Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Past 2 Days...

  For the first time in a while, I didn't go for a walk yesterday. I didn't get up and go today either. I have just been way to tired to meet my 6:30am alarm. However, I did not just sit on my but all day and veg out in front of the TV or computer. I made use of my time and caught up on the mountain of laundry we had piling up. A family of five produces a ton of laundry, especially when you have a 4yr old daughter that likes to play dress up. So I tracked down a Sherpa and attempted to tackle Everest, and as of 10:30 this morning, I have reached the summit. All the clothes are washed, dried, folded or hung up, and put away. Success, and I didn't even need bottled oxygen!!!

  Yesterday was packed full of surprises and excitement as well. My 2yr old decided she would try out base jumping. She jumped from the top bunk, where my 8yr old son sleeps, but she forgot to equip herself with a parachute. to the doctor we go. After a flaming shot of Motrin and a few X-Rays later, they decided that she was good to go, nothing broken, no signs of head trauma. We were advised to keep a close eye on her for the next 24hrs just to make sure no signs of head trauma appeared. Lo and Behold, after dinner she started grabbing her neck and saying ouch. She wouldn't look up or to the right either, so off to the ER! The ER doctor said that the right side of her neck was very tight and tense, but there was no sign of any damage to the vertebra, so she was diagnosed with a strained neck. She also received more Motrin and some Tylenol with Codine, which they also sent her home with a prescription for. Hello awesome nights of undisturbed!

  I have been sticking to my diet, just not getting the exercise like I should be. I plan on getting back to my normal routine tomorrow morning after getting a good nights rest. I am sure my right knee is thanking me for the rest as well. I injured it in middle school, that was ages ago, and now that I have decided to get myself into shape, it wants to remind me of the dumb things I used to do when I was younger. I have just been stretching it before I walk and it seems to be just fine until I stop walking. After I get home and I am resting it rears its ugly head and breathes fire, at least that's what it feels like is going on inside there. I know I should probably get it looked at, but I am stubborn and pig headed, and as long as it isn't bothering me too much, I will most likely let it be. I am hoping that once I drop a few pounds the stress won't be so bad on it and it will be fine.

  Before I go, I would like to thank those of you that are following along. It's nice to know that I am not just having a conversation with myself all the time. If ever there are any questions you want to ask me, just ask. I will do my very best to answer them, and if it happens to be a question that I can answer in length, then it will most likely become a full page entry. Also, as I have mentioned before, I LOVE to cook. If you ever want a recipe or tips on anything that has to do with food, just ask and I will make a step-by-step post with pics of whatever kind of recipe you want. Thanks again for all your support, I greatly appreciate it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Scales...Should we use them or not?

  A fellow Spark People member and blogger inspired me to write this next installment. While most everyone that is on some kind of weight loss plan needs some form of measuring how much they gain or lose, is it really necessary to weigh in every week? In my opinion, NO!! A scale can be very self defeating to some people. I know that I am one of those people, because I have always been "need to see results right away kind of person". If I forced myself to get on a scale every single week, I would probably get disappointed that I wasn't seeing immediate results and give up on my weight loss goals. I have a couple views on the topic of the "numeric bully" and I will be more than happy to share them with you.

  When you start out on your journey, weigh-in. Find out what your current weight and BMI are, find out where you need or want them to be, and then take that scale and hide it away in a cool, dark place for at least a month. That's right, I said don't look at it for a month. I think that scale is only going to hurt you making forward progress in the beginning because if you are like most people, myself included, you will want to see some immediate results. IT"S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!!! Instead focus on getting yourself on some kind of routine that you can repeat daily. My personal routine is walking. NO MATTER WHAT, I get up every single day at 6:30am and go for a 5 1/4 mile walk. Find something that sparks your interest, do that, and don't stray from it, not even for a single day.

  Another thing I have focused on is, HOW DOES THIS MAKE ME FEEL? Since I have started walking everyday, I have found that I have more energy throughout the day and I feel like a million bucks.Before I started walking every day, I would just sit and worry about my health. Am I going to die today? Why aren't my blood pressure meds working like they should? I sure hope those PVC's don't come back because they are scary as hell. Since starting to walk again, I don't have to sit and think about those things because I feel so much better. Breathing is easier, I am focusing better, no PVC's, and last but not least, WALKING CAN HELP LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE!!! I am not throwing out the meds, but I am sure the walking is helping because I can feel the difference in my overall health. All in all, I don't think you need to look down at the numbers on a scale to tell you that you are making progress if you can feel it. So do yourselves a favor and PUT IT AWAY AFTER YOUR INITIAL SELF EVALUATION!!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

No More "Days of Rest"

  I have come to the decision that there will be not one day that goes by that I am not going to exercise. I have found a new route that I am going to walk everyday because it will burn the necessary calories I need to lose at least 2 pounds per week. It is 5.21 miles long, takes me about an hour and a half to walk, and burns about 754 calories per day. That is a combines total of  5278 calories per week. Being that one pound of fat is 3500 calories and I am only eating about 1500 calories per day, I should be losing weight like crazy. Walking isn't the only thing I am going to be doing either. Starting tomorrow, Monday June 14, I will be adding some light weight training and I am going to start doing push-ups everyday. The weight training will be every other day, but the push-ups will me every day. I have never, in all my life, been this motivated to lose weight. Its like I woke up one day and was just ready.

  My goal is to lose 50 pounds by Christmas time. If I do indeed meet my goal, I am going to reward myself by signing up for some kind of Martial Arts class in February. I believe that joining something like that will only further my in my main goal of losing 125 pounds in a year and a half. It would be nice to finish it sooner, but I am going to be realistic about it. The math doesn't lie. Two pounds lost per week is my goal, which comes down to 8 pounds per month, which is 96 pound per year. I know that there are going to be weeks where I don't lose even 1 pound, so I am giving myself a little extra time to work it all off. Closing my eyes and trying to picture myself under 200lbs was very hard to do, but with my new mindset, I feel it is well within my grasp.  

  I started to get back into a routine of trying to lose weight on Memorial Day. That was the day I went for my first walk in months, and that is the day it seemed someone or something, lit a fire under my ass. Since starting to walk again, I have only missed two days and my body felt it on those days I didn't walk. Since I have started walking again, I have felt better physically and mentally. I really feel like I can accomplish my goals without too much trouble along the way. To all of you out there that think losing weight is a hard thing to do, you are absolutely right. This is the hardest thing I have ever faced in my whole life, next to being a father. But I realized that a lot of the problem comes from making excuses as to why I can't do something about it. NO MORE EXCUSES!! Get up off your ass and do something about it! No one is going to hold your hand and lead you to do anything that is necessary for you to improve your health! Taking ACTION is the only thing that is going to make anything better for yourself.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Cheat Day

 Yesterday was Thursday and I didn't get up like normal to go for a walk. This also caused me to get up later than I normally do, which caused me to make the wrong choices for breakfast. I ate two Entenmann's doughnuts and had a large glass of milk to drink. I decided after that highly nutritional breakfast that I would make this my "cheat day". I haven't strayed from the path since starting my exercise and diet routine, so I figured I owed myself a little treat.

  Lunch wasn't too bad. I had a Chicken Salad wrap with romaine lettuce. No added mayo. I did have a frozen pizza for dinner, which I am sure wasn't good either. lol. But this one cheat day seems to give me a message. That I need to not stray from my path. I felt like crap all day. Mentally and physically. I think that the mental crappy feeling caused the physical crappy feeling though. So, I have decided, NO MORE CHEAT DAYS!!!!!! From here on out I am sticking to the plan, with no more veering from the path!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Catching Up

   I haven't written anything since Monday morning, so I think it is time to catch up. After my "day of rest", Monday I was back to my normal routine. I got out of bed, woke my son Matthew up for school, got dressed, and out the door to walk Matthew to school and continue on with finishing my morning walk. I swear it is taking longer everyday to break that first sweat. I am thinking after this week is over, I am going to lengthen the distance I walk, and increase the intensity just a touch. Today marks the last day of school before summer vacation, so I may start biking in place of walking everyday. I think this will allow me to go longer distance and get a more intense workout.

   Eating smaller meals more frequently has become almost second nature to me now. Who would have thought that I would adapt so quickly? Maybe it actually does take YOU being ready to commit yourself to making a change for it to happen the right way. You just can't do something because you KNOW it's the right thing to do, you have to do something because you WANT to do the right things for yourself. I have been having a small snack between meals and eating things like fresh fruit salads, oranges, bananas, granola bars, and  trail mix. For breakfast, I have been alternating between Egg Beaters and Oatmeal. With the Egg Beaters I usually sautee some onion, mushroom, and bell peppers and add the Egg Beaters to the veggies. I also usually have one slice of Multi-Grain or, whole wheat bread with it. Oatmeal is still whatever fresh Berries I have in the house, bananas, and some honey. Lunch has been salads almost everyday. I load them up with Carrots, Onion, Tomatoes, and Mushrooms. I sometimes will add a protein like grilled Chicken, Turkey cutlet, and Chicken salad or Tuna.

  Dinner the past couple of nights has been interesting. On Monday I used a recipe I found on for Turkey Cutlets. Here is the link for that recipe.
I thought that the avocado sauce was out-of-this-world delicious, and complimented the cutlets very well. I thought that zesting the lemons to put in the f;our mixture was the biggest pain in the ass of all, but then later changed my mind when I tasted the final result. My wife and I had salads with out dinner and I made everyone else stuffing and turkey gravy.
  Tuesday's(last night's) dinner was also very yummy and delicious. While I actually didn't make anything on my own, it was still very tasty. The adults had Italian Style Chicken Burgers. There is this awesome Italian market right around corner from my house called Doris'. They prepare all their cuts of meat fresh daily and also grind their own beef, pork, veal, and chicken. They make these Italian Chicken Patty's there and they are ready to go on the grill or pan when you want to cook them. I also picked up some trout and cod for tonight's dinner. We also picked up some fresh Kaiser Rolls from the bakery there. I know, I know, bread is the enemy, but its okay once it a while. I had mine with some baked Sweet Potato Fries!!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

The First Day I Didn't Walk

   Yesterday was Sunday, so I decided to make this my "day of rest". The only thing I did to "rest" was not go for my morning walk. I did not sit on my ass all day and play video games or mess around on Facebook, instead I took the kids to the park, had a little picnic, and let them play on the playground for a bit. It was really hot outside yesterday, so the kids didn't last very long after we ate lunch, maybe an hour. My little brother and his girlfriend joined us which was nice because the kids are really fond of them. We all had a good time, but like I said before, the heat got to be too much so we came home.

   Dinner was once again delicious. I swear I should go to Culinary School and do something with this gift I have when it comes to cooking. I baked some Publix Greenwise Chicken Thighs seasoned with a little salt, pepper, and garlic powder. For those of you not familiar with Greenwise, it is Publix's brand of Organic foods. So I baked them in the oven for about 15-20min on 450 degrees so I could get a nice crispy skin. Then I turned it down to 350 degrees and let them cook through. When they were just about done, I made a Honey Garlic Lemon Butter glaze to glaze the chicken with. I coated the thighs with the glaze and put them back in the oven for another 10min on like 200 degrees so the glaze could set on them. I served the thighs with brown rice and corn. I opted to not eat the corn and had a salad with lots of veggies instead.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Why Do I Always Feel So Hungry?

  Saturday was the second day of this new diet I started, and for some strange reason I felt hungry all day. I wonder if snacking on healthy shit all day is going to turn around to bite me on the ass. Hurting me rather than helping. I guess it has got to be better than snacking on chips, candy, and soda. I just don't think that eating healthy snacks so often is going to help in the shrinking of the stomach very much. Who knows? Not me! In any case I am just going to continue to eat healthy snacks like fresh fruits and veggies and hope for the best.

  As far as exercise goes for yesterday, I think I kicked walking in the nuts, HARDCORE!!! I got my sleepy, tired ass out of bed at 6:30am and was out of the house by 6:45am. I walked 4 miles in just over an hour. I swear that the MP3 player was the best invention in the world. If I didn't have music to walk to, I think I wouldn't be so quick to get out there and break a sweat. Did I say break a sweat? What I meant to say was completely soak my wife-beater. When I got home from my walk yesterday, my wife asked me why my shirt was so wet. I think she thought I jumped into a canal on the way home or something. Like I have said before, I love to sweat, the more I sweat the more accomplished I feel. So you can only imagine how good I felt after yesterday's walk. Today I have decided is going to be my "rest day". If God got to rest one day out of the week he took to create all things living, I can take one day to not walk. So Sunday will be my no walking day, but I do plan on taking my children to the park to play out in the sun for a while, so I will still be getting off my ass and doing something today.

  Dinner last night was pretty healthy and very tasty. I made chicken breasts stuffed with low-fat ricotta cheese, spinach, and pine nuts. I served it with steamed broccoli with a little butter for flavor. Who knew something that sounds a little complicated could be so easy to make? I will list the steps below, please keep in mind that I am more of a measurement by sight kind of cook, so I will use a lot of a pinch of this and a dash of that when explaining exact measurements.

Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts

1. Wash off your chicken breasts and trim off any excess fat
2. Butterfly the chicken breasts
3. Put a pot of water on the stove to boil, get another bowl and fill it with ice and water.
4. Once the water is boiling, add a bag of Fresh Spinach and cook for 30sec to 1min.
5. Take Spinach out of pot and submerge in the Ice Water.
6. Mix together enough Ricotta and Spinach to fill your chicken breasts
7. Add seasoning to desired taste. (I used Garlic and Onion Powder, Salt, Pepper, and Pine Nuts)
8. Fill Chicken Breasts
9. In a hot Cast Iron Skillet or Heavy Bottomed Pan, brown chicken on both side and place into a buttered baking pan.
10. Cook chicken breasts for like 20-25 min, or until fully cooked.
11. Take out of oven and let rest, covered with aluminum foil for 5-10min
12. Eat and Enjoy.

  I know it seems like a lot, but it really isn't. Serve with whatever sides you decide to. I hope you enjoy.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Mild Success of Friday June 4th, 2010

   So today marked the first day of the new diet, and I am going to say that it was a mild success. Mild because I did not eat the recommended 5-6 small meals that are supposed to help keep my metabolism up. Oh well, baby steps, right? My wife, two daughters, and I did do a lot of running around today, so that made finding time to eat two extra meals a little challenging. From now on, I think I will plan ahead on days like today and pack a small cooler with some healthy snacks. Another thing that gets me are those words "small meals". What does that really mean? Am I supposed to eat a smaller breakfast, lunch, and dinner than I would normally eat and just have some kind of small healthy snack in between meals? If that is the case then this eating 5-6 small meals should be an easy task.

   Grocery shopping was on the agenda today and that is usually an all day event, especially when you have to bring along your 2 and 4yr old daughters. We started out by going to Penn Dutch, which is primarily a meat store. Because their main focus in on meat, the meat is usually cheaper there than at a regular grocery store like Publix. I don't think I have ever, in all my life, purchased so much chicken. Between breasts and legs, the cart was pretty full. We also picked up some chicken sausage, which I have eaten before and found is actually tastier than pork sausage. We also ventured to Publix today and picked up some catfish for dinner. I may have been born in the north, but I was raised in the south and I love me some catfish. I would say catfish has a sweet, mild flavored meat and is surprising quite delicious when baked. In the past, I have always fried my catfish because thats the way it was always prepared while I was a kid. But tonight, I baked it in the oven. I seasoned it with some smoked Spanish Paprika, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Black Pepper, and a little Sea Salt. After it came out of the oven, I topped it with some toasted Pine Nuts and sauteed onion and mushrooms. I also had a salad to go along with it. My salad had raw onion, mushroom, green, orange, and yellow Bell Peppers, tomatoes, and some Croutons. I topped this off with a very tasty Raspberry Vinegarette.

 I walked this morning for just under an hour, but I did my normal 4 miles. Tomorrow I plan on getting up at about 6:30am and heading out and maybe adding another mile or two to my routine. I am always sure to bring a bottle of water along to keep myself hydrated. This South Florida sun can be very brutal if you don't keep fluids in your body. Well, it is 1:25am now, so I guess I better get off of here and go to bed, 6:30am is going to come fast.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Finally Ready To Change

   For months now, I have been dealing with a constant internal struggle on how best to deal with my weight. I have read countless articles on the smartest, fastest, and easiest ways to get rid of the unwanted pounds. After a very long thought process(I am a guy after all and sometimes it takes me a little longer to try and figure things out), I have come to realize that there isn't any one perfect way to lose weight other than just getting up off your ass and doing something about it. In the next 6 months, I am going to attempt to lose 50 pounds by walking everyday and eating healthier meals. The walking is going to be the easy part, because for some strange reason, I like to sweat. It gives me a feeling of accomplishment, so the more I sweat while walking, the better I feel about my routine. Eating healthier really isn't going to be a huge problem either. I believe I am a good enough cook that I can make anything taste good. For me, the biggest hurtle is going to be portioning. There really is no guide to follow to know exactly how much is just enough or too much, so I have come up with a solution to my portioning problem, and that is to cook for an entire month using recipes from the Weight Watchers All-Time Favorites. There are over 200 recipes from the Weight Watchers Test Kitchens in this cookbook, so I am sure to not have any repeat meals for the month.

   I have also made a decision to not eat any red meat until I reach my goal. So starting tomorrow, Friday June 4th, 2010, the only meat that will be consumed in my house will be Chicken or Fish. There are 31 recipes in this book devoted to our feathery friends and I intend on using every single one of them. There are also like 15 or so fish recipes that I fully intend on using as well. Dinner is the main meal that I prepare in this household because Breakfast and Lunch have always been a fend for yourself kind of thing. So what am I going to do about those two meals? I have decided that I will primarily be eating Oatmeal with fresh berries, or some kind of fruit smoothie for breakfast and salads for lunch.

   Now that I have a plan pretty much set in stone all I have to do is follow it. It shouldn't be hard just as long as I stick to my guns. I am going to use this blog as my daily journal, so I and others can see my progress. Who knows, maybe someone else will benefit from my daily rantings about how much I sweat when I walk, or how mundane it can be to eat only fish and poultry until you shed off a small teenage girls worth of weight. Whatever the case may be, all I really want from all this is to be physically fit so I can feel better about the way I look and feel. To those of you that decided to follow along, fasten your seat belts because it is going to be a wild ride.