Archive for June 2011

Busy Summer

Have you ever had the best of intentions, and life just gets in the way?

In the past on this blog, I’ve spent some considerable time griping about the utter hell that was my previous job. Now, any time that I mention that work has been hectic, I always feel I need to disclaim, “It’s been busy, but it’s still great!”

Well, here comes that same disclaimer. This has been one of the busiest months of my professional career I have EVER had. However, it has been amazingly awesome.

Until this past weekend, I worked about fifteen days straight, with each workday consisting of, at a minimum, ten hours, and at the maximum end, around eighteen hours. A typical work day for the month of June has been about eight hours. I’ve taken a laptop home and set up a little workstation in my living room so I’m not completely ignoring my wife and pets.

I’ve been working on producing some very research-intensive PD modules. I have read a LOT of research this month. I’ve been dreaming about research. (And if you want to have a sucky dream, dream about research.)

I did a presentation last week at a conference. My presentation title was Buffy, Harry Potter, and Homer Simpson Help Teach Core Content. It was freaking awesome! I absolutely nailed it and got tons of kudos and accolades. Yay me!

Of course, preparing also took up a considerable amount of time.

But again, I absolutely adore my job. I adore everything about it.

I work in education. I should have next summer off with pay. That will be sweet. I did not have this summer off, but I did get paid. I am extremely thankful to have had the opportunity to work this summer with pay, regardless of how tired I’ve been.

That’s why my blog has been languishing for a bit.

That’s also why my weight loss efforts have been languishing. I’ve been hovering around the 370 mark for a while. I have to break through this. I’m setting myself the goal of being below 350 by the time the fall semester starts in late August. Tough but doable. I just have to stop eating so much food and move more. There isn’t really a secret formula; I know this.

I am going to resume weekly weigh-ins. I need that level of accountability. I’ve found myself dreading the scale a few times in the morning because I know that my lack of activity the day before and a few poor food choices are going to make me regret it. That’s not healthy, and it completely defeats my purpose of wanting to weigh in every day. So until I get in a mentally healthier place, I’m not doing that.

So on Friday, I’m going to weigh in. I’ll use my starting June weight of 375.3 as the previous weight.

I’m going to continue my dorkiness. In fact, I am continuing my dorkiness at the gym.

Tina and I finally switched gyms. We just signed up to use the Preston center on WKU’s campus (which is where I now work). In the past, I’ve been taking my portable DVD player to the gym. An amazing thing occurred to me the other day.

This gym is on WKU’s campus.

WKU has wi-fi all over campus.

I have an iPad and a Netflix account.

I can watch Netflix when I’m on the cardio equipment! Right now, I’m making my way through the series Power Rangers Mystic Force, which is the series that was airing when I stopped watching Power Rangers. It’s mega-dorky (of course), but I love it because all of the fight scenes inspires me to push myself even harder when I’m on the elliptical. I just wedge my iPad on the magazine rack, set the time, and enjoy. Obviously I can’t watch Netflix when I’m lifting weights, but I only get bored doing cardio, so it works out pretty well.

I have other good news.

Tina just got her first big girl job! Best yet – she also is coming to WKU to work. With both of us working here, that means we have the top-tier insurance for free. That alone equals a $210 a month savings, because I can now take her off of my insurance.

She also will get free tuition. She’s starting her Master’s degree this fall.

This job is one of the best thing that could have ever happened. This will also help us pay off our debts and get us in a great position to potentially start a family soon.

Things are coming up great. Now I have the rest of the summer to get my weight loss efforts on track, too, and things are golden!

I will be reviewing an episode of the Power Rangers before Friday when I do my next weigh-in.

How has your summer been?

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Happy Father’s Day!

My dad, circa late 1970s (around the time of my birth)

My parents at my wedding, October 8, 2010

Happy father’s day, Dad! Thanks for taking care of me all these years!

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Food Planning, Journaling, and Weight Loss Rewards

No nostalgia today, but I do have a bit of nostalgia news. Every episode of Power Rangers was released to Netflix streaming today! For a geek like myself, this is major good news. The other three episodes I blogged about were watched on YouTube. Hopefully, I’ll be able to capture some higher quality photos for my posts now. I’m very excited about it.

I didn’t weigh in this morning. I have an extremely “bad” right knee. I can only say “bad” because I don’t know what is wrong with it. I’m sure my weight affects it, but I don’t believe it is 100% weight, because my left knee NEVER hurts. I’m not making an excuse about my weight, because I’m sure it’ll improve when I am lighter.

On days when it rains or is threatening rain (such as today, when we have the threat of major storms looming over our head), my knee sometimes swells. Ridiculously so. It swells to the point that the excess fluid on it does cause me to weigh sometimes three to four pounds more than I would normally. It is very stiff, painful, and just awkward. It makes me feel like an old man and not a 33 year old.

I am in the midst of exploring my mental health relationships with food now, as always. At the moment, Tina and I are trying out hands again at eating intuitively. She is doing fantastically with it. I, not surprisingly, am struggling.

What I am about to do to help with my mental issues associated with eating is to fully plan out my day of meals. That is about as far from intuitive eating as one can get. However, it is just one step on the process that will hopefully take me to intuitive eating.

I am going to plan my meals, especially when I am at work, when it is much tougher, so that I have a full arsenal of healthy foods to eat. There is a vending machine just two floors down from my office. In that vending machine, they have brownies for seventy-five cents. It even has a little yellow flag beside it that says “Big Deal!”

I am not saying I will never eat another brownie. Aside from the fact that I know that is utterly ridiculous and unrealistic, I don’t want to. I like brownies. I want to eat one again for a treat. However, it needs to be that. A treat. An occasional indulgence. Not my 2 p.m. fix every day.

This is what I have planned for tomorrow. Yes, it is a lot of food, but the servings are relatively small and I am also at work ‘til about 6 p.m.

Breakfast (before I leave for work) – scrambled egg with green onions, spinach, ham, and cheddar on a spinach wrap
Mid-morning – egg salad (2 hard boiled eggs with a teaspoon of mayo and some mustard and spices)
Lunch – I’m going to a lunch meeting tomorrow, and I hope I can find something healthy there. If I can’t, I’ll skip eating (this is a particular meeting where it would be okay for me to not eat) and eat a healthy backup lunch when I’m done. It will be whole wheat linguini with a little pesto and ground turkey, ¼ cup of trail mix (which consists of raw pumpkin seeds, raw sunflower seeds, unsweetened coconut, and raisins)
Mid-afternoon #1 – Frozen berries and plain yogurt
Mid-afternoon #2 – baked potato with salsa, banana
Dinner – Homemade vegetable beef stew (all good, real ingredients)
Post-workout snack – Banana smoothie (banana, milk, one tablespoon of coffee creamer for flavor, ice)

I am hoping that by having my meals thoroughly planned, I’ll be much more likely to stick to healthy foods. These are all real foods that should give me energy, not suck energy out of me (like the brownie would).

I probably won’t plan my meals on here every day (unless people like that sort of thing, and if you do, let me know!). However, I am going to using my journal for more food tracking. I plan to track my mood and hunger level before I eat. I have such a screwed up view of food, I know it’s going to take some hardcore work on my part to get better. This is just step one.

I’m also a big fan of weight loss rewards. I haven’t gotten any in a LONG time. I’m going to change that starting now. Every time I reach a ten pound weight loss mark, I’m going to reward myself with something that is not food related.

I don’t have the entire list planned out by any means, but I do have two things in mind.

The first is what I’m going to reward myself with when I get to 360. At 360 pounds, I am going to buy myself an authentic, antique map. You can actually find some from hundreds of years ago on eBay for under ten bucks.

I’m fascinated by things that are old. My keychain is a shoe buckle that was found in the grounds around a German castle (I think – my memory is a little foggy. I’ve had it for about thirteen years now). It was dated to the 1500s. So I have a keychain over 500 years old. To me, that’s cool. Who knows – some part of me may be hoping that I’ll buy some ancient artifact that will give me super powers or something. You can’t prove it won’t happen, right?

Despite my love for old things, my ultimate goal weight reward is not old. It’s definitely geeky, though.

I’m buying an actual Blue Ranger helmet.

Not one of the strap-on or cheap plastic Halloween masks. A for-real Blue Ranger helmet.

It won’t be a cheap purchase; with shipping, today, it will cost me $300. There is a guy on eBay who sells them regularly. (His auction is where I got the above pic.) Hopefully, in the next few years when I reach goal weight, it won’t be much more expensive. I’m not saying I plan to ever get into cos-play. I just think this would look amazingly cool sitting on my book shelf. I’ll reward myself with the other Power Rangers helmets as I maintain my weight loss. Six months at goal and I get the Pink Ranger helmet.

And so on and so on until I have all six. (Yep, I’m a super-mega-major geek. Fortunately, Tina loves geeks, even if she doesn’t always share my geeky interests.)

At some point during this weight loss reward journey, I also plan to buy a Freddy Krueger glove, also for display. (No murdering, I promise.) I may get that when I get below 300.

I also like to collect movie and television show memorabilia, so those will show up in my rewards as well. I already have some. Back in 1997, I purchased a set of four face masks that were actually hanging on the juice bar set on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Those are still hanging in my bedroom at my parent’s house. Next time I visit, I’m bringing them to hang in my office at home. When I do, I’ll write a post about them.

Anyway, that’s my plan. I’m going to put a heavy emphasis on planning my food and eating real foods, and I’m going to reward myself with various geeky/old/memorabilia-like items as I lose weight.

What are your thoughts on weight loss rewards?

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Salute Your Shorts: Michael Comes to Camp

June 13, 2011
368.8 pounds
Change from June 1st = -6.5 pounds
Change from highest = 34 pounds

This has been a BUSY weekend. That is one reason why I haven’t shared a blog post before today.

The diet is still trucking along. I am doing my best to eat all good food. I’m not going to lie and say I never slip up, because I do. However, Tina and I have both discovered that if we eat clean, we feel better. There are also plenty of alternatives to junky things if I want a treat. For instance, I absolutely love Reese’s Cups. I can take a spoonful of uncooked oats, a spoonful of real peanut butter (which is peanut butter that I have ground myself from peanuts and nothing else, no sugar, no added oils, no junk), and a few dark chocolate chips, mix it together, and eat it. It doesn’t taste like a Reese’s Cup. Frankly, it tastes better. It’s real food for my body, admittedly a bit splurgy, but my body recognizes it as food, my sweet tooth is satisfied, and I don’t have the crash or yuckiness associated with fake food.

Work is admittedly a bit tougher. Tonight when I go home, I’m going to pack up a BUNCH of emergency work rations. I want to make some healthy food options that I can grab when I am at work and need to snack. At the moment, I’m thinking dehydrated fruit. I’ll report back as soon as I’ve done it.

In other good news, Tina and I just bought a car! My car, my 2002 Mustang, has almost 200,000 miles on it. She’s been a great car, but it’s time to put her out to pasture. We were approved for a loan, Tina did her research, and we selected this new (to us) 2009 Nissan Altima to join our family. Now we just need to give her a name!

And now on to the nostalgia section of today’s post.

There are two reasons why this blog post took a few days longer than I expected.

One, it was kind of hard finding the first episode of Salute Your Shorts online. I’ll admit that YouTube got me a little spoiled, and this particular episode wasn’t there. Fortunately, I finally found it today on Veoh. It was definitely a trip down memory lane.

Salute Your Shorts actually made me want to go to Summer Camp. It was about seven kids who went to a summer camp and their adventures with their camp counselor, Ug. Greatest show ever. I remember watching it religiously. I was sure the show had been on for years. It turns out they only made two seasons of thirteen episodes each. I certainly remember watching it over and over on Nickelodeon. I guess kid-me didn’t mind reruns.

Salute Your Shorts
Season One, Episode One
“Michael Comes to Camp”

Michael Stein has just arrived at Camp Anawanna. As soon as he arrives, he befriends camp geek Sponge.

Camp bullies Budnick and Donkey Lips promptly steal his luggage and sends his shorts up the flagpole. What else can Michael do except salute his shorts.

Budnick and Donkey Lips are definitely going to make Michael’s summer a living hell. In fact, just hours after arriving at camp, Michael and Budnick get into a fight during a baseball game.

This fight actually earns him respect with Budnick, who convinces Michael and Sponge to join their Secret Society. The admission fee is simple – raid the girls’ bunk and steal something from each. Telly, ZZ, and Dina find out about the raid, and they booby trap their bunk. Michael and Sponge sneak in, and although the Polaroid camera goes off and captures photographic evidence of their prank, they steal the photo along with the three items. They steal ZZ’s diary and Dina’s makeup kit. Michael planned to steal Telly’s baseball mitt, but in their haste to get the photo, he got her glasses intead. When they get back to the boy’s bunk, Michael and Sponge realize they have lost Telly’s glasses in the woods. They immediately go back out to find them, but instead, Michael steps on them and breaks them. Budnick promises to keep Michael safe from retribution now that he is a member of the Secret Society.

The next morning at breakfast, the girls confront the boys. Budnick, true to his word, successfully pins the blame on some poor random kid. The entire cafeteria immediately begins to deliver an Awful Waffle to this innocent kid, but even though Sponge is imploring Michael to keep his mouth shut, he can’t. He confesses that it was him. The kid is freed, Budnick and Donkey Lips are now Michael’s enemies, and Telly is even more disgusted with Michael than she ever has been with Budnick. Even Sponge rebels, painting Budnick’s shirt with ketchup.

Fortunately, Telly’s parents’ insurance pays for her to get contacts. Telly tells Michael that she just “sort of” hates him, but since he told the truth about what happened, she doesn’t totally hate him. The episode ends with Telly and Michael going off to play basketball, while ZZ and Dina exact their revenge by toilet papering the boys’ bunk.

Weight Loss Analogy

Budnick and Donkey Lips offered Michael admittance into their Secret Society, an act that would have made Michael’s summer much easier. Michael, even though he was a bit hesitant, accepted their offer.

He was going to take what, on the surface, appeared to be the easy road.

Except it wouldn’t have been.

He wouldn’t have been able to really be friends with the girls. He wouldn’t have really been able to be friends with anyone who wasn’t in the Secret Society, and frankly, he wouldn’t have even been friends with them.

How many times have we taken what, at first glance, appears to be the easy road on our weight loss journey? Rather than do what we know works, eating real food and working out, we want to take a different avenue. We’ll count calories, even though we’re eating tons of fast food while we do it.

Or we’ll spend money on the next miracle diet drug. Dexatrim. Phen fen. The new tapeworm diet. (Seriously. Google it.)

Heck, our easy road might even be to do nothing. Just stay fat. Get fatter, even. That’s easier, right?

It might even work. Things might seem easier for a while.

Except that it’s not. If we don’t fuel our body with good foods, it can operate efficiently. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying to never enjoy a McDonald’s hamburger if that’s what you are craving or a taco from taco bell. I’m saying don’t make it a habit. Make it a treat; not a regular indulgence.

If we take that diet pill, we might lose weight. And we might damage our heart in the process.

If we don’t do anything, we won’t lose weight. We won’t be the best Us we were meant to be.

I know I’ve certainly taken the easy road.

In 2006, I had a bad breakup. At the time, I weighed about 260. Much thinner than I am now. When that relationship ended, I started binging.

I put on twenty pounds in a month.

I didn’t stop until I was well over 300 pounds several years later. And now, here I am today, almost 370, struggling to relearn what I knew before that relationship in 2006. I’m struggling to lose weight I’ve already lost once.

For a while, that easy road was great. I could consume my feelings along with boxes of Pop Tarts and McDoubles by the bag. And it did me no good. I put on weight, and it wasn’t until I examined my feelings and actually dealt with them responsibly and without food that I was able to move on. I’ve got my head on straight, but the weight isn’t leaving as easily this time. That easy road cost me a lot. I don’t plan to ever do that again.

Have you ever taken the easy road? What resulted?

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Power Rangers: Teamwork

June 9, 2011
366.6 pounds
Change from June 1st = -8.7 pounds
Change from highest = -36.2 pounds

I am now weighing in every day. I may not do this forever, but I’m doing it now for a big reason. I think it is an integral part of the mental health process for me to strip the scale of its power. Weight fluctuates, daily. You can do everything right and see a slight increase on the scale from the day before. Many weight loss experts say you should avoid the scale daily for this very reason, as it can cause undue stress.

Well, I can’t necessarily control temporary water gain and fluctuations of a few pounds. But I can control my stress over it. That’s what I’m doing now. Yesterday, my weight went up a bit over a pound. No worries; I knew it would drop. Today it dropped, almost three pounds. What will it do tomorrow?

It doesn’t even matter, so long as the overall trend for June is downward. I may start using PhysicsDiet again, just to see that downward trend.

Again, do understand that this is a work in progress for me. I’m sure some day my weight will spike, I’ll be confused by it, and I’ll have to struggle not to binge. Ignoring the problem, however, will not make it go away. I can only fix this by addressing it head on, which is what I am currently doing.

After today’s episode of Power Rangers, I’m going to take a brief break from Angel Grove and head to Camp Anawana and Salute Your Shorts! Oh, and in case you don’t know where to find these nostalgic videos, I’m getting the mall from YouTube. It’s like someone took my childhood and put it online!

First aired September 8, 1993


Kim and Trini are trying to get signatures on a petition to shut down a dumpsite.

Little do they know, the dump is actually a trap created by Rita Repulsa. When they go to the dump site to deliver their petition, they are attacked by Putties. In addition, Rita also sends her newest creation, the Minotaur, to fight the Ranngers.

While the girls finish fighting the putties, the boys attack the Minotaur. Zordon has the team unite, because it is only as a whole team that they can defeat Rita’s monsters. This is the toughest battle the Rangers have had to face yet, so Zordon gives the team their Power Weapons.

Even more impressively, their weapons can combine to make the Power Blaster, and with this weapon, Rita’s Minotaur is history.

At the end of the day, the Rangers have learned they are best and strongest when functioning as a team.

Weight Loss Analogy

Zordon gave the Rangers their Power Weapons, which was just the edge they needed to defeat the monster.

We all should have our own secret weapons in our battle, too.

We all know what to do. We know how to count calories or points, work out, eat properly… all that is a given. So why aren’t we all thin? Things come up. Bad choices are easier to make.

However, if we properly equip ourselves, then it will be easier to make the good choices.

One of my Power Weapons is fruit. Aside from the fact that fruit is a zero point food on Weight Watchers, it tastes good, it is good for me, and it is filling. If I am craving something sweet, then fruit often does the trick. It’s currently summer (or at least close enough), and there are more fruits available than ever before. Right now, I have apples, peaches, cherries, watermelon, and cantaloupe in my fridge, with even more (blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries) in my freezer. I’m eating several servings of fruit a day. It makes me feel amazing. I know I am fueling my body with something it needs, and it keeps me from eating things I do not need.

What are your Power Weapons on your weight loss quest?

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