Thursday, January 19, 2017

Tangent Thursday: Speakers

So my parents are awesome.  For Christmas they got me a kit to build a set of speakers known as the Overnight Sensations

They came in a box with most of the components I needed.  Cabinet, woofers, tweeters, and crossover parts.

Image result for overnight sensations speakers

I started by putting the wood cabinets together.  It felt like building a birdhouse.

 After building the cabinets, I wired the crossovers.  This part was confusing and took a lot of time and concentration.

The crossovers are the guts of the speaker.  They split the signal from the receiver into high and low and send them to the woofer and the tweeter.  I followed a diagram I found online.

The next step was to treat the wood.  I don't have any pictures of me doing this, but I used Minwax wipe-on poly.  I put on four coats and the speakers really came out looking nice.  The word Claire used was classic.

Next I installed the sound ports.  These are plastic tubes that go in the back of the speakers so air can escape in a controlled way.  In this picture the glue is drying.  Next I had to screw them in the backs.

You can also see the binding posts in this picture.  I drilled holes 3/4" apart for them.  It's where the speaker wire will connect.

Everything coming together.  Testing the connections before I solder the woofer and tweeter in place.

And finished (almost)!  I still need to add poly-fil, secure my crossovers, and glue the fronts on.  For now though, they sound pretty good!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Undershooting the Mark (and why that's okay)

So my original strategy to lose weight was eat like a keto god.

Didn't work out that way.  A lot of the keto meals I was making cost more for ingredients and took longer to make.  Not to mention I don't have the will power of a keto god.  Yet.

But by shooting for that mark, I did something interesting.  I started eating like a normal person.  Normal Andrew CRAVES food.  Normal Andrew eats until he's uncomfortably full.  Normal Andrew feels like crap all the time.

Andrew who is striving for excellence has a quasi-healthy relationship with food.  Oh, I'm hungry.  I should eat a meal.

I say quasi-healthy, because I know I could slip up at any time and eat an entire Dairy Queen cake or decide that feeling good in the moment is more important than feeling good the rest of my day.  Or life.

I didn't get to the weight I'm at now by having a normal relationship with food.  I got to where I am now by being normal Andrew.  Eating too much.  Eating too much sugar.  Feeling like crap about my body.  Feeling like crap physically.  Eating more because maybe if I do I won't feel like crap. 

I have this problem in life.  I want to go all-in on everything I do.  I want to do be perfect right away.  I get discouraged when I fall short.  I need to learn to learn as I attempt my goals.

So I'm going to keep striving.  Keep working to eat better and better.  I want to be healthy.  I want to live a long, happy life.  And if I fall short of being a keto god, that's okay.  I'm a mere mortal, but one who can still lose weight by changing habits.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Weigh-In Results

I went offline last week.  Work was hard and I wasn't following my plan as well as I had hoped.  I felt like my weight-loss journey was on the back burner again.  And I had barely gotten started.

So those nasty, negative, painful thoughts started swirling around in my head.  You can't do this, you've failed so many times before.  The only time you've ever succeeded was when you had loads of time.  You could go to the gym every day and you didn't have a kid.  Work was stressful, but you were underemployed and HAD MORE TIME.

You're right, internal voice.  I do have less time now.  But that doesn't mean I should just give up.  I'm sure to write less here, and the path ahead my be a little slipperier than it once was.  That doesn't mean I have the right to give up and put my health and happiness on hold until I feel like the time is right.

The time isn't right, but the time is right now.  I have to get healthy.  Not make excuses.  Not feel sorry for myself.  Not get caught up in other things.  I need to be healthy for myself, my career, and by far the most important reason, my family.

So I got my fat ass on the scale this morning.  284.6!  That's a loss of 6.6 pounds in two weeks!

I can live with that.

So instead of that nasty negative voice in my head telling me what I did wrong.  I'm going to tell it (and the entire internet) what I did right.

I (mostly) stopped eating desserts.  All the excess sugar from candies and cakes and treats and sweets made me so hungry.  I probably have something sweet to eat once every couple days because I don't trust myself to moderate.  I can't have small amounts of sweets every day because I'll just want more.

I slowed down on other carbs.  I'm not eating a ton of bread and pasta.  But you had spaghetti last nightThat's right voice, I did.  And I enjoyed the hell out of it.  But I'm planning healthier meals.

I've stopped beating myself up about fat consumption. I'm not inhaling sticks of butter, but I'm not searching for low-fat foods either.  Low fat foods are usually more processed with hidden nastiness.  Fat is a source of energy, just like any other, but it doesn't set off my hunger the way sugar does.  I've even had bacon a couple times the past two weeks.

So there it is.  I've got a long road ahead, but I lost 6.6 pounds and I'm damn proud of that.  And whenever that negative voice rears its ugly head, I have 6.6 pounds of ammunition to fight back.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Tangent Thursday: The Basement

 I like this blog.  It helps me reflect and focus my attention.  But there's a lot more going on with me than losing weight.  So I thought I'd ramble about something else today.

If you're only interested in a fat guy struggling to not be as fat, you might as well move on.  If you want to see what I've been up to, keep reading.

We bought a house in April.  Since then, we've been doing exciting things like painting and watching the principal on our loan go down by a seemingly insignificant number each month.  One of the selling features was an unfinished basement.  It was a blank canvas.  A chance for me to increase the value of our home, give us more living space, and get my hands dirty doing something.

The hardest part of doing something isn't the doing, it's the planning.  I've watched countless youtube videos on every aspect of finishing a basement, spent hours and hours drawing plans, then hours more after they were rejected by the planning office.  I've pulled three permits so far and have at least one more to pull.  It can be a little overwhelming.

But the work has started, and over winter break I was able to get some work done.  My basement isn't a blank canvas any more.  It's a work in progress.  I'm doing the physical part now.  There's still a lot of planning that needs to happen, but I have something to show for the work I've done so far.

What would a weight-loss blog be without pictures?
 Let's start with the egress window.  My brother and I dug a big hole in the back yard.  It ended up being about six feet deep, five feet wide, and four feet long.  I felt super productive with the hole at first, but by the end one out of every ten or so shovelfuls of dirt would come back down all over my head.  I wasn't mad about the face full of dirt, I was mad the dirt was still in the hole.

Next we went to home depot.  I've got a window well, window, treated lumber, and some odds and ends.  It was pricey, but not nearly as pricey as hiring someone else to do it for me.

My uncle came over and cut out the hole in the wall.  We took turns with the sledge hammer knocking out the blocks in the wall.  This part was super rewarding.  After all that work we could finally see into the basement.
 Here's a photo from the next morning.  Pretty artsy, eh?
 Then we did a bunch of stuff and the window and well were in place.  This step went pretty fast and I had my hands full, so I didn't get a chance to take any more pictures here.
 Here's a view from the inside.
There we go.  An egress window installed and two giant piles of dirt left in the yard.  Good work Andrew.

The last thing I did was put in rigid foam insulation.  This took about four days.  I could have done it in one if I had more junk to lean up against it to keep the panels against the wall.  I could put up three or four panels at a time then let them dry for a few hours before moving to the next batch.  There's three more panels that have yet to go up, so I'm not quite done yet.  In addition to insulating my basement, this stuff will be a good vapor barrier to keep moisture out.

It's been a lot of work and there's a lot more to go.  Thanks to my brother, Erick and my uncle, Paul, and my dad for their help.  Thanks for reading about my basement.  It's fun to share.  I'll post updates as work continues.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

I'm not going to call it a slip.

Today is my first day back at work after the winter break.  To celebrate-and to clear out the cupboards-I had the last chocolate left over from Christmas in my house.

It was planned.  I knew I was going to do it all day, and I did a fantastic job eating right.

I had a few triangles of Toblerone and BAM, instant headache.  I don't know if there was causation, but I'm taking it as a sign that sugar is already disagreeing with my body.  Other than hungry, I felt great the rest of the day.

So it's not a slip up.  It was planned, and I'm telling myself sugar ends in disaster.

Lesson learned.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Plan

I've been reading about Keto.  The people who are into it are really into it.  That probably suggests it works.

Here's a definition for the uninitiated from Authority Nutrition:

The ketogenic diet (often termed keto) is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that shares many similarities with the Atkins and low-carb diets.
It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake, and replacing it with fat. The reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.
When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain (6, 7).
Ketogenic diets can cause massive reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels. This, along with the increased ketones, has numerous health benefits (6, 8, 9, 10, 11).

Bottom Line: The ketogenic diet (keto) is a low-carb, high-fat diet. It lowers blood sugar and insulin levels, and shifts the body’s metabolism away from carbs and towards fat and ketones.

I'm a little intimidated though.  So I thought I'd step back to start.  My objective is to remove as much added sugar from my diet as possible.  I've learned that sugar hijacks my sense of hunger, so the less I can eat the better.  I'm going to work hard at reducing carbs.  I'm not ready to entirely remove them from my diet, but I'll stick with things that are a little healthier and limit my intake.  I'm going to learn as many Keto recipes as I can and try to incorporate them into my diet.  Hopefully, I'll get comfortable enough with the food to make the plunge.

I've got to start somewhere, and I'm not ready for what seems like a complete lifestyle change.  I think my plan will be a good start.  I've got a meal plan set up for the week.  I'm hoping to reasonably sure I can going to stick with it.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Starting Again

Happy New Year!

I don't know how many times I've typed the words, I'm starting again.  Here's to one more time.

I can't promise I'll write a new post every day.  I can't promise I'll post on a regular basis.  Here's what I can promise.

I'm starting again.

That's it.  I'm going to try to lose weight again.  I'm going to try to be healthy again.  I'm going to try to keep from getting in my own way.

I just weighed myself at 291.2 pounds.  That's my new starting point.  Let's see how long it takes me to get to 191.2.