A 45-year-old fat man trying to find his inner skinny dude.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I don't know how often I'm going to write here.  If you are interested, bless you.  You are very kind.

So, when my twins came home, I put on about 15 pounds (with them).  That's in addition to about ten I'd put on after they were born (early) and in the NICU for a month.  So, not great. 

I went back to Weight Watchers, but I didn't like the new program (fruit is free, but I can eat a LOT of fruit--that doesn't help me).  I understand why they're doing it.  WW's big challenge is to teach people how to eat.  My problem historically is portion control.  I can eat a lot of good stuff.

I've been experimenting with intermittent fasting.  It may be that several small meals a day is not the best idea.  I'll see how it goes.  I'm down a bit, which makes me happy.  I do care about the number on the scale, dammit.  I do.

I want to drop 100 pounds (yes) before my girls are about six or seven.  I think that's doable, and I don't want to be their huge dad.  I want to be able to run around with them.

I bought running shoes at the beginning of the summer.  I run, sort of.  I walk at least.  And it's pretty cool, really.  I'm committed, in my fashion.  But I do think people are right.  Diet matters most.  So I'm watching it.

I hope you're all well.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I think if you stop paying attention, it's easy to slip back to eating poorly and eating too much.  I sometimes feel that I only have so much discipline available to me.  I can work out and pay attention to my family and my job, but food will falter.  Or I can do the food, but maybe I'm distracted by being obsessive and am not present for the family.  Or something like that.

It can be hard, in other words, to hold it all together.  At least it's hard for me, because food has basically been my drug of choice for so long.  Oh how I wish I could quit eating altogether.  I'd be set.  Really.

But that won't happen.  So I am trying to be mindful of what I'm eating.  One Hershey's kiss in the office won't be a problem right?  Well, no.  But for me, one does not really exist.  Those things come in families.  Plus, a plum (and I do like a good plum) is about the same calories, with more fiber and less fat. 

Trigger foods.  I've found that with these, I'm better off without.  One slice of pizza leads inexorably to as much as I can get.  Same with some appetizers.  Sometimes it's true of candy or other sweets.  My defenses weaken as the day goes along.  I'm fine in the morning, but after dinner, I often feel the desire to eat, even though I'm not hungry.  I try to pay attention to hunger, to confirm whether I really need something or if the desire is just to eat. 

It's the same with working out.  I am ready to go in the morning.  If I haven't done it by five or six, it probably won't happen.  So there's that.

I'm amazed at the games I can play with myself.  I'm happy when the part of me that cares about me can win over the part of me that, having gotten comfortable, doesn't want to move.  Because I really do care.  I have good reasons to.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I'm going running tomorrow.  I mean it.  I am.

But I dread it.  Part of it is just that it's hard.  Part of it is that I have the association of running with childhood embarrassment and pain.  (I learned that I could not win at running, so it was best not to try too hard.  It's a lesson I've been trying to unlearn ever since.)  Part of it is that I want to do more than I can.  I guess expectation management would help.

After I go, however, I feel pretty good about myself.  I feel glad that I did it.  I feel glad that I care enough about myself to take care of myself.  And I fantasize about being good at something that I dread to do.

So I'm going tomorrow morning, despite the dread.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Perking along

Mostly I'm holding steady.  I've actually been working out on the schedule I want--well, I mean I did last week.  Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday.  The rest of the time, I'm doing three or four hours in the car every day.  It's not horrible if I have a good audio book, but it's hell on the workout regimen. 

Yesterday, I was going to do a long bike ride, but it was 85 degrees by the time I was ready, so I opted for the gym.  I have to face it--I'm 46 and pretty heavy.  Why get hurt in the name of health?

I'm trying, too, to focus on health as opposed to weight loss.  I figure the latter will follow.  But damn.  It's hard to get on the scale and be at my top weight in two years.  It's still less than I weighed when I moved to LA nine years ago, but still.  The evil voice in my head thinks I suck.  I'm trying hard not to believe it.  In truth, things in my life are going as well as they ever have.  Seriously.  Want to see me happy?  Here it is!

Anyway, I'm perking along.  (That's something my grandmother used to say.)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Big Plans

You'd think on a holiday weekend, I'd manage to work out all three days.  I did one day, and I found myself too busy or too tired (falling-asleep tired, not unmotivated) to do it.  Well, maybe a little unmotivated.  I try to observe, and I have realized that my mood has a lot to do with whether I feel compelled to work out.  Why is it a shock?  Bad mood usually equals bad eating for me.  Bad moon generally means no workout.  I think it's part of internalizing bad things, not feeling worthy of taking care of myself.

The thing I try to remember is that no one else is going to do it for me.

Even when I learned over the weekend that a friend of mine died Saturday at age 48, I didn't work out.  Rather, I mulled the event over in shock.  A lot.  (I've also got troubles with my brother.  This didn't help things.)  But other than the above, I'm not going to beat myself up over it.  The weekend is over, and I've got this week to work with.

I know I feel better when I work out, both mentally and physically.  Leaving the house is the hard part.  The rest is easy.  I've probably said that before.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Weekend Athlete

I've decided I have to work out more.  This one weekend a month thing is not going to work for me.  When I do that, the workouts KILL me.  I wind up exhausted and sore.  I feel good for having done it, but man.

Here's something I've noticed lately, as I move out of my comfort zone.  See, I am good at the elliptical.  I can knock out 40 minutes no problem, and I can go longer.  Mostly I get bored.  Seriously.

But I decided to start to run.  Now, there's no way around it--I'm a big guy.  But I went to the fancy running store after doing my research, and I bought good shoes (the Brooks Beast--very comfortable, no pronating).  I use the free Endomondo app to keep track of things (distance, pace, etc).  (Neither Brooks nor Endomondo is paying me, but I am willing to take their money.) 

I have always hated running.  I was the fat kid (often the slowest fat kid) in gym class, and even when I was a shotputter, I was slow and not good.  I dreaded running.  I HATED running.  Aside from the degree of difficulty, it just made me feel bad.  I find that now, I approach running the same way.  I feel like I'm 12 or 14 again.  I dread it.  I put it off.  I worry that I won't be able to do it, that people will see me and laugh.  This is how I grew up, after all.  But that really hasn't happened.  It is really hard to do, and I suck wind, and my legs hurt, but I do better than I thought I could, and I enjoy it more than I expect.  Thanks to some encouragement from people who are real runners, especially Tanya (see 90in9.wordpress.com at right), I feel as though I might be able to do it.

I ran Saturday.  I biked Sunday (same process, but glad to have done it).

I have resolved to do this at least three times a week, four if I can fit it in.

New goal--I want to lose 100 pounds in the next ten years (so when my girls are 11, I can race around with them).  That seems doable.  Never know, I guess.  Right now I'm going to focus on the healthy part.  As big as I am, I am in decent shape.  My pulse is in the low 60s (for the first time ever).  So there's that.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Working on it

Do you work out when you're sick?

Does working out make you sick?

I have had something wrong--cold, sinus infection--since May.  My house, as a friend likes to say, doubles as a petri dish, thanks to two babies.  I find that just about the time I'm getting in the gym groove, I get sick, don't work out, and lose my momentum.

I've resolved to follow what seems to be the conventional wisdom, working out as long as the sick is above the neck.  The most recent bout (while I was on vacation, natch) involved the lungs, too, though, so I didn't work out at all.  I'd had high hopes for working on the running.  Dashed.

I wonder if I get exposed to stuff at the gym, too.  I must, but I wonder if I'm just running myself down.

Don't get me wrong.  I enjoy the gym.  The only bad part is making myself go.  I'm glad to be there and glad to have gone.  I don't need an excuse not to go.

But damn.  I'm tired of feeling crappy.  Maybe the new gig will help.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Here we go again.

So, here's what I've been doing for the last year--raising two babies, being happy at home, and loathing my job.

The four of us--babies, wife, me--we've all put on between fifteen and twenty pounds since the babies came home after a month in the hospital.  Preemies, you know.

The girls are doing great.  They could even pack on a couple more pounds.  They're skinny kids.  Who knew I could yield skinny kids?

The rest of us, well, ugh.

I know--know for a fact, because I was conscious of it almost every time--that I spent a good amount of time eating my feelings.  It's what I do, or at least what I have done, historically-speaking.  I guess I think I couldn't help it.  The agitation had to come out somewhere.  Food crimes, my act-out of choice.  Hey, at least I'm not drinking, or on heroin.

But still.  Even at my (pretty high) weight, I notice twenty pounds (this might be a new thing).  So it's time to get back to paying attention to what I'm eating and moving more.  I don't know about you, but getting sad/depressed does not make it easier for me to get off the couch.

I have a new job, but a long (up to two hour) commute.  My eating over the last week has been better, good, even.  So the challenge is figuring out when I'm going to exercise.  The obvious answer is after the babies go to bed, but I like spending time with my wife, and we can't both leave the house.

The latest workout news is this--I've started running.  Meaning, I've bought nice shoes and have run three times (and walked once, when I was sick, because damn it, I needed it).  I grew up hating to run.  I was a fat kid.  Running sucked and so did I.  But now, I kind of like it.  I still suck at it, but I feel as though I can do it.  There's been no foot or joint pain (good shoes), and I don't beat myself up when I have to walk, which is often.  I exalt that I can move like this at all.  I just turned 46.  I have babies.  It would be fun to drop a hundred pounds in the next ten or fifteen years so I can run with them.  Come to think of it, that's a decent goal.

I hope you're all well.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

66,000 Calories

I think I found them.  No, really.  Now, before I get started, I'll say this:  I've been reading/hearing about the whole paleo thing for a while.  I'm not convinced this is all calories-in/calories-out.  It makes sense to me to pay attention to insulin levels (especially in my family).  But right now, I'm going to suss out the calories that have messed me up lately.

Working out--I was pretty good at getting in good workouts two to three times a week before the babies came home.  If you figure 500 calories per session (not a stretch, given my size and what I do), that's 1000 calories a week x 36 weeks.  That's 36,000 calories, or about ten pounds.

Now, here's the second part of the equation.  30,000 calories over 36 weeks is about 833 calories a week.  That's about 119 calories a day more than I need.  Can I say I didn't go over by 119 calories a day for that period?  No way.   I mean, what's 100 calories?  NOTHING.  A margin of error for me.  But if you eat it consistently, it will show.

I have a friend whose mother gained a lot of weigh over 30 years.  She really got big.  But if you did the math, it came down to 200 extra calories a day.  A candy bar a day, almost.

It doesn't take much.  So here I am.  The combination of lack of movement and lack of mindfulness got me back up.

I went to the gym today at 5:45 am.

(Thanks for your support, Ginger.)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Here I am again

I feel kind of bad for anyone who may actually be trying to follow this blog. I'm not here much. It's true that my life has gotten fuller and busier in the last year or so. But still.

In any event, please don't read this blog if you want advice on how to lose weight and keep it off. Apparently I don't know how to do it. I was perking along there for a while, but I've put on 17 pounds in the last nine or ten months. I can't believe that I've ingested 66,000 extra calories, but apparently I have. That or the lack of working out matters more than I thought. In any event, I'm pretty dejected. I'm not going off on a binge or anything, but it definitely makes eating right and exercising (i.e. giving a shit about yourself) seem extraneous and futile.

Yeah, bad day/week. But I walked to the train today. It's a (re-) start.

Friday, March 16, 2012


Run all you want, but nothing changes the shape of your body like lifting does.  I haven't lifted in a long time.  Mostly, I don't love doing it.  And it always seems as though I can burn more calories doing aerobic exercise.  Sure, sure, there are articles saying that if you add muscle, you will burn more calories at rest than if you don't add muscle.  But there are articles that point out that you'd have to add A LOT of muscle for that to make a big difference in your metabolism.  But there are benefits.

One is to maintain the muscle you have.  It's easy to lose muscle if you are losing weight.   This is partly because your body doesn't need muscle to support fat that goes away.  Part of it is that if you eat too little, your body will consume muscle faster than fat, because it requires a lot of care and feeding, and fat does not.  (Shock, right?)

But lifting sure makes everything hang better.  My clothes are looser, even though I'm not down much.  I mix it up, and I like about a 15 or 20 minute warm up on the elliptical before I lift.  Then another 25 or so minutes of lifting.  I am getting stronger (I'm keeping track).  And it feels as though I've done something, which I like.  But the clothes!

So, follow the experts' advice.  Do some lifting.  You won't get huge (unless you want to, and that takes work).  But you will look better.  I heard this:  Be thin to look good in clothes.  Be strong to look good naked. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Some progress

I'm down a pound or two this week.  I'm not specific, because it's kind of hard to put a number on it, since my weight fluctuates a little.  But down is down, and that's a win.

Rough weekend, though, so I'm having some Thin Mints.  True story--a Girl Scout came to my door three weeks ago and tried to sell me some cookies.  I said, "No, I can't.  I'm too fat."  As I shut the door, I saw the look on her mom's face--mystification.  My wife was similarly stunned.

A week later I was at the grocery store and some Girl Scouts were set up on a table.  I caved.  I felt bad for the first one, and I thought buying these would atone.  The Thin Mints have been in my trunk for a week.  But I'm having a weak moment, so I'm eating some.  I'm not even worried about it, really.  I've been going to the gym regularly (4 times this week!), and this doesn't feel like the wheels are coming off.

Other than that, not much.  I'm in that stage where watching what I eat all the time--being relentless--feels like a burden.  I'm not starving or anything.  It's just that keeping track of everything takes some discipline.  I can't do it the rest of my life.  But I can do it today, and I can do it tomorrow.  With luck, I can do it for about 60 or 70 pounds more.  Then I'll see where I am.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Maybe it's not just the clothes

If you've read any of my older posts, you know that I've said I'm in it for the clothes.  And I am.  I really, really want to wear cool clothes. 

But there's more now.  We've been working on an estate plan.  It's an exercise in worst-case what if.  The joke is, I have nothing (long story).  But I need some life insurance.  I had some in a previous life, but I got divorced, and there was no need, and you know the rest.

I got turned down for life insurance a year ago.  Why?  Height and weight.  (It pissed me off, because I went through the physical, and then they turned me down for threshold information they'd already had.)

I decided to try again, though, because my girls need me or they need money.  And I found some.  It's pricey, but I'm good.  Here's the bitch of it:  If I weighed 60 pounds less, I'd pay $100/month less.

I'm a good maintainer, but I'm going to lose that 60.  I'll drop a few sizes, too, and that will make me happy, clothing-wise.  And then I'll get the policy re-written.  Maybe this is what I need to be less complacent, to hit the gym early in the morning, even when it's cold.

So I'm in it for the clothes and for the babies.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Patty Melt Diet

I lost four and a half pounds in one night! 

It's true.  But it's not the way to do it.  I ate a bad burger.  It was most unpleasant for 24 hours, and kind of gross for another 24.  I'm feeling much better now, but wow.  Not good.

Mostly I'm mad because I couldn't go to the gym.  (Trust me.  I couldn't go.)

As you may recall, gentle reader, my wife and I had twins eight months ago.  Everything is going well, and it's all been fun and interesting (and exhausting).  My wife and I have made a commitment to ourselves, each other, and the babies, to drop some more weight.  Aside from the obvious life-insurance type issues, we really don't want to be the girls' fat parents. 

Part of this is that we want to blend into the background when the kids' friends think about parents.  We don't want to be the twins' fat mom and fat dad.  Being a kid is bad enough.  People will find lovely ways to mock them, I have no doubt.  But we don't want to give ammunition to jerky kids. 

We also want to be able to do things with the kids--things involving movement.  My wife and I are not naturally athletic types, but we wish we were.  Plus, chasing the kids around is not going to be easy while carrying a bunch of extra weight.  I want to play with them without being too winded or worn out to be a fun dad.

Finally, we want the kids to like to move.  I work with a guy who is in great shape and always has been.  Genes are what they are, but he likes to move.  I saw him one Monday and asked him what he did over the weekend.  He told me that on Sunday, he'd gone for a run in the morning and then surfed all afternoon.  He's just gone running for fun.  Seriously.  I would love to feel like that about exercise.  I'm to the point where I miss exercise when I don't do it.  But I'm not to "fun" yet.  Maybe someday.  And I'll absolutely fake it to get my girls interested.

Here they are:

The girls have some strikes against them:  fat parents and fat genes.  But we're doing what we can to eat right and teach them to, and we're going to get out and have fun.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Checking in

I know it's been a while.  It's been a hard few months.  Since the twins came home, I've been unable to hit the gym (and I'm not going to go into why), and I've been eating stuff I shouldn't (because I don't do heroin), and I've put on some weight.  Not tons.  Maybe nine pounds since last summer.  But it's disappointing.

I've hit the gym now three days in a row though (yay me!), and I've been working hard not to eat my feelings.  I've had middling success, but I think I can do almost anything a day at a time, so that's what I'm doing.

[Ginger, if you read this, would you invite me to your blog?]

Hope everyone is well.