My Progress

Monday, March 30, 2009

Back without missing a beat

Today was my first day back in the world of the living and working. I am one week behind where I'd like to be on my research (don't even ask about the grant, ugh), but everyone at the lab seemed very understanding of my situation and I've been approved to tack on an extra week to my allotted time in order to ensure that I have all the time I was supposed to be given in order to complete my project. So that's some good news. Also, I didn't have much trouble picking up where I had left off, which was surprising because I was gone all of Spring break, back for a single day (the entirety of which I felt quite fogged in my mind), then gone for another week with... whatever that garbage was.

I am so glad to be back at it. I'm looking forward to finishing this project and hope I impress the lab enough to consider giving me a job. The alternative, hunting with the rest of the out of work and desperate, does not look very promising at all. Either way, though, this experience has convinced me that infectious disease is definitely my niche and something upon which I'd be thrilled to focus my career of research.

Yesterday was also a fantastic day. I finally felt well enough to venture out into the world, and it was just in time. We had planned a few weeks ago for my brother, father and both of their significant others to come up to visit us here in KC to celebrate my birthday and yesterday happened to be the day we'd planned it. I asked my dad to bring a few tools I needed to take care of a bunch of chores I've been neglecting for quite a while. He got here around noon and I got started right away. By 6, I had trimmed the hedge, replaced a screen on the front storm door, re-splined a screen in my bedroom, removed all the dead vines that were hanging on the house, taken the folks shopping at Costco and Home Depot, hung a shelf in the bedroom and removed a stump from the front yard. OK, to be fair, I didn't do all that single-handedly because my father helped a lot and it was thanks to my brother's Jeep and chain that the stump got pulled. Considering that we prepared for the company by cleaning the house top to bottom, this was a very productive weekend.

For the real birthday celebration, we hit one of my favorite restaurants, Sakura. They have a sushi train up front, which is a great way to introduce newbies to sushi, but the real show is in the back where they have hibachi grills. I ordered some fried Philadelphia rolls for the table (I only had 2 rolls and I think everyone but Dad loved them), and I only ate half of my entree: KC strip and scallops. It was the first time I've ever eaten scallops; I was very surprised to find how much I like scallops considering how unimpressed I've been with shellfish in general, aside from shrimp -- I don't care for crab, lobster, clams or crawfish. If they weren't so expensive, I'd be thrilled to have scallops a lot more often. Anyhow, seeing my brother, father and his wife was great, and dinner was a lot of fun. Our Teppanyaki chef was very skilled and personable, and we almost went 5 for 5 on catching the shrimp he tossed at us. It's a shame my brother's girlfriend couldn't make it. By the way, check me out. I'm lookin pretty good, huh?

This post is getting longer than I'd intended, so I'll have to leave Saturday's weigh-in and my return to working out for tomorrow's update.

Friday, March 27, 2009

I'm still alive

I apologize for not checking in sooner. I haven't even been reading or commenting on your blogs and it feels like I'm not being true to you or myself. I've not been well. After I left the lab on Monday, I've been pretty much bed-ridden since. A combination of my ACE inhibitor being dosed a bit too high for me and some sort of viral sickness has reduced me to a very weak, nauseous state. I went to the doctor on Wednesday and was advised to give it another day, but I insisted I couldn't afford the time off my research. She begrudgingly agreed to release me back to work yesterday, but I still wasn't ready as I found out in my attempt to go in. I'm sure operating on a caloric deficit doesn't help, and I know I should probably up my intake to give my immune system some energy. Unfortunately, I really haven't had a very good appetite and am coming in 10-20 points under budget every day.

I plan to go to weigh-in tomorrow, but I know this one is going to be artificially low. I honestly hope I don't hit 100 lost tomorrow because it will be so bittersweet (and there is a very real possibility no matter how well I do next week I'll register a gain from tomorrow's WI).

Regardless, I feel like I've passed the worst of it, but the damage has been done. I've missed 3 days of research and am more than 2 weeks behind on my thesis at this point. I've felt so scatter-brained that even with all this time on the computer, I can't seem to focus on the screen for long without becoming fatigued and cross-eyed. I have to read every sentence over and over before I finally understand it, which makes it very difficult to read papers. The lack of energy makes it difficult to find motivation for anything but rest, too. Like I said, I'm hoping I'm on the mend and will get some real work done this weekend.

Anyhow, I just wanted to touch base with yall and let you know I'll be back from the brink of death very soon. I have a lot of work to do, so I may not get caught up on all yall's blogs any time soon. Just know that I've missed every one of you and I love your support and well-wishes. Thanks for bein there for me when I couldn't been there for you.

Monday, March 23, 2009

"He wasn't right.... in the head"

Obscure movie quote alert! I do not feel right. I mentioned that at my last doctor appointment I was prescribed an ACE inhibitor. I have taken it faithfully every day since the day she prescribed it. The first week and a half, I didn't really notice any side effects, but since about Wednesday of last week I've frequently felt light-headed when standing up from a seated or especially from a prone position. Several times it has been significant enough to start getting tunnel vision for 5 or so seconds. Today was my first day back to the lab and I felt a little light headed all day even when I was just sitting. I called the doctor and of course she is on vacation and the NP she works with was gone for the day by the time they called back.

I want to get off this stuff. I hate not feeling right. It affected me enough today that I didn't feel well enough to work out for fear of collapsing on the machine. I just hope I can get off this shit fast (although I believe there is a weening period) and get back to normal. Aside from that, though, I'm still a bit stressed about the grant/thesis. I am really not feeling it and I'm starting to get concerned it isn't going to come together. Considering it is required for graduation, I'd say my concerned aren't unfounded... and yes, I'm well aware that the stress is likely contributing to my overall well-being.

In other news, I haven't decided what or when, but I am convinced I'm going to get a new tattoo some time this summer to commemorate my weight loss. I was thinking of doing it once I reach goal, but it would be a nice anchor to help me stay on track while I'm still in the process of losing. Besides, I've decided a while ago that my ultimate reward shall be sky diving. It's an especially apropos reward because 1) I've always wanted to do it, 2) there is a weight limit that has always prevented me from doing so and 3) my goal will put me just under that limit. I have a friend that has always supported me in my weight loss efforts that used to jump for a living (3rd Ranger Battalion) who, when I mentioned this end-game reward, said without hesitation that he would jump with me. That means a lot to me, but it's not terribly surprising considering the caliber of friends I keep.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Closing the gap on trip digits

Weigh in day! Weigh in day! This morning's meeting was... short. I asked my leader a few weeks ago if I could grab the floor at today's meeting for a few minutes because I wanted to share a progress photo and thank the ladies for their help and support because when it comes down to it I couldn't do it with them or without yall. Apparently accountability is extremely important to me because when I had tried in the past and was only accountable to myself, it was so much easier to backslide and relapse.

Anyhow, the meeting didn't even start until we'd already had 10 minutes of awards (one person hit lifetime, three hit 5% and four got a 5 pound star) and then my five minutes of posturing -- actually, it was a lot of fun, I got a few laughs and I had a couple people tell me they were inspired. The meeting was all about nurturing ourselves and reframing, but with half of the time already gone, we didn't really touch on it much. You know what, though, that's fine. This was the kind of meeting I really enjoy where there is a lot of success and celebration (and being the center of attention is always a plus). I was also one of those 5-pound-star people as 2.0 for the week brought me 95.0 overall. I'm just 5 more pounds away from that big centennial mark. Of course, that means I'll have some more photographic love for yall very soon.

Aside from that, the rest of today will be dedicated to school work, rounding out the remainder of my vacation and enjoying my high-point day. I've plowed through half of my test already and should be pretty much where I need to be by the end of today. I haven't really done much on my thesis and am starting to feel a bit lost on that, but I don't let that get me down. I just need to lower my head, throw my shoulder into it and soldier on.

I made my favorite breakfast of late this morning and since I've come to realize I've often described what I've eaten but never shared the details of the recipe, here goes!
Breakfast Burrito:
Points Value: 5 Servings: 2
½ c scallions, chopped
2 flatout multi-grain wraps
½ c egg beaters
1 T 2% shredded cheddar
1 small tomato, diced
2 FF american cheese singles
2 turkey breakfast sausage links, diced
6 slices pickled jalapenos, diced
8 leaves spinach, chopped
2 fresh button mushrooms, sliced
After browning the sausage links in a skillet, remove, blot dry and dice. Discard drippings but reserve 1 tsp for sauteing mushrooms, jalapenos and onion briefly on medium high heat. Reduce to medium and add egg beaters. As eggs begin to firm, add tomato and shredded cheese. Once eggs are finished, add spinach, mix thoroughly and distribute half of mixture to each wrap. Add one single to each wrap (plus Tobasco and/or hot salsa if desired) and chow down.

I love that this yields 2 servings because it means I can make it on Saturday and then enjoy another on Sunday. Great breakfast (especially with a cup of 1% milk). Actually, it was more of a brunch because I ate at 11 and won't be grilling (woot) burgers (that's another recipe for another day) until this evening. Hope yall have a good Saturday as well!

Progress so far: 95.0 pounds.

Friday, March 20, 2009

How easy it is to be lazy

Spring break is a fantastic time when 20-somethings fly off to Ft. Lauder Cancun Corpus Cabo san Miami. The chicks dress in dental floss and bandaids, the guys in board shorts and Ray Bans. Everyone gets hammered, interviews with MTV, and hopes they'll get laid and wind up on the next edition of Girls Gone Wild. This has never described my Spring break. Mine is the time when I hang out with friends, sleep in, catch up on TV and goof off on the interwebs.

This was how it was all through undergrad and the first two years of grad school. This year, however, I'm a bundle of energy, getting into shape and extremely busy wrapping up my thesis and working on a take-home test. Or not. I got back from Dallas Monday night and since then I haven't gotten a lick of activity, typed a word on my thesis or even stepped foot outside this house for more than a couple of hours yesterday.

Fear not, I'm going to kick it into gear on the scholastic front for the next 60 hours. I've been eating great and feel like tomorrow is going to be a good weigh-in, but I can't help but feel disappointed that I've let myself fall into my usual lazy ways. How soon we forget, no?

Or maybe, I just feel a sense of entitlement. That same entitlement that I rationalized gave me license to drink 10 Bud Lights and 8 or 9 ounces of Vodka or smoke a pack of Camel lights or eat a bigass full fat chicken fried steak smothered in cream gravy, 4 fresh baked, made-from-scratch biscuits and numerous other sides.

I'm not concerned about that slippery slope though, because I know I'm on vacation and life will go back to normal on Monday and I'm still tracking all my food. I made some good choices while I was down there aside from Saturday, which was a pretty heavy hit (as you can probably surmise from the previous paragraph). I'm not concerned because I'm still in weight loss mode. There will probably always be this nagging doubt that I'll be able to transition into maintenance as gracefully as so many before me.

I know a lot of people tell horror stories of losing 100 and then gaining 120. That cannot be me. I've never been successful before now and I don't want to deal with that failure and sense of dread garnered from having to start over. I have confidence that as long as I continue with the accountability here and at meetings I'll survive the maintenance phase, but this vacation has demonstrated to me very clearly how easily I could fall into my old ways if I give myself permission (ie, I've finally lost all the weight, now I shall reward myself with a 72oz steak!).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I Have Returned

... and it is good to be back. I actually returned late Monday, but gave myself a full 2 days of relaxation before I started diving into my to do list, which, aside from a take-home test and some more progress on my thesis, also includes a much needed update to this blog. First off, before I left I promised some illustrative fun. Well, here it is. One year of change:

I've enjoyed looking at some side-by-side progress photos since I started really seeing changes in myself, but this is one of the most telling. Yep, that is the exact same suit in both pics. I wore it 3 times: once to my dad's wedding a week after I bought it from Casual Male XL and had it altered at a local tailor in October 2007, once for my birthday dinner last year and once for my friend's wedding (you may know it as my official before picture). Now it is far too big to get taken in. I didn't get much money out of it considering the original investment, but you know what? That's ok with me. What I've gotten out of this journey is worth so much more than a $300 suit. I've gained years on my life and improved the quality of the life I'm living right now.

Case in point: my trip to Dallas. This was one of the best birthdays I've ever had. 3 of us from up here in KC drove down Friday afternoon and arrived 9 hours later (we hit OKC rush hour/Big 12 tournament traffic on the way). Normally, that would have been excruciatingly tiring, but I still had a couple hours of socializing in me after that. We hung out at a bar and had dinner, a few shots and some fun people watching.

Saturday was the city's parade celebrating my birthday St. Patrick's day. I drank a lot, I ate nothing but restaurant fare for 3 days (including family style comfort food at this awesome BYOB restaurant) and I didn't step foot in a gym or WW meeting for the whole weekend. What I did do, though, was eat reasonable portions, walk 7 miles while helping carry a cooler with 2 cases of beer and 5 pounds of ice, play a couple hours of lacrosse and, overall, enjoyed myself thoroughly. At one point, a friend pointed out just how much walking we did on Saturday and asked me frankly "would you have been able to do that a year ago?" to which I said I honestly don't think so. "That must be pretty satisfying." Indeed.

When I got home Monday night, I had one last indulgence: some grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, stuffing, asparagus and an ice cream sundae. Since then, I've been completely on program. I'm looking forward to my meeting this Saturday. I'm going to share some of my progress photos with the meeting and while I'm hoping I register a loss, I don't care how it turns out. I definitely earned that weekend of indulgence and I think I did it very much within reason.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bon Voyage!

Last one before I hit the road tomorrow. Today was a decent day. I didn't get much done in the lab because I'd let my lab book fall behind so friggin far that I had to spend almost 6 hours updating backlogged entries. I came to a decent stopping point for Spring break, but like a good little intern, I offered to come in after I'm done with my trip to DFW and get some extra work done. I really want to knock this one out of the park so they are tempted to hire me, but so much more than that I am really enjoying the science I'm doing. I think regardless of where I end up, I am convinced that infectious disease research is my niche. I love having something to aim my efforts against. I guess that's my competitive side and right now I have a bacteria that I wanna make my bitch.

KU has found new ways to disappoint every day. First with some lackluster performances since the win over Mizzou, then with the 19 year old kid who drank himself to death, then today with the first round elimination in the Big 12 tournament by friggin Baylor. I realize the the gravity of one of those compared to the others, but you get my point.

I skipped the workout today. I wanted to get home and cook my baby girl some bison burritos, carne asada style. I started marinating them this morning, so I didn't want them to get overly tenderized by all the acid. Regardless, it's been a good week. I know this weekend is gonna be some steps back from whatever progress I've made, but I'm confident I won't go too overboard and I'll make up the lost ground before my next weigh in next Saturday.

Cart was today, btw. I think I'm gonna stick with my fiber one bar plan that I came up with last week for subsequent carts since they took away my tic tacs. I didn't even think twice about passing on the chocolate mousse and shamrock sugar cookies they were pushing.

So this is it for me, folks. I'm headin to class tomorrow morning, then we hop in the car and hit the road. I hope yall have as good a weekend as I will. See ya Monday!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"I am the push that makes you move"

I draw a lot of motivation to increase the intensity in my workouts by the music I listen to during them. I have a pretty decent sized catalog of songs on my mp3 player, but I've assembled the 32 that drive me the hardest into a workout playlist. I'm constantly adding and removing titles to that list, but there are a few that never budge. There are a few things that all my workout songs tend to have in common. For one, they are all metal. That's not terribly surprising considering I've been a metalhead ever since I was 13, but while I have developed some other musical tastes since then, it is still my genre of choice for sweatin. More than that, though, they are almost all very high tempo stuff. I frequnetly fall into pace with some of the faster songs, which seems to be a good way to get my heart going.

This evening, I was plodding away on the elliptical, listening to Slipnot - Surfacing when, near the end of the song, the lyrics "I am the push that makes you move" came. I was lip syncing along as I am wont to do on this an a lot of other songs while I work out when I realized how true those words are. This song is the push that makes me move. I love how appropriate that and several other lyrics from my workout playlist really are. Some of my other favorite, appropriate lyrics include:
Crush 'em:
Last one standing wins the fight
Hear us scream and shout all night
Down on the floor and eat the grit
This is gonna hurt a little bit
Kick out the jams:
Yes, I'm startin' to sweat,
you know my shirt's all wet.
What a feelin'.
Zombie Stomp:
I don't need a doctor
But I need something to kill the pain
Don't know what I'm after
But the pressure's driving me insane
I am sure I wouldn't get near the workout I do without my tunes. Actually, I know so because I'm typically disappointed with my workouts on those days I forgot to bring or charge my mp3 player. How about you? I know both of the Tonys have made posts about some of their favorites, but I'd be thrilled to hear from yall on this subject. What makes you move?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

All My Exes Live in Texas

Hey yall! Yesterday was a great day. I really enjoyed perusing the stuff at city market with my girlfriend and a friend of mine from high school that happens to go to the same WW meeting. I ended up picking up some of my standard fare that I'd normally get at the grocery store like bananas, green onions and tomatoes, but I also picked up some stuff I've been meaning to get like flax seed, tumeric, red hot pepper powder and although the bison dude was out of flank steaks, I picked up some stew meat instead. Now I'm gonna decide how to marinate them and I'll make some steak burritos with black beans and rice. My girlfriend was luke-warm to the concept (partly because of the inflated price), but I would be thrilled to make the switch from beef to bison. The nutrition information speaks for itself. No matter how lean a cut of beef you get, the bison beats it out in every category.

After that, we wandered over to the Asian market and walked up and down the aisles, browsing the exotic foods and enthusiastic packaging with broken English. The girls decided to try these strange fruit-flavored, individually portioned translucent jellies. I grabbed a bottle of hoisin sauce for my stir fry and a pack of nori and sushi mat because I've been really thinking about giving homemade sushi a shot.

We came home to briefly decompress in the afternoon, then jumped back in the car to get some incidentals at Targ-Mart and some groceries. While we were picking up toothbrushes and stuff, we wandered over to the lawn and garden section and started looking at some charcoal grills. I'm ashamed to admit I've never lived at a place that allowed me to have a grill before I moved to my house, but even so, I have lived here for almost 1 ½ years now and still never got one. We've been talking about getting one for a while so when we saw a pretty decent 30" grill for only 30 bucks, she offered it as a suggestion for my birthday this Saturday. I agreed it'd be a great gift, so we snagged it, a bag of charcoal and some grilling tools. I'm lookin forward to grilling some bison steaks, shrimp skewers and corn on the cob all Summer.

Speaking of birthday stuffs, I've pretty much got my plan in place. A couple of us up here in KC are going to pile up in my car and drive down to Dallas, stopping off at my father's 100 miles down the road to trade up my car for his Jeep Liberty (lest the passengers die from lack-of-legroom syndrome). I'm really looking forward to it because the 14th is not just the day I emerged into this world 29 years ago. It is also the day that Dallas is celebrating St. Patrick's Day this year. I am going to celebrate my birthday with pints of Guinness and Bailey's on the rocks. I won't be weighing in that day, nor will I be updating the blog from Friday afternoon when we leave until Monday evening when we return. I promise to have a treat for yall when I return, though: some pictorial love. I won't have the official progress photo taken until I crest that triple-digits-lost goal, but I'll show ya something else.

So I've covered the Texas portion of this post, but what about the exes? I started this journey with triple-X shirts starting to hug me a little tight. I still have some of my XXX wardrobe in the rotation and I'm starting to wonder how much longer I can get away with wearing stuff that baggy. Even the XXLs are starting to get a little loose.Well, today I decided to try on my favorite Star Wars t-shirt just to see how close I'm getting to XL. It isn't quite ready for its public debut (nor will it ever if my GF has anything to say about it), but it is definitely getting close. I'm actually right now at about the size I was at the end of high school. Back then, I was stretching my XLs out as much as possible to avoid the inevitability of being forced to move up to XXL. Considering I have 40-60 pounds to go, I may very well be wearing larges when all is said and done. I didn't even know those were real sizes for adult men when I started losing. Therefore, I've decided that one of my non-numeric goals is now to get to a size where I can wear that shirt without feeling awkward or uncomfortable, at which point I'll take a picture and share it with the world. I know you're just itching to see it.

For now, though. I've got my sights set on the big dog: 100 pounds lost. It's so close, I can almost taste it. I bet it tastes like fresh crisp salad and with grilled chicken breast, fat free cheddar and light french dressing. I could be wrong, that may just be my lunch.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Dr. Livingwell, I presume?

I had an appointment with the doc yesterday. It was a long day. I woke up, went to class, went to the surplus store, picked up some bandanas (several for me, one for the dog) and a new duffel, came home, put a leash on the dog, took a 5 minute walk, chased the dog for a bit when she got off the leash, walked back home, greeted the dog at the door when she returned 2 minutes later, put her leash on again (and made sure it was on good), took a real walk for about 30 minutes, walked back home and dropped her off, hopped in the car and headed to the office, arrived 30 minutes early, updated my information for the new year, waited, got brought into exam room, got weighed, got BP'd, waited, waited, waited, spoke to a medical student about my huge list of questions and concerns, waited, spoke to the doctor, got all my questions answered, got a couple new scripts (more on that below), got some blood drawn, went to the pharmacy, waited, picked up my scripts, headed home and relaxed for the rest of the night. World record for longest runon ever?

This is my first visit since October. That was 40 pounds ago. At that last visit, I had lost 25 between visits. She didn't even notice until I pointed it out and that was a tad disappointing. Imagine my elation when she walked in the door yesterday and the first words out of her mouth were "Forty freaking pounds?! Good job!" I'll have to wait a couple of days for the results on the tests, then we'll figure out if the metformin is gone or reduced. Sadly, I wasn't able to convince her I'm not hypertensive. I've had a 140/88 and a 135/90 two visits in a row, so she prescribed an ACE inhibitor. Feh. Now it's my goal to get off both of these. We discussed a couple other minor things and I was pleased with her answers, then I asked the question I've had in mind since I started this journey: "what is my goal weight going to be?"

If you asked Weight Watchers, they'd defer to that 19th century sociologist, who thinks I should weigh at max 179 pounds. She told me she agreed that on my frame 179 pounds would be not only difficult but likely strange, even sickly looking. She suggested a goal of 185-210. I was pretty happy with her response and agreed wholeheartedly. I'll still keep 225 as my "official goal," but for end-game, I'll press on from there to between 199 and 210. I'm not terribly concerned about reaching onederland like some Polish-surnamed chefs (grats, btw), so that 199 may very well never happen, but I'll get within spittin distance of it. It's almost scary to realize how close I'm getting and how soon I'll be there. This journey seemed so daunting 90 pounds ago. Now, it's just keep doin what yer doin and I'll get there in a few more months. This was a huge NSV for me because as an obese person that was very used to gaining 10-20 pounds a year every year since I was 13, I've never had a doctor praise me on my weight change from one appointment to the next.

BTW, I walked in the office at 1 and left at a quarter of 4. Crazy, right? There was a lot of waiting involved, but to be fair, I wound up talking to the student, then to her for a good 90 minutes altogether. I was surprised they let me take up that much time, but I guess it's patients like me that make them run so far behind their schedule, huh?

So this morning is weigh in. As has been my MO for the last several weeks, I couldn't sleep. I'm like a kid on Christmas morning on Saturdays. I wake up very early, thinking about how I did that week and postulating how it'll be reflected in the scale. I tried to go back to sleep and finally gave up at 5, hopped out of bed and took a sneak peak at the Wii Fit. I won't ruin it for you, but unless it is absolutely wrong, this has been a really good week. I'll update this post when I get back. I still have 40 minutes of waiting before I head over there.

**** edit ****

BOOM! 3.6 pounds. Now, I'm off to do some produce (and possibly bison meat) shopping at city market.

Progress so far: 93 pounds.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Yoga! Yoga! Yoga!

I had a blast last night. It was really fun and although challenging, I kept with it the whole time and never felt like I was falling very far behind. I definitely need to keep at this to develop some more flexibility, but the main thing holding me back is specifically my gut. I suspect in another 30 or 40 pounds it'll be a complete non-issue. I borrowed a mat from the instructor, but I'm confident that I enjoy it enough I'll want to get my own mat and start doing it at home more often with the TV (and of course every Wednesday in March and April here). I guess I'll check out prices at Walmart, Target and Dick's.

The sense of calm it brought me was very substantial and needed after such a long day. I was sweating a decent amount, but my heartrate averaged only 135 (about 65% maximal). I warmed up with a very intense workout on the elliptical: 25 minutes at an 8-minute mile pace, avg HR=171. Between that and the 70 minutes of yoga, I burned about 1500-1600 calories.

I'm gonna put in another good elliptical tonight and then tomorrow, after class, I may do another light workout to make up for the one I missed on Tuesday. I have an appointment with my doctor tomorrow afternoon. I'm looking forward to hearing some encouragement from her regarding my weight loss progress. The last time she saw me was over 40 pounds ago last October. Have a good day, yall. I've got a lot to get done here!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Life getting in the way

I haven't been making daily entries recently. I made a good push for it last month, but lost steam in the end. Now I'm doing every other day, and I feel like that is slacking. It's quite an improvement from last year's 1 post every other week, though.

Yesterday, I skipped my workout. It was not a great day. I kinda dragged some ass getting ready and was running behind on my way to the lab. I swear I wasn't driving any differently than normal, but I and 2 other people got pulled over on the same steep-graded downhill slope. 60 in a 45. Feh. I guess I'm gonna have to send this one off to a lawyer because I don't wanna pay for it over the next three years in premiums.

I spent a lot of time processing some bacteria for cold storage. I mean a lot of time. From 1pm to 5.30, I was doing nothing but pipetting, mixing, labelling over and over and over. I still have some more dilutions to do today. These are the tedious, boring parts of science you don't hear about. Sitting on my ass, mindless work, nothing to do but develop repetitive stress disorder and stew over the citation earlier. I hadn't even realized it was an hour past my usual time to close shop and I still needed to put things away, clean up my benchtop and document in my lab book.

Knowing that I had to get home, eat dinner and work on my thesis last night, there was no way I was going to have time to work out as well. I've talked to my program director about this a few times, but I feel like the hour of commuting, hour of workouts and 9 hour shifts are wearing me down a bit more than I'd expected. I am not putting in much time at all in the evenings like I should, and while I should also be using my Fridays (when I have scientific writing in the morning and the remainder of the day off) to work on this thesis, I've gone into the lab the last two Fridays in a row to get some extra work in on my project there. That's OK though, because I still have my weekends right? Nope. I spend all of Saturday going to the morning meeting, enjoying my time with my girlfriend, reading blogs and WW forums, shopping, stocking up on groceries, date night.... Sunday is my decompression day, the only day of the week I don't have to run there, do that, get that done, hurry!

So, I guess I need to re-evaluate my priorities, make room for the thesis and whatnot. I could stop working out every day, but the guilt and fear inside me from skipping yesterday's was not something I want to deal with every week. I love how I feel when I'm working out regularly. Consequently, I hate how I feel when I'm not. For the first time in my life, my health is my number one priority. I just need to find a way to balance it all out.

It's kind of nice to think that my dedication to weight loss and fitness is this firm. It's also nice to realize that a couple of years ago laziness and depression were holding me back from success in school and now my fitness has elbowed its way into my active and successful academic career.

Monday, March 2, 2009

You can't eat that, can you?

If yall are anything like me, you've heard this from people who know you are on a diet at least a few times. I think a lot of people are amazed at just what you can squeeze into the program, which is a shame for those that are scared away from diets thanks to advertisers that tell them it's gonna mean one of two food choices: rabbit food and pre-packaged shit. It disappoints me that even Weight Watchers advertises their little hungry monster tempting someone with a box of pizza as if it is the absolute, forbidden taboo of dieting (which, for many it may very well be, but in moderation...).

I've learned along the way what I can and cannot handle. What is and is not light enough to fill me up while staying within points. That said, I haven't had the bravery to try fitting two of my favorite meals into my weight loss journey up until Saturday. One of these still remains uneaten, the dreaded biscuits and gravy . Saturday, however, I did tackle the other.

Ever since I was a little (pudgy) kid, if you asked me what my favorite dinner was I'd tell you "chicken fried steak smothered in creamy gravy, mashed potatoes and more gravy, macaroni and cheese (from scratch, not box) and peas." For the entirety of my existence, if you ask me what I'll have before they throw the switch, this will be my answer every time (unless I'm REALLY craving some buffalo wings, then I'd be hard pressed not to ask for both). My mom taught me how to make macaroni and CFS long before she passed away and I'm glad because no one will ever make either as good as Mom. I shied away from it for the past year because seriously, how healthy can you make a dinner that not only has 4 delicious components, but worse, one is made from butter, flour, cheese and white pasta and another is battered and breaded, deep-fat-fried beef smothered in gravy?

How? Well, first, I made the mac with light butter, 1% milk and 2% velveeta. I chose not to use healthier pasta, but I feel like that was still a good choice. It came out almost exactly like mom did, losing very little flavor to the lightening and at the exact same portion size of about 1½ cups as I would typically have. The steak, on the other hand, I had to cut down to a 3oz portion (as opposed to my typical 10-12oz (or more depending on seconds)), but since I've changed the frequency and size of my meals I would have had little chance of downing something that big (let alone with sides). From there, I used egg substitute for the wash and tried to bake instead of frying in shortening. Mom's recipe calls for crackers as a coating (as opposed to flour, cornmeal or bread crumbs that most would use), which while the meat cooked, the crackers remained unbrowned and unappealing. So, I busted out the skillet, added just a little oil and let 'er rip. I found an article (sorry, can't find the source I found at home now that I'm at the lab) that studied the pickup of oil by frying and concluded that you only gain about 4.8% by mass when frying something that is breaded. My steak was just over 120g, so 6g of oil added into the points didn't do too much damage (especially since it was a quick fry as the meat was already cooked). I skipped on the gravy and put FF margarine on my mashers and corn (GF hates peas) and some 57 on the steak; it was perfect.
I apologize for not taking a picture of my plate, but there was no way I was going to wait another minute to take it after the 90 minute prep. Rest assured, my plate was very beatiful and quickly empty.

Altogether, it was a very filling and extremely satisfying meal, a throwback to my youth that I sorely missed. It wasn't a 4 point salad, but it wasn't the 80 point CFS dinner I'm sure Cracker Barrell would have handed me either. Nope, I was pleased with my 29 point meal that would have been 22 if not for the King's Hawaiian dinner rolls (my favorite commercial dinner roll of all time) I just had to have. I planned ahead, made it work with my points (I even had a breakfast burrito and potato pancake for breakfast, but that's another post) and sated a craving I've been neglecting for far too long.

Now, if only I could figure out how to lighten up the biscuits and gravy....