health and fitness 

Check out my weight loss progress on this chart.

2018.10.03UPDATE: Starbucks Doesn't Give a Frap About Your Health

Starbucks logo. Image credit: Starbucks
It looks like Starbucks just handed a double shot of "eff you" to customers with health concerns like diabetes


Starbucks has discontinued their Mocha Light Frappucino base. I have a huge problem with that.

No. I have a grande problem with that: According to the nutrition information Starbucks had published on their website at starbucks.com, a grande-sized Mocha Frappucino, made without whipped cream and using nonfat milk, contains 59 grams of sugar (and is 270 calories); 1 contrast with the same sized Mocha Light Frappucino, at 26g (140 cal),2 which is not served with whipped cream and doesn't offer a milk option. The Mocha Light Frappucino has less than half the sugar of the regular recipe, and about half of the calories.

And, Starbucks has just introduced their Triple Mocha Frappucino -- which, when made nonfat milk, contains 51g sugar (380 cal). 3, 4 Here's what Seth Meyers had to say about it last night:



On its face, the discontinuation of the Mocha Light Frappucino, coupled with the introduction of the Triple Mocha Frappucino, looks like Starbucks just handed a double shot of "eff you" to customers with health concerns like diabetes.

Yet Starbucks still has the gall to boast about their "commitment to health and wellness", and to state, "Starbucks has also committed to reducing average added sugar in indulgent beverages by 25 percent by the end of 2020." 5

I have called Starbucks support. The help desk person I spoke with was awesome, and promised me she would both escalate and "red-flag" the issue. At partially her behest, I have submitted the following on Starbucks' "ideas" website:

Please restore the Mocha Light Frappuccino.

The standard Mocha Frappuccino and the new Triple Mocha Frappuccino have unacceptable levels of sugar and calories for people with health issues like diabetes.

Removing the Light option significantly impacts the coffee drink options for people like me. But in the bigger picture, it also calls into question the commitment Starbucks made to health and wellness, and its commitment to reducing average added sugar in its beverages.

I'll be happy to update this post should Starbucks respond.



UPDATE:

Starbucks finally engaged me on this... somewhat. I've been receiving a barrage of personalized ads from them pushing their pumpkin spice lattes over social media, so I've been responding with comments like, "not until you bring back the Mocha Light Frappucino base." Today someone at Starbucks finally replied. Here's the play by play (with my image removed and name replaced with "Me". By the way, Starbucks did greet me by name):

I didn't throw at them the infoporn on their latest Frapbomination, OR how it, combined with the lack of a Splenda-enhanced option, completely flies in the face of their bullshit nutrition committment. At least give me that much.

By the way, just because I'm fighting for the Mocha Light Frappucino base doesn't mean it was all that amazingly good for me. For comparison: A 12-oz. (small) bottle of Coca-Cola has the same number of calories (140), but half-again as much sugar (39g compared with 26g).



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2018.05.03Starbucks Doesn't Give a Frap About Your Health

Starbucks logo. Image credit: Starbucks
It looks like Starbucks just handed a double shot of "eff you" to customers with health concerns like diabetes


Starbucks has discontinued their Mocha Light Frappucino base. I have a huge problem with that.

No. I have a grande problem with that: According to the nutrition information Starbucks had published on their website at starbucks.com, a grande-sized Mocha Frappucino, made without whipped cream and using nonfat milk, contains 59 grams of sugar (and is 270 calories); 1 contrast with the same sized Mocha Light Frappucino, at 26g (140 cal),2 which is not served with whipped cream and doesn't offer a milk option. The Mocha Light Frappucino has less than half the sugar of the regular recipe, and about half of the calories.

And, Starbucks has just introduced their Triple Mocha Frappucino -- which, when made nonfat milk, contains 51g sugar (380 cal). 3, 4 Here's what Seth Meyers had to say about it last night:



On its face, the discontinuation of the Mocha Light Frappucino, coupled with the introduction of the Triple Mocha Frappucino, looks like Starbucks just handed a double shot of "eff you" to customers with health concerns like diabetes.

Yet Starbucks still has the gall to boast about their "commitment to health and wellness", and to state, "Starbucks has also committed to reducing average added sugar in indulgent beverages by 25 percent by the end of 2020." 5

I have called Starbucks support. The help desk person I spoke with was awesome, and promised me she would both escalate and "red-flag" the issue. At partially her behest, I have submitted the following on Starbucks' "ideas" website:

Please restore the Mocha Light Frappuccino.

The standard Mocha Frappuccino and the new Triple Mocha Frappuccino have unacceptable levels of sugar and calories for people with health issues like diabetes.

Removing the Light option significantly impacts the coffee drink options for people like me. But in the bigger picture, it also calls into question the commitment Starbucks made to health and wellness, and its commitment to reducing average added sugar in its beverages.

I'll be happy to update this post should Starbucks respond.



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2018.01.06Apple Watch

Apple Watch logo. Image credit: Apple

Laurel bought me a Series 3 unit to replace my broken Series 1.

I feel like the watch is a symbol for a return to normalcy; the life I led before everything just went off the rails late last summer.

I'm sure that sounds weird, but look at it this way: I used my watch to do three things, mainly:

  • Check the current time
  • Track my day
  • Track my progress on my fitness goals.

I can track time on any watch. The real heart of the matter is in the last pair of bullets.

Track My Day

I feel like I just sorta float through my day at my new job. I find I miss the tighter integration I had in my previous position. My Apple Watch was absolutely fantastic because it would filter my schedule down to simply what I had coming next. Whatever and whenever that was, was displayed at the bottom of my watch face. I would receive haptic indications on things like the start of my next meeting, and it would make me get up and walk around if I'd been at my desk for too long. Not having those has probably made me feel more "afloat" than perhaps I really am.

Track My Fitness Goals

Over the past few months -- especially since living here -- my fitness has fallen flat on its face. I've been depressed; I haven't been motivated to... stay awake, much less exercise. Besides, it's been as cold as can be outside. I've gained back all of the weight I'd lost, and I'm probably nearly back to square one.

What does this Apple Watch mean?

It means hope.

I'm proud to say that, in the past two days since receiving it, I've been paying close attention to my calorie burn (red) ring. I'm pleased to say I'm burning more than I guess I thought I would -- and I'm also pleased to say that I'm watching my number closely and trying for more.

It's all the proof I need that hope has returned.



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2017.12.17UPDATE: Mario A. Finnell ALS Foundation

I've been working on this project for a long time -- two years -- and as you can imagine, the team is always happy to see each other on the rare occasions we can travel and get together.

Some months ago, one of our number started experiencing a problem in his hand. He started having frequent doctor visits, which seemed unusual to me and probably to the rest of us.

Over time, he seemed to become less and less available. When I'd hear him on conference calls, there were mornings he sounded exhausted. Something in his voice was different. It wasn't the same guy we all loved to see.

Only in recent weeks did I learn that he is suffering from ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gherig's Disease; it is considered a group of rare neurological diseases affecting voluntary muscle movement.

ALS and its component diseases are part of a broader class of motor neuron disorders. These disorders all share traits of degeneration and/or death of the nerve cells responsible for message transmission from the brain to the spinal cord and out to extremities. The neutralization of these motor neurons eventually translates into spasms or even atrophy of the muscles no longer receiving the messages they should.

My friend has this.

And I'm not okay with that.

He has started a foundation to raise funds for ALS research. Presently, a number of us are supporting his foundation through a Stridekick campaign, but we can all make donations through the Foundation's Facebook page.

Please consider making a donation. Particuarly if you or someone you know has been touched by this awful disease.

 

UPDATE: I received word this morning that Mario's fight with ALS ended yesterday morning.

Over 17 months, the disease brutalized and ultimately extinguished a loving, caring soul.

The organization's Facebook page asks that expressions of love and sympathy be made in donations in lieu of flowers.



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2017.11.07A Year Without Soda

Diet Coke logo. Image credit: Coca-Cola

My daughter reminded me on Halloween that the following day I'll have gone without soda for an entire YEAR.

Looking back, I find it's pretty amazing -- the passage of time that is. The effort was minimal.

I stick with previous observations about how staying away from it only really seemed difficult at the movie theater. But in the year that's passed, we've become used to buying water and adding flavoring to it to enhance our moviegoing experience.

My substitution of choice is iced tea, and tiny spaces in my car are packed with pink packets.

(Also see: A MONTH Without Cola.)



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2017.10.09Morning Walks at the New Place

It's hard to believe it's only been a few months since Laurel and I started walking first thing in the morning after kiddo caught the school bus.

Today we're walking her to school, then continuing in a sort of a loop back home. Our course is far more challenging than our old route was, primarily due to altitude changes. The walk offers some fairly steep hills. This walk is also a bit longer than our old route.

If my Apple Watch is fitted correctly, I can get about 22 of 30 daily activity minutes just from this morning route. That really makes the early effort worth it!



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2017.09.01August Stridekick Challenge Is Ended

Final stats are in -- I finished 11th of 21.

I found some nice motivation in working to take over the position of the person ahead of me. I did this a few times over the month (I think I started 14th). It motivated me to work harder. The person in 10th finished some 70,000 steps ahead of me -- talk about a stretch goal!

I'm not certain at this point what my relationship with Stridekick will be moving forward. I joined Stridekick as part of a group from work. Since the company has dismissed many of us, I'm unsure if I'll continue to use it (besides, my account is associated with my work e-mail address, which I'll obviously no longer have).

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2017.08.28August Stridekick Challenge UPDATE [EDITED]

After my evening walk, I've taken 11th place from my target -- provisionally: the numbers show I'm ahead of her by nearly 3,000 steps, but her data is 12 hours old.

I may have more work to do tomorrow to "seal the deal."



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2017.08.27The Five-Minute Workout

The display on our treadmill

We're smart people. And because we're smart people, we have some smart technologies in our home. A great example is a computer surge protector that kills power to everything on the strip once the computer is shut off. It's super nice because peripherals power up and down with the computer (which is plugged into a specific outlet on the strip).

What's not so smart is having other things plugged into the same surge protector -- "other things" being our treadmill.

The computer on the strip is Laurel's work computer -- a system to which neither have nor need access. On Saturday night I learned that her computer will shut itself down after 5 minutes of being powered up without further user interaction.

If you're working out at that point, the treadmill will stop abruptly. At 3+ MPH, it will occur shortly after the 1/4 mile mark. It's jarring. But you can keep your heart rate up by hurrying over to the PC to hit the power button again (were this captured on video, you likely won't be proud of your gait) and back onto the machine to start all over again.

A fifteen-minute workout will come with two of these breaks, plus the benefit of "auto shut-off" at the end.



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2017.08.24August Stridekick Challenge UPDATE

I'm closing in on my next victim: the person in 11th place is now only 10,000 steps ahead of me.

Make that 8,000.



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2017.08.19August Stridekick Challenge UPDATE



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2017.08.10Move Streak Level: 100

I'm super proud to report that I've kept my Move Streak alive for 100 days as of today!



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2017.08.09August Stridekick Challenge

My company has started its own Stridekick Challenge for the month of August. The challenge is team oriented -- two teams of participants are competing for bragging rights (for as much as people brag about walking). The teams are led by the two people who completely killed it in the previous challenge.

As of today, I'm in 15th place of 21.



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2017.08.07Study: Depression and Anxiety in Men Linked to High Sugar Diets

A representation of the sugar we consume. Image credit: Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

Tonic, a website and digital video channel that covers wellness, science, and health, reported that "men who consume high levels of sugar are more likely to develop depression or anxiety compared to those with low-sugar diets," according to a study published in Nature by researchers at University College London.

Of 7,000 surveyed over 30 years beginning in 1983, men who consumed 67 to 100 grams of added sugar in their diets (268 to 400 tsp (!!)) were 23% more likely to experience anxiety or depression over the next 5 years than men who consumed fewer than 40 grams (160 tsp) of added sugar, suggesting that a high-sugar diet may have long-term effects on mental health.

The same could not be said of the 2,000 female respondents. Researchers were unsure as to why their results differed from the men.

The Tonic article also cited research that asserted the sugar sources of choice for 3 out of 4 Britons are sweet foods and beverages.

Read the full Tonic article here. (Image credit: Peter Dazeley/Getty Images.) The study was published online in the journal Nature.



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2017.08.07High Fructose Corn Syrup-90 Renamed; Why That's a Big Deal

A spoonful of high fructose corn syrup with a skull and crossbones visible in the syrup. Image credit: yournewswire.com

YourNewsWire.com reported that food producers have renamed high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in order to deceive the public into thinking their products no longer contain the harmful compound.

The article makes an example of Vanilla Chex cereal by General Mills:

According to the Corn Refiners Association (CRA), there's been a sneaky name change. The term 'fructose' is now being used to denote a product that was previously known as HFCS-90, meaning it is 90 percent pure fructose. Compare this to what is termed 'regular' HFCS, which contains either 42 or 55 percent fructose, and you will know why General Mills is so eager to keep you in the dark.

CRA explains:

"... HFCS-90 is sometimes used in natural and 'light' foods, where very little is needed to provide sweetness. Syrups with 90% fructose will not state high fructose corn syrup on the label [anymore], they will state 'fructose' or 'fructose syrup'."

Read the full article here. (Image credit: yournewswire.com)

What's the Big Deal?

Reading the article, it sounds like renaming HFCS-90 to "fructose" shouldn't deserve the shade yournewswire.com gives it. I mean, if it's 90% fructose, why not just call it "fructose?"

Here's why: natural sugar and "fructose" aren't the same thing. Actual fructose is a component of sugar; sucrose molecules are broken down by digestion to be useful to the body. The fructose contained in HFCS is not digested, as Dr. Mark Hyman explains in his article, "5 Reasons Why High Fructose Corn Syrup Will Kill You" (emphasis mine):

High fructose corn syrup is an industrial food product and far from "natural" or a naturally occurring substance. It is extracted from corn stalks ... resulting in a chemically and biologically novel compound called HFCS. Some basic biochemistry will help you understand this.

Regular cane sugar (sucrose) is made of two-sugar molecules bound tightly together– glucose and fructose in equal amounts. The enzymes in your digestive tract must break down the sucrose into glucose and fructose, which are then absorbed into the body. HFCS also consists of glucose and fructose, not in a 50-50 ratio, but a 55-45 fructose to glucose ratio in an unbound form.... Since there is there is no chemical bond between them, no digestion is required so they are more rapidly absorbed into your blood stream. Fructose goes right to the liver and triggers lipogenesis (the production of fats like triglycerides and cholesterol) [. This] is why it is the major cause of liver damage in this country and causes a condition called "fatty liver" which affects 70 million people. The rapidly absorbed glucose triggers big spikes in insulin – our body’s major fat storage hormone. Both these features of HFCS lead to increased metabolic disturbances that drive increases in appetite, weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia, and more.

So the big deal is, products are being packaged stating they're free of HFCS, when in fact they still contain the engineered, unbound form of fructose. Even worse, HFCS-90 is 90% unbound fructose, not the 42% or 55% fructose in standard HFCS -- basically, twice the concentration of unbound fructose of the other two varieties (albeit used in lesser quantity, according to the CRA source of the yournewswire.com article).



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2017.08.01Perfect Month Achievement for July

For my second month in a row, I earned the achievement for reaching my daily move goal every day of the previous month.

And by the way, an important clarification: these achievements are not "you've hit your move goal for 30 days in a row." These are aligned with the calendar month -- so if you start making your move goals on the second of the month like I did in May, you get... regret.



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2017.07.28Some definition in the shoulders

Received a nice compliment this morning.

I'd mentioned that for the past few weeks I've been using a set of 5-lb. weights with my workouts, and only recently have I been able to keep the "Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots" mode engaged throughout the entire workout.

Apparently, it's already starting to pay off -- I was told some added definition is already visible.

That's a great thing, because R-S-R always kicks my A-S-S.



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2017.07.27250 lbs

Here's how to wreck my day: Get my wife to suggest I go weigh myself.

I'm back up to two hundred fifty fucking pounds.

Yes, I know that muscle weighs more than fat, and all that crap. When I was taking Phentermine, I was looking at 225 (I don't think I ever quite got there, though), but I wasn't doing any exercise at all. Now I'm a slave to my Apple Watch and I'm up 20 pounds.

I'm not emotionally ready to say I'm up by only 20 lbs. I'm going to be pissed off at the world for a little while until I get the motivation I need. This is pretty crushing.

Even better: I'm in my nasty workout clothes, because I go exercise after my morning meeting. Right now, I'm a hair away from giving up, it shook me that much.

I haven't weighed myself in 2 ½ months. Since then I've been making tons of posts about all the walking I've been doing; my Move Streak is at like 85 days. And I've been free of weight loss medication for at least that long.



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2017.07.26Working with Weights on a Treadmill Sucks

Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots

I posted a couple of days ago about how I've introdued wrist weights into my exercise routine. Today, thanks to inclement weather, I learned that using them while walking on a treadmill brings my awkwardness game to the next level.

My surmise is the culprit is the complication a moving, level platform presents: humans don't naturally walk at a steady pace. There's a lot of subtle mechanics at work in keeping one's body upright, balanced, and stationary relative to a platform moving at 3 MPH. Add to that 5 lbs. of additional weight on the forearms and concentrate on keeping them level with the platform, and voila! One hot mess with a high heart rate.



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2017.07.24Working with Weights

Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots

A couple of weeks ago, we bought some wrist weights for use in our outdoor walks.

We bought two sets -- one 2-lb. weight set (each weight is 1 lb.), and one 5-lb. set (2.5 lbs. each).

We started off trading the weights back and forth -- Laurel would use the 2-lb. set and I'd use the 5-lb. set one day, then we'd switch. I think it's still a good plan. But we had some weirdness last week where Laurel was stuck to her desk a few times while I went walking, and I ended up using the 5-lb. set each day.

Using those weights was weird for the first few days. I tried a few different "walking styles" to get comfortable with them, and I think I've settled on a sort of "Rock 'em Sock 'em Robot" method: bending my arms 90°, with my forearms level with the ground, and rocking them back and forth at my sides with each step, keeping them straight like I'm holding ski poles or throwing punches at the waist. Because the weights have flaps with thumb-holes, I find my ball my hands into fists without thinking about it.

When I started with these weights, I couldn't keep the "Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots" form for the entire walk. My shoulders would hurt, so I'd drop my arms for a while. But by last Thursday, I was able to maintain "fighting form" for the entire walk, and have done so each walk since.

I'm now over 80 days into my Move Streak. I like the addition of the weights, because I feel like I'm working my shoulders and my abs more while walking, and I suspect it's translating into a bigger calorie burn by some low percentage.



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2017.07.07More Achievements, Please

I am immensely grateful to Apple for their Activity app, the three rings and the whole nine.

Now 65 days into my Move Streak and having earned multiple instances of the 7-Workout Week and Perfect Week (All Activity) achievements, I'm kinda left wanting.

I'm a little surprised that there isn't an achievement for Perfect Month, for example. I got all of those Perfect Week achievements across an entire MONTH -- shouldn't that count for something?



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2017.06.30June Stridekick Challenge UPDATE



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2017.06.29Exercise: What a Difference a Month Makes

Today is the first day in at least a month -- maybe more like two months -- that our morning walk had to happen on our treadmill.

Months ago when I started on the treadmill, I was walking at a pace of about 1.7MPH. In contrast, I wasn't happy this morning until I reached a pace of 2.9MPH -- nearly twice the former speed.

I've become used to doing a circuit of 1.22 miles. This takes us up and down inclines, from shade to sun, and from breeze to still to breeze again. We walk this route in the mornings and walk at an aggressive pace to get the majority of our activity out of the way before the heat of the day.

The analog on a treadmill is... challenging. No inclines, no declines -- just flat. I didn't have the experience of pain in varying areas of my lower legs (I didn't necessarily miss it, but I can confirm that pain IS likely the product of variations in the walking surface). No sun, no shade, no breeze. No companion, and no conversation -- treadmill walking is a solo effort.

Then there's all this right in my face for five laps:

Useful: Seeing the relationship between calories burned and distance. (100 calories per mile, according to this display.)

The biggest disappointment though is my stats. My Apple Watch measured my effort at 1.23 miles (nearly spot on with my normal outdoor route). Here's the infoporn, comparing today's indoor walk with yesterday's outdoor walk and an outdoor walk this afternoon:

Activity TypeActive CaloriesTotal CaloriesDistanceTotal TimeElevation GainAvg. Heart RateAvg. Pace
Indoor Walk122 CAL181 CAL1.23 mi0:26:15--89 BPM21'12"/mi
Outdoor Walk112 CAL160 CAL1.21 mi0:21:0237 FT106 BPM17'22"/mi
Outdoor Walk114 CAL162 CAL1.20 mi0:20:5720 FT113 BPM17'23"/mi

Particularly telling here is the average heart rate data. These rates translate into green ring data. This morning's indoor walk only credited me for 8 minutes of exercise, as compared with my normal outdoor walk, from which I routinely get credit for about 22 minutes of exercise, though the calorie burn, time and distance is generally comparable. (I can't explain why the Elevation Gain varied so much -- it's the same route.)

I'm coming up very short so far today, and I think the big difference is in the lack of inclines and declines, because I think they're the key factor in having that good, higher heart rate that meets the activity standard. Notice that the pace in the outdoor walks is much lower than this morning's indoor walk, and still the heart rate and activity minutes were far higher in the outdoor walks.

Apart from daily progress, though, I'm pretty amazed at how different use of the treadmill is now that I've been doing all of these outdoors workouts. Treadmill use is WAY more boring now that it used to be -- and I'm sure going a LOT faster!!



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2017.06.29June Stridekick Challenge UPDATE

As of today (June 29), I've one day remaining in the challenge. I said I'd make Marathon:



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2017.06.27June Stridekick Challenge UPDATE

As of today (June 27), I've made it over 108 miles, which puts me just south of Conch Key. I am still in ninth place and still on track for Marathon.

Everyone below me has basically given up. The gap between me and the person in tenth is some 100,000 steps.

I have a lot to thank Mario for. On Sunday I acquired my third "Perfect Week (All Activity)" achievement in the Activity app. That means I've been closing all three rings in the Activity app for three weeks now -- a feat I didn't think I'd accomplish. This Stridekick challenge has helped me to be much better to myself from an exercise standpoint. I'm sad I'm not going to meet others at Virtual Sloppy Joe's, but look how far I've come!

By the way, my Move Streak is now at 55 days. That's 55 days of meeting or exceeding my daily calorie burning goal.



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2017.06.21'Garbage' In, 'Garbage' Out

We found ourselves once again in need of a fast lunch. I opted for a nearby Wendy's, chiefly because I can get cut strawberries instead of fries as part of a meal.

I'm in the drive-through placing the order. First Laurel's, then mine. Just when I complete my statement, I hear this reply: "Garbage."

My mind whirled. Responses I considered:

  • "What?? Lettuce and tomato isn't good enough on that burger?"
  • "HEY! That's my LUNCH!"
  • "I know, I know, I should have ordered the salad."

The person taking my order was a manager, who immediately explained that her remark was in response to a query from a coworker. The response wasn't intended for me (and I knew it right away).

It was a good laugh.



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2017.06.18On Closing All Three Rings

For me, exercise has always been something that I did but never really wanted to do--with the sole exception of cycling. I love cycling. I rediscovered it once, and I think I'm becoming well-positioned to rediscover it again. Outside of cycling, exercise was mostly military PT. I just never loved it. I probably never even liked it, although there was a time I did it so often I became used to it.

So, thanks to Apple, I have these little achievements (pictured at top) to help motivate me to succeed. At left is the achievement for hitting the exercise goal each day for the week; to its right, the achievement for hitting the stand goal each day for a week (that is, standing and walking about in an hour for 12 hours in the day); to its right, the achievement for hitting the calories burned/move goal each day of the week (this one moves up each week; my streak is currently at 46 days); and finally, at far right, is the achievement for hitting all three of the aforementioned goals each day for a week.

These achievements correlate to rings that appear in the Activity app -- a set of three circles that appear concentrically. At the start of the day, they just appear as three aligned dots; as progress is made, the dots "stretch" in a clockwise fashion. Each segment of a circle represents your progress through each day. Expanding each segment to form a circle is the goal (called "closing the ring"); the rings are essentially circular progress indicators.

You can see from the image above that I've closed the exercise ring for today (the green one) already; I'm over halfway to my move goal (the red one), and I'm just shy of halfway to my stand goal (the blue one).

I'm using these rings and achievements to motivate me to continue to better myself. As you've seen in previous posts, I started with the move goal, and I've done well with it -- so I became a little brave.

Over the past two weeks I've paid particular attention to closing all three rings each day. I find that the activity (green) ring is the hardest to close, because it requires elevated heart rates; and so my strategy has been to take multiple, fast-paced walks throughout the day to satisfy the requirement. The strategy has had some unusually beneficial side effects:

  1. There's nothing like sweat and exhaustion to keep me away from a second cup of coffee: I tend to try to "hit for distance" earlier in the day, leaving me less to have to do later on. So I'll take a longer walk at a faster pace at this time of day -- after which, a hot cuppa does not appeal. In fact, I'm actually allowing coffee avoidance to get me out for the morning walks. I've been making myself go walk instead of going for that 2nd cup. My love of my coffee hates it, but the rest of my body appreciates it.
  2. The distance I walk while mowing my front yard is ½ mile. My BPM gets high enough to count as exercise. But the map looks like a complete scribble.
  3. I have a much greater appreciation for the subtle inclines and declines around my neighborhood. Mostly I can detect them based on which lower leg muscles are hurting at the time. Also: I should stretch.

I've settled into a sort of a routine: a 1¼-mile route in the morning, then a shorter, ½-mile route in the afternoon and evening. Every day. Laurel walks with me when she can, which, thankfully, is most of the time. I really love that this is something we do together.

I don't yet know if all of this has made me healthier, but I believe it has made me better: I feel that I'm really doing something good and positive for myself. And I know but I have to be patient, I have to stick with this to see more obvious results.

I feel like I have a program. Something to follow that requires effort and dedication. For that alone, I am grateful.

When I was working on solely diet-based weight loss, I just was not ready to commit to exercise. Perhaps I blamed it a little too much on my hectic work schedule... I just felt I didn't have room to commit to ANYTHING, because I was working ALL the time. Late nights; days without proper lunch breaks. There was no way in Hell I was going to commit to exercising 30 minutes per day when I couldn't even depend on having time for lunch.

Looking back, knowing what the commitment is like, I still say I wasn't positioned to execute. But life is better now; things have slowed enough that I made the commitment, and I'm glad I have.

Today I'll have earned that collection of badges pictured at top a second time. The change to allow me to do it was instrumental, and over the past couple of weeks I've had to fight a little to keep on track. Now that I'm doing, and achieving, I'll fight like Hell to keep building.



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2017.06.18June Stridekick Challenge UPDATE

As of today (June 18), I've made it over 70 miles, which puts me in the Keys, at Key Largo. I am in ninth place and still on track for Marathon.

One guy, whom I'm convinced has no actual job, is already at Sloppy Joe's -- he does something like 25,000 steps per day.

It's not too late to join the challenge!



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2017.06.07June Stridekick Challenge

Stridekick is a platform by which people's exercise (like walking) puts them in a virtual race over a given distance; sponsors pledge donations based on certain criteria, like miles per day or miles overall. Ours is a 30-day campaign to support the Mario A. Finnell ALS Foundation, which was kicked off on June 1st. The scenario is a walk from South Beach (Miami) to Key West -- 170.25 miles.

As of today (June 7), I've made it over 25 miles, which puts me about where the Turnpike crosses with Highway 1. I am eighth in a field of 23. I do not expect to make the entire distance. My math suggests I'd need to average over 5 1/2 miles per day; may daily average is just shy of 4, giving me an effective range of 118 miles, which virtually leaves me up at Marathon while the finishers are crawling Duval Street.

I'm okay with that. I'm exercising way more than I was before -- I seem to struggle with balancing diet AND exercise; I'm usually great with one and awful with the other -- and am focused now on closing all of the rings daily (I'm trying it out this week). I'm making the effort. The man in the lead is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out front -- he did like 25,000 steps today. I'm not there.

But I am here -- meaning I'm in the race and I'm doing my best.

And right now, I think my best is pretty good.

It's not too late to join the challenge!



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2017.06.07Mario A. Finnell ALS Foundation

I've been working on this project for a long time -- two years -- and as you can imagine, the team is always happy to see each other on the rare occasions we can travel and get together.

Some months ago, one of our number started experiencing a problem in his hand. He started having frequent doctor visits, which seemed unusual to me and probably to the rest of us.

Over time, he seemed to become less and less available. When I'd hear him on conference calls, there were mornings he sounded exhausted. Something in his voice was different. It wasn't the same guy we all loved to see.

Only in recent weeks did I learn that he is suffering from ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gherig's Disease; it is considered a group of rare neurological diseases affecting voluntary muscle movement.

ALS and its component diseases are part of a broader class of motor neuron disorders. These disorders all share traits of degeneration and/or death of the nerve cells responsible for message transmission from the brain to the spinal cord and out to extremities. The neutralization of these motor neurons eventually translates into spasms or even atrophy of the muscles no longer receiving the messages they should.

My friend has this.

And I'm not okay with that.

He has started a foundation to raise funds for ALS research. Presently, a number of us are supporting his foundation through a Stridekick campaign, but we can all make donations through the Foundation's Facebook page.

Please consider making a donation. Particuarly if you or someone you know has been touched by this awful disease.



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2017.06.06New Activity Record

I've been working really hard this week on closing all three rings in my exercise app every day this week. It's not easy for me to do.

The three rings represent different facets of exercise. The red ring is measured in calories burned throughout the day. The green ring is a measure of time your heart rate is elevated. The blue ring is hours in which you stood for at least a few minutes, to keep you from just staying seated at your desk all day long. The rings work like pie charts; if you're halfway to your goal on a particular facet, the graphic representation looks like a half circle. You've reached your goal for that facet when the ring looks like a complete circle.

The new achievement I received yesterday refers to the green ring, representing activity. For me, that's the hardest to achieve -- I have been satisfying that requirement by walking at a pace brisk enough to keep my heart rate sufficiently elevated. I'm finding that "sufficiently elevated" seems to be 100 BPM, but my evidence is anecdotal. I need 30 minutes total per day to close the ring; yesterday I got nearly 50 -- hence the achievement.

I have a personal goal to close all three rings every day this week. I started on Sunday. With luck, I'll make it the new norm.



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2017.06.04100 Move Goals

I sustained my move goal record for a 32nd consecutive day yesterday. But even more exciting was the additional achievement: 100 Move Goals. Yesterday I earned a new achievement for having reached my daily move goal 100 times (likely, overall).



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2017.06.02The Breakthrough

I have heard, and mildly experienced in the past, that once one gets in the habit of exercise, one feels sad when one can't or doesn't get one's exercise in.

I've been doing this walking thing now for 30 days -- specifically, I've been making sure I meet my "move goal," which is measured in calories burned. That goal gets incremented every week, even though I'm free to adjust it (and I generally do, but it's still an increase). I'm to 480 calories per day at this point, and about a week ago I began to see the number as a representation for some percentage of a meal.

But yesterday for the first time, the thought crossed my mind that I was looking forward to going on my evening walk. This is a sea-change from "I have to go on my evening walk."

By the way, Apple uses an award system to encourage and motivate (as evidenced by the symbol I keep posting for these exercise posts -- it is Apple's symbol for their Longest Move Streak achievement). I did not achieve the Perfect Month goal for May because I started walking on May 2nd -- so even though I met the "move goal" for 30 days, I won't get that achievement for May.

So far so good for June...



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2017.05.27Priorities

A friend and mentor of mine once described leadership as being inconvenient. I believe it's true; making decisions that can affect others and yourself can be... inconvient... but as long as you're confident in your decision, you should hold your head high despite the opportunity costs.

This evening I was scheduled to play poker on our monthly game. I have a hard and fast rule about this game: I am committed to going. I made a commitment to the league, and so I am duty bound to not let anything else get in the way, generally. I've reluctantly bowed out of last-minute family engagements because of this.

Well, when I looked at my watch this afternoon I recognized that there was no way I would be able to make the game AND retain my exercise streak. I'm closing on 30 days here -- I can't just throw that away. So I got out on my walk, hoping it'd be enough and I'd be able to squeeze in both -- but at about the halfway point of my route, there was just no way I was going to be able to burn what I needed to burn, plus get ready and make the drive to the game in time. The responsible call to make was to tell the group to count me out.

Of course I'm not happy about missing game night. It's my one night every month I get to spend with friends. But the exercise is more important to me -- I knew I'd be spending the next five hours in a chair, and there was just no way I'd be able to make my daily goal with five hours cut out of my evening.

Of course, I'm going to have to explain myself to Laurel. That part I mentioned above about bowing out of family commitments? She's celebrating her sister's birthday without me this evening, again because I'd made the commitment.

I feel bad enough that I've missed a birthday celebration for my sister in law, even though it wasn't planned at the time we scheduled the game. So now, got going to the game... oof. I'll come clean when Laurel gets home, but I wouldn't be right with myself had I gone.



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2017.05.24Exercise: The Streak Continues

Just a quick note to catch you up. The move streak is still alive at day 21 (yesterday) -- I haven't been doing workouts per se, because we've either been busy in the evenings (doing lots of walking) or the weather has been bad; but I'm still making the move goals.

This week's move goal is 450 calories. I know it's not a lot, but for a guy who was at one point stuck on a single conference call for 11 and a half hours, I'm grateful for any time away from my desk that I can get. Still, it helps to think that 450 calories is approaching a significant percentage of a meal -- and that's motivating.



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2017.05.18Exercise: The Streak

It's been a while since I've posted in health and fitness.

I've been off of diet medication for a couple of months now, having received no substantial assistance from it since I reached about 230 lbs. Laurel reached her weight goal of 175 and generally maintains her weight in the low 170's. But before she hit that goal, she was afraid she was going to fly past it -- so she started taking on extra carbohydrate to try to "slow her roll." And I took on extra carbohydrate right along with her. By the end of April I was back around 240lbs, and not fitting into those lovely size 34's any longer.

Enter vacation -- our biennial Disney death march. Went from walking about 1,500 steps per day to around 12,000 steps per day. For as much as I hate all of the walking we do, I always come home with some extra pep.

One particularly nice evening not too long after we returned, we took a nice evening walk. After a few evenings of this, My Apple Watch started to tell me I was doing good things. We started setting these evening walks as workouts, and now I'm been able to sustain my longest Move streak now for 16 days.

We've walked outside every evening save tonight -- storms going through the area nixed tonight's installment -- but I was able to grind it out on the treadmill to keep the streak alive.

Over the course of this Move streak, I've noticed my rings are fitting more loosely again, and tonight I'm back into one of those pairs of 34" waist shorts.

Over the past few days, I've been trying to take a lap around the block at some point in the afternoon, then walk about a mile and a half in the evening. Last night we took a little detour and ended up logging over 2 miles. I don't think I'm quite ready for that as a new standard, but it might happen in a few weeks.



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2017.05.14Exercise: Mothers Day

I thought it was really cool that Apple created a special achievement just for getting out and exercising on Mothers Day!



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2017.01.26SIZE 34

I'm wearing a new pair of Levi's straight leg jeans... in a 34" waist.

I'm having a little trouble parsing how it's possible even though my weight has been stuck at around 229 for the past week or so, but I have been very good about getting my exercise in. I'm thrilled!



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2017.01.18Mixed Reviews, I guess

It's been a tough month. The medication I was on was a nice break for my bottom, but didn't seem to do a whole lot for suppressing my appetite. Though my waist measurement certainly shows progress, the scale seems far less conclusive.

Happily, I'm told that's to be expected -- I've reached that 30% body fat percentage that is apparently signals the need for a shift in strategy. Unhappily, I'm told my muscle loss continued, despite the steady diet of protein shakes.

So exercise is now an imperative, in my view. For the past couple of days, I've made the time to walk on the treadmill for 15 minutes. At the rate of 1.6MPH, I'm burning between 50 and 60 calories, though the calorie burn isn't the object of the exercise... I think. (She's also increased my caloric intake.) Baby steps for now. I'm hoping I'll really take to it and increase the workouts.

Also, I've requested to go back on Phentermine, though I'm trying it at a lower dose than before. I want to stimulate fat loss after a flat month, but I also want to stave off the awful side effects came along with the higher dose. So we'll give this a shot for a couple of weeks and see what happens.



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2017.01.12Blame it on... the Weather?

Super fishy that we've had warmer weather/higher humidity for about the past week, and my weight has mysteriously been up... then this morning, which is 30 degrees colder than yesterday, my weight is suddenly down by two pounds. TWO POUNDS. In a single day. My weight loss is generally a game of tenths of pounds. Given my level of exercise, losing two pounds in a day seems extremely unlikely.

I think I want to do some sort of analysis on how my weight has been compared to the temps/humidity. Curious if I can see some relationship.



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2017.01.09My Weight is Up

I've been having a really tough time achieving weight loss lately. I don't know if the supressant I'm on is less effective, or I'm being more active, or a combination of the two.

I believe I've been doing well with keeping to the kinds of foods I generally eat, but I think we've been somewhat carb-heavy. My daughter constantly wants sandwiches (she's in a serious growth spurt), and favors Schlotzky's; Scholotzky's may as well be serving their sandwiches on cake.

EDIT:
p.s: Just received word my wife ordered lunch. From Schlotzky's.
p.p.s: Today's lunch: a protein bar, plus turkey and tomato slices and mayo-soaked lettuce peeled from a Schlotzky's sandwich.



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2017.01.05TWO MONTHS without Cola

I was just looking over our fitness charts when I realized that I passed the two month mark on being cola free. I actually wrote this on the 8th, but back-dated the post to the 5th to make it easier for me to track.

Overall, I think I've only found one other fast-food place the didn't offer iced tea. The movie theater thing still bugs me; we snuck bottled tea into the theater at one show, and another we added some sugar-free liquid to water we bought from the concessions stand. That will probably be our strategy going forward; this way we're only bringing in a tiny bottle and the movie house is still making concessions money (ripoff though it is).

Still no apparent link between quitting diet soda and progress. I suspect whatever impact it may have had has been spent by now.



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2016.12.28Eyeing the Bicycles Again

Before my last weight loss endeavor ended at the close of 2012, I was making plans to get back into cycling -- a love I'd lost for years; a flame I was hoping to rekindle. I'd loved cycling in my youth. I'd even brought my bike with me on vacations so I could ride during my visit.

One of the best and hardest places I rode was on an Army post jointly operated by the US and host country Panama. Talk about hill work -- there were plenty of hills to ride just on post. I'd even spent some time without a car while I was there -- I would ride down this big long curvy hill to the commissary with my seabag on my back, then ride back up that hill laden with groceries. Living there gave me plenty of opportunity to exercise.

I was downstairs the other day doing some maintenance on our water softener when I spied my bikes. I was surprised when I tapped myself on the shoulder and whispered, "You know, you're under 230 now. You could ride those over the winter."

I've been keeping the notion in the back of my head since then.

Four years ago I was getting all of the pieces together to do exactly this -- start riding on a trainer in the basement in the evenings. My final post to the cycling page shows exactly where I left off.

Maybe I can actually do this.



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2016.12.24The Infamous 35's Are What I'm Getting for Christmas

In early November of 2012 I bought myself a pair of 35" waist jeans from Eddie Bauer. I'd tried them on the previous September, and I was likely blinded to how bad I looked in them by the pride I felt of being able to get them on. (I weighed just under 220 at the time, from what I can tell.) I didn't buy them that day, but I tried them on again at the store in early November, and sealed the deal.

Today, after weighing in under 230 lbs. for the first time since probably April, 2012, I found the courage to put them on.

A little over two months ago ago I made a post about putting on my 38" waist jeans. I titled the post, "Well, They're On, But They're Not Happy".

My experience with the 35s wasn't quite as... tight. That's a super good thing. They felt a little snug when I sat in my office chair. A little more progress should be made before I include them in the rotation, but I DID IT!



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2016.12.24Pants Progression

While writing the previous post, I became curious about when, during this journey, I started wearing the previous sizes. Here's the list I currently have. I'll say it's accurate to within a few days:

WAIST:38"36"35"
 7/30/2016
--
--
10/17/2016
2 mo., 17 days
-4.9lbs
12/24/2016
2 mo., 6 days
-18.6lbs

Something with that data has to be off. There's no way that five pounds was the difference between a 38" waist and a 36" waist.



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2016.12.23230.0 Today!

W00t! I'm down to 230 lbs as of this morning!

That's only FIVE POUNDS away from my initial goal of 225!

Yesterday I got my driver license renewed. I had been talking with the official about weight loss; she noted that my weight on my previous DL was listed at 225. I told her it'd be okay to keep it listed that way.

If it seems like I've made this post before, it's because I actually have.



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2016.12.22Fitness Update

It's been a while since I've sent an update on how I'm doing.

Well, I didn't make my goal of 225 in time for the company holiday party, but I did get to wear my suit again -- and I felt pretty damn good in it, too.

Speaking of clothing, I think I've decided that my weight goal isn't a measurement of pounds (weight) so much as it is a measurement of clothing size: My goal is to wear size 34" waist jeans. For reference, I wore 32/32 jeans all through high school. So 34/32 would be pretty damn respectable 30 years on. I'm currently wearing a 36" waist. I think I'm close!

The weight loss fight has been difficult over the past couple of weeks. My clinician pulled me off of Phentermine and onto Diethylproprion. She told me it basically has the effectiveness of the former without the side effects. So far, I have my doubts about the effectiveness part: I've been getting mad hungry in the afternoons. But at least the side effects seem to be lessened: my mouth isn't nearly as dry, and haven't had any problems "backing the bus out of the garage" -- likely due at least in part to the two doses of softener I've been taking every morning.

Numbers. Today is my second day at 230.6. I'd spent about a week around 232, hence the change in medication.



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2016.12.07A MONTH without Cola

I didn't have any goals for this -- just that some Monday about a month ago, I realized that I hadn't had any diet cola over the preceding weekend -- so I thought I'd make a go of it.

I passed the one-month mark on Monday. In retrospect, I guess drinking it has been more a function of habit than anything else. Like, habit was what motivated the choice. Habit and ready availability are the biggest factors.

It takes a little doing to ask for iced tea instead. In all cases except one, it's readily available.*

Generally speaking, I'm doing fine. Looking at my chart , though, quitting soda appears to not have influenced my weight loss progress at all: In the 24 days prior to the day I quit, I had lost 7.4 lbs. In the 23 days that followed -- these being the days which exclude soda -- I dropped 7.8 lbs. So, in my estimation, there's really no data to suggest that I enjoyed any advantage that was reflected on the bathroom scale.

 
 
 

*The one place I can't find iced tea as an option is at the local movie theater. Here too can one's choices be influenced by habit and availability: I was very used to buying a box of M&M's and sharing a giant diet cola at the movies -- so sitting in the theater with only a bottle of water just... doesn't get it. It's pretty lame.



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2016.11.26Raiding the "I Probably Won't Fit Into Those Again" Pile Again

Well, it's happened before.

Actually, it went much further than that pile -- I went for the suits I bought back in the fall of 2012 -- I was in the home stretch of Atkins at the time, and my weight had plateued at about 225, I imagine. I'm super motivated to check out the fit of these suits, because I intend to wear one of them for my company Christmas party.

I tried on two suits -- the first is a tan silk one I wore five years ago, and it fit VERY well. The second is one of those dress suits -- a delicious dark brown pin stripe. The trousers fit very well, but I think the jacket was a teeny bit small. I've still got some work to do.

Next, I reached for a dress shirt I'd been longing to wear again. I think I bought it some six years ago as a "single guy goin' out" shirt. Survey says: It fits!

A pair of jeans I couldn't squeeze into last time: They fit! (Now I'm DEFINITELY taking those new jeans back.)

All-in-all, I'm quite happy with the results. The jacket gives me motivation to keep working, but the pants all fit right now!

Onward and downward!



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2016.11.25Who's a Thanksgiving Turkey? NOT ME!

I've long considered avoiding overeating on Thanksgiving a feat. So I was already pretty happy yesterday afternoon when I felt comfortable after dinner. But seeing that I'd dropped to 233.4 lbs this morning was VERY exciting!

I'm really looking forward to 225!!!

By the way, I bought a second pair of 36" waist jeans, but I haven't worn them yet. Perhaps if I make the progress I hope I'll make, I'll be able to wear those 35's and take the 36's back to the store!



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2016.11.18Well, I Lost Some Weight Too

Laurel's progress has really been spectacular. I've dropped a few since my last update, too -- I weighed in at 236.2 today. We had a few days of unseasonably high temps and humidity that really screwed things up (retaining water - I could feel it in my fingers). Yeah, 3 1/2 pounds' progress is not so impressive... but it's progress.

I'm keeping my chin up, though -- I'm just about at 235. And 235 puts me only 10 pounds away from 225 -- and that's a big deal to me: the best I did when I was on the Atkins diet in 2012 was 216. Being at 225 puts me in that ballpark.

Speaking of dieting, I completely spaced on one dimension of my weight loss journey -- that's the diet I started when after my appendectomy in May. The hospital informed me that I was diabetic. Starting at that point, sugar was a no-go for me. Two and a half months later, at the close of September, I started replacing my usual morning egg casserole with 11 ounces of protein shake. Finally, just before my previous post, I stopped drinking soda. The whole story is spelled out using the Diet filter on my chart.

Meanwhile, I can say happily that I've been wearing these 36" waist jeans for the past couple of weeks, that I'm wearing my lovely leather jacket again, and that last night for a family dinner, I wore a shirt I haven't been able to wear for four years.

I feel ecstatic!



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2016.11.07Down to 240 Today!

I'm at 240.0 today!

I can really see the changes in my face and body now. A couple of days ago I put on a jacket that I couldn't fit into a few momths ago -- I was using it to keep warm in my basement office, even though I couldn't button it. I put it on and Laurel could grab a fistful of material at my shoulder on either side.

That's a great feeling.



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2016.11.01Candy-Free

Who's got two thumbs and wasn't seduced by ANY of the candy from last night's festivities? THIS GUY!



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2016.10.27Twenty-Pound Goal

I've lost 20 pounds since I started with the bariatric clinic.



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2016.10.26Moving Again!

I'm at 243.8 today!

Setting my sights on 240 now!



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2016.10.26Moving Again -- In a Different Sense

Phentermine is my friend. Protein shakes are friends AND food (a little "Finding Nemo" reference for you there).

Qsymia was good too - I wasn't on protein shakes back then. But Qsymia had its side effects. The first was that it hurts one's wallet. I was paying $160 for 30 days' worth -- and that was WITH the manufacturer's discount! The medical side effects were... numerous -- tingling in my feet, diminished sense of smell and taste, to name a couple. (I later found out that the taste thing was on purpose: Qsymia was made for people who are addicted to soft drinks, and changes the way soft drinks taste to make them not as desirable.)

That isn't to say that Phentermine isn't without it's side effects. There are two, and they're big ones: dry mouth and constipation.

For anyone considering adding Phentermine to your diet plan -- I want you to know that I'm experiencing these two side effects in a very big way. The dry mouth is a little bothersome, but that is also encouraging me to continue drinking water. The constipation, though -- wow. I used to see those ads for Benefiber and Miralax and just disregard them as OPP -- "old people problems." Not any longer. So, about that water... seriously consider buying some Benefiber that you can mix into your water. It doesn't seem to me to affect the taste or color of the water, and you're doing yourself a favor by adding it. Talk about OPP -- now I have a container of Benefiber and a spoon as fixtures on my nightstand. I'm also taking Aloe Vera pills as part of my morning medication regimen (It's easy to tell what they're for: the gelcaps are brown in color), because my dietician recommended taking aloe shots, and I figured this was pretty close.

I don't want to get too graphic here, but the reason I'm writing this is because a few days ago I spent what felt like a half hour on the toilet trying to have a movement. And when I say "trying," I mean pushing and experiencing pain. Like arms-out-against-the-walls, this-must-be-what-a-bear-does-when-it-emerges-from-hibernation kinda pain. And I don't want to experience it again. And I don't want you to experience it ever.

So be kind to your behind -- if you're considering Phentermine, please also consider some additives like Benefiber to make your weight loss journey a more gentle experience.



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2016.10.24Next Stop: Still 245, But the Train is Delayed at 246

I seem to be stalled at 246.0. I've been there for a couple of days now.

In those couple of days, I've been wearing the size 36 jeans I put away in September. Before then, this is the last time I wore them.



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2016.10.23Nice Little Ego Boost

I believe I was just the target of a cat call!

My daughter and I were dining al fresco last night at Old Chicago -- we were the only ones outside. A trio of women walked past on their way out and I'd SWEAR I heard a cat call.

Wow, thanks!



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2016.10.22Sporting the 36's/Playing the Fifth Hole

Looking for clean jeans to wear tonight... thought I'd open that bag I'd marked as "too small" sometime last month... and I'm in a pair of Nautica jeans, size 36.

Also for grins, I dug out the belt I'd been wearing so often back in July... I'm now playing the FIFTH hole!



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2016.10.21Next Stop: 245

I'm happy to have weighed in at 246.4 this morning.

I'm also happy that my weigh-in with the doc went so well: I tipped their scale at 252.5, which put me at about 248.5 -- right in line with the measurement I took the day before.

The doc was particularly happy that she'd gotten me onto the protein shakes. She also did a "body comp" measurement and found that of the 12 pounds I was down, over half of that was fat, but I'd also lost about two pounds of muscle. The protein shakes, along with exercise, ought to fix that.

My company's annual holiday party is slated for mid-December. I wonder if I can get back into those awesome suits I bought when I weighed in the 220's?

For now though, really, it's just about consistent progress. If I stay good, I should be at 245 by the middle of next week. Reaching 240 would be amazing.



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