Monday, April 23, 2007

More Health/Food Stuff

I'm stoopidly proud of my weight loss, and feel like sharing my secrets with the world. Keep in mind that I'm not a small guy (6' tall, broad chest, heavy bones, big legs, big ass). When I weighed in at 210 in 1995, I looked skinny.

Flash-forward to early 2005: I weighed 270. I was about to turn 35, looked at the way I ate (poorly), how much exercize I got (none), and how I felt (old and tired all the time). Then I saw "Supersize Me" and realized just how messed up it all could be: diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart problems run in my family.

Now I weigh 227 lbs. I work out 3 times a week (fast-rep free weights at home, mostly, and I walk as much as possible). So here are my dieting/weight loss secrets:

GET DIVORCED. Nothing drives people to drink, gain weight, lose sleep, or do bad things than being in a relationship that isn't working. Food has always been my comfort drug.

DIETS DON'T WORK. Think substitutions, making small changes - not cutting stuff out.

MAKE SMALL CHANGES FIRST. The first thing I did was to cut back my soda intake to 2 cans/day. I was up to 6 or more. The immediate effect this had was to improve my mood and stamina, and I lost about 5 lbs. right away. Eventually I switched to coffee.

DON'T SWITCH TO DIET/NO-FAT/SUGAR-FREE STUFF. You need fat in your diet. It helps you feel full and adds flavor. Sugar-free stuff in my opinion actually makes your body crave sweets more.


KEEP A FULLY STOCKED FRIDGE. If you stock your fridge you'll be tempted to eat out less and cook more. Plus overeating sometimes compensates for feelings of deprivation - don't add to them.

I HAVE NO WILLPOWER. I can't stop eating pretzels, ice cream, chocolate stuff, and sweets, so I don't have them in the house - but I don't stop myself from eating them if I'm out with a friend.

SUBSTITUTION WORKS BETTER THAN CUTTING STUFF OUT. If you can find a tasty food that's a little healthier than what you're used to eating, that's much better than simply cutting something out of your diet altogether. I now eat raisins and carrots instead of sweets. I eat soy and chicken instead of beef.

FIGURE OUT YOUR RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate). This is how many calories you consume each day just sitting around and breathing. If you want to lose weight this should be your target caloric intake. If you can exercize just a touch and/or eat JUST a little less than your RMR, you will lose weight (very slowly, but that's good).

LOSE WEIGHT SLOWLY. It took two years to get to the point where I now feel I can take my shirt off on the beach.



So what did I substitute:

Instead OfI Eat
BeefSoy, Chicken
Ice CreamSoy Ice Cream (seldom)
White BreadPitas (wheat/white)
SweetsRaisins, carrots
SodaIce coffee, seltzer, V8
Ordering InCooking More
No breakfastCereal
MilkSoy Milk

Okay, there you go.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, WEIGHT DOES NOT EQUAL BEAUTY OR SOUL. Cliched point but knowing this helped me get through some tough times when I couldn't drop any weight at all.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Cooking With Alien

In loving and sincere imitation of CityMinx, I offer you my first (and probably last) cooking entry: Veggie Bachelor's Delight.


(1) Container LightLife Smart Ground Original. This is soy-based "sloppy joe" meat. It has a ton of protein and no fat.
(1) Small jar of Tomato Sauce. I used Francesco Rinaldi Original Traditional Sauce. I used it because it was on sale for 80 cents at KeyFood.
(1) Block of cheese, any type - I used cheddar
(2) Pitas - I used Toufayan Bakeries Whole Wheat Pita, but I'm not fussy
Spices as per your pallet

Vegans please note that you'll want to look for non-animal-based tomato sauce and should substitute that disgusting rice cheese you guys use for the cheddar.


(1) Open up the Ground Round. Break off about half of the stuff into "crumbles" into a non-stick frying pan. Put the pan on medium-high heat.

(2) Open up the jar of tomato sauce, and pour in about 6 oz. (you don't want soup).

(3) After about three-four minutes, turn up the heat just a bit. Cut up a few pieces of cheese and put them in.

(4) After six-seven minutes, take the whole thing off the burner.

(5) Put the pitas directly on your burners, light them up, then flip them after about 20 seconds or whenever you smell toast (the goal is toasted, not carbonized, pitas).

(6) Dump the unattractive-but-delicious sloppy joes into the pitas, and enjoy.

I would have provided pictures but I ate everything too quickly.

Assuming the nutrition info is accurate, I figured that I ate the following:

PROTEIN:45 grams
FAT:12 grams / 110 calories
CARB:90 grams (mostly from the pita)
SUGAR:17 grams (mostly from the sauce)
FIBER:15 grams (pita + soy)

No trans fat, a lot of sodium (over 1000mg). But no grease, no animal hormones or other buggies to worry about.

If you think 680 calories is a lot, then scale back the number of pitas - or just eat it loose. Also keep in mind that I'm still a fairly large person (about 225 pounds). Most folks will be happy with a serving about half as big as this one.

COST:Well, you can make two or three of these dishes for about $10 (the smart Ground is half the cost; everything else you can get pretty cheaply). The Smart Ground can stay in the fridge for a while.

Okay, now that I've officially posted my "I ate a cheese sandwich" entry, I'm off to do other things.

Monday, April 09, 2007

I Hate April

Okay, so I know I probably come off like a depressed snotty fucker. I probably AM a depressed snotty fucker, but let me explain:

(1) I use this blog in part to vent my frustrations;
(2) I don't believe in the power of positive thinking. I think that denying the darker aspects of life is a great way to ensure that they ensnare us (the return of the repressed and all that).

Anyway, that little preface aside, here's why I hate April:

(1) It's not warm enough to feel like spring.
(2) The light's not right. It's hard to describe, but it's not the high-angle blinding sun of winter, nor the mellow beautiful light of late spring/early summer. Everything feels a little washed out.
(3) This seems to be the dying season. The people I've lost, and others I'm close to have lost... it's hard to explain, but death seems to be everywhere.

I'm sure there's some great wisdom, some wonderful big picture to all this. Something about the budding of new life in the spring making the deaths stand out more than they would otherwise. But really, all I feel deep in my core is: this sucks.

At times like these, about the only balm for me is music and writing. Music reaches out past your intellect and gets into the core of your being like nothing else. Writing does the same, in reverse - you start from the core and it pours out your head (if you're lucky, anyway).

Stevie Wonder works for me at times like this, particularly Fulfillingness' First Finale. As does Rabih Abou-Khalil's new album, Songs for Sad Women. And my cat. He's on my lap right now, purring softly and sleeping. And a lot of people love me. So I do know, on some level, how lucky I am. But I still hate April.