Tie it Down! Tie it Down!

I believe in one "modern" truth everyone should know about. 

I don't care what you are watching on TV, reading (books, blogs, newspapers, magazines, whatever), seeing (visualizing, watching in real time, etc.), listening to, or feeling (for that matter).  If you are not tying it to your life, and thereby to what you actually care about and believe in, you are wasting your time.

Sorry if that pisses you off for some reason.  But everything else is escapism at best, or just procrastination at worst. 

If The Bachelor helps you "get through" your relationships because yours are not as f'd up as what you are seeing, at least there is value there.  If Dungeons and Dragons helps you invent a role-play that gets you out of an otherwise miserable existence in real life, at least it's not because you just hate your life, and thereby it becomes merely escapism.  If listening to The Fray gets you through a tough workout, it's better than...well...better than they were during the national anthem tonight, LOL!

But seriously.

I do not like wasting my time.  Time lost is time I will never get back.  So that time is important.  Maybe my history puts that feeling in perspective for you, maybe it doesn't.  I just know too many people who wanted nothing except time.  I don't intend to be one of those people.  I will take advantage of all of the time afforded to me.  Period.

This week, I had an all-week safety audit (it happens every three years).  I had to entertain, in addition to actually showing well during the audit.  I still lost 2.6 pounds.  This is what it is all about.  I ate take-out for every lunch, and I ate out for every dinner, and I still lost weight.  AND my facilities did well on their audits.  Not just "well," f***ing AWESOME.  If this ain't living, I don't want to know what "living" is. 

One day late on the post- sorry, I was without internet yesterday.  Yes, that also means I missed my "official" weigh-in yesterday as well, so I'm using my Saturday weigh-in before I left for my (brief) vacation.  Still, I know I did well, I just continued the same behavior from late in the week while I was gone over the weekend. 

My first attempt at at motivation: YOU can DO this.  See ya later this week!


Where the Buffalo Roam...

I may not appear to be a jealous person.  In fact, I periodically suffer from intense bouts of wanting.  Wanting what, you may ask? More. More what? More whatever: money, time, space, things, anything.  Food used to be on that list.  I don't actively suppress the feeling when it is upon me, but I do sometimes fool myself into thinking I'm controlling it when in fact I am wallowing in the feeling while it exists.  In very basic terms, I like the idea of not being content.  It reminds me not to become complacent, even though by most standards,  I should just enjoy myself and be content. 

And there is the crucial difference.  I am both happy where I am, doing what I'm doing, being with who I am.  At the same time, I am not content to remain where I am, doing the things I'm doing, being with who I am, for very longIf life is a journey, stasis is your enemy. 

I have a difficult time explaining this to people.  By nature, people want to "fix" things that are wrong if they can, and for whatever reason, this strikes people as being "wrong."  So I don't share this with too many people.  I've had an ongoing debate about it with my lovely wife for over 14 years now.  It's really just the "human" side of what she would call "going with the program."  The unhealthy part (says she) is that I attempt to control the path, the motion along it, and probably the weather just for good measure!

I don't disagree, but if you can understand your own motivations (forget everyone else's), you can effect real change in yourself.  If you can begin to grasp what motivates others, then you have a real shot at changing the world.  For the purposes of this blog, changing myself is the ultimate goal, so we will stick to that for the time being. 

My motivations led me to name this blog after Leonidas, King of Sparta during the beginning of the 5th Century B.C. I've linked the wikipedia article for those who want to read about this incredible individual.  Assuming you know at least what is posted there, I will not regurgitate anything unnecessarily in what follows. 

Leonidas' death at the battle of Thermopylae was predicted.  Ignoring the loaded connotations of the word "predicted" for a moment, I look at the result of my weigh-in at the start of this journey as the same as the fate Leonidas met at Thermopylae.  What could these two disparate events have in common?  Allow me to explain.

The society that was ancient Sparta demanded that Leonidas die defending the pass at Thermopylae.  His other "choices" were to retreat or surrender.  These were not on the table for the 300 Spartans.  Similarly, an ambitious executive in modern corporate America finds himself spending hour upon hour beyond what "normal" employees do, because it is "expected" that to advance, you have to do far more.  These extended hours can wreck havoc on the health and well-being of the person, because work eats up the vast majority of time each week.  Do this long enough without some balance, and the result approaches Leonidas'.  I am not saying that I am Leonidas.  Leonidas actually died for the principles he believed in.  I intend to survive.  Does that make me a coward?  Perhaps in a sense.

The culture of America as it exists today essentially pushes people down an unhealthy path, like animals to slaughter.  I will not recount the endless statistics that describe "the obesity epidemic" that currently grips the country.  I assume you're on board with the fact that it exists, and if our culture doesn't change in this regard, we are doomed.  That said, there are people out there, living among us, who successfully go against the grain.  These people ascribe to a higher ideal.  Instead of accepting pink slime as food, because it's convenient, they actually eat whole grains, cook their own food (and some kill or grow their own), and generally ignore the stupidity of the rest of us.  The path of least resistance, the one demanded by our culture as Americans, is killing us.

I can't tell you how difficult that last sentence was to write.  For years, as my weight ballooned more and more out of control, I took solace in the fact that I "wasn't one of those psychos" who was "out in left field." Or something indeterminate like that.  Maybe it's because I felt that I belonged to the majority, and staying with the herd was comforting.  It isn't comforting any longer.  The results of that attitude can be viewed in post number one. See link if you want to take a trip down memory lane. 

To recap: Leonidas died honorably, beholden to the demands of his culture.  I reached a point akin to the "choice" he had, and choose to honor my life, my wife, and my children by not dying early as a result of living a twisted version of what the American Dream seems to have become for so many.  What this obviously oversimplifies, is what Leonidas' death achieved, and (likewise), what my survival could achieve.  We will explore that idea in a future post. 

As for the reason for this week's title beyond the obvious nationalistic nature of my post, Buffalo Wild Wings came to our town this week.  We've been there three times this week.  It's one of my favorite places (of the chains that I generally hate), and I still managed to lose weight this week. 

Weight: 290.6 pounds (-52.0 lbs.), Waist: 52" (-7.8"), BMI: 41.7 (-7.5).


Beware The Ides of March!

For the sake of variety, I'm throwing in a touch of Julius Caeser.  Like that ill-fated ruler, I found myself this week alone, in a place of ultimate temptation.  I was even done-in (so to speak) by those I thought to be my friends. 

Specifically: I was in Vicksburg, MS for a business trip.  For those of you who don't know Vicksburg, it's a lovely town.  With casinos (five of them), and some really fantastic restaurants.  Day 1 was pretty good. I was fine while on the road. Dinner at El Sombrero was fantastic, and I only went off the deep end a little by eating a few tortilla chips.  In fact, I even made it to bed early and got some work done to boot, so I considered day 1 of the trip a success. 

Day 2 was my time time in the Senate. My host is a large man.  If you look at my beginning photos, double the size, and make me about 6'3" tall, you'll have an idea.  He told me Thursday morning he had a surprise planned for our lunch that day (the "best in Vicksburg"), which of course sounded like what I would have done on my own anyway.  Little did I know, but Brutus was going to take me to the Heritage Buffet at the Ameristar Hotel & Casino.   The worst part was, I thought I was going to be okay.  Each of the separate serving areas had vegetables. Lots of vegetables.  There was also a salad bar.  I felt pretty good sitting down at the table with my first real plate, that consisted of 80% "steamed vegetables" and a small portion of pesto pasta ( < 1/2 a cup).  Then I noticed something about the vegetables other than how delicious they tasted.  I put "steamed vegetables" in quotes (twice now), because I've never had "steamed vegetables" that had been drizzled in a cup of butter. And that was just on the serving I had taken. 

I would've been okay STILL at that point, except this little voice inside me started whispering, "how bad can it be? Really! How bad?  It's still a huge portion of vegetables!"  So I ate them.  And I went back for more.

Round two was a plate of "steamed Italian vegetables."  Different veggies.  Still beyond delicious.  And they didn't appear to be soaked in butter.  These were soaked in Olive Oil.  Again, the little voice whispered, "how bad can it be? It's just a plate of vegetables...and olive oil is supposed to, well sorta, be good for you." So I ate them.  All of them.

Et tu, Brute?  Fortunately, I managed to get out without eating much else.  But I believe the damage was done there.  It set the stage for the night, at any rate.  I mean, I already was "off" the diet a little, why not have a little treat?  Famous last words, as I left for dinner several hours later, Brutus' knife still in my back.

Dinner was fantastic.  The Beechwood Restaurant & Lounge is a local landmark that you simply must visit if you're in town.  We were directed here as opposed to Ruth's Chris steakhouse, one of my favorites of all time, so don't think we were "cheaping out" or anything.  If you ever visit, there's a guy at the front door in a booth that houses The Grill.  It's amazing- this guy cooks steaks made-to-order, and he is just fun to watch do it.  I didn't get a steak, although I was tempted.  In fact, I even ate what I would have considered to be a "good" meal- sushi-grade yellow fin tuna (medium rare), a salad, and a few oysters on the half shell (a "few" as in 3- they still just taste like flavored snot to me...sorry, I'm not an oyster connoisseur)!  Unfortunately, there's just no way I got out of that meal for less than 1,000 calories. No way.  But it was delicious. 

As I'm sitting here recounting it all, it really doesn't read all that bad.  Like maybe I'm beating myself up too badly.  Like maybe I thought I'd gained weight this week.  I didn't.  But I could've lost so much more had I been truly good as opposed to faking myself out. 

So why am I so irritated with myself?  It's that exact process of "faking myself out" for at least the last 5 years (if not 10-12) that got me where I started this journey.  Fat.  Horrifically, morbidly obese.  That pisses me off.  After the last 55 days, I really thought I had moved beyond that.  That it wouldn't matter what situation I'd find myself in, I'd somehow find a way to eat the best thing in any situation.  I certainly wasn't horrible on my trip, but I could've been better.  Way better. 

Anyway, it's over with, time to pick myself up and refocus. 

Weight today: 292.4 lbs (-0.8 pounds).  No measurements this week.  I'm about half-way through my BeachBody Power90 workout, so more pictures in a couple of weeks!


...and eat hardy, for tonight we dine in HELL!

I'm not sure what I expected this week.  I had a couple of late nights at work, as well as a luncheon for employees with 30+ years of service (steak and potatoes type of affair).  I made good choices, both for my dinners on the late nights, and during the luncheon, I went with the grouper instead of a nice, juicy steak, steamed veggies instead of fried cheese grits.  In short, I really didn't feel like I was denying myself anything. 

And I'm down to 293.2 lbs.  PREPARE FOR GLORY!!!  Ok, not exactly the battle cry for the situation, but it's all I've got right now.

So let's analyze two contributing factors: there was the Scale debacle, and this was the first full week of using the Holy Scale.  There was also the amount of sodium I was ingesting last week. By limiting my sodium (somewhat, just trying to stay under 2,000 mg/day), I think I wrung a little extra water out of myself this week that had inflated my weight last weekend. 

There was also the vodka.  I love vodka.  Good vodka, chilled, up, and in a rocks glass of significant enough girth to fit comfortably in my paw.  GLORIOUS.  I won't get into what I consider "good" vodka, it will just irritate someone, so suffice it to say I'm a purist.  I had a few last night, which likely further dehydrated me.  So if I actually gain weight this week, I'll know I can't "cheat" my way to weight loss this way.

In any case, another successful week.  The journey continues...



I was actually prepared to go backwards this morning.  In fact, I made myself a small (11 chip) nacho plate to "celebrate" starting over again last night.  I shouldn't have been worried. 

The Holy Scale revealed my morning weight to be 299.0 pounds.  Breakthrough.

So here we are, the start of Round 2, beginning "again" from a new low weight under Tres Bills.  I feel great.  I am traveling to Auburn University today, and I managed to get to the hotel with enough time to work out before dinner (cardio with the dreaded Yoga), and I managed to ignore all the Glorious items I indulged in the last time I was here.  Instead, tonight's feast involved an arugula salad with wild mushrooms and a lemon vinaigrette, which, I'm shocked to admit, was both exceptionally filling and downright tasty.  I'm going to have to attempt this one at home!  I also had a couple pieces of good Italian bread, a little olive oil, and some steamed mussels.  And I didn't even drink the sauce out of the mussel bowl, LOL!

Feeling pretty good tonight, on a weekend that involved a Quest, a weigh-in, and what could have been a step back. 

Maybe if I hadn't had the nachos, I would've been 298...

But I can't think like that- the whole point of this diet is to not deny myself things, only to manage how much of those things get in my mouth.  For that reason, I declare victory in this battle so far. 

Now on to round 2!!!


Behold, The Quest for The Holy Scale!

I was tired of my scale.  Not the need to use it, just my particular one, and it's seeming inaccuracy.  My lovely wife tried to tell me that she doesn't have the same issues with it, that it "always weighs her the same," and that really pissed me off.  I have personally experienced a six pound swing within 30 seconds.  That just isn't good enough for what I'm after here.  If the scale tells me I only lost 2 pounds one week, and I really lost 6, that's demotivating.  I just don't need that at this point.  Thus begins The Quest for The Holy Scale!

We set out today after lunch to find The Scale.  But where to begin?  We don't live in the most urban of areas.  There is a Wal-Mart.  There is a Target.  There is also a mall.  For the record: I cannot stand Target.  They gave us a ton of crap when my wife and I tried to return items there as part of our wedding registry, and I will never forgive them for it.  I've been in a Target three times since we got married, and each experience made me ill.  I avoid it like the plague.  Besides, that hell hole is always just a little higher-priced than anywhere else I shop (or so my lovely wife tells me). 

Option two: like Target, Wal-Mart isn't my favorite either.  Not for any specific reason, but I don't like going into a place with 300 of my closest friends, because "the trip to Wal-Mart" is a Weekend Event for a lot of people where we live.  I don't like getting in the way of another person's Event.  Besides, being a fat guy (for now), and buying a scale with a bunch of other fat people watching just seems weird.  I'm picturing it like this:

Checkout Girl #1: "Woah, that fat dude bought a scale...I wish more of these fatty-fat-fatties bought scales."
Checkout Girl #2: "Do you think he'll actually use it?"
Checkout Girl #1: "No, but it's a step in the right direction, maybe..."
Checkout Girl #2: "I hope he bought a heavy-duty one, or he'll only get to step on it once!"
Checkout Girl #1: [laughs]

No thanks.  I was determined to find The Scale without taking the easy (if uncomfortable) route out at Target or Wal-Mart. In case you were wondering, neither Target nor Wal-Mart are paying me to endorse their stores, LOL!  I am also not paid to endorse any of the stores that are described in the balance of The Quest. 

So that left the mall.  Malls are also not my favorite, but at least there are a variety of stores to piss me off with what they have at the wrong price, so at least I wouldn't be bored. Right? Well, sort of.  We started at Sears.  Good ol' Sears.  Home of Tools, home of Tires.  Home of...no way in?  WTH?!  I forgot to mention it was raining all day.  Thunder, lightning, sideways/upwards, pounding rain, flooding everywhere.  I chose a door to enter Sears that looked good- there weren't any cars in the lot right near the door.  Should've known better...the door was locked.  There was a giant sign that explained why (two of them), but hey, it was raining, the spot was close, and I tried anyway.  I did eventually get in- had to park further out than I would have liked, but whatever.  Inside at last, I was really disappointed in Sears.  The people were nice, but they really didn't have anything I needed.  And, most importantly, they did not have The Scale.  In fact, they had NO (zero, nada) scales.  I was a little surprised. 

So I left, family in tow, vowing to hit all of the department stores in the mall before breaking down and going to Wal-Mart.  What followed was like a bad dream realized.  40 minutes walking from one end of the mall to the other and back.  The Quest was becoming truly Epic. 

Dillard's? No Scale.  Strike One. 
JCP? No Scale. Strike Two.
Belk? No Scale, Strike Three, and I'm beyond pissed. 

Not a single scale in four stores? Are you kidding me?!  I even went into a sports store and asked, and the guy said you can only get scales online.  I thought that was an odd response, so I asked him if he thought (gasp) Wal-Mart would have them, and he replied that he was sure they did...but he said it as if he knew I was trying to avoid the place.  Good telepathic moment for him.  Or maybe it was the scowl of irritation as I spat the words "Wal-Mart" at him...[shrug]

Walking out of Belk, I spotted a Spencer Gifts.  Because whoopee cushions and rubber dog poo make me grin, I figured a pass-through it would improve my mood.  Heck, maybe they'd have a novelty scale that made fart noises or something.  30 seconds later, thoroughly amused by the sights at Spencer's, I walked out to find my family had vanished.  I had my lovely wife corral the kids while I went into Spencer's, because, well, a seven-year-old and a five-year-old don't need to be looking at blow-up dolls and dildos.  Sorry, but all of you parents in there with your kids?  Shame, shame!

I started to walk toward where we'd parked the car, and I heard the sweetest of sounds.  Like the mythical Sirens of the Odyssey, the honeyed voice of my lovely wife called me back toward Belk. I turned, looked up, and saw her coming out of the GNC.  My eyes lit up, understanding immediately that this may have been our best bet all along. 

She nodded. I inclined my head slightly.  She nodded more vigorously.  I raised an eyebrow at her.  She started waving me forward while nodding.  I realized I had stopped walking.  She spoke, in a slightly less nectarous tone, "Come on- they have two in here!"

Down by the side of the checkout counter, behind two monster rows of protein powder, lay The Holy Scale.  Well, TWO Holy Scales, identical.  I don't know how she found them, kids in tow, bodybuilders pushing through the aisles.  But she did. 

My Hero.

Cue Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again..." as I march triumphantly (and decidedly not alone) out of GNC, and then out of the mall, out the wrong door, and into a long, rain-soaked walk to retrieve the car for my family.

And thus ends The Quest for The Holy Scale. 

And thus BEGINS the need to start the weight game over again.  With the new scale, assuming mine was really off like I thought it was, I will start iTransformation over again beginning with my new weight.  As of tonight, I have lost zero pounds in Round 2.  I'm closing out Round 1 tomorrow morning with whatever the new scale reveals.

So what's my weight now? I have no idea! Tune in later!


Tres Bills, Tres Bills...

When I first topped the 300 pound mark, I wasn't nearly as upset as when I weighed in at 342 this year.  That's weird, right?  I mean, most people would be mo****fu***** pissed that they weighed 300 pounds, and they'd do something about it. 

I don't even remember when I hit that landmark.  It wasn't 10 years ago, but it wasn't last year either. 

It's sad.  Because I'm about to cross back into the other zone.  As in < (that's a LESS THAN sign for all you non-math-inclined people).  As I write this, I'm literally in spitting distance of 299.  By "spitting distance," I mean as in the "I'm trying to make weight for wrestling, so I'm wearing a garbage bag suit and spitting into a cup" spitting distance.  It feels good.  Especially because I'm not wearing that suit, nor am I spitting into a cup.  I did have some Grouper at a fine establishment to celebrate it, however.  And I still lost weight yesterday.

Which brings up the reason for the delay in my posts: my scale is wrong.  No, I'm not about to make excuses.  By even the highest (wrong) measurement, I'm still down more than 35 pounds since we started this whole quest.  But I'm close to that milestone, and it's bugging me that I may either already be there, or I may be another week or two away.  I want it NOW, in other words.  No excuses for this one: the scale is literally wrong.  I touch it to activate it, and it zeros out.  I step on it: 308. 

I'm pissed.  I stomp around near the scale, making footprints appear in the marble tile.  The scale shuts off. 

I touch it again.  It zeros again.  I step on it: 302.  I'm happy! I'm elated! I want to record the result! 

But I don't trust it.  So I stomp around, waiting for the scale to shut off.  When it does, I touch it again.  I step on it again- zero becomes 304.  AAAAAAAAAARGH!!! STUPID SCALE!!!

I kick the scale!

I kick the wall!


Calm.  Calm.  Calm.  Calm. I hear that Yoga helps.  AAAARGH!!!


Anyway, I'm about to (hopefully) move into sort-of-recently-uncharted territory.  So here are some pix!

Still a gut? Yes, I weigh just over 300 lbs. What did you expect?

This one is a little more obvious. Well, the gut doesn't go all the way out...

Same deal...less back roll than 30 days ago, though!

Can you tell my arms are getting...tanner? I have noticed some definition changes. 

I said I'm forcing myself to watch The Biggest Loser.  I feel for Buddy, who for the last two months never looks like he's lost any weight, yet he's down over 100 lbs.  All I know, is that my scale (wrong it may be) tells me I'm lighter, and my pants fit better.  'Nuff said.

Weight: 302.0 (-42.6 lbs.).  More to come!