About 8 months ago Chana and I posed for this picture at an engagement party. We were at our heaviest and insisted upon making a serious change. We used that wedding as our motivation and wanted nothing more than to leave this chapter behind us.
We made the necessary changes and now, we're 2 weeks away from the date. I took up the cleanse again for one last blitz just before the big day and I'm proud to say that I'm at the 63lb mark. With 8 more days left to cleanse, I think I can make it to 70. Maybe even beyond.
Hopefully there'll be some awesome pictures to post here in 15 days' time.
I'm not sure what the cause is, but for the past couple of weeks it seems like I haven't made any progress. I'm not sure what's going wrong, or if anything has gone wrong. My weight is hovering at or about the same place as it did at the end of February even though I've been managing my calorie intake and working out on a fairly regular basis.
Sure there are a hundred different explanations for this. I could be building muscle. Hell, I hadn't worked out in ages and with all these new hikes and trips out my body could just be getting healthier. I've noticed.... and this comes with some forewarning that you may not want to read this.... that my digestive system hasn't been the healthiest and that I've dealt with a fair amount of constipation lately. Likely there are even a few explanations that I'm not even considering.
Suffice it to say, I feel like I've just been going nowhere lately, which by itself might be a terrible thing had it not been for Facebook the other day. Let me explain. About 2 days ago, I was uploading pictures of Beans at our latest trip to Eaton Canyon. He was scared of the water as per usual and I had to carry him over a small creek bed. Obviously this made for a great picture and when I uploaded it to FB, I realized that I looked so much better than the last time I saw myself in the outfit I'd chosen for the hike. The last time I saw myself in pictures wearing what I was wearing, I was 45 pounds heavier and pretty depressed. Those weren't good times.
At the end of the day, I'm grateful for the progress I've made. I'm dropping inches, I look better, and I feel better than I have in ages. So I really don't know what I'm complaining about, if that is what I'm doing here. I guess when it all comes down to it, I'm just a man with a goal to hit and though I'm feeling better in general, I'm not getting any closer to that goal. I guess this is why they tell you to measure your progress by inches rather than pounds.
Chana was gone for the week on business. Missed her obviously, but coming back led us into once of the best weekends we've shared in a very long time.
We started out the dog park at Long Beach and saw UFC 111 at Big Wangs in Downtown. Sunday started with a nice hike into Eaton Canyon and finished with a movie at the Americana in Glendale. The Americana was a really nice place by the way.
Right now, I'm tired. Sorry for this being so dry. Out.
Had a great day with Chana and Beans. We drove down to Venice and walked him up and down the boardwalk. Spent 2 hours in the process and Beans never once growled at a single person.
I hit 347 today. What's funny is, it took me well over a month and change to essentially lose 3 pounds. I guess that's what the cleanse will do to you. I'm hoping that things will finally even out from this point forward. I'd like to manage my calories correctly and thus lose weight just as a regular person should.
After about a month now with the Bodybugg, I've learned more than a few things about how my body works:
On average, I burn anywhere from 3200 calories a day when I do absolutely nothing but lie around the house to about 4000 calories when I run errands, clean the house, etc.
With that, I decided to try and maintain a 2000 calorie diet for myself which is surprisingly easy as long you take the necessary measures in order to aid in your success. We have grilled chicken in our fridge at all times since good protein is often the hardest thing to come by when you want a snack. Beyond that, we keep a healthy amount of fruit stocked, try to keep a good amount of Alternative Pitas, and Tortilla Factory Low Carb tortillas on hand. They're all ways of getting the things you might be craving (ie a burrito) without having to blow your diet in order to do so.
Funny thing is, learning just how much your body burns also raises the question- exactly how did I manage to gain 90 lbs over the course of 3 years? Now I understand that, living in the back house, I wan't the most active guy in the world. That being said, I had a job the kept me on my feet for 12 hours a day. I was going to school and walking a fair amount there. Chana and I were going out all the time, doing this and that. So just how much was I eating? What kind of calorie excesses was I going to? It's just mind boggling now that I start to think about it.
Note: running through some basic numbers last night, Chana and I came to the conclusion that one of my meals at Taco Bell likely ran from 1500 to 2000 calories every single time. So fuck them and anyone who believes those "healthy" Taco Bell diet claims.
Dropped below 350 for the first time since the cleanse. I'm monitoring my daily caloric burn by using a Bodybugg, which is a hatefully overpriced piece of gadgetry from the good people at 24 Hour Fitness. If you can find the equivalent out there and are trying to manage/lose weight, then I'd highly recommend picking one up. For me, it's made all the difference. Now, I feel like I clearly understand what I need to do in order to succeed and you can't ask for much more than that.
The plan is simple (hopefully I haven't broken it down before): keep calorie consumption under my daily burn by at least 1000 calories, which is what doctors say is necessary to do in order to drop 2 lbs per week. At that rate, I should reach my goal weight by November 29th of this year... I can hardly imagine hitting my goal by before the end of the year. Sure it's not Alex as a thin guy. That's likely never going to happen, but it's still me being smaller than I've been in at least a decade.
This past month has been a tiring roller coaster of ups and downs in the weight dept. Apparently my body didn't take too well to the cleanse (or maybe this was just the first time I'd ever noticed) and my weight was all over the place. I essentially went down to 350 after the Master Cleanse. That went up to as high as 358.8 or something to that effect, which might not seem like much but when you consider my diet you start to wonder how it is I'm gaining.
Since the cleanse, Chana and I have been watching our diets very carefully. We're counting calories and with accurate ideas of what our daily intake should be at have created good meal plans that keep us both at a 1000 calorie a day deficit. Nutritionists say that's the way to lose an average of 2 pounds per week. Now, though those last couple of seconds might make it sound like we're living in a concentration camp, we're not. Controlling your daily intake is surprisingly not that difficult as long as you prepare 99% of your own meals. That means that fast food, hot pockets, and frozen dinners have been kicked to the curb in favor of fresh ingredients and good recipes. It's not that difficult to pull off either since Chana and I are the only two eating. We make one large dinner and pack up the leftovers to be eaten over the next day or two. Easy as pie if you ask me and when you have control like that, it's much easier to manage your daily caloric intake.
So back to the coaster ride- So I finish the cleanse and somehow, without going over my calorie allowance for most of that time (my birthday was in there mind you... But even then, you can't gain that much weight from one night's indiscretion) I manage to bounce all over the place weight wise and eventually settle damn near 10 pounds from where the cleanse sat me. It got to be so bad that I considered throwing the whole "healthy living" thing right out the fucking door. I was sick of minding my Ps and Qs all for the sake of an extra ten pounds. Shit, I could eat anything and everything I want and not gain that kind of weight. It's fucking ridiculous.
So about a week ago, my body finally settled and I dropped a quick five and half pounds over night. It made me feel great, like my efforts really counted for something and the progress has followed that same path since. I'm currently sitting at 351. I'm one pound away from getting back to zero and I couldn't be happier.
I know that this process is far from over. It's just nice have the work pay off, you know?
In 51 minutes I'm going to be 31.
That's sort of sobering to say. It really doesn't mean anything, and in a way it sort of does.
Here's the thing, I don't ever think about mortality, and I mean never. I don't harp on death, don't engage in the great debate of who's right in the war of religions. I frankly don't give a shit who takes the trophy because I'm more than happy to continue living my life as it is. I'm a lucky man. I've been blessed many thousand times over. I have great friends, a girlfriend that will love me till the end of my days, a place to call home, and an awesome basset hound. What more could anyone ask for?
Some people might say, "money, fame, or power", but not me. Sure I'd love to win the lottery, but not so much for the endless riches than just to have the freedom from worry. I don't want to own my own private island, but it would be nice not to have think about where the money for the DWP bill is going to come from. That's a common goal though. I'm sure a lot of people dream of just being freed from their burdens.
I should get back to mortality, because that's sort of the topic here. As I said before, I rarely think about mortality. Maybe it's because I don't rock climb, take drugs, or share needles with really sickly looking individuals, but for me there's just not too many reasons to stare into the void.
I guess turning 31 has got me thinking a bit. I'm wondering how many more of these years I have left. Let's face it, I'm not in very good health. Sure my girlfriend and I are working on turning a new leaf and all (and quite frankly, I feel it is seriously working), but when all is said and done- I am a big guy with lots of bad habits. I rarely smoke, which is nice considering when I worked at Hustler I was up to 1/2 a pack a day. I don't drink very often aside from those occasions when I get older. I drive relatively cautiously. I'm calm and relaxed more often than not. All of those things combined can't combat fat though. Obesity is the number one killer and it's something that I have to deal with.
So how many more birthdays do I get to look forward to? 39? 49? Shit, if I were a betting man I'd have called it at 80 and that's if I'm REALLY lucky.
-But what does that even mean? So what if my time is limited. My life won't change for anything but the better. That just so happens to be the road I walk, and I goddamn I love it. Like I said before, I've been blessed. Nothing has ever been perfect. I've been hurt many many times. Have fallen on plenty of rough times, but at the end, if nothing else, my mother taught me how to persevere. That's who I am, who I will be.
This blog has been a bunch of bullshit and a waste of time- but at least it wasn't depressing.
I've done this a thousand times before. The well worn road of the "New Year- New plan for making it work this time" is something I'm very familiar with. This is what I do, and what I've done since I was 11 really. Every year I start out owning what I am, accepting me for just who I am, and trying my damnedest to change the poor habits I've developed over these many years.
Needless to say, most efforts have proven quite futile. Trouble is the life I've led is an easy one. It's really easy to just stop by any roadside takeout place and order up whatever specialty they offer. Pay for your meal, head home, and enjoy. 1, 2, 3. Easy as pie. There's nothing to it. Who wouldn't want to enjoy a little bit of something that tastes good and do so while drinking a nice ice cold glass of beer while watching the fight? Who doesn't have that dream for chrissakes?
Yeah, it's an easy life. It's a fun life. Quite frankly, it's a life I really don't want to stop leading. Yet here I am about to make the same change I've made a thousand times before, and I'm actually positive about the results. That's not to say i wasn't positive before, but this time there's something else to it. I'm not just positive I can make this work, I'm also realistic about the results.
I'm not trying to make some crazy go at it. I'm not starving myself, not depriving myself of the things I want, not being unrealistic about what I can eat and what I will eat. I'm doing this, hopefully, the right way this time.
I'm trying to understand the right foods I should eat. I'm measuring out my foods into correct portions. Best part of all, I'm eating things that taste good! This isn't an infomercial about some product you won't use in a week. This is me saying I like nectarines and eating them makes me happy.
The solutions are simple. Control your foods better and you'll do better. That's a bit more difficult that you might imagine when you don't have a kitchen of your own. You end up making really bad decisions out of convenience. Now, my situation is different. I have my own kitchen and thankfully, I also like to cook. Last night I had one of the best vegetable soups I've ever eaten and I made it! There was no crap in it. No pesticides, no artificial colors or sweeteners, no bullshit. It just had vegetables, seasonings, and lots of goodness.
It tasted good and, best of all, I was full. You can't ask for more than that.
Right now, I'm just happy. I think I might have a solution. Now let's see how it plays out.
Let's just say that it got bad. Three years of Chana and I doing little in the way of living in a controlled manner led us to both gain weight. It never helps that I'm, even at my smallest, usually too big to be accurately weighed on a normal scale.
So you put a couple of things together:
a) We were living in a small apartment with no kitchen and a fridge just big enough to hold snacks and such
b) We are in love and part of that is going out and having fun with little thought to consequence
c) We both love food and are not the biggest fans of exercise
...and you've got a recipe for just this sort of thing,
I wish I had better self control. I wish it wasn't so easy for me to pack on the weight. I wish a lot of this was just shit I didn't have to deal with. Some people get away with having great metabolisms. Why not me? But that's neither here nor there. Truth is, I'm lazy, I like to eat, and pizza tastes good.
So yeah, it's an ongoing struggle.
So where does that leave us today? Well about a month ago, I was that guy in the picture above. I couldn't comfortably wear any of my jeans anymore. I was living in sweat pants and I was eating whatever the hell I wanted to. Also, I was over 390 lbs.
[Jesus. How did it get to that?]
Now I don't claim to ever be the smallest guy in the world. Hell, a healthy weight for me is 300 or even 280. I'm not small and was never meant to be so, but I shouldn't be this big.
So what's the solution? Well, it's simple. We have our own home now, our own kitchen, and it's time we utilize them for the betterment of our existences. It's time to start living healthier, eating right, hell even exercising.
Step 1. The Sprint
Master Cleanse to get things off on the right foot, and that's precisely where we are today. I've been cleansing for 38 days now and have lost a great 40 lbs. It's not something I like talking about, because frankly I feel like an asshole, like a failure for gaining so much of it in the first place. I mean, fuck, this isn't the first time I've had to drastically change the way I live because shit got away from me. So the last thing I need to do is to start taking credit for fucking up and trying to fix it.
Maybe when this is over, maybe when John's wedding is behind us, maybe after we're living the life we're supposed to, maybe then I'll feel proud. For now, I've got a long road ahead.