2 liter of water, and headed to the mall.  It was right around the corner, and there’s a Bed Bath & Beyond there, and I’ve been meaning to go to a Bed Bath & Beyond.  A few weeks ago, I blogged about how I wanted to replace my RediSetGo, since the teflon was starting to peel off and the timer was broken (I also toyed with the idea of replacing it with a Big Boss Grill, but that was a passing fancy).  Well, I thought I distinctly remembered seeing RediSetGos (or is it RediSetGoes?) available at Bed Bath & Beyond.  Of course they’re available online and over the phone, but I thought it’d be easier to just pick one up and have it, instead of ordering it and having to wait for it to arrive.

I had my 20% off coupon in my hand (which was given to me by my new friend Rochelle, as I had used up all my Bed Bath & Beyond coupons buying SodaStream supplies) as I walked into the store, but alas, my memory deceived me.  They don’t carry them, and the associate I spoke with didn’t recall ever selling them.  Foiled!

I wandered into the mall.  The Burbank Town Center isn’t the best mall in the world, especially in the Los Angeles area, where there are malls all over the place.  No, I take that back – The Burbank Town Center is a great mall, if you’re looking for certain things, like:

PIANO KEY SILK TIES – $30 at Flamingo…

SKULL AND SWORD-BASED HOME DECOR – $70 (!!!) at Elements of Earth…

SHARK WINE BOTTLE HOLDERS – on sale for $11 at Art Impressions.  Because when I think of wine, I think of sharks.

Seriously, the Burbank Town Center is where SkyMall products must go to die.  And there’s also a Coach store, for your fancy purse needs.

Then I saw this place, which I think must be relatively new:

An AS SEEN ON TV store?  They’re bound to have RediSetGos!  A whole mountain of them!

NOPE.  Sold out. “Are you going to be getting more?” I asked the girl behind the counter.  “Yes, but we have no idea when,” was the reply.  Apparently RediSetGos are like iPads!  Gosh, do you think there’s been a surge of interest in RediSetGos because of this very blog?  That’s probably it.  Yep, I’ll take the blame for RediSetGos being sold out!  You’re welcome, Burbank!

I didn’t leave the mall empty-handed, though – I picked up a pair of flip-flops (or, as we used to call them when I was a kid, thongs) and a t-shirt at Old Navy.  Total coast for both: $9.33 cents.

And I’m starting to think that the store where I saw RediSetGos available for sale might have actually been Kohl’s.

My evening ended at home, where it got really outrageously crazy and wild:  I did laundry, and watched Who Wants To Be A Millionaire on my TiVo.  I want to go on that show so bad I can’t even stand it.  I’m good at trivia, I think Meredith Vieira is a great host and I love when, every once in a while, she unleashes this flirty little laugh with the guy contestants that you never ever hear on the Today show.  Here’s a fun fact about me:  I’ve been on game shows before – two of them.  One of these days I’ll post the videos for one of them, so you can watch me in action – before I share the other one, I have to get it transferred from VHS into a format I can upload.

Until then…

Keep it up, David!


A New Day, A New Skyscraper

November 10, 2010

Bluesday Tuesday is over.  It was yesterday, and today is… um, I can’t think of anything that rhymes with Wednesday, but it’s been much better.  I headed to the gym to work on reaching Goal #3 – climbing 73 floors on the StairMaster without stopping.  This is only my third time on the StairMaster at this gym, so let’s recap my prior StairMastering:

  • 10/3/10. Minutes: 10. Floors: 41. Equivalent to: Ernst & Young Building, Los Angeles, California.
  • 11/3/10. Minutes: 11. Floors: 51. Equivalent to: 1000 de La Gauchetiere, Montreal, Canada.

Today I set the clock for 15 minutes, thinking if I could make make it for that long, it’d be miraculous.  I also thought that I’d end up climbing 60-something floors, which is a considerable increase, and a nice jump towards my 73-floor goal.  When I started climbing, I covered the display with my towel, so I didn’t have to watch the seconds tick down on the clock (they seem to go slower when you’re watching them, don’t they?).  Around minute 13, I felt ready to collapse, and decided to push myself to minute 14, and then lower the speed way down and cool down for the final minute.  It was tough, but I did it as planned.  And after it was all over, I checked the number of floors, and it was…. 70!  More than I was anticipating, and only three shy of my goal!  Nicely done, David!

This is me after the StairMaster.  I look kinda pissed, but I’m just trying to catch my breath:

For today’s equivalent skyscraper, we’re heading overseas.  Say hello to The Sail @ Marina Bay, the tallest residential building in Singapore.  If I had started today’s workout on the lobby level, I’d have finished on the top floor!

After a visit to the water fountain and a meander around the gym, I got on the Arc Trainer.  I wanted to go for 30 minutes, but because I was feeling good, I ended up going for 45.  Here my calorie count for today’s workout:

  • Stairmaster:  265 calories burned
  • Arc Trainer:  812 calories burned
  • TOTAL: 1077 calories burned (!)

That is a lot of calories, and it showed in my sweat.  It was a pretty sweaty workout!

I look kinda pissed in that picture too, huh?  I’m not.  Just exhausted.

Today was a weigh-in day for me, although I forgot about it when I woke up, and had already drunk most of a liter of water before stepping on the scale.  Usually on my weigh-in days, the first thing I do in the morning is step on the scale.  No, that’s a lie.  First I go to the bathroom, and then I step on the scale.  Anyway – I think this morning’s reading was a little off because of the water weight, and I stayed the same.  Held steady at 255 pounds.  But a weigh-in day is a weigh-in day, so I gotta update my chart:

Did you notice I had to start a new piece of paper?  I’m now on the fifth page of my weight loss chart.  Here’s all of it:

So I’m still 5 pounds away from my goal weight of 250 pounds, and 3 pounds away from a weight loss of 150 pounds.

Keep it up, David!