Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Polar Bear Swim

I just got back from the gym to discover my lovely wife, Claire, had prepared a week's worth of chili for my lunches.  When I offered to put it in containers, she insisted on doing it.  She said she wanted to see the project through to the end.  Isn't she great?  Also, the chili is super healthy.  Find the recipe here.

I kicked some serious butt at the gym tonight.  I actually ran on the treadmill.  With every footfall I could feel the fat in my upper body slam down.  Oddly enough, I didn't really experience this in the spring when I was running on a regular basis.  It must be because the fat on my body is looser now and freer (that word looks weird) to bounce up and down.  Gross.

A few days ago, a friend of mine from college texts me out of the blue and asks me if I want to do a Polar Bear Swim on Saturday.  For those of you from warmer climes than Minnesota, a polar bear swim is where a bunch of idiots jump into a frozen lake in the middle of winter to raise money for charity.  Around here, the charity is the Special Olympics.  I had to inform him that you need to raise pledge money in order to take the plunge.  Luckily, there are a series of Polar Bear Plunges in different places in Minnesota on different weekends.  The one in Minneapolis is on March 6th so we're considering that one.  That gives us over a month to raise money.


I've been on the fence about doing the Polar Bear Swim.  I really want to do it, but I'm an enormous chicken.  So I'm leaving it up to you.  Now I could have just asked for a yes or a no, but I want you to put your money where your mouth is.  I've created a poll.  You may notice it at the top of the side-bar on the right.  The poll will only be open until 8:00pm on Thursday, so vote now!

If I end up doing this, I want to raise a good chunk of money.  I work with kids with special needs and the Special Olympics is a fantastic cause.  It's great for the self esteem of people with special needs and it promotes fitness.  Hey, I'm trying to promote fitness too!  I'm going to try to raise at least $400 so here's what I'm thinking.

If I manage to raise:

$75, I'll take the plunge and blog about it later.  $75 is the minimum cut-off to enter.
$150, I'll post pictures of me taking the plunge on my blog.
$300, I'll post video of myself foolishly jumping in a frozen lake to my blog.
$500, I'll wear a silly costume
$800, I'll let you vote on the costume
$1000, I'll take suggestions for a silly costume and let you vote on each and every suggestion (they have to meet regulation of course, I'd prefer if I could make or find it for cheap, and they have to be feasible, so no assless chaps please.)

If you have any other ideas for strange things I can do at different dollar amounts, I'd love to hear them.  Also, I'll be writing up a bio of anyone who joins my team right here on 100 pounds in a year.

So please vote.  If the results look encouraging enough to convince me to jump in a frozen lake when the poll closes, I'll go from there.

For more information on the Polar Bear Plunge and the Special Olympics, please visit the Polar Bear Plunge HQ.

Let's go make the world a better, healthier, and happier place!

Another Buffalo Chicken Sandwich

I had another buffalo chicken sandwich.  The last one I ate was over 2000 calories.

Now before you judge me, let me explain that this buffalo chicken sandwich was made of grilled -not fried- chicken.  I also replaced the fries with a side salad with light dressing.  Food is so much more enjoyable when it's not smothered with a dripping ladle full of guilt.

For desert I had a piece of fresh strawberry pie.  I'm sure the crust was chock-full of delicious sin, but that was probably eclipsed by the whipped cream they dumped on top. 

In all, I don't think I broke the bank.  If I don't make at least two pounds this week, I'll be blaming Thursday night's fondue.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Pool Story and a new 21-Day Challenge

I had one heck of a workout today.  Hopefully, I mitigated some of the damage I caused by eating fondue last night.  I'm starting a pretty lame 21-day challenge on Monday.  I'm going to make sure I drink the recommended 8 8-ounce glasses of water a day.  I know it's boring, but it's something I've been neglecting to do. 

Here's the pool story I promised yesterday.  It happened the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college.  I had been swimming at the pool in town early in the mornings before work.  It was usually pretty quiet.  Maybe me, one or two other swimmers, and the lifeguard.  Occasionally, I'd arrive a little later and there would be a few more people there, but there were always a few lanes open.  One day I got there and caught a glimpse of another swimmer who seemed to be trunkless.  I told myself there was no way anyone would do that.  He must have a flesh colored suit or something like that.  Then I saw his swimming trunks at the end of his lane.  I glanced up at the lifeguard.  She was very focused on her fingernails.  The worst part was the only lane available was right next to the guy.  I wasn't sure what to do.  I got in the water and tried to forget about the naked guy right next to me.  Seriously, who does that?   

My Story

I remember the first time someone called me fat.  I was in the second grade and I had no idea how to react.  Until then, I'd not really thought about my weight.  I was a twig when I was a kid and when that kid called me fat in second grade I was blindsided.  So I said "thank you." 

My second grade teacher had taught us to say thank you to insults in order to take the wind out of the sails of anyone insulting us.  It makes a degree of sense.  The kid says thank you to an insult and there's no escalation.  That way there's no real confrontation.  Now I teach elementary school music and my advice for dealing with an insult is a little different.  I tell kids to let each other know that something another student says or does hurts their feelings.  I try to model this for my students.  Some times it works, some times it doesn't.  Last week, a student was intentionally singing in a silly voice.  I told him that singing that way when we were trying to sing seriously was disrespectful to me and hurt my feelings.  He responded by saying, "I didn't know grown men had feelings.  I got rid of my feelings when I was six."

I think by saying "thank you" to the kid who called me fat, I owned it a little too much.  From that day on, I was officially fat.  It was part of my identity and I started eating like it.  There were plenty of other factors contributing to my weight, including emotional eating and a fondness for chicken nuggets, but I attribute a lot of my weight gain to the self fulfilling prophesy of being called fat.  The thank you response to being called fat eventually wore off, but, like many other people who have struggled with their weight, I tried to grow a self deprecating sense of humor. 

There are a few particularly painful memories I remember through elementary school.  The first was in fourth grade when we were running laps in the gym.  A couple kids decided to name my butt cheeks Tom and Jerry.  In fifth grade, I caught some girls drawing some pretty terrible pictures of me in a notebook.  I didn't see much, but the picture looked like a fat monster.  Riding the bus was the worst.  Older kids who were relentless about teasing me rode the bus.

Junior High School was much, much worse.  I tried so hard to be cool.  So hard.  Everyone else seemed to do it effortlessly.  It took years to realize that they were trying as hard as I was to look cool.  It felt like every day someone said something about my weight.  I was so insecure about my body.  God, puberty is an awkward time.  I had my first outbreak of stretch marks on my inner thighs.  Of course, I told no one and just let it scare me every time I saw them.  Then they happened around my arms.  I remember getting ready to go swimming and trying to stand casually so no one could see my stretch marks.  Soon it got a lot harder when they appeared on my belly.  I'm still just a little self conscious about them, but at least I know what they are now. 

Somewhere in here, my dad decided to tell me I was gaining too much weight.  He said he was worried about me and wouldn't drop it.  I felt awful about the whole thing but I think he was generally worried about me and since he had been thin all his life, didn't understand the psychological impact of expressing his concerns.  The same thing happened a few years later with my grandmother years later.  She pulled me close and tried to lovingly tell me that she was worried about me because I was getting too fat.  I wanted to cry.

By ninth grade, I was starting to form an identity.  I was the smart, fat, nerdy kid.  There were a lot more aspects to that personality but smart, fat, and nerdy pretty much summed me up (and still are part of who I am).  I would make a lot of jokes about my own weight.  I was still using the tactic my second grade teacher taught me about stealing the thunder of my assailants.  In order to fit in socially, I tried very hard to be the funniest person in my circle of friends.

High school was kind of a wash.  I was so wrapped up in everything I was in to notice my weight too much.  There were times I was convinced I was going to lose weight, but I never did.  I got a job at McDonalds.  There I developed a taste for fatty foods.  Miraculously, in the two years I worked there, I only gained 5 pounds.  I was in marching band and doing strength training and conditioning at school.  Imagine how much weight I would have lost if I hadn't eaten a 20 piece chicken nuggets every time I went to work.  I started jogging at one point, but gave up fairly quickly.

In college, I really tried to change who I was.  At this point I weighed 230 pounds and very much wanted to change that.  I did.  In the wrong direction.  I gained an almost exact freshman 15.  Then lost it over the summer.  I started getting really down on myself about my weight.  I blamed it for the fact I was always single and incredibly lonely.  I felt absolutely gross and terrible.  Looking back, it was probably my lack of confidence that kept women away.  I was sad and lonely, so I ate.  Then I'd get mad at myself for eating and I'd eat more to manage that.  Then I drank.  Alcohol helped me shed my self-doubt and interact with people more easily.  At least for the first few drinks.  By the end of most heavy drinking nights, I would get sad and lonely.  I ate and ate and tried to love myself.  Something changed when I met Claire.  When we first started dating, I instantly became a stronger person.  Almost instantly, I felt valid.  I still knew I was fat, but I didn't care.  A person who looked like me was capable of being with someone who looked like Claire (incredibly gorgeous).  Unfortunately, that meant I didn't care how much I weighed and started eating even less healthily.  Claire still gives me strength and validation every single day.  She's an incredibly important part of my identity, but now I understand that I need to lose weight for a different reason than women.  I need to lose weight so I can live a long and healthy life.  I spent 6 years in college getting my act together (which is another story in and of itself).  In that time I went from 230 pounds to 300 pounds.

Then I started my teaching career.  Kids don't understand that it's not okay to call someone fat.  It's a delicate subject, especially for someone who is very sensitive about his weight.   I've been told I was going to break a chair on several occasions, I've been told I was too big, had a big belly, fat, gross, the list goes on and on. 

I try not to be the gross, fat guy.  I'm very sensitive about how I appear when I eat.  I'm terrified that when I sit in a chair, it will break.  I once bent the legs on a cot.  Thankfully, no one brought it up.  I have bad sleep apnea.  Before I started exercising, I got winded easily.  I always spill food on my shirt, which draws attention to the fact that I've been eating. 

I know I've talked a lot about how I've struggled up to this point in life, but I've been pretty lucky so far.  I have an amazing wife, a great job, despite my complaining, I actually had a great time in college and discovered who I really was.  I've always had a family who loves me and enough food to eat.  I've never had to worry that I would be homeless.  I've never been a victim of a natural disaster.  Objectively, my life is pretty good.

So here we are.  I still have body image issues but I'm working on them.  I'm coming to the realization that losing a lot of weight won't erase the memories of the pain that weight has caused me.  I'm just hoping that losing weight will help me feel better about how I look.  Most importantly, I'm losing weight so I can be healthy and be able to do everything I want to do, without breaking any chairs in the process.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Blog of the Week

As I continue to blog about weight loss, I'm discovering a whole community of weight loss blogs very much like my own.  We're all at different points in our weight loss journeys, but at this stage (a little under 1/5th of the way to my goal), it means I have a lot of people to look up to.  I Last week I started awarding "blog of the week" to weight loss blogs that I read and enjoy.  Last week's winner was Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit.  He posts almost every day and is very entertaining.  I'll get to this week's blog of the week at the end of the post.  But first, a few thoughts on nutrition.

I've been getting into the Daily Plate from Livestrong.  Today I inputted all the food I had eaten through lunch today and everything seemed right on the money.  I'd consumed 55% of my allotted calories for the day, 54% of my recommended fat intake, 54% carbs, 67% fiber, and 75% protein, which is a little high, but that's okay.  Then I saw my sugar intake.  147%.  Holy crap!  I'm still trying to figure out where I went wrong.  Special K Red Berries with milk for breakfast, 23 grams of sugars (lactose is a sugar too).  I had an almond yogurt bar and a couple Special K bars for a mid-morning snack, 32 grams of sugars.  Then I had a banana and some reheated spaghetti with some meat sauce, 27 grams of sugars.

I totalled 81 grams of sugar in the first half of my day today.  147%.  I need to figure out how to avoid this in the future.  Maybe I'll switch to a different breakfast.  Maybe I'll change what snacks I'm bringing to work.  How healthy are bananas?  Should I be eating a different fruit?  Let me know what you think.

I've also been reading a lot about the connection between caffeine and weight loss.  I think I'll quit drinking pop once I get through the case of Diet Coke in my apartment.  I'll write about this in more depth later on.

I'm headed to a fondue party tonight.  I'm a little nervous about it as everything I'll be having for dinner will be deep fried.  I'll try to keep my portions reasonable and I should be fine.

Finally, Blog of the Week goes to Fat Girl 2 Fit Girl.  She's nearing her goal and is a very good read.  There's a lot of variety in her posts.  I especially liked the article she wrote about swimming in the morning.

I have my own morning swimming story, but it will have to wait for another post as I have run out of time.  Be healthy and happy.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Motivation and a Cold Swim

"You may delay, but time will not."  - Ben Franklin

No matter how much I put off eating right or exercising, time is going to keep moving forward.  When I hit 250, I told myself that was the heaviest I would ever get.  Then again at 270.  As I edged toward 300, I swore that was a line I'd never cross.  Then I crossed it to the tune of over 13 pounds.  I lost a little weight, but started gaining it back after I got married. 

If you haven't started yet, the time is now.  We only have so long on this planet, let's spend it doing something productive.  Stop making excuses and start doing.

"Do or do not.  There is no try." - Yoda

I'm considering doing a polar bear swim to help raise money for the Special Olympics.  It would be on March 6th in Minneapolis.  For those in the area, would anyone be interested in going with me?  I know it sounds pretty crazy, but it would be for a good cause and life's to short not to do crazy stuff like this.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Short One

Today's my first day off from the gym in three weeks.  I kind of miss it.  It's nice to have a night to let my body recover.  I was starting to fall apart from exercising every day.  Maybe this whole 21 days to forming a habit thing really works. 

While enjoying my night off, I stumbled upon a website with the 100 best free science documentaries.  If you haven't seen it, I suggest checking out Supersize Me.  I watched it five years ago and haven't eaten at McDonald's since.

I started monitoring my intake today using The Daily Plate.  It wasn't as hard as I thought, I just have to be more diligent about writing it down as I eat it.  I get around 2700 calories a day.  It's easy to operate and very simple.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Weigh-In Results

Well, it's Monday again and that can only mean one thing.  Heroes was on tonight.  Yeah, I'm not sure I like the whole carnival thing.  It's getting kind of boring and weird. 

Another thing that happens on Monday is my weigh-in.  I was really nervous about this one since I've been a little piggy all week.  Somehow, a roll of girl scout cookies disappeared from the freezer over the course of three days.  I do (almost) all the cooking, and it's so hard not to snack when I'm around food for that long.  It's right there!  I keep saying I need to chart my caloric intake, so I'll try to start that tomorrow.  It's going to be a rocky start, but once I get the hang of it, I'll try to make it another 21-day challenge.

For those of you who are wondering, this is an actual product.  Find it here.

At long last, my weigh-in result:

Yeah, I know.  My feet are gross.

It's progress.  2.6 pounds this week for a total loss of 19.3 pounds.  It would have been nice to pass the 20 pounds milestone, but that will have to wait for next week.  Obviously I sabotaged myself a little on this one.  I exercised 22 days in a row, but I didn't monitor my eating as closely as I should have.  Also, after starting this 100 push-ups thing, I've been neglecting my ab exercises.  I need to get back on the ball there.  I keep making excuses, but the fact is, I still lost more than the 2 pounds I need to lose each week to make this 100 pounds thing happen.  As of now, I actually only need to lose 1.83 pounds a week to meet my goal.  It's nice to be ahead.

The real winner this week is my lovely wife, Claire, who managed to lose 5 pounds!  She's been working very hard to make sure she stays within her caloric allowances using the WebMD Food & Fitness Planner.  She's also been busting her hump on the Wii with EA Active.  She's well on her way to completing the 30 day challenge.  I'm trying to convince her to guest-write a blog entry on her experiences when she's done.

That's where I'm going to leave it tonight.  It's well past my bed time and I don't want to be crabby tomorrow.  Sleep is an essential part of losing weight.  Good night.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

21-Day Challenge: Complete

I just finished my 21st day at the gym in a row.  Working out should now be a habit.  I'm proud of myself.  I'm ready for a rest day but I'm going tomorrow so I can have one more workout before my weigh-in though.  I want this to be a good weigh-in but I'm a little concerned that I stuffed my face just a little too much this week.  We'll see I guess.

The results of exercising every day have been amazing.  Since I started my 21-day challenge, I've lost at least 7 pounds (I'm going by last week's weigh-in).  I've also discovered the hard way that having at least one or two rest days a week is a necessity.  My hamstrings are constantly sore, my knees hurt a little, my back hurts, and my arms are always sore.  I need to let my body recuperate a couple times a week. 

So now that this challenge is over, I need your suggestions for other 21-day challenges.  Here are some ideas I've gathered so far:

Count/plan my calories every day
Cut out one item from my diet that I love but isn't very good for me (i.e. pop, chocolate, etc.)

That's not much, and I'd like to do a challenge every other month, so I really need suggestions.

Did I Do Something Wrong?

I just stumbled upon this: Healthy Body Calculator® - Ask the Dietitian®. Take a look and plug in your information. Did anyone else find this wildly inaccurate? It told me I would lose 1.8 lbs a week if I consume 1,200 calories a day. If I consumed 1,200 calories a day for more than two days, you'd probably find me rummaging through the trash looking for anything edible. Seriously, 1,200 calories a day? I weigh 279 pounds.

Did I enter something wrong? What result did you get? Ugh...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

An Enormous Burrito

I had a Chipotle burrito today, which was delicious.  I even left off the cheese and saved 100 calories and 9 grams of fat.  I could have saved even more if I had omitted corn and sour cream.  You can find all the nutrition information and recipes for Chipotle at  Still, it had close to 900 calories in it.  I'll have a small dinner tonight and I should be fine.

Sorry for the short post, but I don't have much else to say today.

Friday, January 22, 2010

My Most Embarrassing Wedding Photo

My wife had a friend from law school over tonight.  The conversation turned to wedding stories and the chaos of the wedding day.  For those of you who have never been married, let me just explain one thing.  No matter how much planning you do for your wedding day, it is chaos.  Any chance you have to shove something in your mouth you take.  Which brings me to my least favorite wedding picture.  I swore I'd never let it see the light of day, but I'm serious about transforming myself into a thin, healthy person.  So here is a photo I'm incredibly ashamed of.

Here's what I look like today.

I've still got a long way to go and my beard needs trimming.  Also, ignore the awkward expression on my face.  I'm still quite fat, but I feel a lot better about how I look now.  

I'm a little worried about how I'll do in the next weigh-in.  I've been getting surly about not having any rest days at the gym so I think my body is rebelling by craving terrible foods.  Cake here, extra servings of tacos there, snacking between meals.  I think I just need to gym it up for three more days, then make sure I start planning my meals. 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

21-Day Challenges and Blog of The Week

I don't want to know how many calories I took in today.  Too many, that's for sure.  I had chocolate cake at lunch time and three muffins after dinner.  I'm a little nervous that my next weigh in won't be as good as the previous three.  I guess I've felt the same way before and things worked out well, but now is not the time to be resting on my laurels.

I only have three more visits to the gym before I will have gone 21 days in a row.  I'll probably go on Monday too because, well, Monday is weigh-in day and I've exercised before every other weigh-in.  I will be grateful to have rest days again.  Maybe, for my next three-week challenge, I'll go without a cheat meal.  Oh, man, that one would be tough.  Maybe I'll start by just planning everything I'll eat the day before for three weeks.  We've got a little more than 10 months left, does anyone else have any ideas for 21-day habit-forming triple-hyphenated challenges?  They don't really need to be triple-hyphenated, or even single-hyphenated for that matter.  They just have to be healthy habits that I'll practice every day for three weeks.

Finally, I've been toying with the idea of awarding a blog of the week to another weight-loss blog.  I'm discovering there is an active community of weight-loss bloggers in all different stages of their weight loss journeys.  Some, like Tyler at, have lost over 100 pounds.  Others, like Tom over at I Hate Green Apples, are just starting out.  I decided to do blog of the week for a couple reasons.  One, to fend off writer's block when I feel like all I'm saying in my blog is "I'm hungry all the time".  And two, to show my readers (that's you) where I draw a lot of inspiration.  I mean, I get a lot from comments I get (public and private), but I'm also inspired by other peoples' journeys.

This weeks blog of the week goes to Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit.  His posts are pretty silly at times, but this guy is serious about being healthy.  He deals with the same writer's block I face from time to time by cracking jokes and rewriting lyrics to popular songs.   I always LOL a little when I read his blog.  His most recent post is about weight-loss bloggers who have disappeared from the blogosphere and how that translates to their weight loss journeys.  Check him out.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


"There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened."
-Douglas Adams
I was driving home from a lighter workout tonight feeling like I hadn't quite done enough at the gym.  As I approached the alley behind my apartment, I noticed a car stuck.  20 minutes of pushing later, I got my really good workout.  Also, the poor guy who got stuck in the ice got out.

I feel like I ate a lot today.  It was one of those stuff my face days.  One of my students must have felt the same because he tried to steal another student's snack.  It was actually pretty funny, as are a lot of things the kids do at work.  Today, a student uncapped a white board marker, held it to his nose, inhaled deeply, and let out a great big "ahhhhhhhhhhh".  The marker, of course, was non-toxic.  He then proceeded to do the same thing to a drum mallet.

Back to the reason I write this blog.  I feel like I've had a fantastic month.  I feel better about appearance and my health than I have in a long time.  I've never been anywhere near this successful at weight loss in my life.  I know I have a long way to go but I've got a great start.

Since this is the first time substantial weight loss is a real possibility for me, I started thinking, Will I be happy when I'm thin?  I think the answer is more complex than a simple yes.  I think the reason I'm asking myself this is I'm not unhappy now.  I'm young, have an incredible wife, a job I like, and live in a great city (except when they don't plow the alleys and people get stuck all the time).  I've got a very good life.  I just have one problem I need to fix, my weight.  I don't think I'll be more happy, just more healthy and able to enjoy my life more completely and for longer.

I'll have more on this later, but it's late and I'd like to get some sleep tonight. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Calorie Counting and 100 Push-Ups

Yesterday morning, I spent about half an hour on the phone with the CEO of the website, a new calorie counting and meal planning website.  We talked about the website and features that will roll out shortly.  It looks like a great site and will only get better.  I'll be signing up for an account in the near future, so I'm sure I'll write more about it in time.

Yesterday's 100 push-ups challenge was rough.  I maxed out at 31 push-ups on Saturday, which meant I started on the third week instead of the first.  I also started in the most extreme column.  Here are the number of reps it asked me to do.

Max (at least 20)

Everything went fine until I got to the at least 20 part.  I did 9.  I think I need to readjust.  It really kicked my butt though.  Today I woke up feeling like I got hit by a truck.  I guess it's good that I'm sore.  I know I'm pushing myself and building muscle.  It also occurred to me that I'm doing considerably more work in a push-up than a thinner person, which is why I may need to modify this plan slightly.

I've only got 5 more visits to the gym before I will have gone for 3 weeks straight.  My body is telling me it's time for a rest day.  It's hard to argue with results though.  I don't want to get burned out on exercise yet.

I feel that I'll stay motivated to exercise as long as I'm losing weight.  When I start to plateau, I fear the worst.  I'm afraid I'll get frustrated and drift away from my blog and my goal.  That's what happened with WeightWatchers a couple years ago.  It's not going to happen again.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Weigh-In Results

I just got back from the gym.  I started the 100 push ups challenge tonight.  My arms feel like rubber.  After that, I did a little on the elliptical machine.  I really didn't want to exert myself anymore, so I was getting ready to head out the door when I ran into a couple old friends.  I hopped on an exercise bike and chatted with them for 20 minutes.  Normally, I can't stand exercise bikes.  I feel like I'm going nowhere.  When I was talking to people, the time flew by.  I even turned up the resistance.

I've got a lot of things to talk about but it will have to wait for another entry.  Without further ado, my weigh in results:

279.3!  279.3!  This is awesome!  I'm so happy with my results.  I've lost 4.4 pounds this week for a total loss of 16.7 pounds!  I've lost over 5% of my body weight in under 2 months (most of it this month).  Next week I'll start planning meals and monitoring all my intake.  I am going to lose 100 pounds.  I can do this!

One more quick note.  I'm going to stop posting a link to every single entry on my normal facebook profile.  If you want to keep receiving notifications, you'll have to become a fan of 100 Pounds in a Year on facebook or follow me on twitter.

Thanks for your support everyone!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

To Diet Coke or Not to Diet Coke?

I'm getting better at monitoring my intake.  Yesterday, I went overboard by accident.  Today has been better.  I've only had about 2000 calories today.  I'm trying really hard not to go for a snack.  Next week, I'll start planning my intake before I eat.  I'll do that for three weeks.  It's all about forming habits.

I have one question though.  I don't drink any pop other than diet coke.  Still, I've heard diet coke isn't very good for you.  What are your thoughts?  Should I quit drinking diet coke?

I'm starting the 100 push-up challenge on Monday.  Tonight, I'll be taking the initial push-up test.  I'll probably do a little bit of elliptical too.  Sorry for the lame post everyone.  The weigh-in is coming on Monday.  That will be more exciting.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Pledge Was a Success!

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the pledge.  Thanks to all the comments, follows, and donations, I spent 32 minutes on the elliptical machine.

The first twenty minutes weren't much problem, but the last 12 were a little tough.  I may start expanding my time on the elliptical up to half an hour because I really felt like I got a good work-out.  By the end I had burned 238 calories according to the machine.  Then I stepped onto the scale in the gym to find that I had apparently lost 45 pounds since Monday.

Every time I go in I weigh 20 pounds less.  Amazing!

Man, that scale is flattering.  Hopefully, I'll be there for real in a few months.  We went out for dinner tonight and I'm feeling a little guilty though.  I had a buffalo chicken sandwich.  I just looked up the calorie content.  I couldn't find the sandwich, but the buffalo chicken strips are almost 1500 calories by themselves.  AHHHH!  I can't believe I put that in my body!

I just calculated everything I ate today and the result is not pretty.  3732 calories.  I was doing fine (well, I'd eaten a little more than I should have) and then I went out to Old Chicago.  I'm so glad I didn't get a beer.  It's not really as bad as it seems.  WebMD says to lose 2 pounds a week, I should be taking in about 2500 calories a day.  To maintain, I should take in 3500.  So with the workout pledge, I'm calling it a wash.  It still left a terrible taste in my mouth (even though it was so delicious).  Hopefully, this is the kick in the butt I need to start measuring my intake before it goes in my mouth.

15 seconds of my workout today were thanks to one individual who decided to post anonymously in the comment section: 

Anonymous said...
This blog is a pathetic attempt at finding support. 
I'll be honest, I was hurt by this post.  I didn't know what to do at first.  Then I was angry.  Really angry.  Then I felt defeated.  I couldn't help but wonder who this person was and why they had written something so mean spirited.  I tried to rise above it and own it by responding with:
Dear person who called me a pig. Thank you for adding 15 seconds to my workout.
I was still feeling down when more comments started coming in.  Friends and strangers (friends I haven't met) alike started coming to my defense and telling me not to let the internet flaming get to me.  My wife, being the incredible law student she is, even jokingly threatened legal action against the anonymous person on the internet.  THANK YOU EVERYONE for your support.  Not just for keeping me going after the one comment, but for all your support.  I'm very lucky to have so many people that care about me and my success on my weight loss journey.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My Very First Workout Pledge

I talked about doing a workout pledge a while back.  I got (stole) the idea from  I decided since I'm going to start the 100 push-ups challenge on Monday, I want to do my workout pledge this week.

So here's how it works.  You have until noon on Friday to tell me how much I time I should spend exercising by doing any or all of the tasks I list below.  This time I'll be on the elliptical.

Post a comment: 15 seconds
A simple "good job" or "keep it up" is fine.  If you wanted to offer advice or ask for some, that's great too.  Every post counts, no matter how large or small.

Follow me on Facebook: 30 seconds
If you become a follower of 100 pounds in a year on facebook, you'll add 30 seconds to my workout.  If you look to the right, you'll see a facebook box.  Just click follow.

Follow me on Twitter: 30 seconds
Same as Facebook.  I often tweet things that don't make it onto my blog or Facebook.  My handle is 100_Pounds.

Subscribe to the RSS feed: 45 seconds
You'll have to let me know that you subscribed as I have no way of checking how many subscribers I have (that I know of).  Just email me.  Use the subject "Workout Pledge"

Link to my page: 1 minute
Link to me from Facebook, Twitter, your blog, Digg, etc.  You'll have to send me a link to your link so I know that you linked to me and so I can check out your site.

Donate $10 to any organization offering relief aid for the Haiti earthquake: 2 minutes
Text "HAITI" to 90999 and a donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts, charged to your cell phone bill.
There are also a number of other ways to donate.  See my link above for details.

Again, just let me know if you did this so I can add it to my time.

I'll be on twitter on my phone the whole workout.  You can join me live on Friday at 4:00pm.

I'm excited.  Let's do this thing.

Update: After tallying all the comments, subscriptions, follows on twitter and facebook, links, and donations to the Haiti earthquake relief, my total workout comes to 32 minutes even.  I'll be getting a slightly later start than I thought.  I'll leave for the gym at 4:00 and arrive about 4:10.  I'll get on twitter once I get started on the elliptical. 

Fighting the Afternoon Cravings

I inadvertently beefed up my lunch a little today.  My wife packed me a lunch complete with almonds, a granola bar, chili, wheat thins, laughing cow cheese, and three clementine oranges.  I couldn't find the almonds in it so I added some more this morning.  I'm going to eat the extra almonds now and stay away from food until dinner.  Hopefully that will do it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Afternoon Snacks

I'm doing pretty well on my calorie intake until I get home from work.  I seem to be partaking in a controlled binge of sorts.  I'm trying to snack healthily, but I just keep getting hungrier and hungrier.  Today I had almonds, then what seemed like half a box of wheat thins, then some pepperoni (at least it was turkey pepperoni, which has 70% less fat than regular pepperoni).  I just wanted to eat and eat.  After dinner, I felt full and guilty.  At least I'm getting to the gym and burning part of it off.

Tonight I listened to the album, Fashion Nugget, by Cake.  I did push-ups during "I will survive".  I did pretty well for myself.  I think I'll start the 100 push-ups challenge next week.  This week, he was too busy fake proposing to his friend in Bruges.

Me actually proposing to Claire in Bruges.

Erick NOT doing push-ups in Bruges.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Weigh-In Results

283.7.  I'm proud of the result, but annoyed at my scale.  I stepped on it 10 different times and got 10 different results.  I had to fiddle with the positioning to make sure it was exactly where it was last week.  I think I need a new scale or new bathroom floor.

I know I stressed about this weigh-in quite a bit.  I still wish I had gotten a little better result.  Last week was a very good weigh-in for me.  I know I can't lose 6 pounds every week, and I am satisfied with the results.  I just want to be thin now!

I've been trying on old clothes lately.  Clothes from when I was thinner.  I still don't fit into my XL clothes, but I no longer have to stretch out my t-shirts before I leave the house so they don't cling to me.  I have an awesome suede sport-coat that I think I'm about 20 pounds away from fitting into.

On the way to the gym, I got stuck in the snow in our alley.  Luckily, some neighbors came and helped me get unstuck.  Once I got there I had a good sweat.  I listened to a little Ben Folds and about half of the album, Comfort Eagle by Cake.  It's been a while.  Which brings me to a question for you:  What do you listen to when you exercise?  What music motivates you the most?  I want to know.

Quick note: you can now follow me on twitter @100_Pounds. 

Am I Obsessing?

I made it to the gym for the 7th day in a row last night.  Two more weeks to go until I can go back to going 4 or 5 days a week.  Other than a slight pain in my knee, I feel great.  I'm having some kind of mental block with my push-ups.  Every time I get to my 15th push-up, I immediately fall on the floor.  I've got plenty of juice left in my arms, but my brain won't let me go on. 

I'm hoping my knees will keep up with me.  I've been told that the best thing for my knees is to lose a lot of weight, but how do I do that if I can't exercise.  I'm not going to use it as an excuse.  I'm going to lose the weight.

My brain keeps running in circles and I'm obsessing about my weigh-in tonight.  What if I haven't lost any weight?  What if I haven't lost enough weight to stay motivated?  What if I GAINED weight?  I've been trying to calm myself down.  I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.  But especially with this blog, I'm constantly thinking about my weight.  I just need to keep from psyching myself out and focus on living a healthy lifestyle. 

Any advice?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Post-Workout Post

I usually don't post twice on the same day (I guess if this takes more than ten minutes to write, I'll actually be posting this the following day), but I thought I'd make an exception.  I was nervous and feeling fat, but I had an awesome workout and feel much better.  I spent 20 minutes on the elliptical at level seven and 20 more minutes on the treadmill with incline 10 at 3mph.  I feel like a million bucks.  My legs are a little sore, but I'm sure I'll be fine by tomorrow.

I've been reading more and more of Tyler Weeks' blog,  I really feel like this could be me.  I've come across an idea for a workout pledge that I may steal.  You can find it here.  For those of you who don't want to click on the link for one reason or another, I'll summarize.

Essentially, I would pick a day where my readers could tell me how much to exercise.  There would be a number of actions.  Commenting on my post would add 15 seconds to my workout, for example.  Following me on twitter or facebook would add time, as would linking to me from a separate website.  There may be other actions as well.

During the workout, I'd update twitter and readers could follow along in real time.  Tyler worked out for 95 minutes on both the elliptical and treadmill.  That's right, he worked out for 190 minutes.  I'd probably just start out on one machine for the first pledge.

My wife pointed out to me after reading my last post, that I'm focusing quite a bit on increasing site traffic.  Sometimes it even overshadows my weight loss efforts.  She's right of course.  I do spend quite a bit of time trying to get people to read about my exploits.  It's no secret I love attention.  Right now, I'm feeding off it and it's keeping me focused on my goal.  I feel like the more people read my blog, the more I will keep myself on track.

Moral of the story, I love having my ego stroked.  So subscribe, comment, follow me on twitter and facebook, and stop by often and maybe I'll stay on track to lose 100 pounds in a year!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Worried About Monday's Weigh-In

I'm a little concerned that I haven't lost any weight since last Monday.  I feel like I've been a little piggy the last couple days.  I can't seem to stop eating.  No matter how much I put in my mouth, I want more.  Maybe I'll feel a little more productive after I get to the gym tonight.

You can now be a fan of 100 Pounds in a Year on Facebook.  Just click the link on the right to become a fan.  You may also notice a small logo at the end of my posts from now on.  If you are a StumbleUpon user, you can use them to give my post a thumbs up.  For those of you unfamiliar with StumbleUpon, it's a button you install on your toolbar in your browser to send you to random pages based on your interests.  You can rate sites either thumbs up or thumbs down and it will use that information to send you to more sites you will like.  It is great fun to use and habit forming to say the least. 

That's all for now, I'd better be off to the gym.

Friday, January 8, 2010

I Ated Too Much

I went to Applebees tonight.  It was a spurr of the moment thing.  We had the 2 for 20 deal where you get an appetizer, two entrees, and a dessert for $20.  I ordered a salad and I still feel stuffed hours later.  I really hope it doesn't hurt me too much in the weigh-in on Monday.  I just guilty about the whole experience.

Other than that, I feel like I'm on track.  5 days in a row at the gym.  Just over two more weeks and I can go back to 4-5 days a week.  For those of you who didn't read my last post, I'm trying to make it to the gym every day for three weeks because I've heard that's how long it takes for something to become habit. 

I'd like to thank Liza for sharing with me.  It's a weight loss blog similar to mine.  The main difference is he is nearly a year in and incredibly successful.  I feel like this could be me a year from now.  Over the next few days, I plan on reading his entire blog.  I suggest you do the same.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Apple Fritter (oh my!)

I have motivation to hit the gym tonight.  That's right, I had half an apple fritter today.  It was soooooo good but sooooooooo bad.  For anyone who's counting.  You will clearly notice that the o-count in sooooooooo bad clearly outweighs soooooo good.  Therefor (or therefore?), the cost outweighs the benefits.

Between a comment by Ryan on my last post and a conversation with my wife last night, I decided I will be dedicating the next three weeks to making sure I get to the gym as close to every day as possible.  If you repeat a behavior for 21 days, it becomes a habit.  That's what I'm trying to do.  I want to make the gym a habit.  Then after 21 days, I'll start a new habit.  I think the next one will be planning out my meals for an entire day.  I want to get back into running this spring when the weather improves.  I want to run a 5k before my year is up.  Maybe getting in to running again will be a 3 weeks every day affair.  If anyone else can think of something they'd like to suggest I try for three weeks, please let me know.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I Am So Hungry

I just ate lunch and I want seconds.  Luckily, I'm at work and there is nothing more for me to eat here (besides play-doh).  I've been getting something on the order of 6 hours of sleep a night and I think my body is trying to compensate by taking in more food.  Here's where my willpower is going to be tested.  I think the major thing, besides diet and exercise, that contributed to my success last week was all the extra sleep I got.  I wasn't hungry at all last week, and I certainly didn't eat any more than I have been this week.

I've been to the gym every day since Monday and I think I'm going to try to go every day this week.  I'm going to really focus on getting a lot of exercise.  I think that's a good goal for the week (if I can remember my shoes).  The past three nights I've stayed up way past my bed time, and tonight will be no different.  My parents get back from England at 11:53 tonight and I'll be picking them up.  Ugh.  Another day that's several hours longer than it needs to be.  I shouldn't be complaining.  It will be good to see my parents again and I'm the one keeping myself up at night.

Update: I found an article confirming my hunch:

I think more people will read my blog if I add pictures.  So, to end my blog today and to say thank you for reading, here is a picture of play-doh.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Self Conscious at the Gym

I realized as I neared the gym tonight that I had forgotten my gym shoes.  I entered and kept my head down, but I felt like everyone was looking at my feet.  Who is this jerk, and why is he ruining our equipment with his salty shoes?  I made sure to wipe off the elliptical's pedals (or whatever you call where you put your feet) when I was done, but I definitely cut my exercise session short. 

I recently was informed about the 2010 Healthy Life Expo.  I wanted to link to a website, but there really isn't one.  Here's the information on the flier I picked up at the gym.

January 30-31, 2010
SAT, 10am-5pm - Sunday, 10am-5pm
Minneapolis Convention Center

They claim to have things like product samples, free seminars, live demos, live demonstrations  (Seriously, they're both in there),  great shopping, three stages of speakers, demos (ha!) and FUN Entertainment.

I don't know if I'll go yet.  If I do, I'm sure I'll have plenty to report. 

Monday, January 4, 2010

Weigh In and Gym Results

Here it is, the much awaited (by me, many of you probably don't care) weigh in.  I can't believe the results.

I was hoping for maybe 289, but HOLY CRAP.  I don't know whether or not to actually believe this.  I think I need to.  I've been thinking for the past few days that 100 pounds was an unrealistic goal, but today's results are super encouraging.  I might actually make it!

A co-worker told me about a website where you can make goals, sign a contract, and it will keep you on task.  The thing that makes this website unique: you can set it up to donate money to an "anti-charity" if you fail to meet your goals.  I could set it up to donate a dollar for every pound I fall short of my goal to the George W. Bush Presidential Library or NAMBLA (probably not NAMBLA, come to think about it).  I did some research and the website is called stickK.  The extra K in the name is legalese for contract (I asked my wife, a law student, she confirmed it).  Now, you don't have to donate money to an anti-charity, but it would sure light a fire under your ass.

Lastly, I went to the gym tonight.  32 push-ups.  A new record!  I realized that I've never done 32 push-ups in my entire life.  I'm so pleased.

In closing, I'm proud of myself but slightly skeptical of my results.  I think I just need to take this victory in stride and focus on duplicating the results next week.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Back to the Grind

I start work again tomorrow after a nice, relaxing winter break.  I also have another weigh-in tomorrow.  I'm quite nervous about it.  I'm starting to have doubts about whether I can meet my goal.  This week I need to shape up.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Top 10 Ways to Lose Weight in 2010

Welcome Stumblers.  Please give my site a thumbs up if you like it.  Thanks!

It's now officially 1 hour and 22 minutes into the new year and I'm convinced it's going to be a good one.  My plan is in place, and I'm expecting to see downward movement on the scale on Monday.

For each new year, people often resolve to lose weight, eat healthier, or get more exercise.  For me, New Years' Resolutions have always seemed a bit unrealizable.  New Years' Eve is some arbitrary date in the middle of winter on which we expect our lives to turn around.  When it comes to weight loss, I've learned you have to be ready to change.

That being said, if you have resolved to lose weight in 2010, please don't let me dissuade you from starting today.  Here are a few things I've learned on my weight loss journey that may help you.  A lot of this information is covered in-depth in old posts on my blog.

1) Have a goal.  Make it attainable.  The goal I set for myself of 100 pounds in a year may seem steep, but I have to lose less than 2 pounds a week for a year to accomplish it.  The reason I chose to bite off such a large goal is meaningful to me.  Since the second grade I have struggled with my weight.  I chose an end result where I feel I will not be "fat" anymore.  I know I'll still be considered overweight at 196 pounds, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

2) Know how many calories a day you need to consume to lose the weight you want to lose.  There are several websites for this.  Weight Watchers has some very good online tools, but it comes at a price.  I would suggest going to meetings if you join.  Another website (this one free) pointed out to me recently is  I haven't fully explored this site yet, but I do have an account.  It will actually create a meal plan for you based on your height, weight, and a number of other factors.  You just need to eat what it tells you to eat.  I would like to figure out if there is a way to synchronize two accounts for two people cooking for each other so you make exactly the right amount of food.  It also has a neat grocery list function.  

Update: I forgot to include the link for the site I've actually been using. WebMD has a great Food & Fitness Planner.  It's like Spark People but more straightforward.

3) Develop an exercise plan.  You don't need to start running marathons right away.  Take it slow.  My exercise plan started as only 20 minutes a day, four times a week.  For those of you who don't go to a gym that gives new members a free consultation, feel free to steal this routine (note: Before beginning a routine, make sure you are in good health.  I am not a personal trainer or a physician.).  My routine varies every other time I go to the gym.  On day 1, I spend 15 minutes on an elliptical machine at level 7.  Then I move to the treadmill, set it at an incline of 10 degrees and walk at 3 miles per hour.  The first time I did this, I thought I was going to die.  As you get better at this, you can add time or increase the difficulty level on the machines.  On day 2, I warm up for five minutes.  I prefer the treadmill exercise explained above because it really gets me sweating.  Then I do as many push-ups as I can do, do a variation of the plank exercise where I push myself up while doing the plank (I'll find a video of this one of these days) for as long as I can.  Then I do an exercise where I push my arms out and try to touch my knee to my elbow.  I have no idea what this is called.  If you know, please let me know.  Again, I do these until I collapse.  Then I go get a drink of water and start over with the push-ups.  3 cycles total will do you.

If you don't want my exercise regiment, there are plenty available online.  A simple Google search should yield tons of results.

4) Wear warm clothes at the gym.  Your body works much harder when it has to exercise and cool itself at the same time.  You get a lot more bang for your buck when you wear sweatpants and a hooded sweatshirt to the gym as opposed to shorts and a sleeveless t-shirt. 

5) Don't worry what anyone thinks of you when you exercise.  Oh sure that guy over there has biceps the size of Mount Rushmore.  The girl on the treadmill has a size i (for those of you who aren't math nerds, i is the symbol for the square root of -1) waist.  I feel self conscious around those people too.  But do you know what they are thinking about?  Working toward their own goals.  They're not at the gym to show off, they're at the gym to work.  They didn't get to the point they are now by judging everybody else at the gym, they got to where they are now by busting their humps at the gym.

6) Pace yourself.  So many of us (myself included) wish we could be thin right now.  We tend to get down on ourselves for being overweight.  The mere fact that I'm doing something about my weight lifts my spirits and improves my body image issues.  I'm still fat.  But that condition is temporary because of actions I'm taking.

7) Be accountable to yourself and others.  A friend pointed out to me that when losing weight, it's helpful to be accountable to someone else.  A spouse or significant other might not be the best option as reminding you not to eat that piece of pie or that you haven't been to the gym in two weeks might be legitimate, but may be interpreted as nagging.  I know I've had my feelings hurt when my wife asked me if I really needed to eat that piece of chocolate.

I do need to be accountable to another person.  That's something I'm still working on.

8) Don't make excuses.  I'm terrible at this one.  I've actually caught myself making excuses mid-sentence.  The fact of the matter is I'm human and so are you.  We all avoid cognitive dissonance by self handicapping, rationalizing things we've done, or employing any other defense mechanisms we have at our disposal.  Awareness of these behaviors helps negate their effects.

9) Don't weigh yourself every day.  Your weight fluctuates from day to day and hour to hour.  Weigh yourself on the same scale, at the same time of day, once a week.  I've had weeks where I supposedly lost 6 or 7 pounds only to find it had all returned a few days later.

10) Help others on their journey.  If you offer encouragement to friends, neighbors, co-workers, or anyone else who is also attempting to lose weight, you not only energize them, you focus attention on your own goal as well.  Losing weight is tough.  Very tough.   Those of us on this road need all the support we can get.