In Review

Horror Movie Weight Loss Review: The Poughkeepsie Tapes

If you’ve been reading Stellar Path for very long, you may have learned that I LOVE horror movies. Heck, Freddy Krueger (along with a plethora of other geeky things) is in the header of my blog. I’ve found, whenever I watch movies, that I tend to look for weight loss analogies. It’s my way of helping me stay motivated; I can find little snippets of wisdom and motivation to stay on this journey almost anywhere.

At one point, I really wanted to write a horror movie blog, but I’ve clearly discovered that I have the time and energy for exactly one blog. This is how I am killing two birds with one stone. I’ll still be reviewing horror movies, but I’m going to be doing it with a weight loss twist.

The first movie that I want to talk about is called The Poughkeepsie Tapes. This movie never received a wide theatrical release, and that’s a shame, because this movie is amazing. At the same time, I can see how this movie wouldn’t have been overly popular. It’s a take on the found footage style of movies, such as Paranormal Activity or The Blair Witch Project. This movie is not for everyone; it can get in your head in a very odd way, and it’s definitely a little unsettling.

You can see the trailer below.

This movie has also still not received a DVD release, even though it came out in 2007. This movie is likely stuck in purgatory. I ordinarily would never do this, but the only way you are going to be able to watch this movie is on the internet. So, if you’d like to watch this movie, go to this link. (And be warned – it is split into two different videos.) Yeah, I know – it’s on myspace. That’s kind of embarrassing. But if you like get-under-your-skin horror movies, this one delivers.

The movie, like so many others, claims to be a true story. It is not.


In a rental home in Poughkeepsie, New York, 800 numerically arranged videotapes were found. These video tapes were the self-filmed journal of a prolific serial killer. This serial killer had numerous MOs, and he even orchestrated the death of one person with the US judicial system. The tapes contained over 2400 hours of murder, dismemberment, fetishes involving balloons, and more things, too horrific to name. Despite providing over 2400 hours of filmed footage, the identity of the Poughkeepsie killer has never been determined.

The film contains clips from the Poughkeepsie tapes, along with interviews from FBI agents, profilers, local law agencies, and psychologists. The killer is obviously extremely intelligent and is still at-large.

Weight Loss Analogy

For the weight loss analogy, there were two different avenues I could have taken. I could examine weight loss from the killer’s point of view, or I could looked at it from the viewpoint of the various agencies that have tried to profile him. I selected to go with the one that was a bit more unsettling – the killer’s.

He is, quite frankly, very good at what he does.

What does he do? He murders. He films it. He stays hidden from society. As a serial killer, he is extremely successful.

The numerous profilers throughout the film talk at length about how he got away with it. He practiced; he was methodical; he was precise.

Just as we have to be with weight loss. (Hey, see what I did there? Whatcha think?)

Just as he couldn’t just go out and kill randomly without a plan, we can’t sit down to a meal without some planning and forethought. If we just start eating when we’re hungry, we may make bad food choices and we’ll certainly eat too much. The steps of weight loss will eventually become second nature, but it will take a long time.

Until it becomes second nature, be methodical. Be precise. And watch everything you do.

Next week, I’ll be doing a “lighter” horror-ish film, The Sixth Sense. (Okay, it’s really more of a thriller, but I need something a little lighter after this freaky film.)

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Life Stuff

I have not been around for a few days. This may be a fairly length blog post, so if you want to know what has happened and what will be happening to me, please read ahead to find out.

First of all, the good things. Tina and I recently returned from our babymoon in San Diego. It was a great last trip before we have the baby. Baby Logsdon is still doing great (although our last ultrasound revealed he was going to be a very LONG baby – I’m not surprised; his mother and I are both six feet tall).

Other good things – my entire family is still with me, even though if things had been just a little different the other day, I couldn’t say that now.

I’ll explain that one, first.

My mother is a Type 2 Diabetic. She was diagnosed when I was in middle school. I’ve watched her struggle with it my entire life.

I got a call from my father at 7:30 a.m. yesterday morning, a Saturday. We were all going to meet up later that morning to go to my nephew Clint’s graduation. He was calling to say they would not be able to make it, and he further explained why.

My mother almost died in bed early Saturday morning. Her sugar crashed in the middle of the night, and she was unable to wake herself up to consume orange juice or something else with sugar. Dad only knew it was going on because he heard her trying to scream to get his attention.

He tried to get her to drink orange juice, but at that point, her sugar was far too low. He called 911, and the paramedics were able to get her stable. She didn’t have to go to the hospital, and now, she is fine.

Her sugar has certainly crashed before, but it has never crashed that drastically or caused her to have that dramatic a reaction.

This is the part that scares me. If my father had not been there, my mother would be dead right now.

Just a few weeks ago, my dad left the house at 2 a.m. for a week straight because a nonprofit agency he is the head of was doing security at the Kentucky Derby. If this had happened then, when my mother was alone, she would have had no one to call 911 for her, and she probably would have laid in bed and died, alone. The nonprofit agency is a Rescue Squad, and that means they frequently go out on calls in the middle of the night to search for people who have been reported missing. If he had been out on a call, she would have died.

I may be 34 years old, but I’m not ready to give up my mom yet. She’s only 67. She should still have many years of life left in her.

I called her Saturday afternoon, and we talked for a while. She knows she has to get her health under control. She did Weight Watchers with me in the past, and she was successful at it. But as circumstances change, she stopped going.

She wants to be around for the birth of my son. I want her around to watch my son graduate college.

She and I are going to start going to Weight Watchers again. There is a meeting in my city every Saturday morning at 10 a.m., so she is going to drive up and we’ll attend together. With the structure of the meetings and the weekly support and weigh-ins, I feel very confident that she’ll overcome this obstacle. I hope, sometime shortly down the road, I can write a blog post about how her type 2 diabetes is completely overcome.

Just as importantly, I know that the group support of Weight Watchers will be useful for me, too.

Something else has been going on, too. Let me explain this one by explaining my thoughts on dieting. (It’s relevant, I promise.)

I am a huge fan of moderation. That’s why I can’t ever subscribe to ONE diet plan, because I want to eat… well, everything. I can’t commit to being vegan forever because I like meat and cheese. I can’t commit to being paleo forever because I like cheese and bread. I can’t commit to Atkins forever because I like fruits, veggies, and bread.

But, that said, there is one food that I will never, ever, ever, as long as I live, consume again.

Artificial sweeteners.

They are literally poison, and I am suffering from the effects right now.

Before I explain, let me give a little back history.

When I was in my mid-teens, I was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. It primarily affected my upper body, mostly my hands, and it was painful, crippling, and embarrassing. I remember my fingers swelling up so large they wouldn’t bend. I went to a doctor, was put on some anti-inflammatory meds, and by the time I was 15, it was over and in remission.

In my late twenties, I began having pain and swelling in my right knee. I truthfully ascribed it to my obesity, and kept saying, “Well, when I get to goal weight next year, it won’t hurt anymore.”

I’m now 34, and I’m still not at goal weight. My knee still hurts. It typically painfully swells about two to three days out of every ten. The other days, I’m fine. My chiropractor even told me she suspected it wasn’t because of my weight, as if it was, both knees should have been affected. Regardless, she agreed losing weight would help it.

About three and a half weeks ago, I went through a two-day binge of Diet Dr. Pepper. I drank maybe twenty ounces of water over those two days. My food was fine and spot-on. My diet soda consumption was three two-liters over those two days. Not good. It was, in my mind, an acceptable, calorie-free binge.

On day three, I woke up with the most painful swollen knee I have ever experienced. I took four ibuprofen and the hottest shower I could stand to even be able to move around somewhat easily.

My wife has been trying to get me to give up artificial sweeteners for years. I made a very clear association – my sweetener binge led to a swollen knee. I was done.

I threw away my Crystal Light and poured my last 2-liter down the sink. If I want soda, I’ll have the regular kind and count the calories.

Well, an interesting thing happened.

My body lost it’s freaking mind.

My right knee, which is the only joint I’ve been having troubles in for YEARS, decided it wanted company. Left knee. Both ankles. Alternating elbows. At one point, my left elbow was so stiff, I couldn’t straighten my arm out more than about 120 degrees. Two days later, my left elbow was fine and my right elbow was so stiff, I couldn’t touch my right ear.

Oh, and the newest pain to join my old-guy-aches? Fiery hot nerve flare-ups on the back of my left hand.

I was beginning to believe I had developed rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, or lupus. Or all three. I couldn’t exercise. I could barely walk, and this was with me taking MULTIPLE ibuprofen a day. You know how the bottle says you shouldn’t take more than six a day? Some days, I took sixteen.

I scheduled an appointment with my doctor, fearing the results but knowing I had to do something. But then, on a lark, I visited Dr. Google, and I got the best news I had ever heard.

I wasn’t alone. I probably didn’t have RA or lupus.

I was experiencing the common after effects of going cold turkey on artificial sweeteners.

Except for headaches (which I never get), the symptoms were like a checklist of what was wrong with me. Other people had gone cold turkey and their bodies suddenly hated them. I kept my doctor’s appointment, but I felt a great relief.

But then I got some bad news. Most of these people said it took two to three months to get back to their normal, pain-free lives.


So at over two weeks out, I was still hobbling. I was still in extreme pain.

It sucked. My wife and I went to San Diego, and I was in extreme pain for the entire trip.

I did a little research on diets that would help with inflammation.

Time and time again, I kept coming back to various forms of paleo. Give up the grains and the inflammation will disappear.

Paleo, as many of you know, is giving up grains, dairy, and legumes (beans and peanuts).

Last Monday, I decided I would start a paleo-ish diet. I can’t say that I am paleo, because I’m not being too strict on dairy. I don’t really drink cow’s milk anyway, so I have cut that out, but if I want cheese once a week or so, I’ll have it, provided it is a hard cheese. Basically, my “paleo” is giving up grains, legumes, and most dairy. I know some paleo people would call me a heretic, so if people ask, I mostly say I’ve just given up grains.

Giving up legumes is not a big deal. I hate beans and literally eat them only for the health benefits. It’ll be no trouble cutting them out. I do like peanuts (a legume), but I’m going to give them up, too, just because saying sayonara to peanuts or peanut butter won’t be that difficult.

As I said, last Monday, I started giving up all grains, all legumes, and most dairy. By Wednesday, I was taking only two ibuprofen a day. My results were anecdotal only, but I felt SO much better. My daily weigh-ins showed that weight was coming off fairly steadily, too. My suspicion for this? Without eating starches, it is fairly difficult to eat high calorie. I was eating proteins and fats (along with LOTS of veggies and some fruits), and I had no trouble getting satisfied and keeping my caloric intake low. It was clear that I was walking better. I still had soreness, but I felt tons better.

You’d think it would be easy to just keep giving up grains, wouldn’t it? Well, I gave up grains for five days, and I fell off the wagon on Friday. I ate a slice of pizza and had two breadsticks.

By Saturday morning, I was a crippled old man again. It hurt to lay in bed. It hurt to sit on the couch. It hurt to hobble around the house.

Dare I say it? Grains are the devil.

This can’t be a coincidence. Tina asked me if I thought it might be psychosomatic.

If it is, sign me up for crazy pills because I’ll take relief in whatever healthy form I can get it.

I plan to keep eating grain-free. I know that I will eventually have bread again. I’m hoping that someday, I’ll be light enough with healthy joints so I can occasionally have a slice of bread or pizza without being crippled. But for now, at my weight, that is not an option, so if my options are pain-free days or eating bread, I’ll take the pain-free days.

Upcoming Plans

I need to blog more often. It keeps me sane, and it provides an outlet. I know this blog isn’t widely read, but it’s useful for me. (And to those of you who comment or read without commenting, I thank you for being there for me, even if we’ve never actually spoken.)

I’ve come up with a schedule for blogging. I want to blog daily, at least until such point that it becomes a chore. I have a proposed schedule I’m going to try.

Monday – Motivational Monday
Tuesday – Healthy Recipe
Wednesday – Wednesday Weigh-In
Thursday – Geeked Out Weight Loss Review
Friday – Open Letters (a.k.a. Stellar Path Stalks Celebrities)
Saturday – Photog Friday (a photo recap of the previous day)
Sunday – Horror Movie Weight Loss Review

As other things occur that I want to blog about, I am, of course, at liberty to abandon this schedule as I see fit.

Starting this upcoming Saturday, my mother and I will begin attending Weight Watchers. I will continue eating grain-free, and I’m still trying to decide if I’m going to post my Weight Watchers weigh-ins (late on Wednesday, obviously) or if I’ll just continue weighing in at home.

In Conclusion

I realize this was a long, slightly random post about a lot of different things, but I had a lot to get out at once. Thanks for reading.

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Workout Video Review: Sweatin’ to the Oldies

I’ve shared on this blog several times that I have committed to losing this weight gym-free. This does not mean that I am not working out, however. Tina and I both do weight lifting (I will admit – it does help that I have free weights at home), but cardio is a bit tougher.

Sometimes, I just do walk aerobics in the living room while I watch television.

However, a few days ago, I remembered that I had a huge collection of workout videos somewhere in storage. Given how sadly disorganized I am, that could mean my huge stash of workout videos (seriously, probably 50 or more) is in one of three places:
a) The closet in my office that I crammed full when I moved in three years ago and pretty much haven’t touched since
b) In a tote somewhere in my garage that my car will not even fit in
c) In one of fifteen places at my parent’s house, because I never took them when I moved out

Well, after a quick search in the garage, it turns out that the answer is probably all three. However, I did find a tote with several videos in it (and a VCR, thank goodness), and I’ve decided that for the next little bit, I’m going to select one video a week for my cardio.

I’ll share in a blog post about my weight loss journey(s), but I have to say, one man has shown up in my weight loss efforts more than anyone else. This man is mocked, but I honestly believe he has people’s best interests at heart.

That man is Richard Simmons.

And for that reason, I am choosing to do Sweatin’ to the Oldies for my first week doing VHS cardio workouts!

Sweatin’ to the Oldies came out in 1988, and it was pretty revolutionary for its time. It actually had real music, played by an actual on-screen band. The music video was even set at a high school prom (so chosen because Richard Simmons never went to his own prom because he was embarrassed by his then-obesity.)

Even more than that, the people working out in this video covered the spectrum. There were thin people who had never had a weight problem, but even more significantly than that, there were obese people participating.

If you’ve never done a Sweatin’ video, you should probably know that Richard Simmons is always Richard Simmons. Some people are highly irritated by him. If you are one of those people, you will not enjoy this workout.

His first Sweatin’ video (there are five total) is also his shortest. It clocks in at about thirty-nine minutes. It consists of a cardio warm up, upper body and lower body stretching, five aerobic songs, cardio cool down, and a cool down stretch.

My rating: 8/10

I will definitely enjoy doing this video for the next week.

Oh, and my favorite part of Richard’s videos? At the end, all of the dancers get to dance into the camera and show off how much weight they’ve lost.

In other news, don’t forget about the Eat Smart Scales giveaway! It ends on Thursday night!

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New Years’ Resolution Update: March Edition

It’s time that I mentioned my resolution update for the month of March, isn’t it? Especially now that the month is HALF FREAKING OVER. When did that happen? Who took the first half of March? Well, enjoy, because the April update will be coming in about two and a half weeks. *sigh* Is time going faster because I’m getting older?

Lose 120 pounds.
February’s Goal: To get below 352
The verdict: It didn’t happen, but that’s okay. I weighed 364.2 when the year started. Last Friday, I weighed 355.1 Okay, it took me two months to lose that, but you know what, I am apparently a slow loser. I yearn for the day when the weight suddenly just falls off of me like hot butter, (mmm… butter), but that day isn’t here yet. For now, I’ll cherish every pound I lose, no matter how long it takes. I’m not going to change my resolution to lose 120 pounds, even though I can realistically say that it looks less and less likely that is going to happen. But you know what? If I weigh fifty pounds less on January 1, 2012, I’m still going to consider my weight loss in 2011 a success.
March’s Goal: To get below 350.

Bench press 180 pounds.
February’s Goal: Increase bench press to 140.
The verdict: Not yet. I tried, but I hit a wall on my bench press. I may have even tried to do too much too fast. I can do 140 one rep (not a big deal – everyone can do more on one rep than a set), but I want to do 180 as a set, not a one-time look-what-I-can-do kind of thing. (Honestly, I *might* be able to do 180 now as one-set-who-cares-about-form. Not my idea of fun or an accomplishment, so I’m not even trying.) So we’ll keep at it.
March’s Goal: Increase bench press to 140.

Eat 52 new vegetarian dishes over the course of the year.
February’s Goal: Report on all four February dishes and plan out all four of March’s.
The verdict: I am getting rid of this resolution. It has become a chore. I’m very picky when it comes to fruit and veggies, and I’m finding that yeah, I have tried most of what is available around here, and I like what I like and I hate what I hate. Parsnips suck. I’m still eating healthy, and in fact, I have recently learned that I love salads with salsa as dressing. Who knew? So this one is going bye bye and will not make another appearance until December 31, 2011, when I post my yearly review and proclaim this resolution as DEAD. I do have a foodie thing coming soon (later this week), but I’m not going to hold myself to a firm schedule or try to increase my taste buds. More info soon, I promise.

Become an ACE certified personal trainer with at least two clients by year’s end.
February’s Goal: Study through Chapter Two of ACE’s Essentials of Exercise Science for Fitness Professionals textbook.
The verdict: *sheepish look* Work was really busy, okay! But I am working my way through Chapter One. I’ve got ‘til August to take the test… and I’ve got a great idea for getting clients AFTER my certification… Look, I’ll do better this month.
March’s Goal: Study through Chapter Two of ACE’s Essentials of Exercise Science for Fitness Professionals textbook.

Complete (and edit) that young adult novel that keeps popping up in my brain.
February’s Goal: Write 8,000 more words on my young adult novel.
The verdict: Woo hoo! Success! I found my muse for a few days and got out my required 8,000 words plus a few thousand more. Best yet, I am LOVING this story, and I can’t wait to share it when everyone!
March’s Goal: Write 5,000 more words on my young adult novel.

Attempt to have my watercolor paintings put up in the gallery at the local library.
February’s Goal: Paint at least two paintings in my series.
The verdict: Apparently, I can only have one creative muse inspired at a time. The watercolor muse has taken a hike. Hopefully, that can be reclaimed in March.
March’s Goal: Paint at least ONE painting in my series.

Create an online store to sell my photographs, space paintings, and watercolor paintings (and other arty things, including light-up wine bottles).
February’s Goal: Open store.
The verdict: I did it! Not much in it yet (one item) and no sale, but my store at etsy at least exists! Please check it out at and buy stuff, okay? I’m poor and need to make monies!

Build my first ever snowman.
February’s Goal: Make a snowman, even if it is a tiny snowman.
The verdict: Did it! Already posted about it! Yay snowman!

Send 100 letters out through The Mail Project.
February’s Goal: Mail out fifteen letters, eight for February and seven that I missed in January.
The verdict: Well I suck-diddly-uck. You know, when you love your job, it’s easy to get busy with work. And I’ve honestly been so busy, a LOT of stuff like this went by the wayside. Don’t give up on me, though. The Mail Project will be coming back!
March’s Goal: Mail out five letters. Easy and doable. Just do it.

Take Tina to Las Vegas after she graduates.
February’s Goal: Put this one on the back burner until May 2011 when I re-evaluate our finances.
The verdict: Still backburnered.
March’s Goal: Will remain backburnered until Tina graduates.

Visit at least one more National Park.
February’s Goal: Reference the Vegas trip.
The verdict: Ditto. Not yet.
March’s Goal: Will remain backburnered until Tina graduates.

Begin work on my doctorate.
February’s Goal: Back burnered until May 2011.
The verdict: I’ve been toying with this one for a while, and I’m giving it SERIOUS thought to waiting until after I’ve started a family to seriously pursue my doctorate. I know it will take a LOT of hard work, and I want to give it my all when I finally do start. I’ll still pursue educational pursuits in the time being, but I think babies might be more in my future before an Ed or Ph.D. are. (And no, we’re not having babies YET.)

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5K Training Update

Last week, I mentioned that we have signed up for the Run for your Lives in Darlington, Maryland, a zombie infested 5K obstacle course, taking place on October 22, 2011.

I’ll go ahead and warn you – you should expect LOTS of talk about us preparing for this race.

It was monumentally huge for us to sign up for this race. Neither Tina nor I have ever come close to running a 5K. However, we are now in training for it. Right now, I’m just working on getting a good walking speed for a 5K. Later, I’ll add the jogging and running elements to it. I know I can’t take too much time, because even though we have eight months now, I know this race will be here before we realize it.

What am I hoping to accomplish in the next eight months?

I want to get a few non-zombied 5Ks under my belt. There’s one at the end of March that I plan on walking, and I HAVE to be able to run one well before October.

I want to lose eighty more pounds by October, at least. That’s always a work in progress, and yes, I’ll be happy with any weight that I can lose. However, ten pounds a month times eight months equals eighty, so that’s what I’m shooting for.

I want to greatly increase my flexibility by then, too. This is an obstacle course, so I’m sure agility and strength will come into play just as much as speed.

I’m sure I’ll post periodically about how the training is going. Right now, I want a good walking speed for a 5K.

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