Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Experimental Post Number 3...

And with the results from the third experiment we learn that my time zone is not used. This means the second experiment needs to be repeated.

Experimental Post Number 2...

This post was written at 11:28 pm. I will post it after midnight. This is to determine if the time it was saved or the time it was posted determines the date listed for the post.

Experimental Post Number 1...

This is a test post to determine the date that shows after publishing the entry. Since this was posted at 11:14 pm on December 31, 2013 and the date shows as December 31, 2013, the date looks to be based on my time zone. I will post again in about an hour for confirmation.

Working Out the Body and the Mind

Post Number: 86
Review of Yesterday's Progress
     Daily Points Left: 55 of 71 (Goal: 31)
     Weekly Points Left: 49 of 49 (Goal: 49)
     Pedometer 2892
     Meetings Attended: None Scheduled
     Exercise Completed: At the Y -
          Swam Laps (5 laps, 250 yards)
          Water Jogged (5 laps, 250 yards)
     M-W's Daily Word: Pococurante

Happy New Years Eve!

Yesterday went fairly well. I managed to get in my time at the Y bright and early. It felt good mentally to be back into the exercise. My body is still complaining as I post this before running off to the Y again this morning. By getting the Y completed early, I was left with that much more time for effort towards other things. I finished up my first article. It still needs some editing, but it's posted. I am batting around the idea that I may just re-post an entry by cleaning it up in to an article. But then, there is so very much I can think to write about: Fresh versus frozen versus canned vegetables, various vitamins and their vitality based on source, supplements for weight loss, health improving, and nutrition, and additional ideas.

While these were wonderful topics to think about, I have many responsibilities. I'm trying to relearn MS-Access. I'm starting by creating a simple database related to my homeschooling. After that, I have a much, more complex database I am going to attempt to tackle. Both databases have their foundation in MS-Excel, making this composite project all the more workable. (Yup, Dad, this paragraph was meant for you.)

But my skills are nothing if I don't sell them. I am building up my network to get into a new line of work as a manager, preferably not in sales or food. I am networking through new found neighbors into Hewlett-Packard and Micron. And I am keeping an eye on some entry level positions. They may only provide subsistence, but they provide.

But of all of the efforts of yesterday, my favorite part of the day was late in the day and related to food in a successful manner. MBWM and I led the charge in making candies from various combinations of milk chocolate, white chocolate, caramel, pecans, almonds, pretzel rods, and square pretzels. This took two weeks. And we learned quite a bit. Then frosted sugar cookies and frosted peanut butter cookies were added in over the last few days by the older kids. After all of the preparations were done, we made about a dozen plates overflowing with treats and spread them around the neighborhood. Oh, the rapture of putting all that calorie laden yumminess into other people's possession. We have a small sampling left over. It's too large for my comfort, but I've made it two weeks without eating more than a partial piece of a morsel or a sliver of a scraping. I suspect that the remnants will be polished off well before I am tempted.

Temptations and food decisions were easier to handle yesterday than last week. I suspect part of that was overcoming the difficulties associated with my fast. By sticking to the fast and its purpose, I was able to show myself and the universe that I can give up some basic desires and needs for a higher purpose. And that last weigh in still has me feeling good. That remnant of my euphoria exists because I wasn't on my best behavior and yet I still lost weight. I know my body going to balk at weight loss soon enough. It is going to cause consternation by contending with my weight loss rather than capitulating in some weeks. And that may be this week. I have made it into the 300's and I am not going back. And so long as the sign of the weight change is negative, I will be thrilled with the quantity.

And really, that's the mental part of this. I have to make this weight loss permanent in my mental thoughts processes. A few weeks ago, I asked MBWM about which changes to make in my life. She was most concerned about my relationship with food. I'm significantly more worried about finances and other considerations than she is. Considering I was eating myself to death, her concern makes sense. And really, that's is an essential part of my motivation. I am making these changes to improve myself so I can be a better person for her. There is something even deeper in the motivation this time and in prior weight loss efforts. I have not been able to explain it to myself, but there is something deeper pushing me to exult in this motivation. These words meant little to me a few months ago. I had the mere desire of wanting to be motivated for my relationship with MBWM. Now, I am empowered by those words and something deeper. This requires some meditative exploration.

Something that requires little exploration for its simplicity is that MBWM is reinforcing the idea of the weight loss permanence. This may not be a conscious effort on her part, but I've notice little things that suggest she is also thinking things through to the long-term results. She pointed out an advert for my medical credit card that came yesterday. It mentions that my card can be used for cosmetic procedures. She suggested using the card to remove the flap of skin draping down from my tummy that I will have left when I am at my goal weight. I think I will make sure to maintain my weight for somewhere from nine months to two years before undergoing the procedure. Do I have an incredible wife? I do. But even better than that, I have the perfect wife. The wife that is perfect for me.

And on that romantic note, I am heading to the Y again, bright and early. This time, to tackle the recumbent elliptical known as the SciFit.

Yours in carrying the joys through the hardships,


P.S.: One of my favorite quote concerning understanding women. I just had to share it with this post -

Monday, December 30, 2013

Expansionist Knowledge - Fat (Article)

A couple decades ago, I was a single guy trying to navigate the educational waters of graduate school as I researched for nearly a decade in chemistry. That also meant that the financial waters were frequently turbulent. Not far from my apartment was an Entenmann's Bakery Outlet. I had been there many times in the past for a cheap goody. When I arrived on this day, I was first surprised by the long lines of people carrying large numbers of wide, short boxes to the checkout. As I looked passed them, I was next surprised to see a few tables loaded four or five feet high with these same boxes. So I went over to them. What a delight the signs for the tables held! The first moment of rapture: 25 cents per box. That was in my price range. Many was the time that the cheapest item cost more than the loose change in my pocket. I had then returned home empty handed but grateful for the brief exercise. But not today! Today, I would spend my money frugally and still give in to my sweet tooth. The second moment of rapture then hit me: Fat-free coffee cakes. Fat-free?!? This was wonderful! Sure, they were still loaded with sugar, which my body was all too likely to turn into fat. And there was even a good chance that there was more sugar in the fat-free coffee cakes than there were in the regular coffee cakes. Still, it was 25 cent per box and fat-free. Eagerly, I looked through the flavor options, selected out three boxes, and headed to the checkout line like a conquering hero with the Rocky theme playing in my head.

But now the conquering hero had time to think. What was in the coffee cakes in place of the fat? My mom had taught me that you could replace the oil in a cake recipe with applesauce. Had they done something of that nature? To satisfy my curiosity, I started reading the ingredients. Keep in mind, I am a chemist. I can read the nutrition labels with greater insight than many people in the general public. And that's when the it-is-too-good-to-be-true moment arrived with a thud that mentally and metaphorically beat me into the ground. There, plainly spelled out in front of my eyes were the two ingredients that unlocked the puzzle for me: mono-glycerides and di-glycerides. I was incensed. How could they do that? Was there no justice in the realm of prepackaged nutritional information? Why mock the person struggling with their finances and their health?

Why was I upset? Let's start with a little chemistry and chemical nomenclature. A "fat" is a triglyceride. There are three long chains of carbons. Each individual chain would be called a grease or an oil. Each chain ends in a carbon-oxygen-oxygen arrangement known as a carboxylic acid. The three chains are attached across a glycerol bridge. See Figure 1 below. 

Figure 1: Basic Structure of Fat
The ends and the jags in the zigzag line are known to be carbons to the chemist's perception.
Every carbon will have four bonds. Any bonds not explicitly drawn are understood to contain hydrogen.

If a chain of carbons contains all of the hydrogen it possibly can, it is called saturated. This will show in a chemical diagram as only single bond (single lines) between carbons. If some of the hydrogen has been removed from the carbon, it is called unsaturated. For every two hydrogen atoms removed from adjoining carbons, one double bond (double line) is created. When one double bond has been created, it is called mono-unsaturated. If more than one double bond has been created, it is called poly-unsaturated. In general, the more poly-unsaturated the better. See Figure 2 below. 
Figure 2: Saturated, Mono-unsaturated, and Poly-unsaturated Chains in a Triglyceride
But this relatively good unsaturated oil can have its character changed from good-natured unsaturated to “evil” saturated through a process of hydrogenation. “Hydrogenated” is another term to be aware of in the nutrition labels. For example, coconut oil is gaining some ground for its health benefits, many microwave popcorn rely on hydrogenated coconut oil. This reverses any value the oil contained originally. Although hydrogenated oils, like trans-fats, have been gradually decreasing as the general public becomes more educated, they are still out there.

Trans-fats come about because those aforementioned double bonds come in two possible structures (called conformers). There is the cis- conformation and the trans- conformation. In the case of the cis- structure, there is a V shape bent into the long chain with the point of the V being the double bond. In the case of the trans- structure, the chain continues in the same direction with a small plateau at the double bond. See Figure 3 below.
Figure 3: Cis- versus Trans- Structures
Granted, in real life, the long chains are, in fact, whipping and sliding and twisting around. They do not form straight chains as shown in these pictures above. But that doesn't change the nature of the chemical terminology that will help us understand the next step in the intellectual process that led to my emotional reaction.

Our bodies will attack the food we consume in several locations within the gastro-intestinal tract. Starches start down their digestive journey in the mouth thanks to the amylase in saliva. The products in this step of digesting starch are simple sugars. In the case of fats, our bodies start their digestion in the small intestines thanks to lipase, bile salts, and other aids. The products are mono-glycerides and fatty acids. That's right. Going back to the fat-free coffee cake. There were no triglycerides in the cake. So it was technically fat free. But they had replaced the tri-glycerides with things that either are or will still produce mono-glycerides. There is no nutritional benefit to mono-glycerides and di-glycerides over triglycerides. Triglycerides have 9 calories per gram. Mono-glycerides and di-glycerides have 9 calories per gram. If anything, the body is having to expend less energy to obtain access to the mono-glycerides when eating these fat substitutes.

We like the taste and texture of our fats and oils. I suspect that is something built into us. Fats and oils are rare in nature. When we come across them, they taste good. The second most important nutrient in our diet is sodium. We like the taste of our salt. Who came up with salted caramel? Come on! Really?!? I shouldn't talk. I enjoy yogurt dipped pretzels. But you get the idea. We like our fat. We like our salt. Put them together, you have things like potato chips. To borrow the catch phrase, no one can eat just one. Like sodium, fats and oils are rare in nature, taste incredible, and are too large a portion of the American diet. Something with a similar taste to fats and oils but able to be technically labeled "Fat Free" is going to get some attention, especially in the form of sales.

That was the hope behind Olestra and the potato chips that were brought to the American grocery market. It is now more of a footnote in the history of food commerce in the US. For a brief time, though, it was the Holy Grail of Fat-Free substances. The chemical idea behind Olestra was simple. Unlike the glycerol bridge of triglycerides, Olestra started with a sucrose molecule. Chemically remove all of the ends of the sugar and replace them with fatty acids. See Figure 4 below. The body's process of breaking down fats was now hampered. The digestive enzymes couldn't get at the head of the chains of fatty acids. It was too congested. But it tasted, cooked, and produced many positive characteristics of consumption so much like traditional fats, this was sure to be a winner. But it wasn't. A few people could taste the difference and didn't like it. Some people ended up with gastric issues because their body treated the olestra as a foreign agent by flushing the invader from their system. And then, worse still, initial studies on mice who ate Olestra showed they gained weight. And worse, any weight gain was not reversed when switching back to traditional fats. As a footnote to the footnote, Olestra was renamed and released as an environmentally-safe industrial lubricant. Olestra was done for, but not the games companies play with our food.

Figure 4: Olestra - Sucrose at the Center of 8 Fatty Acids

With the continual process of eating, we are faced with making many decisions and hoping we don't fall prey to any of those games. Reading labels is a good place to start, if we are aware that there are pitfalls. Leaving aside pitfalls such as my personal desire to add butter to my popcorn, even "butter-flavored" microwave popcorn, I want to take a quick look at some labels. Amid the days I was writing, editing, and sweating over this article, I noticed that we have both fat-free sour cream and light sour cream. The fat-free stuff is for me. The light sour cream is for everyone else. They insist the light is better than the fat-free. Of course, they are right. But I can eat a little more of something I still enjoy for the same amount of points. One tablespoon even registers as zero points on the Weight Watchers calculator. Salmon not tasting exciting? A little sour cream and herbs and a delight has arrived. Salmon being point heavy, fat-free sour cream is a good option for me. What do the sour cream labels exhibit?
Fat Free Sour Cream by Naturally YoursCultured nonfat milk, milk*, food starch - modified, contains less than 2% of: whey protein concentrate, propylene glycol monoester*, artificial color**, gelatin, sodium phosphate, agar, xanthum gum, sodium citrate, locust bean gum, potassium sorbate (a preservative), natural flavor, vitamin A palmitate
     * - adds a negligible amount of fat
     ** - ingredient not found in regular sour cream
Light Sour Cream by LucerneCultured pasteurized Grade A fat free milk and cream, modified corn starch, disodium phosphate, guar gum, carrageenan, locust bean gum, natural flavors, vitamin A palmitate
As I read these labels, I recognize that both companies are interested in keeping some of the fat in the sour cream. Fat-free sour cream has milk, but it comes with an asterisk. That makes it okay. Light sour cream has cream. Can't go wrong in terms of flavor when using cream. Starting at the starch, the companies have chosen ingredients, some identical, some similar, some completely different, to accomplish the same purposes: color, texture, appearance, nutrition, preservation. While the fat-free sour cream openly identifies one preservative, the light sour cream does not identify any. The people at both of these companies were nice enough to include the Vitamin A Palmitate. When it comes to Vitamin A, you are better of eating one carrot over a pint of sour cream for your Vitamin A. Vitamin A Palmitate is close to useless. More on that in another article. But even as a chemist, I cannot answer the question, "What is the 'natural flavor' added to sour cream?" I am quite curious to know what that is. Is there an Essence of Sour I have yet to learn about? In the case of the fat-free, could the "natural flavor" be cream? Because of the asterisks, I suspect not. But I don't know. Notice in the light sour cream, the ingredient natural flavors is plural. What other essences, extracts, and additions can be deemed "natural" when it comes to sour cream?

But there is something hidden in the fat-free label that the company has even provided a clue. I may be somewhat derisive of the asterisks in my above comments, but the clue is in the *. There is the ingredient "propylene glycol monoester." And it has a single *. At first read, I thought this was a typo. Surely it should have had the double **. But companies can be quickly sued for errors and omissions in our litigious society. A vegetarian group won a suit against McDonald's a few years ago when it was revealed that "natural flavoring" for the cooking oil for their french fries included flavors from beef. Since the fat-free sour cream packaging has been around for quite some time, I began to doubt the possibility of a mistake. I went back and read the label again. There is the all important "monoester" in the ingredient name that changed a few things.

We all know that water and oil don't mix. They just don't play well together. But a third entity that is a friend to both can make a three-part mixture that has them all playing well together. This third entity is known as an emulsifier. One way to create an emulsifier is pick something that likes water, say propylene glycol, which among its other uses is as an environmentally friendly antifreeze for our cars. And then pick something that likes oils, say fatty acids. And then force them to merge. That is the propylene glycol monoester. Something our body will break down into propylene glycol and fatty acids. Propylene glycol and fatty acids are quickly metabolized by our bodies. But the single asterisk wasn't a typo. There really is another source of fat in the ingredients.

Does all of this information concerning the list of ingredients matter? There are two important aspects of this information in my opinion. First, the more knowledge we have, the better informed we are when making a decision. And since we are what we eat, knowing what we are putting in our mouths for our bodies for building blocks is important. Second, it helps to be a little suspicious. Not paranoid, mind you, just suspicious. Where that knowledge comes from can be more important than what that information is. The information is there on the label if you know how to interpret it. Use me as an initial resource as you collect your own information and draw your own conclusions. That is the scientific method in action, after all. That is why I invite the reader to become their own best advocate for their intellectual resources and physical health. 

I was trying to aid a little of my emotional and mental health when I purchased those fat-free goodies all those years ago. And I exercised my intellectual resources to explain what "fat-free" actually meant. And then I exercised my right to free speech in that store. And then the manager exercised his right to refuse service. It was something out the ironic to be expressing the failings of the very item I was purchasing. The primary failing being all of their coffee cakes were high in sugar. The manager was nice enough to let me purchase the goodies. I was nice enough to calm down.

Be your own best advocate for your health! - Eliot from the Expansionist Knowledge articles
Posted: 20 December 2013
(c) 2013, Scientific Consulting Services

A Little Euphoria Added to Life when a Little Down

Post Number: 85
Review of Yesterday's Progress
     Daily Points Left: 62 of 71 (Goal: 31) - Day Spent Fasting
     Weekly Points Left: 49 of 49 (Goal: 49)
     Pedometer Reading: 4525
     Meetings Attended: None Scheduled
     Exercise Completed: None Scheduled
     M-W's Daily Word: Saponaceous

Happy New Years Adam!

The euphoria of Saturday was a source of strength in getting through Sunday. The boost from the euphoria bolstered me through food decisions, public interactions, and much more. That is not to say that I was in a state of elation throughout the day. The internal elation benefited me and those around me on numerous instances to keep me from descending into negative expressions. Sunday was a difficult day for a multiplicity of reasons. My fast was one of the more difficult fasts I've done in awhile, but it was too important to end it early. I am incredibly grateful that I didn't go overboard when I broke my fast. And I stayed away from the goodies when the treat plates were being assembled. And while there are plenty of reasons to make yesterday difficult, Murphic and otherwise, I am grateful that I was able to put the day behind me.

One of the exciting aspects of today is posting my article. Look for it later today. I have shortened it to be more readable and spread the information across multiple entries. I believe that will help author and reader alike. I have decided to call the series of articles: Expansionist Knowledge. Expansionism is the belief that a country should expand its borders to increase its size. This policy showed itself in American history in the form of manifest destiny. But this isn't a vocabulary lesson or a history lesson. This is a science lesson with a goal of expanding everyone's knowledge, including the author's. And of course, I hope to the knowledge I present is expansionist while the waist line is contraction-ist.

Now, to launch today into the get work of returning to my healthy practices. The Y awaits.

Yours in the joys of yesterday and tomorrow when it's dark today,


P.S.: Check out this pick-me-up, my Weight Watchers awards:

They are, from right counter-clockwise to the left:
  • Golden sixteen week Stay and Succeed clapping hands award
  • Steel colored 25 pounds lost washer award
  • Copper colored 50 pounds lost washer award
  • Copper color 10% weight loss key chain award
They hang on a hook on my computer desk where it is easy to see them.

As for future number hurdles, my next three number goals as of Saturday's weigh in are:
  1. 15% weight loss at 385.2 pounds in 12.6 pounds
  2. Able to use our bathroom scale at 380.0 pounds in 17.8 pounds, 5.2 pounds after previous goal
  3. 75 pounds lost at 378.2 pounds in 19.6 pounds, 1.8 pounds after previous goal
I find these numbers exciting. First of all, 12.6 pounds is achievable. Second of all, within an additional 7.0 pounds, I will hit three exciting goals. Now I rarely use our home scale. The numbers have been known to distract me. It's just the idea that if I want to know my weight, the scale will be available.

Since Weight Watchers doesn't offer a unique 15% award, I am planning on asking for three 5% stickers for my weight log. And the bathroom scale will receive a Bravo. The 75 pounds lost is another washer and the second to last award Weight Watchers has available. The last one being 100 pounds lost.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

An Exhilarating Experience with the Scale (Evaluation: Week 18)

Last Weigh In: Saturday, 28 December 2013

Weight Information -
  • Weight: 397.8 lbs
  • Weight Change This Week: -4.6 lbs
  • Weight Change To Date: -55.4 lbs
  • Weight Gauge: Woo Hoo!
  • BMI: 62.3 (down from 63.0 last week)
  • Daily PPV: 71 (unchanged)
  • PPV Used this Week: 127 out of 426 (Adjusted for 6 days of tracking)
  • PPV Not Used this Week: 299 (53.9%)
Current Goals -
  • Number Goals
    • Weight: 15% Weight Loss at 385.2 lbs (12.6 lbs away)
    • BMI: Reach a value below 40.0 (22.3 away)
    • PPV Not Used this Week: 299 (Beat by 82)
  • Waist Goal: Lost another available hole in the belt. Down to 5
  • Feel Good Goal: Set up the house. Get in the water with the kids
  • Physical Goal: Walk upright up the stairs of my house every time
  • The Y: Go to three aquatics classes and work on the bicycle machine once next week
  • Weight Watchers:
    • Make a meal plan with the PPV's worked out for one day to serve as a fall back
    • Use the paper tracker to record calculated points every day this week
    • Use 40 for my daily points instead of 71
    • Avoid using 49 weekly points. Daily points leave 31 available every day. That's 217 left over points available per week
    • Attend at two meetings this week. Scheduled for Wednesday and Saturday
  • Overeaters Anonymous: 
    • Attend two meetings this week. Scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday
    • Face up to Step 1
    • Read Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 of the AA Big Book
  • Sticky Notes
    • Keeping Pushing for Another "WooHoo! Weigh In"
    • Be active for 5 minutes out of every sedentary hour
    • Put down the fork and sip water between bites
    • Get to Bed!
  • Weight Watcher's Awards this week -
    • Bravo - For passing into the 300's
    • 5 lbs - For losing another 5 pounds
  • Number Goals: Passed an exciting one today. Direction feels wonderful. Quantity feels great. Circumstance of the Christmas celebration makes this awe inspiring for me.
  • Waist Goal: Belt is comfortable and effective at 5 available holes. 6 is ineffective. 4 is uncomfortable.
  • Feel Good Goal: Still working on it. The house is making progress, especially in preparation for Christmas. I simply have to make the Y for the family happen: Schedule It! Do It!
  • Physical Goal: Still need to pull myself up the stairs.
  • The Y Goal: To borrow from Nike: Just Do It!
  • WW Goal: Still need to make a meal plan for one single day
  • OA Goal: Not sure how to take this one since I didn't read the literature or attend any meetings this week. This needs to be a higher priority to be able to work through the solution to this issue that I am having.
    This week's weigh in has been a wonderful surprise to add to a great week. I went in hoping for success in direction only. The scale only to decrease from last week's weigh in to being about happiness for me. I had geared up mentally to accept any number presented. The numbers on the weigh in speak two things to me. One, the exercise is important, but probably more vital once my weight is somewhere more reasonable for my frame to handle. I have muscle burnout after three-quarters of a mile on the elliptical. Granted, I try to make it intense. I swim 5 laps and water jog a few more and I wish there was a wheelchair to bring me back to my car. And after either of these events, I feel them in my muscles for two or three days. Exercise is important. This will build the muscles mass needed to (1) burn more calories now and (2) be ready for more meaningful athletic successes in the low 200's when I suspect the exercise will really begin paying off in health benefits.

    The other thing this speaks to me is that I am beginning to retrain the brain. I must have made some good decisions, even on Christmas when I tossed aside the tracker for the rest of the day after breakfast. Those good decisions paid off with an incredible amount of weight loss. And to make the retraining even better, my body is along for the ride. The chocolate I ate on Christmas made me queasy. The high-fat of summer sausage and cheese kept me queasy. I need to reinforce this mentally and physically for as long as possible while I can still afford Weight Watchers. I do have hopes of staying with Weight Watchers all the way into the 100's, but I need to balance those hopes with the all too real possibility of impending financial woes. And to make matters slightly more spooky, there is always the ability to retrain the body and brain going the other way.

    But those concerns over finances and habits are for the distant future. I am returning my focus to this moment before me in this stretch of the marathon. And it feels incredible.

    Looking Forward:
    • Stay on program with Weight Watchers, especially keeping the daily points consumed to under 40, hopefully under 30.
    • Adjust food selection gradually away from the strict low carb / low fat options to round out the diet a little more. Increasing the veggie consumption would be a great option to commence this transition.
    • Get back on track with swimming laps and using the exercise machines.
    • Hold onto the joyful feelings of this day to get me through the the times of lesser success.
    I have found the way (IV) to have success even in the holidays. Stick to what works for the body's health and the mind's sanity.

    I have seized the road (CU) in such a way the the next goal is achievable regardless of its distance. For the next goal, it will take the patience available from the marathon mentality. I expect it to take three to five weeks to lose the next 12.6 pounds. I will get a little closer each week.

    I am enjoying the journey (FI) more than I know how to express because MBWM had an exceptional week this week as well. There is great joy in my weight loss. There is greater joy found in this mutual success.

    Post Number: 84
    Review of Yesterday's Progress
         Daily Points Left: 49 of 71 (Goal: 31)
         Weekly Points Left: 49 of 49 (Goal: 49)
         Pedometer Reading: 2864 (paused)
         Meetings Attended: Weight Watchers
         Exercise Completed: None Scheduled
         M-W's Daily Word: imbricate

    Ante-Script: People worry about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year, but they should really worry about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas. - Anonymous

    I just had to stat today's blog entry with that ante-script (here and forever more known in this blog by A.S.). I debated calling it the pre-script, so I could create confusion by using the abbreviation P.S., but that actually didn't work for me. Strange. I hope that's not a sign of impending growth into deeper maturity. Regardless, the point of the quip is incredible to me. Just think, if I were to be a strict adherent to my health for 51 weeks of the year, taking that one celebratory week off wouldn't matter.

    When I was heading into Weight Watchers, I had only one hope. That I would have a negative weight change. I felt that would be a blessing. And when I weighed in, the windows of Heaven had opened and poured forth great blessings. I am incredibly grateful for my body and mind pushing me continually in the right direction while making somewhat-poor decisions. I am even more grateful for MBWM's support. And I am most grateful that MBWM and I shared in similar success. She even lost more weight than I did by more than a pound. Way to go M! Love Ya, Gorgeous! And you're gorgeouser by the day!

    And as I have mentioned before, I need to stay focused on the portion of the marathon before me, capture the conqueror's high to lift me through the lesser successes ahead, and push on through to the next "Woo Hoo! Weigh In.

    Yours in the joyful expressions shared with you,


    P.S.: In my paper tracker on the day for Christmas, it reads:
    Oh the points of this day were frightful
    But the food was so delightful
    And since it's the Christmas date
    Points will wait. Points will wait. Points will wait.
    with apologies to the lyricists of "Let It Snow"

    Weight Watchers, 28 December 2013
    This month's routine: Before you leave the house, make sure you have a healthy snack with you.

    Robin, the Weight Watcher's leader, started her introductions by saying, "We are celebrating today. We need to celebrate. Find that thing that's exciting and celebrate it"

    What is one Bravo moment you had last week?

    • We're here
    • Dipping chocolates and didn't eat more than one per day (that was MBWM)
    • Instead of praying to be strong, praying for opportunities to be strong
    • Ate green beans four times, dislike texture so pretended they were grapes (this lead to the pros and cons of fresh vs frozen vs canned green beans)
    • Broke through a double ought (that was me)
    What does holding stead mean to you?
    • Maintain routine
    • Keeping the ship even, staying on course (naval theme prevailed through the rest of these answers)
    • Keep long-term goals in mind, look to the horizon
    • Get to the goal by the route that works best, sailboats have to tack sometimes to be able to reach their destination
    • Stay at the safe harbor once it's reached (keep working to maintain goal)
    What steps work best? Keep coming to the meetings

    How is it a challenge?
    • Goodies
    • Schedule is off kilter
    • There is no schedule
    • Kids are home
    • Cultural presence, a good holiday comes about from good food
    Leave the meeting today knowing that you are doing great.
    • Avoid negative feelings. The can be demotivating and defeating
    • Avoid the spiral that can start with one set back (as it says in this week's Weight Watcher Weekly: "Forgive yourself, own it, and move on". MBWM pointed out that I have already done that as described in this blog)
    What could you do to feel more peace in your life this week? How can you be kinder to yourself this week?
    • Seek out inner peace
    • Stay positive
    • Count blessings
    • Don't beat yourself up
    • Get rid of junk (food and mental)
    • Try a new Weight Watchers recipe (I purchased two WW recipe books today while they were still on sale. Had to break into my emergency gas money, but it will be worth it to start in on them this week.)
    • Take time for yourself
    • Daily (or more frequent) positive affirmations
    Is there something getting you down? What are you getting negative about that is getting in the way of your success? Write it down. Throw it away. Today.
    • High triglycerides
    • Past history
    • Negative attitude towards slow progress. It's still progress.
    • Attitude towards exercise
    • Me getting in my own way
    How do you feel now?
    • Good
    • Weight off of my shoulders
    Warning: Come early next week. If past experience is any teacher, the meeting will be packed and packed early.

    Saturday, December 28, 2013

    The Vacation is Over

    Post Number: 83
    Review of Yesterday's Progress
         Daily Points Left: 53 of 71 (Goal: 31)
         Weekly Points Left: 49 of 49 (Goal: 49)
         Pedometer Reading: 1572
         Meetings Attended: None Scheduled
         Exercise Completed: Missed Swimming Laps at the Y for a Family Holiday Project

    There was a point in time that came and went this morning without me recognizing its significance until much later. This was the point of no return along the path of inactivity. It happened very early this morning. And it even came with something of an announcement. I had told Jaguar that I would take her and Lemur to the pool at the Y first thing this morning if they were up before I was. Well, they were up well before I was. And Jaguar came in to ask if it would be okay to get ready to go to the Y. That was at 6:37 yesterday morning. I then rolled over and went back to sleep. I thought it didn't really matter when I chose to get out of bed. But I was wrong. By 8:21 am, it was too late. That decision started me along a series of decisions that included preparing for home school (which restarts on Monday), working on a family holiday project to deliver goodies to friends and neighbors, trying desperately to locate a taxi service that will take appointments on New Years for the New Year's Party Asian Red Fox will be attending, and other important activities that are unrelated to significance of my health - my diet, exercise, and meetings.

    This outcome informed me that my vacation was over. I missed a little here and there during the week. And suddenly, the week is over with too little accomplished. And there is so very much coming on the horizon: job searching, home schooling, MBWM's consignment sewing, and so much more. But this means that I need to take to heart (again) the lesson of the big rocks (included in the P.P.S.). It's not that the things I did today were particularly lazy. It's more a matter of the fact that my health was not one of the big rocks in my schedule. Going to the Y didn't come first today or this week. The vacation is over, starting with the placement of the big rocks - Activity to be active with my kids, healthier food selection to be able to live longer, and spiritual check-ins to make the mental, emotional, and spiritual changes necessary for lifelong health.

    Today was a chance to bond with MBWM through several projects and spend time with my kids. And those are big rocks, too. There's no reason why I cannot put all of the rocks of today into my day along with the ones associated with my health. I do feel most fortunate that I didn't nibble from that about four or five grains of rice worth of the dipping chocolate we worked on during part of the goody making. I didn't eat a single crumb from any of the cookies. Of course, that is because we didn't have time to make them yet. But I'm not worried. I'm am on my way.

    Yours in the chance of redemption that starts tomorrow,


    P.S.: According to my cough drop that has "A pep talk in every drop" -
    You've survived tougher.
    Get back in there, Champ!
    Don't waste a precious minute.
    Go for it.
    You can do it and you know it.
    Be resilient.
    Flex your "can do" muscle.
    Elicit a few "wows" today.
    Hi five yourself.
    Put a little strut in it.
    Turn "can do" into "can did!"
    Don't wait to get started.
    Be resilient.
    Conquer today.
    It's yours for the taking.
    Dust off and get up.

    Put in the Big Rocks First

    One day an expert in time management was speaking to a group of business students and, to drive home a point, used an illustration those students will never forget. As he stood in front of the group of high powered overachievers he said, "Okay, time for a quiz." Then he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed Mason jar and set it on the table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar. When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, "Is this jar full?"

    Everyone in the class said, "Yes."

    Then he said, "Really?" He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the space between the big rocks. Then he asked the group once more, "Is the jar full?"

    By this time the class was on to him. "Probably not," one of them answered. "Good!" he replied. He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in the jar and it went into all of the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, "Is this jar full?"

    "No!" the class shouted.

    Once again he said, "Good." Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked at the class and asked, "What is the point of this illustration?"

    One eager beaver raised his hand and said, "The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard you can always fit some more things in it!"

    "No," the speaker replied, "That's not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don't put the big rocks in first, you'll never get them in at all."

    "What are the 'big rocks' in your life? Your children; Your loved ones; Your education; Your dreams; A worthy cause; Teaching or mentoring others; Doing things that you love; Time for yourself; Your health; Your significant other? Remember to put these BIG ROCKS in first or you'll never get them in at all. If you sweat the little stuff (the gravel, the sand) then you'll fill your life with little things you worry about that don't really matter, and you'll never have the real quality time you need to spend on the big, important stuff (the big rocks). So, tonight, or in the morning, when you are reflecting on this short story, ask yourself this question: What are the 'big rocks' in my life? Then, put those in your jar first."

    Friday, December 27, 2013

    Strengthening Murphic Entropy by Breaking Routine

    Post Number: 83
    Review of Yesterday's Progress
         Daily Points Left: 55 of 71 (Goal: 31)
         Weekly Points Left: 49 of 49 (Goal: 49)
         Pedometer Reading: 2109
         Meetings Attended: Missed Overeaters Anonymous preparing & eating Christmas dinner
         Exercise Completed: Recumbent Elliptical (upped resistance from 1.0 to 1.5. Reached 0.76 miles)

    I have discovered how to grant Murphic Entropy additional strength during the day. Let's me present the case study for this situation.

    I have not managed to do well in getting to exercise or meetings this week. This was weighing on my conscious along with the break from dieting on Christmas. I was absolutely going to the Y. And I was going to bring my kids along for the ride. I wish I could have heard Murphic Entropy chuckling in the background. The kids took more than an hour to get out of the door. This point of information is important later on. With kids firmly strapped into their seat and safety seats, I made a dash amid the holiday traffic to arrive at the Y. The Y appeared to be the premium destination for the time of this particular day in the holiday season. There were numerous regulars and new members crowding the front desk. There were even guests of members requiring a physical paper process for signing them in. But slowed though we were, we challenged the crowd and completed the check in process for the little one to the child care, the one going to the youth center, and the rest of us continuing on to the exercise location.

    Hampered by the crowds and the family changing room being closed for remodel, I feared finding a locker for myself so I could change. I found one, but quickly realized I had left my lock in the van in my swim bag. I wasn't sure which kid would want to go swimming, which would run the track, and which would use the machines. So after the verbal chaos of trying to make things work, I chose to allow only non-water exercise yesterday, assigning water exercises to today. And so my lock was left waiting in my swim bag in the car. Before changing into my exercise clothes, I recognized the need for the lock and sent a text to Asian Red Fox to send Iguana in to me. My plan was to explain the need for the lock to Iguana. A short delay towards exercising, but only a minor one. But Asian Red Fox hadn't responded by the time I had finished changing. I then called her phone, reaching voice mail twice. I maniacally used copy and paste to send the message, "Please Respond" 49 times, because 50 seemed overboard.

    After about 5 minutes, I packed all of my belongings except my jacket in my back pack that I use for an exercise bag. I went out and located Asian Red Fox to explain the issue. Since it wasn't an emergency or even an urgency, I let her get back to walking the track while I sought out the SciFit Recumbent Elliptical. A signal then arrive sent from Mother Nature. It was very intense. One of the signals that has you charting a direct course for the nearest restroom but walking at an irregular pace. You probably are familiar with the shuffle-shuffle-shuffle-shuffle-shuffle-shuffle-pause-pause-pause pace of reaching the facilities. While I wasn't worried about actually reaching them without an accident, I had access to a shower and a change of clothes with me after all, I was grateful that the arrival was without incident.

    But the incident was due to the queasiness of two days ago. The queasiness of yesterday fomented into open rebellion seeking a quick exit. And knowing that there would be waves of rebellion to follow, I chose to remain where I was. It had been the last stall and the other one was occupied by someone carrying on a series of phones calls. Fearing premature departure leading to a lack of availability, I chose to stay. The machines would be there when I finally left the locker room. The kids were being watched. I was okay for the moment.

    Again, Murphic Entropy began to chuckle. His nose is going to be SO incredibly bopped if he ever leaves his anthropomorphic state to physically enter my presence. Well, if he has a nose.

    You see, Murphic Entropy had planned ahead. While I was there debating the level of disquiet within my intestines necessary to successfully exercise and whether I had reached that level, there came an announcement over the intercom dispatched throughout the Y. It seems that someone was being paged to come to the front desk. The owner of a car that I knew to be mine even before the license plate confirmed it, needed information they possessed. I knew exactly what had happened. For the first time away from the house, whichever kid had been last out of the van, that kid had left the sliding door to the van open. When the van was originally disgorging the kids, they had scattered out across the parking lot, bringing me in hot pursuit. I had not checked the van. Kind neighbors had pointed out the open door while the van was in our driveway. This knowledge left me certain of the purpose of this page.

    I was being called away from my moment of respite to close a door. I sent a text to Asian Red Fox to gather Iguana and meet me in front of the elevators. She had completely missed the announcement when I said we were heading to the front desk because of the page. And I then informed her of my prediction of an open van door. After wading through the crowd keeping two women quite busy, I was informed of the open door. I crowed my accuracy of the prediction. And then I sent Iguana out to the van. Here was a way to solve two problems. I gave him instructions to get my swim bag and then close the door. Even though he had been pushing hard running around the track, he frustratingly moseyed out to the van. I sat down so I would have a good view in the opposite direction. Watching Iguana mosey through the cold in his shorts and t-shirt would have warmed my temper. When he returned, I knew instantly two things. One, he'd closed the door to the van. And two, he'd closed the door before grabbing the bag. And since I had hit the lock button on the fob, the doors had instantly locked when the last one finally closed.

    No matter! The option of exercising wasn't closed. I went straight to the SciFit Recumbent Elliptical. I immediately cleared it, upped the resistance, and started pumping. I pushed hard. But those moments were interrupted by issue after issue with Asian Red Fox and Iguana. Painfully worn out, especially in the thigh muscles, I chose to call it at 0.75 miles. I thought that I would be able to come back to the machine after a brief pause. Or maybe I would sit in the sauna or relax in the hot tub briefly. But a text reached me saying the Grandma and Grandpa were nearly at our house. Remembering how excited the kids were to show off there Christmas treasures, I grabbed my exercise bag, my jacket, my son Iguana, my phone from Iguana, and made a bee line for the child care. I could change at home. I sent a text to Asian Red Fox, "Grab Jaguar (from the youth center) and meet me at childcare." Iguana broke off and grabbed Jaguar since Asian Red Fox hadn't arrived. I grabbed Lemur and Quail from child care, met up with Jaguar and Iguana, and as I lifted my phone to send another text, Asian Red Fox sent the text, "K". I replied, "I have all of the kids. Run to the van."

    And we ran to the van ahead of her. The excitement and thrill of impending Show and Tell pushing us all through the parking lot. Only, Murphic Entropy had another card to play. A minor one ahead of the big one to come, but a card to play nonetheless. Jaguar had left her drawings in the youth center. And she was off like a flash before I could promise something desirable if she left them. But not matter, she was there and back before Lemur and Quail were buckled into their respective safety seats.

    And once everyone was buckled, we then had to wait for Asian Red Fox. With a mosey all her own, she strolled out to the van. Once in, I roared out of the parking lot onto the roads for home. About halfway way home, Murphic Entropy played the final card. MBWM had given Grandma and Grandpa their Christmas gift. And they were incredibly desirous to get home and use it. They weren't going to wait an indefinite amount of time for the grand kids. If I had tried to gauge their patience, I probably would have stayed and exercised some more. Possibly even gone swimming. All of the family's swim gear was in the van.

    But the van, along with several other pawns, allowed Murphic Entropy to play havoc with my return to exercise. And there in lies the power I turned over to Murphic Entropy. I took a break from the pattern and Murphic Entropy stepped in and took advantage of it. That's not to say my foe doesn't have many tools at his disposal. He has a diverse range that includes mechanical problems, emotional issues, personal weaknesses, and more.

    These efforts by Murphic Entropy only make my successes all the more sweet. It isn't very sweet in the middle of the chaos, but the success are all the more victorious for the additional effort needed to conquer.

    Yours in the joyful expansion of the mind that sees the silver lining in every Murphic Entropic battle,


    P.S.: My wife has the great statement, "The more I share the less I wear." For me and this journal, that sharing includes the trials, tribulations, stresses and strife of life.

    Thursday, December 26, 2013

    Merry Christmas Abel!

    Post Number: 82
    Review of Yesterday's Progress
         Daily Points Left: ? of 71 (Goal: 31) - Didn't Track
         Weekly Points Left: 49 of 49 (Goal: 49)
         Pedometer Reading: 2531
         Meetings Attended: Weight Watchers Closed for Christmas
         Exercise Completed: The Y Closed for Christmas

    Merry Christmas Abel!

    Because Abel after Adam and Eve. Plus, we are all able to enjoy the Spirit of Christmas even after the stocking are empty, the wrapping paper is in the trash, and the Christmas goose is chilling in plastic storage containers. And no, there is no Christmas Cain. Anyone with two or more kids and spanking, new toys knows all too well the Cain that is raised when overly insistent sharing kicks in.

    While yesterday's post was short and sweet, I wanted to include just a few of links that started my Christmas -
    1. For Christmas: 
    2. For MBWM: Wise men say only fools rush in
    As a quick review of two days ago, I discovered the hard way that the Y was closed on Christmas Eve. I had packed up all of the kids and their swim gear only to discover a nearly empty parking lot and a sign confirming closure on the door. And while I was on track to reach OA, that smooth flow of my day was interrupted by the process of getting the kids out the door. When it was sorted out and the mess cleaned up, there was no way I was going to make it to OA. Eating went fairly well. I did eat a few things I wish I hadn't, but I didn't stress over it. Last minute Christmas shopping with the kids for MBWM's present from them at Wal Mart at 2 in the afternoon on Christmas Eve was stressful enough. But the wife and mother of the S Family needs gifts for Christmas. Well, that's my, opinion anyway.

    Amazingly enough, my Christmas morning didn't start until almost 8:00 am. The whole family was up late the night before making preparations for Christmas. And MBWM and I were up even later. It was wonderful spending Christmas with the family. Christmas was slow to start and slow to get through. And then the rest of the day went so slow, we barely made it through two movies. I was thrilled with my presents, thoughtfully selected by MBWM. I was even more thrilled with MBWM's reaction to my gift for her.

    As for the food selections, I did very poorly. I started out on track. I skipped the cinnamon rolls and ate a sensible breakfast. For lunch, we pulled out our traditional meat, cheese, and crackers platters. While I ate slowly and drank lots of water, I still ate more than I should have. And the meat and cheese were high fat. My kids insisted on sharing some of their chocolate with me. The four pieces of chocolate I ate made me queasy. I skipped dinner but I did have a snack of four chicken nuggets to be able have something slightly more sensible.

    This eating puts me in fear of my weigh in and my goal of passing into the 300 pound range with only two days of careful eating available. We shall see. If I don't make it, that is okay. I gave myself permission not to stress over the food I've eaten. And I will be certain to pass into that range soon enough. Whether this week or next, when I do pass into the 300's, it will be the joyful start to the New Year. And while the New Year is a wonderful opportunity for making changes, I've already started. So I am going to enjoy myself a little more this next week while not worry about any resolutions. I've already made the mental transition to the First of January quite some time ago.

    And with that, I hope everyone, one and all, managed to enjoy their Christmas celebrations.

    Take care. Be well. Rest deep.


    P.S.: This link is in case you ever wanted to know How to Build a Nuclear Submarine.

    Wednesday, December 25, 2013

    Merry Christmas!!!

    Post Number: 81
    Review of Yesterday's Progress
         Daily Points Left: 50 of 71 (Goal: 31)
         Weekly Points Left: 49 of 49 (Goal: 49)
         Pedometer Reading: 1007
         Meetings Attended: Missed Overeaters Anonymous
         Exercise Completed: Missed Recumbent Bicycle Machine, The Y was closed

    Let's just leave today's entry at:

    Merry Christmas!

    Tuesday, December 24, 2013

    Merry Christmas Eve!!

    Post Number: 80
    Review of Yesterday's Progress
         Daily Points Left: 57 of 71 (Goal: 31)
         Weekly Points Left: 49 of 49 (Goal: 49)
         Pedometer Reading: 932 (paused)
         Meetings Attended: None Scheduled
         Exercise Completed: Missed Swimming Laps

    As I start writing this entry, I have dueling on-hold muzak playing on my home phone and my cell phone as both are on speaker phone. My home phone is connected to the Healthcare Marketplace. My cell phone is attached to my future health care provider. I have the same question for both of them. How do I pay my first month's premium? I registered at the Health Care Marketplace after spending hours repeating the entry of information during three sessions. I then spent hours going through the process of comparing plans, reading reviews of the plans, learning what the terminology meant, downloading information, and discussing back and forth with MBWM about preferences and necessities. One of her necessities is a good Emergency Room coverage. Understandable since she has had emergency gall bladder, appendix, and back surgeries. One of her preferences was good chiropractic coverage. Since a chiropractor does her a world of good, also understandable. And so we finally picked a plan. In the end, it wasn't the first choice for either of us, but seemed the best mix of options in coverage. And while it is not the best of reasons to pick a plan, I decided that if we didn't like it, we could always change plans in a year or after a life change, which includes moving.

    So those were the headaches leading into the selection of the plan. After enrolling in a plan, I was informed by the HealthCare.gov website I would have to pay for the first month's premium by December 23rd 2013 in order to activate our coverage on January 1st, 2014. Being a dutiful citizen, I clicked the bright green with white lettering button that read, "Pay Now." The button did absolutely nothing. So I left that part of the web site and went elsewhere. Then I couldn't find the "Pay Now" button. So I gave up for a couple days. But wait, my phone calendar reminds me. The payment is due today. So I race to the web site. At which point I hurry up and wait for my turn to get in. After getting in, I hunt and peck through the web site options and search diligently through the help pages. No success. One page refers me to the phone number. I call, my heart daunted by the fear of last day signs ups. Sure enough, at least 20 minutes to reach a human. I am referred to the web site.

    In my frustration, it occurs to me that my actual provider might have the information I am seeking. Maybe my registration is already in their electronic hands. I am already on hold with the government. And I don't want to lose my place in line. Solution? Grab the cell phone and call the provider.

    In the race to reach a human and the government having a 5 minute head start, I reached a representative at my health care provider after about 10 minutes on hold with both. And what was the first thing I learned after explaining my immediate predicament? That the premium payment deadline has been extended to January 10th, 2014 for a January 1st, 2014 activation of coverage.

    Such is the comedy of errors in our modern day and age.

    I wouldn't call it a comedy of errors when it comes to organizing the house. We worked on the family room. Asian Red Fox did the most work, by far. Iguana helped here and there. He became much more helpful once there was an Xbox pay off. I helped out here and there, but mostly did my part through supervising. But the Christmas tree box has been exhumed. Now we need to open the wooden box. Remove the pieces and parts and let MBWM assemble the tree. She had a good start. Hopefully she will finish today.

    As for dieting and exercising yesterday, dieting went great until, you guessed it if you are paying attention, last evening. Granted, I didn't nibble much, 8 or 9 baking chips total between mint and chocolate ones that were available. And there was the bite of the pretzel rod. While none of these are particularly off program, it will be better for me this week on those days that I don't slip. That 2.6 pounds I want to lose is taunting, haunting, and daunting. Once I am through that 2.6 pounds, I will be a little more lenient. But I want to be out of the 400's and into the 300's this year. What a gift to my family and to me: To know that when the time to sprint came, I was able to pull it off.

    But that also means the exercise part of my current efforts need attention. Unfortunately, my car was very nearly out of gas while I am very nearly out of money. MBWM van's was carrying her and some kids off to appointments. I didn't swim today. And I hope I can plan ahead better for tomorrow. I hope to combine my OA meeting, which is in Boise, with a trip to the Y downtown. And if I take the kids (not sure what to do with them during the OA meeting), I can swim laps and take the kids swimming. Not sure how to make it all work, but I need to put in the effort.

    Now, if my muscles would just join in the program, life would be even better. They have been quite sore and easily exhausted. But that won't stop me from attempting to exercise. I just need to get there. This is more important given that the Y is closed on Christmas and I've already missed yesterday's assigned exercising.

    And so, heading one step closer into Christmas, I find myself excited by the holiday and the prospect of an incredible new year.

    Merry Christmas Eve!

    Yours in the successes, painful won yet eagerly sought,


    P.S.: I wrote this years ago to put on the back of my grade reports to my students in my chemistry class. And I have been saving it for this very post. Enjoy!

    'Twas the night after finals, and all through the school.
    Not a solution was stirring, not even the drool.
    The textbooks were placed on the mantle with care.
    In the hopes that St. Nicholas would leave them there.

    When out on the lawn there arose such a noise
    That I leaped from my chair with my usual poise
    And what to my wondering eyes should appear?
    Not Santa and sleigh and eight tiny reindeer

    But ghosts of my grades past, present, and future
    They scared me a lot, I tell you f'r sure.
    So ducking the chance for a Dickens barrage
    I grabbed up my coat, flew into the garage.

    And I was heard to exclaim 'ere I drove to the lake
    Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Break

    Monday, December 23, 2013

    Merry Christmas Adam!

    Post Number: 79
    Review of Yesterday's Progress
         Daily Points Left: 47 of 71 (Goal: 31)
         Weekly Points Left: 49 of 49 (Goal: 49)
         Pedometer Reading: 4509
         Meetings Attended: None Scheduled
         Exercise Completed: None Scheduled

    As mentioned yesterday, I am not doing well in the evenings when it comes to food choices. I am staying well below my Weight Watchers assigned and personally chosen points. But I want that next 2.6 pounds gone. It still feels SO good to be rather close to milestone like getting into the 300's. But to do that, I will need to be aware and make changes. Not sure how to make changes towards the positive when it comes to evenings. But I will push forward and onward and upwards. I must do the work to get me where I want to go. And that is exciting.

    Even more exciting is that MBWM and Asian Red Fox have joined forces to work together on having a healthier attitude towards food. I cannot begin to describe how good this makes me feel. I'm not going to share any details at this stage. I want their permission first. But there is a distinct joy that thrills my heart and soul to see them tackle this task.

    And I have numerous tasks ahead of me today. I will be moving right along. But before I do that, I want to engage in a tradition that my kids started years ago by wishing you a Merry Christmas Adam. This came about when one of the kids noticed that Adam came before Eve. And tomorrow is Christmas Eve. This means that today must be Christmas Adam.

    Merry Christmas Adam, One and All!

    There are no traditions associated with this event except to wish everyone you meet, Merry Christmas, Adam. And then explain to the blank stares you get or pronouncements that the person's name is not Adam that Adam came before Eve.

    Yours in the sprint of the moment and the marathon of the month and the joy of the season,


    Warning: This is the Post Script full of P-P.  ;-) My apologies. I had to get in a little bodily humor for Iguana's benefit.

    P.S.: Took my family ice skating yesterday. All at the same time. Before heading to church. We were ice skating around corners in our van.

    P.P.S.: 1100 page views! I am still in awe that so many people are reading this. To me, it is more a journal (centered around me) than a blog (enticing the reader by centering around their interests). But I am hoping to start changing all of that. This journal has been very helpful to me. I want it to be a service to my readers as well.

    P.P.P.S.: With the previous paragraph in mind, I am changing the theme of the weekly blog entry of significance to the weekly educational entry. I want it to be informative, which I am hoping will increase its significance to you, my readers. MBWM suggested this change. And she also came up with a great idea for the first entry. I look forward to working on it throughout this week.

    P.P.P.P.S.: Lemur was watching me type up this post this morning back when this was the P.P.S. She asked that I put her name in here. Here ya go:

    Luv Ya Lots, Lemur!

    Sunday, December 22, 2013

    Insert Success Story Here (Evaluation: Week 17)

    Last Weigh In: Saturday, 21 December 2013

    Weight Information -
    • Weight: 402.4 lbs
    • Weight Change This Week: -4.6 lbs
    • Weight Change To Date: -50.8 lbs
    • Weight Gauge: Likin' it! I'm really likin' it!
    • BMI: 63.0 (down from 63.7 last week)
    • Daily PPV: 71 (unchanged)
    • PPV Used this Week: 126 out of 497
    • PPV Not Used this Week: 371 (74.6%)
    Current Goals -
    • Number Goals
      • Weight: 399.8 lbs (2.6 lbs away) - Remove myself from the 400's
      • BMI: Reach a value below 40.0 (23.0 away)
      • PPV Not Used this Week: 217 (Beat by 154)
    • Waist Goal: Lose one more available hole in belt (currently at 7)
    • Feel Good Goal: Set up the house. Get in the water with the kids.
    • Physical Goal: Walk upright up the stairs of my house easily every time
    • The Y: Swim laps twice (takin' Christmas off) and work out on the bicycle machine once next week
    • Weight Watchers:
      • Make a meal plan with the PPV's worked out for one day to serve as a fall back
      • Use the paper tracker to record calculated points every day this week
      • Use 40 for my daily points instead of 71
      • Avoid using 49 weekly points. Daily points leave 31 available every day. This is up from 21. That's 217 left over points available per week
      • Attend at one meeting this week. Scheduled for Saturday. Closed Wednesday
    • Overeaters Anonymous:
      • Attend two meetings this week. Scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday
      • Face up to Step 1
      • Read Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 of AA Big Book
    • Sticky Notes
      • Be active for 5 minutes out of every sedentary hour
      • Put down the fork and sip water between bites
      • Get to Bed!
    • Weight Watcher's Awards this week -
      • 10% - for losing 10% of my original weight
      • 50 lbs - for losing 50 pounds
      • 5 lbs - for losing 5 pounds this week
    • Number Goals: Always moving closer. Direction feels good. Quantity feels great.
    • Waist Goal: Belt tail is still expanding. I have reached 7 available holes, very nearly at 6.
    • Feel Good Goal: Still working on it. The garage made progress so the family room will too, soon. Not sure when to take younger kids (Jaguar, Lemur, and Iguana).
    • Physical Goal: Still need to crawl up the stairs, especially while recovering from exercise. Exercise particularly difficult on the leg muscles this week.
    • The Y Goal: I'm making it to the machines. But 5 minutes is about all I'm good for.
    • WW Goal: Doing great in the numbers. Terrible at making meal plans.
    • OA Goal: Still facing up to the spiritual challenge of Step Zero - Is this where I belong for the spiritual assistance I need?
      I am feeling (to borrow from Tony the Tiger) GRRRRRRRREAT! I am in striking range of being in the 300's. 

      Looking Forward:
      • Stay on program with Weight Watchers.
      • Stay on track with low carb / low fat food selection, especially during Christmas and especially in the evenings.
      • Keep on track with swimming and exercise machines, taking Christmas off..
      • Next three number goals:
        • Entering the 300's at 399.8 pounds in 2.6 pounds
        • Losing 15% of my starting weight at 385.2 pounds in 17.2 pounds (14.6 pounds after previous goal)
        • Hitting 380 pounds to be able to use our bathroom scale in 22.4 pounds (5.2 pounds after previous goal)
      • Expected minimum number of weeks to achieve these goals:
        • 1 week from now
        • 6 weeks after that
        • 2 weeks after that
      • Enjoying Christmas!
      I have found the way (IV) because I know how to make the weight loss work in the short bursts when it is time to sprint.

      I have seized the road (CU) by making achievable goals. Having 222.4 pounds still to lose: scary. Hitting my next three number goals: reasonable. Hitting my next number goal: especially exciting for its proximity.

      I am enjoying the journey (FI) because I am beginning to enjoy what I eat. And I am enjoying feeling satiated even when I don't eat all the much. Soon, I will be enjoying how I feel. And for the first time, I can see the marathon for what it is. My opportunity at long-term success derived form long-term struggle.

      Post Number: 78
      Review of Yesterday's Progress
           Daily Points Left: 43 of 71 (Goal: 31)
           Weekly Points Left: 49 of 49 (Goal: 49)
           Pedometer Reading: 7318
           Meetings Attended: Weight Watchers
           Exercise Completed: None Scheduled

      I am in something of a strange place. I am looking forward to this time next year. But I'm not looking forward to tomorrow evening. This time next year, I could well be down into the 100's. Current projections have me in the 100's by October 11, 2014.* I am not looking forward to tomorrow evening because I am beginning to dread most evenings. When I have goofed, it was usually in the evening. I have been thinking about eating my dinner early and then locking myself away while everyone else ate dinner. I'd miss them, but I wouldn't be very far away.

      Never far away is the joy of feeling the strength that comes from the successes I am having so soon after having them. Most weeks, one week is a marathon for me. But I am already anticipating my next weigh in. I want very much to be found in the 300's before the year is out.

      With so much to look forward to, I am grateful to have this journal (soon to be blog) that will allow me to review where I came from when I look back from the mental, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and caloric transition that will be here one day. There is a transition coming that I am only acknowledging at this point since it is so far into the future. That transition is from losing to maintenance. I will be changing from one marathon to another. I look forward to writing about it at this time next year.

      In the meantime, I have the current marathon to run with sprints along the way. This week will be one of those sprints. I will have to be actively engaged in the weight loss process. But that doesn't mean I won't be deeply involved in the Christmas celebration.

      Yours in the joyful moments the we build with our families,


      * - The linear regression I am using appears to be much more accurate at interpolation than at extrapolation. So this date needs to be taken with a grain of salt the size of a duplo block.

      P.S.: Take time to be quiet. Zig Ziglar

      Weight Watchers, 21 December 2013

      This month's routine: Before you leave the house, make sure you have a healthy snack with you.

      What have you been relying on to overcome holiday temptations?

      • Laziness - Not getting up out of my chair to fetch calories (MBWM's contribution)
      • Will exercise for food
      • Look for alternative choices
      • Bring PPV friendly choices to pot lucks
      • Take workplace food that are sent home to other family / friends
      • Used small plates
      • Nibble thru a treat for quite some time
      • Support system - Weight Watcher buddies and other positive reinforcement
      • When it's time to stop eating an item, say, "That was yummy."
      Fend of food pushers
      Who admits to having been a food pusher? Lots of agreement but no specific comments recorded

      What might be a food pusher's motivation?
      • Showed love
      • Don't want to waste it
      • Share the guilt - want someone to indulge with you
      • You eat the food so I won't (Or as MBWM says: "The more I share, the less I wear." You go, Girl!)
      • Social norm
      What are your feelings and reactions when you are confronted with a food pusher?
      • Appreciate it
      • Upset if pusher is slim
      • Don't want to disappoint them
      How can you respond to someone who says:
      • But I made it for you
      • You can't diet during the holidays
      • Come on, you deserve it
      • You can have just one
      • But we always have this. It's tradition!
      • Push them away
      • Tip the plate (into the trash, for example), while keeping the plate (although it was suggested to "accidentally" drop the plate to the floor)
      • Take it with you, dispose elsewhere
      • Say Thank you
      • Accept the love (key to all responses you might give)
      • Thank you for thinking of me
      • Hugs, which are delightfully non-caloric
      • Eat before
      • Small plate / Small portions / Leave space on the plate
      • Loaded up with pre-prepared fruits / veggies
      • Put the onus back on them: "Yes, it is hard to diet during the holidays."
      • I deserve to be happy
      Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. - John Maxwell

      Saturday, December 21, 2013

      Today is the Journey of a Lifetime

      Post Number: 77
      Review of Yesterday's Progress
           Daily Points Left: 49 of 71 (Goal: 31)
           Weekly Points Left: 49 of 49 (Goal: 49)
           Pedometer Reading: 2358
           Meetings Attended: None Scheduled
           Exercise Completed: At the Y -
                Swim Laps: 5 laps, 250 yards
                Water Jogging: 5 laps, 250 yards

      A person I know was impressed to see his son put his life back together. When the dad asked his son how he did it, the son responded, "Every morning when I wake up, I remind myself that today is the journey of a lifetime."

      I'm not sure that I can live that way at this point in my life every day, but I certainly like the idea: Make every day special. Take advantage of what the day has to offer you to continue your journey. Granted, it's hard to see washing the dishes or folding laundry as special. But I hope I can make it that way by reminding myself that this is a service to my family. That, plus the fact that every journey starts with preparation. Once I get passed the dishes, the best part of the journey is right in front of me. I have completed much preparation. And when I perform some of those and other services with members of my family, it can have a warm and wonderful effect. But in the end, how I treat the journey is up to me. Am I an extra in a movie who walks across the screen in the background while dialog is in the foreground? Or am I the author taking the time to create the story line that motivates me towards the ending of my design? Either option is okay, because the journey of today may be exciting as an extra. The journey may be thrilling as the author. What matters, it seems to me, is whether or not I have made it my journey. Too often, I am easily upset when the journey I planned is delayed or canceled. And then the journey of the lifetime takes on a new meaning by giving me the opportunity to enjoy restoring the journey to the path of my choosing. That path of my choosing may not be the one originally planned, but there's no reason why I cannot IVCUFI.

      I'm not sure of the method that will make every day the journey of a lifetime. But I know I can make today something worth serving as words to be written in the journal of my life.

      May we find the altruistic motivation that lifts us up during the mundane to achieve the goals that will make life not only the daily journey but the journey a daily life,

      Yours in the search for that motivation,


      P.S.: I am grateful for it all.

      Friday, December 20, 2013

      First Meaningful Post Aborted

      Post Number: 76
      Review of Yesterday's Progress
           Daily Points Left: 57 of 71 (Goal: 31)
           Weekly Points Left: 49 of 49 (Goal: 49)
           Pedometer Reading: 3625
           Meetings Attended: Overeaters Anonymous
           Exercise Completed:
                Scheduled - Clearing Entire Family Room of Boxes (moved to Monday)
                Completed - Cleaned out large portion of garage and home school room

      This is Day One of the new, improved blog of significance. My opportunity to upgrade from personal journal to meaningful blog. What initial problem do I run into? What meaningful topic should I start with? I'm not really worried that it be a top ten winner. I just want something meaningful. The first thing I think of is the various meanings I have witnessed behind the words, "I'm sorry." I think I will come back to that idea. Instead, I am going with my second idea. The VeggieDaBody program I was using for awhile and will use for food selection once I am well into the 300 pound range. The Veggie part is from the (mostly) vegetarian diet. Da is from American Heart Association Dash Diet. And the Body portion of the title is from the Body for Life program. I have a file with all of the details worked out. But I cannot open it. I don't have PowerPoint installed on this computer. So, the details will have to wait.

      I then wrote the following paragraph:
      In the meantime, let's discuss a medical condition that is controlled with one of the most trusted categories of medications: Blood Pressure. Unlike some of the drugs for tackling modern American issues such as fighting cholesterol, BP meds have a long established history in America going back to the 1940's. And we know more about controlling blood pressure than at anything in history.
      But this topic will have to wait along with the VeggieDaBody and other potential topics I have thought of just since starting this entry. Topics such as the Color Code Personality, Weight Loss Supplements, the Purpose Behind Other Health Supporting Supplements, Herbal Supplements versus the Modern American Medial Structure, and other ideas. These will have to wait because my time this morning to review yesterday's progress was interrupted by a leaking propane tank in the garage. Plus, it occurred to me that I can make a more meaningful entry by taking a week to write it out, think it through, and edit it down. So look for the Meaningful Entries to being in two Mondays on December 30, 2013.

      In the meantime, enjoy your regularly scheduled journal,

      Yours in the improvements that build a better me,


      P.S.: Never insult seven men when all you have is a six shooter. - Sherman T. Potter (MASH)

      Thursday, December 19, 2013

      I Will Remember This Entry

      Post Number: 75
      Review of Yesterday's Progress
           Daily Points Left: 53 of 71 (Goal: 31)
           Weekly Points Left: 49 of 49 (Goal: 49)
           Pedometer Reading: 7002
           Meetings Attended: Weight Watchers
           Exercise Completed: At the Y -
                Swim Laps (3 laps, 150 yards)
                Water-Jogged Laps (2 laps, 100 yards)
                SciFit: Recumbent Elliptical Machine (6 minutes & 0.5 miles)

      The lesson of this week so far that I am hoping to apply for the last two days before weigh in is this: Evenings are rough times for me. I would say I was at very nearly the same level of hunger several times throughout the day immediately prior to eating. Breakfast and lunch were small, simple, and did the job of lowering the hunger level while nourishing the body. But when dinner came along, I started out at the same level of eating and stopped temporarily. That is the point in time I need to get up from the table and head elsewhere. Otherwise, I am prone to use excuses to eat just a little more. If I am at home, there are endless amusements available upstairs to distract me away from the whatever it is that is motivates me away from the best choices.

      The evening food choices is the process of learning to make the best choices in a situation. This is one example of a lesson I am working on making ingrained into my thoughts. Another example of a lesson I need to complete is following through after making the best choices in planning. I was late to just about everything I scheduled yesterday. Part of that was me scheduling a few things a little too close together. Then there was getting a late start out of the gate. I am good at planning. And I have an exceptional sense of time that allows me to know when I am going to be running late long before I actually am.

      And once I am running late, other external impediments tend to get me riled. Which is the third lesson I need to ingrain: Letting go of the anger when I am frustrated. I made it through the day. I accomplished everything I needed to and even a couple I wanted to. And since I know that the kids will cause hiccoughs, I need to put them into motion with time available to waste.

      The hard part in these lesson is not the learning of them. I see them. I recognize them. The hard part is being in the moment and then recognizing the failure after the event instead of preventing the failure during the event. Which is why I am grateful for this blog. It allows me to think things through. See what works. Review the thoughts of the past.

      But more than those powerful forces available to this individual, this blog needs to be something more. While I have been reviewing what I get out of this blog, lately I have been evaluating what a reader might get out of this blog. Most of the popular blogs (not that I am seeking popular) have something in common. They are trying to teach their audience. While I am learning about me and posting about me (and this is a good things), I need to be providing value along the lines of some of the things I have learned about different aspects of weight loss, exercise, healthy living, and other forms of knowledge (and one day wisdom), that will provide value to me and the reader. Towards what end? Well, I have two new goals in mind to increase that helpful significance for this blog so a reader is more likely to find something of merit or consequence. The first point of significance is to be of value beyond the description of the trials and travails, rewards and successes, and knowledge and wisdom of one person. This blog may have such value already when an entry speaks to a reader, but I can plan to build such value into an entry. When this blog has such value, then I will have a readership motivated to return. This is nothing short of a daunting task.

      And while bringing such incredible value to a reader as a single author is an exceptionally daunting task, the second one bring the level of daunt to new, overwhelming heights. The second point of significance is somewhat selfish: I cannot begin to describe how much I enjoy the idea of being a stay-at-home Dad working as an author to be able to bring home the bacon. Yes, the high-fat, high-sodium, so absolutely delicious bacon that it belongs on burgers, covering chicken, embracing beef, sprinkled in salads, and adorning maple donuts. Yeah! You heard me, the almighty king of great taste and bad health that calls many a person to stray from their diet. I want to bring home the bacon. I want to be an author.

      Suddenly, all of the recreational writing I have done has bubbled up from the depths to push as a geyser into the air. I know most of the geyser is swept away by the wind, but for those watching in awe, it has a moment of existence that will inspire for years to come. I want to have those moments that inspire recorded and published. I want my words to have enough meaning to push others into putting a little money into the family coffers. Writing is not difficult for me. Look at how many blog entries went on and on and on (say it with me) and on and on and on and on and ooooooon. Length does not constitute valuable writing (as anyone in a literature class can attest to). But, from that length, the passage of pleasure, the nuggets of knowledge, and the whispers of wisdom have the chance to create the oceans of opportunity for me.

      So, to you the reader, I have four invitations:

      1. What topic can I elucidate that would bring value to you from reading this blog?
      2. What topics, non-fiction and fiction, would you like to see rendered into a short story, book, or novel?
      3. Ask others to inspect this blog. 
      4. Check out my long-suffering Authorship

      Let me expand on these points briefly. Or at least, as briefly as I know how. In my authoring, I edit to bring value to the fictional story or the non-fiction topic. In blogging, I rarely edit, as you can tell. The thoughts flow from my brain, down my arms, into my fingers, and flying on to the screen to be plastered into an entry that helps me feel that I have done something useful in my weight loss at the start of my day. Maybe that is the lesson from the top of this entry I need to pay attention to. I need to put value into my weight loss near the end of the day to make it easier to resist temptation. But that is a thought will have to be pursued another day.

      The thought of the moment is to expand a little on each point above -

      Blog Significance: I want to bring you, the reader, value. I know I have put nuggets of knowledge and pearls of wisdom here and there in my blog. They are scattered like a single can of bread crumbs strewn across the Super Bowl stadium, field, stands, bleachers, parking lot, and all. But that makes this site all the more unnerving in my mind. You have to hunt, search, and peck through the material that is interesting and forgotten or boring and never remembered to locate the valuable and memorable. What topics would bring more value to you? What do you want to know more about? I am an experienced researcher with a background in chemistry. Put me to work. I want to upgrade these entries from a journal to a blog.

      Readership to Authorship: I enjoy writing. My recreational writing is almost exclusively fiction. I have a Batman story I am working on, a dragon story I am working on, a story of knights I am working on, a wizard rebelling again a technological environment that has him trapped, and several others. Two Tuesdays ago, I spent the day entirely encased in my escapism, authoring so as not have to face the supernova of selfishness head on. This worked well as writing flow easily for me. I want to know what has value to you so that the flow has a direction that inspires me to bring some of value to the reader. This will evolve the flow from length to quality in the editing process. I need topic ideas that you would like to read, possible even pay a buck or two for an electronic copy to read.

      Invite: I am sure a few of you have already invited others to read this blog. After all, look at all of the page views I have! In this modern day and age, no publishing house accepts unsolicited manuscripts. I must have an agent. An agent needs to see two things: quality in the writing (which falls squarely upon my shoulders) and an audience (which is where you come in). A blog with 100's, possibly 1000's of followers leads to ease in joining the ranks of the published. And to have those 1000's of people following my blog, I need to have value to the reader, which brings to mind the first point. Why should you invite someone to read something that isn't bringing you back once or twice a week because of its significance?

      The Voyage of the Authorship: I had hoped, one day all too long ago, to pursue the dream of Authorship. I'm not sure what happened. The blog I was keeping for that is somewhat lacking in details. But like the weight loss details, the Authorship needs to set sail with focus, drive, attention, and effort filling her sails. And towards that end, I refer you to my other blog:

      This other blog, while meant to record thoughts along the voyage to becoming a published author, was never meant to be a detailed journal of everything I am working on. Still, there are only ten entries from Thursday, April 19, 2012 to Wednesday, December 18, 2013. That works out to one entry every 67.5 days. That's just plain wrong. And that ends now. I am not saying I will be placing anywhere near as many entries into that blog as I do in this one. But I think there should be two types of a weekly updates. A weekly description of what I have accomplished. And a weekly posting of something I have authored. One of the first entries, I do believe, should be the copy of my critique request that I hand out with my manuscript.

      I will remember this day, Thursday, 19 December 2013. This is the day I launched my new found freedom of expression in employment. I know, like weight loss, that becoming a financially secure author is going to be both a marathon and a sprint. That I need to put in titan amounts of long-term strain as I recreate the universe to appeal to readers. And there will be sprints, where I will need to have the speed of a bullet in order to complete tasks that require more immediacy. But something must be done. I have spent years as a chemist, never to be fully employed. I have spent decades as a teacher, only to be fully employed for three years. Is authoring to be my new calling, the one that finally bears fruit? I don't know. Follow me across the sea, if you dare. Adventure awaits that is not for the faint of heart.

      Yours excitedly in the hope a new adventure brings,


      P.S.: Creativity is intelligence having fun - Albert Einstein