Six Days of Eggs: Eating Well and Staying Fit During My Week in Chicago

November 14, 2017

Pucker up!

I passed by this giant dear sculpture while on a walk in Chicago, and couldn’t resist giving it a smooch. I did a lot of walking – and other exercise – during my week in Chicago, and am proud of the healthy choices I made. We all know it isn’t always easy to stay healthy while traveling! Read the rest of this entry »

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Christmas and New Years Recap 2012

January 6, 2013

Howdy folks. I don’t think I’m 100% better yet, but I’m feeling like this cold is definitely on its way out. Time to fill you in on my holiday adventures! As I mentioned in my last post (with much excitement and perhaps an exclamation point or two), I managed to make it through my holiday travels without gaining any weight. I made a concerted effort to make healthy choices and stay active, while still enjoying some of the pleasures of the season.

I’ll start with exercise. No, on second thought, I’ll start with what I was most hoping for: A white Christmas! There wasn’t a speck of snow on the ground when I landed in Michigan on the 23rd, but it started snowing in the late afternoon on Christmas Eve, and by Christmas morning, there was a nice white blanket covering everything in sight.

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It snowed more the next couple days, and I loved being back in winter weather, if only for a little while!

Moving on to exercise! Read the rest of this entry »


Palm Springs Weekend

October 11, 2011

On Saturday morning, I got in a car with my friends Robyn and Jake, and their two little poodles Frances and Otis, and we went for a little drive…

…to Palm Springs!

It’s about two hours from Los Angeles to Palm Springs.  We passed a mountain that had snow at the top – a sight that is so cool and strange to see in the middle of a desert region like southern California:

We also passed a bunch of wind farms, which I could stare at for hours:

Our destination was Robyn’s father’s house.  Robyn and Jake invited me to join them for a weekend with her dad, Tim.  I hadn’t met Tim before, but he has happy to have me come along.  He’s a reader of this blog, and one of the first things he said to me when we first met was “I feel like I already know you!”

I would live in Tim’s house in a heartbeat.  It’s a great house with lots of light and spacious rooms, and it’s on a quiet street in Palm Springs.  Here’s the mountain view from the front porch:

And check out Tim’s kick-ass backyard!

We spend all day on Saturday hanging out in the backyard:  lounging, swimming, talking, and hot tubbing.  I don’t mind a hot tub!

Tim has a statue of a deer, left behind by the home’s previous owner, and there were literally 4 or 5 instances when I glanced over quickly or saw it in my periphery and thought it was an actual animal:

I felt tricked by that deer every single time – although I will say in my defense that it very well could have been: in addition to Robyn and Jake’s two dogs, Tim also has a dog, a beautiful standard poodle named Koko, so there were dogs walking around all over the place.  That no pooping sign, by the way, is something of an inside joke and a family heirloom between Robyn and her dad, and all three dogs ignored it.

Speaking of dogs, here’s Koko:

Yep, that’s a Jagermeister tank top she’s wearing.  In addition to loving the smooth, unique blend of Jagermeister’s 56 herbs and spices, Koko recently had to have a couple stitches, and the tank helped deter her from biting her wound.  You can see pictures of Francis and Otis here.

That night, Robyn, Jake and I made a delicious all-vegan meal (which will be the focus of tomorrow’s post), and later on, the guy Tim’s been dating came over and we all went out to a few bars, where I broke my no-soda practice by having a couple Diet Cokes (shhhhh, don’t tell anyone).

On Sunday, we hung out on the back patio more and had a late breakfast.  Robyn’s brother and his girlfriend, who happened to be in the area, came over, and it was a pleasure meeting and talking with them.  I’ve always really liked Robyn since the day I met her (we used to work together, for 5 years), so I’m not surprised at all that every member of her family that I’ve met is also so kind, funny, generous, and smart.

After a leisurely morning of lounging, it was time to sweat.  Tim, inspired by all my posts about going to classes at Slimmons (like this one), had recently bought the DVD box set of Richard Simmons’ “Sweatin’ to the Oldies”!  When he told me that, my heart skipped a beat.  The feeling that I get when I hear that I’ve inspired someone to actually take a step towards getting healthier is one that I’ll probably never get used to, and that’s fine by me, because it’s such an amazing feeling.  Here’s what the box set looks like (you can order it here):

Despite knowing Richard as well as I do, the only “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” video that I’ve ever done is the fifth one, which isn’t included in the box set (read about it here).  So when I saw that Tim had the first four in the series, I practically jumped from my chair.  I got even more excited when I realized that some of the people on the cover of the box set were friends of mine from Slimmons!

That’s Sherri, front row center, Felise to her right, and Kathy behind them.

We popped in the original “Sweatin’ to the Oldies,” which was released in 1988, and Robyn, Jake, Tim and I started dancing.  The DVD was a lot of fun, and it was great to watch Richard, 23 years younger but with the same enthusiasm, energy, and smile.  There were a bunch of moves that I wasn’t familiar with, and a bunch that I’ve been doing every week at Slimmons – it’s pretty impressive that Richard’s aerobics methods are so successful that they’ve haven’t really required much change over the decades.  He really created a winning formula:  great music, along with easy yet effective movements, delivered with an emphasis on having fun in addition to having a good workout.  Sherri, Felise, and Kathy weren’t in the “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” that we did, but another Slimmons friend, Anne (a personal trainer who also teaches at Slimmons), was in the video, with a fantastic ’80s perm and bright orange outfit!

All in all, “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” wasn’t as intense of a workout as I’m used to, but I’m familiar enough with Richard’s moves that I found ways to push myself above and beyond what Richard was doing onscreen.  Apparently, each “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” gets progressively more difficult, so I look forward, some day, to doing numbers 2, 3, and 4.

By Sunday night, Robyn, Jake, the dogs and I were back in the car, headed back to Los Angeles.  I had a lovely time in Palm Springs, and am so thankful and appreciative to Tim for having me for the weekend.  THANKS, TIM!

In addition to the Sunday DVD workout, I also ate really well over the weekend, but you’ll hear about all that tomorrow.

Keep it up, David!


Sweatin’ 5 and Workout Progress Report

May 4, 2011

A great big heartfelt Thank You to everyone that send me messages yesterday via comment, Facebook, Twitter, email, telegram, Morse code, smoke signals, and Pony Express.  You always give me so many wonderful things to think about – and they’re always the things I tend to conveniently forget about when I’m feeling down, like I was yesterday.  It’s appreciated.  It’s always appreciated.

I’m happy to report that I’m feeling better today.  I ate well yesterday and I have another good food day planned (that will end to a trip to the store so I can stock up on some badly-needed fruits and vegetables).  Last night, I displayed some workout versatility that I’m happy about.  I intended to go to the gym after work, and I did.  I drove all the way there, parked, and got my gym bag out of the backseat.  But my gym bag seemed light… so before heading inside, I rooted through it, and that’s when I realized I forgot yesterday morning to throw in my gym shoes.  D’oh!  Since I was wearing shoes that weren’t gym appropriate, I cursed under my breath a few times and headed home.

The plan was to run inside, grab my shoes, and turn around and leave again, but that’s not what happened.  I also got my mail, opened my mail, put some dishes in the dishwasher, sent some emails… then a friend called, and I talked to them for a little bit, then I turned on the TV to set something on my TiVo, and then I watched an hour or television.  I very easily could have called it a day and not exercised, but I turned my evening around, moved some furniture out of the way, and popped in a DVD that’s sittin’ on my shelf:

It has been a long time since I’ve done “Sweatin’ to the Oldies 5” (you can buy it here).  The last time I did it was on Saturday, November 27, 2010 (wow, blog archives sure do come in handy!).  It was in Colorado, and my sister Sarah did it with me.  Prior to that, I hadn’t done it in 6 months or so… so I think it’s safe to say that this is the second time I’ve done it in a year.  It’s a lively, energetic workout – there’s 10 songs, and it’s about 50 minutes of cardio dance.

My relationship with Richard Simmons is all because of “Sweatin’ to the Oldies 5” – he was booked to be a guest on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” to promote this DVD, and that’s how I met him (click on The Story So Far at the top of the page to learn more).  Doing this workout last night, in my living room, took me back to January 2010, when I first met Richard, and I got to thinking about where I was back then.  I was 402 pounds.  I was depressed.  I felt overwhelmed because I didn’t think I’d be able to make the changed necessary to lose weight.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been feeling similarly.  I don’t weigh 402 pounds anymore – you can just rearrange the digits, like one of those games on “The Price Is Right,” because now I weigh 240.  But the plateau and recent weight gain has certainly been depressing and overwhelming.  When I first did “Sweatin’ to the Oldies 5” well over a year ago, I was ready for a change, and I didn’t even know it.  What’s different now?  Now I know I need to make changes: changes that will focus me, motivate me, reinvigorate me, challenge me.  Time to bust off this plateau, lose those three pounds I’ve gained back in recent weeks, and lose more beyond that.

This morning when I woke up, I took a look at my calendar, where I notate every workout that I complete.  Now that it’s May, I thought I’d do some number crunching, because I love statistics, and share with you some facts and figures from January-April (the first third of 2011):

  • January 2011:  Worked out 27 out 0f 31 days (87%), including 6 classes at Slimmons.
  • February 2011:  Worked out 23 out of 28 days (82%), including 5 classes at Slimmons and 3 Boot Camp Classes.
  • March 2011:  Worked out 25 out of 31 days (81%), including 5 classes at Slimmons and 4 Boot Camp Classes.
  • April 2011:  Worked out 20 out of 30 days (66%), including 5 classes at Slimmons and 3 Boot Camp Classes.
  • TOTALS:  For the first third of 2011, I worked out 95 out of 120 days – 79%, including 21 classes at Slimmons and 10 Boot Camp Classes.

Keep it up, David!


Thanksgiving Success!

November 29, 2010

Lots of catch-up today.

1) Weigh-in. I weighed myself yesterday, and while in Colorado for Thanksgiving week, I lost 1 pound!  Here’s my updated chart:

I managed to lose my 150th pound, and during a holiday week!  I credit myself, for working hard to eat well (even though I broke both my Thanksgiving rules a little bit), having great workouts 4 of the 5 days I was there, and having an amazingly supportive family that makes it all easier.  All four of those workouts, actually, were with one or both of my sisters – which made them more fun and more rewarding.

I’m now 252 pounds, and within striking distance of my next goal, which is to weigh an even 250 pounds.

2) Exercise. I’ve had three great workouts in the past three days.  On Saturday, my last day in Colorado, my sister Sarah and I did Richard Simmons’ Sweatin’ to the Oldies 5 DVD in her family room (you can check it out and buy it here).  I haven’t done it in at least 6 or 8 months, but it was easy for me to pack, so I took it along on my trip.  It’s about 50 minutes of cardio dance aerobics, and it’s very colorful, and Richard is, well… in full Richard mode.

Today I went to the gym and did 45 minutes of cardio and then about 10 minutes of some basic toning exercises with some free weights.  And yesterday, I went for a run!  It was on the cold side (for Los Angeles), and very windy, but I went for 46 minutes without stopping, and ran 4.2 miles.  Here’s my route:

I started at ‘A’ (heading east), and ended at ‘E’ – both are 4-5 blocks from my house, so I got a nice walking warm-up and cool-down in there too.  Time to update my 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

I’m getting faster!

3) Bed-Sharing Update. A follow up on a post from last week, in which I shared my fear of death by futon (basically, that the futon would break, sending me tumbling over a balcony and to my death 10 feet below), and my deciision to avoid the risk by sleeping instead with my 5-year-old nephew in his double bed.

I ended up spending 4 nights in my nephew’s bed, and it was a much better alternative.  He’s a sound sleeper, so he never woke up when I came in for bed after he was already long sound asleep.  He also moves a lot in his sleep, so I got kicked a few times, and once, he slowly migrated over and rested his little head on my shoulder, which I thought was really cute until he started snoring in my ear.  That didn’t last long, because I repositioned him.

4) Old Produce. I blogged before going to Colorado about the fresh produce that I hoped would keep for the 5 days I was gone.  Well, it was all fine when I got back, and I ate most of it (the carrots, celery, apple, and half of the frozen grapes) yesterday.  Which means my house was almost completely produce-free.  Which brings me to…

5) New Produce. Here was my produce bowl after lunch on Sunday:

That’s one lonely sweet potato.

So I headed to the grocery store.  I had been running errands, and didn’t have tons of time, so I gave myself 10 minutes to go in to Superior Grocers (I’ve been there once before, read about it here), get some produce, yogurt, and some sort of fish as another protein source to have on hand (I have other groceries to buy, but wanted to make a list, which I didn’t do yesterday – I’ll try to do it today).

Here’s the bowl when I got home:

That’s 1 bag of broccoli slaw, green onions, a 12-ounce bag of carrots, a cucumber, 1 pound of green beans, 1 green pepper, 4 bananas, 4 apples, 3 tomatoes, 5 oranges, and the orange thing in the back is called a Table Queen Squash, which I’ve never bought before (or heard of), so I’ll be trying that this week and will tell you all about it.

And the grand total?  $6.16! They had some amazing prices yesterday: navel oranges were 17 cents a pound (my 5 were 25 cents), cucumbers were 20 cents apiece, and that squash was only 27 cents (it was priced at 14 cents a pound).  Add in 4 Yoplait Lights (60 cents a piece, on sale) and almost 1 pound of imitation crab meat (on sale for $1.99 a pound at the fish counter, I bought $1.69 worth) and my whole grocery bill was $10.25!

Keep it up, David!


Saturday Morning at Slimmons

September 19, 2010

If you’ve read “The Story So Far” (the link is at the top of the blog), than it’s old news that the catalyst that started me on my weight loss journey was meeting the one and only Richard Simmons.  You can read the full details here, but, basically, he encouraged me to make a change, and has helped me along the way, providing support, and motivation.  If you’ve only seen him on TV, know that it’s not an act – he is that energetic and quick-witted, but he’s also kind and compassionate, and incredibly invested in the health and well-being of the people that come to him for help and guidance.  I’m lucky to say that Richard is a friend, and I value his friendship very much.

Some of you may not know that in addition to making public appearances, seling DVDs, and going on talk shows, Richard also teaches classes at his gym in Beverly Hills, called Slimmons, which he’s had since the mid-70s.  Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday that he’s in town, he’s leading a class, and most Saturdays I try to go.  It is a HOOT.  He teaches his own aerobics program, similar to what you’d find on a “Sweatin’ To The Oldies” DVD – so it’s about 45 minutes of cardio dance-type stuff, and then 10 or so minutes of free weights and 10 or so minutes of sit-ups and push-ups.  Each Saturday class is themed – today was ’50s and ’60s music, but other themes could be Disco, Songs from Movies, Songs with the word ‘Dance’ in the Title, and so on.  It’s also crowded – a typical Saturday class has anywhere from 80-120 people in it, and anyone can go, and it’s only $12.  (If you’re in the LA area and are interested in attending, you can learn more about Slimmons here.

I have a good time every single time I go.  It’s a great workout, there are great people there, many of whom are regulars like me that I see every single week, and his energy is infectious, so I usually feel better about myself afterward.  Oh!  And Richard will take a picture after class with anyone that wants one and brought their camera!  Which leads me to another ‘Before’ and ‘Current’ photo comparison.   I don’t take photos with Richard all that often, but I took one when I had my very first class, and here it is…  Richard Simmons and me, when I was weighing 402 pounds:

I took another photo with Richard today (because I knew it’d be a fun thing to share on the blog), and here it is – I’m 134 pounds lighter (and even more sweaty):

Keep it up, David!