Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Big Surprise

Remember me saying something about being vigilant and good this past weekend at the Bar Mitzvah? Guess how well that went?

I can't say it was horrible, but it could have been better. When we arrived in Kingston, we got checked in at the hotel and went to Swiss Chalet for dinner figuring it was quick and easy and relatively decent compared to what we could have ordered. I had this chicken wrap thing with fries and we got an appetizer, which is something I don't usually do, these chicken stuffed spring rolls. They were quite good but obviously deep fried. Probably could have avoided that. Afterwards, we hit my mother's place for a visit and threw back a few beers, I managed to not snack which was nice for a change. But Red was having a chocolate craving and we agreed to hit the local Timmys for a donut and some cookies, which I had been wanting for a while now. On the way out, I looked at the bag and said to Red, "What the hell are we doing?" She reasoned that we weren't going to eat all the cookies that night and while she was technically correct, we could have done without any of it. For the record, I did have 2 or 3 cookies and finished them up Saturday night on the way home. Oy vey!

Saturday was the Bar Mitvah, a long (2 hours) and painful event which I thought was never going to end followed by a Kiddash lunch. The lunch was basically bread, something called Kugel which at first glance looked like a nice pasta dish, but was a gross mix of noodles and raisins and whatever else, various desserts, what I think was tuna salad, and some green salads. Not having the expanded pallet of my better half, I chose to ignore the Kugel, which Red did try and disliked, and ate bread and desserts. I know, not a good way to go but I was hungry and dinner wasn't going to be until after 6pm. I did enjoy these things that looked like toast points which I believe was for the tuna salad, if that's what it was, but they were greasy as if basted in butter or something so they probably weren't the best thing to eat either. I almost tried the tuna, but to be honest, if they could turn something that looked good at first glance like the Kugel into something grotesque, I didn't want to know what they'd do with the tuna, and I wasn't even sure it was tuna!

Dinner was good, chicken with veggies, dessert was sorbet and there were lots of other desserts available which I didn't take part in, instead spying some cheese pizza slices that were set out, probably for the kids. Add in a few more beers and another day that didn't go exactly as hoped.

Sunday we were basically back to normal and I made italian meatballs in mushroom soup with egg noodles for dinner. It was good and filling but we still ended up hitting the Baskin Robbins for a treat that night, another hurdle in the road. Monday I wasn't feeling great, not sick really, just no gas in the tank, so i chose to skip work and stay home. This is always bad as I'm a compulsive eater when sitting around the house and I managed to snack most of the day. For dinner, neither of us felt like cooking and both were wanting pizza, so guess what happened? Long story short, the past 3 days weren't an example of good choices but like I said, it could have been worse.

Today, I'm still feeling empty, my morning cardio was long and hard, my legs just felt like they were in cement. Tonight is Cardio Attack at the gym and we're going so hopefully the class atmosphere will pick me up. Mentally I'm down. I'm stressed about my job, unsure of my future, and feeling like I just want to roll over and die. I was feeling so good Friday after stepping on the scale and seeing 213lb, a full 7 down from almost 2 weeks before, but the weekend got the better of me and I still feel like I'd like to indulge in something. Thing is, I don't have anything in mind. I don't really want anything, I think its just my state of mind and old habits die hard.

Its Red's birthday Monday and we're busy this weekend. Friday we're visiting one of her aunts for the evening, normally an enjoyable experience as these people are fun and nice, but right now, I'm not in the mood. Saturday is the day I chose to celebrate her birthday by taking her out zip lining and for dinner at a restaurant she's been wanting to visit for a while now. But the weather looks like its going to be rainy and zip lining is probably going to suck if its coming down with any force. We had hoped that after dinner, we might hit the market for a couple of drinks but even that is up in the air now. So my enthusiasm for this event is being dimmed thanks to Mother Nature. Maybe we'll get lucky and it won't be too bad. Sunday her family is throwing her a party, so much for taking it easy and relaxing at all.

I thought I'd miss my grapes after not having them the last couple of weeks but I don't. Keeping busier in the evenings with these cardio classes has been helpful as by the time we're done and home ready to eat, there's not really any time to munch afterwards before its bedtime. I do find myself haunting the kitchen looking for something to munch on more than I'd like, but its been slim pickings and I prefer it that way. I just wish I felt better, makes keeping myself motivated a lot easier.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

RIP triple triple

I had a rude awakening the other day when Red and I were discussing calories and the problems with losing weight. I have a habit of not counting my coffee or tea in my daily calories because I thought coffee and tea were basically free with the exception of the sugar and cream or milk used in them. Since I don't use sugar in my hot beverage and the amount of cream I would use is what I considered negligible, I figured it wasn't hurting me. Boy was i wrong!

Half and half cream is a killer in the calories department, approximately 20 calories per tablespoon. And I know I use more than that in a cup of coffee or tea, probably the equivalent of 3 or 4 anyway raising the calorie count to 60 or 80 in addition to the few calories already existing in the beverage itself. So imagine my shock, and Reds, when we googled the calorie count of an extra large triple triple from Tim Hortons, God of all that is coffee in Canada, and realized it comes in at about 420! That's way more than 3 tablespoons of sugar and cream each in one cup. Go figure that a fast food place would find a way to increase the calorie count of something as simple as a cup of coffee. I guess if McDonalds and the like can make a salad upwards of a thousand calories then anything is possible.

Thinking about it, it makes sense. Replace the cream with milk and the coffee takes on a whole different taste, same when you cut or replace the sugar. Tim Hortons coffee is highly addictive and people who drink it love it. No wonder when it basically tastes like dessert, so sweet and rich. People are always saying they put something in the coffee to make it addictive, to me its just all the cream and sugar that makes it so good. I've had Timmys with Splenda and milk and its quite a different experience.

While i was sick a couple of years ago, I lost my taste for coffee and switched to tea with sweetener and milk. At work, I'd use cream in my tea because I do love the richness of it, but when I'd order a tea, I'd get milk. It has only been recently that i rediscovered my love of the triple triple and thankfully after only a couple of weeks, I've realized the truth about its calorie content. This would help explain some of Red's problems losing weight and mine for that matter. I was enjoying about 2 of these drinks a day so that's an additional 800 calories I wasn't accounting for! That's more than a pound a week! Now at work, I've switched to 1% milk in my tea, I'd prefer 2% at least, but the cafeteria doesn't seem to offer any middle ground here, its either half and half, 1% or skim.

So this change should yield results in the coming days. I stepped on the scale this morning just for a look and it read 215, the same as last Friday. I'm not concerned really, as I did drop 5lb last week and until Tuesday was still enjoying those 400 calorie coffees. I'm still in the gym first thing in the mornings and taking a cardio class roughly 4x a week in the evenings so things have to keep going down I'd think. I did screw up a bit last night at dinner, we had a couple pieces of steak leftover from the weekend that needed to be eaten so I enjoyed those which wasn't a problem except that Red cooked up some Kraft dinner for her dinner as she's sick and wanted something soft and easy, so I shared in that too. Add in some roasted veggies and it was a bit more than I required. Of course I did drink one of my banana smoothies later on which I certainly didn't need, so while the day wasn't a write off by any means, it probably didn't help my weight loss goals.

Tonight I am taking a cardio attack class at the gym and I'll be enjoying some roasted veggies for dinner in addition to some leftover roast chicken so today will be good. This weekend we are heading home for a Bar Mitzvah and they're serving both lunch and dinner in addition to a dance so we'll have to remain vigilant and not blow the good work we've accomplished. I, for one, plan on being good.

Friday, June 5, 2009

So I got on the scale this morning and got some great news: 215lb. That's awesome considering I was 220 on Monday morning when I re-dedicated myself. I know most of it is probably just bloat and water, but its a good start. After not seeing any downward motion on the scale the past few months, its a relief. Goes to show how much munching I was doing because that's the only thing that has changed this week in my routine.

While I'm very happy with this weeks results, I'm also hungrier. I woke up last night feeling hungry, something I don't usually do. And I've felt hungry all day today as well despite having eaten my 4 apples, bag of salad and chunky soup. With the nice weather finally upon us, all I really want to do is hit a patio and drink some beer and enjoy some nachos with cheese! But alas, that isn't going to happen. I might have a couple of beers tonight but there will be no nachos, or anything else to snack on. We're having chicken and roasted veggies tonight for dinner so that should leave me with some room for the beer calories. But God, I'd love some pizza.

We're going to try and hit the gym this weekend for a change. Goodlife has a couple of morning classes available that we like so hopefully we'll make it. We planned to take the bodypump class followed by the bodyattack class last night as they were back to back, but after the pump class, we both ran out of gas. It wasn't that pump was that draining, normally we could follow it up with a cardio class, but for some reason last night, we were both trashed afterward. The intention is to do this back to back regime on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This past Tuesday, instead of hitting them, we opted to take the attack class followed by something called Newbody which was just a low impact aerobics with weights workout. I didn't care for the Newbody class as it was boring and seemed erratic, Red didn't mind it but its not something I care to do again. So my plan is to take the pump/attack classes on those days and get the most out of it. This in addition to the pump class on Mondays, possibly the bodyvive or bodycombat class on Wednesday, attack on either Saturday or Sunday AND hitting the gym in the mornings.....I must be out of my ever loving mind!

But the goal is to look good for the wedding and I've only got 3 months as of today. That's 13 weeks to peel off about 15lb. Hopefully since that's only little more than a pound a week, I can pull off 20 but we'll see. There will be indulgences, might as well admit them now, but if I balance things out, something I failed to do before, I should be okay. With all the extra munching out, and the extra time in the gym, I should be able to survive these indulgences, after all, you can't deny yourself everything you love. So that pizza we love will happen maybe once a month, the odd ice cream cone when we've really felt we've earned it, maybe even nachos! Just have to be smart about it.

I wish I wasn't so preoccupied with what I eat, like a normal person. But when you don't practice portion control and have a tendency to feed your indulgences, especially when emotionally vulnerable, you can't help but be consumed by it. I think about food all the time, I'm always counting calories, feeling guilty about what I did eat, thinking about how often I need to hit the gym and how hard I worked while there and feeling guilty when I miss. Its maddening. Sometimes I wonder if the payoff is worth it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A(nother) New Start!

I restarted the whole diet/exercise thing Monday. I don't know if "restarted" is the right term, but I use it because it feels like I'm recommitting myself to the process. What, you ask, happened to my previous commitment? The one I've been blogging about for the past year? The commitment I made in September of 2007 to change my lifestyle to a more healthier one and lose some weight? The commitment i originally made in January of 2000 to lose the weight I had been dragging around all my life and find some happiness? Nothing. Nothing happened to it. I just realized a few things that were blocking me from reaching my goals. Things I knew were blocking me. Things that stopped me from losing weight and gaining back weight I had already lost.......and lost.....and lost. So maybe "realized" isn't the correct term either. But its partially true.

While I haven't been perfect in my eating, I thought I wasn't doing too badly considering most of my snacking consisted of fruit, mainly grapes, apples and pineapple. Yes, I would hit Subway or the cafeteria at work here and there for a sandwich at lunch, sometimes I would even grab a couple slices of pizza, but overall I didn't think I was doing that much damage. I was hitting the gym pretty much every morning, playing in a sports league and taking dance lessons, so I wasn't just sitting. Yet my weight slowly crept back up.

In November, I was 207lb, a full 10lb heavier than i had been in August. Then I started lifting weights at the gym to try and grow some muscle in addition to the cardio. My weight immediately jumped 5lb. It never came back off. I was 213 when I went to Cuba in late February and I had stopped lifting weights due to back and shoulder issues. In mid April, I started participating in cardio type classes at the gym to give me an average of 8 gym visits a week. Since mid May, the average number of visits to the gym is 9. I now weigh as of this morning, 218lb. That's right, 218.

How can this be? Believe me, I've been asking myself this question for months now. How can I be gaining weight when most days I'm eating well, drinking tons of water, and visiting the gym regularly? Well, this is where the realization sets in. Among other things which I'll get to in a moment, I eat a shitload of grapes. When we buy groceries, we buy a lot of grapes. The grocery store has those plastic bags on the roller in the fruit and vegetable section and I fill up 2 of them, 1 with green seedless, the other with red seedless. This fills up a large size tupperware bowl at home and most of the shelf it sits on in the refridgerator. We also pick up about 3 pineapples and have them chopped and ready to eat. This is in addtion to the apples, a bag of Royal Gala and a bag of Golden Delicious usually. And don't forget the bananas. Sounds like a good healthy plan doesn't it? Well it is, in moderation.

See, I bring 4 apples to work every day and munch on them throughout the day as snacks. My lunch usually consists of a bag of that Dole Salad mix with low calorie Italian dressing and Chunky soup. So far, so good. Well, maybe I could cut back on one or two of the apples, but they're apples for chrissakes! And I workout in the mornings, I'm hungry! Sometimes, Instead of the soup and maybe even instead of the salad, I'll grab a sandwich if I'm feeling particularly hungry. No harm in that I would think. So by my measure, I'm ingesting probably anywhere from 500-900 calories during the workday depending on whether I have the sandwich or not. And more if I do Subway or slices of pizza, which I don't do very often.

But then here's where I think the problem is: the night time. We usually cook dinner and we try to be good about what we eat but I admittedly don't follow what dieticians and the like would consider a normal portion. I don't eat a 3oz. piece of meat, my portion is probably double that, sometimes more depending on what it is. And if its something like spaghetti or shepherds pie, I don't measure out a portion using a scale or anything, I just scoop myself out a nice sized plate that's probably 3 or 4 times the recommended portion and enjoy. But that's not all. Now we're into sitting in front of the TV time. And what does that mean? Grapes! Pineapple! Maybe even a banana smoothie! I think this is a lot of where I'm going wrong.

Yes, I should be more moderate in my dinner portions but most days, its the only solid meal I eat so I'd like it to be filling. But despite snacking on fruits to satiate my desire to eat, I'm mindlessly ingesting way more calories than I thought. I don't measure my food and so I can only guess as to how many grapes I eat in a sitting. But lets put it this way: those 2 bags of grapes we bought on say a Saturday are gone by Wednesday usually, maybe Thursday. And the pineapple? It usually lasts the week but not always. And the aforementioned banana smoothie? Well its not a regular thing, but maybe twice a week, sometimes more. Its usually 2 bananas, 1 and a half to 2 cups of 1% milk, ice and Splenda for a caloric total of about 400. Totalled up, how many calories is all of that?

Now add that to the indiscretions on the weekend. Pizza, while not as frequent as before, does happen. So does M&Ms or some other candy at the movies. And don't forget the beer, something I rarely drank before, now a regular part of my Friday and Saturday evenings. Also, it isn't uncommon for me to enjoy a big bowl of cereal in the mornings on the weekend, by big I mean at least 2 cups (maybe a bit more) of the cereal and probably a cup of milk. The cereal may be Corn Flakes, Special K or Rice Krispies, but its still a big bowl of cereal. See the pattern?

Overeating. No portion control. Mindless snacking. No wonder I'm failing. I may have changed the types of foods I'm eating but I'm still overeating. A doctor at the Brookhaven Obesity Clinic said once in response to one of his obese patients lamenting his weight gain despite eating only oranges ( a dubious claim if you ask me), "You may be eating only oranges, but you're eating 45 oranges! You eat 45 of anything and you're going to gain weight!" I've learned this for there is no difference between me and my incessant snacking on grapes and pineapple and this patient's snacking on oranges. At least I'm admitting I eat other things during the day too!

It comes down to my constant eating. If I'm not eating I'm drinking something. At work, I'll drink 3 or 4 coffees/teas over the course of the day in addition to the 3 24oz. containers of water I sip on. I always have some food or drink item at hand, I'm rarely without. I do this at home too, if I'm not eating, I'm sipping on something or I'm doing both. I eat when I'm not hungry, I just want something. Thankfully it's usually fruit, but it adds up. I used to think I would eat maybe 3 cups of grapes in an evening, now i think its more. Since I don't measure them and lets face it, a cup is not very big, I must be easily downing 5 or 6 cups, maybe more. At 62 calories a cup, that's roughly 300-400, probably more. And that doesn't include the pineapple, which I might add I stopped eating about a month ago, just lost my taste for it.

And here's another problem: when Red and I started taking these cardio classes in the evenings, I thought I could get away with eating more because I was working out more. So I would have that sandwich at lunch more often, or that slice of pizza in addition to my lunch of fruits, salad and maybe the soup. And I didn't think much of the beer on the weekends, again I was working out more so I had room to play. Same went for the candy at the movies, the ice cream cone we'd treat ourselves to, the cookies we'd bake, or the chocolate bar I'd ravage. Where was my head?!? I knew this was wrong! I knew I was already having problems losing weight the last few months and these classes were perfect for helping me get over that hump! So why did I do it? Why did I throw away all those months of hardwork and sacrifice? I'll tell you why. I was never hugged as a child.

That's right, never hugged, never kissed, never told I was loved. I wasn't abused or anything, Christmas was fine, we had stuff, I just lacked emotional attachment. And I guess I turned to food to fill that need. And its something I still do despite being with a woman who loves me to death. But you can't change what's hard wired in you overnight. And I haven't tried to change it. During this whole time, I changed what I ate for the most part, but not when I ate and how much I ate. Its like I'm filling some need deep inside of me although the whole thing doesn't make me happy. I mean here I am bitching about my weight and i'm still eating. All the time. Filling that need. If I doing such a good job of filling that need, shouldn't I be feeling better? Is this a circular argument?

So, how to fix. There's the million dollar question. How do you turn off the eating when you don't know how to? I notice I don't eat when I'm busy, so there's a start. We're hitting the gym roughly 4 nights a week after work, 2 of those nights we're doing a double class so that eats up part of the evening. I stopped buying grapes, didn't think I would resort to that, but I did. I'm very much an all or nothing person and if something isn't there, I won't eat it. If we don't keep snacks around, I can't eat. Won't I substitute the grapes with something that is in the house? Hopefully not. I can't say I won't because it would be easy to grab a sleeve of Ritz crackers or a couple of apples to munch on. All I can do is try. Same with my lunches. Just keep to the salad, fruit and soup. Stay away from the cafeteria and don't make a trip to Subway or the pizza shop.

I had another reminder of how much I've regained in the past few months. In September of 07, I bought a new suit to go to a wedding. At the time, I weighed 227lb and it was just before I started the regimen. Last September, we attended another wedding and I weighed about 203lb so you can imagine how ill-fitting the suit was. I was practically swimming in it. We have a family event to attend in a couple of weeks and I figured I'd get the suit altered so it fit again. I brought it to work today to take to a tailor at lunch and when i tried it on at the shop, it basically fit again! I was so disappointed. It really brought all of this home for me. I feel terrible. But I did it to myself. I was on the right path, doing great and I let it slip away. I've been at the gym more than ever the last 6 weeks and I blew a golden opportunity to drop some weight for the summer. Now I face dieting and working out hard just to get ready for my wedding in September.

There's no way I want to look like this when I get married. I'm disgusting. In late April, Red and I took our weight and measurements to help keep track of our progress and we started this busier regimen with high hopes of dropping excess weight and looking good for our big day. As of today, i'm about 4lb heavier than I was that day and we haven't done any followup. I just can't. But I made the decision over the weekend to fix things. No more grapes, at least not for now. Light lunches. Reasonably portioned meals at dinner. No more night time snacking. Exercise some god damned will power, I've done it before, I can do it again. Its only 3 months till the wedding, that's enough time to drop 15lb. That'll put me around 200 and I can live with that even though my original goal was to be about 190.

I'd like to think I'll pull this off. I know I can do it, i have in the recent past. With Red going to the gym now and being enthusiastic about it, I can get more time in there which can only benefit me. This is my best shot at succeeding, i need to take advantage of it. I'm getting older, the weight doesn't just come off like it used to. But am I still young enough to forge a new, healthier relationship with food? I don't know. Maybe this is my life, to be forever at war with my eating behaviours, my weight and my self loathing. I come from a heavy set family so I have the history. Thing is, despite my weariness with the whole thing, I can't give up. I would love to but I know what that would mean and that is not an option. So I'll trudge ahead with renewed vigor, how many times have I said that in the past? God, read my posts! They're full of the same never say die attitude, its laughable. That and the whining.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Fat Acceptance Hypocrisy

I have to admit, I've been flirting with the idea. It would make life so much easier and lower my stress levels significantly. Gone would be the guilt, the frustration, the early mornings. Yep, the Fat Acceptance Movement seems more appealing every day. These people and their fearless leaders such as Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby appear to have made peace with their own weight loss battles and have decided they can have their cake and eat it too! They just seem so free and unfettered by societys demand that they be a size 2 and count every calorie they shove in their mouths and exercise 3 hours a day just to stay lean and fit. God I wish i could join them. Imagine the freedom of being able to enjoy a donut when buying that morning coffee, or ordering that pizza in a size larger so that you can enjoy the leftovers later or if you so choose, finish it off right then and there. To be able to go to the movies and order Combo #1, you know, the one with the refillable large popcorn and drink with candy and not think about the 4000+ calories you're about to ingest in one sitting. Or being able to stop at the chip truck and ordering some of those greasy, fresh cut fries covered in salt and vinegar, God my mouth is watering right now just thinking about it.

But, as wonderful as all that sounds, I simply cannot do it. Why? Because, in the end, I hate being fat. I hate not fitting into booths at a restaurant, I hate not fitting into regular seats on the bus, on a plane, at the movies, in amusement park rides, anywhere there are seats. And speaking of seats, I hate that creaking sound of furniture straining and groaning under the weight of my big fat arse and the rather large dip in my bed where I sleep at night. I hate not being able to buy decent looking and fitting clothes, although clothing makers are getting much better at this as they've figured out there is money to be made since more and more people are becoming obese and require larger clothing! I hate feeling tired and lazy, everything seems so much harder when you're fat: climbing stairs, walking, any type of manual labour, sports, dancing, anything that requires you to move. Then there's just how I look fat, the big round face which makes my head look more enormous than it already is, the gut hanging out over my belt, that big roll of flab that circles my abdomen, my man boobs, my thighs that appear attached at the knee, that overall pear shape that is so pleasing to the eye.

Nope, I just can't do it. I spent the first 34 years of my life as a fat person, first just fat, then morbidly obese, then just obese before finally getting a handle on it and finding my way to looking fairly average to just a few pounds overweight (well probably 20-25 or so). When I first found the will to diet and hit the gym religiously, I did it as part of a self improvement plan which included returning to college and getting my life together as a whole. I saw my weight as a detriment to success in all aspects of life: career, social, dating. I wanted to be part of life, not on the fringes of it. Being thinner, prospective employers wouldn't be distracted by my size and thus would not fall prey to the stereotypes about fat people, such as that they're lazy, undisciplined, unclean, etc. Being thinner, my social life would open up as I would happily take part in activities such as sports, dances, and other outings where people congregate and enjoy life, this would mean friends. Being thinner, my dating life would open up exponentially. No longer would I have to settle for women that were open to dating fat guys, usually fat themselves or burdened by emotional issues and looking for love wherever they may find it.

Being fat is simply not where its at. And although the supporters of the Fat Acceptance Movement would have you believe otherwise, your life, ironically, is quite a bit smaller when you're fat. I've been reading the blog entries of some of these FA people and the articles that have featured them in an attempt to understand their point of view, and to be honest, I don't get it. Despite the pronouncements that they simply don't care what other people think of them and the countless links to the few studies that seem to support their claims that you can be fat and healthy, they come off as angry, bitter, approaching middle aged bitches. Every blog post ridicules someone who disagrees with them and their philosophy, be it a doctor, the author of a study, a commenter to a blogpost (who is immediately labelled a troll), or another blogger or columnist who dares challenge them on this subject. They've even managed to turn off some of the very people who once supported them in their war on the world. Sounds kinda like the Bush Administration doesn't it? You're either with us or you're with the terrorists. Very black and white.

After reading some of these blogs and the articles I've found online that discuss the movement and interview Harding and others, I can't help but feel these folks are just hypocrites. They decry their treatment at the hands of others yet volley their own bombs back, and sometimes quite viciously. They refuse to take responsibility for their size, instead blaming genetics and yo-yo dieting. Well yo-yo dieting is a bad thing I'll agree, but genetics? Come on. I come from a fat family, we're all prone to weight gain but none of us eat a healthy balanced diet either. Even now, despite the fact that I eat salad and fruit regularly, don't eat junk food as a rule, nor do I eat out much, I'm still battling my weight. Why? Because I overeat the good stuff! Not to mention that when I have a bad weekend, I have a BAD WEEKEND. Even something as innocent as grapes can be bad if consumed in large quantities. I eat tons of grapes in a week, always in the evenings when sitting in front of the TV, in addition to my dinner, my lunch, whatever fruit I brought to work to munch on that day. It adds up.

To me, they just seem to have given up, and are looking for any excuse available to justify their viewpoint, even if it means bending the truth, quoting out of context or ignoring the massive number of studies that link obesity to all sorts of diseases and health issues. Somehow it makes sense that this movement would come to be and develop a zealous following. We are getting fatter for any number of reasons and we're getting pretty defensive about it at the same time. If it were simply genetics, wouldn't humans have always been fat throughout time? Why is it the obesity epidemic has only become so in the last 20 or so years? Don't think people are fatter now than before? Go to a mall, go to a bar or a club on a Saturday night, go to a beach, in fact, go anywhere there are people and just take a look around! There are more fatties walking around than ever before. And they're getting younger. Don't believe me? Check out the teenage girls walking around in their belly tops and too tight pants. Where do you think the term "muffin top" came from? I don't remember seeing that in high school back in the early 80's. Now its everywhere.

Nope, denying there is an obesity problem or blaming genetics is just like saying global warming is a fraud. Only people that refuse to take responsibility make those types of statements.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Read an article the other day by a writer who wrote a letter to his 16 year old self. It was interesting as others also wrote themselves letters, each offering encouragement and advice. I was intrigued by this idea so I decided to jump on the bandwagon and write my 16 year old self a letter, but only deal with the weight issue since this is what this blog is about. Of course I could go on about school, women, careers, friends and so forth but this is not the place.

Dear Me,

While you're not completely aware of how big you are, you will become acutely aware of it soon. This is because you are not going to shrink any time in the near future, rather, you will continue to grow and your insecurities and self esteem will shrink instead. I know you are aware you are overweight and the object of some ridicule at school, but believe me, it's only going to get worse unless you take action now.

Notice how you are dateless currently despite your best efforts to woo certains girls you like at school? No, it's not because you aren't likeable, it's because you're fat and chicks don't dig fat guys. They also don't want to be with the guy who is the butt of so many immature fat jokes made mostly by the jocks you despise so much. This issue is only going to continue for you as you make your way out of high school and into real life. Yes, there will be girls, but they won't be what you want, instead they'll be girls you'll settle for, other fatties or retards with emotional problems who just want someone to love them. And you'll do that, yes you'll provide that love and comfort, but at what price? Your happiness? Your sanity? Your soul? You will become that guy the girls like, but as a friend. Someone they can confide in and trust. And you, you will listen and support them all the while gritting your teeth and shaking your head at these girls who insist on dating these assholes hoping that maybe, just maybe, one might see that you are a better choice. Don't hold your breath.

You know how you love to drum and play in rock bands? Yes, it's fun isn't it? Well nobody who is serious about taking to the stage wants a fat drummer. You know this. You will miss out a few times, not because you didn't have the talent to play for them, but because you are fat. Look at pictures of rockers you aspire to be like, no fat guys to be seen. You are a good enough drummer to impress any of these musicians but they won't even consider you once they see you. And no amount of great auditions will change that. Trust me, I've been there. And the rejection will hurt, a lot.

Hockey's been fun, you're known as a good goaltender among the coaches and players. But you're carrying too much weight and getting equipment that fits you properly is hard on mom. She doesn't have the money to buy new so finding used equipment that is large enough is almost impossible. And you're too slow to move and react to the play, not only are you carting around 50 or more pounds of equipment on your frame, you're carrying all that fat! No wonder you can't move well. Your size does help you in stopping pucks at times, but you're limited and you can be better.

You need to get it together and lose the weight while you're still young and able to. Your metabolism is faster, you've got youth and energy on your side, and your body will shrink down properly as you lose the weight. You've been to the gym, you know what its about. But you need to focus on what you're doing there. Those aerobic classes are a good source of exercise but you need to do more in the gym. Find an elliptical or run on the treadmill, burn those calories!

As for your diet, you need to change a few things. Stop having a couple of sandwiches for a snack in the evening, in fact, cut back on the bread altogether. Learn to like diet pop, you just need to adjust your taste buds. Avoid chips and other salty snacks, they are only helping to bring you down. Get off the juice and enjoy real fruit, you will develop a taste for it and it will happen fast. Eat salad, find a low calorie dressing and enjoy that. Discover roasted veggies, green, red and yellow peppers with mushrooms and zuchinni, this will become a passion for you but you should try it now, not later. Stop the pizza!! It has to be the worst thing you're eating and it will become a nasty habit. If you get a handle on it now, this won't be an issue.

Learn moderation, enough with the all or nothing thinking. There will be pizza tomorrow, same with hamburgers, bread, chips, etc. You can enjoy things in smaller quantities, I know it tastes so good and one is never enough, but you have to find a way of portioning out the foods you love and crave so that you don't continue to battle your weight over the remainder of your lifetime. You're seeking refuge in food, looking for comfort in eating. But I assure you, if you get it together now, you'll be happier and your self esteem will grow. You won't need artificial comfort, you will have friends and women. Your social circle will grow because you won't feel like an outsider anymore and you're young enough to make these changes easier.

I've suffered the pain of being overweight, the rejections, the humiliations, the loneliness, the insecurity, the ridicule. You think you have it bad now? Just wait a little longer. It does get worse. Your life will come to a standstill both personally and professionally. You will suffer throught many weight loss programs and a surgery you will come to regret. It will almost cost you your life eventually. But you can avoid all that and give both of us a chance at a happier existence. Your remaining teenage years and your 20's don't have to be wasted. You can make it happen. I know that light bulb hasn't gone off in your head yet, in fact it won't until you're in your early 30's and by that time, much damage will have been done. Damage that cannot be undone despite the best intentions of those who love you, in particular one who you will come to love like no other.

No, the change must be made now and it must be made by you. No doctor, family member or friend will make the change for you. It will be hard, I won't lie. Working out daily is tough, dieting is tougher. But don't think of it as a diet, it's not a diet. It's a lifestyle change, a lifestyle that healthy, fit people live. And healthy fit people have better lives than fat ones do. You want to be accepted, being fit will help in that. People like you, but you're introverted and quiet. You know its only because you don't want people to notice you, because you know they'll notice the fat. It doesn't have to be that way. There is a better way and a better life waiting for you. Reach deep within yourself and find that spark. Use whatever motivation you need, be it social acceptance, women, a desire to just look good, health, whatever it takes. Do this and I promise your life will get infinitely better. It has to.

Good luck.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Overheard an interesting conversation the other day at they gym between two middle aged guys in the cardio area. They were talking about whether it's easier to work out in the mornings or later in the day. They both agreed that working out later in the day was easier, but one preferred getting his workout done in the mornings to "get it out of the way".

I have to agree. I find getting up in the morning and heading to the gym first thing to be a labourious chore; you're not awake yet, you're clumsy and foggy and barely operating in first gear. I think many people feel this way when heading to work in the mornings, they don't really find their stride until maybe an hour or more into the day. This isn't too much of an issue in the workplace, but at the gym, it's death. Finding the will to exert yourself and work through your routine first thing in the morning requires true commitment, and even then, something more.

I'm committed to hitting the gym every morning Monday to Friday, but many days I just want to stay in bed. When I arrive, I don't have the drive to push myself, and I'm doing cardio! All I have to do is climb up onto the elliptical and start pedalling. But why is this so hard? Resentment over having to get up out of my nice, warm, comfy bed? Maybe. I resent rising to an alarm clock anyway so doing so just to go to the gym doesn't help. Exhaustion? No, I get roughly 8 hrs sleep a night give or take. And I sit down for a living, which while that does create a tendency to doze off due to inactivity, isn't physically strenuous. Just not awake yet? Probably. Like I said, you just aren't yourself at that hour, I know I'm still clumsy and foggy and I'm definitely not a morning person. I prefer to get up (on my own), and just sit and wake up slowly, preferably with a cup of coffee and something to read.

Last Wednesday I attended the gym after work as Red had an Ab Attack class she attends and I figured it was an opportunity to get some weight lifting in, plus my morning workout had been lacklustre as a result of feeling tired and foggy and I felt an need to do a bit more despite also having been participating in cardio classes most evenings as well. This was also when I overheard the gentlemen discussing the pros and cons of morning/afternoon workouts.

I have to admit, I felt great on the elliptical, burned through two 25 minute sessions and another 20 minutes on the bike. Nothing like my morning experiences. I also lifted a few weights before meeting up with Red after her class. What a difference a few hours makes! I was awake, alert and had energy, just like when I attend those cardio classes. But my schedule makes it hard for me to give up those morning routines. The reason I attend in the mornings is because Red works at 7 am so she's up at 5:30 and in bed around 9pm. I work at 9am so I don't have to be in bed before 11pm if I don't want to. In order to square up our schedules, I chose to get up early and hit the gym so that we could spend our evenings together. And it's been a good choice overall, I go most days which was a problem when I was going in the evenings, too many other options at that time. At least with the mornings, I'm consistent even if I'm struggling most mornings with the workout. And it allows us to attend those cardio classes together which I love. Plus, there's fewer people there in the mornings so you can always get the equipment or machines you want without delay whereas in the evenings, it's much busier and you can spend a lot of time waiting.

I didn't go this morning as Red had been up most of the night sick and felt the need to see a doctor finally. I had woken up a couple of hours before my normal time and couldn't get back to sleep knowing she wasn't well until she left for the emergency department. I figured I'd just grab some breakfast before heading to the gym, but then decided to just go back to bed since I knew I'd be at the gym tonight and could catch up on what I missed. I guess going twice a day has this benefit. If I miss one workout, I can still make it up later that day.

I'm a bit worried though that I'm taking advantage of this situation. Not so much in missing my morning workouts as I haven't yet, but of allowing myself to eat more because I am at the gym more often. In addition to going in the mornings Monday thru Friday, I'm also taking cardio classes Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and spending another hour and a half on Wednesday evening while Red is in her ab class. That's 9 visits a week and that doesn't include any visits we might make on the weekend. This abundance of gym attendance has given me the notion that I can eat more since I burning more. It isn't much more, a sandwich from the cafeteria at lunch along with my salad or soup, or an indulgence in the evenings, say a Drumstick ice cream cone. Normally I don't do this, but lately I have been and I'm worried about it.

The nice advantage to Red joining the gym and us attending cardio classes was that it was extra time in the gym for me to burn off what I normally ate and help me with my weight loss struggles (or battles) since I've been up and down the scale with alarming frequency the last few months. But my inner fat guy is seeing this as an opportunity to enjoy a few things I don't usually allow myself. For instance, when I was up this morning, I enjoyed a bowl of Corn Flakes and some grapes, something I never do during the week. For lunch I decided to have a can of Chunky soup and my salad along with my apples for snacks. Well leave it to me to decide that since I won't be home after work, instead going straight to the gym, I won't be eating anything substantial to get me through both the day and a workout so I should get something more filling. And what did I choose to do? I headed over to Subway for a turkey sub. Not the worst thing a person could do, but certainly something I didn't need to do. So at this writing, I've eaten all 4 of the apples and the sub, not to mention the Corn Flakes and grapes from 5:30am. My soup remains on my desk unopened and my salad sits in the fridge. I'm not hungry so I doubt I'll eat anything else, but I do suffer from that mid afternoon hunger, is it really hunger or just boredom? So I might just eat that salad then. I don't think I'll touch the soup. Once I'm home tonight, probably close to 7, I'll need to figure out dinner. It can't be something heavy since I've eaten a bowl of cereal and a full sub, but it'll need to be something substantial. We do have some roasted veggies and a meat patty leftover from last night plus there's still some stir fry left from the weekend so I think I'll be alright. But Red chose to stay home from work so I don't know what she might be planning. Either way, I need to be smart here.

Friday, May 1, 2009

So we got the weight and measurements done last Saturday. I came in at 214lb and my measurements were not a surprise. I had Red take some pictures of me from the front, side and back, just to have a reference point later on when I'm wondering if there's a difference visually. I figure i'll have pics done every month but I'm not completely sold on that idea yet. When I saw the pics, I saw a totally different me than the one I see in the mirror every day. I don't know if it was the lighting or the way cameras take pictures, but I looked terrible, all flabby and gross looking. My man boobs seemed to jut out even worse than I thought, the roll around my waist seemed more pronounced and sickening than I perceived. Red said they didn't reflect how i actually looked and that they are not how people see me. But how does she know that? Nobody but her, and the beach goers in Cuba, know what I look like without a shirt on. A couple of summers ago, we spent the day up at her parents pool and I was terribly self conscious of how i looked. Thankfully there was only her parents there, I don't think I would have felt comfortable had any of her siblings been around.

Anyway, I downloaded the pics into a folder on her computer and immediately deleted the pics from the camera lest somebody accidentally come across them. The last thing I need is for someone to be glancing at pics and come across this mishapen John Merrick looking abomination in his red underwear. Talk about losing your lunch! There is definitely a difference in how i look in the mirror and how I look in those pics. Maybe the digital camera causes your imperfections to be more pronounced....then again maybe I really do look like that and I just think I look differently. Either way, it made me never want to take my shirt off again.

We're just over 2 weeks into our new regimen and neither of us are seeing a weightloss on the scale, although Red said her pants felt better. I would take that as a positive as the scale isn't always true about what is actually going on with your body. I'm thinking the cardio classes are building some lean muscle tissue and that is offsetting any scale losses right now. My own body feels tighter, even if it doesn't look it. I had hoped to see at least a couple of pounds or more off by now as I've been getting in about 9 visits to the gym per week since this began. I'm going to need to see something soon or I really am going to lose my shit.

Another thing I'm finding besides the physical exhaustion is that I'm hungrier in the day now. This has led me into our workplace cafe for toasted turkey sandwiches in the mornings. Not every morning, but a few. Added up, they aren't bad calorie wise, but in the context of a full day, they are an extra 400 calories give or take i could do without. Maybe this is where my weightloss is? I don't feel like i'm eating more than before other than the sandwich. I need to get that under control, but what to do about this hunger? I think with the extra workout, my body is just needing more. But at what cost? I'll have to see what the scale brings tomorrow and maybe rethink what i'm doing.

Still no real cravings, which is nice, but I'm still munching when I'm not hungry in the evenings. It's mostly fruit but one of the things I enjoy is a banana smoothie and sometimes when i make one, I'm not even hungry. I just want it. Why is that? Its not a bad thing to drink, couple of bananas, cup or 2 of 1% milk and some splenda with ice. I could probably cut down to 1 banana and cup of milk, but I'm not known for my portion control. This is my biggest problem. Need to get a handle on it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I'm sore. I ache all over. And I'm physically tired.

It's been 2 weeks since we joined the new gym and started taking cardio classes together. So far it's going well, we're hitting about 3 classes a week after work, Red has her ab class on Wednesday and I'm in the gym in the mornings. Tonight while she's in her class, I'm going to hit a strength and toning class on my own since I didn't do much this morning and don't want to lose out. I almost didn't go as my body is probably telling me to slow down, but I really don't see myself as over working. It isn't that hard to do a couple of 20-25 minute stints on the ellliptical and another 20 minutes on a bike. But when you're feeling out of gas, it's asking a lot. This morning, I rode the bike for 30 minutes and lifted some weights, but I should have done more. Hence the toning class tonight.

One of the few issues we're having, is that the facility we take these classes at isn't as close to home as we'd like. The facility we signed up at and where I go in the mornings is only 10 minutes away but they don't offer the variety or number of classes as the other facility, so we're stuck making this 20 minute trek in rush hour traffic, which can potentially become much longer depending on traffic flow. Another issue is that our Salsa dance class is at the same facility on Tuesday nights at 8:30 and the cardio class we like is at 6 which means we have to figure out what to do between 7 and 8:30. It doesn't make much sense to go home then return, but we can't just not eat either. Red's home earlier than I am so she can eat before we leave. I suppose I have time, as long as I get home by 5, to grab something before class to get me through, but it's a problem to be solved.

So far, we've taken a cardio tone, strength and tone, steps and reps, and something called a low core class. We like them all except for the step class, too confusing. I'd taken one a few years ago just for the experience, but I found it hard to follow and spent so much time concentrating on performing the routine (badly) and keeping up, that I neglected the arm movement (important) and didn't feel like I got a workout at all. I warned Red about it but she dismissed it as just me being crazy. I mean, how hard could it be? You step up then you step down again. Easy. Ya right.

It isn't the stepping up and down that's so hard, it's the routine the instructor does. She's mixing it up, step left, swing right leg out, drop right leg, step down with left, up with right, knee raise with left, step down with left, step down with right, step right, step left, do something with your arms, left knee raise, now do doubles, cross the stepper, step left, step right, swing your arms......etc. At least with a regular aerobic class it's easier to follow. But for whatever reason, the step class isn't so easy. The instructor even warned us that it takes 5 to 10 classes to get the routine down. 5 to 10! Somehow I don't see that as a selling point. Anyway, after stumbling our way through this equivalent of a quantum physics class, Red saw my point. We won't be doing that again.

Since our membership to this facility was only for a month, we'll be changing things up again in 2 weeks when our Goodlife membership activates. From what I saw of the classes schedule, they offer many good classes at good times for us and the gym is closer to home so our travelling time will be cut. One of the problems we're having as well is cooking dinner. Since many of the classes we like are offered at 6, there isn't much time to prepare a decent meal beforehand. If we wait until after, we're looking at at least an hour before eating and that makes for a late dinner, especially for Red who doesn't eat during the day usually. We're working out solutions to this like cooking the day before and reheating, or fixing simpler quick meals, but many of the meals we enjoy take a bit of time. One of my favourites, roasted veggies, requires the cutting and marinating of the veggies for about an hour before cooking. And throwing something together on what we call "munching night" isn't always a good solution; there's a tendency to overeat. But we're smart people, we'll get it under control.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

God I'm tired. I mean totally physically spent. Since getting the new membership at the gym with Red, I've been going every morning Monday to Friday for my 6am workout, plus taking a couple of cardio and toning classes in the evenings and dropping in once or twice on top of that to do some weights. That's a lot of time in the gym. And my body is feeling it. I just hope the scale agrees with my new regimen.

Dinner's been a bit of a problem during the week since we're busier. In addition to the gym workouts, we still take a couple of dance classes, on Tuesday and Thursdays. So on some days, we're in the gym then going to dance which fills in the evening. On other days, the class we want to take is at 6 or so, so preparing a decent meal is hard. Usually on these hard to cook nights, we eat leftovers which is fine, or we munch which can be trouble.

Munching is trouble because we aren't preparing a full meal so the tendency to eat more occurs especially when I've decided to eat say soup and Red goes with salmon and a salad. Simply put, it isn't very filling which leads to more munching. I guess the answer is to plan out our meals in advance so that we can prepare them as best we can beforehand and therefore have a decent meal every night. I like munching night as a rule, but as stated, the tendency to overeat is greater which isn't so good.

I came across a plan from a diet site i like to help aid in our endeavour: marking the calendar with weightloss goals every week or bi-weekly plus keeping track of measurements which are a good source of information about the changes your body is making. Another thing I want to do is take some pictures and keep a visual record of the changes. Sometimes when the scale isn't cooperating, it's encouraging to have other sources of info to keep you motivated because nobody knows better than us how discouraging it is to see that scale not move or even go up when you know you've been good. But it doesn't mean nothing good is happening, sometimes its muscles growth, sometimes its bloat or water retention. Just relying on the scale is not a good indicator of your progress and I do believe this plan will help, especially me.

In the meantime, I'm tired......I need a break.

Monday, April 20, 2009

"Much good work is lost for the lack of a little more."
Edward H. Harriman

Seem familiar? It does for me as it sums up my battle with the bulge. I can dutifully visit the gym every morning, do my regular workout and feel good that I accomplished that goal, but then blow it by indulging in some food item later that day that I should have avoided. Result? All those calories burned wasted and no weight loss.

In 2000, when I made my decision to join the gym and diet to lose the weight, I had little problem abstaining from junk, fast food, larger portions or any other pitfall that could sink me. I ate well, ate light and hit the gym 5 days a week for a rigorous workout that saw me lose up to 10lb a month. But that was then, this is now. Since resuming a healthier diet and renewed committment to the gym in September of 2007, I've gained and lost weight and been on a yo-yo. The first 3 months were great, I went from about 226 to 207 before the problems started and my yo-yoing began. First it was Christmas, then after that debacle and righting those wrongs, it was Easter, then vacation, then whatever. You see the pattern. Do some hard work in the gym, eat right and avoid temptation, then fall off the wagon.

At then end of last summer, I was feeling pretty good at 196lb. I wanted to go down to about 185-190 and felt good coming into the fall. But a change up in my workout (adding weights), and a few too many indulgences, saw me bloat up to 213lbs which is about where i remain. A bad trip to Cuba, followed by a week of doctored ordered rest due to a painful injury, then a week of limbo thanks to my gym closing further sunk me. All I needed to do was that little more. Maybe I couldn't hit the gym for a week due to injury or because my gym closed unexpectedly, but I certainly didn't need to eat without having an outlet to burn off the calories. All that hard work.........

I'd like to think that when I get to my desired weight and body size, that I'll be able to maintain it with little trouble. But getting there isn't the hard part, it may seem that way, but its actually much easier than maintaining. When I lost the rest of my weight back in 2001, I got lazy. I still went to the gym, but not as often and when I did, I didn't work as hard. Also, I was dating and you know how that goes: you go out to eat, you sit and snack, you drink, etc. Before long, I had gained about 30lbs and needed to resume my earlier habits. This happened again in 2007. After my illness and recovery, I gained an extra 30 or so pounds which I needed to lose again, eerily similar to 2001.

So my biggest issue may be maintenance. I've been at a good weight a couple of times in the last 10 years but always managed to botch it up. One of the things that annoys me to no end is buying nice clothes I love when I'm at that good weight and then not being able to fit into them later on thanks to laziness and gluttony. Most of my clothes seem to fit me as I stay within this 20lb window, but I have some that were purchased when I was a slimmer 180-190lbs that I haven't worn in a couple of years.

I don't know why I feel I can let myself off the hook sometimes when I'm down on the scale, I know I'm only going to gain the weight back and be miserable with myself later. I need to find that balance, that little more work to keep it off. Perfect example? Friday night we cooked popcorn, Red made a pot but I decided we needed more to fill that extra sized plastic bowl we were using. That also required extra butter and salt. So two pots of popcorn (we didn't even use the air popper which we normally would!) and god knows how much butter later, I was feeling guilty and kicking myself for my indiscretion. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Sadly, this is not an uncommon occurence. But it needs to become one.

So here I am, about 20 or so pounds from where i want to be. Now I'm not as concerned this time because Red joined the gym and we are taking cardio type classes in the evenings plus doing some weights in addition to my morning workouts. This will, I have no doubt, have a huge impact on my weightloss as I'm getting an extra 4 or more hours a week in the gym. If I can just do that little more work at home when I've got the munchies and not set myself back, I should be good for the wedding in September. Red's fired up, she's caught the bug so there should be no stopping us. A new gym, a new workout buddy and renewed motivation should get us where we need to be.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I gotta start writing more often, but I'd rather write when I've got something to say, rather than whine and bitch about the same old.

So I've been going to the gym regularly for almost 10 years now and it's a part of my life, a part I miss very much when it's gone. It's not that I love going to the gym, far from it, but I've become dependent on it being there as a check against my sins. Last week, my life was torn apart. Queue dramatics.......

Red's never believed in the gym, I think she used the word scam or something of that nature at one point. But she came around and surprised me with the announcement that she'd like to join and do some cardio classes and stuff like that. Of course I was ecstatic! I knew this was the only way she was going to shed those 10lb she's been complaining about for so long and it gave me a workout buddy. Plus, on a selfish note, it allowed me some more time in the gym during evenings to aid in my weightloss endeavours. It was win-win.

My membership wasn't due up until July but I thought maybe they would cut us a break seeing as I was an upstanding member and let her in at some reduced rate. After some haggling, the boss gave us both a year plus that extra 3 months leading up to July for Red for a sweet deal if we paid cash. Not thinking anything of it, we paid. Done, right? Well not quite.

We showed up Monday night for an awesome circuit training class and i continued to do my mornings as per usual. Until Wednesday. I wandered in just after 6am to find the gates closed and 2 signs hanging. One was a lease termination notice from the mall, the other a hand written note stating that "the gym had closed. A new facility will be opening very soon. All memberships will be honoured." I was stunned. I spent the day at work wondering what I was going to do. Red came home that day and I told her the news worried that this impression would kill her desire to join a gym , any gym. Aside from the feeling of being ripped off, which I did too, she was still game.

Now part of this might have been because I've been through this before. A few years ago, a gym I had longed belonged to suddenly closed its doors. A new owner showed up only a couple of weeks later and reopened and memberships were honoured. So i wasn't too worried this time. After all, its the same gym with the same equipment, a new owner probably hasn't put any captial into it and its got a membership that isn't going to pay again for the privilege to work out there. So I feel okay about this. However, what to do in the meantime? I mean, we have no idea how long the gym was going to be closed or what the deal would be once it reopened. I can't wait idly by for this situation to resolve. I need the exercise, of that there is no doubt. A couple of weeks of being away from the gym would be catastrophic. I needed a plan.

It would have easy for me to just grab a monthly membership at another gym and play it by ear until my gym sorted itself out, but I had Red to think about. We needed a gym with an aerobics studio for classes and one that was convenient. The city recreational centres were perfect as Red was already taking an Ab Attack class on Wednesdays and had the chance to scope the facilities out. We went and looked at it together and got the price. So far so good. But then Red chimed in about her corporate wellness program at work that allowed us a great deal on a membership to Goodlife. This is where everything went south.

We dropped into Goodlife and had to fill out a form with our personal info just to be taken through the facility. Obviously a sales tactic to get your info and spam your inbox. The guy who showed us was young, a gym rat himself, and obviously hungry to sell everything he could to us "newcomers". What he didn't count on was that I wasn't new to this environment and knew what we needed, and secondly, that Red was going to purchase using her corporate wellness program which would reduce the sale to less than half. Suddenly he wasn't so eager any more.

Anyway, we got the info we needed and really liked the facility so being as it was coming into the Easter weekend holiday, we elected to join Goodlife for a full year at the beginning of this week and restart our program. For the price, it just made more sense than going monthly and hoping the old gym would reopen. Easy enough? Well.....ya, here's where the fun began.

Turns out the corporate wellness program only signs up memberships on the 15th of every month and they require you send them the money and forms which takes time and then you have to wait another 7-10 days for your membership cards to arrive in the mail. Oh joy! So if we went this route, we wouldn't be signed up until May 15, a full month later. No good. So Red drops into the Goodlife close to her work to see about getting just a monthly until the full membership is processed. Holding a form stating that through the corporate program we'll only pay $40 for the month, but unable to go this route thanks to the snails pace it takes, she's told it'll cost $93 a piece for the month. Are you fucking kidding me? $93?!?! For a month??? And the girl said this with a straight face. Like we should be honoured that Goodlife would even have us. Needless to say, after questioning this logic, Red left.

So it was back to the city facility. I'd had enough of the bullshit and city gym was good. We dropped in yesterday and joined for a month. Red sent in the money and paperwork through her corporate program for the yearly at Goodlife so we should be ready to go May 15 there. We'll see.

In the meantime, I made my debut at the new gym this morning and it was refreshing to be at a new facility. The equipment's pretty much the same as every other gym so getting started was easy. There are schedules for cardio classes and the like at each city facility so we've chosen a few to attend, starting tonight. I'm looking forward to it, the extra workout, my baby at my side, a new start.

I don't know what's going to happen at my old gym. If and when they reopen, if they honour our memberships, at least we'll have that option too. But I'm not worried about it. I like the idea of being in a new environment, I've been needing a pick me up in that area and this fits. Despite the hassle with Goodlife, they offer a great facility with many great classes, we're really looking forward to it. But I've never had so much trouble just getting a membership to a stupid gym! I was ready to lose my shit and almost did. But so did Red. I think its a testament to our relationship that we managed to keep it together with each other despite the stress.

I love my baby.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Yesterday, I found out something that made my day. I had avoided the scale since my vacation for reasons stated in my last post. I felt that I had gained a lot of weight recently and was feeling pretty down about this set back and having to once again lose weight I had thought long gone. But I decided that I should know where I stood just so that I had a reference point to work from. So with that mind, I reluctantly stepped on the scale expecting the worst.

What I saw made me smile: 213lb, the weight I was before I left for Cuba. How did this little miracle happen? I haven't a clue. As stated before, I ate and ate with little to no activity. I saw how big and hard my belly was, I knew how tighter my shirts felt, to me there was no doubt I had messed up big time. But lo and behold, there it was: 213lb. It was as if time had stopped for those 3 weeks and none of my transgressions had come to pass. I was elated.

As I said, I have no idea what happened. One week back on the diet, or lifestyle change, and some gym time should have not been enough to fix what I thought had happened. So how to explain? Red said she thought I had overshot my estimates on my weight and that I was bloated, but nowhere near what I thought. Turns out she was right. So again, what happened? I haven't a clue and I'm not going to spend too much time worrying about it. All I know is that I'm not as much of a cow as I thought and I haven't set myself back as far as I feared. And that makes me feel really good.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Back at it

So Cuba is a memory and I'm back to my real life.....super. Cuba was better than what I expected and once we actually ate there and found out the food wasn't all that great, there was hope that without all the food calories, I might escape my vacation with no real damage. But alas, after a couple of days of wandering around the resort, we discovered a small convenience store on site filled with all kinds of chocolates and cookies. I don't know why I did it, but I ended up buying some of this junk and it was all downhill from there.

While there were 5 restaurants on site, only one, the buffet style one, didn't require reservations so we ended up eating there most days. First was breakfast, something neither of us do as a rule, but there it was every morning beckoning us. Fortunately, the bacon was horribly undercooked making it a rare treat and the french toast was left in a heating tray to get soggy and gross. There was lots of veggies and fruit available, but no apples, grapes or good pineapple for me to indulge in. Unfortunately, the bread was good making toast an obvious choice, eggs are eggs, there was a pancake and waffle station that was very good too, and lots of cheese. They had no sweetnener so my coffee contained sugar for the first time in ages. You can see where this is going.

We skipped lunch but dinner was much the same. A lot of not so great food, lots of veggies and fruits, but the one bright spot for me was the pizza and pasta station. The good part was that the pizzas were really good, the pasta was good enough but the lineup for it was ridiculous. The bad part was that the pizza was really good and while the lineup for it wasn't bad at all, it took a good 10-15 minutes to get it prepared and cooked so I spent much time standing at the station instead of seated with my girl. And since they were small thin crust with not much on them, it required more than one to make a meal (at least in my opinion). Oh, and pizza is high in calories, I'm sure even these thin ones had more than I needed to ingest, so an almost daily diet of these isn't doing me much good. You can see where this is going.

And the drinks. Of course you can't go to Cuba and not drink. After all, that's most of what you end up doing while lying in the sun not moving, getting no physical activity. For most of the trip, I never saw a diet cola, only the regular. So i was drinking rum and colas, beer, and the odd dacquiri. Let's add up those calories. Better yet, let's not.

There is a gym on site and I did bring my gym clothes with the intention of spending a few hours there, and while we did talk a bit about it, it never happened. There was just too much lying in the sun to be done, or sitting in the lounge drinking. The most exercise we got was the day we spent walking around Havana. It's weird how your body settles back into a sedentary state so quickly; the walking about was tiring and my back, which hasn't been right for a while, started acting up. You can see where this is going.

We were there for 7 days and I woke up on the sixth day with a very painful and stiff neck. The bed and pillow sucked, even Red was suffering, and it appeared my neck could take no more. I got through the last couple of days and we headed home. With my bad neck, I was unable to return to the gym and after a few more days of intense pain, finally went to emerg for a look. Turns out it was inflammation so I was given an anti-imflammatory and some percocet and ordered to a week of bed rest. Now, I'm no good when I'm just sitting idle at home. I get bored easily and I munch. You can see where this is going.

I was finally able to return to work and the gym this past Monday. Now after 3 weeks of little to no activity, lots of food, both regular and junk, and drink, you can imagine the shape I was in. There was no doubt I had gained weight. A lot of weight. My belly was hard and protruding further than it had since I got serious again in September of 2007 and changed my diet and exercise regime. All that hard work, all those pounds lost, gone. I haven't stepped on the scale but I don't have to. I can see the damage and so can Red. My shirts are tighter, my face rounder. When I left for Cuba, I was about 213lb. Though I wasn't happy about that, I attributed much of it to my weight lifting regime and the muscle I had gained. When I began the weights in November, I weighed about 203, up from a low of 196 in late August, but nothing to be overly concerned about. Almost immediately, I put on 5lb which I expected. But it kept coming on. While my body was changing to reflect the new workout, my weight stopped going down. I did worry at first, but was reassured by a few people that I was looking good so I stopped being too concerned.

However, now I am back to where I started I'm sure. Not back to the start start when I weighed 370lb, but to where I was that September morning when I began this latest crusade. The morning workouts have been brutal; I'm not doing weights right now, my neck and back are still not in great shape and I don't want to aggravate whatever is going on there, but I'm back to cardio full time. Two 20-30 minute stretches on the elliptical and a further 20 on a stationary bike along with some back stretches i learned in physio and some lunges to keep my thighs and hamstrings strong. I think I'm going to continue this for another week or two, it'll really depend on how my body feels. Right now I'm just draggin my ass through the workouts, usually after having some time away from the gym, I'm ready and raring to go but not this time. I feel like I'm running in mud, my energy level is just not that high. It should get better as I go, but goddamn this week hasn't been easy.

I'm not worried about losing the extra weight, my diet is under control for the most part and I'm back to doing what burns the calories and works for me at the gym, it's just the having to start over again. Why am I such an idiot? Why, after all this time, can i not learn and exercise some self control when I'm off? I know what I'm doing but it doesn't seem to matter. Once I've made that internal decision to do something, I do it and in this context, that's not a good thing. I knew I couldn't hit the gym last week yet I ate and ate and ate. I knew the pizzas, chocolates and cookies in Cuba weren't in my best interests yet I ate and ate and ate them. I can't say I suffered from any real cravings, I haven't had cravings in quite a while now. Truth is, I can't be idle for when I'm idle I eat. It drives Red crazy at times with my need for stimulation but this is the result when I get none. I get fat.

We've been watching The Biggest Loser and Red made the comment about a couple of the younger contestants that accomplishing something as huge as massive weight loss early in life gives you confidence to be successful in other things as well. I have to agree. I'm very proud of my weight loss and being able to remain, for the most part, a regular sized man. But it's such a struggle. I'm up and down on the scale, I'm prone to binging, self loathing and frustration. While I feel I have everything in place to keep things under control for the most part, it's still a daily battle. I think about everything I eat, mentally tallying up the calories, I count the calories and time spent at the gym and feel guilty as all hell when I don't go or work as hard. I'm always looking in the mirror for hints about my actual size; how badly is my belly hanging over my pants? How round is my face? Will that shirt I like fit when I want to wear it? Argh.....it's all too much.

My relationship with food is not healthy and I don't know if I can change it. I know I'm not the only one but what I wouldn't give for some inner peace on this subject. The wedding is little more than 5 months away and I'm not even close to being ready bodywise. I have my work cut out for me but I'm not worried. Just pissed off that I allowed myself to get here again. I'll lose it, I have no doubt about that, but I just shake my head..........

Thursday, January 22, 2009

So I finally hopped on the scale earlier in the week just for a looksee, and wasn't surprised by what i saw: 211lb. Normally this would incite frustration and much anxiety in me, but I'm okay with it. Since I don't know where i stood before Xmas, and that I know I did some damage over the holidays, and that I've been very good since, I can't really say much. Getting off the scale has been good for my soul, living and dying by the scale is no way to live. Especially when you're engaged in the type of workout that promotes muscle growth and thus weight gain and your experience thus far with this regimen hasn't been one of loss.

I did fully expect to start dropping some weight by now, almost 3 months since I began the new routine, but instead, I've put on probably a good 8lb. Some of it is muscle I'm sure, but the expected bloat should be gone and my new muscle should have been eating away at the fat surrounding it. However, as recorded before, my diet wasn't as good as it should have been (read bread for the most part and a lack of water) and I suppose I wasn't giving it much of a chance. Also, you just don't burn as many calories when you lift weights as you do when performing cardio, there is a big difference. So in order to actually see some weight loss, a few dietary changes must be in order.

First up is the water consumption. Before? Nothing worth mentioning. Now? About 8-10 glasses a day. Incorporating this was relatively easy, I started bringing a bottle of water to the gym in the morning, then refilling it while there and at work afterward. I easily drink about 3 bottles while at the gym so there's 6 glasses right there (bottle is 500ml, 250ml = 1 8oz glass), then i usually throw back another 2 bottles during the day. So water is no longer a problem.

Second issue is bread. I think I've got this licked for the most part. Red and i have kicked the weekly pizza meal which is a huge savings on calories. Our once or twice a week visit to Subway has fallen by the wayside, although i have visited for lunch once a week the last couple since we haven't been going and I love Subway. Now we have done pasta the last couple of weekends which required a baguette, so I haven't been completely clean. But for the most part, bread is a non-issue. Do I miss it? Oh God ya, but I know bread is a major problem for me so, while I won't cut it out entirely, I've seriously reduced my consumption.

Another thing i think has been a problem has been my taste for alcohol the last few of months. Normally I don't drink, don't usually have any in the house. But Red does, as any good host should, and i found myself enjoying a couple or more on a regular basis, not just on the weekends, but through the week. Suddenly I wanted it in the house and I do believe this has slowed me down as well. So now I try and keep it to a minimun, on the weekends, and we'll see if this helps at all.

My workout routine has changed a bit too. I decided I needed more cardio in my workout since only doing a 25-30 minute spot after weights didn't seem like enough of a calorie burn. So instead of doing 4 sets of 10-12 reps lifting for each exercise, I cut it back to 3 sets to allow me more time to do cardio. I'm trying to incorporate more cardio like exercises in my warmup to weights, like 3 point squats, skipping and steps, but I needed to add another 10-20 minutes of elliptical work to help burn calories. Considering that my shoulder is aching like nobody's business anymore, this is probably a good thing. Of course, stopping any lifting and giving my shoulder a break would be the best thing, but since it wouldn't heal up on its own in a year of not lifting, I don't think it's making much of a difference. Might as well just suck it up and lift through the pain. I'm making an appointment with my doctor this week to see if i can find a solution to this issue. There's obviously something wrong there. A shoulder shouldn't hurt for a year with no good reason.

I enrolled in floor hockey for the winter months, something i've been dying to play forever. We gave volleyball a break this season and I don't know when we'll rejoin that. I know we will, spring volleyball begins about April or May so that's a possibility, but the summer session is pointless as many people dont' bother showing up to games and you can't play. So why spend the money? Softball starts up again in the spring too, so we'll have that. We're currently taking 2 dance classes a week, a ballroom and a rock 'n' jive class, so we're getting some activity during the weeknights and it's fun. Activity is certainly not a problem right now.

An added plus to all this is that I'm not craving anything. I have wanted stuff, but I've been able to say no and carry on. About the only thing I'm still having issues with is the times we have bread around. Last weekend we decided on some spaghetti and picked up a nice loaf of crusty bread to accompany it. Of course, as I always do, I was cutting slices off it as soon as we got home, then had more slices at dinner time, then finished it off later that night or the next day (can't remember which). Clearly, I can't be trusted around bread. It remains my biggest weakness which is why I'd prefer it not be around. I'm too weak. But it's one trangression in a week and a lot of better than some of the things I'd been doing.

So, all in all, I'm fine. I am noticing my belly starting to deflate a bit which is nice. I hope that is indicative of my hard work and recommitment and not just hopeful thinking. My goal right now is to lose enough not to look like a beached whale in Cuba in February. I have about 4 weeks to go.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I've managed to stay away from the scale for a few weeks now although I am curious. I''m sure I put on a few more pounds than I planned to over the Xmas holidays and my round and strangely solid tummy is enough proof of that. But after a couple of weeks of working out daily and dieting, I should be down a bit. Or at least that's the hope. But since my weight has refused to drop since beginning the weight training, I'm not optimistic about it. Which is why I've stayed off the scale. I can tell how I'm doing by my clothes, and my shirts are tighter. So there.

It would be too easy to forgo everything I've worked on the past couple of months in the gym and head straight back to the elliptical to lose the pounds, but I really need the muscle growth. Before, I may have been losing and looking thinner, but my body was soft and weak looking. It's always bothered me and having some bulk in the form of good old muscle appeals to me. So I'll keep on keeping on with the weights and cardio mix and hope for the best. Of course, I have made some alterations to the diet in the form of my bread intake, which I really believe is a major show stopper for me, so I'm hoping this is the ticket. We'll see as February approaches.

The thing is, the wedding is a big deal to me. To be specific, how I look at the wedding is a big deal to me. I don't want to look fat. So if worse comes to worst, I'll hop on the elliptical during the summer months and melt it off that way. I'm hoping it won't come to that as I'm bored to death of cardio. At least now when I do my cardio, I'm only on it for 25-30 minutes which is much easier to handle.

Other notes: my shoulder is killing me. On Monday while starting butterfly presses, my shoulder literally felt like it fell apart as it cried out in pain on the first rep. I immediately stopped what i was doing and packed it in for the day, but it was the weirdest feeling. This is not a new injury but an old one that has a nasty habit of popping up every now and then. Except this time, the pain started at one point last year when I wasn't lifting weights, so I have no idea what prompted it or why it won't heal up. Obviously lifting isn't helping, but neither was doing nothing so I figured I'd just be careful and soldier on. Chest and shoulder work are directly affected by this injury making it hard to advance in weight. I'm almost at that point now as the weight I'm lifting during bench presses and shoulder work is becoming easier and the time comes to add more weight. With my shoulder being as it is, adding more weight is basically impossible. The pain when lifting will be too much and my growth will be stunted as a result. This is extremely frustrating.

I need to see my doctor and get an MRI or something done to check it out. Maybe physio would do the trick but i used up my physio allotment from my insurance provider on my back last spring so i don't have coverage until at least this spring and I can't afford it myself. Besides, by the time the MRI gets booked and the appointment arrives, it'll be a good 7-12 months anyway. We may have universal health care here in Canada, but you wait forever for stuff like this. Who knows? Maybe I'll get lucky.

Our dancing classes started up again last week, ballroom and rock 'n' jive. The jive class is fun and lively and we both love it. It can be quite fast so there's an aerobic workout factor there. The ballroom class is more formal and slower, but we enjoy it. The bonus is it's an activity through the week that gets us off the couch. Floor hockey begins next week too, which I'm looking forward to so that'll give me 3 evening activities a week plus the gym 5 days a week. Not bad. Cuba's in a little over 5 weeks, my goal is to lose some of this belly and not look like a man-cow on the beach. It won't be for a lack of trying.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ya, it's been a while. To be honest, I've pondered writing for a while now, but with work being busier and me not feeling like writing in the evenings, it's been hard to find time. Also, I'm a little tired of yapping about this. I enjoy writing and did enjoy writing this blog at first, but it also started to sound the same every time. Bitching about my weight going up, staying the same, my workouts, my stress, blah, blah, blah. I think I was just bored (which i was at work when i do most of my writing) and I wanted to use this blog as a way of tracking my progress. The problem began in the fall when my diet wasn't going so well and my weight started to creep up a bit. Then I switched my workout to include weight lifting and all Hell broke loose on the scale. It was about this time when my duties at work changed somewhat and I didn't have time to think about what to write.

Red asked me quite a while back, why do you obsess over your weight? At the time, I was offended as I am not the only fattie who has their weight constantly on their mind, consuming them. Being a former fattie herself, I expected her to understand. But she's different, her whole outlook about it is more positive and overall, she's in control of her eating. Unlike me who lives like an alcoholic, dealing with it one day at a time, falling off the wagon, hating myself, climbing back on, then falling again. It's insane. I've never forgotten that comment and she's right. Why do I obsess over it? I know what it takes to lose and keep off the weight. I've adopted a good diet and I've made great strides in helping myself. I should be proud of what I've accomplished so far and know that I am going to fail once in a while, but that I'm capable of picking myself up and moving past it. We all eat too much at times and we all make poor food choices at other times. That's life in western society. But I'm fine. I'm not going to blow up again, I have enough control over myself to not let that happen again. And writing about it all the time isn't that interesting anymore. I'm going to continue this blog but how frequently I use it is up in the air. It'll depend on what is going on in my life and what kind of time I have to write. Whining about my weight and the scale is boring.

Christmas is long gone and life is back to normal. The holidays were not a good example of how to control your weight and I most certainly did not. But it's over now and all in all I had a good break. I know I put on a few pounds during those 2 weeks but I haven't confirmed just how many. I've pretty much given up on the scale. Since beginning my weight lifting regime, my weight has only gone up prompting much anguish in me. For a guy who's lived and died by the scale his whole life, it's quite disheartening.

Nope, instead I've decided to stay off the scale for the most part and just let my clothes and appearance guide me. I can see definite changes in my body from the new workouts so I feel I'm on the right track there. My diet is better now thanks to my decision (finally) to greatly reduce the amount of bread in my diet. I'm convinced much of my pre-Xmas problem was the bread. I had gotten into the habit of visiting Subway a few too many times, I was eating sandwiches or toast at home, bread at certain meals, garlic bread with cheese when we ordered our weekly pizza, and lots of crackers in my soup to make it heartier. That's a lot of bread.

Aside from the bread, my diet is good. I figure if I cut out most of it, I'm gold. I've known people who've lost weight just by cutting out the stuff and its amazing. Of course, it isn't hard to find evidence of this online. Most breads are just terrible ingredient wise to begin with and it is high in calorie for what it is. I love bread, it is probably my favourite thing to eat in all its various forms, but if I want to see results and maintain them, I need to sacrifice. And I'm in a good place mentally to do this, I have no real cravings and my desire to lose some weight before the wedding is strong. Now that I'm seeing some changes in my body due to the weight lifting, I'm feeling more motivated.

I'm still going to eat Subway, but maybe only once a week. The pizza is a disaster so I want to cut that back to maybe once or twice a month. This past weekend, we didn't order and we both feel good about our weekend as a result. We saved a ton of calories just by saying no, calories we both didn't need. We're heading to Cuba in about 6 weeks and I'd like to not be bloated. There won't be much of a difference in my appearance between now and then other than the bloat. The only way to make a real change in appearance would be to crash diet and go back to cardio at the gym. I could probably burn off a few more pounds but crash dieting is a bad idea and I don't want to do it. Instead, slow and steady to win the race. I've got less than 9 months to drop some weight and look good for the wedding, I'd like to be sure I get there.