Archive for August 2011

Stellar Review: EatSmart Precision Digital Bathroom Scale

I am very excited to announce…

I have a new sponsor, EatSmart Products!

I have had a pretty crappy scale for a while now (not made by EatSmart Products). It’s almost like the Biggest Loser Scale, jumping around in a 100-pound window. And worse yet, it has a feature that causes it to remember the most previous weight, and if you are within FOUR pounds of that weight, it won’t give you a new weight. So there were many mornings when, I would recognize my weight as the same from last time I weighed in, and I would have to weigh myself down with books to get a new reading so I could then weigh myself WITHOUT books to get yet another reading… Ugh. Time for a new scale.

So when this opportunity presented myself, I jumped at the chance. Yay EatSmart Products!

As seen in the above picture, that is my new scale, the EatSmart Precision Digital Bathroom Scale. And I already love it.

One problem, which is, in fact, not my scale’s problem. It was my old scale’s problem.

This scale is accurate. Very accurate. Truly within two ounces accurate.

When my new shiny scale showed up, I weighed myself on my old scale. I saw my weigh. 366ish. (I don’t remember the exact number now.)

I had loaded in the batteries for my new scale, and I stepped on. (This scale isn’t tap-on like my old one. You just step on and go.)

Literally about two seconds later, my new weight popped up.

379.0

How did I gain thirteen pounds in thirty seconds?!

Once I stepped back and was a bit more logical, I realized that no, this probably just means one scale or the other doesn’t weigh correctly at high weights. It’s not the first time this has happened to me.

So I go out to the garage and get a ten pound weight. 389.0.

I picked up my cat Guinness, who at his last vet check-up weighed around 8 pounds. 387.4. I go to the kitchen, find a can that (according to my kitchen scale) weighs 8 ounces, and then weigh myself again. 379.8.

Okay, this scale is crazy accurate.

I really do try not to let numbers rule my life, and I’m actually proud of myself for not losing my mind with my new scale giving me higher numbers. After all, it is truly just a number. My body did not change at all.

So yes, I am going to post a gain this week, but my hope is that this new scale will give me more accurate readings. I’ll admit to weighing every day since I’ve gotten it, and combined with strict adherence to my Weight Watchers program… my weight has been dropped every day. I’m pretty excited.

I’ll be weighing in every week on my new EatSmart Scale and posting a picture of weight and my scary hobbit feet.

Best yet… EatSmart Products is letting me do a giveaway!

If you don’t want to wait for the chance to win this scale for free, you can purchase it at Amazon.com. That link is EatSmart’s affiliate link. All money they make from their Amazon.com store goes to various charities. The charity for the month of August is the Children’s Health Fund.

This giveaway will run through September 1st at midnight, Central. The winner will be announced on Friday, September 2nd.

There are a number of ways you can enter. For each entry, you must leave a separate comment on this blog. Winner will be selected via random number generator at random.org. And sorry for those of you out of the US – this contest is only open to United States residents. The first entry is mandatory; the rest are optional.

1. Follow EatSmart Products on Facebook. – MANDATORY – You ust do this to have a chance at winning the scale. The rest are optional!
2. Leave a comment on this blog, stating you’d like to win the scale.
3. Leave this comment on twitter. “I just entered to win an @EatSmartScales digital scale at @stellarpath http://www.stellarpath.net/?p=807 #giveaway”
4. Follow me (@stellarpath) on Twitter.
5. Follow EatSmart (@eatsmartscales) on Twitter.
6. Follow Stellar Path on Facebook.
7. Leave a comment on EatSmart Product’s Facebook page about how you have entered the contest here and either how this new scale will help you or why you need this scale (or something similar).
8. Sign up for EatSmart Product’s Monthly Newsletter at EatSmartProducts.com.

So that is EIGHT possible ways you can win this scale! Aside from the fact that it looks great, it’s sturdy (weighs up to 400 pounds), fast (I love the step-on feature – my last scale was tap-on), and incredibly accurate!

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A Return to Weight Watchers Weigh-In

I am recommitting myself to Weight Watchers this week. I participate at the WW@WKU work group, and I basically never attend the meetings. I’ve had an immensely busy summer full of creating professional development modules, taking professional development opportunities for myself, delivering professional development to others, meetings, trying to refinance the house (oh heaven help me, why didn’t anyone warn me that this is actually MORE stressful and requires MORE paperwork than buying the house for the first time?!), and a host of other things. So… I haven’t gone to a meeting in several months.

I realized that I’ve pretty much stopped following the program, and I’m going to go back to points. There are times when I tire of points and just want to eat healthy. There are other times when the freedom to simply eat healthy means I eat WAY too much healthy food, and frankly, too much of a good thing is still too much.

The weight loss is still progressing, so don’t feel like I’m not making any progress, but I just remember how well I did on Weight Watchers the first time around when I actually stuck to the program, and I want to continue doing that well. So as of today, I dusted off eTools and I’m back to tracking!

August 22, 2011
367.1
Change from last week = -0.6 pounds
Change from Highest = -35.7

Weak. I can do better than that. I hope to post much higher numbers next week.

So how are my weekly goals faring? I did better this week than last!

1. Lost two pounds this week.

Not yet. I lost, but it wasn’t two pounds. Again, I simply ate too much. I know why. No mysteries. $1 goes into your pot.

2. Go to the drive-in to see Captain America and Transformers AND take a healthy picnic.

Success! We went Friday night and had a great time AND we ate well. We enjoyed ourselves, too, by splurging a little, but it wasn’t a free-for-all with funnel cakes, popcorn, and fried snickers from the concession stand. $1 for me!

3. Drink a gallon of water at least four days.

Success! It helps that I am immensely hot all the time, too. But I’m modifying this goal for next week – I quickly find myself falling into the trap of, “Oh, I better drink water to reach my goal.” I see no need to be one of those people who drinks water continually just because they want to drink water continually. I should drink water when I’m thirsty to quench my thirst, not guzzle it ‘til I’m miserable because I have a quota in mind.

4. Do yoga before bed at least three times.

Not yet. You know how they say we like to do things we are good at and avoid the things we aren’t. Yeah… I’m not good at yoga. I know that’s the whole point – you do yoga so you become more flexible, but I am so astoundingly BAD, it takes a great deal of effort for me to get to that point. However, I’m going to keep including this goal in there. I need to do yoga, I need to increase my flexibility… Flexibility is important for people in so many avenues – increased muscle repair time, increased strength, increased endurance. People who are flexible even make more money and poop diamonds, so… there you go.

5. Do three running workouts this week.

Success! I’m still WAY behind the curve, because I’m running from zombies in exactly two months. However, I still have hope and plans that I can make this happen, so I shall keep plugging away and do my very best.

To sum up, that’s $2 for you and $3 for me. Woo hoo! Our current balance is $5 and $5 each. As soon as we get to $12, I will be holding a giveaway. Stay tuned!

And my goals for this week…

1. Complete three running workouts.
2. Complete two weight lifting workouts.
3. Do at least one yoga workout this week.
4. Follow Weight Watchers all week and not go over weekly points.
5. Write at least 2,500 words on my novel.

The semester is about to start here on the hill. I’m excited about it. I love my job for so many reasons, not the least of which is that I love the energy of being on the Hill during the fall! Call me a dork, but I think the atmosphere on a college campus is intoxicating, and I love that I get paid to be here! That aside, I am also looking forward to fall, because I am tired of the heat of summer!

Are you looking forward to fall? How does it change your weight loss/fitness plans?

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Pink Ranger Dressing Recipe

Recently, I mentioned that I have discovered I like using Pink Ranger Dressing on my salad.

If you have no idea what Pink Ranger Dressing is, well, this post is for you.

Very quickly, why Pink Ranger Dressing? Am I such a Power Ranger geek that I would actually name random food after Power Rangers?

Well, yes, I am, probably, but that’s not what I call this dressing that. I call this dressing that because the actress Catherine Sutherland, who played the second Pink Ranger Katharine Hillard, now runs a blog called Homemade Lifestyle, about parenting and healthy recipes. Obviously, I started following it because… well, she’s the freaking Pink Ranger!

Put on your helmet, Kat! You're horrible at keeping your identity secret!

Put on your helmet, Kat! You're horrible at keeping your identity secret!

But she posted a recipe a few weeks back about how she makes oil and vinegar based dressings for her family.

There are two food substances that I hate.

The one I hate more than anything is ketchup. I think ketchup is the vilest of all the food stuffs. I don’t even know how it is considered food. It gags me. I would rather dip my French fries into mud. And I’m completely serious. I hate it. I hate smelling it. I hate seeing pictures of it. I hate that it exists. If I’m ever given three wishes, my second wish is to rid the world of ketchup. (The first wish is for ten trillion dollars, tax free, and the third wish is for a bigger penis wallet to keep my money in.)

Sorry, ketchup hate rant. My second most hated food stuff is vinegar. This one kind of makes me sad. Unlike ketchup which is full of sugar and evil and contains nothing good for the human body, I know that vinegar can actually be good for you.

As a result, when she shared a post about how she makes her own dressings, I decided to give it a try. It couldn’t be easier.

You need four ingredients. You need some type of oil (olive, sesame, walnut, et cetera), some type of vinegar (white, malt, rice, champagne, the sky is the limit), some type of sweetener (honey, brown sugar, agave, et cetera), and some type of binder (such as mustard, mayonnaise, avocado, and so forth – it basically just needs to be a flavor you like and kind of thick). An optional fifth ingredient, if your vinegar isn’t flavored, is flavoring, such as raspberries, garlic, shallots, orange…

Are you starting to get the picture that this is VERY versatile dressing?

For today’s mix, I chose walnut oil, raspberry flavored wine vinegar, amber agave, and honey mustard. Since the vinegar is flavored, I don’t need a fifth flavoring ingredient.

In a jar, carafe, or whatever container you choose to make your dressing in, add about ¼ cup or so (I didn’t measure) of the oil.

Add a similar amount of vinegar. You can add or more less, depending upon how you like your dressing. With this recipe, experimentation is truly key. Next, add about half a tablespoon or so of your sweetener. If you like your dressing really sweet, add more. If you like your dressing tart, add less. Finally, add your binder. I usually put in about half a tablespoon or so, but to be honest, I eyeball it.

At this point, put the lid on and shake (or get out your whisk and… well, whisk).

Viola! You’ve just made salad dressing. It keeps in the fridge wonderfully. You may need to remix it before you use it, but it tastes amazing. I’ve gotten to where I even like to splash a little of this dressing on a bowl of nothing more than spinach leaves. It’s a fantastic way for me to get my greens AND some healthy oils in me. And again, let’s not forget about the health benefits of vinegar, which include helping the body absorb calcium (which is present in the greens), can increase insulin sensitivity in those who are insulin resistant, and it is full of easily-assimilated vitamins!

I’ve also made batches that were savory instead of sweet. The previous batch to this one used spicy mustard, light agave, garlic infused vinegar, and olive oil. It was ridiculously good, too.

The best part about using this type of dressing is that you don’t need much. Because it isn’t thick, it pretty easily coats a salad without having to use tons.

I wish I could say the other Power Rangers had cooking blogs and I’ve gotten other health tips from them, but I haven’t. Until they do, I can only add Pink Ranger Dressing to my cooking arsenal, but hey, it’s already proven to be a great way for me to get greens AND healthy oils and vinegar in my diet. Win.

In my next Ranger-themed food post, we’ll talk about Yellow Ranger Hoagies!

(Note: there are no Yellow Ranger Hoagies.)

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Weekly Goals

If you pay close attention, you’ll notice that I forgot to mention my weekly goals yesterday. Whoops! I was already doing so much in that post, it honestly slipped my mind.

Basically, my weekly goals are where I pick five goals for me to accomplish that week and I assign each one a value of $1. If I meet that goal, that $1 goes into my Fun Fund (presently saving up for I-don’t-know-what). If I don’t meet that goal, that $1 goes into Your Fund, where when it reaches a certain amount, I hold a giveaway here on the blog. The giveaway is healthy living related.

So, how did I fare this week?

Not really that hot.

1. Get my weight down to below 367.

FAIL. I got it down to around 367, but not below. $1 to you.

2. Run five minutes without stopping.

SUCCESS, sort of. I’m counting this one as a success, and here is why. Between establishing that goal and finishing the week, Tina and I decided to do Brad Gansberg’s 5K in 100 Days to help us get ready for the Run For Your Lives in October. I did my three running workouts this week, so even though I didn’t follow this one to the letter of the law, I followed it to the spirit of the law, and therefore, I am counting it.

3. Drink a gallon of water on at least four days.

FAIL. I have to keep working at this one. I came close on most days, but three full Nalgene bottles (around 96 ounces) is all I’ve done. And it’s not a case of my body doesn’t need the extra water – I’m actually frequently thirsty at work. I just don’t drink enough!

4. Eat a salad full of greens on at least five days.

SUCCESS! It was exactly five days, but I’m still counting it as a success. Some days it was literally just raw spinach with my Pink Ranger Dressing on it, but it was still full of greens. What’s Pink Ranger Dressing? Stay tuned. I’ll explain tomorrow!

5. Do yoga before bed at least three times.

FAIL. Didn’t even do yoga once. I did some stretches in the gym on their awesome stretching equipment, but no actual yoga. I plan to do better on that this week.

To sum up, $2 for me, $3 for you.

In the past, my goals often weren’t just concerned with health and fitness. They were frequently things that I was doing to better myself as a person or just have more fun. So… what are my goals this week?

1. Lose two pounds this week.
2. Go to the drive-in to see Captain America and Transformers AND take a healthy picnic.
3. Drink a gallon of water on at least four days.
4. Do yoga before bed at least three times.
5. Do three running workouts this week.

Why the drive-in goal? Well, Tina and I love the movies, and we’re fortunate enough to live in an area that actually has a drive-in.

Not our drive-in...

For $15, we can go and watch two movies, and this week, the two movies are ones that we’ve wanted to see since they were each released but haven’t made it to yet. However, drive-in picnic is usually consists of pretty poor food choices. This Friday night, we’re taking healthy food with us!

Have you ever had a healthy picnic? What did you pack?

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A Seven Points Weigh-In

Weigh-in info is below, but first… the story of my personal trainer test!

After I announced my plans to take the ACE Personal Trainer test, I suddenly became much more nervous.

My initial fear was that I would be the only fat guy in the room.

FYI - searching for "only fat guy in the room" on Google Images with SafeSearch to No brings up a surprising amount of porn

I can only say, I received so much support and well wishes from so many of you, I truly feel blessed.

So I kept going through my course materials. I studied muscles and insertion points, nutrition guidelines, professional roles and responsibilities of personal trainers, and so much more.

I took two practice tests on Friday, and I failed the first and barely passed the second. They also showed me something very important. Regardless of passing or failing, I had a LOT more studying to do before I felt comfortable presenting myself as a personal trainer.

On Saturday morning, Tina dropped me off at the testing site. I was the only fat guy in the room. I was also the only guy in the room. There were TWO people testing, me and a young lady who looked fit enough to have been a personal trainer. However, this was a testing center for any proctored test. She may have been taking the ACE PT test or the GRE or any other number of things. So my biggest fear was completely pointless.

How often is that the case? How often do we end up afraid of things that aren’t even real fears?

So, I took the test. I’m a fast tester; I always have been. I’m also one of the lucky people who does not suffer from test anxiety. No matter what the test is, the day of, I’m usually calm as a cucumber. Same thing here.

How did I do?

I failed by seven points.

I’m truly not upset. I’ll be honest – as I was taking the test, I really felt pretty good about it. I expected to see a score in the low 500s, barely passing. BUt oh well. Even if I had passed, I would have felt the need to study more to truly feel like I knew the material well enough to fully train someone.

Is it sour grapes?

Maybe a little. But I’m actually quite pleased to know that the ACE PT test is this tough. Honestly, it was one of the toughest tests I have ever taken. My game plan is to continue studying, and I’m going to take it next year.

Next year, I’ll be thinner. No wish crap. I will be. Period.

This week, therefore, is a Seven Points Weigh-In.

No, not a Seven Pounds weigh-in.

Most depressing movie ever...

August 15, 2011
367.7
Change from Last Week = -2.1 pounds
Change from Highest = -35.1 pounds

Yay! I lost two pounds! Woo hoo!

The semester starts two weeks from today, and I can’t wait! I spent the day at a New Faculty Orientation. The highlight of my day was when Big Red (WKU’s mascot) took the mike. (If you aren’t from WKU, you should know that Big Red never talks. Ever.) It was funnier if you were there.

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