Sunday, December 13, 2009

New Year Resolutions

I hear many people say that they don't make New Year's resolutions simply because so many people half heartedly do so and fail.  Well, I can tell you that my first successful attempt to lose weight was begun at the start of a new Year.  This was about 10 years ago when I lost 65 pounds doing low carb.  This was well before I started this blog in 2006.  But why wait until January 1st?  Well, at least the temptations of the holidays will be behind me.  And, the new year symbolizes new beginnings.  Who could ask for a better time to start than a new year? 

I'm beginning to feel fat again.  I've gained back most of what I lost in 2006 and 2007.  I can blame a lot of things.  But really I should just blame myself.  Yes, it's hard to avoid temptations.  But, I really need to treat my weight problem as what it is, a medical problem requiring a special diet.  There is little difference between my obesity and a diabetes.  Carbs can a fat man just as it can kill a diabetic.  Both ailments are a slow death that affects the body in many ways.    I can only hope that my New Year's resolution isn't just another means to delay the inevitable.  But I like the symbolism of a new beginning at the start of a new year.  So, I'm going to announce my resolution early.  I will get back into shape and live a long life, participating in the lives of my children and future grandchildren.

This blog proved invaluable to me in my weight loss of 2006-2007.  It brought me in touch with many good people who gave me support and great ideas.  And so, once again, I will be sharing my progress and my recipes on line.  Wish me luck.  I'm shooting for a 100 pound weight loss this time.  And I plan to keep it off.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

SCAM: Seattle's HCG Diet Weight Loss Center

I received an e-mail from a fellow diet blogger about a website who has stolen our before & after pictures claiming that we used their program to lose our weight. This is a scam. We did not use HCG (human Chorionic Gonadotrophin) and never will. I lost my weight using a low carbohydrate diet. There were no magic pills that allowed me to miraculously lose weight.

I have not yet contacted this website. I'd prefer first to get input from my readers as to the best course of action. It's not just about removing my picture. I am more concerned with shutting down a fraudulent company who is preying on those of us who are looking desperately to lose weight. I am sure that there are many laws being broken beyond just violating my photo rights.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Obese People Have Severe Brain Degeneration

My father sent me an e-mail today with a link to this article:

Obese People Have 'Severe Brain Degeneration' - Yahoo! News: "A new study finds obese people have 8 percent less brain tissue than normal-weight individuals. Their brains look 16 years older than the brains of lean individuals,
researchers said today."

I'm sure he means well and hopes that this will give me incentive to re-lose my weight. But somehow it comes across as being a bit insulting.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Riddle

There is a clerk at the butcher shop. He is five feet ten inches tall, wears size 13 sneakers, and his waist is 48 inches. He has a wife and 2 kids. What does he weigh?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Diet and Fitness Advertisements

I was curious what sort of funny weight loss and fitness advertisements I could find on the net... So, after a quick google images search, here is what I found.




























































And, finally here is a diet that I haven't tried.... SMOKING! Do you think that these retro ads are real?































Monday, July 20, 2009

Reflections on Gaining it Back

Over two years have passed since I lost 85 pounds and then went off low-carb. Regardless of diet, I did pretty good at first in keeping the pounds off. This was mostly due to excessive walking during the six months last year that I spent working in Paris, France. But after returning home to a mostly sedentary lifestyle, my weight began creeping up again. I have now re-gained about 70 of the 85 pounds that were lost. However, the weight is not distributed the same as before. My pant size is up to a 48 but the last time I weighed this much my pants were size 54. I have not calculated my percent body fat recently but am certain that I am more muscular than I was a few years ago. This may be due to lugging around a 3 year old child.

I wonder how clearly I see myself. It's hard to be objective when looking in the mirror or at photographs. I know that I am a bit larger than most men but don't think that I am sloppy fat. What scares me is that I often see people who I think are enormous only to find out that they weigh less than me or have smaller pant sizes. The other day, an enormous co-worker was telling me that he didn't need a seat belt extender on airplanes. This shocked me as he looks huge and is even taller than me. Granted, he doesn't have much of a butt. This makes me wonder if I am seeing myself clearly. My calves and thighs are big and strong. I have always had a bigger than average butt. I think that most of the people who look really fat appear this way because they have skinny legs, fat necks, and/or fat faces. But, maybe I do look as fat as I am. Maybe I am simply not able to see myself clearly and objectively. Yeah, I'm fat. I'd like to think I'm football player lineman fat. But do I really look as fat as other people my size? I don't think so.

Why did I allow myself to gain back this much weight? Unlike the last time I weighed over 300 pounds, I currently feel great. My feet and back don't hurt. I don't tire out as quickly when I go on long walks. Overall, I don't feel bad. I actually feel pretty good both physically and emotionally. I'm comfortable. But at the same time, I know that I'm now on the cusp of having major health problems. Also, I admit it, I am fat mostly because I love food. When not kept in check by a structured diet, I eat much more carbohydrates than is healthy. And, the more carbs I eat the more carbs I crave. On top of this, I spend 12 days on the road each month. On these trips, I work late then eat late, then go straight to bed without any real exercise.

What sort of exercise am I getting? I'm not the type to go to a gym. I find the monotony excruciatingly boring. On travel days, I get virtually no excise. When at home, I have started finding more constructive alternative forms of exercrise. Much of this revolves around yard-work. I'm working on building wooden borders around our flower beds. This entails digging and sawing and hammering. I hand-plowed my tomato garden. I'm going to build a shed and have begun digging out the side of a hill to make a flat area for it to sit. I'm moving dirt by hand to fix irrigation problems. Soon, I'm going to dig up a row of Hollies to make room for new landscape plants.

When will I get serious again about losing weight? Many of you are probably thinking that I should start this vary minute. I find it hard to just jump right into a diet and stick with it. Instead, I think it's easier when I plan ahead. I'm going out of town labor day weekend and will begin when I return. This will give me time to get my head together as well as to clear out most of the unhealthy foods in my kitchen.

What will be the diet strategy this time? The last time that I did straight low-carb, each month, I lost half of what I did the previous month. While I lost a great deal of weight, it became quite frustrating after my body metabolism adjusted to the diet. At that time, I experimented with carb cycling without exercise. This seemed to break my stall but after a few months my metabolism seemed to adjust and the weigh loss slowed to a halt again. This time, my intention is start with a cycling program from day 1. The thought is that it might prevent my metabolism from adjusting. The plan is to do low carb 5 days followed by my eating anything I desire 2 days. This will allow for me to be "normal" on weekends. I expect the initial weight loss to be less than it would be doing straight low carb but my hypothesis is that I will not plateau. If after a couple of months it looks like the carb cycling is not working then I'll switch to straight low-carb with maybe one floating "cheat day" each month (to use on birthdays and special occasions). I expect to take about nine months to get close to my ideal body weight. Afterwhich, I do not have a good strategy to keep it off besides to stick with the low-carb lifestyle.

Monday, June 29, 2009

A call for yellow squash recipes

Regarding gardening, it's not too late to get one started! And, it doesn't really take up that much space. My garden is only 10x16 feet and contains yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and parsley. Many people even grow veggies in flower pots on apartment balconies. Fresh veggies from a garden blow away those you buy at the grocery store. Garden veggies are not just fresher but tend to also have much better flavor than store bought.

Like every year, I have planted a small garden with every inch jam packed with veggies. And, like always, I try to plant at least one thing that I've never tried to grow before. This year's experimental veggie is two small mounds of yellow squash. Today, I went to check my garden and picked an entire grocery bag full of yellow squash. It looks like the squash is going to grow fast and produce much more than I could possibly eat. Yellow squash is very low in net carbohydrates. If any of you have good uses for it or would mind sharing recipes, please post comments and share with us!

Grilled Romaine with Ceasar-Cado Dressing - 6 net carbs

My wife is a big fan of Rachael Ray. This recipe was pulled from Rachael Ray's web site. I've never thought of grilling lettuce before, but absolutely love the grilled flavor. The dressing also is to die for.

I'm estimated 6 net carbs to be on the safe side. I wasn't really certain about the net carb count on romaine lettuce hearts so I used the count for a whole head. The hearts are smaller so the real count might be a little lower.


Grilled Romaine with Caesar-cado Dressing

Makes 4 servings at about 6 net carbs per serving.

Ingredients:

1 avocado pitted (6.7 net carbs)
Juice of 2 lemons (8.5 net carbs)
2 tsp. anchovy paste (0 net carbs)
2 cloves garlic chopped/pressed (0.2 net carbs)
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (less than 1 net carb)
salt & pepper to taste (0 net carbs)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (0 net carbs)
2 romaine hearts split lengthwise half way through core. (about 10 net carbs?)

non-stick cooking spray

Instructions:



  1. Pre-heat grill to med-high.
  2. In food processor, combine all ingredients except lettuce and olive oil. Pulse to chop everything. Then turn on high and add olive oil until thick dressing forms.
  3. Dry romaine heads. Spray cut sides with cooking oil. Grill cut-side down until marked (about 2 minutes).
  4. Serve romaine topped with Caesar-cado dressing.

Rachael Ray recommends serving with Tequila-Lime Chicken with tex-Mex-chimi-Chop. This is also a good recipe that is relatively low in carbs.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Garlic Relish Sauce

Last month, my wife and I were eating dinner at a local Nicaraguan restaurant (Nicholasville, Kentucky). It's a very unusual scene with formal white table cloths snuggled away in a run-down but fully functional gas station. While the surreal setting is a bit unorthodox, the food is spectacular. The dishes they serve have substantial meat portions along with slaw plus some delicious non-carb-friendly sides like fried plantains. Along with the food they serve a garlic relish sauce that is out of this world. When I was eating the sauce, I kept thinking that I'd had it somewhere... and then I remembered several years ago eating at San Francisco's Stinking Rose restaurant. The Stinking Rose is probably one of my all-time favorite restaurants. And, yes they serve the same garlic relish! This stuff is awesome with beef. Your carb-loving family and guests will enjoy putting it on their baguettes or other crusty breads. The possibilities for this stuff is endless. If refrigerated, this should keep at least a couple of weeks. I'd recommend keeping some on hand at all times to liven up your own creations.

This entire recipe has about 15 net carbs but the number of servings is so high that the net carbs per serving must be near zero.

Ingredients:

1 bunch of parsley chopped (Italian or curly)
1/4 c. chopped fresh garlic
2 T. white vinegar
1 t. salt
olive oil, enough to cover

Instructions:
If you use a food processor to chop the garlic and parsley, pulse chop the garlic first then add the parsley and don't over-do it! Then, mix parsley, garlic, salt, and vinegar. Add enough oil to cover. Stir. The longer it sits the stronger it gets. Refrigerate left-over.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Update on Making Diet Soda Pop

My wife and I are still avidly making our own diet soda pop.... we buy the carbonation and mixes from Soda-Club. The diet cola with Splenda is, in our opinions, far superior to diet Coke and diet Pepsi. The diet orange is awesome too. It's great that we can adjust the mix up or down to suit our tastes. I know it's not cheap to buy the equipment, but after the initial investment, it's much cheaper than buying soda at the stores. And, it's easier than lugging tons of cans and bottles of liquid home from the store. If any of you try it out, please come back and post your comments here.

Progress Slows... Taking breaks when sick...

My initial method this time was: Keep each meal to less than 15 net carbs with snacks of under 15 net carbs no closer than one hour to a meal or another snack. It resulted in a quick 30 pound loss followed by a plateau. I know that your body can not easily store fat if there is a shortage of carbohydrates, regardless of calorie intake. Some people claim that you need a calorie deficit to lose weight. There may be some truth in this however, I didn't have a deficit during the initial weight loss yet it still worked. But, alas, my body has apparently adapted and as usual, weight loss slows to a crawl. I'm sure that I can lose more weight but I have accepted that it will likely be a long drawn out time period. It's so frustrating how easy we can gain weight when it is so hard to take off!

I had planned on taking Valentines day off of the diet... And come V-Day, I came down with a really bad cold. I've been fighting it for the last 4 days. During this time, I thought it might be wise to ease off the low-carb diet so that my body would be sure to get adequate nutrients, calories, and vitamins to fight off the cold. I'm feeling somewhat better today... if I'm 90% tomorrow, I go back onto the low-carb diet. Either way, I should be back in the swing of things this coming weekend...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wii Fit

I bought a Wii fit for my wife for Christmas. My two year old is actually pretty good at some of the games on it. While the hand-held controls are a bit difficult for him to manage, he took right to the pad. I also bought the Jillian Michaels disk for it. This is a fitness program by one of the Biggest Loser winners. Both the Jillian disk and the Wii fit disk are actually kind of fun to play with. I don't use either one regularly... I'm not home enough to do anything on a regular schedule.

Warning... maximum weight is 330 pounds. This is with clothing. So, if you're on the edge be prepared for it to sometimes let you play and sometimes tell you that you're too fat. Also, regardless of your weight, the Wii fit disk makes an annoying sound whenever you step on that sounds like it's saying "ouch". The noise, while funny, gets on my nerves.

Life

Last week was to be my only full week at home for January and most of February. There was an ice storm early in the week that brought down trees everywhere. Some 600,000 Kentuckians were left without power including my house. After a couple of days, we had to set everything from my fridge and freezer outside to stay cool. The frozen meats all thawed and the other stuff froze. I took the family to my parents house which is an hour and a half away. I worked from their house part of the week. Saturday we returned home... still no power. I had some really good exercise sawing up the large tree that fell in my front yard. My wife took our meat and the kid to her parent's house, about 2 hours away, where she remains. I spent Saturday night on the sleeper sofa in front of the fireplace and left for Nashville the next day. I can't imagine how the pioneers dealt with not having electricity. I now realize how for granted we take it. I'll be heading home tomorrow and will finish cutting up my trees this weekend. Everything's been so hectic lately that I haven't even thought about jumping onto a scale in over a month. I have absolutely no idea how much or how little I have lost recently. But, I have actually pretty much stuck with low-carb throughout all of it.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Making my own soda pop

My wife and I recently bought a soda machine from Soda-Club. It came with a variety of flavored syrups. The diet pops are all flavored with Splenda (sucralose). Which is awesome, because I don't think that aspartame and other sweeteners are very healthy. The flavors that we've tried so far have no "diet" after taste. The cola is great but my favorite is the grapefruit seltzer. When I worked in Paris France, I used to drink non-diet Schwepps sparkling grapefruit. Until now, I've found nothing similar available in the United States. And, I am extremely happy to have finally found a diet equivalent that doesn't even taste like diet! I never knew that pop could taste so fresh. The cost of carbonation and their syrups runs about 18 cents per liter. Soon, my wife and I are going to start experimenting with making flavors from scratch (ginger ale, etc.). My two year old son told me this morning that I need to make his Mom some tea pop because he knows that she loves tea. I think we'll give it a shot and see what happens.

Soda Club USA

Sunday, January 18, 2009

What I'm doing now...

Just a quick FYI.... I've lost about 30 pounds and 4 inches around my waist since Thanksgiving (about 2 months). My "fat" clothes are once again too loose and I need to break out my box of skinny clothes again.

Here's what I'm doing: I'm not strictly following anyone else's program. I'm no longer looking at total carbs per day. Instead I'm just trying to keep each meal to less than 15 net carbs with snacks of under 15 net carbs no closer than one hour to a meal or another snack. Essentially I'm trying to avoid insulin spikes that cause the body to store fat. To my surprise, this has allowed me to stay in ketosis most of the time. I used to think that if I went over a total of 45 net carbs in a day that I'd quit losing weight. But now I'm finding that I can go higher as long as I spread it out.

As for vitamins, this time, I'm not taking lots of expensive vitamins. The only ones I am taking are potassium and chromium.

Also, I'm planning to take 2 days off of the diet per month. This allowed for me to partake in my brother's family's traditional Bulgarian Christmas Eve vegetarian dinner. I'm off again this weekend and enjoyed a smoothie made with frozen plums that I picked from my own back yard last summer. It seems that I crave fruits more than junk food. The re-feeds I think are good to replenish vitamins & muscle glycogen stores as well as to prevent my metabolism from slowing.

So far, this strategy has been working well.

Almond Macaroons - 1 net carb per cookie

This is an original. I simply modified my coconut macaroon cookie recipe.

Makes 30 cookies at about 1 net carbs each.

Ingredients:
4 egg whites
1/4 t. cream of tartar
1 t. vanilla extract
1 T. amaretto
1/2 t. sweetzfree (or 2 Splenda Quick Packs)
2 c. almond meal

Instructions:
In mixing bowl beat on high all ingredients except the almond meal. A whisk attachment on your mixer will make this go much faster. Whisk on high until thick enough for peaks to form. Very gently fold in almond meal until just barely mixed. Drop spoonfulls onto cookie sheet. Bake 20 minutes at 325 degrees.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

El Rey del Cabrito in Monterrey

Here's the pictures from the restaraunt "El Rey del Cabrito" (The goat king) in Monterrey Mexico. This place could easily be featured on Andrew Zimmerman's TV show, Bizarre Foods. The specialty is baby goats.




Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Low Carbing in Mexico (Days 2 & 3)

Last night, we had a wonderful low-carb meal at one of the most famous restaurants in Monterrey, El Rey del Cabrito (The Goat King). This restaurant's speciality is cabrito (baby goat). And yes, we ate baby goat. It was greasy and flavorful, like a cross between lamb and pork. There were essentially no side dishes, just a plate of peppers and a few garnishes of boiled broccoli and cauliflower... As an appetizer before the goat, we had "dried shredded meat" (apparently beef). This restaurant is a low-carber's dream. My camera batteries were dead but co-workers took pictures. The staff let us into the kitchen and my buddies took a wonderful picture of myself surrounded by baby goats on sticks roasting over open coals. I'll post the pictures once I get copies.

Breakfast at the hotel was eggs with warm spicy salsa and a small side of refried beans.

Lunch today, at the office was a large hamburger. I gave away the fries and stripped away the bun. There was plenty of meat, avocado, and cheese to keep me happy.

It is currently after 9:00 PM and we haven't left the office. Yes, I'm posting from work as my ability to attention in the meeting is beginning to wane. They ordered pizza. The only non-pizza items were salads. A no-no in Mexico. But, everyone assured me that Monterrey food and water is not as risky as other parts of Mexico and that eating their lettuce wasn't all that dangerous. So, I ordered a chicken Caesar salad. About half way through the salad, I found a rat turd. Argh!!! This sucks. I just hope I don't get sick. I didn't make a scene... I just quietly threw my salad in the trash and ate the cheese off of a few slices of pizza.

It's past 10:00 PM my home time. I'm ready to get the heck out of here but it looks like we may be here for a while...

I'll be going home tomorrow arriving on the last plane into Lexington, Kentucky. I'd love to see more of Monterrey but am getting rather tired of the conference room inside the plant.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Low Carbing in Mexico

I am in Monterrey, Mexico this week. I've not yet had time to see much of the city, but from what I've seen so far, it looks like a U.S. city. The hotels near the office are all U.S. chains. Just next door to my hotel is a Chili's and a 7-11 gas station. The company doesn't require armored cars here as they do in most of Mexico. The people are friendly and it feels much safer than Tijuana did a couple of months ago.

Even while traveling, I'm sticking with my low-carb plan. The folks here at the office were great and took my diet into consideration before ordering lunch for everybody. Today, for lunch we had steak, guacamole, pork rinds, and fondido (cheese w/ chorizo sausage). Tonight, they say that we are going out for an authentic dinner at some place that specializes in goats. I have to say that I've never eaten a goat. I wonder if it is going to taste like lamb?

Last night for dinner, I had steak, chicken, sausage, fondito, guacamole, hot peppers, and a side salad that was substituted for a potato. About half way through the meal, I remembered that I was in Mexico and shouldn't be drinking from a glass with ice cubes nor eating leafy veggies. I've always been taught that in Mexico you should only eat vegetables that need to be pealed. Hopefully I won't get sick. I caught Monazuma's Revenge about 10 years ago in Mexico City and it sucks to be spewing out of both ends simultaneously. The Mexicans I was eating with claim that it's not risky to eat and drink in Monterrey but I'm not sure if to believe them as they're not susceptible to the same bacteria as we gringos.

On another note, just before leaving, I made an experimental batch of cookies that turned out awesome! They're almond macaroons with less than one carb per cookie. I brought some with me to eat on the plane. I'll post the recipe soon after returning home... promise.