Tragedy in the Family

If you follow me on facebook, you may have seen me allude to a tragedy in my family over the past few days.

My nephew’s father (my sister’s ex-husband) passed away very unexpectedly on Friday.

He and I were not terribly close, but any prayers, warm wishes, kind thoughts, or anything of the sort for my nephew would be greatly appreciated.  Even though he is a young man at nineteen, he certainly wasn’t ready to lose his father this early.

No big takeaways here.  Just please hug your loved ones.

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Day #001 of the Ranger Project, 2.26.14 – Homemade Pizza, Well Below Average, and Exploding Grass

I weighed in this morning.  It wasn’t good, but I knew it wouldn’t be.  Still, this just means I can look forward to a big loss next week.

February 26, 2014

Weight: 419.8

Change from Highest: –2.2 pounds

Oh well.  It is what it is.

I started my day off with a trip to the gym before work.  Tomorrow, I am going to go to the gym after work, just to see which I prefer.

Let me also say… I am SO out of shape.  I remember when I could do an hour on the elliptical, hard.  I can’t do that anymore.  I did manage to get through 30 minutes of cardio.  I would have done the weight room instead, but whenever I eat junk food, sometimes my joints stiffen up, and my right elbow was not cooperating this morning.  Rather than risk injury, I hit the treadmill on an incline instead.

I also decided that I should establish a baseline, and the ellipticals offered a fitness test.  I took it.

Ugh.  I used to be more fit than this.

IMAG0357

Still, it is what it is, and this gives me a good starting point.  I’ll take it again in a month and see how I rank.

I’ve heard people say that felt paranoid to be the weakest one in the gym, and this morning, I was the weakest person there.  No worries, though.  I won’t lie; at one point, my inner fat kid did see a REALLY fit guy talking to another pretty fit guy, and for half a second, I thought, “They’re talking about how slow I’m going…”  They weren’t.  They were trying to get a pickup game of basketball going.

That’s the thing about gym rats.  They are probably the least judgmental people on the planet.  So whether you weigh almost 420 like me or you are under 100 pounds or anywhere in between, don’t let the gym intimidate you.

Food

Breakfast – 2 slices of bacon, 1 fried egg, sweet potato with butter and honey

Lunch – pork shoulder, potato with sour cream, 1 slice of homemade pizza

Midafternoon – 1 clementine, 1 apple

Late afternoon – 3/4 of a whole wheat sunbutter and jelly (all clean) sandwich [the kid ate the other 1/4]

Dinner – steak, baked potato, asparagus, frozen cherries

After-dinner Snack – 2 clean homemade chocolate chip cookies

I tried to do MyFitnessPal, but it was SO tedious.  I was impressed with the depth of their database, and I may use them yet, but for now, I am just tracking and trying a bit of intuitive eating.

I didn’t take enough food for lunch.  Two thin slices of pork shoulder and what amounted to maybe 3/4 of a potato was not enough food.  Fortunately, my wonderful boss (who is also a wonderful cook) offered me a slice of her homemade pizza.  I probably shouldn’t have – it did have pepperoni on it – but it was good and it helped fill me up.  Tomorrow, I will take more food.

Tina and I have dabbled with paleo and primal, and I suspect that we will eventually try primal again, but for now, we’re just trying to eat mostly clean.  I know my diet could be better, but I’m working on progress, not perfection.  I also know me; if I make too many big changes at once, I’m more prone to messing up.

Today could have been better, but given how a few of the past days have gone… I’m thrilled.  And here’s the truth of it – I enjoyed myself without going overboard or obsessing.  For a brief moment, I had the fleeting thought, “Oh, I shouldn’t have those two cookies, because I’m blogging my food now.”  But then I decided that I wanted them, and I was going to enjoy them guilt-free.  Which I did.  (And incidentally, there have been plenty of times that instead of eating two cookies, I would have had four, or six, or eight…)

First day of the Ranger Project was a success in my book!

647549-powerranger

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Day #000 of The Ranger Project

I feel very weird about this post; it’s simultaneously very transparent and very obtuse.

I am tired of being fat.  I’ve been fat LITERALLY my entire life.  I didn’t gain weight after high school.  Well, I did, actually, but I was already fat to begin with.  I just got fatter in college.

I’ve lost weight before.  I got down to 250, in fact, in my mid-20s.  I am currently in the 410s, at least, down from a high of 422 earlier this year.

I’m always looking for the magic bullet, the trick that will end it all.

That trick doesn’t exist.

I read something online this morning that really spoke to me.  Basically, it stated that in order to lose weight, don’t worry about losing weight.  Fix your eating disorder.

That’s overly simplified, and it’s not that simple, of course.  Eating disorders can be dealt with, buried, examined, explored… but I don’t know if they can be fixed.

But regardless, I am going to try.

There have been periods of time here at Stellar Path that I’ve been on fire.  They have been few and far between, but that they have happened at all gives me the confidence that if I could do it once, I can do it again.

I am going to blog daily for the next 100 days.  I will blog about my day.  Stellar Path will be my journal.  I’ll talk about my workouts, my food choices (good and bad), and how ridiculously busy I now am as a doctoral student with a full-time job.  (Seriously – doctoral work is BUSY.  I thought it would be harder, and it is and should be, but I did not count on it being five times harder than my Master’s.)

I’m going to weigh in once a week, on Wednesdays.  I’m not going to weigh daily, like I have been, because it makes me obsess.  I see the scale drop, and I either celebrate with food, get arrogant and eat food, or think of how I can make it drop even faster.  (Note to self: It doesn’t work that way.)  And if it goes up, I think, “Eh, screw it,” and I eat whatever.

Food has me in a strong grip.  I would love to do OA, but none exist around here, and frankly, the online chat versions of OA didn’t do much for me.

I’ll try and exorcise my demons here.  But regardless, I am going to strive to live a healthy life, regardless of what I weigh.  I’m not turning Stellar Path into a fat acceptance blog.  My thinking is that if I live healthy, regardless of my weight, then losing weight will be a nice side effect.

So why the Ranger project?

This is going to be a chronicle of my journey to becoming a Power Ranger.

blueranger

I never said I’d stop being a dork.  I’m just trying to focus on living a healthy life, no matter what the scale says.

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Weigh-in #002 – January 10, 2014

First of all, next week, I am moving to a Saturday weigh-in.  Tina and I have decided to have a Biggest Loser style competition and Saturday morning will be a bit easier than Friday morning (as we don’t go to work on Saturday mornings).

This week has been okay.  I started the year off doing Whole30, and I’m afraid I have fallen back on the grain and sugar wagon.  It’s hard; I’m not saying I’m giving up, but Whole30 has not worked for me just yet.  The sugar beast has its talons in me hard.

But… here we go:

  • Weigh-in #002
  • January 10, 2014
  • Weight: 405.8
  • Change from Last Week: –1.2 pounds
  • Change from Highest: –6.2 pounds

Not as good as it should have been, certainly, but still a loss.  Next week will be stronger.

Tina and I are going to put $10 in a pot.  The person with the highest percentage of weight loss each week gets that $10 to spend on whatever he or she would like.  For me…

Garbage Pail Kids!

gpk

More on GPKs later.  For now, yay, I did have a loss, and I plan to have a bigger loss next week.

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Cold in Kentucky

It is bitterly cold today. We have just a touch more than a dusting of snow on the ground, but many schools and business are closed because of the cold. The high today was four degrees. I know for some of you in some places, you are probably thinking, “Aw, that’s adorable.”

But here… our average winter temp is in the 30s. Four degrees is a type of cold we are just not equipped to deal with here. My wife was fortunate enough to be able to work from home today, and since I teach and I’m not teaching during the month of January, I was able to stay home, too. Our house was (and still is) nice and toasty. We only ventured outside to go to the gym.

That’s right! I’m back in the gym!

We have a gym less than two miles from our house. We have to go separately because of little guy (this gym doesn’t have day care) but it still works fantastically for us.

I am, however, sad to say that I have lost pretty much all of my cardio endurance. I used to do an hour on the elliptical at a high setting. Today, I forced myself to do 33 minutes on whatever level it came pre-set on (read: level one).

No tears, though. I’ll just progressively up it. Before long, I’ll be doing my full hour again.

I’m also working in some free weights. I want my cardio endurance higher, however, before I jump fully back into the weight room again. I know the logic in just working out with weights, and I don’t even disagree with it from a purely physical standpoint. This, however, is mental. I need to feel my lungs and heart strong again.

I measured myself over the weekend. I’m only going to measure myself once, maybe twice, a month. I’ll weigh-in every Friday, but the measurements will be less often. That said, here they are in their ugly glory to serve as my baseline.

Waist

55.25

Chest

58.75

Stomach

66.5

R. Bicep

19

L. Bicep

17.5

R. Forearm

13.75

L. Forearm

13

R. Thigh

34.5

L. Thigh

35

Hips

62

R. Calf

20.75

L. Calf

20

My body used to be much more symmetrical. My right and left body parts were pretty similar in size. This was back when I actually used to lift weights. Now, I’m clearly favoring my right for almost everything. But again, this is okay. It’ll get back to where it should be.

I realized today that I can use one of my predilections for projects to my benefit. The first is mental and the second is an actual physical thing.

Mentally, I like working on things. I like seeing something start and taking it through to its conclusion, whether it’s writing a short story, painting a space painting, or even something as simple as cleaning the kitchen. I like that satisfaction of, “Ah, I did it and I’m done.”

I’m going to use this same mental attitude toward my body. I’ve made no secret of my desire to look like… well, this:

jasonstatham

(Jason Statham and I have the same hair. I do have slightly fewer prison tattoos.)

And truthfully, what is weight loss except for a project? Yeah, I know, it’s a long-term thing, too. But this is what I get to work on right now. I get to carve away the fat from my body. I am so tremendously lucky to be in a position to get to do that.

When I get to goal weight, I’ll get to select a new goal, which will likely be increasing muscle mass. It will always be something, and that sounds tremendously exciting to me.

The actual thing I can do is as follows.

I’m actually kinda crafty. I like to paint. I like to work with my hands. And thanks to my wife… I like to quilt.

I don’t like to sew, I like to quilt.  And I was pleasantly surprised to see that there are a lot of guys out there who like to quilt.  Not like… so many you’ve probably ever met one before, but enough that there is an internet presence.

Anyway, I’m going to use quilting to keep track of my weight loss.  I’ve mentioned in the past that I wanted to do a quilt out of the dork shirts that I currently wear to the gym to work out in.  I had planned for my wife to do it, but she taught me a few things over Christmas break, and I have to say… quilting is kinda awesome.  So I’m going to do it myself.  The front of my quilt will be my dork shirts, as planned.

The back of my quilt is going to be this design:

quilt1

Each of the colored squares will represent a week.  So, for each week that I have a good week, however I choose to measure it, I’ll give myself a colored square.  I can measure it by weight loss, loss of inches, or even a case of “I know I did everything right.”  However, if I don’t have a good week (too much overeating, no gym, just didn’t try), then I get a plain white square.  I will hopefully have a nice fun quilt with lots of colors at the end.

This quilt allows for 120 blocks.  Since each block is a week, that puts me at 120 weeks, which has me finishing the quilt around my 38th birthday (late April 2016).  I do have a lot of weight to lose, and truthfully, I do believe I can do it in 120 weeks IF I put my mind and effort to it.

So that’s my plan.  Expect me to talk about quilting a bit now.  It’s just strangely cathartic and pleasant, for some reason.

I’m feeling the need to be more manly now to make up for it, too, so if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go wrestle a grizzly bear in the backyard.  Or go play with my kid in the living room.  Whichever will give me more of a calorie burn.

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Weigh-Ins
12-31-13 - 412.0
1-3-14 - 407.0 (-5.0 pounds total)