Monday, August 29, 2011

Healthy Living 2.05 - Frustration and Patience

Over a month into this healthy living change and am feeling pretty good.  Still difficult to overcome temptations, but I'm doing a great job at avoiding those situations.

The statistics for this past week.

BMI - 44.2  (down 0.8, down 2.3 total)
Calorie Intake - 1623/day
Calories Burned - 3728/day
Net Caloric difference - 2133/day
Water - 72 oz/day

Proteins - Carbs - Fat distribution -- 40% - 52% - 8%

10 total inches lost.  Hard to tell from where though.

Really have to watch the calorie intake, I must eat more...and by more, I mean more protein.  The distribution is OK because they are all "good" carbs, but I'd like to keep it closer to 40%

This was an interesting week, I once again learned a lesson in frustration and patience.  Frustration number one:  I weigh myself each night; Wednesday, the piece of shit scale said I gained 1.5 lbs.  What it the name of the Flying Spaghetti Monster did I do wrong?  I've been working out like a demon, eating really well, drinking all my water!  Leave it to say I was pissed off and so frustrated.  The next day at the gym I worked harder, didn't even look at that damn scale.  Then by the end of the week it showed about a 5 lb loss for the week?  What?  Grrr!

Frustration number two:  I have been riding my bicycle to work every day.  Then on the way home I would go to the gym and do my workout.  Workout includes both lifting and cardio.  The frustration comes on the way home, there is this piece of shit hill on Goshen Rd. just past Mid-County Hwy.  It has beaten me every single day.  I could make it to the top and around the corner, but not to the complete summit.  Ended up walking last 200 feet.  Well, today, finally did it, the entire way, no walking.  And my thighs are burning beyond belief!  Two hours after the ride, they are burning.  Ugh!

New challenges this week, school is back in session full time.  This requires planning and much dedication to continue the workout schedule.  I see this being done!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Healthy Living 2.04 - Overcoming Complacency

Week 4 is done! Probably the most difficult so far. The reason? My routine was interrupted by a trip and some wonderful golf outings with a buddy of mine. Status or the past week:

BMI - 45.0  (down 0.2, down 1.5 total)
Calorie Intake - 1956/day
Calories Burned - 3370/day
Net Caloric difference - 1413/day
Water - 72 oz/day

Proteins - Carbs - Fat distribution -- 45% - 46% - 9%

It was a good week again...statistically speaking, but I felt that this has been the most difficult week yet.  As well, I'm not looking forward to the challenge of eating healthy during pre-service week at school.  Way too many temptations.

I have had this feeling before when losing weight.  It is the feeling of complacency.  I can see it in the tracking of my meals.  I can see it in the tracking of my fitness activity.  I can see my will power disappearing before my eyes when there are high calorie, low nutritional foods in front of me.  This is when I need support of family and friends.  I'm asking you, "Get in my face!" if you see me sneaking.  And remember, I am good at this.

Now I am asking myself, why is this happening?  Is it boredom?  I really don't think so.  Is it that I am trying to integrate this healthy living lifestyle into activities I really enjoy?  Possibly.  Am I mentally screwed up?  Possibly and in more ways than this.  But seriously, I really think the issue is a combination of all three. 

This week I will try the following.  Read more to keep from being bored...or go to the gym...or start writing more blogs.  The integration into activities I really enjoy is really a problem.  One of my favorite activities is eating.  I mean really good food.  Erin and I love going to nice restaurants, but fine dining meals are not healthy.  Asian meals (North American style) have so few healthy choices.  Any restaurant for that matter is a massive challenge.  What we have been doing is sharing an entree, still get the yummy goodness, however only small puny portions (at least for me).  Finally, am I mentally challenged? Absolutely!  However, I have been saying that allergies are all psychological (for most people) and yes I know that allergies are real.  Yet, now, I am looking at the desire to eat and to eat non-stop as my "allergy".  Yes, it is psychological and it will take every ounce of will power I have to overcome this.

This week, starting back to work, biking to and from every day.  Hope I will have enough time to share between work, family, and working out.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Healthy Living 2.03 - Travelling

Week 3 is done!  Probably the most difficult so far.  The reason?  My routine was interrupted by a trip and some wonderful golf outings with a buddy of mine.  Status or the past week:

BMI - 45.2  (down 0.4, down 1.3 total)
Calorie Intake - 1987/day
Calories Burned - 4500/day
Net Caloric difference - 2513/day
Water - 72 oz/day

Proteins - Carbs - Fat distribution -- 41% - 47% - 12%
I was getting into a really good that I WILL need when school restarts.  This included a good breakfast, a workout, snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, and evening snack.  However, this week, albeit enjoyable, through my routine out of sorts.  A couple of things that I have realized and must plan on even more in the future is when I go out golfing.  I have to start with a good meal, then make sure I bring healthy snacks and a meal with me to the course.  This would accomplish two things:  I would not be hungry and have enough energy for all 18 holes and I would know exactly what I was eating and not be at the mercy of the crap they sell at the golf courses. 

The golf was just a minor change in routine, however, travelling out of town with the family leaves me with tough decisions and using will power that I'd rather avoid.

Salad -- ugh!  I'm sick of salad.  It is not filling, it has little taste unless you smother it with yummy dressing.
Meat?  Fried or covered with stuff or smothered in gravy or whatever.  Would love it, smells so good!
Vegetables - Is it possible for just one restaurant to not overcook the veggies, they don't have to be "smushie".  Also, how is it you manage to use a quarter pound of butter on your vegetables.  Yes, oh so good, but hey, give a guy a break.

Already you are thinking, "eat at different restaurants", but this is a family thing and a value thing.  We are not talking about "the clown, the king, or any other fast food place".

I love my family, they are the greatest!  However, the temptations are almost overwhelming.  I went 3 days not eating properly, didn't eat badly, meaning nothing high carbs or calorie intensive, just a lot of bananas and meat when available.  I know my family tries, but I just think it is difficult for them to understand the difficulty and mental problems of being obese.

My incredible wife (Erin) and I spent a wonderful evening with some of her high school friends.  It was a great night with wonderful conversation.  The issue, we went to a great restaurant with the greatest food of all time, The Pizza Cottage.  Yes!  It is a cottage made out of pizza.  Oh so good.  I ordered a salad, I think they knew my issue because they brought me 3 huge containers of dressing to hide the nasty salad taste.  I only used 1/2 of one.  Erin ordered a veggie pizza....oh it looked so good, would have been gone in 60 seconds if I had it.  Her friends ordered something even better, a BLT pizza...oh I was dying.  You have know idea the desire to snag all of it when they offered, but I know that one piece will lead to many pizzas, better to avoid then to try and stop.

The challenge to overcome temptation for the next year will be better prepared, I'm going to attempt to prepare my own meals on a more regular basis, even if I will be alienating some of my friends and/or family.

This week, back to my routine and planning out what is going to happen when school starts again next week.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Healthy Living - 2.02 - Experts

So week 2 is complete.  I am seeing some success, but it never comes as fast as you thing.  Here are the statistics for the past week:

BMI - 45.6  (down 0.2)
Calorie Intake - 1796/day
Calories Burned - 3407/day
Net Caloric difference - 1611/day
Water - 72 oz/day

Proteins - Carbs - Fat distribution --          41% - 48% - 10%

Still have the mental block about getting 2000 cal/day.  The one day I felt like I ate too much (didn't), I ended up going to the gym and doing another 30 mins on the elliptical.  Doing this extra exercise is not a bad thing, but I must be aware that it is not a cure all if I get off track.  However, mentally, I felt it was necessary to do this.  Another good thing is that I drastically increased the amount of vegetables this week, it resulted in bigger meals, but again, felt I ate more (less calories) and had to do more to make up for what I ate.  Grrrr.

I am a skeptic, I do my research, I don't buy into pseudoscience.  So "experts", listen up!  I do not need your advice on how to lose weight/get healthy.  Yes, I know I have to burn more calories than I consume.  I know that I must exercise (anaerobic and aerobic) on a consistent basis to increase my metabolism.  What pisses me off are the "experts".  Usually, skinny people (yes, I'm generalizing) suggesting how I should eat, what I should eat, and how I should exercise.

  1. Unless you are in the medical profession, shut up!  I know I should have about 2000 cal/day with plenty of protein, fruits, and vegetables.  I really think it is nice that you can survive eating one garden salad with no dressing for the week.  I also think it is awesome that you can eat as much as you want without gaining an ounce.  You know, saying stuff like that to a person with weight issues makes you an asshole.

  2. Yes, I know I shouldn't eat after 6 pm or however many hours before you go to sleep.  But you know what, I have a life.  I work and have a family, I wish I could have dinner finished by 6 or 7 everyday, but it is just not possible.  Get a life!

  3. Exercise experts.  These people piss me off the most.  I was at the gym yesterday, just finished 45 mins of lifting and was doing my cardio.  I usually do about 30 mins of cardio (elliptical/bike/treadmill) and finish about 2 miles (more on the bike).  In any case, this guy says you know what, you will lose weight faster if you run faster and farther.  It took every ounce of self-restraint to just nod and walk away.   In retrospect I should have said, "let's see how fast and far you can run when I strap 10 lb weights to your ankles and wrists, then let's add a 50 lb backpack.  Now I know that is only an extra 90 lbs, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt." 

    My guess is that asshole would not have been able to complete a mile let alone two.  I'm sure he would not be running an 8 minute mile.  I will not be putting up with this type of jerk in the future, guess it is just the "polite Canadian" in me.
So far, things these first couple of weeks have gone well.  Good thing is that I do not count calories, I would go freaking bat shit crazy if I measured out calories before I eat things.  When I track things it is always after the fact.  Same goes for exercise, I have a routine, cardio everday, weights every second day, but the tracking is not until after it happens.  I believe that this gives me a great sense of where I am on a daily basis.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Atheists are Fools -- Part 3

Wow, how shocking is it that I received in the mail today a response to the letter I sent to one of the churches in my neighborhood.  Here is the original letter I sent to the Churches.

July 7, 2011

Mr. Church Leader,

Sir, my name is Stephen Burrows, there are a couple of incidents that have occurred lately that have prompted me to reach out to you and your church. Let me preface this letter by stating that I am an atheist who was once a Christian, but saw the “reason”.

As an atheist, I am always asking questions, seeking answers that make sense, being good to other people without thrusting my views on other people regardless of religion, race, socio-economic status, ethnicity, etc. I am also attempting to raise my daughter in the same method, asking question, treating everyone with respect. As a result, one of her friends recently invited her to church, I said “sure, keep an open mind, and ask questions”. She just recently confided in me that the Sunday school teacher stated that “atheists are fools” and that at that time she felt “sorry for me”, which wasn’t necessary, but she also asked why the people at church would say such things about atheists. Has this Sunday school teacher ever talked to an atheist? I can assure you, I am no fool and my daughter knows this. Will she be joining her friend at your church again…probably not?

Second issue, I also live in close proximity to your church, so many of your members also live in this area. I don’t like to do this without facts, but there is a probability that some of your members, or that of Covenant Life, or Journey’s Crossing, or the Int’l Church of God is one of the culprits. Over the past month, my car my car has been the subject of propaganda requesting that I find the "lord", suggestions that reading Romans XX:XX and John X:XX will make me convert. I can only assume the reason my car is a target is due to the small Darwin fish and another stating “Friendly Neighbor Atheist” on the back fender.

I started reading the bible critically and it created more questions and doubt about god's existence. More research led me totally away from the church. So, a couple of notes will not sway me, however, I see there is a need to provide your church community with information about atheists. I would be more than happy to a conduct a question and answer session with your church members to show that atheists are not evil baby eaters, but that we are valuable members of the community with families, morals, and are capable of doing good things without a god.

I feel that a constructive dialogue does much more good and builds strong relationships in the community. The approach used by Christians in this area is the opposite of this. A book I have read I Sold My Soul on eBay, by Hemant Mehta, describes the view of Christians and all faiths through an atheist’s eye. Since, I have been on your side; I feel that I may be able to describe the atheist views on life, politics, morality, religion, giving, and separation of church/state in a non-threatening/non-confrontational matter.

I thank you for your time and look forward to hearing from you.

Here is the response I received from the Church of the Redeemer in Gaithersburg, MD. This was the church where the Sunday school teacher labeled atheists as fools.

Thank you for your thoughtful letter and desire to help us know you better as a member of the local community. We appreciate the time you took to carefully and respectfully explain your concern and to offer your services.

At this time we will need to decline your offer to hold a question and answer session here, but I trust you will continue to have meaningful conversations with Christians and people from all kinds of backgrounds as we all try to understand and appreciate each other more.


Pastor Stephen Homey
Director of Adult Ministries

Nice of them to respond, albeit a month later! 

Now to analyze the response a little. 

  • Apology for promoting HATE? 
None, no mention of the Sunday School incident.  Am I surprised?  Not really, I'm guessing the trash they are spewing comes from Psalms 14:1

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, t
here is none who does good. 

 Probably a hundred other places they could of found other offerings of hate, but it is as good as any.   
  • Christians reaching out?
The last paragraph (run-on sentence) declines my offer for a Q & A, not surprised, it is their prerogative.  However, putting the onus on me "to have meaningful conversations with Christians...", well, sure, I will do that because I am a friendly atheist.  However, he also says "...we all try to understand and appreciate each other more."  I call bullshit on this!  Absolute bullshit.  You want to reach out, start doing some real work in the community, stop proselytizing to everyone, stop spewing hate.  This sort of nonsense may work in his church community, but it sure won't pass the evaluation of people who care and are willing to call bullshit when they see it.

I must say this though, I'm surprised the Church of the Redeemer responded, they seemed the most fundie of the local Churches.  What about Covenant Life? Journey's Crossing?  Int'l Church of God?  Not hearing from you.  This is why I continue to be vocal and outspoken against religion.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Getting Healthy - 2.01 - Binge Eating Disorder

First the good news!  And here are the statistics.

BMI -                                      45.8 (down 0.7)
Calorie Intake -                       1780/day
Calories Burned -                    3315/day
Net Caloric difference -          1534/day
Water -                                    72 oz/day

Protiens - Carbs - Fat distribution --          38% - 50% - 12%

I feel that my biggest issues with this are that I must increase my calorie intake/day to about 2000, the problem with that is that I am terrified that I will not be able to stop.  I would also like to even out the protien-carb distribution.  But overall, this is a very good start!

Week one of the healthy eating/living lifestyle is now complete.  And it was difficult!  Mentally, overcoming urges just to make a peanut butter sandwich or three and down them, was so difficult.  I can see where people with drug/alcohol/smoking addictions have problems.  I did some research into binge eating and found an interesting article in the Psychiatric Times. It describes something called Binge  Eating Disorder (BED).  However, BED is not a recognized disorder and therefore goes untreated.  There is a list of questions for clinicians to identify BED.

  • Do you eat unusually large amounts of food at one sitting (equivalent to two full meals)?

  • - Absolutely!  Whenever I finish, a second helping, plus whatever is not finished by others at tables often happens.

  • Do you eat this way even when you're not hungry?

  • - Hungry? Always hungry!

  • Do you eat until you're uncomfortably full?

  • - Full?  What is this full you speak of?  There is never enough food.  I would only stop if I was going to puke.  It has got to this point many times.

  • Do you feel you've lost control and can't stop eating?

  • - All the time!

  • Do you feel ashamed or depressed afterwards?

  • - All the time!

  • Has this happened two or more times a week for six months?

  • - Stupid question!  Of course it happens and it took me way longer that six months to get beyond obese.

  • Do you eat alone because you're embarrassed to eat around others?

  • - Yes.  I find that even if I am around others I am eating alone.  I will eat fast and sneak so others will not see.  When alone, that is the worse.  In the car on the way to work, on the way home, binge eating occurs.  The second my family leaves the house, binge eating.  The overwhelming desire to eat is so strong.

    There is a relationship to BED and Bulimia nervosa.  The biggest difference is there is no desire to purch calories (vomiting, diuretics, laxatives, or excessive exercise) after a binge eating episode.  As a result, people who have BED end up obese; people with Bulimia nervosa remain skinny.

    What can be done?  Who knows?  It is going to be avoiding situations where I am alone with food.  This is really hard when there is food in the house, there is a pizza place at the other end of the phone line, or a fast food restaurant only five minutes away.  The second thing is I will need friends, family, coworkers, anyone to keep an eye on me. Hey, I'm really good a sneaking food.  I have been doing this for a long time and you haven't caught me yet.  Have you seen me eat those six donuts at school?  Probably not.