Archive for the ‘The Management’ Category

Had a great day yesterday. Got a decent workout in, went to State College, saw a cool flick (went with Skyfall), had a good dinner, and a visit to Wegman’s. I can never complain about that.

So I woke up this morning with a little bit of gastrointestinal urpiness but I know I still need to go to the gym. I know I’ll feel better if I do, but it’s very hard to summon up the energy to go when I just kind of want to sit around until it goes away. I normally would do that, but if I do, I probably won’t make it to the gym.

Helluva bind.

I guess I need to just do it (even though I prefer New Balance to Nike) and I know that when I get there and get started, I’ll wind up feeling that much better. Funny how that works out.

Ok… More in a bit.

So I made it to the gym. Decent session… Started a little slow, but had worked up to 3.5 mph by the end of my treadmill time. Wanted to do 45 minutes, but cut short after 35 minutes by an extremely chirpy young woman jawing on her cell phone. Talking (apparently) with her boyfriend. Talking about their time together last night. When I heard the phrase “you made me come alive” (I am not making this up) I figured it was time to bail. The worst part is that I had my ear pods in, volume cranked, and I could still hear her. How loudly must she have been talking?

I love being able to yammer about my gym. It’s a really place, but some of the people who go there are well, eccentric. I have not seen Gratuitously Naked Guy in a while, but I think he has a cohort… Mostly Naked Guy. This is another wrinkly old guy who actually works out, but then wanders around the locker room wearing nothing but a jockstrap. As far as I can tell he doesn’t have mostly naked conversations with complete strangers like GNG, but who knows what mischief lurks in the heart of MNG.

It has been a decent sugar day. Went to bed reading a 128 last night, woke up with a 113. I took my insulin shot, ate a banana and about half of a pretzel roll, then headed to the gym. Took another reading when I got home and stuck an 84. Figured I could do with some protein, so I beat some eggs and threw together a tasty ham and cheese omelet. That should keep things nice and stable until lunch.

Not sure what’s on the agenda for today. Do we take down the Christmas decorations or do we say “the heck with it” and do something else? Guess I’ll have to wait and hear from The Management (aka Supportive Partner Woman).

tumblr_memp653uuS1rhvr5io1_500So, yesterday, SPW (love of Hugh Jackman!) and her friend went to see Les Miserables. They were, predictably, gushing about it. It dawns on me that maybe it’s a gender thing. I mean no disrespect to either gender, and I have never seen the stage production, but it seems that women love the movie and men, well, not so much. This review was located online and is well worth the read.

Hope you all have a great day!

Song of the Day: Gimme Your Love – McAuley Schenker Group

Currently Reading: The Black Box – Michael Connelly

Greetings!

Supportive Partner Woman (builder of Lego sets!) and I decided to beat the heat yesterday and take a drive to the King of Prussia mall. See, we have many pseudo-nieces and nephews and one of them, Ian, recently had a birthday. Ian has a bit of a Lego problem, too, but whereas I’m particular about which sets I buy, he will build darn near anything. So, since we needed to get him a birthday gift (late, but that’s how we roll), we felt a visit to the closest Lego store was in order.

Sopwith Camel

The Lego store at K of P is pretty sizeable. It should be, seeing as it pretty much serves most of eastern Pennsylvania and south Jersey. There’s also one at Christiana Mall in Newark, DE that is about the same distance away, but takes about 30 minutes longer to get to. Beside the point. We wound up buying a Lego Werewolf set and a couple of minifigs for the boy, and a Sopwith Camel set for us. Yes, for us. This will actually be the first non-architecture set that The Management will be building. She acquitted herself well building the top wing assembly all by herself. It’s a big achievement when you realize that she never built a Lego set as a child.

 

Save the Clock Tower!

So, after leaving the store we decided to pay a visit to the new Wegman’s, also in King of Prussia. They were having plenty of in store tastings, they even had a guy shilling the VitaMix blender. Our last visit to the K of P Wegman’s was a bit of a letdown… but I think it was because of the time of day… see, we stopped after the Neil Diamond concert. They really did redeem themselves. We managed to score a nice piece of sockeye salmon. It’s not Copper River, but the color is still a vibrant red and it should roast up beautifully.

Every time I’m in one of these stores, I can’t help but compare it to the big national grocery chains, like Giant. The selection, the cleanliness, the friendliness really make me want to never set foot in a Giant again. So, until such a point as they put a Wegman’s in cow country, I will be forced to shop at the same old boring stores, because it really doesn’t make a lot of sense to driver 45 minutes to grab a gallon of milk. I have hopes, though, of someday soon seeing a clock tower rising above the farm fields and retail power centers of Cow Country.

Other than the lovely salmon, we departed with some cherries, strawberries and bananas, a few other items, and some poultry sausage. That was recommended to me as a healthier alternative to boring old pork sausage. I look forward to trying it.

After leaving Wegman’s, we went in search of sustenance. My sugar had started to fall off and, well, we were hungry. We headed up the Turnpike and decided to make a return visit to The Drafting Room in Exton, PA. This is a lovely taproom and grill that SPW (drinker of many beers!) and I had last been to on my birthday. Perhaps not the healthiest choice, but considering the time, we were able to get seated right away and have food in belly soon after. SPW (avowed carnivore!) went with their hot roast beef sandwich while I decided to go with a burger topped with some Vermont cheddar. We both opted for a crab and corn chowder as an appetizer. The soup came, topped with a spicy, smoky jalapeno bacon, and it was delicious. If we would’ve been there alone, I might’ve licked the bowl. It was that good.

Sorry Mom, not a clean plate

The burger came and after a few bites, I was starting to run out of gas. Then it’s decision time. Ask yourself how many times you got the starving children speech when you were growing up. Or, as my very Catholic mother would tell us, it’s a sin to waste food. According to the psychologist I saw, that actually contributes to weight gain. We’re taught to clean our plates, but the portion sizes are insane these days, as a result, we wind up consuming way more calories than we should. A good idea when confronted with a huge portion would be to ask for a box first, and pack up half of your meal for later. That’s not really an option with a burger… they usually don’t reheat well, so I did the next best thing. I ate the rest of the meat and the garnishes while leaving the vast majority of the fries (I think I had two or three) and half the roll.

So today’s lesson… just because it’s in front of you, doesn’t mean you have to eat all of it. You can save some for another day or eat the portions that are better for you (protein and veggies, for example)

So, Supportive Partner Woman (she who is flossing-challenged!) and I went to the dentist today. It was my second first visit with this particular dentist. You might be wondering how that can be, well, it’s like this.

A few years ago, I had a toothache. As it turns out, I had a plastic container fall out of the cabinet and hit me in the lip. It must have hit the sweet spot, because it pretty much killed a tooth. So, seeing as I didn’t have a regular dentist in Cow Country at the time, I let my fingers do the walking. I came upon the dental offices of one Frank Carano, DDS. I called and they were able to fit me in. Dr. Carano, a gnomish little man, told me I would need a root canal. We scheduled it, but Carano wouldn’t be doing it. He did, however, take the time to plug the custom color match service they offered, for an additional $125.

Doogie Howser DMD?

Carano’s associate, Dr. Kingston, actually did the procedure. He seemed awfully young but very competent. He even managed to pull off the second part of the root canal without any anesthesia. At the time, we didn’t have dental coverage, so I just let the cleanings and exam go by, even though I know that dental health is very important because of The Beetus. It just wasn’t a priority.

So fast forward and we noticed that Doogie the Dentist* had opened his own office, away from the gnomish Dr. Carano. We hemmed and hawed and eventually made appointments for exams and cleanings. We set them up for today and, of course, we almost forgot about them. The appointments were at 10:30… I woke SPW (sleeper of great soundness!) up at 10:14 and we managed to make it there by 10:44.

We get checked in and I get called first. The hygienist, Shannon, comes and takes me back to the exam room, which is dominated by a big-ass monitor. She does a load of X-Rays (surprised I’m not glowing), takes pictures of fillings and the like, and does some sort of laser test on my teeth to check hardness. I was sure that the laser would slice part of my jaw off… I’ve seen the movie, but I’m just fine.

The final score is that I have my second cavity of my 41 years. I also need to have an old amalgam filling replaced. It’s served me well, seeing as I got it when I was 13 or 14, so it doesn’t owe me anything. Finally, I have six (now four) teeth that need to be sealed. I also should have a crown done, but we can wait a little on that. The important thing to take away is that being attentive to dental care is as important as taking care of everything else when you have diabetes. It can really help your long-term health. So, pick up the floss, or as Shannon suggested, the dental picks. I know I have a long way to go with flossing, but like every other change I am making, I’ll get there.

Oh, and not once did Dr. Kingston attempt to sell me anything like my former dentist, Dr. Beefyhead. Dr. Beefyhead (not his real name) was convinced that all health problems were caused by my jaw being out of alignment and for only $13,000 (financing available), he could break may jaw and fix the alignment, curing me of all maladies.

Riiiiight.

* Please note that this is not meant to sound derogatory in any sense. Dr. Kingston strikes me as a fine clinician and his staff is first-rate. I am quite pleased with his work and would gladly recommend him to anyone. If you are in the Lancaster, PA area and are seeking a dental professional, check out  his website.

I’m going to predict that between 1:00 and 5:00, the air conditioning will not be running.

OK, OK… there was a call last night from PP&L saying that they would be cycling the AC off due to expected load concerns. See, in an effort to save $8.00 a month, we let them install a switch on the AC that would allow them to cycle the AC. Maybe we should go shopping or go to work early in an effort to stay cool.

The primary focus of today’s post is the recovery from yesterday’s visit to the gym. I ached in quite a few places, and while my ankles are a little tender (you try carrying 368 pounds), the only other part I’m having issues with is my quadriceps. And only when I try to sit down. I blame the squats. I felt so good yesterday that I even took a 15 minute walk last night during my second break.

I was really pleased to see that the efforts of Supportive Partner Woman (user of the elliptical!) and I have inspired one of our friends to start a major weight loss effort. She’s even started writing about her process on her blog, which you can check out here. We are so proud of you, April… keep up the good work!

I never really compiled a list of what my process is for losing the weight. So, I’ll take a stab at it.

1) Exercise. Even just a regular walking program. We’re not talking Olympic speed walking, but a nice 3 mph pace… something to get the heart pumping and blood flowing.

2) Physical Activity. Take extra steps. Make two trips instead of one with the laundry. DO SOMETHING!

3) Nutrition. Be mindful of what you put in your mouth. As a diabetic, this can be quite challenging for me. Keep the carbs to a minimum and lots of fiber. Fiber kind of counteracts carbs, so if you eat a Mission Carb Balance wheat burrito wrap, it may say there’s 32g of carbs. There’s also 26g of fiber, making a total of 6 net carbs. It’s tough for somebody like me who could (and often did) eat a dozen potato dinner rolls at one sitting. Does this mean you can’t have any carbs? No! Just exercise some restraint. Also, when you’re jonesing for a snack, consider an alternative. Instead of reaching for the chips, grab a half cup of pistachios and get the protein instead of empty carbs.

4) Fluids. Fluids are important. Water is your friend. I was guilty of swilling Diet Pepsi the same way that a wino swills Boone’s Farm. It was nothing for me to drain six 20 oz. bottles of DP in a day. I’ve gotten that down to two. I’ve reduced my consumption by two-thirds and I’m still managing. That means I’ve also reduced my daily caffeine intake by a corresponding amount. Instead, I located a 64 oz. water bottle in an insulated case and I’ve been trying to drink that much every day.

5) Support and Goals. This has been the biggest struggle. I’ve found that having SPW on board has helped a lot, as has the support I’ve received from you, the readers. Many of our friends in the Disney community have expressed support, even volunteering to do a 5K alongside us when we reach such a point. That might be many months into the future, but it’s one of my goals. My immediate goal would be to keep losing and keep learning how to keep it off.

The author in 1998, right around 400 pounds.

So, there you have it. It’s not scientific… it’s mostly common sense. This is stuff that I always knew and just chose to ignore. You can only ignore the 800-pound gorilla in the room for so long (or the 400-pound fat guy in my case). My advice is to face the gorilla early and avoid the struggle later. Your body and your self-esteem will thank you.

Enjoy the weekend!

Good morning!

To all my Facebook peeps, I know I just posted a piece this morning… that was actually done last night. For whatever reason, WordPress doesn’t seem to like to post to Facebook automatically.

June 26 route

I set a new distance record last night on my walk. I’m posting a picture of it… gotta show what you do and a picture is worth a thousand words or something like that. The red is what I travelled and when I reach my goal, I will have covered the blue. Supportive Partner Woman (getting healthier in her own right!) tells me to take my time getting there and she’s right. After months of inactivity, my feet are still a little tender and it would be good to not get a blister again. You will note that there’s a little hiccup into a store. As it turns out, I won $100 through our walking challenge at work and I stopped to pick up some Propel Zero Kiwi Strawberry water for our team captain.

So, moving on to today’s menu. One of my favorite things to grill is pork tenderloin. I usually do a simple spice rub, mainly seasoned salt, garlic powder, and thyme.This time I’m going to try something new. For years, SPW’s sister has done a beef preparation that simply involves slathering horseradish on the meat before roasting it. The serious bite of the horseradish is pretty much roasted out, leaving a slightly zesty flavor that permeates the meat. I’m going to try this on the pork tenderloin. Since I have two tenderloins defrosting, maybe I’ll do one of each preparation and see which tastes better.

I also have soaked a bunch of black beans to make chili again. Since it went over so well the last time, I never got to freeze any of it, so I hope to this time.

Due to the prodding of SPW (aka The Management), I’ve started making use of an iPhone app called LoseIt. This helps me track my daily calorie consumption and subtracts calories burned through exercise. One of the neat features of the app is that you can use it to scan barcodes of your food and the app will pull in the relevant nutrition information. It’s not perfect. there’s some things you have to guess at, for example, it might take a while to enter a Chipotle meal, because each element of your burrito bowl needs to be entered separately. It allows you fo add custom foods, though, so theoretically you could easily total up what your burrito was and add a burrito line. I’m still exploring the app, but so far so good. There are many other apps out there to assist you in tracking calories… you might need to try more than one until you get one that suits you. That’s part of the fun.

One othe rthing I’m considering is posting a series of pictures of me and my weight over the years… from the good to the bad to the orca fat. I’d like the opinions of you, the readers, so I added a poll.

Until the next time, have a great day!

Good afternoon!

Pico de Gallo

I spent a good portion of the morning trying to make pico de gallo again. My last attempt was not bad, maybe a little too citrus. This time I added more tomato and cilantro in an attempt to moderate the sourness of the lime juice. At the very least, it’s very nice and colorful. It should cheer up any plate, even if I usually wind up putting it in a burrito.

It brought back to me that cooking should be fun. For me, one of my biggest beefs with my job is never really seeing the finished product. When you cook, you see that and it’s much easier to take pride in getting a perfectly diced tomato or onion. Getting beautiful diamond-shaped grill marks when you grill a steak or a piece of chicken. I’ve said before that cooking is not just about taste. It’s smell and appearance and texture, heck, even the sound if you’re eating fajitas.

I also cannot stress the importance of having quality cutlery in your kitchen. You can get by with substandard cookware, but poor quality knives make cooking much more of a chore than a joy. I speak from experience… I was always the guy to buy the 54 knives for $20, figuring a knife was a knife. One day, not long after The Management and I sealed the deal, I was attempting to thinly slice dry rubbed pork tenderloin. The cheap knives were shredding it and I finally reached my wits end. I said that we needed to invest in at least a good carving knife. The Management (aka Supportive Partner Woman (Possessor of Good Ideas!)) suggested taking some of the Bed Bath and Beyond gift cards that we received as wedding gifts and going to find a carving knife. We came home with a beautiful Henckels carving set in a presentation box. What a revelation! It went through the meat like, well, a hot knife through butter. Paper thin slices? Not a problem! It was like I had died and gone to paradise.

I started thinking about upgrading other knives, checking eBay regularly, thinking that I should keep in the same family. I studied up on knife manufacturing and what to look for (full tang, balanced, polypropylene riveted handles, etc.) and I also found out that you could test the knives at Williams-Sonoma. One night around the holidays, SPW and I visited our local Williams-Sonoma and were gazing longingly at the cutlery when we noticed a decent sale on a Wüsthof starter block set. Wound up with a 10″ chef’s knife, two paring knives (serrated and non), a boning knife, a 9″ bread knife, a 5″ Santoku and a 6″ slicing knife. To say I’m happy with these would be an understatement. I even bought a knife sharpener to keep them at optimum sharpness. We’ve since added a tomato knife, a panini knife and steak knives to the block.

So, my cooking tip of the day is to spend the extra scratch and invest in good knives. Even if you don’t get a full block, a good chef’s knife will make all the difference. Whether you get Wüsthof, Henckels or even Shun, you won’t be disappointed.

Also, for the good of the order, I find it amazing that 90% of German cutlery is made in Solingen.

Greetings from the land of the slimmer!

I had an appointment this morning with the exercise physiologist and dietitian at the bariatric center. First thing, I got weighed. It was a cool 368 lbs. That’s a vast improvement over my last visit to the clinic for group where the number was 380. So, 12 pounds in about three weeks. Much better. The funny thing is that before you can have surgery, they ask that you lose 10 pounds. Guess I took care of that.

The first part of my appointment was with the exercise guy. I found Ryan to be very upbeat and encouraging. He was impressed by my walking regimen and wants me to keep it up. He also set up some appointments for me in their fitness center. It’s not big, but they only have six people at a time in there. They have shower facilities and most importantly, Ryan and/or Cory are there to show you how to exercise and lift weights safely and correctly. I start with a one hour session on Thursday and I’m really looking forward to it. Apparently, one of the risks with bariatric surgery is the  loss of muscle mass. As such, they want to build it up so you don’t lose all of what you have.

Cedar plank roasted Copper River salmon with mushroom risotto and steamed broccoli

Following my appointment with Ryan, I met Cory, the other physiologist. Then it was off to meet the dietitian, Shauna. She also seemed to be very supportive and was pleased with some of the dietary progress I’ve made. She was pleased to hear that both The Management and myself like to cook, and she was really pleased with last night’s dinner. We were at Wegman’s on Friday and I managed to pick up some Copper River salmon. I roasted it on a cedar plank with a sheen of olive oil, fresh ground pepper and sea salt on top. To go along with it, I made a mushroom risotto and steamed broccoli. The Management approved.

Today’s route.

So, I also added a new track to my walking playlist. I think my hair band loving friends will like it. Many might remember an 80’s hair band called Warrant. They were in the news in the past couple of years thanks to the death of lead singer Jani Lane. So, this weekend, XM 80s on 8 was playing a countdown from 1989 and Warrant’s little known track, Down Boys came on. It was very catchy and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. It sets a pretty good pace and I’m kind of scared to check my feet, because I might have overdone it a little. I did manage to walk about half of the Red Rose Commons perimeter. This gets me a little closer to my goal.

The one constant today is that everyone assures me I’m on the right track. It’s not easy, but when I saw 36_ instead of 37_, well, that’s a nice motivator. I’d love to have a 35_ next time. We shall see.