Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ah Ha Moment #2: People Really Do Care

In today's society it sure seems like people are caught up in their own lives. Maybe it's just an East Coast thing that we learn from the time we're youngsters. Maybe it's growing up in an Italian family or maybe it's simply self imposed cynicism. Whatever it is I've gone through my life believing that the only people who care about your are your family and your close friends. Everyone else could care less about you. You witness this attitude in business, in politics or even standing in line at the grocery store.

I have to say that I've had an epiphany of sorts these past few weeks. While I still feel there are sharks out there waiting to capitalize on the down times of his/her fellow man/woman, I have found a certain solace in the community of bloggers who are focused on becoming more fit and healthy.

When I first found Anti-Jared and started reading the comments to posts I asked myself "these people actually care about this person? they don't even know him?". Then I read the blogs of others who were in the midst of their journeys and saw how many people really cared about the accomplishments and failures of a complete stranger. It was truly amazing and enough to draw me into the community.

Having been an active blogger for all of 20 days now I already feel like a part of the community. The day to day reading of blogs and writing my own has had a profound effect on my attitude adjustment so far and I hope it will continue as I travel down this road.

Rest assured, caring for your fellow man/woman is still alive and well on the world wide web. Thank God!



Saturday, January 30, 2010

January 30, 2010 Weigh In: 419 lbs, Lost 1 lbs

I was hoping to release more than a pound this week but any loss is good. I stuck to my plan all week and will continue to do so. I will work on stepping up the exercise as well.

I downloaded a few podcasts on meditation yesterday (free on iTunes). It's something I would like to try and work into my life.

Thanks for all the supportive comments this past week. I receive a number of emails about the Diet Soda post. I hope it changed a few minds about drinking that crap.



Friday, January 29, 2010

Fourth Weigh In Tomorrow, Why Am I Nervous?

I guess it's good that I'm nervous about my weigh in results tomorrow. I think about it every day during the week which gives me more motivation to stay on track. I know I shouldn't be concerned with the numbers. It's a long journey and over time my body will release the weight if I eat right and stay to plan... but I just can't help myself.

Last Saturday and Sunday my calorie counts were between 2000-2100. For the rest of the week I kept it to 1700-1800 each day. I was told by a friend that following this type of "cycle" would keep my body guessing and help keep my metabolism cranking. We shall see.

If I had exercised more this past week that would have helped too. I'm going to hit the treadmill today which will make it 3 times for the week and meets my goal.



Thursday, January 28, 2010

Is Drinking Diet Soda A Health Risk?

One of the things that was suggested to me when preparing to begin my weight loss journey was to stop drinking diet soda. The reasons ranged from the possibility of artificial sweetener's tricking your body into retaining fat to the chemicals and sodium causing water retention. In any event I decided to remove diet soda from my diet 20 days ago.

I was a "two can a day" diet soda drinker... Diet Coke, Pepsi, Crush, Fanta, Dr. Pepper, Fresca, Root Beer were all my favorites. I switched to favored seltzer and water which has been fine. When I did drink diet soda I stuck to the caffeine free versions so stopping wasn't really difficult for me. I feel great since I started eating more healthy and I'm sure deleting diet soda from diet has something to do with it.

Lately, I've been on a quest for information that proves the health risks of diet soda. Yesterday while surfing the web I came across an article that I think will be interesting anyone who still drinks diet soda, uses artificial sweeteners and wants to know if there are any health risks associated with them. I let you read the info and decide for yourself but I can tell you this. I will never drink diet soda or use artificial sweeteners again.

Here is the link to the article: Diet Soda - How Healthy Is It?




Wednesday, January 27, 2010

20 Days And Almost All Is Well

20 days have passed since I started my new life. I have been very true to the eating program with a few unauthorized nibbles here and there... all within daily calorie plan of course. I have been eating healthy foods and counting calories for every meal. I've had a few tests and have passed them with a good grades. I've lost 12 pounds so far and feel great about it.

The area I am lacking in is exercise. I have not lived up to my goals there at all. I need to kick myself in the ass and start moving it at least 3 times a week. I spent $60 on EA Active and have only used it three times in two weeks. Not acceptable. I have a nice treadmill and I've only used it a few times during the past 20 days. No good. I have a dog that I could take for a 15 minute walk a few times a week instead of relying on the electric fence system everyday.

I've change my approach to eating. I have to change my approach to activity.



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Jet's Lost But I Won This Weekend

On Saturday night I attended a fundraiser. They had tons of high calories appetizers which are now off my radar. My strategy was to eat a nice pasta with pesto dinner before attending. I had only one Bud Lite and two pieces of italian sausage bread. I even resisted the dessert tray which had mini cream puffs and canoli. I went up on my own looking for some fruit, saw the pastries and returned with the sausage bread.

On Sunday the Jets lost but I won. I planned my eating day to have 1200 calories in reserve for game time snacks and dinner. I kept to baked potato chips, low fat cheddar cheese and pretzels. Had a nice sandwich for dinner and nice size bowl of mixed fruit for dessert. I did have 2 oatmeal cookies but I had the calories left to do it.

All in all I'm really happy with the way I managed the food at these two events. Normally I would have gorged myself with who knows how many calories. Instead I walked away satisfied both physically and mentally.



Monday, January 25, 2010

Eggactly What I Wanted For Lunch

My wife makes killer egg salad and it's a treat for me whenever she whips it up. I wanted to have it for lunch but I was concerned about all those egg yolks and the fat and cholesterol levels (amazing, me worried about stuff like this). So we came up with an alternative recipe simply using less yolks with less fat/cholestrol that ended up tasting great. I'm sure we weren't breaking new ground or anything but it sure hit the spot. Isn't dieting fun?

In a medium size mixing bowl combine and mix the following:

2 chopped hard boiled eggs
3 chopped hard boiled egg whites
1 chopped stalk of Celery
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon lite mayo
1/2 teaspoon paprika

Serve with 16 Reduced Fat Wheat Thins, 5 carrot sticks and a Sabra hummus single.

Here are the numbers:

Calories: 552
Fat: 34g
Carbs: 3g
Protein: 23g
Sodium: 655mg
Cholesterol: 429mg

Still a little high on the cholesterol but for me having it once it a while is fine. You could remove another egg yolk if you wanted to cut it down even more.

Making food enjoyable is a part of the journey that keeps me on track



Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Few Things I Look Forward To Doing

I will be adding to this list as my journey goes on but here is a first crack at the list of things I want to do or will enjoy doing as I slim down and get fit...

  • Go snowboarding with my family (hope I don't break a leg)
  • Buying nice clothes for decent prices (big clothes are freakin expensive)
  • Go for a long bike ride (this should be safe)
  • Not having to worry if a chair will hold me (those damn plastic lawn chairs)
  • Standing up out of a chair easily (what a joy that will be)
  • Running a 5K with my wife (we'll have to see how the knees are)
  • Working out with my kids (they can't wait)
  • Putting my socks on like a normal person (major process)
  • Tying my shoes without straining (also a major process)
  • Having a pair of shoes that aren't turned over on the sides (weight distribution)
  • Not having to take stair a step at a time (i hate that)
  • Fielding a ground ball (love baseball, can't bend over now)
  • Swinging a baseball bat (less girth, more movement)
  • Playing golf again (was a 12 handicap once, haven't played in 3 years)
  • Playing tennis with wife (we use to play, she'll probably kick my ass now)
  • Traveling on a plane without bringing my seat belt extender (what a thrill)
  • Enjoy being healthier and fit overall (speaks for itself)
  • Celebrating when I reach my goal weight (not with food)
  • Answering the "Have you lost weight?" question (that will be fun)
  • Maintain control over my relationship with food (priority one)

I have a lot to do.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

January 23, 2010 Weigh In: 420 lbs, Lost 3 lbs

The tale of the scale was a happy one this morning. For the third straight weigh in I lost weight. This week's shedding was 3lbs and I'm feeling great about it. I'm starting to feel more looseness in my clothes and moving my body seems to be getting easier. I feel like my new eating habits are becoming more natural and my attitude towards food has definately changed for the better.

I have been consistantly meeting all points of my plan except #5. I did exercise a few times last week which is a good start but I have to get this up to 15 minutes daily. I will make this a priority this coming week.

Thanks for all your comments on yesterday's post. It's great to know that so many people care.

Go Jets!


Friday, January 22, 2010

A Closet Eater's Test

Remember last week's post about Closet Eating (Ah Ha Moment #1: Closet Eating Is Really Bad)? I was really pleased to see so many comments from people who identified with me on the subject of eating in private. The post included a confession about stopping at a White Castle (months ago) on the way home from a business appointment which was a big step for me to admit.

Well yesterday I had a business appointment which required me to drive past many temptations to and from my meeting including the infamous White Castle. This time was different though. This time I planned for the potential of being temped by the logo that Madison Avenue had so successfully etched in my brain. I brought with me a tangerine, a bottle of water and a commitment that I would not stop for a snack. But I knew this wouldn't be enough. I took extra precaution to line up a few conference calls so that when I passed the WC logo sign I would be preoccupied with business distractions.

The ride to the appointment was fine. I had just eaten lunch and was mentally preparing for my meeting. I made it there without out a problem but thought about how the ride home might be the problem.

After the meeting I jumped in car and immediately peeled the tangerine thinking that I could eat the sections slowly as I passed a few other obstacles... McDonald's, Burger King, Dunkin Donuts to name a few. This strategy worked well. Then I got on my conf calls which basically lasted the entire ride home.

So I'm pleased to report I jumped a major hurdle and passed the test. I did not Closet Eat today. It's amazing how the mind works though. Do you know that while I was driving 70 mph on that highway, on a conf call discussing business, my eye somehow caught that small White Castle logo at the precise moment I passed that sign? I didn't have time to react because I was preoccupied by the business call. I have to wonder though how I can drive while all this stuff is going through my head.

Anyway... it's a solid victory for a recovering Closet Eater. One last thing... The comments that you guys have left for me on this blog helped me avoid this trap as well. I thought about you while I was driving. I really appreciate all the support. I look forward to the day when I can just drive and not even think about about all this stuff. Hopefully that day will come soon.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Two Weeks And I Feel Great!

I started my journey to 220 lbs two weeks ago with 212 lbs to lose... YES, nearly half my body weight. Since then I've lost 9 lbs and have completely changed my attitude towards eating. I'm now checking the nutrition labels on everything I eat and tracking everything I put into my mouth.

I'm also trying to come up with interesting meals that are high in protein and satisfying to taste and appetite. This helps keep my head in the game. I'm also planning my breakfast and lunch based upon what my wife has planned for dinner. In the 49 years I've been on this earth I have NEVER done any of this stuff. As I've written before I was a Freestyle Eater plain and simple.

I'm not patting myself on the back (ok maybe I am a little) but I feel really great about the changes I've made and how my body feels because of them. I haven't had a headache in two weeks which I think is because I gave up diet soda... I was a two soda a day guy before 1/6/10. Now when I eat something I'm thinking about what I'm eating and the effect it's going to have on my body. Where as before I just shoveled the food in until I turned off the light at the end of the night.

I know there will be rocky parts of the journey and I will try to be prepared to navigate through them. But for now I'm immersed in the joy of positive change and it feels great!


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

ETL's Chicken Salad Lunch

Chicken Salad is one of my favorite lunches. It's a high protein meal with plenty of flavor and nutrition. I like to use a can of Kirkland (Costco) chicken breast meat because I like the texture and taste of their preparation. It's a hearty lunch that really fills me up.

It's real easy to prepare, takes about 5 minutes...

In a medium size mixing bowl combine and mix the following:

1 can of Kirkland Chicken Breast (7oz of meat after draining off water)
1 stalk of Celery
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon lite mayo
1 shot of Tabasco (or to taste)

Serve with 6 Triscuits and a banana

Here are the numbers:

Calories: 494
Fat: 14g
Carbs: 47g
Protein: 50g
Sodium: 1097mg
Cholesterol: 163mg

If you want to boost the protein even more you can a chopped boiled egg white (no yolk). This would add 3.5 grams of protein and only 17 calories.

I usually have this at least once per week. I know it's simple but I find it satisfying and very tasty.



Tuesday, January 19, 2010

First Blog Award

I was pleased to receive my first blog award from The Sweet Tooth Obliteration Operation this past weekend. Now I feel like I've arrived as blogger.... Thanks Kelsey!

The instructions that come along with this award are as follows:

1. Copy the image and display it on your blog.

2. List 10 things that make you happy.

3. Try to do at least one of them today.

4. Pass on the award to 10 bloggers who brighten your day

Here are my 10 things (not necessarily in priority order)...

  1. Having a wife and kids who I love and who care about me (this is #1).

  2. Spending time with my family.

  3. My life overall.

  4. When my wife achives a goal with running.

  5. Baseball.

  6. Watching my boys play baseball.

  7. Listening to my daughter when she explains something she learned.

  8. Listening to music

  9. Playing guitar.

  10. The Jets would really make me happy if they get to the Superbowl!

And the 10 award winning blogs are...

This Chunky Chick

Downward Trenz

From Fat To Fab

One Inch At A Time

Black Girl Gets Fit

Taking My Life Back

Did I Just Eat That Out Loud?

Weighting Around

So You Say You Want A Resolution?


Congrats to all the winners!!


Is Your DVR A Dieting Tool?

Back in the day the hot technology was the VCR. This amazing device gave you the freedom to record any television show and watch rented movies on demand. It was a major paradigm shift in home entertainment.

Over time the VCR has evolved and become the DVR or Digital Video Recorder... a nifty device that's integrated with your cable or satellite receiver or is connected to it. The DVR opens up a new world options for viewers while offering crisper resolution and the ability to easily schedule recording of shows, movies or series at the touch of a few buttons. The most important feature that it ushered in is the ability to blow through TV ads with ease. Now 30 minute shows can be watched in 21 minutes sans commercials. Most DVRs have a cool "30 second" button that advances 30 seconds at a time when pressed. I use DirecTV which has this feature. Most time you push it 5 or 6 times and whamo you're at the next segment of the show within a few seconds.

So how can this help us folks on a mission to drop pounds? No longer do you have to sit and watch fast food, fat food or any other tempting food related commercial. Just close your eyes, hit the button 5 times and you'll have avoided etching the memory of the latest Taco Bell ad on your brain.

Will this have a big effect on sticking to a weight loss plan? Who knows? I can tell you this... for me it's nice not to have to sit through dozens of high def Budwiser, Burger King, Taco Bell, Golden Corral, KFC, Doritos, Chili's, Appleby's, Domino's, Papa John's, McDonald's, and Wendy's commercials during a ballgame. As the saying goes.. out of sight, out of mind. Although I do stop the fast fowarding for the Bud Lite ads... their usually pretty funny.


Monday, January 18, 2010

A Good Day Sunday.. Oh Yeah And The Jets Won!

I can't believe the Jets actually pulled off a win Sunday against the Chargers. They got a lot of breaks but were able to capitalize on them. It was a nail biter in the 2nd half but how sweet it is to have them going to the AFC Championship.

Anyway... We had some people over to watch the game. My wife made great chili as the main course and took great care to have healthy appetizers and fruit for dessert. I did have one Mich Ultra. Also a few pretzels and pita chips with humus but I tried to stick with carrot sticks and boiled shrimp before having a moderate size bowl of chili and two slices of bread.

I kept the calories down for breakfast and lunch to make sure I had headroom for dinner. I did avoid a tray of chocolate chip cookies and opted instead for a nice bowl of mixed fruit. I ate more in quantity than I have in the past 10 days but it was not over the top.

Next week when the Jets play the Colts for the AFC Championship (sorry, I'm a long suffering Jets fan and it's been 12 years since they got this far so I had to type that) I'll be sure to choose wisely if we end up in a party situation again. But more than likely I'll be watching the game with my boys since it's an afternoon game.

I'll be keeping it to 1700 cals per day and I'm going to step up the activity.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

I Am A Recovering Freestyle Eater

I am a recovering Freestyle eater who is addicted to eating. I'm not addicted to food. You have to eat to live and you can't develop a chemical dependency on the majority of foods we eat. But the mental addiction we feel when every cell in our body is telling us to eat that box of Girl Scout cookies is a real addiction and very powerful.

Eating addiction is every bit as series as drug addiction. Drug addiction is a terrible thing. I have the deepest admiration for those who have pulled themselves out of the dark hole of drug addiction and I feel sympathy for those stuck in it.

One thing that makes eating addiction very different from drug addiction is that you must eat every day to stay alive, three times a day if you're doing it right. Your brain is programmed from birth to notify you when you're body needs fuel. So even if you think you have broken away from eating addiction the temptations are always there within easy access. Every day there is a chance you might slip back into it. You have to change the way you think.

Eating addiction IS a serious disease and usually results in life threatening situations. I have great respect for those who have changed their lives and broken the chains of food addiction. Reading their blog stories and following their lives has been extremely helpful.

In order to reach my goals and become a fit, healthy person I have to completely break my addiction to eating. I have to eat to live. I'm doing good so far but It's going to take time. My hope is within the next few months I will leave many of the addictive habits, tendencies and thoughts in my rear view mirror. Thanks to those who have commented on my posts and expressed concern and encouragement. Your support has been amazing and extremely helpful.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tough Challenge This Evening... Real Tough

I was driving home from dropping my son off at a party at around 6pm and had a very strong urge to stop and get a snack. I was hungry because hadn't had anything since lunch at 12:30pm.

A few options crossed my mind like stopping at a diner to get a couple of big chocolate chip cookies, stopping by the convenience store to get some M&Ms or a couple of hot dogs. Closet eating.. Ugh.

I thought if I called my wife to ask her about dinner it would be a good distraction. It was, we were having fajitas for dinner which I make and is one of my favorites. I was sure to take a route home that didn't pass any stores or shops I could stop at. It was a true test and I feel good that I passed it. I also thought about all the people who posted great comments on my "Closet Eating" post and that helped me as well.

Next time I'll take a healthy snack with me in the car just in case.

The fajitas were great... chicken, onions, peppers, small amount of oil, seasoning and one lime. Only had two tortillas. Treated myself to a Michelob Ultra.

Keep total calories for the day to around 1800 today and averted a major Closet Eating side track. Tomorrow is another day.


January 16, 2010 Weigh In: 423 lbs, Lost 4 lbs!

Today I weighed in at 423 lbs, down 4 lbs for the week and I'm feeling very good about it. Only 24 more pounds to go until I hit my first goal of being under 400 lbs. My clothes are feeling a little looser and some body movements are getting easier. I'm not sure if these changes are mental or physical but nonetheless I am feeling great about it.

This coming week I'm going to continue consuming between 1500 and 1700 calories per day. I'm going to watch the sodium intake as well as exercise more. I want to get in the habit of moving my body at least 15 minutes per day as a first goal. I can't simply rely on less food intake. I have to train my mind body through increased activity so when I hit my goal weight I can maintain it for the rest of my life.


Friday, January 15, 2010

The Weight Loss Bloggers Network

I am so fortunate to have stumbled on this great community of people who are blogging about there weight loss journeys. Since it has been so helpful to me I wanted to make it easier for others to find weight loss blogs and network with people to help them during the journey.

I thought it might be a good idea to create a social network that would allow weight loss bloggers and readers to link up easily and use forum discussion and real time chat as added resources.

I created the Weight Loss Bloggers Network for specifically this purpose. You can check it out at:

I'll be linking to the site within the next few days.

Visit Weight Loss Bloggers

As a WLB member you will be able to set up a Profile Page on which you can use the RSS feature to display your most recent blog posts. If you don't have a blog there is a simple blog application that you can use within the network.

I've also incorporated a discussion forum and real-time chat which could be very helpful. There's also private messaging capabilities and many more features.

I will be monitoring the network to make sure the content and activity remains focused on weight loss and healthy living.

It's free to join of course and I hope you will join the Weight Loss Bloggers community and help spread the word to others. The strength of many working together will help us all reach our goals!


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ah Ha Moment #1: Closet Eating Is Really Bad

How did I gain all this weight? The obvious answer is I was a Freestyle eater who ate with reckless abandon. As I peel the onion back a little I come to the realization that "closet eating" was the primary cause of my weight gain.

Closet Eating is not officially classified as an eating disorder. It's the practice of eating excess amounts of food in secret. I guess it could be a subclass of binge eating which is an official disorder but it's really in a class by itself.

If you think about it there are some deep mental processes going on when your closet eating. Usually you're eating something that's very high calorie, that you really enjoy and that you don't want others to know you are eating. It's the ultimate comfort food oasis.

For example... (my wife reads my blog so.. sorry for the suprise you are about to read sweetie!)

Before the holiday's I had a business meeting about 30 miles away. I left the house in the morning after eating a buttered bagel and glass of OJ. It was an 11am meeting and the company I met with had lunch brought in.

For lunch I had a turkey sandwich, lettuce and tomato with a little mayo and a diet coke. Then grabbed a bag of chips and a couple of cookies. Shouldn't have had the snacks but so far not a bad eating day.

The meeting is over at 2pm so I hop in the car for the 30 mile ride home not even thinking about food or dinner. I have a few calls to make while I'm driving (don't worry I use a blue tooth headset) and I'm focusing on that. When I'm through with my calls I start thinking about what I have to do when I get back to my office (I work at home). Just then I spot a "food & fuel" sign on the side of the highway. You know, the sign that tells you which restaurants you can find at a particular exit. I notice the White Castle logo on the sign and the thought process starts.

This is me thinking now... "White Castle.. man, I'm friggin hungry. I didn't eat a lot today and I haven't had WC in a while. If I stop for some it won't be that bad. When I get home I can just say I had a big lunch and not eat too much dinner." I can taste the WC cheese burger as I'm thinking this.

So I take the exit... drive up to the White Castle and order 5 cheeseburgers (because they are small you always order 5 or so), regular fries and a medium HC-Orange drink. Wow... I just noticed that I'm actually salivating as I describe the food, not good. I pay for the food, park and eat all of it, being very careful not to drip any ketchup or grease on my shirt (evidence). As I eat each cheeseburger I say to myself... "ok I have 4 left, ok I have 3 left....". Before I know it the food is gone. I throw the bag and wrappers in the trash can (getting rid of the evidence) and hit the road to drive home.

A few hours later my wife has a pasta dinner prepared. I sit down and have a large helping of pasta with meatballs and sausage. What happened to my plan of saying that I had a big lunch and wasn't hungry? It went out the window when I found out the dinner was pasta.

Now lets examine. My breakfast, lunch and regularly scheduled dinner were all pretty good. I probably could have had a smaller portion of pasta but even so I was probably at or below 2300 calories which would be fine for a day. What I didn't realize was the number of calories I was taking in when I hit the White Castle... 1,535 calories with 74 grams of fat and 82 grams of sugar. Wow.. that's nearly full day of calories for me now.

On top of this I would do my normal late night eating which probably added at least another 1000 calories. The the net of this all is My family only witnessed 2200 of the nearly 5000 calories I ate that day. Classic Closet Eater.

While this was not a typical day, it was days like these that contributed to me packing on the pounds and I had many days like these. The difference now is when I see the White Castle logo or any other fast food logos I will think about the amount of calories, fats and sugars I will be ingesting if I eat those foods.

Closet eating is my weakness and it was the main contributor to my weight gain. As hard as it will be for me I make a pledge to never closet eat again. I can't.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

First Attempt at EA Active: I Have Some Work To Do

I bought EA Active yesterday and booted it up this morning. I tried the "Easy" 20 minute workout. Let's just say it's going to take some work until I can call that workout easy. I was able to get through most of the upper body exercises and some of the lower body burning 42 calories in total.

I like the interface and controllers seem to be well in sync with the onscreen figures. Menus are easy to use and the software is easy to understand.

My goal is to work my way up until the "Easy" workout is truly easy. Then move to the Medium and Hard work outs when appropriate. I haven't explored the "30 Day" program option yet. If they have a level that is appropriate for me I might try that instead.

It would be nice if you could just access each exercise individually to practice them. Maybe you can and I'm missing something. It's a good product and I think it will be very helpful with getting me started on a fitness plan.


Amazing Observations After One Week

After a week of staying on plan I am very pleased with my progress. There are a few things I have noticed over this time that have truly amazed me. I was oblivious to most of these things prior to starting my journey.
  1. Sodium In Food: My God, it is amazing how much damn sodium there is in processed foods. When I was a "Free Style" eater (eating without regard for caloric or nutritional intake) I never stopped to look at nutrition labels thus I had no idea when I ate 12 Club Crakers I was putting about 400 mgs of sodium into my body. When I had Low Sodium Soup for lunch I was eating about 900 mgs of sodium... low salt aye? To reduce my sodium intake I've had to shy away from processed foods... this is really the easiest way.
  2. The Calories Sneak Up On You: Even if you think your eating the right things to keep your calories down you might not be. Accurately tracking caloric intake is a must... at least for me. Let's take raisins for example. Back in my Free Style days I would walk past the pantry, grab a handful (about a cup) of raisins and eat them in a few mouthfuls. Never stopping to notice that a cup of raisins is nearly 500 calories. Do this twice a day, which I was very capable of, and your up to 1000... without factoring in any meals. Becoming aware of caloric values by reading labels or using a calorie counting tool is critical to weight loss success, in my humble opinion.
  3. Tea Is Great: A few weeks ago my sister suggested that I have a cup of tea at night to help with the late night snack craving and provide a natural diuretic. Great idea Sis! A cup of tea has become my evening solace.
  4. Family Is Key: My family has totally rallied around me with my quest to get slim and fit. They all want to do whatever they can to help me succeed. In turn I want to stay the course to meet my goals. It's a motivational force that I'm lucky to have. I wish I started this years ago.
  5. Blogging Really Helps: My blog has become my outlet. I place for me to express myself and proclaim goals. To announce triumphs and provide updates on progress. While I've never talked with a therapist before I think it's almost like having one. I think people are reading my blog and are interested in what I am doing. This makes me try my best to stay on track. I don't want to report a failure.
  6. Set Short Term Goals: It's going to take me 2 years to reach my goal weight of 220 lbs. Having milestone goals along the way will help break up the trip.
  7. People Really DO Care: When I started my journey I knew my family would be supportive and they sure have been. But when it came to how much the general public would care I tended to be a cynical SOB. Why would someone care about my weight problem? Then I found the community of weight loss bloggers. I had no idea that people on the web, complete strangers I might add, would take such an interest in my efforts. I am constantly floored by the out pour of support I receive. It makes the task easier and has renewed my belief in the positive human spirit.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Picking Up EA Sports Active Today

In accordance with #5 and #8 of my plan (see my plan in the right column) I'll be purchasing EA Sports Active today. After some research it seems to be more flexible that Wii Fit and has a personal trainer. I hope you can program it to have the guy yell at you. Anyway, I'm looking forward to get it set up and hopefully start working out tomorrow. I'll keep it light at first and work my way up. It has to be more interesting that walking on the treadmill.


Late Night Urges To Freestyle Eat

Since my weigh in Saturday there have been challenging moments. I still find myself battling the urge to eat at night after everyone has gone to bed.

We have three kids who are very fit for their ages so there are snack foods in the house which at times call my name. Can't deprive the kids just because of my problem. I've asked my wife to hide most of the more tempting things like cookies and candy. I have managed to stay away from them. However, I could easily slip into the frige and whip up a PB&J sandwich of something to that effect. I haven't but I could.

When I get the urges I tell myself "you did great with your plan today. your at 1500 cals for the day which means you lost weight and you ate good foods.... do you really want to blow it?"

I turn to a cup of tea as the late night treat also. No milk, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar or honey. This seems to soothe the urges. Baby carrot sticks are good too. They have very few calories and taste great. But I have to admit I get the urge to freestyle eat every single night. Maybe I should just go to bed earlier... gee that would be a good idea!


Monday, January 11, 2010

Short Term Goal: Under 400 lbs by April 1st

The thought occurred to me that I probably should set short term goals along the way to break up the trip to weighing 220 lbs by January 2012.

The first and most obvious goal is to weigh in under 400 lbs. That said, I have 28 lbs. to go to reach my first goal of 399 lbs. I'll use 2.5 lbs. loss per week as the factor.. which means 11.2 weeks.. ok we'll call it 12. This puts the date at or around April 1st.

I think I can reach this sooner that April 1 but we'll go with that date and set a new goal if I reach it early. After hitting the 399 mark, the next goal will be 350 lbs.


Great Day Sunday... Hit The Treadmill

Yesterday I made good on my promise to start being more active. I walked 10 minutes on the treadmill today. It was cool because my kids were exercising with me. It makes me feel good to do things like that with my family. I did really well with eating today sticking to about 1600 cals.

Invented a new "smoothie" with vanilla protein shack mix (Scivation), 1/2 a banana, frozen strawberries and skim milk. I figured it to be about 220 cals. with 28 grams of protein... tasted like a milk shake.

A light bulb went off that inventing new things to digest would make the journey more fun. I'll be doing more of that.

Thanks to all those who have commented on my posts the past few days. Your encouragement and support really helps.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tracking Calories and Exercise: Key To My Plan

Before I started my journey I ate without thinking. Mindless munching and grazing on snacks, breads, juices, ice cream, pasta, cookies, etc. with no thought about how many calories or what nutritional elements I was consuming. I knew I had to turn that around if I was going to be successful. Part of my strategy had to be keeping exact track of my caloric and nutritional intake.

For the first few days I did this in my head and kept a running count of calories. This was a good first step but I knew I needed more detail and accuracy. Plus I wanted to know more about my nutritional intake. Then the light bulb went off... "I have this Blackberry Storm, maybe there's a calorie tracking app for it". I check it out and there are a number of them.

I looked at all the free apps and they were well intended but not as detailed and easy to use as I wanted. I wanted an app that I could weave into my daily lifestyle. Something that would allow me to quickly track the foods I eat and the exercise I do. Something that had both web based and mobile access.

Enter Exactly what I was looking for. A web based service with an easy to use mobile app. It's not a free ($60 per year) but it has all the bells and whistles you would want. I figure $5 a month is well worth it if it helps keep me on track.

I've been using it for a few days and I'm very impressed. For each meal you do a search on the food you eat (thousands of foods), enter the amount you ate and whamo... it's logged. After you exercise you enter that into the Activity section and that gets figured into your daily calorie burn. You can track your weight loss, nutritional intake, get reports and charts... on and on. It also can post updates to Twitter about your meals, activities, weigh ins, etc. Look to the side bar on the right to see a sample.

While entering info is easier on the web interface, the Blackberry Storm interface is pretty darn good. I believe it works with both IPhone and Blackberry. You can check it out at I feel good that this will help me. Hope it helps you too.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Survived A Party

We entertained family tonight and the evening was loaded with potential food hazards. Had a reasonable serving of my wife's lasagna, 2 turkey meatballs and some salad. Prior to dinner I had some baby carrots and a small piece of cheddar cheese. All in all I did well considering how I would have behaved if I was still freestyle eating. Have to make sure I stay away from the leftovers...especially the brownies.

More importantly the Jets won!


Down 5 lbs... WAHOO! 427 lbs.

I'm pumped! Lost 5 lbs. in the past 3 days down to 427 lbs. A lot of it had to be fluids but who cares. I have a result from my efforts which is all I wanted out of the gate. I have not slipped up once in my eating plan since 1/6 which is what I'm most proud of. Thanks to my sister for recommending nightly tea and doing away with diet soda.

I don't know if it's mental or physical (or both) but I feel great this morning. The sun is shining and I'm looking forward to a great day. I'm having a nice oatmeal breakfast with a few raisins.

The challenge today will be dinner. We're having people over tonight and my wife is making her killer lasagna... turkey meatballs though which is good. I've already told myself that I'll have a small portion, stay away from the bread, enjoy a nice salad and have fruit for dessert.

This coming week I'm going to focus on keeping the sodium intake down. Now that I'm tracking my intake closely I'm amazed at how much freakin sodium there is in foods. No wonder why so many people have high blood pressure.

That's all for now. Next weigh in is Saturday, Jan 16th.

Go NY Jets!


Friday, January 8, 2010

Big Day Tomorrow.. First Weigh In

Tomorrow is my first weigh in after starting on 1/6. It will only have been 3 days of eating well but at the suggestion of my family I moved my weigh in day to Saturday's. I did sneak a weigh in yesterday morning and I had lost 1 pound which is a good start. Looking forward to tomorrow!


Should Man Vs. Food Be Banned From TV?

Have you seen the show Man vs. Food on Travel Channel? WARNING: If you are on a weight loss mission and you haven't seen this show you may not want to watch the video below.. or watch it and see how they glorify overeating.

While this show exploits overeaters by framing a heroic style and admiration around being able to consume massive amounts of unhealthy foods I have to say that I enjoyed watching it regularly before I made a commitment to change my life style. We would watch it as a family and marvel at how this guy could eat so much food. We'd laugh and comment on how good the foods looked and how much we could eat... all bad thoughts... really bad.

Honestly, I'm still tempted to watch it because as crazy as it sounds I get comfort from watching Adam (the host) consume ridiculous amounts of comfort foods. A few nights ago I saw it on the guide and almost tuned it. I caught myself and got a glass of water.

The main reason it's been banned in my house is because after I watch this show I want to eat. Nearly every time I'd watch it I would find myself getting up during a commercial break to get an after dinner snack. Not good.

Sorry Adam, thanks for the entertainment but you're not going to capitalize on my emotional eating problems any longer. I've risen above the realm of food challenges and moved on to reinventing myself. No more Man vs. Food for me... it's now Man Manages Food.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

5 Meals And No Slips

Quick update. Have had 5 straight meals now where I was totally calorie aware and didn't cheat in between. Feels good to get control back. Have to start moving my ass around now.


Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

My Plan - Revised

Now that I've had a few days to organize things in my head I've pruned down My Plan to a few simple items:

1. Closely monitor caloric and nutritional intake. Eat three meals a day along with healthy snacks within my daily calorie target.

2. No eating after 9:30pm.

3. No diet soda or processed foods.

4. Drink lots of water.

5. Exercise 15 minutes per day. Be more active overall.

6. Weigh in once a week and chart progress.

7. Report progress, thoughts, etc on this blog.

8. Seek out tools to help me reach my goal weight of 220 lbs.

9. Reach for support from family, friends and bloggers before I reach for a doughnut.

Sticking to this plan will get me to my goal weight.


Love You Sweetie

Yesterday I came clean with my wife about my blog. I had no doubt she would be supportive and had planned to tell her but I wanted to hold off until I had a few posts under my belt.

She is the love of my life and I would not be the person I am without her. BTW, I mean character wise not size wise. She has tried endlessly for the past 20 years to help my big ass lose weight and has been as understanding and supportive as anyone would expect.

A runner and active mom, she is the best thing that ever happen to me (my kids are a close 2nd). This is a girl who trained for 2 years and reached her goal of running a 1/2 marathon (13.1 miles). That blew me away. We plan to go snowboarding together when I reach my goal weight.

To my wife... I love you Sweetie. Thanks for understanding and being supportive especially during those times when I acted like a real asshole because I was so frustrated with my inability to control my eating. This journey of mine to 220 lbs is going to be tough at times and I will need your help to get to my goal. I have no doubt you will be there for me when I need you and I will be there for you too.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

First Weigh In This Morning... A Real Shocker!

This morning I assembled my new physician's scale and after a bit of adjusting I was able to weigh myself.

My last weigh in was at my last physical... I clocked in at 385 lbs. I figured I gained some weight since then because I quit smoking two years ago (pat on the back) and have been subtituting food for tobacco.

Well the new number shocked the hell of out me. All this time I was rationalizing that my weight had to be under 400 lbs. Don't ask me how my mind came to that thumbnail conclusion. Man was I off. My current weight is 432 lbs. When I saw that number on the scale I felt a wave of adrenalin come over my body. Like the feeling you get when you make a mistake at work or realize you forgot something important. It was not a good feeling at all.

I feel absolutely huge today. Like a huge floating blimp. But I have to get over that and focus on what needs to be done now. My wife is supportive.. she said "well, now you know what you have to do... look at it as a first step to reaching your goal of 220 lbs.. be positive about it." She is so great! I'm debating whether to tell my kids. They are very interested in my progress but unfortunately I feel embarrased to tell them that they have a Dad who weighs so much.

I face a great challenge. I must lose 212 lbs.... nearly half my body weight. No "ifs" "ands" or "buts". This is an absolute. I must reduce my size. It's a two year project and I have a good start on it.

Thanks to everyone who has posted their support comments over the past few days. It really helps to get to know people who are going through the same challenges.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ding Dong, The Scale Is Here!

Well my new scale arrived today. I'll be unboxing it a little later. While I'm hesitant to know what my true weight is, there is a stronger part of me what wants to know. The sooner I know the sooner I can begin tracking my progress. More to come...


Monday, January 4, 2010

Back To The Grind

The holidays are past us now. It's back to the daily routines... like late night "snacks".

Last night I had a very strong urge to eat a bowl of cereal at about 11:30pm while I watching the Jets/Bengal's game. I got up from my chair, walked into the kitchen, opened the pantry, grabbed the box of cereal, grabbed the milk, grabbed a bowl, opened the box and... I caught myself. I had a glass of water.

It took much of my will power to put all those things back where they belong and not have that midnight snack. The urge was still there when I went to bed but I woke up proud of myself for breaking through that milestone.

I don't think it's over yet by a long shot. I'm sure I will have late night snack urges again. Hopefully the first one was the toughest and it will get easier to resist as the nights go by until I break the habit completely.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

So Far So Good

I've been sticking to my calorie plan. Have had a few slips due to habits but caught myself afterwards. My new scale should be arriving next week so I can weigh myself and really get started. Also have to kick in the exercise plan.. will start that tomorrow morning.


Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year! Happy New Life!

Today is the day I've been preparing for. The day I begin my journey to a new life with a new body. The body I should have. It's going to be a long trip with many twists and turns. I'm ready for it. If I need support I've lined up a few avenues to turn down.

My family is very excited about my new venture. They are committed to helping me reach my goals and become successful. It's great to have a family who cares about you.

Everyday is a new day and new opportunity to get closer to my goal of having an active, healthy body... and life.

First Goal: Lose 25 pounds by Baseball's opening day... April 1, 2010. That's only 13 weeks away. Let's get to it.