Archive for April 2011

The Importance of Lists

I am fascinated by lists. Always have been. I don’t know why.

This is a little embarrassing, but when I was a kid, I would actually take the dictionary, go through it, and make various lists. For instance, if I was in an animal mood, I’d just flip through until I saw an animal name, read about it, and write it down on a sheet of paper, numbered one to whatever.

Granted, the lists wouldn’t always make sense to anyone but me, sometimes because I couldn’t always make sense of exactly what the dictionary meant. (And sometimes, I just saw a word that I thought looked cool and surely must be relevant, or at least fun to write.) For instance, my list of animals might read something like this.

Cool Animals For My Zoo When I Grow Up
by Jeremy, Age 5
1. Elephants
2. Foxes
3. Dogs
4. Tuberculosis
5. Phoenixes
6. Sadomasochists

This wasn’t a passing whim that left when I got older. No, I kept making lists of all sorts all throughout my life (and pretty much up to present day). My wife makes fun of me for some of the lists I keep around the house. It’s just one of my weird quirks.

Some of my lists were kind of short.

Things I Want to Touch Really Soon
by Jeremy, age 13
1. Boobs

As I got older, my lists began to contain commentary, in case I later forgot exactly what my point was.

Things I Want To Touch Really Soon
by Jeremy, age 14
1. Boobs – They seem like they would be a lot of fun to touch. Over and over.
2. More boobs – I have a hunch they are like potato chips.

I never claimed to not be single-minded when I was younger. Of course, not all of my lists contain commentary. Some of them, even today, are just very simple lists. Grocery lists, for instance. Or this list.

Words I Can Never Pronounce On the First Try
1. Acai berry
2. Mayonnaise
3. Ennui

What’s my point in all this?

I’m keeping an ongoing list of reasons that I should lose weight. I’m going to start sharing it here.

What’s one of my reasons? Reason 35. So I can live longer and keep laughing.

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Hungry Monster Weigh-In

Few things to note before I jump into another weigh-in:

First of all, I am following the Paleo diet because I am in Nerd Fitness’ contest for the Rebel Strength Training Guide.

I am now doing my weigh-ins (and the only time I get on a scale) at my Weight Watchers @Work Meeting at WKU on Tuesdays. I will post my weigh-ins either on Tuesday or Wednesday, depending truly upon when I have time.

Last week’s weigh-in of 362.0 was at home, in my boxers, on my scale. This weigh-in of April 26th was done at my Weight Watchers meeting, where I was weighing considerably more than just my boxers. Therefore, I feel a little better about my low weight loss, as I expect it was higher than what this number shows. Regardless, it is going down, and for that, I am pleased.

April 26, 2011
Last Week’s Weight: 362.0
Today’s Weight: 361.6
Change from All-Time High: -41.2 pounds
Change from Last Week: -0.4 pounds

So why is this a Hungry Monster Weigh-In?

Because, as said above, I am doing the paleo diet. I’ve done it for almost two and a half weeks now.

My thoughts?

IT SUCKS! I feel like I am always hungry because I feel so ridiculously unsatisfied.

I thought the first week might be the worst because I was detoxing. No grains, no cheese… gotta be a shock to my system.

Week two… still no grains, still no cheese… and while I do not feel like I am detoxing, I do not feel amazing, either.

My food obsession is growing. I am almost counting down to May 31st when I am going to eat a grilled cheese (which I will count with my Weight Watchers Points, by the way).

I’m probably being a little overdramatic. The plusses of Paleo…

I am eating WAY more fruits, veggies, and lean proteins. That is awesome.

I don’t feel BAD. That’s a big deal, too. I felt bad when I did Atkins. I physically feel fine, more or less. I’ve got some extra joint pain, which is unusual as I expected eliminating grains to eliminate (or reduce) that, but it’s not. I’m finding my knee and hips hurt a bit worse than usual, and my feet are frequently exhausted at the end of the day. Still, it isn’t something that I’m going to blame on the diet. It may truly be because all is has done here in the South this spring is rain. (And tornadoes, too, but I don’t think I can blame joint pain on tornadoes.)

Or can I?

Tornadoes - responsible for trailer park damage and mild joint pain

Tornadoes - responsible for trailer park damage and mild joint pain

The Cons of Paleo…

I am more obsessed with food now than I was before. I think I may be a “moderation or else” kind of person. Eliminating a food makes me a wee bit obsessive about it. This is definitely mental and may end before the six week contest is up. We’ll see.

It’s harder to eat on the go. Meals must be planned out in ridiculous detail. I can’t even swing by Subway or Einstein Bagels to grab a bite here on campus. Not many places are Paleo friendly.

So… that’s where I’m at, food wise.

Exercise is going fantastically. Steve has created a great workout plan in the Rebel Strength Guide, and I’m really enjoying working out at home. I did find that I actually missed going to the gym, so a few times a week, Tina and I head to the gym to do our dumbbell workout there, along with some time on the cardio equipment.

My clothes are feeling a bit looser. I was tempted to take a photo last night for comparison’s sake, but I talked myself out of it. I want to see the big reveal when the contest is over.

I’ve got to get better at blogging. I’m going to try a little experiment for the next week so see if I can blog more often. Nothing big – I’m just going to try and do some theme days and see how that feels.

I have no plans to be one of the Big Boys of Blogging because I simply don’t have time. I’ll admit to be envious of people who can make their blogs amazing places on the internet with frequently updated content, but I don’t see that ever becoming me. I am still quite grateful for those of you who do read, comment, and email me. Thanks for sticking with me – I may not produce the most content, (Lord knows I don’t produce the most content), but I hope I am at least entertaining and worth a read.

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A Happy Birthday Weigh-In

First of all, today, April 19th, is my birthday! Yay birthdays!

I have been neglecting my poor little blog here, and I’ve come to a surprising conclusion.

I miss weighing in! Even with the slow numbers. I’m not any less obsessed with my weight than I was 19 days ago, and if it weren’t for my dedicated efforts to eat Paleo, my diet wouldn’t by any cleaner. If anything, I’ve even found myself thinking, “I’m not weighing in for X days, I can afford to eat a little more today.”

So what have I taken from this? My issues aren’t going to be solved in a month.

A friend with a background in mental health suggested I work my way through the Beck Diet, which is a non-diet-specific plan to help people through their mental issues around weight loss. I’m going to start that, and I’ll post regularly here on how it goes.

I had already made the decision to forego my month-long scale absence and start weighing in again. I don’t like weighing in on Friday, because that is a day where it is way too easy to get distracted with fun things and forget to write a blog post. So I’m selecting today, Tuesday, to weigh in.

I didn’t know what to expect. My clothes feel a touch roomier, so I honestly walked to the scale this morning expecting to see SOME type of a loss.

April 19, 2011
Last Week’s Weight: 352.1
Today’s Weight: 362.0
Change from All-Time High: -40.8 pounds
Change from Last Week: +9.9 pounds

Whatever. It’s just a number. I’ll admit to being shocked. My mind immediately goes in two different directions.

One – my pants are looser in the waist. Pants don’t get looser on their own, do they? I must be changing my body composition somehow. In addition, people have told me that my face looks a little thinner.

Two – Holy crap. If I had weighed myself regularly, I might have kept from gaining 9.9 pounds!

It is what it is, right?

So what does the next week hold? Clean, paleo eating and lots of exercise. I want to see that number drop next week. Hopefully, hard work will take care of it. And if not, hey? What else do I have to do, right? It’s not like I’m going to give up.

I don’t give up. Ever. Even if I weigh over 300 pounds for the rest of my life, then I will be a 300+ pound person who eats as healthy as he can and moves as much as his body will let him.

Anyway, on to other things, Happy Birthday to me! I was born 33 years ago today. I’ve already had a wonderful birthday. Tina gave me my gift this weekend, which was a Fitbit! I’m already excited about using it. I enjoy that it tells me my estimated calorie burn for the day. It also has a fun feature in that I can wear it while I sleep, and it tracks how many times I wake up. It let me know that my sleep is pretty steady with some tosses and turns. I already knew that, but nice to have it confirmed.

We also went to see Scream 4 this weekend. Fun movie, but it could have been a rental. Still, best of the Scream movies since the original, in my opinion.

My parents took us out to eat at Montana Grille on Sunday. My mother-in-law took us out on Friday night. And my boss took me out to eat for lunch today. I have definitely been enjoying plenty of good eating-out opportunities.

The exercise is going well. The Fitbit has actually motivated me to try harder and see if I can get a higher calorie burn. I also discovered that mowing the yard, at least according to Fitbit, is not as strenuous as I had expected. During the hour that I mowed on Sunday afternoon, it only recorded three minutes of that as very high activity.

I haven’t abandoned my little blog here, I promise. I haven’t abandoned healthy eating. I’ve just been a little busy lately. I’m about to get busier, because I’m taking advantage of the free tuition WKU employees get by starting my second Master’s degree this summer. Yes, I had planned to start my doctorate this year, but I’m going to wait a while on that. Tina and I would like to start a family first, and I know the doctoral work is immensely time-consuming. I predict I’ll start it sometime soon, but not this-fall soon.

So, to sum up, Happy Birthday to Me! And I’m implementing weigh-ins again with a weekly Tuesday weigh-in.

How are you celebrating my birthday? 🙂

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What the Next Six Weeks Hold

I guess I could have labeled this one another Stellar Review, because there is a bit of a review in it. However, I didn’t, because this is a product that I purchased to try something out. Two things out, actually. And it was a contest that led me to do so.

One of my favorite healthy living blogs is Nerd Fitness. I think Steve Kamb is both an amazing writer and a cool person currently living a very cool adventure. To be quite honest, I think I have a little bit of a man crush. (Have you seen his abs? Holy crap.) I can’t really call Steve a friend, because other than a few twitter messages or blog comments, we haven’t really conversed. So first up – don’t think this is just a post for a buddy. However, I am going to be talking about Steve quite a bit in this post, because I am going to be talking about a great product of his he just released.

But I digress. The two things I’ve been thinking about trying out?

The Paleo diet and a gym-free workout.

I’m getting them in one in the form of Steve Kamb’s (and Vic Magary’s) Rebel Strength Guide. I purchased this last week, and I feel pretty confident in saying that it is worth the money. The fact that there is a contest tied into it makes it even more fun, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Let me address the Paleo diet first. I’ve heard people talk about how unbelievably amazing they feel while they are on it. I’ve heard people talk about how it is a great way to learn to eat intuitively (which I am currently striving for). I am always obsessed with food. Eating it, cooking it, buying it, preparing it, serving it, and wondering when my next meal will come.

In a nutshell (and this is a super brief description), the Paleo diet is eating the way our caveman ancestors would have eaten. Lean protein, nuts, veggies, fruits. No grains. No dairy. (A Slim Down Guide that addresses the Paleo Diet in a LOT more depth than I just did here is available with the Rebel Strength Guide.)

I’m on day three. My thoughts?

I’m a little bit obsessed with food at the moment. More than I was in the week or so before that when I was just concentrating on eating healthy. I’m currently detoxing from grains, I think, but it’s entirely a mental detox. I’ve not felt a huge rush of extra energy from eschewing grains or dairy, but I am finding that they way on my mind a lot. I’d kill for a grilled cheese sandwich at the moment.

Those kind of thoughts aren’t conducive to intuitive eating. What’s getting me through at the moment?

Six weeks. Steve said to try it for six weeks and see how you feel. So in six weeks, I’ll weigh the pros and cons of it. Will I feel so much better that grains and dairy will be a forgotten memory? Or will I be so desperate for grains and dairy that I OD on grilled cheese sandwiches? We’ll see.

The second part – the gym-free workout. Gyms are crowded. I have equipment at home, but admittedly, it isn’t as good as what is available at the gym. I have no cardio equipment. Not a big deal – I may be training for a 5K at the moment, but by nature, I am a weight lifter. Cardio bores me; give me a weight room and I am a happy man. So at home, I’ve already got a bench, squat rack, barbells, dumbbells, plates, the whole nine yards. I went to the gym because they had more weight lifting equipment, such as Smith machines, pec decks, and more things that I couldn’t afford.

However, both in my own training to become a personal trainer, my personal trainer’s workouts for me, and what I’ve read, free weights are generally a better workout. I currently have those in my house. So will I be able to get as tough a workout at home as I can at the gym?

I’m following the Dumbbell Division Workout in the Rebel Strength Guide. For the next six weeks, that (along with a little cardio in various forms, such as treadmill, Wii, mowing the yard, or taking the dog for a hike) is going to be my workout. I am not going to set foot in the weight room at my gym for the next month and a half.

So what is the contest mentioned? Steve is holding a Before-and-After contest for anyone who purchased the Rebel Strength Guide. This isn’t a weight loss contest; in fact, some people are trying to bulk up. (Lucky bastards.) From today, April 11th, until May 23rd, people who follow his suggest diet (Paleo, in my case) and one of his workouts (Dumbbell Division for me) can enter. I took my before photos last night. I took said photos both with my shirt on and shirtless. In six weeks, I’ll take an after picture, and at that point, I’ll decide which photos I’m going to share with the internet.

Can I just say that I was absolutely horrified by my shirtless picture? I mean, literally, honest-to-goodness startled? I see myself shirtless every day in the mirror or the shower. It’s still different to see yourself just exposed on film like that. It gave me a LOT more respect for people who have joined the Exposed Movement.

I am not there yet mentally. Maybe in six weeks, if I can see some improvement, I’ll be okay with sharing my gut and man boobs with the world. Right now, I’m not there.

I have no idea if I stand any chance of winning or not. I know that I clearly won’t be at goal weight in six weeks. But regardless, if I can see ANY improvement by May 23rd, I’ll count it as a victory.

Where will you be in six weeks?

I plan to be happy with my progress.

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Stellar Review: SodaStream Fountain Jet

I have recently professed an interest in reviewing various products here at Stellar Path. Some of my reviews will be for things I have purchased myself, and I either wanted to praise said product or warn people to stay away. At other times, I have been approached (or I have asked) if I could have said product for free for me to review.

When I get a product for free, I promise that I will not mindlessly endorse such a product. If I like it, I will reflect that in my review. If I do not like it, I will reflect that in my review.

In accordance with FTC blog disclosure policies, I received all products mentioned in this blog for free in exchange for a review. No promise of a positive review was promised or implied.

With that being said, let’s get on to the fun stuff.

I recently was given the opportunity to review a SodaStream machine!

If you don’t know what this product is, it is basically a way to carbonate your own cold tap water at home, add whatever you would like to said freshly carbonated water (soda syrup, fruit juice, et cetera), and enjoy.

My wife saw one at Kohl’s years ago and said that she wanted one. My response. “Soda is cheap. That machine costs $80. Pass.”

And then I heard someone talking about how much fresher and genuinely better the soda is from a SodaStream than from a 2-liter bottle.

The ultimate selling point?

It’s cheaper. A 2-liter made with a SodaStream costs about fifty cents. Even my generic Diet Dr. Thunder costs more than that.

So when I received the opportunity to review a SodaStream machine, I jumped at the chance.

You can buy these at Macy’s and Kohl’s, among many other stores, but if you do decide to order from the company, I will mention that it arrived VERY securely packaged.

I received the SodaStream Jet. It is their smallest machine, but after using this product for a few weeks, I honestly can’t imagine a need for a bigger unit. It’s small, fits nicely on my counter, and it feels pretty well made. Best yet, it isn’t an eyesore. Oh, and another perk – it doesn’t run on electricity. I was under the assumption that it required an outlet, but it doesn’t.

Before I get into the flavors they also sent me to review, let me quickly disclaim: You do have to purchase CO2 canisters to carbonate your soda. I received a canister that will carbonate 60 liters of water (depending obviously upon how much carbonation you put into your water). I do know that I’ll be getting an extra to keep on hand so as soon as this canister is empty, I won’t have to wait.

I was sent eight flavors, along with some fruit flavor essence, to try. But first, let me share this video I posted on YouTube where I actually show the operation of the unit. Ridiculously easy. The hardest part is getting the bottle screwed onto the base.

My thoughts on the flavors?

Cola Free – Delicious. It truly tastes like Coke Zero to me. I didn’t get the Diet Coke, but I can’t wait to try it.
Cranberry-Raspberry – Pretty good. It was a bit too tart for my taste, but it wasn’t bad.
Root Beer – Quick caveat – I hate root beer. Hate it. With a passion. So naturally, I found this disgusting. However, my wife, who enjoys root beer, said it was excellent.
Energy Drink – The bottle says it is comparable to Red Bull. I don’t know that it really tasted like Red Bull, but it did have a very nice flavor. More soda-y than red bull, in my opinion.
Green Tea Pomegranate Peach – I’m not a huge green tea fan, but it had a good flavor just the same. I suspect if you liked green tea, this would be excellent.
Ginger Ale – Wonderful. It had the same crispness you would expect from Ginger Ale.
Pink Diet Grapefruit – This one was a surprise, but I think it’s my favorite. It’s sweet without being too sweet, but still a little tart… I’ve drank more of this than any of the others.
Diet Lemon-Lime – Also quite good. I would compare this in flavor to Sprite, which is my least favorite of the lemon-lime drinks, but it’s still very tasty. Much better than Sprite, truthfully.
Fruit Flavor Essences – I did not care for these at all. They had a very bitter taste that I just didn’t like. I tried using both less and more, but I ultimately had to conclude that I didn’t like them. Tina said she thought they were okay, but I wouldn’t make a purchase of these.

There are other flavors available that I haven’t gotten to try yet, including one that is supposed to taste like Diet Dr. Pepper. That is DEFINITELY going to be my first purchase from their online store, and I will definitely review it here as soon as I get it.

I also tried carbonating water and putting a little Crystal Light in it. I didn’t care for it as much as I thought I would – it made it a little too sweet for me. I need to just experiment with the ratio, because I like carbonated water but it definitely needs to have some type of flavor for me to fully enjoy it.

In a nutshell, this has become my current most-used kitchen appliance. I absolutely love it!

Please email me at if you have any questions.

Have you tried the SodaStream machine? What did you think of it? Would you want one, or would it just be another appliance to take up room in your kitchen?

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